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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                  [Page 142]
V. Incorrect Judgment With Regard to the Reich Cabinet

The Prosecution has posed before the Tribunal the question
of declaring the Reich Cabinet a criminal organisation. The
verdict rejects the claim of the Prosecution, unfoundedly
refusing to declare the Hitler Government a criminal

With such a decision I cannot agree.

The Tribunal considers it proven that the Hitlerites have
committed innumerable and monstrous crimes.

                                                  [Page 143]
The Tribunal also considers it proven that these crimes were
as a rule committed intentionally and on an organised scale,
according to previously prepared plans and directives ("Plan
Barbarossa", "Night and Fog", "Bullet", etc.)

The Tribunal has declared criminal several of the Nazi mass
organisations founded for the realization and putting into
practice the plans of the Hitler Government.

In view of this it appears particularly untenable and
rationally incorrect to refuse to declare the Reich Cabinet
the directing organ of the State with a direct and active
role in the working out of the criminal enterprises, a
criminal organisation. The members of this directing staff
had great power, each headed an appropriate Government
agency, each participated in preparing and realizing the
Nazi program.

In confirmation it is deemed proper to cite several facts:

1. Immediately after the Nazi accession to power -- on 24th
March, 1933 -- there was a law passed entitled "The Law of
Defense of the People and the State" whereby the Reich
Cabinet, besides the Reichstag, was empowered to enact new

On the 26th of May, 1933, the Reich Government issued a
decree ordering the confiscation of the property of all
Communist organisations and on the 14th of June, the same
year, it also confiscated the property of the Social
Democrat organisations. On the 1st December, 1933, the Reich
Government issued the law "Ensuring Party and State Unity".

Following through its program of liquidating democratic
institutions, in 1934 the Government passed a law of the
"Reconstruction of the Reich" whereby democratic elections
were abolished for both central and local representative
bodies. The Reichstag thereby became an institution without
functional meaning. (Transcript, Afternoon Session, 22nd
November, 1945, pp. 23-25)

By the law of 7th April, 1933, and others, all Reich
government employees, including judges, ever noted for any
anti-Nazi tendencies or ever having belonged to leftist
organisations, as well as all Jews, were to be removed from
the government service and substituted by Nazis. In
accordance with the "Basic Positions of the German Law on
Government Employees" of the 26th January, 1937, "the inner
harmony of the official and the Nazi Party is a necessary
presupposition of his appointment to his post.... government
employees must be the executors of the will of the National
Socialist State, directed by the NSDAP." (Defense Exhibit
No. 28, p. 59.)

On the 1st May, 1934 there was created the Ministry of
Education instructed to train students in the spirit of
militarism, of racial hatred, and in terms of reality
thoroughly falsified by Nazi ideology (PS-2078).

Free trade unions were abolished, their property
confiscated, and the majority of the leaders jailed.

To suppress even a semblance of resistance the Government
created the Gestapo and the concentration camps. Without any
trial or even a concrete charge hundreds of thousands of
persons were arrested and then done away with merely on a
suspicion of an anti-Nazi tendency.

There were issued the so-called "Nuremberg Laws" against the
Jews. Hess and Frick, both members of the Reich Government,
implemented these by additional decrees.

It was the activity of the Reich Cabinet that brought on the
war which took millions of human lives and caused
inestimable damage in property and in suffering borne by the
many nations.

                                                  [Page 144]
On the 4th February, 1938, Hitler organised the Secret
Council of Ministers defining its activity as follows: "To
aid me by advice on problems of foreign policies I am
creating this Secret Council" ("Reichsgesetzblatt" for 1938,
Part I, p. 112, PS-2031.) The foreign policy of the Hitler
Government was the policy of aggression. For this reason the
members of the Secret Council should be held responsible for
this policy. There were attempts in Court to represent the
Secret Council as a fictitious organisation, never actually
functioning. This however is an inadmissible position. It is
sufficient to recall Rosenberg's letter to Hitler where the
former insistently tried to be appointed member of the
Secret Council of Ministers  to appreciate fully the
significance of the Council.

Even more important practically in conducting aggressive
warfare was the Reich Defense Council headed by Hitler and
Goering. The following were members of the Defense Council,
as is well known: Hess, Frick, Funk, Keitel, Raeder, Lammers
(PS-2194 and 2018).

Goering characterised the function of the Defense Council
and its role in war preparations as follows, during the
Court session of 23rd June, 1939: "The Defense Council of
the Reich was the deciding Reich organ on all questions
concerning preparation for war" (US-782.)

At the same time Goering emphasised the fact that "the
meeting of the Defense Council always took place for the
purpose of making the most important decisions". From the
minutes of these meetings, submitted as evidence by the
Prosecution, it is quite clear that the Council made very
important decisions indeed. The minutes also show that other
Cabinet ministers sometimes took part in the meetings of the
Defense Council alongside the members of the Council when
war enterprises and war preparedness were discussed.

For example, the following Cabinet Ministers took part in
the meeting of 23rd June, 1939: of Labor, of Food and
Agriculture, of Finance, of Communication, and a number of
others, while the minutes of the meeting were sent to all
the members of the Cabinet (US-782).

The verdict of the Tribunal justly points out certain
peculiarities of the Hitler Government as the directing
organ of the State, namely: the absence of regular cabinet
meetings, the occasional issuance of laws by the individual
Ministers having unusual independence of action, the
tremendous personal power of Hitler himself. These
peculiarities do not refute but on the contrary further
confirm the conclusion that the Hitler Government is not an
ordinary rank-of-the-file cabinet but a criminal

Certainly Hitler had an unusual measure of personal power
but this in no way frees of responsibility the members of
his Cabinet who were his convinced followers and the actual
executors of his program until and when the day of reckoning

I consider that there is every reason to declare the Hitler
Government a criminal organisation.

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