1936 July 17: The Spanish Civil War begins when a group of conservative generals led by Francisco Franco rebel against the elected Government of the Second Spanish Republic.

1936 July 22: Francisco Franco requests military assistance for his rebellion from Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Hitler quickly agrees, and before the end of the war in May 1939 as many as 19,000 Germans will have fought in Spain. In total Nazi Germany will provide the Nationalists with 600 planes, 200 tanks, and 1,000 artillery pieces. Mussolini, not wanting to be outdone by Hitler, will ultimately supply more than 75,000 Italians to fight for the Nationalists, and contribute 660 planes, 150 tanks and 1,000 artillery pieces.

From Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock: As the published diplomatic documents now make clear, the quarrel over Spain, added to the legacy of suspicion from the episode of sanctions [because of the Italo–Abyssinian War], wrecked all the efforts of London and Paris to draw Mussolini closer to their side in the years between 1936 and 1939. Indeed the common policy of Italy and Germany towards Spain created one of the main foundations on which the Rome-Berlin Axis was built, and the Spanish Covil War provided much greater scope for such cooperation than the Abyssinian War from which Germany had held aloof.

In September 1936, Hitler judged favorable for creating a closer relationship between Germany and Italy in order to expoloit a situation in which the two countries had begun to follow parallel courses. In the year that had passed since the outbreak of the Abyssinian War events had produced great changes in the relations of the Great Powers. Hitherto Hitler had been content to watch; now the time had come to make use of the advantages these changes offered him. The July Agreement between Germany and Austria removed the biggest obstacle to an understanding between Rome and Berlin, and on 29 June the German Ambassador conveyed to Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, an offer from Hitler to consider the recognition of the new Italian Empire--a point on which the Duce was notoriously touchy--whenever Mussolini wished. In September Hitler sent Hans Frank, his Minister of Justice, who happened to speak Italian fluently, on an exploratory mission to Rome . . . .Frank declared, the Austrian question was now considered to have been settled, and after suggesting a common policy in presenting their colonial demands, and renewing the offer to recognize the Italian Empire, Frank concluded by expressing Hitler's belief in the need for increasingly close collaboration between Germany and Italy.

1936 August 1-16: The Summer Olympic Games are held in Berlin.

1936 September 1: From a report fron von Papen to Hitler (Document 2246-PS):

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 nuances at Geneva. The Chancellor of the League has informed Minister Von Glaise-Horstenau of his intention to offer him the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior. As a guiding principle [Marschroute--a German word meaning the route of march] I recommend on the tactical side, continued, patient, psychological treatment, 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 projects. In discussion with Government officials as well as with leaders of the illegal Party (Leopold and Schattenfroh) who conform completely with the agreement of 11 July I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the Fatherland 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. [Signature] Papen. (IMT)

1937 January 3: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag:

... The time of so-called surprises has thus been ended. I solemnly withdraw the German signature from the declaration, extracted by force from a weak Government against its better judgment, that Germany was responsible for the War. The restoration of the honor of the German people was the most difficult and the most audacious task and work of my life. As an equal State, Germany is conscious of its European task to co-operate loyally in removing the problems which affect us and other nations. My views concerning these problems can perhaps be most suitably stated by referring to the statements recently made by Mr. Eden in the House of Commons. I should like to express my sincere thanks for the opportunity of making a reply offered me by the frank and notable statement of the British Foreign Minister. I shall first try to correct what seems to me a most regrettable error--namely, that Germany never had any intention of isolating herself, of passing by the events of the rest of the world without sharing them, or that she does not want to pay any consideration to general necessities. I should like to assure Mr. Eden that we Germans do not in the least want to be isolated and that we do not feel at all that we are isolated. Our relations with most States are normal, and are very friendly with quite a number. I only call your attention to our agreement with Poland, our agreement with Austria...

1937 February 5: The new German ambassador to Britain, Joachim von Ribbentrop, presents his credentials to George VI, but the British are outraged when he snaps off a Hitler salute to the King. He also upsets the British government by posting Schutz Staffeinel (SS) guards outside the German Embassy and by flying swastika flags on official embassy cars.

From the IMT testimony of General Erhard Milch: I had gained the impression in England that Von Ribbentrop was not persona grata. I was of the opinion that another man should be sent to England to bring about mutual understanding as to policy, in accordance with the wish so often expressed by Hitler.

1937 February 14: Austrian leader Schuschnigg threatens to restore the Hapsburg monarchy.

1937 May 1: Hitler's Germany is outraged when an Austrian official in the small hamlet of Pinkafeld hauls down a flag of the German Reich.

From Papen's testimony before the IMT: There was great excitement in the press; I instantly tried to settle the matter amicably with the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Thereupon I received a telegram to proceed to Berlin at once. I arrived in Berlin and reported to Hitler. Hitler did not receive me. I waited for 3 days. After 3 days, I wrote and told him, "It appears that you are trying to use the flag incident at Pinkafeld to introduce an aggressive policy against Austria. In that case there is nothing more for me to do, and I beg to hand in my resignation." A quarter of an hour later he called me to the Reich Chancellery. He gave me a lecture, which lasted half an hour, furious and beside himself with rage over the humiliations which the German Reich could no longer tolerate. After his rage had spent itself I told him that our agreement of 26 June ruled that the policy concerning Austria was to be conducted on evolutionary lines. The Agreement of 11 July emphasized that. "If you wish to pursue a different policy, then dismiss me," I said. As a result of this very serious conversation he said, "No, no. Go back and settle everything; we do not want to change our peaceful policy." I returned to Vienna, and the incident was settled satisfactorily with the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs within 24 hours.

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: The Pinkafeld flag incident is an example of von Papen's activity as mediator. In itself it was a minor incident, but it led to threats of invasion by Hitler. Von Papen was called to Berlin and had a great deal of difficulty in calming down Hitler's fury, who, as I said, threatened to invade Austria. He succeeded in settling the matter and there were no consequences.

1937 June 24: Von Blomberg orders preparations for Case Otto, armed intervention in Austria in the event of a Hapsburg restoration:

Nevertheless the politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous preparedness for war of the German Armed Forces. a. to counter attacks at any time b. to enable the military exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should they occur . . . .

2. The preparations of a general nature include:

a. The permanent preparedness for mobilization of the German Armed Forces, even before the completion of rearmament and full preparedness for war.

b. The further working on 'Mobilization without public announcement' in order to put the Armed Forces in a position to begin a war suddenly and by surprise both as regards strength and time . . . .

Armed intervention in Austria in the event of her restoring the Monarchy. The object of this operation will be to compel Austria by armed force to give up a restoration. Making use of the domestic political divisions of the Austrian people, the march in will be made in the general direction of Vienna and will break any resistance. (IMT)

From Keitel's IMT testimony: During this period of time until the first practical measures were taken in the case of Austria, I cannot remember having had any knowledge of a program, or the establishment of a program or far-reaching plan, or one covering a period of years. I must say also that we were so occupied with the reorganization of this small army of seven divisions into an expanded force of twice or three times its original size, apart from the creation of a large air force which had no equipment at all, that in those years a visit to our office would have shown that we were completely occupied with purely organizational problems, and from the way Hitler worked, as described by me today, it is quite obvious that we saw nothing of these things. ...

This document is actually an instruction for mobilization kept in general terms and was in line with our traditional General Staff policy before the war and before the World War, the World War I, that on principle something of the kind must be prepared beforehand. In my opinion, this had nothing to do with any of Hitler's political plans, for at that time I was already Chief of Staff under Blomberg, and General Jodl was at that time the Chief of the National Defense Division. Perhaps it sounds somewhat arrogant for me to say that we were very much satisfied that we were at last beginning to tell the Wehrmacht each year what it had to do intellectually and theoretically.

In the former General Staff training which I received before the World War, the chief aim of these instructions was that the General Staff tours for the purpose of study should afford an opportunity for the theoretical elaboration of all problems. Such was the former training of the Great General Staff. I no longer know whether in this connection Blomberg himself originally thought out these salient ideas of possible complications or possible military contingencies, or whether he was perhaps influenced by the Fuehrer. It is certain that Hitler never saw this. It was the inside work of the General Staff of the Wehrmacht. ...

Of course I remember the Case Otto, which indicated by its name that it concerns Otto von Hapsburg. There must have been--were of course--certain reports about an attempted restoration, and in that case an intervention, eventually an armed one, was to take place. The Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, wished to prevent a restoration of the monarchy in Austria. Later this came up again in connection with the Anschluss. I believe that I can omit that now and perhaps explain later. In any event, we believed that on the basis of the deliberations by the Army some sort of preparations were being made which would bring into being Case Otto, because the code word was "Case Otto comes into force . . . . I can state here only what I experienced when Hitler sent me to the Army. I went into General Beck's office and said: "The Fuehrer demands that you report to him immediately and inform him about the preparations which have already been made for a possible invasion of Austria", and General Beck then said, "We have prepared nothing; nothing has been done, nothing at all."

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: I met von Neurath in November 1937 in Berlin, where I paid him a visit in response to his invitation. During the few times I met von Neurath he always expressed the view that he was in favor of an independent Austria, and together with this he wanted the closest possible co-operation in the foreign political, economic, and military spheres. Our negotiations always proceeded on the basis of the 11th of July Agreement, and differences of opinion arose only about the interpretation of the agreement. Neurath, on behalf of the German Government, held that the agreement should, if possible, work actively in his interest, while we, for defensive reasons, preferred a different interpretation. At any rate, Neurath rejected means of violence and followed approximately the line of an Austria which was independent, but as close as possible to Germany. Neurath rejected methods of violence, and with them the methods of intervention, and also the methods of the illegal party in Austria. From conversations which I had with him I believe that I can state this unequivocally. This is also attested by his complete rejection of the activity of State Secretary Keppler and Veesenmeyer, who were certainly among the pioneers of the new development in the Southeast and primarily in Austria. The expressions which he used in that connection allow no doubt regarding his attitude.

1937 November 6: Italy joins Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan in signing the Anti-Comintern Pact, thereby forming the group that will later be known as the Axis Powers.

From The Crucial Years, 1939-1941, by Hanson W. Baldwin: The golden age of appeasement flowered from 1935 to 1938.

The march to war hurried to a quickstep after Hitler had denounced the military restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles in 1935, and established conscription.

France, her nightmare fears of German militarism reawakened, forged a defensive alliance with Communist Russia, strengthening her posture against external foes and weakening her defense against internal enemies by widening the chasm with her right-wing dissidents, who feared communism more than Nazism.

The crises followed in rapid tempo.

In March 1936, German troops goosestepped, to cheers, back into the demilitarized Rhineland for the first time since 1918, and Hitler simultaneously denounced the Locarno Pact of 1925, which had been hailed as stabilizing Europe. The other signatories, France, England, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia, talked, fulminated, but did nothing. Italy held aloof. In October 1936, a semiformal Rome-Berlin "Axis" was started; Germany recognized Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, and Mussolini, in effect, recognized Hitler's special interest in Austria.

