|Reichsgau of Nazi Germany|
Map of Nazi Germany showing its administrative
subdivisions (Gaue and Reichsgaue).
|•||Anschluss||12 March 1938|
|•||German surrender||8 May 1945|
|Today part of||Austria|
The Reichsgau Tirol-Vorarlberg (English: Gau Tyrol-Vorarlberg) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany consisting of Vorarlberg and North Tyrol (both in Austria). It existed from 1938 to 1945. After the Italian Armistice with the Allies the Italian provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino were placed under direct German control as the Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills (Operationszone Alpenvorland, OZAV), which was de facto annexed and administered as part of Tirol-Vorarlberg.
The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onwards, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany. In March 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria, with the latter being sub-divided into Reichsgaue.
At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War. Local Gauleiter were in charge of propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onwards, the Volkssturm and the defence of the Gau.
The position of Gauleiter in Tirol-Vorarlberg was held by Franz Hofer throughout the Reichsgau's history from 1938 to 1945.
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