The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
November 20 to December 1, 1945

Seventh Day: Wednesday, 28th November, 1945
(Part 5 of 6)

[page 228]

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think this would be a convenient time to break off until 2 o'clock ?

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn, then.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I had just referred again to the report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissar Burckel in July 1939, which outlines

[Page 229]

the further history of the Party and the leadership-problem, following the retirement of Reinthaler.

In referring to the situation in 1935, he mentioned some of the contacts with the Reich Government, that is, the German Government, in the following terms. I quote from page 4 of the English text of that report, and I believe from page 4 of the German text: "In August some further arrests took place.."

THE PRESIDENT: Which document are you on?

MR. ALDERMAN: The Rainer Report, which is 812-PS.


MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, exhibit USA 61.

"In August some further arrests took place, the victims of which were, apart from the Gauleiters (Gau leaders), also Globotschnik and Rainer. Schattenfroh then claimed, because of an instruction received from the imprisoned Leopold, to have been made Deputy Country Leader. A group led by engineer Raffelsberger had at this time also established connection with departments of the Alt- Reich. Ministry of Propaganda, German Racial Agency, etc.) and made an attempt to formulate a political motto in the form of a programme for the fighting movement of Austria."
And, again, the Rainer report sets forth the situation a little later in 1936. I quote from page 6 of the English text, and I think page 5 of the German text:
"The principles of the construction of the organisation were: The organisation is the bearer of the illegal fight and the trustee of the idea to create a secret organisation, in a simple manner and without compromise, according to the principle of organising an elite to be available to the illegal land-party council upon any emergency. Besides this, all political opportunities should be taken, and all legal people and legal chances should be used without revealing any ties with the illegal organisation. Therefore, co-operation. between the illegal party organisation and the legal political aides was anchored at the top of the party leadership. All connections with the party in Germany were kept secret in accordance with the orders of the Fuehrer. These said that the German State should officially be omitted from the creation of an Austrian N.S.D.A.P.; and that auxiliary centres for propaganda, Press, refugees, welfare, etc., should be established in the foreign countries bordering Austria.

Hinterleitner already contacted the lawyer Seyss- Inquart, who had connection with Dr. Wachter which originated from Seyss-Inquart's support of the July uprising. On the other side, Seyss-Inquart had a good position in the legal field and especially well- established relations with Christian-Social politicians. Dr. Seyss-Inquart came from the ranks of the 'Styrian Heimatschutz' (home defence) and became a party member when the entire 'Styrian Heimatschutz' was incorporated into the N.S.D.A.P. Another personality who had a good position in the legal field was Col. Glaise-Horstenau who had contacts with both sides. The agreement of 11th July, 1936. was strongly influenced by the activities of these two persons."

The Rainer report thus discloses the dual tactics of the Austrian Nazis during this period of keeping quiet and awaiting developments. They were maintaining their secret contacts with Reich officials, and using foreign personalities such as Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart. The Nazis made good use of such figures, who were more discreet in their activities and could be referred to as nationalists. They presented, supported, and obtained consideration of demands which could not be negotiated by other Nazis like Captain Leopold.

Seyss-Inquart did not hold any public office until January 1937, when he was made Counsellor of State. But Rainer, describing him as a trustworthy member of the Party through the ranks, of this "Styrian Heimatschutz," points him out as one who strongly influenced the agreement of 11th July, 1936. The strategic importance of that agreement will be considered a little later. Rainer's report, as I have said before, was hardly likely to over-emphasise the significance of Seyss-Inquart's contribution'

[Page 230]

That the Nazis, but not the Austrian Government, did well to trust Seyss-Inquart is indicated by the next document. I propose to offer in evidence document 2219-PS, which will be exhibit USA 62. This is a letter dated 14th July, 1939, addressed to Field-Marshal Goering. The document is a typed carbon of the letter. It ends with the "Heil Hitler" termination, and it is not signed, but we think it was undoubtedly written by the defendant Seyss-Inquart. It was the carbon copy found among Seyss-Inquart's personal files, and such carbon copies kept by authors of letters usually are not signed. On the first page of the letter there appears a note in English, not indicated in the partial English translation, reading, "Air Mail, 15th July, 1515 hours, Berlin, brought to Goering's office." The main text of the letter consists of a plea for intercession on behalf of one Muhlmann, whose name we shall meet later, and who, unfortunately, got into Buckel's bad graces. I shall quote the extracted part of the document which has been translated into English, and which starts, I believe, on page 7 of the German text: -
"To the General Field Marshal,
At present in Vienna,
14th July, 1939.


