December 8, 1918: Von Papen will later claim that on this day he does 'something useful for the history of humanity' by 'getting Falkenhayn to evacuate Jerusalem. Because of this decision the city was not shelled or destroyed by the British Army.' Note: Having achieved the rank of lieutenant-colonel and become Chief of the General Staff of the Fourth Turkish Army, von Papen resigns his commission at the end of hostilities.
1921: Von Papen, a confirmed right wing monarchist, joins the Catholic Center Party (Zentrum) and is elected to the parliament of Prussia. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The Catholics in Germany had organized themselves in the Center Party. Before 1918 the Center Party, as a moderate party, had always endeavored to establish a balance between the left and the right political wings. After the war that picture was altered entirely. We then find the Center Party mostly in coalition with the left. In Prussia, this coalition was maintained during all the years from 1918 until 1932. Undeniably the Center Party deserves much credit for the maintenance of the life of the State during the years after the collapse; but the coalition with the Social Democrats made co-operation of the Center Party with the right impossible, particularly with regard to Church policy. In political questions and matters of internal party policy the Center Party, therefore, followed a line of compromise which was the result obtained through the concessions of others in the field of Church policy."
1923: Papen is awarded the honorary title of Papal Chamberlain by Pope Pius X. Note: Prior to Vatican II, Papal Chamberlain's provided personal assistance to the Pope on formal state occasions as members of the Papal Court; were required to serve for at least one week per year during official ceremonies, and to take part in Papal processions behind the Sedia Gestatoria. Papal Chamberlains are addressed as 'Very Reverend,' and the higher degrees as 'Right Reverend.'
1925: Von Papen supports right-wing candidate Paul von Hindenburg over his own Zentrum party's candidate, Wilhelm Marx, in the presidential election.
April 28, 1925: Field Marshal von Hindenburg is elected President of the Reich on the death of Friedrich Ebert.
March 29, 1930: Heinrich Brüning becomes the twelvth Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.
March 13, 1932: Hitler receives 30.1% of the vote in the Presidential elections: 11,339,446 votes. Hindenburg fails to win a majority. Goebbels writes in his diary: Were beaten; terrible outlook. Party circles badly depressed and dejected. A runoff election is scheduled for 19 April.
April 13, 1932: The SA and SS are banned by Chancellor Brüning after contingency plans for a Nazi coup are discovered.
August 28, 1932: German Chancellor Von Papen speaks in Munster: "The licentiousness emanating from the appeal of the leader of the National Socialist movement does not comply very well with his claims to governmental power...I do not concede him the right to regard only the minority following his banner as the German nation - and to treat all other fellow countrymen as free game."
August 30, 1932: Hermann Göring, with backing from the Catholic Center Party, becomes President of the Reichstag.
September 2, 1932: Chancellor von Papen pens an article published this day in the Frankfurter Zeitung: "The hope in the hearts of millions of national socialists can be fulfilled only by an authoritarian government. The problem of forming a cabinet on the basis of a parliamentary coalition has again been brought into the field of public political discussion. If such negotiations, in the face of growing distress, are conducted with the motif of destroying the political opponent by the failure of his governmental activity, this is a dangerous game against which one cannot warn enough. In the last analysis such plans can mean nothing else but a tactic which counts on the possibility that matters will get worse for the people and that the faith of millions will turn into the bitterest disappointment, if these tactics only result in the destruction of the political adversary. It is within the nature of such party-tactical maneuvers that they are veiled and will be disclaimed in public. That, however, cannot prevent me from warning publicly against such plans, about which it may be undecided who is the betrayer and who the betrayed one; plans, though, which will certainly cheat the German people out of their hope for improvement of their situation. Nothing can prove more urgently the necessity for an authoritarian government than such a prospect of maneuvers of a tactical game by the parties."
September 4, 1932: Chancellor von Papen issues an emergency decree to revitalize the economy. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "It concerned a program involving 2,200 million Reichsmark with the aim of creating work for many workers. We made this gigantic effort without increasing our foreign debt by a penny. It was, if I may characterize it in these words, the straining of our utmost and our last reserves of strength. The success became noticeable already in the first month through a decrease of 123,000 in the number of unemployed."
September 12, 1932: President Hindenburg again dissolves the Reichstag. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The new Reichstag met according to the Constitution. My Government...could not obtain a majority; but the formation of any other government without Hitler was quite impossible. Therefore, I was justified in the hope that this Reichstag would give my Government time to test itself, especially as I had submitted to it a comprehensive and decisive economic program. But just then something unexpected and unheard-of happened. The thing that happened was, so to speak, the prostitution of the German Parliament. Herr Göring, the President of the German Reichstag, gave to the Communist delegate, Clara Zetkin, the floor for a vehement attack on my Government. When I, the responsible Chancellor of this Government, asked for the floor in order to give an account of what I wanted to do, I was refused permission to speak, and the Reichstag President asked for a vote on a motion of no confidence brought in by the Communists, the Socialists and the National Socialists. The fact of this concerted motion on the part of the three parties should really show what would have taken place in Germany if these three parties were to have ruled in Germany together, and should also show how imperative it was for me to try not to crowd National Socialism into the leftist wing, but to bring it into my Government instead. I was forced to put the order for the dissolution of the Reichstag on the table, and to leave."
October 13, 1932: From a speech in Munich by Reich Chancellor von Papen: "The essence of conservative ideology is its being anchored in the divine order of things. That, too, is its fundamental difference compared with the doctrine advocated by the NSDAP. The principle of 'exclusiveness' of a political 'everything or nothing' which the latter adheres to, its mythical Messiah-belief in the bombastic Führer who alone is destined to direct fate, gives it the character of a political sect. And therein I see the unbridgeable cleavage between a conservative policy born of faith and a national-socialist creed as a matter of politics. It seems to me that today names and individuals are unimportant when Germany's final fate is at stake. What the nation demands is this: it expects of a movement which has written upon its banner the internal and external national freedom that it will act, at all times and under all circumstances, as if it were the spiritual, social and political conscience of the nation. If it does not act that way; if this movement follows merely tactical points of view, democratic-parliamentarian points of view, if it engages in the soliciting of mass support using demagogic agitation as a means of proletarian class struggle then it is not a movement any more, it has become a political party. And, indeed, the Reich was almost destroyed by the political parties. One simply cannot, on one side, despise mercilessly masses and majorities, as Herr Hitler is doing, and on the other hand surrender to parliamentarian democracy; surrender to the extent of adopting resolutions against one's own government together with Bolshevists."
November 4, 1932: Papen addresses an open letter to Hitler: "It is the exclusiveness of your Movement, your demand for everything or nothing, which the Reich President could not recognize and which led to his decision of 13 August. What is at stake today is this: The question is not whether this or that party leader occupies the Chancellor's chair, whether his name is Brüning, Hitler, or Von Papen, but rather that we meet on common ground so that the vital interests of the German people can be assured."
November 6, 1932: New elections in Germany fail to break a parliamentary deadlock. The National Socialists lose 34 seats, but not enough to crowd them out of their key position, for again the formation of a majority in the Reichstag from the Socialists to the extreme Right is possible only with Hitler; without him, no majority.
November 13, 1932: Von Papen writes to Hitler: "A new situation has arisen through the elections of November the 6th, and at the same time a new opportunity for a consolidation of all nationalist elements. The Reich President has instructed me to find out by conversations with the leaders of the individual parties concerned whether and how far they are ready to support the carrying out of the political and economic program on which the Reich Government has embarked. Although the National Socialist press has been writing that it is a naive attempt for Reich Chancellor Von Papen to try to confer with personalities representing the nationalist concentration, and that there can only be one answer, 'No negotiations with Papen,' I would consider it neglecting my duties, and I would be unable to justify it to my own conscience, if I did not approach you in the spirit of the order given to me. I am quite aware from the papers that you are maintaining your demands to be entrusted with the Chancellor's Office, and I am equally aware of the continued existence of the reasons for the decision of August the 13th. I need not assure you again that I myself do not claim any personal consideration at all. All the same, I am of the opinion that the leader of so great a national movement, whose merits for people and country I have always recognized in spite of necessary criticism, should not refuse to enter into discussions on the situation and the decisions required with the presently leading and responsible German statesman. We must attempt to forget the bitterness of the elections and to place the cause of the country which we are mutually serving above all other considerations."
November 24, 1932: During the course of another Hitler-Hindenburg meeting, Hitler is offered the office of Vice-Chancellor. Hitler remains adamant that he is entitled to nothing less than the Chancellorship. Hindenburg refuses. Later, he will defend his refusal to give in to Hitler's demands by explaining that 'a presidential cabinet led by Hitler would necessarily develop into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extreme aggravation of the conflicts within the German people.'
November 24, 1932: Reich President Hindenburg meets with Monsignor Kaas, the leader of the Center Party, and declares that Hitler has not even tried to find out whether a majority government could be formed. Monsignor Kaas promises Hindenburg to try once more to form a majority government.
November 25, 1932: Reich President Hindenburg receives a report from Monsignor Kaas that the attempt has been in vain, that the leader of the Nazi faction (Frick, at that time) had stated that the Party would not be interested in such discussions. Therefore, it is impossible to form a majority government without Hitler.
November 1932: Thirty-nine prominent German industrialists and businessmen petition Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as his new Chancellor. Hindenburg again refuses.
December 1, 1932: Papen's political prospects take a hit: From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The attempt to include the Nazi movement into the Presidential Cabinet of Hindenburg had twice failed. Hitler equally refuses to form a majority government. On the other hand, he is exercising a tremendous amount of opposition and is trying to have all my decrees rescinded by the Reichstag. If therefore there is no possibility to form a parliamentary government or to include Hitler in our Government without making him Chancellor, then a state of emergency has arisen which requires extraordinary measures. Therefore, I proposed a recess of Parliament for several months and immediate preparation of a constitutional reform bill later to be presented to the Reichstag or to a national assembly. This proposal involved a violation of the Constitution. I emphasized that I knew how the great soldier and statesman cherished the sacredness of his oath, but my conscience led me to believe that a violation of the Constitution seemed to be justified in view of the extraordinary situation, for which the German Constitution provided no remedy. Then Herr Von Schleicher spoke. He said: 'Field Marshal, I have a plan which will make it unnecessary for you to break your oath to the Constitution, if you are willing to put the Government into my hands. I hope that I will be able to obtain a parliamentary majority in the Reichstag by splitting the National Socialist Party.' During the discussion of this plan, I said that it was doubtful to me whether a splitting of the Party which had sworn loyalty to Hitler could be achieved. I reminded the Field Marshal of the fact that he should free himself of weak parliamentary majorities through a basic reform. However, the proposals were thrown overboard through the solution offered by Schleicher."
December 3, 1932: General von Schleicher is appointed the fourteenth Chancellor of Germany under the Weimar Republic.
December 10, 1932: A week after his dismisal as Chancellor of Germany, von Papen has a private talk with Cologne banker and Hitler supporter Baron Kurt von Schroeder. Papen requests that the financier arrange for a secret meeting to take place between himself and Hitler. Note: Papen will later claim (in his memoirs) that it was Schroeder who suggested the move. (Shirer)
January 1, 1933: Hypnotist Erik Hanussen predicts Hitler will come to power on January 30, 1933. His prediction will be widely ridiculed in the German press.
January 4, 1933: Hitler holds a secret meeting with Franz von Papen in the home of Cologne banker von Schroeder; Papen is surprised when a photographer captures his arrival on film. Von Papen proposes a 'Government of National Concentration' to include German National Peoples Party leader Hugenberg and Hitler's Nazis. (Shirer)
January 9, 1933: Von Papen attempts to convince Hindenburg to permit Hitlers entry into government. Hindenburg gives his implict approval to the formation of a Papen-Hitler-Hugenberg triumvirate but not to the chancellorship of Hitler
January 15, 1933: Election in the small state of Lippe: the NSDAP gains 6,000 votes over the preceeding November total but is still 3,000 votes short of its July number. This small success is spun into a triumph by skillful propaganda.
January 17, 1932: Hitler and von Papen meet with German National Peoples Party president Alfred Hugenberg to discuss the division of positions and direction of the future 'Government of National Concentration.'
January 18, 1932: Hitler and von Papen meet again, this time in the presence of Göring, Röhm and Himmler. Von Papen is forced to admit that Hindenburg is unwilling to entrust the chancellorship to Hitler.
January 19, 1932: Hitler and von Papen meet with industrialist Fritz Thyssen and submit their proposal on the composition of the 'Government of National Concentration.'
January 20, 1932: The SA demonstrates outside the Berlin headquarters of the German Communist Party as Chancellor von Schleichers attempts to compromise with Hitler and von Papen are refused.
January 22, 1933: Papen, Ribbentrop, Göring, Meissner, and Oskar von Hindenburg (the President's son) hold discussions in Ribbentrop's home.
January 23, 1933: Reich President Hindenburg rejects further support of the Schleicher presidential cabinet; particularly Schleicher's proposal of a declaration of a state of emergency and the prorogation of the Reichstag, which is against the Constitution. He rejects these proposals because Von Schleicher had told him the previous December that a violation of the Constitution would mean civil war and a civil war would mean chaos 'because I am not in a position,' he said then, 'to maintain law and order with the Army and with the Police.'
January 24, 1933: Goebbels writes in his diary: "Schleicher will fall any moment, he who brought down so many others."
January 27, 1933: President Hindenburg, 84 years old and in poor health, continues to oppose the nomination of Hitler as chancellor despite criticism from all sides.
January 27, 1933: From Goebbels' diary: "There is still a possibility that Papen will again be made Chancellor."
