Republican Protection Association

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Deployment of the Republican Schutzbund on October 7, 1928 in Wiener Neustadt , see Deployment of the Home Guard and the Schutzbund in Wiener Neustadt

The Republican Protection Association (SchB) was the paramilitary organization of the Austrian Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) founded in 1923/24 .


The Republican Protection Association arose in part from the People's Army, which was formed after the end of the First World War in 1918 . For the Social Democrats, it was supposed to act as a counterweight to the Christian-Social Home Guard, created in 1920 (and going back to the "vigilante groups" of 1918) and, above all, to the federal army , which was also dominated by Christian Socials . Ideologically closely linked to the protection collar, which strongly felt great German was oriented with the German Reich Banner Black-Red-Gold , which is located in Germany defending the Weimar Constitution and the protection of republican parties against political violence by steel helmet , SA or Red American Legion had prescribed.

Co-founder and chairman was Julius Deutsch , his staff included Theodor Körner (1945–51 Mayor of Vienna, 1951–57 Federal President) and the army officer Alexander Eifler . In 1928 the Republican Schutzbund had around 80,000 members and was mainly represented in Vienna and the industrial areas of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Carinthia and Styria. When, however, in March 1933 parliament was dissolved by a coup d'état by the Christian-social Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss and a class-authoritarian dictatorship was established in Austria, the base of the Schutzbund for the defense of the constitution and parliamentary democracy demanded in vain the call for open struggle and the Handing over the weapons. The leadership of the Social Democrats held them back and still had the illusion of a peaceful solution in mind - even though the Republican Protection Association was at the zenith of its military importance.

On May 20, 1933, under the leadership of the Christian-social Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, the Fatherland Front (VF) , as the successor to the CS, was established as a unity party - as a "non-partisan" , Catholic-oriented and strictly anti-Marxist political organization "of all Austrians loyal to their fatherland" - founded. Shortly afterwards, the Austro-Fascist regime (cf. Ständestaat ) declared opposition parties and organizations, including the KPÖ and the Freethinkers , to be dissolved. On March 31, 1933, the Republican Schutzbund was banned, but it continued to exist as an illegal organization.

The end of the Republican Schutzbund came as a result of the Austrian Civil War in February 1934. The civil war was triggered by a search of the Hotel Schiff for weapons by the police on February 12, 1934. This led to armed confrontation between members of the Schutzbund and the executive; Later, the Heimwehr, deployed as auxiliary police, under the leadership of Interior Minister Emil Fey , intervened in the fighting . The police had been assigned to search the Linz party home of the Social Democrats in the Hotel Schiff in Linz for weapons. Those present resisted and opened fire. The fighting spread to other parts of the city and in the afternoon there were also first battles in Vienna and Styria. After the fighting ended a few days later, the police, home guards and the armed forces called for support broke the resistance of the Schutzbund. The regime declared the SDAP and all of its organizations dissolved, removed their politicians from all offices and also dissolved the social democratic trade unions and the constitutional court .

About 111, but at least 88 members of the Schutzbund were killed during the fighting. Some leading members, including Karl Münichreiter , Georg Weissel and the Styrian National Council member Koloman Wallisch , were sentenced to death and executed. Several hundred captured Schutzbunds were detained in detention camps. Shortly after the fighting broke out, many Social Democrats fled to Czechoslovakia , including Otto Bauer , to the Soviet Union , where they later fell victim to some of the purges of Josef Stalin , or, like Julius Deutsch, joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War .

Museum reception

In the Vienna Army History Museum there are uniforms of the Republican Protection Association and a workers' flag. As a special piece, Schattendorf's murder weapon , a hunting rifle made from an Austrian infantry weapon , is on display.

Individual evidence

  1. Kurt Bauer : The victims of February 1934. Excerpt from the project report “The victims of February 1934. Socio- structural and collective biographical research” ( Future Fund Project No. P12-1307 ). P. 12. online
  2. ^ Army History Museum / Military History Institute (ed.): The Army History Museum in the Vienna Arsenal . Verlag Militaria , Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-902551-69-6 , p. 135.


  • Christoph Ebner: Struggle for a Republican Ideal - The Protection League in Upper Austria until 1934. In: Upper Austria 1918–1938. Volume III, (published by the Upper Austrian Provincial Archives). Linz 2015, ISBN 978-3-902801-23-4 , pp. 7–56.
  • Otto Naderer: The armed uprising. The Republican Protection Association of Austrian Social Democracy and the military preparation for the civil war 1923–1934 . Ares-Verlag, Graz 2004, ISBN 3-902475-06-4 .
  • Martin Prieschl: The Republican Protection Association. In: Troop service - magazine for training, leadership and deployment. (314), No. 2, 2010, pp. 118-125.

See also

Web links