The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-02/tgmwc-02-14.08


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-02/tgmwc-02-14.08
Last-Modified: 1999/09/13

And so we see that, at last, Hitler had kept his word to his
generals. He had afforded them their propagandistic
justification, and at that time, anyway, it did not matter
what people said about it afterwards. "The view shall not
appear, asked later on, whether we told the truth or not."
Might is what counts - or victory is what counts and not
right.

On that day, 1st September, when news came of this violation
of Polish ground, the British Government, in accordance with
their Treaty obligations, sent an ultimatum to the German
Government, in which they stated - I quote from the last
paragraph:-

                                                  [Page 174]

   "I am accordingly to inform your Excellency that unless
   the German Government are prepared to give His Majesty's
   Government satisfactory assurances that the German
   Government have suspended all aggressive action against
   Poland and are prepared promptly to withdraw their
   forces from Polish territory, His Majesty's Government
   in the United Kingdom will without hesitation fulfil
   their obligations to Poland."

By 3rd September no withdrawal had taken place, and so at 9
o'clock the document I have just referred to, TC-72, Number
110, will be Exhibit GB 74 - at 9 o'clock, on 3rd September,
a final ultimatum was handed to the German Minister of
Foreign Affairs. I quote from the third paragraph:-

   "Although this communication was made more than twenty-
   four hours ago, no reply has been received, but German
   attacks upon Poland have been continued and intensified.
   I have accordingly the honour to inform you that, unless
   not later than 11 o'clock, British Summer Time, today
   the 3rd September, satisfactory assurances to the above
   effect have been given by the German Government, and
   have reached His Majesty's Government in London, a state
   of war will exist between the two countries as from that
   hour."

And so it was that at 11 o'clock, on 3rd September, a state
of war existed between Germany and England and between
Germany and France. All the appeals to peace, all the
appeals to reason, we now see completely stillborn,
stillborn when they were made. Plans, preparations,
intentions, determination to carry out this assault upon
Poland, had been going on for months, for years before. It
mattered not what anybody but the German Government had in
mind, or whatever rights anybody else but the German nation
thought they had, and if there is any doubt left at all,
after what we have seen, I would ask you to look at two more
documents.

If you would look at the last document, first of all, in
your document book, PS-1831, which becomes Exhibit GB 75.
Even now, on 3rd September, Mussolini offers some chance of
peace.

We have here a telegram. It is timed 6.30 hours, and I am
afraid I am unable to say whether that is 6.30 in the
morning or the evening, but it is dated the 3rd September,
and I quote:

   "The Italian Ambassador handed to the State Secretary,
   at the Duce's order, the following copy for the Fuehrer
   and Reich Chancellor, and for the Reich Minister for
   Foreign Affairs:
   
   Italy sends the information, leaving, of course, every
   decision to the Fuehrer, that it still has a chance to
   call a conference with France, England and Poland on the
   following basis: 1. An Armistice which would leave the
   Army Corps where they are at present" - and it will be
   remembered that on 3rd September, they had advanced a
   considerable way over the frontier. - "2. Calling a
   conference within two or three days. 3. Solution of the
   Polish-German controversy would be certainly favourable
   for Germany as matters stand today."
   
   This idea, which originated from the Duce, had its
   foremost exponent in France.
   
   "Danzig is already German, and Germany is already
   holding securities which guarantee most of her demands.
   Besides, Germany has already had her 'moral
   satisfaction.' If she would accept the plan for a
   conference, she will achieve all her aims and at the
   same time prevent a war which already has the aspect of
   becoming universal and of extremely long duration."

                                                  [Page 175]

But, my Lord, perhaps even Mussolini did not appreciate what
all Germany's aims were and, of course, the offer was turned
down in the illuminating letter which Hitler was to write in
reply. I refer you back to the document before that. It is
still part of the same Exhibit GB 75

   "Duce:
   
   I first want to thank you for your last attempt at a
   mediation."

