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The final statements are taken from the IMT Proceedings, vol. 22, pp. 365-409. The proceedings are available on line at:
AND SIXTEENTH DAY
Saturday, 31 August 1946
THE PRESIDENT: Article 24 D (j) provides that each defendant may make a statement to the Tribunal. I therefore now call upon the defendants who wish -- whether they wish to make statements. Defendant Hermann Wilhelm Goering.
HERMANN WILHELM GOERING (Defendant): The Prosecution, in the final speeches, has treated the defendants and their testimony as completely worthless. The statements made under oath by the defendants were accepted as absolutely true when they could serve to support the Indictment, but conversely the statements were characterized as perjury when they refuted the Indictment. That is very elementary, but it is not a convincing basis for demonstration of proof.
The Prosecution uses the fact that I was the second man of the State as proof that I must have known everything that happened. But it does not present any documentary or other convincing proof in cases where I have denied under oath that I knew about certain things, much less desired them. Therefore, it is only an allegation and a conjecture when the Prosecution says, "Who should have known that if not Goering, who was the successor of the Fuehrer?"
Repeatedly we have heard here how the worst crimes were veiled with the most secrecy. I wish to state expressly that I condemn these terrible mass murders to the utmost, and cannot understand them in the least. But I should like to state clearly once more before the High Tribunal, that I have never decreed the murder of a single individual at any time, and neither did I decree any other atrocities or tolerate them, while I had the power and the knowledge to prevent them.
The new allegation presented by Mr. Dodd in his final speech, that I had ordered Heydrich to kill the Jews, lacks every proof and is not true either. There is not a single order signed by me or signed in my behalf that enemy fliers should be shot or turned over to the SD. And not a single case has been established where units of my Luftwaffe carried out things like that.
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The Prosecution has repeatedly submitted some documents which contain alleged statements, reported and written down at third and fourth hand, without my having previously seen these statements in order to correct erroneous ideas or to preclude misunderstandings.
How easily completely distorted reports can arise from third hand notes is also proven, among other things, by the stenographic transcript of these court sessions, which often needed correction when checked. The Prosecution brings forward individual statements over a period of 25 years, which were made under completely different circumstances and without any consequences arising from them at the time, and quotes them as proof of intent and guilt, statements which can easily be made in the excitement of the moment and of the atmosphere that prevailed at the time. There is probably not one leading personage on the opposing side who did not speak or write similarly in the course of a quarter of a century.
Out of all the happenings of these 25 years, from conferences, speeches, laws, actions, and decisions, the Prosecution proves that everything was desired and intended from the beginning according to a deliberate sequence and an unbroken connection. This is an erroneous conception which is entirely devoid of logic, and which will be rectified some day by history, after the proceedings here have proved the incorrectness of these allegations.
Mr. Jackson in his final speech points, out the fact that the signatory states are still in a state of war with Germany, and that because of the unconditional surrender merely a state of truce prevails now. Now, international law is uniform. The same must apply to both sides. Therefore, if everything which is being done in Germany today on the part of the occupying powers is admissible under international law, then German was formerly in the same position, at least as regards France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece. If today the Geneva Convention no longer has any validity so far as Germans are concerned, if today in all parts of Germany industry is being dismantled and other great assets in all spheres can be carried away to the other states, if today the property of millions of Germans is being confiscated and many other serious infringements on freedom and property are taking place, then measures such as those taken by Germany in the countries mentioned above cannot have been criminal according to international law either.
Mr. Jackson stated further that one cannot accuse and punish a state, but rather that one must hold the leaders responsible. One seems to forget that Germany was a sovereign state, and that her legislation within the German nation was not subject to the jurisdiction of foreign countries. No state ever gave notice to the Reich
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at the proper time, pointing out that any activity for National Socialism would be made subject to punishment and persecution. On the other hand, if we, the leaders as individuals, are called to account and condemned--very well; but you cannot punish the German people at the same time. The German people placed their trust in the Fuehrer, and under his authoritarian government they had no influence on events. Without knowledge of the grave crimes which have become known today, the people, loyal, self-sacrificing, and courageous, fought and suffered through the life-and-death struggle which had broken out against their will. The German people are free of guilt.
I did not want a war, nor did I bring it about. I did everything to prevent it by negotiations. After it had broken out, I did everything to assure victory. Since the three greatest powers on earth, together with many other nations, were fighting against us, we finally succumbed to their tremendous superiority. I stand up for the things that I have done, but I deny most emphatically that my actions were dictated by the desire to subjugate foreign peoples by wars, to murder them, to rob them, or to enslave them, or to commit atrocities or crimes.
The only motive which guided me was my ardent love for my people, its happiness, its freedom, and its life. And for this I call on the Almighty and my German people to witness.
THE PRESIDENT: I call on the Defendant Rudolf Hess.
RUDOLF HESS (Defendant): First of all, I should like to make a request to the High Tribunal that I may remain seated because of my state of health.
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.
HESS: Some of my comrades here can confirm the fact that at the beginning of the proceedings I predicted the following:
(1) That witnesses would appear who, under oath, would make untrue statements while, at the same time, these witnesses could create an absolutely reliable impression and enjoy the best possible reputation.
(2) That it was to be reckoned with that the Court would receive affidavits containing untrue statements.
(3) That the defendants would be astonished and surprised at some German witnesses.
(4) That some of the defendants would act rather strangely: they would make shameless utterances about the Fuehrer; they would incriminate their own people; they would partially incriminate each other, and falsely at that. Perhaps they would even incriminate themselves, and also wrongly.
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All of these predictions have come true, and as far as the witnesses and affidavits are concerned, in dozens of cases; cases in which the unequivocal oath of the defendants stands in opposition to the sworn statements of the former.
In this connection I shall only mention the name Messersmith: Mr. Messersmith, who, for example, says that he spoke to Admiral Doenitz at a time when the latter was, to my knowledge, in the Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean. I made these predictions, however, not only here at the beginning of the Trial, but had already made them months before the beginning of the Trial in England to, among others, Dr. Johnston, the physician who was with me in Abergavenny. At the same time I put these statements down in writing, as proof. I base my predictions on some events in countries outside of Germany. In this connection I should like to emphasize now that, while I mention these incidents, I was convinced from the beginning that the governments concerned knew nothing about them.
Therefore, I am not raising any accusation against these governments. In the years 1936 to 1938 political trials were taking place in one of these countries. These were characterized by the fact that the defendants accused themselves in an astonishing way. For example, they cited great numbers of crimes which they had committed or which they claimed to have committed. At the end, when death sentences were passed upon them, they clapped in frenzied approval to the astonishment of the world.
But some foreign press correspondents reported that one had the impression that these defendants, through some means hitherto unknown, had been put into an abnormal state of mind, as a result of which they acted the way they did. These incidents were recalled to my mind by a certain happening in England. There it was not possible for me to get the reports of the trials at that time, any more than here. However, the corresponding years of the Voelkischer Beobachter were at my disposal there. While looking through these numbers I came upon the following passage in the number of 8 March 1933. A report from Paris dated 7 March 1938 reads as follows:
"The big Paris newspaper Le Jour made revelations about the means which were apparently used in these trials. These are rather mysterious means."
I quote literally what the Voelkischer Beobachter reprinted from Le Jour:
"These means make it possible for the selected victims to be made to act and speak according to the orders given them."
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I emphasize and point out that this report in Le Jour not only says "to make them speak according to orders given them," but also "to make them act according to orders given them." The latter point is of tremendous importance in connection with the actions, the hitherto inexplicable actions of the personnel in the German concentration camps, including the scientists and physicians who made these frightful and atrocious experiments on the prisoners, actions which normal human beings, especially physicians and scientists, could not possibly carry out.
But this is also of equally great significance in connection with the actions of the persons who undoubtedly gave the orders and directions for the atrocities in the concentration camps and who gave the orders for shooting prisoners of war and lynchings and other such things, up to the Fuehrer himself. I recall that the witness Field Marshal Milch testified here that he had the impression that the Fuehrer was not normal mentally during the last years, and a number of my comrades here have told me, independently of each other and without having any knowledge of what I am saying here now, that during the last years the Fuehrer's eyes and facial expression had something cruel in them, and even had a tendency towards madness. I can name the comrades in question as witnesses.
I said before that a certain incident in England caused me to think of the reports of the earlier trials. The reason was that the people around me during my imprisonment acted towards me in a peculiar and incomprehensible way, in a way which led me to conclude that these people somehow were acting in an abnormal state of mind. Some of them--these persons and people around me were changed from time to time. Some of the new ones who came to me in place of those who had been changed had strange eyes. They were glassy and like eyes in a dream. This symptom, however, lasted only a few days and then they made a completely normal impression. They could no longer be distinguished from normal human beings. Not only I alone noticed these strange eyes, but also the physician who attended me at the time, Dr. Johnston, a British Army doctor, a Scotsman.
In the spring of 1942 1 had a visitor, a visitor who quite obviously tried to provoke me and acted towards me in a strange way. This visitor also had these strange eyes.
Afterwards, Dr. Johnston asked me what I thought of this visitor. He told me--I told him I had the impression that for some reason or other he was not completely normal mentally, whereupon Dr. Johnston did not protest, as I had expected, but agreed with me and asked me whether I had not noticed those strange eyes, these eyes with a dreamy look. Dr. Johnston did not suspect that he himself had exactly the same eyes when he came to me.
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The essential point, however, is that in one of the reports of the time, which must still be in the press files on the proceedings--this was in Paris, about the Moscow trial--it said that the defendants had had strange eyes. They had had glazed and dreamy eyes! I have already said that I am convinced that the governments here concerned knew nothing of these happenings. Therefore it would not be in the interest of the British Government either if my statements about what I experienced during my imprisonment were denied publicity in any way, for that would give the impression that something was actually supposed to be concealed here, and that the British Government had actually had a finger in the pie.
On the contrary, however, I am convinced that both the Churchill Government and the present Government gave instructions that I was to be treated fairly and according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. I am conscious of the fact that what I have, to say about the treatment which I received will at first glance appear incredible. Fortunately for me, however, prison guards at a very much earlier time had already treated their prisoners in a way which at first appeared absolutely incredible when the first rumors about it reached the outside world. These rumors were to the effect that prisoners had been deliberately allowed to starve to death, that ground glass, among other things, had been put in the meager food which had been given them, that the physicians who attended the prisoners who had been taken sick in this way had added harmful substances to their medicine, which increased their sufferings and at the same time increased the number of victims. As a matter of fact, all of these rumors afterwards proved to be true. It is a historical fact that a monument was erected for 26,370 Boer women and children who died in British concentration camps, and who for the most part died of hunger. Many Englishmen at that time, among others, Lloyd George, protested strongly against these happenings in British concentration camps, and likewise an English eye witness, Miss Emily Hopfords.
