The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Launching of Wars of Aggression
(Part 2 of 14)

A. 1933 to 1936

The period of 1933 to 1936 was characterized by an orderly, planned sequence of preparation for war. The essential objective of this period was the formulation and execution of the plan to re-arm and re-occupy and fortify the Rhineland, in violation of the treaty of Versailles and other treaties, in order to acquire military strength and political bargaining powers to be used against other nations.

A secret speech of Hitler's delivered to all supreme commanders on 23 November 1939, at 1200 hours, is sufficient to characterize this phase of the Nazi conspiracy (789-PS). The report of the speech was found in the OKW files captured at Flensberg. Hitler spoke as follows:

"23 November 1939, 1200 hours. Conference with the Fuehrer, to which all Supreme Commanders are ordered. The Fuehrer gives the following speech:

"The purpose of this conference is to give you an idea of the world of my thoughts, which takes charge of me, in the face of future events, and to tell you my decisions. The building up of our armed forces was only possible in con-

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nection with the ideological [weltanschaulich] education of the German people by the Party.

"When I started my political task in 1919, my strong belief in final success was based on a thorough observation of the events of the day and the study of the reasons for their occurrence. Therefore, I never lost my belief in the midst of setbacks which were not spared me during my period of struggle. Providence has had the last word and brought me success. On top of that, I had a clear recognition of the probable course of historical events, and the firm will to make brutal decisions. The first decision was in 1919 when I after long internal conflict became a politician and took up the struggle against my enemies. That was the hardest of all decisions.

I had, however, the firm belief that I would arrive at my goal. First of all, I desired a new system of selection. I wanted to educate a minority which would take over the leadership. After 16 years I arrived at my goal, after strenuous struggles and many setbacks. When I came to power in 1933, a period of the most difficult struggle lay behind me. Everything existing before that had collapsed. I had to reorganize everything beginning with the mass of the people and extending it to the armed forces.

First reorganization of the interior, abolishment of appearances of decay and defeatist ideas, education to heroism. While reorganizing 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 militarization of the Rhineland, again a process believed to be impossible at that time. The number of people who put trust in me was, very small. Then beginning of the fortification of the whole country especially in the west.

"One year later, Austria came. This step also was considered doubtful. It brought about a considerable reinforcement of the Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. This step also was not possible to accomplish in one

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campaign. First of all, the western fortification had to be finished. It was not possible to reach the goal in one effort. It was clear to me from the first moment that I could not be satisfied with the Sudeten-German territory. That was only partial solution. The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed the erection of the Protectorate, and with that basis for the action against Poland was laid, but I wasn't quite clear at that time whether I should start first against the east and then in the west, or vice-versa". (789-PS)

There are some curious antitheses of thought in that speech, as in most of Adolf Hitler's speeches. In one sentence he combines guidance by providence with the making of "brutal decisions." He constantly speaks of how very few people were with him, and yet the mass of the German people were with him. But he does give a brief summary of this early period: the organization of the mass of the people, the extension of organization to the armed forces, and the various "brutal decisions" that were made.

A top secret letter dated 24 June 1935, from General von Blomberg to the Supreme Commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces demonstrates the preparations for war in which the Nazi conspirators were engaged during this period. Attached to that letter is a copy of a Secret Reich Defense law of 21 May 1935, and a copy of a decision of the Reichcabinet of 21 May 1935 on the Council for the Defense of the Reich (2261-PS). These documents were captured in the OKW files at Fechenheim. Von Blomberg's letter reads as follows:

"In the appendix I transmit one copy each of the law for the defense of the Reich of the 21 May 1935, and of a decision of the Reich Cabinet of 21 May 1935 concerning the Reich's Defense Council. The publication of the Reich's defense law is temporarily suspended by order of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

"The Fuehrer and the Reichschancellor has nominated the President of the directorate of the Reichsbank, Dr. Schacht to be 'Plenipotentiary-General for War economy'.

"I request that the copies of the Reich's defense law needed within the units of the armed forces be ordered before 1 July -1935 at armed forces office (L) where it is to be established with the request that the law should only be distributed down to Corps Headquarters outside of the Reichministry of war.

"I point out the necessity of strictest secrecy once more." (2261-PS)

Underneath von Blomberg's signature is an endorsement, "Berlin,

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3 September 1935; No. 1820/35 L Top Secret II a. To Defense- Economic Group G-3, copy transmitted (signed) Jodl." (2261- PS)

Attached to this letter is the statute referred to as the Reich's Defense Law of 21 May 1935, enacted by the Reichscabinet. The law covers in detail preparations for a state of defense, mobilization, and appointment of the Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy (Schacht) with plenipotentiary authority for the economic preparation of the war. Part III provides for penalties. The law is signed, "The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor, Adolf Hitler; the Reichsminister of War, von Blomberg; the Reichsminister of the Interior, Frick." At the bottom of it there is this note:

"Note on the law for the defense of the Reich of 21 May 1935.

"The publication of the law for the defense of the Reich of 21 May 1935 will be suspended. The law became effective 21 May 1935.

"The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor, Adolf Hitler." (2261-PS)

Thus, although the publication itself stated the law was made public, and although the law became effective immediately, publication was suspended by Adolf Hitler.

There was also further attached to von Blomberg's letter a copy of the decision of the Reichscabinet of 21 May 1935 on the Council for the Defense of the Realm. This decree deals largely with organization for economic preparation for the war. This law of May 1935 was the cornerstone of war preparations of the Nazi conspirators, and makes clear the relationship of Schacht to this preparation. (2261-PS)

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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