The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 231]
                                                            
HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FOURTH DAY

TUESDAY, 23rd JULY, 1946

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yesterday I stopped at the point where I was
describing what Papen did in the course of the measures of
30th June. I mentioned his resignation, his refusal to co-
operate in any way. I shall continue at the bottom of Page
46, the last paragraph.

On the positive side he strives to make the Wehrmacht
intervene. He appeals to his friend General von Fritsch.
Blomberg, owing to his attitude, is out of the question.
Fritsch will not act except on the express orders of the
Reich President. Papen then endeavours to contact
Hindenburg. But Hindenburg's entourage keep him off. All
access to his estate Neudeck is blocked by SS guards. Papen
sends his secretary Ketteler to Hindenburg's neighbour and
old friend, Herr von Oldenburg, in order to obtain access to
Hindenburg by this means, but that attempt also fails. He
sees to what an extent Hindenburg has obviously been
influenced when the latter publicly approves of Hitler's
conduct, on 30th June, in an official telegram.

What steps were left for Papen to take with the prospect of
even moderate success?

In his negotiations with Hitler he had tried to put matters
on a legal basis. His attempts to mobilize the only factor
of power, the Wehrmacht, had failed. Hindenburg was
unapproachable; his advisers had evidently influenced him in
the opposite direction.

The prosecution holds that this was the time for Papen to
refer openly to the criminal events of 30th June; by so
doing he could have brought about the collapse of the entire
Nazi system. That assertion is untenable. Apart from the
fact that, as we have demonstrated, Papen had no longer any
possibility of making an official statement of this nature,
subsequent developments in Germany have made it plain that
no individual protest of the kind would have had any effect
on Hitler's power either at home or abroad. Hitler's
prestige in Germany was already so great - and it increased
as time went on - that such a protest, assuming that it
reached the public at all, would certainly have found no
support from the masses of the population. The great masses
saw only the economic improvement and the strengthening of
Germany's position abroad, and only a comparatively small
number of them realised the true danger of this development.
Foreign countries were, for the most part, better informed
of the events of 30th June than were the Germans themselves.
A statement by Papen would not have made matters clearer to
the German people. No conclusions were drawn from the
available knowledge by foreign countries either at that time
or later.

The prosecution even believes that such a step might have
led to the reoccupation of the Rhineland by the French. I
cannot imagine on what the prosecution bases this assertion.
It is contradicted by the fact that later events not
connected with internal politics but vitally affecting other
countries - e.g. the introduction of compulsory military
service and the occupation of the Rhineland - called forth
no military reaction.

By his resignation and his ostentatious failure to attend
Cabinet and Reichstag sessions, Papen made it clear to the
public that he was opposed to the development. His conduct
was a public protest against the measures of 30th June and
their

                                                  [Page 232]

perpetrator. The prosecution cannot deny these outward
signs, which are historical facts. It attempts; therefore,
to construct an antithesis between his outward behaviour and
his mental attitude. The only material at its disposal for
that purpose is the letters addressed by Papen to Hitler in
July. Even if the real nature and purpose of these letters
were not clearly discernible from their contents, as in fact
is the case, such an attempt would fail in any case in face
of the facts just stated, since the means at hand were, from
their very nature, inadequate.

In this connection, I would like to make the following
comments:

What reason could Papen have had for assuming in public a
hostile attitude to Hitler during his Vice-Chancellorship
and during the events of 30th June, if he was in fact his
loyal follower?

What reason could Hitler have who, according to the
prosecution, conspired with Papen - and this, after all,
would only be a result of the conspiracy - for desiring
this? Could Hitler have wished Papen to disclose in his
Marburg speech all the weaknesses and abuses of the Nazi
system? What reason could Hitler have had for wishing Papen
to remain so obviously aloof from the lawless proceedings of
30th June? It could only have been in line with his policy
for the unity between Vice-Chancellor and Reich Chancellor
to be maintained before the public also. If these points are
taken into consideration, there is only one possible
conclusion: There is no logical basis for the prosecution's
interpretation of Papen's mental attitude.

