Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Archduke Otto gives views of German policy

July 13, 1941

Archduke Otto of Austria believes that Hitler attacked Russia because "an attack on Russia with England in the rear was less dangerous than an onslaught on England with Russia behind his back."  The archduke gave his views on the current war situation in an interview with Dr. Franz Klein, a European journalist now based in the United States.

Otto is convinced that the alliance between Great Britain and the Soviet Union is necessary in order to defeat Hitler.

"This was in the nature of things, and it is only astonishing that it took such a long time to materialize.   I frankly admit that I would have preferred a British or a British-American victory without Russian help for the simple reason that this help will confuse the issues in the eyes of the workers in Central and Western Europe.
" A victory won by the democratic countries alone would have been an inspiring victory of democracy.  Won with Russian assistance, it will perhaps revive the old discussion between individualistic (British) and collective (Marxist) laborism.  But we have to accept this risk, which is certainly smaller than that of general pauperism after a long war.  And I for one believe that this war will be considerably shortened by Hitler's Russian adventure."

The archduke is also convinced that if Soviet Union had remained neutral in the current war, it would have a far greater influence afterward because "its armies would have been intact."

"I think it is always fictitious to plan Central European reconstruction without taking Russia into account.  Today we are faced with an entirely new situation and we do not know where the Russian front will be in a year .... Hence it is always impossible to gauge in advance the strength of Pan-Slavism should Russia choose to retrieve it."

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