The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-02/tgmwc-02-15.09

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-02/tgmwc-02-15.09
Last-Modified: 1999/09/14

I now offer Document 3287-PS, as Exhibit USA 128.

This consists of a transmittal from the British Embassy,
Berlin, to the British Foreign Office, of defendant von
Neurath's letter of response dated 12th March, 1938. The
letter is identified in the document with the letter "L".

                                                  [Page 227]

First the defendant von Neurath objected to the fact that
the British Government was undertaking the role of protector
of Austria's independence. I quote from the second paragraph
of his letter:-

   "In the name of the German Government I must point out
   here that the Royal
   British Government has no right to assume the role of a
   protector of Austria's independence. In the course of
   diplomatic consultations on the Austrian question, the
   German Government never left any doubt with the Royal
   British Government that the formation of relations
   between Germany and Austria could not be considered
   anything but the inner concern of the German people and
   that it did not affect a third power."

Then, in response to the assertions regarding Germany's
ultimatum, von Neurath set out what he stated to be the true
version of events.

I quote the last two long paragraphs of the letter; in the
English  translation I start at the bottom of Page 1 of the

"Instead, the former Austrian Chancellor announced, on the
evening of 9th March, the surprising and arbitrary
resolution, decided on by himself, to hold an election
within a few days which, under the prevailing circumstances,
and especially according to the details provided for the
execution of the election, could and was to have the sole
purpose of oppressing politically the predominant majority
of the population of Austria. As could have been foreseen,
this procedure, being a flagrant violation of the agreement
of Berchtesgaden, led to a very critical point in Austria's
internal situation. It was only natural that the members of
the then Austrian Cabinet who had not taken part in the
decision for an election should have protested very strongly
against it. Therefore, a Cabinet crisis occurred in Vienna
which, on 11th March, resulted in the resignation of the
former Chancellor and in the formation of a new Cabinet. It
is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure to bring
about this development. In particular the assertion which
was spread later by the former Chancellor, that the German
Government had presented the Federal President with a
conditional ultimatum, is a pure invention; according to the
ultimatum he had to appoint a proposed candidate as
Chancellor and to form a Cabinet conforming to the proposals
of the German Government, otherwise the invasion of Austria
by German troops was held in prospect. The truth of the
matter is that the question of sending military or police
forces from the Reich was brought up only when the newly
formed Austrian Cabinet addressed a telegram, already
published by the Press, to the German Government, urgently
asking for the dispatch of German troops as soon as
possible, in order to restore peace and avoid bloodshed.
Faced with the immediately threatening danger of a bloody
civil war in Austria, the German Government then decided to
comply with the appeal addressed to it.

This being the state of affairs, it is impossible that the
attitude of the German Government, as asserted in your
letter, could lead to some unforeseeable reactions. A
complete picture of the political situation is given in the
proclamation which, at noon today, the German Reich
Chancellor has addressed to the German people. Dangerous
reactions to this situation can take place only if
eventually a third party should try to exercise its
influence, contrary to the peaceful intentions and

                                                  [Page 228]

   aims of the German Government, on the shaping of events
   in Austria, a step which would be incompatible with the
   right of self-government of the German people."

That ends the quotation.

Now, in the light of the evidence which has already been
presented to the Tribunal, this version of the events given
by the defendant von Neurath is a hollow mockery of the

We have learned, from the portions quoted from Document 1780-
PS, which is Exhibit USA 72 - Jodl's diary - the entry for
10th March, 1938, the fact that von Neurath was taking over
the duties of the Foreign Office while Ribbentrop was
detained in London, that the Fuehrer wished to send an
ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet, that he had dispatched a
letter to Mussolini of his reasons for taking action, and
that army mobilisation orders were given.

We have seen the true facts about the ultimatum from two
different documents. I refer to 812-PS, Exhibit USA 61,
Report of Gauleiter Rainer to Reichskommissar Burckel, dated
6th July, 1939, which was transmitted to the defendant Seyss-
Inquart on 22nd August, 1939. The portion reporting on the
events of 11th March have already been read to the Tribunal.

I also refer to Document 2949-PS, Exhibit USA 76, the
transcripts of Goering's telephone conversations, relevant
portions of which I have already read to the Tribunal.

These documents emphatically show, and with unmistakable
clarity, that the German Nazis did present an ultimatum to
the Austrian Government that it would send troops across the
border if Schuschnigg did not resign, and if defendant Seyss-
Inquart were not appointed Chancellor.

These documents also show that the impetus of the famous
telegram came from Berlin and not from Vienna, that Goering
composed the telegram and Seyss-Inquart did not even have to
send it, but merely said "agreed."

The transcript of Goering's telephone call to Ribbentrop, is
indicated as Part W of that document. In it the formula was
developed and recited for English  consumption that there
had been no ultimatum and that the German troops crossed the
border in response only to the telegram.