If I may add something about myself, it is the following: I know that I am not of an active fighting nature, unless final decisions are at stake. At this time of pronounced activity (Aktivismus in the German) this will certainly be regarded as a fault in my personality. Yet I know that I cling with unconquerable tenacity to the goal in which I believe. That is Greater Germany (Gross Deutschland) and the Fuehrer. And if some people are already tired out from the struggle and some have been killed in the fight, I am still around somewhere and ready to go into action. This, after all, was also the development until the year 1938. Until July 1934, I conducted myself as a regular member of the party. And if I had quietly, in whatever form, paid my membership dues (the first one, according to a receipt, I paid in December 1931), I probably would have been an undisputed, comparatively old fighter and party member of Austria, but I would not have done any more for the union. I told myself in July 1934 that we must fight this clerical regime on its own ground in order to give the Fuehrer a chance to use whatever method he desired. I told myself that this Austria was worth a mass. I have stuck to this attitude with an iron determination because I and my friends had to fight against the whole political church, the Freemasonry, the Jewry, in short, against everything in Austria. The slightest weakness which we might have displayed would undoubtedly have led to our political annihilation; it would have deprived the Fuehrer of the means and tools to carry out his ingenious political solution for Austria, as became evident in the days of March 1938. I have been fully conscious of the fact that I am following a path which is not comprehensible to the masses and also not to my party comrades. I followed it calmly, and would without hesitation follow it again, because I am satisfied that at one point I could serve the Fuehrer as a tool in his work, even though my former attitude even now gives occasion to very worthy and honourable party comrades to doubt my trustworthiness. I have never paid attention to such things because I am satisfied with the opinion which the Fuehrer and the men close to him have of me."

Now, that letter was written to one of the men close to him - to Field Marshal Goering. I think that is enough to demonstrate Seyss-Inquart as one whose loyalty to Hitler, a foreign dictator, and to the aims of the Nazi conspiracy, led him to fight for the Anschluss with all the means at his disposal.

It is appropriate at this time to offer in evidence a document from the defendant von Papen, and to see how he thought the doctrines of National Socialism could be used to effect the aim of the Anschluss. I offer document 2248-PS as exhibit

[Page 231]

USA 63. This document is a letter from von Papen to Hitler, dated 27th July, 1935. It consists of a report entitled "Review and outlook one year after the death of Chancellor Dollfuss." After reviewing the success that the Austrian Government had had in establishing Dollfuss as a martyr, and his principles as the patriotic principles of Austria, von Papen stated, and I quote the last paragraph of the letter, beginning on page 1-146 of the German text :-
"National Socialism must and will overpower the new Austrian ideology. If to-day it is contended in Austria that the N.S.D.A.P. is only a centralised Reich German party, and therefore unable to transfer the spirit of thought of National Socialism to groups of a different political make-up, the answer must rightly be that the national revolution in Germany could not have been brought about in a different way. But when the creation of the people's community in the Reich is completed, National Socialism could, in a much wider sense than this is possible through the present party organisation - at least apparently - certainly become the rallying point for all racially German units beyond the borders. Spiritual progress in regard to Austria cannot be achieved to-day with any centralised tendency. If this recognition would once and for all be stated clearly from within the Reich, then it would easily become possible to effect a break-through into the front of the New Austria. A Nuremberg Party Day designated as 'The German Day' as in old times, and the proclamation of a National Socialist peoples' front, would be a stirring event for all beyond the borders of the Reich. Such attacks would win us also the particularistic Austrian circles, whose spokesman, the legitimistic Count Dubskv, wrote in his pamphlet about the 'Anschluss': The Third Reich will be with Austria or it will not be at all. National Socialism must win it or it will perish, if it is unable to solve this task."
We have other reports from Papen to Hitler, which I shall offer in evidence presently, showing that he maintained covert contact with the National Socialist groups in Austria. It is certainly interesting that from the very start of his mission, defendant von Papen was thinking of ways and means of using the principle of National Socialism for national Germans outside the border of Germany. Papen was working for the Anschluss, although he preferred to use the principles of National Socialism rather than rely on the party organisation as a necessary means of establishing those principles in the German Reich.

Next we have some assurance and reassurance to Austria. The German Government did not do more than keep up a pretence of non-interference with Austrian groups. It employed the psychological inducement of providing assurances that it had no designs on Austrian independence. If Austria could find hope for the execution of those assurances, she could find her way clear to the granting of concessions and obtain relief from the economic and internal pressure.

I offer document 2247-PS in evidence as exhibit USA 64. It is a letter from von Papen while in Berlin to Hitler, dated 17th May, 1935.

