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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV

                                                  [Page 939]

(1) Von Papen accepted appointment a envoy at Vienna knowing
he would "front" for a Nazi fifth column in Austria. In July
1934, the Austrian policy of the Nazi government of Germany
was in bad odor throughout the civilized world. The
historical record of this period was written in the
newspaper headlines of the day. A period of Nazi pressure
and terror culminated on 25 July 1934 in an attempted
revolutionary putsch, the murder of the Austrian Chancellor
Dollfuss, in which the German Minister, Reith, was
implicated. (See Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression
Against Austria.) The situation was such as to call for
removal of the German Minister, Reith, and for the prompt
substitution of a man who was an enthusiast for Anschluss
with Germany, who could be tolerant of Nazi objectives and
methods, but who could lend an aura of respectability to
official German representation in Vienna. Hitler's reaction
was immediate. He chose von Papen as quickly as he heard the
news of the Dollfuss murder. Writing of this event in 1945
after his arrest by Allied authorities, von Papen
dramatically describes the Fuehrer's response to the
situation (monograph on "Austria" referred to above):

     "Suddenly, at three o'clock in the morning, there was a
     loud ringing of my doorbell. SS men demanded admission.
     My son and I were of the opinion that I-was going to be
     imprisoned. We went to the front door armed with
     pistols. Our suspicions were unfounded. The SS men
     declared that they had come from the Chancellery with
     the order to put through a telephone connection between
     Hitler and myself. "Hitler was in Bayreuth and had been
     trying for hours without success to get in touch with
     me. The connection was made.

     "Hitler started, 'You know of course what has happened
     in Vienna. You must go there immediately and try to set
     things in order.'
     "I replied, 'I have no idea what has happened in
     Vienna. I have just returned from the country and I
     don't understand what you want with me in Vienna. I am
     in the act of packing my trunk to leave Berlin once and
     for all.'
     "Hitler, highly excited, gave thereupon a short
                                                  [Page 940]
     of the dramatic events in Vienna which led to the
     murder of Dollfuss, and continued, 'You are the only
     person who can save the situation. I implore you to
     carry out my request.'"

As a result of this telephone call, von Papen flew
immediately to join Hitler at Bayreuth. There it was clear
that the Nazi leadership feared international repercussions
from their Austrian policy and felt themselves in dire need
of a respectable "front" man. Von Papen has described this

     "There I found Hitler and his entire entourage, excited
     as an ant-hill. It was difficult to get anything
     approaching an exact picture of the Vienna 'Putsch' and
     the role of Hitler's promoters. Even if one had come
     into this gathering in complete ignorance of the
     different circumstances involved, one could have
     gathered with one look that they had a very bad
     conscience and now were fearing the consequences. From
     the very first moment I was certain that the immoderate
     policy of the Austrian NSDAP under the leadership of
     Hitler's condottiere, Habig, had led to this coup
     "This was, then, a few days after the 30 June, the
     second bloody excess of the Party which had promised to
     bring Germany by peaceful means to social tranquility,
     welfare, and respect. It was obvious that both events
     had made a deep impression on the entire world, and
     that the governmental methods of the Party must damage
     most seriously the political credit of the Reich".

At this meeting it was Papen himself who drafted the letter
of appointment. This letter was a masterpiece of deceit,
calculated to conceal completely Hitler and Papen's goal of
annexation. It stated:

     "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. Reith, 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
     "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
                                                  [Page 941]
     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
     "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 once more for all that you have at a time
     done for the coordination of the Government of the
     National Revolution and since then together with us for
     Germany, I remain." (2799-PS).

