The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 17, 1945 to January 4, 1946

Twenty-Seventh Day: Friday, 4th January, 1946
(Part 5 of 9)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit to-morrow in closed session to consider matters of procedure, and there will therefore be no public session to-morrow.

COLONEL TAYLOR: Your Lordship, I have just one more document dealing with this subject of this structure of the group before passing on to the substantive charges of criminality.

This document is C-78, which is already in evidence as Exhibit USA 139. That will be found in Document Book 2. This document is the official command invitation to participate in the consultation at the Reich Chancellery on 14th June, 1941, eight days prior to the attack on the Soviet Union. This is one of the meetings that was referred to in the last paragraph of the affidavits by Halder and von Brauchitsch, which were read into the record this morning. It is signed by Colonel Schmundt, the Chief Wehrmacht Adjutant to Hitler, and is dated at Berchtesgaden, 9th June, 1941. It begins:

"In re: Conference 'Barbarossa ' " - that being the code word for the attack on the Soviet Union - "The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander

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of the Armed Forces has ordered reports on 'Barbarossa' by the Commanders of Army Groups and Armies and Naval and Air Commanders of equal rank."
That is, as the Tribunal will see once again, the very group specified in the bottom line of the chart on the wall, Army Groups, Armies, Army, Naval and Air Commanders of similar rank.

This document likewise includes a list of the participants in this conference, and I would just like in closing on this subject to run through that list to show who the participants in this conference were, and how closely they parallel the structure of the group as we find it in the Indictment. The Tribunal will see that the list of participants begins at the foot of Page 1 of the translation:

General Field Marshal von Brauchitsch, who was then Commander-in-Chief of the Army and a member of the group; General Halder, who was Chief of the Army Staff and a member of the group; then three subordinates, who were not members of the group; Paulus, Hausinger, and Guldenfeldt.

Navy: Captain Wagner, who was chief of the Operations Staff, Operations Division of the Naval War Staff, not a member of the group. On the air side: Goering, a member of the group; General Milch, State Secretary and Inspector of the Air Force, again not a member of the group; General Jeschomiek, Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force and a member of the group; and two of his assistants.

Passing over the page to the O.K.W., High Command of the Armed Forces, we find Keitel, Jodl, Warlimont, all members of the group, were present, with an assistant from the General Staff.

Then four officers from the office of the adjutant, who were not members of the group.

Then we pass to the officers from the Field Commands: General von Falkenhorst, Army High Command, Norway, member of the group; General Stumpff, Air Fleet 5, member of the group; Rundstedt, Reichenau, Stillpnagel, Schobert, Kleist, all from the Army, all members of the group.

Air Force: General Loehr, Air Fleet 4, member of the group.

General Fromm and General Udet were not members. Fromm was director of the Home Forces, commander of the Home Forces, and Udet the Director General of Equipment and Supply.

The Navy: Raeder, a member of the group; Fricke, chief of the Naval War Staff, and a member of the group; and an assistant who was not a member; Karls, Navy Group North, member of the group.

Then from the Army: Leeb, Busch, Kuhler, all members of the group as Oberbefehlshaber. From the Air Force, Keller, a member of the group.

Bock, Kluge, Strauss, Guderian, Hoth, Kesselring, all members of the group.

It will accordingly be seen that except for a few assisting officers of relatively junior rank, almost all the participants in these consultations were members of 'the group as defined in the Indictment, and that in fact the participants included almost all the members of the group who were concerned in the impending operations against the Soviet Union.

I have now concluded the first part of the presentation, to wit, the description of the General Staff and High Command Group and its composition and structure and general manner of functioning. I turn now to the charges levelled against this group in the Indictment.

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Appendix B charges that this group had a major responsibility for the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of the illegal wars set forth in Counts 1 and 2 and for the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity detailed in Counts 3 and 4.

In presenting the evidence in support of these charges we must keep in mind that under the Charter the group may be declared criminal in connection with any acts of which an individual defendant who was a member of the group may be convicted.

The General Staff and High Command group is well represented among the individual defendants in this case. Five of the individual defendants, or one- quarter of the individuals here, are members of the group.

