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DR. NELTE, Continued:

If one has read his book To the Bitter End and has heard him
here, one looks in vain for a cheerfully self-sacrificing
man. Even the late deed of a Stauffenberg lacks heroism,
because it lacked the resolution of self-sacrifice. Gisevius
up to 1938 - when there might still have been time to
succeed in holding back the wheel of fate - always speaks
about negotiations; conferences; but all these men wished
the others, that is the generals, to negotiate. If one
considers the knowledge of affairs which Gisevius had as a
member of the Gestapo, and all his friends had; if one takes
into account the realization of the great danger hovering
over the people, then the decision to take action should not
have been in doubt for an instant for patriotic men, as the
members of the group claimed themselves to be. But what did
they do? When the leaders of the army hesitated or refused,
they did not think of taking action themselves, but turned
to the foreign countries.

I shall pass on to Page 96.

I should not like to leave any doubt that the fact of the
conspiracy in itself is of no importance in the question of
credibility to be discussed here. Whoever is a conspirator
out of pure motives, who, in the realization of the danger
which threatens his country, risks his life, is not only
clean, but also deserves the gratitude of the fatherland.

If Gisevius and his friends, who owing to their positions
were informed about everything - which most Germans only
learned of, in all its horror, through this trial - had
served their country in unselfish sacrifice, then perhaps we
and the whole world would have been spared much distress and

Admiral Donitz, who knew Admiral Canaris, the source of
information, well, said:

  "During the time that he was in the Navy, Admiral Canaris
  was an officer in whom little trust was placed. He was
  altogether different from us. We said that he had seven
  sides to his character."

                                                  [Page 202]

But gentlemen, what does Dr. Gisevius say about Canaris on
Page 319 of the book To the Bitter End?

  "The successor was Canaris, at that time captain in the
  Navy, quite clever and more cunning than Himmler and
  Heydrich put together."

On the subsequent pages I have analysed those personalities
who have been quoted by Gisevius as being the chief sources
of information. I do not wish to go into this in any more
detail. We are concerned here with the persons Canaris,
Nebe, and Thomas.

As regards Pages 96 to 102, I shall make the following brief
summary. With reference to Canaris, I only want to say that
he was living in the closest touch and was very friendly
with Himmler, Heydrich and the Gestapo although he was
supposed to be their sworn enemy. Thomas, who was also
allegedly a member of the group from the beginning, was an
excellent General Staff officer, and he was an exemplary
organiser and untiring worker in the Army Economic Staff
under Keitel and later in the Army Economic Armament Staff
in the High Command of the Army; you know his writings, 2353-
PS. This man was the spirit and the driving power of
rearmament, which he as well as Keitel and others considered
necessary to the extent which he energetically pursued. But
he is also the same man who organized the Barbarossa-
Oldenburg Plan and who later, under the Four-Year Plan,
became the head of the economic staff of the Plan Oldenburg.
The results of that plan need not be explained here by me.

It was General Thomas who, according to very convincing
outward appearances, used all his powers for the economic
direction of the war, and who after leaving Speer's division
was not dismissed but was assigned by Keitel to work with
the records office so that he could write the book which
forms the main point of the Indictment with regard to
rearmament. 2353-PS.

If what Gisevius has said about Thomas is true, then since
1933 he played a double game, and was an opportunist and not
a man who can be expected to give impartial information. But
it is worst of all with friend Nebe. I draw your attention
to Page 103.

The witness Gisevius has described Nebe as one of his most
intimate friends who held the same views as he did.

According to the statements of Dr. Gisevius, Nebe had been
his friend since 1933 and was thoroughly familiar with the
views of the witness. He remained in the RSHA - an
organization discussed from many angles here - until 20th
July, 1944 and in the year 1944 he was in charge of the
headquarters of the Special Service (Sonderdienst) for the
prevention of the escape of prisoners of war. This is shown
by Document USSR 413, submitted by the prosecution.

To describe this witness - from whom Dr. Gisevius after
leaving the Gestapo claims to have received important
information continuously - it should be pointed out that
from 1933 to 1944 Nebe served in the RSHA, evidently to the
satisfaction of his superiors Himmler, Heydrich and
Kaltenbrunner, otherwise he would not have stayed in office
so long and would not have been promoted to the rank of
Police General and SS Gruppenfuehrer.

So whilst on the one hand, for eleven years, he carried out
the duties of his office with the well-known methods of the
Gestapo - which was under Himmler - and later the Kripo, Dr.
Gisevius refers to him as his friend and staunch political
associate. Now, it might be assumed, perhaps, that in the
position he held he was able to prevent disaster, possibly
even to hold up execution of orders. Document USSR 413, just
referred to, shows that Nebe did not do this. In the
deposition by Wielen - forming part of the document - the
horrible case of the fifty escaped R.A.F. officers, in which
General Nebe, the friend of Dr. Gisevius, was involved, is
dealt with.

