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B. PROMOTION OF THE ACCESSION TO POWER OF THE NAZI CONSPIRATORS, ESTABLISHMENT OF TOTALITARIAN CONTROL OVER GERMANY, AND PREPARATION FOR WAR.
Within the conspiracy Martin Bormann had the managerial task of operating the Nazis' Party as a center of control for the benefit of the conspirators. First as the executive chief of the Nazi Party under Hess, and since 1941 himself the head of the Party, subject only to Hitler's supreme authority, Bormann was a key member of the Nazi conspiracy. The Party constituted the most powerful instrument of public control at the disposal of the conspirators. Through the Party the conspirators were able to gain and retain power in Germany. Through it they imposed their will on the German nation and obtained its support for their aggressive wars. Bormann is thus responsible for the crimes committed by the Party under the orders of the conspirators.
Bormann began his conspiratorial activities more than 20 years ago. In 1922, when only 22 years old, he joined the Organization Rossbach, one of the armed illegal groups which developed the aggressive traditions of the German Army and established a regime of terror against the small pacifist minority in Germany. While he was District Leader of the Organization for Mecklenburg, he was arrested and tried for his part in a political terror assassination. On 15 May 1924 he was found guilty by the State Tribunal for the Protection of the Republic and sentenced to one year in prison. (2981-PS; 3355-PS)
Upon his release from jail in 1925, Bormann again took up his subversive activities. First, he joined the Militarist Organization Frontbann. Then, in the same year, he became a member of the reconstituted Nazi Party, and began his rise to one of the most influential positions in the conspiracy. In 1927 he became Press Chief for the Party Gau of Thuringia. On 1 April 1928 he was made a District Leader in Thuringia, and Business Manager for the entire Gau.
From 15 November 1928 to August 1930 he was on the Staff of the Supreme Command of the SA. Thus he participated decisively in the development of these uniformed shock troops with which the conspirators terrorized and destroyed their opposition inside Germany. (See Section 4 of chapter XV on the SA.)
In August 1930 Bormann organized the Aid Fund (Hilfskasse) of the Nazi Party, of which he became the head. Through this Fund he collected large sums for the Party Treasury, allegedly for the purpose of aiding families of Party members who had
been killed or imprisoned while "fighting" for the Party. (3236-PS)
On 30 January 1933 the conspirators and their Party took over the government of Germany. Shortly thereafter, in July 1933, Bormann was given the number-three post in the Party Organization, that of Chief of Staff to Rudolf Hess, then Hitler's Deputy. At the same time he was made a member of the Party Directorate (Reichsleiter). In November 1933, he was made a member of the Reichstag. (3236-PS)
As Hess' Chief of Staff, Bormann was responsible for channeling to him the demands of the Party in all the fields of government action. These demands were then imposed by Hess, through his participation in Cabinet meetings, on legislation, public administration, and appointments. (Chart Number 15; 1395-PS; 2001-PS: D 138; 3180-PS)
Bormann also used the Party in order to strengthen the hold of the Gestapo and the SD over the German people. On 14 February 1935 Bormann ordered all Party officers to assist the SD in its work described as “benefiting principally the Party" (3237-PS). On 3 September 1935 Bormann ordered Party agencies to hand persons who criticize the Nazi Party or institutions over to the Gestapo. (3239-PS) An order of the Party Chancery issued on 14 December 1938, demanded closest cooperation between Party agencies and Gestapo (1723-PS).
After the flight of Hess to Scotland on 10 May 1941, Bormann succeeded him as head of the Party under Hitler, with the title of Chief of the Party Chancery. In that position he took over all offices and powers formerly held by Hess, especially his membership in the Cabinet and on the Ministers' Council for the Defense of the Reich (2099-PS).
Only 8 months later, Hitler issued another Decree which extended Bormann's powers even beyond those which had been granted to Hess. By that Decree Bormann was given 'extensive control over the preparation of all laws and directives of the Cabinet, the Fuehrer, and the Ministers' Council for the Defense of the Reich, and over the appointment of all public officials (the latter, in Germany, included Judges and university teachers) (2100-PS). Under this legislation Bormann must be held at least jointly responsible for every law and order issued after 24 January 1942 by which the conspirators carried out their crimes.
This decisive participation of Bormann and the Party agencies under his direct control in the day-to-day administration of the German war program was buttressed by the Order of the Ministers' Council for the Defense of the Reich, dated 1 December
1942, under which all Party Gau Leaders were appointed Reich Defense Commissioners and all Gaus became Reich Defense Districts (3235-PS). Under this Order the Gau leaders, who were Party functionaries under the orders of Bormann, became the Chief Administrators of the entire civilian war effort, not only in Germany proper but also in all incorporated territories.
This development constituted the culmination of the integration of Party and State which had begun almost ten years earlier. From then on, the Party, through Bormann, became a decisive factor in the initiation and execution of all German war policies, after having been charged in the preceding years with much of the political and pre-military preparation of the German people for the aggressive wars of the Conspirators. (3242-PS)
C. DISCRIMINATION AGAINST AND PERSECUTION OF OPPOSITION.
Bormann participated actively in the execution of that part of the conspirators' program relating to the persecution and destruction of independent groups which were opposed to the aims of the Conspiracy.
