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Poland, in order to fight first against the West, but this plan which was agreeable to me could not be executed, since essential points have changed. “It became clear to me that Poland would attack us, in case of a conflict in the West. “Poland wants access to the sea. "The further development became obvious after the occupation of the Memel region, and it became clear to me that under the circumstances a conflict with Poland could arise at an unopportune moment. "I enumerate as reasons for this reflection, first of all, two personal constitutions, my own personality, and that of Mussolini. Essentially, it depends on me, my existence, because of my political activity. “Furthermore, the fact that probably no one will ever again have the confidence of the whole German people as I do. There will probably never again be a man in the future with more authority. My existence is, therefore, a factor of great value. But I can be eliminated at any time by a criminal or an idiot. "The second personal factor is Il Duce. His existence is also decisive. If something happens to him, Italy's loyalty to the alliance will no longer be certain. The basic attitude of the Italian Court is against the Duce. Above all, the Court sees in the expansion of the empire a burden. The Duce is the man with the strongest nerves in Italy. “The third factor, favorable for us is Franco. . We can only ask benevolent neutrality from Spain, but this depends on Franco's personality. He guarantees a certain uniformity and steadiness of the present system in Spain. We must take into account the fact that Spain does not as yet have a Fascist Party of our internal unity. “On the other side, a negative picture, as far as decisive personalities are concerned. There is no outstanding personality in England or France. “For us it is easy to make decisions. We have nothing to lose: we can only gain. Our economic situation is such, because of our restrictions, that we cannot hold out more than a few years. Goering can confirm this. We have no other choice; we must act. Our opponents risk much and gain only little. England's stake in a war is unimaginably great. Our enemies have men who are below average. No personalities, no masters, no men of action. “Besides the personal factor, the political situation is favorable for us; in the Mediterranean rivalry among Italy, France, and England; in the Orient tension, which leads to the alarming of the Mohammedan world. “The English empire did not emerge from the last war strengthened. From a maritime point of view, nothing was achieved: Conflict between England and Ireland, the south African Union became more independent, concessions had to be made to India, England is in great danger, unhealthy industries. A British statesman can look into the future only with concern. “France's position has also deteriorated, particularly in the Mediterranean. “Further favorable factors for us are these: “Since Albania, there is an equilibrium of power in the Balkans. Yugoslavia carries the germ of collapse because of her internal situation. “Rumania did not grow stronger. She is liable to attack and vulnerable. She is threatened by Hungary and Bulgaria. Since Kemal's death, Turkey has been ruled by small minds, unsteady weak men. “All these fortunate circumstances will no longer prevail in two to three years. No one knows how long I shall live. Therefore conflict better now. "The creation of Greater Germany was a great achievement politically but militarily it was questionable, since it was achieved through a bluff of the political leaders. It is necessary to test the military, if at all possible, not by general settlement, but by solving individual tasks. “The relation to Poland has become unbearable. My Polish policy hitherto was in contrast to the ideas of the people. My propositions to Poland, the Danzig corridor, were disturbed by England's intervention. Poland changed her tune towards us. The initiative cannot be allowed to pass to others. This moment is more favorable than in two to three years. An attempt on my life or Mussolini's could only change the situation to our disadvantage. One cannot eternally stand opposite one another with cocked rifle. A suggested compromise would have demanded that we change our convictions and make agreeable gestures. They talked to us again in the language of Versailles. There was danger of losing prestige. Now the probability is still great that the West will not interfere. We must accept the risk with reckless resolution. A politician must accept a risk as much as 685964-46--27
a military leader. We are facing the alternative to strike or to be destroyed with certainty sooner or later."
“Now it is also a great risk. Iron nerves, iron resolution.”
"We need not be afraid of a blockade. The East will supply us with grain, cattle, coal, lead and zinc. It is a big arm, which demands great efforts. I am only afraid that at the last minute some Schweinhund will make a proposal for mediation.”
“Goering answers with thanks to the Fuehrer and the assur
ance that the armed forces will do their duty." (798-PS) In his second speech on 22 August 1939 the Fuehrer had this
“It may also turn out differently regarding England and
“Have no pity. Brutal attitude. 80,000,000 people shall
D. Expansion into General War of Aggression: Scandinavia, The Low Countries, The Balkans.
The aggressive war having been initiated in September 1939, and Poland having been defeated shortly after the initial assaults, the Nazi aggressors converted the war into a general war of aggression extending into Scandinavia, into the Low Countries, and into the Balkans. (Under the division of the case agreed by the four Chief Prosecutors, this phase of aggression was left for development to the British prosecuting staff, and is discussed in Sections 9, 10 and 11 of this Chapter, infra.)
E. Aggression Against the U. S. S. R.
The attack upon Russia was preceded with premeditation and deliberation. Just as, in the case of aggression against Czechoslovakia, the Nazis had a code name for the secret operation, “Case Green”, so in the case of aggression against the Soviet Union, they had a code name, “Case Barbarossa". A secret directive, Number 21, issued from the Fuehrer's Headquarters on 18 December 1940, relating to “Case Barbarossa," was captured among the OKW files at Flensberg (446-PS). This directive was issued more than six months in advance of the attack. (Other evidence shows that the planning occurred even earlier.) This order, signed by Hitler and initialled by Jodl and Keitel, was issued in nine copies, of which we have the fourth. The directive reads:
"The German Armed Forces must be prepared to crush Soviet Russia in a quick campaign before the end of the war against England. (Case Barbarossa.) “For this purpose the Army will have to employ all available units with the reservation that the occupied territories will have to be safeguarded against surprise attacks. “For the Eastern campaign the Air force will have to free such strong forces for the support of the Army that a quick completion of the ground operations may be expected and that damage of the Eastern German territories will be avoided as much as possible. This concentration of the main effort in the East is limited by the following reservation: That the entire battle and armament area dominated by us must remain sufficiently protected against enemy air attacks and that the attacks on England and especially the supply for them must not be permitted to break down. "Concentration of the main effort of the Navy remains unequivocally against England also during an Eastern campaign. “If occasion arises I will order the concentration of troops for action against Soviet Russia eight weeks before the intended beginning of operations. "Preparations requiring more time to start are-if this has not yet been done to begin presently and are to be completed by 15 May 1941. “Great caution has to be exercised that the intention of an attack will not be recognized. “The preparations of the High Command are to be made on the following basis: “I. General Purpose: “The mass of the Russian Army in Western Russia is to be destroyed in daring operations by driving forward deep wedges with tanks and the retreat of intact battle-ready troops into the wide spaces of Russia is to be prevented. "In quick pursuit a (given) line is to be reached from where the Russian Air force will no longer be able to attack German Reich territory. The first goal of operations is the protection from Asiatic Russian from the general line VolgaArchangelsk. In case of necessity, the last industrial area in the Urals left to Russia could be eliminated by the Luftwaffe. In the course of these operations the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet will quickly erase its bases and will no longer be ready to fight.