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The central crime in this pattern of crime, the kingpin which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive war. The chief reason for international cognizance of these crimes lies in this fact. Have we established the plan or conspiracy to make agressive war?
Certain admitted or clearly proven facts help answer that question. First is the fact that such war of aggression did take place. Second, it is admitted that from the moment the Nazis came to power, every one of them and every one of the defendants worked like beavers to prepare for some war. The question therefore comes to this: Were they preparing for the war which did occur, or were they preparing for some war which never has happened? It is probably true that in the early days none of them had in mind what month of what year war would begin, the exact dispute which would precipitate it, or whether its first impact would be Austria, Czechoslovakia, or Poland. But I submit that the defendants either knew or are chargeable with knowledge that the war for which they were making ready would be a war of German aggression. This is partly because there was no real expectation that any power or combination of powers would attack Germany. But it is chiefly because the inherent nature of the German plans was such that they were certain sooner or later to meet resistance and that they could then be accomplished only by aggression.
The plans of Adolf Hitler for aggression were just as secret as "MEIN KAMPF," of which over six million copies were published in Germany. He not only openly advocated overthrowing the Treaty of Versailles, but made demands which went far beyond a mere rectification of its alleged injustices.59 He avowed an intention to attack neighboring states and seize their lands,co which he said would have to be won with “the power of a triumphant sword.”'61 Here, for every German to hearken to, were the “ancestral voices prophesying war.”
Goering has testified in this courtroom that at his first meeting with Hitler long before the seizure of power :
"I noted that Hitler had a definite view of the impotency of protest and, as a second point, that he was of the opinion that Germany should be freed of the Peace of Versailles. * * * We did not say we shall have to have a war and defeat our enemies; this was the aim and the methods had to be adapted to the political situation.”'62
When asked if this goal were to be accomplished by war if necessary, Goering did not deny that eventuality but evaded a direct answer by saying, "We did not even debate about those things at that time." He went on to say that the aim to overthrow
the Treaty of Versailles was open and notorious and that “every German in my opinion was for its modification, and there was no doubt that this was a strong inducement for joining the party."63 Thus, there can be no possible excuse for any person who aided Hitler to get absolute power over the German people, or took a part in his regime, to fail to know the nature of the demands he would make on Germany's neighbors.
Immediately after the seizure of power the Nazis went to work to implement these aggressive intentions by preparing for war. They first enlisted German industrialists in a secret rearmament program. Twenty days after the seizure of power Schacht was host to Hitler, Goering, and some twenty leading industrialists. Among them were Krupp von Bohlen of the great Krupp armament works and representatives of I. G. Farben and other Ruhr heavy industries. Hitler and Goering explained their program to the industrialists, who became so enthusiastic that they set about to raise three million Reichsmarks to strengthen and confirm the Nazi Party in power.64 Two months later Krupp was working to bring a reorganized association of German industry into agreement with the political aims of the Nazi government.65 Krupp later boasted of the success in keeping the German war industries secretly alive and in readiness despite the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, and recalled the industrialists' enthusiastic acceptance of "the great intentions of the Fuehrer in the rearmament period of 1933-39.”66
Some two months after Schacht had sponsored this first meeting to gain the support of the industrialists, the Nazis moved to harness industrial labor to their aggressive plan. In April 1933 Hitler ordered Dr. Ley "to take over the trade unions," numbering some 6 million members. By Party directive Ley seized the unions, their property, and their funds. Union leaders, taken into "protective custody” by the SS and SA, were put into concentration camps.67 The free labor unions were then replaced by a Nazi organization known as the German Labor Front, with Dr. Ley as its head. It was expanded until it controlled over 23 million members.es Collective bargaining was eliminated, the voice of labor could no longer be heard as to working conditions, and the labor contract was prescribed by “trustees of labor” appointed by Hitler.69 The war purpose of this labor program was clearly acknowledged by Robert Ley five days after war broke out, when he declared in a speech that:
“We National Socialists have monopolized all resources and all our energies during the past seven years so as to be able to be equipped for the supreme effort of battle."70
The Nazis also proceeded at once to adapt the government to the needs of war. In April 1933 the Cabinet formed a Defense Council, the working committee of which met frequently thereafter. In the meeting of 23 May 1933, at which defendant Keitel presided, the members were instructed that:
“No document must be lost since otherwise the enemy propaganda would make use of it. Matters communicated orally cannot be proven; they can be denied by us in Geneva."71
In January 1934, with defendant Jodl present, the Council planned a mobilization calendar and mobilization order for some 240,000 industrial plants. Again it was agreed that nothing should be in writing so that “the military purpose may not be trace
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On May 21, 1935 the top secret Reich Defense Law was enacted. Defendant Schacht was appointed Plenipotentiary General for War Economy with the task of secretly preparing all economic forces for war and, in the event of mobilization, of financing the war.13 Schacht's secret efforts were supplemented in October 1936 by the appointment of defendant Goering as Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan, with the duty of putting the entire economy in a state of readiness for war within four years.74
