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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd May to 13th May, 1946

One Hundred Ninteenth Day: Thursday, 2nd May, 1946
(Part 8 of 12)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of Hjalmar Schacht]

[Page 29]

Q. Going back to 1933. This is the question:
"Prior to the time that Hitler appointed you as President of the Reichsbank, do you recall a meeting in the home of Goering"?

Answer: Yes. That is a financial meeting. I have been interrogated about that several times already.

"Question: Tell me about it?

"Answer: Yes, I will. Hitler had to go to the elections on the 5th of March, if you will remember, and for these elections he wanted money for the campaign. He asked me to procure the money, and I did. Goering called these men together, and I made a speech - not a speech, for Hitler made the speech - then I asked them to write down the amounts and to subscribe for the elections which they did. They subscribed a total of 3,000,000 marks.

"Question: Who were the people who made up that subscription list?

"Answer: I think that all of them were bankers and industrialists, they represented the chemical industry, iron industry, textile industry, all of them.

"Question: Representatives of all the industries?

"Answer: All of them, all of the big industries.

[Page 30]

"Question: Do you recall any of their names?

"Answer: Oh certainly; Krupp was there, the old gentleman Gustav. He arose from his seat and thanked Hitler and was very enthusiastic about him at the time. And then there was Schnitzler, I think it was he, and Vogler for the United Steel works."

Did you give that testimony?

A. Certainly.

Q. Now, at that meeting you have referred to, Document 203- D, which is a record of the meeting, and at that meeting, Goering said this in substance, did he not?

"The sacrifices which are required would be so much easier for industry to bear if it knew that the election of March 5th would surely be the last one for the next 10 years, probably even for the next 100 years."
You heard that, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Now yesterday, or the day before, you were interrogated about your support and about the tribute that Goebbels paid to you, and you said to the Tribunal It is not my fault if Dr. Goebbels made a mistake." Do you recall that?

A. Yes. Q. And I ask you, testifying about Dr. Goebbels, if you didn't say to the interrogator of the United States on the 17th day of October, 1945, Exhibit USA 616:

"Question: When did you become interested in becoming a co-worker of Hitler?

"Answer: I'd say in the years of 1931, 1932

"Question: And that was when you saw that he had a mass movement that was likely to take power?

"Answer: Quite, it was growing continually.

"Question: And did you publicly record your support for Hitler in those years?

"Answer: I think I made a statement in December, 1930, at a meeting of the Bavarian People's Party, upon coming back from America, that there was a choice for any future German Government, either to hold against 25 per cent socialists, or against 20 per cent National Socialists.

"Question: But what I mean - to make it very brief indeed - did you lend the prestige of your name to help Hitler come to power?

"Answer: I stated publicly that I expected Hitler to come into power, for the first time that I remember, in November, 1932.

"Question: And you know, or perhaps you don't that Goebbels in his diary, records with great affection -

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: The help that you gave him at that time?

"Answer: Yes, I know that.

"Question: November, 1932?

"Answer: And you quote the title of his book: From the Kaiserhof to the Chancellery.

"Question: That's right; you have read that?

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: And you don't deny that Goebbels was right?

"Answer: I think his impression was, that he was correct at that time."

Did you give that testimony?

A. Yes. I never doubted that Goebbels was under this impression, I merely said that he was mistaken.

Q. Then you didn't ... Well, I won't bother. Now, you made some extensive quotations from Ambassador Dodd yesterday, the day before. Did you not?

A. Yes.

[Page 31]

Q. And let's have this understood. Ambassador Dodd was consistently, and at all times, opposed to the entire Nazi outfit, wasn't he?

A. Yes.

Q. So you got no encouragement from him to be in this outfit?

A. Oh, no.

Q. Now, you testified, as I understood you, that Ambassador Dodd invited you to go to the United States of America, and you say - I am quoting from the record:

"At that time, 1937, he called on me and urged me to go with him, or follow him as soon as possible, and change my residence to America. He said that I would find a very pleasant welcome in America. I believe he never would have said that to me if he had not had a friendly feeling toward me."
You said that to the Tribunal?

Q. And I think you intended to convey to the Tribunal the impression that Ambassador Dodd had great confidence in you and great friendship for you?

A. I had that impression.

Q. Have you read his entire diary, or did you confine yourself to reading extracts?

A. Yes. I also know of the passage where he said: "You would make a very bad American," or something like that.

Q. Yes, yes, you didn't mention that to the Tribunal.

A. I think that would be better for the prosecution.

Q. Well, we are not disappointing you then.

Are you not familiar with his entry under the date of December 21, 1937, where he speaks of the luncheon at which you were present.

"Schacht spoke of the defeat of Germany in 1918 as wholly due to Woodrow Wilson's bringing America into the World War, but said Wilson's Fourteen Points had been the one great promise of international peace and co-operation, and that every country on both sides had helped to defeat his purpose. I asked him whether he did not think that Wilson, 50 years from now, would be regarded as one of the greatest Presidents the United States has ever had. He evaded an answer and turned his attention to the Japanese-Chinese war, and expressed opposition to Germany's alliance to Japan." Then he showed the true German attitude by quoting you: "If the United States would stop the Japanese War and leave Germany to have her way in Europe, we would have world peace."
A. What is the question?