Just one month later, the Axia was extended; Germany and Japan signed an Anti-Comintern Pact (joined by Italy a year later when Rome simultainiously withdrew from the League of Nations). The totalitarian alliance was formed: Tokyo-Rome-Berlin.

In the same month of November 1937 when the Tokyo-Rome-Berlin Axis was born, Hitler--unknown to the world--formalized his blueprint for aggression. In a top-secret meeting in the Reich Chancellory in the Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin, with his military chiefs and his foreign minister, he again emphasized Germany's need for Lebensraum (living room) in the East; specified France and England as the "hare-inspired" countries that stood in Germany's way; and elaborated his plans for war. They first goals of conquest were Austria and Czechoslovakia, which must be overcome, he said, with lightning speed (blitzartig schnell) to prevent effective intervention. The time for conquest: 1938 to, at the latest, 1943-45; Germany "had nothing to gain from a prolonged period of peace."

1937 November 7: Hitler addresses his military and foreign policy leadership concerning his future expansionist policies. Present at the meeting are Field Marshal von Blomberg, War Minister, Colonel General Baron von Fritsch, Commander in Chief, Army, Admiral Raeder, Commander in Chief, Navy, Colonel General Goering, Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, Baron von Neurath, Foreign Minister, and Colonel Hossbach, Hitler's military adjutant, who makes a record of his remarks known as the Hossbach Memorandum:

For the improvement of our politico-military position our first objective, in the event of our being embroiled in war, must be to overthrow Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously in order to remove the threat to our flank in any possible operation against the West . . . . It would of course be necessary to maintain a strong defense [eine Abriegelung] on our western frontier during the prosecution of our attack on the Czechs and Austria. And in this connection it had to be remembered that the defense measures of the Czechs were growing in strength from year to year, and that the actual worth of the Austrian Army also was increasing in the course of time. Even though the populations concerned, especially of Czechoslovakia, were not sparse, the annexation of Czechoslovakia and Austria would mean an acquisition of foodstuffs for 5 to 6 million people, on the assumption that the compulsory emigration of 2 million people from Czechoslovakia and 1 million people from Austria was practicable. The incorporation of these two States with Germany meant, from the politico-military point of view, a substantial advantage because it would mean shorter and better frontiers, the freeing of forces for other purposes, and the possibility of creating new units up to a level of about 12 divisions, that is, 1 new division per million inhabitants.

1937 November 23: From a two-part dispatch from Mr. Bullitt, American Ambassador in Paris, to the US Secretary of State (Document L-151). From Part One:

Schacht said that in his opinion, the best way to begin to deal with Hitler was not through political discussion but through economic discussion. Hitler was not in the least interested in economic matters. He regarded money as filth. It was therefore possible to enter into negotiations with him in the economic domain without arousing his emotional antipathy, and it might be possible through the conversations thus begun to lead him into arrangements in the political and military field, in which he was intensely interested. Hitler was determined to have Austria eventually attached to Germany, and to obtain at least autonomy for the Germans of Bohemia. At the present moment he was not vitally concerned about the Polish Corridor and in his [Schacht's] opinion, it might be possible to maintain the Corridor, provided Danzig were permitted to join East Prussia, and provided some sort of a bridge could be built across the Corridor, uniting Danzig and East Prussia with Germany.

From Part Two:

Memorandum of Conversation between Ambassador Bullitt and General Hermann Goering: The sole source of friction between Germany and France was the refusal of France to permit Germany to achieve certain vital national necessities.
If France, instead of accepting collaboration with Germany, should continue to follow a policy of building up alliances in Eastern Europe to prevent Germany from the achievement of her legitimate aims, it was obvious that there would be conflict between France and Germany.

I asked Goering what aims especially he had in mind. He replied: "We are determined to join to the German Reich all Germans who are contiguous to the Reich and are divided from the great body of the German race merely by the artificial barriers imposed by the Treaty of Versailles."

I asked Goering if he meant that Germany was absolutely determined to annex Austria to the Reich. He replied that this was an absolute determination of the German Government. The German Government, at the present time, was not pressing this matter because of certain momentary political considerations, especially in their relations with Italy. But Germany would tolerate no solution of the Austrian question other than the consolidation of Austria in the German Reich. "He then added a statement which went further than any I have heard on this subject. He said:

"There are schemes being pushed now for a union of Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, either with or without a Hapsburg at the head of the union. Such a solution is absolutely unacceptable to us, and for us the conclusion of such an agreement would be an immediate casus belli." Goering used the Latin expression casus belli; it is not a translation from the German, in which that conversation was carried on.

I asked Goering if the German Government was as decided in its views with regard to the Germans in Bohemia, as it was with regard to Austria. He replied that there could be only one final solution of this question. The Sudeten Germans must enter the German Reich as all other Germans who lived contiguous to the Reich. (IMT)

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: The former Reich Marshal [Goering] probably did refer in an insistent way to close co-operation with Austria, but a demand for an Anschluss was not mentioned, as far as I can remember. As an illustration of that, I might say that at that time the events of 25 July 1934 were discussed. I expressed the view that the Agreement of July 1936 ought to put a final touch to that development, and Reich Marshal Goering stated that he had called the wire-puller of this affair to account--I believe he mentioned Habicht--and had banished him to some obscure part of Germany. From this remark alone it appears, therefore, that there can have been no talk of an Anschluss. The former Reich Marshal welcomed the development caused by the 11th of July 1936, that is, that a full stop had been put to the then existing development, which one had to describe as a state of war, as it had been up to the 11th of July 1936.

1938 January 12: Austria recognizes the Franco government in Spain.

1938 January 27: Among those military figures who openly disagreed with the aims Hitler had been laying out in his speeches to his generals is General Field Marshal von Blomberg, Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Blomberg, then sixty, had married Erna Gruhn, a 26-year-old typist, earlier in the month. Shortly afterwards Goering informed Hitler (both of whom had been honored as best man at the wedding), that Gruhn in 1932 had posed for pornographic photos which had resulted in a criminal record for prostitution. Hitler had ordered Blomberg to annul the marriage in order to avoid a scandal and to preserve the integrity of the army. Blomberg had refused to annul the marriage, and when Goering threatens to make his wife's past public knowledge, he resigns all of his posts on this day.

1938 February 1: The USSR's People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maxim Maximovich Litvinov, a firm believer in collective security, addresses a reform committee of the League of Nations concerning the "rampant aggression spreading over all continents". "Political and military autarchy, with all its burdensome increase in home armaments [was not enough to reverse the situation] . . . . The collective character of the committed aggression must inevitably impel the States toward collective security. Collective security is Article 16, and we must preserve it, and, when it is possible, make it stronger. (Fleming)

1938 February 4: Werner Freiherr von Fritsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, is forced to resign on trumped-up charges of homosexuality and is replaced by Walther von Brauchitsch.

From Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum: And then in early 1938, at a critical moment in Hitler's quest for unchallenged internal control of Germany, a crucial moment as well in his quest for the upper hand in the external power struggle over the map in Europe, rwo sordid blackmail episodes made all the difference. In January 1938, before forcing th Anschluss with Austria, before making his final extortionate move on Czechoslovakia, and before blackmailing the British and French into the Munich appeasement surrender, Hitler first needed to consolidate his personal control over the German army, whose relatively conservative officer corp had been reluctant to back up Hitler's threats to reoccupy the Rhineland in 1936 (only the inaction of the French army had allowed Hitler to succeed in his gamble then). The conservative army General staff was convinced that Hitler's ambitions for Austria and Czechoslovakia would touch off a war they could not win. In particular, the resistance of the two top commanders of the German army, Generals Blomberg and Fritsch, was frustrating Hitler, because without the credible threat or bluff of armed invasion, he could not make his blackmail stick even with the peace-at-any-price statesman.

Hitler and his minions had an archtypal Hitlerian solution to the problem: sexual blackmail. Two shocking, successive blackmail intrigues apparently engineered on Hitler's behalf by Reinhard Heydrich. First, pornographic photographs of General Blomberg's new young wife illustrating her recent past in the sexual demimonde were dredged up and presented to Blomberg, then the highest ranking officer in the Reich. He resigned rather than face scandal. And then a homosexual prostitute known as "Bavarian Joe" materialized to make secret accusations to army authorities that he had observed General Fritsch, the second highest officer in the army, paying for the services of bot prostitute in Berlin dives. Although this accusation (unlike the photographs of General Blomberg's wife) seemed to have been fabricated from whole cloth. General Fritsch, either from a horror of scandal or from something else real to hide, promptly resigned as well. Leaving Hitler free to appoint puppet generals Brauchitsch and Reichenau to replace them and to proceed with the successful extortion of Austria and Czechoslovakia from their Allied protectors without having to fire a shot.

1938 February 4 Konsolidierung: Hitler’s Cabinet meets for the final time. Von Papen is recalled as Minister to Austria. Simultaneously, the German Government is reorganized; von Neurath, von Fritsch, and von Blomberg are purged. In the Foreign Office, Joachim von Ribbentrop replaces Constantin von Neurath as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Chancellor Adolf Hitler assumes the Ministry of War portfolio. General Heinrich Brauschitsch becomes the new Wehrmacht commander-in-chief. General Wilhelm Keitel becomes Hitler's representative at the Supreme Command.

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: On the occasion of a visit on the 5th he [von Papen] expressed his astonishment--and I might say his anger--at his being recalled, which in his opinion and also in our opinion was due to the events of 4 February 1938, the dismissal of General von Fritsch and of 30 other generals, and the dismissal of von Neurath. He thought that Austria would not be unaffected either, especially in view of the man who had been proposed to succeed him. At that time, Burckel or Consul General Kriebel was proposed. That was approximately what von Papen said to me and I believe also to the Federal Chancellor. I believe that he, like many others who were present, endeavored to restore calm and thus enable the negotiations to proceed in an atmosphere of reason. His attitude on the whole was no doubt mediatory. One cannot speak of success at Berchtesgaden as far as the result is concerned; but that is not von Papen's fault. As far as there was any help coming from the other side it came from von Papen.

[After 26 February] the Vienna Embassy was administered by the Charge d'Affaires, Embassy Counsellor von Stein, who made the two official demarches of the Reich, on the afternoon of the 9th or the morning of the 10th, against the plebiscite planned by Schuschnigg. Von Stein, together with General Muff and State Secretary Keppler, also handed to the Austrian President the ultimatum demanding the resignation of Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg. This shows that Ambassador von Papen was no longer active.

The drafts which I saw before my departure [for Berchtesgaden] and which had been worked out by Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart as a basis for a part of the political discussions appeared to me to be politically useless and impracticable. It was my impression that two men were at work here who perhaps enjoyed making up stories, but who did not do justice to the seriousness of the situation. There were expressions used, such as the difference between the Austrian National Socialist ideology and the National Socialist. But there is no difference. An Austrian National Socialist ideology can only be National Socialist. I criticized these matters in one of my talks.

We merely had the impression that the basis for this conference was a draft which had been prepared by men who knew the conditions. Therefore, this list of demands was based on a large portion of the Zernatto-Seyss-Inquart agreements. The entire program of demands had not been made known to us previously.

