The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/10/19

That report shows that under Schacht's guidance 180,000
industrial plants had been surveyed as to usefulness for war
purposes. Economic plans for the production of 200 basic
materials had been worked out. A system for the letting of
war contracts had been revised, allocations of coal, motor
fuel and power had been determined, RM. 248,000,000 had been
spent on storage facilities alone, evacuation plans for
skilled workers and war materials and military zones had
been worked out; 80,000,000 war-time ration cards had
already been printed and distributed to local areas and a
card index on the skill of some 20,000,000 workers had been
prepared.

The most detailed and thorough preparations which that
report sets out were not made without the knowledge of every
member of the Government, and no more graphic illustration
of the common purpose and awareness of the aim which
permeated all departments of the State is to be found than
the second meeting of the Reich Defence Council itself, held
on 25th June, 1939, under the presidency of the defendant
Goering, the head of the Four-Year Plan. The defendants
Frick, Funk, Keitel and Raeder were present and Hess and
Ribbentrop were represented. The methodical detail in the
plans which were being worked out; the preparations in
respect of manpower, involving the use of concentration camp
workers and the unfortunate slaves of the Protectorate, are
eloquent testimonies to the size of the struggle upon which
these men knew that Germany was about to embark.

The major share in rearmament must be attributed to the
defendants Goering, Schacht, Raeder, Keitel and Jodl, but
the others, too, each in his sphere, played their parts:
Rosenberg, Schirach and Streicher in education, Donitz in
the preparation of the U-boat fleet, Neurath and Ribbentrop
in the field of foreign affairs.

Funk and Fritzsche were reorganizing propaganda and news
systems until the former succeeded Schacht and became
Minister of Economics and in September, 1938, General
Plenipotentiary for Economics. As Plenipotentiary Funk was
charged with ensuring the economic conditions for the
production of the armament industry, according to the
requirements of the High Command. Frick as Plenipotentiary
for the Reich administration, with Funk and Keitel, formed
the three-man college planning the necessary steps and
decrees in case of war.

It is unnecessary, in assessing this work of rearmament, to
do more by way of summary than to quote the words of Hitler
himself in the memorandum which Jodl described as written
during two nights of work by the Fuehrer personally and
which he sent to the defendants Raeder, Goering, and Keitel.
In that memorandum of 9th October, 1939, Hitler finally
disposes of the evidence of these, defendants that Germany
was never adequately prepared for war.

  "The military application of our people's strength has
  been carried through to such an extent that, within a
  short time at any rate, it cannot be markedly improved
  upon by any manner of effort."

And again:

  "The warlike equipment of the German people is at present
  larger in quantity and better in quality, for a great
  number of German divisions, than in the year 1914. The
  weapons themselves, taking a substantial cross-section,
  are more modern than is the case with any other country
  in the world at this time. They have just proved their
  supreme war-worthiness in a victorious campaign. In the
  case of the armaments of other countries this has yet to
  be demonstrated. In some arms Germany today possesses
  clear indisputable superiority of weapons."

                                                  [Page 419]

And then, speaking of the ammunition available after the
conclusion of the Polish campaign:

  "There is no evidence available to show that any country
  in the world disposes of a better total ammunition stock
  than the German Reich . The Air Force at present is
  numerically the strongest in the world .... The AA
  artillery is not equalled by any country in the world."

That, then, was the practical result of six years of
intensive rearmament carried out at the expense and with the
knowledge of the whole of the German people.

Meanwhile the youth of Germany was educated and drilled in
semi-military formations for war and then, on reaching the
age for conscription, was called up for more intensive
training. This was going on throughout the Reich, together
with the enormous work of economic preparation. Is it to be
believed that any one of these men did not guess - did not,
indeed, know - the purpose of this terrific effort?

If, indeed, any of them was in doubt, the successful actions
in which, to use the words of one of Neurath's witnesses,
"the Nazis were able to reap cheap laurels without war
through the successfully practised tactics of bluff and
sudden surprise," must have opened their eyes.

The first step was the Rhineland, and the technique became
the model for each subsequent move. On 21st May, 1935,
Hitler gave a solemn assurance that the stipulations of
Versailles and Locarno were being observed. Yet three weeks
earlier, on the very day of the conclusion of the Franco-
Soviet pact, later to become the official excuse for the
reoccupation of the Rhineland and the defence for it before
this Tribunal, the first directive had been issued to the
Service Chiefs. The defendant Jodl, having perhaps noted the
significance of the date, has sought to persuade the
Tribunal that his first admission, that "Operation Schulung"
referred to the reoccupation of the Rhineland, was wrong,
and that it applied to some military excursion in the Tyrol.
Yet on 26th June he himself was addressing the Working
Committee of the Reich Defence Council on the plans for
reoccupation and revealing that weapons, equipment, insignia
and field grey uniforms were being stored in the zone under
conditions of the greatest secrecy. Can anyone who reads his
words doubt that this process had been going on at least for
seven weeks?

