The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/judgment//j-regime-measures

Archive/File: imt/ tgmwc/judgment/j-regime-measures
Last-Modified: 1997/09/11

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

               His Majesty's Stationery Office

                                                   [Page 10]

                   MEASURES OF REARMAMENT

During the years immediately following Hitler's appointment
as Chancellor, the Nazi Government set about re-organizing
the economic life of Germany, and in particular the armament
industry. This was done on a vast scale and with extreme

It was necessary to lay a secure financial foundation for
the building of armaments, and in April, 1936, the Defendant
Goering was appointed coordinator for raw materials and
foreign exchange, and empowered to supervise all State and
Party activities in these fields. In this capacity he
brought together the War Minister, the Minister of
Economics, the Reich Finance Minister, the President of the
Reichsbank and the Prussian Finance Minister to discuss
problems connected with war mobilization, and on 27th May,
1936, in addressing these men, Goering opposed any financial
limitation of war production and added that "all measures
are to be considered from the standpoint of an assured
waging of war." At the Party Rally in Nuremberg in 1936,
Hitler announced the establishment of the Four Year Plan and
the appointment of Goering as the Plenipotentiary in charge.
Goering was already engaged in building a strong air force
and on 8th July, 1938 he announced to a number of leading
German aircraft manufacturers that the German Air Force was
already superior in quality and quantity to the English. On
14th October, 1938, at another conference, Goering announced
that Hitler had instructed him to organize a gigantic
armament program, which would make insignificant all
previous achievements. He said that he had been ordered to
build as rapidly as possible an air force five times as
large as originally planned, to increase the speed of the
rearmament of the navy and army, and to concentrate on
offensive weapons, principally heavy artillery and heavy
tanks. He then laid down a specific program designed to
accomplish these ends. The extent to which rearmament had
been accomplished was stated by Hitler in his memorandum of
9th October, 1939, after the campaign in Poland. He said:

     "The military application of our people's strength
     has been carried through to such an extent that
     within a short time at any rate it cannot be
     markedly improved upon by any manner of effort ..

     "The warlike equipment of the German people is at
     present larger in quantity and better in quality
     for a greater number of German divisions than in
     the year 1914. The weapons themselves, taking a
     substantial cross-section, are more modern than is
     the case of any other country in the world at this
     time. They have just proved their supreme war
     worthiness in their victorious campaign .. There
     is no evidence available to show that any country
     in the world disposes of a better total ammunition
     stock than the Reich .. The A. A. artillery is not
     equalled by any country in the world."

In this reorganisation of the economic life of Germany for
military purposes, the Nazi Government found the German
armament industry quite willing to cooperate, and to play
its part in the rearmament program. In April, 1933,  Gustav
Krupp von Bohlen submitted to Hitler on behalf of the

                                                   [Page 11]

Reich Association of German Industry a plan for the
reorganisation of German industry, which he stated was
characterized by the desire to coordinate economic measures
and political necessity. In the plan itself Krupp stated
that "the turn of political events is in line with the
wishes which I myself and the board of directors have
cherished for a long time." What Krupp meant by this
statement is fully shown by the draft text of a speech which
he planned to deliver in the University of Berlin in
January, 1944, though the speech was in fact never
delivered. Referring to the years 1919 to1933, Krupp wrote:
"It is the one great merit of the entire German war economy
that it did not remain idle during those bad years, even
though its activity could not be brought to light, for
obvious reasons. Through years of secret work, scientific
and basic groundwork was laid in order to be ready again to
work for the German armed forces at the appointed hour,
without loss of time or experience .. Only through the
secret activity of German enterprise together with the
experience gained meanwhile through the production of peace
time goods was it possible after 1933, to fall into step
with the new tasks arrived at, restoring Germany's military

