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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Day: Tuesday, 4th June, 1946
(Part 6 of 9)

[DR. EXNER continues his direct examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 315]

Q. Then we might refer to the guerrilla fighting regulations, a matter which has been discussed here also.

[Page 316]

A. Then I should like to refer you to something I believe I testified to already, that immediately I ordered an investigation of the Malmedy case.

Q. Did you concern yourself with International Law while drafting your orders?

A. I believe I have already stated that I studied very carefully International Law in its bearing on my orders. I do not wish to take up the time of the Tribunal with anything but the clear insight I gathered from these regulations. I should like to conclude by saying that through the fact that there were no regulations governing air warfare, deplorable confusions in terminology arose, for instance, between rebellion and legal warfare, between franc-tireur, bandit and scout, spy and scout, demolition crews and saboteurs. Any time with the help of aircraft a rebellion could be changed into a legal war, and a legal war on the other hand could be reduced to the state of rebellion. That is the effect that parachutists and the furnishing of supplies by air have had on International Law.

Q. In this connection, I should like to submit the affidavit of Lehmann, AJ-10 This document has not been submitted to the Tribunal since the prosecution declared yesterday to agree to the use of this affidavit. I believe it is the affidavit of the High Military Judge, Dr. Lehmann. If the High Tribunal will declare this affidavit admissible, I perhaps can refer to it -

THE PRESIDENT: Where is it?

DR. EXNER: We would like to submit it, although it has not been translated as yet, since we received permission only yesterday in court.

MR. ROBERTS: As Sir David said yesterday there is no objection to the affidavit, although there was no actual order granting the affidavit of Lehmann; My Lord, it is very short, especially the copy I had, and I think there is no reason to object to it.

DR. EXNER: Then in order to save time, I shall just refer to it and ask that the High Tribunal take judicial notice and read the testimony of Dr. Lehmann. It seemed to be significant to me, as in any event he was the highest jurist in the German Wehrmacht.

THE PRESIDENT: You had better give it an exhibit number.

DR. EXNER: Yes, AJ-10 was the exhibit number I gave it, your Honour.



Q. This gentleman mentions legal discussions which he had occasion to carry on with Jodl, and he gives us Jodl's attitude toward legal questions. And now, General, in connection with the war crimes there is one last question which comes to our attention. Numerous entries in the war diary, orders, etc., are charged against you. Did you have an opportunity before you were captured to destroy all this material?

A. Yes, I had time and leisure to burn every piece of paper from 3rd May until 23rd May, but I had given instructions to my staff not to destroy a single file, for I felt I had nothing to conceal. I handed the complete files, and above all, the especially important ones, all the original Fuehrer directives since 1940, to the American officer when I was captured.

Q. And now, I shall turn to the alleged crimes against peace. First of all we have to make clear which offices and ranks you held during this critical period. Tell us, please, the offices you held since 1933.

A. From 1932 to 1935 I was in the division which later was called the Operational Division of the Army. From the middle of 1935 until October 1938 I was Chief of the Division National Defence in the Wehrmachtsamt which was later called OKW.

Q. That means the Wehrmachtsamt was actually the OKW?

[Page 317]

A. Yes, later on. From October 1938 until shortly before the Polish campaign I was artillery commander in Vienna and in Brunn, in Moravia; and beginning with 27th October, 1939....

Q. Just a moment please. 27th September?

A. No - August, rather. On the 27th August, 1939 I took over the management and tasks of the Chief of the Operational section.

Q. Now, let us look at that time. Did you concern yourself with war plans in the years 1932-1935, when you were in the so-called Truppenamt?

A. At that time there were no preparations in the Operational Division, only combat directives for the improvised Grenzschutz Ost (frontier protection in the East). This was a militia-like organization and preparations were made to evacuate the whole German frontier in case of enemy occupation, in case of so-called sanctions, in other words. That was all.

Q. Were you co-responsible for the announcement of general conscription?

A. No, I had nothing to do with that. I believe I heard about this the day before.

Q. What were your duties as chief of the Division National Defence from June 1935 to October 1938?

A. In this position I had to work out the operational strategic directives according to the instruction of my chiefs Keitel and Blomberg. I had to study and to clarify the problem of the leadership of the Wehrmacht, to prepare studies and manoeuvres in view of the great manoeuvres of the Wehrmacht in 1937. I had to run and supervise the Wehrmacht Academy; I had to work out drafts for laws in connection with the general conscription order and with the unified preparation for mobilization in the civilian sector, that is, of State and people. The so-called Secretariat of the Reich Defence Committee took orders from me.

Q. Tell us, please, what you were at that time? What was your military rank?

A. I acquired this position while I was Lieutenant-Colonel; in 1936 I believe, I became a Colonel.

Q. Did you participate in the "Reichsverteidigungsgesetz", Reich Defence Law?

A. No, this law originated before I entered my office in the Wehrmachtsamt.

Q. But the prosecution is accusing you of this participation on the basis of a supplement which you made to the Document PS-2261, Exhibit USA 24, which is to be found in Volume 1, Page 9. In this document it says, "Attached a copy of the Reich Defence Law of 21st May, 1935." The signature is Blomberg's, and this is dated 24th June. Then there is a supplementary paragraph: "Berlin, 3rd September, 1935. To the Defence Economic Group 1-A, copy transmitted." It is signed Jodl. What can you tell us about that?

A. Indisputably that is a valid Reich law of which I had to transmit a copy to the other offices. I do not have to say any more than that.

