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Translation of document 3425-PS
Dr. ARTHUR SEYSS-INQUART Nurnberg, 10.12.1945 I am a lawyer by profession. I passed my final examinations in law and received my Doctor Jurist degree in 1917. At that time I was serving as a commissioned officer in a Tyrolean Imperial [Kaiserjaeger] regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army, in which I served from 1914-1918 in World War I. In 1921 I began my legal practice as lawyer in Vienna, Austria, where I finally built up a large clientele, including industrialists and Jews. I continued to practice my profession in Vienna until I was appointed Minister of Interior and Security of Austria on 16 February 1938. In 1918 I became interested in the “Anschluss” of Austria with Germany. From that year on I worked, planned and collaborated with others of a like mind to bring about a union of Austria with Germany. It was my desire to effect this union of the two countries in an evolutionary manner and by legal means. Among my Austrian collaborators were Dr. Neubacher, City Councilor Speiser, the University Professor Hughlmann and Dr. Wilhelm Bauer, Prof. Wettstein, and others. Later, during the rise of National Socialism, Dr. Friedrich Rainer, Dr. Jury, Glaise-Horstenau, Maj. Klausner, Dr. Muehlmann, Globotschnigg and others. I supported also the National Socialist party as long as it was legal, because it declared itself with particular determination in favor of the anschluss. From 1932 onwards I made financial contributions to this party, but I discontinued financial support when it was declared illegal in 1934. From July 1934 until the year 1936 I supported individual National Socialists as lawyer and in collaboration with the Welfare Work Langoth in Linz. From July 1936 onwards I endeavored to help the National Socialists to regain their legal status and finally to participate in the Austrian government. During this time, particularly after the Party was forbidden in July 1934, I knew that the radical element of the party was engaged in terroristic activities, such as attacks on railroads, bridges, telephone communications, etc. I knew that the governments of both Chancellors Dolfuss and Schuschnigg, although they held the same total German viewpoint in principle, were opposed to the anschluss then because of the National Socialist regime in the Reich. I was sympathetic towards the efforts of the Austrian Nazi Party to gain political power and corresponding influence, because they were in favor of the Anschluss. On the day of the unsuccessful “putsch", 25 July 1934, I was at my home in Stannern, near Iglau, Czecho-Slovakia. I learned later that the murder of Chancellor Dolfuss on that day was the outcome of a “putsch” plan, in which SS circles were mainly involved, to arrest the Chancellor and put in an Austrian government with National Socialist participation. Eight or ten days before this unsuccessful “putsch” Chancellor Dolfuss sent for me. We discussed the disturbances and troubled state of affairs created in Austria by the radical element of the Austrian National Socialists. I advised Chancellor Dolfuss to make an arrangement with Hitler because the Austrian National Socialists and even this radical element would obey Hitler's orders. I conjectured--later I found confirmation--that these terroristic activities had a certain support from the Reich. Chancellor Dolfuss told me he would think the matter over and made a tentative future appointment for a further discussion. I informed other acquaintances whom I knew had influence among the Austrian National Socialists, of this conversation. About one week later the Chancellor informed me that at the moment he had no time for further discussion. Without advising anyone I returned to my home. Before the Anschluss I worked for the legal, political activities of the Austrian National Socialists under the conditions laid down in the Austrian constitution. On 10 March 1938 I suggested to Chancellor Schuschnigg as a solution to the difficulties resulting from his plebiscite plan, that the National Socialists be appointed to the Cabinet, after I became, in May 1937, State Councillor and then on 16.2.1938 Minister of Interior and Security. After I became State Councillor I discussed several times with von Papen, the German ambassador, the possibilities of an understanding between the Austrian Government and the Austrian National Socialists, respectively the Reich. We did not talk of the anschluss as an actual program. However, we were both of the opinion that a successful understanding would bring about in the course of-time the anschluss by evolutionary means in some form. The last time I spoke to von Papen was in January 1938 in Garmisch, where I met him by chance. My appointment as State Councillor was the result of an agreement between Austria and Germany on 