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Q. Grand Admiral, when did you report to Hitler for the
first time on the Navy, and what was Hitler's general
attitude on this occasion?

A. I gave my first report on the Navy in the presence of
General von Blomberg, who, in his capacity of Reich Defence
Minister, was my superior. I reported again a few days
later, but I cannot recall the exact date.

On this occasion, Hitler gave me a further account of the
principles on which I was to command the Navy. I reported to
Hitler first of all on the rather slight degree to which the
provisions of the Versailles Treaty had been carried out by
the Navy, on its weakness, on the Shipping Replacement Plan
and other matters concerned with naval policy, such as the
Treaty of Washington, the Treaty of London, 1930, and the
position of the Disarmament Conference. He was completely
informed on all these matters.

He said he wanted to make clear to me the principles on
which his policy was based and that this policy was to serve
as the basis of long-term naval policy. I still remember his
words quite clearly.

He did not, he said, under any circumstances wish to have
complications with England, Japan, or Italy - least of all
with England. And he wanted to prove this by fixing an
agreement with England as to the strength to be allotted to
the German Fleet in comparison with that of the English. By
so doing, he wanted to show that he was prepared to
acknowledge once and for all England's right to maintain a
navy appropriate to the vastness of her interests all over
the world. The German Navy only required to be expanded to
the extent demanded by a European continental policy.

                                                  [Page 102]

I took this as the second main principle on which to base my
command of the Navy. The actual ratio of strength between
the two navies was not discussed at the time; it was
discussed later on.

This decision of Hitler's afforded extreme satisfaction both
to myself and to the whole of the Navy; for it meant that we
no longer had to compete senselessly with the first sea
power; and I saw the possibility of gradually building up
our Navy on a solid foundation.

I believe that this decision was hailed by the whole Navy
with joy and that they understood its significance. The
Russian pact was later greeted with the same appreciation,
as the combination of this pact and the naval agreement
would have been a guarantee of wonderful development.

There were people - but not in the Navy - who believed that
this amounted to yielding ground; but this limitation was
accepted by the majority of Germans with considerable

Q. Grand Admiral, what were your personal relations with
Hitler? How did you judge him in the course of the years -
and what was Hitler's attitude toward you?

A. I thought favourably of this vigorous personality, who
was obviously most intelligent, had tremendous will power,
was a master in handling people, and - as I myself observed
in the early years - a great and very skilful politician,
whose national and social aims were already well known and
accepted by the armed forces and the German people in its

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks this might be taken more
shortly. We have heard it from so many of the others.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes; but is the defendant not to describe his
relations with Hitler? Does the Tribunal consider them

THE PRESIDENT: He might do it shortly.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes; good. Grand Admiral, please do it shortly.

THE DEFENDANT: I would just like to say what I thought of
Hitler in order to make clear my reasons for not at any time
leaving him, which fact the prosecution has raised very
strongly against me. His first steps in both domestic and
foreign policy undoubtedly created admiration for his
political ability, and awakened the hope that, as he had
taken these first steps without bloodshed or political
complications, he would be able to solve in the same way any
problems which might arise later.

THE PRESIDENT: We have, as I have pointed out, heard about
this quality or power of Hitler's ability from nearly every
one of the defendants and it is very cumulative, and if this
defendant wishes to say he was greatly impressed by Hitler's
qualities, that is quite sufficient.

THE DEFENDANT: Very well. Then I shall only say that during
the early years I had no reason to wonder whether I should
remain in my position or not.

DR. SIEMERS: Grand Admiral, we shall automatically come to
the later complications at a later stage of the hearing.

Q. I come now to the German-British Naval Agreement and
would like to ask you briefly how this naval agreement of
1935 came about. I am referring to Exhibit Raeder 11,
Document Book I, Page 59, which contains the naval agreement
in the form of a Communication from the German Foreign
Minister to the British Government. The actual content was
fixed by the British, as the first few words show.