Q. You yourself did not participate in the drawing up of the law itself?

A. No.

Q. Were you a member of the Reich Defence Council?

A. No.

Q. Member of the Reich Defence Committee?

A. I was that automatically the moment I took over the direction of the National Defence Division. In the tenth session of this meeting of experts on 26th June, 1935, General von Reichenau designated me as his deputy.

Q. What was the purpose of this committee? We have already discussed this matter, therefore be as brief as possible.

A. For the sake of brevity: In this committee a unified mobilization not of the Army but the mobilization of State and people, corresponding to the military mobilization, was prepared, and these plans were laid down in the mobilization books giving final figures and various graduated steps.

Q. What were these various graduated steps which were set down?

[Page 318]

A. We had learned this from France and we had copied it. The French followed a mobilization procedure comprising five degrees or steps.

THE PRESIDENT: Do we need the detail about this? Is it not sufficient to say it was copied from France?

DR. EXNER: Very well.


Q. Perhaps you can tell us what this was, why these graduated steps were adopted. What was the reason?

A. The purpose was to have some means at our disposal - as was customary all over Europe at this time - that would achieve an intensified readiness for war before the order for mobilization was issued.

Q. Did the Reich Defence Committee concern itself with armament?

A. No. It did not concern itself with armament at all.

Q. Did the Reich Defence Committee concern itself with political plans or intentions?

A. Political problems were in no manner the concern of this body.

Q. But how about war?

A. It was only concerned with mobilization.

Q. That means, a certain particular war ....

A. Mobilization is of prime necessity in all wars.

Q. In this committee you concerned yourself with mobilization books. Is that correct?

A. Yes. I believe I already said that.

In these books the details of all the chief Reich offices were set down in graduated steps properly indexed.

Q. What do you mean by chief Reich offices?

A. I mean all the ministries.

Q. You mean the civilian authorities?

A. Yes, the civilian authorities. And the preparations made by them had to coincide with the preparations by the military.

Q. What were the preparations in the demilitarised zone?

A. The preparations in the demilitarised zones concerned themselves solely with the evacuation, that is, the surrendering of the areas west of the Rhine in case of a French occupation.

Q. I believe we have discussed that at length already, and in this connection I should like to refer to EC-405, Exhibit GB 160, Page 11 of my Document Book, where in the first volume the tenth session of the Executive Council is mentioned. You are accused of having decreed the topmost secrecy concerning all of these preparations which, according to your picture just now, were of a purely defence nature. Why all this secrecy?

A. Keeping measures of that kind secret is taken for granted in the entire world, but with us in Germany it was especially important, since for years the civilian authorities had not been accustomed any longer to concern themselves with military affairs, and it seemed to me especially important that in foreign countries a misinterpretation would not arise by-say the capture of an order of this nature-a misunderstanding such as has been especially characteristic in this proceeding when we talked about the "Freimachung", clearing of the Rhine.

Q. And why did you decree secrecy? So that foreign countries would not be stirred up?

A. At that time we were even weaker than during the period when we had an army of 100,000 men only. This army of 100,000 men had been dispersed into hundreds of small groups. It was the time of our very greatest impotence, and at that period we had to be very careful in order to avoid any and all tension abroad with foreign countries.

Q. What were the military plans of those days?

[Page 319]

A. I have already said that there were the directives for the Grenzschutz Ost. I also worked out instructions for the commander in East Prussia, in case he might be cut off from the Reich through a sudden attack by Poland.

Did you know of any German intentions of attack at that time?

A. There was no thought of and no talk about that whatsoever.

Q. Well, I should like to quote one sentence from the twelfth session of the Reich Defence Council, Page 74 of Volume I of my Document Book, EC-407, Exhibit GB 247. At that meeting Lieutenant-Colonel Wagner of the OKH said - who was he, by the way?

A. He later became Quartermaster-General.

Q. Lieutenant-Colonel Wagner said:

"The outcome of the war" - that is, of the last war - "has completely changed the military and political picture in the event of a future war, namely the necessity for waging it in one's own country."
He said that on 14th May, 1936. What would you gather from this sentence?

A. Of course, one can perhaps say ....

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Exner, surely it is a statement by somebody else, and this statement speaks for itself. It is not a matter that this witness can interpret to us.

DR. EXNER: Very well.


Q. Now, can you tell us, did you concern yourself with armament in the Truppenamt and later in the division for the National Defence?

A. I, personally, had nothing at all to do with armament in the real sense. That was a matter for the various branches of the Wehrmacht, the Army, the Navy, the Luftwaffe; and it was dealt with and handled by their organisational staffs. The Commanders-in-chief discussed these matters with the Fuehrer directly. But I hope, and do not want to dispute, the fact that my General Staff work contributed to the reconstruction of the German Wehrmacht.

Q. Your diary, 1780-PS, does not contain a word about armament, and it seems obvious that at that time you did not concern yourself with this problem: What were your thoughts and ideas on this problem of armament? Were you in favour of it?

A. At that time I was of the same opinion as my superiors. It was decided 36 divisions should be joined. Blomberg as well as Fritsch suggested to the Fuehrer that only 24 divisions should be arranged. They feared a weakening of the entire army. Perhaps they also feared too stormy a foreign policy, based on forces existing only on paper.

Q. Please answer a question which appears to be important to me: What were the deadlines in connection with the armament in 1935?

A. Various stages were provided for. The first deadline set was 1942-43, the West Wall was to be completed in the main by 1945. The Navy was to be constructed by 1944-45.

Q. At that time what was the objective of the armament in your opinion?

A. Since it was not possible to achieve general disarmament, the objective was to establish military parity between Germany and her neighbouring countries.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.