The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

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

Sixth Day: Tuesday, 27th November, 1945
(Part 1 of 6)

[Page 181]

THE PRESIDENT: I call on the counsel for the United States. Mr. Alderman, before you begin, I think it would be better, for the purpose of the Tribunal, in citing documents if you would refer to them not only by the United States Exhibit number and the PS Exhibit number, but also by the document book identification. Each document book, as I understand it, has either a letter or a number.

MR. ALDERMAN: If the Court please, I am not familiar with the identification numbers of the document book. I suppose the clerk can give them to me.

THE PRESIDENT: They are numbered alphabetically, I think.


THE PRESIDENT: If that is not done, when we have got a great number of document books before us, it is very difficult to find where the particular exhibit is.

MR. ALDERMAN: I can see that, yes.

May it please the Tribunal, the handful of selected documents which I presented yesterday constitute a cross- section of the aggressive war case as a whole. They do not purport to cover the details of any of the phases of the aggressive war case. In effect they amount to a running account of the entire matter.

Before moving ahead with more detailed evidence, I think it might be helpful to pause at this point to present to the Tribunal a chart. This chart presents visually some of the key points in the development of the Nazi aggression. The Tribunal may find it helpful as a kind of visual summary of some of the evidence received yesterday and also as a background for some of the evidence which remains to be introduced. I am quite certain that, as your minds go back to those days, you remember the maps that appeared from time to time in the public Press as these tremendous movements developed in Europe. I am quite certain that you must have formed the concept as I did, in those days, of the gradually developing head of a wolf.

In that first chart you only have an incipient wolf. He lacks a lower jaw, the part shown in red, but when that wolf moved forward and took over Austria (the Anschluss) - that red portion became solid black. It became the jaw of the wolf, and when that lower jaw was acquired, Czechoslovakia was already, with its head and the main part of its body, in the mouth of the wolf.

Then on chart two, you see the mountainous portions, the fortified portions of Czechoslovakia. In red you see the Sudetenland territories which were first taken over by the Pact of Munich, whereupon Czechoslovakia's head became diminutive in the mouth of the wolf.

And in chart three you see the diminishing head in red with its neck practically broken, and all that was necessary was the taking over of Bohemia and Moravia, and the wolf's head became a solid, black blot on the map of Europe, with arrows indicating incipient further aggressions, which, of course, occurred.

That is the visual picture that I have never been able to wipe out of my mind, because it seems to demonstrate the inevitability of everything that went along after the taking over of Austria.

The detailed, more or less chronological presentation of the aggressive war case will be divided into seven distinct sections. The first section is that concerning preparation for aggression during the period of 1933 to 1936, roughly. The second section deals with aggression against Austria. The third section deals with aggression against Czechoslovakia. The fourth section deals with aggression against Poland and the initiation of actual war. For reasons of convenience, the details of the Polish section will be presented after the British Chief Prosecutor

[Page 182]

presents his opening statement to the Tribunal. The fifth section deals with the expansion of the war into a general war of aggression by invasions into Scandinavia, the Lowlands and the Balkans. The details on this section of the case will be presented by the British Chief Prosecutor. The sixth section deals with aggression against the Soviet Union, which I shall expect to present. For reasons of convenience again, the details of this section, like the details on aggression against Poland, will be presented after the British Prosecutor has made his opening statement to the Tribunal. The seventh section will deal with collaboration with Italy and Japan and the aggression against the United States.

I turn now to the first of these sections, the part of the case concerning preparation for aggression during the period 1933 to 1936. The particular section of the Indictment to which this discussion addresses itself is Paragraph IV (F) and sub-Paragraph 2 a), (b), (c), (d), (e), f), which I need not read at a glance, as the Tribunal will recall the allegation. It will be necessary, as I proceed, to make reference to certain provisions to the Charter and to certain provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty between the United States and Germany restoring friendly relations, 25th August, 1921, which incorporates certain provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and certain provisions of the Rhine Treaty of Locarno of 16th October, 1925.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, is it not intended that this document book should have some identifying letter or number?

MR. ALDERMAN: I suppose it should have, sir, yes. I don't know what the proper letter is.

THE PRESIDENT: Doesn't anybody know?

MR. ALDERMAN: "M,"I am informed.


MR. ALDERMAN: Yes. I do not offer those treaties in evidence at this time, because the British will offer all the pertinent treaties in their aspect of the case.

