The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Preparation for Aggression
(Part 5 of 14)

D. Secret Rearmament

The program of rearmament and the objectives of circumventing and breaching the Versailles Treaty are forcefully shown in a number of Navy documents, showing the participation and operation of the German navy in this rearmament program which was secret at first. When it was deemed safe to say so, the Navy openly acknowledged that it had always been its object to break the Versailles Treaty.

In 1937 the Navy High Command (OKM) published a secret book entitled, "The Fight of the Navy Against Versailles, 1919 to 1935", written by Sea Captain Schussler (C-156). The preface refers to the fight of the navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace treaty of Versailles. The table of contents includes a variety of navy activities, such as saving of coastal guns from destruction as required by Versailles; independent armament measures behind the back of the government and behind the back f the legislative bodies; resurrection of the U-boat arm; economic rearmament; and camouflaged rearmament from 1933 to the freedom from the restrictions in 1935. (C-156).

[Page 422]

This book points out the significant effect of seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933 on increasing the size and determining the nature of the rearmament program. It also refers to the far-reaching independence in the building and development of the navy, which was only hampered insofar as concealment of rearmament had to considered in compliance with the Versailles Treaty (C-156). With the restoration of what was called the military sovereignty of the Reich in 1935 -- the reoccupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland -- the external camouflage of rearmament was eliminated.

This book of the German navy bears the symbol of the Nazi Party, the Swastika, in the spread eagle on the cover sheet, and it is headed "secret", underscored (C-156). Raeder has identified this book in an interrogation and explained that the Navy tried to fulfill the letter of the Versailles Treaty and at the same time to make progress in naval development. The following are pertinent extracts from the book:

"The object and aim of this memorandum under the heading 'Preface', is to draw a technically reliable picture based on documentary records and the evidence of those who took part in the fight of the Navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace treaty of Versailles. It shows that the Reich navy after the liberating activities of the Free Corps and of Scapa Flow did not rest, but found ways and means to lay with unquenchable enthusiasm, in addition to the building up of the 15,000-man navy, the basis for a greater development in the future, and so create by work of soldiers and technicians the primary condition for a later rearmament. It must also distinguish more clearly the services of these men, who, without being known in wide circles, applied themselves with extraordinary zeal in responsibility in the service of the fight against the peace treaty; thereby stimulated by the highest feeling of duty, they risked, particularly in the early days of their fight, themselves and their position unrestrainedly in the partially self-ordained task. This compilation makes it clearer, however, that even such ideal and ambitious plans can be realized only to a small degree if the concentrated and united strength of the whole people is not behind the courageous activity of the soldier. Only when the Fuehrer had created the second and even more important condition for an effective rearmament in the coordination of the whole nation and in the fusion of the political, financial and spiritual power, could the work of the soldier find its fulfillment. The framework of this peace treaty, the

[Page 423]

most shameful known in world history, collapsed under the driving power of this united will. [signed] The Compiler". (C-156)

The summary of the contents indicated in the chapter titles is significant:

"I. First, defensive action against the execution of the Treaty of Versailles (from the end of the war to the occupation of the Ruhr, 1923).

"1. Saving of coastal guns from destruction to removal of artillery equipment and ammunition, hand and machine weapons. ***

"3. Limitation of destruction in Heligoland.

"II. Independent armament measures behind the back of the Reich Government and of the legislative body (from 1923 to the Lomann case in 1927).

"1. An attempt to increase the personnel strength of the Reich Navy.

"2. Contributing to the strengthening of patriotism among the people.

"3. Activities of Captain Lohmann.

"4. Preparation for the resurrection of the German U- boat -arm.

"5. Building up of the air force.

"6. Attempt to strengthen our mine arm (Die Mine).

"7. Economic rearmament.

"8. Miscellaneous measures.

"a. The Aerogeodetic, and;

"b. Secret evidence.

"III. Planned armament work countenance by the Reich government but behind the back of the legislative body from 1927 to the seizure of power, 1933.

"IV. Rearmament under the leadership of the Reich Government in camouflage (from 1933 to the freedom from restrictions, 1935)."'(C-156)

The following is a passage from Chapter IV:

"The unification of the whole nation which was combined with the taking over of power on 30 January 1933 was of the decisive influence on the size and shape of further rearmament.

"While the second chamber, Reichsrat, approached its dissolution and withdrew as a legislative body, the Reichstag assumed a composition which could only take a one-sided

[Page 424]

attitude toward the rearmament of the armed forces. The government took over the management of the rearmament program upon this foundation.

"Development of the Armed Forces."

"This taking over of the management by the Reich Government developed for the armed forces in such a manner that the War Minister, General von Blomberg, and through him the three branches of the armed forces, received farreaching powers from the Reich Cabinet for the development of the armed forces. The whole organization of the Reich was included in this way. In view of these powers the collaboration of the former inspecting body in the management of the secret expenditure was from then on dispensed with. There remained only the inspecting duty of the accounting office of the German Reich.

"Independence of the Commander in Chief of the Navy"

"The commander-in-chief of the Navy, Admiral Raeder, honorary doctor, had received the help of a far- reaching independence in the building and development of the navy. This was only hampered insofar as the previous concealment of rearmament had to be continued in consideration of the Versailles Treaty. Besides the public budget there remained the previous special budget, which was greatly increased in view of the considerable credit for the provision of labor, which was made available by the Reich. Wide powers in the handling of these credits were given to the Director of the Budget Department of the navy, up to 1934 Commodore Schussler, afterwards Commodore Foerster. These took into consideration the increased responsibility of the Chief of the Budget.

"Declaration of Military Freedom"

"When the Fuehrer, relying upon the strength of the armed forces executed in the meanwhile, announced the restoration of the military sovereignty of the German Reich, the last mentioned limitation on rearmament works namely, the external camouflage, was eliminated. Freed from all the shackles which have hampered our ability to move freely on and under water, on land and in the air for one and a half decades, and carried by the newly-awakened fighting spirit of the whole nation, the armed forces, and as part of it, the navy, can lead with full strength towards its completion the rearmament already under way with the goal of securing for the Reich its rightful position in the world." (C-156)

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

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.