German military map during the Second World War, with no border between Germany and Austria (top right; also showing Alsace as part of Germany because it was directly incorporated into the Reich)
Voting ballot from 10 April 1938. The ballot text reads "Do you agree with the reunification of Austria with the German Reich that was enacted on 13 March 1938, and do you vote for the party of our leader Adolf Hitler?" The large circle is labelled "Yes", the smaller "No".

Austria in the first days of Nazi Germany's control had many contradictions: at one and the same time, Hitler's regime began to tighten its grip on every aspect of society, beginning with mass arrests as thousands of Austrians tried to escape; yet other Austrians cheered and welcomed the German troops entering their territory.

A map showing the border changes of Germany in the various years 1933 (red), 1939 (pink) and 1943 (orange).

The Moscow Declaration of 1943, signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, included a "Declaration on Austria", which stated:

They regard the annexation imposed on Austria by Germany on 15 March 1938, as null and void. They consider themselves as in no way bound by any changes effected in Austria since that date. They declare that they wish to see re-established a free and independent Austria and thereby to open the way for the Austrian people themselves, as well as those neighbouring States which will be faced with similar problems, to find that political and economic security which is the only basis for lasting peace.

"Red-White-Red Book" published by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1946 describes the events of Austria between 1938-1945 by the Founders of the Second Austrian Republic.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center continues to criticise Austria (as recently as June 2005) for its alleged historical and ongoing unwillingness aggressively to pursue investigations and trials against Nazis for war crimes and crimes against humanity from the 1970s onwards. Its 2001 report offered the following characterization: