The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/05

We submit we need not do more than draw attention to the
personalities of the defendant von Papen and Hitler and to
the fact that President von Hindenburg died in 1934. This
defendant continued as Foreign Minister until 1938.

He then says that he was an inactive Minister from the 4
February 1938 until May 1945.

                                                  [Page 110]

At that point attention is drawn to the activities which
will be mentioned below and to the terrible evidence as to
Bohemia and Moravia which will be forthcoming from our
friend the Soviet prosecutor.

This defendant's next point is that the Secret Cabinet
Council never sat nor conferred.

I point out to the Tribunal that that was described as a
select committee of the Cabinet for the deliberation of
foreign affairs, and the Tribunal will find that description
in Document 1774-PS, which I now put in as Exhibit GB; 246.
This is an extract from a book by a well-known author, and
on Page 2 of the document book the first page of that
document, in about the seventh line from the bottom of the
page, they will see that among the bureaus subordinated to
the Fuehrer for direct counsel and assistance, number four
is the Secret Cabinet Council; President: Reich Minister
Baron von Neurath.

And if the Tribunal will be kind enough to turn over to Page
3, about ten lines from the top, they will see the paragraph

   "A Secret Cabinet Council to advise the Fuehrer in the
   basic problems of foreign policy has been created by the
   decree of 4 February 1938," and a reference is given.
   "This Secret Cabinet Council is under the direction of
   Reich Minister von Neurath, and includes the Foreign
   Minister, the Air Minister, the Deputy Commander to the
   Fuehrer, the Propaganda Minister, the Chief of the Reich
   Chancellery, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army and
   Navy and the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed
   Forces. The Secret Cabinet Council constitutes a select
   staff of collaborators of the Fuehrer which consists
   exclusively of members of the Government of the Reich;
   thus, it represents a select committee of the Reich
   Government for the deliberation on foreign affairs."

In order to have the formal composition of the body, that is
shown in document 2031-PS, which is Exhibit GB 217. I
believe it has been put in. I need not read it again.

The next point that the defendant makes as to his offices is
that he was not a member of the Reich Defence Council.

If I may very shortly take that point by stages, I remind
the Tribunal that the Reich Defence Council was set up soon
after Hitler's accession to power on 4 April 1933, and the
Tribunal will find a note of that point in Document 2261-PS,
Exhibit USA 24, and they will find that on the. top of Page
12 of the document book there is a reference to the date of
the establishment of the Reich Defence Council.

The Reich Defence Council is also dealt with in Document
2986-PS, Exhibit USA 409, which is the affidavit of the
defendant Frick, which the Tribunal will find on Page 14. In
the middle of that short affidavit, defendant Frick says:

   "We were also members of the Reich Defence Council,
   which was supposed to plan preparations in case of war,
   which later on were published by the Ministerial Council
   for the Defence of the Reich."

Now, that the membership of this Council included the
Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was then the defendant von
Neurath, is shown by Document EC-177, Exhibit USA 390. If
the Tribunal will turn to Page 16 of the document book, they
will find that document, and at the foot of the page, the
composition of the Reich Defence Council, the permanent
members including the Minister for Foreign Affairs. That
document is dated "Berlin, 22 May 1933," which was during
this defendant's tenure of that office. That is the first

The functioning of this Council, with a representative of
this defendant's department, von Bulow, present, is shown by
the minutes of the 12th meeting on 14 May 1936. That is
Document EC-407, which I put in as Exhibit GB 247. The
Tribunal will find at Page 21 that the minutes are for 14
May 1936,

                                                  [Page 111]

and the actual reference to an intervention of von Bulow is
in the middle of Page 22.

