The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. We now come to the Balkans. In your diary, Document
PS-1809, on 10th March, you made the following entry: "the
Balkans should and must remain quiet." That is on Page 61 of
Volume I of my book, the entry of 19th March:

  "The Fuehrer returns from the conference with the Duce,
  beaming with joy and highly satisfied. Complete
  agreement. The Balkans should and must remain quiet."

What does that mean?

A. Herr Professor, I have to correct you. This is not my

Q. Yes. Well, then I must put in another question here. Your
diaries are always being talked about. Explain just what
this is, what we are dealing with here. Is one a real diary
and the other not?

A. There is only one diary, and that is Document 1780, that
is from the year 1937 to 1938, and I used to make entries in
it myself every evening.

Q. And now this diary, Document PS-1808, what was that?

A. I kept no diary at all during the war, but, of course, I
filled up dozens of small notebooks, and when one of these
notebooks was full I marked important passages in red on the
margin and my secretary copied them out later, since they

                                                  [Page 342]

might be important for writing the history of the war and
for the official diary of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.
That would be Document PS-1809, for example.

Q. Did you check what your secretary compiled from these?

A. No, I did not check it again and never saw it again, for
it then fell into the hands of the prosecution.

Now there is still a third one which is always quoted here
as a diary. That is the diary of the Armed Forces Operations

THE PRESIDENT: You said it fell into the hands of the
prosecution. Do you mean it was not one of the documents
that you handed over to the prosecution?

THE WITNESS: No. I did not know at all where those extracts
from my notebook had gone to and the prosecution captured it
somewhere or other. Everything else is extracts, and partial
extracts, from the official diary of the Armed Forces
Operations Staff.


Q. And who kept this, the official diary of the Armed Forces
Operations Staff? Not you?

A. No. It was always kept by a highly qualified expert of my
own selection.

Q. Did you check it?

A. The final check was made by Professor Schramm of
Gottingen University.

Q. We shall hear him as a witness. Did you check the entries
made in that official diary, or did you not?

A. I usually did not have the time, but had General Scherf
read through it and if he discovered anything in particular
he would draw my attention to it.

Q. Now, to clear things up.

We now come back to the Balkan question again. It says, in
your so-called diary, "The Balkans should and must remain
quiet." What was meant by that?

A. That was a brief note about the stories told by the
Fuehrer, namely, that he was in perfect agreement with
Mussolini that the Balkans must remain quiet.

Q. And did we not actually try to keep the Balkan States as
quiet as possible?

A. Yes. This attempt was made unremittingly. Our attitude
toward Yugoslavia was as considerate as if we were handling
a "prima donna." Matters went so far that when we had to
prepare the Greek campaign the Fuehrer even refused a
proposal from the Quartermaster General of the Army to have
sealed trains, supply trains, sent through Yugoslavia,
which, from the viewpoint of International Law, is
permissible. Moreover, we brought pressure to bear on
Bulgaria so that she would not participate in the impending
campaign against Greece, above all so as not to alarm
Turkey. Even after the Graeco-Italian campaign, the Fuehrer
still hoped that a conflict, an actual military dispute
between Germany and Greece, could be avoided.

Q. I refer here to Order No. 18, printed on Page 66 of
Volume I of our Document Book, which contains an extract
from Document PS-444, Exhibit KGB 116, and here we find the
following statement in the next to the last paragraph:

  "The preparatory measures of the High Command for the
  prosecution of the war in the near future are to be made
  in accordance with the following guiding principles:"

It is then stated in the next to the last paragraph of that

  "Utilization of the railway leading through Yugoslavia
  will not be counted on for moving these forces into

Well, what forced us to give up this programme?

