The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fourth Day: Friday, 23rd November, 1945
(Part 6 of 7)

MR. DODD: The sixth paragraph on the first page: "Existing reserves will have to be touched for the purpose of carrying through over this difficulty until the goal ordered by the Fuehrer has been reached, and then in the case of war, they are not a reliable backing in any case." And on the second page, the eighth paragraph down: "If war should break out to- morrow, we would be forced to take measures from which we might possibly still find a way at the present moment. They are therefore to be taken." With reference to the assertion that the defendant Schacht was advised that Hitler ordered that all formations of the Air Force be ready by 1st April, 1937, I respectfully refer to document 1301-PS, dated 31st August, 1936. 1 am advised that the document should bear an additional number. It should read 1301-PS-7. On the first page, if your Honour pleases, the third paragraph, or the paragraph marked 3 and after the words "air force"--

THE PRESIDENT: The third page?

MR. DODD: No, on the first page, 1301-PS-7. In your folio, it is page 19 of the group of documents bearing the serial number 1301-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Our documents are not paged.

MR. DODD: I think you will find the number on the upper left- hand corner, very near to the top and at the extreme left.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I've got this document now.

MR. DODD: Paragraph No. 3 after the words "air force."


MR. DODD: It states that according to an order of the Fuehrer, the setting up if all air force units had to be completed on 1st April, 1937; and if your Honour will turn the page, page 20, about midway in the page, you will observe that a copy of this document was sent to the president of the Reichsbank, Dr. Schacht.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, what are you passing to now?

MR. DODD: I am passing to another document immediately, your Honour. After their successes in Austria and in the Sudetenland, the Nazi conspirators redoubled their efforts to equip themselves for the war of aggression, and in a conference on 14th October, 1938, shortly before the Nazi conspirators made their first demands on Poland, the defendant Goering stated that, "The Fuehrer had instructed him to carry out a gigantic programme, by comparison with which

[Page 140]

the performances thus far were insignificant. These difficulties must be overcome with the greatest energy and ruthlessness." And that statement may be found in the document 1301-PS, on page 25 of that document, and particularly the second sentence of the opening paragraph: "Everybody knows from the Press what the world situation looks like, and therefore the Fuehrer has issued an order to him-"

THE PRESIDENT: That's not on page 25, is it? Is that on page 25 of 1301 ?

MR. DODD: Yes, your Honour.



"Everybody knows from the Press what the world situation looks like, and therefore the Fuehrer has issued an order to him to carry out a gigantic programme compared to which previous achievements are insignificant. There are difficulties in the way which he will overcome with the utmost energy and ruthlessness."
The supply of foreign currency had shrunk because of preparations for the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and it was considered necessary to replenish it. These - and I am now referring to the third paragraph of that same page 25 of document 1301-PS - "these gains made through export are to be used for an increased armament. The armament should not be curtailed by the export activities." He received the order from the Fuehrer to increase the armament to an abnormal extent, the Air Force having first priority. " Within the shortest time, the Air Force should be increased five-fold; also the Navy should create war weapons more rapidly, and the Army should procure large amounts of war weapons at a faster rate, particularly heavy artillery and heavy tanks. Along with this manufacture of armaments a larger production of armament, especially fuel, rubber, powders and explosives must be moved to the foreground. This should be coupled with an accelerated expansion of highways, canals, and particularly of the railroads."

In the course of these preparations for war, a clash of wills ensued between two men, the defendant Goering and the defendant Schacht, as a result of which the defendant Schacht resigned his position as head of the Ministry of Economics and Plenipotentiary for the War Economy in November of 1937 and was removed from the presidency of the Reichsbank in January of 1939, I do not propose, at this moment, to go into the details of this controversy. There will be more said on that subject at a later stage in these proceedings, but for the present, I should like to have it noted that it is our contention that Schacht's departure in no way implied any disagreement with the major war aims of the Nazis. The defendant Schacht took particular pride in his vast attainments in the financial and economic fields in aid of the Nazi war machine. And in the document EC-257, which is a copy of a letter from the defendant Schacht to General Thomas, in the first paragraph of the letter, he wrote, "I think back with much satisfaction to the work in the rearmament of the German people as 'conditio sine qua non' of the establishment of a new German nation." The second paragraph is of a more personal nature. It has no real bearing on the issues before us at this time.

