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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Eighth Day: Friday, 22nd March, 1946
(Part 5 of 7)

[Page 350]

DR. STAHMER: I beg your pardon. It is Exhibit 6. I quote - and it is the last sentence of the first paragraph:
"To-day we want to secure this peace, and we want the world to understand this always: that only a Germany of honour is a guarantor of world peace. Only a free German nation will keep this peace and will know how to preserve it.

Therefore, we demand for ourselves the same rights as the others possess."

And on the following page I quote the last paragraph:
"We do not want any war, but we want our honour. We do not discuss this honour with anybody in this world, that is a fact, for it is the foundation for the reconstruction of the entire nation. Only he who has a sharp sword at his side is unmolested and has peace."
Sir Neville Henderson emphasises, in various passages of his book "Failure of a Mission," Goering's love of peace. The passages are quoted again in Document

[Page 351]

Book 1, Page 63, and I offer it as Document 23 (Exhibit Goering 2). I am quoting from Page 78 of the book:
"I (i.e., Henderson) was inclined to believe in the sincerity of his (i.e, Goering's) personal desire for peace and good relations with England."
On Page 83 of the book it says:
"I would like to express here my belief that the Field- Marshal, if it had depended on him, would not have gambled on war, as Hitler did in 1939. As will be related in due course, he took a decisive stand for peace in September, 1938."
On Page 273, which is the next page, there is the following sentence which I quote:
"I saw the Polish Ambassador at 2 a.m. on 31st, August, 1939, gave him an objective and studiously moderate account of my conversation with Ribbentrop, mentioned the cession of Danzig and the plebiscite in the Corridor as the two main points in the German proposals, stated that, so far as I could gather, they were not, on the whole, too unreasonable, and suggested to him that we recommend to his Government that they should propose at once a meeting between Field-Marshal Smigly-Rydz and Goering."
On Page 276 of the book you will find the following sentences which I quote from the last paragraph:
"Nevertheless, the Field-Marshal seemed in earnest when, after having been called to the telephone, he returned to tell us that M. Lipski was on his way to see Ribbentrop. He seemed relieved and to hope that, provided contact could only be established, war might, after all, be avoided."
In February, 1937, the defendant Goering, on the occasion of an international meeting of war veterans in Berlin, made the following speech, which is contained in the book, "Hermann Goering, the Man and his Work," on Page 265, and which is contained in Document Book 2, Page 42, which is Document 39, and from which I quote the following sentences:
"There are no better defenders of peace than the old war veterans. I am convinced that they, above all others, have a right to ask for peace and to shape it. I recognise that those men who, weapon in hand, have gone through four hard years of the hell of the World War have the primary right to shape the life of the nations, and I know that the war veterans more than anybody else will take care to preserve the blessings of peace for their countries."
I omit two sentences and then quote further:
"But we know that it is a terrible thing, this final contest between nations. It is my fervent and heartfelt wish that this Congress may contribute toward the basis for a true peace with honour and equality of rights for all sides. You, my comrades, will have to pave the way for that."
The same desire is evident in the answers given by Lord Halifax to the questions put him. I now read the following passages from this interrogatory and I offer the original as Document 22 (Exhibit Goering 3). It is contained in Document Book 2, Page 59.

I think I can omit the first two questions. The third question is:

"Did Goering say to you during this discussion:

'Every German Government would consider the following matters as the most constituent part of its policy:

(a) The incorporation of Austria and the Sudetenland into Germany;

[Page 352]

(b) The return of Danzig to Germany with a reasonable solution of the Corridor question'?

A. Yes.

Question 4. Did you answer thereupon: 'But, I hope without war'?

A. I said that His Majesty's Government wanted all questions affecting Germany and her neighbours settled by peaceful methods. I did not otherwise discuss those questions.

Question 5. Did Goering answer thereupon:

'That depends very much upon England. England would be able to contribute much to the peaceful solution of this question. I do not want war either for these reasons, but these questions have to be settled under all circumstances.'

