The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

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

Sixth Day: Tuesday, 27th November, 1945
(Part 3 of 6)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 189]

I refer to Hitler's speech to the Reichstag on 21st May, 1935, our document 2288-PS. We have here the original volume of the "Volkische Beobachter " (the "Popular Observer," I suppose, is the correct translation), Volume 48, 1935, 122- 151, May, and the date 22nd May, 1935, which gave his speech, under the heading (if I may translate, perhaps) "The Fuehrer notifies the world of the way to real peace."

I offer that part of that volume, identified as document 2288-PS, as exhibit USA 38, and from that I shall read, beginning with the fifth paragraph in the English translation:-

"The Treaty of Versailles was not broken." I am starting with the words, "The Treaty of Versailles," in the fifth paragraph.

"The Treaty of Versailles was not broken by Germany unilaterally, but the well-known paragraphs of the Dictat of Versailles were violated, and consequently invalidated, by those powers who could not make up their minds to follow the disarmament requested of Germany with their own disarmament as agreed upon by the Treaty."

[Page 190]

I am sorry, I said the fifth paragraph...this is on page 3. It is after he discusses some general conclusions and then there is a paragraph numbered 1, that says:-
"The German Reich Government refuses to adhere to the Geneva Resolution of 17th March...."
The Treaty of Versailles was not broken by Germany unilaterally, but the well-known paragraphs of the Dictat of Versailles were violated and consequently invalidated by those powers.."

I am sorry. May I look at the German original? If the Court please, I did not want to read the whole volume of the "Volkische Beobachter"..

THE PRESIDENT: If it is only a short document you are going to read, only a short extract, perhaps the document could be taken away from the interpreter, and he could follow you.

MR. ALDERMAN: I think I could find it.. I am not very fast in reading German but . . .

THE PRESIDENT: If you read it in English, he will translate it.

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, but I want the interpreter to have the German.

You will find "1. The German Reich Government refuses to adhere to the Geneva Resolution of 17th March....

"The Treaty of Versailles was not broken by Germany unilaterally, but the well-known paragraphs of the Dictat of Versailles were violated, and consequently invalidated, by those powers who could not make up their minds to follow the disarmament requested of Germany with their own Disarmament as agreed upon by the Treaty. 2. Because the other powers did not live up to their obligations under the disarmament programme, the Government of the German Reich no longer considers itself bound to those articles, which are nothing but a discrimination of the German nation" - (I suppose "against the German nation") - "for an unlimited period of time, since, through them, Germany is being nailed down in a unilateral manner, contrary to the spirit of the agreement."
If the Tribunal please, needless to say, when I cite Adolf Hitler, I don't necessarily vouch for the absolute truth of everything that he presents. This is a public speech he made before the world, and it is for the Tribunal to judge whether he is presenting a pretext or whether he is presenting the truth.

In conjunction with other phases of planning and preparation for aggressive war, there were various programmes for direct and indirect training of a military nature. This included not only the training of military personnel, but also the establishment and training of other military organisations, such as the Police Force, which could be and were absorbed by the Army.

These are shown in other parts of the case presented by the prosecution. However, the extent of this programme for military training is indicated by Hitler's boast of the expenditure of ninety billion Reichsmarks during the period 1933 to 1939, in the building up of the Armed Forces.

I have another volume of the "Volkische Beobachter, " Volume 52, 1939, I think the issue Of 2nd and 3rd September, 1939, which I offer in evidence as exhibit USA 39; and there appears a speech by Adolf Hitler, with his picture, under the heading which, if I may be permitted to try to translate, reads: "The Fuehrer announces the Battle for the justice and Security of the Reich." I hand the original volume ...

This is a speech, if the Court please, by Adolf Hitler, on 1st September, 1939, the date of the attack on Poland, identified by our number 2322-PS ; and I read from that the paragraphs indicated to the interpreter

"For more than six years now .."
I beg your pardon. On the Court's mimeographed copy it is the bottom of page 3, the last paragraph starting on the page.

[Page 191]

"For more than six years now, I have been engaged in building up the German Armed Forces. During this period more than ninety billion Reichsmarks were spent in building up the Wehrmacht. To-day, ours are the best- equipped armed forces in the world, and they are superior to those of 1914. My confidence in them can never be shaken."
The secret nature of this training programme and the fact of its early development is illustrated by a reference to the secret training of flying personnel, as far back as 1932, as well as the early plans to build a military air force. A report was sent to the defendant Hess, in a letter from one Schickebaum to the defendant Rosenberg, for delivery to Hess.

