The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/02/13

DR. DIX: It is quite clear to me, your Lordship. I am merely
surprised at the objection raised by the Soviet prosecution,
inasmuch as a member of the Soviet Delegation himself
referred to that article in his observations during the
cross-examination of the witness Gisevius. It is true, he
did not submit it to the Tribunal, but he referred to it in
his observations to the witness Gisevius. However, if the
Tribunal has the slightest objections to allowing the
article as documentary evidence, then I shall ask permission
to leave it. I will then - and I think I may - ask the
witness Schacht whether it is true that in 1941 he had a
conversation with an American who was a professor of
national economy, a conversation which dealt with the
possibility of peace. I leave it to the Tribunal. I thought
it would have been simpler if I submitted the article.

                                                   [Page 18]

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, as you have raised the
objection to this document, what have you to say about the
point that Dr. Dix makes that you used the document yourself
in cross-examination?

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, we did not use this document
in the cross-examination of the witness Gisevius. An
explanatory question was asked in order to reach a decision
on this point and I particularly emphasize -

THE PRESIDENT: Will you say that again? I did not understand

GENERAL RUDENKO: I say that we did not use this document
during the cross-examination of the witness Gisevius, but we
did ask an explanatory question in order that, when the
document was presented by Dr. Dix, we could object to it as
being of no probative value.

THE PRESIDENT: But did you not put the contents of the
document to Gisevius? I do not remember. What I want to know
is did you not put the contents of the document?

GENERAL RUDENKO: No, no, we did not submit the contents, and
we did not discuss the substance of the document. We merely
asked a question - did the witness Gisevius know about the
article in the Bader Nachrichten, of the 14th January, 1946.
That was the question, and the witness answered that it was
known to him.

DR. DIX: May I say one more thing? It appears to me that the
Soviet Delegation does not desire to have the article
submitted as evidence. I therefore withdraw it as evidence.
I would like the Tribunal to consider the matter as settled.

May I now put my question?

Q. Well, you had conversations in Switzerland?

A. Yes.

Q. What was the subject of these conversations, in broad
outlines, and with whom did you have them?

A. This article, which has just been discussed -

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: First, your Honour, may I interpose an
objection? The reason I did not join in the Soviet objection
to this document was that I want to know who this economist
is. I want to check this thing. There are very peculiar
circumstances about this document, and I object to his
retailing a conversation with an unknown economist. All I
ask is that he identify time and place and person with whom
he had his conversation, so that we can do a little
verifying of this effort to get something before the
Tribunal that did not appear until 1946.

DR. DIX: The question is now being given a significance
which its comparative triviality really does not merit. I
shall, therefore, dispense with this question too. Please,
do not now refer to the conversation with the professor, and
I shall leave it to the prosecution to put the question
which Mr. Justice Jackson has just mentioned during cross-

Well, your conversations in Switzerland, then, excepting
that with the unknown professor.

A. Yes, I tried again and again to shorten the war and to
bring about some form of mediation which I always sought
for, particularly through the good offices of the American
President. That is all that I can say here. I do not think I
need go into details.

Q. Very well. Did you in your letters to Ribbentrop and
Goering - you have already mentioned Hitler - or also, did
you, during the war, state your views about the policy of
the war in writing at any time? First of all, as far as
Hitler was concerned.

A. I mentioned my discussion with Hitler in February, 1940.
In the summer of 1941 I wrote a detailed letter to Hitler,
and the witness Lammers has admitted

                                                   [Page 19]

its existence. I do not think he was asked about the
contents of this letter here, or he was not allowed to talk
about it. If I may come back to it; in that letter, I
pointed out somewhat as follows - I shall use direct
language - "You are at present at the height of your
success." This was after the first Russian victories. The
enemy believes that you are stronger than you really are.
The alliance with Italy is rather a doubtful one, since
Mussolini will one day fall and then Italy will drop out.
Whether Japan can still come to your aid at all is
questionable in view of Japan's weakness in the face of
America. I assume that the Japanese will not be so foolish
as to wage war against America. The output of steel, for
instance, in spite of approximately similar population
figures, amounts to one-tenth of the American production. I
do not think, therefore, that Japan will enter the war. I
now recommend you at all events to reverse foreign policy
completely and to attempt with every means to conclude a

