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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Seventh Day: Friday, 8th March, 1946
(Part 2 of 9)

[Page 229]

DR. STAHMER: Under the pretext that it was the first step to world disarmament, Germany was forcibly disarmed. Great Britain was, indeed, also deceived. She had actually continued to disarm for a period of fifteen years. But from the day on which the various peace treaties were signed, France encouraged a number of small States to powerful rearmament and the result was that five years after Versailles, Germany was surrounded by a much tighter ring of iron than five years before the World War. It was inevitable that a German regime, which had renounced Versailles, would at the first opportunity rearm heavily. It was evident that its weapons, diplomatically, if not in the true sense of the word, were to be directed against the powers of Versailles.

In the same way is contested the Pact of Locarno, with a breach of which the defendant is also charged, and, as far as the defence is concerned, unjustifiably.

Germany renounced this Pact and could do so rightfully because France and Soviet Russia had signed a Military Assistance Pact, although the Locarno Pact provided a guarantee of the. French Eastern Border. This act by France, in the opinion of Germany, was in sharp contrast to the legal situation created by the Locarno Pact.

In a speech of the Plenipotentiary von Ribbentrop before the League of Nations on 19th March, 1936, this opinion was expressed in the following terms. I quote from Document Book 1, Page 32.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have before me now the order of the Tribunal of 26th February, 1946, and Paragraph 4 of that order is in the following terms: "The following documents are denied as irrelevant," and then the heading "Goering" and the fourth of the documents is the speech by Paul Boncour on 8th April, 1927, and the sixth is the speech by Lloyd George on 7th November, 1927, which you have not read but which you have put into your trial brief. I would again call your attention, and the attention of all the defence counsel to the fact that they will not be allowed to read any document which has been denied by the Tribunal. Go on.

DR. STAHMER: This quotation is as follows:-

". . . But it is also clear that if a world power such as France, by virtue of her sovereignty, can decide upon concluding military alliances of such vast proportions without having misgivings on account of existing treaties, another world power like Germany has at least the right to safeguard the protection of the entire Reich territory by re-establishing within her own borders the natural rights of a sovereign power which are granted to all peoples."
Before I take up the question of Aggressive War in detail I have the intention, if I have the permission of the Tribunal, to call as the first witness, General of the Air Force von Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

(KARL VON BODENSCHATZ, a witness, took the stand.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS: Karl Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me. I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth, and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

[Page 230]



Q. General von Bodenschatz, since when have you known Reichsmarshal Goering?

A. I have known Reichsmarshal Goering since June 1918.

Q. In what capacity did you get to know him?

A. I came to know him when he was the commander of the Squadron Richthofen. I was at that time the adjutant of Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen who had just been killed in action.

Q. Were you taken into the Reichswehr at the end of the first world war?

A. At the end of the first world war I was taken into the Reichswehr as a regular officer, and remained from the year 1919 until April 1933.

Q. When, after the completion of the World War, did you resume your connection with Goering?

A. In November 1918, I was with Goering at Aschaffenburg, at the demobilization of the Fighter Squadron Richthofen, and later in the spring of 1919 I was with him again for several weeks in Berlin. There our paths separated. Then I met Goering for the first time again at his first wedding, and I believe that was in the year 1919 or 1920, I cannot remember exactly. Up to 1929 there was no connection between him and myself. In the year 1929, and until 1933, I met Hermann Goering here in Nuremberg several times. At that time, I was the Kompagniechef of Infantry Regiment 21. My meetings with Goering here in Nuremberg were solely for the purpose of keeping up the old friendship.

Q. And then in the year 1933, you entered the Luftwaffe?

A. In 1933, I reported to Hermann Goering in Berlin. At that time, Goering was Reich-Commissar of the Luftwaffe and I became his military adjutant.

Q. How long did you retain this post as adjutant?

A. I retained this post as adjutant until the year 1938. I later became Chief of the Ministerial Bureau.

Q. And what position did you have during the war?

A. During the war, I was liaison officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and the Fuehrer Headquarters.

Q. Were you at the headquarters, or where?

A. I was alternately at the Fuehrer Headquarters and then at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.

Q. When did you leave this position?

A. I left this position on 20th July, 1944, because I was seriously wounded that day.

Q. And what was the cause of your being wounded?

A. I was wounded through the plot on Hitler.

Q. You were present?

A. Yes.

Q. And what were your tasks at the Fuehrer Headquarters?

A. I had the task to take care of reports on special matters and desires of the Reichsmarshal, to bring them to the Fuehrer Headquarters in the absence of the Reichsmarshal, and to see that these reports were forwarded. I also had to transmit inquiries from the Fuehrer Headquarters direct to Hermann Goering. Then I had to inform Hermann Goering in good time, that is, not through official channels, regarding all that took place in the Fuehrer Headquarters insofar as it was of interest to him in his capacity as Reichsmarshal.

Q. Did you take part regularly in the conferences?

A. I was a listener at these conferences.

Q. From what period of time on did Reichsmarshal Goering lose his influence with Hitler?

A. According to my personal opinion and conviction, Hermann Goering began to lose influence with Hitler in the spring of 1943.

[Page 231]

Q. And what were the reasons?

A. That time was the beginning of large-scale air attacks by night by the R.A.F. on German towns and, from that moment, there were differences of opinion between Hitler and Goering which became more serious as time went on.

Even though Goering made tremendous efforts, he could not recapture his influence with the Fuehrer to the same extent as before. The outward symptoms of this waning influence were the following:-

First, the Fuehrer criticized Goering more severely. Secondly, the interminable conversations between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering became shorter, less frequent, and finally ceased altogether. Thirdly, as far as important conferences were concerned, the Reichsmarshal was not called in. Fourthly, in the last months and weeks, the tension between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering increased to such a degree that he was finally arrested.