From The Cold War and its Origins by D. F. Fleming: With Italy allied to Germany and deeply embroiled in Spain, the "solution" of the Austrian question was obviously indicated. Sir Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador to Germany whose mission was appeasement, was told twice during September and October 1937 that Austria was the "first and last" German objective, and the usual offer was made not to interfere with Britain's power overseas if she would give Germany a free hand in Eastern Europe. This offer was conveyed to London and an opportunity was made for Lord Halifax to go to Germany, ostensibly as a fox-hunter, and see the German leaders. With them he left the immpression that London and Paris would not resist Hitler with force in Central Europe.

Hitler therefore moved in for the kill.

1938 February 10: The Austro-German Crisis begins as Hitler, in company with Keitel, von Papen, von Ribbentrop, Sperrle, and Reichenau, meets with Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg and Dr. Guido Schmidt at Berchtesgaden.

From the IMT testimony of Dr. Guido Schmidt: To begin with, the discussion started with a conversation between Hitler and Schuschnigg. That conversation took place privately, so that neither I nor the other gentlemen were present. Later, the gentlemen were called in individually, and then there were also conferences without Hitler with the then Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, during which the points of the program which had been submitted to us before were discussed. In the course of these conversations, individual demands were canceled. I was together with the other gentlemen ... some of us were in the large hall and some of us sat and waited in the anteroom right outside the room where the four-man conference was taking place. In the afternoon session we went through the list of demands with Ribbentrop--I did that partly on my own--and I succeeded in having certain points eliminated.

After about an hour Schuschnigg came out, gave me a summary of the situation, and discussed it with me. He first of all described the atmosphere, the violence of the language used, and then said that the demands which had been presented had the character of an ultimatum. First of all, he began with the greeting he had received. He said that the Fuehrer had accused him of not being a German, or that Austria was not following a German policy. It had always been so, even during the time of the Hapsburgs. He also held the Catholic element in Austria responsible for this. Austria was always a stumbling-block in the way of every national movement, and the same was true today. Then Hitler also mentioned the fact that Austria had not left the League of Nations. Then there were very serious arguments between Hitler and Schuschnigg personally, during which the Federal Chancellor felt that even he personally was being attacked badly. The details of this conference I cannot now remember, but the atmosphere, according to the Federal Chancellor's description, was extremely rough.

After the conference, at or about 12:00 or 12:30, there was a joint luncheon. Here there was a perfectly normal tone of conversation again. In the meantime the tense feeling had subsided once more. Of course, Schuschnigg was a heavy smoker. We were told at the time that there could be no smoking in Hitler's presence. That is true. Then I tried to find a chance for the Chancellor to be allowed to smoke one cigarette. Whether I asked Ribbentrop about it I cannot remember exactly, because that detail was not of any importance.

That [Seyss-Inquart should be made Minister of Security of the Government] was one of the demands on the program. That [Glaise-Horstenau be named Minister for the Army] was the second position which was demanded [by Hitler]. [In addition Hitler demanded that] the expelled students [from the universities in Austria] were to be pardoned and admitted to the universities. That [certain discharged members of the police forces of Austria were to be restored to their places] was included in the chapter "Acts of Reprieve.'' Accordingly, officials who had been discharged from executive positions were to be returned to status again.

Economic demands [with regard to currency exchange and customs unions] were discussed The expression customs union itself was not used. However, there were demands that came close to it. The program was more far-reaching than we expected, that is quite true, but I do not know whether von Paper knew the program beforehand. I assume not. We had the impression that von Papen himself was unpleasantly affected by certain points. Papen certainly recommended that the final conditions be accepted, that is, after we had already obtained some of the concessions because in his opinion an agreement ought to be reached. The Federal Chancellor, too, gave his personal word, because he did not want to go away without a result being reached, so as not to endanger Austria's position . . . .

The ultimatum was--yes, it was an ultimatum--to the effect that Hitler intended to march into Austria as early as February, and was still prepared to make one last attempt. The generals were called in several times. We were worried that possibly we might not be allowed to leave, yes; but that we might be shot, no. There was never any talk about shooting, but as I have already said, we were just afraid. The Chancellor was also of that opinion that if the negotiations did not go well we might not get away. After such a heated discussion it is quite difficult to say, after 8 years, what each individual was doing at the time.

Ribbentrop at the time did not take part in this pressure. He represented the German demands, too, yes, but not in an unpleasant or forceful way. I mentioned that to the Chancellor even at the time. It was my impression, at the time, that Ribbentrop was not acquainted with the subject very well and that for that reason alone he had kept himself somewhat in the background. We had to negotiate the details with Ribbentrop. Hitler had stated that we should discuss the detail together with the experts. Into the late hours of the evening [the conference went on]. It must have been between 9 and 10, as far as I remember.

1938 February 11 From the Diary of Alfred Jodl:

In the evening and on 12 February General K (Keitel) with General von Reichenau and Sperrle at Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg, together with G. Schmidt are being put under the heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: This entry I made personally, because Keitel told me that, during lunch, Reichenau and Sperrle had carried on warlike conversations; that they had talked about the new rearmament of Germany.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: It was the first official action in which I took part. In the evening of 4 February Hitler left Berlin. He summoned me to be at Obersalzberg on 10 February. There, on that day the meeting with the Austrian Federal Chancellor, Schuschnigg, which has been frequently discussed here, took place. Shortly after I arrived--I had no idea why I had been summoned--General von Reichenau arrived from Munich, and General of the Air Force, Sperrle; so that we three Generals were present when at about 10:30 Herr Schuschnigg arrived with Herr von Papen. Since I had never attended a conference or a political action or any meeting of that nature, I did not know what I was there for. I must tell you this frankly, otherwise you will not understand it. In the course of the day the reason for the presence of the three representatives of the Wehrmacht naturally became clear to me. In certain respects they represented a military, at least a military demonstration--I may safely call it that.

In the preliminary interrogation and also in later discussions I was asked the significance of the fact that in the afternoon my name was suddenly called through the house and I was to visit the Fuehrer. I went to him in his room. Perhaps it sounds strange for me to say that when I entered the room I thought that he would give me a directive but the words were "Nothing at all." He used the words, "Please sit down." Then he said, "Yes, the Federal Chancellor wishes to have a short conference with his Foreign Minister Schmidt; otherwise I have nothing at all." I can only assure you that not one word was said to me about a political action apart from the fact that Herr Schuschnigg did not leave until the evening and that further conferences took place.

We generals sat in the anteroom, and when in the evening, shortly before my departure, I received the direction to launch reports that we were taking certain measures for mobilization, of which you have been informed here through a document, then it became quite clear to me that this day had served to bring the discussions to a head by the introduction of military representatives, and the directive to spread reports was to keep up the pressure, as has been shown here.

Upon my return to my apartment in Berlin, in the presence of Goebbels and Canaris, we discussed the reports which were to be sent out and which Canaris then broadcast in Munich. Finally, in order to conclude this matter, it might be interesting to point out that the Chief of Intelligence in the Austrian Federal Ministry, Lahousen, who has been present here in court, told Jodl and me when later on he came into the service of the Wehrmacht: "We were not taken in by this bluff." And I indubitably gave Jodl a basis for his entry in the diary, even though it is somewhat drastically worded, for I was naturally impressed by this first experience.

1938 February 12: Hitler meets with Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, his Foreign Minister Schmidt, Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, and von Papen at Berchtesgaden. The German Fuehrer demands that Schuschnigg lift the ban on political parties, reinstate full party freedoms, release all imprisoned members of the Nazi party and allow them to participate in the government.

From Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg's personal record of the meeting, a snippet from the first, 11:00 AM, session:

Hitler: I only need to give an order, and overnight all your ridiculous scarecrows on the frontier will vanish. You don't really believe that you could hold me up for half an hour? Who knows--perhaps I shall be suddenly overnight in Vienna: like a spring storm. Then you will really experience someting. I would willingly spare the Austrians this; it will cost many victims. After the troops will follow the SA nd the Legion! No one will be able to hinder the vengeance, not even myself. Do you want to turn Austria into another Spain? All this I would like if possible to avoid.

Schuschnigg: I will obtain the necessary information and put a stop to the building of any defence works on the German frontier. Naturally I realize that you can march into Austria, but, Mr. Chancellor, whether we wish it or not, that would lead to the sheding of blood. We are not alone in the world. That probably means war.

Hitler: That is very easy to say at this moment as we sit here in club armchairs, but behind it all lies a sum od suffering and blood. Will you take responsibility for that, Herr Schuschnigg? Don't believe that anyone in the world will hinder me in my decisions! Italy? I am quite clear with Mussolini: with Italy I am on the closest possible terms. England? England will not lift a finger for Austria . . . . And France? Well, two years ago when we marched into the Rhineland with a handful of battalions--at that moment I risked a great deal. If France had marched then, we should have been forced to withdraw . . . . But for France, it is now too late!

From the official German communique of this Berchtesgaden conference (Document 2461-PS): Both statesmen are convinced that the measures taken by them constitute at the same time an effective contribution toward the peaceful development of the European situation.

From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: The agreement at Berchtesgaden on 12 February contained a definite stipulation to the effect that I was to be liaison man between the Austrian Government and the Austrian National Socialists on one side, and the German Reich on the other. The contents of the protocol appeared to me unsatisfactory and even dangerous. There was no doubt at all that my appointment to the Ministry of the Interior and Security served as a notification, if not a signal, for the Austrian National Socialists that they might expect an early realization of their political objectives. In addition they received permission to profess their beliefs; they could wear the swastika and salute with the raised hand. What was not permitted, however, was their organization; that means, my National Socialist friends in Austria had no possibility of getting in touch with the National Socialists in a legal way. This agreement opened the gates without providing for a regular procedure thereafter.

From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: Seyss-Inquart returned [from the conference with Hitler] in a sleeper, and we sat together in his compartment. He had a piece of paper--I think it was an envelope--and on that there were notes. I remember that he described the formalities which had taken place at the beginning by saying that he had come in his capacity as an Austrian Minister, bound by oath to the Constitution, and responsible to the President and the Chancellor of Austria. He said that he was greeting, in Adolf Hitler, the leader of all Germans. Afterwards he told me in detail about points of that conference, not all of which I can remember now. My whole impression was that the discussion had passed satisfactorily, and I recognized that the conference had been conducted in a spirit of full loyalty to Chancellor Schuschnigg. As far as I can remember, the Anschluss as such had not been dealt with at all.

The expression which Dr Seyss-Inquart repeatedly used was that he was not a Trojan Horse leader. Furthermore, I remember that he had used the expression frequently that he was the living guarantor for mutual adherence to the agreement of Berchtesgaden. I had the impression that Adolf Hitler was in full agreement with the suggestions of Dr. Seyss-Inquart.

Seyss-Inquart made a speech at a conference of leaders at the beginning of March and pointed out that an evolutionary course and measures which were to a certain extent disappointing to the radical followers--namely, the dissolution of the illegal organization--were specifically desired by Adolf Hitler.

I think I can also remember that during the large demonstration at Linz, and on the occasion of the demonstrations at Graz, he referred to that specifically; for the visit to Adolf Hitler in Berlin gave him the necessary legitimate foundation in the eyes of the National Socialists.

