The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
November 20 to December 1, 1945

Fifth Day: Monday, 26rd November, 1945
(Part 4 of 7)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 164]

B. Military Conclusions.

(1) The preparations are to be made for the political possibilities (2 and 3) Case 2 is the undesired one since 'Gruen' will have taken security measures.

(2) The loss of time caused by transporting the bulk of the divisions by rail - which is unavoidable, but should be cut down as far as possible - must not impede a lightning-swift blow at the time of the action.

(3) 'Separate thrusts' are to be carried out immediately with a view to penetrating the enemy fortification lines at numerous points and in a strategically favourable direction. The thrusts are to be worked out to the smallest detail (knowledge of roads, targets, composition of the columns according to their individual tasks.) Simultaneous attacks by the Army and Air Force.

The Air Force is to support the individual columns (for example dive-bombers sealing of installations at penetration points, hampering the bringing up of reserves, destroying signal communications traffic, thereby isolating the garrisons).

(4) Politically, the first four days of military action are the decisive ones. If there are no effective military successes, a European crisis will certainly arise. Accomplished facts must prove the senselessness of foreign military intervention, draw Allies into the scheme (division of spoils) and demoralise 'Gruen.'

Therefore: bridging the time gap between first penetration and employment

[Page 165]

of the forces to be brought up, by a determined and ruthless thrust by a motorised army. (For example via Pilsen, Prague.)

(5) if possible, separation of transport movement 'Rot' from 'Gruen.'"

'Rot' was the code name for their then plan against the West.
"A simultaneous strategic concentration 'Rot' can lead 'Rot' to undesired measures. On the other hand, it must be possible to put 'Case Rot' into operation, at any time.

C. Propaganda.

(1) Leaflets on the conduct of Germans in Czechoslovakia (Gruenland).

(2) Leaflets with threats for intimidation of the Czechs (Gruenen)."

(Initialled by Schmundt.)"
In the reading of this document, the Tribunal doubtless noted particularly paragraph 3, under the heading "Political Aspect", which reads as follows: "Lightning-swift action as the result of an incident (example: Assassination of German ambassador as an upshot of an anti-German demonstration)." The document as a whole, establishes that the conspirators were planning the creation of an incident to justify to the world their own aggression against Czechoslovakia. It established, I submit, that consideration was being given to assassinating the German ambassador at Prague to create the requisite incident. This is alleged in paragraph 3(c) of section IV (F) of the Indictment, appearing at page 8 of the printed English text of the Indictment.

As the Indictment was being read, at the opening of the case, when this particular allegation was reached, the defendant Goering shook his head slowly and solemnly in the negative. I can well understand that he would have shaken his head, if he believed the allegation of the Indictment to be untrue. In the course of Mr. Justice Jackson's opening address, when this same matter was referred to, the defendant Goering again solemnly shook his head. On this allegation the prosecution stands on the evidence just submitted, the denials of the defendant Goering notwithstanding.

If the Court please, would this be a convenient time to recess ?

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman.

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, as I suggested earlier, the next phase of the aggression was the formulation and execution of the plan to attack Poland, and with it the resulting initiation of aggressive war in Poland in September 1939. This is covered by paragraphs 4 a) and (b) of Section IV (in) of the Indictment appearing on page 9 of the printed English text.

Here again the careful and meticulous record-keeping of the Adjutant Schmundt has provided us with a document in his own handwriting, which lets the cat out of the bag. That may be a troublesome colloquialism to translate. I don't know. The document consists of minutes of a conference held on the 23rd May, 1939. The place of the conference was the Fuehrer's study in the New Reich Chancellery. The defendant Goering was present

(The defendant Frick at this point made a statement in German, which was not translated.)

MR. ALDERMAN: I think one of the defendants indicated I had referred to the wrong year. My notes show the 23rd May, 1939. That is shown by the original document.

THE PRESIDENT: Which is the document you are referring to?

