Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter IX Opening Address for the United Kingdom

Last-Modified: 1996/06/04

[Page 593]

The following address, opening the British presentation of
the case under Count II of the Indictment, was delivered by
Sir Hartley Shawcross, K.C., M.P., British Attorney General
and Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, before the
Tribunal on 4 December 1945.


On an occasion to which reference has already been made
Hitler, the Leader of the Nazi Conspirators who are now on
trial before you, said in reference to their warlike plans:
“I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war,
never mind whether it be true or not. The victor shall not
be asked later on whether we tell the truth or not. In
starting and making a war not the right is what matters but
victory — the strongest has the right.” (1014-PS)

The British Empire has twice been victorious in wars which
have been forced upon it within the space of one generation
but it is precisely because we realize that victory is not
enough; that might is not necessarily right; that lasting
peace and the rule of International Law is not to be
achieved by the strong arm alone, that the British Nation is
taking part in this trial. There are those who would perhaps
say that these wretched men should have been dealt with
summarily without trial by “executive action”; that their
personal power for evil broken, they should be swept aside
into oblivion without this elaborate and careful
investigation as the part they played in plunging the world
in war. Vae Victis. Let them pay the penalty of defeat. But
that is not the view of the British Empire or of the British
Government. Not so would the Rule of Law be raised and
strengthened on the international well as the municipal
plane; not so would future generations realize that right is
not always on the side of the big battalions; not so would
the world be made aware that the waging of aggressive war is
not only a dangerous venture but a criminal one. Human
memory is short. Apologists for defeated nations are
sometimes able to play upon the sympathy and magnanimity of
their victors so that the true facts, never authoritatively
recorded, become obscured and forgotten. One has only to
recall the circumstances following the last world war to see
the dangers to which, in the absence of any authoritative
judicial pronouncement a tolerant or a credulous people is
exposed. With the passage of time the former tend to
discount, perhaps because of their very horror, the stories
of aggression and atrocity which may be handed down; the
latter, misled by fanatical and dis-

[Page 594]

honest propagandists, come to believe that it was not they
but their opponents who were guilty of what -they would
themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal,
acting, as we know it will act notwithstanding its
appointment by the victorious powers, with complete and
judicial objectivity, will provide a contemporary touchstone
and an authoritative and impartial record to which future
historians may turn for truth and future politicians for
warning. From this record all generations shall know not
only what our generation suffered but also that our
suffering was the result of crimes against the laws of
peoples which the peoples of the world enforced and will
continue in the future to uphold by international
cooperation, not based merely on military alliances but
firmly grounded in the rule of law.

Nor, though this procedure and this Indictment of
individuals may be novel, is there anything new in the
principles which by this prosecution we seek to enforce.
Ineffective though, alas, the sanctions proved themselves to
be, the Nations of the world had, as it will be my purpose
to show, sought to make aggressive war an international
crime, and although previous tradition has sought to punish
States rather than individuals, it is both logical and right
that if the act of waging war is itself an offense against
International Law those individuals who shared personal
responsibility for bringing such wars about should answer
personally for the course into which they lead their states.
Again, individual war crimes have long been regarded by
International Law as triable by the Courts of those States
whose nationals have been outraged at least so long as a
state of war persists. It would indeed be illogical in the
extreme if those who, although they may not with their own
hands have committed individual crimes, were responsible for
systematic breaches of the laws of war affecting the
nationals of many States should escape. So also in regard to
crimes against humanity. The right of humanitarian
intervention on behalf of the rights of man trampled upon by
the State in a manner shocking the sense of mankind has long
been considered to form part of the law of Nations. Here,
too, the Charter merely develops a pre-existing principle.
If murder, raping and robbery are indictable under the
ordinary municipal laws of our countries shall those who
differ only from the common criminal by the extent and
systematic nature of their offenses escape accusation ?

It is, as I shall show, the view of the British Government
that in these matters the Tribunal will apply to individuals
not the law of the victor but the accepted principles of
international usage in a way which will, if anything can,
promote and fortify

[Page 595]

the rule of International Law and safeguard the future peace
and security of this war-stricken world.

By agreement between the Chief Prosecutors it is my task on
behalf of the British Government and of the other States
associated on this Prosecution to present the case on Count
2 of the Indictment and to show how these Defendants in
conspiracy with each other and with persons not now before
this Tribunal planned and waged a war of aggression in
breach of the Treaty obligations by which, under
International Law Germany, as other States, had sought to
make such wars impossible.

That task falls into two parts. The first is to demonstrate
the nature and the basis of the Crime against Peace which,
under the Charter of this Tribunal, is constituted by waging
wars of aggression and in violation of Treaties. The second
is to establish beyond doubt that such wars were waged by
these Defendants.

As to the first, it would no doubt be sufficient to say
this. It is not incumbent upon the Prosecution to prove that
wars of aggression and wars in violation of International
Treaties are, or ought to be, International Crimes. The
Charter of this Tribunal has prescribed that they are crimes
and that the Charter is the Statute and the law of this
Court. Yet, though that is the clear and mandatory law
governing the jurisdiction of this Tribunal, we feel that we
should not be fully discharging our task in the abiding
interest alike of international justice and morality unless
we showed the position of that provision of the Charter
against the whole perspective of International Law. For just
as some old English Statutes were substantially declaratory
of the Common Law, so this Charter substantially declares
and creates a jurisdiction in respect of what was already
the Laws of Nations.

Nor is it unimportant to emphasize that aspect of the matter
lest there be some, now or hereafter, who might allow their
judgment to be warped by plausible catchwords or by an
uninformed and distorted sense of justice towards these
Defendants. It is not difficult to be misled by such phrases
as that resort to war in the past has not been a crime; that
the power to resort to war is one of the prerogatives of the
sovereign State; that the Charter in constituting wars of
aggression a crime has imitated one of the most obnoxious
doctrines of National Socialist jurisprudence, namely post
factum legislation; that the Charter is in this respect
reminiscent of Bills of Attainder — and that these
proceedings are no more than a measure of vengeance, subtly
concealed in the garb of judicial proceedings which the
Victor wreaks upon the Vanquished. These things may sound
plausible — yet they

[Page 596]

are not true. It is, indeed, not necessary to doubt that
some aspects of the Charter bear upon them the imprint of
significant and salutary novelty. But it is our submission
and conviction, which we affirm before this Tribunal and the
world that fundamentally the provision of the Charter which
constitutes such wars as these Defendants joined in waging
and in planning a crime is not in any way an innovation.
That provision does no more than constitute a competent
jurisdiction for the punishment of what not only the
enlightened conscience of mankind but the Law of Nations
itself constituted an International Crime before this
Tribunal was established and this Charter became part of the
public law of the world.

So first let this be said. Whilst it may be true that there
is no body of international rules amounting to law in the
Austinian sense of a rule imposed by a sovereign upon a
subject obliged to obey it under some definite sanction, yet
for fifty years or more the people of the world, striving
perhaps after that ideal of which the poet speaks:

When the War Drums throb no longer
And the Battle Flags are furled,
In the Parliament of Man,
The Federation of the World

have sought to create an operative system of rules based on
the consent of nations to stabilize international relations,
to avoid war taking place at all and to mitigate the results
of such wars as took place. The first such treaty was of
course the Hague Convention of 1899 for the Pacific
Settlement of International Disputes. This was, indeed, of
little more than predatory effect and we attach no weight to
it for the purpose of this case, but it did establish
agreement that in the event of serious disputes arising
between the signatory powers, they would so far as possible
submit to mediation. That Convention was followed in 1907 by
another Convention reaffirming and slightly strengthening
what had previously been agreed. These early conventions
fell indeed very far short of outlawing war or of creating
any binding obligation to arbitrate. I shall certainly not
ask you to say any crime was committed by disregarding them.
But at least they established that the contracting powers
accepted the general principle that if at all possible war
should be resorted to only if mediation failed.

Although these Conventions are mentioned in the Indictment I
do not rely on them save to show the historical development
of the law. It is unnecessary, therefore, to argue about
their effect,

[Page 597]

for their place has been taken by more effective
instruments. They were the first steps.

There were, of course, other individual agreements between
particular States which sought to preserve the neutrality of
individual countries as, for instance, that of Belgium, but
those agreements were, in the absence of any real will to
comply with them, entirely inadequate to prevent the first
World War in 1914.

Shocked by the occurrence of that catastrophe the Nations of
Europe, not excluding Germany, and of other parts of the
World came to the conclusion that in the interests of all
alike a permanent organization of the Nations should be
established to maintain the peace. And so the Treaty of
Versailles was prefaced by the Covenant of the League of

I say nothing at this moment of the general merits of the
various provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. They have
been criticized, some of them perhaps justly, and they were
made the subject of much warlike propaganda in Germany. But
it is unnecessary to enquire into the merits of the matter,
for however unjust one might for this purpose assume the
Treaty to be, it contained no kind of excuse for the waging
of war to secure an alteration in its terms. For not only
was it a settlement by agreement of all the difficult
territorial questions which had been left outstanding by the
war itself but it established the League of Nations which,
if it had been loyally supported, could so well have
resolved those international differences which might
otherwise have led, as they did lead, to war. It set up in
the Council of the League, in the Assembly and in the
Permanent Court of International Justice, a machine not only
for the peaceful settlement of international disputes but
also for the ventilation of all international questions
frank and open discussion. At the time the hopes of the
world stood high. Millions of men in all countries —
perhaps even in Germany — had laid down their lives in what
they believed and hoped to be a war to end war. Germany
herself entered the League and was given a permanent seat on
the Council, on which, as in the Assembly, German
Governments which preceded that of the Defendant Von Papen
in 1932 played their full part. In the years from 1919 to
1932 despite some minor incidents in the heated atmosphere
which followed the end of the war, the peaceful operation of
the League continued. Nor was it only the operation of the
League which gave good ground for hope that at long last the
rule of-law would replace that of anarchy in the
international field.

The Statesmen of the world deliberately set out to make wars
of aggression an international Crime. These are no new

[Page 598]

invented by the Victors to embody in this Charter. They have
figured prominently in numerous treaties, in governmental
pronouncements and in declarations of Statesmen in the
period preceding the Second World War. In treaties concluded
between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other
States — such as Persia (1 October 1927), France (2 May
1935), China (21 August 1937) the Contracting Parties
undertook to refrain from any act of aggression whatsoever
against the other Party. In 1933 the Soviet Union became a
party to a large number of treaties containing a detailed
definition of aggression. The same definition appeared in
the same year in the authoritative Report of the Committee
on Questions of Security set up in connection with the
Conference for the Reduction and the Limitation of
Armaments. But States went beyond commitments to refrain
from wars of aggression and to assist States victims of
aggression. They condemned wars of aggression. Thus in the
AntiWar Treaty of Non-Aggression and Conciliation of 10
October 1933, a number of American States subsequently
joined by practically all the States of the American
Continent and a number of European countries — the
Contracting Parties solemnly declared that “they condemned
wars of aggression in their mutual relations or in those of
other States.” That Treaty was fully incorporated into the
Buenos Aires Convention of December 1936 signed and ratified
by a large number of American countries, including the
United States of America. Previously, in February 1928, the
Sixth Pan-American Conference adopted a Resolution declaring
that as “war of aggression- constitutes a crime against the
human species *** all aggression is illicit and as such is
declared prohibited.” In September 1927 the Assembly of the
League of Nations adopted a resolution affirming the
conviction that “a war of aggression can never serve as a
means of settling international disputes and is, in
consequence, an international crime” and declaring that “all
wars of aggression are, and shall always be, prohibited.”
The first Article of the Draft Treaty for Mutual Assistance
of 1923 reads: “The High Contracting Parties, affirming that
aggressive war is an international crime, undertake the
solemn engagement not to make themselves guilty of this
crime against any other nation.” In the Preamble to the
Geneva Protocol of 1924 it was stated that “offensive
warfare constitutes an infraction of solidarity and an
international crime.” These instruments remained unratified,
for various reasons, but they are not without significance
or instruction.

These repeated condemnations of wars of aggression testified
to the fact that, with the establishment of the League of

[Page 599]

and with the legal developments which followed it, the place
of war in International Law had undergone a profound change.
War was ceasing to be the unrestricted prerogative of
sovereign States. The Covenant of the League did not totally
abolish the right of war. It left certain gaps which
probably were larger in theory than in practice. In effect
it surrounded the right of war by procedural and substantive
checks and delays which, if the Covenant had been observed,
would have amounted to an elimination of war not only
between Members of the League, but also, by virtue of
certain provisions of the Covenant, in the relations of non-
Members. Thus the Covenant restored the position as it
existed at the dawn of International Law, at the time when
Grotius was laying the foundations of the modern law of
nations and established the distinction, accompanied by
profound legal consequences in the sphere of neutrality,
between just and unjust wars.

