The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. SIEMERS: Continued:

In addition, in December, 1939, Quisling and Hagelin sent to
Rosenberg and not directly to Raeder, only because Raeder
did not know either Quisling or Hagelin at that time -
entirely independently of the sources of information which
had existed up to that time - similar information concerning
the landing intentions of the Allies. As the question
involved was a purely military-strategic one, Rosenberg
asked Raeder to discuss things with Quisling so that Raeder
could examine the military technical possibilities in
consideration of the fact that aggression by the Allies in
Scandinavia must be expected according to the information
received. This is evident from the letter of Rosenberg to
Raeder of 13th December, 1939, which I submitted as Exhibit
Raeder 67. Raeder considered it his duty from the purely
military point of view to inform Hitler, with whom he had
not discussed this question in the meantime, that
corroborative information had meanwhile been received from
Canaris, the Naval Attache in Oslo, and Quisling. Hitler
wished to speak personally with Quisling, which he did, and
decided then, in order to meet the threat, to make the
necessary preparations for an eventual preventive measure,
namely the occupation of Norway. The final decision was
still deferred and again further information was awaited,
particularly as to whether the danger increased.

This caution and delay seems particularly understandable in
the case of Raeder. As I have already remarked, Raeder would
have preferred that the neutrality of Norway be maintained,
especially as he was against every conquest just for the
sake of conquest. He knew, on the other hand, that an
occupation required the commitment of the whole Navy, thus
involving the fate of the entire Navy, and that the loss of
at least a third of the whole fleet had to be reckoned with.
It should be clear how hard, from such political and
strategic viewpoints, such a decision was for a
conscientious man in his position.

                                                   [Page 61]

Unfortunately, during the first months of the year 1940, the
reports multiplied and steadily became more definite. In
March, 1940, surprisingly many English-speaking persons
could be seen in Oslo, and Raeder received very serious,
credible information about shortly impending measures by the
Allies against Norway and also Sweden. As far as landing
intentions were concerned, Narvik, Trondhjem and Stavanger
were mentioned. Thus it came about that the military
planning only took place in February and March, 1940, and
that the final instructions were issued to the Wehrmacht in
March, 1940.

There were, in addition, numerous violations of neutrality
in March, 1940, which have been entered in the war diary,
and also the mine-laying in Norwegian territorial waters at
the beginning of April.

The prosecution has submitted against this comprehensive
informative material only a few documents, according to
which the German Ambassador in Oslo, Brauer, did not regard
the danger as being so great, but believed that the English
attitude mentioned by him pointed merely to provocation of
Germany, in order that Germany might give cause for war
operations in Norwegian waters.

Baron Weizsaecker's point of view in cross-examination was
that at first he did not consider the danger so great, but
he admitted that later on the facts proved that he and
Brauer were wrong, but that Raeder, on the contrary, was
right in his apprehension. This objective accuracy of the
conception of Grand Admiral Raeder, and of the information
which was the basis of his conception, is shown by several
documents submitted by me and accepted by the Tribunal.

Since 16th January, 1940, the French High Command had been
working on a plan for, amongst other things, the occupation
of harbours and airfields on the west coast of Norway. The
plan contemplated, in addition, that the operations should
possibly be extended to Sweden and the mines of Gallivare be
occupied. Efforts have been made to justify this plan by
stating that it was elaborated solely to help Finland
against the Soviet Union.

To begin with, it could be argued in contradiction to this
that an action in support of Finland did not justify any
occupation of Norwegian territory. Moreover, the documents
show that it was not a question of only altruistic measures
in favour of Finland. During the inter-Allied military
conferences on 31st January and 1st February, which preceded
the meeting of the Supreme Council on 5th February, the
question of direct help for Finland was relegated by the
English to second place. They showed themselves to be
determined adherents of an enterprise against the mines of
Northern Sweden. This is confirmed by General Gamelin in a
note of 10th March 1940, and he adds that this opinion
obtained the majority vote in the Supreme Council, and that
the preparation of the Scandinavian expedition should be
started immediately.

And so it came about that the Franco-British fighting forces
had been ready for transportation since the first days of
March, whereby, according to Gamelin, the leadership of the
proposed operations in Scandinavia was transferred to the
British High Command. Gamelin adds finally that the
Scandinavian plans must be resolutely pursued further, in
order to save Finland - I quote: "or at least to lay hands
on the Swedish ores and the Northern harbours".

Lord Halifax informed the Norwegian Ambassador on. 7th
February that England wished to obtain certain bases on the
Norwegian coast in order to stop the German transport of ore
from Narvik. In mid-February, English and French General
Staff officers inspected landing-places in agreement with
the Norwegian authorities. According to a report of the
Embassy in Stockholm, dated 16th February, 1940, the English
intention in this respect was to land troops simultaneously
in Bergen, Trondhjem and Narvik.

