|Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1|
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A. The Events Leading up to the Autumn of 1937 and the Strategic Position of the National Socialists in Austria.
(1) The National Socialist Aim of Absorption of Austria. In order to understand more clearly how the Nazi conspirators proceeded after the meeting in the Reichschancellery on 5 November 1937, at which Hitler laid plans for the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia (386-PS), it is advisable to review the steps which had already been taken in Austria by the National Socialists of both Germany and Austria. The position which the Nazis had reached by the Fall of 1937 made it possible for them to complete their absorption of Austria much sooner and with less cost than was contemplated in this meeting.
The acquisition of Austria had long been a central aim of the German National Socialists. On the first page of Mein Kampf, Hitler had written, "German-Austria must return to the great German National Socialists. On the first page of Mein Kampf, Hitler had written, "German-Austria must return to the great German mother-land." He continued by stating that its purpose, of having common blood in a common Reich, could not be satisfied by a more economic union. This aim was regarded as a serious program which the Nazis were determined to carry out.
This fact is borne out by an affidavit executed in Mexico City Ambassador in Mexico City (1760-PS). Mr. Messersmith was Consul General of the United States of America in Berlin from 1930 to the late Spring of 1934. He was then made American Minister In Vienna, where he stayed until 1937. In this affidavit he states that the nature of his work brought him into frequent contact with German Government officials, many of whom were, on most occasions, amazingly frank in their conversations, and made no concealment of their aims.
In particular, Mr. Messersmith states that he had contact with the following twenty governmental officials, among others: Hermann Goering, General Milch, Hjalmar Schacht, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, Josef Goebbels, Richard Walter Darre, Robert Ley, Hans Heinrich Lammers, Otto Meissner, Franz von Papen, Walter Funk, General Wilhelm Keitel, Admiral Erich von Raeder, Admiral Karl Doenitz, Dr. Behle, Dr. Stuckart, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen, and Dr. Davidson. Mr. Messersmith further states that in addition to this contact with officials of the Government he maintained contact with individuals in all parties in Germany in order to keep himself and the Government informed of political developments in Germany.
With regard to the Austrian matter, he states that from the very beginning of the Nazi Party he was told by both high and secondary government officials in Germany that incorporation of Austria into Germany was both a political and economic necessity and that this incorporation was going to be accomplished "by whatever means were necessary." He further states:
"I can assert that it was fully understood by everyone in Germany who had any knowledge whatever of what was going on that Hitler and the Nazi Government were irrevocably committed to this end and the only doubt which ever existed in conversations or statements to me was 'how' and 'when.'" (1760-PS).
As Mr. Messersmith relates, at the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933 Germany was too weak to make open threats of force against any country. It developed a policy of securing its aims in Austria in the same manner as in Germany - by obtaining a foothold in the Cabinet, particularly in the Ministry of Interior which controls the police, and quickly eliminating the opposition elements. Mr. Messersmith states that throughout his opposition elements. Mr. Messersmith states that throughout his stay in Austria he was told on any number of occasions by high officials of the Austrian Government, including Chancellor Dollfuss, Chancellor Schuschnigg, and President Miklas, that the German Government kept up constant pressure upon the Austrian Government to appoint ministers with Nazi orientation.
(2) Pressure Used, Including Terror and Intimidation, Culminating in the Unsuccessful Putsch of 25 July 1934. To achieve their end the Nazis used various pressures. They used economic pressure. The law of 24 March 1933 imposed a prohibitive 1,000 reichsmark penalty on trips to Austria, thus bringing hardship to Austria, which relied heavily on its tourist trade (Reichsgesetzblatt 1933, I, 311). The Nazis used propaganda. And they used terroristic acts, primarily bombings.
Mr. Messersmith's affidavit (1760-PS) goes into some detail with respect to these means. Although they were committed by National Socialists in Australia, high Nazi officials in Germany admitted to Mr. Messersmith that they were instigating and directing these waves of terror in Austria. They made no effort to conceal their use of terror in Austria. They made no effort to conceal their use of terror, which they justified on the ground that terror was a necessary instrument to impose the will of the party not only in Germany but in other countries. Mr. Messersmith recalls specifically that General Milch of the Air Force stated that the terrorism in Austria was being directed by the Nazi Party in Berlin.
Mr. Messersmith points out that all these outrages were a common occurrence. They had peaks and distinct periods, one in mid- 1933 and another in early 1934. He points out that the wave of outrages in May and June 1934 diminished markedly for a few days during the meeting of Hitler and Mussolini in Venice, in mid-June 1934. (At that time Mussolini was strongly supporting the Austrian Government and interested in its independence.) Mr. Messersmith's affidavit quotes extensively from dispatches sent from the American Legation in Vienna to the State Department during this period. These dispatches indicate that the terror was often directed at Catholic Churches and institutions, and at railways and tourist centers.
Mr. Messersmith also recalls that in addition, the Nazis maintained a threat of violent action against Austria through the "Austrian Legion." This was a para-military force of several thousand men, armed by the Nazis in Germany, and stationed in Germany near the Austrian border. It included Austrian Nazis who fled from Austria after committing crimes.
These terroristic activities of the Nazis in Austria continued until July 25, 1934. On that day members of the NSDAP attempted a revolutionary putsch and killed Chancellor Dollfuss. A message from Mr. Hadow, of the British Legation in Vienna, to Sir John Simon contains details of the putsch (2985-PS). The official version of events given verbally by the Austrian Government to the diplomatic Corps, as set forth in this document, stated that approximately a hundred men attempting the putsch seized the Federal Chancellery. Chancellor Dollfuss was wounded in trying to escape, being shot twice at close quarters. The Radio Building in the center of the town was overwhelmed, and the announcer was compelled to broadcast the news that Dollfuss had resigned and Doctor Rintelen had taken his place as Chancellor.
Although the putsch failed, the insurgents kept control of the Chancellery Building and agreed to give it up only after they had a safe-conduct to the German border. The insurgents contacted the German Minister, Dr. Reith, by telephone, and subsequently had private negotiations with him in the building. At about 7:00 p.m. they yielded the building, but Chancellor Dollfuss died abut 6:00 p.m., not having had the services of a doctor.
The German Government denied all complicity in the putsch and assassination. Hitler removed Dr. Reith as Minister on the grounds that he had offered a safe-conduct to the rebels without making inquiry of the German Government, and had thus without any reason dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair. This statement appears in the letter which Hitler sent to Franz von Papen on the 26th day of July 1934. (2799-PS)
Although the German Government denied any knowledge or complicity in this putsch, there is ample basis for the conclusion that the German Nazis bear responsibility for the events. Light is shed on this matter in the extensive record of the trial of the Austrian Nazi, Planetta, and others who were convicted for the murder, and in the Austrian Brown Book issued after July 25. Mr. Messersmith's affidavit offers further evidence:
"The events of the Putsch of July 25, 1934, are too well known for me to repeat them in this statement. I need say here only that there can be no doubt that the Putsch was ordered and organized by the Nazi officials from Germany through their organization in Austria made up of German Nazis and Austrian Nazis. Dr. Reith, the German Minister in Vienna, was fully familiar with all that was going to happen and that was being planned. The German Legation was located directly across the street from the British Legation and the Austrian secret police kept close watch on the persons who entered the German Legation. The British had their own secret service in Vienna at the time and they also kept a discreet surveillance over people entering the German Legation. I was told by both British and Austrian officials that a number of the men who were later found guilty by the Austrian Courts of having been implicated in the Putsch had frequented the German Legation. In addition, I personally followed very closely the activities Dr. Reith and I never doubted on the basis of all my information that Dr. Reich was in close touch and constant touch with the Nazi agents in Austria; these agents being both German and Austrian. Dr. Reith could not have been unfamiliar with the Putsch and the details in connection therewith. I recall too very definitely from my conversations with the highest officials of the Austrian Government after the Putsch, their informing me that Dr. Reith had been in touch with von Rintelen, who it had been planned by the Nazis was to succeed Chancellor Dollfuss had the Putsch been successful.
"It may be that Dr. Reith was himself not personally sympathetic with the plans for the Putsch but there is no question that he was fully familiar with all these plans and must have given his assent thereto and connived therein.
"As this Putsch was so important and was definite attempt to overthrow the Austrian Government and resulted in the murder of the Chancellor of Austria, I took occasion to verify at the time for myself various other items of evidence indicating that the Putsch was not only made with the knowledge of the German Government but engineered by it. I found and verified that almost a month before the Putsch, Goebbels told Signor Cerruti, the Italian Ambassador in Berlin, that there would be a Nazi Government in Vienna in a month. (1760-PS)
Mr. William Dodd, Ambassador of the United States to Germany, published in 1941 his Diary, covering the years 1933-1938 (2832-PS). The diary contains an entry for July 26, 1934, which makes the following observations. First, Ambassador Dodd noted that in February, 1934, Ernst Hanfstaengl had silence Theodor Habicht, the German agent in Munich who had been agitating for annexation of Austria. On 18 June, in Venice, Hitler was reported to have promised Mussolini to leave Austria alone.
Mr. Dodd further states:
"On Monday, July 23, after repeated bombings in Austria by Nazis, a boat loaded with explosives was seized on Lake Constance by the Swiss police. It was a shipment of German bombs and shells to Austria from some arms plant. That looked ominous to me, but events of the kind had been so common that I did not report it to Washington.
"Today evidence came to my desk that last night, as late as eleven o'clock, the government issued formal statements to the newspapers rejoicing at the fall of Dollfuss and proclaiming the Greater Germany that must follow. The German Minister in Vienna had actually helped to form the new Cabinet. He had, as we now know, exacted a promise that the gang of Austrian Nazi murderers should be allowed to go into Germany undisturbed. But it was realized about 12 o'clock that, although Dollfuss was dead, the loyal Austrians had surrounded the government palace and prevented the organization of a new Nazi regime. They held the murderers prisoners. The German Propaganda Ministry therefore forbade publication of the news sent out an hour before and tried to collect all the releases that had been distributed. A copy was brought to me today by a friend.
"All the German papers this morning lamented the cruel murder and declared that it was simply an attack of discontented Austrians, not Nazis. News from Bavaria shows that thousands of Austrian Nazis lining for a year in Bavaria on German support had been active for ten days before, some getting across the border contrary to law, all drilling and making ready to return to Austria. The German Propagandist of annexing the ancient realm of the Hapsburgs to the Third Reich, in spite of all the promises of Hitler to silence him. But now that the drive has failed and the assassins are in prison in Vienna, the German Government denounces all who say there was any support from Berlin.
"I think it will be clear one day that millions of dollars and many arms have been pouring into Austria since the spring of 1933. Once more the whole world is condemning the Hitler regime. No people in all modern History has been quite so unpopular as Nazi Germany. This stroke completes the picture. I expect to read a series of bitter denunciations in the American papers when they arrive about ten days from now." (2832-PS)
In connection with the German Government's denial of any connection with the putsch and the murder of Dollfuss, the letter of appointment which Hitler wrote to Vice-Chancellor von Papen on 26 July 1934 is significant. This letter appears in a standard German reference work, Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, II, Pae 83 (2799-PS). (In considering the letter the report widespread at the time should be recalled, that von Papen narrowly missed being purged on 30 June, 1944, along with Ernst Roehm and others.) The letter reads as follows:
"26 July 1934
"Dear Mr. von Papen
"As a result of the events in Vienna I am compelled to suggest to the Reichs President the removal of the German Minister to Vienna, Dr. Rieth, from his post, because he, at the suggestion of Austrian Federal Ministers and the Austrian rebels respectively consented to an agreement made by both these parties concerning the safe conduct and retreat of the rebels to Germany without making inquiry of the German Reich Government. Thus the Minister has dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason.
"The assassination of the Austrian Federal Chancellor which was strictly condemned and regretted by the German Government has made the situation in Europe, already fluid, more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore, it is my desire to bring about if possible an easing of the general situation, and especially to direct the relations with the German Austrian State, which have been so strained for a long time, again into normal and friendly channels.
"For this reason, I request you, dear Mr. von Papen, to take over this important task, just because you have possessed and continue to possess my most complete and unlimited confidence ever since we have worked together in the Cabinet-"Therefore, I have suggested to the Reichs President that you, upon leaving the Reich-Cabinet and upon release from the office of Commissioner for the Saar, be called on special mission to the post of the German Minister in Vienna for a limited period of time. In this position you will be directly subordinated to me.
"Thanking you once more for all that you have at one time done for the coordination of the Government of the National Revolution and since then together with us for Germany, I remain,
Yours, very sincerely,
Four years later, on July 25, 1938, after the Anschluss with Austria, German officials no longer expressed regrets over the death of Dollfuss. They were eager and willing to reveal what the world already knew-that they were identified wit and sponsors of the murder of the former Chancellor. A dispatch from the American Consul General in Vienna to the Secretary of State, dated July 26, 1938, relates to the Nazis' celebration of the murder of Dollfuss, held on July 24 and July 25, 1938, four years after the event. It states:
"The two high points of the celebration were the memorial assembly on the 24th at Klagenfurt, capital of the province of Carinthia, where in 1934 the Vienna Nazi revolt found its widest response, and the march on the 25th to the former Federal Chancellery in Vienna by the surviving members of the S.S. Standarte 89, which made the attack on the Chancellery in 1934 - a reconstruction of the crime, so to say.
"The assembled thousands at Klagenfurt were addressed by the Fuehrer's deputy, Rudolf Hess, in the presence of the families of the 13 National Socialists who were hanged for their part in the July putsch. The Klagenfurt memorial celebration was also made the occasion for the solemn swearing in of the seven recently appointed Gauleiters of the Ostmark. "From the point of view of the outside world, the speech of Reichs Minister Hess was chiefly remarkable for the fact that after devoting the first half of his speech to the expected praise of the sacrifices of the men, women and youths of Austria in the struggle for a greater Germany, he then launched into a defense of the occupation of Austria and an attack on the ‘lying foreign press' and on those who spread the idea of a new war. The world was fortunate, declared Hess, that Germany's leader was a man who would not allow himself to be provoked. 'The Fuehrer does what is necessary for his people in sovereign calm. * * * and labors for the peace of Europe' even though provocateurs, 'completely ignoring the deliberate threat to peace of certain small stated,' deceitfully claim that he is a menace to the peace of Europe.
