The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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On the same day, Jodl noted in his diary that the Fuehrer
had stated his final decision to destroy Czechoslovakia soon
and had initiated military preparations all along the line.
(84.) By April the plan had been perfected to attack
Czechoslovakia "with lightning swift action as the result of
an 'incident'". (85.)

All along the line preparations became more definite for a
war of expansion, on the assumption that it would result in
a world-wide conflict. In September, 1938, Admiral Carls
officially commented on a "Draft Study of Naval Warfare
against England":

  "There is full agreement with the main theme of the
  1. If, according to the Fuehrer's decision, Germany is to
  acquire a position as a world power, she needs not only
  sufficient colonial possessions but also secure naval
  communications and secure access to the ocean.
  2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in opposition
  to Anglo-French interests and will limit their positions
  as world powers. It is unlikely that they can be achieved
  by peaceful means. The decision to make Germany a world
  power therefore forces upon us the necessity of making
  the corresponding preparations for war.
  3. War against England means at the same time war against
  the Empire, against France, probably against Russia as
  well, and a large number of countries overseas; in fact,
  against one-third to one-half of the whole world.
  It can only be justified and have a chance of success if
  it is prepared economically as well as politically and
  militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for
  Germany an outlet to the ocean." (86.)

This Tribunal knows what categorical assurances were given
to an alarmed world after the Anschluss, after Munich, after
the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, that German ambitions
were realised and that Hitler had "no further territorial
demands to make in Europe." (87.) The record of this trial
shows that those promises were calculated deceptions and
that those high in the bloody brotherhood of Nazidom knew

As early as 15th April, 1938, Goering pointed out to
Mussolini and Ciano that the possession of those territories
would make possible an attack on Poland. (88.) Ribbentrop's
Ministry wrote on 26th August, 1938:

  "After the liquidation of the Czechoslovakian question,
  it will be generally assumed that Poland will be next in
  turn." (89.)

Hitler, after the Polish invasion, boasted that it was the
Austrian and Czechoslovakian triumphs by which "the basis
for the action against Poland was laid". (90.) Goering
suited the act to the purpose and gave immediate
instructions to exploit, for the further strengthening of
the German war potential, first the Sudetenland, and then
the whole Protectorate. (91.)

By May of 1939 the Nazi preparations had ripened to the
point that Hitler confided to the defendants Goering,
Raeder, Keitel, and others, his readiness "to attack Poland
at the first suitable opportunity", even though he
recognized that "further successes cannot be attained
without the shedding of blood". The larcenous motives behind
this decision he made plain in words that echoed the
covetous theme of Mein Kampf:

                                                  [Page 392]

  "Circumstances must be adapted to aims. This is
  impossible without invasion of foreign States or attacks
  upon foreign property. Living-space in proportion to the
  magnitude of the State is the basis of all power -
  further successes cannot be attained without expanding
  our living-space in the East ...." (92.)

While a credulous world slumbered, snugly blanketed with
perfidious assurances of peaceful intentions, the Nazis
prepared not as before for a war but now for the war. The
defendants Goering, Keitel, Raeder, Frick and Funk, with
others, met as the Reich Defence Council in June of 1939.
The minutes, authenticated by Goering, are revealing
evidence of the way in which each step of Nazi planning
dovetailed with every other. These five key defendants,
three months before the first panzer unit had knifed into
Poland, were laying plans for "employment of the population
in wartime", and had gone so far as to classify industry for
priority in labour supply after "five million servicemen had
been called up". They decided upon measures to avoid
"confusion when mobilization takes place", and declared a
purpose "to gain and maintain the lead in the decisive
initial weeks of war". They then planned to use in
production prisoners of war, criminal prisoners, and
concentration camp inmates. They then decided on "compulsory
work for women in war time". They had already passed on
applications from 1,172,000 specialist workmen for
classification as indispensable, and had approved 727,000 of
them. They boasted that orders to workers to report for duty
"are ready and tied up in bundles at the labour offices".
And they resolved to increase the industrial manpower supply
by bringing into Germany "hundreds of thousands of workers"
from the Protectorate to be "housed together in hutments".

It is the minutes of this significant conclave of many key
defendants which disclose how the plan to start the war was
coupled with the plan to wage the war through the use of
illegal sources of labour to maintain production. Hitler, in
announcing his plan to attack Poland, had already
foreshadowed the slave labour programme as one of its
corollaries when he cryptically pointed out to the
defendants Goering, Raeder, Keitel, and others that the
Polish population "will be available as a source of labour".
(94.) This was part of the plan made good by Frank, who as
Governor-General notified Goering, that he would supply "at
least one million male and female agricultural and
industrial workers to the Reich" (95), and by Sauckel, whose
impressments throughout occupied territory aggregated
numbers equal to the total population of some of the smaller
nations of Europe.