Wielen states as follows in this connection:

  "One day during that time I received, about noon, an
  order by telegraph from General Nebe to proceed to Berlin
  immediately, to be entrusted with a confidential order.
  Arriving in Berlin on the evening of that day, I reported
                                                  [Page 203]
  to General Nebe at his office, Werderscher Markt 5 to 7.
  I gave him a condensed report on the position of the
  matter at that time. He then showed me a teletype order,
  signed by Kaltenbrunner, to the effect that, in
  conformity with the Fuehrer's explicit and personal
  order, more than half of the officers who had escaped
  from Sagan were to be shot when recaptured. General Nebe
  himself seemed shocked at this order. He was deeply
  worried. I heard later that he did not go to bed that
  night but spent the night on his sofa in his office. I
  myself was likewise shocked at this frightful step which
  was to be taken, and refused to carry it out. I said it
  violated laws of war and undoubtedly was bound to result
  in reprisal measures against those of our own officers
  who were in English camps as prisoners of war, and that I
  flatly refused to take any responsibility in the matter.
  General Nebe declared that in this instance I would not
  be in any way responsible as the State Police was to act
  entirely independently and that, after all, orders given
  by the Fuehrer had to be executed without protest."

Any comment seems superfluous. This is significant of Nebe's
personality. The trustworthiness of a person is an
inseparable part of his entire personality. Information
obtained from a person who for more than a decade was able
to play such an abominable double role can lay no claim to

I believe that this analysis of the statements of the
witness Dr. Gisevius and of the men belonging to the
Gisevius group gives me the right to say that the charges
made against the defendant Keitel by the witness can be no
suitable foundation for the argument of the prosecution,
namely, that the defendant Keitel:

  (1) formed a circle around Hitler;
  (2) that his influence on the OKW and the armed forces
  was tremendous;
  (3) that he did not submit reports on atrocities and
  crimes to Hitler;
  (4) that he did not protect his subordinates, but even
  threatened them with the Gestapo.

On the other hand it is true that the real position of
Keitel, however important it may have seemed to outsiders,
was neither decisive nor of causal importance, either for
the total sum of events or for the basic and important
decisions of Hitler. Justice can be done to the actual
importance of this activity if one says that it was
tremendous, because physically and spiritually it went
beyond human strength; because it placed the defendant
perpetually in a dilemma between his military point of view
and the unbending will of Hitler, to whom he was faithfully,
far too faithfully, devoted. Physically because it was
almost insoluble for it had no sharply defined, clear
outline but consisted of the perpetual balancing of
essential differences; the adjustment of personal
sensitiveness; the "self-protection" against encroachments
of the individual offices among themselves or on the OKW;
clever manoeuvring when Hitler, in explosive reaction to
disagreeable news, wished to issue extravagant orders, the
settlement of all disagreeable matters which Hitler did not
wish to attend to himself.

It was a tremendously thankless task, which found only very
slight compensation in the brilliant position in the
immediate proximity to the head of the State, in the
decorative participation in all events of what is called
world history, in the representative application of the
duties of a "Field-Marshal."

Was Keitel a political general? The defendant Keitel is
accused of having taken part in, helped and promoted the
planning and preparing of and inciting to aggressive wars
and in so doing of violating international treaties and

The defendant has testified in the witness box in this

In so far as knowledge or having cognizance of the intention
to attack is concerned, I shall come back to the subject in
connection with another point. The facts as such are set
forth by the defendant Keitel.

As far as the initiating and carrying out of strategic
measures are concerned, the defence counsel for General Jodl
will deal with these questions.

I would like to mention a single event which gained
historical importance, and

                                                  [Page 204]

a personal importance for the defendant Keitel, during this
trial: the conversation between Hitler and von Schuschnigg
at the Obersalzberg on 12th February, 1938. This was the
sheet-lightning that might have revealed the coming of the
storm to clear-sighted people. Keitel, chief of the German
High Command for only a week, so far without any contact
with high political events, did not perceive these signs of
approaching stormy weather. Hitler, who after the sudden
change of 4th February, 1938, had immediately gone to the
Obersalzberg, called Keitel to him for the first time,
without giving any explanation. Keitel came, without knowing
what Hitler wanted or what was to happen at Obersalzberg.
Only in the course of the day did he realize that his
presence could have any connection with the presence of
Schuschnigg and the discussion of the Austrian question. He
did not participate in any of the conversations, especially
with Schuschnigg or Dr. Schmidt, as is shown by the
evidence. He however realised that his presence together
with that of General von Reichenau and Sperrle was to have
some significance for the conversations with Schuschnigg;
for as Hitler did not speak to him at all about military
matters, he was forced to the conclusion that the
representatives of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht, the
Army and the Air Force had been invited in order that their
presence should indicate the power of the Wehrmacht to

The situation therefore was that Hitler had the intention of
using the representatives of the Wehrmacht as a means of
pressure for the realization of his political plans and that
the latter had no knowledge of this beforehand, but realised
this intention only later on.

