The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
November 20 to December 1, 1945

Fifth Day: Monday, 26rd November, 1945
(Part 2 of 7)

[Page 155]

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

There is attached thereto, if the Tribunal please, the statute referred to as the Reich Defence Law of 21st May, 1935, or rather it was enacted by the Reich Cabinet, and it starts with the statement:

"The Reich Cabinet has enacted the following law that is hereby made public."
There follows a law in detail covering preparations for state of defence, mobilisation, appointment of this plenipotentiary-general for war economy, with plenipotentiary authority for the economic preparation of the war, and a Part III providing for setting of penalties.

The law is signed "The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler; the Reich Minister of War, von Blomberg; the Reich Minister of the Interior,

[Page 156]

Frick," one of the defendants. And at the bottom of it there is this note. That is on Sheet 4 of the original German, I think:
"Note on the law for the Defence of the Reich of 21st May, 1935.

The publication of the Law for the Defence of the Reich on 21st May, 1935, will be suspended. The law became effective 21st May, 1935.

The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler."

So that although the publication itself stated the law was made public, the publication was suspended by Adolf Hitler; although the law became effective immediately.

There is further attached a copy of the decision of the Reich Cabinet Of 21st May, 1935, on the Council for the Defence of the Realm which deals largely with organisation for economic preparation for the war and which I think was disclosed by my colleague, Mr. Dodd, last week.

There can be no question that this law Of 21st May, 1935, was the corner-stone of war preparations of the Nazi conspirators. The relationship of the defendant Schacht to this preparation is made transparently clear by this captured document.

So much, for the time being, on the preparatory phase of the conspiracy, 1933 to 1936.

As indicated earlier, the next phase of aggression was the formulation and execution of plans to attack Austria and Czechoslovakia, in that order. This is the phase of the aggression covered by paragraphs 3(a), (b), and (c) of Section IV (F) of the Indictment appearing at pages seven to eight of the printed English Text.

One of the most striking and revealing of all the captured documents which have come to hand is a document which we have come to know as the Hoszbach notes of a conference in the Reich Chancellery On 5th November, 1937, from 16.15 to 20-30 hours, in the course of which Hitler outlined to those present the possibilities and necessities of expanding their foreign policy, and requested - I quote, - "That his statements be looked upon in the case of his death as his last will and testament." And so with this document we shall present to the Tribunal and to the public the last will and testament of Adolf Hitler as he contemplated that last will and testament on 5th November, 1937. The document comes to hand through the United States Department of State of the United States. It is numbered document 386-PS in our series of numbered documents. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 25.

Before reading it, I note at the start that the recorder of the minutes of this meeting, then Colonel Hoszbach, was the Fuehrer's adjutant. I note also the presence in this conspiratorial meeting of the defendant Erich Raeder. The defendant Constantin von Neurath was present. The defendant Hermann Wilhelm Goering was present. The minutes of this meeting reveal a crystallisation towards the end of 1937 in the policy of the Nazi regime. Austria and Czechoslovakia were to be acquired by force. They would provide Lebensraum (living space) and improve Germany's military position for further operations. While it is true that actual events unfolded themselves in a somewhat different manner than that outlined at this meeting, in essence the purposes stated at the meeting were carried out. The document destroys any possible doubt concerning the Nazis' premeditation of their crimes against peace. This document is of such tremendous importance that I feel obliged to read it in full into the record.

"Berlin, 10th November, 1937. Notes on the conference in the Reichrkanzlei on 5th November, 1937, from 16.15 to 20.30 hours.
Present: The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor;
The Reich Minister for War, Generalfeldmarschall v. Blomberg;
The C.-in-C. Army, Generaloberst Freiherr von Fritsch;
The C.-in-C. Navy, Generaladmiral Dr. H. C. Raeder;
The C.-in-C. Luftwaffe, Generaloberst Goering;
The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs Freiherr v. Neurath;
Oberst Hoszbach (the adjutant who took the minutes)."

[Page 157]

The Fuehrer stated initially that the subject matter of today's conference was of such high importance that its detailed discussion would certainly in other States take place before the Cabinet in full session. However, he, the Fuehrer, had decided not to discuss this matter in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet, because of its importance. His subsequent statements were the result of detailed deliberations and of the experiences of his four and a half years in government; he desired to explain to those present his fundamental ideas on the possibilities and necessities of expanding their foreign policy, and in the interests of a far-sighted policy he requested that his statements be looked upon, in the case of his death, as his last will and testament.

