The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. In this connection I should like to refer to a document
which has already been submitted - the two-year report of
General George Marshall. This has already been submitted as
Raeder No. 79. I have a part of it here before me, a part
which I submitted under AJ-3, Page 768. Regarding the
problem of rearmament, some sentences seem to hit the nail
right on the head.

In the second paragraph on Page 5, or rather the last
sentence there, we see:-

  "The world does not seriously consider the wishes of the
  weak. Weakness presents too great a temptation to the
  strong, particularly to the bully who schemes for wealth
  and power."

                                                  [Page 320]

Then on the next page there is another sentence:

  "We must start, I think, with a correction of the tragic
  misunderstanding that a security policy is a war policy."

Can you tell us, please, what the ratio of our military
strength to that of foreign countries was at that time?

A. In 1935, when we set up 36 divisions, France, Poland and
Czechoslovakia had 90 divisions for peacetime, and 190
divisions for wartime. We had almost no heavy artillery, and
tank construction was in its earliest stages. The concept of
defensive and offensive armament had been discussed on
various occasions. It would lead us too far afield to go
into that in detail. But I should like to say only that as
far as Germany was concerned, with her geographical
position, this concept did not apply. The disarmament
conference, too, after months of discussion, failed because
of being unable to come to a proper definition.

Q. I should like to quote from an expert, namely George
Marshall again, Page 168 of my Document Book, from which I
have just quoted, and again just one sentence in the first

  "The only effective defence a nation can now maintain is
  the power of attack."

Now, however, the prosecution asserts that you should have
known that such a tremendous rearmament as the German
rearmament could serve only for an aggressive war. Will you
comment on this please?

A. I believe this can be explained only as an expression of
military ignorance. Until the year 1939, we were, of course,
in a position to destroy Poland alone. But we were never,
either in 1938 or 1939, actually in a position to withstand
a concentrated attack by these States together. And if we
did not collapse in the year 1939, that was due only to the
fact that during the Polish campaign, roughly 110 French and
British divisions in the West were completely inactive as
against the 23 German divisions.

Q. But tell us, when did a massive rearmament actually

A. Real armament was only begun after the war had already
started. We entered into this world war with perhaps 75
divisions. Sixty per cent. of our total population had not
been trained. The peace-time army amounted to perhaps
400,000 men, as against 800,000 men in 1914. Our supplies of
ammunition and bombs, as the witness Milch has already
testified, were ridiculously low.

Q. Relating hereto, I should like to read a war diary entry
of yours, Page 16 of Volume I of my Document Book, which is
PS-1780, Exhibit USA 72. On 13th December you said:

  "Following a report on the set-up of the L
  (Landesverteidigung, National Defence) the Field Marshal
  reports on the status of the war potential of the
  Wehrmacht, whose greatest difficulty lies in the
  insufficient supply of ammunition for the army - ten to
  fifteen days of combat."

A. That is right - ammunition for ten to fifteen days of

Q. Now I shall turn to the question of the occupation of the

THE PRESIDENT: Let us break off now.

(A recess was taken.)

Q. General, when did you first hear of the plans to occupy
the Rhineland?

A. On 1st or 2nd March, 1936; that is to say about six days
before the actual occupation. I could not have heard of them
any earlier because before that the Fuehrer had not yet made
the decision.

Q. Did you and the Generals have military objections against
that occupation?

A. I have to confess that we had the strange feeling of a
gambler whose entire fortune is at stake.

Q. Did you have legal objections?

A. No; I was neither an International Law expert nor a
politician. Politically speaking it had been stated that
that agreement between Czechoslovakia, Russia

                                                  [Page 321]

and France had voided the Locarno Pact at was something
which I accepted as a fact at the time.

Q. How strong were our forces in the Rhineland after the

A. We occupied the Rhineland with approximately one
division, but only three battalions of that went into the
territory west of the Rhine; one battalion went to Aachen,
one to Trier, and one to Saarbrucken.

