The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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We shall first deal with the individual responsibility of
this conspirator for Crimes against Peace. These crimes
include Goering's participation in the acquisition and
consolidation of power in Germany, the economic and military
preparations for war and the waging of aggressive war.

For more than two decades Goering's activities extended over
nearly every phase of the conspiracy. He was one of the
conspirators associated with Hitler from the very beginning.
A member of the Party since 1922, he participated in the
Munich "Putsch" of November, 1923, at the head of the S.A.,
a Nazi organisation shown to have been committed to the use
of violence.

He fled the country after the Putsch in order to escape
arrest. After his return he became more than a commander of
street fighters. He was designated Hitler's first political
assistant. A measure of the man may be gleaned from an
exhibit already in evidence, namely, Gritzbach's official
biography of Goering, in which are recorded his dealings
with the Bruning Government, his attempts to break down the
barrier around President von Hindenburg, and his coup as
Reichstag President in September, 1932, in procuring a vote
of no confidence against the von Papen Government just
before the Reichstag was dissolved.

His writings show him not to be backward in taking credit
for his efforts to advance the cause of the Party. Full
credit has also been accorded him by Hitler, and Goering has
boasted that no title and no decoration could make him

                                                   [Page 64]
so proud as the designation given to him by the German
people, and I quote, "the most faithful paladin of our
Fuehrer." That short quotation, may it please the Court,
comes from our Exhibit USA 233, our Document 2324-PS.

With the advent of the Nazis to power in January, 1933,
Goering became Acting Minister of the Interior and Prime
Minister of Prussia. In these capacities he proceeded
promptly to establish a regime of terror in Prussia designed
to suppress all opposition to the Nazi programme.

His chief tool in that connection was the Prussian Police,
which remained under his jurisdiction until 1936. As early
as February, 1933, he directed the entire police force to
render unqualified assistance to the para-military
organisations supporting the new government, such as the
S.A. and the S.S., and to crush all political opponents with
fire-arms, if necessary, and regardless of the consequences.
The Tribunal will take judicial notice of the Directives of
the 10th and 17th of February, 1933, which are cited on Page
7 of our brief and which appear in that collection of
decrees known as the "Ministerialblatt fur dis Preussische
Innere Verwaltung" of 1933.

Goering has frequently and proudly acknowledged his personal
responsibility for the crimes committed pursuant to orders
of this character, and I recall his words which he uttered
before thousands of his fellow Germans:

  " ... each bullet which leaves the barrel of a police
  pistol now, is my bullet. If one calls this murder, then
  I have murdered; I ordered all this, I back it up. I
  assume the responsibility and I am not afraid to do so."

That quotation, may it please the Tribunal, comes from our
Exhibit USA 233, already in evidence, Document 2324-PS.

Soon after he became Prime Minister of Prussia, in pursuance
of the conspiracy, Goering began to develop the Gestapo or
Secret State Police, the details of which organisation of
terror were presented to the Court by my learned colleague,
Colonel Storey. As early as the 26th April, 1933, he signed
the first law officially establishing the Gestapo in
Prussia; and, pursuant to a decree which he signed, he named
himself Prime Minister, Chief of the Prussian Secret State
Police.

Goering was undoubtedly an efficient conspirator. He was
impatient to consolidate the power of the Party at home.
Already by the spring of 1933 the concentration camps had
been established in Prussia. Men and women, so-called
"Marxists" and other political opponents, taken into custody
by the Gestapo, were thrown into concentration camps without
trial. Goering said, "Against the enemies of the State we
must proceed ruthlessly." That statement appears in our
Document 2324-PS, which is already in evidence as Exhibit
USA 233.

The range of political terrorism under his leadership was
almost limitless. A glance at a few of his police directives
in those early days will indicate the extent and
thoroughness with which every dissident voice was silenced.
I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of some of these
decrees in the same collection I mentioned a short while
ago, entitled the "Ministerialblatt fur die Preussische
Innere Verwaltung," and we have cited these decrees on Pages
9 and 10 of our brief. These include:

A directive of the 22nd June, 1933, which required all
officials to watch the statements of civil servants and to
denounce to Goering those who made critical remarks. The
failure to make such reports was to be regarded as proof of
hostile attitude. Then there was the directive of the 23rd
June, 1933, which suppressed all activities of the Social
Democratic Party, including meetings and the party press,
and ordered the confiscation of its property. There was the
directive of the 30th June, 1933, which directed the Gestapo
authorities to report to the Labour Trustees on the
political attitude of the workers. There was the directive
of the 15th January,1934, which ordered the Gestapo and

                                                   [Page 65]

the frontier police to keep track of emigres, particularly
political emigres and Jews residing in neighbouring
countries, and to arrest them and put them in concentration
camps if they returned to Germany.

The essential ruthlessness of Goering is further illustrated
by a well-known bloody episode. After the elimination of the
forces of the opposition, the Nazis felt it necessary to
dispose of non-conformists within their own ranks. This they
accomplished in what has become known as the Roehm purge of
the 30th June, 1934. The defendant Frick, a chief
conspirator in his own right, stated in that connection, in
an affidavit, that many people were murdered who had nothing
to do with the internal S.A. revolt, but who were "just not
liked very well."

