The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/11/18

Regarding Hungary there is a further point:

Due to the development of events in Yugoslavia, Hitler, at
the end of March, 1941, decided to attack Yugoslavia. On
27th or 28th March I was called to the Reich Chancellery in
Berlin, where there had just been a conference between
Hitler, Keitel and Jodl, in which the Commander-in-Chief and
the Chief of Staff of the Land Forces had participated, that
is, had been ordered to be present.

When I arrived I was advised by the Chief of Staff of the
Land Forces, General Halder, that Hitler had decided to
attack Yugoslavia, in the first place to eliminate a threat
to the flank of the intended operation against Greece, get
hold of the rail line going from Belgrade Southward through
Nish, and then also with an eye to the future -- to Case
"Barbarossa" -- to keep the right flank free from the

I was instructed to go to Vienna, taking with me a number of
competent General Staff officers of the Army, to deliver and
explain pertinent orders to German commanders, and then to
travel on without fail to the Hungarian General Staff in
Budapest and to reach an understanding with it on the
deployment of German troops on Hungarian territory and the
participation of Hungarian troops in the attack on

On 30th March, early in the morning, I arrived in Budapest
and had a conference with the Chief of the Hungarian General
Staff, Lieutenant General Wert (of Infantry), and then with
the Chief of the Operational Group of the Hungarian General
Staff, Colonel Lazslo. These conferences went smoothly and
ended very quickly, and the desired result was achieved.
This result was then put down in map form. The map that I
received from the Hungarian General Staff contained not only
the deployment of the troops intended for the attack against
Yugoslavia, but also forces on the Carpatho-Ukrainian
border, which were to be placed there to protect our rear
against the Soviet Union.

The fact of the creation and existence of this force is a
sign that, even on the side of Hungary, there was the
realisation that an attack by Germany against Yugoslavia
would have to be considered as an aggressive action by the
Soviet Union.

As regards the principle of calling upon Hungary in the
preparation, and later in the execution, of the planned
operations, I learned Hitler's view at that time. He was of
the opinion that Hungary was anxious, through German help,
to recapture and expand the areas lost in 1918, and in
addition, that she was afraid of falling behind a Roumania
which was allied with Germany. Hitler saw Hungary from this
point of view also with regard to policy. But he was, as I
could observe in many instances myself, very reserved toward
Hungary, and for two reasons: Firstly, he did not believe
Hungary could guarantee secrecy with regard to future war
plans, due to her close connections with foreign countries
hostile to Germany, and secondly, he did not want to make
too many premature promises of territory to Hungary. I can
cite one example: The question of the Worulitsch oil
territory. Later, when the attack began against Soviet
Russia, the 17th German Army, which was fighting at that
point had the explicit order from the Supreme Command to
take the Worulitsch oil fields at all costs before the
arrival of the Hungarians.

Regarding this future partner, according to my observation
the procedure of Hitler was that he counted on her certain
participation and therefore delivered the armament to her
and helped with the training, but that he kept to himself
the time when he would initiate the ally into his plans.

Thirdly, in regard to Finland:

                                                  [Page 243]

In December, 1940, the first visit of the Chief of the
Finnish General Staff, Major-General Heinrich, was made to
the Headquarters of the High Command of the Army in Zossen.
Major-General Heinrich had a conference with the Chief of
the Army General Staff, the matter of which I cannot now
remember; but he made a speech about the Russo-Finnish war
of 1939 to 1940 before the General Staff officers of the
Army Groups who happened to be present at the time in
connection with the discussion of the manoeuvres. This
speech before these General Staff officers had its great
significance at that time, because its delivery coincided
with the issue of Directive No. 21 of 18th December.

This speech was significant; it dealt with experiences
gained in the war with the Red Army and in addition gave an
insight into the value of the Finnish troops as possible
future partners in the war.

I took part in a second conference with the Chief of the
Finnish General Staff at the headquarters of the Armed
Forces High Command in Zossen, in the second half of May,
1941. The Chief of the Finnish General Staff arrived from
Salzburg, where he had had conferences with the High Command
of the Armed Forces. The subject of the subsequent
conferences in Zossen with the General Staff of the Land
Forces was the co-operation of the Finnish forces in the
South in "Operation Barbarossa" with Army Group North, which
was to proceed from the deployment area in East Prussia
towards Leningrad. It was then that agreement was reached
that the Finnish troops in the South were to synchronise
their movements with the advance of German Army Group North,
and likewise that the subsequent joint advance should be
subject to consultations and agreements depending on the
development of events.

Those are the personal observations which I made regarding
the first appearance of, and the enlistment of, allies in
preparation for the aggression.

Q. How, and under what circumstances, was the armed attack
on the U.S.S.R. carried out; the attack which was prepared
by the Hitlerite Government and the High Command of the
German Army?