Q. Three battalions. That is really only a symbolic
occupation is it not?

A. Yes, and they only acted symbolically.

Q. Did you do anything to avoid a military conflict because
of that occupation?

A. There were serious reports which reached our military
attaches in Paris and London at the time. I could not fail
to be impressed by them. We suggested to Field Marshal von
Blomberg at that time that perhaps he ought to discuss the
withdrawing of these three battalions west of the Rhine if
the French would withdraw four to five times as many men
from their borders.

Q. Was that suggestion ever made?

A. Yes, it was made to the Fuehrer, but he turned it down.
What he refused quite bluntly was General Beck's suggestion
that we should declare that we would not fortify west of the

Q. Did you think at the time that that action contained any
aggressive intentions?

A. No, there could not be any mention of aggressive
intentions, because the French Army alone could have blown
us off the earth, considering the situation we were in.

Q. Do you now think that the leading men had aggressive
intentions then?

A. No, nobody had aggressive intentions, but it is of course
possible that in the mind of the Fuehrer there was the idea
of a connection between that occupation and its being a
prerequisite for actions later to be taken in the East. That
is possible, but I do not know, because I could not read the
Fuehrer's thoughts.

Q. But you did not see any outward signs of it?

A. No, none whatsoever.

Q. Did you know of the so-called "testament" of Hitler,
dated 5th November, 1937, which has been read out in this

A. The first time I heard of it was here in Court.

Q. What did you learn at that time about it?

A. Field Marshal von Blomberg informed Keitel and Keitel
informed me that there had been a discussion with the
Fuehrer. When I asked for the minutes I was told that no
minutes had been taken. I refer to my diary, Page 1780, as a
proof. What I was told was not in any way sensational and
hardly different in any way from anything contained in
general directives for the preparation of a war. I can only
assume that Field Marshal von Blomberg at that time kept
these confidences to himself because he may not have
believed that they would ever be carried out.

Q. Was there a strategic plan regarding Austria?

A. There was no plan for a campaign against Austria. Let me
be emphatic about that.

Q. Now we come to Document C-175, a directive which is
Exhibit USA 69. It is in Volume I, Page 18 and the following
pages. It is a directive for the unified preparation for war
of the armed forces of the year 1937. The prosecution had
only quoted the operation order "Otto" from these
instructions, which could only create the impression that
this was a plan for a campaign against Austria. What is the
meaning of this directive?

A. It was one of those typical preparations for war, unified
preparations for any and every eventuality. Such directives
came out every year in Germany ever since there was a
General Staff and compulsory military service. These
theoretical military studies distinguished between two
cases, namely, such cases of war, which, because of their
nature, were politically probable, or might be probable, and
such cases which were improbable. As far as the first were

                                                  [Page 322]

concerned, a strategic order was to be drafted by the Army
and the Air Force, while for the latter only appropriate
considerations were required. If the Tribunal would turn to
Page 21 of the document, there appears, at the end of the
page under Part 3, a sentence as follows:

  "The following special cases are to be considered inside
  the High Command, generally without participation by
  outside authorities," and the operation "Otto" appears
  among such cases on Page 22.

Q. On Page 18 of this document is a directive which is valid
from the 1st July, 1937, until, presumably, the 30th
September, 1938, that is, a little more than a year; and
that, in turn, replaces another similar instruction which is
referred to in the first paragraph, which had been drafted
for the same problems previously. Did you participate in
discussions on the Austrian case?

A. No, I did not participate in any conferences.

Q. It is said in the Trial Brief that on 12th February,
1938, you had been to Obersalzburg. Keitel has already
rectified that. Your entry in the diary under 12th March,
1938, is, therefore, based only on an account which you
received through Keitel; is that right?

A. Yes. It is merely a note on a brief account given to me
by General Keitel
about that day, probably related a bit colourfully.

Q. But then it says, evening of 11th February: "General von
Keitel with General von Reichenau and Sperle at
Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg and G. Schmidt are being subjected
to heaviest political and military pressure." In the English
and French translations it says that Schuschnigg and Schmidt
are "again" subjected to the most serious political and
military pressure. This word "again" does not appear in my
German original.

Now, did you suggest manoeuvres of deception against
Austria? That is being held against you.

