The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV
The story of the "Athenia" establishes that the German Navy
under Raeder embarked upon deliberate fraud. Even before
receiving Lemp's reports, the German Admiralty had
repeatedly denied the possibility that a German U-boat could
be in the area concerned. The charts which showed the
disposition of U-boats and the position of sinking of the
"Athenia" (discussed in Section 14 on Doenitz) have shown
the dishonesty of these announcements. The conclusion to be
drawn is this; Raeder, as head of the German Navy, knew all
the facts. Censorship and information control in Nazi
Germany were so complete that Raeder, as head of the Navy,
must have been party to the falsification published in the
"Voelkischer Beobachter," which was an attempt by the Nazi
conspirators to save face with their own people and uphold
the myth of an infallible Fuehrer backed by an impeccable
war machine.

(5) The Attack on Norway and Denmark. Truth mattered little
in Nazi propaganda, and Raeder's camouflage was not confined
to painting his ships or sailing them under the British
flag, as he did in attacking Norway or Denmark. Raeder's
proud comment upon the invasions of Denmark and Norway, in
which he played a leading part, (see Section 9 of Chapter IX
on aggression against Norway and Denmark), is contained in a
letter of Raeder's to the Navy, which stated in part:

     "The operations of the Navy in the occupation of Norway
     will for all time remain the great contribution of the
     Navy to this war."

(6) The Attack on the U.S.S.R. With the occupation of Norway
and much of Western Europe safely completed, Hitler turned
his eyes towards Russia. Raeder was against the attack on
Russia and tried his best to dissuade Hitler from embarking
upon it. Raeder approached the problem with cynicism. He did
not object to the aggressive war on Russia because of its
illegality, its morality, its inhumanity. His only objection
to it was its untimeliness. He wanted to finish England
first before going further afield.

The story of Raeder's part in the deliberations upon the war
against Russia is told in extracts from a German compilation
of official naval-notes by the German Naval War Staff (C-
170). The first entry, dated 26 September 1940, shows that
Raeder was advocating to Hitler an aggressive Mediterranean
policy, in which

                                                  [Page 860]
the Navy would play a paramount role, as opposed to a
continental land policy. The entry reads:

     "Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer: Naval
     Supreme Commander presents his opinion about the
     situation: the Suez Canal must be captured with German
     assistance From Suez advance through Palestine and
     Syria; then Turkey in our power. The Russian problem
     will then assume a different appearance. Russia is
     fundamentally frightened of Germany. It is questionable
     whether action against Russia from the North will then
     be still necessary." (C-170)

The entry for 14 November reads:

     "Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer: Fuehrer is
     still inclined to instigate the conflict with Russia.
     Naval Supreme Commander recommends putting it off until
     the time after the victory over England since there is
     heavy strain on German forces and the end of warfare is
     not in sight. According to the opinion of the Naval
     Supreme Commander, Russia will not press for a conflict
     within the next year, since she is in the process of
     building up her Navy with Germany's help -- 38 cm.
     turrets for battleships, etc.: thus, during these years
     she continues to be dependent upon German assistance."

And again, the entry for 27 December states:

     "Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer: Naval
     Supreme Commander emphasizes again that strict
     concentration of our entire war effort against England
     as our main enemy is the most urgent need of the hour.
     On the one side England has gained strength by the
     unfortunate Italian conduct of the war in the eastern
     Mediterranean and by the increasing American support.
     On the other hand, however, she can be hit mortally by
     a strangulation of her ocean traffic which is already
     taking effect. What is being done for submarine and
     naval air force construction is much too little. Our
     entire war potential must work for the conduct of the
     war against England; thus for Navy and air force every
     fissure of strength prolongs the war and endangers the
     final success. Naval Supreme Commander voices serious
     objections against Russia campaign before the defeat of
     England." (C-l 70)

The entry for 18 February 1941 reads as follows:

     "Chief, Naval Operations (SKL) insists on the
     occupation of Malta even before 'Barbarossa'." (C-170)

The 23 February entry reads:

     "Instruction from Supreme Command, Armed Forces
                                                  [Page 861]
     (OKW) that seizure of Malta is contemplated for the
     fall of 1941 after the execution of 'Barbarossa'." (C-

The entry for 19 March 1941 shows that by March 1941 Raeder
had begun to consider what prospects of naval action the
Russian aggression had to offer. The entry states:

     "In case of 'Barbarossa', Supreme Naval Commander
     describes the occupation of Murmansk as an absolute
     necessity for the Navy. Chief of the Supreme Command,
     Armed Forces, considers compliance very difficult." (C-

In the meantime, the entries show that Mussolini was crying
out for a more active Nazi Mediterranean policy. The entry
for 30 May reads:

