Nuremberg Trial – The Twenty-seventh Day
Friday, 4th January, 1946
COL. AMEN: I would like to call as a witness for the prosecution Walter Schellenberg.
THE PRESIDENT: Is your name Walter Schellenberg?
THE WITNESS SCHELLENBERG: My name is Walter Schellenberg.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you take this oath: I swear to God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.
(The witness repeated the oath in German.)
Q. Where were you born?
A. In Saarbruecken.
Q. How old are you?
A. Thirty-five years.
Q. You were a member of the N.S.D.A.P.?
Q. And of the S.S.?
A. Yes ; the S.S. also.
Q. And of the Waffen S.S.?
A. And the Waffen S.S.
Q. And the S.D.?
A. And the S.D.
Q. What rank did you hold?
A. The highest rank that I held was that of S.S. Brigadefuehrer in the S.S. and of Major-General in the Waffen S.S.
Q. You were Chief of Amt VI?
A. I was Chief of Amt VI and . . .
Q. During what period of time?
A. I was Deputy Chief of Amt VI in July, 1941, and the final confirmation of my appointment as Chief was in June of 1942.
Q. State briefly the functions of Amt VI of the R.S.H.A.
A. Amt VI was the political secret service of the Reich and worked basically in foreign countries.
Q. Do you know of an agreement between O.K.W., O.K.H. and the R.S.H.A. concerning the use of Einsatz Groups and Einsatz Commandos in the Russian campaign?
A. At the end of May, 1941, conferences took place between the then head of the Security Police and the Quartermaster-General, General Wagner.
Q. And who?
A. The Quartermaster-General of the Army, General Wagner.
Q. Did you personally attend those conferences?
A. Yes. I kept the minutes of the final meetings.
Q. Have you given us the names of all persons present during those negotiations?
A. The conferences took place principally between Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, who was then the Chief of the Security Police and, the S.D., and the Quartermaster-General of the Army.
Q. Was anyone else present during any of the negotiations?
A. Not during the conferences themselves, but at a later meeting other persons took part.
Q. And did those negotiations result in the signing of an agreement?
A. A written agreement was concluded.
Q. Were you there when the written agreement was signed?
A. I kept the minutes and was present when both gentlemen signed.
Q. By whom was this agreement signed?
A. It was signed by the then Chief of the Security Police, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, and the Quartermaster-General of the Army, General Wagner.
Q. Do you know where the original agreement, or any copy thereof, is located to-day?
A. No, that I cannot say. I know nothing about that.
Q. But you are familiar with the contents of that written agreement?
A. Yes ; for the most part I recollect that.
Q. To the best of your knowledge and recollection, please tell the Tribunal exactly what was contained in that written agreement.
A. The first part of this agreement began with the quotation of a basic decree by the Fuehrer. It read somewhat as follows:
“For the safety of the fighting troops in the Russian campaign that is now at hand, all means are to be used to keep the rear safe and protected. On the basis of this consideration every resistance is to be broken by every means. In order to support the fighting unit of the Army, the Security Police and the Security Service are also to be called in for this task.”
If I remember correctly, as a special example of something to be protected, the safeguarding of the so-called great routes of supply, also called “Rollbahnen,” was mentioned.
Q. Do you recall anything else contained in that agreement?
A. In the second part of this agreement the organisation of the Army Groups was mentioned . . .
Q. And what was said about that?
A. . . . and the corresponding organisation of the Einsatz Groups and the Einsatzkonimandos of the Security Police and the S.D. Four different spheres of activity were distinguished.
I remember the following: first, the front area; second, the operational zone – it was also divided into an Army area and a rear Army area; third, the rear Army area; and fourth, the area for the Civil Administration “Reichskommissariate” to be set up.
To cover these different spheres, questions of subordination and command were settled exactly. In the front areas or fighting areas, the Einsatzkornmandos of the Security Police and the S.D. were tactically and operationally under the command of the Army, that is, they were completely under the command of the Army.
In the operational zones only subordination in respect to operations should apply and this same rule should apply in the rear Army area. In the zone intended for the Civil Administration (Reichskommissariate) the same conditions of subordination and command were to apply as in the area of the Reich.
In a third part was explained what was meant by tactical and operational, or rather only the concept “operational” was explained in detail.
By “operational ” was meant the subordination to the Army in respect to discipline and provisions. Special mention was made of the fact that the operational subordination also included all supplies – especially supplies of petrol, food and the making available of technical routes of intelligence transmission.
Q. Have you now told us everything which you can recall about that agreement?
A. Yes; I cannot remember anything else contained in the agreement.
COL. AMEN: If your Honour pleases, that is all.
THE PRESIDENT: Has the English prosecution any questions to ask?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No.
THE PRESIDENT: Has the Russian prosecution any questions to ask?
COL. POKROVSKY: No.
THE PRESIDENT: Has the French prosecution any questions to ask?
(There was no response.)
THE PRESIDENT: Do the defendants’ counsel wish to ask any questions?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY DR. KAUFFMANN (Counsel for defendant Kaltenbrunner)
Q. Is it correct that Dr. Kaltenbrunner was your superior?
A. Dr. Kaltenbrunner was my immediate superior.
Q. During what time?
A. From the 30th January, 1943, until the end.
Q. Do you know his attitude towards the important views of life entertained by National Socialism, for instance, towards the question of the treatment of the Jews or the question of the treatment of the Church?
A. I personally did not have a chance to converse with him on these problems. What I know about him is the result of my own few personal observations.
Q. Did you see original orders from Kaltenbrunner dealing with the execution of saboteurs, the confinement of people in concentration camps and the like?
A. No. I had only oral orders from him in respect to this – commands which he gave to the Chief of the State Police, the Chief of Amt IV of the R.S.H.A.
Q. Did Kaltenbrunner ever indicate to you that he had agreed with Himmler that everything concerning concentration camps and the entire executive power was to be taken away from him, and that only the S.D., as an Intelligence Service, was to be entrusted to you and him, and that he wanted to expand this Intelligence Service, in order to supply the criticism that was otherwise lacking?
A. I never heard of any such agreements. and what I found out later to be the fact is to the contrary.
Q. Now, since you have given a negative answer, I must ask you the following question, in order to make this one point clear: What fact do you mean?
A. I mean, for instance, the fact that, after the Reichsfuehrer S.S., persuaded by me, had very reluctantly agreed not to evacuate the concentration camps, Kaltenbrunner, in direct contact with Hitler, circumvented this decree of Himinler’s and broke his word in respect to international promises.
Q. Were there any international decisions in respect to this, decisions which referred to existing laws, or decisions which referred to international agreements?
A. I would like to explain that, if in regard to internationally known persons the then Reichsfuehrer S.S. promised the official Allied authorities not to evacuate the concentration camps in case of emergency, this promise was humanly binding.
Q. What do you mean by evacuate?
A. Arbitrarily to evacuate the camps before the approaching enemy troops and to transplant them to other parts of Germany still unoccupied by the enemy troops.
Q. What was your opinion?
A. That no further evacuation should take place, because human right simply did not allow it ; that the camps should therefore be surrendered to the approaching enemy.
Q. Did you know that your activity could also contribute to the suffering caused to many people who were innocent?
Q. Did you know that your activity, too, could bring suffering to many people, to people who were per se innocent?
A. I did not understand the question. Will you please repeat it?
Q. Did you ever think that your activity, too, and the activity of your fellow workers, was a cause for the great suffering of many people – let us say Jews – even though these people were innocent?
A. I cannot imagine that the activity of my office could cause any such thing. I was merely in an information service.
Q. Then your information service had no connection at all with such crimes?
Q. Then Kaltenbrunner too would not be guilty in regard to this point?
A. But he was, at the same time, the Chief of Amt IV of the State Police.
Q. I asked in regard to this point, and by that I meant your sector.
A. I only represented the sector Amt VI and Amt Mil.
Q. But Kaltenbrunner, at the same time, was Chief of Amt VI?
A. Kaltenbrunner was the Chief of the R.S.H.A. Eight departments were under him. One or two of them I headed, namely, Amt VI and Amt Mil. These two offices had nothing to do with the executive power of the State Police.
THE PRESIDENT: What I understood you to say was that you were only in a branch which was an information centre ; is that right?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: And that Kaltenbrunner was your immediate chief; is that right?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, he was the Chief not only of your branch but of the whole organisation.
THE WITNESS: Yes, this is correct.
DR. KAUFMANN: I should like to question this witness later on. I should like to reserve these important questions for later on, after I have talked with Kaltenbrunner.
BY DR. KUBUSCHOF (Counsel for defendant von Papen)
Q. In the summer of 1943 were you in Ankara, and did you then pay a visit to the German Embassy?
Q. Did you during this visit criticise German foreign policy in various respects, and did you in this regard mention that it was absolutely advisable to establish better relations with the Holy See? Did Herr von Papen then answer: “That would be possible only if, in accordance with the demands that I have made repeatedly, the Church policy is revised completely and the persecution of the Church ceases”?
A. Yes, that is the correct gist of the conversation, and I spoke with the then Ambassador von Papen to that effect.
BY DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg)
Q. You said a little while ago that the same regulations applied in the area of the Civil Administration as in the Reich.
A. I said they were to apply.
Q. Please answer my question again.
A. I will repeat: I described the agreement which contained the pro vision that in the areas intended for Civil Administration (Reichskommissariate) the same relations to the Security Police and the S.D., in regard to subordination and command, were applicable as in the Reich.
Q. Do you know how that was done in practice?
A. No, later on I did not concern myself with these questions any more.
Q. Thank you.
BY DR. BABEL (Counsel for S.S. and S.D.):
Q. You were a member of the S.S. and of the S.D., and in leading positions …
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state, for the purposes of the record, on behalf of which organisation you appear?
DR. BABEL: I represent the organisations of the S.S. and S.D.
Q. In the R.S.H.A. there were departments of the Security Police and the S.D. How were these two departments related, and what was the purpose of the S.D.?
A. That is a question that I cannot answer in one sentence.
Q. I can withdraw the question for the moment and ask a concrete one:
Was the S.D. used with the “Einsatzgruppen” in the East? To what extent? And with what tasks?
A. I believe that the largest employment of personnel in the East was undertaken by the Security Police, that is, by the Secret State Police and the Criminal Police, and that from the personnel of the S.D. only supplementary contingents were formed.
Q. How large were these contingents? How large was the S.D.
A. I believe that I can estimate the figures: excluding female help, the State Police – perhaps 40,000 to 45,000; the Criminal Police – 15,000 to 20,000; the S.D. of the Interior, that is, Amt Ill with its organisational subsidiaries – 2,000 to 2,500; and the S.D. outside Germany, that is my Amt VI – about 400.
Q. And how was the S.D. used in the East with the Einsatz Groups?
A. I cannot give you the particulars, since that was a concern of the Personnel Administration, and subject directly,to the instructions of the then Chief of the Security Police.
Q. Did the figures you mentioned include male members of the S.D. exclusively, or was female help also included?
A. Only male members. I excluded the female help.
Q. Yesterday a witness gave us approximately the same figure of 3,000, but he included the female help in this figure.
A. I mentioned a figure of 2,000 to 2,500 for the S.D. in the Interior.
Q. What was the organisational structure of the Waffen S.S.?
A. As for the organisational structure of the Waffen S.S., I cannot give you a detailed reply that is reliable.
Q. You were a member of the Waffen S.S. and of the S.D.
A. I was appointed a member of the Waffen S.S. only in January, 1945, by higher orders, so to speak. There I had more military units under my command through the Amt Mil and had to have a military rank to justify my activities.
Q. Do you know whether that also happened to a large extent in other cases?
A. That question is beyond me to answer.
DR. BABEL: Thank you.
RE-EXAMINATION BY COLONEL AMEN:
Q. Do you know of any particular case in which Kaltenbrunner had ordered the evacuation of any one concentration camp, in direct contradiction to Himinler’s wishes?
Q. Will you tell the Tribunal about that?
A. I cannot give you the exact date, but I believe it was in the beginning of April, 1945. The son of the former Swiss President, Muesi, who had taken his father to Switzerland, returned by car to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, in order to call for a Jewish family which I myself had set free. He found the camp in complete evacuation and under the most deplorable conditions. As he had, three days previously, driven his father to Switzerland, with the final decision that the camps would not be evacuated, and since this declaration was also intended for General Eisenhower, he was doubly disappointed at this breach of promise. Muesi Jr. called on me personally at my office. He was deeply offended and reproached me bitterly. I could not understand the situation and at once contacted Himmler’s secretary, protesting against this sort of procedure. Shortly after the truth of the facts, as depicted by Muesi Jr., was confirmed, although it was still incomprehensible, since Himinler had not given these orders. An immediate halt to the evacuations by every available method was assured. This was certified personally by Himmler by telephone a few hours later. I believe it was on the same day, after a meeting of office chiefs, that I informed Kaltenbrunner of the situation and expressed my profound concern at this new breach of international assurances. As I paused in the conversation, the Chief of the State Police, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, interrupted and explained that he had started the evacuation of the more important internees of the individual camps, three days ago at Kaltenbrunner’s orders. Kaltenbrunner replied with these words:
“Yes, that is correct, it was an order of the Fuehrer which was also recently confirmed by the Fuehrer in person. All the important internees are to be evacuated at his order to the South of the Reich.”
He then turned to me mockingly and, speaking in dialect, said :
“Tell your old gentleman (i.e., Muesi Jr.) that there are still enough left in the camps. With that you, too, can be satisfied.”
I think this was on the 10th April, 1945.
COL. AMEN: That is all, may it please the Tribunal.
QUESTIONS BY THE TRIBUNAL (GENERAL NIKITCHENKO):
Q. Can you say what the functions of the Chief Amt of the Security Police were?
A. That I cannot answer in one sentence. I believe . . .
Q. Be brief, be brief! What were the aims?
A. The R.S.H.A. was a comprehensive grouping of a Security Police, that is, a State Police . . .
Q. We know about this organisation on the basis of the documents which are at the disposal of the Court, but what were its functions?
A. I just wanted to explain its functions. Its functions consisted of security, that is, State Police activity, of Criminal Police activity, and of intelligence activity at home and abroad.
Q. Would it be correct to formulate the functions as follows : to suppress those whom the Nazi Party considered its enemies?
A. No, I think that statement is too one-sided.
Q. But these functions were included?
A. They were, perhaps, a certain part of the activities of the State Police.
Q. Had this part of the functions, then, been changed after Kaltenbrunner took office?
A. No, there was no change.
Q. Had those functions, to which you referred just now, been changed since the time that Kaltenbrunner took office as Chief of the Security Police?
A. The functions, as I formulated them, did not change after Kaltenbrunner assumed office.
Q. I have one more question : What were the aims and purposes of the operation groups which were to have been created on the basis of the agreement between the S.D. and the High Command?
A. As far as the agreement was covered at that time, the first part, as I mentioned before, referred to the task laid down of protecting the rear of the troops, and using all means against opposition and against resistance.
Q. To repress or to crush resistance?
A. The words were: “All resistance is to be crushed with every means.”
Q. By what means was the resistance suppressed?
A. The agreement did not mention nor discuss this in any way.
Q. But you know what means were used for that suppression, do you not?
A. Later I heard that because of the bitterness of the struggle, harsh means were chosen, but I know this only by hearsay.
