The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-184.08


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-184.08
Last-Modified: 2000/10/14

DR. KUBUSCHOK, Continued: 

Mr. President, perhaps now I may go into the question which
you asked me at the beginning of my plea as to how I
interpret paragraph 6A of the Charter in regard to the
defendant Speer, especially in regard to the terminology:
"The waging of a war of aggression." I should like to say
the following: The Charter, under 6A, cites, among other
punishable actions, the execution of a war of aggression. As
for the definition of a war of aggression, I need say
nothing here Professor Jahrreiss has already done that in
detail. Here it is only the interpretation of the term "the
execution of a war of aggression" that is in question. My
point of view is that a war of aggression can be waged only
by the person who has supreme command. All others are only
led, even if their participation may mean a considerable
contribution to the war.

In the case of the defendant Speer, therefore, the waging of
a war of aggression cannot be applied. I should like to
point out the following as well: In a session

                                                  [Page 265]

on about 28th February or 1st March, one of the judges told
justice Jackson that the prosecution had represented the
point of view that the charge of a war of aggression was
concluded with its outbreak. I can only share this opinion.

During the hearing of evidence I had ample opportunity to
state the activities of the defendant Speer during the last
phases of the war from June, 1944. I can, therefore, confine
myself now to proving in regard to this detailed
chronological description that the entire testimony of Speer
is covered almost completely by testimonies of other
witnesses and by documents. The written statements of
witnesses, which I refrained from reading before the
Tribunal, run entirely along the same lines, although the
witnesses came from different camps and expressed themselves
in a completely unbiased manner.

Beginning with June, 1944, the defendant Speer readily
reported to Hitler on the situation of his armament
production, and he emphatically pointed out at the same time
that the war would be lost if such decline of production
were allowed to continue. This is proved by the memoranda of
Speer to Hitler submitted as Speer Exhibits Nos. 14, 15, 20,
21; 22, 23, and 24. As stated by the witness General
Guderian, Chief of the General Staff of the Army (compare
Question 6, Page 179 of my document book), Hitler, as from
the end of January, 1945, defined any such information as
high treason and subjected it to corresponding punishment.
Nevertheless, as it appears also from the statement of
General Guderian, Chief of the Army General Staff, Speer
stated clearly time and again to Hitler as well as to
Guderian his opinion about the prospects of the war.

Hitler had especially forbidden that third persons should be
informed about the true situation of the war.
Notwithstanding this, after the severest orders for
destruction had been issued by Hitler, Speer informed the
Gauleiter and the Commanders-in-Chief of various army groups
that the war was lost and thus achieved that Hitler's policy
of destruction was at least partly prevented. This is
evident from the testimonies of witnesses Hupfauer, Kempf
and von Poser.

Hitler declared to Speer on 29th March, 1945, that the
latter would have to take the consequences customary in such
cases, if he continued to declare that the war was lost.
This conversation is contained in the testimony of the
witness Kempf. In spite of this, Speer two days later
travelled to Seyss-Inquart (on 1st April, 1945) in order to
explain to him, too, that the war was lost. The witness
Seyss-Inquart and the witness Schwebel in the interrogations
of 11th June, 1946, and 14th June, 1946, stated here
unanimously that this conversation with Speer of 1st April,
1945, occasioned the conferences of Seyss-Inquart with the
Chief of the General Staff of General Eisenhower, General
Smith. This led finally to the handing over of Holland to
the Allies.

On 24th April, 1945, Speer flew once again to Berlin, which
was already besieged, in order to persuade Hitler that the
senseless fight should be given up, as is evident from the
testimony of the witness Poser. In his last will Hitler
dismissed Speer on 29th April, 1945 (Document 3569-PS, Page
87 of the Document Book Speer).

The American Chief Prosecutor, Chief Justice Jackson, has,
therefore, been obliged to admit to the defendant Speer
during his cross-examination that he, Speer, was evidently
the only man who told Hitler the whole truth.

