The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume II
Criminality of Groups and Organizations
The General Staff & High Command of the Armed Forces
(Part 3 of 8)

[Page 329] B. Criminal Activities of the General Staff and High Command Group.

The General Staff and High Command group is well represented among the individual defendants in this case. It must be kept in mind that this group may be declared criminal in connection with any act of which an individual defendant who is a member of the group may be convicted (Charter, Article 9). Five of the individual defendants, or one-quarter of the total number accused, are members of this group.

In the order of listing in the indictments, the first is Goering. Goering is a defendant in this case in numerous capacities. He is a member of the General Staff and High Command group by reason of having been the Commander-in- Chief of the Air Force from the time when the Air Force first came into the open, and was officially established, until about a month prior to the end of the war. During the last month of the war he was replaced in

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this capacity by von Greim, who committed suicide shortly after his capture at the end of the war. Goering is charged with crimes under all counts of the Indictment.

The next listed defendant who is a member of the group is Keitel He and the remaining three defendants who are members of the group are all four in this case primarily or solely in their military capacities, and all four of them were professional soldiers or sailors. Keitel was made the chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces (OKW) when the OKW was first set up in 1938, and remained in that capacity throughout the period in question He held the rank of Field Marshall throughout most of this period, and in addition to being the Chief of OKW, he was a member of the Secret Cabinet Council and of the Council of Ministers for the Defense of the Reich. Keitel is charged with crimes under all four counts of the Indictment.

The defendant Jodl was a career soldier; he was an Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) when the Nazis came to power, and ultimately attained the rank of Generaloberst (Colonel General). He became the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Wehrmacht, and continued in that capacity throughout the war. He also is charged with crimes under all four counts of the Indictment

The defendant Raeder is in a sense the senior member of the entire group, having been Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy as early as 1928. He attained the highest rank in the German Navy, Grossadmiral, and in addition to being Commander-in-Chief of the Navy he was a member of the Secret Cabinet Council. He retired from Supreme Command of the Navy in January 1943, and was replaced by Doenitz. Raeder is charged with crimes under counts 1, 2, and 3 of the Indictment.

The last of these five defendants, Doenitz, was a relatively junior officer when the Nazis came to power. During the early years of the Nazi regime he specialized in submarine activities and was in command of the U-boat arm when the war broke out. He rose steadily in the Navy and was chosen to succeed Raeder when the latter retired in 1943. Doenitz then became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and attained the rank of Grossadmiral. When the German Armed Forces collapsed near the end of the war, Doenitz succeeded Hitler as head of the German government. He is charged with crimes under counts 1, 2, and 3 of the Indictment.

Four of these five defendants are reasonably typical of the group as a whole. Goering is an exception: he is primarily a Nazi party politician nourishing a hobby for aviation as a result of his career in 1914-18. But the others made soldiering or sailoring their life work. They collaborated with and joined in the most important

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adventures of the Nazis, but they were not among the early party members. They differ in no essential respect from the other 125 odd members of the group. They are, no doubt, abler men in certain respects than some of the other members, as they rose to the highest positions in the German Armed Forces, and all but Jodl attained the highest rank. But they are generally representative of the group, and their expressed ideas and actions are fairly characteristic of those of the other group

It is not, of course, the prosecution's position, and it is not essential to its case, that all 130 members of this group, (or all the members of any other organization or group named in the Indictment), actually committed crimes, under Article 6 of the Charter. It is the prosecution's position that the leadership of the group and the purposes to which the group was committed by the leaders were criminal under Article 6. The individual defendants were among the leaders of the General Staff and High Command group, and, acting in the official capacities which made them members of the group, they performed and participated in acts which are criminal under Article 6 of the Charter. Other members of the group performed such acts. The German Armed Forces were so completely under the group's control as to make the group responsible for their activities under the last sentence of Article 6 of the Charter.

(1) The Planning and Launching of Wars of Aggression. It is, of course, the normal function of a military staff to prepare military plans. In peacetime, military staffs customarily concern themselves with the preparation of plans of attack or defense based on hypothetical contingencies. There is nothing criminal about carrying on such exercises or preparing such plans. That is not what these defendants and this group are charged with.

This group agreed with the Nazi objective of aggrandizing Germany by force or threat of force. They joined knowingly and enthusiastically in developing German armed might for this criminal purpose. They joined knowingly and willfully in initiating and waging aggressive wars. They were advised in advance of the Nazi plans to launch aggressive wars. They laid the military plans and directed the initiation and carrying on of the wars. These things are criminal under article 6 of the Charter.

