The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/10
Q. Very well, I am perfectly satisfied with your reply and
to conclude my first group of questions, I want to ask just
one more on this particular matter: Do not you agree with me
that only the deputy Chief of the OKW, and not just any
other responsible official could-quite independently,
without Keitel's knowledge, without any instructions and
without even a post-factum report to him - decide questions
such as the preparation of a plan for attacking another
country? Have you understood my question?

A. I understood it partly, but not the whole meaning. First
of all, you made a wrong assertion in your question. You
asserted that I did not report the preparation for an attack
on a neutral country to Field Marshal Keitel. That is an

                                                    [Page 5]
on your part which I refuted yesterday under oath. We were
not concerned with an attack on the Soviet Union at this
meeting. We were concerned with the defence against a Soviet
attack on the Roumanian oil-fields. That is established in
Document 170-C, the War Diary of the Navy.

Q. Is that all you wanted to say on that question?

A. I believe that suffices.

Q. I do not intend to argue with you, I merely wish to say
that we have two proofs of this conference: First, your
testimony, in which you deny the fact of the preparation of
a plan for attacking the Soviet Union; and second, the
testimony of another participant in this conference,
Warlimont, who says straight out that the meeting was
specifically concerned with elaborating the plan of attack
on the Soviet Union and that this directive greatly
astonished them. I do not intend to deal with this question
any further, but I should like to ask -

A. If you are interested, I could explain that divergence to

Q. No, at the present moment it does not interest me.

Would it be correct to state that you were either the
leading or one of the leading staff officers in Hitlerite
Germany, who were engaged in preparing measures for
attacking the Soviet Union as far back as the summer of
1940? It is precisely on this matter that I want to hear
your reply. Is the question clear to you?

A. The question is clear, and my answer to it is that I was
probably the first who learned of the Fuehrer's concern
about Russia's political attitude. However, I was not the
first who made preparations for an attack on the Soviet
Union. To my surprise I discovered here through the witness
Paulus that long before we concerned ourselves with any
orders of this kind, plans of attack were already worked out
in the General Staff of the Army. I cannot tell you with
absolute certainty how it was done. Perhaps General Halder
can tell us about that. I can only express that as a
supposition on my part.

Q. Suppositions are of little interest to us, we are more
concerned with facts. On the day before yesterday, the 5th
June, you stated that the attack on the Soviet Union,
whereby Germany broke her non-aggression pact with the
Soviet Union, was in the nature of a preventive war. That is
what you then stated, is it not?

A. Yes, that is what I said, it was a preventive war.

Q. Very well, that is your opinion. Do you remember that
from the testimony of Raeder, from the testimony of Goering
from the testimonies of Paulus and Keitel it appears that
they were all opposed to the attack on the Soviet Union? I
shall read into the record one sentence from Keitel's
testimony, just to help you to remember.

While General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor of the USSR, was
cross-examining Keitel, he put this question:

  "Q. You stated that you especially went to Hitler with
  the request that he, Hitler, should change his intentions
  with regard to the Soviet Union?
  A. (Keitel): Yes, I asked him not only to change this
  plan, but to do away with these plans altogether; i.e.,
  not to wage war. That was the content of my memorandum."

Do you remember that testimony of Keitel's?

A. Yes, I remember and I know the memorandum as well.

Q. Very well. Do you not find it rather strange that a man,
in this case yourself, who has in every way endeavoured to
disclaim the fact that he was Keitel's deputy, declares
here, before the Tribunal, in Keitel's presence, that he was
better informed of current events than Keitel and had
therefore found the courage to make a statement in direct
opposition to the opinion of Keitel, Paulus, Raeder, Goering
and Milch.

A. I did not understand that.

Q, I shall be very pleased to make my meaning more explicit.
Keitel did not appear to see any necessity for what you call
a "preventive" war, and all the persons whose testimony I
have just mentioned also saw no reason for waging this so-
called "preventive" war. They did not believe that the
Soviet Union intended

                                                    [Page 6]

to attack Germany, whereas you declared that the war was of
a preventive nature. Now, do you understand my question?

