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 6 of 7)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 172]

Further favourable factors for us are these:

Since Albania, there is an equilibrium of power in the Balkans. Yugoslavia carries the germ of collapse because of her internal situation.

Roumania did not grow stronger. She is liable to attack and vulnerable. She is threatened by Hungary and Bulgaria. Since Kemal's death, Turkey has been ruled by small minds, unsteady weak men.

[Page 173]

All these fortunate circumstances will no longer prevail in two or three years.

No one knows how long I shall live. Therefore conflict is better now.

The creation of Greater Germany was a great achievement politically, but militarily it was questionable, since it was achieved through a bluff of the political leaders. It is necessary to test the military, if at all possible, not by general settlement, but by solving individual tasks.

Relations with Poland have become unbearable. My Polish policy hitherto has been contrary to the ideas of the people. My propositions to Poland, the Danzig corridor, were disturbed by England's intervention. Poland changed her tune towards us. The initiative cannot be allowed to pass to the others. The time is more favourable today than it will be in two to three years. An attempt on my life or Mussolini's would change the situation to our disadvantage. One cannot eternally stand opposite another with rifle cocked. A suggested compromise would have demanded that we change our convictions and make agreeable gestures. They talked to us again in the language of Versailles. There was danger of losing prestige. Now the probability is still great that the West will not interfere. We must accept the risk with reckless resolution. A politician must accept a risk as much as a military leader. We are facing the alternative to strike or to be destroyed with certainty sooner or later."

We skip a paragraph, two paragraphs.
"Now it is also a great risk. Iron nerves, iron resolution." A long discussion follows which I think it is unnecessary to read, and then towards the end, four paragraphs from the bottom, I resume: "We need not be afraid of a blockade. The East will supply us with grain, cattle, coal, lead and zinc. It is a big aim which demands great efforts. I am only afraid that at the last minute some 'Schweinehund' will make a proposal for mediation." And then the last paragraph of one sentence: "Goering answers with thanks to the Fuehrer and the assurance that the Armed Forces will do their duty."
I believe I have already offered exhibit USA 30, which is a shorter note entitled, "Second Speech of the Fuehrer on 22nd August, 1939." Reading, then, from that exhibit headed "Second Speech of the Fuehrer on 22nd August, 1939:
"It may also turn out differently regarding England and France. One cannot predict it with certainty. I figure on a trade barrier, not on blockade, and with severance of relations. Most iron determination on our side. Retreat before nothing. Everybody will have to make a point of it that we were determined from the beginning to fight the Western Powers. A struggle for life or death. Germany has won every war as long as she was united. Iron, unflinching attitude of all superiors, greatest confidence, faith in victory, overcoming of the past by getting used to the heaviest strain. A long period of peace would not do us any good. Therefore it is necessary to expect everything. Manly bearing. It is not machines that fight each other, but men. We have the better quality of men. Mental factors are decisive. The opposite camp has weaker people. In 1918 the nation fell down because the mental pre-requisites were not sufficient. Frederic the Great secured final success only through his mental power.

Destruction of Poland in the foreground. The aim is the elimination of living forces, not the arrival at a certain line. Even if war should break out in the West, the destruction of Poland shall be the primary objective. Quick decision because of the season.

I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war, never mind whether it be plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, whether we told the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not the Right is what matters, but Victory.

Have no pity. Brutal attitude. Eighty million people shall get what is their right. Their existence has to be secured. The strongest has the right. Greatest severity.

[Page 174]

Quick decision necessary. Unshakeable faith in the German soldier. A crisis may happen only if the nerves of the leaders give way.

First aim: advance to the Vistula and Narew. Our technical superiority will break the nerves of the Poles. Every newly created Polish force shall again be broken at once. Constant war of attrition.

New German frontier according to healthy principle. Possibly a protectorate as a buffer. Military operations shall not be influenced by these reflections. Complete destruction of Poland is the military aim. To be fast is the main thing. Pursuit until complete elimination.

Conviction that the German Wehrmacht is up to the requirements. The start shall be ordered, probably by Saturday morning."

That ends the quotation. The Tribunal will recall that in fact the start was actually postponed until 1st September.

DR. STAHMER (Counsel for defendant Goering): I should like to make a statement or explanation of the last two documents read. Both these, as well as the third that was not read, but which was taken into consideration, are not recognised by the defence. In order to avoid the appearance that this objection has been raised without due reason, I should like to justify it as follows:

Both the documents that were read contain a number of factual mistakes. They are not signed. Moreover, only one meeting took place, and that is where the documents lack precision. No one it, that meeting was commissioned with taking down stenographically the events in the meeting, and since all signatures are lacking, it cannot be determined who wrote them or who is responsible for their reliability. The third document that was not read is, according to the photostatic copy in the defence's document room, simply written by typewriter. There is no indication of place nor of time.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have got nothing to do with the third document, because it has not been read.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, this document has nevertheless been published in the Press and was apparently given to the Press by the prosecution. Both the defence and the defendants have consequently a lively interest in giving a short explanation of the facts concerning this document.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is trying this case in accordance with the evidence and not in accordance with what is in the Press, and the third document is not in evidence before us.

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I recognise that counsel wonder how these two documents which I have just read are in our hands. They come to us from an authentic source. They are German documents. They were found in the O.K.W. files. If they are not correct records of what occurred, it surprises us that with the thoroughness with which the Germans kept accurate records, they would have had these records in their O.K.W. files if they did not represent the truth.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, the Tribunal will of course hear what evidence the defendants choose to give with reference to the documents.