Von Papen's letter indicated to Hitler that a forthright, credible statement by Germany, reassuring Austria, would be most useful for German diplomatic purposes and for the improvement of relationships between Austria and German groups in Austria.

He had a scheme for pitting von Schuschnigg and his Social- Christian forces against Starhemberg, the Vice-Chancellor of Austria, who was backed by Mussolini. Von Papen hoped to persuade von Schuschnigg to ally his forces with the N.S.D.A.P. in order to emerge victorious over Starhemberg. Von Papen indicates that he obtained this idea from Captain Leopold, leader of the illegal National Socialists in Austria.

I quote from his letter, starting at the second paragraph of the second page.

This is von Papen writing to "Mein Fuehrer", Hitler:

"I suggest that we take an active part in this game. The fundamental idea should be to pit von Schuschnigg and his Christian Social forces, who are opposed to a home- front dictatorship, against Starhemberg. The possibility of thwarting

[Page 232]

the measures arranged between Mussolini and Starhemberg should be afforded to him in such a way that he would submit the offer to the government of a definitive German-Austrian compromise of interests. According to the convincing opinion of the Leader of the N.S.D.A.P. in Austria, Captain Leopold, the totalitarian principle of the N.S.D.A.P. in Austria must be replaced in the beginning by a combination of that part of the Christian elements which favours the Greater Germany idea and the N.S.D.A.P. If Germany recognises the national independence of Austria, and guarantees full freedom to the Austrian national opposition, then, as a result of such a compromise, the Austrian Government would be formed in the beginning by a coalition of these forces. A further consequence of this step would be the possibility of the participation of Germany in the Danube Pact, which would take the sting out of its acuteness due to the settlement of relations between Germany and Austria. Such a measure would have a most beneficial influence on the European situation, and especially on our relationship with England. One may object, that von Schuschnigg will hardly be determined to follow such a pattern, that he will rather in all probability immediately communicate our offer to our opponents. Of course, one should first of all explore the possibility of setting von Schuschnigg against Starhemberg through the use of 'go betweens'. The possibility exists. If von Schuschnigg finally says 'no' and makes our offer known in Rome, then the situation would not be any worse, but, on the contrary, the efforts of the Reich government to make peace with Austria would be revealed - without prejudice to other interests. Therefore, even in the case of refusal, this last attempt would be an asset. I consider it completely possible, that in view of the widespread dislike in the Alpine countries of the pro-Italian policy, and in view of the sharp tensions among the Federal Government (that is Bundesregierung), von Schuschnigg will grasp this last straw - always under the supposition that the offer could not be interpreted as a trap by the opponents, but that it bears all the marks of an actually honest compromise with Austria. Assuming the success of this step, we would again establish our active intervention in Central European politics, which, as opposed to the French, Czech and Russian political manoeuvres, would be a tremendous success, both morally and practically. Since there are only two weeks left to accomplish very much work in the way of explorations and conferences, an immediate decision is necessary. The Reich Army Minister (Reichswehrminister) shares the opinion presented above, and the Reich Foreign Minister (Reichsaussenminister) wanted to discuss it with you, my Fuehrer.

Signed, Papen."

In other words, Papen wanted a strong assurance and a credible assurance of the preservation of Austria's independence. As he put it, Germany had nothing to lose, with what she could always call a mere effort at peace, and she might be able to persuade von Schuschnigg to establish an Austrian coalition government, with the N.S.D.A.P. If she did this, she would vastly strengthen her position in Europe. Finally, Papen urged haste.

Exactly four days later, in a Reichstag address, Hitler responded to von Papen's suggestion, and asserted Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria or to conclude an "Anschluss."

The British will present a document covering that speech. I merely wanted to use one sentence at this point. It is a sentence quite well known to history.

It is appropriate to take notice of this assurance at this point, and to note that for a complexity of reasons, Papen suggested, and Hitler announced, a policy completely at variance with their intentions, which had been, and continued to be, to interfere in Austria's internal affairs and to conclude an "Anschluss."

There was then a temporary continuance of a quiet pressure policy.

On 1st May, 1936, Hitler, in a public speech, blandly branded as a lie any statement that "to-morrow or the day after " Germany would fall upon Austria.

[Page 233]

I invite the Court's attention to the version of the speech appearing in the "Volkischer Beobachter SD," that is South Germany, 2nd to 3rd May, 1936, page 3, and translated in our document 2367-PS.

