|Vice-Chancellor of Austria|
11 March 1938 - 13 March 1938
(Adolf Schärf in 1945)
|Federal Minister of the Interior|
6 November 1936 - 16 February 1938
|Kurt Schuschnigg (acting)|
Edmund Glaise von Horstenau
27 February 1882
Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary
|Died||20 July 1946 (aged 64)|
Edmund Glaise-Horstenau (also known as Edmund Glaise von Horstenau; 27 February 1882 - 20 July 1946) was an Austrian Nazi politician who became the last Vice-Chancellor of Austria, appointed by Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg under pressure from Adolf Hitler, shortly before the 1938 Anschluss.
During the Second World War Glaise-Horstenau became a general in the German Wehrmacht and served as Plenipotentiary General to the Independent State of Croatia. Dismayed by the atrocities committed by the Usta?e, he was involved in the Lorkovi?-Voki? plot, with the purpose of overthrowing Ante Paveli?'s regime and replacing it with a pro-Allied government.
Born in Braunau am Inn, the son of an officer, Glaise-Horstenau attended the Theresian Military Academy and served in World War I on the Austro-Hungarian General Staff of the Austro-Hungarian Army. From 1915, he headed the press department of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
After the war, he studied history at the University of Vienna, together with his employment at the Austrian War Archives (as director from 1925 to 1938). He also achieved the rank of a colonel at the Austrian Heeresnachrichtenamt in 1934.
Originally a monarchist, Glaise-Horstenau became the second man in the hierarchy of the banned Austrian Nazi Party in the mid-to-late 1930s behind its leader Josef Leopold. To improve relations with Nazi Germany, he was appointed a member of the Staatsrat of the Federal State of Austria from 1934 in the rank of a Minister Without Portfolio, and from 1936 to 1938, he served as Federal Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, after being appointed under pressure from Adolf Hitler. At the meeting at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938 between Hitler and Schuschnigg, Germany demanded that Glaise-Horstenau be made Minister of War in a new pro-Nazi government and that he would establish close operational relations between the German and Austrian Armies, which would ultimately lead to the assimilation of the Austrian to the German system.
After Schuschnigg had to resign on March 11, Glaise-Horstenau served as Vice-Chancellor of Austria under Arthur Seyss-Inquart for two days.
After the Anschluss, he entered the Wehrmacht and was appointed as Plenipotentiary General in the Independent State of Croatia on 14 April 1941. There, he was shocked by the atrocities of the Usta?e (Croatian fascist paramilitaries), which he repeatedly denounced and opposed. As early as 28 June 1941, he reported the following to the German High Command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW):
...according to reliable reports from countless German military and civil observers during the last few weeks the Usta?e have gone raging mad.
On 10 July, he added:
Our troops have to be mute witnesses of such events; it does not reflect well on their otherwise high reputation.... I am frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to intervene against Usta?e crimes. This may happen eventually. Right now, with the available forces, I could not ask for such action. Ad hoc intervention in individual cases could make the German Army look responsible for countless crimes which it could not prevent in the past.
The lack of response from the OKW at Glaise-Horstenau's criticism of the Usta?e's methods increasingly frustrated him and caused deep tension with Ante Paveli?, the poglavnik, or head, of the Independent State of Croatia. By 1944, he had grown so dismayed at the atrocities that he had witnessed that he became deeply implicated in the Lorkovi?-Voki? plot to overthrow Paveli?'s regime and to replace it with a pro-Allied government.
The subsequent failure of that attempt turned Glaise-Horstenau into persona non grata for both the Croatians and the Nazis. In the first week of September, Paveli? and German ambassador Siegfried Kasche conspired together and effected his removal on 25 September. Glaise-Horstenau's withdrawal from the scene opened the door for the total politicalization of the Croatian armed forces, which occurred over the next several months.
Glaise-Horstenau was then passed into Führer-Reserve and entrusted with the obscure task of Military Historian of the South East until his capture by the US Army on 5 May 1945. Fearing extradition to Yugoslavia, he committed suicide at Langwasser military camp near Nuremberg, Germany, on 20 July 1946.