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as other than ludicrous in the light of the documents. Not one of them has suggested that he protested, each one of them remained in office thereafter.
Already the plan for Czechoslovakia was ready; it had been discussed at the Hossbach meeting in November 1937; within three weeks of the Munich agreement the directive to prepare the march in had been given and on the 15th of March 1939, President Hacha having been duly bullied by Hitler, Ribbentrop, Goering, and Keitel, Prague was occupied and the Protectorate established by Frick and Neurath. You will remember the astonishing admission of Goering that although he certainly threatened to bomb Prague he never really intended to do it. Ribbentrop also seems to have considered that in diplomacy any lie is permissible.
The stage was now set for Poland. As Jodl explained (L-172, USA 34):
“The solution of the Czech conflict and the annexation of Czechoslovakia rounded off the territory of greater Germany so that it was possible to consider the Polish problem on a basis
of more or less favourable strategic promises." And now the time has come when, to use Hitler's words (386-PS, USA 25):
"Germany must reckon with its two hateful enemies, England and France.”
And accordingly followed the policy laid down by Ribbentrop in January, 1938 (TC-75, GB 28):
“the formation in great secrecy but with wholehearted tenacity of a coalition against England."
In the case of Poland, however, the German Foreign Office had already advised Ribbentrop as long ago as a month before Munich in the following terms (TC-76, GB 31):
"It is unavoidable that the German departure from the problems of victories in the southeast and their transfer to the east and northeast must make the Poles sit up. The fact is that after the liquidation of the Czech question it will be generally assumed that Poland will be the next in turn. But the later this assumption sinks in in international politics as a firm factor the better. In this sense, however, it is important for the time being to carry on German policy under the well-known and proved slogans of the right to autonomy and racial unity. Anything else might be interpreted as pure imperialism on our part and create resistance to our plan by the Entante at an earlier date and more energetically than our Forces could stand up to.” In this case, therefore, the usual assurances were reiterated and
again and again Hitler and Ribbentrop made the most explicit statements. Meanwhile the usual steps were taken, and following the meeting of the 23rd of May 1939, which Raeder described as an academic lecture on war the final military economic and political preparations for war against Poland were taken and in due time war was commenced; and you get that quotation that you have heard so often, and it ought to be remembered for all times (L-79, USA 27)
“The victor shall not be asked later on whether we were telling the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not the right is what matters, but victory."
Those were Hitler's words, but these men echoed and implemented them at every stage. That was the doctrine underlying Nazi policy. Step by step the conspirators had reached the crucial stage and had launched Germany upon an attempt to dominate Europe and involve the world in untold horror. Not one of these men had turned against the regime. Not one of them except Schacht-to whose vital contribution to the creation of the Nazi monster I shall return later—had resigned and even he continued to lend his name to the Nazi Government (1014-PS, USA 30).
Holland having been overrun, the course of the war soon showed that Germany's military aims and the interests of her strategy would be improved by further aggression. I do not propose to take time now by tracing again the various steps. As Hitler said at the meeting in November 1939 (789-PS, USA 23):
Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won we shall not bring about a breach of neutrality as in 1914."
Norway and Denmark were invaded. No kind of excuse, then or now, has been put forward for the occupation of Denmark, but a strenuous attempt has been made in the course of this trial to suggest that Norway was invaded only because the Germans believed that the Allies were about to take a similar step. Even if it were true, it would be no answer, but the German documents completely dispose of the suggestion that it was for such a reason that the Germans violated Norwegian neutrality.
Hitler, Goering, and Raeder had agreed as early as November 1934 that “No war could be carried on if the Navy was not able to safeguard the ore imports from Scandinavia.” (C-190, USA 45).
Accordingly, 'as the European struggle drew near, a NonAggression Pact was made with Denmark on 31 May 1939 fol
lowing the usual assurances to both Norway and Denmark which had already been given a month earlier. At the outbreak of the war a further assurance was made to Norway, followed by another on the 6th October. On the 6th September, 4 days after his assurance, Hitler was discussing with Raeder the Scans dinavian problem and his political intentions in regard to the Nordic States, expressed in Admiral Assman's diary as—"a north Germanic community with limited sovereignty in close dependence on Germany." (TC-24, GB 77; TC-30, GB 78; TC-31, GB 79; TC-32, GB 80).
On October 9th, three days after his most recent assurance, in his memorandum for the information of Raeder, Goering, and Keitel, Hitler was writing of the great danger of the Allies blocking the exits for U-boats between Norway and the Shetlands and of the consequent importance of “the creation of U-boat strongpoints outside these constricted home bases." Where outside the constricted home bases if not in Norway? (L-52, USA 540).
It is significant that the very next day Doenitz submitted a report on the comparative advantages of the different Norwegian bases, having discussed the matter with Raeder some six days before. The strategic advantages were apparent to all these men and the hollowness of the defense that the invasion of Norway was decided upon because it was believed that the Allies were going to invade is completely exposed when you consider the statement in Hitler's memorandum preceding the passage I have just quoted that (C-5, GB 83; C-122, GB 82):
"Provided no completely unforeseen factors appear their neutrality in the future is also to be assured. The continuation of German trade with these countries appears possible even in a war of long duration." Hitler saw no threat from the Allies at that time.
