Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume One
LAUNCHING OF WARS OF AGGRESSION
The aggressive war phase of the case against the Nazi
conspirators is, in the view of the American prosecution,
the heart of the case. Everything else in this case, however
dramatic, however sordid, however shocking and revolting to
the common instinct of civilized peoples, is incidental or
subordinate to, the fact of aggressive war.
All the dramatic story of what went on in Germany in the
early phases of the conspiracy — the ideologies used, the
techniques of terror used, the suppressions of human freedom
employed in the seizure of power, and even the concentration
camps and the crimes against humanity, the persecutions,
tortures and murders committed — all these things would
have had little international juridical significance except
for the fact that they were the preparation for the
commission of aggressions against peaceful neighboring
peoples. Even the aspects of the case involving “war crimes”
in the strict sense are merely the inevitable, proximate
result of the wars of aggression launched and waged by these
conspirators, and of the kind of warfare they waged. It was
total war, the natural result of the totalitarian party-
dominated state that waged it; it was atrocious war, the
natural result of the doctrines, designs and purposes of the
The substantive rule of law which is controlling on this
part of the case is stated in Article 6 of the Charter of
the International Military Tribunal, which, so far as is
pertinent here, reads as follows:
“Article 6. The Tribunal established by the Agreement
referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial and
punishment of the major war criminals of the European
Axis countries shall have the power to try and punish
persons who, acting in the interests of the European
Axis countries, either as individuals or as members of
organizations, committed any of the following crimes.
“The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming
within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there
shall be individual responsibility:
“(a) Crimes against peace: namely, planning,
preparation, initiation or waging of a war of
aggression, or a war in violation of international
treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in
a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of
any of the foregoing ***”
“Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices
participating in the formulation or execution of a
common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the
foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed
by any persons in execution of such plan.”
Five important principles are contained in these portions of
(1) The Charter imposes “individual responsibility” for acts
constituting “crimes against peace”;
(2) The term “Crimes against peace” embraces planning,
preparation, initiation, or waging of illegal war;
(3) The term “Crimes against peace” also embraces
participation in a common plan or conspiracy to commit
(4) An illegal war consists of either a war of aggression,
or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements,
or assurances; (these two kinds of illegal war might not
necessarily be the same; it will be sufficient for the
prosecution to show either that the war was aggressive
irrespective of breach of international treaties, agreements
or assurances, or that the war was in violation of
international treaties, agreements or assurances
irrespective of whether or not it was a war of aggression;
but the American prosecution will undertake to establish
that the wars planned, prepared, initiated, and waged by the
Nazi conspirators were illegal for both reasons);
(5) Individual criminal responsibility of a defendant is
imposed by the Charter not merely by reasons of direct,
immediate participation in the crime. It is sufficient to
show that a defendant was a leader, an organizer,
instigator, or accomplice who participated either in the
formulation or in the execution of a common plan or
conspiracy to commit crimes against peace. In this
connection, the Charter declares that the responsibility of
conspirators extends not only to their own acts but also to
all acts performed by any persons in execution of the
It is familiar law in the United States that if two or more
persons set out to rob a bank in accordance with a criminal
scheme to that end, and in the course of carrying out their
scheme one of the conspirators commits the crime of murder,
all the participants in the planning and
execution of the bank robbery are guilty of murder, whether
or not they had any other personal participation in the
killing. This is a simple rule of law declared in the
Charter. All the parties to a common plan or conspiracy re
the agents of each other and each is responsible as
principal far the acts of all the others as his agents.
The documentary evidence assembled on this aggressive war
aspect of the case will show the following:- (1) the
conspiratorial nature of the planning and preparation which
underlay the Nazi aggressions already known to history; (2)
the deliberate premeditation which preceded those
acts of aggression; (3) the evil motives which led to the
attacks; (4) the individual participation of named persons
in the Nazi conspiracy for aggression; (5) the deliberate
falsification of the pretexts claimed by the Nazi aggressors
as they arose for their criminal activities.
The critical period between the Nazi seizure of power and
the initiation of the first war of aggression was very
short. This critical period of illegal preparation and
scheming, which ultimately set the whole world aflame,
covered 6 years, from 1933 to 1939. Crowded into these 6
short years is the making of tragedy for mankind.
A full understanding of these 6 years, and the 6 years of
war that followed, requires that this period be divided into
phases that reflect the development and execution of the
Nazi master plan. These phases may be said to be six. The
first was primarily preparatory, although it did involve
overt acts. That phase covers roughly the period from 1933
to 1936. In that period the Nazi conspirators, having
acquired government control of Germany by the middle of
1933, turned their attention toward utilization of that
control for foreign aggression. Their plan at this stage was
to acquire military strength and political bargaining power
to be used against other nations. In this they succeeded.
The second phase of their aggression was shorter. As the
conspiracy gained strength it gained speed. During each
phase the conspirators succeeded in accomplishing more and
more in less and less time until toward the end of the
period, the rate of acceleration of their conspiratorial
movement was enormous. The second phase of their utilization
of control for foreign aggression involved the actual
seizure and absorption of Austria and Czechoslovakia, in
that order. By March 1939 they had succeeded in this phase.
The third phase may be measured in months rather than years,
from March to September 1939. The previous aggression being
successful and having been consummated without the necessity
of resorting to actual war, the conspirators had obtained
much desired resources and bases and were ready to undertake
further aggressions by means of war, if necessary. By
September 1939 war was upon the world.
The fourth phase of the aggression consisted of expanding
the war into a general European war of aggression. By April
1941 the war which had theretofore involved Poland, the
dom, and France, had been expanded by invasions into
Scandinavia and into the Low Countries and into the Balkans.
In the next phase the Nazi conspirators carried the war
eastward by invasion of the territory of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics. The sixth phase consisted of
collaboration with and instigation of their Pacific ally,
Japan, and precipitated the attack on the United States at
The essential elements of the crime of aggressive war can be
made out by a mere handful of captured German documents.
These documents will leave no reasonable doubt concerning
the aggressive character of the Nazi war or concerning the
conspiratorial premeditation of that war. After the corpus
of the crime has been demonstrated in this way, the
documentary evidence will be discussed in subsequent
sections, in a more or less chronological and detailed
presentation of the relevant activities of the conspirators
from 1933 to 1941.
Each of the ten documents which will be discussed in this
section has been selected to establish the basic facts
concerning a particular phase of the development of the Nazi
conspiracy for aggression. Each document has met three
standards of selection: each is conspiratorial in nature;
each is believed to have been hitherto unknown to history;
and each is self-contained and tells it own story.
The period of 1933 to 1936 was characterized by an orderly,
planned sequence of preparation for war. The essential
objective of this period was the formulation and execution
of the plan to re-arm and re-occupy and fortify the
Rhineland, in violation of the treaty of Versailles and
other treaties, in order to acquire military strength and
political bargaining powers to be used against other
A secret speech of Hitler’s delivered to all supreme
commanders on 23 November 1939, at 1200 hours, is sufficient
to characterize this phase of the Nazi conspiracy (789-PS).
The report of the speech was found in the OKW files captured
at Flensberg. Hitler spoke as follows:
“23 November 1939, 1200 hours. Conference with the
Fuehrer, to which all Supreme Commanders are ordered.
The Fuehrer gives the following speech:
“The purpose of this conference is to give you an idea
of the world of my thoughts, which takes charge of me,
in the face of future events, and to tell you my
decisions. The building up of our armed forces was only
possible in con-
nection with the ideological [weltanschaulich]
education of the German people by the Party.
“When I started my political task in 1919, my strong
belief in final success was based on a thorough
observation of the events of the day and the study of
the reasons for their occurrence. Therefore, I never
lost my belief in the midst of setbacks which were not
spared me during my period of struggle. Providence has
had the last word and brought me success. On top of
that, I had a clear recognition of the probable course
of historical events, and the firm will to make brutal
decisions. The first decision was in 1919 when I after
long internal conflict became a politician and took up
the struggle against my enemies. That was the hardest
of all decisions. I had, however, the firm belief that
I would arrive at my goal. First of all, I desired a
new system of selection. I wanted to educate a minority
which would take over the leadership. After 16 years I
arrived at my goal, after strenuous struggles and many
setbacks. When I came to power in 1933, a period of the
most difficult struggle lay behind me. Everything
existing before that had collapsed. I had to reorganize
everything beginning with the mass of the people and
extending it to the armed forces. First reorganization
of the interior, abolishment of appearances of decay
and defeatist ideas, education to heroism. While
reorganizing the interior, I undertook the second task:
to release Germany from its international ties. Two
particular characteristics are to be pointed out:
secession from the League of Nations and denunciation
of the disarmament conference. It was a hard decision.
The number of prophets who predicted that it would lead
to the occupation of the Rhineland was large, the
number of believers was very small. I was supported by
the nation, which stood firmly behind me, when I
carried out my intentions. After that the order for
rearmament. Here again there were numerous prophets who
predicted misfortunes, and only a few believers. In
1935 the introduction of compulsory armed service.
