The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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We now shift our scene from Vienna to Berlin. We have shifted our
scene I mean, from Vienna to Berlin. It may now be appropriate to
come back to Vienna just long enough to recall that late in the
evening of 11th March, President Miklas did appoint defendant
Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. The radio announcement of Seyss-
Inquart's appointment was made at 11.15 p.m. This is noted in
Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, Volume 6, 1, page 137, number 25-
A, and a translation of the announcement is in our document 2465-
PS. Then something had to be done in London to smooth things over
there and accordingly, one more act, played on the international
scene, is set down in Air Ministry telephone transcript. On
Sunday, 13th March, 1938, the day after the invasion, defendant
Goering, who had been left in Berlin in charge of the Reich by
Hitler, who had gone to his fatherland, phoned defendant
Ribbentrop in London. I find this conversation very illuminating
as to the way in which these defendants operated, using, if I may
employ American vernacular, a kind of international "double talk"
to soothe and mislead other nations. I quote from Part 1 of item
"W" of document 2949-PS.
   "Goering: As you know - speaking to Ribbentrop in London - "As
   you know, the Fuehrer has entrusted me with the administration
   of the current government procedures (Fuhrung der
   Regierungsgeschaefte), and therefore I wanted to
                                                        [Page 260]
   inform you. There is overwhelming joy in Austria, that you can
   hear over the radio.
   Ribbentrop: Yes, it is fantastic, isn't it?
   Goering: 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 that we had given an
   ultimatum 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 that they
   would not be completely beaten up again and subjected to
   terror and civil war. Then we told them we would not allow von
   Schuschnigg to provoke a civil war, under any circumstances.
   Whether by von Schuschnigg's direct order or with his 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 von
   Schuschnigg made his speeches, telling them the Fatherland
   Front (Vaterlaendische Front) would fight to the 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."

There the defendant Goering was giving to the defendant Ribbentrop
the proper line that he should take in London, as to how to
explain what had happened in Austria. Of course, when the
defendant Goering said that his story about this matter could be
proved by documents, I don't think he had in mind that his own
telephone calls might constitute documents.

Another rather interesting item begins on page 3 of the English
text of this Part "W" - still Goering talking to Ribbentrop in
London. This is at the bottom of the page.

   "Goering: No, no, I think so, too. Only, I did not know if you
   had spoken already to these people. I want you once more - but
   no - not at all once more, but generally speaking - to tell
   the following to Halifax and Chamberlain: It is not correct
   that Germany has given an ultimatum. This is a lie by von
   Schuschnigg, because the ultimatum was presented to him by
   Seyss-Inquart, Glaise-Horstenau and Jury. Furthermore, it is
   not true that we have presented an ultimatum to the Federal
   President, but that also was given by the others, and as far
   as I know, just a military attache came along, asked by Seyss-
   Inquart, because of a technical question" - you will recall
   that he was a Lieutenant-General directed by Goering to go
   along - "he was supposed to ask whether, in case Seyss-Inquart
   asked for the support of German troops, Germany would grant
   this request. Furthermore, I want to state that Seyss-Inquart
   asked us expressly, by 'phone and 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."
   Ribbentrop: Tell me, how is the situation in Vienna; is
   everything settled yet?
   Goering: Yes. Yesterday I landed hundreds of airplanes with
   some companies, in order to secure the airfields, and they
   were received with joy. To-day the advance unit of the 17th
   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 fraternised immediately with
   the German troops, wherever they were stationed."

                                                        [Page 261]

These are quite interesting explanations that the ultimatum was by
Seyss-Inquart alone and not by Goering; that Lieutenant General
Muff, the Military Attache, was along just to answer a technical
question; and that Seyss-Inquart asked expressly by telephone and
telegram for troops. But, perhaps to understand this conversation,
we must try to create again the actual physical scene of the time
and place as Goering talked over the phone. I quote nine lines
from page 11 of the English text, about in the middle, Part "W."

   "Goering: Well, do come! I shall be delighted to see you.
   Ribbentrop: I shall see you this afternoon.
   Goering: 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" - that is Vienna.
   Ribbentrop: That is marvellous."

