Adolf Hitler in 1933 (archives)
42% of Austrians: Not all bad under Hitler
Seventy-five years after Nazi annexation of Austria, concerning number of citizens want 'strong man' to lead country
Three out of five Austrians want a "strong man" to lead the country and two out of five think things were not all bad under Adolf Hitler, according to a survey released on Friday.


Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary next week of Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany, the Market Institut poll for newspaper Der Standard found 61% of respondents, mostly the elderly - liked the idea of a strong man as leader.


Related stories:


That was more than in previous polls. One in 2008 found just a fifth of Austrians could imagine having "a strong leader who does not have to worry about a parliament or elections", the paper said.


Many Austrians wanted a union, or Anschluss, with Germany in 1938, but several maintained for decades afterwards that their country was Hitler's first victim despite the cheering crowds that greeted the Nazi leader.


A few Austrians put up resistance that grew over time.


In the latest poll, 53% thought the "Anschluss" was voluntary and 46% saw Austria as a victim.


Only 15% of the 502 people surveyed thought Austria should have fought annexation, while 42% thought a war with Germany would have made matters worse and 43% said it would have made no difference.


An impressive 42% said "not everything was bad under Hitler" while 57% saw no good aspects to the Hitler era.


The poll suggests Austria's centrist coalition of Social Democrats and conservatives faces a substantial proportion of voters skeptical about the democratic principles the neutral country has espoused since World War Two.


Polls show right-wing parties are poised to do well in elections due by September, although the coalition parties remain in the lead.



 new comment
See all talkbacks "42% of Austrians: Not all bad under Hitler"
This will delete your current comment