From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: On the morning of February 12, 1938, Schuschnigg, persuaded by Papen, motored across the border to Berchtesgaden. Hitler had only a vague conception of what would be discussed or what we would demand--to a large extent that depended on Schuschnigg's character and his reaction to Hitler. Never asking Schuschnigg to sit down, Hitler plunged into a series of tantrums: "Herr Schuschnigg, I say to you, Austria did in the whole of its historynothing other than to oppose German aims. That was the task of the Hapsburgs, that was the task of the Catholic Church, and it is the task of your government. We have only difficulties with Austria. Austria is our enemy."

Creating an atmosphere of intimidation, Hitler refused to negociate at all but had Ribbentrop and a representative of the Austrian Nazis work out the terms to be presented to Schuschnigg. Taking a leaf from the Allies' diplomacy at Versailles, Hitler presented these to Schuschnigg on an "accept-them-or-else" basis. What the "else" would be was left to Schuschnigg's imagination, though Germany, which still had only one far-from-battle-ready armored division, was in no shape militarily to precipitate an international crisis. Losing his nerve, Schuschnigg agreed to the terms.

1938 February 13 Jodl's Diary:

In the afternoon General K [Keitel] asks Admiral C [Canaris] and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Fuehrer's order is to the effect that military pressure, by shamming military action, should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Fuehrer by telephone for approval.

1938 February 14 Jodl's Diary:

At 2:40 o'clock the agreement of the Fuehrer arrives. Canaris went to Munich to the Counter-Intelligence Office VII and initiates the different measures. The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations.

1938 February 16: Schuschnigg complies with Hitler's demands by appointing Arthur Seyss-Inquart as Interior Minister and another Nazi, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, as a Minister without Portfolio.

From Kaltenbrunner's testimony before the IMT: Shortly after my activities in connection with the Reinthaller-Langot appeasement action, I got in touch first with circles of the Anschluss movement clubs and second with those circles whose aim it was to improve conditions in Austria peacefully, by an evolutionary movement and development, and, on the other hand, to enlarge the Anschluss movement so as to win over the government themselves to that idea. In 1937 and 1938 I attempted to come into closer personal contact with Seyss-Inquart, later Minister, and I completely adopted his political conceptions.

1938 February 17: Seyss-Inquart, with an Austrian diplomatic passport, meets with Adolf Hitler privately for two hours.

From Seyss-Inquart's shorthand notes on the meeting: A condition of Federal Chancellor Dr. Schuschnigg is that I adhere to an autonomous and independent Austria, that I support the Constitution, that is, further development, including the Anschluss, must be based on this. The formation of public opinion in Austria must proceed independently and in accordance with present constitutional possibilities. I must be an active guarantor for Dr. Schuschnigg of the revolutionary way, in the meaning of these statements (Yes), no Trojan horse. The Party and Movement must not adopt a militant attitude against prevailing cultural conceptions. (Yes). No totalitarianism of the Party and Movement; that is, National Socialist ideology to be realized with due appreciation and regard for conditions in Austria; not to be imposed on others by force. The Party as such is not simply to disappear, but to exist as an organization of individuals; no illegal activity, no efforts inimical to the State, everything to be done in a legal fashion, anyone failing to do this, to be locked up.

From the IMT testimony of Edmund Glaise-Horstenau: Apart from the March days of 1938, I had three opportunities to speak with Adolf Hitler. Seyss-Inquart entered the Government after 12 February 1938. As far as I can remember, he visited Adolf Hitler on 17 February. Certainly he told Schuschnigg, and he told me as well [about this visit].

From the IMT testimony of Michael Skubl: I knew about the journey; and Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, so far as I know, also knew about the journey. It was also suggestive that in his capacity as liaison man between the Austrian Government and the Reich he must necessarily have an opportunity to speak to Hitler. Upon his return I met Seyss-Inquart at the station, and I asked him how the conferences with Hitler had gone off. Seyss-Inquart, still being fresh under the impression of the meeting and discussions, informed me of what he had stated to the Fuehrer. I still remember the individual points exactly. Seyss-Inquart told the Reich Chancellor the following:

Herr Reich Chancellor:

1. I am an Austrian Minister, and as such I have taken an oath of allegiance to the Austrian Constitution. I have taken an oath, therefore, to Austria's autonomy and independence.

2. I am a believer and an active Catholic, and therefore, I could not follow a course which might lead to a cultural battle.

3. I come from a country where a totalitarian regime is out of the question.

1938 February 19: Schuschnigg's government extends full amnesty to imprisoned National Socialists and gives the National Socialists access to the Fatherland Front.

1938 February 20: In a speech aimed specifically at Czechoslovakia, Chancellor Adolf Hitler proclaims that the German government vows to protect German minorities outside of the Reich:

I am happy to be able to tell you, gentlemen, that during the past few days a further understanding has been reached with a country that is particularly close to us for many reasons. The Reich and German Austria are bound together, not only because they are the same people, but also because they share a long history and a common culture. The difficulties which had been experienced in carrying out the Agreement of July 11, 1936, compelled us to make an attempt to clear out of the way misunderstandings and hindrances to a final concilliation. Had this not been done, it is clear that an intolerable situation might one day have developed, whether intentionaly or otherwise, which might have brought about a very serious catastrophe. I am glad to be able to assure you that these considerations correspond with the views of the Austrian Chancellor, whom I invited to come to visit me. The idea and the intention were to bring about a relaxation of the strain in our relations with one another by giving under the existing legislation the same legal rights to citizens holding National-Socialist views as are enjoyed by the other citizens of German Austria. In conjunction with this there should be a practical contribution towards peace by granting a general amnesty, and by creating a better understanding between the two states through a still closer friendly cooperation in as many different fields as possible--political, personal, and economic--all complementary to and within the framework of the Agreement of July 11. I express in this connection before the German people my sincere thanks to the Austrian Chancellor for his great understanding and the warm-hearted willingness with which he accepted my invitation and worked with me, so that we might discover a way of serving the best interests of the two countries; for, after all, it is in the interest of the whole German people, whose sons we all are, wherever we may have been born. (Churchill)

1938 February 20: British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, in company with Under-Secretary Lord Cranborne, resigns in protest of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Italy and Germany. However, it was probably not so much the question of if there should be negotiations with Italy, but only when they should start and how far they should be carried.

Anthony Eden speaks in the House of Commons:

I have spoken of the immediate difference which has divided me from my colleagues, and I should not be frank if I were to pretend that it is an isolated issue. It is not. Within the last few weeks upon one most important decision of foreign policy which did not concern Italy at all the difference was fundamental . . . . I do not believe that we can make progress in European appeasement if we allow the impression to gain currency abroad that we yield to constant pressure . . . . I am certain in my own mind that progress sepends above all on the temper of the nation, and that temper must find expression in a firm spirit. That spirit I am confident is there. Not to give voice to it is I believe fair neither to this country nor to the world. (Churchill)

1938 February 21: Winston Churchill addresses the House of Commons:

This last week has been a good week for the Dictators--one of the best they have ever had. The German Dictator has laid his heavy hand upon a small but historic country, and the Italian Dictator has carried his vendetta against Mr. Eden to a victorious conclusion. The conflict between them has been long. There can be no doubt whatever that Signor Mussolini has won. All the majesty, power, and dominion of the British Empire have not been able to secure the success of the causes which were entrusted to the late Foreign Secretary by the general will of Parliament and of the country . . . . So that is the end of this part of the story, namely, the departure from power of the Englishman whom the British nation and the British Parliament entrusted with a certain task; and the complete triumph of the Italian Dictator, at a moment when he desperately needed success for domestic reasons. All over the world, in every land, under every sky and every system of government, wherever they may be, the friends of England are dismayed and the foes of England are exultant . . . .

The resignation of the late Foreign Secretary may well be a milestone of history. Great quarrels, it has been well said, arise from small occasions but seldom from small causes. The late Foreign Secretary adhered to the old policy which we have all forgotten for so long. The Prime Minister and his colleagues have entered upon another and a new policy. The old policy was an effort to establish the rule of law in Europe, and build up through the League of Nations effective deterrents against the aggressor. Is it the new policy to come to terms with the totalitarian Powers in the hope that by great and far-reaching acts of submission, not merely in sentiment and pride, but in material factors, peace may be preserved?

The other day Lord Halifax said that Europe was confused. The part of Europe which is confused is that part ruled by parliamentary governments. I know of no confusion of the side of the great Dictators. The know what they want, and no one can deny that up to the present at every step they are getting what they want. The grave and largely irreparable injury to world security took place in the years 1932 to 1935 . . . .

The next opportunity when the Sibylline books [Note: A book with ready and prophetic answers to questions.] were presented to us was the reoccupation of the Rhineland at the beginning of 1936. Now we know that a firm stand by France and Britain, under the authority of the League of Nations, would have been followed by the immediate evacuation of the Rhineland without the shedding of a drop of blood; and the effects of that might have enabled the more prudent elements in the German Army to regain their proper position, and would not have given to the political head of Germany that enormous ascendancy which has enabled him to move forward. Now we are at a moment when a third move is made, but when that opportunity does not present itself in the same favorable manner, Austria has been laid in thrall, and we do not know whether Czechoslovakia will not suffer a similar attack. (Churchill) [For the full text, Click here.]

1938 February 22: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain rejects Litninov's call for collective security, calling upon the League of Nations to "throw off the shams and pretences" of sanctions. He advises the League to reduce itself simply to "a moral force to focus public opinion throughout the world" and give up any further attempts at collective security, especially in concert with the USSR. He will go even farther on March 7 when he declares: "We must not try to delude small and weak nations into thinking that they will be protected by the League against aggression." (Fleming)

1938 February 24: Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, in response to an earlier speech by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler; calls for international support to resist future German demands for Austrian concessions; reaffirms the independence of Austria; promises to protect the ten million Germans living outside of the Reich.

From an affidavit signed by Rademacher von Unna, an Italian journalist: He, Papen, would, however, not allow himself to be deterred by anybody from carrying out his mission in the way he himself understood it: to be an intermediary and peacemaker; and therefore he would show anyone the door who might wish to misuse him in Austria for obscure purposes. In this connection it is worth mentioning that a member of the Austrian Government, a state secretary whose name I have forgotten, was making efforts to establish personal, but secret, contact with the German Ambassador in order to offer him his services for the German cause. Herr von Papen turned down this offer, giving as his reason the fact that he refused to participate in conspiracies which were directed against the official policies of the Ballhausplatz. Up to now he had attempted to co-operate openly and loyally with the Federal Government; and he, on his part, would not use any other means. (IMT)

1938 February 26: From von Papen's own notes on his last meeting with Schuschnigg (Document 1544-PS):

I then introduced into the conversation the widespread opinion that he [Schuschnigg] had acted under 'brutal pressure' in Berchtesgaden. I myself had been present and been able to state that he had always and at every point had complete freedom of decision. The Chancellor replied that he had actually been under considerable moral pressure; he could not deny that. He had made notes on the talk which bore that out. I reminded him that despite this talk he had not seen his way clear to make any. concessions, and I asked him whether without the pressure he would have been ready to make the concessions he made late in the evening. He answered: "To be honest, no." It appears to me of importance to record this statement.

