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say although I already knew what his instructions were. I was nevertheless shocked to have him speak so baldly 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, of course, 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." (1760-PS)
(2) Von Papen proceeded forthwith to accomplish his mission—the maintenance of an outward appearance of non-intervention while keeping appropriate contacts useful in the eventual overthrow of the Austrian government. Throughout the earlier period of his mission to Austria, von Papen's activity was characterized by the assiduous avoidance of any appearance of intervention. His true mission was reaffirmed with clarity, several months after its commencement, when he was instructed by Berlin that "during the next two years nothing can be undertaken which will give Germany external political difficulties”. Every "appearance" of German interference in Austrian affairs “must be avoided” (1760-PS). As von Papen himself stated to BergerWaldenegg, the Austrian Foreign Minister:
"Yes, you have your French and English friends now and
you can have your independence a little longer." (1760-PS). Throughout this period, the Nazi movement was gaining strength in Austria without openly-admitted German intervention, and Germany needed more time to consolidate its diplomatic position. These reasons for German policy were frankly expressed by the German Foreign Minister von Neurath in conversation with the American Ambassador to France (L-150).
Von Papen accordingly restricted his public activity to the normal ambassadorial function of cultivating all respectable elements in Austria and ingratiating himself in these circles-particularly if they were well-disposed (but not too obviously) to notions of Pan-Germanism. In these efforts he was particularly careful to exploit his background as a former professional officer and a Catholic (1760-PS).
Meanwhile, however, the Austrian Nazis continued illegal organization in anticipation of the possibility of securing their
objectives by force if necessary. In these efforts they were aided by Germany, which permitted the outlawed Austrian Nazis to meet and perfect their plots within Germany and with German Nazi assistance; which harbored the Austrian Legion; which made funds available to National Socialists in Austria; and which established appropriate contact with them through the Reich Propaganda Ministry and through “respectable” Austrian "front” personalities (1760-PS; 812-PS). (See also Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against Austria.)
Von Papen was fully aware of the existence and activities of these groups, and of their potentialities in effecting an Anschluss. Thus, in a report to Hitler dated 27 July 1935, entitled “Reflections on the Anniversary of Dollfuss' Death", he reviewed the activities of these illegal groups and concluded that National Socialism could "certainly become the rallying point of all racially German units beyond the borders”. In this report he declared :
"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.” (2248-PS). These sentiments concerning the role of National Socialism were something more than idle speculation. Von Papen knew that the presence of the Austrian Legion in Germany in itself produced incidents, and that the Austrian Nazi movement was dependent on German support. He has so testified (at an interrogation in Nurnberg, 13 October 1945). In fact, despite his facade of strict non-intervention, he remained in contact with subversive and potentially subversive elements within Austria. Thus, in a report to Hitler dated 17 May 1935 he advised concerning the Austrian Nazi strategy as proposed by Captain Leopold, leader of the illegal Austrian Nazis (2247-PS). In subsequent statements he has revealed his modus operandi in the use of his embassy staff. This method provided him with an opportunity to disclaim responsibility if these activities should be questioned. Thus, his military attache, Mutz, “maintained good relations with the Army circles which were inclined towards National Socialism". Von Papen's all-around contact man with the Austrian Nazis was a member of his staff, Baron von Kettler, who "had always maintained intimate contact with a group of young Austrian National Socialists who, as we both agreed, had a conservative coating and fought for a healthy development within the Party". The practical effect of these contacts has been clarified in questioning of von. Papen (at Nurnberg, 8 October 1945):
A. As I told you, I charged one of my younger
people of the Embassy, von Kettler-he was made the go-
(3) Conclusion of the Agreement of 11 July 1936 merely constituted another step towards Anschluss. Prior to 1936, sponsorship of political subversion was not the only pressure applied by Germany in its efforts to gain control of Austria. The German Government in addition had placed certain economic barriers against trade between German and Austrian subjects, the most serious of which was the 1000 mark law, which crippled the Austrian tourist traffic by levying a 1000 RM tax on any German citizen crossing the border into Austria. The effect of these pressures was to induce the Austrian Chancellor, Kurt von Schuschnigg, to seek from Hitler an agreement to "lift the 1000 Mark barrier he had levied against Austria and reassure Austria that he had no political designs concerning our state, Austria" (2994-PS).
The result was the agreement of 11 July 1936 between Germany and Austria, which was negotiated by von Papen as Hitler's representative. The published form of this agreement provided :
"Being convinced that they are making a valuable contribu-
eignty of the Federal State of Austria in the spirit of the
site preliminary state of affairs." (TC-22). More interesting was the secret part of this agreement, the most important provisions of which have been summarized by Mr. Messersmith:
"Austria would (1) appoint a number of individuals enjoying the Chancellor's confidence but friendly to Germany to positions in the Cabinet; (2) would devise means to give the "National opposition' a role in the political life of Austria and within the framework of the Patriotic Front, and (3) would amnesty all Nazis save those convicted of the most
serious offenses." (1760-PS) Especially interesting was the manner in which this agreement contained German economic concessions and further solemn assurances regarding Austrian independence and integrity, on the one hand, alongside far-reaching political concessions to the Nazi movement (2994-PS). The effect was to place Austria completely at the mercy of German good faith. Von Papen has correctly described it (in an interrogation at Nurnberg, 8 October 1945) as “the first step” toward preparation for Anschluss, notwithstanding his clear understanding at the time that the Austrian government desired and intended to retain its independence.
The Germans lost no time in making the most of their new opportunities, solemn assurances notwithstanding. The agree
ment merely heralded a new era in "legitimizing" the German fifth column in Austria. Thus, the immediate amnesty to political prisoners in itself presented serious police problems. The freedom granted to political demonstrations and organization by German Nazis made it difficult to police the propagandizing of Austrians. And the agreement specifically gave the German Nazis an opening wedge to representation in the Austrian government. The terroristic activities and pressure of the illegal Nazis continued without interruption under German sponsorship, until their hand was strengthened to the point of openly asking for official recognition (812-PS; 1760-PS; 2994-PS).
The importance of this agreement to the Germans was underscored by the promotion of its negotiator from Gesandter to Botschafter, at the time of its signing (Announcement, Das Archiv, XXVIII, p. 571).
Von Papen himself participated in this pressure game by maintaining contact with the illegal Nazis, by trying to influence appointments to strategic cabinet positions, and by attempting to secure official recognition of Nazi "front” organizations. Reporting to Hitler shortly after conclusion of the 11 July 1936 agreement, he succinctly summarized his program for "normalizing" Austro-German relations under the regime of the new agreement:
"The progress of normalizing relations with Germany at the present time is obstructed by the continued persistence of the Ministry of Security, occupied by the old anti-National Socialistic officials. Changes in personnel are therefore of utmost importance. But they are definitely not to be expected prior to the conference on the abolishing of the Control of Finances [Finanzkontrolle] at Geneva. The Chancellor of the League has informed Minister de Glaise-Horstenau, of his intention, to offer him the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior. As a guiding principle [Marschroute] I recommend on the tactical side, continued, patient psychological manipulations, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime. The proposed conference on economic relations, taking place at the end of October will be a very useful tool for the realization of some of our projects. In discussion with government officials as well as with leaders of the illegal party (Leopold and Schattenfreh) who conform completely with the concordat of July 11, I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the