Then, the next period was after the Secret Law of 4
September 1938. This defendant was, under the terms of that
law, a member of the Reich Defence Council by virtue of his
office as President of the Secret Cabinet Council. That is
shown by the Document 2194-PS, Exhibit USA 36, which the
Tribunal will find at Page 24. You will see that the actual
copy which is put in evidence was enclosed in a letter
addressed to the Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia on 6
September 1939. It is rather curious that the Reich
Protector for Bohemia and Moravia is now denying his
membership in the Council, when the letter enclosing the law
is addressed to him.

But if the Tribunal will be good enough to turn on to Page
28, which is still that document, the last words on that
page describe the tasks of that Council and say, "The task
of the Reich Defence Council consists, during peacetime, in
deciding all measures for the preparation of Reich defence,
and the gathering together of all forces and means of the
nation according to the directions of the Leaders and Reich
Chancellor. The tasks of the Council in wartime will be
especially determined by the Leader and Reich Chancellor."

If the Tribunal will turn to the next page, they will see
that the permanent members of the Council are listed, and
that the seventh one is the President of the Secret Cabinet
Council, who was, again, this defendant.

I submit that this deals, for every relevant period, with
this defendant's statement that he was not a member of the
Reich Defence Council.

The second broad point that the prosecution makes against
this defendant is that, in assuming the position of Minister
of Foreign Affairs in Hitler's Cabinet, this defendant
assumed charge of a foreign policy committed to breach of

We say first that the Nazi Party had repeatedly and for many
years made known its intention to overthrow Germany's
international commitments, even at the risk of war. We refer
to Sections 1 and 2 of the Party Programme, which, as the
Tribunal has heard, was published year after year. That is
on Page 32 of the document book. It is Document 1708-PS,
Exhibit USA 255.

I just remind the Tribunal of these points 1 and 2:

   " 1. We demand the unification of all Germans in Greater
   Germany on the basis of the right of self-determination
   of peoples.
   2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in
   respect to other nations; abrogation of the peace
   treaties of Versailles and St. Germain."

But probably clearer than that is the statement contained in
Hitler's speech at Munich on 15 March, 1939; and the
Tribunal will find one of the references to that on Page 40,
at the middle of the page. It begins:

  "My foreign policy had identical aims. My programme was
  to abolish the Treaty of Versailles. It is futile
  nonsense for the rest of the world to pretend today that
  I did not reveal this programme until 1933 or 1935 or
  1937. Instead of listening to the foolish chatter of
  emigrees, these gentlemen would have been wiser to read
  what I have written thousands of times."

It is futile nonsense for foreigners to raise that point. It
would be still more futile for Hitler's Foreign Minister to
suggest that he was ignorant of the aggressive designs of
the policy. But I remind the Tribunal that the acceptance of
force, as a means of solving international problems and
achieving the objective's of Hitler's foreign policy, must
have been known to anyone as closely in touch with Hitler as
the defendant von Neurath; and I remind the Tribunal, simply
by reference to the passages from "Mein Kampf," which were

                                                  [Page 112]

by my friend Major Elwyn Jones, especially those toward the
end of the book, Pages 552, 553, and 554.

So the prosecution say that, by the acceptance of this
foreign policy, the defendant von Neurath assisted and
promoted the accession to power of the Nazi Party.

The third broad point is that in his capacity as Minister of
Foreign Affairs this defendant directed the international
aspects of the first phase of the Nazi conspiracy, the
consolidation of control in preparation for war.

As I have already indicated, from his close connection with
Hitler this defendant must have known the cardinal points of
Hitler's policy leading up to the outbreak of the World War,
as outlined in retrospect by Hitler in his speech to his
military leaders on 23 November, 1939.

This policy had two facets: internally, the establishment of
rigid control externally, the programme to release Germany
from its international ties.

The external programme had four points:

  1. Secession from the Disarmament Conference;
  2. The order to re-arm Germany;
  3. The introduction of compulsory military services; and
  4. The remilitarisation of the Rhineland.

