The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. KUBUSCHOK: Exhibit 4, my Lord.

  " ... just as little was this possible with the solemn
  obligations which were undertaken by the then governing
  parties in the name of the German people. The present
  government simply had to liquidate a situation which had
  been created by all the former governments since the
  signing of the Versailles Treaty. The question as to
  whether this situation can be liquidated by Germany
  denying the validity of her signature and thus, at the
  same time, placing herself outside the conception of
  cultural and other standards, must be answered with an
  emphatic 'no'."

In mentioning this quotation, I should like to point out
that this attitude under the then prevailing situation and
especially in view of the propaganda by the NSDAP, is
especially noteworthy.


Q. On the 18th of July, 1932, the Reich Minister of the
Interior decreed a general ban on demonstrations after, as
you have already said, on the 16th June, the ban on uniforms
had been lifted for National Socialists. What were the
reasons for the new ban on demonstrations?

A. The condition under which Hindenburg had rescinded the
ban on uniforms for the SA was not met. Election campaigns
became more and more radical and therefore I decided to
suggest to the Reich President a decree prohibiting
demonstrations. Contrary to the degree banning the uniforms,
this decree applied to all parties equally. Therefore, it
did not only prohibit the SA but all fighting formations of
the other parties.

Q. Now I shall turn to the 20th of July, '32. The
prosecution calls your action on that date a "coup d'etat".
The witness Severing has also fully elaborated on that
point. What was the reason for your action an the 20th of
July, 1932?

A. The action was based on the necessity of restoring
orderly conditions. I had received reports about the
co-operation of the police department of the Prussian
Ministry of the Interior with the Communists. The situation
of the Reich Government in Berlin must in this case be
specifically taken into consideration and I do not know
whether the High Tribunal is cognizant of the legal
position. The Reich Government at Berlin was not an extra
territorial area such as obtains in the

                                                  [Page 266]

United States in Washington, D.C.; but it lay within the
police power of the Prussian State. My own protection, that
is, the protection of the Reich Chancellor, lay in the hands
of the Prussian police. If, therefore, combinations with the
Communists were made in the Prussian police ministry, then
this affected the security of the Reich Government. This
action against the Prussian Government did by no means
constitute an action against Socialism as such. Neither did
a Nazification of the Republican police take place, as the
witness Severing testified here. The officials, with the
exception of a few higher officials, remained completely
unchanged. How I regarded the situation there, I made known
to the German people in a radio speech on the evening of the
20th of July. The High Tribunal will find this speech in
Document 1, Page 4. However, I shall forgo the reading of
this speech.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should further like to point to Document 2,
which I wish to submit as Exhibit 5. I should like to point
out on Page 15, the part where the defendant von Papen gives
his account about the necessity of this measure.


Q. Was this action of yours on the 20th of July brought
before the highest German tribunal, the German Supreme
Court, and was any decision made?

A. Yes. The Prussian cabinet brought an action against the
Reich Government before the Reich Supreme Court at Leipzig;
there the matter was properly argued and judgement passed.
This sentence upheld entirely the action of the Reich
President. It is therefore impossible for the prosecution to
characterise this matter as a "Putsch".

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to call your attention to
Document 8, which I wish to submit as Exhibit 6. This is an
extract - I beg your pardon.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, is it necessary for you to
give the document exhibit numbers different from the
document numbers? You see, it becomes a little bit
confusing. Each one of these documents has, at the head of
the document, a number, 1, 2, 3 and so forth, and they
follow each other -

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to acquiesce in the suggestion
of the High Tribunal and retain the same number. Therefore,
Document 5 shall become Exhibit 5.

THE PRESIDENT: That would be much less confusing, I think,
if you could.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes, indeed, my Lord. This Exhibit 5 is an
extract from the verdict of the State Supreme Court, dated
the 20th of October, 1932. On Page 19, at the beginning, is
the judgement which says that the decree of the Reich
President of the 20th of July, 1932, was entirely legal.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Document 8 will be Exhibit 8, will it

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes. This is No. 5, your Honour. If I said 8,
I made a mistake. It is No. 5.

THE PRESIDENT: It is quite clear, anyhow, that the exhibit
numbers will be the same as the document numbers.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes, your Honour; they will be identical.

