The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

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

Thirty-Second Day: Friday, January 11th, 1946
(Part 2 of 9)


[Page 185]

I also offer in evidence Document EC-458, Exhibit USA 634, consisting of an affidavit of Major Edmund Tilley under date of 21st November, 1945, with respect to an interview with Schacht on 9th July, 1945. I read the second paragraph:
"During the course of the discussion Schacht stated to me that he had had numerous talks with Hitler from 1933 to 1937. Schacht stated that from these talks he had formed the impression that, in order to make his hold on the Government secure, the Fuehrer felt that he must present the German people with a military victory."
As early as 1934, Schacht stated his belief that the Nazis would bring war to Europe. I refer the Tribunal to Document EC-451, which I have already submitted in evidence as Exhibit USA 626, consisting of an affidavit under date of 15th November, 1945, by Messersmith, American Consul-General in Berlin, 1930 to 1934. I wish to read from the first page, third paragraph, last sentence.

THE PRESIDENT: You have read it already.

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: If the Court please, there is a little more there which we have not read, which I should like to read.

THE PRESIDENT: You read the whole paragraph. At our invitation you read from the third paragraph down to the bottom of the page.

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: I should like to read the first sentence of the fourth paragraph on Page 1.



"While making these protestations he nevertheless showed by his acts that he was thoroughly an instrument of the whole Nazi programme and ambitions and that he was lending all his extraordinary knowledge and resourcefulness to the accomplishment of that programme."
THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Bryson, speaking for myself and for some other members of the Tribunal, we think it is a far better way to deal with a document to deal with it, if possible, once and for all, and not to be coming back to it. It not only wastes time by the fact that the Tribunal have to turn backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, to the document, but you get a much fairer idea of it if it is dealt with once and for all, although it may cover more, than one subject. I say this, although it may be impossible for you to do it now because of the preparations that you have made. Those who follow you, however, may be able to alter their course. If it is possible, when you get a document with a variety or a number of paragraphs in it which you want to quote, you should quote them all at the same time. Do you follow what I mean?

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: I follow you, your Honour. We have so organised our materials that we have directed our evidence to specific points, and, since the points are separated, we have to separate our quotations.

THE PRESIDENT: I realise that it may be difficult for you.

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: In September of 1934 Ambassador Dodd made a record in his diary of a conversation with Sir Eric Phipps at the British Embassy in Berlin. If the Court please, I will pass over this document, because in response to a question from the Tribunal, I read an excerpt from the document that covers the same point to which I was about to direct myself.

[Page 186]

I had just pointed out that Schacht has acknowledged to Ambassador Dodd in September, 1934, his knowledge of the war purposes of the Nazi Party, and we had already shown that in 1935 Schacht had stated that Germany would, if necessary, acquire colonies by force. He must then have known to what length Hitler was prepared to go.

After attending a meeting of the Reich Ministers on 27th May, 1936, in Berlin, Schacht must have known that Hitler was contemplating war. Your Honours may recall, as has been earlier shown, that at this meeting the defendant Goering, who was very close to Hitler, stated that all measures are to be considered from the standpoint of an assured waging of war and that waiting for new methods is no longer appropriate. I refer the Tribunal to Document 1301-FS, from which I will not read, as the quotation is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 123.

On 31st August, 1936, the War Minister, von Blomberg, sent to Schacht a copy of von Blomberg's letter to the defendant Goering. I refer the Tribunal again to Document 1301-PS, previously submitted in evidence as Exhibit USA 123, and read from the middle of Page 19 of the document. The page numbers, if the Court please, on this document, are found in the upper left-hand corner.

"According to an order of the Fuehrer the setting up of all Air Force units is to be completed by 1st April, 1937. Therefore considerable expenditures have to be made in 1936, which, at the time when the budget for 1936 was made, were planned for later years only."
This intensification of the Air Force programme certainly revealed to Schacht the closeness to war which Hitler must have felt.

I also offer in evidence Document EC-416, Exhibit USA 635, consisting of minutes of the Cabinet meeting of 4th September, 1936, which Schacht attended. I read the statement by Goering found at the top of Page 2 of this document:

"The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has given a memorandum to the General and the Reich War Minister which represents a general instruction. It starts from the basic thought that the showdown with Russia is inevitable."
Schacht thus knew that Hitler expected war with Russia. He also knew of Hitler's ambition towards the East. It must have been plain to him, therefore, that such a war would result from Russian opposition to German military expansion in that direction; that is, Schacht must have known that it would be a war of German aggression.

In January, 1937, the Tribunal will recall, Schacht stated to Ambassador Davies in Berlin that he had "been authorised by his Government" to submit certain proposals to France and England which, in fact, amounted to a bid for colonies under threat of war. If Schacht was acting under instructions from Hitler, he was necessarily familiar with Hitler's aggressive intentions at that time.

