Nuremberg Trial – The Fifteenth Day
Friday, 7th December, 1945
MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, yesterday afternoon when the Tribunal adjourned I was dealing with the stage of the Nazi conspiracy against Norway at which the activities of the defendants Raeder and Rosenberg converged. And the Court will remember that I submitted in evidence Document C-65, which was a report from the defendant Rosenberg to Raeder regarding Quisling, and ending with the infamous words: “Quisling gives figures of the number of German troops required which accord with German calculations.”
The Court has already received in evidence and heard read material parts of Document C-66, which was the report of Raeder to Admiral Assmann, which disclosed how, in December, 1939, the defendant Raeder did in fact meet Quisling and Hagelin.
I now invite the Court to look at Document C-64 which, for the purpose of the record, will be Exhibit GB 86. The Court will observe that that is a report by Raeder of the meeting of the Naval Staff with Hitler on 12th December, 1939, at 1200 hours, in the presence of the defendants Keitel and Jodl and Puttkammer, who at this time was adjutant to Hitler.
The report is headed “Norwegian Question”, and the first sentence reads:
“C.-in-C. Navy” – who of course was the defendant Raeder – “has received Quisling and Hagelin. Quisling creates the impression of being reliable.”
And then there follows, in the next two paragraphs, a statement of Quisling’s views, views with which the Court is by now familiar because of my reading of extracts from the Document 007-PS; but I draw the Court’s attention to the fourth paragraph in Document C-64, beginning:
“The Fuehrer thought of speaking to Quisling personally so that he might form an impression of him. He wanted to see Rosenberg once more first, as the latter had known Quisling for a long while. C.-in-C. Navy” – that is, of course, Raeder – “suggests that if the Fuehrer formed a favourable impression, the O.K.W. should obtain permission to make plans with Quisling for the preparation and carrying out of the occupation.
(a) By peaceful means: that is to say, German Forces summoned by Norway;
(b) To agree to do so by force.”
That was 12th December, the meeting at which Raeder made this report to Hitler.
If the Court will now look at Document C-66, which is Raeder’s record of these transactions for the purpose of history, the Court will observe, in the last sentence of the second paragraph of the section of C-66 headed
“(b) Weserubung”, these words:
“Thus we got in touch with Quisling and Hagelin, who came to Berlin at the beginning of December and were taken to the Fuehrer – ”
THE PRESIDENT: I have not got it.
MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I beg your Lordship’s pardon; it is Document C-66, the second page, headed “Weserubung”, in the second paragraph.
“Thus we got in touch with Quisling and Hagelin, who came to Berlin at the beginning of December and were taken to the Fuehrer by me, with the approval of Reichsleiter Rosenberg.”
And then the Court will observe a note at the end of the page:-
“At the crucial moment, R” – presumably Rosenberg – “hurt his foot, so that I visited him in his house on the morning of 14th December.”
That is, of course, Raeder’s note, and it indicates the extent of his complicity in this conspiracy.
The report continues
“On the grounds of the Fuehrer’s discussion with Quisling and Hagelin on the afternoon Of 14th December, the Fuehrer gave the order that preparations for the Norwegian operation were to be made by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
Until that moment the Naval War Staff had taken no part in the development of the Norwegian question, and continued to be somewhat sceptical about it. The preparations, which were undertaken by Captain Crank in Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, were founded, however, on a memorandum of the Naval War Staff.”
The Court may well think that the note of the defendant Raeder referring to “the crucial moment” was an appropriate one, because the Court will see that on that day, 14th December, Hitler gave the order that preparations for the Norwegian operation were to be begun by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
If the Court will now turn to Document 007-PS, which is further on in the document book, and which the Court will remember is Rosenberg’s report on the activities of his organisation – it is after the “D” documents – if the Court will turn to about ten lines from the bottom of the first page of Annex 1, dealing with Norway, the Court will see that there were further meetings between Quisling and the Nazi chiefs in December, and I am going to read now the section beginning:
“Quisling was granted a personal audience with the Fuehrer on 16th December, and once more on the 18th December. In the course of this audience the Fuehrer emphasised repeatedly that he personally would prefer a completely neutral attitude of Norway, as well as of the whole of Scandinavia. He did not intend to enlarge the theatre of war and to draw still other nations into the conflict.”
As I have said in opening the presentation of this part of the case, here was an instance where pressure had to be brought to bear on Hitler to induce him to take part in these operations.
The report continues
“Should the enemy attempt” – there is a mis-translation here – “to extend the war, however, with the aim of achieving further throttling and intimidation of the Greater German Reich, he would be compelled to gird himself against such an undertaking. In order to counterbalance increasing enemy propaganda activity, he promised Quisling financial support of his movement, which was based on Greater Germanic ideology. Military exploitation of the question now raised was assigned to the special military staff, which transmitted special missions to Quisling. Reichsleiter Rosenberg was to take over political exploitation. Financial expenses were to be defrayed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs” – that is to say, by Ribbentrop’s organisation – “the Minister for Foreign Affairs” – that is to say, Ribbentrop – “being kept continuously informed by the Foreign Affairs Bureau” – which, of course, was Rosenberg’s organisation.
Chief of Section Scheidt was charged with maintaining liaison with Quisling. In the course of further developments he was assigned to the Naval Attache in Oslo. Orders were given that the whole matter be handled with strictest secrecy”.
Here again the Court will note the close link between the Nazi politicians and the Nazi service chiefs.
The information that is available to the prosecution as to the events of January, 1940, is not full, but the Court will see that the agitation of the defendants Raeder and Rosenberg did bear fruit, and I now invite the Court to consider a letter of Keitel’s, Document C-63, which, for the purposes of the record, will be Exhibit GB 87. The Court will observe that that is an order – a memorandum – signed by the defendant Keitel, dated the 27th January, 1940. It is marked “Most Secret, five copies; reference, Study ‘N'” – which was another code name for the Weserubung Preparations – “Access only through an officer”.
It is headed: “C.-in-C. of the Navy” – that is to say, the defendant Raeder – “has a report on this.”
The document reads:
“The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces wishes that Study ‘N’ should be further worked on under my direct and personal guidance, and in the closest conjunction with the general war policy. For these reasons the Fuehrer has commissioned me to take over the direction of further preparations.
A working staff has been formed at the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces Headquarters for this purpose, and this represents, at the same time, the nucleus of a future operational staff.”
Then, at the end of the memorandum:
“All further plans will be made under the cover name ‘Weserubung’.”
I should like respectfully to draw the Tribunal’s attention to the importance of that document, to the signature of Keitel upon it, and to the date of this important decision.
Prior to this date, 27th January, 1940, the planning of the various aspects of the invasion of Norway and Denmark had been confined to a relatively small group, whose aim had been to persuade Hitler of the desirability of undertaking this Norwegian operation. The issuance of this directive of Keitel’s on 27th January, 1940, was the signal that the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces, the O.K.W., had accepted the proposition of the group that was pressing for this Norwegian adventure, and turned the combined resources of the German military machine to the task of producing practical and co-ordinated plans for the Norwegian operation.
The Court will observe that from January onward the operational planning for the invasion of Norway and Denmark was started through the normal channels.
And now I would refer the Court to some entries in the diary of the defendant Jodl, to see how the preparations progressed. That is Document 1809-PS, which will be, for the purposes of the record, Exhibit GB 88. That, the Court will observe, is the last document in the document book.
There is a slight confusion in the order in which the entries are set out in the diary, because the first three pages relate to entries which will be dealt with in another part of the case.
I invite the Court’s attention to Page 3 of these extracts from Jodl’s diary, beginning at the bottom, 6th February. The entry under the date line of 6th February, 1940 starts: “New idea: Carry out ‘H’ and Weser Exercise only and guarantee Belgium’s neutrality for the duration of the war.”
I would like to repeat that entry, if I may be permitted to do so
“New idea: Carry out ‘H’ and Weser Exercise only, and guarantee Belgium’s neutrality for the duration of the war.”
The next entry to which I invite the Court’s attention is the entry of the 21st February.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): What does that mean: “To carry out ‘H'”?
MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That is a reference to another code word, “Hartmut”, which the Court will see disclosed in a subsequent document. That is another code word for this Norwegian and Danish operation.
The entry of 21st February in Jodl’s diary reads: “Fuehrer has talked with General von Falkenhorst and charges him with preparation of ‘Weser Exercise’. Falkenhorst accepts gladly. Instructions issued to the three branches of the Armed Forces.”
Then the next entry, on the next page –
THE PRESIDENT: “Weser Exercise” – is that Norway too?
MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That is Norway too, my Lord, yes. That is a translation of “Weserubung”.
The entry on the next page, under the date of 28th February:
“I propose, first to the Chief of O.K.W. and then to the Fuehrer, that Case Yellow” – which, as the Court knows, is the code name for the invasion of the Netherlands – “and Weser Exercise” – the invasion of Norway and Denmark – “must be prepared in such a way that they will be independent of one another as regards both time and forces employed. The Fuehrer completely agrees, if this is in any way possible.”
So the Court will observe that the new idea of 6th February, that the neutrality of Belgium might be observed, had been abandoned by 28th February.
The next entry is of 29th February – I am not troubling the Court with further entries of 28th February, which relate to the forces to be employed in the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
29th February, the second paragraph
“Fuehrer also wishes to have a strong task force in Copenhagen and a plan, elaborated in detail, showing how individual coastal batteries are to be captured by shock troops. Warlimont, Chief of Landesverteidigung, instructed to make out immediately the order of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and Director of Armed Forces to make out a similar order regarding the strengthening of the staff.”
And there, for the moment, I will leave the entries in Jodl’s diary and refer the Court to the vital Document C- 174, which, for the purposes of the record, will be Exhibit GB 89. The Court will see, from that document, that it is Hitler’s operation order to complete the preparations for the invasion of Norway and Denmark. It bears the date of 1st March, 1940, and it is headed: “The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, most Secret.”
Then, “Directive for Fall Weserubung.”
“The development of the situation in Scandinavia requires the making of all preparations for the occupation of Denmark and Norway by a part of the German Armed Forces-Fall Weserubung. This operation should prevent British encroachment on Scandinavia and the Baltic; further, it should guarantee our ore base in Sweden and give our Navy and Air Force a wider start line against Britain.”
The second part of Paragraph 1 reads:
“In view of our military and political power in comparison with that of the Scandinavian States, the force to be employed in the Fall Weserubung will be kept as small as possible. The numerical weakness will be balanced by daring actions and surprise execution. On principle we will do our utmost to make the operation appear as a peaceful occupation, the object of which is the military protection of the neutrality of the Scandinavian States. Corresponding demands will be transmitted to the Governments at the beginning of the occupation. If necessary, demonstrations by the Navy and the Air Force will provide the necessary emphasis. If, in spite of this, resistance should be met with, all military means will be used to crush it.”
There follows, in Paragraph 2 on the next page:
“I put in charge of the preparations and the conduct of the operation against Denmark and Norway the Commanding General of the 21st Army Corps, General von Falkenhorst.”
“The crossing of the Danish border and the landings in Norway must take place simultaneously. I emphasise that the operations must be prepared as quickly as possible. In case the enemy seizes the initiative against Norway, we must be able to apply immediately our own counter- measures.
It is most important that the Scandinavian States as well as the Western opponents should be taken by surprise by our measures. All preparations, particularly those of transport and of readiness, drafting and embarkation of the troops, must be made with this factor in mind.
In case the preparations for embarkation can no longer be kept secret, the leaders and the troops will be deceived with fictitious objectives.”
Then Paragraph 4 on the next page. “The Occupation of Denmark which is given the code name of “Weserubung Sud”.
“The task of Group XXI: Occupation by surprise of Jutland and of Fyen immediately after occupation of Seeland.
Added to this, having secured the most important places, the Group will break through as quickly as possible from Fyen to Skagen and to the East coast.”
Then there follow other instructions with regard to the operation.
Paragraph 5: “Occupation of Norway, Weserubung Nord. The task of Group XXI: Capture by surprise of the most important places on the coast by sea and airborne operations.
The Navy will take over the preparation and carrying out of the transport by sea of the landing troops.”
And there follows a reference to the part of the Air Force, and I would like particularly to draw the Court’s attention to that reference.
This is Paragraph 5 on Page 3 of Hitler’s directive:-
“The Air Force, after the occupation has been completed, will ensure air defence and will make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain.”
I am underlining that entry at this stage, because I shall be referring to it in connection with a later document.
Whilst these preparations were being made and just prior to the final decision of Hitler –
THE PRESIDENT: Did you draw our attention to the defendant by whom it was initialled, Fricke, on the first page of that document.
MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That is an initial by Fricke, who is a different person altogether from the defendant Frick. This is a high functionary in the German Admiralty and has no connection with the defendant who is before the Tribunal.
As I was saying, my Lord, while these decisions were being made, reports were coming in through Rosenberg’s organisation from Quisling, and if the Court will again turn, for the last time, to Document 007-PS, which is Rosenberg’s report, the Tribunal will observe the kind of information which Rosenberg’s organisation was supplying at this time. The third paragraph, “Quisling’s reports” – that is in Annex I in Rosenberg’s report, the section dealing with Norway, the paragraph beginning with:-
“Quisling’s reports, transmitted to his representative in Germany, Hagelin, and dealing with the possibility of intervention by the Western Powers in Norway with tacit consent of the Norwegian Government, became more urgent by January. These increasingly better substantiated communications were in the sharpest contrast to the views of the German Legation in Oslo, which relied on the desire for neutrality of the then Norwegian Nygaardsvold Cabinet and was convinced of that Government’s intention and readiness to defend Norway’s neutrality. No one in Norway knew that Quisling’s representative for Germany maintained the closest relations to him; he therefore succeeded in gaining a foothold within governmental circles of the Nygaardsvold Cabinet and in listening to the Cabinet members’ views. Hagelin transmitted what he had heard to the Bureau” – Rosenberg’s bureau – “which conveyed the news to the Fuehrer through Reichsleiter Rosenberg. During the night of 16th to 17th February, English destroyers attacked the German steamer ‘Altmark’ in Josingfjord.”
The Tribunal will remember that that is a reference to the action by the British destroyer “Cossack” against the German naval auxiliary vessel “Altmark”, which was carrying three hundred British prisoners, captured on the high seas, to Germany through Norwegian territorial waters. The position of the British delegation with regard to that episode is that the use that was being made by the “Altmark” of Norwegian territorial waters was in fact a flagrant abuse in itself of Norwegian neutrality, and the action taken by H.M.S. “Cossack”, which was restricted to rescuing the three hundred British prisoners on board-no attempt being made to destroy the “Altmark” or to capture the armed guards on board her – was fully justified under International Law.
