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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Eighth Day: Thursday, 6th June, 1946
(Part 5 of 12)

[MR. ROBERTS continues his cross examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 390]

Q. I accept that, witness. Now I go very shortly to the case of Czechoslovakia. I only want to deal really with a couple of documents. I want to deal with item 17, which the Tribunal will find on Page 29 of Book 7. And it is marked - if you will hand it up - and I have marked that for you, witness, item 17.

[Page 391]

A. Yes.

Q. You are familiar with that?

A. Yes, I know that.

Q. And I do not propose to read it again, because it was read very recently; but you agree, do you not, you said yesterday, the problem was this: First of all, you must have a surprise attack; if you were going to attack at all, you must have a surprise attack.

A. On the basis of the stipulations made by the Fuehrer, yes.

Q. You must have a surprise attack first, and your troops would take four days to get into their battle position.

A. Yes.

Q. And therefore you must know the time of the incident which is going to be the cause of the attack; you must know the time when the incident is going to take place.

A. Yes, I said that one would either have to predetermine the time or one must know it in advance, otherwise the requirements could not be met.

Q. And, therefore, you must create the incident yourself.

A. I testified to that at length yesterday. Either one of the many had to be exploited or perhaps one would have to help the situation along a bit; but, as I said, those are General Staff considerations which, when we capture them from the French, you consider entirely irrelevant.

Q. It is set down at the end of the document on Page 30 that either the Wehrmacht or the Counter-Intelligence Section would be charged with the manufacture of the incident.

A. Yes, I therefore wrote: "In case the Counter-Intelligence Department is not charged with the creation of an incident apart from that" - in case. These are all theoretical meditations of the General Staff on a situation which I depicted quite accurately yesterday. At that time, such incidents occurred daily.

Q. I know. Then, if this had taken place, the world would have been told that because of that incident, Germany had been compelled to go to war?

A. I do not believe that this would have been reported to the world. Rather, I believe the true reason would have been told the world which reason, furthermore, was being made known constantly through the Press, namely that three and a half million Germans cannot be used as slaves by another people permanently. That was the issue.

Q. If the world was going to be told the truth, what is the earthly good of manufacturing an incident?

A. I testified as to that yesterday - I can only repeat what I said yesterday at length: I knew the history of war too well not to know that in every war things like that happen - the question as to who fired the first shot. And Czechoslovakia at that time had already fired thousands of shots which had fallen on our territory.

Q. Now, I say, witness, subject to correction, that you are not answering the question at all. The question was a very short one and you make a long speech about something quite different. The question is, if the truth was sufficient to justify your going to war, why should you want to manufacture an incident? If you cannot answer it, say so.

A. Well, it is not at all confirmed that I wanted to bring about an incident. I wrote, "in case." We never prepared one and that is surely the essential thing.

Q. I will not argue any further with you. I have put my point and will leave it. But now I want, on quite another point, to refer to the last paragraph on Page 29, the same document:

"Even a warning to the diplomatic representatives in Prague is impossible before the first air attack, although the consequences could be very grave in the event of their becoming victims of such an attack."
Perhaps you would read this paragraph, known already to the Tribunal.
" ... deaths of representatives of friendly or confirmed neutral powers."

[Page 392]

That means an air-raid before there has been any declaration of war or any warning to the civilian population, does it not?

A. That meant that I called the attention of the Fuehrer, through this document, to the fact that on the basis of his decree that result could or would come about.

Q. Would you call that a terror attack? A terror attack?

A. It can not be said under what conditions such an action would be launched. These are all theoretical tasks for our General Staff. How and when such an action, whether with justice or injustice, would take place, no one could say; that depended on the political decision.

Q. I will show you later how those thoughts were carried into practice in the case of other countries.

So we will leave that document altogether now and I will leave the case of Czechoslovakia. Now you were recalled to the OKW on the 23rd August, 1939, from your artillery employment. We know that, do we not?

A. Yes.

Q. That was a great compliment, showing the high opinion that the Fuehrer held of you, was it not?

A. The Fuehrer was not responsible for my being called back. I do not know whether he knew about it at all. I do not believe so.

Q. Very good. On a very small point, witness, you told the Tribunal yesterday or the day before, that you never had a conference with the Fuehrer, I think, until September, 1939; but, according to your diary, on the 10th August, 1938 - it is Page 136 of Book 7 - you attended a conference at the Berghof with the Army Chiefs and the Air Force groups. Did you not meet the Fuehrer then?

A. That which you asserted in your first sentence, I did not say. What I said was, word for word, "On the 3rd September I was introduced to the Fuehrer by Field Marshal Keitel, and on this occasion, at any rate, I spoke with him for the first time." That is what I testified to, word for word, yesterday. I had seen the Fuehrer a dozen times before then and I had heard him when he delivered his big speeches, after he had become Reich Chancellor and Commander-in-Chief.

Q. Yes, I accept that. It is quite likely that I was wrong. Now, with regard to the Polish campaign, did I hear you aright when you said that Warsaw was only bombed after leaflets had been dropped?

A. That applies to the period of the siege of Warsaw. The terror attack, I might say, which was to hit the entire city through artillery bombardment, that took place after two previous warnings.

Q. It is a matter of history, is it not, that Warsaw was bombed, with many other Polish towns, in the early hours of the 1st September, 1939, before any declaration of war? Is that not a matter of history?

A. As far as this historical fact is concerned, Field Marshal Kesselring, who is very well informed about this, testified to that here in detail. He said - and also Reichsmarschall Goering - that on this date the militarily important objectives throughout Poland were attacked, but not the population of Warsaw.

