The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/14


                                                  [Page 211]

  Immediately after the English-French action in
  Scandinavia miscarried, England and France took up their
  policy of war expansion in another direction. In this
  respect, while the retreat from Norway was still going
  on, the English Prime Minister announced that, as a
  result of the altered situation in Scandinavia, England
  was once more in a position to go ahead with the transfer
  of the full weight of her Navy to the Mediterranean, and
  that English and French units were already on the way to
  Alexandria. The Mediterranean now became the centre of
  English-French war propaganda. This was partly to gloss
  over the Scandinavian defeat and the big loss of prestige
  before their own people and before the world, and partly
  to make it appear that the Balkans had been chosen for
  the next theatre of war against Germany.
  
  In reality, however, this apparent shifting to the
  Mediterranean of English-French war policy had quite
  another purpose. It was nothing but a diversion manoeuvre
  in grand style, to deceive Germany as to the direction of
  the next English-French attack. For, as the Reich
  Government has long been aware, the true aim of England
  and France is the carefully prepared and now immediately
  imminent attack on Germany in the West, so as to advance
  through Belgium and Holland to the region of the Ruhr.
  
  Germany had recognised and respected the inviolability of
  Belgium and Holland, it being, of course, understood that
  these two countries, in the event of a war of Germany
  against England and France, would maintain the strictest
  neutrality.
  
  Belgium and the Netherlands have not fulfilled this
  condition."

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, do you think it is necessary to
read this in full?

MR. ROBERTS: No, I do not. I was going to summarise these
charges. If your Lordship would be good enough to look at
the bottom of the first page, you will see the so-called
ultimatum complaining of the hostile expressions in the
Belgian and Netherlands Press; and then, my Lord, in the
second paragraph, over the page, there is an allegation of
the attempts of the British Intelligence to bring a
revolution into Germany with the assistance of Belgium and
the Netherlands.

Then, my Lord, in Paragraph 3, reference is made to military
preparation by the two countries; and in Paragraph 4 it is
pointed out that Belgium has fortified the Belgian-German
frontier.

A complaint is made in regard to Holland in Paragraph 5,
that British aircraft have
flown over the Netherlands country.

There are, my Lord, other charges made against the
neutrality of these two countries, although no instances are
given. I do not think I need refer to anything on Page 3 of
the document.

Page 4, my Lord, I would like, if I might, to read the
middle paragraph:-

  "In this struggle for existence forced upon the German
  people by England and France the Reich Government is not
  disposed to await submissively the attack by England and
  France and to allow them to carry the war over Belgium
  and the Netherlands into German territory."

                                                  [Page 212]


My Lord, I just emphasise the following sentence, and then I
read no further:-

  "It has therefore now issued the command to German troops
  to ensure the neutrality of these countries by all the
  military means at the disposal of the Reich."

My Lord, it is unnecessary, in my submission, to emphasise
the falsity of that statement. The world now knows that for
months preparations had been made to violate the neutrality
of these three countries. This document is saying "The
orders to do so have now been issued."

My Lord, a similar document, similar in terms altogether,
was handed to the representatives of the Netherlands
Government; This is TC-60, and will be Exhibit GB 113, which
is the last document but one in the bundle. My Lord, that is
a memorandum to the Luxembourg Government, which enclosed
with it a copy of the document handed to the Governments of
Belgium and the Netherlands.

My Lord, I only desire to emphasise the second paragraph of
TC-60.

  "In defence against the imminent attack, the German
  troops have now received the order to safeguard the
  neutrality of these two countries."

My Lord, the last document, TC-59, which I formerly put in,
that is Exhibit GB 111.

My Lord, that is the dignified protest of the Belgian
Government against the crime which was committed against
her. My Lord, those are the facts supporting the charges of
the violation of treaties and assurances against these three
countries and supporting the allegation of the making of an
aggressive war against them. My Lord, in the respectful
submission of the prosecution here, the story is a very
plain, a very simple one, a story of perfidy, dishonour, and
shame.

COLONEL PHILLIMOVE: May it please the Tribunal, it is my
task to present the evidence on the wars of aggression and
wars in breach of treaties against Greece and Yugoslavia.
The evidence which I shall put in to the Tribunal has been
prepared in collaboration with my American colleague,
Lieutenant-Colonel Krucker.

The invasions of Greece and Yugoslavia by the Germans, which
took place in the early hours of the morning of 6th April,
1941, constituted direct breaches of The Hague Convention of
1899 on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and
of the Kellogg-Briand Pact Of 1928. Those breaches are
charged, respectively, at Paragraphs 1 and 13 of Appendix C
of the Indictment. Both have already been put in by my
learned friend, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, who also explained
the obligation of the German Government to the Governments
of Yugoslavia and Greece under those Pacts.