"The march on the former Federal Chancellery, now the Reichsstatthalterei, followed the exact route and time schedule of the original attack. The marchers were met at the Chancellery by the Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart, who addressed them and unveiled a memorial tablet. From the Reichsstatthalterei the Standarte marched to the old RAVAG broadcasting center from which false news of the resignation of Dollfuss had been broadcast, and there unveiled a second memorial tablet. Steinhusl, the present Police President of Vienna, is a member of the S. S. Standarte 89". (L-273)
The original plaque is now rubble. But a photograph of it was found in The National Library in Vienna. [The photograph was offered in evidence at the trial. See 2968-PS.] The plaque reads: "154 German men of 89 SS Standarte stood up here for Germany on July 26, 1934. Seven found death at the hands of the hangman". The words chosen for this marble tablet, and it may be presumed that they were words chosen carefully, reveal clearly that the men involved were not mere malcontent Austrian revolutionaries, but were regarded as German men, were members of a para-military organization, who stood up here "for Germany." In 1934 Hitler repudiated Dr. Reith because he "dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason". In 1938 Nazi Germany proudly identified itself with this murder, took credit for it, and took responsibility for it.
(3) The Program Culminating in the Pact of July 11, 1936. In considering the activities of the Nazi conspirators in Austria between 25 July 1934 and November 1937, there is a distinct intermediate point, the Pact of 11 July 1936. accordingly, developments in the two-year period, July 1934 to July 1936, will first be reviewed.
(a) Continued Aim of Elimination Austria's Independence -Conversation and Activities of von Papen. The Nazi conspirators pretended to respect the independence and sovereignty of Austria, notwithstanding the aim of Anschluss stated in Mein Kampf. But in truth and in fact they were working from the very beginning to destroy the Austrian State.
A dramatic recital of the position of von Papen in this regard is provided in Mr. Messersmith's affidavit. It states
"When I did call on von Papen in the German Legation, he greeted me with 'Now you are in my Legation and I can control the conversation.' In the baldest and most cynical manner he then proceeded to tell me that all of Southeastern Europe, to the borders of Turkey, was Germany's natural hinterland, and that he had been charged with the mission of facilitating German economic and political control over all this region for Germany. He blandly and directly said that getting control of Austria was to be the first step. e definitely stated that he was in Austria to undermine and weaken the Austrian Government and from Vienna to work towards the weakening of the Governments in the other states to the South and Southeast. He said that he intended to use his reputation as a good catholic to gain influence with certain Austrians, such as Cardinal Innitzer, towards that end. He said that he was telling me this because the German Government was bound on this objective of getting this control of Southeastern Europe and there was nothing which could stop it and that our own policy and that of France and England was not realistic.
"The circumstances were such, as I was calling on him in the German Legation, that I had to listen to what he had to say although I already knew what his instructions were. I was nevertheless shocked to have him speak so baldly to me and when he finished I got up and told him how shocked I was to hear the accredited representative of a supposedly friendly state to Austria admit that he was proposing to engage in activities to undermine and destroy that Government to which he was accredited. He merely smiled and said, of course, not be talking to others so clearly about his conversation as it is characteristic of the absolute frankness and directness with which high Nazi officials spoke of their objectives."
"On the surface, however, German activities consisted principally of efforts to win the support of prominent and influential men through insidious efforts of all kinds, including the use of the German Diplomatic Mission in Vienna and its facilities and personnel. Von Papen as German Minister entertained frequently and on a lavish scale. He approached almost every member of the Austrian Cabinet, telling them, as several of them later informed me, that Germany was bound to prevail in the long run and that they should join the winning side if they wished to enjoy positions of power and influence under German control. Of course, openly and outwardly he gave solemn assurance that Germany would respect Austrian independence and that all that she wished to do was to get rid of elements in the Austrian Government like the Chancellor, Schuschnigg and Starhemberg as head of the Heimwehr and others, and replace them by a few 'nationally-minded' Austrians, which of course meant Nazis. The whole basic effort of von Papen was to bring about Anschluss.
"In early 1935, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger-Waldenegg, informed me that in the course of a conversation with von Papen, the latter had remarked 'Yes, you have your French and English friends now and you can have your independence a little longer'. The Foreign Minister, of course, told me this remark in German but the foregoing is an accurate translation. The Foreign Minister told me that he had replied to von Papen 'I am glad to have from your own lips your own opinion which agrees with what your Chief has just said in the Saar and which you have taken such pains to deny.'
"Von Papen undoubtedly achieved some successes, particularly with men like Glaise-Horstenau and others who had long favored the 'Grossdeutschum' idea, but who nevertheless had been greatly disturbed by the fate of the Catholic Church. Without conscience or scruple, von Papen exploited his reputation and that of his wife as ardent and devout Catholics to overcome the fears of these Austrians in this respect." (1760-PS)
(b) Continued Existence of Nazi Organizations with a Program of Armed Preparedness. The wiles of von Papen represented only one part of the total program of the Nazi conspiracy. At the same time Nazi activities in Austria, forced underground during this period, were carried on.
Mr. Messersmith's affidavit discloses the following: The Nazi organization work. An informant furnished the Austrian Government with a memorandum of a meeting of Austrian Nazi chiefs held in Bavaria, September, 1934. The memorandum shows that they agreed to prepare for new terroristic acts, to proceed brutally against persons cooperating with the Schuschnigg Government when the next action against the Government took place, and to appear disposed to negotiate but to arm for the struggle. A copy of this memorandum was furnished to Mr. Messersmith. At the same time the Austrian Legion was kept in readiness in Germany. This large, organized hostile group constituted a continuing menace for Austria. (1760-PS)
The fact of the reorganization of the Nazi party in Austria is corroborated by a report of one of the Austrian Nazis, Rainer (812-PS). (812-PS contains three parts. First there is a letter dated 22 August 1939 from Rainer, then Gauleiter at Salzburg, to Seyss-Inquart, then Reich Minister. That letter encloses a letter dated 6 July 1939, written by Rainer to Reich Commissioner and Gauleiter Josef Buerckel. In that letter, in turn, Rainer inclosed a report on the events in the NSDAP of Austria from 1933 to 11 March 1938, the day before the invasion of Austria.)
The letter from Rainer to Buerckel indicates that he was asked to prepare a short history of the role of the party. He states that after the Anschluss Hitler and the general public gave Seyss-Inquart alone credit for effecting the Anschluss. It is Rainer's belief that credit belongs to the entire Party, the leaders of which had to remain underground. And so Rainer writes his report to show that the Party as a whole is entitled to "the glory which was excessively ascribed to one person, Dr. Seyss-Inquart".
Apparently Seyss-Inquart heard from Buerckel what Rainer said, and wrote to Rainer asking for an explanation. To avoid misunderstanding, Rainer prepared for Seyss-Inquart a copy of his letter to Buerckel and is report.
The Rainer report tells of the disorganization of the Nazi party in Austria and of its reconstitution. The second and third paragraphs of the report state:
"Thus the first stage of battle commenced which ended with the July rising of 1934. The decision for the July rising was right, the execution of it was faulty. The result was a complete destruction of the organization; the loss of entire groups of fighters through imprisonment or flight into the 'Alt-Reich'; and with regard to the political relationship of Germany to Austria, a formal acknowledgment of the existence of the Austrian State by the German Government. With the telegram to PAPEN, instructing him to reinstitute normal relationships between the two states, the Fuehrer had liquidated the first stage of the battle; and a new method of political penetration was to begin. By order of the Fuehrer the Landesleitung Munich was dissolved, and the party in Austria was left to its own resources.
"There was no acknowledged leader for the entire party in Austria. New leaderships were forming in the nine Gaus. The process was again and again interrupted by the interference of the police; there was no liaison between the formations, and frequently there were two, three or more rival leaderships. The first evident, acknowledged speaker of almost all the Gaus in Autumn 1934 was engineer REINTHALLER (already appointed Landesbauernfeuhrer (leader of the country's farmers) by Hess). He endeavored to bring about a political appeasement by negotiations with the government, with the purpose of giving the NSDAP legal status again, thus permitting its political activities. Simultaneously Reinthaller started the reconstruction of the illegal political organization, at the head of which he had placed engineer NEUBACHER.: (812-PS)
(c) Secret Contacts Between German Officials, Including Papen, and the Austrian Nazis: the Use by the Austrian Nazis of "Front" Personalities. Two cardinal factors about the Nazi organization in Austria should be borne in mind. First, although the Fuehrer had on the surface cast the Austrian Nazis adrift, in fact German officials, including Papen, maintained secret contact with the Austrian Nazis, in line with Hitler's desires. German officials consulted and gave advice and support to the organization of the Austrian Nazis. In the second place, the Austrian Nazis remained an illegal organization, organizing for the eventual use of force in an "emergency." But in the meanwhile they deemed it expedient to act behind "front" personalities, such as Seyss-Inquart, who had no apparent taint of illegality.
Mr. Messersmith relates in his affidavit that he obtained a copy of a document outlining this Nazi program.
"For two years following the failure of the July 25 Putsch, the Nazis remained relatively quiet in Austria. Very few terroristic act occurred during the remainder of 1934 and as I recall in 1935 and most of 1936; this inactivity was in accordance with directives from Berlin as direct evidence to that effect, which came to my knowledge at that time, proved. Early in January, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger-Waldenegg, furnished me a document which I considered accurate in all respects and which stated:
"The German Minister here, von Papen, on the occasion of his last visit to Berlin, was received three times by Chancellor Hitler for fairly long conversations, and he also took this opportunity to call on Schacht and von Neurath. In these conversations the following instructions were given to him:
'During the next two years nothing can be undertaken which will give Germany external political difficulties. On this ground, everything must be avoided which could awaken the appearance of Germany interfering in the internal affairs of Austria. Chancellor Hitler will, therefore, also for this reason not endeavor to intervene in the present prevailing difficult crisis in the National Socialist Party in Austria, although he is convinced that order could be brought into the Party at once through a word from him. This word, however, he will, for foreign political reasons, give all the less, as he is convinced that the, for him, desirable ends may be reached also in another way. Naturally, Chancellor Hitler declared to the German Minister here, this does not indicate any disinterestedness in the idea of Austria's independence. Also, before everything, Germany cannot for the present withdraw Party members in Austria, and must, therefore, in spite of the very real exchange difficulties, make every effort to bring help to the persecuted National Socialist sufferers in Austria. As a result, Minister of Commerce Schacht finally gave the authorization that from then on 200,000 marks a month were to be set aside for this end (support of National Socialists in Austria). the control and the supervision of this monthly sum was to be entrusted to Engineer Reinthaller, who, through the fact that he alone had control over the money, would have a definite influence on the Party followers. In this way it would be possible to end most quickly and most easily the prevailing difficulties and division in the Austrian National Socialist Party.
'The hope was also expressed t Herr von Papen that the recently authorized foundation of German "Ortsgruppen" of the National Socialist Party in Austria (made up of German citizens in Austria) would be so arranged as not to give the appearance that Germany is planning to interfere in Austrian internal affairs.'" (1760-PS)
The report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reichskommissar Buercikel in July 1939, outlines the further history of the party and the leadership squabbles following the retirement of Reinthaller. In referring to the situation in 1935, he mentions some of the contacts with the Reich Government in the following terms:
"In August some further arrest took place, the victims of which were, apart from the Gauleaders, also Globocnik and Rainer. SCHATTENFROH then claimed, because of an instruction received from the imprisoned LEOPOLD, to have been made deputy country leader. A group led by engineer RAFFELSBERGER had at this time also established connections with departments of the Alt-Reich (Ministry of Propaganda, German Racial Agency, etc.) and made an attempt to formulate a political motto in the form of a program for the fighting movement of Austria." (812-PS)
The Rainer report sets forth the situation a little later in 1936:
"The principles of the construction of the organization were: The organization is the bearer of the illegal fight and the trustee of the idea to create a secret organization, in a simple manner, and without compromise, according to the principle of organization an elite to be available to the illegal land-party council upon any emergency. besides this, all political opportunities should be taken and all legal people and legal chances should be used without revealing any ties with the illegal organization. Therefore, cooperation between the illegal party organization and the legal political aides was anchored at the top of the party leadership. All connections with the party in Germany were kept secret in accordance with the orders of the Fuehrer. These said that the German state should officially be omitted from the creation of an Austrian NSDAP; and that auxiliary centers for propaganda, press, refugees, welfare, etc. should be established in the foreign countries bordering Austria.
"Hinterleitner already contacted the lawyer Seyss-Inquart, who had connections with Dr. Wachter which originated from Seyss-Inquart's support of the July uprising. On the other side Seyss-Inquart's support of the July uprising. On the other side Seyss-Inquart had a good position in the legal field and especially well-established relations with Christian-Social politicians. Dr. Seyss-Inquart came from the ranks of the 'Styrian Heimatschutz' and became a party member when the entire 'Styrian Heimatschutz' was incorporated into the NSDAP. Another personality who had a good position in the legal field was Col. Glaise-Horstenau who had contacts with both sides. The agreement of 11 July 1936 was strongly influenced by the activities of these two persons. Papen mentioned Glaise-Horstenau to the Fuehrer as being a trusted person." (812-PS)
The Rainer report thus discloses the dual tactics of the Austrian Nazis during this period of keeping quiet and awaiting developments. They were maintaining their secret contacts with Reich officials, and using "front" personalities such as Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart. The Nazis made good use of such figures, who were more discreet in their activities and could be referred to as "Nationalists". They presented, supported, and obtained consideration of demands which could not be negotiated by out-and-out Nazis like Captain Leopold. Seyss-Inquart did not hold any public office until January 1937, when he was made Councillor of State. But Rainer, describing him as a trustworthy member of the Party through the ranks of the Styrian-Heimatschutz, points him out as one who strongly influenced the agreement of 11 July 1936.
That the Nazis, but not the Austrian Government, did well to trust Seyss-Inquart, is indicated by a letter, dated 14 July 1939, addressed to Field Marshal Goering (2219-PS). The letter ends with the "Heil Hitler" close and is not signed, but it was undoubtedly written by Seyss-Inquart. It was found among Seyss-Inquart's personal files. On the first page of the letter there appears a note in ink, not indicated in the partial English translation, reading: "Air Mail. 15 July, 1515 hours, Berlin, brought to Goering's office."
