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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Seventeenth Day: Tuesday, 30th April, 1946
(Part 8 of 10)

[DR. DIX continues his direct examination of Hjalmar Schacht]

[Page 387]

Q. Yes, we can deal with that later.

A. Then I shall just confine myself to this question. Dodd was entirely friendly to me, and I respected him deeply. I saw a sign of his friendship in that, shortly before his departure from Berlin in December of 1937, he visited me at my home, and this incident is also dealt with in his diary, and I would like to quote just one sentence:

"I went to Dr. Schacht's house in Dahlem. I wished especially to see Schacht, whose life is said to be in danger."
In other words, Mr. Dodd had heard of an imminent attack on my life on the part of National Socialists, and considered it important enough to be a reason for coming to my home personally in order to warn me.

A second piece of evidence of his friendship towards me can be seen from the final visit he paid me just a few days before returning to America. At that time he again called on me and told me urgently that I should go to America with him, or as soon after him as possible, that I should change my residence to America; and that I would find a pleasant welcome there. I believe he would never have said that to me had he not felt a certain degree of friendship for me.

Q. These are express services of friendship, and it can hardly be assumed that the deceased ambassador would have done you these good services if he had considered you a warmonger and friend of the Nazis, and especially - and I would like to say this to the High Tribunal - if one remembers that Mr. Dodd was one of the few accredited diplomats in Berlin who very obviously had no sympathy of any sort for the regime in power, in fact he was wholly and fully opposed to it.

I intentionally say "the few diplomats" and, Dr. Schacht, I would like

[Page 388]

you to define your opinion on what I am saying. You will remember that most of those diplomats, who politically and socially kept at a distance from Hitler's regime, as the fine ambassador from Holland, M. Limburg-Stirum, or the ambassador from Finland, the true-hearted and great Social Democrat, Rujleki, were recalled by their Governments. How is it conceivable that an opponent of the Nazis like Dodd would do such open services of friendship to someone whom he considered a friend of the Nazis? Do you agree with my opinion?

A. Yes. I am entirely of the same opinion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I certainly object to going into this kind of sermonising back and forth between the box and the bar. It seems to me that the witness has been allowed to say everything that Mr. Dodd has ever written and to put in his mind what he thinks Dodd meant. He has allowed him to go to great lengths characterising all American representatives, but it seems to me that this is utterly off the track and improper for this witness to give a characterisation of him in, comparison with other ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives.

There is no request here for information about facts. I reiterate, we are not accusing Dr. Schacht here because of his opinions. We are accusing him because of very specific acts which there seems great reluctance to get to and deal with.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should go on, Dr. Dix, and pass from this part of it, pass on from these documents.

DR. DIX: Perhaps I might mention very briefly that it is entirely far from me or from Dr. Schacht to feel impelled to express here our opinions on political or diplomatic personalities, but, on the other hand, if the prosecution produces affidavits or diaries of these diplomats and uses these documents as pieces of evidence against the defendant in this proceeding, the defendant -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that if you would put questions and put them shortly, it would be much better, and we should get on much faster.

DR. DIX: Yes. In general I have put brief questions, your Lordship. I only said this now, because I would like to follow the procedure approved, I believe, by the High Tribunal, of dealing with part of the documentary evidence at this stage: and so I would like to bring up the reliability of Dodd's diary. That is Exhibit 43 in my document book; German text, Page 194; English text, Page 202. Here we are concerned with the correspondence between the publisher of Dodd's diary and Sir Neville Henderson, which deals with several misstatements in the diary. I will dispense with the rather long letter by Sir Neville Henderson - there are five folio pages - and will cite just a few sentences. On Page 196 of the German text, Sir Neville Henderson writes:-

"Take, for instance, the first statement attributed to me about Neurath. It is entirely impossible, that I, in front of Hitler - "
and so on and so forth.

Then on the same page, in the middle of the page, next paragraph:-

"And it is the same with the general discussion. It is quite inconceivable that I should have spoken, as there recorded, about Bismarck and the annexation of Czechoslovakia and other countries."
And on the same page, a little further down, next to the last paragraph, it says:-
"Nor could I possibly have said that 'Germany must dominate the Danube-Balkan zone.'"
And on the next page, second paragraph:-
"The remark attributed to me that England and Germany 'must control the world' is pure balderdash and hardly fits in with the preceding sentence about the United States."