Neither was that development arrested with the adoption of
the Covenant. The right of war was further circumscribed by
a series of treaties — numbering nearly one thousand — of
arbitration and conciliation embracing practically all the
nations of the world. The so-called Optional Clause of
Article 36-of the Statute of the Permanent Court of
International Justice which conferred upon the Court
compulsory jurisdiction with regard to most comprehensive
categories of disputes and which constituted in effect the
most important compulsory treaty of arbitration in the
postwar period, was widely signed and ratified. Germany
herself signed it in 1927; her signature was renewed and
renewed, for a period of five years, by the National-
Socialist Government in July 1933. (Significantly, that
ratification was not renewed on the expiration of its
validity in March 1938.) Since 1928 a consider-able number
of States signed and ratified the General Act for the
Pacific Settlement of International Disputes which was
designed to fill the gaps left by the Optional Clause and
the existing treaties of arbitration and conciliation.

All this vast network of instruments of pacific settlement
testified to the growing conviction that war was ceasing to
be the normal and legitimate means of settling international
disputes. The express condemnation of wars of aggression,
which has already been mentioned, supplied the same
testimony. But there was more direct evidence pointing in
that direction. The Treaty of Locarno of 16 October 1925, to
which I will refer later and to which Germany was a party,
was more than a treaty of arbitration and conciliation in
which the parties undertook definite obligations with regard
to the pacific settlement of disputes that

[Page 600]

might arise between them. It was, subject to clearly
specified exceptions of self-defense in certain
contingencies, a more general undertaking in which the
parties agreed that “they will in no case attack or invade
each other or resort to war against each other”. This
constituted a general renunciation of war and was so
considered to be in the eyes of jurists and of the public
opinion of the world. For the Locarno Treaty was not just
one of the great number of arbitration treaties concluded at
that time. It was regarded as the corner stone of the
European settlement and of the new legal order in Europe in
partial, voluntary and generous substitution for the just
rigours of the Treaty of Versailles. With it the term
“outlawry of war” left the province of mere pacifist
propaganda. It became current in the writings on
international law and in official pronouncements of
governments. No jurist of authority and no statesman of
responsibility would have associated himself, subsequent to
the Locarno Treaty, with the plausible assertion that, at
least as between the parties, war had remained an
unrestricted right of sovereign States.

But although the effect of the Locarno Treaty was limited to
the parties to it, it had a wider influence in paving the
way towards that most fundamental and truly revolutionary
enactment in modern international law, namely, the General
Treaty for the Renunciation of War of 27 August 1928, known
also as the Pact of Paris, or the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or
the Kellogg Pact. That Treaty — a most deliberate and
carefully prepared piece of international legislation — was
binding in 1939 upon more than sixty nations, including
Germany. It was — and has remained — the most widely
signed and ratified international instrument. It contained
no provision for its termination, and was conceived as the
corner-stone of any future international order worthy of
that name. It is fully part of international law as it
stands today, and has in no way been modified or replaced by
the Charter of the United Nations. It is right, in this
solemn hour in the history of the world when the responsible
leaders of a State stand accused of a premeditated breach of
this great Treaty which was and remains a source of hope and
faith for mankind, to set out in detail its two operative
Articles and its Preamble:

“The Preamble
“The President of the German Reich, ***

“Deeply sensible of their solemn duty to promote the
welfare of mankind;

“Persuaded that the time has come when a frank
renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy
should be

[Page 601]

made to the end that the peaceful and friendly
relations now existing between their peoples may be

“Convinced that all changes in their relations with one
another should be sought only by pacific means and be
the result of a peaceful and orderly progress, and that
any signatory Power which shall hereafter seek to
promote its national interests by resort to war should
be denied the benefits furnished by this Treaty;

“Hopeful that, encouraged by their example, all the
other nations of the world will join in this humane
endeavour and by adhering to the present Treaty as soon
as it comes into force bring their peoples within the
scope of its beneficent provisions, thus uniting
civilized nations of the world in a common renunciation
of war as an instrument of their national policy;

“Article I

“The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the
names of their respective peoples that they condemn
recourse to war for the solution of international
controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of
national policy in their relations with one another.

“Article II

“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement
or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever
nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may
arise among them, shall never be sought except by
pacific means.”

In that General Treaty for the Renunciation of War
practically the entire civilized world abolished war as a
legally permissible means of enforcing the law and of
changing it. The right of war was no longer of the essence
of sovereignty. Whatever the position may have been in 1914
or in 1918 (and it is not necessary to discuss it) no
International lawyer of repute, no responsible Statesman, no
soldier concerned with the legal use of Armed Forces could
doubt that with the Pact of Paris on the Statute Book a war
of aggression was contrary to positive International law.
Nor have the repeated violations of the Pact of the Axis
Powers in any way affected its validity. Let this be firmly
and clearly stated. Those very breaches, except to the cynic
and the malevolent have added to its strength; they provoked
the sustained wrath of people angered by the contemptuous
disregard of the great Statute and determined to vindicate
its provisions. The Pact of Paris is the Law of Nations.
This Tribunal will enforce it.

[Page 602]

Let this also be said. The Pact of Paris was not a clumsy
enactment likely to become a signpost for the guilty. It did
not enable Germany to go to war against Poland and yet rely,
as against Great Britain and France, on any immunity from
warlike action because of the provisions of the Pact of
Paris. For that Pact laid down expressly in its Preamble
that no State guilty of a violation of its provisions may
invoke its benefits. When on the outbreak of the Second
World War Great Britain and France communicated to the
League of Nations the fact that a state of war existed
between them and Germany as from 3 September 1939, they
declared that by committing an act of aggression against
Poland Germany had violated her obligation assumed not only
towards Poland but also towards other signatories of the
Pact of Paris. A violation of the Pact in relation to one
signatory was an attack upon all the other signatories and
they were fully entitled to treat it as such. This point is
to be emphasized lest any of the defendants should seize
upon the letter of the Particulars of Count Two of the
Indictment and maintain that it was not Germany who
initiated war with the United Kingdom and France on 3
September 1939. The declaration of war came from the United
Kingdom and France; the act of war and its commencement came
from Germany in violation of the fundamental enactment to
which she was a party.

The General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, the great
constitutional instrument of an international society
awakened to the deadly dangers of another Armageddon, did
not remain an isolated effort soon to be forgotten in the
turmoil of recurrent international crises. It became, in
conjunction with the Covenant of the League of Nations or
independently of it, the starting point for a new
orientation of governments in matters of peace, war and
neutrality. It is of importance to quote some of these
statements and declarations. In 1929, His Majesty’s
Government in the United Kingdom said, in connection with
the question of conferring upon the Permanent Court of
International Justice jurisdiction with regard to the
exercise of belligerent rights in relation to neutral

“*** But the whole situation *** rests, and
International Law on the subject has been entirely
built up, on the assumption that there is nothing
illegitimate in the use of war as an instrument of
national policy, and, as a necessary corollary, that
the position and rights of neutrals are entirely
independent of the circumstances of any war which may
be in progress. Before the acceptance of the Covenant,
the basis of the law of neutrality was that the

[Page 603]

rights and obligations of neutrals were identical as
regards both belligerents, and were entirely
independent of the rights and wrongs of the dispute
which had led to the war, or the respective position of
the belligerents at the bar of world opinion.

“*** Now it is precisely this assumption which is no
longer valid as regards states which are members of the
League of Nations and parties to the Peace Pact. The
effect of those instruments, taken together, is to
deprive nations of the right to employ war as an
instrument of national policy, and to forbid the states
which have signed them to give aid or comfort to an
offender. As between such states, there has been in
consequence a fundamental change in the whole question
of belligerent and neutral rights. The whole policy of
His Majesty’s present Government (and, it would appear,
of any alternative government) is based upon a
determination to comply with their obligations under
the Covenant of the League and the Peace Pact. This
being so, the situation which we have to envisage in
the event of a war in which we were engaged is not one
in which the rights and duties of belligerents and
neutrals will depend upon the old rules of war and
neutrality, but one in which the position of the
members of the League will be determined by the
Covenant and the Pact. ***” (Memorandum on the
Signature of His Majesty’s Government in the United
Kingdom of the Optional Clause of the Statute, Misc.
No. 12 (1929), Cmd. 3452, p. 9).

Chief of Counsel for the United States referred in his
opening speech before this Tribunal to the weighty
pronouncement of Mr. Stimson, the Secretary of State, in
which, in 1932, he gave expression to the drastic change
brought about in International Law by the Pact of Paris. It
is convenient to quote the relevant passage in full:

“War between nations was renounced by the signatories
of the Briand-Kellogg Treaty. This means that it has
become illegal throughout practically the entire world.
It is no longer to be the source and subject of rights.
It is no longer to be the principle around which the
duties, the conduct, and the rights of nations revolve.
It is an illegal thing. Hereafter when two nations
engage in armed conflict either one or both of them
must be wrongdoers — violators of this general treaty
law. We no longer draw a circle about them and treat
them with the punctilios of the duelist’s code. Instead
we denounce them as law-breakers.”
[Page 604]

Nearly ten years later, when numerous independent States lay
prostrate, shattered or menaced in their very existence
before the impact of the war machine of the Nazi State, the
Attorney-General of the United States — subsequently a
distinguished member of the highest tribunal of that great
country — gave weighty expression to the change which had
been effected in the law as the result of the General Treaty
for the Renunciation of War. He said on 27 March 1941:

“*** The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, in which Germany,
Italy and Japan covenanted with us, as well as with
other nations? to renounce war as an instrument of
policy, made definite the outlawry of war and of
necessity altered the dependent concept of neutral

“*** The Treaty for the Renunciation of War and the
Argentine Anti-War Treaty deprived their signatories of
the right of war as an instrument of national policy or
aggression and rendered unlawful wars undertaken in
violation of their provisions. In consequence, these
treaties destroyed the historical and juridical
foundations of the doctrine of neutrality conceived as
an attitude of absolute impartiality in relation to
aggressive wars. ***

“It follows that the state which has gone to war in
violation of its obligations acquires no right to
equality of treatment from other states, unless treaty
obligations require different handling of affairs. It
derives no rights from its illegality. “*** In flagrant
cases of aggression where the facts speak so
unambiguously that world opinion takes what may be the
equivalent of judicial notice, we may not stymie
International Law and allow these great treaties to
become dead letters. Intelligent public opinion of the
world which is not afraid to be vocal and the action of
the American States has made a determination that the
Axis Powers are the aggressors in the wars today which
is an appropriate basis in the present state of
international organization for our policy. ***”

There is thus no doubt that by the time the National-
Socialist State had embarked upon the preparation of the war
of aggression against the civilized world and by the time it
had accomplished that design, aggressive war had, in virtue
of the Pact of Paris and of other treaties, become illegal
beyond all uncertainty and doubt. It is on that Universal
Treaty that Count 2 is principally based.

The Prosecution has deemed it necessary — indeed imperative
— to establish beyond all possibility of doubt, at what may
appear to

[Page 605]

be excessive length, that only superficial learning or
culpable sentimentality can assert that there is any
significant element of retroactive law in the determination
of the authors of the Charter to treat aggressive war as
conduct which International Law has prohibited and
stigmatized as criminal. We have traced the progressive
limitation of the right of war, the renunciation and
condemnation of wars of aggression, and, above all, the
total prohibition and condemnation of all war conceived as
an instrument of national policy. What statesman or
politician in charge of the affairs of a nation could doubt,
from 1928 onwards, that aggressive war, that all war except
in self-defense, or for the collective enforcement of the
law, or against a State which has itself violated the Pact
of Paris was unlawful and outlawed? What statesman or
politician embarking upon such war could reasonably and
justifiably count upon an immunity other than that by
successful outcome of the criminal venture? What more
decisive evidence of a prohibition laid down by positive
International Law could any lawyer desire than that which
has been adduced here ?

There are, it is true, some small town lawyers who deny the
existence of any International Law. Indeed, as I have said,
the rules of the law of Nations may not satisfy the
Austinian test of being imposed by a sovereign. But the
legal regulation of International Relations rests upon quite
different juridical foundations. It depends upon consent,
but upon consent which cannot be withdrawn by unilateral
action. In the International field the source of law is not
the command of a sovereign but the treaty agreement binding
upon every state which has adhered to it. It is indeed true
and the recognition of its truth today by all the great
Powers of the World is vital to our future peace that as M.
Litvinoff once said, and as Great Britain fully accepts,
“Absolute Sovereignty and entire liberty of action only
belong to such states as have not undertaken International
obligations. Immediately a state accepts International
obligations it limits its sovereignty”.

Yet it may be argued that although war had been outlawed and
forbidden it was not criminally outlawed and forbidden.
International Law, it may be said, does not attribute
criminality to states, still less to individuals. But can it
really be said on behalf of these Defendants that the
offense of these aggressive wars, which plunged millions of
peoples to their deaths, which by dint of war crimes and
crimes against humanity brought about the torture and
extermination of countless thousands of innocent civilians;
which devastated cities; which destroyed the amenities

[Page 606]

— nay the most rudimentary necessities of civilization in
many countries, which has brought the world to the brink of
ruin from which it will take generations to recover — will
it seriously be said that such a war is only an offense,
only an illegality, only a matter of condemnation and not a
crime justiciable by any Tribunal? No Law worthy of the name
can permit itself to be reduced to an absurdity. Certainly
the Great Powers responsible for this Charter have refused
to allow it. They drew the inescapable consequences from the
renunciation, prohibition, and condemnation of war which had
become part of the law of Nations They refused to reduce
justice to impotence by subscribing to the outworn doctrines
that the sovereign state can commit no crime and that no
crime can be committed by individuals on its behalf. Their
refusal so to stultify themselves has decisively shaped the
law of this Tribunal.