"Your Excellency,
  "I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your
  Excellency's note of today's date, in which you were so
  good as to communicate to me on behalf of His Majesty's
  Government in the United Kingdom the following:
                                                  [Page 103]

Then come the following statements by the British:-
  "During the last few days the representatives of the
  German Government and His Majesty's Government in the
  United Kingdom have been engaged in conversations, the
  primary purpose of which has been to prepare the way for
  the holding of a general conference on the subject of the
  limitation of naval armaments. I now have much pleasure
  in notifying your Excellency of the formal acceptance by
  His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of the
  proposal of the German Government discussed at those
  conversations, that the future strength of the German
  Navy in relation to the aggregate naval strength of the
  Members of the British Commonwealth of Nations should be
  in the proportion of 35: 100. His Majesty's Government in
  the United Kingdom regard this proposal as a contribution
  of the greatest importance to the cause of future naval
  limitation. They further believe that the agreement which
  they have now reached with the German Government, and
  which they regard as a permanent and definite agreement
  as from today between the two Governments - "
THE PRESIDENT: This is a well-known document and the
Tribunal will take judicial notice of it, of course. It is
not necessary to read it all.

DR. SIEMERS: Very well.

I should like to point out that according to Point 2 of this
document the British Government recognized that as far as
submarines were concerned, Germany should be allowed the
same strength as Britain. At the time, that amounted to
about 52,000 tons, or rather more than 100 U-boats. The
Government of the German Reich, however, voluntarily
undertook to restrict itself to 45 per cent of the total
submarine tonnage of the British Empire.

Q. Did you and the Navy regard such considerable
restrictions as the basis for Germany's peaceful
development; and was it received favourably by the Navy in

A. Yes; as I have already said, it was received with

DR. SIEMERS: As a judgement formed some years ago carries
more weight than a declaration made now in the course of the
trial, I wish to submit Exhibit Raeder 12, Document Book 1,
Page 64. This document deals with a communication made by
Grand Admiral Raeder for the information of the Officers'
Corps. It is dated 15th August, 1935 - a month after the
signing of the Naval Agreement.
Raeder says - and I quote the second paragraph:-
  "The agreement resulted from the Fuehrer's decision to
  fix the ratio of the fleets of Germany and the British
  Empire at 35:100. This decision, which was based on
  considerations of European politics, formed the starting
  point of the London conferences. In spite of initial
  opposition from England, we held inflexibly to our
  decision; and our demands were granted in their entirety.
  The Fuehrer's decision was based on the desire to exclude
  the possibility of antagonism between Germany and England
  in the future; and so finally to exclude also the
  possibility of naval rivalry between the two countries."
The paragraph on Page 66 is also important. I wish to ask
the High Tribunal to take judicial notice of the rest.

  "By this agreement, the building-up of the German Navy to
  the extent fixed by the Fuehrer was formally approved by
This is followed by individual statements as to tonnage.
Then I should like to call attention to the final sentence,
which is indicative of Raeder's attitude at the time:-

  "This agreement represents a signal success in the
  political sphere since it is the first step towards a
  practical understanding and signifies the first
  relaxation of the inflexible front so far maintained
  against Germany by our former opponents and demonstrated
  particularly implacably at Stresa recently."

                                                  [Page 104]

Q. Grand Admiral, were the lines of peaceful development
laid down by you at that time followed in the next years?

A. Yes.

DR. SIEMERS: In this connection, I should like to submit
Exhibit Raeder 13. This is a document which enables me to
dispense with the testimony here in Court of Vice-Admiral
Lohmann. This document will be found in Document Book I,
Page 68, and is entitled: "The New Plan for the Development
of the German Navy," and is a standard piece of work. It is
a speech made by Vice-Admiral Lohmann in the summer of 1935
at the Hanseatic University in Hamburg. I ask the High
Tribunal to take judicial notice of the essential points of
this document and as this is an authoritative piece of work
done at the request of the High Command, I may perhaps just
quote the following: Admiral Lohmann sets forth first of all
that, as we now had liberty to recruit and arm troops, the
Navy was free of restrictions; but that that was not
Hitler's view. I now quote:-

  "The Fuehrer, however, chose another way. He preferred to
  negotiate on German naval armament direct with Britain
  which, as our one-time enemy" - I beg your pardon, I am
  quoting from Page 70 - "has tried for years to show
  understanding for our difficult position."
And on Page 71 Lohmann speaks about misleading reports
published in the
Press, etc.