THE PRESIDENT: As I understand it, the "GB" references you
give are not on the documents at all; they are the exhibit
numbers themselves, which are to be put on the document
after they have been put in.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes. That is correct.
They will be put in by the Court, of course.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you try to make clear the reference
which is on the document so that the Tribunal could find the
document itself ?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes. The last document
was PS-1831, and it is the very last one in the document
book. That is the one I have just referred to - the telegram
from Mussolini. The document to which I am about to refer,
is the last but one in the Tribunal's book but it has the
same number on it as the last because it forms part of the
same exhibit.

THE PRESIDENT: I think if you would just explain the system
in which the exhibits are numbered, it would help us.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: The documents are
numbered at the present moment before they are put in
evidence, with a variety of serial numbers, such as "PS",
"TC", "L" and other letters. There is no significance
attached to that at all. It depends on whom they have been
found by and what files they have come from. When the
documents are put in as exhibits, they are marked by the
Court with a Court number. The exhibits put in by the United
States representatives were all prefixed with the letters
"USA". The exhibits which have been put in by the British
Prosecutors have all been prefixed with the letters "GB". If
it would be of any assistance to members of the Tribunal, I
will have their document books marked up this evening with
the new Court numbers that have been put upon them by the
Court officials, during the course of the day.

THE PRESIDENT: We will talk about that later.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: If there is any document
missing from any of these books I have a copy.

THE PRESIDENT: You are going to read PS-1831?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes, that is Exhibit GB
75.

   "Duce,
   
   I first want to thank you for your last attempt at a
   mediation. I would have been ready to accept, but only
   on the condition that there would be a possibility of
   giving me certain guarantees that the conference would
   be successful. Because, for the last two days, the
   German troops have been engaged in an extraordinarily
   rapid advance in Poland, it would have been impossible
   to devaluate the bloody sacrifices made thereby by
   diplomatic intrigues. Nevertheless, I believe that a way
   could have been found, if England had not been
   determined to wage war under all circumstances. I have
   not given in to the English, because, Duce, I do not
   believe that peace could have been maintained for more
   than one-half

                                                  [Page 176]

   a year or a year. Under these circumstances, I thought
   that, in spite of everything, the present moment was
   better for resistance. At present, the superiority of
   the German Armed Forces in Poland is so overwhelming in
   all the fields that the Polish Army will collapse in a
   very short time. I doubt whether such rapid success
   could have been achieved one or two years later. England
   and France would have armed their allies to such an
   extent that the crushing technical superiority of the
   German Armed Forces could not have been so apparent any
   more. I am aware, Duce, that the fight which I enter, is
   one for life and death. My own fate does not play any
   role in it at all. But I am also aware that one cannot
   avoid such a struggle permanently and that one has to
   choose, after cold deliberation, the moment for
   resistance in such a way that the probability of success
   is guaranteed, and I believe in this success, Duce, with
   the firmness of a rock. Recently you have given me the
   kind assurance that you think you will be able to help
   me in a few fields. I acknowledge this in advance, with
   sincere thanks. But I believe also - even if we march
   now over different roads - that fate will finally join
   us. If the National Socialistic Germany were destroyed
   by the Western Democracies, the Fascist Italy would also
   have to face a grave future. I was personally always
   aware of this community of the future of our two
   governments and I know that you, Duce, think the same
   way. On the situation in Poland, I would like to make
   the brief remark that we lay aside, of course, all
   unimportant things, that we do not waste any man on
   unimportant tasks, but direct all on acts in the light
   of great operational considerations. The Northern Polish
   Army, which is in the Corridor, has already been
   completely encircled by our action. It will be either
   wiped out or will surrender. Otherwise, all operations
   proceed according to plan. The daily achievements of the
   troops are far beyond all expectations. The superiority
   of our air force is complete, although scarcely one-
   third of it is in Poland. In the West, I will be on the
   defensive. France can here sacrifice its blood first.
   Then the moment will come when we can confront the enemy
   also there with the full power of the nation. Accept my
   thanks, Duce, for all your assistance which you have
   given to me in the past, and I ask you not to deny it to
   me in the future."

