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 7 of 7)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 176]

Concentration of the main effort of the Navy remains unequivocally against England also during an Eastern campaign.

If occasion arises I will order the concentration of troops for action against Soviet Russia eight weeks before the intended beginning of operations.

Preparations requiring more time to start are - if this has not yet been done - to begin presently and are to be completed by 15th May, 1941.

Great caution has to be exercised that the intention of an attack will not be recognised.

The Preparations of the High Command are to be made on the following basis: 1. General Purpose:
The mass of the Russian Army in Western Russia is to be destroyed in daring operations by driving forward deep wedges within ranks and the retreat of intact battle- ready troops into the wide spaces of Russia is to be prevented.

In quick pursuit a line is to be reached from where the Russian Air Force will no longer be able to attack German Reich territory. The first goal of operations is the protection from Asiatic Russia of the general line Volga- Archangelsk. In

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case of necessity, the last industrial area in the Urals left to Russia could be eliminated by the Luftwaffe.

In the course of these operations the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet will quickly lose its bases and will no longer be ready to fight.

Effective intervention by the Russian Air Force is to be prevented through powerful blows at the beginning of the operations."

Another secret document, captured from the O.K.W. files--

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, perhaps that would be a convenient time to adjourn for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

MR. ALDERMAN: If it please the Tribunal, another secret document captured from the O.K.W. files, establishes, we think, the motive for the attack on the Soviet Union. It also establishes the full awareness of the Nazi conspirators of the crimes against humanity which would result from their attack. The document is a memorandum Of 2nd May, 1941, concerning the result of a discussion on that day with the State Secretaries concerning the "Case Barbarossa." The document is initialled by a Major von Giessavet, a member of the staff of General Thomas, set up to handle the economic exploitations of the territory occupied by the Germans during the course of the aggression against Russia. The document is numbered 2718-PS, and our numbered series of documents are offered in evidence as exhibit USA 32.

I shall simply read the first two paragraphs of this document, including the introductory matter:

"Matter for Chief; 2 copies; first copy to files 1a.
Second copy to General Schubert, 2nd May, 1941.
Memorandum about the result of today's discussion with the State Secretaries about Barbarossa.

(1) The War can only be continued if all Armed Forces are fed by Russia in the third year of War.

(2) There is no doubt that as a result many millions of people will be starved to death if we take out of the country the things necessary for us."

That document has already been commented on and quoted from in Mr. Justice Jackson's opening statement. The staggering implications of that document are hard to realise. In the words of the document, the motive for the attack was that the War which the Nazi conspirators had launched in September 1939, could only be continued if all Armed Forces were fed by Russia in the third year of the War. Perhaps there never was a more sinister sentence written than the sentence in this document which reads:-
"There is no doubt that as a result many millions of people will be starved to death if we take out of the country the things necessary for us."
The result is known to all of us.

I turn now to the Nazi collaboration with Italy and Japan and the resulting, attack on the United States on 7th December, 1941. With the unleashing of the German aggressive war against the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Nazi conspirators and, in particular, the defendant Ribbentrop, called upon the Eastern co-architect of the New Order, Japan, to attack in the rear. Our evidence will show that they incited and kept in motion a force reasonably calculated to result in an attack on the United States. For a time, they maintained their preference that the United States should not be involved in the conflict, realising the military implication of an entry of the United States into the War. However, their incitement did result in the attack on Pearl Harbour, and long prior to that attack, they had assured the Japanese that they would declare War on the United States should

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a United States-Japanese conflict break out. It was in reliance on those assurances that the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbour.

On the present discussion of this phase of the case, I shall offer only one document to prove this point. The document was captured from the files of the German Foreign Office. It consists of notes dated 4th April, 1941, signed by "Schmidt," regarding discussions between the Fuehrer and the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka, in the presence of the defendant Ribbentrop. The document is numbered 1881 PS in our numbered series and I offer it in evidence as exhibit USA 33. In the original, it is in very large, typewritten form in German. I shall read what I deem to be the pertinent parts of this document, beginning with the four paragraphs, first reading the heading, the heading being:

"Notes regarding the discussion between the Fuehrer and the Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuoka, in the presence of the Reich Foreign Minister and the Reich Minister of State, Reissner, in Berlin, on the 4th April, 1941.

Matsuoka then also expressed the request, that the Fuehrer should instruct the proper authorities in Germany to meet as broad-mindedly as possible the wishes of the Japanese Military Commission. Japan was in need of German help particularly concerning the U- boat warfare, which could be given by making available to them the latest experiences of the war is well as the latest technical improvements and inventions."

For the record, I am reading on what is page six of the German original.
"Japan would do her utmost to avoid a war with the United States. If Japan should decide to attack Singapore, the Japanese Navy, of course, had to be prepared for a fight with the United States, because in that case America probably would side with Great Britain. He (Matsuoka) personally believed that the United States could be restrained by diplomatic exertions from entering the war at the side of Great Britain. Army and Navy had, however, to count on the worst situation, that is on war against America. They were of the opinion that such a war would extend for five years or longer and would take the form of guerrilla warfare in the Pacific and would be fought out in the South Sea. For this reason the German experiences in her guerrilla warfare were of the greatest value to Japan. It was a question how such a war would best be conducted and how all the technical improvements of submarines, in all details such as periscopes and such like, could best be exploited by Japan.

To sum up, Matsuoka requested that the Fuehrer would see to it that the proper German authorities would place at the disposal of the Japanese those developments and inventions concerning Navy and Army, which were needed by the Japanese.

