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time of war. The fanatical Nazis who rushed to volunteer for the early Waffen-SS divisions or who voluntarily joined other paramilitary sections of the Party could not thereafter resign at will,29 but I have not heard it urged that they were conscripts or involuntary members. The members of the General Staff and High Command group were keen, professional warriors who competed with others like themselves for the responsibilities and honors of being commanders-in-chief. They rose within the Wehrmacht just as an ambitious Party member might rise to be a Kreisleiter or Gauleiter.
In fact, retirement was easier for the commander-in-chief than anyone else in the Wehrmacht. The junior officer who protested against what was going on around him might lose advancement, be moved to a less desirable assignment, or be court martialled and disgraced. He was not given the option of retiring and he was usually too young to plead illness plausibly. The commanders-in-chief were in a much better position. No War Office or War Department wants a field commander-in-chief who is in constant and fundamental disagreement with his instructions. Such a commander-in-chief must be removed. Yet often he has sufficient seniority, prestige, and acknowledged ability so that his demotion or disgrace would be embarrassing, and retirement or acceptance of resignation is the best solution for all concerned.
And this is just what happened with some of the commandersin-chief. The record is replete with testimony by or about commanders-in-chief who openly disagreed with Hitler on tactical matters and who, as a result of such disagreements, were retired or allowed to resign. I note in passing that the record is notably barren of evidence that any commander-in-chief openly disagreed with Hitler so decisively on the issuance of orders which violated the laws of war or who forced his retirement on account of these orders. At all events, it is clear that a commander-in-chief who wanted to retire could contrive to do so, whether by pleading illness or by honest, blunt behavior. If he had the will, there was a way out. It is worth noting that the three Field Marshals who testified before this tribunal had all found or fallen into the way out, and the record shows that many others were equally successful 30 and that few, if any, of them thereafter suffered serious harm on this account.
ll. Criminal Activities of the Group I pass now to the criminal activities of the group. The prosecution submits that the evidence before the Tribunal conclusively establishes the participation of the General Staff and High Command group in accomplishing the criminal ends of the conspiracy, and in the commission of crimes under all parts of Article 6 of
the Charter and under all counts of the Indictment.31 We also submit that the criminal aims, methods, and activities of the group were of such a nature that the members may properly be charged with knowledge of them, and that, for the most part, they had actual knowledge.32
A. COUNTS ONE AND TWO OF THE INDICTMENT
CRIMES AGAINST PEACE I will speak first of the pre-war period, or more accurately, of the period ending in the spring of 1939, when detailed planning for the attack on Poland got under way. It is worth noting that during this early period, the group defined in the Indictment never exceeded eight in number, and that four are defendants in this trial.33
I do not want to spend time retreading much-travelled roads. We know that during these years, the military leaders built up the Wehrmacht and made it into a formidable military machine, which struck terror into neighboring countries and later succeeded in overrunning most of them. There is not a shred of evidence to contradict the charge that members of the General Staff and High Command group directed the building and assembling of this machine. Some witnesses have testified that the rearmament was for defensive purposes only, but the Wehrmacht's new strength was promptly used to support Hitler's aggressive diplomatic policy. Austria and Czechoslovakia were conquered by the Wehrmacht, even though there was no war. The events of 1939 to 1942 and the terrible offensive power of the Wehrmacht are a further and sufficient answer, even without referring to Blomberg's official written statement in June 1937 that there was no need to fear an attack on Germany from any quarter.3
Witnesses for the defense have made much of the fact that the generals had little or no foreknowledge of the absorption of Austria. Many of these witnesses were not at the time members of the group, but the point is, in any event, unhelpful, since the Anschluss was not timed in advance by the Germans, but was precipitated by Schuschnigg's surprise order for a plebiscite.35 That is why, as Manstein testified,36 plans for the march into Austria had to be quickly improvised.37 But the plans were drawn up by Manstein under the supervision of Beck (Chief of the General Staff of the Army and a member of the group),38 and other members of the group were closely involved in the Anschluss, 39 as were other generals who later became members.40
· As to the participation of the generals in the Munich crisis and occupation of the Sudetenland, the defense's main point seems to be that Brauchitsch, Beck, and other generals opposed risking a
war at that time.41 The record makes it quite clear that the generals' attitude was not based on any opposition to a diplomatic policy supported by military threats, or on any disagreement with the objective of smashing Czechoslovakia. Rather their attitude was that the Wehrmacht was not as yet (in 1938) strong enough to face a war with major powers. The defendant Jodl expressed it very clearly in his diary,4' in drawing a contrast between the Fuehrer's intuition that we must do it this year and the opinion of the Army that we cannot do it as yet, as most certainly the Western powers will interfere and we are not as yet equal to them.”
