September 15, 1933: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, addressing the Austrian Fatherland Front, proposes a 'Christian German state on Fascist lines,' but without discrimination against Jews. He soon merges his Christian Social Party, the Nationalist paramilitary Home Guard (Heimwehr) and other nationalist and conservative groups to form the Vaterländische Front.
October 3, 1933: An assassination attempt is made against Dollfuss.
December 15, 1933: Catholic leaders encourage Austrians to do their Christmas shopping in non-Jewish stores.
February 12-15, 1934: Civil war breaks out in Austria in protest of Dollfuss's regime.
May 1, 1934: A new Austrian constitution is approved that makes all the decrees Dollfuss has already passed since March 1933 'legal.' The new constitution sweeps away the last remains of democracy.
July 25, 1934: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss is murdered by eight Austrian Nazis. A coup d'état fails, however, and order is soon restored. Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg becomes Austria's new federal chancellor. At the age of 36, he is the youngest person to have ever held the position.
July 26, 1934: Von Papen is sent to Vienna as Minister to Austria.
November 8, 1934: From a speech by Hitler: "...Clausewitz writes that "reconstruction is possible even after a heroic collapse." Only cowards abandon their own cause, and that continues to take effect and spread like an insidious drop of poison. And then the realization dawns that it is still better, if necessary, to accept a horrible but sudden end than to bear horrors without end..."
July 11, 1936: The Berchtesgaden Agreement regarding the maintenance of Austrian sovereignty is negotiated between von Papen and Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "When the agreement of 11 July 1936 was reached - without my having taken any part in it - Dr. Schuschnigg through Minister Klees asked me for my political co-operation. At that time I had particularly close connections with Zernatto, the General Secretary of the Fatherland Front. At the suggestion of Zernatto and his friends I became an Austrian State Councillor and Dr. Schuschnigg gave me the task, in writing, of examining the conditions under which the national opposition could be enlisted to collaborate politically. In order to fulfill that task I did, of course, have to contact the National Socialists, because the national opposition consisted only of National Socialists."
January 3, 1937: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag: "...The time of so-called surprises has thus been ended. I solemnly withdraw the German signature from the declaration, extracted by force from a weak Government against its better judgment, that Germany was responsible for the War. The restoration of the honor of the German people was the most difficult and the most audacious task and work of my life. As an equal State, Germany is conscious of its European task to co-operate loyally in removing the problems which affect us and other nations. My views concerning these prob- lems can perhaps be most suitably stated by referring to the statements recently made by Mr. Eden in the House of Commons. I should like to express my sincere thanks for the opportunity of making a reply offered me by the frank and notable statement of the British Foreign Minister. I shall first try to correct what seems to me a most regrettable error - namely, that Germany never had any intention of isolating herself, of passing by the events of the rest of the world without sharing them, or that she does not want to pay any consideration to general necessities. I should like to assure Mr. Eden that we Germans do not in the least want to be isolated and that we do not feel at all that we are isolated. Our relations with most States are normal, and are very friendly with quite a number. I only call your attention to our agreement with Poland, our agreement with Austria..."
May 1, 1937: Hitler's Germany is outraged when an Austrian official in the small hamlet of Pinkafeld hauls down a flag of the German Reich.
January 20, 1938: Hitler speaks in the Reichstag. "In the fifth year following the first great foreign political agreement with the Reich, it fills us with sincere gratification to be able to state that in our relations with the state, with which we had had perhaps the greatest differences, not only has there been a detente, but in the course of these years there has been a constant improvement in relations. This good work, which was regarded with suspicion by so many at the time, has stood the test, and I may say that since the League of Nations finally gave up its continual attempts to unsettle Danzig and appointed a man of great personal attainments as the new commissioner, the most dangerous spot from this point of view of European peace has entirely lost its menacing character. The Polish State respects the national conditions in this state, and both the City of Danzig and Germany respect Polish rights. And so the way to friendly understanding has been successfully paved, an understanding which beginning with Danzig has today, in spite of the attempts of certain mischief makers, succeeded in finally taking the poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland and transforming them into a sincere, friendly co-operation. To rely on her friendships, Germany will not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which provides the foundation for the task which is ahead of us - peace."
February 4, 1938 Konsolidierung: Hitler’s Cabinet meets for the final time. Von Papen is recalled as Minister to Austria. Simultaneously, the German Government is reorganized; von Neurath, von Fritsch, and von Blomberg are purged. In the Foreign Office, Joachim von Ribbentrop replaces Constantin von Neurath as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Chancellor Adolf Hitler assumes the Ministry of War portfolio. General Heinrich Brauschitsch becomes the new Wehrmacht commander-in-chief. General Wilhelm Keitel becomes Hitler's representative at the Supreme Command.
February 11, 1938 From the Diary of Alfred Jodl: "In the evening and on 12 February General K (Keitel) with General Von Reichenau and Sperrle at Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg, together with G. Schmidt are being put under the heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.
February 12, 1938: The Austro-German Crisis begins as Hitler meets with Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden. The German Führer demands that Schuschnigg lift the ban on political parties, reinstate full party freedoms, release all imprisoned members of the Nazi party and allow them to participate in the government. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "The agreement at Berchtesgaden on 12 February contained a definite stipulation to the effect that I was to be liaison man between the Austrian Government and the Austrian National Socialists on one side, and the German Reich on the other. The contents of the protocol appeared to me unsatisfactory and even dangerous. There was no doubt at all that my appointment to the Ministry of the Interior and Security served as a notification, if not a signal, for the Austrian National Socialists that they might expect an early realization of their political objectives. In addition they received permission to profess their beliefs; they could wear the swastika and salute with the raised hand. What was not permitted, however, was their organization; that means, my National Socialist friends in Austria had no possibility of getting in touch with the National Socialists in a legal way. This agreement opened the gates without providing for a regular procedure thereafter."
February 13, 1938 From Jodl's Diary: In the afternoon General K asks Admiral C (Canaris) and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Führer's order is to the effect that military pressure, by shamming military action, should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Führer by telephone for approval.
February 14, 1938 Jodl's Diary: At 2:40 o'clock the agreement of the Führer arrives. Canaris went to Munich to the Counter-Intelligence Office VII and initiates the different measures. The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations."
February 16, 1938: Schuschnigg complies with Hitler's demands by appointing Arthur Seyss-Inquart as Interior Minister and another Nazi, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, as a Minister without Portfolio.
February 17, 1938: Seyss-Inquart, with an Austrian diplomatic passport, meets with Adolf Hitler privately for two hours. From Seyss-Inquart's shorthand notes on the meeting: "A condition of Federal Chancellor Dr. Schuschnigg is that I adhere to an autonomous and independent Austria, that I support the Constitution, that is, further development, including the Anschluss, must be based on this. The formation of public opinion in Austria must proceed independently and in accordance with present constitutional possibilities. I must be an active guarantor for Dr. Schuschnigg of the revolutionary way, in the meaning of these statements (Yes), no Trojan horse. The Party and Movement must not adopt a militant attitude against prevailing cultural conceptions. (Yes). No totalitarianism of the Party and Movement; that is, National Socialist ideology to be realized with due appreciation and regard for conditions in Austria; not to be imposed on others by force. The Party as such is not simply to disappear, but to exist as an organization of individuals; no illegal activity, no efforts inimical to the State, everything to be done in a legal fashion, anyone failing to do this, to be locked up"
February 19, 1938: Schuschnigg's government extends full amnesty to imprisoned National Socialists and gives the National Socialists access to the Fatherland Front.
February 20, 1938: In a speech aimed specifically at Czechoslovakia, Chancellor Adolf Hitler proclaims that the German government vows to protect German minorities outside of the Reich.
February 20, 1938: British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns in protest of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Italy and Germany.
February 24, 1938: Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, in response to an earlier speech by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler; calls for international support to resist future German demands for Austrian concessions; reaffirms the independence of Austria; promises to protect the ten million Germans living outside of the Reich.
February 28, 1938: Hitler recalls Von Papen to Berlin.
March 3 - 9, 1938: In anticipation of Hitler's impending move into Austria, the German Chancellor begins an official state visit to Rome to soften Mussolini up.Army."
"Seyss-Inquart, the first of the quislings, was a pleasant-mannered, intelligent young Viennese lawyer who since 1918 had been possessed with a burning desire to see Austria joined with Germany. This was a popular notion in the first years after the war...The victorious Allies had not allowed it and by the time Hitler took power in 1933 there is no doubt that the majority of Austrians were against their little country's joining with Nazi Germany. But to Seyss-Inquart, as he said at his trial in Nuremberg, the Nazis stood unflinchingly for the Anschluss and for this reason he gave them his support. He did not join the party and too no part in its rowdy excesses. He played the role, rather, of a respectable front for the Austrian Nazis, and after the July 1936 agreement, when he was elected State Counsilor, he concentrated his efforts, aided by Papen and other German officials and agents, in burrowing from within. Strangely, both Schuschnigg and Miklas seem to have trusted him almost to the end. Later Miklas, a devout Catholic as was Schuschnigg, confessed that he was favorably impressed by the fact that Seyss was a diligent churchgoer. The mans Catholicism and also the circumstance that he, like Schuschnigg, had served in a Tyrolean Kaiserjäger regiment during the First World War, in which he was severely wounded, seems to have been the basis of the trust which the Austrian Chancellor had for him. Schuschnigg, unfortunately, had a fatal inability to judge a man on more substantial grounds. Perhaps he thought he could keep his new Nazi Minister in line by simple bribes. He himself tells in his book of the magic effect of $500 on Seyss-Inquart a year before when he threatened to resign as State Counsilor and then reconsidered on the receipt of this paltry sum. But Hitler had bigger prizes to dazzle before the ambitious young lawyer, as Schuschnigg was soon to learn." -From 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' by William Shirer.
March 8, 1938: Schuschnigg gives Seyss-Inquart advance notice of his intention to conduct a plebiscite. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "The day before Dr. Schuschnigg announced in Innsbruck the plan for the plebiscite he called me in and informed me of his plan. I asked him at that time whether the decision was unalterable, and he affirmed that. I expressed my concern that this might lead to difficulties; but I promised him that I would help him wherever I could, either to make the best of this plebiscite or to bring about a suitable outcome - suitable, that is to say, even for the National Socialists. Of course, I had continual contact with the Austrian National Socialists, since I was the liaison man...on the same evening I was also approached by Dr. Jury who in some way had already heard of the plan for the plebiscite. I did not tell him that I had given my assent to Dr. Schuschnigg, though on account of my function as liaison man as laid down in the agreement of 12 February, I should not have allowed silence to be imposed on me; yet, I did keep silent..."
March 9, 1938: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg schedules a plebiscite on the independence of Austria for 13 March. The question is to be: 'Are you for an independent and social, a Christian, German and united Austria?'
March 10, 1938: Seyss-Inquart, Foreign Minister Schmidt, and Chancellor Schuschnigg meet. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "...we agreed that the Government - as well as the provincial governments, and so forth - should include National Socialists, that, in effect, a coalition government should be formed; and in that case the National Socialists would also vote 'yes.' Only with reference to the license of the Party, the activities of the Party, were there still differences of opinion. I reported this to the Austrian National Socialists but they were not much interested, because news had come from Berlin that Hitler had rejected the plebiscite. I was told that on the next day I would receive a letter from Hitler...After receiving this letter I went with Minister Glaise to Dr. Schuschnigg. We were at the Federal Chancellor's office at 10 o'clock, and I informed Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg of the entire contents of this letter without reservation. In particular, I pointed out that in case of a refusal Adolf Hitler expected unrest among the Austrian National Socialists and that he was ready, if disturbances occurred, to answer an appeal for help by marching in. In other words, I expressly called Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg's attention to the possibility of this development...The letter set a deadline, 12 o'clock. As our talk lasted until about 11:30, I asked Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg to give me an answer by 2 o'clock. I know that in the meantime, and also on the previous day, he had taken security measures through Dr. Skubl, of which I had approved. A number of age groups of the Austrian Federal Army were called up, the police everywhere received instructions, and a curfew was imposed in the evening..."
March 10, 1938: Gauleiter Rainer's report to Reichscommissioner Buerckel: "The Landesleitung received word about the planned plebiscite through illegal information services, on 9 March 1938 at 10 AM. At the session which was called immediately afterwards, Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the talks he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth, and that in view of the new situation, he had been cooperating with the Landesleitung from the very first moment. Klausner, Jury, Rainer, Globocnik and Seyss-Inquart were present at the first talks which were held at 10 a. m. There it was decided that first, the Fuehrer had to be informed immediately; secondly, the opportunity for the Fuehrer to intervene must be given to him by way of an official declaration made by Minister Seyss-Inquart to Schuschnigg; and thirdly, Seyss-Inquart must negotiate with the government until clear instrUctions and orders were received from the Fuehrer. Seyss-Inquart and Rainer together composed a letter to Schuschnigg, and only one copy of it was brought to the Fuehrer by Globocnik, who flew to him on the afternoon of 9 March 1938."
March 10, 1938 Jodl's Diary: "By surprise and without consulting his ministers, Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13, March, which should bring strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation. Führer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, March 9 to 10, he calls for Göring. General v. Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee. General v. Schebert is ordered to come, as well as Minister Glaise Horstenau, who is with the District leader (Gauleiter) Buerckel in the Palatinate. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1:45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at 10 o'clock. I follow at 10:15, according to the wish of General v. Viebahn, to give him the old draft. Prepare case Otto. 1300 hours: General K informs Chief of Operational Staff (and) Admiral Canaris. Ribbentrop is being detained in London. Neurath takes over the Foreign Office. Fuehrer wants to transmit ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet. A personal letter is dispatched to Mussolini and the reasons are developed which force the Führer to take action. 1830 hours: Mobilization order is given to the Command of the 8th Army (Corps Area 3) 7th and 13th Army Corps; without reserve Army."