The actual mission of von Papen was stated more frankly,
shortly after his arrival in Vienna, in the course of a
private conversation with the American Minister, George S.
Messersmith. Mr. Messersmith has described this meeting:

     "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. He
     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 South East. 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
                                                  [Page 942]
     say and of course I was prepared to hear 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 this conversation was
     between us and that he would, of course, not be talking
     to others so clearly about his objectives. I have gone
     into this detail with regard to this conversation as it
     is characteristic of the absolute frankness and
     directness with which high Nazi officials spoke of
     their objectives." (1760-PS)

(2) Von Papen proceeded forthwith to accomplish his mission
-- the maintenance of an outward appearance of non-
intervention while keeping appropriate contacts useful in
the eventual overthrow of the Austrian Government.
Throughout the earlier period of his mission to Austria, von
Papen's activity was characterized by the assiduous
avoidance of any appearance of intervention. His true
mission was reaffirmed with clarity, several months after
its commencement, when he was instructed by Berlin that
"during the next two years nothing can be undertaken which
will give Germany external political difficulties". Every
"appearance" of German interference in Austrian affairs
"must be avoided" (1760-PS). As von Papen himself stated to
Berger-Waldenegg, the Austrian Foreign Minister:

     "Yes, you have your French and English friends now and
     you can have your independence a little longer." (1760-

Throughout this period, the Nazi movement was gaining
strength in Austria without openly-admitted German
intervention, and Germany needed more time to consolidate
its diplomatic position. These reasons for German policy
were frankly expressed by the German Foreign Minister von
Neurath in conversation with the American Ambassador to

Von Papen accordingly restricted his public activity to the
normal ambassadorial function of cultivating all respectable
elements in Austria and ingratiating himself in these circle
particularly if they were well-disposed (but not too
obviously) to notions of Pan-Germanism. In these efforts he
was particularly careful to exploit his background as a
former professional officer and a Catholic (1760-PS).

Meanwhile, however, the Austrian Nazis continued illegal
organization in anticipation of he possibility of securing

                                                  [Page 943]
objectives by force if necessary. In these efforts they were
aided by Germany, which permitted the outlawed Austrian
Nazis to meet and perfect their plots within Germany and
with German Nazi assistance; which harbored the Austrian
Legion; which made funds-available to National Socialists in
Austria; and which established appropriate contact with them
through the Reich Propaganda Ministry and through
"respectable" Austrian "front" personalities (1760-PS; 812-
PS). (See also Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against

Von Papen was fully aware of the existence and activities of
these groups, and of their potentialities in effecting an
Anschluss. Thus, in a report to Hitler dated 27 July 1935,
entitled "Reflections on the Anniversary of Dollfuss'
Death", he reviewed the activities of these illegal groups
and concluded that National Socialism could "certainly
become the rallying point of all racially German units
beyond the borders". In this report he declared:

     "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).

These sentiments concerning the role of National Socialism
were something more than idle speculation. Von Papen knew
that the presence of the Austrian Legion in Germany in
itself produced incidents, and that the Austrian Nazi
movement was dependent on German support. He has so
testified (at an interrogation in Nurnberg, 13 October
1945). In fact, despite his facade of strict non-
intervention, he remained in contact with subversive and
potentially subversive elements within Austria. Thus, in a
report to Hitler dated 17 May 1935 he advised concerning the
Austrian Nazi strategy as proposed by Captain Leopold,
leader of the illegal Austrian Nazis (2247-PS). In
subsequent statements he has revealed his modus operandi in
the use of his embassy staff. This method provided him with
an opportunity to disclaim responsibility if these
activities should be questioned. Thus, his military attache,
Mutz, "maintained good relations with the Army circles which
were inclined towards National Socialism". Von Papen's all-
around contact man with the Austrian Nazis was a member of
his staff, Baron von Kettler, who "had always maintained
intimate contact with a group of young Austrian National
Socialists who, as we both agreed, had a conservative
coating and fought for a healthy development within the
Party". The practical effect of these contacts has been
clarified in questioning of von Papen (at Nurnberg, 8
October 1945):

     " *** A. As I told you, I charged one of my younger
                                                  [Page 944]
     people of the Embassy, von Kettler -- he was made the
     go-between with these Nazi people, to smooth them down
     and talk with them. Personally I had not very much to
     do with them.
     "Q. Well, I know that. That is what you always said.
     But the result of your time in Austria was that their
     interests were furthered through your office. Whether
     you did it personally or somebody working for you did
     it, I don't think it is too important for what we have
     in mind here tonight; do you?

     "Q. Now, isn't it a fact that their interests were
     furthered through your office, if not through you as an
     individual during those years that you were there?
     "A. Yes, I wanted to know about their doings, you see.
     I must have been informed what was going on."

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