The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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As an illustration of Raeder's concealment of rearmament, I
would remind the Tribunal of the Document C-141, Exhibit USA
47, which is at Page 22 of the document book. In that
document Raeder states that:

  "In view of Germany's treaty obligations and the
  disarmament conference, steps must be taken to prevent
  the first E-Boat-Half-Flotilla from

                                                  [Page 263]

  appearing openly as a formation of torpedo-carrying
  boats, as it was not intended to count these E-boats
  against the number of torpedo-carrying boats allowed us."

The next document, C-135, which will be Exhibit GB 213, and
which is at Page 20 of the document book, is of unusual
interest because it suggests that even in 1930 the intention
ultimately to attack Poland was already current in German
military circles.  This document is an extract from the
history of war organisation and of the scheme for
mobilisation. The German text of this document is headed
"850/38," which suggests that it was written in the year
1938. The extracts read:

  "Since under the Treaty of Versailles all preparations
  for mobilisation were forbidden, these were at first
  confined to a very small body of collaborators and only
  of a theoretical nature. Nevertheless, there existed at
  that time an 'Establishment Order,' and Instructions for
  Establishment, the forerunners of the present-day scheme
  for Mobilisation.
  An Establishment Organisation and adaptable instructions
  for establishment were drawn up for each A-year, cover
  name for mobilisation year.
  As stated, the 'Establishment Organisations' of that time
  were to be judged purely theoretically, for they had no
  positive basis in the form of men and material. They
  provided, nevertheless, a valuable foundation for the
  establishment of a War Organisation as our ultimate aim."

Paragraph two:

  "The crises between Germany and Poland, which were
  becoming increasingly acute, compelled us, instead of
  making theoretical preparation for war, to prepare in a
  practical manner for a purely German-Polish conflict.
  The strategic idea of a rapid forcing of the Polish base
  of Gdynia was made a basis, and the fleet on active
  service was to be reinforced by the auxiliary forces
  which would be indispensable to attain this strategic
  end, and the essential coastal and flak batteries,
  especially those in Pillau and Swinemunde were to be
  taken over. Thus in 1930 the Reinforcement Plan was

If the Tribunal turns over the page to paragraph 3, to the
second sub-paragraph:

  "Hitler had made a clear political request to build up
  for him in five years, that is to say, by the 1st April,
  1938, armed forces which he could place in the balance as
  an instrument of political power."

Now that entry points to the fact that the Nazi seizure of
power in 1933 was a signal to Raeder to go full speed ahead
on rearmament. The detailed story of this development has
already been told by my American colleague, Mr. Alderman,
and I would simply refer the Court in the first place to
Document C-189, Exhibit USA 44, which is at Page 66 of the
document book. In that document Raeder tells Hitler in June,
1934, that the German fleet must be developed to oppose
England, and that therefore from 1936 on the big ships must
be armed with big guns to match the British King George
class of battle-ship. It further, in the last paragraph,
refers to Hitler's demand that the construction of U-boats
should be kept completely secret, especially in view of the
Saar plebiscite. In November, 1934, Raeder had a further
talk with Hitler on the financing of naval rearmament, and
on that occasion Hitler told him that in case of need he
would get Doctor Ley to put 120 to 150,000,000 marks from
the Labour Front at the disposal of the Navy. The reference
to that is the Document C-190, Exhibit USA 45, at Page 67 of
the document book. The Tribunal may think that that proposed
fraud upon the German working people was a characteristic
Nazi manifestation.

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

                                                  [Page 264]

MR. ELWYN JONES: If your Lordship pleases.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, the next
document I desire to draw to the Tribunal's attention is
Document C-23, Exhibit USA 49, at Page 3 of the document
book, which states that the true displacement of certain
German battleships exceeded by 20 per cent. the displacement
reported to the British. That, I submit, is typical of
Raeder's use of deceit.

The next document, to which I refer briefly, is C-166,
Exhibit USA 48, Page 36 of the document book. It is another
such deceitful document, which orders that auxiliary
cruisers, which were being secretly constructed, should be
referred to as "transport ships."

Then there is Document C-29, Exhibit USA 46, at Page 8 of
the document book, which is signed by Raeder and deals with
the support given by the German Navy to the German armament
industry, and, I submit, is an illustration of Raeder's
concern with the broader aspects of Nazi policy, and of the
close link between Nazi politicians, German service chiefs
and German armament manufacturers.

THE PRESIDENT: Has that been put in before?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: It has been put in before, my Lord, as
Exhibit USA 46.

