The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/9

Q. Are there any acts of any of your co-defendants which you
claim were not reasonably necessary for carrying out the
plans of the Nazi Party?

A. Those are in the first place merely assertions of the
prosecutions; they are not yet facts which have been proved.
In these assertions there are a number of actions which
would not have been necessary.

Q. Will you specify which acts, of which defendants, you
claim are beyond the scope of the plans of the Party?

A. That is a very difficult question which I cannot answer
straight away and without the data.

DR. STAHMER (counsel for the defendant Goering): I object to
this question. I do not believe that this is a question of
fact, but rather of judgement, and that it is not possible
to give an answer to such a general question.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, the Tribunal thinks that
the question is somewhat too wide.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON:

Q. You have said that the programme of the Nazi Party was to
rectify certain injustices arising from the Treaty of
Versailles; and I ask you whether it is not a fact that your
programme went considerably beyond any matter dealt with in
that Treaty?

A. Of course, the programme contained a number of other
points which
had nothing to do with the Treaty of Versailles.

Q. I call your attention to a statement in "Mein Kampf," as
follows:

  "The boundaries of 1914 do not mean anything for the
  future of the German nation. They did not constitute a
  defence in the past nor will they constitute a power in
  the future. They will not give to the German people inner
  security or ensure their food supply, nor do these
  boundaries appear to be favourable or satisfactory from a
  military point of view."

That is all true, is it not?

A. I should like to re-read the original passages in "Mein
Kampf" in order to determine if it is exactly as you have
read it. I assume that it is correct. If so, I can only
reply that this is the text of a public book and not the
Party programme.

Q. The first country to be absorbed by Germany was Austria,
and it was not a part of Germany before the First World War
and had not been taken from Germany by the Treaty of
Versailles; is that correct?

A. For this very reason this point was distinctly separated
from Versailles in the programme. Austria was directly
connected with Versailles only in so far as the right of
self-determination, as proclaimed there, was most gravely
infringed on, since one did not allow Austria and the purely
German population the "Anschluss" which they wanted to see
accomplished as early as 1918, after the revolution.

Q. The second territory taken by Germany was Bohemia, then
Moravia, and then Slovakia. These were not taken from
Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, nor were they part of
Germany before the First World War.

A. As far as the Sudetenland is concerned, the same applies
as for Austria. The German representatives of the German
Sudetenland likewise sat in the Austrian Parliament, and,
under their leader Lottmann, cast the same vote. It is
different with the last act, that is, the declaration of the
Protectorate. These parts of Czech territory, especially
Bohemia and Moravia, were not constituent parts of the
smaller German Reich before the Treaty of Versailles. But
for centuries before they had been united to the German
Reich. It is an historical fact.

                                                  [Page 202]

Q. You still have not answered my question although you
answered everything else. They were not taken from you by
the Treaty of Versailles, were they?

A. Of course Austria was taken away by the Versailles Treaty
and likewise the Sudetenland, for both territories, had it
not been for the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of St.
Germain, would have become German territories through the
right of the people to self-determination. To this extent
they have to do with it.

Q. You have testified, have you not, on interrogation, that
it was Hitler's information that the United States would
never go to war, even if attacked, and that he counted on
the isolationists of that country to keep it out of war?

A. This interrogation must have been recorded entirely
incorrectly. That is the very reason why I refused from the
beginning to give my oath to these interrogations before I
had been able to took carefully at the German transcript
and, determine whether it had been correctly understood and
translated. Only once, and that was on the part of the
Russian delegation, was a completely correct transcript
submitted to me. I signed it page by page and thereby
acknowledged it. Now, as far as this statement is concerned,
I should like to put it right. I said that, at first, the
Fuehrer did not believe that America would intervene in the
war, and that he was confirmed in this belief by the
attitude of the isolationist Press, while I, on the
contrary, unfortunately feared from the very beginning that
America would in any case intervene in the war. That I
should speak such nonsense - I hope you will excuse me - as
to say that America would not come into the war even if she
were attacked - you will understand that I could never have
said that, because, if a country is attacked, it defends
itself.

