The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/nca/nca-01//nca-01-05-opening-address-usa

Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-05-opening-address-usa
Last-Modified: 1997/08/25
                                                  [Page 114]
                          Chapter V
The following address, opening the American case under Count
I of the Indictment, was delivered by Justice Robert N. Jackson, 
Chief of Counsel for the United States, before the Tribunal on 21
November 1945:

May it please Your Honors,

The privilege of opening the first trial in history for
crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave
responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and
punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so
devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being
ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four
great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury
stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their
captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the
most significant tributes that Power ever has paid to

This tribunal, while it is novel and experimental, is not
the product of abstract speculations nor is it created to
vindicate legalistic theories. This inquest represents the practical 
effort of four of the most mighty of nations, with the support of 
seventeen more, to utilize International Law to meet the greatest menace of
our timesaggressive war. The common sense of mankind demands
that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little 
people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power 
and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave
no home in the world untouched. It is a cause of this
magnitude that the United Nations will lay before Your

In the prisoners' dock sit twenty-odd broken men. Reproached
by the humiliation of those they have led almost as bitterly
as by the desolation of those they have attacked, their
personal capacity for evil is forever past. It is hard now
to perceive in these miserable men as captives the power by
which as Nazi leaders they once dominated much of the world
and terrified most of it. Merely as individuals, their fate
is of little consequence to the world.

What makes this inquest significant is that those prisoners
represent sinister influence that will lurk in the world
long after their bodies have returned to dust. They are
living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence,
and of the arrogance and cruelty of power. They are symbols
of fierce nationalism and militarism, of intrigue and war-
making which have embroiled Europe generation after
generation, crushing its manhood, destroying its

                                                  [Page 115]
homes, and impoverishing its life. They have so identified
themselves with the philosophies they conceived and with the
forces they directed that any tenderness to them is a
victory and an encouragement to all the evils which are
attached to their names. Civilization can afford no
compromise with the social forces which would gain renewed
strength if we deal ambiguously or indecisively with the men
in whom those forces now precariously survive.

What these men stand for we will patiently and temperately
disclose. We will give you undeniable proofs of incredible
events. The catalogue of crimes will omit nothing that could
be conceived by.a pathological pride, cruelty, and lust for
power. These men created in Germany, under the
Fuehrerprinzip, a National Socialist despotism equalled only
by the dynasties of the ancient East. They took from the
German people all those dignities and freedoms that we hold
natural and inalienable rights in every human being. The
people were compensated by inflaming
and gratifying hatreds toward those who were marked as
"scape-goats." Against their opponents, including Jews,
Catholics, and free labor the Nazis directed such a campaign
of arrogance, brutality, and annihilation as the world has
not witnessed since the pre-Christian ages. They excited the
German ambition to be a "master race," which of course
implies serfdom for others. They led their people on a mad
amble for domination. They diverted social energies and
resources to the creation of what they thought to be an
invincible war machine. They overran their neighbors. To
sustain the"master race " in its war making, they enslaved
millions of human beings and brought them into Germany,
where these hapless creatures. now wander as "displaced
persons". At length bestiality and bad faith reached such
excess that they aroused the sleeping strength of imperiled
civilization. Its united efforts have ground the German war
machine to fragments. But the-struggle has left Europe a
liberated yet prostrate land where a
demoralized society struggles to survive. These are the
fruits of the sinister forces that sit with these defendants
in the prisoners' dock.

In justice to the nations and the men associated in this
prosecution, I must remind you of certain difficulties which
may leave their mark on this case. Never before in legal
history has an effort been made to bring within the scope of
a single litigation the developments of a decade, covering a
whole Continent, and involving a score of nations, countless
individuals, and innumerable events. Despite the magnitude
of the task, the world has demanded immediate action. This
demand has had to be met, though perhaps at the cost of
finished craftsmanship. In my country,

                                                  [Page 116]
established courts, following familiar procedures, applying
well thumbed precedents, and dealing with the legal
consequences of local and limited events seldom commence a
trial within a year of the event in litigation. Yet less
than eight months ago today the courtroom in which you sit
was an enemy fortress in the hands of German SS troops. Less
than eight months ago nearly all our witnesses and documents
were in enemy hands. The law had not been codified, no
procedure had been established, no Tribunal was in
existence, no usable courthouse stood here, none of the
hundreds of tons of official German documents had been
examined, no prosecuting staff had been assembled, nearly
all the present defendants were at large, and the four
prosecuting powers had not yet joined in common cause to try
them. I should be the last to deny that the case may well
suffer from incomplete researches and quite likely will not be the example of
professional work which any of the prosecuting nations would
normally wish to sponsor. It is, however, a completely
adequate case to the judgment we shall ask you to render,
and its full development we shall be obliged to leave to

Before I discuss particulars of evidence, some general
considerations which may affect the credit of this trial in
the eyes of the world should be candidly faced. There is a
dramatic disparity between the circumstances of the accusers
and of the accused that might discredit our work if we
should falter, in even minor matters, in being fair and

Unfortunately, the nature of these crimes is such that both
prosecution and judgment must be by victor nations over
vanquished foes. The worldwide scope of the aggressions
carried out by these men has left but few real neutrals.
Either the victors must judge the vanquished or we must
leave the defeated to judge themselves. After the First
World War, we learned the futility of the latter course. The
former high station of these defendants, the notoriety of their acts, 
and the adaptability of their conduct to provoke retaliation make it
hard to distinguish between the demand for a just and
measured retribution, and the unthinking cry for vengeance
which arises from the anguish of war. It is our task, so far
as humanly possible, to draw the line between the two. We
must never forget that the record on which we judge these
defendants today is the record on which history will judge
us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is
to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such
detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this
trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling
humanity's aspirations to do justice.

At the very outset, let us dispose of the contention that to

                                                  [Page 117]
these men to trial is to do them an injustice entitling them
to some special consideration. These defendants may be hard
pressed but they are not ill used. Let us see what
alternative they would have to being tried.

More than a majority of these prisoners surrendered to or
were tracked down by forces of the United States. Could they
expect us to make American custody a shelter for our enemies
against the just wrath of our Allies ? Did we spend American
lives to capture them only to save them from punishment?
Under the principles of the Moscow Declaration, those
suspected war criminals who are not to be tried
internationally must be turned over to individual
governments for trial at the scene of their outrages.

Many less responsible and less culpable American-held
prisoners have been and will be turned over to other United
Nations for local trial. If these defendants should succeed,
for any reason, in escaping the condemnation of this
Tribunal, or if they obstruct or abort this trial, those who
are American-held prisoners will be delivered up to our
continental Allies. For these defendants, however, we have
set up an International Tribunal and have undertaken the
burden of participating in a complicated effort to give them
fair and dispassionate hearings. That is the best known
protection to any man with a defense worthy of being heard.

If these men are the first war leaders of a defeated nation
to be prosecuted in the name of the law, they are also the
first to be given a chance to plead for their lives in the name of 
the law.  Realistically, the Charter of this Tribunal, which gives
them a hearing, is also the source of their only hope. It
may be that these men of troubled conscience, whose only
wish is that the world forget them, do not regard a trial as
a favor. But they do have a fair opportunity to defend
themselves a favor which these men, when in power, rarely
extended to their fellow countrymen. Despite the fact that
public opinion already condemns their acts, we agree that
here they must be given a presumption of innocence, and we
accept the burden of proving criminal acts and the
responsibility of these defendants for their commission.

When I say that we do not ask for convictions unless we
prove crime, I do not mean mere technical or incidental
transgression of international conventions. We charge guilt
on planned and intended conduct that involves moral as well
as legal wrong. And we do not mean conduct that is a natural
and human, even if illegal, cutting of corners, such as many
of us might well have committed had we been in the
defendants positions. It is not because they yielded to the
normal frailties of human beings that we ac-

                                                  [Page 118]
cuse them. It is their abnormal and inhuman conduct which
brings them to this bar.

We will not ask you to convict these men on the testimony of
their foes. There is no count of the Indictment that cannot
be proved by books and records. The Germans were always
meticulous record keepers, and these defendants had their
share of the Teutonic passion for thoroughness in putting
things on paper. Nor were they without vanity. They arranged
frequently to be photographed in action. We will show you
their own films. You will see their own conduct and hear
their own voices as these defendants reenact for you, from
the screen, some of the events in the course of the

We would also make clear that we have no purpose to
incriminate the whole German people. We know that the Nazi
Party was not put in power by a majority of the German vote.
We know it came to power by an evil alliance between the
most extreme of the Nazi revolutionists, the most
unrestrained of the German reactionaries, and the most
aggressive of the German militarists. If the German populace
had willingly accepted the Nazi program, no Stormtroopers
would have been needed in the early days of the Party and
there would have been no need for concentration
camps or the Gestapo, both of which institutions were
inaugurated as soon as the Nazis gained control of the
German state. Only after these lawless innovations proved
successful at home were they taken abroad.

The German people should know by now that the people of the
United States hold them in no fear, and in no hate. It is
true that the Germans have taught us the horrors of modern
warfare, but the ruin that lies from the Rhine to the Danube
shows that we, like our Allies, have not been dull pupils.
If we are not awed by German fortitude and proficiency in
war, and if we are not persuaded of their political
maturity, we do respect their skill in the arts of peace, their
technical competence, and the sober, industrious and self-
disciplined character of the masses of the German people. In
1933, we saw the German people recovering prestige in the
commercial, industrial and artistic world after the set-back
of the last war. We beheld their progress neither with envy
nor malice. The Nazi regime interrupted this advance. The
recoil of the Nazi aggression has left Germany in ruins. The
Nazi readiness to pledge the German word without hesitation
and to break it without shame has fastened upon German diplomacy a 
reputation for duplicity that will handicap it for years. Nazi
arrogance has made the boast of the "master race" a taunt
that will be thrown at Germans the world over for
generations. The Nazi nightmare has given the German name a
new and sinister significance throughout the world which will
retard Germany a century. The German, no less than the non-
German world, has accounts to settle with these defendants.

The fact of the war and the course of the war, which is the
central theme of our case, is history. From September 1,
1939, when the German armies crossed the Polish frontiers,
until September, 1942, when they met epic resistance at
Stalingrad, German arms seemed invincible.
Denmark and Norway, The Netherlands and France, Belgium and
Luxembourg, the Balkans and Africa, Poland and the Baltic
States, and parts of Russia, all had been overrun and
conquered by swift, powerful, well-aimed blows. That attack
upon the peace of the world is the crime against
international society which brings into international
cognizance crimes in its aid and preparation which otherwise
might be only internal concerns. It was aggressive war,
which the nations of the
world had renounced. It was war in violation of treaties, by
which the peace of the world was sought to be safeguarded.

This war did not just happen -- it was planned and prepared
for over a long period of time and with no small skill and
cunning. The world has perhaps never seen such a
concentration and stimulation of the energies of any people
as that which enabled Germany twenty years after it was
defeated, disarmed, and dismembered to come so near carrying
out its plan to dominate Europe. Whatever else we may say of
those who were the authors of this war, they did achieve a
stupendous work in organization, and our first task is to
examine the means by which these
defendants and their fellow conspirators prepared and
incited Germany to go to war.

In general, our case will disclose these defendants all
uniting at some time with the Nazi Party in a plan which
they well knew could be accomplished only by an outbreak of
war in Europe. Their seizure of the German state, their
subjugation of the German people, their terrorism and
extermination of dissident elements, their planning and
waging of war, their calculated and planned ruthlessness in
the conduct of warfare, their deliberate and planned
criminality toward conquered peoples, all these are ends for
which they acted in concert; and all these are phases of the
conspiracy, a conspiracy which reached one goal only to set
out for another and more ambitious one. We shall also trace
for you the intricate web of organizations which these men
formed and utilized to accomplish these ends. We will show
how the entire structure of offices and officials was
dedicated to the

                                                   [Page 120]
criminal purposes and committed to use of the criminal
methods planned by these defendants and their co-
conspirators, many of whom war and suicide have put beyond

It is my purpose to open the case, particularly under Count
One of the Indictment, and to deal with the common plan or
conspiracy to achieve ends possible only by resort to crimes
against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. My
emphasis will not be on individual barbarities and
perversions which may have occurred independently of any
central plan. One of the dangers ever present is that this
trial may be protracted by details of particular wrongs and
that we will become lost in a "wilderness of single
instances." Nor will I now dwell on the activity of
individual defendants except as it may contribute to
exposition of the common plan.

The case as presented by the United States will be concerned
with the brains and authority back of all the crimes. These
defendants were men of a station and rank which does not
soil its own hands with blood. They were men who knew how to
use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and
designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil
architecture the world would not have been for so long
scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with
the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war.

                  THE LAWLESS ROAD TO POWER

The chief instrumentality of cohesion in plan and action was
the National Socialist German Workers Party, known as the
Nazi Party. Some of the defendants were with it from the
beginning. Others joined only after success seemed to have
validated its lawlessness or power had invested it with
immunity from the processes of the law. Adolf Hitler became
its supreme leader or fuehrer in 1921.

On the 24th of February, 1920, at Munich, it publicly had
proclaimed its program (170-PS). Some of its purposes would
commend themselves to many good citizens, such as the
demands for "profit-sharing in the great industries,"
"generous development of provision for old age," 'creation
and maintenance of a healthy middle class," "a land reform
suitable to our national requirements," and "raising the
standard of health." It also made a strong appeal to that
sort of nationalism which in ourselves we call patriotism
and in our rivals chauvinism. It demanded
"equality of rights for the German people in its dealing
with other nations and the evolution of the peace treaties
of Versailles and St. Germaine." It demanded the "union of

                                                  [Page 121]
Germans on the basis of the right of self-determination of
peoples to form a Great Germany." It demanded "land and
territory (colonies) for the enrichment of our people and
the settlement of our surplus population." All these, of
course, were legitimate objectives if they were to be
attained without resort to aggressive warfare.

The Nazi Party from its inception, however, contemplated
war. It demanded "the abolition of mercenary troops and the
formation of a national army." It proclaimed that "In view
of the enormous sacrifice of life and property demanded of a
nation by every war, personal
enrichment through war must be regarded a a crime against
the nation. We demand, therefore, the ruthless confiscation
of all war profits." I do not criticize this policy. indeed,
I wish it were universal. I merely point out that in a time
of peace, war was a preoccupation of the Party, and it
started the work of making war less offensive to the masses
of the people. With this it combined a program of physical
training and sports for youth that became, as we shall see,
the cloak
for a secret program of military training.

