Court V-A, Case No. 12C
Official Transcript of the American Military Tribunal in the matter of the United States of America against Wilhelm von Leeb, et aI., defendants, sitting at Nurnberg, Germany on 5 February 1948, 0930-1630, the Honorable John C. Young presiding.
THE MARSHAL: The Honorable, the Judges of Military Tribunal V-A. Military Tribuml V-A is now in session. God save the United States of America and this honorable Tribunal. There will be order in the court.
THE PRESIDENT: Has the Marshal ascertained if all of the defendants are present?
THE MARSHAL: May it please Your Honors, all defendants are present in the court room, with the exception of the defendant von Roques, who is absent in the hospital.
THE PRESIDENT: You have no formal report from the hospital at this time?
THE MARSHAL: No, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Pending the receipt of a formal report the proceedings in this cause will go forward. After some considerable delay following the constitution of this tribunal and the selection of its personnel, this case now stands for trial. I will repeat what I had to say, in case it may not have been he ard [sic]. After some considerable delay following the constitution of this tribunal and the selection of its personnel, this case now stands for trial. It is understandable that such delay has occasioned some impatience on the part of the members of the tribunal but notwithstanding such impatience they realize and have recognized that in a matter of the magnitude and importance of the action upon which we are entering, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible to have forecast the exact time when it might be undertaken. Some of counsel who will be engaged in the defense in this case have been engaged until last night in another case of equal importance and the Tribunal, recognizing such fact, delayed opening this case that they might be free to render a full and proper service to their clients in the case they have just concluded and also to render a like character of service to their clients in this case from its very beginning. The judges on this
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case are aware of the gravity and importance of the issued involved in this case and in others like it. Thye [sic] are aware of the responsibility that rests upon them to ascertain, by the exercise of all the care of which they are capable and by use of all the ability they possess, what are the asserted facts relied upon to sustain the Prosecution's case, what are the asserted facts relied upon by defendants to sustain their defense, and out of this conflict - for there is always such a conflict in any legal forum - determine what are the true facts, and then to determine the law applicable to the true facts as they find them, and then render the tribunal's judgment accordingly.
The three judges who sit do not alone constitute the tribunal. Counsel for the Prosecution, counsel for the Defense, and the Secretary and other administrative and executive officers also are constituent and necessary parts of the tribunal, without which it could not, in any true sense, function as a court of law or render a judgment that would even approximate justice. Believing that all the constituent branches that make up the complete tribunal understand their functions and sense their responsibilities, it is the hope of the judges, and speaking for them, I urge upon all of you, that each separate functioning branch of the tribunal cooperate to the fullest extent possible with all other branches of the Tribunal to the end that there maybe a proper and expeditious presentation both of the case and the defense, to the end that there may come out of this case the result that should be sought by all right-thinking men in any judicial forum: a judgment that on the facts and the law as nearly as possible approximates justice.
There are three preliminary and interlocutory matters requiring disposition before the commencement of the trial. Each of these is covered by a written order of which doubtless both the Prosecution and Defense will be given copies, but that the issues may be determined at the proper time in this proceeding, I shall read the orders, which are short, as prepared for the record.
The first is an order on the motion attacking the competence of the
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tribunal. The Court's order is as follows, omitting for the reading the formal caption on the order:
"The motion for the discharge of defendant von Leeb and the other defendants in this case, filed the 30th of December, 1947, on the ground of the incompetence of this Tribunal to try said defendants has been ably briefed by learned cou[n]sel for the movants, who are to be commended for their industry and ingenuity. The majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in re: Yamashito, 327 U.S. Reports, page 1, held that Part III, Article 63 of the Geneva Convention, relied upon by movants as supporting their motion, was applicable only to judicial proceedings directed against a prisoner-of-war for offenses committed while a prisoner-of-war. While this case may not be an authority binding us, we think the reasoning of the case is sound and therefore we concur in and adopt it as the law of this case. This makes it unnecessary to consider the other matters raised in opposition to the motion. Said motion is not well taken and the same should be and is overruled."
Here are the written orders -- or is the written order for the Secretary on that motion.
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The second is an order on the motion for dismissal of defendant Lehmann from this cause. Omitting tho formal parts of the order, it is as follows:
"Defendant Lehmann's motion for discharge, filed the 6th of January, 1948, is not well taken. The fact that said defendant was arrested, detained, investigated, interrogated, and then released, does not operate as a bar to a prosecution subsequently initiated, Article III, Section 1 (d) of Control Council Law No. 10 relates to the procedure to be followed by the occupying authority and does not confer any substantive rights on the accused or make applicable the defense asserted by the motion. The motion is over-ruled."
Here are the written copies of the order for the Secretary's file,
The third is the order on the report of defendant von Leeb's medical examination pursuant to application for the same by his counsel. Omitting the formal parts, the order is as follows:
"Pursuant to application by his counsel, Dr. Hans Laternser, for medical examination of defendant von Leob to ascertain whether said defendant's health is such that he is fit to stand trial, the Tribunal on the 9th of January, 1948, directed that such medical examination be made and the findings reported to the Tribunal. Compliance with said directive has been had. The said report does not disclose a health condition of said defendant such as to unfit him to stand trial for and to present his defense to the offenses charged. It is therefore ordered by the tribunal that said defendant von Leeb shall stand trial for the offenses charged against him in the indictment in this case."
Those are the copies of the order for filing in the
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Late on February the third there was filed in this cause an application on behalf of defendant Walter Warlimont with respect to the appointment of counsel. The tribanal has given some consideration to that, but is not at this time prepared to announce its decision. That decision will be announced very shortly, and pending our determination on any further action in the matter, his present counsel will continue to represent him before this Tribunal. That concludes, so far as the court is advised, the preliminary matters that should be disposed of in this session. If there are no other matters the prosecation may proceed with the opening statement.
GENERAL TELFORD TAYLOR: If it please Your Honors. Your Honor, the Prosecution will observe the injunctions of the court laid down this morning, and as to the matter of expedition, it is our estimate that we can put in the Prosecution's case in less than twenty trial days.
This year is the three hundredth since the end of the Thirty Years War, which once was thought the most destructive in the history of man, and Nuernberg lies among its battlefields; a few miles from here Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein in fought at the "AIte Feste". These thirty years left much of Germany devastated, and dislocated its economy for decades. But all that misery was the merest trifle compared to the havoc recently wrought in six short years, throughout Europe and the Orient.
The comparison between 1648 and 1948 is not original, and few will openly dispute its cogency. Men at war have ceased to toy with popguns and have taken to hurling
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thunderbolts, and civilization can no longer afford, such self—mutilation. It was the acute awareness of these truths, forced upon us by the first World War, which has led to the general condemnation of those who wilfully launch a war of conqoest [sic] as criminals in the deepest and most serious sense.
These proceedings at Nuernberg, in which crimes against peace are charged, are vitally important because the principles to be applied here are man's best protection against his own capacity for self-destruction. When we say that aggressive war is a crime, we mean it to exactly the extent to which we are prepared to treat it a [sic] criminal in a judicial proceedings. No principle deserves to be called such unless men are willing to stake their conscience on its enforcement.
In this proceeding, we ask the Tribunal to test the conduct of men who stood at the top of the German profession of arms. In most countries, arms is one among a number of callings. It is a respected and honorable occupation, and it will be an absolutely necessary profession as long as organised force plays an important part in the affairs of men. But it is the true and high purpose of this profession to protect, not to subject. The military art is never to be practiced for its own sake; the death and destruction which the use of arms entails is redeemed and ennobled only when the sword is the guardian and restorer, not the destroyer, of peace.
But in Germany, however, the military profession was not merely only among many. The German officer was accorded a very unique and exalted role. A century and a half ago, the Frenchman Mirabeau wrote that "Prussia is not a state that possesses an Army; it is an army that has conquered a nation." And it is because of the dominant part which military matters have played in the life and thought of Germany ever since the
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time those words were written, that this twelfth and last case before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals may well prove of greater importance to Germany then any other case heard in this courtroom. In saying this, we by no means, mean to depreciate the significance of the issues at state in other cases which are being or have been held here. But the evidence here is closely related to one of the strongest currents in German thought, which may be aptly entitled "Arms and the German".
The defendants are charged not only with the unlawful use of war, but also with its abuse. The laws and customs of war, which mitlgate its ravages, have never won more than lip loyalty from the German militarists. The German military manual openly scoffs at the Hague Convention as being derived from "humanitarian considerations which not infrequently degenerated into sentimentality and flabby emotion." The terrible consequences of this ruthless nihilism are not, even today, fully grasped. Millions of innocent civilians were slaughtered by troops under the command or control of the defendants and their colleagues, not in pursuit of any legitimate military objective, but in furtherance of the basest Nazi racial and social myths. The defendant von Kuehler, for example, as the documents prove, observed Christmas Day in Russia 1941 by authorizing the killing of 230 incurable invalids in an asylum at Makarjewo, on the basis of a subordinate report which stated that:
"the inmates of the asylum no longer represent objects with lives worth living according to the German conception.
We have said that the military profession was esteemed above all others by many Germans and the German officers' corps
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included men of great ability and high character. To those men we mean no dishonor in this proceeding. The issues here are far too grave to warrant any tricks of advocacy; the evidence is quite compelling enough and will provide its own eloquence. Those monitor's of the German officers' corps who have the capacity for clear vision and the courage to face the facts will welcome this opportunity for emergence of truth.
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In presenting the evidence under Count One of the indictment, the prosecution plans to deal summarily with the years prior to the advent of Hitler. But we must not overlook the fact that most of these defendants were not Nazis in the usual sense of the word, and that they are charged with the commission of crimes, not as party members, "but as military leaders. The moral outlook and purposes which resulted in those crimes were not invented "by Hitler," but were developed "by the defendants and their prodecessors in the German officers' corps. Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes has observed that, in sone circumstances, "a page of history is worth a volume of logic." And we believe that the story of the German Arny since the first World War, very briefly treated, will do much to illuminate the issues in this case.
The most fundamental circumstance in Germany's military structure during the Weimar Republic was, of course, the Treaty of Versailles. Under part V of the Treaty, the Military, Naval and Air Clauses, precise limitations were prescribed for the size and nature of the German armed forces, and compliance with these provisions was to be ensured by Inter-Allied Commissions of Control. Such Commissions Military, Naval and Aeronautical O [sic] arrived in Germany in September, 1919.
The air clauses of the Treaty need not detain us long. Military and naval aviation was completely prohibited "by providing that "the armed forces of Germany nust not include any military or naval air forces".
The naval clauses were, of necessity, more elaborate. Like military aircraft, submarines were completely prohibited. As for surface crafts, the Navy was restricted to six each of "battleships and light cruisers, and twelve each of destroyers and torpedo boats. The tonnage of newly-built units was limited: "battleships 10,000 tons, light cruisers 6,000 tons; and the rate at which naval units could be replaced was also specified. The personnel of the German Navy was not
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to exceed 15,000 officers and men.
But most important for our purposes are the military clauses. By Article 160 it was stipulated that, after 31 March, 1920, the German Army should not exceed ten divisions -- seven infantry and three cavalry divisions, comprising not over 100.000 officers and men, and grouped under not more than two corps headquarters. The so—called "Great German General Staff" was to be dissolved and not "reconstituted in any form". The Army was not to be designed for any warlike purpose; it was expressly stated in the Treaty that
The Army shall be devoted exclusively to the maintance [sic] of order within the territory and to the control of the frontiers.
Other provisions were intended to ensure that the "100,000 man Reichswehr" should not be used as a means of training a large reserve. Compulsory military service was abolished. Newly appointed officers had to agree to serve for twenty—five years, and enlisted men for twelve years.
The armament and munitions limitations were equally important. Tanks and poison gas were prohibited. Precise schedules fixed the maximum amounts of guns and small arms of specified calibres, and stocks of ammunition, which were permitted to be maintained. Within Gernany, arms could be manufactured only at certain factories listed by the Allied Powers; all other munition plants were to he "closed down".
And, finally, special safeguards were provided by the demilitarization of the Rhineland. In Gemany west of the Rhine, and east of the Rhine to a depth of fifty kilometers, no armed forces were to be maintained or assembled. Forts and field defense works were likewise forbidden within this area.
The organization of the German armed forces under the Republic reflected these arms limitation clauses. Tere was no Geman Air Force. The Army and Navy were brought together in a single cabinet ministry, which was pacifically named the Reich Defense Ministry. the Reichswehrministerium.
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Sovereign authority over the Reichswehr was divided between the President of Germany and the Cabinet, acting through the Chancellor and the Reich Defense Minister. The President was the supreme commander of the armed forces. But because of the parliamentary form of government, the development and execution of government policies was in the hands of the Cabinet. Therefore all Presidential orders pertaining to the arned forces had to be countersigned by the Reich Chancellor or the Reich Minister of Defense.
The 100,000 man Army and the 15,000 man Navy were established on 1 January, 1921. The Army was headed by a general with the title "Chief of the Army Command" and the Navy by an Admiral entitled "Chief of the Navy Command". These commanders and their staffs were established within and as part of the Reich Defense Ministry, and in a governmental sense they were subordinate to the Reich Defense Minister; "out, in the military chain of command, their supreme commander was the Reich President. The Reich Defense Minister himself had only a small staff, and most of the actual work of the armed forces was done by the staffs of the army and navy chiefs.
Because the first Reich President (Ebert) and the first two Defense Ministers (Nosske and Gessler) were all civilians, the army and navy chiefs were the military commanders-in—chief of the two services. Their staffs were organized much as were the army and navy staffs in other countries. In view of the prohibition of the Versailles Treaty there was no army general staff by that name; but, the functions of an army general staff were performed by the so—called "Troops Department" (Truppenamt) of the Army Command. Like any general staff, the Tnippenant had sections for operations, training, intelligence, and organization.
In the field, Germany was divided into seven military districts (Wehrkreise) corresponding to the seven infantry divisions allowed by the Treaty. In each Wehrkreis was an infantry divisional headquarters which also controlled all military activities within the Wehrkreis,
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such as recruitment, pensions, training, etc. Again following the treaty limitation of the Army to two corps headquarters, the Wehrkreise of eastern Germany were grouped under a "group headquarters" (Gruppenkommando) at Berlin, and those in western Germany under a similar headquarters at Kassel. There were also three cavalry divisional headquarters without territorial jurisdiction.
Restricted by the Treaty provisions described above, the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic bore little outward resemblance to the mighty army of the Kaiser. But the purpose, the intelligence, and the energy and determination to salvage as much as possible from the wreckage and start to rebuild Germany's military might were not lacking, either in the Army or the Navy. They found their most effective focus in the brain of the Chief of the Army Command, General Hans von Seeckt.
There is no occasion now to debate the merits or demerits of the Treaty of Versailles. The important fact here is that, whatever they might say publicly, von Seeckt and the other military leaders of Germany unqualifiedly rejected the Treaty, and all their plans were directed to its overthrow. Their immediate purposei therefore, was to bring about as soon as possible a state of affairs which would permit Germany to recreate her once formidable military engine.
Von Seeckt's plan of campaign to achieve these ends was flexible, but was based upon about half a dozen basic principles. The first of these principles, assigned to preserve the Army's prestige in the eyes of the German people, was intensive cultivation of the legend that the German Army was not defeated in the first World War. Thus, when Fieldmarshal von Hindenburg appeared before a legislative committee of inquiry in November, 1919, he testified that
"In spite of the superiority of the enemy in men and material, we could have brought the struggle to a favorable issue if determined and unanimous cooperation had existed between the Army and those at home....The German Army was stabbed in the back. It is plain upon whom the blame lies. If any further proof were necessary to show it, it is to be found in the utter amazement of our enemies at their victory".
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Secondly, the traditions of the old imperial army were to be preserved. There was to be no "democratizing" of the new Reichswehr.
Prussian concepts of discipline and "honor" persisted, and the prerogatives of the officers' corps were safeguarded. As a practical matter, the officers' corps remained closed to Jews. Despite the fact that the Reichswehr's oath of allegiance was given to the President of the Republic, the spirit of the officers' corps continued to be autocratic; monarchism was tolerated and was not uncommon.
Seeckt's third basic principle was that the Reichswehr should hold itself aloof from and above internal party politics in Germany. The Weimar Republic was a frail ship on a stormy sea. The economic aftermath of war, and in particular the disastrous inflation of 1922 and 1923, caused great unrest. Cabinets rose and fell and Chancellors came and went amid unstable political conditions. Rather than risk the Army's prestige in this maelstrom of party politics, von Seeckt wisely held the Army apart from any party and discouraged political party activity within the officers' corps.
But this is not to say that the Army was not a political fact or that von Seeckt had no political attitude. Quite the contrary; the Army was above politics because in a sense, it dominated them. Sedulously and skillfully, von Seeckt brought about, among the leading politicians of all parties, a feeling that the government was dependent upon the Reichswehr for its protection and to insure its continued existence. When industrial unrest and workers' demonstrations were quelled by the Reichswehr, von Seeckt appeared as the guardian of the Republic against Communism. When the much more serious threat of reactionary revolution culminated in actual attempts to overthrow the Republic - such as the Kapp Putsch of 1920 and the Hitler—Ludendorf Putsch in 1923 - the Army again emerged in the role of saviour despite the fact that military leaders were among the participants.
Fourthly, von Seeckt brought about close relations between the
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Reichswehr and the Soviet Union's Red Army. The fact that the officers' corps was reactionary was not allowed to obstruct this policy. Since the Army's principal purpose was the overthrow of the Versailles Treaty, von Seeckt sought alliance with the one major European power that had no interest in upholding it. The Treaty of Rapallo, signed by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1922, set the official seal upon the unofficial close relations which already existed between the military leaders of the two countries.
Fifthly, von Seeckt saw that the Reichswehr could best compensate for its small size by keeping in the forefront on questions of military technique. The greatest emphasis was put on the Improvement of weapons and equipment, and on experience in handling the newer weapons, such as tanks. German officers were sent to Russia to train with the Red Army in the handling of heavy artillery, tanks, and other weapons forbidden to Germany under the Treaty.
The training of German officers with the Red Army was, indeed, only one of many ways in which the arms provisions of the Treaty were evaded and violated by the Reichswehr. And von Seeckt's sixth and last principle was that the Treaty imposed no obligation on the Wehrmacht to comply with its provisions, and should be violated in every way which would further the rebuilding of Germany's armed night. Contempt for the binding character of treaties was not an invention of Adolf Hitler.
For the time being, of course, rearmament had to be clandestine. In this hidden rearmament, von Seeckt found willing allies in various high political officials and in the huge armament firm of Krupp. With the assistance of Chancellor Joseph Wirth and the Reich Finance Ministry, government funds were secretly made available to Krupp for illegal gun design and development activities directed by the Reichswahr. These informal arrangements were embodied in a "gentleman's agreement" on 15 January, 1922 between army and navy representatives and the Krupp firm which, as Krupp records show, was
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.....the first step taken jointly by the Reich Defense Ministry and Krupp to circumvent, and thereby to break down, the regulations of the Treaty of Versailles which strangled Germany's military freedom.
The Navy did not lag behind. In 1922, with the approval of the Chief of the Navy Command (Admiral Bohnke), Krupp and other shipyards established a German submarine construction office in The Hague, under cover of Dutch incorporation. The purpose of this company (called the I.v.S.) was, as German naval records reveal
to keep together an efficient German submarine office and, by practical work for foreign navies, to keep it in constant practice and on top of technical developments.
By the time of von Seeckt's retirement in October, 1926, Germany's military and political situation was greaty improved. Hindenburg, the nation's idols had become President after Ebert's death in 1925. With Hindenburg's support, Gustav Stresemann achieved a measure of political stability within Germany; and, abroad, he joined in the Locarno Pact under which allied evacuation of the Rhineland began in 1926, and Germany was admitted to the League of Nations.
Within Germany, the prestige of the Army had been restablished. The election to the presidency of Hindenburg -— a retired field-marshal and, in public estimation, Germany's greatest military hero — strengthened the Reichswehr enormously in a political sense. More practical military advantages accrued from the Locarno Pact; in the course of the Locarno settlement, Stresemann's arguments that the Inter-Allied Control Commissions should be wound up and withdrawn prevailed. In January, 1927, the last staff members of the Commission left Germany, and thereby Allied supervision of compliance with the arms limitation clauses of the Treaty came to an end.
New faces appeared in the highest positions at about this time. As Chief of the Army Command, von Seeckt was succeeded by General Heye, who, in turn, gave way to General Kurt von* Hammerstein-Equord in November, 1930. In 1928, Admiral Erich Raeder became Chief of Navy Command, a position he was to hold for 15 years. In 1929,
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the growing influence of the Army was again shown when the civilian Minister of Defense, Gressler, was replaced by Groener who, though nominally a civilian, was a retired general and one of the leading military figures of the first World War.
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Behind many of those personnel changes, and taking a constantly larger share in gliding the destinies of the Reichswehr, was General Kurt von Schleicher. A regimental comrade of Hindenburg's son Oskar, von Schleicher had become a protege and favorite of the old Reich President as well as of Groener. In 1928, in order to provide the Minister of Defense with better staff assistance and to improve coordiation [sic] of matters of interest to both the Army and Navy, a new staff section was established directly under the Minister of Defense called the Armed Forces Section (Wehrmachts Abteilung). Von Schleicher became its chief, and utilised this position and his personal contacts with Hindenburg, Groener, and Hammerstein to achieve great political and military influence. In 1929, this section was renamed Ministeramt, the Ministry Department, and von Schleicher was given the title of Deputy Minister of Defense.
Von Schleicher, as is well known, became the last chancellor of the Weimar Republic, save only Hitler himself, who destroyed it, although Schleicher had been an early supporter of Chancellor Bruenig, his attitude changed after Hindenburg's election to a second term as President, in April, 1932. Soon thereafter, he persuaded Hindenburg to sack Bruening and appoint Franz von Papen, who became Chancellor, in June 1932. Schleicher himself relinquished his military rank and became the Minister of Defense in Papen's cabinet.
The elections of November, 1932, and Papon's own instability brought about the fall of his cabinet, and in December von Schleicher became Chancellor. His tenure was short; Papon who had charmed Hindenburg, struck a bargain with Hitler; on 28 January, 1933, Hindenburg dismissed Schleicher, and on 30 January Hitler became Chancellor in a coalition cabinet
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with Papen as Vice-Chancellor.
But if the era of von Schleicher had been one of political vicissitudes, the Reichswehr itself had been further strengthen[ed.] Although von Schleicher himself become enmeshed in party politics, the Army as a whole did not, but continued on the general lines laid down by von Seeckt. In particular, clandestine rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty continued with quickened pace, and whith [sic] the strong moral support of Hindenburg's secret approval.
It was, of course, well understood by all concerned that this secret rearmament was not only a violation of international laws but was also forbidden by Germany's internal law. The legal expert of the Reich Defense Ministry, in an opinion written in January, 1927, declared that "....the Peace Treaty of Versailles is also a law of the Reich, and by reason of this, it is binding on all members of the Reich at home. This commitment ranks superior even to the provisions of the Constitution of the Reich....."
And another memorandum prepared during the same month within the Troops department of the Army Command, stated:
When, years ago, preparations for mobilization were started, and after the clarification of the international and constitutional aspects of the affair, and in full recognition of the fact that in no respect was any legal foundation present, other moans were knowingly and purposefully used. A few serving officers were asked whether they would be prepared, and whether their conscience would permit them, to participate in activities which wore necessary from the point of view of their Fatherland, but contrary to its law. The military offices as such were by-passed. High-
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ranking officers did not particpate [sic] openly, so that they did not have to boar the odium of a conscious breach of the law. In important fundamental matters, they issued directives sub rosa to individual confidential agents.
It may also be noted that this accelerated secret rearmament began during the years 1926-1929, when international relations seemed comparatively harmonious. As part of the Locarno settlement, the Inter—Allied Commissions of Control were withdrawn, but to the German Government and the Reichswehr this meant merely that they could now proceed with clandestine activities without fear that the Commissions might find them out. As Krupp records reveal, the Commissions, departure was regarded as "an important step on the road towards freedom" because "after the departure of the Commission" the Army and Krupp "had more of a free hand" to carry on the prohibited artillery development work which they were engaged in together. They also found, it possible to commence tank and armoured car development work. The Reich government now dared to assist more extensively; a secret document of the German Navy tells us that, beginning in 1927 "...German rearmament was put on a basis which was more and more expanded by the sharing of responsibility by the Reich Government...." It tells us further that a "secret special budget" was set up to cover unlawful military expenses, which increased from 6,800,000 Reichsmark in 1928 to 21,000,000 in 1933.
By the time the Weimar Republic was nearing its end, the Reichswehr had ample cause for satisfaction with the progress it had made in rearmanent despite the Versailles Treaty. At Christmas time in 1932, Colonel Zengauer, a department chief in the Army Ordnance Office, accompanied
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[ctd. Block quote] ranking officers did not particpate [sp] openly, so that they did not have to bear the odium of a conscious breach of the law. In important fundamental matters, they issued directives sub rosa to individual confidential agents. [end block quote]
It may also be noted that this accelerated secret rearmament began during the years 1926-1929, when international relations seemed comparatively harmonious. As part of the Locarno settlement, the Inter-Allied Commissions of Control were withdrawn, but to the German Government and the Reichswehr this meant merely [typed over capital L] that they that they could now proceed with clandestine activities without fear that the Commissions might find them out. As Krupp records reveal, the Commissions’ departure was regarded as "an important step on the road towards freedom" because "after the departure of the Commission" the Army and Krupp "had more of a free hand" to carry on the prohibited artillery development work which they were engaged in together. They also found, [should be no ,] it possible to commence tank and armoured [sp] car development work. The Reich government now dared to assist mere extensively; a secret document of the German Navy tells us that, beginning in 1927 "...German rearmament was put on a basis which was more and more expanded by the sharing of responsibility by the Reich Government...." It tells us further that a "secret special budget" was set up to cover unlawful military expenses, which increased from 6,800,000 Reichsmark in 1928 to 21,000,000 in 1933.
