The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-08//tgmwc-08-78.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-08/tgmwc-08-78.04
Last-Modified: 1999/11/29

Q. Eighteen days. How long did it take to drive England off
the Continent, including the disaster of Dunkirk?

A. I believe six weeks.

Q. How long did it take to overrun Holland and Belgium?

A. A few days.

Q. How long did it take to overrun France and take Paris?

A. Two months in all.

Q. And how long did it take to overrun Denmark and take
possession of Norway?

A. Also a short time. Denmark took a very short time,
because Denmark gave in immediately and Norway gave in in a
few weeks.

Q. And you testify, and you want this Tribunal to understand
you, as an officer, as saying that there was no preparation
known to the officers in advance of those movements? Is that
your testimony as an officer?

A. Pardon me, I did not understand you just now.

Q. You testified that those were all surprise movements to
the officers of the Luftwaffe. You were surprised at every
one of them, you said.

A. I said, surprised by the outbreak of war, because at
first it was a question of Poland only. The other actions
came very much later and there was more time to prepare for
this war.

Q. Well now, relative to Poland, you do not deny that
Germany was well prepared for a war with Poland, or do you?

A. The might of Germany, as compared with Poland, was
powerful enough. What I meant to imply when speaking of
preparedness for war in my testimony, was a degree of
preparedness for entering a world war. For that Germany was
not prepared in 1939.

Q. But she was prepared for the campaign that she initiated,
was she not?

A. I would not say that; I would say that of course she had
armaments, in the same way as every other nation with Armed
Forces. Our Armed Forces were alerted against Poland and, to
our surprise, proved sufficiently powerful to crush Poland
in a very short time.

Q. Would you question or deny that relative to the other
powers on the Continent of Europe, Germany was the best
prepared for war on the first day of September, 1939?

A. I believe that, taking it all round, the British Air
Force at that time was stronger than the German.

Q. I asked you in reference to the Continental powers. Do
you question that Germany was far better prepared for war
than any of her immediate neighbours?

A. I am convinced that France and Poland, according to their
respective strength, were just as well prepared for war as
Germany. They had the advantage of a longer time in which to
arm, whereas Germany could only begin to arm five years
before the outbreak of the war.

Q. When did you first meet Hermann Goering?

A. I believe in the year 1928.

Q. What was he then, what position did he hold?

A. He was then a member of the Reichstag.

Q. And what were you doing? What was your business?

A. I was then Director of the German "Lufthansa" - a civil
aviation concern.

Q. Did you have some discussions with Hermann Goering at
about that time, as to the use of an Air Force if the Nazi
Party came to power?

A. At that time no. It was much later.

Q. When did you first discuss that with Goering?

A. I believe Goering spoke to me on this subject in 1932,
when a plan was formed to take over the Government in 1932.
It was believed already at that time that the other parties
would form a Government together with the National
Socialists. On that occasion, I think, Goering did speak of
the possibility, given

                                                  [Page 274]

a Government in power which included the National
Socialists, of Germany being freed from armament

Q. Following that, you became a member of the Nazi Party,
did you not?

A. I only joined the Party after 1933. When I again became
an officer my membership lapsed.

Q. You waited until after they had seized the power?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall a conversation that you had with Hermann
Goering on 28th January, 1933?

A. Yes.

Q. And where did that take place?

A. In my own apartment.

Q. Did he call upon you?

A. I had guests in my house on that evening, and he arrived
suddenly because he wanted to talk to me very urgently.

Q. And will you relate to the Tribunal the conversation that
you had with Goering at that time.

A. He told me that an agreement had now been reached with
all the other parties in question for the formation of a
coalition government with the National Socialists; Reich-
President von Hindenburg had agreed to the appointment of
Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in this government.

He asked me whether I would be ready to offer my
collaboration in an Air Ministry to be set up. I proposed
two other persons instead of myself, explaining that I did
not wish to leave my Lufthansa. Goering rejected them and
insisted that I place myself at his disposal.

Q. Did you agree to do so?

A. I asked for his permission to think the matter over, and
I made my consent dependent on whether Hitler would insist.

Q. Well, what did Hitler do?

A. I accepted on the 30th, after Hitler had told me once
again that he considered my technical knowledge and ability
in the field of aviation to be indispensable.

Q. So, on the day that the Nazi Party came to power, you
took over the task of building a Nazi Air Force, did you

A. No, not an Air Force. The immediate problem was the
linking up of all the various branches of aviation which
existed at that time. For instance, there was one civil
aviation transport company, or there might have been two.
There were the aviation industries: the training schools for
civilian pilots, the meteorological service, and I believe
there were several research institutes. That, I think,
covers the entire field of aviation - but it had nothing to
do with an Air Force.

Q. Perhaps, I will say, you took over the task of making
Germany predominant in the air.

A. No, I cannot agree with that.

Q. Put it in your own way. Tell us what you did, what your
object was in taking over this new task.

A. My first task was to develop the various branches in
order to build up a large air transport system.

Q. You then made visits to France and England, and on your
return reported to Hitler personally, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. When you returned from England, did you warn Hitler
against the activities of Ribbentrop?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you tell Hitler about the activities of
Ribbentrop in England?