However, at that time the world was confronted with an insoluble riddle, the same riddle which confronts it today with regard to the happenings in the German concentration camps.
At that time the English people were confronted with an incomprehensible riddle, the same riddle which today confronts the German people with regard to the happenings in the German concentration camps. Indeed, at that time, the British Government itself was confronted with a riddle regarding the happenings in the South African concentration camps, with the same riddle which today confronts the members of the Reich Cabinet and the other defendants, here and in other trials, regarding the happenings in the German concentration camps.
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Obviously, it would have been of the utmost importance if I had stated under oath what I have to say about the happenings during my own imprisonment in England. However, it was impossible for me to persuade my counsel to declare himself willing to put the proper questions to me. It was likewise impossible for me to get another counsel to agree to put these questions to me. But it is of the utmost importance that what I am saying be said under oath. Therefore I now declare once more: I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth, that I shall leave out nothing and add nothing. I ask the High Tribunal, therefore, to consider everything which I shall say from now on as under oath. Concerning my oath, I should also like to say that I am not a churchgoer; I have no spiritual relationship with the Church, but I am a deeply religious person. I am convinced that my belief in God is stronger than that of most other people. I ask the High Tribunal to give all the more weight to everything which I declare under oath, expressly calling God as my witness. In the spring of 1942 ...
THE PRESIDENT [interposing]. I must draw the attention of the Defendant Hess to the fact that he has already spoken for 20 minutes, and the Tribunal has indicated to the defendants that it cannot allow them to continue to make statements of great length at this stage of the proceedings. We have to hear all the defendants. The Tribunal, therefore, hopes that the Defendant Hess will conclude his speech.
HESS: Mr. President, may I point out that I was taking into account the fact that I am the only defendant who, up to now, has not been able to make a statement here. For what I have to say here, I could only have said as a witness if the proper questions had been put to me. But as I have already stated ...
THE PRESIDENT: I do not propose to argue with the defendants. The Tribunal has made its order that the defendants shall only make short statements. The Defendant Hess had full opportunity to go into the witness box and give his evidence upon oath. He chose not to do so. He is now making a statement, and he will be treated like the other defendants and will be confined to a short statement.
HESS: Therefore, Mr. President, I shall forego making the statements which I had wanted to make in connection with the things I have just said. I ask you to listen to only a few more concluding words, which are of a more general nature and have nothing to do with the things that I have just stated.
The statements which my counsel made in my name before the High Tribunal I permitted to be made for the sake of the future
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judgment of my people and of history. That is the only thing which matters to me. I do not defend myself against accusers to whom I deny the right to bring charges against me and my fellow-countrymen. I will not discuss accusations which concern things which are purely German matters and therefore of no concern to foreigners. I raise no protest against statements which are aimed at attacking my honor, the honor of the German people. I consider such slanderous attacks by the enemy as a proof of honor.
I was permitted to work for many years of my life under the greatest son whom my people has brought forth in its thousand year history. Even if I could, I would not want to erase this period of time from my existence. I am happy to know that I have done my duty, to my people, my duty as a German, as a National Socialist, as a loyal follower of my Fuehrer. I do not regret anything. If I were to begin all over again, I would act just as I have acted, even if I knew that in the end I should meet a fiery death at the stake. No matter what human beings may do, I shall some day stand before the judgment seat of the Eternal. I shall answer to Him, and I know He will judge me innocent.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Joachim von Ribbentrop.
JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP (Defendant): This Trial was to be conducted for the purpose of discovering the historical truth. From the point of view of German foreign policy I can only say:
This Trial will go down in history as a model example of how, while appealing to hitherto unknown legal formulas and the spirit of fairness, one can evade the cardinal problems of 25 years of the gravest human history. If the roots of our trouble lie in the Treaty of Versailles--and they do lie there--was it really to the purpose to prevent a discussion about a treaty which the intelligent men even among its authors had characterized as the source of future trouble, while the wisest were already predicting from which of the faults of Versailles a new world war would arise?
I have devoted more than twenty years of my life to the elimination of this evil, with the result that foreign statesmen who know about this today write in their affidavits that they did not believe me. They ought to have written that in the interests of their own country they were not prepared to believe me. I am held responsible for the conduct of a foreign policy which was determined by another. I knew only this much of it, that it never concerned itself with plans of a world domination, but rather, for example, with the elimination of the consequences of Versailles and with the food problems of the German people.
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If I deny that this German foreign policy planned and prepared for a war of aggression, that is not an excuse on my part. The truth of this is proved by the strength that we developed in the course of the second World War and the fact how weak we were at the beginning of this war.
History will believe us when I say that we would have prepared a war of aggression immeasurably better if we had actually intended one. What we intended was to look after our elementary necessities of life, in the same way that England looked after her own interests in order to make one-fifth of the world subject to her, and in the same way that the United States brought an entire continent and Russia brought the largest inland territory of the world under their hegemony. The only difference between the policies of these countries as compared with ours is that we demanded parcels of land such as Danzig and the Corridor which were taken from us against all rights, whereas the other powers are accustomed to thinking only in terms of continents. Before the establishment of the Charter of this Tribunal, even the signatory powers of the London Agreement mast have had different views about international law and policy than they have today. When I went to see Marshal Stalin in Moscow in 1939, he did not discuss with me the possibility of a peaceful settlement of the German Polish conflict within the framework of the Kellogg-Briand Pact; but rather he hinted that if in addition to half of Poland and the Baltic countries he did not receive Lithuania and the harbor of Libau, I might as well return home.
In 1939 the waging of war was obviously not yet regarded as an international crime against peace, otherwise I could not explain Stalin's telegram at the conclusion of the Polish campaign, which read, I quote:
"The friendship of Germany and the Soviet Union, based on the blood which they have shed together, has every prospect of being a firm and lasting one." Here I should like to emphasize and stress the fact that even I ardently desired this friendship at that time. Of this friendship there remains today only the primary problem for Europe and the world: Will Asia dominate Europe, or will the Western Powers be able to stem or even push back the influence of the Soviets at the Elbe, at the Adriatic coast, and at the Dardanelles?
In other words, practically speaking: Great Britain and the United States today face the same dilemma as Germany faced at the time when I was carrying on negotiations with Russia. For my country's sake I hope with all my heart that they may be more successful in their results.
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Now what has actually been proved in this Trial about the criminal character of German foreign policy? That out of more than 300 Defense documents which were submitted 150 were rejected without cogent reasons. That the files of the enemy, and even of the Germans, were inaccessible to the Defense. That Churchill's friendly hint to me that if Germany became too strong she would be destroyed, is declared irrelevant in judging the motives of German foreign policy before this forum. A revolution does not become more comprehensible if it is considered from the point of view of a conspiracy.
Fate made me one of the exponents of this revolution. I deplore the atrocious crimes which became known to me here and which besmirch this revolution. But I cannot measure all of them according to puritanical standards, and the less so since I have seen that even the enemy, in spite of their total victory, was neither able nor willing to prevent atrocities of the most extensive kind. One can regard the theory of the conspiracy as one will, but from the point of view of the critical observer it is only a makeshift solution.
Anybody who has held a decisive position in the Third Reich knows that it simply represents a historical falsehood, and the author of the Charter of this Tribunal has only proved with his invention from what background he derived his thinking. I might just as well assert that the signatory powers of this Charter had formed a conspiracy for the suppression of the primary needs of a highly developed, capable, and courageous nation. When I look back upon my actions and my desires, then I can conclude only this: The only thing of which I consider myself guilty before my people--not before this Tribunal--is that my aspirations in foreign policy remained without success.
THE PRESIDENT: I call on the Defendant Wilhelm Keitel.
WILHELM KEITEL (Defendant): I acknowledged on the witness stand my responsibility in connection with my official position, and have explained the significance of this position in the presentation of evidence and in the final plea of my defense counsel.
It is far from my intention to minimize my part in what took place. In the interest of historical truth, however, it seems advisable to correct a few errors in the final speeches of the Prosecution.
The American chief prosecutor said in his final speech, and I quote: "Keitel, a weak, submissive tool, turned the Wehrmacht, the instrument of aggression, over to the Party."
A "turning-over" of the Wehrmacht to the Party by me cannot be reconciled with my functions, either up to 4 February 1938, or after that time, when Hitler made himself Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht and thus ruled the Party and the Wehrmacht absolutely. I do not recall that any sort of evidence was presented in
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the course of this Trial which could justify this serious allegation by the Prosecution.
The presentation of evidence, however, has also shown that the further contention "that Keitel led the Wehrmacht in the execution of its criminal intentions" is wrong. This allegation is in contradiction to the Anglo-American trial brief, which says expressly that I had no authority to issue orders. Consequently, the British chief prosecutor is also mistaken when he speaks of me as--and I quote--"a Field Marshal who issued orders to the Wehrmacht." And when he claims that I said that I "had no idea what practical results were intended by this"--that is the quotation--I believe that this is something quite different from -what I said on the witness stand, which was, and I quote the words I spoke on the witness stand: "But when an order was given, I acted according to my duty as I saw it, without permitting myself to be confused by the possible, but not always foreseeable, consequences." Also, the contention that--and I quote--"Keitel and Jodl cannot deny the responsibility for the operations of the Einsatzkommandos, with which their own commanders co-operated closely and cordially," cannot be reconciled with the results of the testimony. The OKW was eliminated from the Soviet Russian theater of war. There were no troop commanders under its orders.
The French chief prosecutor said in his final speech: "Is it necessary to recall the terrible words, of the Defendant Keitel that 'human life was worth less than nothing in the occupied territories."' These terrible words are not my words. I did not think them up, and did not make them the contents of any order either. The fact that my name is connected with the transmission of this Fuehrer order weighs heavily enough upon me.
At another point M. Champetier de Ribes says, and I quote: "This order was executed" -- it concerned anti-Partisan activities -- "by virtue of instructions from the commander of the army group, who in his turn acted according to general instructions of the Defendant Keitel." Here again "instructions of Keitel" are mentioned, although the French Indictment itself states that I, as Chief of the OKW, could not give any direct orders to the branches of the Wehrmacht.
