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 5 of 6)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 198]

Part D (1933-1939)- The German Navy during the Military Freedom Period;"
which goes beyond the period with which I am at the moment dealing. A glance at the Chapter headings following that will indicate the scope of this proposed work. Whether the history was ever actually written by Scherff, I do not know.

I would like to call attention just to the first two or three headings, under this

"Part D - The German Navy during the Military Freedom Period;

I. National Socialism and the question of the Fleet and of prestige at sea.

II. Incorporation of the Navy in the National Socialist State."

The main heading III in the middle of the page, "The Re- armament of the Navy under the Direction of the Reich Government in a Disguised Way." The policy development of the Navy is also reflected from the financial side. The planned organisation of the Navy budget for armament measures was based on a co-ordination of military developments and political objectives. Military political development was accelerated after the withdrawal from the League of Nations.

I have here, if the Court please, a captured document, in German, headed "Der Chef der Marineleitung, Berlin, 12th May, 1934," and marked in large blue printing "Geheime Kommandosache" - "Secret Commando Matter" - which is identified as our C-153. It has the facsimile signature of Raeder at the end. I assume it's the facsimile; it may have been written with a stylus on a stencil; I can't tell. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 43. It is headed with the title "Armament Plan (A.P.) for the 3rd Armament Phase." This document of 12th May, 1934, speaks of war tasks, war and operational plans, armament targets, etc., and shows that it was distributed to many of the High Command of the Navy. It shows that a primary objective was readiness for a war without any alert period.

[Page 199]

I quote from the third numbered paragraphs:
"This organisation of armament measures is necessary for the realisation of this target; this again requires a co- ordinated and planned expenditure in peace time. This organisation of financial measures over a number of years according to the military viewpoint is found in the armament programme and provides
(a) for the military leaders a sound basis for their operational considerations; and
(b) for the political leaders a clear picture of what may be achieved with the military means available at a given time."
One other sentence from paragraph 7 of that document:
"All theoretical and practical A-preparations" (I assume that means Armament Preparations), "are to be drawn up with a primary view to readiness for a war without any alert period."
The conspiratorial nature of these Nazi plans and preparations long before the outbreak of hostilities is illustrated in many other ways. Thus, in 1934 Hitler instructed Raeder to keep secret the U-boat construction programme, also the actual displacement and speed of certain ships. Work on U-boats had been going on, as already indicated, in Holland and Spain.

The Nazi theory was rather clever on that. The Versailles Treaty forbade re-arming by the Germans in Germany, but they said it didn't forbid them to re-arm in Holland, Spain and Finland.

Secrecy was equally important then because of the pending Naval negotiations with England. We have a captured document, which is a manuscript in German script, of a conversation between the defendant Raeder and Adolf Hitler, in June, 1934. It is not signed by the defendant Raeder. I might ask his counsel if he objects to my stating that the defendant Raeder, in an interrogation on 8th November, 1945, admitted that this was a record of this conversation, and that it was in his handwriting, though he did not sign his name at the end.

That document is identified in our series as C-159, and I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 44.

It is headed, "Conversation with the Fuehrer in June, 1934, on the occasion of the resignation of the Commanding Officer of the' Karlsruhe.'

1. Report by the C-in-C. Navy concerning increased displacement of D. and E.(defensive weapons).

Fuehrer's instructions: No mention must be made of a displacement Of 25-26,000 tons, but only of improved 10,000 ton ships. Also, the speed over 26 nautical miles may be stated.

2. C-in-C. Navy expresses the opinion that later on the Fleet must anyhow be developed to oppose England, that therefore from 1936 onwards, the large ships must be armed with 35 c.m. guns (like the King George Class).

3. The Fuehrer demands to keep the construction of the U- boats completely secret. Plebiscite also in consideration of the Saar."

In order to continue the vital increase of the Navy, as planned, the Navy needed more funds than it had available; so Hitler proposed to put funds of the Labour Front at the disposal of the Navy.

We have another Raeder memorandum of a conversation between Raeder and Hitler, on 2nd November, 1934. Of this, I have a photostatic copy of the German typed memorandum, identified as our C-190. This one, again, is not signed, but it was found in Raeder's personal file and I think he will not deny that it is his memorandum.