After that militarization of the Rhineland, again a
process believed to be impossible at that time. The
number of people who put trust in me was, very small.
Then beginning of the fortification of the whole
country especially in the west.
“One year later, Austria came. This step also was
considered doubtful. It brought about a considerable
reinforcement of the Reich. The next step was Bohemia,
Moravia and Poland. This step also was not possible to
accomplish in one
campaign. First of all, the western fortification had
to be finished. It was not possible to reach the goal
in one effort. It was clear to me from the first moment
that I could not be satisfied with the Sudeten-German
territory. That was only partial solution. The decision
to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed the
erection of the Protectorate, and with that basis for
the action against Poland was laid, but I wasn’t quite
clear at that time whether I should start first against
the east and then in the west, or vice-versa”. (789-PS)
There are some curious antitheses of thought in that speech,
as in most of Adolf Hitler’s speeches. In one sentence he
combines guidance by providence with the making of “brutal
decisions.” He constantly speaks of how very few people were
with him, and yet the mass of the German people were with
him. But he does give a brief summary of this early period:
the organization of the mass of the people, the extension of
organization to the armed forces, and the various “brutal
decisions” that were made.
A top secret letter dated 24 June 1935, from General von
Blomberg to the Supreme Commanders of the Army, Navy, and
Air Forces demonstrates the preparations for war in which
the Nazi conspirators were engaged during this period.
Attached to that letter is a copy of a Secret Reich Defense
law of 21 May 1935, and a copy of a decision of the
Reichcabinet of 21 May 1935 on the Council for the Defense
of the Reich (2261-PS). These documents were captured in the
OKW files at Fechenheim. Von Blomberg’s letter reads as
“In the appendix I transmit one copy each of the law
for the defense of the Reich of the 21 May 1935, and of
a decision of the Reich Cabinet of 21 May 1935
concerning the Reich’s Defense Council. The publication
of the Reich’s defense law is temporarily suspended by
order of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.
“The Fuehrer and the Reichschancellor has nominated the
President of the directorate of the Reichsbank, Dr.
Schacht to be ‘Plenipotentiary-General for War
“I request that the copies of the Reich’s defense law
needed within the units of the armed forces be ordered
before 1 July -1935 at armed forces office (L) where it
is to be established with the request that the law
should only be distributed down to Corps Headquarters
outside of the Reichministry of war.
“I point out the necessity of strictest secrecy once
Underneath von Blomberg’s signature is an endorsement,
3 September 1935; No. 1820/35 L Top Secret II a. To Defense-
Economic Group G-3, copy transmitted (signed) Jodl.” (2261-
Attached to this letter is the statute referred to as the
Reich’s Defense Law of 21 May 1935, enacted by the
Reichscabinet. The law covers in detail preparations for a
state of defense, mobilization, and appointment of the
Plenipotentiary-General for War Economy (Schacht) with
plenipotentiary authority for the economic preparation of
the war. Part III provides for penalties. The law is signed,
“The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor, Adolf Hitler; the
Reichsminister of War, von Blomberg; the Reichsminister of
the Interior, Frick.” At the bottom of it there is this
“Note on the law for the defense of the Reich of 21 May
“The publication of the law for the defense of the
Reich of 21 May 1935 will be suspended. The law became
effective 21 May 1935.
“The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor, Adolf Hitler.” (2261-
Thus, although the publication itself stated the law was
made public, and although the law became effective
immediately, publication was suspended by Adolf Hitler.
There was also further attached to von Blomberg’s letter a
copy of the decision of the Reichscabinet of 21 May 1935 on
the Council for the Defense of the Realm. This decree deals
largely with organization for economic preparation for the
war. This law of May 1935 was the
cornerstone of war preparations of the Nazi conspirators,
and makes clear the relationship of Schacht to this
The next phase of aggression was the formulation and
execution of plans to attack Austria and Czechoslovakia, in
One of the most striking and revealing of all the captured
documents which have come to hand is one which has come to
be known as the Hossbach notes of a conference in the Reichs
Chancellery on 5 November 1937 from 1615 to 2030 hours (386-
PS). In the course of that meeting Hitler outlined to those
present the possibilities and necessities of expanding their
foreign policy, and requested, “That his statements be
looked upon in the case of his death as his last will and
testament.” The recorder of the minutes of this meeting,
Colonel Hossbach, was the Fuehrer’s adjutant. Present at
this conspiratorial meeting, among others, were Erich
Raeder, Constantin von Neurath, and Hermann Wilhelm Goering.
The minutes of this meeting reveal a crystallization toward
the end of 1937 in the policy of the Nazi regime (386-PS).
Austria and Czechoslovakia were to be acquired by force.
They would provide “lebensraum” (living space) and improve
Germany’s military position for further operations. While it
is true that actual events unfolded themselves in a somewhat
different manner than that outlined at this meeting, in
essence the purposes stated at the meeting were carried out.
These notes, which destroy any possible doubt concerning the
Nazi’s premeditation of their crimes against peace, read as
“Berlin, 10 November 1937. Notes on the conference in
the Reichskanzlei on 5 November 1937 from 1615 to 2030
“Present: The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor;
“The Reichsminister for War, Generalfeldmarschall v.
“The C-in-C Army, Generaloberst Freiherr v. Fritsch;
“The C-in-C Navy, Generaladmiral Dr. H.C. Raeder;
“The C-in-C Luftwaffe, Generaloberst Goering;
“The Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs, Freiherr v.
“Oberst Hossbach [the adjutant who took the minutes].
“The Fuehrer stated initially that the subject matter
of to day’s conference was of such high importance,
that its detailed discussion would certainly in other
states take place before the Cabinet in full session.
However, he, the Fuehrer, had decided not to discuss
this matter in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet, because
of its importance. His subsequent statements were the result
of detailed deliberations and of the experiences of his four and a
half years in government; he desired to explain to
those present his fundamental ideas on the
possibilities and necessities of expanding our foreign
policy and in the interests of a far-sighted policy he
requested that his statements be looked upon in the
case of his death as his last will and testament.
“The Fuehrer then stated: The aim of German policy is
the security and the preservation of the nation and its
propagation. This is consequently a problem of space.
The German nation comprises eighty-five million people,
which, because of the number of individuals and the
compactness of habitation, form a homogeneous European
racial body, the like of which can not be found in any
other country. On the other hand it justifies the
demand for larger living space more than
for any other nation. If there have been no political
consequences to meet the demands of this racial body
for living space then that is the result of historical
development spread over several centuries and should
this political condition continue to exist, it will
represent the greatest danger to the preservation of
the German nation at its present high level. An arrest
of the deterioration of the German element in Austria
and in Czechoslovakia is just as little possible as the
preservation of the present state in Germany itself.
“Instead of growth, sterility will be introduced, and
as a consequence, tensions of a social nature will
appear after a number of years, because political and
philosophical ideas are of a permanent nature only as
long as they are able to produce the basis for the
realization of the actual claim of existence of a
nation. The German future is therefore dependent
exclusively on the solution of the need for living
space. Such a solution can be sought naturally only for
a limited period, about one to three generations.
“Before touching upon the question of solving the need
for living space, it must be decided whether a solution
of the German position with a good future can be
attained, either by way of an autarchy or by way of an
increased share in universal commerce and industry.
“Autarchy: Execution will be possible only with strict
National-Socialist State policy, which is the basis;
assuming this can be achieved the results are as
“A. In the sphere of raw materials, only limited, but
not total autarchy can be attained:
“1. Wherever coal can be used for the extraction of raw
materials autarchy is feasible.
“2. In the case of ores the position is much more
difficult. Requirements in iron and light metals can be
covered by ourselves. Copper and tin, however, can not.
“3. Cellular materials can be covered by ourselves as
long as sufficient wood supplies exist. A permanent
solution is not possible.
“4. Edible fats — possible.
“B. In the case of foods, the question of an autarchy
must be answered with a definite NO.
“The general increase of living standards, compared
with thirty to forty years ago, brought about a
simultaneous increase of the demand and an increase of
personal consumption even among the producers, the
farmers, themselves. The proceeds from the production
increase in agriculture
have been used for covering the increased demand,
therefore they represent no absolute increase in
production. A further increase in production by making
greater demands on the soil is not possible because it
already shows signs of deterioration due to the use of
artificial fertilizers, and it is therefore certain
that, even with the greatest possible increase in
production, participation in the world market could not
“The considerable expenditure of foreign currency to
secure food by import, even in periods when harvests
are good, increases catastrophically when the harvest
is really poor. The possibility of this catastrophe
increases correspondingly to the increase in
population, and the annual 560,000 excess in births
would bring about an increased consumption in bread,
because the child is a greater bread eater than the
“Permanently to counter the difficulties of food
supplies by lowering the standard of living and by
rationing is impossible in a continent which had
developed &n approximately equivalent standard of
living. As the solving of the unemployment problem has
brought into effect the complete power of consumption,
some small corrections in our agricultural home
production will be possible, but not a wholesale
alteration of the standard of food consumption.