In the final speech of the Soviet Russian prosecutor he says, and I quote: "Beginning with the documents on the executions of political persons, Keitel, this 'soldier,' as he likes to call himself, lied shamelessly to the American Prosecution in the preliminary examination -- disregarding his oath -- by saying that this decree was in the nature of a reprisal and that political persons
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had been kept separate from the other prisoners of war at the latter's own request. He was exposed before the Court."
The document in question is Number 884-PS.
The accusation that I lied is unfounded. The Soviet Russian Prosecution overlooked the fact that the transcript of my preliminary examination on this question was not a subject of evidence before this Tribunal. Therefore, its use in the final speech of the Prosecution should not have been allowed. I did not see the transcript of the preliminary interrogation and do not know the wording. If it is complete, it will clarify the error which arose because the document in question had not been shown to me. In the examination by my defense counsel on the witness stand I presented the state of affairs correctly. In the last stage of the Trial, the Prosecution attempted once more to incriminate me severely by connecting my name with an order for the preparation of bacteriological warfare. A witness, the former Generalarzt Dr. Schreiber, had said in his report that:
"The chief of the OKW, Field Marshal Keitel, had issued orders to prepare for bacteriological warfare against the Soviet Union."
On the witness stand here, to be sure, this witness spoke of a "Fuehrer order."
But this is not true, either.
The introduction of the testimony of Colonel Buerker, which was approved by the Tribunal in agreement with the Prosecution, indicates that in the autumn of 1943, I, in Buerker's own words, sharply and categorically rejected the suggestion of the Army Medical Inspectorate and the Army Ordnance Branch to begin experiments with bacteria, with the comment that that was completely out of the question and that it was indeed forbidden. This is true. General Jodl also can confirm the fact that no order of the kind alleged by the witness was ever issued; on the contrary, Hitler prohibited bacteriological warfare, which had been suggested by some departments. This proves the allegation to the contrary by the witness Dr. Schreiber to be untrue.
I claim to have told the truth in all things, even if they incriminated me; at least to have endeavored, in spite of the great extent of my field of activity, to contribute to the clarification of the true state of affairs to the best of my knowledge.
Now, at the end of this Trial I want to present equally frankly the avowal and confession I have to make today.
In the course of the Trial my defense counsel submitted two fundamental questions to me, the first one already some months ago. It was: "In case of a victory, would you have refused to participate in any part of the success?"
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I answered: "No, I should certainly have been proud of it." The second question was: "How would you act if you were in the same position again?"
My answer: "Then I would rather choose death than to let myself be drawn into the net of such pernicious methods."
From these two answers the High Tribunal may see my viewpoint. I believed, but I erred, and I was not in a position to prevent what ought to have been prevented.. That is my guilt.
It is tragic to have to realize that the best I had to give as a soldier, obedience and loyalty, was exploited for purposes which could not be recognized at the time, and that I did not see that there is a limit set even for a soldier's performance of his duty. That is my fate.
From the clear recognition of the causes, the pernicious methods, and the terrible consequences of this war, may there arise the hope for a new future in the community of nations for the German people.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Ernst Kaltenbrunner.
ERNST KALTENBRUNNER (Defendant): The Prosecution holds me responsible for the concentration camps, for the destruction of Jewish life, for Einsatzgruppen and other things. All of this is neither in accord with the evidence nor with the truth. The accusers as well as the accused are exposed to the dangers of a summary proceeding.
It is correct that I had to take over the Reich Security Main Office. There was no guilt in that in itself. Such offices exist in governments of other nations too. However, the task and activity assigned to me in 1943 consisted almost exclusively in the reorganization of the German political and military intelligence service, though not as Heydrich's successor. Almost a year after his death I had to accept this post under orders and as an officer at a time when suspicion fell on Admiral Canaris of having collaborated with the enemy for years. In a short time I ascertained the treason of Canaris and his accomplices to the most frightful extent. Offices IV and V of the Reich Security Main Office were subordinate to me only theoretically, not in fact.
The chart shown here of the different groups and the chain of command leading from them is wrong and misleading. Himmler, who understood in a masterly way how the SS, which for a long time had ceased to, form an organizational and ideological unit, could be split up into very small groups and brought under his immediate influence, so far as it served his purpose, together with Mueller, the Chief of the Gestapo, committed the crimes which we
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know about today. I emphatically and vehemently state that, contrary to public opinion, I learned only about a very small fraction of the activities of these offices, which were actually under Himmler and his accomplices, and only insofar as it concerned my own special work.
In the Jewish question I was just as much deceived as other high officials. I never approved or tolerated the biological extermination of Jewry. The anti-Semitism found in Party and State laws was still to be considered in time of war as an emergency defense measure. The anti-Semitism of Hitler, as we understand it today, was barbarism. I did not participate in either of these forms and maintain, as I shall show, that the discontinuance of the extermination of the Jews is to be traced to my influence on Hitler. After the presentation of evidence several photographs were submitted which allegedly show my knowledge of crimes in concentration camps, the camp at Mauthausen, and my knowledge of the criminal tools which were used there. I never set foot in Camp Mauthausen, only that part of the labor camps where the stone quarry was located, where hardened criminals were employed according to law, but no Jews or political prisoners.
The pictures show an administration building and nothing else. Affidavit USA-909, pictures 894 to 897-F, are therefore factually impossible and wrong. The picture with Hitler shows the visit to a building site in Linz, 35 kilometers away from Camp Mauthausen. The statement of the witness Dr. Morgen seems essentially true, but it needs to be supplemented as far as my person and my reactions to this are concerned. In the emergency of his own arrest and defense the witness is too much concerned with himself and does not say that he was transferred by the chief of the Main Office SS Courts to Office V of the RSHA upon my request, so that as a juridical official he could supplement the special commission which was established there by the chief of the Criminal Police, Nebe, and myself for the investigation of the concentration camps. He cannot testify as to my knowledge of the subsequent events, as to what I -- dumbfounded by his report, in contrast to Mueller, who raged like one who had just been unmasked -- did after reading his report. On the same day an exact written report was sent to Hitler at headquarters. Days later I was ordered to appear and flew .there. After my long report Hitler agreed to an investigation of Himmler and Pohl. He declared a special court competent for all subsequent investigations and necessary measures. Pohl was to be dismissed from his office at once. In front of me Hitler gave orders to Fegelein, who was liaison officer for Himmler, that Himmler was to be called to him, and he promised me that he would take all possible measures that very day against any further misdeeds.
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He refused my request to be released and sent to the front, pointing out that I was indispensable in the intelligence service. Eichmann was arrested and detained and reported to me; the decree by Himmler in October of 1944, which confirms and puts in final form that which I have just testified, is in its wording one of Himmler's last devilish actions.
Does not the Prosecution even now see any discrepancy in the fact that Amt V of the RSHA exposed the crimes of Amt IV of the RSHA and the secret criminal clique? In this I see the proof of the fact that I never knew what was really going on, and at the moment when I realized what was taking place, I protested in my own office.
Should I have shirked responsibility at that time by feigning illness, or was it my duty to fight with all my powers to have this unparalleled barbarity brought to a halt? That is the only thing to be decided here as my guilt. The other defamations raised by the Prosecution against me do not alter that either. The letter written to the Mayor of Vienna, which seems to be so highly incriminating here and which I do not remember having signed, has been explained for me today.
All of the 12,000 people who at that time, together with tens of thousands of German men and, women, were used to fortify the region east of Vienna, were, together with an additional 2,000 persons in Gunskirchen in Upper Austria, cared for by the International Red Cross through my mediation and led to freedom The speed and excitement of the cross-examination did not permit me to recall that at the time when the commission of Amt V had long been active in the camps, I could no longer believe that there was any danger to Jewish life. My credibility has been doubted ever since then, but it would have been restored immediately if an enquiry had been made by the Prosecution with the International Red Cross at Geneva in proceedings which were not so summary.
If, however, I am asked: "Why did you remain even after you knew that your superiors were committing crimes?" I can answer only that I could not set myself up as their judge, and that indeed not even this Tribunal here will be in a position to ask for expiation of these crimes.
In the final days the Prosecution accused me of participating in the murder of a French general. I heard about the murder of a. German, General Brodowski, and the order given by Hitler to investigate the question of reprisals. I heard about the murder for the first time a few days ago. Panzinger was chief of the War Investigation Division in the Reich Criminal Police Office and was subordinate to no one except Himmler in his capacity as chief of the Prisoner-of-War Organization and of the Replacement Army.
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He was not, as the Prosecution maintains, an official of the Secret State Police.
Concerning the teletype message of 30 December 1944, signed with my name, in which the method of carrying out the plan was reported by Berlin to Himmler at the latter's headquarters, I should like to say that from 23 December until 3 January I was in Austria with my family and could not have seen and signed this teletype.
In November 1944 I was merely ordered to check the report of Reich Press Chief Dietrich on the murder of a German general in France. The results were sent to headquarters by the offices there.
I regretted the fact that Hitler, in a situation such as I found when I assumed office in 1943, did not have a better relation with the Church, which in every state makes for order and cannot be theorized away. My remonstrances had no effect. I made an honest effort, as the presentation of evidence has shown, but even from this the Prosecution has not drawn any conclusions. I know only that in my belief in Adolf Hitler I put all my strength at the disposal of my people. As a German soldier I could only put myself at the service of the defense against those destructive forces which had once brought Germany close to the abyss, and which today, after the collapse of the Reich, are still threatening the world.
If I have made mistakes in my work through a false conception of obedience, if I carried out orders, all of which, insofar as they are alleged to be cardinal orders, were issued before my time of office, then they are part of a fate which is stronger than myself and which is carrying me along with it. I am accused here because substitutes are needed for the missing Himmler and other elements which were completely contrary to me. Whether my point of view and explanation are accepted or rejected, I ask you not to connect the fate and honor of hundreds of thousands of the living and dead of the General SS, of the Waffen-SS, and of the civil servants who, believing in their ideal, bravely defended, their Reich to the last, with your just curse against Himmler. Like myself, they believed that they were acting according to law.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: I call on the Defendant Alfred Rosenberg.
ALFRED ROSENBERG (Defendant): Besides repeating the old accusations, the prosecutors have raised new ones of the strongest kind; thus they claim that we all attended secret conferences in
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order to plan a war of aggression. Besides that, we are supposed to have ordered the alleged murder of 12,000,000 people. All these accusations have been collectively described as "genocide"--the murder of peoples. In this connection I have the following to declare in summary.
