The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 2 of 19)

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 26 July 1934, which makes the following observations. First, Ambassador Dodd noted that in February, 1934, Ernst Hanfstaengl had advised him that he had brought what was virtually an order from Mussolini to Hitler to leave Austria alone and to dismiss and 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

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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 living 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 Habicht was still making radio speeches about the necessity 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,

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Page 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:

"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 consent 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,
Adolf Hitler."

Four years later, on 25 July 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

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world already knew-that they were identified with and sponsors of the murder of the former Chancellor. A dispatch from the American Consul General in Vienna to the Secretary of State, dated 26 July 1938, relates to the Nazis' celebration of the murder of Dollfuss, held on 24 July 1938 and 25 July 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 SS Standarte 89, which made the attack on the Chancellery in 1934a 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 lagenfurt 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 'Iying foreign press' and on those who spread the idea of a new war. The world was fortunate, declared Hessr 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 provocators, 'completely ignoring the deliberate threat to peace of certain small states,' deceitfully claim that he is a menace to the peace of Europe.

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