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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eleventh Day: Monday, 3rd December, 1945
(Part 4 of 8)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 18]

During the remainder of the conference Hitler gave his views on the strategy the German armies should employ and the strength of the Czech defences they would encounter. He spoke of the possibility, and I quote, "Of drawing in the Henlein people." The situation in the West still troubled him. Schmundt further noted, and here I read the final sentence from Page 40 of the English transcript:
"The Fuehrer gives orders for the development of the Western fortifications; improvement of advance positions around Aachen and Saarbrucken; construction of 300 to 400 battery positions (1,600 artillery pieces). He emphasises flanking action."
Five days later General Stuelpnagel asked defendant Jodl for written assurance that the O.K.H. would be informed five days in advance about the impending action. In the evening Jodl conferred with Luftwaffe generals about the co-ordination of ground and air operation at the start of the action. I now read the 8th September entry in General Jodl's diary, Page 5 of the English translation of Document 1780-PS.
"General Stuelpnagel O.K.H. asks for written assurance that the Army High Command will be informed five days in advance if the plan is to take place. I agree and add that the over-all meteorological situation can be estimated for only two days in advance and that therefore the plans may be changed up to this moment, that is 'D-day minus 2,' or as the German puts it, 'X minus 2 Tage.'

General Stuelpnagel mentions that for the first time he wonders whether the previous basis of the plan is not being abandoned. It presupposed that the Western Powers would not interfere decisively. It begins to seem as if the Fuehrer would stick to his decision, even though he may no longer be of this opinion. It must be added that Hungary is at least moody and that Italy is reserved."

Now, this is Jodl talking:
"I must admit that I am worrying too, when comparing the change of opinion about political and military potentialities, according to directives of 24th June, 1937, 5th November, 1937, 7th December, 1937 and 3oth May, 1938, with the last statements. In spite of that one must be aware of the fact that the other nations will do everything they can to apply pressure to us. We must pass this test of nerves but, because only very few people know the art of withstanding this pressure successfully, the only possible solution is to inform only a very small circle of officers of news that causes us anxiety, and not to let it circulate through anterooms as heretofore.

1800 hours to 2100 hours: conference with Chief of Army High Command and Chief of General Staff of the Air Forces (present were General Jeschonnek, Kammhuber, Sternburg and myself). We agree about the promulgation of the D-day order. (X-Befehl) (X- 1, 4 o'clock) and pre-announcement to the Air Force (D-day minus 1 (X minus 1 day)7 o'clock). The' Y' time has yet to be examined. Some formations of an approach flight of one hour."

Late on the evening of the following day, the 9th September, Hitler met the defendant Keitel and Generals von Brauchitsch and Halder at

[Page 19]

Nuremberg. Dr. Todt, the construction engineer, later joined this conference, which lasted from 10 in the evening until 3.30 the following morning. Schmundt's minutes on this conference are Item ig in the large Schmundt file, on Pages 41 to 43 of Document 388- PS.

In this meeting General Halder reviewed the missions assigned to four of the German Armies being committed to the attack, the Second, the Tenth, the Twelfth and the Fourteenth. With his character1stic enthusiasm for military planning, Hitler then delivered a soliloquy on strategic considerations, which should be taken in account as the attack developed. I shall quote only four paragraphs, beginning with the summary of General von Brauchitsch's remarks, on the bottom of Page 42.

"General Oberst von Brauchitsch: Employment of motorised divisions was based on the difficult rail situation in Austria and the difficulties in getting other divs"- that is for divisions - "(ready to march) into the area at the right time. In the West, vehicles will have to leave on the 20th of September, if X-day remains as planned. Workers leave on the 23rd by relays. Special1st workers remain according to decision by Army Command 2.

The Fuehrer: I do not see why workers have to return home as early as X-II. Other workers and people are also on the way on mobilisation day. Also the railroad cars, they will stand around unnecessarily later on.

General Keitel: Workers are not under the jurisdiction of district commands in the West. Trains must be assembled.

Von Brauchitsch: 235,000 men R.A.D. (Labour Service) will be drafted. 96 construction battalions will be d1stributed (also in the East). 40,000 trained labourers stay in the West."

From this day forward the Nazi conspirators were occupied with the intricate planning which is required before such an attack. On the 11th of September defendant Jodl conferred with a representative of the Propaganda Ministry about methods of refuting German violations of International Law and of exploiting those of the Czechoslovakians. I read the 11th September entry in the Jodl diary at Page 5 of the English translation of Document 1780-PS:
"In the afternoon conference with Secretary of State Jahnke, from the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda on imminent common tasks. These joint preparations for refutation (Wiederlegung) of our own violations of International Law, and the exploitation of its violations by the enemy, were considered particularly important."
This discussion developed into a detailed study compiled by Section L, that is, Jodl's section of the O.K.W.