The Nazi Party declaration also committed its members to an
anti-Semitic program. It declared that no Jew or any person
of non-German blood could be a member of the nation. Such
persons were to be disfranchised, disqualified for office,
subject to the alien laws, and entitled to nourishment only
after the German population had first been provided for. All
who had entered Germany after August 2, 1914 were to be
required forthwith to depart, and all non-German immigration
was to be prohibited. The Party also avowed, even in those early days, an
authoritarian and totalitarian program for Germany. It
demanded creation of a strong central power with
unconditional authority, nationalization of all businesses
which had been "amalgamated," and a "reconstruction" of the
national system of education which ''must aim
at teaching the pupil to understand the idea of the state
(state sociology)." Its hostility to civil liberties and
freedom of the press was distinctly announced in these
words: "It must be forbidden to publish newspapers which do
not conduce the national welfare. We demand the legal
prosecution of all tendencies in art or literature of a kind
likely to disintegrate our life as a nation and the
suppression of institutions which might militate against the
above requirements."

The forecast of religious persecution was clothed in the
language of religious liberty, for the Nazi program stated,
"We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the
State." But, it continues with the limitation, "so far as
they are not a danger

                                                  [Page 122]
to it and do not militate against the morality and moral
sense of the German race."

The Party program foreshadowed the campaign of terrorism. It
announced, "We demand ruthless war upon those whose
activities are injurious to the common interests", and it
demanded that such offenses be punished with death.

It is significant that the leaders of this Party interpreted
this program as a belligerent one certain to precipitate
conflict. The Party platform concluded, "The leaders of the
Party swear to proceed regardless of consequences -- if necessary, 
at the sacrifice of their lives -- toward the fulfillment of the 
foregoing points." It is this Leadership Corps of the Party, not its entire
membership, that stands accused as a criminal organization.

Let us now see how the leaders of the Party fulfilled their
pledge to proceed regardless of consequences. Obviously,
their foreign objectives, which were nothing less than to
undo international treaties and to wrest territory from
foreign control, as well as most of their
internal program, could be accomplished only by possession
of the machinery of the German State. The first effort,
accordingly, was to subvert the Weimar Republic by violent
revolution. An abortive putsch at Munich in 1923 landed many
of them in jail. The period of meditation
which followed produced Mein Kampf, henceforth the source of
law for the Party workers and a source of considerable
revenue to its supreme leader. The Nazi plans for the
violent overthrow of the feeble Republic then turned to
plans for its capture.

No greater mistake could be made than to think of the Nazi
Party in terms of the loose organizations which we of the
western world call "political parties." In discipline,
structure, and method the Nazi Party was not adapted to the
democratic process of persuasion. It was
an instrument of conspiracy and of coercion. The Party was
not organized to take over power in the German State by
winning support of a majority of the German people. It was
organized to seize power in defiance of the will of the

The Nazi Party, under the Fuehrerprinzip, was bound by an
iron discipline into a pyramid, with the Fuehrer, Adolf
Hitler, at the top and broadening into a numerous Leadership
Corps, composed of overlords of a very extensive Party
membership at the base. By no means all of
those who may have supported the movement in one way or
another were actual Party members. The membership took the
Party oath which in effect, amounted to an abdication of
personal intelligence and moral responsibility. This was the
oath: "I vow inviolable fidelity to Adolf Hitler; I

                                                  [Page 123]
vow absolute obedience to him and to the leaders he
designates for me." The membership in daily practice
followed its leaders with an idolatry and self-surrender
more Oriental than Western.

We will not be obliged to guess as to the motives or goal of
the Nazi Party. The immediate aim was to undermine the
Weimar Republic. The order to all Party members to work to
that end was given in a letter from Hitler of August 24,
1931 to Rosenberg, of which we will produce the original.
Hitler wrote,

     "I am just reading in the VOELKISCHER BEOBACHTER,
     edition 235/236, page 1, an article entitled "Does
     Wirth intend to come over?" The tendency of the article
     is to prevent on our part a crumbling away from the
     present form of government. I myself am travelling all
     over Germany to achieve exactly the opposite. May I
     therefore ask that my own paper will not stab me in the
     back with tactically unwise articles *********" (047-PS).

Captured film enables us to present the defendant, Alfred
Rosenberg, who from the screen will himself tell you the
story. The SA practiced violent interference with elections.
We have the reports of the SD describing in detail how its
members later violated the secrecy of elections in order to
identify those who opposed them. One of the reports makes
this explanation:

     "The control was effected in the following way: some
     members of the election-committee marked all the ballot
     papers with numbers. During the ballot itself, a
     voters' list was made up. The ballot-papers were handed
     out in numerical order, therefore it was possible
     afterwards with the aid of this list to find out the
     persons who cast no-votes or invalid votes. One sample of 
     these marked ballot-papers is enclosed. The marking was 
     done on the back of the ballot-papers with skimmed milk *********" (R142).

The Party activity, in addition to all the familiar forms of
political contest, took on the aspect of a rehearsal for
warfare. It utilized a Party formation, DIE
STURMABTEILUNGEN. commonly known as the SA. This was a
voluntary organization of youthful and fanatical Nazis
trained for the use of violence under semi-military
discipline. Its members began by acting as bodyguards for
the Nazi leaders and rapidly expanded from defensive to
offensive tactics. They became disciplined ruffians for he
breaking up of opposition meetings and the terrorization of
adversaries. They boasted that their task was to make the

                                                  [Page 124]
Party "master of the streets." The SA was the parent
organization of a number of others. Its offspring include
DIE SCHUTZSTAFFELN, commonly known as the SS, formed in 1925
and distinguished for the fanaticism and cruelty of its
members; DER SICHERHEITSDIENST, known as the SD; and DIE
GEHEIME STAATSPOLIZEI, the Secret State Police, the infamous
Gestapo formed in 1934 after Nazi accession to power.

A glance at a chart of the Party organization (Chart No. 1)
is enough to show how completely it differed from the
political parties we know. It had its own source of law in
the fuehrer and sub-fuehrers. It had its own courts and its
own police. The conspirators set up a government within the
Party to exercise outside the law every sanction that any
legitimate state could exercise and many that it could not.
Its chain of command was military, and its formations were martial in
name as well as in function. They were composed of
battalions set up to bear arms under military discipline,
motorized corps, flying corps, and the infamous "Death Head
Corps", which was not misnamed. The Party had its own secret
police, its security units, its intelligence and
espionage division, its raiding forces, and its youth
forces. It established elaborate administrative mechanisms
to identify and liquidate spies and informers, to manage
concentration camps, to operate death vans, and to finance the whole movement.
Through concentric circles of authority, the Nazi Party, as
its leadership later boasted, eventually organized and
dominated every phase of German life but not until they had
waged a bitter internal struggle characterized by brutal
criminality. In preparation for this phase of their
struggle, they created a party police system. This became
the pattern and the instrument of the police state, which
was the first goal in their plan.

The Party formations, including the Leadership Corps of the
Party, the SD, the SS, the SA and the infamous Secret State
Police, or Gestapo -- all these stand accused before you as
criminal organizations; organizations which, as we will
prove from their own documents, were' recruited only from
recklessly devoted Nazis, ready in conviction and
temperament to do the most violent of deeds to advance the
common program. They terrorized and silenced democratic
opposition and were able at length to combine with political
opportunists, militarists, industrialists, monarchists, and
political reactionaries.

On January 30,1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the
German Republic. An evil combination, represented in the
prisoners' dock by its most eminent survivors, had succeeded
in possessing itself of the machinery of the German
Government, a facade be-

                                                  [Page 125]
hind which they thenceforth would operate to make a reality
of the war of conquest they so long had plotted. The conspiracy had 
passed into its second phase.


We shall now consider the steps, which embraced the most
hideous of crimes against humanity, to which the
conspirators resorted in perfecting control of the German
State and in preparing Germany for the aggressive war
indispensable to their ends.

The Germans of the 1920's were a frustrated and baffled
people as a result of defeat and the disintegration of their
traditional government. The democratic elements, which were
trying to govern Germany through the new and feeble
machinery of the Weimar Republic, got inadequate support
from the democratic forces of the rest of the world. It is
not to be denied that Germany, when world-wide depression
was added to her other problems, was faced with urgent and
intricate pressure in her economic and political life which
necessitated bold measures.

The internal measures by which a nation attempts to solve
its problems are ordinarily of no concern to other nations.
But the Nazi program from the first was recognized as a
desperate program for a people still suffering the effects
of an unsuccessful war. The Nazi policy embraced
ends always recognized as attainable only by a renewal and a
more successful outcome of war. The conspirators' answer to
Germany's problems was nothing 'les than to plot the
regaining of territories lost in the First World War and the
acquisition of other fertile lands of Central Europe by
dispossessing or exterminating those who inhabited 'them.
They also contemplated destroying or permanently weakening
all other neighboring peoples so as to win virtual
domination of Europe and probably of the world. The precise
limits of their ambition we need not define for it was and
is as illegal to wage aggressive war for small stakes as for
large ones.

We find at this period two governments in Germany -- the
real and the ostensible. The forms of the German Republic
were maintained for a time, and it was the outward and
visible government. But the real authority in the State was
outside of and above the law and rested in
the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party.

On February 27, 1933, less than a month after Hitler became
Chancellor, the Reichstag building was set on fire. The
burning of this symbol of free parliamentary government was
so providential for the Nazis that it was believed they
staged the fire

                                                  [Page 126]
themselves. Certainly when we contemplate their known
crimes, we cannot believe they would shrink from mere arson.
It is not necessary, however, to resolve the controversy as
to who set the fire. The-significant point is in the use
that was made of the fire and of the state of public mind it
produced. The Nazis immediately accused the Communist Party
of instigating and committing the crime, and turned every
effort to portray this single act of arson as the beginning
of a Communist revolution. Then, taking advantage of the
hysteria, the Nazi met this phantom revolution with a real
one. In the following December, the German Supreme Court
with commendable courage and independence acquitted the
accused Communists, but it was too late to influence the
tragic course of events which the Nazi conspirators had set
rushing forward.

Hitler, on the morning after the fire, obtained from the
aged and ailing President von Hindenburg a Presidential
decree suspending the extensive guarantees of individual
liberty contained in the
Constitution of the Weimar Republic. The decree provided

     "Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the
     Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until
     further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty,
     on the right of free expression of opinion, including
     freedom of the press, on the right of assembly and the
     right of association, and violations of the privacy of
     postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and
     warrants for house-searches, orders for confiscations
     as well as restrictions on property, are also
     permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise
     prescribed. (1390-PS).
The extent of the restriction on personal liberty under the
decree of 28 February 1933 may be understood by reference to the
rights under the Weimar Constitution which were suspended:
     "Article 114. The freedom of the person is inviolable.
     Curtailment or deprivation of personal freedom by a
     public authority is only permissible on a legal basis.
     "Persons who have been deprived of their freedom must
     be informed at the latest on the following day by whose
     authority and for what reasons the deprivation of
     freedom was ordered; opportunity shall be afforded them
     without delay of submitting objections to their
     deprivation of freedom.
     "Article 115. Every German's home is his sanctuary and
                                                  [Page 127]
     inviolable. Exceptions may only be made as provided by
     "Article 117. The secrecy of letters and all postal,
     telegraphic and telephone communications is inviolable.
     Exceptions are inadmissible except by Reich law.
     "Article 118. Every German has the right, within the
     limit of the general laws, to express his opinions
     freely in speech, in writing, in print, in picture form
     or in any other way. No conditions of work or
     employment may detract from this right and no
     disadvantage may accrue to him from any person for
     making use of this right. *********
     "Article 12. All Germans have the right to assemble
     peacefully and unarmed without giving notice and
     without special permission.
     "A Reich law may make previous notification obligatory
     for assemblies in the open air, and may prohibit them
     in the case of immediate danger to the public safety.
     "Article 124. All the Germans have the right to form
     associations or societies for purposes not contrary to
     criminal law. This right may not be curtailed by
     preventive measures. The same provisions apply to
     religious associations and societies.
     "Every association may become incorporated (Erwerb der
     Rechtsfaehigkeit) according to the provisions of the
     civil law. The right may not be refused to any
     association on the grounds that its aims are political,
     social-political or religious.
     "Article 153. Property is guaranteed by the
     Constitution. Its content and limits are defined by the
     "Expropriation can only take place for the public
     benefit and on a legal basis. Adequate compensation
     shall be granted, unless a Reich law orders otherwise.
     In the case of dispute concerning the amount of
     compensation, it shall be possible to submit the matter
     to the ordinary civil courts, unless Reich laws
     determine otherwise. Compensation must
     be paid if the Reich expropriates property belonging to
     the Lands, Communes, or public utility associations.
     "Property carries obligations. Its use shall also serve
     the common good." (2050-PS).

It must be said in fairness to von Hindenburg that the
Constitution itself authorized him temporarily to suspend
these fun-

                                                  [Page 128]
damental rights "if the public safety and order in the
German Reich are considerably
disturbed or endangered." It must also be acknowledged that
President Ebert previously had invoked this power.

But the National Socialist coup was made possible because
the terms of the Hitler-Hindenburg decree departed from all
previous ones in which the power of suspension had been
invoked. Whenever Ebert had suspended constitutional
guarantees of individual rights, his decree had
expressly revived the Protective Custody Act adopted by the
Reichstag in 1916 during the previous war. This Act
guaranteed a judicial hearing within 24 hours of arrest,
gave a right to have counsel and to inspect all relevant
records, provided for appeal, and authorized compensation
from Treasury funds for erroneous arrests.

The Hitler-Hindenburg decree of February 28, 1933 contained
no such safeguards. The omission may not have been noted by
von Hindenburg. Certainly he did not appreciate its effect.
It left the Nazi police and party formations, already
existing and functioning under Hitler, completely
unrestrained and irresponsible. Secret arrest and indefinite
detention, without charges, without evidence, without
hearing, without counsel, became the method of inflicting
inhuman punishment on any whom the Nazi police suspected or
disliked. court could issue an injunction, or writ
of habeas corpus, or certiorar. The German people were in
the hands of the police, the police were in the hands of the
Nazi Party, and the Party was in the hands of a ring of evil
men, of whom the defendants here before you are surviving
and representative leaders.

The Nazi conspiracy, as we shall show, always contemplated
not merely overcoming current opposition but exterminating
elements which could not be reconciled with its philosophy
of the state. It not only sought to establish the Nazi "new
order" but to secure its sway, as Hitler
predicted, "for a thousand years." Nazis were never in doubt
or disagreement as to what these dissident elements were.
They were concisely described by one of them, Col. General
von Fritsch, on December 11, 1938, in these words:

     "Shortly after the first war I came to the conclusion
     that we should have to be victorious in three battles
     if Germany were to become powerful again: 1. The battle
     against the working class Hitler has won this. 2.
     Against the Catholic Church, perhaps better expressed
     against Ultramontanism. 3. Against the Jews." (1947-

                                                  [Page 129]
The warfare against these elements was continuous. The
battle in Germany was but a practice skirmish for the
worldwide drive against them. We have in point of geography
and of time two groups of crimes against humanity -- one within
Germany before and during the war, the other in occupied
territory during the war. But the two are not separated in
Nazi planning. They are a continuous unfolding of the Nazi
plan to exterminate peoples and institutions which might
serve as a focus or instrument for overturning their "new
world order" at any time. We consider these Crimes against
Humanity in this address a manifestations of the one Nazi
plan and discuss them according to General von Fritch's

           1. The Battle Against the Working Class

When Hitler came to power, there were in Germany three
groups of trade unions. The General German Trade Union
Confederation (ADGB) with twenty-eight affiliated unions,
and the General Independent Employees Confederation (AFA)
with thirteen federated unions together numbered
more than 4,500,000 members. The Christian Trade Union had
over 1,250,000 members.