That completes the evidence which I propose to offer upon
this part of the case in respect of the war of aggression
against Poland, England and France, which is charged in
Count 2.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, in the early
hours of the morning of 9th April, 1940, Nazi Germany
invaded Norway and Denmark. It is my duty to present to the
Tribunal the prosecution's evidence, which has been prepared
in collaboration with my American colleague, Major Hinely,
with regard to these brutal wars of aggression, which were
also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements
and assurances. With the Court's permission I would like,
first of all, to deal with the treaties and agreements and
assurances that were in fact violated by these two invasions
of Norway and Denmark.

The invasions were, of course, in the first instance,
violations of The Hague Convention and of the Kellogg-Briand
Pact. My learned friend, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, has already
dealt with those matters in the course of his presentation
of the evidence. In addition to these general treaties,
there were

                                                  [Page 177]

specific agreements between Germany and Norway and Denmark.
In the first instance, there was the Treaty of Arbitration
and Conciliation between Germany and Denmark, which was
signed at Berlin on 2nd June, 1926. The Court will find that
Treaty, TC-17, on the first page of British document book
No. 3, and to that exhibit it may be convenient to give the
number GB 76. I am proposing to read only the first Article
of that Treaty, which is in these terms:

   "The Contracting Parties undertake to submit to the
   procedure of arbitration or conciliation, in conformity
   with the present Treaty, all disputes of any nature
   whatsoever which may arise between Germany and Denmark,
   and which it has not been possible to settle, within a
   reasonable period, by diplomacy, or to bring with the
   consent of both Parties before the Permanent Court of
   International justice.
   
   Disputes, for the solution of which a special procedure
   has been laid down in other Conventions in force between
   the Contracting Parties, shall be settled in accordance
   with the provisions of such Conventions."

Then there follows, in the remaining Articles, the
establishment of the machinery for arbitration.

I would next refer to the Treaty of Non-Aggression between
Germany and Denmark, which was signed by the defendant
Ribbentrop on 31st May, 1939, which, as the Tribunal will
recollect, was ten weeks after the Nazi seizure of
Czechoslovakia. The Court will find that as Document TC-24
in the document book and it will now bear the Exhibit Number
GB 77.

THE PRESIDENT: Does that follow the last treaty?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That follows the last treaty, my Lord.

With the Court's permission, in view of the identity of the
signatory of that Treaty, I would like to read the preamble
and Articles I and 2:-

   "His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Iceland, and the
   Chancellor of the German Reich,
   
   Being firmly resolved to maintain peace between Denmark
   and Germany in all circumstances, have agreed to confirm
   this resolve by means of a treaty and have appointed as
   their Plenipotentiaries: His Majesty, the King of
   Denmark and Iceland, and the Chancellor of the German
   Reich."

Article 1 reads as follows:-

   "The Kingdom of Denmark and the German Reich shall in no
   case resort to war or to any other use of force, one
   against the other.
   
   Should action of the kind referred to in Paragraph I be
   taken by a third Power against one of the Contracting
   Parties, the other Contracting Party shall not support
   such action in any way."

Then Article 2 deals with the ratification of the Treaty,
and the second paragraph states:

   "The Treaty shall come into force on the exchange of the
   instruments of  ratification and shall remain in force
   for a period of 10 years from that date."

As the Tribunal will observe, the Treaty is dated 31st, May,
1939. At the bottom of the page there appears the signature
of the defendant Ribbentrop. The Tribunal will shortly see
that less than a year after the signature of this Treaty,
the invasion of Denmark by the Nazi forces was to show the
utter worthlessness of treaties to which the defendant
Ribbentrop put his signature.

