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 4 of 6)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 255]

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, an hour later, following the conversation between Goering and Seyss-Inquart, with which I dealt this morning, the defendant Goering telephoned to Dombrowski in the German Embassy in Vienna. I refer to the telephone conversation marked TT on page 2, Part C, of document 2949-PS. In that conversation, in the first place, the defendant Goering showed concern that the Nazi Party and all of its organisations should be definitely legalised promptly. I quote from page 2 of the transcript:-
"Goering: Now to go on, the Party has definitely been legalised?

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

Goering: With all of its organisations.

Dombrowski: With all of its organisations 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 half ail hour, which means everything is all right.

In addition Goering stated that the Cabinet, the Austrian Cabinet, must be formed by 7.30 p.m., and he transmitted instructions to be delivered to Seyss-Inquart as to who should be appointed to the Cabinet. I quote from page 3 of the English text of the transcript of the conversation:-

"Goering: Yes, and by 7.30 he also must talk with the Fuehrer, and as to the Cabinet, Keppler will bring you the names. One thing I have forgotten. Fishbock must have the Department of Economy and Commerce.

Dombrowski: That is understood.

Goering: Kaltenbrunner is to have the Department of Security, and Bahr is to have the Armed Forces. The Austrian Army is to be taken by Seyss-Inquart, and you know all about the Justice Department.

Dombrowski: Yes, yes.

Goering: Give me the name.

Dombrowski: Well, your brother-in-law, isn't that right?"

(That is, Subert, the brother-in-law of the defendant Goering.)
"Goering: Yes.

Dombrowski: Yes.

Goering: That's right, and then also Fishbock."

[Page 256]

And about twenty minutes later, at 5.26 p.m., Goering was given the news that Miklas, the President, was refusing to appoint Seyss- Inquart as Chancellor, and he issued instructions as to the ultimatum that was to be delivered to Miklas. I quote from the telephone conversation between Goering and Seyss-Inquart, in Part E of the folder, the part marked with capital R, pages 1 and 2 of Part E. I'm sorry, I thought the interpreters had the letter marked. They have not, I understand.
"Goering: Now remember the following: You go immediately together with Lt.-General Muff and tell the Federal President that if the conditions which are known to you are not accepted immediately, the troops who are already stationed at and advancing to the frontier will march in to-night along the whole line, and Austria will cease to exist. Lt.-General Muff should go with you and demand to be admitted for conference immediately. Please do inform us immediately about Miklas' position. Tell him there is no time now for any joke. Just through the false report we received before, action was delayed, but now the situation is that to-night the invasion will begin from all the corners of Austria. The invasion will be stopped, and the troops will be field at the border, only if we are informed by 7.30 that Miklas has entrusted you with the Federal Chancellorship." There follows in the transcript a sentence which is broken up. "M," - I suppose that means Lt. General Muff - "does not matter whatever it might be, the immediate restoration of the Party with all its organisations." There is again an interruption in the transcript. "And then call out all the National Socialists all over the country. They should now be in the streets; so remember report must be given by 7.30. Lt.-General Muff is supposed to come along with you. I shall inform him immediately. If Miklas could not understand it in four hours, we shall make him understand it now in four minutes."
An hour later, at 6.20 p.m., Goering had an extensively interrupted telephone conversation with Keppler and Muff and Seyss- Inquart. When he told Keppler that Miklas had refused to appoint Seyss-Inquart, Goering said - I read from Part H - it is about a third of the way down on the page.
"Goering: Well, then Seyss-Inquart has to dismiss him. Just go upstairs again and just tell him plainly that Seyss-Inquart (S.I.) shall call on the National-Socialists guard, and in five minutes the troops will march in by my order."
After an interruption, Seyss-Inquart came to the telephone and informed the defendant Goering that Miklas was still sticking to his old view, although a new person had gone in to talk to him, and there might be definite word in about ten minutes. The conversation proceeded as follows: I quote from page 2 of Part H, beginning about the middle of the page:-
"Goering: Listen, I shall wait a few more minutes, till he comes back; then you inform me via Blitz conversation in the Reich Chancellery as usually, but it has to be done fast. I hardly can justify it as a matter of fact. I am not entitled to do so; if it can not be done, then you have to take over the power, all right?

Seyss-Inquart: But if he threatens?

Goering: Yes.

