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 and Twentieth Day: Friday, 3rd May, 1946
(Part 1 of 12)

[Page 49]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit in open session tomorrow at ten o'clock and will adjourn into closed session at twelve noon.

Mr. Justice Jackson and Defendant Schacht: it is desired, on behalf of the interpreters, that you should pause, if possible, after the question has been put to you, and if you find it necessary, owing to the condition of the documents with which you are dealing, to read in English or speak in English, to give an adequate pause so that those interpreters who are interpreting from English into other languages can take over the interpretation. Is that clear?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I owe an apology constantly to the interpreters. It is hard to overcome the habit of a lifetime.

THE PRESIDENT: It is very difficult.


Q. Dr. Schacht - by the way, the photograph number ten, which was shown you yesterday, that was one of the occasions on which you wore the Party Emblem which you referred to, was it not?

A. That may be.

Q. You are quite sure of that, are you not?

A. I cannot distinguish it clearly, but it may be, and that would prove that the picture was taken after 1937, after January, 1937.

Q. That is what I wanted to prove. And as a matter of fact, it was taken after 1941, was it not? As a matter of fact, Bormann did not take up any important official position until after 1941, did he?

A. Bormann?

Q. Bormann, yes.

A. That I do not know.

Q. Now, if we return to the Four-Year Plan which began in 1936, as I understand it, you opposed the appointment of Goering to have charge of the Four-Year Plan on two grounds: First, you thought that that new plan might interfere with your functions and secondly, if there were to be a Four-Year Plan you did not think Goering was fit to administer it?

A. I do not know what you mean by "opposed." I was not satisfied with it, and considered the choice of Goering not the right one for any leading position in economics.

Q. As a matter of fact you have described Goering as a fool in economics, have you not?

A. Yes, as one does say such things in a heated conversation.

Q. Or in interrogation?

A. Interrogations are also sometimes heated.

Q. Now, very soon Goering began to interfere with your functions, did he not?

A. He tried to repeatedly, I believe.

Q. Well he got away with it, too, did he not?

A. I do not understand what you mean by that, "he got away with it"?

[Page 50]

Q. Well, this American slang is difficult, I admit. I mean he succeeded.

A. In July, 1937, he had me in a tight corner.

Q. That started over a proposal that he made or a measure that he took with reference to mining?

A. Yes.

Q. He also made a speech to some industrialists, did he not?

A. I assume that he made several speeches to industrialists. I do not know to which one you are referring. I presume you mean the speech in December, 1936, or so.

Q. I am referring to the speech in which you told us during interrogation that Goering had assembled industrialists and said a lot of foolish things about the economy, which you had to refute.

A. That was the meeting of 17th December, 1936.

Q. And then you wrote to Goering complaining about the mining measures?

A. I assume that you mean the letter of 5th August?

Q. Right. That document is EC-497, Exhibit USA 775. And in that letter of August, 1937, you said this, if I quote you correctly:

"Meanwhile I repeatedly stressed the need of increased exports and actively worked towards that end. The very necessity of bringing our armament up to a certain level as rapidly as possible must place in the foreground the idea of as large returns as possible in foreign exchange, and therewith the greatest possible assurance of raw materials supplies."
A. I assume that it is.

Q. And you also said this, I believe:-

"I have held this view of the economic situation which I have explained above from the first moment of my collaboration."
That was also true, was it not?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. Now, both of these things were true, were they not

A. Yes.

Q. And then you concluded, addressing Goering:

"I ask you to believe me, my dear Prime Minister, that it is not my intention at all to interfere with your policies in any way whatsoever. I offer no opinion, either, as to whether my views, which are not in agreement with your economic policy, are correct or not. I have full sympathy for your activities. I do believe, however, that in a totalitarian state it is wholly impossible to conduct an economic policy divided against itself."
And that was also true, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And that was the basis on which you and Goering disagreed so far as policy was concerned?

A. So far as what was concerned? - policy? I do not understand what you mean by policy. Do you mean the way business was conducted?

Q. Yes.

A. Entirely apart from other differences which we had.

Q. These other differences were personal differences. You and Goering did not get along well together?

A. On the contrary. Until then we were on very friendly terms with each other.

Q. Oh, were you?

A. Oh, yes.

Q. So the beginning of your differences with Goering was the struggle as to which of you would dominate the preparations for war?

A. No.

[Page 51]

Q. Well -

A. I have to deny that absolutely. The differences -

Q. Do you want to say anything more about it?

A. The differences which led to my resignation resulted from the fact that Goering wanted to assume command over economic policies, while I was to take the responsibility for the same. And I was of the opinion that he who assumes responsibility should also have command; and if one has command then he also has to assume responsibility. That is the formal reason why I asked for my release.