In parting I asked the Chancellor never to deceive himself that Austria could have maintained her status with the help of non-German, European combinations. This question could be decided only according to the interests of the German people. He asserted that he held the same conviction and would act accordingly. (IMT)

1938 February 28: Hitler recalls von Papen to Berlin.

1938 March 3: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg writes Mussolini to inform him that he intends to hold a plebiscite to strengthen his position in Austria.

1938 March 4: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg receives a report from the Austrian military attache in Italy concerning an interview with Mussolini. After assuring him that the situation is bound to improve, Mussolini warns against the idea of a plebiscite:

Mussolini: E un errore [it's a mistake]. If the result is satisfactory, people will say that it is not genuine. If it is bad, the situation of the government will be unbearable; and if it is indecisive, then it is worthless.

1938 March 3 - 9: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler begins an official state visit to Rome to soften Mussolini up in anticipation of Hitler's impending move into Austria.

From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer: Seyss-Inquart, the first of the quislings, was a pleasant-mannered, intelligent young Viennese lawyer who since 1918 had been possessed with a burning desire to see Austria joined with Germany. This was a popular notion in the first years after the war . . . .

The victorious Allies had not allowed it and by the time Hitler took power in 1933 there is no doubt that the majority of Austrians were against their little country's joining with Nazi Germany. But to Seyss-Inquart, as he said at his trial in Nuremberg, the Nazis stood unflinchingly for the Anschluss and for this reason he gave them his support. He did not join the party and too no part in its rowdy excesses. He played the role, rather, of a respectable front for the Austrian Nazis, and after the July 1936 agreement, when he was elected State Counsilor, he concentrated his efforts, aided by Papen and other German officials and agents, in burrowing from within. Strangely, both Schuschnigg and Miklas seem to have trusted him almost to the end.

Later Miklas, a devout Catholic as was Schuschnigg, confessed that he was favorably impressed by the fact that Seyss was a diligent churchgoer. The mans Catholicism and also the circumstance that he, like Schuschnigg, had served in a Tyrolean Kaiserjäger regiment during the First World War, in which he was severely wounded, seems to have been the basis of the trust which the Austrian Chancellor had for him. Schuschnigg, unfortunately, had a fatal inability to judge a man on more substantial grounds. Perhaps he thought he could keep his new Nazi Minister in line by simple bribes. He himself tells in his book of the magic effect of $500 on Seyss-Inquart a year before when he threatened to resign as State Counsilor and then reconsidered on the receipt of this paltry sum. But Hitler had bigger prizes to dazzle before the ambitious young lawyer, as Schuschnigg was soon to learn."

From the IMT testimony of Edmund Glaise-Horstenau: At that time, without knowing about the plebiscite, I left, on the 6th of the month [March], on 2 weeks' leave. Therefore, I cannot give you a reliable answer to this question [Did Seyss-Inquart collaborate in the planned plebiscite which was to take place on 13 March 1938?]. To my knowledge, the plebiscite was not handled by any Ministerial Council. So far as I could judge on my return from my leave, [the National Socialists] certainly [did] not [agree to the plebiscite]. On 6 March, as I have already said, I went on leave, and in Stuttgart I gave a lecture, something I had planned for a long time. And the subject of my speech was "Central Europe in the Year 1000 A. D."

Then I undertook a private visit to Landau in the Pfalz to visit my French relatives, and there Burckel, whom I had told nothing about my arrival, came to see me, and in his home I heard over the radio the speech made by Schuschnigg at Innsbruck. Immediately it was obvious to me that the scheduled plebiscite would, in view of Hitler's nature, certainly bring about some form of grave countermeasure, and I decided to fly to Vienna at once. Burckel was to have arranged this. However, he telephoned to the Reich Chancellery and Hitler expressed the wish that I should come to Berlin. I gave the reasons for complying with his request to the American interrogator, and subsequently, only here, I found out why Hitler had called me to Berlin. I heard from the mouth of an absolutely authentic witness that he did not want me to return to Austria. He knew that I was an enemy of all solutions by force.

During the night between 9 and 10 March I reached Hitler and entered upon a discussion which lasted for 21/s hours, a conference which assumed no concrete proportions and led to no concrete decision. Instead he told me that during the course of the day, at 11 o'clock in the morning, he would have me called in. In fact, he did not call me until 8 o'clock in the evening in order to give me the drafts for Seyss-Inquart: a) of an offer of resignation for Schuschnigg, and b) of a radio speech.

I declared that I could not bring these notes to Austria myself, and I asked that it be taken care of in the regular way by courier.

Later on I received a third draft from Goering, who was Field Marshal at the time. There was a telegram therein, containing a second request to Hitler asking for the marching-in of German troops. I should like to say from the beginning, all these drafts--as far as I know also the third draft--had no actual significance.

1938 March 8: Schuschnigg gives Seyss-Inquart advance notice of his intention to conduct a plebiscite.

From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: The day before Dr. Schuschnigg announced in Innsbruck the plan for the plebiscite he called me in and informed me of his plan. I asked him at that time whether the decision was unalterable, and he affirmed that. I expressed my concern that this might lead to difficulties; but I promised him that I would help him wherever I could, either to make the best of this plebiscite or to bring about a suitable outcome--suitable, that is to say, even for the National Socialists. Of course, I had continual contact with the Austrian National Socialists, since I was the liaison man ... on the same evening I was also approached by Dr. Jury who in some way had already heard of the plan for the plebiscite. I did not tell him that I had given my assent to Dr. Schuschnigg, though on account of my function as liaison man as laid down in the agreement of 12 February, I should not have allowed silence to be imposed on me; yet, I did keep silent.

1938 March 9: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg schedules a plebiscite on the independence of Austria for 13 March. The question is to be: "Are you for an independent and social, a Christian, German and united Austria?"

From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: Shortly after Berchtesgaden there was the plebiscite which the then Chancellor Schuschnigg had called. This plebiscite was of itself an impossibility, a breach of the Berchtesgaden agreement. This I shall pass over, but the way in which this plebiscite was supposed to take place was unique in history. One could vote only by "yes," every person could vote as often as he wanted, five times, six times, seven times. If he tore up the slip of paper, that was counted as "yes," and so on. It has no further interest. In this way it could be seen from the very beginning that if only a few followers of the Schuschnigg system utilized these opportunities sufficiently the result could be only a positive majority for Herr Schuschnigg. That whole thing was a farce. We opposed that.

From von Papen's IMT testimony: The plebiscite announced by Herr Schuschnigg was, of course, a complete surprise. In my view it was contrary to the spirit of the arrangements agreed upon at Berchtesgaden and contrary to the tendency of a peaceful settlement of the tension. The plebiscite was a violation of the Austrian Constitution, too. It was not a decision of the Austrian Government but was a spontaneous measure of the Austrian Chancellor, and in my opinion it was quite evident that those elements in Austria who were in favor of a union of the two States were most displeased with this plebiscite.

From the report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissioner Buerckel and transmitted to Seyss-Inquart (Document 812-PS):

The Landesleitung received word about the planned plebiscite through illegal information services, on 9 March 1938 at 10 a.m. At the session which was called immediately afterwards, Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the talks he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth, and that in view of the new situation, he had been cooperating with the Landesleitung from the very first moment. Klausner, Jury, Rainer, Globocnik, and Seyss-Inquart were present at the first talks which were held at 10 a.m. There it was decided that:

First, the Fuehrer had to be informed immediately; secondly, the opportunity for the Fuehrer to intervene must be given to him by way of an official declaration made by Minister Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg; and thirdly, Seyss-Inquart must negotiate with the Government until clear instructions and orders were received from the Fuehrer. Seyss-Inquart and Plainer together composed a letter to Schuschnigg, and only one copy of it was brought to the Fuehrer by Globocnik, who flew to him on the afternoon of 9 March 1938.

Negotiations with the Government were not successful. Therefore, they were stopped by Seyss-Inquart in accordance with the instructions he received from the Fuehrer . . . . On 10 March all the preparations for future revolutionary actions already had been made ... and the necessary orders given to all unit leaders . . . . During the night of the 10 to 11, Globocnik returned from the Fuehrer with the announcement that the Fuehrer gave the Party freedom of action ... and that he would back it in everything it did.

From the IMT testimony of Michael Skubl: The order for the plebiscite naturally had the effect of a bombshell on the National Socialists, not only on the National Socialists in Austria, but also in the Reich. There was feverish activity, therefore, and preventive measures naturally had to be introduced. This special activity can be explained by the fact that the National Socialists were afraid that in the event of a plebiscite they would suffer a great defeat, for the election slogans would have been accepted by the overwhelming majority of the Austrian population.

In this connection it is most interesting to draw your attention to an article which appeared on 11 March in the Deutsch-Osterreichische Tagesreitung, in which the fear could be read that this plebiscite would open the way for a democratization of Austria, the formation of a people's front, and subsequently as a result of this, for bolshevization. From this one could recognize the consciousness that the Austrian National Socialists were a minority. (IMT)

1938 March 9: Rainer W. Friedrich and others meet with von Papen in Vienna.

From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: We talked about the situation in Austria, about the pacification of the country; and while we did not exhaust the subject, we did discuss other matters which interested us and which dealt with the immediate future. It was just a casual meeting. I do not remember who arranged it. The conversation dealt, naturally, with the situation arising out of Schuschnigg's plan for the plebiscite, which was an entirely new and most surprising move, so that we had to think it over from every point of view and clarify it by discussion. I remember that von Papen, who just happened to be in Vienna that evening, acted in a reserved way. I think he considered that an affirmative vote would have met the situation perfectly.

1938 March 10 Anschluss: Ribbentrop meets with Halifax at the Foreign Office. Halifax expresses the Brirish Government's profound desire for an understanding with Germany on a basis of compromise. Halifax delivers a carefully worded statement:

[The British Government understands Germany's point of view on Austria and Czechoslovakia, and has] no desire to place obstacles in the way of peaceful agreement reached by peaceful means . . . . But we should be less than frank if we did not make it clear to the German Government the danger we saw in the expression that responsible leaders in Germany were giving in public to German policy and to the spirit in which that policy was being pursued. The suggestion was being created that something more than fair treatment of minorities was involved. This seemed to us . . . . to hold very dangerous possibilities in Europe . . . . [If] once war should start in Central Europe, it was quite impossible to say where it might not end, or who might not become involved . . . . I attached the utmost importance to everything being done to ensure that the [Austrian] plebiscite was carried out without interference or intimidation.

