The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE PRESIDENT: It does not appear to be in our document.
What paragraph are you reading?

DR. EXNER: It is Paragraph 2 in my Document Book, Page 78.

THE PRESIDENT: It has not been translated.

DR. EXNER: Yes. That is just what I said. That is the error;
that is why I shall dictate it, or read it slowly.

THE PRESIDENT: You want it to be translated?

                                                  [Page 346]


THE PRESIDENT: You see, Paragraph 2 is not translated at
all. There is nothing here.

DR. EXNER: These three lines were not translated at all, but
they are very important.

THE PRESIDENT: Just read it through the earphones, then;
read the passage.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, the full document is in the British
Document Book No. 7, Page 102.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Go on.


  Q. "For the work of our own Intelligence Service, as well
  as for answering questions asked by the Russian
  Intelligence Service, the following guiding principles
  apply ..." and now explain the subject further.

A. Such instructions as these here to Canaris' office were
issued by me every six weeks. They formed the basis for the
so-called counter-espionage work, which I do not wish to
discuss in detail here. In this case what mattered to me was
that the weak forces which we kept in the East at this time
should be made to appear actually stronger. That, for
instance, can be clearly seen from Paragraph 3 which says -
and I quote:

  "In statements on the equipment situation of the forces,
  especially of the armoured divisions, it is advisable to
  exaggerate if necessary."

I point out, in the next paragraph, that anti-aircraft
defences should also be exaggerated. All this was done
because, at that time, apprehension had already arisen that
eventually a Russian operation against Roumania might
develop. The purpose of this order was to frighten them out
of it and it was intended for the Intelligence Service only.
If on 6th September I had already known of any aggressive
intention against Russia, I would have said exactly the
reverse, for with this order, as I had issued it, I might
have been working in the interests of Gisevius and his
friends, namely, have been informing the Russians that we
were beginning to concentrate our troops.

Q. Now, when did you first hear of the Fuehrer's fears that
Russia might prove hostile to us?

A. For the first time, on 29th July, 1940, on the Berghof,
near Berchtesgaden.

Q. In what connection?

A. The Fuehrer detained me alone after a discussion on the
situation and said to me, most unexpectedly, that he was
worried that Russia might occupy still more territory in
Roumania before the winter, and that the Roumanian oil
region, which was the conditio sine qua non for our conduct
of the war, would thus be taken from us. He asked me whether
we could not concentrate our troops immediately, so that we
would be ready by autumn to oppose any such Russian
intention with strong forces. These are almost the exact
words which he used, and all other versions are false.

Q. You have just mentioned Hitler's concern about the
seizure of the Roumanian oilfields. Did the Fuehrer do
anything because of this apprehension?

A. Yes, decidedly. When I protested that it was quite
impossible to carry out a troop concentration now, because
it would take four months, the Fuehrer at once ordered
deployment conditions to be improved. Two orders were issued
immediately. One, I believe, is of 9th August, and was
called "Reconstruction East," and included all measures to
improve deployment conditions in the Eastern area. The
second order was issued On 27th August. We do not have it
here, but it has been recorded in the War Diary of the Naval
War Staff (SKL).

DR. EXNER: Yes, that is Page 85, Volume I of my Document
Book. There is an entry, right at the end of the page, in
the diary of the Naval War Staff:

                                                  [Page 347]

  "Displacement of ten divisions and two armoured divisions
  (see next page) to the Government General, should prompt
  intervention prove necessary for the protection of the
  Roumanian oilfields."

That is, therefore, an excerpt from Document C-I70, Exhibit
USA 136.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, you seem to be reading from Page
85. Were you?

DR. EXNER: Yes, from Page 85. It is Page 85 of the German
version. Perhaps the numbering of the pages does not quite
tally with the numbering of the English version? It is the
entry: "Displacement of ten divisions and two armoured
divisions to the Government General."


THE WITNESS: This entry is proof of what the Fuehrer's
intention was at that time with regard to this reinforcement
in the East.


Q. Well, when was the Fuehrer's order issued to prepare for

A. The first order for the consideration of an attack, or
for the consideration of any aggressive operation at all,
was issued in writing by the Operations Staff of the
Wehrmacht and submitted to the Fuehrer on 12th November. It
is Document PS-44.

Q. It is on Page 86, Volume I of my Document Book.

A. And is already known to the Tribunal. But this first
order, which is known to me, had to be preceded by oral
instructions from the Fuehrer to the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army.

Q. That can be gathered from the document itself, namely,
from Page 67, which reads:

  "Irrespective of the result of these discussions, all
  preparations for the East which have already been ordered
  are to be carried out,"

a proof, therefore, that oral orders and preparations had
been previously issued.

A. I am not in a position to say when these oral
instructions were issued to the Army.

Q. Tell me, in these statements which Hitler made to you,
was there ever any mention of things such as the extension
of the "Lebensraum" and of our food bases as a pretext for a
war of conquest, et alia?

A. In my presence, the Fuehrer never even hinted at any
other reason than a purely strategic and operational one.
For months on end, one might say, he incessantly repeated:
"No further doubt is possible. England is hoping for this,
the last continental dagger thrust against us, else she
would have stopped the war after Dunkirk. Whether privately
or under cover, agreements have certainly already been made.
Russian strategy is clearly recognizable. One day we shall
either be crushed politically and left stone cold or we
shall be attacked." One could talk about this for weeks on
end, but no word was mentioned to me of any other than
purely strategical reasons of this kind.

Q. How did you, in pursuance to the reports you had
received, develop the military situation in the East after
the Polish campaign?

A. When we first contacted the Russians in the Polish
campaign the relationship was rather frosty. Units and their
equipment were carefully kept secret. There were constantly
unpleasant incidents on the San. The Russians shot at
everything, at fleeing Poles and at German soldiers. There
were wounded and dead, and the demarcation line was flown
over in numerous cases. The unusually strong forces employed
by Russia for the occupation of the Baltic States, of Poland
and Bessarabia struck us from the very beginning.

Q. Did the reports which you received contain indications
about military reinforcements for the Red Army?

A. By maps which were submitted every few days, and which
were based on counter intelligence reports and on our radio
monitoring section, the following

                                                  [Page 348]

picture was formed: In the summer of 1940 there were already
about a hundred Russian divisions along the border. By
January 1941 there were 150 divisions and these were
indicated by numbers; consequently the reports were
reliable. In comparison with this strength, I may add that
the English-American-French forces operating from France
against Germany never, to my knowledge, amounted to one
hundred divisions.

Q. Did Hitler attempt to clear up the political situation by
diplomatic means?

A. He attempted to do so during the famous conference with
Molotov, and I must say that I placed great hopes on this
talk, since the military situation for us, soldiers, was as
follows: with a definitely neutral Russia in our rear, a
Russia which, in addition, sent us supplies, we simply could
not lose the war. An invasion, such as took place on 6th
June, 1944; would have been entirely out of the question if
we had had at our disposal all the forces we had used up and
lost in this immense struggle in Russia. And it never, for a
single moment, entered my mind that a statesman - a
statesman who, in the last analysis, was also a military
commander - would needlessly relinquish a situation of this
description. It is a fact that he struggled for months with
himself about this decision and he was certainly influenced
by the many opposing ideas suggested to him by the
Reichsmarschall, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, as well
as the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Q. On the basis of the reports which you received, how did
the military situation on both sides look like developing?

A. The Intelligence Service began to be very active as from
January 1941. The divisions on our borders and also along
the Roumanian frontier grew rapidly. On 3rd February, 1941,
the Chief of the General Staff of the Army informed the
Fuehrer about the operations which he himself intended to
carry out. At the same time he presented a map of the
Russian troop concentration. At that time this map indicated
- and this has been proved by documents - that there were
one hundred infantry divisions, twenty-five cavalry
divisions ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, do we need all these strategic
details of plans which were drawn up by the German General

DR. EXNER: It is of very great importance to establish the
picture facing the General Staff at that time. If an
overwhelming concentration of Russian troops had not -

THE PRESIDENT: But that is not what he tells about. He is
telling us about February 1941; that the OKW had produced
plans to show the deployment of German troops.