The Fuehrer then went on: "The aim of German policy is the security and the preservation of the nation and its propagation. This is consequently a problem of space. The German nation comprises eighty-five million people, which, because of the number of individuals and the compactness of habitation, form a homogeneous European racial body, the like of which cannot be found in any other country. On the other hand it justifies the demand for larger living space more than for any other nation. If there have been no political measures to meet the demands of this racial body for living space, then that is the result of historical development spread over several centuries, and should this political condition continue to exist, it will represent the greatest danger to the preservation of the German nation (the German word used there is not "nation"; it is " Volkstum ") at its present high level. An arrest of the deterioration of the German element in Austria and in Czechoslovakia is just as little possible as the preservation of the present state in Germany itself."

I interpolate that I can but think that this is not a good translation of the German because to me the sentence seems meaningless.
"Instead of growth, sterility will be introduced, and as a consequence tensions of a social nature will appear after a number of years, because political and philosophical ideas are of a permanent nature only as long as they are able to produce the basis for the realisation of the actual claim of the existence of a nation. The German future is therefore dependent exclusively on the solution of the need for living space. Such a solution can be sought naturally only for a limited period, about one to three generations.

Before touching upon the question of solving the need for living space, it must be decided whether a solution of the German position with a good future can be attained, either by way of an autarchy or by way of an increased share in universal commerce and industry.

Autarchy: Execution will be possible only with strict National-Socialist State policy, which is the basis; (that is the basis of autarchy) assuming this can be achieved, the results are as follows:

A. In the sphere of raw materials, only limited, but not total autarchy can be attained:

1. Wherever coal can be used for the extraction of raw materials autarchy is feasible.

2. In the case of ores the position is much more difficult. Requirements in iron and light metals can be covered by ourselves. Copper and tin, however, cannot.

3. Cellular materials can be covered by ourselves as long as sufficient wood supplies exist. A permanent solution is not possible.

4. Edible fats - possible.

B. In the case of foods, the question of an autarchy must be answered with a definite capital NO. The general increase of living standards, compared with thirty to forty years ago, brought about a simultaneous increase of the demand and an increase of personal consumption among the producers, the farmers themselves. The proceeds

[Page 158]

from the production increases in agriculture have been used for covering the increased demand, therefore they represent no absolute increase in production. A further increase in production by making greater demands on the soil is not possible, because it already shows signs of deterioration due to the use of artificial fertilisers, and it is therefore certain that, even with the greatest possible increase in production, participation in the world market could not be avoided."
I interpolate, that if I understand him he means by that "no autarchy; we must participate in world trade and commerce."

The considerable expenditure Of foreign currency to secure food by import, even in periods when harvests are good, increases catastrophically when the harvest is really poor. The possibility of this catastrophe increases correspondingly to the increase in population, and the annual 560,000 excess in births would bring about an increased consumption in bread, because the child is a greater bread eater than the adult.

Permanently to counter the difficulties of food supplies by lowering the standard of living and by rationalisation is impossible in a continent which has developed an approximately equivalent standard of living. As the solving of the unemployment problem has brought into effect the complete power of consumption, some small corrections in our agricultural home production will be possible, but not a wholesale alteration of the standard of food consumption. Consequently autarchy becomes impossible, specifically in the sphere of food supplies, as well as generally.

Participation in world economy. There are limits to this which we are unable to transgress. The market fluctuation would be an obstacle to a secure foundation of the German position; international commercial agreements do not offer any guarantee for practical execution. It must be considered on principle that since the World War (1914-18), an industrialisation has taken place in countries which formerly exported food. We live in a period of economic empires, in which the tendency to colonies again, approaches the condition which originally motivated colonisation; in Japan and Italy economic motives are the basis of their will to expand, and economic need will also drive Germany to it. Countries outside the great economic empires have special difficulties in expanding economically.

The upward tendency, which has been caused in world economy, due to armament competition, can never form a permanent basis for an economic settlement, and this latter is also hampered by the economic disruption caused by Bolshevism. There is a pronounced military weakness in those States which base their existence on export. As our exports and imports are carried out over those sea lanes which are dominated by Britain, it is rather a question of security of transport than one of foreign currency and this explains the great weakness of our food situation in wartime. The only way out, and one which may appear imaginary, is the securing of greater living space, an endeavour which at all times has been the cause of the formation of States and of movements of nations. It is explicable that this tendency finds no interest in Geneva and in satisfied States. Should the security of our food situation be our foremost thought, then the space required for this can only be sought in Europe, but we will not copy liberal capitalist policies which rely on exploiting colonies. It is not a case of conquering people, but of conquering agriculturally useful space. It would also be more to the purpose to seek raw material- producing territory in Europe directly adjoining the Reich and not overseas, and this solution would have to be brought into effect for one or two generations. What would be required at a later date over and above this must be left to subsequent generations. The development of great world-wide national bodies is naturally a slow process and the German people, with its strong racial root" - I interpolate, there is a German word "Volkstamm", racial root - "has for this purpose the most favourable foundations in the heart of the European Continent. The history of all times - Roman Empire, British Empire - has proved that every space expansion can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable; neither formerly nor today has