Seyss-Inquart: Well, I see; then we shall be ready.

Goering: Call me via Blitz."

In other words, Goering and Seyss-Inquart had agreed on a plan for Seyss-Inquart to take over power if Miklas remained obdurate. The plan which was already discussed involved the use of both the National Socialist forces in Austria and the German troops who bad been crossing the borders. Later that night Goering and Seyss- Inquart had another conversation at about 11 o'clock. This was after the ultimatum had expired. Seyss-Inquart informed Goering that Miklas was still refusing to name Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. The conversation then proceeded as follows, and I quote from Part 1 of this folder:-
"Goering: O.K." What's the German word for O.K.? Schon. "I shall give the order to march in and then you make sure you get the power. Notify

[Page 257]

the leading people about the following which I shall tell you now: Everyone who offers resistance or organises resistance will immediately be subjected to our court-martial, the court- martial of our invading troops. Is that clear?

Seyss-Inquart: Yes.

Goering: Including leading personalities; it does not make any difference.

Seyss-Inquart: Yes, they have given the order not to offer any resistance.

Goering: Yes, it does not matter; the Federal President did not authorise you and that also can be considered as resistance.

Seyss-Inquart Yes.

Goering: Well, now you are officially authorised.

Seyss-Inquart Yes.

Goering: Well, good luck, Heil Hitler."

I'm sorry; that conversation took place at 8 o'clock not 11. I meant to say 8 o'clock. It is quite interesting to me that when the defendant Goering was planning to invade a peaceful neighbouring State, he planned to try those whom he referred to as major war criminals, the leading personalities, before a German court-martial. So much for the conversation with respect to the plan of action for taking over power. Then something very significant was sent on that subject over the telephone, at least so far as those transcripts indicate. But there was another historical event which was discussed over the telephone. I refer to the famous telegram which Seyss-Inquart sent to the German Government, requesting the German Government to send troops into Austria to help Seyss- Inquart put down disorder. A conversation held at 8.48 that night between Goering and Keppler proceeded as follows: I read from page 1 of Part L:-
"Goering: Well, I do not know yet. Listen, the main thing is that if Inquart takes over all powers of government he keeps the radio stations occupied.

Keppler: Well, we represent the Government now.

Goering: Yes, that's it. You are the Government. Listen carefully. The following telegram should be sent here by Seyss- Inquart. Take the notes: "The provisional Austrian Government which, after the dismissal of the Schuschnigg Government, considered it its task to establish police and order in Austria, send to the German Government the urgent request to support it in its task to help it to prevent bloodshed. For this purpose, it asks the German Government to send German troops as soon as possible."

Keppler: Well, SA and SS are marching through the streets, but everything is quiet."

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say "quiet"?


THE PRESIDENT: In my copy, it is "quick."

MR. ALDERMAN: That is a typographical error. It is "Quiet."



"Everything has collapsed with the professional groups. Now let us talk about sending German troops to put down disorder."
The SA and the SS were marching in the streets, but everything was quiet. And a few minutes later, the conversation continued thus, reading from page 2 of Part L:- Goering: Then our troops will cross the border to-day.

Keppler: Yes.

Goering: Good, he should send the telegram as soon as possible.

Keppler: Well, send the telegram to Seyss-Inquart in the office of the Federal Chancellor.

Goering: Please show him the text of the telegram and do tell him that we are asking him - well, he doesn't even need to send the telegram. All he needs to do is to say, 'Agreed.'

Keppler: Yes.

[Page 258]

Goering: He doesn't know me at the Fuehrer's or at my place. Well, good luck. Heil Hitler." Of course, he didn't need to send the telegram because Goering wrote the telegram. He already had it. It must be recalled that in the first conversation, Part A, held at 3.5 p.m., Goering had requested Seyss-Inquart to send the telegram agreed upon, but now the matter was so urgent that he discussed the direct wording of the telegram over the telephone. And an hour later, at 9.54 p.m. a conversation between Dr. Dietrich in Berlin and Keppler in Vienna went on as follows, reading from Part M:-
"Dietrich: I need the telegram urgently.

Keppler: Tell the General Field Marshal that Seyss-Inquart agrees.

Dietrich: This is marvellous. Thank you.

Keppler: Listen to the radio. News will be given.

Dietrich: Where?

Keppler: From Vienna.

Dietrich: So Seyss-Inquart agrees?