Now the Rosenberg report, the reading of which I interrupted to give that statement of the British view on the “Altmark” episode – the Rosenberg report continues:
“The Norwegian Government’s reaction to this question permitted the conclusion that certain agreements had been covertly arrived at between the Norwegian Government and the Allies. Such assumption was confirmed by reports of Section Leader Scheidt, who in turn derived his information from Hagelin and Quisling. But even after this incident the German Legation in Oslo championed the opposite view, and went on record as believing in the good intentions of the Norwegians.”
So the Tribunal will see that the Nazi Government preferred the reports of the traitor Quisling to the considered judgement of German diplomatic representatives in Norway. The result of the receipt of reports of that kind was the Hitler decision to invade Norway and Denmark. The culminating details in the preparations for the invasion are again found in Jodl’s diary, which is the last document in the document book. I will refer the Court to the entry of the 3rd March:
“The Fuehrer expressed himself very sharply on the necessity of a swift entry into N” – which is Norway – “with strong forces.
No delay by any branch of the Armed Forces. Very rapid acceleration of the attack necessary”.
Then the last entry on 3rd March:
“Fuehrer decides to carry out ‘Weser Exercise’ before case ‘Yellow’ with a few days interval.”
So that the important issue of strategy, which had been concerning the German High Command for some time, had been decided by this date, and the fate of Scandinavia was to be sealed before the fate of the Low Countries; and the Court will observe from those entries Of 3rd March, that, by that date, Hitler had become an enthusiastic convert to the idea of a Norwegian aggression.
The next entry in Jodl’s diary of 5th March:
“Big conference with the three Commanders-in-Chief about ‘Weser Exercise’; Field Marshal in a rage because not consulted till now. Will not listen to anyone and wants to show that all preparations so far made are worthless.
(a) Stronger forces to Narvik.
(b) Navy to leave ships in the ports (Hipper or Lutzow in Trondheim).
(c) Christiansand can be left out at first.
(d) Six divisions envisaged for Norway.
(e) A foothold to be gained immediately in Copenhagen.”
Then the next entry to which I desire to draw the Court’s attention is the entry of 13th March, which the Court may think is one of the most remarkable in the whole documentation of this case.
“Fuehrer does not give order yet for ‘W’.” – Weser Exercise – “He is still looking for an excuse.”
The entry of the next day, 14th March, shows a similar pre- occupation on the part of Hitler with seeking an excuse for the flagrant aggression. It reads:-
“English keep vigil in the North Sea with fifteen to sixteen submarines; doubtful whether reason to safeguard own operations or prevent operations by Germans. Fuehrer has not yet decided what reason to give for Weser Exercise.”
Then I would like the Court to look at the entry for 21St March, which, by inadvertence, has been included in the next page – the bottom of Page 6.
“Misgivings of Task Force 21 .”
The Court has seen from documents that I have put in already that Task Force 21 was Falkenhorst’s Force, which was detailed to conduct this invasion.
“Misgivings of Task Force 21 about the long interval between taking up readiness positions at 0530 hours and close of diplomatic negotiations. Fuehrer rejects any earlier negotiations, as otherwise calls for help go out to England and America. If resistance is put up it must be ruthlessly broken. The political plenipotentiaries must emphasise the military measures taken, and even exaggerate them.”
Comment upon that entry is, I think, unnecessary. The next entry, if the Court will turn to Page 5, of 28th March, the third sentence:
“Individual naval officers seem to be lukewarm concerning the Weser Exercise and need a stimulus. Also Falkenhorst and the other two commanders are worrying about matters which are none of their business. Franke sees more disadvantages than advantages.
In the evening the Fuehrer visits the map room and roundly declares that he will not stand for the Navy clearing out of the Norwegian ports right away. Narvik, Trondheim and Oslo will have to remain occupied by naval forces.”
There the Court will observe that Jodl, as ever, is the faithful collaborator of Hitler.
Then on 2nd April:
“Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and General von Falkenhorst with the Fuehrer. All confirm preparations completed. Fuehrer orders carrying out of the Weser Exercise for 9th April.”
Then the last entry in the next page, the 4th April.
“Fuehrer drafts the proclamation. Piepenbrock, Chief of Military Intelligence 1, returns with good results from the talks with Quisling in Copenhagen.”
Until the very last the treachery of Quisling continued to be most active.
The prosecution has in its possession a large number of operation orders that were issued in connection with the aggression against Norway and Denmark, but I propose to draw the Court’s attention to only two of them to illustrate the extent of the secrecy and the deception that was used by the defendants and their confederates in the course of that aggression. I would now draw the Court’s attention to Document C-115 which, for the purpose of the record, will be Exhibit GB 90. First of all I will draw the Court’s attention to the second paragraph, “General Orders”, with a date, “4th April, 1940”:
“The barrage-breaking vessels, Sperrbrecher, will penetrate inconspicuously, and with lights on, into Oslo Fjord disguised as merchant steamers.
Challenge from coastal signal stations and look-outs are to be answered by the deceptive use of the names of English steamers. I lay particular stress on the importance of not giving away the operation before zero hour.”
Then the next entry is an order for reconnaissance forces, dated 24th March, 1940: “Behaviour during entrance into the harbour.” The third paragraph is the part that I wish to draw the Court’s attention to.
“The disguise as British craft must be kept up as long as possible. All challenges in Morse by Norwegian ships will be answered in English. In answer to questions a text with something like the following content will be chosen:
‘Calling at Bergen for a short visit; no hostile intent.’
Challenges to be answered with names of British warships:-
‘Koln’ — H.M.S.’Cairo’;
‘Konigsberg’ — H.M.S. ‘Calcutta’;
‘Bromsoe’ — H.M.S. ‘Faulkner’;
‘Karl Peters’ — H.M.S. ‘Halcyon’;
‘Leopard’ — British destroyer;
‘Wolf’ — British destroyer;
E-boats — British motor torpedo boats.
Arrangements are to be made enabling British war flags to be illuminated. Continual readiness for making smoke.”
And then finally the next order dated the 24th March, 1940, Annex 3 “To Flag Officer Reconnaissance Forces; most secret.”
Next page, Page 2:-
“Following is laid down as guiding principle should one of our own units find itself compelled to answer the challenge of passing craft; to challenge in case of the ‘Koln’: H.M.S. ‘Cairo’; then to order to stop; (1) Please repeat last signal; (2) Impossible to understand your signal; in case of a warning shot: Stop firing. British ship. Good friend. In case of an inquiry as to destination and purpose: Going Bergen. Chasing German steamers.”
Then I would draw the Court’s attention to Document C-151, which for the purposes of the record will be Exhibit GB 91, which is a Donitz; order in connection with this operation. If the Court will observe, it is headed:
“Top Secret, Operation Order’ Hartmut’. Occupation of Denmark and Norway. This order comes into force on the code word ‘Hartmut’. With its coming into force the orders hitherto valid for the boats taking part lose their validity.
The day and hour are designated as ‘Weser-Day’ and ‘WeserHour’, and the whole operation is known as ‘Weserubung’.
The operation ordered by the code word has as its objective the rapid surprise-landing of troops in Norway. Simultaneously Denmark will be occupied from the Baltic and from the land side.”
There is at the end of that paragraph another contribution by Donitz to this process of deception:
“The naval force will, as they enter the harbour, fly the British flag until the troops have landed, except presumably at Narvik.”
The Tribunal now knows as a matter of history that on 9th April, 1940, the Nazi onslaught on the unsuspecting and almost unarmed people of Norway and Denmark was launched. When the invasions had already begun a German memorandum was handed to the Governments of Norway and Denmark attempting to justify the German action, and I would like to draw the Court’s attention to Document TC-55, Exhibit GB 92. That is at the beginning of the book of documents, the sixth document of the book. I am not proposing to read the whole of that memorandum. I have no doubt the defending counsel will deal with any parts which they consider relevant to the defence. The Court will observe that it is alleged that Britain and France were guilty in their maritime warfare of breaches of International Law, and that Britain and France were making plans themselves to invade and occupy Norway, and that the Government of Norway was prepared to acquiesce in such a situation.
The memorandum states -and I would now draw the Court’s attention to Page 3 of the memorandum, to the paragraph just below the middle of the page beginning “The German Troops”:-
“The German troops, therefore, do not set foot on Norwegian soil as enemies. The German High Command does not intend to make use of the points occupied by German troops as bases for operations against England, as long as it is not forced to do so by measures taken by England and France. German military operations aim much more exclusively at protecting the North against proposed occupation of Norwegian strong points by English-French forces.”
In connection with that statement I would remind the Court that in his operation order of 1st March, Hitler had then given orders to the Air Force to make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain. That is 1st March. And this is the memorandum which was produced as an excuse on 9th April. The last two paragraphs of the German memorandum to Norway and Denmark, the Court may think, are a classic Nazi combination of diplomatic hypocrisy and military threat. They read:-
“The Reich Government thus expects that the Royal Norwegian Government and the Norwegian people will respond with understanding to the German measures, and offer no resistance to it. Any resistance would have to be and would be broken by all possible means by the German forces employed, and would therefore lead only to absolutely useless bloodshed. The Royal Norwegian Government is therefore requested to take all measures with the greatest speed to ensure that the advance of the German troops can take place without friction and difficulty. In the spirit of the good German-Norwegian relations that have always existed, the Reich Government declares to the Royal Norwegian Government that Germany has no intention of infringing by her measures the territorial integrity and political independence of the Kingdom of Norway, now or in the future.”
What the Nazis meant by the protection of the Kingdom of Norway was shown by their conduct on 9th April. I now refer the Court to Document TC-56, which will be Exhibit GB 93, which is a report by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Norwegian Forces. It is at the beginning of the document book, the last of the TC. documents.
I will not trouble the Court with the first page of the report. If the Tribunal will turn to the second page, it reads:-
“The Germans, considering the long lines of communications and the threat of the British Navy, clearly understood the necessity of complete surprise and speed in the attack. In order to paralyse the will of the Norwegian people to defend their country and, at the same time, to prevent Allied intervention, it was planned to capture all the more important towns along the coast simultaneously. Members of the Government and Parliament and other military and civilian people occupying important positions were to be arrested before organised resistance could be put into effect, and the King was to be forced to form a new government with Quisling as its head.”
The next paragraph was read by the learned British Attorney General in his speech and I will refer only to the last paragraph but one:
“The German attack came as a surprise and all the invaded towns along the coast were captured according to plan with only slight losses. In the Oslofjord, however, the cruiser ‘Blucher’, carrying General Engelbrecht and parts of his division, technical staffs and specialists, who were to take over the control of Oslo, was sunk. The plan to capture the King and members of the Government and Parliament failed. In spite of the surprise of the attack, resistance was organised throughout the country.”
That is a brief picture of what occurred in Norway.
What happened in Denmark is described in a memorandum prepared by the Danish Royal Government, a copy of which I hand in as Exhibit GB 94, and an extract from which is in Document D-628, which follows the TC documents.
“Extracts from the memorandum concerning Germany’s attitude towards Denmark before and during the occupation, prepared by the Royal Danish Government.
On 9th April, 1940 at 0420 hours” – in the morning that is – “the German Minister appeared at the private residence of the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs accompanied by the Air Attache of the Legation. The appointment had been made by a telephone call from the German Legation to the Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at 4 o’clock the same morning. The Minister said at once that Germany had positive proof that Great Britain intended to occupy bases in Denmark and Norway. Germany had to safeguard Denmark against this. For this reason German soldiers were now crossing the frontier and landing at various points in Zealand, including the port of Copenhagen; in a short time German bombers would be over Copenhagen; their orders were not to bomb until further notice. It was now up to the Danes to prevent resistance, as any resistance would have the most terrible consequences. Germany would guarantee Denmark territorial integrity and political independence. Germany would not interfere with the internal government of Denmark, but wanted only to make sure of the neutrality of the country. For this purpose the presence of the German Wehrmacht in Denmark was required during the war.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared in reply, that the allegation concerning British plans to occupy Denmark was completely without foundation; there was no possibility of anything like that. The Minister for Foreign Affairs protested against the violation of Denmark’s neutrality which, according to the German Minister’s statement, was in progress. The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared further that he could not give a reply to the demands, which had to be submitted to the King and the Prime Minister, and further observed that the German Minister knew, as everybody else, that the Danish Armed Forces had orders to oppose violations of Denmark’s neutrality, so that fighting presumably had already taken place. In reply, the German Minister stated that the matter was very urgent, especially to avoid air bombardment.”
What happened thereafter is described in a dispatch from the British Minister in Copenhagen to the British Foreign Secretary, which the Tribunal will find in D-627, the document preceding the one which I have just read. That document, for the purposes of the record, will be Exhibit GB 95.
That dispatch reads:
“The actual events of the 9th April have been pieced together by members of my staff either from actual eye- witnesses or from reliable information subsequently received, and are given below. Early in the morning towards 5 o’clock, three small German transports steamed into the approach to Copenhagen harbour, while a number of aeroplanes circled overhead. The Northern battery, guarding the harbour approach, fired a warning shot at these planes when it was seen that they carried German markings. Apart from this, the Danes offered no further resistance, and the German vessels fastened alongside the quays in the Free Harbour. Some of these aeroplanes proceeded to drop leaflets over the town, urging the population to keep calm and co-operate with the Germans. I enclose a specimen leaflet, which is written in a bastard Norwegian-Danish, a curiously un-German disregard of detail, together with a translation. Approximately 800 soldiers landed with full equipment and marched to Kastellet, the old fortress of Copenhagen, and now barracks. The door was locked, so the Germans promptly burst it open with explosives and rounded up all the Danish soldiers within, together with the womenfolk employed in the mess. The garrison offered no resistance, and it appears that they were taken completely by surprise. One officer tried to escape in a motor car, but his chauffeur was shot before he could get away. He died in hospital two days later. After seizing the barracks, a detachment was sent to Amalienborg, the King’s palace, where they engaged the Danish sentries on guard, wounding three, one of them fatally .. Meanwhile, a large fleet of bombers flew over the city at low altitude.”
Then, the last paragraph of the dispatch reads:
“It has been difficult to ascertain exactly what occurred in Jutland. It is clear, however, that the enemy invaded Jutland from the South at dawn on 9th April, and were at first resisted by the Danish forces, who suffered casualties. The chances of resistance were weakened by the extent to which the forces appear to have been taken by surprise. The chief permanent official of the Ministry of War, for instance, motored into Copenhagen on the morning of 9th April, and drove blithely past a sentry who challenged him, in blissful ignorance that this was not one of his own men. It took a bullet, which passed through the lapels of his coat, to disillusion him.”
The German memorandum to the Norwegian and Danish Governments spoke of the German desire to maintain the territorial integrity and political independence of those two small countries.