  "All the more surprising, then, was the ratification of
  the treaty which expressed the full agreement of both
  governments, and did not, like some armaments treaties of
  former times, leave more embitterment than understanding
  in its trail.
  The sense of fairness, which British statesmen have
  retained, along all the frequently dirty paths of higher
  politics, broke through when confronted with the
  unreserved sincerity of the German declarations, the
  dignified firmness of the German representatives and the
  passionate desire for peace inspiring the speeches and
  acts of our Fuehrer. Unlike former times, the speeches of
  the British leaders expressed respect and recognition. We
  have acknowledged this as a sign of honest willingness to
  understand. The voices from the circles of British war-
  veterans are hardly less valuable than the attitude of
  the official leaders. In November 1918, for instance,
  when the German Fleet was received by British Squadrons
  before being interned in Scapa Flow, the British
  Commander-in-Chief, Lord Beatty, the great foe of our
  cruiser Admiral Hipper, sent the famous signal: 'Do not
  forget that the enemy is a contemptible beast', and this
  Commander-in-Chief expressed his dislike for Germany on
  many occasions. But on 26th June, this same Beatty stated
  in the House of Lords: 'I am of the opinion that we
  should be grateful to the Germans. They came to us with
  hands outstretched, announcing that they agreed to the
  ratio of 3.5:100.'
  If they had submitted other proposals we could not have
  prevented them. We may be truly grateful for the fact
  that there is at least one country in the world whose
  competition in regard to armaments we do not need to
Then I should like to refer to Page 73, which limits
battleships to 35,000 tons. This limitation plays a part in
the prosecution Document C-23. The fact that in this
document next to the words "Panama Canal" are placed the
words "battleship 35,000 tons", has a certain significance.
The limitation to 35,000 tons is not so decisive and
important as the prosecution would like us to believe. This
is the origin: The United States of America at that time
wanted to limit the tonnage to 35,000 tons an account of the
width and depth of the Panama Canal, as the Panama Canal
would have had to be enlarged in order to admit ships of
greater tonnage. I shall return to this point later, as this
limit of 35,000 tons was not maintained.

Then I should like to point to Page 67 where the figure
mentioned is 52,700 tons, as evidence that this was the
basis for comparison with German U-boats.

                                                  [Page 105]

It is an historical fact - which is set down here - that
France took no part in this limitation and at that time was
the strongest U-boat power, with her 96,000 tons. 96 were
ready and 15 were under construction. It is also an
historical fact that Germany - and this is shown on the same
page - had agreed to abolish submarines, as she had had to
destroy 315 after the first world war.


Q. Grand Admiral, did the agreement with the British which
is shown by these documents, show itself on any other
particular occasion?

A. 1 tried to maintain this good understanding and to
express my views to the British Navy as, for instance, when
I was informed by phone call from an English news agency of
the death of Admiral Jellicoe. He served against us as the
head of the Fleet in the first world war and we always
considered him a very chivalrous opponent. Through this
agency, I gave a message to the English Fleet.

THE PRESIDENT: I doubt if this really has any effect on the
issues we have to consider.

THE WITNESS: In any event, I tried to bring about a good
understanding with the British Navy for the future, and to
maintain this good understanding.


Q. On 17th July, 1937, a further German-English Naval
Agreement was signed.  I am submitting this document as
Exhibit Raeder 14, Document Book 1, Page81. This is a rather
lengthy document, only part of which has been translated and
printed in the document book; and in order to understand the
violation with which the prosecution charges us, I must
refer to several of the points contained in it. The
agreement concerns the limitation of naval armaments and the
exchange of information on naval construction. In Article 4
we find the limitation of battleships to 35,000 tons, which
has already been mentioned; and in Articles 11 and 12 -
which I will not read, because of their technical nature,
but would ask the Tribunal to take note of - both
governments are bound to report annually the naval
construction programme in hand. This must be done during the
first four months of each calendar year; and details about
certain ships - big ships in particular - four months before
they are laid down. For a better understanding of the whole
matter, which has been made the basis of a charge against
the defendant in connection with the naval agreement, I may
refer to Articles 24 to 26. The three articles show -

THE PRESIDENT: Can you summarize these articles?

DR. SIEMERS: Yes. I did not intend to read them, your
Honour. I just want to quote a point or two from them.


Q. These articles enumerate the conditions under which
either partner to the agreement could deviate from it. From
the start, therefore, it was considered permissible under
certain conditions to deviate from the agreement; if, for
instance (Article 24) one of the partners became involved in
war, or (Article 25) if another power, such as the United
States or France or Japan were to build or purchase a vessel
larger than those provided for in the agreement. In this
article express reference is made to (4), i-e., to
battleships of 35,000 tons - in the case of deviation, the
only obligation was to notify one's partner. Article 26
states a very general basis for deviation from the
agreement: namely, in cases where the security of the nation
demands it, such deviation is held to be justified. No
further details are necessary at this point.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The deviation is subject to
notification by the other party under sub-article 2. This
applies equally to Article 26. Any deviation is subject to
notification to the other party of the deviation.

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