January 28, 1933: Chancellor von Schleicher demands that President Hindenburg declare the Reichstag dissolved and grant him full powers. The President refuses and von Schleicher resigns as Chancellor. At noon, the Reich President instructs von Papen to begin negotiations for the formation of a new government. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The instructions given me by Von Hindenburg were as follows: Proposal for the formation of a government under the leadership of Hitler, with the utmost restriction of National Socialist influence and within the framework of the Constitution. I should like to add that it was quite unusual for the Reich President to ask any person to form a government which would not be headed by the person himself. In the normal course of events Hindenburg should, of course, have entrusted Hitler himself with the formation of a government; and he entrusted me with this task because he wished to minimize Hitler's influence in the government as far as possible...The safeguarding measures which I introduced at the request of the Reich President were the following: 1) A very small number of National Socialist ministers in the new cabinet; only 3 out of 11, including Hitler. 2) The decisive economic departments of the cabinet to be placed . in the hands of non-National Socialists. 3) Experts to be put into the ministry posts as far as possible. 4) Joint reports of Reich Chancellor Hitler and Vice Chancellor Von Papen to Hindenburg in order to minimize the personal influence of Hitler on Hindenburg. 5) I tried to form a parliamentary bloc as a counterbalance against the political effects of the National Socialist Party."
January 29, 1933: President Hindenburg responds to false rumors spread by von Papen and others (of an impending Army coup in favor of von Schleicher) by appointing Blomberg as Minister of Defense.
January 29, 1933: Hitler, enjoying coffee and cakes with some of his aides at the Kaiserhof, is joined by Goering who announces triumphantly that Hitler will be named Chancellor on the morrow. (Shirer)
January 30, 1933 Machtergreifung: Hitler is appointed Chancellor, even though his National Socialists have never captured more than 37 percent of the national vote. Von Papen is appointed Vice-Chancellor in what is called a 'Government of National Concentration.' SA Brownshirts celebrate Hitler's accession to power with a torchlight parade through Berlin while SA throughout Germany take to the streets in force to violently clash with Communists and other opponents. Hitler's takes the oath of office: "I will employ my strength for the welfare of the German people, protect the Constitution and laws of the German people, conscientiously discharge the duties imposed on me, and conduct my affairs of office impartially and with justice to everyone."
"In this way, by way of the back door, by means of a shabby, political deal with the old-school reactionaries he privately detested, the former tramp from Vienna, the derelict of the First World War, the violent revolutionary, became Chancellor of the great nation. To be sure, the National Socialists were in a decided minority in the government; they had only three of the eleven posts in the cabinet and except for the chancellorship these were not key positions...Papen himself was Vice-Chancellor of the Reich and Premier of Prussia, and Hindenberg had promised him that he would not receive the Chancellor except in the company of the Vice-Chancellor. This unique position, he was sure, would enable him to put a brake on the radical Nazi leader. But even more: This government was Papen's conception, his creation, and he was confident that with the help of the staunch old president, who was his friend, admirer and protector, and with the knowing support of his conservative colleagues, who outnumbered the obstreperous Nazis eight to three, he would dominate it. But this frivolous, conniving politician did not know Hitler - no one really knew Hitler - nor did he comprehend the strength of the forces which had spewed him up. Nor did Papen, or anyone else beside Hitler, quite realize the inexplicable weakness, that now bordered on paralysis, of existing institutions - the Army, the churches, the trade unions, the political parties - or of the vast non-Nazi middle class and the highly organized proletariat all of which, as Papen mournfully observed much later, would 'give up without a fight.'" -From 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' by William L. Shirer.
January 30, 1933: From Goebbels' Diary: "It is almost like a dream - a fairytale. The new Reich has been born. Fourteen years of work have been crowned with victory. The German revolution has begun!"
January 30, 1933: From a telegram to Hindenburg from Ludendorff: "By appointing Hitler Chancellor of the Reich you have handed over our sacred German Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you that this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action."
February 1, 1933: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issues his first proclamation: "...We recognize no classes, we see only the German people, millions of peasants, bourgeois, and workers who will either overcome together the difficulties of these times or be overcome by them. We are firmly resolved and we have taken our oath. Since the present Reichstag is incapable of lending support to this work, we ask the German people whom we represent to perform the task themselves. Reichspräsident von Hindenburg has called upon us to bring about the revival of the German nation. Unity is our tool. Therefore we now appeal to the German people to support this reconciliation. The National Government wishes to work and it will work. It did not ruin the German nation for fourteen years, but now it will lead the nation back to health. It is determined to make well in four years the ills of fourteen years. But the National Government cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who wrought destruction. The Marxist parties and their lackeys have had fourteen years to show what they can do. The result is a heap of ruins. Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgement..."
February 1, 1933: Hitler obtains a decree from Hindenburg ordering dissolution of the Reichstag. New elections are called for March 5, 1933.
February 2, 1933: The Geneva Disarmament Conference resumes.
February 3, 1933: Hitler, addressing a group of German generals gathered at the Hammerstein-Equord house, proclaims an offensive against the Communists and Pacifists; announces that the Reichswehr will remain independent of the political parties; promises complete rearmament.
February 4, 1933: Hitler announces a new rule 'for the protection of the German people' which allows the Nazis to forbid meetings of other political groups. He authorizes the Government to ban newspapers and rallies on the pretext that they are distributing false news to harm the State or defame the authorities and civil service.
February 6, 1932: Hindenburg signs a decree which deprives Braun of his prerogatives with the Council of State to the profit of Von Papen. A dissolution of the Pussian Landtag is thus acquired as Prussia falls under the grip of Interior Minister Göring.
February 11, 1933: From a speech by Vice-Chancellor von Papen: "Therefore, I consider the circumstance that the present Reich Cabinet is not made up of one single party or movement, but of various groups of the national movement, of free politicians and experts, not a disadvantage, but rather an advantage."
February 17, 1933: Göring issues a decree authorizing the Prussian police to fire on demonstrations at will.
February 22, 1933: Göring convinces the Prussian government to decree the gradual abolition of the interdenominational schools and reintroduce religious instruction in the vocational schools 'for political reasons.'
February 24, 1933: The Stahlhelm (Steel Helmet), the SA and SS are officially granted auxiliary police status.
February 26, 1933: During a seance in Berlin, Eric Hanussen predicts that a great fire will soon strike a large building in the Capital. An eagle, he said, will rise from the smoke and flames.
March 21, 1933 Potsdam Day: From the tomb of Frederick the Great at Potsdam, Hitler carefully stages a ceremonial opening of the first Reichstag of the Third Reich. Hitler and Goebbels intentionally fail to attend special Catholic services. An official communique explains that they feel obliged to absent themselves because Catholic bishops in a number of recent declarations had called Hitler and members of the NSDAP renegades of the Church, who should not be admitted to the sacraments. 'To this day, these declarations have not been retracted and the Catholic clergy continues to act accordingly to them.'
March 22, 1933: Negotiations between Hitler, Frick and the Center Party are concluded. Hitler promises to continue the existence of the German states, not to use the new grant of power to change the constitution, and to retain civil servants belonging to the Catholic Center Party. Hitler also pledges to protect the Catholic confessional schools and to respect the concordats signed between the Holy See and Bavaria (1924), Prussia (1929) and Baden (1931). Hitler also agrees to mention these promises in his speech to the Reichstag before the vote on the Enabling Act.
March 23, 1933: Hitler makes his policy statement to the Reichstag, promising to work for peaceful relations with the Catholic Church: "...the Government of the Reich, which regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attaches the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See, and is endeavoring to develop them. We feel sympathy for our brother nation in Austria in its trouble and distress. In all their doings the Government of the Reich is conscious of the connection between the destiny of all German races. Their attitude toward the other foreign Powers may be gathered from what has already been said. But even in cases where our mutual relations are encumbered with difficulties, we shall endeavor to arrive at a settlement. But in any case the basis for an understanding can never be the distinction between victor and vanquished..."
March 23 1933 Ermöglichende Tat: In the evening session of the Reichstag, Monsignor Kaas announces that the Catholic Center Party, despite some certain misgivings, will vote for the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act is then passed by the Reichstag, transferring the power of legislation from the Reichstag to the cabinet. The Enabling Act gives Hitler the power to pass his own laws, independent of the President or anyone else, making Hitler more powerful than any Kaiser in German History.
March 23, 1933: From Vice-Chancellor von Papen's speech to the Reichstag: "While the government is determined to carry through the political and moral purging of our public life, it is creating and insuring prerequisites for a truly religious life. The government sees in both Christian confessions the factors most important for the maintenance of our Folkdom. It will respect agreements concluded between them and the states. However, it expects that its work will meet with a similar appreciation. The government will treat all other denominations with equal objective justice. However, it can never condone that belonging to a certain denomination or to a certain race might be regarded as a license to commit or tolerate crimes. The Government will devote its care to the sincere living together of Church and State."
March 25, 1933: Cardinal Bertram, who has now joined the group of bishops who favor withdrawing the various prohibitions imposed on the Nazi party, writes a list of proposed instructions to the clergy.
March 28, 1933 Fulda Bishop's Conference: The German Catholic episcopate withdraws its earlier prohibition against membership in the Nazi party, and admonishes the faithful to be both loyal and obedient to the new Nazi regime. "The high shepherds of the dioceses of Germany in their dutiful anxiety to keep the Catholic faith pure and protect the untouchable aims and rights of the Catholic Church have adopted, for profound reasons, during the last years, an oppositional attitude toward the National Socialist movement, through prohibitions and warnings, which was to be in effect as long and as far as those reasons remained valid. It must now be recognized that there are official and solemn declarations issued by the highest representative of the Reich Government -- who at the same time is the authoritarian leader of that movement -- which acknowledge the inviolability of the teachings of Catholic faith and the unchangeable tasks and rights of the church, and which expressly assure the full value of the legal pacts concluded between the various German States and the Church. Without lifting the condemnation of certain religious and ethical errors implied in our previous measures, the Episcopate now believes it can entertain the confidence that those prescribed general prohibitions and warnings may not be regarded as necessary any more."
March 30, 1933: Cardinal Faulhaber agrees to accept the text proposed by Bertram on the 25th (above). Thus this important proclamation appears with the backing of all the German bishops. Ambassador Diego von Bergen who has returned to Berlin from the Vatican is received by Hindenburg, as well as Hitler.
March 31, 1933: Monsignor Kaas is back in Berlin after being recalled for talks with Hitler.
April 1, 1933: The Catholic Teacher Organization publishes a declaration noting with approval that Adolf Hitler and his movement have overcome the 'un-German spirit' which triumphed in the revolution of 1918.
April 2, 1933: Monsignor Kaas has a private talk with Hitler.
April 3, 1933: The Kreuz und Adler (Cross and Eagle) organization is founded by Catholic supporters of the new Nazi state. Formation of this group is initiated by Vice-Chancellor Papen, who assumes the title of Protector. "
April 4, 1933: The Central Association of Catholic fraternities withdraws its ban on membership in the Nazi party.
April 6, 1933: Heinrich Brüning succeeds Monsignor Kaas as leader of the Catholic Center Party. The Paris Journal publishes a story by a correspondent in Berlin reporting that Germany has made overtures to the Vatican concerning a concordat, one of the main points of which is a provision that would forbid Catholic priests to be candidates for political office.
April 7, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen leaves Berlin for Munich. Papen asks Fritz Menshausen to keep the purpose of his trip secret, indicating that he will tell the press he had gone to Rome for a vacation over the Easter holidays. Monsignor Kaas once again leaves Berlin on a trip to Rome.
April 7, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen writes to Hitler: "With the draft of the law for the co-ordination of the states with the Reich, passed today by the Reich Chancellor, legislative work has begun which will be of historical significance for the political development of the German State. The step taken on 20 July 1932 by the Reich Government, which I headed at the time, with the aim of abolishing the dualism between the Reich and Prussia is now crowned by this new interlocking of the interests of the state of Prussia with those of the Reich. You, Herr Reich Chancellor, will now be, as once was Bismarck, in a position to co-ordinate in all points the policy of the greatest of German states with that of the Reich. Now that the new law affords you the possibility of appointing a Prussian Prime Minister, I beg you to inform the Reich President that I dutifully return to his hands my post of Reich Commissioner for Prussia."
April 8, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen secretly meets Monsignor Kaas in Munich. Together they travel on to Rome (Kaas will never again set foot on German soil). Papen offers a treaty (Reichskonkordat) to the Vatican delining the German state's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.
April 9, 1933: Vice-Chancellor Von Papen, Göring, and Monsignor Kaas arrive in Rome. Kaas is the first to be received by Vatican Secretary of State Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) .
"Göring relished the idea of acting as an alternative Foreign Minister in place of the veteran diplomat Konstantin von Neurath, who was implacably hostile to the Fascist government. To impress the Italians with his current status, he had arranged that Hitler would telegraph an open message to him on the day of his arrival, 10 April, confirming his appointment as Minister-President of Prussia, despite the embarassment this would cause Papen, who was accompanying him. The manoeuvre clearly worked, for he saw Mussolini at least three times, and went home with a sparkling Italian decoration to add to his war medals, the first of what would become a large collection. He also met the Pope, though as a nominal Protestant he was happy to leave most of the talking to Papen, who was a Catholic. Papen's discussions with the Vatican marked a rapprochement with the Church authorities that was sealed in July by a Concordat, signed by Papen for the Reich and the Papal Secretary of State, Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli, former Papel Nuncio to Germany and the future Pope Pius XII, for the Vatican. Guaranteeing the Church's right 'to regulate its own affairs' in return for an undertaking not to interfere in political matters, this effectively silenced Catholic opposition in Germany." -From 'The Devil's Disciples' by Anthony Read.
April 10, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen has a morning meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Pacelli. Later in the day, Papen and Göring are received by Pope Pius XI. According to Papen, the Pope tells them that he is pleased the German government now has at its head 'a man uncompromisingly opposed to Communism and Russian nihilism in all its forms.' They then begin laying the groundwork for the concordat. Although the purpose of their visit is still secret, the Italian press openly reports that Papen and Göring have been received with great honor.
April 15, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen and Monsignor Kaas meet again with Vatican Secretary of State Pacelli. Kaas is subsequently instructed to prepare a draft of the concordat.
April 20, 1933: On Hitler's 44th birthday, Monsignor Kaas sends a telegram of congratulations from Rome that is widely published in the German press. Kaas assures Hitler of 'unflinching cooperation.' This endorsement accelerates the movement of Catholics into the Nazi camp.