A. Yes."

The next questions concern the conversation with Dahlerus ...

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): Does that purport to be a verbatim account of what the defendant Goering said? Did he refer to himself in the third person, "Goering does not want a war," meaning "I do not want a war"?

DR. STAHMER: He did not want a war either. England would be able to contribute much to the peaceful solution of this question. He does not want war either for these reasons. He, i.e., Goering, does not want war either, but these questions have to be settled under all circumstances.

This is, of course, indirect speech. In direct speech it would be "I, Goering, do not want war, but the questions have to be settled under all circumstances."

The next questions refer to Dahlerus. Question 15, which is the question put to Halifax, is also of importance in my opinion:

"Did you have the impression that Goering's endeavours to avoid war were sincere?"
The answer of Halifax is:
"I have no doubt that Goering would have preferred to enforce the German demands on Poland without war, if he could have."
At the end of June or the beginning of July, 1938, Goering made a speech to the Gauleiters at Karinhall which was distinctly a speech for peace. I am referring to a statement from Dr. Uiberreither of 27th February, 1946, the original of which is being presented as Document 38 (Exhibit Goering 4), and is again given in Document Book 2 on Page 37.

THE PRESIDENT: You are putting in these originals, are you?

DR. STAHMER: Yes, indeed.

In that statement from Dr. Uiberreither, dated 27th February, 1946, at Page 36 in Document Book 2, your Honour, it says:

"On 25th May, 1938" - says Dr. Uiberreither - that is, after the plebiscite concerning the reunion of Austria with Germany which bad taken place on 10th April, 1938, "I was appointed Gauleiter of Gau Steiermark.

A few weeks later - it may have been towards the end of June or the beginning of July, 1938 - the former Field- Marshal Hermann Goering summoned all Gauleiters of the German Reich to Karinhall.

He there delivered quite a long address to the Gauleiters, describing the political situation as it was at the time, and discussing in detail the purpose and significance of the Four-Year Plan.

Field-Marshal Goering first pointed out that other countries had little understanding of the political developments in Germany, and that consequently there existed the danger of Germany being encircled. Directing German foreign policy was in consequence a difficult task. Therefore, we should endeavour to strengthen Germany from the economic

[Page 353]

and military point of view, in order to reduce the danger that Germany might be attacked by a foreign Power. At the same time, this would result in Germany again exercising an increasingly important influence in European politics, after she had become strong.

After that, Field-Marshal Goering discussed the Four-Year Plan: in this connection he remarked:

By and large, Germany was cut off from the world's sources of raw materials and she therefore had to open up sources in her own territory by dint of increased efficiency. This would be done merely in order to make Germany independent of foreign countries and was not by any means to serve the purpose of preparing for an aggressive war.

He then stressed, with great emphasis, that Germany's foreign policy would have to be conducted in such a way that war should not ensue under any circumstances. The present generation was still feeling the effects of a lost World War; the outbreak of another war would be a shock to the German people. Furthermore, it was his opinion that a new war might assume great proportions and even the outcome of a war against France alone would be questionable.

In conclusion, he summarised his address by saying that we had to do, everything in our power to make the Four- Year Plan a success, and that all hardships caused thereby must be borne by the people and were justified, because its success could prevent war.

I point out that I remember all details of this speech so accurately because this was the first time that I was informed by a leading personality of these conditions, which were so important for Germany and because, as a result, until the war actually started I did not believe that it would come to a war."

