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vow absolute obedience to him and to the leaders he designates for me.” The membership in daily practice followed its leaders with an idolatry and self-surrender more Oriental than Western.
We will not be obliged to guess as to the motives or goal of the Nazi Party. The immediate aim was to undermine the Weimar Republic. The order to all Party members to work to that end was given in a letter from Hitler of August 24, 1931 to Rosenberg, of which we will produce the original. Hitler wrote,
“I am just reading in the VOELKISCHER BEOBACHTER, edition 235/236, page 1, an article entitled “Does Wirth intend to come over?” The tendency of the article is to prevent on our part a crumbling away from the present form of government. I myself am travelling all over Germany to achieve exactly the opposite. May I therefore ask that my own paper will not stab me in the back with tactically unwise articles
Captured film enables us to present the defendant, Alfred Rosenberg, who from the screen will himself tell you the story. The SA practiced violent interference with elections. We have the reports of the SD describing in detail how its members later violated the secrecy of elections in order to identify those who opposed them. One of the reports makes this explanation:
"The control was effected in the following way: some members of the election-committee marked all the ballot papers with numbers. During the ballot itself, a voters' list was made up. The ballot-papers were handed out in numerical order, therefore it was possible afterwards with the aid of this list to find out the persons who cast no-votes or invalid votes. One sample of these marked ballot-papers is enclosed. The marking was done on the back of the ballotpapers with skimmed milk
The Party activity, in addition to all the familiar forms of political contest, took on the aspect of a rehearsal for warfare. It utilized a Party formation, DIE STURMABTEILUNGEN, commonly known as the SA. This was a voluntary organization of youthful and fanatical Nazis trained for the use of violence under semi-military discipline. Its members began by acting as bodyguards for the Nazi leaders and rapidly expanded from defensive to offensive tactics. They became disciplined ruffians for the breaking up of opposition meetings and the terrorization of adversaries. They boasted that their task was to make the Nazi Party “master of the streets.” The SA was the parent organization of a number of others. Its offspring include DIE SCHUTZSTAFFELN, commonly known as the SS, formed in 1925 and distinguished for the fanaticism and cruelty of its members; DER SICHERHEITSDIENST, known as the SD; and DIE GEHEIME STAATSPOLIZEI, the Secret State Police, the infamous Gestapo formed in 1934 after Nazi accession to power.
A glance at a chart of the Party organization (Chart No. 1) is enough to show how completely it differed from the political parties we know. It had its own source of law in the fuehrer and sub-fuehrers. It had its own courts and its own police. The conspirators set up a government within the Party to exercise outside the law every sanction that any legitimate state could exercise and many that it could not. Its chain of command was military, and its formations were martial in name as well as in function. They were composed of battalions set up to bear arms under military discipline, motorized corps, flying corps, and the infamous “Death Head Corps”, which was not misnamed. The Party had its own secret police, its security units, its intelligence and espionage division, its raiding forces, and its youth forces. It established elaborate administrative mechanisms to identify and liquidate spies and informers, to manage concentration camps, to operate death vans, and to finance the whole movement. Through concentric circles of authority, the Nazi Party, as its leadership later boasted, eventually organized and dominated every phase of German life—but not until they had waged a bitter internal struggle characterized by brutal criminality. In preparation for this phase of their struggle, they created a party police system. This became the pattern and the instrument of the police state, which was the first goal in their plan.
The Party formations, including the Leadership Corps of the Party, the SD, the SS, the SA and the infamous Secret State Police, or Gestapo-all these stand accused before you as criminal organizations; organizations which, as we will prove from their own documents, were recruited, only from recklessly devoted Nazis, ready in conviction and temperament to do the most violent of deeds to advance the common program. They terrorized and silenced democratic opposition and were able at length to combine with political opportunists, militarists, industrialists, monarchists, and political reactionaries.
On January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the German Republic. An evil combination, represented in the prisoners' dock by its most eminent survivors, had succeeded in possessing itself of the machinery of the German Government, a facade behind which they thenceforth would operate to make a reality of the war of conquest they so long had plotted. The conspiracy had passed into its second phase.
THE CONSOLIDATION OF NAZI POWER
We shall now consider the steps, which embraced the most hideous of crimes against humanity, to which the conspirators resorted in perfecting control of the German State and in preparing Germany for the aggressive war indispensable to their ends.
