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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Ninth Day: Friday, 7th June, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[COLONEL POKROVSKY continues his cross examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 4]

Q. Very well, I am perfectly satisfied with your reply and to conclude my first group of questions, I want to ask just one more on this particular matter: Do not you agree with me that only the deputy Chief of the OKW, and not just any other responsible official could-quite independently, without Keitel's knowledge, without any instructions and without even a post-factum report to him - decide questions such as the preparation of a plan for attacking another country? Have you understood my question?

A. I understood it partly, but not the whole meaning. First of all, you made a wrong assertion in your question. You asserted that I did not report the preparation for an attack on a neutral country to Field Marshal Keitel. That is an assertion

[Page 5]

on your part which I refuted yesterday under oath. We were not concerned with an attack on the Soviet Union at this meeting. We were concerned with the defence against a Soviet attack on the Roumanian oil-fields. That is established in Document 170-C, the War Diary of the Navy.

Q. Is that all you wanted to say on that question?

A. I believe that suffices.

Q. I do not intend to argue with you, I merely wish to say that we have two proofs of this conference: First, your testimony, in which you deny the fact of the preparation of a plan for attacking the Soviet Union; and second, the testimony of another participant in this conference, Warlimont, who says straight out that the meeting was specifically concerned with elaborating the plan of attack on the Soviet Union and that this directive greatly astonished them. I do not intend to deal with this question any further, but I should like to ask -

A. If you are interested, I could explain that divergence to you.

Q. No, at the present moment it does not interest me.

Would it be correct to state that you were either the leading or one of the leading staff officers in Hitlerite Germany, who were engaged in preparing measures for attacking the Soviet Union as far back as the summer of 1940? It is precisely on this matter that I want to hear your reply. Is the question clear to you?

A. The question is clear, and my answer to it is that I was probably the first who learned of the Fuehrer's concern about Russia's political attitude. However, I was not the first who made preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union. To my surprise I discovered here through the witness Paulus that long before we concerned ourselves with any orders of this kind, plans of attack were already worked out in the General Staff of the Army. I cannot tell you with absolute certainty how it was done. Perhaps General Halder can tell us about that. I can only express that as a supposition on my part.

Q. Suppositions are of little interest to us, we are more concerned with facts. On the day before yesterday, the 5th June, you stated that the attack on the Soviet Union, whereby Germany broke her non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, was in the nature of a preventive war. That is what you then stated, is it not?

A. Yes, that is what I said, it was a preventive war.

Q. Very well, that is your opinion. Do you remember that from the testimony of Raeder, from the testimony of Goering from the testimonies of Paulus and Keitel it appears that they were all opposed to the attack on the Soviet Union? I shall read into the record one sentence from Keitel's testimony, just to help you to remember.

While General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor of the USSR, was cross-examining Keitel, he put this question:

"Q. You stated that you especially went to Hitler with the request that he, Hitler, should change his intentions with regard to the Soviet Union?

A. (Keitel): Yes, I asked him not only to change this plan, but to do away with these plans altogether; i.e., not to wage war. That was the content of my memorandum."

Do you remember that testimony of Keitel's?

A. Yes, I remember and I know the memorandum as well.

Q. Very well. Do you not find it rather strange that a man, in this case yourself, who has in every way endeavoured to disclaim the fact that he was Keitel's deputy, declares here, before the Tribunal, in Keitel's presence, that he was better informed of current events than Keitel and had therefore found the courage to make a statement in direct opposition to the opinion of Keitel, Paulus, Raeder, Goering and Milch.

A. I did not understand that.

Q, I shall be very pleased to make my meaning more explicit. Keitel did not appear to see any necessity for what you call a "preventive" war, and all the persons whose testimony I have just mentioned also saw no reason for waging this so- called "preventive" war. They did not believe that the Soviet Union intended

[Page 6]

to attack Germany, whereas you declared that the war was of a preventive nature. Now, do you understand my question?

A. Yes, now I understand you.

Q. Very well, would you like to answer the question?

A. Yes, I can give an explanation. First of all, it is not certain what stand Field Marshal Keitel took in the spring of 1941 with regard to this question. Secondly, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force - with due respect to both of these gentlemen - saw the problem as a whole only from the point of view of naval or air strategy. And they saw no danger whatsoever in the Russian Navy or the Russian Air Force. What was taking place on land, of course, was of less interest to them. That explains why the strongest opposition came from the Luftwaffe and the Navy and only the Army, in this case, was more inclined to see the tremendous danger with which it was confronted. But in spite of this, every one of us, myself included, warned the Fuehrer most urgently against this experiment, which should have been undertaken only if there was no other way out. I will not take it upon myself to judge whether there might not perhaps have been a political possibility which was not exhausted; I cannot judge.

Q. Very well. I am satisfied with your reply and particularly with the fact that you have condescended to define the breaking of an international treaty and the attack on the Soviet Union by the word "experiment". I want you to look at the document -

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should not make comments of that sort. You must ask questions and not make comments.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My remark, my Lord, is connected with my next question.


Q. Witness, please look at Document 865-PS. Have you got this document?

A. Yes, I have the document before me.

Q. Very well. In reply to the questions of the defence counsel you stated that Lammers had, quite by accident, designated you as a collaborator of Rosenberg. There is, in your hands, a very brief document - which I shall now read aloud - a document signed by Keitel. It is a top secret letter of 25th April, 1941, addressed to Rosenberg personally. This letter states:

"The Chief of the Reich Chancellery has sent a copy of the Fuehrer's directive appointing you his plenipotentiary for dealing, at Headquarters, with questions relating to Eastern European territories. I am requested by the High Command of the Armed Forces to entrust the working out of these problems to the Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff General of Artillery, Jodl, and to Major-General Warlimont as his deputy. I request that your Department contact these two persons only."

