From The Outline of History by H. G. Wells: The stresses that arose from the unscientific map-making of the diplomatists [at the Congress of Vienna] gathered force more deliberately [than the reactionary proceedings of the monarchists], but they were even more dangerous to the peace of mankind. It is extraordinarily inconvenient to administer together the affairs of peoples speaking different languages and so reading different literatures and having different general ideas, especially if those differences are exacerbated by religious disputes. Only some strong mutual interest, such as the common defensive needs of the Swiss mountaineers, can justify a close linking of peoples of dissimilar languages and faiths; and even in Switzerland there is the utmost local autonomy. Ultimately, when the Great Power tradition is dead and buried, those Swiss populations may gravitate towards their natural affinities in Germany, France, and Italy. When as in Macedonia, populations are mixed in a patchwork of villages and districts, the cantonal system is imperatively needed. But if the reader will look at the map of Europe as the Congress of Vienna drew it, he will see that this gathering seems almost as if it had planned the maximum of local exasperation. It destroyed the Dutch Republic, quite needlessly it lumped together the Protestant Dutch with the French-speaking Catholics of the old Spanish (Austrian) Netherlands, and set up a kingdom of the Netherlands. It handed over not merely the old republic of Venice but all of North Italy as far as Milan to the German-speaking Austrians. French-speaking Savoy is combined with pieces of Italy to restore the Kingdom of Sardinia. Austria and Hungary, already a sufficiently explosive mixture of discordant nationalities, Germans, Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, Yugoslavs, Romanians, and now Italians, was made still more impossible . . . .
Here was a complete disregard of the fact that the people who talk German and base their ideas on German literature, the people who talk Italian and base their ideas on Italian literature, and the people who talk Polish and base their ideas on Polish literature, will all be far better off and most helpful and least obnoxious within the ring-fence of their own speech. Is it any wonder that one of the most popular songs in Germany during this period declared that wherever the German tongue was spoken there was the German Fatherland?
From Germany From 1815 to 1866 by Professor Geoffrey Barraclough: The settlement of 1915 set the stage for the political struggles of the nineteenth century. Already in 1815, a clear-sighted observer, surveying the balance established between Austria and Prussia, remarked that the "settlements must inevitably lead to a struggle for supremacy in Germany"; but the fundamental issue at stake was less the struggle for supremacy between Austria and Prussia than that between the principles of unity and particularism . . . .
It was because of the disunity and still more the incompatibility of the various groups opposed to the Vienna settlement that the question of unity was, under the influence of Metternich, so easily dismissed from the field of practical politics. There was no natural alignment between the movement for German unification and existing political combinations to help it forward. Nor could it, like the radical movement in nineteenth-century England, make use of rapid social and economic change.
Germany, in 1815, was still almost entirely an agricultural country with old-fashioned handicrafts, such as the weaving of Silesia and the cutlery of Solingen, but without flourishing industries or a prosperous manufacturing class; and although in the next thirty years there was a rise in population amounting to no less than 38 percent, the proportions of town and country dwellers remained virtually unchanged. Few towns had recovered from the effects of the Thirty Years’ War and the stagnation of the eighteenth century, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century the total population of all the free cities and university towns in Germany was scarcely the equivalent of the population of Paris. Hence neither industrial capitalists nor industrial workers existed as a serious political force, and the towns were still, as in the eighteenth century, dominated by a professional and bureaucratic middle-class, which had little to gain by radical political change. These factors go far to explain the failure of the revolution of 1848-1849; but what is more remarkable is the persistence in such circumstances of a current of radical and national feeling strong enough, once the European situation was favorable, to kindle the sparks of revolution. As soon as the outbreak of revolution in France created the necessary external conditions, a spontaneous uprising, against which the princely governments were helpless, took place simultaneously throughout the 39 German states; and in this movement the old problem of national unity and particularism came to the fore.
From the IMT testimony of Edmund Glaise-Horstenau: I was born in 1882 in Braunau in Upper Austria. I came of an officer's family of French descent. In 1918 I was a major in the General Staff of the Austrian headquarters as advisor on politics and the press. After the overthrow of 1918 I was in the civil service as Director of Archives at the university, a historian and author. Among other things, I was the author of a basic work about the collapse of old Austria. [I was] Director of Archives; then, from 11 July 1936 on, I was Minister in the Cabinet of Schuschnigg, as guarantor of the July Agreement; and then during the March days of 1938, I was in the Cabinet of Seyss-Inquart.
In November 1939 I voluntarily entered the German Army, first in the obscure job of a graves registration inspector; and from 1941 on I had to do with military diplomatic tasks and was on duty at Zagreb without troop command. In September 1944 I was dismissed from my post in Zagreb because, being an Austrian of the old regime, I was against the official policy and was one of the basic opponents of the Ustashi terror. Another reason was that I was supposed to have called the head of the State, who was elected and appointed by us, Ante Pavelich, a "criminal subject," among other undiplomatic things.
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Today it seems to me providential that Fate should have chosen Braunau on the Inn as my birthplace. For this little town lies on the boundary between two German states which we, of the younger generation at least, have made it our life work to reunite by every means at our disposal.
Note: Although Hitler was born in Braunau on the Inn, his home turf for most of his youth was the Waldviertel (the Wooded Quarter) region of Austria, between the Danube River and the frontiers of Bohemia and Moravia. Only 50 miles from the Austrian capital of Vienna, it was more than a few hundred years distant in time; it was poor, and stubbornly rural. As in any border region, invasions were a commonplace occurrence over the centuries: Huns, Bohemians (13th century), Czechs (Hussite Wars, 1420-1435), Swedes (30 Years War, 1618-1648), and Napoleon (1805). All these invasions left their mark on the ethnic background of the inhabitants, including a Czech influence in particular, which derived from the Hussite Wars. Hitler's ancestors, on both sides, had lived in this region as long as anyone could remember.
From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: I was a diplomat by profession. I was in the Austrian Foreign Service under Dr. Seipel and for about six years I was a member of the Austrian Legation in Paris. In 1936 I was recalled and assigned to the Austrian State for service with the Diplomatic Corps and the Foreign Office. In 1936 I became State Secretary under Dr. Schuschnigg, and later Foreign Minister. I was a member of the Schuschnigg Government until his resignation by violence. From that time on, I had no political activity.
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: The provincial capital of Upper Austria had at that time a theater which was, relatively speaking, not bad. Pretty much of everything was produced. At the age of twelve I saw [presumably the play] Wilhelm Tell for the first time, and a few months later my first opera, Lohengrin. I was captivated at once. My youthful enthusiasm for the Master of Bayreuth knew no bounds. Again and again I was drawn to his works, and it still seems to me especially fortunate that the modest provincial performance left me open to an intensified experience later on. All this, particularly after I had outgrown my adolescence (which in my case was an especially painful process), reinforced my profound distaste for the profession which my father had chosen for me. My conviction grew stronger and stronger that I would never be happy as a civil servant. The fact that by this time my gift for drawing had been recognized at the Realschule made my determination all the firmer.
I cannot enthuse over the interior of the palace. While the exterior is hugely majestic, thus granting to it the severity of a monument of art, the interior, though commanding admiration, does not impress by its dignity. Only when the powerful sound waves flow through the theater and the whispering of the wind gives way to the terrible roar of those waves of sound, only then does one feel sublimity and forget the gold and velvet with which the interior is overloaded.1907 Early September: A wholly self-confident (he tells us) Adolf Hitler travels to Vienna to fill out his forms and prepare for the October entrance examination at the Academy of Fine Arts. His Aunt Johanna loans him the considerable sum of 924 Kronen, enough to keep him going in Vienna for a year, if used frugally. He rents a room at 29 Stumpergasse, Vienna, from an elderly Czech woman, Maria Zakreys, for 5 kronen a month. He is only a few blocks away from the Westbahnhof railway station, which serves Linz (only two hours away).