In November of 1937 Schacht knew Hitler was determined to acquire Austria, and, at least, autonomy for the Germans of Bohemia, and that Hitler also had designs on the Polish Corridor. I refer the Tribunal to Document L-151, already in evidence as Exhibit USA 70, this being a letter containing a memorandum of a conversation between Schacht and Ambassador Bullitt, dated 23rd November, 1937. I quote the last paragraph on Page 2:

"Hitler was determined to have Austria eventually attached to Germany and to obtain, at least, autonomy for the Germans of Bohemia. At the present moment he was not vitally concerned about the Polish Corridor, and in his" - Schacht's - "opinion it might be possible to maintain the Corridor, provided Danzig were permitted to join East Prussia, and provided some sort of bridge could be built across the Corridor, uniting Danzig and East Prussia with Germany."

[Page 187]

To digress for just a moment, Schacht here was really speaking for himself as well as for Hitler. We have seen from his speech of 29th March, 1938, in Vienna, his enthusiasm for the Anschluss after the event. He was even then working hard for its achievement. In this connection I refer the Tribunal to the transcript (Page 228, Part 1) for evidence of Schacht's having subsidised the Nazis' preliminary agitation in Austria.

In addition to the foregoing direct evidence, the Tribunal is asked to take into consideration the fact that to such a man as Schacht the events of the period certainly bespoke Hitler's intention. Schacht was a close collaborator of Hitler and a member of the Cabinet during the period of the Nazi agitation in Austria, the introduction of conscription, the march into the Rhineland, the overthrow of the Republican Government in Spain, the ultimate conquest of Austria, and the acquisition of the Sudetenland by a show of force. During this period the Reich's debt tripled under the stress of mounting armament. The expenditure rose from three- quarters of a billion Reichsmark in 1932 to eleven billion Reichsmark in 1937, and fourteen billion Reichsmark in 1938. During the entire period 35 billion Reichsmark were spent on armaments. It was a period in which the burning European foreign policy issue was the satisfaction of Germany's repeated demands for additional territory. Hitler, committed to a policy of expansion, was taking great risks in foreign policy and laying the greatest stress upon utmost speed in preparation for war.

Certainly, in this setting, Schacht did not proceed in ignorance of the fact that he was assisting Hitler and Germany along the road toward armed aggression.

We turn now to our last line of proof with respect to Schacht's loss of power in the Hitler regime. In November, 1937, Schacht resigned his offices as Minister of Economics and General Plenipotentiary for the War Economy. At that time he accepted the appointment as Minister without Portfolio and he also continued as President of the Reichsbank.

Our evidence will show that: (a) this change in position was no more than a clash between two power-seeking personalities, Goering and Schacht, which Goering, being closer to Hitler, won, (b) their policy differences were concerned only with the method of rearming, and (c) Schacht's loss of power in no sense implies an unwillingness to assist armed aggression.

There was an issue of policy between Goering and Schacht, but it was concerned only with the method, and not the desirability of war preparations. Schacht emphasised foreign trade as a necessary source of rearmament material during the transitory period until Germany should be ready to strike. Goering was a protagonist of complete self-sufficiency. Hitler supported Goering, and Schacht, his pride wounded and bitterly resenting Goering's intrusion in the economic field, finally stepped out.

I refer the Tribunal to Document 1301-PS, previously submitted in evidence as Exhibit USA 123, containing notes of a conversation between Schacht and Thomas on 2nd September, 1936. These are found on Page 21 of the document, from which I quote:

"President Schacht summoned me to-day at 13.00 hours and requested me to forward the following to the Minister of War: That he, Schacht, had returned from the Fuehrer with the greatest anxiety, since he could not agree to the economic programme planned by the Fuehrer.

The Fuehrer wants to speak at the Party Convention about economic policy and wants to emphasise there that we now want to get free with all our energy from foreign countries, by production in Germany.

Schacht requests urgently that the Reichsminister of War warn the Fuehrer of this step."

[Page 188]

And three paragraphs further down:
"If we now shout out abroad our decision to make ourselves economically independent, then we cut our own throats, because we can no longer survive the necessary transitory period."
Nevertheless, Hitler announced the Four Year Plan of self- sufficiency a few days later in Nuremberg, and, against Schacht's wishes, Goering was named Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan.

At this point I refer the Tribunal to the interrogation of Schacht on 16th October, 1945, being Exhibit USA 636. I wish to read, beginning near the bottom of Page 9 of the document:

"Q. And the Four Year Plan came in when?

