Nuremberg Trial – The Seventh Day
Wednesday, 28th November, 1945
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon Counsel for the United States.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, at this point we distribute document book lettered “N,” which will cover the next phase of the case as it will be presented. Of the five large phases of aggressive warfare, which I undertake to present to the Tribunal, I have now completed the presentation of the documents on the first phase, the phase lasting from 1933 to 1936, consisting of the preparation for aggression.
The second large phase of the programme of the conspirators for aggression lasted from approximately 1936 to March, 1939, when they had completed the absorption of Austria and the occupation of all of Czechoslovakia. I again invite the Court’s attention to the chart on the wall, at which you may be interested in glancing from time to time as the presentation progresses.
The relevant portions of the Indictment to the present subject are set forth in Sub-section 3, under Section IV (F), appearing at Pages 7 and 8 of the printed English text. This portion of the Indictment is divided into three parts: First, the 1936 to 1938 phase of the plan, planning for the assault on Austria and Czechoslovakia; second, the execution of the plan to invade Austria, November 1937 to March 1938; third, the execution of the plan to invade Czechoslovakia, April 1938 to March 1939.
As I previously indicated to the Tribunal, the portion of the Indictment headed “(a) Planning for the assault on Austria and Czechoslovakia,” is proved for the most part by document 386-PS, which I introduced on Monday as exhibit USA 25. That was one of the handful of documents with which I began my presentation of this part of the case. The minutes taken by Colonel Hoszbach of the meeting in the Reich Chancellery on 5th November, 1937, when Hitler developed his political last will and testament, reviewed the desire of Nazi Germany for more room in Central Europe, and made preparations for the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia as a means of strengthening Germany for the general pattern of the Nazi conspiracy for aggression.
I shall present the materials on this second, or Austrian phase of aggression, in two separate parts. I shall first present the materials and documents relating to the aggression against Austria. They have been gathered together in the document book, which has just been distributed. Later I shall present the materials relating to the aggression against Czechoslovakia. They will be gathered in a separate document book.
First, the events leading up to the autumn of 1937, and the strategic position of the National Socialists in Austria. I suggest at this point, if the Tribunal please, that in this phase we see the first full flowering of what has come to be known as “fifth column” infiltration techniques in another country; and first under that, the National Socialist aim of absorption of Austria.
In order to understand more clearly how the Nazi conspirators proceeded after the meeting of 5th November, 1937, covered by the Hoszbach minutes, it is advisable to review the steps which had already been taken in Austria by the Nazi Socialists of both Germany and Austria. The position which the Nazis had reached by the fall of 1937 made it possible for them to complete their absorption of Austria much sooner, and with much less cost than had been contemplated at the time of the meeting covered by the Hoszbach minutes.
The acquisition of Austria had long been a central aim of the German National Socialists. On the first page of “Mein Kampf,” Hitler said, “German Austria must return to the Great German Motherland,” and he continued by stating that this purpose of having common blood in a common Reich could not be satisfied by a mere economic union. Moreover, this aim of absorption of Austria was an aim from 1933 on, and was regarded as a serious programme, which the Nazis were determined to carry out.
At this point, I should like to offer in evidence our document 1760-PS, which, if admitted, would be exhibit USA 57. This document is an affidavit executed in Mexico City on 28th August of this year by George S. Messersmith, United States Ambassador, now in Mexico City. Before I quote from a part of Mr. Messersmith’s affidavit, I should like to point out briefly that Mr. Messersmith was Consul-General of the United States of America in Berlin from 1930 to the late spring of 1934. He was then made American Minister in Vienna, where he stayed until 1937.
In this affidavit he states that the nature of his work brought him into frequent contact with German Government officials, and he reports it that the Nazi Government officials, with whom he had contact, were on most occasions amazingly frank in their conversation and made no concealment of their aims.
If the Court please, this affidavit, which is quite long, presents a somewhat novel problem of treatment in the presentation of this case. In lieu of reading the entire affidavit into the record, I should like, if it might be done in that way, to offer in evidence, not merely the English original, but also a translation into German, which has been mimeographed.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, some of the Tribunal’s documents are not marked with the ‘PS ” number, which makes it very difficult to find.
MR. ALDERMAN: They are marked in pencil at the foot.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, some of them are not.
MR. ALDERMAN: Oh!
THE PRESIDENT: I wonder if you have a copy of the book, which is numbered.
MR. ALDERMAN: If we could borrow the set that is not numbered, we could number it.
This translation of the affidavit into German has been distributed to counsel for the defendants.
DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for defendant von Papen): An affidavit has just been turned over to the Court, an affidavit of a witness who is obtainable. The contents of the affidavit contains so many subjective opinions of the witness that it seems preferable to hear the witness personally in this matter.
I should like to take this occasion to ask for a decision, as a matter of principle, as to whether that which a witness can present in person may instead be presented in the form of an affidavit; in other words, a witness who can be reached should be brought in instead of an affidavit.
MR. ALDERMAN: If the Tribunal please, I should like to be heard briefly on the matter. May I be heard?
THE PRESIDENT: You have finished what you had to say, I understand.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will hear Mr. Alderman.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I recognise, of course, the inherent weakness of an affidavit as evidence where the witness is not present, not subject to cross- examination. Mr. Messersmith is an elderly gentleman. He is not in good health. It was entirely impracticable to try to bring him here; otherwise we should have done so.
I remind the Court of Article 19 of the Charter:
“The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply, to the greatest possible extent, expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.”
Of course, the Court would not treat anything in an affidavit such as this as having probative value unless the Court deemed it to have probative value; and if the defendants have countering evidence, which is strong enough to overcome whatever is probative in this affidavit, the Court will treat the probative value of all the evidence in accordance with this provision of the Charter.
By and large, this affidavit and another affidavit by Mr. Messersmith, which we shall undertake to present, covers background material, which is a matter of historical knowledge, of which the Court could take judicial knowledge. Where he does quote these amazingly frank expressions by Nazi leaders, it is entirely open to any of them, who may be quoted, to challenge what is said, or to tell your Honours what they conceive to be what they said. In any event, it seems to me that the Court can accept an affidavit of this character, made by a well-known American diplomat, and give it whatever probative value it seems to have to the Court.
On the question of reading the whole thing, the whole affidavit, I understand the ruling of the Court, that only those parts of documents which are quoted into the record, will be considered in the record, to have been based upon the necessity of giving the German Counsel knowledge of what was being used. As to these affidavits, we have furnished them with complete German translations, so that it seems to us that a different rule might obtain where that has been done.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, have you finished with what you have to say?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The representative of the prosecution takes the point of view that the age and state of health of the witness makes it impossible to summon him as a witness. I do not know the witness personally, and consequently am not in a position to state to what extent he is actually incapacitated. Nevertheless, I have profound doubts regarding the presentation of such evidence of such an old and incapacitated person. I am speaking now not about Mr. Messersmith, but I should like to open the question to what extent the state of health of a witness determines whether or not a person can be heard by this Court.
It is important to know what questions, in toto, were put to the witness, since an affidavit only reiterates the answers to the questions which were put to the person. Very often conclusions can be drawn from questions, which were not in fact put to the witness. It is here a question of evidence on the basis of an affidavit, and for that reason we are not in a position to assume, with absolute certainty, that the evidence of the witness is complete.
I am not of the opinion of the prosecution that in this case there are being introduced two pieces of evidence of different value: namely, on the one hand the evidence of a witness, and on the other hand the evidence as laid down in an affidavit. The situation is rather this: That either the evidence is sufficient, or it is not. I think the Tribunal should confine itself to complete evidence.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I want –
THE PRESIDENT: Yes Mr. Alderman, did you wish to add anything?
MR. ALDERMAN: I wish to make this correction, perhaps, of what I had said.
I did not mean to leave the implication that Mr. Messersmith is in any way incapacitated. He is an elderly man, about 70 years old. He is on active duty in Mexico City, and the main difficulty is that we didn’t feel that we could take him away from his duties in that post and make him undergo a long trip at his age.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s all, is it?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has considered the objection which has been raised and, in view of the powers which the Tribunal has under Article19 of the Charter, which provides that the Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence, but shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value – in view of those provisions – the Tribunal holds that affidavits can be presented, and that in the present case it is a proper course. The question of the probative value of an affidavit as compared with a witness who has been cross-examined would, of course, be considered by the Tribunal and if, at a later stage, the Tribunal thinks the presence of a witness is of extreme importance, the matter can be reconsidered. And the Tribunal would add this: That if the defence wish to put interrogatories to the witness, they will be at liberty to do so.
MR. ALDERMAN: I offer then our document 1760-PS as exhibit USA 57, affidavit by George S. Messersmith; and rather than read the entire affidavit by George S. Messersmith, unless the Court wish me to do so, I had intended to paraphrase the substance of what it covers at various parts of the affidavit.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks it would be better, and that you must adhere to the rule which we have laid down, that only what is read in the Court will form part of the record.
MR. ALDERMAN: I shall read then, if this Tribunal please, on the third page of the English mimeograph; to identify it, it is the fourth paragraph, following a list of names headed by President Miklas of Austria and Chancellor Dollfuss:
“From the very beginnings of the Nazi Government, I was told by both high and secondary Government officials in Germany -”
THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell us again which page you are on?
MR. ALDERMAN: Page 3 of the English version, the fourth paragraph below the list of names. There are two Messersmith affidavits and counsel is confused between the two, I think.
“From the very beginnings of the Nazi Government, I was told by both high and secondary Government officials in Germany that incorporation of Austria into Germany was a political and economic necessity, and that this incorporation was going to be accomplished ‘by whatever means were necessary.’ Although I cannot assign definite times and places, I am sure that at various times and places, every one of the German officials whom I have listed earlier in this statement told me this, with the exception of Schacht, von Krosigk and Krupp von Bohlen. I can assert that it was fully understood, by everyone in Germany who had any knowledge whatever of what was going on, that Hitler and the Nazi Government were irrevocably committed to this end, and the only doubt which ever existed in conversations or statements to me was how and when.”
And in connection with that paragraph, I invite your attention to the list of German officials to whom he refers on page 2 of the affidavit; and they are listed as Hermann Goering, General Milch, Hjalmar Schacht, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Walter Darre, Robert Ley, Hans Heinrich Lammers, Otto Meissner, Franz von Papen, Walther Funk, General Wilhelm Keitel, Admiral Erich von Raeder, Admiral Karl Donitz, Dr. Bohle, Dr. Stuckert, Dr. Krupp von Bohlen and Dr. Davidson. Now, what the affidavit states is that he was sure that at various times and places, everyone of those listed German officials had made these statements to him, with the exception of Schacht, von Krosigk and Krupp von Bohlen. Continuing with the next paragraph :
“At the beginnings of the Nazi regime in 1933, Germany was, of course, far too weak to permit any open threats of force against any country, such as the threats which the Nazis made in 1938- Instead it was the avowed and declared policy of the Nazi Government to accomplish the same results which they later accomplished, through force, by the methods which had proved so successful for them in Germany: Obtain a foothold in the Cabinet, particularly in the Ministry of the Interior, which controlled the police, and then quickly eliminate the opposition elements. During my stay in Austria, I was told on any number of occasions by Chancellor Dollfuss, Chancellor Schuschnigg, President Miklas, and other high officials of the Austrian Government, that the German Government kept up constant and unceasing pressure upon the Austrian Government to agree to the inclusion of a number of ministers with Nazi orientation. The English and French ministers in Vienna, with whom I was in constant and close contact, confirmed this information through statements which they made to me of conversations which they had with high Austrian officials.”