Rosenberg and Goering's deputy, Koerner, had been in touch with Quisling and Hagelin as early as June and it is clear from Rosenberg's subsequent report that Hitler had been kept fully informed. In December the time for planning had arrived and the decision to prepare for invasion was accordingly taken at a meeting between Hitler and Raeder. It was not long before Keitel and Jodl issued the necessary directives and in due course as necessary Goering, Doenitz, and Ribbentrop were involved (004-PS, GB 140; C-66, GB 81).
On the 9th October, as I have already said, Hitler was confident that there would be no danger to the Nordic States from the Allies. All the alleged intelligence reports contain no information which comes within miles of justifying an anticipatory
invasion based—you might think it is laughable on the doctrine of self-preservation. It is true that in February 1940 Raeder pointed out to him that if England occupied Norway the whole Swedish supply of ore to Germany would be endangered but on the 26th March he advised that the Russo-Finnish conflict having ceased, the danger of an Allied landing was no longer considered serious. Nonetheless he went on to suggest that the invasion, for which all the directives had been issued, should take place at the next new moon, on the 7th April. It is interesting to note that Raeder's own war diary signed by himself and his Chief of Staff Operations records a similar opinion four days earlier. If further evidence were needed to show that the actual step was taken regardless of any risk of interference from the West, it is to be found in telegrams from the German Ministers at both Oslo and Stockholm and from the German Military Attache at Stockholm, advising the German Government that, far from being worried over invasion by the British, the Scandinavian Governments were apprehensive that it was the Germans who intended to invade. Perhaps Jodl's comment in his diary for March that Hitler "is still looking for an excuse" with Raeder's lame explanation that this refers to the text of the diplomatic note which would have to be sent and Ribbentrop's assertion that he was informed of the invasion only a day or so before it was to take place are as conclusive as anything else of the dishonesty of this defense. Once again all these men in their different spheres were playing their appointed parts. Notably, of course, Rosenberg, who paved the way, Goering, Raeder, Keitel, Jodl, and Ribbentrop who took the necessary executive action.
Not one of them protested: even Fritzsche's only defense is that he was not told until a very late stage when he was as usual required to broadcast. He does not suggest that he protested. Once again, a completely ruthless invasion of two countries was undertaken in breach of every treaty and assurance, solely because it was strategically desirable to have Norwegian bases and to secure Scandinavian ore (D-843, GB 466; D-844, GB 467; D-845, GB 468).
And so it went on: Yugoslavia, her fate settled before the war, Greece, and then Soviet Russia. The German Soviet Pact of the 23rd August 1939 paved the way. Complete worthlessness of a Ribbentrop signature is made clear by Hitler's memorandum six weeks later, where he remarked: “The trifling significance of treaties of agreement has been proved on all sides in recent years.” (L-52, USA 540).
By the 18th of December 1940 it must have become apparent that the German hope of overcoming the resistance of Great
Britain—then and for many months holding the fort of freedom and democracy alone against an enemy never more powerful than at that time—were vain, and so the first directive was issued for an attack in another direction this time—against Soviet Russia. It is indeed true—and it is interesting—that on this occasion a number of the Defendants did make some objection. Little Norway might be violated without protest: there was no danger there. There was happy acquiescence in the rape of the gallant Netherlands and Belgium. But here was an enemy which might perhaps strike fear in the heart of the bully. The Defendants objected, of course, if at all on purely military grounds, although Raeder does say that he was influenced by the moral wrong which breach of the German Soviet treaty would involve. It is for you to say. These moral scruples which ought so properly to have manifested themselves on countless other occasions are only previously recorded when one of his officers wished to marry a lady of doubtful reputation. The truth is that some of these men were beginning to become apprehensive. Great Britain's resistance had already begun to make them think. Was Hitler now taking on another enemy whom he could not defeat? Once the decision was taken, however, everyone of them set to work to play his part with his usual disregard for all laws of morality or even decency (446-PS, USA 31).
In no single case did a declaration of war precede military action. How many thousands of innocent inoffensive men, women, and children, sleeping in their beds in the happy belief that their country was and would remain at peace, were suddenly blown into eternity by death dropped on them without warning from the skies? In what respect does the guilt of any one of these men differ from the common murderer creeping stealthily to do his victim to death in order that he may rob them of their belongings?
In every single case, as the documents make clear, this was the common plan. The attack must be “blitzartig schnell”—without warning—with the speed of lightning: Austria, Czechoslovakia ; Poland; Raeder repeating Keitel's directive for "heavy blows struck by surprise": Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Russia (386-PS, USA 25).
As Hitler had said in the presence of a number of these men (C-126, GB 45):
“Considerations of right or wrong or treaties do not enter into the matter."
The killing of combatants in war is justifiable, both in Internanational and in Municipal law, only where the war itself is legal. But where a war is illegal, as a war started not only in breach of the Pact of Paris but without any sort of warning or declaration