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 3 of 6)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 250]

I quote briefly from page 7 of the English text, the paragraph beginning on page 11 of the German original:-
"The Landesleitung received word about the planned plebiscite, through illegal information services, on 9th March, 1938, at 10 a.m. At the session which was called immediately afterwards, Seyss-Inquart complained that he had known about this for only a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the talks, he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth, and that in view of the new situation, he had been co-operating with the Landesleitung from the very first moment. Klausner, Jury, Rainer, Globotschnik and Seyss-Inquart were present at the first talks, which were held at 10 a.m. There it was decided that first, the Fuehrer had to be informed immediately; secondly, the opportunity for him to intervene must be given to him by way of an official declaration made by Minister Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg; and, thirdly, Seyss-Inquart must negotiate with the Government until clear instructions and orders were received from the Fuehrer. Seyss-Inquart and Rainer together composed a letter to von Schuschnigg, and only one copy of it was brought to the Fuehrer by Globotschnik, who flew to him on the afternoon of 9th March, 1938.

Negotiations with the Government were not successful. Therefore they were stopped by Seyss-Inquart in accordance with the instructions he received

[Page 251]

from the Fuehrer. On the 10th March, all the preparations for future revolutionary actions had already been made, and the necessary orders given to all unit leaders. During the night of the 10th and 11th, Globotschnik returned with the announcement that the Fuehrer gave the party freedom of action, and that he would back it in everything it did."
That means, the Austrian Nazi party.

Next, Germany's actual preparations for the invasion and the use of force. When news of the plebiscite reached Berlin it started a tremendous amount of activity. Hitler, as history knows, was determined not to tolerate the plebiscite. Accordingly, he called his military advisers and ordered the preparation of the march into Austria.

On the diplomatic side, he started a letter to Mussolini indicating why he was going to march into Austria, and in the absence of the defendant Ribbentrop (who was temporarily detained in London), the defendant von Neurath took over the affairs of the Foreign Office again.

The terse and somewhat disconnected notes in General Jodl's diary give a vivid account of the activities in Berlin. I quote from the entry of 10th March.

"By surprise and without consulting his ministers, von Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13th March, which should bring a strong majority for the legitimate party in the absence of plan or preparation.

The Fuehrer is determined not to tolerate it. This same night, March 9th to 10th he calls for Goering. General von Reichenau is ordered back from the Vairo Olympic Committee. General von Schebert is ordered to come as well as Minister Glaise-Horstenau, who is with the District leader (Gauleiter Burckel) in the Palatinia. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1.45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at ten o'clock. I follow at 10.15, according to the wish of General von Viebahn, to give him the old draft "Prepare Case Otto.'

1300 hours, General K - which I think plainly means Keitel - "informs Chief of Operational Staff and Admiral Canaris; Ribbentrop is being detained in London. Neurath takes over the Foreign Office. Fuehrer wants to transmit ultimatum to the Austrian cabinet. A personal letter is dispatched to Mussolini and the reasons are developed which forced the Fuehrer to take action. 1630 hours, mobilisation order is given to the Commander of the VIII Army, Corps Area 3, 7th and 13th Army Corps, without Reserve Army."

Now, it is to be noted that defendant von Neurath was at this critical hour acting as Foreign Minister. The previous February the defendant Ribbentrop had become Foreign Minister, and von Neurath had become President of the Secret Cabinet Council. But in this critical hour of foreign policy the defendant Ribbentrop was in London handling the diplomatic consequences of the Austrian transaction. As Foreign Minister in this hour of aggression, involving mobilisation and movement of troops, use of force and threats to eliminate the independence of a neighbouring country, the defendant von Neurath reclaimed his former position in the Nazi conspiracy.