(1) Persecution of the Churches. Bormann was among the most relentless members of the conspirators in the persecution of the churches. In a secret order of 6 June 1941 he stated bluntly the aim of the conspirators—to destroy Christianity altogether: “National Socialist and Christian concepts are irreconcilable
* No human being would know anything of Christianity if it had not been drilled into him in his childhood by pastors. The so-called dear God in no wise gives knowledge of his existence to young people in advance, but in an astonishing manner in spite of his omnipotence leaves this to the efforts of the pastors. If, therefore, in the future our youth learns nothing more of this Christianity whose doctrines are far below ours, Christianity will disappear by itself.” (D-75;
see also 098-PS) In pursuance of this aim, Bormann's first efforts in the conspiracy's fight against religion were directed toward the elimination of churchmen and church influence from the Party itself. On 3 July 1938 a Bormann order prohibited clergymen from holding Party offices (113-PS). A Bormann circular of 3 June 1939 excluded Christian Scientists from Party membership.(838-PS). Bormann Decrees of 9 February 1937 and 14 July 1939 excluded clergymen and theology students from membership in the Nazi
Party (840-PS). And a Bormann directive of 17 June 1938, prohibited all religious activities by members of the Labor Service. (107-PS)
Bormann also opposed religious instruction in the schools. A letter from Bormann's office to Rosenberg on 25 April 1941 reported success in reducing the holding of religious morning services in schools and proposed the substitution of National Socialist school services. (070-PS)
In order further to weaken the churches, Bormann enforced the elimination of numerous Catholic and Protestant Divinity Schools in Germany and Austria. In a letter to The Minister of Education, dated 24 January 1939, Bormann denied the scientific value of theological instruction and suggested a legal basis for the suppression and restriction of Divinity Schools (116-PS). This was followed by a report of The Ministry of Education, dated 6 April 1939, concerning the suppression and consolidation of Divinity Schools (122-PS). A confidential letter from Bormann to The Minister of Education, dated 23 June 1939, in reply to memorandum of 6 April 1939 (122-PS), reported the Party's decision to order the suppression of numerous Divinity Schools (123-PS). In a letter to Rosenberg on 12 December 1939 Bormann agreed with the suggestion that the University Chairs belonging to the Divinity School in the University of Munich be used for instructors at the Nazi Academy (Hohe Schule). (131-PS)
Bormann also used his power and position in order to demand that other government departments deprive the churches of their property and subject them to a discriminatory legal regime. A Bormann letter to The Reich Minister of Finance in January 1940, demanded that church assessments for special war tax be greatly increased (099-PS). In a letter to Amann on 8 March 1940, Bormann demanded reduction in the paper allotment of church publications (089-PS). A Bormann letter to Rosenberg on 24 June 1940 submitted the draft of a discriminatory church law for Danzig and West Prussia (066-PS). Throughout 1940-1941 Bormann corresponded with numerous officials concerning confiscation of religious art treasures. (1600-PS)
Finally, as the war took an increasing part of Germany's youth into the Armed Forces, Bormann insisted that soldiers be removed from all religious influence. In a letter to the Army High Command in January 1939, Bormann opposed the establishment of an Army Corps of Chaplains (117-PS). A Bormann letter to Rosenberg on 17 January 1940 suggested the publication of special Nazi literature for members of the Wehrmacht in order to replace reli
gious literature which the writer had as yet been unable to suppress completely (101-PS). In a letter to Rosenberg the next day (18 January 1940) Bormann stated that the publication of Nazi literature for Army recruits as a countermeasure to the circulation of religious writings was "the most essential demand of the hour.” (100-PS)
When the prosecution of this anti-Church program was turned over to the RSHA under Himmler, the “Church Specialists” of that organization received clear instructions as to the aims which the Conspirators wanted them to achieve, at a meeting of the “Church Specialists” called for that purpose on 26 September 1941:
“The immediate aim: the church must not regain one inch
during the German fight for existence.” (1815-PS) Five years earlier, Bormann had already issued an order to all Party members demanding that they turn priests who criticized the Party over to the Gestapo (3246-PS). Bormann thus bears responsibility for the mistreatment of priests in concentration camps throughout these years. (3249-PS)
(2) Persecution of the Jews. It was Bormann who was charged by Hitler with the transmission and implementation of the latter's instructions for the “liquidation" of the Jewish population in Germany.
After the pogrom of 8–9 November 1938, Bormann, acting on orders of Hitler, instructed Goering to proceed to the “final settlement of the Jewish question” in Germany. (1816-PS)
As a result of this conference a series of anti-Jewish decrees were issued. A Bormann order of 17 January 1939 demanded compliance with new regulations under which Jews were denied access to housing, travel, and other facilities. (069-PS; see 1409-PS)
Bormann also acted through other government agencies to wipe out the economic existence of a large part of the Jewish population. A Bormann order of 8 January 1937 communicated an order by Frick, issued at his instigation, that government employees who consult Jewish doctors, lawyers, etc., will be denied financial assistance. (3240-PS)
In addition to these purely economic measures Bormann, again