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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Third Day: Saturday, 18th May, 1946
(Part 2 of 6)

[Page 163]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinhauer, the Tribunal will consider the question of these documents.

Now, Dr. Siemers.



DR. SIEMERS: May it please the Tribunal, yesterday, in connection with Norway I submitted on one occasion Documents 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86. I beg the Tribunal's pardon, but I forgot to submit one document pertinent to this matter, and I should like to remedy this omission.

This document, which has already been granted me, is Raeder Exhibit 88, which likewise is an extract from the White Book and is printed in my Document Book 5, on Pages 392 and following. This document shows the British order of 6th April, 1940, regarding the plans for the occupation of Northern Swedish ore-fields, with Narvik as the base of the operation.

Since the Tribunal is familiar with this document, it will not be necessary for me to read from it.


Q. Admiral, yesterday we had arrived at the case of Russia. You had answered my question regarding Directive 21, Document 446-PS, of 18th December, 1940, to the effect that the Navy had nothing to do with the drawing up of this directive, but that the Navy undertook certain preparations in January in accordance with it.

A. May I make a brief remark on this directive to the effect that yesterday I believe you made a mistake when you said that this directive was signed by Hitler, Keitel and Jodl. This was the copy of the Operational Staff, which Hitler had signed, but Keitel and Jodl only countersigned. Thus there is no question of a signature of these two; when such directives were issued they were signed only by Hitler, and the others could merely countersign.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon, and I thank you for the correction.

In this connection, I should like to ask the Tribunal to look at Document C-35, Exhibit USA 132. This document is found in Document Book 10A of the British Delegation, on Page 16. It is an extract from the War Diary with the date of 30th January, 1941. It describes the preparations by the Navy in accordance with Hitler's directive of 18th December, where Hitler, under (4) of the directive, laid down that precautionary measures were to be taken only in case Russia should alter her attitude toward Germany.


Q. Admiral, in connection with your representation of the Russian situation, the prosecution has submitted Document C- 66, which is Exhibit GB 81. This is your report of 10th January, 1944, to Admiral Assmann for the historical archives of the Navy. The document will be found in Document Book 10 of the British Delegation, Page 13. There you will find the basic position taken by Raeder with respect to Case Barbarossa, this is set forth under "a" of the document.

[Page 164]

I have just heard that this document is also to be found in Document Book 10A, on Page 35.

There you wrote:-

"At this time the Fuehrer had made known his 'unalterable decision' to conduct the Eastern campaign in spite of all objections. Further warnings therefore as long as no entirely new situation arose, were completely without purpose, as one knew from experience. As chief of the Naval Operations Staff I was never convinced of the 'compelling necessity' for Barbarossa."
Have you anything to add to this statement you made at that time?

A. I should like to say in this connection that despite the fact that the directive had been issued on 18th December, I made a comprehensive report at the end of that month, as can be seen from Document C-170, which I mentioned yesterday on' several occasions, in order to convince the Fuehrer of the wrongness of this decision. This showed that I went very far, for once the Fuehrer had issued a directive, even if it applied only to a hypothetical case, it was, in general, useless to produce objections against it. Everything else I mentioned yesterday.

Q. Admiral, yesterday, in connection with your counter- proposals made to Hitler with respect to Russia, you mentioned that in the autumn the plan was still to carry through the action "sea-Lion", that is, a landing in England.

A. Yes.

Q. When, according to your strategic opinion or the opinion of the Navy, did this possibility cease to exist? When did you have to dispense with this plan?

A. All through September we still believed that the landing could be carried through. As a necessary condition, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and I too, always insisted - and Hitler realised this fully - that, for a landing, we must have air superiority. We were waiting therefore to see whether we could actually produce this air superiority in time for the landing which, due to weather conditions, could not be carried out later than the beginning of October. If it were not possible by then, it would have to be postponed until May of the following year. It became clear that adequate air superiority could not be produced in time, and consequently it was said that the landing was to be postponed until the spring of the following year. Further preparations were to be taken and actually were taken. But in the course of the winter, the idea of a landing was completely abandoned, and Hitler decreed that preparations in the harbours along the Channel should be carried on only to such an extent as would give the British the impression that this landing actually was to take place. In September I had the impression that Hitler no longer had any great interest in this landing and that, in his own mind, he was completely committed to the Russian campaign. Clearly of course, he could not carry out the landing in England as well.

Q. Now, I am turning to the accusation raised against you by the prosecution, that you demanded that war be waged against America. The prosecution has submitted in this connection Document C-152, Exhibit GB 122, which is to be found in the Document Book of the British Delegation, Page 23. This is an extract from the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff dealing with a report of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy - that is, you - to the Fuehrer on 18th March, 1941. Under (11) of this document, it is stated:

"Japan must proceed to take Singapore as soon as possible, since the opportunity will never again be so favourable (preoccupation of the entire British Fleet elsewhere; the unreadiness of the United States to carry on a war against Japan; the inferiority of the United States Fleet to the Japanese Fleet). Japan is, indeed, preparing for this action but will carry it out, according to statements of Japanese officers, only at the moment when Germany proceeds with the landing in England. All efforts on Germany's part must therefore aim to incite Japan to immediate action. If Japan captures Singapore, then all other Eastern Asiatic problems relating to the United States and England will be solved (Guam, Philippines, Borneo, and Dutch East Indies).

