Geoff Walden


Home ] Table of Contents ] Updates ] Berchtesgaden ] Berlin ] Buchenwald ] Chiemsee Autobahn Rasthaus ] Adolf Hitler Visits Austria ] Adolf Hitler Visits Czechoslovakia ] Ebensee ] Flossenburg KZ Site ] Garmisch ] Mauthausen ] Gusen/Bergkristall ] Auschwitz-Birkenau ] Thüringen ] Mittelwerk/Dora ] Munich ] Dachau Concentration Camp ] Tegernsee ] Nürnberg ] Muehldorf ] Thingplatz ] End of the War in the Main-Spessart ] s.Pzjr.Abt. 653 ] Schweinfurt ] Miscellaneous Sites ] Wolf's Lair ] Mauerwald ] Anlage Mitte ] Prora KdF Resort ] Project Riese (Giant) ] U.S. Army Posts ] Nazi Eagles ] Wehrmacht Kaserne ] [ Hitler Visits Vienna ] Ordensburg Vogelsang ] Weimar / Dresden ] Würzburg ] Haus der Deutschen Kunst, Part 1 ] Lost Sites ] German War Memorials ] Cold War Sites ] Links ]


Adolf Hitler Visits Vienna, March 1938

   Hitler visited Austria immediately following the Anschluß, or union of Germany with Austria, on 12 March 1938. He made a triumphal entry into Vienna on 14 March, met by cheering crowds.  Click here for a MapQuest map link to Vienna.


AHWiensf.jpg (142949 bytes)

ahw4n2.jpg (399522 bytes)

AHWien4.jpg (65624 bytes)

ahw4n1.jpg (376814 bytes)

When in Vienna, Hitler stayed at the famous Hotel Imperial on the Ring, near the Opera. The building has hardly changed at all.  (National Archives, RG 242-HB; "Illustrierter Beobachter," Special Edition, 20 March 1938 - "Österreichs Befreiung" (Austria's Liberation)


Wien5Heimat.jpg (171047 bytes)

wien5n1.jpg (283651 bytes)

Hitler made a speech to the Viennese from a balcony of the Habsburg palace, the Hofburg, on 15 March 1938. In the background is the heroic statue of Archduke Karl.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seiner Heimat," Munich, 1938)


AHWien1.jpg (273368 bytes)

ahw1n1.jpg (344192 bytes)

The crowd was gathered in the Heldenplatz (Heroes Square), a large open area bounded by the several wings of the Hofburg.  (National Archives)


AHWien3.jpg (496399 bytes)

ahw3n1.jpg (298702 bytes)

Wien7Zent.jpg (235582 bytes)

wien7zn1.jpg (290244 bytes)

The crowd in the Heldenplatz numbered several hundred thousand. These photos show the crowd around and on the statue of Prinz Eugen of Savoy (Prince Eugene). In the background can be seen the famous Vienna City Hall (Rathaus).  (National Archives)


WienRuehle504.jpg (117253 bytes)

wienrn1.jpg (292247 bytes)

At a later date, members of the Austrian SS march past Prinz Eugen's statue in the Heldenplatz.  (Gerd Rühle, ed., "Das Dritte Reich," Berlin, 1938 ed.)


Wien6Heimat.jpg (157728 bytes)

wien6n1.jpg (406396 bytes)

Hitler laid a wreath at the Austrian War Memorial, on the Ring outside the Burgtor of the Hofburg. The modern photo has been pulled back some to show one of the eternal flames outside the memorial. Although still present, these flames are no longer lit, or marked as memorials.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seiner Heimat," Munich, 1938)


Wien4Heimat.jpg (331231 bytes)

wien4n1.jpg (265844 bytes)

Wien9Heimat.jpg (347449 bytes)

wien9n1.jpg (351288 bytes)

The Nazis orchestrated a massive parade of military units and vehicles around the Vienna Ring. Here, Hitler on a reviewing stand in front of the art and natural history museums watches as towed 105mm artillery pieces and Pzkw. II tanks parade past.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seiner Heimat," Munich, 1938)


Wien7Heimat.jpg (191758 bytes)

wien7n1.jpg (315778 bytes)

Units of the Austrian Army parade past the Austrian Parliament building, with its famous statue of Pallas Athena in front.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seiner Heimat," Munich, 1938)


WienBTAHUF39.jpg (152391 bytes)

WienBurgtheaterGD.jpg (365761 bytes)

wienbtn2.jpg (314976 bytes)

Hitler's motorcade drove to the City Hall, with the Burgtheater in the background across the Ring.  ("Unser Führer," special edition of the "Illustrierter Beobachter" for Hitler's 50th birthday, 20 April 1939, Munich, Franz Eher Verlag;  Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler Baut Großdeutschland," Berlin, 1938)


WienRathausGD.jpg (339565 bytes)

wienrhn1.jpg (322326 bytes)

Hitler's motorcade reaches the Rathaus (City Hall). The period photo was taken from the upper balcony of the Burgtheater across the Ring (this and the above two photos were taken on 9 April 1938, the day before the public vote for Anschluß).  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler Baut Großdeutschland," Berlin, 1938)


Above - On 11 March 1938, the swastika flag was raised for the first time on the Austrian chancellery building in Vienna, which has hardly changed at all today (right). The banner reads "Through Struggle to Victory."  Below, the famous Loos Haus on Michaelerplatz is decorated for the Anschluß with a banner reading "The same blood belongs in a combined Reich!"  (Henrich Hansen, ed., "Volk will zu Volk, Dortmund, 1938; modern photos courtesy Anthony Heijkoop)


