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DR. NELTE, Continued:

It is unquestionable that, from 1933 on, rearmament took
place in the Reich. The defendant Keitel has admitted that
and he stated that in the official positions he held up to
30th September, 1934, and from 1st October, 1935, on he
participated in this rearmament in accordance with the
functions incumbent on him. Like everything the Germans do,
the rearmament, too, was well thought out and organized. The
prosecution collected data for that; especially Document No.
2353-PS ,and the transcripts of the sessions of the Reich
Defence Committee (Reichsverteidigungsausschuss).

During the hearing of evidence the total picture of this
period from 1935 to 1938 was not clearly defined. The
prosecution arranged its presentation of evidence
retrospectively and drew a conclusion from the results of
the war as to the motive for the rearmament, but at the same
time it deduced from the fact, which cannot be denied and
has not been denied, that this rearmament could not be
planned and carried out by any one man, that it (the
rearmament) constituted a joint plot for the purpose of
aggressive war.

Now, where is the decisive criterion: in military armament
or in preparations of a different kind for the case of a war
from which the conclusion may be drawn that these measures
have an aggressive character, i.e., that they aim at an
aggressive war?

In principle, from the armament itself, nothing can be
deduced for the alleged intentions; armament may, in fact it
must, look just the same if carried out for security and
defence as it does in case of aggressive war.

Therefore, if the intention of rearmament for the purpose of
a plot is to be determined, distinction must be made

  (a) Armament and preventive measures which must be taken
  in case a mobilization should become necessary for
  defence at any time,
  (b) Rearmament and enacting of measures which exceed in
  quantity or quality the volume under (a) to such an
  extent that the intention of the political leadership to
  begin a war will be recognized by whoever it concerns, in
  which case the political question of whether an
  aggressive, defensive or preventive war is intended may
  be disregarded.

Therefore, in the end, the decisive question will be whether
in connection with these measures the intention of planning
an aggressive war was expressed or had

                                                  [Page 185]

become otherwise noticeable or whether the measures, because
of their nature and volume, demand the conclusive deduction
that an aggressive war was being prepared.

In retrospect, the events are presented as the logical chain
of developments according to plan. In reality, not only were
Hitler's far-reaching intentions and his planning subject to
an actual course of events in which, objectively viewed, a
certain causality seems to be inherent, but also the
knowledge and approving support of co-operating circles were
imputed to it. There can be no dispute over the statement
that the economic capacity of a country, which in its
totality must be regarded as armament for the case of war,
will eventually get to a point which must be considered of
decisive importance for solving the question of when the
rearmament, i.e., the status of the entire industry
essential for war, exceeds the capacity of armament for

While considering this, it must be taken into account
especially for the defendant Keitel, as a soldier, that
until he took over the office of Chief of OKW on 4th
February, 1938, he had not held a decisive position.

Now, what part did the defendant Keitel play at that date?

  (a) In the field of rearmament with regard to material
  and personnel.
  (b) In the field of administrative and - as charged by
  the prosecution - military-political rearmament which was
  dealt with under the heading of "Reichsverteidigungsrat"
  (Reich Defence Council).

Now I shall omit Pages 43 to 46, since they contain the
historical development of the organisational principles, and
I beg the Tribunal, if it can make use of this information,
to consider it in reaching a verdict. I shall continue on
Page 47:

The prerequisite of modern warfare is not so much the
exploitation and organization of the manpower of a country
into military formations, but it is essentially a problem of
industrial capacity and of its appropriate utilization for
the production of all necessary raw materials.

This process must of necessity precede any rearmament and
requires expenditure of money and even more of time.
(Establishment of industrial machine pools.)

When Germany proclaimed equal rights as regards defence -
that is, military sovereignty - it did not possess the
necessary resources for a material rearmament as they had
been taken away in the execution and recognition of the
disarmament plan. It has been confirmed here during the
trial by various sources that first ten, then seven to eight
years were estimated for providing material equipment in the
form of hitherto prohibited modern weapons and supplies,
especially munitions also for the peace-time Wehrmacht which
had been announced to the world with the proclamation of
liberty for national defence in 1935. This becomes
comprehensible if one considers that even the U.S.A. with
its unlimited means, which were not impaired by the effects
of war, required four to five years for the necessary
conversion and rearmament in this war. Thus we see that
rearmament, if it is intended to exceed the limits of
defensive armament, is only to be achieved gradually in the
case of nations which - like Germany in 1934 - had no

1st stage: Procuring of essentials (capacities) with regard
to industries and raw materials for the production of war

2nd stage: Issuing orders to the armament industry for the
first equipment of the peace-time strength of the Wehrmacht
and execution of those orders within the framework of the
means provided by the annual budgets.