In the case of Yugoslavia the invasion further constituted a
breach of an express assurance by the Nazis, which is
charged at Paragraph 26 of Appendix C. This assurance was
originally given in a German Foreign Office release, made in
Berlin on 28th April, 1938, but was subsequently repeated by
Hitler himself on 6th October, 1939, in a speech he made in
the Reichstag, and it is in respect of this last occasion
that the assurance is specifically pleaded in the
Indictment.

                                                  [Page 213]

May I ask the Tribunal to turn now to the first document in
the document book, which is Book No. 5. The first document
is PS-2719, which is part of the document which has already
been put in as Exhibit GB 58. This is the text of the German
Foreign Office release, on 28th April, 1938, and I would
read the beginning and then the last paragraph but one on
the page:-

  "Berlin, 28th April, 1938. The State Secretary of the
  German Foreign Office to the German Diplomatic
  Representatives.
  
  As a consequence of the re-union of Austria with the
  Reich, we have now new frontiers with Italy, Yugoslavia,
  Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Hungary. These frontiers
  are regarded by us as final and inviolable. On this point
  the following special declarations have been made ."

And then to the last paragraph:-

  "3. Yugoslavia.
  
  The Yugoslav Government have been informed by
  authoritative German quarters that German policy has no
  aims beyond Austria, and that the Yugoslav frontier
  would, in any case, remain untouched. In his speech made
  at Graz on 3rd April, the Fuehrer and Chancellor stated
  that, in regard to the re-union of Austria, Yugoslavia
  and Hungary had adopted the same attitude as Italy. We
  were happy to have frontiers there which relieved us of
  all anxiety about providing military protection for
  them."

Then, if I may, I will pass to the second document in the
book, TC-92, and offer that as Exhibit GB 114. This is an
extract from a speech made by Hitler on the occasion of the
dinner in honour of the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia on 1st
June, 1939. I will read the extract in full:

  "The German friendship for the Yugoslav nation is not
  only a spontaneous one. It gained depth and durability in
  the midst of the tragic confusion of the world war. The
  German soldier then learned to appreciate and respect his
  extremely brave opponent. I believe that this feeling was
  reciprocated. This mutual respect finds confirmation in
  common political, cultural and economic interests. We
  therefore look upon your Royal Highness's present visit
  as a living proof of the accuracy of our view, and, at
  the same time, on that account we derive from it the hope
  that German-Yugoslav friendship may continue further to
  develop in the future and to grow ever closer.
  
  In the presence of your Royal Highness, however, we also
  perceive a happy opportunity for a frank and friendly
  exchange of views which, and of this I am convinced, in
  this sense can only be fruitful to our two peoples and
  States. I believe this all the more because a firmly
  established reliable relationship of Germany and
  Yugoslavia now that, owing to historical events, we have
  become neighbours with common boundaries fixed for all
  time, will not only guarantee lasting peace between our
  two peoples and countries, but can also represent an
  element of calm to our nerve-wracked continent. This
  peace is the goal of all who are disposed to perform
  really constructive work."

As we now know, this speech was made at the time when Hitler
had already decided upon the European war. I think I am
right in saying it was a week after the Reich Chancellery
conference, known as the Schmundt note, to which the
Tribunal has been referred more than once. The reference to
"nerve-wracked continent" might perhaps be attributed to the
war of nerves which Hitler had himself been conducting for
many months.

                                                  [Page 214]

Now I pass to a document which is specifically pleaded at
Paragraph 26 as the Assurance breached; it is the next
document in the bundle, TC-43 - German Assurance to
Yugoslavia of 6th October, 1939, It is part of the document
which has already been put in as Exhibit GB 8o. This is an
extract from the "Dokumente der Deutschen Politik":

  "Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss I
  informed Yugoslavia that, from now on, the frontier with
  this country would also be an unalterable one, and that
  we only desired to live in peace and friendship with
  her."

Despite the obligations of Germany under the Convention of
1899, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and under the assurances
which I have read, the fate of both Greece and Yugoslavia
had, as we now know, been sealed ever since the meeting
between Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop, and Ciano at
Obersalzberg on 12th and 13th August, 1939.

We will pass to the next document in the bundle, which is TC-
77. That document has already been put in as Exhibit GB 48,
and the passages to which I would draw your Lordship's
attention have been already quoted, I think, by my learned
friend, the Attorney General; those passages are on Page 2
in the last paragraph: From "Generally speaking" until
"neutral of this kind", and then again on Pages 7 and 8, the
part quoted by the Attorney General, and emphasised
particularly by Lieutenant-Colonel Griffith-Jones. At the
foot of Page 7, on the second day of the meeting, the words
beginning "In general, however, success by one of the Axis
partners -" to "their backs free for work against the West."

THE PRESIDENT: Is that quoted?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Was not Page 7 quoted before?