Q. Do you know Axel Wennergren?

A. He is a Swede whom I have seen two or three times.

Q. You talked with him about this subject, did you not?

A. About the subject of America entering the war? I may very
well have spoken with him; it is even probable.

Q. You told him that a democracy could not mobilise and
would not fight, did you not?

A. I did not tell him any such nonsense, for we had one
democracy as our chief enemy, namely England, and how this
democracy would fight we knew from the last World War and we
experienced it again during this war. When I talked with
Wennergren the war with England was in full swing.

Q. You have testified on interrogation, if I understand you
correctly, that there were at all times two basic ideas in
Hitler's mind, either to ally himself with Russia and seek
increase in living space through the acquisition of
colonies, or to ally himself with Britain and seek
acquisition of territories in the East. But in view of his
orientation, he would very much have preferred to ally
himself with Great Britain, is that true?

A. That is correct. I need only refer to the book "Mein
Kampf," where these things were set down in thorough detail
by Hitler.

Q. Now, as early as 1933 you began a real programme to rearm
Germany regardless of any treaty limitations, did you not?

A. That is not correct.

Q. All right; tell us when you started.

A. After all the proposals of disarmament which the Fuehrer
made were refused - that is, shortly after our withdrawal
from the Disarmament Conference, he made several proposals
for a limitation; but, since these were not taken seriously
or discussed, he ordered a complete rearmament. At the end
of 1933, already certain slight preparations were started by
me personally, in so far as that I made some slight
preparations in regard to the air and had also undertaken a
certain militarisation of the uniformed police. But that was
done by me personally, I bear the responsibility.

                                                  [Page 203]

Q. Well, then, the militarisation of the police auxiliary
was not a State affair. It was your personal affair. What do
you mean by that?

A. Not the auxiliary police, but the municipal police; that
is, there was one uniformed police force which had simply
police duty on the streets, and a second which was grouped
in formations and was at our disposal for larger operations
- not created by us, let it be understood, but existing at
the time of the seizure of power. This municipal police, who
were grouped in units, uniformed, armed, and housed in
barracks, I formed very soon into a strong military
instrument by taking these men out of the police service and
having them trained more along military lines and giving
them machine guns and such things, in addition to their
small arms. This I did on my own responsibility. These
formations were taken into the Armed Forces as regular Army
units when the Armed Forces Law was declared.

Q. I want to ask you some questions from your interrogation
of 17 October, 1945. 1 will first read you the questions and
answers as they appear in the interrogations and I shall
then ask you whether you gave those answers, and then you
can make the explanations if you desire, and I assume you
do. The interrogation reads:

  "I wanted to ask you to-day about some of the economic
  history of the period. When was the armament programme
  first discussed, that is, the rearmament programme? What
  year?
  
  A. Immediately; in 1933.
  
  Q. In other words, Schacht had assumed the obligation at
  that time already, to raise funds for the rearmament
  programme?
  
  A. Yes. But, of course, in co-operation with the Minister
  of Finance.
  
  Q. During the years 1933 to 1935, before general
  conscription came in, naturally, the rearmament was a
  secret rearmament, was it not?
  
  A. Yes.
  
  Q. So that moneys that were used outside of the budget
  would have to be raised by some secret means not known to
  foreign nations?
  
  A. Yes, unless they could be raised from normal Army
  funds.
  
  Q. That is to say, you had a small budget for the
  standing 100,000-man army which was open, and the rest of
  the armament had to be from secret sources?
  
  A. Yes."

Q. Were you asked those questions and did you give those
answers, in substance?

A. Generally speaking that is correct. I have these remarks
to make: (1) I was asked when rearmament had been discussed,
not when it had been started. It had, of course, been
discussed already in the year 1933, because it was clear at
once that our Government had to do something different, that
is to say, demand that the other Governments disarm, and, if
they did not disarm, that we should rearm. These things
required discussion. The conclusion of the discussion and
the formulation into a definite order followed after the
failure of our attempts to get other countries to disarm. As
soon as we, or rather the Fuehrer, saw that his proposals
would not be accepted under any circumstances, a gradual
rearmament, of course, began to take place. There was no
reason whatsoever why we should inform the world about what
we were doing in the way of rearmament. We had no obligation
to do that, nor was it expedient.

