The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

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

Eighth Day: Thursday, 29th November, 1945
(Part 1 of 6)

[Page 241]

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal:

Before I resume the consideration of Mr. Messersmith's second affidavit, document 2385-PS, exhibit USA 68, I should like to consider briefly the status of the evidence before this Tribunal, of the matter stated in the first Messersmith affidavit, introduced by the United States, document 1760-PS, exhibit USA 57. You will recall that Mr. Messersmith, in that affidavit, made the following general statement:

First, that although Nazi Germany stated that it would respect the independence of Austria, in fact it intended from the very beginning to conclude an Anschluss, and that Defendant von Papen was working toward that end.

Second, that although Nazi Germany pretended, on the surface, to have nothing to do with the Austrian Nazis, in fact they kept up contact with them and gave them support and instruction.

Third, that while they were getting ready for their eventual use of force in Austria, if necessary, the Nazis were using quiet infiltrating tactics to weaken Austria internally, through the use of Christian-front personalities who were not flagrantly Nazis and could be called, as they were referred to, Nationalist Opposition, and through the device of developing new names for Nazi organisations, so that they could be brought into the Fatherland Front of Austria corporatively, that is, as an entire group.

Now let us see briefly what some of our German documents proved in support of these general statements in the Messersmith affidavit. The excerpts I have already read out of the report from Rainer to Burckel, enclosed in the letter to Seyss-Inquart, document 812-PS, exhibit USA 61, showed first, that the Austrian Nazi groups kept up contacts with the Reich, although they did it secretly, in accordance with instructions from the Fuehrer.

Second, that they continued their organisation on a secret basis so as to be ready in what they referred to as an emergency.

Third, that they used persons like Seyss-Inquart and Glaise- Horstenau, who had what they called good legal positions, but who could be trusted by the Nazis, and that five days after the Pact of 11th July, 1936, between Germany and Austria - a Pact which specifically pledged the German Government not to interfere, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of Austria, including the question of Austrian Socialism - the Austrian Nazis met with Hitler at Obersalzberg and received new instructions, and finally, that Hitler then used Keppler, whose name we shall again meet in a short while, in a significant manner, as his "contact man" with the Austrian Nazis, with full authority to act for the Fuehrer in Austria and to work with the leaders of the Austrian Nazis.

Then we offered document 2248-PS, exhibit USA 63, von Papen's letter of 27th July, 1935, which reviewed the situation one year after Dollfuss' death, and pointed out how National Socialism could be made a link for the Anschluss and could overcome the Austrian ideologies, and in which letter he identified himself completely with the National Socialist goal.

We offered document 2246-PS, exhibit USA 67, von Papen's letter to Hitler of 1st September, 1936, which showed how von Papen advised using both economic and continuing psychological pressure; that he had conferences with leaders of the illegal Austrian Party; that he was trying to direct the next developments in such a way as to get corporative representation of the Nazi movement in the

[Page 242]

Fatherland Front, and that meanwhile he was not ready to urge that avowed National Socialists be put in prominent positions, but was quite satisfied with collaborators, like Glaise-Horstenau.

I think that practically all of the statements in Mr. Messersmith's affidavits have been fully supported by these documents, German documents which we have introduced. Certain parts of the affidavits cannot be corroborated by documents, in the very nature of things, and I refer specifically to Mr. Messersmith's conversation with the defendant von Papen. in 1934, which I read to the Tribunal yesterday. But I think these matters are manifestly just as true and just as clear as to the defendant's guilt and complicity.

Yesterday, I was reading to the Tribunal selected excerpts from Mr. Messersmith's second affidavit, document 2385-PS, exhibit USA 68, relating to the diplomatic preparations for war. Prior to adjournment, I had read to the Tribunal excerpts which established the following propositions:

First, Nazi Germany undertook a vigorous campaign to break up the diplomatic agreements existing in 1933; first in the West, the Locarno Pact, supplemented by the Franco-Belgian Agreement; second, in the East, the Little Entente, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and their respective mutual assistance pacts with France, the French-Polish Pact; third, as regards Austria, the special concern of Italy for her independence, that is, for Austrian independence.

In the second place, Nazi Germany countered these alliances with extravagant and sometimes inconsistent promises of territorial gain to countries in South-Eastern Europe, including Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland.

In the third place, Mr. Messersmith wrote an official communication to the State Department, pointing out that persons like von Neurath and von Papen were able to work more effectively in making these promises and in doing their other work, just because they, and I quote, "propagated the myth that they were not in sympathy with the regime."

In the fourth place, it is a fact that high ranking Nazis openly stated that Germany would honour her international obligations only so long as it suited her to do so. There are two more excerpts which I wish to read from this affidavit.