Consequently autarchy becomes impossible, specifically
in the sphere of food supplies as well
“Participation in world economy. There are limits to
this which we are unable to transgress. The market
fluctuations would be an obstacle to a secure
foundation of the German position; international
commercial agreements do not offer any guarantee for
practical execution. It must be considered on principle
that since the World War (1914-18), as
industrialization has taken place in countries which
formerly exported food. We live in a period of economic
empires, in which the tendency to colonies again
approaches the condition which originally motivated
colonization; in Japan and Italy economic motives are
the basis of their will to expand, and economic need
will also drive Germany to it. Countries outside the
great economic empires have special difficulties in
“The upward tendency, which has been caused in world
economy, due to armament competition, can never form a
permanent basis for an economic settlement, and this
latter is also hampered by the economic disruption
caused by Bol-
shevism. There is a pronounced military weakness in
those states who base their existence on export. As our
exports and imports are carried out over those sea
lanes which are dominated by Britain, it is more a
question of security of transport than one of foreign
currency, and this explains the great weakness in our
food situation in wartime. The only way out, and one
which may appear imaginary, is the securing of greater
living space, an endeavor which at all times has been
the cause of the formation of states and of movements
of nations. It is explicable that this tendency finds
no interest in Geneva and in satisfied states. Should
the security of our food situation be our foremost
thought, then the space required for this can only be
sought in Europe, but we will not copy liberal
capitalist policies which rely on exploiting colonies.
It is not a case of conquering people, but of
conquering agriculturally useful space. It would also
be more to the purpose to seek raw material-producing
territory in Europe directly adjoining the Reich and
not overseas, and this solution would have to be
brought into effect for one or two generations. What
would be required at a later date over and above this
must be left to subsequent generations. The development
of great world-wide national bodies is naturally a slow
process and the German people, with its strong racial
root Volksstamm] has for this purpose the most
favorable foundations in the heart of the European
Continent. The history of all times — Roman Empire,
British Empire has proved that every space expansion
can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking
risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable; neither formerly
nor today has space been found without an owner; the
attacker always comes up against the proprietor.”
After this somewhat jumbled discussion of geopolitical
economic theory and of the need for expansion and
“Lebensraum”, Adolf Hitler, in these Hossbach notes, posed a
question and proceeded to answer it:
“The question for Germany is where the greatest
possible conquest could be made at lowest cost.
“German politics must reckon with its two hateful
enemies, England and France, to whom a strong German
colossus in the center of Europe would be intolerable.
Both these states would oppose a further reinforcement
of Germany, both in Europe and overseas, and in this
opposition they would have the support of all parties.
Both countries would view the
building of German military strong points overseas as a
threat to their overseas communications, as a security
measure for German commerce, and retrospectively a
strengthening of the German position in Europe.
“England is not in a position to cede any of her
colonial possessions to us owing to the resistance
which she experiences in the Dominions. After the loss
of prestige which England has suffered owing to the
transfer of Abyssinia to Italian ownership, a return of
East Africa can no longer be expected. Any resistance
on England’s part would at best consist in the
readiness to satisfy our colonial claims by taking away
colonies which at the present moment are not in British
hands, for example, Angola. French favors would
probably be of the same nature.
“A serious discussion regarding the return of colonies
to us could be considered only at a time when England
is in a state of emergency and the German Reich is
strong and well armed. The Fuehrer does not share the
opinion that the Empire is unshakeable.
“Resistance against the Empire is to be found less in
conquered territories than amongst its competitors. The
British Empire and the Roman Empire cannot be compared
with one another in regard to durability; after the
Punic Wars the latter did not have a serious political
enemy. Only the dissolving effects which originated in
Christendom, and the signs of age which creep into all
states, made it possible for the Ancient Germans to
subjugate Ancient Rome.
“Alongside the British Empire today a number of States
exist which are stronger than it. The British Mother
Country is able to defend its colonial possession only
allied with other states and not by its own power. How
could England alone, for example, defend Canada against
attack by America, or its Far Eastern interests against
an attack by Japan “The singling out of the British
Crown as the bearer of Empire unity is in itself an
admission that the universal empire cannot be
maintained permanently by power politics. The following
are significant pointers in this respect
“(a) Ireland’s struggle for independence.
“(b) Constitutional disputes in India where England, by
her half measures, left the door open for Indians at a
later date to utilize the non-fulfillment of
constitutional promises as a weapon against Britain.
“(c) The weakening of the British position in the Far
East by Japan.
“(d) The opposition in the Mediterranean to Italy which
by virtue of its history, driven by necessity and led
by a genius-expands its power position and must
consequently infringe British interests to an
increasing extent. The outcome of the Abyssinian War is
a loss of prestige for Britain which Italy is
endeavoring to increase by stirring up discontent in
the Mohammedan World.
“It must be established in conclusion that the Empire
cannot be held permanently by power politics by 45
million Britons, in spite of all the solidity of her
ideals. The proportion of the populations in the
Empire, compared with that of the Motherland, is nine
to one, and it should act as a warning to us that if we
expand in space, we must not allow the level of our
population to become too low.
“France’s position is more favorable than that of
England. The French Empire is better placed
geographically, the population of its colonial
possessions represents a potential military increase.
But France is faced with difficulties of internal
politics. At the present time only 10 per cent
approximately of the nations have parliamentary
governments, whereas 90 per cent of them have
totalitarian governments. Nevertheless, we have to take
the following into our political consideration as power
“Britain, France, Russia and the adjoining smaller
“The German question can be solved only by way of
force, and this is never without risk. The battles of
Frederick the Great for Silesia, and Bismarck’s wars
against Austria and France had been a tremendous risk
and the speed of Prussian action in 1870 had prevented Austria
from participating in the war. If we place the decision to
apply force with risk at the head of the following
expositions, then we are left to reply to the questions
‘when’ and ‘how’. In this regard we have to decide upon
three different cases.
“Case 1. Period 1943-45: After this we can only expect
a change for the worse. The rearming of the Army, the
Navy and the Air Force, as well as the formation of the
Officers’ Corps, are practically concluded.
“Our material equipment and armaments are modern; with
further delay the danger of their becoming out-of-date
will increase. In particular the secrecy of ‘special
weapons’ cannot always be safeguarded. Enlistment of
reserves would be limited to the current recruiting age
groups and an addition from older untrained groups
would be no longer available.
“In comparison with the rearmament, which will have
carried out at the time by other nations, we shall
decrease in relative power. Should we not act until
1943-45, then, dependent on the absence of reserves,
any year could bring about the food crisis, for the
countering of which we do not possess the necessary
foreign currency. This must be considered as a ‘point
of weakness in the regime.’ Over and above that, the
world will anticipate our action and will increase
counter-measures yearly. Whilst other nations isolate
themselves we should be forced on the offensive.
“What the actual position would be in the years 1943-45
no one knows today. It is certain, however, that we can
wait no longer.
“On the one side the large armed forces, with the
necessity for securing their upkeep, the aging of the
Nazi movement and of its leaders, and on the other side
the prospect of a lowering of the standard of living
and a drop in the birth rate, leaves us no other choice
but to act. If the Fuehrer is still living, then it
will be his irrevocable decision to solve the German
space problem no later than 1943-45. The necessity for
action before 1943-45 will come under consideration in
cases 2 and 3.
“Case 2. Should the social tensions in France lead to
an internal political crisis of such dimensions that it
absorbs the French Army and thus renders it incapable
for employment in war against Germany, then the time
for action against Czechoslovakia has come.
“Case 3. It would be equally possible to act against
Czechoslovakia if France should be so tied up by a war
against another State that it cannot ‘proceed’ against
“For the improvement of our military political position
it must be our first aim, in every case of entanglement
by war to conquer Czechoslovakia and Austria,
simultaneously, in order to remove any threat from the
flanks in case of a possible advance Westwards. In the
case of a conflict with France it would hardly be
necessary to assume that Czechoslovakia would declare
war on the same day as France. However,
Czechoslovakia’s desire to participate in the war will
increase proportionally to the degree to which we are
being weakened. Its actual participation could make
itself felt by an attack on Silesia, either towards the
North or the West.
“Once Czechoslovakia is conquered — and a mutual
frontier; Germany-Hungary is obtained — then a neutral
attitude by Poland in a German-French conflict could
more easily be relied upon. Our agreements with Poland
remain valid only
as long as Germany’s strength remains unshakeable;
should Germany have any setbacks then an attack by
Poland against East Prussia, perhaps also against
Pomerania, and Silesia, must be taken into account.
