A veteran of the Great War, Seyss-Inquart joined Austrian Fatherland Front and served in the cabinets of Engerlbert Dollfuss and Kurt von Schuschnigg from 1933, and acted as interim Chancellor of Austria during the Anschluss with Germany. He was placed in charge of the occupied Netherlands in 1940 and was expected to effect a similar Anschluss between the Low Countries and Germany, but instead he was relieved of this post in 1944. He was also denied the position of Foreign Minister, but was later made Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
Amongst the most senior leaders of the state-party hierarchy, he was considered closest in temperament to Adolf Hitler and was at various times considered his likely successor. However Seyss-Inquart lost out in the power struggle of the years 1962-1964 and was dismissed from his position as Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.