Q. What does it mean more exactly?
A. That in Partisan fighting and in the treatment of the civilian population many shootings took place.
Q. Including the children?
A. That I did not hear.
Q. You have not heard it?
A. (No response.)
Q. That is all.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Since your Lordship was good enough to ask me whether I wanted to put any questions, I have had some further information and I should be very grateful if you would be good enough to allow me to ask one or two questions.
RE-EXAMINATION BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:
Q. Would you direct your mind to a conversation between the defendant Kaltenbrunner, Gruppenfuehrer Nebe and Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, in the Spring of 1944, in Berlin at Wilhelmstrasse 102?
Q. With what was that conversation concerned?
A. That conversation, as far as I could gather – since I took no part in it – concerned the subsequent invention of excuses for the shooting of about 50 English and American prisoners of war. The conversation in its particulars and to the best of my recollection, was as follows: there had evidently been a request from the International Red Cross inquiring as to the whereabouts of 50 English and American prisoners of war. This request for information by the International Red Cross appears to have been passed on to the Chief of the Security Police and the S.D. via the Foreign Office. From the conversation I could . . .
Q. Just one moment: was it already in the form of a protest against the shooting of prisoners of war?
A. I believe it was lodged in the form of a protest, since from fragments of this conversation I gathered that there was a discussion as to how the shooting of these prisoners of war, which had already taken place, could be covered up or disguised.
Q. How this could be done?
A. Or had been done.
Q. Did Kaltenbrunner discuss this with Mueller and Nebe?
A. Kaltenbrunner discussed this matter with Mueller and Nebe, but I merely heard fragments of the conversation. I heard, incidentally, that they meant to discuss the details in the course of the afternoon.
Q. Did you hear any suggestion put forward as to what explanations should be offered to explain away the shooting of these prisoners?
A. Yes, Kaltenbrunner himself offered these suggestions.
Q. What were the suggestions?
A. That the greatest part be treated as individual cases, as “having perished in air raids”; some, I believe, because they “offered resistance” i.e., “physical resistance”, while others were “pursued when escaping”.
Q. You mean – shot while trying to escape?
A. Yes, shot in flight.
Q. And these were the excuses which Kaltenbrunner suggested?
A. Yes. these were the excuses that Kaltenbrunner suggested.
Q. Now, I want you to try and remember as well as you can about these prisoners. Does any number remain in your mind? Can you remember any number of prisoners that they were discussing or how these explanations arose? About how many?
A. I remember only that the number 50 was mentioned over and over again, but how the particulars went I cannot say because I just followed fragments of the conversation, I could not follow the exact conversation.
Q. But the number 50 remains in your mind?
A. Yes, I heard 50.
Q. Can you remember anything of the place or the camp in which these people had been, who were said to have been shot?
A. I cannot tell you under oath. There is a possibility that I might add a little bit. I believe it was Breslau, but I cannot state it exactly, as a fact.
Q. Can you remember anything of what service the people belonged to? Were they Air Force or Army? Have you any recollection on that point?
A. I believe they were all officers.
Q. Were officers?
Q. But you cannot remember what service?
A. No, that I cannot tell you.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am very grateful to the Tribunal for letting me ask these questions.
COLONEL AMEN: That is all for this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the witness can go then.
(The witness withdrew.)
COLONEL AMEN: I wish to call as the next witness Alois Hoellriegel.
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
THE WITNESS: Alois Hoellriegel.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you take this oath?
I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.
(The witness repeated the oath in German.)
THE PRESIDENT: You can sit down if you want to.
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY COLONEL AMEN:
Q. What position did you hold at the end of the war?
A. At the end of the war I was Unterscharfuehrer at Mauthausen.
Q. Were you a member of the Totenkopf S.S.?
A. Yes; in the year 1939 I was drafted into the S.S.
Q. What were your duties at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp?
A. I was, until the winter of 1942, with a guard company and I stood guard. From 1942 until the end of the war I was detailed to the inner service of the concentration camp.
Q. And you therefore had occasion to witness the extermination of inmates of that camp by shooting, gassing and so forth?
A. Yes, I saw that.
Q. And did you make an affidavit in this case to the effect that you saw Kaltenbrunner at that camp?
Q. And that he saw and was familiar with the operation of the gas chamber there?
Q. Did yuou also have occasion to see nay other important personages visiting that concentration camp?
A. I remember Pohl, Gluecks, Kaltenbrunner, Schirach and Gauleiter of the Steyermark, Uiberreuther.
Q. And did you personally see Schirach at that concentration camp at Mauthausen?
Q. Do you remember what he looks like so that you could identify him
A. I think that he has probably changed a little in recent times, but I would certainly remember him.
Q. How long ago was it that you saw him there
A. It was in the fall of 1942. Since then I have not seen him.
Q. Will you look around the Courtroom and see whether you can see Schirach in the Courtroom?
Q. Which person is it?
A. In the second row, the third person from the left.
COLONEL AMEN: The affidavit to which I referred was Exhibit USA 515.
THE PRESIDENT: What is the PS number?
COLONEL AMEN: 2753-PS.
BY COLONEL AMEN:
Q. I now show you a copy of Document 2641-PS and ask you whether you can recognise the place where those individuals are standing?
A. As far as I can recognise it at a glance, it is a quarry ; whether it is at Mauthausen or not one cannot determine exactly, because the view is too small.
Q. Would you repeat that answer please?
A. Certainly, as far as can be seen from this picture, I cannot see clearly if this is the Wiener-Graben quarry near Mauthausen. It might easily be another quarry. A larger range of vision is required. But I think that visits were often made there. I assume that this is the Wiener-Graben quarry.
Q. Very good. Just lay the picture aside for the time being.
Did you have occasion to observe the killing of inmates of the concentration camp by their being pushed off a cliff?
Q. Will you tell the Tribunal what you saw with respect to that practice?
A. I remember it was in 1941. At that time I was with a guard company on the tower which closed off the area of the quarry. I was able to observe in the morning about six to eight prisoners who came with two S.S. men of my acquaintance. One was Spatzenecker and the other, Unterscharfuehrer Eichenhofer; they moved …
THE PRESIDENT: Wait, you are going too fast. You should go slower.
A. I saw that they were approaching the precipice near the quarry. I saw, from my watch-tower, that these two S.S. men were beating the prisoners and I realised immediately that they intended to force them to throw themselves over the precipice or else to push them over. I noticed how one of the prisoners was kicked while lying on the ground, and the gestures showed that he was supposed to throw himself down the precipice. This the prisoner promptly did under the pressure of the blows – presumably in despair.
A. I estimate that it was 30 to 40 metres.
Q. Was there a term used amongst you guards for this practice of having the prisoners fall from the top of the precipice?
A. Yes. In Mauthausen Camp they were called paratroopers.
COLONEL AMEN: The witness is available to other counsel.
THE PRESIDENT: Has the Russian Prosecutor or the French Prosecutor or any defence counsel any questions?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY DR. SAUTER (Counsel for defendant von Schirach):
Q. Witness, I am interested in the following points.
You said previously that in 1939 you were taken into the S.S.?
A. That is true, on 6th September….
Q. One moment, please repeat your answer.
A. That is right. On 6th September, 1939, I was taken into the S.S. at Ebersberg near Linz.
Q. Had you no connection at all with the Party before then?
A. Yes. In April, 1938, I enlisted in the Civilian S.S., because I was out of work and without any support, and I thought, I will join the Civilian S.S.; there I will get work, in order to be able to marry.
Q. Then, if I understood you correctly, you were drafted into the S.S. in 1939, because you had already enlisted in the Civilian S.S. in the spring of 1938?
A. I cannot say that exactly. Many were drafted into the Armed Forces, into the Air Force and into the General S.S.
Q. Are you an Austrian?
Q. Then at that time you lived in Austria
A. Yes, at Graz.
Q. I am interested in a certain point in regard to the defendant von Schirach. You saw the defendant von Schirach at Mauthausen. How often did you see him there?
A. I cannot remember so exactly – once.
Q. Was von Schirach alone at Mauthausen, or was he with other people?
A. He was accompanied by other gentlemen. There was a group of about ten people, and among them I recognised von Schirach and Gauleiter Niberreuter.
Q. There are supposed to have been 20 persons at least and not 10, on that occasion.
A. I did not know at that time that I might have to give these figures I did not count them.
Q. This point is important to me, because the defendant Schirach told me it was a, visit of inspection, an official inspection tour of the concentration camp Mauthausen, occasioned by a meeting of the Economic Advisors of all six Gaue of the Ostmark.
A. Yes, I naturally did not know why he came to the camp, but I remember that this group came with von Schirach and Schutzhaftlagerfuehrer (Protective Custody-Camp Leader) Bachmeyer. At any rate I could see that it looked like an inspection.
Q. Did you know that this inspection was announced in we camp severai days before and that certain preparations were made in the camp because of it?
A. I cannot remember any specific preparations, but I do remember it was during the evening hours. I cannot tell you the exact hour ; it was the time of the evening roll-call. The prisoners had assembled for roll-call and all the troops on duty also had to fall in. Then this group came in.
Q. Did you or your comrades not know on the day before that this inspection would take place the very next day?
A. I cannot remember that.
Q. And did it not strike you that certain definite preparations had been made in this camp?
A. I cannot remember that any preparations were made.
DR. SAUTER: I have no further questions to ask this witness.
BY DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for defendant Seyss-Inquart):
Q. Witness, you described an incident which, according to the conception entertained by civilised people, cannot be designated anything but murder – i.e., the hurling of people over the side of the quarry. Did you report this incident to your superiors?
A. These incidents happened frequently and it is to be assumed with a 100 per cent. degree of accuracy, that the superiors knew about them
Q. In other words, you did not report this. Is it true that on pain of death not only the internees but also the guards were forbidden to report incidents of this sort to a third person?
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no other question.
RE-EXAMINATION BY COLONEL AMEN:
Q. Would you just look at that picture again?
Q. Will you look at it carefully and tell me whether that is the quarry underneath the cliff which you have just described?
A Yes, as far as I can tell from this picture, I assume with a 100 per cent. degree of accuracy that it is the quarry Wiener-Graben ; but one would have to see more, more background, to decide whether it is really this quarry. One sees too little, but I think quite certainly . . .
Q. Do you recognise the individuals whose faces appear in the picture?
Q. Will you tell the Tribunal the ones whom you recognise?
A. I recognise of course Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler first of all, next to him the Commandant of Mauthausen Concentration Camp and away to the right I recognise Kaltenbrunner.
COLONEL AMEN: That is all, may it please the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can go and we will adjourn for ten minutes.
(A recess was taken.)
COLONEL STOREY: If the Tribunal please, the next and final subject of the criminal organisations is the General Staff and High Command, to be presented by Colonel Taylor.
COLONEL TELFORD TAYLOR: Your Lordship and members of the Tribunal: The Indictment seeks a declaration of criminality under Articles 9 to i i of the Charter against six groups or organisations, and the last one listed in the Indictment is a group described as the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces.
At first sight these six groups and organisations seem to differ rather widely one from another, both in their composition and in their functions. But all of them are related and we believe that they are logically indicted together before the Tribunal because they are the primary agencies and the chief tools by means of which the Nazi conspirators sought to achieve their aims. All six of them were either established by, controlled by, or became allied with the Nazis, and they were essential to the success of the Nazis. They were at once the principal and indispensable instruments : the Party, the Government, the Police and the Armed Forces. It is my task to present the case in chief against the General Staff and High Command group.
Now, in one respect this group is to be sharply distinguished from the other groups and organisations against which we have sought this declaration. For example, the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, of the N.S.D.A.P., is the Leadership Corps of the Party itself, the Party which was the embodiment of Nazism, and was the instrument primarily through which Hitlerism rode to full power and tyranny in Germany. The S.A. and the S.S. were branches – to be sure, large branches – of the Nazi Party. The German Police did indeed have certain roots and antecedents which antedated Hitlerism, but it became 99 per cent. a creature of the Nazi Party and the S.S. The Reich Cabinet was in essence merely a committee or series of committees of Reich Ministers, and when the Nazis came to power, quite naturally these ministerial positions were filled for the most part by Nazis. All these groups and organisations, accordingly, either owe their origin and development to Nazism or automatically became Nazified when Hitler came to power.
Now, that is not true of the group with which we are now concerned. I need not remind the Tribunal that German armed might and the German military tradition antedate Hitlerism by many decades. One need not be a greybeard to have very vivid personal recollections of the war of 1914 to 1918, of the Kaiser and of the scrap of paper. For these reasons I want to sketch very briefly, before going into the evidence, the nature of our case against this group, which is unique in the particulars I have mentioned.
As a result of the German defeat in 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles. the size and permissible scope of activities of the German Armed Forces were severely restricted. That these restrictions did not destroy or even seriously undermine German militarism, the last few years have made abundantly apparent. The full flowering of German military strength came about through collaboration, collaboration between the Nazis on the one hand and the career leaders of the German Armed Forces, the professional soldiers, sailors, and airmen on the other.
When Hitler came to power, he did not find a vacuum in the field of military affairs. He found a small Reichswehr and a body of professional officers with a morale and outlook nourished by German military history. The leaders of these professional officers constitute the group named in the indictment, the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces. This part of the case concerns that group of men.
Now, needless to say, the prosecution does not take the stand that it is a crime to be a soldier or a sailor or to serve one’s country as a soldier or sailor in time of war. The profession of arms is an honourable one and can be honourably practised. But it is too clear for argument that a man who commits crimes cannot plead in his defence that he committed them in uniform.
It is not in the nature of things and the prosecution does not take the stand that every member of this group was a wicked man or that they were all equally culpable. But we will show that this group not only collaborated with Hitler and supported the essential Nazi objectives but we will show that they also furnished the one thing which was essential and basic to the success of the Nazi programme for Germany, and that thing was skill and experience in the development and use of armed might.
Why did this group support Hitler and the Nazis? I think your Honours will see, as the proof is given, that the answer is very simple. The answer is that they agreed with the truly basic objectives of Hitlerism and Nazism and that Hitler gave the generals the opportunity to play a major part in achieving these objectives. The generals, like Hitler, wanted to aggrandise Germany at the expense of neighbouring countries and were prepared to do so by force or threat of force. Force, armed might, was the keystone of the arch, the thing without which nothing else would have been possible.
As they came to power and when they had attained power, the Nazis had two alternatives, either to collaborate with and expand the small German army known as the Reichswehr, or to ignore the Reichswehr and build up a separate army of their own. The generals feared that the Nazis might do the latter and accordingly were the more inclined to collaborate. Moreover, the Nazis offered the generals the chance of achieving much that they wished to achieve by way of expanding German armies and German frontiers, and so, as we will show, the generals climbed on to the Nazi bandwagon. They saw it was going in their direction at the time. No doubt they hoped later to take over the direction themselves. In fact, as the proof will show, ultimately it was the generals who were taken for a ride by the Nazis.
Hitler, in short, attracted the generals to him with the glitter of conquest, and then succeeded in submerging them politically and, as the war proceeded, they became his tools. But if these military leaders became the tools of Nazism, it is not to be supposed that they were unwitting, or that they did not participate fully in many of the crimes which we will bring to the notice of the Tribunal. The willingness and, indeed, the eagerness of the German professional officer corps to become partners of the Nazis, will be fully developed.