Here also comes to the surface the link between war labour
and concentration camps, a manpower source that was
increasingly used and with increasing cruelty. An agreement
between Himmler and the Minister of Justice, Thierack, in
1942 provided for "the delivery of anti-social elements from
the execution of their sentence to the Reichsfuehrer SS to
be worked to death". (96.) An SS directive provided that
bedridden prisoners be drafted for work to be performed in
bed. (97.) The Gestapo ordered 46,000 Jews arrested to
increase the "recruitment of manpower into the concentration
camps". (98.) One hundred thousand Jews were brought from
Hungary to augment the camps' manpower. (99.) On the
initiative of the defendant Donitz concentration camp labour
was used in the construction of submarines. (100.)
Concentration camps were thus geared into war production on
the one hand, and into the administration of justice and the
political aims of the Nazis on the other.

The use of prisoner-of-war labour, as then planned in that
meeting, also grew with German needs. At a time when every
German soldier was needed at the front and forces were not
available at home, Russian prisoners of war were forced to
man anti-aircraft guns against Allied planes. Field-Marshal
Milch reflected the Nazi merriment at this flagrant
violation of International Law, saying:

  " ... This is an amusing thing, that the Russians must
  work the guns." (101.)

                                                  [Page 393]

The orders for the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war were
so ruthless that Admiral Canaris, pointing out that they
would "result in arbitrary mistreatments and killing",
protested to the OKW against them as breaches of
International Law. The reply of Keitel was unambiguous. He

  "The objections arise from the military conception of
  chivalrous warfare! This is the destruction of an
  ideology! Therefore I approve and back the measures".

The Geneva Convention would have been thrown overboard
openly, except that Jodl objected because he wanted the
benefits of Allied observance of it while it was not being
allowed to hamper the Germans in any way. (103.)

Other crimes in the conduct of warfare were planned with
equal thoroughness as a means of ensuring victory of German
arms: In October, 1938, almost a year before the start of
the war, the large-scale violation of the established rules
of warfare was contemplated as a policy, and the Supreme
Command circulated a most secret list of devious
explanations to be given by the Propaganda Minister in such
cases. (104.) Even before this time commanders of the armed
forces were instructed to employ any methods of warfare so
long as they facilitated victory. (105.) During the progress
of the war the orders increased in savagery. A typical
Keitel order, demanding the use of the "most brutal means",
provided that .

  "... It is the duty of the troops to use all means
  without restriction, even against women and children, so
  long as they ensure success." (106.)

The German naval forces were no more immune from the
infection than the land forces. Raeder ordered violations of
the accepted rules of warfare wherever necessary to gain
strategic successes. (107.) Donitz urged his submarine crews
not to rescue survivors of torpedoed enemy ships, in order
to cripple merchant shipping of the Allied Nations by
decimating their crews. (108.)

Thus, the WAR CRIMES against Allied forces and the CRIMES
AGAINST HUMANITY committed in occupied territories are
incontestably part of the programme for making the war
because, in the German calculations, they were indispensable
to its hope of success.

Similarly, the whole group of pre-war crimes, including the
persecutions within Germany, fall into place around the plan
for aggressive war like stones in a finely wrought mosaic.
Nowhere is the whole catalogue of crimes of Nazi oppression
and terrorism within Germany so well integrated with the
crime of war as in that strange mixture of wind and wisdom
which makes up the testimony of Hermann Goering. In
describing the aims of the Nazi programme before the seizure
of power, Goering stated that the first question was to
achieve and establish a different political structure for
Germany, which would enable Germany to object against the
Dictate (of Versailles), and to make not only a protest, but
an objection of such a nature that it would actually be
considered. (109.)

With these purposes, Goering, admitted that the plan was
made to overthrow the Weimar Republic, to seize power, and
to carry out the Nazi programme by whatever means were
necessary, whether legal or illegal. (110.)

From Goering's cross-examination we learn how necessarily
the whole programme of crime followed. (111.) Because they
considered a strong State necessary to get rid of the
Versailles Treaty, they adopted the Fuehrerprinzip. Having
seized power, the Nazis thought it necessary to protect it
by abolishing parliamentary government, and suppressing all
organized opposition from political parties. (112.) This was
reflected in the philosophy of Goering that the opera was
more important than the Reichstag. (113.) Even the
"opposition of each individual was not tolerated unless it
was a matter of unimportance". To insure the suppression of
opposition a secret police force was necessary. In order to
eliminate incorrigible opponents, it was necessary to
establish concentration camps and to resort to the device of
protective custody. Protective custody, Goering, testified,
meant that:

                                                  [Page 394]

  "People were arrested arid taken into protective custody
  who had not yet committed any crime but who could be
  expected to do so if they remained free." (114.)

The same war purpose was dominant in the persecution of the
Jews. In the beginning, fanaticism and political opportunism
played a principal part, for anti-Semitism and its allied
scapegoat, mythology, were the vehicle on which the Nazis
rode to power. It was for this reason that the filthy
Streicher and the blasphemous Rosenberg were welcomed at
Party rallies and made leaders and officials of the State or
Party. But the Nazis soon regarded the Jews as foremost
amongst the opposition to the police State with which they
schemed to put forward their plans of military aggression.
Fear of their pacifism and their opposition to strident
nationalism was given as the reason that the Jews had to be
driven from the political and economic life of Germany.
(115.) Accordingly, they were transported like cattle to the
concentration camps, where they were utilised as a source of
forced labour for war purposes.

