The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-04/tgmwc-04-29.10


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-04/tgmwc-04-29.10
Last-Modified: 1999/09/21


The important exhibits showing that aspect of the case are
GB 30, which is Document 2357-PS, Hitler's Reichstag speech
on the 20th February, 1938, and then GB 31, Document TC-76,
which is the secret Foreign Office memorandum of the 26th
August, 1938, and GB 27, Document 73, No. 40 ...

THE PRESIDENT: What was the number?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I beg your Lordship's pardon. The
last one was TC-76.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but after that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The next one was TC-73, No. 40. 73
is the Polish White Book and 40 is the number of the
document in the book. It is an extract from the conversation
between M. Lipski, the Polish Ambassador, and this
defendant.

Finally in this group is Document TC-73, No. 42, Hitler's
speech at the Sportpalast on the 26th September, 1938, in
which he said that this was the end of his territorial
problems in Europe and expressed an almost violent affection
for the Poles.

Now the next stage was between Munich and the rape of
Prague, and in the following stage-part of the German
aggressions in Czechoslovakia having been accomplished and
parts still remaining to be done - there is a slight change
but still a friendly atmosphere. That begins with a
conversation between this defendant and M. Lipski, which is
contained in Exhibit GB 27, Document TC-73, No. 44.

There this defendant put forward very peaceful suggestions
for the settlement of the Danzig issue. The Polish reply is
in Exhibit GB 28, TC-75.

THE PRESIDENT: You did not give the date of those, did you?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The first one is 24th October, 1938;
the Polish reply which says that it is unacceptable that
Danzig should return to the Reich, but makes suggestions for
a bilateral agreement, is the 31st October, 1938. Between
these dates, the Tribunal will remember, according to
Document C-137, Exhibit GB 33, dated the 21st October, the
German Government had made its preparations to occupy Danzig
by surprise. But, although these preparations were made,
still, some two months later, on the 5th January, 1939,
while the rape of Prague had not yet taken place, Hitler was
suggesting to M. Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, a new
solution. That is contained in Document TC-73, No. 48,
Exhibit GB 34, the interview of Hitler and Beck on the 5th
January, 1939.

Then this defendant saw M. Beck on the next day and said
there was no violent solution of Danzig, but a further
building up of friendly relations. That is contained in
Exhibit GB 35, Document TC-73, No. 49. Not content with
that, this defendant went to Warsaw on the 25th January,
and, according to the report of his speech contained in
Document 2530-PS, Exhibit GB 36, talked of the continued
progress and consolidation of friendly relations; and that
was capped by Hitler's Reichstag speech on the 30th January,
1939, in the same sort of tone, contained in Exhibit GB 37,
Document TC-73 No. 57. That was the second stage-the mention
of Danzig in honoured words - because, of course, the rape
of Prague had not been attained.

Then one has to remember, as one comes to the summer, the
meeting at the Reich Chancellery on the 23rd May, 1939,
which is reported in Document L-79, Exhibit USA 27. It has
been read many times to the Tribunal, and I only remind them
of this point; that this is the document where Hitler makes
quite clear, and states in his own words, that Danzig has
nothing to do with the real Polish question. "I have to deal
with Poland because I want Lebensraum. in the East." That is
the effect of that portion of the document which has been
read so often to the Tribunal-that Danzig was merely an
excuse.

                                                   [Page 87]

It is important to have in mind, if I may respectfully
suggest it, that that meeting was on the 23rd May, 1939,
because there is an interesting corroboration of the
attitude of mind-in showing how clearly this defendant
Ribbentrop had adopted the attitude of mind of Hitler - in
the introduction to Count Ciano's diary, which was put in as
Exhibit USA 166, Document 2987-PS; but I do not think this
part of the diary, the introduction, has been read before.
It is Document 2987-PS, and it comes after L-79, which is
the Little Schmundt File, just after the Obersalzberg
Document. It is set forth in the trial brief, if the
Tribunal will care to follow it there. Count Ciano says:

"In the summer of 1939 Germany advanced her claim against
Poland, naturally without our knowledge; indeed, Ribbentrop
had several times denied to our Ambassador that Germany had
any intentions of carrying the controversy to extremes.
Despite these denials I remained in doubt; I wanted to make
sure for myself, and on 11th August I went to Salzburg. It
was in his residence at Fuschl that Ribbentrop informed me,
while we were waiting to sit down at the table, of the
decision to start the fireworks, just as he might have told
me about the most unimportant and common-place
administrative matter. 'Well, Ribbentrop,' I asked him,
while we were walking in the garden, 'what do you want? The
Corridor or Danzig?' 'Not any more,' and he stared at me
through those cold Musee Grevin eyes. 'We want war.'"

I remind the Tribunal how closely that corroborates the
statement that Hitler had made at his Chancellery conference
on the 23rd May - that it was no longer a question of Danzig
or the Corridor, it was a question of war to achieve
Lebensraum in the East.

Then I remind the Tribunal, without citing, that the "Fall
Weiss" for operation against Poland is dated the 3rd and
11th April, 1939, which  certainly shows that preparations
were already in hand.