The Nazi plans for aggressive war started very soon after World War I. Their modest origin aid rather fantastic nature and the fact that they could have been interrupted at numerous points do not detract from the continuity of the planning. The focus of this part of the Indictment, on the theory that it covers events from 1933 to 1945, does not dissociate these events from what occurred in the entire preceding period. Thus, the ascendancy of Hitler and the Nazis to political power in 1933 was already a well advanced milestone on the German road to progress.

By 1933 the Nazi Party, the N.S.D.A.P., had reached very substantial proportions. At that time their plans called for the acquisition of political control of Germany. This was indispensable for the consolidation within the country of all the internal resources and potentialities.

As soon as there was sufficient indication of successful progress along this line of internal consolidation, the next step was to become disengaged from some of the external disadvantages of existing international limitations and obligations. The restrictions of the Versailles Treaty were a bar to the development of strength in all the fields necessary, if one were to make war. Although there had been an increasing amount of circumvention and violation from the very time that Versailles came into effect, such operations under disguise and subterfuge could not attain proportions adequate for the objectives of the Nazis. To get the Treaty of Versailles out of the way was indispensable to the development of the extensive military power which they had to have for their purposes. Similarly, as part of the same plan and for the same reasons, Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations. It was impossible to carry out their plans on the basis of existing international obligations or of the orthodox kind of future commitments.

The points mentioned in this Paragraph IV (F) 2 of the Indictment are now historical facts of which we expect the Tribunal to take Judicial notice.

[Page 183]

It goes without saying that every military and diplomatic operation was preceded by a plan of action and a careful co- ordination of all participating forces. At the same time each point was part of a long prepared plan of aggression. Each represents a necessary step in the direction of the specific aggression which was subsequently committed.

To develop an extensive argument would, perhaps, be an unnecessary labouring of the obvious. What I intend to effect is, largely, the bringing to light of information disclosed in illustrative documents which were hitherto unavailable.

The three things of immediate international significance referred to in this paragraph IV (F) 2 of the Indictment are: first, the withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations; second, the institution of compulsory military service; and, third, the reoccupation of the demilitarised zone of the Rhineland. Each of these steps was progressively more serious than the matter of international relations. In each of these steps Germany anticipated the possibility of sanctions being applied by other countries, and, in particular, a strong military action from France with the possible assistance of England. However, the conspirators were determined that nothing less than a preventative war would stop them, and they also estimated correctly that no one, or combination of the Great Powers would undertake the responsibility for such a war. The withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations was, of course, an action that did not violate any international obligation. The League Covenant provided the procedure for withdrawal. However, in this case and as part of the bigger plan, the significance of these actions cannot be dissociated from the general conspiracy and the plans for aggression. The announcement of the institution of universal military service was a more daring action with a more overt significance. It was a violation of Versailles, but they got away with it. Then came the outright military defiance, the occupation of the demilitarised zone of the Rhineland.

The Indictment, in paragraph IV (F) 2, alleges that the Nazi conspirators determined to remove the restrictions of Versailles, and the fact that their plans in this respect started very early is confirmed by their own statements, indeed they boasted about their long planning and careful execution.

I read to you yesterday at length, from our document 789PS, exhibit USA 23, Hitler's speech to all Supreme Commanders, Of 23rd November, 1939, I need not read it again. He stated there that his primary goal was to wipe out Versailles. After four years of actual war, the defendant Jodl, as Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, delivered an address to the Reich and to tire Gauleiters in which he traced the development of German strength. The seizure of power to him meant the restoration of fighting sovereignty, including conscription, occupation of the Rhineland, and rearmament, with special emphasis on modern armour and air forces.

I have, if the Tribunal please, our document L-172. It is a photostat of a microfilm of a speech by General Jodl, and I offer that photostat as exhibit USA 34. I shall read, if the Tribunal please, only a part of that, but will start at the beginning.

The speech is entitled "The Strategic Position in the Beginning of the 5th Year of War." It is a kind of retrospective summary by the defendant, General Jodl. "A lecture by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (West) to the Reich and Gau Leaders, delivered in Munich on the 7th November, 1943."

THE PRESIDENT: Are you reading from the document now?

MR. ALDERMAN: I am reading from the English translation.

THE PRESIDENT: But in my copy Of L-172, as far as I can see, it begins with the word "Introduction".

