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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                   [Page 81]

The Prosecution has also asked that the General Staff and
High Command of the German Armed Forces be declared a
criminal organisation. The Tribunal believes that no
declaration of criminality should be made with respect to
the General Staff and High Command. The number of persons
charged, while larger than that of the Reich Cabinet, is
still so small that individual trials of these officers
would accomplish the purpose here sought better than a
declaration such as requested. But a more compelling reason

                                                   [Page 82]
is that in the opinion of the Tribunal the General Staff and
High Command is neither an "organisation" nor a "group"
within the meaning of those terms as used in Article 9 of
the Charter.

Some comment on the nature of this alleged group is
requisite. According to the Indictment and evidence before
the Tribunal, it consists of approximately 130 officers,
living and dead, who at any time during the period from
February, 1938, when Hitler reorganized the Armed Forces,
and May, 1945, when Germany surrendered, held certain
positions in the military hierarchy. These men were high-
ranking officers in the three armed services: OKH -- Army,
OKM -- Navy, and OKL -- Air Force. Above them was the
overall Armed Forces authority, OKW -- High Command of the
German Armed Forces with Hitler as the Supreme Commander.
The officers in OKW, including Defendant Keitel as Chief of
the High Command, were in a sense Hitler's personal staff.
In the larger sense they coordinated and directed the three
services, with particular emphasis on the functions of
planning and operations.

The individual officers in this alleged group were, at one
time or another, in one of four categories: 1) Commanders-in-
Chief of one of the three services; 2) Chief of Staff of one
of the three services, 3) "Oberbefehlshabers", the field
Commanders-in-Chief of one of the three services, which of
course comprised by far the largest number of these persons;
or 4) an OKW officer, of which there were three Defendants
Keitel and Jodl, and the latter's Deputy Chief, Warlimont.
This is the meaning of the Indictment in its use of the term
"General Staff and High Command".

The Prosecution has here drawn the line. The Prosecution
does not indict the next level of the military hierarchy
consisting of commanders of army corps, and equivalent ranks
in the Navy and Air Force, nor the level below, the division
commanders or their equivalent in the other branches. And
the staff officers of the four staff commands of OKW, OKH,
OKM, and OKL are not included, nor are the trained
specialists who were customarily called General Staff

In effect, then, those indicted as members are military
leaders of the Reich of the highest rank. No serious effort
was made to assert that they composed an "organisation" in
the sense of Article 9. The assertion is rather that they
were a "group", which is a wider and more embracing term
than "organisation."

The Tribunal does not so find. According to the evidence,
their planning at staff level, the constant conferences
between staff officers and field commanders, their
operational technique in the field and at headquarters was
much the same as that of the armies, navies, and air forces
of all other countries. The over-all effort of OKW at
coordination and direction could be matched by a similar,
though not identical form of organisation in other military
forces, such as the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff.

To derive from this pattern of their activities the
existence of an association or group does not, in the
opinion of the Tribunal, logically follow. On such a theory
the top commanders of every other nation are just such an
association rather than what they actually are, an
aggregation of military men, a number of individuals who
happen at a given period of time to hold the highranking
military positions.

Much of the evidence and the argument has centered around
the question of whether membership in these organisations
was or was not voluntary; in this case, it seems to the
Tribunal to be quite beside the point. For this alleged
criminal organisation has one characteristic, a controlling
one, which sharply distinguishes it from the other five
indicted. When an individual

                                                   [Page 83]
became a member of the SS for instance, he did so,
voluntarily or otherwise, but certainly with the knowledge
that he was joining something. In the case of the General
Staff and High Command, however, he could not know he was
joining a group or organisation for such organisation did
not exist except in the charge of the Indictment. He knew
only that he had achieved a certain high rank in one of the
three services, and could not be conscious of the fact that
he was becoming a member of anything so tangible as a
"group", as that word is commonly used. His relations with
his brother officers in his own branch of the service and
his association with those of the other two branches were,
in general, like those of other services all over the world.

The Tribunal therefore does not declare the General Staff
and High Command to be a criminal organisation.

Although the Tribunal is of the opinion that the term
"group" in Article 9 must mean something more than this
collection of military officers, it has heard much evidence
as to the participation of the officers in planning and
waging aggressive war, and in committing war crimes and
crimes against humanity. This evidence is, as to many of
them, clear and convincing.

They have been responsible in large measure for the miseries
and suffering that have fallen on millions of men, women,
and children. They have been a disgrace to the honorable
profession of arms. Without their military guidance the
aggressive ambitions of Hitler and his fellow Nazis would
have been academic and sterile. Although they were not a
group falling within the words of the Charter, they were
certainly a ruthless military caste. The contemporary German
militarism flourished briefly with its recent ally, National
Socialism, as well as or better than it had in the
generations of the past.

Many of these men have made a mockery of the soldier's oath
of obedience to military orders. When it suits their defense
they say they had to obey; when confronted with Hitler's
brutal crimes. which are shown to have been within their
general knowledge, they say they disobeyed. The truth is
they actively participated in all these crimes, or sat
silent and acquiescent, witnessing the commission of crimes
on a scale larger and more shocking than the world has ever
had the misfortune to know. This must be said.

Where the facts warrant it, these men should be brought to
trial so that those among them who are guilty of these
crimes should not escape punishment.

The Tribunal will sit to-morrow at 9:30 a.m., and the
Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 9:30 a.m., 1st October, 1946.)

THE PRESIDENT: There is a correction which the Tribunal
wishes to make in the judgment pronounced yesterday at page
159(10) with refernece to the SD.

The Tribunal's attention has been drawn to the fact that the
Prosecution expressly excluded honorary informers who were
not members of the SS, and members of the Abwehr who were
transferred to the SD. In view of that exclusion by the
Prosecution, the Tribunal also excludes those persons from
the SD which was declared criminal.

Article 26 of the Charter provides that the Judgment of the
Tribunal as to the guilt or innocence of any defendant shall
give the reasons on which it is based.

The Tribunal will now state those reasons in declaring its
Judgment on such guilt or innocence.

(10) See "Conclusion" page 75

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