The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Twenty-Ninth Day: Tuesday, January 8th, 1946
(Part 3 of 10)

[Page 54]

COLONEL STOREY: If the Tribunal please, before we present the subject of individual defendants, by agreement with our British colleagues, Major Elwyn Jones will now present a brief subject entitled "Aggression as a Basic Nazi Idea." Major Elwyn Jones.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: May it please the Tribunal, it is now my duty to draw to the Tribunal's attention a document which became the statement of faith of these defendants. I refer to Hitler's "Mein Kampf." It is perhaps appropriate that this should be considered at this stage of the trial just before the prosecution presents to the Tribunal the evidence against the individual defendants under Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment, for this book, "Mein Kampf," gave to the defendants adequate foreknowledge of the unlawful aims of the Nazi leadership. It was not only Hitler's political testament; by adoption it became theirs.

This book "Mein Kampf" might be described as the blueprint of Nazi aggression. Its whole tenor and content enforce the prosecution's submission that the Nazi pursuit of aggressive designs was no mere accident arising out of the immediate political situation in Europe and the world which existed during the period of Nazi power. "Mein Kampf" establishes unequivocally that the use of aggressive war to serve their aims in foreign policy was part of the very creed of the Nazi Party.

A great German philosopher has said that "ideas have hands and feet." It became the deliberate aim of these defendants to see to it that the ideas, doctrines and policies of "Mein Kampf" should become the active faith and guide for action of the German nation, and particularly of its malleable youth.

As my American colleagues have already submitted to the Tribunal, from 1933 to 1939 an extensive indoctrination in the ideas of "Mein Kampf" was pursued in the schools and universities of Germany, as well as in the Hitler Youth under the direction of the defendant Baldur von Schirach and in the S.A. and S.S. and amongst the German population as a whole by the agency of the defendant Rosenberg.

A copy of this book "Mein Kampf" was officially presented to all newly-married couples in Germany, and I now hand to the Tribunal such a wedding present from the Nazis to the newly- weds of Germany and for the purposes of the record it will be Exhibit GB 128. The Tribunal will see that the dedication on the fly-leaf of that copy reads: "To the newly-married couple, Friedrich Rosebroek and Else geborene Zum Beck, with best wishes for a happy and blessed marriage. Presented by the Communal Administration on the occasion of their marriage on the 14th of November, 1940, for the Mayor, the Registrar."

The Tribunal will see, at the bottom of the page opposite to the contents page, that that edition of "Mein Kampf," which was the 1940 edition, brought the number of copies published to 6,250,000. This was the scale upon which this book was distributed. It was blasphemously called "The Bible of the German people."

[Page 55]

As a result of the efforts of the defendants and their confederates, this book poisoned a generation and distorted the outlook of a whole people.

As the S.S. General von dem Bach-Zelewski indicated yesterday, if you preach for years, as long as ten years, that the Slav peoples are inferior races and that the Jews are subhuman, then it must logically follow that the killing of millions of these human beings is accepted as a natural phenomenon.

From "Mein Kampf" the way leads directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz and the gas chambers of Maidanek.

What the commandments of "Mein Kampf " were I shall seek to indicate to the Tribunal by quotations from the book, which are set out in the extracts which I trust are now before the Tribunal. These extracts are set out in the order in which I shall, with the Tribunal's permission, refer to them.

Now these quotations fall into two main categories. The first category is that of the general expression of Hitler's belief in the necessity of force as the means of solving international problems. The second category is that of Hitler's more explicit declarations on the policy which Germany must pursue.

Most of the quotations in the second category come from the last three chapters, 13, 14, and 15 of Part II of "Mein Kampf," in which Hitler's views on foreign policy were expounded. The significance of that fact will be realised if the Tribunal looks at the German edition of "Mein Kampf." The Tribunal will observe that Part II was first published in 1927, that is to say, less than two years after the Locarno Pact and within a few months of Germany's entry into the League of Nations. The date of the publication of these passages, therefore, brands them as a repudiation of the policy of international co-operation embarked upon by Stresemann, and as a deliberate defiance of the attempt to establish, through the League of Nations, the rule of law in international affairs.