The main text of the letter consists of a plea for intercession in behalf of one Muehlmann, who unfortunately got in Buerckel's bad graces. An extract from the letter, which shows Seyss-Inquart as one whose loyalty to Hitler and the aims of the Nazi conspiracy led him to fight for the Anschluss with all the means at his disposal, reads:
At Present In Vienna, 14 July 1939 "To the General Field Marshal
"If I may add something about myself, it is the following: I know that I am not of an active fighting nature, unless final decisions are at stake. At this time of pronounced activism (Aktivismus) this will certainly be regarded as a fault in my personality. Yet I know that I cling with unconquerable tenacity to the goal in which I believe. That is Greater Germany (Grossdeutschland) and the FUEHRER. And if some people are already tired out from the struggle and some have been killed in the fight, I am still around somewhere and ready to go into action. This, after all, was also the development until the year 1938. Until July 1934 I conducted myself as a regular member of the party. And if I had quietly, in whatever form, paid my membership dues the first one, according to a receipt, I paid in December 1931. I probably would have been an undisputed, comparatively old fighter and party member of Austria, but I would not have done any more for the union. I told myself in July 1934 that we must fight this clerical regime on its own ground in order to give the Fuehrer a chance to use whatever method he desires. I told myself that this Austria was worth a mass. I have stuck to this attitude with an iron determination because I and my friends had to fight against the whole political church, the Freemasonry, the Jewry, in short, against everything in Austria. The slightest weakness which we might have displayed would undoubtedly have led to our political annihilation; it would have deprived the Fuehrer of the means and tools to carry out his ingenious political solution for Austria, as became evident in the days of March 1938. I have been fully conscious of the fact that I am following a path which is not comprehensible to the masses and also not to my party comrades. I followed it calmly and would without hesitation follow it again because I am satisfied that at one point I could serve the FUEHRER as a tool in his work, even though my former attitude even now gives occasion to very worthy and honorable party comrades to doubt my trustworthiness. I have never paid attention to such things because I am satisfied with the opinion which the GUEHRER and the men close to him have of me." (2219-PS)
A letter from Papen to Hitler dated 27 July 1935 shows how Papen thought the doctrines of National Socialism could be used to effect the aim of Anschluss. It consists of a report entitled "Review and Outlook, One Year after the Death of Chancellor Dollfuss." After reviewing the success that the Austrian Government had had in establishing Dollfuss as a martyr and his principles as the patriotic principles of Austria, Papen stated:
"National Socialism must and will overpower the new Austrian ideology. If today it is contended in Austria that the NSDAP is only a centralized Reich German party and therefore unable to transfer the spirit of thought on National Socialism to groups of people of a different political makeup, the answer must be that the national revolution in Germany could not have been brought about in a different way. But when the creation of the people's community in the Reich will be completed, National socialism could, in a much wider sense that this is possible through the present party organization-at least apparently-, certainly become the rallying point for all racially German units beyond the borders. Spiritual progress in regard to Austria cannot be achieved today with any centralized tendency. If this recognition would once and for all be stated clearly from within the Reich, then it would easily become possible to effect a break-through into the front of the New Austria. A Nurnberg Party Day designated as 'The German Day' as in old times and the proclamation of a national socialistic peoples' front, would be a stirring event for all beyond the borders of the reich. Such attacks would win us also the particularistic Austrian circles, whose spokesman, the legitimistic Count Dubsky wrote in his pamphlet about the 'Anschluss': The Third Reich will be with Austria, or it will not be at all. National Socialism must win it or it will perish, if it is unable to solve this task * * *." (2248-PS)
Other reports from Papen to Hitler, hereinafter mentioned, show that he maintained covert contact with the National Socialist groups in Austria. From the very start of his mission Papen was thinking of ways and means of using the principle of National Socialist for "National Germans" outside the borders of Germany. Papen was working for Anschluss, and although he preferred to use the principles of National Socialist rather than rely on the party organization, he was prepared to defend the party organization as a necessary means of establishing those principles in the German Reich.
(d) Assurances and Reassurances. The German government did more than keep up a pretense of noninterference with Austrian groups. It employed the psychological inducement of providing assurances that it had no designs on Austria's independence. If Austria could but hope for the execution of those assurances, she could find her way clear to the granting of concessions, and obtain relief from the economic and internal pressures.
A letter from Papen, while in Berlin, to Hitler, dated 17 May 1935, indicated that a forthright, credible statement by Germany reassuring Austria would be most useful for German diplomatic purposes and the improvement of relationships between Austria and German groups in Austria (2247-PS). Papen had a scheme for pitting Schuschnigg and his Social-Christian forces against Starhemberg, the Vice-Chancellor of Austria, who was backed by Mussolini. He hoped to persuade Schuschnigg to ally his forces with the NSDAP in order to emerge victorious over Starhemberg. Papen indicated that he obtained this idea from Captain Leopold, leader of the illegal National Socialists. His letter states in part:
" * * * I suggest that we take an active part in this game. The fundamental idea should be to pit Schuschnigg and his Christian-social Forces, who are opposed to a home front dictatorship, against Starhemberg. The possibility of thwarting the measures arranged between Mussolini and Starhemberg should be afforded to him, in such way that he would submit the offer to the government of a definitive German-Austrian compromise of interests. According to the convincing opinion of the leader of the NSDAP in Austria, Capt. Leopold, the totalitarian principle of the NSDAP in Austria must be replaced in the beginning by a combination of that part of the Christian-elements which favors the Greater Germany idea and the NSDAP. If Germany recognizes the national independence of Austria and guarantees full freedom to the Austrian national opposition, then as a result of such a compromise the Austrian government would be formed in the beginning by a coalition of these forces. A further consequence of this step would be the possibility of the participation of Germany in the Danube pact, which would take the sting out of its acuteness due to the settlement of relations between Germany and Austria. Such a measure would have a most beneficial influence on the European situation and especially on our relationship will hardly be determined to follow such a pattern, that he will rather in all probability immediately communicate our offer to our opponents. Of course, one should first of all explore the possibility of setting Schuschnigg against Starhemberg through the use of 'Go betweens'. The possibility exists. If Mr. Schuschnigg finally says 'No' and makes our offer known in Rome, then the situation would not be any worse but, on the contrary, the efforts of the Reich government to make peace with Austria would be revealed - without prejudice to other interests. Therefore even in the case of refusal this last attempt would be an asset. I consider it completely possible, that in view of the far spread dislike of the Alpine countries of the pro-Italian course and in view of the sharp tensions within the federal government (Bundesregierung), Mr. Schuschnigg will grasp this last stras - always under the supposition that the offer could not be interpreted as a trap by the opponents, but that it bears all the mark of an actually honest compromise with Austria. Assuming success of this step, we would again establish our active intervention in Central European politics, which, as opposed to the French-Czech and Russian political maneuvers, would be a tremendous success, both morally and practically. Since there are 2 weeks left to accomplish very much work in the way of explorations and Conferences, an immediate decision is necessary. The Reich Army Minister (Reichswehrminister) shares the opinion presented above and the Reich Foreign Minister (Reichsaussenminister) wanted to discuss it with you my Fuehrer.
(Signed) Papen". (2247-PS)
In other words, Papen wanted a strong assurance and credible assurance, of Austria's independence. As he put it, Germany had nothing to lose with what it could always call a mere effort at peace. And she might be able to convince Schuschnigg to establish an Austrian coalition government with the NSDAP. If she did this, she would vastly strengthen her position in Europe. Finally, Papen urged haste.
Exactly four days later (21 May 1935) in a Reichstag address Hitler responded to Papen's suggestion, asserting:
"Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria or to conclude an Anschluss". (TC-26)
Despite this assurance, Papen suggested and Hitler announced, for a complexity of reasons, a policy completely at variance with their intentions, which had been and continued to be to interfere in Austria's internal affairs and to conclude and Anschluss.
(e) Temporary Continuance of a Quiet Pressure Policy. On 1 May 1936 Hitler branded as a lie any statement that tomorrow or the day after Germany would fall upon Austria. His words were published in the Voelkische-Boebachter, SD, 2-3 May 1936, p. 2. (2367-PS)
If Hitler meant what he said, it was only in the most literal and misleading sense that he would not fall upon Austria "tomorrow or the day after". For the conspirators well knew that the successful execution of their purpose required for a while longer the quiet policy they had been pursuing in Austria.
A memorandum of a conversation which occurred when William Bullitt, American Ambassador to France, called upon von Neurath, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, on 18 May 1936, recounts von Neurath's explanation why Germany was trying to prevent rather than encourage an outbreak by the Nazis in Austria (L-150). The Nazis were growing stronger in Austria, anyway, in view of their appeal to the young people. And the German Government was doing nothing active in foreign affairs until the Rhineland, reoccupied two months before, had been "digested", and until fortifications were constructed on the French frontier. Finally, Italy still had a conflicting interest in Austria, and Germany wished to avoid any involvement with Italy.
(f) The agreement of 11 July 1936. But if Germany was not yet ready for open conflict in Austria, its diplomatic position was vastly improved over 1934, a fact which influenced Austria's willingness to make concessions to Germany and come to terms. As Mr. Messersmith points out, Italy, formerly a protector of Austria, had embarked on her Abyssinian adventure, and this, together with the refortification of the Rhineland, strengthened Germany's position (1760-PS). This weakening of Austria helped pave the way for the Pact of 11 July 1936. (TC-22)
The formal part of the agreement of July 11, 1936, between the German Government and the Government of the Federal State of Austria, looks like a great triumph for Austria. It contains a confusing provision to the effect that Austria, in its policy, especially with regard to Germany, will regard herself as a German state. But the other two provisions clearly state that Germany recognizes the full sovereignty of Austria, and that it regards the inner political order of Austria (including the question of Austrian National Socialist) as an internal concern of Austria upon which it will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence.
But there was much more substance to the day's events. Mr. Messersmith's summary, as set forth in his affidavit, is more revealing:
"Even more important than the terms of the agreement published in the official communiqué, was the contemporaneous informal understanding, the most important provisions of which were, that Austria would (1) appoint a number o f individuals enjoying the Chancellor's confidence but friendly to Germany to positions in the cabinet; (2) would devise means to give the 'national opposition' a role in the political life of Austria and within the framework of the Patriotic Front, and (3) would amnesty all Nazis save those convicted of the most serious offenses. This amnesty was duly announced by the Austria Government and thousands of Nazis were released, and the first penetration of the Deutsche Nationaler into the Austrian Government was accomplished by the appointment of Dr. Guido Schmidt as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and of Dr. Edmund Glaise-Horstenau as Minister Without Portfolio". (1760-PS)
These and other provisions of the secret part of the Agreement of July 11 are set forth briefly and in general terms in an affidavit by Kurt Schuschnigg, former Chancellor of Austria, dated November 19, 1945 (2994-PS). By two of those provisions Austria agreed to permit Nazi organizations on Austrian soil, and also use of the swastika and singing of the Horst Wessel song - all for German subjects. On its credit side, Austria was to get repeal of the 1,000 mark barrier on tourist trade, and in general tourist trade between the two countries was to resume.
In view of the strategy and tactics of the Nazis, these were substantial concessions made by Austria t obtain Germany's diplomatic, formal assurance of Austrian independence and nonintervention in Austrian internal affairs. The release of imprisoned Nazis to the community presented potential police problems. And as Mr. Messersmith pointed out in a 1934 dispatch, quoted in his affidavit, any prospect that the National Socialist might come to power would make it more difficult to obtain effective police and judicial action against the Nazis for fear of reprisals by the future Nazi Government against those taking action against Nazis even in the line of duty (1760-PS). The preservation of internal peace in Austria was thus dependent upon Germany's living up to its obligations under the Accord.
(4) Germany's Continuing Program of Weakening the Austrian Government.
(a) Germany's Instructions to the Austria National Socialists Concerning Future Plans. In the pact of 11 July 1936 Germany agreed not to influence directly or indirectly the internal affairs of Austria, including the matter of Austrian National Socialist. On 16 July 1936, just five days later, Hitler violated that provision. The report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissioner Buerckel states:
" * * * At that time the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the party in Austria in order to tell them his opinion on what Austrian National-Socialist should do. Meanwhile Hinterleitner was arrested, and Dr. Rainer became his successor and leader of the Austrian party. On 16 July 1936, Dr. Rainer and Globocnik visited the Fuehrer at the 'Obersalzberg' where they received a clear explanation of the situation and the wishes of the Fuehrer. On 17 July 1936, all illegal Gauleiters met in Anif near Salzburg, where they received a complete report from Rainer on the statement of the Fuehrer and his political instructions for carrying out the fight. At the same conference the Gauleiters received organizational instructions from Globocnik and Hiedler."
"Upon the proposal of Globocnik, the Fuehrer named Lt. Gen. (Gruppenfuehrer) Keppler as chief of the mixed commission which was appointed, in accordance with the state treaty of 11 July 1936,to supervise the correct execution of the agreement. At the same time Keppler was given full authority by the Fuehrer for the party in Austria. After Keppler was unsuccessful in his efforts to cooperate with Leopold, he worked together with Dr. Rainer, Globocnik, Reinthaller as leader of the peasans, Kaltenbrunner as leader of the SS, and Dr. Jury as deputy-leader of the Austrian party, as well as with Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart." (812-PS)
A new strategy was developed for the Austrian Nazis. Mr. Messersmith describes it briefly in his affidavit:
"The sequel of the agreement was the only one which could have been expected in view of all the facts and previous recorded happenings. Active Nazi operations in Austria were resumed under the leadership of a certain Captain Leopold, who it was known definitely was in frequent touch with Hitler. The Nazi program was now to form an organization through which the Nazis could carry on their operations openly and with legal sanction in Austria. There were formed in Austria several organizations which had a legal basis but which were simply a device by which the Nazis in Austria could organize, and later seek inclusion as a unit in the Patriotic Front. The most important of these was the Ostmarkischer Verein, the sponsor of which was the Minister of the Interior Glaise-Horstenau. Through the influence of Glaise-Horstenau and the pro-Nazi Neustadter-Sturmer, this organization was declared legal by the Courts. I made specific mention of the foregoing because it shows the degree to which the situation in Austria had disintegrated as a result of the underground and open Nazi activities directed from Germany." (1760-PS)
A report from Papen to Hitler dated 1 September 1936 indicates Papen's strategy after 11 July 1936 for destroying Austria's independence. Papen had taken a substantial step forward with the agreement of July 11. Incidentally, after that agreement he was promoted from Minister to Ambassador. Now his tactics were developed in the following terms, as explained in the last three paragraphs of his letter of September 1:
" * * * The Progress of normalizing relations with Germany at the present time is obstructed by the continued persistence of the Ministry of Security, occupied by the old anti-National Socialist officials. Changes in personnel are therefore of utmost importance. But they are definitely not to be expected prior to the conference on the abolishing of the Control of Finances (Finanzkontrolle) at Geneva. The Chancellor of the League has informed Minister de Glaise-Horstenau, of his intention, to offer him the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior. As a guiding principle (Marschroute) I recommend on the tactical side, continued, patient psychological treatment, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime. The proposed conference on economic relations, taking place at the end of October, will be a very useful tool for the realization of some of our projects. In discussion with government officials as well as with leaders of the illegal party (Leopold and Schattenfroh) who conform completely with the agreement of July 11. I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the fatherland front (Vaterlaendischen Front) but nevertheless refraining from putting National-Socialist in important positions for the time being. However such positions are to be occupied only by personalities, having the support and the confidence of the movement. I have a willing collaborator in this respect in Minister Glaise-Horstenau.
