The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fourth Day: Friday, 23rd November, 1945
(Part 4 of 7)

[MR. THOMAS DODD continues]

The Nazi Government officials provided the leadership in preparing Germany for war. They received, however, the enthusiastic co-operation of the German industrialists. The role played by industrialists in converting Germany to a war economy is an important one, and I turn briefly to that aspect of the economic picture.

On the invitation of the defendant Goering, approximately twenty-five of the leading industrialists of Germany, and the defendant Schacht, attended a meeting in Berlin on the 20th day of February, 1933. This was shortly before the election of 5th March, 1933, in Germany. At this meeting Hitler announced the conspirators' aim to seize totalitarian control over Germany, to destroy the parliamentary system, to crush all opposition by force, and to restore the power of the Wehrmacht.

Among those present on that day, in February of 1933 in Berlin, were Gustav Krupp, head of the huge munitions firm, Alfred Krupp, A.G.; four leading officials of I.G. Farben, one of the world's largest chemical concerns; and, I repeat, also present was the defendant Schacht. Albert Vogler, the head of the huge steel trusts, the United Steel Works of Germany, was there too, as were other leading industrialists.

In support of the assertion with respect to that meeting at that time and in that place, I refer your Honour to the document EC-439, it being an affidavit of George von Schnitzler, which reads as follows:-

"I, George von Schnitzler, a member of the Vorstand of I.G. Farben, make the following deposition under oath:

At the end of February, 1933, four members of the Vorstand of I.G. Farben, including Dr. Boech, the head of the Vorstand, and myself were asked by the office of the President of the Reichstag to attend a meeting in his house, the purpose of which was not given. I do not remember the two other

[Page 131]

colleagues of mine who were also invited. I believe the invitation reached me during one of my business trips to Berlin. I went to the meeting which was attended by about twenty persons, who I believe were mostly leading industrialists from the Ruhr.

Among those present, I remember: Dr. Schacht, who at that time was not yet head of the Reichsbank again and not yet Minister of Economics.
Krupp von Bohlen, who in the beginning of 1933 presided over the Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie, which later on was changed in the semi-official Organisation 'Reichsgruppe Industrie.'
Dr. Albert Vogler, head of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke.
Von Loewenfeld, from an industrial works in Essen.
Dr. Stein who was head of the I.G. Farben owned mine - Gewerkschaft Auguste Victoria - and also an active member of the Deutsche Volkspartei.

I remember that Dr. Schacht acted as a kind of host.

While I had expected the appearance of Goering, Hitler entered the room, shook hands with everybody and took a seat at the table. In a long speech he talked mainly about the danger of Communism over which he pretended that he had just won a decisive victory.

He then talked about the Bundnis - alliance - into which his party and the Deutschnationale Volkspartei had entered. This latter party, in the mean-time, had been reorganised by Herr von Papen. At the end he came to the point which seemed to me the purpose of the meeting. Hitler stressed the importance that the two aforementioned parties should gain the majority in the coming Reichstag election. Krupp von Bohlen thanked Hitler for his speech. After Hitler had left the room, Dr. Schacht proposed to the meeting the raising of an election fund of, as far as I remember, RM3,000,000. The fund should be distributed between the two ' allies' according to their relative strength at the time being. Dr. Stein suggested that the Deutsche Volkspartei should be included- "

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing): Mr. Dodd, it seems to me that really all that that document shows is that there was a meeting at which Schacht was present, and at which it was determined to subscribe an election fund in 1933.

MR. DODD: That is quite so, your Honour. I will not trouble to read it all. There were some other references, but not of major importance, in the last paragraph, to a division of the election fund. I just call your Honour's attention to it in passing.

I should like, at this point, to call your Honour's attention to the document D-203, which is a three-page document.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number?

MR. DODD: D-203. I wish to read only excerpts from it very briefly. It is the speech delivered to the industrialists by Hitler, and I refer particularly to the second paragraph of that document:-

"Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy;" .
THE PRESIDENT (interposing): What is the date of that?

MR. DODD: It is the speech made at the meeting on the 20th February, 1933, at Berlin.



"Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is conceivable only if the people have a sound idea of authority and personality."
I refer now to page 2 of the document, and I should like to read an excerpt from the first paragraph on page 9, about thirteen sentences down, beginning with the words: "I recognised even while in the hospital that one had to search for new ideas conducive to reconstruction. I found them in Nationalism, in the value of strength and power of individual personality."

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Then, a little further down, the next to the last and the last sentence of that same paragraph, Hitler said:-
"If one rejects pacifism, one must put a new idea in its place immediately. Everything must be pushed aside, must be replaced by something better."
Then, in the third paragraph, the last sentence beginning: "We must not forget that all the benefits of culture must be introduced more or less with an iron fist, just as once upon a time the farmers were forced to plant potatoes."

Then finally, on that page, in the fourth paragraph - nearly at the end of it: "With the very same courage with which we go to work to make up for what had been sinned during the last fourteen years, we have withstood all attempts to move us from the right way."

Then, at the top of the next page, in the second paragraph, these words: "Now we stand before the last election. Regardless of the outcome there will be no retreat, even if the coming election does not bring about a decision."

THE PRESIDENT: Why did you not read the last line on page 2: " While still gaining power, one should not start the struggle against the opponent"?

MR. DODD: Beginning with the words "while still gaining power"?

THE PRESIDENT: The sentence before, "We must first gain complete power if we want to crush the other side completely. While still gaining power, one should not start the struggle against the opponent. Only when one knows that one has reached the pinnacle of power, that there is no further possible development, shall one strike."

MR. DODD: I was going to refer to that, if your Honour pleases, in a minute.

However, I think it is quite proper to have it inserted here.

Before starting to read this last paragraph, I suggest that as it is now the accustomed time, as I understand it, and it is a rather lengthy paragraph - THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Yes, we will adjourn until two o'clock.

(Whereupon at 12.30 hours the Tribunal adjourned, to reconvene at 14.oo hours of the same date.)

MR. DODD: If your Honour pleases, if I may go back for just a very little bit to take up the train of thought where I left off at the noon recess.

We were discussing document D-203, and I had referred particularly to the third page of that document, and even more particularly to the second paragraph on that page; and I wish to read from a sentence approximately eight or ten lines down in that second paragraph, which reads as follows:

"The question of restoration of the Wehrmacht will not be decided at Geneva but in Germany, when we have gained internal strength through internal peace."
I wish to refer again to the same page of the same document, and to the last paragraph and the last sentence, which refers to the defendant Goering, who was present at that same meeting to which this document refers, the meeting of 20th February, 1933, in Berlin. Goering said:
"That the sacrifices asked for surely would be so much easier for industry to bear if it realised that the election of 5th March will surely be the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years."
In a memorandum, dated the 22nd day of February, 1933, and, for the information of the Court, in the document book, bearing the number D-204, Gustav Krupp described this meeting briefly, and in the memorandum wrote that he had expressed to Hitler the gratitude of the twenty-five industrialists present at the meeting on 20th February, 1933.

There were other expressions in that memorandum, which we do not deem to be particularly pertinent to the allegations of the Indictment with which we are now concerned.

I might point out to the Court that this memorandum, together with the report

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of the speech of Hitler, were found by the British and the United States Armies in the personal files of the defendant Krupp.

I am aware, if your Honours please, that the method I am pursuing here is a little tedious, because I am trying to refer specifically to the documents, and particularly to the excerpts referred to in my remarks, and therefore this presentation differs very considerably from that which has gone before. I trust, however, that you will bear with me, because this part of the case requires some rather careful and detailed explanations.

In April of 1933, after Hitler had entrenched himself in power, Gustav Krupp, as Chairman of the Reich Association of German Industry, which was the largest association of German industrialists, submitted to Hitler the plan of that association for the reorganisation of German industry, and in connection therewith, undertook to bring the Association into line with the aims of the conspirators, and to make it an effective instrument for the execution of their policies.

In a letter of transmittal, Krupp stated that the plan of reorganisation which he submitted on behalf of the Association of Industrialists, was characterised by the desire to co-ordinate economic measures and political necessity, adopting the Fuehrer conception of the new German State. A copy of that letter of transmittal is set out in the document book under the number D-157.