Aggressive war cannot be prepared and waged without intense activity on the part of all branches of the Armed Forces and particularly by the high-ranking officers who control such forces. To the extent, therefore, that German preparations for and waging aggressive war are historical facts of common knowledge, or are proved, it necessarily follows that the General Staff and High

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Command group, and the German Armed Forces, participated therein.

This is so notwithstanding the effort on the part of certain military leaders of Germany, after defeat, to insist that until the troops marched they lived in an ivory tower of military technicalities, unable or unwilling to observe the end to which their work led. The documentary evidence which follows fully refutes any such contentions.

The purposes and objectives of the German General Staff and High Command group during the period prior to the absorption of Austria may be summarized as follows:

(i) Secret rearmament, including the training of military personnel, the production of war munitions, and the building of an air force;

(ii) The creation of a military air force, announced by Goering on 10 March 1935;

(iii) The law for compulsory military service, of 16 March 1935, fixing the peace-time strength of the German Army at 500,000; and

(iv) The reoccupation of the Rhineland on 7 March 1936 and the refortification of that area.

These events are historical facts not requiring proof. Likewise, the impossibility of the Nazis' achieving these ends without cooperation by the Armed Forces is indisputable from the very nature of things.

Events and circumstances during the period 1933-36 are discussed in Section 2 of Chapter IX. Chief among these were the secret expansion of the German Navy in violation of treaty limitations, under the guidance of Raeder; the secret Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935, adopted the same day that Germany unilaterally renounced the armament provision of the Versailles Treaty (2261-PS); von Blomberg's plan, 2 May 1935, for the reoccupation of the Rhineland (C-139); and von Blomberg's orders of 2 March 1936 under which the reoccupation was actually carried out (C-159). All these events clearly required the closest collaboration between the military leaders and the Nazis.

The state of mind and objectives of the German military leaders during this early period are significant. The viewpoint of the German Navy on the opportunities which Naziism offered for rearmament so that Germany could achieve its objectives by force or threat of force, is reflected in a memorandum published by the High Command of the German Navy in 1937 entitled "The Fight of the Navy against Versailles, 1919-35" (C-156). This memorandum was compiled by a naval captain named Schuessler in the

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German Admiralty. The preface contains the following statements:

"The object and aim of this memorandum is to draw a technically reliable picture based on documentary records and the evidence of those who took part, of the fight of the Navy against the unbearable regulations of the Peace Treaty of Versailles."


"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 powers, could the work of the soldier find its fulfilment.

"The framework of this Peace Treaty, the most shameful known in world history, collapsed under the driving power of this united will."

Thus, the German Navy and the Nazis were in comradely agreement and full collaboration. Hitler was giving the military leaders the chance they wanted. Jodl stated the situation clearly in his speech to the Gauleiters on 7 November 1943 (L-172):

"1. The fact that the National-Socialist movement and its struggle for internal power were the preparatory stage of the outer liberation from the bonds of the Dictate of Versailles is not one on which I need enlarge in this circle. I should like however to mention at this point how clearly all thoughtful regular soldiers realize what an important part has been played by the National Socialist movement in re- awakening the will to fight [Wehrwillen] in nurturing fighting strength [Wehrkraft] and in rearming the German people. In spite of all the virtue inherent in it, the numerically small Reichswehr would never have been able to cope with this task, if only because of its own restricted radius of action. Indeed, what the Fuehrer aimed at -- and has so happily been successful in bringing about -- was the fusion of these two forces.

"2. The seizure of power in its turn has meant in the first place restoration of fighting sovereignty [Wehrhoheit] (conscription, occupation of the Rhineland) and rearmament with special emphasis being laid on the creation of a modern armoured and air arm." (L-72)

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Nor were the high-ranking German officers unaware that the policies and objectives of the Nazis were leading Germany in the direction of war. Notes made by Admiral Carls of the German Navy in September 1938 by way of comment on a "Draft study of Naval Warfare against England," read as follows:

"A. There is full agreement with the main theme of the study.

"1. If according to the Fuehrer's decision Germany is to acquire a position as a world power she needs not only sufficient colonial possessions but also secure naval communications and secure access to the ocean.

"2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in opposition to Anglo-French interests and would limit - their position as world powers. It is unlikely that they can be achieved by peaceful means. The decision to make Germany a world power therefore forces upon us the necessity of making the corresponding preparations for war.

"3. War against England means at the same time war against the Empire, against France, probably against Russia as well and a large number of countries overseas, in fact against one-half to one-third of the whole world.