By the time the Weimar Republic was nearing its end, the Reichswehr had ample cause for satisfaction with the progress it had made in rearmament despite the Versailles Treaty. At Christmas time in 1932, Colonel Zengauer, a department chief in the Army Ordinance Office, accompanied
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The season’s greetings to Krupp with the information that
[block quotation] The department is convinced that, thanks to your active cooperation and valuable advice, our armament development in 1932 has made great progress, which is of great significance to our intent or rearming [sp] as a whole. [end block quotation]
When this was written, Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor was only five weeks in the future. Many terrible changes were in store for Germany, but it is a mistake to overlook that the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich had numerous common denominators, and that the Reichswehr was the most important link between the two. What the German military leaders accomplished under the Republic was a vitally important part of the process of German rearmament for aggressive war. This will become increasingly clear as we examine the development of events under Hitler and the Third Reich.
With the Court’s permission, Mr. McHaney will continue with the reading of the statement.
MR. MCHANEY: May it Please the Tribunal, Your Honors:
The events leading to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 need not here be set forth again. We do not charge that the Reichswehr bears any special responsibility for Hitler’s selection. We may, indeed, criticize the military leaders for not actively opposing the appointment of a man whose criminal program had been so brazenly proclaimed; but however blameworthy this failure was, it is not charged as criminal in the indictment.
But Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor was only dictatorship in embryo. The infant was actually born only with the suspension of the Constitution, the suppression of all civil liberties, and the abolition of political opposition.
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Thereafter there came a stormy childhood and a violent adolescence before the terrible full maturity of the Third Reich was reached. During this time, the Wehrmacht’s leaders did not stand aside. They took a leading part in the development of the Third Reich, and the Wehrmacht was a key pillar in the finished structure. And in so doing, the German military leaders, including these defendants, committed crimes against peace by preparing and launching aggressive wars.
In conclusion we will make a few observations on why this happened. For the moment we will restrict ourselves to an account of what actually happened. And we will start with t a description of the changes in the structure of the Wehrmacht which followed Hitler’s accession to power, in the course of which we shall see how the individual defendants fitted into the structure.
In Hitler’s cabinet, the position of Minister of Defense was for the first time bestowed on a general, Werner von Blomberg, who remained on active service. The principal staff divisin of the Ministry- the Ministeramt, which under Schleicher had acquired such importance- was now renamed the Armed Forces Department (Wehrmachtsamt). As its chief, Blomberg appointed General von Reichenau, who had been his chief of staff in East Prussia, and who was known as pro[-]Nazi.
Admiral Raeder’s tenure as Chief of the Naval Command continued undisturbed. General Hammerstein, however, was personally anti-Nazi and endured the Hitler regime for only a year. It must not be thought, however, that at this stage Hitler was strong enough to dictate the selection of the Army’s leader. Hammerstein’s successor as Chief of the Army
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Command, General Werner von Fritsch, was the choice of Hindenburg and the officers’ corps; he perpetuated von Seeckt’s reserved attitude toward party politics.
Within the Army, policics [sp] were determined largely by von Fritsch and the senior generals. Among these, the most senior were von Rundstedt and the defendant von Leeb, the commanders-in-chief of the two "gruppenkommando" headquarters at Berlin and Kassel. Slightly younger was a group of twelve or fifteen generals, including the defendants con Kuechler and Blaskowitz, who were Wehrkreis Commanders at the time of Hitler’s accession to power, or became such within a few years thereafter. Hoth, Reinhardt, von Salmuth, and Hollidt were all in their forties and all became generals between 1934 and 1938. Reinhardt, as a colonel, was chief of the Training Section of the Army from 1934 to 1937, and thus played a part in the high-level military planning. Reinecke was on special duty in the War Ministry beginning in 1934. Warlimont occupied an important past in the Army Ordnance [sp] Office from 1933 to 1936, and then was sent as Military Plenipotentiary to General Franco in Spain.
We may pass for the moment the defendant von Roques, Woehler, and Lehmann, who did not play important parts until 1938 or later. The remaining two defendants- Sperrle and Schniewind- were among the most senior officers of the Air Force and the Navy, respectively. Sperrle was a regular army officer who went on special duty with the newly-created Air Ministry in 1934 and became the commander of the so-called "Condor Legion" in Spain in 1936. By 1937 he had been promoted three times in three years to the rank of lieutenant general. Schniewind was at sea as captain of a cruiser when Hitler came to power, but in 1934 became chief of staff of
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the fleet. In 1937, he was made chief of the Navy Armament Office.
Thus were the defendants situated during the early years of the Third Reich, when Germany’s military power grew with such startling swiftness. In point of fact, the speed of rearmament was so bewildering largely because few people realized how completely the Reichswehr had prepared for rearmament under the Weimar Republic. Technologically, very little ground had been lost; Gustav Krupp has told us that
[Block quote] After the assumption of power by Hitler, I had the satisfaction of being able to report to the Fuehrer that Krupp’s stood ready, after a short warming-up period, to begin the rearmament of the German people without any gaps of experience. [end block quote]
A secret history of artillery design states that, as a result of clandestine activities under the Weimar Republic.
[Block quote] Of the guns which were being used in 1939-1941, the most important were already fully developed in 1933 ..... For the equipment which was tested in secrecy, the Army Ordinance Office and the industry stood ready to take up mass production, upon order from the Fuehrer. [end block quote]
In this regard, the Fuehrer was not bashful. The Reich’s military estimates for 1933 showed an extraordinary increase over prior years. Already by October, 1933, a top secret document of the Army Ordinance Office listed fifteen major projects, including the manufacture of 135 tanks, which were being carried out in violation of the Versailles Treaty. In this same month, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the Internatkinal Disarmament Conference.
Hitler’s effect on rearmament, in short, was like
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uncapping a gusher. In June, 1934, the construction of submarines and heavy battleships was under way. Guns and tanks were beginning to pour away from the Krupp and other arms factories. There is no need to fill in the detail now; much of this part of the story is contained in the record and judgment [sp] of the first International Military Tribunal, and will be more fully set forth in the document we will offer in this case.
In March, 1934, the Army started a program for the construction of 650 tanks, to be completed by March, 1935. The second date is significant; in that same month Hitler publicly repudiated the Versailles Treaty. In the twinkling of an eye, the Reichswehr was history and the Wehrmacht a foreboding reality.
As a matter of fact, the Reichswehr had not fooled everyone; to those "in the know" German rearmament had been an open secret for some time. But by 1935, matters had an embarrassment even to the most shameless. So in March, 1935, the mask was thrown off; this event was called Germany’s "recovery of military freedom" (Wehrfreiheit). The sequence of events is thus set forth by the IMT:
[Block quote] On 10 March 1935, the defendant Goering announced that Germany was building a military air force. Six days later, on 16 March, 1935, a law was passed ...... instituting compulsory military service and fixing the establishment of the German Army at a peace-time strength of 500,000 men. In an endeavor to reassure public opinion in other countries, the Government announced on 21 May 1935 that Germany would, though renouncing the disarmament clauses,
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[ctd. Block quote] still respect the territorial limitations of the Versailles Treaty, and would comply with the Locarno Pact. Nevertheless, on the very day of this announcement, the secret Reich Defense Law was passed and its publication forbidden by Hitler. In this law, the powers and duties of the Chancellor and other Ministers were defined, should Germany become involved in war. [end block quote]
These events resulted in important changes in the top organization of the Wehrmacht. In 1935, the Ministry of Defense was renamed the War Ministry (Reichskriegs Ministerium) Blomberg became Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief (Oberbefchlshaber) of the Wehrmacht. His immediate subordinates, von Fritsch and Raeder, became Commanders-in-Chief of the Army and Navy respectively. Goering, who had been Minister for Aviation since 1933, now took the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force; in his military capacity only, but not in his ministerial status, he was under von Blomberg.
For Erich Raeder and his staff-now renamed Supreme Command of the Navy (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine or OKM)- the events of March and May 1935 were like a shot in the arm. The primary goal was recreation of the German submarine fleet, and now the illegal submarine activities of past years paid enormous dividends. The secret history of the German Navy credited these early projects with having made possible the "astonishing facts" that
[Block quote] ....... it was possible to put the first submarine into service only 3 ½ months after the restoration of military sovereignty declared on 16 March 1935, that is on 29 June, and then at intervals of about 8 days to put new submarines continuously into service, so that on 1 October 1935, twelve submarines with fully trained
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[ctd. Block quotation] personnel were in service. [end block quotation]
A program for the construction of battle cruisers and capital ships was also formulated and set under way. In 1937, the same year that the defendant Schniewind became Chief of Naval Armament, Germany entered into the Anglo-German Naval Treaty, under which both powers bound themselves to interchange full details of their building programs. But this was only a feint to gain time; as the IMT found, Germany had no intention of abiding by the naval agreements, and promptly and deliberately violated them.
The German Air Force- newly born in 1935- occupied a special position among the three services. The top staff of the Air Force (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, or OKL) was part of Goering’s own Air Ministry, not part of the War Ministry. Goering recruited his staff from civilian aviation administrators such as Erhard Milch, famous pilots such as Udet, and by transfer to the Air Force of regular army officers such as Kesselring, Wever, and the defendant Sperrle.
The infant Luftwaffe soon found opportunity to try its wings in actual combat. The Spanish Civil War broke out in July, 1936, and in September, the defendant Warlimont arrived in Spain as Plenipotentiary Delegate of the Wehrmacht.
Although diplomatic reasons underlay German aid to France, the Wehrmacht was especially interested in the opportunity it afforded to test German equipment and German battle tactics with new weapons. The Army sent only a few troops, but the substantial quantities of guns and ammunition. The Navy played a relatively minor part, though the pocket battle[-]cruiser "Deutschland" and two light cruisers patrolled the Spanish Coast. But the Luftwaffe played a major role.
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In November, 1936, the defendant Spernle [sp] arrived in Franco Spain at the head of the so-called "Condor Legion", which included a large number of bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance squadrons and several anti-aircraft batteries. An article by the defendant Sperrle reveals the great value of the Spanish experience to the Luftwaffe in its subsequent aggressive campaigns, especially in Poland and France. In October, 1937, Sperrle was relieved in Spain and given command of one of the three "air groups’ [needs ", not ‘] into which the Luftwaffe was divided.
Spectacular as were the achievements of the Nacy and the Luftwaffe, the Army’s expansion wasof [needs space] greater importance. As in the case of the Navy, the top staff was renamed the "Oberkommando des Heeres" (OKH). With the need for camouflage removed, the Troops Department now emerged as the General Staff of the Army.
The subdividing of Germany into seven Wehrkreise was abolished in 1935, and the three obsolete cavalry divisions dissolved. Germany was newly divided into thirteen Wehrkreise, each with a corps headquarters. Nurnberg was the center of the Wehrkreis [sp] XIII, and the building directly across the street from the Palace of Justice is the former headquarters of the XIIIth Army Corps. Subordinate to each corps were three (occasionally two) infantry divisions. In controlling the motorized, light, and armoured (panzer) divisions respectively. Above the corps headquarters, the two old "gruppenkommandos" were replaced by three territorial "army group" (heeresgruppe) headquarters, commanded by the three most senior generals – von Rundstedt, von Book, and the defendant von Leeb. A fourth non-territorial army group under von Brauchitsch controlled the motorized, light, and armoured divisions.
In March 1936, the last safeguard of the Versailled Treaty was swept away. A year earlier, a plan for the military reoccupation of the Rhineland had been prepared by the Ministry of War. On 7 March 1936, in open defiance of the Treaty, the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland
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was entered by German troops. Once again, the secret rearmament activities of earlier years gave the German military leaders courage; the German Navy’s secret history states
[Begin block quote] On 7 March 1936, during the critical moment of the occupation of the demilitarized zone on the Western border, eighteen submarines in service were available, seventeen of which had already passed the test period and in case of emergency, they could have been employed without difficulties on the French coast up to the Gironde. [end block quote]
In announcing this action to the Reichstag, Hitler endeavored the assuage the hostile reaction which he no doubt expected to follow from this violation of the Treaty by saying: "We have no territorial claims to make in Europe". But events which were to give the lie to this assurance were not far in the future. Between May 1935 and the end of 1937, the German Army more than quadrupled; by the time of the annexation of Austria, it comprised 32 infantry, 4 motorized, 4 armoured, 3 light, and 1 mountain division, or 44 in all.
The impressive revival of the Wehrmacht’s strength was achieved by Germany’s military leaders with the full support of German industry and, after January 1933, under the political leadership of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. And before we describe the conquest of Poland and the other countries overrun by the Wehrmacht, we may well pause to examine briefly the development of relations between the Wehrmacht, we may well pause to examine briefly the development of relations between the Wehrmacht and the Nazis, for it was the alliance between Hitler and the Wehrmacht- an alliance which was established and preserved despite some points of difference and much ill will between the Nazi Party and the German officers’ Reinecke put it in the notes for one of his lectures
[Begin block quote] "The two pillars of the Third Reich are the Party and the Armed Forces and each is thrown back on the success or downfall of the other. [end block quote]
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The basis for this alliance between Hitler and the Wehrmacht was not openly acknowledged during the early months of the Hitler regime. Indeed, when Blomberg took office in the Hitler-Papen cabinet [sp], he attributed his selection to Hindenburg, not to Hitler, and, with a bow to von Seeckt, promised to preserve the Reichswehr as "an instrument of the state above all parties." But this promise rapidly became meaningless as German party politics succumbed to the rigor mortis of dictatorship. After the election of 5 March 1933 Hitler had numerous opposition members in [i typed over an o] the Reichstag the Enabling Act of 24 March 1933, which gave his cabinet full legislative power, even above the Constitution. A month later Goering established the Gestapo, and in July all parties other than the NSDAP were declared criminal. During the remainder of 1933, the vise of tyranny was tightened by the prostitution of the judiciary, strangling of the trade unions, and the subjection of the rpess to Goebbels and Dietrich. It had been all very well for von Seeckt to maintain a haughty superiority to "party politics" under the Weimar Republic, but by the latter part of 1933 there was no such thing left in Germany, and there was only one over[-]riding and all-important political issue: whether to fight against the militaristic tyranny that was settling over Germany, or to join with Hitler and the Nazis in establishing the dictatorship of the Third Reich. The leaders of Wehrmacht gave their answer cautiously but, in the end, decisively.
Indeed, in some circles of the Wehrmacht, there was rather more enthusiasm than caution. In February 1933, Hitler’s very first month as Chancellor, both Blomberg and Reichenau made public statements favorable to the Nazi cause, and on 31 March 1933, Blomberg, speaking for the Wehrmacht, saluted Hitler as "the leader of the German destiny". Later the same year, Hitler reciprocated these manifestations of good will. On 1 September 1933, the day of the annual Nazi Party rally at Nurnberg, Blomberg waspromoted [needs a space] to the rank of a full general
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(Generaloberst) and the defendant Leeb was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Gruppenkommando 2.
But Blomberg and Reichenau had been specially favored by Hitler, and the latter [first t typed over something] was a well known Nazi sympathizer. As yet, the old line conservative generals- such as the Commander-in-Chief, von Fritsch and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Beck- had not taken a position. Hitler’s support of rearmament was favorably received throughout the Wehrmacht, but there was trouble with some of Hitler’s followers, notably the Storm Troops (Sturmabteilung, or "SA") under the leadership of the notorious Roehm. This, the so-called "radical wing" of the Nazi Party, wanted to break the grip of the officers’ corps by incorporating the SA into the Reichswehr. But this threat to the privileged status of the offers’ corps was eliminated during the so-called "Roehm purge" in June 19th, when Roehm and his followers were murdered in an orgy of political assassination. This put the quietus on the military hopes of the SA, and was so welcome an event to the Wehrmacht that they were prepared to overlook the brutal murder during the "purge" of tw of their own colleagues- Generals von Schleicher and von Bredow.
And so when Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler pro[-]claimed himself Chief of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Hitler had already won powerful support among the leading generals, and the remainder were by no means prepared to take a stand against him. That some day, on the ordersof [needs a space] Blomberg, all members of the Wehrmacht took the following oath to Hitler:
[Begin block quote] I take this holy oath before God, that I will render unconditional obedience to the Fuehrer of the German Reich and of the German people, Adolf Hitler, and as a brave soldier will be prepared at any time to sacrifice my life for this oath. [end block quote]
But it was the repudiation of the arms limitations of the Versailles Treaty in May 1935 which finally sealed the bargain between
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Hitler and the military leaders. We have already traced their clandestine rearmament activities during the fifteen years which preceded this event, and have seen with what unalloyed enthusiasm they welcomed open rearmament in the spring of 1935. And it was in the fall of 1935 that the old line generals threw off their previous reserve and spoke out enthusiastically and devotedly for the Fuehrer. The occasion was the 125th anniversary of the German War and which had closed in 1920 as required by the Versailles Treaty. On 15 October 1935, great ceremony attended the reopening of the academy. The Fuehrer himself was in attendance with Goebbels and Dietrich at his heels; the aged Fieldmarshal von Mackensen and General von Seeckt emerged from retirement; among the active military leaders in attendance were Blomberg, Fritsch, the Chief of the General Staff Beck, Goering and Milch from the Luftwaffe, Rundstedt, Witzleben, and the Commander of the War
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Academy, Lieutenant-General Liebmann. The occassin was graced by speeches, not only by Blomberg, but also by Beck and Liebmann, both of whom were foremost and highly respected examples of the so-called "old school" among the German military leaders. Addres[-]ing the students of the Academy, Beck reminded them "of the duty which they owe to the man who recreated the Wehrmacht and made it strong again and who finally stuck off the fetters of Versailles, and to the new State which assured us a foundation stronger than ever in a united nation". Addressing the Fuehrer on behalf of the officers’ corps, General Liebmann declared:
[Begin block quote] We know and we are convinced in our deepest being that we have solely your determined will and your infallible leadership to thank for our freedom and-like the German people- we and the entire German Armed Forces will show our thanks to you, our Fuehrer, through unflinching faith[-]fullness and devotion. [end block quote]
There ensued a period which might be described as honeymoon between Hitler and the Wehrmacht. The military leaders were thorough[-]ly occupied with the recreation of Germany’s military might and Hitler, for the most part, did not interfere with their activities. Hitler took the occasion of his own birthday (30 April) in 1936 to promote Blomberg to the highest military rank of fieldmarshal [needs a space]- the first German fieldmarshal [needs a space] appointed since the first World War; simultaneously, Fritsch and Goering were made full generals and Raeder a Generaladmiral [needs a space]. The attitude of the German officers’ corps towards Hitler during these years has been well summarized by the defendant Blaskowitz;
[Begin block quote] The rearmament of Germany, at first (1933-35) secret and later unconcealed, was welcomed by me. All officers of the Army shared this attitude and therefre had no reason to oppose Hitler. Hitler produced the results which all of us warmly desired. [end block quote]
In such happy collaboration with Hitler, the officers’ corps proceeded to make the Wehrmacht once again might for war. Shortly before their creation was put to use, however, a serious crisis occurred. Most of us are too much inclined to think of Hitler’s dictatorship as untroubled; in point of fact, Hitler was constantly
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Encountering crises, some of which seriously threatened his political mastery. Early in 1938, the relations between Hitler and the Army were gravely affected by what has become known as the "Blomberg-Fritsch affair". This episode resulted in important changes in the top organ[-]ization of the Wehrmacht, and had other far-reaching consequences.
The principal actors in this drama were Hitler, Himmler, Goering and, within the Army, Blomberg, Fritsch, Beck, Lieutenant-General Wilhelm Keitel, who had succeeded Reichenau as Chief of the Armed Forces Department of the War Ministry, and several of the senior generals of the Army, including Rundstedt, Reichenau, Brauchitsch, and the defendant Leeb.
The immediate cause of the crisis was that on 12 January 1938, having previously obtained Hitler’s blessing, Fieldmarshal [needs a space] Blomberg, a widower, married a young lady whose lineage was not sufficiently arist[-]ocratic to meet with the approval of the German officers’ corps. Hitler and Goering witnessed the ceremong [ceremony], and all seemed serene, but very shortly thereafter rumors were circulated in high places attacking the lady’s reputation. Criticism of the marriage within the officers’ corps grew louder and louder. On the basis of these rumors, Hitler and Goering forced Blomberg to resign on 25 January 1936, and two days later the Blombergs left Germany for Italy on what was at the same time honeymoon and exile.
It is not altogether clear whether or not Hitler himself was anxious to get rid of Blomberg, who was primarily the victim of German military class-consciousness. But there is little doubt that Hitler, as well as Goering and Himmler, wanted to be rid of the Commander-in[-]Chief of the Army, General von Fritsch, whose arrogant behavior had rubbed Hitler the wrong way, and who made no secret of his lack of respect for the military abilities of Goering and Himmler. Two days after Blomberg’s dismissal, Hitler, in Goering’s presence, summarily relieved Fritsch as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, using as a pretext an absolutely false and unspeakably malicious accusation that Fritsch had been guilty of unnatural sez [?] offenses. Fritsch was held in house arrest
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pending investigation, and a few weeks alter was completely exonerated by a military court martial, but in the meantime he had been replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the Army by von Brauchitsch, and Fritsch remained in retirement until the attack against Poland a year and a half later.
This preposterous and contemptible affair threw the Army into an uproar, and had fantastic overtones. A fiery young naval lieutenant names von Wangenheim flew to Rome, sought out Blomberg, and offered him a pistol in order that his suicide might vindicate the honor of the Wehr[-]macht. The worldly fieldmarshal [needs a space] handed back the pistol with the observ[-]ation that Wangenheim "apparently had entirely different opinions and a different standard of life than he himself". But the effect of Fritsch’s dismissal was fundamentally much more important, inasmuch as a large part part [only needs one ‘part’] of the officers’ corps thoroughly approved Blomberg’s dismissal, whereas everyone knew that Fritsch- the very model of a very German general and the idol of the Wehrmacht- had been most shamefully treated.
Furthermore, important issues underlay Fritsch’s dismissal. The officers’ corps had not forgotten Roehm and the SA, and now Himmler and the SS loomed as a menace to the Army’s military monopoly. Some of the loading generals, such as Leeb and von Kressenstein, were strong advocates of religious training for the troops, which did not fit the neo-paganism of the SS. Furthermore, Goering, capitalizing on the exploits of his Luftwaffe in Spain, was demanding a larger voice in military affairs than von Fritsch was disposed to accord him. It was plain that the whole Fritsch-Blomberg affair was a frame-up, and that Goering and Himmler were back of it. This was a direct and sinister attack against the Army lead[-]ership, for the purpose of subjecting it to domination by Hitler, Goering, Himmler, and other party bigwigs. The Army’s efforts to meet this chall[-]enge failed miserably; in this failure personal ambition, lack of solid[-]arity, and moral instability all played a part.
Having dismissed Blomberg and Fritsch, Hitler was faced with the question of their replacement, and in solving this problem appears to have relied chiefly on Goering and a newcomer to the top level, Lieutenant[-]General Wilhelm Keitel, who, as Chief of the Armed Forces Department, had
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been Blomberg’s chief assistant in the War Ministry since 1935, and whose son had married Blomberg’s daughter. On 27 January, Hitler informed Keitel that he himself would take over personal command of the Wehrmacht, with Keitel as his chief assistant. The War Ministry and the title "Minister of War" were abolished. All this was accomplished by a Hitler decree on 4 February 1938. The Armed Forces Department of the War Ministry was taken over by Hitler as his personal military staff and designated "Supreme Command of the Armed Forces [needs "] (Oberkommando der Wehr[-]macht or "OKW"); the rest of the Ministry passed out of existence. Keitel was given the title "Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces", and thereafter functioned more or less as Hitler’s executive officer for armed forces matters.
Hitler did not immediately select a successor to Fritsch as Command[-]er-in-Chief of the Army. The defendant Leeb and Rundstedt were the most senior generals, but Hitler at first leaned rather toward his old time favorite, Reichenau. Rundstedt or Leeb would have been acceptable to the officers’ corps, but there was strong opposition to Reichenau. On 3 February 1938, Hitler finally decided to appoint Lieutenant General von Brauchitsch, at that time Commander-in-Chief of the army group for motorized and armoured troops. Brauchitsch was held in high esteem among the leaders of the officers’ corps, but several circumstances connected with his selection boded ill for the unity and independence of the Army. Firstly, Brauchitsch allowed himself to be chosen as successor to a man who had been most samefully [?] and wrongfully dismissed. Secondly, Brauch[-]itsch himself was suffering domestic complications, and permitted himself to undergo the indignity of having these carefully reviewed by Hermann Goering. Worse still, this very private problem was solved only with the assistance of Keitel and Goering, who were instrumental in per[-]suading his wife to consent to a divorce, so that Brauchitsch could re[-]marry. Thirdly, while Brauchitsch was given the rank of full general which Fritsch had held, Goering was to receive the rank of fieldmarshal [needs a space] which Blomberg had held, and would thereby outrank the Commander-in-Chief
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of the Army. Finally, as a condition of his appointment, Brauchitsch was required to agree to a large number of important changes in the top leadership of the Army. At first, Brauchitsch balked at this last con[-]dition, but on the afternoon of 2 February, in conference with Goering and Keitel, Brauchitsch gave way.