“Assuming a development of the situation, which would
lead to a planned attack on our part in the years 1943
to ’45, then the behavior of France, England, Poland
and Russia would probably have to be judged in the
“The Fuehrer believes personally, that in all
probability England and perhaps also France, have
already silently written off Czechoslovakia, and that
they have got used to the idea that this question would
one day be cleaned up by Germany. The difficulties in
the British Empire and the prospect of being entangled
in another long-drawn-out European War, were decisive
factors in the non-participation of England in a war
against Germany. The British attitude would certainly
not remain without influence on France’s attitude. An
attack by France, without British support, is hardly
probable assuming that its offensive would stagnate
along our Western fortifications. Without England’s
support, it would also not be necessary to take into
consideration a march by France through Belgium and
Holland, and this would also not have to be reckoned
with by us in case of a conflict with France, as in
every case it would have as a consequence, the enmity
of Great Britain. Naturally we should in every case,
have to bar our frontier during the operation of our
attacks against Czechoslovakia and Austria. It must be
taken into consideration here that Czechoslovakia’s
defence measures will increase in strength from year to
year, and that a consolidation of the inside values of
the Austrian Army will also be effected in the course
of years. Although the population of Czechoslovakia, in
the first place is not a thin one, the embodiment of
Czechoslovakia and Austria would nevertheless
constitute the conquest of food for five to six million
people, on the basis that a compulsory emigration of
two million from Czechoslovakia, and of one million
from Austria could be carried out. The annexation of
the two States to Germany, militarily and politically,
would constitute a considerable relief, owing to
shorter and better frontiers, the freeing of fighting
personnel for other purposes, and the possibility of
reconstituting new armies up to a strength of about
twelve Divisions, representing a new Division per one
“No opposition to the removal of Czechoslovakia is
expected on the part of Italy; however, it cannot be
judged today what would be her attitude in the Austrian
question, since it would depend largely on whether the
Duce were alive at the time or not.
“The measure and speed of our action would decide
Poland’s attitude. Poland will have little inclination
to enter the war against a victorious Germany, with
Russia in the rear.
“Military participation by Russia must be countered by
the speed of our operations; it is a question whether
this needs to be taken into consideration at all, in
view of Japan’s attitude.
“Should Case 2 occur — paralyzation of France by a
Civil War — then the situation should be utilized at
any time for operations against Czechoslovakia, as
Germany’s most dangerous enemy would be eliminated.
“The Fuehrer sees Case 3 looming near; it could develop
from the existing tensions in the Mediterranean, and
should it occur, he has firmly decided to make use of
it any time, perhaps even as early as 1938.
“Following recent experiences in the course of events
of the war in Spain, the Fuehrer does not see an early
end to hostilities there. Taking into consideration the
time required for past offensives by Franco, a further
three years duration of war is within the bounds of
possibility. On the other hand, from the German point
of view, a one hundred per cent victory by Franco is
not desirable; we are more interested in a continuation
of the war and preservation of the tensions in the
Mediterranean. Should Franco be in sole possession of
the Spanish Peninsula, it would mean the end of Italian
intervention and the presence of Italy on the Balearic
Isles. As our interests are directed towards continuing
the war in Spain, it must be the task of our future
policy to strengthen Italy in her fight to hold on to
the Balearic Isles However, a solidification of Italian
positions on the Balearic Isles can not be tolerated
either by France or by England and could lead to a war
by France and England against Italy, in which case
Spain, if entirely in white [Franco’s] hands, could
participate on the side of Italy’s enemies. A
subjugation of Italy in such a war appears very –
unlikely. Additional raw materials could be brought to
Italy via Germany. The Fuehrer believes that Italy’s
military strategy would be to remain on the defensive
on the Western frontier and carry out operations
against France from Libya, against the North African
French colonial possessions.
“As a landing of French-British troops on the Italian
coast can be discounted, and as a French offensive via
the Alps to Upper Italy would be extremely difficult,
and would probably stagnate before the strong Italian
fortifications, French lines of communication by the
Italian fleet will to a great extent paralyze the
transport of fighting personnel from North Africa to
France, so that at its frontiers with Italy and
Germany, France will have, at its disposal, solely the
metropolitan fighting forces.
“If Germany profits from this war by disposing of the
Czechoslovakian and the Austrian questions, the
probability must be assumed that England — being at
war with Italy would not decide to commence operations
against Germany. Without British support, a warlike
action by France against Germany is not to be
“The date of our attack on Czechoslovakia and Austria
must be made independent of the course of the Italian-
French-English war and would not be simultaneous with
the commencement of military operations by these three
States. The Fuehrer was also not thinking of military
agreements with Italy, but in complete independence and
by exploiting this unique favorable opportunity, he
wishes to begin to carry out operations against
Czechoslovakia. The attack on Czechoslovakia would have
to take place with the speed of lightning [blitzartig
“Fieldmarshal von Blomberg and Generaloberst von
Fritsch in giving their estimate on the situation,
repeatedly pointed out that England and France must not
appear as our enemies, and they stated that the war
with Italy would not bind the French Army to such an
extent that it would not be in a position to commence
operations on our Western frontier with superior
forces. Generaloberst von Fritsch estimated the French
forces which would presumably be employed on the Alpine
frontier against Italy to be in the region of twenty
divisions, so that a strong French superiority would
still remain on our Western frontier. The French would,
according to German reasoning, attempt to advance into
the Rhineland. We should consider the lead which France
has got in mobilization, and quite apart from the very
small value of our then existing fortifications –which
was pointed out particularly by Generalfieldmarshal von
Blomberg — the four motorized divisions which had been
laid down for the West would be more or less incapable
of movement. With regard to our offensive in a
Southeasterly direction, Fieldmarshal von Blomberg drew
special attention to the strength of the
Czechoslovakian fortifications, the building of which
had assumed the character of a Maginot Line and which
would present extreme difficulties to our attack.
“Generaloberst von Fritsch mentioned that it was the
purpose of a study which he had laid on for this winter
to investigate the possibilities of carrying out
operations against Czechoslovakia with special
consideration of the conquest of the Czechoslovakian
system of fortifications; the Generaloberst also stated
that owing to the prevailing conditions, he would have
to relinquish his leave abroad, which was to begin on
the 10 November. This intention was countermanded by
the Fuehrer, who gave as a reason that the possibility
of the conflict was not to be regarded as being so
imminent. In reply to statements by Generalfieldmarshal
von Blomberg and Generaloberst von Fritsch regarding
England and France’s attitude, the Fuehrer repeated his
previous statements and said that he was convinced of
Britain’s non-participation and that consequently he
did not believe in military action by France against
Germany. Should the Mediterranean conflict already
mentioned, lead to a general mobilization in Europe,
then we should have to commence operations against
Czechoslovakia immediately. If, however, the powers who
are not participating in the war should declare their
disinterestedness, then Germany would, for the time
being, have to side with this attitude.
“In view of the information given by the Fuehrer,
Generaloberst Goering considered it imperative to think
of a reduction or abandonment of our military
undertaking in Spain. The Fuehrer agreed to this,
insofar as he believed this decision should be
postponed for a suitable date.
“The second part of the discussion concerned material
“(Signed) Hossbach”. (386-PS)
The record of what happened thereafter is well-known to
history The Anschluss with Austria, under military pressure
from the Nazis, occurred in arch 1938. Pressure on
Czechoslovakia resulted in the Munich Pact of September
1938. That Pact was
violated, and Czechoslovakia invaded by Germany on 15 March
Another captured document, a file kept by Colonel Schmundt,
Hitler’s adjutant, reveals the truth concerning the
deliberateness of the aggressions against Czechoslovakia (88-
PS). The file was found in a cellar of the Platterhof at
Obersalzberg, near Berchtesgaden. It consists of a work-file
of originals and duplicates, incidental to the preparations
for the annexation of Czechoslovakia. The German title is
”Grimdlagen zur Stude Gruen”, (Basic Principles for “Case
Green”), “Green” being a codeword for the aggression against
Czechoslovakia. Item No. 2 in this file is dated 22 April
1938. It is a summary, prepared by Schmundt, the adjutant,
of a discussion on 22 April 1938 between Hitler and Wilhelm
Keitel. This item, like the other items in the file, relates
to “Case Green”. This meeting occurred within approximately
one month following the successful annexation of Austria. In
the carrying out of the conspiracy, it became necessary to
revise the “Plan Green”, to take into account changed
conditions, as a result of the bloodless success against
Austria. Item 2 reads:
“Berlin, 22 April 1938. “Bases of the Dissertation on
“Summary of discussion between Fuehrer and General
Keitel of 21 April:
“A. Political Aspect.
“1. Strategic surprise attack out of a clear sky
without any cause or possibility of justification has
been turned down. As result would be: hostile world
opinion which can lead to a critical situation. Such a
measure is justified only for the elimination of the
last opponent on the mainland.
“2. Action after a time of diplomatic clashes, which
gradually come to a crisis and lead to war.
“3. Lightning-swift action as the result of an incident
(for example, assassination of German ambassador in
connection with an anti-German demonstration.)
“1. The preparations are to be made for the political
possibilities (2 and 3). Case 2 is the undesired one
since “Gruen” will have taken security measures.
“2. The loss of time caused by transporting the bulk of
the divisions by rail — which is unavailable, but
should be cut down as far as possible — must not
impede a lightning-swift blow at the time of the
“3. ‘Separate thrusts’ are to be carried out
with a view to penetrating the enemy fortification
lines at numerous points and in a strategically
favorable direction. The thrusts are to be worked out
to the smallest detail (knowledge of roads, composition
of the columns according to their individual tasks).
