Page 1, 18th February 1938

18th February 1938
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Page 1, 18th February 1938 — Nazi Triumph Over Catholic State
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Locations: Vienna, Berlin, Birmingham

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THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF AUSTRIA!

THE CATHOLIC HERALD'S AUSTRIAN AND GERMAN CORRESPONDENTS BOTH COMMENT IN THE DARKEST TERMS POSSIBLE ABOUT THE FATE OF THE COUNTRY WHOSE INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTES PERHAPS THE MAIN INTEREST OF THE VATICAN IN ITS RELATIONS WITH THE POWERS.

The appointment of Dr. von Seyss-Inquart to the Ministry of the Interior and the control of the Austrian police at the dictation of Herr Hitler simply mean that Nazi penetration will now proceed legally and undisturbed until the country is ripe for inclusion in the Reich, an event which will one day be presented to the world as a fait accompli in accordance with the will of the Austrian people.

More sinister than the actual changes, which proclaim his skill rather than his strength, has been the method of the change: dictation (diktat) under pressure of what in other circumstances would be called " the third degree."

It is difficult to find an exact parallel in modern history to the brute callousness and unashamed bullying exercised at and after the meeting between Hitler and Schuschnigg at Bcrchtesgaden. • The fate of Catholics and Catholicism in Austria is now in peril and the failure of Italy to protest coming after the long intimacy between herself and Pagan Germany can only arouse the deepest concern in the Vatican.

Hitler's campaign by propaganda and peaceful force to turn Austria to his will seems to find a suitable commentary in the words of the Editor of the Osservatore Romano who writing, before the Austrian climax, of about Mr. Eden's speech at Birmingham, spoke of the " eye-shades set before the eyes of people so that they should not be able to choose to enter on the ways of peace."

Editorial Comment page 8. Vatican Article page 9.

SCHUSCIINIGG'S TERRIBLE PLIGHT

From Our Austrian Correspondent The campaign of Press attacks from Berlin and the revival of Austrian Nazi terrorism have culminated in a sensational interview between Austria's cool, calm, devoutly Catholic and traditionalist Chancellor and the High Priest of racial nationalism who now holds Germany under his sway. The outcome is no longer in doubt , .

Clever Demands Hitler's demands (for to Hitler Austria is a recalcitrant part of Germany—nothing more) were meant to seem unexpectedly moderate. Germany would guarantee Austria's independence, put an end to antiAustrian Press Campaigns, cease to support Austrian Nazis (despite the pledge to abstain from such support given by Germany on July 11, 1936!)—and all this in return for such a small concession. One or two Nazis in the Cabinet. The admission, for instance, of a loyal friend of Germany such as Dr. Seyss-lnquart (a member of the notorious Committee of Seven which organised Austria's Nazis) to the post of Home Secretary, whence he could control the police.

"Timeo danaos et dona ferentes." Germany's recent difficulties and loss of prestige may have made a conciliatory gesture advisable, but such outwardly tempting offers are merely a bait.

Defeat for Italy

The story of what happened at Berchtesgaden has only gradually leaked out, but it is clear that Hitler was delivering an ultimatum, backed by the symbols of his overwhelming power, now that Italy appears to have recognised the hopelessness of her stand against. Germany's aggression.

The outcome is a major diplomatic defeat for Italy too, for Hitler's will to reincorporate all of the German family into the Reich will not end at the A ustroItalian frontiers that cut through the Austrian Tyrol.

Dr. von Seyss-Inquart, the new Minister of the Interior and controller of the Police, is a Catholic, but under Reich pressure Catholics can find little consolation in this accident. Nor is there much hope in the anti-Nazism of Dr. Skubl, as UnderSecretary to Seyss-Inquart.

Catholic Traditions Destroyed To all good Nazis Austria will always be a (temporarily lost) part of the Reich, while its Catholicism and traditions of independence must be destroyed at all costs. Those who forget that, as long as the Nazis hold Germany no effort will be spared to secure Austria, are living in a

fool's paradise. Hopes of a monarchic restoration or of any effective voice on the part of the Trades Unions and the corpoi alive systems have vanished.

Terrible Predicament

The infiltration of Nazi influence into Austria's police force will be the beginning

of the end of Austria. It is a terrible predicament for the Chancellor, knowing full well what failure to secure this agreement with Germany will mean. No one is likely to forget 1934.

Austrians will be with the Chancellor in his plucky rear-guard fight. A Vienna strike as an anti-Nazi demonstration was significant. But even though Austria's Chancellor still holds the fort and Oily those who know him can realise the strength and loyalty to his country's past and future implied in those words, the cards are packed against him.

He may find his position untenable and resign.

HITLER'S FORTHCOMING REICHSTAG SPEECH

From Our German Correspondent

On July 25, 1934, the Austrian chancellor, Dollfuss, was killed by Austrian Nazis.

On July 26, 1934, Mussolini concentrated several army divisions on the Brenner frontier.

On July 27, 1934, Herr von Papen was appointed Germany's diplomatic representative " in a special mission " in Vienna.

On July 11, 1937, Germany and Austria signed an agreement which was to improve the relations between the two German States.

On January 5, 1938, the Austrian police closed down the camouflaged Brown House in Vienna and arrested many Nazi leaders.

In the following days big quantities of illegal Nazi literature were confiscated and the illegal printing press of the Austrian Nazi paper, Oesterreichischer Beobachter, was discovered.

On February 12, 1938, the Austrian Chancellor von Schuschnigg, accompanied by Herr Guido Schmidt, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, paid a " private " visit to Herr Hitler in his villa near Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps. Herr von Ribbentrop, Germany's new Foreign Minister, and Herr von Papen, who had just lost his diplomatic position in Vienna, were present.

These are bare facts. As we do not wish to catalogue the fantastic rumours which have been spread about the matter, we register simply the various plausible explanations of which probably each represents part of the truth.

(Continued on page 9)




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