A. Yes, now I understand you.

Q. Very well, would you like to answer the question?

A. Yes, I can give an explanation. First of all, it is not
certain what stand Field Marshal Keitel took in the spring
of 1941 with regard to this question. Secondly, the
Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and the Commander-in-Chief of
the Air Force - with due respect to both of these gentlemen
- saw the problem as a whole only from the point of view of
naval or air strategy. And they saw no danger whatsoever in
the Russian Navy or the Russian Air Force. What was taking
place on land, of course, was of less interest to them. That
explains why the strongest opposition came from the
Luftwaffe and the Navy and only the Army, in this case, was
more inclined to see the tremendous danger with which it was
confronted. But in spite of this, every one of us, myself
included, warned the Fuehrer most urgently against this
experiment, which should have been undertaken only if there
was no other way out. I will not take it upon myself to
judge whether there might not perhaps have been a political
possibility which was not exhausted; I cannot judge.

Q. Very well. I am satisfied with your reply and
particularly with the fact that you have condescended to
define the breaking of an international treaty and the
attack on the Soviet Union by the word "experiment". I want
you to look at the document -

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should not make comments of that
sort. You must ask questions and not make comments.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My remark, my Lord, is connected with my
next question.


Q. Witness, please look at Document 865-PS. Have you got
this document?

A. Yes, I have the document before me.

Q. Very well. In reply to the questions of the defence
counsel you stated that Lammers had, quite by accident,
designated you as a collaborator of Rosenberg. There is, in
your hands, a very brief document - which I shall now read
aloud - a document signed by Keitel. It is a top secret
letter of 25th April, 1941, addressed to Rosenberg
personally. This letter states:

  "The Chief of the Reich Chancellery has sent a copy of
  the Fuehrer's directive appointing you his
  plenipotentiary for dealing, at Headquarters, with
  questions relating to Eastern European territories. I am
  requested by the High Command of the Armed Forces to
  entrust the working out of these problems to the Chief of
  the Wehrmacht Operations Staff General of Artillery,
  Jodl, and to Major-General Warlimont as his deputy. I
  request that your Department contact these two persons
  Heil Hitler!
  Yours truly,
  signed Keitel.

What do you say now, in view of this document, in reply to
the question whether you remember or not that you, with
Warlimont as your deputy; were authorized by the OKW, as far
back as 1941 to deal with the practical problems in
connection with the Hitlerite expansion in the East and on
the lines adopted by Stab Rosenberg?

Do you understand my question?

A. I have already told the Tribunal yesterday everything
that can be said in connection with this formality. Reich
Minister Lammers sent the same letter to all Reich
Ministries. He asked every ministry to designate a
plenipotentiary and a deputy; and accordingly Field Marshal
Keitel naturally designated the two officers who were at
headquarters. I never worked together with Rosenberg and

                                                    [Page 7]

it was not necessary to do so, except for one single talk
with him, which I mentioned yesterday. Only my propaganda
section conferred with the Eastern Ministry about leaflets -
quite simple matters which every soldier can understand.

Q. By the way, concerning the question of soldiers. You
stubbornly affirm that you were only concerned with military
questions of an operational nature, and did not concern
yourself with political questions at all. Have I understood
you correctly?

A. I made that explanation yesterday as well. Insofar as
politics were not an integral part of the strategy. To a
certain extent politics did come into it, for without
politics there could be no strategy. It is an essential part
of strategy.

Q. Now -

A. But since I was not a strategist, but only a general
staff officer, I was not concerned with this matter

Q. You were not concerned with these matters? You will now
look at Exhibit USSR 477 and I must ask you if you have
found your own signature on the last page.

A. Yes, indeed, I see my signature.

Q. You have found it? It is a directive on the organization
of propaganda in connection with Case Barbarossa. Is that

A. Yes.

Q. Are you going to deny that in that directive, issued by
you, the question is clearly put that the USSR, as a
Sovereign State, should be destroyed, and you considered
that as a purely military task? You, an officer of the
General Staff, were not interested in politics?