COLONEL PHILLIMORF: Both of those passages have been quoted
before; and if I might sum up the effect of the meeting as
revealed by the document as a whole, it shows Hitler and the
defendant Ribbentrop, only two months after the dinner to
the Prince Regent, seeking to persuade the Italians to make
war on Yugoslavia at the same time that Germany commences
hostilities against Poland, as Hitler had decided to do in
the very near future. Ciano, whilst evidently in entire
agreement with Hitler and Ribbentrop as to the desirability
of liquidating Yugoslavia, and himself anxious to secure
Salonika, stated that Italy was not yet ready for a general
European war. Despite all the persuasion which Hitler and
the defendant Ribbentrop exerted at the meeting, it became
necessary for the Nazi conspirators to reassure their
intended victim, Yugoslavia, since in fact Italy did
maintain its position and did not enter the war when Germany
invaded Poland, whilst the Germans themselves were not yet
ready to strike in the Balkans. It was just for this reason
that on 6th October, through Hitler's speech, they repeated
the assurance they had given in April, 1938. It is, of
course, a matter of history that, after the defeat of the
Allied Armies in May and June, 1940, the Italian Government
declared war on France, and that subsequently at 3 o'clock
in the morning on 28th October, 1940, the Italian Minister
at Athens presented the Greek Government with a 3 hours'
ultimatum, upon the expiry of which Italian troops were
already invading the soil of Greece.

                                                  [Page 215]

If I may quote to the Tribunal the words in which His
Majesty's Minister reported that event:

"The President of the Council has assured himself an
outstanding -"

THE PRESIDENT: You have referred to a document?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: It is not in any of my documents. It is
merely carrying the story to the next document:

  "The President of the Council has assured himself an
  outstanding place in Greek history, and, whatever the
  future may bring, his foresight in quietly preparing his
  country for war, and his courage in rejecting without
  demur the Italian ultimatum when delivered in the small
  hours of that October morning will surely obtain an
  honourable mention in the story of European statecraft.
  He means to fight until Italy is completely defeated, and
  this reflects the purpose of the whole Greek nation."

I turn now to the next document in the bundle, that is, PS-
2762, a letter from Hitler to Mussolini, which I put in as
Exhibit GB 115. Although not dated, I think it is clear from
the contents that it was written shortly after the Italian
invasion of Greece. It has been quoted in full by the
Attorney General, but I think it would assist the Tribunal
if I read just the last two paragraphs of the extract:-

  "Yugoslavia must become disinterested. If possible
  however, from our point of view, interested in co-
  operating in the liquidation of the Greek question.
  Without assurances from Yugoslavia, it is useless to risk
  any successful operation in the Balkans.
  
  Unfortunately I must stress the fact that waging a war in
  the Balkans before March is impossible. Therefore any
  threatening move towards Yugoslavia would be useless
  since the impossibility of a materialisation of such
  threats before March is well known to the Serbian General
  Staff. Therefore Yugoslavia must, if at all possible, be
  won over by other means and other ways."

You may think the reference in the first two lines to his
thoughts having been with Mussolini for the last 14 days
probably indicates that it was written in about the middle
of November, shortly after the Italian attack.

THE PRESIDENT: Could you give us the date of the Italian
attack?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: 28th October, 1940.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: As the Tribunal will see from the
succeeding document, it was at this time that Hitler was
making his plans for the offensive in the spring of 1941,
which included the invasion of Greece from the North. This
letter shows that it was an integral part of those plans
that Yugoslavia should be induced to co-operate in them or
at least to maintain a disinterested attitude towards the
liquidation of the other Balkan States.

I pass now to the next document in the bundle, PS-444, which
becomes Exhibit GB 116. It is a "Top Secret Directive"
issued from the Fuehrer's Headquarters, signed by Hitler,
initialled by the defendant Jodl, and dated i2th November,
1940. I will read the first two lines and then pass to
Paragraph 4 on the third page:-

                                                  [Page 216]

  "Directive No. 18.
  
  The preparatory measures of Supreme H.Q. for the
  prosecution of the war in the near future are to be made
  along the following lines ."

Omitting the section which deals with operations against
Gibraltar and an offensive against Egypt, I will read
Paragraph 4 on the third page:-

  "Balkans.
  
  The Commander-in-Chief of the Army will make preparations
  for occupying the Greek mainland North of the Aegean Sea,
  in case of need entering through Bulgaria, and thus make
  possible the use of German Air Force units against
  targets in the Eastern Mediterranean, in particular
  against those English air bases which are threatening the
  Roumanian oil area.
  
  In order to be able to face all eventualities and to keep
  Turkey in check, the use of an army group of an
  approximate strength of ten divisions is to be the basis
  for the planning and the calculations of deployment. It
  will not be possible to count on the railway leading
  through Yugoslavia for moving these forces into position.
  
  So as to shorten the time needed for the deployment,
  preparations will be made for an early increase in the
  German Army mission in Roumania, the extent of which must
  be submitted to me.
  
  The Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force will make
  preparations for the use of German Air Force units in the
  South-east Balkans and for aerial reconnaissance on the
  Southern border of Bulgaria, in accordance with the
  intended ground. operations."


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