Q. Do you know anything about this arrest? What was the cause?

A. I am not exactly informed on this. I can only tell you what I heard. I was at that time in Bad Reichenhall in the military hospital. I merely heard that Reichsmarshal Goering had sent a telegram to the Fuehrer, and in this telegram Goering requested that since the Fuehrer did not have freedom of action any more, he might act himself. After a reply to this wire, which was sent by wireless to Berlin, the arrest took place. I would like to emphasize that I only heard that. I have no proof of any of these statements.

Q. And who made the arrest?

A. I cannot tell you about that, because I know nothing. I heard, however, that a Commando of the SS from Obersalzberg made this arrest.

Q. Did Field-Marshal Goering have any previous knowledge of the incidents against the Jews which took place during the night of 9th to 10th November, 1938.

A. Goering had no previous knowledge of these incidents. I inferred that from his demeanour, how he acted towards me with regard to these incidents. He acted in the following manner: When he heard of these happenings, he was dismayed and condemned them. A few days later he went with proof to the Fuehrer and complained about the people who had instigated these incidents. Captain Wiedmann, the Adjutant of the Fuehrer, can give you further particulars on the subject on oath.

Several weeks later, Hermann Goering called all the Gauleiter to Berlin in order to make clear his attitude regarding the incidents of the 9th and 10th; he was violently opposed to these individual acts of barbarism. He criticized them severely as unjust, as economically unreasonable and harmful to prestige in foreign countries. The former Gauleiter, Dr. Ueberreiter, who took part in this conference of Gauleiter, has already given further particulars on oath.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait one moment. Go on, Dr. Stahmer. You may go on.


Q. Had you completed your statement?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you present at a conference which took place in the beginning of August 1939, at Soenke Missen Koog in Husum?

A. I took a personal part in this conference, yes.

Q. Who was present there?

A . So far as I recall, the following were present: Hermann Goering, Herr Dahlerus from Stockholm, six to eight Englishmen whose names I do not recall, I was present, and there was an interpreter, Ministerialrat Dr. Boecker.

Q. Can you tell us about the subject of this conference?

A. I cannot remember it word for word, but so far as I can tell you, Hermann Goering made the following statements:

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, did the witness say where this conference took place?

[Page 232]


THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell us where it was?


Q. Please repeat where this conference took place.

A. The conference took place at the beginning of August at Soenke Missen Koog near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein.

Q. Please continue. You were going to tell us about the subject of this conference.

A. I repeat. In substance, Goering made the following statement: At the moment, relations between England and Germany are very tense. Under no circumstances should this tension be increased, or peace be endangered. The welfare, and the trade between our two countries can only flourish and prosper in peace. It is in the greatest interest of Germany and Europe that the British Empire should continue to exist. Goering emphasized that he himself would do his utmost for the maintenance of peace. He requested the British business leaders, on their return home, to use their influence in authoritative circles; that they use their influence for that purpose.

Q. Did Goering give you his opinion on how foreign policy of the Reich should be carried out? When and on what occasions did conversations take place?

A. Hermann Goering often discussed these topics with me, in 1938 and 1939, especially during the period following the Munich Agreement. These conversations took place sometimes in his special train in connection with his speech. Hermann Goering was always of the opinion that the policy of the Reich must be directed in such a way as to avoid war if possible. He dealt with this topic at particularly great length in a conference with the Gauleiter in the summer of 1938 in Karinhall. Dr. Ueberreiter, whom I have previously mentioned, has already given further testimony to this effect.

Q. Did Field-Marshal Goering speak to you before leaving for Munich in September, 1938?

A. Before Hermann Goering left for Munich, he told me he would do everything within his power to effect a peaceful settlement. "We cannot have war." He exerted his influence on the Fuehrer to this effect, and, accordingly, and during the negotiations in Munich, he worked decisively for the preservation of peace. When he left the Conference Hall after the conference at Munich, he said to us spontaneously: "That is peace."

Q. Did he often discuss with you for what reason he was against a war, and what was the occasion for his making that statement?

A. We talked about this topic very frequently. He always said to me: "In the first World War as an infantry officer, and as an Air Force officer, I was constantly at the Front. I know the horrors of a war, and, therefore, my attitude is as long as possible to preserve the German people from these horrors. My ambition is to solve the conflicts peacefully." In general, his opinion was: "A war is always a risky and unsure business. Even if you win a war, the advantages are in no relation whatsoever to the disadvantages and sacrifices which have to be made. If you lose the war, then, in our position, everything is lost. Our generation has already experienced the horrors of a great world war and its bitter consequences. To expect the same generation to live through another war would be unthinkable." I would like to add that Hermann Goering, according to his inner thoughts and character, was never in favour of war. Nothing was further from his mind than the thought of a war.

Q. Did Goering converse with you about what were, according to his wish, the aims to be accomplished by the re-armament which Germany had undertaken? When and on what occasion?

A. Hermann Goering spoke with me about these matters in the year 1935, after the "Wehrfreiheit" had been proclaimed. He described Germany's

[Page 233]

re-armament, after vain attempts to achieve general limitation of armament, as an attempt at equality with the armament of other countries, in order to be able to collaborate with other powers in world politics with equal rights.

Q. Did conversations of this kind take place after 1935 also?

A. Yes: Now and then we resumed such conversations and he spoke in the same vein.

Q. Did you find out through Reichsmarshal Goering what purpose the Four Year Plan was to serve?

A. I happened to speak with Goering about this matter in the year 1936, and that was after the Four Year Plan had been announced. He explained it to me as follows: that in this plan he saw a means of securing for Germany those raw materials which she could not import in peace time because of the lack of foreign exchange, or whose import in an emergency might possibly be cut off.

[ 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.