France and Italy worked actively in South-Eastern Europe to counter German moves, as I said yesterday. France made attempts to promote an East Locarno Pact and to foster an economic accord between Austria and the other Danubian powers. Italy's effort was to organise an economic block of Austria, Hungary and Italy. But Germany foiled these efforts by redoubling its policies of loot, by continuing its armament and by another very significant strategy, that is - the Fifth Column strategy; the Nazis stirred up internal dissension within neighbouring countries to disunite and weaken their intended victims.

I read now from page 7 of the English copy of the second Messersmith affidavit, document 2385-PS, exhibit USA 68, the paragraph beginning in the middle of the page.

"At the same time that Germany held out such promises of reward for co-operation in her programme, she stirred up internal dissension within these countries themselves and in Austria and Czechoslovakia in particular, all of which were designed to so weaken all opposition and. strengthen the pro-Nazi and Fascist groups as to ensure peaceful acquiescence in the German programme. Her machinations in Austria I have related in detail, as they came under my direct observation, in a separate affidavit. In Czechoslovakia they followed the same tactics with the Sudeten Germans. I was reliably informed that the Nazi Party spent over 6,000,000 marks in financing the Henlein Party in the elections in the Spring of 1935 alone. In Yugoslavia she played on the old differences between the Croatians and the Serbs and the fear of the restoration of the Hapsburg in Austria. It may be remarked here that this latter was one of the principal instruments, and a most effective one, which Nazi Germany used, as the fear, in Yugoslavia in particular, of a restoration of the Hapsburg was very real. In Hungary

[Page 243]

she played upon the agrarian difficulties and at the same time openly encouraged the Nazi German elements in Hungary so as to provoke the Government of Hungary to demand the recall of von Mackensen in 1936. In Hungary and in Poland she played on the fear of Communism and Communist Russia. In Roumania she aggravated the existing anti-Semitism, emphasising the important role of the Jews in Roumanian industry and the Jewish ancestry of Lupescu. Germany undoubtedly also financed the Fascist Iron Guard through Codreanou.

Such 'diplomatic' measures reinforced by Germany's vast rearmament programme had a considerable effect, particularly in Yugoslavia, Poland and Hungary, one sufficient at least to deter these countries from joining any combination opposed to German designs, even if not enough to persuade them to ally themselves actively with Nazi Germany. Important political leaders of Yugoslavia began to become convinced that the Nazi regime would remain in power and would gain its ends, and that the course of safety for Yugoslavia was to play along with Germany."

I shall not take the time of the Tribunal to read into evidence the detailed, official dispatches which Mr. Messersmith sent to the American State Department, showing that Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland were beginning to follow the German line.

As for Italy, Germany's initial objective was to sow discord between Yugoslavia and Italy, by promising Yugoslavia Italian territory, particularly Trieste. This was to prevent France from reaching an agreement with them and to block an East Locarno Pact. On that I quote again from document 2385-PS, exhibit USA 68, the second Messersmith affidavit, on page 10:

While Italy openly opposed efforts at an Anschluss with Austria in 1934, Italian ambitions in Abyssinia provided Germany with the opportunity to sow discord between Italy and France and England, and to win Italy over to acceptance of Germany's programme in exchange for German support of her plans in Abyssinia."
That, if the Tribunal please, paved the way for the Austro-German Declaration or Pact of 11th July, 1936; and in the fall of 1936, Germany extended the hand of friendship and common purpose to Italy, in an alliance which they called the "Rome-Berlin Axis". This, together with Germany's alliance with Japan, put increasing pressure on England and greatly 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 begin to outline timetables, not binding timetables and not specific ones in terms of months and days, but still general timetables, in terms of years which were the necessary foundation for further aggressive planning, and a spur to more specific planning. That timetable was developed, as the Tribunal has already seen, in the conference of 5th November, 1937, contained in the document 386-PS, exhibit USA 25, the Hoszbach Minutes of that conference, to which I referred in detail on Monday last.

In those minutes we see the crystallisation of the plan to wage aggressive war in Europe, and to seize both Austria and Czechoslovakia, and in that order.

In connection with the exposition of the aggression on Austria, I have shown first the purpose of the Nazi conspiracy, with respect to the absorption of Austria, and then the steps taken by them in Austria up to this period, that is November, 1937.

I have also outlined for the Tribunal the general diplomatic preparations of the Nazi conspirators, with respect to their programme in Europe generally, and with respect to Austria in particular.

It may now be profitable to reconsider the minutes of the meeting of 5th November, 1937, in the light of this more-detailed background. It will be recalled that in that meeting, the- Fuehrer insisted that Germany must have more space in Europe. He concluded that the space required must be taken by force; and

[Page 244]

three different possible cases were outlined for different eventualities, but all reaching the conclusion that the problem would certainly have to be solved before 1943 to 1945.

