The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt//tgmwc/tgmwc-14/tgmwc-14-136.03

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-14/tgmwc-14-136.03
Last-Modified: 2000/03/18

                                             [Page 284]

Q. Was in any one of these manoeuvres between 1932 and
1939 a war with England taken as the basis -

A. No, this was never made a basis, and I believe this
would have appeared impossible and unreasonable to
every naval officer. I remember that even at the
beginning of the year 1939, when Raeder issued a
directive to the front commanders to hold manoeuvres,
he excluded as impossible any which had as their basis
a possible war with England. These were absolutely

Q. Herr Admiral, it is general knowledge that the Navy,
in the 1920's, with the knowledge of the then
parliamentary government, violated the Treaty of
Versailles. These questions have been discussed a great
deal here, therefore, we can be brief. I should like to
ask you generally:

Is it possible from these violations which are known to
you to deduce aggressive intentions?

A. No, I can say that is completely out of the
question. The violations were insignificant, and based
only on protection and defence. It is, therefore,
impossible to construe them as aggressive intentions.

Q. Can you give us briefly a few instances or name a
few cases where violations took place?

A. First of all, they were limited to the installation
of coastal batteries, flak batteries, and the laying of
mines, etc., all of which were exclusively for the
purpose of defence or protection.

Q. Did these violations of the Treaty of Versailles -
or, shall we say, the slight deviations from it -
become known to the Inter-Allied Commission in whole,
or in part, and did this Commission partly overlook
these things because they were really trifles?

A. Yes, in that respect, I would like to say it was an
open secret.

Q. I should like to ask you, Herr Admiral, to pause
between question and answer so that the interpreters
can keep up. Will you pause just a moment after my
questions. May I ask you to repeat the answer to my
question with regard to the Commission?

A. I should like to say that it was an open secret. It
was just ignored.

Q. As proof that these violations of the Treaty were
made with the intention of waging aggressive war, the
prosecution has several times presented the book by
Captain Schuessler entitled: The Navy's Fight Against
Versailles. It is Document C-150. I shall have this
document submitted to you in the original. In order to
save time and not to burden the Tribunal again with
details, I shall only ask you: What do you know about
this book, and what caused it to be written at all,
when was it written, and what is your opinion?

A. I know this book. It came about as a result of the
attacks of the National Socialist regime in the years
1934 and 1935, which blamed the preceding Government
and the Navy for not having done enough in the past to
arm the nation, and for not even having exhausted the
possibilities of the Treaty of Versailles.
Consequently, the idea arose at that time to publish a
sort of justification, and this document is to be
considered in that light; a sort of justification for,
I should say, sins of omission.

This book was actually never published, or rather was
withdrawn from circulation because it represented - I
might say - a rather weak effort at justification, for
it contained no definite suggestions on re-armament.

Q. Was this book circulated in the Navy later on?

A. No. As I said, it was withdrawn from circulation,
and it had already been intensely criticized.

Q. Was the book withdrawn by orders of Raeder?

A. I believe so, yes.

Q. On the basis of this book, and of a document by
Assmann, is charged the construction of U-boats by a
Dutch firm, and it has also been said yesterday that by
order of Grand Admiral Raeder, U-boats were built for
Germany in Finland and in Spain. Is that correct?

                                             [Page 285]

A. That is not correct. The U-boats which were designed
by the Dutch firm, and which were built abroad, were
not built for the German Navy, but for foreign

Q. Do you know for whom they were built? Who received
the boats which were built in Finland?

A. I believe Turkey received one and one remained in

Q. Then the ships were constructed on foreign orders
and for a foreign country.

A. Yes.

Q. What advantages at all did the Navy have from their
collaboration in this construction?

A. We were only interested in keeping alive the
experiences gained in U-boat warfare during the First
World War. Therefore the Navy was interested in seeing
that constructors of U-boats continued to be active
along these lines.

Q. In your opinion, was that prohibited according to
the Treaty of Versailles?

A. No, I know no paragraph which prohibited our
activity in foreign countries along those lines.

Q. In the beginning of February, 1933, Grand Admiral
Raeder made his first naval report to Hitler. Do you
know what Hitler, on that occasion, gave Raeder as the
basis for rebuilding the Navy?