I now offer in evidence our document C-102 as exhibit USA 74, captured German document, Top Secret, the directive of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, 11th March, 1938. This directive by Hitler, initialled by the defendants Jodl and Keitel, stated, "Hitler mixed political and military intentions." I quote paragraphs one, four, and five of the directive. First, the caption: "The Supreme Command of the Armed Forces," with some initials, referring to Operation Otto." Thirty copies. This is the eleventh copy. Top Secret.

"1. If other measures prove unsuccessful I intend to invade Austria with armed forces to establish constitutional conditions and to prevent further outrages against the pro- German population.

4. The forces of the Army and Air Force detailed for this operation must be ready for invasion and/or ready for action on the 12th of March, 1938, at the latest

[Page 252]

from 1200 hours. I reserve the right to give permission for crossing and flying over the frontier and to decide the actual moment for invasion.

5. The behaviour of the troops must give the impression that we do not want to wage war against our Austrian brothers; it is in our interest that the whole operation shall be carried out without any violence, but in the form of a peaceful entry welcomed by the population. Therefore any provocation is to be avoided. If, however, resistance is offered it must be broken ruthlessly by force of arms."

I also offer in evidence captured German document C-103 as exhibit USA 75, special instruction number one, directive, 11th March, 1938. This was an implementing directive, issued by the defendant Jodl, and it provided as follows:
"Top Secret. General. Forty copies, of which this is the sixth. Special instruction number one to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces No. 427-38, with some symbols. Directive. Our policy toward Czechoslovakian and Italian troops or militia units on Austrian soil.

1. If Czechoslovakian troops or militia units are encountered in Austria they are to be regarded as hostile.

2. The Italians are everywhere to be treated as friends, especially as Mussolini has declared himself disinterested in the solution of the Austrian question. The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, by order of Jodl."

Next, the actual events of 11th March in Austria. The events of 11th March, 1938, in Austria are available to us in two separate documents. Although these accounts differ in some minor details, such as the precise words used and the precise times when they were used, they afford each other almost complete corroboration. We think it appropriate for this Tribunal to have before it a relatively full account of the way in which the German Government on 11th March, 1938, deprived Austria of its sovereignty. First I shall give the report of the day's events in Austria as given by the Austrian Nazis. I refer to document 812-PS, exhibit USA 61, a report from Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissar Burckel, and I shall read from page 8 of the English version. For the purpose of the German interpreter I am starting following a tabulation: First case; second case; third case; and following the sentence: "Dr. Seyss-Inquart took part in these talks with Gauleiters."
"On Friday, 11th March, the Minister Glaise-Horstenau arrived in Vienna after a visit to the Fuehrer. After talks with Seyss- Inquart he went to see the Chancellor. At 11.3o a.m. the 'Landesleitung' had a meeting at which Klausner, Rainer, Jury, Seyss-Inquart, Glaise-Horstenau, Fishbock, and Muhlmann participated. Dr. Seyss-Inquart reported on his talks with von Schuschnigg, which had ended in a rejection of the proposal of the two ministers.

In regard to Rainer's proposal, von Klausner ordered that the Government be presented with an ultimatum, expiring at 1400 hours, signed by legal political 'front' men, including both ministers and also State Councillors Fishbock and Jury, for the establishment of a voting date in three weeks and a free and secret ballot in accordance with the constitution.

On the basis of written evidence which Glaise-Horstenau had brought with him, a leaflet, to be printed in millions of copies, and a telegram to the Fuehrer calling for help were prepared.