Your Lordship, there will be three principal parts to this presentation. There will be first a description of the composition and functioning of the General Staff and High Command group as defined in the Indictment; next, the evidence in support of the charges of criminality under Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment; finally, the evidence in support of the charges under Counts 3 and 4.
The members of the Tribunal should have before them three document books which have been given the designation CC. The first of these books is a series of sworn statements or affidavits which are available to the Tribunal in English, in Russian and in French, and which have been available to the document books, separated merely for convenience of handling. The second book contains documents in the C and L series, and the third book, in the PS and R series. For the convenience of the Tribunal we have had handed up a list of these documents in the order in which they will be referred to.
The Tribunal should also have one other document, and that is a short mimeographed statement entitled “Basic Information on the Organisation of the German Armed Forces” That has also been handed up in English, Russian and French and has been made available to the defendants’ Information Centre in German.
So I turn first to the description of the group as defined in the Indictment.
During the First World War there was an organisation in the German Armed Forces known as the Great General Staff. This name, the German General Staff or Great General Staff, persists in the public mind, but the “Grosse Generalstab ” no longer exists in fact. There has been no such single organisation, no single German General Staff, since 1918, but there has, of course, been a group of men responsible for the policy and the acts of the German Armed Forces, and the fact that these men have no single collective name does not prevent us from collecting them together. They cannot escape the consequences of their collective acts by combining informally instead of formally. The essence of a general staff or a high command lies not in the name you give it, but in the functions it performs and the men comprised within the group as we have defined it in the Indictment, constituted a functional group, welded together by common responsibility, of those officers who had the principal authority and responsibility under Hitler for the plans and operations of the German Armed Forces.
Let us examine first the general structure and organisation of the German Armed Forces and then look at the composition of the group as specified in the Indictment. As I just mentioned, we have prepared a very short written exposition of the organisation of the German Armed Forces, which we have handed up to the Tribunal. That document contains a short sketch setting forth the basic history and development of the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces since 1933, and the structure as it emerged after its reorganisation in 1938. It also contains a simple chart, which in a few moments will be displayed at the front of the Courtroom. It also contains a short glossary of German military expressions and a comparative table of ranks in the German Army and in the S.S., showing the equivalent ranks in the American Army and the equivalent ranks for the German Navy and the British Navy. I may say that although military and naval ranks differ slightly among the principal nations, by and large they follow the same general pattern and terminology.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the German Armed Forces were controlled by a Reich Defence Minister, who at that time was Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg. Under von Blomberg were the chief of the Army Staff, who at that time was von Fritsch, and of the Naval Staff, the defendant Raeder. Owing to the limitations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, the German Air Force at that time had no official existence whatever. The Army and Navy Staffs were renamed “High Command” – 0berkornmando der Heeres and Oberkornmando der Kriegs Marine – from which are derived the initials by which they are generally known – O.K.H. and O.K.M. In May, 1935, at the time that military conscription was introduced in Germany, there was a change in the titles of these officers but the structure remained basically the same. Field Marshal von Blomberg remained in supreme command of the Armed Forces, with the title of Reich Minister for War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Von Fritsch assumed the title Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and Raeder, Commander- in-Chief of the Navy.
The German Air Force came into official and open existence at about this same time, but it was not put under von Blomberg. It was an independent institution under the personal command of the defendant Goering, who had the double title of Air Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force.
I will now ask that the chart be displayed.
This chart, your Honour, has been certified and sworn to by three principal German generals, and the affidavits with reference to it will be introduced in a few moments. It shows the organisation, the top organisation, of the Armed Forces as it emerged in 1938 after the reorganisation which I will now describe.
In February, 1938, von Blomberg and von Fritsch were both retired from their positions, and Blomberg’s ministry, the War Ministry, was wound up. The War Ministry had contained a division or department called the Wehrmacht Amt, meaning the Armed Forces Department, and the function of that department had been to co-ordinate the plans and operations of the Army and Navy. From this Armed Forces Department was formed a new overall Armed Forces authority known as the High Command of the German Armed Forces-that is the box in the centre, right under Hitler-known in German as Oberkommando der Wehrinacht, and usually known by the initials O.K.W.
Since the Air Force as well as the Army was subordinated to O.K.W., co- ordination of all Armed Forces matters was vested in the O.K.W., which was really Hitler’s personal staff for these matters. The defendant Keitel was appointed Chief of the O.K.W. The most important division of the O.K.W., shown just to the right, was the Operations Staff, of which the defendant Jodl became the chief. Now, this reorganisation and the establishment of O.K.W. was embodied in a decree issued by Hitler on 4th February, 1938. This decree appeared in the Reichsgcsetzblatt, and I invite the Court’s attention to it by way of judicial notice. Copies are available, and I would like to read the decree, which is very short, into the transcript. I quote:
“Command authority over the entire Armed Forces is from now on exercised directly by me personally.”
THE PRESIDENT: Where do we find it?
COLONEL TAYLOR: That is not a document, your Honour, because it is a decree from the Reichsgesetzblatt and subject to judicial notice, but copies are available here if the Tribunal cares to look at it.
I will continue with the second paragraph of this decree :
“The Armed Forces Department in the Reich War Ministry with its functions becomes the High Command of the Armed Forces and comes directly under my command as my military staff.
The head of the Staff of the High Command of the Armed Forces is the Chief of the former Armed Forces Department, with the title of Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces. His status is equal to that of a Reich Minister.
The High Command of the Armed Forces also takes over the affairs of the Reich War Ministry. The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, as my representative, exercises the functions hitherto exercised by the Reich War Minister. The High Command of the Armed Forces is responsible in peace-time for the unified preparation of the defence of the Reich in all areas according to my directives.”
Dated at Berlin, 4th February, 1938. Signed by Hitler, by Lammers, and by Keitel.
Underneath the O.K.W. come the three supreme commands of the three branches of the Armed Forces: O.K.H., O.K.M., and the Air Force. The Air Force did not receive the official designation O.K.L. until 1944. The defendant Raeder remained after 1938 as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, but von Fritsch, as well as Blomberg, passed out of the picture, von Fritsch being replaced by von Brauchitsch as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, while Goering continued as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force. In 1941 von Brauchitsch was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the Army – that is the first box in the left column – by Hitler himself, and in 1943 Raeder was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy by the defendant Doernitz, but the defendant Goering continued as Commander-in- Chief of the Air Force until the last month of the war.
O.K.W., O.K.H., O.K.M. and O.K.L. each had its own staff. These four staffs did not have uniform designations. The three staffs of the Army, Navy and Air Force are the three boxes in a horizontal line next to the bottom. The staff of the O.K.W. is the little box to the right at the top, bearing the names of Jodl and Warlimont.
In the case of O.K.H. – that is the Army – the staff was known as the Generalstab or the General Staff. In the case of O.K.W., it was known as the Fuehrungsstab or Operations Staff, but in all cases the functions were those of a general staff in military parlance.
It will be seen, therefore, that in this war there was no single German General Staff but, rather, that there were four, one for each branch of the Service and one for the O.K.W. as the overall inter-Service Supreme Command.
So we come to the bottom line on the chart. Down to the bottom line we have been concerned with the central staff organisation at the centre of affairs. Now we pass to the field. Under O.K.H., O.K.M. and O.K.L. come the various fighting formations of the Army, Air Force and Navy, respectively.
In the Army the largest Army field formation was known to the Germans, as indeed it is among the nations generally, as an Army Group, or in German “Heeresgruppe.” These are shown in the box in the lower left-hand corner. An army group or Heeresgruppe controls two or more armies – in German, Armeen. Underneath the armies come the lower field formations, such as corps, divisions and regiments, which are not shown on the chart.
In the case of the German Air Force, the largest formation was known as an air fleet or Luftflotte, and the lower units under the air fleet were called corps, Fliegerkorps or Jagdkorps, or divisions, Fliegerdivisionen or Jagddivisionen. These lower formations again we have not shown on the chart.
Under the O.K.M. were the various naval group commands, which controlled all naval operations in a given area, with the exception of the high seas fleet itself and submarines. The commanders of the fleet and the submarines were directly under the German Admiralty.
So we may now examine the group as defined in the Indictment, the group against which the prosecution seeks the declaration of criminality. It is defined in Appendix B of the Indictment. The group comprises firstly, German officers who held the top positions in the four supreme commands which I have just described and, secondly, the officers who held the top field commands.
Turning first to the officers who held the principal positions in the supreme commands, we find that the holders of nine such positions are included in the group. Four of these are positions of supreme authority: the Chief of the O.K.W., Keitel; the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, von Brauchitsch, later Hitler; Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Raeder, and later, Doenitz ; Commander-in- Chief of the Air Force, Goering, and later, von Greim.
Four other positions are those of the chiefs of the staffs to those four commanders-in-chief : the Chief of the Operations Staff of the O.K.W., Jodl; the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, Halder, and later others ; the Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force, Jeschannek, and later others; and the Chief of the Naval War Staff.
The ninth position is that of Deputy Chief of the Operations Staff of O.K.W. Throughout most of the war that was General Warlimont, whose name is shown under Jodl’s on the chart. The particular responsibility of Jodl’s deputy was planning, strategic planning, and for that reason, his office has been included in the group as defined in the Indictment.
The group named in the Indictment includes all individuals who held any of those nine staff positions between February, 1938, and the end of the war in May, 1945. February, 1938, was selected as the opening date because it was in that month that the top organisation of the German Armed Forces was reorganised, and assumed substantially the form in which you see it there and in which it persisted until the end of the war.
Twenty-two different individuals occupied those nine positions during that period, and of those twenty-two, eighteen are still living. Turning next to the officers who held the principal field commands, the Indictment includes, as members of the group, all commanders-in-chief in the field who had the status of OberbefehIshaber in the Army, Navy or Air Force. The term “OberbefehIshaber ” rather defies literal translation into English. Literally, the components of the word mean “Over-command-holder,” and we can perhaps best translate it as “Commander-in-Chief.”
In the case of the Army, commanders of the army groups and armies always had the status and title of “OberbefehIshaber.” In the Air Force the commanders-in-chief of air fleets (Luftwaffe) always had the status of “OberbefehIshaber,” although they were not formally so designated until 1944. In the Navy the officers holding the senior regional commands and, therefore, in control of all naval operations in a given sector, had the status of “Oberbefehlshaber.”
Roughly one hundred and ten individual officers had the status of “OberbefeWshaber ” in the Army, Navy or Air Force during the period in question. All but approximately a dozen of them are still alive. The entire General Staff and High Command group, as defined in the Indictment, comprises about one hundred and thirty officers, of whom one hundred and fourteen are believed to be still living. These figures, of course, are the cumulative total of all officers who at any time belonged to the group during the seven years and three months, from February, 1938, to May, 1945.
The number of active members of the group at any moment is, of course, much smaller. It was about twenty at the outbreak of the war and it rose to about fifty in 1944 and 1945. That is to say, that at any one moment of time in 1944, the group, the active group, would have consisted of the nine individuals occupying the nine staff positions and about forty- one Naval, Air Force or Army Commanders-in-Chief.
The structure and the functioning of the German General Staff and High Command group has been described in a series of affidavits by some of the principal German field marshals and generals. These affidavits are included in Document Book 1. I want to state briefly how these statements were obtained.
In the first place two American officers who were selected for their ability and experience in interviewing high-ranking German prisoners-of-war were briefed by an Intelligence Officer and by the trial counsel on the particular problems presented by this part of the case, the organisational side of the German Armed Forces. These officers were already well versed in military intelligence and were fluent in German. It was emphasised that the function of these interrogating officers was merely to inquire into and establish the facts with respect to the organisation of the Armed Forces, to establish facts on which the prosecution wanted to be accurately informed.
The German generals to be interrogated were selected on the basis of the special knowledge which they could be presumed to possess by reason of the positions which they had held in the past. After each interview the interrogator prepared a report, and from this report such facts as appeared relevant to the issues before the Tribunal were extracted and a statement embodying them was prepared. This statement was then presented to the German officer at a later interview in the form of a draft, and the German officer was asked whether it truly reproduced what he had said, and was invited to alter it in any way he saw fit. The object was to procure the most accurate testimony that we could on organisational matters.
I will take up these affidavits one by one, and I think the members of the Tribunal will see that they fully support the prosecution’s description of the group, and conclusively establish that this group of officers was, in fact, the group which had the major responsibility for planning and for directing the operations of the German Armed Forces.
The Soviet and French judges have copies in French and Russian, and the defence has copies in German.
The first of these affidavits is that of Franz Halder who held the rank of “Generaloberst ” or Colonel-General – the equivalent of a four-star general in the American Army. His affidavit will be Exhibit USA 531- Halder was Chief of the General Staff of O.K.H. That would be the box second from the bottom on the left-hand side. He was Chief of the General Staff of the O.K.H. from September, 1938, to September, 1942. He is, accordingly, a member of the group and well qualified by his position to testify as to the organisation. His statement is short, and I will read it in full:
“Ultimate authority and responsibility for military affairs in Germany was vested in the Head of the State, who prior to 2nd August, 1934, was Field Marshal von Hindenburg and thereafter, until 1945, was Adolf Hitler.
Specialised military matters were the responsibility of the three branches of the Armed Forces subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (at the same time Head of the State), that is to say, the Army, Navy and the Air Force. In practice, supervision within this field was exercised by a relatively small group of high- ranking officers. These officers exercised such supervision in their official capacity and by virtue of their training, their positions, and their mutual contacts. Plans for military operations of the German Armed Forces were prepared by members of this group according to the instructions of the O.K.W. in the name of their respective commanding officers, and were presented by them to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (at the same time the Head of the State).
The members of this group were charged with the responsibility of preparing for military operations within their competent fields, and they actually did prepare for any such operations as were to be under- taken by troops in the field.
Prior to any operation, members of this group were assembled and given appropriate directions by the Head of the State. Examples of such meetings are the speech by Hitler to the Commanders-in-Chief on 2znd August, 1939, prior to the Polish campaign, and the consulta- tion at the Reich Chancellery on 14th June, 1941, prior to the Russian campaign. The composition of this group and the relationship of its members to each other were as shown in the attached chart. This was, in effect, the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces.
The chart to which reference is made is the chart which is at the front of the room and which was attached to the affidavit. The two meetings referred to in the last paragraph of the affidavit are covered by documents which will be introduced subsequently.
I next offer a substantially identical statement by von Brauchitsch, which will be Exhibit USA 532. Von Brauchitsch held the rank of Field Marshal and was Commander-in-Chief of the Army from 1938 to 1941, and therefore was also a member of the group. I need not read his statement, since it is practically the same as that given by Halder, but I will ask that it be set forth in full in the transcript at this point. The only difference between the two statements is in the last sentence of each. Halder states that the group described in the Indictment “was, in effect, the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces,” whereas von Brauchitsch puts it a little differently, saying, “In the hands of those who filled the positions shown in the chart lay the actual direction of the Armed Forces.” Otherwise, the two statements are identical.
(The document referred to above is as follows.)
“Ultimate authority and responsibility for military affairs in Germany was vested in the Head of State who, prior to 2nd August, 1934, was Field Marshal von Hindenburg, and thereafter until 1945 was Adolf Hitler.