[Page 165]

"Japan wants to avoid a war against the United States of America if at all possible and can do so if she takes Singapore promptly."
The prosecution has construed this statement of yours to mean that you wanted to lead Japan into a war against America. Is that correct?

A. It is one of the most incorrect assertions contained in the Indictment against me. It is perfectly clear that, already involved in a naval war with England with my small German Navy, I did not want under any circumstances to have America on my neck as well, and it has been disclosed here repeatedly that my most urgent effort during the entire first few years of the war was to avoid, whatever the circumstances, being involved with the United States. Admiral Wagner described here in detail the limitations which I had imposed on the German Navy in order to prevent any clashes with the United States. I imposed limitations which actually I could hardly justify when I carried on U- boat warfare with such relatively small means. On the other hand, the United States, from the end of 1940 on, at the latest, and during the entire year of 1941, exerted pressure on us in our naval warfare wherever possible and committed actions which could be interpreted as definitely not neutral. I remind you merely of the repairing of British warships in the United States, something which up until that time was completely unknown and unheard of; and Roosevelt's orders to shoot, in July and in September, 1941; attacks by the American destroyers Greer and Kearney in the Atlantic on our U-boats. In two cases U-boats were pursued with depth charges for two hours until finally they surfaced and fired, in one case damaging a destroyer. Despite all this, in June 1941, I reported to Hitler that we were continuing not to disturb the merchantmen of the United States in any way with the result that these merchantmen were crossing the Atlantic completely unmolested on sea lanes of their own choosing, and were in a position to give reports about our U-boats and our sea warfare without any prevention on our part. I added that, because of this, the British were in a position to camouflage their ships as American ships. That they did, for, the first time our pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, while crossing the Atlantic, searched a ship carrying the American flag, it turned out to be the British ship Canadian Cruiser. Despite all this I recommended to the Fuehrer, and he fully approved my suggestion, that we should take no measures against American ships. That we did not go to Halifax to lay mines Admiral Wagner has already mentioned. I need not mention that any further.

Q. Was this proposal that Japan capture Singapore only for the purpose of having assistance and an ally against England, with whom we were already at war?

A. That is actually the case, and I should like to picture very briefly the development which led to this proposal. This was not something that I did on my own initiative, for at the beginning of that year, 1941, political negotiations were being carried on with Japan partly by the Fuehrer and partly by the Foreign Minister. I was not even called into these negotiations and, I must say, I regretted this omission for at these negotiations many things were discussed of which I should not have approved. However, all this shows that there can be no talk about a conspiracy. Contact was made, and then the visit of the Foreign Minister Matsuoka took place, I believe, in March.

On the basis of this development the Fuehrer, on 5th March, 1941, issued Directive 24. That is Document C-75, Exhibit USA 151, of 5th March.

DR. SIEMERS: I should like to call the attention of the High Tribunal to Document C-75, to be found in Document Book 10A of the British Delegation, Page 58. In this directive, 24, it says under (3)a:-

"It is important to defeat England quickly and so keep the United States out of the war, that is our joint object."
And three paragraphs further down, under " b ", it says:-
"The capture of Singapore - "
THE PRESIDENT: That on page 58 is instruction 54, concerning collaboration with Japan.

[Page 166]

DR. SIEMERS: I have just been advised - to my surprise - that only a part of this directive is to be found in the English translation. I ask that the Tribunal grant me permission, under these circumstances, to submit the complete directive later as a Raeder document.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got it in your Raeder book, Dr. Siemers?

DR. SIEMERS: No, not until now; for I did not know that only a part had been translated. I am asking for permission to submit this whole document later as a Raeder document.


DR.SIEMERS: Thank you. That was (3)a, and the next quotation will be found under (3)a, and it says:

"The capture of Singapore, which is the key position of England in the Far East, would be a decisive achievement in the war effort of the three powers.

"Beyond that, attacks on other bases of British sea power - and of American only if the entry of the United States into the war cannot be prevented - will serve to shatter the war system of the enemy."

I ask the Tribunal to note the fact that as early as the 5th of March, which is the date of this directive, Hitler decreed the capture of Singapore. Consequently, the suggestion made by Grand Admiral Raeder in Document C-152, dated 18th March, cannot be considered decisive, since a Hitler decree was already in existence.

THE WITNESS: May I make a brief remark about that? The same thing seems to apply to all the cases which are being mentioned here first of all, the political decision by Hitler, the head of the State; then the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to the Armed Forces; then the conclusions drawn by the commanders of the various branches of the Wehrmacht.

After I received the directive of the 5th of March, I had to contemplate how, if Japan were to enter the war, she could act strategically with the best results. That depended on how we could most effectively damage our main opponent, England, on the sea. In this connection I had to insist most urgently that Japan move against Singapore, since there were also those who were of the opinion that Japan should attack Vladivostok - this would have been a grave mistake.

England's centre of power in East Asia had to be attacked. But the very fact that I believed that the capture of Singapore would cause the United States of America to keep out of the war occasioned this proposal of mine, and not the opposite.


Q. In this same connection, I refer to Document 1877-PS which was submitted, in the special indictment against you. It is Exhibit USA 152 and maybe found in the Document Book 10 of the British Delegation, Page 320. It is a conversation between the Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuoka - I am just told now that 320 is incorrect. It should be 319.

THE PRESIDENT: And it should be 10A, I think.

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