First I place before the Tribunal some quotations showing the general views held by Hitler and accepted and developed by the defendants about war and aggression generally. The first quotation, from Page 556 of "Mein Kampf," reads:

"The soil on which we now live was not a gift bestowed by Heaven on our forefathers. But they had to conquer it by risking their lives. So also in the future our people will not obtain territory and therewith the means of existence as a favour from any other people, but will have to win it by the power of a triumphant sword."
On Page 145 Hitler revealed his own personal attitude to war. Of the years of peace before 1914 he wrote:
"Thus I used to think it an ill-deserved stroke of bad luck that I had arrived too late on this terrestrial globe, and I felt chagrined at the idea that my life would have to run its course along peaceful and orderly lines.

As a boy I was anything but a pacifist and all attempts to make me so proved futile."

Generally Hitler wrote of war in this way. On Page 162 we find:
"In regard to the part played by humane feeling, Moltke stated that in time of war the essential thing is to get a decision as quickly as possible and that the most ruthless methods of fighting are at the same time the most humane. When people attempt to answer this reasoning by high-brow talk about aesthetics, etc., only one answer can be given. It is that the vital questions involved in the struggle of a nation for its existence must not be subordinated to any aesthetic consideration."
How faithfully these precepts of ruthlessness were followed by the defendants, the prosecution will prove in the course of this trial.

Hitler's assumption of an inevitable law of struggle for survival is linked up in Chapter 11 of Book 1 of "Mein Kampf," with the doctrine of Aryan

[Page 56]

superiority over other races and the right of Germans, by virtue of this superiority, to dominate and use other peoples as instruments for their own ends. The whole of Chapter 11 of this book is dedicated to this master race theory, and, indeed, many of the later speeches of Hitler, his addresses to his generals, etc., were mainly repetitive of that chapter.

If the Court will look at the extract from Page 256, it reads as follows:

"Had it not been possible for them to employ members of the inferior race which they conquered, the Aryans would never have been in a position to take the first steps on the road which led them to a later type of culture; just as, without the help of certain suitable animals which they were able to tame, they would never have come to the invention of mechanical power, which has subsequently enabled them to do without these beasts.

For the establishment of superior types of civilisation the members of inferior races formed one of the most essential prerequisites."

And in a later passage, at Page 344, Hitler applies these general ideas to Germany:
"If in its historical development the German people had possessed the unity of herd instinct by which other people have so much benefited, then the German Reich would probably be mistress of the globe to-day. World history would have taken another course, and in this case no man can tell if what many blinded pacifists hope to attain by petitioning, whining and crying may not have been reached in this way: namely, a peace which would not be based upon the waving of olive branches by tearful misery-mongering of pacifist old women, but a peace that would be guaranteed by the triumphant sword of a people endowed with the power to master the world and administer it in the service of a higher civilisation."
In these passages which I have quoted, the Tribunal will have noticed Hitler's love of war and scorn of those whom he described as pacifists. The underlying message of the whole of this book, a message which appears again and again, is, first, that the struggle for existence requires the organisation and use of force; secondly, that the Aryan- German is superior to other races and has the right to conquer and rule them; and thirdly, that all doctrines which preach peaceable solutions of international problems represent a disastrous weakness in the nation that adopts them.

Implicit in the whole of the argument is a fundamental and arrogant denial of the possibility of any rule of law in international affairs.

It is in the light of the general doctrines of "Mein Kampf" that I invite the Tribunal to consider the more definite passages in which Hitler deals with specific problems of German foreign policy.

The very first page of the book contains a remarkable forecast of Nazi policy. It reads - Page 1, column 1:

"German-Austria must be restored to the great German Motherland; and not, indeed, on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no. Even if the union were a matter of economic indifference, and even if it were to be disadvantageous from the economic standpoint, still it ought to take place. People of the same blood should be in the same Reich. The German people will have no right to engage in a colonial policy until they shall have brought all their children together in one State. When the territory of the Reich embraces all the Germans and finds itself unable to assure them a livelihood, only then can the moral right arise from the need of the people, to acquire foreign territory. The plough is then the sword; and the tears of war will produce the daily bread for the generations to come."

[Page 57]

Hitler, in this book, also roundly declares that the mere restoration of Germany's frontiers as they were in 1914 would be wholly insufficient for his purposes. At Page 553 he writes:
"In regard to this point I should like to make the following statement: To demand that the 1914 frontiers should be restored, is a glaring political absurdity, that is fraught with such consequences as to make the claim itself appear criminal. The confines of the Reich as they existed in 1914 were thoroughly illogical because they were not really complete, in the sense of including all the members of the German nation. Nor were they reasonable, in view of the geographical exigencies of military defence. They were not the consequences of a political plan which had been well considered and carried out, but they were temporary frontiers established in virtue of a political struggle that had not been brought to a finish; and, indeed, they were partly the chance result of circumstances."
In further elaboration of Nazi policy Hitler does not merely denounce the Treaty of Versailles; he desires to see a Germany which is a world Power with territory sufficient for a future German people, of a magnitude which he does not define.