A. That programme was completely wrecked by Italy's false
step, about which the Reichsmarschall and the Grand Admiral
have already testified. I have only a brief addition to
make: Italy was beaten, as usual, and sent the Chief of the
Operations Staff of the Supreme Command to me, crying for
help. But in spite

                                                  [Page 343]

of this emergency the Fuehrer did not intervene in the war
in Albania. He did not send a single German soldier there,
although the matter had been taken into consideration. He
only ordered an operation against Greece, with Bulgaria as
the jumping off point, to be prepared for the following
Spring and even this was for the primary purpose of
occupying the Salonica Basin and thereby giving direct
relief to the Italians, and only in the case, which, to be
sure, was feared, that English divisions would now land in
the Balkans as a result of Italy's madness. In that case it
was decided to occupy all Greece since we could not possibly
tolerate a Royal Air Force base in the immediate vicinity of
the Roumanian oilfields. And this variance becomes all the
clearer if we peruse the order which has been submitted to
the Tribunal as Document PS-1541, Exhibit GB 117, Pages 63
and 64 of the Document Book. I should like to quote, in a
few words, two passages, two very brief passages from
Paragraph 2, sub-paragraph (b), of Page 63:

  "Operation Marita. My plan therefore is to send this task
  force straight through Bulgaria, for the occupation of
  the North Aegean Coast and, if necessary, of the entire
  mainland of Greece."

I then quote from Page 64, Paragraph 4, sub-paragraph (a):

  "The primary objective of the operation is the occupation
  of the Aegean Coast and the Salonica Basin. It may be
  necessary to extend the attack to Larissa and the Straits
  of Corinth."

It is quite obvious from these contingent orders that the
occupation of the whole of Greece was intended only in the
event of our being forced to this measure by the landing of
English troops.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. You said we had a plan to leave Yugoslavia neutral. Now
this plan was apparently changed by the Simovitsch putsch.
Why did this event alter our policy toward Yugoslavia?

A. This putsch against a legal government by officers
dabbling in politics immediately after Yugoslavia had joined
the Tripartite Pact necessarily had to have an anti-German
tendency. We stood directly on the verge of a campaign
against Greece, and, indeed, against the whole of Greece,
for in the meantime English divisions had landed there and
this campaign could only be waged with a safely neutral
Yugoslavia in our rear.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, various other defendants - Goering
and Keitel - have dealt with the political aspects of the
entry of Germany into Yugoslavia. Unless there is anything
new for this defendant to give evidence about, it seems to
be entirely cumulative.


Q. Then kindly just tell us if you have anything new to add
- some documentation, etc.

A. I have something to add which concerns myself personally.

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing is coming through .... the English
was not coming through .... Please try it again - repeat
what you said.

THE WITNESS: I have something else to add which concerns me
personally regarding the Yugoslav problem ....

THE PRESIDENT: No, there is nothing coming through to us
.... Go on then, defendant. You were asked if there is
anything new to say.

A. Yes, I have something personal to add.

DR. EXNER. Yes, do so.

                                                  [Page 344]

A. On the morning when the Fuehrer spontaneously ordered the
immediate preparation of an attack on Yugoslavia, I proposed
to him, or at least I mentioned, that after concentrating
our troops we first ought to clarify the real situation, the
political situation, by an ultimatum. He refused to do so;
he said "that will not lead to anything." Field Marshal
Keitel has already confirmed this.

Q. Tell me, was that on 27th March?

A. Yes, that was on the 27th. Now I might even offer proof
of this: On the evening of the 27th the order was issued ...

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is necessary if the
defendant Keitel said it and you say it, and there is no
cross-examination about it.

DR. EXNER: There is one thing which seems important to me.

THE WITNESS: A document was submitted, PS-1746, Exhibit GB
120, on Page 70 of the Document Book.


Q. Page 71?

A. Yes, the text is on Page 71. If the Tribunal will compare
this sentence on Page 71, Paragraph I, with the sentence on
Page 69 of the Document Book, a difference will be noticed.
Page 69 contains the order signed by the Fuehrer, and it
begins with this sentence:

  "The military putsch in Yugoslavia has altered the
  political situation in the Balkans. Even if she makes a
  declaration of loyalty, Yugoslavia must be considered as
  an enemy and therefore smashed as quickly as possible."

