This is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the shrewd negotiating tactics of Cardinal Pacelli. (later ) He got the dictator Dollfuss to push through a concordat of dubious legality. After the war, in 1958, the chancellor of a democratic Austria went to the Vatican to cancel the concordat. However, Pacelli, who had meanwhile become Pius XII, would not budge. A concordat, no matter how it is obtained, is permanent.
Dollfuss destroyed Austrian democracy, thus unwittingly helping to pave the way for Hitler. During the misery of the Great Depression he suspended Parliament, banned the political parties that opposed him and relied instead upon Church support. The price was a concordat, which still remains partly valid today.
Dollfuss was assassinated shortly after ratifying the concordat, but it remained in force until the Germans invaded in 1938. Like the concordat concluded the same month with Hitler, it contains a secret supplement. The concordat was revived in 1958, but by then two of its main topics were regulated by the state: marriage had become a civil matter and financial support for the Church, a private affair.
In Germany the introduction of the "church tax" long predates Hitler, but not in Austria. He imposed it in 1939 to be able to divert the "religion funds" to the war effort. After the war Hitler's "church tax" was re-activated, as were the "religion funds" it was supposed to replace. In 1960 this double compensation was enshrined in the financial concordat. The Austrian State continues to collect "church tax" for the Catholic Church, the tithes imposed by Canon Law.