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: In the last months of [my mother's] sickness, I had gone to Vienna to take the entrance examination for the Academy. I had set out with a pile of drawings, convinced that it would be child's play to pass the examination. At the Realschule I had been by far the best in my class at drawing, and since then my ability had developed amazingly; my own satisfaction caused me to take a joyful pride in hoping for the best.
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Now I was in the fair city for the second time, waiting with burning impatience, but also with confident self-assurance, for the result of my entrance examination. I was so convinced that I would be successful that when I received my rejection, it struck me as a bolt from the blue.
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: When, after the death of my mother, I went to Vienna for the third time, to remain for many years, the time which had meanwhile elapsed had restored my calm and determination. My old defiance had come back to me and my goal was now clear and definite before my eyes. I wanted to become an architect, and obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken. I was determined to overcome these obstacles, keeping before my eyes the image of my father, who had started out as the child of a village shoemaker, and risen by his own efforts to be a government official. I had a better foundation to build on, and hence my possibilities in the struggle were easier, and what then seemed to be the harshness of Fate, I praise today as wisdom and providence. While the Goddess of Suffering took me in her arms, often threatening to crush me, my will to resistance grew, and in the end this will was victorious.
From The Face of the Third Reich by Joachim C Fest: Among the social flotsam washed up in the city's wards and hostels of the multi-nation state were impoverished Hungarian nobles, bankrupt traders, down-and-outs from the dual monarchy's Italian provinces, petty clerks and moneylenders, gone-to-seed artists and so-called Handelees, Jews from the eastern regions of the Empire trying laboriously to rise in the world as old-clothes men, hosiers or peddlers. This pathological, evil-smelling world of envy, spite and egotism, where everyone was on edge for a chance to scramble upwards and only ruthlessness guaranteed escape, became for the next few years Hitler's home and formative background. Here his idea of mankind and his picture of society were molded; here he received his first political impressions and asked his first political questions, to which he responded with the growing resentment, the hate and impotence of the outcast. He found here the reverse of the world of dreams and fantasies he had erected as a shelter for his frustrated hopes as an artist; he found it equally unreal and removed from the normal life which was becoming more and more closed to him . . . .
What Hitler put forward as his philosophy was the sum of the cliches current in Vienna at the turn of the century. Konrad Heiden has pointed out that anti-Socialism and anti-Semitism were 'fashionable among the ruling classes and good form in the middle-class circles to which Hitler aspired' or to which, with the stubborn pride of the proletarianized petty bourgeois, he still felt he belonged. A similar philosophy marked the Pan-German Party of Georg Ritter von Schonerer, where it had a nationalistic, pan-German side reflected in propaganda for the incorporation into the Reich of areas of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy where there were people of German ancestry. The man who made the most lasting impression on Hitler was clearly the Mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, the 'idol of old men and concierges, of women and chaplains', whom Hitler himself described as the 'mightiest German burgomaster of all time'. Hitler admired this knowledgeable and adroit demagogue, who with consummate skill combined the prevailing social, anti-Jewish, and Christian convictions and emotions with his political ambitions and showed a rare mastery of the art of influencing the masses. The only personal touch which Hitler added to this drab and arbitrary conglomeration of secondhand ideas was a primitive Darwinism that matched his own experiences in the men's hostel.
From Europe: 1914-1939 by F. Lee. Burns and Mary Elisabeth Seldon: These ententes, alliances, and counter-alliances, though defensive in their original character, eventually created an atmosphere favorable to war. Naturally, the number of "danger spots" which might embroil all Europe in a serious international conflict was increased as states became more and more entangled in the plans and aspirations of their allies. At the same time, believing that if attacked they would have the active assistance of their allies, states became less willing to make concessions in times of diplomatic clashes. Finally, as the international situation became more tense, members of each alliance became reluctant to concede anything to members of the other lest their action be interpreted as weakness and their group suffer a loss of prestige.
Accompanying the rise of entangling alliances, and undoubtedly accelerated by the fear engendered by these alliances, was the growth of huge national armaments. After the Austro-Prussian and Franco-German wars, the system of conscription which seemed to have enabled Prussia to gain an easy victory in each case was rapidly adopted by the other states on the Continent. One after another the national armies were reorganized on the Prussian model. Year by year the number of young men called to serve in the various national armies was increased until Europe came to be a veritable armed camp. All this was done in the name of peace, for it was argued that the best insurance against war was national preparedness. Many taxpayers complained, however, of the ever-increasing tax burden laid upon them for armaments which some pacifists maintained would not assure peace but might rather provoke war.
What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this . . . .
V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined . . . .
X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development . . . .
The German-Austrian State claims the territorial jurisdiction over the entire territory of German settlement areas, especially in the Sudetenland. The German-Austrian State will fight any annexation by other nations of territories which are inhabited by German farmers, workers, and citizens.1918 October 30: The Provisional National Assembly for German Austria founds the State of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat.
From the Zweites Buch (Second Book) by Adolf Hitler: At all times a responsible, thinking, and acting government will make an effort to find strategically natural and secure frontiers. Surely, Italy did not annex the Southern Tyrol in order thus to come into possession of a couple of hundred thousand Germans, and surely the Italians would have preferred it if only Italians lived in this territory in place of these Germans. For, as a matter of fact, it was never strategic considerations primarily which induced them to place the borders over the Brenner. But no State would have acted differently in a similar situation. Hence it is aimless to criticize this shaping of the borders as such, since ultimately every State must determine its natural borders according to its own interests and not others. To the extent that the possession of the Brenner may serve military interests and strategic purposes, it is irrelevant whether or not 200,000 Germans live within this strategically established and secured border as such, if the population of the country encompasses 42 million people, and a militarily effective adversary on this very border does not come in for consideration.
It would have been wiser to have spared these 200,000 Germans any compulsion, rather than to have forcibly tried to instill an outlook the result of which, according to experience, is generally without value. Also a Volkdom cannot be extirpated in twenty or thirty years, regardless of the methods employed, and whether one wants or does not want this. On the Italian side, one can answer with a certain appearance of right that this was not intended at first, and that it developed necessarily by itself as a consequence of the provocative attempts at a continuous interference in domestic Italian affairs on the part of Austrian and German external forces, and of the repercussions evoked therefrom on the Southern Tyroleans themselves. This is correct, for, as a matter of fact, the Italians at first welcomed the German element in the Southern Tyrol very honestly and loyally. But as soon as Fascism arose in Italy, the agitation against Italy in Germany and Austria began on grounds of principle, and now led to an increasing heightening of mutual irritability which in the Southern Tyrol finally had to lead to consequences we see today.
German-Austria is a democratic republic. All public authorities are installed by the people. German-Austria is a part of the German Republic.1918 November 12: The leader of the biggest national party of the time, Dr. Karl Renner, explains the reasons for the above resolution:
Our great people is in distress and misery, the people whose pride it has always been to be called the people of poets and thinkers, our German people of humanism, our German people which loves all mankind, is deeply bowed in misery. But it is just in this hour in which it would be so easy and convenient and perhaps also tempting to settle one's account separately and perhaps to snatch advantages from the enemy's ruse, in this hour our people in all provinces wish to proclaim: We are one family and one people living under a common fate.1918 December 21: Kurt Josef Waldheim, an Austrian diplomat and politician who will serve as an intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht in WW2, the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992, is born in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, a village near Vienna.