And now, in this document from which I have just read, we
find the same bogus formula coming from the pen of the
defendant von Neurath. He was at the meeting of 5th
November, 1937, of which we have the Hoszbach Minutes,
Exhibit USA 25. And so he knew very well the firmly held
Nazi ideas with respect to Austria and Czechoslovakia. Yet,
in the period after 10th March, 1938, when he was handling
the foreign affairs for this conspiracy, and particularly
after the invasion of Austria, he played his part in making
false representations. He gave an assurance to Mr. Mastny
regarding the continued independence of Austria. I refer to
the document introduced by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Document
TC-27, which is Exhibit GB 21.

We see him here, still handling foreign affairs, although
using the letterhead of the Secret Cabinet Council, as the
exhibit shows, reciting this diplomatic fable with respect
to the Austrian situation, a story also encountered by us in
the transcript of the Goering-Ribbentrop telephone call, all
in furtherance of the aims of what we call the conspiracy.

Now, if the Tribunal please, it might have been fitting and
appropriate for me to present the case on collaboration with
Japan and the attack on the

                                                  [Page 229]

United States on this 7th December, 1945, the fourth
anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour. However, our
plan was to proceed chronologically, so that part of the
case must wait its turn for presentation next week.

We now come to the climax of this amazing story of wars of
aggression, perhaps one of the most colossal misjudgements
in history, when Hitler's intuition led him and his
associates to launch an aggressive war against the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics.

In my last appearance before the Tribunal I presented an
account of the aggression against Czechoslovakia. In the
meantime, our British colleagues have given you the evidence
covering the formulation of the plan to attack Poland and
the preparations and initiation of actual aggressive war. In
addition, they have laid before the Tribunal the story of
the expansion of the war into a general war of aggression,
involving the planning and execution of attacks on Denmark,
Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia,
and Greece, and in doing so, the British prosecution has
marshalled and presented to the Court various international
treaties, agreements and assurances and the evidence
establishing the breaching of those treaties and assurances.

I should like to present to the Tribunal now the account of
the last but one of the defendants' acts of aggression, the
invasion of the U.S.S.R. The section of the Indictment in
which this crime is charged is Count 1, Section 4 (f),
Paragraph 6, German invasion on 22nd June, 1941, of the
U.S.S.R. Territory in violation of the Non-Aggression Pact
of 23rd August, 1939. The first sentence of this paragraph
is the one with which we shall be concerned today. It reads:-

   "On 22nd June, 1941, the Nazi conspirators deceitfully
   denounced the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and
   the U.S.S.R. and without any declaration of war invaded
   Soviet territory, thereby beginning a war of aggression
   against the U.S.S.R."

The documents having a bearing on this phase of the case are
contained in document book marked "P", which we now hand to
the Court.

First, if the Tribunal please, the inception of the plan. As
a point of departure for the story of aggression against the
Soviet Union, I should like to take the date 23rd August,
1939. On that date, just a week before the invasion of
Poland, the Nazi conspirators caused Germany to enter into
the Treaty of Non-Aggression with the U.S.S.R., which is
referred to in this section of the Indictment which I have
just quoted. This treaty, Document TC-25, will be introduced
in evidence by our British colleagues, but it contains two
articles which I should like to bring to the attention of
Tribunal. Article C 1 provided as follows:-

   "The two contracting parties undertake to refrain from
   any act of violence, any aggressive action, or any
   attack against one another, whether individually or
   jointly with other Powers."

Article 5 provides that:

   "Should disputes or conflicts arise between the
   contracting parties, regarding the questions of any kind
   whatsoever, the two parties would clear away these
   disputes or conflicts solely by friendly exchanges of
   view or, if necessary, by arbitration commissions."

It is well to keep these solemn pledges in mind during the
course of the story which is to follow. This treaty was
signed for the German Government by the defendant
Ribbentrop. Its announcement came as somewhat of a

                                                  [Page 230]

surprise to the world, since it appeared to constitute a
reversal of the previous trend of Nazi foreign policy. The
explanation for this about-face has been provided, however,
by no less eminent a witness than the defendant Ribbentrop
himself in a discussion which he had with the Japanese
Ambassador Oshima in Fuschl on 23rd February, 1941. A report
of that conference was forwarded by Ribbentrop to certain
German diplomats in the field for their strictly
confidential and purely personal information. This report we
now have. It is Document 1834-PS. I offer it in evidence as
Exhibit USA 129, the original German document.

On Page 2 of the English translation, Ribbentrop tells
Oshima the reason for the Pact with the U.S.S.R. That is
Page 4 of the German document.

   "Then when it came to war the Fuehrer decided on a
   treaty with Russia - as a necessity for avoiding a two-
   front war."