The result of all this was that the German newspapers for 6 February 1938 did not carry only the news of the creation of OKW, and of Goering’s and Brauchitsch’s promotions; they also carried the news that the defen[-]dant Leeb had been relieved as Commander-in-Chief of Army Group 2 and retired, along with six other high ranking generals, including such re[-]spected figures as von Krossenstein and von Kleist, and six Air Force generals. This third humiliation of the old line Army leadership was part of the price which Brauchitsch paid for his personal advancement.
Indeed, the Army’s failure to cope more successfully with this crisis showed up its weaknesses all too clearly. Von Fritsch himself, able soldier that he was, seems to have been preoccupied with the attack on his personal character, and to have taken no effective action against the more fundamental challenge to the army leadership. He realized well enough that Himmler was back of it, but his unimaginative reaction was to send Himmler a written challenge to a pistol duel, and it is even doubtful that the challenge ever reached Himmler.
It is difficult to see how Hitler could have withstood a unanimous stand by the military leaders, but there was no unanimity. Many of them, such as Brauchitsch, Reichenau, Keitel, List, von Schobert, Guderian, von Manstein and others, were too ambitious to reject the promotions and new appointments which came to them in the course of the affair. A few weeks later, on 1 March 1938, the two most senior officers-Von Rund[-]stedt and Von Beck- accepted promotion to the rank of full general. Even such men as Beck and Adam, who later resigned, seem to have been content for the moment to block Reichenau’s candidacy as Commander-in-Chief and secure the promise of a court martial to clear von Fritsch’s name.
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In summary, the most significant lesson of the Blomberg-Fritsch affair is that the alliance between the Wehrmacht and Hitler was so strong that even this rude blow failed to shatter it. The Wehrmacht had seen the Nazis overthrow the Weimar Republic, establish a ruthless dictatorship, and throw their political opponents into concentration camps. They had seen their colleagues Schleicher and Bredow murdered, and now they saw Fritsch fall victim to a foul attack, and seven of their most respected leaders rudely pensioned off. But they also saw in Hitler the leader of a party which had established a strong and seemingly permanent government, and which gladly furnished the funds for rearmament without the necessity of explaining and justifying everything to the Reichstag. They saw the factories of Germany humming and pouring out the armaments which they needed to reconstitute the Wehrmacht. They saw the man and the party who had created political conditions favorable to the flowering of enormous military might. They had learned that Hitler, like them[-]selves, had scant respect for the sanctity of treats, and could be counted on to pursue a "realistic" foreign policy. They knew that, in Hitler’s mind, all this rearmament was not aimless; they knew of and shared Hitler’s ultimate intention to put the Wehrmacht to use. All these [‘t’ typed over an ‘o’] things were more important to the Wehrmacht than the future career of Fritsch or the unpleasant habits of Himmler. Basically, the reason that the Army did not take a firm stand behind Fritsch was that they did not want to take a decisive stand in opposition to Hitler. Whatever differences they had with Hitler were largely on questions of method and timing; they were no fundamental differences of purpose.
In the eyes of the German people and among the troops, the Army’s prestige was saved by Hitler’s announcement that Blomberg and Fritsch had retired voluntarily for reasons of health, and by highly complimentary letters from the Fuehrer to each of them. Bitter feelings caused by the affair lingered on in some circles of the officers’ corps, but the funda[-]mental basis for the Wehrmacht’s participation in and support of the Third Reich was not seriously shaken. And the alliance between the Wehrmacht
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and Hitler was to survive other serious tests in the fateful years 1938 and 1939.
THE PRESIDENT: At this time the Tribunal will take its customary fifteen minute forenoon recess.
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal will be in recess until 1115 hours.
(A recess wastaken [needs a space])
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THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
DR. GOLLNICK: (Attorney for Defendant Sperrle)
If the Tribunal please, I should ask to have permission to make a very short and urgent motion which I have to put in behalf of my client. He feels at the moment unable to follow the proceedings and to attend them. May I state in this connection all I know about his state of health. For years he has been suffering from weakness of the heart muscle and circulation trouble. His state of health has deteriorated considerably in the last few years. He has frequently suffered from fainting fits, and since October, 1947, he has been in the police prison hospital; he is suffering from dizziness; there are disturbances in connection with his equilibrium; there is a constant humming in his ears and his ability to concentrate is gravely impaired by these symptoms. According to the Doctor's statement, he is suffering also from arteriosclerosis and from stomach ulcer trouble. At the time he is suffering from a severe headache and also heart trouble; he is unable to attend the proceedings. He wishes to undergo medical treatment immediately so as to get some relief for his troubles.
I, therefore, ask the Tribunal to see to it that he be excused from attending the proceedings and that he may be allowed to return to the hospital, and that the physician may examine him immediately to determine as to how far he is able to follow the proceedings.
THE PRESIDENT: For how long does Counsel desire that he be excused?
DR. GOLLNICK: For the time being, for today. It will depend, of course, upon the Doctor's opinion.
May I also say that he wishes to be excused from attending the trial as frequently as possible because he feels unfit. Of course, this will depend upon the expert opinion of the examining physicians as to whether his state of health warrants a merely temporary suspension or whether it will necessitate his complete absence from the trial. He wishes, of course, to stand trial, but, of course his wish is limited by his present
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state of health.
THE PRESIDENT: Inasmuch as your application is only that he be excused for today, the application that he may be excused for today will be granted; and, any future excuses will depend, of course, upon the reports that we may have from time to time from the medical authorities, and, you, as his counsel, can keep us advised, and we will try to work it out the best way we can and in accordance with your wishes.
The record will then show that on application of counsel for Hugo Sperrle, defendant, that he is excused from further attendance today at the request of his counsel.
DR. GOLLNICK: Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDENT: The Prosecution may proceed with the reading of the opening statement.
MR. McHANEY: If Your Honors please, Mr. Niederman will continue with the statement of the Prosecution.
BY MR. NIEDERMAN:
COUNTS ONE AND FOUR: FLOWER WARS (BLUMENKRIEGE)--AUSTRIA AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA (1938-1939)
One reason that the unpleasant memory of the fate of Blomberg and Fritsch faded so rapidly was that the Army immediately became preoccupied with far weightier matters. At least as early as 5 November 1937, at a meeting with Blomberg, Fritsch, Goering, Raeder, and Foreign Minister von Neurath, Hitler had announced his intention to conquer Austria and Czechoslovakia at the first suitable opportunity. At this secret meeting, Hitler stated:
"It is not a case of conquering people, but of conquering agriculturally useful space. It would also be more to the purpose to seek raw material producing territory in Europe directly adjoining the Reich and not overseas, and this solution would have to be brought into effect for one or two generations....The history of all times--Roman Empire, British Empire--has proved that every space expansion can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable; neither formerly nor today has space been found without an owner; the attacker always comes up against the proprieter [sic]....The question for Germany is where the greatest possible conquest could be made at the lowest cost....
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The German question can be solved only by way of force, and this is never without risk.....
The intention to seize Austria and Czechoslovakia was made clear in the following words:
"For the improvement of our military-political position, it must be our first aim in every case of entanglement by war to conquor [sic] Czechoslovakia and Austria simultaneously, in order to remove any threat from the flanks in case of a possible advance westwards....The annexation of the two states to Germany militarily and politically would constitute a considerable relief, owing to shorter and better frontiers, the freeing of fighting personnel for other purposes, and the possibility of reconstituting new armies up to a strength of about twelve divisions."
These intentions were, of course, in flagrant violation of Hitler's announcements in 1935 and 1936 that he had no intention of attacking Austria or Czechoslovakia, and of the agreement of July 1936 between Germany and Austria under which Hitler recognized "the full sovereignty of the federal state of Austria". Nonetheless, on the 13 December 1937, Hitler approved a report concerning the military execution of the intentions outlined by him at the conference in November.
Throughout 1937, agents of the German Foreign Office had been undermining the Austrian government and directing the activities of the outlawed Austrian Nazi Party. On 12 February 1933, Schuschnigg, the Chancellor of Austria, was peremptorily summoned to meet with Hitler at the Obersalzberg. When Schuschnigg arrived at the Berghof, he found HItler flanked by the military, including the defendant Sperrle, and Keitel and Reichenau. In a diary kept by General Alfred Jodl, one of the defendants convicted by the IMT, who throughout much of this period was Chief of Operations under Keitel, the entry for 11 February states:
"In the evening and on 12 February General Keitel, with General von Reichenau and Sperrle at Obersalzberg.
Schuschnigg with G. Schmidt are being put under heaviest political and military pressure. At 23 hours Schuschnigg signs minutes."
A speech delivered in March 1942 by a high ranking Austrian Nazi, Gauleiter Dr. Rainer, gives a fuller account of the nature of this meeting:
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"The Fueher did not conduct the negotiations as Schuschnigg expected.....The Fuehrer.....shouted at him and reprached him with all the dirty tricks Schuschnigg had committed during the years past....Ribbentrop told me he really pitied Schuschnigg....Schuschnigg tried to object to something, but got so terribly shouted at that he fell back into silence. Then the meal was taken."
Now the defendant Sperrle will no doubt tell the Tribunal, as he has already so candidly informed the prosecution, that he had no notion what he was doing at the Berghof, and that the extent of his activity in this extortion was limited to a friendly cup of tea. Sperrle had only a few months prior to the Obersalzberg meeting returned from Spain, where the bombers of his Candor Legion were being tried out with deadly success in support of the France forces. It is considerably less than likely that Hitler summoned this man to the Berghof for the purpose of partaking of tea. Rainer's speech puts the matter beyond all doubt:
"....the Fuehrer called Sperrle who had just relinquished the command in Spain. The Fuehrer asked him speak about the Luftwaffe.
Schuschnigg was given a very impressive picture of the German Army. Keitel too was present."
After Schuschnigg left the Obersalzberg, military pressure against Austria was maintained by sham military activities near the Austrian border organized the Sperrle and several army generals, and a few days later Schnuschnigg granted amnesty to a number of Austrian Nazis. A month later, on 12 March, German troops occupied Austria, and the following day Austria was annexed to Germany.
The defendants will no doubt emphasize that they had no advance knowledge of the occupation of Austria. This is totally irrelevant, since Hitler himself knew of his own intention less than forty-eight hours in advance. The occupation was not carefully planned in advance, but was precipitated unexpectedly. On 9 March, Schuschnigg had announced his intention of holding a plebiscite on the question of Austrian independence. Hitler decided to act at once, and on 10 March, in a flurry of extemporized military preparations, the nearby troops were mobilized, and Sperrle assembled a miscellaneous assortment of combat and transport
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planes at airports in Bavaria. Backed by these forces, Hitler's agent Keppler presented an ultimatum to the President of Austria, Miklas, and informed him that 200,000 German soldiers were at the Austrian border ready for invasion. Face with these threats, the Austrian government succumbed on 11 March, and the next morning the Wehrmacht rolled into Austria. This was the first of the so-called "flower wars", so called because, according to Nazi propaganda, the German troops were greeted with flowers instead of bullets.
B. The Sudentenland
That Austria succombed to threats without the actual use of military force must not obscure the fact that her annexation was accomplished by military conquest. The Wehrmacht had made it possible. And the role of the Wehrmacht was even more decisive in the case of Czechoslovakia. Following the usual Nazi diplomatic pattern, categorical assurances were given by Germany to the Czech government at the time of the "Anschluss". But two months later, at a military conference in May 1938, Hitler ordered the preparation of plans for military action against Czechoslovakia not later than October 1938. Two days later, Hitler issued a revised directive which began with the statement: "It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future."
Pursuant to this directive, plans for the attack were developed which envisaged the formation and employment in the attack of several "armies"--a unit which did not exist in the peace-time structure of the German Army but was the standard large unit for war operations. Despite his curt dismissal at the time of the Blomberg-Fritsch affair, the defendant Leeb emerged from retirement to take command of the 12th Army; the 3d Army was commanded by Kuechler with Hollidt as his Chief of Staff, and Salmuth was Chief of Staff of the 2d Army. Sperrle developed plans for the employment of Air Fleet 3 in the attack.
The plan for the attack on Czechoslovakia led to another crisis between Hitler and some of the senior generals. It was not that there
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was any disagreement with the objective of conquest of Czechoslovakia or any doubt about the ability of the German Army to do this; once again, it was entirely a question of timing. A number of generals were firmly convinced that, if Germany should attack Czechoslovakia, France and England would honor their guarantee to Czechoslovakia and would attack Germany in the West. Germany's western fortifications were by no means completed, and while the growth of the Wehrmacht had been phenomenal, it had not yet nearly approached its peak. The leaders of the Wehrmacht did not want to see the fruits of their labor, as yet unripe, spoiled by being plucked too early. Brauchitsch, Beck, Adam, and others presented these views to Hitler, but were met with the rejoinder that France and England would not intervene in a war between Germany and Czechoslovakia.
This conflict in points of view never reached a showdown, as the immediate crisis was resolved through the conclusion of the Munich Pact, under which Czechoslovakia was required to cede the Sudetenland to Germany. German occupation of the Sudetenland was carried out in part by troops under the command of the defendants mentioned above.
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In the case of Austria and the Sudetenland, Hitler had made great diplomatic capital out of the fact that the inhabitants of the areas forcibly annexed by Germany were of Germanic origin. Two days before the Munich Pact was signed, Hitler, in a public speech carefully calculated to induce the western powers to appease Germany once more, described the Sudetenland as "the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe". Hitler continued:
I assured (Mr. Chamberlain), moreover, and I repeat it here, that when this problem is solved, there will be no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe.
And I further assured him that from the moment when Czechoslovakia solves its problems, that is to say, when the Vzechs have come to an agreement with their other minorities, peacefully, without oppression, I shall no longer be interested in the Czech State. And that is guaranteed him. We don't want any Czechs at all.
But the stress which Hitler laid on the "Germanic" character of Austria and the Sudetenland was just as spurious and insincere as his declaration that Germany hand no more territorial claims. The defendants knew that Hitler never intended to honor these promises. As early as 11 October, he asked the generals what additional forces would be necessary to break Czech resistance in Bohemia and Moravia. In December 1938, a directive was prepared under the defendant Warlimont's supervision in the OKW which was later initialed by the defendant Schniewind, and which stated"
Reference "Liquidation of the Rest of Czechoslovakia" the Fuehrer has given the following additional order:
The preparations for this eventuality are to continue on the assumption that no resistance worth mentioning is to be expected.
To the outside world, too, it must clearly appear that it is mearely [sic] an action of pacification and not a war-like undertaking.
In the meantime, the hatchet men of the German Foreign Office were busily fomenting separatist sentiment in Slovakia. By March 1939, Hitler was ready to strike again. Under strong pressure from Hitler, Slovakia declared herself independent, and at the same time the
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President of Czechoslovakia, Hacha, was summoned to Berlin and, in the presence of Goering and Keitel, was threatened with immediate invasion and the destruction of Prague from the air by the planes of Sperrle's Luftflotte. Under this terrible threat, Hacha agreed to the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia into the Reich as a protectorate; the following day, German troops under the command of the defendant Blaskowitz marched in, and Sperrle's air forces took over the Czech airfields. This was the last of the "flower wars", but we do not believe that Blaskowitz will tell us that there were many flowers thrown as he marched into Prague.
Immediately after the Munich settlement, the Wahrmacht was already looking ahead to the conquest of Poland, and the establishment of an "independent" Slovakia in March 1939 was a calculated step in that direction. The Wehrmacht had advised the Foreign Office in October 1938 that "a week and independend [sic] Slovakia would be the best solution" in order to "avoid the creation of a common frontier between Poland and Hungary" which the Wehrmacht thought "undesirable." Why it was thought "undersirable" [sic] became abundantly clear on 1 September 1939, when the German Fourteenth Army invaded Southern Poland from Slovakia.
No such disagreements between Hitler and the generals preceded the attack on Poland as had accompanied the Munich crisis. The Wehrmacht had been greatly strengthed during the intervening year. The submarine fleet under Admiral Doenitz was larger, and the Luftwaffe was very much larger; a fourth luftflotte based in Vienna had been added after the conquests of Austria and Czechoslovakia.
The army had made great strides. Two new corps headquarters in Austria and seven new divisions had already been set up by the end of 1938 as a result of the Austrian-Sudeten annexations. By September, 1939 the German Army comprised at least seventy-five divisions and was still growing very rapidly. In relation to the armies of neighboring countries, of course, the German Army's expansion was even more formidable, as the substantial and well-trained Czechoslovakian Army had been
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disbanded without the firing of a single shot.
As we approach the outbreak of war, we may profitably fit the de[-]fendants into place once more; all of them have risen in the military hierarchy since our last recapitulation. During the second World War, the German Army conducted three major campaigns: the campaign of Sept[-]ember, 1939 against Poland, with a holding action in the west; the con[-]quest of France and the Low Countries in the spring of 1940; and the overrunning of Western Russia in 1941. It is, perhaps, not generally realized that all three campaigns were conducted by very much the same set of army group and army commanders. Indeed, the army group command[-]ers were identical in all three campaigns. Three army groups led the German troops in each of these campaigns, and the three commanders[-]in-chief of these army groups were the three most senior generals of the German Army- the defendant von Leeb, and von Rudstedt and von Bock.
For the opening campaign, Leeb’s role, though defensive, was vitally important. He was given command of all the German forces in the West, with the mission of holding any attack which the French and British might launch. His headquarters was called "Army Group C", and under him were two armies- the First and Seventh- facing France and the Maginot Line, and a third and weaker army- the Fifth- to the north on the Belgian and Dutch frontiers. The defendant Hollidt, by then a brigadier general, was Chief of Staff of the Fifth Army. The bulk of the air forces supporting Leeb in the west were those of Luft[-]flotte Three, commanded by the defendant Sperrle.
The invasion of Poland was accomplished by two army groups- Army Group North under Bock, and Army Group South under Rundstedt. The latter had retired from active service in November, 1938, but was recall[-]ed to active duty in June, 1939 to prepare for the campaign. Under him were three armies. The Fourteenth Army, commanded by List, was deployed in the so-called "independent" state of Slovakia; the defendant Woehler, by then a colonel, was List’s operations officer. Well to the north, in Silesia, was the Eight Army under the defendant Blaskowitz. Between
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the two was the heavily armored and motorized Tenth Army, under Reichenau, which was to push into Poland as rapidly as possible while the armies of List and Blaskowitz protected its flanks. The defendant Hoth, then a lieutenant general, was a corps commander under Reichenau, and Reinhardt, a major general, commanded an armored division.
Bock’s northern army group, with the defendant Salmuth, a major general, as chief of staff, comprised two armies. The Fourth Army, under von Kluge, was to push eastward from Pomerania into the Polish Corridor. The Third Army, under the defendant Lieutentant-General von Kuechler, was stationed in East Prussia. The Third and Fourth Armies were supposed to act as a pincers, and trap as much as possible of the Polish Army between them in the Corridor.
In November, 1938, the defendant Schniewind was appointed Chief of Staff of the Naval War Staff, a position roughly comparable to that of Chief of the General Staff of the Army. In 1939, he became a Vice Admiral. At the outbreak of war, the Navy had two principal missions. Naval surface craft participated in the reduction of the Polish port of Gdynia on the Baltic Sea, and German submarine warfare in the Atlantic began immediately upon the outbreak of war.
In the OKW, the defendants Reinecke, Warlimont and Lehmann all held important positions by the time the war broke out. Lehmann, still a civilian, had been Chief of the Legal Department since 1938. Warlimont, a colonel, was Chief of the National Defense Section which was the section chiefly concerned with military plans within the Operations Staff (Wehrmachtfuhrungsstab, or "WFST"), of which Jodl was Chief. Rein[-]ecke, a brigadier general, was Chief of the General Office (Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt- "AWA") with a general supervision over prisoner of war affairs, as well as over most of the OKW’s fiscal and administrative work.
Although the plan to invade Poland did not take concrete form until 1939, the return of the Free City of Danzig to the Fatherland had long been contemplated. Two months after the signing of the Munich Pact and
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the public statement by Hitler that there were no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe, an OKW directive emanating from War[-]limont’s section ordered that "preparations are also to be made to enable the Free City of Danzig to be occupied by German troops by sur[-]prise." In December, 1938, Brauchitsch sent instructions to Kuechler in East Prussia to prepare for the surprise occupation of Danzig. The defendant Schniewind also received these directives.
After the conquest of Czechoslovakia, German pressure against Poland developed rapidly. In March 1939, Hitler instructed Brauchitsch that the military aspects of the Polish question should be studied. He added:
[Begin block quote] A solution in the near future would have to be based on especially favorable political conditions. In that case Poland shall be knocked down so completely that it need not be taken into account as a political factor for the next decade. [end block quote]
Thereafter, military preparations were in the hands of the Wehrmacht. On 3 April 1939, Keitel issued a new directive to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, Navy and Air Force concerning "Fall Weiss" (the code name for the invasion of Poland) which stated:
[Begin block quote] The Fuehrer has added the following directions to Fall Weiss:
1) Preparations must be made in such a way that the operation can be carried out at any time from 1 September 1939 onwards.
2) The High Command of the Armed Forces has been directed to draw up a precise time-table for synchronized timings between the three branches of the Armes Forces. [end block quote]
Warlimont assisted in drafting this directive and was active in the high level planning of this and all subsequent aggressions. The initials of the defendant Schniewind appear on the copy of the directive receiv[-]ed by the Navy.
On 23 Navy, Hitler held on important military conference with the Chiefs of the Wehrmacht and their staffs to present his views on the future tasks of the armed forces. In addition to Goering, Raeder, Brauchitsch, Milch and others, the defendants Schniewind and Warlimont were present. There Hitler laid bare the criminal conspiracy against
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the peace of the world in words which no man could fail to understand:
[begin block quote] A mass of 80 million people has solved the ideological problems. So, too, must the economic problems to be solved..... This is impossible without invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign property.....
The national-political unity of the Germans has been achieved, apart from minor exceptions. Further successes cannot be attained without the shedding of blood.....
Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is a question of expanding our living space in the East and of secur[-]ing our food supplies, of the settlement of the Baltic problem. Food supplies can be expected only from thinly populated areas. Over and above the natural fertility, thoroughgoing German exploita[-]tion will enormously increase the surplus.....
There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision: To attack Poland at the first suit[-]able opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The success of the isolation will be decisive. [end block quote]
Here then was a naked statement of Hitler’s determination to wage aggressive war; it was made directly to his military leaders. This criminal plan could not have been carried out without their whole-hearted cooperation.
The target day for the attack was 1 September 1939. In the inter[-]vening months, military preparations for "Fall Weiss" proceeded apace. The overall operational planning was developed by Rundstedt, with von Manstein as his Chief of Staff. On 28 April, Schniewind wrote to the Navy Commander in the East concerning the occupation of Danzig, advis[-]ing the latter to consult with Kuechler, Commander of the 3rd Army in East Prussia. On 14 June, Blaskowitz issued a detailed battle plan for Fall Weiss to his subordinate units, stating in part that? [: instead of ?]
[begin block quote] The operation, in order to forestall an orderly Polish mobile[-]zation and concentration, is to be opened by surprise with forces which are for the most part armored and motorized, placed on alert in the neighborhood of the border. The initial superiority over the Polish frontier-guards and surprise that can be expected with certainty are to be maintained by quickly bringing up other parts of the army as well to counteract the marching up of the Polish Army.
Accordingly all units have to keep the initiative against the foe by quick acting and ruthless attacks. [end block quote]
Again on 15 June, Brauchitsch issued orders to Blaskowitz and Kuechler, among others, stating that the object of Fall Weiss was "to destroy the
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Polish Armed Forces" and that "high policy demands that the war should be begun by heavy surprise blows." Numerous planning and operational conferences took place throughout the summer of 1939. All the defendants (except von Roques, who had not yet returned to active service) partici[-]pated significantly in planning and initiating the war; with the Polish campaign itself, the defendants Kuechler, Blaskowitz, Hoth, Reinhardt, von Salmuth, Schniewind, Warlimont and Woehler were most directly con[-]cerned.
There is no evidence that any substantial number of Germany’s military leaders felt any qualms or compunction about the ruthless and aggressive attack which they were planning. If any were hesitant, they were in a decided minority. With the western fortifications strengthened, the Czech Army eliminated, and the Wehrmacht itself burgeoning like tropical vegetation, the whole spirit of the officers’ corps was far more bellicose than the previous year. Furthermore, recovery of the territory lost to Poland
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after the First World War had been a cardinal objective of the German officers’ corps for many years. Once again, the defendant Blaskowitz had summarized their viewpoint:
[Begin block quote] From 1919, and particularly from 1924, three critical territorital [territorial] questions occupied attention in Germany. These were the questions of the Polish Corridor, the Saar and Ruhr, and Memel.
I myself, as well as the whole group of German staff and front officers, believed that these three questions, outstanding among which was the question of the Polish Corridor, would have to be settled some day, if necessary by force of arms. About ninety percent of the German people were of the same mind as the officers on the Polish question. A war to wipe out the political and economic loss resulting from the creation of the Polish Corridor and to lessen the threat to separated East Prussia surrounded by Poland and Lithuania was regarded as a sacred duty though a sad necessity.......