This meeting at the Obersalzberg is now being used by the
prosecution as a basis for the accusation that Keitel was a
political general.

The prosecution introduced the conversations of Hitler with
Hacha and Tiso, at which the defendant Keitel was also
present, as a further symptomatic event to bear out this

This evidence does not appear convincing if it is intended
to prove that Keitel also actively participated in the
political conversations.

When the defendant Keitel took part in State visits and
conversations with foreign statesmen, he did not participate
in the conversations, but he was present.

Hitler liked to have Keitel in his entourage as
representative of the Wehrmacht. Thus Keitel was also
present at Godesberg when Prime Minister Chamberlain went
there, also at Munich on 30th September, 1938, and at the
visit of Molotov in November, 1940. He was also present at
the meetings of Hitler with Marshal Petain, General Franco,
King Boris, Regent von Horthy and Mussolini.

This function of Keitel is however insufficient to make the
defendant a general who must have taken a decisive part in
the shaping of political events.

How little this assertion is justified is seen from the
fact, testified to by Admiral Burckner, that Keitel was
extremely careful not to intrude in the affairs of the
Foreign Office and gave his officers the order not to engage
in matters referring to foreign policy.

In internal politics the exclusion of the chief of the OKW
resulted from the removal of the Reich Minister for War,
already dealt with, and the thereby aimed at and achieved
elimination of the political representation of the Wehrmacht
in the Cabinet.

It is obvious, and has also already been pointed out, that
the position of the defendant Keitel as Chief of the OKW
involved, and in time of war to an increased extent, his
coming into some kind of contact with all the Ministries and
highest offices, and dealing with them as the representative
of the OKW, that is to say, of Hitler.

That did not make Keitel a politician, i.e., a man who took
part in an advisory capacity in the determination of the
Government's aims and had an influence on them.

In his high office he naturally worked to carry out these
aims and bears a responsibility to that extent, but not as a
political general.

                                                  [Page 205]

Mr. President, I am now beginning a long chapter. Do you
want me to start with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Go on reading then until five o'clock.

DR. NELTE: The idea of war against Russia was rejected by
Keitel. This found visible expression in the memorandum
which Field-Marshal Keitel drew up, discussed with von
Ribbentrop, and handed over to Hitler. According to his,
sworn statements the reasons were as follows:

  (a) military considerations;
  (b) the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, dated
  23rd August, 1939.

In spite of being personally presented the memorandum had no
success. Hitler, as usual in questions of strategic nature,
rejected Keitel's point of view as, unconvincing.

In this connection, and owing to Hitler's curt refusal,
Keitel asked for release and transfer to the front. This is
the case which Reich Marshal Goering confirmed in his
interrogation. Hitler refused, sharply criticising the habit
of generals: asking to be released or tendering their
resignation whenever he (Hitler) did not approve their
opinions or suggestions.

That was decisive for Keitel: he remained at his post, did
his duty, and fulfilled his obligations in carrying out the
tasks assigned to him within the framework of further
preparations. Here, too, in keeping with his conception of
duty, Keitel did not make known to the outside world his
basically negative attitude towards the war with Russia,
after Hitler had made his decision.

This case is in several respects typical of Keitel and of
the way he is judged by others. We know - and it has been
proved by the evidence - that other generals were also
opposed to war with the Soviet Union. Their objections, too,
were dispersed or rejected by Hitler. They, too, accepted
the decision of the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht,
continued to do their duty and carried out the
orders given to them.

But there was one basic difference: these other generals
went back to their headquarters after the discussion. There,
in their own circle of officers, they spoke about the
decision made by Hitler. Of course, it was disputed, but
they acted in accordance with it.

Since Field-Marshal Keitel, due to his military conception,
as already depicted, did not make known to the generals,
when they appeared in the Fuehrer headquarters for
discussions, what his own attitude was which also was at
variance, the impression was bound to be created that Field-
Marshal Keitel completely agreed with Hitler and did not
share the scruples of the Wehrmacht branches.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, I think you might stop there.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 9th July, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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