The working people of Germany, like the working people of
other nations, had little to gain personally by war. While
labor is usually brought around to the support of the nation
at war, labor by and large is a pacific, though by no means
a pacifist force in the world. The working people of Germany
had not forgotten in 1933 how heavy the yoke of the war lord
can be. It was the workingmen who had joined the sailors and
soldiers in the revolt of 1918 to end the First World War.
The Nazis had neither forgiven nor forgotten. The Nazi
program required that this part of the German population not
only be stripped of power to resist diversion of its scanty
comforts to armament, but also be wheedled or whipped into
new and unheard of sacrifices as part of the
Nazi war preparation. Labor must be cowed, and tat meant its
organizations and means of cohesion and defense must be

The purpose to regiment labor for the Nazi Party was avowed
by Ley in a speech to workers on 2 May 1933, as follows:

     "You may say what else do you want, you have the
     absolute power. True we have the power, but we do not
     have the whole people, we do not have you workers 100%,
     and it is
                                                  [Page 130]
     you whom we want; we will not let you be until you
     stand with us in complete, genuine acknowledgment."

The first Nazi attack was upon the two larger unions. On
April 21, 1933 an order not even in the name of the
Government, but of the Nazi Party was issued by the
conspirator Robert Ley as "Chief of Staff of the political
organization of the NSDAP," applicable to the Trade Union
Confederation and the Independent Employees Confederation.
It directed seizure of their properties and arrest of their
principal leaders. The party order directed party organs
which we here denounce as criminal associations, the SA and
SS "to be employed for the occupation of the trade union
properties, and for the taking into custody of personalities
who come into question." And it directed the taking into
"protective custody" of all chairmen and district
secretaries of such unions and branch directors of the labor
bank (392-PS).

These orders were carried out on May 2, 1933. All funds of
the labor unions, including pension and benefit funds, were
seized. Union leaders were sent to concentration camps. A
few days later, on May 10, 1933, Hitler appointed Ley leader
of the German Labor Front (DEUTSCHE
ARBEITSFRONT), which succeeded to the confiscated union
funds. The German Labor Front, a Nazi controlled labor
bureau, was set up under Ley to teach the Nazi philosophy to
German workers and to weed out from industrial employment
all who were backward in their lessons (1940-PS). "Factory
Troops" were organized as an "ideological shock squad within
the factory" (1817-PS). The Party order provided that
"outside of the German Labor Front, no other organization
(whether of workers or of employees) is to exist." On June
24, 1933 the remaining Christian Trade Unions were seized
pursuant to an order of the Nazi Party signed by Ley.

On May 19, 1933, this time by government decree, it was
provided that "trustees" of labor, appointed by Hitler,
should regulate the conditions of all labor contracts,
replacing the former process of collective bargaining (405-
PS). On January 20, 1934 a decree "regulating
national labor" introduced the fuehrer-principle into
industrial relations. It provided that the owners of
enterprises should be the "fuehrers" and the workers should
be the followers. The
enterpriser-fuehrers should "make decisions for employees
and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise" (1861-
PS). It was by such bait that the great German
industrialists were induced to support the Nazi cause, to
their own ultimate ruin.

                                                  [Page 131]
Not only did the Nazis dominate and regiment German labor,
but they forced the youth into the ranks of the laboring
people they had thus led into chains. Under a compulsory
labor service decree on June 26, 1935, young men and women
between the ages of 18 and 25 were conscripted for labor
(see 1654-PS). Thus was the purpose to subjugate German labor
accomplished. In the words of Ley, this accomplishment
consisted "in eliminating the association character of the
trade union and employees' associations, and in its place we
ave substituted the conception 'soldiers of work'." The
productive manpower of the German nation was in Nazi
control. By these steps the defendants won the battle to
liquidate labor unions as potential opposition and were
enabled to impose upon the working class the burdens of
preparing for aggressive warfare.

Robert Ley, the field marshal of the battle against labor,
answered our indictment with suicide. Apparently he knew no
better answer.

             2. The Battle Against the Churches

The Nazi Party always was predominantly anti-Christian in
its ideology. But we who believe in freedom of conscience
and of religion base no charge of criminality on anybody's
ideology. It is not because the Nazi themselves were
irreligious or pagan, but because they persecuted
others of the Christian faith that they become guilty of
crime, and it is because the persecution was a step in the
preparation for aggressive warfare that the offense becomes
one of international consequence. To remove every moderating
influence among the German people and to put its population
on a total war footing, the conspirators devised and carried
out a systematic and relentless repression of all Christian
sects and churches.

We will ask you to convict the Nazis on their own evidence.
Martin Bormann in June, 1941, issued a secret decree on the
relation of Christianity and National Socialism. The decree

     "For the first time in German history the Fuehrer
     consciously and completely has the leadership of the
     people in his own hand. With the party, its components
     and attached units the Fuehrer has created for himself
     and thereby the German Reich leadership an instrument
     which makes him independent of the church. All
     influences which might im-
                                                  [Page 132]
     pair or damage the leadership of the people exercised
     by the Fuehrer with help of the NSDAP, must be
     eliminated. More and more the people must be separated
     from the churches and their organs, the pastors. Of
     course, the churches must and will, seen from their
     viewpoint, defend themselves against this loss of
     power. But never again must an
     influence on leadership of the people be yielded to the
     churches. This (influence) must be broken completely
     and finally.
     "Only the Reich government and by its direction the
     party, its components and attached units have a right
     to leadership of the people. Just as the deleterious
     influences of astrologers, seers and other fakers are
     eliminated and suppressed by the state, so must the
     possibility of church influence also be totally
     removed. Not until this has happened, does the state
     leadership have influence on the individual citizens.
     Not until then are people and Reich secure in their
     existence for all the future" (D-75).
And how the party had been securing the Reich from Christian
influence, will be proved by such items as this teletype
from the Gestapo, Berlin, to the Gestapo, Nurnberg, on July
24, 1938. Let us hear their own account of events in

     "The Party on July 23, 1939 from 2100 on carried out
     the third demonstration against Bishop Sproll.
     Participants about 2500-3000 were brought in from
     outside by bus, etc. The Rottenburg populace again did
     not participate in the demonstration. This town took
     rather a hostile attitude to the demonstrations. The
     action got completely out of hand
     of the Party Member responsible for it. The
     demonstrators stormed the palace, beat in the gates and
     doors. About 10 to 200 people forced their way into the
     palace, searched the rooms, threw files out of the
     windows and rummaged through the beds in the rooms of
     the palace. One bed was ignited. Before the fire got to
     the other objects of equipment in the rooms and the
     palace, the flaming bed could be thrown from the window
     and the fire extinguished. The Bishop was with
     Archbishop Groeber of Freiburg and the ladies and
     gentlemen of his menage in the chapel at prayer. About
     25 to 30 people pressed into this chapel and molested
     those present. Bishop Groeber was taken for Bishop
     Sproll. He was grabbed by the robe and dragged back and
     forth. Finally the intruders realized that Bishop
     Groeber is not the one they are seeking. They could
     then be persuaded to leave the building. After the
                                                  [Page 133]
     evacuation of the palace by the demonstrators I had an
     interview with Archbishop Groeber, who left Rottenburg
     in the night. Groeber wants to turn to the Fuehrer and
     Reich Minister of the Interior, Dr. Frick, anew. On the
     course of the action, the damage done as well as the
     homage of the Rottenburg populace beginning today for
     the Bishop I shall immediately hand in a full report,
     after I am in the act of suppressing counter mass
     meetings. *********
     "In case the Fuehrer has instructions to give in this
     matter, I request that these be transmitted most
     quickly *********" (848-PS).
Later, defendant Rosenberg wrote to Bormann reviewing the
proposal of Kerrl as Church Minister to place the Protestant
Church under State tutelage and proclaim Hitler its Supreme
head. Rosenberg was opposed, hinting that Naziism was to
suppress the Christian Church completely after the war (see

The persecution of all pacifist and dissenting sects, such
as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Pentecostal Association, was
peculiarly relentless and cruel. The policy toward the
Evangelical Churches, however, was to use their influence
for the Nazis' own purposes. In September, 1933,
Mueller was appointed the Fuehrer's representative with
power to deal with the "affairs of the Evangelical Church"
in its relations to the State. Eventually, steps were taken
to create a Reich Bishop vested with power to control this
Church. A long conflict followed, Paster Niemoeller as sent
to concentration camp, and extended interference with the
internal discipline and administration of the Churches

A most intense drive was directed against the Roman Catholic
Church. After a strategic concordat with the Holy See,
signed in July, 1933 in Rome, which never was observed by
the Nazi Party, a long and persistent persecution of the
Catholic Church, its priesthood and its
members, was carried out. Church Schools and educational
institutions were suppressed or subjected to requirements of
Nazi teaching inconsistent with the Christian faith. The
property of the Church was confiscated and inspired
vandalism directed against Church property was left
unpunished. Religious instruction was impeded and the
exercise of religion made difficult. Priests and bishops ere
laid upon, riots were stimulated to harass them, and many
were sent to concentration camps.

After occupation of foreign soil, these persecutions went on

                                                  [Page 134]
with greater vigor than ever. We will present to you from
the files of the Vatican the earnest protests made by the
Vatican to Ribbentrop summarizing the persecutions to which
the priesthood and the Church had been subjected in this
Twentieth Century under the Nazi regime.
Ribbentrop never answered them. He could not deny. He dared
not justify.

                 3. Crimes Against the Jews

The most savage and numerous crimes planned and committed by
the Nazis were those against the Jews. These in Germany, in
1933, numbered about 500,000. In the aggregate, they had
made for themselves positions which excited envy, and had
accumulated properties which excited the avarice of the
Nazis. They were few enough to be helpless and numerous
to be held up as a menace.

Let there be no misunderstanding about the charge of
persecuting Jews. What we charge against these defendants is
not those arrogances and pretensions which frequently
accompany the intermingling of different peoples and which
are likely despite the honest courts of government,
to produce regrettable crimes and convulsions. It is my
purpose to show a plan and design, to which all Nazis were
fanatically committed, to annihilate all Jewish people.
These crimes were organized and promoted by the Party
Leadership, executed and protected by the Nazi officials,
as we shall convince you by written orders of the Secret
State Police itself.

The persecution of the Jews was a continuous and deliberate
policy. It was a policy directed against other nations as
well as against the Jews themselves. Anti-Semitism was
promoted to divide and embitter the democratic peoples and
to soften their resistance to the Nazi aggression. As Robert
Ley declared in Der Angrff on May 14, 1944, "The second
German secret weapon is Anti-Semitism because if it is
constantly pursued by Germany, it will become a universal
problem which all nations will be forced to consider."

Anti-Semitism also has been aptly credited with being a
"spearhead of terror." The ghetto was the laboratory for
testing repressive measures. Jewish property was the first
to be expropriated, but the custom grew and included similar
measures against Anti-Nazi Germans, Poles, Czechs,
Frenchmen, and Belgians. Extermination of the Jews enabled
the Nazis to bring a practiced hand to similar measures
against Poles, Serbs, and Greeks. The plight of the Jew was
a constant threat to opposition or discontent among other
elements of Europe's population --

                                                  [Page 135]
pacifists, conservatives, communists, Catholics,
Protestants, socialist. It was, in fact, a threat to every
dissenting opinion and to every non-Nazi's life.

The persecution policy against the Jews commenced with
nonviolent measures, such as disfranchisement and
discriminations against their religion, and the placing of
impediments in the way of success in economic life. It moved
rapidly to organized mass violence against them, physical
isolation in ghettos, deportation, forced labor, mass
starvation, and extermination. The Government, the Party
formation indicated before you as criminal organizations,
the Secret State Police, the Army private and semipublic
associations, and "spontaneous" mobs that were carefully
inspired from official sources, were all agencies concerned
in this persecution. Nor was it directed against individual
Jews for personal bad citizenship or unpopularity. The
avowed purpose was the destruction of the Jewish people as a
whole, as an end in itself, as a measure of preparation for
war, and as a discipline of conquered peoples.

The conspiracy or common plan to exterminate the Jew was so
methodically and thoroughly pursued that despite the German
defeat and Nazi prostration, this Nazi aim largely has
succeeded. Only remnants of the European Jewish population
remain in Germany, in the countries which Germany occupied,
and in those which were her satellites or collaborators. Of
the 9,600,000 Jews who lived in Nazi dominated Europe, 60
percent are authoritatively estimated to have perished.
5,700,000 Jews are missing from the countries in which they
formerly lived, and over 4,500,000 cannot be accounted for
by the normal death rate nor by immigration; nor are they
included among displaced persons. History does not record a
crime ever perpetrated against so many victims or one ever
carried out with such calculated cruelty.

You will have difficulty, as I have, to look into the faces
of these defendants and believe that in this Twentieth
Century human beings could inflict such sufferings as will
be proved here on their own countrymen as well as upon their
so-called "inferior" enemies. Particular crimes, and the
responsibility of defendants for them, are to be dealt with
by the Soviet Government's Counsel, when committed in the
East, and by Counsel for the Republic of France when
committed in
the West. I advert to them only to show their magnitude as
evidence of a purpose and a knowledge common to all
defendants, of an official plan rather than of a capricious
policy of some individual commander, and to show such a
continuity of Jewish persecution from the rise of the Nazi
conspiracy to its collapse as forbids us to believe that any

                                                  [Page 136]
could be identified with any part of Nazi action without
approving this most conspicuous item of its program.

The Indictment itself recites many evidences of the
antisemitic persecutions. The defendant Streicher led the
Nazis in anti-Semitic bitterness and extremism. In an
article appearing in Der Stuermer on March 19, 1942 he
complained that Christian teachings have stood in the way
of "radical solution of the Jewish question in Europe," and
quoted enthusiastically as the Twentieth Century solution
the Fuehrer's proclamation of February 24, 1942 that "the
Jew will be exterminated." And on November 4, 1943,
Streicher declared in Der Stuermer that the Jews "have
disappeared from Europe and that the Jewish 'Reservoir of
the East' from which the Jewish plague has for centuries
beset the people of Europe, has ceased to exist." Streicher
now has the effrontery to tell us he is "only a Zionist"he
says he wants only to return the Jews to
Palestine. But on May 7, 1942 his newspaper, Der Stuermer,
had this to say:

     "It is also not only an European problem! The Jewish
     question is a world question! Not only is Germany not
     safe in the face of the Jews as long as one Jew lives
     in Europe, but also the Jewish question is hardly
     solved in Europe so long as Jews live in the rest of
     the world."