A. I cannot find the place where it says that Russia is to
be destroyed.

Q. You are quite right if you want to draw attention to the
wording. It is not stated there in so many words. I am
thinking of the general sense of the directive, particularly
of sub-paragraph "D".

A. Yes, but - I know the document.

Q. I want to read out one sentence:

  "For the present we should not carry out any propaganda
  for splitting up the Soviet Union into separate States."

Farther on there are a couple of technical remarks and then
it says:

  "Nevertheless, we should avoid" (in the same paragraph)
  "such terms as 'Russia', 'Russians ', 'Russian Armed
  Forces', etc., and substitute 'Soviet Union', 'People of
  the Soviet Union', 'Red Army', etc."

Have you found the place, Jodl?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well. What would you like to say if you want to say
anything at all on the subject?

A. Why certainly I wish to answer the question.

Q. If you please.

A. As may be seen from the heading of this directive it
deals with the handling of propaganda; compared with the
British and the Soviet Union we were mere schoolboys in
propaganda. You are perhaps aware that propaganda is
something quite justifiable and is not limited by any
regulations of international law. At one time, in Geneva,
there was a long debate about this, and the idea that
propaganda should be restricted by international law was
rejected and I have already stated that in my preliminary
interrogation. In the field of propaganda I can add or omit
whatever I wish; there is no law, either criminal or
international, in regard to that. But perhaps you do not
know that. This propaganda had to be in line with the
political directives of the Fuehrer, and this was being
done. I am very well acquainted with propaganda, for I
studied it for five years; your propaganda as well. There
are other entirely different propaganda directives too.

Q. You preferred not to give a direct answer to the question
you were asked. T too am perfectly satisfied since I have
understood your attitude.

                                                    [Page 8]

Now, I should be interested in receiving a reply to the
following question:

What connection did the Ministry of Propaganda have with the
issue of this directive? Did this Ministry participate in
the preparation of the directive, or were you and the OKW
solely responsible? Did you understand me?

A. Yes, I understood you. My propaganda division worked in
Berlin. I cannot tell you in detail how it worked with
Minister Rosenberg, as well as with the Propaganda Ministry
on such a document. But General von Wedel, the chief of this
division, could tell you. I only know it was drawn up in
agreement with the Rosenberg Ministry, for I was always
anxious that we should not take separate lines but rather
work in line with the competent civilian authorities. But it
is only propaganda; it is not a directive to destroy Russia,
propaganda is a spiritual weapon.

Q. I do not propose to enter into a discussion with you on
what constitutes propaganda and whether you were only
responsible for propaganda.

We shall have quite enough other questions to ask. Do you
suggest that this directive after a certain agreement had
been reached, was issued by other departments as well? Is
this correct? Especially by agreement with Stab Rosenberg?

A. Yes, I believe that.

Q. Very well. Now let us pass on to a second series of
questions. Do you dispute the fact that the document
regarding the conference at Hitler's headquarters on the
27th March, 1941, dealt with the subject of Yugoslavia? You,
of course, remember that conference?

A. Yes, I remember that.

Q. Would you argue the fact that the document describing
this conference and the directive for operations against
Yugoslavia - both documents are dated 28th March, 1941, in
other words, they were issued on the following day - would
you still argue that these documents did not emanate from
the Operations Staff of the OKW, i.e., from you personally?
You can, if you like, take a look at Document 1246-PS. It
might help you to remember events.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, you are not losing sight
of the fact that this subject was fully gone into by Mr.
Roberts in cross-examination of the defendant?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My Lord, if you consider that the
question has already been completely clarified, I shall
refrain from asking it. But it seems to me that I am
interested in an entirely different aspect of the same
question. But if you think the matter is clear, I shall
withdraw it.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know yet. But I was only pointing
out to you that it had been fully gone into by Mr. Roberts,
I do not know what you are suggesting. this document is.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I offered for the attention of the
defendant two documents, my Lord, the directive for
operations against Yugoslavia, dated 22nd March, and the
minutes of the conference. Both documents were submitted to
the Tribunal. If you think that the matter has been fully
covered already I will not ask the questions. However, it
appears to me that there is some reason for asking the

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