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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th July to 27th July 1946

One Hundred and Eightieth Day: Wednesday, 17th July, 1946
(Part 4 of 6)

[Page 64]

DR. SIEMERS: Continued:

I have already shown that Hitler fundamentally did not permit Raeder, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, to intervene in questions concerning foreign

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policy, i.e., in things which did not belong to his department. If Raeder did on occasion try this contrary to the will of Hitler, and that in cases of special importance, then he could do it only privately with Hitler and accordingly could not then record these conversations in the war diary. However, he always told everything to his chief- of-staff as his closest confidant. As a result, Schulte- Monting could confirm definitely that Raeder in this case opposed Hitler because of misgivings with regard to morality and International Law and furthermore also gave strategic reasons for his opposition in the hope of being able to influence Hitler more certainly in this manner. Schulte- Monting even stated - just like Raeder - that in November the latter had gained the impression, after a discussion, that he had dissuaded Hitler from his plans. I believe that this has clarified the matter, and only the tragic factor remains here, that Hitler paid just as little attention to Raeder's political objections with regard to Russia as with regard to Norway and France.

A similar situation lies behind the charge of the prosecution referring to the war of aggression against the USA and the violation of the neutrality of Brazil. Both of these charges are sufficiently refuted within the framework of the evidence so that I am only going to discuss them very briefly.

According to the statement of the prosecution, Raeder somehow collaborated in the plan to induce Japan to attack America. As a matter of fact no naval strategic conferences were held between Japan and Raeder. Raeder was always of the conviction that a war against the USA must be avoided just as much as a war against Russia. This attitude is understandable because, in addition, he held the opinion that Hitler should under no circumstances launch a war with England. Since the war against England had now come about, it was Raeder's duty as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy to use all his strength to fight successfully against England. Raeder knew the limitations of the fighting capacity of the Navy, and it was therefore quite out of the question that he should have collaborated in an extension of the naval war, considering, as he did, that the conduct of such a war against England was already too difficult a task. The Document C-152 submitted by the prosecution therefore mentions only a proposition that Japan should attack Singapore and is based on the standpoint that the United States should be kept out of the war. This suggestion made to Hitler that Japan should attack Singapore was in all points quite correct.

We were now in a war against England, and Raeder was forced to try to concentrate all his forces against England. He was thus justified in suggesting that Japan - as Germany's ally - should attack England. Moreover this one discussion of Raeder was held on 18th March, 1941, whilst Hitler in his Directive No. 24 of 5th March, 1941, had established the guiding principle that Japan must attack Singapore, which he considered a key position of England.

May I interpose one sentence here? It can be seen in the report by General Marshall that the latter stated that no common plan had been found to exist between Germany and Japan.

As Schulte-Monting has affirmed Raeder was just as surprised by the sudden attack of Japan against Pearl Harbour as every other German. The attempt of the prosecution to discredit this statement during the cross-examination of Schulte- Monting by introducing a telegram from the Naval Attache in Tokyo to Berlin dated 6th December, 1941, has failed. In the first place Raeder probably received this telegram only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7th December had already started, and besides, Pearl Harbour is not mentioned at all in the telegram.

The charge of the prosecution with regard to Brazil has been refuted almost more definitely because, after my statements in the case for the defense, the prosecution did not return to this point in any of the cross-examination of Raeder, Schulte-Monting and Wagner. It is the charge that, according to Jodl's diary, the Naval War Staff authorized and approved the use of arms against Brazilian

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warships and merchant vessels fully two .months before the outbreak of war between Germany and Brazil.

Apart from the testimony of witnesses this case is refuted by documents, namely the complete excerpt from Jodl's diary which I submitted as Exhibit Raeder 115 as well as by further submitted documents, Exhibits Raeder 116 and 118. These documents reveal that Brazil had violated the rules of neutrality by permitting the USA to make use of Brazilian airfields as bases for attacks on German and Italian U- boats. The Brazilian Air Ministry had furthermore officially announced that attacks had been made by the Brazilian Air Force. Considering such conduct, which is against all rules of neutrality, the demand of the Naval War Staff for armed action against Brazilian vessels is justified. In this case also the prosecution did not succeed in proving Raeder to have committed a crime or even an offence against International Law.