And the defendant Hans Frank, a lawyer by profession I say
with shame, summarized in his Diary in 1944 the Nazi policy
thus: "The Jews are a race which has to be eliminated,
whenever we catch one, it is his end." (Frank Diary,
3/4/1944, p. 26). And earlier, speaking of his function
as Governor General of Poland, he confided to his diary this
sentiment: "Of course T cannot eliminate all lice and Jews
in only a year's time." (2233-C-PS) I could multiply
endlessly this kind of Nazi ranting but I will leave it to
the evidence and turn to the fruit of this perverted

The most serious of the actions against Jews were outside of
any law, but the law itself was employed to some extent.
There were the infamous Nurnberg decrees of September 15,
1935 (Reichsgesetzblatt 1935, Part I, p. 1146). The Jews
were segregated into ghettos and put into forced labor; they
were expelled from their professions; their property was
expropriated; all cultural life, the press, the theatre, and
schools were prohibited them; and the SD was made
responsible for them (212-PS, 069-PS). This was an ominous
guardianship, as the following order for "The Handling of
the Jewish Question" shows:

                                                  [Page 137]
     "The competency of the Chief of the Security Police and
     Security Service, who is charged with the mission of
     solving the European Jewish question, extends even to
     the occupied eastern provinces. *********
     "An eventual act by the civilian population against the
     Jews is not to be prevented as long as this is
     compatible with the maintenance of order and security
     in the rear of the fighting troops *********
     "The first main goal of the German measures must be
     strict segregation of Jewry from the rest of the
     population. In the execution of this, first of all is
     the seizing of the Jewish populace by the introduction
     of a registration order and similar appropriate
     measures *********
     "Then immediately, the wearing of the recognition sign
     consisting of a yellow Jewish star is to be brought
     about and all rights of freedom for Jews are to be
     withdrawn. They are to be placed in Ghettos and at the
     same time are to be separated according to sexes. The
     presence of many more or les closed Jewish settlements
     in White Ruthenia and in the
     Ukraine makes this mission easier. Moreover, places are
     to be chosen which make possible the full use of the
     Jewish manpower in case labor needs are present *********
     "The entire Jewish property is to be seized and
     confiscated with exception of that which is necessary
     for a bare existence. As far as the economical
     situation permits, the power of disposal of their
     property is to be taken from the Jews as soon as
     possible through
     orders and other measures given by the commissariat, so
     that the moving of property will quickly cease.
     "Any cultural activity will be completely forbidden, to
     the Jew. This includes the outlawing of the Jewish
     press, the Jewish theatres and schools.
     "The slaughtering of animals according to Jewish rites
     is also to be prohibited *********" (212-PS).

The anti-Jewish campaign became furious in Germany following
the assassination in Paris of the German Legation Councillor
von Rath. Heydrich, Gestapo head, sent a teletype to all
Gestapo and SD offices with directions for handling
"spontaneous" uprising anticipated for the
nights of November 9th and 10, 1938, so as to aid in
destruction of Jewish-owned property and protect only that
of Germans (374-PS; 765-PS). No more cynical document ever
came into evidence. Then there is a report by an SS Brigade
Leader, Dr. Stahlecher, to Himmler, which
recites that:

                                                  [Page 138]

     "Similarly, native anti-Semitic forces were induced to
     start pogroms against Jews during the first hours after
     capture, though this inducement proved to be very
     difficult. Following out orders, the Security Police
     was determined to solve the Jewish question with all
     possible means and most decisively. But it was
     desirable that the Security Police should not put in an
     immediate appearance, at least in the beginning, since
     the extraordinarily harsh measures were apt to stir
     even German circles. It had to be shown to the world
     that the native population itself took the first action
     by way of natural reaction against the suppression by
     Jews during several decades and against the terror
     exercised by the Communists during the preceding
     "In view of the extension of the area of operations and
     the great number of duties which had to be performed by
     the Security Police, it was intended from the very
     beginning to obtain the co-operation of the reliable
     population for the fight against verminthat is mainly
     the Jews and Communists. Beyond our directing of the
     first spontaneous actions of self-cleansing, which will
     be reported elsewhere, care had to be taken that
     reliable people should be put to the cleansing job and
     that they were appointed auxiliary members of the
     Security Police."
     "Kowno *********To our surprise it was not easy at first
     to set in motion an extensive pogrom against Jews.
     KLIMATIS, the leader of the partisan unit, mentioned
     above, who was used for this purpose primarily,
     succeeded in starting a pogrom on the basis of advice
     given to him by a small advanced detachment acting in
     Kowno, and in such a way that no German order or German
     instigation was noticed from the outside. During the
     first pogrom in the night from 25. to 26.6 the
     Lithuanian partisans did away with more than 1,500
     Jews, set fire to several synagogues or destroyed them
     by other means and burned down a Jewish dwelling
     district consisting of about 60 houses. During the
     following nights about 2,300 Jews were made harmless in
     a similar way. In other parts of
     Lithuania similar actions followed the example of
     Kowno, though smaller
     and extending to the Communists who had been left
     "These self-cleansing actions went smoothly because the
     Army authorities who had been informed showed
                                                  [Page 139]
     ing for this procedure. From the beginning it was
     obvious that only the first days after the occupation
     would offer the opportunity for carrying out pogroms.
     After the disarmament of the partisans the self-
     cleansing actions ceased necessarily.
     "It proved much more difficult to set in motion similar
     cleansing actions in Latvia."
     "From the beginning it was to be expected that the
     Jewish problem in the East could not be solved by
     pogroms alone. In accordance with the basic orders
     received, however, the cleansing activities of the
     Security Police had to aim at a complete annihilation
     of the Jews *********
     "The sum total of the Jews liquidated in Lithuania
     amounts to 71,105." (L-180).
Of course, it is self-evident that these "uprisings" were
managed by the government and the Nazi Party. If we were in
doubt, we could resort to Streicher's memorandum of April
14, 1939, which says, "The anti-Jewish action-of November,
1938 did not arise spontaneously from the people. *********Part
of the party formation have been charged with the execution
of the anti-Jewish action." (406-PS). Jews as a whole were
fined a billion Reichsmarks. They were excluded from all
businesses, and claims against insurance companies for their
burned properties were confiscated, all by decree of the
defendant Goering (Reichsesetzblatt, 1938, Part I, Pp. 1579-

Synagogues were the objects of a special vengeance. On
November 10, 1938, the following order was given: "By order
of the Group Commander, all Jewish Synagogues in the area of
Brigade 50 have to be blown up or set afire. *********The
operation will be carried out in civilian clothing. *********
Execution of the order will be reported *********." (1721-PS).
Some 40 teletype messages from various police headquarters
will tell the fury with which all Jews were pursued in
Germany on those awful November nights. The SS troops were
turned loose and the Gestapo supervised. Jewish owned
property was authorized to be destroyed. The Gestapo ordered
twenty to thirty thousand "well-to-do Jews" to be arrested.
Concentration camps were to receive them. Healthy Jews, fit
for labor, were to be taken (051-PS) .

As the German frontiers were expanded by war, so the
campaign against the Jews expanded. The Nazi plan never was
limited to extermination in Germany; always it contemplated

                                                  [Page 140]
guishing the Jew in Europe and often in the world. In the
wet, the Jews were killed and their property taken over. But
the campaign achieved it zenith of savagery in the East. The
Eastern Jew has suffered as no people ever suffered. Their
sufferings were carefully reported to the Nazi authorities
to show faithful adherence to the Nazi design. I shall refer
only to enough of
the evidence of these to show the extent of the Nazi design
for killing Jews.

If I should recite these horrors in words of my own, you
would think me intemperate and unreliable. Fortunately, we
need not take the word of any witness but the Germans
themselves. I invite you now to look at a few of the vast
number of captured German orders and reports that will be
offered in evidence, to see what a Nazi invasion meant. We
will present such evidence as the report of Einsatzgruppe
(Action Group) A of 10/16/1941, which boasts that in
overrunning the Baltic States, "Native Anti-Semitic forces
were induced to start pogroms against the Jews during the
first hours after occupation *********." The report continues:

     "From the beginning it was to be expected that the
     Jewish problem in the East could not be solved by
     pogroms alone. In accordance with the basic orders
     received, however, the cleansing activities of the
     Security Police had to aim at a complete annihilation
     of the Jews. Special detachments reinforced by selected
     units in Lithuania  -- partisan detachments, in Latvia
     units of the Latvian auxiliary police -- therefore
     performed extensive executions both in the towns and in
     rural areas. The actions of the execution detachments
     were performed smoothly.
     "The sum total of the Jews liquidated in Lithuania
     amounts to 71,105. During the pogroms in Kowno .800
     Jews were eliminated, in the smaller towns about 1,200
     "In Latvia, up to now a total of 30,000 Jews were
     executed. 500 were eliminated by pogroms in Riga." (L-

This is a captured report from the Commissioner of Sluzk on
October 30, 1941, which describes the scene in more detail.
It says:

     "The first lieutenant explained that the police
     battalion had received the assignment to effect the
     liquidation of all Jews here in the town of Sluzk,
     within two days. Then I requested him to postpone the
     action one day. However, he reacted this with the
     remark that he had to carry out this action everywhere
     and in all towns and that only two days
                                                  [Page 141]
     were allotted for Sluzk. Within these two days, the
     town of Sluzk had to be cleared of Jews by all means. ***
     ******All Jews without exception were taken out of the
     factories and shops and deported in spite of our
     agreement. It is true that part of the Jews was moved
     by way of the ghetto where many of them were processed
     and still segregated by me,
     but a large part was loaded directly on trucks and
     liquidated without further delay outside of the town. ***
     ******For the rest, as regards the execution of the
     action. I must point out to my deepest regret that the
     latter bordered already on sadism. The town itself
     offered a picture of horror during the action. With
     indescribable brutality on the part of both the German
     police officers and particularly the Lithuanian
     partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them White
     Ruthenians, were taken out of their dwellings and
     herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to
     be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot
     Jews accumulated. The White Ruthenians were in greatest
     distress to free themselves from the encirclement.
     Regardless of the fact that the Jewish people, among
     whom were also tradesmen, were mistreated in a terribly
     barbarous way in the face of the White Ruthenian
     people, the White Ruthenians themselves were also
     worked over with rubber clubs and rifle butts. There
     was no question of an action against the Jews any more.
     It rather looked like a revolution. *********" (1104-PS).

There are reports which merely tabulate the numbers
slaughtered. An example is an account of the work of
Einsatzgruppen of Sipo and SD in the East, which relates
that  --

     In Estonia, all Jews were arrested immediately upon the
     arrival of the Wehrmacht. Jewish men and women above
     the age of 16 and capable of work were drafted for
     forced labor. Jews were subjected to all sorts of
     restrictions and all Jewish property was confiscated.
     All Jewish males above the age of 16 were executed,
     with the exception of doctors and elders. Only 500 of
     an original 4,500 Jews remained.
     37,180 persons have been liquidated by the Sipo and SD
     in White Ruthenia during October.
     In one town, 337 Jewish women were executed for
     demonstrating a "provocative attitude." In another, 380
     Jews were shot for spreading vicious propaganda.

                                                  [Page 142]
And so the report continues, listing town after town, where
hundreds upon hundreds of Jews were murdered.

     In Witebsk 3,000 Jews were liquidated because of the
     danger of epidemics.
     In Kiew, 33,771 Jews were executed on September 29 and
     30 in retaliation for some fires which were set off
     In Shitomir, 3,145 Jews "had to be shot" because,
     judging from experience they had to be considered as
     the carriers of Bolshevik propaganda.
     In Cherson, 410 Jews were executed in reprisal against
     acts of sabotage.
     In the territory east of the Djnepr, the Jewish problem
     was "solved" by the liquidation of 4,891 Jews and by
     putting the remainder into labor battalions of up to
     l,000 persons. (R-102)
Other accounts tell not of the slaughter so much as of the
depths of degradation to which the tormentors stooped. For
example, we will show the reports made to defendant
Rosenberg about the army and the SS in the area under
Rosenberg's jurisdiction, which recited the following:

     "Details: In presence of SS man, a Jewish dentist has
     to break all gold teeth and fillings out of mouth of
     German and Russian Jews before they are executed."
     Men, women and children are locked into barns and
     burned alive.
     Peasants, women and children are shot on pretext that
     they are suspected of belonging to bands (R-135).

We of the Western World heard of Gas Wagons in which Jews
and political opponents were asphyxiated. We could not
believe it. But here we have the report of May 16, 1942 from
the German SS officer, Becker, to his supervisor in Berlin
which tells this story:

     Gas vans in C. group can be driven to execution spot,
     which is generally stationed 10 to 1 kms. from main
     road only in dry weather. Since those to be executed
     become frantic if conducted to this place, such vans
     become immobilized in wet weather.
     Gas vans in D group camouflaged as cabin trailers, but
     vehicles well known to authorities and civilian
     population which calls them "Death Vans".

                                                  [Page 143]
     Writer of letter (Becker) ordered all men to keep as
     far away as possible during gassing. Unloading van has
     "atrocious spiritual and physical effect" on men and
     they should be ordered not to participate in such work

I shall not dwell on this subject longer than to quote one
more sickening document which evidences the planned and
systematic character of the Jewish persecutions. I hold a
report written with Teutonic devotion to detail, illustrated
with photographs to authenticate its almost incredible text,
and beautifully bound in leather with the loving care
bestowed on a proud work. It is the original report of the
SS Brigadier General Stroop in charge of the destruction of
the Warsaw Ghetto, and its title page carried the
inscription, "The Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw no longer exists."
It is characteristic that one of the captions explains that
the photograph concerned shows the driving out of Jewish
"bandits'; those whom the photograph shows being driven out
are almost entirely women and little children. It contains a
day-by-day account of the killings mainly carried out by the
SS organisation, too long to relate, but let me quote
General Stroop's summary:

     "The resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could
     only be suppressed by energetic actions of our troops
     day and night. The Reichsfuehrer SS ordered, therefore
     on 4/23/1943 the cleaning out of the ghetto with utter
     ruthlessness and merciless tenacity. I, therefore,
     decided to destroy and burn down the entire ghetto
     without regard to the armament factories. These
     factories were systematically dis-mantled and then
     burned. Jews usually left their hideouts, but
     frequently remained in the burning buildings and jumped
     out of the windows only when the heat became
     unbearable. They then tried to crawl with broken bones
     across the street into buildings which were not afire.
     Sometimes they changed their hideouts during the night
     into the ruins of burned buildings. Life in the sewers
     was not pleasant after the first week. Many times we
     could hear loud voices in the sewers. SS men or
     policemen climbed bravely through the manholes to
     capture these Jews. Sometimes they stumbled over Jewish
     corpses; sometimes they were shot at. Tear gas bombs
     were thrown into the manholes and the Jews driven out
     of the
     sewers and captured. Countless numbers of Jews were
     liquidated in sewers and bunkers through blasting. The
     longer the resistance continued the tougher became the
                                                  [Page 144]
     members of the Waffen SS police and Wehrmacht who
     always discharged their duties in an exemplary manner.
     Frequently Jews who tried to replenish their food
     supplies during the night or to communicate with
     neighboring groups were exterminated." (1 061-PS) .