I suppose that Schickebaum was very anxious that no one but Hess should get this letter, and therefore sent it to Rosenberg for personal delivery to Hess.

This document points out that the civilian pilots should be so organised as to enable their transfer into the military air force Organisation.

This letter is our document 1143-PS, dated 20th October, 1932, and I now offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 40. It starts: "Lieber Alfred" (referring to Alfred Rosenberg) and is signed "Mit bestem Gruss, Dein Amo." Amo, I think, was the first name of Schickebaum.

"Dear Alfred: I am sending you enclosed a communication from the R.W.M. forwarded to me by our confidential man (Vertrauensmann), which indeed is very interesting. I believe we will have to take some steps so that the matter will not be procured secretly for the Stahlhelm. This report is not known to anybody else. I intentionally did not inform even our long friend"
- I suppose that means "our tall friend." I may interpolate that the defendant Rosenberg, in an interrogation on 5th October, 194S, identified this "long friend" or "tall friend," as being one Von Albensleben.
I am enclosing an additional copy for Hess, and ask you to transmit the letter to Hess by messenger, I do not want to write a letter to Hess for fear that it might be read somewhere. Mit bestem Gruss, Dein Amo."
Then enclosed in that is "Air Force Organisation."
Purpose: Preparation of material and training of personnel to provide for the case of the armament of the airforce.

Entire management as a civilian organisation will be transferred to Col. von Willberg, at present Commander of Breslau, who, retaining his position in the Reichswehr, is going on leave of absence.

(a) Organising the pilots of civilian air-lines in such a way as to enable their transfer to the air force Organisation. (b) Prospects to train crews for military flying.
Training to be done within the organisation for military flying of the Stahlhelm....
I believe that means the "steel helmet."
"... which is being turned over to Col. Hanel, retired.

All existing organisations for sport-flying are to be used for military flying. Directions on kinds and tasks of military flying will be issued by this Stahlhelm directorate. The Stahlhelm Organisation will pay the military Pilots 50 marks per hour flight. These are due to the owner of the plane if he himself carries out the flight. They are to be divided in case of non-owners of the plane, between flight organisation, proprietor and crew in the proportion of 10: 20: 20. Military flying is now paid better than flying for advertisement (40). We therefore have to expect that most proprietors of planes or flying associations will go over to the Stahlhelm organisation. It must be achieved that equal conditions will be granted by the R.W.M., also the N.S.D.A.P. organisation.

The programme of rearmament and the objectives of circumventing and breaching the Versailles Treaty are forcefully shown by a number of Navy documents, showing the participation and co-operation of the German Navy in this rearmament programme, secret at first.

[Page 192]

When they deemed it safe to say so, they openly acknowledged that it had always been their objective to break Versailles.

In 1937 the Navy High Command published a secret book entitled "The Fight of the Navy Against Versailles, 1919 to 1935." The preface refers to the fight of the Navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace treaty of Versailles. The table of contents includes a variety of Navy activities, such as saving of coastal guns from destruction as required by Versailles; independent armament measures behind the back of the government and behind the back of the legislative bodies resurrection of the U-boat arm; economic rearmament and camouflage rearmament from 1933 to the freedom from the restrictions in 1935.

This document points out the significant effect of seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933 on increasing the size and determining the nature of the rearmament programme. It also refers to the far-reaching independence in the building and development of the Navy, which was only hampered in so far as concealment of rearmament had to be considered in compliance with the Versailles Treaty.

With the restoration of what was called the military sovereignty of the Reich in 1935 - the reoccupation of the demilitarised zone of the Rhineland - the external camouflage of rearmament was eliminated.

We have, if the Court please, a photostat of the German printed book to which I have referred entitled "Der Kampf der Marine gegen Versailles (The Fight of the Navy against Versailles), 1919 to 1935," written by Sea Captain Schuessler. It has the symbol of the Nazi Party with the Swastika in the spread eagle on the cover sheet, and it is headed "Secret", underscored. It is our document C-156. It is a book of seventy-six pages of text followed by index lists and charts. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 41. I may say that the defendant Raeder identified this book in a recent interrogation and explained that the Navy tried to fulfil the letter of the Versailles Treaty and at the same time to make progress in naval development. I should like to read from this book, if the Court please. I certainly shall not read the entire book, but I should like to read the preface and one or two other portions of it.