In view of the spirit of opportunism which motivated the
Nazis in entering into this solemn pledge of arbitration and
non-aggression, it is not very surprising to find that they
regarded it, as they did all treaties and pledges, as
binding on them only so long as it was expedient for them to
be bound. That they did so regard it is evidenced by the
fact that even while the campaign in the West was still in
progress, they began to consider the possibility of
launching a war of aggression against the U.S.S.R.

In a speech to the Reich and Gauleiters at Munich in
November, 1943, which is set forth in our Document L-172,
already in evidence as Exhibit USA 34, the defendant Jodl
admitted - and I shall read from Page 7 of the English
translation, which is at Page 15 of the original German

   "Parallel with all these developments realisation was
   steadily growing of the danger drawing constantly nearer
   from the Bolshevik East - that danger which has been
   only too little perceived in Germany and of late, for
   diplomatic reasons, had deliberately to be ignored.
   However, the Fuehrer himself has always kept this danger
   steadily in view and even as far back as during the
   Western Campaign had informed me of his fundamental
   decision to take steps against this danger the moment
   our military position made it at all possible."

At the time this decision was made, however, the Western
campaign was still in progress, and so any action in the
East necessarily had to be postponed for the time being. On
22nd June, 1940, however, the Franco-German armistice was
signed at Compiegne, and the campaign in the West, with the
exception of the war against Britain, came to an end. The
view that Germany's key to political and economic domination
lay in the elimination of the U.S.S.R. as a political factor
and in the acquisition of "Lebensraum" at her expense, had
long been basic in Nazi ideology. As we have seen, this idea
had never been completely forgotten even while the war in
the West was in progress. Now, flushed with the recent
success of their arms, and yet keenly conscious of both
their failure to defeat Britain and the needs of their
armies for food and raw, materials, the Nazis began serious
consideration of the means for achieving their traditional
ambition by conquering the Soviet Union.

The situation in which Germany now found herself made such
action appear both desirable and practical. As early as
August, 1940, General Thomas received a hint from the
defendant Goering that planning for a campaign against the
Soviet Union was already under way. Thomas at that time was
the Chief of the Wirtschaftsruestungsamt of the O.K.W.

                                                  [Page 231]

I should, perhaps, mention that this office is generally
referred to in the German documents by the abbreviation WR.

General Thomas tells of receiving this information from
Goering in his draft of a work entitled Basic Facts for a
History of German War and Armament Economy, which he
prepared during the summer of 1944. This book is our
Document 2353-PS, and has already been admitted into
evidence as Exhibit USA 35. I am sorry, it was marked that
for identification purposes. I now offer it in evidence as
Exhibit USA 35.

On Pages 313 to 315 of this work, Thomas discusses the Russo-
German Trade Agreement of 1939 and relates how, since the
Soviets were delivering quickly and well under this
agreement and were requesting war materials in return, there
was much pressure in Germany until early in 1940 for
increased delivery on the part of the Germans. However, at
Page 315, he has the following to say about the change of
heart expressed by the German leaders in August, 1940. I
read from Page 9 of the English translation:

   "On 14th August, the Chief of the
   Wirtschaftsruestungsamt, during a conference with
   Reichsmarshal Goering, was informed that the Fuehrer
   desired punctual delivery to the Russians only until
   spring 1941. Later on we were to have no further
   interest in completely satisfying the Russian demands.
   This illusion moved the Chief of the
   Wirtschaftsruestungsamt to give priority to matters
   concerning Russian war economy."

I shall refer to this statement again later when I discuss
the preparation for the economic exploitation of Soviet
territory expected to be captured. At that time, too, I
shall introduce evidence which will show that in November,
1940, Goering informed Thomas that a campaign was planned
against the U.S.S.R.

Preparations for so large an undertaking as an invasion of
the Soviet Union necessarily entailed, even these many
months in advance of the date of execution, certain activity
in the East in the way of construction projects and
strengthening of forces. Such activity could not be expected
to pass unnoticed by the Soviet Intelligence Service.
Counter-intelligence measures were obviously called for.

