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                          Judgment
                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

                           London
               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                            1951
                                                            

                                                   [Page 12]

                THE COMMON PLAN OR CONSPIRACY
                     AND AGGRESSIVE WAR

The Tribunal now turns to the consideration of the Crimes
against peace charged in the Indictment. Count One of the
Indictment charges the defendants with conspiring or having
a common plan to commit crimes against peace.

                                                   [Page 13]
                                                            
Count Two of the Indictment charges the defendants with
committing specific crimes against peace by planning,
preparing, initiating, and waging wars of aggression against
a number of other States. It will be convenient to consider
the question of the existence of a common plan and the
question of aggressive war together, and to deal later in
this Judgment with the question of the individual
responsibility of the defendants.

The charges in the Indictment that the defendants planned
and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity.
War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not
confined to the belligerent States alone, but affect the
whole world.

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an
international crime; it is the supreme international crime
differing only from other war crimes in that it contains
within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

The first acts of aggression referred to in the Indictment
are the seizure of Austria and Czechoslovakia; and the first
war of aggression charged in the Indictment is the war
against Poland begun on 1st September, 1939.

Before examining that charge it is necessary to look more
closely at some of the events which preceded these acts of
aggression. The war against Poland did not come suddenly out
of an otherwise clear sky; the evidence has made it plain
that this war of aggression, as well as the seizure of
Austria and Czechoslovakia, was premeditated and carefully
prepared, and was not undertaken until the moment was
thought opportune for it to be carried through as a definite
part of the pre-ordained scheme and plan. For the aggressive
designs of the Nazi Government were not accidents arising
out of the immediate political situation in Europe and the
world; they were a deliberate and essential part of Nazi
foreign policy.

From the beginning, the National Socialist movement claimed
that its object was to unite the German People in the
consciousness of their mission and destiny, based on
inherent qualities of race, and under the guidance of the
Fuehrer.

For its achievement, two things were deemed to be essential:
the disruption of the European order as it had existed since
the Treaty of Versailles, and the creation of a Greater
Germany beyond the frontiers of 1914. This necessarily
involved the seizure of foreign territories.

War was seen to be inevitable, or at the very least, highly
probable, if these purposes were to be accomplished. The
German People, therefore, with all their resources, were to
be organized as a great political-military army, schooled to
obey without question any policy decreed by the State.

                 PREPARATION FOR AGGRESSION

In Mein Kampf Hitler had made this view quite plain. It must
be remembered that Mein Kampf was no mere private diary in
which the secret thoughts of Hitler were set down. Its
contents were rather proclaimed from the house-tops. It was
used in the schools and Universities and among the Hitler
Youth, in the SS and the SA, and among the German People
generally, even down to the presentation of an official copy
to all newly-married people. By the year 1945 over 6.5
million copies had been circulated. The general contents are
well known. Over and over again Hitler asserted his belief
in the necessity of force as the means of solving
international problems, as in the following quotation:

"The soil on which we now live was not a gift bestowed by
Heaven on our forefathers. They had to conquer it by risking
their lives. So also in the future, our people will not
obtain territory, and therewith the means of existence, as a
favor from any other people, but will have to win it by the
power of a triumphant sword."

                                                   [Page 14]

Mein Kampf contains many such passages, and the extolling of
force as an instrument of foreign policy is openly
proclaimed.

The precise objectives of this policy of force are also set
forth in detail. The very first page of the book asserts
that "German-Austria must be restored to the great German
Motherland," not on economic grounds, but because "people of
the same blood should be in the same Reich."

The restoration of the German frontiers of 1914 is declared
to be wholly insufficient, and if Germany is to exist at
all, it must be as a world power with the necessary
territorial magnitude.

Mein Kampf is quite explicit in stating where the increased
territory is to be found:

     "Therefore we National Socialists have purposely
     drawn a line through the line of conduct followed
     by pre-war Germany in foreign policy. We put an
     end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the
     South and West of Europe, and turn our eyes
     towards the lands of the East. We finally put a
     stop to the colonial and trade policy of the pre-
     war times, and pass over to the territorial policy
     of the future.
     
     "But when we speak of new territory in Europe
     today, we must think principally of Russia and the
     border states subject to her."

Mein Kampf is not to be regarded as a mere literary
exercise, nor as an inflexible policy or plan incapable of
modification.

Its importance lies in the unmistakable attitude of
aggression revealed throughout its pages.


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