In the solution of the Austrian problem no aggressive action on the part of Germany is to be seen. It took place in response to the desires of the majority of the Austrian population for reunion with the Reich. The defendant's view of this problem can be seen from the telephone conversation he had with the Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop on 13th March, 1938. The record of this conversation has already been produced under Document 2949-PS (Exhibit USA 75). I shall quote from this conversation some passages which have not yet been read. The conversation is contained in Document Book 1, Pages 55-56. I am going to quote only the following passages:
"I want to say one thing: If it is said" - this is Goering's conversation - "that we have used pressure on the Austrian people and done outrage to her independence, it can only be said that one thing was put under pressure, but not by us, and that was the tiny little Government. The Austrian people is free only now. I would simply suggest to Halifax or to a few really important people whom he trusts that he just send them over here so that they can look at the picture. They should travel through the country, they can see everything."
And a few sentences later:
"Which State in the whole world is being harmed by our union? Are we taking anything from any State?"
Then it goes on - I omit two sentences:
"All the people are German, all the people speak German. Thus there is not a single other State involved."
The defendant Goering - I am referring to Page 11 of the book, next to the last paragraph - did not only wish to maintain peace abroad; he also supported the preservation of peace at home. In this report he declared in a speech he

[Page 354]

made on 9th April, 1933, at the Berlin Sports Palace - it appears in the book "Hermann Goering's Speeches and Essays," and is reproduced in Document Book 1, Page 35, and I am offering it as Document 13. I quote the first sentence:
"On the other hand, however, my compatriots, we also ought to be generous. We do not wish to practise petty revenge. After all, we are the victors.... Therefore, let us be generous, let us realise that we also thought differently at one time."
And then a little further down:
"... the stronger and freer we feel ourselves, so much the more generously, the more freely are we able to disregard what happened in the past and to extend our hand with complete sincerity in reconciliation."
I further quote from a speech of the defendant on 26th March, 1938, Document Book 1, Page 37, likewise a quotation from "Hermann Goering's Speeches and Essays," Document 14. I quote only one sentence from it:
"... You were great in suffering and enduring, you were great in standing firm, great in fighting. Now you must show that you are also great in kindness, and especially so towards the many who were misled."
His attitude toward the Church the defendant has ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, can you not give the exhibit number?

DR. STAHMER: Yes, I think it was 13. I shall have a look once more. No, it was 14.

His attitude toward the Church was expressed by the defendant Goering in several speeches. In this respect, on 26th, October, 1935, he made the following statement - I am quoting from "Hermann Goering's Speeches and Essays":

"It is up to the Church alone whether it wishes to have peace. We, the Movement, and in particular the Government and the State, have never attacked the Church, we have assured protection to the Church and the Church knows that it enjoys this protection to-day to the fullest extent.

Therefore, there is nothing that warrants our being blamed in any way in this respect."

From another speech of 26th March, 1938, which is also quoted from "Hermann Goering's Speeches and Essays," Document Book 1, Page 41, Document 16, I quote the first and second sentences:
"We do not wish to annihilate any Church nor to destroy any belief or religion. All we want is to bring about a clear separation. The Church has its definite, very important and very necessary tasks and the State and the Movement have other tasks just as important and just as decisive."
I refer further to "a document submitted by a clergyman, Werner Jentsch, dated 30th October, 1945, addressed to this Tribunal, Document Book 1, Pages 44 to 46,Exhibit 7.

I quote only one sentence, No. 8:

"Hermann Goering himself instructed his chief adjutant to give the following answer to a petition on behalf of the introduction of a special chaplain's office within Headquarters of the Air Force; that be could not at the moment do anything because Adolf Hitler had not yet made a final decision concerning the question of religion, but that he wished full freedom of religion in the Air Force, including the Christian denominations, and every member of the Air Force could choose for himself whichever chaplain or civilian pastor he desired."
The affidavit from Gauleiter Dr. Uiberreither, dated 27th February, 1946, deals with the question which I mentioned earlier and which is contained in

[Page 355]

Document Book 1, Page 31. Under figure 2 it deals with the events of the night of 9th to 10th November, 1938, and the knowledge thereof, as follows:
"A few weeks after the action against the Jews, on the night of 9th to 10th November, 1938 - towards the end of November or the beginning of December, 1938 - Field- Marshal Goering again called all the Gauleiters to Berlin. During this meeting he criticised the action in harsh words and stated that it had not been in keeping with the dignity of the nation. Moreover, it had also seriously lowered our prestige abroad. If the murder of Legation Secretary von Rath was regarded as an attack of Jewry against the Reich, then the German Reich had other means of countering such an attack than appealing to the baser instincts. In an orderly State no irregular mob action ought to take place under any circumstances."
In the last paragraph, under No. 2, it says:
"In conclusion, he asked the Gauleiters to use their entire influence to see to it that such incidents, which were detrimental to Germany, would not recur in the future."
I can omit Page 16, paragraph 5, as an explanation on that has already been given.