Specialised military matters were the responsibility of the three branches of the Armed Forces subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (at the same time Head of State), that is to say, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. In practice, supervision within this field was exercised by a relatively small group of high-ranking officers. These officers exercised such supervision in the official capacity and by virtue of their training, theirpositions and their mutual contracts. Plans for military operations of the German Armed Forces were prepared by members of this group according to the instructions of the O.K.W. in the name of their respective Commanding Officers and were presented by them to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (at the same time Head of State).
The members of this group were charged with the responsibility of preparing for military operations within their competent fields and they actually did prepare for any such operations as were to be undertaken by troops in the field.
Prior to any operation, members of this group were assembled and given appropriate directions by the Head of State. Examples of such meetings are the speech by Hitler to the Commanders-in-Chief on 22nd August, 1939, prior to the Polish campaign, and the consultation at the Reich Chancellery on 14th June, 1941, prior to the Russian campaign. The composition of this group and the relationship of its members to each other were as shown in the attached chart. In the hands of those who filled the positions shown in the chart lay the actual direction of the Armed Forces.
(Signed) von Brauchitsch.”
COLONEL TAYLOR: Now, the Tribunal will see from these affidavits that the chart, which is on display at the front of the Court and which is contained in the short expository statement, has been laid before von Brauchitsch and Halder, and that these two officers have vouched for it under oath as an accurate picture of the top Organisation of the German Armed Forces. The statements by von Brauchitsch and Halder also fully support the prosecution’s statement that the holders of the positions shown on this chart constitute the group in whom lay the major responsibility for the planning and execution of all Armed Forces matters.
I would now like to offer another affidavit by Halder which sets forth some of the matters of detail to which I referred in describing the group. It is quite short. It is Affidavit Number 6, which becomes Exhibit USA 533, and I shall read it. in full into the transcript :
“The most important department in the O.K.W. was the Operations Staff, in much the same way as the General Staff was in the Army and Air Force and the Naval War Staff in the Navy. Under Keitel there were a number of departmental chiefs who were equal in status with Jodl, but in the planning and conduct of military affairs, they and their departments were less important and less influential than Jodl and Jodl’s staff.
The O.K.W. Operations Staff was also divided into sections. Of these the most important was the section of which Warlimont was chief. It was called the National Defence Section and it was primarily con- cemed with the development of strategic questions. From 1941 onwards, Warlimont, though charged with the same duties, was known as Deputy Chief of the O.K.W. Operations Staff.
There was, during World War II, no unified General Staff such as the Great General Staff which operated in World War I.
Operational matters for the Army and Air Force were worked out by the group of high-ranking officers described in my statement of 7th November (in the Army, General Staff of the Army, and in the Air Force, the General Staff of the Air Force).
Operational matters of the Navy were, even in World War I, not worked out by the Great General Staff but by the Naval Staff,
The Tribunal will note that this affidavit is primarily concerned with the functions of the General Staffs of the four commands of O.K.W., O.K.L., O.K.H. and O.K.M., and fully supports the inclusion in the group of the Chiefs of Staff of the four services, as well as the inclusion of Warlimont as Deputy Chief of the O.K.W. staff because of his strategic planning responsibilities.
I have just one other very short affidavit covering a matter of detail. The Tribunal will remember that the highest fighting formation in the German Air Force was known as an air fleet or Luftflotte, and that all commanders-in-chief of air fleets are included in this group. That is the box in the lower right-hand corner. The commanders of air fleets always had the status of ” Oberbefehlshaber,” but they were not formally so designated until 1944. These facts are set forth in an affidavit by the son of Field Marshal von Brauchitsch. His son had the rank of Oberst, or colonel, in the German Air Force, and was personal aide to the defendant Goering as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force. His affidavit is Number 9 and becomes Exhibit USA 534. It reads as follows:
“Luftflottenchefs have the same status as the ‘Oberbefehlshaber’ of an army. During the war they had no territorial authority and, accordingly, exercised no territorial jurisdiction.
They were the highest troop commanders of the Air Force units subordinate to them, and were directly under the command of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force.
Until the summer of 1944 they bore the designation ‘Befehlshaber’ and from then on that of ‘Oberbefehlshaber.’ This change of designa- tion carried with it no change from the functions and responsibilities that they previously had.”
Your Honour, that concludes the description of the composition of the group and its personnel. The staff of the Tribunal have referred to me two inquiries which have been addressed to the Tribunal by counsel for the group, and it seemed to me it might be appropriate if I disposed of these inquiries now, as to the composition of the group. The letters were turned over to me two days ago.
The first is from Hofrat Dullmann, and he has asked whether the group, as defined in the Indictment, is contingent upon rank; whether it includes officers holding a definite rank such as field marshal or “Generaloberst.”
The answer to that is clearly “No.” As has been pointed out, the criterion of membership in the group is whether one held one of the positions on the chart up there, and one would be in the group if one held one of the positions, no matter what one’s rank. Rank is no criterion. In point of fact, I suppose, everybody in the group held at least the rank of general in the German Army, which is the equivalent of lieutenant-general in ours.
He has also asked whether the group includes officers of the so-called General Staff Corps.” The answer to that is “No.” There was in the German Army a war academy, and graduates of the war academy were in the branch of service described as the General Staff Corps. They signed themselves, for example, “Colonel in Generalstab.” They functioned largely as adjutants and assistants to the chief staff officers. I suppose there were some thousands of them – two or three thousand, but they are not included in the group. Many of them were officers of junior rank. They are not named in the Indictment, and there is no reason and no respect in which they are comprehended within the group as defined.
The other letter of inquiry is from Dr. Exner, who states that he is in doubt as to the meaning of ” Oberbefehlshaber,” and goes on to state that he believes that “Oberbefehlshaber ” includes commanders-in-chief in theatres of war, the commanders-in-chief of army groups, and the com- manders-in-chief of armies. That is quite right. Those are the positions as shown on the chart.
Let us now spend a few minutes examining the way this group worked. In many respects, of course, the German military leaders functioned in the same general manner as obtained in the military establishments of other large nations. General plans were made by the top staff officers and their assistants, in collaboration with the field generals or admirals who were entrusted with the execution of the plans. A decision to wage a particular campaign would be made, needless to say, at the highest level, and the making of such a decision would involve political and diplomatic questions, as well as purely military considerations. When, for example, the decision was made to attack Poland, the top staff officers in Berlin and their assistants would work out general military plans for the campaign. These general plans would be transmitted to the commanders of the army groups and armies who would be in charge of the actual campaign, and then there would follow consultation between the top field commanders and the top staff officers of O.K.W. and O.K.H., in order to revise and perfect and refine the plans.
The manner in which this group worked, involving as it did the inter- change of ideas and recommendations between the top staff officers of O.K.W. and O.K.H. on the one hand and the principal field commanders on the other hand, is graphically described in two statements by Field Marshal von Brauchitsch. That is Affidavit No- 4, which will be Exhibit USA 535. I invite the Tribunal’s attention to these and will read them into the transcript. The statement of 7th November, 1945 :
“In April, 1939, 1 was instructed by Hitler to start military preparations for a possible campaign against Poland. Work was immediately begun to prepare an operational and deployment plan. This was then presented to Hitler and approved by him, after an amendment which he desired. After the operational and deployment orders had been given to the two commanders of the army groups and the five commanders of the armies, conferences took place with them about details, in order to hear their wishes and recommendations. After the outbreak of the war I continued this policy of keeping in close and constant touch with the commanders-in-chief of army groups and of armies, by personal visits to their headquarters, as well as by telephone, teletype, or wireless.
In this way I was able to obtain their advice and their recommendations during the conduct of military operations. In fact, it was the accepted policy and common practice for the commander-in-chief of the army to consult his subordinate commanders-in-chief and maintain a constant exchange of ideas with them.
The commander-in-chief of the army and his chief of staff communi- cated with army groups and through them, as well as directly, with the armies ; through army groups on strategic and tactical matters; directly on questions affecting supply and administration of conquered territory occupied by the armies. An army group had no territorial jurisdiction. It had a relatively small staff, which was concerned only with military operations. In all territorial matters it was the commander-in-chief of the army, and not of the army group, who exercised jurisdiction.
(Signed) von Brauchitsch.”
There follows a supplement to the statement of 7th November :
“When Hitler had made a decision to support the realisation of his political objectives through military pressure or through the application of military force, the commander-in-chief of the army, if he were at all involved, generally first received an appropriate oral briefing or an appropriate oral command. Operational and deployment plans were next worked out in the O.K.H. After these plans had been presented to Hitler, generally by word of mouth, and had been approved by him, there followed a written order from the O.K.W. to the three branches of the Armed Forces. In the meanwhile the O.K.H. began to transmit the operational and deployment plans to the army groups and armies involved.
Details of the operational and deployment plans were discussed by the O.K.H. with the commanders-in-chief of the army groups and armies and with the chiefs of staff of these commanders. During the operations the O.K.H. maintained a constant exchange of ideas with the army groups by means of telephone, radio, and courier. The commander- in-chief of the army used every opportunity to maintain a personal exchange of ideas with the commanders of army groups, armies, and lower echelons by means of personal visits to them.
In the war against Russia the commanders of army groups and armies were individually and repeatedly called in by Hitler for consultation. Orders for all operational matters went from the O.K.H. to army groups, and for all matters concerning supply and territorial jurisdiction from the O.K.H. directly to the armies.
(Signed) von Brauchitsch.”
The Oberbefehlshabers in the field therefore – and in the case of the army that means the commanders-in-chief of army groups and armies – participated in planning and directing the execution of the plans, as those affidavits show. The Oberbefehlshabers were also the repositories of general executive powers in the areas in which their army groups and armies were operating. In this connection I invite the Court’s attention to 447-PS, which is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 135 ; Document 447-PS, this being a directive of 13th March, 1941, signed by Keitel and issued by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. This directive sets out various regulations for the operations against the Soviet Union which were actually begun a few months later on 22nd June
The documents, your Honour, are in numerical order in Document Books 2 and 3. Document Book 2 contains C and L; Document Book 3 contains PS; and this, being 447-PS, will be in Document Book 3 in numerical order within the PS’s. And within that document, under paragraph 1, the paragraph entitled “Area of Operations and Executive Power” (“Vollziehende Gewalt”), the Tribunal will find sub-paragraph 1, in which the following appears. That is Page 1 of the translation, paragraph 2:
“It is not intended to declare East Prussia and the Government-General an area of operations. However, in accordance with the unpublished Fuehrer orders from 19th and 21st Octover, 1939, the commander-in-chief of the Army shall be authorised to take all measures necessary for the execution of his military aim and for the safeguarding of the troops. He may transfer his authority to the commanders-in-chief” – that, in the original german is “Oberbefehlshaber” – “of the army groups and armies. Orders of that kind have priority over all orders issued by civilian agencies.”
Your Honour will see that this executive power, with priority over civilian agencies, was vested in the commander-in-chief of the army, with authority to transfer it to commanders-in-chief of army groups or armies – to the members of the group as defined in the Indictment.
Further on in the document, under sub-paragraph 2a, the document states – that is the fourth paragraph, on Page 1 of the document:
“The ares of operations created through teh advance of the army beyond the frontiers of the Reich and the neighbouring countries is to be limited in depth as far as possible. The commander-in-chief of the army has the right to exercise the executive pwer (Vollziehende Gewalt) in this area, and may transfer his authority to the commanders-in-chief (Oberbefehlshaber) of the army groups and armies.”
THE PRESIDENT: This would be a convenient time to break off.
(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit to-morrow in closed session to consider matters of procedure, and there will therefore be no public session to-morrow.
COLONEL TAYLOR: Your Lordship, I have just one more document dealing with this subject of this structure of the group before passing on to the substantive charges of criminality.
This document is C-78, which is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 139. That will be found in Document Book 2. This document is the official command invitation to participate in the consultation at the Reich Chancellery on 14th June, 1941, eight days prior to the attack on the Soviet Union. This is one of the meetings that was referred to in the last paragraph of the affidavits by Halder and von Brauchitsch, which were read into the record this morning. It is signed by Colonel Schmundt, the Chief Wehrmacht Adjutant to Hitler, and is dated at Berchtesgaden, 9th June, 1941. It begins:
“In re: Conference ‘Barbarossa ‘ ” – that being the code word for the attack on the Soviet Union – “The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has ordered reports on ‘Barbarossa’ by the Commanders of Army Groups and Armies and Naval and Air Commanders of equal rank.”
That is, as the Tribunal will see once again, the very group specified in the bottom line of the chart on the wall, Army Groups, Armies, Army, Naval and Air Commanders of similar rank.
This document likewise includes a list of the participants in this conference, and I would just like in closing on this subject to run through that list to show who the participants in this conference were, and how closely they parallel the structure of the group as we find it in the Indictment. The Tribunal will see that the list of participants begins at the foot of Page 1 of the translation:
General Field Marshal von Brauchitsch, who was then Commander-in-Chief of the Army and a member of the group; General Halder, who was Chief of the Army Staff and a member of the group; then three subordinates, who were not members of the group; Paulus, Hausinger, and Guldenfeldt.
Navy: Captain Wagner, who was chief of the Operations Staff, Operations Division of the Naval War Staff, not a member of the group. On the air side: Goering, a member of the group; General Milch, State Secretary and Inspector of the Air Force, again not a member of the group; General Jeschomiek, Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force and a member of the group; and two of his assistants.
Passing over the page to the O.K.W., High Command of the Armed Forces, we find Keitel, Jodl, Warlimont, all members of the group, were present, with an assistant from the General Staff.
Then four officers from the office of the adjutant, who were not members of the group.
Then we pass to the officers from the Field Commands: General von Falkenhorst, Army High Command, Norway, member of the group; General Stumpff, Air Fleet 5, member of the group; Rundstedt, Reichenau, Stillpnagel, Schobert, Kleist, all from the Army, all members of the group.
Air Force: General Loehr, Air Fleet 4, member of the group.
General Fromm and General Udet were not members. Fromm was director of the Home Forces, commander of the Home Forces, and Udet the Director General of Equipment and Supply.
The Navy: Raeder, a member of the group; Fricke, chief of the Naval War Staff, and a member of the group; and an assistant who was not a member; Karls, Navy Group North, member of the group.
Then from the Army: Leeb, Busch, Kuhler, all members of the group as Oberbefehlshaber. From the Air Force, Keller, a member of the group.
Bock, Kluge, Strauss, Guderian, Hoth, Kesselring, all members of the group.
It will accordingly be seen that except for a few assisting officers of relatively junior rank, almost all the participants in these consultations were members of ‘the group as defined in the Indictment, and that in fact the participants included almost all the members of the group who were concerned in the impending operations against the Soviet Union.
I have now concluded the first part of the presentation, to wit, the description of the General Staff and High Command Group and its composition and structure and general manner of functioning. I turn now to the charges levelled against this group in the Indictment.
Appendix B charges that this group had a major responsibility for the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of the illegal wars set forth in Counts 1 and 2 and for the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity detailed in Counts 3 and 4.
In presenting the evidence in support of these charges we must keep in mind that under the Charter the group may be declared criminal in connection with any acts of which an individual defendant who was a member of the group may be convicted.
The General Staff and High Command group is well represented among the individual defendants in this case. Five of the individual defendants, or one- quarter of the individuals here, are members of the group.