"It can only be justified and have a chance of success if it is prepared economically as well as politically and militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for Germany an outlet to the ocean." (C-23)

The German Air Force, during this prewar period, was developing even more radically aggressive plans for the aggrandizement of the Reich. A study prepared by the chief, Kammhuber, of a branch of the General Staff of the Air Force called the "Organization Staff", contained recommendations for the organization of the German Air Force in future years up to 1950 (L-43). The recommendations are based on certain assumptions, one of which was that by 190 the frontiers of Germany would be as shown on the map which is attached as an inclosure to this study (Chart Number 10). On this map Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and the Baltic coast up to the Gulf of Finland are all included within the borders of the Reich. Kammhuber also envisaged the future peacetime organization of the German Air Force as comprising seven "Group Commands." Four of these were to lie within the borders of Germany proper, at Berlin, Brunswick, Munich, and Koenigsberg, but the three others are proposed to be at Vienna, Budapest, and Warsaw.

The basic agreement and harmony between the Nazis and the German military leaders cannot be overemphasized. Without this agreement on objectives there might never have been a war. In

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this connection, an affidavit (3704-PS) by von Blomberg, formerly Field Marshall, Reich War Minister, and Commander- in-Chief of the German Armed Forces until February 1938, is significant:

"From 1919, and particularly from 1924, three critical territorial questions occupied attention in Germany. These were the questions of the Polish Corridor, the Ruhr and Memel.

"I myself, as well as the whole group of German staff officers, believed that these three questions, outstanding among which was the question of the Polish Corridor, would have to be settled some day, if necessary by force of arms. About ninety percent of the German people were of the same mind as the officers on the Polish question. A war to wipe out the desecration involved in the creation of the Polish Corridor and to lessen the threat to separated East Prussia surrounded by Poland and Lithuania was regarded as a sacred duty though a sad necessity. This was one of the chief reasons behind the partially secret rearmament which began about ten years before Hitler came to power and was accentuated under Nazi rule.

"Before 1938-1939 the German generals were not opposed to Hitler. There was no reason to oppose Hitler since he produced the results which they desired. After this time some generals began to condemn his methods and lost confidence in the power of his judgment. However they failed as a group to take any definite stand against him, although a few of them tried to do so and as a result had to pay for this with their lives or their positions.

"Shortly before my removal from the post of Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces in January 1938, Hitler asked me to recommend a successor. I suggested Goering, who was the ranking officer, but Hitler objected because of his lack of patience and diligence. I was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces by no officer, but Hitler personally took over my function as Commander. Keitel was recommended by me as a Chef de bureau. As far as I know he was never named Commander of the Armed Forces but was always merely a 'Chief of Staff' under Hitler and in effect conducted the administrative functions of the Ministry of War. At my time Keitel was not opposed to Hitler and therefore was qualified to bring about a good understanding between Hitler and the Armed Forces, a thing which I myself desired and had furthered as Reichswehrminister and Reichskriegminister. To do the opposite would have led to a civil war, for at that

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time the mass of the German people supported Hitler. Many are no longer willing to admit this. But it is the truth.

"As I heard, Keitel did not oppose any of Hitler's measures. He became a willing tool in Hitler's hands for every one of his decisions.

"He did not measure up to what might have been expected of him." (3704-PS)

This statement by von Blomberg is paralleled closely in some respects by an affidavit by Colonel General Blaskowitz (3706-PS). Blaskowitz commanded an army in the campaign against Poland and the campaign against France. He subsequently took command of Army Group G in southern France, and held command of Army Group H, which retreated beyond the Rhine at the end of the war. His statement is as follows:

"*** After the annexation of Czechoslovakia we hoped that the Polish question would be settled in a peaceful fashion through diplomatic means, since we believed that this time France and England would come to the assistance of their ally. As a matter of fact we felt that, if political negotiations came to naught, the Polish question would unavoidably lead to war, that is, not only with Poland herself, but also with the Western Powers.

"When in the middle of June I received an order from the OKH to prepare myself for an attack on Poland, I knew that this war came even closer to the realm of possibility. This conclusion was only strengthened by the Fuehrer's speech on 22 August 1939 on the Obersalzberg when it clearly seemed to be an actuality. Between the middle of June 1939 and 1 September 1939 the members of my staff who were engaged in preparations, participated in various discussions which went on between the OKH and the army group. During these discussions such matters of a tactical, strategic and general nature were discussed as had to do with my future position as Commander-in-Chief of the Eighth Army during the planned Polish campaign.

"During the Polish campaign, particularly during the Kutno operations, I was repeatedly in communication with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and he, as well as the Fuehrer, visited my headquarters. In fact it was common practice for commanders-in-chief of army groups and of armies to be asked from time to time for estimates of the situation and for their recommendations by telephone, teletype or wireless, as well as by personal calls. These front commanders-in- chief thus actually became advisers to the OKH in their own field

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so that the positions shown in the attached chart embrace that group which was the actual advisory council of the High Command of the German Armed Forces." (3706-PS)

It should be noted that General Blaskowitz, like Colonel General Halder and Field Marshall von Brauchitsch, vouches for the accuracy of the structure and organization of the General Staff and High Command group as described by the prosecution.

