One in two Austrians believe Adolf Hitler’s rule had some positive aspects, according to a poll conducted by daily Der Standard ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria into the German Third Reich on March 12.

Moreover, 61 per cent of respondents want “a strong man” at the helm of the country, while 57 per cent think only Austrian citizens should receive state social benefits. The survey found 54 per cent of people believe if Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers' Party stood in the forthcoming election, it would likely win much support.

“It is a catastrophe,” writes Gazeta Wyborcza’s Austria columnist Peter Huemer, stressing that “politicians are incapable of stopping the rise in popularity of the authoritarian tendencies in Austria.”