In the document EC-252, a letter written to General von Blomberg, dated 8th July, 1937, the defendant Schacht wrote,

"The direction of the war economy by the plenipotentiary would in that event never take place entirely independent of the rest of the war mechanism, but would be aimed at an accomplishment of the political war purpose with the assistance of all economic forces. I am entirely willing, therefore, to participate in this way in the preparation of the forthcoming order giving effect to the Defence Act."
In the spring of 1937, the defendant Schacht participated with representatives of the three branches of the Armed Forces in war games in war economy which is probably something new by way - or was something new by way of military exercises. The war games in war economy were held at Godesberg, Germany.

[Page 141]

And I refer to the document EC-174. It has as a heading, or subheading, under the summary, "War economy tasks in Godesberg undertaken by General Staff between 25th May and 2nd June," and it goes on to outline, in some slight detail, that there was a welcome to the General Staff war economy trip. It tells something in a rather vague and not altogether clear way of just how a war game in war economy was conducted, but it leaves no doubt in the mind that such a war game in war economy had been conducted at Godesberg at that time. And on the second page of this document, the last paragraph, is the translation of Part 1 of the speech welcoming Dr. Schacht. It says: "Before I start with the discussion of the war game in war economy, I have to express how grateful we all are that you, President Dr. Schacht, have gone to the trouble to personally participate in our final discussion to-day despite all your other activities. This proves to us your deep interest in war economy tasks shown at all times, and your presence is renewed proof that you are willing to facilitate for us the difficult war economic preparations and to strengthen the harmonious co- operation with your offices."

I should also like to call the Court's attention to the next, to the last paragraph, on the first page. It is a one- sentence paragraph, and it simply says, "I want to point out, however, that all material and all information received has to be kept in strict secrecy," and it refers to the preceding paragraph concerning the war games in war economy.

It appears that the annexation of Austria was a goal which the defendant Schacht had long sought, for in a speech to the employees of the former Austrian National Bank, as set out in the document bearing the label EC-297, and particularly the second paragraph of the first page of that document, nearly at the end, four or five lines from the end of that paragraph, we find these words, immediately after "large applause": " Austria has certainly a great mission, namely, to be the bearer of German culture, to ensure respect and regard for the German name, especially in the direction of the South-east. Such a mission can only be performed within the Great German Reich and based on the power of a nation of 75,000,000, which, regardless of the wish of the opponents, forms the heart and the soul of Europe." Dr. Schacht goes on to say, "We have read a lot in the foreign Press during the last few days that this aim, the union of both countries, was to a certain degree justified, but that the method of effecting this union was terrible. This method, which certainly did not suit one or the other power, was nothing but the consequence of countless perfidies and brutal acts and violence which foreign countries have practised against us." And I refer now to page 3 of this same document and to the fourth paragraph, about the centre of the page, and reading from it: "I am known for sometimes expressing thoughts which give offence and there I would not like to depart from this consideration. I know that there are even here, in this country, a few people - I believe they arc not too numerous- who find fault with the events of the last few days; but nobody, I believe, doubts the goal, and it should be said to all grumblers that you can't satisfy everybody. One person says he would have done it maybe one way, but the remarkable thing is that they did not do it, and that it was only done by our Adolf Hitler; and if there is still something left to be improved, then those grumblers should try to bring about these improvements from the German Reich, and within the German community, but not to disturb us from without."

In the memorandum of 7th January, 1939, written by the defendant Schacht and other directors of the Reichsbank to Hitler, urging a balancing of the budget in view of the threatening danger of inflation, it was stated, and I now refer to the document bearing the label EC-369 and particularly to the paragraph at the bottom of the first page of that document: "From the beginning the Reichsbank has been aware of the fact that a successful foreign policy can be attained only

[Page 142]

by the reconstruction of the German Armed Forces. It (the Reichsbank) therefore assumed to a very great extent the responsibility of financing the rearmament in spite of the inherent dangers to the currency. The justification therefore was the necessity, which pushed all other considerations into the background, to carry through the armament at once, out of nothing, and furthermore under camouflage, which made a respect-commanding foreign policy possible."

