The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Thirteenth Day: Wednesday, 5th December, 1945
(Part 8 of 8)


[Page 130]

The military political starting point used as a basis for concentration plans Red and Green can be aggravated if either England, Poland or Lithuania join on the side of our opponents. Thereupon our military position would be worsened to an unbearable, even hopeless extent. The political leaders will therefore do everything to keep these countries neutral, above all England and Poland."

Thereafter it sets out the conditions which are to be the basis for the discussion. Before I leave that document, the date will be noted, June, 1937, and it shows clearly that at that date, anyway, the Nazi Government appreciated the likelihood, if not the probability of fighting England and Poland and France, and were prepared to do so if they had to. On the 5th November, 1937, the Tribunal will remember that Hitler held his conference in the Reich Chancellery, the minutes of which have been referred to as the Hoszbach notes. I will refer to one or two lines of that document for the attention of the Tribunal to what Hitler said in respect of England, Poland, and France. On page 1 of that exhibit, the middle of the page

"The Fuehrer then stated: 'The aim of German policy is the security and preservation of the nation and its propagation. This is consequently a problem of space'."
He then went on, you will remember, to discuss what he described as "participation in world economy", and at the bottom of Page 2 he said:
"The only way out, and one which may appear imaginary, is the securing of greater living space, an endeavour which at all times has been the cause of the formation of States and movements of nations."
And at the end of that first paragraph, on Page 3:
"The history of all times, Roman Empire, British Empire, has proved that every space expansion can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable. Neither formerly nor today has space been found without an owner. The attacker always comes up against the proprietor."
My Lord, it is clear that that reference was not only -

THE PRESIDENT: (interposing) It has been read already.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: But my object was only to try to collect, so far as England and Poland were concerned, everything that has been given. If the Tribunal thought that it was unnecessary, I would welcome the opportunity -

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal would wish you not to read anything that has been read already.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I would pass then to the next document in that part of the document book. I put that document in. It was referred to by the Attorney General in his address yesterday, and it shows that on the same day as the Hoszbach meeting was taking place, a communique was being issued as a result of the Polish Ambassador's audience with Hitler, in which it was said in the course of the conversation, "It was confirmed that Polish-German relations should not meet with difficulty because of the Danzig question." That document is TC-73. I put it in as GB 27. On the 2nd of January -

THE PRESIDENT: That has not been read before, has it?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: It was read by the Attorney General in his opening.

[Page 131]

THE PRESIDENT: In his opening? Very well.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: On the 2nd January, 1938, some unknown person wrote a memorandum for the Fuehrer. This document was one of the seven foreign office documents of which a microfilm was captured by Allied troops when they came into Germany. It is headed, "Very Confidential - Personal Only", and is called "Deduction on the report, German Embassy, London, regarding the future form of Anglo- German relations":

"With the realisation that Germany will not tie herself to a status quo in Central Europe, and that sooner or later a military conflict in Europe is possible, the hope of an agreement will slowly disappear among Germanophile British politicians, in so far as they are not merely playing a part that has been given to them. Thus the fateful question arises: Will Germany and England eventually be forced to drift into separate camps and will they march against each other one day? To answer this question, one must realise the following -

Change of the status quo in the East in the German sense can only be carried out by force. So long as France knows that England, which so to speak has taken on a guarantee to aid France against Germany, is on her side, France's fighting for her Eastern allies is probable in any case, always possible, and thus with it war between Germany and England. This applies then even if England does not want war. England, believing she must defend her borders on the Rhine, would be dragged in automatically by France. In other words, peace or war between England and Germany rests solely in the hands of France, who could bring about such a war between Germany and England by way of a conflict between Germany and France. It follows therefore that war between Germany and England on account of France can be prevented only if France knows from the start that England's forces would not be sufficient to guarantee their common victory. Such a situation might force England, and thereby France, to accept a lot of things that a strong Anglo-French coalition would never tolerate.

This position would arise for instance if England, through insufficient armament or as a result of threats to her Empire by a superior coalition of powers, e.g. Germany, Italy, Japan, thereby tying down her military forces in other places, were not able to assure France of sufficient support in Europe."

The next page goes on to discuss the possibility of a strong partnership between Italy and Japan, and I would pass from my quotation to the next page where the writer is summarising his ideas.
Paragraph 5: Therefore, conclusions to be drawn by us.

1. Outwardly, further understanding with England in regard to the protection of the interests of our friends.

2. Formation under great secrecy, but with whole-hearted tenacity of a coalition against England, that is to say, a tightening of our friendship with Italy and Japan; also the winning over of all nations whose interests conform with ours directly or indirectly.

3. Close and confidential co-operation of the diplomats of the three great powers towards this purpose. Only in this way can we confront England, be it in a settlement or in war. England is going to be a hard, astute opponent in this game of diplomacy.