A. I did not suggest any manoeuvres of deception. The
Fuehrer ordered them, and I do not think that they are
illegal, because I believe that in the historic gambling of
the world, both in peace and in war, false cards have always
been used; but the Fuehrer ordered it and that is stated in
the entry in my diary. I supplied military information and
documents to Canaris, telling where our garrisons were
situated, what manoeuvres were taking place, and Canaris
elaborated them and then released them in Munich.

Q. What did you think was the purpose of ...?

A. I had been told that the purpose was to exert a certain
amount of pressure so that Schuschnigg, when back at home,
would adhere to the agreement made at Obersalzberg.

Q. How long before the actual entry into Austria did you
know of such intentions?

A. On 10th March, in the morning just before 11.00, I heard
of it for the first time.

Q. And the entry took place when?

A. On the 12th. It was when General Keitel and General
Viebahn, who was then temporarily the chief of the Armed
Forces Operation Staff, were suddenly ordered to the Reich
Chancellery that I heard of the intention for the first

Q. Then did you have an expose made or what?

A. Then the Fuehrer surprised them by stating that the
Austrian question was on the agenda; and then they
remembered that there was a General Staff expose called
"Otto". They sent for me and found out from me that such a
directive actually did exist, but that in practice nothing
at all had been prepared.

Since it had only been a theoretical plan and drafted solely
in the event of an Austrian invasion, and since such an
invasion was not expected at the time, the High Command of
the Army had virtually done nothing about it.

Q. How did you yourself understand the entire Austrian

                                                  [Page 323]

A. It appeared to me to be a family row and I thought that
Austria itself would solve the problem, politically, in the
shortest possible time.

And what made you think that?

A. Due to my own extensive knowledge of Austria, with
which-through relatives and acquaintances, through the
German-Austrian Alpine Club, to which I belonged - I had
been in closer contact than with northern Germany. I knew
that in that country there had been a government against the
will of the people for a long time. The peasant uprising in
Styria was a characteristic example.

Q. But was now the march into Austria the carrying out of
the suggestion, Document C-175?

A. No, it was improvised and executed within a few hours,
and the result was accordingly. Seventy per cent. of all the
armoured vehicles and cars were stranded on the road from
Salzburg and Passau to Vienna, because the drivers had been
hurriedly taken from their training course to be given this


Q. Defendant, you said just now, did you not, that the
Fuehrer told them it was the problem of Austria? You said
that, did you not?

A. I said that the Fuehrer had informed General Keitel and
General Viebahn on 10th March, in the morning. He did not
talk to me and up to that day I had not talked to the
Fuehrer either.

Q. I only wanted to know the date. You said it was 10th

A. Yes, on 10th March, in the morning.


Q. Is it correct that only peace-time formations marched
into the frontier
districts, into the Austrian territory?

A. Yes; it is a fact that only peace-time units were used,
which were meant to take part in the parade in Vienna. All
units which might have been necessary for a military
conflict, say, with Czechoslovakia or Italy, were stopped at
the last moment, and did not cross the border.

Q. That means ammunition columns, for instance?

A. No, everything remained behind.

Q. Was there any hesitation among the political leaders at
the last moment?

A. On 11th March, in the afternoon, I had news from the
Reich Chancellery
that the armed forces were not to move in, but that the
police would pass through the lines of the armed forces and
move in alone. In the evening, however, on 11th March - at
2030 hours - the final decision reached me, which was that
the armed forces were to move in after all. I was unable to
find out the reason for that hesitation.

Q. So that altogether there was not really an invasion by

A. No, it was a purely peaceful occupation. It was
characterised by the fact that I suggested to the Chief of
the Operations Staff of the Army that he should have the
bands marching at the head of the column and that all
drivers should definitely wear spectacles - otherwise they
would have too many flowers thrown into their eyes.

Q. What was the significance of the order you signed
regarding the march into Austria? It has been put before you
under the Document C-182, Exhibit USA 77. You can remember
it, can you not?

A. Yes, I can remember. That is nothing other than the
written recording of something which had previously been
ordered orally and which was already being carried out. That
written order, you see, would have come much too late.

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