The Reichsbank directors, as experts on money, believed that a point had been reached where greater production of armaments was no longer possible. That was merely a judgement on the situation and not a moral principle, for there was no opposition to Hitler's policy of aggression. Doubts were entertained as to whether he could finance that policy. Hitler's letter to Schacht on the occasion of Schacht's departure from the Reichsbank, as contained in document EC-397, paid high tribute to Schacht's great efforts in furthering the programme of the Nazi conspirators. The armed forces by now had enabled Hitler to take Austria and the Sudetenland. We say Schacht's task up to that point had been well done. And to quote from document EC-397, in the words of Hitler, in a letter which he wrote to the defendant Schacht, "Your name, above all, will always be connected with the first epoch of the national rearmament."

Even though dismissed from the presidency of the Reichsbank, Schacht was retained as a minister without portfolio and special confidential adviser to Hitler. The defendant Funk stepped into Schacht's position as president of the Reichsbank. And I ask at this point that the Court might take judicial notice of the Volkischer Beobachter Of 21St January, 1939. The defendant Funk was completely uninhibited by fears of inflation, for like Goering, under whom he had served in the Four-Year Plan, he recognised no obstacles to the plan to attack Poland.

In document 699-PS, a letter from the defendant Funk to Hitler, written on 25th August, 1939, only a few days before the attack on Poland, the defendant Funk reported to Hitler that the Reichsbank was prepared to withstand any disturbances of the international currency and credit system occasioned by a large-scale war. He said that he had secretly transferred all available funds of the Reichsbank abroad into gold, and that Germany stood ready to meet the financial and economic tasks which lay ahead.

And it seems plain and clear from the writings, from the acts, from the speeches of the Nazi conspirators themselves, that they did in fact direct the whole of the German economy toward preparation for aggressive war. To paraphrase the words the defendant Goering once used, the conspirators gave the German people "guns instead of butter " and they also gave - we say, they also gave history its most striking example of a nation gearing itself in time of peace to the single purpose of aggressive war. Their economic preparations, formulated and applied with the ruthless energy of Goering, the cynical financial wizardry of the defendant Schacht, and the willing complicity of Funk, among others, were the indispensable first act in the heart- breaking tragedy which their aggression inflicted upon the world.

I should like to offer, if I may at this time, your Honour, those documents which I have referred to in the course of this discussion. We have here the original documents in the folders, and they compare with the translations which have been submitted to the court.

THE PRESIDENT: Have the defendants had the opportunity of inspecting these documents?

MR. DODD: I doubt that they have had full opportunity to inspect them, your Honour. The documents are there, but I don't think they have had the opportunity to inspect them because they haven't been there long enough for that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal - I think that they should be given full opportunity of inspecting them and comparing them with the copies which have been submitted to us before the originals are put in.

[Page 143]

MR. DODD: Very well, your Honour. We may offer these later, as I understand?

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly. The Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

(Whereupon the Court, at l5.25 o'clock, recessed for ten minutes.)

COLONEL STOREY: May it please the Tribunal:

The United States Prosecution now passes into the aggressive war phase of the case and it will be presented by Mr. Alderman.

MR. SIDNEY S. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal:

I rise to present on behalf of the United States Chief of Counsel, evidence to support the allegation of Count 1 of the Indictment relating to the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging of illegal and aggressive war, and relating to the conspiracy to commit that crime.

The aggressive war phase of the case, the aggressive war phase of the conspiracy case under Count 1, and the aggressive war phase of the entire case is really, we think, the heart of the case. If we did not reach it in our presentation we would not reach the heart of the case. If we did not present it to the Tribunal in the necessary detail, we would fail to present what is necessary to the heart of the case.

After all, everything else in this case, however dramatic, however sordid, however shocking and revolting to the common instinct of civilised peoples, is incidental to, or subordinate to, the aggressive war aspect of the case.