MR. ALDERMAN: That is document L-79. As I said, the defendant Goering was present. The defendant Raeder was present. The defendant Keitel was present. The subject of the meeting was, and I quote: "Indoctrination on the political situation and future aims." This document is of historical importance, second not even to the political will and testament of the Fuehrer, recorded by Adjutant Hoszbach.

[Page 166]

The original of this document when captured found its way through the complicated channels across the Atlantic to the United States. There it was found by members of the staff of the American prosecution, by them taken to London, and thence to Nuremberg. The "L" on the identifying number indicates that it is one of the documents which were assembled in London and brought here from there. We think the document is of unquestioned validity. Its authenticity and its accuracy as a record of what transpired at the meeting of 23rd May, 1939, stands admitted by the defendant Keitel in one of his interrogations. As I say, the number is document L-79 in our numbered series. I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 27.

This document also is of such great importance historically and as bearing on the issues now presented to the Tribunal that I feel obliged to read most of it. At the top: Geheime Reichssache "Top Secret."

"To be transmitted by officer only.

of a Conference on 23rd May, 1939.
Place: The Fuehrer's Study, New Reich Chancellery.
Adjutant on duty: Lt.-Col. (G.S.) Schmundt.

Present: The Fuehrer, Field Marshal Goering, Grand Admiral Raeder, Col.-Gen. Von Brauchitsch, Col.-Gen. Keitel, Col.-Gen. Milch, Gen. (of artillery) Halder, Gen. Bodenschatz, Rear-Adml. Schniewindt, Col. (G.S.) Joschennek, Col. (G.S.) Warlimont, Lt.-Col. (G.S.) Schmundt, Capt. Engel (Army), Lieut.-Commd Albrecht, Capt. V. Below (Army).

Subject: Indoctrination on the political situation and future aims.

The Fuehrer defined as the purpose of the conference

(1) Analysis of the situation.
(2) Definition of the tasks for the Armed Forces arising from that situation.
(3) Exposition of the consequences of those tasks.
(4) Ensuring the secrecy of all decisions and work resulting from those consequences. Secrecy is the first essential for success.

The Fuehrer's observations are given in systematised form below. Our present situation must be considered from two points of view

(1) The actual development of events between 1933 and 1939;
(2) The permanent and unchanging situation in which Germany lies.

In the period 1933-1939, progress was made in all fields. Our military situation improved enormously.

Our situation with regard to the rest of the world has remained the same.

Germany had dropped from the circle of Great Powers. The balance of power had been effected without the participation of Germany.

This equilibrium is disturbed when Germany's demands for the necessities of life make themselves felt, and Germany re-emerges as a Great Power. All demands ire regarded as 'Encroachments'. The English are more afraid of dangers in the economic sphere than of the simple threat of force.

A mass of 80 million people has solved the ideological problems. So, too, must the economic problems be solved. No German can evade the creation of the necessary economic conditions for this. The solution of the problems demands coverage. The principle, by which one evades solving the problem by adapting oneself to circumstances, is inadmissible. Circumstances must rather be adapted to aims. This is impossible without invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign property.

Living space, in proportion to the magnitude of the State, is the basis of all power. One may refuse for a time to face the problem, but finally it is solved

[Page 167]

one way or the other. The choice is between advancement or decline. In fifteen or twenty years' time we shall be compelled to find a solution. No German statesman can evade the question longer than that.

We are at present in a state of patriotic fervour, which is by two other nations: Italy and Japan.

The period which lies behind us has indeed been put to good use. All measures have been taken in the correct sequence and in harmony with our aims.

After six years, the situation is today as follows:

The national-political unity of the Germans has been achieved apart from minor exceptions."

I suppose they were those in the concentration camps. -
"Further successes cannot be obtained without the shedding of blood.

The demarcation of frontiers is of military importance.

