The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/16

Q. Oh, you have not got it. I am sorry. I will get you one.

Now, that is dealing with the first point, encroachment by
the English into Norwegian territorial waters, and it says:-

  "An examination of the question as to whether a mass
  encroachment by the English into the Norwegian
  territorial waters was so immediately imminent that it
  might represent a danger to present German shipping,
  leads to the conclusion that this is not to be expected
  at the present time. The ore transports are to be
  continued, as no losses have yet occurred."

Was that your information, that no mass encroachment of
Norwegian territorial waters was to be expected on 22nd

A. That was not at all my conception. It was the view of
Captain Fricke, who was at that time the Chief of the
Operations Department. He did not quite agree with me about
the whole of this question. He was of the opinion that the
British should be allowed to enter Norway first, and then we
should throw them out through Sweden, a completely distorted
idea which I could not approve of in any way. I had such
clear information from Quisling and Hagelin, particularly at
that time, the second half of March, that there was no
longer any doubt whatever that within a reasonable time the
British would intervene on a big scale.

Q. You say that that was Captain Fricke's view, and you did
not pay attention to it. Well now, let me look -

A. I did not concern myself with it.

Q. You know Admiral Assmann, whom you have described as a
sound historian, kept a diary, and on the next day he gives
an account of a meeting between you and Hitler, and he says
this. This is the same day. You may have read it, because he
turns down your proposal to use U-boats off Halifax. It is
the same day, 23rd February. Then, at that date, you are
quoted as saying that to ensure the supply of ore from
Narvik, it would be best to preserve the neutrality of

Then, on 26th March, Admiral Assmann in his report of the
meeting between you and Hitler, records your answers as
follows. It is quite short:-

  "British landing in Norway not considered imminent -
  Raeder suggests action by us at the next new moon - to
  which Hitler agrees."

That is Admiral Assmann's report of the meeting between you
and Hitler on 26th March:

  "British landing in Norway not considered imminent -
  Raeder suggests action by us at the next new moon, 7th
  April - to which Hitler agrees."

Do you remember that?

                                                  [Page 211]

A. No. I mean, it is quite improbable that at that moment I
should not have been fully convinced of the imminent landing
about which the whole of Documents 004-PS and 007-PS gave me
reliable information. I did not see the documents, but the
information contained in them was available to us all.

Admiral Assmann compiled his notes from all sorts of war
diaries and records. I most certainly never said that,
because at that time I reported to Hitler again and again
that our preparations would be complete at the end of
January, and that that would be the time when the landings
had to be carried out for the reasons I had always put
forward. It is completely wrong to assume that at that time
I had the slightest doubt. Later everything was proved right

Q. Well now, really we must -

A. And later on, it all turned out to be correct.

Q. We must get down to this matter. You have told us that
Admiral Assmann was a trustworthy officer and good at naval

A. He does not intend to deceive, but he compiled the
document from all sorts of papers and I cannot imagine how
he could have arrived at that statement, I certainly never
made it.

Q. Well, but the second part of it, the second sentence, is
right is it not?

  "Raeder suggests action by us at the next new moon, 7th

That is right; that is when you did invade. That was when
your armada started off to arrive there on the 9th, was it

A. But yes, of course. I was in favour of carrying out the
landings in Norway at the earliest possible time, after ice
conditions had improved, as we had previously decided and as
had been ordered by Hitler. For that I assume full
responsibility. There was every reason for that.

Q. Well. Again I must not argue with you, but the point
comes to this, that you are saying that Admiral Assmann, who
is right in his second sentence, is not only wrong, but
entirely wrong - I mean, stating the opposite of the truth -
when he says that the British landing in Norway was not
considered imminent.

Well now, we will just pursue that a little.

A. I only submitted to the Fuehrer this opportunity to land
in Norway subject to the information available.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, what was that document of the 26th
March, 1940?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: That was an extract from the Assmann
Diary which I have used before, and I will have one made up
and put in for identification. I have not got it copied yet,
my Lord, I am sorry. I shall have it done.

THE WITNESS: I should be grateful if perhaps you could show
me the document. You have shown me all the others, but not
this one, the one I contest.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I beg your pardon. It is such a
short extract I thought you would take it from me, but the
last thing I want is not to show you any documents.


Q. You see the entry for 26th March: "British landing in
Norway not considered imminent. Raeder suggests action by us
at next new moon, 7th April, to which Hitler agrees. Further
discussions about laying of mines at Scapa before German
invasion of Norway. Hitler agrees with Raeder and will issue
instructions accordingly."

