Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-03-04 Last-Modified: 1996/12/19 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Vol. II, Chapter XVI [Page 500] (6) The Low Countries: Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The facts as to the aggression against these countries, during the period when Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister, are discussed in Section 10 of Chapter IX. Special attention should be called, however, to the statement made by Ribbentrop 10 May 1940 to representatives of the foreign press with regard to the reasons for the German invasion of the Low Countries. These reasons demonstrated to. be false in Section 10 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against The Low Countries. [Transcription note: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/nca/nca- 01/nca-01-09-aggression-10.html] [Page 501] (7) Greece and Yugoslavia. At a meeting in Salzburg in August 1939, at which von Ribbentrop participated, Hitler announced that the Axis had decided to liquidate certain neutrals (1871-PS): "*** Generally speaking, it would be best to liquidate the pseudo-neutrals one after the other. This is fairly easily done, if one Axis partner protects the rear of the other, who is just finishing off one of the uncertain neutrals, and vice-versa. Italy may consider Yugoslavia such an uncertain neutral. At the visit of Prince Regent Paul he [the Fuehrer] suggested, 'particularly in consideration of Italy, that Prince Paul clarify his political attitude towards the Axis by a gesture. He had thought of a closer connection with the Axis and Yugoslavia's leaving the League of Nations. Prince Paul agreed to the latter. Recently the Prince Regent was in London and sought reassurance from the Western Powers. The same thing was repeated that happened in the case of Gafencu, who was also very reasonable during his visit to Germany and who denied any interest in the aims of the western democracies. Afterwards it was learned that he had later assumed a contrary standpoint in England. Among the Balkan countries the Axis can completely rely only on Bulgaria, which is in a sense a natural ally of Italy and Germany. *** At the moment when there would be a turn to the-worse for Germany and Italy, however, Yugoslavia would join the other side openly, hoping thereby to give matters a final turn to the disadvantage of the Axis." (1871-PS) That demonstrates the policy with regard to uncertain neutrals. Then, as early as September 1940 Ribbentrop reviewed the war situation with Mussolini. Ribbentrop emphasized the heavy revenge bombing raids in England and the fact that London would soon be in ruins. It was agreed between the parties that only Italian interests were involved in Greece and Yugoslavia, and that Italy could count on German support. Ribbentrop went on further to explain to Mussolini the Spanish plan for the attack on Gibraltar and Germany's participation therein. He added that he was expecting to sign the Protocol with Spain, bringing the latter country into the war, on his return to Berlin (1842-PS). Ribbentrop then gave Mussolini a free hand with Greece and Yugoslavia: "With regard to Greece and Yugoslavia, the Foreign Minister stressed that it was exclusively a question of Italian interests, the settling of which was a matter for Italy alone, [Page 502] and in which Italy could be certain of Germany's sympathetic assistance. "But it seemed to us to be better not to touch on these problems for the time being, but to concentrate on the destruction of England with all our forces instead. Where Germany was concerned, she was interested in the northern German districts (Norway, etc.), and this was acknowledged by the Duce." (1842-PS). Several months later, in January 1941, at the meeting between Hitler and Mussolini in which Ribbentrop participated, the Greek operation was discussed. Hitler stated that the German troops in Rumania were for use in the planned campaign against Greece (C-134). Count Ciano, who attended that meeting as Italian Foreign Minister, recalls his impression of that meeting in his diary entry for 20/21 January: "The Duce is pleased with the conversation on the whole. I am less pleased, particularly as Ribbentrop, who had always been so boastful in the past, told me, when I asked him outright how long the war would last, that he saw no possibility of its ending before 1942." Despite that somewhat pessimistic statement to Count Ciano, three weeks later, when it was a question of encouraging the Japanese to enter the war, Ribbentrop took a more optimistic line. On 13 February 1941 he saw Oshima, the Japanese Ambassador. In the course of their conversation Ribbentrop gave an optimistic account of the military situation and the position of Bulgaria and Turkey (1834-PS). In the course of his efforts to get Yugoslavia to join the Axis, Ribbentrop addressed a note, (2450-PS) on 25 March 1941, to Prime Minister Cvetkovitch, which contained this assurance: "The Axis-Power Governments during this war will not direct a demand to Yugoslavia to permit the march or transportation of troops through the Yugoslav state or territory." (2450-PS) Shortly