[Page 389]

Now, there are other similar passages on this and the following page, but I do not believe it necessary for me to quote them. I request the High Tribunal to take official notice of this document in its entirety, and I would like to submit it as such.


Q. Dr. Schacht, a little while ago you mentioned a warning on the part of Ambassador Dodd with regard to a danger which was threatening you. Was it an attack on your life?

A. At that time - and I only heard about this in January after Mr. Dodd told me - I was informed that the S.S. was planning an attack on my person. The intent was, as the technical expression then had it, "to remove" me. Something like that must have been in the air; otherwise, a foreign ambassador and the circles close to me would not have known about it.

Q. Just a little while ago you set forth how your policy rejected the use of arms in bringing about equality of German rights and means of livelihood. Did you try to do anything in a practical way to further your policy of peaceful agreement with foreign countries, for example, when you were the president of the Bank?

A. My entire work as president of the Reichsbank was primarily based on the principle of working with the banks in foreign countries as harmoniously as possible, of pursuing a policy of mutual assistance and support.

Secondly, I tried to enter into personal, friendly relations with the directors of all these banks in the hope of meeting understanding for German problems, and thus of contributing to a solution, by way of co-operation and mutual agreement, of these difficult problems which had arisen in Central Europe. The word "co-operation," "Zusammenarbeit," was the Leitmotiv of our circle.

Q. To turn from the directors of the banks, what about your foreign creditors?

A. As I already said a little while ago, from the start I was in disfavour with all the money-makers, those people who had profited from German loans in foreign countries, for I was against Germany being involved in debts abroad, and I took my stand very firmly on his point. Then later, after the misfortune which I had always predicted actually did come to pass, after the financial crash in the year 1931, these self-same financiers accused me of being to blame for the fact that the interest on their money was no longer being transferred to them. Therefore, in those circles, I did not gain any friends, but among serious bankers and large banking institutions, which were interested in constant and regulated business with Germany, I believe I made no enemies, because all measures which I later had to take in order to protect the German currency and to maintain Germany's foreign trade, all these measures I always discussed jointly with the representatives of foreign creditors. Approximately every six months we met, and I always gave them an itemised account of German conditions. They were permitted to look into the books of the Reichsbank. They could interrogate the officials of the Reichsbank and get them to account, and they always said to me that I told them everything in the most frank and open manner. I may say that I worked in a fair and friendly way also with these men.

Q. And how did your policy of peaceful agreement affect foreign trade, export, credit, and so forth?

A. I believe that, after the happenings that have now taken place, it is today even clearer than before that Germany cannot and could not live without foreign trade, and that the maintenance of export trade must be the basis for the future existence of the German nation. Consequently, I did everything in order to maintain German foreign trade. I can quote a few specific examples in line with and alongside general principles. I tried, for example, to do business

[Page 390]

with China in order that we might export to China. I was ready to give China credit and did. I welcomed the fact that the Soviet Union kept up an extensive flow of trade with us; and I always advocated expanding and stabilising this foreign trade in the case of Russia as well as China. About the ability and readiness to pay, and the promptness of payment of the opposite parties, I never had any doubts.

THE PRESIDENT: He is going into unnecessary detail in support of the allegation that he tried to maintain export trade. We don't surely need details.

DR. DIX: As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, this exposition is of great significance and relevance. It shows Schacht in opposition to the policy carried out by Hitler. Hitler was hostile to the Soviet Union and this hostility is counterbalanced by open friendliness on the part of the Minister of Economics. If I want to prove that Schacht was a pioneer of a policy of understanding with nations, even those against which Hitler carried on, so to speak, a peaceful battle, such as the war of propaganda against the Soviet Union, then in my opinion, this point is very important as showing Schacht's fundamental attitude. This is of absolute relevance.

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant has made the allegation. It is for the prosecution to dispute it in cross-examination and if they do, then the details might become material in re- examination.

