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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd May to 13th May, 1946

One Hundred and Twentieth Day: Friday, 3rd May, 1946
(Part 2 of 12)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of Hjalmar Schacht]

[Page 53]

Q. Now I do not want to play upon words, and if you say my reference to it is a play upon words, you force me to go into what you told us about Goering.

Is it not a fact that you told Major Tilley this?:-

"I have called Hitler an amoral type of person, but I can only regard Goering as immoral and criminal. Endowed by nature with a certain geniality which he managed to exploit for his own popularity, he was the most egocentric being imaginable. The assumption of political power was for him only a means to personal enrichment and personal good living. The success of others filled him with envy. His greed knew no bounds. His predilection for jewels, gold and finery was unimaginable. He knew no comradeship. Only so long as someone was useful to him was he a friend to him, but only on the surface.

"Goering's knowledge in all fields in which a government member should be competent, was nil, especially in the economic field. Of all the economic matters which Hitler entrusted to him in the autumn of 1936 be had not the faintest notion, though he created a large official machine and misused his powers as lord of all economy most outrageously. In his personal appearance he was so theatrical that you could only compare him with Nero. A lady who had tea with his second wife reported that he appeared at this tea in a sort of Roman toga and sandals studded with jewels, his fingers bedecked with innumerable jewelled rings and generally covered with ornaments, his face painted and his lips rouged."

Did you give that statement to Major Tilley?

A. Yes.

Q. Yes. And you say you had no personal differences with Goering?

A. Mr. Justice Jackson, I ask here again that the different periods of time be not confused. I found out about all these things only later and not at the time of which you speak, that is, the year 1936.

Q. Do you dispute the testimony of Gisevius that in 1935 he told you about Goering's complicity in the whole Gestapo organization?

A. I have testified here that I knew about the Gestapo camps which Goering had set up, and said that I was opposed to them. I am not at all denying that.

Q. But your friendship continued, despite that knowledge.

A. I have never had a friendship with Goering.

Q. Well -

A. I surely could not refuse to work with him, especially as long as I did not know what kind of a man he is.

Q. All right. Let us take up foreign relations, about which you have made a good deal of complaint here. I think you have testified that in 1937, when you were doing all this rearming, you did not envisage any kind of a war, is that right?

A. No, that is not correct, what you just said. In 1937 I did not do everything to rearm, but from 1935, from the autumn of 1935, on, I tried to do everything possible to slow down the rearming.

Q. All right. I refer you to your interrogation of 16th October, 1945, and ask whether you gave these answers to these questions: "Question: Let me ask you then, in 1937, what kind of war did you envisage? "Answer: I never envisaged war. We might have been attacked, invaded by somebody, but even that I never expected. "Question: You never expected. Did you expect a possibility of a mobilization and concentration of economic forces in the event of war?

[Page 54]

"Answer: In the event of an attack against Germany, certainly.

"Question: Now, thinking back to 1937, are you able to say what sort of an attack you were concerned with?

"Answer: I don't know, Sir.

"Question: Did you have thoughts on that at the time?

"Answer: No, never.

"Question: Did you then consider that the contingency of war in 1937 was so remote as to be negligible?

"Answer: Yes.

"Question: You did?

"Answer: Yes, I have never thought of the possibility of a conflict with Russia."

Did you give those answers?

A. I have made exactly the same statements, as found in this interrogation, here before the Tribunal.

Q. Now, you testified that you tried to divert Hitler's plan which was to move and expand to the East - you tried to divert his attention to colonies instead.

A. Yes.

Q. What colonies? You have never specified them.

A. Our colonies.

Q. And where were they located?

A. I assume that you know that as well as I do.

Q. You are the witness, Dr. Schacht. I want to know what you were telling Hitler, not what I know.

A. Oh, what I told Hitler? I told Hitler we should try to get back a part of the colonies which belonged to us and the administration of which was taken away from us, so that we could work there.

Q. What colonies?

A. I was thinking especially of the African colonies.

Q. And those African colonies you would regard as essential to your plan for the future of Germany.

A. Not those, but generally, any colonial activity; and of course, at first, I could only limit my hopes for colonies to our property.

Q. And your property as you call it, was the African colonies.

A. Not I personally called them that. That is what the Treaty of Versailles designated them - "our property."

Q. Have it which way you like, you wanted the colonies you are talking about.

A. Yes.

Q. You considered that the possession and exploitation of colonies was necessary to the sort of Germany that you had in mind to create.

A. If you would replace the word "exploitation" by "development," I believe there will be no misunderstanding, and in so far I agree with you completely.

