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 July to 15th July 1946

One Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Day: Monday, 15th July, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[Page 368]

By DR. DIX, Continued:

The prosecution further attempted to base its charges on actions of Schacht which had been determined beyond reason of doubt. All these arguments of the prosecution are based on false conclusions from allegedly incriminating circumstances. I shall confine myself to an enumeration of the most essential false

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conclusions. The others either follow directly from these of necessity, or are analogous to them.

Schacht was opposed to the Treaty of Versailles, says the prosecution. That he was, indeed. The prosecution does not hold this opposition in itself against him. However, it concludes from this that Schacht wanted to do away with this treaty by force. Schacht favoured colonial activity, says the prosecution. He did so indeed. They do not reproach him for this, either, but conclude from this fact that he wanted to conquer the colonies by force, and so it goes on.

Schacht co-operated with Hitler as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economy, consequently he endorsed Nazi ideology. Schacht was a member of the Reich Defence Council, consequently he was in favour of a war of aggression. Schacht helped to finance rearmament during its first phase until early in 1938, consequently he wanted war. Schacht welcomed union with Austria, consequently he approved of a policy of violence against that country. Schacht devised the "New Plan" in commercial policy, consequently he wanted to procure raw materials for armament. Schacht was concerned about the possibilities of increasing the opportunities to the surplus population in Central Europe for making a living, consequently he wanted to attack and conquer foreign countries and to annihilate foreign peoples. Over and over again Schacht warned the world against an anti-German policy of oppression and the moral defamation of Germany, consequently Schacht threatened war. Because no written evidence has been found that Schacht resigned from his official positions as a result of his antagonism to war, the conclusion is that he resigned from these official positions merely because of his rivalry with Goering.

The list of these false conclusions could be continued as long as one likes. It finds its culmination in the fallacy that Hitler would never have come to power if it had not been for Schacht, that Hitler would never have been able to rearm if Schacht had not helped. But, gentlemen, this kind of evaluation of evidence would condemn an automobile manufacturer because the driver of a car, while drunk, ran over a pedestrian.

In his speeches or writings, Schacht never advocated violence or even war. It is certain that after Versailles he pointed out again and again the dangers which would result from the moral outlawing and economic exclusion of Germany. In this opinion he is in the best international company. It is not necessary for me to cite before this Tribunal the numerous voices, not of Germans, but of members of the victorious States, beginning soon after the Versailles Treaty, which uttered the same warnings as Schacht. Moreover, the correctness of this warning will be absolutely valid for all time. At no time did Schacht recommend, or even declare possible, other ways than those of a peaceful understanding and collaboration. As an avowed economic politician, it was clearer to him than to anybody else that a war could never solve anything, even if the war were won. In all Schacht's utterances, his pacifist attitude was expressed again and again; perhaps the shortest and most striking of them was that statement at the Berlin Congress of the International Chamber of Commerce, when Schacht in the presence of Hitler, Goering and other heads of the Government called out to the assembly: "Believe me, my friends, nations want to live and not to die." This pronounced pacifist attitude of Schacht, indeed, is likewise confirmed by all witnesses and affidavits.

For the few in the world - and I purposely say in the world and not only in Germany - who from the very beginning recognized Hitler and his Government for what they really were, it certainly was an anxiety and a sorrow, at the very least a puzzle to see a man like Schacht placing his services and his great professional ability at the disposal of Adolf Hitler after he had come to power. The witness Gisevius also shared this anxiety, as he has testified here. Later on he convinced himself of Schacht's honourable intentions through the latter's antagonistic and courageous behaviour in the years 1938 and 1939. In his interrogation Schacht outlined for us the reasons which caused him to act in this manner. I need not, and, in the desire to save time, I do not wish to repeat them. The

