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

Fifteenth Day: Friday, 7th December, 1945
(Part 2 of 9)


[Page 190]

Then there follow other instructions with regard to the operation.
Paragraph 5: "Occupation of Norway, Weserubung Nord. The task of Group XXI: Capture by surprise of the most important places on the coast by sea and airborne operations.

The Navy will take over the preparation and carrying out of the transport by sea of the landing troops."

And there follows a reference to the part of the Air Force, and I would like particularly to draw the Court's attention to that reference.

This is Paragraph 5 on Page 3 of Hitler's directive:-

"The Air Force, after the occupation has been completed, will ensure air defence and will make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain."
I am underlining that entry at this stage, because I shall be referring to it in connection with a later document.

Whilst these preparations were being made and just prior to the final decision of Hitler -

THE PRESIDENT: Did you draw our attention to the defendant by whom it was initialled, Fricke, on the first page of that document.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That is an initial by Fricke, who is a different person altogether from the defendant Frick. This is a high functionary in the German Admiralty and has no connection with the defendant who is before the Tribunal.

As I was saying, my Lord, while these decisions were being made, reports were coming in through Rosenberg's organisation from Quisling, and if the Court will again turn, for the last time, to Document 007-PS, which is Rosenberg's report, the Tribunal will observe the kind of information which Rosenberg's organisation was supplying at this time. The third paragraph, "Quisling's reports" - that is in Annex I in Rosenberg's report, the section dealing with Norway, the paragraph beginning with:-

"Quisling's reports, transmitted to his representative in Germany, Hagelin, and dealing with the possibility of intervention by the Western Powers in Norway with tacit consent of the Norwegian Government, became more urgent by January. These increasingly better substantiated communications were in the sharpest contrast to the views of the German Legation in Oslo, which relied on the desire for neutrality of the then Norwegian Nygaardsvold Cabinet and was convinced of that Government's intention and readiness to defend Norway's neutrality. No one in Norway knew that Quisling's representative for Germany maintained the closest relations to him; he therefore succeeded in gaining a foothold within governmental circles of the Nygaardsvold Cabinet and in listening to the Cabinet members' views. Hagelin transmitted what he had heard to the Bureau" - Rosenberg's bureau - "which conveyed the news to the Fuehrer through Reichsleiter Rosenberg. During the night of 16th to 17th February, English destroyers attacked the German steamer 'Altmark' in Josingfjord."

[Page 191]

The Tribunal will remember that that is a reference to the action by the British destroyer "Cossack" against the German naval auxiliary vessel "Altmark", which was carrying three hundred British prisoners, captured on the high seas, to Germany through Norwegian territorial waters. The position of the British delegation with regard to that episode is that the use that was being made by the "Altmark" of Norwegian territorial waters was in fact a flagrant abuse in itself of Norwegian neutrality, and the action taken by H.M.S. "Cossack", which was restricted to rescuing the three hundred British prisoners on board-no attempt being made to destroy the "Altmark" or to capture the armed guards on board her - was fully justified under International Law.

Now the Rosenberg report, the reading of which I interrupted to give that statement of the British view on the "Altmark" episode - the Rosenberg report continues:

"The Norwegian Government's reaction to this question permitted the conclusion that certain agreements had been covertly arrived at between the Norwegian Government and the Allies. Such assumption was confirmed by reports of Section Leader Scheidt, who in turn derived his information from Hagelin and Quisling. But even after this incident the German Legation in Oslo championed the opposite view, and went on record as believing in the good intentions of the Norwegians."
So the Tribunal will see that the Nazi Government preferred the reports of the traitor Quisling to the considered judgement of German diplomatic representatives in Norway. The result of the receipt of reports of that kind was the Hitler decision to invade Norway and Denmark. The culminating details in the preparations for the invasion are again found in Jodl's diary, which is the last document in the document book. I will refer the Court to the entry of the 3rd March:
"The Fuehrer expressed himself very sharply on the necessity of a swift entry into N" - which is Norway - "with strong forces.

No delay by any branch of the Armed Forces. Very rapid acceleration of the attack necessary".

Then the last entry on 3rd March:
"Fuehrer decides to carry out 'Weser Exercise' before case 'Yellow' with a few days interval."
So that the important issue of strategy, which had been concerning the German High Command for some time, had been decided by this date, and the fate of Scandinavia was to be sealed before the fate of the Low Countries; and the Court will observe from those entries Of 3rd March, that, by that date, Hitler had become an enthusiastic convert to the idea of a Norwegian aggression.