11.7.1936. My appointment as Minister of the Interior and Security was one of the results of the conference between Chancellor Schuschnigg and Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Dr. Muehlmann was also at Berchtesgaden, but not as a member of Schuschnigg's delegation. The Austrian National Socialists must certainly have taken my appointment as Minister of Interior and Security as an indication of their right to activity, still more, however, the contents of the agreement of 12.2.1938, allowed them to demonstrate their convictions. This right they utilized in more and more widespread demonstrations. After my appointment as State Councillor, Wilhelm Keppler, the German Secretary of State for Austrian affairs, arranged a visit for me with Hess and Goering. I explained my intentions and plans to them, namely the attainment of legal activity for the Austrian National Socialists, independent of the Reich party. Hess expressed his interest and said to me among other things: he regretted that I was not one of the original “old fighters". I believe that at that time Goering had already established direct connections with the Austrian State Secretary, Guido Schmid. After my appointment as Minister of Interior and Security of Austria I went to Berlin to visit Hitler. I arrived in Berlin on 17.2.1938 where I was met by Keppler who took me to Himmler. This visit was not anticipated in my program. Himmler wanted t to talk over police matters, I informed him, however, that I was not conversant to speak about them. I did not follow the suggestions which he made. I greeted Hitler with raised hand permissible after the agreement of 12.2.--advised him, however, immediately that as Austrian Minister my responsibility lay with Austria. I explained to Hitler my plans, namely: I had to be the living guarantee for Dr. Schuschnigg of the evolutionary way. The Austrian National Socialists must only conduct their activities according to the Austrian constitution and on those lines find their way to the Reich; they must not make any totalitarian claim nor conduct a cultural struggle. The leadership of the Austrian National Socialists must be independent of the Reich and remain responsible to Austria. I would have as Minister of Security to oppose any kind of illegal activity. Against this the Austrian National Socialists would be permitted full freedom of activity to work for the closest co- operation of Austria and Germany. Hitler agreed to my plans but expressed certain doubts whether Dr. Schuschnigg would be willing to go so far. During my conference with Hitler, Keppler and Ribbentrop waited in the ante-room of Hitler's office. Upon my return to Vienna I reported to Chancellor Schuschnigg the content of my discussion and begged him to make a decision about the Austrian National Socialist question. Then I attended rallies of the Austrian National Socialists, to inform them of the content of my conference with Hitler. This occurred with the knowledge of Chancellor Schuschnigg and Minister Zernatto principally in Graz and Linz. The Linz address was broadcast over the Austrian radio on 5.3.1928. Chancellor Schuschnigg thereafter planned to hold a plebiscite on Austrian independence. I wrote a letter to Chancellor Schuschnigg and objected to the plebiscite because the way in which it was to be carried out would not allow the Austrian people to express their real desires. A copy of my letter to Chancellor Schuschnigg I gave to the National Socialist leaders according to the agreement of 12.2.1938 which made me liaison man between the Austrian Government and the Austrian National Socialists, respectively the Reich. This copy was given to Hitler in Berlin by Globotschnigg. I conferred with Chancellor Schuschnigg especially on 10.3. in the evening, and we were near to reaching a solution for overcoming the difficulties which had arisen. Thereupon I went to the Hotel “Regina", where I had been told Klausner was, to inform him of the result of my conversation with Schuschnigg. There I found 8-12 National Socialists, some of whom I knew. Klausner, Dr. Rainer and Globotschnigg had a conversation in an adjoining room in which I did not take part, and about the substance of which I was not informed. When Klausner came in I wanted to advise him of the substance of my conversation with Chancellor Schuschnigg. Klausner showed little interest, and informed me that the Reich had rejected the plebiscite and that I should receive on the morrow a letter from Hitler which would inform me more exactly of the situation. He requested those present to be available the next day. Glaise-Horstenau arrived early on 11.3 in Vienna by plane and informed me that Berlin was greatly excited and that military steps were in preparation. I received Hitler's letter by courier. It contained rejection of the plebiscite and demanded its postponement and a modified