The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 12th February, 1946
(Part 1 of 18)

[Page 257]

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, you were going to recall the witness who was being called yesterday, Field Marshal Paulus, were you not, so that the defendants' counsel may have the opportunity of questioning him? Will you do that now?

GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, that was the wish of the Tribunal.

(The witness enters the Court.)


BY DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel):

Q. I would like to ask several questions. On 3rd September, 1940, you came as Deputy Chief of the General Staff No. 1, to the High Command of the Army; is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. Who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army at that time?

A. I imagine that you know perfectly well that at that time the Commander-in-Chief of the Army was Field Marshal von Brauchitsch.

Q. It is quite unnecessary for you to answer in that way, because I put this question simply to explain the situation to the gentlemen here. It is known to us but may not be known to the Tribunal. Who was at that time the Chief of Staff of the Army?

A. It was Colonel-General Halder.

Q. Were you, as Deputy Chief of the General Staff No. 1, the representative of the Chief of Staff?

A. I was the deputy of the Chief of Staff for those cases which he told me to supervise, and I also had various tasks with which he charged me.

Q. In this case were you especially charged with the adaptation of the plan which we later came to know as Plan "Barbarossa"?

A. Yes, to the extent of which I told you yesterday.

Q. Field Marshal Brauchitsch, your former Chief of Staff, in an affidavit presented by the prosecution, has made a statement about the handling of military plans. With the permission of the Tribunal, I would like to ask you to tell me whether this statement by Field Marshal von Brauchitsch agrees with your opinion. I quote:

"When Hitler decided to use military pressure or force to achieve his political aims, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, if he was involved, first received orally either some kind of instruction or a definite order."
Is that your opinion also?

A. I could not say, I have no knowledge of that.

Q. Colonel-General Halder, your immediate superior, in an affidavit which also has been submitted by the prosecution, has said the following about the handling of such operational military matters:

"Special military matters were the responsibility of those branches of the Wehrmacht which were immediately under the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, that is, the Army, Navy, and Air Force."
Is that also your opinion?

[Page 258]

A. I ask you, please, to repeat this once more as I cannot understand exactly what you mean.

Q. It is about the question: Who were the military persons responsible to Hitler in elaborating important plans. In respect to that, von Brauchitsch said what you have just said, and Halder said the following:

"Special military matters were to be handled by those branches of the Wehrmacht which were immediately under the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, that is to say, the Army, Navy, and Air Force."
A. We received the orders about military measures from the High Command of the Wehrmacht. Such was the Directive Number 21. I considered those people responsible who were Hitler's closest military advisers in the High Command of the Wehrmacht.

Q. If you have seen Directive Number 21, then you must also know who signed it. Who was that?

A. As far as I can remember, that was signed by Hitler, and Keitel and Jodl initialed it.

Q. But, at any rate, signed by Hitler, like all directives; is that correct?

A. Yes, most of the directives, unless they were signed by other people in his name.

Q. In other words, I may conclude that the man who gave the orders was the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, that is to say, Hitler?

A. That is correct.

Q. From the statements of von Brauchitsch and Halder we can see, in my opinion, that the General Staff of the Army, with its large personnel, was to work out ideas which Hitler conceived, work them out in detail. Do you not agree?

A. That is correct. It had pass on to the proper departments the orders which were given it by the Supreme Command.

Q. It is clear that the High Command, that is, the Commander- in-Chief, had given these orders. There was in the working out of all plans -- as I can also see from your statement -- and in their execution, close collaboration between Hitler, as Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, and the General Staff of the Army; is that correct?

A. This co-operation existed between the High Command and all persons who were charged with carrying out the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.

Q. From your explanation I think I can conclude that you developed the incomplete plan which you received on 3rd September, 1940, and then, when you had completed it to a certain degree, you presented it to the Commander-in-Chief, Hitler, personally or through General Halder?

A. The detailed completion of a plan was presented by the Chief of the General Staff, or by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; then it was either accepted or rejected.

Q. That is, it had to be accepted or refused by Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. Did I correctly understand you to say yesterday that you had already in the autumn of 1940 realised that Hitler wanted to attack the Soviet Union?

A. I said yesterday that the preparation of that plan of operations was the theoretical preparation for an attack.

Q. But already at that time you thought that to be Hitler's intention, did you not?

A. From the way in which this task was started one could see that after the theoretical preparation, a practical application would follow.

Q. Furthermore, you said yesterday that no information from the Abwehr had been received which would prove that there were any intention of the Soviet Union to attack.

[Page 259]

A. Yes.

Q. Did anybody in the circle of the General Staff of the Army ever speak about these matters?

A. Yes, they had serious misgivings about them, but no reports about any visible preparations for war on the part of the Soviet Union were ever made known to me.

Q. So you were firmly convinced that it was a straight attack on the Soviet Union?

A. At any rate, the indications did not exclude that.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness must speak more slowly.

Q. The witness has said, if I understood correctly, that there were signs which allowed of the conclusion that an attack had been prepared.

A. The order for the execution of this theoretical study of the condition for attack was considered, not only by myself, but also by other informed people, as the first step in the preparations for an attack, that is to say, an aggressive attack, on the Soviet Union.

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