The Pole is no 'supplementary enemy.' Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries. In spite of treaties of friendship, Poland has always had the secret intention of exploiting every opportunity to do us harm.

Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is a question of expanding our living space in the East and of securing our food supplies, of the settlement of the Baltic problem. Food supplies can be expected only from thinly populated areas. Over and above the natural fertility, thoroughgoing German exploitation will enormously increase the surplus.

There is no other possibility for Europe.

Colonies: Beware of gifts of colonial territory. This does not solve the food problem. Remember - blockade.

If fate brings us into conflict with the West, the possession of extensive areas in the East will be advantageous. We shall be able to rely upon record harvests even less in time of war than in peace.

The population of non-German areas will perform no military service, but will be available as a source of labour. The Polish problem is inseparable from conflict with the West.

Poland's internal power of resistance to Bolshevism is doubtful. Thus Poland is of doubtful value as a barrier against Russia.

It is questionable whether military success in the West can be achieved by a quick decision; questionable too is the attitude of Poland.

The Polish government will not resist pressure from Russia. Poland sees danger in a German victory in the West, and will attempt to rob us of that victory.

There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision:

To attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity. "

That, if the Court please, is underscored in the original German text.
"We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The success of the isolation will be decisive.

Therefore, the Fuehrer must reserve the right to give the final order to attack.

There must be no simultaneous conflict with the Western Powers (France and England).

If it is not certain that a German-Polish conflict will not lead to war in the West, then the fight must be primarily against England and France.

Fundamentally therefore: Conflict with Poland - beginning with an attack on Poland - will only be successful if the Western Powers keep out of it. If this is impossible, then it will be better to attack in the West and to settle Poland at the same time.

The isolation of Poland is a matter of skilful politics. Japan is a weighty problem. Even if at first, for various reasons, her collaboration with us appears to be somewhat cool and restricted, it is nevertheless in Japan's own interest to take the initiative in attacking Russia in good time.

Economic relations with Russia are possible only if political relations have improved. A cautious trend is apparent in Press comment. It is not impossible

[Page 168]

that Russia will show herself to be disinterested in the destruction of Poland Should Russia take steps to oppose us, our relations with Japan may become closer.

If there were an alliance of France, England and Russia against Germany, Italy and Japan, 1 would be constrained to attack England and France with a few annihilating blows. The Fuehrer doubts the possibility of a peaceful settlement with England. We must prepare ourselves for the conflict. England sees in our development the foundation of a hegemony which would weaken her. England is therefore our enemy, and the conflict with her will be a life-and-death struggle.

What, will this struggle be like? (Underscored in the German original.)

England cannot deal with Germany and subjugate her with a few powerful blows. It is imperative for England that the war should be brought as near to the Ruhr basin as possible. French blood will not be spared (West Wall). The possession of the Ruhr basin will determine the duration of our resistance.

The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by armed forces. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored. If England and France intend the war between Germany and Poland to lead to a conflict, they will support Holland and Belgium in their neutrality and make them build fortifications in order finally to force them into co-operation.

Albeit under protest, Belgium and Holland will yield to pressure.

Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning speed. We must aim at securing a new defence line on Dutch soil up to the Zuider Zee.

The war with England and France will be a life-and-death struggle.

The idea that we can get off cheaply is dangerous; there is no such possibility. We must burn our boats, and it is no longer a question of justice or injustice, but of life or death for 80 million human beings.

Question: Short or long war?

Every country's armed forces or government must aim at a short war. The government, however, must also be prepared for a war of 10-15 years' duration.

History has always shown that people have believed that wars would be short. In 1914, the opinion still prevailed that it was impossible to finance a long war. Even today this idea still persists in many minds. But on the contrary, every state will hold out as long as possible, unless it immediately suffers some grave weakening (for example Ruhr basin). England has similar weaknesses.

England knows that to lose a war will mean the end of her world power.

"England is the driving force against Germany " (which translated literally means: "England is the motor driving against Germany.")

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