The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Launching of Wars of Aggression
(Part 3 of 14)

B. Formulation and Execution of Plans to Invade Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The next phase of aggression was the formulation and execution of plans to attack Austria and Czechoslovakia, in that order.

One of the most striking and revealing of all the captured documents which have come to hand is one which has come to be known as the Hossbach notes of a conference in the Reichs Chancellery on 5 November 1937 from 1615 to 2030 hours (386- PS). In the course of that meeting Hitler outlined to those present the possibilities and necessities of expanding their foreign policy, and requested, "That his statements be looked upon in the case of his death as his last will and testament." The recorder of the minutes of this meeting, Colonel Hossbach, was the Fuehrer's adjutant. Present at this conspiratorial meeting, among others, were Erich

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Raeder, Constantin von Neurath, and Hermann Wilhelm Goering. The minutes of this meeting reveal a crystallization toward the end of 1937 in the policy of the Nazi regime (386-PS). Austria and Czechoslovakia were to be acquired by force. They would provide "lebensraum" (living space) and improve Germany's military position for further operations. While it is true that actual events unfolded themselves in a somewhat different manner than that outlined at this meeting, in essence the purposes stated at the meeting were carried out. These notes, which destroy any possible doubt concerning the Nazi's premeditation of their crimes against peace, read as follows:

"Berlin, 10 November 1937. Notes on the conference in the Reichskanzlei on 5 November 1937 from 1615 to 2030 hours.

"Present: The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor;

"The Reichsminister for War, Generalfeldmarschall v. Blomberg;

"The C-in-C Army, Generaloberst Freiherr v. Fritsch; "The C-in-C Navy, Generaladmiral Dr. H.C. Raeder;

"The C-in-C Luftwaffe, Generaloberst Goering;

"The Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs, Freiherr v. Neurath;

"Oberst Hossbach [the adjutant who took the minutes].

"The Fuehrer stated initially that the subject matter of to day's conference was of such high importance, that its detailed discussion would certainly in other states take place before the Cabinet in full session. However, he, the Fuehrer, had decided not to discuss this matter in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet, because of its importance. His subsequent statements were the result of detailed deliberations and of the experiences of his four and a half years in government; he desired to explain to those present his fundamental ideas on the possibilities and necessities of expanding our foreign policy and in the interests of a far-sighted policy he requested that his statements be looked upon in the case of his death as his last will and testament.

"The Fuehrer then stated: The aim of German policy is the security and the preservation of the nation and its propagation. This is consequently a problem of space. The German nation comprises eighty-five million people, which, because of the number of individuals and the compactness of habitation, form a homogeneous European racial body, the like of which can not be found in any other country. On the other hand it justifies the demand for larger living space more than

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for any other nation. If there have been no political consequences to meet the demands of this racial body for living space then that is the result of historical development spread over several centuries and should this political condition continue to exist, it will represent the greatest danger to the preservation of the German nation at its present high level. An arrest of the deterioration of the German element in Austria and in Czechoslovakia is just as little possible as the preservation of the present state in Germany itself.

"Instead of growth, sterility will be introduced, and as a consequence, tensions of a social nature will appear after a number of years, because political and philosophical ideas are of a permanent nature only as long as they are able to produce the basis for the realization of the actual claim of existence of a nation. The German future is therefore dependent exclusively on the solution of the need for living space. Such a solution can be sought naturally only for a limited period, about one to three generations.

"Before touching upon the question of solving the need for living space, it must be decided whether a solution of the German position with a good future can be attained, either by way of an autarchy or by way of an increased share in universal commerce and industry.

"Autarchy: Execution will be possible only with strict National-Socialist State policy, which is the basis; assuming this can be achieved the results are as follows:

"A. In the sphere of raw materials, only limited, but not total autarchy can be attained:

"1. Wherever coal can be used for the extraction of raw materials autarchy is feasible.

"2. In the case of ores the position is much more difficult. Requirements in iron and light metals can be covered by ourselves. Copper and tin, however, can not.

"3. Cellular materials can be covered by ourselves as long as sufficient wood supplies exist. A permanent solution is not possible.

"4. Edible fats -- possible.

"B. In the case of foods, the question of an autarchy must be answered with a definite NO.

"The general increase of living standards, compared with thirty to forty years ago, brought about a simultaneous increase of the demand and an increase of personal consumption even among the producers, the farmers, themselves. The proceeds from the production increase in agriculture

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have been used for covering the increased demand, therefore they represent no absolute increase in production. A further increase in production by making greater demands on the soil is not possible because it already shows signs of deterioration due to the use of artificial fertilizers, and it is therefore certain that, even with the greatest possible increase in production, participation in the world market could not be avoided.

"The considerable expenditure of foreign currency to secure food by import, even in periods when harvests are good, increases catastrophically when the harvest is really poor. The possibility of this catastrophe increases correspondingly to the increase in population, and the annual 560,000 excess in births would bring about an increased consumption in bread, because the child is a greater bread eater than the adult.

"Permanently to counter the difficulties of food supplies by lowering the standard of living and by rationing is impossible in a continent which had developed &n approximately equivalent standard of living. As the solving of the unemployment problem has brought into effect the complete power of consumption, some small corrections in our agricultural home production will be possible, but not a wholesale alteration of the standard of food consumption. Consequently autarchy becomes impossible, specifically in the sphere of food supplies as well as generally.

"Participation in world economy. There are limits to this which we are unable to transgress. The market fluctuations would be an obstacle to a secure foundation of the German position; international commercial agreements do not offer any guarantee for practical execution. It must be considered on principle that since the World War (1914-18), as industrialization has taken place in countries which formerly exported food. We live in a period of economic empires, in which the tendency to colonies again approaches the condition which originally motivated colonization; in Japan and Italy economic motives are the basis of their will to expand, and economic need will also drive Germany to it. Countries outside the great economic empires have special difficulties in expanding economically.

"The upward tendency, which has been caused in world economy, due to armament competition, can never form a permanent basis for an economic settlement, and this latter is also hampered by the economic disruption caused by Bol-

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shevism. There is a pronounced military weakness in those states who base their existence on export. As our exports and imports are carried out over those sea lanes which are dominated by Britain, it is more a question of security of transport than one of foreign currency, and this explains the great weakness in our food situation in wartime. The only way out, and one which may appear imaginary, is the securing of greater living space, an endeavor which at all times has been the cause of the formation of states and of movements of nations. It is explicable that this tendency finds no interest in Geneva and in satisfied states. Should the security of our food situation be our foremost thought, then the space required for this can only be sought in Europe, but we will not copy liberal capitalist policies which rely on exploiting colonies.

It is not a case of conquering people, but of conquering agriculturally useful space. It would also be more to the purpose to seek raw material-producing territory in Europe directly adjoining the Reich and not overseas, and this solution would have to be brought into effect for one or two generations. What would be required at a later date over and above this must be left to subsequent generations. The development of great world-wide national bodies is naturally a slow process and the German people, with its strong racial root Volksstamm] has for this purpose the most favorable foundations in the heart of the European Continent. The history of all times -- Roman Empire, British Empire has proved that every space expansion can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable; neither formerly nor today has space been found without an owner; the attacker always comes up against the proprietor."

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