I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 45.

It is headed:

"Conversation with the Fuehrer on 2nd November, 1934 at the time of the announcement by the Commanding Officer of the' Emden.'

(1) When I mentioned that the total funds to be made available for the armed forces for 1935 would presumably represent only a fraction of the required sum, and that therefore it was possible that the Navy might be hindered in its plans, he

[Page 200]

replied that he did not think the funds would be greatly decreased. He considered it necessary that the Navy be speedily increased by 1938 with the deadlines mentioned. In case of need he will get Dr. Ley to put 120-150 million from the Labour Front at the disposal of the Navy, as the money would still benefit the workers. Later in a conversation with Minister Goering and myself, he went on to say that he considered it vital that the Navy be increased as planned, as no war could be carried on if the Navy was not able to safeguard the ore imports from Scandinavia.

(2) Then, when I mentioned that it would be desirable to have six U-boats assembled at the time of the critical situation in the first quarter of the following year, 1935, he stated that he would keep this point in mind, and tell me when the situation demanded that the assembling should commence."

Then there is an asterisk and a note at the bottom:-
"The order was not sent out. The first boats were launched in the middle of June, 1935, according to plan."
The development of the armament industry by the use of foreign markets was a programme encouraged by the Navy, so that this industry would be able to supply the requirements of the Navy in case of need.

We have an original German document, again headed "Geheime Kommandosache" - "Secret Commando Matter" - a directive Of 31st January, 1933, by the defendant Raeder, for the German industry to support the armament of the Navy.

It is identified in our series as C-29.

I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 46.


The effects of the present economic depression have led here and there to the conclusion that there are no prospects of an active participation of the German Armament Industry abroad, even if the Versailles terms are no longer kept. There is no profit in it and it is therefore not worth promoting. Furthermore, the view has been taken that the increasing 'self-sufficiency' would in any case make such participation superfluous.

However obvious these opinions may seem, formed because of the situation as it is to-day, I am nevertheless forced to make the following contradictory corrective points:-

(a) The economic crisis and its present effects must perforce be overcome sooner or later.

Though equality of rights in war politics is not fully recognised to-day, it will, by the assimilation of weapons, be achieved at some period, at least to a certain extent.

(b) The consequent estimation of the duties of the German Armament Industry lies mainly in the Military-political sphere. It is possible for this industry to satisfy, militarily and economically, the growing demands made of it by limiting the deliveries to our Armed Forces. Its capacity must therefore be increased by the delivery of supplies to foreign countries over and above our own requirements.

(c) Almost every country is working to the same end to- day, even those which unlike Germany, are not tied down by restrictions. Britain, France, North America, Japan, and especially Italy, are making supreme efforts to ensure markets for their armaments industries. The use of their diplomatic representations, of the propaganda voyages of their most modern ships and vessels, of sending missions and also of the guaranteeing of loans and insurance against deficits, are not merely to gain commercially advantageous orders for their armament industries, but first and foremost to expend their output from the point of view of military policy.

[Page 201]

(d) It is just when the efforts to do away with the restrictions imposed on us have succeeded, that the German Navy has an ever-increasing and really vital interest in furthering the German Armament Industry and preparing the way for it in every direction in the competitive battle against the rest of the world.

(e) If, however, the German Armament Industry is to be able to compete in foreign countries, it must inspire the confidence of its purchasers. The condition for this is that secrecy for our own ends be not carried too far. The amount of material to be kept secret under all circumstances, in the interest of the defence of our country, is comparatively small. I would like to issue a warning against the assumption that at the present stage of technical development in foreign industrial States, a problem of vital military importance which we perhaps have solved, has not been solved there, too. Solutions arrived at to-day, which may become known, if divulged to a third person by naturally always possible indiscretion, have often been already superseded by new and better solutions on our part, even at that time or at any rate after the copy has been made. It is of greater importance that we should be technically well to the fore in any really fundamental matters, than that less important points should be kept secret unnecessarily and excessively.