Q. Did you say that?

A. I don't know whether I said it, but even today, it seems an extremely reasonable statement. I am of that opinion that it was correct with one exception, I believe -

Q. Yes, now let's get this straight. As I understand you correctly, you could have peace, world peace if Germany was left to have her way in Europe?

A. Yes. May I say that there were serious differences of opinions about the path Germany was to take; mine was a peaceful one.

Q. Now, he goes on:

"I did not comment, and others also failed to make remarks. Schacht meant what the Army chiefs of 1914 meant when they invaded Belgium, expecting to conquer France in six weeks, namely, domination and annexation of neighbouring little countries, especially north and east."
A. Am I to reply?

Q. Did you say that?

A. No, no.

Q. That is what Dodd said about your conversation.

A. But I did not say that.

[Page 32]

Q. And you?

A. No, May I -

Q. What was the impression?

A. No, may I answer please?

Q. That is the impression received over the course of his acquaintance with you by a man, whom you describe as being a decent fellow and a friend of yours.

A. May I answer, as I have already stated, that Mr. Dodd was frequently misunderstood. In this case too, he does not say that I said it, he says, that is what Schacht meant. That was his opinion which he attributed to me. I never said that.

Q. I so understood it, but, I take it from you, it was the estimate of a friendly observer.

A. A friendly observer who continually misunderstood. Ambassador Henderson has proven that in his book.

Q. He may have misunderstood Henderson, but there is never any doubt that he understood the Nazi danger from the beginning, is it not so?

A. Yes, but he misunderstood my attitude.

Q. Now, when you went and asked first the Foreign Minister, and then Hitler, for permission to go to the United States, or have someone go to the United States, you testified that you told Hitler this:-

"It seemed vital to me that there should be someone constantly in America who could clarify German interests publicly, in the Press, etc."
Did you say that?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, is that what you actually said to Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I call your attention to your own letter, Document 3700-PS, to the Reich Marshal.

"In the beginning of 1940, I proposed to the Fuehrer that I go to the United States in order to attempt to slow down America's assistance to England in the matter of armaments, and, if possible, to prevent America becoming involved in the war more deeply."
I ask you, which of those is true?

A. Both of them.

Q. Both? Then you did not reveal to the Tribunal yesterday, when you reported the conversation, all that you had proposed that you would do in the United States, did you?

A. No, certainly not. I wanted, for instance, to try to persuade the President to intervene for peace. That, too, I did not mention here.

Q. Now, you also testified yesterday, that you were never told about the extent, the type and the speed of rearmament. Do you recall that?

A. Yes.

Q. But although you have no such information, you said it was too much?

A. I had the feeling that one ought to go slowly.

Q. Now, let me remind you of certain statements made by General von Blomberg concerning 1937:-

"Answer: At that time, the organization of the planned Wehrmacht was about complete.

"Question: When? 1937?

"Answer: I believe it was 1937.

"Question: Was that a plan that had been discussed with Doctor Schacht, in connection with the financing, as to how big the Wehrmacht would be?

"Answer: Yes. Schacht knew the plan for the formation of the Wehrmacht very well, since we informed him every year about the creation of new formations for which we had been expending money. I remember that in the year 1937 we discussed what the Wehrmacht would need for current expenses, after a large amount had been spent for creating it.

[Page 33]

"Question: That means that you gave Schacht a clear statement of how much money each year went into the creation of new units, new installations and so forth, and how much you were using for the operating expenses of the Wehrmacht?

"Answer: Exactly right,

"Question: When you say that by 1937 the plan had been fulfilled, do you mean in the main?

"Answer: In the main."

Another question (I omit two or three irrelevant ones):-
"When you say that Schacht was familiar with these figures, how were they brought to his attention?

"Answer: The demands for the money needed were handed to Schacht in writing.

"Question: That means, that in connection with the monies which Schacht was raising for the rearmament programme, he was informed of how many divisions and how many tanks and so forth would be procured through these means.

"Answer: I don't think we put down the amount of money we would need for tanks and so forth, but we would put down how much every branch of the Wehrmacht like the Navy or Air Force needed, and then we would state how much was required for activating and how much for operating. That is, Doctor Schacht could see each year how much of an increase there would be in the size of the armed forces as a result of the moneys he was procuring?

"Answer: That is certain."

I ask you whether you deny the statements made by von Blomberg as I have put them to you?

A. Yes, unfortunately, I must say that I know nothing about this. A member of the Reichsbank Directorate, Geheimrat, Hockel, will testify tomorrow, and I ask that you put this matter to him so that the question will be clarified. The question was not one of informing me, but of informing the Reichsbank directorate. Everything that I knew, the Reichsbank Directorate naturally also knew.

Q. Dr. Schacht, I don't care whether you know or didn't know, as far as the prosecution's case is concerned, what I am asking you these questions for is to see how far we can rely on your testimony.

A. Yes, I understand.

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