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

Sixteenth Day: Monday, 10th December, 1945
(Part 9 of 9)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 279]

In these passages, there is a clear envisagement of United States involvement, as well as a clear intent to attack. The vital threat to United States interests, if Japan were to capture Singapore, was also envisaged by the defendant Raeder in his meeting of 18th March, 1941, with Hitler and the defendants Keitel and Jodl. These minutes are contained in our Document C-152, which has already been put in as Exhibit GB-122. I wish now to repeat the four sentences of Item 11 of the minutes of that conference, contained on Page 1 of the English translation, I am quoting the defendant Raeder:
"Japan must take steps to seize Singapore as soon as possible, since the opportunity will never again be so favourable (the whole English fleet busy; unpreparedness of the United States of America for war against Japan; inferiority of the United States vis-a-vis the Japanese). Japan is indeed making preparations for this action, but according to all declarations made by Japanese officers, she will carry it out only if Germany proceeds to land in England. Germany must, therefore, concentrate all her efforts on spurring Japan to act immediately. If Japan has Singapore, all other East Asiatic questions regarding the U.S.A. and England are thereby solved (Guam, the Philippines, Borneo, and the Dutch East Indies). Japan wishes, if possible, to avoid war against the U.S.A. She can do so if she determinately takes Singapore as soon as possible."
The defendant Ribbentrop also recognised the possibility of United States involvement as a result of the course of aggression that he was urging on the Japanese. I refer again to his meeting of 23rd February, 1941, with the Japanese Ambassador, 0shima, the notes of which are contained in our Document 1834-PS, which is in evidence as Exhibit USA 129.

The tribunal will recall that in a passage I have already read, Subparagraph (2), near the bottom of Page 3 of the English translation, Ribbentrop assured Matsuoka that a surprise by Japan was bound to keep the United States out of the war, since she was unarmed and could not risk either her fleet or the possibility of losing the Philippines as the result of a declaration of war. Two paragraphs later, Ribbentrop practically dropped the pretence that the United States would not be involved. I quote here from the last paragraph, at the bottom of Page 3 of the English translation:-

"The Reich Foreign Minister mentioned further that, if America should declare war because of Japan's entry into the war, this would mean that America had had the intention to enter the war sooner or later anyway. Even though it would be preferable to avoid this, her entry into the war would, as explained above, be by no means decisive and would not endanger the final victory of the countries of the Three-Power Pact. The Foreign Minister further expressed his belief that a temporary lift of the British morale caused by America's entry into the war would be cancelled by Japan's entry into the war. If, however, contrary to all expectations, the Americans should be careless enough to send their Navy, in spite of everything, beyond Hawaii and to the Far East, this would represent the biggest chance for the countries of the Three-Power Pact to bring the war rapidly to an end. He, the Foreign Minister, was convinced that the Japanese fleet would then do

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a complete job. Ambassador Oshima replied to this, that unfortunately he did not think the Americans would do it, but he is convinced of a victory of his fleet in Japanese waters."
In the paragraphs that follow, some of which have already been read into the record, Ribbentrop again stressed the mutual interdependence of the Tripartite-Pact Powers and suggested co- ordinated action.

I want to quote now only the last paragraph on Page 5, a typical bit of Nazi cynicism which by now is quite familiar.

"The Reich Foreign Minister then touched upon the question, explicitly pointed out as theoretical, that the contracting powers might be required, on the basis of new affronts by the U.S.A., to break off diplomatic relations. Germany and Italy were fundamentally determined on this. After signing the Three- Power Pact they should proceed if the occasion arose, jointly in this matter, too. Such a lesson should open the eyes of the people in the United States, and under certain conditions swing public opinion towards isolation. Naturally, a situation had to be chosen in which America found herself entirely in the wrong. The common step of the signatory powers should be exploited correspondingly in propaganda. The question, however, was in no way acute at the time."
Again, on 29th March, 1941, Ribbentrop, this time in a conference with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuoka, discussed the possible involvement of the United States. Notes of this conference are contained in our Document 1877-PS, which I have already introduced as Exhibit USA 152, and I have read it into the record. The relevant statements appear in the bottom two paragraphs of Page 1, and the first full paragraph on Page 2 of the English translation. I shall not take the Tribunal's time to read them again.

