The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 236]


TUESDAY, 21st MAY, 1946




Q. Grand Admiral, with reference to your examination
yesterday, I have to put the following questions to you in
re-examination. Sir David was talking about the fact that
before 1933 you had carried out rearmament behind the backs
of the law-making bodies. I think that question, as such,
has been clarified, but there is one supplementary question.
On whom did just what was submitted to the Reichstag depend?

A. On the Reichswehrminister.

Q. And who was that Minister at the time?

A. He was a member of the government and my direct superior.
I had to submit everything to him which I wished to deal

Q. And his name was Groner, was not it?

A. Yes.

DR. SIEMERS: May I draw the Tribunal's attention to the
extract which I have submitted as Exhibit Raeder 3,
according to which Article 50 lays down that the Reich
President gives all orders and decrees even where the armed
forces are concerned. For their validity, decrees require to
be countersigned by the Chancellor or the Minister
concerned. By the act of countersigning responsibility is
accepted. In this, our case, the Reichswehrminister was the
competent Reich Minister, and anything that was done
afterwards with reference to the law-making bodies was a
matter for the government to decide. Sir David has submitted
to you Document C17. It is the index of a book written by
Oberst Scherf, called The History of the German Navy from
1919 to 1939.


Q. Was this book ever written?

A. As far as I know, only the index was compiled. I assume
that if anything had been written, then it would have been
submitted to me a long time ago, but I never heard of that
at all.

DR. SIEMERS: May I remind the Tribunal that the American
prosecution, at the time when they submitted the document,
pointed out that as far as they know the book was not


Q. I believe that it is very difficult to base accusations
on an index, but I want you to tell me, defendant, when did
you learn of this index?

A. It became known to me during my first interrogation by an
American Prosecutor.

                                                  [Page 237]

Q. Furthermore, Document D 854, which is GB 460, was put to
you yesterday. May I come back to one question put by Sir
David. On Page 1 Sir David had been reading as follows:-

  "Although it was pointed out that long before 16th March,
  1935, in almost every sphere of naval rearmament, the
  Versailles Treaty had been violated as far as the letter,
  and certainly as far as the spirit was concerned, or at
  least, violations had been prepared."

Then Sir David asked you:

  "Do you want to say that this is untrue?"

You answered, but you did not quite finish your reply, at
least it never became quite clear what you said in the
German or the English record. I want you to tell me why you
are of the opinion that Assmann was not quite right in this

A. It is an utter exaggeration. First of all, violations -
as has been proved here in detail - were mostly of a very
minor nature, and it was, perhaps, only the number of
deviations which gave the impression that there were many
violations. Secondly, in its essential points, we never
actually fulfilled the Versailles Treaty; in fact, we
remained below the figures granted. Besides, only defence
measures are involved, very primitive defence measures -
Assmann's representations are just one large exaggeration.

Q. What you are trying to say, therefore, is that Assmann's
way of putting  it, "in practically every sphere of
rearmament," is wrong?

A. Yes, Document C32 will have led him to that conclusion
because there were so many points. However, on closer
examination they turn out to be very minor points.

Q. With regard to the important points of rearmament, that
is to say construction of large ships, the Navy did not
violate the Treaty, did it?

A. No, no.

Q. By repeating it three times, Sir David emphasized the
fact that you had a great deal of confidence in Assmann. I
have nothing to say against it, but over and above it would
like to put a supplementary question to you: Did you have
that much confidence in him, that in your opinion, Assmann
could pass a proper legal judgement? Was he a lawyer?

A. No. Assmann was a naval officer who was not used at the
front any more. He was a very clever writer who had written
a few volumes about the first World War. He wrote very well,
but even these volumes were corrected a great deal by the
persons concerned. However, against him and his ability to
write history nothing can be said.

Q. I think you remember this document from yesterday. Is it
a final historical work? Is it a final and corrected

A. No. So far as I know, it had not reached that stage. It
represents only summaries and extracts from war diaries and

Q. Assmann has written:

  "If, in this light, there were plans for the construction
  in 1935 of twelve 275-ton submarines, six 550-ton
  submarines, and four 900-ton submarines, and in 1936, for
  six or eight 550-ton submarines, then one will have to
  consider the strategic considerations which existed at
  that time."