A. Yes, I recall it exactly, because it was the first
report which the then Chief of the Navy, Admiral
Raeder, made to the Reich Chancellor Hitler.

Hitler said to Raeder that the basis of his future
policy was to live in peace with England and that he
was planning to show that by trying to conclude a naval
agreement with England. For this reason he wanted the
German Navy to be kept relatively small. He wanted to
recognize Britain's naval superiority because of her
position as a world power. He would by to suggest a
ratio of strength in accordance with this. He wanted
understanding in the construction of our Navy, and we
should take these, his political points of view, into
consideration. Raeder was impressed with the
statements, for they were completely in accordance with
his own convictions.

Q. Within the framework of this policy the
German-British Naval Agreement was then concluded in
1935. Was the Navy, as a whole, and Raeder in
particular, pleased with this agreement, or did they
see certain disadvantages in it?

A. Raeder and the Navy were very pleased with this
agreement, although we had to impose voluntarily upon
ourselves a severe limitation for a certain length of
time, and, as a result, had to count ourselves as one
of the smallest sea powers. In spite of that, the
agreement was generally welcomed, because friendly
relations with the British Navy were desired, and it
was believed that if we followed a wise and moderate
policy, England in return, would show her appreciation.

Q. Do you know whether at that time Hitler too approved
the agreement ill that form and was pleased about it?

A. Yes, I can affirm that. Raeder and I happened to be
together with Hitler in Hamburg the day this pact was
concluded. When this was reported to him, Hitler said
to Raeder:

  "This is the happiest day of my life. This morning I
  received word from my doctor that my throat trouble
  is insignificant, and this afternoon I am given this
  very pleasant political news."

Q. You have already stated, Herr Admiral, that the
Naval Agreement was welcomed by the Navy. You will
recall that in the year 1937, a qualifying Naval
Agreement was concluded with England? Was the attitude
of the Navy to that question still the same at that

A. Yes, absolutely. The Naval Agreement of 1937 brought
merely one, I might say, additional clause. This was an
exchange of reports, and we had also reached an
agreement with the British Navy in regard to a fixed
U-boat tonnage. We had no reason

                                             [Page 286]

Q. Herr Admiral, referring to the U-boat tonnage: 1935
agreement: 100 per cent. of the British U-boat tonnage;
Germany limiting herself to 45 per cent., but reserving
the right to increase the tonnage up to l00 per cent.,
in which case she is, however, obliged to notify
England and to discuss it with the British Admiralty.

Was this notification about the increase to 100 per
cent. given, and if so, when and in what way?

A. After we had reached 100 per cent., Admiral
Cunningham came to Berlin; on that occasion it was
discussed once more. Whether beyond this a written
confirmation was made, I no longer recall. I take it
for granted because that was the purpose of the
agreement of 1937. On the occasion of his visit in
December, 1938, Admiral Cunningham explicitly gave
Britain's agreement to the final 100 per cent. equality
on U-boats. That is the way I, or rather all of us,
interpreted his visit.

Q. Do you recall whether there was a special meeting
between Admiral Cunningham and Raeder on the occasion
of this visit, in which Admiral Cunningham generally
discussed the relations between the German and British
Navy or between Germany and England?

A. I had the personal impression that Cunningham and
Raeder parted on very friendly terms. At Cunningham's
departure there was a breakfast for a rather limited
circle, and on that occasion Cunningham expressed his
pleasure at the conclusion of the Naval Agreement,
ending his speech with a toast to the effect that now
that all these questions had been settled at last, it
was to be hoped that in the future there would be no
war between our navies.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of this incident?

DR. SIEMERS: December, 1938, I believe that is correct,

THE WITNESS: As far as I remember, December, 1938.

DR. SIEMERS: I remember the date from the testimony
given by Grand Admiral Raeder. I myself knew only that
it took place in 1938.

THE PRESIDENT: What Admiral Cunningham is it?

DR. SIEMERS: I do not know, I am not a naval expert.
Perhaps Admiral Schulte-Monting can tell us.

THE WITNESS: I did not understand the question, Doctor.

