Operation Radetzky (part 2)

Gerhard Fritz

In the last issue of the ÖMZ, the first part of a lecture by Otto Scholik was reproduced, which, in 1995, at the age of almost 80, he not only presented to a large and interested audience about "Operation Radetzky", but which was also published for the first time in the context of a special issue of the magazine of his Catholic student association. In this first part he addressed the resistance in the German Reich and then examined the specifics of the Austrian resistance. He then discussed the military environment from January to April 1945. In personal conversations, he has repeatedly stressed that the dramatic losses during the siege of Budapest was a final incentive for him and his comrades-in-arms to attempt a non-combatant handover of Vienna.

What did the Austrian military resistance actually achieve when its insurgency plan could not be implemented? Undoubtedly, one had succeeded in unsettling the local German leadership and offering knowledge advantages to the Soviet local leadership. Both of these significantly contributed to the abbreviation of the fighting in Vienna. The Austrian request to stop the Allied bombing raids on the city was met, as was the request to maintain the supply of water to the city. The preservation of the Reichsbrücke, the almost preservation of the Floridsdorfer Bridge and the preservation of a crossing over the Danube Canal are at least partly attributable to the pioneer commandos deployed there by Szokoll.

It was very important that the planned actions of the military resistance brought together many individual groups of the civil resistance and thus the “05”, after the occupation of Vienna by the Red Army, was initially the only politically effective Austrian force. Thanks to this fact, the almost hysterical attempts of the KPÖ to quickly fill all key positions, such as those of the mayor of Vienna and those of the mayor of Vienna and those of the police chief, but also those of the district chiefs, were only successful for a short time.

It is certainly not too far-fetched to state that the Austrian military resistance held the active leadership role in the planning and preparation of an armed uprising until 6th April 1945. An uprising that, when taking place as programmed, aimed at handing over Vienna to the Red Army without a fight. But even if it had only had partial successes, it would have had a very shortening effect. From 6th April onwards, due to reason and responsibility, the Austrian military resistance had to change from activity to passivity. But just as there are elements in chemistry which, although not involved in a reaction itself, make them possible or have a substantially positive effect through their mere presence, so the Austrian military resistance acted as a catalyst after 6th April.

GenMjr i.R. Otto Scholik died in summer 2019 at the age of 103. When the author visited him on the occasion of his 100th birthday with some students, he was already physically very frail, but gave the “boys” his legacy with a firm voice: “We have values and ideals. I am old and will die soon. Now it is up to you boys to carry on developping and defending this values and ideals!” There is nothing to add to that.