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

Sixteenth Day: Monday, 10th December, 1945
(Part 8 of 9)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 272]

For some months prior to the issuance of Basic Order No. 24, regarding collaboration with Japan, this conspirator had been preparing "Fall Barbarossa", the plan for the attack on the U.S.S.R. Basic Order No. 24 decreed, however, that the Japanese "must not be given any intimation of the 'Barbarossa' operation."

In his conference with the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka, on 29th March, 1941, almost three weeks after the issuance of Basic Order No. 24, Ribbentrop nevertheless hinted at things to come. The report of this conference, contained in 1877-PS, has already been introduced as Exhibit

[Page 273]

USA 152 and read into the record. I wish to invite the Tribunal's attention again to the first two paragraphs of the English translation of 1877-PS, where Ribbentrop assured Matsuoka that the largest part of the German Army was on the Eastern frontiers of the Reich, fully prepared to open the attack at any time. Ribbentrop then added that, although he believed that the U.S.S.R. would try to avoid developments leading to war, nevertheless a conflict with the Soviet Union, even if not probable, would have to be considered possible.

What conclusion the Japanese Ambassador drew from these remarks in April, 1941, can only be conjectured. Once the Nazis had unleashed their aggression against the U.S.S.R., in June, 1941, the tenor of Ribbentrop's remarks left no room for doubt. On 10th July, 1941, he dispatched a coded telegram to Ott, the German Ambassador in Tokyo. The telegram is our Document 2896-PS, which I now introduce as Exhibit USA 155. I quote from Paragraph 4 of that telegram, which is the first paragraph of the English translation:-

"Please take this opportunity to thank the Japanese Ambassador in Moscow for conveying the cable report. It would be convenient if we could keep on receiving news from Russia, this way. In summing up, I would like to say: I have now, as in the past, full confidence in the Japanese policy, and in the Japanese Foreign Minister; principally because the present Japanese Government would really act inexcusably toward the future of its nation if it did not take this unique opportunity to solve the Russian problem, as well as to secure for all time its expansion to the South and settle the Chinese matter. Since Russia, as reported by the Japanese Ambassador in Moscow, is, in effect, close to collapse, a report which coincides with our own observations as far as we are able to judge at the present war situation, it is simply impossible that Japan should not solve the matter of Vladivostok and the Siberian area as soon as her military preparations are completed."
Skipping now to the middle of the second paragraph on Page 1 of the English translation, the sentence beginning "However".
"However, I ask you to employ all available means in further insisting upon Japan's entry into the war against Russia at the soonest possible date, as I have mentioned already in my note to Matsuoka. The sooner this entry is effected, the better. The natural objective still remains that we and Japan join hands on the Trans-Siberian railroad, before winter starts. After the collapse of Russia, however, the position of the Three-Power-Pact States in the world will be so gigantic that the question of England's collapse or the total destruction of the English islands, respectively, will only be a matter of time. An America totally isolated from the rest of the world would then be faced with our taking possession of the remaining positions of the British Empire which are important for the Three-Power-Pact countries. I have the unshakeable conviction that a carrying through of the new order as desired by us will be a matter of course, and that there will be no insurmountable difficulties if the countries of the Three-Power Pact stand close together and counter every action of the Americans with the same weapons. I ask you to report in the near future, as often as possible and in detail, on the political situation there."

[Page 274]

We have Ott's reply to this telegram, dated 13th July, 1941. This is our Document 2897-PS, which I offer in evidence as Exhibit USA 156. After reading the heading, I shall skip to the last paragraph on Page 3 of the German text, which is the paragraph appearing in the English translation.
"Telegram; Secret Cipher System. Sent 14th July from Tokyo; arrived 14th July, 1941. Immediate.

I am trying with all means to work toward Japan's entry into the war against Russia, as soon as possible, especially using arguments of personal message of Foreign Minister and telegram cited above, to convince Matsuoka personally, as well as the Foreign Office, military elements, nationalists and friendly business men. I believe that, according to military preparations, Japanese participation will soon take place. The greatest obstacle which I have to fight against is the disunity among the activist group which, without unified command, follows various aims and only slowly adjusts itself to the changed situation."