I will close by drawing the Court’s attention to two documents which indicate the kind of territorial integrity and political independence the Nazi conspirators contemplated for the victims of their aggression. I will first draw the Court’s attention to an entry in Jodl’s diary, which is the last document in the book, on the last page of the book, the entry dated 19th April:
“Renewed crisis. Envoy Brauer” – that is the German Minister to Norway – “is recalled: since Norway is at war with us, the task of the Foreign Office is finished. In the Fuehrer’s opinion force has to be used. It is said that Gauleiter Terboven will be given a post. Field Marshal” – which, as the Court will see from the other entries, is presumably a reference to the defendant Goering – “is moving in the same direction. He criticises as defects that we did not take sufficiently energetic measures against the civilian population, that we could have seized electrical plant, that the Navy did not supply enough troops. The Air Force cannot do everything.”
The Court will see from that entry and the reference to Gauleiter Terboven that already, by 19th April, rule by Gauleiters had replaced rule by Norwegians.
The final document is Document C-41, which will be Exhibit GB 96, which is a memorandum dated 3rd June, 1940, signed by Fricke, who, of course, has no connection with the defendant Frick. Fricke was, at that date, the head of the Operations Division of the German Naval War Staff, which was a key appointment in the very nerve centre of German naval operations. That is why, as the Tribunal noticed, he came to be initialling the important Naval documents.
That memorandum is, as I have said, dated 3rd June, 1940, and relates to questions of territorial expansion and bases.
“These problems are pre-eminently of a political character and comprise an abundance of questions of a political type, which it is not the Navy’s province to answer, but they also materially affect the strategic possibilities open – according to the way in which this question is answered – for the subsequent use and operation of the Navy.
It is too well known to need further mention that Germany’s present position in the narrows of the Heligoland Bight and in the Baltic – bordered as it is by a whole series of States and under their influence is an impossible one for the future of Greater Germany. If, over and above this, one extends these strategic possibilities to the point that Germany shall not continue to be cut off for all time from overseas by natural geographical facts, the demand is raised that somehow or other an end shall be put to this state of affairs at the end of the war.
The solution could perhaps be found among the following possibilities.
1. The territories of Denmark, Norway and Northern France acquired during the course of the war continue to be so occupied and organised that they can in future be considered as German possessions.
This solution will recommend itself for areas where the severity of the decision tells, and should tell, on the enemy and where a gradual ‘Germanising’ of the territory appears practicable.
2. The taking over and holding of areas which have no direct connection with Germany’s main body, and which, like the Russian solution in Hangoe, remain permanently as an enclave in the hostile State. Such areas might be considered possibly around Brest and Trondheim.
3. The power of Greater Germany in the strategic areas acquired in this war should result in the existing population of these areas feeling themselves politically, economically and militarily to be completely dependent on Germany. If the following results are achieved – that expansion is undertaken (on a scale I shall describe later) by means of the military measures for occupation taken during the war, that French powers of resistance (popular unity, mineral resources, industry, armed forces) are so broken that a revival must be considered out of the question, that the smaller States such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway are forced into a dependence on us which will enable us in any circumstances and at any time easily to occupy these countries again, then in practice the same, but psychologically much more, will be achieved.”
Then Fricke recommends:-
“The solution given in 3, therefore, appears to be the proper one, that is, to crush France, to occupy Belgium, part of North and East France, and to allow the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway to exist on the basis indicated above.”
Then, the culminating paragraph of this report of Fricke reads as follows:-
“Time will show how far the outcome of the war with England will make an extension of these demands possible.”
The submission of the prosecution is that this and other documents which have been submitted to the Court tear apart the veil of the Nazi pretences. These documents reveal the menace behind the good will of Goering; they expose as fraudulent the diplomacy of Ribbentrop; they show the reality behind the ostensible political ideology of tradesmen in treason like Rosenberg, and finally, and above all, they render sordid the professional status of Keitel and of Raeder.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
MR. ROBERTS: May it please the Tribunal: it is my duty to present that part of Count 2 which relates to the allegations with regard to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In Charges 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 23 there are charges of violating certain treaties and conventions and violating certain assurances. So far as the treaties are concerned, some of them have been put in evidence already, and I will indicate that when I come to them. May I, before I come to the detail, remind the Tribunal of the history of these unfortunate countries, the Netherlands and Belgium; Belgium especially, which for so many centuries was the cockpit of Europe.
The independence of Belgium was guaranteed, as the Tribunal wilt remember, in 1839 by the great European powers. That guarantee was observed for seventy-five years, until it was shamelessly broken by the Germans in 1914, who brought all the horrors of war to Belgium, and all the even greater horrors of a German occupation of Belgium. History was to repeat itself in a still more shocking fashion some twenty-five years after, in 1940, as the Tribunal already knows.
The first treaty which was mentioned in these charges is The Hague Conventions of 1907. That has been put in by my learned friend, Sir David, and I think I need say nothing about it.
The second treaty is the Locarno Convention, the Arbitration and Conciliation Convention of 1935. My Lord, that was between Germany and Belgium. That was put in by Sir David. It is Exhibit GB 15, and I think I need say nothing more about that either.
Belgium’s independence and neutrality was guaranteed by Germany in that document.
My Lord, the next treaty is The Hague Arbitration Convention of May, 1926, between Germany and the Netherlands. That document I ought formally to put in. It is in the Reichsgesetzblatt, which perhaps I may call R.G.B. in the future, for brevity; and it, no doubt, will be treated as a public document. But in my bundle of documents, which goes in the order in which I propose to refer to them, I think it is more convenient for the presentation of my case. That is the second or third document, TC-16.
THE PRESIDENT: It is Book 4 is it?
MR. ROBERTS: It is Book 4, my Lord. This is the Convention of Arbitration and Conciliation between Germany and the Netherlands, signed at The Hague in May, 1926. Your Lordships have the document; perhaps I need only read Article 1:
“The contracting parties” – those are the Netherlands and the German Reich – “undertake to submit all disputes of any nature whatever, which may arise between them which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy and which have not been referred to the Permanent Court of International justice, to be dealt with by arbitration or conciliation as provided.”
And then, my Lord, there follow all the clauses which deal merely with the machinery of conciliation, and which are unnecessary for me to read. May I just draw attention to the first article, Article 21, which provides that the Convention shall be valid for ten years, and then shall remain in force for successive periods of five years until denounced by either party. This treaty never was denounced by Germany at all.
The Treaty I put in is Document TC-16, which will be Exhibit GB 97; and a certified copy is put in and a translation for the Court.
As the Tribunal already knows, in 1928 the Kellogg-Briand Pact was made at Paris, by which all the powers renounced recourse to war. That is put in as Exhibit GB 18, and I need not, I think, put it in or refer to it again.
Then the last of these treaties, all of which, of course, belong to the days of the Weimar Republic, is the Arbitration Treaty between Germany and Luxembourg, executed in 1929. That is Document TC-20 in the bundle. It is two documents further on than the one the Tribunal has referred to last. This is the Treaty of Arbitration and Conciliation between Germany and Luxembourg, signed at Geneva in 1929. May I just read the first few words of Article I, which are familiar:
“The Contracting parties undertake to settle by peaceful means all disputes of any nature whatever which may arise between them and which it may not be possible to settle by diplomacy.”
And then there follow the clauses dealing with the machinery for peaceful settlement of disputes, which follow the common form.
My Lord, those were the treaty obligations. May I put in that last treaty, TC-20, which will be Exhibit GB 98.
My Lord, those were the treaty obligations between Germany and Belgium at the time when the Nazi Party came into power in 1933, and, as you have heard from my learned friend, Hitler adopted and ratified the obligations of Germany under the Weimar Republic with regard to the treaties which had been entered into. My Lord, nothing more occurred to alter the position of Belgium until in March, 1936, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland and announced, of course, the resumption of conscription and so on. And Hitler, on 7th March, 1936, purported, in a speech, to repudiate the obligations of the German Government under the Locarno Pact, the reason given being the execution of the Franco-Soviet Pact of 1935. Sir David has dealt with that and has pointed out that there was no legal foundation for this claim to be entitled to renounce obligations under the Locarno Pact. But Belgium was, of course, left in the air in the sense that she had entered into various obligations under the Locarno Pact in return for the liabilities which other nations acknowledged, and now one of those liabilities, namely, the liability of Germany to observe the Pact, had been renounced.
So, on 30th January, 1937, perhaps because Hitler realised the position of Belgium and of the Netherlands, in the next document in the bundle (TC-33 and 35, which I hand in and will be Exhibit GB 99) he gave the solemn assurance – he used the word “solemn”. That has already been read by the Attorney General, and so I do not want to read it again. But the Tribunal will see that it is a full guarantee. In April, 1937, in a document which is not before the Court, France and England released Belgium from her obligations under the Locarno Pact. It is a matter of history and it does occur in an exhibit, but it has not been copied. Belgium, of course, gave guarantees of strict independence and neutrality, and France and England gave guarantees of assistance should Belgium be attacked. And it was because of that that Germany, on 13th October, 1937, in the next document, gave a very clear and unconditional guarantee to Belgium-Document TC-34, which I offer in evidence as Exhibit GB 100 – the German declaration of 13th October, 1937, which shows the minutes:
“I have the honour on behalf of the German Government to make the following communication to Your Excellency: The German Government has taken cognisance with particular interest of the public declaration in which the Belgian Government defines the international position of Belgium. For its part, the German Government has repeatedly given expression, especially through the declaration of the Chancellor of the German Reich in his speech of 30th January, 1937, to its own point of view. The German Government has also taken cognisance of the declaration made by the British and French Governments on 24th April, 1937” – that is a document to which I have previously referred – “since the conclusion of a treaty – “
THE PRESIDENT: When you are reading a document to which you attach importance, would you go a little bit slower?
MR. ROBERTS: I certainly will. A little bit slower or faster?
THE PRESIDENT: Slower in the documents to which you attach great importance.
MR. ROBERTS: Yes.
“Since the conclusion of a treaty to replace the Treaty of Locarno may still take some time, and being desirous of strengthening the peaceful aspirations of the two countries, the German Government regards it as appropriate to define now its own attitude towards Belgium. To this end, it makes the following declaration: First, the German Government has taken note of the views which the Belgian Government has thought fit to express. That is to say, (a) of the policy of independence which it intends to exercise in full sovereignty; (b) of its determination to defend the frontiers of Belgium with all its forces against any aggression or invasion, and to prevent Belgian territory from being used for purposes of aggression against another State as a passage or as a base of operation by land, by sea, or by air, and to organise the defence of Belgium in an efficient manner for this purpose. Secondly: The German Government considers that the inviolability and integrity of Belgium are common interests of the Western Powers. It confirms its determination that in no circumstances will it impair this inviolability and integrity, and that it will at all times respect Belgian territory except, of course, in the event of Belgium’s taking part in a military action directed against Germany in an armed conflict in which Germany is involved. The German Government, like the British and French Governments, is prepared to assist Belgium should she be subjected to an attack or to invasion.”
Then, on the following page:
“The Belgian Government has taken note with great satisfaction of the declaration communicated to it this day by the German Government. It thanks the German Government warmly for this communication.”
My Lord, may I pause there to emphasise that document. There, in October, 1937, is Germany giving a solemn guarantee to this small nation of its peaceful aspiration towards her, and its assertion that the integrity of the Belgian frontier was a common interest between it and Belgium and the other Western Powers.
You have before you to try, the leaders of the German Government and the leaders of the German Armed Forces. One does not have to prove, does one, that everyone of those accused must have known perfectly well of that solemn undertaking given by his government? Every one of these accused, in their various spheres of activity – some more actively than the others – was a party to the shameless breaking of that treaty two and a-half years afterwards, and I submit that, on the ordinary laws of inference and justice, all those men must be fixed as active participators, in that disgraceful breach of faith which brought misery and death to so many millions.
Presumably it will be contended on the part, for instance, of Keitel and Jodl that they were merely honourable soldiers carrying out their duty. This Tribunal, no doubt, will inquire what code of honour they observe which permits them to violate the pledged word of their country.
That this declaration of October, 1937, meant very little to the leaders, and to the High Command of Germany can be seen by the next document which is Document PS-375 in the bundle. It is Exhibit USA 84, and has already been referred to many times. May I just refer or remind the Tribunal of one sentence or two. The document comes into existence on 24th August, 1938, at the time when the Czechoslovakian drama was unfolding, and it was uncertain at that time whether there would be war with the Western Powers. It is top secret, addressed to the General Staff of the 5th section of the German Air Force. The subject: “Extended Case Green – Estimate of the Situation.” Probably the more correct word would be “Appreciation of the Situation with Special Consideration of the Enemy.” Apparently some staff officer had been asked to prepare this appreciation. In view of the fact that it has been read before, I think I need only read the last paragraph, which is Paragraph H, and it comes at the bottom of Page 6, the last page but one of the document:-
“Requests to Armed Forces Supreme Command, Army and Navy.”
This, you see, was an appreciation addressed by an Air Force staff officer. So these are requests to the Army and Navy. And then, if one turns over the page, No. 4: “Belgium and the Netherlands would, in German hands, represent an extraordinary advantage in the prosecution of the air war against Great Britain as well as against France. Therefore it is held to be essential to obtain the opinion of the Army as to the conditions under which an occupation of this area could be carried out and how long it would take. And in this case it would be necessary to reassess the commitment against Great Britain.” The point that the prosecution desires to make on that document is that it is apparently assumed by the staff officer who prepared this, and assumed quite rightly, that the leaders of the German nation and the High Command, would not pay the smallest attention to the fact that Germany had given her word not to invade Holland or Belgium. They are recommending it as a militarily advantageous thing to do, strong in the knowledge that, if the Commanders and the Fuehrer agree with that view, treaties are to be completely ignored. Such, I repeat, was the honour of the German Government and of its leaders.
Now, in March, 1939, as has been proved, the remainder of Czechoslovakia was peacefully annexed, and then came the time for further guarantees; in the next documents TC-35 and 39, the assurances, which were given to Belgium and the Netherlands on 28th April, 1939.
These have been read by my learned friend, Major Elwyn Jones. They are Exhibit GB 78. I need not read them again.
There is also a guarantee to Luxembourg, which is on the next page, TC-42A. That was given in the same speech by Hitler in the Reichstag, and this 42A was where Hitler was dealing with a communication from Mr. Roosevelt, who was feeling a little uneasy on the other side of the Atlantic as to Hitler’s intentions, and may I, before I read this document, say that I believe the Tribunal will be seeing a film of the delivery by Hitler of this part of this speech, and you will have the privilege of seeing Hitler in one of his jocular moods, because this was greeted and was delivered in a jocular vein, and you will see in the film that the defendant Goering, who sits above Hitler in the Reichstag, appreciates very much the joke, the joke being this – that it is an absurd suggestion to make that Germany could possibly go to war with any of her neighbours – and that was the point of the joke that everybody appears to have appreciated very much.
Now, if I may read this document:
“Finally, Mr. Roosevelt demands the readiness to give him an assurance that the German fighting forces will not attack the territory or possessions of the following independent nations and, above all, that they will not march into them. And he goes on to name the following as the countries in question: Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Esthonia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Roumania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran.
