The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. I do not quite understand the reference to secrecy in
connection with the construction of submarines. None were
under construction at the moment, were they?

                                                   [Page 97]

A. No. I said secrecy in connection with the preparations
for the construction of submarines; that is just a short way
of expressing it.

Q. We now come to Document C-190, Exhibit USA 45. It is in
Document Book No. 10 of the British Delegation, on Page 67.
This is a conversation which took place between Hitler and
Raeder on 2nd November, 1934, aboard the Emden. On this
occasion, as the Document shows, Hitler informed you that he
considered it necessary to achieve a rapid enlargement and
improvement of the Navy by 1938; and that, if necessary, he
would instruct Dr. Ley to place at the disposal of the Navy
120 to 150 million marks from the Labour Front.

Did you have anything at all to do with raising funds for

A. No, not actually with raising funds. I applied for funds
to the Reich Minister for Defence, who allocated them to me
for the purpose of this rearmament. I presume that this
statement was made because the allocation sanctioned for the
Navy appeared too small to me and for this reason the
Fuehrer said that if necessary he would get Ley to act. This
did not actually happen. I received my funds only through
the Reich Minister for Defence.

Q. Although the charge made by the prosecution is not quite
clear to me, since it is based on Hitler's views, which have
nothing to do with you, I want to come back to this sum once
more. I may remind you that an armoured cruiser even of the
old 10,000-ton class which, after all, was small, cost
seventy-five to eighty millions. Could this figure of 120 to
150 millions be large enough to put the Navy in a position
to carry out rearmament on a large scale?

A. No, certainly not. Two battleships were also under
construction, apart from these two armoured cruisers. You
can imagine that the costs continually increased.

Q. So that this sum was not final?

A. No, it was not final.

Q. Will you please go on, then, to point 2. According to
point 2 of the Document, you pointed out to Hitler during
this conference that it might be necessary to assemble six
submarines during the first quarter of 1935.

A. I said this because I knew that at the beginning of 1935
we were going to aim at full liberty in recruiting and
arming for the services; and I thought that this might
create a critical situation in respect to sanctions, which
Hitler always took into consideration. I assume that we were
talking about this and that is why I suggested that if the
necessity for any special preparations should arise out of
the question of liberty in recruiting, then six submarines
should be assembled at a date previous to their proper date
of assembly, from parts obtained abroad.

Q. Did Hitler actually give the order?

A. No. The order was not given.

THE PRESIDENT: We might break off now.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. I now come to Document C-159, Exhibit USA 54. This
document may be found in the British Delegation's Document
Book 10-A, Page 10. It is a letter written by von Blomberg
on 2nd March, 1936, dealing with the demilitarised zone. Did
you make lengthy military preparations for the action which
took place on 7th March, 1936?

A. No, I made no lengthy preparations; I only heard of the
plan through this document of 2nd March. I may refer you to
point 6, which says that, to preserve the peaceful character
of the operation, no military security or advance measures
are to be taken without my express orders. It was made
clear, therefore, that the entire action was to have a
peaceful character.

Q. You knew nothing at all about this action till the
beginning of March?

A. No, I believe that this action was kept specially secret.

                                                   [Page 98]

Q. Then I will turn to Document C-194, Exhibit USA 55, in
the British Delegation's Document Book 10-A, Page 128. This
Document is a communication from the supreme command of the
Wehrmacht (OKW) to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy dating
from 1936; and the wording seems to indicate 6th March,
1936. It deals, therefore, with the same subject as the last
Document. May I have your comments?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you give me the page again.




Q. May I ask for your comments?

A. The Reich Minister of Defence had sanctioned a certain
air reconnaissance to take place over the North Sea on 6th
March; that is to say, the day before the occupation of the
occupation of the Rhineland. He intended to withhold his
decision, as to whether U-boats were also to be sent out on
reconnaissance assignments in the West, as far as the Texel,
until the next day. I thereupon issued an order on 6th
March, 1936, and gave special instructions -

Q. I beg your pardon. I would like to point out that
Raeder's order of 6th March, 1936, is appended to the same
document; and that the text is therefore before the High
Tribunal. Please go on.

A. I prepared this decree of 6th March as regards the
planning of the U-boats, line and the reconnaissance to take
place in the bay on 7th March. I pointed out especially that
everything which might create a false impression of the
Fuehrer's intentions and thus put difficulties in the way of
this peaceful action must be avoided.

Q. I would like to supplement your statement that these
words taken from the decree of 6th March, 1936, are to be
found under Point S. They are in the last few lines.