I shall read other portions of the affidavit as the presentation proceeds. On this question of pressure used against Austria, including terror and intimidation, culminating in the unsuccessful “putsch” of 25th July, 1934, to achieve their ends the Nazis used various kinds of pressure. In the first place, they used economic pressure. A law Of 24th March, 1933, German law, imposed a prohibitive 1,000 Reichsmark penalty on trips to Austria, and brought great hardship to that country, which relied very heavily on its tourist trade. For that I cite the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933, Roman I, page 311, and ask the court to take judicial notice of that German law.
The Nazis used propaganda and they used terroristic acts, primarily bombings. Mr. Messersmith’s affidavit, document 176o-PS, from which I have already read, goes into some detail with respect to these outrages. I read again from page 4 of the affidavit, the English version, the second paragraph on the page :
“The outrages were an almost constant occurrence, but there were three distinct periods during which they rose to a peak.
During the first two of these periods, in mid-1933, and in early 1934, I was still in Berlin. However, during that period I was told by high Nazi officials in conversation with them that these waves of terror were being instigated and directed by them. I found no concealment in my conversations with high Nazi officials of the fact that they were responsible for these activities in Austria. These admissions were entirely consistent with the Nazi thesis that terror is necessary, and must be used to impose the will of the Party not only in Germany but in other countries. I recall specifically that General Milch was one of those who said frankly that these outrages in Austria were being directed by the Nazi Party, and expressed his concern with respect thereto and his disagreement with this definite policy of the Party.”
And the next paragraph:-
“During the wave of terroristic acts in May and June, 1934, I had already assumed my duties as American Minister in Vienna. The bomb outrages during this period were directed primarily at railways, tourist centres and the Catholic Church, which latter, in the eves of the Nazis, was one of the strongest organisations opposing them. I recall, however, that these outrages diminished markedly for a few days during the meeting of Hitler and Mussolini at Venice in mid-June, 1934. At that time Mussolini was strongly supporting the Austrian Government and was strongly and deeply interested in maintaining Austrian independence and sovereignty, and in keeping down Nazi influence and activity in Austria. At that time also Hitler could not afford an open break with Mussolini, and undoubtedly agreed to the short cessation of these bomb outrages on the insistence of Mussolini because he, Hitler, wished to achieve as favourable an atmosphere for the meeting between him and Mussolini as possible. The cessation of the bomb outrages during the Hitler-Mussolini conversations was considered by me, and by the Austrian authorities, and by all observers at that time as an open admission on the part of Hitler and the German Government that the outrages were systematically and completely instigated and controlled from Germany.”
Then turning to page 7 of the English version, following the line which reads,
“Official dispatch from Vienna,” dated 26th July, 1934, I quote the following paragraph:-
“In addition to these outrages, the Nazis attempted to bring pressure upon Austria by means of the ‘Austrian Legion.’ This organisation, a para-military force of several thousand men, was stationed near the Austrian border in Germany as a constant and direct threat of violent action against Austria. It was without any question sanctioned by the Nazi Government of Germany, as it could otherwise not have existed, and it was armed by them. It was made up of Austrian Nazis who had fled from Austria after committing various crimes in that country, and by Austrians in Germany who were attracted by the idle life and pay given by the German authorities.”
These terroristic activities of the Nazis in Austria continued until 25th July, 1934. It is a well-known historical fact, of which I ask the Court to take judicial notice, that on that day members of the N.S.D.A.P., the Nazi Party, attempted a revolutionary “putsch” in Austria and killed Chancellor Dollfuss. At this point I should like to invite your attention to the fact that the indictment alleges in Count IV, Crimes against Humanity, paragraph B on page 26 of the English printed text, that the Nazis murdered amongst others Chancellor Dollfuss. I have not available an official authenticated account of the details of that “putsch,” but I think that it will suffice if I briefly recall to the Court what is after all a well-known matter of history. On 25th July, 1934, about noon, 100 men dressed in the uniform of the Austrian Army invaded the Federal Chancellery. Chancellor Dollfuss was wounded in trying to escape, being shot twice at close quarters. The Radio Building in the centre of the town was overwhelmed, and the announcer was compelled to broadcast the news that Dollfuss had resigned and that Dr. Rintelen had taken his place as Chancellor. Although the “putsch” failed, the insurgents kept control of the Chancellery building, and agreed to give it up only after they had a safe conduct to the German border. The insurgents contacted the German Minister Dr. Rieth by telephone, and subsequently had private negotiations with him in the building. At about 7 P.M. they yielded the building, but Chancellor Dollfuss breathed his last about 6 p.m., not having had the services of a doctor.
It is also a well-known historical fact that the German government denied all complicity in this “putsch” and in this assassination. Hitler removed Dr. Rieth as Minister on the ground that he had offered a safe conduct to the rebels without making inquiry of the German government, and had thus without reason dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair in public sight.
This statement appears in a letter which Hitler sent to defendant Papen on 26th July, 1934. I shall offer that letter a little later.
Although the German government denied any knowledge or complicity in this “putsch,” we think there is ample basis for the conclusion that the German Nazis bear responsibility for these events. It is not my purpose, with respect to this somewhat minor consideration, to review the expansive record in the trial of the Austrian Nazi Planetta and others who were convicted for the murder of Dollfuss. Similarly I have no intention of presenting to the Court the contents of the Austrian “Braunbuch,” issued after 25th July, without which the Court will, I think, take judicial notice.
I should like instead to mention a few brief items which seem to us sufficient for the purpose. I quote again from our document 1760-PS, from the Messersmith affidavit, exhibit USA 57, on page 7, the paragraph in the middle of the page:-
“The events of the ‘putsch’ of 25th July, 1934, are too well known for me to repeat them in this statement. I need say here only that there can be no doubt that the ‘putsch’ was ordered and organised by the Nazi officials from Germany through their Organisation in Austria, made up of German Nazis and Austrian Nazis. Dr. Rieth, the German Minister in Vienna, was fully familiar with all that was going to happen and that was being planned. The German Legation was located directly across the street from the British Legation, and the Austrian secret police kept close watch on persons who entered the German Legation. The British had their own secret service in Vienna at the time, and they also kept a discreet surveillance over the people entering the German Legation. I was told by both British and Austrian officials that a number of the men who were later found guilty by the Austrian courts of having been implicated in the ‘putsch’ had frequented the German Legation. In addition, I personally followed very closely the activities of Dr. Rieth, and I never doubted on the basis of all my information that Dr. Rieth was in close touch and constant touch with the Nazi agents in Austria, these agents being both German and Austrian. Dr. Rieth could not have been unfamiliar with the ‘putsch’ and the details in connection therewith. I recall, too, very definitely, from my conversations with the highest officials of the Austrian Government after the ‘putsch’ their informing me that Dr. Rieth had been in touch with von Rintelen, who, it had been planned by the Nazis, was to succeed Chancellor Dollfuss, had the ‘putsch’ been successful.
It may be that Dr. Rieth was himself not personally sympathetic with the plans for the ‘putsch,’ but there is no question that he was fully familiar with all these plans, and must have given his assent thereto and connived therein.
As this ‘putsch’ was so important, and was a definite attempt to overthrow the Austrian government, and resulted in the murder of the Chancellor of Austria, I took occasion to verify at the time for myself various other items of evidence indicating that the ‘putsch’ was not only made with the knowledge of the German government but engineered by it. I found and verified that almost a month before the ‘putsch’ Goebbels told Signor Corruti, the Italian Ambassador in Berlin, that there would be a Nazi government in Vienna in a month.”
I should also like to offer in evidence Ambassador Dodd’s diary, 1933-1938, a book published in 1941, our document 2832 PS, and particularly the entry for 26th July, 1934. We have the book with the page to which I refer, two pages. I should like to offer that portion of the book in evidence as exhibit USA 58, further identified as our document 2832 PS.
Mr. Dodd, then Ambassador to Berlin, made the following observations in that entry. First he noted that in February, 1934, Ernst Henfstaengl advised him that he brought what was virtually an order from Mussolini to Hitler to leave Austria alone and to dismiss and silence Theodor Habicht, the German agent in Munich, who had been agitating for annexation of Austria. On 18th June in Venice, Hitler was reported to have promised Mussolini to leave Austria alone. Mr. Dodd further states, and I quote from his entry Of 26th July, 1934:
“On Monday, 23rd July, after repeated bombings in Austria by Nazis, a boat loaded with explosives was seized on Lake Constance by the Swiss police. It was a shipment of German bombs and shells to Austria from some arms plant. That looks ominous to me, but events of the kind have been so common that I did not report it to Washington.”
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, we don’t seem to have this document. Our document 2832-PS begins 28th July, Thursday.
MR. ALDERMAN: That is right. Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: You began something about Monday, didn’t you?
MR. ALDERMAN: I think you misunderstood me. I began reading at a sentence which began on Monday, 23rd July.
THE PRESIDENT: I want to know where that is.
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir. It is in the third paragraph.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I see, about twelve lines down.
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.
“To-day evidence came to my desk that last night, as late as 11 o’clock, the government issued formal statements to the newspapers rejoicing at the fall of Dollfuss and proclaiming the greater Germany that must follow. The German Minister in Vienna had actually helped to form the new cabinet. He had, as we now know, exacted a promise that the gang of Austrian and Nazi murderers should be allowed to go into Germany undisturbed, but it was realised about 12 o’clock that, although Dollfuss was dead, the loyal Austrians had surrounded the Government Palace and prevented the organisation of a new Nazi regime. They held the murderers prisoners. The German Propaganda Ministry therefore forbade publication of the news sent out an hour before, and tried to collect all the releases that had been distributed. A copy was brought to me to-day by a friend.
All the German papers this morning lamented the cruel murder, and declared that it was simply an attack of discontented Austrians, not Nazis. News from Bavaria shows that thousands of Austrian Nazis living for a year in Bavaria on German support had been active for ten days before, some getting across the border contrary to law, all drilling, and making ready to return to Austria. The German propagandist Habicht was still making radio speeches about the necessity of annexing the ancient realm of the Hapsburgs to the Third Reich, in spite of all the promises of Hitler to silence him. But now that the drive has failed and the assassins are in prison in Vienna, the German government denounces all who say there was any support from Berlin.
I think it will be clear one day that millions of dollars and many arms have been pouring into Austria since the spring of 1933. Once more, the whole world is considering and condemning the Hitler regime. No people in all modern history have been quite so unpopular as Nazi Germany. This stroke completes the picture. I expect to read a series of bitter denunciations in the American papers when they arrive about ten days from now.”