DR. DIX: I believe the question has been answered and now I shall turn to an entirely new phase of questioning. Since it is typical of his desire for understanding and his direct basic opposition to the policy of Hitler, I would like to refer to my Exhibit 34, which is an affidavit of Schniewind, the banker and Swedish Counsel-General at Munich. This is Exhibit 34, Page 114, of the English translation and I would like to quote a short paragraph on Page 112 of the German text, which confirms Dr. Schacht's remarks. Schniewind, who was a high official in the Ministry of Economics, says here:

"My department dealt with the Reich guarantees for supplies to Russia and thus I was in position to know that Schacht considered Hitler wrong to fight Russia. Through much effort, he obtained Hitler's permission to send extensive supplies, especially machines to Russia. Frequently I gained the impression that Herr Schacht favoured sending these supplies because, while instrumental in giving employment, they did not benefit rearmament. Herr Schacht on several public occasions pointed out with satisfaction that trade shipments to Russia were proceeding promptly and smoothly."
There are just a few more minutes before the customary recess, your Honour, and before we take our recess, I ask that I be permitted to reply shortly to your Lordship's remarks of a few minutes ago. The defendant must conduct what is, to a certain degree, a very difficult defence. The prosecution very simply argued:
"You helped to finance rearmament and this rearmament in the final analysis ended in war, and not only a war but a war of aggression; therefore, you as a defendant are either a conspirator or an accomplice, and that is a war crime."
As far as this argument is concerned, it must, in my opinion, be open to the defendant, first of all - and we shall deal with that later - to point out that rearmament as such by no means constitutes a desire for aggressive war; and secondly to show that his acts actually indicate the exact opposite, namely, his desire for concord and peace; and for these fundamental reasons, I do beg the Tribunal not to cut me short in this evidence but rather to give me the time to carry it through in detail. This explains my desire to set forth Schacht's policy toward the Soviet Union, a policy in which he was in direct opposition to Hitler, to bring it forth in its entirety, and also my wish to show that he worked for our agreement on all levels-with directors of banks and creditors - that is he

[Page 391]

advocated a policy of give and take rather than one of unilateral terrorising and strife.

Gentlemen of the Tribunal, it is chiefly on a psychological plane on which I have to conduct the defence; that is a very sensitive and delicate field and I again ask that my task may not be made more difficult. Then, when the witnesses are called, I, for my part, will most likely dispense with every witness except one, and I beg that you show me some consideration. Does your Lordship consider it time for a recess?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly, Dr. Dix. I thought that the Tribunal had shown you every consideration, and we will now certainly have a recess.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. Dr. Schacht, what was your attitude toward the "Fuehrer Principle"? Did you not realise the danger of giving a blank cheque; the danger of losing your own responsibility? You have heard that Sir David considers the "Fuehrer Principle," as such, criminal.

A. Whether the "Fuehrer Principle" is criminal or not - opinions throughout history have been much divided. If we look back through Roman history we see that, from time to time, in dire periods of distress a leader was selected to whom everyone else was subordinate. And if you read "Failure of a Mission" by Henderson, there, too, you find sentences in which he says:-

"People in England sometimes forget and fail to realise that even dictators can be, up to a point, necessary for a period and even extremely beneficial for a nation."
Another passage from the same book says:-
"Dictatorships arc not always evil."
In other words, it depends on just what is attributed to a Fuehrer; how much confidence one has in a Fuehrer; and for how long a time. Of course, it is a sheer impossibility that someone assumes the leadership of a country without giving the nation from time to time the opportunity of saying whether it still wants to keep him as Fuehrer or not. The election of Hitler as Fuehrer was in itself no political mistake; in my opinion one could have established quite a number of limitations to his activities which would have avoided the danger you have mentioned. I must say, unfortunately, that no one did that, and that was the great mistake. But perhaps one could have depended on the fact that, from time to time, a referendum, a plebiscite, a new expression of the will of the people could have taken place by which the Fuehrer could have been controlled, because a leader who is not controlled becomes a menace. I recognised that danger very well; I was afraid of it; and I attempted to meet it. May I say one more thing? Limitless Party propaganda attempted to introduce, the idea of a Fuehrer as a lasting principle into politics. That, of course, is nonsense, absolute nonsense, and I took the opportunity - I always did take the opportunity - of expressing my dissenting opinions publicly whenever it was possible. I took the opportunity in an address to the Academy of German Law, of which not only Nazis but lawyers of all groups were members, and in that speech I lectured about the "Fuehrer Principle" in economy. And I expressed myself ironically and satirically, as unfortunately is my wont, and said that it was not necessary to have a leader in every stocking factory, that in fact, this principle was not a principle at all but a rule of exception which had to be handled very carefully.

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