Q. Did you state your views to Ribbentrop during the war?

A. I do not know when it was. On one occasion Herr von
Ribbentrop conveyed to me through his State Secretary, Herr
von Weizsaecker, the reproachful message that I should not
indulge in defeatist remarks. That may have been in 1940 or
in 1941, during one of those two years. I asked where I had
made defeatist remarks and it appeared that I had talked to
my ministerial colleague Funk and had given him exhaustive
reasons why Germany could never win this war. I held this
conviction inflexibly both before and during the war, even
after the fall of France. I answered Ribbentrop through his
State Secretary that I, as Minister without portfolio,
considered it my duty to state my opinion frankly to a
ministerial colleague, and in this written reply I
maintained the view that Germany's economic power was not
sufficient to wage this war. This letter, that is, a copy of
this letter was sent both to Minister Funk and to Minister
Ribbentrop through his State Secretary.

DR. DIX: I think, your Lordship, this would be a suitable

(A recess was taken until 140o hours.)


Q. I spoke before of the 20th of July. Do you recall a
statement made by Hitler about you in connection with the
20th of July?

A. Co-defendant Minister Speer was present and told me about
it. It was on the 22nd of July, 1944 when Hitler issued the
order for my arrest. At that time he made derogatory remarks
about me and stated that he had been greatly hindered in his
rearmament programme by my negative activities, that it
would have been better if he had had me shot before the war.

Q. In concluding I come to a few general summarising
questions. Voices were heard within the country, and also
abroad-and even the prosecution, although recognising your
intellectual capacities and the services you rendered,
appears to consider it incomprehensible that a man as clever
as you did not recognize the true nature, the real
intentions of Hitler in time. I would like you to state your
position in regard to that accusation.

A. I should like very much to have known the gentlemen who
are now judging me at a time when it might have been of use.
These are the people who always know afterwards what ought
to have been done. I can only state first that, from 1920
until the seizure of power by Hitler, I tried to influence
the nation and foreign countries in a sense which would have
prevented Hitler's seizure of power. I warned the country to
be thrifty, but I was not heeded. I repeatedly warned the
foreign nations to develop an economic policy which would
enable Germany to live. I was not heeded, although, as it
now appears, I was considered a clever and farsighted man.
Hitler came to power because my advice was not followed. The
German people were reduced to great economic need and
neither - .

                                                   [Page 20]

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President. For two days now we have
been listening to lengthy explanations on the part of the
defendant Schacht, and I rather think that the explanations
which have just been given by the defendant Schacht are not
definite answers to questions concerned with the indictment
brought against him, but mere speeches. I consider that they
will only prolong the trial.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, the Tribunal is I think fully
apprised with the case on behalf of defendant Schacht. They
don't want to stop him putting forward his defence fully,
but they would be glad if you could make it as short as
possible, and if he could make it as short as possible.

DR. DIX: My Lord, I am certain that I shall be through by
recess time, and perhaps even before the recess, but I would
like you to consider that the defendant is accused of having
assisted in the seizure of power. The question arises, how
was -

THE PRESIDENT: I wasn't ruling that this evidence was
inadmissible. I was only asking you to get on with it as
quickly as you could.


Q. Very well, Dr. Schacht please continue and try to comply
with the suggestions of the representative of the Soviet
prosecution as far as possible.

A. As briefly as possible. I will not go into detail; I will
merely state that due to the collapse of 1918 and the
unsatisfactory conditions of the Versailles Treaty, Germany
was faced with a great depression. The Democratic Parties,
which had a firm hold on the regime at that time, were not
able to improve the situation; and the other nations did not
know what policy to take towards Germany. I do not reproach
any one, I merely state facts. Consequently in this
depression, Hitler received a larger majority in the
Reichstag than had ever been the case since the creation of
the Reichstag.

Now, I ask the people who, although they were silent at the
time, can tell me now what I should have done - I ask them
what they would have done? I have stated that I was against
a military regime; that I wanted to avoid a civil war and
that in keeping with democratic principles, I saw only the
one possibility: to allow the man to lead the government
once he had come to power. I said further, that from the
moment I realised this, I tried to participate in the
government not with the intention of supporting this man in
his extremist ideas, but to act as a brake and, if possible,
to direct his policies back into normal channels.