Taking them in the order in which they are listed, the first is defendant Goering. Goering is a defendant in this case in numerous capacities. He is a member of the General Staff and High Command group by reason of having been Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force from the time when the Air Force first came into the open and was officially established, until about one month prior to the end of war. During the last month of the war he was replaced in this capacity by von Greim, who committed suicide shortly after his capture at the end of the war. Goering is charged with crimes under all counts of the Indictment.
The next listed defendant who is a member of the group is Keitel. He and the remaining three defendants are, all four of them, in this case primarily or solely in their military capacities, and all four of them are professional soldiers or sailors.
Keitel was made Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces, or O.K.W., when the O.K.W. was first set up in 1938 and remained in that capacity throughout the period in question. He held the rank of field marshal throughout most of this period, and in addition to being the Chief of the O.K.W., he was a member of the Secret Cabinet Council and of the Council of Ministers for the Defence of the Reich. Keitel is charged with crimes under all four counts.
The defendant Jodl was a career soldier. He was an Oberstleutnant, or Lieutenant Colonel, when the Nazis came to power and ultimately attained the rank of Generaloberst or Colonel General. He became the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Welirmacht and continued in that capacity throughout the war. He also is charged with crimes under all four counts.
The other two defendants who are members of this group are on the nautical side. The defendant Raeder is in a sense the senior member of the entire group, having been commander-in-chief of the German Navy as early as 1928. He attained the highest rank in the German Navy, Grossadmiral. He retired from the Supreme Command of the Navy in 1943, in January, and was replaced by Donitz. Raeder is charged under Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the Indictment.
The last of the five defendants, Donitz, was a relatively junior officer when the Nazis came to power. During the early years of the Nazi regime, he specialised in submarine activities and was in command of the U-boat arm when the war broke out. He rose steadily in the Navy and was chosen to succeed Raeder when the latter retired in 1943, became commander-inchief of the Navy and attained the rank of Grossadmiral. When the German Armed Forces collapsed near the end of the war, Doernitz succeeded Hitler as head of the German Government. He is charged under Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the Indictment.
Four of these five defendants are reasonably typical of the group as a whole. We must except the defendant Goering, who is primarily a Nazi party politician nourishing a hobby for aviation as a result of his career in 1914-18. But the others made soldiering or sailoring their life-work. They collaborated with and joined in the most important adventures of the Nazis, but they were not among the early party members. They differ in no essential respects from the other 125 members of the group. They are, no doubt, abler men in certain respects. They rose to the highest positions in the German Armed Forces, and all but Jodl attained the highest rank.
But they will serve as excellent case studies and as representatives of the group, and we can examine their ideas as they have expressed them in these documents, and their actions, with fair assurance that these ideas and actions are characteristic of the other group members.
I turn first to the criminal activities of the General Staff and High Command group under Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment, their activities in planning and conspiring to wage illegal wars. Here my task is largely one of recapitulation. The general body of proof relating to aggressive war has already been laid before the Tribunal by my colleague, Mr. Alderman, and the distinguished members of the British delegation.
Many of the documents to which they drew the Tribunal’s attention showed that the defendants here who were members of the General Staff and High Command group participated knowingly and wilfully in crimes under Counts 1 and 2. I propose to avoid referring again to that evidence so far as I possibly can, but I must refer to one or two of them again to focus the Tribunal’s attention on the part which the General Staff and High Command group played in aggressive War Crimes.
Now it is, of course, the normal function of a military staff to prepare military plans. In peacetime military staffs customarily concern themselves with the preparation of plans for attack or defence based on hypothetical contingencies. There is nothing criminal about carrying on these exercises or preparing these plans. That is not what the defendants and this group are charged with.
We will show that the group agreed with the Nazi objective of aggrandising Germany by threat of force or force itself, and they joined knowingly and enthusiastically in developing German armed might for this purpose. They were advised in advance of the Nazi plans to launch aggressive wars. They laid the military plans and directed the initiation and carrying on of the wars. These things we believe to be criminal under Article 6 of the Charter.
Aggressive war cannot be prepared or waged without intense activity on the part of all branches of the Armed Forces, and particularly by the high-ranking officers who control these forces. To the extent, therefore’ that German preparation for and the waging of aggressive war are historicai facts of common knowledge, or are already proved, it necessarily follows that the General Staff and High Command group, and the German Armed Forces, participated therein.
This is so notwithstanding the effort on the part of certain German military leaders to insist that until the troops marched they lived in an ivory tower unwilling to see the direction to which their work led.
The documents to which I shall refer fully refute this, and moreover some of these men now fully admit they participated gladly with the Nazis because the Nazi aims coincided closely with their own.
I think that the documents which Mr. Alderman read into the transcript already adequately reflect the purposes and objectives of the German General Staff and High Command Group during the period prior to the absorption of Austria. During this period occurred, as is charged in the Indictment, firstly, secret rearmament, including the training of military personnel, the production of war munitions and building of an Air Force; secondly, the Goering announcement on 10th March, 1933, that Germany was building a military Air Force; thirdly, the law for compulsory military service of 16th March, 1935, fixing the peace-time strength of the German Army at 500,000; and finally, and fourthly, the reoccupation of the Rhineland on 7th March, 1936, and the refortification of that area.
Those particular facts do not require judicial proof. They are historical facts, and likewise the fact that it would have been impossible for the Nazis to achieve these things without co-operation by the Armed Forces is indisputable from the very nature of things.
Mr. Alderman described to the Tribunal and read from numerous documents which illustrate these events. He included numerous documents concerning the secret expansion of the German Navy in violation of treaty limitations, under the guidance of the defendant Raeder.
He also read the secret Reich Defence Law, Document 2261-PS, already in the record as Exhibit USA 24, which was adopted on the same day that Germany unilaterally renounced the armament provisions of the Versailles Treaty. He read von Blomberg’s plan, dated 2nd May, 1935, for the reoccupation of the Rhineland – that is Document C-159, Exhibit USA 54 and Blomberg’s orders under which the reoccupation was actually carried out.
All these events, by obvious inference, required the closest collaboration between the military leaders and the Nazis. I need not labour that point further.
But it is worth while, I think, to re-examine one or two of the documents which show the state of mind and the objectives of the German military leaders during this early period. One document, read from by Mr. Alderman, which reflects the viewpoint of the German Navy on the opportunities which Nazism accorded for rearmament so that Germany could achieve its objectives by force or threat of force, is a memorandum published by the High Command of the German Navy in 1937, entitled “The Fight of the Navy Against Versailles.” That is Document C-156, Exhibit USA 41. The Tribunal will recall that this memorandum, this official publication of the German Navy, stated that only with the assistance of Hitler had it been possible to create the conditions for rearmament. The defendant Jodl has stated this better than I could possibly put it, in his speech to the Gauleiters on 7th November, 1943. That is in Document L-172, Exhibit USA 34, from which Mr. Alderman read at length.
Nor were the high-ranking German officers unaware that the policies and objectives of the Nazis were leading Germany in the direction of war. I invite the Court’s attention to Document C-23, which is already in the record as Exhibit USA 49. This consists of some notes made by Admiral Carls of the Germany Navy in September, 1938, These notes were written by Admiral Carls by way of comment on a “Draft Study of Naval Warfare Against England,” and they read in part as follows. That will be found your Lordship, on Page 3 of the translation of Document C-23:
“There is full agreement with the main theme of the study.
1. If, according to the Fuehrer’s decision, Germany is to acquire a position as a world power, she needs not only sufficient colonial possessions but also secure naval communications and secure access to the sea.
2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in opposition to Anglo-French interests and would limit their position as world powers. It is unlikely that they can be achieved by peaceful means. The decision to make Germany a world power therefore forces upon us the necessity of making the corresponding preparations for war.
3. War against England means at the same time war against the Empire, against France, probably against Russia as well and a large number of countries overseas; in fact, against one half to one third of the whole world.
It can only be justified and have a chance of success if it is prepared economically as well as politically and militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for Germany an outlet to the ocean.”
Let us turn to the Air Force, having seen what the viewpoint of the Navy was. Parts of the German Air Force during this pre-war period were developing even more radically aggressive plans for the aggrandisement of the Reich. Document L-43, GB-29, is a study prepared by the Chief of a branch of the General Staff of the Air Force called the “Organisation Staff.” The study in question is a recommendation for the organisation of the German Air Force in future years up to 1950. The recommendation is based on certain assumptions, and one assumption was that by 1950 the frontiers of Germany would be as shown on the map which was attached as an enclosure to this study. There is only one copy of the map available, your Honour.
The Court will note on this map that Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Baltic coast up to the Gulf of Finland are all included within the borders of the Reich. The Court will also note, at Page 2 of the document itself – that is L-43 – that the author envisaged the future peacetime organisation of the German Air Force as comprising seven group commands, four of which lie within the borders of Germany proper at Berlin, Braunschschweig, Munich and Koenigsberg, but the three others are proposed to be at Vienna, Budapest and Warsaw.
Before turning to particular acts of aggression by the German Armed Forces, I want to stress once more the basic agreement and harmony between the Nazis and the German military leaders. Without this agreement on objectives there might never have been a war. In this connection I want to direct the Tribunal’s attention to an affidavit – No. 3, which will be Exhibit USA 536 – by von Blomberg, formerly Field Marshal, Reich War Minister, and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces until February, 1938. I will read the affidavit into the transcript:
“From 1919, and particularly from 1924, three critical territorial questions occupied attention in Germany. These were the questions of the Polish Corridor, the Ruhr and Memel.
I myself, as well as the whole group of German staff officers, believed that these three questions, outstanding among which was the question by force of arms. About go per cent. of the German people were of the same mind as the officers, on the Polish question. A war to wipe. out the desecration involved in the creation of the Polish Corridor and to lessen the threat to separated East Prussia, surrounded by Poland and Lithuania, was regarded as a sacred duty, though a sad necessity. This was one of the chief reasons behind the partially secret rearmament which began about ten years before Hitler came to power and was accentuated under Nazi Rule.
Before 1938-1939 the German generals were not opposed to Hitler. There was no reason to oppose Hitler, since he produced the results which they desired. After this time some generals began to condemn his methods, and lost confidence in the power of his judgment. However, they failed as a group to take any definite stand against him, although a few of them tried to do so and as a result had to pay for this with their lives or their positions.
Shortly before my removal from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, in January, 1938, Hitler asked me to recommend a successor. I suggested Goering, who was the senior ranking officer, but Hitler objected because of his lack of patience and diligence. I was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces by no officer, but Hitler personally took over my function as Commander. Keitel was recommended by me as a Chef de Bureau. As far as I know, he was never named Commander of the Armed Forces but was always merely a ‘Chief of Staff’ under Hitler and, in effect, conducted the administrative functions of the Ministry of War.
At my time Keitel was not opposed to Hitler and therefore was qualified to bring about a good understanding between Hitler and the Armed Forces, a thing which I myself desired and had furthered as Reichswehrminister and Reichskriegsminister. To do the opposite would have led to a civil war, for at that time the mass of the German people supported Hitler. Many are no longer willing to admit this. But it is the truth.
As I heard, Keitel did not oppose any of Hitler’s measures. He became a willing tool in Hitler’s hands for every one of his decisions.
He did not measure up to what might have been expected of him.”
The statement by von Blomberg which I have just read is paralleled closely in some respects by an affidavit by Colonel General Blaskowitz. That is Affidavit No. 5 in Document Book 1 and will be Exhibit USA 537. Blaskowitz commanded an army in the campaign against Poland and the campaign against France. He subsequently took command of Army Group G in Southern France and held command of Army Group H, which retreated beyond the Rhine at the end of the war. The first three paragraphs of his affidavit are substantially identical with the first three paragraphs of von Blomberg’s, and since they are available in all languages, for expedition I will start reading with paragraph 4, where the affidavitjs on a different subject:
“After the annexation of Czechoslovakia we hoped that the Polish question would be settled in a Peaceful fashion through diplomatic means, since we believed that this time France and England would come to the assistance of their ally. As a matter of fact, we felt that if political negotiations came to nothing the Polish question would unavoidably lead to war, that is, not only with Poland herself but also with the Western Powers.
When in the middle of June I received an order from the O.K.H. to prepare myself for an attack on Poland, I knew that this war came even closer to the realm of possibility. This conclusion was only strengthened by the Fuehrer’s speech on 22nd August, 1939, at the Obersalzberg when it clearly seemed to be an actuality. Between the middle of June, 1939, and 1st September, 1939, the members of my staff who were engaged in preparations, participated in various dis cussions which went on between the O.K.H. and the army group. During these discussions such matters of a tactical, strategical and general nature were discussed as had to do with my future position as Commander-in-Chief of the Eighth Army during the planned Polish campaign.
During the Polish campaign, particularly during the Kutno operations, I was repeatedly in communication with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and he, as well as the Fuehrer, visited my headquarters. In fact, it was common practice for commanders-in-chief of army groups and of armies to be asked from time to time for estimates of the situation, and for their recommendations by telephone, teletype or wireless, as well as by personal calls. These front line commanders-in-chief thus actually became advisers to the O.K.H. in their own field, so that the positions shown in the attached chart embrace that group which was the actual advisory council of the High Command of the German Armed Forces.”
The Tribunal will note that the latter part of this affidavit, like those of Halder and Brauchitsch, vouches for the accuracy of the structure and organisation of the General Staff and High Command group as described by the prosecution. The Tribunal will also note that the von Blomberg affidavit and the first part of the Blaskowitz affidavit make it clear beyond question that the military leaders of Germany knew of, approved, supported, and executed plans for the expansion of the Armed Forces beyond the limits set by treaties. The objectives they had in mind are obvious from the affidavits and documents to which reference has been made. In these documents and affidavits we see the Nazis and the Generals in agreement upon the basic objective of aggrandising Germany by force or threat of force and collaborating to build up the armed might of Germany, in order to make possible the subsequent acts of aggression. We turn to an examination of those particular acts of aggression which have already been described to the Tribunal in general, with the particular purpose of noting participation in these criminal acts by the General Staff and High Command group.
I may say, your Lordship, that in going over this matter, I propose, in order to save time, to read from very few of the large numbers of documents. Accordingly, when I cite them I think there is probably no need for the Tribunal to try to find them in the documents before it. Most of them are in evidence and I propose to cite them for purposes of recapitulation, without reading very much.
The Tribunal will recall that Mr. Alderman read into the transcript portions of a document, 386-PS, Exhibit USA 25, consisting of notes by Colonel Hoszbach on a conference which was held in the German Chancellery in Berlin on 5th November, 1937. Hitler presided at this conference, which was a small and highly secret one, and the only other participants were the four principal military leaders and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the defendant Neurath. The four chief leaders of the Armed Forces – Blomberg, who was then Reich Minister of war, and the Commander-in-Chief of the three branches of the Armed Forces, von Fritsch for the Army, Raeder for the Navy, and Goering for the Air Force – were present. Hitler embarked on a general discussion of Germany’s diplomatic and military policy and stated that the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia was an essential preliminary “for the improvement of our military position” and “in order to remove any threat from the flanks.”
