The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 5th December, 1945
(Part 5 of 8)


[Page 113]

Mr. Alderman has dealt with this matter only this morning, and he has already put in an exhibit giving in detail the conference between Hitler and President Hacha, and the Foreign Minister Chvalkowsky, at which the defendants Goering and Keitel were present. Therefore, I am not going to put in to the Tribunal the British translation of the captured foreign office

[Page 114]

minutes, which occurs in TC-48; but I put it formally, as Mr. Alderman asked me to this morning, as GB 6, the Document TC-49, which is the agreement signed by Hitler and the defendant Ribbentrop for Germany and Dr. Hacha and Dr. Chvalkowsky for Czechoslovakia. It is an agreement of which the Tribunal will take judicial notice. I am afraid I cannot quite remember whether Mr. Alderman read that this morning; it is Document TC-49. He certainly referred to it.

THE PRESIDENT: No, he did not read it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then perhaps I might read it:

"Text of the Agreement between the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the President of the Czechoslovak State, Dr. Hacha.

The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor today received in Berlin, at their own request, the President of the Czechoslovak State, Dr. Hacha, and the Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, Dr. Chvalkowsky, in the presence of Herr von Ribbentrop, the Foreign Minister of the Reich. At this meeting the serious situation which had arisen within the previous territory of Czechoslovakia owing to the events of recent weeks, was subjected to a completely open examination. The conviction was unanimously expressed on both sides that the object of all their efforts must be to assure quiet, order and peace in this part of Central Europe. The President of the Czechoslovak State declared that, in order to serve this end and to reach a final pacification, he confidently placed the fate of the Czech people and of their country in the hands of the Fuehrer of the German Reich. The Fuehrer accepted this declaration and expressed his decision to assure to the Czech people, under the protection of the German Reich, the autonomous development of their national life, in accordance with their special characteristics. In witness whereof this document is signed in duplicate."

The signatures I have mentioned appear.

The Tribunal will understand that it is not my province to make any comment; that has been done by Mr. Alderman, and I am not putting forward any of the documents I have read as having my support; they merely put forward factually as part of the case.

The next document, which I put in as GB 7, is the British Document TC-50. That is Hitler's proclamation to the German people, dated 15th March, 1939. Again, I do not think that Mr. Alderman read that document.

THE PRESIDENT: No, he did not read it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then I shall read it.

"Proclamation of the Fuehrer to the German people, 15th March, 1939.
To the German People:

Only a few months ago Germany was compelled to protect her fellow-countrymen, living in well-defined settlements, against the unbearable Czechoslovakian terror regime; and during the last weeks the same thing has happened on an ever-increasing scale. This is bound to create an intolerable state of affairs within an area inhabited by citizens of so many nationalities.

These national groups, to counteract the renewed attacks against their freedom and life, have now broken away from the Prague Government. Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist.

[Page 115]

Since Sunday, at many places, wild excesses have broken out, amongst the victims of which are again many Germans. Hourly the number of oppressed and persecuted people crying for help is increasing. From areas thickly populated by German-speaking inhabitants, which last autumn Czechoslovakia was allowed by German generosity to retain, refugees robbed of their personal belongings are streaming into the Reich.

Continuation of such a state of affairs would lead to the destruction of every vestige of order in an area in which Germany is vitally interested, particularly as for over one thousand years it formed a part of the German Reich.

In order definitely to remove this menace to peace and to create the conditions for a necessary new order in this living space, I have today resolved to allow German troops to march into Bohemia and Moravia. They will disarm the terror gangs and the Czechoslovakian forces supporting them, and protect the lives of all who are menaced. Thus they will lay the foundations for introducing a fundamental reordering of affairs which will be in accordance with the thousand-year-old history and will satisfy the practical needs of the German and Czech peoples.

Signed: Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 15th March, 1939."

Then there is a footnote, which is an order of the Fuehrer to the German Armed Forces of the same date, in which the substance is that they are told to march in to safeguard lives and property of all inhabitants, and not to conduct themselves as enemies, but as an instrument for carrying out the German Reich Government's decision.