Keppler: Jawohl."

Next the actual order to invade Austria. Communications in Austria were now suspended but the German military machine had been set in motion. To demonstrate that, I now offer in evidence captured document C-182, offered as exhibit USA 77, a directive of 11th March, 1938, at 2045 hours, from Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. This directive, initialled by General Jodl and signed by Hitler, orders the invasion of Austria in view of its failure to comply with the German ultimatum. The directive reads.-
"Top secret. Berlin, 11th March, 1938, 2045 hours. Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, OKW," with symbols. 35 copies, 6th copy. C-in-C. Navy (pencil note) has been informed. Re: Operation Otto. Directive No. 2."

(1) The demands of the German ultimatum to the Austrian Government have not been fulfilled.

(2) The Austrian Armed Forces have been ordered to withdraw in front of the entry of German troops and to avoid fighting.

The Austrian Government has ceased to function of its own accord.

(3) To avoid further bloodshed in Austrian towns, the entry of the German Armed Forces into Austria will commence, according to directive No. 1, at day-break on 12.3.

I expect the set objectives to be reached by exerting all forces to the full as quickly as possible. Signed Adolf Hitler. Initialled by Jodl and by a name that looks like Warlimont."

And then some interesting communications with Rome, to avoid possibility of disaster from that quarter. At the very time that Hitler and Goering had embarked on this military undertaking they still had a question mark in. their minds, and that was Italy. Italy had massed on the Italian border in 1934 on the occasion of 25th July, 1934, the putsch, Italy had traditionally been the political protector of Austria.

With what a sigh of relief did Hitler hear at 1O.25 p.m. that night from Prince Phillipp von Hessen, his Ambassador at Rome, that he had just come back from the Palazzo Venezia, where Mussolini had accepted the whole thing in a very friendly manner. The situation can really be grasped by the reading of the conversation. The record of the conversation shows the excitement under which Hitler was operating when he spoke over the phone. It is a short conversation, and I shall read the first half of it from Part "N" of the transcript of document 2949-PS. I'm afraid Part "N" may be blurred on the mimeographed copy. "H" is Hessen and "F" is the Fuehrer.

"Hessen: I have just come back from Palazzo Venezia. The Duce accepted the whole thing in a very friendly manner. He sends you his regards. He had been informed from Austria, von Schuschnigg gave him the news. He had then

[Page 259]

said it would be a complete impossibility; it would be a bluff; such a thing could not be done. So he was told that it was unfortunately arranged thus, and it could not be changed any more. Then Mussolini said that Austria would be immaterial to him."

Hitler: Then please tell Mussolini I will never forget him for this.

Hessen: Yes.

Hitler: Never, never, never, whatever happens. I am still ready to make a quite different agreement with him.

Hessen: Yes, I told him that, too.

Hitler: As soon as the Austrian affair has been settled, I shall be ready to go with him through thick and thin; nothing matters.

Hessen: Yes, my Fuehrer.

Hitler: Listen, I shall make any agreement - I am no longer in fear of the terrible position which would have existed militarily in case we had become involved in a conflict. You may tell him that I do thank him ever so much, never, never shall I forget that.

Hessen: Yes, my Fuehrer.

Hitler: I will never forget it, whatever will happen. If he should ever need any help or be in any danger, he can be convinced that I shall stick to him whatever might happen, even if the whole world were against him.

Hessen: Yes, my Fuehrer.

The Tribunal will recall the reference in Jodl's diary to the letter which Hitler had sent to Mussolini. It is dated 11th March. It may be found in the official publication "Dokumente der Deutschen Politik," Volume 6, 1, page 135, number 24A. I ask the Court to take judicial notice of it and you will find a translation of it appearing in our document 2510-PS. In this letter, after stating that Austria had been declining into anarchy, Hitler wrote - and I quote:-
"I have decided to re-establish order in my fatherland - order and tranquillity - and to give to the popular will the possibility of settling its own faith in unmistakable fashion openly and by its own decision."
He stated that this was an act of self-defence; that he had no hostile intentions towards Italy. And after the invasion, when Hitler was at Linz, Austria, he communicated his gratitude to Mussolini once more, in the famous telegram which the world so well remembers. I again cite Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, Volume 6, page 145, number 29, the translation of the telegram being in our document 2467-PS, and the document reads:-
"Mussolini, I shall never forget you for this."

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