A final commentary on post-1939 naval rearmament is Document
C-155, at Page 24 of the document book, which is a new
document and will be Exhibit GB 214, and is a letter from
Raeder to the German Navy, dated 11th June, 1940. The
original, which is now submitted to the Tribunal, shows the
very wide distribution of this letter. There is provision in
the distribution list for 467 copies. This letter of
Raeder's is a letter both of self-justification and of
apology. The extracts read:

  "The most outstanding of the numerous subjects of
  discussion in the Officers' Corps are the torpedo
  positions, and the problem, whether the naval building
  programme, up to autumn 1939, envisaged the possibility
  of the outbreak of war as early as 1939, or whether the
  emphasis ought not to have been laid, from the first, on
  the construction of U-boats.
  If the opinion is voiced in the Officers' Corps, that the
  entire naval building programme has been wrongly
  directed, and if, from the first, the emphasis should
  have been on the U-boat weapon and after its
  consolidation on the large ships, I must emphasise the
  following matters:
  The building up of the Fleet was directed according to
  political demands, which were decided by the Fuehrer. The
  Fuehrer hoped, until the last moment, to be able to put
  off the threatening conflict with England until 1944-45.
  At that time the Navy would have had available a fleet
  with a powerful U-boat superiority and a much more
  favourable ratio as regards strength in all other types
  of ships, particularly those designed for warfare on the
  high seas.
  The development of events forced the Navy, contrary to
  the expectation even of the Fuehrer, into a war which it
  had to accept while still in the initial stage of its
  rearmament. The result is that those who represent the
  opinion that the emphasis should have been laid, from the
  start, on the building of the U-boat arm, appear to be
  right. I leave undiscussed, how far this development,
  quite apart from difficulties of personnel, training and
  dockyards, could have been appreciably improved in any
  way in view of the political limits of the Anglo-German
  Naval Treaty. I leave also undiscussed, how the early and
  necessary creation of an effective air force slowed down
  the desirable development of the other branches of the
  forces. I indicate, however, with pride, the admirable
  and, in spite of the political restraints in the years of
  the Weimar Republic, far-reaching preparation for U-boat
  construction, which made the immensely rapid
                                                  [Page 265]

  development of the U-boat arm, both as regards equipment
  and personnel, possible immediately after the assumption
  of power."

There the Tribunal sees no trace of reluctance in co-
operating with the Nazi programme. On the contrary, the
evidence points to the fact that Raeder welcomed and became
one of the pillars of Nazi power. Now it will be my purpose
to develop the relationship between Raeder, the Navy and the
Nazi Party. The prosecution's submission is that Raeder,
more than anyone else, was responsible for securing the
unquestioned allegiance of the German Navy to the Nazi
movement, an allegiance which Donitz was to make even more
firm and fanatical.

Raeder's approval of Hitler was shown particularly clearly
on 2nd August, 1934, the day of Hindenburg's death, when he
and all the men under him swore a new oath of loyalty with
considerable ceremony, this time to Adolf Hitler and no
longer to the Fatherland. The oath is found in Document D-
481, at Page 101 of the document book. That will be Exhibit
GB 215, and it may be of interest to the Court to see what
the new oath was.

The last paragraph reads:

  "The oath of allegiance taken by members of the Armed
  Forces reads as follows:

I swear this holy oath by God: that I will implicitly obey
the Leader of the German Reich and People, Adolf Hitler, the
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and that, as a brave
soldier, I will be willing to stake my life at any time for
this oath."

The Tribunal will see that for his Fatherland, Raeder
substituted the Fuehrer.

I am not proposing to take the Tribunal's time by
reiterating the steps by which the German Navy was
progressively drawn into the closest alliance with the Nazi
Party. I would remind the Court of facts of history, like
the incorporation of the swastika into the ensign under
which the German Fleet sailed, and the wearing of the
swastika on the uniform of naval officers and men, which are
facts which speak for themselves.

The Nazis, for their part, were not ungrateful for Raeder's
obeisance and collaboration. His services in rebuilding the
German Navy were widely recognised by Nazi propagandists and
by the Nazi Press. On his 66th birthday, the chief Party
organ, the "Volkischer Beobachter," published a special
article about him, to which I desire to draw the Tribunal's
attention. It is at Page 100 of the document book; it is
Document D-448, Exhibit GB 216. It is a valuable summing up
of Raeder's contribution to Nazi development:

  "It was to Raeder's credit - writes the 'Volkischer
  Beobachter' - to have already built up by that time a
  powerful striking force from the numerically small fleet,
  despite the fetters of Versailles.
  With the assumption of power through National Socialism,
  began the most fruitful period, also, in the
  reconstruction of the German Fleet.
  The Fuehrer openly expressed his recognition of Raeder's
  faithful services and unstinted co-operation, by
  appointing him General-Admiral on 20th April, 1936."

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think it necessary to read the entire

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I was going to turn to the last paragraph
but one, my Lord, which I think is helpful.

  "As a soldier and a seaman, the General-Admiral has
  proved himself to be the Fuehrer's first and foremost
  naval collaborator."

This, in my submission, is a summing up of his status and
position in Nazi Germany.

I now propose to deal with Raeder's personal part in the
Nazi conspiracy. The evidence indicates that Raeder, from
the time of the Nazi seizure of power, became increasingly
involved in responsibility for the general policies of the
Nazi State.

