Thursday, March 12, 2020

March 12th in stamps Anschluss, Mauritius independence, Gabriele D'Annunzio

Here are some events that happened on March 12th. It could be an event or a person that died or was born on that day


1863 Born: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Italian soldier, journalist, poet, and playwright (d. 1938)

General Gabriele D'Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso, Duke of Gallese (12 March 1863 – 1 March 1938), sometimes spelled d'Annunzio, was an Italian poet, journalist, playwright and soldier during World War I. He occupied a prominent place in Italian literature from 1889 to 1910 and later political life from 1914 to 1924. He was often referred to under the epithets Il Vate ("the Poet") or Il Profeta ("the Prophet").

D'Annunzio was associated with the Decadent movement in his literary works, which interplayed closely with French Symbolism and British Aestheticism. Such works represented a turn against the naturalism of the preceding romantics and was both sensuous and mystical. He came under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche which would find outlets in his literary and later political contributions. His affairs with several women, including Eleonora Duse and Luisa Casati, received public attention.

During the First World War, perception of D'Annunzio in Italy transformed from literary figure into a national war hero. He was associated with the elite Arditi storm troops of the Italian Army and took part in actions such as the Flight over Vienna. As part of an Italian nationalist reaction against the Paris Peace Conference, he set up the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in Fiume with himself as Duce. The constitution made "music" the fundamental principle of the state and was corporatist in nature. Though D'Annunzio never declared himself a fascist, he has been described as the forerunner of Italian fascism as his ideas and aesthetics influenced it and the style of Benito Mussolini.

Stamps issued in Fiume depicting Gabriele D'Annunzio

Fiume Gabriele D'Annunzio

Gabriele D'Annunzio Fiume overprints



1938 – Anschluss: German troops occupy and absorb Austria.

Anschluss refers to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. The word's German spelling, until the German orthography reform of 1996, was Anschluß and it was also known as the Anschluss Österreichs

Prior to the Anschluss, there had been strong support from people of all backgrounds – not just Nazis – in both Austria and Germany for a union of the two countries. The desire for a union formed an integral part of the Nazi "Heim ins Reich" movement to bring ethnic Germans outside Nazi Germany into Greater Germany. Earlier, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist Party (Austrian Nazi Party) in its bid to seize power from Austria's Fatherland Front government.


On the morning of 12 March, 1938, the 8th Army of the German Wehrmacht crossed the border into Austria. The troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers. For the Wehrmacht, the invasion was the first big test of its machinery. Although the invading forces were badly organized and coordination among the units was poor, it mattered little because the Austrian government had ordered the Austrian Bundesheer not to resist.

That afternoon, Hitler, riding in a car, crossed the border at his birthplace, Braunau am Inn, with a 4,000 man bodyguard. In the evening, he arrived at Linz and was given an enthusiastic welcome. The enthusiasm displayed toward Hitler and the Germans surprised both Nazis and non-Nazis, as most people had believed that a majority of Austrians opposed Anschluss. Many Germans from both Austria and Germany welcomed the Anschluss as they saw it as completing the complex and long overdue German unification of all Germans united into one state.[54] Hitler had originally intended to leave Austria as a puppet state with Seyss-Inquart as head of a pro-Nazi government. However, the overwhelming reception caused him to change course and absorb Austria into the Reich. On 13 March Seyss-Inquart announced the revocation of Article 88 of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which prohibited the unification of Austria and Germany, and approved the replacement of the Austrian states with Reichsgaue. The seizure of Austria demonstrated once again Hitler's aggressive territorial ambitions, and, once again, the failure of the British and the French to take action against him for violating the Versailles Treaty. Their lack of will emboldened him toward further aggression.

Hitler's journey through Austria became a triumphal tour that climaxed in Vienna on 15 March 1938, when around 200,000 cheering German Austrians gathered around the Heldenplatz (Square of Heroes) to hear Hitler say that "The oldest eastern province of the German people shall be, from this point on, the newest bastion of the German Reich"

Stamp and postcard issued to commemorate the Anschluss


1938 – Anschluss German troops occupy and absorb Austria



1968 – Mauritius achieves independence from the United Kingdom.

At the Lancaster Conference of 1965, it became clear that Britain wanted to relieve itself of the colony of Mauritius. In 1959, Harold Macmillan had made his famous Winds of Change Speech where he acknowledged that the best option for Britain was to give complete independence to its colonies. Thus, since the late Fifties, the way was paved for independence. 

Later in 1965, after the Lancaster Conference, the Chagos Archipelago was excised from the territory of Mauritius to form the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). A general election took place on 7 August 1967, and the Labour Party and its two allies obtained the majority of seats. In January 1968, six weeks before the declaration of independence the 1968 Mauritian riots occurred in Port Louis leading to the deaths of 25 people. 

Mauritius adopted a new constitution and independence was proclaimed on 12 March 1968. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam became the first prime minister of an independent Mauritius with Queen Elizabeth II remaining head of state as Queen of Mauritius.

Independence stamps issued by Mauritius 

1968 – Mauritius achieves independence from the United Kingdom

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