The representatives of the prosecution have produced no
evidence that destructions of industries took place in
Poland, the Balkans, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium,
Holland during the German retreat. This is in the first
place a merit of the defendant Speer who prevented the
destruction of the industries of these countries as ordered
by Hitler, partly through a purposely false interpretation
of existing orders. That Speer was convinced as early as the
summer of 1944 that this destruction should be prevented in
the general European interest is evident from the testimony
of the witness von Poser. It would have been easy, by
relevant execution of the orders, to cripple completely the
highly-developed industries of Central Europe and of the
occupied Western European countries for 2-3 years

                                                  [Page 266]

and with them the entire industrial production and civilised
life of these peoples, in fact, to make rebuilding by their
own labour quite impossible for years to come.

The witness Seyss-Inquart has stated in his interrogation on
11th June of this year, that the prepared destruction of
only 14 plants in Holland would have absolutely destroyed
the basis of existence of this country. The destruction of
all power plants in these countries would have produced a
similar effect as the destruction in 1941 by the Soviets of
the 2-3 power plants in the Donetz territory. In spite of
all efforts, it was not until the summer of 1943 that some
scanty production could start again there. Similar but still
more far-reaching consequences had to be expected from the
carrying out of Hitler's orders on the European continent.

After the success of the invasion of these occupied
territories Speer gave the authorisation to undertake no
destructions, as is confirmed by the witnesses von Poser,
Kempf, Schieber, Kehrl, Rohland, Seyss-Inquart, Hirschfeld,
and by Speer Document 16, question 12, Page 112; Schieber
for Upper Italy, question 25, Page 1 19; Rohland for
Luxemburg and Lorraine, question 5, Page 1571; Kempf for the
Balkans, Czechoslovakia, Polish Upper Silesia, France,
Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg; Seyss-Inquart for Holland, Page
11,210 of the German transcript; Hirschfeld for France,
Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Upper Italy, Hungary, the Balkans,
Poland.

Immediately after the appointment of the co-defendant Donitz
as successor to Hitler, he submitted to him orders
prohibiting- any destruction in the still occupied
territories of Norway, Czechoslovakia and Holland, as well
as Werwolf activities, as is shown in the testimony of the
witnesses von Poser and Kempf.

Although Speer had no direct authority for carrying out the
destruction of industries in the occupied territories, he
had to accomplish this task at his own responsibility and
through his agencies within the borders of the so-called
Greater German Reich. He had to keep especially busy in this
connection in order to obstruct the total destruction of all
real values which was obstinately demanded by Hitler.
Information on this will to destroy on the part of Hitler
and many of his Gauleiter is furnished in the testimonies of
witnesses Guderian, Rohland, Hupfauer, von Poser, Stahl and
Kempf.

The most important document in this regard is the letter of
Speer to Hitler of 29th March, 1945, submitted as Speer
Exhibit 26, in which Speer repeats again Hitler's remarks
during the conversation on 18th March, 1945. This document
shows clearly that Hitler had made up his mind to destroy
completely the foundations of the life of the German people.
This document should be especially rich in information about
Hitler's time for any future historian. In connection
therewith follows the evidence of General Guderian who
certifies that in February, 1945, Hitler

  (1) confused his inevitable fate with that of the German
  people,
  
  (2) wished to continue this senseless fight by all means
  and thereby
  
  (3) ordered the reckless destruction of all things of
  real value.

That is Guderian on Page 177 and Page 179 of my document
book.

Also the demolition and evacuation orders of Hitler and
Bormann, which were issued the day after the conference with
Speer and are of impressive clearness, have been submitted
to the Tribunal as documents under Speer Exhibit Nos. 25-28.

Already since the middle of March, 1944, Speer, considering
this war inevitably lost, was determined to undertake
everything in order to maintain the most urgent vital
necessities for the German people, as has been confirmed by
the witness Rohland. Notwithstanding the growing danger to
himself, he repeated this determination with increasing
urgency to his collaborators, as the witnesses Kempf, von
Poser and Stahl can certify for the months of July and
August, 1944, and the witnesses Stahl, Kempf, von Poser,
Rohland and Hupfauer for the critical period from February,
1945, onwards.

