The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 8 of 19)

(b) Nazi Demands and Demonstrations. The Nazi demanded even more open recognition. In January 1937 Captain Leopold submitted a memorandum of demands. They are listed in Mr. Messersmith's affidavit (1760-PS). They were not formally received by the Austrian Cabinet, but they were known to and considered by the Cabinet. They included the following demands: (1) An amnesty for all punishments or privations suffered for National Socialist or National activity or sympathy; (2) equal treatment for National Socialists, including freedom of political activity and cultural activity; (3) abolition of laws and sanctions used by the Government against Nazi activity. The memorandum advocated cooperation on the basis of political principles including: A broadening of the Patriotic Front; changes in the Cabinet; an alliance with the Reich; common racial stock as a politiCal aim; the application of anti-Semitic measures; and an early plebiscite on Anschluss.

Mr. Messersmith's affidavit also states that these demands, and Leopold's petition for a nationalistic party, were supported by frequent demonstrations and much propaganda work. As early as 29 July 1936, hen the Olympic Torch was carried through Vienna, there were violent Nazi disorders. From that time on there were frequent arrests for distributing illegal literature or staging illegal demonstrations. (1760-PS)

(c) Schuschnigg's Concessions. Gauleiter Rainer's historical review points out that due to the activities of the Reich officials ad the Austrians who acted as the Nazi "fronts", it was possible to obtain the appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Staatsrat (Councillor of State) in July, 1937. (812-PS)

Schuschnigg's affidavit mentions the Olympic Torch incident,

Page 474]

and in addition the demonstration of the illegal Nazis at the time of the visit of von Neurath to Vienna in February 1937. Schuschnigg also points out other examples of the pressure increasingly exerted by Germany on Austria. One of his main reasons for entering into the July 11 agreement was to eliminate Germany's 1,000 mark penalty on tourists to Austria. The penalty was removed, but Germany made it illegal for a tourist to bring more than 5 marks out of the country. And German buyers of cattle and wood purchased only from Austrian Nazis. (2994-PS)

Schuschnigg further reports that the incidents and pressure culminated in the so-called Tav Plan, discovered by the Austrian police in November, 1937, containing instructions for unrest to break out among the Nazis at a prearranged time. The German Government would submit an ultimatum that National-Socialists must be brought into the Government or the German Army would invade. (2994-PS)

It may be recalled that during this period Schuschnigg made concessions. He appointed Seyss-Inquart as Councillor of State in July, 1937. He had previously appointed a "Committee of Seven" to discuss with him the desires of the national opposition. He played a delaying game, presumably in the hope that a change in the foreign situation would provide him with external support.

B. Germany's Diplomatic Preparations for Conquest.

The program of the Nazi conspiracy aimed at weakening Austria externally and internally, by removing its support from without as well as by penetrating within. This program was of the utmost significance, since the events of 25 July 1934 inside Austria were overshadowed by the fact that Mussolini had brought his troops to the Brenner Pass and poised them there as a strong protector of his northern neighbor.

Accordingly, interference in the affairs of Austria, and steady increase in the pressure needed to acquire control over that country, required removal of the possibility that Italy or any other country would come to Austria's aid. But the program of the conspiracy for the weakening and isolation of Austria was integrated with its foreign policy program in Europe generally.

The Nazi conspirators' diplomatic preparation for war is described in a second affidavit of George S. Messersmith (2385-PS), which may be summarized as follows: In 1933 the Nazis openly acknowledged the ambition to expand the territorial borders of the Reich to include Austria and Czechoslovakia. As for the other countries of Southeast Europe, the professed objective was stated

[Page 475]

at that time not in terms of territorial acquisition but rather in terms of political and economic control. And the stated objectives were not limited to Southeast Europe, for important Nazis even in 1933 were stating their desire for the Ukraine as the granary of Germany.

When they came to power, the Nazis had two principal objectives. They wanted to establish their power in Germany. And they wanted to rearm and establish Germany's armed power. They wanted peace until they were ready. But they wanted to acquire the ability to carry out their program in Europe by force if necessary, although preferably by a threat of force. They accordingly remarked upon their vast rearmament program. It proceeded very rapidly. Goering and General Milch often said to Messersmith or in his presence that the Nazis were concentrating on air power in their rearmament, as the weapon of terror most likely to give Germany a dominant position and the weapon which could be developed most rapidly.

In addition to material preparation for war, there was preparation for war in the psychological sense. Throughout Germany youth of all ages could be observed in"military exercises and field maneuvers.

Moreover, as Mr. Messersmith also observes,

"Military preparation and psychological preparation ere coupled with diplomatic preparation designed to so disunite and isolate their intended victims as to render them defenseless against German aggression." (2385-PS)

In 1933 the difficulties facing Germany in the political and diplomatic field loomed large. France was the dominant military power on the continent. She had woven a system of mutual assistance in the West and in the East. The Locarno Pact of 1928, supplemented by the Franco-Belgian alliance, guaranteed the territorial status quo in the West. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Rumania were allied in the Little Entente and each in turn was united with France by mutual assistance pacts. Since 1922, France and Poland had likewise been allied against external aggressiOn. Italy had made plain her special interest in Austrian independence.

Nazi Germany launched a vigorous diplomatic campaign to break up the existing alliances and understandings, to create divisions among the members of the Little Entente and the other Eastern European powers.

Specifically, Nazi Germany countered these alliances with promises of economic gain for cooperating with Germans. To some of these countries she offered extravagant promises of terri-

[Page 476]

torial and economic rewards. She offered Carinthia, in Austria, to Yugoslavia. She offered part of Czechoslovakia to Hungary and part of Poland. She offered Yugoslav territory to Hungary at the same time that she was offering land in Hungary to Yugoslavia.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.