Then there was envisaged the nature of a war in the near future, specifically against Austria and Czechoslovakia. Hitler said that for the improvement of Germany's military and political positions, it must be the first aim of the Nazis, in every case of entanglement by war, to conquer Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously, in order to remove any threat from the flanks, in case of a possible advance Westward.

Hitler then considered that the embodiment into Germany of Czechoslovakia and Austria, would constitute the conquest of food for from five to six million people, including the assumption that the comprehensive forced emigration of one million people from Austria could be carried out. And he further pointed out that the annexation of the two States to Germany, both militarily and politically, would constitute a considerable relief, since they would provide shorter and better frontiers; would free fighting personnel for other purposes; and would make possible the reconstitution of large new German armies.

Insofar as Austria is concerned, those minutes reveal a crystallisation in the policy of the Nazi conspirators. It had always been their aim to acquire Austria. At the outset a revolutionary putsch was attempted, 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 Nazis internally in Austria.

Now, however, it became clear that the need, or the greed, for Austria, in the light of the larger aggressive purposes of the Nazis, was sufficiently great to warrant the use of force, in order to obtain Austria with the speed that was designed. In fact, as we shall see later, the Nazis were actually 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 into 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. Their careful planning for war, and their readiness to use war as an instrument of political action, made it possible, in the end, for them to pluck this plum without having to strike a blow for it.

The German High Command had, of course, previously considered preparation against Austria.

I offer in evidence another German document, C-175, exhibit USA 69. It, again, is "Top Secret," with the added caption in German "Chefsache nur durch Offizier," "Chief Matter only to be delivered through an Officer."

This was a Top Secret directive of 24th June, 1937, of the Reichsminister for War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, General von Blomberg. The importance of this Top Secret directive is indicated by the fact that the carbon copy, received by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, was one of only four copies, establishing the directive for a unified preparation for war of all the Armed Forces.

This directive from General von Blomberg states, that although the political situation indicates that Germany need not consider an attack from any side, and also states that Germany does not intend to unleash European war, it then states in Part 1, and I quote from page 2 of the English text, which, I believe, is page 4, third paragraph, of the German text:

"The intention to unleash a European War is held just as little by Germany. Nevertheless, the politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous preparedness for war by the German Armed Forces.

(a) to counter attacks at any time
(b) to enable the military exploitation of politically
favourable opportunities, should they occur."

[Page 245]

The directive then indicates that there will be certain preparations for war of a general nature. I quote the first two portions of paragraph 2, on page 2 of the English text, and, I think, page 5 of the German text:
"(2) The preparations of a general nature include:

(a) The permanent preparedness for mobilisation of the German Armed Forces, even before the completion of rearmament, and full preparedness for war.
(b) The further working on 'Mobilisation without public 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."

And the directive finally indicates that there might be special preparations for war against Austria. I quote from Part 3 (1) which is on page 4 of the English text, and page 19 of the German text:
"(1) Special Case 'Otto.'
Case 'Otto', as you will repeatedly see, was the standing code name for aggressive war against Austria. I quote:
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."

I should now like to call attention to two conversations, held by United States Ambassador Bullitt with the defendants Schacht and Goering, in November, 1937.

DR. FRANZ EXNER: I am Prof. Exner, defending General Jodl. I should like to state my objection to the manner in which document C-175 has been treated. This document repeats a document of the General Staff, which prepares for all kinds of possibilities of war. The possibility has even been that you have seen in this document that Germany might have had to wage a war with Italy.

This document was only partially read, only the part relating to Austria; and in that way, the impression was created of a plan to march against Austria, whereas it actually says the German Reich had no intention to attack at that time, but was merely preparing for all eventualities.

I should like to request that the reading of this document should be supplemented by the reading at least of the paragraphs of this document which come after it. If these paragraphs of the document are placed before the Court, it will be seen that this was not a plan to march against Austria, but simply a document preparing for all possible eventualities.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, your objection does not appear to be to the admissibility of the document, but to the weight of the document. The Tribunal has already informed defendants Keitel and Jodl that they will have the opportunity at the appropriate time, when they come to prepare their defence, to refer to any documents, part of which have been put in by the prosecution, and to read such parts as they think necessary then, and to make what criticism they think necessary then.

Your objection is therefore premature, because it does not go to the admissibility of the document. It simply indicates a wish that more of it should be read. You will have an opportunity later to read any parts of the document which you wish.

MR. ALDERMAN: I suppose, if the Tribunal please, that the fundamental basis of the objection just stated by the distinguished Counsel, must have been his theory that Germany never made any plans to invade Austria, and if so, it would seem to follow that Germany never invaded Austria, and perhaps history is mistaken.

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