"German Austria must be restored to the great German motherland; and not, indeed, on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no. Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be disadvantageous from the economic standpoint, still it ought to take place. People of the same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in one state. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only then can the moral right arise from the need of the people, to acquire foreign territory. The plough is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come...To demand that the 1914 frontiers should be restored is a glaring political absurdity that is fraught with . such consequences as to make the claim itself appear criminal. The confines of the Reich as they existed in 1914 were thoroughly illogical because they were not really complete, in the sense of including all the members of the German nation. Nor were they reasonable, in view of the geographical exigencies of military defense. They were not the consequences of a political plan which had been well considered and carried out, but they were temporary frontiers established in virtue of a political struggle that had not been brought to a finish; and indeed, they were partly the chance result of circumstances." Adolf Hitler, from Mein Kampf.
March 11, 1938: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg resigns in an attempt to stall off a threatened German invasion. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "During a conference with Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg at 3:30 in the afternoon, the Chancellor said that he would hand to the Federal President the resignation of the whole Cabinet. When I was informed of this, I left the Federal Chancellor's office, because I considered my function as a middleman concluded in the meaning of the agreement of 12 February; and I did not want in any way to advocate or promote my own appointment as Federal Chancellor...until 8 o'clock in the evening no one at all approached me on these matters. No one spoke to me about the Federal Chancellorship; no other possibility of a solution was discussed with me. I heard that the Federal President wanted to make Dr. Ender, of Vorarlberg, Chancellor and me Vice Chancellor. I believe that suggestion would have been completely practicable. But I could not discuss it - least of all with Berlin - because no one had said anything to me about it."
March 11, 1938: From Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg's farewell spech: "The Federal President has commissioned me to inform the Austrian people that we are yielding to force. Since we are at all costs determined not to spill German blood, even in this grave hour, we have given orders to our Armed Forces to withdraw without resistance, if the invasion of Austria is carried out, and to await the decision within the next hours."
March 11, 1938: Seyss-Inquart is made Chancellor by President Wilhelm Miklas. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "In the course of the evening it became clear that Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg would resign and that the Reich would not tolerate any other than a National Socialist Government. Therefore, in order to avoid being taken by surprise, I considered it my task to study whom I should take into a Cabinet. The suggestions mentioned in the telephone conversations were not transmitted by me at all. I chose my colleagues quite independently -naturally after consultations with Austrian National Socialists- and they included also people with strong Catholic ties, such as Professor Mengin, Dr. Wolf, and others. I asked Foreign Minister Schmidt to enter the Cabinet. He asked me for a reason, and I told him: I want to keep Austria autonomous and independent, and I need a foreign minister who has connections with the Western Powers. Schmidt refused, remarking that Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg had introduced him into politics and that he would remain loyal to him...The resignation of the whole Cabinet was not accepted by the Federal President; and we, including myself, remained Ministers. When Dr. Schuschnigg made his farewell speech, he did not speak of the resignation of the whole Cabinet. He only said, "We yield to force." Dr. Schuschnigg and Federal President Miklas had agreed at that time that I would not actually be appointed Federal Chancellor, but that with the entry of German troops executive power should be passed to me. Therefore, in my opinion, I was de facto Minister of the Interior and Foreign Minister...I did not see Federal President Miklas at all until 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening, after Schuschnigg's speech...I believe it was after Schuschnigg's farewell speech, when I saw in the anterooms 10 or 15 young men in black trousers and white shirts, that was the SS. I had the impression that they were doing messenger and orderly duty for State Secretary Keppler and the others. As they approached the rooms in which Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg and President Miklas were, I ordered guards of the Austrian Guard Battalion to be placed at their doors. I may mention that these were selected men of the Austrian Army who according to Austrian standards were very well armed, while these SS men-40 at most-possibly carried pistols. Moreover, 50 steps from the Federal Chancellor's office were the barracks of the Guard Battalion, with a few hundred picked and well-armed anew. If Federal President Miklas and Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg had not been concerned with things other than those which happened in the Federal Chancellor's office and on the street outside it, they could easily have put an end to this situation by calling out the Guard Battalion."
March 12, 1938 Anschluss: Nazi Minister of Propagana Goebbels reads an address by Hitler on the radio: "...I have therefore decided to offer the millions of Germans in Austria the assistance of the Reich. Since this morning soldiers of the German armed forces have been crossing all of the German-Austrian borders. Armored units, infantry divisions and SS units on the ground and the German Luftwaffe in the skies, summoned by the new National Socialist Government in Vienna, will ensure that the Austrian People are within the very near future finally given the opportunity to determine for themselves their future, and thus their fate, through a genuine plebiscite. And these units are supported by the will and determination of the entire German nation. I myself, as Führer and Chancellor of the German People, will be happy once again to be able to enter the country which is also my homeland as a German and a free citizen. The world, however, shall see for itself that for the German People in Austria these days are filled with hours of blissful joy..."
March 25, 1938: Hitler speaks in Koenigsberg: "...I decided not to wait until April 10, but to effect the unification forthwith.That which has happened in those last weeks is the result of the triumph of an idea, a triumph of will, but also a triumph of endurance and tenacity and, above all, it is the result of the miracle of faith: for only faith has availed to move these mountains. I once went forth with faith in the German people and began this vast fight. With faith in me first thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and at last millions have followed after me. With faith in Germany and in this idea, millions of our fellow countrymen in the New Ostmark in the south of our Reich have held their banners high and have remained loyal to the Reich and to the life of the German people. And now I have faith in this 10th of April. I am convinced that on this day for the first time in history in very truth all Germany will be on the march. And on this day I shall be the Leader of the greatest army in the history of the world; for when on this 10th of April I cast my voting paper into the urn, then I shall know that behind me come 50 millions, and they all know only my watchword: One People and one Reich..."
April 7, 1938: Seyss-Inquart speaks in Berlin: "The National Socialist Party in Austria never tried to hide its inclination for a greater Germany. That Austria would one day return to the Reich was a matter of course for all National Socialists and for true Germans in Austria. I asked the Fuehrer for armed assistance to save Austria from a civil war and from the fate of Spain because I had information that the workers' militia was to act as an armed military force at the Schuschnigg plebiscite."
April 8, 1938: Seyss-Inquart meets with Hitler.
April 10, 1938 Annexionvolksabstimmung: In a national plebiscite, Austrian voters register 99.75% in favor of union with Germany: Austria becomes part of the Reich as a new state, divided into seven Gaue (states). Austria withdraws as a member state from the League of Nations because of the republic's incorporation into Germany.
June 16, 1938: The German Anschluss results in the extension of anti-Jewish laws to former Austrian provinces. Under the new regulations, Austrian Jews have to register all their property, at home and abroad, within a few weeks.
September 29, 1938 Jodl's Diary: "The Munich Pact is signed, Czechoslovakia as a power is out. Four zones as set forth will be occupied between the 2d and 7th of October. The remaining part of mainly German character will be occupied by the 10th of October. The genius of the Führer and his determination not to shun even a world war have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak, and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way."
November 6, 1938: Hitler speaks in Weimar: "...If today at times in foreign countries Parliamentarians or politicians venture to maintain that Germany has not kept her treaties, then we can give as our answer to these men: the greatest breach of a treaty that ever was practiced on the German people. Every promise which had been made to Germany in the Fourteen Points - those promises on the faith of which Germany had laid down her arms - was afterwards broken. In 1932 Germany was faced with final collapse. The German Reich and people both seemed lost. And then came the German resurrection. It began with a change of faith. While all the German parties before us believed in forces and ideals which lay outside of the German Reich and outside of our people, we National Socialists have resolutely championed belief in our own people, starting from that watchword of eternal validity: God helps only those who are prepared and determined to help themselves..."
March 15, 1939: German troops occupy the Sudetenland, Bohemia and Moravia; the Czech government disintegrates.
March 20, 1939: In response to the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, FDR recalls the US ambassador to Berlin.
May 1939: Seyss-Inquart is awarded the honorary SS rank of Gruppenfuehrer and becomes Reich Minister Without Portfolio.
July 14, 1939: Seyss-Inquart writes to Goering: "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 desires. 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 have had to fight against the whole political church, and Free Masonry, 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 have followed it calmly and would without hesita-tion 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 honorable 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."
August 19, 1939: Seyss-Inquart writes to Himmler: "...As far as my membership in the Party is concerned, I state that I was never asked to join the Party but had asked Dr. Kier in December 1931 to clarify my relationship with the Party, since I regarded the Party as the basis for the solution of the Austrian problem ... I paid my membership fees and, as I believe, directly to the Gau Vienna. These contributions also took place after the period of suppression. Later on I had direct contact with the Ortsgruppe in Dombach. My wife paid these fees, but the Blockleiter was never in doubt, considering that this amount, 40 shillings per month, was a share for my wife and myself, and I was in every respect treated as a Party member...In every way, therefore, I felt as a Party member, considered myself a Party member, thus, as stated, as far back as December 1931..."
August 25, 1939: President Roosevelt once again appeals to Hitler for peace. "...Countless human lives can yet be saved and hope may still be restored that the nations of the modern world may even now construct the foundation for a peaceful and happier relationship, if you and the Government of the German Reich will agree to the pacific means of settlement accepted by the Government of Poland. All the world prays that Germany, too, will accept..."
August 31, 1939: The British fleet mobilizes; Civilian evacuations begin from London.
September 1, 1939: After some delays, Hitler's forces invade Poland.
November 17-22, 1939: From an internal document: "...At 3:00 PM Reich Minister, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, addressed the department heads of the district chief and stated among other things that the chief guiding rule for carrying out German administration in the Government General must be solely the interests of the German Reich. A stem and inflexible administration must make the area of use to German economy; and, so that excessive clemency may be guarded against, the results of the intrusion of the Polish race into German territory must be brought to mind...in accordance with which the administration in the 'Government' must be conducted...The resources and inhabitants of this country would have to be made of service to the Reich, and only within these limits could they prosper. Independent political thought should no longer be allowed to develop. The Vistula area might perhaps be still more important to German destiny than the Rhine. The Minister then gave as a guiding theme to the district leaders: 'We will further everything which is of service to the Reich and will put an end to everything which may harm the Reich.' Dr. Seyss-Inquart then added that the Governor General wished that those men who were fulfilling a task for the Reich here should receive a post with material benefits in keeping with their responsibility and achievements...Cycow is a German village....Reich Minister Dr. Seyss-Inquart made a speech in which he pointed out that the fidelity of these Germans to their nationality now found its justification and reward through the strength of Adolf Hitler...This district with its very marshy character could, according to District Chief Schmidt's deliberations, serve as a reservation for the Jews, a measure which might possibly lead to heavy mortality among the Jews."
April 9, 1940: Nazi forces invade Norway and Denmark.
April 18, 1940: From the "Directive of Armament Economy: Norwegian industry, to the extent to which it does not directly supply the population, is, in its essential branches, of particular importance for the German war industry. That is why its production must be put, as soon as possible, at the disposal of the German armament industry, if this has not already been done. This production consists mainly of inter mediate products, which require a certain amount of time to be turned into useful products, and of raw materials which -such as aluminum, for example-can be used while we wait for our own factories, which are being built, to be in a position to produce...In this connection, above all, the following industrial branches must be taken into consideration: Mining plants for the production of copper, zinc, nickel, titanium, wolfram, molybdenum, silver, pyrites. Furnaces for the production of alumina, aluminum, copper, nickel, zinc. Chemical industries for the production of explosives, synthetic nitrogen, calcium nitrate, superphosphate, calcium carbide, and sodium products. Armament industries, naval dockyards, power stations, especially those which are supplying electric current to the above-named industries. The production capacities of these industries must be maintained at the highest possible level for the duration of the occupation. A certain measure of assistance by the Reich will, at times, be necessary to overcome industrial bottlenecks which are to be expected on account of the cutting off of English and overseas imports. Of particular importance is the guaranteeing of raw material industries which to a considerable part depend on overseas imports. For the moment it may be left undecided whether a future supply of bauxite from the German stocks is necessary for utilizing the capacities of the aluminum plants."
May 1940: Seyss-Inquart is appointed Reichskommissar for the Occupied Netherlands. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "...I was responsible for the civil administration, and, within this administrative task, I had to look after the interests of the Reich. Apart from this I had a political task. I was to see to it that while Dutch independence was maintained, the Netherlands should be persuaded to change their pro-British attitude for a pro-German one and enter into a close economic collaboration...An occupational power, I said, demands the suppression of all official activities and an awakening of a common political will, but grants such freedom which in the end may lead the Dutch to feel dependent on their own decisions. It was not my intention, therefore, to force upon the Dutch people any definite political will...It is certainly correct that the goal which 1 had set for myself, and which I proclaimed in my speeches, was not reached in practice, nor could it have been. However, it may be possible that it gave the Dutch the impression that I was trying to force National Socialism upon them because, after all, later on I could admit only National Socialist parties, whereas I had to dissolve the others. I never used state methods of coercion to force any Dutchman to become a National Socialist, nor did I make membership in the National Socialist Party a condition for exercising the general rights and privileges to which every Dutchman was entitled."