If this be an innovation, it is innovation long overdue — a
desirable and beneficent innovation fully consistent with
justice, with common sense and with the abiding purposes of
the law of Nations. But is it indeed so clear an innovation?
Or is it no more than the logical development of the law?
There was indeed a time when International lawyers used to
maintain that the liability of a State was, because of its
sovereignty, limited to contractual responsibility.
International tribunals have not accepted that view. They
have repeatedly affirmed that a State can commit a tort;
that it may be guilty of trespass, of a nuisance, of
negligence. They have gone further. They have held that a
State may be bound to pay what are in effect penal damages
for failing to provide proper conditions of security to
aliens residing within their territory. In a recent case
decided in 1935 between the United States and Canada an
arbitral commission, with the concurrence of its American
member, decided that the United States were bound to pay
what amounted to penal damages for an affront to Canadian
sovereignty. On a wider plane the Covenant of the League of
Nations, in providing for sanctions, recognized the
principle of enforcement of the law against collective units
such enforcement to be, if necessary, of a penal character.
There is thus nothing startlingly new in the adoption of the
principle that the State as such is responsible for its
criminal acts. In fact, save for the reliance on the
unconvincing argument of sovereignty, there is in law no
reason why a State should not be answerable for crimes
committed on its behalf. In a case decided nearly one
hundred years ago Dr. Lushington, a great English Admiralty
judge, refused to admit that a State cannot be a pirate.
History, very recent history, does not warrant the view that

[Page 607]

State cannot be a criminal. On the contrary, the
immeasurable potentialities for evil inherent in the State
in this age of science And organization would seem to demand
imperatively means of repression of criminal conduct even
more drastic and more effective than in the case of
individuals. In so far therefore as the Charter has put on
record the principle of the criminal responsibility of the
State it must be applauded as a wise and far-seeing measure
of international legislation.

Admittedly, the conscience shrinks from the rigours of
collective punishment, which fall upon the guilty and the
innocent alike — although, it may be noted, most of those
innocent victims would not have hesitated to reap the fruits
of the criminal act if had been successful. Humanity and
justice will find means of mitigating any injustice of
collective punishment. Above all, such hardship can be
obviated by making the punishment fall on the individuals
directly responsible for the criminal conduct the State. It
is here that the Powers who framed the Charter took a step
which justice, sound legal sense and an enlightened
appreciation of the good of mankind must acclaim without
cavil or reserve. The Charter lays down expressly that there
shall be individual responsibility for the crimes, including
the crime against the peace, committed on behalf of the
State. The State is not an abstract entity. Its rights and
duties are the rights and duties of men. Its actions are the
actions of men. It is a salutory principle of the law that
politicians who embark upon a war aggression should not be
able to seek immunity behind the intangible personality of
the State. It is a salutory legal rule that persons who, in
violation of the law, plunge their own and other countries
into an aggressive war, do so with a halter round their

To say that those who aid and abet, who counsel and procure
a rime are themselves criminals is a commonplace in our own
municipal jurisprudence. Nor is the principle of individual
international responsibility for offenses against the law of
nations altogether new. It has been applied not only to
pirates. The entire law relating to war crimes — as
distinguished from the crime of war — is based on that
principle. The future of International Law and, indeed, of
the world, depends on its application in a much wider sphere
— in particular in that of safeguarding the peace of the
world. There must be acknowledged not only, as in the
Charter of the United Nations, fundamental human rights, but
also, as in the Charter of this Tribunal, fundamental human
duties. Of these none is more vital or more fundamental than
the duty not to vex the peace of nations in violation

[Page 608]

of the clearest legal prohibitions and undertakings. If this
is an innovation, then it is one which we are prepared to
defend and to justify. It is not an innovation which creates
a new crime. International Law had already, before the
Charter was adopted, constituted aggressive war a criminal

There is therefore in this respect no substantial
retroactivity in the provisions of the Charter. It merely
fixes the responsibility for a crime, clearly established as
such by positive law, upon its actual perpetrators. It fills
a gap in international criminal procedure. There is all the
difference between saying to a man: “You will now be
punished for an act which was not a crime at the time you
committed it”, and telling him: “You will now pay the
penalty for conduct which was contrary to law and a crime
when you executed it though, owing to the imperfection of
international machinery, there was at that time no court
competent to pronounce judgment against you.” If that be
retroactivity, we proclaim it to be most fully consistent
with that higher justice which, in the practice of civilized
States, has set a definite limit to the retroactive
operation of laws. Let the defendants and their protagonists
complain that the Charter is in this as in other matters an
ex parte fiat of the victor. These victors, composing as
they do the overwhelming majority of the nations of the
world, represent also the world’s sense of justice which
would be outraged if the crime of war, after this second
World War, were to remain unpunished. In thus interpreting,
declaring and supplementing the existing law they are
content to be judged by the verdict of history. Securus
judicat orbs terrarum. In so far as the Charter of this
Tribunal introduces new law, its authors have established a
precedent for the future — a precedent operative against
all, including themselves. In essence that law, rendering
recourse to aggressive war an international crime, had been
well established when the Charter was adopted. It is only by
way of corruption of language that it can be described as a
retroactive law.

There remains the question, with which it will not be
necessary to detain the Tribunal for long, whether these
wars launched by Germany and her leaders in violation of
treaties, agreements or assurances, were also wars of
aggression. A war of aggression is one which is resorted to
in violation of the international obligation not to have
recourse to war or, in cases in which war is not totally
renounced, when it is resorted to in disregard of the duty
to utilize the procedure of pacific settlement which a State
has bound itself to observe. There was indeed, in the period
between the two World Wars, a divergence of view among

[Page 609]

and statesmen whether it was preferable to attempt in
advance a legal definition of aggression or to leave to the
States concerned and to the collective organs of the
international community freedom of appreciation of the facts
in any particular situation that might arise. Those holding
the latter view urged that a rigid definition might be
abused by an unscrupulous State to fit in with aggressive
design; they feared, and the British Government vas for a
time among those who thought so, that an automatic
definition of aggression might become “a trap for the
innocent and sign-post for the guilty”. Others held that in
the interest of certainly and security a definition of
aggression, like a definition any crime in municipal law,
was proper and useful; they urged at the competent
international organs, political and judicial, could be
trusted to avoid any particular case a definition of
aggression which might lead to obstruction or to an
absurdity. In May 1933 the Committee on Security Questions
of the Disarmament Conference proposed a definition of
aggression on the following lines:

“The aggressor in an international conflict shall,
subject to the agreements in force between the parties
to the dispute, be considered to be that State which is
the first to commit any of the following actions:

“(1) declaration of war upon another state;

“(2) invasion by its armed forces, with or without a
declaration of war, of the territory of another State;

“(3) attack by its land, naval, or air forces, with or
without a declaration of war, on the territory,
vessels, or aircraft of another State;

“(4) naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another

“(5) provision of support to armed bands formed in its
territory which have invaded the territory of another
State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the
invaded State, to take in its own territory all the
measures in its power to deprive those bands of all
assistance or protection.”

The various treaties concluded in 1933 by the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics and other States followed closely
that definition. So did the Draft Convention submitted in
1933 by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to
the Disarmament Conference.

However, it is unprofitable to elaborate here the details of
the problem or of the definition of aggression. This
Tribunal will not allow itself to be deflected from its
purpose by attempts to ventilate in this Court what is an
academic and, in the circumstances, an utterly unreal
controversy as to what is a war of

[Page 610]

aggression. There is no definition of aggression, general or
particular, which does not cover abundantly and irresistibly
and in every material detail the premeditated onslaught by
Germany upon the territorial integrity and the political
independence of so many States.

This then being the law — that the peoples of the world by
the Pact of Paris had finally outlawed war and made it
criminal let us turn to the facts and see how these
Defendants under their Leader and with their associates
destroyed the high hopes of mankind and sought to revert to
international anarchy. And first in general terms let this
be said, for it will be established beyond doubt by the
documents. From the moment Hitler became Chancellor in 1933,
with the Defendant Von Papen as Vice Chancellor, and with
the Defendant Von Neurath as his Foreign Minister, the whole
atmosphere of the world darkened. The hopes of the people
began to recede. Treaties seemed no longer matters of solemn
obligation, but were entered into with complete cynicism as
a means for deceiving other States of Germany’s warlike
intentions. International Conferences were no longer to be
used as a means for securing pacific settlements but as
occasions for obtaining by blackmail demands which were
eventually to be enlarged by war. The World came to know the
War of Nerves, the diplomacy of the fait accompli, of
blackmail and bullying.

In October 1933 Hitler told his Cabinet that as the proposed
Disarmament Convention did not concede full equality to
Germany, “It would be necessary to torpedo the Disarmament
Conference. It was out of the question to negotiate: Germany
would leave the Conference and the League”. And on October
21 1933 she did so, and by so doing struck a deadly blow at
the fabric of security which had been built up on the basis
of the League Covenant. From that time on the record of
their foreign policy became one of complete disregard of all
international obligations and certainly not least of those
solemnly concluded by themselves. As Hitler had expressly
avowed, “Agreements are kept only so long as they serve a
certain purpose” (789-PS). He might have added that often
the purpose was only to lull an intended victim into a false
sense of security. So patent, indeed, did this eventually
become that to be invited by the Defendant Ribbentrop to
enter into a non-aggression pact with Germany was almost a
sign that Germany intended to attack the state concerned.
Nor was it only the formal treaty which they used and
violated as circumstances made expedient. These Defendants
are charged, too, with breaches of the less formal assurance
which, in accordance with diplomatic usage Germany gave to

[Page 611]

neighboring states. To-day with the advance of science the
world been afforded means of communication and intercourse
hitherto unknown, and as Hitler himself expressly
recognized, International relations no longer depend upon
treaties alone. The methods of diplomacy change. The Leader
of one Nation can speak to the Government and peoples of
another. But though the methods change the principles of
good faith and honesty, established as the fundamentals of
civilized society, both in the national and the
International spheres, remain. It is a long time since it
was said that we are part, one of another. And if to-day
different states are more closely connected and thus form
part of a World Society more than ever before, so also more
than ever before is there that need of good faith between

Let us see further how these Defendants, Ministers and High
Officers of the Nazi Government individually and
collectively comported themselves in these matters.


In the early hours of 1 September 1939 under manufactured
and, in any event, inadequate, pretexts, the armed Forces of
the German Reich invaded Poland along the whole length of
her frontiers and thus launched upon the world the war which
to bring down so many of the pillars of our civilization.
was a breach of the Hague Conventions (TC-2). It was a
breach of the Treaty of Versailles which had established the
Frontiers between Germany and Poland. And however much
Germany disliked that Treaty — although Hitler had stated
that he would respect its territorial provisions — she was
certainly not free to break it by unilateral action. It was
a breach of the Arbitration Treaty between Germany and
Poland concluded at Locarno on 16 October 1925 (TC-15). By
that Treaty, Germany and Poland expressly agreed to refer
any matters of dispute not capable of settlement by ordinary
diplomatic machinery to the decision of an Arbitral Tribunal
or of the Permanent Court of International Justice. But that
is not all. It was also a breach of a more recent and, in
view of the repeated emphasis laid on it by Hitler himself,
a more important engagement into which Nazi Germany had
entered. On 26 January 1934 the German and Polish
Governments had signed a ten year Pact of Nonaggression (TC-
21). It was, as the signatories stated, to introduce “a new
era in the political relations between Poland and Germany”.
It was stated in the text of the Pact itself that “the
maintenance and guarantee of lasting Peace between the two

[Page 612]

countries is an essential prerequisite for the general peace
of Europe”. The two Governments therefore agreed to base
their mutual relations on the principles laid down in the
Pact of Paris of 1928. They declared that

“In no circumstances *** will they proceed to the
application of force for the purpose of reaching a
decision in such disputes”. (TC-21)

That declaration and agreement was to remain in force for at
least ten years and thereafter would remain valid unless it
was denounced by either Government six months before the
expiration of the ten years, or subsequently a denunciation,
with six months notice took place.