After the annexation of Czechoslovakia we hoped that the Polish question would be settled in a peaceful fashion through diplomatic means, since we believed that this time France and England would come to the assistance of their ally. As a matter of fact, we felt that, if political negotiations came to naught, the Polish question would unavoidably lead to war, that is, not only with Poland herself, but also with the Western Powers.
When, in the middle of June, I received an order from the OKH to prepare myself for an attack on Poland. I knew this war came even closer to the realm of possibility. This conclusion was only strengthened by the Fuehrer’s speech on 22 August 1939 on the Obersalzberg when it clearly seemed to be an actuality....... [end block quote]
At the meeting on the Obersalzberg to which Blaskowitz refers, Hitler reiterated his inflexible decision to crush Poland even at the risk of war with England and France. This conference was attended by all the Commanders and their Chiefs of Staff down to Army level, and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force, including the defendants Leeb, Blaskowitz, Kuechler, Sperrle, Schniewind, Warlimont and Salmuth. Hitler began by stating that "It was clear to me that a conflict with Poland had to come sooner or later. I had already made this decision in the spring." He went on the recapitulate the reasons which seemed to him to dictate the advisability of an immediate war against Poland rather than its postponement; his own political ability was stressed as
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the first consideration, and the loyalty of Mussolini as the second. Hitler went on "The third factor favorable for us is Franco. We can ask only benevolent neutrality from Spain, but this depends on Franco’s personality." This "benevolent neutrality" was, of course, what Hitler had counted on achieving by German intervention in support of Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
After reviewing other factors which he considered to favor an immediate attack, Hitler said:
[Begin block quote] The enemy had another hope, that Russia would become our enemy after the conquest of Poland. The enemy did not count on my great power of resolution. Our enemies are little worms. I saw them in Munich.
I was convinced that Stalin would never accept the English offer. Russia has not interest in maintaining Poland....I brought about the change toward Russia gradually. In connection with the commercial treaty we got into political conver[-]sation. Proposal of a non-aggression pact. Then came a general proposal from Russia. Four days ago I took a special step, which brought it about that Russia answered yesterday that she is ready to sign. The personal contact with Stalin is established. The day after tomorrow von Ribbentrop will conclude the treaty. Now Poland is in the position in which I wanted her. [end block quote]
This was indeed music to the generals’ ears. Always pursued by the fear of a two-front war which had proved so disastrous twenty years earlier, the news that Russia would remain neutral quieted their last misgivings. Furthermore, the German officers’ corps had always depre[-]cated Hitler’s violent language against the Soviet Union. As a document signed by the defendant Warlimont and four other leading German generals states:
[Begin block quote] Good relations with Russia.....were valued very highly in the Army which had many points of close contact with the Red Army. It was considered a disappointment, therefore, that the Government evidently had not been in a position to fight the battle against Communism at home in such a way that friendly relations with Russia might,
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[continue block quote] nevertheless, be maintained- as had been the case in the years following the Rapallo Treaty. The violent language against Russia in Hitler’s and Goebbels’ speeches was by no means approved. [end block quote]
Two days after the meeting on the Obersalzberg, England entered into an agreement of mutual assistance with Poland which embodied informal assurances previously given. This, together with Italy’s unwillingness to embark on war, caused Hitler to hesitate momentarily, but as soon ashe [needs a space] realized that England and France would not consent to the destruction of a third European country by Germany, he issued "Directive No. 1 for the Conduct of the War", previously prepared in Warlimont’s office, and on 1 September the Wehrmacht unleashed the Second World War by invading Poland, thus also precipitating war with England and France. The defendants and their co-participants and Hitler [l typed over a b?] were all in agreement; as Hitler had said on the Obersalzberg:
[Begin block quote] In starting and making a war, not the Right is what matters, but Victory. [end block quote]
If the court please, Mr. Rapp will continue.
MR. RAPP: If Your Honors please:
Poland was overrun and conquered within a few weeks, and there[-]after the Wehrmacht found itself in avery [needs a space] favorable military situation. The Soviet Union was neutralized by diplomatic agreement, and the Polish Army was no more. The Wehrmacht had suffered only insignificant losses during the Polish campaign, and these were more than compensated by the valuable experience which had been gained among both the leaders and the rank and file. Furthermore, the Wehrmacht was still growing; the peak of Germany’s military effort had by no means been reached.
But if Hitler had hoped that the Western powers would sue for peace, he was disappointed, and the question arose "What to do next?" the bulk of the army was rapidly moved to the Western Front, leaving only a few troops in Poland to cover the Eastern Front and perform occupational duties. For the second time in twenty-five years the German
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Army faced the French across the Rhine, and the hapless Low Countries lay athwart the German line of advance in Northern France. And in this situation, the Army High Command and the Fuehrer once again fell into disagreement.
Hitler wanted to strike in the West at once. On 9 October, he circulated a memorandum to Keitel, Brauchitsch, Goering and Raeder stressing that Germany’s war aim "is and remains the destruction of our Western enemies" and pointing out that "the successes of the Polish campaign have made possible.....a war on a single front, awaited for past decades......"
But the generals thought otherwise. Now that they were at grips with France and England, they wanted to mobilize greater strength before attacking the Western powers, and preferred to spend the winter training the newly recruited divisions and testing their battle plans in war games. Opposition to Hitler’s demand for an immediate showdown was absolutely unanimous; even the ambitious and impulsive Reichenau, loyal Nazi that he was, wanted to wait until spring. Jodl’s diary describes a conference on 25 October 1939 attended by Hitler, Brauchitsch, Halder (who had replaced Beck as Chief of Staff of the Army General staff in November 1938), Bock, Kluge and Richenau [Reichenau]:
[Begin block quote] Reichenau emphasizes bad weather, we gain better training during wintertime, we must be able to draw out operations over the winter.
Fuehrer says yes, but the enemy gains strength and one winter night England and France will be on the Maas without firing a shot and without our knowing about it.
Reichenau says I prefer that.
Bock: We still lack a great deal of replacement material. [end block quote]
In a determined effort to swing the generals around to his opinion, Hitler called another meeting of all commanders-in-chief and chiefs of staff at the Obersalzberg on 23 November 1939, and delivered aharangue [?]:
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[Begin block quote] If the Polish war was won so quickly, it was due to the superiority of our armed forces......... Now the Eastern Front is held by only a few divisions. It is a situation which we viewed previously at unattainable......Everything is determined by the fact that the moment is favorable now; in six months it might not be so any more.....My decision is unchangeable. I shall attack France and England at the most favorable and quickest moment. [End block quote]
But the generals were totally unconvinced. In a fury, Hitler announced that he would proceed anyhow, and set December 9 as a tentative date for the attack. But, for one reason or another, the attack was post[-]poned, time after time, for five months, and did not take place until May, 1940.
While the generals and Hitler were squabbling, the master minds of the German Navy were not idle. In September, 1939, a German admiral named Carls pointed out to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Raeder, the advantages which the Navy would derive from an occupation of the Norwegian coast. His interest aroused, early in October Raeder addressed a questionnaire to the Naval War Staff, of which the defendant Schniewind was Chief of Staff, directing that the following points be studied:
[Begin indented block quote] (1st) What places in Norway can be considered as bases?
(2nd) Can bases be gained by military force against Norway’s will, if it is impossible to carry this out without fighting?
What are the possibilities of defense after the occupation?......
What decisive advantages would exist for the conduct of the war at sea in gaining bases in North Denmark, for instance Skagen? [end block quote]
A week later, Raeder brought the matter up with Hitler, who agreed "to give the matter consideration". Early in December, 1939, the Norwegian traitors Quisling and Hagelin came to Germany and conferred with Hitler, Raeder and Alfred Rosenberg. During the ensuing months, Schniewind maintained contact with Hagelin, and information so
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Received was passed on by Schniewind to Warlimont in the OKW.
In January, 1940, Hitler finally decided to adopt the Navy’s proposal for a military occupation of Denmark and Norway. The project was given the code name "Weser exercise"; itsoverall [needs a space] preparation was entrusted to the OKW, and the naval planning to OKM. The basic OKW order, prepared under Warlimont, was issued on 27 January 1940. Schniewind and Warlimont both played leading roles; Jodl’s diary entry for 29 February 1940 states:
[Begin indented block quote] 29 February- Fuehrer also wishes to have a strong task force in Copenhagen and a plan, elaborated in detail, showing how individual coastal batteries are to be captured by shock troops. Warlimont, Chef Landesverteidigung, instructed to make out immediately the order of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and Director of Armed Forces to make out a similar order re[-]garding the strengthening of the staff. [end block quote]
On 1 March 1940 Warlimont prepared and issued a Hitler order for the completion of preparations. General von Falkenhorst was placed in charge of the combined unit which was to carry out the operation. At the same time, a naval working staff was formed under Schniewind, and on 12 March 1940, Schniewind issued orders concerning alternate landing locations for the invasion of Norway in the event the first locations should prove unusable. On 3 April 1940, the OKW forwarded a letter to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop’s Office, prepared and initialed by the defendant Warlimont, which requested the cooperation of the Foreign Office with the various Military Commanders who were to be appointed in Denmark and Norway and stated:
[Begin indented block quote] The military occupation of Denmark and Norway has been, by command of the Fuehrer, long in preparation by the High Command of the Wehrmacht. The High Command of the Wehrmacht [end block quote]
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has therefore had ample time to occupy itself with all the questions connected with the carrying out of this operation. [should be a continuation of block quote]
The invasion of Denmark and Norway had, of course, been preceded by the usual Judas’ kiss of treaties and assurances. In May, 1939, Germany and Denmark had signed a non-aggression pact. In April and September 1939, Germany had solemnly promised "to respect the territory of the Norwegian state." Norway had not been a t [space between ‘at’] war with any nation for one hundred twenty-six years, and Denmark’s peace had been undis[-]turbed since Germany had alst [?] attacked her in 1856. None of the defend[-]ants- least of all Schniewind and Warlimont- can have failed to realize the aggressive and treacherous character of Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940.
Throughout the winter of 1939-1940, the major German attack in the west was repeatedly scheduled and postponed. The reasons for the postponement were various. The plans called for a weather forecast of five or six days’ clear whether [weather], and the forecase [forecast] was never quite favorable enough. In January 1940, a German airplane carrying important documents relating to the attack made a forced landing in Belgium. There was disagreement within the Army High Command as to whether to follow the classic "Schlieffen" Plan, which had been used in the First World War, or whether to adopt new tactics. All these factors played a part in the delay, but it may well be doubted whether Hitler really wanted to override the unanimous judgment of the generals and take sole respon[-]sibility for a premature attack; at all events, the attack was not finally mounted until 10 May 1940.
Whatever may have been the differences between Hitler and the generals as to timing, they were completely agreed that the Low Countries shoudl [should] be overrun as part of the overall plan of campaign. Existing treaties and guarantees meant nothing. The independence of Belgium rested upon international guarantees which had never been broken save by Germany herself in 1914. During the Weimar Republic, Germany had entered into arbitration treaties with all the Low Countries, and between
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1937 and 1939 the Third Reich had given assurances to those countries at least eleven times. The German generals had some cause to recollect the unfavorable effect on world opinion which Germany’s breach of Bel[-]gium neutraility had caused in 1914, but they had learned nothing. All their plans for a campaign in the west were based on the invasion and occupation of the Low Countries, in violation of treaties and agree[-]ments. And they were in no doubt as to Hitler’s point of view. On 23 May 1939, at the conference attended by Schniewind and Warlimont when Hitler announced his intention to attack Poland, Hitler said:
"Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied......Declaration of neutrality must be ignored [‘g’ typed over ‘n’ and ‘n’ typed over ‘g’].....Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning speed.....Considerations of right and wrong or treaties do not enter into the matter.....If Holland and Belgium are successfully occupied and held, and if France is also divided, the fundamental conditions for a successful war against England will have been secured."
German reassurances to Belgium and the Netherlands were reaffirmed on 6 October, at the conclusion of the Polish campaign. But, the very next day, Brauchitsch ordered von Bock to take command of an army group and to prepare for the immediate invasion of Dutch and Belgian territory; copies of this order were received by the defendants Leeb and Salmuth, among others. And finally, during Hitler’s speech on 23 November 1939 on the Obersalzberg,m when he endeavored to persuade the generals to attack immediately in the west, he said:
"I shall attack France and England at the most favorable and quickest moment. Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won. The arguments we will choose for that breach of neutrality shall not be as idiotic as they were in 1914."
In deploying the German forces for the attack in the west, Leeb’s Army Group C its position along the French border, opposite the
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Rhine River and the Maginot Line. Immediately to Leeb is north, Runds[-]todt’s Army Group A constituted the center of the German line, and on his right, Army Group B under Bock constituted the northern wing. The original plan of attack, embodied in "Directive No. 6 for the Conduct of the War", dated 9 October and prepared in Warlimont’s department, called for an attack based on the old "Schlieffen" Plan, with the dif[-]ference that this time both Holland and Belgium were to be overrun, whereas in 1914 Holland had been left untouched. Under this plan, the main concentration of forces was in Bock’s northern army group, which was expected to swing rapidly through Holland and Belgium and down the French Channel coast.
During the winter, this planw as [plan was] abandoned, and by March a new plan had been adopted under which the main concentration ("Schwerpunkt") of forces was entrusted to Rundstedt’s Army Group A in the center. This plan called for a strong attack through Luxembourg and the Belgium Ardennes with the purpose of breaking through the Maginot Line near Sedan. It was expected that, as soon as Bock’s Army Group pushed into Holland and Northern Belgium, the bulk of the French and British forces would be drawn north for the defense of the Low Countries, that Runds[-]tedt’s attack through Sedan, if pressed rapidly through the Channel coast, would result in splitting the Allied forces, and that those cut off to the north could be annihilated. And this, indeed, is what actually happened, with the exception that the evacuation from Dunkirk saved a substantial part of the British Army from destruction.
When the attack was finally delivered, Bock’s army grou [group], of which the defendant Salmuth was still Chief of Staff, comprised the Eighteenth Army under Kuechler, which invaded Holland, and the Sixth Army under Reichenau, which pushed into Northern Belgium. Rundstedt’s army group included the Fourth, Twelfth and Sixteenth Armies under Kluge, List and Busch respectively, and an armored group under Kleist. Hoth’s XV Corps was part of Kluge’s Fourth Army. Reinhardt, a divisional commander in the Polish campaign, had now been given command of the XXXXI Corps in
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Kleist’s armored group. Air support for Rundstedt’s attack was fur[-]nished by Sperrle’s Luftflotte 3.
In reserve were the Second and Ninth Armies. Blaskowitz, who had been made a full general after the Polish campaign, brought the Ninth Army to the front as part of Rundstedt’s army group after the breakthrough, but was relieved shortly thereafter. Hollidt, by then a major general, was the Ninth Army’s Chief of Staff.
After the first phase of the campaign in the Low Countries and Northern France had been successfully concluded, France’s downfall was achieved in the second phase. Up to this time Leeb’s Army Group C had played a purely defensive role, but in this second phase Leeb’s forces attacked directly into France through the Maginot Line. The operation progressed so well that by 10 June the vulture Mussolini decided to feed of the kill, and Italy mounted an attack on France from the south. A few weeks later the campaign was concluded, and for the second time in twenty-five years Germany’s brazen violations of neutrality and blatant contempt for international agreements shocked and antagonized the civilized world. Once again the German people were fated to pay a heavy price for their leaders’ mental and moral shortcomings. There are some things that German Generals will never learn.
Germany’s campaign in the west was concluded with the signing of an Armistice at Compiegne on 22 June 1940, and the fighting ceased three days later. The Wehrmacht had achieved an amazing military success, which Hitler could not fail to acknowledge. Indeed, Hitler gracelessly overdid matters; a session of the Reichstag on 19 July 1940, in celebra[-]tion of German victory, was made the occasion for such an orgy of promo[-]tions that many of the newly appointed field marshals and full generals must have felt that many of the newly appointed field marshals and full generals must have felt that Hitler had only succeeded in cheapening the high ranks bestowed. No less than nine Army and three Air Force officers- around dozen in all- were made field marshals that day. This was quite un[-]precedent; during the entire First World War only five (other than the royal princes) had received the coveted baton. In addition to the de[-]fendant Leeb, the highest rank was now conferred on Bock, Brauchitsch,
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Keitel, Kluge, List, Reichenau, Rundstedt and Witzleben. In the Luft[-]waffe the defendant Sperrle and Kesselring were given double promotions from lieutenant general to field marshal, and Milch also made the grade. To keep matters straight, it was, of course, necessary to give Hermann Goering an even higher rank; this dilemma solved by calling him a "Reichs[-]marshal". The honors of a full general were dispensed even more liber[-]ally. The defendants Kuechler and Hoth were joined by twelve other Army officers and five Air Force officers, or nineteen in all.
After the fall of France, it became increasingly clear that the British were not in the least disposed to quit, and the Wehrmacht again confronted the problem "What next?" Three alternative courses of action found support within the Wehrmacht. The first was to prepare for an amphibious invasion of England. Under the code name "Sea Lion" plans were drawn up for a cross-channel attack. The second, favored by Brauchitsch, was to strike England in the Mediterrranean by reducing Gibraltar with the assistance of a friendly Franco, and supporting an Italian offensive against Egypt. The third, suggested as [s typed over an x] early as 22 July at a conference between Hitler and Brauchitsch, was the conquest of the Soviet Union.
The plan of invading England was plagued from the outset with inter-service friction and the slender resources of the German Navy. The diary of General Halder, the Chief of the Army General Staff, under date of 6 August 1940 states:
"We have here the very strange situation where the Navy is full of misgivings, the Air Force is very reluctant to put a hand to an assignment which is entirely up to them at the outset, and the OKW, which for once has a real Combined Forces operation, just plays dead. The only driving force in the whole matter is supplied by us the Army, but alone we won’t be able to swing the job."
By November 1940 [needs to be indented] "Seelowe" had been abandoned [a typed near the ‘a’ in abandoned], and was never revived. The interesting idea of concentrating the Axis attack in the Mediterranean
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never got beyond the speculative stage. Hitler and Franco were never able to agree on a program for the reduction of Gibraltar, and German action against Egypt, despite Rommel's spectacular successes, was never put on a large-scale basis.
It became increasingly apparent, therefore, that an offensive against the Soviet Union was most likely to be the next step. There can be no doubt that Hitler intended from the outset to discard the treaty of 1939 with the Soviet Union as soon as it had served its use[-]fulness.
Russia's annexation of Bessarabia at the end of May 1940 had already caused Hitler and the generals uneasy moments. As early as 31 July 1940, during a conference with the Army and Navy High Commands at the Berghof, Hitler expressed skepticism concerning the success of an attack on England, and went on to say:
"England's hope lies in Russia and America. If hope of Russia is taken away, America too is lost for England, because elimination of Russia is followed by a tremendous build-up of Japan's power in Eastern Asia. Russia is England's and America's dagger against Japan. Current tendency in Japan is inconvenient for England. Japan, like Russia, has a program that is to be carried out before the war ends. Russia is the factor on which England is counting the most. Something must have hap[-]pened in London: The English were completely down, now they have been revived. Russia is somewhat disturbed about the rate at which the Euro[-]pean situation develops. All Russia has to do is to say to England that it does not care to have a great Germany, and the English immediately hope with the strength of drowning men, that the situation will be radic[-]ally changed within 6 or 8 months.
With Russia smashed, England's last hope would be gone. Germany than [then] will be the master of Europe and the Balkans. It follows from this reasoning that RUssia must be done away with. Spring 1941.
The sooner Russia is crushed, the better off we are. Operation achieves its purpose only if Russian State is shattered to foundation
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with one blow. Territorial gains alone will not do. So it is better to wait a little longer, but sustain the resolution to eliminate Russia. This is necessary also because of location on Baltic. Have no use for a second first-rate power on Baltic. May 41. Five months' time to finish job. This year would be the best, but unified action would not be possible.
THE PRESIDENT: The time has arrived when I think we should take the noon recess. I would call the attention, both of cousel [counsel] and the spectators, that this afternoon this session will continue, not here, but in room 70.
The Tribunal now will be in recess, to reconvene at room 70 at 1:30 p.m.
(A recess was taken until 1330 hours.)
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[Begin being centered] AFTERNOON SESSION
(The Tribunal reconvened at 1330 hours, 5 February 1948) [end being centered]
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
THE PRESIDENT: The Prosecution will proceed with the reading of the statement.
MR. RAPP: Very well, Your Honor.
And so, during the fall of 1940, as the plans for Seelowe" [needs beginning quotation marks] were shelved and the Luftwaffe met defeat in the Battle of Britain, Hitler and the military leaders turned their thoughts increasingly toward the ago-old German dream of an empire in the east—toward the Soviet-Union. But as the events developed , [no space required between ‘developed’ and the comma] two small Balkan states stumbled into the path of this new and gigantic aggressive war—Greece and Yugoslavia. Through no doing of their own they became the next to suffer the living hell of German attack andoccupation [needs space between ‘and’ and ‘occupation’]. On 23 October 1940, Mussolini launched a surprise attack against Greece from Albania in an effort to expand Italian dominion in the Mediterranean. But the strike went amiss; the valiant Greeks gathered their forces and drove the Italian invader back toward the Albanian frontier. By the end of 1940, the Italian forces had taken a considerable mauling from the Greeks.
There is every indication that Hitler strongly disapproved of Mussolini’s Greek adverture [adventure], and that the German generals were not displeased at the discomfiture of their Italian ally. Nevertheless, the possibility that the British would establish a foothold in Greece made it desirable for Germany to come to the aid of the Italians. By december [needs to be capitalized] 1940, Hitler had definitely decided to send a German force into Greece. An order dated 13 December 1940 and drafted by Warlimont stated:
[Begin block quote] "The result of the battles in Albania is not yet decisive. Because of the dangerour [dangerous] situation in Albania it is doubly necessary that the British endeavor be foiled to create air bases under the protection of a Balkan front, which would be dangerous above all to Italy as well as to the Rumanian oil fields. [end block quote]
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[continue block quote] "My plan , [needs no space between ‘plan’ and comma] therefore is (a) to form a slowly increasing task force in Southern Rumania within the next months, (b) after the setting in a favorable weather, probably in March, to send the task force for the occupation of the Aegean [possibly an ‘A’, possibly not] North coast by way of Bulgaria, and ifnecessary [needs space between ‘if’ and ‘necessary’] to occupy the entire Greek mainland (Operation Marita). The support of Bulgaria is to be expected." [end block quote]
In pursuance of this plan, Fieldmarshal [needs space between ‘Field’ and ‘marshal’] List’s 12th Army head[-]quarters established itself in Rumania shortly thereafter, and early in March it corssed [crossed] the Danube into Bulgaria to deploy for the attack against Greece. One of the divisions in List’s Army was the 50th Infantry Division, commanded by the defendant Hollidt.
In the meantime, Ribbentrop secured the adherence of Yugoslavia to the Tri-Partite Pact, formally given inVienna [needs space between ‘in’ and ‘Vienna’] on 25 March. But the next day, a coup d’etat in Belgrade overthrew the government, and the new government repudiated the Axis pact. German reaction was swift and merciless. On 27 March Hitler conferred with the military leaders and pointed out that Yugoslavia was now an uncertain factor, not only with respect to the coming attack on Greece but even more so with respect to the planned invasion of the Soviet Union. The notes on this conference, initialed by Warlimont, state:
[begin block quote] "The Fuehrer is determined, without waiting for possible loyalty declarations f the new government, to make all preparations in order to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a national unit.... The attack will start as soon as the means and troops suitable for it are ready... Politically it is expecially [especially] important that the blow against Yugoslavia is carried out with unmerciful harshness and that the military destruction is done in a lightning-like undertaking." [end block quote]
As a result of all this, a coordinated plan of campaign against both Greece and Yugoslavia was immediately devised. Naval support
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for the operation against Greece was arranged by the Naval War Staff under Schniewind. On 29 March further OKW orders drafted by Warlimont were distributed to Reinecke and Lehmann, among others.
The attack was set in motion on 6 April 1940, when part of List’s forces in Bulgaria (including Hollidt’s 50th Division) moved southward into Greece and westward into Yugoslavia. Simulaneiously [simultaneously], Belgrade was ruthlessly bombed. Two days later, an armored force under Kleist detached itself from the 12th Army and attacked from thenorthwest [needs space between ‘the’ and ‘northwest’] from Bulgaria toward Belgrade. On 10 April, HYugoslavia was attacked from the north by the German Second Army, which had been deployed in Austria and Hungary. A special task force had also been assembled in Eastern Rumania under the defendant Reinhardt, by then a lieutenant-General. On 11 April this force struck south toward Belgrade, and less and forty-eight hours later Reinhardt’s and Kleist’s forces met in Belgrade. Within a few days, the bulk of the Yugoslav forces had capitulated, and within a matter of weeks Greece had also succumbed. Leaving behind a few divisions for occupation duties, the bulk of the German forces were rapidly pulled out of the Balkans in order to make them available for the campaign against the Soviet Union.
In the meantime, plans for the gigantic military undertaking against the Soviet Union had been virogously [vigorously] pushed. On 6 September 1940, troop movements from France to the East were begun in accordance with an order issued by Brauchitsch to Leeb, Kuechler, and Salmuth, among others. An OKW directive from Warlimont’s department instructed counter-intelli[-]gence agents how to camouflage the build-up on the eastern border. A few days later, a military mission was sent to Rumania to lay the groundwork for a joint attack against Russia from that country. Political discussions which took place with Molotov in Berlin late in 1940 did nothing to change Hitler’s intentions, and on 18 December 1940, he issued the basic strategic directives to the Wehrmacht for "Case Barbarossa", the code name for the attack againstthe [needs a space between ‘against’ and ‘the’] Soviet Unin, which
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The German armed forces must be prepared to crush Soviet Russia [additional indent follows this bracket in the original text] in a quick campaign before the end of the war against England. Preparations were to be completed by 15 May 1941. As we have just seen, the campaign in Greece and Yugoslavia intervened, and caused a five weeks’ postponement, a circumstance which turned out to be of great importance.
