The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/10/06

DR. SIEMERS: Continued:

I have already shown that Hitler fundamentally did not
permit Raeder, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, to
intervene in questions concerning foreign

                                                   [Page 65]

policy, i.e., in things which did not belong to his
department. If Raeder did on occasion try this contrary to
the will of Hitler, and that in cases of special importance,
then he could do it only privately with Hitler and
accordingly could not then record these conversations in the
war diary. However, he always told everything to his chief-
of-staff as his closest confidant. As a result, Schulte-
Monting could confirm definitely that Raeder in this case
opposed Hitler because of misgivings with regard to morality
and International Law and furthermore also gave strategic
reasons for his opposition in the hope of being able to
influence Hitler more certainly in this manner. Schulte-
Monting even stated - just like Raeder - that in November
the latter had gained the impression, after a discussion,
that he had dissuaded Hitler from his plans. I believe that
this has clarified the matter, and only the tragic factor
remains here, that Hitler paid just as little attention to
Raeder's political objections with regard to Russia as with
regard to Norway and France.

A similar situation lies behind the charge of the
prosecution referring to the war of aggression against the
USA and the violation of the neutrality of Brazil. Both of
these charges are sufficiently refuted within the framework
of the evidence so that I am only going to discuss them very

According to the statement of the prosecution, Raeder
somehow collaborated in the plan to induce Japan to attack
America. As a matter of fact no naval strategic conferences
were held between Japan and Raeder. Raeder was always of the
conviction that a war against the USA must be avoided just
as much as a war against Russia. This attitude is
understandable because, in addition, he held the opinion
that Hitler should under no circumstances launch a war with
England. Since the war against England had now come about,
it was Raeder's duty as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy to
use all his strength to fight successfully against England.
Raeder knew the limitations of the fighting capacity of the
Navy, and it was therefore quite out of the question that he
should have collaborated in an extension of the naval war,
considering, as he did, that the conduct of such a war
against England was already too difficult a task. The
Document C-152 submitted by the prosecution therefore
mentions only a proposition that Japan should attack
Singapore and is based on the standpoint that the United
States should be kept out of the war. This suggestion made
to Hitler that Japan should attack Singapore was in all
points quite correct.

We were now in a war against England, and Raeder was forced
to try to concentrate all his forces against England. He was
thus justified in suggesting that Japan - as Germany's ally
- should attack England. Moreover this one discussion of
Raeder was held on 18th March, 1941, whilst Hitler in his
Directive No. 24 of 5th March, 1941, had established the
guiding principle that Japan must attack Singapore, which he
considered a key position of England.

May I interpose one sentence here? It can be seen in the
report by General Marshall that the latter stated that no
common plan had been found to exist between Germany and

As Schulte-Monting has affirmed Raeder was just as surprised
by the sudden attack of Japan against Pearl Harbour as every
other German. The attempt of the prosecution to discredit
this statement during the cross-examination of Schulte-
Monting by introducing a telegram from the Naval Attache in
Tokyo to Berlin dated 6th December, 1941, has failed. In the
first place Raeder probably received this telegram only
after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7th December
had already started, and besides, Pearl Harbour is not
mentioned at all in the telegram.

The charge of the prosecution with regard to Brazil has been
refuted almost more definitely because, after my statements
in the case for the defense, the prosecution did not return
to this point in any of the cross-examination of Raeder,
Schulte-Monting and Wagner. It is the charge that, according
to Jodl's diary, the Naval War Staff authorized and approved
the use of arms against Brazilian

                                                   [Page 66]

warships and merchant vessels fully two .months before the
outbreak of war between Germany and Brazil.

Apart from the testimony of witnesses this case is refuted
by documents, namely the complete excerpt from Jodl's diary
which I submitted as Exhibit Raeder 115 as well as by
further submitted documents, Exhibits Raeder 116 and 118.
These documents reveal that Brazil had violated the rules of
neutrality by permitting the USA to make use of Brazilian
airfields as bases for attacks on German and Italian U-
boats. The Brazilian Air Ministry had furthermore officially
announced that attacks had been made by the Brazilian Air
Force. Considering such conduct, which is against all rules
of neutrality, the demand of the Naval War Staff for armed
action against Brazilian vessels is justified. In this case
also the prosecution did not succeed in proving Raeder to
have committed a crime or even an offence against
International Law.

