Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-15-04 Last-Modified: 1997/05/25 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV [Page 863] C. RAEDER'S PART IN THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WAR CRIMES. (1) Instigation of the Navy to Violate the Rules of Warfare. Raeder throughout his career showed a complete disregard for any international rule or usage of war which conflicted with his intention of carrying through the Nazi program of conquest. Raeder has himself summarized his attitude in a long memorandum compiled by Raeder and the German Naval War Staff and dated 15 October 1939, only a few weeks after the war started UK-65). The memorandum, which concerns the intensification f the war at sea, reads in part as follows: "I. Military requirements for the decisive struggle against Great Britain. "Our naval strategy will have to employ all the military means at our disposal as expeditiously as possible. Military success can be most confidently expected if we attack British sea-communications wherever they are accessible to us with the greatest ruthlessness; the final aim of such attacks is to [Page 864] cut off all imports into and exports from Britain. We should try to consider the requirements. It is desirable to base all military measures, taken on existing International Law; however measures which are considered necessary from a military point of view, provided a decisive success can be expected from them, will have to be carried out, even if they are not covered by existing International Law. In principle therefore, any means of warfare which is effective in breaking enemy resistance should be used on some legal conception, even if that entails the creation of a new code of naval warfare. "The supreme War Council will have to decide what measures of military and legal nature are to be taken. Once it has been decided to conduct economic warfare in its most ruthless form, in fulfilment of military requirements, this decision is to be adhered to under all circumstances and under no circumstances may such a decision for the most ruthless form of economic warfare, once it has been made, be dropped or released under political pressure from neutral powers; that is what happened in the World War to our own detriment. Every protest by neutral powers must be turned down. Even threats of further countries, including the US coming into the war, which can be expected with certainty should the war last a long time, must not lead to a relaxation in the form of economic warfare once embarked upon. The more ruthlessly economic warfare is waged, the earlier will it show results and the sooner will the war come to an end. The economic effect of such military measures on our own war economy must be fully recognized and compensated through immediate re-orientation of German war economy and the re-drafting of the respective agreements with neutral states; for this, strong political and economic pressure must be employed if necessary." Those comments of Raeder are revealing and show that as an active member of the inner councils of the Nazi state up to 1943, Raeder must share responsibility for the many war crimes committed by his confederates and underlings in the course of their wars. (2) The Navy's Crimes at Sea. Apart from this over-all responsibility of Raeder, certain war crimes were essentially initiated or ordered through the naval chain of command by Raeder himself. (a) Attacks on neutral shipping. The minutes of a meeting [Page 865] between Hitler and Raeder on 30 December 1939 read in part as follows: "The Chief of Naval War Staff requests that full power be given to the Naval War Staff in making any intensification suited to the situation and to the means of war. The Fuehrer fundamentally agrees to the sinking without warning of Greek ships in the American prohibited area in which the fiction of mine danger can be upheld, e.g., the Bristol Channel." (C-27) At this time Greek ships also were neutral. This is another demonstration that Raeder was a man without principle. This incitement to crime was a typical group effort, since a directive effectuating those naval views was issued on 30 December 1939 by the OKW, and signed by Jodl (C-12). This directive reads: "On 30 December 1939, according to a report of Ob.d.M., the Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces decided that: "(1) Greek merchant ships in the area around England declared by USA. to be a barred zone are to be treated as enemy vessels. "(2) In the Bristol Channel, all shipping may be attacked without warning -- where the impression of a mining incident can be created. "Both measures are authorized to come into effect immediately." (C-12) A pencilled note at the foot of this directive reads: "Add to (1) Attack must be carried out without being seen. The denial of the sinking of these steamships in case the expected protests are made must be possible." (C-12) Another example of the callous attitude of Raeder's Navy towards neutral