As I stated before, the German government denied any connection with the “putsch” and the murder of Dollfuss. In this connection, I should like to invite attention to the letter of appointment which Hitler wrote to the defendant von Papen on 26th July, 1934. This letter appears in a standard German reference work “Dokumente der Deutschen Politik,” Volume2, at page 83. For convenience we have identified it as document 2799-PS, and a copy translated into English is included in the document book. The defendants may examine the German text in the “Dokumente der Deutschen Politik,” a copy of which is at present in my hand, page 83 of Volume 2.
I ask the Court if it will take Judicial notice of this original German typing.
THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us where it occurs in our document book?
MR. ALDERMAN: It is our document 2799-PS, a letter from Adolf Hitler.
THE PRESIDENT: It appears to come opposite 2510-PS, according to the book.
MR. ALDERMAN: I should like to read this letter which Chancellor Hitler sent to Vice-Chancellor von Papen. I think it will provide us with a little historical perspective and perhaps freshen our recollection of the ways in which the Nazi conspirators worked. In considering Hitler’s letter to the defendant von Papen on 26th July, we must bear in mind as an interesting sidelight the widespread reports at that time, and I mention this only as a widespread report, that the defendant von Papen narrowly missed being purged on 30th June, 1934, along with the Nazi Ernst Roehm, and others. The letter from Hitler to von Papen is as follows:-
“Dear Herr von Papen,
As a result of the events in Vienna, I am compelled to suggest to the Reichs- President the removal of the German Minister to Vienna, Dr. Rieth, from his post, because he, at the suggestion of Austrian Federal Ministers and the Austrian rebels respectively, consented to an agreement made by both these parties concerning the safe conduct and retreat of the rebels to Germany without making inquiry of the German Reich Government. Thus the Minister has dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason.
The assassination of the Austrian Federal Chancellor which was strictly condemned and regretted by the German Government has made the situation in Europe, already fluid, more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore it is my desire to bring about, if possible, an easing of the general situation, and especially to direct the relations with the German Austrian State, which have been so strained for a long time, into normal and friendly channels again.
For this reason, I request you, dear Herr von Papen, to take over this important task, just because you have possessed, and continue to possess, my most complete and unlimited confidence ever since we have worked together in the Cabinet.
Therefore, I have suggested to the Reichs-President that you, upon leaving the Reich-Cabinet and upon release from the office of Commissioner for the Saar, be called on a special mission to the post of the German Minister in Vienna for a limited period of time. In this position you will be directly subordinate to me.
Thanking you once more for all that you have at one time done for the co-ordination of the Government of the National Revolution, and since then together with us for Germany, I remain,
Yours very sincerely,
Now let us look at the situation four years later, on 25th July, 1938, after the “Anschluss” with Austria. At that time the German officials no longer expressed regrets over the death of Dr. Dollfuss. They were eager and willing to reveal what the world already knew, that they were identified with and sponsors of the murder of the former Chancellor.
I offer in evidence at this point document L-273, which I offer as exhibit USA 59. That document is a dispatch from the American Consul General, Vienna, to the Secretary of State, dated 26th July, 1938. Unfortunately, through a mechanical slip, this document which is in English in the original, was not mimeographed in English and is not in your document book. However, it was translated into German, and is in the document book which counsel for the defendants have. I read from a photostatic copy of the dispatch :-
“The two high points of the celebration” – here was a celebration – “were the memorial assembly on the 24th at Klagenfurt, capital of the Province of Carinthia, where in 1934 the Vienna Nazi revolt found its widest response, and the march on the 25th to the former Federal Chancellery in Vienna by the surviving members of the SS Standarte 89, which made the attack on the Chancellery in 1934”; a reconstruction of the crime, so to speak. “The assembled thousands at Klagenfurt were addressed by the Fuehrer’s Deputy, Rudolf Hess, in the presence of the families of the thirteen National Socialists who were hanged for their part in the July “putsch.” The Klagenfurt Memorial Celebration was also made the occasion for the solemn swearing in of the seven recently appointed Gauleiters of this Ostmark. From the point of view of the outside world, this picture of Reichsminister Hess was chiefly remarkable for the fact that after devoting the first half of his speech as expected, to praise of the sacrifices of the men, women, and youth of Austria in the struggle for greater Germany, he then launched into a defence of the occupation of Austria and an attack on the lying foreign Press and on those who spread the idea of a new war.” The world was fortunate,” declared Hess, “that Germany’s leader was a man who would not allow himself to be provoked. The Fuehrer does what is necessary for his people in sovereign calm and labours for the peace of Europe, even though mischief makers, completely ignoring the deliberate threat to the peace of certain small States, distinctly claim that he is a menace to the peace of Europe.” The march on the former Federal Chancellery, referring back to the “putsch” of four years before, now the “Reichsstatthalterei,” followed the exact route and time schedule of the original attack. The marchers were met at the Chancellery by Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart, who addressed them and unveiled a memorial cabinet from the “Reichsstatthalterei,” the “Standarte.” That is the SS organisation which made the original attack and which marched on this occasion four years later. From the “Reichsstatthalterei” the Standarte marched from the Old Reich Broadcasting Centre, from which false news of the resignation of Dollfuss had been broadcast, and there unveiled a second memorial tablet. Steinhausen, the present police president of Vienna, was a member of the SS Standarte 89.”
Now, that original memorial plaque, if the Court please, to- day is rubble, like so much of Nuremberg, but we found a photograph of it in the National Library in Vienna. I should like to offer that photograph in evidence, taken on this occasion four years later, the Nazi wreath encircling the plaque, the memorial tablet, and with a large wreath of flowers with a very distinct Swastika Nazi symbol laid before the wreath. I offer that photograph in evidence, identified as our 2968-PS. I offer it as exhibit USA 60. You will find that in the document book, and I know of no more interesting or shocking document that you could look at. We call that murder by ratification, celebrating a murder four years later.
As that photograph shows, this plaque which was erected to celebrate this sinister occasion reads: “One hundred and fifty-four German men of the 89th SS Standarte stood up here for Germany on 26th July, 1934. Seven found death at the hands of the hangman.” The Tribunal may notice that the number 154 at the top of the plaque is concealed in the photograph by the Nazi wreath surrounding the plaque. I must confess that I find myself curiously interested in this tablet and in the photograph which was taken and carefully filed. The words chosen for this marble tablet, and surely we can presume that they were words chosen carefully, tell us clearly that the men involved were not mere malcontent Austrian revolutionaries, but were regarded as German men, were members of a paramilitary organisation, and stood up here for Germany. In 1934, Hitler repudiated Doctor Rieth because he dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason. In 1938, Nazi Germany proudly identified itself with this murder, took credit for it, and took responsibility for it. Further proof in the conventional sense, it seems to us, is hardly necessary.
Next the programme culminating in the act of 11th July, 1936. In considering the activities of the Nazi conspirators in Austria between 25th July, 1934, and November, 1937, there is a distinct and immediate point, the act of 11th July, 1936. Accordingly, I shall first review developments in the two-year period, July, 1934, to July, 1936.
First, the continued aim of eliminating Austria’s independence, with particular relation to the defendant von Papen’s conversation and activity. The first point that should be mentioned is this. The Nazi conspirators pretended to respect the independence and sovereignty of Austria, notwithstanding the aim of Anschluss stated in “Mein Kampf.” But in truth and in fact they were working from the very beginning to destroy the Austrian State.
A dramatic recital of the position of defendant von Papen in this regard is provided in Mr. Messersmith’s affidavit, from which I have already quoted, and I quote now from page nine of the English copy, the second paragraph.
THE PRESIDENT: What is the number?
MR. ALDERMAN: Document 176o-PS, which is exhibit USA 57.
“That the policy of Anschluss remained wholly unchanged was confirmed to me by Franz von Papen when he arrived in Vienna as German Minister. It will be recalled that he accepted this assignment as German Minister even though he knew that he had been marked for execution in the St. Bartholomew’s massacre on 30th June, 1934. When, in accordance with protocol, he paid me a visit shortly after his arrival in Vienna, I determined that during this call there would be no reference to anything of importance, and I limited the conversation strictly to platitudes, which I was able to do as he was calling on me in my office. I deemed it expedient to delay my return call for several weeks in order to make it clear to von Papen that I had no sympathy with, and on the other hand was familiar with the objectives of his mission in Austria. When I did call on von Papen in the German Legation, he greeted me with ‘Now you are in my Legation and I can control the conversation.’
In the boldest and most cynical manner he then proceeded to tell me that all of South-East Europe, to the borders of Turkey, was Germany’s natural hinterland, and that he had been charged with the mission of facilitating German economic and political control over all this region for Germany. He blandly and directly said that getting control of Austria was to be the first Step. He definitely stated that he was in Austria to undermine and weaken the Austrian Government, and from Vienna to work towards the weakening of the Governments in the other states to the South and South-east. He said that he intended to use his reputation as a good Catholic to gain influence with certain Austrians, such as Cardinal Innitzer, towards that end. He said that he was telling me this because the German Government was firmly resolved on this objective of getting this control of South- eastern Europe and there was nothing which could stop it, and that our own policy and that of France and England was not realistic.
The circumstances were such, as I was calling on him in the German Legation, that I had to listen to what he had to say, and, of course, I was prepared to hear what he had to say although I already knew what his instructions were. I was nevertheless shocked to hear him speak so boldly to me, and when he finished I got up and told him how shocked I was to hear the accredited representative of a supposedly friendly State to Austria admit that he was proposing to engage in activities to undermine and destroy that Government to which he was accredited. He merely smiled and said, of course this conversation was between us, and that he would, naturally, not be talking to others so clearly about his objectives. I have gone into this detail with regard to this conversation as it is characteristic of the absolute frankness and directness with which high Nazi officials spoke of their objectives.”
And again, reading from the same document on page ten, beginning at the last paragraph at the bottom of the page:-
“On the surface, however, German activities consisted principally of attempts to win the support of prominent and influential men through insidious efforts of all kinds, including the use of the German Diplomatic Mission in Vienna and its facilities and personnel.
Von Papen as German Minister entertained frequently and on a lavish scale. He approached almost every member of the Austrian Cabinet, telling them, as several of them later informed me, that Germany was bound to prevail in the long run, and that they should join the winning side if they wished to enjoy positions of power and influence under German control. Of course, openly and outwardly he gave solemn assurance that Germany would respect Austrian independence, and that all that she wished to do was to get rid of elements in the Austrian Government like the Chancellor, Schuschnigg and Starhemberg, as head of the Heimwehr, and others, and replace them by a few nationally minded Austrians, which of course meant Nazis. The whole basic effort of von Papen was to bring about Anschluss.
In early 1935, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger- Waldenegg, informed me that in the course of a conversation with von Papen, the latter had remarked ‘Yes, you have your French and English friends now, and you can have your independence a little longer.’ The Foreign Minister, of course, told me this remark in German, but the foregoing is an accurate translation. The Foreign Minister told me that he had replied to von Papen, ‘I am glad to have from your own lips your own opinion which agrees with what your chief has just said in the Saar, and which you have taken such pains to deny.’ Von Papen appeared to be terribly upset when he realised just what he had said, and tried to cover his statements, but according to Berger-Waldenegg, kept constantly getting into deeper water.
