The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/27

DR. STAHMER: Under the pretext that it was the first step to
world disarmament, Germany was forcibly disarmed. Great
Britain was, indeed, also deceived. She had actually
continued to disarm for a period of fifteen years. But from
the day on which the various peace treaties were signed,
France encouraged a number of small States to powerful
rearmament and the result was that five years after
Versailles, Germany was surrounded by a much tighter ring of
iron than five years before the World War. It was inevitable
that a German regime, which had renounced Versailles, would
at the first opportunity rearm heavily. It was evident that
its weapons, diplomatically, if not in the true sense of the
word, were to be directed against the powers of Versailles.

In the same way is contested the Pact of Locarno, with a
breach of which the defendant is also charged, and, as far
as the defence is concerned, unjustifiably.

Germany renounced this Pact and could do so rightfully
because France and Soviet Russia had signed a Military
Assistance Pact, although the Locarno Pact provided a
guarantee of the. French Eastern Border. This act by France,
in the opinion of Germany, was in sharp contrast to the
legal situation created by the Locarno Pact.

In a speech of the Plenipotentiary von Ribbentrop before the
League of Nations on 19th March, 1936, this opinion was
expressed in the following terms. I quote from Document Book
1, Page 32.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have before me now the order
of the Tribunal of 26th February, 1946, and Paragraph 4 of
that order is in the following terms: "The following
documents are denied as irrelevant," and then the heading
"Goering" and the fourth of the documents is the speech by
Paul Boncour on 8th April, 1927, and the sixth is the speech
by Lloyd George on 7th November,
1927, which you have not read but which you have put into
your trial brief. I would again call your attention, and the
attention of all the defence counsel to the fact that they
will not be allowed to read any document which has been
denied by the Tribunal. Go on.

DR. STAHMER: This quotation is as follows:-

  ". . . But it is also clear that if a world power such as
  France, by virtue of her sovereignty, can decide upon
  concluding military alliances of such vast proportions
  without having misgivings on account of existing
  treaties, another world power like Germany has at least
  the right to safeguard the protection of the entire Reich
  territory by re-establishing within her own borders the
  natural rights of a sovereign power which are granted to
  all peoples."

Before I take up the question of Aggressive War in detail I
have the intention, if I have the permission of the
Tribunal, to call as the first witness, General of the Air
Force von Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

(KARL VON BODENSCHATZ, a witness, took the stand.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS: Karl Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me. I swear
by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the
pure truth, and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

                                                  [Page 230]


Q. General von Bodenschatz, since when have you known
Reichsmarshal Goering?

A. I have known Reichsmarshal Goering since June 1918.

Q. In what capacity did you get to know him?

A. I came to know him when he was the commander of the
Squadron Richthofen. I was at that time the adjutant of
Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen who had just been killed
in action.

Q. Were you taken into the Reichswehr at the end of the
first world war?

A. At the end of the first world war I was taken into the
Reichswehr as a regular officer, and remained from the year
1919 until April 1933.

Q. When, after the completion of the World War, did you
resume your connection with Goering?

A. In November 1918, I was with Goering at Aschaffenburg, at
the demobilization of the Fighter Squadron Richthofen, and
later in the spring of 1919 I was with him again for several
weeks in Berlin. There our paths separated. Then I met
Goering for the first time again at his first wedding, and I
believe that was in the year 1919 or 1920, I cannot remember
exactly. Up to 1929 there was no connection between him and
myself. In the year 1929, and until 1933, I met Hermann
Goering here in Nuremberg several times. At that time, I was
the Kompagniechef of Infantry Regiment 21. My meetings with
Goering here in Nuremberg were solely for the purpose of
keeping up the old friendship.

Q. And then in the year 1933, you entered the Luftwaffe?

A. In 1933, I reported to Hermann  Goering in Berlin. At
that time, Goering was Reich-Commissar of the Luftwaffe and
I became his military adjutant.