Klausner placed the leadership of the final political actions in the hands of Rainer and Globotschnik. Von Schuschnigg called a session of all ministers for 2 p.m. Rainer agreed with Seyss-Inquart that he should send the telegram to the Fuehrer and the statement to the population at 3 p.m., and at the same time he would start all necessary actions to take over power unless he received news from the session of the ministers' council before that time. During this time all measures had been prepared. At two-thirty Seyss-Inquart phoned Rainer and informed him that von Schuschnigg had been unable to stand the pressure, and had recalled the plebiscite, but that he had refused to call a new plebiscite and had ordered the strongest police measures for maintaining order. Rainer asked whether the two

[Page 253]

ministers had resigned, and Seyss-Inquart answered 'No.' Rainer informed the 'Reichskanzlei' through the German Embassy, and received an answer from Goering through the same channels, that the Fuehrer will not consent to partial solutions and that von Schuschnigg must resign. Seyss-Inquart was informed of this by Globotschnik and Muhlmann. Talks were had between Seyss-Inquart and von Schuschnigg. Von Schuschnigg resigned. Seyss-Inquart asked Rainer what measures the Party wished taken. Rainer's answer: 'Re-establishment of the government by Seyss-Inquart, legalisation of the Party, and calling up of the S.S. and S.A. as auxiliaries to the police force. Seyss-Inquart promised to have these measures carried out, but very soon the announcement followed that everything might be threatened by the resistance of Miklas, the President. Meanwhile word arrived from the German Embassy that the Fuehrer expected the establishment of a government under Seyss-Inquart with a national majority, the legalisation of the Party, and permission for the Legion (that is the Austrian Legion in Germany) to return, all within the specified time of 7.30 p.m.; otherwise German troops would cross the border at 8 p.m. At 5 p.m. Rainer and Globotschnik, accompanied by Muhlmann, went to the Chancellor's office to carry out this errand.

Situation: Miklas negotiated with Ender for the creation of a government which included Blacks, Reds, and National Socialists, and proposed the post of Vice-Chancellor to Seyss- Inquart. The latter rejected it, and told Rainer that he was not able to negotiate by himself because he was personally involved, and therefore a weak and unpleasant political situation might result. Rainer negotiated with Zernatto. Director of the cabinet Huber, Guido Schmidt, Glaise- Horstenau, Legation Councillor Stein, Military Attache General Muff, and the 'Gruppenfuehrer' Keppler (whose name I told you would reappear significantly), who had arrived in the meantime, were already negotiating. At 7 p.m. Seyss-Inquart entered the negotiations again. Situation at 7-30 P-m.: stubborn refusal of Miklas to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor; appeal to the world in case of a German invasion.

Gruppenfuehrer Keppler explained that the Fuehrer did not yet have an urgent reason for the invasion. This reason must first be created. The situation in Vienna and in the country is most dangerous. It is feared that street fights will break out any moment, because Rainer ordered the entire Party to demonstrate at three o'clock. Rainer proposed storming and seizing the government palace in order to force the reconstruction of the government. The proposal was rejected by Keppler, but as carried out by Rainer after he discussed it with Globotschnik. After 8 p.m. the S.A. and S.S. marched in and occupied the government buildings and all important positions in the city of Vienna. At 8.30 p.m. Rainer, with the approval of Klausner, ordered all Gauleiters of Austria to take over power in all eight 'gaus' of Austria, with the help of the S.S. and S.A., and with instructions that all government representatives who try to resist should be told that this action was taken on the order of Chancellor Seyss-Inquart.

With this the revolution broke out, and this resulted in the complete occupation of Austria within three hours and the taking over of all important posts by the Party.

The seizure of power was the work of the party supported by the Fuehrer's threat of invasion, and the legal standing of Seyss-Inquart in the government. The national result in the form of the taking over of the government by Seyss-Inquart was due to the actual seizure of power by the Party on one hand, and the political efficiency of Dr. Seyss-Inquart in his territory on the other; but both factors may be considered only in relation to the Fuehrer's decision on 9th March, 1938, to solve the Austrian problem under any circumstances, and the orders consequently issued by the Fuehrer."