(f) To conclude: I attach particular importance to guaranteeing the continuous support of the industry concerned by the Navy, even after the present restrictions have been relaxed. If the purchasers are not made confident that something better is being offered them, the industry will not be able to stand up to the competitive battle and therefore will not be able to supply the requirements of the German Navy in case of need."

This surreptitious rearmament, in violation of treaty obligations, starting even before the Nazis came into power, is illustrated by a 1932 order of the defendant Raeder, Chief of the Naval Command, addressed to the main Naval Command, regarding the concealed construction of torpedo tubes in E-boats. He ordered that torpedo tubes be removed and stored in the Naval Arsenal but be kept ready for immediate refitting. By using only the permitted number - that is, permitted under the Treaty - at a given time and storing them after satisfactory testing, the actual number of operationally effective E-boats was constantly increased.

We have this German order, with the facsimile signature of Raeder, reading "Der Chef der Marine Leitung, Berlin, 10th February, 1932." Our series number is C-141. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 47, the order for concealed armament of E-boats. I read C-141 from the first paragraph of the text:-

"In view of our treaty obligations and the Disarmament Conference, steps must be taken to prevent the 1st E-Boat Half-Flotilla, which in a few months will consist of exactly similar newly built E-boats, from appearing openly as a formation of torpedo-carrying boats" - the German word being Torpedotraeger - and it is not intended to count these E-boats against the number of torpedo- carrying boats allowed us.

I therefore order:-

1. S2-S5, will be commissioned in the shipyard Luerssen, Vegesack without armament, and will be fitted with easily removable cover-sheet-metal on the spaces necessary for torpedo-tubes. The same will be arranged by T.M.I." - a translator's note at the bottom says with reference to T.M.I.: "Inspectorate of Torpedoes and Mining" - "in agreement with the Naval Arsenal, for the Boat S-1 which will dismantle its torpedo-tubes on completion of the practice shooting, for fitting on another boat.

2. The torpedo-tubes of all S-boats will be stored in the Naval Arsenal ready for immediate fitting. During the trial runs the torpedo-tubes will be taken on board one after the other for a short time to be fitted and for practice shooting, so that only one boat at a time carries torpedo armament. For public consumption this boat will be in service for the purpose of temporary trials by the T.V.A."

[Page 202]

I suppose that is not the Tennessee Valley Authority. The translator's note calls it the Technical Research Establishment.
"It should not anchor together with the other, unarmed boats of the Half- Flotilla because of the obvious similarity of the type. The duration of firing, and consequently the length of time the torpedo-tubes are aboard is to be as short as possible.

3. Fitting the torpedo-tubes on all E-boats is intended as soon as the situation of the political control allows it."

Interestingly enough, that memorandum by the defendant Raeder, written in 1932, was talked about as soon as the situation of the political control allowed it. The seizure of power was the following year.

Along similar lines the Navy was also carrying on the concealed preparation of auxiliary cruisers, under the disguised designation of Transport Ships "O." The preparations under this order were to be completed by 1st April, 1935. At the very time of construction of these ships as commercial ships, plans were made for their conversion.

We have the original German document, again Top Secret, identified by our number C-166, order from the Command Office of the Navy, dated 12th March, 1934, and signed in draft by Groos. It has the seal of the Reichsministerium, Marineleitung, over the draft signature. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 48.

I think the defendant Raeder will admit, or at least will not deny, that this is an official document.

"Subject: Preparation of Auxiliary Cruisers.

It is intended to include in the Establishment Organisation 25 (AG-Aufstel-lungsgliederung) a certain number of auxiliary cruisers which are intended for use in operations on the High Seas.

In order to disguise the intention and all the preparations, the ships will be referred to as 'Transport Ships O.' It is requested that in future this designation only be used.

The preparations are to be arranged so that they can be completed by 1st April, 1935."

Among official Navy files, O.K.M. files, which we have, there are notes kept year by year, from 1927 to 1940, on the reconstruction of the German Navy and in these notes are numerous examples of the Navy's activities and policies of which I should like to point out some illustrations.