Both at the time of its signature and during the following
four years Hitler spoke of the German-Polish Agreement
publicly as though it were a corner-stone of his foreign
policy. By entering into it he persuaded many people that
his intentions were genuinely pacific, for the re-emergence
of an independent Poland had cost Germany much territory and
had separated East Prussia from the Reich. That Hitler
should of his own accord enter into friendly relations with
Poland; that in his speeches on foreign policy he should
proclaim his recognition of Poland’s right to an exit to the
sea, and the necessity for Germans and Poles to live side by
side in amity — these facts seemed to the world convincing
proof that Hitler had no “revisionist” aims which would
threaten the peace of Europe, and that he was even genuinely
anxious to put an end to the age-old hostility between the
Teuton and the Slav. If his professions were genuine his
policy excluded a renewal of the Drang nach Osten and
thereby would contribute to the stability of Europe. We
shall have occasion enough to see how little truth these
pacific professions contained. The history of the fateful
years from 1934 to 1939 shows quite clearly that the Germans
used this Treaty, as they used other treaties, merely as an
instrument of policy for furthering their aggressive aims.
It is clear from the documents now presented to the Tribunal
that these five years fall into two distinct phases in the
realization of aggressive aims which always underlay the
Nazi policy. There was first the period from the Nazi
assumption of power in 1933 until the autumn of 1937. That
was the preparatory period. During that time there occurred
the breaches of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties, the
feverish rearmament of Germany, the reintroduction of
conscription, the reoccupation and remilitarization of the
Rhineland, and all the other necessary preparatory measures
for future aggression with which my United States colleagues
have already so admirably dealt. During

[Page 613]

that time they lulled Poland into a false sense of security.
Not only Hitler, but also the Defendant Goering and the
Defendant Ribbentrop made statements approbating the Pact.
In 1935 Goering was saying that “the pact was not planned
for a period ten years but forever: there need not be the
slightest fear that it would not be continued.” Even though
Germany was steadily building up the greatest war machine
that Europe had ever known, and although, by January 1937,
the German military position was so secure that Hitler could
refer openly to his strong Army, he took pains also to say
at the time that “by a series of agreements we have
eliminated existing tensions and thereby contributed
considerably to an improvement in the European atmosphere. I
merely recall the agreement with Poland which has worked out
to the advantage of both sides. ***” (2868-PS). And so it
went on — abroad protestations of pacific intentions — at
home “guns before butter”

In 1937, however, this preparatory period drew to a close
and Nazi policy moved from general preparation for future
aggression to specific planning for the attainment of
certain specific aggressive aims. Two documents in
particular mark this change. The first of these was an
important “Directive for unified preparation for War” issued
on 29 June 1937, by the Reich-Minister for War (von
Blomberg) and C-in-C of the Armed Forces (C-175). This
document is important, not only for its military directions,
but for the appreciation it contained of the European
situation and for the revelation it provides of the Nazi
attitude towards it.

“The general political position”, von Blomberg stated,
“justifies the supposition that Germany need not
consider an attack from any side. Grounds for this are,
in addition to the lack of desire for war in almost all
Nations, particularly the Western Powers, the
deficiencies in the preparedness for war of a number of
States, and of Russia in particular”. (C-175)

He added, it is true, “The intention of unleashing an
European War is held just as little by Germany”. And it may
be that that phrase was carefully chosen, for Germany hoped
to conquer the world in detail: to fight on one front at a
time, not to unleash a general European conflict. But, he
went on, “the politically fluid world situation, which does
not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous
preparedness for war of the German Armed forces (a) to
counter attack at any time (yet he had just said at there
was no fear of any attack) and (b) to enable the military
exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should
they occur”. That phrase is no more than a euphemistic

[Page 614]

of aggressive war. It reveals the continued adherence of the
German military leaders to the doctrine that military might,
and if necessary war, should be an instrument of policy —
the doctrine explicitly condemned by the Kellogg Pact, to
which Germany had adhered. The document goes on to set out
the general preparations necessary for a possible war in the
mobilization period 1937/1938. The document is evidence at
least for this — that the leaders of the German Armed
Forces had it in mind to use the military strength which
they were building up for aggressive purposes. “No reason” –
– they say — “to anticipate attack from any side *** there
is a lack of desire for war”. Yet they prepare to “exploit
militarily favorable opportunities”.

Still more important as evidence of the transition to
planned aggression is the record of the important conference
which Hitler held at the Reichs Chancellery on November
1937, at which von Blomberg, Reich Minister for War, von
Fritsch, C-in-C of the Army, Goering, C-in-C of the
Luftwaffe, Raeder, C-in-C of the Navy and von Neurath, then
the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, were present. The
minutes of that conference have already been put in evidence
(386-PS). I refer to them now to emphasize those passages
which make apparent the ultimate intention to wage an
aggressive war. As will be remembered, the burden of
Hitler’s argument at that conference was that Germany
required more territory in Europe. Austria and
Czechoslovakia were specifically envisaged. But Hitler
realized that the process of conquering these two countries
might well bring into operation the treaty obligations of
Great Britain and France. He was prepared to take the risk.

“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. The
question for Germany is where the great possible
conquest can be made at the lowest possible cost”. (386-

In the course of his address to that Conference Hitler had
foreseen and discussed the likelihood that Poland would be
involved if the aggressive expansionist aims which he put
forward brought about a general European war in the course
of their realization by Germany. When, therefore, on that
very day Hitler assured the Polish Ambassador of the value
of the 1934 Pact it can only be concluded that its real
value in Hitler’s eyes was that of keeping Poland quiet
until Germany had acquired such a territorial and

[Page 615]

strategic position that Poland would no longer be a danger
to her. That view is confirmed by the events which followed.
At the beginning of February 1938 the change from Nazi
preparation for aggression to active aggression itself took
place. It was marked by the substitution of Ribbentrop for
Neurath as Foreign Minister, and of Keitel for Blomberg as
head of OKW. Its first fruits were the bullying of
Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden on 12 February 1938, and the
forcible absorption of Austria in March. Thereafter the
Green Plan (Fall Gruen) for the destruction of
Czechoslovakia was steadily developed — the plan partially
foiled, or of which the final consummation was at least
delayed, by the Munich Agreement.

With these developments of Nazi aggression my United States
colleagues have already dealt. But it is obvious that the
acquisition of these two countries, and of their resources
in manpower and in the production of munitions of war,
immensely strengthened the position of Germany as against
Poland. It is, therefore, not surprising that, just as the
defendant Goering assured the Czechoslovak Minister in
Berlin, at the time of the Nazi invasion of Austria that
Hitler recognized the validity of the German-Czechoslovak
Arbitration Treaty of 1925, and that Germany had no designs
against Czechoslovakia herself — “I give you my word of
honor” said Goering — so also continued assurances should
be given during 1938 to Poland in order to keep that country
from interfering with the Nazi aggression on Poland’s

Thus, on 20 February 1938 on the eve of his invasion of
Austria, Hitler, referring to the fourth anniversary of the
Polish-Pact, permitted himself to say this to the Reichstag:

“*** and so a way to a friendly understanding has been
successfully paved, an understanding which beginning
with Danzig has today succeeded in finally taking the
poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland
and transforming them into a sincere friendly
cooperation. Relying on her friendships, Germany will
not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which
provides the foundation for the task ahead of us —
Peace”. (2357-PS)

Still more striking are the cordial references to Poland in
Hitler’s speech in the Sportpalast at Berlin on the 26
September 1938.

He then said:

“The most difficult problem with which I was confronted
was that of our relations with Poland. There was a
danger that Poles and Germans would regard each other
as hereditary enemies. I wanted to prevent this. I know
well enough that I should not have been successful if
Poland had had a demo-

[Page 616]

cratic constitution. For these democracies which
indulge in phrases about peace are the most
bloodthirsty war agitators. In Poland there ruled no
democracy, but a man: and with him I succeeded, in
precisely twelve months, in coming to an agreement
which, for ten years in the first instance, entirely
removed the danger of a conflict. We are all convinced
that this agreement will bring lasting pacification. We
realize that here are two peoples which must live
together and neither of which can do away with the
other. A people of 33 millions will always strive for
an outlet to the sea. A way for understanding, then,
had to be found, and it will be ever further extended.
Certainly things were hard in this area. *** But the
main fact is that the two Governments, and all
reasonable and clear-sighted persons among the two
peoples and in the two countries, possess the firm will
and determination to improve their relations. It was a
real work of peace, of more worth than all the
chattering in the League of Nations Palace at Geneva”.

Thus flattery of Poland preceded the annexation of Austria
and renewed flattery of Poland preceded the projected
annexation of Czechoslovakia. The realities behind these
outward expressions of goodwill are clearly revealed in the
documents relating to Fall Gruen, which are already before
the Tribunal. They show Hitler as fully aware that there was
risk of Poland, England and France being involved in war to
prevent the German annexation of Czechoslovakia, and that
this risk though realized was also accepted. On the 25th
August top secret orders to the German Air Force in regard
to the operations to be conducted against England and France
if they intervened pointed out that, as the French-
Czechoslovak Treaty provided for assistance only in the case
of “unprovoked” attack, it would take a day or two for
France and England to decide whether legally the attack was
unprovoked or not. A blitzkrieg accomplishing its aims
before effective intervention became possible was the object
to be aimed at.

On the same day an Air Force memorandum on future
organization was issued to which was attached a map on which
the Baltic States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland are
all shown as part of Germany and preparations for expanding
the Air Force “as the Reich grows in area”, as well as
dispositions for a two front war against France and Russia
are discussed (L-43; Chart No. 10). And on the following day
von Ribbentrop is being minuted about the reaction of Poland
towards the Czechoslovak problem:

“The fact that after the liquidation of the Czech

[Page 617]

it will be generally assumed that Poland will be next
in turn” is recognized but, it is stated, “the later
this assumption sinks in, the better”. (TC-76)

I will pause at the date of the Munich Agreement for a
moment and ask the Tribunal to consider what the evidence of
documents and historical facts shows up to that time. It has
made undeniable the fact both of Nazi aggressiveness and of
active aggression.

Not only does the Conference of 1937 reveal Hitler and his
associates deliberately considering the acquisition of
Austria and Czechoslovakia, if necessary by war, but the
first of those operations had been carried through in March
1938 and a large part of the second, under threat of war,
though without actual need for its initiation, in September
of the same year. More ominous still, Hitler had revealed
his adherence to his old doctrines of Mein Kampf, those
essentially aggressive to the exposition of which in Mein
Kampf long regarded as the Bible of the Nazi Party we shall
draw attention. He is in pursuit of Lebensraum and he means
to secure it by threats of force or, if they fail, by force,
by aggressive war.

So far actual warfare has been avoided because of the love
of peace, the lack of preparedness, the patience or the
cowardice — which you will — of the democratic Powers.
But, after Munich, the questions which filled the minds of
all thinking people with acute anxiety was, “Where will this
end? Is Hitler now satisfied, as he declares he is? Or will
his pursuit of Lebensraum lead to further aggressions, even
if he has to make an openly aggressive war to secure it?”

It was in relation to the remainder of Czechoslovakia and to
Poland that the answer to these questions was to be given.
So far no direct and immediate threat to Poland had been
made. The two documents from which I have just quoted (L-43;
TC-76) show that high officers of the defendant Goering’s
Air Staff already regarded the extension of the Reich and,
it would appear, the destruction and absorption of Poland as
a foregone conclusion. They were already anticipating,
indeed, the last stage of Hitler’s policy stated in Mein
Kampf, war to destroy France and to secure Lebensraum in
Russia. And the writer of the Minute to Ribbentrop already
took it for granted that, after Czechoslovakia, Poland would
be attacked. More impressive than these two documents is the
fact that, as I have said, the record of the Conference of 5
November 1937, shows that war with Poland, if she should
dare t to attempt to prevent German aggression against
Czechoslovakia, had been coolly contemplated and that the
Nazi leaders were ready to take the risk. So also had the
risk of war with England and

[Page 618]

France under the same circumstances been considered and
accepted. Such a war would, of course, have been an
aggressive war on Nazi Germany’s part. For to force one
State to take up arms to defend another against aggression
in order to fulfill treaty obligations is to initiate
aggressive war against the first State.

Yet it remains true that until Munich the decision for
direct attack upon Poland and her destruction by aggressive
war had apparently not as yet been taken by Hitler and his
associates. It is to the transition from the intention and
preparation of initiating an aggressive war, evident in
regard to Czechoslovakia, to the actual initiation and
waging of aggressive war against Poland that I now pass.
That transition occupies the eleven months from 1 October
1938 to the actual attack on Poland on 1 September 1939.