The Fuehrer promised this and pointed out that Germany too considered a conflict with the United States undesirable, but that it had already made allowances for such a contingency. In Germany one was of the opinion that America's contributions depended upon the possibilities of transportation, and that this again is conditioned by the available tonnage. Germany's war against tonnage, however, means a decisive weakening not merely against England, but also against America. Germany has made her preparations so that no American could land in Europe. She would conduct a most energetic fight against America with her boats and her 'Luftwaffe,' and due to her superior experience, which would still have to be acquired by the United States, she would be vastly superior, and that quite apart from the fact that the German soldiers naturally rank high above the Americans.

In the further course of the discussion, the Fuehrer pointed out that Germany, on her part, would immediately take the consequences if Japan would get involved with the United States. It did not matter with whom the United States would first get involved, whether Germany or Japan. They would always try to eliminate one country at a time, not to come to an understanding with the other country subsequently, but to liquidate this one just the same. Therefore Germany would strike, as already mentioned, without delay in case of a conflict between Japan

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and America, because the strength of the tripartite powers lies in their joint action; their weakness would be if they would let themselves be beaten individually.

Matsuoka once more repeated his request, that the Fuehrer might give the necessary instructions, in order that the proper German authorities would place at the disposal of the Japanese the latest improvements and inventions, which are of interest to them, because the Japanese Navy had to prepare immediately for a conflict with the United States.

As regards Japanese-American relationship, Matsuoka explained further that he has always declared in his country, that sooner or later a war with the United States would be unavoidable, if Japan continued to drift along as at present. In his opinion this conflict would happen rather sooner than later. His argument went on, why should Japan, therefore, not strike decisively at the right moment and take the risk upon herself of a fight against America? Just thus would she perhaps avoid a war for generations, particularly if she gained predominance in the South Seas. There were, to be sure in his opinion, in Japan, many who would hesitate to follow those trends of thought. Matsuoka was considered in those circles a dangerous man with dangerous thoughts. He, however, stated that, if Japan continued to walk along her present path, one day she would have to fight anyway and that this would then be under less favourable circumstances than at present.

The Fuehrer replied that he could well understand the situation of Matsuoka, because he himself had been in similar situations (the clearing of the Rhineland, declaration of Sovereignty of Armed Forces, etc.). He too was of the opinion that he had to exploit favourable conditions and accept the risk of an anyhow unavoidable fight at a time when be himself was still young and full of vigour. How right he was in his attitude was proven by events. Europe now was free. He would not hesitate a moment to reply instantly to any widening of the war, be it by Russia, be it by America. Providence favoured those who would not let dangers come to them, but who would bravely face them. Matsuoka replied, that the United States or rather their ruling politicians, had recently attempted a last manoeuvre towards Japan, by declaring that America would not fight Japan on account of China or the South Seas, provided that Japan gave free passage to the consignment of rubber and tin to America to their place of destination. However, America would fight against Japan the moment she felt that Japan entered the war with the intention of assisting in the destruction of Great Britain. Such an argument naturally did not miss its effect upon the Japanese, because of the education oriented on English lines which many of them had received.

The Fuehrer commented on this, that this attitude of America did not mean anything but that the United States had the hope, that, as long as the British World Empire existed, one day they could advance against Japan together with Great Britain, whereas, in case of the collapse of the World Empire, they would be totally isolated and could not do anything against Japan.

The Reich Foreign Minister interjected that the Americans definitely under all circumstances wanted to maintain the powerful position of England in East Asia, but that on the other hand it was proved by this attitude, to what extent she fears a joint action of Japan and Germany.

Matsuoka continued that it seemed to him of importance to give to the Fuehrer an absolutely clear picture of the real attitude inside Japan. For this reason he also had to inform him regretfully of the fact that he, Matsuoka, in his capacity as Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs could not utter in Japan a single word of all that he had expounded before the Fuehrer and the Reich Foreign Minister regarding his plans, as this would cause him serious damage in political and financial circles. Once before, he had committed the mistake, before he became Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, of telling a close friend something about his intentions. It seems that the latter had mentioned these things and thus brought about all sorts

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of rumours, which he as Foreign Minister had to oppose energetically, though as a rule he always tells the truth. Under these circumstances he also could not indicate how soon he could report on the questions discussed, to the Japanese Premier or to the Emperor. He would have to study exactly and carefully in the first place the development in Japan, so as to decide on a favourable moment, for making a clean breast of his proper plans to the Prince Konoye and the Emperor. That decision would have to be made within a few days, otherwise the plans would be spoiled by talk.

Should he, Matsuoka, fail to carry out his intentions, that would be proof that he was lacking in influence, in power of conviction, and in tactical capabilities. However, should he succeed, it would prove that he had great influence in Japan. He himself felt confident that he would succeed.

On his return, being questioned, be would indeed admit to the Emperor, the Premier and the Ministers for the Navy and the Army, that Singapore had been discussed; he would, however, state that it was only on a hypothetical basis.

Besides this Matsuoka made the express decision not to cable in the matter of Singapore, because he had reason to fear that by cabling something might leak out. If necessary, he would send a courier.

The Fuehrer agreed and assured him after all, that he could entirely rely on German reticence.

Matsuoka replied he believed indeed in German reticence, but unfortunately could not say the same for Japan.

The discussion was terminated after the exchange of some personal parting words.

Berlin, the 4th of April, 1941
(Signed) "Schmidt."

This completes the presentation of what I have called the "handful of selected documents," offered not as a detailed treatment of any of these wars of aggression but merely to prove the deliberate planning, the deliberate premeditation with which each of these aggressions was carried out.

I turn to a more detailed and more or less chronological presentation of the various stages of the aggression.

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

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