April 24, 1933: The Bavarian ambassador at the Vatican, Baron von Ritter, reports to Berlin that the Papal Secretary of State and Monsignor Kaas are in constant touch with each other. 'There can be no doubt that Cardinal Pacelli approves of a policy of sincere cooperation by the Catholics within the framework of the Christian Weltanschauung (world view) in order to benefit and lead the National Socialist Movement.'
April 26, 1933: Hitler tells two representatives of the Catholic Church in Germany, Monsignor Steinmann and Bishop Berning, that he is only going to do to the Jews what the Church of Rome has been trying to do without success for over 1,500 years. Hitler states that he has parted company with General Ludendorff, and stresses that Rosenberg's anticlerical book is no concern of his - since it is a private publication. Being a Catholic himself, Hitler adds, he will not tolerate another Kulturkampf and the rights of the Church will be left intact.
May 2-3, 1933: The central board of the Association of Catholic Young men decides that 'the fact of belonging to the Jungmännerverein in principle does not rule out membership in the NSDAP, including its various formations (SA, SS etc.). Soon afterward, the Nazi party forbids simultaneous membership in Catholic and National Socialist organizations.
June 15, 1933: At the first public meeting of the Kreuz and Adler (Cross and Eagle) in Berlin, von Papen calls for the overcoming of liberalism and characterizes the Third Reich as a 'Christian counterrevolution to 1789.'
June 16, 1933: Papen informs Ambassador Bergen that Hitler has agreed to his going to Rome to complete negotiations for the concordat in person.
June 28, 1933: Goebbels, threatening force, publicly demands the dissolution of the Catholic Center Party.
June 29, 1933: Franz von Papen leaves Berlin for Rome.
June 29, 1933: Brüning tells the British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Horace Rumbold, that the Catholic Center Party will probably dissolve itself the following day.
July 1, 1933: Hitler telephones Papen in Rome with instructions, authorizing Papen to tell Pacelli that after the conclusion of the Concordat he 'would arrange for a thorough and full pacification between the Catholic portion of the people and the Reich government,' and that he 'would be willing to put a finish to the story of past political developments.'
July 2, 1933: Despite the news of continuing arrests of priests in Germany, final agreement on the concordat is reached. Papen reports that Pius XI 'had insisted on the conclusion of the Concordat because he wanted to come to an agreement with Italy and Germany as the countries which, in his opinion, represented the nucleus of the Christian world.''
July 3, 1933: Papen cables German foreign minister Konstantin von Neurath, "In the discussions which I had with Pacelli, Archbishop Groeber, and Kaas this evening, it developed that with the conclusion of the Concordat, the dissolution of the Center Party is regarded here as certain and is approved."
July 3, 1933: Statutory religious organizations throughout Germany are forbidden to employ Jews.
July 5, 1933: The Catholic Center Party publishes its decree of dissolution. Only the Nazis remain as an active political party in the Reichstag. Also: Cardinal Faulhaber complains to the Bavarian Council of Ministers that almost one hundred priests had been arrested in the last few weeks.
July 8, 1933: In the late hours of the evening, Ambassador Bergen informs the Foreign Ministry by telegram,'Concordat was initialed this evening at 6 o'clock by the Vice Chancellor and the Cardinal Secretary of State.'
July 9, 1933: The world learns that a Concordat has been initialed by Nazi Germany and the Holy See when Hitler releases a public statement. Public opinion generally regards this as a great diplomatic victory for Hitler and helps to reconcile German Catholics to the new regime
July 14, 1933: Hitler's Cabinet approves the Concordat with the Vatican. During the deliberations, Hitler stresses the significance of the Concordat, especially 'in the urgent fight against the international Jews. Possible shortcomings in the Concordat can be rectified later when the foreign policy situation is better.' Also: The new government approves the 'Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring.' It allows for compulsory sterilization in cases of 'congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy, and severe alcoholism.' It will not be announced until July 25, so as not to jeopardize the signing of the Concordat.
July 20, 1933 Reichskonkordat: Vice-Chancellor Papen and Pacelli formally sign the Concordat in an elaborate ceremony at the Vatican.
July 22, 1933: The text of the Concordat is released to the press, though a secret annex is never announced to the public, or even to party members. "... In view of the special situation existing in Germany, and in view of the guarantee provided through this Concordat of legislation directed to safeguard the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic Church in the Reich and its component states, the Holy See will prescribe regulations for the exclusion of clergy and members of religious orders from membership of political parties..."
July 24, 1933: The Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter describes the Concordat as a most solemn recognition of National Socialism by the Catholic Church.
July 31, 1932: Six months after the Nazis assumption of power, the first concentration camps are full; 26,789 political prisoners are now in detention.
August 19, 1933: Mussolini meets with Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss at the Italian-Austrian border.
September 1933: Genetic Health Courts now being organized through out Germany will eventually order the sterilization of almost 400,000 German citizens: 32,268 during 1934; 73,174 in 1935; 63,547 in 1936. Note: In the U.S. 60,166 people were sterilized from 1907-1958.
September 12, 1933: Voting in a referendum, 89.9% of the voters approve Hitler's withdrawal from the League of Nations. This first one party election for the Reichstag sees 92.1% of the voters cast ballots. Also: Nazi Minister of the Interior Frick receives a letter of protest concerning the 'Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring' from Cardinal Bertram.
September 15, 1933: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, addressing the Austrian Fatherland Front, proposes a 'Christian German state on Fascist lines,' but without discrimination against Jews.
October 3, 1933: An assassination attempt is made against Dollfuss.
October 11, 1933: US Ambassador Dodd criticizes the Nazi regime during an address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Berlin.
October 14, 1933: Hitler announces he is withdrawing Germany from the League of Nations and Disarmament Conference and that the German people will be called on to ratify the action in a referendum. Also: The bishop of the Nazi Christian Church, Ludwig Müller (Mueller), declares that Christianity has in its origins a war against Jews.
October 19, 1933: Hitler officially withdraws Germany from the League of Nations. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The withdrawal from the League of Nations was a question on which there could be many differences of opinion. I myself was in favor of remaining in the League of Nations; and I remember that on the day before Hitler decided on this step, I myself traveled to Munich in an effort to persuade him to remain a member of the League. I was of the opinion that we would have gained much by remaining in the League, where we had many good connections dating even from the time of Stresemann. Nevertheless, if we left the League it was perhaps a tactical question insofar as we might then hope that direct negotiations with the major powers would be more promising...Our withdrawal from the League of Nations was an exceptionally important decision of foreign policy. We wished to emphasize to the world that this withdrawal was not to be construed as a change in our methods of foreign policy. Therefore, Hindenburg and Hitler in free appeals emphasized that the German people should decide by means of a plebiscite the question of whether a withdrawal from the League of Nations would be in the exclusive interests of peace and our equality of rights."
November 2, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen speaks at Essen (from the same platform as Hitler and Gauleiter Terboven) in the course of the campaign for the Reichstag election and the referendum concerning Germany's leaving the League of Nations: "Ever since Providence called upon me to become the pioneer of national resurrection and the rebirth of our homeland, I have tried to support with all my strength the work of the National Socialist movement and its Fuehrer; and just as I at the time of taking over the Chancellorship advocated paving the way to power for the young fighting liberation movement, just as I on January 30 was destined by a gracious fate to put the hands of our Chancellor and Fuehrer; into the hand of our beloved Field Marshal, so do I today again feel the obligation to say to the German people and all those who have kept confidence in me: The good Lord has blessed Germany by giving her in times of deep distress a leader who will lead her through all distresses and weaknesses, through all crises and moments of danger, with the sure instinct of the statesman into a happy future...Let us, in this hour, say to the Fuehrer of the new Germany that we believe in him and his work."
November 3, 1933: Bishop Berning and Archbishop Groeber report that the government is willing to excuse the directors of Catholic institutions from the duty of applying for the sterilization of patients under their care.
November 13, 1933: Vice-Chancellor von Papen is appointed Plenipotentiary for the Saar.
December 4, 1933: Cardinal Faulhaber denounces Nazi racial teachings.
December 7, 1933: German-Americans are urged to act as Nazi propagandists by Vice-Chancellor von Papen .
December 15, 1933: Catholic leaders encourage Austrians to do their Christmas shopping in non-Jewish stores.
December 23, 1933: Pope Pius XI condemns the Nazi sterilization program.
January 30, 1934: Hitler addresses the Reichstag: "...there are those political birds of passage who constantly appear wherever it is harvest time. These spineless individuals seize on any opportunity to join a successful movement and, either to forestall questions about their origins and their past activities, or else by way of response, they "protest too much" and indulge in super-correct behavior. The reason why they are dangerous is that they, whilst posing as supporters of the new regime, seek to pursue purely personal and selfish interests. In so doing they become a real burden to a movement for whose sake millions of decent people have for years made enormous sacrifices, without the thought even crossing their minds they might one day be rewarded for the suffering and deprivation which they accepted..."
June 17, 1934: Vice-Chancellor von Papen speaks in Marburg: "We know that rumors and whispering propaganda must be brought out from the darkness where they have taken refuge. Frank and manly discussion is better for the German people than, for instance, a press without an outlet, described by the Minister for Propaganda 'as no longer having a face.' This deficiency undoubtedly exists. The function of the press should be to inform the Government where deficiencies have crept in, where corruption has settled down, where grave mistakes have been committed, where incapable men are in the wrong places, where offenses are committed against the spirit of the German revolution. An anonymous or secret information service, however well organized it may be, can never be a substitute for this task of the press. For the newspaper editor is responsible to the law and to his conscience, whereas anonymous news sources are not subject to control and are exposed to the danger of Byzantinism. When, therefore, the proper organs of public opinion do not shed sufficient light into the mysterious darkness, which at present seems to have fallen upon the German public, the statesman himself must intervene and call matters by their right names...It is a matter of historical truth that the necessity for a fundamental change of course was recognized and urged even by those who shunned the path of revolution through a mass party. A claim for revolutionary or nationalist monopoly by a certain group, therefore, seems to be exaggerated, quite apart from the fact that it disturbs the community...Domination by a single party replacing the majority party system, which rightly has disappeared, appears to me historically as a transitional stage, justified only as long as the safeguarding of the new political change demands it and until the new process of personal selection begins to function...But one should not confuse the religious State, which is based upon an active belief in God, with a secular State in which earthly values replace such belief and are embellished with religious honors...Certainly the outward respect for religious belief is an improvement on the disrespectful attitude produced by a degenerate rationalism. But we should not forget that real religion is a link with God, and not substitutes such as have been introduced into the consciousness of nations especially by Karl Marx's materialistic conception of history. If wide circles of people, from this same viewpoint of the totalitarian State and the complete amalgamation of the nation, demand a uniform religious foundation, they should not forget that we should be happy to have such a foundation in the Christian faith...It is my conviction that the Christian doctrine clearly represents the religious form of all occidental thinking and that with the reawakening of religious forces the German people also will be permeated anew by the Christian spirit, a spirit the profundity of which is almost forgotten by a humanity that has lived through the nineteenth century. A struggle is approaching the decision as to whether the new Reich of the Germans will be Christian or is to be lost in sectarianism and half-religious materialism...Nor should the objection be made that intellectuals lack the vitality necessary for the leaders of a people. True spirit is so vital that it sacrifices itself for its conviction. The mistaking of brutality for vitality would reveal a worship of force which would be dangerous to a people...They oppose equality before the law, which they criticize as liberal degeneration, whereas in reality it is the prerequisite for any fair judgment. These people suppress that pillar of the State which always-and not only in liberal times-was called justice. Their attacks are directed against the security and freedom of the private sphere of life which the German has won in centuries of hardest struggle...Great men are not made by propaganda, but rather grow through their deeds and are recognized by history. Even Byzantinism cannot make us believe that these laws do not exist...But we must have no illusions regarding the biological and psychological limits of education. Coercion, too, ends at the will for self-expression of the true personality. Reactions to coercion are dangerous. As an old soldier I know that the most rigid discipline must be balanced by certain liberties. Even the good soldier who submitted willingly to unconditional authority counted his days of service, because the need for freedom is rooted in human nature. The application of military discipline to the whole life of a people must remain within limits compatible with human nature...The Movement must come to a standstill sometime; a solid social structure must sometime come into existence which is held together by an impartial administration of justice and by an undisputed governmental power. Nothing can be achieved by means of everlasting dynamics. Germany must not go adrift on uncharted seas toward unknown shores...The Government is well informed on all the self-interest, lack of character, want of truth, unchivalrous conduct, and arrogance trying to rear its head under cover of the German revolution. It is also not deceived about the fact that the rich store of confidence bestowed upon it by the German people is threatened. If we want a close connection with and a close association among the people, we must not underestimate the good sense of the people; we must return their confidence and not try to hold them everlastingly in bondage. The German people know that their situation is serious, they feel the economic distress, they are perfectly aware of the shortcoming of many laws born of emergency; they have a keen feeling for violence and injustice; they smile at clumsy attempts to deceive them by false optimism. No organization and no propaganda, however good, will in the long run be able to preserve confidence. I therefore viewed the wave of propaganda against the so-called foolish critics from a different angle than many others did. Confidence and readiness to co-operate cannot be won by provocation, especially of youth, nor by threats against helpless segments of the people, but only by discussion with the people with trust on both sides. The people know what great sacrifices are expected from them. They will bear them and follow the Fuehrer in unflinching loyalty, if they are allowed to have their part in the planning and in the work, if every word of criticism is not taken for ill-will, and if despairing patriots are not branded as enemies of the State."
