The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Did you vote National Socialist in July, 1932?

A. No, I would not think of it.

Q. The prosecution now lists a number of points by which it
wants to prove that you were an adherent of the National
Socialist ideology. I am going to name them one by one and I
ask you to state your view on each of them. First, that you
were an opponent of the Treaty of Versailles. Would you like
to say something about that?

A. It surprised me indeed to hear that reproach from an
American prosecutor. The lieutenant who spoke is perhaps too
young to have experienced it himself but he should know it
from his education; at any rate, for all of us who have
lived through that time, it was one of the outstanding
events that the Treaty of Versailles was rejected by the
United States and, if I am not wrong, rejected with the
resounding approval of the entire American people.

The reasons prompting that action were also my reasons for
rejecting the Treaty: it stood in contradiction to the
fourteen points of Wilson, which had been solemnly agreed
upon and, in the field of economics, it contained
absurdities which certainly could not work out to the
advantage of world economy. But I certainly would not accuse
the American people of having been adherents of the Nazi
ideology because they rejected the Treaty.

Q. The prosecution also asserts that for a long time already
you had been a German nationalist, not merely a German
patriot, but a German nationalist and expansionist. Would
you like to state your position in that respect?

A. You, yourself, by emphasising the word "patriot" have
recognised that one must be clear on just what a nationalist
is. I have always been proud to belong to a nation which for
more than a thousand years has been one of the leading
civilised nations of the world. I was proud to belong to a
nation which has given to the world men like Luther, Kant,
Goethe, Beethoven, to mention only these. I have always
interpreted nationalism as the desire of a nation to be an
example to other nations, and to maintain a leading position
in the field of spiritual and cultural achievement through
high moral standards and intellectual attainment.

                                                  [Page 379]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If it please the Tribunal, it seems to
me that we are getting very far from the relevant charges in
this case, and particularly if they are going to be preceded
by a statement of the prosecution's position.

We have no charge against Dr. Schacht because he opposed the
Treaty of Versailles; we concede it was the right of any
German citizen to do that by means short of war. Nor do we
object to his being patriotic German by any means short of
war. The only purpose has been to find out what his attitude
in these matters was in connection with the charge that he
helped to prepare and precipitate war. To deal with these
philosophical matters separately from the war charge seems
to me entirely irrelevant, and I assure the Tribunal we have
no purpose in charging that it is a crime to oppose the
Treaty of Versailles. Many Americans did that. It is no
crime to be a German patriot. The crime is the one defined
in the Indictment, and it seems to me we are a long way off
from that here, and wasting time.

THE PRESIDENT: What do you say to that, Dr. Dix?

DR. DIX: I was eager and glad to hear what Justice Jackson
just said, but I must quote from Wallenstein, "Before dinner
we heard another version." There was no doubt - and once,
because I thought I had misunderstood, I even asked again -
that the criminal character of the Party Programme, the
criminal character of the contents of "Mein Kampf", and the
opposition to the Treaty of Versailles - were cited as
being, to say the least, indicative of crimes committed
later-and further the accusation of having been expansionist
and nationalist; all these things have repeatedly in the
course of the proceedings here been held against Dr. Schacht
in order to strengthen the foundation of the charges made
against him.

If Mr. Justice Jackson now, with gratifying frankness,
states, "That the prosecution does not accuse Schacht
because he opposed the Treaty of Versailles; does not assert
that he was more than a patriot, that is to say, a
nationalist in the sense described before; and does not
maintain either that our statements are circumstantial
evidence of his later co-operation, his financial co-
operation, in the rearmament programme, which is evidence
indicative of his intent to assist in waging a war of
aggression" - If that is now stated unequivocally by the
prosecution, then we can dispense with a great many
questions which I intended to put in the course of my
examination of the witness; I would then gladly leave the
whole subject of Schacht's expansionism and nationalism. We
have not yet mentioned expansionism; Mr. Justice Jackson has
not mentioned it either: I do not believe however that the
prosecution will withdraw the accusation of expansionism,
that is the expansion of German living space in Europe: I am
not sure of this, but we shall certainly hear about it. As I
said, if these accusations which have been made are
withdrawn, then I can dispense with these questions and my
client need not answer them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Of course, I made no such statement as
Dr. Dix has assumed. My statement was clearly made in the
opening and clearly is now, that he had a perfect right to
be against the Treaty of Versailles and to be a German
nationalist and to follow those aims by all means short of
war. I do not want to have put in my mouth the very
extensive statements made by Dr. Dix. My statement was made
clear in the opening, and these matters as to the Versailles
Treaty and nationalism and Lebensraum, as political and
philosophical matters, are not for the Tribunal to
determine. We are not going to ask you to say whether the
Treaty of Versailles was a just document or not. They had a
right to do what they could to get away from it by all means
short of war.

