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 5 of 6)

[DR. KRANZBUHLER continues his direct examination of Erich Raeder]

[Page 174]

THE PRESIDENT: Is he talking about 15th October, 1939?


THE PRESIDENT: Page 98, 10A?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: In the prosecution's Document Book, on Pages 96 and 97.

THE PRESIDENT: Which book, 10?


THE PRESIDENT: Those are not right, those numbers. That reference is not right.

DR. KRANZBUHLER: Pages 99 and 100, I am just told.

In the prosecution's Document Book there is only-a short extract. The witness has the whole document in front of him.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the extract?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: On Pages 99 and 100 in Document Book 10. It is Exhibit GB 224.

Mr. President, another excerpt from the same document has already been mentioned, and that is in the Document Book Donitz III, on Pages 199 to 203; but I do not believe that it is necessary to refer to it because the witness will only read one or two sentences.

A. (Continuing.) Now, the last paragraph, "Conclusions," under (I), reads:

"The manner in which economic warfare has been conducted until now, in accordance with prize regulations, does not meet with military demands for ruthless severity.

[Page 175]

"A large part of enemy mercantile trade, including all exports in neutral ships, is not covered.

The requirements of naval law, that neutral merchantmen be stopped and searched, can no longer be fulfilled, in view of the strength of aerial reconnaissance and U-boat counter-measures in the enemy's coastal approaches. Economic warfare according to prize regulations has, therefore, to be limited, and in the North Sea and the Baltic must be left to surface craft only. In the Atlantic the U-boats in enemy coastal waters will limit their activities to attacks without warning on convoys, troop transports, and all enemy merchantmen, armed or unarmed, and will conduct economic warfare according to the law governing prizes only in exceptional cases. The use of the Operational Air Force for economic warfare is not possible. Economic warfare is conducted within the framework of International Law. A possibility of controversy with neutral States is ruled out."

Then one more sentence:
"If the Supreme War Command, for political reasons, should not be able at present to decide to carry on the economic war in the most vigorous form possible by having recourse to a siege, it will be possible to increase the effectiveness of the policy of throttling enemy trade by a ruthless increase in the use of mines and by air attacks on enemy port installations. One cannot, however, expect a decisive result from the economic war in its present form."
Q. The immediate result of that memorandum and of your report to the Fuehrer was the order of 17th October?

A. Yes, and that provided first that all enemy merchantmen could be torpedoed, and secondly, as a severer measure, that passenger ships in convoys could be torpedoed a short time after an announcement to that effect had been made.

That was all done in connection with the intensification, measure for measure, which we had brought about in answer to individual acts of the enemy.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuehler, that long passage that the defendant has just read, if it has not been put in evidence yet, must be offered in evidence by you. I understand it is not in evidence at present.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I can help, I shall be using this document, and I shall put it in.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it been offered in evidence?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Only part of it, not the part that the defendant has referred to. But, in view of that, I shall refer to it later on.



Q. Admiral, you mentioned that before 1935 certain preparations were taken for the construction of a German submarine weapon. Did Admiral Donitz participate in any way in these preparations?

A. In no way whatsoever. As was said before, he was abroad during the last year; but even before that he had nothing to do with it.

Q. You have reported about your dismissal as Commander-in- Chief of the Navy. Would you please tell me how it came about that Admiral Donitz became your successor?

A. The Fuehrer had ordered that I propose two admirals as successors. I suggested in writing first, as the elder -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, how does this arise? I mean, what relevancy has it to anything we have to decide as to how Admiral Donitz became head of the Navy?

DR. KRANZBUHLER: This has significance, Mr. President, in view of the prosecution's assertion that Admiral Donitz became the successor of Admiral Raeder on the basis of political relations or services rendered.

[Page 176]



Q. Please continue, Admiral.

A. I will be very brief. I suggested, first, Admiral Karls, who was the senior and had vast knowledge of the entire conduct of naval policy. As, however, the Fuehrer made it clear that he now was placing U-boat warfare in the foreground, I suggested Admiral Donitz, who was the greatest authority in that field. Political considerations of any kind were not mentioned at all it was to be purely an official, technical appointment.

DR. KIRANZBUHLER: I have no more questions.

DR. NELTE (Counsel for the defendant Keitel): Mr. President, the Tribunal through its letter of 26th March, has consented that an affidavit be submitted by the defendant Raeder for defendant Keitel, provided the prosecution has an opportunity to question Admiral Raeder on his statements in cross-examination.