The National Assembly has no choice. Country and people need lasting peace which will open the world to them again morally and economically and which can once again procure work for the masses of our people at home and abroad . . . . It also has no other choice because our country depends on the big powers for its supply of food, coal, and industrial raw materials as well as in the re-establishment of its credit and its currency.1919 September 10 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye: The new Republic of Austria signs the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye under tremendous pressure from the victorious Allies. The Austrian equivalent of the Treaty of Versailles, among its provisions are: the new republic's initial self-chosen name of German Austria (Deutschoesterreich) has to be changed to Austria; the new Republic of Austria, consisting of most of the German-speaking Alpine part of the former Austrian Empire, must recognize the independence of the newly-formed states of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs; must submit to 'war reparations'; must refrain from directly or indirectly compromising its independence, which means that Austria cannot enter into political or economic union with Germany without the agreement of the Council of the League of Nations; the Austrian Army is limited to a force of 30,000 volunteers. This forcible incorporation of the German-speaking population of the border territories of the Sudetenland into the artificially-created state of Czechoslovakia will eventually lead to the Munich Conference and become one of the causatory factors of WW2.
From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: I personally felt a great affinity for Austria; that I had spent the greater part of my youth in an Austrian castle; that my father, even at the time of the old empire, often spoke of a close bond between the future of the German motherland of Austria and the Reich, for he was convinced that the Austrian Empire would not hold together much longer. In 1918 while in Austria for two days, having come by plane, I saw the revolution and the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire take place. Those countries, with a predominantly German population, including Sudeten Germany, convened at that time in Vienna in the Parliament. They declared themselves free of the dissolved Hapsburg State and declared, including the representatives of Sudeten Germany, Austria to be a part of the German Reich. This happened, as far as I know, under the Social Democratic Chancellor, Renner.
This statement by the representatives of the Austrian-German people that they wanted to be a part of Germany in the future was changed by the peace treaty of St. Germain and prohibited by the dictate of the victorious nations. Neither for myself nor for any other German was that of importance. The moment and the basic conditions had of course to be created for a union of the two brother nations of purely German blood and origin to take place. When we came to power, as I have said before, this was naturally an integral part of German policy. The assurances that Hitler gave at that time regarding the sovereignty of Austria were no deception; they were meant seriously.
From Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: German Austria must be restored to the great German motherland; and not, indeed, on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no. Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be disadvantageous from the economic standpoint, still it ought to take place. People of the same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in one state. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only then can the moral right arise from the need of the people, to acquire foreign territory. The plow is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come . . . .
To demand that the 1914 frontiers should be restored is a glaring political absurdity that is fraught with such consequences as to make the claim itself appear criminal. The confines of the Reich as they existed in 1914 were thoroughly illogical because they were not really complete, in the sense of including all the members of the German nation. Nor were they reasonable, in view of the geographical exigencies of military defense. They were not the consequences of a political plan which had been well considered and carried out, but they were temporary frontiers established in virtue of a political struggle that had not been brought to a finish; and indeed, they were partly the chance result of circumstances.
From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: I have been a member of the NSDAP since 10 October 1930. Until 1934 I had no functions. Afterwards Gauleiter Klausner of Carinthia called me to the Gauleiter's office. Beginning in 1936 I worked in the Landesleitung. Landesleiter Leopold, in the autumn of 1936, relieved me of my position because there were differences of opinion between us. In February of 1938 Klausner again appointed me his political adviser and co-worker in the Landesleitung. In May 1938 the Fuehrer appointed me Gauleiter of Salzburg. On 1 December 1941 I was transferred to Carinthia. Those were my political functions.
From Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish Question" by Sarah Gordon: Many Germans hoped Hitler could pull Germany out of the Depression and others thought he was the only man capable of restoring dignity to the nation after its humiliating defeat in World War ll and the Treaty of Versailles . . . . In short, there was a myriad of reasons for joining the Nazi Party or voting for Hitler. Anti-Semitism was only one and not necessarily the most important one, and it was apparently not a major determinant of Nazi success at the polls.
From Kaltenbrunner's IMT testimony: I became a member of the Party in 1932 after I had belonged for several years to the Non-Partisan Movement for the Protection of the Austrian Homeland . . . . I made speeches in my own home province, the Gau Upper Austria, at National Socialist [meetings] but primarily--or rather exclusively--to promote the Anschluss movement. I was a legal advisor just as any other lawyer of any party who, at that period of economic emergency, was willing to give legal information and advice free of charge for some hours at the end of the day to the needy, who in this case were National Socialists.
From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: At first he [Hitler] probably did not see any possibility [of an Anschluss]. I myself was much more radical in this direction and I asked him repeatedly not to make any definite commitments regarding the Austrian question. He believed, however, that he had first of all to take Italy into consideration. It was evident, especially after the National Socialist Party in Germany had come to power, that the National Socialist Party in Austria was also growing more and more. This party, however, had existed in Austria even before the seizure of power in Germany, just as the origin of the National Socialist Workers Party goes back to Sudeten Germany. The Party in Austria was therefore not a Fifth Column for the Anschluss, because the Austrian people themselves originally wanted and always wanted the Anschluss. If the idea of the Anschluss did not figure so clearly and strongly in the Austrian Government of that time, it was not because it did not want to be joined to Germany, but because the National Socialist form of government was not compatible in any way with the form of government in Austria at that time.
Thus there resulted that tension, first in Austria itself, which has repeatedly been mentioned by the Prosecution in its charges. This tension was bound to come because the National Socialists took the idea of the Anschluss with Germany more seriously than the Government did. This resulted in political strife between the two. That we were on the side of the National Socialists as far as our sympathies were concerned is obvious, particularly as the Party in Austria was severely persecuted. Many were put into camps, which were just like concentration camps but had different names.
The importance of Austria, due to her position in the heart of Central Europe and in the Danube Basin, far exceeds, as is well known, her territorial and numerical size. If she is to fulfill in the interests of all the mission accorded her by centuries-old tradition and geographical situation, the normal conditions of independence and peaceful life must first of all be secured. That is the standpoint which Italy has long maintained in regard to both political and economic conditions on the basis of unchangeable principles.
From The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill: Hitler's accession to the Chancellorship in 1933 had not been regarded with enthusiasm in Rome. Nazism was viewed as a crude and brutalized version of the Fascist theme. The ambitions of a Greater Germany towards Austria and in Southeastern Europe were well known. Mussolini foresaw that in neither of these regions would Italian interests coincide with those in the new Germany. Nor had he long to wait for confirmation.
The acquisition of Austria by Germany was one of Hitler's most cherished ambitions . . . . From the moment, therefore, of the acquisition of power in January 1933, the Nazi German Government cast its eyes upon Vienna. Hitler could not afford as yet to clash with Mussolini, whose interest in Austria had been loudly proclaimed. Even infiltration and underground activities had to be applied with caution by a Germany as yet militarily weak. Pressure on Austria, however, began in the first few months. Unceasing demands were made on the Austrian Government to force members of the satellite Austrian Nazi Party both into the Cabinet and into key posts in the Administration. Austrian Nazis were trained in an Austrian legion organized in Bavaria. Bomb outrages on the railways and at tourist centers, German airplanes showering leaflets over Salzburg and Innsbruck, disturbed the daily life of the Republic. The Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss was equally opposed both by Socialist pressure within and external German designs against Austrian independence. Nor was this the only menace to the Austrian State. Following the evil example of their German neighbors, the Austrian Socialists had built up a private army, with which to override the decision of the ballot box. Both dangers loomed upon Dollfuss during 1933. The only quarter to which he could turn for protection and whence he had already received assurance of support was Fascist Italy. In August, 1933, Dollfuss met Mussolini at Riccione. A close personal and political understanding was reached between them. Dollfuss, who believed that Italy would hold the ring, felt strong enough to move against one set of his opponents--the Austrian Socialists.
