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Translation of document 3576-PS
Berlin W8, 19 February 1938 Behrensstrasse 39A Tel. 165861 Central Office for the Economic-political Organizations of the NSDAP Director: W. Keppler [Letterhead] [Stamped] `received' 19 Feb. 1938 To Minister President Field Marshal Goering. Honored Field Marshal: I am taking the liberty of enclosing herewith a brief report by my colleague, Dr. Veesenmayer, who returned this morning from Vienna. Also enclosed is a copy of a handbill (see p. 2, point 3). Heil Hitler! Yours very faithfully, (Signed) Keppler ------- 1. According to latest reports, Schuschnigg is being hard pressed by the Catholics as well as the Jews. The Jewish attack is carried on Chiefly through the stock exchange, with the intention of exerting pressure on the currency. After the 17th of February 1938 there suddenly set in an extraordinarily pronounced flight of capital that led to an appreciable sinking of Austrian loan values in Switzerland and in London, as well as elsewhere abroad. Great quantities of schilling notes are smuggled over the border, so that since yesterday it has been impossible to make any quotations. This development is not unfavorable for the Reich just now, but great care must be taken to prevent the undermining of Austrian currency and, with it, the Austrian economy, from going too far. In this matter it appears probably only a matter of days now. From the Catholic side, the Nuncio sharply attacked Schuschnigg yesterday afternoon, making use of Provincial Governor [Landeshauptmann] Gleissner, who is spoken of in opposition circles as the successor. Under this double pressure Schuschnigg himself again expressed intentions of resigning, yesterday evening, and informed the President of the Administrative Court, Mr. Dinghofer, that he eventually intended to take over his post. At the same time Schuschnigg urged the return of Minister Seyss-Inquart, probably in order, with his assistance, to remain in the [Page 272] saddle. In my opinion it is clear that Schuschnigg's intention of resigning has been discussed, yet he apparently is still making efforts to retain his chancellorship if possible. 2. On the basis of four days of careful and extensive observation it must be confirmed that the breakthrough has succeeded completely and that it goes much deeper than is realized in much of the Reich. After Schuschnigg was left in the lurch by the foreign countries he experienced the blows of having his supporters wrangle violently over the succession to the post of Chancellor. In monarchist circle - - where every hope has been abandoned chaos reigns. Jewish circles are convinced that it is only a matter of time until Austria will be politically and economically united with the Reich. The prompt removal of Kienboeck as President of the National Bank seems particularly necessary, since, as an outspoken friend of the Jews, he not only tolerates the present catastrophic policy of the Jews, but actually promotes it. This opinion is confirmed even by the Austrian Ministry of Finance. The appointment of Director Fischboeck as Counsellor of the Federal Ministry [Bundesministerium] was made in a wholly unsatisfactory manner. He himself showed me, on the afternoon of 18 Feb 1938, his certificate of appointment, which shows that he is to be consulted only in individual cases. Since he has no specific authority or other means of exerting influence, his appointment is worthless for the present. 3. The situation of the prohibited party has reached a crisis. Through the use of sensible intermediaries I succeed in inducing Mr. Leopold to leave for Germany on 18 Feb. 1938. He arrived in Berlin early on 19 Feb. 1938 and went to Hotel Fuerstenhof. On 17 Feb. 1938 a very unsatisfactory circular was again issued by the party, a copy of which has already been forwarded. Furthermore, reports telephoned from Vienna today state that large-scale demonstrations are being planned by followers of the prohibited party. According to information just received, Dr. Tavs, who was released yesterday, issued orders for the breaking of all windows of the German Legation in the course of this evening. One of the most important people around Captain Leopold, the engineer, Mr. Ruediger, went so far as to declare before a group of industrialists who he had called together that even the Fueh- [Page 273] rer had no reason to interfere personally in Austrian questions. It is further intended, through provocations, to force Minister of Security Seyss-Inquart to make new arrests, so that he can then be denounced as a traitor to the national cause. Under these circumstances Leopold's remaining would have been dangerous and action had to be taken. On the other hand, it would have been unbearable for the movement had it been necessary later to remove him forcibly to the Reich, therefore, his departure yesterday was probably the only possible solution, as far as the time and manner of his going are concerned. Our reliable people in the Party and the SS have received exact instructions to prevent as far as possible any sort of demonstration, and it is to be hoped that this can be done. 4. It is to be gathered from numerous reports that Foreign Minister Guido Schmidt has played a scarcely gratifying role during the past few days. It is he, in particular, who has hindered the infiltration of nationalist personalities into the Government or has so weakened their position, at any rate, that no great value can be attached to the posts obtained to date. The motivation of his attitude is to be found in his very strong Catholic attachment as well as in a certain jealousy toward Minister Seyss-Inquart. 5. In the last few days, Minister Glaise-Horstenau has repeatedly expressed the intention of resigning, but the combined efforts of Minister Seyss-Inquart and myself have succeeded, so far, in preventing him from doing this, and there is a probability that he will remain in office for the time being. 6. A very bad role is played by State Secretary Skubl in the Ministry of Security and it can be expected that Minister Seyss-Inquart will have to get rid of him soon in order to bring the influence of his own position fully to bear. 7. The reports coming from the working class are most encouraging. A strong trend towards National Socialist cell organization in industrial enterprises has set in which is essentially genuine and only a slight fraction of which is due to the temporary situation. 8. Hardly any difficulty with the Reds need be feared. (Signed) Dr. Veesenmayer ------- COPY [of handbill] The minority cabinet of Austria has again reconstituted itself. This reorganization did not deserve the fanfare with which it was [Page 274] heralded in the press. Schuschnigg has again called into his cabinet only those men upon whom he relies. This clear fact can not be obscured by using the press, free of charge, to call one or the other of the Ministers “the representatives of the national opposition.” The national opposition and its leaders have sent no man possessing their confidence into the Cabinet. It is with a certain regret that we see Minister Glaise- Horstenau leave the post of Minister of Interior. He has at all times shown and earnest desire to come to an understanding and has never subscribed to deceitful tendencies. We trust that the fact that he, in particular, has been recalled from his immediate sphere of activity may not be an evil foreshadowing of the last Cabinet reorganization. The new Minister taking his place, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, comes from the Catholic side. He got in touch with national circles only relatively late. He has made no positive contribution in national matters since his appointment as Councillor of State [Staatsrat]. So it remains to be seen whether, following the advancement accorded him by Dr. Schuschnigg, he will see his opportunity to develop a more effective activity in the national sense. Despite the experience of the last 1½ years, an excess of patience allows us to call upon the National Socialist majority of Austria also to regard this new minority Cabinet, which has been plumped down under its nose to the accompaniment of manifestations of State force, with cool calm and presence of mind and to await the next developments. One thing is certain today, however; Now as before, Chancellor Schuschnigg still owes us the fulfillment of our natural demands that consideration be given to the inalienable rights of our people and of the National Socialist popular majority. Now as before, there reigns over our country a minority cabinet that is not an expression of the people’s will, but an expression of despotism. National Socialists! We shall continue, therefore, united and with closed ranks, undisturbed by tactical regroupings of the Cabinet to pursue our goal — a goal which is also that of the great majority of our people. We feel strong in the justness and worthiness of our cause and in our solidarity, willingness to sacrifice, and loyalty, tested in a long and difficult struggle. Comrades! This fight continues! For honor and justice! For freedom and bread! For our people!