The military and political advantages envisaged included the acquisition of a new source of food, shorter and better frontiers, the release of troops for other tasks, and the possibility of forming new divisions from the population of the conquered territories. Blomberg and von Fritsch joined in the discussion and von Fritsch stated “that he was making a study to investigate the possibilities of carrying out operations against Czechoslovakia with special consideration of the conquest of the Czechoslovakian system of fortifications.”
The following spring, in March, 1938, the German plans with respect to Austria came to fruition. Mr. Alderman has already read into the record portions of the diary kept by the defendant Jodl. The portion here in question, Document 1780-PS, Exhibit USA 72, of this diary shows the participation of the German military leaders in the absorption of Austria. As is shown by Jodl’s diary entry for 11th February, 1938, the defendant Keitel and other generals were present at the Obersalzberg meeting between von Schuschnigg and Hitler, and the purpose is shown clearly by the entry which recites that “in the evening and on 12th February General Keitel with General von Reichenau and Sperrle at the Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg together with G. Schmidt are again being put under heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300, hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.” The General von Reichenau referred to was at that time the head commander of Wehrkreis 7, one of the military districts into which Germany was divided. He subsequently commanded the Tenth Army in Poland and the Sixth Army in France and was a member of the group as defined in the Indictment. Sperrle who was in Spain during the Civil War and then commanded Luftflotte 3, the Third German Air Fleet, practically throughout the war, was also a member of the group. Two days later Keitel and other military leaders were preparing proposals to be submitted to Hitler which would give the Austrian Government the impression that Germany would resort to force unless the Schuschnigg agreement was ratified in Vienna.
These proposals are embodied in Document 1775-PS, dated 14th February, 1938, Exhibit USA 73, and signed by Keitel. Portions of Keitel’s proposals to the Fuehrer are as follows:
“To take no real preparatory measures in the Army or Luftwaffe. No troop movements or redeployments. Spread false but quite credible news which may lead to the conclusion of military preparations against Austria, (a) through V-men” – that means agents – “in Austria; (b) through our customs personnel at the frontier; (c) through travelling agents.”
Going down the document to 4, Keitel proposed:
“Order a very active make-believe wireless exchange in Wehrkreis VII and between Berlin and Munich; (5) real manoeuvres, training flights and winter manoeuvres of the Mountain Troops near the frontier; (6) Admiral Canaris has to be ready, beginning on 14th February in the Service Command Headquarters, in order to carry out measures given by order of the Chief of the O.K.W.”
As Jodl’s diary shows under the entry for 14th February, these deceptive manceuvres were very effective and created in Austria the impression that these threats of force might be expected to create. About a month later armed intervention was precipitated by von Schuschnigg’s decision to hold a plebiscite in Austria. Hitler ordered mobilisation in accordance with the pre-existing plans for the invasion of Austria, these plans being known as “Case Otto,” in order to absorb Austria and stop the plebiscite. Jodl’s diary under the entry for ioth March, 1938, tells us as follows on Page 2:
“By surprise and without consulting his ministers Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13th March, which should bring a strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation.
Fuehrer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, 9th to 10th March, he calls for Goering. General von Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee, General von Schobert is ordered to come as well as Minister Glaise-Horstenau, who is with Gauleiter Burckel in the Palatinate.”
The General von Schobert referred to succeeded General von Reichenau as Commander of Wehrkreis 7 and later was Commander of the Eleventh Army in Russia and was a member of the group as defined in the Indictment.
The invasion of Austria differs from the other German acts of aggression in that the invasion was not closely scheduled and timed in advance. This is the case simply because the invasion was precipitated by an outside event – von Schuschnigg’s order for the plebiscite. But, although for this reason the element of deliberately timed planning was lacking, the foregoing documents make clear the participation of the military leaders at all stages.
At the small policy meeting of November, 1937, when Hitler’s general programme for Austria and Czechoslovakia was outlined, the only others present were the four principal military leaders and the Foreign Secretary. In February, Keitel, Reichenau and Sperrle were present to help subject von Schuschnigg to the heaviest military pressure. Keitel and others immediately thereafter worked out and executed a programme of military threat and deception to frighten the Austrian Government into acceptance of the Schuschnigg protocol. When the actual invasion took place, it was, of course, directed by the military leaders and executed by the Armed Forces, and we are indebted to the defendant Jodl for a clear statement of why the German military leaders were only too delighted to join with the Nazis in bringing about the end of Austrian independence.
In his lecture in November, 1943, to the Gauleiters, which appears in Document L-172, which is Exhibit USA 34, Jodl explained:
“The Austrian Anschluss in its turn, not only brought with it fulfilment of an old national aim, but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas up till then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany (a wasp waist in Russia), Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers. Her own strategic position had now become so unfavourable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with vigour before effective aid from the West could be expected to arrive.”
The foregoing extract from Jodl’s speech makes a good transition to the case of Czechoslovakia – “Case Green,” or “Fall Gruen,” which I propose to treat very briefly, as Mr. Alderman has covered the general story of German aggression against Czechoslovakia very fully, and the documents he read from are full of evidence showing the knowing participation in this venture by Keitel, Jodl, and other members of the group.
Once again the Hoszbach minutes of the conference between Hitler and the four principal military leaders, Document 386-PS, Exhibit USA 25 may be called to mind. Austria and Czechoslovakia were listed as the nearest victims of German aggression. After the absorption of Austria, Hitler, as head of the State, and Keitel, as Chief of all the Armed Forces, lost no time in turning their attention to Czechoslovakia. From this point on nearly the whole story is contained in the Schmundt file (Document 388-PS, Exhibit USA 26) and Jodl’s diary, both of which have been read from extensively. These two sources of information go far, I think, to demolish what is urged in defence of the military defendants and the General Staff and High Command Group. They seek to create the impression that the German generals were pure military technicians, that they were not interested in, or not informed about political and diplomatic considerations, that they prepared plans for military attack or defence on a purely hypothetical basis. They say all this in order to suggest that they did not share and could not estimate Hitler’s aggressive intentions, that they carried out politically-conceived orders like military automatons, with no idea whether the wars they launched were aggressive or not.
When these arguments are made, your Honour, may I respectfully suggest that you read the Schumndt file and General Jodl’s diary. They make it abundantly clear that aggressive designs were conceived jointly between the Nazis and the generals, that the military leaders were fully posted on the aggressive intentions, and informed on the political and diplomatic developments. Indeed, German generals had a strange habit of turning up at diplomatic foregatherings, and, surely, if the documents did not show these things, a moment’s thought must show them to be true.
A highly successful programme of conquest depends on armed might. It cannot be executed by an unprepared, weak, or recalcitrant military leadership. It has, of course, been said that war is too important a business to be left to soldiers alone; and this is, no doubt, true, but it is equally true that an aggressive diplomacy is far too dangerous a business to be conducted without military advice and support, and no doubt some of the German generals had qualms about Hitler’s timing and the boldness of some of his moves. Some of these doubts are rather interestingly reflected in an entry from Jodl’s diary which has not yet been read.
That is Document 1780-PS again – the entry for 10th August, 1938. It appears on Page 4 of the translation of 1780-PS:
“10th August, 1938. The Army Chiefs and the Chiefs of the Air Forces Groups, Lieut.-Colonel Jeschonnek and I – are ordered to the Berghof. After dinner the Fuehrer makes a speech lasting for almost three hours, in which he develops his political thoughts. The subsequent attempts to draw the Fuehrer’s attention to the defects of our preparations, which are undertaken by a few generals of the army, ar rather unfortunate. This applies especially to the remark of General Wietersheim, in which, to cap it, he claims to quote from Genera Adams that the Western fortifications can be held for only three weeks. The Fuehrer becomes very indignant and flares up, bursting into th remark that in such a case the whole Army would not be good fo anything. ‘I assure you, General, the position will be held not only for three weeks, but for three years.’ The cause of this despondent opinion, which unfortunately enough is held very widely within th Army General Staff, is based on various reasons. First of all, it (the General Staff) is restrained by old memories; political consideration play a part as well, instead of obeying and executing its military mission That is certainly done with traditional devotion, but the vigour of th soul is lacking, because in the end they do not believe in the genius of the Fuehrer. One does perhaps compare him with Charles XII. And since water flows downhill, this defeatism may not only possibly cause immense political damage, for the opposition between the generals’ opinion and that of the Fuehrer is common talk, but may also constitute a danger for the morale of the troops. But I have no doubt that th Fuehrer will be able to boost the morale of the people in an unexpecte way when the right moment comes.”
THE PRESIDENT: Shall we break off now for ten minutes?
(A recess was taken.).
COLONEL TAYLOR: The extract from the Jodl diary from which I have just read may indeed show that some of the German generals at that time were cautious with respect to Germany’s ability to take on Poland and the Western Powers simultaneously; but nevertheless the entry shows no lack of sympathy with the Nazi aims for conquest. And there is no evidence in Jodl’s diary or elsewhere that any substantial number of German generals lacked sympathy with Hitler’s objectives. Furthermore, the top military leaders always joined with and supported his decisions, with formidable success in these years from 1938 to 1942.
So, if we are told that German military leaders did not know that German policy toward Czechoslovakia was aggressive or based on force or threat of force, let us remember that on 30th May, 1938, Hitler signed a most secret directive to Keitel – already in the transcripts, Document 388-PS, Exhibit USA 26 – in which he stated clearly his unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future.
The defendant Jodl was in no doubt what that directive meant. He noted in his diary, the same day, that the Fuehrer had stated his final decision to destroy Czechoslovakia soon, and had initiated military preparation all along the line.
And the succeeding evidence, both in the Schmundt file and in the Jodl diary, shows how these military preparations went forward. Numerous examples of discussions, plans, and preparations during the last few weeks before the Munich Pact, including discussions with Hungary and the Hungarian General Staff, in which General Halder participated, are con tained in the Jodl diary and the later items in the Schmundt file. The day the Munich Pact was signed, the 29th September, Jodl noted in his diary – 1780-PS, the entry for 29th September:
“The Munich Pact is signed. Czechoslovakia as a power is out. Four zones as set forth will be occupied between the 2nd and 7th of October. The remaining part, of mainly German character, will be occupied by the 10th of October. The genius of the Fuehrer and his determination not to shun even a World War have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way.”
Plans for the liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia were made soon after Munich. Ultimately the absorption of the remainder was accom plished by diplomatic bullying, in which the defendant Keitel participated, for the usual purpose of demonstrating that German armed might was ready to enforce the threats – as shown by two documents already in, which I need not read: Document 2802-PS, Exhibit USA 107; and Document 2798-PS, Exhibit USA 118. And once again the defendant Jodl in his 1943 lecture, Document L 172, Exhibit USA 34 – tells us clearly and in one sentence why the objective of eliminating Czechoslovakia lay as close to the hearts of the German military leaders as to the hearts of the Nazis:
“The bloodless solution of the Czech conflict in the autumn of 1938 and the spring of 1939 and the annexation of Slovakia rounded off the territory of Greater Germany in such a way that it then became possible to consider the Polish problem on the basis of more or less favourable strategic premises.”
And this serves to recall the affidavits by Blomberg and Blaskowitz, from which I have already read. “The whole group of German staff and front officers believed that the question of the Polish Corridor would have to be settled some day, if necessary by force of arms,” they told us, and “Hitler produced the results which all of us warmly desired.”
I turn now to Poland. The German attack on Poland is a particularly interesting one from the standpoint of the General Staff and High Command. The documents which show the aggressive nature of the attack have already been introduced by Colonel Griffith Jones of the British Delegation. I propose to approach it from a slightly different angle, inasmuch as these documents serve as an excellent case-study of the functioning of the General Staff and High Command Group as defined in the Indictment.
This attack was carefully timed and planned, and in the documents one can observe the staff work step by step. Colonel Griffith Jones read from a series of directives from Hitler and Keitel, embodied in Document C-120, GB 41, involving “Fall Weiss,” which was the code word for the plan of attack on Poland. That is a whole series of documents, and the series starts – C 120 – with a re-issuance of a document called “Directive for the Uniform Preparation for War by the Armed Forces.”
We have encountered this periodically re-issued directive previously. That was a sort of form of standing instructions to the Armed Forces laying out what their tasks during the coming period would be.
In essence these directives are, firstly, statements of what the Armed Forces must be prepared to accomplish in view of political and diplomatic policies and developments and, secondly, indications of what should be accomplished diplomatically in order to make the military tasks easier and the chances of success greater. They constitute, in fact, a fusion of diplomatic and military thought and they strongly demonstrate the mutual inter-dependence of aggressive diplomacy and military planning.
Note the limited distribution of these documents, early in April, 1939, in which the preparation of the plans for the Polish war is ordered. Five copies only are distributed by Keitel: one goes to Brauchitsch, O.K.H.; one to Raeder, O.K.M.; one to Goering at O.K.L.; and two to Warlimont in the Planning Branch of O.K.W.
Hitler lays down that the plans must be capable of execution by ist September, 1939, and, as we all well remember, that target date was adhered to. The fusion of military and diplomatic thought is clearly brought out by a part of one of these documents which has not previously been read; that is Document C 120, sub-division D, and it is to be found at Page 4.
The sub-heading is: “Political Requirements and Aims.
German relations with Poland continue to be based on the principle of avoiding any quarrels. Should Poland, however, change her policy towards Germany, based up to now on the same principles as our own, and adopt a threatening attitude towards Germany, a final settlement might become necessary, notwithstanding the pact in effect with Poland.
The aim, then, will be to destroy Polish military strength and create in the East a situation which satisfies the requirements of national defence. The free State of Danzig will be proclaimed a part of the Reich territory at the outbreak of the conflict at the latest.
The political leadership considers it its task in this case to isolate Poland if possible, that is to say, to limit the war to Poland only.
The development of increasing internal crises in France and the resulting British cautiousness might produce such a situation in the not too distant future.
Intervention by Russia, so far as she would be able to do this, cannot be expected to be of any use for Poland, because this would imply Poland’s destruction by Bolshevism.
The attitude of the Baltic States will be determined wholly by German military exigencies.
On the German side Hungary cannot be considered a certain ally. Italy’s attitude is determined by the Berlin-Rome Axis.”
Sub-heading 2: “Military Conclusions.
The great objectives in the building up of the German Armed Forces will continue to be determined by the antagonism of the Western Democracies. ‘ Fall Weiss’ constitutes only a precautionary complement to these preparations. It is not to be looked upon in any way, however, as the necessary prerequisite for a military settlement with the Western opponents.
The isolation of Poland will be more easily maintained, even after the beginning of operations, if we succeed in starting the war with heavy, sudden blows, and in gaining rapid successes.
The entire situation will require, however, that precautions be taken to safeguard the Western boundary and the German North Sea coast, as well as the air over them.”
Let no one suggest that these are hypothetical plans or that the General Staff and High Command Group did not know what was in prospect. The plans show on their face that they are no war game. But, to clinch this point, let us refer briefly to Mr. Alderman’s ” pin-up ” document on Poland, Document L-79, Exhibit USA 27. These are Schmundt’s notes on the conference in Hitler’s study at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, on 23rd May, 1939, when Hitler announced – and I quote just one sentence – “There is, therefore, no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity.”
