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with introduction by M. Champetier de Ribes, Chief Prosecutor


For the last nine months more than fifteen years of history have been evoked at this bar. Germany's archives, those the Nazis were unable to burn before their defeat, have yielded us their secrets. We have heard numerous witnesses, whose recollections would have been lost to history but for the present trial.

All the facts have been submitted with the strictest objectivity, leaving no room for passion nor even for sensibility. The Court has excluded from the debate anything that, in its opinion, seemed insufficiently demonstrated, anything that might have appeared dictated by a spirit of vengeance.

For the interesting point of these trials is above all that of historical truth. Thanks to them, the historian of the future, as well as the chronicler of today, will know the truth about the political, diplomatic and military events of the most tragic period of our history; he will know the crimes of Nazism as well as the hesitancies, the weaknesses, the omissions of the pacific democracies. He will know that the result of twenty centuries of civilization, which believed itself to be eternal, nearly collapsed before the renewed onslaught of a new form of the ancient barbarism, all the more savage for being more scientific.

He will know that technical progress, that the modern means of propaganda, that the devilish processes of a police defying the most elementary rules of humanity, have enabled a small minority of criminals to distort within a few years the collective conscience of a great people, and to transform the nation, which Dr. Sauter alluded to at the end of his speech in favor of von Schirach stating that it was faithful, fair, and full of virtue, to transform the nation into that of Hitler, of Himmler and of Goebbels, to mention only the dead.

He will know the crime of these men has been to have conceived the most gigantic plan of world domination and to have wished to realize it by all and every means. By every means,

that is to say without a doubt by the breaking of the given word and by the unleashing of the very worst kind of war of aggression, but particularly by the methodical, scientific extermination of millions of human beings and specifically of certain national or religious groups, the existence of which hampered the hegemony of the Germanic race.

This crime is so monstrous, so unknown in history up to the birth of Hitlerism, that the neologism of "genocide" had to be created to define it, that it required an accumulation of documents and testimonies to make it believable.

That, to the shame of the times we live in, this crime was possible, the perfect collaboration of the four Public Prosecutors has permitted the proof to be given, and, within the limits of the counts of the indictment she reserved for herself, France believes she has done her part in the common task.

While the defendants and their defense counsels have spoken much before the Tribunal regarding the protection which the innocent civilian population is entitled to, as of an obvious principle, it has been established by us that the defendants have deliberately violated this principle by treating these civilian populations with utter disregard for human life. Is it necessary to evoke the terrible sentence pronounced by the defendant Keitel "human life is worth less than nothing in the occupied territories." Renewing a tradition which symbolizes the most primitive practices of warfare, the defendants reinstated the system of hostages. They put their signatures to general orders to capture and execute thousands of martyrs. In France alone 29,000 hostages were shot. We know that the fighters of the resistance, whose patriotism is now being admired by the defendants, have been massacred, tortured, interned for the purpose of their slow extermination; that, under the pretext of reprisals, by the carrying out of orders or by the committing of individual cruelties which were covered by the complicity of the authorities, civilians chosen absolutely at random have been executed, that entire villages were burnt down: Oradoursur-Glane, Maille in France, Putten in Holland have not yet risen from their ruins.

We all have in mind the atrocious orders issued in the operational sector of Marshal Kesselring to combat partisan activity by terror. We saw there one officer order as a reprisal the execution of fifty, of one hundred, or even of all the men of a region as a reply to isolated acts directed against the German army. The carrying out of that order was authorized on the basis of instructions by the commander of the theater of operations, who himself acted on more general instructions issued by the defendant Keitel. This example illustrates the perfect collaboration of the National

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