The charge against Dr. Schacht is that he prepared,
knowingly, to accomplish those things by means of aggressive
warfare. That is the hub of the case against him.

DR. DIX: Then on this point there is ...

                                                  [Page 380]
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I think the case for the prosecution
has been clear from the outset, that all these matters are
only relied upon when they were entered into with the
intention of making war.

DR. DIX: Very true. I need not put these question if the
prosecution no longer uses these accusations as
circumstantial evidence for his intent to wage a war of
aggression, but Mr. Justice Jackson has not yet made a
statement to that effect. But there seems to be no doubt -
and I do not believe that I misunderstood the prosecution -
that in order to prove Dr. Schacht's intention to wage a war
of aggression, the prosecution did refer to Schacht's
opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, to his nationalism
and expansionism, that is, extension of "Lebensraum". We do
not want to make academic or theoretical statements about
the ideas of "Lebensraum" and nationalism, but as long as
these ideas which the prosecution concedes he is justified
in holding, as long as these characteristics are considered
to be in part proof of his intent, my client must have the
opportunity of telling the Tribunal just what he meant by
"Lebensraum" if he ever spoke of it, which I do not yet
know. But I think, nevertheless, that there is still a
matter not quite clear between Mr. Justice Jackson and
myself, and that I do not quite agree either with what was
said by your Lordship ...

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): What you were asking him about
was his views upon nationalism. That is what you were asking
him about, his views upon nationalism, and that seems to be
a waste of time.

DR. DIX: I put to him that he was accused of being a
nationalist and an expansionist, and that the prosecution
therefrom drew the conclusion that he planned an aggressive
war by financing armament; now he has to show, of course,
that ...

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): What Mr. Justice Jackson has
pointed out is that the prosecution have never said that he
simply held the views of a nationalist and of an
expansionist, but that he held those views and intended to
go to war in order to enforce them.

DR. DIX: Yes, your Lordship, but it is held that these
opinions were proof - one proof among others - that he had
the intention of waging aggressive war, that they constitute
what we jurists call circumstantial evidence of his intent
to wage war, and as long as this argument - it is no longer
a charge maintained by Mr. Justice Jackson but it is an
argument of the prosecution -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): There is no issue about it. He
agrees that he did hold these views. Therefore it is quite
unnecessary to go into the fact. The prosecution say he held
the views; he agrees that he held the views. The only
question is whether he held them with the innocent intention
of achieving them by peaceful methods, or whether he had the
alleged criminal intention of achieving them by war.

DR. DIX: I only wish to say one more thing to that:
Expansionism has not yet been discussed. Should Dr. Schacht
have had expansionist tendencies, then Mr. Justice Jackson
certainly would not say that he has no objection. Therefore

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I think that you may ask him
questions about the expansionists, his ideas of what
expansionists were, what he meant by expansion, but for the
rest it seems to me you are simply proving exactly the same
as the prosecution have proved.

DR. DIX: I fully agree. Dr. Schacht, were you ...

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)


Q. I believe, Dr. Schacht, that both of us will have to
speak a little more slowly and pause between question and

                                                  [Page 381]

Now, please reply to the accusation by the prosecution that
you had been an expansionist. Please define your position.

A. Never in my life have I demanded even a foot of space
that did not belong to Germany, and I should never think of
such an idea.

I am of the opinion that neither is it national to try to
dominate and govern foreign peoples, nor is appropriation of
foreign territory a politically just action. These are two
questions with which we are much concerned at present.