May 29 - July 19, 1940: From a secret report by Seyss-Inquart: "It was clear that with the occupation of the Netherlands a large number of economic and also police measures had to be taken, the first ones of which were for the purpose of reducing the consumption of the population in order to obtain supplies for the Reich, on the one hand, and to secure a just distribution of the remaining supplies, on the other hand. With regard to the task assigned, endeavors had to be made for all these measures to bear the signature of Dutchmen. The Reich Commissioner therefore authorized the Secretaries General to take all the necessary measures through legal channels. In fact, to date, nearly all orders concerning the seizure of supplies and their distribution to the population and all decrees regarding restrictions on the moulding of public opinion have been issued. But agreements concerning the transport of extraordinarily large supplies to the Reich have also been made, all of which bear the signatures of the Dutch Secretaries General or the competent economic leaders, so that all of these measures have the character of being voluntary. It should be mentioned in this connection that the Secretaries General were told in the first conference that loyal cooperation was expected of them, but that they were entitled to resign if something should be ordered which they felt they could not endorse. Up to date none of the Secretaries General have made use of this privilege, so that one may reasonably conclude that they have complied with all requests of their own free will. The seizure and distribution of food supplies and textiles have been almost completed. At least all the appropriate orders have been issued and are being executed. A series of instructions concerning the reorientation of agriculture have been issued and are being executed. The essential point is to use the available fodder in such a way that as large a stock as possible of horned cattle, about 80 percent, will be carried over. into the next farming season, at the expense of the disproportionately high stock of chickens and hogs. Rules and restrictions have been introduced in the organization of traffic, and the rationing of gasoline was applied on the same lines as in the Reich. Restriction of the right to give notice at work, as well as to cancel leases, has been issued in order to curb the liberal and capitalistic habits of the Dutch employers and to avoid unrest. In the same way the terms for repayment of debts have been extended under certain circumstances......the ordinance concerning registration and control of enemy property, as well as confiscation of the property of persons who show hostility to the Reich and to Germans, were issued in the name of the Reich Commissioner. On the basis of this ordinance an administrator has already been appointed for the property of the royal family. Stocks of raw materials have been seized and, with the consent of the General Field Marshal, distributed in such a way that the Dutch have enough raw materials to maintain their economy for half a year, so that they receive the same allocation quotas as obtain in the Reich. The same principle of equal treatment is being used in the supply of food, et cetera. This enabled us to secure considerable supplies of raw materials for the Reich, as for instance 70,000 tons of industrial fats, which is about half the amount which the Reich is lacking. Legislation concerning exchange has been introduced on the same pattern as in the Reich. Finally we succeeded in causing the Dutch Government to supply all the amounts which the Reich and the German administration in the Netherlands need, so that these expenses do not burden the Reich budget in any way. Sums of guilders have been made available to redeem the occupation marks to the amount of about 36 million; an additional 100 million for the purposes of the occupation army, especially for extension of the airports; 50 million for the purchase of raw materials to be shipped to the Reich, so far as they are not booty; and amounts to guarantee the unrestricted transfer of the savings of the Dutch workers brought into the Reich, to their families, et cetera. Finally, the rate of exchange of the occupation marks, set at first by the Army High Command in the proportion of 1 guilder to 1.50 Reichsmark, has been reduced to the correct proportion of I guilder to 1.33 Reichsmark. Above all, however, it was possible to obtain the consent of the President of the Bank of The Netherlands, Trip, to a measure suggested by Commissioner General Fischbock and approved by the General Field Marshal, namely the unrestricted mutual obligation of accepting each other's currency. That means that the Bank of The Netherlands is bound to accept any amount of Reichsmark offered to it by the Reich Bank and in return to supply Dutch guilders at the rate of 1.33, that is, 1 Reichsmark equals 75 cents. The Reich Bank alone has control in these matters, not the Bank of The Netherlands, which will be notified only of individual transactions. This ruling goes far beyond all pertinent rulings hitherto made with the political economies of neighboring countries, including the Protectorate, and actually represents the first step towards a currency union. In consideration of the significance of the agreement, which already affects the independence of the Dutch State, it is of special weight that the President of the Bank, Trip, who is very well known in western banking and financial circles, signed this agreement of his own free will in the above sense."
March 12, 1941: From a speech by Seyss-Inquart in Amsterdam: "The Jews are the enemy of National Socialism. From the time of their emancipation their methods were directed to the annihilation of the folkish and moral worth of the German people and to replace a national and responsible ideology with international nihilism. It was really they who stabbed the Army in the back which broke the resistance of the Germans (in the First World War). The Jews are the enemy with whom no armistice or peace can be made. We will smite the Jews where we meet them and whoever goes along with them must take the consequences."
March 13, 1941: From a speech in Amsterdam by Seyss-Inquart: "...The Jews, for us, are not Dutch. They are those enemies with whom we can come to neither an armistice nor to peace. This applies here, if you wish, for the duration of the occupation. Do not expect an order from me which stipulates this, except regulations concerning police matters. We will beat the Jews wherever we meet them, and those who join them must bear the consequences. The Fuehrer declared that the Jews have played their final act in Europe, and therefore they have played their final act." From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "When I took over the functions of the Reich Commissioner, I of course realized that I had to take a definite attitude, and would have to take some steps with regard to the Jews in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, in western Europe, is perhaps one of the best known and one of the oldest seats of Jewish communities in western Europe. Moreover, in the Netherlands there were a great many German Jewish emigrants. I will say quite openly that since the first World War and the postwar period, I was an anti-Semite and went to Holland as such. I need not go into detail about that here. I have said ad that in my speeches, and would refer you to them. I had the impression, which will be confirmed everywhere, that the Jews, of course, had to be against National Socialist Germany. There was no discussion of the question of guilt as far as I was concerned. As head of an occupied territory I had only to deal with the facts. I had to realize that, particularly from the Jewish circles, I had to reckon with resistance, defeatism, and so on. I told Generaloberst Von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, that in the Netherlands I would remove Jews from leading posts in the economy, the press, and the administration. The measures taken by me from May 1940 to March 1941 were limited to that. The Jewish officials were dismissed, but were given pensions. The Jewish firms were registered, and the heads of the firms were dismissed. In the spring of 1941 Heydrich came to me in the Netherlands. He told me that we would have to expect that the greatest resistance would come from Jewish circles. He told me that the Jews would at least have to be treated like other enemy aliens. The English, for instance, in the Netherlands, were interned and their property confiscated. In view of the large number of Jews-about 140,000-this was not so simple. I admit frankly that I did not object to this argument of Heydrich's. I also felt that this was necessary in a war which I absolutely considered a life and death struggle for the German people. For that reason, in March 1941 I ordered that the Jews in the Netherlands be registered. And then things went on step by step."
May 19, 1940: The Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister.
May 26, 1940: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people: "...We are shocked by the almost incredible eyewitness stories that come to us, stories of what is happening at this moment to the civilian populations of Norway and Holland and Belgium and Luxembourg and France. I think it is right on this Sabbath evening that I should say a word in behalf of women and children and old men who need help - immediate help in their present distress - help from us across the seas, help from us who are still free to give it..."
September 29, 1940: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people: "The experience of the past two years has proven beyond doubt that no nation can appease the Nazis. No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender. Even the people of Italy have been forced to become accomplices of the Nazis, but at this moment they do not know how soon they will be embraced to death by their allies. The American appeasers ignore the warning to be found in the fate of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and France. They tell you that the Axis powers are going to win anyway..."
December 18, 1940: Hitler gives orders for the military preparations against the USSR.
January 30, 1941: Hitler speaks in Berlin: "This morning I read that an Englishman, I don't know how, has calculated that I made seven mistakes last year. The man is mistaken. I have checked it. I did not make seven mistakes but 724. But I continued to calculate and found that my opponents had made 4,385,000. That is right. I have checked it carefully. We will manage to get on in spite of our mistakes. We will make as many mistakes this year as last year, and if I make as many mistakes as in 1940, then I must thank God on my knees at the end of the year for letting me make only seven mistakes..."
May 27, 1941: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat: "...To the people of the Americas, a triumphant Hitler would say, as he said after the seizure of Austria, and as he said after Munich, and as he said after the seizure of Czechoslovakia: "I am now completely satisfied. This is the last territorial readjustment I will seek." And he would of course add: "All we want is peace and friendship, and profitable trade relations with you in the New World." (And) Were any of us in the Americas so incredibly simple and forgetful as to accept those honeyed words, what would then happen..."
August 18, 1941: Camp Amersfoort in the Netherlands becomes a collection point for Jews living in the region of Amersfoort. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "That was a police transit camp-that is, for police prisoners who were to be turned over to the courts, or who were to be sent to the Reich; or persons who refused labor service who were being sent to the Reich. In general, they were not to be there more than 6 or 8 weeks. There were Dutch guards in this camp-not Dutch Police, but a voluntary SS guard company, I believe. Excesses did occur here. General Secretary Van Damm called my attention to the fact that a Dutchman was supposed to have been beaten to death there. I urged the Higher SS and Police Leader to bring this case to light. He did this through his court officer, and sent the documents to me. According to the documents, severe mistreatment occurred, but no one was killed, and the persons responsible were punished. I repeatedly called the attention of the Higher SS and Police Leader to the fact that concentration camps and prisons in wartime actually favored the perpetration of brutal excesses. If, here or there, not a severe case but certain mistreatment was reported to me, I always called his attention to it. He then reported to me either that the case had not occurred, or that he had taken steps, and so forth. In particular, I always had the food ration statistics of the concentration camps and prisons reported to me. The food rations were satisfactory. I believe that the Dutch in the concentration camps and prisons, at the end of 1944 and in 1945, received more than the Dutch in the western Netherlands. Of course, I do not want to give too much importance to this fact-, because the Dutch did suffer from hunger."
September 27, 1941: 101 Russian POWs are sent to Camp Amersfoort in the Netherlands. When they arrive they are paraded through town in an attempt to show the population of Amersfoort how primitive and barbaric Russians are, but the townspeople give bread and other food to the prisoners contrary to German expectations. While incarcerated, twenty-two Russians die of dysentery and willful starvation. Two Russian POWs are ordered killed by the Dutch camp doctor van Nieuwenhuysen, a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator. The skulls of these two victims are placed as trophies on his desk.
May, 1942: Vught Concentration Camp opens in occupied Holland; the only official SS concentration camp in occupied Northwest
January 29, 1943: From a speech by Seyss-Inquart: "...It is also clear, now more than ever, that every resistance which is directed against this fight for existence must be suppressed. Some time ago the representatives of the churches had written to the Wehrmacht commander and to me, and they presented their ideas in regard to the execution of death sentences which the Wehrmacht commander announced in the meantime. To this I can say only the following: At the moment in which our men, fathers, and sons with iron determination look towards their fate in the East and unflinchingly and steadfastly perform their highest pledge, it is unbearable to tolerate conspiracies whose goal is to weaken the rear of this eastern front. Whoever dares this must be annihilated. We must be severe and become even more severe against our opponents. This is the command of a relentless sequence of events and for us, perhaps, inhumanly hard but our holy duty. We remain human because we do not torture our opponents. We must remain hard in annihilating them."
April 22, 1943: In the Netherlands, most of the Jewish population in camp Amersfoort is transferred to concentration camp Vught. From there they are to be deported to Poland for extermination. After this date, Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort takes on the identity of a notorious concentration camp. A minimum of 658 prisoners are documented to have lost their lives in Amersfoort of which 428 are executed by firing squad.
August 13, 1943: From a letter from Sauckel to Hitler: "My Fuehrer, I beg to report my return from my official trip to France, Belgium and Holland. In tough, difficult, and tedious negotiations I have imposed upon the occupied Western territories, for the last 5 months of 1943, the program set forth below and have prepared very detailed measures for realizing it...in Holland with the offices of the Reich Commissioner. The program provides: ...5. A program has likewise been prepared for Holland, providing for the transfer of 150,000 workers to Germany and of 100,000 workers, men and women, from Dutch civilian industries to German war production."
August 28, 1943: From an ultimatum to the Danish Government: "Claims of the Reich Government: The Danish Government must immediately declare the entire country in a state of military emergency. The state of military emergency must include the following measures: 1. Prohibition of public gatherings of more than five persons. 2. Prohibition of all strikes and of any aid given to strikers. 3. Prohibition of all meetings in closed premises or in the open air; prohibition to be in the streets between 2030 hours and 0530 hours; closing of restaurants at 1930 hours. By I September 1943 all firearms and explosives to be handed over. 4. Prohibition to hamper in any way whatsoever Danish nationals because of their collaboration or the collaboration of their relatives with the German authorities, or because of their relations with the Germans. 5. Establishment of a press censorship with German collaboration. 6. Establishment of courts-martial to judge acts contravening the measures taken to maintain order and security. Infringement of the measures mentioned above will be punished by the most severe penalties which can be imposed in conformity with the law in force concerning the power of the Government to take measures to maintain calm, order, and security. The death penalty must be introduced without delay for acts of sabotage and for any aid given in committing these acts, for attacks against the German forces, for possession after I September 1943 of firearms and explosives. The Reich Government expects to receive today before 1600 hours the acceptance by the Danish Government of the above-mentioned demands."
November 1, 1943 Moscow Declaration: "...Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusors in order that justice may be done. The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of German criminals whose offenses have no particular geographical localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the government of the Allies..."
December 24, 1943: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat "...During the last two days in (at) Teheran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead -- ahead to the days and months and years that (which) will follow Germany's defeat. We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might. The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word "respectable" -- for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the Master Race..."