A secret program for the accumulation of the raw materials and foreign credits necessary for extensive rearmament, was also set on foot immediately upon seizure of power. In September of 1934 the Minister of Economics was already complaining that:
“The task of stockpiling is being hampered by the lack of foreign currency; the need for secrecy and camouflage also is a retarding influence.”75
Foreign currency controls were at once established.76 Financing was delegated to the wizard Schacht, who conjured up the MEFO Bill to serve the dual objectives of tapping the short-term money market for rearmament purposes while concealing the amount of these expenditures.77
The spirit of the whole Nazi administration was summed up by Goering at a meeting of the Council of Ministers, which included Schacht, on 27 May 1936, when he said:
“All measures are to be considered from the standpoint of an assured waging of war."78
The General Staff, of course, also had to be enlisted in the war plans. Most of the Generals, attracted by the prospect of rebuilding their armies, became willing accomplices. The hold-over Minister of War von Blomberg and the Chief of Staff General von Fritsch, however, were not cordial to the increasingly bellig
erent policy of the Hitler regime, and by vicious and obscene plotting they were discredited and removed in January 1938.79 Thereupon, Hitler assumed for himself Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, and the positions of von Blomberg and von Fritsch were filled by others who became, as Blomberg said of Keitel, “a willing tool in Hitler's hands for every one of his decisions.' The Generals did not confine their participation to merely military matters. They participated in all major diplomatic and political maneuvers, such as the Obersalzburg meeting where Hitler, flanked by Keitel and other top Generals, issued his virtual ultimatum to Schuschnigg.si
As early as November 5, 1937, the plan to attack had begun to take definiteness as to time and victim. In a meeting which included defendants Raeder, Goering, and von Neurath, Hitler stated the cynical objective:
“The question for Germany is where the greatest possible conquest could be made at the lowest possible cost." He discussed various plans for the invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia, indicating clearly that he was thinking of these territories not as ends in themselves, but as means for further conquest. He pointed out that considerable military and political assistance would be afforded by possession of these lands and discussed the possibility of constituting from them new armies up to a strength of about 12 divisions. The aim he stated boldly and baldly as the acquisition of additional living space in Europe, and recognized that "The German question can be solved only by way of force.”82
Six months later, emboldened by the bloodless Austrian conquest, Hitler, in a secret directive to Keitel, stated his “unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future."$3 On the same day, Jodl noted in his diary that the Fuehrer had stated his final decision to destroy Czechoslovakia soon and had initiated military preparations all along the line.se By April the plan had been perfected to attack Czechoslovakia “with lightning swift action as the result of an 'incident'."'85
All along the line preparations became more definite for a war of expansion on the assumption that it would result in world-wide conflict. In September 1938 Admiral Carls officially commented on a “Draft Study of Naval Warfare Against England”:
“There is full agreement with the main theme of the study.
"1. If according to the Fuehrer's decision Germany is to acquire a position as a world power, she needs not only sufficient colonial posssessions but also secure naval communications and secure access to the ocean.
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“2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in opposition to Anglo-French interests and will limit their position as world powers. It is unlikely that they can be achieved by peaceful means. The decision to make Germany a world power therefore forces upon us the necessity of making the corresponding preparations for war.
"3. War against England means at the same time war against the Empire, against France, probably against Russia as well, and a large number of countries overseas; in fact, against onehalf to one-third of the whole world.
"It can only be justified and have a chance of success if it is prepared economically as well as politically and militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for Germany an outlet to the ocean.
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This Tribunal knows what categorical assurances were given to an alarmed world after the Anschluss, after Munich, and after the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, that German ambitions were realized and that Hitler had “No further territorial demands to make in Europe."87. The record of this trial shows that those promises were calculated deceptions and that those high in the bloody brotherhood of Nazidom knew it.
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As early as April 15, 1938 Goering pointed out to Mussolini and Ciano that the possession of those territories would make possible an attack on Poland.88 Ribbentrop wrote on August 26, 1938 that:
“After the liquidation of the Czechoslovakian question, it will be generally assumed that Poland will be next in turn."89
Hitler, after the Polish invasion, boasted that it was the Austrian and Czechoslovakian triumphs by which "the basis for the action against Poland was laid.”'90 Goering suited the act to the purpose and gave immediate instructions to exploit for the further strengthening of Germany the war potential, first of the Sudetenland, and then of the whole Protectorate.91
By May of 1939 the Nazi preparations had ripened to the point that Hitler confided to defendants Goering, Raeder, Keitel, and others, his readiness "to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity,” even though he recognized that "further successes cannot be attained without the shedding of blood.” The larcenous motives behind this decision he made plain in words that echoed the covetous theme of "MEIN KAMPF":
“Circumstances must be adapted to aims. This is impossible without invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign property. Living space, in proportion to the magnitude of the