It is, accordingly, clear beyond dispute that the military leaders of Germany knew of, approved, supported, and executed plans for the expansion of the Armed Forces beyond the limits set by treaties. The objectives they had in mind are obvious from the affidavits and documents to which reference has been made. In these documents and affidavits we see the Nazis and the Generals in agreement upon the basic objective of aggrandizing Germany by force or threat of force, and collaborating to build up the armed might of Germany in order to make possible the subsequent act's of aggression.

(a) Austria. Notes taken by Colonel Hossbach of a conference held in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on 5 November 1937 show that this conference, at which Hitler presided, was small and highly secret (386-PS). The only other participants were the four principal military leaders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (von Neurath), and Hossbach acting as Secretary. The four chief leaders of the Armed Forces -- Blomberg, who was then Reich Minister for War, and the Commanders-in-Chief of the three branches of the Armed Forces, von Fritsch for the Army, Raeder for the Navy, and Goering for the Air Force -- were present. Hitler embarked on a general discussion of Germany's diplomatic and military policy, and stated that the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia was an essential preliminary "for the improvement of our military position" and "in order to remove any threat from the flanks". (386-PS)

The military and political advantages envisaged included the acquisition of a new source of food, shorter and better frontiers, the release of troops for other tasks, and the possibility of forming new divisions from the population of the conquered territories. Von Blomberg and von Fritsch joined in the discussion and von Fritsch stated:

"That it was the purpose of a study which he had laid on for this winter to investigate the possibilities of carrying out operations against Czechoslovakia with special consideration of the conquest of the Czechoslovakian system of fortifications" (386-PS).

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In the following Spring, March 1938, the German plans with respect to Austria came to fruition. Entries in the diary kept by Jodl show the participation of the German military leaders in the absorption of Austria (1780-PS). As is shown by Jodl's diary entry for 11 February 1938, Keitel and other generals were present at the Obersalzberg meeting between Schuschnigg and Hitler:

"11 February &
quot;In the evening and on 12 February General K. with General V. Reichenau and Sperrle at the Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg together with G. Schmidt are again being put under heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol". 1780-PS)

Two days later Keitel and others were preparing proposals to be submitted to Hitler which would give the Austrian government the impression that Germany would resort to force unless the Schuschnigg agreement was ratified in Vienna:

"13 February
"In the afternoon General K. asks Admiral C. and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Fuehrer order is to the effect that military pressure by shamming military action should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Fuehrer by telephone for approval". (1780-PS)

These proposals are embodied in a document 14 February 1938 and signed by Keitel (1775-PS). Portions of Keitel's proposals to the Fuehrer are as follows:

"1. To take no real preparatory measures in the Army or Luftwaffe. No troop movements or redeployments.

"2. Spread false, but quite credible news, which may lead to the conclusion of military preparations against Austria,

"a. through V-men (V-Manner) in Austria,

"b. through our customs personnel (staff) at the frontier,

"c. through travelling agents."


"4. Order a very active make-believe wireless exchange in Wehrkreis VII and between Berlin and Munich.

"5. Real maneuvers, training flights, and winter maneuvers of the Mountain Troops near the frontier.

"6. Admiral Canaris has to be ready beginning on February 14th in the Service Command Headquarters in order to carry out measures given by order of the Chief of the OKW." (1775-PS)

As Jodl's diary entry for 14 February shows, these deceptive maneuvers and threats of force were very effective in Austria:

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"The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations."

About a month later armed intervention was precipitated by Schuschnigg's decision to hold a plebiscite in Austria. Hitler ordered mobilization in accordance with the preexisting plans for the invasion of Austria (these plans were known as "Case Otto") in order to absorb Austria and stop the plebiscite. Jodl's diary entry for 10 March 1938 states:

"By surprise and without consulting the ministers, Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13 March, which should bring strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation.

"Fuehrer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, March 9 to 10, he calls for Goering, General V. Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee. General V. Schobert is ordered to come, as well as Minister Glaise Horstenau, who is with the District Leader [Gauleiter Burckel in the Palatinate. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1:45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at 10 o'clock. I follow at 10:15, according to the wish of General V. Viebahn, to give him the old draft.