I might perhaps add, in order to clarify my position, just
what I understand by nationalism, and just why I was against
each and every form of expansionism. Just one sentence will
suffice, a sentence from a speech which I made in August of
1935. On that occasion I said, and I quote:

  "We want to express that self respect requires respect
  for others, and the upholding of our national
  individuality must not mean disparagement of the
  individuality of others; by respecting the acts of others
  we respect our own action; and a battle of economic
  competition can be won in the end only through example
  and achievement, and not through methods of violence or

Q. According to the opinion of the prosecution, in the year
1936 you made a public threat of war, on which occasion you
are alleged to have said that the spirit of Versailles was
instrumental in keeping alive war mania. I am referring to
Document 415-EC, a document to which the prosecution has

A. I never understood, in the course of this proceeding, how
there could be a threat of war in this quotation. The
quotation concludes with the words - and I must quote in
English because I just have the English words before me:

  "The spirit of Versailles is perpetuated in the spirit of
  war, and there will not be a true peace, progress, or
  reconstruction until the world desists from this spirit.
  The German people will not tire of pronouncing this

The conclusion says that the German people will not tire of
pronouncing this warning. It seems to be a matter of course
that hereby expression is given to the fact that I am
warning others from persisting in war mania. I am not
warning ourselves, but the entire world, to avoid
perpetuating the spirit of Versailles.

Q. The prosecution further accuses you in this connection
that you publicly approved the idea of "Lebensraum", living
space, for the German people. In this special connection
reference was made to the speech you made at Frankfurt on 9
December, 1936, in which you said:

  "Germany had too limited a living space (Lebensraum)."

A. This speech of 9 December, 1936, was a speech which was
solely concerned with a restoration of the colonial rights
of Germany. I have never demanded any "Lebensraum" for
Germany other than colonial space. And in this instance,
again, I am surprised that just the American Prosecutor
should accuse me on my efforts in this direction, because in
the fourteen points of Wilson, which regrettably were not
adhered to later on, we, the Germans, were given
consideration for our colonial interests.

In consequence, I said, again and again:

  "If you want peace in Europe, give Germany an economic
  outlet through which Germany can develop and satisfy her
  needs. Otherwise Germany will be a centre of unrest and a
  problem for Europe."

I would like to quote one sentence only from the speech I

  "Peace in Europe, together with the peace of the entire
  world, is dependent upon whether the densely Populated
  areas of Central Europe will have the possibility of life
  or not."

I emphasised this viewpoint again and again, but at no time
did I connect these views with the idea of an armed

                                                  [Page 382]

I would like to quote another sentence from this same

  "I did not mention this consideration as to the parts of
  Germany which were separated from her, in order that we
  might draw the conclusion of war-like intentions; my
  entire position and my work is marshalled to the
  objective of bringing about peace in Europe through
  peaceful and sensible considerations and measures."

THE PRESIDENT: Will you please give me the PS numbers and
the exhibit number of those two speeches?

DR. DIX: I can't at this moment, your Lordship, I am sorry,
but I will try to get these numbers and submit them in
writing. The last speech refers to the speech at Frankfurt,
and the others -

THE PRESIDENT: That is quite all right. You will let us know
in writing, will you?

DR. Dix: Yes, indeed.

A. (Continuing): Perhaps if it is permitted I might refer to
two other sentences from my article which was published in
"Foreign Affairs", the well-known American magazine in the
year 1937. I have the German translation before me, which
says, in the introduction, and I quote:-

  "I am making these introductory remarks in order to
  clarify the situation. The colonial problem today, as in
  the past, is for Germany not a question of imperialism or
  militarism, but, purely and simply, a question of
  economic existence."

Perhaps I might refer to the point that very influential
Americans were in constant accord with this view. I have a
statement made by the collaborator of President Wilson,
Colonel House, who made the well-known distinction between
the "haves" and "have nots", and who was especially
influential in advocating consideration for German colonial
interests. Perhaps I can dispense with the quotation.

Q. In this connection I would like to point to the document
submitted by the prosecution, Document 111-L, Exhibit USA-
630. This document is concerned with the conversation which
you had with the American Ambassador Davies, and in which
you are accused of indirectly having threatened a breach of

A. I have already set forth just now that I constantly said
that Europe cannot have peaceful development if there is no
means of livelihood for the completely overpopulated Central
Europe, and I believe conditions at present show how
absolutely right I was - just what an impossibility it is to
feed these masses of people. And beyond that I had a keen
interest in diverting Hitler's quite misguided ideas from
Eastern Europe, and therefore was constantly at pains to
direct his attention to the colonial problem, with the
purpose of turning his thought from the crazy ideas of
expansionism in the East. I recall that in 1932, shortly
before he assumed office, I had a conversation with him in
which for the first time I approached him on this question,
and above all told him what utter nonsense it would be to
think of an expansion in the East.