[Page 159]

space been found without an owner; the attacker always comes up against the proprietor."

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, after the somewhat jumbled discussion, which I have just read, of geopolitical economic theory and of the need for expansion and "Lebensraum," Adolf Hitler, in these Hoszbach notes, posed the question:

"The question for Germany is where the greatest possible conquest could be made at lowest cost.

German politics must reckon with its two hateful enemies, England and France, to whom a strong German colossus in the centre of Europe would be intolerable. Both these States would oppose a further reinforcement of Germany, both in Europe and overseas, and in this opposition they would have the support of all parties.

Both countries would view the building of German military strong points overseas as a threat to their overseas communications, as a security measure for German commerce, and retrospectively a strengthening of the German position in Europe.

England is not in a position to cede any of her colonial possessions to us owing to the resistance which she experiences in the Dominions. After the loss of prestige which England has suffered owing to the transfer of Abyssinia to Italian ownership, a return of East Africa can no longer be expected. Any resistance on England's part would at best consist in the readiness to satisfy our colonial claims by taking away colonies which at the present moment are not in British hands, for example, Angola. French favours would probably be of the same nature.

A serious discussion regarding the return of colonies to us could be considered only at a time when England is in a state of emergency and the German Reich is strong and well armed. The Fuehrer does not share the opinion that the Empire is unshakeable."

Meaning, I take it, the British Empire.
"Resistance against the Empire is to be found less in conquered territories than amongst its competitors. The British Empire and the Roman Empire cannot be compared with one another in regard to durability; after the Punic Wars the latter did not have a serious political enemy. Only the dissolving effects which originated in Christendom, and the signs of age which, creep into all States, made it possible for the ancient Germans to subjugate ancient Rome.

Alongside the British Empire today a number of States exist which are stronger than it. The British mother country is able to defend its colonial possession only when allied with other States and not by its own power. Now could England alone, for example, defend Canada against attack by America, or its Far Eastern interests against an attack by Japan?

The singling out of the British Crown as the bearer of Empire unity is in itself an admission that the Universal Empire cannot be maintained permanently by power politics. The following are significant pointers in this respect:

(a) Ireland's struggle for independence.

(b) Constitutional disputes in India where England, by her half measures, left the door open for Indians, at a later date, to utilise the non- fulfilment of constitutional promises as a weapon against Britain.

(c) The weakening of the British position in the Far East by Japan.

(d) The opposition in the Mediterranean by Italy which - by virtue of its history, driven by necessity and led by a genius - expands its power position and must consequently infringe British interests to an increasing extent. The outcome of the Abyssinian War is a loss of prestige for Britain which Italy is endeavouring to increase by stirring up discontent in the Mohammedan World.

[Page 160]

It must be established in conclusion that the Empire cannot he held permanently by power politics by 45 million Britons, in spite of all the solidity of their ideals. The proportion of the populations in the Empire, compared with that of the motherland, is nine to one, and it should act as a warning to us that if we expand in space, we must not allow the level of our population to become too low."
I take it he meant by that: "Keep the population of occupied territories low in comparison with ours."
"France's position is more favourable than that of England. The French Empire is better placed geographically; the population of its colonial possessions represents a potential military increase. But France is faced with difficulties of internal politics. At the present time only 10 per cent approximately of the nations have parliamentary governments, whereas 90 per cent of them have totalitarian governments. Nevertheless, we have to take the following into our political consideration as power factors:

Britain, France, Russia, and the adjoining smaller States.

The German question can be solved only by way of force, and this is never without risk. The battles of Frederick the Great for Silesia, and Bismarck's wars against Austria and France had been a tremendous risk and the speed of Prussian action in 1870 had prevented Austria from participating in the war. If we place the decision to apply force with risk at the head of the following expositions, then we are left to reply to the questions 'when' and 'how'. In this regard we have to decide upon three different cases."

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