Within six months of the signature of the Munich Agreement
the Nazi Leaders had occupied the remainder of
Czechoslovakia which by that agreement they had indicated
their willingness to guarantee. On 14 March 1939, the aged
and infirm President of the “Rump” of Czechoslovakia, Hacha,
and his Foreign Minister, Chvalkowsky, were summoned to
Berlin. At a meeting held between 1.15 and 2.15 a.m. in the
small hours of the 15th March in the presence of Hitler and
the defendants Ribbentrop, Goering, and Keitel, they were
bullied and threatened and informed bluntly that Hitler “had
issued the order for the German troops to march into
Czechoslovakia, and for the incorporation of this country
into the German Reich”. It was made quite clear to them that
resistance would be useless and would be crushed “by force
of arms with all available means”. It was thus that the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was set up and that
Slovakia was turned into a German satellite, though
nominally independent, state. By their own unilateral
action, on pretexts which had no shadow of validity, without
discussion with the Governments of any other country,
without mediation and in direct contradiction of the sense
and spirit of the Munich Agreement, the Germans acquired for
themselves that for which they had been planning in
September of the previous year, and indeed much earlier, but
which at that time they had felt themselves unable
completely to secure without too patent an exhibition of
their aggressive intentions. Aggression achieved whetted the
appetite for aggression to come. There were protests.
England and France sent diplomatic notes. Of course there
were protests. The Nazis had clearly shown their hand.
Hitherto they had concealed from the outside world that
their claims went beyond incorporat-

[Page 619]

ing into the Reich persons of German Race living in
bordering territory. Now for the first time, in defiance of
their own solemn assurances to the contrary, non-German
territory had been seized. This acquisition of the whole of
Czechoslovakia, together with the equally illegal occupation
of Memel on the 22d March, resulted in immense strengthening
of the German position, both politically and strategically,
as Hitler had anticipated it would when discussed the matter
at his conference on 5 November 1937. (386-PS)

Long before the consummation by the Nazi Leaders of their
aggression against Czechoslovakia, however, they had already
begun to make demands upon Poland. On 25 October 1938, that
to say within less than a month of Hitler’s reassuring
speech about Poland already quoted and of the Munich
Agreement itself, M. Lipski, the Polish Ambassador in
Berlin, reported to M. Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister,
that at a luncheon at Berchtesgaden the day before (October
24th) the defendant Ribbentrop had put forward demands for
the reunion of Danzig with the Reich and for the building of
an extra-territorial motor road and railway line across
Pomorze, that is, the province which the Germans called the
Corridor. From that moment onwards until the Polish
Government had made it plain, during a visit of the
defendant Ribbentrop to Warsaw which ended on 27 January
1939, that they would not consent to hand over Danzig to
German Sovereignty negotiations on these German demands
continued. Even after Ribbentrop’s return Hitler thought it
worth while in his Reichstag Speech on 30 January 1939 to
say —

“We have just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the
conclusion of our nonaggression pact with Poland. There
can scarcely be any difference of opinion today among
the true friends of peace as to the value of this
agreement. One only needs to ask oneself what might
have happened to Europe if this agreement, which
brought such relief, had not been entered into five
years ago. In signing it, the great Polish marshal and
patriot rendered his people just as great a service as
the leaders of the National-Socialist State rendered
the German people. During the troubled months of the
past year the friendship between Germany and Poland has
been one of the reassuring factors in the political
life of Europe”.

That utterance, however, was the last friendly word from
Germany to Poland and the last occasion upon which the Nazi
Leader mentioned the German-Polish Agreement with
approbation. During February 1939 silence fell upon German
demands. But as soon as the final absorption of
Czechoslovakia had taken place,

[Page 620]

and Germany had also absorbed Memel, Nazi pressure upon
Poland was at once renewed. In two conversations between
himself and the defendant Ribbentrop, held on March 21st and
March 26th respectively (Polish White Book Number 61 and
Number 63), German demands upon Poland were renewed and
further pressed. In view of the fate which had overtaken
Czechoslovakia and of the grave deterioration in her
strategical position towards Germany it is not surprising
that the Polish Government took alarm at these developments.
Nor were they alone in this. The events of March 1939 had at
last convinced both the English and French Governments that
the Nazi designs of aggression were not limited to men of
German race and that the spectre of European war resulting
from further aggressions by Nazi Germany had not been
exorcised by the Munich Agreement.

As a result, therefore, of the concern of Poland, England,
and France at the events in Czechoslovakia and at the newly
applied pressure on Poland, conversations between the
English and Polish Governments had been taking place, and,
on 31 March 1939, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, speaking in the
House of Commons, stated that His Majesty’s Government had
given an assurance to help Poland in the event of any action
which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the
Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist
(TC-72 No. 17). On 6 April 1939 an Anglo-Polish communique
stated that the two countries were prepared to enter into an
Agreement of a permanent and reciprocal character to replace
the present temporary and unilateral assurance given by His
Majesty’s Government. (TC-72, No. 18)

The justification for such concern is not difficult to find.
With the evidence which we now have of what was happening
within the councils of the German Reich and its armed forces
during these months it is manifest that the German
Government were intent on seizing Poland as a whole, that
Danzig — as Hitler was to say himself a month later — “was
not the subject of the dispute at all”. The Nazi Government
was intent upon aggression and the demands and negotiations
in respect of Danzig were merely a cover and excuse for
further domination.

As far back as September 1938 plans for aggressive war
against Poland, England, and France were well in hand. While
Hitler, at Munich, was telling the world that the German
people wanted peace and that, having solved the
Czechoslovakian problem, Germany had no more territorial
problems in Europe, the staffs of his armed forces were
already preparing plans. On 26 September 1938 he had said:
[Page 621]

“We have given guarantees to the States in the West. We
have assured all our immediate neighbours of the
integrity of their territory as far as Germany is
concerned. That is no mere phrase. It is our sacred
will. We have no interest whatever in a breach of the
peace. We want nothing from these peoples.”

The world was entitled to rely upon these assurances.
International cooperation is impossible unless one can
assume good faith in the leaders of the various States. But
within two months of that solemn and considered undertaking,
Hitler and his confederates were preparing for the seizure
of Danzig. To recognize these assurances, these pledges,
these diplomatic moves as the empty frauds they were, one
must go back to enquire what was happening within the inner
councils of the Reich from the time of the Munich Agreement.

Written some time in September 1938 is an extract from a
file on the Reconstruction of the German Navy (C-23). Under
the heading “Opinion on the Draft Study of Naval Warfare
against England” it is stated:

“1. If, according to the Fuehrer’s decision, Germany is
to acquire a position as a world power, she needs not
only sufficient colonial possessions but also secure
naval communications and secure access to the ocean.

“2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in
opposition to Anglo-French interests and would limit
their position as world powers. It is unlikely that
they can be achieved by peaceful means. The decision to
make Germany a world power, therefore, forces upon us
the necessity of making the corresponding preparations
for war.

“3. War against England means at the same time war
against the Empire, against France, probably against
Russia as well and a large number of countries
overseas, in fact, against It half to one-third of the

“It can only be justified and have a chance of success
if it is prepared economically as well as politically
and militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for
Germany an outlet to the ocean.” (C-23)

Here is something which is both significant and new. Until
this date the documents in our possession disclose
preparations for war against Poland, England, and France
purporting at least to be defensive measures to ward off
attacks which might result from the intervention of those
powers in the preparatory aggression of Germany in Central
Europe. Hitherto aggressive war

[Page 622]

against Poland, England, and France has been contemplated
only as a distant objective. Now, for the first time, we
find a war of conquest by Germany against France and England
openly recognized as the future aim, at least of the German

On 24 November 1938 an Appendix was issued by Keitel to a
previous order of the Fuehrer. In this Appendix there are
set out the future tasks for the armed forces and the
preparation for the conduct of the war which would result
from those tasks.

“The Fuehrer has ordered that besides the three
eventualities mentioned in the previous Directive
preparations are also to be made for the surprise
occupation by German troops of the Free State of

“For the preparation the following principles are to be
borne in
mind — the primary assumption is the lightning seizure
of Danzig by exploiting a favorable political situation
and not war with Poland ***. Troops which are going to
be used for this purpose must not be held at the same
time for the seizure of Memel-land, so that both
operations can take place simultaneously should such
necessity arise.” (C-17)

Thereafter, as the evidence which has already been
produced has shown, final preparations for the invasion
of Poland were taking place. On 3 April 1939, three
days before the issue of the Anglo-Polish communique,
Keitel issued to the High Command of the Armed Forces a
Directive in which it was stated that the Directive for
the uniform preparation of war by the armed forces in
1939-40 was being re-issued, and that the part
concerning Danzig would be issued in the middle of
April. The basic principles were to remain the same as
in the previous Directive. Attached to this document
were the orders “Fall Weiss”, the code name for the
proposed invasion of Poland. Preparations for that
invasion were to be made in such a way that the
operation could be carried out at any time from 1
September 1939 onwards. (C-120)

On the 11th April Hitler issued his Directive for the
uniform preparations of war by the armed forces 1939-40. In
it he says: “I shall lay down in a later Directive future
tasks of the armed forces and the preparations to be made in
accordance with these for the conduct of war. Until that
Directive comes into force the armed forces must be prepared
for the following eventualities:

“1. Safeguarding of the frontiers.
“2. “Fall Weiss”.
“3. The annexation of Danzig.”
[Page 623]

In an Annex to that document headed “Political Hypotheses
and Aims” it is stated that quarrels with Poland should be
avoided. Should Poland, however, change her present policy
and adopt a threatening attitude towards Germany, a final
settlement would be necessary, notwithstanding the pact with
Poland. The Free City of Danzig was to be incorporated into
Germany at the outbreak of the conflict at the latest. The
policy aims to limit the war to Poland and this is
considered possible with the internal crisis in France and
resulting British restraint.

The wording of this document does not directly involve the
intention of immediate aggression. It is a plan of attack
“if Poland changes her policy and adopts a threatening
attitude”. But the picture of Poland, with her inadequate
armaments, threatening Germany is ludicrous enough and the
real aim emerges in the sentence “The aim is then to destroy
Polish military strength and to create, in the East, a
situation which satisfies the requirements of defense” — a
sufficiently vague phrase to cover designs of any magnitude.
Even now the evidence does not suffice to prove that the
actual decision to attack Poland has been taken. But all
preparations are being set in train in case that decision is

It was within three weeks of the date of this last document
that Hitler addressed the Reichstag (28 April 1939). In his
speech he repeated the German demands already made to Poland
and proceeded to denounce the German-Polish Agreement of
1934. Leaving aside for the moment the warlike preparations
for aggression, which Hitler had set in train behind the
scenes, I will ask the Tribunal to consider the nature of
the denunciation of an agreement to which, in the past,
Hitler had professed to attach so high an importance.

In the first place Hitler’s denunciation was per se
ineffectual, since the text of the Agreement made no
provision for its denunciation by either Party until six
months before the expiration of the ten years for which it
was concluded. No denunciation could be legally affective,
therefore, until June or July 1943, and Hitler was speaking
on 28 April 1939 — more than five years too soon!

In the second place Hitler’s actual attack on Poland when it
came on 1 September 1939, was made before the expiration of
the six months period after denunciation required by the
Agreement before such a denunciation became operative. In
the third place the grounds for his denunciation of the
Agreement stated by Hitler in his speech to the Reichstag
are entirely specious. How ever one reads its terms it is
impossible to accept the view that the Anglo-Polish
guarantee of mutual assistance against aggression could
render the Pact null and void. If that were so then

[Page 624]

certainly the Pacts already entered into by Hitler with
Italy and Japan had already invalidated it, and Hitler might
have spared his breath. But the truth is that the text of
the German-Polish Agreement contains nothing whatever to
support Hitler’s contention.

Why then did Hitler make this trebly invalid attempt to
denounce his own pet diplomatic child? Is there any other
possible answer but that, the Agreement having served its
purpose, the grounds which he put forward were chosen merely
in an effort to provide Germany with some justification for
the aggression on which she was intent.

For Hitler sorely needed some kind of justification, some
apparently decent excuse, since nothing had happened, or was
likely to happen, from the Polish side to provide him with
it. So far he had made demands upon his Treaty partner which
Poland, as a sovereign State had every right to refuse. If
dissatisfied with that refusal Hitler was bound, under the
terms of the Agreement itself, to “seek a settlement through
other peaceful means, without prejudice to the possibility
of applying those methods of procedure, in case of
necessity, which are provided for such a case in the other
agreements between them that are in force” — a reference,
it can only be supposed, to the German-Polish Arbitration
Treaty signed at Locarno in 1925.

The very fact, therefore, that as soon as the Nazi leader
cannot get what he wants, but is not entitled to, from
Poland by merely asking for it, and that, on his side, he
made no further effort to settle the dispute “by peaceful
means” in accordance with the terms of the Agreement and of
the Kellogg Pact, to which the Agreement pledged both
Parties, in itself creates a strong presumption of
aggressive intentions against Hitler and his associates.
That presumption becomes a certainty when the documents to
which I shall now refer are studied.

On 10th May Hitler issued an order for the capture of
economic installations in Poland and on 16th May the
Defendant Raeder, as Commander in Chief of the Navy, issued
a memorandum setting out the Fuehrer’s instructions to
prepare for the operation “Fall Weiss” at any time from 1
September 1939. (C-120)

But the decisive document is the record of the Conference
held by Hitler on 23 May 1939 with various high-ranking
officers, including the defendants Goering, Raeder, and
Keitel. Hitler then stated that the solution of the economic
problems could not be found without invasion of foreign
States and attacks on foreign property.

“Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all: it is
a ques-
[Page 625]

tion of expanding our living space in the East ***.
There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and
we are left with the decision: to attack Poland at the
earliest opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of
the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to
isolate Poland. The success of this isolation will be
decisive. The isolation of Poland is a matter of
skillful politics.” (L-79)

He anticipated the possibility that war with England and
France might result. But a two front war was to be avoided
if possible. Yet England was recognized as the most
dangerous enemy. “England is the driving force against
Germany *** the aim will always be to force England to her
knees.” More than once repeated that the war with England
and France would be a life and death struggle. All the same,
he concluded, “We shall not be forced into war but we shall
not be able to avoid one.”