Simultaneous attacks by the Army and Air Force.
“The Air Force is to support the individual columns
(for example dive-bombers; sealing off installations at
penetration points, hampering the bringing up of
reserves, destroying signal communications traffic,
thereby isolating the garrisons.)
“4. Politically, the first four days of military action
are the decisive ones. If there are no effective
military successes, a European crisis will certainly
arise. Accomplished Facts must prove the senselessness
of foreign military intervention, draw Allies into the
scheme (division of spoils) and demoralize ‘Gruen.’
“Therefore: bridging the time gap between first
penetration and employment of the forces to be brought
up, by a determined and ruthless thrust by a motorized
army. (e.g. via Pilsen, Prague.)
“5. If possible, separation of transport movement ‘Rot’
from ‘Gruen’. [‘Rot’ was the code name for their then
plan against the West.] A simultaneous strategic
concentration ‘Rot’ can lead ‘Rot’ to undesired
measures. On the other hand, it must be possible to put
‘Case Rot’ into operation at any time. “C. Propaganda.
“1. Leaflets on the conduct of Germans in
“2. Leaflets with threats for intimidation of the
[Initialled by Schmundt]” (388-PS)
Particular attention should be drawn to paragraph 3 of this
document, under the heading “Political Aspect”, which reads
“Lightning-swift action as the result of an incident
(example: Assassination of German ambassador as an up-
shot of an anti-German demonstration).” (388-PS)
The document as a whole establishes that the conspirators
were planning the creation of an incident to justify to the
world their own aggression against Czechoslovakia. It
establishes that consideration was being given to
assassinating the German ambassador at Prague to create the
C. Formulation and Execution of the Plan to Invade Poland.
The next phase of the aggression was the formulation and
execution of the plan to attack Poland, resulting in the
initiation of aggressive war in September 1939. Here again
the careful and meticulous record keeping of Hitler’s
adjutant, Schmundt, has provided a document in his own
handwriting which throws down the mask (L-79). The document
consists of minutes of a conference held on 23 May 1939. The
place of the conference was the Fuehrer’s Study in the New
Reich Chancellery. Goering, Raeder and Keitel were present.
The subject of the meeting was, “Indoctrination on the
political situation and future aims.”
The authenticity and accuracy of Schmundt’s record of the
meeting of 23 May 1939 has been admitted by Keitel in a
pretrial interrogation. The minutes read as follows:
“Top Secret “To be transmitted by officer only “Minutes
of a Conference on 23 May 1939”
“Place: The Fuehrer’s Study, New Reich Chancellery.
“Adjutant on duty: Lt-Col. (G.S.) Schmundt.
“Present: The Fuehrer, Field-Marshal Goering, Grand-
Admiral Raeder, Col-Gen. von Brauchitsch, Col-Gen.
Keitel, Col-Gen. Milch, Gen. (of Artillery) Halder,
Gen. Bodenschatz, Rear-Adml. Schniewindt, Col. ( G.S. )
Jeschonnek, Col. (G.S.) Warlimont, Lt-Col. (G.S.)
Schmundt, Capt. Engel (Army), Lieut-Commd. Albrecht,
Capt. v. Below (Army). “Subject: Indoctrination on the
political situation and future aims.
“The Fuehrer defined as the purpose of the conference:
“1. Analysis of the situation.
“2. Definition of the tasks for the Armed Forces
arising from the situation.
“3. Exposition of the consequences of those tasks.
“4. Ensuring the secrecy of all decisions and work
resulting from these consequences.
“Secrecy is the first essential for success.
“The Fuehrer’s observations are given in systematized
“Our present situation must be considered from two
points of view:
“1. The actual development of events between 1933 and
“2. The permanent and unchanging situation in which
“In the period 1933-1939, progress was made in all
Our military situation improved enormously.
“Our situation with regard to the rest of the world has
remained the same.
“Germany had dropped from the circle of Great Powers.
The balance of power had been effected without the
participation of Germany.
“This equilibrium is disturbed when Germany’s demands
for the necessities of life make themselves felt, and
Germany re-emerges as a Great Power. All demands are
regarded as ‘Encroachments’. The English are more
afraid of dangers in the economic sphere than of the
simple threat of force.
“A mass of 80 million people has solved the ideological
problems. So, too, must the economic problems be
solved. No German can evade the creation of the
necessary economic conditions for this. The solution of
the problems demands courage. The principle, by which
one evades solving the problem by adapting oneself to
circumstances, is inadmissible. Circumstances must
rather be adapted to aims. This is impossible without
invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign
“Living space, in proportion to the magnitude of the
state, is the basis of all power. One may refuse for a
time to face the problem, but finally it is solved one
way or the other. The choice is between advancement or
decline. In 15 or 20 years’ time we shall be compelled
to find a solution. No German statesman can evade the
question longer than that.
“We are at present in a state of patriotic fervor,
which is shared by two other nations: Italy and Japan.
“The period which lies behind us has indeed been put to
good use. All measures have been taken in the correct
sequence and in harmony with our aims.
“After 6 years, the situation is today as follows:
“The national-political unity of the Germans has been
achieved, apart from minor exceptions. Further
successes cannot be attained without the shedding of
“The demarkation of frontiers is of military
“The Pole is no ‘supplementary enemy’. Poland will
always be on the side of our adversaries. In spite of
treaties of friendship, Poland has always had the
secret intention of exploiting every opportunity to do
“Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is
a question of expanding our living space in the East
and of securing our food supplies, of the settlement of
the Baltic problem. Food supplies can be expected only
from thinly populated
areas. Over and above the natural fertility, thorough-
going German exploitation will enormously increase the
“There is no other possibility for Europe.
“Colonies: Beware of gifts of colonial territory. This
does not solve the food problem. Remember – blockade.
“If fate brings us into conflict with the West, the
possession of extensive areas in the East will be
advantageous. Upon record harvests we shall be able to
rely even less in time of war than in peace.
“The population of non-German areas will perform no
military service, and will be available as a source of
“The Polish problem is inseparable from conflict with
“Poland’s internal power of resistance to Bolshevism is
doubtful. Thus Poland is of doubtful value as a barrier
“It is questionable whether military success in the
West can be achieved by a quick decision, questionable
too is the attitude of Poland.
“The Polish government will not resist pressure from
Russia. Poland sees danger in a German victory in the
West, and will attempt to rob us of the victory.
“There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and
we are left with the decision:
“To attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity.
[This sentence is underscored in the original German
“We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair.
There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The
success of the isolation will be decisive,
“Therefore, the Fuehrer must reserve the right to give
the final order to attack. There must be no
simultaneous conflict with the Western. Powers [France
“If it is not certain that a German-Polish conflict
will not lead to war in the West, then the fight must
be primarily against England and France.
“Fundamentally therefore: Conflict with Poland —
beginning with an attack on Poland — will only be
successful if the Western Powers keep out of it. If
this is impossible, then it will be better to attack in
the West and to settle Poland at the same time.
“The isolation of Poland is a matter of skillful
“Japan is a weighty problem. Even if at first for
various reasons her collaboration with us appears to be
cool and restricted, it is nevertheless in Japan’s own
interest to take the initiative in attacking Russia in
“Economic relations with Russia are possible only if
political relations have improved. A cautious trend is
apparent in Press comment. It is not impossible that
Russia will show herself to be disinterested in the
destruction of Poland. Should Russia take steps to
oppose us, our relations with Japan may become closer.
“If there were an alliance of France, England and
Russia against Germany, Italy and Japan, I would be
constrained to attack England and France with a few
annihilating blows. The Fuehrer doubts the possibility
of a peaceful settlement with England. We must prepare
ourselves for the conflict. England sees in our
development the foundation of a hegemony which would
weaken England. England is therefore our enemy, and the
conflict with England will be a life-and death
“What will this struggle be like [This sentence is
underscored in the German original.]
“England cannot deal with Germany and subjugate us with
a few powerful blows. It is imperative for England that
the war should be brought as near to the Ruhr basin as
possible. French blood will not be spared (West Wall).
The possession of the Ruhr basin will determine the
duration of our resistance.
“The Dutch and Belgium air bases will be occupied by
armed forces. Declarations of neutrality must be
ignored. If England and France intend the war between
Germany and Poland to lead to a conflict, they will
support Holland and Belgium in their neutrality and
make them build fortifications in order finally to
force them into cooperation.
“Albeit under protest, Belgium and Holland will yield
“Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the
Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning
speed. We must aim at securing a new defense line on
Dutch soil up to the Zuider Zee.
“The war with England and France will be a life-and-
“The idea that we can get of cheaply is dangerous;
there is no such possibility. We must burn our boats,
and it is no longer a question of justice or injustice,
but of life or death for 80 million human beings.
“Question: Short or long war
“Every country’s armed forces or government must aim at
a short war. The government, however, must also be
prepared for a war of 10-15 years’ duration.