A. The attack took place, as I have related, according to a
plan prepared carefully and well in advance. The troops for
this attack were at first assembled in the rear of the
concentration area. By special orders they were then moved
by groups to their jumping-off positions, and then took up
their stand along the entire long front from Roumania to
East Prussia, for a simultaneous attack. The Finnish theater
of war was excluded from this operation. Just as the large-
scale operational plan, as I described it at the beginning,
was to a certain extent tried out theoretically, so was the
detailed employment of troops discussed during manoeuvres by
the Staffs of Army Groups, Corps, and Divisions, and drawn
up in orders in full detail long before the beginning of the

A large-scale diversion, which was to be organised in Norway
and along the coast of France, was designed to simulate an
invasion of Britain in June, 1941, and thus divert Russia's

All measures were taken not only for operational but also
for tactical surprise, as, for instance, the prohibition of
open reconnaissance on and across the boundary before the
beginning of the war. That meant, on the one hand, that
possible losses which might be caused, due to the lack of
reconnaissance, had to be taken into account for the sake of
surprise, but, on the other hand, it meant that a surprise
attack across the boundary by the enemy was not feared.

All of these measures show that it was a question of a
criminal attack.

Q. How would you define the aims pursued by Germany in
attacking Soviet Russia?

A. The aim to reach the Volga-Archangel line, which was far
beyond German strength, is in itself characteristic of
Hitler's and the National Socialist leadership's boundless
policy of conquest. From a strategic point of view, the
achievement of these aims would have meant the destruction
of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union. With the winning of
the line I have mentioned the

                                                  [Page 244]
main areas of Soviet Russia with the capital, Moscow, would
have been conquered and subjugated, together with the
leading political and economic center of the Soviet Union.
Economically, the winning of this line would have meant the
possession of important agricultural areas, the most
important natural resources, including the oil wells of the
Caucasus, and the main centers of production in Russia and
also the main network of communications in European Russia.

How much Hitler was bent on taking economic objectives in
this war can best be shown from an example from my personal

On 1st June, 1942, on the occasion of a conference of High
Commanders in the region of Army Group South in Poltava,
Hitler declared,

     "If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny, then I
     must end this war."
For the utilisation and the administration of the
territories to be conquered, economic and administrative
organisations had already been formed and were kept in
readiness long before the beginning of the war.

To summarise, I should like to state that the objectives
given indicate that the conquest of the Russian territories
was for the purpose of colonisation, and with the
utilisation and spoliation of its resources, the war in the
West was to be brought to a conclusion, with the aim of
finally establishing domination over Europe.

Q. And one last question: Whom do you consider as guilty of
the initiation of the criminal war against Soviet Russia?

A. May I please have the question repeated?

GENERAL RUDENKO: I repeat the question...

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is about to address an
observation to General Rudenko. The Tribunal thinks that a
question such as you have just put, as to who was guilty for
the aggression upon Soviet territory, is one of the main
questions which the Tribunal has to decide, and therefore is
not a question upon which the witness ought to give his

Is that what counsel for the defence wish to object to?

DR. LATERNSER: Yes, Mr. President, that is what I want to

Q. Then perhaps the Tribunal will permit me to put this
question rather differently.


Q. Who of the defendants was an active participant in the
initiation of a war of aggression against the Soviet Union?

A. Of the defendants, as far as I observed them, the top
military advisers to Hitler, that is the Chief of the Armed
Forces High Command, Keitel; Chief of the Operations Branch,
Jodl; and Goering, in his capacity as Reich Marshal, as
Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces and as Plenipotentiary
for the Four Year Plan.

Q. In concluding the interrogation I shall make a summary.
Have I rightly concluded, from your testimony, that long
before 22nd June the Hitlerite Government and the High
Command were planning an aggressive war against the Soviet
Union for the purpose of colonizing the territory of the
Soviet Union?

A. That is beyond doubt, according to all the developments
as I described them, and also in the light of all the
directives issued in the well-known "Green Folder."

Q. I have no more questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any member of the French prosecution
wish to ask any questions?



                                                  [Page 245]


THE PRESIDENT: The United States?


THE PRESIDENT: Any member of the defendants' counsel?

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, as counsel for the General
Staff, I ask you to afford me the opportunity to examine the
witness to-morrow morning. The presentation of the witness
by the prosecution came as a surprise, to the defendants'
counsel at any rate, and I think a consultation about the
questions to be asked, especially in view of the importance
of the testimony, is absolutely necessary. I therefore ask
to be permitted to conduct the cross-examination at the
beginning of to-morrow morning's session.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, if the prosecution has no
objection, the Tribunal thinks that this application ought
to be granted.

GENERAL RUDENKO: If the Tribunal wishes, the prosecution
will not object.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well. I don't know whether any
other member of the defendants' counsel would prefer to
cross-examine now.

DR. NELTE (counsel for the defendant Keitel): Mr. President,
I assume that all defendants' counsel may conduct their
cross-examination of the witness, General Paulus to-morrow

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly. I was only asking whether any
other member of the defendants' counsel would prefer to
cross-examine now.

DR. NELTE: I personally would be able to put my questions
after the recess.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then the witness can retire and
the case will go on. He will be recalled to-morrow morning
and in the meantime you will go on with your case.

General, you will not, I presume, think it necessary to read
any more of Field Marshal Paulus' statement, will you?


THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on, then.

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