A. It was announced in September, 1936, on the Party Day.

Q. Do you say that from the time that the Four Year Plan came in in September, 1936, you were ready to rid yourself of your economic duty?

A. No. At that time I thought that I might maintain my position even against Goering.

Q. Yes. In what sense?

A. That he would not interfere with affairs which I had to manage in my ministry.

Q. As a matter of fact, his appointment was not met with favour by you?

A. I would not have appointed a man like Goering who did not understand a bit about all these things."

Schacht and Goering immediately became embroiled in a conflict of jurisdiction. On 26th November, 1936, Goering issued a directive regarding raw and synthetic material production. I offer in evidence Document EC-243, Exhibit USA 637, consisting of a copy of this directive. It shows that Goering's Office for Raw and Synthetic Materials pre-empted control over large economic areas previously in the hands of Schacht. As an example, I shall quote from paragraph 5 of the directive on Page 4 of the document:
"The planning and determination of objectives, as well as the control over the execution of the tasks which must be accomplished within the framework of the Four Year Plan, are the responsibility of the Office for German Raw and Synthetic Materials, which supersedes the authorities Which have heretofore been in charge of these tasks."
On 11th December, 1936, Schacht found it necessary to order all supervisory offices in the Ministry of Economics to accept instructions from him alone. I offer in evidence Document EC-376, Exhibit USA 638, consisting of a circular letter from Schacht to all supervisory offices under date of 11th December, 1936, and I quote from the second paragraph:
"The supervisory offices are obliged to accept instructions from me alone. They must answer all official inquiries of the Office for German Raw Materials in order to give any information at any time to the fullest extent."
And a little further down:
" ... I herewith authorise the supervisory offices to take the necessary measures for themselves. In case doubts should arise concerning the requests of the above offices, and these doubts cannot be removed by oral negotiations with the specialised workers of these offices, I should be informed immediately. I will then order in each case the necessary steps to be taken."
The military sided with Schacht, who had rearmed them so well. I offer in evidence Document EC-420, Exhibit USA 639, consisting of a draft of a memorandum by the Military Economic Staff, dated 19th December, 1936. I wish to read from paragraph number 1:

[Page 189]

"(1) The control of war economy in the civilian sector in case of war is possible only for that person who in peace-time has made preparations for war at his own responsibility.

Upon recognition of this fact, Reichsbank President Dr. Schacht was appointed Plenipotentiary General for War Economy a year and a half ago, and an Operations Staff was attached to his office."

And then paragraph number 2:
"(2) The Military Economy Staff does not deem it compatible with the principle laid down in number 1, paragraph 1, if the Plenipotentiary General for War Economy is now placed under the Minister President General Goering's command."
In January, 1937, the Military Weekly Gazette published an article warmly praising Schacht's achievements in rearmament. Without reading it, I offer in evidence Document EC-383, Exhibit USA 640, containing this article, a pertinent quotation from which already appears in the transcript for 23rd November (Page 137, Part 1).

Shortly thereafter Schacht attempted to force a showdown with Goering by temporarily refusing to act in his capacity as Plenipotentiary. I offer in evidence Document EC-244, Exhibit USA 641, consisting of a letter from von Blomberg, the Minister of War, to Hitler under date of 23rd February, 1937. I read the second paragraph of this letter as follows:

"The President, Dr. Schacht, has notified me that he is not acting in his capacity as Plenipotentiary for the time being, since in his opinion there exists a conflict between the powers conferred upon him and those of General Goering. Because of this the preparatory mobilisation steps in the economic field are delayed."
Schacht obviously was using his importance to the war preparations as a lever.

THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Bryson, does the defendant Schacht admit in his interrogation that the reason for his giving up his office was the difference of opinion between him and the defendant Goering?

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: He does, Sir, and the defendant Goering states so in his interrogation.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to go into the details of their quarrel?

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: If the Court will be satisfied that this was the cause of Schacht's resignation -

THE PRESIDENT: If they both say so -

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: And that the cause was not his unwillingness to join in with the aggressive intentions of the Nazis at that time, I shall be perfectly satisfied to confine our evidence to the interrogations of Schacht and Goering.

THE PRESIDENT: Does he suggest that in his interrogation - that that might have been the reason?

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: I will find out, Sir, but our case against Schacht is premised upon conspiracy.

THE PRESIDENT: If the defendant Schacht wants to set up such a case as that, you could apply to be heard in rebuttal.

LIEUTENANT BRYSON: Well, we shall be satisfied then to eliminate a number of our items of evidence, including the controversy between Goering and Schacht, and content ourselves with the interrogations.


LIEUTENANT BRYSON: If the Court please, we are almost at the time of the break. Perhaps during the break we can arrange our evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we will adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

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