The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Violations Of International Treaties

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The Charter defines as a crime the planning or waging of war that is a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties. The Tribunal has decided that certain of the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars against twelve nations, and were therefore guilty of this series of crimes. This makes it unnecessary to discuss the subject in further detail, or even to consider at any length the extent to which these aggressive wars were also "wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances."

These treaties are set out in Appendix C of the Indictment. Those of principal importance are the following.


In the 1899 Convention the signatory powers agreed: "before an appeal to arms have recourse, as far as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more friendly powers." A similar clause was inserted in the Convention for Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1907 ("Treaty Series No. 9 (1901) Cmd. 798). In the accompanying Convention Relative to Opening of Hostilities (Miscellaneous No. 6 (1908)" Cmd. 4175), Article I contains this far more specific language:

"The Contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between them must not commence without a previous and explicit warning, in the

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form of either a declaration of war, giving reasons, or an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war." Germany was a party to these conventions.

("Treaty Series No. 4 (1919)" Cmd. 153.)

Breaches of certain provisions of the Versailles Treaty are also relied on by the Prosecution -- not to fortify the left bank of the Rhine (Art. 42-44); to "respect strictly the independence of Austria" (Art. 80); renunciation of any rights in Memel (Art. 99) and the Free City of Danzig (Art. 100); the recognition of the independence of the Czechoslovak State; and the military, naval, and air clauses against German rearmament found in Part V. There is no doubt that action was taken by the German Government contrary to all these provisions, the details of which are set out in Appendix C. With regard to the Treaty of Versailles, the matters relied on are:

1. The violation of Articles 42 to 44 in respect of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland;

2. The annexation of Austria on the 13th March, 1938, in violation of Article 80;

3. The incorporation of the district of Memel on the 22nd March, 1939 in violation of Article 99;

4. The incorporation of the Free City of Danzig on the 1st September, 1939, in violation of Article 100;

5. The incorporation of the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia on the 16th March, 1939, in violation of Article 81

6. The repudiation of the military, naval, and air clauses of the Treaty, in or about March 1935.

On the 21st May, 1935 Germany announced that, whilst renouncing the disarmament clauses of the Treaty, she would still respect the territorial limitations, and would comply with the Locarno Pact. [With regard to the first five breaches alleged, therefore, the Tribunal finds the allegation proved.]


It is unnecessary to discuss in any detail the various treaties entered into by Germany with other Powers. Treaties (Treaty Series No. 28 (1926) Cmd. 2764) of mutual guarantee were signed by Germany at Locarno in 1925, with Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy, assuring the maintenance of the territorial status quo. Arbitration treaties ("Miscellaneous No. 11 (1925)" Cmd. 2525) were also executed by Germany at Locarno with Czechoslovakia, Belgium, and Poland.

Article I of the latter treaty is typical, providing:

"All disputes of every kind between Germany and Poland ...which it may not be possible to settle amicably by the normal methods of diplomacy shall be submitted for decision to an arbitral tribunal ..."

Conventions of Arbitration and Conciliation were entered into between Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark in 1926; and between Germany and Luxembourg in 1929. Non-aggression treaties were executed by Germany with Denmark and Russia in 1939.

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("Treaty Series No. 29 (1929)" Cmd. 3410)

The Pact of Paris was signed on the 27th August, 1928 by Germany, the United States, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland, and other countries; and subsequently by other powers. The Tribunal has made full reference to the nature of this Pact and its legal effect in another part of this judgment. It is therefore not necessary to discuss the matter further here, save to state that in the opinion of the Tribunal this Pact was violated by Germany in all the cases of aggressive war charged in the Indictment. It is to be noted that on the 26th January, 1930, Germany signed a Declaration for the Maintenance of Permanent Peace with Poland, which was explicitly based on the Pact of Paris, and in which the use of force was outlawed for a period of 10 years.

The Tribunal does not find it necessary to consider any of the other treaties referred to in the Appendix, or the repeated agreements and assurances of her peaceful intentions entered into by Germany.

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