The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 10 of 18)

[Page 981]

(12) Hitler and the Nazi conspirators completed the annexation of Austria by decree. On 11 March 1938 Hitler issued a directive regarding "Case Otto" addressed to the German armed forces, classified Top Secret, in which he stated that, if other measures proved, useless, his intentions were to invade Austria with armed force. The directive prescribed operational duties and assigned objectives. It further provided that resistance was to be broken up ruthlessly with armed force. (C-102)

Later on that same day, at 8:45 p. m., Hitler issued a second directive, which stated in substance, that the demands of the German ultimatum to Austria had not been fulfilled, and for that reason the entry of German armed forces into Austria would commence at daybreak on 12 March 1938. He directed that all objectives were to be reached by exerting all forces to the full as quickly as possible. (C- 182)

On 13 March 1938 Germany in violation of Article 80 of the Treaty of Versailles, formally incorporated Austria into the Reich by decree and declared- it to be a province of the German Reich. (2307-PS)

Officials of the Province of Austria were then required by decree to take an oath of personal obedience to Hitler. Jews were barred from taking this oath, and thus could not retain offices and positions previously held. (2311-PS)

Members of the Austrian Army were required to take an oath of personal allegiance to Hitler as their Supreme Commander. (2936-PS)

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Compulsory military service was instituted in Austria by law, which provided the Greater German Reich with additional man-power for its armed forces. (1660-PS)

(13) Seyss-Inquart participated in the execution of the plans for aggression against Czechoslovakia. In an official report to Viscount Halifax, Basil Newton, an official of the British Government, related some of the "gangster methods employed by the Reich to obtain its ends in Czecho- Slovakia." The part played by Seyss-Inquart was described in this report in the following words:

"On M. Sidor's return to Bratislava, after he had been entrusted with the Government in place of Mgr. Tiso, Herr Buerckel, Herr Seyss-Inquart and five German generals came at about 10 pm on the evening of Saturday, the 11th March, into a Cabinet meeting in progress at Bratislava, and told the Slovak Government that they should proclaim the independence of Slovakia. When M. Sidor showed hesitation, Herr Buerckel took him on one side and explained that Herr Hitler had decided to settle the question of Czecho-Slovakia definitely. Slovakia-ought, therefore, to proclaim her independence because Herr Hitler would otherwise disinterest himself in her fate. M. Sidor thanked Herr Buerckel for this information, but said that he must discuss the situation with the Government at Prague." (D-571)

Hitler expressed his intention to crush Czechoslovakia in the following language:

"At Munich I did not take Bohemia and Moravia into the German territorial sphere ["Lebensraum" I left the Czechs only another five months, but for the Slovaks I have some sympathy. I approved the Award of Vienna in the conviction that the Slovaks would separate themselves from the Czechs and declare their independence, which would be under German protection. That is why I have refused Hungarian demands in respect of Slovakia. As the Slovaks appear to be agreeing with the Czechs it looks as though they have not respected the spirit of the Vienna Award. This I cannot tolerate. Tomorrow at mid-day I shall begin military action against the Czechs, which will be carried out by General Brauchitsch' (who was present and to whom he pointed). 'Germany,' he said, 'does not intend to take Slovakia into her "Lebensraum," and that is why you must either immediately proclaim the independence of Slovakia or I will disinterest myself in her fate. To make your choice

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I give you until to-morrow mid-day, when the Czechs will be crushed by the German steam-roller." (D-571)

Ribbentrop and von Neurath also participated in the execution of the Nazi plot to obliterate Czechoslovakia as a nation. (D-571 )

The use of pressure, fifth columnists, and propaganda to undermine resistance in Czechoslovakia, and the preparation of military plans for the attack upon that country were all noted by Jodl in his diary. (1780-PS)

Before the annexation of Austria by Germany Seyss-Inquart was in communication and contact with Konrad Henlein, the leader of the Sudeten German Nazis in Czechoslovakia. On 29 December 1937 Seyss-Inquart wrote a letter to Henlein in encouraging terms and extended his warmest sympathy and hope for the success of the Sudeten Germans (3523-PS). Henlein thereafter replied in a letter to Seyss-Inquart dated a few days after the German annexation of Austria had been accomplished. In this letter Henlein expressed his pride in the fact that Seyss-Inquart, born a Sudeten German, had fulfilled the task determined by the Fuehrer in the most decisive hour of German history. He also thanked Seyss- Inquart for the elect and influence the developments in Austria would have in the Sudetenland. (3522-PS)

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