Note who was present besides Hitler and a few military aides: the defendant Goering, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe; the defendant Raeder, Navy; the defendant Keitel, O.K.W.; von Brauchitsch, Cornmander-in-Chief of the Army; Colonel General Milch, who was State Secretary of the Air Ministry and Inspector General of the Luftwaffe; General Bodenschatz, Goering’s personal assistant; Rear Admiral Schniewindt, Chief of the Naval War Staff; Colonel Jeschonnek, Chief of the Air Staff; Colonel Warlimont, Planning Staff. All of them, except Milch, Bodenschatz, and the adjutants, are members of the Group.
So far these documents have shown us the initial and general planning of the attack on Poland. These general plans, however, had to be checked, corrected and perfected by the field commanders who were to carry out the attack.
I offer Document C-1142, which will be Exhibit USA 538. Thisdocument was issued in the middle of June, 1939, and in it von Brauchitsch, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, passed on the general outlines of the plan for the attack on Poland to the field commanders- in-chief-to the Oberbefehlshaber of army groups and armies – so that the field commanders could work out the actual preparation and deployment of troops in accordance with the plans.
This is from Page 1 of the translation, and I quote:
“The object of the operation is to destroy the Polish Armed Forces. High policy demands that the war should be begun by heavy surprise blows in order to achieve quick results. The intention of the Army High Command is to prevent a regular mobilisation and concentration of the Polish Army by a surprise invasion of Polish territory, ‘and to destroy the mass of the Polish Army which is to be expected to be West of the Vistula-Narve Line.”
I pass to the next paragraph:
“The Army Group Commands and the Army Commands will make their preparations on the basis of surprise of the enemy. There will be alterations necessary if surprise should have to be abandoned. These will have to be developed simply and quickly on the same basis; they are to be prepared mentally to such an extent that in case of an order from the Army High Command they can be carried out quickly.”
THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of that document?
COLONEL TAYLOR: The date of that document is the middle of June, 1939; I believe it is the 15th or 14th of June, 1939. The date is on the original.
The next document is 2327-PS, which will be Exhibit USA 539, signed by Blaskowitz. It is dated 14th June, 1939, and it shows us an Oberbefehlshaber at work in the field, planning an attack. Blaskowitz at that time was Commander of the Third Army Area Command and he became Commander-in-Chief of the German Eigth Army during the Polish campaign. I read some extracts trom this document – found on Page 1 of the translation:
“The Commander-in-Chief of the Army has ordered the working out of a plan of deployment against Poland, which takes into account the demands of the political leadership for the opening of war by surprise and for quick success.
The order of deployment by the High Command, known as ‘Fall Weiss,’ authorises the Third Army Group – in Fall Weiss Eighth Army Headquarters – to give necessary directions and orders to all commands subordinated to it for ‘ Fall Weiss’.”
I pass to paragraph 7 on Page 1.
“The whole correspondence on ‘Fall Weiss’ has to be conducted under the classification ‘Top Secret.’ This is to be disregarded only if the contents of a document, in the judgment of the chief of the responsible command, is harmless in every way – even in connection with other documents.
For the middle of July a conference is planned where details of the execution will be discussed. Time and place will be ordered later on. Special requests are to be communicated to Third Army Group before 10th July.”
That is signed: “The Commander-in-Chief of Army Area Command 3, F. Blaskowitz.”
I pass to paragraph 2 to read one further extract under the title – at the top of Page 2 of the translation – ” Aims of Operation ‘Fall Weiss ‘.”
“The operation, in order to forestall an orderly Polish mobilisation, is to be opened by surprise with forces which are, for the most part, armoured and motorised, placed on alert in the neighbourhood of the border. The initial superiority over the Polish frontierguards and surprise, both of which can be expected with certainty, are to be maintained by quickly bringing up other parts of the Army, as well as by counteracting the marching up of the Polish Army. Accordingly, all units have to keep the initiative against the foe by acting quickly and attacking ruthlessly.”
Finally, a week before the actual attack on Poland, and when all the military plans have been laid , we find the Group as defined in the Indictment all in one place, in fact, all in one room. On 23rd August the Oberbefehlshaber assembled at the Obersalzberg to hear Hitler’s explanation of the timing of the attack, and for political and diplomatic orientation from the head of the State. This speech has already been read from at length. It is found in Document 798-PS, Exhibit USA 29, and I pass over it, except to note and emphasise that it is addressed to the very group defined in the Indictment as the General Staff and High Command group. It is, incidentally, the second of the two examples referred to in the affidavits by Halder and Brauchitsch, numbers 1 and 2, which I read previously.
We have now come to the point where Germany actually launched the war. Within a few weeks, and before any important action on the Western Front, Poland was overrun and conquered; German losses were insignificant.
The three principal territorial questions mentioned in the Blomberg and Blaskowitz affidavits were all solved. The Rhineland had been reoccupied and fortified; Memel was annexed; the Polish Corridor had been annexed. There was a good deal more, too: Austria a part of the Reich; Czechoslovakia occupied; and all of Western Poland in German hands. Germany was superior in arms and in experience to her Western enemies, France and England.
Then came the three black years of the war – 1939, 1940 and 1941 – when German armed might swung like a great scythe from North to South to East: Norway and Denmark; the Low Countries; France; Italy became an ally of Germany; Tripoli and Egypt; Yugoslavia and Greece; Roumania, Hungary and Bulgaria became allies; the Western part of the Soviet Union was overrun.
I would like to deal as a whole with the period from the fall of Poland in October, 1939, to the attack against the Soviet Union in June of 1941. In this period occurred the aggressive wars in violation of treaties, as charged in the Indictment, against Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Jugoslavia, and Greece.
I cannot improve on or add much to the presentation of these matters by the British Delegation. From the standpoint of proving Crimes Against Peace, our case is complete. But I would like to review this period briefly from the military standpoint and view it as the German military leaders viewed it. Of one thing we may be sure: Neither the Nazis nor the Generals thought during this period in terms of a series of violations of neutrality and treaties. They thought in terms of a war, a war of conquest, a war for the conquest of Europe. Neutrality, treaties, non- aggression pacts – these were not the major consideration. They were annoying obstacles, and devices had to be formed and excuses manufactured to fit the circumstances.
Von Blomberg has told us in his affidavit, which I have read, that after 1939 some generals began to condemn Hitler’s methods and lost confidence in his judgment. Which particular Hitler method some of the generals condemned is not stated, but I think the Tribunal will not hear any substantial evidence that many of the generals condemned the march of conquest during the years 1939 to 1941.
In fact the evidence is, rather, that most of the generals were having the time of their lives during those years. Six weeks after the outbreak of the war and upon the successful termination of the Polish campaign, on 9th October, 1939, there was issued a memorandum and directive for the conduct of the war in the West. That is Document L-52, and becomes Exhibit USA 540. It is not signed. It was distributed only to the four service chiefs, Keitel, Brauchitsch, Goering and Raeder. From the wording there is every indication that it was issued by Hitler. I will read an extract starting with Page 2 of the document, about two-thirds of the way down in the first paragraph, beginning from the words “The aim of the Anglo-French conduct of war”:
“The aim of the Anglo-French conduct of war is to dissolve or disintegrate the 80-million- State again so that in this manner the European equilibrium, in other words, the balance of power, which serves their ends, may be restored. This battle, therefore, will have to be fought out by the German people one way or another. Nevertheless the very great successes of the first month of war could serve, in the event of an immediate signing of peace, to strengthen the Reich psychologically and materially to such an extent that from the German viewpoint there would be no objection to ending the war immediately, in so far as the present achievement with arms is not jeopardised by the peace-treaty.
It is not the object of this memorandum to study the possibilities in this direction, or even to take them into consideration. In this paper I shall confine myself exclusively to the other case: the necessity to continue the fight, the object of which, as already stressed, consists, in so far as the enemy is concerned, in the dissolution or destruction of the German Reich. In opposition to this the German war aim is the final military dispatch of the West, i.e., destruction of the power and ability of the Western Powers ever again to be able to oppose the State consolidation and further development of the German people in Europe. As far as the outside world is concerned, however, this internal aim will have to undergo various propaganda adjustments, necessary from a psychological point of view. This does not alter the war aim. It is and remains the destruction of our Western enemies.”
I now pass to Page 3 of the translation, paragraph 2, and the sub-heading “Reasons”:
The successes of the Polish campaign have made possible first of all a war on a single front, awaited for past decades without any hope of realisation …
That is to say, Germany is able to enter the fight in the West with all her might, leaving only a few covering troops. The remaining European States are neutral, either because they fear for their own fates, or lack interest in the conflict as such, or are interested in a certain outcome of the war which prevents them from taking part at all, or at any rate too soon.
The following is to be firmly borne in mind . . . “
And at this point I interpolate a succession of references to countries, and then pass to Belgium and Holland at the foot of page 3:
“Belgium and Holland. Both countries are interested in preserving their neutrality but incapable of withstanding prolonged pressure from England and France. The preservation of their colonies, the maintenance of their trade, and thus the securing of their interior economy, even of their very life, depend wholly upon the will of England and France. Therefore in their decisions, in their attitude, and in their actions both countries are dependent in the highest degree upon the West. If England and France promise themselves a successful result at the price of Belgian neutrality, they are at any time in a position to apply the necessary pressure. That is to say, without covering themselves with the odium of a breach of neutrality, they can compel Belgium and Holland to cease to be neutral. Therefore, in the matter of the preservation of Belgo-Dutch neutrality, time is not a factor which might promise a favourable development for Germany.”
The final paragraph to be read is as follows:
“The Nordic States: Provided no completely unforeseen factors appear, their neutrality in the future is also to be assumed. The con tinuation of German trade with these countries appears possible even in a war of long duration.”
Six weeks later, on 23rd November, 1939, our group as defined in the Indictment – The Oberbefehlshaber – again assembled, as found in Document 789-PS, already in the record as Exhibit USA 23, and heard from Hitler much of what he had said previously to the four service chiefs. This speech, part of which is already in the record, contains other portions not previously read from and now of interest, and the first extract which I would like to read is on Page 2 of the translation, about half- way down in paragraph 1, starting with the words “For the first time in history we have to fight on only one front.” Iquote:
“For the first time in history we have to fight on only one front, the other front is at present free. But no one can know how long that will remain so. I have doubted for a long time whether I should strike in the East and then in the West. Basically I did not organise the Armed Forces in order not to strike. The decision to strike was always in me. Earlier or later, I wanted to solve the problem. Under pressure it was decided that the East was to be attacked first. If the Polish war was won so quickly, it was due to the superiority of our Armed Forces. The most glorious appearance in history. Unexpectedly small expenditures of men and material. Now the Eastern front is held by only a few divisions. It is a situation which we viewed previously as unachievable. Now the situation is as follows: The opponent in the West liesbehind his fortification. There is no possibility of coming to grips With him. The decisive question is: How long can we endure this situation?”
Passing to Page 3 of that document, line 3:
“Everything is determined by the fact that the moment is favourable now; in six months it might not be so any more.”
The final passage on Page 4 of the translation, in the long paragraph about half-way down, beginning “England cannot live without her imports. We can feed . . . “:
“England cannot live without her imports. We can feed ourselves. The permanent sowing of mines on the English coasts will bring England to her knees. However, this can occur only if we have occupied Belgium and Holland. It is a difficult decision for me. None has ever achieved what I have achieved. My life is of no importance in all this. I have led the German people to a great height, even if the world does hate us now. I risk the loss of this achievement. I have to choose between victory or destruction. I choose victory. Greatest historical choice, to be compared with the decision of Frederick the Great before the first Silesian war. Prussia owes its rise to the heroism of one man. Even there the closest advisers were disposed to capitulation. Everything depended on Frederick the Great. Even the decisions of Bismarck in 1866 and 1870 were no less great. My decision is unchangeable. I shall attack France and England at the most favourable and earliest moment. Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won. We shall not bring about the breach of neutrality as idiotically as it was done in 1914. If we do not break the neutrality, then England and France will. Without attack the war cannot be ended victoriously. I consider it possible to end the war only by means of an attack. The question as to whether the attack will be successful, no one can answer. Everything depends upon the favourable instant.”
Thereafter the winter of 1939 and 1940 passed quietly, the winter of so-called ” phony war.”
The General Staff and High Command Group all knew what the plan was – they had all been told. To attack ruthlessly at the first opportunity; to smash the French and English forces; to pay no heed to treaties with or neutrality of the Low Countries. “Breach of the neutrality of Holland and Belgium is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won.”
That is what Hitler told the Oberbefehishaber. The generals and admirals agreed and went forward with their plan.
Now it is not true that all the steps in this march of conquest were conceived by Hitler, and that the military leaders embarked on them with reluctance and misgivings. To show this we need only hark back for a moment to what Major Elwyn Jones told the Tribunal about the plans for the invasion of Denmark and Norway.
The Tribunal will recall that Hitler’s utterances in October and November, which I have just read, although they are full of threatening comments about France and England and the Low Countries, contain no suggestion of an attack on Scandinavia. Indeed, Hitler’s memorandum of 9th October, from which I read, Document L-52, affirmatively indicates that Hitler saw no reason to disturb the situation in the North, because he said that, unless unforeseen factors appeared, the neutrality of the Northern states could be assumed. Trade could be continued with those countries, even in a long war. But a week previously, on 3rd October, 1939, the defendant Raeder had caused a questionnaire to be circulated within the Naval War Staff, seeking comments on the advantages which might be gained from a naval standpoint, by securing bases in Norway and Denmark. That document is C-122, Exhibit GB-82. And another document introduced by Major Elwyn Jones, C-66, which is Exhibit GB-81, shows that Raeder was prompted to circulate this questionnaire by a letter from another admiral named Karls, who pointed out the importance of an occupation of the Norwegian coast by Germany. Admiral Karls, Rolf Karls, later attained the rank of Admiral of the Fleet and commanded Naval Group “North” and in that capacity is a member of the group as defined in the Indictment, just as Raeder is.
The Tribunal will also recall that the defendant Donitz, who at that time was Flag Officer Submarines, replied to this questionnaire from Raeder on 9th October, 1939. The document in question is C-5, Exhibit GB-83. Doernitz replied that from his standpoint Trondheim. and Narvik met the requirements of a submarine base, that Trondheirn was better, and that he proposed the establishment of a U-boat base there. The next day Raeder visited Hitler, and this visit and certain subsequent events are described in a document which has not previously been introduced.
Now, your Honour, owing to a confusion in numbering, the German document is C-71, but the translation appears in your book in Document L-323.and that will be Exhibit USA 541. The translation will be found in L-323, the middle of the page, entitled “Entry in the War Diary of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Naval War Staff, on Weseruebung,” that being the code name for the operation against Norway and Denmark:
“10th October, 1939. First reference of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (Naval War Staff) when visiting the Fuehrer, to the significance of Norway for sea and air warfare. The Fuehrer intends to give the matter consideration.
12th December 1939. Fuehrer receivied “Q” and “H” – those being presumably Quisling and Hagelin.
Subsequent instructions to the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces to make mental preparations. The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy is having an essay prepared which will be ready in January.”
With reference to this essay Kapitaen zur See Kranke is working on “Weseruebung” at O.K.W. During the time which followed, H – Hagelin – maintained contact with the Chief of Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. His aim was to develop the Party Q – Quisling – with a view to making it capable of making a coup and to give the Supreme Command of the Navy information on the political developments in Norway and military questions. In general he pressed the speeding up of preparations, but considered that it was first necessary to expand the organisation.