In the planning and execution of the aggressive war against the Soviet Union, all of the defendant participated except Sperrle and Blaskowitz. The former remained as Commander in Chief of Luftotte 3 and incharge [needs a space between ‘in’ and ‘charge’] of the air war in the West. In October 1940, Blaskowitz was appointed Commander in Chief of the First Army, which was deployed in Southern France, and he too remained in the West until the end of the war.
For the initial onslaught against the Red Army, seven armies and four armoured groups were deployed along the Russian border from East Prussia to Rumania. Once again, the attack was directed by three army groups, with the same three army group commanders as in the two previous major campaigns. The jumping off point for Army Group North, commanded by Leeb, was East Prussia. On this occasion, Leeb’s role was by no means defensive; his mission was to push through the Baltic territories and capture Leningrad. Under him were the 18th Army commanded by Kuechler, the 16th Army under Busch, and the 4th Armored Group under Hoeppner; the defendant commander a corps under Hoeppner.
Army Group Center under Bock comprised the Fourth and Ninth Armies under Kluge and Strauss respectively, and the Second andThird [needs a space between ‘and’ and ‘Third’] Armored Groups under Guderian and the defendant Hoth respectively. Army Group South under Runstedt comprised the 6th Army under Reichenau, the First Armored Group under Kleist, the 17th Army under Stuelpnagel, and the 11th Army under von Schobart, with the defendant Woehler as Chief of Staff. The 11th Army was assembled in Rumania, and was to
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attack through Bessarabia and eastwards along the Black Seanorth [needs a space between ‘Sea’ and ‘north’] coast in conjunction with Rumanian forces. Schobert’s army included the XXX Corps under Salmuth, and the 50th Division under Hollidt. And now for the first time we encounter the defendant von Roques, who had retired from active service in 1933, but was calledup [needs a space between ‘called’ and ‘up’] again in April 1940. In 1941, with the rank of lieutenant-general, he was apointed [appointed] Commander of the Rear Area of Rundstedt’s Army Group South. Inthis [needs a space between ‘in’ and ‘this’] capacity, he was responsible for the security of communications and supply routes behind Rundstedt’s army group.
The defendant S chniewind [Schniewind], who had become a full admiral in 1940, was in charge of the naval planning for "Barbarossa". A few days prior to the actual attack, however, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the High Seas Fleet, and therefore was not closely concerned with the actual execution of the Russian campaign. The defendants Reinecke, Warli[-]mont and Lehmanncontinued [need a space between ‘Lehmann’ and ‘continued’] in the same positions at OKW that they had previously occupied.
Throughout the spring of 1941, all the defendants (except Sperrle and Blaskowitz) were engaged in intensive preparations for their part in the attack. For example, on 21 March, the OKH requested all army groups or army commanders andchiefs [need a space between ‘and’ and ‘cheifs’] of staff to attendaconference [‘attend’ ‘a’ ‘conference’] on "Barbarossa" as well as to have breakfast with the Japanese Ambassador. By 12 March, Hoth [?] had issued deployment orders to his Panser Group 3 and Reinhardt was preparing a plan of attack for his XXX XI Corps. Kuechler had been ordered by Leeb to take the necessary measures for an assault on the Baltic Islands. Frequent entries in the diary of the Naval War Staff give evidence of the activity of its Chief of Staff Schniewind. He was so eager to join battle that, as early as 22 April 1941, he requested permission from the OKW to use arms against Russian naval units since camouglafe of preparations could be perfect anyway. On 28 April, Warlimont prepared a memorandum concerning questions which should be discussed with the Finnish delegation on the Russian invasion. Subsequent discussions led to the conclusion of a Finnish-German military agreement, under which Finland would join in the war against Russia.
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Pursuant to this agreement, the German 20th Mountain Army was sent to Northern Finland; however it did not come under the orders of the Finnish army, but remained under the direct command of OKW.
In presenting the evidence under counts Two and Three of the Indict[-]ment, we will have ample occasion to observe that the German plans with respect to the invasion of the Soviet Union went very much further than the usual type of military plans. It was Hitler’s intention that, as the German armies proceeded into Russia, all vestigas [?] of the pre-existing government should be wiped out, and all Jews and important political functionaries exterminated; that a complete new system of local and re[-]gional government should be set up; and that the Russian economy should be mobilized for Germany’s war needs in complete disregard of the re[-]quirements of the indigenous population. Since Germany’s purposes were so broad, and indeed so deeply criminal, much more elaborate orders and directives had to be prepared in advance of the attack against the Soviet Union than on previous occasions. Thus, for example, on 13 March Keitel signed a directive, prepared in Warlimont’s department, which stated:
[begin block quote] .... In the area of operations, the Reichsfuehrer SS (Himmler) is, on behalf of the Fuehrer, entrusted with special tasks for the preparation of the political administration, tasks which re[-]sult from the struggle which has to be carried out between two opposing political systems. Within the realm of these tasks, the Reichsfuehrer SS shall act independently and under his own responsibility. The executive power vested in the Supreme Comman[-]der of the Army and in agencies determined by him shall not be affected by this. It is the responsibility of the Reichsfuehrer SS that through the execution of his tasks military operations shall not be disturbed. Details shall be arranged directly through the OKW with the Reichsfuehrer SS. [end block quote]
The "special duties" referred to meant the mass murder of Jews, the intelligentsia, the communist functionaries by the Einsatzgruppen
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of the Security Police and SD. This , [no space needed between ‘this’ and ‘,’] as our proof will show , [no space needed between ‘show’ and ‘,’] was only one phase of thecriminal [needs a space between ‘the’ and ‘criminal’] plans laid by these defendants and their col[-]laborators to destroy ruthlessly Russian soldiers and civilians who might be expected to oppose the "New Order" for Europe. Only a few weeks later, Warlimont and Lehmann drafted an order pursuant to which tens of thousands of so-called political commissars of the Red Army were killed in cold blood by the Wehrmacht or handed over to the Einsatzgruppen for execution. It was these same two worthies who prepared the order removing enemy civilians from German military juris[-]diction and permitting German soldiers to engage in wanton slaughter at the whim of any officer and without fear of any punishment. Before ever a shot was fired, orders were issued for the screening of Russian prisoners of war under the jurisdiction of the defendant Reinecke for the purpose of weeding out and executing all "suspicious elements". We shall speak of these matters in more detail at a later point.
By the end of April, plans had so far progressed as to permit the fixing of DDay [?] for 22 June. The Russian government had meantime done everything in their power to avoid conflict with Germany. Thus, the entry for 6 June in the diary of the German Naval War Staff stated:
[begin block quote] Ambassador in Moscow reports..... Russia will only fight if attacked by Germany. Situation is considered in Moscow much more serious than up to now. All military preparations have been made quietly- as far as can be recognized only de[-]fensive. Russian policy still strives as before to produce the best possible relationship to Germany..... [end block quote]
But the die had long since been cast; the leaders of the Third Reich were determined to destroy Russia and nothing could dissuade them from their criminal aims. On 14 June , [no space between ‘June’ and ‘,’ needed] the military leaders , [no space needed between ‘leaders’ and ‘,’] include[-]ing Leeb, Kuechler, Hoth, and Warlimont reported to Hitler the state of preparations for "Barbarossa", and eight days later the attack was launched. In the proclamation published shortly after the border had
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been crossed, Hitler stated:
[begin block quote] I have decided to give the fate of the German people and of the Reich and of Europe again into the hands of our soldiers. [end block quote]
Six months later, Germany’s axis partner Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and in the Far East. German policy was generally opposed to involvement of the United States until 1941. During that year, however, strenuous efforts were made to bring Japan into the
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conflict on German’s side and policies were urged upon her which were almost certain to involve the United States in the war. Follow[-]ing a conference between Ribbentrop and the Japanese Ambassador Oshima in February 1941, Keitel issued an order, drafted in Warlimont’s office and initialed by Schniewind, directing the Armed Forces to col[-]laborate in a "comprehensive and generous manner" with Japanese re[-]quests for military information and stating that:
[begin block quote] It must be the aim of the collaboration based on the Tri[-]Partite Pact to induce Janan as soon as possible to take active measures in the Far East. Strong British forces will thereby be tied down, and the center of gravity of the interests of the United States of America will be diverted to the Pacific. [end block quote]
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Manila, Germany declared war on the United States on 11 December 1941, pursuant to committments [commitments] previously given the Japanese.
***** ***** [centered]
In concluding our outline of the evidence under Counts One and Four, the prosecution wishes to recall the International Military Tribunal’s declaration that the deliberate launching of a war of aggression "is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whold [?]. It is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that these grave charges have not been lightly brought. For the matter at hand here is far weightier than any which we- as judges, lawyers, or soldiers- are ever likely to facr [?] again. As Mr. Henry L. Stimson has profoundly observed [‘s’ typed over ‘d’]:
[begin block quote] ....the Second World War brought it home to us that our re[-]pugnance to aggressive war was incomplete without a judgment of its leaders. What we had called a crime demanded punish[-]ment; we must bring our law in balance with the universal moral judgment of mankind....
The law made effective by the trial at Nurnberg is righteous law long overdue. It is in just such cases as this one that the law becomes more nearly what Mr. Justice Holmes called it: "the witness and external deposit of our moral life." [end block quote]
If your Honors please, Mr. Dobbs will continue:
Court 5-a, Case 12
[centered] COUNTS TWO AND THREE: WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY [end centered]
We now turn to the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in which all the defendants participated in the course of waging wars of aggression. Under Count Two of the indictment, the defendants are charged with the commission of crimes against enemy belligerents and prisoners of war, while Count Three charges them with crimes against civilians of countries overrun by the Wehrmacht.
Every war involves killing. Any war means death and pain and grief. For centuries the civilized nations of the world have attempted to reduce the death and suffering by observing the laws and usages of war. By international conventions and agreements, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and by general custom, certain practices are internationally regarded as cruel, inhumane and criminal. Such barbarities include the killing of surrendered belligerents, the re[-]fusal of quarter, and torture or other ill treatment of belligerents or the inhabitants of occupied countries. Such acts are crimes and, if they result in death, are murders.
It will be said that in time of war some such crimes must occur in every army. That, undoubtedly, is true. But as Justice Jackson has said, "It is not because they yielded to the normal frailties of human beings that we accuse them. It is their abnormal and inhuman conduct which brings them to this bar." The prosecution will not present isolated cases of spontaneous brutality by German soldiers. Instead, it will portray a deliberate policy – emanating from the highest levels of the Wehrmacht – of murder and ill treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, applied in every theatre of war and by all of these defendants. This policy is rooted in the contempt[-]uous and scornful attitude toward the laws of war which has character[-]ized the German officers’ corps for decades past. At the very outset,
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we mentioned the scoffing attitude toward the Hague Conventions ex[-]pressed in the German military manual; on this matter, a distinguished American commentator has written: J.W. Garner in the German War Code.
One can scarcely determine from a reading of the German manual whether the rules of the Hague Convention were ever intended t bind belligerent in the conduct of war. In fact, they are rarely mentioned and when they are referred to it is usually in derision. A good many of its rules are clearly in conflict with the Convention and various regulations annexed to the Convention are cynically dismissed with the statement that they are excessively humane, or that they are good in theory but will never be observed by belligerents in practice, etc. The fact is, the General Staff does not look with favor upon the movement to reduce the law of war to written form, for the reason that the effect would be to limit the arbitrary powers of military commanders and thus to put an obstacle in the way of military success.
The First World War accomplished nothing in the way of changing the attitude of the German officers’ corps toward the laws of war. A most reveling memorandum from the files of the Reich Defense Ministry written in September 1924 by Lieutenant Colonel Otto von Stuelpnagel, embodies his suggestions as to what attitude the Wehrmacht should take toward a revision of the Hague rules, in the event of a new Hague Conference. After conceding grudgingly that it would be wise to participate in such a conference, inasmuch a "refusal to accept an invitation....would only be used to Germany’s detriment for propaganda purposes by our ex-enemy nations, and would again be misrepresented as malicious intentions on the part of Germany, " the author stated that "the first nasic [?] question to be answered is: What attitude should the German delegation take at a new Hague Conference?" In view of the small size of the German armed forces at that time and the re[-]strictions of theVersailles Treaty, the writer thought that the answer to this question depended upon whether "the possibility of a struggle for liberation exists in the not too distant future." His
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[start dotted underline] "Can we, in consideration of the present political situation, at all afford to advocate a ruthless use of force? [end dotted underline] Is this not likely to result in another hate-campaign against Germany, in new and mere intensive measures of control and a closer coordination of our enemy nations? The ex-enemy powers, quite aware of their present military superiority, will undoubtedly advocate a strictly regulated conduct of war and lay the greatest stress upon observance of all laws of humanity."
The evidence under Counts Two and Three will abundantly demon[-]strate the poisonous effect of these views on German methods of war[-]fare during the Second World War, and especially their shocking and disastrous impact upon the civilian populations of countries oc[-]cupied by Germany. For the most part, these cirminal [criminal] policies were embodied in orders and directives framed at the very top level of the Wehrmacht, usually with direct participation by Warlimont and Lehmann, and, within his fields of work, of Reinecke also. These orders were distributed through regular military channels to the highest field commanders, including all of the other defendants in this case, and were by them passed down to the lower formations, where the orders were actually carried. Out.
In outlining the charges under Counts Two and Three, it will be most convenient to deal first with the criminal orders and di[-]rectives which were chiefly intended for the conduct of the war and the German military occupation in Western and Southern Europe, and secondly with those which were especially connected with the war against the Soviet Union. In all theatres of war, of course, these criminal orders and the crimes which resulted therefrom [there from] sprang from the same disregard for the laws of war and the dictates of humanity were common to all theatres. Nevertheless, there were certain significant distinctions, arising chiefly out of differences in the technique
Court 5-A, Case 12
of warfare in the west as compared to the east, andout [and out] of the dif[-]ferent occupational tactics which the Germans shoes [chose] to apply as among the various occupied countires [countries].
Finally, after sketching the chief categories of crimes in the west and in the east, we will outline the Wehrmacht’s participation in the German slave labor program, which was a malignant common denominator of German occupation policy in all countries.
Under Count Two of the indictment, the principal charge of war crimes committed in Western and Southern Europe relates to the so[-]called "Commando" and "Terror Flier" orders. Under Count Three of the Indictment, we will no [?] chiefly concerned with criminal measures taken by the German Army in the occupied countries, involving the execution of hundred of thousand of hostages, and the secret de[-]portation and execution of many others under the notorious "Night and Fog Decree" (Nacht und Nebel Erlass).
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-1-Love
Court V-A, Case XII
In the autumn of 1942, the Nazis were still at the climax of their power and the Allies in the initial stage of their preparations for the invasion which was to follow two years later. In August of that year, British and Canadian commandos raided Dieppe. It was the first time since Dunkirk that Allied Forces had crossed the channel in strength to probe the German fortifications in the west, as a first rehearsal for the still distant invasion of "Fortress Europe".
In the following months, small groups of Allied soldiers dressed in uniform and carrying weapon openly—so-called "commando" units-- were landed on the continent, mainly in France and Norway, to accomplish special combat missions which consisted predominantly in the destruct[-]tion of highly important military installations. The Wehrmacht’s answer to these legitimate acts of warfare was the notorious "Com[-]mando Order", which directed the summary execution of captured commando troops, even if fully uniformed. When the defendant Warlimont came to his office at the OKW on 8 October 1942, he found on his desk Hitler’s directive for the drafting of the "Commando Order" together with the text of the official German radio announcement of 7 October 1942 which read as follows:
[begin indented block quote] All terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices who do not act like soldiers but like bandits have in future to be treated as much by the Ger[-]man troops, and they must be slaughtered ruthlessly in combat wherever they turn up. [end indented block quote]
Immediately after receipt of the text of the radio announcement, Warlimont gave the following instructions with respect to its enforce[-]ment:
[begin block quote] 1) Transportation into order-form.
2) ....this order too, must – in accordance with the Legal Department and counter-intelligence – be very carefully considered and correctly worded. Distribu[-]tion only as for as the Armies, from there only orally. To be destroyed after reading..... [end block quote]
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-2-Love
Court No. V-A, Case No. XIII.
By 9 October, the defendant Lehmann had completed a draft of the order, which was transmitted by Warlimont to the OKW Intelligence Department under Admiral Canaris for his comments. Canaris voiced strong objection; his words deserve to be quoted because they show not only that the utter illegality of the Commando Order was well known to those who prepared and executed it, but also that some of Hitler’s military leaders dared to voice their opposition when they were so minded. In a memorandum received by Warlimont, Lehmann and Reinecke, Canaris stated:
[begin indented block quote] ....Sabotage units in uniform are soldiers and have the right to be treated as PWs.... Reprisals on PWs, according to the agreement ratified in 1934 are absolutely not permitted. [end indented block quote]
The respect for international law was not unique to Canaris in the days when the Germans were themselves making widespread use of paratroops for sabotage purposes. As early as June 1938, the defend[-]and [defendant] Sperrle had stated in a plan for the employment of his Air Fleet 3 against France in case of her intervention against the seizure of Czechoslovakia that:
[begin indented block quote] It is intended to use parachute sabotage troops.... For the purpose of destroying suitable targets, against which bombing raids cannot guarantee decisive success. [end indented block quote]
And in June 1940, the OKH advised all Army Groups and Armies that:
[begin indented block quote] "German parachutists are elements of the German Wehr[-]macht ("Regular Troops"). They are legal combattants [combatants] and they carry out justified acts of warfare. Where they are committed (whether at the front or behind enemy lines or way in the rear) does not affect their quality as com[-]battants [combatants]. Their position as justified by martial law re[-]mains unchanged." [end indented block quote]
But the accepted German view underwent a marked reversal when the shoe was on the other foot. Lehmann put forward the following
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-3-Love
Court No. V-A, Case No. XII.
pseudo-legal justification as an excuse for murdering commandos"
[begin block quote] "Whoever performs acts of sabotage as a soldier with the idea in mind to surrender without a fight after the act is successfully completed does not conduct himself as an honorable warrior. He misuses the rights of article 23c, Hague Convention since such methods of warfare had not been though of at the time this article was formulated."[end block quote]
On 17 October 1942, Jodl submitted the final draft of the "Com[-]mando Order", prepared by Warlimont and Lehmann, to Hitler and on the following day it was issued stating in part:
[begin block quote] ....From now on all enemies on so-called commando missions in Europe or Africa challenged by German troops, even if they are to all appearance soldiers in uniform or demolition troops, whether armed, in battle, or in flight, are to be slaughtered to the last man. It does not make any difference whether they are landed from ships and airplanes for the actions or whether they are dropped by parachute. Even if these individuals, when found, should apparently be prepared to give themselves up, no pardon is to be granted them on principle....
If individual members of such commandos, such as agents, saboteurs, etc., fall into the hands of the Armed Forces by some other means, through the police in occupied territories, for instance, they are to be handed over immediately to the SD....[end block quote]
Because commando operations were most prevalent in the western and southern theatres of war, it was in these theatres that the order was of most importance. It was, however, distributed by the OKW to all three branches of the service – Army, Navy and Air
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-4-Love
Court No. V-A, Case No. XIII.
Force – and to all theatres under the OKW, including Norway, Africa, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and France and the Low Countries. It was passed to Himmler’s SS and Police Force, and the OKH sent the order down to all army groups and armies in the east. From them [then] it went down to the divisions and lower units. Each and every defendant in the dock – except Leeb, who had retired some months earlier - was familiar with the Commando Order, and each of them, like every other German officer, knew perfectly well that it required the commission of murder. Pursuant to this order, British and Norwegian commandos were executed in Norway in 1942 and 1943, American commanders were shot in Italy in 1944, and other Allied soldiers were murdered in these countries and elsewhere.
The first executions of captured commandos occurred not more than a fortnight after the order was issued. On 21 November 1942, Warlimont received the following report from Air Fleet 5 in Norway:
[begin block quote] Following supplementary report is made about landing of a British freight glider at Hagers in the night of November 11:
[further indented block quote] a) No firing on the part of German defense.
b) The towing plane (Wellington) has crashed after touching the ground, 7-man crew dead. The attached freight glider also crashed, of the 17-man crew, 14 alive. Indisputably a sabotage force. Fuehrer order has been carried out. [end further indented and indented block quote]
And so the reports came in – British, American, French, Norwegian, Greek commandos slaughtered in battle, slaughtered in cap[-]tivity; the laconic reports tell a story of foul murder. A teletype signed by Warlimont to the Commander in Chief Southeast directed:
[begin block quote] ....The English radio operator Carpenter and the Greek sailor Lisgaris captured at Alimnia are no longer needed and are released for special treat[-]ment according to Fuehrer Order.
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-5-Love
Court No. V-A, Case No. XII.
"Special treatment" is a German euphemism for murder; another is "dealt with". On 15 December 1942, the following was circulated in 320 copies over the signature of Fieldmarshal [Field marshal] von Rundstedt?
[begin block quote] We must count to an increased extent on various attempts by the enemy to damage our shipping lanes and other important military objects. Proof of that is the landing of English saboteurs from an English submarine at the mouth of the Gironde River on 8 December 1942. Even though one gang was caught and dealt with, further sabotage troops, nevertheless have reached Bordeaux and succeeded in damaging valuable freighters by explosives with attached magnets, on 12 December 1942. [end block quote]
Yes, those British commandos were "dealt with"; they were shot down in cold blood after capture and interrogation. Their relatives did not even have their anxiety ended by a death report. In an interpretation of the Commando Order given to the OKW Department for Prisoner of War Affairs under Reinecke, Warlimont said:
[begin block quote] The WFST/Jodl’s and Warlimont’s section of OKW/considers it to be out of the question hereafter, that saboteurs should be treated as soldiers, in accordance with the Fuehrer’s orders, which would be the case if their death should be reported to the enemy-natin in accordance with the regulations valid for fallen enemy soldiers. Thus the WFST is of the opinion that no reports of deaths should be made. [end block quote]
Reinecke’s Prisoner of War Department received reports on the execution of commandos and on occasion, when a commando was committed to a prisoner of war camp by mistake, he was later turned over to the SD for execution. For example, Stalag 7a, under the jurisdiction of Reinecke, was directed to surrender a British commando to the SD on
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Court No. V-A, Case No. XIII.
16 April 1944.
On 22June [22 June] 1944, Warlimont gave an enlightening explanation of the "German concept of usage and customs of warfare" in a memorandum to the Legal Department under Lehmann:
[begin block quote] The Fuehrer order is to be applied even if the enemy employs only one person for a task. Therefore, it does not make a difference if several persons or a single person take part in a commando operation. The reasons for the special treatment of participants in a commando operation is that such operations do not correspond to the German concept of usage and customs of warfare. [end block quote]
Nor did the murder of Allied commandos cease with the invasion of France by Anglo-American forces on 22 June 1944. On 23 June, Rundstedt request OKW to clarify the applicability of the order in view of the large-scale landing. In a reply the following day, Warlimont directed that the Commando Order should be enforced against all paratroopers found outside of the immediate combat zone. Daily reports on the number "liquidated" were also required. This order was sent through military channels on 29 June to the defendant Blaskowitz, then Command-in-Chief of Army Group G in Southern France. He in turn passed the order down to units subordinated to him, including the First Army, whence it reached the LXXX Corps under the First Army. The order passed down by Blaskowitz explicitly required all executions of commandos to be re[-]ported through Army channels. A few days later, on 3 July 1944, thirty odd British and American commandos were captured by troops of the LXXX Corps and summarily executed.
When any Allied method of warfare started to prove effective against the Wehrmacht, the usual first reaction of its leaders was to declare such methods of warfare criminal and threaten with death the enemy troops engaged therein. A year after the successful commando raids aroused the German wrath, the growing strength of the Allied Air Forces began to be acutely felt. In view of the wondrous shortness of
5 Feb 48-A-MB-15-7-Love
Court No. V-A, Case No. XII.
the German memory, we will do well to remind ourselves that in the field of aerial attacks against enemy cities, the Allies were imitators, not originators; Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and other cities were flattened or badly scarred long before any German city suffered severely. None[-]theless, by the fall of 1943 Allied attacks in Germany aroused indignant screeches from Goebbels and Himmler. The former used the press and other means to incite the German civilian population to lynch American and British fliers who had been forced to parachute from disabled planes over Germany, and Himmler directed the German police not to protect Allied fliers from these lynching-bees.
As was often the case, the German soldier was more chivalrous when acting on his own initiative than when following the orders of his high[-]est superiors. On several occasions Wehrmacht troops protected Allied fliers from civilian attacks, as indeed the laws of war required, for the airmen were unarmed, endeavored to surrender, and were entitled to the status of prisoners of war.
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in connection with this decree, that the evidence is quite overwhelming of a systematic rule of violence, brutality and terror." The circumstances surrounding the issuance and enforcement of the Night and Fog decree were the subject of extensive testimony before Military Tribunal No. III in Case No. 3 (United States vs. Alstoetter, et al). That Tribunal stated, in its Judgment:
[begin block quote- single spaced] "The Night and Fog Decree (Nacht und Nebel Erlass) arose as the plan or scheme of Hitler to combat so-called resistance movements in occupied territories. Its enforcement brought about a systematic rule of violence, brutality, outrage, and terror against the occupied by the Nazi armed forces.2
. . . . . .