The next entry in Jodl's diary of 5th March:

"Big conference with the three Commanders-in-Chief about 'Weser Exercise'; Field Marshal in a rage because not consulted till now. Will not listen to anyone and wants to show that all preparations so far made are worthless.


(a) Stronger forces to Narvik.
(b) Navy to leave ships in the ports (Hipper or Lutzow in Trondheim).
(c) Christiansand can be left out at first.
(d) Six divisions envisaged for Norway.
(e) A foothold to be gained immediately in Copenhagen."

[Page 192]

Then the next entry to which I desire to draw the Court's attention is the entry of 13th March, which the Court may think is one of the most remarkable in the whole documentation of this case.
"Fuehrer does not give order yet for 'W'." - Weser Exercise - "He is still looking for an excuse."
The entry of the next day, 14th March, shows a similar pre- occupation on the part of Hitler with seeking an excuse for the flagrant aggression. It reads:-
"English keep vigil in the North Sea with fifteen to sixteen submarines; doubtful whether reason to safeguard own operations or prevent operations by Germans. Fuehrer has not yet decided what reason to give for Weser Exercise."
Then I would like the Court to look at the entry for 21St March, which, by inadvertence, has been included in the next page - the bottom of Page 6.
"Misgivings of Task Force 21 ."
The Court has seen from documents that I have put in already that Task Force 21 was Falkenhorst's Force, which was detailed to conduct this invasion.
"Misgivings of Task Force 21 about the long interval between taking up readiness positions at 0530 hours and close of diplomatic negotiations. Fuehrer rejects any earlier negotiations, as otherwise calls for help go out to England and America. If resistance is put up it must be ruthlessly broken. The political plenipotentiaries must emphasise the military measures taken, and even exaggerate them."
Comment upon that entry is, I think, unnecessary. The next entry, if the Court will turn to Page 5, of 28th March, the third sentence:
"Individual naval officers seem to be lukewarm concerning the Weser Exercise and need a stimulus. Also Falkenhorst and the other two commanders are worrying about matters which are none of their business. Franke sees more disadvantages than advantages.

In the evening the Fuehrer visits the map room and roundly declares that he will not stand for the Navy clearing out of the Norwegian ports right away. Narvik, Trondheim and Oslo will have to remain occupied by naval forces."

There the Court will observe that Jodl, as ever, is the faithful collaborator of Hitler.

Then on 2nd April:

"Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and General von Falkenhorst with the Fuehrer. All confirm preparations completed. Fuehrer orders carrying out of the Weser Exercise for 9th April."
Then the last entry in the next page, the 4th April.
"Fuehrer drafts the proclamation. Piepenbrock, Chief of Military Intelligence 1, returns with good results from the talks with Quisling in Copenhagen."
Until the very last the treachery of Quisling continued to be most active.

The prosecution has in its possession a large number of operation orders that were issued in connection with the aggression against Norway and Denmark, but I propose to draw the Court's attention to only two of them to illustrate the extent of the secrecy and the deception that was used by the

[Page 193]

defendants and their confederates in the course of that aggression. I would now draw the Court's attention to Document C-115 which, for the purpose of the record, will be Exhibit GB 90. First of all I will draw the Court's attention to the second paragraph, "General Orders", with a date, "4th April, 1940":
"The barrage-breaking vessels, Sperrbrecher, will penetrate inconspicuously, and with lights on, into Oslo Fjord disguised as merchant steamers.

Challenge from coastal signal stations and look-outs are to be answered by the deceptive use of the names of English steamers. I lay particular stress on the importance of not giving away the operation before zero hour."

Then the next entry is an order for reconnaissance forces, dated 24th March, 1940: "Behaviour during entrance into the harbour." The third paragraph is the part that I wish to draw the Court's attention to.
"The disguise as British craft must be kept up as long as possible. All challenges in Morse by Norwegian ships will be answered in English. In answer to questions a text with something like the following content will be chosen:

'Calling at Bergen for a short visit; no hostile intent.'

Challenges to be answered with names of British warships:-

'Koln' -- H.M.S.'Cairo';
'Konigsberg' -- H.M.S. 'Calcutta';
'Bromsoe' -- H.M.S. 'Faulkner';
'Karl Peters' -- H.M.S. 'Halcyon';
'Leopard' -- British destroyer;
'Wolf' -- British destroyer;
E-boats -- British motor torpedo boats.
Arrangements are to be made enabling British war flags to be illuminated. Continual readiness for making smoke."
And then finally the next order dated the 24th March, 1940, Annex 3 "To Flag Officer Reconnaissance Forces; most secret."