It's only a little more than a year ago that John Gunther and I had a long talk with him [Dollfuss] . . . . I found him a timid fellow, still a little dazed that he, the illegitimate son of a peasant, could have gone so far. But give the little men a lot of power and they can be dangerous. I weep for my Social-Democrat friends in Vienna, the most decent men and women I've known in Europe. How many of them are being slaughtered tonight? And there goes democracy in Austria, one more state gone.1934 February 17: Great Britain, France, and Italy warn that Austria's independence must be maintained. (THC)
The awful danger of our present foreign policy is that we go on perpetually asking the French to weaken themselves. And what do we say is the inducement? We say, "Weaken yourselves," and we always hold out the hope that if they do it and get into trouble, we will then in some way or other go to their aid, although we have nothing with which to go to their aid. I cannot imagine a more dangerous policy. There is something to be said for isolation; there is something to be said for alliances. But there is nothing to be said for weakening the Power on the Continent with whom you would be in alliance, and then involving yourself more [deeply] in Continental tangles in order to make it up to them. In that way you have neither the one thing nor the other; you have the worst of both worlds.
The Romans had a maxim, "Shorten your weapons and lengthen your frontiers." But our maxim seems to be, "Diminish your weapons and increase your obligations." Aye, and diminish the weapons of your friends. (Churchill)
From the IMT testimony of Edmund Glaise-Horstenau: The economic situation at that time may be characterized through the average figure of unemployment. Out of 6 million inhabitants, 400,000 were unemployed, and that means, counting their families, that more than a million were in the misery of unemployment. In this connection [the expansion of the economic area] I can say openly and immediately that all the possibilities always received "no" as an answer. If Austria wanted the Anschluss, the answer was "no." If Austria wanted to call the Hapsburgs back, the answer was "no." If Austria wanted to enter a German customs union in order to expand her economic area, the answer was "no." And when great men like Briand and Tardieu spoke of a Danube federation, we received only cold shoulders from our autarchically minded neighbors. That is the Austrian tragedy.
In the year 1918 the standard bearer of this Anschluss was no less than the Social Democratic Party led by Otto Bauer who the year before had declared the Anschluss to be the only possibility for the Austrian proletariat. Later the National Socialist Party crowded to the front, though it was not unified, to be sure, until the end of the twenties by unconditional subordination to the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The leaders themselves changed frequently. Hitler, however, sent a land inspector by the name of ... what was his name; a Prussian--I cannot think of the name at the moment--who was evicted from the country by Dollfuss in 1933. Habicht, Dr. Habicht is his name. After him, Captain Leopold rose to the leadership of the Party. They considered themselves bound by absolute obedience and loyalty [to Adolf Hitler].
From Adolf Hitler by John Toland: A month earlier, during his frustrating excursion to Italy, the Fuehrer had promised Mussolini to respect Austrian independence. It was a considerable concession since Anschluss, incorporation of his homeland into a Greater Germany, had been one of Hitler's first goals. Despite this promise his own SS did not cease sending considerable financial and moral support to Austrian Nazis, who carried on a campaign of terrorism, blowing up railways and power stations with German dynamite and murdering supporters of Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss with German weapons. Ironically the diminutive Dollfuss was a nationalist, authoritarian reactionary who was countering the threats of both Nazism and Socialism with suspension of parliamentary government. Earlier in the year Dollfuss had put down revolt from the left by bombarding Socialists entrenched in a huge housing development until they surrendered. Since then he had concentrated on wiping out the local Nazis, reinforced by assurance from Mussolini that he would restrain Hitler from retaliation.
Perhaps the Austrian Nazis were inspired by the hubbub following the Roehm affair to take direct action. More likely, though there is no proof, Hitler approved it. At any rate, on July 25 they suddenly launched their own Putsch, under the code name Operation Summer Festival.
From the IMT testimony of Michael Skubl, former Chief of Police in Vienna, and State Secretary for Matters of Public Security: Dr. Dollfuss had appointed me Inspector General of the Police the day before he was murdered on 24 July. I had enjoyed his full confidence. When Seyss-Inquart was appointed Minister of the Interior and of Security, I was attached to him as State Secretary. Consequently, I was directly subordinate to him, whereas until that time I had been subordinated directly to the Federal Chancellor as Chief of Security. As Chief of Police and State Secretary for Matters of Public one of my leading tasks was, of course, to combat illegal movements, and particularly National Socialist aggression.
Dr. Seyss-Inquart admitted being a National Socialist. However, as far as I know, the so-called 120 or 150 percent National Socialists--that is to say, the leaders of the illegal movement--did not consider him a 100 percent National Socialist. He was, however, considered a very suitable person to be used as a piece on the chessboard of the National Socialist movement. It was my impression that he was more led than leading. There were no rifts in our understanding. It was a completely harmonious understanding. Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg was the chief of the Government, and in that capacity he was naturally my highest superior. It was natural that I should make reports to the Federal Chancellor regularly and upon special summons, and that I should also have received instructions from him in return.
From Adolf Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein: Everyone assumed, probably correctly, that the Germans had instigated the coup. Mussolini, still nominally friendly to Italy's former allies of the World War, rushed troops to the Brenner Pass. Hitler, fearing a confrontation with Mussolini, denied any responsibility for the assassination of Dollfuss. Relations between Germany and Austria continued to be disastrous, however, for Hitler’s hatred of Austrian provincialism and Catholicism was boundless, and he felt with a special passion the desire to bring German-Austria back into the Reich as the Ostmark or the East March. As long as Mussolini opposed this plan, however, Hitler would have some difficulty in achieving his aim. Germany was not rearmed by 1934, and Hitler had no desire to jeopardize a future alliance with Mussolini . . . .
The assassination of Dollfuss shocked opinion in Austria and the world. Kurt von Schuschnigg, Dollfuss' successor, pledged to continue the policies of the martyred leader. When Dollfuss lay in state, thousands of people came to Vienna to pay their last respects to him. Schuschnigg was a schoolmasterly, authoritarian type who had little of Dollfuss' earnest, yokel-like charisma. He did reach a tentative modus vivendi with the Germans in 1936, but Schuschnigg knew that Austrian independence ultimately depended upon the goodwill of Mussolini and Allied determination. Mussolini had been particularly furious because of the presence of Dollfuss' family in Italy at the time of his assassination. Schuschnigg tried to put together an Austrian coalition which would defend Austrian independence against the Nazis. Austria's economic plight remained disastrous, however, and the Nazis made many recruits in the provinces.
From Franz von Papen's testimony before the IMT: On 25 July, the day of the murder of Dollfuss, Hitler rang me up in the middle of the night, and asked me to go to Vienna at once as his Ambassador. I asked: 'What gave you this odd idea?' He informed me of Dollfuss' murder, of which I had not yet heard, and said: 'It is absolutely essential that someone who knows the conditions there should take over affairs at once.' I replied that I could not possibly give my decision on such a step over the telephone, whereupon he asked me to come to Bayreuth at once to discuss it . . . .