'Prepare case Otto'." (1780-PS)

In an order 11 March, initialed by Keitel and Jodl, Hitler laid down the general instructions for the invasion, and directed that the Army and Air Force be ready for action by 12 March (C-102). On the same evening Hitler ordered the invasion of Austria to commence at daybreak on 12 March. The order was initialed by Jodl. (C-182)

The invasion of Austria differs from the other German acts of aggression in that the invasion was not closely scheduled and timed in advance. This was so simple because the invasion was precipitated by an outside event, Schuschnigg's order for the plebiscite, But although for this reason the element of deliberately timed planning was lacking, the foregoing documents make abundantly clear the participation of the military leaders at all stages. At the small policy meeting in November 1937, when Hitler's general program for Austria and Czechoslovakia was outlined, the only others present were the four principal military leaders and the Foreign Secretary (386-PS). In February, Keitel, Reichenau, and Sperrle were present at Obersalzberg to help subject Schuschnigg to "the heaviest military pressure" (1780-PS). Keitel and others immediately thereafter worked out and executed a program of military threat and deception for frightening the Austrian Government into acceptance of the Schuschnigg protocol (1775-PS). When the actual invasion took place it was, of course, directed by the military leaders and executed by the German Armed Forces. Jodl has given a clear statement of why the German military leaders were delighted to join with the Nazis in bringing about the end of Austrian independence. In his lecture to the Gauleiters in November 1943 (L-172) Jodl explained:

"The Austrian 'Anschluss', in its turn, brought with it not only fulfilment of an an [sic] old national aim but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas up till then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany (a wasp waist in the direction of France and an air base for the Allies, in particular Russia). Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers. Its own strategic position had now become so unfavorable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with vigor before effective aid from the West could be expected to arrive". (L-172)

(b) Czechoslovakia

The steps in the planning for the invasion of Czechoslovakia ("Case Green" or Fall Gruen) bear the evidence of knowing and wilful participation by Keitel, Jodl, and other members of the General Staff and High Command Group.

The Hossbach minutes of the conference between Hitler and the four principal German military leaders on 5 November 1937 show that Austria and Czechoslovakia were then listed as the first intended victims of German aggression (386-PS). After the absorption of Austria in March 1938, Hitler as head of the State and Keitel as Chief of all the armed forces lost no time in turning their attention to Czechoslovakia. In the Hitler-Keitel discussions on 21 April 1938 a nice balance of political and military factors was worked out (388-PS):

"A. Political Aspect

1. Strategic surprise attack out of a clear sky without any cause or possibility of justification has been turned down. As result would be: hostile world opinion which can lead to a critical situation. Such a measure is justified only for the elimination of the last opponent on the mainland.

2. Action after a time of diplomatic clashes, which gradually come to a crisis and lead to war.

3. Lightning-swift action as the result of an incident (e.g. assassination of German ambassador in connection with an anti-German demonstration).

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B. Military Conclusions

1. The preparations are to be made for the political possibilities 2 and 3. Case 2 is the undesired one since "Gruen" will have taken security measures.


4. Politically, the first 4 days of military action are the decisive ones. If there are no effective military successes, a European crisis will certainly arise. Accomplished facts must prove the senselessness of foreign military intervention, draw Allies into the scheme (division of spoils!) and demoralize "Gruen".

Therefore: bridging the time gap between first penetration and employment of the forces to be brought up, by a determined and ruthless thrust by a motorized army. (e.g. via Pi past Pr) [Pilsen, Prague]. (388-PS)

From this point on, nearly the whole story is contained in the Schmundt file (88-PS) and in Jodl's diary (1780-PS). These two sources of information demolish in advance what will, no doubt, be urged in defense of the military defendants and the General Staff and High Command Group. They will seek to create the impression that the German generals were pure military technicians; that they were uninterested and uninformed about political and diplomatic considerations and events; that they passed their days mounting mock battles at the Kriegsakadamie; that they prepared plans for military attack or defense on a purely hypothetical basis. They will say all this in order to suggest that they did not share and could not estimate Hitler's aggressive intentions, and that they carried out politically conceived orders like military automatons, with no idea whether the wars they launched and waged were aggressive or not.

If these arguments are made, the Schmundt file (388-PS) and Jodl's diary (1780-PS) make it abundantly apparent that aggressive designs were conceived jointly between the Nazis and the generals; that the military leaders were fully posted on the aggressive intentions of the Nazis; that they were fully informed of political and diplomatic developments; that indeed German generals had a habit of turning up at diplomatic gatherings.

If the documents did not show these things so clearly, a moment's thought must show them to be true. A highly successful program of conquest depends on armed might, and cannot be executed with an unprepared, weak, or recalcitrant military leadership. It has, of course, been said that war is too important a business to be left to soldiers alone. It is equally true that aggressive diplomacy is far too dangerous a business to be conducted without military advice and military support.