“History has always shown that the people have believed
that wars would be short. In 1914, the opinion still
prevailed that it was impossible to finance a long war.
Even today this idea still persists in many minds. But
on the contrary, every state will hold out as long as
possible, unless it immediately suffers some grave
weakening (e.g. Ruhr basin). England has similar
“England knows that to lose a war will mean the end of
her world power.
“England is the driving force against Germany. “Her
strength lies in the following:
“1. The British themselves are proud, courageous,
tenacious, firm in resistance and gifted as organizers.
They know how to exploit every new development. They
have the love of adventure and bravery of the Nordic
race. Quality is lowered by dispersal. The German
average is higher.
“2. World power in itself. It has been constant for 300
years. Extended by the acquisition of allies, this
power is not merely something concrete, but must also
be considered as a psychological force embracing the
entire world. Add to this immeasurable wealth, with
consequential financial credit.
“3. Geopolitical safety and protection by strong sea
power and a courageous air force.
“If in the World War I we had had two battleships and
two cruisers more, and if the battle of Jutland had
begun in the morning, the British fleet would have been
defeated and England brought to her knees. It would
have meant the end of this war. It was formerly not
sufficient to defeat the fleet. Landings had to be made
in order to defeat England. England could provide her
own food supplies. Today that is no longer possible.
“The moment England’s food supply routes are cut, she
is forced to capitulate. The import of food and fuel
depends on the fleet’s protection.
“If the German Air Force attacks English territory,
England will not be forced to capitulate in one day.
But if the fleet is destroyed immediate capitulation
will be the result.
“There is no doubt that a surprise attack can lead to a
quick decision. It would be criminal, however, for the
government to rely entirely on the element of surprise.
“Experience has shown that surprise may be nullified by
“1. Disclosure outside the limit of the military
“2. Mere chance, which may cause the collapse of the
“3. Human failings.
“4. Weather conditions.
“The final date for striking must be fixed well in
advance. Beyond that time, the tension cannot be
endured for long. It must be borne in mind that weather
conditions can render any surprise intervention by Navy
and Air Force impossible.
“This must be regarded as a most unfavorable basis of action.
“1. An effort must be made to deal the enemy a
significant or the final decisive blow right at the
start. Consideration of right and wrong or treaties do
not enter into the matter. This will only be possible
if we are not involved in a war with England on account
“2. In addition to the surprise attack, preparation for
a long war must be made, while opportunities on the
Continent for England are eliminated.
“The Army will have to hold positions essential to the
Navy and Air Force. If Holland and Belgium are
successfully occupied and held, and if France is also
defeated, the fundamental conditions for a successful
war against England will have been secured.
“England can then be blockaded from Western France at
close quarters by the Air Force, while the Navy with
its submarines extend the range of the blockade.
“England will not be able to fight on the Continent:
“Daily attacks by the Air Force and Navy will cut all
“Germany will not bleed to death on land.
“Such strategy has been shown to be necessary by World
War I and subsequent military operations. World War I
is responsible for the following strategic
considerations which are imperative
“1. With a more powerful Navy at the outbreak of the
War, or a wheeling movement by the Army towards the
Channel ports, the end would have been different.
“2. A country cannot be brought to defeat by an air
force. It is impossible to attack all objectives
simultaneously, and the lapse of time of a few minutes
would evoke defense counter-measures.
“3 The unrestricted use of all resources is essential.
“4 Once the Army, in cooperation with the Air Force and
Navy, has taken the most important positions,
industrial production will cease in flow in to the
bottomless pit of the Army’s battles, and can be
diverted to benefit the Air Force and Navy.
“The Army must, therefore, be capable of taking these
positions. Systematic preparation must be made for the
attack. “Study to this end is of the utmost importance.
“The aim will always be to force England to her knees.
“A weapon will only be of decisive importance in
winning battles, so long as the enemy does not possess
“This applies to gas, submarines and the Air Force. It
would be true of the latter, for instance, as long as
the English Fleet had no available countermeasures; it
will no longer be the case in 1940 and 1941. Against
Poland, for example, tanks will be effective, as the
Polish Army possesses no counter-measures.
“Where straightforward pressure is no longer considered
to be decisive, its place must be taken by the elements
of surprise and by masterly handling. ***”
“1. Study of the entire problem.
“2. Study of the events.
“3. Study of the means needed.
“4. Study of the necessary training.
“Men with great powers of imagination and high
technical training must belong to the staff, as well as
officers with sober sceptic powers of understanding.
“1. No one is to take part in this who does not have to
know of it.
“2. No one can find out more than he must know.
“3. When must the person in question know it at the
very latest? No one may know anything before it is necessary
that he know it.
“On Goering’s question, the Fuehrer decided that:
“a. The armed forces determine what shall be built.
“b. In the shipbuilding program, nothing is to be
“c. The armament programs are to be modeled on the
years 1943 or 1944.
[Schmundt certified this text.]” (L-79)
These minutes demonstrate that the Nazi conspirators were
proceeding in accordance with a plan. They demonstrate the
cold-blooded premeditation of the assault on Poland. They
demonstrate that the questions concerning Danzig, which the
Nazis had agitated with Poland as a political pretext, were
not true questions, but were false issues, issues agitated
to conceal their motive of aggressive, expansion for food,
Just one week prior to the launching of the attack on
Poland, Hitler made an address to his chief military
commanders, at Obersalzberg, on 22 August 1939. [Three
reports of this meeting are available: (L-3; 798-PS; and
1014-PS). The first of the three documents (L-3) was
obtained through an American newspaperman, and purported to
be original minutes of the Obersalzberg meeting, transmitted
to the newspaperman by some other person. There was no
proof of actual delivery to the intermediary by the person
who took the notes. That document (L-3) therefore, merely
served as an incentive to search for something better The
result was that two other documents (798-PS) and (1014-PS)
were discovered in the OKW files at Flensberg. These two
documents indicate that Hitler on that day made two
speeches, one apparently in the morning and one in the
afternoon. Comparison of those two documents with the first
document (L-3) led to the conclusion that the first document
was a lightly garbled merger of the two speeches, and
therefore was not relied upon.]
On this day of 22 August 1939, Hitler addressed the supreme
commanders of the-three branches of the armed forces, as
well as the commanding generals, (Oberbefehlshabers) as
“I have called you together to give you a picture of
the political situation, in order that you may have
insight into the individual element on which I base my
decision to act, and in order to strengthen your
confidence. After this, we will discuss military
“It was clear to me that a conflict with Poland had to
come sooner or later. I had already made this decision
in Spring. [Apparently this referred to (L-79).] But I
thought I would first turn against the West in a few
years, and only afterwards against the East. But the
sequence cannot be fixed. One cannot close one’s eyes
even before a threatening situation. I wanted to
establish an acceptable relationship with
Poland, in order to fight first against the West, but
this plan which was agreeable to me could not be
executed, since essential points have changed.
“It became clear to me that Poland would attack us, in
case of a conflict in the West.
“Poland wants access to the sea.
“The further development became obvious after the
occupation of the Memel region, and it became clear to
me that under the circumstances a conflict with Poland
could arise at an unopportune moment.
“I enumerate as reasons for this reflection, first of
all, two personal constitutions, my own personality,
and that of Mussolini. Essentially, it depends on me,
my existence, because of my political activity.
“Furthermore, the fact that probably no one will ever
again have the confidence of the whole German people as
I do. There will probably never again be a man in the
future with more authority. My existence is, therefore,
a factor of great value. But I can be eliminated at any
time by a criminal or an idiot.
“The second personal factor is Il Duce. His existence
is also decisive. If something happens to him, Italy’s
loyalty to the alliance will no longer be certain. The
basic attitude of the Italian Court is against the
Duce. Above all, the Court sees in the expansion of the
empire a burden. The Duce is the man with the strongest
nerves in Italy.
“The third factor, favorable for us is Franco. We can
only ask benevolent neutrality from Spain, but this
depends on Franco’s personality. He guarantees a
certain uniformity and steadiness of the present system
in Spain. We must take into account the fact that Spain
does not as yet have a Fascist Party of our internal
“On the other side, a negative picture, as far as
decisive personalities are concerned. There is no
outstanding personality in England or France.
“For us it is easy to make decisions. We have nothing
to lose: we can only gain. Our economic situation is
such, because of our restrictions, that we cannot hold
out more than a few years. Goering can confirm this. We
have no other choice; we must act. Our opponents risk
much and gain only little. England’s stake in a war is
unimaginably great. Our enemies have men who are below
average. No personalities, no masters, no men of
able for us; in the Mediterranean rivalry among Italy,
France, and England; in the Orient tension, which leads
to the alarming of the Mohammedan world.
“The English empire did not emerge from the last war
strengthened. From a maritime point of view, nothing
was achieved: Conflict between England and Ireland, the
south African Union became more independent,
concessions had to be made to India, England is in
great danger, unhealthy industries. A British statesman
can look into the future only with concern.