I know my conscience to be completely free from any such guilt, from any complicity in the murder of peoples. Instead of working for the dissolution of the culture and national sentiment of the Eastern European nations, I attempted to improve the physical and spiritual conditions of their existence; instead of destroying their personal security and human dignity, I opposed with all my might, as has been proven, every policy of violent measures, and I rigorously demanded a just attitude on the part of the German officials and a humane treatment of the Eastern Workers. Instead of practising "child slavery," as it is called, I saw to it that young people from territories endangered by combat were granted protection and special care. Instead of exterminating religion, I reinstated the freedom of the Churches in the Eastern territories by a decree of tolerance.
In Germany, in pursuance of my ideological convictions, I demanded freedom of conscience, granted it to every opponent, and never instituted a persecution of religion.
The thought of a physical annihilation of Slavs and Jews, that is to say, the actual murder of entire peoples, has never entered my mind and I most certainly did not advocate it in any way. I was of the opinion that the existing Jewish question would have to be solved by the creation of a minority right, by emigration, or by settling the Jews in a national territory over a ten-year period of time. The White Paper of the British Government of 24 July 1946 shows how historical developments can bring about measures which were never previously planned.
The practice of the German State Leadership in the war, as proven here during the Trial, differed completely from my ideas. To an ever-increasing degree Adolf Hitler drew persons to himself who were not my comrades, but my opponents. With reference to their pernicious deeds I must state that they were not practising the National Socialism for which millions of believing men and women had fought, but rather, shamefully misusing it. It was a degeneration which I, too, very strongly condemned.
I frankly welcome the idea that a crime of genocide is to be outlawed by international agreement and placed under the severest penalties, with the natural provision that neither now nor in the future shall genocide be permitted in any way against the German people either.
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Among other matters, the Soviet prosecutor stated that the entire so-called "ideological activity" had been a "preparation for crime." In that connection I should like to state the following: National Socialism represented the idea of overcoming the class struggle which was disintegrating the people, and uniting all classes in a large national community. Through the Labor Service, for instance, it restored the dignity of manual labor on mother earth, and directed the eyes of all Germans to the necessity of a strong peasantry. By the Winter Relief Work it created a comradely feeling among the entire nation for all fellow-citizens in need, irrespective of their former party membership. It built homes for mothers, youth hostels, and community clubs in factories, and acquainted millions with the yet unknown treasures of art. For all that I served.
But along with my love for a free and strong Reich I never forgot my duty towards venerable Europe. In Rome, as early as 1932, 1 appealed for its preservation and peaceful development, and I fought as long as I could for the idea of internal gains for the peoples of Eastern Europe when I became Eastern Minister in 1941. Therefore in the hour of need I cannot renounce the idea of my life, the ideal of a socially peaceful Germany and a Europe conscious of its values, and I will remain true to it.
Honest service for this ideology, considering all human shortcomings, was not a conspiracy and my actions were never a crime, but I understood my struggle, just as the struggle of many thousands of my comrades, to be one conducted for the noblest idea, an idea which had been fought for under flying banners for over a hundred years.
I ask you to recognize this as the truth.
In that case no persecution of beliefs could arise from this Trial; then, in my conviction, a first step would be taken for a new, mutual understanding among nations, without prejudice, without ill-feeling, and without hatred.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Hans Frank.
HANS FRANK (Defendant): Your Honors:
Adolf Hitler, the chief defendant, left no final statement to the German people and the world. Amid the deepest distress of his people he found no comforting word. He became silent and did not discharge his office as a leader, but went down into darkness, a suicide. Was it stubbornness, despair, or spite against God and man? Perhaps as though he thought: "If I must perish, then let the German people fall into. the abyss also." Who will ever know?
We--and if I now use the term "we," then I mean myself and those National
Socialists who will agree with me in this confession,
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and not those fellow-defendants on whose behalf I am not entitled to speak--we do not wish to abandon the German nation to its fate in the same way without a word; we do not wish to say simply, "Now you will just have to see how you can get along with this collapse which we have left you." Even now, perhaps as never before, we still bear a tremendous spiritual responsibility. At the beginning of our way we did not suspect that our turning away from God could have such disastrous deadly consequences and that we would necessarily become more and more deeply involved in guilt. At that time we could not have known that so much loyalty and willingness to sacrifice on the part of the German people could have been so badly directed by us. Thus, by turning away from God, we were overthrown and had to perish. It was not because of technical deficiencies and unfortunate circumstances alone that we lost the war, nor was it misfortune and treason. Before all, God pronounced and executed judgment on Hitler and the system which we served with minds far from God. Therefore, may our people, too, be called back from the road on which Hitler--and we with him--have led them.
I beg of our people not to continue in this direction, be it even a single step; because Hitler's road was the way without God, the way of turning from Christ, and, in the last analysis, the way of political foolishness, the way of disaster, and the way of death. His path became more and more that of a frightful adventurer without conscience or honesty, as I know today at the end of this Trial.
We call upon the German people, whose rulers we were, to return from this road which, according to the law and justice of God, had to lead us and our system into disaster and which will lead everyone into disaster who tries to walk on it, or continue on it, everywhere in the whole world.
Over the graves of the millions of dead of this frightful second World War this state trial was conducted, lasting for many months, as a central, legal epilogue, and the spirits passed accusingly through this room. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to prepare a defense and justification against the accusations raised against me. In this connection I am thinking of all the victims of the violence and horror of the dreadful events of war. Millions had to perish unquestioned and unheard. I surrendered my war diary, containing my statements and activities, in the hour when I lost my liberty. If I was really ever severe, then it was above all toward myself, at this moment when my actions in the war were made public.
I do not wish to leave any hidden guilt which I have not accounted for behind me in this world. I assumed responsibility on the
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witness stand for all those things for which I must answer. I have also acknowledged that degree of guilt which attaches to me as a champion of Adolf Hitler, his movement, and his Reich.
I have nothing to add to the words of my defense counsel. There is still one statement of mine which I must rectify. On the witness stand I said that a thousand years would not suffice to erase the guilt brought upon our people because of Hitler's conduct in this war. Every possible guilt incurred by our nation has already been, completely wiped out today, not only by the conduct of our war-time enemies towards our nation and its soldiers, which has been carefully kept out of this Trial, but also by the tremendous mass crimes of the most frightful sort which-as I have now learned-have been and still are being committed against Germans by Russians, Poles, and Czechs, especially in East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania, and Sudetenland. Who shall ever judge these crimes against the German people? I end my final statement in the sure hope that from all the horrors of the war and all the threatening developments which are already appearing everywhere, a peace may perhaps still arise in whose blessings even our nation may be able to participate.
But it is God's eternal justice in which I hope our people will be secure and to, which alone I trustfully submit.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Wilhelm Frick.
WILHELM FRICK (Defendant): I have a clear conscience with respect to the Indictment. My entire life was spent in the service of my people and my fatherland. To them I have devoted the best of my strength in the loyal fulfillment of my duty.
I am convinced that no patriotic American or citizen of any other country would have acted differently in my place, if his country had been in the same position. For to have acted any differently would have been a breach of my oath of allegiance, and high treason.
In fulfilling my legal and moral duties, I believe that I have deserved punishment no more than have the tens of thousands of faithful German civil servants and officials in the public service who have already been detained in camps for over a year merely because they did their duty. I feel in duty and honor bound, as a former long-standing public minister, to remember them here in gratitude.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Julius Streicher.
JULIUS STREICHER (Defendant): Your Honors:
At the beginning of this Trial I was asked by the President whether I pleaded guilty in the sense of the Indictment. I answered that question in the negative.
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The completed proceedings and the evidence presented have confirmed the correctness of the statement I gave at that time.
It has been established that:
(1) Mass killings were carried out exclusively upon orders by the Head of the State, Adolf Hitler, without other influence.
(2) The mass killings were carried out without the knowledge of the German people and in complete secrecy by the Reichsfuehrer SS, Heinrich Himmler. The Prosecution had asserted that mass killings would not have been possible without Streicher and his Stuermer. The Prosecution neither offered nor submitted any proof of this assertion.
It is clearly established that on the occasion of the Anti-Jewish Boycott Day in 1933, which I was ordered to lead, and on the occasion of the demonstration of 1933 ordered by Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels, I, in my capacity as Gauleiter, neither ordered, demanded, nor participated in any acts of violence against Jews.
It is further established that in many, articles in my weekly paper, the Stuermer, I advocated the Zionist demand for the creation of a Jewish state as the natural solution of the Jewish problem.
These facts prove that I did not want the Jewish problem to be solved by violence.
If I or other authors mentioned a destruction or extermination of Jewry in some article of my weekly paper, the Stuermer, then these were strong statements in reply to provoking expressions of opinion by Jewish authors in which the extermination of the German people was demanded. According to his last testament the mass killings ordered by the leader of the State, Adolf Hitler, were supposed to be a reprisal which was only brought about by the course of the war, then recognized as becoming unfavorable.
These actions of the leader of the State against the Jews can be explained by his attitude toward the Jewish question, which was thoroughly different from mine. Hitler wanted to punish the Jews because he held them responsible for unleashing the war and for the bombing of the German civilian population. It is deeply regrettable that the mass killings, which can be traced back to the personal decision of the leader of the State, Adolf Hitler, have led to a treatment of the German people which must also be considered as not humane. I repudiate the mass killings which were carried out, in the same way as they are repudiated by every decent German.
Your Honors! Neither in my capacity as Gauleiter nor as political author have I committed a crime, and I therefore look forward to your judgment with a good conscience.
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I have no request to make for myself. I have one for the German people from whom I come. Your Honors, fate has given you the power to pronounce any judgment. Do not pronounce a judgment, Your Honors, which would imprint the stamp of dishonor upon the forehead of an entire nation.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Walter Funk.
WALTER FUNK (Defendant): In the days of my nation's greatest need I joined a political movement, the aim of which was the struggle for the freedom and honor of my fatherland and for a true social community of the people. This movement received the leadership of the State in a legal way. I served this State by virtue of my duty as a civil servant engaged in the execution of the German laws. I felt myself to a high degree bound to perform this duty at a time when there was danger of war and during the war itself, when the existence of the fatherland was threatened in the extreme.
But in war the state is absolutely dependent on the loyalty and faithfulness of its officials.
Now, horrible crimes have become known here, in which the offices under my direction were partly involved.
I learned this here in court for the first time. I did not know of these crimes, and I could not have known them.
