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upon these men, it is a fundamental part of these proceedings to establish for all time that International Law has the power, inherent in its very nature, both to declare that a war is criminal, and to deal with those who aid and abet their States in its commission. I shall come back to the Law: let me first refer to the facts.
You have had from defense counsel an elaborate, but a partial and a highly controversial account of foreign relations leading up to 1939. I do not propose to follow them in that examination, nor am I concerned to say that as events have turned out, the policies pursued by the democratic powers may not sometimes have been weak, vacillating, and open to criticism. Defense counsel have sought to have some argument on the protocol attached to the German-Soviet Pact. They argue that it was wrong. I am not concerned with that, and of course I do not concede it. But let them argue that it was wrong. Do two wrongs make a right? Not in that international law which this Tribunal will administer.
The review which defense counsel have made entirely overlooks the two basic facts in this case, that from the time of "Mein Kampf” on, the whole aim of Nazi policy was expansion, aggression, domination, and that the democratic powers had to deal with a Germany of which that was, in spite of occasional lip seryice to peace, the fundamental aim. If peace was contemplated at all, it was peace only at Germany's price. And knowing that that price would not be and could not be paid voluntarily, the Germans were determined to secure it by force.
Whilst the German people were being psychologically prepared for war, the necessary measures of re-armament were taken simultaneously. At his conference on the 23rd November 1939, Hitler summed up this period of préparation in these words (789– PS, USA 23):
“I had to reorganize everything beginning with the mass of the people extending it to the Armed Forces. First internal reorganization, eradication of appearances of decay and of defeatist ideas, education to heroism. While reorganizing internally, I undertook the second task to release Germany from its international ties * * * secession from the League of Nations and denunciation of the Disarmament Conference * * * After that the order for rearmament. In 1935 the introduction of compulsory armed service. After that militarization of the Rhineland.”
The conspirators set out first to get rid of the political restraints which prevented rearmament. In October 1935 Germany left the League of Nations and in March 1935 renounced the Armament
Clauses of Versailles and informed the world of the establishment of an air force, of a large standing army, and of conscriptior:. Already the Reich Defense Council had been set up and its Working Committee had had its second meeting as early as 26th April 1933 with representatives from every department. It is difficult, is it not, to believe that reading the minutes of these meetings, as they must have done, Neurath, Frick, Schacht, Goering, Raeder, Keitel, and Jodl, the last two being generally present, can have supposed that the regime did not intend war (EC-177, USA 390; (2261-PS, USA 24):
On the economic side Schacht already President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics, was made General Plenipotentiary for War Economy in May 1935. The appointment was to be a complete secret. His contribution is best expressed in his own words (EC-611, USA 622):
“It is possible that no bank of issue in peacetime carried on such a daring credit policy as the Reichsbank since the seizure of power by National Socialism. With the aid of this credit policy, however, Germany created an armament second to none and this armament in turn made possible the results of our policy.”
Schacht's speech on 29th November 1938 is seen to be no boast when the report of his deputy, which has been put in evidence, is considered (EC-258, USA 625).
That report shows that under Schacht's guidance, 180,000 industrial plants had been surveyed as to usefulness for war purposes. Economic plans for the production of 200 basic materials had been worked out. A system for the letting of war contracts had been revised, allocations of coal, motor fuel, and power had been determined, RM. 248,000,000 had been spent on storage facilities alone, evacuation plans for skilled workers and war materials and military zones had been worked out; 80,000,000 wartime ration cards had already been printed and distributed to local areas and a card index on the skill of some 20,000,000 workers had been prepared.
The most detailed and thorough preparations which that report sets out were not made without the knowledge of every member of the government and no more graphic illustration of the common purpose and awareness of the aim which permeated all departments of the State is to be found than the second meeting of the Reich Defense Council itself held on 25th June 1939, under the presidency of the defendant Goering, the head of the 4-year plan. The defendants Frick, Funk, Keitel and Raeder were present and Hess and Ribbentrop were represented. The methodical detail in the plans which were being worked out; the preparations
in respect of manpower involving the use of concentration camp workers and the unfortunate slaves of the protectorate are eloquent testimonies of the size of the struggle upon which these men know that Germany was about to embark.
The major share in rearmament must be attributed to the defendants Goering, Schacht, Raeder, Keitel, and Jodl, but the others, too, each in his sphere, played their parts: Rosenberg, Schirach, and Streicher in education, Doenitz in the preparation of the U-boat fleet, Neurath and Ribbentrop in the field of foreign affairs.
Funk and Fritzsche were reorganizing propaganda and news systems until the former succeeded Schacht and became Minister of Economics and in September 1938 General Plenipotentiary for Economics. As Plenipotentiary Funk was charged with insuring the economic conditions for the production of the armament industry, according to the requirements of the High Command. Frick as Plenipotentiary for the Reich administration, with Funk and Keitel, formed the three-man college planning preparations and decrees in case of war (2978-PS, USA 8).