On subsequent occasions Ribbentrop repeated his exhortations to induce the Japanese to aggression against the U.S.S.R. I shall present three documents covering July, 1942, and March and April, 1943. The first is our Document 2911-PS, which contains notes of a discussion between Ribbentrop and Oshima, Japanese Ambassador to Berlin, on 9th July, 1942.

As a matter of background, I note that at this time German armies were sweeping forward in the U.S.S.R., and the fall of Sebastopol had just been announced.

I now offer our Document 2911-PS as Exhibit USA 157, and I quote the relevant extracts appearing in the English translation thereof:-

"He, the German Minister, had asked to see the Ambassador at this time when the situation was as described, because now a question of fateful importance had arisen concerning the joint conduct of the war. If Japan felt itself sufficiently strong militarily, the moment for Japan to attack Russia was probably now. He thought it possible that if Japan attacked Russia at this time, it would lead to her - Russia's - final moral collapse; at least, it would hasten the collapse of her present system. In any case, never again would Japan have such an opportunity as then existed to eliminate once and for all the Russian colossus in Eastern Asia.

He had discussed this question with the Fuehrer, who was of the same opinion; but he wanted to emphasise one point right away: Japan should attack Russia only if she felt sufficiently strong for such an undertaking. Under no circumstances should Japanese operations against Russia be allowed to bog down at the half-way mark. We do not want to urge Japan into an action that is not mutually profitable."

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now, for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, I now offer in evidence our Document 2954-PS, as Exhibit USA 158. This is a record of a conference between Ribbentrop and Ambassador Oshima on 6th March, 1943.

I note again for background, that the strategic military situation in the broad expanses of the U.S.S.R. had changed somewhat.

[Page 275]

In the previous month, February, 1943, the Soviet armies had completely defeated the German forces at Stalingrad and inflicted very severe losses. Further North and West their winter offensive had removed large areas from the hands of the invader. Combined United States and British forces had already landed in North Africa.

You will remark as I read that the tone of Ribbentrop's argument at this time reflects the changed military situation. The familiar Japanese refrain of "So sorry, please", likewise appears to have crept in.

I note in this record that the month of February, 1943, had also seen the end of organised Japanese resistance on the Island of Guadalcanal.

I now quote the relevant extracts from the minutes of the discussion between Ribbentrop and Oshima on 6th March, 1943, which appear in the English translation in the document book.

"Ambassador Oshima declared that he had received a telegram from Tokyo, and he was to report by order of his Government to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs the following: The suggestion of the German Government to attack Russia was the subject of a common conference between the Japanese Government and the Imperial headquarters, during which the question was discussed in detail and investigated exactly. The result was the following: The Japanese Government absolutely recognised the danger which threatened from Russia, and completely understood the desire of its German ally, that Japan on her part should also enter the war against Russia. However, it was not possible for the Japanese Government, considering the present war situation, to do so. It was rather of the conviction that it would be in the common interest, not to start the war against Russia now. On the other hand, the Japanese Government would never disregard the Russian question.

The Japanese Government had the intention of becoming aggressive again in the future on other fronts.

The R.A.M. brought up the question, after the explanation by the Ambassador, how the continued waging of the war was envisaged in Tokyo. At present, Germany was waging the war against the common enemies, England and America, mostly alone, while Japan was mostly behaving more defensively. However, it would be more correct that all powers allied in the Three- Power Pact should combine their forces to defeat not only England and America, but also Russia. It was not good when one part had to fight alone. One could not overstrain the German national strength. He was inwardly concerned about certain forces at work in Tokyo, who were of the opinion and propagated it that, doubtless, Germany would emerge from the battle victoriously, but that Japan should proceed to consolidate her forces, before she further exerted herself to the fullest extent."