To recapitulate, this report of von Papen, discloses the following plans:
1. obtaining a change in personnel in Ministry of Security in due course;
2. obtaining corporative representation of the Nazi movement in the Fatherland Front;
3. not putting avowed National-Socialist in important positions yet, but using "nationalist" personalities;
4. using economic pressure, and "patient psychological treatment, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime."
(b) Nazi Demands and Demonstrations. The Nazi demanded even more open recognition. In January 1937 Captain Leopold submitted a memorandum of demands. They are listed in Mr. Messersmith's affidavit (1760-PS). They were not formally received by the Austrian cabinet, but they were known to and considered by the Cabinet. They included the following demands:
(1) An amnesty for all punishments or privations suffered for National Socialist or National activity or sympathy; (2) equal treatment for National Socialist, including freedom of political activity and cultural activity; (3) abolition of laws and sanctions used by the Government against Nazi activity. The memorandum advocated cooperation on the basis of political principles including: A broadening of the Patriotic Front; changes in the Cabinet; an alliance with the Reich; common racial stock as a political aim; the application of anti-Semitic measures; and an early plebiscite on Anschluss.
Mr. Messersmith's affidavit also state that these demands, and Leopold's petition for a nationalistic party, were supported by frequent demonstrations and much propaganda work. As early as 29 July 1936, when the Olympic Torch was carried through Vienna, there were violent Nazi disorders. From that time on there were frequent arrests for distributing illegal literature or staging illegal demonstrations. (1760-PS)
(c) Schuschnigg's Concessions. Gauleiter Rainer's historical review points out that due to the activities of the Reich officials and the Austrians who acted as the Nazi "fronts", it was possible to obtain the appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Staatsrat (Councillor of State) in July, 1937. (812-PS)
Schuschnigg's affidavit mentions the Olympic Torch incident, and in addition the demonstration of the illegal Nazis at the time of the visit of von Neurath to Vienna in February 1937. Schuschnigg also points our other examples of the pressure increasingly exerted by Germany on Austria. One of his main reasons for entering into the July 11 agreement was to eliminate Germany’s 1,000 mark penalty on tourists to Austria. The penalty was removed, but Germany made it illegal for a tourist to bring more than 5 marks out of the country. And German buyers of cattle and wood purchased only from Austrian Nazis. (2294-PS)
Schuschnigg further reports that the incidents and pressure culminated in the so-called Tavs Plan, discovered by the Austrian police in November, 1937, containing instructions for unrest to break out among the Nazis at a prearranged time. The German Government would submit an ultimatum that National-Socialist must be brought into the Government or the German Army would invade. (2994-PS)
It may be recalled that during this period Schuschnigg made concessions. He appointed Seyss-Inquart as councillor of State in July, 1937. He had previously appointed a "Committee of Seven" to discuss with him the desires of the national opposition. He played a delaying game, presumably in the hope that a change in the foreign situation would provide him with external support.
B. Germany's Diplomatic Preparations for Conquest.
The program of the Nazi conspiracy aimed at weakening Austria externally and internally, by removing its support from without as well as by penetrating within. This program was of the utmost significance, since the events of 25 July 1934 inside Austria were overshadowed by the fact that Mussolini had brought his troops to the Brenner Pass and poised the there as a strong protector of his northern neighbor.
Accordingly, interference in the affairs of Austria, and steady increase in the pressure needed to acquire control over that country, required removal of the possibility that Italy or any other country would come to Austria's aid. But the program of the conspiracy for the weakening and isolation of Austria was integrated with its foreign policy program in Europe generally.
The Nazi conspirators' diplomatic preparation for war is described in a second affidavit of George S. Messersmith (2385-PS), which may be summarized as follows: In 1933 the Nazis openly acknowledged the ambition to expand the territorial borders of the Reich to include Austria and Czechoslovakia. As for the other countries of Southeast Europe, the professed objective was stated at that time not in terms of territorial acquisition but rather in terms of political and economic control. And the stated objectives were not limited to Southeast Europe, for important Nazis even in 1933 were stating their desire for the Ukraine as the granary of Germany.
When they came to power, the Nazis had two principal objectives. They wanted to establish their power in Germany. And they wanted to rearm and establish Germany's armed power. They wanted peace until they were ready. But they wanted to acquire the ability to carry out their program in Europe by force if necessary, although preferably by a threat of force. They accordingly embarked upon their vast rearmament program. It proceeded very rapidly. Goering and General Milch often said to Messersmith or in his presence that the Nazis were concentrating on air power in their rearmament, as the weapon of terror most likely to give Germany a dominant position and the weapon which could be developed most rapidly.
In addition to material preparation for war, there was preparation for war in the psychological sense. Throughout Germany youth of all ages could be observed in military exercises and field maneuvers.
Moreover, as Mr. Messersmith also observes,
"Military preparation and psychological preparation were coupled with diplomatic preparation designed to so disunite and isolate their intended victims as to render them defenseless against German aggression." (2385-PS)
In 1933 the difficulties facing Germany in the political and diplomatic field loomed large. France was the dominant military power on the continent. She had woven a system of mutual assistance in the West and in the East. The Locarno Pact of 1938, supplemented by the Franco-Belgian alliance, guaranteed the territorial status quo in the West. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Rumania were allied in the Little Entente and each in turn was united with France by mutual assistance pacts. Since 1922, France and Poland had likewise been allied against external aggression. Italy had made plain her special interest in Austrian independence.
Nazi Germany launched a vigorous diplomatic campaign to break up the existing alliances and understandings, to create divisions among the members of the Little entente and the other eastern European powers.
Specifically, Nazi Germany countered these alliances with promises of economic gain for cooperating with Germans. To some of these countries she offered extravagant promises of territorial and economic rewards. She offered Carinthia, in Austria, to Yugoslavia. She offered part of Czechoslovakia to Hungary and part of Poland. She offered Yugoslav territory to Hungary at the same time that she was offering land in Hungary to Yugoslavia.
As Mr. Messersmith states in his affidavit:
"Austria and Czechoslovakia were the first on the German program of aggression. As early as 1934, Germany began to woo neighbors of these countries with promises of a share in the loot. To Yugoslavia in particular they offered Carinthia. Concerning the Yugoslav reaction, I reported at the time:
'* * * The major factor in the internal situation in the last week has been the increase in tension with respect to the Austrian Nazi refugees in Yugoslavia. * * *
There is very little doubt but that Goering, when he made his trip to various capitals in Southeastern Europe about six months ago, told the Yugoslavs that they would get a part of Carinthia, when a National Socialist Government came into power in Austria. * * * The Nazi seed sown in Yugoslavia has been sufficient to cause trouble and there are undoubtedly a good many people there who look with a great deal of benevolence on those Nazi refugees who went to Yugoslavia in the days following July 25.'
"Germany made like promises of territorial gains to Hungary and to Poland in order to gain their cooperation or at least there acquiescence in the proposed dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. As I learned from my diplomatic colleagues in Vienna, von Papen and von Mackensen in Vienna and in Budapest in 1935, were spreading the idea of division of Czechoslovakia, in which division Germany was to get Bohemia, Hungary to get Slovakia, and Poland the rest. This did not deceive any of these countries for they knew that the intention of Nazi Germany was to take all.
"The Nazi German Government did not hesitate to make inconsistent promises when it suited its immediate objectives. I recall the Yugoslav Minister in Vienna saying to me in 1934 or 1935, that Germany had made promises to Hungary of Yugoslav territory while at the same time promising to Yugoslav territory while at the same time promising to Yugoslavs portions of Hungarian territory. The Hungarian Minister in Vienna later gave me the same information.
"I should emphasize here in this statement that the men who made these promises were not only the died-in-the-wool Nazis but more conservative Germans who already had begun to willingly lend themselves to the Nazi program. In an official despatch to the Department of State from Vienna dated October 10, 1935, I wrote as follows:
'* * * Europe will not get away from the myth that Neurath, Papen and Mackensen are not dangerous people and that they are "diplomats of the old school." They are in fact servile instruments of the regime and just because the outside world looks upon them as harmless, they are able to work more effectively. They are able to sow discord just because they propagate the myth that they are not in sympathy with the regime.'" (2385-PS)
In other words, Nazi Germany was able to promote these division and increase its own aggressive strength by using as its agents in making these promises men who on outward appearances were merely conservative diplomats. It is true that Nazis openly scoffed at any notion of international obligations. It is true that the real trump in Germany's hand was its rearmament and more than that its willingness to go to war. And yet the attitude of the various countries was not influenced by those considerations alone. Schuschnigg laid great stress upon, and was willing to go to some lengths to obtain, an assurance of independence. All these countries found it possible to believe apparently substantial personages, like von Neurath, for example. They were led to rely on the assurances given, which seemed more impressive since the diplomats making them were represented as men who were not Nazis and would not stoop to go along with the base designs of the Nazis.
Germany's approach toward Great Britain and France was in terms of limited expansion as the price of peace. They signed a naval limitations treaty with England and discussed a Locarno Air Pact. In the case of both France and England, they limited their statement of intentions and harped on fears of Communism and war.
In making these various promises, Germany was untroubled by notions of the sanctity of international obligations. High ranking Nazis, including Goering, Frick, and Frank, openly stated to Mr. Messersmith that Germany would observe her international undertakings only so long as it suited Germany's interests to do so. As Mr. Messersmith states in his affidavit:
"High ranking Nazis with whom I had to Maintain official contact, particularly men such as Goering, Goebbels, Ley, Frick, Frank, Darre and others, repeatedly scoffed at my position as to the binding character of treaties and openly stated to me that Germany would observe her international undertakings only so long as it suited Germany's interests to do so. Although these statements were openly made to me as they were, I am sure, made to others, these Nazi leaders were not really disclosing any secret for on many occasions they expressed the same ideas publicly." (2385-PS)
France and Italy worked actively in Southeastern Europe to counter Germany's moves. France made attempts to promote an East Locarno Pact and to foster an economic accord between Austria and the other Danubian powers. Italy's effort was to organize an economic bloc of Austria, Hungary, and Italy.
But Germany foiled these efforts by redoubling its promises of loot, by continuing its armament, and by another significant stratagem. The Nazis stirred up internal dissensions to disunite and weaken their intended victims. They supported the Austrian Nazis and the Heinlein Party in Czechoslovakia. they probed what Goebbels called the "sore spots." In Yugoslavia they played on the differences between the Croats and the Serbs, and in particular played on the fear of the restoration of the Hapsburgs in Austria, a fear which was very real in Yugoslavia. In Hungary, Poland, and Rumania they stirred up other fears and hatreds. These measures had considerable effect in preventing these countries from joining any which were opposed to German designs.
The Nazis consolidated their power in Germany very quickly. The German people became increasingly imbued with the Nazi military spirit. Within Germany, resistance to the Nazis disappeared. Army officers, including many who originally aided the Nazis with the limited objective of restoring the German Army, increasingly became imbued with aggressive designs as they saw how remarkably their power was growing.
The power of Nazi Germany outside the borders of the Reich increased correspondingly. Other countries feared its military might. Important political leaders in Yugoslavia, in Hungary, and in Poland became convinced that the Nazi regime with Germany. These countries became apathetic toward the development of Anschluss with Austria and cooperative toward the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Mr. Messersmith's despatches from Europe to the State Department, setting out the developments in these countries, are included in his second affidavit. (2385-PS)
As for Italy, Germany's initial objective was to sow discord between Yugoslavia and Italy, by promising Yugoslavia Italian territory, particularly Trieste. This was to prevent France from reaching agreement with them and to block an East Locarno Pact. As Mr. Messersmith states:
"While Italy openly opposed efforts at Anschluss with Austria in 1934, Italian ambitions in Abyssinia provided Germany with the opportunity to sow discord between Italy and France and England, and to win Italy over to acceptance of Germany's program in exchange for German support of Italy's plans in Abyssinia." (2385-PS)
That paved the way for the Austro-German declaration of 11 July 1936. And in the fall of 1936, Germany extended the hand of friendship and common purpose to Italy in an alliance-the Rome-Berlin Axis. This, together with Germany's alliance with Japan, put increasing pressure on England and increased the relative strength of Germany.
And so, by means of careful preparation in the diplomatic field, among others, the Nazi conspirators had woven a position for themselves so that they could seriously consider plans for war and outline a time-table. That time-table was developed in the conference with Hitler in the Reichschancellery on 5 November 1937. (386-PS)
C. Crystallization of the Plan to Wage Aggressive War in Europe and to Seize Austria and Czechoslovakia.
At the meeting of the conspirators in the Reichschancellery on 5 November 1937, the Fuehrer insisted that Germany should have more space in Europe (386-PS). It was concluded that the space required must be taken by force, three different cases were outlined as possibilities, and it was decided that the problem would have to be solved before the period 1943 to 1945. The nature of a war in the near future was envisaged, specifically against Austria and Czechoslovakia. Hitler said that for the improvement of Germany's military political position the first aim of the Nazis in every case of entanglement by war must be to conquer Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously, in order to remove any threat from the flanks in case of a possible advance Westwards. Hitler then calculated that the conquest of Czechoslovakia and Austria would constitute the conquest of food for from five to six million people, assuming that the comprehensive emigration of one million from Austria could be carried out. He further pointed out that the annexation of the two states to Germany would constitute a considerable relief, both militarily and politically, since they would provide shorter and better frontiers, would free fighting personnel for other purposes, and would make possible the reconstitution of new armies. (386-PS)
The minutes of this meeting reveal a crystallization in the policy of the Nazi conspirators. It had always been their aim to acquire Austria. At the outset a revolutionary Putsch was attempted, using the personnel of the Austrian Nazis, but that failed. The next period was one of surface recognition of the independence of Austria and the use of devious means to strengthen the position of the Nazis internally in Austria. Now, however, it became clear that the need for Austria, in the light of the larger aggressive purposes of the Nazi conspirators, was sufficiently great to warrant the use of force in order to obtain Austria with the desired speed. The Nazis were, in fact, able to secure Austria, after having weakened it internally and removed from it the support of other nations, merely by setting the German military machine in motion and making a threat of force. The German armies were able to cross the border and secure the country without the necessity of firing a shot. Careful planning for war and the readiness to use war as an instrument of political action made it possible in the end for the Nazis to master Austria without having to fight for it.