In the discussion in Bayreuth, Hitler put it to me that I was the only available person who could re-establish a favorable situation in Austria, because, of course, Hitler knew my attitude toward that problem from the numerous protests I had raised in the Cabinet against Austria's treatment. He also knew that I had been a friend of the murdered Dr. Dollfuss and that I knew Herr von Schuschnigg. I stated my conditions and these conditions were: The immediate recall of the Party Gauleiter, Herr Habicht, who was in Austria by Hitler's order. Hitler was of the opinion that if he did this it would amount to an admission of guilt . . . .
Hitler replied that if he recalled this man, it would look like a confession of complicity in the Dollfuss murder. I replied that the whole world was in any case convinced of the complicity of the Party in Germany or its organizations, generally speaking; and that as far as I was concerned, it was only important that those connections should be broken off forthwith. I further demanded an assurance in writing from Hitler that the German-Austrian policy of the future--what is generally termed the Anschluss Policy--would move on a purely evolutionary level, that is to say, that no recourse would be had to forcible measures and aggression. Hitler immediately ordered this man Habicht to be recalled and gave me a written assurance with reference to the second question. And finally, I said that I was prepared to take over the pacification program in Austria, but only until normal and friendly relations had been re-established. This meant that later on in Austria I had the additional line of Ambassador on a Special Mission.
From Constantin von Neurath's testimony before the IMT: I should like especially to stress the fact that in our relations with Austria my views remained unchanged from start to finish, that is, I wanted a close economic connection, such as a customs union, between the two countries and a foreign policy run on common lines on the basis of state treaties and close contact between the two governments, but whatever happened I wanted to see the full independence of Austria guaranteed. For that reason I was always a determined opponent of any interference in the internal political affairs of Austria, and I was against any support being given to the Austrian National Socialists by the German National Socialists in the fight of the former against Dollfuss and Schuschnigg; and I constantly urged Hitler to take the same line. I need not repeat that I sharply condemned the murder of Dollfuss from the moral as well as the political point of view and that the Foreign Office under my direction had nothing whatever to do with this murder, as the Prosecution recently asserted. But that Hitler too had absolutely nothing to do with the murder, I can confirm from various statements which he made to me.
The deed was carried out by Austrian National Socialists, some of whom were much more radical than the Germans. This attitude of mine is best proved by the fact that when shortly after the murder of Dollfuss the German Minister in Vienna, Herr Rieth, without my knowledge demanded of the Austrian Government safe conduct to Germany for several persons involved in the murder, I at once recalled him from Vienna and dismissed him from the Foreign Service. I myself, as well as a number of other ministers, also opposed the travel embargo imposed on Austria by Germany. But I did welcome the efforts for an understanding with Austria, which started in 1935 and were carried through with success by Herr von Papen, and I always tried to influence Hitler to bring this about. As to von Papen's actions in Vienna during this time, I was only imperfectly informed, as Herr von Papen was not subordinate to me and received his orders directly from Hitler.
From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: At a certain time the leader of the Austrian Party was a man by the name of Habicht from Wiesbaden. I did not know him before; I saw him only once there. He falsely led the Fuehrer to believe, before the so-called Dollfuss case, that the Austrian armed forces were prepared to undertake something independently in order to force the government to accept the Anschluss, or else they would overthrow it. If this were the case, that the Party in Austria was to support whatever the armed forces undertook along those lines, then, so the Fuehrer thought, it should have the political support of the Party in Germany in this matter. But the whole thing was actually a deception, as it was not the Austrian Army which intended to proceed against the Austrian Government but rather a so-called "Wehrmacht Standarte," a unit which consisted of former members, and released or discharged members, of the Austrian Army who had gone over to the Party or joined it. With this deceptive maneuver Habicht then undertook this action in Vienna. I was in Bayreuth with the Fuehrer at the time. The Fuehrer called Habicht at once and reproached him most severely and said that he had falsely informed him, tricked him, and deceived him.
He regretted the death of Dollfuss very much because politically that meant a very serious situation as far as the National Socialists were concerned, and particularly with regard to Italy. Italy mobilized five divisions at that time and sent them to the Brenner Pass. The Fuehrer desired an appeasement which would be quick and as sweeping in its effect as possible. That was the reason why he asked Herr von Papen to go as an extraordinary ambassador to Vienna and to work for an easing of the atmosphere as quickly as possible. One must not forget the somewhat absurd situation which had developed in the course of years, namely, that a purely German country such as Austria was not most strongly influenced in governmental matters by the German Reich but by the Italian Government. I remember that statement of Mr. Churchill's, that Austria was practically an affiliate of Italy.
After the action against Dollfuss, Italy assumed a very standoffish attitude toward Germany and made it clear that Italy would be the country which would do everything to prevent the Anschluss. Therefore, besides the internal clearing up of Germany's relations with Austria by Herr Franz von Papen, the Fuehrer also tried to bring about a change in Mussolini's attitude to this question. For this reason he went to Venice shortly afterwards--maybe it was before--at any rate he tried to bring about a different attitude. But I was of the opinion that in spite of everything we may have had in common, let us say in a philosophic sense--fascism and National Socialism--the Anschluss of our brother people was much more important to me than this coming to an agreement. And if it were not possible to do it with Mussolini, we should have to do it against him.
On Monday, July 23, after repeated bombings in Austria by Nazis, a boat loaded with explosives was seized on Lake Constance by the Swiss police. It was a shipment of German bombs and shells to Austria from some arms plant. That looked ominous to me, but events of that kind had been so common that I did not report it to Washington.
Today evidence came to my desk that last night, as late as 11 o'clock, the Government issued formal statements to the newspapers rejoicing at the fall of Dollfuss and proclaiming the Greater Germany that must follow. The German Minister in Vienna had actually helped to form the new cabinet. He had, as we now know, exacted a promise that the gang of Austrian Nazi murderers should be allowed to go into Germany undisturbed, but it was realized about 12 o'clock that although Dollfuss was dead the loyal Austrians had surrounded the Government Palace and prevented the organization of a new Nazi regime. They held the murderers prisoners. The German Propaganda Ministry therefore forbade publication of the news sent out an hour before and tried to collect all the releases that had been distributed. A copy was brought to me today by a friend.
All the German papers this morning lamented the cruel murder and declared that it was simply an attack of discontented Austrians, not Nazis. News from Bavaria shows that thousands of Austrian Nazis living for a year in Bavaria on German support had been active for 10 days before, some getting across the border contrary to law, all drilling and making ready to return to Austria. The German propagandist Habicht was still making radio speeches about the necessity of annexing the ancient realm of the Hapsburgs to the Third Reich, in spite of all the promises of Hitler to silence him. But now that the drive has failed and the assassins are in prison in Vienna, the German Government denounces all who say there was any support from Berlin.
I think it will be clear one day that millions of dollars and many arms have been pouring into Austria since the spring of 1933. Once more, the whole world is condemning the Hitler regime. No people in all modern history has been quite so unpopular as Nazi Germany. This stroke completes the picture. I expect to read a series of bitter denunciations in the American papers when they arrive about 10 days from now.
Dear Herr von Papen:
As a result of the events in Vienna, I am compelled to suggest to the Reich President the removal of the German Minister to Vienna, Dr. Rieth, from his post, because he, at the suggestion of Austrian Federal Ministers and the Austrian rebels, respectively, consented to an agreement made by both these parties concerning the safe conduct and retreat of the rebels to Germany without making inquiry of the German Reich Government. Thus, the Minister has dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason.