From Ribbentrop, A Biography by Michael Bloch: Following this talk [above], Ribbentrop sent Spitzy [Reinhard Spitzy, Ribbentrop's private secretary] back to Berlin with a letter for Hitler, answering the two questions which had been put to him. First, how sincere was Chamberlain in his professed desire for understanding with Germany? Echoing his report of 2 January, Ribbentrop replied sceptically that 'England's primary aim continues to be to gain time to complete her armament': she wanted to settle with Germany on her own terms without sacrificing her own interests, and would break up the Axis if she could. Secondly, what would England do 'if the Austrian question cannot be settled ppeacefully'? Ribbentrop declared himself 'convinced that England of her own accord will do nothing in regard to it at present, and that she would exert a moderating influence on the other powers'. He failed to mention Halifax's 'warning' on the risk of war if Germany persisted in an aggressive policy. This, however, had been anticipated by Halifax, who sent a copy of his remarks to Henderson [British Ambassador in Berlin] for communication to Neurath.

It was galling for Ribbentrop to be absent from Berlin at such a moment, but there was nothing for him to do but proceed with the formal business which had brought him to London. That evening, he held a great farewell reception at the German Embassy, to which he had invited virtually everyone he knew in England, including the entire British Government and all the foreign representatives in the capital. One member of the British Foreign Office arrived to find him 'walking up and down with the Austrian Minister in the most affectionate manner, which I thought especially repelent as Ribbentrop, like myself, knew that the German army stood poised to invade Austria, while the Austrian was blissfully unaware of this possibility.

1938 March 10 Anschluss: Seyss-Inquart, Foreign Minister Schmidt, and Chancellor Schuschnigg meet.

From Seyss-Inquart's IMT testimony: ... we agreed that the Government--as well as the provincial governments, and so forth--should include National Socialists, that, in effect, a coalition government should be formed; and in that case the National Socialists would also vote 'yes.' Only with reference to the license of the Party, the activities of the Party, were there still differences of opinion. I reported this to the Austrian National Socialists but they were not much interested, because news had come from Berlin that Hitler had rejected the plebiscite. I was told that on the next day I would receive a letter from Hitler . . . .

After receiving this letter I went with Minister Glaise to Dr. Schuschnigg. We were at the Federal Chancellor's office at 10 o'clock, and I informed Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg of the entire contents of this letter without reservation. In particular, I pointed out that in case of a refusal Adolf Hitler expected unrest among the Austrian National Socialists and that he was ready, if disturbances occurred, to answer an appeal for help by marching in. In other words, I expressly called Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg's attention to the possibility of this development . . . .

The letter set a deadline, 12 o'clock. As our talk lasted until about 11:30, I asked Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg to give me an answer by 2 o'clock. I know that in the meantime, and also on the previous day, he had taken security measures through Dr. Skubl, of which I had approved. A number of age groups of the Austrian Federal Army were called up, the police everywhere received instructions, and a curfew was imposed in the evening.

1938 March 10 Anschluss: From Gauleiter Rainer's report to Reichscommissioner Buerckel:

The Landesleitung received word about the planned plebiscite through illegal information services, on 9 March 1938 at 10 AM. At the session which was called immediately afterwards, Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the talks he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth, and that in view of the new situation, he had been cooperating with the Landesleitung from the very first moment. Klausner, Jury, Rainer, Globocnik and Seyss-Inquart were present at the first talks which were held at 10 AM. There it was decided that first, the Fuehrer had to be informed immediately; secondly, the opportunity for the Fuehrer to intervene must be given to him by way of an official declaration made by Minister Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg; and thirdly, Seyss-Inquart must negotiate with the government until clear instructions and orders were received from the Fuehrer. Seyss-Inquart and Rainer together composed a letter to Schuschnigg, and only one copy of it was brought to the Fuehrer by Globocnik, who flew to him on the afternoon of 9 March 1938. (IMT)

From the IMT testimony of Rainer W. Friedrich: May I have permission to go into some detail in this connection? The expression "revolutionary steps" is too far-reaching. The measures which were introduced were mainly these: After Chancellor Schuschnigg's speech at Innsbruck, Major Klausner was convinced that thereby every. basis for an inner political understanding had been destroyed and that this speech would be like a spark in a powder barrel.

Whereas previously we had had consultations under what circumstances the vote might be "yes," it had now, in view of the attitude of the broad masses, become impossible.

A clear-cut indication of attitude by the National Socialist leaders had to be brought about. During the night, the new Gauleiter were still being given their first piece of information about the Party not being agreeable to the proposed plebiscite, and that therefore the slogan would be, for the time being, to refrain from voting. The strictest discipline was demanded, because we feared that feeling would soon run very high. On 10 March the long-prepared propaganda of Zernatto began, and clashes occurred. We also had reports to the effect that large groups of the Protective Legion, forbidden in February 1934, were being armed. Strictest alert was ordered for the formations, therefore, and the formations received orders to provide protection for the Nationals.

Essentially, these were the steps ordered on the 10th; I think I informed Dry Seyss generally, in the afternoon, regarding the atmosphere in the provinces. I probably did not inform him about individual organizational measures.

1938 March 10 Jodl's Diary:

By surprise and without consulting his ministers, Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13, March, which should bring strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation. Fuehrer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, March 9 to 10, he calls for Goering. General v. Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee. General v. Schebert is ordered to come, as well as Minister Glaise Horstenau, who is with the District leader (Gauleiter) Buerckel in the Palatinate. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1:45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at 10 o'clock. I follow at 10:15, according to the wish of General v. Viebahn, to give him the old draft. Prepare case Otto. 1300 hours: General K informs Chief of Operational Staff (and) Admiral Canaris. Ribbentrop is being detained in London. Neurath takes over the Foreign Office. Fuehrer wants to transmit ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet. A personal letter is dispatched to Mussolini and the reasons are developed which force the Führer to take action. 1830 hours: Mobilization order is given to the Command of the 8th Army (Corps Area 3) 7th and 13th Army Corps; without reserve Army.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: It [the above] is merely a note on a brief account given to me by General Keitel about that day, probably related a bit colorfully. I did not suggest any deceptive maneuvers. The Fuehrer ordered them; and I do not think that they are illegal, because I believe that in the gambling of world history, in politics and in war, false cards have always been played. But the Fuehrer ordered it and that is stated in the entry in my diary. I supplied military information and documents to Canaris as to where our garrisons were situated, what maneuvers were taking place. Canaris elaborated them and then released them in Munich. I had been told that the purpose was to exert a certain amount of pressure, so that Schuschnigg, when he had returned home, would adhere to the agreement made at Obersalzberg. On 10 March in the morning, just before 11 o'clock, I heard of it [the intention to enter Austria] for the first time. It was when General Keitel, and General Viehbahn--who was then temporarily Chief of Armed Forces Operations Staff--were suddenly ordered to the Reich Chancellery, that I heard of the intention for the first time . . . .

The Fuehrer surprised them by stating that the question involved was the Austrian problem; and then they remembered, that there was a General Staff plan called "Otto." They sent for me and for the directive, and learned from me that such a directive actually did exist, but that in practice nothing at all had been prepared. As it had only been a theoretical plan and drafted solely in the event of an Austrian restoration, and as such a restoration was not expected for the moment, the High Command of the Army had virtually done nothing about it . . . .

It appeared to me to be a family squabble, which Austria herself would solve through her domestic politics in a very short time. My own extensive knowledge of Austria [made me think that]. Through relatives and acquaintances, through the German-Austrian Alpine Club to which I belonged, as one who knew the Austrian mountains. I had been in closer contact with Austria than with northern Germany, and I knew that, in that country, there had been a government against the will of the people for a long time. The peasant uprising in Styria was a characteristic example ... it [the march into Austria] was completely improvised within a few hours with the corresponding result. Seventy percent of all the armored vehicles and lorries were stranded on the road from Salzburg and Passau to Vienna, because the drivers had been taken from their recruitment training to be given this task . . . .

The Fuehrer had informed General Keitel and General Viehbahn about that [the problem of Austria] on 10 March, in the morning. He did not talk to me, and until that day I had not talked to the Fuehrer either ... it is a fact that only peacetime units which were intended for the parade in Vienna actually marched in. All units which might have been necessary for a military conflict, say, with Czechoslovakia or Italy, were stopped at the last moment and did not cross the border ... everything remained behind . . . .

The evening before the march into Austria, at about 2 o'clock in the morning, I was with Field Marshal von Brauchitsch. I found him in a dejected mood. I saw no reason for it; but apparently he was convinced that this march into Austria might possibly lead to a military conflict either with Italy or with Czechoslovakia. Or perhaps from a political point of view he was not quite pleased about this impending increase of the south German element in the Reich. I do not know. But at any rate he was most dejected . . . .

[Hitler, when he heard that Schuschnigg was going to obtain the opinion of the people by plebiscite, decided to invade at once]. I was told, when he heard that there was to be a grotesque violation of public opinion through the trick of a plebiscite, he said that he would certainly not tolerate this under any circumstances. This is what I was told ... he would not tolerate public opinion being abused through this trick. That is how it was told to me.

From Rainer W. Friedrich's IMT testimony: On 11 March in the forenoon I was working at the office of State Councillor Jury at 1 Seitzergasse. I no longer know at exactly what task. We met Dr. Seyss, Glaise-Horstenau, and several others about noon in the office of Dr. Fischbock, and Dr. Seyss-Inquart told us of the outcome of the conferences with Dr. Schuschnigg.

The result of our consultation was the letter which the Ministers and State Councillors wrote to Dr. Schuschnigg, which set a time limit for 2 o'clock in the afternoon, demanded the cancellation of this unconstitutional plebiscite and the fixing of a new plebiscite a few weeks later in accordance with the regulation of the Constitution, or we would resign. Schuschnigg postponed the plebiscite, but he refused to give a date for a new plebiscite and gave orders to Dr. Seyss, the Security Minister, to adopt severe measures. That solution was reported to the Chancellery in Berlin by telephone in the afternoon, and it produced the statement from the Reich that this solution, as a half-solution, was not acceptable any more. As far as I know, that started the intervention by the German Reich.

It was my view that certain drafts which Globocznik showed me at midday, and which had been addressed to the Landesleitung offices, had been brought along by Glaise-Horstenau who came back from Berlin that morning. As I heard later, that was reportedly done by a courier. In my opinion this was not an intervention on the part of the Reich.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: A meeting of high-ranking Nazis takes place at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

From von Papen's IMT testimony: I met Hitler surrounded by numerous ministers, Herr Goering, Dr. Goebbels, von Neurath, state secretaries, and also military people. He greeted me with the words: "The situation in Austria has become intolerable; Herr Schuschnigg is betraying the German idea and we cannot admit this forced plebiscite." And when I saw how aroused he was, I reminded him again of his promise to me at Bayreuth and warned him urgently against over-hasty decisions. But on this morning he told me, "Either the plebiscite must be canceled or the Government must resign."

Today we know from the letter, which he sent to Dr. Seyss by special courier, of this ultimatum to the Austrian Government. At that time he did not inform me of this active intervention on his part. Then during the day I, along with most of the persons present, remained in the large hall while Goering telephoned from Hitler's private office. What was telephoned is something we, who were waiting in the large hall, could only gather fragmentarily; but of course today we know it from the documents here. There is only one incident which I want to mention. Toward 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the report came from Vienna that Schuschnigg's Government was prepared to resign. Thereupon I pressed Hitler to cancel his military orders. Herr Hitler did that.