Then, constantly, in the subsequent years, again and again,
I spoke about the colonial problem until at the last, in the
summer of 1936, I had the opportunity of pursuing my ideas,
and Hitler gave me the mission which I had suggested to him,
of going to Paris to discuss with the French Government the
possibility of colonial satisfaction for Germany. This
actually happened in the summer of 1936. And for the
satisfaction of myself and all other friends of peace, I
might say that the government of Leon Blum, which was in
office at the time, showed gratifying appreciation of this
solution for Europe's food and economic problems, and
stated, for its part, that it was ready to deal with the
colonial problem with the aim of perhaps returning one or
two colonies to Germany. Leon Blum then undertook, in
agreement with me, to inform the British Government about
these conversations in order to secure its consent, or to
bring up a discussion of this problem within the British
Government. That actually did take place, but

                                                  [Page 383]

the British Government hesitated for months, and when it
finally could decide on taking a position in this matter the
discussion dragged on up to the initial months of the
Spanish civil war, was eclipsed and supplanted by the
problems of that war so that a continuation of the
discussion on this colonial problem never came about.

At that time, in January of 1937, when the American
Ambassador to Moscow, Ambassador Joseph Davies, visited me
at Berlin, I was rather irritated by the slowness with which
the British Government was meeting these suggestions, and
consequently I came forth with a request for understanding
and support, and told Ambassador Davies about the whole
matter. I tried constantly and repeatedly to gain the
understanding support of representatives of the American
Government. I tried again and again to advise these
gentlemen about domestic conditions and developments within
Germany, to tell them as much as was possible and compatible
with German interests and to keep them informed. That
applies to Ambassador Davies, Ambassador Dodd, Ambassador
Bullitt when he was in Berlin, and so on.

This conversation with Ambassador Davies is referred to in
the document which the prosecution has submitted, L-111, and
which is taken from the book which Ambassador Davies wrote
about his mission in Moscow, and we will perhaps come back
to this book later on.

As the pith of my conversation with Davies, I would like to
quote just one sentence again, which I must again quote in
English, since I have only the English book at my disposal:-

  "Schacht earnestly urged that some such feasible plan
  could be developed if discussion could be opened; and
  that, if successful, would relieve the European war
  menace, relieve peoples of enormous expenditures for
  armaments, restore free now of international commerce,
  give outlet to the thrift and natural abilities of his
  countrymen and change their present desperation into
  future hope."

In this connection the affidavit of Fuller plays an
important part, that is the Exhibit USA-629, and Document
450-EC. According to this affidavit, you allegedly declared
to Fuller that if Germany could not get colonies through
negotiations she would take them. Please define your
position as to this statement.

A. In a German drama an intriguer is being instructed by a
tyrant to ruin a man of honour and he says in reply, "Just
give me one word said by this man, and I will hang him
thereby." I believe, my Lord Justices, that in this
courtroom there isn't a single person who, at one time or
another in his life, has not said a rather unfortunate word.
And how much easier is it when he is speaking in a foreign
language of which he is not complete master!

Mr. Fuller is known to me as a respectable businessman, and
this discussion which he has here reproduced is indubitably
given according to the best of his knowledge. He himself
rightly says that even had he tried to put down the exact
words he could not guarantee that each and every word had
been said. But if I did say these words, then it means only
that I said, that we Germans must have colonies and we shall
have them. Whether I said, "We will take them, " or "We will
get them," that, of course, it is impossible for me to say
with assurance today after a period of ten years.

The representative of the prosecution also thought the
expression, "We will take them," a little colourless in
effect and therefore I believe he just added a trifle, for
he said twice in his presentation of the charges that I had
said, "We would take these colonies by force," and on a
second occasion he even said: "We would take these colonies
by force of arms." But 'force' or 'force of arms' are not
mentioned in the whole of Fuller's affidavit. And if I had
used that word, or even used it only by implication, Mr.
Fuller would have had to say with reason: "So you want to
take colonies by force; how do you expect to do

                                                  [Page 384]

that?" It would have been utter nonsense to assert that
Germany would ever have been able to take overseas colonies
by force. She lacked - and always will lack - domination of
the seas, which is necessary for this.

Fuller did not take exception to my manner of expression and
in his conversation he immediately continued - and I quote:-

  "You mentioned a little while ago that necessary raw
  materials could not be obtained through German lack of
  foreign exchange. Would stabilisation help you?"

Therefore, rather than become excited about the fact that I
wanted to take colonies by force - something which I never
said and which is contrary to my views, which I have already
stated - he immediately goes on to foreign exchange and to

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