[Page 132]

4. The particular question whether in the event of a war by Germany in Central Europe - " - I am afraid the translation of this is not very good - "The particular question whether, in the event of a war in Central Europe France and thereby England would interfere, depends on the circumstances and the time at which such a war commences and ceases, and on military considerations which cannot be gone into here."
And whoever it was who wrote that document, he appears to be on a fairly high level, because he concludes by saying, "I should like to give the Fuehrer some of these viewpoints verbally." That document is GB 28. I am afraid the next two documents have got into your books in the wrong order. If you will refer to 2357-PS - you will remember that the document to the Fuehrer, which I have just read, was dated the 2nd January.

On 20th January, 1938, Hitler spoke in the Reichstag.

THE PRESIDENT: February, you said?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I beg your pardon, February 1938. That is 2357-PS, and will be Exhibit GB 30. In that speech he said:

"In the fifth year following the first great foreign political agreement with the Reich, it fills us with sincere gratification to be able to affirm that in our relations with the State, with which we had had perhaps the greatest difference, not only has there been a 'detente,' but in the course of the years there has been a constant improvement. This good work, which was regarded with suspicion by so many at the time, has stood the test, and I may say that since the League of Nations finally gave up its continual attempts to unsettle Danzig, and appointed a man of great personal attainments as the new Commissioner, this most dangerous spot from the point of view of European peace has entirely lost its menacing character. The Polish State respects the national conditions in this State, and both the city of Danzig and Germany respect Polish rights. And so the way to an understanding has been successfully paved, an understanding which beginning with Danzig has today, in spite of the attempts of certain mischief- makers, succeeded in finally taking the poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland, and transforming them into a sincere, friendly co-operation.

To rely on her friendships, Germany will not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which provides the foundation for the task which is ahead of us - peace."

I turn back to the next - to the document which was in our document books, the one before that, L-43, which will be Exhibit GB 29. This is a document to which the Attorney General referred yesterday. It is dated the 2nd May, 1938, and is entitled, "Organisational Study, 1950." It comes from the office of the Chief of the Organisational Staff of the General Staff of the Air Force, and its purpose is said to be:
"The task is to search, within a framework of very broadly conceived conditions, for the most suitable type of organisation of the Air Force. The result gained is termed, 'Distant Objective.' From this shall be deduced the goal to be reached in the second phase of the setting-up process in 1942; this will be called, 'Final Objective, 1942.' This in turn yields what is considered the most suitable proposal for the reorganisation of the staffs of the Air Force Group Commands, Air Gaus, Air Divisions, etc."

[Page 133]

The Table of Contents, the Tribunal will see, is divided into various sections, and Section I is entitled, "Assumptions." Under the heading "Assumption 1, frontier of Germany ", see map, enclosure one.

The Tribunal sees a reproduction of that map on the wall and it will be seen that on the 2nd May, 1938, the Air Force was in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Hungary, all coming within the boundaries of the Reich. The original map is here attached to this file and if the Tribunal will look at the original exhibit, it will be seen that this organisational study has been prepared with the greatest care and authority, with a mass of charts attached to the appendices.

I would refer also to the bottom of the second page, in the Tribunal's copy of the translation.

"Consideration of the principles of organisation on the basis of the assumptions for war and peace made in Section 1;
1. Attack Forces:-
Principal adversaries: England, France and Russia."
It then goes on to show all the one hundred and forty-four Geschwader employed against England, very much concentrated in the Western half of the Reich; that is to say, they must be deployed in such a way that they, by making full use of their range, can reach all English territory down to the last corner.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps it is involved in the map. I think you should refer to the organisation of the Air Forces, with group commands at Warsaw and Konigsberg.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I am much obliged. Under the paragraph "Assumption" double heading 2, "Organisation of Air Force in peacetime", seven group commands: - 1 Berlin, 2 Brunswick, 3 Munich, 4 Vienna, 5 Budapest, 6 Warsaw, and 7 Konigsberg."


LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I am very much obliged. Lastly, in connection with that document, on Page 4 of the Tribunal's translation, the last paragraph:

"The more the Reich grows in area and the more the Air Force grows in strength, the more imperative it becomes to have locally bound commands."
I only emphasise the opening, "The more the Reich grows in area, the more the Air Force grows in strength" but I would say one word on that document. The original, I understand, is signed by an officer who is not of the top rank in the Air Force and I, therefore, do not want to over-emphasise the inferences that can be drawn from it, but it is submitted that it at least shows the lines upon which the General Staff of the Air Force were thinking at that time.

The Tribunal will remember that in February, 1938, the defendant Ribbentrop succeeded von Neurath as Foreign Minister. We have another document from that captured microfilm, which is dated 26th August, 1938, when Ribbentrop had become Foreign Minister, and it is addressed to him, as "The Reich Minister, via the State Secretary." It is a comparatively short document and I will read the whole of it.