These criminal deeds fill me, like every German, with deep shame. I have examined my conscience and memory with the utmost care, and I have told the Court frankly and honestly everything that I knew and have concealed nothing. As far as the deposits of the SS in the Reichsbank are concerned, I only acted in performance of the official duties incumbent on me as President of the Reichsbank. According to law, the acceptance of gold and foreign currency was one of the business tasks of the Reichsbank. The fact that the confiscation of these assets was taking place through the SS agencies subordinate to Himmler could not arouse any suspicion in me. The entire police system, the border control, and especially the search for foreign currency in the Reich and in all occupied areas were under Himmler, but I was equally deceived and imposed upon by Himmler.
Until the time of this Trial, I did not know and did not suspect that among the assets delivered to the Reichsbank there were enormous quantities of pearls, precious stones, jewelry, gold objects, and even spectacle frames, and--horrible to say--gold teeth. That was never reported to me, and I never noticed it either. I never saw these things. But until this Trial I also knew nothing of the fact that millions of Jews were murdered in concentration camps or by the Einsatzkommandos in the East. Never did a single person say even one word to me about these things.
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The existence of extermination camps of this kind was totally unknown to me. I did not know a single one of these names. I have never set foot in a concentration camp either.
I, too, assumed that some of the gold and foreign currency which was deposited in the Reichsbank came from concentration camps, and I frankly stated this fact from the beginning in all of my interrogations. But according to German law everyone was obliged to deliver these assets.
Apart from that, the kind and quantity of these shipments from the SS were never made known to me. But how was I even to suspect that the SS had acquired these assets by desecrating corpses?
If I had known of these horrible circumstances, my Reichsbank would never have accepted these assets for storage and conversion into money. I would have refused, even risking the danger that it might have cost me my head. If I had known of these crimes, Your Honors, I would not be sitting in the defendant's dock today, you may be convinced of that. In that case the grave would have been better for me than this tormented life, this life full of suspicions, slanders, and vulgar accusations.
Not a single human being has ever lost his life because of any measures decreed by me. I have always respected the property of others. I have always tried to help people in need and, as far as it lay within my power, to bring happiness and Joy into their lives. And for that, many will be grateful to me and remain grateful.
Human life consists of error and guilt.
I, too, have made many mistakes; I, too, have let myself be deceived in many things and I frankly acknowledge, I admit, that I have let myself be deceived all too easily, and in many ways have been too unconcerned and too gullible. Therein I see my guilt, but consider myself free from any criminal guilt which I am supposed to have incurred in discharging my official duties. In that respect, my conscience is just as clear today as on the day when I entered this courtroom 10 months ago for the first time.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Hjalmar Schacht.
HJALMAR SCHACHT (Defendant): My sense of justice was deeply wounded by the fact that the final speeches of the Prosecution completely by-passed the evidence resulting from this Trial. The only accusation raised against me under the Charter is that I wanted war. The overwhelming evidence in my case has shown, however, that I was a fanatical opponent of war and tried actively and passively, by protests, sabotage, cunning, and force, to prevent the war.
How, then, can the Prosecution assert that I favored war? How can the Russian
prosecutor assert that I did not turn from Hitler
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until 1943, when my first attempt at a coup d'etat had already been undertaken in the autumn of 1938?
And now Justice Jackson has raised a new accusation against me in his final speech, which has not been discussed at all in the Trial until now. I am said to have planned to release Jews from Germany in exchange for a ransom in foreign currency. This, too, is untrue. Disgusted by the Jewish pogrom of November 1938, I managed to obtain Hitler's approval to a plan which was to facilitate emigration for the Jews. I intended to place 1,500 million Reichsmarks taken from confiscated Jewish property under the administration of an international committee, and Germany was to undertake the obligation to repay this amount to the committee in 20 yearly instalments, and in foreign currency, which is the exact opposite of what Justice Jackson asserted here.
I discussed this plan in December 1938 in London with Lord Berstedt of Samuel and Samuel, with Lord Winterton, and with the American representative, Mr. Rublee. They were all sympathetically disposed towards the plan. But since I was removed from the Reichsbank shortly afterwards by Hitler, the matter was dropped. Had it been carried through, not a single German Jew would have lost his life.
My opposition to Hitler's policies was known at home and abroad and was so clear that even in 1940 the United States Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Kirk, sent me his regards before leaving his Berlin post, adding that after the war I could be counted on as a man free from guilt, which is reported in detail by the witness Huelse in his affidavit (37-b in my document book).
Instead of that, however, the Prosecution has branded me in the world press for a whole year as a robber, murderer, and betrayer. It is this accusation alone which I have to thank for the fact that in the evening of my life I am without means of subsistence and without a home. But the Prosecution are mistaken if they believe, as was mentioned in one of their first speeches, that they can count me amongst the pitiful and broken characters.
To be sure, I erred politically. I never claimed to be a politician, but my economic and financial policy of creating work by assisting credit proved brilliantly successful. The figure of unemployment dropped from 7,000,000 to zero. In the year 1938 the state revenues had risen to such an extent that the repayment of the Reichsbank credits was fully guaranteed. The fact that Hitler refused this repayment, which he had solemnly confirmed, was a tremendous fraud which I could not foresee. My political mistake was not realizing the extent of Hitler's criminal nature at an early enough time. But I did not stain my hands with one single illegal or immoral act. The terrorism of the Gestapo did not frighten me. For
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terrorism must always fail before the appeal to conscience. In this lies the great source of strength which religion gives us.
In spite of that, Justice Jackson considered it proper to accuse me of opportunism and cowardice. And this when the end of the war found me in the Flossenbuerg extermination camp, where I had been imprisoned for 10 months, and where I escaped Hitler's order of murder only by a merciful fate. At the conclusion of this Trial I stand shaken to the very depths of my soul by the unspeakable suffering which I tried to prevent with all my personal efforts and with all attainable means, but which in the end I failed to prevent not through my fault.
Therefore, my head is upright and I am unshaken in the belief that the world will recover, not through the power of violence, but only through the strength of the spirit and morality of actions.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Karl Doenitz.
KARL DOENITZ (Defendant): I should like to say three things. Firstly, you may judge the legality of German submarine warfare as your conscience dictates. I consider this form of warfare justified and have acted according to my conscience. I would have to do exactly the same all over again. My subordinates however, who carried out my orders, acted with complete confidence in me and without there being a shadow of a doubt about the necessity and legality of these orders. In my eyes no subsequent judgment can deprive them of their belief in the honorable character of a struggle for which they voluntarily made sacrifice after sacrifice up to the last hour.
Secondly, there has been much talk here about a conspiracy which is alleged to have existed among the defendants. I consider this allegation a political dogma.
As such it cannot be proved, but can only be believed or rejected. Considerable portions of the German people will never believe, however, that such a conspiracy could have been the cause of their misfortune. Let politicians and jurists argue about it; they will only make it harder for the German people to draw a lesson from this Trial, which is of decisive importance for its attitude toward the past and the shaping of its future the acknowledgement that the Fuehrer principle as a political principle is wrong. In the military leadership of all armies in this world, the Fuehrer principle has proved itself in the best possible way. On the strength of this experience I considered it also right with regard to political leadership, particularly in the case of a nation in the hopeless position in which the German people found itself in 1932. The great successes of the new government and a feeling of happiness such as the entire nation had never known before seemed to prove it right. But if, in spite of all the idealism, all the decency, and all the devotion of the great majority of the
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German people, no other result has been achieved through the Fuehrer principle, in the last analysis, than the misfortune of this people, then this principle as such must be wrong, wrong because apparently human nature is not in a position to use the power of this principle for good, without falling victim to the temptations of this power.
Thirdly, my life was devoted to my profession and thereby to the service of the German people. As the last Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy and as the last Head of the State, I bear the responsibility towards the German people, for everything which I have done and left undone.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Erich Raeder.
ERICH RAEDER (Defendant): This Trial, now that the evidence has been concluded, has had a beneficial result for the German nation; but an unexpected one for the Prosecution. Unimpeachable testimony has cleared the German people--and with them all the persons in the same situation as myself--of the most serious charge, the charge that they had known of the killing of millions of Jews and other people, if they had not actually participated in it. The attempt of the Prosecution, who through earlier interrogations had known the truth for a long time, and who nevertheless continued and repeated their accusations--with the raised finger of the preacher of morals--in the trial briefs and during cross-examinations, this attempt to defame the entire people has collapsed upon itself.
The second result of this Trial, which is general and therefore of interest for me also, is the fact that on the basis of the evidence the German Navy's cleanness and decency in battle were fundamentally confirmed. The German Navy stands before this Court and before the world with a clean shield and an unstained flag.
With a clear conscience we can most emphatically refute Shawcross's attempts in his final speech to place the submarine warfare on the same level with atrocities, because according to the clear results of the evidence they are untenable. In particular, the charge that the German Navy "never had the intention to observe the laws of naval warfare," as Shawcross said, Pages 70 and 71, has been completely invalidated. It has likewise been proved that the Naval Operations Staff and its chief never showed "contempt for international law" (Dubost's final speech), but on the contrary made an honest endeavor from the first to the very last moment to bring the conduct of modern naval warfare into harmony with the requirements of international law and humanity, on the same basis as our opponents.
I regret that the Prosecution tried again and again to defame the German Navy, and myself, as was shown by the submission of
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its second modified trial brief, which differs from the first version only in that the number and severity of insulting statements have been increased. This fact shows that the prosecutors themselves felt that the factual accusations were too weak. But it is also my conviction that the British and American Prosecution have rendered ill service to their own Navies by morally defaming and characterizing as inferior the opponent against whom the Allied naval forces waged hard and honorable naval war over a number of years. I am convinced that the admiralties of the Allied powers understand me and that they know that they have not fought against a criminal.
The only way I can explain to myself this attitude adopted by the Prosecution is by assuming that its representatives, as I necessarily perceived again and again, revealed only very little judgment regarding the principles of truly soldier-like conduct and military leadership and that, therefore, they hardly seem qualified to judge soldierly honor.
To sum up: I have done my duty as a soldier because it was my conviction that this was the best way for me to serve the German people and fatherland, for which I have lived and for which I am prepared to die at any moment. If I have incurred guilt in any way, then this was chiefly in the sense that in spite of my purely military position I should perhaps have been not only a soldier, but also up to a certain point a politician, which, however, was in contradiction to my entire career and the tradition of the German Armed Forces. But then this would have been a guilt, a moral guilt, towards the German people, and could never at any time brand me as a war criminal. It would not have been guilt before a human criminal court, but rather guilt before God.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Baldur von Schirach.