                                                  [Page 178]

With regard to Norway, the defendant Ribbentrop and the Nazi
conspirators were party to a similar perfidy. In the first
instance, I would refer to Document TC-30, which is the next
document in the British document book 3, and which will bear
the Exhibit Number GB 78. The Tribunal will observe that
this is an assurance given to Denmark, Norway, Belgium and
the Netherlands on 28th April, 1939. That, of course, was
after the annexation of Czechoslovakia had shaken the
confidence of the world, and this was presumably an attempt,
now submitted by the prosecution to be a dishonest attempt,
to try to reassure the Scandinavian States. The assurance is
in a speech by Hitler and reads:

   "I have given binding declarations to a large number of
   States. None of these States can complain that even a
   trace of a demand contrary thereto has ever been made to
   them by Germany, None of the Scandinavian statesmen, for
   example, can contend that a request has ever been put to
   them by the German Government, or by German public
   opinion, which was incompatible with the sovereignty and
   integrity of their State.
   
   I was pleased that a number of European States availed
   themselves of these declarations by the German
   Government to express and emphasise their desire too for
   absolute neutrality. This applies to Holland, Belgium,
   Switzerland, Denmark, etcetera."

A further assurance was given by the Nazi Government on 2nd
September, 1939, which, as the Tribunal will recollect, was
the day after the Nazi invasion of Poland. The Court will
observe the next document in British document book 3, is the
Document TC-31, which will be Exhibit GB 79. That is an aide-
memoire that was handed to the Norwegian Foreign Minister by
the German Minister in Oslo on 2nd September, 1939. It
reads:

   "The German Reich Government is determined, in view of
   the friendly relations which exist between Norway and
   Germany, under no circumstances to prejudice the
   inviolability and integrity of Norway, and to respect
   the territory of the Norwegian State. In making this
   declaration, the Reich Government naturally expects, on
   its side, that Norway will observe an unimpeachable
   neutrality towards the Reich and will not tolerate any
   breaches of Norwegian neutrality by any third party
   which might occur. Should the attitude of the Royal
   Norwegian Government differ from this so that any such
   breach of neutrality by a third party occurs, the Reich
   Government would then obviously be compelled to
   safeguard the interest of the Reich in such a way as the
   resulting situation might dictate."

There follows, finally the further German assurance to
Norway, which appears as the next document in the book, TC-
32, which will be Exhibit GB 80. That is a speech by Hitler
on 6th October, 1939, and if the Court will observe
Paragraph 2, at the top of the page, the extract from the
speech reads as follows:-

   "Germany has never had any conflicts of interest, or
   even points of controversy, with the Northern States;
   neither has she any today, Sweden and Norway have both
   been offered non-aggression pacts by Germany and have
   both refused them, solely because they do not feel
   themselves threatened in any way."

Those were clear and positive assurances which Germany gave.
The Court will see that violation of those assurances is
charged in Paragraph 22

                                                  [Page 179]

of Appendix C of the Indictment, at Page 43. The Court will
notice that there is a minor typographical error in the date
of the first assurance, which is alleged in the Indictment
to have been given on 3rd September, 1939. The Court will
see from Document TC-31, which is Exhibit GB 79, that the
assurance was in fact given on 2nd September, 1939.

Now, those treaties and assurances were the diplomatic
background to the brutal Nazi aggression on Norway and
Denmark, and the evidence which the prosecution will now
place before the Court, will in my submission, establish
beyond reasonable doubt that these assurances were simply
given to lull suspicion and cause the intended victims of
Nazi aggression to be unprepared to meet the Nazi attack.
For we now know that as early as October, 1939, these
conspirators and their confederates were plotting the
invasion of Norway, and the evidence will indicate that the
most active conspirators in that plot were the defendants
Raeder and Rosenberg.

The Norwegian invasion is, in one respect, not a typical
Nazi aggression, in that Hitler has to be persuaded to
embark upon it. The chief instruments of persuasion were
Raeder and Rosenberg; Raeder, because he thought Norway
strategically important and because he coveted glory for his
Navy; Rosenberg, because of his political connections in
Norway which he sought to develop.


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.