A. I started off by taking the trouble to find out in the case of the countries listed, firstly, whether they feel themselves threatened, and secondly and particularly, whether this question Mr. Roosevelt has asked us was put as the result of a demarche by them or at least with their consent.
The answer was a general negative, which in some cases took the form of a blunt rejection. Actually this counter- question of mine could not be conveyed to some of the States and nations listed, since they are not at present in possession of their liberty (as for instance Syria), but are occupied by the military forces of democratic States, and therefore, deprived of all their rights.
Thirdly, apart from that, all the States bordering on Germany have received much more binding assurances and, above all, much more binding proposals than Mr. Roosevelt asked of me in his peculiar telegram.”
You will see that, although that is sneering at Mr. Roosevelt, it is suggesting in the presence, certainly, of the accused Goering as being quite absurd that Germany should nurture any warlike feeling against its neighbours. But the hollow falsity of that and the preceding guarantee is shown by the next document. May I put this Document, TC- 42A, in as Exhibit GB 101.
The next document, which is Hitler’s conference of 23rd May, has been referred to many times and is Exhibit USA 27. Therefore, I need only very shortly remind the Tribunal of two passages. First of all, on the first page, it is interesting to see who was present: The Fuehrer, Goering, Admiral Raeder, Brauchitsch, Colonel General Keitel, and various others who are not accused. Colonel Warlimont was there. He, I understand, was Jodl’s deputy.
Well, now, the purpose of the conference was an analysis of the situation. Then, may I refer to the third page, down at the bottom. The stencil number is 819:
“What will this struggle be like?”
And then these words:
“The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by armed force. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored.”
Then, at the bottom:-
“Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning speed. We must aim at securing a new defence line on Dutch soil up to the Zuider Zee.”
There is this decision made: “Declarations of neutrality must be ignored,” and there is the Grand Admiral present, and there is the Air Minister and Chief of the German Air Force, and there is General Keitel present. They all appear, and all their subsequent actions show that they acquiesced in that: “Give your word and then break it.” That is their code of honour, and you will see that at the end of the meeting, the very last page – the stencil number is 823 – Field Marshal Goering asked one or two questions.
There was the decision of 23rd May. Is it overstating the matter to submit that any syllable of guarantee, any assurance given after that, is just purely hypocrisy, is just the action – apart from the multiplicity of the crimes here – of the common criminal?
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, I think we would like you, so far as possible, to confine yourself to the document.
MR. ROBERTS: Yes, my Lord. Then we go to 22nd August, 798- PS. That has already been put in and is Exhibit USA 29. My Lord, that was Hitler’s speech Of 22nd August. It has been read and re-read. I only, my Lord, refer to one passage, and that is at the bottom of the second page:-
“Attack from the West from the Maginot Line: I consider this impossible.
Another possibility is the violation of Dutch, Belgian and Swiss neutrality. I have no doubt that all these States as well as Scandinavia will defend their neutrality by all available means.”
My Lord, I desire to emphasise the next sentence:-
“England and France will not violate the neutrality of these countries.”
Then I desire to comment, I ask your Lordship to bear that sentence in mind, that correct prophecy, when remembering the excuses given for the subsequent invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands.
My Lord, the next documents are TC-36, 40 and 42. Those are three assurances. TC-36 is by the Ambassador of Germany to the Belgium Government.
“In view of the gravity of the international situation, I am expressly instructed by the Head of the German Reich to transmit to Your Majesty the following communication:-
Though the German Government is at present doing everything in its power to arrive at a peaceful solution of the questions at issue between the Reich and Poland, it nevertheless desires to define clearly, here and now, the attitude which it proposes to adopt towards Belgium should a conflict in Europe become inevitable.
The German Government is firmly determined to abide by the terms of the declaration contained in the German Note of 13th October, 1937. This provides in effect that Germany will, in no circumstances, impair the inviolability and integrity of Belgium, and will at all times respect Belgian territory. The German Government renews this undertaking however, in the expectation that the Belgian Government, for its part, will observe an attitude of strict neutrality and that Belgium will tolerate no violations on the part of a third power, but that, on the contrary, she will oppose it with all the forces at her disposal. It goes without saying that, if the Belgian Government were to adopt a different attitude, the German Government would naturally be compelled to defend its interests in conformity with the new situation thus created.”
My Lord, may I make one short comment on the last part of that document? I submit it is clear that the decision having been made to violate the neutrality as we know, those last words were put in to afford some excuse in the future.
That document will be Exhibit GB 102.
My Lord, the next document is a similar document, communicated to Her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands, on the same day, 26th August, 1939. Subject to the Tribunal’s direction, I do not think I need read it. It is a public document in the German document book, and it has exactly the same features.
That will be Exhibit GB 103
Then, my Lord, TC-42, the next document (Exhibit GB 104), is a similar document in relation to Luxembourg. That is dated 26th August, the same day. I am not certain; it has two dates. I think it is 26th August. My Lord, that is, in the same terms, a complete guarantee with the sting in the tail as in the other two documents. Perhaps I need not read it.
My Lord, as the Tribunal knows, Poland was occupied by means of the lightning victory, and in October German Armed Forces were free for other tasks. The first step that was taken, so far as the Netherlands and Belgium are concerned, is shown by the next document, which is, I think, in as GB 80, but the true, essential portions refer to Belgium and the Netherlands. It is the next document in your Lordships’ bundle, No. 4
THE PRESIDENT: TC-32?
MR. ROBERTS: Yes. It begins with TC-32, and then if you go to the next one, my Lords will see TC-37 on the same page – and then TC-41; both 37 and 41 refer to this matter. Now, this is a German assurance on the 6th October, 1939:-
Immediately after I had taken over the affairs of the State I tried to create friendly relations with Belgium. I renounced any revision or any desire for revision. The Reich has not made any demands which would in any way be likely to be considered in Belgium as a threat.”
My Lord, there is a similar assurance to the Netherlands, the next part of the document:
“The new Reich has endeavoured to continue the traditional friendship with the Netherlands. It has not taken over any existing differences between the two countries and has not created any new ones.”
I submit it is impossible to over emphasise the importance of those assurances of Germany’s good faith.
My Lord, the value of that good faith is shown by the next document, which refers to the very next day, 7th October. Those two guarantees were 6th October. Now we come to Document 2329-PS, dated 7th October. It is from the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, von Brauchitsch, and it is addressed to various Army Groups. He said, third paragraph:
“The Dutch Border between Ems and Rhine is to be observed only.
At the same time Army Group B has to make all preparations, according to special orders, for immediate invasion of Dutch and Belgian territory, if the political situation so demands.”
“If the political situation so demands” – the day after the guarantee! I put in the last document; that bears an original typewritten signature of von Brauchitsch, and it will be Exhibit GB 105.
My Lord, the next document is in two parts. Both are numbered C-62. The first part is dated 9th October, 1939, two days after the document I have read. My Lord, that was all read by the Attorney General in opening, down to the bottom of Paragraph (c). Therefore, I will not read it again. May I remind the Tribunal of just one sentence.
“Preparations should be made for offensive action on the Northern flank of the Western Front crossing the area of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. This attack must be carried out as soon and as forcefully as possible.”
In the next paragraph, may I just read six words:
“The object of this attack is to acquire as great an area of Holland, Belgium and Northern France as possible.”
That document is signed by Hitler himself. It is addressed to the three accused: the Supreme Commander of the Army, Keitel; Navy, Raeder; and Air Minister, Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Goering. That is the distribution.
I will hold that document over and put that other one in with it.
My Lord, the next document refers to 15th October, 1939. It is from the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. It is signed by Keitel in what is to some of us his familiar red pencil signature, and it is again addressed to Raeder and Goering and to the General Staff of the Army.
Now, that also has been read by the Attorney General; may I just remind the Tribunal that at the bottom of the page there is:
“It must be the object of the Army’s preparations, therefore, to occupy – on receipt of a special order – the territory of Holland, in the first instance as far as the Grebbe-Maas” – or Meuse – “line.”
The second paragraph deals with the taking possession of the West Frisian Islands.
It is clear beyond discussion, in my submission, that, from that moment, the decision to violate the neutrality of these three countries had been made. All that remained was to work out the details, to wait until the weather became favourable, and, in the meantime, to give no hint that Germany’s word was about to be broken again. Otherwise these small countries might have had some chance of combining with themselves and their neighbours.
It will be Exhibit GB 106.
The next document is a Keitel directive. It is Document 440- PS, Exhibit GB 107. It is again sent to the Supreme Commander of the Army, the Navy and the Air Forces, and it gives details of how the attack is to be carried out. I want to read only a very few selected passages.
Paragraph 2 on the first page:-
“Contrary to previously issued instructions, all action intended against Holland may be carried out without a special order as to when the general attack will start.
The attitude of the Dutch Armed Forces cannot be anticipated ahead of time.”
Then may I comment here, will your Lordships note here that this is a German concession:-
“Wherever there is no resistance, the entry should carry the character of a peaceful occupation.”
Paragraph (b) of the next paragraph:-
“At first the Dutch area, including the West Frisian Islands situated just off the coast, for the present without Texel, is to be occupied up to the Grebbe-Maas line.”
The next two paragraphs I need not read. They deal with action against the Belgians, however, and in Paragraph 5:
“The 7th Airborne Division” – they were parachutists – “will be committed for the airborne operation only after the possession of bridges across the Albert Canal” – which is in Belgium, as the Court knows – “has been assured.”
Then, in Paragraph 6 (b), Luxembourg is mentioned. It is mentioned in Paragraph 5 as well. The signature is “Keitel”, but that is typed. It is authenticated by a staff officer.
Then the next Document is C-10, Exhibit GB 108, and it is dated 28th November, 1939. That has the signature of Keitel, in his red pencil, and it is addressed to the Army, Navy and Air Force. It deals with the fact that, if a quick break- through should fail North of Liege, other machinery for carrying out the attack will be used.
Paragraph 2 shows clearly that the Netherlands is to be violated. It speaks of “(a) The occupation of Walcheren Island and thereby Flushing harbour, or of some other southern Dutch island especially valuable for our sea and air warfare” and “(b) Taking of one or more Maas crossings between Namur and Dinant.”
My Lord, the documents show that from November until March, 1940, the High Command and the Fuehrer were waiting for favourable weather before A-day, as they called it. That was the attack on Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
My Lord, the next Document, C-72, consists of 18 documents which range in date from 7th November until 9th May, 1940. They are certified photostats I put in, and they are all signed either by Keitel personally or by Jodl personally, and I do not think it is necessary for me to read them. The defence, I think, have all had copies of them, but they show successively that A-day is being postponed for about a week, having regard to the weather reports. That will be Exhibit GB 109.
My Lord, on 10th January, 1940, as the Attorney General informed the Tribunal, a German aeroplane made a forced landing in Belgium. The occupants attempted to burn the orders of which they were in possession, but they were only partially successful. The next document I offer is Document TC-58a; it will be Exhibit GB 110. The original is a photostat certified by the Belgian Government who, of course, came into possession of the original.
My Lord, I can summarise it. They are orders to the Commander of the Second Air Force Fleet – Luftflotte – clearly for offensive action against France, Holland and Belgium. One looks at the bottom of the first page. It deals with the disposition of the Belgian Army. The Belgian Army covers the Liege-Antwerp Line with its main force, its lighter forces in front of the Meuse-Schelde Canal. Then it deals with the disposition of the Dutch Army; and then, if you turn over to Page 3, you see that the German Western Army directs its attack between the North Sea and the Moselle, with the strongest possible air-force support, through the Belgian-Luxembourg region.
My Lord, I think I need read no more. The rest are operational details as to the bombing of the various targets in Belgium and in Holland.
My Lord, as to the next document, my learned friend, Major Elwyn Jones, put in Jodl’s diary, which is GB 88, and I desire to refer very, very briefly to some extracts which are printed first in Bundle No. 4.
If one looks at the entry for 1st February, 1940, and then some lines down –
THE PRESIDENT: 1809-PS?
MR. ROBERTS: Yes, that is right, my Lord.
THE PRESIDENT: We have not got the GB numbers on the documents.
MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry, my Lord.
If your Lordship will look eight lines down it says: “1700 hours General Jeschennek” and then:-
“1.Behaviour of parachute units. In front of The Hague they have to be strong enough to break in if necessary by sheer brute force. The 7th Division intends to drop units near the town.
2. Political mission contrasts to some extent with violent action against the Dutch Air Force.”
My Lord, I think I need not read the rest: it is operational detail.
“2nd February.” I refer again to Jodl’s entry under “a” as to “landings can be made in the centre of The Hague.”
THE PRESIDENT: Which date?
MR. ROBERTS: That was 2nd February, my Lord, the bottom of the same page, under “a”. I was endeavouring not to read more than a word or two.
THE PRESIDENT: Quite right.
MR. ROBERTS: If your Lordship will turn over the page – I omit 5th February – you come to “26th February. Fuehrer raises the question whether it is better to undertake the Weser Exercise before or after case ‘Yellow’.”
Then on 3rd March, the last sentence:-
“Fuehrer decides to carry out Weser Exercise before case ‘Yellow’, with a few days’ interval”.
Then, my Lord, there is an entry to which I desire to call your Lordship’s attention, on 8th May, that is, two days before the invasion, the top of the page:-
“Alarming news from Holland, cancelling of furloughs, evacuations, road-blocks, other mobilisation measures. According to reports of the intelligence service the British have asked for permission to march in, but the Dutch have refused.”
My Lord, may I make two short comments on that? The first is that the Germans are rather objecting because the Dutch are actually making some preparation for resistance. “Alarming news ” they say. The second point is that Jodl is there recording that the Dutch armies according to their intelligence reports, are still adhering properly to their neutrality. But I need not read any more of the diary extracts.
My Lord, that is the story except for the documents which were presented to Holland and to Belgium and to Luxembourg after the invasion was a fait accompli, because, as history now knows, at 4.30 a.m. on 10th May these three small countries were violently invaded with all the fury of modern warfare. No warning was given to them by Germany and no complaint was made by Germany of any breaches of any neutrality before this action was taken.
THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this will be a convenient place to break off until 2 o’clock.
MR. ROBERTS: Yes, my Lord.
[A recess was taken until 1400 hours.]
MR. ROBERTS: May it please the Tribunal, when the Court adjourned, I had just come to the point at 4.30 a.m. on 10th May, 1940, when the Germans invaded these three small countries without any warning – a violation which, the prosecution submits it is clear from the documents, had been planned and decided upon months before.
My Lord, before I close this part of the case, may I refer to three documents in conclusion. My Lord, the invasion having taken place at 4.30 in the morning, in each of the three countries, the German Ambassadors called upon representatives of the three governments some hours later, and handed in a document which was similar in each case and which is described as a “Memorandum” or an “Ultimatum”. My Lord, an account of what happened in Belgium is set out in our Document TC-58, which is about five documents from the end of the bundle. It is headed “Extract From ‘Belgium – The Official Account of What Happened 1939-1940′”, and I hand in an original copy, certified by the Belgian Government, which is Exhibit GB 111.