3rd stage: Procurement of the ammunition and weapon supplies
to be stored for the equipment of a mobile Wehrmacht, which
is to be developed in the case of war from the permanent
peace-time strength in accordance with the efficiency of the
manpower of a nation. Those supplies are to include the
necessary replacements during the war.

If one considers that in 1934 Germany had no modern weapons,
no submarines and no military aircraft at its disposal, it
can well be believed that any soldier of experience had to
assume that under the given circumstances there could be no
thought of a war, let alone a war of aggression.

                                                  [Page 186]

Accordingly, the tasks which the defendant Keitel assumed in
his official capacity of chief of staff of the Wehrmacht
office, must be considered as purely preparatory and
organisational. Keitel, of course, bears the responsibility
for General Thomas, chief of the defence economy staff. The
technical details and the extent of his activity can be seen
from Document 2353-PS, which is correct in essence despite
the fact that Thomas, in the declaration prefixed to this
historical document, now wants it to look as if he had
presented his original notes in an exaggerated way and given
them a more favourable turn to please Hitler, this in case
of the arrest he feared. This does not correspond to the
facts. What Thomas wrote proves, according to defendant
Keitel's opinion, that a "war armament" with mobilization of
the industrial capacity and its conversion to war economy
began only at the beginning of October, 1939. It further
proves that the statements of the defendants which were
examined here, as far as they were connected with this
rearmament, and especially Dr. Schacht until 1937, are in
complete agreement on the following point: that at this
period, wars of aggression were not avowedly desired, and
according to the state of actual armament then, they must
have appeared impossible.

But the rearmament in manpower also shows the same picture
during this period. The evidence has shown that until
spring, 1938, only twenty-seven peace-time divisions were
scantily equipped and that ten to twelve reserve divisions
were in preparation; at that time the Wehrmacht had no other
supplies or armaments at its disposal.

If, despite this fact, and without general mobilization, it
succeeded by the autumn of 1938 in preparing an army of
almost forty divisions for the aggression against
Czechoslovakia, at a time when it had the poorest protection
on its western front, one can see what the maximum war
potential was in those days.

Under such circumstances and with knowledge of the armament
situation and war potentials of neighbouring countries,
which were mutually united by alliances and assistance
pacts, none of the generals of the old school could ever
think of bringing about a war. The fact that already one
year later, in 1939, the state of German armaments was
substantially improved, must primarily be traced back to the
occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Finally it must be pointed out that during this period there
was no strategic plan for any aggression whatsoever. General
Jodl has declared on the witness stand that when in 1935 he
came to the Wehrmacht office, no plan nor anything similar
was in existence, except what was provided for in the case
of internal unrest.

The occupation of the demilitarised Rhineland zone was not
planned, but was improvised by Hitler.

The "Initial Assembly and Combat Directives of June, 1937"
is a general instruction for eventual and possible military

For the sake of completeness I must also call attention to
Document 194-EC. This is an order issued by the Supreme
Commander of the Wehrmacht, von Blomberg, on the subject of
air reconnaissance and the observation of submarine
movements during the occupation of the Rhine. Keitel signed
and forwarded this order. It is the only document of that
period which is on hand.

The Reichswehr had a permanent force of 100,000 men, as had
been laid down by the Treaty of Versailles. It is
indisputable that in view of the size of the Reich, its
unprotected frontiers and the way East Prussia was cut off,
this figure was absolutely inadequate for creating a feeling
of internal security and the possibility of defence in the
face of an attack from without, such as may be considered an
elementary right for any country and nation. This state of
inadequacy, which had been created by the military clauses
of the Treaty of Versailles, was the subject of reflection
even before 1933, with a view to improving it without
actually making use of soldiers for the purpose. An
examination was made and it was found that in case of
mobilization a series of tasks could be taken over by the
civil ministries;

                                                  [Page 187]

here tasks of a purely defensive nature were concerned which
cannot be considered aggressive. They were tasks of national
defence, and principally the following.

I enumerated them in my manuscript, and without reading
them, I should like the High Tribunal to take judicial
notice of these points. As is quite clear, these are matters
only for the defence.

The advisory body for these tasks and their execution was,
up to 1933, the committee of experts (Referentenausschuss).
It consisted of experts coming from the different civil
ministries, who after being accepted by the Minister of the
Interior (Severing, up to the end of 1933) met for
conferences at the Reich Ministry. The Reichswehr Minister
charged the then Colonel Keitel to preside over these
meetings. At these meetings the experts received and
discussed the desires of the Reich Defence Ministry as
regards the aforementioned tasks which the individual
ministers could take over in case of a mobilization.

