Anton Reinthaller (1895 – 1958)
Founding member of the FPÖ
FPÖ Federal Party Chairman from 1956 to 1958
Anton Reinthaller was the FPÖ’s first federal party chairman. He was born in Upper Austria and after 1945 played a major role in re-shaping the Third Lager. A trained farmer, Reinthaller was also instrumental in the founding of the FPÖ.
Anton Reinthaller was born in Upper Austria on 14 April 1895. He grew up in Mettmach im Innviertel as a farmer’s son, attended primary school there and then a grammar school in Linz. During the First World War he served as a soldier in the Imperial and Royal Army, reaching the rank of first lieutenant. He was a Russian prisoner of war from 1916 to 1918. After the war, Reinthaller studied agriculture and forestry and having completed his studies, he worked as a farmer and also managed his family farm.
Politically, Reinthaller was initially involved with the Agrarian League (Landbund). Later, however, he switched to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP). After Austria's annexation to Hitler's Germany in March 1938, he became Minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the "Anschluss" cabinet of Chancellor Arthur Seyß-Inquart. In 1939, the native Upper Austrian was appointed Undersecretary of State in the Reich Ministry of Food in Berlin. Reinthaller was admitted to the SS on an "honorary basis" in 1938 and later received the rank of SS Brigade Leader.
After the Second World War, Anton Reinthaller was charged in 1950 with "high treason against the Austrian people", as well as for his illegal pre-war activities for the NSDAP. However, Anton Reinthaller was acquitted in court of the charge of high treason and eventually sentenced to three years in prison for his NSDAP activities whilst that party was illegal in Austria. In view of the length of his pre-trial detention, he was set free. In general, today's historians concede that after 1945, Anton Reinthaller distanced himself from National Socialism and that his political activities demonstrated a commitment to Austria.
Following his release, Anton Reinthaller continued his political activities and founded the decidedly nationalist “Freiheitspartei” in Upper Austria, together with Friedrich Peter and Emil van Tongel. His aim was to use this party to rebuild Austria’s German-national camp. The Freiheitspartei was thus in direct competition with the League of Independents (Verband der Unabhängigen, or VdU), which was at that same time starting to show signs of disintegration and of disagreement over the political direction it should take. Negotiations between the two parties eventually took place and on 17 October 1955, it was agreed to merge the VdU and the Freiheitspartei to form the FPÖ. This agreement was reached between Anton Reinthaller, as chairman of the Freiheitspartei, and Max Stendebach, the chairman of the VdU.
At the founding party conference of the FPÖ in Vienna on 7 and 8 April 1956, Anton Reinthaller was elected as the first federal party leader of the FPÖ. Only a month or so after the party had been founded, the FPÖ and its new leader contested their first election: the National Council election of 13 May 1956. The fledgeling party achieved 6.52 per cent of the vote and six seats in the National Council. This was to be the last National Council election contested under Reinthaller's leadership, however. Anton Reinthaller died in Upper Austria on 6 March 1958 – merely two years after the FPÖ had been founded.
YOU CAN ACCESS THE VIDEO HERE: Die Gründung der FPÖ
Main political positions
FPÖ Federal Party Chairman
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