The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Now, I would like you, therefore, defendant, to look at
Document 789-PS, which is at Page 261 of the British
Document Book 10-A, and Pages 438 to 440 of the German book
- 438 to 440. This is the note, defendant, of a conference
on 23rd November, 1939, with Hitler, to which all supreme
commanders were ordered. Do you see that at the beginning,
Pages 438 to 440? Do you see what it says, "to which all
supreme commanders are ordered"? Were you present?

A. Yes, it is the conference during the war, on 23rd
November, 1939,

Q. Yes. Were you present?

A. I was present.

Q. Who were the other Commanders-in-Chief who were present?

A. The Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, the Air Force, and a
considerable number of generals of the Army.

Q. The "Oberbefehlshaber"?

A. Yes, but in the Army -

Q. Yes. Now, I want you to look at a passage. The paragraph

  "One year later, Austria came. This step also was
  considered hazardous."

Do you see that? Do you see that paragraph?

A. Yes, I have got it.

Q. Much obliged. Now, I just want you to look at the next
few sentences.

  "It brought about a considerable reinforcement of the
  Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. But
  this step was not to be accomplished in one move. First
  of all, the West Wall had to be finished in the West. It
  was not possible to reach the goal in one bound. It was
  clear to me from the first moment that I could not be
  satisfied with the
                                                  [Page 207]
  Sudeten-German territory. It was only a partial solution.
  The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then
  followed the establishment of the Protectorate and with
  that the basis for the conquest of Poland was laid, but I
  wasn't yet clear at that time whether I should start
  first against the East and then against the West or vice
  versa. Moltke often had to ponder over the same things in
  his time. Of necessity it came to a fight with Poland
  first. I shall be accused of wanting to fight and fight
  again; in struggle I see the fate of all beings. Nobody
  can avoid a struggle if he does not want to go under. The
  increasing population requires a larger living space. My
  goal was to create a logical relation between the
  population and the living space."

Whatever you had understood up to that time, you appreciated
then, that Hitler himself had had a consistent and clear aim
of aggression throughout these matters that I put to you
this morning; did you not?

A. Yes, but now we were already in the middle of a war and
he was looking at these things retrospectively. Also, he
wanted to make it clear to the generals, with whom he had a
conflict at that time, that he had always been right in his
political conceptions. That is the reason why he quotes all
these detailed points again.

Q. Well now, would you turn over to Page 264 of the English
Document Book, German Document Book, Pages 445-448. Have you
got that?

A. Perhaps you would be good enough to read, I have here a -

Q. It is the paragraph that begins: "We have an Achilles
heel: The Ruhr."

A. I have it.

Q. Would you look about halfway down that paragraph? You
will see:

  "England cannot live without her imports. We can feed
  ourselves. The permanent sowing of mines off the English
  coasts will bring England to her knees."

Have you got that passage?

A. Yes.

Q. Thank you. Now, if you would just listen.

  "However, this" (that is bringing England to her knees)"
  can only occur when we have occupied Belgium and Holland.
  It is a difficult decision for me. Nobody has ever
  achieved what I have achieved. My life is of no
  importance in all this. I have led the German people to
  great heights, even if the world does hate us now. I have
  to choose between victory or destruction. I choose
  victory, the greatest historical choice - to be compared
  with the decision of Frederick the Great before the first
  Silesian war, Prussia owes its rise to the heroism of one

And there is some more about Frederick the Great and

  "My decision is unchangeable. I shall attack France and
  England at the earliest and most favourable moment.
  Violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is
  unimportant. No one will question that when we have won.
  We shall not give such idiotic reasons for the violation
  of neutrality as were given in 1914. If we do not violate
  the neutrality, then England and France will. Without
  attack the war is not to be ended victoriously."

Now, do you remember, defendant, that this was just two
weeks after the plans for "Fall Gelb," that is plans for the
attack on Holland and Belgium, had been issued on 10th
November? Do you remember that?

A. I know that this was discussed here, but we were already
at war with England. Therefore at that stage it was no
longer necessary to discuss an attack against England and

Q. You were not at war with Holland and Belgium, were you?

A. Please I would like to finish.

                                                  [Page 208]

I am sorry, I thought you had finished.

A. Here it says:

  "If the French Army marches into Belgium to attack us,
  then it will be too late for us. We must be first."

Hitler at that time stated that he had received definite
news that Belgium would not respect her neutrality and that
he also had news that certain preparations for the reception
of French and British troops, etc., had already been made.
For that reason, he wanted to forestall an attack from
Belgium against us. Apart from that, in his speech of 22nd
August, 1939, he had made a statement entirely to the
opposite effect. He had said that Belgium and Holland would
not break their neutrality.

Q. Did you agree with what he said, that the "violation of
the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is unimportant. No one
will question that when we have won."

Did you agree with that view?

A. No, it is not exactly my opinion, but I had no cause on
my part to raise any objection against his statement at that

Q. The  view of the Naval War Staff was put up to him a
month later with regard to U-boat warfare, was it not? Do
you remember that on 30th December you had a meeting with
Hitler, at which Colonel-General Keitel and Fregattenkapitan
von Putkammer were present?