On 21st February, 1940, Daladier communicated to the French
Ambassador in London, Corbin that the occupation of the most
important Norwegian ports and the landing of the first
contingent of the Allied fighting forces in Norway would
give Sweden a feeling of security; and he goes on to say
that this operation must

                                                   [Page 62]

be planned and executed at shortest notice, "independently
of Finland's call for assistance". In the event of this
demarche in Norway meeting with refusal, which was likely,
the British Government was to confirm the Norwegian refusal
and immediately seize control of the bases it needed for the
safeguarding of its interests, and was to do so in the form
of a "surprise operation". Whether Sweden would refuse the
passage through to Finland does not appear important; what
is emphasized is rather the - and I quote:

  "advantage of having secured a dominating position
  against Germany in the North, interrupted the sea
  transport of Swedish ore, and brought the Swedish ore
  districts within the radius of action of our aviation".

On 27th February, 1940, Churchill declared in the British
House of Commons that he was "tired of considering the
rights of neutrals".

It is interesting to note that unanimity is achieved in the
sixth session of the Supreme Council on 28th March, 1940 -
and I quote:

  "Every attempt of the Soviet Government to obtain from
  Norway a position on the Atlantic coast runs counter to
  the vital interests of the Allies and would elicit due

The conception thus held by the Supreme Council, with
reference to the vital interests of the Allies, coincides
exactly with the legitimate notions of the "right of self-
preservation" presented by me, and is in complete
contradiction to the interpretation of International Law
propounded in this respect by the prosecution.

The ultimate execution of the operation in Norway, that is,
the landing and the establishment of bases, was decided on
28th March, 1940, between the authoritative British and
French offices. This date was indicated at a session of the
French War Council by the French Prime Minister; and General
Gamelin added that he had, on 29th March, impressed upon
General Ironside the necessity of having everything ready
for a swift occupation of the Norwegian ports. He said he
had also informed Mr. Churchill to the same effect on the
occasion of a visit to Paris.

One day later, on 30th March, Churchill declared on the
radio, and I quote:

  "It would not be fair if, in the fight for life or death,
  the Western Powers adhered to legal agreements."

On 2nd April, 1940, at 1912 hours, London notified Paris by
telegram that the first transport was "to sail on J.I. day,"
and that J.I day was in principle 5th April.

On 5th April, Earl De La Warr established that neither
Germany nor the neutrals could be certain that "England
would allow her hands to be tied behind her back by
following the letter of the law".

The English Minister of Labour, Ernest Brown, declared on
6th April, 1940, that neither Germany nor the neutrals could
be certain that "the Western Powers would adhere to the
letter of International Law".

On the same day - this was one day after the laying of mines
by British combat forces in Norwegian territorial waters - a
secret English operational order was given "concerning
preparations for the occupation of the northern Swedish ore
fields outside Narvik".

In this order it was decided that the mission of the task
force consisted first of all in "securing the port of Narvik
and the railway to the Swedish border". It was added that it
was the intention of the Commander-in-Chief "to advance into
Sweden and to occupy the Gallivare ore fields and important
points of that territory as soon as an opportunity arises",
a formulation which almost reminds one of the words in the
prosecution Document L-79: "to attack Poland at the first
appropriate opportunity".

The original plan to send the first transport to Norway on
5th April was altered; for on the evening of 5th April the
British High Command informed the Commander-in-Chief of the
French Navy that - I quote - "the first English convoy could
not set out before 8th April which, within the framework of

                                                   [Page 63]

established time schedule, means that the first French
contingent is to leave the embarkation port on 16th April".

To complete the story, it should be pointed out that the
Norwegian operation was designated by the Allies by the code
name of "Stratford Plan", while the German Norwegian
operation was referred to by the code name "Weser Exercise"
(Weser Ubung).

The preceding facts show that:

Since autumn, 1939, preparations for eventual action in
Norway were made by studying of landing possibilities, etc.
Since January-February, 1940, the danger of an occupation of
bases in Norway by the Allies was threatening. In March,
1940, the execution of the scheme was ultimately decided
upon and the departure of the first convoy was scheduled for
5th April. Simultaneously; mine-laying was carried out in
the Norwegian territorial waters and troops were at the same
time concentrated in British and French ports for the
Norwegian operation. Thus, factual evidence of imminent
neutrality violations existed from the point of view of
International Law, and neutrality violation had indeed been
already committed to a certain extent (mine-laying). This
was the point where Germany, in accordance with the
international concept of the rights of self-preservation,
was entitled to resort to equivalent counter-measures, that
is, to occupy Norway in order to prevent the threatened
occupation by other belligerent States. It was, in fact, as
was shown later, the last moment; for Germany forestalled
the Allies only because the British High Command had
postponed the departure of the first convoy, originally
scheduled for 5th April. The German operation in Norway must
therefore be considered as legitimate according to the
principles of International Law.

I have the firm conviction that the High Tribunal, in view
of the circumstances just exposed in connection with
existing International Law, will conclude that Grand Admiral
Raeder, with regard to the occupation of Norway, acted from
purely strategic points of view, in due consideration of
international legal standards, and accordingly will acquit
him of the charge made by the prosecution.