All the dramatic story of what went on in Germany in the early phases of the conspiracy, the ideologies used, the technics of terror used, the suppressions of human freedom employed in the seizure of power, and even the concentration camps and the Crimes against Humanity, the persecutions, tortures and murders committed, all of these things would have had little juridical international significance except for the fact that they were the preparation for the commission of aggressions against peaceful neighbouring peoples.

Even the aspects of the case involving War Crimes in the strict sense are aspects which are merely the inevitable, proximate result of the wars of aggression launched and waged by these conspirators, and of the kind of warfare they waged, that is total war, the natural result of the totalitarian party-dominated State that waged it, and atrocious war, the natural result of the atrocious doctrines, designs and purposes of these war-makers.

For these reasons, I repeat, that in our view the phases of the case dealing with territorial gains acquired by threats of force and with actual aggressions and aggressive wars, constitute the real heart of the case. Accordingly, we ask the indulgence of the Tribunal if for these reasons we may make the presentation of this part of the case as detailed as seems to us necessary in view of the outstanding importance of the subject matter.

The general scope of the case to be presented by the American prosecution has been stated in the opening address of Mr. Justice Jackson. That address indicated to the Tribunal the general nature and character of the evidence to be offered by the American prosecution in support of the allegations with which I shall deal. However, before approaching the actual presentation of that evidence, it seems to us it would be helpful to an orderly presentation of the case, to address the Tribunal in an introductory way concerning this specific segment of the prosecution's case. In doing so, I shall not attempt to retrace the ground so ably covered by Mr. Justice Jackson. On the contrary, I shall confine my introductory remarks to matters specifically and peculiarly applicable to that part of the American case relating to the crime of illegal warfare, and the Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit that crime.

The substantive rule of law which must guide the considerations of the Tribunal on this aspect of the case, and the rule of law which must be controlling in the final judgement of the Tribunal on this part of the case, is stated in Article 6 of the

[Page 144]

Charter of the International Military Tribunal. Article 6, so far as is pertinent here, reads as follows:-
"Article 6. The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial and punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis countries shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests of the European Axis countries, either as individuals or as members of organisations, committed any of the following crimes.

The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility.

(a) Crimes Against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing; "

Sub-paragraph's (b) and (c) of Article 6 are not pertinent to this aspect of the case. However, the unnumbered final paragraph of Article 6 is of controlling importance on this aspect of the case. That paragraph reads:-
"Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan."
In receiving evidence on this aspect of the case I would request the Tribunal to have in mind five principles derived from the portions of the Charter I have just read:
(1) The Charter imposes "individual responsibility" for acts constituting "Crimes against Peace;"
(2) The term "Crimes against Peace" embraces planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of illegal war;
(3) The term "Crimes against Peace" also embraces participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit illegal war;
(4) an illegal war consists of either a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.

These two kinds of illegal war might not necessarily be the same. It will be sufficient for the prosecution to show that the war was aggressive, irrespective of breach of international treaties, agreements or assurances. On the other hand it would be sufficient for the prosecution to show that the war was in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances irrespective of whether or not it was a war of aggression. We think the evidence in this case will establish conclusively that the wars planned, prepared, initiated, and waged by these defendants, and the wars which were the object of their Common Plan and Conspiracy, were illegal for both reasons. The fifth principle which I ask you to bear in mind, is that individual criminal responsibility of a defendant is imposed by the Charter not merely by reasons of direct, immediate participation in the crime. It is sufficient for the prosecution to show that a defendant was a leader, an organiser, instigator, or accomplice who participated either in the formulation or in the execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy to commit Crimes against Peace. In the case of many of the defendants the evidence will show direct and immediate personal participation in the substantive crime itself. In the case of some of the defendants the evidence goes to their participation in the formulation and execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy. In the case of each defendant we think the evidence will establish full individual responsibility for Crimes against Peace, as defined in the Charter of this Tribunal. In this connection I wish to emphasise that the Charter declares that the responsibility of conspirators extends not only to their own acts, but also to all acts performed by any persons in execution of the Conspiracy.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.