The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Austria
(Part 14 of 19)

Schuschnigg's affidavit then relates the three ultimatums presented by the German Government:

"Seyss-Inquart was then and there called to the telephone and, upon his return, read to me from a scrap of paper which he held in his hand, the contents of a telephone call which he alleged was just then received by him from Goering in Berlin. The contents as he read it to me was as follows: 'The Chancellor must revoke the proposed plebiscite within the time of one hour, and after three or four weeks, Austria must oblige herself to carry out a plebiscite concerning the

[Page 490]

Anschluss according to the SAAR status, otherwise the German Army is ordered to pass the Austrian frontier.

"I further state and say that after informing the Federal President of this demand made on Austria by Germany, we decided to recall the plebiscite, and thereupon I informed Seyss-Inquart and Glaise-Horstenau of our intentions.

"Seyss-Inquart said that he would go to the telephone and inform Goering in Berlin concerning the decision of the Austrian Government, at that time made. In a few minutes, he, Seyss-Inquart, returned to my office, and informed me further, as follows:

"I have had a telephone conversation with Goering, and Goering has ordered me to inform the Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, as follows:

"The situation can only be saved by Austria when Schuschnigg resigns as Chancellor of Austria within two hours and Seyss-Inquart is appointed as the new Chief of the Austrian Government; if Seyss-Inquart does not inform me, Goering, within two hours, I, Goering, will suppose that you are hindered from doing so".

"I then reported to the Federal President the new developments, and after some conversation with him and other members of the Government, I decided to resign. The Federal President reluctantly accepted my resignation at 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of 11 March 1938. He expressed himself unwilling to appoint Seyss- Inquart as the Federal Chancellor-he therefore asked me to continue my duties until he had decided who would succeed me as Federal Chancellor. I accepted and remained as caretaker Chancellor from 3:30 p.m., 11 March 1938 until about 11:30 p.m. the same night, when Seyss-Inquart was appointed to the position of Federal Chancellor.

"I further state and say that at about 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of 11 March

[Page 491]

1938, the Foreign Office of the Austrian Government contacted the Embassy of Germany in Vienna, to ascertain if the demands that had been then and there made by Goering on Austria were the official demands of the German Government. The Military Attache of Germany in Vienna, one Lieutenant General Muff, came before the Austrian Federal President and repeated the contents of the German ultimatums that had previously been delivered to us by Seyss-Inquart.

"I furthermore state and say, that the Federal President at about 7:30 or 8:00 oclock p.m. on the night of 11 March 1938 ordered me, as caretaker Chancellor, to broadcast the events of the day and to protest against the demands made on Austria during that day by Germany. Furthermore, to inform the world that Austria had been forced to give in to those demands of Germany through superior force ** *." (2996-PS)

The report from Gauleiter Rainer to Reichscommissioner Buerckel also discusses the events of March 11. In general, Rainer's report corroborates Schuschnigg's affidavit. (812-PS)

Another document recalls vividly the events of 11 March 1938. This document, which was found in a building of the courtyard of the German Air Ministry, is a binder containing typed transcripts of some 27 telephone conversations, held in Goering's office in the Air Ministry on 11 March 1938 and up to 14 March 1938. Most of the conversations were conducted by Goering, although at least one was held by Hitler (299-PS). (For purposes of convenience these telephone calls are marked with an identifying letter, running from A through Z and then beginning again with AA).

The first group of conversations took place between Field Marshal Goering, who was identified-as F., and Seyss- Inquart, who was identified as S. The transcript is in part in the language of these two persons and is in part a summary of the actual conversations. At 2:45 p.m. the following conversation occurred:

"F- How do you do, doctor. My brother-in-law, is he with you?

"Thereupon the conversation took approximately the following turn:

"F: How are things with you? Have you resigned, or do you have any news?

"S: The Chancellor has cancelled the elections for Sunday, and therefore he has put S. and the other gentlemen in a difficult situation. Besides having called off the elections, extensive precautionary measures are being ordered, among others curfew at 8 p.m.

"F: Replied that in his opinion the measures taken by Chancellor Schuschnigg were not satisfactory in any respect. At this moment he could not commit himself officially. F. will take a clear stand very shortly. In calling off the elections, he could see a postponement only, not a change of the present situation which had been brought about by the behavior of the Chancellor Schuschnigg in breaking the Berchtesgaden agreement.

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"Thereupon a conversation took place between F. and the Fuehrer. Afterwards F. phoned again S. This conversation was held at 15:05.

"F: Told S. that Berlin did not agree whatsoever with the decision made by Chancellor Schuschnigg since he did not enjoy any more the confidence of our government because he had broken the Berchtesgaden agreement, and therefore further confidence in his future actions did not exist. Consequently, the National Minister, S. and the others, are being requested to immediately hand in their resignation to the Chancellor, and also to ask the Chancellor to resign. F. added that if after a period of one hour no report had come through the assumption would be made that S. would no more being the position to phone. That would mean that the gentlemen had handed in their resignations. S. was then told to send the telegram to the Fuehrer as agreed upon. As a matter of course, an immediate commission by the Federal President for S. to form a new cabinet would follow Schuschnigg's resignation." (2949-PS, Part A)

Thus Goering told Seyss-Inquart that it was not enough for Schuschnigg to cancel the election. And twenty minutes later he telephoned Seyss-Inquart to state that Schuschnigg must resign. When informed at about an hour later that Schuschnigg had resigned, he pointed out that in addition it was necessary to have Seyss-Inquart at the head of the Cabinet.

An hour later Goering phoned Dombrowski at the German Embassy in Vienna. He was concerned that the Nazi Party and all its formations should be legalized promptly:

"Goering: Now to go on. The Party has definitely been legalized ?

"Dombrowski: But that is ** * it isn't necessary to even discuss that.

"Goering: With all of its organizations.

"Dombrowski: With all of its organizations within this country.

"Goering: In uniform ?

"Dombrowski: In uniform.

"Goering: Good.

"Dombrowski: calls attention to the fact that the SA and SS have already been on duty for one-half hour which means everything is all right." (2949-PS, Part C)

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

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