The assassination of the Austrian Federal Chancellor which was strictly condemned and regretted by the German Government has made the situation in Europe, already fluid, more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore, it is my desire to bring about, if possible, an easing of the general situation, and especially to direct the relations with the German-Austrian State, which have been so strained for a long time, again into normal and friendly channels.
For this reason, I request you, dear Herr von Papen, to take over this important task, just because you have possessed, and continue to possess, my most complete and unlimited confidence ever since we have worked together in the Cabinet.
Therefore, I have suggested to the Reich President that you, upon leaving the Reich Cabinet and upon release from the office of Commissioner for the Saar, be called on a special mission to the post of the German Minister in Vienna for a limited period of time. In this position you will be directly subordinated to me.
Thanking once more for all that you have at one time done for the co-ordination of the Government of the National Revolution, and since then together with us for Germany, I remain, yours very sincerely, Adolf Hitler.
From von Neurath's testimony before the IMT: The right of self-determination is a basic condition in the modern state, recognized by international law. It was also the basis, theoretically at least, of the Treaty of Versailles, and on the same basis the plebiscites were carried out in the border areas. The union of all Germans on the basis of this recognized principle was therefore an absolutely permissible political postulate, as far as international law and foreign policy are concerned. The removal of the discriminatory terms of the Treaty of Versailles by changing the terms of the Treaty was the essential aim of German foreign policy, as also of all bourgeois and Social Democrat governments which preceded the National Socialists. I cannot see how one can deduce any aggressive intention if a people strives to free itself from the burdens of a treaty which it feels to be unjust, provided that this is done by peaceful means.
I suggest that we take an active part in this game. The fundamental idea should be to pit Schuschnigg and his Christian Social forces, who are opposed to a home-front dictatorship, against Starhemberg. The possibility of thwarting 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 NSDAP in Austria, Captain Leopold, the totalitarian principle of the NSDAP in Austria must be replaced in the beginning by a combination of that part of the Christian Social element which favors the Greater Germany idea and the NSDAP. If Germany recognizes 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 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 Schuschnigg against Starhemberg through the use of go-betweens. The possibility exists. If Herr 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 farspread dislike in the Alpine countries of the pro-Italian course, and in view of the sharp tensions between the Federal Government [Bundesregierung] Herr 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 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 maneuvers, would be a tremendous success, both morally and practically. Since there are 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] wants to discuss it with you, my Fuehrer. [Signed] Papen. (IMT)
From Kaltenbrunner's IMT testimony: The Government was in the hands of a group of men who had very few followers among the people. There were two large groups of size which did not participate in the Government; the first being the leftist group, that is, the Social Democrats and Austro-Marxists, and the second being the National Socialists, which was at that time a very small group. The Government, then, did put not only the National Socialists but also Social Democrats and Communists into their detention camps in order to eliminate any political strife originating from meetings or demonstrations. I was one of those National Socialists who were arrested at that time, whose number was approximately 1,800 . . . .
I was arrested in May 1935. I should say first of all that in the meantime the National Socialist attempt at revolt had taken place in Austria in July 1934. This attempt at revolt, which unfortunately also included the murder of Dollfuss, was defeated and avenged by most severe measures against a large number of National Socialists. One particularly severe measure was the law by which many thousands of National Socialists lost their jobs or professional licenses and the necessity arose to bring about a pacification, I should say a mitigation, in principles of the Government policy. That was primarily done by two men: Langot, then the Chief Deputy of Upper Austria, and Reinthaller, a farmer and engineer. That appeasement action started at the end of 1934 in September or October, and I was invited to join that action . . . .
In May 1935 I was arrested, suspected of establishing an illegal connection with the SS and of being engaged in high treason activity. I remained in custody for six months and was arraigned before the military tribunal in Wels on a charge of high treason. I was, however, acquitted of this crime since the Government themselves admitted that this assignment had been granted to me with their knowledge. All that was left over was a minor sentence for conspiracy which, however, was served by my custody . . . .
I was in no way implicated in this attempted revolt of July 1934 and that is why I was invited to join in that appeasement action. Within that program the Government themselves demanded that certain men should maintain connections with the Party leaders, with the SA, SS, and all organizations of the then forbidden movement. With the knowledge and consent of the Government and the proper police departments, I took up the connection with the SS.
National Socialism must and will overpower the new Austrian ideology. If today it is contended in Austria that the NSDAP is only a centralized Reich German Party and therefore unable to transfer the spirit of thought of National Socialism to groups of people of a different political makeup, 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 will be completed, National Socialism could, in a much wider sense than this is possible through the present Party organization-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 today with any centralized 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 Socialistic 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 Dubsky, 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 perish if it is unable to solve this task.’ (IMT)
From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: The first time that I met Seyss-Inquart was in August 1935. We had a conversation which lasted a few minutes. A few days later I was arrested, and for six [?] months I was in the custody of the Austrian police. After my release in approximately April or May 1936 I met Seyss-Inquart again in Vienna and remained in contact with him after that.
During the time that the Party was prohibited Seyss-Inquart was not a member of the NSDAP, but he was a member of the Styrian Home Guard. That organization was, I think in 1933 by agreement between its leaders and Habicht, taken over entirely as part of the Austrian NSDAP. After the Anschluss that transfer was not recognized by the Reich Treasurer, Schwarz, and the members of the Styrian Home Guard, among them, I believe, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, had to apply again for membership.
From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: Then came the Italian-Abyssinian war. With regard to the sanctions against Italy, Germany was given to understand, not openly but quite clearly, that it would be to her advantage, as far as the Austrian question was concerned, to take part in these sanctions. That was a difficult decision for the Fuehrer to make, to declare himself out and out against Italy and to achieve the Anschluss by these means or to bind himself by obligation to Italy by means of a pro-Italian or correct attitude and thus to exclude Italy's opposition to the Anschluss.
I suggested to him at that time, in view of the somewhat vague offer regarding Austria made by English-French circles, to try and find out who was behind this offer and whether both governments were willing to come to an agreement in regard to this point and to give assurances to the effect that this would be considered an internal German affair, and not some vague assurances of general cooperation, et cetera. My suspicions proved right; we could not get any definite assurances. Under those circumstances, it was more expedient for us to prevent Italy being the main opponent to the Anschluss by not joining in any sanctions against her.
I was still of the opinion that the great national interest of the union of these German peoples stood above all considerations regarding the differences between the two present governments. For this to happen it could not be expected that the government of the great German Reich should resign and that Germany should perhaps be annexed to Austria; rather the Anschluss would have to be carried through sooner or later.
From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: At the beginning of 1936, the situation of Austria with regard to foreign policy had changed to Austria's disadvantage. After the events of July 1934, England, France, and Italy drew up a three-power declaration at Stresa concerning the maintenance of Austrian independence. Over and above the international obligations existing up to that time, the three powers now set up a new guarantee for the maintenance of Austria, the Stresa Front, which during the whole year of 1935 gave protection to Austria. The collapse of the Stresa Front, as a result of Mussolini's Abyssinian enterprise, meant for Austria the loss of the only practical international guarantee, and for Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg the creation of a completely new situation. According to his conception of foreign policy, Austrian independence should rest not only on the shoulders of Italy, but if possible on other shoulders as well, that means of England and France.
The Wilhelmstrasse [metonymous term for the German Foreign Ministry] is delighted. Either Mussolini will stumble and get himself so heavily involved in Africa that he will be greatly weakened in Europe, whereupon Hitler will seize Austria, hitherto protected by the Duce; or he will go win, defying France and Britain (which are asking for sanctions of the League) and thereupon be ripe for a tie-up with Hitler against the Western democracies. Either way Hitler wins.1936 March 7: In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.