June 6, 1944: D-Day.
July 20, 1944: Hitler survives an assassination attempt (bomb explosion) during a war conference.
July 23, 1944: Majdanek is liberated.
July 30, 1944: Hitler orders that all non-German civilians in occupied territories who are guilty of sabotage or terror actions are to be handed over to the Security Police. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "The Higher SS Leader and I both objected to this order, as we clearly realized what damaging effects it would have, especially in the Netherlands. Through such an order the Dutch would only be driven into illegal organizations. During a period of 4 to 6 weeks the Higher SS and Police Leader never carried out the order. But he then received a severe reprimand from Himmler, and from that time on he was obliged to deal with the Dutch who had been arrested for sabotage or illegal activities, and had to judge them according to his own jurisdiction, shooting them when necessary. One can account in this way for the shootings on a larger scale, but I do not believe that there were as many as 4,000. As often as I could, I urged the Security Police to be most careful in carrying out this order, but I never received any reports on the individual cases. I had the impression that there were perhaps 600 to 700...I fully approved of action being taken against members of the resistance movement who committed sabotage and other acts. There were no other means for taking steps except arrest by the Police, passing of judgment on the part of the Higher SS and Police Leader, and shooting on the part of the Police. I could not oppose these measures." Note: As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can be punishable by death.
September 1944: Transports stop from Westerbork Camp to Auschwitz. When the Allies liberate Westerbork, 900 prisoners will remain alive in the camp. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "The Jews were collected in the Westerborg Camp. When the first transports left, I received a report that the trains were overcrowded. I vigorously remonstrated with the commander of the Security Police and asked him to see that the transport was carried out in an orderly manner. The Netherlands Report states that at the beginning the transports were made under tolerable conditions; later, conditions generally became worse. But that such excessive overcrowding of trains occurred as indicated in the report did not come to my knowledge. It is true that the Security Police made it very difficult to have the execution of these measures controlled. At the suggestion of some Dutch secretaries general, especially Van Damm and Froehlich, I effected an exception for a number of Jews. One could effect individual exceptions; the basic measures could not be changed. I believe that the number of exceptions is greater than indicated in the Netherlands Report, at least according to my reports. These Jews were, in the final stage, in the Westerborg Camp. When the invasion began Himmler wanted to remove them. Upon my objections this was not done. But after the battle of Arnhem he removed them, as he said, to Theresienstadt; and I hope that they remained alive there."
September 4, 1944: The major Belgian port of Antwerp in liberated by Allied forces under British General Bernard Law Montgomery. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "Blastings were undertaken at the moment when the Netherlands again became a theater of war. As for port and dock installations and shipyards, the following is important: The port of Antwerp fell almost undamaged into the hands of the enemy. I believe that that was of decisive importance for the further development of the offensive. Thereupon the competent military authorities in the Netherlands began to blow up such installations as a precautionary measure. I am only acquainted with the fact, not with the details; and I refused to watch the explosions. But my commissioner and I intervened with the Armed Forces offices, and I believe that in Rotterdam half of the installations were not blown up. This is shown by the Dutch reports. I had nothing whatever to do with the matter, aside from this intervention. When the English reached Limburg, an order was issued to blow up the mines as being vital for war. I inquired with Reich Minister Speer about this, and he issued an order not to blow them up but only to put them out of commission for 3 or 4 months. The orders were issued to this effect. I hope that they were not violated."
September 5-6, 1944: Vught Concentration Camp is almost comletely evacuated, with the female prisoners sent Ravensbrück and the men to Sachsenhausen.
September 9, 1944: A reconnaissance-patrol of the American 113th Cavalry Group Red Horse crosses, as the first allied unit, the Dutch border in the vicinity of Maastricht.
September 12, 1944: Troops of the 30th US Infantry Division enter the southern part of the Netherlands, at Zuid-Limburg.
September 15, 1944: A US Colonel in the War Department's Special Project Branch, Murray Bernays, proposes part of the framework that will be used in Nuremburg; that of treating the Nazi regime as a criminal conspiracy.
September 17, 1944: Operation Market Garden, a combined American, British and Polish invasion, begins.
October 26-27, 1944: Vught Concentration Camp is liberated by Canadian forces. At the time of liberation only four hundred and fifteen survivors are counted. Hardly any of the survivors are Jews.
November 28, 1944: Himmler orders the gas chambers at Aushwitz destroyed.
January 28, 1945: The liberation of Aushwitz occurs.
March 5, 1945: The Nazis retaliate when the Dutch underground fails in its attempt to assassinate SS General Hanns Rauter near the Woeste Hoeve outside Apeldoorn. They first execute 49 men at the Rifle-Range in Amersfoort. Four days later one more person is shot at the same place to round off the total at 50.
March 28, 1945: The 1st Canadian Army enters the Netherlands near Dinxperlo, coming from Germany.
April 1, 1945: Seyss-Inquart and Speer meet. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "I received a 'scorched earth' order from Bormann. Without there being a military necessity for it, all technical installations were to be blown up. That meant, in effect, the destruction of Holland, that is, the western Netherlands. If explosions are carried out in 14 or 16 different places in Holland the country will be entirely flooded in 3 or 4 weeks. I did not carry out the order at first; instead I established contact with Reich Minister Speer. I had a personal meeting with him on 1 April in Oldenburg. Speer told me that the same order had been given in the Reich; but that he was frustrating it, that he now had full authority in this matter, and that he agreed that the order should not be carried out in the Netherlands. It was not carried out...Up until that time I did not want to believe it; but faced with the prospect of an unconditional surrender and complete occupation, I naturally believed that in every respect I should have to prepare for the worst because the consequences were unpredictable. Speer at that time told me that the war, for Germany, would end in a relatively short period of time because armament production simply could not be kept up. He said 2 to 3 months...I decided to end the defensive occupation of Holland without violating my duties to the Reich and to the Fuehrer."
April 2, 1945: Seyss-Inquart meets with Secretary General Hirschfeld. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "I went to The Hague and discussed the methods with Secretary General Hirschfeld. We agreed to get in touch at once with the confidential agents of the Government in The Hague-which was illegal for me-and to ask them to start negotiations on the basis that the Allied troops should not advance against Holland, in which case no further destruction would occur and the Allies could take over the feeding of the Dutch population through direct contact with the Dutch authorities for food supply. Then we would wait for the end of the war.
April 12, 1945: President Roosevelt dies; Truman becomes President. The Allies liberate Buchenwald and Belsen concentration camps.
April 18, 1945: German forces in the Ruhr surrender.
April 21, 1945: The Red Army reaches Berlin.
April 30, 1945: Seyss-Inquart meets with General Smith. From Seyss-Inquart's testimony before the IMT: "I had the conversation with Lieutenant General Bedell Smith. I purposely did not ask for authorization from Berlin in order to avoid a refusal or be prohibited from carrying out my intention. I did this on my own. General Blaskowitz, the commander of the Netherlands, was very apprehensive. He called me during the night, because his superiors had asked him just what was going on. Nevertheless, I was determined to carry through this matter, for it seemed the only reasonable step I could take in this situation. I stated that I would assume all responsibility. On 30 April the conference took place and the result that I had desired in effect materialized-the giving up of the military defense of Holland."
April 30, 1945: An announcement on the German wireless: "It has been reported from the Führer's headquarters that our Führer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon..." Hitler names Seyss-Inquart Reich Foreign Minister in his Political Testament.
May 2, 1945: Executive Order of US President Truman: "...Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal..."
May 6, 1945: General Blaskowitz signs the surrender of the German troops in the Netherlands.
May 7-8, 1945 VE Day: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
May 8, 1945: After a meeting with Hitler's successor, Admiral Doenitz, Seyss-Inquart resigns his post as Reichskommissar for the Netherlands, now under Allied control. Hitler had named him Reich Foreign Minister in his Political Testiment, and he now assumes the post as Ribbentrop's successor. Note: Seyss-Inquart, in collusion with Speer and others, had been occupied with thwarting scorched earth orders in the Netherlands in his last months as Reichskommissar.
May 23, 1945: SS Reichsführer Himmler commits suicide.
June 5, 1945: The Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over the government.
June 7, 1945: Justice Jackson sends off a progress report to President Truman: "...The custody and treatment of war criminals and suspects appeared to require immediate attention. I asked the War Department to deny those prisoners who are suspected war criminals the privileges which would appertain to their rank if they were merely prisoners of war; to assemble them at convenient and secure locations for interrogation by our staff; to deny them access to the press; and to hold them in close confinement..."
June 21, 1945: During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration. Chosen mainly because their names are well known to the public, they are assumed to be criminals; little effort has yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that will be available against them. The initial ten: Göring, Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Ribbentrop, Ley (see October 25, 1945, below), Keital, Streicher, Kalenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank and Frick. (Taylor)
June 26, 1945: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
July 1, 1945: US, British, and French occupying forces move into Berlin.
July 7, 1945: US Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Jackson visits a city 91% destroyed by Allied bombs: Nuremberg. He inspects the Palace of Justice and decides to recommend it as a site for the upcoming trials, even though the Soviets much prefer that the trials take place in Berlin, within their own zone of occupation.
July 16, 1945: Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately reffered to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed... ...they roll their own cigarettes." Meanwhile: First US atomic bomb test; the Potsdam Conference begins. (Tusa)
July 17, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of this days Four Power conference session: "...Niktchenko: It would not be necessary to write down in the charter anything about the rights of the defendant not giving answer, because, if he refuses to give answer to the prosecution and to the counsel and to the Tribunal, nothing is to be done, and therefore we do not think it would be necessary to point it out in the charter. But as regards the rights of the prosecutor to interrogate, that is very important. If we do write anything about the defendant's right not to answer, then it would look as if we were preparing the ground for him to do so, and, if he knows about it, he will take advantage of it and refuse to answer. Therefore it is not necessary to mention it..."
July 21, 1945: Justice Jackson returns to Nuremberg to inspect possible housing accomodations with British and French representatives.
July 31, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg: ...Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France - but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip..."
August 1, 1945 Potsdam Conference: At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the subject of trying Nazi war criminals is raised: "...Truman: You are aware that we have appointed Justice Jackson as our representative on the London Commission. He is an outstanding judge and a very experienced jurist. He has a good knowledge of legal procedure. Jackson is opposed to any names of war criminals being mentioned and says that this will hamper their work. He assures us that the trial will be ready within thirty days and that their should be no doubt concerning our view of these men. Stalin: Perhaps we could name fewer persons, say three. Bevin: Our jurists take the same view as the Americans. Stalin: And ours take the opposite view. But perhaps we shall agree that the first list of war criminals to be brought to trial should be published not later than in one month..."
August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Göring continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
August 12, 1945: Justice Jackson releases a statement to the American press: "...The representatives of the United Kingdom have been headed by the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General. The Soviet Republic has been represented by the Vice President of its Supreme Court and by one of the leading scholars of Soviet jurisprudence. The Provisional Government of France has sent a judge of its highest court and a professor most competent in its jurisprudence. It would not be a happy forecast for the future harmony of the world if I could not agree with such representatives of the world's leading systems of administering justice on a common procedure for trial of war criminals..."
August 23, 1945: The four Chief Prosecutors meet in London. Even though Trevor-Roper's findings are not yet known, they determine that Hitler is dead. They also decide, however, that Bormann may very well be alive as the Russian member is uncertain whether or not he is a captive of the Red Army.
August 25, 1945: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants (from the original list of 122), 21 of which known to be alive and actually in custody, including Papen. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot yet confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on October 28. (Conot)
August 28, 1945: Just in time to stop the release of the names of the 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valient Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)
August 29, 1945: The final list of defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody, is still listed; Raeder and Fritzsche are now included, though there is no longer a Krupp. (Conot)
August 29, 1945: The 'Manchester Guardian' reacts to the release of the list of defendants: "Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors - whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have - will try the vanquished."
August 30, 1945: The 'Glasgow Herald' reacts to the release of the list of defendants: "Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them."
September 2, 1945: Victory over Japan Day.
September 5, 1945: President Truman proposes naming former attorney general Francis Biddle as the American judge at Nuremberg during a meeting in Washington, DC with Justice Jackson. The Justice, who does not think highly of Biddle, suggests alternatives, but Biddle will ultimately get the appointment.
September 6, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "Today, I questioned again Dr Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian, and he told me in considerable detail the story of his deeds in Austria. He persists in saying that he was no party to a deeply laid plan to have the Nazis take over Austria. On the contrary, he gives me this account of his meeting of February 17, 1938 with Hitler in Berlin. He meets Hitler by giving the Nazi salute, and says to Hitler, 'You may think it strange that I do it because I recognize you as the leader of all Germans.' Then, Seyss-Inquart and Hitler talk for two hours, and the Austrian tells Hitler, 'I am for Anschluss, but by a slow evolutionary process, and I will be no Trojan Horse.' To all of this Hitler said nothing - merely changing the subject of the conversation according to S-I (Seyss-Inquart)
September 17, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Nikitchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations - mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it."
September 19, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...Yesterday was devoted to Herr Franz von Papen. He is a wily one and a very difficult man to question. He speaks English, of course, very well. He admitted great responsibility for Hitler's rise to power and said he believed Hitler to be 'the greatest crook in history' - so! But he was ever so vague as to when he first concluded that Herr Hitler was a knave."
October 5, 1945: Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's 'Head of National Hygiene.'
October 14, 1945: British representative Sir Geoffrey Lawrence is elected President of the IMT (International Military Tribunal).