DR. EXNER: That is a plan which was developed by -

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is necessary to go into
such details as to tell us how many cavalry regiments they
had there.


Q. Yes. Please tell us, on general lines, how Halder
described the position to you after the February 1941
reports. How many divisions were deployed?

A. I have already said so. One hundred and fifty Russian
divisions were deployed against us in February.

THE PRESIDENT: He has said that already.

Q. And how many were there on our side?

A .... and I should like to say in reply that at this same
time our deployment, reported by General Halder, had only
just begun. And furthermore, I should like to point out that
Document C-39, Exhibit USA 138, that is Page 92 of Document
Book I, as is clear from a study of this Document Book, is
the time-table of the deployment, and that not until 1st
June were the actual attack formations, consisting of
fourteen armoured divisions and twelve motorized infantry
divisions, brought up. I mention 1st June so that one cannot
say: "Oh, yes ! It was

                                                  [Page 349]

intended, in the German plan of aggression, to attack as far
back as February 194I." It was not.

Q. The prosecution has especially emphasized that this plan
for the attack on Soviet Russia had been drawn up long
before then. Can you perhaps say anything more about that?

A. I will indicate the matter in one sentence; we had to use
10,000 trains for this deployment, and if one could have
used one hundred a day, it would have taken one hundred
days. But we never reached this figure. From a purely
technical point of view this deployment had already taken
four months.

Q. Did events in Yugoslavia have any influence on the
Fuehrer's decision?

A. They gave it the final impetus. Until that time, the
Fuehrer still had his doubts. On 1st April, no earlier, he
decided to attack, and on 1st April he ordered the attack to
be held in readiness for about 22nd June. The order for the
attack itself, that is, the real opening of the campaign,
was only issued on 17th June, which is likewise proved by

Q. Then, in your opinion, the Fuehrer waged a preventive
war. Did later events prove that this was a military

A. It was undeniably a purely preventive war. What we
established later on was the certainty of an enormous
Russian military preparation opposite our borders. I will
dispense with details. But I can only say that although we
succeeded in a tactical surprise, on the day and the hour,
it was no strategic surprise. Russia was fully prepared for

Q. As an example, could you perhaps tell the Tribunal the
number of new airfields which were discovered in the
Russian-Polish area?

A. I recall approximately that there were about twenty
airfields located in Eastern Poland and that in the meantime
these had been increased to more than a hundred.

Q. Quite briefly, under these conditions, what would have
been the result of Russia's having forestalled us?

A. I do not want to go into the strategic principles, into
the operations behind the front, but I will only state
briefly that we were never strong enough to defend ourselves
in the East, as has been proved by the events since 1942.
That may sound grotesque, but in order to occupy this front
of over 2,000 kilometres we needed 300 divisions at least,
and we never had them. If we had waited until the invasion
and a Russian attack had caught us in a pincer movement
simultaneously, we would certainly have been lost. If,
therefore, the political premise was correct, namely, that
we were threatened by this attack, then - from a military
point of view - the preventive attack was also justified.
The political situation was presented to us soldiers in this
light. As a result, we based our military work on this

 Q. Now, a few questions concerning Japan. What significance
did Directive 24, of 5th March, 1941, have on co-operation
with Japan? It has already been mentioned but the matter is
not quite clear. That is Page 94, Volume I of our Document
Book, which is Document C-75. Grand Admiral Raeder, in the
witness stand, has already said something about this
directive. Can you tell me anything new?

A. The document is very important. First, I must make a
confession: so far I have only been accused of having
received this document. But it emanated from me. I
authorized it. It was worked out in my staff and in the Navy
group. Consequently, I knew this document better than
anybody else. It is not an operational order, it is a
directive for controlling the conversation of German

Q. What does that mean?

A. It means that all German officers who officially or
unofficially came into contact with Japanese officers were
to be told exactly what the aims of German

                                                  [Page 350]

policy were, namely - to attack England even in the Far
East, and precisely thereby to keep America out of the war.

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