Von Papen undoubtedly achieved some successes, particularly with men like Glaise-Horstenau and others who had long favoured the ‘Grossdeutschtum’ idea, but who nevertheless had been greatly disturbed by the fate of the Catholic Church. Without conscience or scruple, von Papen exploited his reputation and that of his wife as ardent and devout Catholics to overcome the fears of these Austrians in this respect.”
May I inquire if the Court expects to take a short recess?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. We will adjourn now for ten minutes.
(A recess was taken.)
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal wishes to make it clear, if I did not make if clear when I spoke before, that, if defence counsel wishes to put interrogatories to Mr. Messersmith upon his affidavit, they may submit such interrogatories to the Tribunal in writing for them to be sent to Mr. Messersmith to answer.
DR. KRANZBUEHLER (Counsel for defendant Donitz): I do not know whether my question has yet been answered or whether it has been made known to the President of the Court.
In the testimony of Mr. Messersmith, Donitz’ name was mentioned. It appears on page four of the German version. I should like to read the whole paragraph:-
“Admiral Karl Donitz was not always in an amicable frame of mind. He was not a National Socialist when the National Socialists came to power” –
THE PRESIDENT: This passage was not read in evidence, was it?
DR. KRANZBUEHLER: No, only the name was mentioned.
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think the name was mentioned, because this part of the affidavit was not read.
DR. KRANZBUEHLER: The name was read, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well; go on.
“Nevertheless, he became one of the first high officers in the Army and Fleet and was in complete agreement with the concepts and aims of National Socialism.”
As an introduction to this paragraph, Mr. Messersmith said, on page 2, the last sentence before the Number 1 –
THE PRESIDENT: Which page are you on?
DR. KRANZBUEHLER: I am reading out of document 1760.
THE PRESIDENT: Page what?
DR. KRANZBUEHLER: Page 2, last sentence before the Number 1.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
“Among those whom I saw frequently and to whom I have referred in many of my statements were the following.”
Then after Number 16 Donitz’ name appears. My client has informed me that he has heard the name Messersmith today for the first time; that he does not know the witness Messersmith, has never seen him, nor has ever spoken to him.
I therefore request that the witness Messersmith be brought before the Court to state when and where he spoke to the defendant Donitz.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already ruled that the affidavit is admissible in evidence, that its probative value will of course be considered by the Tribunal, and the defendants’ counsel have the right, if they wish, to submit interrogatories for the examination of Messersmith; and of course defendants will have the opportunity of giving evidence when their turn comes, when Admiral Donitz, if he thinks it right, will be able to deny the statements of the affidavit.
DR. KRANZBUEHLER: Thank you.
MR. ALDERMAN: I want to call the Court’s attention to a slight mistranslation into German of one sentence of the Messersmith affidavit. In the German translation the word “nicht” crept in when the negative was not in the English.
The English statement was:
“I deemed it expedient to delay my return call for several weeks, in order to make it clear to von Papen that I had no sympathy with, and on the other hand was familiar with the objectives of his mission in Austria.”
The German text contains the negative:
“Und dass ich anderseits nicht mit den Zielen seiner Berufung in Oesterreich vertraut war.”
The “nicht” should not be in the German text.
The continued existence of Nazi organisations was a programme of armed preparedness. The wiles of the defendant represented only one part of the total programme of Nazi conspiracy. At the same time Nazi activities in Austria, forced underground during this period, were carried on.
Mr. Messersmith’s affidavit at pages 9 and 10, the English text, discloses the following. Reading from the last main paragraph on page 9:
“Nazi activities, forced underground in this period, were by no means neglected. The Party was greatly weakened for a time as a result of the energetic measures-
THE PRESIDENT: One moment. The French translation isn’t coming through.
MR. ALDERMAN: Apparently it is a mechanical difficulty and not the interpretation.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you try again then
MR. ALDERMAN: Nazi activities, forced underground-
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment.
MR. ALDERMAN: I am informed that the French line is electrically dead and that it will take some little time to restore it.
THE PRESIDENT: We think it could be translated to the French member of the Tribunal, but we feel there may be some difficulty with the shorthand writers.
MR. ALDERMAN: That would be the main difficulty, yes, unless the shorthand writer could take one of the transcripts in one of the other languages and put it into French.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, that seems to be possible. Very well.
MR. ALDERMAN: The French prosecutor may object at not being able to hear.
(Pause: Mr. Alderman then began to speak.)
THE PRESIDENT: Speak up, Mr. Alderman, I couldn’t hear.
MR. ALDERMAN: The French prosecutor states that not only would he object to not being able to understand the proceedings, but that the French Press is present and he has an interest in the French Press understanding what is going on.
Colonel Dostert thinks a five-minute recess will enable him to fix it.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn then.
(A recess was taken.)
MR. ALDERMAN: I was just reading from the bottom of page 9 of the Messersmith affidavit:
“Nazi activities, forced underground in this period, were by no means neglected. The Party was greatly weakened for a time as a result of the energetic measures taken against the ‘putsch’ and, as a result of the public indignation, reorganisation work was soon begun. In October, 1934, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger- Waldenegg, furnished me with the following memorandum which he told me had been supplied to the Austrian Government by a person who participated in the meeting under reference.”
I quote the first paragraph of the memorandum:
“A meeting of the chiefs of the Austrian National Socialist Party was held on the 29th and 30th of September, 1934, at Bad Aibling in Bavaria.”
Then skipping four paragraphs and resuming on the fifth one:
“The Agents of the Party Direction in Germany have received orders in every Austrian district to prepare lists of all those persons who are known to actively support the present Government, and who are prepared closely to co-operate with it.
When the next action against the Government takes place these persons are be proceeded against just as brutally as all those other persons, without distinction of party, who are known to be adversaries of National Socialism.
In a report of the Party leaders for Austria the following Principles have been emphasised:
A. The taking over of the power in Austria remains the principal duty of the Austrian National Socialist Party. Austria has for the German Reich a much greater significance and value than the Saar. The Austrian problem is the problem. All combat methods are consecrated by the end which they are to serve.
B. We must, on every occasion which presents itself, appear to be disposed to negotiate, but arm at the same time for the struggle. The new phase of the struggle will be particularly serious, and there will be this time two centres of the terror, one along the German frontier and the other along the Yugoslav frontier.”
That ends the quotation from the memorandum.
I now proceed with the next paragraph of the affidavit:
“The Austrian Legion was kept in readiness in Germany. Although it was taken back some miles further from the Austrian frontier, it remained undissolved in spite of the assurance which had been given to dissolve it. The Austrian Government received positive information to this effect from time to time, which it passed on to me and I had direct information to the same effect from reliable persons coming from Germany to Vienna who actually saw the Legion.”
The fact of the reorganisation of the Nazi Party in Austria is corroborated by a report of one of the Austrian Nazis.
I offer in evidence our document 812-PS, as exhibit USA 61. It contains three parts. First, there is a letter dated 22nd August, 1939, from Dr. Rainer, then Gauleiter at Salzburg to the defendant Seyss-Inquart, then Austrian Reich Minister. That letter encloses a letter dated July 6th, 1939, written by Dr. Rainer to Reich Commissar, Gauleiter Josef Burckel.
DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for defendant Seyss-Inquart): I object to the presentation of the letters contained in document 812. Of course, I cannot object to the presentation of this evidence to the extent that this evidence is to prove that these letters were actually written. However, if these letters are to serve as proof for the correctness of their contents, then I must object to the use of these letters, for the following reason. Particularly, the third document is a letter which, as is manifest from its contents, has a particular bias, for this reason, that in this letter it is explained to what extent the Austrian Nazi Party participated in the Anschluss.
It purports, further, to expose the leading role played by the group.
From the bias that is manifest in the contents of this letter, this letter cannot serve as proof for the facts brought forth in it, particularly since the witness Rainer, who wrote this letter, is available as a witness and, as we have discovered, is at present in Nuremburg.
I object to the use of this letter to the extent it is to be used to prove the correctness of its contents, because the witness who can testify to that is, at the present time, in Nuremburg.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will hear Mr. Alderman in answer to what has been said.
MR. ALDERMAN: I think perhaps it would be better to read the letter before we argue about the significance of its contents.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, are you relying upon the letter as evidence of the facts stated in it?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Whom is the letter from, and whom is it to?
MR. ALDERMAN: The first letter is from one Rainer who was, at that time, Gauleiter at Salzburg, to the defendant Seyss- Inquart, then Reich Minister of Austria.
That letter encloses a letter dated 6th July, 1939, written by Rainer to Reich Commissar and Gauleiter Josef Burckel. In that letter, in turn, Rainer enclosed a report on the events in the N.S.D.A.P. of Austria from 1933 to 11th March, 1938, the day before the invasion of Austria.
I had some other matters in connection with this that I did want to bring to the attention of the Tribunal before it passes judgement upon the admissibility.
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that the defendant’s counsel is really challenging the admissibility of the document; it is the contents of the document.
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes. On that, in the first place, we are advised by defendant’s counsel that this man Rainer is in Nuremberg. I would assume he is there.
We have also an affidavit by Rainer stating that what is stated in these communications is the truth. However, it seems to us that the communications themselves, as contemporaneous reports by a Party officer at the time, are much more probative evidence than anything that he might testify before you to-day.
DR. LATERNSER: I have already said that this letter has these characteristics, that is it biased, and that it tends to emphasise and decorate the participation of the Austrian Nazi party in the Anschluss. Therefore, I must object to the use of this letter as objective evidence, in that it was not written with the thought in mind that it would be used as evidence before a court. If the writer had known that, the letter undoubtedly would have been formulated differently.
I believe that the witness is in Nuremberg. In that case – a principle which is a basis for all trial procedure – the witness should be presented to the Court personally, particularly since, in this case, the difficulties that apply in the case of Messersmith do not apply here.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is of the opinion that the letters are admissible. They were written to and received by the defendant Seyss-Inquart. The defendant can challenge the contents of the letters by his evidence.
If it is true that Rainer is in Nuremberg, it is open to the defendant to apply to the Tribunal for leave to call Rainer in due course. He can then challenge the contents of these letters, both by the defendant Seyss-Inquart’s evidence and by Rainer’s evidence. The letters themselves are admitted.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I agree quite fully with the statement that, if it had been known that these letters were to be offered in evidence in a court of justice, they very probably would have been differently written. That applies to a great part of the evidence that we shall offer in this case. And I would say that if the photographer who took the photograph of the Memorial Plaque had known that his photographs would be introduced in evidence in a conspiracy case, he probably never would have snapped the shutter.
The letter from Rainer to Burckel indicates that he was asked to prepare a short history of the role of the Party. Perhaps I had better read the covering letter, addressed to the defendant Seyss-Inquart:
“Dear Dr. Seyss,
I have received your letter of 19th August, 1939, in which you asked me to inform you what I know of those matters which, among other, are the subject of your correspondence with Burckel.
I do not wish to discuss sundry talks and all that, or what has been brought to my notice in the course of time by different people. I wish to clarify essentially my own attitude.