".... Civilians of occupied territories accused of alleged crimes in resistance activities against German occupying forces were spirited away for secret trial by special courts of the Ministry of Justice within the Reich; .... the victim’s whereabouts, trial, and subsequent disposition were kept completely secret, thus serving the dual purpose of terrorizing the victim’s relatives and associates and barring recourse to evidence, witnesses, or counsel for defense. If the accused were acquitted, or if convicted, after serving his sentence, he was handed over to the Gestapo for "protective custody" for the duration of the war. These proceedings resulted in the torture, ill treatment, and murder of thousands of persons.3 [end block quote]
On 12 December 1941 the OKW, through Keitel, issued the Night and Fog Decree, which had been prepared by the defendant Lehmann in the OKW Legal Department. It provided in part as follows:
[begin block quote- single spaced] "I. In case of criminal acts committed by non[-]German civilians and which are directed against the Reich or the occupation power endangering their safety or striking power, the death penalty is applicable in principle.
"II. Criminal acts described in paragraph I will, in principle, be tried in the occupied territories only when it appears probably that death sentences [end block quote]
1. Vol. 1, Trial of the Major War Criminals, p. 232
2. U.S. vs. Alstoetter; et al; mimeographed transcript;p.10715
3. U.S. vs. Alstoetter, et al, mimeographed transcript,p.10714 [numbers actually indented]
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[continue block quote] are going to be passed against the offenders, or at least the main offenders, and if the trial and the execution of the death sentences can be carried out without delay. In other cases the offenders, or at least the main offenders, are to be taken to Germany." [end block quote]
In a covering letter, also written by the OKW Legal Department, the purpose of the decree was given:
[begin block quote] Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved, either by capital punishment or by measures by which the relatives of the criminal and the population do not know the facts of the criminal. This aim is achieved when the criminal is transferred to Germany. [end block quote]
A copy of this order, which was made effective in France, Holland, Norway, Bohemia and Moravia, and the Ukraine, was received by the defendants Warlimont and Reinecke.
About two months prior to the issuance of this decree, the defendant Lehmann had been informed by Keitel that Hitler desired new means to be found for combating the growing resistance movement in France. Lehmann was a guiding spirit in the formulation, issuance, and execution of the Night and Fog decree. Some of its unfortunate victims were tries in secret court sessions, and in many instances no indictment was served. But many victims were not afforded even this miserable semblance of a trial; they were simply shipped directly to a concentration camp. "NN" prisoners, as they were called, were held in Mauthausen, Auschwitz, Flossenburg, Dachau, Ravensbrueck, Buchenwalk and numerous other concentration camps. There they were starved, tortured and killed. Those in charge of the camps were instructed that absolute secrecy of detention was to be observed and the prisoners were denied all means of communication with the outer world.
Nor was there any deliverance for the wretched victims after trial and acquittal or after conviction and completion
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Such soldierly conduct could not be tolerated by OKW; on 9 July 1944 an order prepared by Warlimont’s section was issued by OKW which directed that Wehrmacht troops should not protect so-called Ango-American [Anglo-American] "terror-fliers" against action by the civilian population. This order stated in part:
[begin block quote] "It has happened recently that soldiers have turned against the population to protect Anglo-American terror flyers and have thereby aroused their justified indignation. I request to make sure speedily that this will be prevented ....
"No German fellow country-man can be capable of understanding such conduct of our armed forces. Also, the population of the occupied territories is not to be prevented from resorting to self-help in justified indignation at Ango-American [Anglo-American] terror flyers...." [end block quote]
This order, together with a similar order by Hitler and murderous incitement by Goebbels through the press, led to the slaughter of numerous Allied airmen in flagrant violation of the rules of war.
[begin block quote] Mr. Barbour will continue with the reading.
3. Count Three: Civilians—"Night and Fog" Decree
MR. BARBOUR: May it please the Tribunal: [end block quote]
The Wehrmacht’s policies and practices in governing the occupied countries were characterized by a blind and unimaginative faith in the use of ruthless force and methods of intimidation and terrorism. This policy was not only brutal and criminal; it was senseless and bound to end in failure. Catastrophe was the price that the leaders of the Third Reich had to pay for their arrogant disregard of Law and for their failure to realize that in the end stupid violence is a weapon which recoils upon its user. The so[-]called "Night and Fog" ("Nacht und Nebel") decree was the foundation of a system which embodied these principles to perfection. It was the means through which the Wehrmacht sought to "pacify" the countries of Western Europe. The INT found,
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of their sentence. Thus, on 6 November 1943, Lehmann’s Legal Department issued the following directive over Keitel’s signature:
[begin block quote] "Perpetrators who have been acquitted in the course of judicial proceedings by the army or against whom proceedings have been suspended or who have fully served a term of imprisonment during the war imposed by an army court, are to be handed over to the Secret State Police for detention for the duration of the war." [end block quote]
As the war continued, the "Night and Fog" decree was supplemented by the so-called "Terror and Sabotage" decrees. On 1 July 1944, the defendant Warlimont informed Lehmann that "because of incidents that have occurred at Copenhagen, the Fuehrer has ordered an immediate cessation of court martial proceedings against members of the civilian population in the occupied territories." Thereafter, by decrees in the formulation of which both Lehmann and Warlimont participated, civilians charged with acts of violence were to be summarily shot without trial if apprehended "in the act", and, if arrested later, were to be turned over to the Security Police, a delivery tantamount to execution.
The defendant Lehmann can hardly tell us that he was unaware of the most goulish aspects of this murderous business. On 26 April 1944, his department received the following communication:
[begin block quote] "The Prosecutor-General in Cattowice [?] has drawn attention to the fact that the corpses of NN-prisoners (Night and Fog prisoners) who were sentenced to death by the Special Court in Oppeln [?] and who were executed, and burned by the Gestapo. He expresses his doubts whether, because of the large number, of cremations performed in the district of Cattowice on account of the numerous deaths occurring in Concentration Camp Auschwitz and on account of the numerous executions of Polish members of bands, the separation of the ashes of the individual dead is guaranteed." [end block quote]
4. Count Three: Civilians – Hostages and Reprisals.
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We have seen in the previous section the criminal measures devised by the Wehrmacht for the imprisonment, deportation or execution, without trial or with only the form of a trial, of persons suspected of hostile action against the German authorities. The other principal method adopted by the German authorities. The other principal method adopted by the German occupational authorities was equally savage and senseless; it consisted in the indiscriminate murder of many thousand of innocent civilians – murder committed under the pretext of calling such persons "hostages" – in the absurd belief that the civilian population would be "pacified: by such measures. In fat, as could have been foreseen, such wholesale executions served rather to arouse and enrage the inhabitants, who thus saw thousands of their friends and relatives executed, even though they had not lifted a finger against the occupying authorities.
While terroristic measures of this kind were not confined to any particular occupied country, they were applied with particular severity in Western Europe and in the Balkans. Particularly in Greece and Yugoslavia, fantastically high execution ratios – ranging up to the execution of one hundred hostages for the killing of one German -- were applied. During the fall of 1941, such ratios were adopted as standard German Army policy. On 16 September 1941, an OKW order, prepared in Warlimont’s department and initialed by him, called attention to disturbances which had occurred in the occupied countries and stated:
[begin block quote] "a. It should be inferred in every case of resistance to the German occupying forces, no matter what the individual circumstances, that it is of Communist origin.
"b. In order to nip those machinations in the bud the most drastic measures should be taken immediately and on the first indication, so that the authority of the occupying forces may be [end block quote]
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[continue block quote] maintained and further spreading prevented. In this connection it should be remembered that a human life in the countries concerned frequently counts for nothing, and a deterrent effect can be attained only by unusual severity. The death penalty for 50-100 Communists should generally be regarded in these cases as suitable atonement for one German soldier’s death. The way in which sentence is carried out should still further increase the deterrent effect." [end block quote]
While this order laid great stress on Communist responsibility for these uprisings, it was by no means intended that the hostages executed should in all cases be Communists. Quite the contrary. On 28 September 1941, another OKW order – against emanating from Warlimont’s department – laid down the following:
[begin block quote] "Because of attacks on members of the Wehrmacht which have taken place lately in the occupied territories, it is pointed out that it is opportune for the Military Commandors [Commanders] to have always at their disposal a number of hostages of different political persuasions, i.e.,
2) Democratic Middle Class,
"It is of importance that among these are leading personalities or members of their families. Their names are to be published. N case of an attack, hostages of the group corresponding to that to which the culprit belongs are to be shot." [end block quote]
The execution of hostages in Greece and Yugoslavia is one of the major charges against the defendants in Case No. 7, now pending before Military Tribunal No. 5. In the present case, we will present evidence of similar crimes in other occupied countries, including France. For example, during July and August 1944, numerous hostages were executed in the area of Army Group G, commanded by the defendant Blaskowitz. A month earlier, despite the fact that units of the French resistance forces fulfilled all the conditions for recognition as properly constituted armed forces, and had been proclaimed part of the Allied Forces, Blaskowitz issued to
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his subordinate units an order that "members of the French resistance movement ar to be treated as guerillas." That, of course, meant immediate execution upon capture.
5 Feb 48-A-BJ-17-1-Sampson.
COURT NO. V-A, CASE NO. XII.
B. War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Eastern Europe.
In turning from the western to the eastern theatre of war, we will find nothing to mitigate the black crimi[-]nality of the Commando Order and the Night and Fog Decree. Quite on the contrary. In Western and Southern Europe, the Wehrmacht was at least anxious to keep up the appear[-]ance of compliance with the laws and customs of war. But during the warfare in the east, the leaders of the Wehr[-]macht were totally inhabited by considerations of law and humanity. Hitler and the generals laid their plans for the war against Russia on the basic assumption that every Slav is subhuman and every Jew is subhuman and criminal as well. The Russians, therefore, were to be treated like beasts, and the Jews were to be killed like dangerous beasts. Orders and directives in line with these malignant views and policies were prepared by the military leaders, and distributed throughout the Wehr[-]macht. In the formulation and enforcement of these orders, the German warlords sank far below the imagined qualities of the peoples they affected to dispise [despise], and brutalized the German soldiers who trusted their leader[-]ship. Germany’s treatment of the Jews of Europe and the Slavs of Eastern Europe is the blackest page in the his[-]tory of European civilization.
The murderous measures laid down within the German Army in advance of the attack on Russia were directed both at the soldiers of the Soviet Army and at the Russian civilian population. Attached to the combat units of the Russian Army were special officers who can best be de[-]scribed as "political commissars"; they represented the Communist Party and were responsible for the political
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COURT V A, CASE XII.
indoctrination and morale of the Russian troops. However, they were not just pep talk boys; they were party of the Russian Army, wore its uniform, carried arms openly, and fought with conspicuous courage as part of the army at the front. But by express order of the German military leaders, laid down at the highest level, these soldiers were not to be taken prisoner under any circumstances but, like the commando units on the western front, were to be slaughtered to the last man.
Within the Russian territory overrun by the Wehr[-]macht, all the saveguards required by the laws of war for the maintenance of order and the protection of the civilian population were done away with. German troops were en[-]courage and, indeed, ordered to practice the utmost brutality in dealing with the Russian population. Ex[-]cept under very limited circumstances; no German soldier was to be punished for excesses against the civilian population. As if this were not enough, very special measures were taken to make sure that all Jews and all political officials of any importance would be hunted down and murdered as soon as possible. For this purpose, special SS and Police forces were organized, furnished and instructed by Himmler. These gangs were to move into Russia with the German Army, and, with the full admini[-]strative support of the army, were to carry out their murderous mission.
The horrible purposes which we have just described were discussed between Hitler and the leading generals more than three months before the attack in the east was launched. On 17 March 1941, at a conference in which Hit[-]ler and the Chief of the Army General Staff, General Halder, participated, Hitler stated:
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COURT V A, CASE XII.
"...The intelligentsia working for Stalin must be exterminated. The hierarchy of the Russian Empire must be crushed. Maximum brutality must be applied through[-]out the Russian area. The ideological ties of the Rus[-]sian people are not strong enough. They will break with the elimination of the functionaries."
Two weeks later, these same views were outlined in greater detail in a long address by Hitler to a large number of generals on 30 March 1941 in Berlin. After announcing that, after the victory over the Russian Army, Northern Russia would be annexed to Finland, and that the Baltic territories, White Russia and the Ukraine would be brought under German domination as "protectorates", Hitler went on:
"Extermination of the Bolshevist commissars and the Communist intellectuals. The new states must be Socialist but have no intelligentsias of their own. The growth of a new intelligentsia must be prevented. All that is needed here is a primitive Socialist intelligentsia. The fight must be directed against the poison of disintegration. That is not a problem for military courts. The officers with the troops must know what is at stake, and must be leaders in this fight. Our troops must defend themselves with the weapons with which they are attacked. Commissars and GPU people are criminals and must be treated as such. That doesn’t mean that troops must get out of hand. Offi[-]cers must give the orders in accordance with the spirit of the troops.
"This war will differ greatly from the war in the West. In the East harshness today means mildness in the future. The officers must accept the sacrifice of over[-]coming their personal reservations."
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COURT V A, CASE XII.
Such is the general background of the several crimi[-]nal orders the formulation and execution of which we will now describe. As the above account clearly shows, these orders were in no [‘n’ typed over an ‘s’] sense issued by way of reprisal for or in retaliation against any actions of the Soviet [‘o’ typed over something] Army; on the contrary, they were coldly and deliberately cormu[-]lated months in advance of the actual invasion.
For these manifold crimes in Western and Eastern Europe, all the defendants bear responsibility except Sperrle and Blaskowitz, who were never involved in the Rus[-]sian campaign. The defendant Schniewind was relieved as Chief of Staff of the Naval War Staff (6 June 1941) just before the attack was launched, but prior to his transfer participated actively in the planning of the campaign against the Soviet Union, was present at conferences at which these criminal policies were discussed, and received and distributed to naval units certain of the criminal orders mentioned above. The defendants Warlimont, Lehmann and Reinecke, as leading officers of the OKW, were heavily involved in the formulation and distribution of these orders.
The remaining eight defendants were all high ranking field commanders during the Russian campaign; they received these orders from the OKW and the OKH and passed them down to their subordinate units, and the orders were executed by troops under his command. The defendant Leeb was the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group North until January 1942, when he retired from active service at the age of sixty-five. The defendant Kuechler, Commander-in-Chief of the Eighteenth Army at the outset of the campaign, succeeded Leeb as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group. The defen[-]dant Hoth, who led a panzer group into Russia, was
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COURT VA, CASE XII.
promoted to the command of the Seventeenth army in the Rund[-]stedt’s Army Group South in October, 1941 and in May 1942 was transferred to the command of the Fourth Panzer Army. The defendant Reinhardt, at first a corps commander, secceeded [seceded] to the command of Hoth’s Armored Group, which was later designated as the Thirds Panzer Army. Reinhardt was made a full general in 1942, and became the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Center in August 1944. The defen[-]dant Salmuth was also promoted from corps to army command, and became a full general in 1943. From June 1942 to August 1943 he commanded sucessively [successively] the Seventeenth, the Fourth and the Second Armies on the eastern front; from August 1943 to August 1944 he commanded the Fifteenth Army in France. The defendant von Roques remained an Army Group Rear Area Commander until December 1942 when he went back into retirement. The defendant Weohler served as Chief of Staff of the Eleventh Army—first under von Schobert and later under von Manstein—until February 1943. After a brief period of service as Chief of Staff of Army Group Center and as a corps com[-]mander, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and made Commander-in-Chief of the Eight Army in Southern Russia in August 1943, and in December 1944 became the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group South.
If it please the Court, Mr. Niederman will now continue with the reading.
BY MR. NIEDERMAN: Your Honors—
Count Two: Belligerents and Prisoners of War—
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COURT V A, CASE XII.
the "Commissar" Order.
On 8 June 1941, two weeks before Russia was attacked, Field Marshal von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, issued an order entitled "Directives for the Treatment of Policical [first ‘c’ typed over a ‘t’] Commissars" to the commanders of the Army groups and Armies then deployed along the Rus[-]sian border awaiting the word to attack. This order read in part as follows:
"When fighting Bolshevism one can not count on the enemy acting in accordance with the principles of humanity or International Law. In particular it must be expected that the treatment of our prisoners by the political commissars of all types who are the true pillars of re[-]sistance, will be cruel, inhuman and dictated by hate.
[Begin indented block quote] "The troops must realize
[indented] "That in this fight it is wrong to treat such elements with clemency and consideration in accor[-]dance with International Law. They are a menace to our own safety and to the rapid pacification of the conquered territories.
"2) That the originators of the Asiatic barbaric methods of fighting are the political commissars. They must be dealt with promptly and with the ut[-]most severity. [end block quote]
"Therefore, if taken while fighting of offering re[-]sistance, they must, on principle, be shot immediately.
"For the rest, the following instructions will apply:
[Begin block quote] "I. Theatre of Operations. [‘Theatre-Operations’ has a dashed underline]
"Political commissars in their capacity of officials attached to the enemy troops are recog[-]nizable by their special insignia- red star with
[the top line of the page has been cut off from the scan]
COURT V-A, CASE XII.
[begin block quote] "an inwovan golden hammer and sickle on the sleeves... They are to be segregated at once, i.e. while still on the battlefield, from the prisoners of war. This is necessary in order to deprive them of any possibility of influencing the captured soldiers. These commissars will not be recognized as soldiers [dashed underline]; the protection granted to prisoners of war in accordance with International Law will not apply to them. After having been segregated they are to be dealt with." [end block quote]
If there were not other proof to be offired in this proceeding except that concerning the issuance and execution of this one order, it would still more than justify the presence in this dock of every defendant except Sperrle, Blaskowitz, and Schniewind. The Commissar Order was formulated by the defendants Lehmann and Warli[-]mont, issued by Warlimont to nineteen different offices of the Wehrmacht including the OKH, distributed by the OKH to the defendants Leeb, Kuechler, Hoth, and Woehler, passed on to Reinhardt, Salmuth, Hollidt and Reques, and executed by units subordinated to them. Reinecke saw to its enforcement in the prisoner of war camps under his jurisdiction.
The Commissar Order was not the exclusive achieve[-]ment of any one man. On 6 May 1941, the OKH forwarded to Warlimont a proposed draft of an order for the treatment of commissars: Warlimont submitted this draft to the defendant Lehmann in the Legal Department of the OKH. Lehmann approved the draft with minor changes and returned it to Warlimont the next day. On 12 May, Warli[-]mont submitted the draft as approved by the Legal Depart[-]ment to Jodl together with a memorandum in which he
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[begin block quote] "...Military functionaries (commissars) are to be dealt with according to proposal OKH. They are not recognized
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as prisoners of war and are to be liquidated at the latest in the transient FW camps and under to no circumstances to be removed to the rear area. [end block quote]
On 8 June, Warlimont issued the order to the Supreme Commands of the Army, Navy, and Air Force with instructions that it was to be distributed in writing to Army and Air Fleet Commanders and orally to lower commands. Two days later, Brauchitech passed down the order with the amendment that "Political commissars attached to the troops should be segregated and dealt with by order of an officer, inconspicuously and outside the battle zone proper". From army group to army, army to corps, corps to division, division to regiment – down this order for murder went until it was well known over the entire Eastern Front.
During the proceedings before the International Military Tribunal, the veritable parade of German field marshals and generals took the witness stand and testified under oath that the German army commanders in Russia refused to pass down the Commissar Order to their troops – or passed it down with oral instructions to disregard it – and that the order was never carried out. At the time this testimony was given, most of the documents relevant to this question were not available to the prosecution. The evidence to be offered in this proceeding will, we believe, expose the true nature of the testimony given by the German generals before the IMT. The Commissar Order was issued to be obeyed, not to be ignored, and we shall present conclusive evidence that it was generally distributed and extensively carried out on the Eastern Front.
The minutes of a conference held on 17 June 1941 among generals of the LVII Corps of Panzer Group 3, then under the command of Hoth, contain the following notations: "The Fuehrer has ordered that Russian political Commissars are to be ‘liquidated’. This order is to be disseminated orally only." The minutes of a meeting of the commanding officers within the 454th Security Division, subordinated to the defendant Roques, indicate that by 20 June the order had reached regimental level. At this meeting, the commanding general lectured his subordinate
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officers on the essential points of the Commissar Order directing them to report, through channels, on action taken against political commissars.
On the morning of 22 June 1941, the invasion of Soviet Russia start[-]ed. By the evening of the same day, the XXVIII Corps of the Sixteenth Army in Army Group North, under the defendant von Leeb, was already in possession of a report listing executions carried out under the Commissar Order. One of the divisions in Hoth’s Panzer Group 3 reported to higher headquarters the same evening that one commissar and one civilian had been killed. In the following weeks and months, the enforcement of the Commissar Order became routine work in the operations of the advancing German armies, and references to killings of commissars constantly occur in the reports from subordinate to higher headquarters. They make monotonous reading the differ more in the numbers of executed commissars than in their wording. A report of one of the divisions in Kuechler’s Eighteenth Army stated on 26 October 1941: "Northing particular to report. 16 Commissars shot. 61st Infantry Division – 10." The Commissar Order itself explicitly required the submission of reports on its execution through regular army channels; whatever those defendants may conjure up in their defense they can never honestly say that they did not know that this criminal order was being executed by units subordinated to them.
As we have just seen, the murder of commissars who were uniformed members of the Red Army was the task of the German combat troops. The fate in sore for commissars was soon noised abroad in the Red Army, and naturally some of the prospective victims went to some pains to conceal their identity from the Germans in the event of capture. General Haldar noted in his useful diary on 1 August 1941, with respect to the "treatment of captured commissars", that they were "for the most part identified only in prisoner-of-war camps". This possibility the Neh[-]rmacht had anticipated. The defendant Reinecke, as Chief of the OKW department with jurisdiction over prisoner-of-war matters, entered into an agreement with the notorious Reinhardt Haydrich, Chief of the Security
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Police and Himmler’s right hand man. This agreement covered not only the apprehension of commissars, but also the weeding cut from Russian prisoners of certain types of categories regarded as "subversive", which was to be accomplished by the special SS gangs called "Sinnatz[-]gruppen". The first two paragraphs of the Reincke-Haydrich agreement read:
[begin block quote] The Wahrmacht must immediately free itself of all those elements among the prisoners of war who must be regarded as Bolshevist influence. The special situation of the campaign in the East therefore demands special measures, which have to be carried out in a spirit free from bureaucratic and administrative influences, and with an eagerness to assume responsibility.
While the regulations and orders of the prisoner of war system were hitherto based exclusively on consider[-]ations of a military [underline] nature, now the political goal must be attained, namely to protect the German people from Bolshevist agitators and to gain a firm grip on the occupied territory at the earliest possible moment. [end block quote]
The agreement further provided that "suspects" and "intolerable elements" among the prisoners should be segregated by the Hinentz-commandos and surrendered to them by the camp officials. The fate of prisoners selected is made all to clear by Haydrich’s instructions that:
[blocked] Executions must not be carried out in or near the camp. If the camps are in the government General close to the frontier, prisoners are to be moved to former Soviet territory, if possible, for special treatment. [end block]
In execution of this agreement, on 8 September 1941 the defendant Reinecke issued an order stating that:
[blocke quote] ....Selection according to the political attitude of the prisoners of war will be carried out by the Ein[-]
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[continue block quote] satzkommandos, which are especially assigned to this task. Close collaboration with the Hinsatzkommandos is the duty of case commanders. [end block]
This injunction to murder helpless human beings was distributed to over two hundred separate agencies including the prisoner of war camps in Germany and Poland, and to the Armed Forces Commanders in Riga, the Ukraine, and Norway. Pursuant to these orders, many thousands of Russian prisoners were shot dead by the Wehrmacht and the Einsatzkommandos.
Other portions of Reinecke’s order of 8 September 1941 stated:
[block quote] The Bolshevist soldier has therefore lost all claim to treatment as an honorable opponent, in accordance with the Geneva Convention *** Anyone carrying out the order who does not use his weapons, or does so the insufficient energy, is punishable *** No warning shot must ever be fired *** The use of aros against prisoners of war is as a rule legal. [end block]
This order, like the "Commando" Order, was reviewed by Admiral Canaris. In this case, too, Ganaris’ opinion that the order was a flagrant viola[-]tion of international law was clearly given:
[block quote] The Geneva Convention for the treatment of prisoners of war is not binding in the relationship between Germany and the U.S.S.R. Therefore only the principles of general international law on the treatment of prisoners of war apply. Since the 18th century these have gradually been established along the lines that war captivity is neither revenge nor punishment. but solely protective custody,
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[ continue block quote] revenge nor punishment, but solely protective custody, [revenge through custody is repeated] the only purpose of which is to prevent the prisoners of war from further participation in the war. This principle was developed in accordance with the view held by all armies that it is contrary to military tradition to kill or injure helpless people *** The decrees for the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war enclosed are based on a fundamentally different viewpoint. [end block]
The order just quoted played on important part in the IHT’s conviction of General Keitel, who noted on Canaris’ memorandum of protest, "These objections arise from the military concept of chivalrous warfare. This is the destruction of an idealogy. Therefore I approve and back the measure."