thereafter, there occurred the coup d'etat in Yugoslavia, when General Simovitch took over the Government. Two days after Ribbentrop's assurance (2450-PS), at a meeting on 27 March 1941 at which Ribbentrop was present, Hitler outlined the military campaign against Yugoslavia and promised the destruction of Yugoslavia and the demolition of Belgrade by the German Air Force (1746-PS). After the invasion of Yugoslavia Ribbentrop was one of the persons directed by Hitler with the drawing of the boundaries [Page 503] for the partition and division of Yugoslavia. The preliminary directive for that action provided: "*** If the drawing up of boundaries has not been laid down in the above Part I, it will be carried out by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces in agreement with the Foreign Office Ribbentrop], the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan [Goering], and the Reich Minister of the Interior [Frick]." (1195-PS) (8) The U.S.S.R. On 23 August 1939 Ribbentrop signed The German-Soviet non-aggression Pact (TC-25). The first point at which Ribbentrop seems to have considered special problems of aggression against the Soviet Union was just after 20 April 1941, when Rosenberg and Ribbentrop met or communicated to consider problems expected to arise in the Eastern occupied territory. Ribbentrop appointed his Counsellor, Grosskopf, to be his liaison man with Rosenberg and also assigned a Consul General, Brauetigam, who had many years experience in USSR, as a collaborator with Rosenberg (1039-PS) . The following month, on 18 May 1941, the German Foreign Office prepared a declaration setting forth operational zones in the Arctic Ocean and the Baltic and Black Seas to be used by the German Navy and Air Force in the coming invasion of the Soviet Union: "The Foreign Office has prepared for use in Barbarossa the attached draft of a declaration of operational zones. The Foreign Office has, however, reserved its decision as to the date when the declaration will be issued, as well as discussion of particulars." (C-77) Thus, it is clear that Ribbentrop was again fully involved in the preparation for this act of aggression. Finally, on 22 June 1941, Ribbentrop announced to the world that the German armies were invading the USSR (3054-PS). How untrue were the reasons given by Ribbentrop is shown by the report of his own Ambassador in Moscow on 7 June 1941, who said that everything was being done by the Russians to avoid a conflict. (9) Instigation of Japanese Aggression. On 25 November 1936, as a result of negotiations of Ribbentrop as Ambassador at Large, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact (2508-PS). The recital states the purpose of the agreement as follows: "The Government of the German Reich and the Imperial [Page 504] Japanese Government, recognizing that the aim of the Communist Internationale known as the Comintern is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist Internationale in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well-being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world; desirous of cooperating in the defense against Communist subversive activities; having agreed as follows **" (2508-PS) There then follow the effective terms of the agreement under which Germany and Japan are to act together for five years. It is signed on behalf of Germany by Ribbentrop (2508-PS). On 27 September 1940 Ribbentrop, as Foreign Minister, signed the Tripartite Pact with Japan and Italy, thereby bringing about a full-scale military and economic alliance for the creation of a new order in Europe and East Asia (2643-PS). On 13 February 1941 -- some four months later -- Ribbentrop was urging the Japanese to attack British possessions in the Far East (183-PS). Then, in April 1941, at a meeting between Hitler and Matsuoka, representing Japan, at which Ribbentrop was present, Hitler promised that Germany would declare war on the United States in the event of war occurring between Japan and the United States as a result of Japanese aggression in the Pacific (1881-PS); The development of Ribbentrop's views is indicated by the minutes of another conversation with the Japanese Foreign Minister (1882-PS): "*** Matsuoka then spoke of the general high morale in Germany, referring to the happy faces he had seen everywhere among the workers during his recent visit to the Borsig Works. He expressed his regret that developments in Japan had not as yet advanced as far as in Germany and that in his country the intellectuals still exercised considerable influence. "The Reich Foreign Minister replied that at best a nation which had realized its every ambition could afford the luxury of intellectuals, most of whom are parasites, anyway. A nation, however, which has to fight for a place in the sun must give them up. The intellectuals ruined France; in Germany they had already started their pernicious activities when National Socialism put a stop to these doings; they [Page 505] will surely be the cause of the downfall of Britain, which is to be expected with certainty ***." (1882-PS) That was on April 1941.
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