I now omit several pages in the German text and resume the quotation:
"Then the R.A.M. again brought up the question of the attack on Russia by Japan, and he declared that after all, the fight on the Burma front as well as in the South was actually more of a maritime problem; and on all fronts except those in China very few ground forces were stationed. Therefore, the attack on Russia was primarily an Army affair, and he asked himself if the necessary forces for that would be available."

[Page 276]

Ribbentrop kept on trying. He held another conference with Oshima, about three weeks later, on 18th April, 1943. The top secret notes of this conference are contained in our Document 2929-PS, which I now offer as Exhibit USA 159. I shall quote only one sentence:
"The Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs then stressed again that, without any doubt, this year presented the most favourable opportunity for Japan, if she felt strong enough and had sufficient anti-tank weapons at her disposal, to attack Russia, who certainly would never again be as weak as she was at the moment."
I now wish to come to that aspect of this conspiracy which is in a large measure responsible for the appearance of millions of Americans in uniform all over the world.

The Nazi preparations and collaboration with the Japanese against the United States, as noted by the United States Chief of Counsel in his opening statement, present a two-fold aspect; one of preparations by the Nazis themselves for an attack from across the Atlantic, and the other of fomenting war in the Pacific.

In the course of my presentation of the Nazi exhortations to the Japanese to war against the British Commonwealth and the U.S.S.R., I have referred to some documents and quoted some sentences relating to the United States. I shall take those documents up again in their relevant passages to show their particular application. I have also, in the treatment of Ribbentrop's urging the Japanese to war against the U.S.S.R., gone beyond the dates of 7th December and 11th December, 1941, when the Japanese and German Governments respectively initiated and declared aggressive war against the United States.

Apart from the advantage and convenience of presentation, these documents have indicated the Nazi awareness and acceptance of the direction in which their actions were leading, as well as the universal aspects of their conspiracy and of their alliance with the Japanese. Their intentions against the United States must be viewed in the focus of both their overall plan and their immediate commitments elsewhere. That their overall plan involved ultimate aggressive war against the United States was intimated by the defendant Goering in a speech on 8th July, 1938, when these conspirators had already forcibly annexed Austria and were perfecting their plans against Czechoslovakia.

This speech was delivered to representatives of the aircraft industry, and the copy that we have was transmitted as the enclosure to a secret memorandum from Goering's adjutant to General Udet, who was then in charge of experimental research for the Luftwaffe. It is contained in our Document R-140, which I now offer as Exhibit USA 160.

I invite the Tribunal's attention to the statement in the covering memorandum, that the enclosure is a copy of the shorthand minutes of the conference. I shall not go through the long speech in which Goering called for increased aircraft production and pointed to the necessity for full mobilisation of German industrial capacity. I wish to quote just two sentences, which appear on Page 33 of the German text and Page 11 of the English translation. Quoting from the second full paragraph on Page 11 of the English translation, starting with the third sentence from the end of the paragraph:-

[Page 277]

"I still lack these rocket-motors, which could make such flights possible, perfect bombers, capable of round trip flights to New York with a 10-ton bomb load. I would be extremely happy to possess such a bomber, which would at last stuff the mouth of arrogance across the sea."
Goering's fervent hope, of course, was not capable of realisation at that time, either technically or in the face of the Nazi conspirators' schedule of aggression that has been outlined here in the past several days.

During the period of their preparation for and the waging of aggressive war in Europe, up to the launching of the campaign against the U.S.S.R., it is only reasonable to believe that these conspirators were not disposed to involve the United States in war at that time. Nevertheless, even in the fall of 1940, the prosecution of war against the United States of America at a later date was on the military agenda. This is clearly shown in a document which we have found in the files of the O.K.L., the German Air Force files. It is Document 376-PS, which I now offer as Exhibit USA 161. This document is a memorandum marked "Chefsache", the German designation for top secret, from a Major von Falkenstein to an unspecified general, presumably a Luftwaffe General.