This action eliminated, says the SS commander, "a proved
total of 56,065. To that we have to add the number of those
killed through blasting, fire, etc., which cannot be

We charge that all atrocities against Jews were the
manifestation and culmination of the Nazi plan to which
every defendant here was a party. I know very well that some
of these men did take steps to spare some particular Jew for
some personal reason from the horrors that awaited
the unrescued-Jew. Some protested that particular atrocities
were excessive, and discredited the general policy. While a
few defendants may show efforts to make specific exceptions
to the policy of Jewish extermination, I have found no
instance in which any defendant opposed the policy itself or
sought to revoke or even modify it.

Determination to destroy the Jews was a binding force which
at all times cemented the elements of this conspiracy. On
many internal policies there were differences among the
defendants. But there is not one of them who has not echoed
the rallying cry of Naziism -- DEUTSCHLAND


How a Government treats its own inhabitants generally is
thought to be no concern of other Governments or of
international society. Certainly few oppressions or
cruelties would warrant the intervention of foreign powers.
But the German mistreatment of Germans is now known to pass
in magnitude and savagery any limits of what is tolerable by
modern civilization. Other nations, by silence, would take a
consenting part in such crimes. These Nazi persecutions,
moreover, take character as international crimes because of
the purpose for which they were undertaken.

The purpose, as we have seen, of getting rid of the
influence of free labor, the churches, and the Jews was to
clear their obstruction to the precipitation of aggressive
war. If aggressive warfare in violation of treaty obligation
is a matter of international cognizance, the preparations
for it must also be of concern to the international
community. Terrorism was the chief instrument for securing
the cohesion of the German people in war purposes. Moreover,
these cruelties in
Germany served as

                                                  [Page 145]
atrocity practice to discipline the membership of the
criminal organization to follow the pattern later in
occupied countries.

Through the police formations that before you are accused as
criminal organizations, the Nazi Party leaders, aided at
some point-in their basic and notorious purpose by each of
the individual defendants instituted a reign of terror.
These espionage and police organizations were utilized to
hunt down every form of Opposition and to penalize every
nonconformity. These organizations early founded and
administered concentration camps -- Buchenwald in 1933,
Dachau in 1934. But these notorious names were not alone.
Concentration camps came to dot the German map and to number
scores. At first they met with resistance from some Germans.
We have a captured letter from Minister of Justice Guertner
to Hitler which is revealing. A Gestapo official had been
prosecuted for crimes committed in the camp at Hohnstein,
and the Nazi Governor of Saxony had promptly asked that the
proceeding be quashed. The Minister of Justice in June of
1935 protested because, as he said:

     "In this camp unusually grave mistreatments of
     prisoners have occurred at least since Summer 1933. The
     prisoners not only were beaten with whips without
     cause, similarly as in the Concentration Camp Bredow
     near Stettin till they lost consciousness, but they
     were also tortured in other manners, e.g. with the help
     of a dripping apparatus constructed exclusively for
     this purpose, under which prisoners had to stand until
     they were suffering from serious purulent wounds of the
     scalp *********" (787-PS).

I shall not take time to detail the ghastly proceedings in
these concentration camps. Beatings, starvings, tortures,
and killings were routine-so routine that the tormenters
became blase and careless. We have a report of discovery
that in Ploetzens one night, 186 persons were executed while
there were orders for only 180. Another report describes how
the family of one victim received two urns of ashes by
mistake. Inmates were compelled to execute each other. In
1942, they were paid five Reichsmarks per execution, but on
June 27, 1942, SS General Gluecks ordered commandants of all
concentration camps to reduce this honorarium to three
cigarettes. In 1943, the Reichsleader of the SS and Chief of
German Police ordered the corporal punishments on Russian
women to be applied by Polish women and vice versa, but the
price was not frozen. "As reward, a few cigarettes" was
authorized. Under the Nazis, human life had been

                                                  [Page 146]
devalued until it finally became worth less than a handful
of tobacco -- ersatz tobacco. There were, however, some traces
of the milk of human kindness. On August 11, 1942, an order
went from Himmler to the commanders of fourteen
concentration camps that "only German prisoners are allowed
to beat other German prisoners." (2189-PS).

Mystery and suspense was added to cruelty in order to spread
torture from the inmate to his family and friends. Men and
women disappeared from their homes or business or from the
streets, and no word came of them. The omission of notice
was not due to overworked staff, it was due to policy. The
Chief of the SD and Sipo reported that in accordance with
orders from the Fuehrer anxiety should be created in the
minds of the family of the arrested person (66-PS).
Deportations and secret arrests were labeled, with a Nazi
wit which seems a little ghoulish,
Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) (90, 83-PS). One of the many
orders for these actions gave this explanation:

     "The decree carries a basic innovation. The Fuehrer and
     Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces commands that
     crimes of the specified sort committed by civilians of
     the occupied territories are to be punished by the
     pertinent courts-martial in the occupied territories
     only when
     a. the sentence calls for the death penalty, and
     b. the sentence is pronounced within 8 days after the
     "Only when both conditions are met does the Fuehrer and
     Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces hope for the
     desired deterrent effect from the conduct of punitive
     proceedings in the occupied territories.
     "In other cases in the future the accused are to be
     secretly brought to Germany and the further conduct
     of the trial carried on here. The deterrent effect of
     those measures lies
     a. in allowing the disappearance of the accused without
     a trace,
     b. therein, that no information whatsoever may be given
     about their whereabouts and their fate." (833-PS).

To clumsy cruelty, scientific skill was added.
"Undesirables" were exterminated by injection of drugs into
the bloodstream, by asphyxiation in gas chambers. They were
shot with poison bullets, to study the effects (L-103).

Then, to cruel experiments the Nazi added obscene ones.

                                                  [Page 147]
were not the work of underlying degenerates but of master
minds high in the Nazi conspiracy. In May 20,1942, General
Field Marshal Milch authorized SS General Wolff to go ahead
at Dachau Camp with so-called "cold experiments"; and four
female gypsies were supplied for the purpose.
Himmler gave permission to carry on these "experiments" also
in other camps (1617-PS). At Dachau, the reports of the
"doctor" in charge show that victims were immersed in cold
water until their body temperature was reduced to 28 degrees
centigrade (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit), when
they all died immediately (1618-PS). This was in August
1942. But the "doctor's" technique improved. By February,
1943, he was able to report that thirty persons were chilled
to 27 to 29 degrees, their hands and feet frozen white, and
their bodies "rewarmed" by a hot bath. But the
Nazi scientific triumph was "rewarming with animal heat."
The victim, all but frozen to death, was surrounded with
bodies of living women until he revived and responded to his
environment by having sexual intercourse (1616-PS). Here
Nazi degeneracy reached its nadir.

I dislike to encumber the record with such morbid tales, but
we are in the grim business of trying men as criminals, and
these are the things their own agents say happened. We will
show you these concentration camps in motion pictures, just
as the Allied armies found them when they arrived, and the
measures General Eisenhower had to take to clean them up.
Our proof will be disgusting and you will say I have robbed
you of your sleep. But these are the things which have
turned the stomach of the world and set every civilized hand
against Nazi Germany.

Germany became one vast torture chamber. Cries of its
victims were heard round the world and brought shudders to
civilized people everywhere. I am one who received during
this war most atrocity tales with suspicion and skepticism.
But the proof here will be so overwhelming that I venture to
predict not one word I have spoken will be denied. These
defendants will only deny personal responsibility or

Under the clutch of the most intricate web of espionage and
intrigue that any modern state has endured, and persecution
and torture of a kind that has not been visited upon the
world in many centuries, the elements of the German
population which were both decent and courageous
were annihilated. Those which were decent but weak were
intimidated. Open resistance, which had never been more tan
feeble and irresolute, disappeared. But resistance I am
happy to say, always remained, although it was manifest in
only such events as the abortive effort to

                                                  [Page 148]
Hitler on July 20, 1944. With resistance driven underground,
the Nazi had the German State in his own hands.

But the Nazis not only silenced discordant voices. They
created positive controls as effective as their negative
ones. Propaganda organs, on a scale never before known,
stimulated the party and party formations with a permanent
enthusiasm and abandon such as we democratic people can work
up only for a few days before a general election. They
inculcated and practiced the fuehrerprinzip, which
centralized control of the Party and of the Party-controlled
state over the lives and thought of the German people, who
are accustomed to look upon the German State by whomever
controlled with a mysticism that is incomprehensible to my

All these controls from their inception were exerted with
unparalleled energy and singlemindedness to put Germany on a
war footing. We will show from the Nazis' own documents
their secret training of military personnel, their secret
creation of a military air force. Finally, a conscript army
was brought into being. Financiers, economists,
industrialists, joined in the plan and promoted elaborate
alterations in industry and finance to support an
unprecedented concentration of resources and energies upon
preparations for war. Germany's rearmament
so outstripped the strength of her neighbors that in about a
year she was able to crush the whole military force of
Continental Europe, exclusive of that of Soviet Russia, and
then to push the Russian armies back to the Volga. These
preparations were of a magnitude which surpassed all need of
defense and every defendant, and every intelligent German,
well understood them to be for aggressive purposes.

                       EXPERIMENTS IN AGGRESSION

Before resorting to open aggressive warfare, the Nazis
undertook some rather cautious experiments to test the
spirit and resistance of those who lay across their path.
They advanced, but only as others yielded, and kept in a
position to draw back if they found a temper that made
persistence dangerous.

On March 7, 1936, the Nazis reoccupied the Rhineland and
then proceeded to fortify it in violation of the Treaty of
Versailles and the Pact of Locarno. They encountered no
substantial resistance and were emboldened to take the next
step, which was the acquisition of Austria. Despite repeated
assurances that Germany had no designs on Austria, invasion
was perfected. Threat of attack forced Schuschnigg to resign
as Chancellor of Austria and

                                                  [Page 149]
put the Nazi defendant Seyss-Inquart in his place. The
latter immediately opened the frontier and invited Hitler to
invade Austria "to preserve order." On March 12th the
invasion began. The next day, Hitler proclaimed himself
Chief of the Austrian State, took command of its armed
forces, and a law was enacted annexing Austria to Germany.

Threats of aggression had succeeded without arousing
resistance. Fears nevertheless had been stirred. They were
lulled by an assurance to the Czechoslovak Government that
there would be no attack on that country. We will show that
the Nazi Government already had detailed plans for
the attack. We will lay before you the documents in which
these conspirators planned to create an incident to justify
their attack. They even gave consideration to assassinating
their own Ambassador at Prague in order to create a
sufficiently dramatic incident. They did precipitate a
diplomatic crisis which endured through the summer. Hitler
set September 30th as the day when troops should be ready
for action. Under the threat of immediate war, the United
Kingdom and
France concluded a pact with Germany and Italy at Munich on
September 29, 1938 which required Czechoslovakia to
acquiesce in the cession of the Sudetenland to Germany. It
was consummated by German occupation on October 1, 1938.

The Munich Pact pledged no further aggression against
Czechoslovakia, but the Nazi pledge was lightly given and
quickly broken. On March 15, 1939, in defiance of the treaty
of Munich itself, the Nazis seized and occupied Bohemia and
Moravia, which constituted the major part of
Czechoslovakia not already ceded to Germany. Once again the
West stood aghast, but it dreaded war, it saw no remedy
except war, and it hoped against hope that the Nazi fever
for expansion had run its course. But the Nazi world was
intoxicated by these unresisted successes in open alliance
with Mussolini and covert alliance with Franco. Then, having
made a deceitful, delaying peace with Russia, the
conspirators entered upon the final phase of the plan to
renew war.

                      WAR OF AGGRESSION

I will not prolong this address by detailing the steps
leading to the war of aggression which began with the
invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The further story
will be unfolded to you documents including those of the
German High Command itself. The plans had been laid long in
advance. As early as 1935 Her appointed the defendant
Schacht to the position of "Gen-

                                                  [Page 150]
eral Deputy for the War Economy." (2261-PS). We have the
diary of General Jodl (1780-PS); the "Plan Otto," Hitler's
own order for attack on Austria in case trickery failed (C-
102); the "Plan
Green" which was the blueprint for attack on Czechoslovakia
(88-PS); plans for the War in the West (376-PS, 375-PS);
Funk's letter to Hitler dated 8/2/1939, detailing the long
course of economic preparation (699-PS); Keitel's top secret
mobilization order for 1939-40 prescribing secret steps to
be taken during a "period of tension" during which no "
'state of war' will be publicly declared even if open war
measures against the foreign enemy will be taken." This
order (1639-A-PS) is in our possession despite a secret
order issued on March 16, 1945, when Allied troops were
advancing into the heart of Germany, to burn these plans. We
have also Hitler's directive, dated December 18, 1940, for
the "Barbarossa Contingency" outlining the strategy of the
attack upon Russia (446-PS). That plan in the original bears
the initials of the defendants Keitel and Jodl. They were
planning the attack and planning it long in advance of the
declaration of war. We have detailed information concerning
"Case White," the plan for attack on Poland (C120). That
attack began the war. The plan was issued by Keitel on April
3, 1939. The attack did not come until September. Steps in
preparation for the attack were taken by subordinate
commanders, one of whom issued an order on June 14,
providing that:

     "The Commander-in-Chief of the Army has ordered the
     working out of a plan of deployment against Poland
     which takes in account the demands of the political
     leadership for the opening of war by surprise and for
     quick success *********
     "I declare it the duty of the Commanding Generals, the
     divisional commanders and the commandants to limit as
     much as possible the number of persons who will be
     informed, and to limit the extent of the information,
     and ask that all suitable measures be taken to prevent
     persons not concerned from getting information."
     "The operation, in order to forestall an orderly Polish
     mobilization and concentration, is to be opened by
     surprise with forces which are for the most part
     armored and motorized, placed on alert in the
     neighborhood of the border. The initial superiority
     over the Polish
     frontier-guards and surprise that can be expected with
     certainty are to be main-
                                                  [Page 151]
     tained by quickly bringing up other parts of the army
     as well to counteract the marching up of the Polish
     "If the development of the Political situation should
     show that a surprise at the beginning of the war is out
     of question, because of well advanced defense
     preparations on the part of the Polish Army, the
     Commander-in-Chief 'of the Army will order the opening
     of the
     hostilities only after the assembling of sufficient
     additional forces. The basis of all preparations will
     be to surprise the enemy." (2327-PS).

We have also the order for the invasion of England, signed
by Hitler and initialed by Keitel and Jodl. It is
interesting that it commences with a recognition that
although the British military position is "hopeless," they
show not the slightest sign of giving in (442-PS).