Q. Well now, I turn to your interrogation of 16th October, 1945. Exhibit USA 636, and ask if you did not give the following testimony:

"By Schacht:

"After Goering had taken over the Four-Year Plan - and I must say that he had taken over the control of foreign exchange since April, 1936, already - but still more so after the Four-Year Plan in September, 1936, he always tried to get control of the whole economic policy. One of the objectives, of course, was to become Plenipotentiary for War Economy in case of war, and he tried to get that away from me, as he was only too anxious to get everyone under his control. As long as I had the position of Minister of Economics, I certainly objected to that."

You made that statement?

A. I believe that is correct.

Q. Yes, and then you describe your last visit to him after Luther, for two months, had endeavoured to unite Goering and yourself.

A. That is a mistake; that is Hitler, and not Luther.

Q. Very well. You described it as follows

"Then I had a last talk with Goering, and at the end of this talk Goering said, 'But I must have the right to give orders to you.' Then I said, 'Not to me, but to my successor.' I have never taken orders from Goering, and I would never have done it because he was a fool in economics and I knew something about it, at least.

"Question: Well, I gather that was a culminating, progressive, personal business between you and Goering. That seems perfectly obvious.

"Answer: Certainly."

Is that correct

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. And then the interrogator went on:

"Let us look into the duties of that job for a moment and see what he was trying to take away from you. There are only two possibilities, as it has been explained to me; if I am wrong, correct me. One would be the preparation for a mobilization, and the other would, be the actual taking charge of this in the event of war. Otherwise, the post had no meaning. So the things you resisted his taking away from you, as I see it, were the right to be in charge of the preparation for mobilization, and secondly, the right to control in the event of war."

"Answer: Correct."

Did you give that testimony?

A. Please, Mr. Justice Jackson, you are confusing the events in relation to time. The differences with Goering about this so-called Plenipotentiary for War Economy occurred in the winter 1936-1937; and the so-called last conversation with Goering which you have just mentioned took place in November, 1937. I stated, I believe in January, 1937, that I was prepared to turn over the office and the activity as Plenipotentiary for War Economy immediately to Goering. That can be found in the memorandum from the Jodl Diary, which has been frequently mentioned here.

[Page 52]

At that time the War Ministry, and Blomberg in particular, asked to have me kept in the position of Plenipotentiary for War Economy, since I was the Minister of Economics, and as long as I was the Minister of Economics. You can find the correspondence about that, which I think has already been submitted by you to the Tribunal.

Well, all right; I think the dates appear in your testimony. I am not concerned at the moment with the sequence of events, I am concerned with the functions that you were quarrelling over, and which you described in your interrogations. And the questions and answers which I read to you are correct; those are the answers you made at the time, are they not?

A. Yes, but I must say the following: If you ask me about these different phases, it will give an entirely different picture if you do not separate the different periods. You cannot mention events of January and November in the same breath and then ask me if that is correct. That is not correct.

Q. Well, let us find out what is wrong about this, if anything.

When was your last conversation with Goering in which you told him he would give orders to your successor but not to you?

A. November, 1937.

Q. Now, the question as to the duties of the job has nothing to do with relation to time, has it? That is, the Plenipotentiary for War, the disagreement between you and Goering, and, in order to make it perfectly clear, I will read this question and answer to you again, and I am not concerned with time, I am concerned with your description of the job.

"Question: Let us look into the duties of that job for a moment and see what he was trying to take away from you. Now, there are only two possibilities, as it has been explained to me, if I am wrong, correct me. One would be the preparation for a mobilization, and the other would be the actual taking charge of this in the event of war. Otherwise the post had no meaning. So the things you resisted his taking away from you, as I see it, were the right to be in charge of the preparation for mobilization and, secondly, the right to control in the event of war."
And you answered, "correct," did you not?

A. This difference -

Q. Can you answer me first as to whether you did give that answer to that question, that it was correct?

A. Yes, the minutes are correct. And now I should like -

Q. All right.

A. But now please let me finish.

Q. All right, go ahead with your explanation.

A. Yes. Now I wish to say that that disagreement between Goering and myself had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation of November, and that it was not even a disagreement, between Goering and myself. That difference which you have just read about occurred in January, 1937, but it was not at all a difference of opinion between Goering and myself, because I said immediately, "Take the post of Plenipotentiary for War Economy away from me and turn it over to Goering." And the War Ministry, that is, Herr von Blomberg, protested against this, not I. I was delighted to turn over that office to Goering.

Q. Is there anything in writing about that, Dr. Schacht?

A. The documents which you have submitted here. I would like to ask my counsel to look for these documents and to present them during the re-examination. They have been submitted by the prosecution.

Q. Now, is it not a fact that your controversy with Goering was a controversy of a personal character between you and him for control, and not a controversy as to the question of armament? You both wanted to rearm as rapidly as possible.

A. I do not want to continue that play with words as to whether it was personal or anything else, Mr. Justice Jackson. I had a difference of opinion with Goering

[Page 53]

on this matter, and if you ask whether it was on armament, speed, or expense, I reply that I had great difficulty with Goering in regard to these points.

I have never denied that I wanted to rearm in order to gain equality of position for Germany. I never wanted to go any further than that. Goering wanted to go further, and here is one difference which cannot be overlooked.

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