“France’s position has also deteriorated, particularly
in the Mediterranean.
“Further favorable factors for us are these:
“Since Albania, there is an equilibrium of power in the
Balkans. Yugoslavia carries the germ of collapse
because of her internal situation.
“Rumania did not grow stronger. She is liable to attack
and vulnerable. She is threatened by Hungary and
Bulgaria. Since Kemal’s death, Turkey has been ruled by
small minds, unsteady weak men.
“All these fortunate circumstances will no longer
prevail in two to three years. No one knows how long I
shall live. Therefore conflict better now.
“The creation of Greater Germany was a great
achievement politically but militarily it was
questionable, since it was achieved through a bluff of
the political leaders. It is necessary to test the
military, if at all possible, not by general
settlement, but by solving individual tasks.
“The relation to Poland has become unbearable. My
Polish policy hitherto was in contrast to the ideas of
the people. My propositions to Poland, the Danzig
corridor, were disturbed by England’s intervention.
Poland changed her tune towards us. The initiative
cannot be allowed to pass to others. This moment is
more favorable than in two to three years. An attempt
on my life or Mussolini’s could only change the
situation to our disadvantage. One cannot eternally
stand opposite one another with cocked rifle. A
suggested compromise would have demanded that we change
our convictions and make agreeable gestures. They
talked to us again in the language of Versailles. There
was danger of losing prestige. Now the probability is
still great that the West will not interfere. We must
accept the risk with reckless resolution. A politician
must accept a risk as much as
a military leader. We are facing the alternative to
strike or to be destroyed with certainty sooner or
“Now it is also a great risk. Iron nerves, iron
“We need not be afraid of a blockade. The East will
supply us with grain, cattle, coal, lead and zinc. It
is a big arm, which demands great efforts. I am only
afraid that at the last minute some Schweinhund will
make a proposal for mediation.”
“Goering answers with thanks to the Fuehrer and the
assurance that the armed forces will do their duty.”
In his second speech on 22 August 1939 the Fuehrer had this
“It may also turn out differently regarding England and
France. One cannot predict it with certainty. I figure
on a trade-barrier, not on blockade, and with severance
of relations. Most iron determination on our side.
Retreat before nothing. Everybody shall have to make a
point of it that we were determined from the beginning
to fight the Western powers. Struggle for life or
death. Germany has won every war as long as she was
united. Iron, unflinching attitude of all superiors,
greatest confidence, faith in victory, overcoming of
the past by getting used to heaviest strain. A long
period of peace would not do us any good. Therefore it
is necessary to expect everything. Manly bearing. It is
not machines that fight each other, but men. We have
the better quality of men. Mental factors are decisive.
The opposite camp has weaker people. In 1918, the
Nation fell down because the mental prerequisites were
not sufficient. Frederic the Great secured final
success only through his mental power.
“Destruction of Poland in the foreground. The aim is
elimination of living forces, not the arrival at a
certain line. Even if war should break out in the West,
the destruction of Poland shall be the primary
objective. Quick decision because of the season.
“I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the
war, never mind whether it be plausible or not. The
victor shall not be asked, later on, whether we told
the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not the
Right is what matters but Victory.
“Have no pity. Brutal attitude. 80,000,000 people shall
get what is their right. Their existence has to be
secured. The strongest has the Right. Greatest
“Quick decision necessary. Unshakable faith in the
German soldier. A crisis may happen only if the nerves
of the leader give way.
“First aim: advance to the Vistula and Narew. Our
technical superiority will break the nerves of the
Poles. Every newly created Polish force shall again be
broken at once.
“Constant war of attrition.
“New German frontier according to healthy principle.
Possibly a protectorate as a buffer. Military
operations shall not be influenced by these
reflections. Complete destruction of Poland is the
military aim. To be fast is the main thing. Pursuit
until complete elimination.
“Conviction that the German Wehrmacht is up to the
requirements. The start shall be ordered, probably by
Saturday morning.” (1014-PS)
The aggressive war having been initiated in September 1939,
and Poland having been defeated shortly after the initial
assaults, the Nazi aggressors converted the war into a
general war of aggression extending into Scandinavia, into
the Low Countries, and into the Balkans. (Under the division
of the case agreed by the four Chief Prosecutors, this phase
of aggression was left or development to the British
prosecuting staff, and is discussed in Sections 9, 10 and 11
of this Chapter, infra.)
The attack upon Russia was preceded with premeditation and
deliberation. Just as, in the case of aggression against
Czechoslovakia, the Nazis had a code name for the secret
operation, “Case Green”, so in the case of aggression
against the Soviet Union, they had a code name, “Case
Barbarossa”. A secret directive, Number 21, issued from the
Fuehrer’s Headquarters on 18 December 1940, relating to
“Case Barbarossa,” was captured among the OKW files at
Flensberg (446-PS). This directive was issued more than six
months in advance of the attack. (Other evidence shows that
the planning occurred even earlier.) his order, signed by
Hitler and initialled by Jodl and Keitel, -as issued in nine
copies, of which we have the fourth. The directive reads:
“The German Armed Forces must be prepared to crush
Soviet Russia in a quick campaign before the end of the
war against England. (Case Barbarossa.)
“For this purpose the Army will have to employ all
available units with the reservation that the occupied
territories will have to be safeguarded against
“For the Eastern campaign the Air force will have to
free such strong forces for the support of the Army
that a quick completion of the ground operations may be
expected and that damage of the Eastern German
territories will be avoided as much as possible. This
concentration of the main effort in the East is limited
by the following reservation: That the entire battle
and armament area dominated by us must remain
sufficiently protected against enemy air attacks and
that the attacks on England and especially the supply
for them must not be permitted to break down.
“Concentration of the main effort of the Navy remains
unequivocally against England also during an Eastern
“If occasion arises I will order the concentration of
troops for action against Soviet Russia eight weeks
before the intended beginning of operations.
“Preparations requiring more time to start are — if
this has not yet been done — to begin presently and
are to be completed by 15 May 1941.
“Great caution has to be exercised that the intention
of an attack will not be recognized.
“The preparations of the High Command are to be made on
the following basis:
“I. General Purpose:
“The mass of the Russian Army in Western Russia is to
be destroyed in daring operations by driving forward
deep wedges with tanks and the retreat of intact battle-
ready troops into the wide spaces of Russia is to be
“In quick pursuit a (given) line is to be reached from
where the Russian Air force will no longer be able to
attack German Reich territory. The first goal of
operations is the protection from Asiatic Russian from
the general line Volga-Archangelsk. In case of
necessity, the last industrial area in the Urals left
to Russia could be eliminated by the Luftwaffe.
In the course of these operations the Russian Baltic
Sea Fleet will quickly erase its bases and will no
longer be ready to fight.
“Effective intervention. by the Russian Air force is to
be prevented through forceful blows at the beginning of
the operations.” (446-PS)
Another secret document captured from the OKW files
establishes the motive for the attack on the Soviet Union
(2718-PS). It also establishes the full awareness of the
Nazi conspirators of the Crimes against Humanity which would
result from their attack. The document is a memorandum of 2
May 1941 concerning the results of a discussion on that day
with the State Secretaries concerning “Case Barbarossa.” The
memorandum reads in part:
“Matter for Chief; 2 copies; first copy to files Ia.
Second copy to General Schubert. 2 May 1941.
Memorandum. About the result of today’s discussion with
the State Secretaries about Barbarossa.
“1. The war can only be continued if all armed forces
are fed by Russia in the third year of war.
“2. There is no doubt that as a result many millions of
people will be starved to death if we take out of the
country the things necessary for us.” (2718-PS)
With the unleashing of the German aggressive war against the
Soviet Union in June 1941, the Nazi conspirators and, in
particular Ribbentrop, called upon the Eastern co-architect
of the New Order, Japan, to attack in the rear. The Nazi’s
incited and kept in motion a force reasonably calculated to
result in an attack on the United States. For a time, they
preferred that the United States not be involved in the
conflict, due to military considerations. However, their
incitement resulted in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and long
prior to that attack, they had assured the Japanese that
they would declare War on the United States should a United
States-Japanese conflict occur. It was in reliance on these
assurances that the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor.
These matters are disclosed in a document, captured from the
files of the German Foreign Office, which consists of notes
dated 4 April 1941, signed by Schmidt, regarding discussions
between the Fuehrer and the Japanese Foreign Minister
Matsuoka, in the presence of Ribbentrop (1881-PS). Pertinent
parts of this document read as follows:
“Matsuoka then also expressed the request, that the
Fuehrer should instruct the proper authorities in
Germany to meet as broad-mindedly as possible the
wishes of the Japanese Military Commission. Japan was
in need of German help
particularly concerning the U-boat warfare, which could
be given by making available to them the latest
experiences of the war as well as the latest technical
improvements and inventions. ***
“Japan would do her utmost to avoid a war with the
United States. In case that the country should decide
to attack Singapore, the Japanese navy, of course, had
to be prepared for a fight with the United States,
because in that case America would probably side with
Great Britain. He (Matsuoka) personally believed, that
the United States could be restrained by diplomatic
exertions from entering the war at the side of Great
Britain. Army and Navy had, however, to count on the
worse situation, that is war against America. They were
of the opinion that such a war would extend for five
years or longer and would take the form of guerrilla
warfare in the Pacific and would be fought out in the
South Sea. For this reason the German experiences in
her guerrilla warfare are of the greatest value to
Japan. It was a question how such a war would best be
conducted and how all the technical improvements of
submarine, in all details such as periscopes and such
like, could best be exploited by Japan. “To sum up,
Matsuoka requested that the Fuehrer should see to it
that the proper German authorities would place at the
disposal of the Japanese these developments and
inventions concerning navy and army, which were needed
by the Japanese.