June 30, 1934 Nacht der Langen Messer: The same day as the 'Blood Purge' (Night of the Long Knives), Vice-Chancellor von Papen is placed under house-arrest by the SS. Papen's secretary, Herbert von Bose, and his speech writer, Edgar Julius Jung, are murdered. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "On the morning of 30 June, I received a telephone call from Minister Goering, asking me to come to have a talk with him. I went to see Göring; he told me that a revolution had broken out in the Reich - an SA revolution - that Hitler was in Munich to put down this uprising there, and that he, Göring, was charged with restoring law and order in Berlin. Herr Göring asked me, in the interests of my own safety, as he said, to return to my apartment and stay there. I protested quite vehemently against this demand, but Herr Göring insisted. On my way back to my apartment, I went first to my office in the Vice Chancellery. On arriving there, I found my office occupied by the SS, and I was permitted only to enter my own room and get my files. I went on home to my apartment, where I found a large number of SS. The telephone was disconnected; the radio was disconnected; and I was completely cut off from the outside world for 3 whole days."
July 3, 1934: Immediately upon his release, Vice-Chancellor von Papen travels to the Reich Chancellery to hand in his resignation to Hitler. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "I finally succeeded, on the third day of my arrest, in contacting Göring by telephone. I demanded to be set free at once. Herr Göring apologized and said that it was only a mistake that I had been kept under arrest for this long period of time. I then went immediately to the Reich Chancellery. There I met Hitler, who was about to start a Cabinet session. I asked him to step into the next room so that I could speak to him and I refused to comply with his request that I should attend the Cabinet meeting. I said to him: "What has happened here to a member of your government is so incredible and fantastic that there is only one answer for me to give: A repetition of my request to resign - and at once. Herr Hitler tried to persuade me to remain. He said: "I will explain to you in the Cabinet and later in the Reichstag how everything happened, and why it happened." I said to him: "Herr Hitler, there is no explanation and no excuse for this incident; I demand that the fate of these members of my staff be made the subject of immediate investigation and the facts be cleared up." I demanded that he publish my resignation immediately. When he saw that I could not be persuaded to remain, Herr Hitler told me that he could not make my resignation public because the agitation among the German people was too great. He said that he could not make my resignation public for some 3 or 4 weeks."
July 12, 1934: Von Papen praises the so-called 'Night of the Long Knives in a letter to Hitler: "Allow me to say how manly and humanly great of you I think this is. Your courageous and firm intervention have met with nothing but recognition throughout the entire world. I congratulate you for all you have given anew to the German nation by crushing the intended second revolution."
July 13, 1934: Hitler defends his actions of June 30, 1934 before the Reichstag: "...General Schleicher was the man who gave external expression to the secret wish of the Chief of Staff, Roehm. He it was who defined the latter's views in concrete form and maintained that: 1. The present regime in Germany cannot be supported. 2. Above all the army and all national associations must be united in a single band. 3. The only man who could be considered for such a position was the Chief of Staff, Roehm. 4. Herr von Papen must be removed and he himself would be ready to take the position of Vice Chancellor, and that in addition further important changes must be made in the Cabinet of the Reich. As always happens in such cases there now began the search after the men of the new Government, always under view that I myself should at least for the present be left in the position which I now hold. The execution of these proposals of General von Schleicher was bound, as soon as Point 2 was reached, to come up against my unalterable opposition..."
"Papen's famous Marburg speech of 17th June 1934, written by Edgar Jung (and others), which occupies so much space in Papen's apologia (memoirs), was not so much the outcry of a sense of justice outraged by the aims and methods of the National Socialist conquest of power as the outcry of an infuriated accomplice finally brought to realize that he had no chance of putting his own plans into effect and that if he had been given any role at all it was purely as a decorative element in a state which, after a fourteen-year interregnum, he considered as belonging once more to himself and his class and which he had intended to govern. It was not least this claim behind Papen's words that caused Hitler's harsh reaction to the speech and gave the bloodbath of 30th June 1934, a fortnight later, its double intention. We should still be blinded by National Socialist pronouncements if we looked upon the events of that day as solely a showdown between Hitler and Rohm, between party and SA. Far beyond this, the blow was simultaneously aimed at the last remaining claims to power of the conservative and bourgeois interests. Papen himself was kept under house arrest for a time, while two of his closest colleagues, one of them Edgar Jung, were murdered, so that the Vice-Chancellor 'stood like a melancholy king skittle among blood and corpses'. It is true that like a man of honour he thereupon offered his resignation, but he did not follow the path to resistance which a considerable group from the conservative camp took after this moment of disillusionment. On the contrary, a few weeks later he again offered his services to Hitler, the murderer of his friends, and one wonders whether this decision was the easier because Hitler was at the same time the murderer of his bitterest enemy, General von Schleicher. Ambition and an insatiable self-importance, however, undoubtedly played a greater part in Papen's decision. He found it intolerable, one of his conservative cabinet colleagues later wrote, 'not to be in the game, even if he did not like his fellow players'. Ostensibly after a severe inner struggle, he went to Vienna as an envoy on a special missionto prepare the way for the Anschluss; but we have only to read what thoughts filled his mind when he was called by Hitler to know how willingly he allowed himself to be defeated in this struggle with himself." -From 'The Face Of The Third Reich' by Joachim C Fest.
July 25, 1934: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss is murdered. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "On 25 July, the day of the murder of Dollfuss, Hitler rang me up in the middle of the night, and asked me to go to Vienna at once as his Ambassador. I asked: 'What gave you this odd idea?' He informed me of Dollfuss' murder, of which I had not yet heard, and said: 'It is absolutely essential that someone who knows the conditions there should take over affairs at once.' I replied that I could not possibly give my decision on such a step over the telephone, whereupon he asked me to come to Bayreuth at once to discuss it...In the discussion in Bayreuth. Hitler put it to me that I was the only available person who could re-establish a favorable situation in Austria, because, of course, Hitler knew my attitude toward that problem from the numerous protests I had raised in the Cabinet against Austria's treatment. He also knew that I had been a friend of the murdered Dr. Dollfuss and that I knew Herr Von Schuschnigg. I stated my conditions and these conditions were: The immediate recall of the Party Gauleiter, Herr Habicht, who was in Austria by Hitler's order. Hitler was of the opinion that if he did this it would amount to an admission of guilt...Hitler replied that if he recalled this man, it would look like a confession of complicity in the Dollfuss murder. I replied that the whole world was in any case convinced of the complicity of the Party in Germany or its organizations, generally speaking; and that as far as I was concerned, it was only important that those connections should be broken off forthwith. I further demanded an assurance in writing from Hitler that the German-Austrian policy of the future-what is generally termed the Anschluss policy-would move on a purely evolutionary level, that is to say, that no recourse would be had to forcible measures and aggression. Hitler immediately ordered this man Habicht to be recalled and gave me a written assurance with reference to the second question. And finally, I said that I was prepared to take over the pacification program ion Austria, but only until normal and friendly relations had been re-established. This meant that later on in Austria I had the additional line of Ambassador on a Special Mission."
July 26, 1934: Von Papen is sent to Vienna as Minister to Austria.
August 2, 1934: Hindenburg dies.
August 19, 1934 Gleichschaltung: The German electorate approves Hitler's merging the two offices of Chancellor and President by 90% of the vote. Hitler is Führer und Reichskanzler.
July 11, 1936: The Berchtesgaden Agreement regarding the maintenance of Austrian sovereignty is negotiated between von Papen and Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg. "Being convinced that they are making a valuable contribution towards the whole European development in the direction of maintaining peace, and in the belief that they are thereby best serving the manifold mutual interests of both German States, the Governments of the Federal State of Austria and of Germany have resolved to return to relations of a normal and friendly character. In this connection it is 1) The German Government recognizes the full sovereignty of the Federal State of Austria in the spirit of the pronouncements of the German Fuehrer and Chancellor of 21 May 1935. 2) Each of the two Governments regards the inner political order (including the question of Austrian National Socialism) obtaining in the other country as an internal concern of that country, upon which it will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence. 3) The Austrian Federal Government will constantly follow in its policy in general, and in particular towards Germany, a line in conformity with leading principles corresponding to the fact that Austria regards herself as a German State. By such a decision neither the Rome Protocols of 1934 and their additions of 1936, nor the relationships of Austria to Italy and Hungary as partners in these protocols, are affected. Considering that the detente desired by both sides cannot become a reality unless certain preliminary conditions are fulfilled by the Governments of both countries, the Austrian Federal Government and the German Government will pass a number of special measures to bring about the requisite preliminary state of affairs." From the secret part of this agreement, the most important provisions of which have been summarized by Mr. Messersmith: "Austria would (1) appoint a number of individuals enjoying the Chancellor's confidence but friendly to Germany to positions in the Cabinet; (2) would devise means to give the 'National opposition' a role in the political life of Austria and within the framework of the Patriotic Front, and (3) would amnesty all Nazis save those convicted of the most serious offenses."
July 12, 1936: Von Papen reports to Hitler on the Berchtesgaden Agreement: "The progress of normalizing relations with Germany at the present time is obstructed by the continued persistence of the Ministry of Security, occupied by the old anti-National Socialistic officials. Changes in personnel are therefore of utmost importance. But they are definitely not to be expected prior to the conference on the abolishing of the Control of Finances [Finanzkontrolle] at Geneva. The Chancellor of the League has informed Minister de Glaise-Horstenau, of his intention, to offer him the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior. As a guiding principle [Marschroute] I recommend on the tactical side, continued, patient psychological manipulations, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime. The proposed conference on economic relations, taking place at the end of October will be a very useful tool for the realization of some of our project. Discussion with government officials as well as with leaders of the illegal party (Leopold and Schattenfreh) who conform completely with the concordat of July 11, I am trying to direct the next developments in such a manner to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the fatherland front [Vaterlaendischen Front] but nevertheless refraining from putting National- Socialists in important positions for the time being. However such positions are to be occupied only by personalities, having the support and the confidence of the movement. I have a willing collaborator in this respect in Minister Glaise-Horstenau."
January 3, 1937: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag: "...The unreasonable division of the world into peoples who have and peoples who have not does not remove or solve problems. If it is to be the task of the League of Nations only to guarantee the existing state of the world and to safeguard it for all time, then we might as well entrust it also with the task of guarding the high tide and the low tide, or of regulating for the future the direction of the Gulf Stream. Its continued existence depends on the extent to which it is realized that necessary reforms which concern the relations of the nations must be considered and put into practice..."
March 14, 1937: Pius XI releases the Papal Encyclical 'Mit Brennender Sorge: "...When, in 1933, We consented, Venerable Brethren, to open negotiations for a concordat, which the Reich Government proposed on the basis of a scheme of several years' standing; and when, to your unanimous satisfaction, We concluded the negotiations by a solemn treaty, We were prompted by the desire, as it behooved Us, to secure for Germany the freedom of the Church's beneficent mission and the salvation of the souls in her care, as well as by the sincere wish to render the German people a service essential for its peaceful development and prosperity. Hence, despite many and grave misgivings, We then decided not to withhold Our consent for We wished to spare the Faithful of Germany, as far as it was humanly possible, the trials and difficulties they would have had to face, given the circumstances, had the negotiations fallen through. It was by acts that We wished to make it plain, Christ's interests being Our sole object, that the pacific and maternal hand of the Church would be extended to anyone who did not actually refuse it. 4. If, then, the tree of peace, which we planted on German soil with the purest intention, has not brought forth the fruit, which in the interest of your people, We had fondly hoped, no one in the world who has eyes to see and ears to hear will be able to lay the blame on the Church..."
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. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "There was great excitement in the press; I instantly tried to settle the matter amicably with the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Thereupon I received a telegram to proceed to Berlin at once. I arrived in Berlin and reported to Hitler. Hitler did not receive me. I waited for 3 days. After 3 days, I wrote and told him, 'It appears that you are trying to use the flag incident at Pinkafeld to introduce an aggressive policy against Austria. In that case there is nothing more for me to do, and I beg to hand in my resignation.' A quarter of an hour later he called me to the Reich Chancellery. He gave me a lecture, which lasted half an hour, furious and beside himself with rage over the humiliations which the German Reich could no longer tolerate. After his rage had spent itself I told him that our agreement of 26 June ruled that the policy concerning Austria was to be conducted on evolutionary lines. The Agreement of 11 July emphasized that. 'If you wish to pursue a different policy, then dismiss me,' I said. As a result of this very serious conversation he said, 'No, no. Go back and settle everything; we do not want to change our peaceful policy.' I returned to Vienna, and the incident was settled satisfactorily with the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs within 24 hours."
February 4, 1938 Konsolidierung: Hitlers 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. Schuschnigg's car had been met at the German-Austrian border by Papen, who joins him for the ride up to Hitler's spectacular mountaintop retreat. Papen informs Schuschnigg that Hitler is in a very good mood this morning. But, Papen adds, Hitler hopes that Schuschnigg won't mind if three of Germany's top generals are also present during the day's discussion. At the meeting, the German Fuehrer 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.
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, a pro-Nazi lawyer, as Interior Minister and another Nazi, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, as a Minister without Portfolio.
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: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler begins an official state visit to Rome to soften Mussolini up in anticipation of Hitler's impending move into Austria.
March 4, 1938: In response to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler's posturing, Czechoslovak Prime Minister Milan Hodza declares that Czechoslovakia will defend itself against foreign interference.
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?' From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "The plebiscite announced by Herr Schuschnigg was, of course, a complete surprise. In my view it was contrary to the spirit of the arrangements agreed upon at Berchtesgaden and contrary to the tendency of a peaceful settlement of the tension. The plebiscite was a violation of the Austrian Constitution, too. It was not a decision of the Austrian Government but was a spontaneous measure of the Austrian Chancellor, and in my opinion it was quite evident that those elements in Austria who were in favor of a union of the two States were most displeased with this plebiscite."