The German High Command had previously considered preparations against Austria. On 24 June 1937 the Reich Minister for War and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, General von Blomberg, issued a Top Secret Directive (C-175). The importance of this directive, establishing a unified preparation of the Armed Forces for war, is indicated by the fact that the carbon copy received by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy was one of only four copies. This directive from General von Blomberg stated that the general political situation indicated that Germany need not consider an attack from any side, and also that Germany did not intend to unleash a European war. It then stated, in point 1:
"Nevertheless the politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous preparedness for war of the German Armed Forces.
"a. to counter attacks at any time
"b. to enable the military exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should they occur." (C-175)
The directive then indicated that there would be certain preparations of a general nature for war.
"2. The preparations of a general nature include:
"a. The permanent preparedness for mobilization of the German Armed Forces, even before the completion of rearmament and full preparedness for war.
"b. The further working on 'Mobilization without public announcement' in order to put the Armed Forces in a position to begin a war suddenly and by surprise both as regards strength and time." (C-175)
The directive finally indicated, in Part 3, that there might be special preparation for war in Austria:
"Armed intervention in Austria in the event of her restoring the Monarchy.
"The object of this operation will be to compel Austria by armed force to give up a restoration.
"Making use of the domestic political divisions of the Austrian people, the march in will be made in the general direction of Vienna and will break any resistance." (C-175)
This plan is indicated in the document as having been superseded by new and more detailed plans following the meeting of November 5, 1937.
The plans of the conspirators were further revealed in two conversations held by William Bullitt, United States Ambassador to France with Schacht and with Goering in November, 1937. Both Schacht and Goering told Bullitt that Germany was determined to annex Austria. Goering Further added that there could be no final solution of the Sudeten-German question other than inclusion in the Reich. (L-151)
D. Pressure and Threats Resulting in Further Concessions:
Berchtesgaden, 12 February 1938.
Chancellor Schuschnigg states in an affidavit (2995-PS) that in 1938 von Papen suggested to him that he should meet Hitler at Berchtesgaden. After several discussions Schuschnigg agreed to go, provided three conditions were met:
(1) He must be invited by Hitler.
(2) He must be previously informed of the precise agenda and assured that the agreement of 11 July 1936 would be maintained.
(3) There was to be an agreement in advance that the communiqué to be published at the end of the meeting would affirm the 11 July 1936 agreement.
Von Papen brought back word from Hitler inviting Schuschnigg and agreeing with these conditions, particularly the maintenance of the July 1936 treaty. (2995-PS)
The official German communiqué of this conference between Hitler and Schuschnigg at Obersalzberg on 12 February 1938 was calm (2461-PS). The communiqué stated that the unofficial meeting was caused by the mutual desire to clarify by personal conversations the questions relating to the relationship between the German Reich and Austria. The communiqué listed, as among those present, Schuschnigg and his Foreign Minister Schmidt, Hitler and his Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, and von Papen. The communiqué concluded: "Both statesmen are convinced that the measures taken by them constitute at the same time an effective contribution toward the peaceful development of the European situation." (2461-PS). A similar communiqué was issued by the Austrian Government.
In fact, as a result of the conference great concessions were obtained by the German Government from Austria. The principal concessions are contained in the official Austrian communiqué dated 16 February 1938 (2464-PS). The communiqué announced a reorganization of the Austrian Cabinet, including the appointment of Seyss-Inquart to the position of Minister of Security and Interior. In addition, announcement was made of a general political amnesty to Nazis convicted of crimes. (2464-PS)
Two days later, on 18 February 1938, another concession was divulged in the official German and Austrian communiqué concerning the equal rights of Austrian National Socialists in Austria (2469-PS). The communiqué announced that pursuant to the Berchtesgaden conference, the Austrian National Socialists would be taken into the Fatherland Front, the single legal political party of Austria.
Schuschnigg's affidavit on his Berchtesgaden visit on February 12, 1938 (2995-PS) points out that considerable pressure was brought to bear on him at the Berghof. Several Generals-Keitel, Sperrle, and Reichenau, names which were omitted from the formal communiqué later issued-were present on his arrival. The conference started with a two-hour conference between Schuschnigg and Hitler alone. Hitler made no precise demands but attacked Schuschnigg violently. In the words of the affidavit:
"I furthermore state and affirm that, immediately after arriving at the Berghof, I commenced a conference with Hitler. Hitler and I were alone for two hours. Hitler attacked in a violent manner the politics of Austria, both of the past and present. He furthermore informed me that he, Hitler, had 'decided to bring the Austrian question to a solution so-or-so, even if he had to immediately use military force.' At no time during the first two hours of our conversation did Hitler ever make any precise demands or requests of me, but spent the whole of the two hours accusing me and menacing me as a traitor to Austrian politics. Especially he informed me that, according to his knowledge, Austria could no longer reckon with any assistance from other European Powers, and that Austria now stood alone in the world. He furthermore added -'Schuschnigg, you now have the chance to put your name alongside the names of other famous German leaders, such as Goering, Hess, Frick, Epp, Goebbels, and others.' * * * ". (2995-PS)
After Hitler's violent threats, Schuschnigg had discussions of a calmer nature with von Ribbentrop and von Papen. They talked soothingly and comfortingly to Schuschnigg but reached the same conclusion, that he should yield to German demands, which in practical effect meant Nazi control of the Government of Austria.
"I furthermore state and affirm that I was next called before Joachim von Ribbentrop with my Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Guido Schmidt, and, in the presence of Franz von Papen, Ribbentrop exhibited to me a typewritten draft containing the conditions and demands made by Hitler upon me and Austria. He furthermore added that Hitler has informed me, Ribbentrop, 'that these demands that I now offer to you are the final demands of the Fuehrer and that he, Hitler, is not prepared to further discuss them'. He further stated that, 'you must accept the whole of these demands herein contained'. Ribbentrop then advised me to accept the demands at once. I protested, and referred him to my previous agreements with von Papen, made prior to coming to Berchtesgaden, and made it clear to Ribbentrop that I was not prepared to be confronted with such unreasonable demands as he had then and there placed before me. Von Papen, still present, apologized and informed me that he, von Papen, was entirely surprised and not at all informed about the aims of the Fuehrer as here laid down. He further stated, and informed me, that he, von Papen, could only offer his advice and that he should now accede to, and sign, these demands. He furthermore informed me that I could be assured that Hitler would take care that, if I signed these demands and acceded to them, that from that time on Germany would remain loyal to this Agreement and that there would be no further difficulties for Austria." (2995-PS)
Finally, after obtaining some minor concessions from Ribbentrop, Schuschnigg met with Hitler again. This time Hitler not only put pressure upon Schuschnigg, but also, upon learning that the approval of President Miklas of Austria was necessary, indicated clearly to Schuschnigg that military action would follow if Miklas did not approve the agreement. In the words of Schuschnigg's affidavit:
"I further state and say, that I then went before Hitler again. Hitler was very excited and informed me that he would make a final test with Austria, and stated further: 'that you must fulfill the conditions of the demands made by me on you within three days, or else I will order the march into Austria.' I replied: 'I am not able to take over the obligation to fulfill your demands, for I am only the Chancellor of Austria, and that obligation you attempt to place upon me is the duty only of the Federal President, Miklas; I am only able to sign the draft and, when I arrive in Vienna, to present it to the Federal President'. Hitler then flung open the door and yelled 'Keitel'. At the same time, Hitler asked me to wait outside. Keitel then came in to Hitler. After twenty minutes or more I was again called before Hitler and, when before him, he, Hitler, informed me as follows: 'For the first time in my life, I have changed my mind. You must sign the demands that I have made upon you, then report them to the Federal President, Miklas, and within three days from now Austria must fulfill the Agreement, otherwise things will take their natural course'. I then agreed to sign the demands and, while waiting in Hitler's private room, he, Hitler, in an entirely changed mood, said to Franz von Papen, who was also present, 'Herr von Papen, through your assistance I was appointed Chancellor of Germany and thus the Reich was saved from the abyss of communism. I will never forget that'. Papen replied: 'Ja, wohl, Mein Fuehrer'.
"I furthermore say and affirm that I, in the presence of Ribbentrop, Guido Schmidt, von Papen, and Hitler, signed the demands, and retained a copy for the Austrian Government.
"I further state and affirm that, on the way back to Vienna from Berchtesgaden, Franz von Papen accompanied me and my party. Between the Berghof and Berchtesgaden, von Papen informed me as follows: 'Now, you have your own impression of how excited the Fuehrer can get, but that happens very seldom, and I am convinced that the next time you meet him, you will have an amicable conversation with him.'" (2995-PS)
The pressure put on Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden is also disclosed in von Papen's notes on his last meeting with Schuschnigg, on 26 February 1938, the last two paragraphs of which read:
"I then introduced into the conversation the widespread opinion that he had acted under 'brutal pressure' in Berchtesgaden. I myself had been present and been able to state that he had always and at every point had complete freedom of decision. The Chancellor replied he had actually been under considerable moral pressure, he could not deny that. he had made notes on the talk which bore that out. I reminded him that despite this talk he had not seen his way clear to make any concessions, and I asked him whether without the pressure he would have been ready to make the concessions he made late in the evening. He answered: 'To be honest, no!' It appears to me of importance to record this statement." (1544-PS)
For diplomatic purposes von Papen, who had been at Berchtesgaden, kept up the pretense that there had been no pressure. But General Jodl, writing the account of current events for his diary, was more candid. This hand-written diary discloses not only the pressure at Berchtesgaden but also the fact that for some days thereafter, General Keitel and Admiral Canaris worked out a scheme for shamming military pressure, in order to coerce President Miklas into ratifying the agreement. And so the Nazi conspirators kept up the military pressure, with threats of invasion, for some days after the Berchtesgaden conference, in order to produce the desired effect on Miklas. (1780-PS)
The following entries, for Feb. 11-Feb. 14 were made in Jodl's diary:
"In the evening and on 12 February General K. with General V. Reichenau and Sperrle at the Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg together with G. Schmidt are again being put under heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.
"In the afternoon General K. asks Admiral C. and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Fuehrer's order is to the effect that military pressure by shamming military action should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Fuehrer by telephone for approval.
"At 2:40 o'clock the agreement of the Fuehrer arrives. Canaris went to Munich to the Counter-Intelligence office VII and initiates the different measures.
"The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations." (1780-PS)
The proposals for deceptive maneuvers mentioned by Jodl were signed by Keitel. Underneath his signature appeared a pencilled note that the Fuehrer approved the proposals. Among the rumors which Keitel proposed for the intimidation of Austria were the following:
"1. To take no real preparatory measures in the Army or Luftwaffe. No troop movements or redeployments.
"2. Spread false, but quite credible news, which may lead to the conclusion of military preparations against Austria.
"a. Through V-men (V-Maenner) in Austria,
"b. through our customs personnel (staff) at the frontier,
"c. through travelling agents.
"3. Such news could be:
"a. Furloughs are supposed to have been barred in the Sector of the VII A.K.
"b. (Rolling Stock) is being assembled in Munich, Augsburg, and Regensburg.
"c. Major General Muff, the Military Attaché in Vienna has been called for a conference to Berlin. (As a matter of fact, this is the case).
"d. The Police Stations located at the frontier of Austria, have called up reinforcements.
"e. Custom officials report about the imminent maneuvers of the Mountain Brigade (Gebirgsbrigade) in the region of Freilassing, Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden." (1775-PS)
The pattern of intimidation and rumor was effective, for in due course, as is shown in the communiqués already referred to, President Miklas ratified the Berchtesgaden agreement, which foreshadowed a National Socialist Austria.
E. Events Culminating in the German Invasion on 12 March 1938.
(1) The Plebiscite. The day after his appointment as Minister of the Interior, Seyss-Inquart flew to Berlin for a conference with Hitler. (2484-PS)
On 9 March 1938, three weeks after Seyss-Inquart had been put in charge of the police, Schuschnigg announced that he would hold a plebiscite throughout Austria on the following Sunday, 13 March 1938. The question was: "Are you for an independent and social, a Christian, German and united Austria?" A "yes" answer to this question was clearly compatible with the agreement made by the German Government on 11 July 1936, and carried forward at Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938. Moreover, for a long while the Nazis had been demanding a plebiscite on the question of Anschluss. But the Nazis apparently appreciated the likelihood of a strong "yes" vote on the question put by Schuschnigg, and they could not tolerate the possibility of such a vote of confidence in the Schuschnigg Government. They took this occasion to overturn the Austrian Government.
Although the Plebiscite was not announced until the evening of 9 March, the Nazi Organization received word about it earlier in the day. It was determined by the Nazis that they had to ask Hitler what to do about the situation, and that they would prepare a letter of protest against the Plebiscite from Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg, and that pending Hitler's approval, Seyss-Inquart would pretend to negotiate with Schuschnigg about details of the plebiscite.