The prosecution has very carefully submitted an exceedingly large amount of material, and the many details enforced great exactitude in the submission of evidence for the defence. I have endeavoured to deal with all the charges in the submission of evidence or in my final plea, and have made efforts to show as clearly as possible that all the charges, partly on factual, partly on legal grounds, do not represent the facts of a criminal case within the meaning of this Charter. Inasmuch as I have not, in spite of my striving for great exactitude, dealt with certain documents, it was because they seemed to me of small importance, and in any case of no importance under criminal law, for instance, the many cases in which Raeder was only mentioned because - without officially taking any part - he received a copy of the documents for routine reasons. It would have been tiring to go into such recurrent cases, even if the prosecution unremittingly reiterated these formal indications, so that one was often inclined to remember the saying of Napoleon that repetition is that turn of speech which acts as the best evidence.

I further believe that in the final plea for Grand Admiral Raeder I may leave aside argumentation regarding the real war crimes, the crimes against humanity, as I cannot establish any connection between these and Raeder from the material submitted by the prosecution. Further, no particular charge is made against Raeder in this connection with the exception of the two cases connected with the Commando Order, namely, the shooting of two soldiers in Bordeaux and the shooting of the British soldier Evans, who was made a prisoner by the SD on the Swedish border, after he had previously participated in the midget submarine (Kleinkampf) attack on the Tirpitz. Thus far the charge has been refuted by testimony in so far as it concerns the Navy. Both cases did not come, or came only later, to the knowledge of the Naval War Staff just before Raeder's retirement. In both cases the action was carried out on the basis of the Commando Order by the SD without the knowledge and will of the Naval Command; and - what is most important - in both cases the documents of the prosecution showed that these soldiers were in civilian clothes, and therefore were not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

All other criminal facts which the prosecution submitted, especially applying to the East, I need not deal with as Raeder did not participate in them. I hope that here also I shall have the approval of the Tribunal in mentioning the handling of the Katyn case, in which the Tribunal pointed out that Raeder was not involved, and therefore refused my collaboration as defence counsel in this connection; from this I draw the legal conclusion that, even in a roundabout way through the conspiracy, Raeder cannot be considered as being concerned with these criminal facts, since he did not know of these events and had nothing to do with them.

The, evidence of the prosecution rests on the wish to have its theoretical basic assumption prevail and be acknowledged, namely, the idea that so many crimes cannot have been the conception of a singe person, but rather that they result from the conspiracy - a plot - involving many persons. These conspirators could logically in the first place have been only Hitler's own collaborators, that is to

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say the real National Socialists. As, however, Hitler wished to realize, and did realize; concrete results of military and economic importance, he was faced with a peculiar fact. There were no specialists among the National Socialists for these tasks. Most of the National Socialist collaborators had not previously followed a trade requiring technical education. Hitler, therefore, despite his desire to have only National Socialists around him, had to use as key people in particular fields specialists who were not National Socialists, such as for instance Neurath for politics and Schacht for economics; and for military tasks, Fritsch for the Army and Raeder for the Navy. The prosecution followed them in the interests of its conspiracy theory, without paying attention to the fact that these were not National Socialists, and therefore could not in any way be counted among the conspirators, and without taking into account that Hitler used these non-National Socialists only as technicians in a well-defined field, and only as long as it seemed absolutely necessary to him; and therefore he agreed to the retirement of these men, who were essentially not in sympathy with him, as soon as the differences with them seemed unbridgeable, which was bound to happen sooner or later with each of them, depending on the particular field involved.

By this wide conception of the idea of conspiracy and by this extension of the prosecution's fight against non- National Socialists, the prosecution abandoned the basic concept which was formerly propagated abroad, namely, that of a fight against National Socialism, but not against the whole of Germany, two ideas which at no time and in no place have been really identical, as the prosecution now tries to make out. I do believe that thereby the prosecution also abandons President Roosevelt's basic idea.

But another factual and legal point of view has not been taken into consideration by the prosecution. I mean the concept of division of competence in political law, that is to say the subdivision into individual departments. This division of competence - resting on the idea of division of labour - has, in accordance with its essence, a separative character; it divides the field of work according to local, functional and technical points of view. For one thing it positively defines the limits within which any single division is to become active; at the same time it defines negatively the boundaries of this activity by specifying which are the things which no longer concern the agencies in question, that is to say where they must not exercise any official activity.

In a democracy, an additional contact exists by virtue of the general Cabinet meetings and or through the Prime Minister, the Reich President, or the Reich Chancellor. But it is different in a dictatorship, particularly if the dictator, as was the case with Hitler in the National Socialist State, exploits the separation between the individual departments with extreme skill and sees to it that the individual departments are as isolated as possible, with the result that all decisions rest finally with him as the dictator, in which connection he even plays off one department against the other.