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No doubt some of the German generals had qualms about Hitler's timing and the boldness of some of his moves. Some of these doubts are rather amusingly reflected in an entry in Jodl's diary for 10 August 1938:

"The Army chiefs and the chiefs of the Air Force groups, Lt. Col. Jeschonnek and myself are ordered to the Berghof. After dinner the Fuehrer makes a speech lasting for almost three hours, in which he develops his political thoughts. The subsequent attempts to draw the Fuehrer's attention to the defects of our preparation, which are undertaken by a few generals of the Army, are rather unfortunate. This applies especially to the remark of General Wietersheim, in which to top it off he claims to quote from General Adams [die er noch dazu dem General Adams in den Mund legt] that the western fortifications can only be held for three weeks. The Fuehrer becomes very indignant and flames up, bursting into the remark that in such a case the whole Army would not be good for anything. 'I assure you, General, the position will not only be held for three weeks, but for three years.' The cause of this despondent opinion, which unfortunately enough is held very widely within the Army General Staff, is based on various reasons. First of all, it [the General Staff] is restrained by old memories; political considerations play a part as well, instead of obeying and executing its military mission. That is certainly done with traditional devotion, but the vigor of the soul is lacking because in the end they do not believe in the genius of the Fuehrer. And one does perhaps compare him with Charles XII. And since water flows downhill, this defeatism may not only possibly cause immense political damage, for the opposition between the General's opinion and that of the Fuehrer is common talk, but may also constitute a danger for the morale of the troops. But I have no doubt that [?] the Fuehrer will be able to boost the morale of the people in an unexpected way when the right moment comes." (1780-PS)

But if this entry shows that some of the German generals at that time were cautious with respect to Germany's ability to take on Poland and the Western Powers simultaneously, nonetheless the entry shows no lack of sympathy with the Nazi aims for conquest. And there is no evidence in Jodl's diary or elsewhere that any substantial number of German generals lacked sympathy with Hitler's objectives. Furthermore, the top military leaders always joined with and supported his decisions, with formidable success in the years from 1938 to 1942.

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If it is said that German military leaders did not know that German general policy toward Czechoslovakia was aggressive or based on force and threat of force, it may be noted that on 30 May 1938 Hitler signed a Most Secret directive to Keitel (388-PS Item 11) in which he said:

"It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future. It is the job of the political leaders to await or bring about the politically and militarily suitable moment.

"An inevitable development of conditions inside Czechoslovakia or other political events in Europe creating a surprisingly favorable opportunity and one which may never come again may cause me to take early action.

"The proper choice and determined and full utilization of a favorable moment is the surest guarantee of success. Accordingly the preparations are to be made at once." (388-PS Item 11)

Jodl was in no doubt what this meant. He noted in his diary that same day:

"The Fuehrer signs directive 'Green', where he states his final decision to destroy Czechoslovakia soon and thereby initiates military preparation all along the line". (1780-PS)

The succeeding evidence in the Schmundt file (388-PS Items 14, 16, 17) and in the Jodl diary (1780-PS) shows how those military preparations went forward "all along the line." Numerous examples of discussions, planning, and preparation during the last few weeks before the Munich Pact, including discussions with Hungary and the Hungarian General Staff in which General Halder participated, are contained in the Jodl diary (1780-PS) and the later items in the Schmundt file (388-PS Items 18 to 22, 24, 26 to 28, 31 to 34, 36 to 54- PS). The day the Munich Pact was signed, Jodl noted in his diary:

"The Munich Pact is signed. Czechoslovakia as a power is out. Four zones as set forth will be occupied between the 2nd and 7th of October. The remaining part of mainly German character will be occupied by the 10th of October. The genius of the Fuehrer and his determination not to shun even a World War have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way." (1780-PS)

Plans for the "liquidation" of the remainder of Czechoslovakia were made soon after Munich (388-PS Item 40; C-136; C-138). Ultimately the absorption was accomplished by diplomatic bullying

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in which Keitel participated for the usual purposes of demonstrating that German armed might was ready to enforce the threats (2802-PS). Once again, Jodl in his 1943 lecture (L-172) explained clearly why the objective of eliminating Czechoslovakia lay as close to the hearts of the German military leaders as to the hearts of the Nazis:

"The bloodless solution of the Czech conflict in the autumn of 1938 and spring of 1939 and the annexation of Slovakia rounded off the territory of Greater Germany in such a way that it then became possible to consider the Polish problem on the basis of more or less favorable strategic premises." (L-172)

This serves to recall the affidavits by Blomberg (3704-PS) and Blaskowitz (3706-PS) already quoted:

"The whole group of German staff and front officers believed that the question of the Polish Corridor would have to be settled some day, if necessary by force of arms."