From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: Then there were difficulties resulting from the developments of the situation in Europe from 7 March 1936, the day on which Adolf Hitler started his surprise tactics by occupying the Rhineland without encountering serious resistance from the Western Powers. This gave the Austrian Government cause for anxiety and fear lest some day the Austrian question as well might be solved by surprise or, as we later saw, by violence.
These are the reasons we must give if we are asked about the considerations on which the agreement [July 11, 1936--Berchtesgaden Agreement] was based. There was also the rapprochement between Rome and Berlin which began at this time and was due to the sanctions policy of the League of Nations. Austria, lying between Italy and Germany, had to expect that one day that Austrian-Italian friendship, which had existed since the time of Dollfuss, would fall victim to the closer relationship between Rome and Berlin.
For this reason and for other considerations, Dr. Schuschnigg sought a means to improve relations, that is, to restore relations, between Austria and the German Reich.
It would perhaps be useful in this connection to give a few of the guiding rules of Austria's foreign policy. The underlying idea was the maintenance of Austrian independence. Austrian foreign policy was furthermore based on the knowledge of the extremely difficult and delicate geographical situation of the country between two totalitarian states, at the crossroad of European ideologies. Therefore, it had to be the task of Austrian foreign policy to reach an understanding with her big neighbor, the German Reich. The foreign policy further had to be based on the determination to avoid everything that could lead to a conflict with the German Reich, to avoid everything that could antagonize the Reich, in order to prevent any violent action which, after 7 March, was to be feared.
There were reasons in practical politics which were decisive in this determination to restore relations with the German Reich, to the ethnographic area of which we belonged, relations which had been unnaturally interrupted. Apart from the reasons of foreign policy, there were also economic considerations. Because of Austria's economic constitution, which, although alive, was nevertheless extremely weak, the world economic crisis had affected Austria very seriously.
This can be understood only if we look back to the beginnings of this young state. From the very start, all Austria's neighbors had carried on an economic policy of egotism, of chauvinistic self-interest, and in no case had it been possible to reach really close cooperation of all the Danube countries. It is true that some separate agreements had been reached, such as the Rome Protocols; but the mutual distrust which all had brought from their former home, their common home, the Austrian Monarchy, continued to exist and obstructed any healthy development.
From 1931, the beginning of the world economic crisis, there were a number of attempts to relieve the situation. I will mention them one after the other. It begins with the attempt of the Government to create a customs union, which failed because of the resistance of the League of Nations. In 1932, there was an attempt by France to bring Austria and Hungary into the Little Entente and to reach economic cooperation here. Germany and Italy opposed this. England was also against it. In 1933, the economic crisis was aggravated by the internal struggle against National Socialism. That also had its effect on the economic life of Austria because the economic life of Austria was also used as a weapon in the internal struggle.
And this led to the breaking off of economic relations with the German Reich, and now Austria's life and death struggle for economic existence entered upon a very serious phase. Because of these considerations, that is, for economic reasons, too, Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg attempted to reach an agreement with the German Reich and to restore economic relations which had been completely broken off, to remove the "1,000 Mark blockade," to restore tourist traffic, to restore the flow of economic goods, to silence the complaints which were coming from the provinces in Austria because of the lack of a market for agricultural products, wood, grain, cattle and so forth. These were, generally speaking, the main considerations.
We can confidently leave further developments to sort themselves out in the near future. I am convinced that the shifting of powers on the European chessboard will permit us in the not too distant future to take up actively the question of influencing the south-eastern area. (Bullock)1936 March 23: Italy, Austria, and Hungary sign the Pact of Rome.
I called on von Neurath, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on May 18 and had a long talk on the general European situation. 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 until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French and Belgian 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 and the countries of Central Europe realize 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."
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 today the greater part of his army mobilized 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 growing stronger daily 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.
From the IMT testimony of Edmund Glaise-Horstenau: I became well acquainted with Seyss-Inquart shortly before this [Berchtesgaden] agreement. I do not remember exactly what he told me then about his political objectives. In general, it coincides with what he later set up as his political objectives. The Party, not as an organization, but only as a support for an ideology in the totalitarian instrument of the Dollfuss-Schuschnigg regime, in the Fatherland Front--at the same time its members were to acknowledge the State and Constitution in Austria, and had Adolf Hitler's blessing in addition. (IMT)
Being convinced that they are making a valuable contribution towards the whole European development in the direction of maintaining peace, and in the belief that they are thereby best serving the manifold mutual interests of both German States, the Governments of the Federal State of Austria and of Germany have resolved to return to relations of a normal and friendly character. In this connection it is:
1) The German Government recognizes the full sovereignty of the Federal State of Austria in the spirit of the pronouncements of the German Fuehrer and Chancellor of 21 May 1935.
2) Each of the two Governments regards the inner political order (including the question of Austrian National Socialism) obtaining in the other country as an internal concern of that country, upon which it will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence.
3) The Austrian Federal Government will constantly follow in its policy in general, and in particular towards Germany, a line in conformity with leading principles corresponding to the fact that Austria regards herself as a German State. By such a decision neither the Rome Protocols of 1934 and their additions of 1936, nor the relationships of Austria to Italy and Hungary as partners in these protocols, are affected. Considering that the detente desired by both sides cannot become a reality unless certain preliminary conditions are fulfilled by the Governments of both countries, the Austrian Federal Government and the German Government will pass a number of special measures to bring about the requisite preliminary state of affairs.
Austria would (1) appoint a number of individuals enjoying the Chancellor's confidence but friendly to Germany to positions in the Cabinet; (2) would devise means to give the “National opposition” a role in the political life of Austria and within the framework of the Patriotic Front; and (3) would amnesty all Nazis save those convicted of the most serious offenses. (IMT)
From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: Then came the Berchtesgaden agreement. I was not present at this. I did not even consent to this agreement, because I opposed any definite statement that lengthened this period of indecision; for me the complete union of all Germans was the only conceivable solution.
From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: When the agreement of 11 July 1936 was reached--without my having taken any part in it--Dr. Schuschnigg through Minister Klees asked me for my political cooperation. At that time I had particularly close connections with Zernatto, the General Secretary of the Fatherland Front. At the suggestion of Zernatto and his friends I became an Austrian State Councilor and Dr. Schuschnigg gave me the task, in writing, of examining the conditions under which the national opposition could be enlisted to collaborate politically. In order to fulfill that task I did, of course, have to contact the National Socialists, because the national opposition consisted only of National Socialists.
From von Neurath's testimony before the IMT: I honestly and gladly welcomed this treaty. It corresponded to my point of view in every respect. I saw therein the best means of clearing up the unnatural dissensions, and for that reason I did everything I could to bring it about . . . . I found satisfaction in the fact that the treaty had a special significance as regards foreign policy. By this treaty, in which the Reich clearly recognized Austrian independence, the German-Austrian differences, which were of danger to peace in Europe, were removed . . . .
The Foreign Office thought the rapprochement could be prevented by making it known that it would no longer oppose the Anschluss between Germany and Austria. At that time Mussolini was still entirely opposed to the Anschluss. The realization of this specious intention on the part of Britain was one of the motives for the conclusion of the German-Austrian Agreement of 11 July 1936. The British statement which I had hinted at and expected was forthcoming in November 1937 on the occasion of the visit of Lord Halifax to Berlin. Lord Halifax told me at that time, and I took care to make a note of his statement, which I quote in English word for word: "People in England would never understand why they should go to war only because two German countries wish to unite." But at the same time, the Foreign Office, in a directive to the British Minister in Vienna, the wording of which is now well known, called upon the Austrian Government to offer stubborn resistance to the Anschluss, and promised every support.