One of these documents discloses that the displacement of the battleships "Scharnhorst," "Gneisenau" and "F/G" - whatever that is - was actually greater than the tonnages which had been notified to the British under the treaty. This document, our C-23, I offer in evidence as exhibit USA 49. That is really a set of three separate documents joined together. I read from that document:-

"The true displacement of the battleships "Scharnhorst," "Gneisnau" and "F/G" exceeds by 20 per cent in each case the displacement reported to the British."

And then there is a table, with reference to different ships, and two columns headed "Displacement by Type," one column "Actual Displacement, "and the other column, "Notified Displacement."

On the "Scharnhorst" the actual displacement was 31,300 tons, the notified was 26,000 tons. On the "F" - actual, 41,700, the notified, 35,000. On the "HI," actual, 56,200 tons, notified, 46,850, and so down the list. I need not read them all.

In the second document in that group towards the end, page 2 on the English version, is the statement, "In a clear cut programme for the construction, the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has set the Navy the task of carrying out the aims of his foreign policy."

[Page 203]

The German Navy constantly planned and committed violations of armament limitation, and with characteristic German thoroughness had prepared superficial explanations of pretexts to explain away these violations.

Following a conference with the chief of "A" section, an elaborate survey list was prepared and compiled, giving a careful list of the quantity and type of German naval armament and munitions on hand under manufacture or construction, and in many instances proposed, together with a statement of the justification or defence that might be used in those instances where the Versailles Treaty was violated or its allotment has been exceeded.

The list contained thirty items under "Material Measures" and fourteen items under "Measures of Organisation." The variety of details covered necessarily involved several sources within the Navy, which must have realised their significance. As I understand it, the "A" section was the military department of the Navy.

We have this very interesting document amongst the captured documents identified by our number C-32. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 50. It again is Geheime Kommandosache and it is headed "A survey Report of German Naval Armament with Chief of "A" Section, dated 9th September, 1933, "and captured among official German Navy files.

This is a long document, if the Tribunal please, but I should like to call attention to a few of the more interesting items.

There are three columns, one headed "Measure," one headed "Material Measures, Details," and the most interesting one is headed "Remarks." The remarks contain the pretext or justification for explaining away the violations of the treaty. They are numbered, so I can conveniently refer to the numbers:-

Number 1. Exceeding the permitted number of mines." Then figures are given. "Remarks: Further mines are in part ordered, in part being delivered."

Number 2. Continuous storing of guns from the North Sea area for Baltic artillery batteries." In the remarks column: justification: Necessity for overhauling. Cheaper repairs."

Turning over to Number 6, "Laying gun-platforms in the Kiel area." Remarks, The offence over and above that in Serial Number 3 lies in the fact that all fortifications are forbidden in the Kiel area. This justification make it less severe; pure defence measures."

Number 7. Exceeding the calibre permitted for coastal batteries." The explanation: Possible justification is that, though the calibre is larger, the number of guns are less."

Number 8. Arming of minesweepers. The reply to any remonstrance against this breach: the guns are taken from the Fleet reserve stores, and have been temporarily installed only for training purposes. All nations arm their mine-sweeping forces (equality of rights)."

Here is one that is rather amusing. "Number 13. Exceeding the number of machine guns, etc., permitted." Remarks: "Can be made light of."

Number 18. Construction of U-boat parts." This remark is quite characteristic: "Difficult to detect. If necessary can be denied."

Number 20. Arming of fishing vessels." Remarks: "For warning shots. Make little of it." And so on throughout the list.

I think that must quite obviously have been used as a guide for negotiators who were attending the Disarmament Conference as to the position that they might take.

Now to paragraph IV (F) 2 b) of the Indictment: the allegation that "On 14th October, 1933, they led Germany to leave the International Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations."

That is a historical fact of which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice. The Nazis took this opportunity to break away from the International Negotiations and to take up an aggressive position on an issue which would not be serious

[Page 204]

enough to provoke reprisal from other countries. At the same time Germany attached so much importance to this action, that they considered the possibility of the application of sanctions by other countries. Anticipating the probable nature of such sanctions and the countries which might apply them, plans were made for military preparations for armed resistance on land, at sea and in the air, in a directive from the Reichsminister for Defence, Blomberg, to the Head of the Army High Command, Fritsch, the Head of the Navy High Command, Raeder, and the Reichsminister of Air, Goering.

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