My Lord, might I read short extracts? I read the third paragraph:-
“From 4.30 information was received which left no shadow of doubt: the hour had struck. Aircraft were first reported in the East. At 5 o’clock came news of the bombing of two Netherlands aerodromes, the violation of the Belgian frontier, the landing of German soldiers at the Eben-Emael Fort, the bombing of the Jemelle station.”
My Lord, then I think I can go to two paragraphs lower down:-
“At 8.30 a.m. the German Ambassador came to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When he entered the Minister’s room, he began to take a paper from his pocket. M. Spaak” – that is the Belgian Minister – “stopped him: ‘I beg your pardon, Mr. Ambassador. I will speak first.’ And in an indignant voice, he read the Belgian Government’s protest: ‘Mr. Ambassador, the German Army has just attacked our country. This is the second time in 25 years that Germany has committed a criminal aggression against a neutral and loyal Belgium. What has just happened is perhaps even more odious than the aggression of 1914. No ultimatum, no note, no protest of any kind has ever been placed before the Belgian Government. It is through the attack itself that Belgium has learned that Germany has violated the undertakings given by her on 13th October, 1937, and renewed spontaneously at the beginning of the war. The act of aggression committed by Germany, for which there is no justification whatever, will deeply shock the conscience of the world. The German Reich will be held responsible by history. Belgium is resolved to defend herself. Her cause, which is the cause of Right, cannot be vanquished’.”
Then I think I shall omit the next paragraph: “The Ambassador read the note” – and in the last paragraph: “In the middle of this communication M. Spaak, who had by his side the Secretary-General, interrupted the Ambassador: ‘Hand me that document’, he said. ‘I should like to spare you so painful a task.’ After studying the note, M. Spaak confined himself to pointing out that he had already replied by the protest he had just made.”
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like you to read what the Ambassador read.
MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry. I was thinking of the next document I was going to read. I read the last paragraph on the first page:
“The Ambassador was then able to read the note he had brought:
‘I am instructed by the Government of the Reich,’ he said, ‘to make the following declaration: In order to forestall the invasion of Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg, for which Great Britain and France have been making preparations clearly aimed at Germany, the Government of the Reich is compelled to ensure the neutrality of the three countries mentioned, by means of arms. For this purpose, the Government of the Reich will bring up an Armed Force of the greatest size, so that resistance of any kind will be useless. The Government of the Reich guarantees Belgium’s European and Colonial territory, as well as her dynasty, on condition that no resistance is offered. Should there be any resistance, Belgium will risk the destruction of her country and loss of her independence. It is, therefore, in the interests of Belgium that the population be called upon to cease all resistance and that the authorities be given the necessary instructions to make contact with the German Military Command’.”
My Lord, the so-called ultimatum, handed in some hours after the invasion had started, is Document TC-57, which is the last document but three in the bundle. It is the document I handed in and it becomes Exhibit GB 112. My Lord, it is a long document and I will read to the Tribunal such parts as the Tribunal thinks advisable:
“The Reich Government” – it begins – “has for a long time had no doubts as to what was the chief aim of British and French war policy. It consists of the spreading of the war to other countries, and of the misuse of their peoples as auxiliary and mercenary troops for England and France.
The last attempt of this sort was the plan to occupy Scandinavia with the help of Norway, in order to set up a new front against Germany in this region. It was only Germany’s last minute action which upset this project. Germany has furnished documentary evidence of this before the eyes of the world.
Immediately after the English-French action in Scandinavia miscarried, England and France took up their policy of war expansion in another direction. In this respect, while the retreat from Norway was still going on, the English Prime Minister announced that, as a result of the altered situation in Scandinavia, England was once more in a position to go ahead with the transfer of the full weight of her Navy to the Mediterranean, and that English and French units were already on the way to Alexandria. The Mediterranean now became the centre of English-French war propaganda. This was partly to gloss over the Scandinavian defeat and the big loss of prestige before their own people and before the world, and partly to make it appear that the Balkans had been chosen for the next theatre of war against Germany.
In reality, however, this apparent shifting to the Mediterranean of English-French war policy had quite another purpose. It was nothing but a diversion manoeuvre in grand style, to deceive Germany as to the direction of the next English-French attack. For, as the Reich Government has long been aware, the true aim of England and France is the carefully prepared and now immediately imminent attack on Germany in the West, so as to advance through Belgium and Holland to the region of the Ruhr.
Germany had recognised and respected the inviolability of Belgium and Holland, it being, of course, understood that these two countries, in the event of a war of Germany against England and France, would maintain the strictest neutrality.
Belgium and the Netherlands have not fulfilled this condition.”
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, do you think it is necessary to read this in full?
MR. ROBERTS: No, I do not. I was going to summarise these charges. If your Lordship would be good enough to look at the bottom of the first page, you will see the so-called ultimatum complaining of the hostile expressions in the Belgian and Netherlands Press; and then, my Lord, in the second paragraph, over the page, there is an allegation of the attempts of the British Intelligence to bring a revolution into Germany with the assistance of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Then, my Lord, in Paragraph 3, reference is made to military preparation by the two countries; and in Paragraph 4 it is pointed out that Belgium has fortified the Belgian-German frontier.
A complaint is made in regard to Holland in Paragraph 5, that British aircraft have flown over the Netherlands country.
There are, my Lord, other charges made against the neutrality of these two countries, although no instances are given. I do not think I need refer to anything on Page 3 of the document.
Page 4, my Lord, I would like, if I might, to read the middle paragraph:-
“In this struggle for existence forced upon the German people by England and France the Reich Government is not disposed to await submissively the attack by England and France and to allow them to carry the war over Belgium and the Netherlands into German territory.”
My Lord, I just emphasise the following sentence, and then I read no further:-
“It has therefore now issued the command to German troops to ensure the neutrality of these countries by all the military means at the disposal of the Reich.”
My Lord, it is unnecessary, in my submission, to emphasise the falsity of that statement. The world now knows that for months preparations had been made to violate the neutrality of these three countries. This document is saying “The orders to do so have now been issued.”
My Lord, a similar document, similar in terms altogether, was handed to the representatives of the Netherlands Government; This is TC-60, and will be Exhibit GB 113, which is the last document but one in the bundle. My Lord, that is a memorandum to the Luxembourg Government, which enclosed with it a copy of the document handed to the Governments of Belgium and the Netherlands.
My Lord, I only desire to emphasise the second paragraph of TC-60.
“In defence against the imminent attack, the German troops have now received the order to safeguard the neutrality of these two countries.”
My Lord, the last document, TC-59, which I formerly put in, that is Exhibit GB 111.
My Lord, that is the dignified protest of the Belgian Government against the crime which was committed against her. My Lord, those are the facts supporting the charges of the violation of treaties and assurances against these three countries and supporting the allegation of the making of an aggressive war against them. My Lord, in the respectful submission of the prosecution here, the story is a very plain, a very simple one, a story of perfidy, dishonour, and shame.
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: May it please the Tribunal, it is my task to present the evidence on the wars of aggression and wars in breach of treaties against Greece and Yugoslavia. The evidence which I shall put in to the Tribunal has been prepared in collaboration with my American colleague, Lieutenant-Colonel Krucker.
The invasions of Greece and Yugoslavia by the Germans, which took place in the early hours of the morning of 6th April, 1941, constituted direct breaches of The Hague Convention of 1899 on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and of the Kellogg-Briand Pact Of 1928. Those breaches are charged, respectively, at Paragraphs 1 and 13 of Appendix C of the Indictment. Both have already been put in by my learned friend, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, who also explained the obligation of the German Government to the Governments of Yugoslavia and Greece under those Pacts.
In the case of Yugoslavia the invasion further constituted a breach of an express assurance by the Nazis, which is charged at Paragraph 26 of Appendix C. This assurance was originally given in a German Foreign Office release, made in Berlin on 28th April, 1938, but was subsequently repeated by Hitler himself on 6th October, 1939, in a speech he made in the Reichstag, and it is in respect of this last occasion that the assurance is specifically pleaded in the Indictment.
May I ask the Tribunal to turn now to the first document in the document book, which is Book No. 5. The first document is PS-2719, which is part of the document which has already been put in as Exhibit GB 58. This is the text of the German Foreign Office release, on 28th April, 1938, and I would read the beginning and then the last paragraph but one on the page:-
“Berlin, 28th April, 1938. The State Secretary of the German Foreign Office to the German Diplomatic Representatives.
As a consequence of the re-union of Austria with the Reich, we have now new frontiers with Italy, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Hungary. These frontiers are regarded by us as final and inviolable. On this point the following special declarations have been made .”
And then to the last paragraph:-
The Yugoslav Government have been informed by authoritative German quarters that German policy has no aims beyond Austria, and that the Yugoslav frontier would, in any case, remain untouched. In his speech made at Graz on 3rd April, the Fuehrer and Chancellor stated that, in regard to the re-union of Austria, Yugoslavia and Hungary had adopted the same attitude as Italy. We were happy to have frontiers there which relieved us of all anxiety about providing military protection for them.”
Then, if I may, I will pass to the second document in the book, TC-92, and offer that as Exhibit GB 114. This is an extract from a speech made by Hitler on the occasion of the dinner in honour of the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia on 1st June, 1939. I will read the extract in full:
“The German friendship for the Yugoslav nation is not only a spontaneous one. It gained depth and durability in the midst of the tragic confusion of the world war. The German soldier then learned to appreciate and respect his extremely brave opponent. I believe that this feeling was reciprocated. This mutual respect finds confirmation in common political, cultural and economic interests. We therefore look upon your Royal Highness’s present visit as a living proof of the accuracy of our view, and, at the same time, on that account we derive from it the hope that German-Yugoslav friendship may continue further to develop in the future and to grow ever closer.
In the presence of your Royal Highness, however, we also perceive a happy opportunity for a frank and friendly exchange of views which, and of this I am convinced, in this sense can only be fruitful to our two peoples and States. I believe this all the more because a firmly established reliable relationship of Germany and Yugoslavia now that, owing to historical events, we have become neighbours with common boundaries fixed for all time, will not only guarantee lasting peace between our two peoples and countries, but can also represent an element of calm to our nerve-wracked continent. This peace is the goal of all who are disposed to perform really constructive work.”
As we now know, this speech was made at the time when Hitler had already decided upon the European war. I think I am right in saying it was a week after the Reich Chancellery conference, known as the Schmundt note, to which the Tribunal has been referred more than once. The reference to “nerve-wracked continent” might perhaps be attributed to the war of nerves which Hitler had himself been conducting for many months.
Now I pass to a document which is specifically pleaded at Paragraph 26 as the Assurance breached; it is the next document in the bundle, TC-43 – German Assurance to Yugoslavia of 6th October, 1939, It is part of the document which has already been put in as Exhibit GB 8o. This is an extract from the “Dokumente der Deutschen Politik”:
“Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss I informed Yugoslavia that, from now on, the frontier with this country would also be an unalterable one, and that we only desired to live in peace and friendship with her.”
Despite the obligations of Germany under the Convention of 1899, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and under the assurances which I have read, the fate of both Greece and Yugoslavia had, as we now know, been sealed ever since the meeting between Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop, and Ciano at Obersalzberg on 12th and 13th August, 1939.
We will pass to the next document in the bundle, which is TC- 77. That document has already been put in as Exhibit GB 48, and the passages to which I would draw your Lordship’s attention have been already quoted, I think, by my learned friend, the Attorney General; those passages are on Page 2 in the last paragraph: From “Generally speaking” until “neutral of this kind”, and then again on Pages 7 and 8, the part quoted by the Attorney General, and emphasised particularly by Lieutenant-Colonel Griffith-Jones. At the foot of Page 7, on the second day of the meeting, the words beginning “In general, however, success by one of the Axis partners -” to “their backs free for work against the West.”
THE PRESIDENT: Is that quoted?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Was not Page 7 quoted before?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Both of those passages have been quoted before; and if I might sum up the effect of the meeting as revealed by the document as a whole, it shows Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop, only two months after the dinner to the Prince Regent, seeking to persuade the Italians to make war on Yugoslavia at the same time that Germany commences hostilities against Poland, as Hitler had decided to do in the very near future. Ciano, whilst evidently in entire agreement with Hitler and Ribbentrop as to the desirability of liquidating Yugoslavia, and himself anxious to secure Salonika, stated that Italy was not yet ready for a general European war. Despite all the persuasion which Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop exerted at the meeting, it became necessary for the Nazi conspirators to reassure their intended victim, Yugoslavia, since in fact Italy did maintain its position and did not enter the war when Germany invaded Poland, whilst the Germans themselves were not yet ready to strike in the Balkans. It was just for this reason that on 6th October, through Hitler’s speech, they repeated the assurance they had given in April, 1938. It is, of course, a matter of history that, after the defeat of the Allied Armies in May and June, 1940, the Italian Government declared war on France, and that subsequently at 3 o’clock in the morning on 28th October, 1940, the Italian Minister at Athens presented the Greek Government with a 3 hours’ ultimatum, upon the expiry of which Italian troops were already invading the soil of Greece.
If I may quote to the Tribunal the words in which His Majesty’s Minister reported that event:
“The President of the Council has assured himself an outstanding -”
THE PRESIDENT: You have referred to a document?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: It is not in any of my documents. It is merely carrying the story to the next document:
“The President of the Council has assured himself an outstanding place in Greek history, and, whatever the future may bring, his foresight in quietly preparing his country for war, and his courage in rejecting without demur the Italian ultimatum when delivered in the small hours of that October morning will surely obtain an honourable mention in the story of European statecraft. He means to fight until Italy is completely defeated, and this reflects the purpose of the whole Greek nation.”
I turn now to the next document in the bundle, that is, PS- 2762, a letter from Hitler to Mussolini, which I put in as Exhibit GB 115. Although not dated, I think it is clear from the contents that it was written shortly after the Italian invasion of Greece. It has been quoted in full by the Attorney General, but I think it would assist the Tribunal if I read just the last two paragraphs of the extract:-
“Yugoslavia must become disinterested. If possible however, from our point of view, interested in co- operating in the liquidation of the Greek question. Without assurances from Yugoslavia, it is useless to risk any successful operation in the Balkans.
Unfortunately I must stress the fact that waging a war in the Balkans before March is impossible. Therefore any threatening move towards Yugoslavia would be useless since the impossibility of a materialisation of such threats before March is well known to the Serbian General Staff. Therefore Yugoslavia must, if at all possible, be won over by other means and other ways.”
You may think the reference in the first two lines to his thoughts having been with Mussolini for the last 14 days probably indicates that it was written in about the middle of November, shortly after the Italian attack.