I think that is all I need read of that.
Another document, which is C-64, Exhibit GB-86 – already in the record – shows that on 12th December, the Naval War Staff discussed the Norwegian project with Hitler – I am not going to read from that document, your Honour – at a meeting which the defendants Keitel and Jodl also attended. In the meantime Raeder was in touch with the defendant Rosenberg on the possibilities of using Quisling; and Major Elwyn Jones very properly pointed out to the Tribunal the close link between the Service Chiefs and the Nazi politicians. As a result of all this, on Hitler’s instructions, Keitel issued an O.K.W. directive on 27th January, 1940, stating that Hitler had commissioned him to undertake charge of preparations for the Norway operation, to which he then gave the code name “Weseruebung.”
On 1st March, 1940, Hitler issued the directive setting forth the general plan for the invasion of Norway and Denmark. That is Document C-174, Exhibit GB-89, which Major Elwyn Jones put in the record. The directive was initialled by Admiral Kurt Fricke, who at that time was head of the Operations Division of the Naval War Staff and who at the end Of 1941 became Chief of the Naval War Staff and in that capacity is a member of the group as defined in the Indictment. So, as these documents make clear, the plan to invade Norway and Denmark was not conceived in Nazi Party circles or forced on the military leaders; on the contrary, it was conceived in the Naval part of the General Staff and High Command Group, and Hitler was persuaded to take the idea up. Treaties and neutrality meant just as little to the General Staff and High Command Group as to the Nazis.
As to the Low Countries, neither Hitler nor the military leaders were disturbed about treaty considerations. The Tribunal will remember that at a conference between Hitler and the principal military leaders in May, 1939, as shown in Document L-79, Exhibit USA-27, already in the record, when the intention to attack Poland was announced, Hitler in discussing the possibility of war with England said that the Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by armed forces. “Declarations of neutrality will be ignored.” And later in his speech to the Oberbefehlshaber, in November, 1939, Hitler said that they must first invade the Low Countries and “no one will question that when we have won.”
Accordingly, one can well imagine that the winter of 1939 and 1940 and the early spring of 1940 was a period of very intensive planning in German military circles. The major attack in the West through the Low Countries had to be planned and the attack on Norway and Denmark had to be planned. The defendant Jodl’s diary for the period 1st February to 26th May, 1940, Document 1809-PS, Exhibit GB-88, contains many entries reflecting the course of this planning. Some of the entries have been read into the record and others are now of interest.
The Tribunal will see from these entries which have already been read, that during February and early March there was considerable doubt in German military circles as to whether the attack on Norway and Denmark should precede or follow the attack on the Low Countries, and that at some points there even was doubt as to whether all these attacks were necessary from a military standpoint. But the Tribunal will not find a single entry which reflects any hesitancy from a moral angle, on the part of Jodl or any of the people he mentions, to over-run these countries.
I will make some references now to Document 1809-PS and some of the entries in it. I do not find a direct quotation in any one of them. The Court will note that on 1st February, 1940, General Jeschonnek, the Chief of the Air Staff and a member of the Group as defined in the Indictment, visited Jodl and made a suggestion that it might be wise to attack only Holland, on the ground that Holland alone would offer a tremendous improvement for Germany’s aerial warfare.
On 6th February, Jodl conferred with Jeschonnek, Warlimont, and Colonel von Waldau, and what Jodl calls a “new idea” was proposed at this meeting: that the Germans should only carry out Action H (Holland) and the Weser Exercise (Norway and Denmark) and should guarantee Belgium’s neutrality for the duration of the war.
I suppose the German Air Force may have felt that the occupation of Holland alone would give them sufficient scope for air bases for attacks on England, and that if Belgium’s neutrality were preserved the German bases in Holland would be immune from attack by the French and British armies in France. If, to meet this situation, the French and British should attack through Holland and Belgium, the violation of neutrality would be on the other foot. But whether or not this new idea made sense from a military angle, it appears to be a most extraordinary notion from a diplomatic angle. It was a proposal to violate without any excuse the neutrality of three neighbouring small countries and simultaneously to guarantee the neutrality of a fourth. What value the Belgians might have attributed to a guarantee of neutrality offered under such circumstances it is difficult to imagine, and in fact, the “new idea” projected at this meeting seems a most extraordinary combination of cynicism and naivete.
In the meantime, as Jodl’s diary shows, on 5th February, 1940, the “special staff” for the Norway invasion met for the first time and got its instructions from Keitel. On 21st February, Hitler put General von Falkenhorst in command of the Norway undertaking; and Jodl’s diary records that “Falkenhorst accepts gladly.”
On 26th February Hitler was still in doubt whether to go first to Norway or the Low Countries, but on 3rd March he decided to deal with Norway first and the Low Countries a short time thereafter. This decision proved final. Norway and Denmark were invaded on 9th April, and the success of the adventure was certain by 1st May. The invasion of the Low Countries took place ten days later.
So, France and the Low countries fell, Italy joined the war on the side of Germany, and the African campaign began. In October, 1940, Italy attacked Greece. The Italo-Greek stalemate and the uncertain attitude of Jugoslavia became embarrassing to Germany, particularly because the attack on the Soviet Union was being planned and Germany felt she could not risk an uncertain situation at her rear in the Balkans.
Accordingly, it was decided to end the Greek situation by coming to Italy’s aid, and the Jugoslavian coup Xetat Of 26th March, 1941, brought about the final German decision to crush Jugoslavia also. The documents have already been introduced by Colonel Phillimore, and there is little that I need to add for my present purpose. The decisions were made; the Armed Forces drew up the necessary plans and executed the attacks. The onslaught was particularly unmerciful and ruthless against Jugoslavia for the special purpose of frightening Turkey and Greece. The final deployment instructions were issued by Brauchitsch and appear in a document R-95, Exhibit GB-127 which has not been read before. Two extracts from this are of interest. These extracts are very short:
“The political situation in the Balkans having changed by reason of the Jugoslav military revolt, Jugoslavia has to be considered an enemy even should it make declarations of loyalty at first.
“The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander has decided therefore to destroy Jugoslavia as quickly as possible.”
And turning to paragraph No. 5, the “Time-table for the Operations”:
“On 5th April, as soon as sufficient numbers of the Air Force are available and weather permitting, the Air Force should attack continuously by day and night the Jugoslav ground organisation and Belgrade.”
The German attack on the Soviet Union I have little more to say about. The documents showing the aggressive nature of the attack have been put in by Mr. Alderman. I suppose it is quite possible that some members of the General Staff and High Command Group opposed “Barbarossa” as unnecessary and unwise from a military standpoint. The defendant Raeder so indicated in a memorandum he wrote on 10th January, 1944, Document C-66, Exhibit GB-81. C-66 is the translation, the only document I propose to read on this subject, from which a few extracts are of interest. The quotation starts at the very outset of the Document C-66:
“At this time the Fuehrer had made known his ‘unalterable decision’ to conduct the Eastern campaign in spite of all remonstrances. After that, further warnings, as no new situation had arisen, were found to be completely useless. As Chief of Naval War Staff I was never convinced of the ‘compelling necessity’ for Barbarossa.”
And passing to the third paragraph:
“The Fuehrer very early had the idea of one day settling accounts with Russia; doubtless his general ideological attitude played an essential part in this. In 1937-38 he once stated that he intended to eliminate the Russians as a Baltic power; they would then have to be diverted in the direction of the Persian Gulf. The advance of the Russians against Finland and the Baltic States in 1939-40 probably further strengthened him in this idea.”
And passing to the very end of the document, paragraph 7, page 4:
“As no other course is possible, I have submitted to compulsion. If thereby a difference of opinion arises between 1 S.K.L. and myself ” that, if I may interpolate, is a division or tne Naval War Staff having. to do with operations – “it is perhaps because the arguments the Fuehrer used on such occasions (dinner speech in the middle of July to the Officers in Command) to justify a step he had planned, usually had a greater effect on people not belonging to the ‘inner circle’ than on those who often heard this type of reasoning. Many remarks and plans indicate that the Fuehrer calculated on the final ending of the Eastern campaign in the autumn of 1941, whereas the Supreme Command of the Army (General Staff) was very sceptical.”
That, to be sure, indicates division of opinion as to the military chances of a rapid success, but the part last quoted indicates that other members of the group favoured “Barbarossa,” and Raeder’s memorandum actually says and substantiates what Blomberg’s affidavit says, that some of the generals lost confidence in the power of Hitler’s judgment, but that the generals failed as a group to take any definite stand against him although a few tried and suffered thereby. Certainly the High Command took no stand against Hitler on “Barbarossa” and the events of 1941 and 1942 do not suggest, that the High Command embarked on the Soviet War tentatively or with reservations, but rather with ruthless determination backed by careful planning. The plans themselves have all been read and cited to the Court previously.
That concludes the evidence on the criminal activities of the Group under Counts One and Two. The documents written by the military leaders are not the writings of men who were reluctant to plan and execute these manifold wars.
I want to make clear again the nature of the accusations against this Group under Counts One and Two. They are not accused on the ground that they are soldiers. They are not accused merely for doing the usual things a soldier is expected to do, such as making military plans and commanding troops. It is, I suppose, among the normal duties of a diplomat to engage in negotiations and conferences, to write notes and aide-memoires, to entertain at dinner parties and cultivate good will toward the government he represents. The defendant Ribbentrop is not indicted for doing these things. It is the usual function of a politician to draft regulations and decrees, to make speeches. The defendants Hess and Frick are not indicted for doing those things.
It is an innocent and respectable business to be a locksmith, but it is none the less a crime if the locksmith turns his talents to picking the locks of neighbours and looting their homes. And that is the nature of the charge under Counts One and Two against the defendants and the General Staff and High Command Group. The charge is that, in performing the functions of diplomats, politicians, soldiers, sailors, or whatever they happened to be, they conspired, and did plan, prepare, initiate and wage illegal wars and thereby committed crimes under Article 6 (a) of the Charter.
It is no defence for those who committed such crimes to plead that they practised a particular profession. It is perfectly legal for military men to prepare military plans to meet national contingencies, and such plans may legally be drawn, whether they are offensive or defensive in a military sense. It is perfectly legal for military leaders to carry out such plans and engage in war, if in doing so they do not plan and launch and wage wars which are illegal because they are aggressive and in contravention of the Charter. group, where drawing the line between legal and illegal behaviour might involve some difficulties. That is not an uncommon situation in the legal field. But I do not believe that there is any doubt or difficulty here, before this Tribunal, as to the criminality of the General Staff and High Command Group as a Group under Counts One and Two, or as to the guilt of the five defendants who are members of the group.
In the case of the defendants Goering, Keitel and Jodl the evidence is voluminous and their participation in aggressive plans and wars is more or less constant. The same is true of defendant Raeder, and his individual responsibility for the aggressive and savage attack on Norway and Denmark is especially clear. The evidence so far offered against Donitz is less voluminous for the reason that he was younger and not one of the top group until later in the war.
But numerous other members of the General Staff and High Command Group, including its other leaders, are shown to have participated knowingly and wilfully in these illegal plans and wars: Brauchitsch, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and his Chief of Staff Halder; Warlimont, the deputy of Jodl. In the nature of things these men knew.all that was going on and participated fully, as the documents show. Reichenau and Sperrle helped to bully von Schuschnigg; Reichenau and von Schobert, together with Goering, were immediately sent for by Hitler when von Schuschnigg ordered the plebiscite.
At a later date we have seen Blaskowitz as an Oberbefehlshaber in the field, knowingly preparing for the attack on Poland; Field Marshal List educating the Bulgarians for their role during the attacks on Jugoslavia and Greece; von Falkenhorst “gladly accepting” the assignment to command the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
On the air side, Jeschonnek has been recorded proposing that Germany attack Norway, Denmark and Holland and simultaneously assuring Belgium that there is nothing to fear.
On the naval side, Admiral Karls, member of the Group, forsees at an early date that German policy is leading to a general European war, and at a later date the attack on Norway and Denmark is his brain- child; Krancke, later one of the group, is one of the chief planners of this attack; Schniewindt is in the inner circle for the attack on Poland; Fricke certifies the final orders for Weseruebung and a few months later proposes that Germany annex Belgium and Northern France and reduce the Netherlands and Scandinavia to vassalage.
Most of the nineteen officers I have mentioned were at that time members of the Group, as defined, and the few who were not subsequently became members. At the final conference for Barbarossa seventeen additional members were present, and at the two meetings with Hitler, at which the aggressive plans and the contempt for treaties were fully disclosed, the entire group was present.
The military defendants will perhaps argue that they are pure technicians. This amounts to saying that military men are a race apart from and different from the ordinary run of human beings – men above and beyond the moral and legal requirements that apply to others, incapable of exercising moral judgment on their own behalf.
What we are discussing here is the crime of planning and waging aggressive war. It stands to reason that that crime is committed most consciously and culpably by a nation’s leaders – the leaders in all the major fields of activity which are necessary to and closely involved in the waging of war. It is committed by propagandists and publicists. It is committed by political leaders, by diplomats, by the chief ministers, by the principal industrial and financial leaders. It is no less committed by the military leaders.
In the nature of things, planning and executing aggressive war is accomplished by agreement and consultation among all these types of leaders. And if the leaders in any notably important field of activity stand aside or resist or fail to co- operate, then the programme will at the very least beseriously obstructed. That is why the principal leaders in all these fields of activity share responsibility for the crime, and the military leaders no less than the others. Leadership in the military field, as well as in other fields, calls for moral wisdom as well as technical astuteness.
I do not think that the responsible military leaders of any nation will be heard to say that their role is that of a mere janitor or custodian or pilot of the war machine which is under their command, and that they bear no responsibility whatsoever for the use to which that machine is put.
The prevalence of such a view would be particularly unfortunate to-day, when the military leaders control forces infinitely more powerful and destructive than ever before. Should the military leaders be declared exempt from the declaration in the Charter that planning and waging aggrehsive war is a crime, it would be a crippling, if not fatal, blow to the efficacy of that declaration.
Such is certainly not the view of the United States. The prosecution here representing the United States believes that the profession of arms is a distinguished profession. We believe that the practice of that profession by its leaders calls for the highest degree of integrity and moral wisdom, no less than for technical skill. We believe that in consulting and planning with the leaders in other fields of national activities the military leaders must act in accordance with International Law and the dictates of the public conscience. Otherwise the military resources of the nations will be used not in accordance with the laws of modern society but in accordance with the law of the jungle. The military leaders share responsibility with other leaders.
I use the word ” share ” advisedly. Obviously the military leaders are not the final and exclusive arbiters, and the German military leaders do not bear exclusive responsibility for the criminal holocaust which was committed. But the German military leaders conspired with others to undermine and destroy the conscience of the German nation. The German military leaders wanted to aggrandise Germany and, if necessary, to resort to war for that purpose.
As the Chief Prosecutor for the United States said in his opening statement, The German military leaders are here before you because they, along with others, mastered Germany and drove it to war.”
Your Lordship, that concludes the evidence under Counts One and Two, and if this would be a convenient stopping point –
THE PRESIDENT: You have another branch of the argument?
COLONEL TAYLOR: Counts Three and Four, your Honour, which will take considerable time.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn now.
(The Tribunal adjourned until 1000 hours on 7 January, 1946)