In an O.K.W. directive signed by the defendant Jodl and
issued to the Counter-Intelligence Service abroad on 6th
September, 1940, such measures were ordered. This directive
is Document 1229-PS and I offer it in evidence as Exhibit
USA 130, a photostat of the captured German document. This
directive pointed out that the activity in the East must not
be permitted to create the impression in the Soviet Union
that an offensive was being prepared, and outlined the line
for the counter-intelligence people to take to disguise this
fact. The text of the directive indicates by implication the
extent of the preparations already under way, and I should
like to read it to the Tribunal:-

   "The Eastern territory will be manned more strongly in
   the weeks to come. By the end of October the status
   shown on the enclosed map is supposed to be reached.
   These regroupings must not create the impression in
   Russia that we are preparing an offensive in the East.
   On the other hand, Russia will realise that strong and
   highly trained German troops are stationed in the
   Government General, in the Eastern Provinces, and in the

                                                  [Page 232]

   Protektorat. She should draw the conclusion that we can
   at any time protect out interests - especially in the
   Balkans - with strong forces against Russian seizure.
   For the work of our own intelligence service as well as
   for the answer to questions of the Russian Intelligence
   Service, the following directives apply:
      1. The respective total strength of the German troops
      in the East is to be veiled as far as possible by
      giving news about a frequent change of the army units
      there. This change is to be explained by movements
      into training camps, regroupings.
      2. The impression is to be created that the centre of
      the massing of troops is in the Southern part of the
      Government, in the Protektorat and in Austria, and
      that the massing in the North is relatively
      3. When it comes to the equipment situation of the
      units, especially of the armoured divisions, things
      are to be exaggerated, if necessary.
      4. By suitable news the impression is to be created
      that the anti-aircraft protection in the East has
      been increased considerably after the end of the
      campaign in the West, and that it continues to be
      increased with captured French material for all
      important targets.
      5. Concerning improvements on railroads, roads,
      aerodromes, etc., it is to be stated that the work is
      kept within normal limits, is needed for the
      improvement of the newly-won Eastern territories, and
      serves primarily economical traffic.
   The Supreme Command of the Army (O.K.H.) decides to what
   extent correct details, i.e., numbers of regiments,
   manning of garrisons, etc., will be made available to
   the defence for purposes of counter espionage.
   The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. By
   order of
   (signed) JODL".

Early in November, 1940, Hitler reiterated his previous
orders, and called for a continuation of preparations,
promising further and more definite instructions as soon as
this preliminary work produced a general outline of the
Army's operational plan. This order was contained in a top
secret directive from the Fuehrer's headquarters, No. 18,
dated 12th November, 1940, signed by Hitler and initialled
by Jodl. It is Document 444-PS in our numbered series and is
already in evidence as Exhibit GB 116.

The directive begins by saying:

   "The preparatory measures of Supreme Headquarters for
   the prosecution of the war in the near future are to be
   made along the following lines .."

It then outlines plans for the various theatres and the
policy regarding relations with other countries and says,
regarding the U.S.S.R. - and I read now from Page 3,
Paragraph No. 5, of the English translation:

   "Political discussions have been initiated with the aim
   of clarifying Russia's attitude for the time being.
   Irrespective of the results of these discussions, all
   preparations for the East which have already been
   verbally ordered will be continued.
   Instructions on this will follow as soon as the general
   outline of the army's operational plans have been
   submitted to, and approved, by me."

                                                  [Page 233]

On 5th December, 1940, the Chief of the General Staff of the
Army, at that time General Halder, reported to the Fuehrer
concerning the progress of the plans for the coming
operation against the U.S.S.R. A report of this conference
with Hitler is contained in captured Document 1799-PS. This
is a folder containing many documents, all labelled annexes
and all bearing on "Fall Barbarossa," the plan against the
U.S.S.R. This folder was discovered in the War Diary of the
Wehrmacht Fuehrungstab and was apparently an enclosure to
that diary.

The report I am here referring to is Annex No. I, and is
dated December, 1940.

I now offer in evidence Document 1799-PS as Exhibit USA 131.
I should also like to read into the record a few sentences
from the report of 5th December, 1940, as they indicate the
state of the planning for this act of aggression, six and a-
half months before it occurred.

   "Report to the Fuehrer on 5th December, 1940.
   "The Chief of the General Staff of the Army then
   reported about the planned operation in the East. He
   expanded at first on the geographical fundamentals. The
   main war industrial centres are in the Ukraine, in
   Moscow and in Leningrad."

Then, omitting a few sentences.
   "The Fuehrer declares that he has agreed with the
   discussed operational plans and adds the following:
   The most important goal is to prevent the Russians
   withdrawing on a closed front. The Eastward advance
   should be combined until the Russian Air Force becomes
   unable to attack the territory of the German Reich and
   on the other hand the German Air Force will be enabled
   to conduct raids to destroy Russian war industrial
   territory. In this way, we should be able to achieve the
   annihilation of the Russian Army and to prevent its
   regeneration. The first commitment of the forces should
   take place in such a way as to make the annihilation of
   strong enemy units possible."

Then, again omitting some passages.

   "It is essential that the Russians should not take up
   positions in the rear again. The number of 130 to 140
   divisions as planned for the entire operation is

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a good time to break off?

MR. ALDERMAN: Very convenient, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Then we shall not sit in open session
tomorrow. We will sit again on Monday at 10 o'clock.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10th December, 1945, at 1000

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.