THE PRESIDENT: And you are now on Document 5, Exhibit 5.



Q. How did the Prussian Government, and specifically Prime
Minister President Braun, react to this judgement of the
Supreme Court?

A. The Prussian Government and the Prussian Prime Minister
President absolutely accepted the judgement, which became
apparent from the discussions which I personally had later
on in October with the Prussian Minister President.

                                                  [Page 267]

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Regarding the position taken by the Prussian
Government, I should like to submit Document 86, which is
contained in Volume 3 of my Document Book, which, however,
because of technical difficulties, is not completely
translated and cannot be submitted today.


Q. Witness, on the 29th of July, 1932, you had an interview
with a United Press Correspondent and you stated in detail
your position on the armament problem. Since this topic is
of special significance for your case and your defence, I
should like to have your comment on this matter.

A. I should like to clarify my attitude on the armament
question, for it is the same which I held at the time when I
was Vice-Chancellor in the government of Hitler. I should
like to refer to Document 1, which sets forth my interview
to the United Press, and I will quote from Document 86,
which is the radio speech which I made on 12th September. On
that occasion I said:

  "We want disarmament - "

Q. (Interposing). Perhaps, witness, you could just give us
the contents in a few words.

A. If the Tribunal would like to check on the contents of my
speech, in Document 86, the Tribunal will find that I was
speaking for disarmament and for peace. On that occasion I
appealed to the major Powers and told them-and I would like
to quote this sentence:

  "In these days Germany is undertaking a gigantic attempt,
  through the mobilization of her last internal reserves,
  to bring about work and social peace. That gives us a
  right to expect that the leading statesmen of the major
  Powers, now, for their part, will decide to bring to an
  end the poisoning of foreign political relations through
  agreements which cannot be kept."

DR. KUBUSCHOK: On 31st July 1932, the Reichstag election
took place. First of all, I should like to submit a diagram
in which the election results of the various elections held
in the years 1930 to 1933 are tabulated. This is Exhibit 98,
which I hereby submit. From the figures shown there we can
see the internal political development of Germany.


Q. Witness, what was the result and what were the political
conclusions you drew from the result of the elections?

A. On the eve of the elections, on the 30th of July, I spoke
to the United States and I said"

  "The world does not realize that Germany is confronted
  with a civil war. The world did not help us to overcome
  our difficulties at Lausanne, and it is unbearable that
  fourteen years after the end of the war there is no
  equality of rights for us."

The election of 30th July brought more than a doubling of
the Nazi votes, from 6.4. million to 13.7 million votes. 230
members of the Reichstag as opposed to 110.

The conclusions to be drawn from the results of this
election were that no majority could be formed from the
extreme Right to the Social Democrats without the NSDAP.
With that, the Party had achieved a parliamentary key

The prosecution is trying to interpret the increase of the
Nazi vote to the rescission of the ban on uniforms. That is
an explanation which is altogether too simple. Actually, the
ban on uniforms was lifted from 16th June till 18th July,
for one month. And already two weeks prior to the election I
had issued a decree prohibiting demonstrations. The real
reason for the increase in the Nazi votes was the desperate
economic situation of Germany and the fact of the general
disappointment about the lack of foreign political successes
at Lausanne.

Q. Now, what was your conclusion from the results of this

A. The conclusion I drew was the same opinion which I had
held before. On the next day I gave an interview to the
Associated Press, and through this interview I told the
entire world

                                                  [Page 268]

  "The National Socialists have to be given responsibility,
  and when that has been done we have to bring about a
  reform of the Constitution."

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer you, regarding these historical
facts, to Exhibit 1 which has already been submitted, and
especially to Pages 4, 5 and 6.


Q. Witness, please tell the Tribunal briefly about your
negotiations with Hitler.

A. I had a long discussion with Hitler on 12th August. I
impressed upon him the necessity of his participation, and
my own readiness to resign as Chancellor in a few months if
the co-operation would prove successful, and after von
Hindenburg had gained confidence in Hitler.

Of the political parties, the Right Wing parties, as is well
known, had supported my cabinet. The Zentrum Party was in
opposition. Now, after these elections, the Zentrum Party
wanted Hitler as Chancellor, but Hitler himself did not want
to become the head of a majority government.