A. May I come back to it now. Here it says, 26th March,

  "Occupation of Norway by British was imminent when the
  Russian-Finnish peace was concluded."

That Russian-Finnish affair was making it particularly
urgent for us to carry out a landing, because the danger
existed that the British, under the pretext of supporting
the Finns, would carry out a bloodless occupation of Norway.

                                                  [Page 212]

Then we go on to the question of the Fuehrer, whether a
landing by the British in Norway might be imminent. One must
consider that Assmann had summarised all that from war
diaries, and this question is explained by the fact that the
Fuehrer wanted to know whether the situation had changed in
any way, because the peace had been signed. However, the
situation had not changed, because we knew in reality that
the landings by the British were not to be carried out to
help the Finns, but for other reasons. That question,
therefore, whether at the time, because of the peace treaty,
the British landings might be particularly imminent, was
answered by me in the negative. Commander-in-Chief Navy
suggests action by us at next new moon, 7th April-Fuehrer
agrees. Everything remained as before. To the question
whether because of this peace treaty we ought to land at
once, I answered "No." That is completely different from
what you have been telling me.

Q. You read out the entry for 26th March. What is the entry
for 26th March. You read it out in German and we can
translate it.

A. Occupation of Norway by the British was imminent when the
Russian-Finnish peace treaty was signed. Apparently, because
of the treaty, it was postponed. Question by the Fuehrer,
whether at that moment a landing by the British in Norway
was imminent, was answered in the negative by the Commander-
in-Chief Navy - Yes, that did not mean that because of that
we had to renounce the idea. Commander-in-Chief Navy
suggests action by us for next full moon. The reasons for
our landing remained the same as before; only the Finnish
business could no longer be used by the British.

Q. The peace treaty, the end of the war with Finland, had
taken place in the middle of March. That was off the map at
that time?

A. Of course, it was no longer important for us, but our
reasons remained as before.

Q. Well now, will you look at Document D-843. This will be
Exhibit GB 466. This is a report from your diplomatic
representative in Norway, dated 29th March, and at the end
of the first paragraph you will see: "The British apparently
did not want to take upon themselves the responsibility for
openly violating Norwegian territory and Norwegian
territorial waters without cause, and for carrying out
warlike operations in them." That is a quotation from the
Norwegian Foreign Minister. Then your diplomatic
representative takes it up:-

  "The future will show whether Foreign Minister Koht sees
  things quite correctly. It definitely appears, however -
  as I (that is the German Foreign Minister's
  representative) have frequently pointed out - that the
  British have no intentions of landing, but that they want
  to disturb shipping in Norwegian territorial waters,
  perhaps - as Koht thinks - in order to provoke Germany.
  Of course, it is also possible that the British behaviour
  of last week, which I have pointed out as well, will grow
  into more or less regular and increasing interference in
  territorial waters to attack our ore traffic off the
  Norwegian coast."

And then paragraph three:-

  "The firm intention of Norway to maintain her neutrality
  and to ensure that her neutrality rules are respected can
  be accepted as a fact."

Were you told that your diplomatic representative in Oslo
was reporting that the British had no intentions of landing?

A. Yes. Dr. Brauer, the Ambassador to Norway, held a
completely wrong view. He believed Foreign Minister Koht's
assurances, even though our naval attache kept reporting
that Koht was completely on the side of the British and his
assurances were not to be believed. At the same time,
information had been received from Hagelin that the
Norwegians were giving assurances on paper, but they
themselves had said that they were doing that only as a
subterfuge, and that they would continue to co-operate with
the British. That is contained in the documents which we
have submitted.

                                                  [Page 213]

Q. Let us look at another document. Look at D-444. This is
what your diplomatic representative in Sweden was saying at
the same time. That will be Exhibit GB 467. That is from
your representative in Sweden and you will notice that he
quotes Foreign Minister Gunther of Sweden, as first of all -
about ten lines down, just after the name of "Weiszacker,"
you will see:-

  "The Swedish Government had no reason at all to believe
  in an impending action by the Western Powers against
  Scandinavia. On the contrary, on the strength of all
  official reports and other information, it considered the
  situation lately to be much calmer."

