The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 137]
M. QUATRE: Mr. President, your Honours; to-day I have the
honour to bring to a close the presentation of the French
prosecution by recapitulating the charges against the
defendants Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl. Before going into
my statement, I shall ask the Tribunal for permission to
present a few observations. First of all, to spare the time
of the Tribunal, we have treated the two defendants jointly
in the same brief. Their activities were carried on so much
in common that in separating them we would run the risk of
tedious repetitions, and for this reason I am condensing as
far as possible what I have to say.

This presentation consists of three parts. In an
introduction, I have endeavoured to show the position of the
two defendants in the general design of their activities.
The first part following this deals with the preparation of
plans of aggression, and will only be mentioned. It has
already been sufficiently expounded so that it need not be
brought up again.

The second part will claim my special attention. It concerns
the responsibility incurred by the defendants for the crimes
committed in the course of the war. In this connection, I
shall not mention all the documents, testimonies, and
interrogatories concerning these two defendants. If their
guilt is the outcome of the repetition of their crimes, its
main characteristic is the criminal intent which caused
these crimes to be carried out. This criminal intent is made
particularly clear by the few documents to which I have
limited myself. I shall ask the Tribunal's permission to
make a few intentionally brief quotations from these.

The documents referred will be first quoted under he session
number, which you will find written in red in the margin of
the copy before you. I shall thereupon indicate the original
number. If the document has already been submitted, I shall
furnish the date at which it was submitted and the number
under which it was submitted.

As Chief of the National Socialist Party and subsequently as
Chancellor of the Reich, Hitler endeavoured to gain sole
control of the German Army. He wanted the unity which he had
established between Party and State to prevail throughout
the Army, the State and the Party. Only under these
conditions would the war machine be capable of fulfilling
its function. The initial impulse would come from the Party,
the State would translate it into action and the Army would
impose it, if necessary, at home and abroad alike.

To achieve this aim it was necessary first of all to impose
legislation which would in fact bring the whole military
organisation under the Fuehrer's orders. It was also
necessary to take steps to eliminate personalities too
unyielding to submit to these measures. The execution of von
Schleicher in 1934 and the disgrace of Blomberg in 1938 are
two examples. All that remained was to provide for their
replacement by military chiefs whose conscience was
sufficiently elastic to allow them to play the part of
faithful executives. Keitel and Jodl were among these.

Their personal convictions and their rapid rise to eminence
prove this. Questioned on 3rd August, 1945, by Colonel Ecer
of the Czechoslovak Court of Military Justice, the defendant
Keitel spoke thus of his relations with Hitler and the
National Socialist Party, (Exhibit RF 1430, formerly 710-

     "In my deepest beliefs, I was a faithful supporter of
     Adolf Hitler and my political convictions were National
     Socialist. When the Fuehrer accorded me his confidence,
     my personal contact with him further influenced me
     towards National Socialism. To-day I am still a firm
     partisan of Adolf Hitler, which does not imply that I
     adhere to all the points of the programme and policy of
     the Party."
On 7th November, 1943, in a speech delivered in Munich to
the leaders of the Reich and of the Provinces, on the
strategic position of Germany at the

                                                  [Page 138]
beginning of the fifth year of the war, Jodl made the
following statement by way of peroration (Exhibit RF 1431,
172-L, submitted by the American prosecution of 27th
November, 1945, as Exhibit USA 34):

     "At this moment I should like to testify, not only with
     my lips but from the bottom of my heart, that our trust
     and confidence in the Fuehrer are boundless."
Keitel, who entered the Army in 1901, was still a colonel in
1931. Jodl, who was 3 years younger, was promoted to the
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel only in 1932, in spite of the
opportunities offered by the war of 1914-18. The past years
had brought them only mediocre advancement. Those which lay
before them were to lead them to the heights of honour and
responsibility. They saw their star rising at last,
simultaneously with that of the new master of Germany. The
immediate result was their admission to public life.

During the years preceding the war, Keitel did not cease to
hold high office in the most exalted ranks of the German
Armed Forces.

As he was in special favor with the new master of Germany,
he adopted every possible means of strengthening the
influence of Nazi ideology within the Army from the moment
of Hitler's accession to power. His activities in the
Wehrmachtsampt were particularly fruitful. This was a
ministerial organisation which temporarily replaced the
Reich Ministry of War, and was responsible, among other
things, for the preparation and co-ordination of plans
affecting the German Army. The defendant's period in office
is rendered the more noteworthy by the fact that sweeping
changes in organisation had just been effected. The
Reichswehr of the professional soldier was replaced by the
Wehrmacht, recruited by compulsory military service. It was
not enough to call the whole youth of Germany to the flag;
it had to be clothed and fed and supplied with powerful
modern weapons. This increase in the number of men under
arms, these beginnings of a military economy and of a policy
of rearmament, were largely due to the efforts of the
defendant, who at that time enjoyed, in fact if not in
theory, the prerogatives of a Minister of War.

On 4th February, 1938, when Hitler abolished the War
Ministry and proclaimed himself Commander-in-Chief, he
transferred the chief powers of the Ministry to the High
Command of the Army and its chief, Keitel, became at the
same time Chief of the Fuehrer's Personal Staff.

The defendant was to retain these functions until the German
Army capitulated. As Chief of the High Command of the Army,
Keitel did not exercise direct authority over the three
services composing the Wehrmacht: the Army, the Air Force
and the Navy, which were directly under Hitler. His
particular function was the co-ordination of matters
affecting the three Services, but he did more than this. His
main role was that of adviser. He collated the information
reaching him from the different Services under his orders.
This included reports from the Operations Staff under Jodl,
information from the office of Admiral Canaris, reports made
by the Economic Department of the Armed Forces under General
Thomas, and by the administrative, financial and legal
branches. No matter how personal and authoritative Hitler's
way of working may have been, it did not exclude the regular
and constant participation of Keitel in the acts of his
master. He it was who was in a position to carry out his
chief's demands, to suggest, to prepare or to modify his

If we consider his qualifications as a member of the Defence
Council of the Reich and as a member of the Secret Cabinet
Council and also consider their political importance, it is
easy to see the scope of the role played by the defendant in
every sphere, whether in the preparation of military plans
in the strict sense of the term, the life or conduct of the
German Army, the distribution of manpower, or the
utilisation of the economic resources of Germany.

                                                  [Page 139]
Whenever a meeting was held at general headquarters or at
the Chancellery, Keitel was present. He was present when
Hitler made decisions of major importance. He was at his
side on marches into the countries to be annexed. When
orders by Hitler had to be transmitted, he in his turn would
give orders, elaborating his chief's ideas and adding his
personal contribution. In countersigning Hitler's decrees,
Keitel did not alter the validity of these texts as regards
the law of the Third Reich, but he gave Hitler a guarantee
of their usefulness for the Wehrmacht and their execution to
the last detail. It was in this point in particular that he
acknowledged responsibility.

Like Keitel, Jodl was one of those men who staked their
success on the success of the new regime and its creator.

His attitude, his orders and his activities show that he was
a General inspired by political considerations, attached to
Hitler, who showered favours on him. In assuming the
direction of the General Staff  of Operations of the Army,
he also took an active and important part in the elaboration
of his chief's orders.

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