Q. How long did you retain this post as adjutant?

A. I retained this post as adjutant until the year 1938. I
later became Chief of the Ministerial Bureau.

Q. And what position did you have during the war?

A. During the war, I was liaison officer between the
Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and the Fuehrer

Q. Were you at the headquarters, or where?

A. I was alternately at the Fuehrer Headquarters and then at
the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.

Q. When did you leave this position?

A. I left this position on 20th July, 1944, because I was
seriously wounded that day.

Q. And what was the cause of your being wounded?

A. I was wounded through the plot on Hitler.

Q. You were present?

A. Yes.

Q. And what were your tasks at the Fuehrer Headquarters?

A. I had the task to take care of reports on special matters
and desires of the Reichsmarshal, to bring them to the
Fuehrer Headquarters in the absence of the Reichsmarshal,
and to see that these reports were forwarded. I also had to
transmit inquiries from the Fuehrer Headquarters direct to
Hermann Goering. Then I had to inform Hermann Goering in
good time, that is, not through official channels, regarding
all that took place in the Fuehrer Headquarters insofar as
it was of interest to him in his capacity as Reichsmarshal.

Q. Did you take part regularly in the conferences?

A. I was a listener at these conferences.

Q. From what period of time on did Reichsmarshal Goering
lose his influence with Hitler?

A. According to my personal opinion and conviction, Hermann
Goering began to lose influence with Hitler in the spring of

                                                  [Page 231]

Q. And what were the reasons?

A. That time was the beginning of large-scale air attacks by
night by the R.A.F. on German towns and, from that moment,
there were differences of opinion between Hitler and Goering
which became more serious as time went on.

Even though Goering made tremendous efforts, he could not
recapture his influence with the Fuehrer to the same extent
as before. The outward symptoms of this waning influence
were the following:-

First, the Fuehrer criticized Goering more severely.
Secondly, the interminable conversations between Adolf
Hitler and Hermann Goering became shorter, less frequent,
and finally ceased altogether. Thirdly, as far as important
conferences were concerned, the Reichsmarshal was not called
in. Fourthly, in the last months and weeks, the tension
between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering increased to such a
degree that he was finally arrested.

Q. Do you know anything about this arrest? What was the

A. I am not exactly informed on this. I can only tell you
what I heard. I was at that time in Bad Reichenhall in the
military hospital. I merely heard that Reichsmarshal Goering
had sent a telegram to the Fuehrer, and in this telegram
Goering requested that since the Fuehrer did not have
freedom of action any more, he might act himself. After a
reply to this wire, which was sent by wireless to Berlin,
the arrest took place. I would like to emphasize that I only
heard that. I have no proof of any of these statements.

Q. And who made the arrest?

A. I cannot tell you about that, because I know nothing. I
heard, however, that a Commando of the SS from Obersalzberg
made this arrest.

Q. Did Field-Marshal Goering have any previous knowledge of
the incidents against the Jews which took place during the
night of 9th to 10th November, 1938.

A. Goering had no previous knowledge of these incidents. I
inferred that from his demeanour, how he acted towards me
with regard to these incidents. He acted in the following
manner: When he heard of these happenings, he was dismayed
and condemned them. A few days later he went with
proof to the Fuehrer and complained about the people who had
instigated these incidents. Captain Wiedmann, the Adjutant
of the Fuehrer, can give you further particulars on the
subject on oath.

Several weeks later, Hermann Goering called all the
Gauleiter to Berlin in order to make clear his attitude
regarding the incidents of the 9th and 10th; he was
violently opposed to these individual acts of barbarism. He
criticized them severely as unjust, as economically
unreasonable and harmful to prestige in foreign countries.
The former Gauleiter, Dr. Ueberreiter, who took part in this
conference of Gauleiter, has already given further
particulars on oath.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait one moment. Go on, Dr. Stahmer. You may
go on.


Q. Had you completed your statement?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you present at a conference which took place in the
beginning of August 1939, at Soenke Missen Koog in Husum?