procedure. There were several erroneous statements in the letter which I corrected in my conference with the Chancellor. Further, Hitler gave expression to his belief that there would be disturbances in Austria if Dr. Schuschnigg did not relent, and that the Reich was prepared to come to the help of Austria if Austria demanded so. At 10 o'clock in the morning Glaise-Horstenau and I went to the Bundes Chancellery and conferred for about two hours with Dr. Schuschnigg. We told him of all that we knew, particularly about the possibility of disturbances and preparations by the Reich. The Chancellor said that he would give his decision by 1400 hours. While I was with Glaise-Horstenau and Dr. Schuschnigg I was repeatedly called to the telephone to speak to Goering. He informed me, (the demands of the Reich steadily increasing) that the agreement of 12.2. had been cancelled, and demanded Dr. Schuschnigg’s resignation and my appointment as Chancellor. I delivered this information verbally to Dr. Schuschnigg and withdrew from the conference. In the meantime Keppler arrived from Berlin and had a conference in the Bundes Chancellery, I believe also with President Miklas. The latter refused to concede to the demands and sought to find various other solutions. When Keppler arrived from Berlin he showed me the contents of a telegram which I, as leader of the provisional Austrian government was to send to Hitler in which I was to request sending of German troops to Austria to put down disorders. I refused as I did not want to establish myself as head of a provisional government, and there were no disorders in Austria. Keppler repeatedly urged me about the telegram. Around 6 p.m. I told him that he knew my standpoint and should do what he wished with Berlin. Keppler, as I have been able to confirm from records available, understood my answer and did not send off the telegram at that time. Around 7.30 p.m. a frontier police post announced that German troops were crossing the frontier. Thereupon Dr. Schuschnigg gave his well-known farewell speech over the radio. Upon requests from various sides I followed with a speech over the radio, stating that I was still functioning as Minister of Interior and Security, requesting preservation of peace and order, and gave directions that no resistance should be offered the German troops. As I am able to gather from the records available, I was again requested around 10 p.m. to give my sanction to another somewhat altered telegram, about which I informed President Miklas and Dr. Schuschnigg. Finally President Miklas appointed me Chancellor and a little while later he approved my list of proposed ministers. During the morning of 12 March I had a telephone conversation with Hitler in which I suggested that while German troops were entering Austria, Austrian troops as a symbol should march into the Reich. Hitler agreed to this suggestion and we agreed to meet in Linz, Upper Austria, later on that same day. I then flew to Linz with Himmler, who had arrived in Vienna from Berlin. I greeted Hitler on the balcony of the City Hall, and said that Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain was now inoperative. On 13 March President Miklas resigned without any specific request from me and the function of Bund President became mine, according to the constitution. Before his resignation President Miklas had appointed Kaltenbrunner to State Secretary for Security. During the course of the day (13 March) the Reuniting Law was adopted in the Austrian Ministry Council; this adoption was constitutionally legal according to the law of 1.5.1934. I then drove to Linz and reported to Hitler regarding the adoption of the anschluss law. At a public demonstration on 15.3 in Vienna he introduced me as “Reich Statthalter for Austria.” Hitler put me in charge of the Civil Administration of Austria, while political matters were to be handled by Gauleiter Buerckel. After a short time Buerckel was made Reich Commissar for the Anschluss, to whose directions I, in the Civil Administration, was obligated. I was happy that the Anschluss of Austria with the German Reich had come at last after so many vain endeavours since 1918, because I was in favour of the anschluss of Austria with the Reich under any conditions. I was aware at least to a certain extent of the harshness of the National Socialist regime, but I was of the opinion that these two German countries belonged together and that the German people should solve their own internal affairs and difficulties. I was convinced that the harshness of the National Socialist regime chiefly because of its achievement of the national aim--cancellation of discriminatory peace treaties and achievement of the right of self-determination--would in time be overcome. [signed] Seyss-Inquart. Nurnberg, 10 December 1945. [signed] Dr. Gustav Steinbauer Witness of the signature.