Vienna During the War

   Vienna had several important arms and munitions factories, and the threat of air attack led to erection of huge flak (anti-aircraft) towers around the city, starting in late 1942. The towers were built in pairs, with one large tower ("G-Turm") for the main anti-aircraft guns and a smaller tower ("L-Turm") for command and control, radar, searchlights, and smaller caliber guns. There were eventually six of these towers (in three pairs), and they are all still there today. Following the war, engineers determined that the explosives necessary to bring down these towers would severely damage the surrounding buildings, so they were left in place. Historical markers explain their presence.


wienflk3.jpg (267670 bytes)

wienft12.jpg (328601 bytes)

wienft4.jpg (311221 bytes)

This G-Turm is located in a military barracks area called Stiftskaserne, near the art and natural history museums. Its companion L-Turm is nearby in Esterhazy Park, southwest of the city center. The Stiftskaserne tower was the most heavily-armed Vienna flak tower, mounting four twin 12.8cm guns.

These towers are located near each other in the Augarten, north of the city center. The larger G-Turm mounted four large caliber guns on the top (10.5cm later 12.8cm), with platforms for eight smaller guns (2.0cm or 3.7cm) around the periphery. The smaller tower mounted searchlights, radar and smaller guns. Some of the platforms for smaller flak guns around the periphery of the G-Turm were removed in 2006-2007 because they were deteriorating and in danger of falling off the tower (the photos on this page were taken in 2001).


wienft8.jpg (274669 bytes)

wienft6.jpg (324889 bytes)

wienft5.jpg (254972 bytes)

Further views of the flak towers in the Augarten. The hole seen near the top in the center photo was a result of Soviet large-caliber artillery fire in 1945. Recent investigations inside the larger gun tower show that the interior is in a very damaged condition today, reportedly from a 1946 explosion of stored flak ammunition, caused by a fire set by children playing in the tower. These are the tallest towers in Vienna (the G-Turm is 177 feet high), and they had concrete projections mounted below their lower platforms to take the place of scaffolding for eventual repair work in the case of bomb or other damage, as scaffolding that high would have collapsed of its own weight.


Left to right - Augarten G-Turm tower in 1943, Esterhazy Park L-Turm tower in 1943, Stiftskaserne G-Turm tower in 1952. The square cut-outs seen at the top rims of the towers were for large cranes that were mounted on the tops of the structures. The L-Turm in the center mounts a Würzburg-Riese radar dish. The Vienna G-Turm gun towers are of the styles known as Type 2 (Arenberg Park, below) and Type 3 (Augarten and Stiftskaserne, above).


On the left, the L-Turm in Esterhazy Park has been converted and opened to the public as an aquarium/terrarium. Center and right - the G-Turm and L-Turm towers in Arenberg Park.  (photos donated)


The G-Turm towers of Types 2 and 3 were designed to provide some overhead cover from bomb shrapnel and low level attack for the gun crews. The two photos above show gun crews at drill in the Augarten G-Turm (Type 3). The guns were mounted in pits with circular concrete aprons around the periphery. In contrast, the twin 12.8cm guns below were in an open mount in one of the Berlin flak towers(Bundesarchiv)


wienflk2.jpg (314882 bytes)

wienflk1.jpg (284156 bytes)

These are the Augarten towers as seen from the St. Stephan's Cathedral tower. The towers seen in the center and right-center of this photo are located in Arenberg Park, southeast of the city center.

Click here to see photos of flak towers and guns in Berlin.

Vienna Flak Towers webpage  --  - detailed information on construction, types, history.
Excellent photo page on the Vienna flak towers  --

WienSS45.jpg (153354 bytes)

wienssn1.jpg (377515 bytes)

Officers of the 2nd SS Panzerdivision "Das Reich" discuss the defense and evacuation of Vienna on 13 April 1945. Left-right, SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Weidinger (commander of regiment "Der Führer"), SS-Standartenführer Rudolf Lehmann (acting division commander), unk. The officers are conferring on the Vienna side of the Danube River, at the foot of the Floridsdorfer Bridge. The old bridge was destroyed during the evacuation and a new bridge took its place during post-war construction. However, the old bridge piers are still in the river, and this part of the southern bridgehead still exists, allowing an exact modern comparison.  ("Wenn alle Brüder schweigen," Osnabrück, Munin-Verlag, 1981 ed.)  (MapQuest Map Link)


One of the last Pzkw. IV tanks of Panzerdivision "Das Reich" guards the Vienna side of the Floridsdorfer Bridge. Otto Weidinger (in overcoat) walks toward the camera in the center of the photo.  (Will Fey, "Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS," J.J. Fedorowicz Pub., 1990)


Lstone.gif (1289 bytes)   Back to the Third Reich in Ruins homepage



Third Reich in Ruins,

All contents copyright © 2000-2021, Geoffrey R. Walden; all rights reserved.  All photos taken by or 
from the collection of Geoffrey R. Walden, except where specifically noted.  Please respect my property rights,
and the rights of others who have graciously allowed me to use their photos on this page,
and do not copy these photos or reproduce them in any other way.

This page is intended for historical research only, and no political or philosophical aims should be assumed. 
Nothing on this page should be construed as advice or directions to trespass on private or posted property.

The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the author of the information, products or
services contained in any hyperlinked web site herein, and the author does not exercise any editorial control
over the information you may find at these locations.

This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.