A. I took a personal part in this conference, yes.

Q. Who was present there?

A . So far as I recall, the following were present: Hermann
Goering, Herr Dahlerus from Stockholm, six to eight
Englishmen whose names I do not recall, I was present, and
there was an interpreter, Ministerialrat Dr. Boecker.

Q. Can you tell us about the subject of this conference?

A. I cannot remember it word for word, but so far as I can
tell you, Hermann Goering made the following statements:

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, did the witness say where this
conference took place?

                                                  [Page 232]


THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell us where it was?


Q. Please repeat where this conference took place.

A. The conference took place at the beginning of August at
Soenke Missen Koog near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein.

Q. Please continue. You were going to tell us about the
subject of this conference.

A. I repeat. In substance, Goering made the following
statement: At the moment, relations between England and
Germany are very tense. Under no circumstances should this
tension be increased, or peace be endangered. The welfare,
and the trade between our two countries can only flourish
and prosper in peace. It is in the greatest interest of
Germany and Europe that the British Empire should continue
to exist. Goering emphasized that he himself would do his
utmost for the maintenance of peace. He requested the
British business leaders, on their return home, to use their
influence in authoritative circles; that they use their
influence for that purpose.

Q. Did Goering give you his opinion on how foreign policy of
the Reich should be carried out? When and on what occasions
did conversations take place?

A. Hermann Goering often discussed these topics with me, in
1938 and 1939, especially during the period following the
Munich Agreement. These conversations took place sometimes
in his special train in connection with his speech. Hermann
Goering was always of the opinion that the policy of the
Reich must be directed in such a way as to avoid war if
possible. He dealt with this topic at particularly great
length in a conference with the Gauleiter in the summer of
1938 in Karinhall. Dr. Ueberreiter, whom I have previously
mentioned, has already given further testimony to this

Q. Did Field-Marshal Goering speak to you before leaving for
Munich in September, 1938?

A. Before Hermann Goering left for Munich, he told me he
would do everything within his power to effect a peaceful
settlement. "We cannot have war." He exerted his influence
on the Fuehrer to this effect, and, accordingly, and during
the negotiations in Munich, he worked decisively for the
preservation of peace. When he left the Conference Hall
after the conference at Munich, he said to us spontaneously:
"That is peace."

Q. Did he often discuss with you for what reason he was
against a war, and what was the occasion for his making that

A. We talked about this topic very frequently. He always
said to me: "In the first World War as an infantry officer,
and as an Air Force officer, I was constantly at the Front.
I know the horrors of a war, and, therefore, my attitude is
as long as possible to preserve the German people from these
horrors. My ambition is to solve the conflicts peacefully."
In general, his opinion was: "A war is always a risky and
unsure business. Even if you win a war, the advantages are
in no relation whatsoever to the disadvantages and
sacrifices which have to be made. If you lose the war, then,
in our position, everything is lost. Our generation has
already experienced the horrors of a great world war and its
bitter consequences. To expect the same generation to live
through another war would be unthinkable." I would like to
add that Hermann Goering, according to his inner thoughts
and character, was never in favour of war. Nothing was
further from his mind than the thought of a war.

Q. Did Goering converse with you about what were, according
to his wish, the aims to be accomplished by the re-armament
which Germany had undertaken? When and on what occasion?

A. Hermann Goering spoke with me about these matters in the
year 1935, after the "Wehrfreiheit" had been proclaimed. He
described Germany's

                                                  [Page 233]

re-armament, after vain attempts to achieve general
limitation of armament, as an attempt at equality with the
armament of other countries, in order to be able to
collaborate with other powers in world politics with equal

Q. Did conversations of this kind take place after 1935

A. Yes: Now and then we resumed such conversations and he
spoke in the same vein.

Q. Did you find out through Reichsmarshal Goering what
purpose the Four Year Plan was to serve?

A. I happened to speak with Goering about this matter in the
year 1936, and that was after the Four Year Plan had been
announced. He explained it to me as follows: that in this
plan he saw a means of securing for Germany those raw
materials which she could not import in peace time because
of the lack of foreign exchange, or whose import in an
emergency might possibly be cut off.

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