Next page, Page 2:-

"Following is laid down as guiding principle should one of our own units find itself compelled to answer the challenge of passing craft; to challenge in case of the 'Koln': H.M.S. 'Cairo'; then to order to stop; (1) Please repeat last signal; (2) Impossible to understand your signal; in case of a warning shot: Stop firing. British ship. Good friend. In case of an inquiry as to destination and purpose: Going Bergen. Chasing German steamers."
Then I would draw the Court's attention to Document C-151, which for the purposes of the record will be Exhibit GB 91, which is a Donitz; order in connection with this operation. If the Court will observe, it is headed:
"Top Secret, Operation Order' Hartmut'. Occupation of Denmark and Norway. This order comes into force on the code word 'Hartmut'. With its coming into force the orders hitherto valid for the boats taking part lose their validity.

The day and hour are designated as 'Weser-Day' and 'WeserHour', and the whole operation is known as 'Weserubung'.

The operation ordered by the code word has as its objective the rapid surprise-landing of troops in Norway. Simultaneously Denmark will be occupied from the Baltic and from the land side."

[Page 194]

There is at the end of that paragraph another contribution by Donitz to this process of deception:
"The naval force will, as they enter the harbour, fly the British flag until the troops have landed, except presumably at Narvik."
The Tribunal now knows as a matter of history that on 9th April, 1940, the Nazi onslaught on the unsuspecting and almost unarmed people of Norway and Denmark was launched. When the invasions had already begun a German memorandum was handed to the Governments of Norway and Denmark attempting to justify the German action, and I would like to draw the Court's attention to Document TC-55, Exhibit GB 92. That is at the beginning of the book of documents, the sixth document of the book. I am not proposing to read the whole of that memorandum. I have no doubt the defending counsel will deal with any parts which they consider relevant to the defence. The Court will observe that it is alleged that Britain and France were guilty in their maritime warfare of breaches of International Law, and that Britain and France were making plans themselves to invade and occupy Norway, and that the Government of Norway was prepared to acquiesce in such a situation.

The memorandum states -and I would now draw the Court's attention to Page 3 of the memorandum, to the paragraph just below the middle of the page beginning "The German Troops":-

"The German troops, therefore, do not set foot on Norwegian soil as enemies. The German High Command does not intend to make use of the points occupied by German troops as bases for operations against England, as long as it is not forced to do so by measures taken by England and France. German military operations aim much more exclusively at protecting the North against proposed occupation of Norwegian strong points by English-French forces."
In connection with that statement I would remind the Court that in his operation order of 1st March, Hitler had then given orders to the Air Force to make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain. That is 1st March. And this is the memorandum which was produced as an excuse on 9th April. The last two paragraphs of the German memorandum to Norway and Denmark, the Court may think, are a classic Nazi combination of diplomatic hypocrisy and military threat. They read:-
"The Reich Government thus expects that the Royal Norwegian Government and the Norwegian people will respond with understanding to the German measures, and offer no resistance to it. Any resistance would have to be and would be broken by all possible means by the German forces employed, and would therefore lead only to absolutely useless bloodshed. The Royal Norwegian Government is therefore requested to take all measures with the greatest speed to ensure that the advance of the German troops can take place without friction and difficulty. In the spirit of the good German-Norwegian relations that have always existed, the Reich Government declares to the Royal Norwegian Government that Germany has no intention of infringing by her measures the territorial integrity and political independence of the Kingdom of Norway, now or in the future."
What the Nazis meant by the protection of the Kingdom of Norway was shown by their conduct on 9th April. I now refer the Court to Document

[Page 195]

TC-56, which will be Exhibit GB 93, which is a report by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Norwegian Forces. It is at the beginning of the document book, the last of the TC. documents.

I will not trouble the Court with the first page of the report. If the Tribunal will turn to the second page, it reads:-

"The Germans, considering the long lines of communications and the threat of the British Navy, clearly understood the necessity of complete surprise and speed in the attack. In order to paralyse the will of the Norwegian people to defend their country and, at the same time, to prevent Allied intervention, it was planned to capture all the more important towns along the coast simultaneously. Members of the Government and Parliament and other military and civilian people occupying important positions were to be arrested before organised resistance could be put into effect, and the King was to be forced to form a new government with Quisling as its head."

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