The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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By this time the cabinet of which von Papen was a member,
and to which he had given all his strength, had abolished
civil liberties; had sanctioned political murder committed
in aid of Nazism's seizure of power; had destroyed all rival
political parties; had enacted the basic laws for abolition
of the political influence of the Federal States ; had
provided the legislative basis for purging the Civil Service
and judiciary of anti-Nazi elements; and had embarked upon a
State policy of persecution of the Jews.

Papen's words are words of hollow mockery: "The good Lord
has blessed Germany ."

                                                  [Page 106]

The third allegation against the defendant Papen is that he
promoted preparations for war. Knowing as he did the basic
programme of the Nazi Party, it is inconceivable that, as
Vice-Chancellor for a year and a half, he could have been
dissociated from the conspirators' warlike preparations; he,
of whom Hitler wrote to Hindenberg on 10 April 1933 that
"his collaboration in the Reich Cabinet for which he now
offers all his strength is infinitely valuable."

The fourth allegation against Papen is that he participated
in the political planning and preparations for wars of
aggression and wars in violation of international treaties.
In Papen's case this allegation is really the story of the
Anschluss. His part in that was a preparation for wars of
aggression in two senses: first, that the Anschluss was the
necessary preliminary step to all the subsequent armed
aggressions; second, that, even if it can be contended that
the Anschluss was in fact achieved without aggression, it
was planned in such a way that it would have been achieved
by aggression if that had been necessary.

I need do no more than summarise Papen's Austrian
activities, since the whole story of the Anschluss has been
described to the Tribunal already, though, with the
Tribunal's permission I would like to read again two short
passages of a particularly personal nature regarding Papen.
But, before I deal with Papen's activities in Austria, there
is one matter that I feel I ought not to omit to mention to
the Tribunal.

On 18 June 1934 Papen made his remarkable speech at Marburg
University. I do not propose to put it in evidence, nor is
it in the document book, because it is a matter of history,
and in what I say I do not intend to commit myself in regard
to the motives and consequences of his speech, which are not
free from mystery, but I will say this : that as far as
concerns the subject matter of Papen's Marburg speech, it
was an outspoken criticism of the Nazis. One must imagine
that the Nazis were furiously angry and, although he escaped
death in the Blood Purge twelve days later, he was put under
arrest for three days. Whether this arrest was originally
intended to end in execution or whether it was to protect
him from the Purge as one too valuable to be lost, I do not
now inquire. After his release from arrest he not
unnaturally, resigned his Vice-Chancellorship. Now the
question that arises - and this is why I mention the matter
at this point - is: why after these barbaric events did he
ever go back into the service of the Nazis again? What an
opportunity missed! If he had stopped then, he might have
saved the world much suffering. Suppose that Hitler's own
Vice-Chancellor, just released from arrest, had defied the
Nazis and told the world the truth. There might never have
been a reoccupation of the Rhineland; there might never have
been a war. But I must not speculate. The lamentable fact is
that he slipped back, he succumbed again to the fascination
of Hitler.

After the murder of Chancellor Dollfuss only three weeks
later, on 25 July 1934, the situation was such as to call
for the removal of the German Minister Rieth, and for the
prompt substitution of a man who was an enthusiast for the
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 to the murder of Dollfuss was immediate.
He chose his man as soon as he heard the news. The very next
day, 26 July, he sent von Papen a letter of appointment.
This is on Page 37 of the English document book; it is
Document 2799-PS and it has already been judicially noticed
by the Tribunal. Mr. Alderman read the letter, and I wish to
refer only to the personal remarks toward the end. Hitler in
this letter, after reciting his version of the Dollfuss
affair, and expressing his desire that Austrian-German
relations should be brought again into normal and friendly
channels, says in the third paragraph

                                                  [Page 107]

   "For this reason I request you, dear Herr 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."