Between 5 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon the order to the military forces standing by was withdrawn. On that occasion I congratulated General Keitel and General von Brauchitsch, who were present, on our being spared this issue. But 1 hour later the situation was once more entirely different. When a telephone call came through from Vienna stating that the Federal President refused to nominate a Seyss-Inquart Government, Hitler again issued the orders to the troops. Following that, late in the evening, it was learned that the Austrian Government had requested the entry of German troops, since otherwise they could not control the situation. I can still see Herr von Neurath standing next to me telling me, "This is such an important report from Vienna that we absolutely have to have it in writing." Thus we were under the impression that this call for assistance came to us from Vienna. The further events of the evening are known, and I can only say that I personally was deeply shaken by this turn of events because it was perfectly clear that marching in with the Army could lead to incidents and to bloodshed, and new bloodshed between our two nations would not only have badly compromised the German problem again, but would also leave the worst possible impression of the conduct of German policy.

From von Neurath's IMT testimony: ... late in the afternoon, Hitler suddenly rang me up in my apartment and asked me to come and see him. In the anteroom I met, besides Herr Von Papen, General von Brauchitsch and a number of other high officials and officers of his immediate entourage. Göring was also in the room with Hitler when I came in. Hitler told me that the Anschluss with Austria was a fact, and that German troops would cross the border during the night of the 11th and 12th. When I raised the question whether that had to be, Hitler told me the reason why he did not wish to wait any longer. He asked me what the Foreign Office should do, as the Foreign Minister was absent and in London at the time. I told him quite clearly that we would probably receive protests to which a reply would have to be sent. Apart from that we on our part should make a statement to the powers. There should be no formal negotiations. I also told him that the Foreign Minister should be immediately recalled from London. Göring opposed this. Finally Hitler asked me to tell the State Secretary of the Foreign Office what he had just told me, so that the Foreign Office would know what was happening.

From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: First of all a member of the Austrian Government who was at that moment in Germany, General von Glaise-Horstenau, was flown to Vienna in order to make clear to Schuschnigg or Seyss-Inquart--who, since Berchtesgaden, was in Schuschnigg's Cabinet--that Germany would never tolerate this provocation. At the same time troops which were stationed near the Austrian border were on the alert. That was on Friday, I believe, the 11th.

On that day I was in the Reich Chancellery, alone with the Fuehrer in his room. I heard by telephone the news that Glaise-Horstenau had arrived and made our demands known clearly and unmistakably, and that these things were now being discussed. Then, as far as I remember, the answer came that the plebiscite had been called off and that Schuschnigg had agreed to it. At this moment I had the instinctive feeling that the situation was now mobile and that now, finally, that possibility which we had long and ardently awaited was there--the possibility of bringing about a complete solution. And from this moment on I must take 100 percent responsibility for all further happenings, because it was not the Fuehrer so much as I myself who set the pace and, even overruling the Fuehrer's misgivings, brought everything to its final development. My telephone conversations have been read here. I demanded spontaneously, without actually having first spoken to the Fuehrer about it, the immediate retirement of Chancellor Schuschnigg. When this was granted, I put my next demand, that now everything was ripe for the Anschluss. And that took place, as is known.

From Schacht’s IMT testimony: That this Anschluss would come at some time, we Germans all knew. As for the various political negotiations [that] took place between Hitler, Schuschnigg, and others, I [was] naturally as little informed as were the other Cabinet Ministers, with the probable exception of Goering and Ribbentrop, and perhaps one or two more. The actual Anschluss in March was a complete surprise to us: not the fact, but the date. A great surprise, and we, at any rate my acquaintances and I myself, were completely surprised.

I believe that much can be said about the manner [that the Anschluss was achieved]. What we heard subsequently, and what I have learned in these proceedings is certainly not very gratifying, but I believe that it would have had very little practical influence on the Anschluss itself, and the course of events. The whole thing was more of a demonstration to the outside world, similar perhaps to the marching into the Rhineland; but it had no great effect in my opinion on the course of the negotiations. I am speaking now of the marching in of the troops. This march was more or less a festive reception . . . .

The fact to which the Prosecution refer is a communication from a Lieutenant Colonel Wiedemann. March 11, at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon: I believe I remember that, but I cannot say whether it was by telephone, or in person; someone, it may have been Lieutenant Colonel Wiedemann, inquired of me how the purchasing power for the troops in Austria was to be regulated, if German troops should march into Austria, purely as a matter of currency policy, and whether it was necessary to have any regulation prescribed. I told him that, of course, everything had to be paid for, everything that the troops might buy there, and that the rate of exchange, if they paid in schillings, and not in marks, would be one mark to two schillings. That was the rate which obtained at the time, which remained fairly steady, and was the recognized ratio of the schilling to the mark. The fact that, in the afternoon of the 11th, I was approached about this matter, is the best proof that I had no previous knowledge of these matters.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: From a directive of the Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces (Hitler), initialed by Jodl and Keitel:

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

4. The forces of the Army and Air Force detailed for this operation must be ready for invasion and/or ready for action on 12 March 1938 at the latest from 1200 hours. "I reserve the right to give permission for crossing and flying over the frontier, and to decide the actual moment for invasion.

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

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I remember that this order was not issued to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and to the other Commanders-in-Chief until the whole project was under way. Nothing had been prepared. It was all improvised and this was to be the documentary registration of facts which were being put into practice. The commands were given verbally and individually regarding what was to be done and what actually was done on the morning of 12 March, when Austria was invaded . . . . May I add to my previous answer that we can see from this that the invasion took place on the morning of 12 March and the order was issued late in the evening of 11 March. Therefore this document could not have had any real influence on this affair. Such an order cannot be worked out between 10 in the evening and 6 in the morning.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: Seyss-Inquart, in Austria, speaks to Goering, in Berlin, by phone:

Goering: How do you do, doctor? My brother-in-law, is he with you?

Seyss-Inquart: No.

Goering: How are things with you? Have you resigned or do you have any news?

Seyss-Inquart: The Chancellor has cancelled the elections for Sunday, and therefore he has put S [Seyss-Inquart] and the other gentlemen in a difficult situation. Besides having called off the elections, extensive precautionary measures are being ordered; among others, curfew at 8 PM.

Goering replies that in his opinion the measures taken by Chancellor Schuschnigg are not satisfactory in any respect. At this moment he can not commit himself officially. Goering will take a clear stand very shortly. In calling off the elections he could see a postponement only, not a change of the present situation which had been brought about by the behavior of the Chancellor Schuschnigg in breaking the Berchtesgaden agreement. (IMT)

1938 March 11 Anschluss: Thereafter a conversation takes place between Goering Hitler. Afterwards Goering again telephones Seyss-Inquart at 2:05:

Goering told Seyss-Inquart that Berlin did not agree whatsoever with the decision made by Chancellor Schuschnigg since he did not enjoy any more the confidence of our Government because he had broken the Berchtesgaden Agreement, and therefore further confidence in his future actions did not exist. Consequently the national Ministers, Seyss-Inquart, and the others are being requested immediately to hand in their resignations to the Chancellor, and also to ask the Chancellor to resign. Goering added that if after a period of 1 hour no report had come through, the assumption would be made that Seyss-Inquart would no more be in a position to telephone. That would mean that the gentlemen had handed in their resignations. Seyss-Inquart was then told to send the telegram to the Fuehrer as agreed upon. As a matter of course, an immediate commission by the Federal President for Seyss-Inquart to form a new cabinet would follow Schuschnigg's resignation.

From Edmund Glaise-Horstenau's IMT testimony: Seyss-Inquart met me at the airport. I advised him briefly about what had taken place in Berlin, and made entirely clear to him the grave misgivings which I had. Together, Seyss-Inquart and I, at 11 o'clock in the morning, shortly after my arrival, went to see Schuschnigg. While Seyss-Inquart placed before Schuschnigg certain inner political problems which I did not know about because I had been absent, I pointed out to Schuschnigg, who was on the verge of tears, that there was great danger of new world complications, even of a new world war, and implored him to give in and to rescind the plebiscite which was scheduled for Sunday. I cannot recall whether we went so far orally [as to offer to resign]. This discussion was comparatively brief, but afterwards, at about 1 o'clock, we offered to resign.

For this neither a decree by Hitler nor a decree by the National Socialist leader, Klausner, was necessary. Already on Thursday evening I had made my decision in the home of Burckel that, in connection with the plebiscite, I would also make use of this traditional method of ministerial resignation in order to prevent the worst, if possible. Schuschnigg at first was rather reserved, but at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Guido Schmidt and Guido Zernatto--I do not have to tell you who these gentlemen were--made efforts to establish a modus vivendi with Seyss-Inquart. I myself kept in the background since my mission had already been fully accomplished on 12 February.

Shortly after this discussion, which led to no result, Schuschnigg still hesitated. But finally, he declared that in accordance with the wishes expressed he would postpone the Sunday plebiscite. I believed that the worst had passed. A short time thereafter Seyss-Inquart was called to the telephone, and returned visibly agitated, saying that he had been advised from Berlin that Hitler could not work any longer with Schuschnigg, and that Seyss-Inquart was to demand succession to the post of Chancellor.

Seyss-Inquart invited me to go with him to Schuschnigg. I turned this down for reasons of delicacy. Seyss-Inquart went in alone and returned after a brief period, and we had a discussion which seems to me to be of importance to this Court. He was confident of receiving the Chancellorship, and said to me, almost with an undertone of regret: "Now we will have to take in the Nazis after all, and we shall work with the Catholics and others who are of similar trends to establish a political combine with which I shall govern." However, he was going to demand of Hitler, as far as internal politics were concerned, an agreement of 5 years' tranquillity.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: At 2:45 PM Goering tells Seyss-Inquart over the telephone that it is not enough for Schuschnigg to cancel the elections. 20 minutes later he telephones Seyss-Inquart to state that Schuschnigg must resign.

From Michael Skubl's IMT testimony: The 11th of March was, of course, an exceptionally exciting and eventful day. The feeling of time was completely lost during those hours. I know that in the evening hours a report was submitted to me showing that German troops had crossed the border, a report which could not be verified, however, but which was supplemented by the fact that unusually alarming troop movements were taking place on the Austrian border.

What I observed was that Seyss-Inquart's behavior until the critical moment was certainly very passive, and as I have already said earlier, he did in fact give more the impression of a man who was being led rather than a man who was leading, and indeed there were clear indications that he felt embarrassed.

Federal Chancellor Dr. Schuschnigg first summoned me in the late afternoon, and he stated to me there had been an ultimatum from Germany--that is to say, from Hitler--to the effect that he would no longer be satisfied with calling off the plebiscite, but was demanding Schuschnigg's resignation. Then Schuschnigg told me that he personally was ready to resign, but that he could not expect his staff to accept Seyss-Inquart's appointment as Federal Chancellor. He had a question to ask me, he said, and that was whether I was prepared to take over the Chancellor's office. He did this in agreement with the President who, a few moments later, made me the same offer.