Not the least incriminating are the minutes of Hitler's
meeting with his high advisers. As early as November 5,
1937, Hitler told defendants Goering, Raeder, and Neurath,
among others, that German rearmament was practically
accomplished and that he had decided to secure by force,
starting with a lightning attack on Czechoslovakia and
Austria, greater living space for German in Europe no later
than 1943-45 and perhaps as early as 193 (386-PS). On May
23, 1939, the Fuehrer advised his staff that

     "It is a question of expanding our living space in the
     East and of securing our food supplies *********over and
     above the natural fertility, thorough-going German
     exploitation will enormously increase the surplus."
     "There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and
     we are left with the decision: To attack Poland at the
     first suitable opportunity. We cannot expect a
     repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war." (L-

On August 22, 1939 Hitler again addressed members of the
High Command, telling them when the start of military
operations would be ordered. He disclosed that for
propaganda purposes he would provocate a good reason. "It
will make no difference he announced, "whether this reason
will sound conVincing or not. After all, the victor will not
be asked whether he talked the truth or not. We have to
proceed brutally. The stronger is always right." (1014-PS).
On November 23, 1939 after the Germans had invaded Poland,
Hitler made this explanation:

                                                  [Page 152]
     "For the first time in history we have to fight on only
     one front, the other front is at present free. But no
     one can know how long that will remain so. I have
     doubted for a long time whether I should strike in the
     east and then in the west. Basically I did not organize
     the armed forces in order not to strike. The decision
     to strike was always in me.
     Earlier or later I wanted to solve the problem. Under
     pressure it was decided that the east was to be
     attacked first *********" (789-PS).

We know the bloody sequel. Frontier incidents were staged.
Demands were made for cession of territory. When Poland
refused, the German forces invaded on September 1st, 1939.
Warsaw was destroyed; Poland fell. The Nazis, in accordance
with plan, moved swiftly to extend their
aggression throughout Europe and to gain the advantage of
surprise over their unprepared neighbors. Despite repeated
and solemn assurances of peaceful intentions, they invaded
Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940; Belgium, The
Netherlands and Luxembourg on May 10, 1940; Yugoslavia and
Greece on April 6, 1941.

As part of the Nazi preparation for aggression against
Poland and her allies, Germany, on August 23, 1939 had
entered into a non-aggression pact with Soviet Russia. It
was only a delaying treaty intended to be kept no longer
than necessary to prepare for its violation. On June 22,
1941, pursuant to long matured plans, the Nazis hurled
troops into Soviet territory without any declaration of war.
The entire European world was aflame.

                    CONSPIRACY WITH JAPAN

The Nazi plans of aggression called for use of Asiatic
allies and they found among the Japanese men of kindred mind
and purpose. They were brothers, under the skin.

Himmler records a conversation he had on January 31, 1939
with General Oshima, Japanese Ambassador at Berlin. He

     "Furthermore, he (Oshima) had succeeded up to now to
     send 10 Russians with bombs across the Caucasian
     frontier. These Russians had the mission to kill
     Stalin. A number of additional Russians, whom he had
     also sent across, had been shot at the frontier." (2195-

On September 27th, 1940, the Nazis concluded a German-
Italian-Japanese ten-year military and economic alliance by

                                                  [Page 153]
those powers agreed "to stand by and cooperate with one
another in regard to their efforts in Greater East Asia and
regions of Europe respectively wherein it is their prime
purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things ******

On March 5th, 1941, a top secret directive was issued by
defendant Keitel. It stated that "The Fuehrer has ordered
instigation of Japan's active participation in the war" and
directed that "Japan's military power has to be strengthened
by the disclosure of German war experiences and
support of a military, economic and technical nature has to
be given." The aim was stated to be to crush England
quickly, "thereby keeping the United States out of the war."
(C-75) .

On March 29th, 1941, Ribbentrop told Matsuoka, the Japanese
Foreign Minister, that the German Army was ready to strike
against Russia. Matsuoka reassured Ribbentrop about the Far
East. Japan, he reported, was acting at the moment as though
she had no interest whatever in Singapore, but "intends to
strike when the right moment comes." (1877-PS). On April
5th, 1941, Ribbentrop urged Matsuoka that entry of Japan
into the war would "hasten the victory" and would be more in
the interest of Japan that of Germany since it would give
Japan a unique chance to fulfill her national aims and to
play a leading part in Eastern Asia (1882-PS).

The proofs in this case will also show that the leaders of
Germany were planning war against the United States from its
Atlantic as well as instigating it from its Pacific
approaches. A captured memorandum from the Fuehrer's
headquarters, dated October 29th, 1940, asks certain
information as to air bases and supply and reports further

     "The Fuehrer is at present occupied with the question
     of the occupation of the Atlantic islands with a view
     to the prosecution of war against America at a later
     date. Deliberations on this subject are being embarked
     upon here." (76-PS).

On December 7th, 1941, a day which the late President
Roosevelt declared "will live in infamy," victory for German
aggression seemed certain. The Wehrmacht was at the gates of
Moscow. Taking advantage of the situation, and while her
plenipotentiaries were creating a diplomatic diversion in
Washington, Japan without declaration of war treacherously
attacked the United Sates at Pearl Harbor and the
Philippines. Attacks followed on the British Commonwealth
and The Netherlands in

                                                  [Page 154]
the Southwest Pacific. These aggressions were met in the
only way they could be met, with instant declarations of war
and with armed resistance which mounted slowly through many
long months of reverse until finally the Axis was crushed to
earth and deliverance for its victims was won.


Even the most warlike of peoples have recognized in the name
of humanity some limitations on the savagery of warfare.
Rules to that end have been embodied in international
conventions to which Germany became a party. This code had
prescribed certain restraints as to the treatment of
belligerents. The enemy was entitled to surrender and to
receive quarter and good treatment as a prisoner of war. We
will show by German documents that these rights were denied,
that prisoners of war were given brutal treatment and often
murdered. This was particularly true in the case of captured
airmen, often my countrymen.

It was ordered that captured English and American airmen
should no longer be granted the status of prisoners of war.
They were to be treated as criminals and the Army was
ordered to refrain from protecting them against lynching by
the populace (R-118). The Nazi Government, through its
police and propaganda agencies, took pains to incite the
civilian population to attack and kill airmen who crash-
landed. The order, given by the Reichsfuehrer SS, Himmler,
on August 10th, 1943, directed that,

     "It is not the task of the police to interfere in
     clashes between German and English and American fliers
     who have bailed out."
This order was transmitted on the same day by SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Brand of Himmler's Personal Staff to
all Senior Executive SS and Police officers, with these
     "I am sending you the inclosed order with the request
     that the Chief of the Regular Police and of the
     Security Police be informed. They are to make this
     instruction known to their subordinate officers
     verbally." (R-110).
Similarly, we will show Hitler's top secret order, dated
October 18th, 1942, that commandos, regardless of condition,
were "to be slaughtered to the last man" after capture (498-
PS). We will show the circulation of secret orders, one of
which was signed by

                                                  [Page 155]
Hess, to be passed orally to civilians, that enemy fliers or
parachutists were to be arrested or liquidated (062-PS). By
such means were murders incited and directed.

This Nazi campaign of ruthless treatment of enemy forces
assumed its greatest proportions in the fight against
Russia. Eventually all prisoners of war were taken out of
control of the Army and put in the hands of Himmler and the
SS (058-PS). In the East, the German fury spent itself.
Russian prisoners were ordered to be branded. They were
starved. I shall quote passages from a letter written
February 28th, 1942 by defendant Rosenberg to defendant
     "The fate of the Soviet prisoners of war in Germany is
     on the contrary
     a tragedy of the greatest extent. Of 3.6 millions of
     prisoners of war,
     only several hundred thousand are still able to work
     fully. A large
     part of them has starved, or died, because of the
     hazards of the weather. Thousands also died from
     spotted fever.
     The camp commanders have forbidden the civilian
     population to put food at the disposal of the
     prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to
     In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer
     keep up on the
     march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot
     before the eyes
     of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses
     were left.
     In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war
     was provided at
     all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow.
     Even tools were
     not made available to dig holes or caves.
     Finally, the shooting of prisoners of war must be
     mentioned. For
     instance, in various camps, all the 'Asiatics' were
     shot." (081-PS).

Civilized usage and conventions to which Germany was a party
had prescribed certain immunities for civilian populations
unfortunate enough to dwell in lands overrun by hostile
armies. The German occupation forces, controlled or
commanded by men on trial before you,
committed a long series of outrages against the habitants of
occupied territory that would be incredible except for
captured orders and the captured reports showing the
fidelity with which these orders were executed.

We deal here with a phase of common criminality designed by
the conspirators as part of the common plan. We can
appreciate why these crimes against their European enemies
were not of a

                                                  [Page 156]
casual character but were planned and disciplined crimes
when we get at the reason for
them. Hitler told his officers on August 22nd, 1939 that
"The main objective in
Poland is the destruction of the enemy and not the reaching
of a certain geographical line." (1014-PS). The project of
deporting promising youth from occupied territories was
approved by Rosenberg on the theory that "a desired
weakening of the biological force of the conquered people is
being achieved." (031-PS). To Germanize or to destroy was
the program. Himmler announced, "Either we win over any good
blood that we can use for ourselves and give it a place in
our people or, gentlemen -- you may call this cruel, but nature
is cruel -- we destroy this blood." As to "racially good
types" Himmler further advised, "Therefore, I think that it
is our duty to take their children with us to remove them
from their environment if necessary by robbing or stealing
them." (L-70). He urged deportation of Slavic children to
deprive potential enemies of future soldiers.

The Nazi purpose was to leave Germany's neighbors so
weakened that even if she should eventually lose the war,
she would still be the most powerful nation in Europe.
Against this background, we must view the plan for ruthless
warfare, which means a plan for the commission of war crimes
and crimes against humanity.

Hostages in large numbers were demanded and killed. Mass
punishments were inflicted, so savage that whole communities
were extinguished. Rosenberg was advised of the annihilation
of three unidentified villages in Slovakia. In May of 1943,
another village of about 40 farms and 220 inhabitants was
ordered wiped out. The entire population was ordered shot,
the cattle and property impounded, and the order required
that "the village will be destroyed totally by fire." A
secret report from Rosenberg's Reich Ministry of Eastern
territory reveals that:

     "Food rations allowed the Russian population are so low
     that they fail to secure their existence and provide
     only for minimum subsistence of limited duration. The
     population does not know if they will still live
     tomorrow. They are faced with death by starvation.
     "The roads are clogged by hundreds of thousands of
     people, sometime as many as one million according to
     the estimate of experts, who wander around in search of
     "Sauckel's action has caused great unrest among the
     civilians. Russian girls were deloused by men, nude
     photos in
                                                  [Page 157]
     forced positions were taken, women doctors were locked
     into freight cars for the pleasure of the transport
     commanders, women in night shirts were fettered and
     forced through the Russian towns to the railroad
     station, etc. All this material has been sent to the

Perhaps. the deportation to slave labor was the most
horrible and extensive slaving operation in history. On few
other subjects is our evidence so abundant or so damaging.
In a speech made on January 25th, 1944, the defendant Frank,
Governor General of Poland, boasted, "I have sent
1,300,000 Polish workers into the Reich." The defendant
Sauckel reported that "out of the five million foreign
workers who arrived in Germany not even 200,000 came
voluntarily." This fact was reported to the Fuehrer and
defendants Speer, Goering, and Keitel (R-124). Children of
10 to 14 years were impressed into service by telegraphic
order of Rosenberg's Ministry for the Occupied Eastern

     "The Command is further charged with the transferring
     of worthwhile Russian youth between 10-14 years of age,
     to the Reich. The authority is not affected by the
     changes connected with the evacuation and
     transportation to the reception camps of Pialystok,
     Krajewo, and Olitei. The Fuehrer wishes that this
     activity be increased even more."

When enough labor was not forthcoming, prisoners of war were
forced in war work in flagrant violation of international
conventions (016-PS). Slave labor came from France, Belgium,
Holland, Italy, and the East. Methods of recruitment were
violent (R-124, 018-PS, 204-PS). The
treatment of these slave laborers wa stated in general
terms, not difficult to translate into concrete
deprivations, in a letter to the defendant Rosenberg from
the defendant Sauckel, which stated:

     "All prisoners of war, from the territories of the West
     as well of the East, actually in Germany, must be
     completely incorporated into the German armament and
     munition industries. Their production must be brought
     to the highest possible level."
     "The complete employment of all prisoners of war as
     well as the use of a gigantic number of new foreign
     civilian workers, men and women, has become an
     undisputable necessity for the solution of the
     mobilization of labor program in this war.
     "All the men must be fed, sheltered and treated in such
                                                  [Page 158]
     a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent
     at the lowest conceivable degrees of expenditure." (016-
In pursuance of the Nazi plan permanently to reduce the
living standards of their neighbors and to weaken them
physically and economically, a long series of crimes were
committed. There was
extensive destruction, serving no military purpose, of the
property of civilians. Dikes were thrown open in Holland
almost at the close of the war not to achieve military ends
but to destroy the resources and retard-the economy of the
thrifty Netherlanders.

There was carefully planned economic syphoning off of the
assets of occupied countries. An example of the planning is
shown by a report on France dated December 7th, 1942 made by
the Economic Research Department of the Reichsbank. The
question arose whether French occupation costs should be
increased from 15 million Reichsmarks per day to 25 million
Reichsmarks per day. The Reichsbank analyzed French economy
to determine whether it could bear the burden. It pointed
out that the armistice had burdened France to that date to
the extent of 18 1/2 billion Reichsmarks, equalling 370
billion Francs. It pointed out that the burden of these
payments within two and a half years equalled the aggregate
French national income in the year 1940, and that the amount
of payments handed over to Germany in the first six months
of 1942
corresponded to the estimate for the total French revenue
for that whole year. The report concluded, "In any case, the
conclusion is inescapable that relatively heavier tributes
have been imposed on France since - the armistice in June,
1940 than upon Germany after the World War. In this
connection, it must be noted that the economic powers of
France never equalled those of the German Reich and that
vanquished France could not draw on foreign economic and
resources in the same degree as Germany after the last World

The defendant Funk was the Reichs Minister of Economics and
President of the Reichsbank; the defendant Ribbentrop was
Foreign Minister; the defendant Goering was Plenipotentiary
for the Four-Year Plan, and all of them participated in the
exchange of views of which this captured
document is a part (219-PS). Notwithstanding this analysis
by the Reichsbank, they proceeded to increase the imposition
on France from 15 million Reichsmarks daily to 25 million

It is small wonder that the bottom has been knocked out of
French economy. The plan and purpose of the thing appears in

                                                  [Page 159]
a letter from General Stulpnagle, head of the German
Armistice Commission to the defendant Jodl as early as
September 14th, 1940 when he wrote, "The slogan 'Systematic
weakening of France' has already been surpassed by far in

Not only was there a purpose to debilitate and demoralize
the economy of Germany's neighbors for the purpose of
destroying their competitive position, but there was looting
and pilfering on an
unprecedented scale. We need not be hypocritical about this
business of looting. I recognize that no army moves through
occupied territory without some pilfering as it goes.
Usually the amount of pilfering increases as discipline
wanes. If the evidence in this case showed no looting except
of that sort, I certainly would ask no conviction of these
defendants for it.