May it please the Tribunal, I have nearly come to the end of the
material relating to the aggression against Austria. In a moment I
shall take up quite briefly the effect of the Anschluss, some of
the developments which took place after the German troops marched
across the border. What is to come after that is an epilogue, but
before developing the epilogue, it may be appropriate to pause
briefly for just a moment. I think that the facts which I have
related to the Tribunal to-day show plainly certain things about
the defendants involved in the conspiracy, and among the
conspirators who particularly took action in the Austrian matter
were von Papen, Seyss-Inquart, Ribbentrop, von Neurath, and

First I think it is plain that these men were dangerous men. They
used their power without a bridle. They used their power to
override the independence and freedom of others. And they were
more than bullies. They compounded their force with fraud. They
coupled threats with legal technicalities and devious manoeuvres,
wearing a sanctimonious mask to cover that duplicity. I think they
were dangerous men.

In accordance with the directive of 11th March, our document C-
1S2, exhibit USA 77, the German Army crossed the Austrian border
at daybreak, 12th March, 1938. Hitler issued a proclamation to the
German people announcing the invasion, and purporting to justify
it. I refer again to Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, Volume 6,
page 140, number 27, "Proclamation of Hitler." 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 the events of the day. Seyss-
Inquart in his speech declared Article 88 of the Treaty of St.
Germain inoperative. I refer to the speech of Seyss-Inquart at
Linz on 12th March, 1938, as contained in the Dokumente der
Deutschen Politik, Volume 6, 1, page 144, number 28-A, of which I
ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice, and which you will find
translated in our document 2485-PS.

For a view of what was happening in Vienna, I offer in evidence
our document L-292, telegram 70, American Legation, Vienna, to the
American Secretary of State, 12th March,1938 - that is L-292,and I
offer it as exhibit USA 78. I quote it in full.

   "Secretary of State, Wien.
   March 12th, 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
   Continual rumours small German troops movements into Austria
   and impending arrival Austrian Legion. S.S. and S.A. in
   undisputed control in Vienna. Police wear Swastika arm bands,
   von Schuschnigg and Schmidt rumoured arrested. Himmler and Hess
   Signed "Wiley."

                                                        [Page 262]

The law-making machine was put to work immediately on the task of
consolidation. For all of this material I shall merely refer the
Tribunal to the German sources and to the document number of the
English translation, but I think I need not offer these
legislative acts in evidence but shall merely invite the court to
take judicial notice of them.

First, Miklas was forced to resign as President. I refer to
Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, Volume 6, 1, page 147, number 30-
B. Our translation is in our document 2466-PS.

In this connection the Court will no doubt recall Goering's
telephone conversation as shown in document 2949-PS, that in view
of Miklas' delay in appointing Seyss-Inquart, Miklas would be
dismissed. Seyss-Inquart became both Chancellor and President.

He then signed a Federal Constitutional Law of March 12th, 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, German law. I cite for that the Reichsgesetzblatt 1938,
Volume 11 page 237, number 21, a translation of which will be
found in our document 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
provided - by the way, on the constitutional law to which I just
referred there appear as signatories the following names: Adolf
Hitler, Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor; Goering, General Field
Marshal, Reich Minister of Aviation; Frick Reich Minister of the
Interior; von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs; R.
Hess, Deputy Fuehrer.

By annexing Austria into the German Reich, Germany violated
Article 80 of the Treaty of Versailles, which provides, and I

"Germany acknowledges and will respect the independence of Austria
within the Frontier, which may be fixed in a treaty between that
State and the principal Allied and Associated Powers. She agrees
that this independence shall be inalienable."

Similarly, the Austrian action 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 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 10th April, 1938, on the question of reunion, but this was a
mere formality. The plebiscite could only confirm the union
declared in the law. It could not undo Germany's union with and
control over Austria.

To illustrate the way in which legal consolidation was swiftly
assured under conditions of occupation of Austria by troops, it is
not necessary to do more than review some of the acts passed
within the month.

Hitler placed the Austrian Federal Army under his own command and
required all members of the Army to take an oath of allegiance to
Hitler as their Supreme Commander. A translation of the pertinent
document will be found in our 2936-PS, and I refer to the
instruction of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, concerning the
Austrian Federal Army, 13th March, 1938, Dokumente der Deutschen
Politik, Volume 6, 1, page 150.

Public officials of the province of Austria were required to take
an oath of office swearing allegiance to Hitler, Fuehrer of the
German Reich and people. Jewish officials as defined were not
permitted to take the oath.

I refer to "Decree of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor concerning
the administration of oath to the officials of the Province of
Austria, 15th March, 1938,

                                                        [Page 263]

Reichsgesetzblatt, 1938, Volume 1, page 245, number 24, the
translation being in our document 2311-PS.

Hitler and Frick signed a decree applying to Austria various Reich
laws, including the law of 1933 against the formation of new
political parties, and the 1933 law for the Preservation of Unity
of Party and State.

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