In the next quotation, from Page 554, the first sentence reads: "For the future of the German nation the 1914 frontiers are of no significance." And in the third paragraph the Court sees:

"We National Socialists must stick firmly to the aim that we have set for our foreign policy, namely, that the German people must be assured the territorial area which is necessary for it to exist on this earth. And only in such action as is, undertaken to secure those ends can it be lawful, in the eyes of God and our German posterity, to allow the blood of our people to be shed once again; before God, because we are sent into this world with the commission to struggle for our daily bread, as creatures to whom nothing is donated and who must be able to win and hold their position as lords of the earth only through their own intelligence and courage.

And this justification must be established also before our German posterity, on the grounds that for each one who has shed his blood the life of a thousand others will be guaranteed to posterity. The territory on which one day our German peasants will be able to bring forth and nourish their sturdy sons will justify the blood of the sons of the peasants that has to be shed to-day. And the statesmen who have decreed this sacrifice may be persecuted by their contemporaries, but posterity will absolve them from all guilt for having demanded this offering from their people."

Then, the next quotation; Hitler writes, at Page 557:
"Germany will either become a world power or will not continue to exist at all. But, in order to become a world power, it needs that territorial magnitude which gives it the necessary importance to-day and assures the existence of its citizens."
And, finally, he writes:
"We must take our stand on the principles already mentioned in regard to foreign policy, namely, the necessity of bringing our territorial area into just proportion with the number of our population. From the past we can learn only one lesson, and this is that the aim which is to be pursued in our political conduct must be twofold, namely: (1) the acquisition of territory as the objective of our foreign policy; and (2) the establishment of a new and uniform foundation as the objective of our political activities at home, in accordance with our doctrines of nationhood."

[Page 58]

Now these passages from "Mein Kampf" raise the question: Where did Hitler expect to find the increased territory beyond the 1941 boundaries of Germany? To this Hitler's answer is sufficiently explicit. Reviewing the history of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918, he wrote, in an early passage of "Mein Kampf," at Page 132:
"Therefore, the only possibility which Germany had of carrying a sound territorial policy into effect was that of acquiring new territory in Europe itself. Colonies cannot serve this purpose so long as they are not suited for settlement by Europeans on a large scale. In the nineteenth century it was no longer possible to acquire such colonies by peaceful means. Therefore, any attempt at such a colonial expansion would have meant an enormous military struggle. Consequently it would have been more practical to undertake that military struggle for new territory in Europe rather than to wage war for the acquisition of possessions abroad.

Such a decision naturally demanded that the nation's undivided energies should be devoted to it. A policy of that kind, which requires for its fulfilment every ounce of available energy on the part of everybody concerned, cannot be carried into effect by half measures or in a hesitant manner. The political leadership of the German Empire should then have been directed exclusively to this goal. No political step should have been taken in response to considerations other than this task and the means of accomplishing it. Germany should have been alive to the fact that such a goal could have been reached only by war, and the prospect of war should have been faced with calm and collected determination.

The whole system of alliances should have been envisaged and valued from that standpoint."

And, then, this is the vital sentence:
"If new territory were to be acquired in Europe, it must have been mainly at Russia's cost, and once again the new German Empire should have set out on its march along the same road as was formerly trodden by the Teutonic Knights, this time to acquire soil for the German plough by means of the German sword and thus provide the nation with its daily bread."
To this programme of expansion in the East Hitler returned again at the end of "Mein Kampf." After discussing the insufficiency of Germany's pre-war frontiers, he again points the path to the East and declares that the "Drang nach Osten," the drive to the East, must be resumed; and he writes:
"Therefore we National Socialists have purposely drawn a pen through the line of conduct followed by pre-war Germany in foreign policy. We put an end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the South and West of Europe and turn our eyes towards the lands of the East. We finally put a stop to the colonial and trade policy of pre-war times and pass over to the territorial policy of the future.

But when we speak of new territory in Europe to-day we must principally think of Russia and the border states subject to her."

Now Hitler was shrewd enough to see that his aggressive designs in the East might be endangered by a defensive alliance between Russia, France and England. His foreign policy, as outlined in "Mein Kampf," was to detach England and Italy from France and Russia, and to change the attitude of Germany towards France, from the defensive to the offensive.

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