And then he says there is no prospect of a coup against
Swedish ore. Then he goes on to deal with Norway. Without
being anglophile, Gunther did not believe in a British act
of war against Norway either, but, of course, he could not
speak of this with as much certainty as was the case with
Sweden. At any rate, the Norwegian Government, with whom he
was in close contact, was of the same opinion. And if you
look two paragraphs farther on, it says:-

  "In conclusion, Gunther requested me to report his
  statements to my government, and repeated that the
  Swedish Government thought it to be of the greatest
  importance that the German Government should not get the
  erroneous impression that circumstances existed which
  might lead to the possibility - he would not use the word
  necessity at all - of special measures by Germany with
  regard to Scandinavia."

And then he says in the last paragraph that the Swedish
Foreign Minister had probably heard of the German

Now, would you look at Document D-845, which will be Exhibit
GB 468 - that is the next day-from your diplomatic
representative in Stockholm:-

  "Serious anxiety exists in Swedish military and
  government circles regarding possible German military
  preventive measures in Scandinavia against the announced
  intensification of war measures by the Western Powers.
  Swedish and Norwegian military and government authorities
  consider it unlikely that military measures will be taken
  against Scandinavia by the Western Powers. Press reports
  on this subject by the Western Powers are attempting to
  provoke Germany."

That is from your military attache in Stockholm. Were you
told about these reports from Stockholm, were you told of

A. I assume the Fuehrer told me this. But we had no reason
at all to believe these assurances, because, obviously,
quite obviously, Sweden had considerable interest in our not
going to Norway, because Sweden believed that by so doing we
would be able to exercise pressure on Sweden also. That was
what the British wanted, according to the information we
received later. Our Ambassador was completely misinformed,
and, as a result, was not informed by us because it was
known that he sided with Foreign Minister Koht. Our
information was so clear, so frequent and so unequivocal,
that we could certainly carry out our landing with a clear
conscience and, in fact, this proved to be true. Therefore,
there is no point in discussing the following: that the
order on the part of the British to land in Norway - it was
Trondheim, Stavanger and, I believe, Christiansund - that
this order was given on 5th April; and during the night of
7th-8th, as the British reported in a wireless message, the
mine-laying in Norwegian waters was completed by British
ships, and on the 7th, troops were shipped on cruisers, the
names of which I forget.

Therefore this actually took place and my conception, not
Herr Brauer's, was correct. He was dismissed immediately
after this because be was a failure. Thereupon we carried
out the landings on the strength of quite positive
information which we can prove in detail. Sweden's action is
thoroughly understandable.

Q. I am not going to argue with you, although you ought to
know, and I think you do know, that there was no British
order for an invasion at all; there was an order for laying
mines; but you took this course, as I suggested, you,
knowing quite well that no British invasion was imminent,
contrary to your own Chief of

                                                  [Page 214]

Operations, Captain Fricke, and contrary to all the
information from your diplomatic representatives in Norway.
Now, I want to come to another point with regard to Norway
and then I am finished with that. You told the Tribunal that
in your view, using the enemy's colours was a permissible
ruse de guerre so long as you stopped before you went into
action. Do you remember saying that?

A. I did not understand.

Q. Do you remember telling the Tribunal that morning that
using the enemy's colours on a warship was a permissible
ruse de guerre so long as you stopped before you went into
action. Do you remember saying that?

A. Yes; of course, that is the principle which is absolutely
recognized in naval warfare, that at the moment of firing
you have to show your own flag.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that it is a recognized
procedure in naval warfare to use another country's colours
in making an attack on a neutral country, an unannounced
attack on a neutral country? There was no war between you
and Norway and there was no reason for there to be any ruse.
You were at peace with Norway. Are you saying that?

A. It was all a question of hoisting the German flag if we
met the British. We did not want to fight with the
Norwegians. It says somewhere that we should first of all
try to effect a peaceful occupation.

Q. Can you give me a precedent even where the German Navy,
before this operation, had ever attacked a neutral country
with which it was at peace, using enemy colours? You tell me
when you did it before?

A. I do not know. I cannot tell you whether any other navy
did it. I have -

Q. You can assume that no other navy ever did. I am merely
asking: Have you ever done it?

A. No, we have not done it and apart from that, we did not
do it because, on 8th April, we gave the order by wireless -
as you know from our war diary - that this should not be
done, so it is quite useless to talk here about what might
have been done, seeing that it was not done.

Q. I wanted to get clear about your views on the
permissibility of naval warfare. I want to come to one other
point, and then I am finished with this section of the case.
With regard to the attack on the Soviet Union, I am not
going to ask you about all your own views and what you said
to Hitler, because you told us that at length; but I would
just like you to look at Document Book 10-A, Page 252 of the
English book and Page 424 of the German book.

A. Which document is it, please?

Q. The big one.

A. I have not got that.

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