The prosecution has very carefully submitted an exceedingly
large amount of material, and the many details enforced
great exactitude in the submission of evidence for the
defence. I have endeavoured to deal with all the charges in
the submission of evidence or in my final plea, and have
made efforts to show as clearly as possible that all the
charges, partly on factual, partly on legal grounds, do not
represent the facts of a criminal case within the meaning of
this Charter. Inasmuch as I have not, in spite of my
striving for great exactitude, dealt with certain documents,
it was because they seemed to me of small importance, and in
any case of no importance under criminal law, for instance,
the many cases in which Raeder was only mentioned because -
without officially taking any part - he received a copy of
the documents for routine reasons. It would have been tiring
to go into such recurrent cases, even if the prosecution
unremittingly reiterated these formal indications, so that
one was often inclined to remember the saying of Napoleon
that repetition is that turn of speech which acts as the
best evidence.

I further believe that in the final plea for Grand Admiral
Raeder I may leave aside argumentation regarding the real
war crimes, the crimes against humanity, as I cannot
establish any connection between these and Raeder from the
material submitted by the prosecution. Further, no
particular charge is made against Raeder in this connection
with the exception of the two cases connected with the
Commando Order, namely, the shooting of two soldiers in
Bordeaux and the shooting of the British soldier Evans, who
was made a prisoner by the SD on the Swedish border, after
he had previously participated in the midget submarine
(Kleinkampf) attack on the Tirpitz. Thus far the charge has
been refuted by testimony in so far as it concerns the Navy.
Both cases did not come, or came only later, to the
knowledge of the Naval War Staff just before Raeder's
retirement. In both cases the action was carried out on the
basis of the Commando Order by the SD without the knowledge
and will of the Naval Command; and - what is most important
- in both cases the documents of the prosecution showed that
these soldiers were in civilian clothes, and therefore were
not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

All other criminal facts which the prosecution submitted,
especially applying to the East, I need not deal with as
Raeder did not participate in them. I hope that here also I
shall have the approval of the Tribunal in mentioning the
handling of the Katyn case, in which the Tribunal pointed
out that Raeder was not involved, and therefore refused my
collaboration as defence counsel in this connection; from
this I draw the legal conclusion that, even in a roundabout
way through the conspiracy, Raeder cannot be considered as
being concerned with these criminal facts, since he did not
know of these events and had nothing to do with them.

The, evidence of the prosecution rests on the wish to have
its theoretical basic assumption prevail and be
acknowledged, namely, the idea that so many crimes cannot
have been the conception of a singe person, but rather that
they result from the conspiracy - a plot - involving many
persons. These conspirators could logically in the first
place have been only Hitler's own collaborators, that is to

                                                   [Page 67]

say the real National Socialists. As, however, Hitler wished
to realize, and did realize; concrete results of military
and economic importance, he was faced with a peculiar fact.
There were no specialists among the National Socialists for
these tasks. Most of the National Socialist collaborators
had not previously followed a trade requiring technical
education. Hitler, therefore, despite his desire to have
only National Socialists around him, had to use as key
people in particular fields specialists who were not
National Socialists, such as for instance Neurath for
politics and Schacht for economics; and for military tasks,
Fritsch for the Army and Raeder for the Navy. The
prosecution followed them in the interests of its conspiracy
theory, without paying attention to the fact that these were
not National Socialists, and therefore could not in any way
be counted among the conspirators, and without taking into
account that Hitler used these non-National Socialists only
as technicians in a well-defined field, and only as long as
it seemed absolutely necessary to him; and therefore he
agreed to the retirement of these men, who were essentially
not in sympathy with him, as soon as the differences with
them seemed unbridgeable, which was bound to happen sooner
or later with each of them, depending on the particular
field involved.

By this wide conception of the idea of conspiracy and by
this extension of the prosecution's fight against non-
National Socialists, the prosecution abandoned the basic
concept which was formerly propagated abroad, namely, that
of a fight against National Socialism, but not against the
whole of Germany, two ideas which at no time and in no place
have been really identical, as the prosecution now tries to
make out. I do believe that thereby the prosecution also
abandons President Roosevelt's basic idea.

But another factual and legal point of view has not been
taken into consideration by the prosecution. I mean the
concept of division of competence in political law, that is
to say the subdivision into individual departments. This
division of competence - resting on the idea of division of
labour - has, in accordance with its essence, a separative
character; it divides the field of work according to local,
functional and technical points of view. For one thing it
positively defines the limits within which any single
division is to become active; at the same time it defines
negatively the boundaries of this activity by specifying
which are the things which no longer concern the agencies in
question, that is to say where they must not exercise any
official activity.

In a democracy, an additional contact exists by virtue of
the general Cabinet meetings and or through the Prime
Minister, the Reich President, or the Reich Chancellor. But
it is different in a dictatorship, particularly if the
dictator, as was the case with Hitler in the National
Socialist State, exploits the separation between the
individual departments with extreme skill and sees to it
that the individual departments are as isolated as possible,
with the result that all decisions rest finally with him as
the dictator, in which connection he even plays off one
department against the other.

