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Reichsgau and General Government in 1941

A Reichsgau (plural Reichsgaue) was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945. It should not be confused with the Gau, an administrative region of the NSDAP (Nazi Party).

Overview

The term was formed from the words Reich and Gau, the latter a deliberately medieval-sounding word with a meaning approximately equivalent to "shire".

There were several Reichsgaue:

  • Ostmark, formed from the formerly independent Austria
  • Sudetenland, formed from the substantial part of the German-speaking areas of the former Czechoslovakia occupied in 1938
  • Danzig-Westpreussen and Wartheland, formed from the Free City of Danzig and areas annexed from Poland.

The Ostmark was subsequently subdivided into seven smaller Reichsgaue, generally coterminous with the former Austrian Länder (states).

Reichsgaue established in 1938

Gau name German name Headquarters Established Notes
Carinthia Kärnten Klagenfurt 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol, included from 1941 on parts of Slovenia
Lower Danube Niederdonau Vienna 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Lower Austria and northern Burgenland; included from 1939 on parts of southern Moravia
Salzburg Salzburg Salzburg 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Salzburg
Sudetenland Sudetenland Reichenberg 1938 Formed from the predominantly German-speaking parts of Czechoslovakia that were ceded to Germany after the Munich Agreement
Styria Steiermark Graz 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Styria and southern part of Burgenland; included from 1941 on parts of Slovenia
Tyrol-Vorarlberg Tirol-Vorarlberg Innsbruck 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Vorarlberg and the northern part of Tyrol
Upper Danube Oberdonau Linz 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Upper Austria and Ausseerland, a part of Styria; included from 1939 on parts of southern Bohemia
Vienna Wien Vienna 1938 Formed from the former Austrian federal state of Vienna and surrounding parts of former Lower Austria

Reichsgaue established during the Second World War

Gau name German name Headquarters Established Notes
Danzig - West Prussia Danzig - Westpreußen Danzig 1939 Formed in the Free City of Danzig and the Polish region of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, which were both occupied by Germany in 1939
Wartheland Wartheland Poznań 1939 Formed primarily in the Polish region of the Poznań Voivodeship and incorporated areas of surrounding Voivodeships after the German occupation of Poland

Proposed Reichsgaue in Belgium

Following Germany's invasion in 1940, Belgium was placed under "temporary" military rule. In July, 1944, civilian rule was reintroduced as a step towards the country's eventual integration into "Greater Germany". In December of that year Belgium was subdivided into the District of Brussels, covering the capital city (which remained under the direct authority of the German Reichskommissar), and two Reichsgaue. These Reichsgaue existed on paper only, owing to the Allied advance.

  • Flanders-Antwerp, comprising the Dutch-speaking provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders, West Flanders, the arrondissement of Brussels (except the city of Brussels itself), and the arrondissement of Leuven in the then-province of Brabant (the present-day province of Flemish Brabant).
  • Wallonia-Liège, comprising the Francophone provinces of Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg, Namur, and the arrondissement of Nivelles in the then-province of Brabant (now part of the separate province of Walloon Brabant).

See also

  • List of Gaue of Nazi Germany
  • Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany

Sources

References


de:Reichsgau fr:Reichsgau it:Reichsgau nl:Rijksgouw ja:帝国大管区 ru:Рейхсгау fi:Saksan valtakunnan siviilihallinto toisen maailmansodan aikana

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