The correctness of my statements is shown in Document 1,
Page 6, the first paragraph, last line. I quote:

  "Kaas, the leader of the Zentrum Party, demands a
  so-called total solution of this crisis by the full
  responsible participation of the former opposition in the
  Reich Government."

I made an offer to Hitler that he should enter my cabinet as
Vice-Chancellor. Hitler declined. On the next day, we
continued with our negotiations in the presence of the Reich

Hitler voiced the demand to the Reich President to join the
government with his movement, but only on the condition that
he himself be appointed Chancellor. And this may be seen in
this document on page 6.

Q. It is Document 1, Page 6, your Honour.

A. The Reich President did not believe that he should
transfer complete authority to Hitler and rejected his
proposal. At this point, our efforts of drawing National
Socialism into a responsible government activity had failed.

Q. The defendant von Papen voiced his opinion about this in
a speech at Munich, which can be found in the Document Book,
Exhibit 1, Pages 10 and 11.

After the failure of these negotiations, the National
Socialists entered into the most intense opposition against
the government. Did this in any way change your basic

A. The oppositional attitude of the Nazis against my
government did not change my basic course at all. I spoke
fully about this matter at Munster on 28th August.

Q. This speech may be found in Document 1, Exhibit 1, Page
7. And on this page I would also like to call your attention
to a report on a judgement of a special court at Beuthen.
There the first death sentence was passed on the basis of
the terror decree of 9th August. This terror decree with
which the prosecution wishes to incriminate the defendant
von Papen resulted in the death sentence against five
National Socialists.

On the 4th September you issued an emergency decree to
revitalise economy. As this decree is the nucleus of your
government's activity in the solution of economic problems,
I should like to have your comment on this emergency decree.

A. I have already discussed this emergency decree and stated
that it involved a programme involving 2.2 billion
Reichsmarks with the aim of creating work for one and
three-fourths million workers. We made this gigantic effort
without increasing our foreign debt by a penny. It was, if I
may characterise it in these words, the straining of our
utmost with our last reserves of strength. The success
became already noticeable in the first month through a
decrease of 123,000 unemployed.

Q. In one month?

A. Yes, in one month.

Q. Within this general labour procurement programme was
rearmament contemplated?

                                                  [Page 269]

A. Not at all. My government did not spend a penny for

Q. The details of this emergency decree may be found in
Document 1, Pages 8 and 9.

Why was there another dissolution of the Reichstag on 12th
September. What did you say about this on that evening over
the radio?

A. The new Reichstag met according to the constitution. My
government, as I have already said, could not obtain a
majority, but the formation of any other government without
Hitler was quite impossible. Therefore, I was justified in
the hope that this Reichstag would give my government a
reprieve in which to prove itself, especially as I had
submitted to it a comprehensive and decisive economic
programme. But now something unexpected and unheard of

The thing that happened was, so to speak, the prostitution
of the German Parliament. Herr Goering, the President of the
German Reichstag, gave to the Communist delegate, Clara
Zetkin, the floor for a vehement attack on my government.
When I, the responsible Chancellor of this government, asked
for the floor in order to give an account on what I wanted
to do, I was not allowed to speak, and the Reichstag
President asked for a vote on a motion of no confidence
brought in by the Communists, the Socialists and the
National Socialists. The fact of this concerted motion on
the part of the three parties should really show you what
would have taken place in Germany if these three parties had
ruled in Germany together, and should show how imperative it
was for me to try not to push National Socialism towards the
Left Wing, but to bring it into my government instead.

I was forced to put the order for the dissolution of the
Reichstag on the table, and to leave.

Q. These historic facts may be found in Document 1, Page 8,
and the document which I have already referred to without
having submitted it, Document 86, Page 192.

In a speech in Munich, on 12th October, you also dealt with
the question of reforming the Constitution. Please tell us
briefly just what opinion you voiced on that occasion.

A. The reform of the Constitution, as I have already
mentioned, was one of the most urgent aims of my government.
The reasons for it are set forth in this document on Page 9.
This reform was to include an electoral reform, in order to
end the multiplicity of parties, and the creation of an
Upper House. Above all, it was to give the government more
authority, and more possibilities to govern than was
possible under the Weimar Constitution.

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