"The object and aim of this memorandum under the heading 'Preface,' is to draw a technically reliable picture based on documentary records and the evidence of those who took part in the fight of the Navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace Treaty of Versailles. It shows that the Reich Navy, after the liberating activities of the Free Corps and of Scapa Flow, did not rest, but found ways and means to lay with unquenchable enthusiasm, in addition to the building up of the 15,000 man Navy, the basis for a greater development in the future, and so create, by the work of soldiers and technicians, the primary condition for a later rearmament. It must also distinguish more clearly the services of these men, who without being widely known, applied themselves with extraordinary zeal and responsibility to the service of the fight against the peace Treaty. Stimulated by the highest feeling of duty, they risked, particularly in the early days of their fight, themselves and their positions unrestrainedly in the partially self-ordained tasks. This compilation makes it clearer, however, that even such ideal and ambitious plans can be realised only to a small degree if the concentrated and united strength of the whole people is not behind the courageous activity of the soldier. Only when the Fuehrer had created the second and even more important condition for an effective rearmament in the co-ordination of the whole nation and in the fusion of the political, financial and spiritual power, could the work of the soldier find its fulfilment. The framework of this peace Treaty, the most shameful known in world history, collapsed under the driving power of this united will.

Signed, the Compiler."

Now, I wish to invite the Court's attention merely to the summary of contents, because the chapter titles are sufficiently significant for my present purpose.
I. First: "Defensive action against the execution of the Treaty of Versailles (from the end of the war to the occupation of the Ruhr, 1923)."

[Page 193]

Second: "Saving of coastal guns from destruction to removal of artillery equipment and ammunition, hand and machine weapons."

Third: "Limitation of destruction in Heligoland."

II. Independent armament measures behind the back of the Reich Government and of the legislative body (from 1923 to the Lohmann case in 1927).

1. Attempt to increase the personnel strength of the Reich Navy.
2. Contribution to the strengthening of patriotism among the people.
3. Activities of Captain Lohmann.
I am ashamed to say, if the Court please, that I am not familiar with the story about Captain Lohmann.
4. Preparation for the resurrection of the German U-boat arm.
5. Building up of the air force.
6. Attempt to strengthen our mine arm (Die Mine).
7. Economic rearmament.
8. Miscellaneous measures
(a) The M.B. Aerogiadetic, and;
(b) Secret evidence.
III. Planned armament work countenanced by the Reich Government but behind the back of the legislative body from 1927 to the seizure of power, 1933. IV. Rearmament under the leadership of the Reich Government in camouflage (from 1933 to the freedom from restrictions, 1935)."
The unification of the whole nation which was combined with the taking over of power on 30th January, 1933, was of decisive influence on the size and shape of further rearmament.

While the second chamber, Reichsrat, approached its dissolution and withdrew as a legislative body, the Reichstag assumed a composition which could only take a one- sided attitude toward the rearmament of the armed forces. The government took over the management of the rearmament programme upon this foundation.

Then a heading "Development of the Armed Forces."

This taking over of the management by the Reich Government developed for the Armed Forces in such a manner that the War Minister, General von Blomberg, and through him the three branches of the Armed Forces, received far-reaching powers from the Reich Cabinet for the development of the Armed Forces. The whole organisation of the Reich was included in this way. In view of these powers the collaboration of the former inspecting body in the management of the secret expenditure was from then on dispensed with. There remained only the inspecting duty of the accounting office of the German Reich.

Another heading, "Independence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy." The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral Raeder, honorary doctor, had been given far-reaching independence in the building and development of the Navy. This was only hampered to the extent that the previous concealment of rearmament had to be continued in consideration of the Versailles Treaty. Besides the public budget there remained the previous special budget, which was greatly increased in view of the considerable credit for the provision of labour which was made available by the Reich. Wide powers in the handling of these credits were given to the Director of the Budget Department of the Navy, up to 1934 Commodore Schuessler, afterwards Commodore Forster. These took into consideration the increased responsibility of the Chief of the Budget.

Another heading, "Declaration of Military Freedom." When the Fuehrer, relying upon the strengthening of the Armed Forces carried out in the meanwhile, announced the restoration of the military sovereignty of the German Reich, the last- mentioned limitation on rearmament works, namely, the external camouflage, was eliminated. "Freed from all the shackles which have hampered our ability to move freely on and under water, on land and in the air for one and a-half decades,

[Page 194]

and carried by the newly-awakened fighting spirit of the whole nation, the Armed Forces, and part of it, the Navy, can lead with full strength towards its completion the rearmament already under way with the goal of securing for the Reich its rightful position in the world."

[ 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.