Such orders as these inevitably resulted in cruelty and inhumanity on a wide scale. As the IMT stated in its Judgment: "The treatment of Soviet prisoners of war as characterized by particular inhumanity.... It was the result of systematic plans to murder." These "systematic plans" were embodied in orders from the OKW, prepared by Warlimont and Lehmann; orders for the transfer of prisoners to concentration canmps, signed by Reinecke; OKH orders, distributed to field commanders, for the shooting of Russian soldiers in uniform on the pretext that they were "guerillas"; orders for the killing of escaped prisoners upon recapture, a flagrant violation of the usages of war; and other similar directives. The crimes which such orders resulted in are reflected in numerous reports from combat units under the command of these defendants. Thus:
[blocked] On 16 September 1941 a report by one of the divisions under the defendant Rogues stated: "Numerous escaped of Rissian prisoners of war from rail transports have been reported. Guard Battalion 708 captured 18 and shot them." On 13 April 1942 a report from the Rear Area of Arm Group North, then commanded by Kuechler stated: "Five escaped
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Prisoners of war shot to death."
A Security Division in the Rear Area of the defendant Roeb’s Army Group reported on 10 October 1941: "In the course of a patrol eleven Red Army soldiers arrested. Seven of them were shot after detailed interrogation, four were handed over to the prisoner camps."
A report of 8 October 1943 to the Eight Army, commended by the defendant Woehler, shows that the principles of the "commando order" were also applied in the East: "Severn parachutists were captured. Of these, six destroyed. All members of the Third Airborne Brigada." [end blocvk]
These reports, selected almost at random, show the frighteningly routine character of these brutalities. What they do not show on their face is their utter brutalities. What they do not show on their face is their utter stupidity. It was a cardinal objective of the German occupation of the Ukraine to "pacify" and "exploit" the land in the interested of German economy; such open mistreatment and slaughter of Russian soldiers was bound to frustrate the Germans’ own objectives. A young German lieutenant on the intelligence staff of Rundstadt’s Army Group South reported on 8 October 1941 that German occupation policy in the Ukraine was being seriously obstructed because:
[blocked] prisoners were shot when they could not march any more, right in the middle of villages and some of the bigger hamlers, and the corpses were left lying about, and the population saw in these facts that which they did not understand and which confirmed the worst distortions of enemy propaganda. [end block]
The fate of enemy soldiers who survived their capture and were taken to prisoner of war camps under the control of the OKW and the Army Group and Armies commanded by these defendants were given more appalling. The defendants will undoubtedly stress the circumstances which prevail[-]ed during the campaign in Soviet Russia, and admittedly it is difficult to handle large masses of prisoners under primitive conditions of
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transportation. But the situation was of the defendants’ making, not the prisoners’, and even making every allowance, the story is a horrible one. The reports of disease and death among the Russian prisoners reach such astronomical figures that it is divvicult [sic] to bear in mind that human lives are being tabulated. A series of entries in the war diary of Kuechler’s Eighteenth Army, at that time subordinated to Leeb’s Army Group North, reveals that on 4 November 1941 about ten prisoners were dying every night from exhaustion; five days later "the prisoners’ rations are so insufficient that one hundred men will dia daily." On 28 November it was estimated that "all the inmates of Camp East will have died within six months at the latest", and that "in the camp at Pleskau out of twenty thousand about one thousand parish weekly from exhaustion."
A report of 21 December 1941 from a prisoner of war district in Roques’ command, utilizing the percentage of mortality among the prisoners up to that data, estimated that if those mortality rates persisted, within a year the percentage of deaths at four camps would be 28%, 87%, 82% and 80% respectively. With prisoner of war camps thus transmuted into charnel houses it is not surprising that as of 1 May 1944 the Prisoner of War organization of OKW reported that, out of a total of 5,163,381 prisoners taken since the beginning of the war, 845,128 had died in installations under the control of OKH and 1,136,236 in those under the OKH. This total of nearly two million did not include prisoners handed over by the Wehrmacht to the Einsatzgruppen and other extermination units.
THK PRESIDENT: At this point, as counsel will know, the Tribunal will take its customary mid-afternoon recess.
(A recess was taken.)
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THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
THE PRESIDENT: Proceed.
MR. NIEDERMAN: Your Honors, it is ironical that one of the most dmning [sic] indictments of German’s treatment of Soviet prisoners was written by Alfred Rosenberg, a defendant before the IMT and himself certainly no angel, who on 28 February 1942 in a letter to Koitel, stated:
The fate of the Soviet prisoners of war in Germany is .... a tragedy of the greatest extent. Of 3.6 millions of prisoners of war, only several hundred thousand are still able to work fully. A large part of them have starved, or died, because of the hazards of the weather. Thousands also died from typhus. It is understood, of course, that there are difficulties encountered in the feeding of such a large number of prisoners of war. Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided to the extent described. For instance, according to information on hand, the native population within the Soviet Union are absolutely willing to put food at the dispo[-]sal of the prisoners of war. Several understanding camp commanders have successfully chosen this course. However, in the majority of cases, the camp commanders have forbidded the civilian population to put food at the disposal of the prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to death. Even on the march to the camps, the civi[-]lian population was not allowed to give the prisoners of war food. In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow..... Utterances such as these have been heard: "The more of those prisoners die, the better it is for us"......
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The prosecution is unable to improve on Rosenberg’s description. If the Court please, Mr. McHaney will continue reading.
MR. MC HANEY:
Court Three: Civilians – Murder and Ill-treatment Generally
As we mentioned earlier, the Germans had very far-reaching economic and political designs with respect to the Russian terri[-]tories overrun by the Wehrmacht. In order to exploit these areas for the benefit of Germany, it was planned to "pacify" and crush all opposition, to obliterate the Soviet political system and set up new regional political administration, and to convert the productive resources of the land to the uses of the Third Reich. The economic features of this program were primarily entrusted to civilians agencies, but the Wehrmacht too played its part. The Germans were most concerned with natural resources and factories, but they did not overlook making arrangements, under Rosenberg, for the systematic plunder of valuables and cultural objects. The Army was directed to assist Rosenberg’s plunder gangs, and the evidence will show that Reinecke, Woehler, Roques and other defendants were helpful to the Rosenberg units. We will postpone further discussion of the evidence estab[-]lishing the Wehrmacht’s participation in plunder, destruction and devastation in violation of the laws of war until its actual presen[-]tation in this proceeding.
For, revolting and criminal as were those plundering activities, and terrible as was their affect on the standard of living – and indeed on life itself – within the occupied territories, they were as noting occurred to the outright slaughter of the inhabitants which began as soon as the German troops set food on Russian soil. The Tribunal should not assume that the cause of this slaughter was any innate and peculiar brutality of the German soldiers. True it is that among the troops were many who had been filled with poisonous Nazi racial ideology and myths, and who therefore entered
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gladly into the diabolical spirit of the occasion. But the primary responsibility for these millions of murders rests on the man in this deck, and on others who, unless dead, might fittingly be sitting there too. What happened in Russian was deliberately contrived among the leaders of the Wehrmacht, and was embodied in orders, which were circulated throughout the Germany Army and which brought about the carnage that ensued.
Within the limits of available time, we can only sketch the outlines of this criminal structure. The basic order was issued by the OKW some five weeks before the invasion, on 15 May 1941, to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, Navy and Air Force. This order, in unmistakable terms, legalized the murder of Russian civilians by German troops. It accomplished this in two ways. Firstly, for the punishment of Russian civilians suspected of unfriendly acts, the order substituted summary execution by the troops for action by military courts. After a sweeping mandate directing the troops to "take ruthless action against any threat from the enemy population", the order stated:
Until further notice the military courts and the courts martial will not be competent for crimes committed by enemy civilians.......
Likewise all other attacks by enemy civilians on the Armed Forces, its members and employees, are to be suppressed at once by military, using the most extreme methods, until the assailants are destroyed.
Where such measures have been neglected or were not at first possible, persons suspected of criminal action will be brought at once before an officers. This officer will decide whether they are to be shot.
On the orders of an officefr with the powers of at least a Battalion Commander, collective despotic measures will be taken without delay against localities from which cunning or malicious attaks [sic] are made on the Armed Roces, if circumstances do not permit
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quick identification of individual offenders,.
The second part of the order was even more vicious; it guaranteed German soldiers against any fear of punishment for crimes committed against the civilian population, unless such crimes were likely to undermine the discipline of the Army. This was accomplished as follows:
With regard to offenses committeed against enemy civilians by members of the Wehrmacht and its employees, prosecution it is not obligatory even where the deed is at the same time a military crime or offense.
When judging such offenses, it must be borne in mind, what[-]ever the circumstances, that the collapse of Germany in 1918, the subsequent sufferings of the German people, and the fight against National Socialists which cost the blood of innumerable supporters of the covenant, were caused primarily by Bolshevik influence and that no German has forgotten this fact.
Therefore the judicial authority will decide in such cases whether a disciplinary penalty is indicated, or whether legal measures are necessary. In the case of offenses against inhabitants it will order a court martial only if maintenance of discipline or security of the Forces call for such a measure.....
Warlimont and Lehmann were in a unique position to know the purpose of this order – the so-called "Barbarossa jurisdiction order" – inasmuch as they formulated it. Drafts of the order were prepared vy [sic] them, and the OKH, as early as April 1941. These drafts were discussed (as his diary shows ) with the Chief of the Army General Staff, General Halder, on 6 May; it appears that Halder wished to preserve the jurisdiction of the military courts over minor offenses [no period] On this suggestion, the defendant Lehmann commented:
I have objections to those ....now that we have decided to take this step it has to be done completely, otherwise there is the danger
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That the troops will push off matters uncomfortable to them to the courts and in that way (and those will be the doubtful cases) the contrary of that which we want to achieve will occur.
It would have been indeed difficult to have made murder and crime easier or more praiseworthy to the German soldier. This order, so terrible in its intent and in its consequences, was distributed by the defendants Leeb; Kuechler, Hoth, Reinhardt, Salmuth, Hollidt, Schniewind, Roques and Woehler to unite under their command. The results were, of course, precisely what was ordered. The diary of the Rear Area of the Second Army under Salmuth reported:
16 October 1942: A large number of suspects were shot in the neighboring villages.
4 to 18 October 1942: Several hundred suspects were seized and liquidated in the localities.
19 October 1942: A great number of suspects were shot in the mopping up ***
Another report on 19 February 1943 to Reinhardt’s 3rd Penzer Army described the following action:
In order to keep bands from resettling in this territory***the population of villages and farms in this area were killed with[-]out exception to the last baby. All homes were burned down. Cattle and victuals were confiscated and taken from this area.
Naturally enough, such bestial behavior enraged the Russian civilian population. No doubt they would have fiercely opposed the German invaders in any event; but the conduct of the German troops [extra space] under these orders won thousands of recruits to the Russian par[-]tisan bands which began to form behind the German lines. The German Army’s attitude toward those partisans was based on Hitler’s statement of 16 July 1941:
The Russians have now ordered partisan warfare behind the front. This partisan warfare has some advantages for us; it enables us to
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Eradicate everyone who opposes us.
It would be futile here even to attempt to enumerate the criminal orders and atrocities perpetrated in the course of anti-parti[-]san warfare. The defendants will plead that the partisans, too, committed atrocities, and will attempt to justify their actions on the basis of military necessity. They will, no doubt, make involved legal arguments that the particsan [sic] were not entitled to the rights of belligerants under the laws of war, despite the fact that a directive issued on 11 November 1942 ny [sic] Warlimont’s office stated:
The partisans are military resources of the opponent organized before the war and expanded during the war. Nevertheless we do not recognize them.... They are led by officers and commissars who have been left military Supreme Command according to uniform plan.
But the true answer to these arguments is much simpler, German troops, wherever they appeared, by murder and ill treatment of the civilian population, by conscription to forced labor, by plunder of property and food, by extermination of Jews, government functionaries, and the intelligentisia, forced the in habitants of the occupied countries to defend themselves, For the defendants to say that they were privileged to slaughter the population in retaliation for measures of self-protection provoked by their own acts is preposterous. Precisely analogous is the plea of the burglar that he had to kill the house owner in self-defense. One will not be heard to defend on the ground that his circumstances required him to commit a crime when such circumstances were of his own making. That the resistance of the civilian population was the inevitable result of the Wehrmacht’s own crimes is put beyond all doubt that the following report, dated 31 July 1942, on the development of the partisan movement, directed to the commanders of all army groups and armies in the East:
5 Feb-A-HJ-20-7-Daniels (Weber)
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The requisitioning of horses and vehicles by the German Wehrmacht and the lack of agricultural machines had a very bad effect on the cul[-]tivation of the land.... The resentment resulting from this, which is forstered by the Bolshevik agitators, has repeatedly formed de[-]pression in the utterance: "Stalin at least left us one cow in the shed, but the Germans even take that"....
....when recruiting for labor allocation in Germany first started, the most incredible rumors, as already mentioned, were spread about the fate of the conscripted persons. When it was even said that the former Red Army soldiers would bne put into prisoner of war camps, masses of them left their places of work and went into the woods, where they joined partisan bands. The great number of prisoners of war who died on the march to the prisoner of war coups, the conditions and the high death rate in the camps themselves, and not remained a secret, and the former Red Army soldiers lived in constant fear, therefore, that one day they would have to suffer the same fate.
The prosecution wishes to stress once more that the German troops were deliverately incited to commit those atrocities by the defendants and the other army leaders. There is today hardly a single German general, who, if willing to talk frankly, will not admit that those orders, quite apart from being criminal, were a military blunder of the first magnitude. But blunder or no blunder, there is no difficulty in finding the primary responsibility for these incredible out[-]rages. That responsibility lies on the German military leaders who issued orders of which the following promulgated by the defendant Hoth on 17 November 1941, is a good example:
.....stronger than ever we carry in us our faith in a turning point of history when the German people have been given the leadership in Europe on the strength of their superior race and their achievements lllCompassion [?] and softness towards the population would be completely
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Out of place.... Especially the solders must understand the necessity of harsh measures against elements alien to our people.
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and our kind.. a sound feeling of hatred is not to be suppressed but must be strengthened.
It is only too well known that anti-semitism was a cardinal point of Nazi idealogy Through the early years of the Third Reich, the News of Germany were subjected to ever more sever restrictions, persecutions and barbarities, and by 1939 life in Germany was all but intolerable for them. The war presented Himmler and Heydrich with that, to the, was a golden opportunity to carry these doctrines to their logical and terrible conclusion the extermination of all Jews in Germany and the countries overrun by the Wehrmacht. Deliberate extermination of Polish Jews began soon after the conquest of that unhappy country. But practical problems soon cropped up. No one, at least for centuries, had ever tried to eradicate an entire national or racial group, and it soon became apparent that such a project was an ambitious undertaking, which required time and money and manpower and planning. With the invasion of the Soviet Union, the project was for the first time put on a truly systematic footing.
The triggermen in this gigantic program of slaughter were, for the most part, the members of the so-called "Einsatzgruppen" of the SS. The Einsatzgruppen were special purpose units composed of personnel down from the Security Police, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Gestapo and other elements of the SS. Subordinate formations of the Einsatzgruppen were called Einsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos. They were formed shortly before the invasion of Russian to accompany the troops for the express purpose of exterminating; elements of the population considered "inferior" and "po[-]litically or racially undesirable". The chief victims of thos genocidal program were the Jews, and it can be conservatively estimated that nearly one million Russian Jews were slaughtered by the Einsatzgruppen. For in[-]stance. A report from the higher SS and Police Leader for South Russia states that in 1942, in the three-month period between September and December, 363,211 Jews were killed in that area alone. Other "racially undesirable" and "inferior" peoples include the Gypsies. The Einsatzgruppen were also entrusted with the mission of dismantling the existing regional and local
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governmental agencies, in order to make way for the new governmental administration to be established by the Germans. This "dismantling" was to be accomplished by killing all "political undesirables" including Communist Party functionaries and other officials of the local administration who might conceivably be hostile to the German invaders.
In another courtroom of this building, a trial of these leaders of the SS murder squads is now drawing to a close, but in this dock sit ten men who made their work possible – Leeb, Kurchler, Hoth, Reinhardt, Salmuth, Hollidt, Roques, Reinecke, Warlimont and Woehler. The carnage spread by the Einsatzgruppen could never have occurred without the permission and full support of the Wehrmacht. As the IMT found:
Nor did these special units (Einsatzgruppen) operate completely independently of the German Armed Forces. There is clear evidence of the Einsatzgruppen obtained the cooperation of the Army Commanders.
It is quite clear to any person with the slightest knowledge of military matters that the Einsatzgruppen could never have even entered Russian territory without the permission of the Wehrmacht, and could not have survived there more than a few hours without its support. They were, in fact, administratively attached to the Wehrmacht; each of the four Einsatzgruppen was attached respectively to the three army groups and to the Eleven Army (which entered Russian from Roumania), and the subordinate formations of the Einsatzgruppen (called Eintsatzkommandos and Sonderkommandos) were attached to the subordinate military forma[-]tions— the armies and corps. To suggest that the Einsatzgruppen and their subordinate units could have moved around throughout the opera[-]tional area of the army and could have killed over a million human beings, without the full knowledge of the army commanders, is not only false but grotesquely false. Yet this was, again, the burden of much testimony be[-]fore the IMT by numerous German field marshals and generals. We have come to learn that documentary proof is somewhat more reliable, and such proof is at hand.
On 23 April, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Field
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Marshal von Brauchitsch, distributed to all army groups and army commanders, by whom in turn it was passed down to divisional level, a directive concern[-]ing the employment of Einsatzgruppen in occupied Russia. It read in part as follows:
The Commander-in-Chief can prevent the utilization of the special detachments in those parts of the Army territory where such itikization [?] would interfere with operations....
The Sonderkommandos of the Security Police (SD) carry out their missions upon their own authority. They are subordinate to the Armies with reference to order of march, rations, and quarters. Disciplinary and legal subordination under the Chief of the Security Police and SD is not influenced by this. They received their technical instructions from the Chief of the Security Police and SD, but if occasion should arise, are subordinated to restrictive order of the Armies with reference to their activity.
A representative of the Chief of Security Police and of the SD will be employed in the area of each Army for the central direction of this detachment. He is required to bring to the attention of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, promptly, the instructions sent to him by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD. The Military Commander is empowered to issue the representatives instructions that are necessary to avoid an interruption in operations; they take precedence over all other instructions.
In the realm of their mission and upon their responsibility the Sonderkommandos are empowered to take executive measures, concerning the civilian population. They are required hereby to cooperation with Intelligence most closely. Measures which could have an effect on Army operations re[-]quire the approval of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
Thus, the Eintsatzgruppen could enter the operational area only by virtue of agreement with the Army, were to receive their supplies and transport from the Army commanders and had to report to them before and after each action, and all of their activities were subject to restrictive orders by the Army commanders.
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We have previously described the close cooperation between the Einsatzgruppen and the Army in the murder of political commissars and the screening and execution of "undesirable" prisoners in the case under the jurisdiction of Reinecke. The cooperation in the wholesale slaughter of the Jews was no less close. Here, for example, is a portion of the order which the defendant Roques, as Rundstedt’s Rear Army Commander, issued on 20 March 1942, with respect to the support which his subordinate units were to furnish the SD units.
A detachment of the SD...is deployed in the territory of the Rear Area Army Group South. The detachment has the duty to executive tasks of a security political nature by direct order of the Reichsfuehrer SS and on its own responsibility. All authorities are ordered to assist the detachment in the execution of its duties. (Transportation, billeting, supply)... Active participation of members of the Armed Forces in execu[-]tions is not permitted... Authority to protest against measures of the SD detachment by subordinate military authorities does not exist.
But the participation of Army in the horrible work of the Einsatzgruppen went beyond administrative support. Although some commanders, aware of the bestial character of the work which they were performing through the Einsatzgruppen, refuse to allow Army troops to participate in the executions, but this was not the invariable rule; thus, Einsatzgruppe [Einsatzgruppen ?] A operation under Leeb’s Army Group North acted in one of its reports; "From estimated figures, about 19,000 partisans and criminals, that is in the majority Jews, were shot by the Wehrmacht up to December 1941." But even where the Wehrmacht itself did not participate in the executions, the troops assisted by arresting the unfortunate Jews, and turning them over to the Einsatzgruppen to do the dirty work of mass killing. For ex[-]ample, a teletype of 16 October 1941, the Rear Area of the Eleventh Army, of which Woehler was Chief of Staff, reported that seventy-five, Jews had been turned over to the SD.
The report of the Einsatzgruppen make terrible reading. The report
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of Einsatzgruppe A attached to Leeb's army groups, for the first four months of the war, after reciting that "it must be stressed from the beginning that cooperation with the Armed Forces was generally good", proceeds to recite the difficulties which the group encountered in inducing "native anti-semetic forces....to start pogroms against the Jews". According to the report, it was recognized that"
....it was desirable that the Security Police should not put in an immediate appearance, at least in the beginning, since the extraordinary harsh measures were apt to sir even German circles. It had to be shown to the world that the native population itself took the first action by way of natural reaction against the suppression of the Jews during several decades...To our surprise it was not east, at first, to set in motion an extensive pogrom against the Jews.
Finally, however, the Einsatzgruppen succeeded in persuading a Luthuanian partisan unit to start a pogram in Kevno (the capital of Lithuania) "in such a way that no German order or German instigation was noted from the outside." The report continues:
During the first pogrom in the night from 25 to 26 June, the Lithuanian partisans did away with more than 1,500 Jews, setting fire to several synagogues or destroying them by other means and burning down a Jewish dwelling district consisting of about 60 houses. During the following nights 2,300 Jews were eliminated in a similar way. In other parts of Lithuania similar actions followed the example of Kovno, though smaller and extending to the Communists who had been left behind.
These self-cleansing actions went smoothly because the Army authorities, who had been informed, showed understanding for this procedure.
Such bestalities were not confined to the area under Leeb's command; they were general over the entire front. Thus an activity report of 31 August 1941, from a subordinate unit of the Third Panzer Army under Reinhardt, continued the following:
Operation against Jews (east of Panomuno) up to now...resulted
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in the capture of 21 Jews, partly armed, 26 women and 5 Jewish children...
.....after brief skirmish 19 Jews and one Russian captured. Simultaneously 24 women and 7 children of Jewish origin arrested.....
The Jews were turned over to the SD in Jurbarakas.
The ancient Russian city of Kiev had not soon such carnage since its destruction by the Mongols centuries before. A subordinate unit of Einsatzgruppe C which was attached to von Rundstedt's Army Group, reported on 28 September 1941 that it had entered Kiev and that the city was mined. The report continued:
As has been proved, Jews played a prominent part. Allegedly 150,000 Jews living here...Execution of at least 50,000 Jews planned. Wehrmacht welcomes measures and demands drastic procedure.
The story is continued by a report dated 12 October 1942, by the 454th Security Division, which was subordinated to the defendant Roques as Rundstedt's Rear Area Commander.
The total population (of Kiev) is estimated at about half the normal number, i.e., about 400,000.
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The Jews of the city were ordered to present themselves at a certain place and time for the purpose of numerical registration and housing in a camp. About 34,000 reported, including women and children. After they had been made to give up their clothing and valuables, all were killed; this took several days.
These documents do not make pretty reading, but we are constrained to quote one more example. Einsatzgruppe D, under the notorious Ohlendorf, was attached to the Eleventh Army, of which the defendant Woehle was Chief of Staff. Beginning in September 1941, the Commander-in-Chief of the Eleventh Army was General (later Field Marshal) von Manstein, who assured the IMT from the witness-box that he had no knowledge of the murder of 90,000 Russian Jews by Einsatzgruppe D, to which Ohlendorf had confessed. We have seen that the Einsatzgruppen were under strict orders from the Army to keep the Intelligence Division of the Army staff informed as to their doings; how meticulously they complied with this directive is shown by the following report, dated 16 April 1942, to the intelligence officer serving under Woehler on the Staff of the Eleventh Army:
For your information we beg to report the following about the activities of Einsatzgruppe D in the Crimea and in the area of Taganrog-Fedorwke, and about the intended further employment.
I. Activities since February 1942.
The results of the cleaning of the Crimea during the time covered by this report in detail as follows:
1) The Crimea is freed of Jews. Only occasionally some small groups are turning up, especially in the northern areas. In cases where single Jews could camouflage themselves by means of forged papers, etc. they will, nevertheless, be recognized sooner or later, as experience has taught. The population which in the majority has welcomed the measures taken against the Jews, in assisting in this task by making denunciations. This is only natural considering the fact that the Crimea has been a special domain of Jewdom. About the development and the influence of Jewdom
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on the Crimea a detailed report is attached.
We submit to the Tribunal that there can be no blacker crime than what we have just described. The evidence of complicity in that crime of ten of the defendants is conclusive. We regret to add that there is no evidence that the defendants, at that time, were in the slightest degree ashamed of what they were doing. On the contrary, they took active steps to convert their own troops to a frame of mind not only tolerant of but sympathetic to these incredible mass murders. On 1 October 1941 the defendant Salmuth, in an order ot [ sic] the day to his corps, stated that "The battle against Bolshevism requires an energetic and ruthless attack, especially against Jews, the chief carriers of Bolshevism," and on 17 November 1941, the defendant Hoth issued the following order to his troops:
Every trace of active or passive resistance or of any kind of machinations by Bolshevik-Jewish agitators are to be immediately and pitilessly rooted out. The necessity of severe measures against elements foreign to people and kind, must be understood precisely by the soldiers. These circles are the spiritual pillars of Bolshevism, the tale bearers of its murder organization, the helpers of the partisans. It consists of the same Jewish class of people which has done so much harm to our Fatherland by its activity hostile to the people and anti-culture, which promotes anti-German currents in the whole world and which wants to be the bearer of revenge. Their annihilation is the law of self-preservation. Any soldier criticizing these measures has no memory for the former demoralizing traitorous activity lasting for years carried on among our own people by Jewish-marxist elements.
