The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 3 of 19)

"The march on the former Federal Chancellery, now the Reichsstatthalterei, followed the exact route and time schedule of the original attack. The marchers were met at the Chancellery by the Reichsstatthalter Seyss- Inquart, who addressed them and unveiled a memorial tablet. From the Reichsstatthalterei the Standarte marched to the old RAVAG broadcasting center from which false news of the resignation of Dollfuss had been broadcast, and there unveiled a second memorial tablet. Steinhausl, the present Police President of Vienna, is a member of the S. S. Standarte 89". (L-273)

[Page 458]

The original plaque is now rubble. But a photograph of it was found in The National Library in Vienna. [The photograph was offered in evidence at the trial. See 2968-PS.] The plaque reads: "154 German men of 89 SS Standarte stood up here for Germany on 26 July 1934. Seven found death at the hands of the hangman". The words chosen for this marble tablet, and it may be presumed that they were words chosen carefully, reveal clearly that the men involved were not mere malcontent Austrian revolutionaries, but were regarded as German men, were members of a para-military organization, who stood up here "for Germany." In 1934 Hitler repudiated Dr. Rieth because he "dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason". In 1938 Nazi Germany proudly identified itself with this murder, took credit for it, and took responsibility for it.

(3) The Program Culminating in the Pact of 11 July 1936. In considering the activities of the Nazi conspirators in Austria between 25 July 1934 and November 1937, there is a distinct intermediate point, the Pact of 11 July 1936. Accordingly, developments in the two-year period, July 1934 to July 1936, will first be reviewed.

(a) Continued Aim of Eliminating Austria's Independence Conversation and Activities of von Papen. The Nazi conspirators pretended to respect the independence and sovereignty of Austria, notwithstanding the aim of Anschluss stated in Mein Kampf. But in truth and in fact they were working from the very beginning to destroy the Austrian State.

A dramatic recital of the position of von Papen in this regard is provided in Mr. Messersmith's affidavit. It states:

"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 Southeast. He said that he intended to use his reputation as a good Catholic to gain influence with certain Austrians, such as Cardinal Innitzer, towards

[Page 459]

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 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 ear 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 W 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."


"On the surface, however, German activities consisted principally of efforts to win the support of prominent and influential men through insidious efforts of all kinds, including the- use of the German Diplomatic Mission in Vienna and its facilities and personnel. Von Papen as German Minister entertained frequently and on a lavish scale. He approached almost every member of the Austrian Cabinet, telling them, as several of them later informed me, that Germany w;as bound to prevail in the long run and that they should join the winning side if they wished to enjoy positions of power and influence under German control. Of course, openly and outwardly he gave solemn assurance that Germany would respect Austrian independence and that all that she wished to do was to get rid of elements in the Austrian Government like the Chancellor, Schuschnigg and Starhemberg as head of the Heimwehr and others, and replace them by a few 'nationally-minded' Austrians, which of course meant Nazis. The whole basic effort of von Papen was to bring about Anschluss.

"In early 1935, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger- Waldenegg, informed me that in the course of a conversation with von Papen, the latter had remarked 'Yes, you have your

[Page 460]

French and English friends now and you can have your independence a little longer'. The Foreign Minister, of course, told me this remark in German but the foregoing is an accurate translation. The Foreign Minister told me that he had replied to von Papen 'I am glad to have from your own lips your own opinion which agrees with what your Chief has just said in the Saar and which you have taken-such pains to deny.'

"Von Papen undoubtedly achieved some successes, particularly with men like Glaise-Horstenau and others who had long favored the 'Grossdeutschum' idea, but who nevertheless had been greatly disturbed by the fate of the Catholic Church. Without conscience or scruple, von Papen exploited his reputation and that of his wife as ardent and devout Catholics to overcome the fears of these Austrians in this respect." (1760-PS)

(b) Continued Existence of Nazi Organizations with a Program of Armed Preparedness. The wiles of von Papen represented only one part of the total program of the Nazi conspiracy. At the same time Nazi activities in Austria, forced underground during this period, were carried on.

Mr. Messersmith's affidavit discloses the following: The Nazi organization, weakened in the events following the putsch, began reorganization work. An informant furnished the Austrian Government with a memorandum of a meeting of Austrian Nazi chiefs held in Bavaria, September, 1934. The memorandum shows that they agreed to prepare for new terroristic acts, to proceed brutally against persons cooperating with the Schuschnigg Government when the next action against the Government took place, and to appear disposed to negotiate but to arm for the struggle. A copy of this memorandum was furnished to Mr. Messersmith. At the same time the Austrian Legion was kept in readiness in Germany. This large, organized hostile group constituted a continuing menace for Austria. (1760-PS)

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