Understanding the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, known as the Anschluss (link-up), is critical to the understanding of the thinking of Hitler and the National Socialists. If an Austrian opposed these moves, were an active member of an opposition party or were a Jew, he or she was thrown into jail or a concentration camp.
"During the few weeks between the Anschluss and the plebiscite, Social Democrats, Communists and other potential political dissenters, as well as Jews, were rounded up and either imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. Within only a few days of 12 March, 70,000 people had been arrested. The plebiscite itself was subject to large-scale propaganda and to the abrogation of the voting rights of around 400,000 people (nearly 10% of the eligible voting population), mainly former members of left-wing parties and Jews."
We Americans have heard much about Nazi concentration camps and have been appropriately outraged, but how much do we know about American concentration camps? Some very interesting and disturbing information is now available.
Many of us have heard about United States' treatment of American Indians in the nineteenth century, the breaking of treaties and the forced relocation of thousands of native Americans, known as the Trail of Tears.
The internment of Japanese Americans has received prominent dramatization by way of the 1995 novel and then the movie "Snow Falling on Cedars".
But very few know that about 5,000 Germans living in several Latin American republics were removed and transported to the USA and placed in internment camps. In addition, at least 11,000 German Americans were held in more than fifty internment sites throughout the USA and Hawaii.
"Pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act of 1798 (50 USC 21-24), which remains in effect today, the US may apprehend, intern and otherwise restrict the freedom of "alien enemies" upon declaration of war or actual, attempted or threatened invasion by a foreign nation. . . By law, only enemy aliens could be interned. However, with government approval, thousands of German American family members joined them in the camps as voluntarily interned spouses and children.