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: A meeting in Berlin and at the Reich Chancellery as described by von Papen before the IMT: "I met Hitler surrounded by numerous ministers, Herr Göring, Dr. Goebbels, Von Neurath, state secretaries, and also military people. He greeted me with the words: "The situation in Austria has become intolerable; Herr Schuschnigg is betraying the German idea and we cannot admit this forced plebiscite." And when I saw how aroused he was, I reminded him again of his promise to me at Bayreuth and warned him urgently against over-hasty decisions. But on this morning he told me, "Either the plebiscite must be canceled or the Government must resign." Today we know from the letter, which he sent to Dr. Seyss by special courier, of this ultimatum to the Austrian Government. At that time he did not inform me of this active intervention on his part. Then during the day I, along with most of the persons present, remained in the large hall while Göring telephoned from Hitler's private office. What was telephoned is something we, who were waiting in the large hall, could only gather fragmentarily; but of course today we know it from the documents here. There is only one incident which I want to mention. Toward 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the report came from Vienna that Schuschnigg's Government was prepared to resign. Thereupon I pressed Hitler to cancel his military orders. Herr Hitler did that. Between 5 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon the order to the military forces standing by was withdrawn. On that occasion I congratulated General Keitel and General Von Brauchitsch, who were present, on our being spared this issue. But 1 hour later the situation was once more entirely different. When a telephone call came through from Vienna stating that the Federal President refused to nominate a Seyss-Inquart Government, Hitler again issued the orders to the troops. Following that, late in the evening, it was learned that the Austrian Government had requested the entry of German troops, since otherwise they could not control the situation. I can still see Herr Von Neurath standing next to me telling me, "This is such an important report from Vienna that we absolutely have to have it in writing." Thus we were under the impression that this call for assistance came to us from Vienna. The further events of the evening are known, and I can only say that I personally was deeply shaken by this turn of events because it was perfectly clear that marching in with the Army could lead to incidents and to bloodshed, and new bloodshed between our two nations would not only have badly compromised the German problem again, but would also leave the worst possible impression of the conduct of German policy."
March 11, 1938: From a directive of the Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces (Hitler), initialed by Jodl and Keitel: "1. If these measures prove unsuccessful, I intend to invade Austria with armed forces to establish constitutional conditions and to prevent further outrages against the pro-German population...4. The forces of the Army and Air Force detailed for this operation must be ready for invasion and/or ready for action on 12 March 1938 at the latest from 1200 hours. "I reserve the right to give permission for crossing and flying over the frontier, and to decide the actual moment for invasion. 5. The behavior of the troops must give the impression that we do not want to wage war against our Austrian brothers. It is in our interest that the whole operation shall be carried out without any violence but in the form of a peaceful entry welcomed by the population. Therefore any provocation is to be avoided. If, however, resistance is offered it must be broken ruthlessly by force of arms."
March 12, 1938 Anschluss: The German Army marches unopposed into Vienna. Hitler announces that a plebiscite will be held April 10 on the question of Germany the annexation of Austria into the Reich.
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 14, 1938: Hitler's government gives assurances to the Czechoslovak government of the German desire to improve relations between the two states while the French and Soviet governments declare their intentions to honor their treaty obligations for the defense of Czechoslovakia.
March 16 - 19, 1938: As most of Europe is preoccupied with the German absorption of Austria, the Polish government issues a series of demands to the Lithuanians. Faced with the threat of war, the Lithuanian government immediately agrees to all of the Polish demands, including recognition of the status quo in eastern Europe. The Lithuanian capitulation prevents the crisis from escalating.
March 22 - 25, 1938: German political parties which had joined the Hodza ministry in Czechoslovakia, and the members of the German Activists withdraw from the government. Sudeten Germans are unmoved when Prime Minister Milan Hodza responds by announcing a new Nationality Statute designed to protect Czechoslovakian minorities.
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 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.
May 17, 1938: The British and Turkish governments sign an agreement to promote stability in the eastern Mediterranean.
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.
July 3, 1938: The French and Turkish governments sign an agreement regarding the future of Alexandretta. The future of the province will be settled by an election and each country will send in 2,500 troops to the sanjak to supervise the voting.
July 5, 1938: The Turkish army dispatches a force to the Sanjak of Alexandretta to help supervise the plebiscite.
September 29, 1938 München Konferenz: The Munich Conference.February 10 , 1939: Pope Pius XI dies. The new Pope, Pius XII, will not renew Papen's appointment as Papal Chamberlain (granted him by Pope Pius X in 1923), presumably because of Papen's political role in the Hitler régime. (See: July 24, 1959.)
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.
March 23, 1939: The German government guarantees Lithuanian independence and integrity while the Lithuanians acquiesce to the peaceful transfer of Memel back to Germany. Also: Hitler issues strong demands to the Polish government for the annexation of Danzig and Posen.
April 1939: Von Papen becomes Hitler's ambassador in Ankara, Turkey; a post he will retain until August 1944. From Papen's testimony before the IMT: "I accepted the post, after I had refused it twice, under quite extraordinary circumstances. On the day of Italy's occupation of Albania, Herr Von Ribbentrop called me up and urgently asked me to come to Berlin. There he explained to me that the post in Ankara, which had been vacant for 6 months, would have to be filled immediately because of the complications which might arise in the southeast from the occupation of Albania. Before I accepted this post I carefully considered whether I could do and had to do anything more for the Hitler Government. After 15 March, the entry into Prague, we knew that we were sitting on a powder keg. In this European problem there were two possibilities of conflict; one was the Polish problem, where I could do nothing; the other was the southeast problem which had become acute through the occupation of Albania. I felt that I could do something here and could contribute to the maintenance of peace in Europe. For that reason I offered to go to Ankara at this moment."
May 12, 1941: Following a series of last-minute conferences at Reichsfuehrer Hitler's Obersalzburg retreat, German Ambassador to Turkey von Papen resumes his post, arriving in Ankara aboard a large camouflaged Junkers troop transport plane.
June 1941: Von Papen negotiates a treaty of friendship with Turkey. In his testimony before the IMT, he defends the treaty: "Turkey was to know that in spite of our alliance with Italy, in spite of the war in the Balkans, in spite of the war with Greece, we would never threaten Turkey. Turkey was also to know that we would not attempt to advance through Turkey to the Suez Canal. The negotiations were very long and difficult, because Herr Von Ribbentrop did not want in this treaty any mention of Turkey's contractual obligations to the Allies. I then pointed out to Herr Von Ribbentrop by cable that the Turks were faithful to their treaties."
February 24, 1942: Von Papen survives a Soviet assassination attempt when a suicide bomber blows himself up without harming anyone else.
December 17, 1942: United Nations Statement: "...those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution..."
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.
August 2, 1944: Turkey breaks off relations with Germany. From Papen's testimony before the IMT:"I can state that on the day of the severance of relations between Turkey and Germany the British Prime Minister Mr. Churchill said the following in the House of Commons: "The breaking-off of relations between Turkey and Germany will have many consequences, including consequences for Herr Von Papen. On 30 June he escaped the blood bath. This time he will not succeed." As a result, I received requests from the Allies to remain in Turkey. I refused to do so. I said, "I shall return to Germany where I belong. I will not emigrate, for perhaps I might still do something for my fatherland." Thus I returned to Germany. When I arrived there I observed that as a result of the terror methods which had been launched after 20 July there was no possibility at all of doing anything. For the rest of the time a Gestapo guard was placed before my door."
August 1944: Hitler presents von Papen with the Knight's Cross of the Military Merit Order.
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 30, 1944 Stalin to Churchill: "...I share your conviction that firm agreement between the three leading powers constitutes a true guarantee of future peace and answers to the best hopes of all peace-loving peoples. The continuation of our governments in such a policy in the postwar period as we have achieved during this great war will, it seems to me, have a decisive influence. Of course, I have a great desire to meet with you and the President. I attach great importance to it from the point of view of the interests in our common business. But, as far as I am concerned, I must make one reservation. The doctors advise me not to undertake long journeys. For a certain period I must take account of this. I warmly welcome your wish to come to Moscow in October. We shall have to consider military and other questions, which are of great importance..."
October 9, 1944: Churchill arrives in Moscow. Soon, he and Stalin are discussing spheres of influence in the Balkans. Churchills account: "The moment was apt for business, so I said, "Let us settle our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Dont let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?" While this was being translated I wrote out on half a sheet of paper: Rumania Russia 90% The others 10% Greece Great Britain 90% (in accord with USA) Russia 10% Yugoslavia 50-50% Hungary 50-50% Bulgaria Russia 75% The others 25% I pushed this across to Stalin, who had by then heard the translation. There was a slight pause. Then he took his blue pencil and made a large tick upon it, and passed it back to us. It was all settled in no more time than it takes to sit down After this there was a long silence. The penciled paper lay in the center of the table. At length I said, "Might it not be thought rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues, so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper." "No, you keep it," said Stalin"
October 22, 1944 Churchill to FDR: "...Major War Criminals. UJ (Churchill and FDR refer to Josef Stalin as Uncle Joe, or UJ, in their correspondence) took an unexpectedly ultrarespectable line. There must be no executions without trial otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law but he replied if there were no trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements..."
October 22, 1944 FDR to Churchill: "...Your statement of the present attitude of Uncle J. towards war criminals, the future of Germany, and the Montreux Convention is most interesting. We should discuss these matters, together with our Pacific war effort, at the forthcoming three-party meeting..."
November 28, 1944: Himmler orders the gas chambers at Aushwitz destroyed.
January 4, 1945 Churchill to Eden: "Treatment of Germany after the war. It is much too soon for us to decide these enormous questions. Obviously, when the German organized resistance has ceased the first stage will be one of severe military control. This may well last for many months, or perhaps for a year or two, if the German underground movement is active. 2. We have yet to settle the practical questions of the partition of Germany, the treatment of the Rhur and Saar industries, etc. These may be touched upon at our forthcoming meeting, but I doubt whether any final decision will be reached then. No one can foresee at the present moment what the state of Europe will be or what the relations of the Great Powers will be, or what the tempers of their peoples will be. I am sure that the hatreds which Germany has caused in so many countries will find their counterpart here. 3. I have been struck at every point where I have sounded opinion at the depth of the feeling that would be aroused by a policy of putting poor Germany on her legs again. I am also well aware of the arguments about not having a poisoned community in the heart of Europe I remember so well last time being shocked at the savage views of the House of Commons and of the constituencies, and being indignant with Poincare when he sent the French into the Ruhr. In a few years however the mood of Parliament and the public changed entirely. Thousands of millions of money were lent to Germany by the United States. I went along with the tolerant policy towards Germany up to the Locarno Treaty and during the rest of Mr. Baldwins Government on the grounds that Germany had no power to harm us. But thereafter a swift change occurred. The rise of Hitler began. And thereafter I once again found myself very much out of sympathy with the prevailing mood "
January 28, 1945: The liberation of Aushwitz occurs.
April 12, 1945: President Roosevelt dies; Truman becomes President. The Allies liberate Buchenwald and Belsen concentration camps.
April 13, 1945: Former US Attorney General and now Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice Robert Jackson, speaks before the American Society of International Law: "...All else will fail unless we can devise instruments of adjudication, and conciliation, so reasonable and acceptable to the masses of people that future governments will have always an honorable alternative to war. The time when these institutions will be most needed will probably not come until the names that signify leadership in todays world will have passed into history..."
April 18, 1945: German forces in the Ruhr surrender.
April 21, 1945: The Red Army reaches Berlin.
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..."
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 7-8, 1945 VE Day: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
May 1945: Papen, who has been constantly on the run (first from the Gestapo, then from the Allies) since returning to Germany from his post in Turkey, is run to ground in Westphalia by an American platoon. He is found eating stew with a granddaughter in a rustic lodge in the woods. The Americans wait patiently as he packs a small rucksack. (Tusa)
"Papen's arrest caused consternation at the Foreign Office. It raised in far more acute form than Ribbentrop's the danger of Soviet misinterpretation of his presence behind Western lines. 'I cannot imagine a more unwelcome prisoner,' wrote a Foreign Office official. 'More peace feelers have been associated with his name than almost any other prominent German.' The Foreign Office moved fast to head off any possible Allied misunderstandings. Within six days of his detention, Papen found himself at Eisenhower's headquarters facing the senior British and American military intelligence chiefs in Europe - and two Soviet generals. He told them little of any military or political significance, but demonstrated an amazing self-confidence. 'He was extremely well-dressed, beautiful silk suit, etc., and it was clear that he had intended to fall into the hands of the Americans and had dressed up for the occasion,' said the Foreign Office report on the meeting. He indicated his belief that he still had a role to play in liasing between the Germans and the Allies. When Major General Strong, the British head of Military Intelligence at SHAEF, asked the Foreign Office if he should seek a further, private interview with Papen, he was put sharply in his place: 'Such an interview must under no circumstances take place - Papen is as dangerous as a hamadryad snake - he could do us no good.'" -From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa.
May 23, 1945: SS Reichsführer Himmler commits suicide.
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 25, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session: "Justice Jackson: ...I think that every one of the top prisoners that we have is guilty..."
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 1945: Papen is moved from an anexe to the Grand Hotel at Mondorf (Ashcan). 'To my horror,' he will write later, 'I found myself in the company of Göring, Ribbentrop, Rosenberg and their satellites.'
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 8, 1945: The London Agreement is signed. The Soviets declare war on Japan and invade Manchuria.
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 3, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...At 10:30 I began to question von Papen. He is a lean, gray man with a monkey-shaped face. His appearance is sharp and manner cunning. He speaks English so we conducted the interrogation in English. I started with his earliest background and brought him down to 1934. He insisted that he was willing to compromise on the naming of Hitler to the Chancellorship in 1933 - only because there was no way out. He claims that von Hindenberg suggested it to him. I pressed him on this point for we know that von Papen induced Hindinberg to name Hitler - only after von Papen and Hitler had made a bargain which included, among other things, the naming of von Papen as vice-chancellor. Howeve5, he would not admit this to me. He made reference to his Catholic faith - and I resented this. Consequently, I said, 'What did you do to help Klausner, the fine Catholic leader who was butchered by the Nazis in 1934.?' He answered, 'I was almost killed myself.' I replied, 'You must have been in very bad with Hitler at that time because six weeks later he sent you to Austria as his ambassador - the most omportant diplomatic post that Hitler had to offer.' His face colored ever so slightly but years of diplomatic deceit have given him excellent self control. He is a politician of the worst type and a professional Catholic - and he is as much responsible for the rise and power of Hitler and the Nazis as any man in the world."