DR. SIEMERS: Which Admiral Cunningham is that?

THE WITNESS: The present Lord Cunningham. The older one
of the two.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, may I point out that it
must have been on 30th or 31st December, 1938, as far
as we, or rather as far as Raeder recalls.


Q. From 1933 until 1939, was Raeder confident that
Hitler would not start a war?

A. Yes. Raeder was completely confident of that. As
proof of this I believe I am able to affirm that
nothing was changed in our building programme within
that period. The opposite would have been the case if
we had even entertained the idea of a conflict.

Q. In what respect would the building programme have
had to be changed if one wanted to wage an aggressive

A. It would have been necessary to give priority at
least to the U-boat building programme.

Q. Was it clear to you and the leading naval officers
that a real aggressive war started by Germany would
perforce result in a war with England?

A. Yes. The knowledge of this fact is proof, in my
opinion, that a war of aggression was not planned.

                                             [Page 287]

Q. Herr Admiral, in 1938 and 1939, incidents took place
which, perhaps, led to a justifiable scepticism. I
should like you to recall the crisis in the autumn of
1938, regarding the Sudetenland, which almost led to
war, a thing which was prevented only at the last
moment, through the Munich Agreement.

I should like to call your attention specifically to
the occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia in
contravention of the Munich Agreement, in March 1939.

Now, what was the attitude of Raeder to this incident,
which you must know since you talked with him
practically every day.

A. Since Hitler had stated expressly at Munich that he
was interested only in the German areas of
Czechoslovakia, and actually, even though, perhaps, he
sounded exceedingly determined to the outside world,
willing to negotiate, Raeder and the leading circles in
the Navy believed that these things would be adjusted

With the occupation of Czechoslovakia, a great
restlessness arose, without doubt, among us. But we
believed very strongly that Hitler would not put out
any exaggerated demands, and that he would be prepared
to settle these matters politically because we could
not imagine that he would expose the German people to
the danger of a second world war.

Q. Did you or Raeder know that, before the agreement
with Hacha was made under rather strange circumstances,
allegedly a bombardment of Prague had been threatened?

A. I do not believe that Raeder knew anything about
this. I am hearing about this for the first time now.

Q. Now I shall turn to Document L-79. This is a speech
delivered by Hitler on 23rd May, 1939.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, this is Exhibit USA 27, and
is to be found in the Document Book 10, Page 74 of the
British Delegation. I am submitting this document to
the witness.


Q. This speech delivered by Hitler on the 23rd of May,
1939, was recorded by the adjutant on duty, Lt.-Colonel
Schmundt. As far as I know, Raeder on the same day
discussed this speech with you in detail. At that time
you had been chief of staff for a period of about six
months. From your later activity you are familiar with
the type of recording which was customary for military

A. This record can really not be considered a true
account. I have from this -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, in the first place, your
question was very much a leading one. You didn't ask
him a question. You put into his mouth what had
happened. That is altogether wrong. You ought to have
asked him if you wanted to prove a conversation he had
with Raeder, whether he did have a conversation with
Raeder. You have told him that he had a conversation
with Raeder. The purpose of examination is to ask
questions, and then he could tell us if he had a
conversation with Raeder. He can't tell us whether this
is a true account or a true form of the account when he
wasn't at the meeting himself.

DR. SIEMERS: I wish to thank the High Tribunal, and I
shall try to put the questions properly. The witness -

THE PRESIDENT: Not only that, but the Tribunal cannot
listen to this witness' account or his opinion as to
whether this is a true account of a meeting at which he
was not present.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, the witness, as Chief of
Staff, has always seen the exact minutes on important
meetings; they were delivered to him in accordance with
the distribution list. Therefore, as this document is
of a decisive nature, I should like to determine
whether Schulte-Monting as Chief of Staff received the
minutes, or whether he just received knowledge of the
contents through Grand Admiral Raeder's immediate
reporting. That was the purpose of my question.

                                             [Page 288]

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon, you mean you want to
ask him whether he ever saw this document? Yes, you may
certainly ask him that. Ask him if he saw the document.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon, your Honour, but I
believe the answer of the witness was lost in the
interpretation, and if I am correct -

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.