relationship between the two countries steadily worsened, and finally the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg was persuaded by the Defendant Von Papen and others to seek a conference with Hitler, which took place at Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938. The Defendant Keitel was present at the conference, and Dr. Schuschnigg was threatened by Hitler with an immediate invasion of Austria. Schuschnigg finally agreed to grant a political amnesty to various Nazis convicted of crime, and to appoint the Nazi Seyss-Inquart as Minister of the Interior and Security with control of the Police. On 9 March 1938, in an attempt to preserve the independence of his country, Dr. Schuschnigg decided to hold a plebiscite on the question of Austrian independence, which was fixed for 13 March 1938. Hitler, two days later, sent an ultimatum to Schuschnigg that the plebiscite must be withdrawn. In the afternoon and evening of 11 March 1938 the Defendant Göring made a series of demands upon the Austrian Government, each backed up by the threat of invasion. After Schuschnigg had agreed to the cancellation of the plebiscite, another demand was put forward that Schuschnigg must resign, and that the Defendant Seyss-Inquart should be appointed Chancellor. In consequence, Schuschnigg resigned, and President Miklas, after at first refusing to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor, gave way and appointed him.

Meanwhile Hitler had given the final order for the German troops to cross the border at dawn on 12 March and instructed Seyss-Inquart to use formations of Austrian National Socialists to depose Miklas and to seize control of the Austrian Government. After the order to march had been given to the German troops, Göring telephoned the German Embassy in Vienna and dictated a telegram which he wished Seyss-Inquart to send to Hitler to justify the military action which had already been ordered.

It was:

"The provisional Austrian Government, which, after the dismissal of the Schuschnigg Government, considers its task to establish peace and order in Austria, sends to the German Government the urgent request to support it in its task and to help it to prevent bloodshed. For this purpose it asks the German Government to send German troops as soon as possible."
Keppler, an official of the German Embassy, replied: "Well, SA and SS are marching through the streets, but everything is quiet."

After some further discussion, Göring stated: "Please show him (Seyss-Inquart) the text of the telegram and do tell him that we are asking him —well, he doesn't even have to send the telegram. All he needs to do is to say 'Agreed'."