In the words of Gauleiter Rainer's report to Reichscommissioner Buerckel:
"The Landesleitung received word about the planned plebiscite through illegal information services, on 9 March 1938 at 10 a. m. At the session which was called immediately after wards, Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the talks he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth, and that in view of the new situation, he had been cooperating with the Landesleitung from the very first moment. Klausner, Jury, Rainer, Globocnik and Seyss-Inquart were present at the first talks which were held at 10 a. m. There it was decided that first, the Fuehrer had to be informed immediately; secondly, the opportunity for the Fuehrer to intervene must be given to him by way of an official declaration made by Minister Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg; and thirdly, Seyss-Inquart must negotiate with the government until clear instructions and orders were received from the Fuehrer. Seyss-Inquart and Rainer together composed a letter to Schuschnigg, and only one copy of it was brought to the Fuehrer by Globocnik, who flew to him on the afternoon of 9 March 1938." (812-PS)
(2) Germany's Preparation for the Use of Force. When news of the Plebiscite reached Berlin, it started a tremendous amount of activity. Hitler was determined not to tolerate the plebiscite. Accordingly, he called his military advisers and ordered preparation for the march into Austria. He made diplomatic preparations by explaining in a letter to Mussolini the reasons why he was going to march into Austria. In the absence of von Ribbentrop, who was temporarily detained in London, von Neurath took over the affairs of the Foreign Office again.
The terse and somewhat disconnected notes in General Jodl's diary give a vivid account of the activity in Berlin. The entry for the 10th of March 1938 reads:
"By surprise and without consulting his ministers, Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13, March, which should bring strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation.
"Fuehrer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, march 9 to 10, he calls for Goering. General v. Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee. General v. Schebert is ordered to come, as well as Minister Glaise Horstenau, who is with the District leader (Gauleiter) Buerckel in the Palatinate. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1:45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at 10 o'clock. I follow at 10:15, according to the wish of General v. Viebahn, to give him the old draft.
"Prepare case Otto.
"1300 hours: General K informs Chief of Operational Staff (and) Admiral Canaris. Ribbentrop is being detained in London. Neurath takes over the Foreign Office.
"Fuehrer wants to transmit ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet. A personal letter is dispatched to Mussolini and the reasons are developed which force the Fuehrer to take action.
"1830 hours: Mobilization order is given to the Command of the 8th Army (Corps Area 3) 7th and 13th Army Corps; without reserve Army." (1780-PS)
In a directive of the Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces, dated 11 March 1938 and initialed by Jodl and Keitel, Hitler stated his mixed political and military intentions:
"1. If these measures prove unsuccessful, I intend to invade Austria with armed forces to establish constitutional conditions and to prevent further outrages against the pro-German population.
"4. The forces of the Army and Air Force detailed for this operation must be ready for invasion and/or ready for action on the 12th of March 1938 at the latest from 1200 hours.
"I reserve the right to give permission for crossing and flying over the frontier, and to decide the actual moment for invasion.
"5. The behavior of the troops must give the impression that we do not want to wage war against our Austrian brothers. It is in our interest that the whole operation shall be carried out without any violence but in the form of a peaceful entry welcomed by the population. Therefore any provocation is to be avoided. If, however, resistance is offered it must be broken ruthlessly by force of arms." (C-102)
An implementing directive of 11 March 1938 issued by Jodl provided further:
"If Czechoslovakian troops or militia units are encountered in Austria, they are to be regarded as hostile.
"The Italians are everywhere to be treated as friends especially as Mussolini has declared himself uninterested in the solution of the Austrian Question". (C-103)
The military preparations for invasion were complete.
(3) The Events of 11 March in Austria. The events of 11 March 1938 in Austria are available in three separate accounts. Although these accounts differ in some minor details, they afford each other almost complete corroboration with regard to the way in which the German Government deprived Austria of its sovereignty.
The first account is contained in a third affidavit executed by Schuschnigg (2996-PS). Schuschnigg first states that he had been discussing the plebiscite with Seyss-Inquart, and that Seyss-Inquart had made some procedural objections but in general indicated his general willingness to support the plebiscite. Schuschnigg went to bed on March 10 thinking the plebiscite would be a success. But on the morning of March 11 he was told that traffic from Germany had stopped, and that German Army forces were moving to the border. After 10 a. m. Seyss-Inquart came to Schuschnigg's office with Glaise-Horstenau. Glaise-horstenau had just come from Berlin and reported that Hitler was in a rage. (2996-PS)
Schuschnigg's affidavit then relates the three ultimatums presented by the German Government:
"Seyss-Inquart was then and there called to the telephone and, upon his return, read to me from a scrap of paper which he held in his hand, the contents of a telephone call which he alleged was just then received by him from Goering in Berlin. The contents as he read it to me was as follows: 'The Chancellor must revoke the proposed plebiscite within the time of one hour, and after three or four weeks, Austria must oblige herself to carry out a plebiscite concerning the Anschluss according to the SAAR status, otherwise the German Army is ordered to pass the Austrian frontier'.
"I further state and say that after informing the Federal President of this demand made on Austria by Germany, we decided to recall the Plebiscite, and thereupon I informed Seyss-Inquart and Glaise-Horstenau of our intentions.
"Seyss-Inquart said that he would go to the telephone and inform Goering in Berlin concerning the decision of the Austrian Government, at that time made. In a few minutes, he, Seyss-Inquart, returned to my office, and informed me further, as follows:
'I have had a telephone conversation with Goering, and Goering has ordered me to inform the Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, as follows:
'"The situation can only be saved for Austria when Schuschnigg resigns as the Chancellor of Austria within two hours and Seyss-Inquart is appointed as the new Chief of the Austrian Government; if Seyss-Inquart does not inform me, Goering, within two hours, I, Goering, will suppose that you are hindered from doing so'".
"I then reported to the Federal President the new developments, and, after some conversation with him and other members of the Government, I decided to resign. The Federal President reluctantly accepted my resignation at 3:30 p. m. on the afternoon of the 11th of March 1938. He expressed himself unwilling to appoint Seyss-Inquart as the Federal Chancellor - he therefore asked me to continue my duties as caretaker Chancellor until he had decided who would succeed me as Federal Chancellor. I accepted and remained as 'caretaker Chancellor' from 3:30 p. m., 11 March 1938 until about 11:30 p. m. the same night, when Seyss-Inquart was appointed to the position of Federal Chancellor.
"I further state and say that at about 3:30 p. m. on the afternoon of 11 March 1938, the Foreign Office of the Austrian Government contacted the Embassy of Germany in Vienna, to ascertain if the demands that had been then and there made by Goering on Austria were the official demands of the German Government. The Military Attaché of Germany in Vienna, one Lieutenant General Muff, came before the Austrian Federal President, and repeated the contents of the German ultimatums that had previously been delivered to us by Seyss-Inquart.
"I furthermore state and say, that the Federal President, at about 7:30 or 8:00 o'clock p. m. on the night of 11 March 1938 ordered me, as caretaker Chancellor, to broadcast the events of the day and to protest against the demands made on Austria during that day by Germany. Furthermore, to inform the world that Austria had been forced to give in to those demands of Germany through superior force * * *." (2996-PS)
The report from Gauleiter Rainer to Reichscommissioner Buerckel also discusses the events of March 11. In general, Rainer's report corroborates Schuschnigg's affidavit. (812-PS)
Another document recalls vividly the events of 11 March 1938. This document, which was found in a building of the courtyard of the German Air Ministry, is a binder containing typed transcripts of some 27 telephone conversations, held in Goering's office in the Air Ministry on 11 March 1938 and up to 14 March 1938. Most of the conversations were conducted by Goering, although at least one was held by Hitler (2949-PS). (For purposes of convenience these telephone calls are marked with an identifying letter, running from A through Z and then beginning again with AA).
The first group of conversations took place between Field Marshal Goering, who was identified as F., and Seyss-Inquart, who was identified as S. The transcript is in part in the language of these two persons and is in part a summary of the actual conversations. At 2:45 p. m. the following conversation occurred:
"F: How do you do, doctor. My brother-in-law, is he with you?
"Thereupon the conversation took approximately the following turn:
"F: How are things with you? Have you resigned, or do you have any news?
"S. The Chancellor has cancelled the elections for Sunday, and therefore he has put S. and the other gentleman in a difficult situation. Besides having called off the elections, extensive precautionary measures are being ordered, among others curfew at 8 p. m.
"F: Replied that in his opinion the measures taken by chancellor Schuschnigg were not satisfactory in any respect. At this moment he could not commit himself officially. F. will take a clear stand very shortly. In calling off the elections, he could see a postponement only, not a change for the present situation which had been brought about by the behavior of the Chancellor Schuschnigg in breaking the Berchtesgaden agreement.
"Thereupon a conversation took place between F. and the Fuehrer. Afterwards F. phoned again S. This conversation was held at 15:05.
"F: Told S. that Berlin did not agree whatsoever with the decision made by Chancellor Schuschnigg since he did not enjoy any more the confidence of our government because he had broken the Berchtesgaden agreement, and therefore further confidence in his future actions did not exist. Consequently, the National Minister, S. and the others, are being requested to immediately hand in their resignation to the Chancellor, and also to ask the Chancellor to resign. F. added that if after a period of one hour no report had come through the assumption would be made that S. would no more be in the position to phone. That would mean that the gentlemen had handed in their resignations. S. was then told to send the telegram to the Fuehrer as agreed upon. As a matter of course, an immediate commission by the Federal President for S. to form a new cabinet would follow Schuschnigg's resignation." (2949-PS, Part A)
Thus Goering told Seyss-Inquart that it was not enough for Schuschnigg to cancel the election. And twenty minutes later he telephoned Seyss-Inquart to state that Schuschnigg must resign. When informed at about an hour later that Schuschnigg had resigned, he pointed out that in addition it was necessary to have Seyss-Inquart at the head of the Cabinet.
An hour later Goering phoned Dombrowski at the German Embassy in Vienna. He was concerned that the Nazi Party and all its formations should be legalized promptly:
"Goering: Now to go on. The Party has definitely been legalized?
"Dombrowski: But that is * * * it isn't necessary to even discuss that.
"Goering: With all of its organizations.
"Dombrowski: With all of its organizations within this country.
"Goering: In uniform?
"Dombrowski: In uniform.
"Dombrowski: calls attention to the fact that the SA and SS have already been on duty for one-half hour which means everything is all right." (2949-PS, Part C)
In addition Goering stated that the Cabinet must be formed by 7:30 p. m., and he transmitted instructions, to be delivered to Seyss-Inquart, as to who should be appointed to the cabinet:
"Goering: Yes, and by 7:30 he also must talk with the Fuehrer and as to the Cabinet, Keppler will bring you the names. One thing I have forgotten, fishbeck must have the Department of Economy and Commerce.
"Dombrowski: That's understood.
"Goering: Kaltenbrunner is to have the Department of Security and Bahr is to have the armed forces. The Austrian Army is to be taken by Seyss-Inquart himself and you know all about the Justice Department.
"Dombrowski: Yes, yes.
"Goering: Give me the name.
"Dombrowski: Well, your brother-in-law. Isn't that right?
"Goering: That's right and then also Fishbeck." (2949-PS, Part C)
About twenty minutes later, at 5:26 p. m., Goering received the news that Miklas was refusing to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. He issued instructions for an ultimatum to be delivered to Miklas. The telephone conversation between Goering and Seyss-Inquart went as follows:
"G: Now remember the following: You go immediately together with Lt. General Muff and tell the Federal President that if the conditions which are known to you are not accepted immediately, the troops who are already stationed at and advancing to the frontier will march in tonight along the whole line, and Austria will cease to exist. Lt. General Muff should go with you and demand to be admitted for conference immediately. Please, do inform us immediately about Miklas' position. Tell him, there is no time now for any joke. Just through the false report we received before action was delayed, but now the situation is that tonight the invasion will begin from all the corners of Austria. The Invasion will be stopped and the troops will be held at the border only if we are informed by 7:30 that Miklas has entrusted you with the Federal Chancellorship. (There follows a sentence which is broken up) M. does not matter whatever it might be, the immediate restoration of the Party with all its organizations (again interruption) and then call out all the National Socialists all over the country. They should now be in the streets. So remember, report must be given till 7:30. Lt. General Muff is supposed to come along with you. I shall inform him immediately. If Miklas could not understand it in 4 hours, we shall make him understand it now in 4 minutes." (2949-PS, Part E)
An hour later, at 6:28 p. m. Goering had an extensively interrupted telephone conversation with Keppler and Muff and Seyss-Inquart. When told that Miklas had refused to appoint Seyss-Inquart, Goering replied:
"Goering: Well, then Seyss-Inquart has to dismiss him; just go upstairs again and just tell him plainly that SI shall call on the national Socialists guard, and in 5 minutes the troops will march in by my order". (2949-PS, Part H)
After an interruption, Seyss-Inquart came to the telephone and informed Goering that Miklas was still sticking to his old viewpoint, although a new person had gone in to talk to him and there might be definite word in about ten minutes. The conversation proceeded as follows:
"G: Listen, so I shall wait a few more minutes, till he comes beck, then you inform me via Blitz conversation in the Reich Chancellery-as usually, but it has to be done fast. I hardly can justify it as a matter of fact. I am not entitled to do so; if it cannot be done, then you have to take over the power; all right?
"S. But if he threatens?
"S. Well, I see, then we shall be ready (antreten).
"G. Call me via Blitz." (2949-PS, Part h)
It is plain that Goering and Seyss-Inquart had agreed on a plan for Seyss-Inquart to take over power if Miklas remained obdurate. The plan involved both the use of the National Socialist forces in Austria and invasion by German troops.
Later that night, at about 8:00 o'clock, Goering and Seyss-Inquart had another conversation. This was after the ultimatum had expired. Seyss-Inquart informed Goering that Miklas was still refusing to name Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. The conversation then proceeded as follows:
"G: O.K. I shall give the order to march in and then you make sure that you get the power. Notify the leading people about the following which I shall tell you now! Everyone who offers resistance or organizes resistance, will immediately be subjected to our court-martial, the court-martial of our invading troops. Is that clear?
"G: Including leading personalities, it doesn't make any difference.
"S: Yes, they have given the order, not to offer any resistance.
"G: Yes, it does not matter: The Federal President did not authorize you, and that also can be considered as resistance.
"G: Well, now you are officially authorized.
"G: Well, good luck, Heil Hitler." (2949-PS, Part 1)
Another historical event-the famous telegram which Seyss-Inquart sent to the German Government requesting it to send troops into Austria to help put down disorder-was discussed over the telephone. A conversation held at 8:48 between Goering and Keppler proceeded as follows:
"G: Well, I do not know yet. Listen: The main thing is, that Inquart takes over all powers of the Government, that he keeps the radio stations occupied.
"K: Well, we represent the Government now.
"G: Yes, that's it. You are the Government. Listen carefully: The following telegram should be sent here by Seyss-Inquart. Take the notes:
'The provisional Austrian Government which after the dismissal of the Schuschnigg Government, consider it its task to establish peace and order in Austria, sends to the German Government the urgent request, to support it in its task and to help it to prevent bloodshed. For this purpose it asks the German Government to send German Troops as soon as possible'.
