The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Sixth Day: Monday,11th February, 1946
(Part 8 of 14)

[Page 239]

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: Mr. President, in pursuance of the statement made by the Russian Delegation, I will ask for permission to bring before the Tribunal for direct examination the field marshal of the former German Army, Friedrich Paulus, who will be examined by the Chief Prosecutor of the U.S.S.R., General Rudenko.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; the witness may be brought in.

(The witness took his place in the box.)


Q. Will you please tell me your name?

A. Friedrich Paulus.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me: "I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing."

(The witness repeats the oath.)


Q. Your name is Friedrich Paulus?

A. Yes.

Q. You were born 1890?

A. 1890.

Q. You were born in the village of Breitenau, in the district of Kassel, in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. By nationality you are a German?

A. Yes.

Q. You are field marshal of the former German Army?

A. Yes.

Q. Your last official position was Commander of the 6th Army at Stalingrad?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you please tell us, Witness, did you, on 8th January, 1946, make a statement to the Government of the Soviet Socialist Republics?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. You confirm this statement?

A. Yes, I confirm this statement.

Q. Please, tell us, Witness, what you know regarding the preparation by the Hitlerite Government and the German High Command of the armed attack on the Soviet Union.

[Page 240]

A. From personal experience, I can state the following: On 3rd September, 1940, I took office with the High Command of the Army as Quartermaster-Genereal of the General Staff. As such I was deputy to the Chief of the General Staff, and had in addition to carry out the instructions of a general operational nature which he delegated to me.

When I took office I found in my sphere of work, among other things, a still incomplete operational plan dealing with an attack on the Soviet Union. This operational plan had been worked out by the then Brigadier-General Marx, Chief of the General Staff of the 18th Army, who for this purpose had been temporarily transferred to the Land Forces High Command. The Chief of the Land Forces, General Staff, General Halder, turned over to me the continuation of the work which was ordered by the Armed Forces High Command, on the following basis:

An investigation was to be made as to the possibilities of an attack against the Soviet Union, with regard to the terrain, the strength of the attack, the manpower needed, and so forth. In addition it was stated that altogether about 130 to 140 German divisions would be available for this operation. It was furthermore to be taken into consideration that from the beginning, Roumanian territory was to be utilised for the deployment of the German Southern Army. On the Northern flank the participation of Finland in the war was taken into account, but was ignored by the army in the preparation of this passive plan.

Then, in addition, as a basis for the plan which was to be worked out, the aims -- the instructions of the O.K.W. -- were given:

(i) The destruction of those parts of the Russian Army stationed in the West of Russia, and the prevention of the escape of complete units deep into Russia.

(ii) The reaching of a line from which the Russian Air Force would be unable to attack German territory effectively, and the final aim was the reaching of the Volga-Archangel line.

The operational plan which I just outlined was completed at the beginning of November and was followed by two manoeuvres, with the command of which the General Staff entrusted me. Senior officers of the Land Forces High Command were also assigned. The basic strength requirements assumed in these manoeuvres were: The launching of an Army Group South of the Pripet territory, specifically from Southern Poland and from Roumanian territory, with the aim of reaching the Dnieper-Kiev line; North of the Pripet territory another Army Group, the strongest, from the area around Warsaw and Northward, with the general direction of attack being the Minsk-Smolensk line, the intention being to direct it against Moscow later; then a further Army Group namely Army Group North, from the area of East Prussia, with the initial direction of attack being through the Baltic States toward Leningrad.

The conclusion which was drawn from these manoeuvres was at that time, in case of actual hostilities, provision should be made initially for reaching the general line Dnieper- Smolensk-Leningrad, and then the operation was to be carried forward if the situation developed favourably, supply lines, etc., being adjusted accordingly.

In connection with these manoeuvres and for the evaluation of the theoretical experience gained in them there was a further conference of the Chief of Staff of the Land Forces and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army Groups, which had been planned for the East. And further, in connection with this conference, there was a speech about Russia by the then Chief of the Eastern Air Forces department, Colonel Kinsel, describing Russia's geographic and economic conditions, the Red Army, etc. The most significant point here was that no preparations whatever for an attack by the Soviet had come to our notice.

With these manoeuvres and conferences that I have just described the theoretical considerations and plans for this offensive were concluded. Immediately thereafter, that is on 18th December, 1940, the Armed Forces High Command

[Page 241]

issued Directive No. 21. This was the basis for all military and economic preparations which were to be carried out. In the Land Forces High Command this directive resulted in going ahead with the drafting and working out of directions for troop deployments for this operation.

These first directions for troop deployment were authorised on 3rd February, 1941, by Hitler after a report by the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces. Later on several supplements were issued at Obersalzberg; thereupon they were forwarded to the troops.

For the beginning of the attack the High Command of the Armed Forces chose the time when large troop movements could be made on Russian territory. That was expected from about the middle of May on. Preparations were made in accordance with this. Then at the end of March this date underwent a change, when Hitler decided, due to the development of the situation in Yugoslavia, to attack that country. Consequently, in the commands issued at the beginning of April, 1941, this tentative date for the start of the operation...

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid you are a little too fast.

THE WITNESS: Where shall I begin again?

THE PRESIDENT: I think you had better begin again where you said that at the end of March Hitler made a change in the plan.

A. (continuing): Because of his decision to attack Yugoslavia, the date foreseen for the beginning of the attack had to be postponed by about five weeks, that is to the last half of June. And indeed, this attack then did take place on 22nd June, 1941.

In conclusion, I confirm the fact that the preparation for this attack on the Soviet Union, which actually took place on 22nd June, 1941, dated back to the autumn of 1940.

Q. In what way and under what circumstances---

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. Did the witness give the date? He said that preparations for this attack had been made, and what I want to know is, did he give the date from which it had been prepared? (To the witness):

Did you give the date from which the preparations went forward?

A. I gave it at the beginning: From the time my personal observations began, when I entered office, on 3rd September, 1940.


Q. In what way and under what circumstances was the participation of the satellite States secured?

A. From personal observation, I can say the following regarding this.

Firstly, in regard to Roumania:

About September, 1940, iust at the time when I had received this operational sketch for the attack on the Soviet Union, the use of Roumanian territory for the deployment of the German right or South wing was planned from the outset. A military mission headed by the then Lieutenant General of Cavalry, Hansen, was sent to Roumania. A whole Panzer Division, the 13th, was transferred to Roumania as a training unit. To those who knew about the plans for the future it was obvious that this step could only serve the purpose of preparing the future partner in the war for the task intended for him.

Secondly, in regard to Hungary:

In December, 1940, Colonel Lazslo, the chief of the Operational Group of the Hungarian General Staff, came to the headquarters of the Land Forces High Command at Zossen. He asked for a conference regarding questions of organisation. The Hungarian Army at that time was concerned with the question of changing over its units, which were organised in brigades, and divisions, and also with the establishing of motorised troops and of Panzer units. The chief of the Organisation Division of the Land Forces General Staff, and myself, advised Colonel Lazslo. At the same time, the then

[Page 242]

Brigadier General Buhle and several Hungarian military commissions were in Berlin, and with them the Hungarian Minister of War, General von Bartha. They discussed armament deliveries to Hungary with German authorities.

It was clear to all of us who were informed as to future plans, that all these measures, including the supplying of arms to other armies were only conceivable at that time if these weapons were to be employed in future military projects.

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