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 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 1, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 10, prosecution witness Erwin Lahousen is cross-examined by Counsel for von Papen: "...Dr Egon Kubuschok: Witness, you stated yesterday that you were the intimate friend and collaborator of Admiral Canaris. Since I can no longer address my question directly to Admiral Canaris, I ask you to answer the following questions for me: Did Admiral Canaris know of Defendant Von Papen's attitude toward Hitler's war policies, and how did Admiral Canaris express himself to you on this point? Lahousen: ...I recall that Von Papen's and Canaris' attitude toward the matter which the Counsel has just brought up, was a negative one. Kubuschok: Was this negative attitude only toward the war policy, or was it also toward all the violent methods used in the execution of such a policy? Lahousen: According to my recollection I have to answer this question in the affirmative, judging from a conversation between Admiral Canaris and Von Papen, during the visit of the latter in Berlin at which I was present. Kubuschok: Did you know that Von Papen told Canaris that there could be no resistance against Hitler's aggressive policies from political quarters, but that such resistance would have to be sought among the ranks of the military? Lahousen: In this connection, that is to say, in the direct connection as it is now being presented, I personally cannot say anything. In other words, I personally was not an ear witness at any conversation between Canaris and Von Papen during which this matter was brought up, and I cannot recall today whether Canaris ever told me anything regarding such conversations with Von Papen. It is quite possible, however, but I cannot recall it and consequently my oath as witness does not permit me to make any statement other than the one I have made. Kubuschok: Witness, do you conclude from this that Canaris believed that Von Papen purposely continued to hold an exposed political office in order to exercise a mitigating influence? Lahousen: I believe so, though I have no tangible proof from any of his statements. But that is my impression, from what I still recollect today..."
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 4, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 12, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, begins presentation of the Case on Conspiracy to Commit Aggressive War: "Shawcross: ...from the moment Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, with the Defendant Von Papen as Reich Chancellor, and with the Defendant Von Neurath as his Foreign Minister, the whole atmosphere of the world darkened. The hopes of the people began to recede. Treaties seemed no longer matters of solemn obligation but were entered into with complete cynicism as a means for deceiving other states of Germany's warlike intentions. International conferences were no longer to be used as a means for securing pacific settlements but as occasions for obtaining by blackmail demands which were eventually to be enlarged by war. The world came to know the 'war of nerves,' the diplomacy of the fait accompli, of blackmail and bullying..."
January 23, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 41, the prosecution presents its case against von Papen: "...Papen himself claims to have rejected many times Hitler's request that he should actually join the Nazi Party. Until 1938 this may indeed have been true, for he was shrewd enough to see the advantage of maintaining, at least outwardly, his personal independence. It will be my object to show that, despite his facade of independence, Papen was an ardent member of this conspiracy and, in spite of warnings and rebuffs, was unable to resist its fascination..."
January 23, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: The prosecution presents its case against Neurath: "...He (Neurath) says that the award of the Golden Party Badge was made on 30 January 1937 against his will and without his being asked. I point out that this defendant not only refrained from repudiating the allegedly unwanted honor, but after receiving it, attended meetings at which wars of aggression were planned, actively participated in the rape of Austria, and tyrannized Bohemia and Moravia. The second point is that his appointment as Gruppenfuehrer was also against his will and without his being asked. On that point, the Prosecution submits that the wearing of the uniform, the receipt of the further promotion to Obergruppenfuehrer and the actions against Bohemia and Moravia must be considered when the defendant's submission is examined. He then says that his appointment as Foreign Minister was by Reich President Von Hindenburg. We submit we need not do more than draw attention to the personalities of the Defendant Von Papen and Hitler and to the fact that President Von Hindenburg died in 1934. This defendant continued as Foreign Minister until 1938. He then says that he was an inactive Minister from the 4th of February 1938 until May 1945. At that moment attention is drawn to the activities which will be mentioned below and to the terrible evidence as to Bohemia and Moravia which will be forthcoming..."
March 5, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Winston Churchill (now a private citizen) introduces the phrase Iron Curtain into the English language during his famous Cold War speech at Fulton, Missouri. Speer recorded his fellow defendants' reactions: "...(The defendants showed) tremendous excitement. Hess suddenly stopped playing the amnesiac and reminded us how often he had predicted a great turning point that would put an end to the trial, rehabilitate all of us, and restore us to our ranks and dignities. Göring, too, was beside himself; he repeatedly slapped his thighs with his palms and boomed: 'History will not be deceived. The Führer and I always prophesied it. This coalition had to break up sooner or later.'" (Speer II)
March 8, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Day 77, General Erhard Milch testifies for the defense: "Milch: ...All measures taken by Hitler - beginning with the occupation of the Rhineland - came very suddenly, as a rule after only a few hour's preparation. That applies to Austria; that also applies to Czechoslovakia and to Prague. The only time that we were told anything beforehand was the affair with Poland, which I mentioned before..."
March 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 80, defendant Hermann Göring is given vast latitude by the Tribunal to tell his life story. He will be at it for the next few days. No other defendant will be given so much uninterrupted time. "Göring: ...The balance among the parliamentary parties had been disturbed as early as the end of 1931 or the beginning of 1932. Things were going badly in Germany and no proper enduring parliamentary majority could actually beprocured, and already the Enabling Act then in force had come into play to the exclusion, in part, of the Constitution. I call to mind the Bruning cabinet which had to work to a large extent with the Enabling Act and which at the time was also greatly concerned with Article 48 of the Reich Constitution. Then there followed the Cabinet of Von Papen, which also could not put itself on a parliamentary basis, on a more lasting or firmer basis. Herr Von Papen at that time tried to make that possible and, in order to get a parliamentary basis, he asked the National Socialists, the strongest party at that time, to establish such a basis together with the other parties. There was some talk -- Von Papen's name had been given to the President as a nominee for Reich Chancellor -- that Hitler should become the Vice Chancellor in this Cabinet. I remember that I told Herr Von Papen at that time that Hitler could become any number of things, but never Vice. If he were to be made anything, he would naturally have to be in the highest position and it would be completely unbearable and unthinkable to place our Fuehrer in any sort of second position. We would then have had to play the role of governing, but possibly not all according to our lights, and Hitler as a representative of the strongest party would have had to be responsible for these things. This we declined categorically. I do not emphasize that because Herr Von Papen is in the dock with me. He knows that we always respected him personally, but I told him then, after this gesture had come to nought, that we would not only not support him, but would also oppose his Cabinet in the Reichstag to the utmost, just as we would consistently fight every succeeding cabinet which did not give us a leading influence in the Chancellery. There came then -- I do not remember exactly for how many months Herr Von Papen held the reins -- the well-known clash between him and me, he as Reich Chancellor, I as the President of the Reichstag, in which it was my intention to bring about the fall of his government, and I knew there was to be a motion of "no confidence" by the Communists, in which practically everybody would participate. It was necessary for this vote of "no confidence" to be expressed under all circumstances in order to show the Reich President that one could not govern with such cabinets without some sort of strong reserve. I saw the "red portfolio" and knew that the order for dissolution was in it, but let the voting be carried through first. Thirty-two votes were for Von Papen and about five hundred were against him. The Cabinet of von Papen resigned..."
March 14, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 81, Goering testifies: "Göring: ...With the Catholic Church the Fuehrer ordered a concordat to be concluded by Herr Von Papen. Shortly before that agreement was concluded by Herr Von Papen I visited the Pope myself. I had numerous connections with the higher Catholic clergy because of my Catholic mother, and thus --I am myself a Protestant -- I had a view of both camps. One thing, of course, the Fuehrer and all of us, I, too, stood for was to remove politics from the Church as far as was possible. I did not consider it right, I must frankly say, that on one day the priest in church should humbly concern himself with the spiritual welfare of his flock and then on the following day make a more or less belligerent speech in parliament..."
March 14, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "This is the second Göring day as he was on the stand all day and he has made a most unusual witness, and I think quite a frank one. He admitted responsibility for many of the offenses and he is not cringing or crawling. He will go down fighting - somehow he makes me think of a captured lion. Of course I am not forgetting his part in all this business and much less am I unmindful of the facts that all of these top flight Nazis are spellbinders and fakers - that is how they did it - or part of how they did it anyway."
March 16, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 83, defendant Hermann Göring is cross-examined by various counsel: "...Dr Egon Kubuschok (Counsel for Defendant Von Papen): Is it correct that Hitler authorized you to conduct all negotiations for the purpose of forming a government under Hitler as it emerged on 30 January 1933, that is, that you alone were commissioned to do this? Goering: That is correct. I stated this the other day. Dr Egon Kubuschok: Is it correct that you talked about the formation of a government with Von Papen for the first time in January 1933? Goering: I talked with Papen for the first time on a Sunday, 8 days prior to the formation of the Government, in Ribbentrop's home. Dr Egon Kubuschok: If then, Papen had carried on negotiations concerning the formation of a government between 4 January, the day of the meeting with Hitler in the home of Baron Schroder, and 22 January, he would have had to do this through you, and you would have known it. Goering: That is correct, because the Fuehrer was in Munich at that time and I was the sole authority in Berlin for the formation of this government. Besides, it was not, at all obvious at the beginning of January that within a reasonable length of time we should have to form such a government. Other negotiations were taking place which had nothing to do with Herr von Papen..."
April 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 111, Hans Frank delivers his controversial testimony. From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa: "The defendants in the dock had listened to Frank's testimony intently, leaning forward and following every word. At lunch, Papen and Syss-Inquart gave him some words of encouragement. But most of the others had been horrified by what they heard...by mid-April the defendants were clearly divided." (Tusa)
April 25, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 114, Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution: "...Mr Justice Jackson: Now, were certain of the collaborators close collaborators of Von Papen? Was Von Papen subject to action by the Gestapo? Gisevius: To start with, the entire group around Von Papen was continuously under surveillance by the Gestapo because in the earlier years there was an impression among great masses of people that Von Papen was a special advocate for decency and right. A large group collected around Von Papen and that, of course, was most carefully watched by the Gestapo. As the complaints, which Von Papen received by the score, were carefully compiled in his office, and as no doubt Von Papen quite often took these papers either to Goering or to the Hindenburg palace, the closest collaborators of Von Papen were especially suspected by the Gestapo. So it was that on 30 June 1934 Oberregierungsrat Von Bose, the closest collaborator of Von Papen, was shot dead in the doorway of Von Papen's office. The two other colleagues of Von Papen were imprisoned, and the man who wrote Von Papen's radio speeches, Edgar Jung, was arrested weeks before the 30th of June; and on the morning of 1 July, he was found murdered in a ditch along the highway near Oranienburg. Mr Justice Jackson: Did Von Papen continue in office after that? Gisevius: I have never heard that he resigned; and I know that very soon after the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss was murdered, he was sent to Vienna as Hitler's ambassador. Mr Justice Jackson: Did he ever make any protests that you know of? Gisevius: I personally heard of none at the time, although, we were naturally extremely eager to hear which minister would protest. However, no letter from Papen arrived..."
April 26, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 115 of deliberations Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution: "...The President: Mr. Justice Jackson, I think you put your question, "Did not these men in the dock form a ring which prevented you getting to Hitler," and the question was answered rather as though it applied only to Keitel. If you intended to put it with reference to all defendants I think it ought to be cleared up. Mr Justice Jackson: I think that is true. [Turning to the witness.] Each of the defendants who held ministerial positions of any kind controlled the reports which should go to Hitler from that particular ministry, did he not? Gisevius: As far as this general question is concerned, I must reply cautiously, for, first of all, it was a close clan which put a cordon of silence around Hitler. A man like Von Papen or Von Neurath cannot be included in this group, for it was obvious that Von Papen and Von Neurath, and perhaps one or the other of the defendants, did not have the possibility, or much later no longer had the possibility, of having regular access to Hitler, for besides Von Neurath, Hitler already had his Ribbentrop for a long time. Thus I can only say that a certain group, which is surely well known, composed the close circle of which I am speaking. Mr Justice Jackson: I should like you to identify those of the defendants who had access to Hitler and those who were able to prevent access to Hitler by their subordinates. That would apply, would it not, to Goering, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Frick, and to Schacht-during the period until he broke with them, as you have testified-and to Doenitz, Raeder, Sauckel, and Speer? Gisevius: You mentioned a few too many and some are missing. Take the Defendant Jodl, for instance. I would like to call your attention to the strange influence which this defendant had and the position he had with regard to controlling access to Hitler. I believe my testimony shows that Schacht, on the other hand, did not control access to Hitler, but that he could only be glad about each open and decent report which got through to Hitler from his and other ministries. As far as the defendant Frick is concerned, I do not believe that he was necessarily in a position to control access to Hitler. I believe the problem of Frick centers in the matter of responsibility. Mr Justice Jackson: Should I have included Funk in the group that had access to Hitler? Gisevius: Funk, without a doubt, had access to Hitler for a long time, and for his part Funk had of course the responsibility to see that affairs in the Ministry of Economics and in the Reichsbank were conducted in the way Hitler desired. Without a doubt Funk put his surpassingly expert knowledge at the service of Hitler..
May 21, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Raeder's witness Karl Severing, a former Social Democratic Minister of the Interior during Weimar, is cross-examined by the prosecution: "...Major Jones: I want to ask you one or two questions about the Defendant Von Papen. Did Papen use force in carrying out the Putsch which brought him to power in July 1932? Karl Severing: Von Papen did not personally exercise such force, but he did order it. When, on the morning of 20 July 1932, I refused to surrender voluntarily the office of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior to the man who had been appointed by Von Papen as my successor, I explained to him that I had no intention of doing so and in order to make my protest more emphatic, I pointed out that I would only give way to force. And then force was used in the evening of 20 July in my office. The newly appointed police president of Berlin appeared in my office, accompanied by two police officers. I asked these gentlemen whether they were authorized by the President of the Reich or by the Reich Chancellor to carry out this mission. When they answered 'yes,' I stated that I would leave my office rather than cause the shedding of blood. Major Jones: Did the Defendant Papen, when he secured power, purge the police and the government of anti-Nazis? Karl Severing: Yes. There are numerous indications that the intention existed to purge the police of all republican elements and to replace them with men who were first devoted to Von Papen and then to the National Socialists..."