I refused this offer, and I refused it because I considered that my appointment as Chancellor would, in Hitler's eyes, mean a declaration of war. As State Secretary for Matters of Public Security I was at the head of the defensive front against National Socialist aggression, and consequently was also in personal opposition to Hitler. Therefore, had I accepted the Chancellorship, this would have offered Hitler a welcome opportunity to have his troops march in. My acceptance of the Chancellorship, therefore, would have meant the beginning of the struggle against invasion, and such a struggle was probably hopeless, in view of the superiority of the German Armed Forces compared with the Austrian Armed Forces and Austrian executive personnel.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg resigns in an attempt to stall off a threatened German invasion.

From Seyss-Inquart's IMT testimony: During a conference with Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg at 3:30 in the afternoon, the Chancellor said that he would hand to the Federal President the resignation of the whole Cabinet. When I was informed of this, I left the Federal Chancellor's office, because I considered my function as a middleman concluded in the meaning of the agreement of 12 February; and I did not want in any way to advocate or promote my own appointment as Federal Chancellor ... until 8 o'clock in the evening no one at all approached me on these matters. No one spoke to me about the Federal Chancellorship; no other possibility of a solution was discussed with me. I heard that the Federal President wanted to make Dr. Ender, of Vorarlberg, Chancellor and me Vice Chancellor. I believe that suggestion would have been completely practicable. But I could not discuss it--least of all with Berlin--because no one had said anything to me about it.

From Dr. Guido Schmidt's IMT testimony: The resignation of the Chancellor was demanded by ultimatum; and finally the State itself was taken over, so that the Fatherland Front no longer existed. With the entry of the German troops, National Socialism had become a reality and developments showed that it did not permit the Fatherland Front to live any longer.

I refused [to be appointed Foreign Minister]. I was approached again, and I refused again, and I was asked to give my reasons. Seyss-Inquart told me that he intended to keep Austria independent as long as possible; but he was afraid that with his Government, which had a National Socialist majority, he would encounter difficulties in the West. Therefore, he wanted to retain my diplomatic experience and connections for the Government. He added that he intended to create a broader platform for this Government by calling in positive Austrian representatives.

In the evening State Secretary Keppler arrived from Berlin; and as I learned later, he rejected me, and others too, I believe. I think I can remember one name. I believe that he suggested at the request of Berlin that Weber should take over the Foreign Ministry. Thus this list was discarded and Seyss-Inquart no longer tried to persuade me to go back on my decision . . . .
We left in three cars--the Federal Chancellor in one, the President in the other, and I was in the third. The departure was escorted and organized and accompanied by SS men. I said the SS escorted or conducted us during the departure from the Ballhaus Platz. There were about 40 SS men present who conducted the departure from there.

From Schacht’s IMT testimony: That this Anschluss would come at some time, we Germans all knew. As for the various political negotiations [that] took place between Hitler, Schuschnigg, and others, I [was] naturally as little informed as were the other Cabinet Ministers, with the probable exception of Goering and Ribbentrop, and perhaps one or two more. The actual Anschluss in March was a complete surprise to us: not the fact, but the date. A great surprise, and we, at any rate my acquaintances and I myself, were completely surprised.

I believe that much can be said about the manner [that the Anschluss was achieved]. What we heard subsequently, and what I have learned in these proceedings is certainly not very gratifying, but I believe that it would have had very little practical influence on the Anschluss itself, and the course of events. The whole thing was more of a demonstration to the outside world, similar perhaps to the marching into the Rhineland; but it had no great effect in my opinion on the course of the negotiations. I am speaking now of the marching in of the troops. This march was more or less a festive reception . . . .

The fact to which the Prosecution refer is a communication from a Lieutenant Colonel Wiedemann. March 11, at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon: I believe I remember that, but I cannot say whether it was by telephone, or in person; someone, it may have been Lieutenant Colonel Wiedemann, inquired of me how the purchasing power for the troops in Austria was to be regulated, if German troops should march into Austria, purely as a matter of currency policy, and whether it was necessary to have any regulation prescribed. I told him that, of course, everything had to be paid for, everything that the troops might buy there, and that the rate of exchange, if they paid in schillings, and not in marks, would be one mark to two schillings. That was the rate which obtained at the time, which remained fairly steady, and was the recognized ratio of the schilling to the mark. The fact that, in the afternoon of the 11th, I was approached about this matter, is the best proof that I had no previous knowledge of these matters.

1938 March 11: From minutes of a meeting of the staff of General Thomas:

Lieutenant Colonel Huenerm reads directive of the Fuehrer of 11 March, concerning the ’Action Otto’ and informs us that ’The Economy War Service Law’ has been put in force. He then reads Directives 1 and 2, and gives special orders to troops, for crossing the Austrian borders. According to that, at Schacht’s suggestion, no requisitions should be made, but everything ought to be paid for at the rate of 2 schillings to one Reichsmark.

From Schacht’s pre-trial interrogation:

Q: Actually Hitler did not use the precise method that you say you favored?

A: Not at all.

Q: Did you favor the method that he did employ?

A: Not at all, Sir.

Q: What was there in his method that you did not like?

A: Oh, it was simply overrunning, just taking the Austrians over the head, or what do you call it? It was force, and I have never been in favor of such force.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: At around 4:30 PM, Goering speaks by phone to Dombrowski in the German Legation in Vienna:

Goering: Now to go on, the Party has definitely been legalized?

Dombrowski: But that is ... it is not necessary even to discuss that?

Goering: With all of its organizations.

Dombrowski: With all of its organizations 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 one-half hour, which means everything is all right. In addition, Goering states that the Cabinet--the Austrian Cabinet--must be formed by 7:30 p.m. and he transmits instructions to be delivered to Seyss-Inquart as to who should be appointed to the Cabinet.]

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: Fischbock 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 himself and you know all about the Justice Department.

Dombrowski: Yes, yes.

Goering: Give me the name.

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

Goering: Yes.

Dombrowski: Yes.

Goering: That's right, and then also Fischbock. (IMT)

From Hermann Goering's IMT testimony: The only thing--and I do not say this because it is important as far as my responsibility is concerned--which I did not bring about personally, since I did not know the persons involved, but which has been brought forward by the Prosecution in the last few days, was the following: I sent through a list of ministers, that is to say, I named those persons who would be considered by us desirable as members of an Austrian Government for the time being. I knew Seyss-Inquart, and it was clear to me from the very beginning that he should get the Chancellorship. Then I named Ernst Kaltenbrunner for Security. I did not know Kaltenbrunner, and that is one of the two instances where the Fuehrer took a hand by giving me a few names.

Also, by the way, I gave the name of Fischbock for the Ministry of Economy without knowing him. The only one whom I personally brought into this Cabinet was my brother-in-law, Dr. Hueber, as Minister of Justice, but not because he was my brother-in-law, for he had already been Austrian Minister of Justice in the Cabinet of Prelate Seipel. He was not a member of the Party at that time, but he came from the ranks of the Heimwehr and it was important for me to have in the Cabinet also a representative of that group, with whom we had at first made common cause, but then opposed. I wanted to be sure of my influence on this person, so that everything would now actually develop towards a total Anschluss.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: At around 5:26 PM, Goering is faced with the news that Miklas, the President, is refusing to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor, and he issues instructions as to the ultimatum that is to be delivered to Miklas:

Goering: Now remember the following: You go immediately, together with Lieutenant 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 tonight along the whole line, and Austria will cease to exist. Lieutenant General Muff should go with you and demand to be admitted for conference immediately. Please 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 such that tonight the invasion will begin from all the corners of Austria. The invasion will be stopped and the troops will be held at the border only if we are informed by 7:30 that Miklas has entrusted you with the Federal Chancellorship . . . . M [Lieutenant General Muff] does not matter whatever it might be, the immediate restoration of the Party with all its organizations . . . . 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. Lieutenant General Muff is supposed to come along with you. I shall inform him immediately. If Miklas could not understand it in 4 hours, we shall make him understand it now in 4 minutes.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: At around 6:28 PM, Goering has an extensively interrupted telephone conversation with Keppler and Muff and Seyss-Inquart. When he tells Keppler that Miklas has refused to appoint Seyss-Inquart, Goering says: "Well, then Seyss-Inquart has to dismiss him. Just go upstairs again and just tell him plainly that S. I. [Seyss-Inquart] shall call on the National Socialist guard, and in 5 minutes the troops will march in by my order."

After an interruption, Seyss-Inquart comes to the telephone and informs Goering that Miklas is still sticking to his old viewpoint, although a new person has gone in to talk to him, and there might be definite word in about 10 minutes:

Goering: Listen, so I shall wait a few more minutes, till he comes back; then you inform me via Blitz conversation in the Reich Chancery as usual, but it has to be done fast. I can hardly justify it as a matter of fact. I am not entitled to do so; if it cannot 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. (IMT)

1938 March 11 Anschluss: From Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg's farewell spech:

This day has placed us in a tragic and decisive situation. I have to give my Austrian fellow countrymen the details of the events of today.

The German Government today handed to President Miklas an ultimatum, with a time limit, ordering him to nominate as chancellor a person designated by the German Government and to appoint members of a cabinet on the orders of the German Government; otherwise German troops would invade Austria.

I declare before the world that the reports launched in Germany concerning disorders by the workers, the shedding of streams of blood, and the creation of a situation beyond the control of the Austrian Government are lies from A to Z. President Miklas has asked me to tell the people of Austria that we have yielded to force since we are not prepared even in this terrible situation to shed blood. We have decided to order the troops to offer no resistance.

So I take leave of the Austrian people with the German word of farewell uttered from the depth of my heart: God protect Austria.

1938 March 11 Anschluss: At around 8:00 PM, Goering and Seyss-Inquart have yet another phone conversation after the ultimatum has expired. Seyss-Inquart informs Goering that Miklas is still refusing to name Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor:

Goering: OK, I shall give the order to march in and then you make sure that you get the power. Notify the leading people about the following which I shall tell you now. Everyone who offers resistance or organizes 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 authorize you, and that also can be considered as resistance.

Seyss-Inquart: Yes.

Goering: Well, now you are officially authorized.

Seyss-Inquart: Yes.

Goering: Well, good luck, Heil Hitler. (IMT)

From Rainer W. Friedrich's IMT testimony: An occupation by the SS is hardly the right expression. When, toward 8 o'clock in the evening, Miklas had again refused to nominate a National Socialist as Chancellor, Doppler stated that at 8 o'clock--not as originally declared--they would march in and he stated his fear for the safety of the negotiators. In fact, as was said in Austria, things were generally in commotion and the situation appeared very unsafe. The Chancellery building was occupied by the police and by the guards and was put in a state of defense. I informed the Landesleitung of this situation and asked them to take protective measures so that willful acts would not cause unnecessary misfortune. In consequence of the measures which were then introduced, I estimate that no earlier than 10 o'clock in the evening an SS leader reported in civilian clothes, stating that he and his men had been assigned to protect the negotiators. Seyss-Inquart considered that step excessive but I asked him to take the measure into consideration, and he then allowed these men to pass through the police and guards, and they, were admitted to the courtyard of the Chancellery building. There was never any pressure nor were there acts of force; it was merely a precautionary measure.

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