During Minister Severing's time this co-operation worked
without friction with the idea of satisfying as far as
possible the wishes of the Reichswehr Minister, and it went
on in the same way after 30th January, 1933. The scope of
the tasks and the composition remained the same. When on 4th
April, 1933, a Reich Defence Council was established through
a resolution of Hitler's new Reich Government, the committee
was maintained; only its name was changed; the committee of
experts became the Reich Defence Committee. However, it did
not change its field of action and was not given any new
competency. It only grew in size as it went on developing,
especially after the introduction of general military
service. Now as before, the Reich Defence Committee was a
body which had to give advice about those tasks of national
defence concerning the civilian sector, which had to be
prepared and also partly taken over by the civil ministries.
For this count of the Indictment it must be made quite clear
that, after 4th April, 1933, Keitel's position did not
change either, and especially that he was not a member of
the Reich Defence Council.

The Reich Defence Council, which has taken up much space in
the statements of the prosecution, may be considered as
factually non-existent according to the result of the
evidence produced - later on I will come back to the time
after 1938. In any case, the prosecution could not prove
that there was any session of the Reich Defence Council
during this period. The protocols submitted dealt without
exception with the session of the Reich Defence Committee
and the members of this committee reported to their
competent ministries, which in turn had the opportunity to
give, in the framework of the Cabinet, the necessary
concrete form to the suggestions and proposals discussed in
the Reich Defence Committee. For this reason there were
never any sessions of the formal legally existing Reich
Defence Council, so that witnesses could rightly say that
the Reich Defence Council existed only on paper.

Keitel, up to 30th September, 1933, as colonel and section
chief in the War Ministry, and later, from October, 1935, as
major-general (Chief in the Wehrmacht Office of the Reich
War Ministry), was a member of the Reich Defence Committee.

Therefore, from 30th September, 1933, to 30th September,
1935, he was not in the War Ministry, and thus had no
function connected with this count of the Indictment. During
this time also he did not participate in sessions of the
Reich Defence Committee, the protocols of which have been
presented by the prosecution as having a specially probative
value. The session of 22nd May, 1933, denoted as the second
session of the working committee of experts, was the last
session in which Keitel participated before being
transferred to duty with the troops. The first session after
his transfer to the Reich War Ministry was held on 6th
September. It is put down as the 11th session of the Reich
Defence Committee. Although, therefore, in the examination
of Keitel's responsibility, one has to exclude the above
protocols ... that is, the work done by the Reich Defence
Committee during the two years of Sessions three to ten, I
will nevertheless make them the subject of my statements, as
it is from these very protocols that one can see what the
Reich Defence Committee was doing.

                                                  [Page 188]

Only the knowledge of these protocols makes it clear why an
institution, which exists in this or some other form in
every country, and which serves the purpose of national
defence deemed legitimate by every country, has now been
presented as an important argument in the giving of evidence
on plans and preparations for aggression.

The protocols of the sessions of the Reich Defence Committee
in 1933, 1934, and 1935, reveal the character of the work as
that of preparations for the event of war. But it is
likewise evident that it is a question of preparations which
were intended to bring about a more perfect degree of
readiness in national defence in case of mobilization.

If the "political situation" is mentioned twice, these
allusions indicate the fear of military sanctions from
neighbouring States. (Reference is made to the case of
Abyssinia, which led to sanctions against Italy.)

Everything is rooted in the thought of overcoming that state
of military impotency, which made it impossible to make
secure the open frontiers of the Reich.

The recurring idea of obligation to secrecy can only be
attributed to fear arising from the situation at the time
that the publishing of measures, though of a defensive
nature, would produce preventive measures on the part of the
victorious powers.

That these suspicions were well founded is shown by the
intransigent attitude of certain States after the complete
disarmament of Germany, and this question is important for
Keitel's attitude, for he affirms that the conclusion drawn
from the regulation for secrecy is erroneous, that secrecy
is a proof of a bad conscience, and bad conscience is a
proof of knowledge of illegality.

The Committee of the Reich Defence never passed resolutions;
it was an advisory body in matters of national defence in so
far as the civilian sector was concerned with a
mobilization. At no time did it ever indulge in
deliberations concerning rearmament as regards manpower or
material or concerning plans of aggression.

The prosecution has tried in one instance to prove that the
Reich Defence Committee was mixed up with plans for

I do not wish to read the next few sentences. Here we deal
with the well-known event of the freeing of the River Rhine
for traffic, a question which was designated as the
technical liberation of the Rhine River. This came up in
Goering's testimony.

I shall continue on Page 56, paragraph 3:

The true nature of the Reich Defence Committee's activities
is set out quite simply and clearly in the Book of
Mobilization for the Civilian Administration. (Documents
1639-PS and 1639a-PS.)

It refers to the result of discussions between all the
experts of the Reich Defence Committee and is an appendix to
the mobilization plan of the Wehrmacht as well as to that of

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