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evidence has not shown anything which impugns the veracity of this presentation by Schacht. In fact, it reveals the contrary. I need only refer, for example, the affidavit of State Secretary Schmid, Exhibit 411 of my document book, which contains detailed statements on this subject on Page a, which are in complete agreement with Schacht's description. A consideration of the remaining testimony, 'and affidavits as a whole leads to the same result. In order to understand the: manner in which Schacht acted at that time directly after the seizure of power as well as later, when he had recognized the real Hitler and realised the disastrous' nature of his policies, it is absolutely necessary to gain a clear picture of Adolf Hitler's pernicious sorcery and of his system of government. For both are the soil from which Schacht's actions grew, and by which alone they can be explained. I realize that one could speak about this for days and write volumes about it, if:'. one wished to treat the subject exhaustively. However, I also realize that before, this Tribunal short references and spotlight vignettes will be sufficient in order to gain the Tribunal's understanding.

The disintegrating collapse of imperial. Germany in the year 1918 presented the German people, which had never become an organized body, with a parliamentary-democratic form of constitution. I venture the assertion that all political thinking which is not directed by selfish motives must strive for democracy, if by this is also understood the protection of justice, tolerance against those of different convictions, freedom of thought, as well as the political development of humanity. These are the highest ideals of all time, which, however, in their corresponding constitutional forms, actually harbour dangers for themselves. If, when democracy appeared for the first time on the European Continent, reactionary political thinkers such as Count Metternich and the like, opposed every democratic impulse, then they did this because they saw only the dangers of democracy and not its humanising qualities and its historical necessity. In referring to these dangers, they were unfortunately right. Perhaps the cleverest nation which ever lived, the ancient Greeks, had already pointed out the danger of democracy developing through demagogy to tyranny; and probably all philosophical, political thinkers from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas, up to the present time, have pointed out the danger of this development. This danger becomes all the greater if democratic freedom in the theoretical, constitutional sense does not arise and grow organically, but becomes more or less a chance gift to a nation.

"En fait d'histoire il vaut mieux continuer que recommencer," a great French thinker has said. Unfortunately, this has made Germany the latest, and, it is to be hoped, the last example of a tyranny of one single despot established by means of a diabolical demagogy. For there is no doubt, the Hitler regime was the despotism of an individual, whose parallel is only to be found in Asia at a time which is far behind us. In order to understand the attitude of any individual toward this Government, not only that of Schacht, not only that of any German, but that of any person generally, or of any government in the world which has collaborated with Hitler - and such collaboration, based on confidence on the part of the foreign countries, was much greater towards Hitler than towards any government of the so-called interim-Reich or of the so-called State of the Weimar Constitution - it is, therefore, necessary to analyse the personality of this despot, this political pied piper, this brilliant demagogue, who, as Schacht testified here in his interrogation with understandable agitation, not only betrayed him, but also the German people and the whole world. In order to accomplish this betrayal, Hitler was forced to bring under the spell of his personality innumerable clever and politically trained individuals besides Schacht, even from outside the German frontiers. He succeeded in doing this with many prominent foreigners, many of whom were in leading political positions.

I shall refrain from citing names and quotations to prove this point. The fact is generally known to the Tribunal. I shall omit the next lines and continue on line 10 of the same page. How was this influence of Hitler possible both in

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Germany and abroad? In Germany, all the circumstances of the conditions prevailing at that time which have been described here in evidence by Schacht as well as others favoured this influence. The complete collapse of the parliamentary party system and the resulting necessity, then already felt by the existing Government, of having to govern by emergency decrees enacted without parliamentary participation, and thus establishing a dictatorship of the ministerial bureaucracy as a forerunner of the Hitler dictatorship, produced in nearly every quarter a cry for stronger leadership. The economic crisis and unemployment opened the ears of the masses, as misery always does, to demagogic insinuations. The complete lethargy and inactivity of the middle and leftist parties of the time also created among critical and intelligent observers, of whom Schacht assuredly was one, readiness and longing to welcome spirited political "dynamics" and activity. If one as sharp-witted and perspicacious as Schacht saw faults and dark patches at that time, he could believe, and Schacht did believe, that he could, by active penetration into the movement or by co- operation with leading State departments, quickly and easily combat these shady aspects, which are the concomitants of every revolutionary movement. "When the eagle soars, noxious insects settle on its wings," replied the late Minister of Justice Guertner, quoting from Conrad Ferdinand Mayer's Pescara, when I pointed out these shady sides to him after the seizure of power. These considerations are in themselves reasonable and plausible. The fact that they contained a political error, even in Schacht's case, does not prevent them being expressions of good faith and honest convictions.