With reference to Norway, the prosecution has moreover
charged against Raeder, and incidentally, against Donitz,
that a violation of International Law is entailed by the
fact that according to an order dated 30th March, 1940, the
naval forces were, until the landing of troops, to fly the
British flag. This too is an error of the prosecution as
regards International Law in sea warfare. The Hague
regulation on land warfare does expressly forbid the misuse
of flags. In sea warfare, on the other hand, the answer to
this question according to prevailing International Law is
definitely that, until hostilities begin, ships may sail
with their own, or with enemy or neutral flags, or with no
flags at all. I take the liberty, in this respect, of
availing myself of Dr. Mosler's juridical treatment of the
question in his opinion appearing under Item 7, and in
particular of his references to authoritative writings on
the subject, according to which the use of a foreign flag is
universally considered as a legitimate war deception and is
allowed and especially condoned by British practice, this in
accordance with the historical precedent when Nelson, in the
Napoleonic wars flew the French flag off Barcelona to lure
the Spanish ships.

This dispute is, however, superfluous in the present case
because actually the order just mentioned, instructing the
flying of the British flag, was, according to documentary
evidence cancelled on 8th April, that is to say, prior to
the execution of the Norway operation.

In conclusion I only wish to emphasize, with reference to
the subject of Norway, that after the occupation of Norway
Raeder and the German Navy did everything they could to
establish friendly relations with Norway, to treat the
country and the people honourably and well during the
occupation, and to spare them every unnecessary burden.
Raeder and the Admiral commanding in Norway, Admiral Boehm,
moreover, endeavoured to conclude a peace with Norway
guaranteeing Norwegian national interests. Their efforts
were frustrated by the creation, by

                                                   [Page 64]

Hitler and Himmler, of a so-called civil administration by
Reich Commissioner Terboven which, unlike the Wehrmacht, was
connected with the Party, the SS, SD and Gestapo. As
confirmed by Boehm in his affidavit, Raeder repeatedly
intervened with Hitler in favour of the ideas they shared
for good treatment of the Norwegian people and an early
conclusion of peace and, together with Boehm, set himself
with the utmost vigour against Terboven. Here again, the
tragic fact is that the Wehrmacht despite its utmost efforts
was neither able to oppose Hitler's dictatorial methods nor
the dictatorial methods employed, with Hitler's knowledge,
by such a mediocre Reich Commissioner as Terboven. The
Norwegian people who had to suffer under the occupation know
- and this is the only gratification for Raeder - that the
Navy was not the cause of these sufferings. On the other
hand, it is interesting to know that the differences which
cropped up between Hitler and Raeder with reference to
Norway are precisely one of the chief motives which
ultimately caused Raeder to insist upon his resignation in
September, 1942. Other motives were that Raeder also had
differences with Hitler over France, because here again
Raeder urged the conclusion of peace while Hitler, with his
usual ruthlessness, was opposed to conciliatory steps of
this kind in occupied territories. Raeder also had
differences with Hitler regarding Russia, because he was in
favour of observance of the German-Russian treaty and
expressed opposition to the breach of the Treaty and to war
with Russia.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. SIEMERS: I now come to the charge of the prosecution
with regard to a war of aggression against Russia. The
charge of the prosecution on this subject cannot be very
well understood. It dealt with land warfare, so that the
Navy did not have to make any preparations, with the
exception of the few preparations in the Baltic Sea. The
prosecution itself has furthermore stated that Raeder had
been opposed to the war against Russia. The only thing which
could remain from the charge of the prosecution is its claim
that Raeder had fundamentally been in favour of the war
against Russia also, and had only been opposed to Hitler
with regard to the time factor. With reference to Document C-
170 the prosecution states that Raeder had only recommended
the postponement of the war against Russia until victory
over England had been achieved. According to Document C-170
this actually could appear to be so. In reality, however,
the case is different, and the true state of affairs has
been cleared up by the detailed presentation of evidence.
The witness Admiral Schulte-Monting has clearly stated,
without, being challenged in the cross-examination, that
Raeder not only raised objections with regard to time
limits, but that he fundamentally argued with Hitler against
a campaign against Russia, and did so on grounds of moral
reasons and reasons of International Law, because he was of
the opinion that the non-aggression pact with Russia as well
as the trade agreement should be observed under all
circumstances. The Navy was especially interested in the
delivery agreements with Russia, and had always tried to
observe the treaties strictly. Besides this basic principle
of observing treaties, i.e., besides this general reason,
Raeder was of the opinion that a war against Russia would
also be wrong from the strategic standpoint. His own
testimony and that of Schulte-Monting  show that in
September, November and December of 1940, Raeder tried again
and again to dissuade Hitler from the idea of a war against
Russia. It is correct that in Document C-170 only the
strategic justification for his opposition has been
recorded. However, this is not at all surprising because in
the papers connected with the Naval War Staff naturally only
justifications were recorded which were of naval, technical,
and strategic importance, but not political reasons.

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