October 17, 1945: From the first joint pastoral letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of Austria after liberation: "A war which has raged terribly and horribly, like none other in past epochs of the history of humanity is at an end. ...At an end also is an intellectual battle, the goal of which was the destruction of Christianity and' Church among our people; a campaign of lies and treachery against truth and love, against divine and human rights, and against international law...Direct hostility to the Church was revealed in regulations against orders and monasteries, Catholic schools and institutions, against religious foundations and activities, against the ecclesiastical recreation centers and institutions; without the least rights to defend themselves they were declared enemies of both people and state and their existence destroyed. Religious instruction and education of children and adolescents were purposely limited, frequently entirely prevented. They encouraged in every manner all efforts hostile to religion and the Church and thus sought to rob the children and youth of our people of the most valuable treasure of holy faith and of true morality born of the Spirit of God. Unfortunately the attempt succeeded in innumerable cases to the permanent detriment of young people. Spiritual care of souls in churches and ecclesiastical houses, in hospitals and other institutions was seriously obstructed. It was made ineffectual in the Armed Forces and in the Labor Service, in the transfer of youth to the country and, beyond that, even in individual families and among numerous persons, to say nothing of the prohibition of spiritual ministration to people of another nationality and of other races. How often was the divine service as such, also sermons, missions, Communion days, retreats, processions, pilgrimages, restricted for the most impossible reasons and made entirely impossible! Catholic literature, newspapers, periodicals, church papers, religious writings were stopped, books and libraries destroyed. What an injustice occurred in the dissolution of many Catholic societies, in the destruction of numerous church activities! Individual Catholic and Christian believers, whose religious confession was allegedly free, were spied upon, criticized on account of their belief, scorned on account of their Christian activity. How many religious officials, teachers, public and private employees, laborers, businessmen, and artisans, indeed, even peasants were put under pressure and terror! Many lost their jobs, some were pensioned off, others dismissed without pension, demoted, deprived of their real professional activity. Often enough such people who remained loyal to their convictions were discriminated against, condemned to hunger or tortured in concentration camps. Christianity and the Church were continually scorned and exposed to hatred. The apostasy movement found every assistance. Every opportunity was used to induce many to withdraw from the Church."
October 19, 1945: British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development. Papen: "The accusation amazed me, for these reasons: (1) The irresponsibility with which Germany was cast into this war and a world-wide catastrophe, (2) the vast number of crimes which some of my countrymen have committed. The last point is psychologically inexplicable. I believe that paganism and the years of totalitarian regime are chiefly to blame. Both turned Hitler into a pathological liar in the course of time." (Heydecker)
October 25, 1945: Andrus loses yet another Nazi as the defendant Dr Robert Ley, Hitler's head of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell.
October 27, 1945: Only seven of the defendants have obtained counsel by this date. Papens' first choice, Dr Rudolf Dix, was also requested by Schacht and another defendant. When Schacht tires of waitiing for Dix to decide whom to defend, he hires Professor Kraus, an international lawyer. When Dix finally does consent to defend him, Schacht keeps both lawyers, thus denying Papen his first choice. Papen eventually hires Dr Egon Kubuschok, whom he considers has a 'keen intelligence.' While Papen is satisfied with his choice of counsel, there are many who will regret his choice, including the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Norman Birkett, who will jott down in his trial notes that 'he is not exactly to be described as a wndbag, because that implies some powers of rhetoric and possible elequence. Of these qualities this man is strikingly bereft.' Note: Kubuschok will be assisted in his defense of Papen by the defendant's son, Friedrich. (Tusa, Taylor)
1945: Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Von Papen scores 134. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Andrus is not impressed by the results: 'From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters, I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit.' (Tusa)
December 4, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...On Saterday, the Court held a session lasting until nearly 2 o'clock - the first Saterday session that has been held. A witness, Major General Lahousen, was under cross-examination by the German lawers on Saterday morning. The German attorneys obviously are completely unfamiliar with the art of cross-examination as it is known in English and American procedure and consequently they did a miserable job as a whole. Von Papen's lawyer did succeed in getting in a good stroke for von Papen by getting an admission from the witness that von Papen was not in sympathy with Hitler's policies and that he had remained in Hitler's service in the hope of restraining Hitler and his cohorts to some extent at least. This has been von Papen's principle of defense as I understand it from my conversations with him and I feel that the case against him is extremely weak..."
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 17 the prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, 'The Nazi Plan,' compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreals. Far from viewing the film as another nail in their coffins, the defendants enjoy it hugely. From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe: 'Göring was visibly delighted to see himself once more "in the good times."' Ribbentrop spoke of the gripping force of Hitler's personality, another defendant declared himself happy that the Tribunal would see him at least once in full uniform, and with the dignity of his office." (Taylor)
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Following the viewing of the film, Mr Thomas J. Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the case for the Exploitation of Forced Labor: "...the Defendant Goering, as Plenipotentiary General for the Four Year Plan, is responsible for all of the crimes involved in the Nazi slave labor program. Finally, we propose to show that the Defendant Rosenberg, as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and the Defendant Frank, as Governor of the Government General of Poland, and the Defendant Seyss-lnquart, as Reich Commissar for the occupied Netherlands, and the Defendant Keitel, as Chief of the OKW, share responsibility for the recruitment by force and terror and for the deportation to Germany of the citizens of the areas overrun or subjugated by the Wehrmacht. The use of vast numbers of foreign workers was planned before Germny went to war..."
January 8, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 29, Colonel Leonard Wheeler Jr, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the prosecutions case on the Suppression of Churches: "...the purpose of tying the defendants' responsibility for the persecutions occurring in their respective areas, the Court will bear in mind that the Defendant Frick was the official chiefly responsible for the reorganization of the Eastern territories. The Defendant Frank was head of the Government General from 1939 to 1945. The Defendant Seyss-Inquart was Deputy Governor General there frown 1939 to 1940. And the Defendant Rosenberg was Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories from July 17, 1941 to the end..."
January 19, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 38, M. Jacques B. Herzog continues the prosecution case concerning Nazi slave labor activities in France: "Herzog: ,,,The Defendant Seyss-Inquart introduced the compulsory labor service in the Netherlands by an ordinance of 28 February 1941, published in the Dutch Verordnungsblatt of 1941, Number 42. 1 have referred to this ordinance as Document Number RF-58 in the course of my explanation and asked the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it. As in Belgium the compulsory labor service could originally be enforced in the interior of the occupied territories only; but just as in Belgium, it was soon extended in order to permit the deportation of workers to Germany. The extension was put into realization by an ordinance of Seyss-Inquart of 23 March 1942, which appeared in Number 26 of the Verordnungsblatt, 1942. 1 submit it to the Tribunal as Document Number RF-74, and I ask the Tribunal to add it to the Record. The Defendant Seyss-Inquart has thus paved the way on which the Defendant Sauckel was to be enabled to proceed to action. Sauckel actually utilized all the human potential of the Netherlands. New measures were soon necessary-measures which Seyss-Inquart adopted..."
January 21, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 39, M. Charles's Gerthoffer's Presentatiin of case regarding actions in Western Europe continues: "Gerthoffer: ...Starting from the summer of 1944, the food situation became more and more serious. The Reich Commissioner, Seyss-Inquart, forbade the transport of food stuffs between the western and northern zones of the country. This measure, which was not justified by any military operations, seems only to have been dictated by hatred for the population, only to persecute and intimidate them, to weaken and terrorize them. Not until about December 1944 was this inhuman measure lifted; but it was too late. Famine had already become general. The death rate in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leyden, Delft and Gouda increased considerably, rising from 198 to 260 percent. Diseases which had almost been eliminated from these regions reappeared. Such a situation will have irreparable consequences for the future of the population..."
March 5, 1946: From the interrogation of General Christiansen: "...I think that I can recall that already upon that occasion Seyss-Inquart said that five hostages would be shot. I didn't know any one among these hostages. I did not select these five men, and I had nothing whatsoever to do with their execution. It was a case of a purely political nature in which I became involved in my capacity as commander...I remember now that Lieutenant Colonel Kluter also took part in this conference. There were thus seven participants in all. I therefore transmitted the order to use hostages and Seyss-Inquart said immediately that five men were to be apprehended. You are asking why it was as simple as all that. Obviously Seyss-Inquart had authority to do this...I will ask you to note that at this conference with Seyss-Inquart he expressly reserved the right to appoint hostages..."
March 14, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 81, Hermann Göring testifies on his own behalf, answering a series of leading questions posed by his defense counsel: Göring: "...Then came the Berchtesgaden agreement. I was not present at this. I did not even consent to this agreement, because I opposed any definite statement which lengthened this period of indecision; for me the complete union of all Germans was the only conceivable solution. Shortly after Berchtesgaden there was the plebiscite which the then Chancellor Schuschnigg had called. This plebiscite was of itself an impossibility, a breach of the Berchtesgaden agreement. This I shall pass over, but the way in which this plebiscite was supposed to take place was unique in history. One could vote only by "yes," every person could vote as often as he wanted, five times, six times, seven times. If he tore up the slip of paper, that was counted as "yes," and so on. It has no further interest. In this way it could be seen from the very beginning that if only a few followers of the Schuschnigg system utilized these opportunities sufficiently the result could be only a positive majority for Herr Schuschnigg. That whole thing was a farce. We opposed that. First of all a member of the Austrian Government who was at that moment in Germany, General Von Glaise-Horstenau, was flown to Vienna in order to make clear to Schuschnigg or Seyss-Inquart -- who, since Berchtesgaden, was in Schuschnigg's Cabinet -- that Germany would never tolerate this provocation..."
March 16, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 83, defendant Hermann Göring is cross-examined: "Dr Walter Ballas: I ask the Tribunal to permit me to put a few questions to the witness Göring. They concern the well-known telephone conversations of 11 March 1938, between Berlin and Vienna. (Turning to the witness) Is it correct, that Dr. Seyss-Inquart, when he was appointed Austrian State Councillor in June of 1937, visited you in Berlin accompanied by State Secretary Keppler? Göring: The date, I do not remember; the visit, yes. Dr Ballas: Did Dr. Seyss-Inquart, at that time, express the idea that the Austrian National Socialists should be made entirely independent of the Reich Party? Göring: Wishes of that nature were discussed by him because he wanted as little friction as possible in his work in the cabinet. Dr Ballas: At that time he further mentioned -- and I would like you to answer, whether it is correct -- that the National Socialists were to be given permission to be active in Austria, in order to establish as close a relationship between Austria and Germany as possible within the framework of an independent Austria. Göring: As far as Party matters are concerned, I do not remember exactly what was discussed. The scheme of keeping Austria independent in its collaboration with Germany was repeatedly advocated by Seyss-Inquart, and I have recently outlined it. It seemed to me personally not extensive enough. Just because I knew this attitude of Seyss-Inquart, I must say frankly that I was a little distrustful of his attitude..."
March 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 84, Hermann Göring is cross-examined by Justice Jackson, the chief US prosecutor: "Göring: ... never had any misgivings about Austria leading to a war, as I had with the Rhineland occupation, for in the case of the Rhineland occupation I could well imagine that there might be repercussions. But how there could be any repercussions from abroad over the union of two brother nations of purely German blood was not clear to me, especially since Italy, who always pretended that she had a vital interest in a separate Austria, had somewhat changed her ideas. It could not have mattered in the least to England and France, nor could they have had the slightest interest in this union. Therefore I did not see the danger of its leading to a war. Mr. Justice Jackson: I ask you just a few questions about Austria. You said that you and Hitler had felt deep regret about the death of Dollfuss, and I ask you if it is not a fact that Hitler put up a plaque in Vienna in honor of the men who murdered Dollfuss, and went and put a wreath on their graves when he was there. Is that a fact? Can you not answer that question with "yes" or "no"? Göring: No, I cannot answer it with either "yes" or "no," if I am to speak the truth according to my oath. I cannot say, "Yes, he did it," because I do not know; I cannot say, "No, he did not do it," because I do not know that either. I want to say that I heard about this event here for the first time. Mr. Justice Jackson: Now, in June of 1937, Seyss-Inquart came to you and State Secretary Keppler, and you had some negotiations. Göring: Yes. Mr. Justice Jackson: And it was Seyss-Inquart's desire to have an independent Austria, was it not? Göring: As far as I remember, yes..."
April 9, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 103, Dr Gustav Steinbauer, Counsel for Defendant Seyss-Inquart, cross-examines Dr Hans Heinrich Lammers, who has been called to the stand by Keitel's defense: "Dr Steinbauer: Witness, one day after the German troops marched into Austria a law was published-on 13 March 1938-which has the heading, "Law for the Reunion of Austria with the German Reich." Seyss-Inquart and his Government were surprised by the contents of this law. I now ask you whether you know the details as to how this law was decreed in Linz on 13 March 1938. Lammers: Like every other radio listener I heard about the march of German troops into Austria through the radio. And since I assumed that I might be needed I went to Vienna. At that point the law had already been signed and published. I did not participate in the drafting of this law; the Minister of the Interior and State Secretary Stuckart drafted that law. I did not work on it at all, because I did not even know that this action was to take place. Dr Steinbauer: Did these gentlemen you just mentioned tell you, perhaps, why this law was published so precipitately? Lammers: It was the wish of the Fuehrer. Dr Steinbauer: Thank you. At the same time Dr. Seyss-Inquart was named an SS-Obergruppenfuehr
April 25, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 114, Hans Bernd Gisevius continues his testimony: "Gisevius: ...the attempt at assassination would perhaps have succeeded, if Goering and Himmler had been with Hitler on 17 July. But as the years went by, the members of this clique separated to such an extent, and protected themselves so much that they could hardly be found together anywhere. Goering, too, was gradually so absorbed in his transactions and art collections at Karinhall that he was hardly ever to be found at a serious conference. Justice Jackson: Now, the assassination of Hitler would have accomplished nothing from your point of view if the Number 2 man had stepped into Hitler's place, would it? Gisevius: That was a debatable problem for a long time, because Brauchitsch, for instance, imagined that we could create a transitional regime with Goering. Our group always refused to come together with that man even for an hour. Justice Jackson: How did you plan-if you were successful-to deal with the other defendants here, with the exception of the Defendant Schacht, all of whom, I understand, you regard as a part of the Nazi government? Gisevius: These gentlemen would have been behind lock and key in an extremely short time, and I think they would not have had to wait long for their sentences. Justice Jackson: Now, does that apply to every man in this dock with the exception of Schacht? Gisevius: Yes, every man. Justice Jackson: That is, you recognized them, your group recognized them all as parts and important parts of the Nazi regime-a Nazi conspiracy. Is that a fact? Gisevius: I should not like to commit myself to the words 'Nazi conspiracy.' We considered them the men responsible for all the unspeakable misery which that government had brought to Germany and the world..."