This thesis of unconditional obedience to Hitler, despite
certain facts apparently indicating the contrary, explained
away as being actually for purposes of camouflage, is again
applied by the prosecution to Papen's acceptance of the
Vienna post.

Before discussing this problem, let me briefly state the
following: In my opinion, the final development in the
Austrian question, which happened after Papen's recall and
undoubtedly without his co-operation, namely, the marching
in on 12th March, 1938, does not represent a crime in the
sense of the Charter either. The Charter considers as
punishable the preparation and waging of a war of aggression
or a war violating international treaties. In the three
counts of the Indictment, the Charter confines itself to the
arraignment of what appears to be the gravest crime with its
terrible and all-embracing consequences: The forbidden war
of aggression itself, the crimes against the laws regulating
the conduct of warfare, the crimes against humanity in their
most brutal form, the immeasurable consequences of these
grave actions - all these things have justified this unusual
trial. The Charter does not charge the Tribunal with the
punishment of all the injustices which have occurred in the
course of the development of National Socialism. In
particular it does not charge the Tribunal with the task of
investigating every political measure in order to determine
whether it was necessary or permissible. Such a task is no
part of the functions of this Tribunal, if only for
technical reasons and for lack of the necessary time. It is
not the task of the Tribunal to examine whether or not
international treaties were observed. This question is only
of importance if wars were caused or if the crimes of
violence which are to be described in detail have to be
accounted for. The march into Austria is not a war, however
far one stretches the meaning of the term from the
standpoint of International Law. Here the sole decisive
factor is that no force was employed, and not the slightest
resistance offered, but that, on the contrary, the troops
were received with jubilation. Furthermore, the march into
Austria cannot be considered in connection with the later
acts of aggression. It was a special case based on the
special situation, indicated by the fact that since 1918
efforts had been made by both the Austrians and the Germans
to effect some kind of constitutional union between the
barely viable Austrian State and Germany.

Therefore, the actual events must be considered apart from
Hitler's war plans \ and even from his purely military plans
of preparation, with which I shall deal later, and must be
regarded as the solution of a political problem which had

                                                  [Page 233]
                                                            
become acute and the result of which had always been
desired. by both sides, independently of Hitler.

Papen's activity in Vienna is clearly characterised by three
episodes: the circumstances of his appointment on 26th July,
1934; his letter to Hitler dated 16th July, 1936 (Defence
Document 71), after the conclusion of the July agreement;
and his recall on 4th February, 1938.

The following circumstances led to his appointment:

A crucial event had occurred. Dollfuss had been murdered;
not only were Austro-German relations strained, but they had
reached an extremely dangerous stage of development. The
international situation was menacing. Italy was mobilising
at the Brenner. It was to be feared that Austria would now
turn finally to one of the groups of powers interested. A
situation which would definitely and finally render
impossible the maintenance of even tolerable relations
between Germany and Austria seemed to be impending.

In this difficult situation, Hitler obviously thought it
necessary to discard his objections to Papen's person and to
entrust him with the mission in Vienna. Papen was
particularly fitted to initiate a policy designed to
overcome the deadlock caused by the assassination of
Dollfuss. In the Cabinet, Papen had always been in favour of
developing friendly relations in the matter of Austria.
Papen had an international reputation as being the
representative of a reasonable policy of mutual
understanding.

