The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Preparation for Aggression
(Part 6 of 14)

[Page 425]

An interrogation of Raeder concerning this book went as follows:

"Q. I have here a document, C-156, which is a photostatic copy of the work prepared by the High Command of the Navy, and covers the struggle of the Navy against the Versailles Treaty from 1919 to 1935. I ask you initially whether you are familiar with the work?

"A. I know this book. I read it once when it was edited.

"Q. Was that an official publication of the Germany navy?

"A. This Captain Schuessler, indicated there, was Commander in the Admiralty. Published by the OKM, which was an idea of these officers to put all these things together.

"Q. Do you recall the circumstances under which the authorization to prepare such a work was given to him?

"A. I think he told me that he would write such a book as he told us here in the foreword.

"Q. In the preparation of this work he had access to the official naval files, and based his work on the items contained therein ?

"A. Yes, I think so. He would have spoken with other persons, and he would have had the files, which were necessary.

"Q. Do you know whether before the work was published, a draft of it was circulated among the officers in the Admiralty -for comment?

"A. No, I don't think so. Not before it was published. I saw it only when it was published.

"Q. Was it circulated freely after its publication?

"A. It was a secret object. I think the upper commands in the Navy had knowledge of it.

"Q. It was not circulated outside of the naval circles?

"Q. What then is your opinion concerning the comments contained in the work regarding the circumventing of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty?

"A. I don't remember very exactly what is in here. I can only remember that the Navy had always the object to fulfill the word of the Versailles Treaty, but wanted to have some advantages. But the flying men were exercised one year before they went into the Navy. Quite young men. So that the word of the Treaty of Versailles was filled. They didn't belong to the Navy, as long as they were exercised in flying, and the submarines were developed but not in Germany, and not in the Navy, but in Holland. There was a civil bureau, and in Spain there was an Industrialist; in Finland, too, and

[Page 426]

they were built much later when we began to act with the English government about the Treaty of thirty-five to one-hundred, because we could see that then the Treaty of Versailles would be destroyed by such a treaty with England, and so in order to keep the word of Versailles, we tried to fulfill the word of Versailles, but tried to have advantages.

"Q. Would the fair statement be that the Navy High Command was interested in avoiding the limited provisions of the Treaty of Versailles regarding the personnel and limits of armaments, but would it attempt to fulfill the letter of the treaty, although actually avoiding it?

"A. That was their endeavor".

Raeder had his explanations:

"Q. Why was such a policy adopted?

"A. We were much menaced in the first years after the first war by danger that the Poles would attack East Prussia and so we tried to strengthen a little our very,very weak forces in this way, and so all our efforts were directed to the aim to have a little more strength against the Poles, if they would attack us; it was nonsense to them of attacking the Poles in this state, and for the Navy a second aim was to have some defense against the entering of French forces into the Ostsee, or East Sea, because we knew the French had intentions to sustain the Poles from ships that came into the Ostsee Goettinger, and so the Navy was a defense against the attack by the Poles, and against the entrance of French shipping into an Eastern Sea. Quite defensive aims.

"Q. When did the fear of attack from Poles first show itself in official circles in Germany would you say?

"A. When the first years they took Wilma. In the same minute we thought that they would come to East Prussia. I don't know exactly the year, because those judgments were the judgments of the German government ministers, of the Army and Navy Ministers, Groner and Noske.

"Q. Then those views in your opinion were generally held existing perhaps as early as 1919 or 1920, after the end of the First World War?

"A. Oh, but the whole situation was very, very uncertain, and about those years in the beginning, I can not give you a very exact thing, because I was then two years in the Navy archives to write a book about the war, and how the cruisers fought in the first war. Two years, so I was not with these things."

The same kind of aims and purposes are reflected in the table

[Page 427]

of contents of a history of the German Navy, 1919 to 1939, found in captured official files of the German Navy (C-17). Although a copy of the book itself has not been found, the project was written by Oberst Scherff, Hitler's special military historian. The table of contents however, is available. It refers by numbers to groups f documents and notes in the documents, which evidently were intended as working material for the basis of the chapters to be written in accordance with the table of contents. The title of this table of contents fairly establishes the navy planning and preparations that were to get the Versailles Treaty out of the way, and to rebuild the navy strength necessary for war. Some of the headings in the table of contents read:

"Part A (1919 -- The year of Transition.)

"Chapter VII.

First efforts to circumvent the Versailles Treaty and to limit its effects.

"Demilitarization of the Administration, incorporation of naval offices in civil ministries, etc. Incorporation of greater sections of the German maritime observation station and the sea-mark system in Heligoland and Kiel, of the Ems-Jade-Canal, etc. into the Reich Transport Ministry up to 1934;

"Noskos' proposal of 11 August 1919 to incorporate the Naval Construction Department in the Technical High School, Berlin; "Formation of the "Naval Arsenal Kiel".

"(b) The saving from destruction of coastal fortifications and guns.

"1. North Sea. Strengthening of fortifications with new batteries and modern guns between the signing and the taking effect of the Versailles Treaty; dealings with the Control Commissioninformation, drawings, visits of inspection, result of efforts."


"2. Baltic. Taking over by the Navy of fortresses Pilau and Swinemunde; "Salvage for the Army of one-hundred and eighty-five movable guns and mortars there.

"3. The beginnings of coastal air defense.

"Part B (1920-1924. The Organizational New Order)

"Chapter V.

"The Navy

"Fulfilment and avoidance of the Versailles Treaty

"Foreign Countries

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

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