And then there is another reference in Count Ciano's diary
which also has not been read and which makes this point
quite clear. Again, if the Tribunal will take it as set out
in the trial brief, I will read it, as it has not been read
before:

  "I have collected the conference records of my
  conversations with Ribbentrop and Hitler. I shall only
  note some impressions of a general nature. Ribbentrop is
  evasive every time I ask him for particulars of the
  forthcoming German action. He has a guilty conscience. He
  has lied too many times about German intentions towards
  Poland not to feel embarrassment now over what he must
  tell me and what he is preparing to do.
  
  The will to fight is unalterable. He rejects any solution
  which might satisfy Germany and prevent the struggle. I
  am certain that, even if the Germans were given
  everything they demanded, they would attack just the
  same, because they are possessed by the demon of
  destruction.
  
  Our conversation sometimes takes a dramatic turn. I do
  not hesitate to speak my mind in the most brutal manner.
  But this does not shake him in the least. I realise how
  little weight this view carries in German opinion.
  
  The atmosphere is icy. And the cold feeling between us is
  reflected in our followers. During dinner we do not
  exchange a word. We distrust each other. But I at least
  have a clear conscience. He has not."

Whatever other defects there may have been about Count
Ciano, there cannot be an appreciation of the situation
which is more heavily corroborated by supporting documents
than his diagnosis of the situation in the summer of 1939.

Then we come to the next stage in the German plan, which was
sharp pressure on the claim for Danzig shown immediately
after Czechoslovakia had been formally dealt with on the
15th of March. It is shown how closely it followed

                                                   [Page 88]

the completion of the rape of Prague. The first sharp
raising of the claim was on the 21st March, as shown in
Exhibit GB 38, Document TC-73, No. 61. That developed, as
the Tribunal has heard from Colonel Griffith-Jones.

Then we come to the last days before the war, and one
interesting sidelight is that Herr von Dirksen, the German
Ambassador to the Court of St. James, returned from London
on the l8th August, 1939; and I put in the extract from the
interrogation of the defendant Ribbentrop, which is Document
D-490. I put that in as GB 138.

I do not intend to read it to the Tribunal because it can be
summarised in this way; that the defendant Ribbentrop has
certainly no recollection of ever having seen the German
Ambassador to the Court of St. James after his return. He
thinks he would have remembered him if he had seen him and
he accepts the probability that he did not see him. And
there is the point, when it was well known that war with
Poland would involve England and France, that either he was
not sufficiently interested in opinion in London to take the
trouble to see his ambassador or else, as he rather
suggests, that he had appointed so weak and ordinary a
career diplomat to London that his opinion was not taken
into account, either by Ribbentrop himself or by Hitler. In
either case, he was completely uninterested in anything
which his ambassador might have to tell him as to opinion in
London or the possibility of war. And I conceive myself
speaking with great moderation in putting it this way, that
in the last days before the 1st September, 1939, this
defendant did whatever he could to avoid peace with Poland
and to avoid anything which might hinder the encouraging of
the war which we know he wanted. He did that, well knowing
that war with Poland would involve Great Britain and France.
These details were given in full by Colonel Griffith-Jones.

I am not going through them again, but I have, for the
convenience of the Tribunal, referred to the transcript
(Pages 144 to 176, Part 2), and M. Lipski summarised all
that took place in his report of the 10th October, 1939,
which is Document TC-73, No. 147, Exhibit GB 27.

Now these are the actions of this defendant in the Polish
matter. I am glad to inform the Tribunal that with regard to
the other countries they are very much shorter than with
regard to Poland.

I now come to Norway and Denmark. I remind the Tribunal of
the fact, if it cares to take cognisance thereof, that on
the 31st May, 1939, the defendant Ribbentrop, on behalf of
Germany, signed a non-aggression pact with Denmark, which
provided that "The German Reich and the Kingdom of Denmark
will under no circumstances go to war or employ force of any
other kind against one another." This is Exhibit GB 77,
Document TC-24. And just to fix the date, the Tribunal will
remember that on the 7th April, 1940, the German armed
forces invaded Denmark and at the same time they invaded
Norway.

With regard to Norway there are three documents which show
that this defendant was fully informed of the earlier
preparations for that act of aggression. The Tribunal will
remember that my friend, Major Elwyn Jones, did indicate,
with some particularity, the relations between Quisling and
the defendant Rosenberg. But Rosenberg in this case also
required the help of the defendant Ribbentrop and, if the
Tribunal would be good enough to turn  to Document 957-PS,
which I am putting in as Exhibit GB 139, they will see the
first of the documents which connect this defendant with the
earlier Quisling activities.

The first one, 957-PS, is a letter from defendant Rosenberg
to this defendant and it begins:

  "Dear Party Comrade von Ribbentrop:
  
  Party Comrade Scheidt has returned and has made a
  detailed report to Privy Councillor von Grundherr, who
  will address you on this subject. We agreed the other day
  that two to three hundred thousand Reichsmark

                                                   [Page 89]

  would be made immediately available for the said purpose.
  Now it turns out that Grundherr states that the second
  instalment can be made available only after eight days.
  But as it is necessary for Scheidt to go back
  immediately, I request you to make it possible that this
  second instalment be given to him at once. With a longer
  absence of Party Comrade Reichsamtsleiter Scheidt the
  connection with your representatives would also be broken
  up, which just now, under certain circumstances, could be
  very unfavourable.
  
