The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 12 of 19)

The pressure put on Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden is also disclosed in von Papens notes on his last meeting with Schuschnigg on 26 February 1938, the last two paragraphs of which read:

"I then introduced into the conversation the widespread opinion that he had acted under brutal pressure" in Berchtesgaden. I myself had been present and been able to state that he had always and at every point had complete freedom

[Page 485]

of decision. The Chancellor replied he had actually been under considerable moral pressure, he could not deny that. He had made notes on the talk which bore that out. I reminded him that despite this talk he had not seen his way clear to make any concessions, and I asked him whether without the pressure he would have been ready to make the concessions he had made late in the evening. He answered: "To be honest, No! It appears to me of importance to record this statement." (1544-PS)

For diplomatic purposes von Papen, who had been at Berchtesgaden kept up the pretense that there had been no pressure. But General Jodl, writing the account of current events for his diary, was more candid. This hand-written diary discloses not only the pressure at Berchtesgaden but also the fact that for somedays thereafter, General Keitel and Admiral Canaris worked out a scheme for shamming military pressure, in order to coerce President Miklas into ratifying the agreement. And so the Nazi conspirators kept up the military pressure, with threats of invasion, for some days after the Berchtesgaden conference, in order to produce the desired effect on Miklas. (1780-PS)

The following entries, for Feb. 11-Feb. 14 were made in Jodls diary:

"11 February:

"In the evening and on 12 February General K. with General V. Reichenau and Sperrle at the Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg together with G. Schmidt are again being put under heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.

"13 February:

"In the afternoon General K. asks Admiral C. and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Fuehrers order is to the effect that military pressure shamming military action should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Fuehrer by telephone for approval.

"14 February:

"At 2:40 oclock the agreement of the Fuehrer arrives. Canaris went to Munich to the Counter-Intelligence office VII and initiates the different measures.

"The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations." (1780-PS)

The proposals for deceptive maneuvers mentioned by Jodl were signed by Keitel. Underneath his signature appeared

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a pencilled note that the Fuehrer approved the proposals. Among the rumors which Keitel proposed for the intimidation of Austria were the following:

"1. To take no real preparatory measures in the Army or Luftwaffe. No troop movements or redeployments.

"2. Spread false, but quite credible news, which may lead to the conclusion of military preparations against Austria.

"a. through V-men (V-Maenner) in Austria,

"b. through our customs personnel (staff) at the frontier,

"c. through travelling agents.

"3. Such news could be:

"a. Furloughs are supposed to have been barred in the Sector of the VII A.K.

"b. (Rolling Stock) is being assembled in Munich, Augsburg, and Regensburg.

"c. Major General Muff, the Military Attache in Vienna has been called for a conference to Berlin. (As a matter of fact, this is the case).

The Police Stations located at the frontier of Austria, have called up reinforcements.

Custom officials report about the imminent maneuvers of the Mountain Brigade (Gebirgsbrigade) in the region of Freilassing, Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden." (1775-PS)

The pattern of intimidation and rumor was effective, for in due course, as is shown in the communiques already referred to, President Miklas ratified the Berchtesgaden agreement, which foreshadowed a National Socialist Austria.

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

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