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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
9th August to 21st August 1946

Two Hundred and Eighth Day: Wednesday, 21st August, 1946
(Part 4 of 8)

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Now I shall turn to Document Mil. 10, to which I should especially like to call the attention of the High Tribunal. It will be found on Pages 55 to 61 of Document Book No. I. From this document the High Tribunal will be in a position to see which ranks were held by the officers indicted at the times that exceptional events took place, for instance, at the outbreak of the war. This compilation; therefore, permits one to draw certain definite conclusions as to how far these officers had a decisive influence on the events.

As can be computed from the first column of list 5 on Pages 58 to 61 (the result will be found on Page 55 under figure I) on 1st September, 1939 - that is, at the beginning of the war - of a total of 107 generals and admirals still living 47 still had the rank of staff officers. They were majors or lieutenant-colonels or colonels and 48 were generals of a lower rank. And of these entire 107 who are involved in the Indictment only seven are of the highest ranks. Five were full generals, and there were two field-marshals. We do not have any definite information of five of those still alive.

I shall merely call your attention to the other summaries dealing with earlier events set out on Pages 56 and 57. The following should be remarked concerning

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the composition of these alleged groups. The permanent deputies of the Wehrmacht Staff, according to Affidavit 6 of General Halder, Exhibit USA 533, are also accused by the prosecution. I should like to call your attention, with reference to the tasks and the significance of the position, to the cross-examination of Halder before the Commission on Page 3309 of the record. According to this, the holders of this position did not concern themselves decisively with strategic questions. Their position did not in any way correspond with the positions which are included in the Indictment.

Thus I conclude my evidence dealing with the group as it was made up. The prosecution is of the opinion that the circle of people as indicted consisted of an organized group. The affidavits submitted by the prosecution to prove this point, No. I, by General Halder, Exhibit USA 531, and No. 2; by Field-Marshal von Brauchitsch, Exhibit USA 532, do not have the meaning indicated to us by the prosecution. In this connection, I should like to refer first of all to the cross- examination of General Halder which I conducted before the Commission, and I should like to ask the High Tribunal to permit me to read one passage from this record so that this point will be complete in the record.

On Page 3298 you will find the following statement:


"Q. In your Affidavit No. I you have used the word 'group' four times. Did this expression 'group' emanate from you?

"A. No; it was contained in the text, which has been changed several times, in which I left this word as it was.

"Q. Had you previously used this expression 'group' in a similar connection, for instance; in characterising the military leaders as a 'group'?

"A. No.

"Q. What sense did you give this word 'group' at the moment when you signed the statement?

"A. I did not hesitate to use this word. 'Group' is used in the sense of 'number'.

"Q. You, therefore, mean several generals? Or did you mean a certain circle of people who had been grouped for a certain purpose?

"A. A number of generals who perhaps might be characterised as leading generals.

"Q. Subsequently the prosecution is now interpreting this expression 'group' as if an organization of military leaders existed. Was there an organization, or an organized group of that sort?

"A. No."

Field-Marshal von Brauchitsch was examined by me before this High Tribunal with regard to Affidavit 2. Concerning the allegation that the front Commanders-in-Chief were actually the consulting body for the High Command, the prosecution has quoted Exhibit USA 537, Affidavit 5, by General Blaskowitz. I should like to refer to Affidavit General Staff 55, which has been translated, in which General Blaskowitz, on my request, gives an interpretation of the affidavit. According to this affidavit the Oberbefehlshaber, the Commanders-in-Chief, were not a consultant body, but they were individual consultants in their own sphere, as is true in every army. The interpretation which the prosecution gives to Affidavit 5 is, accordingly, not correct.

Further, I should like to refer to Affidavits 1-55, which also prove that the highest military authorities did not form an organization-like "group." I should like you to give your special attention to Affidavits 1-4, which have been translated but which I do not wish to quote.

That the Navy and the Air Force did not form a "group" with the Army generals may be seen from Affidavits 3145, 12 and 3097 of Admiral Schniewind

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and of the Generals Stumpf and Keller. And only from these affidavits, particularly number 3145 of Admiral Schniewind, can the High Tribunal infer all that which is important with reference to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Navy and form its judgement.

I should also like to refer to the testimony of all the generals who were heard before the Commission, who all denied the existence of a "group."

Of special importance seems to me the testimony of General von Buttlar, who, on Pages 11285-286 of the English text of the official record, testified as to how nominations to these positions covered by the Indictment were effected.

