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Concordat of the New Reich with the Holy See, my thoughts at the time were not focused only on the Reich. For a peaceful evolution of the German-Austrian question it was of the greatest importance that the doubts of the clergy on the Austrian side be completely eliminated."

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“It was my first purpose in the diplomatic field to deprive
the Austrian problem of its European character, and to
develop it gradually into an exclusively internal problem be-
tween the Reich and Austria.
"It therefore had to be my primary aim to convince the
Vatican that a union could not endanger the Vatican's in-
terests. A Concordat of the Reich with the Vatican had been
my first attempt to prevent religious difficulties arising from
Nazism's revolutionary doctrine; the attempt had obviously
failed. Under the growing influence of his Party, Hitler
sabotaged the Concordat. Rome was deeply disappointed

and in the greatest excitement."
On 20 July 1933 the Reich Concordat with the Vatican was
signed by von Papen as representative of the Nazi Government
of Germany. This instrument was an international treaty which
purported to give the church an official guarantee of all the
church rights it had sought. In addition it purported to confer
freedom for Catholic organizations, maintenance of parochial
schools, and preservation of the general influence of the church
on the education of the German Catholic youth. Among the 33
articles of the Concordat, 21 treated exclusively the rights and
prerogatives accorded to the church. Reciprocation consisted
only in a pledge of loyalty by the clergy to the Reich Government
and a promise that Catholic religious instruction would empha-
size the patriotic duties of the Christian citizen and insist on a
loyal attitude toward the Fatherland. Since it had always been
the practice of the Catholic church to abide by established govern-
ments and to promote patriotic convictions among the faithful,
these stipulations of the Concordat were no more than legaliza-
tions of an existing custom. They were no more than a guarantee
of goodwill betokening harmonious Church-State relations

(3) The signing of the Concordat was only an interlude in the church policy of the Nazi Conspirators, which was a policy of reassurances and repression. The signing of the Concordat merely marked the beginning of evasions and violations of both its spirit and letter. The ink was hardly dry before it became

necessary for the Vatican to complain about a false interpretation of the text, made by the Nazi government in its own favour. (See Section 6 of Chapter VII on Suppression of the Christian Churches.)

By action taken only ten days after the signing of the Concordat, and despite its provision for the continuance of the Catholic Youth Association, simultaneous membership in the Hitler Jugend and the Catholic Youth Association was forbidden, and the campaign to smash the latter organization thereby commenced (2456-PS).

These first steps were merely a foretaste of a long series of violations which were to commence almost immediately and eventually to result in papal denunciation and serious excesses committed against the clergy (3280-PS).

The continuing character of the conspirators' church policyand of von Papen's participation in it—is further revealed by von Papen's action of 19 September 1934, when, as president of the Union of Catholic Germans (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Katholischer Deutscher), he ordered dissolution of this organization. By this time the Nazis were dropping all pretext that rival organizations might be permitted to exist, and were well along in their plans for the integration of all German institutions into the Nazi system. The official published announcement of dissolution is a revealing document:

"Since the Reich Party Leadership through its department
for spiritual peace increasingly and immediately administers
all cultural problems and those concerning the relationship
of State and Churches, the tasks at first delegated to the
Union of Catholic Germans are now included in those of the
Reich Party Leadership in the interest of a stronger co-
“Vice-Chancellor von Papen, up to now the Leader of the
Union of Catholic Germans, declared about the Dissolution
of this organization that it was done upon his suggestion,
since the attitude of the national socialist State toward the
Christian and Catholic Church had been explained often and
inequivocally through the leader and chancellor himself.”