May 23, 1946 From the diary of 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 this 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 chaff in impotent despair..."
May 24, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Reactions to Schirach's second morning of testimony: "During Schirach's statement Gilbert had noticed the tension in the dock: Frank, Funk and Raeder dabbing their eyes, Streicher sneering. When Schirach went down to lunch he was congratulated by Fritzsche, Funk and Speer, and in their own room Papen, Neurath and Schacht agreed he was perfectly right in his judgement of Hitler. (Tusa)
May 29, 1946: From an affidavit from Rademacher von Unna: "He, Papen, would, however, not allow himself to be deterred by anybody from carrying out his mission in the way he himself understood it: to be an intermediary and peacemaker; and therefore he would show anyone the door who might wish to misuse him in Austria for obscure purposes. In this connection it is worth mentioning that a member of the Austrian Government, a state secretary whose name I have forgotten, was making efforts to establish personal, but secret, contact with the German Ambassador in order to offer him his services for the German cause. Herr Von Papen turned down this offer, giving as his reason the fact that he refused to participate in conspiracies which were directed against the official policies of the Ballhausplatz. Up to now he had attempted to co-operate openly and loyally with the Federal Government; and he, on his part, would not use any other means."
June 10, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 151, Seyss-Inquart testifies on his own behalf: Seyss-Inquart: "...without previous appointment, I met Herr Von Papen. Each of us poured out his troubles to the other, and came to the conclusion that both parties, that is to say, Hitler as well as the Austrian Government - that is, Dr. Schuschnigg - should be made aware of the fact that a clear decision on the lines of my proposal was necessary. At that time, participation of the National Socialists in the government was certainly discussed. Perhaps the Ministry of the Interior was also a subject of discussion, but my name was definitely not mentioned though it was the obvious one. I received no report on the discussions which Herr Von Papen had with Hitler, but I informed Zernatto of my conversation with Herr Von Papen. Zernatto at that time met me half-way on some questions, in particular with regard to the expansion of those sections dealing with national policy which were concerned with the National Socialists; and for this purpose he also placed means at my disposal..."
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 153, Seyss-Inquart undergoes cross-examination: "...Mr Dodd: Well, all right. Now I will ask you a little bit about this meeting with Von Papen in Garmisch. That just happened casually and was not planned, as I understood you. You talked about the possibility of the place of the Minister of Security being filled by a member of the Nazi Party. What I want to know is, did you also talk about the possible trip of Schuschnigg to Berchtesgaden, which didn't come so long after this meeting, did it? Was it mentioned? Seyss-Inquart: No, we did not talk about the technical means, whether a meeting between Dr. Schuschnigg and Hitler would take place and so forth or whether this should be accomplished through diplomatic channels-that was not discussed by us. Mr Dodd: Wasn't it discussed at all, that's all I want to know? Wasn't there any discussion about it? Seyss-Inquart: A meeting between these two state leaders was not discussed, but only the material content of our plan..."
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Edmund Glaise-Horstenau to the stand: "...Dr Egon Kubuschok: Was the July Agreement concluded as a result of pressure from Germany or through mutual desire and mutual interest? Glaise-Horstenau: It was concluded on the basis of mutual desire and mutual interest. Dr Egon Kubuschok: Did you then and later have complete confidence in Schuschnigg and he in you? Glaise-Horstenau: Up until the winter of 1937-38, my relationship to Schuschnigg was one of complete confidence. Dr Egon Kubuschok: Do you know anything about the intention of Herr Von Papen to effect the removal of Chancellor Schuschnigg? Glaise-Horstenau: Never did I have the slightest hint of that sort..."
June 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Seyss-Inquart's defense calls Friedrich Rainer to the stand: "...Mr Dodd: Let us turn a page and see what you said about Papen, and about the conference. You go on to say how you got information, how you met in the Ringstrasse, and so on. If you will follow right along now, we will not lose the places. "Papen had been expressly told to handle preparations for the conference confidentially. In Austria, only Schuschnigg, Schmidt, and Zernatto knew about it. They believed that on our side only Papen was informed. Papen, too, thought that only he knew about it, but we too were informed and had had conversations with Seyss about the subject." That is the Berchtesgaden conference. Now, were you telling the truth when you said this in 1942, or not? Or was that a broad statement for the benefit of the audience? Rainer: I cannot today check this document against a correct reproduction of what I said then. Mr Dodd: Well, why not? It was in 1942. Do you not remember? Do you mean that you do not know whether you told the truth or not, or you do not know whether you said this or not? Rainer: In those days I gave a description before the simple people of Carinthia and I... Mr Dodd: Did you lie to them or did you tell them the truth? Rainer: No, but I speak to people like that differently than I would speak under oath before this Tribunal, having to make concrete statements about concrete points..."
June 14, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 155 of deliberations, von Papen testifies on his own behalf: "von Papen...At the end of 1913, at the command of His Imperial Majesty, I was appointed military attaché in Washington and Mexico. In this capacity, in the summer of 1914, I accompanied the USA Expeditionary Corps, which was dispatched to Vera Cruz as a result of the incident at Tampico. In Mexico, I was surprised by the outbreak of the first World War. Until the end of 1915 I remained at my post in Washington. This period is of decisive significance for my political life. Our strife, carried on with legal methods, against the unilateral supplying of our enemies with war materials, led to heated polemics and propaganda. This propaganda, which was fostered by the enemy, tried by all means to cast suspicion upon the military attaches of Germany, accusing them of illegal acts and especially of having organized acts of sabotage. At the end of 1915 I left the United States. I regret to say that I never tried to rectify and correct this false propaganda; but this propaganda followed me until the thirties and even until today..."
June 17, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 156 of deliberations, von Papen testifies on his own behalf: "von Papen:...Even at that time, in 1933, Hitler tried to exert a decisive influence on the Army. He wanted to have the then General Von Hammerstein removed and replaced by General Von Reichenau, who at that time passed for a friend of the Party. At that time I persuaded the Reich President not to grant Hitler's wish in this connection and advised him to take General Von Fritsch. Another reason for this development was the integration of the "Stahlhelm," that is, a rightist conservative group, into the SA of the NSDAP. Then there were new cabinet members who were selected from the Party. Hugenberg, the leader of the conservative Right, left the Cabinet, and the two important ministries which he filled, the Ministries of Economy and Agriculture, were occupied by National Socialists. A decisive psychological factor, as I have already mentioned, was the election result of 5 March, for the governments of all the Lander had National Socialist majorities, and these local governments exerted constant pressure on Hitler. Hitler drew his support now from Party dynamics and thus changed in an ever-increasing degree from a coalition partner ready for compromise into an autocrat who knew no compromise..."
June 18, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett: "He (Papen's counsel, Dr Egon Kubuschok) will never use one word if a dozen will do. Clouds of verbiage, mountains of irrelevance and oceans of arid pomposity distinguish his every moment in court...He unites with this absence of merit a smug self-complacency, an indifference to ordinary emotions (such as diffidence in taking so much time)...Incompetence and mediocrity are enthroned, and with the despotism associated with power are enjoying their little day."
June 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 157 of deliberations, Von Papen undergoes expert cross-examination: "...Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Defendant, do you remember saying in your interrogation on 19 September of last year that your present view was that Hitler was the greatest crook that you had ever seen in your life? Von Papen: That is quite true. That is the opinion which I arrived at after I learned here of all the crimes. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Well, that was on 19 September 1945. But I am more interested in your next answer. Was that not when you were asked when you made your mind up that Hitler was the greatest crook you had ever seen in your life, "only after I have known the facts after which he started to go to war"? Do you remember saying that? Von Papen: Yes. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Was not that rather a long time for you to discover that somewhat obvious truth after your close co-operation with Hitler? Von Papen: My opinion about Hitler and his inner political significance was completely clear after 30 June 1934. But, like all other human beings, I could assume that in the field of foreign politics at least he would be sensible..."
June 19, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 158 of deliberations, Von Papen undergoes cross-examination: "...The President: I have just two or three questions I should like to ask you. When did you first hear about the murder of Jews? Von Papen: I believe, My Lord, that that was during the war. The President: Well, the war lasted 6 years. When during the war? Von Papen: I cannot say with certainty, My Lord. I cannot say on my oath when it was. The President: You cannot say with more certainty than that? Von Papen: No; our general knowledge was that the Jews were sent to camps in Poland. But we knew nothing of a systematic extermination of Jews such as we have heard here..."
June 19, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Papens' defense calls their only witness, Dr Hans Kroll, to the stand: "Kroll: ...as far as I was able to tell, Herr Von Papen, who spoke very frankly with me about these things, distrusted Hitler's foreign policy. He was an enemy of war, a true and sincere enemy of war; and, of course, he was also an enemy of war against Poland. He was quite convinced that an agreement could be reached on the Polish question if it could only be made clear to Hitler that a conflict with Poland would of necessity lead to a World War. He then endeavored, and I must say in very open, clear, and courageous language, to point out this view in his reports. And in his talks with the Turkish statesmen, as well as with the accredited diplomats in Ankara, he attempted to prove that, in fact, a conflict with Poland would of necessity lead to a conflict with England and France. I often told myself later that he was convinced that if everyone, Germans as well as foreigners, had spoken to Hitler in this clear manner, the war would have been avoided..."
June 20, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett: "When Flaschner (Speer's counsel) succeeded Kubuschok (Papen's counsel) at the microphone, it became clear the there were lower depths of advocacy to be reached, unbelievable as it sounds. While Kubuschok sleeps in the courtroom, his fell work accomplished, Flaschner carries on the evil tradition with unashamed and unabashed zeal."
June 21, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett: "Oscar Wilde began 'De Profundis' by asserting that 'suffering is one long moment' and the truth of that assertion cannot be better exemplified than in this awful cross-examination, which the Tribunal is compelled to suffer and endure."
June 24, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 162, von Neurath testifies on his own behalf: von Neurath: "...I did welcome the efforts for an understanding with Austria, which started in 1935 and were carried through with success by Herr Von Papen, and I always tried to influence Hitler to bring this about. As to Von Papen's actions in Vienna during this time, I was only imperfectly informed, as Herr Von Papen was not subordinate to me and received his orders directly from Hitler. It was only during this Trial that I learned about the series of letters which Von Papen wrote to Hitler... "
June 25, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: On day 163, von Neurath is cross-examined: "Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: "...And again, do not think, Defendant, I am suggesting that you were in the negotiations. You may take it - well, I will make all the suggestions perfectly clear. You knew that in the end the method which commended itself to President Von Hindenburg, to the Defendant Von Papen, and to General Von Schleicher was that there should be a government with Hitler as Chancellor, but well brigaded by conservative elements, in harness with conservative elements; that was the plan that was ultimately resolved on? You knew that much, I suppose, didn't you? von Neurath: Yes, but the plan was not quite like that. At that time, the time you are talking about, there was only mention of the fact that we were obliged to bring the Nazi Party into the Government..
June 26, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 164, von Neurath testifies"...von Neurath: I had already learned from personal experience that Hitler could not stand contradiction of any kind and that he was not amenable to any kind of petition if it was made before a fairly large group, because then he would always develop the complex that he was facing some sort of opposition against which he had to defend himself. It was different when one confronted him alone. Then, at least during the earlier years, he was accessible, thoroughly amenable to reasonable arguments, and much could be achieved in the way of moderating or weakening radical measures. Moreover, I should like to mention again that just after the excesses mentioned in Mr. Geist's affidavit there was a meeting of the Cabinet, during which strong protests were raised against the repetition of such occurrences by various ministers including non-Nazi ministers. At that time Hitler thoroughly agreed with these objections, and declared that such excesses would not be allowed recur. Shortly afterward he also made a speech in which he publicly expressed an assurance to this effect. From then until June 1934 no more excesses took place. Dr von Ludinghausen: But in April 1933 there was the well-known anti-Jewish boycott, which lasted 24 hours, if I am not mistaken? von Neurath: Yes, that was one of Herr Goebbels' provocations. But actually there were no excesses and acts of violence whatsoever on that occasion. It was confined merely to boycotting. Moreover, the fact that no further disturbances arose in that case was the result of a joint intercession by Herr Von Papen and myself with Hitler and specially with Hindenberg..."
July 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Funk reacts to the closing remarks of his defense: "I don't see how the court can acquit a single one of us."
July 22, 1946: On day 183, Dr Egon Kubuschok, Counsel for Defendant Von Papen, makes his closing remarks: Kubuschok: "...At the conference of Lausanne Papen openly explained the domestic political situation in Germany. He pointed out that ideological points mainly were involved, the nonrealization.of which would give the National Socialists the impetus they desired. He explicitly emphasized that his efforts were the last attempt of a nonradical Cabinet and that in the event his policy failed only National Socialism would profit from it. Papen strove to make the National Socialist Party take a share of the responsibility without wishing to entrust to it the key position of Reich Chancellor-a share in the responsibility which would have forced this party of negative politics to recognize actual conditions and which would thus have eliminated its attractive demagogic propaganda. These first attempts by Papen to bring about the participation of the National Socialist movement in the work of government are regarded by the Prosecution as paving the way for National Socialism. However, this is actually nothing but an attempt to find a basis of some kind for practical governmental work..."
