The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/21

But there is one other new document which I shall put before
the Tribunal in this part of the case, which is Exhibit GB
129, Document 1337-PS, which shows the establishment, of the
Secret Cabinet Council and membership in the Foreign
Ministry. These are the activities of this defendant in the
earlier part of this career, and in the submission of the
prosecution they show quite clearly that he assisted
willingly, deliberately, intentionally and keenly in the
militarily bringing of the Nazis into power and into the
earlier stage of their obtaining control of the German
State.

I now come to the second allegation in the Indictment, that
this defendant participated in political planning and
preparation with the Nazi conspirators for wars of
aggression and wars in violation of international Treaties,
agreements and assurances; and again it might help the
tribunal if I took this up quite shortly, in order of
aggressions, and stated briefly the constituent allegations
that we make, and the references to matters before the
Tribunal, referring the Tribunal only to any new document
which I may now present.

The first is the Anschluss with Austria, and there the
Tribunal will remember that the defendant Ribbentrop was
present at a meeting at Berchtesgaden on 12th February,
1938, at which Hitler and von Papen met the Austrian
Chancellor von Schuschnigg and his foreign minister, Guide
Schmidt. The Tribunal will find the official account of that
interview in Document 2461-PS, which I put in as Exhibit GB
132, and the Tribunal will find, I submit, a truthful
account of the interview in Exhibit USA 72, Document 1780-
PS, which is the diary

                                                   [Page 82]

of the defendant Jodl; and the relevant entries are those
for the 11th and 12th February, 1938. They are extremely
short, and I shall ask if the Tribunal will be kind enough
to allow me to read from them. They do show quite clearly
the case for the prosecution - the pressure that was used in
Chancellor Schuschnigg's interview. It is at the foot of the
first page in the document book, Document 1780-PS is the
number.

And on the 11th of February and the days following the
defendant Jodl writes:

  "In the evening and on 12th February, General Keitel with
  General von Reichenau and Sperrle at Obersalzberg.
  Schuschnigg, together with R. G. Schmidt, are again being
  put under the heaviest political and military pressure.
  At 23.00 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.
  
  13th February: in the afternoon General Keitel asks
  Admiral Canaris and me to come to his apartment. He tells
  us that the Fuehrer's order is to the effect that
  military pressure by shamming military action should be
  kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive
  manoeuvres are drafted and submitted to the Fuehrer by
  telephone for approval.
  
  At 2.40 o'clock the agreement of the Fuehrer arrived.
  Canaris went to Munich, to the Counter-Intelligence
  Office VII and initiated the different measures.
  
  The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression
  is created that Germany is undertaking serious military
  preparations."

It is rather interesting, after reading the frank statement
of the defendant Jodl, to look at the pale words of the
official statement which I have also put in. That is the
view of the meeting with Schuschnigg, which the prosecution
placed before this Court.

Will the Tribunal be good enough to ignore an allegation
that appears in the trial brief that this defendant visited
Mussolini before the Anschluss, as is stated by a member of
his staff. At that time it was disputed by another member.
Therefore, I would rather the Tribunal ruled it out.

The next point, on which there is no dispute, is the
telephone conversation which took place between the
defendant Goering and the defendant Ribbentrop on the 13th
March, 1938, when the latter was still in London. The
Tribunal will remember that that was dealt with fully by my
friend, Mr. Alderman. It was passing on what the prosecution
submits was a completely false statement: that there was no
ultimatum. The facts of the ultimatum were explained by the
earlier telephone conversations with the defendant Goering
in Vienna. Defendant Goering then passed that on to the
defendant Ribbentrop in London in order that he might
propagate the story - of there being no ultimatum - in
political circles in London. That appears in the telephone
conversation which is Exhibit USA 76, Document 2949-PS, and,
I say, it is fully dealt with (Page 260, Part 1).

The third action which this defendant took occurred after
his return from London. Although he bad been appointed
Foreign Minister in February, he had gone back to London to
clear up his business at the Embassy and he was still in
London until after the Anschluss had actually occurred, but
his name appears as a signatory of the law making Austria a
province of the German Reich. That is Document 2307-PS,
which I now put in as Exhibit GB 133. And there is a
reference in the Reichsgesetzblatt, which is given. These
were the actions of the defendant with regard to Austria.

Then we come to Czechoslovakia, and there you have an almost
perfect example of aggressive work in its various ways.
Again I simply remind the Tribunal of the outstanding points
with the greatest brevity. First, there is the question of
stirring up trouble inside the country against which
aggression is going to be used.

                                                   [Page 83]

This defendant, as Foreign Minister, was concerned with the
setting up of the Sudeten Germany under Henlein, and the
contacts between the Foreign Office and Henlein are shown in
Exhibits USA 93, 94, 95 and 96. These are Documents 3060-PS,
2789-PS, 2788-PS and 3059-PS. They have all been read by my
friend, Mr. Alderman, but I simply mention to the Tribunal
their purpose: to stir up the Sudeten-German movement in
order to act with the Government of the Reich.