It is unnecessary in assessing this work of rearmament to do more by way of summary than to quote the words of Hitler himself in the memorandum which Jodl described as written during two nights of work by the Fuehrer personally and which he sent to the defendants Raeder, Goering, and Keitel. In that memorandum of 9th October 1939, Hitler finally disposes of the evidence of these defendants that Germany was never adequately prepared for war (L-52, USA 540).
“The military application of our people's strength has been carried through to such an extent that within a short time at any rate it cannot be markedly improved upon by any manner of effort.”
and again :
"The warlike equipment of the German people is at present larger in quantity and better in quality for a great number of German divisions, than in the year 1914. The weapons themselves, taking a substantial cross section, are more modern than is the case with any other country in the world at this time. They have just proved their supreme war-worthiness in a victorious campaign. In the case of the armaments of other countries this has yet to be demonstrated. In some arms Germany
today possesses clear indisputable superiority of weapons." And then, speaking of the ammunition available after the conclusion of the Polish campaign:
“There is no evidence available to show that any country in
the world disposes of a better total ammunition stock than the German Reich. * * * The Air Force at present is numerically the strongest in the world. *** The AA artillery is not equalled by any country in the world."
That, then, was the practical result of six years of intensive rearmament carried out at the expense and with the knowledge of the whole of the German people.
Meanwhile the Youth of Germany was educated and drilled in semi-military formations for war and then, on reaching the age for conscription, was called up for intensive training. This was going on throughout the Reich, together with the enormous work of economic preparation. Is it to be believed that any one of these men did not guess the purpose of this terrific effort?
If, indeed, any of them was in doubt, the successful actions in which, to use the words of one of Neurath's witnesses, “the Nazis were able to reap cheap laurels without war through the successfully practiced tactics of bluff and sudden surprise," must have opened their eyes.
The first step was the Rhineland and the technique became the model for each subsequent move. On 21st May 1935, Hitler gave a solemn assurance that the stipulations of Versailles and Locarno were being observed. Yet three weeks earlier on the very day of the conclusion of the Franco-Soviet pact, later to become the official excuse for the reoccupation of the Rhineland, and the defense for it, before this Tribunal, the first directive had been issued to the Service Chiefs. The defendant Jodl having perhaps noted the significance of the date, has sought to persuade the Tribunal that his first admission that “Operation Schulung" referred to the reoccupation of the Rhineland was wrong, and that it applied to some military excursion in the Tyrol. Yet on 26th June, he himself was addressing the Working Committee of the Reich Defense Council on the plans for reoccupation and revealing that weapons, equipment insignia, and field grey uniforms were being stored in the zone under conditions of the greatest secrecy. Can anyone who reads his words doubt that this process had been going on at least for seven weeks? (EC-405, GB 160)
Any representative of the innumerable departments who attended that meeting and heard Jodl's remarks on the 26th June 1935 or who subsequently read the minutes, knew what to expect. On 2nd March the final orders were given and passed to the Navy four days later. The defendants Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Frick, Schacht, and Goering were all involved in the necessary executive action and, if his U-boats complied with the instruction of
the 6th March, the defendant Doenitz, as well (C-159, USA 54;
From the beginning, at every stage you see the common plan worked out—and worked out as it could only be if those men each played his allotted part. First the period of apparent quiet, during which treaties are concluded, assurances given and protestations of friendship made while beneath the surface the Auslands organization under Hess and Rosenberg begins to undermine and disrupt. The victim is deceived by open promises and weakened by underhand methods. Next, the decision to attack is taken and military preparations are hastened. If the victim shows signs of suspicion, the assurances of friendship are redoubled.
Meanwhile, the finishing touches are put to the work accomplished by the Fifth Column. Then when all is prepared, what Hitler called "the propagandist cause for starting the war" is chosen, frontier incidents are faked, abuse and threats take place of fair words and everything is done to terrify the victim into submission. Finally, the blow is struck without warning.
The plan varies in detail from case to case, but essentially, it is the same, the perfect example repeated again and again, of treachery, intimidation, and murder.
The next step was Austria. First, the Nazis arranged the murder of Dollfuss in 1934. After the evidence in the case of the defendant Neurath, there can be little doubt as to his assassination being plotted in Berlin and arranged by Habicht and Hitler some six weeks before. The failure of that putsch made it necessary to temporize, and accordingly in May 1935 Hitler gave a complete assurance to Austria. At the same time the defendant Papen was sent to undermine the Austrian government. With the occupation of the Rhineland, Austria was next on the programme but Hitler was still not yet ready, hence the solemn agreement of July 1936. By the autumn of 1937 Papen's reports showed progress and accordingly the plot was divulged at the Hossbach meeting. A slight delay was necessary for the removal of the refractory Army leaders, but in February 1938, Papen having completed his plotting with Seyss-Inquart, Schuschnigg was lured to Berchtesgaden and bullied by Hitler, Ribbentrop, and Keitel. Shortly afterwards, the final scene took place, Goering playing his part in Berlin. The defendants, Goering, Hess, Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Frick, Schacht, Papen, and Neurath were all aware of this Austrian plot, Neurath and Papen from the very beginning of it (TC-26, GB 19; TC-22, GB 20; 386-PS, USA 25).
With the exception of Goering, each one of them has attempted to put forward a defense of ignorance which cannot be regarded