I should like to refer to one more document to show that the Nazi conspirators knew that the aggressive war they were urging the Japanese to undertake, both threatened the vital interests of the United States, and could lead to the United States' involvement in contemplated Far Eastern conflict. This Document is our 1881-PS, report of the conference between Hitler and the Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuoka, in Berlin On 4th April, 1941. I have already offered, in my opening statement to the Tribunal two weeks ago, Document 1881-PS as Exhibit USA 33, and I read at that time a considerable portion of it into the record. Unless the Court prefers that I do not do so, it seems to me desirable at this point to re-read a few brief passages.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we might treat it as being in evidence.

MR. ALDERMAN: I wish to emphasise, however, that the passages which I read two weeks ago, and which I had expected to re-read at this point, show not only a realisation of the probable involvement of the United States in the Far Eastern conflict that the Nazis were urging, but also a knowledge on their part, that the Japanese Army and Navy were actually preparing war plans against the United States. Furthermore, we have a document that shows that the Nazis knew at least a part of what those war plans were.

I now refer again to Document 1538-PS, which has been offered in evidence as Exhibit USA 154, the secret telegram from the German Military

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Attache in Tokyo, dated 24th May, 1941. He talks about the conferences he has had regarding Japan's entry in the war, in the event of Germany becoming involved in war with the United States.

In Paragraph 1, this sentence also appears - I quote the last sentence in Paragraph 1:-

"Preparations for attack on Singapore and Manila stand."
May I at this point review the Nazi position with regard to the United States at this time, the spring of 1941. In view of their pressing commitments elsewhere, and their aggressive plans against the U.S.S.R., set for execution in June, 1941, their temporary strategy naturally showed a preference that the United States should not be involved in the war at that time. Nevertheless, they had been considering their own preliminary plan against the United States, as seen in the Atlantic Island document which I offered.

They were repeatedly urging the Japanese to aggression against the British Commonwealth, just as they would urge them to attack the U.S.S.R., soon after the launching of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. They were aware that the course along which they were pushing the Japanese in the Far East, would probably lead to involvement of the United States. Indeed, the Japanese Foreign Minister had told Hitler this in so many words, and their own military men had fully realised the implications of the move against Singapore. They also knew that the Japanese Army and Navy were preparing operation plans against the U.S. They knew at least part of those plans.

The Nazi conspirators not only knew all these things ; they accepted the risk of the aggressive course they were urging on the Japanese, and pushed their Eastern allies still further along that course.

In April, 1941, Hitler told the Japanese Foreign Minister that in the event of Japan becoming involved in the war with the United States, Germany would immediately take the consequences and strike without delay.

I refer to our Document 1881-PS, the notes of the Hitler-Matsuoka conference in Berlin on 4th April, 1941, which has already been introduced as Exhibit USA 33, I refer particularly to the first four paragraphs on Page 2 of the English translation. I think that has been read to you at least twice, and I perhaps need not repeat it.

Then, omitting two paragraphs, we see Hitler then encouraging Matsuoka in his decision to strike against the United States, and I invite your attention to the fourth paragraph on Page 2, which you have heard several times and which I shall not re-read.

Here in these passages were assurance, encouragement and abetment by the head of the German State, the leading Nazi co-conspirator, in April, 1941. But the Nazi encouragement and promise of support did not end there.

I now offer our Document 2898-PS as Exhibit USA 163. This is another telegram from the German Ambassador in Tokyo, regarding his conversation with the Japanese Foreign Minister. It is dated 30th November, 1941, exactly one week before Pearl Harbour. I will read from the first four paragraphs on Page 2 of the German text, which is the first paragraph of the English translation, and this passage, I am sure, has not been read to the Tribunal. No part of this document has been read:

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"The progress of the negotiations so far confirms his viewpoint that the difference of opinion between Japan and the U.S. is very great. The Japanese Government, since it sent Ambassador Kurusu, has taken a firm stand, as he told me. He is convinced that this position is in our favour, and makes the United States think that her entry into the European war would be risky business. The new American proposal of 25th November shows great divergencies in the viewpoints of the two nations. These differences of opinion concern, for example, the further treatment of the Chinese question. The biggest" - and then the German text has the legend "1 group missing", indicating that one group of the secret code was garbled on transmission. It would appear from the text that the missing words are "difference of opinion." "The biggest (1 group missing), however, resulted from the U.S. attempt to make the Three-Power Agreement ineffective. The U.S. suggested to Japan that she conclude treaties of non-aggression with the U.S., the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and other countries, in order to prevent Japan's entry into the war on the side of the Axis Powers. Japan, however, insisted upon maintaining her treaty obligations, and for this reason American demands are the greatest obstacles for adjusting Japanese-American relations. He avoided discussing concessions promised by the U.S. and merely mentioned that grave decisions were at stake.