Then, after that, the defendant Ribbentrop was present on
the 28th May, 1938, at the Hitler conference, at which the
latter gave the necessary instructions to prepare the attack
on Czechoslovakia. That was dealt with previously (Page 6,
Part 2). And I want to put before the Tribunal Document 2360-
PS as Exhibit GB 134, which is a report of a speech of
Hitler's in the "Volkischer Beobachter"; and, if the
Tribunal would be good enough to look at it, it is a useful
date to fix with regard to the aggression against
Czechoslovakia, because that was the day on which Hitler, on
his own proclamation, had decided that aggression was to
take place against that country.

The extract which I have taken is quite short and, if the
Tribunal would look at it, the important passage is:

  "On the basis of this unbearable provocation, which was
  still further emphasised by a truly infamous persecution
  and terrorising of our Germans there, I have now decided
  to solve the Sudeten-German question in a final and
  radical manner."

That was in January, 1939. Then he goes on to say:

  "On 28th May I gave the order for the preparation of
  military steps against this State, to be concluded by 2nd
  October."

The important point is that the 28th of May was the date
when the "Fall Grun" for Czechoslovakia was the subject of
orders, and it was thereafter put into effect to come to
fruition at the beginning of October. That is the second
stage: "To lay well in advance your plans of aggression. The
third stage is to see that the neighbouring States are not
likely to cause you trouble."

So we find that on the 18th July, 1938, this defendant had a
conversation with the Italian Ambassador Attolico, at which
the attack on Czechoslovakia was discussed. That is Exhibit
USA 85, Document 2800-PS. And there were further discussions
which are contained in Exhibit USA 86 and 87, which are
Documents 2791-PS and 2792-PS.

I think it is sufficient for me to say to the Tribunal that
the effect of these documents is that it was made clear to
the Italian Government that the German Government was going
to move against Czechoslovakia.

The other country which was interested was Hungary, because
Hungary had certain territorial ideas with regard to parts
of the Czechoslovakian Republic.

So, on the 23rd and 25th of August, this defendant was
present at the discussions and had discussions himself with
the Hungarian politicians Imredy and Kania, and these are
found in Exhibits USA 88 and 89, Documents 2796-PS and 2797-
PS.

This defendant attempted to get assurances of Hungarian
help, and the Hungarian Government at the time was not too
ready to commit itself to action, although it was ready
enough with sympathy. These are to be found in the documents
which I have mentioned. And, again, unless the Tribunal
desires, I shall not read any document that I summarised
that way.

Now I have already mentioned that there had been contact
with the Sudeten-Germans. That was the long-term grievance
that had to be exploited. But the next stage was to have a
short-term grievance and to stir up trouble, preferably at
the fountain-head. And so, between the 16th and 24th
September, we find the German Foreign Office, of which this
defendant was the head, stirring

                                                   [Page 84]

up trouble in Prague, and that is shown very clearly in
Exhibits USA 97 to 101, which are Documents 2858-PS, 2855-
PS, 2854-PS, 2853-PS and 2856-PS. I have read them in order
of date. It would be interesting for the Tribunal to look at
these. They ought to follow quite shortly the document thay
[sic] have just been looking at, beginning with 2858. Here
you have the document of the 19th September coming from the
Foreign Office to the German Embassy in Prague:

  "Please inform Deputy Kundt at Conrad Henlein's request
  to get in touch with the Slovaks at once and induce them
  to start demands."

The others deal with questions of arrest and the action that
would be taken against any Czechs in Germany in order to
make the position more difficult.

That was the contribution which this defendant made to the
pre-Munich crisis. After, as the Tribunal will remember, on
the 29th September, 1938, the Munich agreement was signed.
That is Exhibit GB 23, Document TC-23, which I have already
read to the Tribunal.

And, after that - I just remind the Tribunal of an
interesting document which shows the sort of action which
the Wehrmacht expected and the advice that the Wehrmacht
expected from the Foreign Office.

You have, on the 1st of October, Document C-2, which is
Exhibit USA 90 and that is a long document putting forward
an almost infinite variety of breaches of International Law,
which were likely to arise or might have arisen from the
action in regard to Czechoslovakia; and on all these points
the opinion of the Foreign Office is sought. That, of
course, remained a hypothetical question at that time
because no war resulted.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you give us the number of that document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, C-2, My Lord, Exhibit USA 90.

Then, if the Tribunal please, we come to the second stage in
the acquiring of Czechoslovakia. That is, having obtained
the Sudetenland, arranging that there would be a crisis in
Czechoslovakia which would be an excuse for taking the rest.
The Tribunal will remember the importance of this because it
is the first time that the German Government went outside
its own statement about not going beyond German blood.

