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

Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 5th December, 1945
(Part 3 of 8)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 103]

I offer in evidence Document R-100 as Exhibit USA 121. This document is a memorandum of information given by Hitler to von Brauchitsch on 25th March, 1939. Much of it deals with problems arising from recently occupied Bohemia and Moravia and Slovakia. I quote, beginning at the sixth paragraph:
"Col. Gen. Keitel will inform Slovak Government via Foreign Office that it would not be lawful to keep or garrison armed Slovak units (Hlinka Guards) on this side of the border formed by the river Waag. They shall be transferred to the new Slovak territory. Hlinka Guards should be disarmed.

Slovakia shall be requested via Foreign Office to deliver to us against payment any arms we want and which are still kept in Slovakia. This request is to be based upon agreement made between army and Czech troops. For this payment these millions should be used which we will pour anyhow into Slovakia.

Czech Protectorate:

H. Gr." - the translator's note indicates that that probably means army groups, but I cannot vouch for it - "shall be asked again whether the

[Page 104]

request shall be repeated for the delivery of all arms within a stated time limit and under the threat of severe penalties.

We take former Czechoslovakian war material without paying for it. The guns bought by contract before 15th February, though, shall be paid for. Bohemia and Moravia have to make annual contributions to the German Treasury. Their amount shall be fixed on the basis of the expenses earmarked formerly for the Czech army."

The German conquest of Czechoslovakia, in direct contravention of the Munich Agreement, was the occasion for the formal protests by the British and French Governments. These Documents, TC-52 and TC-53, dated 17th March, 1939, will be presented to the Tribunal by the British Prosecutor.

On the same day, 1939, 17th March, the Acting Secretary of State of the United States Government issued a statement, which I will offer in evidence, and I invite the Court to take judicial notice of the entire volume, Document 2862 - PS-as Exhibit USA 122, which is an excerpt from the official volume entitled Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 issued under the seal of the Department of State of the United States of America. Incidentally, this volume, which happens to be my own copy and I hope I can get another one-I am placing in evidence, because I am quite certain that in its study of the background of this whole case the Court will be very much interested in this volume, which is a detailed chronological history of all the diplomatic events leading up to and through the Second World War to 1941. But what I am actually offering in evidence at the moment appears on Pages 454 and 455 of the volume, a statement by the Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles, dated 17th March, 1939:

"The Government of the United States has on frequent occasions stated its conviction that only through international support of a programme of order based upon law can world peace be assured.

This Government, founded upon and dedicated to the principles of human liberty and of democracy, cannot refrain from making known this country's condemnation of the acts which have resulted in the temporary extinguishment of the liberties of a free and independent people with whom, from the day when the Republic of Czechoslovakia attained its independence, the people of the United States have maintained specially close and friendly relations.

The position of the Government of the United States has been made consistently clear. It has emphasised the need for respect for the sanctity of treaties and of the pledged word, and for non-intervention by any nation in the domestic affairs of other nations; and it has on repeated occasions expressed its condemnation of a policy of military aggression.

It is manifest that acts of wanton lawlessness and of arbitrary force are threatening the world peace and the very structure of modern civilisation. The imperative need for the observance of the principles advocated by this Government has been clearly demonstrated by the developments which have taken place during the past three days."

With Czechoslovakia in German hands, the Nazi conspirators had accomplished the programme they had set themselves in the meeting in Berlin on 5th November, 1938. You will recall that this programme of conquest was intended to shorten their frontiers, to increase their industrial and food

[Page 105]

reserves, and to place them in a position, both industrially and strategically, from which they could launch more ambitious and more devastating campaigns of aggression. In less than a year and a half this programme had been carried through to the satisfaction of the Nazi leaders, and at that point I would again invite the Court's attention to the large chart on the wall. I think it is no mere figure of speech to make reference to the wolf's head, what is known in Anglo-American law as caput lupinum.

The lower jaw formed near Austria was taken - the red part on the first chart - 12th March, 1938. Czechoslovakia thereby was encircled, and the next step was the absorption of the mountainous part, the Sudetenland, indicated on the second chart in red. On 1st October, 1938, Czechoslovakia was further encircled and its defences weakened, and then the jaws clamped in, or the pincers, as I believe General Keitel or General Jodl called them - I believe it was General Jodl's diary - and you see what they did to Czechoslovakia. On 15th March, 1939 the borders were shortened, new bases were acquired, and then Czechoslovakia was destroyed. Bohemia and Moravia are in black, and Slovakia in what might be called light tan. But I have read to you the documents which showed in what condition Slovakia was left; and with the German military installations in Slovakia, you see how completely the Southern border of Poland was flanked, as well as the Western border, the stage being set for the next aggression, which the British Prosecutor will describe to you.