Papen naturally had strong misgivings in taking over this
post. His recent experiences in home politics, his personal
attitude to his own and his colleagues' treatment on 30th
June, his attitude to the murder of Dollfuss, with whom he
had remained on the most friendly terms, were against his
accepting the post. It was therefore a very difficult
decision for Papen to make; but the consideration that he
alone was in a position to fulfil this task of genuine
appeasement was bound to outweigh everything else. Could he
assume that any other man had the necessary strength of will
as well as the power to ensure that the way of appeasement
now begun would be followed to the end? The personal
independence which he himself enjoyed could not be expected
of a German Foreign Office official, much less of a Party
man. Papen brought experience from his post as Vice-
Chancellor. He knew the difficulties of convincing Hitler by
arguments of fact alone. He alone had any prospect of
ensuring a consistent peace policy in the future, in spite
of the opposition of Hitler's extremist advisers. On the
other hand, he had learned caution from his experiences. He
stated conditions and demanded the establishment of a clear
policy based on facts. He demanded that no further influence
be exerted on the Austrian Nazi movement and that this be
ensured in the first place by the dismissal of the man who
had played a direct or indirect part in the criminal act:
Landesleiter Habicht. He asked that he himself should be
subordinated to Hitler personally in order to enable him to
ensure compliance with the conditions which he had proposed
and to avoid their being weakened by administrative
departments. He succeeded in doing something ordinarily
impossible in relations with the head of the State: the
conditions under which he accepted the post of an Ambassador
were laid down in writing. They were signed by Hitler. He
wanted always to be in a position to force Hitler to keep to
his written word.

We obtain a clear picture of these events through the
testimonies given by witnesses, particularly by the
statement made by von Tschirschky, a man who, as the
prosecution has stated, is certainly not suspected of
viewing the defendant in a favourable light.

The prosecution asserts that Papen, as a faithful follower
of Hitler's already known plans of aggression, had, from
motives of sheer opportunism, eagerly and willingly accepted
the new post. On the other hand; can the form of the
appointment and the extreme precautions taken by the
defendant really harmonise with such an attitude? These
secret conferences, this unpublished document signed by
Hitler and which was in Papen's possession, cannot really be
regarded as a

                                                  [Page 234]

pretence made in order to create a false impression, as the
charge made by the prosecution would infer. These things
were not intended to be publicised and were in fact never
made public.

The circumstances connected with his acceptance of the
Vienna post can only lead us to conclude that Papen was
sincerely anxious to maintain the appeasement policy agreed
upon. It is absurd to speak of opportunism in this
connection. Papen had declined the position of Ambassador to
the Vatican. The position of Ambassador in Vienna was hardly
an attractive post of honour for a former Reich Chancellor
and recent Vice-Chancellor. The soundness of Papen's own
financial situation excluded all thought of material
motives.

Papen's letter of 16th July, 1936, to Hitler is a report on
the success of his many years of work in the interests of a
settled peaceful relationship between both countries. The
treaty of 11th July, 1936, put the seal upon this. There can
be no question as to the value of this document as evidence.
It gives a clear account of Papen's assignment and the way
in which he carried it out. Papen points out that the task
for which he was called to Vienna on 26th July, 1934, is now
concluded. He considers his work as finished with the
conclusion of the Treaty.

There can be no clearer proof of the truth of Papen's
statement in regard to his task and the way in which it was
carried out than that furnished by this letter. And yet,
what far-fetched and dubious motives have been imputed to
him in connection with this mission. He is said to have
acted as Hitler's willing tool in accepting the task of
preparing and carrying out the forcible annexation of
Austria. He is said to have been instructed to undermine the
Schuschnigg Government and to co-operate for this purpose
with the illegal Nazi movement in Austria. Everything he did
with a view to mutual appeasement is described as camouflage
to help him to carry out his underground plans.

And here is a report of his work which is addressed to his
employer and is beyond suspicion. Is it also camouflage,
intended to create an impression entirely incompatible with
the facts - this letter, found by the Allied troops in the
secret archives of the Reich Chancellery, and now placed by
the prosecution at the disposal of the defence counsel in a
manner which deserves our gratitude?

The third episode which clearly indicates the nature of
Papen's activity in Vienna is his recall on 4th February,
1938. The numerous recalls and appointments made on that
date clearly showed reorganisation of the most important
military and political posts. The identity of the military
men and diplomats recalled makes clear what the sole reason
was for the unusual and extensive changes made at that time.
If Hitler at the same time recalled Papen from his post,
without any other definite cause for doing so, entirely
unexpectedly and without giving reason, this clearly proves
that Hitler, embarking upon a foreign policy of extremism,
no longer considered Papen the right man for Vienna.