Heil Hitler!
Yours truly,
signed Keitel.

What do you say now, in view of this document, in reply to the question whether you remember or not that you, with Warlimont as your deputy; were authorized by the OKW, as far back as 1941 to deal with the practical problems in connection with the Hitlerite expansion in the East and on the lines adopted by Stab Rosenberg?

Do you understand my question?

A. I have already told the Tribunal yesterday everything that can be said in connection with this formality. Reich Minister Lammers sent the same letter to all Reich Ministries. He asked every ministry to designate a plenipotentiary and a deputy; and accordingly Field Marshal Keitel naturally designated the two officers who were at headquarters. I never worked together with Rosenberg and

[Page 7]

it was not necessary to do so, except for one single talk with him, which I mentioned yesterday. Only my propaganda section conferred with the Eastern Ministry about leaflets - quite simple matters which every soldier can understand.

Q. By the way, concerning the question of soldiers. You stubbornly affirm that you were only concerned with military questions of an operational nature, and did not concern yourself with political questions at all. Have I understood you correctly?

A. I made that explanation yesterday as well. Insofar as politics were not an integral part of the strategy. To a certain extent politics did come into it, for without politics there could be no strategy. It is an essential part of strategy.

Q. Now -

A. But since I was not a strategist, but only a general staff officer, I was not concerned with this matter directly.

Q. You were not concerned with these matters? You will now look at Exhibit USSR 477 and I must ask you if you have found your own signature on the last page.

A. Yes, indeed, I see my signature.

Q. You have found it? It is a directive on the organization of propaganda in connection with Case Barbarossa. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Are you going to deny that in that directive, issued by you, the question is clearly put that the USSR, as a Sovereign State, should be destroyed, and you considered that as a purely military task? You, an officer of the General Staff, were not interested in politics?

A. I cannot find the place where it says that Russia is to be destroyed.

Q. You are quite right if you want to draw attention to the wording. It is not stated there in so many words. I am thinking of the general sense of the directive, particularly of sub-paragraph "D".

A. Yes, but - I know the document.

Q. I want to read out one sentence:

"For the present we should not carry out any propaganda for splitting up the Soviet Union into separate States."
Farther on there are a couple of technical remarks and then it says:
"Nevertheless, we should avoid" (in the same paragraph) "such terms as 'Russia', 'Russians ', 'Russian Armed Forces', etc., and substitute 'Soviet Union', 'People of the Soviet Union', 'Red Army', etc."
Have you found the place, Jodl?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well. What would you like to say if you want to say anything at all on the subject?

A. Why certainly I wish to answer the question.

Q. If you please.

A. As may be seen from the heading of this directive it deals with the handling of propaganda; compared with the British and the Soviet Union we were mere schoolboys in propaganda. You are perhaps aware that propaganda is something quite justifiable and is not limited by any regulations of international law. At one time, in Geneva, there was a long debate about this, and the idea that propaganda should be restricted by international law was rejected and I have already stated that in my preliminary interrogation. In the field of propaganda I can add or omit whatever I wish; there is no law, either criminal or international, in regard to that. But perhaps you do not know that. This propaganda had to be in line with the political directives of the Fuehrer, and this was being done. I am very well acquainted with propaganda, for I studied it for five years; your propaganda as well. There are other entirely different propaganda directives too.

Q. You preferred not to give a direct answer to the question you were asked. I too am perfectly satisfied since I have understood your attitude.

[Page 8]

Now, I should be interested in receiving a reply to the following question:

What connection did the Ministry of Propaganda have with the issue of this directive? Did this Ministry participate in the preparation of the directive, or were you and the OKW solely responsible? Did you understand me?

A. Yes, I understood you. My propaganda division worked in Berlin. I cannot tell you in detail how it worked with Minister Rosenberg, as well as with the Propaganda Ministry on such a document. But General von Wedel, the chief of this division, could tell you. I only know it was drawn up in agreement with the Rosenberg Ministry, for I was always anxious that we should not take separate lines but rather work in line with the competent civilian authorities. But it is only propaganda; it is not a directive to destroy Russia, propaganda is a spiritual weapon.

Q. I do not propose to enter into a discussion with you on what constitutes propaganda and whether you were only responsible for propaganda.

We shall have quite enough other questions to ask. Do you suggest that this directive after a certain agreement had been reached, was issued by other departments as well? Is this correct? Especially by agreement with Stab Rosenberg?

A. Yes, I believe that.

Q. Very well. Now let us pass on to a second series of questions. Do you dispute the fact that the document regarding the conference at Hitler's headquarters on the 27th March, 1941, dealt with the subject of Yugoslavia? You, of course, remember that conference?

A. Yes, I remember that.

Q. Would you argue the fact that the document describing this conference and the directive for operations against Yugoslavia - both documents are dated 28th March, 1941, in other words, they were issued on the following day - would you still argue that these documents did not emanate from the Operations Staff of the OKW, i.e., from you personally? You can, if you like, take a look at Document 1246-PS. It might help you to remember events.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, you are not losing sight of the fact that this subject was fully gone into by Mr. Roberts in cross-examination of the defendant?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My Lord, if you consider that the question has already been completely clarified, I shall refrain from asking it. But it seems to me that I am interested in an entirely different aspect of the same question. But if you think the matter is clear, I shall withdraw it.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know yet. But I was only pointing out to you that it had been fully gone into by Mr. Roberts, I do not know what you are suggesting. this document is.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I offered for the attention of the defendant two documents, my Lord, the directive for operations against Yugoslavia, dated 22nd March, and the minutes of the conference. Both documents were submitted to the Tribunal. If you think that the matter has been fully covered already I will not ask the questions. However, it appears to me that there is some reason for asking the question.

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