C. War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity--Slave Labor.
Under Count Two of the indictment, the defendants are charged with utilizing prisoners of war held by the Germans as an unrestricted source of labor for the purposes of forbidden by the laws of war. Under Count Three of the indictment, they are charged with the deportation and enslavement of millions of members of the civilian population of the occupied countries.
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These crimes are recognized as such not only under international law, but by the ordinary penal laws of all civilized nations. The Hague and Geneva Conventions contain numerous applicable provisions with respect to the treatment of prisoners of war and the civilian population of occupied countries. The definitions of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in Article II of Control Council Law No. 10, specifically proscribe "murder," ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose, of civilian populations from occupied territories, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war" and "extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment" and "other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, or persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds." The evidence under these charges relates primarily to the use and abuse of prisoners of war, and the enslavement and deportation to slave labor and mistreatment of many thousands of civilians in and from the countries occupied by Germany.
The slave labor program of the Third Reich was the revolting offspring of the aggressive wars which is planned and waged. It was designed to keep the German war machine rolling at the frightful expense of the freedom and lives of millions of persons. The tyranny and brutality of Nazi conquest was felt by them not only in their own homelands of France, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Denmark. Hundreds of thousands suffered the additional misery of being torn loose from homes and families and shipped to Germany into slavery and often to a miserable and premature death.
In the East, the use of prisoners-of-war and civilians in German armament production was widespread. As early as 4 July 1941, representatives of the defendant Reinecke were conferring with other Reich agencies concerning the utilization of Russian prisoners in war industries. On 31 October 1941, an OKW order drafted by Warlimont pointed out that the lack of workers was increasingly felt in the armament industry and that this could be remedied by a large scale use of Russian prisoners. This order directed that work units were to be used particularly for coastal
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All of the defendants who held field commands in the East made available large numbers of prisoners for employment in prohibited labor. For example, on 2 March 1942 Army Group North under Kuechler, in reply to a request from the rear area for more prisoners, stated:
It is not possible at this time to transfer any more prisoners of war as requested by telephone since the available prisoners of war able to work are needed for employment on road construction and in the armament industry and/or plants in the operational theatre. Requesting agencies have not been satisfied fully up to this point.
A report of 6 April 1942 to OKH by the Eleventh Army, of which Woehler was Chief of Staff, said:
For labor in the armament factories at home, 5,529 prisoners of war were deported to the Prisoner of War Organization of the OKW.
The employment of these prisoners was attended by all manner of ill-treatment, but those retained for work in the operational area of these defendants were particularly unfortunate. In October 1941, Brauchitsch ordered that mine fields were to be cleared only by Russian prisoners of war. But the defendants Leeb and Kuechler had been practicing this flagrant violation of the laws and customs of war for at least two months prior to the Brauchitsch order. An order of 3 august 1941 by the 217th Infantry Division in the Eighteenth Army under Kuechler, within Army Group North commanded by Leeb, stated:
In order to counteract the enemy's malicious manner of fighting in the mining of roads and rivers, the greatest attention is ordered at the places mentioned. Prisoners are to be used for removing the mines.
Other such orders were issued by Hoth and Reinhardt. Russian prisoners were also used in the operational area for the digging of trenches, construction of fortifications, military highways, railroads and the loading of ammunition.
The fate of the civilian population in the East was equally harsh.
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On 21 July 1941 the defendant Roques, as commander of the Rear Area of Army Group South, ordered that Jews be selected for compulsory labor and that they be required to wear identifying armbands. A similar order was issued on 11 December 1941 by a corps subordinated to the Eleventh Army, of which Woehler was Chief of Staff, stating that:
All Jews of both sexes have to identify themselves by wearing a white armband with the Star of David on both arms...all Jews of both sexes between 16 and 50 years of age are at the disposal of the head of the community for performing labor.
This Nazi racial policy, however, did not alone produce sufficient workers for the German war machine. In order to obtain the required number of workers, all pretext of voluntary recruitment was abandoned and labor conscription became progressively more inhumane as the fortunes of war turned against the Wehrmacht. Thus in October 1942, the defendant Reinhard as commander of the Third Panzer Army, odered the use of "the entire able-bodied civilian population" for digging trenches. In March 1943, the defendant Hollidt issued an order stating that:
Russian men and women have to be employed ruthlessly for the construction of defenses.
By June 1943, over 50,000 civilians were reported to be working on fortifications in the area of the Sixth Army under Hollidt. In May 1943, Reinhardt ordered that all men between the ages of 16 and 50 and all women between 16 and 40 capable of bearing arms and of working to be rounded up for labor allocation. By August 1943, 17-year-old children were ordered to be drafted, and by September, in the frenzied search for workers, the Rear Area commander of Kuechler's Army Group North ordered seizing all available laborers and driving them on forced marches to the rear, with only bread for food. The order specified that children over 10 were considered as laborers.
Along with this brutal extension of the slave labor program to include old men, women and children, the drafting measures also increased
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in harshness. Reinhardt would not permit the granting of short leaves to laborers for the purpose of packing their belongings for fear of escape, which he said "must be prevented at all costs". In a Top Secret order of 2 January 1944, to be destroyed after reading, he exhorted his men to act ruthlessly in the drafting of divilians [sic] and put this pencilled notation on the order.
Any mreasure [sic] is justified and urgently desirable if it produces a quick and considerable increase in the number of civilians working for us.
These documents do not begin to reflect the humand [sic] misery and degradation involved in this slave traffic. Early in 1944, engineer and fortress units of Reinhardt's Third Panzer Army reported that many of the civilians pressed into slave labor by them were escaping. upon inquiry, one of the subordinate units set forth the reasons why so many of those miserable laborers sought refuge in flight.
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The high figure of Russian laborers who have escaped from their places of work....is explained....by the following reasons....
They were partly apprehended in the streets and taken away under the pretext that they would go on in a 2 or 3 days' job, without winter clothes, shoes, mess-kit or blankets....Married couples were taken away, the children being left behind by themselves....
Men and women were allocated by the Labor camp Witebsk who had been unfit for work for a long time. Among them were 78-year old or blind or paralyzed people and people suffering from heart disease who collapsed under the least strain, epileptics, women with child up to the 9th month, people suffering from severe abscesses with pus running out of their shoes and some with frozen limbs....
In the West as in the East, prisoners of war and civilians alike were forced to labor under inhumane conditions for the German war machine. The defendant Reinecke was one of the principal figures in obtaining thousands of French prisoners of war to labor in the German armament industry, especially in aircraft plants. On 17 September 1942, Warlimont forwarded a Fuehrer decree to the three branches of the Wehrmacht, the Commander-in-Chief West (Rundstedt), and the military Commander in Holland, which stated that:
The extensive coastal fortifications, ordered by me (Hitler) for the area of the Army Group West, require the employment and the greatest exertion of all labor available in the occupied territory. The allocation, so far, of indigenous workers is insufficient. In order to increase it I order for the occupied territories the induction of compulsory service and the prohibition of changing the assigned place of work without permission of the competent authority.
The Army cooperated actively with the so-called recruiting commissions of the Sauckel slave labor organization and the SS in the conscription and deportation of slave labor to Germany. On 25 January 1943, Rundstedt, as commander-in-Chief West, ordered all units subordinated to him to support the work of these commissions. And on 7 June 1943, the defendant Sperrle, at the time Deputy Commander-in-Chief West, stated in a report forwarded to the OKW that:
According to a report from the Military Commander in Belgium and Northern France it has again occurred, in spite of orders to the contrary, that German agencies without being entitled to, recruit workers within the area of
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the military commander of Belgium and Northern France....Through such procedure these workers for the most part were lost to recruitment for Germany. I shall examine to what extent military authorities are involved in this prohibited recruiting.
Sperrle's cooperation with the civilian master of the slave labor program, Fritz Sauckel (who was convicted, and sentenced to hang by the IMT solely on slave labor charges) was such that Sauckel was moved to say at a meeting of the Central Planning Board on 1 March 1944 that"....Field Marshal Sperrle assisted my task with fervor". A few years earlier, during 1941 and 1942, units of Luftflotte 3, subordinated to Sperrle, were using Russian prisoners of war in construction work on airfields and fortifications in the West.
On 1 August 1944, the defendant Blaskowitz, as Commander of Army Group G in France, issued the following order:
The entire able-bodied male population convicted of cooperating with bands of the Resistance Organizations...or which may be designated as suspect and/or sympathizing, is to be sent in a closed body to reception camps be prepared by the Military Commander in France. From there they are to be transported to the Reich for labor allocation.
And ten days later, Blaskowitz passed down a further order stating that:
Everywhere that centers of resistance are established or the formation of guerilla bands is discovered, all male residents, fit for military service, between the age of 16 and 55, physicians excepted, shall be arrested, regardless of their present occupation, and made ready for shipment to Germany..."
General Taylor will conclude the statement.
BY GENERAL TAYLOR:
If it please your HOnors, the wide scope of the subject matter of this case has made it quite impossible to set forth the evidence in any detail within the compass of this presentation. We have sought only to outline the charges. And the same limitations of time and space rule out any full analysis of the legal matters which the defense will, no doubt suggest in due course.
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As to the basis for Counts One and Four of the indictment, we wish merely to make a few brief preliminary observations. That the wars and invasions, launched by the Third Reich with the participation of these defendants, were aggressive in character is the law of this case. The IMT has so held in its Judgment, and Article X of Military Government Ordinance No. 7, under which this Tribunal is established provides that:
The determinations of the International Military Tribunal in the judgment of Case No. 1 that invasions, aggressive acts and aggressive wars, crimes, and atrocities or inhumane acts were planned or occurred, shall be binding on the tribunals established hereunder and shall not be questioned except insofar as participation therein or knowledge thereof of any particular person may be concerned.
Thus, our starting point is that the invasions and wars of aggression charged in the indictment were planned and did occur in violation of international law. The only question at issue under Counts One and Four of the indictment, therefore, is the extent to which the defendants knowingly participated in these invasions and wars of aggression.
The necessary degree of connection with these crimes in order to establish the guilt of the defendants is to be determined by Paragraph 2 of Article II of Control Council No. 10, and in the light of recognized principles of criminal law. Paragraph 2 sets forth that an individual shall be found guilty of the crimes defined in Law No. 10 if he was (a) a principal, or (b) an accessory, or if he (c) took a consenting part therein, or (d) was connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of the crime, or (e) was a member of an organization or group connected with the commission of the crime. A further provision of this paragraph, applicable only with respect to crimes against peace, states among other things that the holders of high military (including General Staff) positions in Germany are deemed to have committed such crimes. This provision, we believe, is not intended to attach criminal guilt automatically to all holders of high military positions such as these defendants. It does require, however, that the fact that a person hold such a position be
taken into consideration together with all the other evidence in determining the extent of his knowledge and participation.
It is the position of the prosecution that Crimes against Peace, as in the case of most crimes, require knowing participation in the crime; both an act and a state of mind. The act is the extent of participation of the defendants in the planning, preparation, initiation, or waging wars of aggression and invasions. The state of mind is the knowledge on the part of the defendants of the aggressive aims of Hitler and the other leaders of the Third Reich, including themselves, towards other countries. It is not necessary to show that the defendants believed that military force would necessarily be used to achieve such aims if threats would suffice. Thus, the IMT said:
The defendant Raeder testified that neither he, nor von Fritsch, nor von Blomberg, believed that Hitler actually meant war, a conviction which the defendant Raeder claims that he held up to 22 August 1939. The basis of this conviction was his hope that Hitler would obtain a "political solution" of Germany's problems. But all that this means, when examined, is the belief that Germany's position would be so good, and Germany's armed might so overwhelming that the territory desired could be obtained without fighting for it.
That crimes against peace are susceptible of commission by military leaders is established by the specific language of Law No. 10 already described, and by the weighty precedents of the IMT's convictions of Keitel, Jodl, Raeder and Doenitz. In its discussion of the General Staff and High Command, the IMT further set forth that it had heard much evidence as to the participation of military officers in the planning and waging of aggressive war, and that "this evidence is as to many of them clear and convincing."
For the sake of clarity, however, it must be emphasized that those defendants are not accused on the ground that they are soldiers. They are not accused merely for doing the usual things a soldier is expected to such as making military plans and commanding troops. It is, I suppose, among the normal duties of a diplomat to engage in negotiations and conferences, to entertain at dinner parties, and to cultivate good will to-
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ward the government he represents. The leaders of the German Foreign Office, now on trial before another of these Tribunals, are not indicted for doing these things. It is an innocent and respectable business to be a locksmith; but it is none the less a crime, if the locksmith turns his talents to picking the locks of neighbors and looting their homes. The accusation in all these cases here in Nurnberg where crimes again peace are charged is that, in performing the functions of diplomats, politicians, soldiers, industrialists or whatever the defendants happen to be, they planned and waged wars of aggression. It is no defense for those who committed such crimes to plead that they practice a particular profession.
It is perfectly legal for military men to prepare military plans to meet national contingencies, and such plans may legally be drawn whether they are offensive or defensive in a military sense. It is perfectly legal for military leaders to carry out such plans and engage in war, if in doing so they do not plan and launch and wage illegal aggressive wards. There may well be individual cases where drawing the lines between legal and illegal behavior might involve some difficulties. That is not an uncommon situation in the legal field. But we do not believe that there is any such doubt or difficulty here.
The military defendants will undoubtedly argue that they are pure technicians. This amounts to saying that military men are a race a part from and different from the ordinary run of human beings--men above and beyond the moral and legal requirements that apply to others, and incapable of exercising moral judgment on their own behalf.
In the nature of things, planning and executing aggressive war is accomplished by agreement and consultation among all types of a nation's leaders. And if the leaders in any notably important field of activity stand aside or resist or fail to cooperate, then the criminal program will at the very least be seriously obstructed. That is why the principal leaders in all fields of activity share responsibility for the crime, and military leaders no less than the others. As the IMT stated in its
Hitler could not make aggressive war by himself. He had to have the cooperation of statemen, military leaders, deiplomats [sic], and business men. When they, with knowledge of his aims, gave him their cooperation, they made themselves parties to the plan he had initated.
The defendants will no doubt object strenuously to the notion that aggressive war is a crime. Their mentor, General von Seeckt, wrote in 1928 that "the question of war guilt will be asked after each war; it is the question who started the war which means who attacked first. It will always be answered according to the point of view of the interested person and--according to the winner." This comfortable view that it is impossible to tell who started a war is a very convenient trend of thought for the German military caste, who have started one war after another throughout the past century. But it does not square with the proof available in this case, and it does not square with the view of international law generally acknowledged to be necessary if civilization is to be protected against its destruction form within. As an eminent authority on international law has recently written, in connection with the Judgment of the IMT:
...the precedent will not stand still. If we do not strengthen it and move it forward, it will slide backward. Inaction by the whole society of nations from now on would constitute a repudiation of the precedent with the consequence that the last state of the world would be worse than the first. It would constitute an assertion that who is guilty of endangering the international public repose is not to be treated as a criminal.
Nor is it any defense to these charges to emphasize, as the defense no doubt will, that personal relations between Hitler and the generals were often strained, and in particular that Hitler distrusted the General Staff and the senior Army officers. No doubt this is quite true.
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Hitler, as well as being a man of unusual, if malignant, capacities, was an incredibly vain and self-centered man, who could not abide to acknowledge that other people had abilities which he himself lacked. Aware of his own lack of military education, he scoffed at those who possessed it, though he loved nothing better than to play at map maneuvres with favorite soldiers, such as Rommel. But HItler did not by any means single out the generals as sole object of his derision; the other professions fared no better. Hitler had no engineering education, but was fascinated with construction problems, and delighted to plan imagined cities and design gigantic buildings with a favored architect, Albert Speer. But hear him on the subject of engineers as reported by one who noted down much of Hitler's private conversation:
"Engineers are fools. They have an occasional idea that might be useful but it becomes madness if it is generalize."
Industrial leaders met with a similar fate at his hands"
"I hall [sic] not be deceived by these captains of industry either; Captains indeed! I should like to know what ships they navigate! They are stupid fools who cannot see beyond the waves they peddle! The better one gets to know them, the less one respects them."
So it is not very meaningful to say that Hitler did not admire the generals. He did not admire much of anybody except himself. And in any event, the point is quite irrelevant. The question here is not one of personal likes and dislikes, but of acts. If these defendants and their fellows did not give Hitler their trust, they certainly lent him their active and energetic collaboration and put their talents at his disposal.
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They swore an oath of loyalty to his person. They built him a gigantic war machine. Under his political leadership, they provided the military leadership which guided this machine on its course of conquest in Europe. The used the machine to perpetrate the most catastrophic crimes in the modern history of the profession of arms.
Indeed, as we sought to stress at the outset, the points of friction between Hitler and the generals served only to underline their complete agreement on fundamentals. The most important points of the Nazi Party program were cardinal objectives of the military leaders long before Hitler became well known. Points One and Three--"the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany" and "land and territory for the sustenance of our people" were merely a restatement of traditional Pan-Germanism, of which the German militarists had made great strides long before Hitler came to power. Point Four excluded the Jews from German citizenship. But Jews had long been excluded from the officer's corps, and von Seeckt's official biographer boasted that "the army resisted the penetration of Jewish blood." Finally, Point Twenty-five of the program called for "the formation of a strong central government in the Reich." This was completely in line with the traditional faith of the officers' corps in authoritarianism, and led logically to dictatorship.
So it is not difficult to understand the reasons which underlay the alliance between Hitler and the generals, and why the generals made the Wehrmacht a main pillar of the Third Reich. This alliance was based upon many opinions and objectives common to both parties, and more than anything
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else, upon faith in war as a means of attaining one's objectives and, indeed, as a normal and admirable part of life. This faith has been repeatedly expressed in the writings of German military leaders for nearly two centuries. If we listen for the last time today to the words of von Seeckt on this subject, we hear him remarking with delight in 1928 upon the "relationship between Leonardo de Vinci's sketch book and the sketches of King Frederick for his maneuvres. The genius at work!" Eight years later he tells us:
"War is the highest pinnacle of human effort. It is the natural and last step of evolution in the history of mankind. War is the father of all things and at the same time the preparer of the end of an epoch, or a people, in order to become the father of a new development....The war is born by the will, conducted and elevated to its purest perfection."
And therefore, shocking and incredible as is the evidence in this case, there is nothing herein that should come as a complete surprise to any one who understands the history and ideology of the German officers' corps. Men who believe in war are not likely to take a strong stand in opposition to invading the neutrality of Belgium, Holland or Norway. An officers' corps whose military manual scoffs openly at the laws of war is not likely to take a strong stand in opposition to even the most outrageous criminal measures called for by their leaders. --profession which for decades has rigorously excluded Jews has already made progress towards understanding the reasons for their eradication--no matter how much they may throw up their hands in feigned horror, they will not be found ready to risk much in opposition, nor, even, will they be unwilling to lend it support if what they conceive to be
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"larger objections" so require.
Much of this case is summarized in a single document, consisting of an order issued by the defendant Kuechler, as Commander-in-Chief of the Eighteenth Army, on 22 July 1940. The conquest of France, in which the Eighteenth Army participated, had just been triumphantly concluded a few weeks prior, and orders had just been given to transfer the Army to Poland near the Russian frontier. Some very unpleasant things were going on in Poland at the time, and Kuechler feared that the soldiers might hear "rumors and false information" concerning the true meaning and justification of these things. So he wrote in an order to his troops:
"The following reasons for the transfer of the A.O.K. 18 and its subordinate units to the East from the West will be announced to the troops:
1. Protection of the newly acquired living space in the East.
2. Demonstration of our military strength to the Poles.
3. Preparation for the establishment of peace-time garrisons in the Eastern territory for army units."
"I should like to stress....the necessity for ensuring that every soldier of the Army, particularly every officer, refrains from criticizing the ethnical struggle being carried out in the GENERAL GOUVERNMENT (That is POland), the treatment of the Polish minorities and of the Jews and the handling of church matters. The final ethnical solution of the ethnical struggle which has been raging on the Eastern border for centuries calls for measures of such harshness and directness
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that one application of them will suffice.
"Certain agencies of the Party and the State have been charged with the conduct of this ethnical struggle in the East.
"Soldiers must, therefore, remain aloof from these matters, which are the concern of other agencies. Neither are they to involve themselves in such matters by criticism."
Many facts of this case are reflected in these few paragraphs--the proud mention of "living space" which had been acquired by the sword; the scornful references to Poles and Jews; the indoctrination of the troops to accept the most brutal treatment of these "inferior" peoples. Already the seeds are being sown in preparation for the savagery which would be demanded of the German soldier the next year; already the language is not of mere war but of "ethnical struggle" which are "raging on the Easter border". This is not a soldier's order. It is a vicious, foul effort to brutalize the troops. It points as accusingly as ever a documents can to where the deepest guilt lies for the crimes that we have rehearsed today. And so it comes to pass that the only way in which the behavior of the German troops in the recent war can be made comprehensible as the behavior of human beings is by a full exposure of the criminal doctrines and orders which were pressed upon them from above, by these defendants and others. In that exposure, the German people themselves have the greatest stake.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Marshal, are you advised as tot he Courtroom that we will have tomorrow? Are you advised as to the Courtroom we will have tomorrow?
THE MARSHAL: Yes, Courtroom VII; the same as this.
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DR. LATERNSER: (Attorney for the Defendant von LEEB)
May it please the Tribunal, on behalf of the defendants I should like to make the following statement: General Taylor has just stated that the legal argument will assume gigantic proportions; that everything that has been submitted today only consists of indications and hints. We of the Defense are very much interested in the statement, for the Defense is hearing today for the first time details of the reproaches and counts and the charges which the Prosecution wishes to level. Almost the whole of the World War and its causes are to at issue in this trial. The indictment which was served on the defendants at the beginning of this trial is, as the Tribunal will be able to ascertain, made up in such general terms, that a proper preparation of the defense on the basis of this indictment was impossible. We of the Defense have no material to go on with.
Therefore, the Defense has only from today been in a position theoretically to make its preparation. I use the term theoretical with intention, because it is not practical at present to prepare a defense. The Prosecution possesses the exclusive material for this trial, which they accumulated in all these years in order to build up their case.
On the basis of these facts I intend to contact the Prosecution so that the same sources which are available to the Prosecution in order to build up their case, and the whole of the documentary evidence, be also made available to the Defense.
Therefore, I move firstly, that in view of this new state of affairs, and adjournment of at least three weeks be agreed upon for the Defense, thereby the Defense would have at least as many weeks for preparing their defense as the
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Prosecution had years to prepare their case.
There is something else I would like to add. The Tribunal has announced that they will rule on the motion of my colleague Dr. Leverkuehn. I should like to state in behalf of the Defense that all the Defense Counsel wish to concur with the second part of the motion. That is what I would like to submit to the Court today, the motion referred to, is the motion by Dr. Leverkuehn.
MR. McMANEY: The Prosecution--if the Tribunal please, as I understand the motion made, it is for a postponement for three weeks. I had some difficulty following all the reasons as to why this postponement was needed. There was considerable mention about having the Washington Document Center moved to Nuernberg apparently, but the Prosecution's position is that the indictment was filed on the 28th of November; the arraignment took place late in December. The indictment is, without any question, one of the most specific and detailed ever filed in any War Crimes proceeding, not only in Nuernberg, but anywhere else. The matters charged in that indictment were dealth with at extensive length before the IMT, and there are very few new crimes which will come up during the course of this proceeding.
We, therefore, can see no reason whatsoever for any postponement, and the Prosecution is prepared to proceed with presentation of its evidence tomorrow morning at 9:30.
DR. LATERNSER: If the Tribunal please, may I shortly reply to this argument. I can see, of course, that the Prosecution sees no reason for asking for an adjournment because it had years to preprare their case. Whatever has been the subject of proceedings before the IMT is of no interest in this case. The Prosecution and the Defense have
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a new case, and in every case the Defense must be afforded an opportunity to prepare themselves adequately, because only then will the defendants be afforded a fair chance to defend themselves.
I say that the indictment is written in summary form, and in a way that any preparation of the Defense was not possible up to now. Today we have heard the first details, and we have heard the words of General Taylor that the charges made today were merely limited because of the gigantic proportions of the issue. The Defense must, therefore, have the possibility to prepare themselves and the preparation is only feasible if those sources are made available to us which were also available to the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not feel at this time that there is such a departure, if any, from the charges in the indictment that this motion should be granted. The defendants at this time are not up to the point of interposing their defense. At the time the Prosecution's case is completed, of course, it will be the privilege of the defendants to request such time as they may desire in order to meet the issues, and at that time the Court, or the Tribunal, will be in a condition where is can understand the possible need of such time and intelligently rule on the application.
For these reasons, briefly, the motion for an adjournment at this time will be denied.
The Tribunal will reconvene tomorrow morning at 9:30 at which time the Prosecution may introduce evidence, and that is in Courtroom VII, which, I understand, is this same courtroom where we are holding the session this afternoon.
We will take a recess until 9:30 tomorrow morning.
(The Tribunal adjourned until 0930 hours, 6 February 1948).
Arraignment | Schniewind Testimony