The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/13

BY GENERAL RUDENKO:

Q. If I understand you, defendant Goering, you said that all
the basic decisions concerning foreign, political and
military matters were taken by Hitler alone? Do I understand
you rightly?

A. Yes, certainly. After all, he was the Fuehrer.

Q. Am I to understand that Hitler took these decisions
without listening to the opinions of the experts who studied
the questions, and the Intelligence reports on those
matters?

A. It depended upon the circumstances. In certain cases he,
would ask for data to be submitted to him, without the
experts knowing the exact reason. In other cases, he would
explain to his advisers what he intended to do, and get from
them the data and consult them.

Q. In that case, do I understand you correctly when you say
that when making important decisions, Hitler used the
analysis and published material given to him by his close
assistants, who advised him accordingly as specialists. Is
that correct?

A. Given to him partly by his assistants, partly, as in the
case of communication of Intelligence, by other assistants
in the departments concerned.

Q. Will you tell me, then, who were these close assistants
and associates of Hitler as far as the Air Force was
concerned?

A. I was, of course.

Q. And on the questions of economics?

A. In economic matters, it was I.

Q. And on political matters?

A. It depended on what question came up for discussion and
on whether the Fuehrer had consulted anybody or asked his
opinion.

Q. Can you tell me who were these close assistants and
associates?

A. The closest associate of the Fuehrer, as I said before,
was I, myself. Another close associate - perhaps it is the
wrong word - with whom he perhaps spoke more than with
others, was Dr. Goebbels. Then, of course, you must consider
the different times. It varied during the 20 years. Towards
the end, it was Bormann first and foremost. During the years
1933 and 1934, until shortly before the end, it was Himmler
also, when certain questions were dealt with, and if the
Fuehrer was dealing with certain other specific questions,
then he would, of course, as it is the custom in every
Government, consult the person who knew most about the
question, and obtain the information from him.

Q. Can you also name which close assistants were associated
with him in the field of foreign politics?

                                                  [Page 316]

A. As far as foreign policy was concerned, Hitler only
consulted his associates on the, so to speak, purely
technical side. He made the most important and far-reaching
political decisions himself, and he then announced them to
his assistants and close associates as ready-made
conceptions. Only very few people were allowed to discuss
them, myself, for instance, and the technical execution of
his decisions in the field of foreign policy, when it came
to framing the diplomatic notes, was done by the Foreign
Office and its Minister.

Q. The defendant Ribbentrop?

A. Yes, naturally, he was the Foreign Minister concerned,
but he did not make foreign policy.

Q. Then, on questions of strategy, who advised Hitler?

A. There were several people. On purely departmental matters
of strategic importance it was the three Commanders-in-Chief
and their Chiefs of General Staff, and, to some extent, the
Supreme General Staff which was immediately attached to the
Fuehrer.

Q. Which of the defendants can be placed in the category of
such consultants?

A. If he was asked by the Fuehrer, then the adviser on
strategic matters was the Chief of the Supreme General
Staff, Colonel-General Jodl, and as far as military
administrative questions were concerned, the Commanders-in-
Chief, that is myself, Raeder and later Donitz for the Navy.
The other representatives of the Army did not take part.

Q. The next question. If we approach the subject not
theoretically but functionally, could we conclude that any
recommendations which Hitler's leading associates might make
would have had any considerable influence on Hitler's final
decisions?

A. If I disregard the purely formal point of view - and
presumably you are referring to the military sphere - then
the position was ...

Q. No, I mean all spheres. All aspects of questions, such as
economic questions, home policy, foreign policy, military
and strategic questions. I mean, if we approach the subject
not theoretically, but functionally, did their
recommendations have any considerable influence on Hitler's
final decisions? That is what I mean.

A. To a certain extent, yes. Their rejection depended on
whether or not they appeared right to the Fuehrer.

Q. You said to a certain extent, did you not?

A. Yes, of course; if a reasonable proposal was made, and he
considered it to be reasonable, then he certainly made use
of it.

Q. I should like to stress that all these consultants must
have been closely associated with Hitler. Therefore, they
bad a certain influence on Hitler's final decisions. They
did not stand quite aloof, did they?

A. They did not stand aloof. Their influence was only
effective in so far as their convictions concurred with
those of the Fuehrer.

Q. In 1940?

A. In 1940. But I would add that we had already considered
making preparations, not only in anticipation of a possible
threat from Russia, but from all those countries which were
not already involved in the war, but which might eventually
be drawn in.

Q. All right. It was in November, 1940, when Germany was
preparing to attack Russia? Plans were already being
prepared for this attack with your participation?

A. The other day I explained. exactly that at the time a
plan for dealing with the political situation and the
potential threat from Russia had been worked out.

Q. I ask you to reply to this question briefly, yes or no. I
think it is possible to reply to the question briefly.

                                                  [Page 317]

Once more I say, in November, 1940, more than half a year
before the attack on the Soviet Union, plans were already
prepared, with your participation, for the attack on the
Soviet Union. Can you reply to this briefly?

A. Yes, but not in the sense in which you are presenting it.

Q. It seems to me that I have put the question quite
clearly, and there is no ambiguity at all here. How much
time did it take to prepare the "Plan Barbarossa"?

A. In which sector, air, land or sea?

Q. If you are acquainted with all phases of the plan, then I
would like you to answer for all phases of the "Plan
Barbarossa."

A. Generally speaking, I can only answer for the air, where
it took a comparatively short time.

Q. If you please, just how long did it take to prepare the
"Plan Barbarossa"?

A. After so many years I cannot give you the exact time
without referring to the documents, but I answered your
question when I told you that as far as the Air Force was
concerned it took a comparatively short time. As for the
Army, it probably took longer.

