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a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degrees of expenditure." (016-PS).
In pursuance of the Nazi plan permanently to reduce the living standards of their neighbors and to weaken them physically and economically, a long series of crimes were committed. There was extensive destruction, serving no military purpose, of the property of civilians. Dikes were thrown open in Holland almost at the close of the war not to achieve military ends but to destroy the resources and retard the economy of the thrifty Netherlanders.
There was carefully planned economic syphoning off of the assets of occupied countries. An example of the planning is shown by a report on France dated December 7, 1942 made by the Economic Research Department of the Reichsbank. The question arose whether French occupation costs should be increased from 15 million Reichsmarks per day to 25 million Reichsmarks per day. The Reichsbank analyzed French economy to determine whether it could bear the burden. It pointed out that the armistice had burdened France to that date to the extent of 1812 billion Reichsmarks, equalling 370 billion Francs. It pointed out that the burden of these payments within two and a half years equalled the aggregate French national income in the year 1940, and that the amount of payments handed over to Germany in the first six months of 1942 corresponded to the estimate for the total French revenue for that whole year. The report concluded, "In any case, the conclusion is inescapable that relatively heavier tributes have been imposed on France since the armistice in June, 1940 than upon Germany after the World War. In this connection, it must be noted that the economic powers of France never equalled those of the German Reich and that vanquished France could not draw on foreign economic and financial resources in the same degree as Germany after the last World War."
The defendant Funk was the Reichs Minister of Economics and President of the Reichsbank; the defendant Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister; the defendant Goering was Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, and all of them participated in the exchange of views of which this captured document is a part (2149-PS). Notwithstanding this analysis by the Reichsbank, they proceeded to increase the imposition on France from 15 million Reichsmarks daily to 25 million daily.
It is small wonder that the bottom has been knocked out of French economy. The plan and purpose of the thing appears in
a letter from General Stulpnagle, head of the German Armistice Commission, to the defendant Jodl as early as 14th September, 1940 when he wrote, "The slogan 'Systematic weakening of France' has already been surpassed by far in reality.”
Not only was there a purpose to debilitate and demoralize the economy of Germany's neighbors for the purpose of destroying their competitive position, but there was looting and pilfering on an unprecedented scale. We need not be hypocritical about this business of looting. I recognize that no army moves through occupied territory without some pilfering as it goes. Usually the amount of pilfering increases as discipline wanes. If the evidence in this case showed no looting except of that sort, I certainly would ask no conviction of these defendants for it.
But we will show you that looting was not due to the lack of discipline or to the ordinary weaknesses of human nature. The German organized plundering, planned it, disciplined it, and made it official just as he organized everything else, and then he compiled the most meticulous records to show that he had done the best job of looting that was possible under the circumstances. And we have those records.
The defendant Rosenberg was put in charge of a systematic plundering of the art objects of Europe by direct order of Hitler dated 29 January 1940 (136-PS). On the 16th of April, 1943 Rosenberg reported that up to the 7th of April, 92 railway cars with 2,775 cases containing art objects had been sent to Germany; and that 53 pieces of art had been shipped to Hitler direct, and 594 to the defendant Goering. The report mentioned something like 20,000 pieces of seized art and the main locations where they were stored (015-PS).
Moreover, this looting was glorified by Rosenberg. Here we have 39 leather-bound tabulated volumes of his inventory, which in due time we will offer in evidence. One cannot but admire the artistry of this Rosenberg report. The Nazi taste was cosmopolitan. Of the 9,455 articles inventoried, there were included 5,255 paintings, 297 sculptures, 1,372 pieces of antique furniture, 307 textiles, and 2,224 small objects of art. Rosenberg observed that there were approximiately 10,000 more objects still to be inventoried (015-PS). Rosenberg himself estimated that the values involved would come close to a billion dollars (090-PS).
I shall not go into further details of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi gangster ring • whose leaders are before you. It is not the purpose in my part of
this case to deal with the individual crimes. I am dealing with the common plan or design for crime and will not dwell upon in685964–46–12
dividual offenses. My task is only to show the scale on which these crimes occurred, and to show that these are the men who were in the responsible positions and who conceived the plan and design which renders them answerable, regardless of the fact that the plan was actually executed by others.
At length, this reckless and lawless course outraged the world. It recovered from the demoralization of surprise attack, assembled its forces, and stopped these men in their tracks. Once success deserted their banners, one by one the Nazi satellites fell away. Sawdust Caesar collapsed. Resistance forces in every occupied country arose to harry the invader. Even at home, Germans saw that Germany was being led to ruin by these mad men, and the attempt on July 20, 1944 to assassinate Hitler, an attempt fostered by men of highest station, was a desperate effort by internal forces to stop short of ruin. Quarrels broke out among the failing conspirators, and the decline of the Nazi power was more swift than its ascendancy. German armed forces surrendered, its government disintegrated, its leaders committed suicide by the dozen, and by the fortunes of war these defendants fell into our hands. Although they are not by any means all the guilty ones, they are survivors among the most responsible. Their names appear over and over in the documents and their faces grace the photographic evidence. We have here the surviving top politicians, militarists, financiers, diplomats, administrators, and propagandists of the Nazi movement. Who was responsible for these crimes if they were not?