Mr. President, thus I conclude my evidence on the question of whether a "group" actually existed or not.

Now I shall turn briefly to my proof dealing with the common attitude of the generals involved.

Their general attitude described in the opening speech by Mr. Justice Jackson is based on rather doubtful premises. Document 1947 was referred to by Mr. Justice Jackson in this connection. This document. 1947-PS, which is of basic significance to his statement, is a letter allegedly written by General von Fritsch on 11th December, 1938, to a Baroness von Schutzbar-Milchling, in which he is said to have declared that three battles would have to be won: the first against the workers, the second against the Catholic Church, and the third against the Jews.

Despite several demands I received neither the original nor a photostatic copy of this document. I was told that I would have access to it if and when it could be found.

I should like to refer in my refutation to the affidavit deposed by Baroness von Schutzbar-Milchling, in which she states that the alleged letter by General von Fritsch was never received by her.

If the key Document 1947-PS cannot be submitted until the end of this proceeding - I should like to emphasize it has not been submitted until now but used all the same - then - and I make a special application for this - that part of the opening speech by Mr. Justice Jackson, which refers to this document, which after all has not been submitted, should be struck from the record.

THE PRESIDENT: If the document has not been proved the Tribunal will pay no attention to it. If it is not in evidence then it is quite unnecessary to produce the document denying its existence. We will take no notice of it.

What I understand you to be saying is that Mr. Justice Jackson referred to a letter. That letter has not been offered in evidence. If it has not been offered in evidence then the Tribunal takes no notice of anything Mr. Justice Jackson said about it in his speech, and it is unnecessary for you to produce an affidavit denying the existence of the letter. Is that clear?

DR. LATERNSER: Yes, but, Mr. President, it has been used. Mr. Justice Jackson -

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have pointed out to us now that it ought not to have been used because it is not in evidence. We wish to be strict in these matters and only to allow factual documents to be referred to which have been offered in evidence.

DR. LATERNSER: Concerning the mistrust which Hitler had of the military leadership, that is a matter which has been stated and proven several times in these proceedings.

I should like to refer the Tribunal to Affidavit 200, deposed by Lt.-General Engel, an officer who, for a considerable time, was in the closest proximity to Hitler and could observe the latter's growing mistrust. I will not read from that affidavit.

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In this connection I should also like to refer to Affidavit 3182, deposed by General Warlimont, who reproduced significant, statements made by Hitler and, in order to be brief, I shall merely refer to it.

Regarding the attitude taken by the military leaders to the Party and its methods, I should like to refer, as an example only, to Affidavit 175, which has been translated. The officer who at that time was competent, Major-General Seegers, describes the opposition of the Military Leaders to the removal of Jewish officers. I should further like to refer to the contents of Affidavits 160 to 177, which contain many particulars of the unpolitical attitude taken by the military leadership.

Dealing with the question of rearmament, I should like to refer to Affidavit 126, in which General Berlin testifies that the General Staff eliminated from its armament programme for 1933-34 the construction of heavy artillery, and explicitly states that Germany did not want to wage aggressive wars.

I should like to refer further to Affidavit 127, deposed by Major-General Hesselbach, from which it may be seen that at the beginning of the war the equipment and weapons provided for units in case of mobilization were insufficient. As far as the rest of the interesting contents of this document is concerned, I shall merely refer your attention to it.

Dealing with rearmament in the Luftwaffe, the prosecution submitted Document L-43, Exhibit GB 29, which allegedly shows the rearmament intentions of the Luftwaffe.

I should like to refer to the contents of Affidavit 101 of the then Chief of the General Staff, General Stumpf, who expressly testifies that this was' a private organisational study set up by General Kammhuber.

Continuing, I refer to the contents of Affidavits 102 to 152. Through details of the most various sorts we can see that the military leadership, at any event, did not seriously take into consideration aggressive wars when carrying through the rearmament programme.

I should further like to refer to the contents of Affidavits 181 to 205, from which we can see, as is corroborated by many details, that foreign officers participated in certain training courses and exercises; that manoeuvres were only of a defensive nature, and that the military academy which existed for the training of general staff officers mainly had courses in defence tactics.

As far as the deliberate participation of the military leaders in wars of aggression is concerned, the prosecution has been trying to prove that the military leaders at an early date had been advised and informed of Hitler's plans, and in this connection they produced the Hoszbach record of 5th November, 1937, Document 386-PS, Exhibit USA 25.