That amounts to twenty-two planned for 1935, and six to
eight for 1936, not built, just planned. Are these figures
correct in your opinion?

A. They are correct in my opinion. The only thing I am not
sure about is the 900-ton type; I cannot quite explain that.
I cannot remember that at that time we were building 900-ton
boats. Apart from the 250-ton type, our first types were 550-
tons, and only then did the 740-ton boats come. Perhaps he
is thinking of those when he says goo tons. We did not
actually build 900-ton boats.

                                                  [Page 238]

Q. On Page 158, Sir David has read to you the following
sentence, which I want to repeat because it needs

  "Germany, particularly where U-boat construction is
  concerned, has adhered the least to the limitations of
  the Anglo-German Treaty. Considering the size of the
  boats already under order, by 1938 about fifty-five
  submarines would have been permitted. In fact, 118 were
  completed or ordered."

I want to remind you that in the original there is the note
No. 6 referring to a letter of the Chief of the Naval Budget
Department from the year 1942, presumably containing
statistics on the construction of submarines as the years
went by. I believe that these figures need to be clarified.

According to material at my disposal, it appears that these
fifty-five submarines were in accordance with the London
Agreement; that is to say, in accordance with the forty-five
per cent agreed in 1935- You probably have not got the exact
figure in mind, but is that roughly correct?

A. Yes, that is probably right.

Q. And now, the figure 118. That, according to material at
my disposal, is also well founded. That is the figure which
corresponds to the one hundred per cent equality in regard
to the tonnage of submarines. If we had 118 submarines, then
our submarine equipment corresponded to that of Britain at
that time. Is that so?

A. Yes, it is correct; and it is also correct that we
included these further boats in the budget and had ordered
them after we had seen Admiral Cunningham and his staff in
Berlin on 30th December and had reached a friendly
understanding in accordance with the agreement, allowing us
to build one hundred per cent. The remark read at the
beginning, saying that we had committed most violations in
this sphere, is a complete untruth. Until the beginning of
the war we only built such U-boats as we were allowed to
build; that is to say, first forty-five per cent and later
one hundred per cent. It was a great mistake, of course,
that we did it.

Q. Grand Admiral, you have just said that it was a complete
untruth. I think that, even if Sir David used that word
against you, one ought not to pass such sharp judgement
against Assmann. Do you not think, Grand Admiral, that there
was possibly a legal error on his part when he wrote these
details and that he was not really thinking of what you have
just told us had happened; namely, that in 1938 there had
been an agreement between England and Germany, according to
which Germany could now build one hundred per cent?

A. That is quite probable. When I said "untruth," I meant

DR. SIEMERS: May I remind the Tribunal that in the Naval
Agreement of 1935, one hundred per cent was planned from the
beginning and that Germany at first renounced that, but had
the right at any time to increase to one hundred per cent,
provided that she notified Great Britain. The notification
is presumably what you described, witness; that is the
negotiation with Admiral Cunningham?

A. Yes, that was on 30th December, 1938 or it may have been
the 31st December.

THE PRESIDENT: Is the defendant saying that there was a
notification to Admiral Cunningham on 30th December, 1938?
Is that what you said; that there was a notification to
Admiral Cunningham On 30th of December, 1938?

THE WITNESS: Admiral Cunningham came to Berlin, to this
friendly negotiation which had been provided for in the
agreement. On that 30th of December we arranged with him
that from now on, instead of forty-five per cent, one
hundred per cent would be built.

THE PRESIDENT: Was that an oral arrangement or a written

THE WITNESS: It was a conference between the Chief of Staff
of the Naval Command and Admiral Cunningham, and certain
other individuals, but I cannot remember the details.
However, I am pretty certain that minutes were taken.