That the defendant Goering took his duty as Supreme Judge very seriously becomes apparent from an affidavit of Judge General Dr. Lehmann of 21st February, 1946. I shall read from this affidavit in Document Book 1, Page 106, Document 27 (Exhibit Goering 6). 1 quote from No. 11:

"The opinion I have of him is the following:

"The Reich Marshal originally took a negative attitude toward lawyers. He was evidently influenced by the Fuehrer. This attitude underwent a change to the extent that he occupied himself with legal matters of the Air Force. At the end of the war the Reich Marshal was one of the high commanders who liked to consult lawyers. He took special interest in the legal department of the Air Force and attached great importance to it. He assigned to this department difficult cases for investigation concerning which he was sceptical of the reports of other offices."

From the following paragraph:
"The Reich Marshal had himself thoroughly informed concerning matters which I had to discuss with him. He devoted an unusual amount of time to these matters. The conferences, even when there were considerable differences of opinion, took a quiet and objective course."
Then from paragraph III:
"Concerning the legal department of the Air Force the Reich Marshal reserved for himself the confirmation of sentences in many cases, including all death sentences.

In passing judgement on individual cases be was inclined to show occasional leniency in spite of the harshness demanded of all judges by the Fuehrer. In cases of treason, and especially in moral crimes, he showed merciless severity. I know from the records that in severe cases of rape he would often reverse a judgement because he considered the death sentence was necessary. It did not matter whether the woman involved was from Germany or from the occupied territories. I believe that I remember at least one case from the records where he even changed the regular manner of execution and ordered that the soldier be hanged in the Russian village in which he had committed the rape.

When presiding at a trial the Reich Marshal was very lively, but benevolent also in his recommendations for mercy to the Fuehrer.

[Page 356]

In his own decisions the Reich Marshal doubtless knowingly acted often contrary to the ideas and demands of the Fuehrer, especially in political matters, which he judged much more mildly, and in cases of excesses against inhabitants of the occupied countries which he judged much more harshly than the Fuehrer.

I have often discussed the personality of the Reich Marshal with his legal adviser, a very experienced, quiet and conscientious lawyer as well as with the Judge Advocate General (Oberreichskriegsanwalt) who was distinguished by the same qualities, and was often with him. We were of one opinion about the Reich Marshal."

In the course of this trial the prosecution has repeatedly referred to the so-called "Green Folder," which was submitted under number 1743-PS. This is not, as the prosecution maintains, a regulation for the spoliation and annihilation of the population. Its object was, rather, the economic mobilisation and the uninterrupted operation of industry, of procurement and regular utilisation of supplies, of the transport facilities, in the territories to be occupied by military operations, with special consideration of the fact that Russia had no private enterprise but only a strict centrally regulated State economy. In addition to that, vast destruction had to be anticipated in view of the Russian attitude. Nowhere does it contain an order or directive to exploit certain groups of the population beyond the necessities caused by the war.

From that "Green Folder" I have cited a whole series of passages which are to prove my statements. I cannot refer to them in detail; I should like to draw your attention only to one very characteristic passage which is on Page 94 of this "Green Folder," second paragraph:

"Among the native population, in this case, meaning workers and clerical employees, the best possible relationship is to be established."
Somewhat below, on the same page:
"Good relations with the population must be striven for in particular also with the workers in the oil industry."
I am now coming to the next paragraph:
"The German Armed Forces entered the war fully respecting the international conventions....

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