However, we do not wish to forget that here, during the proceedings, we heard a message from the American Consul General Messersmith, dating from 1933, in which he joyfully hails the report that decent and sensible people are now joining the Party, too, as it gave reason to hope that this would do away with radicalism. I refer to the document submitted here by the prosecution: Document 1184, Exhibit L- 198, a report by the American Consul General Messersmith to the Secretary of State in Washington.

"Since the election on March 5th, some of the more important thinking people in various parts of Germany have allied themselves with the National Socialist movement, in the hope of tempering its radicalism by their action within rather than without the Party."
But what Messersmith very reasonably says of ordinary Party members of that time naturally applies also, mutatis mutandis, to the man who offered his co-operation in a leading government post. The reasons Schacht gave for his decision at the time to accept the post of President of the Reichsbank and later of Minister of Economy are, therefore, thoroughly credible in themselves and have no immoral or criminal implication. Schacht, indeed, has acknowledged this co-operation. He only lacked the intuition to recognize at the outset the personalities of Hitler and some of his henchmen for what they were. But that is no punishable offence, and neither does it indicate any criminal intention. This intuition was lacking in most people both within and without the German frontiers. Intuition is a matter of good luck and an irrational divine gift. Every man has his limitations, even the most intelligent. Schacht is certainly very intelligent, but with him intelligence excluded intuition. In conclusion, this circumstance can only be fully understood when those mysterious forces are taken into account which affect world events and of which Wallenstein says: "The earth belongs to the evil spirit, not to the good" where he talks of "the sinister powers of evil which lurk in the darkness." Adolf Hitler was a prominent example of these powers of darkness and his influence was all the worse since he lacked any Satanic grandeur. He remained a half-educated, completely material petty bourgeois who also was lacking in any sense of justice. Defendant Frank said truly of him that he hated jurists because the jurist appeared to him as a disturbing factor against his power. Thus, he could promise everything to everybody and not keep his promise, which to him meant only a technical instrument of power and involved no legal or moral obligation. Neither was the pernicious influence of Himmler and Bormann detected by Schacht

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at that time, or probably by anybody else. Nevertheless, all those crimes that are now under indictment matured within this trio. To Himmler politics were identical with murder, and, in his purely biological view of human society, her regarded it as a breeding farm, never as a social and ethical community. A personality like Adolf Hitler and its effect upon men, even including such intelligent men as Schacht, can only be correctly judged by following the prophetic vision of the poet, as I have already just tried to do, and penetrating into spheres of knowledge generally closed to the reasoning power of men. The Demoniac undoubtedly became incarnate in Adolf Hitler to the detriment of Germany and the world, and; to sum up, I will here - and this is absolutely necessary for an understanding of Schacht's conduct, as well as that of all those others who deliberately and in all purity of heart offered their services to Hitler - quote a passage from our Gothe, which expresses it all in a few words and discloses the mystery. Here lies the key to the understanding of all those followers of Hitler. May I quote from Fantasy and Fact, Part 4, Book 20, as follows:
"Although the Demoniac can manifest itself in everything material and immaterial and indeed be most obviously apparent in the beasts, it most usually stands in the most wonderful association with man, and constitutes a power that is not opposed to, yet is a disturbing element in the moral world order. There are innumerable names for the phenomena which are brought to light in this way. For all philosophies and religions have tried, both in prose and in poetry, to solve this riddle and to dispose of the matter once and for all, which they may continue to do in the future, also. But the Demoniac assumes its most dreadful form when it appears in an overwhelming measure in any human being. During my lifetime I have had occasion to observe several such persons, either closely or from afar. They are not always the most distinguished persons, either in intellect or in talent, and they are seldom recommended by their goodness of heart, but a tremendous force emanates from them, and they exercise an incredible power over every creature, yes, even over the elements, and who can tell how far such influence will extend. No coalition of moral forces can prevail against them; it is in vain that the better part of humanity attempts to put them in disrepute as victims of deception or as impostors. The masses are attracted by them. They seldom or never find contemporary equals, and nothing short of the Universe itself, against which they began the fight, can overcome them; and these observations may perhaps have inspired that curious but terrible saying 'Nemo contra Deum, nisi Deus ipse.' "
I think I have demonstrated that the fact that he served Hitler does not incriminate Schacht in any criminal way, and that it can by no means be concluded from this fact that at that time he included the criminal deeds of Hitler and his regime among his plans. He did not even think them possible. Therefore, he possessed no "dolus eventualis" either: on the contrary, if the violent character of the regime disturbed him, he believed he would be able, through his appointment to an important post, to contribute to the abolition and prevention of those attendant phenomena of which he disapproved, and to aid Germany's recovery within his sphere of activity in a decent, peaceful manner.