                                                  [Page 267]

Numerous orders of Speer dealing with the preservation of
industrial plants, issued between September, 1944, and the
end of March, 1945, have been submitted to the Tribunal.
They were at first partly issued without Hitler's
authorisation, but by clever use of Hitler's hope that these
territories could be re-conquered were in part subsequently
approved by him.

The testimonies of the witnesses Rohland, Kempf and von
Poser, as well as Speer's numerous memoranda regarding the
war situation, prove that, without sharing it, he profited
by Hitler's illusion in order to prevent these demolitions.

Since the beginning of February, 1945, Hitler no longer lent
his ear to any such argumentation. On the contrary, the
introduction to his demolition orders of 19th March, 1945,
shows that he considered it necessary to oppose actively
such argumentation. In counter-orders such as those of 30th
March, 1945 (Speer Exhibit No. 29, Page 81 of the document
book), to all industrial plants, as well as those of 4th
April, 1945, for all sluices and dams, Speer gave
instructions - contradictory to the intentions of the orders
issued by Hitler - not to undertake any industrial
demolitions. This likewise is corroborated by the witnesses
Kempf, von Poser and Rohland.

During the month of March the executive power for the
demolition of industrial plants and of other objects of
value was transferred from Speer to the Gauleiter.

During this period Speer acted in open insubordination, and
on trips to the danger zones he arranged for the sabotage of
these orders. Thus, for instance, by clever planning he
withdrew the stocks of explosives from the grasp of the
Gauleiter, as stated by the witnesses von Poser, Kempf and
Rohland, and gave orders that the so-called industrial
explosives, which were used for demolition, should no longer
be produced, as is proved by the statement of the witness
Kehrl, the Chief of the Office for Raw Products of Speer's
Ministry.

It seems important that Speer had urgently drawn Hitler's
attention to the consequences which the demolitions would
have for the German people, as is shown in Speer's submitted
memorandum dated 15th March, 1945 (Speer Exhibit No. 23). In
this Speer, for example, has established that by the planned
demolition of industrial plants and bridges, in the Ruhr for
instance, the reconstruction of Germany by her own forces
after this war would be made impossible. Thus it is without
doubt mainly to Speer's credit that the industrial
reconstruction of Western and Central Europe can progress
already today, and that in France, Belgium and Holland,
according to their latest reports, production has already
reached the level of the peace-time production of 1938.

Speer was the Minister responsible for the means of
production, i.e., the factories and their installations.
Thus he sat in the transmission centre through which
Hitler's intentions for the carrying out of these
demolitions must necessarily pass. We have noticed in this
trial how in an authoritative system such centres are in the
position to carry out on a big scale the orders of the head
of the State. It was a fortunate coincidence that, at this
decisive period, a clear-thinking man like Speer directed
this office from which the industrial demolition must be
directed.

But with increasing intensification Speer took measures
beyond his sphere of action, in order to ease the transition
for the German people and at the same time to shorten the
war. Thus Speer tried to prevent the destruction of bridges.
Every German knows that up to the last days of the war and
to the farthest corner of the German Reich bridges were
destroyed in a senseless way.

Nevertheless his efforts had no doubt a partial success. The
numerous conferences which Speer held in this connection
with military commanders are testified to by the witnesses
Kempf and Lieutenant-Colonel von Poser. This witness was
Speer's liaison officer with the Army, and accompanied him
on all trips to the front.

These conferences were partially successful. Finally by the
middle of March, 1945 the Chief of the General Staff of the
Army, General Guderian, and Speer,

                                                  [Page 268]

according to the latter's proposal, tried to obtain Hitler's
agreement to alter his demolition orders regarding bridges,
but they did not succeed. This is confirmed by the witness
General Guderian.