These three points are in themselves sufficient and
unequivocal proof of the peaceful nature of Papen's
activities throughout the entire duration of his Austrian
mission. As the prosecution, however, tries in this case
also to interpret isolated incidents in a manner
unfavourable to Papen, I shall briefly consider this period
also.

We see Papen engaged in a steady struggle with the illegal
movement. The charge that he had conspired with it is best
refuted ad absurdum by the fact that plans made by the
illegal movement, and stated by Foreign Minister Schmidt to
be genuine, reveal that members of this same illegal
movement had planned to murder Papen. The documentary
evidence from the available reports sent by Papen to Hitler
also points in one direction only. This, too, is absolutely
clear proof, since the routine reports regularly made to
Hitler certainly exclude any possibility of deliberate
deception of the public. It is regrettable that the reports
could not be found in their entirety, so as to furnish us
with a clear and complete historical picture of Papen's
activities. Only a fraction of the reports are in our hands.
But if Papen sent carbon copies of all his reports abroad at
the end of his

                                                  [Page 235]

period of activity, as the evidence has shown that he did
do, it could only have been in order to justify his policy
of appeasement in the eyes of history. This constitutes
absolutely clear proof that his policy as shown in the
complete series of reports must have been a policy contrary
to the development effected by other parties in March, 1938.

All the witnesses who have appeared in court, and who could
give information on conditions in Austria, have stated under
oath that Papen's policy was a policy of appeasement which
opposed any attempts made by the illegal movement to
interfere in politics.

Does the prosecution's presentation allow us to draw any
conclusions contrary to this? Papen, by reason of his
position as German Ambassador and in accordance with the
treaty concluded with Austria, had to maintain a certain
external connection with members of the Austrian Nazi
movement - a connection which was in no way secret, which
was purely for purposes of observation, and which was
necessary to enable him to fulfil his obligation to report
to Berlin on actual conditions in Austria. If he had
actually collaborated with the illegal movement in the way
the prosecution states he did, this would most certainly
have been mentioned in his reports to Berlin. He does not
work out any secret plans with the illegal movement.

On the contrary, we see him openly negotiating with the
Austrian Government over the part to be played by the
national opposition in the work of government, as agreed
upon in the July Treaty. Finally, we have in Rainer's
report, which lies before us, the written history of the
illegal movement, and we see their activities proceeding
during those years without the slightest co-operation of or
support from Papen.

What conclusions can be drawn to the disadvantage of the
defendant from the fact that he was interested in the
activities of the Austrian Freedom Union (Freiheitsbund)
when this Union is described as representing a Nazi trade
union Austrian organization which was thought to be willing
to follow Schuschnigg and to support his Cabinet? What
conclusions can be drawn to the disadvantage of the
defendant from the fact that he also carefully watched the
Government of Austria and reported on it to Berlin? Or when
in this connection he expressed a wish that this or that
combination may favour the development of friendly relations
with Austria?

During the cross-examination the prosecution presented
reports from foreign agencies abroad which Papen forwarded
to Berlin. They believe that Papen had learned the contents
of these reports. This supposition must be wrong. The object
of sending reports made by the foreign secret service to
Berlin for purposes of information is clear. In addition,
the following facts must be established. Papen also made a
special point of forwarding to Berlin those documents
containing criticism of conditions in Germany which came
into his hands. The witnesses Gisevius and Lahousen have
pointed out that Hitler was incorrectly or insufficiently
informed by his closest co-workers. The critical reports
originating abroad which Papen sent directly to Hitler could
fulfil the aim of drawing Hitler's attention to abuses and
of making him abolish them, and they were intended to do so.
This is particularly often the case with statements about
anti-clerical conditions in Germany. The same applies to the
reports on the activity of the Gestapo in the Tschirschky
case. These have already been mentioned in the course of
cross-examination. Some of Papen's regular reports to Hitler
also deal with conditions in neighbouring States. Inspection
of their contents shows that these reports deal entirely
with problems directly connected with Austria's foreign
policy in the Balkans and therefore forming part of the
assignment of the accredited ambassador in Vienna.


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