The Germans of the 1920's were a frustrated and baffled people as a result of defeat and the disintegration of their traditional government. The democratic elements, which were trying to govern Germany through the new and feeble machinery of the Weimar Republic, got inadequate support from the democratic forces of the rest of the world. It is not to be denied that Germany, when world-wide depression was added to her other problems, was faced with urgent and intricate pressure in her economic and political life which necessitated bold measures.
The internal measures by which a nation attempts to solve its problems are ordinarily of no concern to other nations. But the Nazi program from the first was recognized as a desperate program for a people still suffering the effects of an unsuccessful war. The Nazi policy embraced ends always recognized as attainable only by a renewal and a more successful outcome of war. The conspirators' answer to Germany's problems was nothing less than to plot the regaining of territories lost in the First World War and the acquisition of other fertile lands of Central Europe by dispossessing or exterminating those who inhabited them. They also contemplated destroying or permanently weakening all other neighboring peoples so as to win virtual domination of Europe and probably of the world. The precise limits of their ambition we need not define for it was and is as illegal to wage aggressive war for small stakes as for large ones.
We find at this period two governments in Germany—the real and the ostensible. The forms of the German Republic were maintained for a time, and it was the outward and visible government. But the real authority in the State was outside of and above the law and rested in the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party.
On February 27, 1933, less than a month after Hitler became Chancellor, the Reichstag building was set on fire. The burning of this symbol of free parliamentary government was so providential for the Nazis that it was believed they staged the fire
themselves. Certainly when we contemplate their known crimes, we cannot believe they would shrink from mere arson. It is not necessary, however, to resolve the controversy as to who set the fire. The significant point is in the use that was made of the fire and of the state of public mind it produced. The Nazis immediately accused the Communist Party of instigating and committing the crime, and turned every effort to portray this single act of arson as the beginning of a Communist revolution. Then, taking advantage of the hysteria, the Nazi met this phantom revolution with a real one. In the following December, the German Supreme Court with commendable courage and independence acquitted the accused Communists, but it was too late to influence the tragic course of events which the Nazi conspirators had set rushing forward.
Hitler, on the morning after the fire, obtained from the aged and ailing President von Hindenburg a Presidential decree suspending the extensive guarantees of individual liberty contained in the Constitution of the Weimar Republic. The decree provided that:
“Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, on the right of assembly and the right of association, and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house-searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed." (1390-PS).
The extent of the restriction on personal liberty under the decree of February 28, 1933 may be understood by reference to the rights under the Weimar Constitution which were suspended:
“Article 114. The freedom of the person is inviolable. Curtailment or deprivation of personal freedom by a public authority is only permissible on a legal basis.
"Persons who have been deprived of their freedom must be informed at the latest on the following day by whose authority and for what reasons the deprivation of freedom was ordered; opportunity shall be afforded them without delay of submitting objections to their deprivation of freedom.
"Article 115. Every German's home is his sanctuary and
inviolable. Exceptions may only be made as provided by law.
"Article 117. The secrecy of letters and all postal, telegraphic and telephone communications is inviolable. Exceptions are inadmissible except by Reich law.
“Article 118. Every German has the right, within the limits of the general laws, to express his opinions freely in speech, in writing, in print, in picture form or in any other way. No conditions of work or employment may detract from this right and no disadvantage may accrue to him from any person for making use of this right.
“Article 123. All Germans have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed without giving notice and without special permission.
“A Reich law may make previous notification obligatory for assemblies in the open air, and may prohibit them in the case of immediate danger to the public safety.
"Article 124. All the Germans have the right to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to criminal law. This right may not be curtailed by preventive measures. The same provisions apply .to religious associations and societies.
"Every association may become incorporated (Erwerb der Rechtsfaehigkeit) according to the provisions of the civil law. The right may not be refused to any association on the grounds that its aims are political, social-political or religious.
"Article 153. Property is guaranteed by the Constitution. Its content and limits are defined by the laws.
“Expropriation can only take place for the public benefit and on a legal basis. Adequate compensation shall be granted, unless a Reich law orders otherwise. In the case of dispute concerning the amount of compensation, it shall be possible to submit the matter to the ordinary civil courts, unless Reich laws determine otherwise. Compensation must be paid if the Reich expropriates property belonging to the Lands, Communes, or public utility associations.
“Property carries obligations. Its use shall also serve the common good.”. (2050-PS).
It must be said in fairness to von Hindenburg that the Constitution itself authorized him temporarily to suspend these fun