Q. Thus, you admit that the attack on the Soviet Union was
planned several months in advance of the attack itself, and
that you, as Chief of the German Air Force and
Reichsmarschall, participated directly in the preparation of
the attack.

A. May I divide your numerous questions? Firstly -

Q. There were not too many questions asked at once. Excuse
me, please. You have admitted that in November, 1940, the
"Plan Barbarossa" was prepared and developed.

A. That is correct.

Q. Following that, I asked you, since you admit that,
whether you, as Chief of the German Air Force and
Reichsmarschall, participated in plans for the attack months
ahead of their execution. I asked you to reply to the last
part of the question. You admit that as Chief of the German
Air Force and Reichsmarschall you participated directly in
preparations for the attack on the Soviet Union? Do you
admit that?

A. I once more repeat that I prepared for the possibility of
an attack, mainly because of Hitler's assumption that Soviet
Russia was adopting a dangerous attitude. In the beginning
the certainty of an attack was not discussed, and that is
stated clearly in the directive of November, 1940.

Secondly, I want to emphasise that my position as
Reichsmarschall is of no importance here. That is a title
and a rank.

Q. But you do not deny - rather, you agree - that the plan
was already prepared in November, 1940?

A. Yes.

Q. It appears to me that the question has already been
covered in such detail before the Tribunal that we need not
talk too much about the "Plan Barbarossa," which is quite
clear. I shall go on to the next question:

Do you admit that the objectives of the war against the
Soviet Union consisted of invading and seizing Soviet
territory up to the Ural Mountains and joining it to the
German Reich, including the Crimea, the Caucasus; also the
subjugation by Germany of the Ukraine of Byelorussia, and of
other regions of the Soviet Union? Do you admit that such
were the objectives of that plan?

A. That I certainly do not admit.

Q. You do not admit that. Do you not remember that during
the conference at Hitler's headquarters on 16th June, 1941,
at which you were present, as well as Bormann, Keitel,
Rosenberg and others, Hitler stated the objectives of the
attack against the Soviet Union exactly as I have stated
them? This was shown by the document submitted to the
Tribunal. Have you forgotten that document? Have you
forgotten about that?

                                                  [Page 318]

A. I can remember the document exactly, and I have a fair
recollection of the discussion at the conference. I said in
the first place that this document, as recorded by Bormann,
appears to me extremely exaggerated as far as the demands
are concerned. At any rate, at the beginning of the war,
such demands were not discussed, nor had they been discussed
previously.

Q. But you do admit that there are minutes of such a
conference?

A. I admit it because I have seen them. It was a document
prepared by Bormann.

Q. You also admit that according to the minutes of this
meeting you participated in that conference.

A. I was present at that conference, and for that reason I
question the record.

Q. Do you remember that in those minutes the war aims were
formulated? I shall remind you of various parts of the
minutes. It is not necessary to read them in full.

A. May I ask to be shown a copy of that record?

Q. You would like a copy of the minutes of the meeting?

A. I ask to have it.

Q. If you please. Would you like to read the document?

A. No, only where you are going to quote it.

Q. Page 2, second paragraph, point 2, about the Crimea: "We
emphasise" - can you find
the place? Have you got it?

A. Just a moment. I have not found it yet. Yes, I have it.

Q. "We emphasise," states this point 2, "that we are
bringing freedom to the Crimea. The Crimea must be freed of
all foreigners and populated by the Germans. Also, Austrian
Galicia must become a province of the German Reich."

Have you found the place?

A. Yes.

Q. "A province of the Reich," it says.

A. Yes.

Q. I want to draw your attention to the end of the minutes.
It says here.

  "The Fuehrer stresses the fact that the whole of the
  Baltic States must become Reich territory."

Have you found the place, "The Fuehrer stresses the fact"?

A. You mean the very last bit?

Q. That is right.

A. "Finally, it is ordered ..."?

Q. A little higher up.

A. "The Fuehrer stresses . . ."?

Q. That is right.

  "The Fuehrer stresses the fact that the Baltic countries
  as well must become Reich territory."

Then, it goes on:

  "Reich territory must also include the Crimea, with its
  adjoining regions. These adjoining regions must be as big
  as possible. The Fuehrer says that about the Ukrainians,
  but that has no connection."

Go on further; omit one paragraph:
  
  "The Fuehrer stresses that the Volga region also must
  become Reich territory, as well as the Baku Province,
  which must become a military colony of the Reich. Eastern
  Karelia must also be included.
  
  In view of the large supplies of nickel required, regions
  where this is found must also be included. Great caution
  must be exercised in the incorporation of Finland and the
  absorption of the Leningrad region into
  
                                                  [Page 319]
  
  the Reich. The Fuehrer would like to see Leningrad
  disappear from the map altogether."

Have you not found the place where it mentions Leningrad and
Finland?

A. Yes.

Q. These are the minutes of the conference at which you were
present on 16th July, 1941, three weeks after Germany
attacked the Soviet Union. You do not deny that such minutes
exist, do you? It is Document 221.

A. You said three days, did you not?

Q. Three weeks, not three days.

A. Oh, three weeks, I see.

Q. Three weeks after Germany attacked the Soviet Union on
22nd June, and the conference took place at Hitler's
headquarters on 16th July, at 15.00 hours, I think.

A. That is quite right. I have said so all along, but the
record of this is not correct.

Q. Who took the minutes of the meeting?

A. Bormann.

Q. What was the point of Bormann's taking the minutes
incorrectly?

A. In this record Bormann has exaggerated. The Volga
territory was not discussed. As far as the Crimea is
concerned, it is correct that the Fuehrer . . . .


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