On the 5th of July, 1939, I was asked by telephone by the Reich Commissar Gauleiter Burckel if I was in possession of the memorandum of Globus regarding the events of March. I told him that I had not this memorandum and that I never possessed a single part of it, and, further, that I did not then participate in the matter, and did not know its contents. Because of official requests by Burckel, I have entrusted him with a report accompanied by a letter written on the 6th of July.
If Burckel now writes to you that certain statements were confirmed by me, I feel obliged to entrust you with a copy of each of those two documents, which were only written in single originals. I shall specially inform Burckel of this. I connect this with the declaration: that I have given – apart from those written explanations – no confirmations, declarations, or criticism whatsoever regarding you and your attitude and that I have authorised nobody to refer to any statements of mine.
Since the beginning of our collaboration, I have always expressed and represented forcefully my ideas regarding yourself and my opinion of your personality.
This conception of mine was the very basis of our collaboration. The events of February and March have not changed this, especially since I considered the political success of the 11th of March merely as a confirmation of the intentions and convictions which have equally induced both of us to collaborate.
As far as Globus is concerned, you are fully aware of his character, which I judged always and in every situation only by its good side. I believe that you have already talked to Globus about the occurrences between the 11th of March, 1938, and to-day; and I am convinced that he will tell you everything that is bothering him, if you will speak to him about this matter, as is your intention.
With best regards and Heil Hitler!
Yours, Friedl Rainer.”
And so Rainer writes his report, which is enclosed with this letter, to show that the Party as a whole is entitled to the glory which is exclusively ascribed to one person, Dr. Seyss- Inquart.
I refer to the third paragraph of the first enclosure, the report to Reich Commissar Gauleiter Josef Burckel:-
“We saw in March and April how a false picture about the actual leadership conditions developed from this fact, which could not be corrected in spite of our attempts to that effect. This was an important factor for the varying moods of Globotschnik who hoped particularly that you would emphasise to Hitler, and also to the public, the role of the party during the events preceding 12th March, 1938. I limited myself to address this verbal and written declaration to party member Hess, and furthermore, to secure the documents about the March days. In addition, I spoke at every available opportunity about the fight of the party. I did not take steps to give just credit to other persons for the glory which was exclusively ascribed to one person, Dr. Seyss- Inquart, and I would not do that, primarily because I appear as a beneficiary, and furthermore, because I believe that I would not gladden Hitler by doing so. I am also convinced that Dr. Seyss-Inquart did not act crookedly, and furthermore that Hitler does not want to commit an act of historical injustice by special preference to his person, but that he is attracted to him personally. It really is of no great account to Hitler if this or that person was more or less meritorious in this sector of the great fight of the movement. If, in the last analysis, by far the greatest part is to be ascribed only to him; he alone will be considered by history as the liberator of Austria. I, therefore, considered it best to accept existing conditions and look for new fruitful fields of endeavour in the party.
If I should be asked to describe – without personal interest – the role of the party according to my best conviction, I am ready to do so at any time. For this reason I promised yesterday to submit to you again a short summary, and to make it available for your confidential use. Of this Letter and of this abbreviated description I retain the sole copy.
Heil Hitler! Rainer.”
Now, of course, all of these enclosures went to the defendant Seyss-Inquart, and he had knowledge of the contents of all of them.
It is a fact of history, of which the Court will take judicial notice, that Seyss-Inquart was the original Quisling. It so happened that the Norwegian Seyss-Inquart gave his name to posterity as a meaningful name, but all Quislings are alike.
The Tribunal will observe from this that the Rainer report is hardly likely to be tendentious, as counsel says, or to be prejudiced in favour of the defendant Seyss-Inquart’s contribution to the Anschluss. It tends, on the contrary, to show that Seyss-Inquart was not quite so important as he might have thought he was. Even so, Rainer gives Seyss- Inquart credit enough.
The Rainer report further tells of the disorganisation of the Nazi Party in Austria and of its reconstruction. I now quote the second and third paragraphs of the report, appearing on pages 3 and 4 of the English text of 812-PS, which is exhibit USA 61; and I believe it is on pages 1 and 2 of the original German of the report or Bericht, which is the third part of the document:-
“Thus began the first stage of battle, which ended with the July rising of 1934. The decision for the Jul rising was right, the execution of it was faulty. The result was a complete destruction of the organisation; the loss of entire groups of fighters through imprisonment or flight into the ‘Alt-Reich,'” – the old kingdom – “and with regard to the political relationship of Germany to Austria, a formal acknowledgement of the existence of the Austrian State by the German Government. With the telegram to Papen, instructing him to reinstitute normal relationships between the two States, the Fuehrer had liquidated the first stage of the battle; the Landesleitung Munich was dissolved, and the party in Austria was left to its own resources.
There was no acknowledged leader for the entire party in Austria. New leaderships were forming in the nine Gaus. The process was again and again interrupted by the interference of the police; there was no liaison between the formations, and frequently there were two, three, or more rival leaderships. The first evident, acknowledged speaker of almost all the Gaus in Autumn 1934 was engineer Reinthaler (already appointed Landesbauernfuehrer – leader of the country’s farmers – by Hess). He endeavoured to bring about a political appeasement by negotiations with the Government with the purpose of giving the N.S.D.A.P. legal status again, thus permitting its political activities. Simultaneously, Reinthaler started the reconstruction of the illegal political organisations, at the head of which he had placed engineer Neubacher.”
Next are the secret contacts between German officials, including the defendant von Papen, and the Austrian Nazis; the use by the Austrian Nazis of personalities. There are two cardinal factors concerning the Nazi Organisation in Austria which should be borne in mind.
First, although the Fuehrer had, on the surface, cast the Austrian Nazis adrift – as indicated in the document I have just read – in fact, as we shall show, German officials, including von Papen, maintained secret contact with the Austrian Nazis in line with Hitler’s desires. German officials consulted and gave advice and support to the organisation of the Austrian Nazis. [Page 228] In the second place, the Austrian Nazis remained an illegal organisation in Austria, organising for the eventual use of force in a so-called emergency. But, in the meantime, they deemed it expedient to act behind front personalities, such as the defendant Seyss-Inquart, who had no apparent taint of illegality in his status in Austria.
Mr. Messersmith relates, in his affidavit, that he got hold of a copy of a document outlining this Nazi programme. I quote from page 8 of document 1760-PS, which is exhibit USA 57, the following:-
“For two years following the failure of the 25th July Putsch, the Nazis remained relatively quiet in Austria. Very few terroristic acts occurred during the remainder of 1934 and, as I recall, in 1935, and most of 1936; this inactivity was in accordance with directives from Berlin, as direct evidence to that effect, which came to my knowledge at that time, proved. Early in January, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger-Waldenegg, furnished me with a document which I considered accurate in all respects, and which stated” – quoting from that document:-
“The German Minister here, von Papen, on the occasion of his last visit to Berlin, was received three times by Chancellor Hitler for fairly long conversations, and he also took this opportunity to call on Schacht and von Neurath. In these conversations the following instructions were given to him :
During the next two years nothing can be undertaken which will give Germany external political difficulties. On this ground, everything must be avoided which could awaken the appearance of Germany interfering in the internal affairs of Austria. Chancellor Hitler will, therefore, also for this reason, not endeavour to intervene in the present prevailing difficult crisis in the National Socialist Party in Austria, although be is convinced that order could be brought into the Party at once through a word from him. This word, however, he will, for foreign political reasons, give all the less, as he is convinced that the ends desired by him may be reached in another way. Naturally, Chancellor Hitler declared to the German Minister here, this does not indicate any disinterestedness in the idea of Austria’s independence. Also, before everything, Germany cannot for the present withdraw Party members in Austria, and must, therefore, in spite of the very real exchange difficulties, make every effort to bring help to the persecuted National Socialist sufferers in Austria.
As a result, Minister of Commerce Schacht finally gave the authorisation that from then on 200,000 Marks a month were to be set aside for this end (support of National Socialists in Austria). The control and the supervision of this monthly sum was to be entrusted to engineer Reinthaler, who, through the fact that he alone had control over the money, would have a definite influence on the Party followers. In this way it would be possible to end most quickly and most easily the prevailing difficulties in the Austrian National Socialist Party.
The hope was also expressed to Herr von Papen that the recently authorised foundation of German ‘Ortsgruppen” of the National Socialist Party in Austria (made up of German citizens in Austria) would be so arranged as not to give the appearance that Germany was planning to interfere in Austrian internal affairs.”
The report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissar Burckel in July of 1939 outlines the further history of the Party and the leadership squabbles following the retirement of Reinthaler.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think this would be a convenient time to break off until 2 o’clock ?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn, then.
(A recess was taken until 1400 hours)
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I had just referred again to the report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reich Commissar Burckel in July 1939, which outlines the further history of the Party and the leadership-problem, following the retirement of Reinthaler.
In referring to the situation in 1935, he mentioned some of the contacts with the Reich Government, that is, the German Government, in the following terms. I quote from page 4 of the English text of that report, and I believe from page 4 of the German text: “In August some further arrests took place..”
THE PRESIDENT: Which document are you on?
MR. ALDERMAN: The Rainer Report, which is 812-PS.
THE PRESIDENT: 812?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, exhibit USA 61.
“In August some further arrests took place, the victims of which were, apart from the Gauleiters (Gau leaders), also Globotschnik and Rainer. Schattenfroh then claimed, because of an instruction received from the imprisoned Leopold, to have been made Deputy Country Leader. A group led by engineer Raffelsberger had at this time also established connection with departments of the Alt- Reich. Ministry of Propaganda, German Racial Agency, etc.) and made an attempt to formulate a political motto in the form of a programme for the fighting movement of Austria.”
And, again, the Rainer report sets forth the situation a little later in 1936. I quote from page 6 of the English text, and I think page 5 of the German text:
“The principles of the construction of the organisation were: The organisation is the bearer of the illegal fight and the trustee of the idea to create a secret organisation, in a simple manner and without compromise, according to the principle of organising an elite to be available to the illegal land-party council upon any emergency. Besides this, all political opportunities should be taken, and all legal people and legal chances should be used without revealing any ties with the illegal organisation. Therefore, co-operation. between the illegal party organisation and the legal political aides was anchored at the top of the party leadership. All connections with the party in Germany were kept secret in accordance with the orders of the Fuehrer. These said that the German State should officially be omitted from the creation of an Austrian N.S.D.A.P.; and that auxiliary centres for propaganda, Press, refugees, welfare, etc., should be established in the foreign countries bordering Austria.
Hinterleitner already contacted the lawyer Seyss- Inquart, who had connection with Dr. Wachter which originated from Seyss-Inquart’s support of the July uprising. On the other side, Seyss-Inquart had a good position in the legal field and especially well- established relations with Christian-Social politicians. Dr. Seyss-Inquart came from the ranks of the ‘Styrian Heimatschutz’ (home defence) and became a party member when the entire ‘Styrian Heimatschutz’ was incorporated into the N.S.D.A.P. Another personality who had a good position in the legal field was Col. Glaise-Horstenau who had contacts with both sides. The agreement of 11th July, 1936. was strongly influenced by the activities of these two persons.”