But we will show you that looting was not due to the lack of
discipline or to the ordinary weaknesses of human nature.
The German organized plundering, planned it, disciplined it,
and made it official just as he organized everything else,
and then he compiled the most meticulous
records to show that he had done the best job of looting
that was possible under the circumstances. And we have those

The defendant Rosenberg was put in charge of a systematic
plundering of the art objects of Europe by direct order of
Hitler dated January 29th, 1940 (136-PS). On April 16th,
1943 Rosenberg reported that up to the 7th of April, 92;
railway cars with 2,775 cases containing art objects had
been sent to Germany; and that 53 pieces of art had been
shipped to Hitler
direct, and 594 to the defendant Goering. The report
mentioned something like 20,000 pieces of seized art and the
main locations where they were stored (015-PS).

Moreover, this looting was glorified by Rosenberg. Here we
have 39 leather-bound tabulated volumes of his inventory,
which in due time we will offer in evidence. One cannot but
admire the artistry of this Rosenberg report. The Nazi taste
was cosmopolitan. Of the 9,455 articles inventoried, there
were included 5,255 paintings, 297 sculptures, 1,372 pieces
of antique furniture, 307 textiles, and 2,224 small objects
of art. Rosenberg observed that there were approximately
10,000 more objects still to be inventoried (015-PS).
Rosenberg himself
estimated that the values involved would come close to a
billion dollars (090-PS).

I shall not go into further details of the war crimes and
crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi gangster ring
whose leaders are before you. It is not the purpose in my
part of this case to deal with the in-

                                                  [Page 160]
dividual crimes. I am dealing with e common plan or design
for crime and will not dwell upon individual offenses. My
task is only to show the scale on which these crimes
occurred, and to show that these are the men who were in the
responsible positions and who conceived the plan and design
which renders them answerable, regardless of the fact that
the plan was actually executed by others.

At length, this reckless and lawless course outraged the
world. It recovered from the demoralization of surprise
attack, assembled its forces, and stopped these men in their
tracks. Once success deserted their banners, one by one the
Nazi satellites fell away. Sawdust Caesar
collapsed. Resistance forces in every occupied country arose
to harry the invader. Even at home, Germans saw that Germany
was being led to ruin by these mad men, and the attempt on
July 20th, 1944 to assassinate Hitler, an attempt fostered
by men of highest station, was a desperate effort by
internal forces to stop short of ruin. Quarrels broke out
among the failing conspirators, and the decline of the Nazi
power was more swift than its ascendancy. German armed
forces surrendered, its government disintegrated, its
leaders committed suicide by the dozen, and by the fortunes
of war these defendants fell into our hands. Although they
are not by any means all the guilty ones, they are survivors
among the most responsible. Their names appear over and over
in the documents and their faces grace the photographic
evidence. We
have here the surviving top politicians, militarists,
financiers, diplomats, administrators, and propagandists of
the Nazi movement. Who was responsible for these crimes if
they were not?

                     THE LAW OF THE CASE

The end of the war and capture of these prisoners presented
the victorious Allies with the question whether there is any
legal responsibility on high-ranking men for acts which I
have described. Must such wrongs either be ignored or
redressed in hot blood? Is there no standard in the law for
a deliberate and reasoned judgment on such conduct?

The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law
is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that
even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King
James, "under God and the law." The United States believed
that the law long has afforded standards by which a
juridical hearing could be conducted to make sure that we
punish only the right men and for the right reasons.
Following the instructions of the late President Roosevelt
and the decision of the
Yalta conference, President Truman directed representatives
of the United States to

                                                  [Page 161]
formulate a proposed International Agreement, which was
submitted during the San Francisco Conference to Foreign
Ministers of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the
Provisional Government of France. With many modifications,
that proposal has become the Charter of this Tribunal.

But the Agreement which sets up the standards by which these
prisoners are to be judged does not express the views of the
signatory nations alone. Other nations with diverse but
highly respected systems of jurisprudence also have
signified adherence to it. These are Belgium,
The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Czechoslovakia,
Luxembourg, Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Australia,
Haiti, Honduras, Panama, New Zealand, Venezuela, and India.
You judge, therefore, under an organic act which represents
the wisdom, the sense of justice, and the will of
twenty-one governments, representing an overwhelming
majority of all civilized people.

The Charter by which this Tribunal has its being embodies
certain legal concepts which are. inseparable from its
jurisdiction and which must govern its decision. These, as I
have said, also are conditions attached to the grant of any
hearing to defendants. he validity of the provisions of the
Charter is conclusive upon us all whether we have accepted
the duty of judging or of prosecuting under it, as well as
upon the defendants, who can point to no other law which
gives them a right to be heard at all. My able and
experienced colleagues believe, as do I, that it will
contribute to the expedition and clarity of this trial if I
expound briefly the application of the legal philosophy of
the Charter to the facts I have recited.

While this declaration of the law by the Charter is final,
it may be contended that the prisoners on trial are entitled
to have it applied to their conduct only most charitably if
at all. It may be said that this is new law, not
authoritatively declared at the time they did the acts it
condemns, and that this declaration of the law has taken
them by surprise.

I cannot, of course, deny that these men are surprised that
this is the law; they really are surprised that there is any
such thing is law. These defendants did not rely on any law
at all. Their program ignored and defied all law. That this
is so will appear from many acts and
statements, of which I cite but a few. In the Fuehrers
speech to all military commanders on November 23rd, 1939, he
reminded them that at the moment Germany had a pact with
Russia, but declared, "Agreements are to be kept only as
long as they serve a certain purpose." Later on in the same
speech he announced, "A violation of the neutrality of

                                                  [Page 162]
and Belgium will be of no importance." (789-PS). A Top
Secret document, entitled "Warfare as a Problem of
Organization," dispatched by the Chief of the High Command
to all Commanders on April 19th, 1938, declared that "the
normal rules of war toward neutrals may be considered to
apply on the basis whether operation of rules will create
greater advantages or disadvantages for belligerents." (L-
211). And from the files of the German Navy Staff, we have a
"Memorandum on Intensified Naval War," dated October 15th,
1939, which begins by stating a desire to comply with
International Law. "However," it continues, "if decisive
successes are expected from any measure considered as a war
necessity, it must be carried through even if it is not in
agreement with international law." (UK-65). International
Law, natural law, German law, any law at all was
to these men simply a propaganda device to be invoked when
it helped and to be ignored when it would condemn what they
wanted to do. That men may be protected in relying upon the
law at the time they act is the reason we find laws of
retrospective operation unjust. But these men cannot bring
themselves within the reason of the rule which in some
systems of jurisprudence prohibits ex post facto laws. They
cannot show that they ever relied upon International Law in
any state or paid it the slightest regard.

The Third Count of the Indictment is based on the definition
of war crimes contained in the Charter. I have outlined to
you the systematic course of conduct toward civilian
populations and combat forces which violates international
conventions to which Germany was a party. Of the
criminal nature of these acts at least, the defendants had,
as we shall show, clear knowledge. Accordingly, they took
pains to conceal their violations. It will appear that the
defendants Keitel and Jodl were informed by official legal
advisors that the orders to brand Russian prisoners of war,
to shackle British prisoners of wa, and to execute commando
prisoners were clear violations of International Law.
Nevertheless, these orders were put into effect. The same is
true of orders issued for the assassination of General
Giraud and General Weygand, which failed to be executed only
because of a ruse on the part of Admiral Canaris, who was
himself later executed for his part in the plot to take
Hitler's life on July 20th, 1944 (Affidavit A).

The Fourth Count of the Indictment is based on crimes
against humanity. Chief among these are mass killings of
countless human beings in cold blood. Does it take these men
by surprise that murder is treated as a crime?

The First and Second Counts of the Indictment add to these

                                                  [Page 163]
crimes the crime of plotting and waging wars of aggression
and wars in violation of nine treaties to which Germany was
a party. There was a time, in fact I think the time of the
first World War, when it could not have been said that war-
inciting or war-making was a crime in law, however
reprehensible in morals.

Of course, it was under the law of all civilized peoples a
crime for one man with his bare knuckles to assault another.
How did it come that multiplying this crime by a million,
and adding fire arms to bare knuckles, made a legally
innocent act? The doctrine was that one could not be
regarded as criminal for committing the usual violent acts
in the conduct of legitimate warfare. The age of
imperialistic expansion during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth
Centuries added the foul doctrine, contrary to the teachings
of early Christian and International Law scholars such as
Grotius, that all wars are to be regarded as legitimate
wars. The sum of these two doctrines was to give war making
a complete immunity from accountability to law.

This was intolerable for an age that called itself
civilized. Plain people, with their earthly common sense,
revolted at such fictions and legalisms so contrary to
ethical principles and demanded checks on war immunity.
Statesmen and international lawyers at first cautiously
responded by adopting rules of warfare designed to make the
conduct of war more civilized. The effort was to set legal
limits to the violence that could be done to civilian
populations and to combatants as well.

The common sense of men after the First World War demanded,
however, that the law's condemnation of war reach deeper,
and that the law condemn not merely uncivilized ways of
waging war, but also the waging in any way of uncivilized
wars wars of aggression. The world's
statesmen again went only as far as they were forced to go.
Their efforts were timid and cautious and often less
explicit than we might have hoped. But the 1920's did outlaw
aggressive war.

The reestablishment of the principle that there are unjust
wars and that unjust wars are illegal is traceable in many
steps. One of the most significant is the Briand-Kellogg
Pact of 1928, by which Germany, Italy, and Japan, in common
with practically all the nations of the world, renounced war
as an instrument of national policy, bound themselves to
seek the settlement of disputes only by pacific means, and
condemned recourse to war for the solution of international
controversies. This pact altered the legal status of a war
of aggression. As Mr. Stimson, the United States Secretary
of State put it in 1932, such a war "is no longer to be the
source and subject of rights. It is no longer

                                                  [Page 164]
to be the principle around which the duties, the conduct,
and the rights of nations revolve. It is an illegal thing. ***
****** By that very-act, we have made obsolete many legal
precedents and have given the legal profession the task of
reexamining many of its codes and treaties."

The Geneva Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of
International Disputes, signed by the representatives of
forty-eight governments, declared that "a war of aggression constitutes an
international crime." The Eighth Assembly of the League of
Nations in 1927, on unanimous resolution of the
representatives of forty-eight member nations, including
Germany, declared that a war of aggression constitutes an
international crime. At the Sixth Pan-American Conference of
1928, the twenty-one American Republics unanimously adopted
a resolution stating that "war of aggression constitutes an
international crime against the human species."

A failure of these Nazis to heed, or to understand the force
and meaning of this evolution in the legal thought of the
world is not a defense or a mitigation. If anything, it
aggravates their offense and makes it the more mandatory
that the law they have flouted be vindicated by juridical
application to their lawless conduct. Indeed, by their own
law had they heeded any law these principles were binding on
these defendants. Article 4 of the Weimar Constitution provided that
"The generally accepted rules of international law are to be
considered as binding integral parts of the law of the
German Reich." (2050-PS). Can there be any doubt that the
outlawry of aggressive war was one of the "generally
accepted rules of international law" in 1939?

Any resort to war -- to any kind of a war -- is a resort to means
that are inherently criminal. War inevitably is a course of
killings, assaults, deprivations of liberty, and destruction
of property. An honestly defensive war is of course, legal
and saves those lawfully conducting it from criminality. But
inherently criminal acts cannot be defended by showing that
those who committed them were engaged in a war, when war
itself is illegal. The very minimum legal consequence of the
treaties making aggressive wars illegal is to strip those
who incite or wage them of every defense the law ever gave,
and to leave war-makers subject to judgment by the usually
accepted principles of the law of crimes.

But if it be thought that the Charter, whose declarations
concededly bind us all, does contain new law I still do not
shrink from demanding its strict application by this
Tribunal. The rule of raw in the world, flouted by the
lawlessness incited by these

                                                  [Page 165]
defendants. had to be restored at the cost to my country of
over a million casualties, not to mention those of other
nations. I cannot subscribe to the perverted reasoning that
society may advance and strengthen the rule of law by the
expenditure of morally innocent lives but that progress in
the law may never be made at the price of morally guilty

It is true, of course, that we have no judicial precedent
for the Charter. But International Law is more than a
scholarly collection of abstract and immutable principles.
It is an outgrowth of treaties and agreements between
nations and of accepted customs. Yet every custom has its
origin in some single act, and every agreement has to be
initiated by the action of some state. Unless we are
prepared to abandon every principle of growth for
International Law, we cannot deny that our own day has the
right to institute customs and to conclude agreements that
will themselves become sources of a newer and strengthened
International Law. International Law is not capable of
development by the normal processes of legislation for there
is no continuing international legislative authority.
Innovations and revisions in International Law are brought
about by the action of governments designed to meet a change
in circumstances. It grows, as
did the Common Law, through decisions reached from time to
time in adapting settled principles to new situations. The
fact is that when the law evolves by the case method, as did
the Common Law and as International Law must do if it is to
advance at all, it advances at the expense of those who
wrongly guessed he law and learned too late their error. The
law, so far as nternational Law can be decreed, had been
clearly pronounced when these acts took place. Hence, I am
not disturbed by the lack of judicial precedent for the
inquiry we propose to conduct.

The events I have earlier recited clearly fall within the
standards of crimes, set out in the Charter, whose
perpetrators this Tribunal is convened to judge and punish
fittingly. The standards for war crimes and crimes against
humanity are too familiar to need comment. There are,
however, certain novel problems in applying other precepts
of the Charter which I should call to your attention.

                   THE CRIME AGAINST PEACE

A basic provision of the Charter is that to plan, prepare,
initiate or wage a war of aggression, or a war in violation
of international treaties, agreements, and assurances, or to
conspire or participate in a common plan to do so is a

                                                  [Page 166]
It is perhaps a weakness in this Charter that it fails
itself to define a war of aggression. Abstractly, the
subject is full of difficulty and all kinds of troublesome
hypothetical cases can be conjured up. It is a
subject.which, if the defense should be permitted to go
afield beyond the very narrow charge in the Indictment,
would prolong the trial and involve the Tribunal in
insoluble political issues. But so far as the question can
properly be involved in this case, the issue is one of no
novelty and is one on which legal opinion has well

One of the most authoritative sources of International Law
on this subject is the Convention for the Definition of
Aggression signed at London on July 3rd, 1933 by Roumania,
Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Turkey, The Soviet Union, Persia,
and Afghanistan. The subject has also been
considered by international committees and by commentators
whose views are entitled to the greatest respect. It had
been little discussed prior to the First World War but has
received much attention as International Law has evolved its
outlawry of aggressive war. In the light of these materials
of International Law, and so far as relevant to the evidence
in this case, I suggest' that an "aggressor" is generally
held to be that state which is the first to commit any of
the following actions:

     (1) Declaration of war upon another State;
     (2) Invasion by its armed forces, with or without a
     declaration war, of the territory of another State;
     (3) Attack by its land, naval, or air forces, with or
     without a declaration of war, on the territory,
     vessels, or aircraft of another State;
     (4) Provision of support to armed bands formed in the
     territory of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding
     the request of the invaded State, to take in its own
     territory, all the measures in its power to deprive
     those bands of all assistance or protection.