"K: Well, SA and SS are marching through the streets, but everything is quiet. Everything has collapsed with the professional groups (?)" (2949-PS, Part L)
And a few minutes later the conversation continued as follows:
"G: Then our troops will cross the border today.
"G: Well, and he should send the telegram as soon as possible.
"K: Will send the telegram to SI in the office of the Federal Chancery.
"G: Please, show him the text of the telegram and do tell him that we are asking him-well, he does not even have to send the telegram-all he needs to do is to say: agreed.
"G: Either call me at the Fuehrer's or at my place. Well, good luck. Heil Hitler!" (2949-PS, Part L)
It will be recalled that in the first conversation (Part A), held at 3:05 p. m., Goering had requested Seyss-Inquart to send the telegram agreed upon. But now the matter was so urgent that Goering dictated the exact wording of the telegram over the telephone.
And an hour later, at 9:54 p.m., a conversation between Dr. Dietrich in Berlin and Keppler in Vienna went as follows:
"D: I need the telegram urgently.
"K: Tell the General Field Marshal that Seyss-Inquart agrees.
"D: This is marvelous. Thank you.
"K: Listen to the radio. News will be given.
"K: From Vienna.
"D: So Seyss-Inquart agrees?
"K: Jawohl!" (2949-PS, Part m)
(4) The Order to Invade Austria. Communications with Austria were now suspended. But the German military machine had been set in motion. A Directive, dated 11 March 1938 at 2045 hours, from Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, initialed by General Jodl and signed by Hitler, ordered the invasion of Austria because of its failure to comply with the German ultimatum. The directive reads:
"Re: Operation Otto
"Directive No. 2
"1. The demands of the German ultimatum to the Austrian government have not been fulfilled.
"2. The Austrian Armed Forces have been ordered to withdraw in front of the entry of German troops and to avoid fighting.
"The Austrian Government has ceased to function of its own accord.
"3. To avoid further bloodshed in Austrian towns, the entry of the German Armed Forces into Austria will commence, according to directive No. 1, at daybreak on 12.3.
"I expect the set objectives to be reached by exerting all forces to the full, as quickly as possible.
(signed) ADOLF HITLER" (C-182)
(5) Communications with Rome-Avoidance of Disaster. But at the very time that Hitler and Goering had embarked on this military undertaking, they still had a question mark in their minds-Italy. Italy had massed forces on the Italian-Austrian border on the occasion of the 25 July 1934 putsch. Italy had traditionally been the political protector of Austria.
At 10:25 p.m. that evening, however, Hitler heard from Prince Philip of Hessen, his Ambassador at Rome, that he had just returned from the Palazzo Venezia, and Mussolini had accepted the whole affair in a very friendly manner. The telephone conversation went thus:
"H: I have just come back from Palazzo Venezia. The (Hessen) Duce accepted the whole thing in a very-friendly manner. He sends you his regards. He had been informed from Austria, Schuschnigg gave him the news. He had then said it would be a complete impossibility. It would be a bluff, such a thing could not be done. So he was told that it was unfortunately arranged thus and it could not be changed any more. Then Mussolini said that Austria would be immaterial to him.
"F: Then, please, tell Mussolini, I will never forget him for (Fuehrer) this.
"F: Never, never, never, whatever happens. I am still ready to make a quite different agreement with him.
"H: Yes, I told him that, too.
"F: As soon as the Austrian affair has been settled, I shall be ready to go with him through thick and thin, nothing matters.
"H: Yes, my Fuehrer.
"F: Listen, I shall make any agreement-I am no longer in fear of the terrible position which would have existed militarily in case we had gotten into a conflict. You may tell him that I do thank him ever so much, never, never shall I forget that.
"H: Yes, my Fuehrer.
"F: I will never forget it, whatever will happen. If he should ever need any help or be in any danger, he can be convinced that I shall stick to him whatever might happen, even if the whole world were against him.
"H: Yes, my Fuehrer." (2949-PS, Part N)
It will be recalled that Jodl referred in his diary (1780-PS) to the letter which Hitler sent to Mussolini. In this letter, dated 11 March 1938, after stating that Austria had been declining into anarchy, Hitler wrote: "I have decided to reestablish order in my Fatherland, order and tranquility, and to give to the popular will the possibility of settling its own fate in unmistakable fashion openly and by its own decision." He stated that this was only an act of self-defense, that he had no hostile intentions toward Italy. (2510-PS)
After the invasion, when in Linz, Austria, Hitler communicated his gratitude to Mussolini once more, this time by telegraph:
"Mussolini, I will never forget you for this." (2467-PS)
(6) The Appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. Late in the evening of March 11, President Miklas appointed Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. The radio announcement of Seyss-Inquart's appointment was made at 11:15 p.m. (2465-PS)
(7) Later Communications with London-Misleading Explanations. On Sunday, 13 March 1938, the day after the invasion, Goering, who had been left in charge of the Reich by Hitler, telephoned Ribbentrop in London. Their conversation disclosed the way in which the Nazis soothed and misled other nations:
"G: As you know the Fuehrer has entrusted me with the administration of the current government procedures (Fuehrung der Regierungsgeschaft). And therefore I wanted to inform you. There is overwhelming joy in Austria, that you can hear over the radio.
"R: Yes, it is fantastic, isn't it?
"G: Yes, the last march into the Rhineland is completely overshadowed. The Fuehrer was deeply moved, when he talked to me last night. You must remember it was the first time that he saw his homeland again. now, I mainly want to talk about political things. Well, this story we had given an ultimatum, that is just foolish gossip. From the very beginning the National Socialist ministers and the representatives of the people (Volksreferenten) have presented the ultimatum. Later on, more and more prominent people of the Movement Party participated, and as a natural result, the Austrian National Socialist ministers asked us to back them up, so they would not be completely beaten up against and be subjected to terror and civil war. Then we told them we would not allow Schuschnigg to provoke a civil war, under no circumstances. Whether by Schuschnigg's direct order, or with consent the Communists and the Reds had been armed, and were already making demonstrations, which were photographed with "Heil Moskau" and so on; naturally, all these facts caused some danger for Wiener-Neustadt. Then you have to consider that Schuschnigg made his speeches, telling them the Fatherland Front (Vaterlandische Front) would fight to its last man; one could not know that they would capitulate like that and therefore Seyss-Inquart who already had taken over the government asked us to march in immediately. Before we had already marched up to the frontier since we could not know whether there would be a civil war or not. These are the actual facts which can be proved by documents.* * *"
"G: No, no, I think so, too. Only, I did not know if you spoke already to these people. I want that you once more, - but no - not at all once more, - but generally speaking - tell the following to Halifax and Chamberlain: It is not correct that Germany has given any ultimatum. This is a lie by Schuschnigg, because the ultimatum was presented to him by S-I, Glaise-Horstenau and Jury. Furthermore, it is not true that we have presented an ultimatum to the Federal President, but it also was given by the others and as far as I know just a military attaché came along, asked by S-I, because of a technical question; he was supposed to ask whether in case S-I would ask for the support of German troops, Germany would grant this request. Furthermore, I want to state that S-I asked us expressly by phone as by telegram to send troops because he did not know about the situation in Wiener-Neustadt, Vienna, and so on; because arms had been distributed there. And then he could not know how the Fatherland Front might react since they always had had such a big mouth.
"R: Mr. Goering, tell me, how is the situation in Vienna, is everything settled yet?
"G: Yes. Yesterday I landed hundreds of airplanes with some companies, in order to secure the airfield and they were received with joy. Today the advance unit of the 17 division marches in, together with the Austrian troops. Also I want to point out that the Austrian troops did not withdraw but that they got together and fraternized immediately with the German troops, wherever they were stationed." (2949-PS, Part W)
In view of the previous conversations, these are interesting explanations-that the ultimatum was made by Seyss-Inquart alone and not by Goering; that Lt. Gen. Muff, the military attaché, came along merely to answer a technical question; and that Seyss-Inquart asked expressly by telephone and by telegram for troops. But perhaps this conversation can best be understood in light of the actual physical scene of time and place:
"G: Well, do come! I shall be delighted to see you.
"R: I shall see you this afternoon.
"G: The weather is wonderful here. Blue sky. I am sitting here on my balcony-all covered with blankets-in the fresh air, drinking my coffee. Later on I have to drive in, I have to make the speech, and the birds are twittering, and here and there I can hear over the radio the enthusiasm, which must be wonderful over there.
"R: That is marvelous." (2949-PS, Part W)
The British Foreign Office had protested the tactics employed by the German Government. In a letter dated 12 March 1938 Ambassador Neville Henderson, at the British Embassy, Berlin, wrote to Lord Halifax, Foreign Minister, as follows:
"With reference to your telegram No. 79 of March 11th, I have the honor to transmit to Your Lordship herewith a copy of a letter which I addressed to Baron von Neurath in accordance with the instructions contained therein and which was delivered on the same evening.
"The French Ambassador addressed a similar letter to Baron von Neurath at the same time." (3045-PS)
The enclosure was the note of March 11th from the British Embassy to Von Neurath and it reads as follows:
"Dear Reich Minister,
"My Government are informed that a German ultimatum was delivered this afternoon at Vienna demanding inter alia, the resignation of the Chancellor and his replacement by the Minister of the Interior, a new Cabinet of which two-thirds of the members were to be National Socialists, and the readmission of the Austrian Legion to the country with the duty of keeping order in Vienna.
"I am instructed by my Government to represent immediately to the German Government that if this report is correct, H.M.G. in the U.K. feel bound to register a protest in the strongest terms against such use of coercion backed by force against an independent State in order to create a situation incompatible with its national independence.
"As the German Minister for Foreign Affairs has already been informed in London, such action is found to produce the greatest reactions of which it is impossible to foretell the issues." (3045-PS)
Von Neurath wrote a letter of response dated 12 March 1938. He first objected to the fact that the British Government was undertaking the role of protector of Austria's independence:
"In the name of the German Government I must point out here that the Royal British Government has no right to assume the role of a protector of Austria's independence. In the course of diplomatic consultations on the Austrian question, the German Government never left any doubt with the Royal British Government that the formation of relations between Germany and Austria could not be considered anything but the inner concern of the German people and that it did not affect third Power." (3287-PS)
Then, in response to the assertions regarding Germany's ultimatum, Von Neurath set out what he stated to be the true version of events:
"* * * Instead, the former Austrian Chancellor announced, on the evening of the 9th of March, the surprising and arbitrary resolution, decided on by himself, to hold an election within a few days which, under the prevailing circumstances, and especially according to the details provided for the execution of the election, could and was to have the sole purpose of oppressing politically the predominant majority of the population of Austria. As could have been foreseen, this procedure, being a flagrant violation of the agreement of Berchtesgaden, led to a very critical point in Austria's internal situation. It was only natural that the members of the then Austrian Cabinet who had not taken part in the decision for an election protested very strongly against it. Therefore, a crisis of the Cabinet occurred in Vienna which, on the 11th of March, resulted in the resignation of the former Chancellor and in the formation of a new Cabinet. It is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure to bring about this development. Especially the assertion which was spread later by the former Chancellor, that the German Government had presented the Federal President with a conditional ultimatum, is a pure invention; according to the ultimatum he had to appoint a proposed candidate as Chancellor and to form a Cabinet conforming to the proposals of the German Government, otherwise the invasion of Austria by German troops was held in prospect. The truth of the matter is that the question of sending military or police forces from the Reich was only brought up when the newly formed Austrian Cabinet addressed a telegram, already published by the press, to the German Government, urgently asked for the dispatch of German troops as soon as possible in order to restore peace and in order to avoid bloodshed. Faced with the immediately threatening danger of a bloody civil war in Austria, the German Government then decided to comply with the appeal addressed to it.
"This being the state of affairs, it is impossible that the attitude of the German Government, as asserted in your letter, could lead to some unforeseeable reactions. A complete picture of the political situation is given in the proclamation which, at noon today, the German Reich Chancellor has addressed to the German people. Dangerous reactions to this situation can take place only if eventually a third party should try to exercise its influence, contrary to the peaceful intentions and legitimate aims of the German Government on the shaping of events in Austria, which would be incompatible with the right of self-government of the German people." (3287-PS)
In light of the documents already adverted to, this version of events given by von Neurath is palpably untrue.
F. The Invasion and Absorption of Austria.
(1) The Invasion and Immediate Events: Control of Austria in Fact. In accordance with the directive of March 11 (C-182), the German Army crossed the Austrian border at daybreak on 12 March 1938. Hitler issued a proclamation to the German people announcing and purporting to justify the invasion (TC-47). The British Government and the French Government filed protests.
The German Government and the Austrian National Socialists swiftly secured their grip on Austria. Seyss-Inquart welcomed Hitler at Linz and they both expressed their joy over events of the day. Seyss-Inquart in his speech declared Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain inoperative. (2485-PS)
A telegram from the American Legation in Vienna to the Secretary of State, on 12 March 1938, gave a picture of what was happening in Vienna:
"Secretary of State,
70, March 12, noon.
"Numerous German bombers flying over Vienna dropping leaflets 'National Socialist Germany greets its possession National Socialist Austria and its new government in true indivisible union'.
"Continual rumors small German troop movements into Austria and impending arrival Austrian legion.
"SS and SA in undisputed control in Vienna.
"Police wear swastika arm bands. Schuschnigg and Schmidt rumored arrested.
"Himmler and Hess here.
(2) Statutes of Consolidation: Control of Austria in Law. The law-making machine was put to work on the task of consolidation. First, Miklas was caused to resign as President (2466-PS). Seyss-Inquart became both Chancellor and President. He then signed a Federal Constitutional Law of 13 March 1938, for the Reunion of Austria with the German Reich, which in turn was incorporated into the Reich Statute of Reunion passed the same day (2307-PS). This Federal Constitutional Law declared Austria to be a province of the German Reich.
By annexing Austria into the German Reich, Germany violated Article 80 of the Treaty of Versailles, which provides:
"Germany acknowledges and will respect the independence of Austria within the Frontier which may be fixed in a treaty between that State and the principle Allied and Associated Powers; she agrees that this independence shall be inalienable, * * *"
Similarly, the Austrian invasion violated Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain, which provides:
"The independence of Austria is inalienable otherwise than with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations. Consequently Austria undertakes in the absence of the consent of the said Council to abstain from any act which might directly or indirectly or by any means whatever compromise her independence, particularly, and until her admission to membership of the League of Nations, by participation in the affairs of another Power."