And the last paragraph of the letter

   "Thanking you once more for all that you once did for
   the co-ordination of the Government of the National
   Revolution and, since then, together with us, for

THE PRESIDENT: This might be a good time to break off for
ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

MAJOR BARRINGTON: My Lord, I had just read from the letter
of appointment as Minister in Vienna which Hitler sent to
von Papen on 26 July 1934. This letter, which, of course,
was made public, naturally did not disclose the real
intention of von Papen's appointment. The actual mission of
von Papen was frankly stated shortly after his arrival in
Vienna in the course of a private conversation he had with
the American Minister, Mr. Messersmith. I quote from Mr.
Messersmith's affidavit, which is Document 1760-PS, Exhibit
USA 57, and it is on Page 22 of the document book, just
about half way through the second paragraph: Mr. Messersmith

  "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
  South-eastern 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
  weakening 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, toward,
  that end."

Throughout the earlier period of his mission to Austria, von
Papen's activity was characterised by the assiduous
avoidance of any appearance of intervention. His true
mission was re-affirmed with clarity several months after it
began, when he was instructed by Berlin that "during the
next two years nothing can be undertaken which will give
Germany external political difficulties" and that every
appearance of German intervention in Austrian affairs must
be avoided; and, von Papen himself stated to Berger-
Waldenegg, an Austrian Foreign Minister: "Yes, you have your
French and English friends now, and you can have your
independence a little longer." All of that was told in
detail by Mr. Alderman, again quoting from Mr. Messersmith's

Throughout this earlier-period, the Nazi movement was
gaining strength in Austria without openly admitted German
intervention, and Germany needed more time to consolidate
her diplomatic position. These reasons for German policy
were frankly expressed by the German Foreign Minister von
Neurath, in conversation with the American Ambassador to
France. This was read into the transcript at Page 520 by Mr.
Alderman from Document L- 150, Exhibit USA 65. (Part 1, p.

The defendant von Papen accordingly restricted his
activities to the normal ambassadorial function of
cultivating all respectable elements in Austria, and
ingratiating himself in these circles. Despite his facade of
strict non-intervention, von Papen remained in contact with
subversive elements in Austria. Thus, in his report to
Hitler, dated 17 May 1935, he gave advice about

                                                  [Page 108]

Austrian-Nazi strategy as proposed by Captain Leopold,
Leader of the illegal Austrian Nazis, the object of which
was to trick Dr. Schuschnigg into establishing an Austrian
coalition government with the Nazi Party. This is Document
2247-PS, Exhibit USA 64. (Part 1, pp. 231, 232). It is on
Page 34 of the English document book. I do not want to read
this letter again, but I would like to call the attention of
the Tribunal to the first line of what appears as the second
paragraph in the English text, where von Papen, talking
about this strategy of Captain Leopold, says, "I suggest
that we take an active part in this game."

I  mention also in connection with the illegal organisations
in Austria, Document 812-PS, Exhibit USA 61, which the
Tribunal will remember was a report from Rainer to Nickel.

Eventually the agreement of 11 July 1936 between Germany and
Austria was negotiated by von Papen. This is already in
evidence as TC-22, Exhibit GB 20. The public form of this
agreement provides that, while Austria in her policy should
regard herself as a German State, yet Germany would
recognise her full sovereignty, and would not exercise
direct or indirect influence on her inner political order.
More interesting was the secret part of the agreement,
revealed by Mr. Messersmith, which ensured the Nazis an
influence in the Austrian cabinet and participation in her
political life.

After the Agreement the defendant von Papen continued to
pursue his policy by maintaining contact with the illegal
Nazis, by trying to influence appointments to strategic
cabinet positions, and by attempting to secure official
recognition of Nazi front organisations. Reporting to Hitler
on 1 September 1936, he summarised his programme for
normalising Austrian-German relations in pursuance of the
agreement of 11 July. This is Document 2246-PS, Exhibit USA
67, on Page 33 of the English document book.

The Tribunal will recall that he recommended "as a guiding
principle, continued, patient, psychological manipulations
with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the
regime." Then he mentions his discussion with the illegal
party and says that he is aiming at "corporative
representation of the movement in the Fatherland Front, but
nevertheless refraining from putting National-Socialists in
important positions for the time being.