BALDUR VON SCHIRACH (Defendant): On 24 May I made a statement here for which I answer before God and my conscience and which I fully uphold, even today at the end of the Trial, because it is in accordance with my honest innermost conviction.
In their final speech the British Prosecution made the following statement:
"Schirach corrupted millions of German children so that they became what they really are today, the blind instruments of that policy of murder and domination which these men have carried out."
If this charge were justified I would not say a word in my defense. However, it is not justified; it is untrue. Whoever in any way takes into consideration the results of the evidence in this Trial, and honestly appraises it, can never under any circumstances
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raise the accusation against me that I "had corrupted the youth and poisoned their souls through my educational work." The principles and aims which I set for youth, and which were binding on the community which our youth built up with their own strength under my leadership, were the following: self-sacrificing love of the fatherland, the overcoming of social snobbery and class hatred, planned health supervision, physical training by means of hiking, games and sports, promotion of professional education, and particularly, comradely understanding with the youth of other countries. Ever since my own youth I have kept these principles and aims before my eyes as the ideals of a national German education. These principles and aims were not dictated to me by the Party or by the State, and if Hitler were present here this would be completely unimportant for my defense, because as German Youth Leader I do not appeal to his authority, but to my own.
These educational principles, however, which were demonstrated a thousand times in all my speeches, writings, and directives, and to which as Reich Youth Leader I have always remained faithful, are, according to my firm conviction, the principles of every leader of youth who is conscious of his duty toward his people and its youth. The achievements of our youth and its moral attitude have proved me right, and prove that it was never corrupt, and was not corrupted by me either. German youth was and is industrious and decent, honest and idealistic. In peace it contributed honorably toward its higher education, and in war it bravely did its duty towards our nation, for our German fatherland, to the utmost.
In this hour, when I can speak for the last time to the Military Tribunal of the four victorious powers, I should like, with a clear conscience, to confirm the following on behalf of our German youth: that it is completely innocent of the abuses and degeneration of the Hitler regime which were established during this Trial, that it never wanted this war, and that neither in peace nor in war did it participate in any crimes. As the leader of German youth for many years, I know the development, the opinions, and the conduct of our younger generation. Who could know it better than I? I always had my friends amongst this youth; in their midst I was always happy and at all times I have been proud of them.
I knew that in. all the years when I was Reich Youth Leader, in spite of the fact that its membership counted millions, the youth, as a matter of principle and without exception, kept itself apart from any actions of which it would have to be ashamed today. It knew nothing of the innumerable atrocities which were committed by Germans; and just as it knew of no wrongs, it did not wish any wrong. It cannot and must not be overlooked that even during the greatest embitterment of the period following the war, nobody
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could consider indicting the organization of German youth and its leaders as criminal. Unselfish comradeship in a youth movement which showed the greatest love for the poorest children of the people, loyalty to the homeland, pleasure in sport, and honest understanding with the youth of other nations, that was the aim of our youth and the content of its training from the first to the last day of my term as Reich Youth Leader. This Youth has not deserved the hard fate which has come upon it.
My personal fate is of secondary importance, but youth is the hope of our nation. And if I may express a wish in this last moment, then it is this:
Will you, as judges, help to remove the distorted picture of German youth which the world still has today in many places and which cannot stand up under historical investigation? Tell the world in your judgment that the libelous writings of a Gregor Ziemer used by the Prosecution contain nothing but the evil slanders of a man who has extended his hatred against everything German to German youth also. Will you, as judges, also help so that the youth organizations of your nations will once more resume their co-operation with the German youth at the point where, through no fault of the younger generation, it was interrupted in 1939? With a grateful heart our youth has listened to the words of Lord Beveridge who has advocated, with farsightedness and passion, that German youth be declared free of guilt. Joyfully it will grasp the hand which is stretched out to it across the ruins and debris.
May you, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, contribute through your judgment towards creating an atmosphere of mutual respect among the younger generation, an atmosphere which is free of hatred and revenge.
That is my last request, a heartfelt request on behalf of our German youth!
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken until 1400 hours.]
* * * * * * * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: Then I call upon the Defendant Sauckel.
FRITZ SAUCKEL (Defendant): Gentlemen of the Tribunal:
I have been shaken to the very depths of my soul by the atrocities revealed in this Trial. In all humility and reverence, I bow before the victims and the fallen of all nations, and before the misfortune and suffering of my own people, with whom alone I must measure my fate.
I come from a social level completely different from that of my comrades accused with me. In my nature and thinking I remained a sailor and a worker. After the first World War, the course of my life was determined through my own experience of the sorrows and needs of the masses of my people who were struggling for their existence. Inner conflicts forced me into politics. I could be nothing else but a Socialist. But I could not embrace the Communist manifesto. I was never antireligious or even irreligious, but quite the contrary. I fought a hard struggle with myself before I turned to politics.
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And so I finally dedicated myself to socialist love and justice toward those whose only wealth is their labor and, at the same time, to the destiny of my nation. In this I saw the only possible connection between socialist thinking and true love of one's country. This belief alone determined my life and my actions.
I saw here no contradiction to the laws of humanity. I recognized no arbitrary dictatorship or tyranny in the principle of leaders and loyal followers. My error was perhaps the excess of my feelings and my confidence in, as well as my great veneration of, Hitler. I knew him only as the champion of the German people's rights to existence and saw him as the man who was kind to workers, women, and children, and who promoted the vital interests of Germany. The Hitler of this Trial I could not recognize. Perhaps my loneliness and submersion in the world of my imagination and my work was a further defect. I hardly ever had social contact with the occupants of high positions in the Reich; what little spare time I had belonged to my family. I was and am happy that my wife is the daughter of a worker, who himself was and remained a Social Democrat.
In this, my last word, I solemnly assure you that I was completely surprised by all foreign political events and the beginning of all military actions. Under no circumstances would I have cooperated as a German worker--and for German workers--to help plan the madness of unleashing a war of aggression. I only became a National Socialist because I condemned class struggle, expropriation, and civil war, and because I firmly believed in Hitler's absolute desire for peace and understanding with the rest of the world, and in his work of reconstruction. Because I was a worker, I always did everything possible in my own field of activity to prevent excesses, arbitrary acts, and brutality of any kind. I was sufficiently naive, against the opposition of Himmler and Goebbels, to put through my manifesto and many other decrees for the employment of labor, which prescribed humane and correct treatment of foreign workers as compulsory for all offices. I never would have been able to bear the knowledge of these terrible secrets and crimes without protest, nor, with such knowledge, would I have been able to face my people or my 10 innocent children. I had no part in any conspiracy against peace or against humanity, nor did I tolerate murders or mistreatment. During the war itself I had to do my duty. I received the position of Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor in 1942, at a time of grave military crisis, and it came as a complete surprise to me. I was bound by the existing labor laws, the orders of the Fuehrer, and the decrees of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich.
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I do not know why it was just I who received this task. In my own Gau I had particularly gained the confidence of the workers, farmers, and artisans, and even before 1933, that is, before Hitler assumed power, I had been elected by a large majority in free parliamentary elections as the chief of the state government there.
I believe that Providence endowed me with a good talent for organization and practical work, as well as with a capacity for enthusiasm. Perhaps that was the reason why I received my task. It was a heavy burden for me. The soil of Berlin was completely alien to me. Because I am a worker, I never thought of making slaves of foreign human beings. My requirement that people be managed economically does not in any way mean their inhuman exploitation, but rather their economic, rational, and correct employment in labor. It was never my intention to commit crimes against international law, the laws of war, or the laws of humanity. Not for a single moment did I doubt the legality and admissibility of my task, for I thought it completely out of the question that the German Government would break international law. If, however, you tell me that, in spite of that, German labor laws could not be applied in the occupied territories, then I beg to reply that even high-ranking Frenchmen, Belgians, Poles, and also Russians have told me that they were supporting Germany with labor in order to protect Europe against a threatening Communist system, and in order to prevent unemployment and mass suffering during the war.
However, not only did I work for the fulfillment of my task with the greatest zeal, but at the same time I tried with all my might and with all possible means, immediately upon assuming office, to eliminate the critical conditions in the organization and care of foreign laborers, which had developed through the winter catastrophe of 1941 to 1942, and to do away with all shortcomings and abuses.
I also believed, as my documents prove, that we could win the foreign workers over to our German cause by giving them the proper treatment I demanded. Perhaps in the eyes of Himmler and Goebbels I was a hopeless Utopian--they were my foes. But I honestly fought to have the foreign workers receive the same rights and conditions as the German workers. This is also attested, to by the numerous documents of my defense counsel and has been confirmed by all the statements of the witnesses before this Tribunal.
If my work was incomplete nobody can regret it more deeply and painfully than myself. Unfortunately that was only partly in my power, as my counsel has proved.
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The evidence has shown that things happened in the occupied territories on which I and the labor employment office, which was civilian-controlled, could exercise no influence whatsoever. However, all German enterprises and agencies requiring labor complained to me that I was always delivering too few workers for the war effort, and that it would be my fault if the war economy and food economy were threatened by dangerous crises. These heavy responsibilities and worries dominated me so much that I found and had no time at all for other developments. This I regret.
I assume responsibility for my decrees and for my employees. I never saw the records of the Central Planning Board before this Trial; otherwise I would have corrected false or unclear passages, as, for instance, the passage with reference to the impossible figure of only 200,000 volunteer workers. This also applies to a number of other statements which were incorrectly taken down by third parties and never actually put into practice.
Because I am a worker and have personally served on foreign ships, I am grateful to the foreign workers who were in Germany, for they helped us greatly and they worked well. This, perhaps, is proof of the fact that on the whole they were treated decently and humanely. I myself often visited them. Because I was a working man, I spent the Christmas celebrations of 1943 and 1944 with foreign workers in order to show my attitude towards them.
My own children worked among foreign workers, under the same working conditions. Could I, or German workers and the German people, consider that as slavery? The necessity for this was our emergency. The German people and the German workers would never have tolerated conditions comparable to slavery around them. My defense counsel has presented the complete truth about my case with extreme objectivity. I thank him for this from the bottom of my heart. For his own part, he was strict and correct in investigating my case. My intentions and conscience are clean.
The shortcomings and the necessities of the war, the frightful conditions it produced, have touched my heart deeply.
I myself am prepared to meet any fate -which Providence has in store for me, just like my son, who was killed in the war.
The Gauleiter whom I employed as plenipotentiaries for the allocation of labor had the sole task of providing for the proper treatment and care of the German and foreign workers.
God protect my people, whom I love above all else, and may the Lord God again bless the labor of German workers, to whom my entire life and effort were devoted, and may He give peace to the world!