THE PRESIDENT: Could you give us the date of the Italian attack?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: 28th October, 1940.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: As the Tribunal will see from the succeeding document, it was at this time that Hitler was making his plans for the offensive in the spring of 1941, which included the invasion of Greece from the North. This letter shows that it was an integral part of those plans that Yugoslavia should be induced to co-operate in them or at least to maintain a disinterested attitude towards the liquidation of the other Balkan States.
I pass now to the next document in the bundle, PS-444, which becomes Exhibit GB 116. It is a “Top Secret Directive” issued from the Fuehrer’s Headquarters, signed by Hitler, initialled by the defendant Jodl, and dated i2th November, 1940. I will read the first two lines and then pass to Paragraph 4 on the third page:-
“Directive No. 18.
The preparatory measures of Supreme H.Q. for the prosecution of the war in the near future are to be made along the following lines.”
Omitting the section which deals with operations against Gibraltar and an offensive against Egypt, I will read Paragraph 4 on the third page:-
The Commander-in-Chief of the Army will make preparations for occupying the Greek mainland North of the Aegean Sea, in case of need entering through Bulgaria, and thus make possible the use of German Air Force units against targets in the Eastern Mediterranean, in particular against those English air bases which are threatening the Roumanian oil area.
In order to be able to face all eventualities and to keep Turkey in check, the use of an army group of an approximate strength of ten divisions is to be the basis for the planning and the calculations of deployment. It will not be possible to count on the railway leading through Yugoslavia for moving these forces into position.
So as to shorten the time needed for the deployment, preparations will be made for an early increase in the German Army mission in Roumania, the extent of which must be submitted to me.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force will make preparations for the use of German Air Force units in the South-east Balkans and for aerial reconnaissance on the Southern border of Bulgaria, in accordance with the intended ground. operations.”
I do not think I need trouble the Tribunal with the rest. The next document in the bundle, PS-1541, which I offer in evidence as Exhibit GB 117, is the directive issued for the actual attack on Greece. Before reading it, it might be convenient if I summarised the position of the Italian invading forces at that time, as this is one of the factors mentioned by Hitler in the directive. I can put it very shortly. I again use the words in which H.M. Minister reported:-
“The morale of the Greek Army throughout has been of the highest, and our own naval and land successes at Taranto and in the Western Desert have done much to maintain it.
With relatively poor armaments and the minimum of equipment and modern facilities they have driven back or captured superior Italian forces, more frequently than not at the point of the bayonet. The modern Greeks have thus shown that they are not unworthy of the ancient traditions of their country and that they, like their distant forbears, are prepared to fight against odds to maintain their freedom.”
In fact, the Italians were getting the worst of it, and it was time that Hitler came to the rescue. Accordingly, this directive was issued on 13th December, 1940; it is Top Secret, Directive Number 20, for the Operation Marita. The distribution included one to the Commander of the Navy, which, of course, would be the defendant Raeder; one to the Commander of the Air Force, which would be the defendant Goering; one to the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, Keitel; and one to the Command Staff, which, I take it, would be the defendant Jodl. I shall read the first two paragraphs and then summarise the next two, if I may:-
“The result of the battles in Albania is not yet decisive. Because of a dangerous situation in Albania it is doubly necessary that the British attempt to create air bases under the protection of a Balkan front be foiled, as this would be dangerous above all to Italy as well as to the Roumanian oil fields.
My plan, therefore, is (a) to form a slowly increasing task force in Southern Roumania within the next few months, (b) after the setting in of favourable weather, probably in March, to send this task force for the occupation of the Aegean North coast by way of Bulgaria, and (c) if necessary, to occupy the entire Greek mainland (Operation Marita). The support of Bulgaria is to be expected.”
The next paragraph gives the forces for the operation, and Paragraph 4 deals with the operation Marita itself. Paragraph 5 states:-
“The military preparations, which will produce exceptional political results in the Balkans, demand the exact control of all the necessary measures by the General Staff. The transport through Hungary and the arrival in Roumania will be reported step by step by the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and are to be explained, at first, as a strengthening of the German Army mission in Roumania. Consultations with the Roumanians or the Bulgarians which may point to our intentions, as well as notification to the Italians, are each subject to my consent, as also are the sending of scouting missions and advanced parties.”
I think I need not trouble the Tribunal with the rest. The next document, PS-448, which I put in as Exhibit GB 118, is again a “Top Secret Directive” carrying the plan a little further; it deals with decisive action in support of the Italian forces in Tripoli and in Albania. I read, if I may, the first short paragraph, and then the paragraph at the foot of the page.
“The situation in the Mediterranean theatre of operations demands, for strategical, political and psychological reasons, German assistance, due to employment of superior forces by England against our allies.”
And in Paragraph 3, after dealing with the forces to be transferred to Albania, the directive sets out what the duties of the German forces will be:-
(a) To serve in Albania for the time being as a reserve for an emergency case, should new crises arise there.
(b) To ease the burden of the Italian Army group when later attacking with the aim of tearing open the Greek defence front at a decisive point for a far-reaching operation.
(c) To open up the Straits West of Salonika from the rear, in order to support thereby the frontal attack of List’s Army.”
That directive was signed by Hitler, and, as can be seen on the original which I have put in, it was initialled by both the defendant Keitel and the defendant Jodl. Here again, of course, a copy went to the defendant Raeder, and I take it that the copy sent to Foreign Intelligence would probably reach the defendant Ribbentrop.
I pass to C-134, the next document in the bundle, which becomes Exhibit GB 119. This records a conference which took place on 19th and 2oth January between the defendant Keitel and the Italian General, Guzzoni, and which was followed by a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini, at which the defendants Ribbentrop, Keitel and Jodl were present.
I need not trouble the Tribunal with the meeting with the Italians, but if you would pass to Page 3 of the document, there is a paragraph there in the speech which the Fuehrer made, which is perhaps just worth reading – the speech by the Fuehrer on 20th January, 1941, in the middle of Page 3. It sets out that the speech was made after the conference with the Italians, and then shows who was present.
On the German side I would call your attention to the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, and the Chief of the Armed Forces Operational Staff. These are, of course, the defendants Ribbentrop, Keitel and Jodl; and on the Italian side, the Duce, Ciano and the three Generals.
It is the last paragraph that I would wish to read:-
“The massing of troops in Roumania serves a threefold purpose:
(a) An operation against Greece.
(b) Protection of Bulgaria against Russia and Turkey.
(c) Safeguarding the guarantee to Roumania.
Each of these tasks requires its own group of forces, altogether, therefore, very strong forces whose deployment far from our base requires a long time.
Desirable that this deployment is completed without interference from the enemy. Therefore disclose the game as late as possible. The tendency will be to cross the Danube at the last possible moment and to line up for attack at the earliest possible moment.”
I pass to the next document, PS-1746, which I offer as Exhibit GB 120. That document is in three parts. It consists, in the first place, of a conference between Field Marshal List and the Bulgarians, on 8th February.
The second part and the third part deal with later events, and I will, if I may, come back to them at an appropriate time.
I would read the first and the last paragraphs on the first page of this document.
“Minutes of questions discussed between the representatives of the Royal Bulgarian General Staff and the German Supreme Command – General Field Marshal List – in connection with the possible movement of German troops through Bulgaria and their commitment against Greece and possibly against Turkey, if she should involve herself in the war.”
And then the last paragraph on the page shows the plan being concerted with the Bulgarians:-
Paragraph 3: “The Bulgarian and the German General Staffs will take all measures in order to camouflage the preparation of the operations, and to assure in this way the most favourable conditions for the execution of the German operations as planned.
The representatives of the two General Staffs consider it suitable to inform their Governments that it will be advisable, of necessity, to take secrecy and surprise into consideration when the Three Power Treaty is signed by Bulgaria, in order to assure the success of the military operations.”
I pass then to the next Document, C-59. I offer that as Exhibit GB 121. It is a further Top Secret Directive of 19th February. I need not, I think, read it. All that is set out of importance is the date for the Operation Marita. It sets out that the bridge across the Danube is to be begun on 28th February, the river crossed on 2nd March, and the final orders to be issued on the 26th February at the latest.
It is perhaps worth noting that on the original, which I have put in, the actual dates are filled in the handwriting of the defendant Keitel.
It is perhaps just worth setting out the position of Bulgaria at this moment, Bulgaria adhered to the Three-Power Pact on 1st March –
THE PRESIDENT: What year?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: 1941. And on the same day the entry of German troops into Bulgaria began in accordance with the Plan Marita and the directives to which I have referred the Tribunal.
The landing of British troops in Greece on 3rd March, in accordance with the guarantee given in the spring of 1939 by His Majesty’s Government, may have accelerated the movement of the German forces; but, as the Tribunal will have seen, the invasion of Greece had been planned long beforehand and was already in progress at this time.
I pass now to the next document in the bundle, C-167, which I put in as Exhibit GB 122. 1 am afraid it is not a very satisfactory copy, but the original, which I have put in, shows that both the defendants, Keitel and Jodl, were present at the interview with Hitler which this extract records. It is a short extract from a report by the defendant Raeder on an interview with Hitler, in the presence of the defendants Keitel and Jodl. It is perhaps interesting as showing the ruthless nature of the German intention.
“The C.-in-C. of the Navy asks for confirmation that the whole of Greece will have to be occupied even in the event of a peaceful settlement.
Fuehrer: The complete occupation is a prerequisite of any settlement.”
The above document-
THE PRESIDENT: Is it dated ?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: It took place on the 18th March at 1600 hours.
THE PRESIDENT: Is that on the original document?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Yes, on the original document.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: The document I have referred to shows, it is submitted, that the Nazi conspirators, in accordance with their principle of liquidating any neutral who did not remain disinterested, had made every preparation by the end of January and were, at this date, in the process of moving the necessary troops to ensure the final liquidation of Greece, which was already at war with and getting the better of their Italian allies.
They were not, however, yet ready to deal with Yugoslavia, towards which their policy accordingly remained one of lulling the unsuspecting victim. On 25th March, 1941, in accordance with this policy, the adherence of Yugoslavia to the Three-Power Pact was secured. This adherence followed a visit on 15th February, 1941, by the Yugoslav Premier Cvetkovic and the Foreign Minister Cinkar-Markovic to the defendant Ribbentrop at Salzburg and subsequently to Hitler at Berchtesgaden, after which these ministers were induced to sign the Pact at Vienna on 25th March. On this occasion the defendant Ribbentrop wrote the two letters of assurance, which are set out in the next document in the bundle, PS- 2450, which I put in as Exhibit GB 123. If I might read from half-way down the page:-
“Notes of the Axis Governments to Belgrade.
At the same time, when the protocol on the entry of Yugoslavia to the Tri-Partite, Pact was signed, the governments of the Axis Powers sent to the Yugoslavian Government the following identical notes:
‘Mr. Prime Minister.
In the name of the German Government and at its behest I have the honour to inform Your Excellency of the following:
On the occasion of the Yugoslavian entry today into the Tri-Partite Pact the German Government confirms its determination to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia at all times.’”
That letter was signed by the defendant Ribbentrop, who, you will remember, was present at the meeting in August, 1939, when he and Hitler tried to persuade the Italians to invade Yugoslavia. In fact it was 11 days after this letter was written that the Germans did invade Yugoslavia and two days after the letter was written that they issued the necessary order.
If I might read the second letter
“Mr. Prime Minister.
With reference to the conversations that occurred in connection with the Yugoslavian entry into the Tri- Partite Pact, I have the honour to confirm to Your Excellency herewith in the name of the Reich Cabinet (Reichsregierung), that in the agreement between the Axis Powers and the Royal Yugoslavian Government, the Governments of the Axis Powers during this war will not direct a demand to Yugoslavia to permit the march or transportation of troops through Yugoslavian national territory.”
The position at this stage, the 25th March, 1941, was, therefore, that German troops were already in Bulgaria moving towards the Greek frontier, while Yugoslavia had, to use Hitler’s own term in his letter to Mussolini, “become disinterested” in the cleaning-up of the Greek question.
The importance of the adherence of Yugoslavia to the Three- Power Pact appears very clearly from the next document in the bundle, PS-2765, which I put in as GB 124. It is an extract from the minutes of a meeting between Hitler and Ciano, and, if I might just read the first paragraph
“The Fuehrer first expressed his satisfaction with Yugoslavia’s joining the Tri-Partite Pact and the resulting definition of her position. This is of special importance in view of the proposed military action against Greece, for, if one considers that for 350 to 4oo kilometres the important line of communication through Bulgaria runs within 20 kilometres of the Yugoslav border, one can judge that with a dubious attitude of Yugoslavia an undertaking against Greece would have been militarily an extremely foolhardy venture.”
Again it is a matter of history that on the night of 26th March, when the two Yugoslav ministers returned to Belgrade, General Simovic and his colleagues effected their removal by a coup d’etat, and Yugoslavia emerged on the morning of 27th March, ready to defend, if need be, its independence. The Yugoslav people had found itself.
The Nazis reacted to this altered situation with lightning rapidity, and the immediate liquidation of Yugoslavia was decided on.
I ask the Tribunal to turn back to PS-1746, which I put in as GB 120, to the second part on Page 3 of the document, consisting of a record of a conference of Hitler and the German High Command on the situation in Yugoslavia, dated 27th March, 1941.
It shows that those present included the Fuehrer; the Reich Marshal, that is of course, the defendant Goering; Chief of the O.K.W., that is the defendant Keitel; Chief of the Wehrmacht Fuehrungstab, that is the defendant Jodl. Then – over the page – “later on the following persons were added.” I call the Tribunal’s attention to the fact that those who came in later included the defendant Ribbentrop.
If I might read the part of Hitler’s statement set out on Page 4
“The Fuehrer describes Yugoslavia’s situation after the coup d’etat. Statement that Yugoslavia was an uncertain factor in regard to the coming Marita action and even more in regard to the Barbarossa undertaking later on. Serbs and Slovenes were never pro-Germans.”
I think I can pass on to the second paragraph:
“The present moment, is for political and military reasons favourable for us to ascertain the actual situation in the country and the country’s attitude towards us. For, if the overthrow of the Government would have happened during the Barbarossa action, the consequences for us probably would have been considerably more serious.”
And then the next paragraph, to which I would particularly draw the Tribunal’s attention:
“The Fuehrer is determined, without waiting for possible loyalty declarations of the new government, to make all preparations in order to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a national unit. No diplomatic inquiries will be made nor ultimatums presented. Assurances of the Yugoslav Government, which cannot be trusted anyhow in the future, will be taken note of. The attack will start as soon as the means and troops suitable for it are ready.
It is important that action be taken as soon as possible. An attempt will be made to let the bordering States participate in a suitable way. Actual military support against Yugoslavia is to be requested of Italy, Hungary, and in certain respects of Bulgaria too. Roumania’s main task is the protection against Russia. The Hungarian and the Bulgarian ambassadors have already been notified. During the day a message will be addressed to the Duce.