And I further suggest that it is the general view that no
political, military, economic or other considerations shall
serve as an excuse or justification for such actions; but
exercise of the right of legitimate self-defense, that is to
say, resistance to an act of aggression, or action to assist
a State which has been subjected to aggression, shall not
constitute a war of aggression.

It is upon such an understanding of the law that our
evidence of a conspiracy to provoke and wage an aggressive
war is prepared and presented. By this test each of the
series of wars begun by these Nazi leaders was unambiguously

                                                  [Page 167]
It is important to the duration and scope of this trial that
we bear in mind the difference between our charge that this
war wa one of aggression and a position that Germany had no
grievances. We are not inquiring into the conditions which
contributed to causing this war. They are for history to
unravel. It is no part of our task to vindicate the European
status quo as of 1933, or as of any other date. The United
States does not desire to enter into discussion of the complicated
pre-war currents of European politics, and it hopes this
trial will not be protracted by their consideration. The
remote causations avowed are too insincere and inconsistent,
too complicated and doctrinaire to be the subject of
profitable inquiry in this trial. A familiar example is to
be found in the Lebensraum slogan, which summarized the
contention that Germany needed more living space as a
justification for expansion. At the same time that the Nazis
were demanding more space for the German people, they were
demanding more German people to occupy space. Every known
means to increase the birth rate, legitimate and
illegitimate, was utilized. Lebensraum represented a vicious
circle of demand from neighbors more space, and from Germans
more progeny.  We do not need to investigate the verity of
doctrines which led to constantly expanding circles of
aggression. It is the plot and the act of aggression which
we charge to be crimes.

Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have,
however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive
warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or
for altering those conditions. It may be that the Germany of
the 1920's and 1930's faced desperate problems, problems
that would have warranted the boldest measures short of war.
All other methods -- persuasion, propaganda, economic
competition, diplomacy -- were open to an aggrieved country, but
aggressive warfare was outlawed. These defendants did make
aggressive war, a war in violation of treaties. They did
attack and invade their neighbors in order to effectuate a
foreign policy which they knew could not be accomplished by
measures short of war. And that is as far as we accuse or
propose to inquire.


The Charter also recognizes individual responsibility on the
part of those who commit acts defined as crimes, or who
incite others to do so, or who join a common plan with other
persons, groups or organizations to bring about their
commission. The Principle of individual
responsibility for piracy and brigandage, which have long
been recognized as crimes punishable under In-

                                                  [Page 168]
ternational Law, is old and well established. That is what
illegal warfare is. This principle of
personal liability is a necessary as well as logical one if
International Law is to render real help to the maintenance
of peace. An International Law which operates only on states
can be enforced only by war because the most practicable
method of coercing a state is warfare. Those familiar with
American history know that one of the compelling reasons for
adoption of our Constitution was that the laws of the
Confederation, which operated only on constituent states,
were found ineffective to maintain order among them. The
only answer to recalcitrance was impotence or war. Only
sanctions which reach individuals can peacefully and
effectively be enforced. Hence, the principle of the
criminality of aggressive war is implemented by the Charter
with the principle of personal responsibility.

Of course, the idea that a state, any more than a
corporation, commits crimes is a fiction. Crimes always are
committed only by persons. While it is quite proper to
employ the fiction of responsibility of a state or
corporation for the purpose of imposing a collective liability, it
is quite intolerable to let such a legalism become the basis
of personal immunity.

The Charter recognizes that one who has committed criminal
acts may not take refuge in superior orders nor in the
doctrine that his crimes were acts of states. These twin
principles working together have heretofore resulted in
immunity for practically everyone concerned in the really
great crimes against peace and mankind. Those in lower ranks
were protected against liability by the orders of their
superiors. The superiors were protected because their orders
were called acts of state. Under the Charter, no defense
based on either of these doctrines can be entertained.
Modern civilization puts unlimited weapons of destruction in
the hands of men. It cannot tolerate so vast an area of
legal irresponsibility.

Even the German Military Code provides that:

     "If the execution of a military order in the course of
     duty violates the criminal law, then the superior
     officer giving the order will bear the sole
     responsibility therefor. However, the obeying
     subordinate will share the punishment of the
     participant: (1) if he has exceeded the order given to
     him, or (2) if it was within his knowledge that the
     order of his superior officer concerned an act by which
     it was intended to commit a civil or military crime or
     transgression." (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1926, No. 37, p.
     278, Art. 47).

Of course, we do not argue that the circumstances under

                                                  [Page 169]
one commits an act should be disregarded in judging its
legal effect. A conscripted private on a firing squad cannot
expect to hold an inquest on the validity of the execution.
The Charter implies common sense limits to liability just as
it places common sense limits upon immunity. But none of
these men before you acted in minor parts. Each of them was
entrusted with broad discretion and exercised great power.
Their responsibility is correspondingly great and may not be
shifted to that fictional being, "the State", which can not
be produced for trial, can not testify, and can not be

The Charter also recognized a vicarious liability, which
responsibility is recognized by most modern systems of law,
for acts committed by others in carrying out a common plan
or conspiracy to which a defendant has become a party. I
need not discuss the familiar principles of such liability.
Every day in the courts of countries associated in this
prosecution, men are convicted for acts that they did not
personally commit but for which they were held responsible
because of membership in illegal combinations or plans or


Accused before this Tribunal as criminal organizations are
certain political and police organizations which the
evidence will show to have been. instruments of cohesion in
planning and executing the crimes I have detailed. Perhaps
the worst of the movement were the Leadership Corps of the
NSDAP, the Schutzstaffeln or "SS", and the Sturmabteilungen
or "SA", and the subsidiary formations which these include.
These were the Nazi Party leadership, espionage, and
policing groups. They were the real government, above and outside 
of any law.  Also accused as organizatiOns are the Reich Cabinet and the
Secret State Police er Gestapo, which were fixtures of the
Government but animated solely by the Nazi Party.

Except for a late period when some compulsory recruiting was
done in the SS, membership in all these militarized
formations was voluntary. The police organizations ere
recruited from ardent partisans who enlisted blindly to do
the dirty work the leaders planned. The Reich Cabinet was
the governmental facade for Nazi Party Government and in its
member's legal as well as actual responsibility was vested
for the entire program. Collectively they were responsible
for the program in general, individually they were
especially responsible for segments of it. The finding which
we ask you to make, that these are criminal organizations
will subject members to punishment to be hereafter

                                                  [Page 170]
determined to appropriate tribunals, unless some personal
defense-such as becoming a member under threat to person, to
family, or inducement by false representation, or the like-
be established. Every member will have a chance to be heard
in the subsequent forum on his personal relation to the
organization, but your finding in this trial will
conclusively establish the criminal character of the
organization as a whole.

We have also accused as criminal organizations the High
Command and the General Staff of the German Armed Forces. We
recognize that to plan warfare is the business of
professional soldiers in every country. But it is one thing
to plan strategic moves in the event war comes, and it is
another thing to plot and intrigue to bring on that war. We
will prove the leaders of the German General Staff and of
the High Command to have been guilty of just that. Military
men are not before you because they served their country.
They are here because they mastered
it, along with these others, and drove it to war. They are
not here because they lost the war but because they started
it. Politicians may have thought of them as soldiers, but
soldiers know they were politicians. We ask that the General
Staff and the High Command, as defined in the Indictment, be
condemned as a criminal group whose existence and tradition
constitute a standing menace to the peace of the world.

These individual defendants did not stand alone in crime and
will not stand alone in punishment. Your verdict of "guilty"
against these organizations will render prima facie guilty,
as nearly as we can learn, thousands upon thousands of
members now in custody of the United States forces and other


To apply the sanctions of the law to those whose conduct is
found criminal by the standards I have outlined, is the
responsibility committed to this Tribunal. It is the first
court ever to undertake the difficult task of overcoming the
confusion of many tongues and the conflicting concepts of
just procedure among divers systems of law, so as to reach a
common judgement. The tasks of all of us are such as to make
heavy demands on patience and good will. Although the need
for prompt action has admittedly resulted in imperfect work
on the part of the prosecution, four great nations bring you
their hurriedly assembled contributions of evidence. What
remains undiscovered we can only guess. We could, with
witnesses testimony, prolong the recitals of crime for years-
but to what avail? We shall rest the case when we have
offered what seems convincing and adequate proof

                                                  [Page 171]
of the crimes charged without unnecessary cumulation of
evidence. We doubt very much whether it will be seriously
denied that the crimes I have outlined took place. The
effort will undoubtedly be to mitigate or escape personal

Among the nations which unite in accusing these defendants
the United States is perhaps in a position to be the most
dispassionate, for, having sustained the least injury, it is
perhaps the least animated by vengeance. Our American cities
have not been bombed by day and night,
by humans and by robots. It is not our temples that have
been laid in ruins. Our countrymen have not had their homes
destroyed over their heads. The menace of Nazi aggression,
except to those in actual service, has seemed less personal
and immediate to us than to European
peoples. But while the United States is not first in rancor,
It is not second in determination that the forces of law and
order be made equal to the task of dealing with such
international lawlessness as I have recited here.

Twice in my lifetime, the United States has sent its young
manhood across the Atlantic, drained its resources, and
burdened itself with debt to help defeat Germany. But the
real hope and faith that has sustained the American people
in these great efforts was that the victory for ourselves
and our Allies would lay the basis for an ordered
international relationship in Europe and would end the
centuries of strife on this embattled continent.

Twice we have held back in the early stages of European
conflict in the belief that it might be confined to a purely
European affair. In the United States, we have tried to
build an economy without armament, a system of government
without militarism, and a society where men are
not regimented for war. This purpose, we know now, can never
be realized if the world periodically is embroiled in war.
The United States cannot, generation after generation, throw
its youth or its resources onto the battlefields of Europe
to redress the lack of balance between Germanys strength and
that of her enemies, and to keep the battles from our

The American dream of a peace and plenty economy, as well as
the hopes of other nations, can never be fulfilled if those
nations are involved in a war every generation so vast and
devastating as to crush the generation that fights and
burden the generation that follows. But experience has shown
that wars are no longer local. All modern wars become world
wars eventually. And none of the big nations at least can
stay out. If we cannot stay out of wars, our only hope is to

I am too well aware of the weaknesses of juridical action

                                                  [Page 172]
to contend that in itself your decision under this Charter
can prevent future wars. Judicial action always comes after
the event. Wars are started only on the theory and in the
confidence that they can be won. Personal punishment, to be
suffered only in the event the war is lost, will probably
not be a sufficient deterrent to prevent a war where the war-
makers feel the chances of defeat to be negligible.

But the ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are
inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to
make statesmen responsible to law. And let me make clear
that while this law is first applied against German
aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful
purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations,
including those which sit here now in judgment. We are able
to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression
by those in power against the rights of their own people
only when we make all men answerable to the law. This trial
represents mankind's desperate effort to apply the
discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their
powers of state to attack the foundations of the world's
peace and to commit aggressions against the rights of their

The usefulness of this effort to do justice is not to be
measured by considering the law or your judgment in
isolation. This trial is part of the great effort to make
the peace more secure. One step in this direction is the
United Nations organization, which may take joint political
action to prevent war if possible, and joint military action
to insure that any nation which starts a war will lose it.
This Charter and this trial, implementing the Kellogg-Briand
Pact, constitute another step in the same direction
juridical action of a kind to ensure that those who start a
war will pay for it personally.

While the defendants and the prosecutors stand before you as
individuals, it is not the triumph of either group alone
that is committed to your judgment. Above all personalities
there are anonymous and impersonal forces whose conflict
makes up much of human history. It is yours to throw the
strength of the law back of either the one or the other of
these forces for at least another generation. What are the
real forces that are contending before you?

No charity can disguise the fact that the forces which these
defendants represent, the forces that would advantage and
delight in their acquittal, are the darkest and most
sinister forces in
society -- dictatorship and oppression, malevolence and
passion, militarism and lawlessness. By their fruits we best
know them. Their acts have bathed the world in blood and set

                                                  [Page 173]
back a century. They have subjected their European neighbors
to every outrage and torture, every spoliation and
deprivation that insolence, cruelty, and greed could
inflict. They have brought the German people to the lowest
pitch of wretchedness, rom which they can entertain no hope
of early deliverance. The have stirred hatreds and incited
domestic violence on every continent. These are the things
that stand in the dock shoulder to shoulder with these

The real complaining party at your bar is Civilization. In
all our countries it is still a struggling and imperfect
thing. It does not plead that the United States, or any
other country, has been blameless of the conditions which
made the German people easy victims to the blandishments and
intimidations of the Nazi conspirators.

But it points to the dreadful sequence of aggressions and
crimes I have recited, it points to the weariness of flesh,
the exhaustion of resources, and the destruction of all that
was beautiful or useful in so much of the world, and to
greater potentialities for destruction in the days to come.
It is not necessary among the ruins of this ancient and
beautiful city, with untold members of its civilian
inhabitants still buried in its rubble, to argue the
proposition that to start or wage an aggressive war has the
moral qualities of the worst of crimes. The refuge of the
defendants can be only their hope that International Law
will lag so far behind the moral sense of mankind that
conduct which is crime in the moral sense must be regarded
as innocent in law.

Civilization asks whether law is so laggard as to be utterly
helpless to deal with crimes of this magnitude by criminals
of this order of importance. It does not expect that you can
make war impossible. It does expect that your juridical
action will put the forces of International Law, its
precepts, its prohibitions and, most of all, its sanctions,
on the side of peace, so that men and women of good will in
all countries may have "leave to live by no man's leave,
underneath the

[In most instances, documents referred to or quoted from
have been cited by number, even though some of them have not
been introduced in evidence as a part of the American case.
Where they were not offered as evidence it was chiefly for
the reason that documents subsequently discovered covered
the point more adequately, and because the pressure
of time required the avoidance of cumulative evidence.

In some instances no citations are given of documents quoted
from or

                                                  [Page 174]
referred to. These are documents which for a variety of
reasons were not introduced in evidence during the American
case. The length of some of them was disproportionate to the
value of their contents, and hence instead of full
translations only summaries were prepared in English. In
some cases a translation of the document referred to was
made only for use in the address and was not included in the
evidence which it was proposed to offer in court. In other
cases the document, although translated, was turned over to
the French or Russian delegations for use in the proof of
Counts III and IV, and hence forms no part of the American

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.