A. These were all precautionary measures in case of any
counter action.

Q. Were these preparations on a large scale?

A. No, no.

DR. SIEMERS: I come now to the two last Documents dealing
with the topic of the Versailles Treaty and rearmament.
First, Document C-135, Exhibit GB 213, Document Book 10,
Page 20. That is the British Delegation's Document Book 10.
This is headed: "History of the War Organization." That is
the War Organization and Mobilization Scheme. It dates from
1938. This document was read in its entirety by the
prosecution, and a very grave charge was based upon it;
because the document contains a statement to the effect that
Hitler had demanded that in five years - that is, by 1st
April, 1938 - a Wehrmacht should be created which he could
employ as a political instrument of power; and also because
the document mentions Establishment Organization, 1938, and
the aim of the War Organization.

Considering the significance of this point, I asked Vice-
Admiral Lohmann for his comments on this rather technical
question. We are dealing with Exhibit Raeder 2, in my
Document Book I, under III, Page 5. I think the prosecution
has misunderstood the meaning of certain terms. The terms
"Kriegsgliederung" (War Organization) and
"Aufstellungsgliederung" (Establishment Organization) have
been misunderstood.

I ask permission, therefore, to read this affidavit in
conjunction with the documents I have submitted in evidence.
I quote:-

"III" refers to Documents C-135 and C-153, Armaments Scheme,
Mobilization Scheme, Establishment Organization-i.e.,
Aufstellungsgliederung - and War Organization - i.e.,
Kriegsgliederung. I would like to add that C-153 and C-135
are connected. To simplify matters I have taken them
together. Therefore I would like to state for the record
that 153 is Exhibit USA 43 and may be found

                                                   [Page 99]

in British Document Book 10, Page 107. It is headed
"Armaments Scheme for the Third Armaments Period." It is a
rather long document and is dated 12th May, 1934.

I quote Vice-Admiral Lohmann's affidavit on these two

  "The above-named documents submitted to me deal with the
  Establishment Organization, the War Organization, the
  Mobilization Scheme and the Armaments Scheme. The first
  three plans or organization orders deal with the same
  matters and differ only in arrangement. The Armaments
  Scheme differs from the other plans in dealing only with
  new construction and the required new materials, and is
  therefore less extensive.
  The German Navy, like the armed forces as a whole - and,
  no doubt, the armed forces of every nation - made such
  plans in order to be able, in the case of a conflict or
  of military complications, to prepare rapidly and use
  efficiently the means of combat available. Owing to
  changing conditions, military developments, changes in
  personnel, and advances in technique, such plans were
  revised every year. An essential part of these plans
  which were a matter of course in the case of any armed
  force, were developed in the Establishment, Mobilization-
  or War Organization, which provided a survey of all naval
  installations on land and sea, their local defences and
  tactical subordination, as well as of all combat material
  on hand or to be secured, increased or reorganised by a
  specified date. All operations envisaged by the military
  command were based on this War Organization; and it also
  served the political leaders as an indication of the
  possibilities afforded by the strength and efficacy of
  the military resources available.
  The War Organization planning always had to be prepared
  with much regard to future eventualities and was
  generally issued by the High Command of the Navy one and
  a half years before it was to come into force, in order
  to enable the responsible departments to attend to such
  necessary preliminaries as applying to the naval economy
  for funds and materials such as iron, steel, etc., and
  for the preparation of accommodation in so far as all
  this was not already covered by the peacetime expansion
  of the Navy.
  In 1933, when Hitler in his Five-Year Plan demanded that
  by 1st April, 1938, an armed force should be created
  which he could throw into the balance as an instrument of
  political power, the War Organization for 1938 was worked
  out independently of the War Organization planned yearly.
  Up to 1935 it dealt mostly with those possibilities of
  the Treaty of Versailles which had not yet been exhausted
  and with the question of supplementing the naval strength
  with craft not subject to limitation in type or number.
  After the Naval Pact of 1935, the War Organization
  planned for 1938 was replaced by a "War Organization,
  ultimate goal" (K.G. Endzeil) which regulated the number
  of warships of all types existing or to be built in the
  proportion of 35:100 measured by the tonnage actually
  existing in the English Fleet. In consideration of
  monetary and material resources, the capacity of the
  shipyards and the length of time required to build large
  warships, this ultimate goal was in the meanwhile fixed
  for the 1944-45.
  There remained always the possibility of postponing it
  further, on the basis of the development of the English
  The various terminologies have only a naval technical
  significance and do not permit conclusions as to
  political plans."

I would like to indicate a slight error in translation in
the English text. The translation of the word
"Terminierungen" by "terminology" is, in my opinion, not
correct. It should probably be "terms" or "termination."


Q. Are Vice-Admiral Lohmann's statements correct? Can you
add anything to this basic point of view?

                                                  [Page 100]

A. These statements contain everything which can be said on
this matter. All these are, in my opinion, preparations
which must be made by every navy if it is to be
systematically equipped and made ready for operation.