I now offer in evidence Document C-2 as Exhibit USA go, which is a carbon copy of the original, signed in pencil. Seven copies of this document, as it shows on its face, were prepared and d1stributed on the 1st of October 1938, to the O.K.H. ' the O.K.M., the Luftwaffe and the Foreign Office.

In this study anticipated violations by Germany of International Law in connection with the invasion of Czechoslovakia are l1sted and counterpropaganda suggested for the use of the Propaganda Agencies. It is a highly interesting Top Secret document and, from a glance at the original,

[Page 20]

you can see the careful form in which the study of anticipated violations of International Law and propagand1stic refutations thereof was set out.

The document is prepared in tabular form, in which the anticipated instances of violation of International Law are l1sted in the left- hand column. In the second column are given specific examples of the incidents. In the third and fourth columns the position to be taken toward these incidents, in violation of International Law and in violation of the laws of warfare, is set forth.

The fifth column, which in this document unfortunately is blank, was reserved for the explanations to be offered by the Propaganda Minister. I first quote from the covering letter:

"Enclosed is a l1st drawn up by Section L of the O.K.W. of the violations of International Law which may be expected on the part of fighting troops.

Owing to the short time allowed for the compilation, Columns C- 1 and C-2 had to be filled in directly here for the time being.

The branches of the Armed Forces are requested to send in an opinion here so that a final version may be drawn up.

The same is requested of the Foreign Office.

The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

By order (signed) Burckner."

I am sorry that I perhaps cannot take the time to read extensively from this document. I shall confine myself to reading the first ten hypothetical incidents for which justification must be found, from the second column, Column B of the Table.
"First: In an air raid on Prague the British Embassy is destroyed.

Second: Englishmen or Frenchmen are killed or injured.

Third: The Hradschin is destroyed in an air raid on Prague.

Fourth: On account of a report that the Czechs have used gas, the firing of gas projectiles is ordered.

Fifth: Czech civilians, not recognisable as soldiers, are caught in the act of sabotage (destruction of important bridges, destruction of foodstuffs and fodder) or are discovered looting wounded or dead soldiers and thereupon shot.

Sixth: Captured Czech soldiers or Czech civilians are detailed to do road work or to load munitions.

Seventh: For military reasons it is necessary to requisition billets, foodstuffs, and fodder from the Czech population. As a result the latter suffer from want.

Eighth: Czech population is, for military reasons, compulsorily evacuated to the rear areas.

Ninth: Churches are used for military accommodation.

Tenth: In the course of their duty, German aircraft fly over Polish territory where they are involved in an air battle with Czech aircraft."

From Nuremberg on the 10th of September, Hitler issued an order bringing the Reichsarbeitsdienst, the German Labour Service, under the O.K.W. This Top Secret order --

THE PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that document now


[Page 21]

THE PRESIDENT: Would you read the classification with reference to gas?

MR. ALDERMAN: Perhaps I should, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: It is number 4.

MR. ALDERMAN: Incident number 4?


MR. ALDERMAN: Well, number 4 was the supposed incident, "On account of a report that the Czechs have used gas, the firing of gas projectiles is ordered." Under the heading "Attitude of International Law Group it says:

"According to the declaration agreed to in June, 1925, by 40 States, including Czechoslovakia, the employment of poison gases, chemical warfare agents, and bacteriological substances is expressly forbidden. Quite a number of States made the reservation to this declaration on the prohibition of gas that they consider themselves exempt from this prohibition should the opponent use gas."
Then, under the column headed "Justification by the Laws of War", it says:
"If the assertion, that the opponent - in this case the Czechs - used a prohibited gas in warfare, is to be believed by the world, it must be possible to prove it. If that is possible, the firing of gas projectiles is justified and it must be given out in public that it can be proved that the enemy was the first to violate the prohibition. It is therefore particularly important to furnish the proof. If the assertion is unfounded or only partially founded, the gas attack is to be represented only as the need for carrying out a justified reprisal, in the same way as the Italians did in the Abyssinian War. In this case, however, the justification for such harsh reprisals must be proved."
From Nuremberg on the 10th September, Hitler issued an order bringing the Reichsarbeitsdienst, the German Labour Service, under the O.K.W. --

THE PRESIDENT: There is another short passage which seems to be material.

MR. ALDERMAN: I was very much tempted to read the whole document.

THE PRESIDENT: The classification number 10.

MR. ALDERMAN: Number 10 was "In course of their duty, German aircraft fly over Polish territory where they are involved in an air battle with Czech aircraft."