On that point, again, this defendant was active. On the 13th
March, as events were moving to a climax, he sent a telegram
to the German Minister in Prague, who was under him, telling
him to "make a point of not being available if the Czech
Government wants to get in touch with you in the next few
days." That is Exhibit USA 116, Document 2815-PS.

At the same time this defendant saw a delegation of pro-Nazi
Slovaks in Berlin at a conference with Hitler. Tiso, one of
the heads of the pro-Nazi Slovaks, was directed to declare
an independent Slovak State, in order to assist in the
disintegration of Czechoslovakia. That is Exhibit USA 117,
Document 2802-PS, and the Tribunal might care to compare it
with a previous meeting with another Slovak, Tuca, a month
before, which is shown in Document 2790-PS, Exhibit USA 110.
So that this defendant was again assisting in the task of
proposing internal trouble.

Then, on the 14th March, 1939, the next day, Hacha, the
President of Czechoslovakia, was called to Berlin. This
defendant was present at the meeting and the Tribunal will
remember the usual pressure and threats which resulted in
the aged President's permission to hand over the
Czechoslovak State to Hitler. The Tribunal will find that
subject dealt with on Pages 96-97, Part 2, and the relevant
exhibit is Exhibit USA 118, Document 2798-PS, which is the
minutes of the meeting between Hitler and Hacha that this
defendant attended. You will also find it dealt with in
Exhibit USA 126, Document 3061-PS, which is the
Czechoslovakian Government Report.

                                                   [Page 85]
                                                            
That was the end of the Czech part of Czechoslovakia. The
following week this defendant signed a treaty with Slovakia
which I now put in. It is Document 1439-PS, and I put it in
as Exhibit GB 135, and the important part is Article 11,
under which the German Government was given the right to
construct military posts and installations and keep them
garrisoned within Czechoslovakia. That is 1439-PS, which I
put in as GB 135. I am not going to read it at length, but I
hope the Tribunal will stop me if there are any of these
documents which they would like read instead of summarised.
In that way this defendant, by the terms of that treaty,
after completely finishing Bohemia and Moravia as an
independent state, had got military control in Slovakia.

Before I pass to Poland, there is one interesting little
point on the northern Baltic which I put before the Tribunal
to show that this defendant could hardly keep his hands out
of the internal affairs of other countries, even when it did
not seem a very important matter. The Tribunal will remember
that on the 3rd April, 1939, as shown in Exhibit GB 4, TC-53-
A, Germany had occupied Memelland. It would have appeared,
as far as the Baltic States were concerned, that the
position was satisfactory; but if the Tribunal will look at
Document 2953-PS, which I put in as Exhibit GB 136, and
Document 2952-PS, which I put in as Exhibit GB 137, they
will find that this defendant acted in close concert with
the conspirator Heydrich, who is dead, in stirring up
trouble in Lithuania with a group of pro-Nazi people called
the "Woldemaras Supporters." Document 2953-PS shows that
Heydrich was passing to the defendant Ribbentrop the request
for financial support for the ...

THE PRESIDENT: Just one moment, Sir David. Unfortunately,
these documents are not in any order.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am terribly sorry.

THE PRESIDENT: It is very difficult to find them. This
follows after 3061 and 1439?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, it follows after 3061. The next
one that I referred to, the treaty with Slovakia, 1939,
should come after that.

THE PRESIDENT: You are going to read 2953?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord. That is the one I was
going to read. That is a letter from Heydrich to the
defendant Ribbentrop and it says:

  "Dear Party Comrade v. Ribbentrop,
  
  Enclosed please find a further report about the
  'Woldemaras Supporters.' As already mentioned in the
  previous report the 'Woldemaras Supporters' are still
  asking for help from the Reich. I therefore ask you to
  examine the question of financial support brought up
  again by the 'Woldemaras Supporters' set forth on Page 4,
  paragraph 2 of the enclosed report and to make a definite
  decision.
  
  The request of the 'Woldemaras Supporters' for financial
  support could, in my opinion, be granted. Deliveries of
  arms should not, however, be made under any
  circumstances."

Then, 2952, the next document, is a fuller report, and at
the end of that there is added, in handwriting, "I support
small regular payments, e.g., 2,000 to 3,000 marks
quarterly." It is signed "W," who I understand to be the
Secretary of State.

I quoted that merely to show the extraordinary interference,
even with comparatively unimportant countries.

Then we pass to the aggression against Poland, and again the
Tribunal has had that fully dealt with by my friend Colonel
Griffith-Jones, but again it might be useful if I just
separated the various periods so that the Tribunal will have
these in mind. The first was what one might call the Munich
period, up to the

                                                   [Page 86]

end of September, 1938, and at that time no language was too
good for Poland. The Tribunal will remember the point.



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