Politically it is especially important that the blow against Yugoslavia is carried out with unmerciful harshness and that the military destruction is done in a lightning-like undertaking. In this way Turkey would become sufficiently frightened and the campaign against Greece later on would be influenced in a favourable way. It can be assumed that the Croats will come to our side when we attack. A corresponding political treatment (autonomy later on) will be assured to them. The war against Yugoslavia should be very popular in Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria, as territorial acquisitions are to be promised to these states; the Adriatic coast for Italy, the Banat for Hungary, and Macedonia for Bulgaria.
This plan assumes that we speed up the schedule of all preparations and use such strong forces that the Yugoslav collapse will take place within the shortest time.”
Well, of course, the Tribunal will have noted that in that third paragraph – two days after the pact had been signed and the assurances given – because there has been a coup d’etat, and it is just possible that the operations against Greece may be affected – the destruction of Yugoslavia is decided upon without any question of taking the trouble to ascertain the views of the new Government.
Then there is one short passage on Page 5, the next page of the document, which I would like to read.
“5. The main task of the Air Force is to start as early as possible with the destruction of the Yugoslavian Air Force ground installations and to destroy the capital Belgrade in attacks by waves.”
I pause there to comment; we now know, of course, how ruthlessly this bombing was done, when the residential areas of Belgrade were bombed at 7 o’clock on the following Sunday morning, the morning of the 6th.
THE PRESIDENT: The 6th April?
COLONEL PHILLIMORE: The 6th April.
Then again, still in the same document, the last part of it, Part V, at Page 5; a tentative plan is set out, drawn up by the defendant Jodl, and I would read one small paragraph at the top of the following page, Page 6:
“In the event of the political development requiring an armed intervention against Yugoslavia, it is the German intention to attack Yugoslavia in a concentric way as soon as possible, to destroy her armed forces and to dissolve her national territory.”
I read that because the plan is issued from the office of the defendant Jodl.
Now, passing to the next document in the bundle, C-127, I put that in as Exhibit GB 125. It is an extract from the order issued after the meeting, from the minutes of which I have just read, that is, the meeting of 27th March, recorded in PS-1746, Part II. It is worth reading the first paragraph:
“The military putsch in Yugoslavia has altered the political situation in the Balkans. Yugoslavia must, in spite of her protestations of loyalty, for the time being be considered as an enemy and therefore be crushed as speedily as possible.”
I pass to the next document, PS-1835, which I put in evidence as Exhibit GB 126. It is an original telegram, containing a letter from Hitler to Mussolini, forwarded through the German Ambassador in Rome by Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop. It is written to advise Mussolini of the course decided on and under the guise of somewhat fulsome language the Duce is given his orders. If I might read the first five paragraphs:
“Duce, events force me to give you, Duce, by this the quickest means, my estimation of the situation and the consequences which may result from it.
(1) From the beginning I have regarded Yugoslavia as a dangerous factor in the controversy with Greece. Considered from the purely military point of view, German intervention in the war in Thrace would not be at all justified as long as the attitude, of Yugoslavia remained ambiguous, and she could threaten the left flank of the advancing columns on our enormous front.
(2) For this reason I have done everything and honestly have endeavoured to bring Yugoslavia into our community bound together by mutual interests. Unfortunately these attempts did not meet with success, or they were begun too late to produce any definite result. Today’s reports leave no doubt as to the imminent turn in the foreign policy of Yugoslavia.
(3) I do not consider this situation as being catastrophic, but nevertheless it is a difficult one, and we on our part must avoid any mistake if we do not want, in the end, to endanger our whole position.
(4) Therefore I have already arranged for all necessary measures in order to meet a critical development with necessary military means. The change in the deployment of our troops has been ordered also in Bulgaria. Now I would cordially request you, Duce, not to undertake any further operations in Albania in the course of the next few days. I consider it necessary that you should cover and screen the most important passes from Yugoslavia into Albania with all available forces.
These measures should not be considered as designed for a long period of time, but as auxiliary measures designed to prevent for at least fourteen days to three weeks a crisis arising.
I also consider it necessary, Duce, that you should reinforce your forces on the Italian-Yugoslav front with all available means and with utmost speed.
(5) I also consider it necessary, Duce, that everything which we do and order be shrouded in absolute secrecy and that only personalities who necessarily must be notified know anything about them. These measures will completely lose their value should they become known.”
Then he goes on to emphasise further the importance of secrecy.
I pass to R-95, the next document in the bundle, which I put in as Exhibit GB 127. It was referred to by my learned friend, the Attorney General. It is an operational order, signed by General von Brauchitsch, which is merely passing to the Armies the orders contained in Directive No. 25, which was the Document C-127, an extract of which I put in as Exhibit GB 125. I will not trouble the Tribunal with reading it.
I pass to TC-93, which has already been put in with TC-92 as Exhibit GB 114. The invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia took place on this morning, 6th April, on which Hitler issued the proclamation from which this passage is an extract:-
“From the beginning of the struggle it has been England’s steadfast endeavour to make the Balkans a theatre of war. British diplomacy did, in fact, using the model of the World War, succeed in first ensnaring Greece by a guarantee offered to her and then finally in misusing her for Britain’s purposes.
The documents published today afford” – that refers to the German ‘White Book’ which they published of all the documents leading up to the invasion – “The documents published today afford a glimpse of a practice which, in accordance with very old British recipes, is a constant attempt to induce others to fight and bleed for British interests.
In the face of this I have always emphasised that:
(1) The German people have no antagonism to the Greek people but that
(2) We shall never, as in the first World War, tolerate a power establishing itself on Greek territory with the object, at a given time, of being able to advance thence from the South-east into German living space. We have swept the Northern flank free of the English; we are resolved not to tolerate such a threat inn the South.”
Then the paragraph to which I would draw the Tribunal’s particular attention:-
“In the interests of a genuine consolidation of Europe it has been my endeavour since the day of my assumption of power above all to establish a friendly relationship with Yugoslavia. I have consciously put out of mind everything that once took place between Germany and Serbia, I have not only offered the Serbian people the hand of the German people, but in addition have made efforts as an honest broker to assist in bridging all difficulties which existed between the Yugoslav State and various nations allied to Germany.”
One can only think that when he issued that proclamation Hitler must momentarily have forgotten the meeting with Ciano in August, 1939, and the meeting with the defendant Ribbentrop and the others on 27th March a few days earlier.
I pass to the last document in the bundle. It is a document which has already been put in, L-172, and it was put in as Exhibit USA 34. It is a record of a lecture delivered by the defendant Jodl on 7th November, 1943. At Page 4 there is a short passage which sets out his views two and a-half years later on the action taken in April, 1941. I refer to Paragraph 11 on Page 4:-
“What was, however, less acceptable was the necessity of affording our assistance as an ally in the Balkans in consequence of the ‘extra-turn’ of the Italians against Greece. The attack which they launched in the autumn of 1940 from Albania with totally inadequate means was contrary to all agreement, but in the end led to a decision on our part which-taking a long view of the matter-would have become necessary, in any case, sooner or later. The planned attack on Greece from the North was not executed merely as an operation in aid of an ally. Its real purpose was to prevent the British from gaining a foothold in Greece and from menacing our Roumanian oil area from that country.”
If I might summarise the story: The invasion of Greece was decided on at least as early as November or December, 1940, and planned for the end of March or the beginning of April, 1941 No consideration was at any time given to any obligations under treaties or conventions which might make such invasion a breach of International Law. Care was taken to conceal the preparations so that the German forces might have an unsuspecting victim.
In the meanwhile Yugoslavia, though to be liquidated in due course, was clearly better left for a later stage. Every effort was made to secure her co-operation for the offensive against Greece or, at least, to ensure that she would abstain from any interference.
The coup d’etat of General Simovic upset this plan and it was then decided that, irrespective of whether or not his government had any hostile intentions towards Germany, or even of supporting the Greeks, Yugoslavia must be liquidated.
It was not worth while to take any steps to ascertain Yugoslavia’s intentions when it would be so little trouble, now that the German troops were deployed, to destroy her militarily and as a national unit. Accordingly, in the early hours of Sunday morning, 6th April, German troops marched into Yugoslavia without warning, and into Greece simultaneously with the formality of handing a note to the Greek Minister in Berlin, informing him that the German forces were entering Greece to drive out the British. M. Koryzis, the Greek Minister, in replying to information of the invasion from the German Embassy, replied that history was repeating itself and that Greece was being attacked by Germany in the same way as by Italy. Greece returned, he said, the same reply as in the preceding October.
That concludes the evidence in respect of Greece and Yugoslavia. But, as I have the honour to conclude the British case, I would like, if the Tribunal would allow me, to draw their attention, very shortly indeed, to one common factor which runs through the whole of this aggression. I can do it, I think, in five minutes.
It is an element in the diplomatic technique of aggression, which was used with singular consistency, not only by the Nazis themselves but also by their Italian friends. Their technique was essentially based upon securing the maximum advantage from surprise, even though only a few hours of unopposed military advance into the country of the unsuspecting victim could thus be secured. Thus there was, of course, no declaration of war in the case of Poland.
The invasion of Norway and of Denmark began in the small hours of the night of 8th-9th April, and was well under way as a military operation before the diplomatic explanations and excuses were presented to the Danish Foreign Minister, at 4.20 a.m. on the morning of the 9th, and to the Norwegian Minister, between 4.30 and 5 on that morning.
The invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland began not later than 5 o’clock, in most cases earlier, in the small hours of 10th May, whilst the formal ultimatum, delivered in each case with the diplomatic excuses and explanations, was not presented until afterwards. In the case of Holland, the invasion began between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning. It was not until 6 o’clock, when The Hague had already been bombed, that the German Minister asked to see M. van Kleffens. In the case of Belgium, where the bombing began at 5 o’clock, the German Minister did not see M. Spaak until 8 o’clock. The invasion of Luxembourg began at 4 o’clock and it was at 7 o’clock when the German Minister asked to see M. Beck.
Mussolini copied this technique. It was 3 o’clock on the morning of 28th October, 1940, when his Minister in Athens presented a three-hour ultimatum to General Metaxas.
The invasions of Greece and Yugoslavia, as I have said, both began in the small hours of 6th April, 1941. In the case of Yugoslavia, no diplomatic exchange took place even after the event, but a proclamation was issued by Hitler – a proclamation from which I read an extract – at 5 o’clock that Sunday morning, some two hours before Belgrade was bombed.
In the case of Greece, once again, it was at 5.20 a.m. that M. Koryzis was informed that German troops were entering Greek territory.
The manner in which this long series of aggressions was carried out is, in itself, further evidence of the essentially aggressive and treacherous character of the Nazi regime. Attack without warning at night to secure an initial advantage and proffer excuses or reasons afterwards. Their method of procedure is clearly the method of the barbarian, of the State which has no respect for its own pledged word, nor for the rights of any people but its own.
One is tempted to speculate whether this technique was evolved by the honest broker himself or by his honest clerk, the defendant Ribbentrop.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, will you be ready to go on after a short adjournment. That is what you were intending to do
MR. ALDERMAN: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, before proceeding with the presentation of the evidence relating to the aggression against the Soviet Union, I shall take about 15 minutes to offer two further documents relating to the aggression against Austria.
These two documents are stapled in a supplementary book, supplement to document Book N.
Both documents are correspondence of the British Foreign Office. They have been made available to us through the courtesy of our British colleagues.
First, I offer in evidence Document 3045-PS as Exhibit USA 127. This is in two parts. The first is a letter dated 12th March, 1938, from Ambassador Neville Henderson, at the British Embassy, Berlin, to Lord Halifax. It reads:-
With reference to your Telegram No. 79 of 11th March, I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship herewith a copy of a letter which I addressed to Baron von Neurath in accordance with the instructions contained therein and which was delivered on the same evening.
The French Ambassador addressed a similar letter to Baron von Neurath at the same time.”
The enclosure is the note of 11th March, from the British Embassy to defendant von Neurath and it reads as follows
“Dear Reich Minister,
My Government are informed that a German ultimatum was delivered this afternoon at Vienna demanding, inter alia, the resignation of the Chancellor and his replacement by the Minister of the Interior, a new Cabinet of which two-thirds of the members were to be National Socialists, and the readmission of the Austrian Legion to the country with the duty of keeping order in Vienna. I am instructed by my Government to represent immediately to the German Government that if this report is correct H. M.G.” – meaning His Majesty’s Government – “in the U.K. feels bound to register a protest in the strongest terms against such use of coercion backed by force against an independent state in order to create a situation incompatible with its national independence.
As the German Minister for Foreign Affairs has already been informed in London, such action is bound to produce very great reactions, of which it is impossible to foretell the issues.”
I now offer Document 3287-PS, as Exhibit USA 128.
This consists of a transmittal from the British Embassy, Berlin, to the British Foreign Office, of defendant von Neurath’s letter of response dated 12th March, 1938. The letter is identified in the document with the letter “L”.
First the defendant von Neurath objected to the fact that the British Government was undertaking the role of protector of Austria’s independence. I quote from the second paragraph of his letter:-
“In the name of the German Government I must point out here that the Royal British Government has no right to assume the role of a protector of Austria’s independence. In the course of diplomatic consultations on the Austrian question, the German Government never left any doubt with the Royal British Government that the formation of relations between Germany and Austria could not be considered anything but the inner concern of the German people and that it did not affect a third power.”
Then, in response to the assertions regarding Germany’s ultimatum, von Neurath set out what he stated to be the true version of events.
I quote the last two long paragraphs of the letter; in the English translation I start at the bottom of Page 1 of the letter:-
“Instead, the former Austrian Chancellor announced, on the evening of 9th March, the surprising and arbitrary resolution, decided on by himself, to hold an election within a few days which, under the prevailing circumstances, and especially according to the details provided for the execution of the election, could and was to have the sole purpose of oppressing politically the predominant majority of the population of Austria. As could have been foreseen, this procedure, being a flagrant violation of the agreement of Berchtesgaden, led to a very critical point in Austria’s internal situation. It was only natural that the members of the then Austrian Cabinet who had not taken part in the decision for an election should have protested very strongly against it. Therefore, a Cabinet crisis occurred in Vienna which, on 11th March, resulted in the resignation of the former Chancellor and in the formation of a new Cabinet. It is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure to bring about this development. In particular the assertion which was spread later by the former Chancellor, that the German Government had presented the Federal President with a conditional ultimatum, is a pure invention; according to the ultimatum he had to appoint a proposed candidate as Chancellor and to form a Cabinet conforming to the proposals of the German Government, otherwise the invasion of Austria by German troops was held in prospect. The truth of the matter is that the question of sending military or police forces from the Reich was brought up only when the newly formed Austrian Cabinet addressed a telegram, already published by the Press, to the German Government, urgently asking for the dispatch of German troops as soon as possible, in order to restore peace and avoid bloodshed. Faced with the immediately threatening danger of a bloody civil war in Austria, the German Government then decided to comply with the appeal addressed to it.