On the 14 June 1939, General Blaskowitz, then Commander-in-
Chief of the 3d Army Group, issued a detailed battle plan
for the “Fall Weiss” (2327-PS). The following day Von
Brauchitsch issued a memorandum in which it was stated that
the object of the impending operating was to destroy the
Polish Armed Forces. “High Policy demands” — he said —
“that the war should be begun by heavy surprise blows in
order to achieve quick results (C-126).

The preparations proceeded apace. On the 22d June Keitel
submitted a preliminary time table for the operation which
Hitler seems to have approved and suggested that the
scheduled manuevre must be camouflaged “in order not to
disquiet the population”. On the 3d July Brauchitsch wrote
to Raeder urging that certain preliminary naval moves should
be abandoned in order not to prejudice the surprise of the
attack. On the 12th and 13th August Hitler and Ribbentrop
had a conference with Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister.

At the beginning of the conversation Hitler emphasized the
strength of the German position, of its western and eastern
fortifications and of the strategic and other advantages
that they held in comparison with those of England, France,
and Poland.

“Since the Poles through their whole attitude had made
it clear that in any case in the event of a conflict
they would stand on the side of the enemies of Germany
and Italy, a quick liquidation at the present moment
could only be of advantage for the unavoidable conflict
with the Western democracies. If a hostile Poland
remained on Germany’s Eastern frontier, not only would
the eleven East Prussian divisions be tied down, but
also further contingents would be kept in Pomerania and
Silesia. This would not be necessary

[Page 626]

in the event of a previous liquidation. Generally
speaking, the best thing to happen would be for the
neutrals to be liquidated one after the other. This
process could be carried out more easily if on every
occasion one partner of the Axis covered the other
while it was dealing with an uncertain neutral. Italy
might well regard Yugoslavia as a neutral of this

Ciano was for postponing the operation. Italy was not ready
she believed that a conflict with Poland would develop into
a general European war. Mussolini was convinced that
conflict with the Western democracies was inevitable but he
was making plans for a period two or three years ahead. But
the Fuehrer said that the Danzig question must be settled
one way or the other by the end of August. “He had,
therefore, decided to use the occasion of the next Polish
provocation in the form of an ultimatum.” On the 22d August
Hitler called his Supreme Commanders together at
Obersalzberg and gave the order for the attack: in the
course of what he said he made it clear that the decision to
attack had in fact been made not later than the previous
spring. He would give a spurious cause for starting the war
(1014-PS; L-3). At that time the attack was timed for the
early hours of the 26th August. On the day before the
British Government, in the hope that Hitler might still be
reluctant to plunge the world into war, and in the belief
that a formal treaty would impress him more than the
informal assurances which had been given previously, entered
into an agreement for mutual assistance with Poland,
embodying the previous assurances. It was known to Hitler
that France was bound by the Franco-Polish Treaty of 1921,
and by the Guarantee Pact signed at Locarno in 1925 to
intervene in Poland’s aid in case of aggression. For a
moment Hitler hesitated. Goering and Ribbentrop agree that
it was this Anglo-Polish Treaty which led him to call off,
or rather postpone the attack. Perhaps he hoped that there
was still some chance of repeating, after all, what he had
called the Czech affair. If so, his hopes were short-lived.

On the 27th August Hitler accepted Mussolini’s decision not
at once to come into the war, but asked for propaganda
support and a display of military activities to create
uncertainty in the minds of the Allies. Ribbentrop on the
same day said that the Armies were marching.

In the meantime, of course, and particularly in the last
month, desperate attempts had been made by the Western
Powers to avert war. You will have details of them in
evidence. Of the intervention of the Pope. Of President
Roosevelt’s message. Of the offer by Mr. Chamberlain to do
our utmost to create the conditions in which all matters in
issue could be the subject of free

[Page 627]

negotiations and to guarantee the resultant decisions. This
and the other efforts of honest men to avoid the horror of a
European war were predestined to failure. The Germans were
determined that the day for war had come. On the 31st August
Hitler issued a top secret order for the attack to commence
in the early hours of the 1st September. The necessary
frontier incidents duly occurred — was it for these that
Keitel had been instructed by Hitler to supply Heydrich with
Polish uniforms — and thus, without a declaration of war,
without even giving the Polish Government an opportunity of
seeing Germany’s final demands the Nazi troops invaded
Poland. On the 3d September, Hitler sent a telegram to
Mussolini thanking him for his intervention but pointing out
that the war was inevitable and that the most promising
moment had to be picked after cold deliberation (1831-PS).
And so Hitler and his Confederates now before this Tribunal
began the first of their wars of aggression for which they
had prepared so long and so thoroughly. They waged it so
fiercely that within a few weeks Poland was overrun.

On 23 November 1939 Hitler reviewed the situation to his
military Commanders and in the course of his speech he said

“One year later Austria came; this step was also
considered doubtful. It brought about a tremendous
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
fortifications had to be finished ***. Then followed
the creation of the Protectorate and with that the
basis of 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.
The decision came to fight with Poland first. One might
accuse me of wanting to fight again and again. In
struggle, I see the fate of all human beings.” (789-PS)

He was not sure when to attack- first. But that sooner or
later he would attack was never in doubt, and he had been
warned not only by the British and French Prime Ministers
but even by his confederate Mussolini that an attack on
Poland would bring England and France into the war. He chose
what he considered the opportune moment — and he struck.

In these circumstances the intent to wage war against
England and France, and to precipitate it by an attack on
Poland, is not to be denied. Here was defiance of the most
solemn treaty obligations: here was neglect of the most
pacific assurances. Here was aggression, naked and
unashamed, which was indeed to

[Page 628]

arouse the horrified and heroic resistance of all civilized
peoples but which was to tear down many of the pillars of
our civilization.

Once started upon the active achievement of their plan to
secure the domination of Europe, if not of the world, the
Nazi Government proceeded to attack other countries, as
occasion offered. The first actually to be invaded after the
attack on Poland were Denmark and Norway.

On 9 April 1940 the German Armed Forces invaded Norway and
Denmark without warning, without any declaration of war. It
was a breach of the Hague Convention of 1907. It was a
breach of the Convention of Arbitration and Conciliation
between Germany and Denmark dated 2 June 1926. It was, of
course, a breach of the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928. It was
a violation of the Nonaggression Treaty between Germany and
Denmark made on 31 May 1939. And it was a breach of the most
explicit assurances which had been given. After his
annexation of Czechoslovakia had shaken the confidence of
the world, Hitler attempted to reassure the Scandinavian
States. On the 28 April 1939, he affirmed that he had never
made any request to them which was incompatible with their
sovereignty and independence. On the 31 May 1939, he signed
a nonaggression Pact with Denmark.

On the 2nd September, the day after he had invaded Poland and
seized Danzig, he again expressed his determination to
observe the inviolability and integrity of Norway in an aide
memoire which was handed to the Norwegian Foreign Minister
by the German Minister in Oslo on that day. (TC-31 )

A month later, on 6 October 1939, he said in a public

“Germany has never had any conflicts of interest or
even points of controversy with the Northern States,
neither has she any to-day. Sweden and Norway have both
been offered nonaggression pacts by Germany and have
both refused them solely because they do not feel
themselves threatened in any way.”

When the invasion of Norway and Denmark had already begun in
the early morning of the 9th April, a German memorandum was
handed to the Governments of those countries attempting to
justify the German action. Various allegations against the
Governments of the invaded countries were made. It was said
that Norway had been guilty of breaches of neutrality. It
was said that she had allowed and tolerated the use of her
territorial waters by Great Britain. It was said that
Britain and France were making plans themselves to invade
and occupy Norway

[Page 629]

and that the Government of that country was prepared to
acquiesce in such an event.

I do not propose to argue the question whether or not those
actions were true or false. That question is irrelevant to
the issue before this Court. Even if the allegations were
true (and they were patently false), they would afford no
conceivable justification for the action of invading without
warning, without declaration of war and without any attempt
at mediation or conciliation. Aggressive war is none the
less aggressive war because the State which wages it
believes that other states may take similar action. The rape
of a nation is not justified because it is thought she may
be raped by another. Nor even in self-defense are warlike
measures justified except after all means of mediation have
failed and force is actually being exercised against the
State concerned.

In actual fact, with the evidence which we now possess it is
clear that the invasion of these countries was undertaken
for quite different purposes, that it had been planned long
before any question of breach of neutrality or occupation of
Norway by England could ever have occurred. It is clear also
that the assurances repeated again and again throughout the
year 1939 were made for no other purpose than to lull
suspicion in those countries and to prevent them taking
steps to resist the attack against them which was under
active preparation.

For some years, Rosenberg, in his capacity of Chief of the
Foreign Affairs Bureau (APA) of the NSDAP, had interested
himself in the promotion of fifth column activities in
Norway, and close relationship was established with the
“Nasjonal Samling”, a political group headed by the now
notorious traitor, Vidkun Quisling (007-PS). During the
winter of 1938/39, APA was in contact with Quisling and
later Quisling conferred with Hitler, Raeder, and Rosenberg.
In August 1939 a special 14 day course was held at the
school of the office of Foreign Relations in Berlin for 25
followers whom Quisling had selected to attend. The plan was
to send a number of selected and “reliable” men to Germany
for a brief military training in an isolated camp. These
were to be area and language specialists to German special
troops who were taken to Oslo on coal barges to undertake
political action in Norway. The object was a coup in which
Quisling would seize his leading opponents in Norway,
including the King, and prevent all military resistance from
the beginning. Simultaneously Germany was making military
preparations. On 2d September 1939, Hitler had assured
Norway of his intention to respect her neutrality, and on
6th October he said that the

[Page 630]

Scandinavian States were not menaced in any way, yet on 3d
October 1939 Raeder was pointing out that the occupation of
bases, if necessary by force, would greatly improve the
strategic and economic position (1546-PS). On the 9th
October Doenitz was recommending Trondheim as the main base
with Narvik as an alternative base for fuel supplies.
Rosenberg was reporting shortly afterwards on the
possibility of a coup d’etat by Quisling immediately
supported by German military and naval forces. On the 12th
December 1939 Raeder advised Hitler, in the presence of
Keitel and Jodl, that if Hitler was favourably impressed by
Quisling, OKW should prepare for the occupation of Norway,
if possible with Quisling’s assistance, but if necessary
entirely by force. Hitler agreed but there was a doubt
whether action should be taken against the Low Countries or
Scandinavia first. Weather conditions delayed the march
against the Low Countries. In January instructions were
given to the Germany Navy for the attack on Norway, and on 1
March 1940, a Directive for the occupation was issued by
Hitler. The general objective was not said to be to prevent
occupation by English Forces but in vague and general terms
to prevent British encroachment in Scandinavia and the
Baltic and “to guarantee our ore bases in Sweden and give
our Navy and Air Force a wider start line against Britain.”
But the Directive went on:

“** on principle we will do our utmost to make the
operation appear as a peaceful occupation the object of
which is the military protection of the Scandinavian
States *** it is important that the Scandinavian States
as well as the Western opponents should be taken by
surprise by our measures. *** In case the preparations
for embarkation can no longer be kept secret the leader
and the troops will be deceived with fictitious

The form and success of the invasion are well known. In the
early hours of the 9th April 7 cruisers, 14 destroyers, and
several torpedo boats and other small craft carried advance
elements of 6 divisions totalling about 10,000 men, forced
an entry and landed troops in the outer Oslo Fjord,
Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik. A
small number of troops were also landed at Arendal and
Egersund on the southern coast. In addition airborne troops
were landed on aerodromes near Oslo and Stavanger. The
German attack came as a surprise and all the invaded towns
along the coast were captured according to plan with only
slight losses. Only the plan to capture the Ring and members
of the Government and the Parliament failed. Brave as the
resistance was that was hurriedly organized throughout

[Page 631]

the country, nothing could be done in the face of the long-
planned surprise attack and on 10 June military resistance
ceased. So was another act of aggression brought to

Almost exactly a month after the attack on Norway, on 10 May
1940 the German Armed Forces, repeating what had been done
25 years before, streamed into Belgium, the Netherlands, and
Luxembourg according to plan — the plan that is, of
invading without warning and without declaration of War.

What was done was of course a breach of the Hague Convention
of 1907, and is so charged. It was a violation of the
Locarno Agreement and Arbitration Convention with Belgium of
1925 which the Nazi Government affirmed in 1935, only
illegally to repudiate it two years later. By that agreement
all questions incapable of settlement by ordinary diplomatic
means were to be settled by arbitration. You will see the
comprehensive terms of these agreements. It was a breach of
the Treaty of Arbitration and Conciliation signed between
Germany and the Netherlands on 20 May 1926; it was a
violation of the similar Treaty with Luxembourg on 11
September 1929. It was a breach of the Briand-Kellogg Pact.
But those Treaties had not perhaps derived in the minds of
the Nazi Rulers of Germany any added sanctity from the fact
that-they had been solemnly concluded by the Governments of
pre-Nazi Germany.

