The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 8 of 18)

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A stenographic transcript of Goering's telephone conversation with Seyss-Inquart confirms the fact that Seyss- Inquart was ordered to demand Chancellor Schuschnigg's resignation and the appointment of himself as Chancellor. (2949-PS)

This stenographic record of Goering's conversations also reveals that Seyss-Inquart had an agent keep in contact with Goering during the negotiations with Chancellor Schuschnigg. Seyss-Inquart was given an order by Goering through this agent to report by 7:30 p.m., 11 March 1938, that he had formed a new government. He was informed that the foreign political aspect would be handled exclusively by Germany and that Hitler would talk with him about this matter at a future date.

In addition the stenographic transcript of these telephone conversations show that the selection of individual members of the cabinet of the new government to be established by Seyss-Inquart was to be made by the Nazi conspirators in Berlin. (2949-PS)

At 1726 hours on the night of 11 March 1938, Seyss-Inquart reported to Goering by telephone as ordered. He reported that President Miklas had accepted the resignation of Chancellor Schuschnigg but wanted to appoint a man like Ender to the Chancellorship. He further reported his suggestion to the President that the Chancellorship be entrusted to him -- Seyss-Inquartand also reported that "We have ordered the SA and the SS to take over police duties." Thereupon Goering ordered Seyss-Inquart to go with Lt. Gen. Muff to President Miklas and inform him that if the demands were not met immediately German troops, already advancing to the frontier, would invade Austria that night and Austria would cease to exist. An audience with the President was to be demanded. The invasion would be stopped only if President Miklas entrusted Seyss-Inquart with the Chancellorship. Seyss-Inquart was also instructed to call out the National Social-

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ists of Austria all over the country, because Austrian Nazis should even then be in the streets. Seyss-Inquart was to report again at 7:30 p.m. (2949-PS)

The telegram, already prepared, asking Hitler to send German troops into Austria, over the defendant Seyss-Inquart's signature, was transmitted as ordered and agreed upon. (2463- PS)

Even before Seyss-Inquart received his appointment as Chancellor of Austria he dispatched a telegram using that title. An affidavit of August Eigruber states as follows:

"On the evening of 11 March 1938 at between 8 and 9 o'clock p.m. he received two telegrams; one of which came from Dr. Seyss-Inquart, as Bundes Chancellor of Austria, and the other from one Dr. Rainer; that the telegram from Dr. Seyss-Inquart appointed the affiant as temporary Landeshauptmann in Upper Austria; and that the telegram from Dr. Rainer appointed the affiant temporary leader of the National Socialist Party in Upper Austria." (2909-PS)

Schuschnigg presented his resignation, which was accepted by President Miklas. The appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor came late on the evening of 11 March 1938. (2465- PS)

(9) Having infiltrated into the Austrian Government of Chancellor Schuschnigg according to plan, Seyss-Inquart exploited his opportunities to carry out the plan to is ultimate conclusion, i.e. German annexation of Austria. The first act of Seyss-Inquart as the new Chancellor of Austria was to hold a telephone conversation with Hitler early in the morning of 12 March 1938. He has described the substance of this telephone conversation as follows:

"During the morning of 12 March I held a telephone conversation with Hitler in which I suggested that while German troops were entering Austria, Austrian troops as a symbol should march into the Reich. Hitler agreed to this suggestion and we agreed to meet in Linz, Upper Austria, later on that same day." (3425-PS)

Thereafter, on 12 March 1938, Seyss-Inquart greeted Hitler on the balcony of the City Hall of Linz, Upper Austria. In his ensuing speech, Seyss-Inquart announced that Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain, which provided that "the independence of Austria is inalienable otherwise than with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations," was no longer operative.

"I then flew to Linz with Himmler, who had arrived in Vienna from Berlin. I greeted Hitler on the balcony of the City Hall,

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and said that Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain was now inoperative." (3425-PS; L-231)

In his memorandum entitled "The Austrian Question" Seyss- Inquart describes his meeting with Hitler as follows:

"In the afternoon, I flew with Himmler to Linz and drove then to meet Hitler. Hitler entered Linz in the evening. I never saw such an enthusiasm. The welcome was spontaneous and of no precedence. In my (welcome) speech I declared that Article 88 of the St. Germain Treaty was no longer binding." (3254-PS; 2485-PS)

Seyss-Inquart then drove back to Vienna on the morning of 13 March 1938. His Secretary of State for Security begged that he be allowed to resign, a decision he reached as a result of a conversation with Himmler, which had caused him to fear for his own personal welfare. Seyss-Inquart then nominated Kaltenbrunner for State Secretary for Security, and the nomination was accepted by President Miklas. About noon State Under Secretary Stuckart of the German Reich Ministry of the Interior brought a proposal for a reannexation act uniting Austria to Germany, and announced Hitler's wish for prompt execution of it. Seyss-Inquart then called a meeting of his Council of Ministers, and on his proposal the council adopted the act. (3254-PS)

Seyss-Inquart, realizing that if the President of Austria resigned his office, then he, Seyss-Inquart, would be the successor, went to President Miklas with the information about the action of the Council of Ministers. Seyss-Inquart describes this meeting with President Miklas as follows:

"In the case where the Bund President would, for any reason, either have resigned his functions or be, for some time, impeded in fulfilling them, his prerogatives were to go over to the Bund Chancellor, I went to the Bund President with Dr. Wolff. The President told me that he did not know whether this development would be of welfare to the Austrian Nation, but that he did not wish to interfere and preferred to resign his functions, so that all rights would come into my hands, according to the Constitution. The possibility of my dismissal or resignation were only slightly mentioned and recognized as inopportune in the prevailing situation." (3254-PS)

President Miklas then resigned and Seyss-Inquart succeeded to his office. (2466-PS)

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Thereafter Seyss-Inquart signed the Act uniting Austria with Germany and hurried back to Linz to report this news to Hitler: "Then there were some letters exchanged between the Bund President and myself, confirming our conversation and his retirement. Thereafter I drove to Linz, where I arrived around mid-night and reported to the Fuehrer the accomplishment of the Anschluss Law. Hitler was very much impressed by it; for a while he remained quiet, then tears dropped from his eyes down his cheeks. He said then that he was especially happy because his Motherland had achieved her annexation to the Reich without any shedding of blood." (3254-PS)

On 14 March 1938 Hitler entered Vienna. On 15 March 1938 there was a public demonstration in Vienna- and Hitler introduced Seyss-Inquart as "Reich Statthalter for Austria." Hitler then put him in charge of the Civil Administration of Austria, while political matters were assigned to Gauleiter Josef Buerckel, who shortly thereafter was made Reich Commissar for the Anschluss. (3425-PS)

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