May 23, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "When I consider the utter uselessness of acres of paper and thousands of words and that life's slipping away. I moan for the shocking waste of time, I used to protest vigorously and suggest matters to save time, but I have now got completely dispirited and can only chafe in impotent despair..."
June 10, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 151, Seyss-Inquart testifies on his own behalf: "Seyss-Inquart: ...In Putten there was an attack on German officers. Three were murdered. The whole thing took place within the Armed Forces, the SS, and the Police; and I knew that measures of reprisal were planned. I myself, at that time, was concerned with the construction of defenses. The Higher SS and Police Leader informed me that he had received the order to burn the village of Putten, and to transfer the male population to a concentration camp in the Reich. However, he had reduced the figure to 40 percent, and later on he reported to me that there was a high mortality rate in German concentration camps. Both he and I applied to the military commander to have these men returned. The military commander agreed. Whether this order could still be carried out I do not know..."
"The tall, introverted Seyss-Inquart, who had led Austria into the Anschluss with Germany, limped badly as a result of a World War I wound that left one leg shorter than the other. A highly intelligent sophist and opportunist, his studious, slightly fish-eyed appearance was accentuated by his thick-lensed glasses...Limping to the witness stand, his eyes swimming like egg yolks behind his thick glasses, Seyss-Inquart presented the image of a colorless bureaucrat, neither evil nor immortal: a politically vapid, lukewarm Nazi who had not joined the party until two months after the Anschluss which he had brokered...Although Seyss-Inquart had been indicted for his role in the Anschluss as much as for his administration of Holland, it was his actions in the Netherlands on which he was going to be primarily judged." -From 'Justice at Nuremberg' by Robert E. Conot."
June 11, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 152 of deliberations, Seyss-Inquart undergoes tough cross-examination: "...M. Debenest: You spoke yesterday of the sterilization of the Jews in Holland. Who introduced this measure? Seyss-Inquart: If you say "introduced," I believe that I can answer the question correctly. The Security Police informed me that a number of Jews had themselves sterilized by Jewish doctors and that thereupon these Jews were freed of all restrictions and could dispense with the wearing of the Jewish star. These were not Jews who otherwise would have been evacuated, but who would have remained in Holland subject to certain restrictions. I asked the head of my health department to investigate the matter. He informed me that this was a very serious operation in the case of women, and thereupon I asked the Higher SS and Police Leader to forbid this action, at least in the case of women. Then the Christian churches protested to me. I answered the Christian churches - I assume you have the letter in your files - describing the state of affairs and pointing out expressly that no compulsion must be exerted here. Shortly thereafter this action was finished. As I heard, the Christian churches informed the Jews, and when they were sure that no compulsion would be exerted on them they no longer submitted themselves to this operation. I myself returned their property to the Jews in question, and the matter was ended; although I must say today that the further away one is from this period of time, the less understandable it is..."
"In prison at Nuremberg, he (Seyss-Inquart) responded to those around him with a sensitivity which was rare among the defendants. He wrote to his wife about the prison workers who carried out menial tasks under the supervision of Andrus's guards: 'They are the real mourners. How have they reacted to the fact that only because of us they were not already long united with their families?' Other defendants hated the guards for their noisiness and brash behavior, forcing unwelcome conversation on the prisoners by leaning through the hatch in the door of the cell, cadging autographs. Only Seyss-Inquart had any sympathy for them: 'They are young, very young...Is it any wonder that they are impatient and restless...After a short time nearly all of them have been friendly and open, as far as the rules allow.' But that kind of sympathetic understanding needs to be compared with Seyss-Inquart's offer in 1943 to Dutch Jews who had mixed marriages to choose between Auschwitz and sterilization. His testimony did not leave a good impression...The only defence Seyss-Inquart had been able to give was that his administration in Holland could have been worse. He might be satisfied to compare himself against Frank in Poland or Koch in the Ukraine; the Tribunal must measure him against the law." -From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa.
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 153, Seyss-Inquart undergoes tough cross-examination: "Seyss-Inquart: ...I ask the Court to consider that the most important and most decisive motive for me was always the fact that the German people were engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Today looking at it from another perspective the picture looks different. At that time, if we told ourselves that the Jews would be kept together in some camp, even if under severe conditions, and that after the end of the war they would find a settlement somewhere, the misgivings caused by this had to be cast aside in view of the consideration that their presence in the battle area might weaken the German power of resistance. In the course of 1943 I spoke with Hitler and called his attention to this problem in the Netherlands. In his own convincing way he reassured me and at the same time admitted that he was thinking of a permanent evacuation of the Jews, if possible, from all of Europe with which Germany wanted to maintain friendly relations. He wanted to have the Jews settled on the eastern border of the German sphere of interest insofar as they were not able to emigrate to other parts of the earth. At the beginning of 1944 I spoke with Himmler, whom I happened to meet in southern Bavaria. I asked him in a determined manner about the Jews in the Netherlands. The fact that our Eastern Front was being withdrawn meant that the camps would be in the battle area in the course of time, or at least in the rear area. I was afraid that the lot of the Jews would become even more serious then. Himmler said something to the following effect: "Do not worry; they are my best workers." I could not imagine that the Jews capable of labor were working while their relatives were being destroyed. I believed that in that case one could expect nothing else than that every Jew would attack a German and strangle him..."
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Edmund Glaise-Horstenau to the stand: "Dr Steinbauer: Then you flew to Vienna and met Seyss-Inquart. What did you do with him on that critical morning of 11 March? Glaise-Horstenau: Seyss-Inquart met me at the airport. I advised him briefly about what had taken place in Berlin, and made entirely clear to him the grave misgivings which I had. Together, Seyss-Inquart and I, at 11 o'clock in the morning, shortly after my arrival, went to see Schuschnigg. While Seyss-Inquart placed before Schuschnigg certain inner political problems which I did not know about because I had been absent, I pointed out to Schuschnigg, who was on the verge of tears, that there was great danger of new world complications, even of a new world war, and implored him to give in and to rescind the plebiscite which was scheduled for Sunday. Dr Steinbauer: Did you and Seyss-Inquart offer to resign? Glaise-Horstenau: I cannot recall whether we went so far orally. This discussion was comparatively brief, but afterwards, at about 1 o'clock, we offered to resign. For this neither a decree by Hitler nor a decree by the National Socialist leader, Klausner, was necessary. Already on Thursday evening I had made my decision in the home of Burckel that, in connection with the plebiscite, I would also make use of this traditional method of ministerial resignation in order to prevent the worst, if possible. Dr Steinbauer: And how did Schuschnigg react to this proposal to postpone the plebiscite? Glaise-Horstenau: Schuschnigg at first was rather reserved, but at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Guido Schmidt and Guido Zernatto-I do not have to tell you who these gentlemen were- made efforts to establish a modus vivendi with Seyss-Inquart. I myself kept in the background since my mission had already been fully accomplished on 12 February. Dr Steinbauer: And what did Seyss-Inquart do in the afternoon? Glaise-Horstenau: Shortly after this discussion, which led to no result, Schuschnigg still hesitated. But finally, he declared that in accordance with the wishes expressed he would postpone the Sunday plebiscite. I believed that the worst had passed. A short time thereafter Seyss-Inquart was called to the telephone, and returned visibly agitated, saying that he had been advised from Berlin that Hitler could not work any longer with Schuschnigg, and that Seyss-Inquart was to demand succession to the post of Chancellor. Seyss-Inquart invited me to go with him to Schuschnigg. I turned this down for reasons of delicacy. Seyss-Inquart went in alone and returned after a brief period, and we had a discussion which seems to me to be of importance to this Court. He was confident of receiving the Chancellorship, and said to me, almost with an undertone of regret: "Now we will have to take in the Nazis after all, and we shall work with the Catholics and others who are of similar trends to establish a political combine with which I shall govern." However, he was going to demand of Hitler, as far as internal politics were concerned, an agreement of 5 years' tranquillity. Dr Steinbauer: And, of course, Hitler did not agree to that. Instead he marched into Austria..."
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Friedrich Rainer to the stand: Rainer: "...The Anschluss, at that time, was not the subject matter of our discussion. The idea of the Anschluss was a point in the program of all Austrian parties; it remained the ideal goal for all of us. In this case, however, what we were concerned with was that the Austrian State should once again steer a course toward Germany and that internal conditions should be peaceful. The difficulty in this connection was that the State founded by Dollfuss and Schuschnigg, by disregarding the democratic constitution, was going to permit only a one-party system. It was particularly difficult, therefore, to draw into participation and to legalize the great mass of the opposition of the National wing. That task, according to Seyss-Inquart's conception and my own, was to be carried out without further bloodshed by peaceful means. With good will on both sides and a postponement of radical means such a way seemed possible..."
June 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 154, Friedrich Rainer continues his testimony for Seyss-Inquart's defense: Rainer: "...Some time after the Anschluss there were hostile activities, intrigues against Dr. Seyss-Inquart and some other people. They came from dissatisfied radical elements in Austria and the Reich. They took advantage of Dr. Seyss-Inquart's hesitant attitude on 11 March, his clinging to the revolutionary line and to the principles of the two agreements between the two States, to accuse him of being a separatist or even worse... Dr Steinbauer: Perhaps, Witness, you can be a little more brief. Rainer: These people seemed to be dangerous, because Burckel and, I believe, Heydrich too, were behind them..."
June 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Dr. Guido Schmidt to the stand: "Dr Steinbauer: Now we will pass over events until we come to March. Schuschnigg planned a plebiscite. Do you know whether Schuschnigg informed Seyss-Inquart of this and discussed it with him? Dr Schmidt: Yes, Seyss-Inquart was informed of it. I learned that an agreement between Seyss-Inquart and the Federal Chancellor was reached on or about 10 March. The Chancellor told me that Seyss-Inquart had declared himself willing to speak on the radio in favor of the election. Dr Steinbauer: When Glaise-Horstenau reported that there was a threat of invasion, did you, in your capacity as Foreign Minister, inform the foreign powers of this? Dr Schmidt: Yes. I did not receive a 'direct report from Glaise-Horstenau. I learned of the critical situation only from the ultimatum which demanded the cancellation of the plebiscite planned by the Federal Chancellor on 13 March. From then on there was constant contact during 11 March with the diplomatic corps in Vienna and later, during the hours which followed, with our foreign representatives also. Dr Steinbauer: Then the demands of the German Reich followed closely upon one another. Especially, the demand was made that Schuschnigg should resign. The ministers were assembled, and a member of the Government is said to have told SeyssInquart the following: "We now see clearly that the Reich is putting an end to Austria. It would be best for Seyss-Inquart to take over the office of Chancellor so that the transition may at least be bearable." Do you remember such a statement? Dr Schmidt: No. Only later did I hear of a statement by Minister Glaise-Horstenau which contained this request to Seyss-Inquart..."
June 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Michael Skubl to the stand: "Dr Steinbauer: When Seyss-Inquart became Minister, were you attached to him in your capacity as State Secretary and Inspector General at the same time? Skubl: Yes. When Seyss-Inquart was appointed Minister of the Interior and of Security, I was attached to him as State Secretary. Consequently, I was directly subordinate to him, whereas until that time I had been subordinated directly to the Federal Chancellor as Chief of Security. Dr Steinbauer: Were the police and the constabulary in your hands or in the hands of Seyss-Inquart, practically speaking? Skubl: Practically speaking, they had been in my hands. Dr Steinbauer: Did you have the particular task of combating illegal movements? Skubl: As Chief of Police and State Secretary for Matters of Public one of my leading tasks was, of course, to combat illegal movements, and particularly National Socialist aggression. Dr Steinbauer: Did you observe any connection between Seyss-Inquart and the July 1934 Putsch? I mean, when Dollfuss was murdered. Skubl: No. Dr Steinbauer: What was his attitude in general towards National Socialism? Skubl: Dr. Seyss-Inquart admitted being a National Socialist. However, as far as I know, the so-cared 120 or 150 percent National Socialists-that is to say, the leaders of the illegal movement lid not consider him a 100 percent National Socialist. He was, however, considered a very suitable person to be used as a piece on the chessboard of the National Socialist movement. Dr Steinbauer: If I understand you correctly, then, he was more a person who was led than a person who was leading? Skubl: It was my impression that he was more led than leading to Seyss-Inquart..."