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THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Alfred Jodl.
ALFRED JODL (Defendant): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal, it is my unshakable belief that later historians will arrive at a just and objective verdict concerning the higher military leaders and their assistants, for they, and the entire German Wehrmacht with them, were confronted with an insoluble task, namely, to conduct a war which they had not wanted under a commander-in-chief whose confidence they did not possess and whom they themselves only trusted within limits; with methods which frequently were in contradiction to their principles of leadership and their traditional, proved opinions; with troops and police forces which did not come under their full command; and with an intelligence service which in part was working for the enemy. And all this in the complete and clear realization that this war would decide the life or death of our beloved fatherland. They did not serve the powers of Hell and they did not serve a criminal, but rather their people and their fatherland.
As far as I am concerned, I believe that no man can do more than to try to reach the highest of the goals which appear attainable to him. That and nothing else has always been the guiding principle for my actions, and for that reason, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, no matter what verdict you may pass upon me, I shall leave this courtroom with my head held as high as when I entered it many months ago.
But whoever calls me a traitor to the honorable tradition of the German Army, or whoever asserts that I remained at my post for personal and egotistical reasons, him I shall call a traitor to the truth. In a war such as this, in which hundreds of thousands of women and children were annihilated by layers of bombs or killed by low-flying aircraft, and in which partisans used every--yes, every single means of violence which seemed expedient, harsh measures, even though they may appear questionable from the standpoint of international law, are not a crime in morality or in conscience.
For I believe and avow that a man's duty toward his people and fatherland stands above every other. To carry out this duty was for me an honor, and the highest law.
May this duty be supplanted in some happier future by an even higher one, by the duty toward humanity.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Franz von Papen.
FRANZ VON PAPEN (Defendant): Your Lordship, may it please the Tribunal, when I returned home in 1919, I found a people, torn by the political struggles of the parties, which was then attempting to find a new mode of existence after the downfall. In those days of my country's misfortune, I believed as a responsible German that I had no right to stand inactive on the sidelines.
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It was clear to me that a rebirth of my country was only possible by way of peace and intellectual understanding, an understanding which did not deal only with political forms, but was even more concerned with the solution of the extremely urgent social problems, the first condition for bringing about internal peace.
Against the onslaught of radical ideologies it was necessary--and this was my conviction--that Christianity be maintained as the starting point of the new political order. On the issue of this internal understanding the maintenance of European peace would have to depend.
The best years of my lifework were devoted to this question, in the community, in Parliament, in the Prussian State, and in the Reich. Anyone who is acquainted with the facts knows that I did not aspire to high office in 1932. Hindenburg's urgent appeal on behalf of the fatherland was to me a command. And when, like countless other Germans in the emergency of 1933, 1 decided to co-operate by occupying a prominent position, then I did so because I considered it to be my duty, because I believed in the possibility of steering National Socialism into responsible channels, and because I hoped that the maintenance of Christian principles would be the best counterweight against ideological and political radicalism and would guarantee peaceful domestic and foreign development. That goal was not reached. The power of evil was stronger than the power of good and drove Germany inevitably into catastrophe. Put should that be a reason to damn those who kept the banner of faith flying in the struggle against disbelief? And does that entitle Justice Jackson to claim that I was nothing but the hypocritical agent of a godless government? Or what gives Sir Hartley Shawcross the right to say, with scorn, ridicule, and contempt: "He preferred to reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven"?
Gentlemen of the Prosecution, it is not for you to judge here, that is for others. But I should like to ask: Is not the question of defending transcendental values more than ever the central issue today in the efforts to rebuild a world?
I believe that I can face my responsibility with a clear conscience. Love of country and people was the only decisive factor in all my actions. I spoke without fear of man whenever I had to speak. It was not the Nazi regime but the fatherland which I served when, in spite of the severest disappointments at the failure of my hopes in the field of domestic policy, I attempted, from the vantage point of my diplomatic posts, to save at least the peace.
When I examine my conscience, I do not find any guilt where the Prosecution has looked for it and claims to have found it. But where is the man without guilt and without faults? Seen from the historical point of view, this guilt may be found on that dramatic
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day of 2 December 1932, when I did not attempt to persuade the Reich President with all the means at my disposal to abide by the decision he had made the night before--despite the violation of the Constitution and despite the threat by General von Schleicher to start a civil war.
Does the Prosecution want to damn all those who with honest intentions offered to co-operate? Does it claim that the German people elected Hitler in 1933 because they wanted war? Does it really claim that the overwhelming majority of the German people made their tremendous spiritual and material sacrifices-including even the sacrifice of their youth on the battlefields of this war--merely for Hitler's Utopian and criminal aims?
This High Tribunal faces this infinitely difficult task without yet having gained sufficient distance in time from the catastrophe to be able to recognize the causes and results of historical developments in their true connections. Only if this High Tribunal recognizes and acknowledges the historic truth will the historical meaning of this Tribunal be fulfilled. Only then will the German people, in spite of the destruction of its Reich, not only come to a realization of its errors, but also find the strength for its future task.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Arthur Seyss-Inquart.
ARTHUR SEYSS-INQUART (Defendant): Mr. President, in my final words I want to make one more contribution in my power toward clearing up the matters which have been treated here, by explaining the personal motives and considerations for my actions.
I have little to say concerning the Austrian question. I regard the Anschluss, apart from later events, as an exclusively German domestic affair. For every Austrian the Anschluss was a goal in itself and never, even remotely, a preparatory step for a war of aggression.
The idea of the Anschluss, was much too important a goal for that; indeed, it was the outstanding goal of the German people. "To the German people I make a report of the greatest success of my life." I believed these words-of the Fuehrer when he spoke on 15 March 1938 in the Hofburg in Vienna. Moreover, they were true. When on 11 March 1938 at about 8 o'clock in the evening, and after the complete breakdown of every other political and state authority, I followed the way prescribed by Berlin, the reason was that the unjustified opposition to the carrying out of orderly elections had opened the doors to radical action, practically as well as psychologically. I asked myself whether I had the right to oppose these methods, after my plan had apparently not been practicable.
However, since this procedure appeared justified, I felt it my duty to lend such
aid as I could under the circumstances. I am
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convinced that it is due mainly to my aid that this fundamental revolution, particularly during the night of 12 March, took place so quietly and without bloodshed, although strong hatred was pent up in the hearts of the Austrian National Socialists.
I was in favor of the unity of all Germans, no matter what form of government Germany had. I believe that the Prosecution is utilizing documents of the period following the Anschluss in order to deduce my plans for annexation and aggression. These are documents and remarks regarding the Danube area and Czechoslovakia dated later than 1 October 1938, and after the Munich Agreement, and regarding the Vistula area later than 1 September 1939, after the outbreak of war. I admit these statements, and in the mean time their correctness has been confirmed. As long as the Danube area was incorporated in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy its development was beneficial to all, and the German element did not display any imperialistic activity, but only furthered and contributed to culture and industry. Ever since this area was broken up by the integral success of the nationalistic principle, it has never achieved peace. Remembering this, I thought of reorganizing a common Lebensraum, which, as I openly declared, should give as the most essential requirement such a social order to all, namely, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, and Romanians, as would make life worth living for every individual. I also thought of Czechoslovakia with this in mind, recalling the co-ordination of languages in Moravia, which I myself had witnessed. If I spoke of the Vistula area after 1 September 1939 as a German area of destiny, this was out of my endeavor to prevent dangers for the future, which had become obvious through the outbreak of war and which have today become a terrible reality to every German. These statements can no more serve as evidence of the intention to wage a war of aggression than the decision of Teheran concerning the German eastern territories.
Then the war broke out, which I immediately recognized then and afterwards as a life-and-death struggle for the German people. To the demand for an unconditional surrender I could only oppose an unconditional "no" and my unconditional service to my country. I believe in the words of Rathenau:
"Courageous nations can be broken, but never bent."
In connection with the Netherlands, I should like to say only the following with reference to the charge that I interfered in the administration for political purposes. Nobody in the Netherlands was forced into any political allegiance or limited in his freedom or property if he harbored anti-German ideas during the occupation, as long as he did not engage in hostile activity.
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I have already explained that I had serious humane and legal scruples against the evacuation of the Jews. Today I must say to myself that there appears to be a fundamental justification for large-scale and permanent evacuations, for such evacuations are today affecting more than 10 million Germans who have been settled in their homes for many centuries.
After the middle of 1944, saboteurs and terrorists were shot by the Police on the basis of a direct Fuehrer order, if their activity was proved. During this time I only heard of shootings of this kind, never of "shootings of hostages" in the actual sense. The Dutch patriots who lost their lives during the occupation are today rightly considered fallen heroes. Does it not put this heroism on a lower plane to represent them exclusively as the victims of a crime, thus implying that their conduct would not have been so hazardous at all if the occupying power had conducted itself in a proper manner? They all stood in a voluntary and active connection with the resistance movement. They share the fate of front-line soldiers: the bullet hits the man who is active in a danger zone.
Could I have been the friend of the Dutch, the overwhelming majority of whom were against my people, which, in turn, was fighting for its existence? Besides, I have only regretted that I did not come to the country as a friend. But I was neither a hangman nor, of my own will, a plunderer, as the Soviet Prosecution contends. My conscience is untroubled to the extent that the biological condition of the Dutch people during the period of my full responsibility-that is, up to the middle of 1944 was better than in the first World War, when it was neither occupied nor blockaded. This is evidenced by the statistics of marriages and births and by the mortality and illness figures. This is certainly also to be attributed to the effects of a number of measures instituted by me, for example, an extensive health insurance, contributions to married couples and children, graduation of the income tax according to social position, et cetera. Finally, I did not carry out the order to destroy the country, which was issued to me, and on my own initiative I put an end to the occupation for defense purposes when resistance in Holland had become senseless. I have two more statements regarding Austria.
If the Germans in Austria wish their common destiny with the Germans in the Reich to become a reality inwardly and outwardly, then no authoritarian obstacles ought to be opposed to this wish, and no room given for interference by non-German forces in this decision. Otherwise, the whole German people would follow the most radical trend towards an Anschluss without considering how the rest of the political program of such a movement might be constituted.
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Secondly, on the question of the effectiveness of provisions of international law during a war: From the point of view of her own interests Germany cannot desire any war. She must even see to it that no weapons are forced into her hands. The other nations do not want a war, either, but that possibility is never absolutely out of the question unless nations abhor it. It is, therefore, wrong to try to minimize a future war and reduce the defensive forces in the nations by creating the impression that a future world war could in some way be kept within the framework of the Hague Conventions on Land Warfare, or some other international agreement.