This, as appears from the date, was issued on 27th March. I
worked that whole night at the Reich Chancellery, which also
indicates the surprise nature of the whole case. At four
o'clock on the morning of the 28th, as stated on Page 71, I
put the following aide-memoire, this operational
aide-memoire, into the hand of General Rintelen, our Liaison
Officer with the Italian High Command. I quote:

  "Should political developments call for armed
  intervention against Yugoslavia, it is the German
  intention, etc... "

I must admit that, in this instance, I ventured slightly
into the political field, but in so doing I thought that if
Germany did not clarify the political situation beyond a
doubt, then Italy perhaps might do it.

Q. The next document is also evidence of the suddenness of
this decision and is on Page 73, Volume I. That is the order
issued by the Army High Command on the basis of these
directives, the order for concentrating troops for the
operation. It is Document R-95, Exhibit GB 127, Page 73 of
Volume I, and it says:

  "As a result of a change in the political situation,
  etc.," and then, "will be concentrated:" and then the
  last paragraph states: "The operation will be given the
  code name 'Project 25 '."

I ask you, General, can we conclude anything from this?

A. It was not until 3rd April that the order was

Q. No, on 30th March.

A. ... until 30th March that it was issued.

Q. Did the operation receive the code name "Project 25"?

A. A code name for this operation was ordered for the very
first time three days after the putsch, and that proves that
it had not been planned in 1937, as was once stated here.

A. And now, just one last question on this Balkan matter.
Was Greek neutrality still in force on 24th March, 1941,
when we unleashed the Luftwaffe attack on her sovereign
territory of Crete? In this connection I refer to Document
C-60, AJ 13. It is an order of 24th March, 1941, which, as I
have just stated, sanctioned air attacks on Crete and on
Greek shipping. Now, what about Greek neutrality on 24th
March, 1941?

                                                  [Page 345]

A. From the point of view of International Law it no longer
existed at that date. The English had, in the meantime,
landed on Crete and in the Piraeus, and we had already
learned about this on 5th or 6th March. The order,
therefore, was in accordance with all principles of
International Law. But I may add, to conclude the Yugoslav
problem, that the allegation which has been made by the
prosecution that the plan to attack Yugoslavia emanated from
my office is a statement that has not been and cannot be
substantiated by anything.

THE PRESIDENT: What was that document that you were
referring to? 24th March, 1941? You said "360," which did
not indicate anything to us.

DR. EXNER: 24th March, that is Document C-60, AJ-13.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. What page?

DR. EXNER: Page 76, Volume I.


Q. We now come to the question of the Soviet Union. How many
troops did we have in the East during the Western campaign?

A. At first it was ten divisions, which in the course of the
Russian campaign
were reduced to six, or perhaps five divisions.

Q. What prompted us to send troops to the East after the
Western campaign?

A. The report of the Commander-in-Chief in the East, that
with these weak forces he could neither keep Poland quiet
nor guard the demarcation line.

Q. In your diary, the so-called diary, Document 1809-PS,
Volume I of my Document Book, Page 83, you write, on 24th

  "Position in the East threatened by Russian concentration
  against Bessarabia."

That is on 24th May, 1940. That is what you wrote in your
diary. How did you come to this conclusion?

A. The occasion was a dispatch from Canaris reporting the
concentration of thirty Russian divisions against
Bessarabia. Whether the additional note expressing anxiety
originated with me or whether it was an idea of the Fuehrer
which I jotted down, I can no longer say today.

Q. Well, on 6th September, 1940, you signed an order stating
that the regrouping should not give the impression of an
offensive preparation. How should that be understood?

A. This order signed by me was interpreted as the first
attempt to conceal the impending attack on Russia.

Q. One moment. I want to point out the order in question to
the Tribunal. It is Page 78, Volume I, Document 1229-PS,
Exhibit USA 130. It is an order signed by Jodl, addressed to
the Foreign Counter-Intelligence, and it says there:

  "The Eastern area will be strengthened in the weeks to
  come. By the end of October, the position indicated on
  the enclosed map is to be reached."

And now, your Honours, I must unfortunately point out an
omission in the English and French translations: the next
paragraph is missing and this is very important for the
understanding of the entire document. It says:

  "For the work of our own Intelligence Service, as well as
  for answering questions by the Russian Intelligence
  Service - "

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