                                                  [Page 266]

Long before he was promoted to General-Admiral in 1936 he
had become a member of the very secret Reich Defence
Council, joining it when it was founded on 4th April, 1933.
And thus, at an early date, he was involved, both militarily
and politically, in the Nazi conspiracy. The relevant
document upon that is Document EC-177, Exhibit USA 390, at
Page 68 of the document book, which I would remind the
Tribunal contains the classic Nazi directive:

  "Matters communicated orally cannot be proved; they can
  be denied by us in Geneva."

On the 4th February, 1938, Raeder was appointed to be a
member of a newly formed Secret Advisory Council for Foreign
Affairs, and the authority for that statement is Document
203 1 -PS, at Page 88 of the document book, which will be
Exhibit GB 217.

Three weeks after this, a decree of Hitler's stated that, as
well as being equal in rank with a Cabinet Minister, Raeder
was also to take part in the sessions of the Cabinet. That
has already been established in Document 2098-PS, which was
submitted as Exhibit GB 206.

In my submission, therefore, it is thus clear that Raeder's
responsibility for the political decisions of the Nazi State
was steadily developed from 1933 to 1938 and that, in the
course of time, he had become a member of all the main
political advisory bodies. He was, indeed, very much a
member of the inner councils of the conspirators, and, I
submit, must carry, with them, the responsibility for the
acts that led to the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and
the outbreak of the war.

As an illustration, I would remind the Tribunal that Raeder
was present at two of the key meetings at which Hitler
openly declared his intention of attacking neighbouring
countries. I refer the Tribunal to Document 386-PS, which is
Exhibit USA 25 and is found at Page 81 of the document book,
which the Tribunal will remember is the record of Hitler's
conference at the Reich Chancellery on 5th November, 1937,
about matters which were said to be too important to discuss
in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet. This document,
which Mr. Alderman submitted, establishes conclusively that
the Nazis premeditated their crimes against peace.

Then there was the other conference of Hitler's on the 23rd
May, 1939, the minutes of which are found in Document L-79,
Exhibit USA 27, at Page 74 of the document book. That, the
Tribunal will remember, was the conference at which Hitler
confirmed his intention to make a deliberate attack upon,
Poland at the first opportunity, well knowing that this must
cause widespread war in Europe.

Now, those two were key conferences. At many, many others
Raeder was also present to place his knowledge and
professional skill at the service of the Nazi war machine.

His active promotion of the military planning and
preparation for the Polish campaign is by now well-known to
the Tribunal, and I am not proposing to, reiterate that
evidence again. Once the war did start, however, the
defendant Raeder showed himself to be a master of the most
typical of the conspirator's techniques, namely, that of
deceit on a grand scale. There are few better examples of
this allegation than that of his handling of the case of the

The Athenia, as the Tribunal will be aware, was a passenger
liner which was sunk on the evening of 3rd September, 1939,
when she was outward bound to America, about one hundred
lives being lost.

On 23rd October, 1939, the Nazi Party paper, the "Volkischer
Beobachter, published, in screaming headlines, the story,
"Churchill sank the Athenia." I would refer the Court to
Document 3260-PS, at Page 97 of the document book, which
will be Exhibit GB 218, and I would also like the Tribunal
to, look for a moment at the copy of the "Volkischer
Beobachter" here, and see the scale on which this deliberate
lie was perpetrated. I have a photostat of the

                                                  [Page 267]

relevant page of the "Volkischer Beobachter" for that day.
The Tribunal will see that on this front page, with the big
red underlining, there are the words: "Churchill found
guilty this time."

The extract from the "Volkischer Beobachter," which is at
Page 97 of the document book, reads as follows:

  "Churchill sank the Athenia.
  The above picture" - and the Tribunal will see it is a
  fine picture of this fine ship - "shows the proud
  Athenia, the ocean giant, which was sunk by Churchill's
  crime. One can clearly see the big radio equipment on
  board the ship. But nowhere was an SOS heard from the
  ship. Why was the Athenia silent? Because her captain was
  not allowed to tell the world anything. He very prudently
  refrained from telling the world that Winston Churchill
  attempted to sink the ship, through the explosion of an
  infernal machine. He knew it well, but he had to keep
  silent. Nearly fifteen hundred people would have lost
  their lives if Churchill's original plan had resulted as
  the criminal wanted. Yes, he longingly hoped that the one
  hundred Americans on board the ship would find death in
  the waves so that the anger of the American people, who
  were deceived by him, should be directed against Germany,
  as the presumed author of the deed. It was fortunate that
  the majority escaped the fate intended for them by
  Churchill. Our picture on the right shows two wounded
  passengers. They were rescued by the freighter City of
  Flint; and as can be seen here, turned over to the
  American coastguard boat Gibb for further medical
  treatment. They are an unspoken accusation against the
  criminal Churchill. Both they and the shades of those who
  lost their lives call him before the Tribunal of the
  world and ask the British people, 'How long will his
  office, one of the richest in tradition known to Great
  Britain's history, be held by a murderer?"

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