The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Opening Address for the United Kingdom
(Part 16 of 17)


Keeping up the pretense of friendliness, on 10 January 1941 -- after the Plan Barbarossa for the invasion of Russia had been decided upon -- the German-Russo frontier treaty was signed. On 3 February 1941 Hitler held a conference, attended by Keitel and Jodl, at which it was provided that the whole operation was to be camouflaged as if it was part of the preparations for the "Seelowe" as the plan for invasion of England was called.. By March 1941 the plans were sufficiently advanced to include provision for dividing the Russian territory into 9 separate States to be administered under Reich Commissars under the general control of Rosenberg. At the same time detailed plans for the economic exploitation of the country were made under the supervision of Goering, to whom the responsibility was delegated by Hitler. You will hear something of the details of these s plans. It is significant that on 2 May 1941 a conference of the State Secretaries on the Plan Barbarossa noted:

"1. The war can only be continued if all armed forces are fed out of Russia in the third year of the war.

"2. There is no doubt that as a result many millions of people will be starved to death if we take out of the country the things necessary for us."

[Page 642]

But this apparently created no concern. The plan Oldenberg, as the scheme for economic organization was called, went on. By the 1st May the D date of the operation was fixed. By the 1st June preparations were virtually complete and an elaborate time table was issued. It was estimated that although there would be heavy frontier battles, lasting perhaps 4 weeks, after that no serious opposition was to be expected.

On the 22d June at 3.30 in the morning the German Armies marched again. As Hitler said in his Proclamation:

"I have decided to give the fate of the German People and of the Reich and of Europe again into the hands of our soldiers."

The usual false pretexts were of course given. Ribbentrop stated on the 28th June that the step was taken because of the threatening of the German frontiers by the Red Army. It was untrue and Ribbentrop knew it was untrue. On the 7th June his Ambassador in Moscow was reporting to him that "All observations show that Stalin and Molotov who are alone responsible for Russian foreign policy are doing everything to avoid a conflict with Germany". The staff records which you will see make it clear that the Russians were making no military preparations and that they were continuing their deliveries under the Trade Agreement to the very last day. The truth was, of course, that the elimination of Russia as a political opponent and the incorporation of the Russian territory in the German Lebensraum had long been one of the cardinal features of Nazi policy, subordinated latterly for what Jodl called diplomatic reasons.

And so, on the 22d June, the Nazi armies were flung against the Power with which Hitler had so recently sworn friendship and Germany embarked on that last act of aggression which, after long and bitter fighting, was eventually to result in Germany's own collapse.

PART III

This then is the case against these Defendants, as amongst the rulers of Germany, under Count 2 of this Indictment. It may be said that many of the documents which have been referred to were in Hitler's name, that the orders were Hitler's orders, that these men were mere instruments of Hitler's will. But they were the instruments without which Hitler's will could not be carried out. And they were more than that. These men were no mere willing tools, although they would be guilty enough if that had been their role. They are the men whose support

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had built Hitler up into the position of power he occupied: they are the men whose initiative and planning perhaps conceived and certainly made possible the acts of aggression made in Hitler's name, and they are the men who enabled Hitler to build up the Army, Navy and Air Force by which these treacherous attacks were carried out, and to lead his fanatical followers into peaceful countries to murder, to loot and to destroy. They are the men whose cooperation and support made the Nazi Government of Germany possible. The Government of a totalitarian country may be carried on without the assistance of representatives of the people. But it cannot be carried on without any assistance at all.


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