The Rainer report thus discloses the dual tactics of the Austrian Nazis during this period of keeping quiet and awaiting developments. They were maintaining their secret contacts with Reich officials, and using foreign personalities such as Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart. The Nazis made good use of such figures, who were more discreet in their activities and could be referred to as nationalists. They presented, supported, and obtained consideration of demands which could not be negotiated by other Nazis like Captain Leopold.
Seyss-Inquart did not hold any public office until January 1937, when he was made Counsellor of State. But Rainer, describing him as a trustworthy member of the Party through the ranks, of this “Styrian Heimatschutz,” points him out as one who strongly influenced the agreement of 11th July, 1936. The strategic importance of that agreement will be considered a little later. Rainer’s report, as I have said before, was hardly likely to over-emphasise the significance of Seyss-Inquart’s contribution’
That the Nazis, but not the Austrian Government, did well to trust Seyss-Inquart is indicated by the next document. I propose to offer in evidence document 2219-PS, which will be exhibit USA 62. This is a letter dated 14th July, 1939, addressed to Field-Marshal Goering. The document is a typed carbon of the letter. It ends with the “Heil Hitler” termination, and it is not signed, but we think it was undoubtedly written by the defendant Seyss-Inquart. It was the carbon copy found among Seyss-Inquart’s personal files, and such carbon copies kept by authors of letters usually are not signed. On the first page of the letter there appears a note in English, not indicated in the partial English translation, reading, “Air Mail, 15th July, 1515 hours, Berlin, brought to Goering’s office.” The main text of the letter consists of a plea for intercession on behalf of one Muhlmann, whose name we shall meet later, and who, unfortunately, got into Buckel’s bad graces. I shall quote the extracted part of the document which has been translated into English, and which starts, I believe, on page 7 of the German text: –
“To the General Field Marshal,
At present in Vienna,
14th July, 1939.
If I may add something about myself, it is the following: I know that I am not of an active fighting nature, unless final decisions are at stake. At this time of pronounced activity (Aktivismus in the German) this will certainly be regarded as a fault in my personality. Yet I know that I cling with unconquerable tenacity to the goal in which I believe. That is Greater Germany (Gross Deutschland) and the Fuehrer. And if some people are already tired out from the struggle and some have been killed in the fight, I am still around somewhere and ready to go into action. This, after all, was also the development until the year 1938. Until July 1934, I conducted myself as a regular member of the party. And if I had quietly, in whatever form, paid my membership dues (the first one, according to a receipt, I paid in December 1931), I probably would have been an undisputed, comparatively old fighter and party member of Austria, but I would not have done any more for the union. I told myself in July 1934 that we must fight this clerical regime on its own ground in order to give the Fuehrer a chance to use whatever method he desired. I told myself that this Austria was worth a mass. I have stuck to this attitude with an iron determination because I and my friends had to fight against the whole political church, the Freemasonry, the Jewry, in short, against everything in Austria. The slightest weakness which we might have displayed would undoubtedly have led to our political annihilation; it would have deprived the Fuehrer of the means and tools to carry out his ingenious political solution for Austria, as became evident in the days of March 1938. I have been fully conscious of the fact that I am following a path which is not comprehensible to the masses and also not to my party comrades. I followed it calmly, and would without hesitation follow it again, because I am satisfied that at one point I could serve the Fuehrer as a tool in his work, even though my former attitude even now gives occasion to very worthy and honourable party comrades to doubt my trustworthiness. I have never paid attention to such things because I am satisfied with the opinion which the Fuehrer and the men close to him have of me.”
Now, that letter was written to one of the men close to him – to Field Marshal Goering. I think that is enough to demonstrate Seyss-Inquart as one whose loyalty to Hitler, a foreign dictator, and to the aims of the Nazi conspiracy, led him to fight for the Anschluss with all the means at his disposal.
It is appropriate at this time to offer in evidence a document from the defendant von Papen, and to see how he thought the doctrines of National Socialism could be used to effect the aim of the Anschluss. I offer document 2248-PS as exhibit USA 63. This document is a letter from von Papen to Hitler, dated 27th July, 1935. It consists of a report entitled “Review and outlook one year after the death of Chancellor Dollfuss.” After reviewing the success that the Austrian Government had had in establishing Dollfuss as a martyr, and his principles as the patriotic principles of Austria, von Papen stated, and I quote the last paragraph of the letter, beginning on page 1-146 of the German text :-
“National Socialism must and will overpower the new Austrian ideology. If to-day it is contended in Austria that the N.S.D.A.P. is only a centralised Reich German party, and therefore unable to transfer the spirit of thought of National Socialism to groups of a different political make-up, the answer must rightly be that the national revolution in Germany could not have been brought about in a different way. But when the creation of the people’s community in the Reich is completed, National Socialism could, in a much wider sense than this is possible through the present party organisation – at least apparently – certainly become the rallying point for all racially German units beyond the borders. Spiritual progress in regard to Austria cannot be achieved to-day with any centralised tendency. If this recognition would once and for all be stated clearly from within the Reich, then it would easily become possible to effect a break-through into the front of the New Austria. A Nuremberg Party Day designated as ‘The German Day’ as in old times, and the proclamation of a National Socialist peoples’ front, would be a stirring event for all beyond the borders of the Reich. Such attacks would win us also the particularistic Austrian circles, whose spokesman, the legitimistic Count Dubskv, wrote in his pamphlet about the ‘Anschluss’: The Third Reich will be with Austria or it will not be at all. National Socialism must win it or it will perish, if it is unable to solve this task.”
We have other reports from Papen to Hitler, which I shall offer in evidence presently, showing that he maintained covert contact with the National Socialist groups in Austria. It is certainly interesting that from the very start of his mission, defendant von Papen was thinking of ways and means of using the principle of National Socialism for national Germans outside the border of Germany. Papen was working for the Anschluss, although he preferred to use the principles of National Socialism rather than rely on the party organisation as a necessary means of establishing those principles in the German Reich.
Next we have some assurance and reassurance to Austria. The German Government did not do more than keep up a pretence of non-interference with Austrian groups. It employed the psychological inducement of providing assurances that it had no designs on Austrian independence. If Austria could find hope for the execution of those assurances, she could find her way clear to the granting of concessions and obtain relief from the economic and internal pressure.
I offer document 2247-PS in evidence as exhibit USA 64. It is a letter from von Papen while in Berlin to Hitler, dated 17th May, 1935.
Von Papen’s letter indicated to Hitler that a forthright, credible statement by Germany, reassuring Austria, would be most useful for German diplomatic purposes and for the improvement of relationships between Austria and German groups in Austria.
He had a scheme for pitting von Schuschnigg and his Social- Christian forces against Starhemberg, the Vice-Chancellor of Austria, who was backed by Mussolini. Von Papen hoped to persuade von Schuschnigg to ally his forces with the N.S.D.A.P. in order to emerge victorious over Starhemberg. Von Papen indicates that he obtained this idea from Captain Leopold, leader of the illegal National Socialists in Austria.
I quote from his letter, starting at the second paragraph of the second page.
This is von Papen writing to “Mein Fuehrer”, Hitler:
“I suggest that we take an active part in this game. The fundamental idea should be to pit von Schuschnigg and his Christian Social forces, who are opposed to a home- front dictatorship, against Starhemberg. The possibility of thwarting the measures arranged between Mussolini and Starhemberg should be afforded to him in such a way that he would submit the offer to the government of a definitive German-Austrian compromise of interests. According to the convincing opinion of the Leader of the N.S.D.A.P. in Austria, Captain Leopold, the totalitarian principle of the N.S.D.A.P. in Austria must be replaced in the beginning by a combination of that part of the Christian elements which favours the Greater Germany idea and the N.S.D.A.P. If Germany recognises the national independence of Austria, and guarantees full freedom to the Austrian national opposition, then, as a result of such a compromise, the Austrian Government would be formed in the beginning by a coalition of these forces. A further consequence of this step would be the possibility of the participation of Germany in the Danube Pact, which would take the sting out of its acuteness due to the settlement of relations between Germany and Austria. Such a measure would have a most beneficial influence on the European situation, and especially on our relationship with England. One may object, that von Schuschnigg will hardly be determined to follow such a pattern, that he will rather in all probability immediately communicate our offer to our opponents. Of course, one should first of all explore the possibility of setting von Schuschnigg against Starhemberg through the use of ‘go betweens’. The possibility exists. If von Schuschnigg finally says ‘no’ and makes our offer known in Rome, then the situation would not be any worse, but, on the contrary, the efforts of the Reich government to make peace with Austria would be revealed – without prejudice to other interests. Therefore, even in the case of refusal, this last attempt would be an asset. I consider it completely possible, that in view of the widespread dislike in the Alpine countries of the pro-Italian policy, and in view of the sharp tensions among the Federal Government (that is Bundesregierung), von Schuschnigg will grasp this last straw – always under the supposition that the offer could not be interpreted as a trap by the opponents, but that it bears all the marks of an actually honest compromise with Austria. Assuming the success of this step, we would again establish our active intervention in Central European politics, which, as opposed to the French, Czech and Russian political manoeuvres, would be a tremendous success, both morally and practically. Since there are only two weeks left to accomplish very much work in the way of explorations and conferences, an immediate decision is necessary. The Reich Army Minister (Reichswehrminister) shares the opinion presented above, and the Reich Foreign Minister (Reichsaussenminister) wanted to discuss it with you, my Fuehrer.
In other words, Papen wanted a strong assurance and a credible assurance of the preservation of Austria’s independence. As he put it, Germany had nothing to lose, with what she could always call a mere effort at peace, and she might be able to persuade von Schuschnigg to establish an Austrian coalition government, with the N.S.D.A.P. If she did this, she would vastly strengthen her position in Europe. Finally, Papen urged haste.
Exactly four days later, in a Reichstag address, Hitler responded to von Papen’s suggestion, and asserted Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria or to conclude an “Anschluss.”
The British will present a document covering that speech. I merely wanted to use one sentence at this point. It is a sentence quite well known to history.
It is appropriate to take notice of this assurance at this point, and to note that for a complexity of reasons, Papen suggested, and Hitler announced, a policy completely at variance with their intentions, which had been, and continued to be, to interfere in Austria’s internal affairs and to conclude an “Anschluss.”
There was then a temporary continuance of a quiet pressure policy.
On 1st May, 1936, Hitler, in a public speech, blandly branded as a lie any statement that “to-morrow or the day after ” Germany would fall upon Austria.
I invite the Court’s attention to the version of the speech appearing in the “Volkischer Beobachter SD,” that is South Germany, 2nd to 3rd May, 1936, page 3, and translated in our document 2367-PS.
Without offering the document, I ask the Court to take Judicial notice of the statement in that well-known speech. If Hitler meant what he said, it was only in the most literal and misleading sense, that is, that he would not actually fall upon Austria “to-morrow or the day after to- morrow.” For the conspirators well knew that the successful execution of their purpose required for a little while longer the quiet policy which they had been pursuing in Austria.
I now offer in evidence our document L-150 – memorandum of conversation between Ambassador Bullitt and the defendant von Neurath, on 18th May, 1936 – as exhibit USA 65. This document unfortunately again appears in your document books in German, as, due to an error, it has not been mimeographed in English. German Counsel have the German copies.
