A thorough sweeping out of a rather obscure historical cranny, the circumstances surrounding the assassination of the Austrian micro-dictator Dollfuss in 1934. The unsuccessful Nazi coup got as far as it did because the state apparatus was infested with Nazi sympathizers; Hitler, who soon disavowed the conspirators, ""resolutely changed Iris tactics. Sedition and sabotage were to be replaced by diplomacy. Instead of civil war, slow, steady erosion would undermine the position of the Austrian government."" This is largely the interpretive substance offered by Maass, who for the rest has put together a brisk narrative of the coup, its background, the fighting which followed, and details of the assassination, without however sufficiently analyzing such questions as why Hitler wanted Austria. The plot, Maass shows, gained momentum through opportunism and stupidity on the part of many Austrians, as well as Nazi affiliation on the part of others. The evaluation of Dollfuss himself is superficial and wishy-washy: Maass suggests that he compensated for his earlier slaughter of Austrian workers by exhibiting personal bravery under siege, and concludes that despite his autocracy ""he remains an arresting and tragic figure."" A reference source for specialized interests.