Q. Well, by "development" you mean trading, and I suppose you expected to make a profit out of trade.

A. No, not only trade, but developing the natural resources, or the economic possibilities of the colonies.

Q. And it was your proposal that Germany should become reliant upon those colonies instead of relying on expansion to the East.

A. I considered every move of expansion within the European continent as sheer folly.

Q. But you agreed with Hitler that expansion, either colonial or to the East, was a necessary condition of the kind of Germany you wanted to create.

A. No, that I never said, I told him it was insanity to undertake anything toward the East, that only colonial development was the solution.

[Page 55]

Q. And you proposed as a matter of policy that Germany's development should depend on colonies, with which there was no overland trade route to Germany, and which, as you knew, would require a naval power to protect them?

A. I do not think that at all - how do you get that idea?

Q. Well, you do not get to Africa overland, do you? You have to go by water at some point, do you not?

A. You can go by air.

Q. What was your trade route? You were thinking only of air developments?

A. No, no. I thought of ships also.

Q. Yes. And Germany was not then a naval power?

A. I believe we had a merchant marine which was quite considerable.

Q. Did your colonial plan involve rearmament by way of making Germany a naval power to protect the trade routes to the colonies that you were proposing?

A. Not in the least.

Q. Then your plan was to leave the trade route unprotected?

A. Oh, no. I believed that International Law would be sufficient protection.

Q. Well, that is what you disagreed with Hitler about.

A. We never spoke about that.

Q. Well, in any event he rejected your plan for colonial developments?

A. Oh, no. I have explained here that, upon my urgent request, he gave me the order in the summer of 1936 to take up these colonial matters.

Q. Did you not give these answers in your interrogation, Dr. Schacht?

"Question: In other words, at the time of your talks with Hitler, in 1931 and 1932, concerning colonial policy, you did not find him, shall we say, enthusiastic about the possibility?

"Answer: Neither enthusiastic, nor very much interested.

"Question: But he expressed to you what his views were alternatively to the possibility of obtaining colonies?

"Answer: No, we didn't go into other alternatives."

Did you give those answers?

A. Certainly.

Q. Now, after the Fritsch affair, at least, you knew that Hitler was not intent upon preserving the peace of Europe by all possible means.

A. Yes, I had my doubts.

Q. And after the Austrian Anschluss, you knew that the Wehrmacht was an important factor in his Eastern policy?

A. Well, one may express it that way. I do not know exactly what you mean by it.

Q. Well, do not answer anything if you do not know what I mean, because we will make it clear as we go along. Except for the suggestion of colonies you proposed no other alternative to his plan of expansion to the East?

A. No.

Q. Never at any Cabinet meeting or elsewhere did you propose any other alternative?

A. No.

Q. Now, as to the move into Austria, I think you gave these answers:

"Question: Actually Hitler did not use the precise method that you say you favoured? "Answer: Not at all. "Question: Did you favour the method that he did employ? "Answer: Not at all, sir. "Question: What was there in his method that you didn't like? "Answer: Oh, it was simply overrunning, just taking the Austrians over the head - er, what do you call it? It was force, and I have never been in favour of such force." [N.B. These are the exact words of Schacht, who spoke English in this interrogation.]
Did you give those answers?

[Page 56]

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you have made considerable complaint here that foreigners did not come to your support at various times in your efforts to block Hitler, have you not?

A. Certainly.

Q. You knew at the time of the Austrian Anschluss the attitude of the United States towards the Nazi regime, as expressed by President Roosevelt, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you knew of his speech suggesting that the Nazi menace ought to be quarantined to prevent its spread?

A. I do not remember, but I certainly must have read it at that time, if it was published in Germany, as I assume it was.

Q. Goebbels started a campaign of attack on the President as a result of it, did he not?

A. I assume I read that.

Q. As a matter of fact, you joined in the attack on foreigners who were criticising the methods, did you not?

A. When and where? What attacks?

Q. All right. After the Austrian Anschluss, when force was used, with your disapproval, you immediately went in and took over the Austrian National Bank, did you not?

A. That was my duty.

Q. Yes. Well, you did it.

A. Of course.

Q. And you liquidated it for the account of the Reich.

A. Not liquidated; I merged it, amalgamated it.

Q. I beg your pardon?

A. Amalgamated.

Q. Amalgamated it. And you took over the personnel?

A. Everything.

Q. Yes. And the decree doing so was signed by you.

A. Certainly.

Q. Yes. And you called the employees together on 21st March, 1938.

A. Yes.

Q. And made a speech to them.

A. Yes.

Q. And did you say the following among other things ...

A. Certainly.

Q. Well, you have not heard it yet.

A. Yes, I heard it during the case of the prosecution.

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