I shall read from it, and at the same time, hand to the interpreter reading in German, a marked copy of a German translation.
I might read one sentence from the first paragraph.
“I called on von Neurath, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 18th May, and had a long talk on the general European situation.”
Then skipping a paragraph I will read straight on, if you will pardon me.
“Von Neurath said that it was the policy of the German Government to do nothing active in foreign affairs until the Rhineland had been digested. He explained that he meant that, until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French and Belgium frontiers, the German Government would do everything possible to prevent, rather than encourage, an outbreak by the Nazis in Austria and would pursue a quiet line with regard to Czechoslovakia.
As soon as our fortifications are constructed,” he said, “and the countries of Central Europe realise that France cannot enter German territory, all these countries will begin to feel very differently about their foreign policies and a new constellation will develop.”
I then skip two paragraphs.
“Von Neurath then stated that no understanding had been reached between Germany and Italy, and admitted that the demonstrations of friendship between Germany and Italy were mere demonstrations without basis in reality. He went on to say that at the present time he could see no way to reconcile the conflicting interests of Germany and Italy in Austria. He said that there were three chief reasons why the German Government was urging the Austrian Nazis to remain quiet at the present time:
The first was that Mussolini had, to-day, the greater part of his army mobilised on the Austrian border, ready to strike, and that he would certainly strike if he should have a good excuse.
The second reason for urging Austrian Nazis to remain quiet for the present was that the Nazi movement was daily growing stronger in Austria. The youth of Austria was turning more and more towards the Nazis, and the dominance of the Nazi Party in Austria was inevitable and only a question of time.
The third reason was that until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French border, an involvement of Germany in war with Italy might lead to a French attack on Germany.”
But even if Germany was not yet ready for open conflict in Austria, its diplomatic position was vastly improved over 1934, a fact which influenced Austria’s willingness to make concessions to Germany and to come to terms.
I quote again from the Messersmith affidavit, on page 11 of the English text that is document 1760-PS.
“Developments in the fall of 1935 and the spring Of 1936 gave Germany an opportunity to take more positive steps in the direction of the Nazification of Austria. Italy, which had given Austria assurance of support of the most definite character against external German aggression, and on one occasion, by mobilising her forces, had undoubtedly stopped German aggressive action, which had been planned against Austria, embarked on her Abyssinian adventure. This and the reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936 completely upset the balance in Europe. It is quite obvious that after Italy had launched her Abyssinian adventure, she was no longer in any position to counter German aggressive moves against Austria.”
This weakening of Austria helped to leave the way for the Pact of 11th July, 1936. On 11th July, 1936, the Governments of Austria and Germany concluded an accord. That will be offered in evidence also by the British Delegation.
I merely ask a point that the Tribunal take judicial notice of the fact that such an accord was entered into. The formal part of the agreement on 11th July, 1938, will also be proved by our British colleagues. For convenient reference, it will be found in the document which the British will offer, TC-22, and the substance of it is also contained on pages 11 and 12 of Mr. Messersmith’s affidavit, document 1760-PS.
Upon the basis of this fight alone, the agreement looked like a great triumph for Austria. It contains a confusing provision to the effect that Austria in her policy, especially with regard to Germany, would regard herself as a German State, but the other two provisions clearly state that Germany recognises the full sovereignty of Austria and that it regards the inner political order of Austria, including the question of Austria and National Socialism, as an internal concern of Austria upon which Germany will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence. But there was much more substance to to-day’s events than appears in the text of the accord. I refer to Mr. Messersmith’s summary as set forth on page 12 of his affidavit, document 1760-PS, as follows :-
“Even more important than the terms of the agreement published in the official communique, was the contemporaneous informal understanding, the most important provisions of which were that Austria would :
(1) Appoint a number of individuals enjoying the Chancellor’s confidence but friendly to Germany, to positions in the Cabinet;
(2) with the devised give the National opposition a role in the political life of Austri4, within the framework of the Patriotic Front; and
(3) grant an amnesty for all Nazis, save those convicted of the most serious offences.”
This amnesty was duly announced by the Austrian Government, and thousands of Nazis were released, and the first penetration of Deutsche-Nationals into the Austrian Government was accomplished by the appointment of justice Guido Schmidt as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Dr. Edmund Glaise-Horstenau as Minister without portfolio.
I now offer in evidence document 2994-PS, which is an affidavit executed by Kurt von Schuschnigg, Foreign Chancellor of Austria, at Nuremberg, Germany on 19th November, 1945. I offer this as exhibit USA 66. The defendants have received German translations of that evidence.
DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart): In the name of the accused, Seyss-Inquart, I wish to protest against the presentation of written evidence by the witness von Schuschnigg, for the following reasons: To-day, when a resolution was announced, with respect to the use to be made of the written evidence of Mr. Messersmith, the Court was of the opinion that in a case of very great importance it might possibly take a different view of the matter. With respect to the Austrian conflict, this is such a case, since Schuschnigg is the most important witness. He was the witness who at the time had the office of Federal Chancellor which was affected. In the case of such an important witness, the principle of direct evidence must be adhered to in order that the Court be in a position to ascertain the actual truth in this case. The accused and his defence counsel would feel prejudiced in his defence should direct evidence be circumvented. I must, therefore, uphold my viewpoint since it can be assumed that the witness, von Schuschnigg, will be able to confirm certain facts which are in favour of the accused, Seyss-Inquart.
I, therefore, submit an application to the Court that the written evidence of the witness, von Schuschnigg, be not admitted.
THE PRESIDENT: If you have finished the Tribunal will hear Mr. Alderman.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, at this point I am simply proposing to offer this affidavit for the purpose of showing the terms of the secret understanding between the German and Austrian Governments in connection with this accord. It is not with any purpose of incriminating the defendant, Seyss-Inquart, that it is being offered at this point.
DR. LATERNSER: May I complete my application by saying that the witness, von Schuschnigg, on the 19th of November, 1945, was questioned in Nuremberg, and that, if an interrogation on the 19th of November was possible, such a short time later it ought to be possible to call him before the Court, especially as the interrogation before this Court is of special importance.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will recess now to consider this question.
(A recess was taken.)
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has considered the objection to the affidavit of von Schuschnigg and upholds the objection.
If the prosecution desires to call von Schuschnigg as a witness they can apply to do so. Equally the defence, if they wish to call von Schuschnigg as a witness, can apply to do so. In the event of von Schuschnigg not being able to be produced the question of affidavit-evidence by von Schuschnigg being given will be reconsidered.
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, in view of the strategy and tactics of the Nazis’ concessions as indicated in the portion of the Messersmith affidavit that I read, substantial concessions were made by Austria to obtain Germany’s diplomatic formal assurance of Austrian independence and non-intervention in Austrian internal affairs.
The release of employed Nazis presented potential police problems, and as Mr. Messersmith pointed out in a 1934 dispatch to the United States State Department quoted on pages 12 to 13 of his affidavit:-
“Any prospect that the National Socialists might come to power would make it more difficult to obtain effective police and judicial action against the Nazis, for fear of reprisals by the future Nazi Government against those taking action against Nazis even in the performance of duty. The preservation of internal peace in Austria was less independent upon Germany’s living up to its obligations under the accord.”
Next, Germany’s continuing programme of weakening the Austrian Government. In the pact of 11th July, 1936, Germany agreed not to influence directly or indirectly the internal affairs of Austria, including the matter of Austrian National Socialism.
On 16th July, 1936, just five days later, Hitler violated that provision. I quote from document 812-PS, which is exhibit USA 61, the reports of Gauleiter Rainer to Commissar Burckel, all of which were forwarded to the defendant Seyss- Inquart, at page 6 of the English and, I believe, also page 6 of the German version:
“At that time the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the party in Austria in order to tell them his opinion on what Austrian National Socialists should do. Meanwhile Hinterleitner was arrested, and Doctor Rainer became his successor and the leader of the Austrian party. On 16th July, 1936, Doctor Rainer and Globoznik visited the Fuehrer at the Obersalzberg, where they received a clear explanation of the situation and the wishes of the Fuehrer. On 17th July, 1936, all illegal Gauleiters met in Anif, near Salzburg, where they received a complete report from Ranier on the statement of the Fuehrer and his political instructions for carrying out the fight. At this same conference the Gauleiters received organisational instructions from Globotschnik and Hiedler.”
I am skipping a paragraph from this report in the English version.
“Upon the proposal of Globotschnik, the Fuehrer named Lt. Gen. (Gruppenfuehrer) Keppler as chief of the mixed commission which was appointed, in accordance with the state treaty of 11th July, 1936, to supervise the correct execution of the agreement. At the same time Keppler was given full authority by the Fuehrer for the party in Austria. After Keppler was unsuccessful in his efforts to co-operate with Leopold, he worked together with Doctor Rainer, Globoznik, Reinthaler as leader of the peasants, Kaltenbrunner (that is the defendant Kaltenbrunner in this case) leader of the SS, and Doctor Jury as deputy leader of the Austrian party, as well as von Glaise-Horstenau and Seyss-Inquart.”
A new strategy was developed for the Austrian Nazis. Mr. Messersmith describes briefly – and I quote from page thirteen of his affidavit, document 1760-PS: “The sequel of the agreement was the only one which could have been expected in view of all the facts and previous recorded happenings.” Active Nazi operations in Austria were resumed under the leadership of a certain Captain Leopold who, as was known definitely, was in frequent touch with Hitler. The Nazi programme was now to form an organisation through which the Nazis could carry on their operations openly and with legal sanction in Austria. There were formerly in Austria several organisations which had a legal basis, but which were simply a device by which the Nazis in Austria could organise and later seek inclusion as a unit in the Patriotic Front. The most important of these was the Ostmaerkische Versin, the Union of the East Mark, the sponsor of which was the Minister of the Interior, Glaise-Horstenau. Through the influence of Glaise-Horstenau and pro-Nazi Neustadter Sturmer, this organisation was declared legal by the court.
I make a specific mention of the foregoing because it shows the degree to which the situation in Austria had disintegrated as a result of the underground and open Nazi activities directed from Germany.
At this point I offer in evidence document 2246-PS as exhibit USA 67, a captured German document, which is a report from von Papen to Hitler, dated 1st September, 1936. This document is most interesting because it indicates von Papen’s strategy, after 11th July, 1936, for destroying Austria’s independence. Von Papen had taken a substantial step forward with the agreement of 11th July. It should be noted, incidentally, that, after that agreement, he was promoted from Minister to Ambassador. Now his tactics were developed in the following terms, I quote the last three paragraphs of his letter of 1st September, 1936, to the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor. These three paragraphs are all joined as one paragraph in the English text:
“The progress of normalising relations with Germany at the present time is obstructed by the continued persistence of the Ministry of Security, occupied by the old anti-National Socialistic officials. Changes in personnel are therefore of utmost importance. But they are definitely not to be expected prior to the conference on the abolishing of the Control of Finances 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 realisation 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 11th July – I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner as 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. 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.”