Let us consider the specific assurances and undertakings
which the Nazi Rulers themselves gave to the States which
lay in the way of their plans against France and England and
which they always intended to attack. Not once, not twice,
but eleven times the clearest assurances were given to
Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. On those
assurances solemnly and formally expressed, those countries
were entitled to rely. In respect of their breach these
Defendants are charged. On 30 January 1937 Hitler said:

“As for the rest, I have more than once expressed the
desire and the hope of entering into similar good and
cordial relations with our neighbours. Germany h-as,
and here I repeat this solemnly, given the assurance
time and time again, that, for instance, between her
and France there cannot be any humanly conceivable
points of controversy. The German Government has
further given the assurance to Belgium and Holland that
it is prepared to recognize and to guarantee the
inviolability and neutrality of these territories.”

After Hitler had remilitarized the Rhineland and had
repudiated the Locarno Pact, England and France sought to

[Page 632]

the position of security for Belgium which Hitler’s action
had threatened. They, therefore, themselves gave to Belgium
on 24 April 1937, a specific guarantee that they would
maintain in respect of Belgium, undertakings. of assistance
which they had entered into with her both under the Locarno
Pact and the Covenant of the League of Nations. On the 13
October 1937 the German Government also made a declaration
assuring Belgium of its intention to recognize the
inviolability and integrity of that country.

It is, perhaps, convenient to deal with the remaining
assurances as we review the evidence which is available as
to the preparations and intentions of the German Government
prior to their invasion of Belgium on 10 May 1940.

As in the case of Poland, as in the case of Norway and
Denmark, so also here the dates speak for themselves.

As early as August 1938 steps were being made to utilize the
Low Countries as defense bases for decisive action in the
West in the event of France and England opposing Germany in
it aggression upon Czechoslovakia.

In all air force letter dated 25 August 1938 which deals
with the action to be taken if England and France should
interfere in the operation against Czechoslovakia, it is

“It is not expected for the moment that other States
will intervene against Germany. The Dutch and the
Belgian area assumes in this connection much more
importance for the prevention of the war in Western
Europe than during the world war. This mainly is an
advance base for the air war.” (375-PS)

In the last paragraph of that order it is stated “Belgium
and the Netherlands when in German hands represent an
extraordinary advantage in the prosecution of the air war
against Great Britain as well as against France.” (375-PS)

That was in August 1938. Eight months later (on 28 April
1939) Hitler is declaring again, “I was pleased that a
number of European states availed themselves of this
declaration by the German Government to express and
emphasize their desire to have absolute neutrality.”

A month later, on 23 May 1939, Hitler held the conference in
the Reich Chancellery, to which we have already referred.
The Minutes of that meeting report Hitler as saying:

“The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by
armed force. Declarations of neutrality must be
ignored. If England and France enter the war between
Germany and Poland they will support Holland and
Belgium in their neutrality.

[Page 633]

** Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the
Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning
speed. We must aim at securing new defense lines on
Dutch soil up to the Zuyder Zee”. (L-79)

Even after that he was to give his solemn declarations that
would observe Belgian neutrality. On 26 August 1939 when the
crisis in regard to Danzig and Poland was reaching its
climax, declarations assuring the Governments concerned of
the intention to respect their neutrality were handed by the
German ambassadors to the King of the Belgians, the Queen of
the Netherlands, and to the Government of the Grand Duchy of
Luxembourg in the most solemn form. But to the Army — “If
Holland and Belgium are successfully occupied and held” —
it was said — “a successful war against England will be

On the 1st September Poland was invaded, and two days later
England and France came into the War against Germany in
pursuance of the treaty obligation already referred to. On
the 6th October Hitler renewed his assurances of friendship
to Belgium and Holland. But on the 9th October, before any
kind of accusation had been made by the German Government of
breaches of neutrality by Belgium, the Netherlands, or
Luxembourg, Hitler issued a directive for the conduct of the

In that directive he stated:

“1. If it becomes evident in the near future that
England and France acting under her leadership, are not
disposed to end the war, I am determined to take firm
and offensive action without letting much time elapse.

“2. A long waiting period results not only in the
ending of the advantage to the Western Powers, of
Belgium and perhaps also of Dutch neutrality, but also
strengthens the military power of our enemies to an
increasing degree, causes confidence of the neutrals in
German final victory to wane, and does not help to
bring Italy to our aid as brothers-in-arms.

“3. I therefore issue the following orders for the
further conduct of military operations:

“(a) Preparations should be made for offensive action
on the Northern flank of the Western front crossing the
area of Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland. This attack
must be carried out as soon and as forcefully as

“(1) The object of this attack is to defeat as many
strong sections of the French Fighting Army as
possible, and her ally and partner in the fighting, and
at the same time to acquire as great an area of
Holland, Belgium and Northern

[Page 634]

France as possible, to use as a base offering good
prospects for waging aerial and sea warfare against
England and to provide ample coverage for the vital
district of the Ruhr.”

Nothing could state more clearly or more definitely the
object behind the invasion of these countries than that
document. On 15 October 1939 Keitel wrote a most secret
letter concerning Fall Gelb, which was the code name for the
operation against the Low Countries. In it he stated:

“The protection of the Ruhr area by moving A/C
reporting service and the air defense as far forward as
possible in the area of Holland is significant for the
whole conduct of the war. The more Dutch territory we
occupy the more effective can the defense of the Ruhr
area be made. This point of view must determine the
choice of objectives of the army even if the army and
navy are not directly interested in such territorial
gain. It must be the object of the army’s preparations,
therefore, to occupy on receipt of a special order the
territory of Holland in the first instance in the area
of the Grebbe-Marse line. It will depend on the
military and political attitude of the Dutch as well as
on the effectiveness of their flooding, whether objects
can and must be further extended.” (C-62)

The operation had apparently been planned to take place at
the beginning of November. We have in our possession a
series of 17 letters dated from 7th November until the 9th
May postponing almost from day to day the D-day of the
operation, so that by the beginning of November all the
major plans and preparations had been made. (C-72)

On 10 January 1940 a German aeroplane force landed in
Belgium. In it was found the remains of a half-burnt
operation order setting out considerable details of the
Belgian landing grounds that were to be captured (TC-58).
Many other documents have been found which illustrate the
planning and preparation for this invasion in the latter
half of 1939 and early 1940, but they carry the matter no
further, and they show no more clearly than the evidence to
which I have already referred, the plans and intention of
the German Governments and its armed forces.

On 10 May 1940 at about 0500 hours in the morning the German
invasion of Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg began.

Once more the forces of aggression marched on. Treaties,
assurances, the rights of Sovereign States meant nothing.
Brutal force, covered by as great an element of surprise as
the Nazis could secure, was to seize that which was deemed
necessary for

[Page 625]

striking the mortal blow against England, the main Enemy.
The only fault of these unhappy countries was that they
stood in the path of the German invader. But that was

On 6 April 1941 German armed forces invaded Greece and
Yugoslavia. Again the blow was struck without warning and
with the cowardice and deceit which the World now fully
expected from the self-styled “Herrenvolk”. It was a breach
of the Hague Convention of 1899. It was a breach of the Pact
of Paris of 1928. It was a breach of a specific assurance
given by Hitler on 6 October 1939.

“Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss”, he
said, “I informed Yugoslavia that, from now on, the
frontier with this country will also be an unalterable
one and that we only desire to live in Peace and
Friendship with her”. (TC-43)

But the plan for aggression against Yugoslavia had, of
course, been in hand well before that. In the aggressive
action eastward towards the Ukraine and the Soviet
territories security of the Southern flank and the lines of
communication had already been considered.

The history of events leading up to the invasion of
Yugoslavia by Germany is well known. At 3 o’clock on the
morning of 28 October 1940 a 3-hour ultimatum had been
presented by the Italian Government to the Greek Government
and the presentation of this ultimatum was followed by the
aerial bombardment of Greek provincial towns and the advance
of Italian troops into Greek territory. The Greeks, not
prepared for such an assault, were at first forced to
withdraw. Later the Italian advance was first checked, then
driven towards the Albanian frontier, and by the end of 1940
the Italian Army had suffered severe reverses at Greek

Of German intentions there is the evidence of what occurred
when, on 12 August 1939, Hitler held his meeting with Ciano.

You will remember Hitler said:

“Generally speaking, the best thing to happen would be
for the neutrals to be liquidated one after the other.
This process could be carried out more easily if on
every occasion one partner of the Axis covered the
other while it was dealing with an uncertain neutral.
Italy might well regard Yugoslavia as a neutral of this
kind.” (TC-77)

Later again on the second day of the conversation, 13th
August, he said:

“In general, however, from success by one of the Axis
partners not only strategical but also psychological
strengthening of the other partner and also of the
whole Axis would ensue.

[Page 636]

Italy carried through a number of successful operations
in Abyssinia, Spain and Albania and each time against
the wishes of the Democratic Entente. These individual
actions have not only strengthened Italian local
interests but have also reinforced her general
position. The same was the case with German action in
Austria and Czechoslovakia. *** The strengthening of
the Axis by these individual operations was of the
greatest importance for the unavoidable clash with the
Western Powers.”

Once again we see the same procedure being followed. That
meeting had taken place on the 12 August 1939 –13 August
1939. Less than two months later, on 6 October 139 Hitler
was giving his assurance to Yugoslavia that Germany only
desired to live in peace and friendship with the Yugoslav
State, the liquidation of which by his Axis partner he had
himself suggested.

On 28 October 1940 the Italians presented a 3 hour ultimatum
to Greece and commenced war against her. Eventually the
advance was checked, then driven back, and the Italians
suffered considerable reverses at Greek hands.

We have an undated letter from Hitler to Mussolini which
must have been written about the time of the Italian
aggression against Greece. (2762-PS)

“Permit me at the beginning of this letter to assure
you that within the last 14 days my heart and my
thoughts have been more than ever with you. Moreover,
Duce, be assured of my determination to do everything
on your behalf which might ease the present situation
for you. *** When I asked you to receive me in
Florence, I undertook the trip in the hope of being
able to express my views prior to the beginning of the
threatening conflict with Greece, about which I had
only received general information. First, I wanted to
request you to postpone the action, if possible until a
more favorable time of year, at all events, however,
until after the American presidential election. But in
any case, however, I wanted to request you, Duce, not
to undertake this action without a previous lightning-
like occupation of Crete and. for this purpose, I also
wanted to submit to you some practical suggestions in
regard to the employment of a German parachute division
and a further airborne division. *** Yugoslavia must
become disinterested, if possible, however from our
point of view interested in cooperating in the
liquidation of the Greek question. Without assurances
from Yugoslavia, it is useless to risk any successful
operation in the Balkans. *** Unfortunately I must
stress the fact that waging

[Page 637]

war in the Balkans before March is impossible. Hence it
would also serve to make any threatening influence upon
Yugoslavia of no purpose, since the Serbian General
Staff is well aware of the fact that no practical
action could follow such a threat before March. Here
Yugoslavia must, if at all possible, be won over by
other means and other ways.”

On the 12th November in his Top Secret Order No. 18 Hitler
ordered the OKH to make preparations to occupy Greece and
Bulgaria if necessary. Approximately 10 divisions were to be
used in order to prevent Turkish intervention. To shorten
the time the German divisions in Rumania were to be
increased. On 13 October 1940 Hitler issued an order to OKW,
OKL, OKH, OKM and General Staff on the operation Marita,
which was the invasion of Greece. In that order it is stated
that the invasion of Greece is planned and is to commence as
soon as the weather becomes advantageous. Further orders
were issued on the 13th December and 11th January. (448-PS;

On the 28th January Hitler saw Mussolini. Jodl, Keitel, and
Ribbentrop were present at the meeting and it is from Jodl’s
notes of what took place that we know that Hitler stated
that one of the purposes of German troop concentrations in
Rumania was for use in his plan for the operation against

On 1 March 1941 German troops entered Bulgaria and moved
towards the Greek frontier. In the face of this threat of an
attack on Greece by German as well as Italian forces British
forces were landed in Greece on the 3d March in accordance
with the declaration which had been given by the British
Government on 13 April 1939 that Great Britain would feel
bound to give Greece and Rumania respectively all the
support in her power in the event of either country becoming
the victim of aggression and resisting such aggression.
Already the Italian aggression had made this pledge

On 25 March 1941 Yugoslavia joined the 3-Power Pact which
had already been signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan. The
preamble of the Pact stated that the 3 Powers would stand
side by side and work together.