The U.S. is seriously preparing for war and is about to operate a considerable part of its Navy from Southern Pacific bases. The Japanese Government is busy working out an answer in order to clarify its viewpoint. But he has no particulars at that moment. He thinks the American proposals, as a whole, unacceptable.

Japan is not afraid of a breakdown of negotiations, and she hopes that in that case Germany and Italy, according to the Three-Power Pact, will stand at her side. I answered that there could be no doubt about Germany's future position. The Japanese Foreign Minister thereupon stated that he understood from my words that Germany, in such a case, would consider her relationship to Japan as that of a union by fate. I answered that, according to my opinion, Germany was certainly ready to have a mutual agreement between the two countries over this situation.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs answered that it was possible that he would come back to this point soon. The conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the impression that the U.S. Note, in fact, was very unsatisfactory, even for the compromise-seeking politicians here. For these circles America's position, especially in the China question, was very disappointing. The emphasis upon the Three-Power Pact as being the main obstacle between successful Japanese-U.S. negotiations seems to point to the fact that the Japanese Government was becoming aware of the necessity of close co- operation with the Axis Powers."

The time is now fast approaching for that day of infamy. I offer our Document 2987-PS as Exhibit USA 166. This document consists of extracts from the hand-written diary of Count Galeazzo Ciano during the period 3rd December to 8th December, 1941. It consists of notes he

[Page 283]

jotted down in the course of his daily business as Foreign Minister of Italy. The Italian has been translated into both English and German, and copies of both, the English and the German, are in the document books.

I now quote from the beginning of the entry Of 3rd December, Wednesday.

"Sensational move by Japan. The Ambassador asks for an audience with the Duce and reads him a long statement on the progress of the negotiations with America, concluding with the assertion that they have reached a dead end. Then, invoking the appropriate clause in the Tripartite Pact, he asks that Italy declare war on America immediately after the outbreak of hostilities, and proposes the signature of an agreement not to conclude a separate peace. The interpreter translating this request was trembling like a leaf. The Duce gave fullest assurances, reserving the right to confer with Berlin before giving a reply. The Duce was pleased with the communication and said: 'We are now on the brink of the inter-continental war which I predicted as early as September, 1939.' What does this new event mean? In any case it means that Roosevelt has succeeded in his manoeuvre. Since he could not enter the war immediately and directly, he enters it indirectly, by letting himself be attacked by Japan. Furthermore, this event also means that every prospect of peace is becoming further and further removed, and that it is now easy - much too easy - to predict a long war. Who will be able to hold out longest? It is on this basis that the problem must be considered. Berlin's answer will be somewhat delayed, because Hitler has gone to the Southern Front to see General Kleist, whose armies continue to give way under pressure of an unexpected Soviet offensive."
And then, 4th December, Thursday - that is three days before Pearl Harbour:
"Berlin's reaction to the Japanese move is extremely cautious. Perhaps they will accept, because they cannot get out of it, but the idea of provoking America's intervention pleases the Germans less and less. Mussolini, on the other hand, is pleased about it."
And 5th December, Friday:
"A night interrupted by Ribbentrop's restlessness. After delaying two days, now he cannot wait a minute to answer the Japanese, and at 3 o'clock in the morning, he sends Mackensen to my house to submit a plan for a triple agreement relative to Japanese intervention and the pledge not to make a separate peace. He wants me to awaken the Duce, but I did not do so, and the latter is very glad I did not."
It appears from the last entry I have read, that of 5th December, that some sort of an agreement was reached.