     "[Duce] demands urgently decisive offensive Egypt-Suez
     for fall 1941; 12 divisions are needed for that; 'This
     stroke would be more deadly to the British Empire than
     the capture of London'; Chief Naval Operations agrees
     completely." (C-170)

Finally, the entry for 6 June indicates the strategic views
of Raeder and the German Navy at that stage:

     "Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer: Memorandum
     of the Chief, Naval Operations. Observation on the
     strategic situation in the Eastern Mediterranean after
     the Balkan campaign and the occupation of Crete and
     further conduct of the war."
     "The memorandum points with impressive clarity to the
     decisive aims of the war in the Near East. Their
     advancement has moved into grasping distance by the
     successes in the Aegean area, and the memorandum
     emphasizes that the offensive utilization of the
     present favorable situation must take place with the
     greatest acceleration and energy, before England has
     again strengthened her position in the Near East with
     help from the United States of America. The memorandum
     realizes the unalterable fact that the campaign against
     Russia would be opened very shortly; demands, however,
     that the undertaking 'Barbarossa', which because of the
     magnitude of its aims naturally stands in the
     foreground of the operational plans of the armed forces
     leadership, must under no circumstances lead to an
     abandonment, diminishing delay of the conduct of the
     war in the Eastern Mediterranean." (C-170)

Thus Raeder, throughout, was seeking an active role for his
Navy in the Nazi war plans.

Once Hitler had decided to attack Russia, Raeder sought a

                                                  [Page 862]
for the Navy in the Russian campaign. The first naval
operational plan against Russia was characteristically Nazi.
The entry for 15 June 1941 in the notes of the German Naval
War Staff reads:

     "On the proposal of Chief Naval Operations, use of arms
     against Russian submarines, south of the northern
     boundary of the Poland warning area is permitted
     immediately; ruthless destruction is to be aimed at."

Keitel provides a typically fraudulent pretext for this
action in his letter dated 15 June 1941 (C-38):

     "Subject: Offensive action against enemy submarines in
     the Baltic Sea.
     "To: "High Command of the Navy -- OKM (SKL)
     "Offensive action against submarine south of the line
     Memel southern tip of Oeland is authorized if the boats
     cannot be definitely identified as Swedish during the
     approach by German naval forces.
     "The reason to be given up to B-day is that our naval
     forces believed to be dealing with penetrating British
     submarines." (C-38).
This order was given on 15 June 1941, although the Nazi
attack on Russia did not take place until 22 June 1941.

(7) Instigation, of Japanese aggression. In the meantime,
Raeder was urging Hitler, as early as 18 March 1941, to
enlarge the scope of the world war by inducing Japan to
seize Singapore. Raeder's views at his audience with Hitler
on 18 March were as follows:

     "Japan must take steps to seize Singapore as soon as
     possible, since the opportunity will never again be as
     favorable (whole English Fleet contained;
     unpreparedness of USA. for war against Japan;
     inferiority of US Fleet vis-a-vis the Japanese). Japan
     is indeed making preparations for this action, but
     according to all declarations made by Japanese officers
     she will only carry it out if Germany proceeds to land
     in England. Germany must therefore concentrate all her
     efforts on spurring Japan to act immediately. If Japan
     has Singapore all other East Asiatic questions
     regarding the USA. and England are thereby solved
     (Guam, Philippines, Borneo, Dutch East Indies).
     "Japan wishes if possible to avoid war against USA. She
     can do so if she determinedly takes Singapore as soon
     as possible." (C-152)
                                                  [Page 863]
By 20 April 1941 Hitler had agreed with Raeder's proposition
to induce the Japanese to take offensive action against
Singapore. The entry in the notes of the German Naval War
Staff, for 20 April 1941, reads:

     "Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer: Navy Supreme
     Commander asks about result of Matsuoka's visit, and
     evaluation of Japanese-Russian pact. Fuehrer has in-
     formed Matsuoka, 'that Russia will not be touched if
     she behaves friendly according to the treaty.
     Otherwise, he reserves action for himself.' Japan-
     Russia pact has been concluded in agreement with
     Germany, and is to prevent Japan from advancing against
     Vladivostok, and to cause her to attack Singapore." (C-

The real purpose of Hitler's words to Matsuoka is revealed
in another description of their conversation:

     "*** At that time the Fuehrer was firmly resolved on a
     surprise attack on Russia, regardless of what was the
     Russian attitude to Germany. This, according to reports
     coming in, was frequently changing. The communication
     to Matsuoka was designed entirely as a camouflage
     measure and to ensure surprise." (C-66)

The Axis partners were not even honest with each other. This
is typical of the jungle diplomacy with which Raeder
associated himself.

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