Knowing that the consequences of those bridge demolitions
were unpredictable, Speer finally, on 6th April, 1945,
issued six orders in the name of General Winter of the
Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht which were directives for
the sparing of the bridges of essential railway lines in the
Reich and in the entire Ruhr territory. These unauthorised
orders were confirmed by the statements of the witnesses von
Poser and Kempf.

At the end of January, 1945, he noticed that from a long-
range point of view the guarantee of sufficient food
supplies for the German people and the spring tilling of
fields for the harvest of 1945 in particular were
endangered. Speer, therefore, allowed the requests for
armament and production, which were in his jurisdiction, to
be superseded and gave priority to the supply of food.

That this did not apply only to the actual food situation
but was effected mainly in order to relieve the transition
period after the occupation by the Allied troops is proved
by the statements of the witnesses Hupfauer, Kempf, Rohland,
von Poser, Riecke, Secretary of State in the Ministry of
Food, Milch, Kehrl and Seyss-Inquart.

When Speer believed that he had new reasons for apprehension
that Hitler, induced by his close collaborators in Party
circles, would use poison gas in the autumn of 1944 and in
the spring of 1945, he opposed this determinedly, as was
proved in his cross-examination by the U.S. Prosecutor, Mr.
Justice Jackson, and by the testimony of the witness Brandt.
Speer's statement that due to this apprehension he had
closed down the German poison gas production as early as
November, 1944, was confirmed by the witness Schieber. Speer
at the same time established that the military authorities
unanimously opposed such a plan.

Finally, since the end of February, 1945, the defendant
Speer had tried by means of conspiracies to have the war
brought to an earlier end.

The statements of the witnesses Stahl and von Poser show
that Speer had planned other violent measures. Chief Justice
Jackson has established, too, in the course of Speer's cross-
examination, that the prosecution knew of further plans
which were to be executed under Speer's leadership.

Apart from all these activities, Speer's political attitude
is illuminated by two facts:

1. In Speer's memorandum addressed to Hitler, submitted as
Exhibit 1, the defendant establishes that Bormann and
Goebbels called him alien and hostile to the Party, and that
a continued collaboration would be impossible, should he and
his assistants be judged by party-political standards.

2. In their Government list of 20th July, 1944, the anti-
Hitler conspirators nominated Speer as Armament Minister and
as the only Minister of the Hitlerite system, as stated by
the witnesses Ohlendorf, Kempf and Stahl.

Would these circles have proposed Speer as Minister, both in
Germany and abroad, if he had not been considered an honest
and unpolitical expert for a long time? Is not the very fact
that he, as one of the closest collaborators of Hitler, was
chosen for this post a further proof of the high esteem in
which he was held by the opposition?

My Lords, let me say a few more fundamental words about the
Speer case itself. When the defendant took over the office
of Minister at the age of 36, his country was in a life-and-
death struggle. He could not evade the task with which he
had been charged. He devoted his entire energy to the
solution of the task, which seemed almost insoluble. The
success he obtained there did not cloud his view of the
actual condition of things. He realised only too late that
Hitler was not thinking of his people, but only of himself.
In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that the government of
a people always had to remain conscious of the fact that it
should not plunge the people into disaster. Its duty was
rather to resign at the

                                                  [Page 269]

right time, so that the people could continue to live.
Naturally, such principles were valid only for governments
in which Hitler had no part. As far as he himself was
concerned, however, he was of the point of view that if the
German people should lose this war, they would have proved
themselves the weaker nation, and would no longer have any
right to live. In contrast to this brutal egoism, Speer had
preserved the feeling that he was the servant of his people
and his nation. Without consideration for his person and
without consideration for his safety, Speer acted as he
considered it his duty to act towards his people.

Speer had to betray Hitler in order to remain loyal to his
people. Nobody will be able to disregard the tragedy which
lies in this fate.

THE PRESIDENT: I now call on Doctor von Ludinghausen, for
the defendant von Neurath.


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.