But even if it were true that he had not only served Hitler after the seizure of power, but also had helped him to seize power, not the slightest reproach could be made against him. This latter charge is, therefore, completely immaterial as evidence of criminal behaviour or of criminal intention (dolus). However, there is no need for this argument at all, since as a matter of fact Schacht did not help Hitler to power. Hitler was in power when Schacht began to work for him.

Hitler's victory was already in his pocket when the July elections of the Reichstag in 1932 brought him no less than 230 mandates. These represented about 40 per cent of the total votes. There had been no such election result for any party for' decades. But the immediate political future was thereby established with a government headed by Hitler, thanks to the rules of the German democratic

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constitution and every democratic constitution. Every other path was beset with the danger of civil war.

It was natural that Schacht, who at that time honestly believed in Hitler's political mission, did not wish to take this path. It was likewise natural that he should become an active participant when he believed that thereby he would be able to prevent harmful radicalism in the economic-political field. A wise French statesman says:

"Every era confronts us in some way with the task of creating advantages or preventing abuses. For this reason, in my opinion, a patriotic man can and must serve any government which his country appoints."
If he served Hitler, Schacht, in his opinion, was serving his country and not Hitler. This opinion may have been as erroneous as possible, and subsequently it has revealed itself completely false as far as Hitler was concerned, yet Schacht can in no case be criminally charged for acting as he did at that time, neither directly nor circumstantially. And, indeed, we must also not forget that the Hitler of 1933 not only seemed to be a different man from the Hitler of 1938, or even of 1941, but actually was different. Schacht has already referred during his interrogation to this transformation, which was caused by the venom of worship by the masses. Moreover, the transformation of such personalities is a psychological law. History proves this in Nero, Constantine the Great and many others. In the case of Hitler, there exist many irreproachable witnesses for the truth of this fact, irreproachable in the sense that a purpose or an intention to violate the law, to raise terrorism to a principle and to attack mankind with a war of aggression, can never be imputed to them. I merely wish to quote a few of them. I could multiply the quotations a hundredfold. In 1934, Lord Rothermere wrote an article in the Daily Mail, entitled: "Adolf Hitler from Close By." I quote only a few sentences:
"The most prominent figure in the world today is Adolf Hitler ... Hitler stands in direct line with those great. leaders of mankind who seldom appear more than once in two or three centuries ... it is delightful to see that Hitler's speech has considerably brightened his popularity in England."
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, I thought the Tribunal had refused to allow the writings of Lord Rothermere to be used.

DR. DIX: I beg your pardon?

THE PRESIDENT: I thought the Tribunal had refused to allow the - Can you hear me now?

DR. DIX: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought the Tribunal had refused to allow the writings of Lord Rothermere to be put in evidence or used.

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