The further contention of the defense that there were no military preparations for the occupation of Czechoslovakia and that the Commander-in-Chief of the Army gave no instructions in this regard,43 is completely incredible when weighed against contemporary documents of unquestioned authenticity, which have long been in evidence before the Tribunal and which the defense cannot and did not attempt to explain away. The military directives and planning memoranda contained in the so-called “Fall Gruen" file 44 demolish any such contention, and fully reveal the extensive preparations being made by the Wehrmacht under the leadership of Keitel, Jodl, Brauchitsch, Halder, and others.45 Jodl's diary gives us further details about such matters as coordination of the air and ground offensives, timing of the G-day order, collaboration with the Hungarian army, and order of battle.46 It also shows the personal participation of other members of the group 47 and of other generals who later became members. 48 Military preparation for absorption of the remainder of Czechoslovakia is also adequately shown by documents in evidence before the Tribunal.49
One other point about this pre-war period should be noted. The military leaders not only participated in the plans; they were delighted with the results. They were afraid of getting into a war before they were adequately prepared, but they wanted a big army and they wanted the strategic and military advantages which Germany derived from Hitler's Austrian and Czechoslovakian successes. That is, in fact, why the Party leaders and the military leaders worked together; that is why the generals supported Hitler; that is why the Third Reich, through the Party and the Wehrmacht, was able to achieve what it achieved. Leading German generals have told the Tribunal this in so many words. Blomberg tells us that before 1938-1939 the German generals were not opposed to Hitler.50 Blaskowitz says that all officers in the army welcomed rearmament and therefore had no reason to oppose Hitler.51 Both of them tell us that Hitler produced the results all the generals desired.
The testimony of Blomberg and Blaskowitz is in no way weakened by the statements of various defense witnesses that many army officers disliked some of Hitler's internal policies and distrusted some of the Nazi politicians. It is too much to expect that all partners in crime should like and trust each other. That, in spite of these differences, the Third Reich came so close to imposing its dominion and evil theories on the world, merely emphasizes the deep agreement between the Party and the military leaders on the most essential objectives—national unity and armed might in order to accomplish territorial aggrandizement. This cannot be doubted, and for confirmation we need only look at the testimony of a witness called by the defense (Colonel General Reinhardt, who was chief of the Army Training Section before the war and later commanded a Panzer Army and an army group on the eastern front). When asked what was the attitude of the officers' corps toward Hitler, he replied : 52
“I do not believe there was a single officer who did not back up Hitler in his extraordinary successes. Hitler had led Germany out of its utmost misery, both politically and in its foreign politics, and economically."
So we turn to the war itself. The group of military leaders specified in the Indictment becomes much larger; we are no longer concerned only with the generals in Berlin, but also with the war lords who commanded the Wehrmacht in the field-names far more familiar to and feared by the peoples of the territories overrun by the Germans. Names such as Blaskowitz, von Bock, von Kluge, Kesselring, von Reichenau, Rundstedt, Sperrle, and von Weichs.53
What do the generals say in defense of the attack on Poland ? Some of their statements, like Manstein's explanation that the Poles might "carelessly” attack Germany,54 are merely laughable. About the best they can say is that they expected that Poland would give in without a struggle.65 Were this a defense, its credibility is dubious. Hitler himself had made it clear to the military leaders that it was not a question of Danzig and the Corridor, but of living space and increasing the food supply under German exploitation.56 The generals could have hardly expected the Poles to give themselves up entirely without a struggle, and Hitler had said that there would be war and no repetition of the Czech affair.57
But it is no defense that the generals hoped for a "Blumenkreig.” The witnesses for the defense have agreed that German demands on Poland were to be enforced by military threats and armed might.58 There is no evidence that the generals opposed this policy of sheer holdup. In fact, it is clear that they heartily
endorsed it, since the Polish corridor was regarded by them as a "desecration" and the regaining from Poland of former German territory as a "point of honor."59 And it has never been a defense that a robber is surprised by the resistance of his victim, and has to commit murder in order to get the money.
There is no controversy concerning the knowing participation of the members of the General Staff and High Command group in the planning and launching of the attack itself. Brauchitsch has described how the plans were evolved, and then passed to the field commanders-in-chief for their recommendations.co We know, both from his own testimony i and from contemporary documents,62 that Blaskowitz, one of the field commanders-in-chief, received the plans for the attack in June and thereafter perfected them in consultation with the army group and OKH. Rundstedt's Chief of Staff received the plans,63 and there can be no doubt that all the other commanders-in-chief did also. A week before the attack, all the members of the group met at the Obersalzberg for the final briefing.64
As the war spread to other countries and eventually over the entire continent of Europe, the Wehrmacht grew and many more army groups, armies, air fleets, and naval commands were created and the membership in the group was correspondingly enlarged. All three branches of the Wehrmacht participated in the invasion of Norway and Denmark, which was an excellent demonstration of "combined operations” involving the closest joint planning and coordination. The documents before the Tribunal show that this operation was a brain child of the German admirals; the proposal originated with Raeder and other naval members of the group and, after Hitler's approval had been obtained the plans were developed at OKW.65 Numerous members of the group participated in its planning and execution. The testimony of several army commanders that they had no foreknowledge of the attack 67 is not surprising, since the OKH and the army commanders-inchief were all fully absorbed at the time in planning the much longer attack on the Low Countries and France. Only a few German divisions were used in Norway and Denmark and, since it was a “combined operation," the plans were developed in OKW, not OKH.
Dr. Laternser's defense of the Norwegian attack on the basis that it was a preventive move to forestall an English invasion of Norway, might have some superficial plausibility if there were any evidence that the Norwegian invasion was improvised to meet an emergency. But it is totally and wantonly incredible in the face of documents which show that the Norwegian invasion had been under discussion since October 1939, that active planning began