The system of strict partitioning off of governmental departments carried out in the National Socialist State very distinctly contradicts the concept of conspiracy as it made it difficult for the individual to go beyond his own department in any manner. The effect of this system may be illustrated by the following example: The formulation of political relations with other States, the conclusion or rescission of agreements or alliances with other States, declaring war and concluding peace are matters within the jurisdiction of the authority directing foreign affairs, but they are not within the jurisdiction of the agencies concerned with domestic tasks, such as for instance the Reich Finance Administration, justice and the military.

The result is: Since the decision concerning war and peace is not a matter for the military authorities, they have to accept the decisions made by the political leadership, decisions which have a binding material effect on the military authorities. The military commander must assume for his department the consequences resulting from the decision. As soon as war is, declared, the military

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forces must fight. They do not bear any responsibility for the war, since they were not able to take part in the decision that war should be declared. Consequently, for an army the concept of war of aggression exists in the strategic sense only. Aside from that, every war, the waging of which is charged to it, is simply war, regardless of how it is defined legally.

Responsibility from the point of view of political law and criminal law corresponds to the field of jurisdiction. Therefore, if the Commander-in-Chief of a branch of the Wehrmacht is responsible solely for the waging of war, not for the causes leading to war, his responsibility in respect to strategic planning must be confined to planning as such, but not to the possible origin of the war for which the strategic planning is worked out.

This officially and legally important division of governmental departments and the distribution of authority was carried out by Hitler, in the interest of strengthening his own power, in a particularly emphatic manner, in many domains, such as for instance the, creation of "the Trustee for the Four-Year-Plan" whose field of work actually belonged to the Ministry for Economics; the creation of Reich Commissioners in the occupied territories, whose activity really came under military administration; and, finally, a fact of interest in the Raeder case, the very strict delimitation between the three branches of the Wehrmacht and the elimination of the Reichswehr Minister and/or Minister of War who held the three branches of the armed services together and unified them. The greater the number became of the governmental departments the stronger Hitler became as dictator, as the only one with authority over all the innumerable agencies. But along with this the official as well as the legal responsibility for strategic planning in one individual department decreased, in this instance that of the Navy.

Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief of a branch of the Wehrmacht, for instance the Navy, could in case of strategic planning only be responsible for the planning of naval strategy; he did not have an overall view of the total planning. Total planning was discussed nowhere; politically and militarily it was in Hitler's hands exclusively because he alone was the centre where all threads and all activities of the individual departments came together.

May I add a sentence here and remind you that, for instance, in the case of the Norway action even Goering was not informed until March, 1940, which is a proof of the extreme separation of the individual departments within the armed forces.

In addition, no purely strategic planning as such can be criminal because it is customary in every country, and because in every country the military commander of a branch of the armed forces does not, and cannot know, for what purpose the political leadership will use the plan prepared by him, whether in a war of aggression or a defensive war.

The documents submitted in my document book prove convincingly that the military agencies, both of the Allies as well as in Germany, worked out strategic plans in the same way and in the same areas and at the same times, namely in regard to Norway, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Roumania, and moreover the Allies planned for the destruction of the Roumanian oil-fields and especially of the oil sources in the Caucasus. Particularly the plans concerning the Caucasus on the part of the Supreme Council, i.e., of the combined British and French General Staff, show the correctness of the statements. The Supreme Council would certainly decline to be made politically responsible for these strategic plans, although the Soviet Union was still neutral at the time thereof, and the execution of the plans was to strike not only at the enemy country Germany, but also at the neutral Soviet Union, as the documents also show.

The similarity of the documents concerning such plans is absolutely convincing and shows a strong parallel trend. May I point in this connection to my earlier statements made here on the occasion of the comprehensive discussion, regarding the relevance and admissibility of the documents submitted by me; may I point, in addition, to Document Raeder 130, namely the letter of the Foreign Office in

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which submission of the British Admiralty files is refused, but in which the plans in regard to Norway and the whole of Scandinavia are admitted but with the remark that the plans were not carried out, which was only due to the fact that Germany prevented their execution.

One may be a pacifist and therefore basically opposed to military force, but then one must be consistent and must take a stand not only against German military force, but against any military force. One may condemn the fact that the military authorities, as the operational authority, prepare military plans, and one may in future insist that such planning is punishable. But then not only German military planning but also foreign military planning must be punishable.

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