Taking them in the order in which they are listed, the first is defendant Goering. Goering is a defendant in this case in numerous capacities. He is a member of the General Staff and High Command group by reason of having been Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force from the time when the Air Force first came into the open and was officially established, until about one month prior to the end of war. During the last month of the war he was replaced in this capacity by von Greim, who committed suicide shortly after his capture at the end of the war. Goering is charged with crimes under all counts of the Indictment.

The next listed defendant who is a member of the group is Keitel. He and the remaining three defendants are, all four of them, in this case primarily or solely in their military capacities, and all four of them are professional soldiers or sailors.

Keitel was made Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces, or O.K.W., when the O.K.W. was first set up in 1938 and remained in that capacity throughout the period in question. He held the rank of field marshal throughout most of this period, and in addition to being the Chief

of the O.K.W., he was a member of the Secret Cabinet Council and of the Council of Ministers for the Defence of the Reich. Keitel is charged with crimes under all four counts.

The defendant Jodl was a career soldier. He was an Oberstleutnant, or Lieutenant Colonel, when the Nazis came to power and ultimately attained the rank of Generaloberst or Colonel General. He became the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Welirmacht and continued in that capacity throughout the war. He also is charged with crimes under all four counts.

The other two defendants who are members of this group are on the nautical side. The defendant Raeder is in a sense the senior member of the entire group, having been commander-in-chief of the German Navy as early as 1928. He attained the highest rank in the German Navy, Grossadmiral. He retired from the Supreme Command of the Navy in 1943, in January, and was replaced by Donitz. Raeder is charged under Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the Indictment.

The last of the five defendants, Donitz, was a relatively junior officer when the Nazis came to power. During the early years of the Nazi regime, he specialised in submarine activities and was in command of the U-boat arm when the war broke out. He rose steadily in the Navy and was chosen to succeed Raeder when the latter retired in 1943, became commander-inchief of the Navy and attained the rank of Grossadmiral. When the German Armed Forces collapsed near the end of the war, Doernitz succeeded Hitler

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as head of the German Government. He is charged under Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the Indictment.

Four of these five defendants are reasonably typical of the group as a whole. We must except the defendant Goering, who is primarily a Nazi party politician nourishing a hobby for aviation as a result of his career in 1914-18. But the others made soldiering or sailoring their life-work. They collaborated with and joined in the most important adventures of the Nazis, but they were not among the early party members. They differ in no essential respects from the other 125 members of the group. They are, no doubt, abler men in certain respects. They rose to the highest positions in the German Armed Forces, and all but Jodl attained the highest rank.

But they will serve as excellent case studies and as representatives of the group, and we can examine their ideas as they have expressed them in these documents, and their actions, with fair assurance that these ideas and actions are characteristic of the other group members.

I turn first to the criminal activities of the General Staff and High Command group under Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment, their activities in planning and conspiring to wage illegal wars. Here my task is largely one of recapitulation. The general body of proof relating to aggressive war has already been laid before the Tribunal by my colleague, Mr. Alderman, and the distinguished members of the British delegation.

Many of the documents to which they drew the Tribunal's attention showed that the defendants here who were members of the General Staff and High Command group participated knowingly and wilfully in crimes under Counts 1 and 2. I propose to avoid referring again to that evidence so far as I possibly can, but I must refer to one or two of them again to focus the Tribunal's attention on the part which the General Staff and High Command group played in aggressive War Crimes.

Now it is, of course, the normal function of a military staff to prepare military plans. In peacetime military staffs customarily concern themselves with the preparation of plans for attack or defence based on hypothetical contingencies. There is nothing criminal about carrying on these exercises or preparing these plans. That is not what the defendants and this group are charged with.

We will show that the group agreed with the Nazi objective of aggrandising Germany by threat of force or force itself, and they joined knowingly and enthusiastically in developing German armed might for this purpose. They were advised in advance of the Nazi plans to launch aggressive wars. They laid the military plans and directed the initiation and carrying on of the wars. These things we believe to be criminal under Article 6 of the Charter.