A. That I had gained the impression in England that von
Ribbentrop was not persona grata.

                                                  [Page 275]

Q. Now, when you were interrogated before, did you not state
after your capture that you told Hitler that if he did not
get rid of Ribbentrop soon he was going to have trouble with
England? Is not that what you told Hitler in substance?

A. I cannot now remember the exact words.

Q. But is that not the sense of it?

A. I was of opinion that another man should be sent to
England to bring about mutual understanding as to policy, in
accordance with the wish so often expressed by Hitler.

Q. Before you talked with Hitler about that, you had
discussed it with Goering, had you not?

A. With whom?

Q. Goering.

A. About the journey? Or about what?

Q. About Ribbentrop.

A. No, I did not discuss him with the Reichsmarshal.

Q. There came a time when some engineers were sent to
Russia, were they not, to inspect the air construction
there, factories, facilities and that sort of thing?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. This was a group of engineers, and you had something to
do with sending them there, did you not?

A. No, I had nothing to do with that group. At that time
technical research was not under my control.

Q. Under whose orders were they?

A. Under General Udet, who, in his turn, was under the

Q. And when they came back, you learned that they had
reported that Russia had greater capacity for building
aeroplane engines than all six of the German factories, did
you not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. What order did Goering give about that information being
made available even to the Fuehrer?

A. Goering did not believe the information at that time. I
know that from the words of General Udet.

Q. Is it not a fact that you stated to the interrogators
before, that Goering called these experts defeatists,
forbade them to repeat that information to anybody, and
threatened them with the concentration camp if they repeated
that information? Did you say that or did you not?

A. I never said it in that form.

Q. Well, use your own words and tell us just what Goering
said on that subject.

A. At a considerably later date, when the question of
American armament figures came up, the Reichsmarshal said to
me: "Now, you too are going to turn defeatist and believe
these large figures." I told him then that I did indeed
believe these figures, but that had nothing to do with the
Russian matter.

Q. Were those Russian figures ever reported to Hitler, to
the Reichstag or in any way made public to the German

A. The Russian figures? That I cannot say. I had nothing to
do with the matter. The American figures were undoubtedly
submitted to Hitler, but Hitler did not believe them.

Q. You testified on Friday, I believe, that you knew that
the commencement of the war with Russia would mean the
annihilation of Germany. I remind you of that, and that is
correct, is it not?

A. Not the destruction [NB. Jackson's "annihilation" was
translated by the interpreter as "Zerstoerung" =
destruction] - the defeat. I think I said annihilation or

Q. You went to Reichsmarshal Goering to protest against the
entrance into, the Russian war, is that right?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 276]

Q. And did Goering agree with you that it would end in the
defeat of Germany?

A. No, he did not agree. He had to be extremely cautious in
his statements in deference to his relations with Hitler. I
told him the reason for Germany's difficulties and he
nodded. His words gave me the impression that he had already
put the same arguments to Hitler, and that he had been

Q. In other words, he agreed with you that it would end with
the defeat of Germany, but did not want it said to Hitler,
is that right?

A. No, I would not go as far as that. When I said that this
meant the defeat of Germany, I was voicing the conclusion
reached by me. He merely agreed that this war should be
avoided at all costs and that it would prove a misfortune
for Germany. That was the way he put it; he did not use the
word "defeat" in this connection.

Q. Was it mentioned by you?

A. I mentioned that to open a second front against so strong
an enemy would mean the defeat of Germany.

Q. And did he disagree with you about that? Did he take
issue with you about that?

A. No, he did not argue about it, he only declared himself
opposed to taking on anything else, as he considered it
impossible to do so; what we thought would not make the
slightest difference, and it would only give Hitler the
impression that we in the Luftwaffe were defeatists.

Q. And you did not make any further attempt to convey the
information, from which you thought Germany would be
defeated if she entered into war with Russia, to Hitler or
to any other officer of the High Command?

A. It was impossible for me to do so. I could not act
against the order of my superior officer.

Q. The Reichsmarshal?

A. Yes, the Reichsmarshal.

Q. And, so far as you know, after his talk with you he never
conveyed the information to Hitler that - it was your
opinion that the war would end in disaster?

A. I had the impression that he had previously discussed the
subject with Hitler, but without any degree of success;
because with Hitler that was impossible.

Q. Well, but you had been abroad for Hitler and reported to
him and he apparently had confidence in you, and I am asking
you if Hermann Goering ever reported to Hitler that you,
from your information, felt that it was a disaster to go
into that war?

A. My trips were not made at Hitler's order. They were made
in response to invitations from foreign governments to the
Luftwaffe and at the order of the Reichsmarshal. It was only
because I was aware of the importance of these trips and
because I incidentally heard political statements - it is
true, with some reluctance, since they did not concern me as
a soldier - that I thought it my duty to report personally
to Hitler.

Q. Did Goering direct you to do that?

A. To go to Hitler? Yes, Goering told Hitler about it and
Hitler ordered me to report to him. I myself did not say: "I
am now going to see Hitler," but I received an order to that
effect from Hitler himself.

Q. And did he not send you to Hitler until he knew what you
were going to report?

A. No, he himself had ...

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.