The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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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 178o-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
                                          [Page 325]
     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

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we break off now for ten

                             (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

                                          [Page 326]

the Munich Pact was signed, the 29th September, Jodl
noted in his diary -- 17800PS, the entry for 29th

     "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 notread: Document 2802-PS,
Exhibit USA 107; and Document 2798-PS, Exhibit USA

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

                                          [Page 327]

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

The sub-heading is: "Political Requirements and

     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
     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
     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
     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

                                          [Page 328]

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

                                          [Page 329]

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
     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."

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