  Therefore I trust that it is in everybody's interest, if
  P.M. Scheidt goes back immediately."

That was the 24th February.

Now the next document is a report from Rosenberg to Hitler,
and if the Tribunal will be good enough to turn to Page 4 -
this is on the Quisling activities - they will find that
that passage is sufficient to show how this defendant was
connected with it.

This is a report from Rosenberg to Hitler:

  "Apart from financial support which was forthcoming from
  the Reich in currency, Quisling had also been promised a
  shipment of material for immediate use in Norway, such as
  coal and sugar. Additional help was promised. These
  shipments were to be conducted under cover of a new trade
  company, to be established in Germany, or through
  especially selected existing firms, while Hagelin was to
  act as consignee in Norway. Hagelin had already conferred
  with the respective Minister of the Nygaardsvold
  Government, as, for instance, the Minister of Supply and
  Commerce, and had been assured permission for the import
  of coal. At the same time the coal transports were to
  serve, possibly, to supply the technical means necessary
  to launch Quisling's political action in Oslo with German
  help. It was Quisling's plan to send a number of
  selected, particularly reliable men to Germany for a
  brief military training course in a completely isolated
  camp. They were then to be detailed as area and language
  specialists to German Special Troops, who were to be
  taken to Oslo on the coal barges to accomplish a
  political action. Thus Quisling planned to get hold of
  his leading opponents in Norway, including the King, and
  to prevent all military resistance from the very
  beginning. Immediately following this political action
  and upon official request of Quisling to the Government
  of the German Reich, the military occupation of Norway
  was to take place. All military preparations were to be
  completed previously. Though this plan contained the
  great advantage of surprise, it also contained a great
  number of dangers which could possibly cause its failure.
  For this reason it received quite dilatory treatment,
  while at the same time it was not disapproved as far as
  the Norwegians were concerned.
  
  In February, after a conference with General Field
  Marshal Goering, Reichsleiter Rosenberg informed the
  Secretary in the Office of the Four Year Plan, Wohltat,
  only of the intention to prepare coal shipments to Norway
  to the named confidant Hagelin. Further details were
  discussed in a conference between Secretary Wohltat,
  Staff Director Schickedanz and Hagelin. Since Wohltat
  received no further instructions from the General Field
  Marshal, Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop - after a
  consultation with Reichsleiter Rosenberg - consented to
  expedite these shipments through his office. Based on a
  report of Reichsleiter Rosenberg to the Fuehrer it was
  also arranged to pay Quisling ten thousand English pounds
  per month for three months, commencing on the 15th March,
  to support his work."

This was paid through Scheidt, the man who was mentioned
before.


                                                   [Page 90]

Now the other document, D-629, is a letter from defendant
Keitel to Ribbentrop, dated the 3rd April, 1940. I need
trouble the Tribunal only with the first paragraph. Keitel
says:

  "Dear Herr von Ribbentrop:
  
  The military occupation of Denmark and Norway has been,
  by command of the Fuehrer, long in preparation by the
  High Command of the Wehrmacht. The High Command of the
  Wehrmacht has therefore had ample time to occupy itself
  with all the questions connected with the carrying out of
  this operation. The time at your disposal for the
  political preparation of this operation is, on the
  contrary, very much shorter. I believe myself, therefore,
  to be acting in accordance with your ideas in
  transmitting to you herewith, not only these wishes of
  the Wehrmacht which would have to be fulfilled by the
  Governments in Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm for purely
  military reasons, but also a series of requests which
  certainly concern the Wehrmacht only indirectly but which
  are, however, of the greatest importance for the
  fulfilment of its task."

Then he proceeds to ask the Foreign Office to get in touch
with certain commanders. The important point for which I
read it to the Tribunal, as far as I know for the first
time, is that there we have the defendant Keitel saying
quite clearly that the military occupation of Denmark and
Norway has been long in preparation. And it is interesting
when one looks back to the official life of Ribbentrop,
which is contained in the archives and is Document D-472. I
am quoting a sentence only because of the interesting
contrast.

  "With the occupation of Denmark and Norway on the 9th
  April, 1940, only a few hours before the landing of
  British troops in these territories, the battle began
  against the Western Powers."

Then it goes on to Holland and Belgium.

It is quite clear that, whoever else had knowledge or
whoever else was ignorant, this defendant Ribbentrop had
been up to his neck in the Quisling plottings, and it is
made clear to him, a good week before the invasion started,
that the Wehrmacht and the defendant Keitel had long been
preparing this particular act of aggression.

I think, my Lord, that is really all the evidence on the
aggression against Norway because, again, the story was put
forward fully by my friend, Major Elwyn Jones.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours on the 9th January, 1946.)


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.