There is no need to go over again the events that led up to
the meeting of Schuschnigg with Hitler in February 1938,
which von Papen arranged and which he attended, and to the
final invasion of Austria in March 1938. It is enough if I
quote from the Biography again on Page 66 of the document
book. It is about two-thirds of the way down the page:

   "After the events of March 1938, which caused Austria's
   incorporation into the German Reich, von Papen had the
   satisfaction of being present at the Fuehrer's side when
   the entry into Vienna took place, having just been
   admitted on 14 February 1938 into the Party in
   recognition of his valuable collaboration, and having
   received the Golden Party Badge from the Fuehrer."

And the Biography continues:

   "At first von Papen retired to his estate Wallerfargen
   in the Saar district, but soon the Fuehrer required his
   services again, and on 18 April 1939 appointed von Papen
   German Ambassador in Ankara."

Thus the fascination of serving Hitler triumphed once again,
and this time it was at a date when the seizure of
Czechoslovakia could have left no shadow of doubt in Papen's
mind that Hitler was determined to pursue his programme of

One further quotation from the Biography, on Page 66, the
last sentence of the last paragraph but one:

   "After his return to the Reich" - that was in 1944 -
   "von Papen was awarded the Knight's Cross of the War
   Merit Order with Swords."

                                                  [Page 109]

In conclusion, I draw the Tribunal's attention again to the
fulsome praises which Hitler publicly bestowed upon von
Papen for his services, especially in the earlier days. I
have given two instances, where Hitler said "his
collaboration is infinitely valuable," and again "You
possess my most complete and unlimited confidence."

Papen, the ex-Chancellor, the soldier, the respected
Catholic, Papen the diplomat, Papen the man of breeding and
culture - there was the man who could overcome the hostility
and antipathy of those respectable elements who barred
Hitler's way. Papen was - to repeat the words of Sir Hartley
Shawcross in his opening speech - "One of the men whose co-
operation and support made the Nazi Government of Germany

That concludes my case. Sir David Maxwell Fyfe will now
follow with the case of von Neurath.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, the
presentation against the defendant von Neurath falls into
five parts, and the first of these is concerned with the
following positions and honours which he held.

He was a member of the Nazi Party from 30 January 1937 until
1945, and he was awarded the Golden Party Badge on 30
January 1937.

He was General in the SS. He was personally appointed
Gruppenfuehrer by Hitler in September 1937 and promoted to
Obergruppenfuehrer on 21 June 1943.

He was Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs under the
Chancellorship of the defendant von Papen from 2 June 1932,
and under the Chancellorship of Hitler from 30 January 1933
until he was replaced by the defendant von Ribbentrop on 4
February 1938.

He was Reich Minister from 4 February 1938 until May 1945.

He was President of the Secret Cabinet Council, to which he
was appointed on 4 February 1938, and he was a member of the
Reich Defence Council.

He was appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia
from 18 March 1939 until he was replaced by the defendant
Frick on 25 August 1943.

He was awarded the Adler-orden by Hitler at the time of his
appointment as Reich Protector. The defendant Ribbentrop was
the only other German to receive this decoration.

If the Tribunal please, these facts are collected in
Document 2972-PS, which is Exhibit USA 19, and in that
document, which is signed by the defendant and his counsel,
the defendant makes comments on certain of these matters
with which I should like to deal.

He says that the award of the Golden Party Badge was made on
30 January 1937 against his will and without his being

I point out that this defendant not only refrained from
repudiating the allegedly unwanted honour, but, after
receiving it, attended meetings at which wars of aggression
were planned, actively participated in the rape of Austria,
and tyrannised over Bohemia and Moravia.

The second point is that his appointment as Gruppenfuehrer
was also against his will and without his being asked.

On that point, the prosecution submits that the wearing of
the uniform, the receipt of the further promotion to
Obergruppenfuehrer, and the actions against Bohemia and
Moravia must be considered when the defendant's submission
is examined.

He then says that his appointment as Foreign Minister was by
Reichs-president von Hindenburg.

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