Goering's role in this sordid affair was related less than
two weeks after the event by Hitler in a speech to the
Reichstag, and I would like to offer in evidence as Exhibit
USA 576 our Document 3442-PS, in which is contained the
speech of Hitler made on the 13th July, 1934, in the
Reichstag. It is published in "Das Archiv," Vol. 4-6, at
Page 505. I quote:

  "Meanwhile Minister President Goering had already
  received my instructions that in case of a purge he was
  to take analogous measures at once in Berlin and in
  Prussia. With an iron fist he beat down the attack on the
  National Socialist State before it could develop."

With the accession of the Nazis to power Goering at once
assumed a number of the highest and most influential
positions in the Reich also. The proof already presented on
the composition and functions of the Reich Cabinet and of
the offices he held shows him to have been, in fact, the
most important executive of the Nazi State.

A member of the Reichstag since 1928 and its President since
1932, he was a member of the Cabinet from the beginning as
Reich Minister without Portfolio. Shortly thereafter he
received the portfolio as Reich Minister for Air. When, in
an early meeting, the Cabinet discussed the pending Enabling
Act, which gave the Cabinet plenary powers of legislation,
he offered the suggestion that the required two-thirds
majority might be obtained simply by refusing admittance to
Social Democratic delegates. I offer in evidence, as Exhibit
USA 578, our Document 2962-PS, which contains the minutes of
that meeting. If your Honours will note, that meeting was
held on the 15th of March, 1933, and there were present,
besides the defendant Goering, the defendants von Papen, von
Neurath, Frick and Funk. I read from Page 6 of that
document:

  "Reich Minister Goering expressed his conviction that the
  Enabling Act would be passed with the necessary two-
  thirds majority. Possibly a majority could be obtained by
  banishing several Social Democrats from the hall.
  Possibly the Social Democrats would even refrain from
  voting on the Enabling Act."

In 1935, with the unmasking of a secret Luftwaffe, Goering
became its commander-in-chief. He sat as a member and the
Fuehrer's Deputy on the Reich Defence Council, established
by the secret law of the 21st of May, 1933. The purpose of
that Council was, as stated by the defendant Frick in an
affidavit, that is, in evidence:

  "To plan preparations and decrees in case of war, which
  later on were published by the Ministerial Council for
  the Defence of the Reich."

His assumption of ever greater responsibility seemed
limitless. In 1936 he was made Plenipotentiary for the Four
Year Plan, whereby he acquired plenary legislative and
administrative powers over all German economic life. In 1938
he became a member of the Secret Cabinet Council, which had
been established to act as "an advisory board in the
direction of foreign policy."

The Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich,
created in 1939, took over, in effect, all of the
legislative powers of the Cabinet which had not been
reserved otherwise, and Goering became its chairman.

                                                   [Page 66]

His efficient and ruthless services were recognised by
Hitler in 1939, when he designated Goering as his successor,
as heir apparent to the "New Order."

In April, 1936, Goering was appointed Co-ordinator for Raw
Materials and Foreign Exchange and empowered to supervise
all State and Party activities in these fields. I offer in
support of that fact, as Exhibit USA 577, our Document 2827-
PS, which is an excerpt from Ruhle, "Das Dritte Reich." I
read from the fourth paragraph of the excerpt, if your
Honour please, which is an excerpt from a decree signed by
Hitler, and it reads, as follows:

  "Minister President General Goering will take the
  measures necessary for the accomplishment of the tasks
  given to him and has the authority to issue decrees and
  general administrative directives. He, for this purpose,
  is authorised to question and issue directives to all
  authorities, including the highest Reich authorities, and
  all agencies of the Party, its formations and attached
  organisations."

In this capacity Goering convened the War Minister, the
defendant Schacht, as Minister of Economics and President of
the Reichsbank, and the Finance Minister for the Reich and
the State of Prussia, to discuss inter-agency problems
connected with war mobilisation. At a meeting of this group
on the 12th May, 1936, when the question of the prohibitive
cost of synthetic raw material substitutes arose, Goering
decided:

  "If we have war to-morrow we must help ourselves by
  substitutes. Then money will not play any role at all. If
  that is the case, then we must be ready to create the
  prerequisites for that in peace time."

A few days later, on the 27th May, 1936, at a meeting of the
same group Goering opposed any limitations dictated by
orthodox financial policies. He said that "all measures are
to be considered from the standpoint of an assured waging of
war."

The well-known Four Year Plan was proclaimed by Hitler at
the 1936 Nuremberg Party Day. Goering was appointed
Plenipotentiary in charge of the programme which was
intended to achieve national self-sufficiency. Furthermore
Goering commented in 1936 that his chief task as
Plenipotentiary was "to put the whole economy on a war
footing within four years." I would like to offer into
evidence, as Exhibit USA 579, our Document EC-409, so that I
may direct the Tribunal's attention to a memorandum, dated
the 30th December, 1936, of the Defence Division of the
Wehrmacht, entitled " Memorandum on the Four Year Plan and
Preparation of the War Economy," and in the third paragraph
of the translation, or at Page 2, in the middle of paragraph
number 3 in the German original, there is the statement
registered in the protocol, in the memorandum, that:

  "Minister President General Goering, as Commissioner for
  the Four Year Plan, by authority of the Fuehrer and Reich
  Chancellor, granted 18th October, 1936.
  