I should like to refer to the affidavit of the author of this record, General Hoszbach, dealing with the background and the origin of this document. General Hoszbach in his Affidavit 210, which he sent to me, expressly states that he did not take notes at the conference and that he only wrote down this record several days later. This document has been translated.

THE PRESIDENT: Does he say in this affidavit whether he was shown a copy, of the notes or whether he had any comments to make on them?

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I must state quite frankly that in view of the great bulk of material I cannot give you this information at the moment. In any event I would have asked for a recess now. I shall check on these matters and I shall be able to tell the Tribunal afterwards. In addition, I should like to condense the material a little and I am sure this will have beneficial results later on.


(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, may I say something briefly about the order in which the final speeches for the organizations will be delivered? I am sub-

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mitting a list drawn up after brief consultation with my colleagues. According to this, counsel for Political Leaders and Gestapo could deliver his final plea on Thursday or Friday; on Monday counsel for the SS and SD, on Tuesday for the General Staff and Reich Cabinet, and on Wednesday for the SA. In the second column I have indicated by what date these documents can be turned in for translation; and in the last column I have given the time when the speeches could presumably be delivered. If there is no session on Saturday, Friday could be devoted to the Political Leaders and the Gestapo. That is what I wanted to say.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean Friday this week could be taken up with the Political Leaders?

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, and then the Gestapo. If there is no session on Saturday, the SS could begin on Monday so that there would be no interruption. The difficulty lies in whether the Translating Division can keep up with this pace.

THE PRESIDENT: I suppose that the difficulty in the Translating Division is partly due to their having nothing to translate.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, the Tribunal wanted information on whether the Hoszbach document was made available for information. As is shown in the document itself, Hoszbach told Hitler of the existence of this document and gave it to him twice to read; but Hitler refused to do so. General Hoszbach does not recall whether he presented the record to Colonel-General von Fritsch; but he certainly did show it to Colonel-General Beck. He also says that this record was not signed by the participants in the conference.

THE PRESIDENT: I see he says it was initialled by Blomberg.

DR. LATERNSER: Yes, initialled but not signed. May I continue, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly, certainly.

DR. LATERNSER: Affidavits 213A, B and C show that the most important agencies were not informed of this conference of 5th November, 1937. Numerous officers offered evidence that the nature of the equipment and training of the Wehrmacht eliminated any possibility of there being any idea of a war of aggression; that is shown in Affidavits 223 to 225, 220 and 277. General Adam, in Affidavit 211, discusses the entirely diverse views on the situation held by the Wehrmacht, on the one hand, and by Hitler on the other. Field-Marshal von Weichs, in Affidavit 215, rebuts the opinions of Field-Marshal von Blomberg in his Affidavit 3, Exhibit USA 536. Field-Marshal Sperrle reports in Affidavits 237 and 237A that he and Reichenau did not know the purpose of their visit to the Berghof during the Schuschnigg conference in February, 1938. Only later did Hitler comment on this event.

The surprising order to march into Austria caused the troops to improvise measures, as is shown by Affidavits 238 to 244. The same is true of the occupation of Czechoslovakia; on this subject I refer to Affidavits 246, 252 and 254.

General Warlimont, in Affidavit 217, describes how, up to the day of the attack on Poland, a peaceful outcome of the tension bad been expected. This is corroborated by Affidavits 227, 246 and 255 to 257. Hitler's statements confirming this view of the generals are discussed in Affidavits 219, 211, 212 and particularly 277. The surprise which the final order to march against Poland caused is shown in Affidavits 228 to 231, as well as 255, 256 and 257.

In July, 1939, Grand Admiral Raeder had told the Navy that the political leaders had assured him clearly that in the next few years there would be no hostilities. That is shown in Affidavit 3115 of Rear-Admiral Katzenberg. At the beginning of the war the German battleship Gneisenau had written orders that no hostilities were to be expected; at that time it was on a training trip near the

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Canary Islands, without ammunition supplies. That is shown from the affidavit of Admiral Forste, No. 3114.

According to Admiral Backenkoehler, in Affidavit 3116, preparations for production had been so inadequate that in August, 1940, there was still a lack of torpedoes for the small number of U-boats available at that time.

Only a few officers learned of the preparations for the Norwegian campaign.

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