The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 10 of 19)

That paved the way for the Austro-German declaration of 11 July 1936. And in the Fall of 1936, Germany extended the hand of friendship and common purpose to Italy in an alliancethe Rome-Berlin Axis. This, together with Germany's alliance with Japan, put increasing pressure on England-and increased the relative strength of Germany.

And so, by means of careful preparation in the diplomatic field, among others, the Nazi conspirators had woven a position for themselves so that they could seriously consider plans for war and outline a time-table. That time- table was developed in the conference with Hitler in the Reichschancellery on 5 November 1937. (386-PS)

C. Crystallization of the Plan to Wage Aggressive War in Europe and to Seize Austria and Czechoslovakia. At the meeting of the conspirators in the Reichschancellery on 6 November 1937, the Fuehrer insisted that Germany should have more space in Europe (386-PS). It was concluded that the space required must be taken by force, three different cases were outlined as possibilities, and it was decided that the problem would have to be solved before the period 1943 to 1945. The nature of a ar in the near future was envisaged, specifically against Austria and Czechoslovakia. Hitler said that for the improvement of Germany's military political position the first aim of the Nazis in every case of entanglement by war must be to conquer Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously, in order to remove any threat from the flanks in case of a possible advance Westwards. Hitler then calculated that the conquest of Czechoslovakia and Austria would constitute the conquest of food for from five to six million people, assuming that the comprehensive emigration of one million from Austria could be carried out. He further pointed out that the annexation of the two states to Germany would constitute a considerable relief, both militarily and politically, since they would provide shorter and better frontiers, would free fighting personnel for other purposes, and would make possible the reconstitution of new armies. (386-PS)

[Page 480]

The minutes of this meeting reveal a crystallization in the policy of the Nazi conspirators. It had always been their aim to acquire Austria. At the outset a revolutionary Putsch was attempted, using the personnel of the Austrian Nazis, but that failed. The next period was one of surface recognition of the independence of Austria and the use of devious means to strengthen the position of the Nazis internally in Austria. Now, however, it became clear that the need for Austria, in the light of the larger aggressive purposes of the Nazi conspirators, was sufficiently great to warrant the use of force in- order to obtain Austria with the desired speed. The Nazis were, in fact, able to secure Austria, after having weakened it internally and removed from it the support of other nations, merely by setting the German military machine in motion and making a threat of force. The German armies were able to cross the border and secure the country without the necessity of firing a shot. Careful planning for war and the readiness to use war as an instrument of political action made it possible in the end for the Nazis to master Austria without having to fight for it.

The German High Command had previously considered preparations against Austria. On 24 June 1937 the Reich Minister for War and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, General von Blomberg, issued a Top Secret Directive (C-175). The importance of this directive, establishing a unified preparation of the Armed Forces for war, is indicated by the fact that the carbon copy received by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy was one of only four copies. This directive from General von Blomberg stated that the general political situation indicated that Germany need not consider an attack from any side, and also that Germany did not intend to unleash a European war. It then stated, in point 1:

"Nevertheless the politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous preparedness for war of the German Armed Forces.

"a. to counter attacks at any time

"b. to enable the military exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should they occur." (C-175)

The directive then indicated that there would be certain preparations of a general nature for war.

"2. The preparations of a general nature include:

"a. The permanent preparedness for mobilization of the German Armed Forces, even before the completion of rearmament and full preparedness for war.

"b. The further working on 'Mobilization without public

[Page 481]

announcement' in order to put the Armed Forces in a position to begin a war suddenly and by surprise both as regards strength and time." (C-175)

The directive finally indicated, in Part 3, that there might be special preparation for war in Austria:

"Armed intervention in Austria in the event of her restoring the Monarchy.

"The object of this operation will be to compel Austria by armed force to give up a restoration. "making use of the domestic political divisions of the Austrian people, the march in will be made in the general direction of Vienna and will break any resistance." (C-175)

This plan is indicated in the document as having been superseded by new and more detailed plans following the meeting of 5 November 1937.

The plans of the conspirators were further revealed in two conversations held by William Bullitt, United States Ambassador to France with Schacht and with Goering in November, 1937. Both Schacht and Goering told Bullitt that Germany was determined to annex Austria. Goering further added that there could be no final solution of the Sudeten- German question other than inclusion in the Reich. (L-151)

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