This being the state of affairs, it is impossible that the attitude of the German Government, as asserted in your letter, could lead to some unforeseeable reactions. A complete picture of the political situation is given in the proclamation which, at noon today, the German Reich Chancellor has addressed to the German people. Dangerous reactions to this situation can take place only if eventually a third party should try to exercise its influence, contrary to the peaceful intentions and legitimate aims of the German Government, on the shaping of events in Austria, a step which would be incompatible with the right of self-government of the German people.”
That ends the quotation.
Now, in the light of the evidence which has already been presented to the Tribunal, this version of the events given by the defendant von Neurath is a hollow mockery of the truth.
We have learned, from the portions quoted from Document 1780- PS, which is Exhibit USA 72 – Jodl’s diary – the entry for 10th March, 1938, the fact that von Neurath was taking over the duties of the Foreign Office while Ribbentrop was detained in London, that the Fuehrer wished to send an ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet, that he had dispatched a letter to Mussolini of his reasons for taking action, and that army mobilisation orders were given.
We have seen the true facts about the ultimatum from two different documents. I refer to 812-PS, Exhibit USA 61, Report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reichskommissar Burckel, dated 6th July, 1939, which was transmitted to the defendant Seyss- Inquart on 22nd August, 1939. The portion reporting on the events of 11th March have already been read to the Tribunal.
I also refer to Document 2949-PS, Exhibit USA 76, the transcripts of Goering’s telephone conversations, relevant portions of which I have already read to the Tribunal.
These documents emphatically show, and with unmistakable clarity, that the German Nazis did present an ultimatum to the Austrian Government that it would send troops across the border if Schuschnigg did not resign, and if defendant Seyss- Inquart were not appointed Chancellor.
These documents also show that the impetus of the famous telegram came from Berlin and not from Vienna, that Goering composed the telegram and Seyss-Inquart did not even have to send it, but merely said “agreed.”
The transcript of Goering’s telephone call to Ribbentrop, is indicated as Part W of that document. In it the formula was developed and recited for English consumption that there had been no ultimatum and that the German troops crossed the border in response only to the telegram.
And now, in this document from which I have just read, we find the same bogus formula coming from the pen of the defendant von Neurath. He was at the meeting of 5th November, 1937, of which we have the Hoszbach Minutes, Exhibit USA 25. And so he knew very well the firmly held Nazi ideas with respect to Austria and Czechoslovakia. Yet, in the period after 10th March, 1938, when he was handling the foreign affairs for this conspiracy, and particularly after the invasion of Austria, he played his part in making false representations. He gave an assurance to Mr. Mastny regarding the continued independence of Austria. I refer to the document introduced by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Document TC-27, which is Exhibit GB 21.
We see him here, still handling foreign affairs, although using the letterhead of the Secret Cabinet Council, as the exhibit shows, reciting this diplomatic fable with respect to the Austrian situation, a story also encountered by us in the transcript of the Goering-Ribbentrop telephone call, all in furtherance of the aims of what we call the conspiracy.
Now, if the Tribunal please, it might have been fitting and appropriate for me to present the case on collaboration with Japan and the attack on the United States on this 7th December, 1945, the fourth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour. However, our plan was to proceed chronologically, so that part of the case must wait its turn for presentation next week.
We now come to the climax of this amazing story of wars of aggression, perhaps one of the most colossal misjudgements in history, when Hitler’s intuition led him and his associates to launch an aggressive war against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In my last appearance before the Tribunal I presented an account of the aggression against Czechoslovakia. In the meantime, our British colleagues have given you the evidence covering the formulation of the plan to attack Poland and the preparations and initiation of actual aggressive war. In addition, they have laid before the Tribunal the story of the expansion of the war into a general war of aggression, involving the planning and execution of attacks on Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, and Greece, and in doing so, the British prosecution has marshalled and presented to the Court various international treaties, agreements and assurances and the evidence establishing the breaching of those treaties and assurances.
I should like to present to the Tribunal now the account of the last but one of the defendants’ acts of aggression, the invasion of the U.S.S.R. The section of the Indictment in which this crime is charged is Count 1, Section 4 (f), Paragraph 6, German invasion on 22nd June, 1941, of the U.S.S.R. Territory in violation of the Non-Aggression Pact of 23rd August, 1939. The first sentence of this paragraph is the one with which we shall be concerned today. It reads:-
“On 22nd June, 1941, the Nazi conspirators deceitfully denounced the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the U.S.S.R. and without any declaration of war invaded Soviet territory, thereby beginning a war of aggression against the U.S.S.R.”
The documents having a bearing on this phase of the case are contained in document book marked “P”, which we now hand to the Court.
First, if the Tribunal please, the inception of the plan. As a point of departure for the story of aggression against the Soviet Union, I should like to take the date 23rd August, 1939. On that date, just a week before the invasion of Poland, the Nazi conspirators caused Germany to enter into the Treaty of Non-Aggression with the U.S.S.R., which is referred to in this section of the Indictment which I have just quoted. This treaty, Document TC-25, will be introduced in evidence by our British colleagues, but it contains two articles which I should like to bring to the attention of the Tribunal. Article C 1 provided as follows:-
“The two contracting parties undertake to refrain from any act of violence, any aggressive action, or any attack against one another, whether individually or jointly with other Powers.”
Article 5 provides that:
“Should disputes or conflicts arise between the contracting parties, regarding the questions of any kind whatsoever, the two parties would clear away these disputes or conflicts solely by friendly exchanges of view or, if necessary, by arbitration commissions.”
It is well to keep these solemn pledges in mind during the course of the story which is to follow. This treaty was signed for the German Government by the defendant Ribbentrop. Its announcement came as somewhat of a surprise to the world, since it appeared to constitute a reversal of the previous trend of Nazi foreign policy. The explanation for this about-face has been provided, however, by no less eminent a witness than the defendant Ribbentrop himself in a discussion which he had with the Japanese Ambassador Oshima in Fuschl on 23rd February, 1941. A report of that conference was forwarded by Ribbentrop to certain German diplomats in the field for their strictly confidential and purely personal information. This report we now have. It is Document 1834-PS. I offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 129, the original German document.
On Page 2 of the English translation, Ribbentrop tells Oshima the reason for the Pact with the U.S.S.R. That is Page 4 of the German document.
“Then when it came to war the Fuehrer decided on a treaty with Russia – as a necessity for avoiding a two- front war.”
In view of the spirit of opportunism which motivated the Nazis in entering into this solemn pledge of arbitration and non-aggression, it is not very surprising to find that they regarded it, as they did all treaties and pledges, as binding on them only so long as it was expedient for them to be bound. That they did so regard it is evidenced by the fact that even while the campaign in the West was still in progress, they began to consider the possibility of launching a war of aggression against the U.S.S.R.
In a speech to the Reich and Gauleiters at Munich in November, 1943, which is set forth in our Document L-172, already in evidence as Exhibit USA 34, the defendant Jodl admitted – and I shall read from Page 7 of the English translation, which is at Page 15 of the original German text:-
“Parallel with all these developments realisation was steadily growing of the danger drawing constantly nearer from the Bolshevik East – that danger which has been only too little perceived in Germany and of late, for diplomatic reasons, had deliberately to be ignored.
However, the Fuehrer himself has always kept this danger steadily in view and even as far back as during the Western Campaign had informed me of his fundamental decision to take steps against this danger the moment our military position made it at all possible.”
At the time this decision was made, however, the Western campaign was still in progress, and so any action in the East necessarily had to be postponed for the time being. On 22nd June, 1940, however, the Franco-German armistice was signed at Compiegne, and the campaign in the West, with the exception of the war against Britain, came to an end. The view that Germany’s key to political and economic domination lay in the elimination of the U.S.S.R. as a political factor and in the acquisition of “Lebensraum” at her expense, had long been basic in Nazi ideology. As we have seen, this idea had never been completely forgotten even while the war in the West was in progress. Now, flushed with the recent success of their arms, and yet keenly conscious of both their failure to defeat Britain and the needs of their armies for food and raw, materials, the Nazis began serious consideration of the means for achieving their traditional ambition by conquering the Soviet Union.
The situation in which Germany now found herself made such action appear both desirable and practical. As early as August, 1940, General Thomas received a hint from the defendant Goering that planning for a campaign against the Soviet Union was already under way. Thomas at that time was the Chief of the Wirtschaftsruestungsamt of the O.K.W.
I should, perhaps, mention that this office is generally referred to in the German documents by the abbreviation WR. RUE.
General Thomas tells of receiving this information from Goering in his draft of a work entitled Basic Facts for a History of German War and Armament Economy, which he prepared during the summer of 1944. This book is our Document 2353-PS, and has already been admitted into evidence as Exhibit USA 35. I am sorry, it was marked that for identification purposes. I now offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 35.
On Pages 313 to 315 of this work, Thomas discusses the Russo- German Trade Agreement of 1939 and relates how, since the Soviets were delivering quickly and well under this agreement and were requesting war materials in return, there was much pressure in Germany until early in 1940 for increased delivery on the part of the Germans. However, at Page 315, he has the following to say about the change of heart expressed by the German leaders in August, 1940. I read from Page 9 of the English translation:
“On 14th August, the Chief of the Wirtschaftsruestungsamt, during a conference with Reichsmarshal Goering, was informed that the Fuehrer desired punctual delivery to the Russians only until spring 1941. Later on we were to have no further interest in completely satisfying the Russian demands. This illusion moved the Chief of the Wirtschaftsruestungsamt to give priority to matters concerning Russian war economy.”
I shall refer to this statement again later when I discuss the preparation for the economic exploitation of Soviet territory expected to be captured. At that time, too, I shall introduce evidence which will show that in November, 1940, Goering informed Thomas that a campaign was planned against the U.S.S.R.
Preparations for so large an undertaking as an invasion of the Soviet Union necessarily entailed, even these many months in advance of the date of execution, certain activity in the East in the way of construction projects and strengthening of forces. Such activity could not be expected to pass unnoticed by the Soviet Intelligence Service. Counter-intelligence measures were obviously called for.
In an O.K.W. directive signed by the defendant Jodl and issued to the Counter-Intelligence Service abroad on 6th September, 1940, such measures were ordered. This directive is Document 1229-PS and I offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 130, a photostat of the captured German document. This directive pointed out that the activity in the East must not be permitted to create the impression in the Soviet Union that an offensive was being prepared, and outlined the line for the counter-intelligence people to take to disguise this fact. The text of the directive indicates by implication the extent of the preparations already under way, and I should like to read it to the Tribunal:-
“The Eastern territory will be manned more strongly in the weeks to come. By the end of October the status shown on the enclosed map is supposed to be reached.
These regroupings must not create the impression in Russia that we are preparing an offensive in the East. On the other hand, Russia will realise that strong and highly trained German troops are stationed in the Government General, in the Eastern Provinces, and in the Protektorat. She should draw the conclusion that we can at any time protect out interests – especially in the Balkans – with strong forces against Russian seizure.
For the work of our own intelligence service as well as for the answer to questions of the Russian Intelligence Service, the following directives apply:
1. The respective total strength of the German troops in the East is to be veiled as far as possible by giving news about a frequent change of the army units there. This change is to be explained by movements into training camps, regroupings.
2. The impression is to be created that the centre of the massing of troops is in the Southern part of the Government, in the Protektorat and in Austria, and that the massing in the North is relatively unimportant.
3. When it comes to the equipment situation of the units, especially of the armoured divisions, things are to be exaggerated, if necessary.
4. By suitable news the impression is to be created that the anti-aircraft protection in the East has been increased considerably after the end of the campaign in the West, and that it continues to be increased with captured French material for all important targets.
5. Concerning improvements on railroads, roads, aerodromes, etc., it is to be stated that the work is kept within normal limits, is needed for the improvement of the newly-won Eastern territories, and serves primarily economical traffic.
The Supreme Command of the Army (O.K.H.) decides to what extent correct details, i.e., numbers of regiments, manning of garrisons, etc., will be made available to the defence for purposes of counter espionage.
The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. By order of
Early in November, 1940, Hitler reiterated his previous orders, and called for a continuation of preparations, promising further and more definite instructions as soon as this preliminary work produced a general outline of the Army’s operational plan. This order was contained in a top secret directive from the Fuehrer’s headquarters, No. 18, dated 12th November, 1940, signed by Hitler and initialled by Jodl. It is Document 444-PS in our numbered series and is already in evidence as Exhibit GB 116.
The directive begins by saying:
“The preparatory measures of Supreme Headquarters for the prosecution of the war in the near future are to be made along the following lines ..”
It then outlines plans for the various theatres and the policy regarding relations with other countries and says, regarding the U.S.S.R. – and I read now from Page 3, Paragraph No. 5, of the English translation:
“Political discussions have been initiated with the aim of clarifying Russia’s attitude for the time being. Irrespective of the results of these discussions, all preparations for the East which have already been verbally ordered will be continued.
Instructions on this will follow as soon as the general outline of the army’s operational plans have been submitted to, and approved, by me.”
On 5th December, 1940, the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, at that time General Halder, reported to the Fuehrer concerning the progress of the plans for the coming operation against the U.S.S.R. A report of this conference with Hitler is contained in captured Document 1799-PS. This is a folder containing many documents, all labelled annexes and all bearing on “Fall Barbarossa,” the plan against the U.S.S.R. This folder was discovered in the War Diary of the Wehrmacht Fuehrungstab and was apparently an enclosure to that diary.
The report I am here referring to is Annex No. I, and is dated December, 1940.
I now offer in evidence Document 1799-PS as Exhibit USA 131. I should also like to read into the record a few sentences from the report of 5th December, 1940, as they indicate the state of the planning for this act of aggression, six and a- half months before it occurred.
“Report to the Fuehrer on 5th December, 1940.
“The Chief of the General Staff of the Army then reported about the planned operation in the East. He expanded at first on the geographical fundamentals. The main war industrial centres are in the Ukraine, in Moscow and in Leningrad.”
Then, omitting a few sentences.
“The Fuehrer declares that he has agreed with the discussed operational plans and adds the following:
The most important goal is to prevent the Russians withdrawing on a closed front. The Eastward advance should be combined until the Russian Air Force becomes unable to attack the territory of the German Reich and on the other hand the German Air Force will be enabled to conduct raids to destroy Russian war industrial territory. In this way, we should be able to achieve the annihilation of the Russian Army and to prevent its regeneration. The first commitment of the forces should take place in such a way as to make the annihilation of strong enemy units possible.”
Then, again omitting some passages.
“It is essential that the Russians should not take up positions in the rear again. The number of 130 to 140 divisions as planned for the entire operation is sufficient.”
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a good time to break off?
MR. ALDERMAN: Very convenient, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Then we shall not sit in open session tomorrow. We will sit again on Monday at 10 o’clock.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 10th December, 1945, at 1000 hours.]