“The Fuehrer promised this and pointed out that Germany
too considered a conflict with the United States
undesirable, but that it had already made allowance for
such a contingency. In Germany one was of the opinion
that America’s contribution depended upon the
possibilities of transportation, and that this again is
conditioned by the available tonnage. Germany’s war
against tonnage, however, means a decisive weakening
not merely against England, but also against America.
Germany has made her preparations so that no American
could land in Europe. She would conduct a most
energetic fight against America with her U-boats and
her Luftwaffe, and due to her superior experience,
which would still have to be acquired by the United
States, she would be vastly superior, and that quite
apart from the fact, that the German soldier naturally
ranks high above the American.
“In the further course of the discussion the Fuehrer
out, that Germany on her part would immediately take
the consequences, if Japan would get involved with the
United States. It did not matter with whom the United
States would first get involved, if with Germany or
with Japan. They would always try to eliminate one
country at a time, not to come to an understanding with
the other country subsequently. Therefore Germany would
strike, as already mentioned, without delay in case of
a conflict between Japan and America, because the
strength of the tripartite powers lies in their joined
action, their weakness would be if they would -let
themselves be beaten individually.
“Matsuoka once more repeated his request, that the
Fuehrer might give the necessary instructions, in order
that the proper German authorities would place at the
disposal of the Japanese the latest improvements and
inventions, which are of interest to them. Because the
Japanese navy had to prepare immediately for a conflict
with the United States.
“As regards Japanese-American relationship, Matsuoka
explained further that he has always declared in his
country, that sooner or later a war with he United
States would be unavoidable, if Japan continued to
drift along as at present. In his opinion this conflict
would happen rather sooner than later. His
argumentation went on, why should Japan, therefore, not
decisively strike at the right moment and take the risk
upon herself of a fight against America? Just thus
would she perhaps avoid a war for generations,
particularly if she gained predominance in the South
Seas. There are, to be sure, in Japan many who hesitate
to follow those trends of thought. Matsuoka was
considered in those circles a dangerous man with
dangerous thoughts. He, however, stated that, if Japan
continued to walk along her present path, one day she
would have to fight anyway and that this would then be
under less favorable circumstances than at present.
“The Fuehrer replied that he could well understand the
situation of Matsuoka, because he himself was in
similar situations (the clearing of the Rhineland,
declaration of sovereignty of armed Forces). He too was
of the opinion that he had to exploit favorable
conditions and accept the risk of an anyhow unavoidable
fight at a time when he himself was still young and
full of vigor. How right he was in his attitude was
proven by events. Europe now was free. He would not
hesitate a moment instantly to reply to any widening of
the war, be it by Russia, be it by America. Providence
vored those who will not let dangers come to them, but
who will bravely face them.
“Matsuoka replied, that the United States or rather
their ruling politicians had recently still attempted a
last manoeuver towards Japan, by declaring that America
would not fight Japan on account of China or the South
Seas provided that Japan gave free passage to the
consignment of rubber and tin to America to their place
of destination. However, America would war against
Japan the moment she felt that Japan entered the war
with the intention to assist in the destruction of
Great Britain. ***
The Fuehrer commented on this, that this attitude of
America did not mean anything but that the United
States had the hope, hat, as long as the British World
Empire existed, one day they could advance against
Japan together with Great Britain, whereas, in case of
the collapse of the World Empire, they would be totally
isolated and could not do anything against Japan.
“The Reich Foreign Minister interjected that the
Americans precisely under all circumstances wanted to
maintain the powerful position of England in East Asia,
but that on the other hand it is proved by this
attitude, to what extent she fears a joint action of
Japan and Germany.
“Matsuoka continued that it seemed to him of importance
to give to the Fuehrer an absolutely clear picture of
the real attitude inside Japan. For this reason he also
had to inform him regretfully of the fact that he
(Matsuoka) in his capacity as Japanese Minister for
Foreign Affairs could not utter in Japan itself a
single word of all that he had expounded before the
Fuehrer and the Reich Foreign Minister regarding his
plans. This would cause him serious damage in political
and financial circles. Once before, he had committed
the mistake, before he became Japanese Minister for
Foreign Affairs, to tell a close friend something about
his intentions. It seems that the latter had spread
these things and thus brought about all sorts of
rumors, which he as Foreign Minister had to oppose
energetically, though as a rule he always tells the
truth. Under those circumstances he also could not
indicate, how soon he could report on the questions
discussed to the Japanese Premier or to the Emperor. He
would have to study exactly and carefully in the first
place the development in Japan, so as to make his
decision at a favorable moment, to make a clean
breast of his proper plans towards the Prince Konoye
and the Emperor. Then the decision would have to be
made within a few days, because the plans would
otherwise be spoiled by talk.
“Should he, Matsuoka, fail to carry out his intentions,
that would be proof that he is lacking in influence, in
power of conviction, and in tactical capabilities.
However, should he succeed, it would prove that he had
great influence in Japan. He himself felt confident
that he would succeed.
“On his return, being questioned, he would indeed admit
to the Emperor, the Premier and the Ministers for the
Navy and the Army, that Singapore had been discussed;
he would, however, state that it was only on a
“Besides this Matsuoka made the express request not to
cable in the matter of Singapore because he had reason
to fear that by cabling something might leak out. If
necessary he would send a courier.
“The Fuehrer agreed and assured after all, that he
could rest entirely assured of German reticence.
“Matsuoka replied he believed indeed in German
reticence, but unfortunately could not say the same of
“The discussion was terminated after the exchange of
some personal parting words.
“Berlin, 4 April 1941.
Charter of the International Military Tribunal,
Article 6 (a). Vol. I Pg. 5
International Military Tribunal, Indictment
Number 1, Sections IV (F); V. Vol. I Pg. 22,29
[Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates
that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg
trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number
indicates that the document was referred to during the trial
but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason
given in parentheses following the description of the
document. The USA series number, given in parentheses
following the description of the document, is the official
exhibit number assigned by the court.]
*386-PS; Notes on a conference with
Hitler in the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, 5 November 1937,
signed by Hitler’s adjutant, Hossbach, and dated 10 November
1937. (USA 25). Vol. III Pg. 295
*388-PS; File of papers on Case Green
(the plan for the attack on Czechoslovakia), kept by
Schmundt, Hitler’s adjutant, April-October 1938. (USA 26)
Vol. III Pg.305
442-PS; General Order No. 16 on the
preparation of a landing operation against England, 16 July
1940, initialled by Jodl and Keitel. Vol. III Pg.399
*446-PS; Top Secret Fuehrer Order No.
21 signed by Hitler and initialled by Jodl, Warlimont and
Keitel, 18 December 1940, concerning the Invasion of Russia
(case Barbarossa). (USA 31) Vol. III Pg.407
*789: Speech of the Fuehrer at a
conference, 23 November 1939, to which all Supreme
Commanders were ordered. (USA 23) Vol. III Pg.572
*798-PS; Hitler’s speech to
Commanders-in-Chief, at Obersalzberg, 22 August 1939. (USA
29) Vol. III Pg.581
*1014-PS; Hitler’s speech to
Commanders-in-Chief, 22 August 1939. (USA 30) Vol. III
*1881-PS; Notes on conference between
Hitler and Matsuoka in presence of Ribbentrop in Berlin, 4
April 1941. (USA 33) Vol. IV Pg.934
*2261-PS; Directive from Blomberg to
Supreme Commanders of Army, Navy and Air Forces, 24 June
1935; accompanied by copy of Reich Defense Law of 21 May
1935 and copy of Decision of Reich Cabinet of 12 May 1935 on
the Council for defense of the Reich. (USA 24) Vol. V Pg.378
*2718-PS; Memorandum “About the
result of today’s discussion with State Secretaries about
Barbarossa”, 2 May 1941. (USA 32) Vol. VII Pg.164
*D-660; Extracts from Hutchinson’s
Illustrated edition of Mein Kampf. (GB 128) Vol. VII Pg.752
**L-3; Contents of Hitler’s talk to
Supreme Commander and Commanding Generals, Obersalzberg, 22
August 1939. (USA 28) (Referred to but not offered in evidence)
*L-79; Minutes of conference, 23 May
1939, “Indoctrination on the political situation and future
aims”. (USA 27) Vol. VII Pg.847