And now I probably still owe an explanation regarding my attitude to Adolf Hitler. Since he saw the measure of all things only in himself, did he prove himself incapable of fulfilling a decisive task for the German people, indeed, for Europe itself, or was he a man who struggled, although in vain, even to the point of committing unimaginable excesses, against ' the course of an inexorable fate? To me he remains the man who made Greater Germany a fact in German history. I served this man. And now? I cannot today cry "Crucify him," since yesterday I cried "Hosanna."
Finally I thank my defense counsel for the care and circumspection he has employed in my defense.
My last word is the principle by which I have always acted and to which I will adhere to my last breath: "I believe in Germany."
THE PRESIDENT: I call on the Defendant Albert Speer.
ALBERT SPEER (Defendant): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal: Hitler and the collapse of his system have brought a time of tremendous suffering upon the German people. The useless continuation of this war and the unnecessary destruction make the work of reconstruction more difficult. Privation and misery have come to the German people. After this Trial, the German people will despise and condemn Hitler as the proven author of its misfortune. But the world will learn from these happenings not only to hate dictatorship as a form of government, but to fear it.
Hitler's dictatorship differed in one fundamental point from all its predecessors in history. His was the first dictatorship in the present period of modern technical development, a dictatorship which made complete use of all technical means in a perfect manner for the domination of its own nation.
Through technical devices such as radio and loudspeaker 80 million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man. The telephone, teletype, and radio made it possible, for instance, for orders from the highest sources to be transmitted directly to the lowest-ranking units, where, because of the high authority, they were carried out without criticism. Another result was that numerous offices and
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headquarters were directly attached to the supreme leadership, from which they received their sinister orders directly. Also, one of the results was a far-reaching supervision of the citizen of the state and the maintenance of a high degree of secrecy for criminal events.
Perhaps to the outsider this machinery of the state may appear like the lines of a telephone exchange--apparently without system. But like the latter, it could be served and dominated by one single will.
Earlier dictators during their work of leadership needed highly qualified assistants, even at the lowest level, men who could think and act independently. The totalitarian system in the period of modern technical development can dispense with them; the means of communication alone make it possible to mechanize the subordinate leadership. As a result of this there arises a new type: the uncritical recipient of orders.
We had only reached the beginning of the development. The nightmare of many a man that one day nations could be dominated by technical means was all but realized in Hitler's totalitarian system.
Today the danger of being terrorized by technocracy threatens every country in the world. In modern dictatorship this appears to me inevitable. Therefore, the more technical the world becomes, the more necessary is the promotion of individual freedom and the individual's awareness of himself as a counterbalance.
Hitler not only took advantage of technical developments to dominate his own people-he almost succeeded, by means of his technical lead, in subjugating the whole of Europe. It was merely due to a few fundamental shortcomings of organization such as are typical in a dictatorship because of the absence of criticism, that he did not have twice as many tanks, aircraft, and submarines before 1942.
But, if a modern industrial state utilizes its intelligence, its science, its technical developments, and its production for a number of years in order to gain a lead in the sphere of armament, then even with a sparing use of its manpower it can, because of its technical superiority, completely overtake and conquer the world, if other nations should employ their technical abilities during that same period on behalf of the cultural progress of humanity. The more technical the world becomes, the greater this danger will be, and the more serious will be an established lead in the technical means of warfare. This war ended with remote-controlled rockets, aircraft traveling at the speed of sound, new types of submarines, torpedoes which find their own target, with atom bombs, and with, the prospect of a horrible kind of chemical warfare.
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Of necessity the next war will be overshadowed by these new destructive inventions of the human mind.
In 5 or 10 years the technique of warfare will make it possible to fire rockets from continent to continent with uncanny precision. By atomic power it can destroy one million people in the center of New York in a matter of seconds with a rocket operated, perhaps, by only 10 men, invisible, without previous warning, faster than sound, by day and by night. Science is able to spread pestilence among human beings and animals and to destroy crops by insect warfare. Chemistry has developed 'terrible weapons with which it can inflict unspeakable suffering upon helpless human beings.
Will there ever again be a nation which will use the technical discoveries of this war for the preparation of a new war, while the rest of the world is employing the technical progress of this war for the benefit of humanity, thus attempting to create a slight compensation for its horrors? As a former minister of a highly developed armament system, it is my last duty to say the following:
A new large-scale war will end with the destruction of human culture and civilization. Nothing can prevent unconfined engineering and science from completing the work of destroying human beings, which it has begun in so dreadful a way in this war.
Therefore this Trial must contribute towards, preventing such degenerate wars in the future, and towards establishing rules whereby human beings can live together.
Of what importance is my own fate, after everything that has happened, in comparison with this high goal?
During the past centuries the German people have contributed much towards the creation of human civilization. Often they have made these contributions in times when they were just as powerless and helpless as they are today. Worth-while human beings will not let themselves be driven to despair. They will create new and lasting values, and under the tremendous pressure brought to bear upon everyone today these new works will be of particular greatness. But if the German people create new cultural values in the unavoidable times of their poverty and weakness, and at the same time in the period of their reconstruction, then they will have in that way made the most valuable contribution to world events which they could make in their position. It is not the battles of war alone which shape the history of humanity, but also, in a higher sense, the cultural achievements which one day will become the common property of all humanity. A nation which believes in its future will never perish. May God protect Germany and the culture of the West.
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THE PRESIDENT: I call upon Defendant Constantin von Neurath.
CONSTANTIN VON NEURATH (Defendant): Firm in the conviction that truth and justice will prevail before this High Tribunal over all hatred, slander, and misrepresentation, I believe that I should add only this one thing to the words of my defense counsel: my life was consecrated to truth and honor, to the maintenance of peace and the reconciliation of nations, to humanity and justice. I stand with a clear conscience not only before myself, but before history and the German people.
If, in spite of this, the Tribunal should find me guilty, I shall be able to bear even this and take it upon myself as a last sacrifice on behalf of my people, to serve whom was the substance and purpose of my life.
THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Hans Fritzsche.
HANS FRITZSCHE (Defendant): May it please the Tribunal: The chief prosecutors in their final speeches have repeated several of the accusations against me, although in my opinion they were clearly refuted by the evidence. I have summarized some of these points. I do not propose to read them. If it is not contrary to the rules of this Tribunal, and if it please the Tribunal, then I shall request that they take judicial notice of this summary, which amounts to six pages. They are available in translation.
I should not like to waste the great opportunity for the final word in this Trial by enumerating details, all of which can be found in the transcripts and documents. I must turn to the sum total of all the crimes, since the Prosecution alleges that I was connected with all these crimes through a conspiracy. To this charge I can only say that if I had spread the kind of propaganda in my radio talks of which the Prosecution now accuses me; if I had advocated the doctrine of the master race; if I had preached hatred against other nations; if I had incited people to wars of aggression, acts of violence, murder, and inhumanity; if I had done all that--then, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, the German nation would have turned from me and would have repudiated the system for which I spoke.
Even if I had done this only in disguised form, my listeners would have noticed it and repudiated it.
But the misfortune lies precisely in the fact that I did not advocate all these doctrines which were secretly guiding the actions of Hitler and a small circle which, in the light of the testimony of the witnesses Hoess, Reinecke, and Morgen, among others, is now slowly emerging from the mist in which it was hidden until now.
I believed, in Hitler's assurances of a sincere desire for peace. Therefore I strengthened the trust of the German people in them.
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I believed in the official German denials of all foreign reports of German atrocities. And with my belief I strengthened the belief of the German people in the uprightness of the German state leadership.
That is my guilt--no more, no less.
The prosecutors have expressed the horror of their nations at the atrocities which occurred. They did not expect any good from Hitler, and they are shattered by the extent of what really happened. But try for a moment to understand the indignation of those who expected good from Hitler and who then saw how their trust, their good will, and their idealism were misused. I find myself in the position of a man who has been deceived, together with many, many other Germans of whom the Prosecution says that they could have recognized all that happened from the smoke rising from the chimneys of the concentration camps, or from the mere sight of the prisoners, and so forth.
I feel that it is a great misfortune that the Prosecution has pictured these matters in such a way as if all of Germany had been a tremendous den of iniquity. It is a misfortune that the Prosecution is generalizing the extent of the crimes which are in themselves horrible enough. As against this I must say that if anyone once believed in Hitler during the years of peaceful reconstruction, he only needed to be loyal, courageous, and self-sacrificing to go on believing in him until, by the discovery of carefully hidden secrets, he could recognize the devil in him. That is the only explanation for the struggle which Germany carried on for 68 months. Such a willingness to sacrifice does not grow from crime, but only from idealism and good faith, and from clever and apparently honest organization.
I regret that the Prosecution has undertaken to generalize the crimes, because it is bound to add still more to the mountain of hatred which lies upon the world. But the time has come to interrupt the perpetual cycle of hatred which has dominated the world up to now.' It is high time to call a halt to the alternate sowing and reaping of new harvests of hatred. The murder of five million people is an awful warning, and today humanity possesses the technical means for its own destruction. Therefore, in my judgment, the Prosecution should not replace one hatred by another.
I have a right to say this before my conscience, because I have not preached hatred, as the Prosecution asserted, nor have I closed the door to pity. On the contrary, many times, even in the middle of the bitterest struggle, I have raised the voice of humanity. This is proved by the vast majority of my speeches, which one can compare at any time with the statements of my enemies. Even if my addresses could not be submitted here before the Tribunal, they cannot have, simply vanished from this earth.
31 Aug. 46
It is perfectly possible, perhaps even understandable, that the storm of indignation which swept the world because of the atrocities which were committed should obliterate the borders of individual responsibility. If that happens, if collective responsibility is to, be attached even to those who were misused in good faith, Your Honors, I beg you to hold me responsible. As my defense counsel has emphasized, I do not hide behind the millions who acted in good faith and were misused. I will place myself before those for whom my good faith was once an additional guarantee of the purity of purpose of the system. But this responsibility of mine only applies to those who acted in good faith, not for those who originated, assisted in, or knew of these atrocities, beginning with murder and ending with the selection of living human beings for anatomical collections.
Between these criminals and myself there is only one connection: they merely misused me in a different way than they misused those who became their physical victims.
It may be difficult to separate German crime from German idealism. It is not impossible. If this distinction is made, much suffering will be avoided for Germany and for the world.