  As regards the war economy, Minister President General
  Goering sees it as his task 'within four years to put the
  entire economy in a state of readiness for war.'"

The exhibit from which I have just read is of interest
because of another document that has just been brought to
the attention of the prosecution. It is a note for the
files, dated 2nd December, 1936, written in longhand on the
letterhead of "Minister President General Goering," and is
in the handwriting of Colonel Bodanschatz, Goering's Chief
'of Staff. I offer this memorandum as Exhibit USA 580. It is
our Document 3474-PS, and I direct the Tribunal's attention
to the fact that the date of this document is the 2nd
December, 1936. That was a conference, apparently, at which
all the chief officers and generals of the Air Force, the
German Air Force, met. Besides the defendant Goering,

                                                   [Page 67]

there were General Milch, General Kesselring, Rudel, Stumpf,
Christiansen, and all the top commanders of the Air Force,
and I read:

  "World Press excited about the landing of 5,000 German
  volunteers in Spain. Official complaint by Great Britain;
  she gets in touch with France.
  
  Italy suggests that Germany and Italy send, each, one
  division ground troops to Spain. It is, however,
  necessary that Italy, as interested Mediterranean power,
  issue a political declaration first. A decision can be
  expected only after a few days.
  
  The general situation is very serious. Russia wants the
  war. England rearms speedily. Command therefore:
  beginning to-day 'hochste Einsatzbereitschaft.'"

Apparently the translator did not see fit to translate that
word, which means the "highest degree of readiness" -
regardless of financial difficulties. Goering takes over
full responsibility.

  "Peace until 1941 is desirable. However, we cannot know
  whether there will be implications before. We are already
  in a state of war. It is only that no shot is being fired
  so far."

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that would be a convenient time to
break off.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

MR. ALBRECHT: May it please the Tribunal, two important
conferences which have already been referred to by the
prosecution show clearly how the defendant Goering inspired
and directed the preparation of the German economy for
aggressive war. On the 8th July, 1938, he addressed a number
of the leading German aircraft producers. He stated that war
with Czechoslovakia was imminent and boasted that the German
Air Force was already superior in quality and quantity to
the English. He said that "if Germany wins the war, she will
be the greatest power in the world, dominating the world
market, and Germany will be a rich nation. For this goal,
risks must be taken." That quotation, may it please the
Court, is taken from Document R-140, Exhibit USA 160.

A few weeks after the Munich Agreement, on the 14th October,
1938, at another conference held in Goering's office, he
made the statement that Hitler had instructed him to
organise a gigantic armament programme which would make
insignificant all previous achievements. He indicated that
he had been ordered to build as rapidly as possible an Air
Force five times as large, to increase the speed of Army and
Navy rearmament, and to concentrate on offensive weapons,
principally heavy artillery and heavy tanks; and at that
meeting he proposed a specific programme designed to
accomplish those ends. That is a short summary of facts
which appear in Exhibit USA 123, already in evidence, our
Document 1301-PS.

In his dual role as Reich Air Minister and Commander-in-
Chief of the German Air Force it was Goering's function to
develop the Luftwaffe to practical war strength. As early as
the 10th March, 1935, in an interview with the correspondent
of the London Daily Mail, the mask of hypocrisy was removed
and Goering frankly announced to the world that he was in
the process of building a true military Air Force.

Two months later, in a speech to one thousand Air Force
officers, Goering spoke in a still bolder vein. I offer in
evidence from Exhibit USA 437, our Document 3441-PS, which
is Goering's "Reden und Aufsdtze," another excerpt that has
not yet been read in evidence, from Page 242. Goering said:

  "I repeat: I intend to create a Luftwaffe which, if the
  hour should strike, shall burst upon the foe like a
  chorus of revenge. The enemy must have the feeling of
  being lost already even before having fought ....

In the same year, on the 16th March, 1935, he signed his
name to the Conscription Law, which provided for compulsory
military service and constituted

                                                   [Page 68]

an act of defiance on the part of Nazi Germany in violation
of the Versailles Treaty. The Tribunal will take judicial
notice of that decree, which is our Document 1654-PS, from
which I shall not read, with the permission of the Tribunal,
the Law for the Organisation of the Armed Forces; it is
cited in 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 369.

As is demonstrated by the affidavit of Ambassador
Nessersmith already in evidence, Goering's statements during
this period left no doubt in the minds of Allied diplomats
that Germany was engaged in full mobilisation of her air
power for an impending war.

Goering was, in fact, the central figure in German
preparation for military aggression. In German economic
development, too, he held the key positions throughout the
pre-war period. Although he held no official position in the
field of foreign affairs, history records that, as the No. 2
Nazi, he was prominent in all major phases of Nazi
aggression between 1937 and 1941.

In the Austrian affair Goering was the prompter and director
of the diplomatic "tragicomedy" enacted before a shocked but
silent world.


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