Q. Then there came a time when you recognized the dangers,
when you yourself suffered under the unbearable conditions
of terror and of suppressed opinion, so that perhaps this
question is pertinent and admissible: Why didn't you

A. Had it been only a question of my personal fate, nothing
would have been simpler, especially since, as we have heard
before, I would have been offered that opportunity and it
would have been made easy for me. It was not merely a
question of my own welfare, but since I had devoted myself
to the public interest since 1923, it was the question of
the existence of my people, of my country. I know of no
instance in history where emigrants were of help to their
nation. Of course, I speak of those emigrants who leave of
their own free will, not those that have been expelled. It
was not the case in 1792, at the time of the French
Revolution; it was not the case in 1917 during the Russian
Revolution, and it was not the case at the time of the
National Socialist revolution which we witnessed. To sit in
a secure port abroad and to write articles which are not
read in the home country -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, we don't want an historical lecture,
do we?

DR. DIX: I believe we can stop here. He merely wanted to
state why he did not emigrate. (To Schacht:) You have been

A. Thank you.

                                                   [Page 21]


Q. In the course of the proceedings, either in a letter or
in a poem - I don't known which at the moment - there was
some mention of your thoughts on the possibility of dying a
martyr's death; whether it would have served the cause of
peace and the German nation, if you had done more than you
did; if you had sacrificed your life.

A. I believe that you refer to a quotation from one of my
notes which a representative of the American prosecution
read here, in which I spoke of the silence of death.

Q. Yes.

A. If I had sacrificed myself, it would not have been of the
slightest use because the circumstances of my sacrifice
would never have become known. Either I would have
disappeared in some prison or I would have died there, and
no one would have known whether I was alive or not; or I
would have been the victim of a planned accident and it
would not have been possible to be a martyr. Martyrs can be
effective only if their martyrdom becomes known to the

DR. DIX: May I ask for the attention of the Tribunal for a
moment? Yesterday I was denied a question concerning the
social attitude of the diplomatic corps and its influence on
men like Schacht, for instance. The question which I want to
put now is not the same question otherwise I would not put
it. But it has nevertheless -

THE PRESIDENT: The objection that I made was to the use of
the word "attitude" because I don't see how witnesses can
give evidence about the attitude of a corps. I said, I
think, especially that the fact that the diplomatic corps
were present at the Party rally might be given in evidence,
but I said that the word "attitude" was far too general.
What is it you want to put now?

DR. DIX: Yesterday, the question which I formulated in the
following manner was denied: "How was Schacht influenced by
the collective attitude of the diplomatic corps?" That
question was denied and that concludes the matter. Now, I
should like first to clarify the matter, because I do not
want to create the impression of smuggling into the
proceedings a question which may raise the same objections.
On the other hand, it is essential for my line of defence to
show that people from abroad with judgement, who were above
being suspected of wanting to prepare for an aggressive war,
had the same altitude toward the regime as Schacht. On the
other hand, it is one of the strong points of my defence to
show that the work of these people in their opposition was
not only not supported by foreign countries but was actually
made more difficult. That is the thema probandum - that is
important for me and this theme ... but please, Herr
Schacht, do not answer before I have received the permission
of the Tribunal ... this theme -

THE PRESIDENT: State exactly what the question is.

DR. DIX: Yes, I will put the question now. According to my
notes I intended to refer to the honours which the Nazi
regime received abroad and to the representatives and
numerous visits honouring the regime which have already been
discussed here in detail. I wanted to ask the defendant what
influence these frequent marks of great honour had on the
work and aims of this group of conspirators. However, since
that question is very similar to the one that has been
rejected - and I prefer to make the objections myself rather
than to have them made to me - I wanted to submit the
question to the Tribunal first and make sure that it is

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, the question being: "What effect did
the recognition of the Nazi regime from abroad have upon the
group of conspirators with whom the defendant Schacht was in
contact?" That is the question, is it not? Well, that
question, as the Tribunal thinks, you may put.

                                                   [Page 22]

DR. DIX: It is admissible if "Anerkennung" is translated
correctly as "honouring them" "Honour," not "recognition,"
in the sense of recognition of a government, in diplomatic
official language, but as an honour, a distinction. It is a
difficulty of translation and I do not want a
misunderstanding... May I put to him, first, the individual
official visits which I have noted, so that he can answer
the question? May I do that?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you may; actual visits?

DR. DIX: Yes. The list will not be complete.

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