Any representative of the innumerable departments who
attended that meeting and heard Jodl's remarks on 26th June,
1935, or who subsequently read the minutes, knew what to
expect. On 2nd March the final orders were given and passed
to the Navy four days later. The defendants Keitel, Jodl,
Raeder, Frick, Schacht and Goering were all involved in the
necessary executive action and, when his U-boats complied
with the instruction of the 6th March, the defendant Donitz
as well.

From the beginning, at every stage you see the common plan
worked out - and worked out as it could only be if each of
those men played his allotted part. First the period of
apparent quiet, during which treaties are concluded,
assurances given and protestations of friendship made, while
beneath the surface the Auslandsorfamt under Hess and
Rosenberg begins to undermine and disrupt. The victim is
deceived by open promises and weakened by underhand methods.
Next, the decision to attack is taken and military
preparations are hastened. If the victim shows signs of
suspicion, the assurances of friendship are redoubled.

Meanwhile, the finishing touches are put to the work
accomplished by the Fifth Column. Then, when all is
prepared, what Hitler called "the propagandist cause for
starting the war" is chosen, frontier incidents are faked,
abuse and threats take the place of fair words, and
everything is done to terrify the victim into submission.
Finally, the blow is struck without warning.

The plan varies in detail from case to case, but,
essentially, it is the same, the perfect example repeated
again and again, of treachery, intimidation and murder.

                                                  [Page 420]

The next step was Austria. First, the Nazis arranged the
murder of Dollfuss in 1934. After the evidence in the case
of the defendant Neurath, there can be little doubt as to
his assassination being plotted in Berlin and arranged by
Habicht and Hitler some six weeks before. The failure of
that putsch made it necessary to temporise, and accordingly
in May, 1935, Hitler gave a complete assurance to Austria.
At the same time the defendant Papen was sent to undermine
the Austrian Government. With the occupation of the
Rhineland, Austria was next on the programme but Hitler was
still not yet ready, hence the solemn agreement of July,
1936. By the autumn of 1937 Papen's reports showed progress
and accordingly the plot was divulged at the Hoszbach
meeting. A slight delay was necessary for the removal of the
refractory Army leaders, but in February, 1938, Papen having
completed his plotting with Seyss-Inquart, Schuschnigg was
lured to Berchtesgaden and bullied by Hitler, Ribbentrop and
Keitel. Shortly afterwards the final scene took place,
Goring playing his part in Berlin. The defendants Goering,
Hess, Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Frick, Schacht, Papen and
Neurath were all aware of this Austrian plot, Neurath and
Papen from the very beginning of it.

With the exception of Goering, each one of them has
attempted to put forward a defence of ignorance which cannot
be regarded as other than ludicrous in the light of the
documents. Not one of them has suggested that he protested,
each one of them remained in office thereafter.

Already the plan for Czechoslovakia was ready; it had been
discussed at the Hoszbach meeting in November, 1937; within
three weeks of the Munich Agreement the directive to prepare
the march-in had been given and on the 15th March, 1939,
President Hacha having been duly bullied by Hitler,
Ribbentrop, Goering, and Keitel, Prague was occupied and the
Protectorate established by Frick and Neurath. You will
remember the astonishing admission of Goering, that although
he certainly threatened to bomb Prague he never really
intended to do it. Ribbentrop also seems to have considered
that in diplomacy any lie is permissible.

The stage was now set for Poland.

As Jodl explained:

  "The solution of the Czech conflict and the annexation of
  Czechoslovakia rounded off the territory of Greater
  Germany so that it was possible to consider the Polish
  problem on a basis of more or less favourable strategic
  premises."

And now the time had come when, to use Hitler's words:

  "Germany must reckon with its two hateful enemies,
  England and France."

And accordingly followed the policy laid down by Ribbentrop
in January, 1938, "the formation in great secrecy but with
wholehearted tenacity of a coalition against England ".

In the case of Poland, however, the German Foreign Office
had already advised Ribbentrop as long ago as a month before
Munich in the following terms:

  "It is unavoidable that the German departure from the
  problems of victories in the south-east and their
  transfer to the east and north-east must make the Poles
  sit up. The fact is that, after the liquidation of the
  Czech question, it will be generally assumed that Poland
  will be the next in turn. But the later this assumption
  sinks in in international politics as a firm factor the
  better.
  
  In this sense, however, it is important for the time
  being to carry on German policy under the well-known and
  proved slogans of, the right to autonomy and racial
  unity. Anything else might be interpreted as pure
  imperialism
  on our part, and create resistance to our plan by the
  Entente at an earlier date and more energetically than
  our forces could stand up to."