At a meeting held on 12th November, 1938, two days after the
violent anti-Jewish pogroms instigated by Goebbels and
carried out by the Party Leadership Corps and the SA, the
programme for the elimination of Jews from the German
economy was mapped out by Goering, Funk, Heydrich, Goebbels,
and the other top Nazis. The measures adopted included
confinement of the Jews in ghettoes, cutting off their food
supply, "aryanizing" their shops, and restricting their
freedom of movement. (116.) Here another purpose behind the
Jewish persecutions crept in, for it was the wholesale
confiscation of their property which helped to finance
German rearmament. Although Schacht's plan to use foreign
money to ransom the entire race within Germany was not
adopted, the Jews were stripped to the point where Goering
was able to advise the Reich Defence Council that the
critical situation of the Reich exchequer, due to
rearmament, had been relieved "through the billion
Reichsmark fine imposed on Jewry, and through profits
accrued to the Reich in the aryanization of Jewish
enterprises". (117.)

A glance over the dock will show that, despite quarrels
among themselves, each defendant played a part which fitted
in with every other, and that all advanced the Common Plan.
It contradicts experience that men of such diverse
backgrounds and talents should so forward each other's aims
by coincidence.

The large and varied role of Goering was half militarist and
half gangster. He stuck his pudgy finger in every pie. He
used his SA bullies to help bring the gang into power. In
order to entrench that power he contrived to have the
Reichstag burned, established the Gestapo, and created the
concentration camps. He was equally adept at massacring
opponents and at framing scandals to get rid of stubborn
generals. He built up the Luftwaffe and hurled it at his
defenceless neighbours. He was among the foremost in
harrying Jews out of the land. By mobilising the total
economic resources of Germany he made possible the waging of
the war which he had taken a large part in planning. He was,
next to Hitler, the man who tied the activities of all the
defendants together in a common effort.

The parts played by the other, defendants, although less
comprehensive and less spectacular than that of the
Reichsmarschall, were nevertheless integral and necessary
contributions to the joint undertaking, without any one of
which the success of the common enterprise would have been
in jeopardy. There are many specific deeds of which these
men have been proven guilty. No purpose would be served -
nor indeed is time available - to review all the crimes
which the evidence has charged against their names.
Nevertheless, in viewing the conspiracy as a whole and as an
operating mechanism, it may be well to recall briefly the
outstanding services which each of the men in the dock
rendered to the common cause.

THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to adjourn?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Entirely, your Honour.

(A recess was taken.)

                                                  [Page 395]

The zealot Hess, before succumbing to wanderlust, was the
engineer tending the Party machinery, passing orders and
propaganda down to the Leadership Corps, supervising every
aspect of Party activities, and maintaining the organization
as a loyal and ready instrument of power. When apprehensions
abroad threatened the success of the Nazi regime for
conquest, it was the double-dealing Ribbentrop, the salesman
of deception, who was detailed to pour wine on the troubled
waters of suspicion by preaching the gospel of limited and
peaceful intentions. Keitel, the weak and willing tool,
delivered the armed forces, the instrument of aggression,
over to the Party and directed them in executing its
felonious designs.

Kaltenbrunner, the grand inquisitor, assumed the bloody
mantle of Heydrich to stifle opposition and terrorise into
compliance, and buttressed the power of National Socialism
on a foundation of guiltless corpses. It was Rosenberg, the
intellectual high priest of the "master race", who provided
the doctrine of hatred which gave the impetus for the
annihilation of Jewry, and who put his infidel theories into
practice against the Eastern occupied territories. His
woolly philosophy also added boredom to the long list of
Nazi atrocities. The fanatical Frank, who solidified Nazi
control by establishing the new order of authority without
law, so that the will of the Party was the only test of
legality, proceeded to export his lawlessness to Poland,
which he governed with the lash of Caesar and whose
population he reduced to sorrowing remnants. Frick, the
ruthless organiser, helped the Party to seize power,
supervised the police agencies to ensure that it stayed in
power, and chained the economy of Bohemia and Moravia to the
German war machine.

Streicher, the venomous vulgarian, manufactured and
distributed obscene racial libels which incited the populace
to accept and assist the progressively savage operations of
"race purification". As Minister of Economics Funk
accelerated the pace of rearmament, and as Reichsbank
president banked for the SS the gold teeth-fillings of
concentration camp victims - probably the most ghoulish
collateral in banking history. It was Schacht, the facade of
starched respectability, who in the early days provided the
window-dressing, the bait for the hesitant, and whose
wizardry later made it possible for Hitler to finance the
colossal rearmament programme, and to do it secretly.

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