shipping is found in an entry in Jodl's diary for 16 June 1942 (1807-PS). This extract reads as follows: "The operational staff of the Navy (SKL) applied on the 29th May for permission to attack the Brazilian sea and air forces. The SKL considers that a sudden blow against the Brazilian naval and merchant ships is expedient at this juncture (a) because defense measures are still incomplete; (b) because there is the possibility of achieving surprise; and (c) because Brazil is to all intents and purposes fighting Germany at sea." (1807-PS). This was a plan for a kind of Brazilian "Pearl Harbor," although war did not in fact break out between Germany and Brazil until the 22 August 1942. [Page 866] Raeder also caused the Navy to participate in war crimes ordered by other conspirators. A single example will suffice. (b) The order to shoot commandos. On 28 October 1942 the head of the Operations Division of the Naval War Staff promulgated to naval commands Hitler's order of 18 October 1942 requiring the shooting of commandos. The effect of this order was to deny the protection of the Geneva Convention to captured commandos. The document dated 28 October 1942 reads: "Enclosed please find a Fuehrer Order regarding annihilation of terror and sabotage units. "This order must not be distributed in writing by Flotilla leaders, Section Commanders or officers of this rank. "After verbal distribution to subordinate sections the above authorities must hand this order over to the next highest section which is responsible for its confiscation and destruction." (C-179). It will be difficult to conceive of clearer evidence than this, that Raeder appreciated the wrongfulness of Hitler's commando order. One example will show that this order was executed by the German Navy during the period when Raeder was its Commander. A certain commando operation of December 1942 had as its objective an attack on shipping in Bordeaux harbor. The Wehrmacht account of this incident states that six of the ten participants in that commando raid were arrested, and that all were shot on 23 March 1943 (UK-57). On this particular occasion the Navy under Raeder had implemented Hitler's order much more expeditiously. This fact appears in extracts from the war diary of Admiral Bachmann, who was the German Flag Officer in charge of Western France (C-176). The entry for 10 December 1942 reads: "About 1015. Telephone call from personal representative of the Officer-in-charge of the Security Service in Paris, SS Obersturmfuehrer Dr. Schmidt to Flag Officer-in-charge s Flag Lieutenant, requesting postponement of the shooting, as interrogation had not been concluded. After consultation with the Chief of Operations Staff the Security Service had been directed to get approval direct from Headquarters. "1820. Security Service, Bordeaux, requested Security Service authorities at Fuehrer's headquarters to postpone the shooting for three days. Interrogations- continued for the time being." (C-176) The entry for the next day, 11 December 1942, reads: "Shooting of the two prisoners was carried out by a unit [Page 867] (strength 1/16) belonging to the naval officer in charge Bordeaux, in the presence of an officer of the Security Service, Bordeaux, on order of the Fuehrer." (C-176) A note in green pencil in the margin opposite this entry reads: "Security Service should have done this. Phone Flag Officer in Charge in future cases." (C-176) This provision for "future cases" was in fact an order that commandos should be handed over to the Security Service to be shot. It is therefore evident from Admiral Bachmann's war diary (C- 176) that the first two men to be shot from the Bordeaux operation were actually put to death by a naval firing party on 1 December 1942. The Naval War Staff had this comment to make upon that shooting: "The Naval Commander, West France, reports that during the course of the day explosives with magnets to stick on, mapping material dealing with the mouth of the Gironde, aerial photographs of the port installations at Bordeaux, camouflage material and food and water for several days were found. Attempts to salvage the canoe were unsuccessful. The Naval Commander, West France, has ordered that both soldiers be shot immediately for attempted sabotage, if their interrogation, which has begun, confirms what has so far been discovered. Their execution has, however, been -postponed in order to obtain more information. "According to a Wehrmacht report, both soldiers have meanwhile been shot. The measure would be in accordance with the Fuehrer's special order, but is nevertheless something new in international law, since the soldiers were in uniform." (D-658) That last sentence shows clearly that the Naval High Command under Raeder accepted allegiance to the Nazi conspiracy as of greater importance than any question of moral principle or professional honor. The shooting of commandos was not an act of war, but simple murder.
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