It says somewhere - in Document 135, Page 1 under Point 2 -
that "the growing tension between Germany and Poland forced
us to make practical instead of theoretical preparations for
war." That was interpreted to mean that at some time - I
believe in 1930 - we planned a war of aggression against

I testified yesterday that our main object was nothing more
than to oppose any aggression committed by Poland against
East Prussia. That was the object of our work - to protect
Germany from attack by Poland. At that time, it would have
been madness for German forces, which were still very
inadequately armed, to invade Poland or any other country.

Then, since the years 1938 and 1944-45 constantly recur, I
would like to point out again that the year 1938 was to be
the final date for the first phase of the Shipping
Replacement Plan. The last ship included in this Shipping
Replacement Plan was to be built from 1936 to 1938.

Then Hitler decreed a Five-Year Plan, which happened also to
cover the years 1933 to 1938, and in accordance with which
all war preparations were to be completed by 1938. The War
Organization (ultimate goal) was fixed for 1944-45, and the
reason for fixing this date, as stated in the document which
you have just read, was the fact that in fixing our
programme we had to take into consideration the funds and
material at our disposal, the capacity of our shipbuilding
yards and the length of time needed to build big warships. A
reasonably strong fighting force could not be created before
that date.

Q. The statements in Document C-135 are in accordance with
the German-English Naval Agreement, is that correct?

Perhaps I did not formulate my question clearly. The
statement that a new programme was set up then implies that
it was done in accordance with the German-English Naval

A. Yes, of course.

Q. In any case, the reference to C-135, Point 8, is probably
to be interpreted in that way; as it says, "a modern fleet,
bound only by the clauses of the German-British Naval

A. Of course.

Q. Now I turn to another topic and go back to the year 1933.

Grand Admiral, when did you meet Hitler, and did you have
any connection with National Socialism before 1933?

A. I met Hitler on 2nd February, 1933, when I saw and talked
to him for the first time. It was at an evening party
arranged by General von Blomberg at the home of General von
Hammerstein, the Chief of the General Staff, at which von
Blomberg intended to present to Hitler senior generals and

I shall describe the proceedings later. Up to that time, I
had no connection whatsoever with National Socialism. I only
knew Admiral von Levetzow, from the first world war. He was
on the staff of Admiral von Scheer, whom I knew well, and
who obviously met Hitler at a comparatively early date. I
only heard from him, however, that Hitler took a very active
interest in naval matters and was surprisingly well informed
about them. On the other hand, I believe that von Levetzow
had also spoken to Hitler about the reputation of the Navy
and his own opinion of the Navy at that time. But I had no
connections beyond that.

Q. What were your reasons for remaining in office in 1933,
Grand Admiral, when you had no connection with National

A. The Reich President, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, at the
same time Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, had appointed
the leader of the largest party, Chancellor of the Reich. I
think that if I had gone to him and told him I wanted to
resign - or intended to resign - because he had appointed a
new Chancellor, he would quite certainly have taken it as an
insult, and would then have dismissed me. I had not the
slightest reason to ask my superior to

                                                  [Page 101]

release me from my Command because he in his capacity of
Reich President had appointed a new Reich Chancellor.

Q. And where did you first hear Hitler state his political

A. I heard him for the first time on the aforementioned 2nd
February, after the dinner at General von Hammerstein's
home. I was introduced to him before dinner; and after
dinner he gave a speech. He was accompanied by the Foreign
Minister, Herr von Neurath. There were no other members of
the Party present.

In his speech, he first of all spoke of his career and of
his social and national aims. He said that he wanted to
regain equal rights for the German Reich and that he would
try to rid the country of the shackles of the Versailles
Treaty and restore her internal sovereignty to Germany; and
he also discussed his social aims, the establishment of true
community among the people, the raising of the workers'
standard of living, the giving of assistance to the farmers
and the promotion of agriculture, the establishment of a
labour service and the elimination of unemployment. He
specially emphasized - and this was really the main point -
that both domestic and foreign policy were to be left
entirely in his hands, that the Wehrmacht was to have
nothing at all to do with this, that the Wehrmacht was not
to be used even to deal with unrest at home; that he had
other forces to deal with these affairs; that he wanted to
ensure an undisturbed period of development for the
Wehrmacht so that it could develop into the factor necessary
to prevent the Reich from becoming a "football" for other
nations; and that it would, therefore, be necessary in the
next few years for the Wehrmacht to devote its entire
attention to the preparation of its main object, training
for the defence of the country in the case of aggression.
The Wehrmacht would be the sole bearer of arms, and its
structure would remain unaltered.

He gave no further details; there was a comparatively large
party assembled. As far as schemes for war of aggression
were concerned - none were mentioned.

All those present were uncommonly pleased with this speech.
He spoke with particular respect of Reich President von
Hindenburg, the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and we
had the impression that he would respect this man who had
long been honoured by the whole country.

This speech was the only account of his basic principles
which he gave me, as C.-in-C. of the Navy, or gave to the
other Cs.-in-C.

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