June 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls former general for internal administration and justice in the Netherlands, Dr. Friedrich Wimmer, to the stand: "Dr Steinbauer: Seyss-Inquart has been accused of dissolving the political parties. When and why did that take place? Wimmer: The dissolution of the political parties was necessitated by the fact that some political parties displayed an attitude which, especially in critical times, the occupying power could not tolerate, apart from the fact that in an occupied territory it is generally difficult, if not impossible, to deal with political parties. Report after report came from our intelligence services about conspiracies of the most various kinds, and so the Reich Commissioner felt himself called upon to dissolve the parties. Nevertheless, he did not constitutionally remove the parties as such; the institution of parties, as such, still remained. Dr Steinbauer: It was suggested on the part of the Reich that the administration be reorganized and that the Netherlands be divided into five administrative districts instead of the traditional provinces. Did Seyss-Inquart do that? Wimmer: The Reich Commissioner refused such suggestions or demands every time, and indeed he could do that all the more easily because the Dutch administration was on a high level and primarily because the Reich Commissioner expected, and on the basis of all kinds of assurances was able to expect, that the Dutch administration would co-operate with the occupying power..."
June 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls former Secretary General of the Economic and Agricultural Ministries in the Netherlands, Dr. Heinz Max Hirschfeld, to the stand: "Hirschfeld: In this conversation (with Seyss-Inquart) he told me that in view of military developments he feared that the Armed Forces might receive an order to destroy the western part of the country. At that time he discussed with me to what extent it would be possible to keep the western part of the Netherlands out of hostilities. On 7 January 1945 this conversation was continued. As a result of this conversation I attempted to establish contact with London on this question. I did not succeed in obtaining an answer. These reports had to be made by secret radio stations. I never learned whether it was even possible to get one through. Then the Reich Commissioner visited me on 2 April and told me that the "scorched earth" order had arrived and that he had called on Speer for that reason. Speer had told him that the Reich Commissioner did not need to carry out this order in the civilian sphere. But Speer could not speak for the Armed Forces. Therefore, the Reich Commissioner had also talked with General Blaskowitz. Blaskowitz had told him that orders were orders, but if a way could be found to avoid this order he would be ready to do so. Then the Reich Commissioner asked me what possibilities I could see. This discussion was the result of a communication which I reported to London by telegram in April 1945. It was confirmed to me that this report had reached London. Further conversations followed then..."June 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 157, Von Papen testifies: "Von Papen: ...At that time I was very pleased that the Austrian Chancellor had also included Dr. Seyss-Inquart, whom I knew personally, in this work of appeasement. At this point I consider it only fair to make a correction. The Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs has reported a conversation which he had with me at Ankara, in October 1943. I told him at the time-and I also repeated my statement during my preliminary interrogation-
July 16, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...The defendants reflect the ending of these proceedings. They seem to feel that the days are definitely numbered. Even Goering, who has been positively impish up to very recently, now is gray and crestfallen. Keital wears the mask of the doomed already. And so it goes through the entire dock. General Jodl and Seyss-Inquart being exceptions to some extent and mostly because they are more stable emotionally.
July 19, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Day 182; Dr Steinbauer makes his regretable closing statement in Seyss-Inquart's defense: "Dr Steinbauer: ...I visualize the march of the Jews from Dubno which slowly approaches the place of execution, how the individual victims help each other to undress, how the little boy persuades his parents to die bravely, and how they carry an old woman whose lameness prevents her from taking the few steps to the pit where the deadly bullet from the submachine gun awaits her. I once more hear the testimony of the French journalist, Marie Claude Vaillant-Couturier, who describes in deeply touching words how the sacred experiences of maternity and female honor were shamelessly trampled under foot in the extermination camp. Auschwitz alone has swallowed up 3 1/2 million people - men, women, and children. That is really the most terrible weapon of the Indictment, that the spirits of all these innocent victims stand beside the prosecutor, admonishing and demanding revenge. But I do not stand alone, either. The many innocent war victims on the German side, women and children who have fallen victim to the terror attacks which violated international law, in Freiburg, in Cologne, in Dresden, in Hamburg, Berlin, and Vienna, and in almost all other German cities, stand beside me. My comrades from the Armed Forces, who, as honest and decent soldiers, have sacrificed their lives for the fatherland by the hundred thousand, young and old, faithful to their Oath of allegiance, also stand by my side..."
"Seyss-Inquart's counsel, Dr Steinbauer, was well aware that his client had left the witness stand shouldering a substantial burden of admitted violations of the Charter and of the laws of war. Seyss-Inquart's plight was no doubt intensified by his own refusal to denounce Hitler or the Nazi government. Under these circumstances it was apparent that the only possibility of less than a very heavy sentence depended on showing important grounds for mitigation. In my opinion, Steinbauer followed this avenue to a degree, but insufficiently. To begin with, he devoted the first half of his nearly day-long argument to the years culminating in the Anschluss, in which Seyss-Inquart played an important part but did nothing criminal. Steinbauer then payed no attention to his clients positions 9n Austria after the Anschluss, or in Poland, although in both capacities he had engaged in anti-Semitic statements and actions. Steinbauer failed to make plausible arguments that since Austria had become part of the Reich, the defendants acts there, even if culpable, were not war crimes. Nor did he point out that in Poland, Seyss-Inquart's statements were not shown to have had any criminal consequences. The prime area of decision on Seyss-Inquart's case and fate, in any event, lay in his conduct as Reich Commissioner in Holland throughout the years of the Netherlands' occupation by the Germans. There was no denying that Seyss-Inquart had violated the laws of war with respect to treatment of the Dutch Jews and deportation of forced labor. Steinbauer, like many of his colleagues, argued strenuously that 'crimes against peace' had no legal basis, that the rules of the Hague Convention were obsolete, and the obedience to orders and military necessity justified everything the defendant had done. But months before Steinbauer's argument it had become apparent that these arguments were not likely to prevail with the Tribunal. A defendants proven actions for the benefit of public safety and welfare might, however, have positive results. Steinbauer had included a number of such actions in his address, but it had not be assembled and described in such a way as to impress the listener the way Speers description of his own prevention of Hitler's scorched earth policy had been presented. Steinbauer hed testimonial evidence from Dr Hirshfeld, a high Dutch administrative official, from Doenitz, from General Philipp (Commander of the German troops in Holland), and from British and American generals, which confirmed Seyss-Inquart's vital role in preventing the inundation of large areas in Holland by German-planned destruction of dikes and locks. Steinbauer made brief mention of these matters near the end of his address, but neither he nor his client had much skill as a press agent." -From 'The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials' by Telford Taylor.
July 22, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 183, Steinbauer completes his disastrous closing statement: "...In their trial brief the Prosecution state that Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart alone bears full responsibility for the carrying out of the Nazi program to persecute the Jews in Holland, and that in his Amsterdam speech before the members of the NSDAP on 13 March 1941 he himself declared: 'To us the Jews are not Dutchmen; to National Socialism and to the National Socialist Reich the Jews represent the enemy.' In that speech Seyss-Inquart also explains why, as defender of the interests of the Reich, he believed he had to adopt that attitude toward the Jews. He knew them to be people who, through their influence on the German people, would paralyze their will to resist, and who would always prove to be the enemies of the German people. But this speech shows more than anything else that Seyss-Inquart considered all measures against the Jews as security measures for the duration of the war only..."
July 22, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 187, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Seyss-Inquart: Justice Jackson: "...Seyss-Inquart, spearhead of the Austrian fifth column, took over the government of his own country only to make a present of it to Hitler, and then, moving north, brought terror and oppression to the Netherlands and pillaged its economy for the benefit of the German juggernaut."
July 30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 190, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments: Rudenko: "...Seyss-Inquart's task in the West, as well as that of the other Reich ministers and commissioners in all territories occupied by the Germans, is well known: It is the function of hangman and plunderer. My colleagues have given the details about the criminal part played by Seyss-Inquart when annexing Austria and realizing other aggressive plans of the Hitlerite conspiracy. They have clearly shown how Seyss-Inquart applied in the Netherlands the bloody experience gained by him while collaborating with Frank in Poland. For this reason I fully support the charges against Seyss-Inquart as formulated in the Indictment..."
August 30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 216 of deliberations, the defendants make their final statements: Final Statement of Arthur Seyss-Inquart: "Mr. President, in my final words I want to make one more contribution in my power toward clearing up the matters which have been treated here, by explaining the personal motives and considerations for my actions. I have little to say concerning the Austrian question. I regard the Anschluss, apart from later events, as an exclusively German domestic affair. For every Austrian the Anschluss was a goal in itself and never, even remotely, a preparatory step for a war of aggression. The idea of the Anschluss, was much too important a goal for that; indeed, it was the outstanding goal of the German people. "To the German people I make a report of the greatest success of my life." I believed these words of the Fuehrer when he spoke on 15 March 1938 in the Hofburg in Vienna. Moreover, they were true. When on 11 March 1938 at about 8 o'clock in the evening, and after the complete breakdown of every other political and state authority, I followed the way prescribed by Berlin, the reason was that the unjustified opposition to the carrying out of orderly elections had opened the doors to radical action, practically as well as psychologically. I asked myself whether I had the right to oppose these methods, after my plan had apparently not been practicable. However, since this procedure appeared justified, I felt it my duty to lend such aid as I could under the circumstances. I am convinced that it is due mainly to my aid that this fundamental revolution, particularly during the night of 12 March, took place so quietly and without bloodshed, although strong hatred was pent up in the hearts of the Austrian National Socialists. I was in favor of the unity of all Germans, no matter what form of government Germany had. I believe that the Prosecution is utilizing documents of the period following the Anschluss in order to deduce my plans for annexation and aggression. These are documents and remarks regarding the Danube area and Czechoslovakia dated later than I October 1938, and after the Munich Agreement, and regarding the Vistula area later than 1 September 1939, after the outbreak of war. I admit these statements, and in the mean time their correctness has been confirmed. As long as the Danube area was incorporated in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy its development was beneficial to all, and the German element did not display any imperialistic activity, but only furthered and contributed to culture and industry. Ever since this area was broken up by the integral success of the nationalistic principle, it has never achieved peace. Remembering this, I thought of reorganizing a common Lebensraum, which, as I openly declared, should give as the most essential requirement such a social order to all, namely, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, and Romanians, as would make life worth living for every individual. I also thought of Czechoslovakia with this in mind, recalling the co-ordination of languages in Moravia, which I myself had witnessed. If I spoke of the Vistula area after 1 September 1939 as a German area of destiny, this was out of my endeavor to prevent dangers for the future, which had become obvious through the outbreak of war and which have today become a terrible reality to every German. These statements can no more serve as evidence of the intention to wage a war of aggression than the decision of Teheran concerning the German eastern territories. Then the war broke out, which I immediately recognized then and afterwards as a life-and-death struggle for the German people. To the demand for an unconditional surrender I could only oppose an unconditional "no" and my unconditional service to my country. I believe in the words of Rathenau: "Courageous nations can be broken, but never bent." In connection with the Netherlands, I should like to say only the following with reference to the charge that I interfered in the administration for political purposes. Nobody in the Netherlands was forced into any political allegiance or limited in his freedom or property if he harbored anti-German ideas during the occupation, as long as he did not engage in hostile activity. I have already explained that I had serious humane and legal scruples against the evacuation of the Jews. Today I must say to myself that there appears to be a fundamental justification for large-scale and permanent evacuations, for such evacuations are today affecting more than 10 million Germans who have been settled in their homes for many centuries. After the middle of 1944, saboteurs and terrorists were shot by the Police on the basis of a direct Fuehrer order, if their activity was proved. During this time I only heard of shootings of this kind, never of "shootings of hostages" in the actual sense. The Dutch patriots who lost their lives during the occupation are today rightly considered fallen heroes. Does it not put this heroism on a lower plane to represent them exclusively as the victims of a crime, thus implying that their conduct would not have been so hazardous at all if the occupying power had conducted itself in a proper manner? They all stood in a voluntary and active connection with the resistance movement. They share the fate of front-line soldiers: the bullet hits the man who is active in a danger zone. Could I have been the friend of the Dutch, the overwhelming majority of whom were against my people, which, in turn, was fighting for its existence? Besides, I have only regretted that I did not come to the country as a friend. But I was neither a hangman nor, of my own will, a plunderer, as the Soviet Prosecution contends. My conscience is untroubled to the extent that the biological condition of the Dutch people during the period of my full responsibility-that is, up to the middle of 1944 was better than in the first World War, when it was neither occupied nor blockaded. This is evidenced by the statistics of marriages and births and by the mortality and illness figures. This is certainly also to be attributed to the effects of a number of measures instituted by me, for example, an extensive health insurance, contributions to married couples and children, graduation of the income tax according to social position, et cetera. Finally, I did not carry out the order to destroy the country, which was issued to me, and on my own initiative I put an end to the occupation for defense purposes when resistance in Holland had become senseless. I have two more statements regarding Austria. If the Germans in Austria wish their common destiny with the Germans in the Reich to become a reality inwardly and outwardly, then no authoritarian obstacles ought to be opposed to this wish, and no room given for interference by non-German forces in this decision. Otherwise, the whole German people would follow the most radical trend towards an Anschluss without considering how the rest of the political program of such a movement might be constituted. Secondly, on the question of the effectiveness of provisions of international law during a war: From the point of view of her own interests Germany cannot desire any war. She must even see to it that no weapons are forced into her hands. The other nations do not want a war, either, but that possibility is never absolutely out of the question unless nations abhor it. It is, therefore, wrong to try to minimize a future war and reduce the defensive forces in the nations by creating the impression that a future world war could in some way be kept within the framework of the Hague Conventions on Land Warfare, or some other international agreement. And now I probably still owe an explanation regarding my attitude to Adolf Hitler. Since he saw the measure of all things only in himself, did he prove himself incapable of fulfilling a decisive task for the German people, indeed, for Europe itself, or was he a man who struggled, although in vain, even to the point of committing unimaginable excesses, against ' the course of an inexorable fate? To me he remains the man who made Greater Germany a fact in German history. I served this man. And now? I cannot today cry "Crucify him," since yesterday I cried "Hosanna." Finally I thank my defense counsel for the care and circumspection he has employed in my defense. My last word is the principle by which I have always acted and to which I will adhere to my last breath: "I believe in Germany."