Herr Schacht, in the year 1933 at the very beginning, could
not raise any funds because, at the beginning, he held no
office. He was able to do this only at a later date. And
here it was understandable that the funds had to be raised
through the Minister of Finance and the President of the
Reichsbank, according to the wishes and the orders of the
Fuehrer, especially as we had left

                                                  [Page 204]

no doubt that, if the other side did not disarm, we would
rearm. That had already been set down on our Party programme
since 1921, and quite openly.

Q. Is it not a fact that on 21st May, 1935, by a secret
decree, Schacht was named Plenipotentiary for the War
Economy?

A. The date - if you will kindly submit the decree to me,
then I can tell you exactly - I have not the dates of
decrees and laws in my head, especially if they do not have
anything to do with me personally; but that can be seen from
the decree.

Q. In any event, shortly after be was named, he suggested
you as Commissioner for War Materials and Foreign Currency,
did he not?

A. If Herr Schacht made this suggestion shortly after his
appointment, then that appointment could not have taken
place until 1936, because not until the summer of 1936 did
Herr Schacht, together with the Minister for War, von
Blomberg, make the proposal that I become Commissioner for
Raw Materials and Foreign Currency.

Q. Well, I ask you if you did not give this answer to the
American interrogator on 10th October, 1945, referring to
Schacht:

  "He made the suggestion that I was to become the
  Commissioner for War Materials and Foreign Currency. He
  had the idea that, in that position, I could give the
  Minister for Economics and the President of the
  Reichsbank valuable support."

Now did you give that answer, and is that information
correct?

A. That is absolutely correct.

Q. (reading):

  "Moreover, he was very outspoken in the suggestion that
  he and Blomberg made, that I should be put in charge of
  the Four-Year Plan. However, Schacht's idea was that I
  did not know very much about economy, and that he could
  easily hide behind my back."

A. That I said the other day quite clearly.

Q. Now, from that time on you and Schacht collaborated for
some time in preparing a rearmament programme, did you not?

A. From that time on I worked together with Schacht in
regard to economic matters and covered the whole field of
German economy, including the armament programme, which, of
course, was a sine qua non for the reassumed German
"Wehrhoheit" (the sovereign right of a State to determine
its military strength).

Q. And you and he had some jurisdictional differences and
executed an agreement settling your different spheres of
authority, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And that was in 1937, on 7th July?

A. On that day a certain proposal for a settlement was made,
but this did not lead to anything final being accomplished.
That was because of the nature of the two posts and our
personalities. Both of us - I, as Trustee of the Four-Year
Plan, and Herr Schacht, as Minister of Economics and
President of the Reichsbank - were able to exercise very
great influence on German economy. As Herr Schacht also had
a very strong personality and felt his position keenly, and
I likewise was not inclined to hide my light under a bushel,
whether we were friends or not, we could not help getting in
each other's way because of this question of authority, and
one of us had finally to give in to the other.

Q. And there came a time when he left the Ministry and the
Reichsbank?

A. First he resigned from the Reich Ministry of Economy in
November, 1939, and, as far as I know, he resigned as
President of the Reichsbank at the end of 1938, but I can
not be certain about that date.

                                                  [Page 205]

Q. There was no disagreement between you and him that the
programme of rearmament should be carried through, was
there? You disagreed only in the methods of doing it.

A. I assume that Herr Schacht, also as a good German, was,
of course, ready to put all his strength at the disposal of
Germany's rearmament, in order that Germany should be
strong, and therefore differences could have occurred only
in regard to methods, for neither Herr Schacht nor I were
arming for a war of aggression.

Q. And after he left the rearmament work he remained as a
Minister without Portfolio and sat in the Reichstag for some
time, did he not?

A. That is correct. The Fuehrer wished it because, I
believe, he wanted in this way to express his recognition of
Herr Schacht.

Q. And do you recall the time when you considered the
calling up of fifteen-year-olds, the conscription of fifteen-
year-olds?

A. During the war you mean?

Q. Yes.

A. It was a question of Air Force auxiliaries, that is
correct. They were fifteen or sixteen years old, I do not
remember exactly which, and were called in as Air Force
auxiliaries.


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