On the same day Ribbentrop wrote two notes to the Yugoslav
Prime Minister assuring him of Germany’s full intention to
respect the sovereignty and independence of his country.
That declaration was yet another example of the treachery
employed by German diplomacy. We have seen already the
preparations that had been made. We have seen Hitler’s
efforts to tempt the Italians into an aggression against
Yugoslavia. We have seen in January his orders for his own
preparation to invade Yugoslavia

[Page 638]

and Greece and now on the 25th March he is signing a pact
with that country and his Foreign Minister is writing
assurances of respect for her sovereignty and territorial

As a result of the signing of that Pact the anti-Nazi
element in Yugoslavia immediately accomplished a coup d’etat
and established a new Government. Thereupon the decision was
taken to invade immediately and on the 27th March, two days
after the 3-Power Pact had been signed by Yugoslavia, Hitler
issued instructions that Yugoslavia was to be invaded and
used as a base for the continuance of the combined German
and Italian offensive against Greece. (C-127)

Following this, further deployment and other instructions
for the action Marita were issued by Von Brauchitsch on 30
March 1941. (R-95)

It is stated that “the orders issued with regard to the
operation against Greece remain valid so far as not affected
by this order. On the 5th April, weather permitting, the Air
Forces are to attack troops in Yugoslavia, while
simultaneously the attack of the 12th Army begins against
both Yugoslavia and Greece” (R-95). As we now know, the
invasion actually commenced in the early hours of the 6th

Treaties, Pacts, Assurances — obligations of any kind —
are brushed aside and ignored wherever the aggressive
interests of Germany are concerned.

I turn now to the last act of aggression in Europe with
which these Nazi conspirators are charged — the attack upon
Russia. In August 1939 Germany although undoubtedly
intending to attack Russia at some convenient opportunity,
sufficiently deceived the Russian Government to secure a
pact of non-aggression between them. It followed, therefore,
that when Belgium and the Low Countries were occupied and
France collapsed in June 1940, England-although with the
inestimably valuable moral and economic support of the
United States of America-was left alone as the sole
representative of Democracy in the face of the forces of
aggression. Only the British Empire stood between Germany
and the achievement of her aim to dominate the Western
world. Only the British Empire — only England as its
citadel. But it was enough. The first, and possibly the
decisive, military defeat which the enemy sustained was in
the campaign against England, and that defeat had a profound
influence on the future course of the war. On 16 July 1940
Hitler issued to Keitel and Jodl a Directive for the
invasion of England. It started off by stating — and
Englishmen will be forever proud of it — that

“Since England, despite her militarily hopeless
situation, shows no signs of willingness to come to
terms, I have decided to prepare a landing operation
against England and if

[Page 639]

necessary to carry it out. The aim is *** to eliminate
the English homeland as a base for the carrying on of
the war against Germany. The preparations for the
entire operation must be completed by mid-August.” (442-

But the first essential condition for that plan was “that
the English Air Force must morally and actually be so far
overcome that it does not any longer show any considerable
aggressive force against the German attack.” (442-PS)

The German Air Force made the most strenuous efforts to
realize that condition, but, in one of the most splendid
pages of our history, it was decisively defeated. And
although the bombardment of England’s towns and villages was
continued throughout that dark winter of 1940-41 the enemy
decided in the end that England was not to be subjugated by
these means, and accordingly Germany turned back to the
East, the first major aim achieved.

On 22 June 1941, German Armed Forces invaded Russia without
warning, without declaration of war. It was a breach of the
Hague Conventions; it was a violation of the Pact of Paris
of 1928: it was in flagrant contradiction of the Treaty of
nonaggression which Germany and Russia had signed on 23
August 1939.

But that Treaty, perhaps more blatantly than any other, was
made without any intention of being observed and only for
the purpose of assisting the German Government to carry out
their aggressive plans against the Western democracies
before eventually turning east in their own good time.

Hitler himself in referring to the Agreement said agreements
were only to be kept as long as they served a purpose.
Ribbentrop was more explicit. In an interview with the
Japanese Ambassador in Berlin on 23 February 1941 he made it
clear that the object of the agreement had merely been to
avoid a two front war. (1834-PS)

In contrast to what Hitler and Ribbentrop were planning
within the councils of Germany, we know what they were
saying to the rest of the world.

On the 19th July Hitler spoke in the Reichstag:

“In these circumstances I consider it proper to
negotiate as a first priority a sober definition of
interests with Russia. It would be made clear once and
for all what Germany believes she must regard as her
sphere of interest to safeguard her future and, on the
other hand, what Russia considers important for her

“From the clear delineation of the sphere of interest
on either

[Page 640]

side, there followed the new regulation of Russo-German
relations. Any hope that now at the end of the term of
the agreement a new Russo-German tension could arise is
childish. Germany has taken no step which would lead
her outside her sphere of interest, nor has Russia. But
England’s hope, to achieve an amelioration of her own
position through the engineering of some new European
crisis, is, in so far as it is concerned with Russo-
German relations, an illusion.

“British statesmen perceive everything somewhat slowly,
but they too will learn to understand this in course of

Yet it was not many months after that that the arrangements
for attacking Russia were put in hand. Raeder gives us the
probable reasons for this sudden decision in a note to
Admiral Assmann

“The fear that control of the air over the Channel in
the Autumn of 1940 could no longer be attained, a
realization which the Fuehrer no doubt gained earlier
than the Naval War Staff, who were not so fully
informed of the true results of air raids on England
(our own losses), surely caused the Fuehrer, as far
back as August and September, to consider whether, even
prior to victory in the West, an Eastern campaign would
be feasible with the object of first eliminating our
last serious opponent on the continent. The Fuehrer did
not openly express this fear, however, until well into

He may not have told the Navy of his intentions until later
in September, but by the beginning of that month he had
undoubtedly spoken of them to Jodl.

Dated 6 September 1940 we have a directive of the OKW signed
by Jodl: “Directions are given for the occupation forces in
the east to be increased in the following weeks. For
security reasons this should not create the impression in
Russia that Germany is preparing for an Eastern offensive.”
Directives are given to the German Intelligence Service
pertaining to the answering of questions by the Prussian
Intelligence Service. “The total strength of the German
troops in the East to be camouflaged by frequent changes in
this area. The impression is to be created that the bulk of
the troops in the south have moved whilst the occupation in
the north is only very small.” (1229-PS)

Thus we see the beginning of the operations.

On 12 November 1940 Hitler issued a directive signed by Jodl
in which he stated that the political task to determine the
attitude of Russia had begun, but without reference to the

[Page 641]

of preparations against the East, which had been ordered
orally before it could be carried out.

On the same day Molotov visited Berlin. At the conclusion of
conversations between himself and the German Government a
communique was issued in the following terms:

“The exchange of ideas took place in an atmosphere of mutual
trust and led to a mutual understanding on all important
questions interesting Germany and the Soviet Union.”

It is not to be supposed that the USSR would have taken part
in those conversations or agreed to that communique if it
had been realized that on the very day orders were being
given for preparations to be made for the invasion of Russia
and that the order for the operation “Barbarossa” was in
preparation. Four days later that order was issued — “The
German armed forces have to be ready to defeat Soviet Russia
in a swift campaign before the end of the War against Great
Britain” (446-PS). And later in the same instruction,

“All orders which shall be issued by the High
Commanders in accordance with this instruction have to
be clothed in such terms that they may be taken as
measures of precaution in case Russia should change her
present attitude towards ourselves.” (446-PS)

Keeping up the pretense of friendliness, on 10 January 1941
— after the Plan Barbarossa for the invasion of Russia had
been decided upon — the German-Russo frontier treaty was
signed. On 3 February 1941 Hitler held a conference,
attended by Keitel and Jodl, at which it was provided that
the whole operation was to be camouflaged as if it was part
of the preparations for the “Seelowe” as the plan for
invasion of England was called.. By March 1941 the plans
were sufficiently advanced to include provision for dividing
the Russian territory into 9 separate States to be
administered under Reich Commissars under the general
control of Rosenberg. At the same time detailed plans for
the economic exploitation of the country were made under the
supervision of Goering, to whom the responsibility was
delegated by Hitler. You will hear something of the details
of these s plans. It is significant that on 2 May 1941 a
conference of the State Secretaries on the Plan Barbarossa

“1. The war can only be continued if all armed forces
are fed out of Russia in the third year of the 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.”

[Page 642]

But this apparently created no concern. The plan Oldenberg,
as the scheme for economic organization was called, went on.
By the 1st May the D date of the operation was fixed. By the
1st June preparations were virtually complete and an
elaborate time table was issued. It was estimated that
although there would be heavy frontier battles, lasting
perhaps 4 weeks, after that no serious opposition was to be

On the 22d June at 3.30 in the morning the German Armies
marched again. As Hitler said in his Proclamation:

“I have decided to give the fate of the German People
and of the Reich and of Europe again into the hands of
our soldiers.”

The usual false pretexts were of course given. Ribbentrop
stated on the 28th June that the step was taken because of
the threatening of the German frontiers by the Red Army. It
was untrue and Ribbentrop knew it was untrue. On the 7th
June his Ambassador in Moscow was reporting to him that “All
observations show that Stalin and Molotov who are alone
responsible for Russian foreign policy are doing everything
to avoid a conflict with Germany”. The staff records which
you will see make it clear that the Russians were making no
military preparations and that they were continuing their
deliveries under the Trade Agreement to the very last day.
The truth was, of course, that the elimination of Russia as
a political opponent and the incorporation of the Russian
territory in the German Lebensraum had long been one of the
cardinal features of Nazi policy, subordinated latterly for
what Jodl called diplomatic reasons.

And so, on the 22d June, the Nazi armies were flung against
the Power with which Hitler had so recently sworn friendship
and Germany embarked on that last act of aggression which,
after long and bitter fighting, was eventually to result in
Germany’s own collapse.


This then is the case against these Defendants, as amongst
the rulers of Germany, under Count 2 of this Indictment. It
may be said that many of the documents which have been
referred to were in Hitler’s name, that the orders were
Hitler’s orders, that these men were mere instruments of
Hitler’s will. But they were the instruments without which
Hitler’s will could not be carried out. And they were more
than that. These men were no mere willing tools, although
they would be guilty enough if that had been their role.
They are the men whose support

[Page 643]

had built Hitler up into the position of power he occupied:
they are the men whose initiative and planning perhaps
conceived and certainly made possible the acts of aggression
made in Hitler’s name, and they are the men who enabled
Hitler to build up the Army, Navy and Air Force by which
these treacherous attacks were carried out, and to lead his
fanatical followers into peaceful countries to murder, to
loot and to destroy. They are the men whose cooperation and
support made the Nazi Government of Germany possible. The
Government of a totalitarian country may be carried on
without the assistance of representatives of the people. But
it cannot be carried on without any assistance at all. It is
no use having a leader unless there are also people willing
and ready to serve their personal greed and ambition by
helping and following him. The dictator who is set up in
control of the destinies of his country does not depend upon
himself alone either in acquiring power or in maintaining
it. He depends upon the support and backing which lesser
men, themselves lusting to share in dictatorial power,
anxious to bask in the adulation of their leader, are
prepared to give. In the Criminal Courts, where men are put
upon their trial for breaches of the municipal laws, it not
infrequently happens that of a gang indicted together in the
Dock, one has the master mind, the leading personality. But
it is no excuse for the common thief to say “I stole because
I was told to steal”; for the murderer to plead “I killed
because I was asked to kill”. These men are in no different
position for all that it was nations they sought to rob,
whole peoples they tried to kill. “The warrant of no man
excuseth the doing of an illegal act.” Political loyalty,
military obedience are excellent things. But they neither
require nor do they justify the commission of patently
wicked acts. There comes a point where a man must refuse to
answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his
conscience. Even the common soldier, serving in the ranks of
his Army is not called upon to obey illegal orders. But
these men were no common soldiers: they were the men whose
skill, and cunning, whose labour and activity made it
possible for the German Reich to tear up existing treaties,
to enter into new ones and to flout them, to reduce
international negotiations and diplomacy to a hollow
mockery, to destroy all respect for and effect in
International Law and finally to march against the peoples
of the world to secure that domination in which as arrogant
members of their self-styled master race they professed
their belief. If the crimes were in one sense the crimes of
Nazi Germany, they also are guilty as the individuals who
aided, abetted, counselled, procured and made possible the
commission of what was done.

[Page 644]

The sum total of the crime these men have committed — so
awful in its comprehension — has many aspects. Their lust
and sadism, their deliberate slaughter and the degradation
of so many millions of their fellow creatures that the
imagination reels incomprehensively, are but one side only
of this matter. Now that an end has been put to this
nightmare and we come to consider how the future is to be
lived, perhaps their guilt as murderers and robbers is of
less importance and of less effect to future generations of
mankind than their crime of fraud — the fraud by which they
placed themselves in a position to do their murder and their
robbery. This is the other aspect of their guilt. The story
of their “diplomacy”, founded upon cunning, hypocrisy and
bad faith, is a story less gruesome but no less evil and
deliberate. And should it be taken as a precedent of
behaviour in the conduct of international relations, its
consequences to mankind will no less certainly lead to the
end of civilized society. Without trust and confidence
between Nations, without the faith that what is said is
meant and what is undertaken will be observed, all hope of
peace and of security is dead. The Governments of the United
Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, of the USA, of the
USSR, and of France, backed by and on behalf of every other
peace-loving Nation of the world, have therefore joined to
bring the inventors and perpetrators of this Nazi conception
of international relationship before the bar of this

They do so that these Defendants may be punished for their
crimes. They do so also that their conduct may be exposed in
its naked wickedness. And they do so in the hope that the
conscience and good sense of all the world will see the
consequences of such conduct and the end to which inevitably
it must always lead. Let us once again restore sanity and
with it also the sanctity of our obligations towards each