(1) Von Papen accepted appointment as envoy at Vienna knowing he would "front" for a Nazi fifth column in Austria. In July 1934, the Austrian policy of the Nazi government of Germany was in bad odor throughout the civilized world. The historical record of this period was written in the newspaper headlines of the day. A period of Nazi pressure and terror culminated on 25 July 1934 in an attempted revolutionary putsch, the murder of the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, in which the German Minister, Reith, was implicated. (See Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against Austria.) The situation was such as to call for removal of the German Minister, Reith, and for the prompt substitution of a man who was an enthusiast for Anschluss with Germany, who could be tolerant of Nazi objectives and methods, but who could lend an aura of respectability to official German representation in Vienna. Hitler's reaction was immediate. He chose von Papen as quickly as he heard the news of the Dollfuss murder. Writing of this event in 1945 after his arrest by Allied authorities, von Papen dramatically describes the Fuehrer's response to the situation (monograph on "Austria” referred to above):

"Suddenly, at three o'clock in the morning, there was a loud
ringing of my doorbell. SS men demanded admission. My
son and I were of the opinion that I was going to be im-
prisoned. We went to the front door armed with pistols.
Our suspicions were unfounded. The SS men declared that
they had come from the Chancellery with the order to put
through a telephone connection between Hitler and myself.
“Hitler was in Bayreuth and had been trying for hours
without success to get in touch with me. The connection
was made.
"Hitler started, 'You know of course what has happened in
Vienna. You must go there immediately and try to set things
in order.'
“I replied, 'I have no idea what has happened in Vienna. I
have just returned from the country and I don't understand
what you want with me in Vienna. I am in the act of pack-
ing my trunk to leave Berlin once and for all.'
“Hitler, highly excited, gave thereupon a short description

of the dramatic events in Vienna which led to the murder of Dollfuss, and continued, 'You are the only person who can

save the situation. I implore you to carry out my request.'” As a result of this telephone call, von Papen flew immediately to join Hitler at Bayreuth. There it was clear that the Nazi leadership feared international repercussions from their Austrian policy and felt themselves in dire need of a respectable “front” man. Von Papen has described this meeting :

“There I found Hitler and his entire entourage, excited as
an ant-hill. It was difficult to get anything approaching an
exact picture of the Vienna Putsch and the role of Hitler's
promoters. Even if one had come into this gathering in
complete ignorance of the different circumstances involved,
one could have gathered with one look that they had a very
bad conscience and now were fearing the consequences. From
the very first moment I was certain that the immoderate
policy of the Austrian NSDAP under the leadership of
Hitler's condottiere, Habig, had led to this coup d'etat.
“This was, then, a few days after the 30 June, the second
bloody excess of the Party which had promised to bring
Germany by peaceful means to social tranquility, welfare,
and respect. It was obvious that both events had made a
deep impression on the entire world, and that the govern-
mental methods of the Party must damage most seriously

the political credit of the Reich”. At this meeting it was Papen himself who drafted the letter of appointment. This letter was a masterpiece of deceit, calculated to conceal completely Hitler and Papen's goal of annexation. It stated :

“As a result of the events in Vienna I am compelled to sug-
gest to the Reichs-President the removal of the German
Minister to Vienna, Dr. Reith, from his post, because he, at
the suggestion of Austrian Federal Ministers and the Aus-
trian 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 Gov-
ernment has made the situation in Europe, already fluid,
more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore, it is my
desire to bring about if possible an easing of the general

situation, and especially to direct the relations with the
German Austrian State, which have been so strained for a
long time, again into normal and friendly channels.
“For this reason, I request you, dear Mr. 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 special
mission to the post of the German Minister in Vienna for a
limited period of time. In this position you will be directly
subordinated to me.
“Thanking once more for all that you have at a time done
for the coordination of the Government of the National
Revolution and since then together with us for Germany, I

remain.” (2799-PS). The actual mission of von Papen was stated more frankly, shortly after his arrival in Vienna, in the course of a private conversation with the American Minister, George S. Messersmith. Mr. Messersmith has described this meeting :

“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 baldest and most cynical
manner he then proceeded to tell me that all of Southeastern
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 in-
tended 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 be-
cause the German Government was bound on this objective
of getting this control of Southeastern 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


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