20 Nov. 45

5 November 1937, to review the situation. It was reaffirmed that Nazi Germany must have "Lebensraum" in Central Europe. It was recognized that such conquest would probably meet resistance which would have to be crushed by force and that their decision might lead to a general war, but this prospect was discounted as a risk worth taking. There emerged from this meeting three possible plans for the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Which of the three was to be used was to depend upon the developments in the political and military situation in Europe. It was contemplated during this meeting that the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia would, through compulsory emigration of 2 million persons from Czechoslovakia and 1 million persons from Austria, provide additional food to the Reich for 5 million to 6 million people, strengthen it militarily by providing shorter and better frontiers, and make possible the constituting of new armies up to about twelve divisions. Thus, the aim of the plan against Austria and Czechoslovakia was conceived of not as an end in itself but as a preparatory measure toward the next aggressive steps in the Nazi conspiracy race.

(b) The execution of the plan to invade Austria: November 1937 to March 1938.

Hitler, on 8 February 1938, called Chancellor Schuschnigg to a conference at Berchtesgaden. At the meeting of 12 February 1938, under threat of invasion, Schuschnigg yielded a promise of amnesty to imprisoned Nazis and appointment of Nazis to ministerial posts-meaning in Austria. He agreed to remain silent until Hitler's next speech in which Austria's independence was to be re-affirmed, but Hitler in that speech, instead of affirming Austrian independence, declared himself protector of all Germans. Meanwhile, subversive activities of Nazis in Austria increased. Schuschnigg, on 9 March 1938, announced a plebiscite for the following Sunday on the question of Austrian independence. On 11 March Hitler sent an ultimatum, demanding that the plebiscite be called off or that Germany would invade Austria. Later the same day a second ultimatum threatened invasion unless Schuschnigg should resign in 3 hours. Schuschnigg resigned. The Defendant Seyss-Inquart, who was appointed Chancellor, immediately invited Hitler to send German troops into Austria to "preserve order." The invasion began on 1_ March 1938. On 13 March Hitler by proclamation assumed office as Chief of State of Austria and took command of its armed forces. By a law of the same date Austria was annexed to Germany.

(c) The execution of the plan to invade Czechoslovakia: April 38 to March 1939.

(1) Simultaneously with their annexation of Austria, the Nazi conspirators gave false assurances to the Czechoslovak Government