Without offering the document, I ask the Court to take Judicial notice of the statement in that well-known speech. If Hitler meant what he said, it was only in the most literal and misleading sense, that is, that he would not actually fall upon Austria "to-morrow or the day after to- morrow." For the conspirators well knew that the successful execution of their purpose required for a little while longer the quiet policy which they had been pursuing in Austria.

I now offer in evidence our document L-150 - memorandum of conversation between Ambassador Bullitt and the defendant von Neurath, on 18th May, 1936 - as exhibit USA 65. This document unfortunately again appears in your document books in German, as, due to an error, it has not been mimeographed in English. German Counsel have the German copies.

I shall read from it, and at the same time, hand to the interpreter reading in German, a marked copy of a German translation.

I might read one sentence from the first paragraph.

"I called on von Neurath, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 18th May, and had a long talk on the general European situation."
Then skipping a paragraph I will read straight on, if you will pardon me.
"Von Neurath said that it was the policy of the German Government to do nothing active in foreign affairs until the Rhineland had been digested. He explained that he meant that, until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French and Belgium frontiers, the German Government would do everything possible to prevent, rather than encourage, an outbreak by the Nazis in Austria and would pursue a quiet line with regard to Czechoslovakia.

As soon as our fortifications are constructed," he said, "and the countries of Central Europe realise that France cannot enter German territory, all these countries will begin to feel very differently about their foreign policies and a new constellation will develop."

I then skip two paragraphs.
"Von Neurath then stated that no understanding had been reached between Germany and Italy, and admitted that the demonstrations of friendship between Germany and Italy were mere demonstrations without basis in reality. He went on to say that at the present time he could see no way to reconcile the conflicting interests of Germany and Italy in Austria. He said that there were three chief reasons why the German Government was urging the Austrian Nazis to remain quiet at the present time:

The first was that Mussolini had, to-day, the greater part of his army mobilised on the Austrian border, ready to strike, and that he would certainly strike if he should have a good excuse.

The second reason for urging Austrian Nazis to remain quiet for the present was that the Nazi movement was daily growing stronger in Austria. The youth of Austria was turning more and more towards the Nazis, and the dominance of the Nazi Party in Austria was inevitable and only a question of time.

The third reason was that until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French border, an involvement of Germany in war with Italy might lead to a French attack on Germany."

But even if Germany was not yet ready for open conflict in Austria, its diplomatic position was vastly improved over 1934, a fact which influenced Austria's willingness to make concessions to Germany and to come to terms.

I quote again from the Messersmith affidavit, on page 11 of the English text that is document 1760-PS.

"Developments in the fall of 1935 and the spring Of 1936 gave Germany an opportunity to take more positive steps in the direction of the Nazification of

[Page 234]

Austria. Italy, which had given Austria assurance of support of the most definite character against external German aggression, and on one occasion, by mobilising her forces, had undoubtedly stopped German aggressive action, which had been planned against Austria, embarked on her Abyssinian adventure. This and the reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936 completely upset the balance in Europe. It is quite obvious that after Italy had launched her Abyssinian adventure, she was no longer in any position to counter German aggressive moves against Austria."
This weakening of Austria helped to leave the way for the Pact of 11th July, 1936. On 11th July, 1936, the Governments of Austria and Germany concluded an accord. That will be offered in evidence also by the British Delegation.

I merely ask a point that the Tribunal take judicial notice of the fact that such an accord was entered into. The formal part of the agreement on 11th July, 1938, will also be proved by our British colleagues. For convenient reference, it will be found in the document which the British will offer, TC-22, and the substance of it is also contained on pages 11 and 12 of Mr. Messersmith's affidavit, document 1760-PS.

Upon the basis of this fight alone, the agreement looked like a great triumph for Austria. It contains a confusing provision to the effect that Austria in her policy, especially with regard to Germany, would regard herself as a German State, but the other two provisions clearly state that Germany recognises the full sovereignty of Austria and that it regards the inner political order of Austria, including the question of Austria and National Socialism, as an internal concern of Austria upon which Germany will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence. But there was much more substance to to-day's events than appears in the text of the accord. I refer to Mr. Messersmith's summary as set forth on page 12 of his affidavit, document 1760-PS, as follows :-

"Even more important than the terms of the agreement published in the official communique, was the contemporaneous informal understanding, the most important provisions of which were that Austria would :

(1) Appoint a number of individuals enjoying the Chancellor's confidence but friendly to Germany, to positions in the Cabinet;
(2) with the devised give the National opposition a role in the political life of Austri4, within the framework of the Patriotic Front; and
(3) grant an amnesty for all Nazis, save those convicted of the most serious offences."

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