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

Fourteenth Day: Thursday, 6th December, 1945
(Part 9 of 9)


As the Tribunal will shortly see, in the Norwegian Vidkun Quisling the defendant Rosenberg found a very model of the Fifth Column agent, the very personification of perfidy.

The evidence as to the early stages of the Nazi conspiracy to invade Norway is found in a letter which the defendant Raeder wrote on 10th January, 1944, to Admiral Assmann, the official German Naval historian.

I put in this letter, the Document C-66, which will be Exhibit GB 81, and which the Court will find further on in this book of documents. I should explain that in this book of documents the documents are inserted in the numerical order of the series to which they belong and not in the order of their submission to the Court. I trust that that will be a more convenient form of bundling them together than to set them down in the order of presentation.


MAJOR ELWYN JONES: C-66. It is headed "Memorandum for Admiral Assmann, for his own information; not to be used for publication."

The Court will observe that the first page deals with "Barbarossa."

If the Tribunal turns to the next page, headed "(b) Weser- Ubung," the Tribunal will find from documents which I shall shortly be submitting to the Court, that "Weser-Ubung" was the code name for the invasion of Norway and Denmark.

I will omit the first sentence. The document, which, as I have said, is a communication from the defendant Raeder to Assmann, reads as follows:

"During the weeks preceding the report on 10th October, 1939, I was in correspondence with Admiral Carls, who, in a detailed letter to me, first pointed out the importance of an occupation of the Norwegian coast by Germany. I passed this letter on to C/SK1" - which is the Chief of Staff of the Naval War Staff - "for their information and prepared some notes based on this letter, for my report to the Fuehrer,

[Page 180]

which I made on 10th October, 1939, since my opinion was identical with that of Admiral Carls, while, at that time, SK1 was more dubious about the matter. In these notes, I stressed the disadvantages which an occupation of Norway by the British would have for us - control of the approaches to the Baltic, outflanking of our naval operations and of our air attacks on Britain, pressure on Sweden. I also stressed the advantages for us of the occupation of the Norwegian coast - outlet to the North Atlantic, no possibility of a British mine barrier, as in the year 1917-1918. Naturally, at the time, only the coast and bases were considered; I included Narvik, though Admiral Carls, in the course of our correspondence thought it could be excluded. The Fuehrer saw at once the significance of the Norwegian problem; he asked me to leave the notes and stated that he wished to consider the question himself."

I will pause in the reading of that document at that point and return to it later, so that the story may be revealed to the Court in a chronological order.

That report of Raeder, in my submission, shows that the whole evolution of this Nazi campaign against Norway affords a good example of the participation of the German High Command in the Nazi conspiracy to attack inoffensive neighbours.

This letter, an extract from which I have just read, has revealed that Raeder reported to Hitler on 10th October, 1939 -

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): When was that report?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: The report C-66 was made in January, 1944, by the defendant Raeder to Assmann, who was the German Naval historian, and so, presumably, was for the purposes of history.

Before Raeder's report of 10th October, 1939 was made to the Fuehrer, he got a second opinion on the Norwegian invasion. On 3rd October, Raeder made out the questionnaire to which I now invite the Court's attention. It is Document C-122, and the Court will find it next but one to C-66 in the document book. That will now be Exhibit GB 82.

That, as the Tribunal will observe, is headed "Gaining of Bases in Norway (extract from War Diary)," and bears the date of 3rd October, 1939. It reads:-

"The Chief of the Naval War Staff (who was the defendant Raeder) considers it necessary that the Fuehrer be informed as soon as possible of the opinions of the Naval War Staff on the possibilities of extending the operational base to the North. It must be ascertained whether it is possible to gain bases in Norway under the combined pressure of Russia and Germany, with the aim of improving our strategic and operational position. The following questions must be given consideration:-

(a) What places in Norway can be considered as bases?

(b) Can bases be gained by military force against Norway's will, if it is impossible to carry this out without fighting?

(c) What are the possibilities of defence after the occupation?

(d) Will the harbours have to be developed completely as bases, or have they already advantages suitable for supply position?"

Then there follows in parentheses:

("F.O. U-boats" - which is a reference, of course, to the defendant Donitz - "already considers such harbours extremely useful as equipment and supply bases for Atlantic U-boats to call at temporarily.")

[Page 181]

And then Question (e): "What decisive advantages would exist, for the conduct of the war at sea, in gaining bases in North Denmark, e.g., Skagen?"

There is, in our possession, a Document C-5, to find which it will be necessary for the Court to go back in the document book to the first of the C Exhibits. This will be Exhibit GB 83.