I put in, as GB 8, the decree establishing the Protectorate, which is TC-51.

I think again, as these are public decrees, the Tribunal can take judicial notice of them. Their substance has been fully explained by Mr. Alderman. With the permission of the Tribunal, I will not read them in full now.

Then again, as Mr. Alderman requested, I put in, as GB 9, British Document TC-52, the British protest. If I might just read that to the Tribunal - it is from Lord Halifax to Sir Neville Henderson, our Ambassador in Berlin:

"Foreign Office, 17th March, 1939

Please inform the German Government that his Majesty's Government desires to make it plain to them that they cannot but regard the events of the past few days as a complete repudiation of the Munich Agreement, and a denial of the spirit in which the negotiators of that Agreement bound themselves to co-operate for a peaceful settlement.

His Majesty's Government must also take this occasion to protest against the changes effected in Czechoslovakia by German military action, which are, in their view, devoid of any basis of legality."

And again at Mr. Alderman's request, I put in as GB 10 the Document TC-53, which is the French protest of the same date, and I might read the third paragraph:
"The French Ambassador has the honour to inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich, of the formal protest made by the Government of the French Republic against the measures which the communication of Count de Welzeck records.

The Government of the Republic consider, in fact, that in face of the

[Page 116]

action directed by the German Government against Czechoslovakia, they are confronted with a flagrant violation of the letter and the spirit of the agreement signed at Munich on 9th September, 1938.

The circumstances in which the agreements of March 15th have been imposed on the leaders of the Czechoslovak Republic do not, in the eyes of the Government of the Republic, legalise the situation registered in that agreement.

The French Ambassador has the honour to inform His Excellency, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich, that the Government of the Republic cannot recognise under these conditions the legality of the new situation created in Czechoslovakia by the action of the German Reich."

I now come to Part 5 of the Versailles Treaty, and the relevant matters are contained in the British Document TC- 10. As considerable discussion is centred around them, I read the introductory words:
"Part 5, Military, Naval and Air Clauses:

In order to render possible the initiation of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow.

Section 1. Military Clauses. Effectives and Cadres of the German Army.

Article 159. The German military forces shall be demobilised and reduced as prescribed hereinafter.

Article 160. By a date which must not be later than 31st March, 1920, the German Army must not comprise more than seven divisions of infantry and three divisions of cavalry.

After that date, the total number of effectives in the Army of the States constituting Germany must not exceed 100,000 men, including officers and establishments of depots. The army shall be devoted exclusively to the maintenance of order within the territory and to the control of the frontiers.

The total effective strength of officers, including the personnel of staffs, whatever their composition, must not exceed 4,000.

Divisions and Army Corps headquarters staffs shall be organised in accordance with Table Number 1 annexed to this Section. The number and strength of units of infantry, artillery, engineers, technical services and troops laid down in the aforesaid table constitute maxima which must not be exceeded."

Then there is a description of units that can have their own depots, and the divisions under corps headquarters, and then the next two provisions are of some importance.
"The maintenance or formation of forces differently grouped, or of other organisations for the command of troops or for preparation for war is forbidden.

The great German General Staff and all similar organisations shall be dissolved and may not be reconstituted in any form."

I do not think I need trouble the Tribunal with Article 161, which deals with administrative services.

Article 163 provides the steps by which the reduction will take place, and then we come to Chapter 2, dealing with armament, and that provides

[Page 117]

that up till the time at which Germany is admitted as a member of the League of Nations, the armaments shall not be greater than the amount fixed in Table Number 11.

If the Tribunal will notice the second part, Germany agrees that after she has become a member of the League of Nations, the armaments fixed in the said table shall remain in force until they are modified by the Council of the League of Nations. Furthermore, she hereby agrees strictly to observe the decisions of the Council of the League on this subject.

Then Article 165 deals with guns, machine guns, etc., and 167 deals with notification of guns, and 168, the first part, says:-

"The manufacture of arms, munitions or any war material shall only be carried out in factories or works, the location of which shall be communicated to and approved by the governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, and the number of which they retain the right to restrict."
Article 169 deals with the surrender of material.