A. Yes, I was with him on 30th December.

Q. I would like you to look at the next document, which is C-
100, Exhibit GB 463.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, ought not this document to be

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Lordship, of course, is right.
I think we had perhaps better give them two numbers, one for
each of the original PS documents. My Lord, the comparison -

THE PRESIDENT: 1014-PS has a number already, has it not?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord. That has a number.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought perhaps the comparative document
ought to have a number.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Certainly. Shall we call the
comparison of 798-PS, Exhibit GB 464, and the comparison of
1014-PS, Exhibit GB 465.

THE PRESIDENT: I have only got one here, as far as I can

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am going to get some more
done. I am afraid I have only passed up a limited number at
the moment, but I will have some more run off.

THE PRESIDENT: Now you are going to give us C-100?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: C-100, my Lord, yes.


Q. Defendant, I will be grateful if you will turn over a few
pages to where it comes to a report to the Fuehrer dated
30th December, 1939, and an enclosure to that report.

Would you look at paragraph IV, which says:

  "With regard to the form and the moment for the beginning
  of further intensification of the war at sea, the
  decision of the Supreme War Command to begin the general
  intensification of the war with an offensive in the West
  is of decisive importance."

Have you got that, paragraph IV?

A. Page?

Q. I am afraid the paging is different.

A. "Regarding the form" - yes.

                                                  [Page 209]

  Q. "With regard to the form and the moment for the
  commencement of further intensification of the war at
  sea, the decision of the Supreme War Command to begin the
  general intensification of the war with an offensive in
  the West is of decisive importance.
  First possibility:-
  The decision of the Fuehrer is made in favour of a
  Western offensive, beginning very shortly, within the
  framework of the instructions at present issued, by
  violating the neutrality of other States.
  In this case the intensified measures for the war at sea
  will in their political effect only represent a small
  part of the entire intensification of the war. The
  gradual change-over to the intensified form of waging the
  war at sea within the American restricted zones, with the
  ultimate aim of a ruthless employment of all means of
  warfare to interrupt all commerce with England is
  therefore proposed with the start of the general
  Immediate anticipation of individual intensified measures
  for the war at sea is not necessary and may be postponed
  until the start of the general intensification of the
  war. The benevolent neutrals - Italy, Spain, Japan and
  Russia, as well as America - are to be spared as far as

Is not that right, that you contemplated that Hitler's
violation of the neutrality of the Low Countries would
cover, by being a more important matter, your adopting the
most ruthless methods of war at sea? Is not that right?

A. No.

Q. What does that mean if it does not mean that? What does
that mean if it does not mean what I have put to you?

A. With the beginning of the offensive in the West, Hitler
also wanted a certain energetic pursuit of the war at sea.
For that reason, he asked me to introduce at this point the
intensified measures which I considered justified because of
the attitude of the British forces. The intensifications
were very carefully considered in that memorandum, and they
followed step by step the different steps taken by Britain.

Q. I will deal with the memorandum. You need not be afraid
that I will omit that, but what I am putting to you at the
moment is this: That so far from disapproving of the
violation of the neutrality of Holland and Belgium, you, on
behalf of the Navy, were quite prepared to accompany it by
the intensification of submarine warfare; is not that right?

A. That is twisting my words. I had nothing to do with this
violation of neutrality, for we were not there when they
marched into these two countries. The only thing I was
interested in was to intensify the submarine war step by
step, so as to meet the measures introduced by the British ,
which also violated International Law.

Q. I shall be coming to submarine warfare, but at the moment
I want to try to keep all this in compartments. There are
only two more points on this aggressive war. I am now going
to pass - you can leave that document for the moment. I will
come back to it, defendant; you need not be afraid, and I
want you to help me on one or two points in Norway.

With regard to Norway, you were quite content to leave
Norway neutral, not occupied, so long as you had a protected
channel up the Norwegian coast in neutral waters, is that
right? That was an important point for you, to have a
channel in neutral waters so that not only your ships, but
also your submarines, could go up and start out from neutral
waters, is that right?

A. No, I have very clearly explained in documents the origin
of the Norwegian campaign. There was the danger that the
British might occupy Norway, and information of all sorts
indicated that, of course, if we were forced to occupy the
Norwegian coast, then, apart from all the numerous
disadvantages which I have explained, we had the advantage
that we would gain this or that base for our Atlantic

                                                  [Page 210]

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that the Navy seriously
thought that the British wanted to occupy Norway?

A. I most certainly thought that. We had so much information
about it that I had no doubt whatever, and it was fully
confirmed later on.

Q. I just ask you, then, to look at just one or two typical
Navy reports. We will not refer to the document again, but
we will start from there, just to get the time.

You remember, on 13th March, 1940, General Jodl entered in
his diary that the Fuehrer was still looking for
justification; do you remember that? You remember that, do
you not?

A. I have already explained once that the expression just
used, "justification," is wrong, wrongly translated. Jodl
wrote "Begrundung," "reason." But that is also wrong -
please will you let me finish - even that is incorrect,
because the Fuehrer had an abundance of reasons himself,
which appeared in the instruction issued on 1st March, and
it was known to all of us. I have said that by the
expression, "Begrundung," "reason," he probably meant that
he had not yet had a diplomatic note compiled. He had not
told the Foreign Minister anything about it at that stage. I
told you that recently under oath and I repeat it under oath

Q. I see. That is the meaning that you have given to it.
Well now, will you look at your own Exhibit, No. 81, in
Raeder Document Book V, Page 376.

A. May I have Document Book V?

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