Aggressive war cannot be prepared or waged without intense activity on the part of all branches of the Armed Forces, and particularly by the high-ranking officers who control these forces. To the extent, therefore' that German preparation for and the waging of aggressive war are historicai facts of common knowledge, or are already proved, it necessarily follows that the General Staff and High Command group, and the German Armed Forces, participated therein.

This is so notwithstanding the effort on the part of certain German military leaders to insist that until the troops marched they lived in an ivory tower unwilling to see the direction to which their work led.

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The documents to which I shall refer fully refute this, and moreover some of these men now fully admit they participated gladly with the Nazis because the Nazi aims coincided closely with their own.

I think that the documents which Mr. Alderman read into the transcript already adequately reflect the purposes and objectives of the German General Staff and High Command Group during the period prior to the absorption of Austria. During this period occurred, as is charged in the Indictment, firstly, secret rearmament, including the training of military personnel, the production of war munitions and building of an Air Force; secondly, the Goering announcement on 10th March, 1933, that Germany was building a military Air Force; thirdly, the law for compulsory military service of 16th March, 1935, fixing the peace-time strength of the German Army at 500,000; and finally, and fourthly, the reoccupation of the Rhineland on 7th March, 1936, and the refortification of that area.

Those particular facts do not require judicial proof. They are historical facts, and likewise the fact that it would have been impossible for the Nazis to achieve these things without co-operation by the Armed Forces is indisputable from the very nature of things.

Mr. Alderman described to the Tribunal and read from numerous documents which illustrate these events. He included numerous documents concerning the secret expansion of the German Navy in violation of treaty limitations, under the guidance of the defendant Raeder.

He also read the secret Reich Defence Law, Document 2261-PS, already in the record as Exhibit USA 24, which was adopted on the same day that Germany unilaterally renounced the armament provisions of the Versailles Treaty. He read von Blomberg's plan, dated 2nd May, 1935, for the reoccupation of the Rhineland - that is Document C-159, Exhibit USA 54 and Blomberg's orders under which the reoccupation was actually carried out.

All these events, by obvious inference, required the closest collaboration between the military leaders and the Nazis. I need not labour that point further.

But it is worth while, I think, to re-examine one or two of the documents which show the state of mind and the objectives of the German military leaders during this early period. One document, read from by Mr. Alderman, which reflects the viewpoint of the German Navy on the opportunities which Nazism accorded for rearmament so that Germany could achieve its objectives by force or threat of force, is a memorandum published by the High Command of the German Navy in 1937, entitled "The Fight of the Navy Against Versailles." That is Document C-156, Exhibit USA 41. The Tribunal will recall that this memorandum, this official publication of the German Navy, stated that only with the assistance of Hitler had it been possible to create the conditions for rearmament. The defendant Jodl has stated this better than I could possibly put it, in his speech to the Gauleiters on 7th November, 1943. That is in Document L-172, Exhibit USA 34, from which Mr. Alderman read at length.

Nor were the high-ranking German officers unaware that the policies and objectives of the Nazis were leading Germany in the direction of war. I invite the Court's attention to Document C-23, which is already in the record as Exhibit USA 49. This consists of some notes made by Admiral Carls of the Germany Navy in September, 1938, These notes were written by

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Admiral Carls by way of comment on a "Draft Study of Naval Warfare Against England," and they read in part as follows. That will be found your Lordship, on Page 3 of the translation of Document C-23:
"There is full agreement with the main theme of the study.

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 sea.

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 one half to one third of the whole world.

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."

Let us turn to the Air Force, having seen what the viewpoint of the Navy was. Parts of the German Air Force during this pre-war period were developing even more radically aggressive plans for the aggrandisement of the Reich. Document L-43, GB-29, is a study prepared by the Chief of a branch of the General Staff of the Air Force called the "Organisation Staff." The study in question is a recommendation for the organisation of the German Air Force in future years up to 1950. The recommendation is based on certain assumptions, and one assumption was that by 1950 the frontiers of Germany would be as shown on the map which was attached as an enclosure to this study. There is only one copy of the map available, your Honour.

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