Citing Papen. To recapitulate, this report by von Papen to Hitler discloses the following plan :
(a) Obtaining a change in personnel in the Austrian Ministry of Security in due course.
(b) Obtaining corporative representation of the Nazi movement in the Fatherland front.
(c) Not putting avowed National Socialists in important positions yet, but using Nationalist personalities.
(d) Using economic pressure and patient psychological treatment with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime.
My next subject is “Germany’s Diplomatic Preparations for the Conquest of Austria.”
The programme of the Nazi conspiracy with respect to Austria consisted of weakening that country externally and internally by removing its support from without, as well as by penetrating within. This programme was of the utmost significance, especially since, as the Court will remember, the events Of 25th July, 1934, inside Austria, were overshadowed in the news of the day by the fact that Mussolini had brought his troops to the Brenner Pass, and poised there as a strong protector of his Northern neighbour, Austria.
Accordingly, interference in the affairs of Austria, and steady increase in the pressure needed to acquire control over that country, required removal of the possibility that Italy or any other country would come to her aid. But the foreign policy programme of the conspiracy for the weakening and isolation of Austria was integrated with their foreign policy programme in Europe generally.
I should like, therefore, at this juncture, to digress for a moment from the presentation of evidence bearing on Austria alone, and to consider with the Tribunal the general foreign policy programme of the Nazis. It is not my intention to examine this subject in any detail. Historians and scholars exhausting the archives will have many years of exploring all the details and ramifications of European diplomacy during this fateful decade.
It is, instead, my purpose to mention very briefly the highlights of the Nazis’ diplomatic preparation for war.
In this connection I should like to offer to the Tribunal document 2385-PS, a second affidavit of George S. Messersmith executed on 30th August, 1945, at Mexico City. This has been made available to the defendants in German, as well as in English.
This is a different affidavit from document I760-PS, which was executed on 28th August. This second affidavit, which I offer as exhibit USA 68, consists of a presentation of the diplomatic portion of the programme of the Nazi party. To a considerable extent it merely states facts of common knowledge, facts that many people who are generally well- informed already know. It also gives us facts which are common knowledge in the circle of diplomats or of students of foreign affairs. It consists of some eleven mimeographed pages, single-spaced. I read from the third paragraph in the affidavit:-
“As early as 1933, while I served in Germany, the German and Nazi contacts, which I had in the highest and secondary categories, openly acknowledged Germany’s ambitions to dominate South-eastern Europe from Czechoslovakia down to Turkey. As they freely stated, the objective was territorial expansion in the case of Austria and Czechoslovakia. The professed objectives in the earlier stages of the Nazi regime, in the remainder of South-eastern Europe, were political and economical control, and they did not at that time speak so definitely of actual absorption and destruction of sovereignty. Their ambitions, however, were not limited to South-eastern Europe. From the very beginnings of 1933, and even before the Nazis came into power, important Nazis, speaking of the Ukraine, freely said that ‘it must be our granary’ and that ‘even with South-eastern Europe under our control, Germany needs and must have the greater part of the Ukraine in order to be able to feed the people of greater Germany.’ After I left Germany in the middle of 1934 for my post in Austria, I continued to receive information as to the German designs in South-eastern Europe. In a conversation with von Papen shortly after his appointment as German Minister to Austria in 1934, he frankly stated to me that ‘South-eastern Europe to Turkey is “Germany’s Hinterland” and I have been designated to carry through the task of bringing it within the fold. Austria is the first on the programme.’ As I learned through my diplomatic colleagues, von Papen in Vienna and his colleague von Mackensen in Budapest were openly propagating the idea of the dismemberment and final absorption of Czechoslovakia as early as 1935.”
Then, skipping a short paragraph, I resume:-
“Immediately after the Nazis came into power, they started a vast rearmament programme. This was one of the primary immediate objectives of the Nazi regime. As a matter of fact, the two immediate objectives of the Nazi regime, when it came into power, had to be, and were, according to their own statements frequently made to me: first, to bring about the complete and absolute establishment of their power over Germany and the German people, so that they would become in every respect willing and capable instruments of the regime to carry through its ends; and second, the establishment of a tremendous armed power within Germany in order that the political and economic programme in South-eastern Europe and in Europe could be carried through by force if necessary, but probably by a threat of force. It was characteristic that, in carrying through this second aim, they emphasised from the very outset the, building of an over-powering Air Force. Goering and Milch often said to me or in my presence that the Nazis had decided to concentrate on air power as the weapon of terror most likely to give Germany a dominant position, and the weapon which could be developed the most rapidly and in the shortest time.”
Skipping to the end of that paragraph, and resuming at the next:-
“At the same time that this rearmament was in progress, the Nazi regime took all possible measures to prepare the German people for war in the psychological sense. Throughout Germany, for example, one saw everywhere German youth of all ages engaged in military exercises, drilling, field manoeuvres, practising the throwing of hand grenades, etc.-. In this connection 1 wrote in an official communication in November, 1933, from Berlin as follows. ‘. Everything that is being done in the country to-day is with the object of making the people believe that Germany is threatened vitally in every aspect of its life by outside influences and by other countries. Everything is being done to use this feeling to stimulate military training and exercises, and innumerable measures are being taken to develop the German people into a hardy, sturdy race which will be able to meet all comers. The military spirit is constantly growing. It cannot be otherwise. The leaders of Germany to-day have no desire for peace, unless it is a peace which the world would make at the expense of complete compliance with German desires and ambitions. Hitler and his associates really and sincerely want peace for the moment, but only to have a chance to get ready to use force if it is found finally essential. They are preparing their way so carefully that there is not, in my mind, any question but that the German people will be with them when they want to use force, and when they feel that they have the necessary means to carry through their objects.”
I quote one further sentence:
“Military preparation and psychological preparation were coupled with diplomatic preparation, designed to so disunite and isolate their intended victims amongst the members of the Little Entente as to render them defenceless against German aggression.”
In 1933 the difficulties facing Germany in the political and diplomatic field loomed large. France was the dominant military power on the continent. She had a system of mutual assistance in the West and the East.
The Locarno Pact of 1928, supplemented by the Franco-Belgian alliance, guaranteed the territorial status quo in the West. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Roumania were allied in the Little Entente and each, in turn, was united with France by Mutual Assistance Pacts. Since 1922, France and Poland likewise had been allied against external aggression. Italy had made plain her special interest in Austrian independence.
Nazi Germany launched a vigorous diplomatic campaign to break up the existing alliances and understandings, to create divisions among the members of the Little Entente and the other Eastern European powers.
Specifically, Nazi Germany countered these alliances with promises of economic gain for co-operating with Germany. To some of these countries she offered extravagant promises of territorial and economic rewards. She offered Corinthia and Austria to Yugoslavia. She offered part of Czechoslovakia to Hungary and part to Poland. She offered Yugoslav territory to Hungary, at the same time that she was offering land in Hungary to Yugoslavia.
As Mr. Messersmith states in his affidavit, that’s, document 238S-PS, page 5:-
“Austria and Czechoslovakia were the first on the German programme of aggression. As early as 1934, Germany began to woo neighbours of these countries with the promises of a share in the loot. To Yugoslavia in particular they offered Carinthia. Concerning the Yugoslav reaction, I reported at the time:
‘The major factor in the internal situation in the last week has been the increase in tension with respect to the Austrian Nazi refugees in Yugoslavia.. There is very little doubt but that Goering, when he made his trip to various capitals in South-eastern Europe about six months ago, told the Yugoslavs that they would get a part of Carinthia, when a National Socialist Government came into power in Austria.. The Nazi seed sown in Yugoslavia had been sufficient to cause trouble, and there are undoubtedly a good many people there who look with a great deal of benevolence on those Nazi refugees who went to Yugoslavia in the days following July 25.’
Germany made like promises of territorial gains to Hungary and to Poland in order to gain their co- operation or at least their acquiescence in the proposed dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. As I learned from my diplomatic colleagues in Vienna, von Papen and von Mackensen in Vienna and in Budapest in 1935 were spreading the idea of division of Czechoslovakia, in which division Germany was to get Bohemia, Hungary to get Slovakia, and Poland the rest. This did not deceive any of these countries, for they knew that the intention of Nazi Germany was to take all.
The Nazi German Government did not hesitate to make inconsistent promises when it suited its immediate objective. I recall the Yugoslav Minister in Vienna saying to me, in 1934 or 1935, that Germany had made promises to Hungary of Yugoslav territory, while at the same time promising to Yugoslav portions of Hungarian territory. The Hungarian Minister in Vienna later gave me the same information.
I should emphasise here in this statement that the men who made these promises were not only the dyed-in-the- wool Nazis, but more conservative Germans who already had begun to lend themselves willingly to the Nazi programme. In an official dispatch to the Department of State from Vienna, dated 10th October, 1935, I wrote as follows:
‘Europe will not get away from the myth that Neurath, Papen and Mackensen are not dangerous people and that they are “diplomats of the old school.” They are, in fact, servile instruments of the regime, and just because the outside world looks upon them as harmless, they are able to work more effectively. They are able to sow discord just because they propagate the myth that they are not in sympathy with the regime.'”
I find that last paragraph very important and worthy of emphasis. In other words, Nazi Germany was able to promote these divisions and increase its own aggressive strength by using as its agents in making these promises, men who, on outward appearances, were merely conservative diplomats. It is true that Nazis openly scoffed at any notion of international obligations, as I shall show in a moment. It is true that the real trump in Germany’s hand was its rearmament and more than that, its willingness to go to war. And yet the attitude of the various countries was not influenced by these considerations alone.
The fact is that with all these countries, and I suppose it is the same with all persons, we are not always completely rational, we tend to believe what we want to believe, so that if an apparently substantial and conservative person, like defendant von Neurath, for example, is saying these things, one might be apt to believe them, or at least, to act upon that hypothesis. And it would be the more convincing if one were also under the impression that the person involved was not a Nazi and would not stoop to go along with the designs of the Nazis.
Germany’s approach toward Great Britain and France was in terms of limited expansion as the price of peace. They signed a naval limitations treaty with England and discussed a Locarno Air Pact. In the case of both France and England, they limited their statement of intentions and harped on fears of Communism and war.
In making these various promises, Germany was untroubled by notions of the sanctity of international obligations. High ranking Nazis, including Goering, Frick and Frank, openly stated to Mr. Messersmith that Germany would observe her international undertakings only so long as it suited her interest to do so.
I quote from the affidavit, document 2385-PS, beginning on the tenth line, page 4 of the English version:-
“High ranking Nazis with whom I had to maintain official contact, particularly men such as Goering, Goebbels, Ley, Frick, Frank, Darre and others, repeatedly scoffed at my attitude towards the binding character of treaties, and openly stated to me that Germany would observe her international undertakings only so long as it suited Germany’s interest to do so. Although these statements were openly made to me, as they were, I am sure, made to others, these Nazi leaders were not really disclosing any secret, for on many occasions they expressed the same idea publicly.”
France and Italy worked actively in South-eastern Europe to counter Germany’s moves.
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Until 10 o’clock to-morrow morning.
(The Tribunal adjourned until 29th November, 1945, at 1000 hours.)