The system of strict partitioning off of governmental
departments carried out in the National Socialist State very
distinctly contradicts the concept of conspiracy as it made
it difficult for the individual to go beyond his own
department in any manner. The effect of this system may be
illustrated by the following example: The formulation of
political relations with other States, the conclusion or
rescission of agreements or alliances with other States,
declaring war and concluding peace are matters within the
jurisdiction of the authority directing foreign affairs, but
they are not within the jurisdiction of the agencies
concerned with domestic tasks, such as for instance the
Reich Finance Administration, justice and the military.

The result is: Since the decision concerning war and peace
is not a matter for the military authorities, they have to
accept the decisions made by the political leadership,
decisions which have a binding material effect on the
military authorities. The military commander must assume for
his department the consequences resulting from the decision.
As soon as war is, declared, the military

                                                   [Page 68]

forces must fight. They do not bear any responsibility for
the war, since they were not able to take part in the
decision that war should be declared. Consequently, for an
army the concept of war of aggression exists in the
strategic sense only. Aside from that, every war, the waging
of which is charged to it, is simply war, regardless of how
it is defined legally.

Responsibility from the point of view of political law and
criminal law corresponds to the field of jurisdiction.
Therefore, if the Commander-in-Chief of a branch of the
Wehrmacht is responsible solely for the waging of war, not
for the causes leading to war, his responsibility in respect
to strategic planning must be confined to planning as such,
but not to the possible origin of the war for which the
strategic planning is worked out.

This officially and legally important division of
governmental departments and the distribution of authority
was carried out by Hitler, in the interest of strengthening
his own power, in a particularly emphatic manner, in many
domains, such as for instance the, creation of "the Trustee
for the Four-Year-Plan" whose field of work actually
belonged to the Ministry for Economics; the creation of
Reich Commissioners in the occupied territories, whose
activity really came under military administration; and,
finally, a fact of interest in the Raeder case, the very
strict delimitation between the three branches of the
Wehrmacht and the elimination of the Reichswehr Minister
and/or Minister of War who held the three branches of the
armed services together and unified them. The greater the
number became of the governmental departments the stronger
Hitler became as dictator, as the only one with authority
over all the innumerable agencies. But along with this the
official as well as the legal responsibility for strategic
planning in one individual department decreased, in this
instance that of the Navy.

Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief of a branch of the
Wehrmacht, for instance the Navy, could in case of strategic
planning only be responsible for the planning of naval
strategy; he did not have an overall view of the total
planning. Total planning was discussed nowhere; politically
and militarily it was in Hitler's hands exclusively because
he alone was the centre where all threads and all activities
of the individual departments came together.

May I add a sentence here and remind you that, for instance,
in the case of the Norway action even Goering was not
informed until March, 1940, which is a proof of the extreme
separation of the individual departments within the armed

In addition, no purely strategic planning as such can be
criminal because it is customary in every country, and
because in every country the military commander of a branch
of the armed forces does not, and cannot know, for what
purpose the political leadership will use the plan prepared
by him, whether in a war of aggression or a defensive war.

The documents submitted in my document book prove
convincingly that the military agencies, both of the Allies
as well as in Germany, worked out strategic plans in the
same way and in the same areas and at the same times, namely
in regard to Norway, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Roumania, and
moreover the Allies planned for the destruction of the
Roumanian oil-fields and especially of the oil sources in
the Caucasus. Particularly the plans concerning the Caucasus
on the part of the Supreme Council, i.e., of the combined
British and French General Staff, show the correctness of
the statements. The Supreme Council would certainly decline
to be made politically responsible for these strategic
plans, although the Soviet Union was still neutral at the
time thereof, and the execution of the plans was to strike
not only at the enemy country Germany, but also at the
neutral Soviet Union, as the documents also show.

The similarity of the documents concerning such plans is
absolutely convincing and shows a strong parallel trend. May
I point in this connection to my earlier statements made
here on the occasion of the comprehensive discussion,
regarding the relevance and admissibility of the documents
submitted by me; may I point, in addition, to Document
Raeder 130, namely the letter of the Foreign Office in

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which submission of the British Admiralty files is refused,
but in which the plans in regard to Norway and the whole of
Scandinavia are admitted but with the remark that the plans
were not carried out, which was only due to the fact that
Germany prevented their execution.

One may be a pacifist and therefore basically opposed to
military force, but then one must be consistent and must
take a stand not only against German military force, but
against any military force. One may condemn the fact that
the military authorities, as the operational authority,
prepare military plans, and one may in future insist that
such planning is punishable. But then not only German
military planning but also foreign military planning must be

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