Article 170 prohibits importation.

171 prohibits gas, and 172 provides for disclosure. Then 173, under the heading "Recruiting and Military Training," deals with one matter, the breach of which is of great importance:

"Universal compulsory military service shall be abolished in Germany. The German Army may only be reconstituted and recruited by means of voluntary enlistment."
Then the succeeding articles deal with the method of enlistment, in order to prevent a quick rush through the army of men enlisted for a short time.

I think that all I need do is draw the attention of the Tribunal to the completeness and detail with which all these points are covered in Articles 174 to 179.

Then, passing on to TC-10, Article 180. That decrees the prohibition of fortress works beyond a certain line and the Rhineland. The first sentence is:

"All fortified works, fortresses and field works situated in German territory to the West of a line drawn 50 kilometres to the East of the Rhine shall be disarmed and dismantled."
I shall not trouble the Tribunal with the tables which show the amounts.

Then we come to the naval clauses, and I am sorry to say that the pages are out of order. If the Tribunal will go on four pages, they will come to Article 181, and I will read just that to show the way in which the naval limitations are imposed, and refer briefly to the others.

Article 181 says:

"After a period of two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty the German naval forces in commission must not exceed:

Six battleships of the Deutschland or Lothringen type.
Six light cruisers.
Twelve destroyers.
Twelve torpedo boats
or an equal number of ships constructed to replace them as provided in Article 190.
No submarines are to be included."

[Page 118]

All other warships, except where there is provision to the contrary in the present Treaty, must be placed in reserve or devoted to commercial purposes.

Then 182 simply deals with the mine sweeping necessary to clean up the mines, and 183 limits the personnel to fifteen thousand, including officers and men of all grades and corps, and 184 deals with surface ships not in German ports, and the succeeding clauses deal with various details, and I pass at once to Article 191, which says:

"The construction or acquisition of any submarines, even for commercial purposes, shall be forbidden in Germany."
194 makes corresponding obligations of voluntary engagements for longer service, and 196 and 197 deal with naval fortifications and wireless stations.

Then, if the Tribunal please, would they pass on to Article 198, the first of the Air Clauses. The essential, important sentence is the first:

"The Armed Forces of Germany must not include any Military or Naval Air Forces."
I do not think I need trouble the Tribunal with the detailed provisions which occur in the next four clauses, which are all consequential.

Then, the next document, which for convenience is put next to that, is British Document TC-44, which for convenience I put in as GB 11, but this again is merely auxiliary to Mr. Alderman's argument. It is the report of the formal statement made at the German Air Ministry about the restarting of the Air Corps, and I respectfully suggest that the Tribunal can take judicial notice of that.

Similarly, without proving formally the long document,TC-45, the Tribunal can again take judicial notice of the public proclamation, which is a well-known public document in Germany, the proclamation of compulsory military service. Mr. Alderman has again dealt with this fully in his address.

I now come to the sixth treaty, which is the treaty between the United States and Germany restoring friendly relations, and I put in a copy as Exhibit GB 12. It is Document TC-11, and the Tribunal will find it as the second last document in the document book. The purpose of this Treaty was to complete the official cessation of hostilities between the United States of America and Germany, and I have already explained to the Tribunal that it incorporated certain parts of the Treaty of Versailles. The relevant portion for the consideration of the Tribunal is Part 5, and I have just concluded going through the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles which are repeated verbatim in this Treaty. I therefore, with the approval of the Tribunal, will not read them again, but at Page 11 of my copy, they will see the clauses are repeated in exactly the same way.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): We have not a copy in our book. We have one with Austria.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It ought to be the second last document in the book. May I pass mine up. Does that apply to other than the American Associate judges? I am so sorry.

Then I pass to the seventh treaty, which is the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Italy, done at Locarno, 16th October, 1925. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of that, and I put in as Exhibit GB 13, the British Document TC-12.

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