In October, 1933, Germany withdrew from the International
Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations. In 1935
the Nazi Government decided to take the first open steps to
free itself from its obligations under the Treaty of
Versailles. On 10th March, 1935 the Defendant Goering
announced that Germany was building a military air force.
Six days later, on 16th March, 1935, a law was passed
bearing the signatures, among others, of the Defendants
Goering, Hess, Frank, Frick, Schacht, and von Neurath,
instituting compulsory military service and fixing the
establishment of the German Army at a peace time strength of
500,000 men. In an endeavor to reassure public opinion in
other countries, the Government announced on 21st May, 1935
that Germany would, though renouncing the disarmament
clauses, still respect the territorial limitations of the
Versailles Treaty, and would comply with the Locarno Pacts.
Nevertheless, on the very day of this announcement, the
secret Reich Defense Law was passed and its publication
forbidden by Hitler. In this law, the powers and duties of
the Chancellor and other Ministers were defined, should
Germany become involved in war. It is clear from this law
that by May, 1935 Hitler and his Government had arrived at
the stage in the carrying out of their policies when it was
necessary for them to have in existence the requisite
machinery for the administration and government of Germany
in the event of their policy leading to war.

At the same time that this preparation of the German economy
for war was being carried out, the German armed forces
themselves were preparing for a rebuilding of Germany's
armed strength.

The German Navy was particularly active in this regard. The
official German Naval historians, Assmann and Gladisch,
admit that the Treaty of Versailles had only been in force
for a few months before it was violated, particularly in the
construction of a new submarine arm.

The publications of Captain Schuessler and Colonel Scherff,
both of which were sponsored by the Defendant Raeder, were
designed to show the German People the nature of the Navy's
effort to rearm in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles.

The full details of these publications have been given in

On 12th May, 1934 the Defendant Raeder issued the Top Secret
armament plan for what was called the "Third Armament
Phase". This contained the sentence:

"All theoretical and practical A-preparations are to be
drawn up with a primary view to readiness for a war without
any alert period."

                                                   [Page 12]

One month later, in June, 1934, the Defendant Raeder had a
conversation with Hitler in which Hitler instructed him to
keep secret the construction of U-boats and of warships over
the limit of 10,000 tons which was then being undertaken.

And on 2nd November, 1934, the Defendant Raeder had another
conversation with Hitler and the Defendant Goering, in which
Hitler said that he considered it vital that the German Navy
"should be increased as planned, as no war could be carried
on if the Navy was not able to safeguard the ore imports
from Scandinavia".

The large orders for building given in 1933 to 1934 are
sought to be excused by the Defendant Raeder on the ground
that negotiations were in progress for an agreement between
Germany and Great Britain permitting Germany to build ships
in excess of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
This agreement ["Treaty Series No. 22 (1935)" Cmd. 4953.],
which was signed in 1935, restricted the German Navy to a
tonnage equal to one-third of that of the British, except in
respect of U-boats where 45% was agreed, subject always to
the right to exceed this proportion after first informing
the British Government and giving them an opportunity of

The Anglo-German Treaty followed in 1937 ["Treaty Series No.
2 (1938)" Cmd. 5637.], under which both Powers bound
themselves to notify full details of their building program
at least four months before any action was taken.

It is admitted that these clauses were not adhered to by

In capital vessels, for example, the displacement details
were falsified by 20%, whilst in the case of U-boats, the
German historians Assmann and Gladisch say:

     "It is probably just in the sphere of submarine
     construction that Germany adhered the least to the
     restrictions of the German-British Treaty."

The importance of these breaches of the Treaty is seen when
the motive for this rearmament is considered. In the year
1940 the Defendant Raeder himself wrote:

     "The Fuehrer hoped until the last moment to be
     able to put off the threatening conflict with
     England until 1944-1945. At that time, the Navy
     would have had available a fleet with a powerful U-
     boat superiority, and a much more favorable ratio
     as regards strength in all other types of ships,
     particularly those designed for warfare on the
     High Seas."

The Nazi Government as already stated, announced on 21st
May, 1935 their intention to respect the territorial
limitations of the Treaty of Versailles. On 7th March, 1936,
in defiance of that Treaty, the demilitarized zone of the
Rhineland was entered by German troops. In announcing this
action to the German Reichstag, Hitler endeavored to justify
the re-entry by references to the recently concluded
alliances between France and the Soviet Union, and between
Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. He also tried to meet
the hostile reaction which he no doubt expected to follow
this violation of the Treaty by saying:

     "We have no territorial claims to make in Europe."

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.