This is a memorandum written by the defendant Donitz on Norwegian bases. It presumably relates to the questionnaire of the defendant Raeder, which, as I have indicated, was in circulation at about that time. The document is headed "Flag Officer Submarines, Operations Division," and is marked "Most Secret." The subject is "Base in Norway."

Then there are set out "suppositions, advantages and disadvantages," and, over the page, "conclusions." I am proposing to read the last paragraph, III:-

"The following is therefore proposed:-

(1) Establishment of a base in Trondheim, including:

(a) Possibility of supplying fuel, compressed air, oxygen, provisions.

(b) Repair opportunities for overhaul work after an encounter.

(c) Good opportunities for accommodating U-boats crews.

(d) Flak protection, L.A. anti-aircraft armament, petrol and M/S units.

(2) Establishment of the possibility of supplying fuel in Narvik as an alternative."

That is a Donitz memorandum.

Now, as the Tribunal saw in the report of Raeder to Assmann, in October, 1939, Hitler was merely considering the Norwegian aggression and had not yet committed himself to it, although, as the Tribunal will see very shortly, he was most susceptible to any suggestions of aggression against the territory of another country.

The documents will show that the defendant Raeder persevered in pressing his point of view with regard to Norway, and at this stage he found a powerful ally in the defendant Rosenberg.

The Nazi employment of traitors and the stimulation of treachery as a political weapon are now unhappily proven historical facts, but, should proof be required of that statement, it is found in the remarkable document which I now invite the Court to consider. I refer to Document 007- PS, which is after the TC and D series in the document book. That will be Exhibit GB 84.

That is headed on Page 1, "Brief Report on Activities of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Party (Aussenpolitisches Amt der N.S.D.A.P.) from 1933 to 1943." It reads: -

"When the Foreign Affairs Bureau (Aussenpolitsche Amt) was established on 1st April, 1933, the Fuehrer directed that it should not be expanded to a large bureaucratic agency, but should rather develop its effectiveness through initiative and suggestions.

Corresponding to the extraordinarily hostile attitude adopted by the Soviet Government in Moscow from the beginning, the newly-established Bureau devoted particular attention to internal conditions in the Soviet Union, as well as to the effects of World Bolshevism, primarily in other European countries. It entered into contact with the most variegated groups inclining towards National Socialism in combating Bolshevism, focussing its main attentions on nations and States bordering on the

[Page 182]

Soviet Union. On the one hand, those nations and States constituted an Insulating Ring encircling the Bolshevist neighbour; on the other hand they were the laterals of German living space and took up a flanking position towards the Western Powers, especially Great Britain. In order to wield the desired influence by one means or another" - and the Court will shortly see the significance of that phrase - "The Bureau was compelled to use the most varying methods, taking into consideration the completely different living conditions, the ties of blood, intellect and history of the movements observed by the Bureau in those countries.

In Scandinavia an outspokenly pro-Anglo-Saxon attitude, based on economic considerations, had become progressively more dominant after the World War Of 1914- 1918. There the Bureau put the entire emphasis on influencing general cultural relations with the Nordic peoples. For this purpose it took the Nordic Society in Lubeck under its protection. The Reich conventions of this society were attended by many outstanding personalities, especially from Finland. While there were no openings for purely political co-operation in Sweden and Denmark, an association based on Greater Germanic ideology was founded in Norway. Very close relations were established with its founder, which led to further consequences."

If the Court will turn to the end of the main part of the statement, which is four pages forward - in the intervening pages, I may say, there is an account of the activity of Rosenberg's in various parts of Europe and indeed of the world, to which I am not proposing to call the tribunal's attention at this stage - but if the Tribunal will look at the last paragraph of the main body of the report, the last two sentences read:-

" With the outbreak of war, the Bureau was entitled to consider its task as terminated."

THE PRESIDENT: I have not got the place.

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: I beg your Lordship's pardon; it is Page 4 of the report, which bears the signature of the defendant Rosenberg.

"With the outbreak of war it was entitled to consider its task as terminated. The exploitation of the many personal connections in many lands can be resumed under a different guise."

If the Tribunal will turn to the Annex to the document, which is on the next page, the Tribunal will appreciate what "exploitation of personal connections" involved.

Annex One to the document is entitled, "To Brief Report on Activities of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Nazi Party from 1933 to 1943." It is headed, "The Political Preparation of the Military Occupation of Norway During the War Years 1939-1940", and it reads:-

"As previously mentioned, of all political groupings in Scandinavia only 'Nasjonal Samling', led in Norway by the Former Minister of War and Major of the Reserve, Vidkun Quisling, deserved serious political attention. This was a fighting political group, possessed by the idea of a Greater Germanic Community. Naturally, all ruling powers were hostile and attempted to prevent, by any means, its success among the population. The Bureau maintained constant liaison with Quisling and attentively observed the attacks he conducted with tenacious energy on the middle class, which had been taken in tow by the English.