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes Sir, I was just coming to the Introduction. On my copy -

MR. PRESIDENT: There is another heading, too? MR. ALDERMAN: Yes.

[Page 184]

THE PRESIDENT: We haven't got that.

MR. ALDERMAN: You have an index, I think. There is not one on my copy: Page 3.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but the index doesn't give that heading; that is all.

MR. ALDERMAN: I see, I am sorry.

THE PRESIDENT: It doesn't matter.


"Introduction: Reichsleiter Bormann has requested me to give you a review to-day of the strategic position in the beginning of the 5th Year of War.

I must admit that it was not without hesitation that I undertook this none too easy task. It is not possible to do it justice with a few generalities. It is not necessary to say openly what it is. No one, the Fuehrer has ordered, may know more or be told more than he needs for his own immediate task, but I have no doubt at all in my mind, Gentlemen, but that you need a great deal in order to be able to cope with your tasks. It is in your Gaus, after all, and among their inhabitants that all the enemy propaganda, the defeatism, and the malicious rumours concentrate, that try to find a place among our people. Up and down the country the devil of subversion strides. All the cowards are seeking a way out, or - as they call it - a political solution. They say, we must negotiate while there is still something in hand, and all these slogans are made use of to attack the natural sense of the people, who know well that in this war there can only be a fight to the end. Capitulation would mean the end of the Nation, the end of Germany. Against this wave of enemy propaganda and cowardice you need more than force. You need to know the true situation, and for this reason I believe that I am justified in giving you a perfectly open and unvarnished account of the state of affairs. This is no forbidden disclosure of secrets, butt a weapon which may perhaps help you to fortify the morale of the people. For this war will be decided not only by force of arms but by the will to resist of the whole people. Germany was broken in 1918 not at the front but at home. Italy suffered not military defeat but moral defeat. She broke down internally. The result has been not the peace she expected but - through the cowardice of these criminal traitors - a fate a thousand times harder than continuation of the war at our side would have brought her. I can rely on you, Gentlemen, since I give concrete figures and data concerning our own strength, to treat these details as your secret; all the rest is at your disposal, without restriction, for application in your activities as leaders of the people.

Our necessity and objectives were clear to all and everyone at the moment when we entered upon this War of Liberation of Greater Germany and, by attacking, parried the danger which menaced us both from Poland and from the Western Powers. Our further incursions into Scandinavia, in the direction of the Mediterranean and in that of Russia - these also aroused no doubts concerning the general conduct of the war, so long as we were successful. It was not until more serious set-backs were encountered and our general Situation began to become increasingly active, that the German people began to ask itself whether perhaps we had not undertaken more than we could do and had set our aims too high. To provide an answer to this questioning and to furnish you with certain points of view for use in your own explanatory activities, is one of the main points of my present lecture. I shall divide it into three parts:

I. A review of the most important developments up to the present.
II. Consideration of the present situation.
III. The foundation of our morale and our confidence in victory.
In view of my position as Military Adviser to the Fuehrer, I shall confine myself in my remarks to the problems of my own personal sphere of action, fully appreciating at the same time that in view of the Protean nature of this war, I shall in this way be giving expression to only one side of events.

[Page 185]

1.The fact that the National-Socialist movement and its struggle for internal power were the preparatory stage of the external liberation from the bonds of the Dictate of Versailles is not one on which I need enlarge in this circle. I should like however to mention at this point how clearly all thoughtful regular soldiers realise what an important part has been played by the National- Socialist Movement in re-awakening the will to fight (the "Wehrwillen"); in nurturing fighting strength (the "Wehrkraft") and in rearming the German people. In spite of all the virtue inherent in it, the numerically small "Reichswehr" would never have been able to cope with this task alone, if only because of its own restricted radius of action. Indeed, what the Fuehrer aimed at - and has so happily been successful in bringing about - was the fusion of these two forces.

2. "The seizure of power."

I invite the Tribunal's attention to the frequency with which that expression occurs in all of these documents-"the seizure of power by the Nazi Party in its turn has meant, in the first place, the restoration of fighting sovereignty. "That is the German word "Wehrhoheit" - a kind of euphemism there - the "Highness of Defence." I think it really means "Fighting Sovereignty." "Wehrhoheit" also meant conscription, occupation of the Rhineland and re-armament, with special emphasis being laid on the creation of a modern armoured and air arm.

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