The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Preparation for Aggression
(Part 9 of 14)

Along similar lines the navy was also carrying on the concealed preparation of auxiliary cruisers, under the disguised designation of Transport Ships O. The preparations under this order were to be completed by 1 April 1935. At the very time of construction of these ships as commercial ships, plans- were made for their conversion. This was the result of a Top Secret order from the command office of the navy, dated 12 March 1934, and signed in draft by Groos. This order bears the seal of the Reichsministerium, Marineleitung, over the draft signature. It provides:

"Subject: Preparation of Auxiliary Cruisers.

"It is intended to include in the Establishment Organization 35 (AG-Aufstellungsgliederung) a certain number of auxiliary cruisers which are intended for use in operations on the high seas.

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"In order to disguise the intention and all the preparations the ships will be referred to as "Transport Ships O". It is requested that in future this designation only will be used.

"The preparations are to be arranged so that they can be completed by 1.4.35." (C-166)

In the official navy files, notes were kept year by year, from 127 to 1940, on the reconstruction of the German Navy. One of these notes discloses that the displacement of the battleship "Scharnhorst-Gneisenau" was actually greater than the tonnage which had been notified to the British under the treaty obligations:

"The true displacement of the battleship 'Scharnhorst- Gneisenau' and 'F/G' exceeds by 20 percent in both cases the displacement reported to the British." (C-2)

There is annexed to this document a table with reference to different ships, and two columns, headed "Displacement by Type"; one column reads "Actual Displacement," and the other, "Notified Displacement." The actual displacement of the "Scharnhorst" is thus shown to be 31,300 tons, although the notified displacement was only 26,000 tons. On the "F/G" actual was 41,700, while notified was 35,000. On the "HI", actual was 56,200 tons, while notified was 46,850. And so on down the list. (C-23)

In these notes there also occurs the statement,

"In a clear cut program for the construction, the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has set the navy the task of carrying out the aims of his foreign policy." (C-23)

The German Navy constantly planned and committed violations of armament limitation, and with characteristic German thoroughness had prepared superficial pretexts to explain away these violations. Following a conference with the chief of "A" section {the military department of the Navy], an elaborate survey list was prepared and compiled, giving a careful list of the quantity and type of German naval armament and ammunition on hand under manufacture or construction (C-32). A statement of the justification or defense that might be used was included in those instances where the Versailles Treaty was violated or its allotment has been exceeded. The list contained 30 items under "Material Measures" and 14 items under "Measures of Organization." The variety of details covered necessarily involved several sources thin the navy, which must have realized their significance.

This Top Secret document, which is headed "A Survey Report of German Naval Armament after Conference with Chief of "A" Section, dated 9 September 1933," contains three columns, one beaded "Measpre," one headed "Material Measures, Details," and the third headed "Remarks." The "Remarks" contain the pre-

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text or justification for explaining away the violations of the treaty. The following are examples:

"1. Exceeding the permitted number of mines." Then figures are given. "Remarks: Further mines are in part ordered, in part being delivered." (C-32)

"Number 2. Continuous storing of guns from the North Sea area for Baltic artillery batteries." The remarks column reads, "Justification: Necessity for over- hauling. Cheaper repairs." (C-32)

"Number 6. Laying gun-platforms in the Kiel area." Remarks: "The offense over and above that in serial number 3 lies in the fact that all fortifications are forbidden in the Kiel area. This justification will make it less severe; pure defense measures." (C-32)

"Number 7. Exceeding the calibre permitted for coastal batteries." Remarks: "Possible justification is that, though the calibre is larger, the number of guns is less." (C-32)

"Number 8. Arming of mine-sweepers." Remarks: "The guns are taken from the fleet reserve stores, have been temporarily installed only for training purposes. All nations arm their mine-sweeping forces (equality of rights)." (C-32)

"Number 13. Exceeding the number of machine guns, et cetera, permitted." Remarks: "Can be made light of." (C- 32)

"Number 18. Construction of U-boat parts." Remarks: "Difficult to detect. If necessary can be denied." (C- 32)

"Number 20. Arming of fishing vessels." Remarks: "For warning shots. Make little of it." And so on throughout the list (C-32). This document must have been used as a guide for negotiators who were attending the Disarmament Conference, as to the position that they might take.

13. Withdrawal From the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations: Building of the Air Force.

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