In the plan of reorganisation itself, Krupp stated:

"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. In reorganising the Reich Association of German Industry, I shall be guided by the idea of bringing the new organisation into agreement with the political aims of the Reich Government."
The ideas expressed by Krupp on behalf of the members of the Reich Association of German Industry for introducing the leadership principle into industry, were subsequently adopted.

I respectfully refer the Court to the Reichsgesetzblatt of 1934, Part I, 1194, Sections 11, 12 and 16.

Under the decrees introducing the leadership principle into industry, each group of industry was required to have a leader who was to serve without compensation. The leaders were to be appointed and could be removed at the discretion of the Minister of Economics. The charter of each group was to be created by the leader, who was bound to lead his group in accordance with the principles of the National Socialist State.

I think it is fair to argue that the introduction of the leadership principle into the organisations of business permitted the centralisation of authority, and guaranteed the efficient execution of orders, which the government issued to business, in the interest of a promotion of a war economy. And the overwhelming support given by the German industrialists to the Nazi war programme is very vividly described in a speech prepared by Gustav Krupp in January of 1944, for delivery at the University of Berlin; and I must again respectfully refer your Honour to the document in your book bearing the identification number D-317.

I shall not, of course, bore this court with a reading of the whole document, but I should like to quote from it without wrenching any of the material from its true context.

And this statement is found beginning in the third and fourth paragraphs, being the first large paragraph on the first page:

"War material is life-saving for one's own people, and whoever works and performs in these spheres can be proud of it. Here, enterprise, as a whole, finds its highest justification of existence. This justification, I may inject this here, crystallised especially during the time of interregnum between 1919 and 1933, when Germany was lying down disarmed."

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And further on:
"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."
And further quoting from that same speech, and the last paragraph, particularly on the first page:
"Only through the secret activity of German enterprise, together with the experience gained meanwhile through production of peacetime goods, was it possible, after 1933, to fall into step with the new tasks arrived at, restoring Germany's military power. Only through all that could the entirely new and various problems, brought up by the Fuehrer's Four-Year Plan for German enterprise, be mastered. It was necessary to supply the new raw materials, to explore and experiment, to invest capital in order to make German economy independent and strong - in short, to make it war-worthy."
Quoting even further from the same speech:-
"I think I may state here that the German enterprises followed the new ways enthusiastically, that they made the greatest intentions of the Fuehrer their own, by fair competition and conscious gratitude, and became his faithful followers. How else could the tasks between 1933 and 1939, and especially those after 1939, have been overcome?"
It must be emphasised that the secret rearmament programme was launched immediately upon the seizure of power by the Nazi conspirators. On 4th April, 1933, the Reich Cabinet passed a resolution establishing a Reich Defence Council. The function of this council was secretly to mobilise for war; and at the second meeting of the Working Committee of the Councillors for Reich Defence, which was, by the way, the predecessor of the Reich Defence Council, at that second meeting which was held on 22nd May, 1933, the Chairman was the defendant Keitel, then Colonel Keitel; and he stated that the Reich Defence Council would immediately undertake to prepare for war emergency. He stressed the urgency of the task of organisms a war economy, and announced that the Council stood ready to brush aside all @f their obstacles. Fully aware of the fact that their action was in flagrant violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the defendant Keitel emphasised the extreme importance of absolute secrecy - I quote from page 5, document EC-177 - when he said:-
"No document ought to be lost, since otherwise it may fall into the hands of the enemies' Intelligence Service. Orally transmitted matters are not provable; they can be denied by us in Geneva."
The singleness of purpose with which the Nazi conspirators geared the German economy to the forging of a war machine is even further shown by the secret minutes of the second meeting of the Working Committee of the so-called Reich Defence Council, held on the 7th of February, 1934, as shown in the document EC-404, marked "Secret Command Matter," and dated the 7th of February, 1934. At this meeting, Lieutenant- General Beck pointed out that " The actual state of preparation is the purpose of this session."

Parenthetically, I may say that on the first page of that document it appears that besides Lieutenant-General Beck, the defendant Jodl was present, then Lieutenant-Colonel Jodl. There were also present a Captain Schmundt, a Colonel Guderian, a Major-General von Reichenau and a Major Warlimont. All these are names that your Honour will hear more of in the course of the presentation of this case.

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