Under the heading "Attitude of the International Law Group:"

"According to Article 1 of the Fifth Hague Convention of 18th October, 1907, the territory of neutral powers is not to be violated. A deliberate violation of flying over this territory is a breach of International Law if the neutral powers have declared an air barrier for combat aircraft. If German planes fly over Polish territory this constitutes a violation of International Law, provided that this action is not expressly permitted."
Now, under the heading " Justification by the Laws of War", is this:
"An attempt at denials should first be made. If this is unsuccessful, a request for pardon should be made, on the grounds of miscalculation of position, to the Polish Government and compensation for damage guaranteed."

[Page 22]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you go on to a quarter to one?

MR. ALDERMAN: Whatever the Court wishes. Yes, sir, I will go on.I had referred to the order of the 14th September, by which defendant Keitel issued detailed instructions. No, I am sorry, I had referred to an order issued by Hitler on the 10th September from Nuremberg, bringing the German Labour Service under the O.K.W. This Top Secret order, of which 25 copies were made, is Item 20 in the Schmundt file, Page 441 will read that order:

"1. The whole R.A.D. organisation comes under the command of the Supreme Command of the Army, effective 15th September.

2. The Chief of O.K.W. decides on the first commitments of this organisation in connection with the Reich Labour Leader (Reichsarbeitsfuehrer) and on assignments from time to time to the Supreme Commands of the Navy, Army, and Air Force. Where questions arise with regard to competency he will make a final decision in accordance with my instructions. 3. For the time being this order is to be made known only to the departments and personnel immediately concerned.

(Signed) Adolf Hitler."

Four days later, on the 14th September, defendant Keitel issued detailed instructions for the employment of specific R.A.D. units. This order is Item 21 in the Schmundt file, at Page 45 in the English translation. I do not think I need read the order.

There is another order issued by the defendant Jodl on the 16th September, Item 24, at Page 48 in the Schmundt file. I think I need only read the heading or title of that: "Subject: Employment of Reich Labour Service" for manoeuvres with Wehrmacht.

Two further entries in the defendant Jodl's diary give further indications of the problems of the O.K.W. in this period of mid- September, just two weeks before the anticipated X-day.

I now read the answers for the 15th and 16th September, at Pages 5 and 6 of the English translation of the Jodl diary.

"In the morning conference with Chief of Army High Command and Chief of General Staffs of Army and Air Force, the question was discussed what could be done if the Fuehrer insisted on advancement of the date, due to the rapid development of the situation.

16th September: General Keitel returns from the Berghof at 1700 hours. He graphically describes the results of the conference between Chamberlain and the Fuehrer. The next conference will take place on the 21st or 22nd in Godesberg.

With consent of the Fuehrer, the order is given in the evening to the Armed Forces High Command, to the Army High Command, and to the Ministry of Finance, to line up the V.G.A.D. along the Czech border (reinforced border guard).

In the same way, an order is issued to the railways to have empty rolling stock clandestinely kept in readiness for the strategic concentrations of the Army, so that it can be transported starting 28th September."

The order to the railroads to make rolling stock available, which General Jodl referred to, appears as Item 22, at Page 47 of the Schmundt file. In this order the defendant Keitel told the railroads to be ready by the 28th

[Page 23]

September but to continue work on the Western front fortifications even after the 20th September in the interest of camouflage. I quote the first four paragraphs of this order:
"The Reichsbahn (that is the railroads) must provide trains of empty trucks in great numbers by 28th September for the carrying out of mobilisation exercises. This task now takes precedence over all others.

Therefore the trainloads for the limes job"- I understand the "limes job" to have reference to defence fortification in the West - "will have to be cut down after 17th September and those goods loaded previous to this date, unloaded by 20th September.

The Supreme Command of the Army (Fifth Division of the Army General Staff) must issue further orders after consultation with the authorities concerned.

However, in accordance with the Fuehrer's directive, every effort should be made to continue to supply the materials in as large quantities as feasible, even after 20th September, 1938, and this for reasons of camouflage as well as in order to continue the important work on the limes."

The penultimate stage of the aggression begins on the 18th September. From that date until the 28th a series of orders were issued advancing preparations for the attack. These orders are included in the Schmundt file and I shall not take the time of the Tribunal by attempting to read all of it.

On the 18th the commitment scheduled for the five participating Armies, the Second, Eighth, Tenth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth, was set forth. That is Item 26 in the Schmundt file at Page 50 of the English translation. Hitler approved the secret mobilisation of five divisions in the West to protect the German rear during "Case Green", and I refer to Item 31 in the Schmundt file at Page 13. I beg your pardon, it is Page 55, I had a misprint. I might refer to that. It is a "Most Secret" order, Berlin, 27th September, 1938, 1920 hours, 45 copies of which this is the 16th.

"The Fuehrer has approved the mobilisation without warning of the five regular West divisions (26, 34, 36, 32 and 35). The Fuehrer and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has expressly reserved the right to issue the order for employment in the fortification zone and the evacuation of this zone by the workers of the Todt organisation.

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