The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Herman Wilhelm Goering
Part 4 of 11)

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A few weeks after the Munich agreement, on 14 October 1938, another conference was held in Goering's office. He began with the statement that Hitler had instructed him to organize a gigantic armament program which would make insignificant all previous achievements. He indicated that he had been ordered to build as rapidly as possible an air force five times as large, to increase the speed of Army and Navy armament, and to concentrate on offensive weapons, principally heavy artillery and heavy tanks. He then proposed a specific program designed to accomplish these ends. (1301-PS)

(e) Military Mobilization for War. In his dual role as Reich Air Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the German Air Force, it was Goering's function to develop the Luftwaffe to practical war strength. As early as March 1935 Goering frankly announced to world that he was in the process of building a true military air force:

"After the German government expressed willingness to help, it became necessary to make a clear demarcation within German aviation, namely in this respect: which air force will be able to be made available? This situation brought about the decision as to those of the German aviation who will in future belong to the Air Force and those who will in future remain in civil aviation or in sport aviation. It was necessary to mark this separation also outwardly, so that the members of the German Air Force became soldiers according to the law and their leaders became officers." (2292-PS)

Two months later, in a speech to 1,000 Air Force officers, Goering spoke in a still bolder vein:

"I repeat: I intend to create a Luftwaffe which, if the hour should strike, shall burst upon the foe like a chorus of revenge. The enemy must have a feeling of being lost already before even having fought ***"

In the same year, he signed his name to the Conscription Law which provided for compulsory military service and constituted an act of defiance on the part of Nazi Germany in violation of the Versailles Treaty. (1654-PS)

Goering's statements during this period left no doubt in the minds of Allied diplomats that Germany was engaged in full mobilization of air power for an impending war.

"Goering and Milch often said to me or in my presence that

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the Nazis had decided to concentrate on air power as the weapon of terror most likely to give Germany a dominant position and the weapon which could be developed the most rapidly and in the shortest time . . . High ranking Nazis with whom I had to maintain official contact, particularly men such as Goering, Goebbels, Ley, Frick, Frank, Darre and others, repeatedly scoffed at my position as to the binding character of treaties and openly stated to me that Germany would observe her international undertakings only so long as it suited Germany's interests to do so." (2385-PS)

(2) The Launching of Aggressive War. Goering was the central figure in the preparation of Germany for military aggression. In German economic development and military growth he held the key positions throughout the prewar period. Although he held no official position in the field of foreign affairs, Goering also figured prominently in all of the major phases of Nazi international aggression between 1937 and 1941. As "No. 2 Nazi" he was a leading participant in every major plan of territorial aggrandizement or offensive military strategy.

Goering was the prompter and director of the diplomatic tragicomedy leading to the Austrian Anschluss. In the middle of November 197, Mr. Bullitt, the American Ambassador to France, reported the following conversation with Goering:

"I asked Goering if he meant that Germany was absolutely determined to annex Austria to the Reich. He replied that this was an absolute determination of the German Government. The German Government at the present time was not pressing this matter because of certain momentary political considerations, especially in their relations with Italy; but Germany would tolerate no solution of the Austrian question other than the consolidation of Austria in the German Reich. He then added a statement which went further than any I have heard on this subject: He said, 'There are schemes being pushed now for a union of Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, either with or without a Hapsburg at the head of the unit. Such a solution is absolutely inacceptable to us, and for us the conclusion of such an agreement would be an immediate casus belli." (L- 151)

When the time came, on 11 March 1938, Goering was in complete command. Throughout the afternoon and evening of that day he directed by telephone the activities of Seyss- Inquart, also of Keppler, Ullrich, and the other Nazi operatives in Vienna. (2949-PS); the pertinent portions of these telephone conversations

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have already been referred to in Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression against Austria.)

In the late afternoon Goering gave the following order to Seyss-Inquart:

"Now, remember the following: You go immediately together with Lt. General Muff and tell the Federal President that if the conditions which are known to you are not accepted immediately, the troops who are already stationed in and advancing to the frontier will march in tonight along the whole line, and Austria will cease to exist." (2949-PS)

Early the same evening he dictated to Seyss-Inquart the telegram which the latter was to send to Berlin requesting the Nazi Government to send German troops to "prevent bloodshed" Two days later he was able to call Ribbentrop in London and say:

"Yes, the last march into the Rhineland is completely over-shadowed. The Fuehrer was deeply moved, when he talked to me last night. You must remember it was the first time that he saw his homeland again. Now, I merely want to talk about political things. Well, this story we have given an ultimatum, that is just foolish gossip." (2949-PS)

Goering played a similarly important role in the attack on .Czechoslovakia. In March of 1938, at the time of the Anschluss with Austria, he had given a solemn assurance to the Czechoslovakian Minister in Berlin that the developments in Austria would in no way have a detrimental influence on the relations between Germany and Czechoslovakia, and had emphasized the continued earnest endeavor on the part of Germany to improve these mutual relations. In this connection, Goering used the expression: "Ich gebe Ihnen mein Ehrenwort. (I give you my word of honor) " (TC-27). On the other hand, in his address to German airplane manufacturers on 8 July 1938, he made his private views on this subject clear:

"Beyond this they fear that once we have pocketed Czechoslovakia, we will attack Hungary, the Romanian oil wells, etc. Moreover, since there are democratic countries on the one hand, and authoritarian ones on the other, there is enough inflammable matter in the world anyway. When, how and where this inflammable matter will explode, no one among us can say. It may happen within some months, but it may also take some years. At present, the situation is this that Czechoslovakia has promised the Sudeten Germans to meet them half way. I am convinced that they will satisfy no more than some of their unimportant demands. Such action on their part would probably suit our policy best, since in

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this case we could put the entire responsibility on England because she has engaged herself so deeply in this business." (R-140)

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