From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: The Federal Chancellor accepted the invitation [to meet Hitler at Berchtesgaden] in order to prevent Austria's being reproached for having refused a peaceful attempt to clear up existing differences between Austria and the German Reich. The Chancellor was by no means optimistic, the more so because the existing differences of opinion were very great and also because of the personality of his partner in the talks. I recall that Schuschnigg, before leaving for this meeting, told me that he was of the opinion that instead of him it might have been better to send Professor Wagner-Jauregg, the greatest psychiatrist of Vienna; but he believed, in view of the exposed position of Austria, that he had to accept in order to forestall a coup and to gain time until the international situation should improve in Austria's favor.
Unfortunately, we were right. Our fear of a coming attack or of coming difficulties was justified. The fear that Austria would be left entirely alone was also justified. The realization of the fact that we were completely deserted was perhaps one of the primary reasons which carried greatest weight with Schuschnigg together with the need of bridging over this difficult period and gaining time. Austria had to tread this path in the dark winter days from the end of 1937 until March 1938 without the hope of any immediate or prospective assistance. And then we came to Berchtesgaden.
Contrary to frequent press reports, the interested big powers were informed in detail both before and after Berchtesgaden. I gave all the material to the head of the political section to whom the diplomatic corps applied first. The Federal Chancellor himself and I gave detailed reports to the accredited foreign representatives in Vienna and drew their attention to the dangerous situation of the country.
The struggle against National Socialism within the country in the interests of maintaining the independence of the country and, on the basis of the Agreement of 11 July, insuring cooperation with the German Reich, whose leaders were National Socialists--these were the two imperative demands which, after a time, the Austrian Government found to be irreconcilable. This also explains the difficulties encountered by all persons entrusted with carrying out this agreement in Vienna, including the German Minister.
The situation as just described shows that such discussions were unavoidable; and tallies on the inner political situation also took place between the Chancellor and the German Minister, as well as with the Italian Minister, in a general way that is not unusual. I know of no diplomatic memoirs which do not contain such entries. The Chancellor would never have tolerated interference of any kind. In questions of personnel Schuschnigg was especially reticent, because, if I may say so, he was afraid of "Trojan Horses."
That, more or less, represents the situation which was discussed in talks between the Chancellor and the German Minister.
According to the information received by the Government, Papen opposed the leaders of the illegal Party, that is, Leopold in particular. This was doubtless due to fundamental differences, differing political ideas, and differing political methods, which von Papen on the one hand and the leaders of the illegal Party on the other were determined to pursue. There existed between Austria and the Reich, not only in cultural and inner political relations, but also in the field of foreign policy, irreconcilable differences of opinion. I will only mention the demand of the Reich that Austria should leave the League of Nations, which we rejected by pointing to the fact that Austria, by reason of her geographical position and her history, had a continental mission, and also to the loans received from the League of Nations.
An ambassador with a more radical point of view [than von Papen] would certainly have had the opportunity and the occasion to adopt a more severe attitude towards Austria. There was not a single case where we reached an agreement with the German Reich on a joint foreign policy. Von Papen did remind us of that, but that was all. As for aggression, or aggressive activities, I cannot say anything about this.
The progress of normalizing relations with Germany at the present time is obstructed by the continued persistence of the Ministry of Security, occupied by the old anti-National Socialistic officials. Changes in personnel are therefore of utmost importance. But they are definitely not to be expected prior to the conference on the abolishing of the Control of Finances [Finanzkontrolle] at Geneva. The Chancellor of the League has informed Minister de Glaise-Horstenau of his intention to offer him the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior. As a guiding principle [Marschroute] I recommend on the tactical side, continued, patient psychological manipulations, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime.
The proposed conference on economic relations, taking place at the end of October, will be a very useful tool for the realization of some of our project. Discussion with government officials as well as with leaders of the illegal party (Leopold and Schattenfreh) who conform completely with the concordat of July 11, I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the fatherland front [Vaterlaendischen Front] but nevertheless refraining from putting National Socialists in important positions for the time being. However, such positions are to be occupied only by personalities having the support and the confidence of the movement. I have a willing collaborator in this respect in Minister Glaise-Horstenau. (IMT)
At that time the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the Party in Austria in order to tell them his opinion on what Austrian National Socialists should do. Meanwhile Hinterleitner was arrested, and Dr. Rainer became his successor and leader of the Austrian Party. On 16 July 1936 Doctor Rainer and Globocnik visited the Fuehrer at the Obersalzberg where they received a clear explanation of the situation and the wishes of the Fuehrer. On 17 July 1936 all illegal Gauleiter met in Anif near Salzburg, where they received a complete report from Rainer on the statement of the Fuehrer and his political instructions for carrying out the fight. At this same conference the Gauleiter received organizational instructions from Globocnik and Hiedler . . . .
Upon the proposal of Globocnik, the Fuehrer named Lieutenant General [Gruppenfuehrer] Keppler as chief of the mixed commission which was appointed, in accordance with the State Treaty of 11 July 1936, to supervise the correct execution of the agreement. At the same time Keppler was given full authority by the Fuehrer for the Party in Austria. After Keppler was unsuccessful in his efforts to cooperate with Leopold, he worked together with Doctor Rainer, Globocnik, Reinthaler as leader of the peasants, Kaltenbrunner as leader of the SS, and Doctor Jury as deputy leader of the Austrian Party, as well as with Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart. (IMT)
From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: The Anschluss, at that time, was not the subject matter of our discussion. The idea of the Anschluss was a point in the program of all Austrian parties; it remained the ideal goal for all of us. In this case, however, what we were concerned with was that the Austrian State should once again steer a course toward Germany and that internal conditions should be peaceful. The difficulty in this connection was that the State founded by Dollfuss and Schuschnigg, by disregarding the democratic constitution, was going to permit only a one-party system. It was particularly difficult, therefore, to draw into participation and to legalize the great mass of the opposition of the National wing. That task, according to Seyss-Inquart's conception and my own, was to be carried out without further bloodshed by peaceful means. With good will on both sides and a postponement of radical means such a way seemed possible.
A few days after 11 July 1936 I was called to Berchtesgaden, and on 16 or 17 July I visited Adolf Hitler. The Fuehrer made very serious and thorough observations, and he demanded in very severe words that the Austrian National Socialists should respect the Agreement of 11 July under all circumstances. He criticized the previous methods, and he used the expression that they had been heroic, but stupid. He pointed out that the continuation of such methods would lead to continuous difficulties in foreign politics.
He demanded that the National Socialists in Austria should use the existing political possibilities. Upon my specific question whether this included the Fatherland Front, he said "yes." He assured us that in the near future the general tension would be relieved by an improvement in the relationship between these two German states. The Fuehrer's statement, to me, meant a confirmation of the correctness of the way in which we had decided to go.
Seyss-Inquart was a member of the National Opposition group, and in that capacity he recognized the existing leadership.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that he recognized [Hubert] Klausner in that letter because Klausner, according to the Berchtesgaden agreement, had replaced Leopold by request of the Fuehrer, since he promised to steer a quiet, clear, and open course. Cooperation with him appeared to assure adherence to the Berchtesgaden agreement.
Seyss-Inquart, however, had explicitly stated that in his capacity as trustee for the Berchtesgaden agreement and Minister in Schuschnigg's Government he was independent of Klausner.
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