Of all the Nazi conspirators the defendant Goering was the most aware of the economic and strategic advantages which would accrue from the possession by Germany of Czechoslovakia.

I now offer in evidence Document 1301-PS, which is a rather large file, and we offer particularly Item 10 of the document, at Page 25 of the English translation. I offer it as Exhibit USA 123. Page 25 of the English translation contained the Top Secret minutes of a conference with Goering in the Luftwaffe Ministry, the Air Ministry. The meeting which was held on 14th October, 1938, just two weeks after the occupation of the Sudetenland, was devoted to the discussion of economic problems. As of that date, the defendant Goering's remarks were somewhat prophetic. I quote from the third paragraph, from the bottom of Page 26 of the English translation:

"The Sudetenland has to be exploited with all the means. General Field Marshal Goering counts upon a complete industrial assimilation of Slovakia. Czechoslovakia would become a German dominion. Everything possible must be taken out. The Oder-Danube canal has to be speeded up. Searches for oil and ore have to be conducted in Slovakia, notably by State Secretary Keppler."
In the summer of 1939, after the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia into the German Reich, defendant Goering again revealed the great interest of the Nazi leaders in Czech economic potential.

I offer in evidence Document R-133 as exhibit USA 124. This document is a minute, dated Berlin - 27th July, 1939 signed by Muller, of a conference between Goering and a group of officials from the O.K.W. and from other agencies of the German Government concerned with war production. This meeting had been held two days previously, on 25th July. I read the first part of the account of this meeting.

"In a rather long statement the Field Marshal explained that the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia into the, German economy

[Page 106]

had taken place, in order among other reasons, to increase the German war potential, by exploitation of the industry there. Letters, such as the decree of the Reich Minister for Economics - S-10 402/39 of 10th July 1939 - as well as a letter with similar meaning to the Junkers firm, which might possibly lower the kind and extent of the armament measures in the Protectorate, are contrary to this principle. If it is necessary to issue such directives, this should be done only with his consent. In any case, he insists" - that is defendant Goering insists - "in agreement with the directive by Hitler, that the war potential of the Protectorate is definitely to be exploited in part or in full and is to be directed towards mobilisation as soon as possible."
In addition to strengthening the Nazi economic potential for the following wars of aggression, the conquest of Czechoslovakia provided the Nazis with new bases from which to wage their next war of aggression, the attack on Poland.

You will recall the minutes of the conference between Goering and a pro-Nazi Slovak delegation in the winter of 1938-1939. Those minutes are Document 2801-PS, which I introduced into evidence earlier, as Exhibit USA 109. You will recall the last, sentence of those minutes, a statement of defendant Goering's conclusions. I quote this sentence again:

"Air bases in Slovakia are of great importance for the German Air Force for use against the East."
I now offer in evidence Document 1874-PS, as Exhibit USA 125. This document is the German minutes of a conference between defendant Goering and Mussolini and Ciano on 15th April, 1939, one month after the conquest of Czechoslovakia.

In this conference, Goering told his junior partners in the Axis of the progress of German preparations for war. He compared the strength of Germany with the strength of England and France. Not unnaturally, he mentioned the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, in this connection. I read two paragraphs of these thoughts, on Page 4, paragraph 2, of the German minutes.

THE PRESIDENT: Which document is this?

MR. ALDERMAN: It is 1874-PS

"However, the heavy armament of Czechoslovakia shows, in any case, how dangerous it could have been, even after Munich, in the event of a serious conflict. By German action, the situation of both Axis countries was ameliorated because, among other reasons, of the economic possibilities which resulted from the transfer to Germany of the great production capacity of Czechoslovakia. That contributes toward a considerable strengthening of the Axis against the Western Powers.

Furthermore, Germany now need not keep ready a single division for protection against that country in case of bigger conflict. This too, is an advantage by which both Axis countries will, in the last analysis, benefit."

Then on Page 5, paragraph 2, of the German version:-
"The action taken by Germany in Czechoslovakia is to be viewed as an advantage for the Axis in case Poland should finally join the enemies of the Axis powers. Germany could then attack this country from two flanks, and would be within only twenty-five minutes flying distance from the new Polish industrial centre, which had been moved further into the

[Page 107]

interior of the country, nearer to the other Polish industrial districts, because of its proximity to the border."
Now, by the turn of events, it is located again in the proximity of the border. And that flanking on two fronts is illustrated on the four segment chart.

