German expansionism

A 1938 map of Europe highlighting Germany and Austria prior to the Anschluss

On 13 March 1938 Hitler’s army occupied Austria (Anschluss). The anti-Jewish laws which theGermans had introduced in Germany now also applied to Austria. The 200,000 Jews of Austria were under threat with many thousands trying to escape.

At this stage, having removed all Jewish influence and participation from life in Germany, the Nazis wanted the Jews to leave German soil. By the end of the war three quarters of German Jews and two thirds of Austrian Jews had survived because they had found countries to take them in.

In the second week of July 1938 an international conference was held at Evian in France. Thirty-two countries sent delegates to discuss the Jewish refugee issue. The outcome was not a rescue plan. The Nazis realised that the world would not provide any real help for the Jews. 

On 30 January 1939 Hitler made a speech to the German Parliament. He warned that if there was to be a world war, then it would be the fault of the Jews; the Jews, therefore, would be destroyed.