We have at hand another document which permits us virtually to live again through the events of 11th March, 1938, and to live through them in most lively

[Page 254]

and interesting fashion. Thanks to the efficiency of the defendant Goering and his Luftwaffe Organisation, we have a highly interesting document, obviously an official document from the Luftwaffe Headquarters headed as usual "Geheime Reichssache," Top Secret. The letter head is stamped "Reichsluftfahrtministerium Forschungsamt." If I can get the significance of the German, "Forschungsamt" means the "Research Department" of Goering's Air Ministry. The document is in a characteristic German folder, and on the back it says " Gespracche Fall Oesterreich." " Conversation about the Case on Austria," and the paper cover on the inside has German script writing. In time I will ask the interpreter to read it, but it looks to me as if it is "Privat, Geheime Archive," which is "Secret Archive," Berlin, Gespraeche Fall Oesterreich (Case About Austria). I offer that set of documents in the original file as they were found in the Air Ministry, identified as our 2949-PS. I offer them as exhibit USA 76,and, in offering them, I am reminded of Job's outcry: "Oh, that mine enemy would write a book."

The covering letter in that file, signed by some member of this research organisation within the Air Ministry, and addressed to the defendant Goering, states in substance - well, I will read the English translation. It starts: "To the General Fieldmarshal. Fieldmarshal. Enclosed I submit, as ordered, the copies of your telephone conversations." Evidently the defendant wanted to keep a record of important telephone conversations which he had with important persons regarding "Case Austria," and had the transcriptions provided by his research department. Most of the conversations, transcribed and recorded in the volume I have offered, were conducted by the defendant Goering, although at least one interesting one was conducted by Hitler. For purposes of convenience our staff has marked these telephone calls in pencil with identifying letters running from "A" through "Z" and then to "AA." Eleven of these conversations have been determined, by a screening process, to be relevant to the evidence of this particular time. All the conversations which have been translated have been mimeographed and are included in the document books handed to the defendants. The original binder contains, of course, the complete set of conversations. A very extensive and interesting account of events with which we are much concerned can be developed from quotations from these translated conversations. The first group in part "A" of the binder took place between Field Marshal Goering, who was identified by the letter "F" for Field Marshal, and Seyss-Inquart, who was identified as "S." The transcript prepared by the Research Institute of the Air Ministry is in part in the language of these two persons, and is in part a summary of the actual conversations. I quote from part "A" of this binder, and because of the corroborated nature of this transcript and its obvious authenticity I propose to quote this conversation in full.

"F - (hereafter I shall use Goering and Seyss-Inquart)-F. How do you do, doctor? My brother-in-law; is he with you?

Seyss-Inquart: No."

Thereupon the conversation took approximately the following turn:-
"Goering: How are things with you? Have you resigned, or have you any news?

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

Goering 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. Goering will take a clear stand very shortly. In calling off the election he could see a postponement only, not a change of the present situation which had been brought about by the behaviour of the Chancellor Schuschnigg in breaking the Berchtesgaden agreement.

Thereafter a conversation took place between Goering and the Fuehrer. Afterwards Goering phoned Seyss-Inquart again. This conversation was held at 1505 hours.

[Page 255]

"Goering told Seyss-Inquart that Berlin did not agree at all with the decision made by Chancellor Schuschnigg, since he did not enjoy any longer 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 Ministers, Seyss-Inquart, and the others are being requested to immediately hand in their resignation to the Chancellor, and also to ask the Chancellor to resign. Goering added that if, after a period of one hour, no report had come through, the assumption would be made that Seyss-Inquart would no more be in a position to phone. That would mean that the gentlemen had handed in their resignations. Seyss-Inquart 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 Seyss- Inquart to form a new cabinet would follow Schuschnigg's resignation."
Thus you see that at 2.45 p.m. Goering told Seyss-Inquart over the phone that it was not enough for von Schuschnigg to cancel the elections; and twenty minutes later he telephoned Seyss-Inquart to state that von Schuschnigg must resign. That is your second ultimatum. When informed about an hour later that von Schuschnigg had resigned, he pointed out that in addition it was necessary to have Seyss-Inquart at the head of the cabinet. Shall I go into another one?

THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better adjourn until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

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