I think the chart itself demonstrates, better than any oral argument, the logic, the cold calculation, the deliberation of each step to this point of the German aggression. More than that, it demonstrates what I might call the master stroke of the aggressive war case, that is that each conquest of the Nazi conspirators was deliberately planned as a stepping-stone to new and more ambitious aggression. You will recall the words of Hitler, at the conference in the Reich Chancellery on 23rd May, 1939, when he was planning the Polish campaign, Document L-79, Exhibit USA 27. I quote from it.

"The period which lies behind us has indeed been put to good use. All measures have been taken in the correct sequence and in harmony with our aims."
It is appropriate to refer to two other speeches of the Nazi leaders. In his lecture in Munich on 7th November, 1943, the defendant Jodl spoke as follows, and I quote from Page 5 of Document L-172, already received in evidence as Exhibit USA 34; on Page 8 of the German text:
"The bloodless solution of the Czech conflict in the autumn of 1938 and spring of 1939, and the annexation of Slovakia, rounded off the territory of Greater Germany in such a way that it now became possible to consider the Polish problem on the basis of more or less favourable strategic premises."
In the speech to his military commanders on 23rd November, 1939, Hitler described the process by which he had rebuilt the military power of the Reich; this is our Document 789- PS, Exhibit USA 23. I quote one passage from the second paragraph:
"The next step was Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. This step too it was not possible to accomplish in one campaign. First of all, the Western fortifications had to be finished. It was not possible to reach the goal in one effort. It was clear to me, from the first moment, that I could not be satisfied with the Sudeten- German territory. That was only a partial solution. The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed the erection of the Protectorate and with that, the basis for the action against Poland was laid."
Before I leave the subject of the aggression against Czechoslovakia, I should like to submit to the Court a document which became available to us too late to be included in our document book. It reached me on Saturday, late in the afternoon or late at night. This is an official document, again from the Czechoslovakian Government, a supplement to the Czechoslovakian report, which I had previously offered in evidence. I now offer it, identified as Document 3061-PS, as Exhibit USA 126.

The document was furnished us, if the Court please, in the German text with an English translation, which did not seem to us quite adequate, and we have had it re-translated into English, and the translation has just been passed up, I believe, to the Tribunal. That mimeographed translation should be appended to our document book "O".

[Page 108]

I shall not read the report; it is about twelve pages long. The Court will take judicial notice of it, under the Provisions of the Charter. I merely summarise. This document gives confirmation and corroboration to the other evidence which I presented to the Tribunal. In particular, it offers support to the following allegations:

First, the close working relationship between Henlein and the S.D.P., on the one hand, and Hitler and defendants, Hess and Ribbentrop, on the other.

Second, the use of the German Legation in Prague to direct the German Fifth Column activities.

Third, the financing of the Henlein Movement by agencies of the German Government, including the German diplomatic representatives at Prague.

Fourth, the use of the Henlein Movement to conduct espionage on direct orders from the Reich.

In addition, this document gives further details of the circumstances of the visit of President Hacha to Berlin on the night of 14th March. It substantiates the fact that President Hacha required the medical attention of Hitler's physician and it supports the threat, which the defendant Goering made to the Czech delegation.

Now, if it please the Tribunal, that concludes my presentation of what, to me, has always seemed one of the saddest chapters in human history, the rape and destruction of the frail little nation of Czechoslovakia.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal: Before I tender the evidence which I desire to place before the Tribunal, it might be convenient if I explained how the British case is to be divided up and who will present the different parts.

I shall deal with the general treaties. After that, my learned friend, Colonel Griffith-Jones, will deal with Poland. Thirdly, Major Elwyn Jones will deal with Norway and Denmark. Fourthly, Mr. Roberts will deal with Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. Fifthly, Colonel Phillimore will deal with Greece and Yugoslavia. After that, my friend, Mr. Alderman, of the American Delegation, will deal on behalf of both delegations with the aggression against the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.

May I also, with the Tribunal's permission, say one word about the arrangements that we have made as to documents. Each of the defendants' counsel will have a copy of the document book, of the different document books, in English. In fact, 30 copies of the first four of our document books have already been placed in the defendants' Information Centre. We hope that the last document book, dealing with Greece and Yugoslavia, will have the 30 copies placed there today.

In addition, the defendants' counsel have at least six copies in German of every document.

With regard to my own part of the case, the first section on general treaties, all the documents on this phase are in the Reichsgesetzblatt or Die dokumente der Deutschen Politik, of which ten copies have been made available to the defendants' counsel, so that with regard to the portion with which the Tribunal is immediately concerned, the defendants' counsel will have at least 16 copies in German of every document referred to.

Finally, there is a copy of the Reichsgesetzblatt and Die Dokumente available for the Tribunal, other copies if they so desire, but one is placed ready for the Tribunal if any member wishes to refer to a German text.

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