I have sent the affidavit to the prosecution, and the prosecution has raised no objection. I ask to be permitted to submit this affidavit, which is concerned with the functions and position of the defendant Keitel as Chief of the OKW, as Exhibit 19, after Admiral Raeder has confirmed that he signed it and that he agrees to it being submitted.


Q. Admiral, you are acquainted with the questions which I put to you and which after a conference with your counsel, you answered and signed on 19th March?

A. That is about the position of Field Marshal Keitel in the OKW?

Q. Yes.

A. I am quite familiar with that.

DR. NELTE: Then, may I submit this affidavit? The prosecution has a copy of it.

I have a few more questions for Admiral Raeder, the answers to which can be greatly simplified with the permission of the Tribunal. These are the same questions which on 9th May, a week ago, I put to Admiral Donitz and which refer to the assertion made by the witness Dr. Gisevius about Keitel's tremendous influence and the circle of silence which Keitel drew around Hitler. I merely want to ask the witness Admiral Raeder, with the permission of the Tribunal, whether he can confirm as correct for the period before 1943 as well - that is, for the period during which Raeder was Commander-in- Chief of the Navy - the answers to my questions given by Grand Admiral Donitz in Raeder's presence. I ask for the decision of the Tribunal whether I may put this general question in order to save time.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.


Q. You heard what I said, and I ask you, can you confirm the answers given by Admiral Donitz to my questions on 9th May for the period before 1943 as well?

A. Yes, that I can do.

Q. Now, I have one final question. During your testimony Document L-79, the "Little Schmundt" file, was discussed. You objected to this document as inaccurate and not of probative value?

A. Yes.

Q. Dr. Siemers then quoted a part of that document which the prosecution, at the time when it submitted the document, had not read. In that part of the document there is mention of a research staff in the OKW.

A. Yes.

Q. I ask you now to tell me whether such a research staff in the OKW was ever actually created.

A. Not to my knowledge. The work was done by the Armed Forces Operations Staff in which there were officers representing all three branches of the Armed Forces.

[Page 177]

Q. So there was no change in the scope of tasks and in the division of authority?

A. No, definitely not.

Q. That also concerns the question of working out strategic and operational matters between the OKW and the Armed Forces Operations Staff on one hand and the General Staffs of the Armed Forces Branches, including the Naval Operations Staff, on the other hand?

A. As far as the Naval Operations Staff is concerned, yes, there was no change.

Q. And as far as the other branches of the Armed Forces are concerned?

A. That I cannot say. I do not know about that.

DR. NELTE: Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, is the affidavit that you referred to contained in your document book?

DR. NELTE: No, not yet. It will be number 19.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Will you have translations supplied to the Tribunal?


BY DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and OKW):

Q. Admiral, you are the senior member of the group of the General Staff and OKW, and you belonged to this so-called group for the longest time?

A. Yes.

Q. In what manner did you become a member?

A. I was appointed Chief of the Navy Command by Reich President Field Marshal von Hindenburg. I did not join that group by doing so; rather I became Chief of the Navy. One did not know of any such group.

Q. As to joining and remaining in this group, the prosecution maintains that this was voluntary. Was there any possibility at all for military leaders to apply for any vacant posts?

A. No, there was nothing of the sort.

Q. In other words, military accomplishments were the decisive factor?

A. It was a military order. There was no question of its being voluntary.

Q. Did you know the various members of the group at the time when you belonged to it?

A. No, I certainly did not know all individuals from the other branches. Of course, I knew a large number.

Q. Within the purely military leadership was there ever a conference about a plan which had as its purpose the launching of aggressive wars?

A. No, there was never such a conference. It has frequently been mentioned here how the various enterprises came about the political decision of the Fuehrer, a directive issued by him, and then the working out of the final order.

Q. Admiral, I do not mean now by this question the meetings which took place under Hitler's leadership. I mean meetings of purely military officers.

A. Do you mean within the various branches of the armed Forces?

Q. Yes, within the various branches.

A. Of course, within the Naval Operations Staff there were meetings about various questions, but not about aggressive wars.

Q. My question referred only to that.

The prosecution asserts, furthermore, that this indicted group was first established by the National Socialist regime. Is that correct?

A. In no way whatsoever. There was no group in existence, but the organization was such as has frequently been described.

Q. And such as has always existed in all armies of the world?

A. Yes, as has always existed.

[ 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.