Falkenstein, who was a major of the General Staff, was at that time the Luftwaffe liaison officer with the Operations Staff of the O.K.W., which was the staff headed by the defendant Jodl. His memorandum, which he characterises as a "brief resume on the military questions current here", is dated 29th October, 1940. It covers several questions. I shall quote to you numbered Paragraph 5, which appears at the bottom of the first page of the English translation and carries over to the reverse side of the one-sheet document.

"(5) The Fuehrer is at present occupied with the question of the occupation of the Atlantic Islands with a view to the prosecution of a war against America at a later date. Deliberations on this subject are being embarked upon here. Essential conditions are at present:

(a)No other operational commitment.
(b) Portuguese neutrality.
(c) Support of France and Spain.

A brief assessment of the possibility of seizing and holding air bases and of the question of supply is needed from the G.A.F." - or the German Air Force.

The Nazi's military interest in the United States is further indicated by Paragraph 7, which I read:
"General von Botticher has made repeated reference, especially in his telegram 234, dated 26th October, to the fact that in his opinion too many details of our knowledge of American aircraft industry are being published in the German Press. The matter has been discussed at Armed Forces Supreme Command. I pointed out that the matter was specifically a G.A.F. one, but have taken the liberty of referring the matter to you on its own merits."
Again, in July, 1941, in his first flush of confidence resulting from early gains in the aggression against the U.S.S.R., the Fuehrer signed an order for further preliminary preparations for the attack on the United States.

[Page 278]

This Top Secret order, found in the files of the German Navy, is our Document C-74, which I now offer as Exhibit USA 162. I read from the first paragraph of that text, just preceding Paragraph 1:-
"By virtue of the intentions announced in Directive No. 32, for the further conduct of the war, I lay down the following principles to govern the strength of personnel and of material supplies:

(1) In General:

The military domination of Europe, after the defeat of Russia, will enable the strength of the Army to be considerably reduced in the near future. As far as the reduced strength of the Army will allow, the armoured units will be greatly increased.

Naval armament must be restricted to those measures which have a direct connection with the conduct of the war against England and, should the case arise, against America.

The main effort in armament will be shifted to the Air Force, which must be greatly increased in strength."

From these documents, it appears that the Nazi conspirators were making at least preliminary plans of their own against the United States. The Nazis overall plan with regard to the United States was, however, a complex one, involving, in addition, collaboration with the Japanese. In the course of their repeated representations to the Japanese, to undertake an assault against British possessions in the Pacific Far East, they again considered war against the United States.

I now refer again to Basic Order No. 24, regarding collaboration with Japan. This is Document C-75, which I have put in as Exhibit USA 151. 1 have read it in its entirety into the record. The Tribunal will recall that in that basic order, which was issued on 5th March, 1941, the Nazi policy was stated in Subparagraph (3) (a) as "forcing England to the ground quickly and thereby keeping the United States out of the war."

Nevertheless, the Nazi conspirators clearly contemplated within the framework of that policy, the possibility of the United States' entry into the Far Eastern conflict which the Nazis were then instigating. This could result from an attack by Japan on possessions of the United States, practically simultaneously with the assault on the British Empire, as actually happened. Other possibilities of involvement of the United States were also discussed. This Basic Order No. 24 stated - and I am referring to Subparagraph (3) W, on the top of Page 2 of the Document C-75:-

"(c) The raw material situation of the Pact Powers demands that Japan should acquire possession of those territories which it needs for the continuation of the war, especially if the United States intervenes. Rubber shipments must be carried out, even after the entry of Japan into the war, since they are of vital importance to Germany."
The Order continues in an unnumbered paragraph, immediately below Subparagraph (3)(d):-
"In addition, attacks on other systems of bases of British Naval power - extending to those of American naval power only if the entry of the United States into the war cannot be prevented - will result in weakening the enemy's system of power in that region and also, just like the attack on sea communications, in tying down substantial forces of all kinds (Australia)."

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.