July 23, 1946: On day 184, von Papen's defense completes its closing remarks: "Kubuschok: ...What reason could Papen have for assuming in public a hostile attitude toward Hitler during his vice-chancellorship, and during the events of 30 June, if he had been, in fact, his loyal follower? What reason could Hitler who, according to the Prosecution, conspired with Papen, have had for desiring this, and this, after all, would only be a result of the conspiracy? Could Hitler have wished Papen to disclose in his Marburg speech all the weaknesses and abuses of the Nazi system? What reason could Hitler have had for wishing Papen to remain so obviously aloof from the lawless proceedings of 30 June? It could only have been in line with his policy to show the unity between Vice Chancellor and Reich Chancellor to the public. If these points are taken into consideration, there is only one possible conclusion: There is no logical basis for the Prosecutions interpretation..."
July 22, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 187 of deliberations, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Von Papen. "Justice Jackson: ...Von Papen, pious agent of an infidel regime, held the stirrup while Hitler vaulted into the saddle, lubricated the Austrian annexation, and devoted his diplomatic cunning to the service of Nazi objectives abroad...It was the fatal weakness of the early Nazi band that it lacked technical competence. It could not from among its own ranks make up a government capable of carrying out all the projects necessary to realize its aims. Therein lies the special crime and betrayal of men like Schacht and Von Neurath, Speer and Von Papen, Raeder and Doenitz, Keitel and Jodl. It is doubtful whether the Nazi master plan could have succeeded without their specialized intelligence which they so willingly put at its command. They did so with knowledge of its announced aims and methods, and continued their services after practice had confirmed the direction in which they were tending. Their superiority to the average run of Nazi mediocrity is not their excuse. It is their condemnation...Who led Hitler, utterly untraveled himself, to believe in the indecision and timidity of democratic peoples if not Ribbentrop, Von Neurath, and Von Papen?"
August 30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 216 of deliberations, the defendants make their final statements. Final Statement of Franz von Papen: Your Lordship, may it please the Tribunal, when I returned home in 1919, I found a people, tom by the political struggles of the parties, which was then attempting to find a new mode of existence after the downfall. In those days of my country's misfortune, I believed as a responsible German that I had no right to stand inactive on the sidelines. It was clear to me that a rebirth of my country was only possible by way of peace and intellectual understanding, an understanding which did not deal only with political forms, but was even more concerned with the solution of the extremely urgent social problems, the first condition for bringing about internal peace. Against the onslaught of radical ideologies it was necessary--and this was my conviction--that Christianity be maintained as the starting point of the new political order. On the issue of this internal understanding the maintenance of European peace would have to depend. The best years of my lifework were devoted to this question, in the community, in Parliament, in the Prussian State, and in the Reich. Anyone who is acquainted with the facts knows that I did not aspire to high office in 1932. Hindenburg's urgent appeal on behalf of the fatherland was to me a command. And when, like countless other Germans in the emergency of 1933, 1 decided to co-operate by occupying a prominent position, then I did so because I considered it to be my duty, because I believed in the possibility of steering National Socialism into responsible channels, and because I hoped that the maintenance of Christian principles would be the best counterweight against ideological and political radicalism and would guarantee peaceful domestic and foreign development. That goal was not reached. The power of evil was stronger than the power of good and drove Germany inevitably into catastrophe. Put should that be a reason to damn those who kept the banner of faith flying in the struggle against disbelief? And does that entitle Justice Jackson to claim that I was nothing but the hypocritical agent of a godless government? Or what gives Sir Hartley Shawcross the right to say, with scorn, ridicule, and contempt: "He preferred to reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven"? Gentlemen of the Prosecution, it is not for you to judge here, that is for others. But I should like to ask: Is not the question of defending transcendental values more than ever the central issue today in the efforts to rebuild a world? I believe that I can face my responsibility with a clear conscience. Love of country and people was the only decisive factor in all my actions. I spoke without fear of man whenever I had to speak. It was not the Nazi regime but the fatherland which I served when, in spite of the severest disappointments at the failure of my hopes in the field of domestic policy, I attempted, from the vantage point of my diplomatic posts, to save at least the peace. When I examine my conscience, I do not find any guilt where the Prosecution has looked for it and claims to have found it. But where is the man without guilt and without faults? Seen from the historical point of view, this guilt may be found on that dramatic day of 2 December 1932, when I did not attempt to persuade the Reich President with all the means at my disposal to abide by the decision he had made the night before--despite the violation of the Constitution and despite the threat by General von Schleicher to start a civil war. Does the Prosecution want to damn all those who with honest intentions offered to co-operate? Does it claim that the German people elected Hitler in 1933 because they wanted war? Does it really claim that the overwhelming majority of the German people made their tremendous spiritual and material sacrifices-including even the sacrifice of their youth on the battlefields of this war--merely for Hitler's Utopian and criminal aims? This High Tribunal faces this infinitely difficult task without yet having gained sufficient distance in time from the catastrophe to be able to recognize the causes and results of historical developments in their true connections. Only if this High Tribunal recognizes and acknowledges the historic truth will the historical meaning of this Tribunal be fulfilled. Only then will the German people, in spite of the destruction of its Reich, not only come to a realization of its errors, but also find the strength for its future task."
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 29, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From notes by Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor: "Yesterday, the defendants said farewell to their relatives...Von Papen too, despite his vivacity, is outwardly calmer; he is friendly and cheerful as always...Papen is very cool and collected and is glad that the decision is near." (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: "Von Papen is indicted under Counts One and Two. He was appointed Chancellor of the Reich on 1 June 1932, and was succeeded by Von Schleicher on 2 December 1932. He was made Vice Chancellor in the Hitler Cabinet on 30 January 1933, and on 13 November 1933, Plenipotentiary for the Saar. On 26 July 1934, he was appointed Minister to Vienna, and was recalled on 4 February 1938. On 29 April 1939, he was appointed Ambassador to Turkey. He returned to Germany when Turkey broke off diplomatic relations with Germany in August 1944. Crimes against Peace: Von Papen was active in 1932 and 1933 in helping Hitler to form the Coalition Cabinet and aided in his appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. As Vice Chancellor in that Cabinet he participated in the Nazi consolidation of control in 1933. On 16 June 1934, however, Von Papen made a speech at Marburg which contained a denunciation of the Nazi attempts to suppress the free press and the Church, of the existence of a reign of terror, and of "150 percent Nazis" who were mistaking "brutality for vitality." On 30 June 1934, in the wave of violence which accompanied the, so-called Roehm Purge, Von Papen was taken into custody by the SS, his office force was arrested, and two of his associates, including the man who had helped him work on the Marburg speech, were murdered. Von Papen was released on 3 July 1934. Notwithstanding, the murder of his associates, Von Papen accepted the position of Minister to Austria on 26 July 1934, the day after Dollfuss had been assassinated. His appointment was announced in a letter from Hitler which instructed him to direct relations between the two countries "into normal and friendly channels" and assured him of Hitler's "complete and unlimited confidence." As Minister to Austria, Von Papen was active in trying to strengthen the position of the Nazi Party in Austria for the purpose of bringing about the Anschluss. In early 1935 he attended a meeting in Berlin at which the policy was laid down to avoid everything which would give the appearance of German intervention in the internal affairs of Austria. Yet he arranged for 200,000 marks a month to be transmitted to "the persecuted National Socialist sufferers in Austria." On 17 May 1935, he reported to Hitler the results of a conference with Captain Leopold, the leader of the Austrian Nazis, and urged Hitler to make a statement recognizing the national independence of Austria, and predicting that the result might be to help the formation of a coalition between Schuschnigg's Christian Socialists and the Austrian Nazis against Starhemberg. On 27 July 1935, Von Papen reported to Hitler that the union of Austria and Germany could not be brought about by external pressure but only by the strength of the National Socialist movement. He urged that the Austrian Nazi Party change its character as a centralized Reich German Party and become a rallying point for all national Germans. Von Papen was involved in occasional Nazi political demonstrations, supported Nazi propaganda activities, and submitted detailed reports on the activities of the Nazi Party, and routine reports relating to Austrian military defenses. His Austrian policy resulted in the agreement of 11 July 1936, which nominally restored relations between Germany and Austria to "normal and friendly form," but which had a secret supplement providing for an amnesty for Austrian Nazis, the lifting of censorship on Nazi papers, the resumption of political activities by Nazis, and the appointment of men friendly to the Nazis in the Schuschnigg Cabinet. After the signing of this agreement Von Papen offered to resign but his resignation was not accepted. Thereafter he proceeded to bring continued pressure on the Austrian Government to bring Nazis into the Schuschnigg Cabinet and to get them important positions in the Fatherland Front, Austria's single legal party. On 1 September 1936, Von Papen wrote Hitler advising him that anti-Nazis in the Austrian Ministry of Security were holding up the infiltration of the Nazis into the Austrian Government-and recommended bringing "slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime." On 4 February 1938, Von Papen was notified of his recall as Minister to Austria, at the same time that Von Fritsch, Von Blomberg, and Von Neurath were removed from their positions. He informed Hitler that he regretted his recall because he had been, trying since November 1937 to induce Schuschnigg to hold a conference with Hitler, and Schuschnigg had indicated his willingness to do so. Acting under Hitler's instructions, Von Papen then returned to Austria and arranged the conference which was held at Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938. Von Papen accompanied Schuschnigg to that conference, and at its conclusion advised Schuschnigg to comply with Hitler's demands. On 10 March 1938, Hitler ordered Von Papen to return to Berlin. Von Papen was in the Chancellery on 11 March when the occupation of Austria was ordered. No evidence has been offered showing that Von Papen was in favor of the decision to occupy Austria by force, and he has testified that he urged Hitler not to take this step. After the annexation of Austria Von Papen retired into private life and there is no evidence that he took any part in politics. He accepted the position of Ambassador to Turkey in April 1939 but no evidence has been offered concerning his activities in that position implicating him in crimes. The evidence leaves no doubt that Von Papen's primary purpose as Minister to Austria was to undermine the Schuschnigg regime and strengthen the Austrian Nazis for the purpose of bringing about the Anschluss. To carry through this plan he engaged in both intrigue and bullying. But the Charter does not make criminal such offenses against political morality, however bad these may be. Under the Charter Von Papen can be held guilty only if he was a party to the planning of aggressive war. There is no evidence that he was a party to the plans under which the occupation of Austria was a step in the direction of further aggressive action, or even that he participated in plans to occupy Austria by aggressive war if necessary. But it is not established beyond a reasonable doubt that this was the purpose of his activity, and therefore the Tribunal cannot hold that he was a party to the common plan charged in Count One or participated in the planning of the aggressive wars charged under Count Two. Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Von Papen is not guilty under this Indictment, and directs that he shall be discharged by the Marshal, when the Tribunal presently adjourns."
"Franz von Papen, like Schacht, was indicted only on Counts One and Two. He was also the second defendant to be acquitted, but this had been more generally expected. However, the Tribunal was sharply divided, and the acquittal came on a two-to-one vote. Those who wanted Papen convicted responded to the pressure of his reputation as a conniver and his support for Hitler's appointment as Chancellor. No doubt the ultimate consequences of Hitler's accension to power were catastrophic, but Papen's actions were not war crimes. No doubt, too, his actions as Minister to Austria were tilted toward Anschluss, but here, too, that was no war crime. Proof of knowledge and support of Hitler's plans for ultimate aggressive wars was lacking. Fyfe had done his best to blacken Papen as a person, and Nikitchenko and de Vabres had voted for conviction. But, at least in my opinion, the Tribunal was right (in acquitting Papen)." -From 'The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials' by Telford Taylor.
September 30, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On their release at the close of the morning session, Fritzsche, Schacht and Papen are bombarded with questions from the world press: "Question: Where will you live now? Schacht: I too would like to know. Question: Will you spend the night in jail? Fritzsche: No, rather in a Nuremberg ruin; no more gray walls and window bars. Question: What are your plans? Papen: I will go to my daughter in the British zone or to my wife and children in the French zone. Schacht: I will go to my wife and children who live in the British zone, and I hope I shall never again see anyone from the press! Fritzsche: The problem of freedom is quite new for me. I can't say yet what I shall do." As the press photographers snapped their pictures, the former defendants were asked for many autographs. After a bit, Schacht (the banker) held up his hand and asked for silence. "My two children, aged three and four, have never had any chocolate. I will only give further autographs in return for chocolate."
October 1, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed down. From the dissenting Soviet opinion: "...evidence submitted establishes beyond doubt that: a) Von Papen actively aided the Nazis in their seizure of power. b) Von Papen used both his efforts and his connections to solidify and strengthen the Hitlerian terroristic regime in Germany. c) Von Papen actively participated in the Nazi aggression against Austria culminating in its occupation. d) Von Papen faithfully served Hitler up to the very end, aiding the Nazi plans of aggression both with his ability and his diplomatic skill. It therefore follows that Defendant Von Papen bears considerable responsibility for the crimes of the Hitlerite regime. For these reasons I cannot consent to the acquittal of Defendant von Papen..."
October 3, 1946: Three days after their acquittal, Schacht and Fritsche, knowing that German authorities are waiting outside the Palace of Justice to arrest them, make a break for it. Both are placed in vans at midnight and driven off at high-speed in opposite directions; both are soon arrested. Papen cautiously remains a guest in one of Colonel Andrus' cells while appealing to both the British and the Americans for sanctuary. The British refuse to take him under any circumstance. The Americans will eventually allow him to dwell in their zone, but with the condition that he remain in Nuremberg. (Tusa)
October 16, 1946: Von Papen and those defendants sentenced to jail time endure a sleepless night as the condemned mens' names are called off one floor below, one by one, and led to the gallows.
October 16, 1946: Von Papen finally leaves Nuremberg Jail to stay with a friend in Nuremberg. Most of his time, however, will be occupied in various hospitals in and around Nuremberg until January of 1947, when he is interned for his denazification trial.
February 1, 1947: Von Papen is convicted at his denazification trial as a Major Offender and sentenced to eight years incarceration in a labor camp.
September 2, 1948: Von Papen is released, having spent most of his imprisonment in various camp hospitals.
1952: Von Papen publishes his 'Memoirs.'
July 24, 1959: Von Papen is made an honorary papal secret treasurer (Papal Chamberlain) by Pope John XXIII.
May 2, 1969: Von Papen dies in Oberasbach, West Germany.
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