[Page 183]

From the beginning, it appeared probable that without revolutionary events, which would stir the population from their former attitude, no successful progress of 'Nasjonal Samling' was to be expected. During the winter 1938-1939, Quisling was privately visited by a member of the Bureau.

When the political situation in Europe came to a head in 1939, Quisling made an appearance at the convention of the Nordic Society, in Lubeck, in June. He expounded his conception of the situation, and his apprehensions concerning Norway. He emphatically drew attention to the geopolitically decisive importance of Norway in the Scandinavian area, and to the advantages that would accrue to the power dominating the Norwegian coast, in case of a conflict between the Greater German Reich and Great Britain.

Assuming that his statement would be of special interest to the Marshal of the Reich, Goering, for aero-strategical reasons, Quisling was referred to State Secretary Korner by the Bureau. The Staff Director of the Bureau, handed the Chief of the Reich Chancellery a memorandum for transmission to the Fuehrer."

In a later part of the document, which I shall read at a later stage of my presentation of the evidence, if I may, the Court will see how Quisling came into contact with Raeder. The prosecution's submission with regard to this document is that it is another illustration of the close interweaving between the political and the military leadership of the Nazi State, of the close link between the professional soldiers and the professional thugs.

The defendant Raeder, in his report to Admiral Assmann, admitted his collaboration with, Rosenberg, and I will invite the Court's attention once more to Document C-66, which is Exhibit GB 81. In the page headed "Weser-Ubung," the second paragraph of the Raeder report reads as follows:

"In the further, developments, I was supported by Commander Schreiber, Naval Attache in Oslo, and the M- Chief personally - in conjunction with the Rosenberg Organisation. Thus, we got in touch with Quisling and Hagelin, who came to Berlin in the beginning of December and were taken to the Fuehrer by me-with the approval of Reichsleiter Rosenberg."

I will later draw the attention of the Tribunal to the developments in December.

The details of the manner in which the defendant Raeder did make contact personally with Quisling are not very clear. But I would draw the Court's attention to the Document C-65, which precedes -

THE PRESIDENT: Would you read the end of that paragraph?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: With your Lordship's permission, I would like to revert to that in a later stage of my unfolding of the evidence.

In the Document C-65, which will be Exhibit GB 85, we have a report of Rosenberg to Raeder, in which the full extent of Quisling's preparedness for treachery and his potential usefulness to the Nazi aggressors was reported and disclosed to the latter.

Paragraph I of that report deals with matters which I have already dealt with, in reading Rosenberg's statement, 007-PS. But if the Court will look at the second paragraph of Exhibit GB 85, C- 65, it reads as follows:

[Page 184]

"The reasons for a coup, on which Quisling made a report, would be provided by the fact that the Storthing" - that is to say the Norwegian Parliament - "had, in defiance of the constitution, passed a resolution, which is to become operative on January 12th, prolonging its own life. Quisling still retains in his capacity as a long-standing officer and a former Minister of War, the closest relations with the Norwegian Army. He showed me the original of a letter which he had received only a short time previously from the Commanding Officer in Narvik, Colonel Sunlo. In this letter, Colonel Sunlo frankly lays emphasis on the fact that if things went on as they were going at present, Norway was finished."

If the Court will turn to the next page of that document, the last two paragraphs, the details of a treacherous plot to overthrow the government of his own country, by the traitor Quisling, in collaboration with the defendant Rosenberg, will be indicated to the Court.

"A plan has been put forward which deals with the possibility of a coup, and which provides for numbers of selected Norwegians to be trained in Germany with all possible speed for such a purpose, being allotted their exact tasks, and provided with experienced and die-hard National Socialists, who are practised in such operations. These trained men should then proceed with all speed to Norway, where details would then require to be further discussed. Some important centres in Oslo would have to be taken over immediately, and at the same time, the German Fleet, together with suitable contingents of the German Army, would go into operation, when summoned specially by the new Norwegian Government, in a specified bay, at the approaches to Oslo. Quisling has no doubts that such a coup, having been carried out with instantaneous success - would immediately bring him the approval of those sections of the Army with which he at present has connections; and thus it goes without saying that he has never discussed a political fight with them.

As far as the King is concerned, he believes that he would respect it as an accomplished fact."

How wrong Quisling was in that anticipation was shown, of course, by subsequent developments.

The last sentence reads:-

"Quisling gives figures of the number of German troops required, which accord with German calculations."

The Tribunal may think that there are no words in the whole vocabulary of abuse sufficiently strong to describe that degree of treachery.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that document dated?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: That document does not bear a date.

THE PRESIDENT: We will break off now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 7th December, 1945, at 1000 hours.)

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