"A war to wipe out the political and economic losses resulting from the creation of the Polish Corridor was regarded as a sacred duty though a sad necessity."

"Before 1938-39, the German generals were not opposed to Hitler."

"Hitler produced the results which all of us warmly desired."

(c) Poland. The story of the German attack on Poland furnishes an excellent case study of the functioning of the General Staff and High Command Group.

Reference is made to the series of directives from Hitler and Keitel involving "Fall Weiss" (C-120). The series starts with a re-issuance of the "Directive for the Uniform Preparation for War by the Armed Forces". This periodically re-issued directive was encountered previously in the case of Czechoslovakia.

In essence these directives are (a) statements of what the Armed Forces must be prepared to accomplish in view of political and diplomatic policies and developments, and (b) indications of what should be accomplished diplomatically in order to make the military tasks easier and the chances of success greater. They constitute, in fact, a fusion of diplomatic and military thought and strongly demonstrate the mutual inter-dependence of aggressive diplomacy and military planning. The distribution of these documents early in April 1939, in which the preparations of plans for the Polish war is ordered, was limited. Five copies only are distributed by Keitel: one to Brauchitsch (OKH), one to Raeder (OKM), one to Goering (OKL), and two to Warlimont in the Planning Branch of OKW. Hitler lays down that the plan must

[Page 345]

be susceptible of execution by 1 September 1939, and that target date was adhered to. The fusion of military and diplomatic thought is clearly brought out by the following part of one of those documents:

"1. Political Requirements and Aims. German relations with Poland continue to be based on the principle of avoiding any quarrels. Should Poland, however, change her policy towards Germany, based up to now on the same principles as our own, and adopt a threatening attitude towards Germany, a final settlement might become necessary, notwithstanding the pact in effect with Poland.

"The aim then will be to destroy Polish military strength, and create in the East a situation which satisfies the requirements of national defense. The Free State of Danzig will be proclaimed a part of the Reich-territory at the outbreak of the conflict, at the latest.

"The political leadership considers it its task in this case to isolate Poland if possible, that is to say, to limit the war to Poland only.

"The development of increasing internal crises in France and the resulting British cautiousness might produce such a situation in the not too distant future.

"Intervention by Russia so far as she would be able to do this cannot be expected to be of any use for Poland, because this would imply Poland's destruction by Bolshevism.

"The attitudes of the Baltic States will be determined wholly by German military exigencies.

"On the German side, Hungary cannot be considered a certain German ally. Italy's attitude is determined by the Berlin-Rome Axis.

"2. Military Conclusions. The great objectives in the building up of the German Armed Forces will continue to be determined by the antagonism of the 'Western Democracies'. 'Fall Weiss' constitutes only a precautionary complement to these preparations. It is not to be looked upon in any way, however, as the necessary prerequisite for a military settlement with the Western opponents.

"The isolation of Poland will be more easily maintained, even after the beginning of operations, if we succeed in starting the war with heavy, sudden blows and in gaining rapid successes.

"The entire situation will require, however, that precautions be taken to safeguard the western boundary and the German North Sea coast, as well as the air over them." (C-120)

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It cannot be suggested that these are hypothetical plans, or that the General Staff and High Command Group did not know what was in prospect. The plans show on their face that they are in earnest and no war game. The point is reinforced by Schmundt's notes on the conference in Hitler's study at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, on 23 May 1939 (L-79). At this conference Hitler announced:

"There is, therefore, no. question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision: to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity". (L-79)

Besides Hitler and a few military aides and adjutants, the following were present: Goering (C-in-C Luftwaffe); Raeder (C-in-C Navy); Keitel (Chief, OKW); von Brauchitsch (C-in-C Army); Col. General Milch (Inspector General of the Luftwaffe); Gen. Bodenschatz (Goering's personal assistant); Rear Admiral Schnievindt (Chief of the Naval War Staff); Col. Jeschonnek (Chief of the Air Staff); Col. Warlimont (Planning Staff of OKW). All except Milch, Bodenschatz, and the adjutants are members of the Group as defined in the Indictment.

