The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Planning Of Aggression
(Part 1 of 2)

[LORD JUSTICE LAWRENCE, Member for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, continues]

[Page 14]

Evidence from captured documents has revealed that Hitler held four secret meetings to which the Tribunal proposes to make special reference because of the light they shed upon the question of the common plan and aggressive war.

These meetings took place on the 5th of November, 1937, 23rd May, 1939, the 22nd of August, 1939, and the 23rd of November, 1939.

At these meetings important declarations were made by Hitler as to his purposes, which are quite unmistakable in their terms.

The documents which record what took place at these meetings have been subject to some criticism at the hands of defending Counsel.

Their essential authenticity is not denied, but it is said, for example, that they do not purpose to be verbatim transcripts of the speeches they record, that the document dealing with the meeting on 5th November, 1937, was dated five days after the meeting had taken place, and that the two documents dealing with the meeting of 22nd August, 1939 differ from one another, and are unsigned.

Making the fullest allowance for criticism of this kind, the Tribunal is of opinion that the documents are documents of the highest value, and that their authenticity and substantial truth are established.

They are obviously careful records of the events they describe, and they have been preserved as such in the archives of the German Government, from whose custody they were captured. Such documents could never be dismissed as inventions, nor even as inaccurate or distorted; they plainly record events which actually took place.

[Page 15]


It will perhaps be useful to deal first of all with the meeting of 23rd November, 1939, when Hitler called his Supreme Commanders together. A record was made of what was said, by one of those present. At the date of the meeting, Austria and Czechoslovakia had been incorporated into the German Reich, Poland had been conquered by the German Armies, and the war with Great Britain and France was still in its static phase. The moment was opportune for a review of past events. Hitler informed the Commanders that the purpose of the Conference was to give them an idea of the world of his thoughts, and to tell them his decision. He thereupon reviewed his political task since 1919, and referred to the secession of Germany from the League of Nations, the denunciation of the Disarmament Conference, the order for re-armament, the introduction of compulsory armed service, the occupation of the Rhineland, the seizure of Austria, and the action against Czechoslovakia. He stated:

"One year later, Austria came; this step also was considered doubtful. It brought about a considerable reinforcement of the Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland. This step also was not possible to accomplish in one campaign. First of all, the western fortification had to be finished. It was not possible to reach the goal in one effort. It was clear to me from the first moment that I could not be satisfied with the Sudeten German territory. That was only a partial solution. The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed the erection of the Protectorate and with that the basis for the action against Poland was laid, but I wasn't quite clear at that time whether I should start first against the East and then in the West or vice versa .. Basically I did not organize the Armed Forces in order not to strike. The decision to strike was always in me. Earlier or later I wanted to solve the problem. Under pressure it was decided that the East was to be attacked first."

This address, reviewing past events and re-affirming the aggressive intentions present from the beginning, puts beyond any question of doubt the character of the actions against Austria and Czechoslovakia, and the war against Poland.

For they had all been accomplished according to plan; and the nature of that plan must now be examined in a little more detail.

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

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