September 1-30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: The thirty-two American journalists covering the trial had created a blackboard in the foreign press room listing the correspondents' predictions concerning the defendants' sentences in columns headed 'Guilty,' 'Not Guilty,' 'Death Sentence' and 'Prison.' The pressmen were unanimous on the death sentence only for Göring, Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner; as regards the rest, bets on the death sentence were: Keital and Sauckel 29, Hans Frank 27, Seyss-Inquart 26, Rosenberg 24, Hess 17, Raeder 15, Dönitz and Streicher 14, Jodl 13, Frick 12, Speer 11, von Schirach 9, von Papen 6, Schact 4, von Neurath 3 and Fritzsche 1. (Maser)
September 30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgements are read in open court. Final Judgement: "Seyss-Inquart is indicted under all four Counts. Seyss-Inquart, an Austrian attorney, was appointed State Councillor in Austria in May 1937 as a result of German pressure. He had been associated with the Austrian Nazi Party since 1931, but had often had difficulties with that party and did not actually join the Nazi Party until 13 March 1938. He was appointed Austrian Minister of Security and Interior with control over the police pursuant to one of the conditions which Hitler had imposed on Schuschnigg in the Berchtesgaden conference of 12 February 1938. Activities in Austria: Seyss-Inquart participated in the last stages of the Nazi intrigue which preceded the German occupation of Austria and was made Chancellor of Austria as a result of German threats of invasion. On 12 March 1938, Seyss-Inquart met Hitler at Linz and made a speech welcoming the German forces and advocating the reunion of Germany and Austria. On 13 March, he obtained the passage of a law providing that Austria should become a province of Germany and succeeded Miklas as President of Austria when Miklas resigned rather than sign the law. Seyss-Inquart's title was changed to Reich Governor of Austria on 15 March 1938, and on the same day he was given the title of a general in the SS. He was made a Reich Minister without Portfolio on 1 May 1939. On 11 March 1939, he visited the Slovakian Cabinet in Bratislava and induced them to declare their independence in a way which fitted in closely with Hitler's offensive against the independence of Czechoslovakia. As Reich Governor of Austria, Seyss-Inquart instituted a program of confiscating Jewish property. Under his regime Jews were forced to emigrate, were sent to concentration camps, and were subject to pogroms. At the end of his regime he co-operated with the Security Police and SD in the deportation of Jews from Austria to the East. While he was Governor of Austria, political opponents of the Nazis were sent to concentration camps by the Gestapo, mistreated, and often killed. Criminal Activities in Poland and the Netherlands: In September 1939, Seyss-Inquart was appointed Chief Of Civil Administration of South Poland. On 12 October 1939, Seyss-Inquart was made Deputy Governor General of the Government General of Poland under Frank. On 18 May 1940, Seyss-Inquart was appointed Reich Commissioner for Occupied Netherlands. In these positions he assumed responsibility for governing territory which had been occupied by aggressive wars and the administration of which was of vital importance in the aggressive war being waged by Germany. As Deputy Governor General of the Government General of Poland, Seyss-Inquart was a supporter of the harsh occupation policies which were put in effect. In November 1939, while on an inspection tour through the Government General, Seyss-Inquart stated that Poland was to be so administered as to exploit its economic resources for the benefit of Germany. Seyss-Inquart also advocated the persecution of Jews and was informed of the beginning of the AB Action which involved the murder of many Polish intellectuals. As Reich Commissioner for Occupied Netherlands, Seyss-Inquart was ruthless in applying terrorism to suppress all opposition to the German occupation, a program which he described as "annihilating" his opponents. In collaboration with the local Higher SS and Police Leaders he was involved in the shooting- of hostages for offenses against the occupation authorities and sending to concentration camps all suspected opponents of occupation policies, including priests and educators. Many of the Dutch police were forced to participate in these programs by threats of reprisal against their families. Dutch courts were also forced to participate in this program, but when they indicated their reluctance to give sentences of imprisonment because so many prisoners were in fact killed, a greater emphasis was placed on the use of summary police courts. Seyss-Inquart carried out the economic administration of the Netherlands without regard for rule's of the Hague Convention, which he described as obsolete. Instead, a policy was adopted for the maximum utilization of the economic potential of the Netherlands, and executed with small regard for its effect on the inhabitants. There was widespread pillage of public and private property which was given color of legality by Seyss-Inquart's regulations and assisted by manipulations of the financial institutions of the Netherlands under his control. As Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands, Seyss-Inquart immediately began sending forced laborers to Germany. Until 1942, labor service in Germany was theoretically voluntary, but was actually coerced by strong economic and governmental pressure. In 1942 Seyss-Inquart formally decreed compulsory labor service, and utilized the services of the Security Police and SD to prevent evasion of his. order. During the occupation over 500,000 people were sent from the Netherlands to the Reich as laborers, and only a very small proportion were actually volunteers. One of Seyss-Inquart's first steps as Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands was to put into effect a series of laws imposing economic discriminations against the Jews. This was followed by decrees requiring their registration, decrees compelling them to reside in ghettos and to wear the star of David, sporadic arrests and detention in concentration camps, and finally, at the suggestion of Heydrich, the mass deportation of almost 120,000 of Holland's 140,000 Jews to Auschwitz and the "final solution." Seyss-Inquart admits knowing that they were going to Auschwitz, but claims that he heard from people who had been to Auschwitz that the Jews were comparatively well-off there, and that he thought that they were being held there for resettlement after the war. In the light of the evidence and on account of his official position it is impossible to believe this claim. Seyss-Inquart contends that he was not responsible for many of the crimes committed in the occupation of the Netherlands because they were either ordered from the Reich, committed by the Army, over which he had no control, or by the German Higher SS and Police Leader who, he claims, reported directly to Himmler. It is true that some of the excesses were the responsibility of the Army, and that the Higher SS and Police Leader, although he was at the disposal of Seyss-Inquart, could always report directly to Himmler. It is also true, that in certain cases Seyss-Inquart Opposed the extreme measures used by these other agencies, as when he was largely successful in preventing the Army from carrying out a scorched earth policy, and urged the Higher SS and Police Leaders to reduce the number of hostages to be shot. But the fact remains that Seyss-Inquart was a knowing and voluntary participant in War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity which were committed in the occupation of the Netherlands. Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Seyss-Inquart is guilty under Counts Two, Three, and Four; Seyss-Inquart is not guilty on Count One."
October 1, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed own: "Defendant Arthur Seyss-Inquart, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging. Dr Gilbert recorded Seyss-Inquarts reaction later in his cell: "Death by hanging...well, in view of the whole situation, I never expected anything different. It's all right." From 'Justice at Nuremberg' by Robert E. Conot: "The eleven condemned to death were no longer permitted to exercise in the yard. Whenever one emerged from his cell, he was handcuffed to a guard. For a few minutes a day, one at a time, they were marched up and down in the center of the cell block in lock step with a military policeman. When they saw their attorneys in the Palace of Justice, a GI sat with each of them like a Siamese twin joined at the wrist...Seyss-Inquart viewed his execution with the fatalistic objectivity of a person who is, at one and the same time, both the actor and the director of a tragedy. He asked that those of the condemned who wished to be allowed to meet with each other and to take cold showers daily - he said that, as Reich Commisar of the Netherlands, he had permitted these practices, and the men destined for execution had been grateful to him. (Andrus authorized the showers, but prohibited the meetings.) 'You may be convinced, colonel,' Seyss-Inquart wrote, 'that I myself as well as all my fellow sufferers expect calmly the end of an inevitable and, in a certain sense, necessary event, and would certainly do nothing which could render your task more difficult.' The British and French were so apprehensive about demonstrations or a possible attempt to rescue the prisoners that they insisted that no prior announcement of the executions be made."
October 1, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From a letter from Seyss-Inquart to Sauckel: 'Dear Party Member Sauckel, You are bitterly critical of the verdict. You think that the verdict has been given against you because a word of yours has been wrongly translated and interpreted. I do not share this impression. It was established, as you must note with satisfaction, that you did not work on the principle of extermination through work, although the Prosecution went to great pains to charge you with this. It was assumed that you had exploited to the utmost the forced, or as we would say conscripted, laborers for the benefit of the German war economy. The court did not inquire whether this was the most rational thing to do either from the physical or economic point of view. From the viewpoint of humanity such exploitation or rather utilization of labor is a crime. You were not accused of having deliberately engineered the abuses which took place; it was merely stated that you should have known about them - a charge of secondary significance. In principle anyone who, in whatever form, exploits conscripted labor for war purposes, will be condemned. The fact that we obeyed the Fürhrer cannot take the responsibility from those of us who had the courage and strength to stand in the front line in this fight for the existence of our people. Our enemies have defeated Germany and now they are doing away with her leaders. Whether that is just or wise is another question but it will not reduce our achievements on behalf of the German people.Your self-sacrifice has in fact a special significance for the German people. Whether you are rightly or wrongly accused of it, this method of employment of labor ranks as a crime. The German people will base their future legislation on this fact and, after your self-sacrifice, others will not be able to evade this moral principle in the long run.Your significance thereby appears in its true light. Your family too will give you your due; no doubt they are now silently drawing strength from this thought. For us the thought should be this: the worst charge against us would have been that of failure to do our utmost in our peoples life-and-death struggle. In the days of triumph we stood in the front rank, and thus we have the privilege of standing in the front rank in misfortune. By our example we help to build a new future for our people. I shake your hand, my dear Party comrade Sauckel, whom I have learned to appreciate and love. Germany! Yours, Seyss-Inquart.
October 5, 1946: Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor, visits all the condemned defendants and records their moods in his diary: "During my rounds on October 5, I find all those sentenced in a calm frame of mind...With Seyss-Inquart I talk about acceptance of the anticipated sentence without hatred. He says, 'Of all things no hatred. There are already enough obstacles to reconstruction." (Taylor)
October 13, 1946: Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners on this day that all appeals have been turned down. Seyss-Inquart had had this last chance to plead for mitigation, but his counsel stupidly 'claimed that Seyss-Inquart deserved mercy because he had forced ninety-thousand Austrian Jews to emigrate prior to the war, all of whom were saved from a terrible fate.' (Taylor)
October 13, 1946: From 'Spandau Diary' by Albert Speer: "A guard goes from cell to cell. He asks whether we want to make use of our right to a daily walk on the ground floor. The yard is still barred to us. I have to get out; the cell is begining to feel unbearably oppresive. So I ask to go. But I shudder at the prospect of seeing the men on death row (Note: The 11 condemned men are housed in cells on the ground floor; the 7 sentenced to prison time are being kept in an upper tier of cells). The guard holds out the chrome handcuffs. Linked together, we have some difficulty descending the winding staircase. In the silence, every step on the iron stairs sounds like a thunderclap. On the ground floor I see eleven soldiers staring attentively into eleven cells. The men inside are eleven of the surviving leaders of the Third Reich...Arthur Syss-Inquart, Hitler's Reich commissioner for the Netherlands, sat to my right in the dock for nine months; an amiable Austrian who had tested out as having the highest IQ of all of us. During the trial I had come to like him, because he did not seek evasions, among other reasons...Syss-Inquart looks out through the doorway; he smiles at me each time I pass, and each time that smile gives me the chills. I cannot stand it for long. Back in my cell, I decide not to go back down again." Note: German author Werner Maser, in 'Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial,' comments on the above passage by Speer: "These and the comments immediately following are typical of Speer's usual fanciful descriptions. Since he was handcuffed to a guard, he could not have seen what was going on in the cells. His remarks on his fellow-defendants speak for themselves." (Speer II)
October 14, 1946: The condemned men, most of whom have become convinced that the executions will be carried out on the 15th, spend this day as if it were their last.
October 16, 1946: Seyss-Inquart's last words: "I hope that this execution is the last act of the tragedy of the Second World War and that the lesson taken from this world war will be that peace and understanding should exist between peoples. I believe in Germany."
October 16, 1946: Seyss-Inquart's legacy to his wife, Gertrud, consists in total of four clocks, one leather overcoat, one leather jacket, leather jack-boots, trunks, bags, 1,210 marks and a copy of Goethe's 'Faust.'
October 16, 1946: From 'The Devil's Disciples' by Anthony Read: "...they were photographed, wrapped in mattress covers, sealed in coffins then driven off in army trucks with a military escort to a crematorium in Munich, which had been told to expect the bodies of fourteen American soldiers. The coffins were opened for inspection by American, British, French and Soviet officials, before being loaded in the cremation ovens. That same evening, a container holding all the ashes was driven away into the Bavarian countryside, in the rain. It stopped in a quiet lane about an hour later, and the ashes were poured into a muddy ditch. Göring, like the other disciples, had come to the end of the road."
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