On Sunday, 7th December, 1941, Japan, without previous warning or declaration of war, commenced an attack against the United States at Pearl Harbour and against the British Commonwealth of Nations in the South-west Pacific. On the morning of 11th December, four days after the Japanese assault in the Pacific, the German Government declared war on the United States, committing the last act of aggression which was to seal its doom. This declaration of war is contained in Volume IX of the "Dokumente der Deutschen Politik", of which I now ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice as Exhibit USA 164. An English translation is contained in our document book, and for the convenience of the Tribunal is 2507-PS

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The same day, 11th December, the fourth anniversary of which is tomorrow, the Congress of the United States resolved that a state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany, which has thus been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared. This declaration is contained as Document 272 in the official publication Peace and War of which the Tribunal has already taken judicial notice as Exhibit USA 12Z, The declaration itself has been reproduced for the document books as our Document 2945-PS.

It thus appears that, apart from their own aggressive intentions and declaration of war against the United States, the Nazi conspirators, in their collaboration with Japan, incited and kept in motion a force reasonably calculated to result in an attack on the United States. While maintaining their preference that the United States should not be involved in war at the time, they nevertheless foresaw the distinct possibility, even probability, of such involvement as a result of the action they were encouraging. They were aware that the Japanese had prepared plans for attack against the United States, and they accepted the consequences by assuring the Japanese that they would declare war on the United States, should a United States-Japanese conflict result.

In dealing with captured documents of the enemy, the completeness of the plan is necessarily obscured, but those documents which have been discovered and offered, in evidence before this Tribunal show that the Japanese attack was the proximate and foreseeable consequence of the Nazi conspirators' collaboration policy, and that their exhortations and encouragement of the Japanese as surely led to Pearl Harbour as though Pearl Harbour itself had been mentioned.

I should like to read the Ciano diary entry for the 8th December, the day after Pearl Harbour.

"A night telephone call from Ribbentrop. He is overjoyed about the Japanese attack on America. He is so happy about it that I am happy with him, though I am not too sure about the final advantages of what has happened. One thing is now certain; that America will enter the conflict, and that the conflict will be so long that she will be able to release all her potential forces. This morning I told this to the King, who had been pleased about the event. He ended by admitting that, in the long run, I may be right. Mussolini was happy, too. For a long time he has favoured a definite clarification of relations between America and the Axis."
The final document consists of the Top Secret notes of a conference between Hitler and Japanese Ambassador Oshima on 14th December, 1941, from 1300 to 1400 hours, in the presence of the Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. It is our Document 2932-PS, which I now offer as Exhibit USA 165. The immediate subject matter is the Pearl Harbour attack, but the expressions therein typify Nazi technique. I quote from the second paragraph of the English translation which has not been previously read:-
"First the Fuehrer presents Ambassador Oshima with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the German Eagle in gold. With cordial words he acknowledges his services in the achievement of German- Japanese co-operation, which has now obtained its culmination in a close brotherhood of arms.

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General Oshima expresses his thanks for the great honour and emphasises how glad he is that this brotherhood of arms has now come about between Germany and Japan.

The Fuehrer continues: 'You gave the right declaration of war.' This method is the only proper one. Japan pursued it formerly and it corresponds with his own system, that is, to negotiate as long as possible. But if one sees that the other is interested only in putting one off, in shaming and humiliating one, and is not willing to come to an agreement, then one should strike as hard as possible, and not waste time declaring war. It was heart-warming to him to hear of the first operations of the Japanese. He himself negotiated with infinite patience, at times; for example, with Poland and also with Russia. When he then realised that the others did not want to come to an agreement, he struck suddenly and without formality. He would continue to go on this way in the future."

If the Tribunal please, that ends my presentation of the various phases of aggressive warfare charged as Crimes against Peace in Count 1 of the Indictment. As I conclude this phase, I hope the Tribunal will allow me to express my deep sense of obligation to Commander Sidney J. Kaplan, Section Chief, and to the members of his staff, who did the yeoman work necessary to assemble and prepare these materials that I have presented. Those members of that staff, in the order in which the materials were presented, are Major Joseph Dainow, Lt. Commander Harold Leventhal, Lt. John M. Woolsey, Lt. James A. Gorrell, Lt. Roy H. Steyer.

Commander Kaplan and his staff have fully measured up to the famous motto of his branch of the Armed Services, the United States Coast Guard, "Semper Paratus" - "Always Prepared."

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 11th December, 1945, at 1000 hours.)

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