The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Measures Of Rearmament
(Part 1 of 2)

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

[Page 10]

During the years immediately following Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, the Nazi Government set about re-organizing the economic life of Germany, and in particular the armament industry. This was done on a vast scale and with extreme thoroughness.

It was necessary to lay a secure financial foundation for the building of armaments, and in April, 1936, the Defendant Goering was appointed coordinator for raw materials and foreign exchange, and empowered to supervise all State and Party activities in these fields. In this capacity he brought together the War Minister, the Minister of Economics, the Reich Finance Minister, the President of the Reichsbank and the Prussian Finance Minister to discuss problems connected with war mobilization, and on 27th May, 1936, in addressing these men, Goering opposed any financial limitation of war production and added that "all measures are to be considered from the standpoint of an assured waging of war. " At the Party Rally in Nuremberg in 1936, Hitler announced the establishment of the Four Year Plan and the appointment of Goering as the Plenipotentiary in charge. Goering was already engaged in building a strong air force and on 8th July, 1938 he announced to a number of leading German aircraft manufacturers that the German Air Force was already superior in quality and quantity to the English. On 14th October, 1938, at another conference, Goering announced that Hitler had instructed him to organize a gigantic armament program, which would make insignificant all previous achievements. He said that he had been ordered to build as rapidly as possible an air force five times as large as originally planned, to increase the speed of the rearmament of the navy and army, and to concentrate on offensive weapons, principally heavy artillery and heavy tanks. He then laid down a specific program designed to accomplish these ends. The extent to which rearmament had been accomplished was stated by Hitler in his memorandum of 9th October, 1939, after the campaign in Poland. He said:

"The military application of our people's strength has been carried through to such an extent that within a short time at any rate it cannot be markedly improved upon by any manner of effort ..

"The warlike equipment of the German people is at present larger in quantity and better in quality for a greater number of German divisions than in the year 1914. The weapons themselves, taking a substantial cross-section, are more modern than is the case of any other country in the world at this time. They have just proved their supreme war worthiness in their victorious campaign .. There is no evidence available to show that any country in the world disposes of a better total ammunition stock than the Reich .. The A. A. artillery is not equalled by any country in the world. "

In this reorganisation of the economic life of Germany for military purposes, the Nazi Government found the German armament industry quite willing to cooperate, and to play its part in the rearmament program. In April, 1933, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen submitted to Hitler on behalf of the

[Page 11]

Reich Association of German Industry a plan for the reorganisation of German industry, which he stated was characterized by the desire to coordinate economic measures and political necessity. In the plan itself Krupp stated that "the turn of political events is in line with the wishes which I myself and the board of directors have cherished for a long time. " What Krupp meant by this statement is fully shown by the draft text of a speech which he planned to deliver in the University of Berlin in January, 1944, though the speech was in fact never delivered. Referring to the years 1919 to1933, Krupp wrote: "It is the one great merit of the entire German war economy that it did not remain idle during those bad years, even though its activity could not be brought to light, for obvious reasons. Through years of secret work, scientific and basic groundwork was laid in order to be ready again to work for the German armed forces at the appointed hour, without loss of time or experience .. Only through the secret activity of German enterprise together with the experience gained meanwhile through the production of peace time goods was it possible after 1933, to fall into step with the new tasks arrived at, restoring Germany's military power. "

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