THE LAW OF THE CASE
The end of the war and capture of these prisoners presented the victorious Allies with the question whether there is any legal responsibility on high-ranking men for acts which I have described. Must such wrongs either be ignored or redressed in hot blood? Is there no standard in the law for a deliberate and reasoned judgment on such conduct?
The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, "under God and the law." The United States believed that the law long has afforded standards by which a juridical hearing could be conducted to make sure that we punish only the right men and for the right reasons. Following the instructions of the late Presi. dent Roosevelt and the decision of the Yalta conference, President Truman directed representatives of the United States to formulate a proposed International Agreement, which was submitted during the San Francisco Conference to Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the Provisional Government of France. With many modifications, that proposal has become the Charter of this Tribunal.
But the Agreement which sets up the standards by which these prisoners are to be judged does not express the views of the signatory nations alone. Other nations with diverse but highly respected systems of jurisprudence also have signified adherence to it. These are Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Australia, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, New Zealand, Venezuela, and India. You judge, therefore, under an organic act which represents the wisdom, the sense of justice, and the will of twenty-one governments, representing an overwhelming majority of all civilized people.
The Charter by which this Tribunal has its being embodies certain legal concepts which are inseparable from its jurisdiction and which must govern its decision. These, as I have said, also are conditions attached to the grant of any hearing to defendants. The validity of the provisions of the Charter is conclusive upon us all whether we have accepted the duty of judging or of prosecuting under it, as well as upon the defendants, who can point to no other law which gives them a right to be heard at all. My able and experienced colleagues believe, as do I, that it will contribute to the expedition and clarity of this trial if I expound briefly the application of the legal philosophy of the Charter to the facts I have recited.
While this declaration of the law by the Charter is final, it may be contended that the prisoners on trial are entitled to have it applied to their conduct only most charitably if at all. It may be said that this is new law, not authoritatively declared at the time they did the acts it condemns, and that this declaration of the law has taken them by surprise.
I cannot, of course, deny that these men are surprised that this is the law; they really are surprised that there is any such thing as law. These defendants did not rely on any law at all. Their program ignored and defied all law. That this is so will appear from many acts and statements, of which I cite but a few. In the Fuehrer's speech to all military commanders on November 23, 1939, he reminded them that at the moment Germany had a pact with Russia, but declared, "Agreements are to be kept only as long as they serve a certain purpose.” Later on in the same speech he announced, "A violation of the neutrality of Holland
and Belgium will be of no importance." (789-PS). A Top Secret document, entitled “Warfare as a Problem of Organization,” dispatched by the Chief of the High Command to all Commanders on April 19, 1938, declared that “the normal rules of war toward neutrals may be considered to apply on the basis whether operation of rules will create greater advantages or disadvantages for belligerents." (L-211). And from the files of the German Navy Staff, we have a "Memorandum on Intensified Naval War," dated October 15, 1939, which begins by stating a desire to comply with International Law. “However,” it continues, "if decisive successes are expected from any measure considered as a war necessity, it must be carried through even if it is not in agreement with international law." (UK-65). International Law, natural law, German law, any law at all was to these men simply a propaganda device to be invoked when it helped and to be ignored when it would condemn what they wanted to do. That men may be protected in relying upon the law at the time they act is the reason we find laws of retrospective operation unjust. But these men cannot bring themselves within the reason of the rule which in some systems of jurisprudence prohibits ex post facto laws. They cannot show that they ever relied upon International Law in any state or paid it the slightest regard.
The Third Count of the Indictment is based on the definition of war crimes contained in the Charter. I have outlined to you the systematic course of conduct toward civilian populations and combat forces which violates international conventions to which Germany was a party. Of the criminal nature of these acts at least, the defendants had, as we shall show, clear knowledge. Accordingly, they took pains to conceal their violations. It will appear that the defendants Keitel and Jodl were informed by official legal advisors that the orders to brand Russian prisoners of war, to shackle British prisoners of war, and to execute commando prisoners were clear violations of International Law. Nevertheless, these orders were put into effect. The same is true of orders issued for the assassination of General Giraud and General Weygand, which failed to be executed only because of a ruse on the part of Admiral Canaris, who was himself later executed for his part in the plot to take Hitler's life on July 20, 1944 (Affidavit A).
The Fourth Count of the Indictment is based on crimes against humanity. Chief among these are mass killings of countless human beings in cold blood. Does it take these men by surprise that murder is treated as a crime?
The First and Second Counts of the Indictment add to these