This basic constitutional law provided for a plebiscite to be held on 10 April 1938, concerning the question of reunion. But this was a mere formality. The plebiscite could only confirm the union. It could not undo Germany's union with and control over Austria. To illustrate the way in which legal consolidation was swiftly assured, with Austria occupied by troops, it is not necessary to do more than review some of the statutes passed within the month. Hitler placed the Austrian Federal Army under his command and required all members of the Army to take an oath of allegiance to Hitler as their Supreme Commander (2936-PS). Public officials of the Province of Austria were required to take an oath of office swearing obedience to Hitler, Fuehrer of the German Reich and People; Jewish officials, as defined, were not permitted to take the oath. (2311-PS)
Hitler and Frick signed a decree applying to Austria various Reich laws, including the law of 1933 against formation of new parties and the 1933 law for the preservation of unity of party and state (2310-PS). Hitler, Frick, and Goering ordered that the Reich Minister of the Interior be the central authority for carrying out the reunion of Austria with the German Reich. (1060-PS)
In connection with Germany's extensive propaganda campaign to ensure acceptability of the German regime, Goebbels established a Reich Propaganda Office in Vienna (2935-PS). The ballot, addressed to soldiers of the former Austrian Army as "German soldier", asked the voters whether they agreed with the "accomplishment" and "ratification" on March 13, 1938, of the reuniting of Austria with Germany (1659-PS). The groundwork was fully laid before the holding of the plebiscite "for German men and women of Austria" promised in the basic law of March 13. (2307-PS)
(3) The Importance of Austria in Further Aggressions. Germany's desire to consummate the Anschluss with Austria, and its determination to execute that aim in the way and at the time that it did (with threat of military force, quickly, and despite political risks), was due to the importance of Austria in its further plans of aggression. The conference of the conspirators held on November 5, 1937, which laid plans for aggressive war in Europe, outlined as objectives in Austria the conquest of food, through expulsion of a million people, and an increase in fighting strength in part through the improvement in frontier. (386-PS)
Austria yielded material resources. Moreover she provided ready cash, taken from the Jews and from the Austrian Government. One of the first orders passed after the Anschluss was an order signed by Hitler, Frick, Schwerin von Krosigk, and Schacht, for the transfer to the Reich of the assets of the Austrian National Bank. (2313-PS)
Austria yielded human resources. Three months after Anschluss, there was enacted a decree requiring 21-year-old men to report for active military service. (1660-PS)
And the acquisition of Austria improved the military strategic position of the German Army. In a lecture delivered by General Jodl, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, on 7 November 1943, at Munich, to the Gauleiters, Jodl reviewed the situation in 1938:
"The Austrian 'Anschluss' in its turn, brought with it not only the fulfillment of an old national aim but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas up till then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany (a wasp waist in the direction of France and an air base for the Allies, in particular Russia), Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers. Its own strategic position had now become so unfavorable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with rigor before effective aid from the WEST could be expected to arrive." (L-172)
The Nazi conspirators were now ready to carry out the second part of their second phase of their aggressions. Czechoslovakia was next.
Document Description Vol. Page
Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6 (a)......................... I 5
International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1, Sections IV (F) 3 (a, b); V......................... I 23-24,29
Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number indicates that the document was referred to during the trial but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason given in parentheses following the description of the document. The USA series number, given in parentheses following the description of the document, is the official exhibit number assigned by the court.
*386-PS Notes on a conference with Hitler in the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, 5 November 1937, signed by Hitler's adjutant, Hossbach, and dated 10 November 1937. (USA 25)......................... III 295
*812-PS Letter from Rainer to Seyss-Inquart, 22 August 1939 and report from Gauleiter Rainer to Reichskommissar Gauleiter Buerckel, 6 July 1939 on events in the NSDAP of Austria from 1933 to 11 March 1938. (USA 61)......................... III 586
**1060-PS Order pursuant to law concerning Reunion of Austria with German Reich, 16 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 249. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)..........................III 717
*1544-PS Von Papen's notes, 26 February 1938, on his parting visit with Chancellor Schuschnigg. (USA 71)......................... IV 103
**1659-PS Second Order concerning Plebiscite and Election for the Greater German Reichstag of 24 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 303. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... IV 170
1660-PS Decree for registration for active service in Austria in the year 1938 of 16 'June 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 631......................... IV 171
*1760-PS Affidavit of George S. Messersmith, 28 August 1945. (USA 57)......................... IV 305
*1775-PS Propositions to Hitler by OKW, 14 February 1938. (USA 73)......................... IV 357
*1780-PS Excerpts from diary kept by General Jodl, January 1937 to August 1939. (USA 72)......................... IV 360
*2219-PS Excerpt from letter from Seyss-Inquart to Goering, 14 July 1939. (USA 62)......................... IV 854
*2246-PS Report of von Papen to Hitler, 1 September 1936, concerning Danube situation. (USA 67)......................... IV 930
*2247-PS Letter from von Papen to Hitler, 17 may 1935, concerning intention of Austrian government to arm. (USA 64)......................... IV 930
*2248-PS Report of von Papen to Hitler, 27 July 1935, concerning National Socialism in Austria. (USA 63)......................... IV 932
*2307-PS Law concerning reunion of Austria with German Reich, 13 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 237. (GB 133)......................... IV 997
**2310-PS First Decree of Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor concerning Introduction of German Reich Law into Austria, 15 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 247. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... IV 1004
**2311-PS Decree of Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor concerning Administration of the Oath to Officials of Province of Austria, 15 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 245. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... IV 1005
**2313-PS Order for Transfer of Austrian National Bank to Reichsbank, 17 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 254. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... IV 1006
**2367-PS Hitler's speech of 1 May 1936, published in Voelkischer Beobachter, Southern German edition, 2-3 May 1936. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... IV 1101
*2385-PS Affidavit of George S. Messer-smith, 30 August 1945. (USA 68)......................... V 23
*2461-PS Official German communiqué of meeting of Hitler and Schuschnigg, 12 February 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (GB 132)......................... V 206
*2463-PS Telegram from Seyss-Inquart to Hitler, 11 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (USA 703)......................... V 207
**2464-PS Official Austrian communiqué of the reorganization of the Austrian Cabinet and general political amnesty, 16 February 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 208
**2465-PS Announcement of appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Federal Chancellor, 11 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1938, Vol. VI, Part 1. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 209
**2466-PS Official communiqué of resignation of Austrian President Miklas, 13 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 209
2467-PS Hitler's telegram to Mussolini from Linz, 13 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1......................... V 210
**2469-PS Official German and Austrian communiqué concerning equal rights of Austrian National Socialists in Austria, 18 February 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 210
**2484-PS Official German communiqué of visit of Austrian Minister Seyss-Inquart to Hitler, Berlin, 17 February 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1939, Vol. VI, Part 1. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 234
**2485-PS Address by Federal Chancellor Seyss-Inquart from Balcony of City Hall at Linz, 12 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, Vol. VI, Part 1, p. 144-145. (Referred to but not introduced in evidence.)......................... V 234
2510-PS Hitler letter to Mussolini, 11 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, Vol. VI, Part 1, pp. 135-7, No. 24......................... V 244
**2799-PS Letter from Hitler to von Papen, 26 July 1934, published in Documents of German Politics, Vol. II, p. 83, No. 38. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 441
2831-PS Letter from Office of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of German Government to Reich Chancellery, inclosing report on Political situation in Austria, 14 January 1937......................... V 498
*2832-PS Entry for July 26, 1934 from Ambassador Dodd's diary. (USA 58)......................... V 500
2909-PS Affidavit of August Eigruber, 9 November 1945......................... V 578
**2935-PS Order concerning establishment of Reich Propaganda Office in Vienna, 31 March 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 350. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 604
**2936-PS Instruction of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, concerning the Austrian Federal Army, 13 March 1938, published in Documents of German Politics, 1938, Vol. VI, Part 1, p. 150. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.)......................... V 604
*2949-PS Transcripts of telephone calls from Air Ministry, 11-14 March 1938. (USA 76)......................... V 628
*2968-PS Memorandum from U. S. Army officer concerning plaque erected in Austrian Chancellery in memoriam to killers of Dollfuss. (USA 60)......................... V 677
2985-PS Telephone message of Mr. Hadow, British Legation, Vienna, to Sir John Simon, 26 July 1934......................... V 687
**2994-PS Affidavit of Kurt von Schuschnigg, former Chancellor of Austria, concerning Austrian-German Treaty of 11 July 1936. (USA 66) (Objection to admission in evidence upheld)......................... V 703
2995-PS Affidavit of Kurt von Schuschnigg, former Chancellor of Austria, concerning his visit to Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938......................... V 709
2996-PS Affidavit of Kurt von Schuschnigg, former Chancellor of Austria, concerning events of 11 March 1938......................... V 713
*3045-PS Letter, 12 March 1938, to British Embassy enclosing letter from Henderson to Halifax, 11 March 1938. (USA 127).......................... V 765
*3054-PS "The Nazi Plan", script of a motion picture composed of captured German film. (USA 167)......................... V 801
3062-PS Memorandum found in Goering's office, 19 November 1936, concerning Guido Schmidt, Foreign Minister of Austria under Schuschnigg......................... V 868
*3254-PS The Austrian Question, 1934-1938, by Seyss-Inquart, 9 September 1945. (USA 704)......................... V 961
*3270-PS Goering's speech on 27 March in Vienna, published in Documents of German Politics, Vol. VI, Part 1, p. 183. (USA 703)......................... V 1047
*3271-PS Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Himmler, 19 August 1939. (USA 700)......................... V 1047
*3287-PS Letter from von Neurath to Henderson, 12 March 1938. (USA 128)......................... V 1090
*3308-PS Affidavit by Paul Otto Gustav Schmidt, 28 November 1945. (GB 288)......................... V 1100
3390-PS Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Keppler, 25 October 1937......................... VI 105
3392-PS Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Keppler, 3 September 1937......................... VI 109
3395-PS Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Keppler, 3 September 1937......................... VI 113
*3396-PS Letter from Seyss-Inquart to Dr. Jury. (USA 889)......................... VI 114
*3397-PS Letter from Keppler to Seyss-Inquart, 8 January 1938. (USA 702)......................... VI 115
3400-PS Minutes of meeting of German Association, 28 December 1918, and Constitution and By-Laws thereof found in personal files of Seyss-Inquart for period of 1918 to 1943......................... VI 118
*3425-PS Voluntary statement made by Seyss-Inquart with advice of counsel, 10 December 1945. (USA 701)......................... VI 124
3467-PS Law on Limitation of travel to Republic Austria 29 May 1933. 1933 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, No. 57, p. 311......................... VI 169
*3471-PS Letter from Keppler to Bodenschatz, 21 February 1938, with enclosures noting activity of Leopold as leader of Austrian Nazis and possible appointment of Klausner as his successor. (USA 583)......................... VI 195
*3472-PS Letter from Keppler to Goering, 9 February 1938, requesting that Leopold be forbidden to negotiate with Schuschnigg except with approval of Reich authorities. (USA 582)......................... VI 196
*3473-PS Letter from Keppler to Goering, 6 January 1938, giving details of Nazi intrigue in Austria. (USA 581)......................... VI 197
3574-PS Filing notice regarding discussion between Chief of CI and Chief of Foreign CI on 31 January 1938, 2 February 1938, signed Canaris......................... VI 265
3576-PS Letter from Keppler to Goering, 19 February 1938, with enclosure reporting on situation in Austria as of 18 February......................... VI 271
3577-PS Letter presumably from Buerkel to Goering, dated Vienna, 26 March 1938, concerning Aryanization of Jewish-held business in Austria and disposition of resulting funds........................ VI 275
*C-102 Document signed by Hitler relating to operation "Otto", 11 March 1938. (USA 74)......................... VI 911
*C-103 Directive signed by Jodl, 11 March 1938, on conduct towards Czech or Italian troops in Austria. (USA 75)......................... VI 913
*C-175 OKW Directive for Unified Preparation for War 1937-1938, with covering letter from von Blomberg, 24 June 1937. (USA 69)......................... VI 1006
*C-182 Directive No. 2 from Supreme Commander Armed forces, initialed Jodl, 11 March 1938. (USA 77)......................... VI 1017
*L-150 Memorandum of conversation between Ambassador Bullitt and von Neurath, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, 18 May 1936. (USA 65)......................... VII 890
*L-151 Report from Ambassador Bullitt to State Department, 23 November 1937, regarding his visit to Warsaw. (USA 70)......................... VII 894
*L-172 "The Strategic Position at the Beginning of the 5th Year of War", a lecture delivered by Jodl on 7 November 1943 at Munich to Reich and Gauleiters. (USA 34).........................VII 920
*L-273 Report of American Consul General in Vienna to Secretary of State, 26 July 1938, concerning anniversary of assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss. (USA 59)......................... VII 1094
L-281 Text of Schuschnigg radio address of 11 March 1938, contained in telegram from American Legation in Vienna to the Secretary of State, 11 March 1938.........................VII 1096
L-291 Telegram from American Embassy Berlin to Secretary of State, 11 March 1938, concerning Austrian situation......................... VII 1097
*L-292 Telegram of American Consul General in Vienna to Secretary of State, 12 March 1938, concerning propaganda dropped over Vienna. (USA 78)......................... VII 1098
L-293 Telegram from American Legation in Vienna to Secretary of State, 12 March 1938......................... VII 1098
*TC-22 Agreement between Austria and German Government and Government of Federal State of Austria, 11 July 1936. (GB 20)......................... VIII 369
*TC-26 German assurance to Austria, 21 May 1935, from Documents of German Politics, Part III, p. 94. (GB 19)......................... VIII 376
TC-47 Hitler's Proclamation of Invasion of Austria, 12 March 1938......................... VIII 398
Affidavit H Affidavit of Franz Halder, 22 November 1945......................... VIII 643
**Chart No. 11 Aggressive Action 1938-39. (Enlargement displayed to Tribunal.)......................... VIII 780
**Chart No. 12 German Aggression. (Enlargement displayed to tribunal.)......................... VIII 781
**Chart No. 13 Violations of Treaties, Agreements and Assurances. (Enlargement displayed to Tribunal.)......................... VIII 782