If the Tribunal will look at Page 35 - in the document book,
at the end of the first paragraph they will find these
points very briefly set out, and perhaps I might just read
that passage. It is Document 789-PS, Exhibit USA 23-about
ten lines before the break

  "I had to reorganise everything, first the masses of the
  people and then the Armed Forces. First, reorganisation
  of the interior, abolishment of appearance of decay and
  defeatist ideas, education to heroism. While reorganising
  the interior I undertook the second task, to release
  Germany from its international ties. Two particular
  characteristics are to be pointed out: secession from the
  League of Nations and denunciation of the Disarmament
  Conference. It was a hard decision. The number of
  prophets who predicted that it would lead to the
  occupation of the Rhineland was large; the number of
  believers was very small. I was supported by the nation,
  which stood firmly behind me, when I carried out my
  intentions. After that, the order for rearmament. Here
  again there were numerous prophets who predicted
  misfortunes, and only a few believers. In 1935 the
  introduction of compulsory armed service. After that,
  militarisation of the Rhineland-again a process believed
  to be impossible at that time. The number of people who
  placed trust in me was very small. Then the beginning of
  the fortification of the whole country, especially in the

Now, these are summarised in four points. The defendant von
Neurath participated directly and personally in
accomplishing each of these four aspects of Hitler's foreign
policy, at the same time officially proclaiming that these
measures did not constitute steps toward aggression.

The first is a matter of history. When Germany left the
Disarmament Conference this defendant sent telegrams dated
14 October, 1933, to the President of the conference - and
that will be found in 'Dokumente der Deutschen Politik,' on
page 94 of the first volume for that year. Similarly this
defendant made the announcement of Germany's withdrawal from
the League of Nations on 21 October, 1933. That again will
be found in the official documents. (Part 1, pp. 183-203)
and I remind the Tribunal of the complementary documents of
military preparation, which of course were read and which
are Documents C-140, Exhibit USA 51, 25 October 1933, and C-
153, Exhibit USA 43, 12 May, 1934. These have already been
read, and

                                                  [Page 113]

I merely collect them for the memory and assistance of the

The second point the rearmament of Germany: When this
defendant was Foreign Minister, on 10 March, 1935, the
German Government officially announced the establishment of
the German Air Force. That is Document TC-44 Exhibit GB 11,
already referred to. On 21 May, 1935, Hitler announced a
purported unilateral repudiation of the Naval, Military and
Air Clauses of the Treaty of Versailles which, of course,
involved a similar purported unilateral repudiation of the
same clauses of the Treaty for the Restoration of Friendly
Relations with the United States, and that will be found in
Document 2288-PS, Exhibit USA 38, which again has already
been read. On the same day the Reich Cabinet, of which this
defendant was a member, enacted the secret "Reich Defence
Law " creating the office of Plenipotentiary General for War
Economy, afterwards described by the Wehrmacht armament
expert as "the cornerstone of German rearmament." The
reference to the law is Document 2261-PS, Exhibit USA 24, a
letter of von Blomberg dated 24 June 1935, enclosing this
law, which is already before the Tribunal; and the reference
to the comment on the importance of the law is Document 2353-
PS, Exhibit USA 35. Some of that has already been read, but
if the Tribunal will be good enough to turn to Page 52 where
that appears, they will find an extract, and I might just
give the Tribunal the last sentence:
   "The last orders were decreed in the Reich Defence Law
   of 21 May, 1935, supposed to be published only in case
   of war, and already declared valid for carrying out war
   preparations. As this law fixed the duties of the Armed
   Forces and the other Reich authorities in case of war,
   it was also the fundamental ruling for the development
   and activity of the war economy organisation."

The third point is the introduction of compulsory military
service. On 16 March, 1935, this defendant signed the law
for the organisation of the armed forces, which provided for
universal military service and anticipated a vastly expanded
German army. This was described by the defendant Keitel as
the real start of the large-scale rearmament programme which
followed. I will give the official reference in the
Reichsgesetzblatt, year 1935, volume 1, Part 1, p. 369;
(Part 1, pp. 187, 205).

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