MR. ALDERMAN: It has occurred to me in that connection that if any of these defendants have in their possession what is a more correct transcription of the Fuehrer's words on this occasion, the Court should consider that. On the other question referred to by counsel, I feel somewhat guilty. It is quite true that by a mechanical slip, the Press got the first document, which we never at all intended them to have. I feel somewhat responsible. It happened to be included in the document books that were handed up to the Court on Friday, because we had only intended. to refer to it and give it an identification mark and not to offer it. I had thought that no documents would be released to the Press until they were actually offered in evidence. With as large an organisation as we have, it is very difficult to police all those matters.

[Page 175]

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, the Tribunal would like to know how many of these documents are given to the Press.

MR. ALDERMAN: I can't answer that.

COLONEL STOREY: May it please the Tribunal, it is my understanding that as and when documents are introduced in evidence, then they are made available to the Press.

THE PRESIDENT: In what numbers?

COLONEL STOREY: I think about 250 copies of each one, about 200 or 250 mimeographed copies.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that the defendants' Counsel should have copies of these documents before any of them are handed to the Press. I mean to say that, in preference to gentlemen of the Press, the defendants' Counsel should have the documents.

COLONEL STOREY: Your Honour, if it pleases the Court, I understand that these gentleman had the ten documents on Saturday morning or Sunday morning. They had them for 24 hours, copies of the originals of these documents that have been read today, down in the Information Centre.

THE PRESIDENT: I stated, in accordance with the provisional arrangement which was made, and which was made upon your representations, that ten copies of the trial briefs and five of the volumes of documents should be given to the defendants' counsel.

COLONEL STOREY: Sir, I had the receipts that they were deposited in the room.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what I am pointing out to you, Colonel Storey, is that if 2SO copies of the documents can be given to the Press, then the defendants' counsel should not be limited to five copies.

COLONEL STOREY: If your Honour pleases, the 250 copies are the mimeographed copies in English when they are introduced in evidence. I hold in my hands or in my brief case here a receipt that the document books and the briefs were delivered 24 hours in advance.

THE PRESIDENT: You don't seem to understand what I am putting to you, which is this: that if you can afford to give 250 copies of the documents in English to the Press, you can afford to give more than five copies to the defendants' counsel - one each.

COLONEL STOREY: I see your point, your Honour, and we-

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we needn't discuss it further. In future that will be done.

DR. DIX: May I make the point that of the evidence documents, every defence counsel should receive one copy and not simply one for several members of the defence.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Mr. Alderman.

MR. ALDERMAN: The aggressive war having been initiated in September 1939, and Poland having been totally defeated shortly after the initial assaults, the Nazi aggressors converted the war into a general war of aggression extending into Scandinavia, into the Low Countries, and into the Balkans. Under the division of the case between the four Chief Prosecutors, this aspect of the matter is left to presentation by the British Chief Prosecutor.

Another change that we have made in our plan, which I perhaps should mention, is that following the opening statement by the British Chief Prosecutor on Count 2, we expect to resume the detailed handling of the later phases of the aggressive war phase of the case. The British instead of the Americans will deal with the details of aggression against Poland. Then with this expansion of the war in Europe and then as a joint part of the American case under Count 1 and the British case under Count 2, I shall take up the aggression against Russia and the Japanese aggression in detail. So that the remaining two subjects with which I shall ultimately deal in more detail, by presentation of specifically significant documents, are the case of the attack on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the 22nd of June, 1941, and the case on collaboration between Italy and Japan

[Page 176]

and Germany and the resulting attack on the United States on the 7th of December, 1941.

As to the case on aggression against the Soviet Union, I shall, at this point, present two documents. The first of these two documents establishes the pre-meditation and deliberation which preceded the attack. Just as, in the case of aggression against Czechoslovakia, the Nazis had a code name for the secret operation "Case Green," so in the case of aggression against the Soviet Union, they had a code name "Case Barbarossa."

THE PRESIDENT: How do you spell that?

MR. ALDERMAN B-a-r-b-a-r-o-s-s-a -after Barbarossa of Kaiser Friederich. From the files of the O.K.W. at Flensburg we have a secret directive, Number 21, issued from the Fuehrer's headquarters on 18th December, 1940, relating to "Case Barbarossa." This directive is more than six months in advance of the attack. Other evidence will show that the planning occurred even earlier. The document is signed by Hitler and is initialled by the defendant Jodl and the defendant Keitel. This secret order was issued in nine copies. The captured document is the fourth of these nine copies. It is document 446 PS, in our numbered series.

I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 31.

If the Tribunal please, I think it will be sufficient for me to read the first page of that directive; the first page of the English translation. The paging may differ on the German original.

It is headed "The Fuehrer and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces" with a number of initials, the meaning of which I don't know, except O.K.W. It seems to be indicated to go to O.K. Chiefs, whom I suppose to be General Kommando Chiefs.

"The Fuehrer's Headquarters, 18th December, 1940. Secret. Only through Officer. Nine Copies. 4th copy. Directive Number 21, case Barbarossa.

The German Armed Forces must be prepared to crush Soviet Russia in a quick campaign before the end of the war against England. (Case Barbarossa).

For this purpose the Army will have to employ all available units with the reservation that the occupied territories will have to be safeguarded against surprise attacks.

For the Eastern campaign the Air Force will have to free such Strong forces for the support of the Army that a quick completion of the ground operations may he expected and that damage of the Eastern German territories will be avoided as much as possible. This concentration of the main effort in the East is limited by the following reservation: That the entire battle and armament area dominated by us must remain sufficiently protected against enemy air attacks and that the attacks on England and especially the supply for them must not be permitted to break down.

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