The most pressing problem of German policy, the Czech problem,

[Page 134]

might easily, but must not lead to a conflict with the Entente. (TC-76 - GB 31.) Neither France nor England are looking for trouble regarding Czechoslovakia. Both would perhaps leave Czechoslovakia to herself, if she should, without direct foreign interference and through internal signs of disintegration, due to her own faults, suffer the fate she deserves. This process, however, would have to take place step by step and would have to lead to a loss of power in the remaining territory by means of a plebiscite and an annexation of territory.

The Czech problem is not yet politically acute enough for any immediate action, which the Entente would watch inactively, and not even if this action should come quickly and surprisingly. Germany cannot fix any definite time, and this fruit could be plucked without too great a risk. She can only prepare the desired developments."

I pass to the last paragraph on that page. I think I can leave out the intervening lines, Paragraph 5.

THE PRESIDENT: Should you not read the next paragraph "for this purpose."


"For this purpose the slogan emanating from England at present of the 'right for autonomy of the Sudeten Germans,' which we have intentionally not used up to now, is to be taken up gradually. The international conviction that the choice of nationality was being withheld from these Germans will do useful spadework, notwithstanding the fact that the chemical process of dissolution of the Czech form of States may or may not be finally speeded up by mechanical means as well. The fate of the actual body of Czechoslovakia, however, would not as yet be clearly decided by this: but would nevertheless be definitely sealed.

This method of approach towards Czechoslovakia is to be recommended because of our relationship with Poland. It is unavoidable that the German departure from the problems of boundaries in the South-east and their transfer to the East and Northeast must make the Poles sit up. The fact is" - I put in an "is" because I think it is obviously left out of the copy I have in front of me. - "The fact is that after the liquidation of the Czech question, it will be generally assumed that Poland will be the next in turn.

But the later this assumption sinks into international politics as a firm factor, the better. In this sense, however, it is important for the time being to carry on the German policy, under the well known and proved slogans of 'The right to autonomy' and 'Racial unity'. Anything else might be interpreted as pure imperialism on our part, and create the resistance to our plan by the Entente at an earlier date and more energetically, than our forces could stand up to."

That was on 26th August, 1938, just as the Czech crisis was leading up to a Munich settlement. While at Munich, or rather a day or two before the Munich agreement was signed, Herr Hitler made a speech. On the 26th September, he said: - I think I will read just two lines -
"I assured him, moreover, and I repeat it here, that when this problem is solved there will be no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe."
And again, the last document in your book, which is another extract from that same speech, I will not read unless the Tribunal desire because the

[Page 135]

Attorney General quoted it in his address yesterday. These two documents precede TC-28, which is already in as GB 2, and TC-29, which is the second extraction of that same speech, and is Exhibit GB 32.

I would refer the Tribunal to one more document under this part which has already been put in by my American colleagues. It is C-23, now Exhibit USA 49, and it appears before TC-28 in your document book. The particular passage of the exhibit, to which I would refer, is a letter from Admiral Carl, which appears at the bottom of the second page. It is dated some time in September, with no precise date, and is entitled "Opinion on the 'Draft Study of Naval Warfare against England'".

There is full agreement with the main theme of the Study. Again, the Attorney General quoted the remainder of that letter yesterday, which the Tribunal will remember.

"If, according to the Fuehrer's decision, Germany is to acquire a position as a world power, she needs not only sufficient colonial possessions but also naval communications and secure access to the ocean."
That, then, was the position at the time of the Munich agreement in September, 1938.

The gains of Munich were not, of course, so great as the Nazi Government had hoped and had intended and, as a result, they were not prepared straight away to start any further aggressive action against Poland or elsewhere: but, as we have heard this morning, when Mr. Alderman dealt, in his closing remarks, with the advantages that were gained by the seizure of Czechoslovakia, Jodl and Hitler said on subsequent occasions, that Czechoslovakia was only setting the stage for this attack on Poland. It is, of course, obvious now that they intended and indeed had taken the decision to proceed against Poland as soon as Czechoslovakia had been entirely occupied.

We know that now from what Hitler said in talking to his military commanders at a later date. The Tribunal will remember the speech-where he said that from the first he never intended to abide by the Munich agreement, but that he had to have the whole of Czechoslovakia. As a result, although not ready to proceed in full force against Poland, after September, 1938, they did at once begin to approach the Poles on the question of Danzig. Until, as the Tribunal will see, the whole of Czechoslovakia had been taken in March, no pressure was put on, but immediately after the Sudetenland had been occupied preliminary steps were taken to stir up trouble with Poland, which would and was eventually to lead to the excuse or so-called justification for their attack on that country.

If the Tribunal would turn to part 3.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is time to adjourn now until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 6th December, 1945, at 1000 hours.)

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