The initial and general planning of the attack on Poland, however, had to be examined, checked, corrected, and perfected by the field commanders who were to carry out the attack. In a document issued in the middle of June 1939 (C-142), von Brauchitsch as C-in-C of the Army passed on the general outlines of the plan to the field commanders-in- chief (the Oberbefehlshaber of Army Groups and Armies) so that they could work out the actual preparation and deployments in accordance with the general plan:

"The object of the operation is to destroy the Polish Armed Forces. High policy demands that the war should be begun by heavy surprise blows in order to achieve quick results. The intention of the Army High Command is to prevent a regular mobilization and concentration of the Polish Army by a surprise invasion of Polish territory and to destroy the mass of the Polish Army which is to be expected to be west of the Vistula-Narve line. This is to be achieved by a concentric attack from Silesia on one side and Pomerania-East Prussia on the other side. The possible influence from Galicia against this operation must be eliminated. The main idea of the destruction of the Polish Army west of the Vistula-Narve Line with the elimination of the possible influence from Galicia remains unchanged even if advanced preparedness for defense on the part of the Polish Army, caused by previous political tension, should have to be taken into consideration. In such a case it may be a question of not making the first attack

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mainly with mechanized and motorized forces but of waiting for the arrival of stronger, non-motorized units. The Army High Command will then give the correspondingly later time for the crossing of the frontier. The endeavour to obtain a quick success will be maintained.

"The Army Group Commands and the Army Commands (A.O.K.) will make their preparations on the basis of surprise of the enemy. There will be alterations necessary if surprise should have to be abandoned: these will have to be developed simply and quickly on the same basis: they are to be prepared mentally to such an extent, that in case of an order from the Army High Command they can be carried out quickly."

A document of approximately the same date reveals an Oberbefehlshaber at work in the field planning the attack (2327-PS). This document, signed by Blaskowitz, at the time the commander-in-Chief of the Third Army Area Command and commander-in-chief of the 8th Army during the Polish campaign, states in part: 'The commander-in-chief of the army has ordered the working out of a plan of deployment against Poland which takes in account the demands of the political leadership for the opening of war by surprise and for quick success.

"The order of deployment by the High Command, 'Fall Weiss' authorizes the Third Army Group [in Fall Weiss, 8th Army Headquarters] to give necessary directions and orders to all commands subordinated to it for 'Fall Weiss'."


"The whole correspondence on 'Fall Weiss' has to be conducted under the classification Top Secret [Chefsache]. This is to be disregarded only if the content of a document, in the judgment of the chief of the responsible command is harmless in every way -- even in connection with other documents.

"For the middle of July a conference is planned where details on the execution will be discussed. Time and place will be ordered later on. Special requests are to be communicated to Third Army Group before 10 July.

"I declare it the duty of the Commanding Generals, the divisional commanders and the commandants to limit as much as possible the number of persons who will be informed, and to limit the extent of the information and ask that all suitable measures be taken to prevent persons not concerned from getting information.

"The Commander-in-Chief of Army Area Command

"(signed) F. Blaskowitz."

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"Aims of Operation 'Fall Weiss'

"1. a. The operation, in order to forestall an orderly Polish mobilization and concentration, is to be opened by surprise with forces which are for the most part armored and motorized, placed on alert in the neighborhood of the border. The initial superiority over the Polish frontier-guards and surprise that can be expected with certainty are to be maintained by quickly bringing up other parts of the army as well to counteract the marching up of the Polish Army.

"Accordingly all units have to keep the initiative against the foe by quick action and ruthless attacks." (2327-PS)

Finally, a week before the actual onslaught, when all the military plans have been laid, The General Staff and High Command Group all gathered in one place, in fact all in one room. On 23 August 1939 the Oberbefehlshaber assembled at Obersalzberg to hear Hitler's explanation of the timing of the attack, and to receive political and diplomatic orientation from the head of the State (798-PS). This speech, the second of the two examples referred to in the initial affidavits by Halder (3702-PS) and Brauchitsch (703-PS), was addressed to the very group defined in the indictment as the General Staff and High Command Group.

(d) The War Period, September 1939-June 1941: Norway Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, Greece. On 1 September 1939 Germany launched the war. Within a few weeks, and before any important action on the western front, Poland was overrun and conquered. German losses were insignificant.

The "three principal territorial questions" mentioned in the Blomberg (3704-PS) and Blaskowitz (3706-PS) affidavits had all been solved. The Rhineland had been reoccupied and fortified, Memel annexed, and the Polish Corridor annexed. And much more too. Austria had become a part of the Reich, and Czechoslovakia was occupied and a Protectorate of Germany. All of western Poland was in German hands. Germany was superior in arms, and in experience in their use, to her western enemies, France and England.

Then came the three years of the war1939, 1940, 1941 when German armed might swung like a great scythe from north to south to east. Italy, Rumania, Hungary, and Bulgaria had become German allies. Norway and Denmark; the Low Countries; France; Tripoli and Egypt; Yugoslavia and Greece; the western part of the Soviet Union -- all this territory was invaded and overrun.

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