Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-15-criminality-03-08 Last-Modified: 1996/12/28 As time went on and greater concentration of power was needed, the Cabinet made changes and additions to this secret war planning body. Article 6 of the Secret Defense Law of 1935 (2261-PS) provided: "(1) The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor will appoint a plenipotentiary-general for war economy to direct the entire war economy. "(2) It is the task of the plenipotentiary-general for war economy to put all economic forces in the service of carrying on the war and to secure the life of the German people economically. "(3) Subordinate to him are: The Reichsminister for economy. The Reichsminister for Food and Agriculture. The Reichs Labor Minister. The Reichs Forest Master, and all Reichs' agencies immediately subordinate to the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor. furthermore the financing of the war effort (in the province of the Reichs Finance Ministry and of the Reichsbank) will be-carried on under his responsibility. "(4) The Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy is au- [Page 120] thorized, within his realm of responsibility to issue legal regulations, which may deviate from the existing laws." (2261-PS) Schacht was named as Plenipotentiary for War Economy. It will be noted that the Reich Ministers for Food and Agriculture and for Labor, and the Reichs Forest Master (who by this time had Cabinet rank) had not been included in the original membership of the Reichs Defense Council. Darre was Minister for Food and Agriculture, Seldte for Labor, and Goering was Reich Forest Master. On the same day the Law was passed, the Cabinet made these decisions covering the newly-created Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy (EC-177): "1. The Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy appointed by the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor will begin his work already in peacetime ***. "2. The Reichsminister of War and the Plenipotentiary for War Economy will effect the preparations for mobilization in closest cooperation on both sides. "3. The Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy will be a permanent member of the Reich Defense Council (Reichsverteidigungsrat). Within the working committee he represents through his leadership staff the interests of war economy." (EC-177) The complete reorganization of this Reich Defense Council took place in 1938, under the Secret Defense Law of 4th September of that year. By that time, there had been a reorganization of the Armed Forces: the chief of the OKW had been created and the War Ministry had been abolished (2194- PS). The Reich Defense Council in 1938 was composed of Goering, as permanent deputy and Minister of Air and Supreme Commander of the Air Force; Raeder as Supreme Commander of the Navy; Hess as Deputy of the Fuehrer; von Neurath as President of the Secret Cabinet Council; Frick as Plenipotentiary for the Reich Administration; Keitel as Chief of the OKW; Funk as Plenipotentiary for Economics; Ribbentrop as Minister of Foreign Affairs; Schacht as President of the Reichsbank directorate (2261-PS). An important part of the Reich Defense Council was the Working Committee. The minutes of the twelfth meeting of the Reich Defense Working Committee, on 14 May 1936, read (EC-407): "1. The National Minister of War and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, General Field Marshal von Blomberg, opened the 12th meeting of the Reichs Defense Committee [Page 121] by expressing thanks for the work accomplished and pointing out in principle the necessity of a preparation for a total mobilization with emphasis on the most important measures to be taken at this time. (Among others; mobilization schedule, legal basis, preparations in the remilitarized zone.) He further indicates the assignment of the national resources (Reichsressort) to finance its measures for preparation of the Reichs defense out of its budget. "2. The chairman of the Reichs Defense Committee, Lieutenant General Keitel, states: "In todays and future meetings of the Reichs Defense Committee a cross section of the general situation concerning all matters of the national defense is presented. The picture of the situation does not appear in the reports of the meetings. "The open discussion of State secrets before our large committee gives the special obligation to the chairman of the Reichs Defense Committee of pointing out its secrecy. "Todays sessions takes place under the auspices of the restoration of the State authority in the demilitarized zone. "The difficulties of the economic situation, which are presented today, must be mastered." (EC-407) This Working Committee was still functioning in 1939. The Mobilization Book for Civil Administration of 1939 states, in part (1639-A-PS): "D. Terms for Mobilization Preparations by the Civil Administration. "The acceptance of all new measures in the Mobilization Book for Civil Administration must be requested from the Chief of the Reich Defense Committee (Department of State Defense in the Armed Forces High Command)." (1639- A-PS) The composition of the Working Committee was redefined by the Secret Law of 1938 as follows (2194-PS): "The Reich Defense Committee [Reichsverteidigungsauschuss] (RVA): "(1) The Reich Defense Committee is the working Committee of the RVR. It prepares the decisions of the RVR, sees to their execution, and secures collaboration between armed forces, chief Reich offices, and party. "(2) Presiding is the chief of the OKW. He regulates the activity of the committee and gives the directions to the GBV and CBW and to the Reich ministries not subordinated to them and to the chief Reich offices according to the decisions [Page 122] of the RVR, which directions are necessary for securing their uniform execution. "(3) The RVA is composed of the OKW, deputy of the commissioner for the four year plan, the leader staffs of the GBV and GBW, and the Reich Defense officials. "(4) Chief office officials for the Reich defense (RV- Referenten) and their deputies are commissioned by the deputy of the leader, by the Reich Chancellery, by each Reich Ministry, by the Reich Leader of the SS and chief of the German police, by the Reich work leaders, by the Reich Forest Master, by the Chief Inspector for the German Road Net, by the Reich Office for Regional Order, by the Reichsbank directorate, and in the Prussian state ministry. RV-Referent and his deputy are immediately subordinate to the minister or the state secretary, and to the chief of the Reich office, resp." (2194-PS) The GBV and the GBW mentioned in the portion quoted above are, respectively, the Plenipotentiaries for Administration and for Economy. Under them were grouped other ministries, some of which were already permanent members of the Council. By paragraph 3 of the Secret Law the following were made subordinate to the Plenipotentiary for Administration: the Ministers of the Interior, Justice, Science and Education, Churches; the Reich Authority for Spatial Planning; and, for limited purposes, the Minister of Finance. Subordinate to and under the direction of the Plenipotentiary for Economy (a position formerly held by Schacht under the title "War Economy" and later held by Funk) were the ministers of Economics, Food, Agriculture, Labor, and for limited purposes, the Reich Finance Ministry and the Reichsbank; the Reich Forest Master; and the Commissioner for Price Control from the 4-Year Plan. Paragraph 5 of the law (2194-PS) shows that subordinated to the Chief of the OKW were the Reich Postal Minister, the Reich Transportation Minister, and the General Inspector for German Highways. This concentration of power by the Cabinet was for one purpose only: to plan secretly with the strongest means at hand for the waging of aggressive war. Further evidence of this objective is contained in an affidavit by Frick covering the place, activities, and scope of the Reich Defense Council, including the Three-Man College (2986-PS): "I, Wilhelm Frick, being first duly sworn, depose and say: "I was Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration (Generalbevollmaechtigter fuer die Reichsverwaltung) from the time when this office was created, until 20 August 1943. Hein- [Page 123] rich Himmler was my deputy in this capacity. Before the outbreak of the war my task as Plenipotentiary for Reich-Administration was the preparation of organization in the event of war, such as, for instance, the appointment of liaison men in the different ministries who would keep in touch with me. As Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration, I, together with the Plenipotentiary for Economy and OKW formed what was called a '3-Man College' (Dreierkollegium). We also were members of the Reich defense Council (Reichsverteidigungsrat), which was supposed to plan preparations and decrees in case of war which later on were published by the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich. Since, as soon as the war started, everything had to be done speedily and there would have been no time for planning, such measures and decrees were prepared in advance in case of war. All one then still had to do was to pull out of the drawer the war orders that had been prepared. Later on, after the outbreak of the war, these decrees were enacted by the Ministerial Council for the defense of the Reich. "(Signed) Dr. Wilhelm Frick" (2986-PS).
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