                                                  [Page 239]


Q. Mr. President, unfortunately, I have not been able to
trace any written evidence. I only know from Exhibit Raeder
11, that is the agreement of 1935, that Germany could
increase the tonnage, and from the agreement of 1937, that
it was her duty to give notification. Generally,
notification is only in writing in diplomatic relations,
although, in my opinion, it was not necessarily a duty in
this case. Negotiations, as the witness said, did take

A. Yes. May I, perhaps, add that apart from the submarine
problem, the question of two heavy cruisers was also
settled, which we had originally dropped. We only wanted to
build three for the time being, and now we were asking for
assent to build the other two, to which we were entitled.
That was also agreed upon in accordance with the agreement.

Q. Document C-340 was put before you yesterday; it is
Exhibit USA 51. You will find it in the British Document
Book 10-A on Page 104. I want to put one sentence from that
document to you again, one which has not been quoted by the
prosecution, either in November or yesterday. Under 2-C
there is the following statement - I want to add that this
is the question of sanctions and the possible preparation of
a defence against sanctions in 1935:-

  "For the time being I prohibit any practical

Witness, I want to ask you this -

THE PRESIDENT: That is not 10-A, 104.

DR. SIEMERS: Major Elwyn Jones has just been kind enough to
point out to me the English translation. It appears from it
that, as I have also the English translation before me,
there are two documents C-140; one has one page and the
other has two. One has not got a heading and is dated
"Berlin, 25th October, 1933." In my opinion -

THE PRESIDENT: That is the one on Page 104?

DR. SIEMERS: No, on Page 104 there is, as I just heard from
Major Elwyn Jones, the other document, C-140, which has the
heading, "Directive for the Armed Forces in Case of

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, and the date of it is 25th October,

DR. SIEMERS: 25th October, 1935, but that is an error. It is

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: There appears to be another document
which is not in the Document Book.

THE PRESIDENT: Not in the book?

MAJOR ELWYN JONES: Not in the book.


DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President; perhaps I may point out that the
document C 140, Exhibit USA 51 presented by the prosecution
must be the one I have referred to, because it tallies with
the record; I mean the record of the session of 27th
November. That is the document to which I have just now

THE PRESIDENT: Is it C-140 or C-141?

DR. SIEMERS: C-140, the same number, and that is the same as
Exhibit USA 51. Mr. President, perhaps to simplify matters,
I may later, after today's session or tomorrow submit the
Document C-140 in the English and German text.

THE PRESIDENT: Read the document now and you can settle with
Major Elwyn Jones about the proper notation of the document,
whether it should be C-140 or whatever the exhibit number
ought to be.

DR. SIEMERS: Very well, sir.

                                                  [Page 240]


In the version submitted by the prosecution, preparation for
the defence against sanctions is mentioned. I shall now read
a further sentence to you, and I quote:-

  "For the time being, I prohibit all practical

Would it be right, therefore, to say that in 1933 nothing
whatever was prepared by you in the Navy?

A. Yes. Apart from the ordinary state of preparedness,
nothing was allowed to be done, in accordance with this
order. This was merely a precaution on the Fuehrer's part in
case the enemy should make any move.

Q. You see, the reason why I am asking you this is that
yesterday in the cross-examination the preparations that you
were supposed to have made in this connection were held
against you.

DR. SIEMERS: I now come to Document C-189, which is Exhibit
USA 44. I beg to apologise for troubling the Tribunal in
that I am asking them, if possible, to look at the document
again. It is contained in Document Book Raeder 10, Page 14,
and, incidentally, Sir David resubmitted it yesterday.


Q. Sir David attached great importance to the two words
"against Britain." There under (2) it says, "The OBdM
expresses the opinion that later on the fleet must anyhow be
developed to oppose England and that, therefore, from 1936
onward, the largest ships must be armed with 3S-cm. guns
like those of the King George class." Would this mean that
you were following the British plans in connection with the
calibre of the largest guns in the King George class of

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, I am afraid the reference came
through wrong. It came through to me 10, Page 14. It is not
10, Page 14,

DR. SIEMERS: My Lord, I am told it is on Page 66. I beg to
apologise. Is my figure correct now? In my English document
book it was on Page 14, but -

THE PRESIDENT: It is 66 or 68 in my copy, but -

DR. SIEMERS: And from there, Mr. President, I have just
quoted Figure 2.

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