In this case, therefore, the usual assurances were
reiterated and again and again Hitler and Ribbentrop made
the most explicit statements. Meanwhile the usual steps were
taken, and following the meeting of 23rd May, 1939, which
Raeder

                                                  [Page 421]

described as an academic lecture on war, the final military
economic and political preparations for war against Poland
were taken, and in due time war was commenced; and you get
that cynical quotation that you have heard so often, and
which ought to be remembered for all time:

  "The victor shall not be asked later on whether we were
  telling the truth or not. In starting and making a war,
  not the right is what matters, but victory."

These were Hitler's words, but those men echoed and
implemented them at every stage. That was the doctrine
underlying Nazi policy. Step by step the conspirators had
reached the crucial stage and had launched Germany upon an
attempt to dominate Europe and involve the world in untold
horror. Not one of these men had turned against the regime.
Not one of them except Schacht - to whose vital contribution
to the creation of the Nazi monster I shall return later -
had resigned, and even he continued to lend his name to the
Nazi Government.

Would this be a convenient place to adjourn?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

SIR HARTLEY SHAWCROSS: If it please the Tribunal:

Holland having been overrun, the course of the war soon
showed that Germany's military aims and the interests of her
strategy would be improved by further aggression. I do not
propose to take time now by tracing again the various steps.
As Hitler said at the meeting in November, 1939:

  "... Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is
  meaningless. No one will question that when we have won
  we shall not bring about a breach of neutrality as in
  1914."

Norway and Denmark were invaded. No kind of excuse, then or
now, has been put forward for the occupation of Denmark, but
a strenuous attempt has been made in the course of this
trial to suggest that Norway was invaded only because the
Germans believed that the Allies were about to take a
similar step. Even if it were true, it would be no answer,
but the German documents completely dispose of the
suggestion that it was for such a reason that the Germans
violated Norwegian neutrality.

Hitler, Goering, and Raeder had agreed as early as November,
1934, and I quote:

  "No war could be carried on if the Navy was not able to
  safeguard the ore imports from Scandinavia."

Accordingly, as the European struggle drew near, a non-
aggression pact was made with Denmark on 31st May, 1939,
following the usual assurance to both Norway and Denmark
which had already been given a month earlier. At the
outbreak of the war a further assurance was made to Norway,
followed by another on 6th October. On 6th September, four
days after his assurance, Hitler was discussing with Raeder
the Scandinavian problem and his political intentions in
regard to the Nordic States, expressed in Admiral Assmann's
diary as "a north Germanic community with limited
sovereignty in close dependence on Germany".

On 9th October, three days after his most recent assurance,
in his memorandum for the information of Raeder, Goering,
and Keitel, Hitler was writing of the great danger of the
Allies blocking the exits for U-boats between Norway and the
Shetlands and of the consequent importance of "the creation
of U-boat strongpoints outside these constricted home
bases". Where outside the constricted home bases if not in
Norway?

It is significant that the very next day Donitz submitted a
report on the comparative advantages of the different
Norwegian bases, having discussed the matter with Raeder
some six days before. The strategic advantages were apparent
to all these men, and the hollowness of the defence that the
invasion of Norway was decided upon because it was believed
that the Allies were going to

                                                  [Page 422]

invade is completely exposed when you consider the statement
in Hitler's memorandum preceding the passage I have just
quoted, that:

  "Provided no completely unforeseen factors appear, their
  neutrality in the future is also to be assured. The
  continuation of German trade with these countries appears
  possible even in a war of long duration."

Hitler saw no threat from the Allies at that time.

Rosenberg and Goering's deputy, Koerner, had been in touch
with Quisling and Hagelin as early as June and it is clear
from Rosenberg's subsequent report that Hitler had been kept
fully informed. In December the time for planning had
arrived and the decision to prepare for invasion was
accordingly taken at a meeting between Hitler and Raeder. It
was not long before Keitel and Jodl issued the necessary
directives and in due course, as necessary, Goering, Donitz
and Ribbentrop were involved.

On 9th October, as I have already said, Hitler was confident
that there would be no danger to the Nordic States from the
Allies. All the alleged intelligence reports contain no
information which comes within miles of justifying an
anticipatory invasion based - you might think it is
laughable - on the doctrine of self-preservation. It is true
that in February, 1940, Raeder pointed out to him that if
England did occupy Norway the whole Swedish supply of ore to
Germany would be endangered, but on 26th March he advised
that the Russo-Finnish conflict having ceased, the danger of
an Allied landing was no longer considered serious. None the
less he went on to suggest that the German invasion, for
which all the directives had been issued, should take place
at the next new moon, on 7th April. It is interesting to
note that Raeder's own war diary signed by himself and his
Chief of Staff Operations records a similar' opinion four
days earlier. If further evidence were needed to show that
the actual step was taken regardless of any risk of
interference from the West, it is to be found in telegrams
from the German Ministers at both Oslo and Stockholm and
from the German Military Attache at Stockholm, advising the
German Government that, far from being worried over invasion
by the British, the Scandinavian Governments were
apprehensive that it was the Germans who intended to invade.


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