The Anschluss of 1938 had great support in Austria from circles that normally had strong ideological differences with one another, such as elements of the Catholic church and the Social Democratic Workers’ Party. Some members of the former Heimwehr and monarchists were also troubled by the new regime. Nevertheless, groups of workers, especially in the industrial centers of Austria and among the Catholic laity, began to take shape as early as the summer of 1938 to oppose the new Nazi regime. A broad spectrum of political, ideological, moral, social, patriotic, and religious motives prompted these actions. There was, however, no Austrian government-in-exile to be the external voice for these sentiments abroad, unlike Poland or what was then Czechoslovakia. Monarchists, whose spokesmen were Otto von Habsburg and two of his brothers, Robert (1915–1996) and Felix (1916–), were more engaged in Western Europe and the United States. Communists and radical socialists attached themselves to the Soviet Union. From 1942, the socialists were largely responsible for establishing pockets of armed resistance, particularly among Slovenians in the southeast of the country and among Styrian communists in the mountains around Leoben.
   From 1943 until 1945, Austria experienced the full force of Allied bombing; the threat of widespread loss of life and property became a reality. Toward the end of the war, serious cells of resistance gathered together. Ideological preference was not a requirement of membership, nor was connection to any social or economic class. Their sole purpose was to save the country from senseless destruction. Many hoped to avoid Soviet occupation. There were Austrian participants in the failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in July 1944; it was they who were to take over the government of their country once the dictator was dead.
   The best known of these resistance organizations was the so-called Group 05, which had contacts with the Allies in Switzerland. It also cooperated with a military command post (XVII) in Vienna, under the leadership of Major Carl Szokoll (1915–2004), who plotted to negotiate a cease-fire with the advancing Soviet armies on 3 April 1945. Discovered by the yet-functioning Nazi government, some of the leading conspirators were executed in that same month, before the war came to an end.
   A resistance movement in the Tyrol actually freed the city of Innsbruck before the arrival of American troops, who would occupy the city. Around 27,000 Austrians were executed for their participation in resistance movements. Another 32,000 died in concentration camps and other forms of confinement. Approximately 15,000 fought in Allied armies against the Nazis, as partisans, or in other European resistance groups.
   See also Russia, Relations with.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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