Q. Very good. You are quite right, now Kesselring -

MR . ROBERTS: If the Tribunal wants the reference, he gave evidence as to the bombing of Warsaw, the English transcript, Part 9, Page 25.


Q. Now, I suppose the result of the Polish campaign was naturally a source of satisfaction to all of you?

A. The development of the Polish campaign, from the military point of view, was extremely satisfactory to us. Of course things happen in life that would give more satisfaction than a military action.

Q. Well, now, I want to look at a letter. This is -

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, this is a new Document 885-D, and it is Exhibit GB 484.

[Page 393]


Q. That letter is in your writing, is it not? Is it in your writing?

A. Yes.

Q. Very good. Now, it is written to Police President Dr. Karl Schwabe, Bruenn (Moravia), Police Presidency, dated 28th October, 1939:

"My Dear Police President: For your enthusiastic letter of 22nd September, I thank you heartily. I was particularly pleased about it. This wonderful campaign in Poland was a grand opening for this hard and decisive struggle and has brought about for us an unusually favourable springboard, both politically and militarily. The difficult part for the people as well as the Army is still ahead."
I propose to read it without comments and comment afterward.
"But the Fuehrer and his associates are full of the greatest confidence; for the sanctimonious British will not succeed in throttling our economy, and militarily we are without worry. Decisive is the will of the people to stick it out, and this the many strong-willed and devoted men who are today at the head of the districts and in other responsible posts will take care of. This time we will show that we have better nerves and the greater unity. That you, Police President, will contribute your weighty share to keeping the Czechs at it and not let them perk up, of this I am convinced."
Then he is very pleased about the high recognition granted to the troops:
"Thanking you once more heartily for your words of appreciation which exceed my modest contribution in the shadow of the powerful personality of our Fuehrer. I am with Heil Hitler."
Why did you call the British sanctimonious? Because they keep treaties and do not have concentration camps and do not persecute Jews? Is that why you thought we were sanctimonious, because we do not break treaties?

A. No, that was not the reason. The reason was that the political situation generally was represented that way, and that I was actually of that opinion at the time.

Q. Very good. Now you deal with:- "Decisive is the will of the people to stick it out, and this the many strong-willed and devoted men who are at the head of the districts and in other responsible posts will take care of." Who were these strong-willed and devoted men? Is that the SS and the Gestapo?

A. No, these are the Gauleiter.

Q. The Gauleiter?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, but I mean we have one or two Gauleiter here, Gauleiter Sauckel, for instance, in a large area like Thuringia, he could not do much by himself, could he? He would have to have some SS or Gestapo, would he not?

A. We are not at all concerned with that here. The fact is that these Gauleiter actually headed the organization of the State and the administration in this war in a noteworthy way. Despite the catastrophe, the people were much better taken care of than in the years 1914-1918. That is uncontested and it is to the credit of these people.

Q. They were better taken care of?

A. Even in the most terrible conditions at the end, every man in Berlin received his normal rations. It was a model of organization, that I can only say.

Q. And a model of organization because no opposition to the government or the Party was allowed, was it?

A. Certainly, it made it easier on one hand, and on the other hand led to terrible catastrophes about which, of course, I only heard here for the first time.

Q. Very good, well, the letter speaks for itself, and I will proceed. May I just ask you about this last sentence: "That you, Police President, will contribute your weighty share to keeping the Czechs at it and to not let them perk up."

What did you mean by that?

[Page 394]

A. Since he was Police President in Bruenn, it was his task to see that quiet and order were maintained in Bruenn and not to tolerate a Czech uprising while we were at war. That is a matter of course. I did not say that he was to murder or Germanise the Czechs at all, but he had to keep them in order.

Q. Very good. I pass from that now and I want to go to the various campaigns in the West. Now, with regard to Norway, of course you knew that your country had given its solemn word repeatedly to respect the integrity of Norway and Denmark, did you not?

A. I said yesterday, with reference to the two declarations of ....

Q. Please answer my question, it is such a simple one.

A. Yes, I believe, I recalled that at the time. I am quite sure.

Q. Very good; and we know there was an assurance at the beginning of the war to reassure all these Western neutrals, and there was another assurance on the 6th of October, and you say that in November Hitler decided to invade Denmark and Norway?

A. Yes. I testified to that at length yesterday.

Q. I know you did. Please do not always say that. I have got to ask you to go over the same ground from the other angle, you see. "Norway," as your speech said - and I am quoting from Page 291 of Book; - perhaps you had better give it to him - Page 11 of your notes ....

MR. ROBERTS: It is in the middle, my Lord, under paragraph 8:

"Q. In the meantime, we were confronted by a problem: the occupation of Norway and Denmark. In the first place, there was danger that England would seize Scandinavia and thereby, besides effecting a strategic encirclement from the North, would stop the import of iron and nickel which was of such importance to us for war purposes. Secondly, it was with the realization of our own maritime necessities - 'Notwendigkeiten' " - that is the word, is it not - 'Notwendigkeiten'"?
MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, that ought to be "necessary" and not "imperative." "Erforderten" is the German word.


Q. " - which made it necessary for us to secure free access to the Atlantic by a number of air and naval bases."
You wanted air bases and U-boat bases, did you not?

A. Militarily they were tremendously important to us, there is no doubt about that, and the necessity for taking them was based on the reports which we had of the threat to Norway.

Q. What I suggest to you, you see, is this: As in the case of the other three low countries, so in this case, you simply made an excuse. You thought England might do something, although she had not done it for months, and you violated Norway's neutrality at your own chosen time. Is that right?

A. In order to answer that question, yes or no, one would have to undertake a very thorough study of all the historical documents on both our own and the other side. Then one can say if it is correct or not. Before that has been decided, only a subjective opinion exists. I have mine, and you have another.

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