IMT Judgment against Afred Jodl

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IMT Judgment against Afred Jodl

Post by David Thompson » 13 Aug 2003 19:03

Alfred Jodl (10.5.1890-16.10.1946) [Generaloberst] -- b. Wuerzburg; WWI service as Bavarian artillery officer; chief of the Nation Defense Section in the German Armed Forces High Command 1935-1938; Artillery Leader 44 (Artillerieführer XXXXIV) 1938-1939; chief of the German Armed Forces Leadership Department in the Armed Forces High Command (Chef des Wehrmachtführungsamtes im OKW) (title changed to Chief of the Armed Forces Leadership Department and Leadership Staff of the Armed Forces [Chef Wehrmacht-Führungsamt und Führungsstab der Wehrmacht] 8 Oct 1940) 27 Aug 1939-14 May 1945; Chief, of the Armed Forces High Command (Chef Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - OKW) 13-23 May 1945 [Knights Cross 1945; Oakleaves 1945]

Jodl was sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes by International Military Tribunal (IMT) on 2 Oct 1946; he was executed at Landsber-am-Lech prison, Nuernberg on 16 Oct 1946.

Notwithstanding the IMT judgment, Jodl was posthumously rehabilitated by a West German appeals court 28 Feb 1953.

The International Military Tribunal found Jodl guilty of conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Here is their judgment:

"From 1935 to 1938 he was Chief of the National Defense Section in the High Command. After a year in command of troops, in August 1939 he returned to become Chief of the Operations Staff of the High Command of the Armed Forces. Although his immediate superior was Defendant Keitel, he reported directly to Hitler on operational matters. In the strict military sense, Jodl was the actual planner of the war and responsible in large measure for the strategy and conduct of operations.

Jodl defends himself on the ground he was a soldier sworn to obedience, and not a politician; and that his staff and planning work left him no time for other matters. He said that when he signed or initialed orders, memoranda, and letters, he did so for Hitler and often in the absence of Keitel. Though he claims that as a soldier he had to obey Hitler, he says that he often tried to obstruct certain measures by delay, which occasionally proved successful as when he resisted Hitler's demand that a directive be issued to lynch Allied "terror fliers."

Crimes against Peace

Entries in Jodl's diary of 13 and 14 February 1938 show Hitler instructed both him and Keitel to keep up military pressure against Austria, begun at the Schuschnigg conference, by simulating military measures, and that these achieved their purpose. When Hitler decided "not to tolerate" Schuschnigg's plebiscite, Jodl brought to the conference the "old draft," the existing staff plan. His diary for 10 March shows Hitler then ordered the preparation of "Case Otto," and the directive was initialed by Jodl. Jodl issued supplementary instructions on 11 March, and initialed Hitler's order for the invasion on the same date.

In planning the attack on Czechoslovakia, Jodl was very active, according to the Schmundt notes. He initialed Items 14, 17, 24, 36, and 37 in the notes. Jodl admits he agreed with OKH that the "incident" to provide German intervention must occur at the latest by 1400 hours on X-1 Day, the day before the attack, and said it must occur at a fixed time in good flying weather. Jodl conferred with the propaganda experts on "imminent common tasks" such as German violations of international law, exploitation of them by the enemy, and refutations by the Germans, which "task" Jodl considered "particularly important."

After Munich, Jodl wrote:

"Czechoslovakia as a power is out.... The genius of the Fuehrer and his determination not to shun even a world war have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak, and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way." Shortly after the Sudeten occupation, Jodl went to a post command and did not become Chief of the Operations Staff in OKW until the end of August 1939.

Jodl discussed the Norway invasion with Hitler, Keitel, and Raeder on 12 December 1939; his diary is replete with later entries on his activities in preparing this attack. Jodl explains his comment that Hitler was still looking for an "excuse" to move meant that he was waiting for reliable intelligence on the British plans, and defends the invasion as a necessary move to forestall them. His testimony shows that from October 1939 Hitler planned to attack the West through Belgium, but was doubtful about invading Holland until the middle of November. On 8 February 1940, Jodl, his deputy Warlimont, and Jeschonnek, the air forces planner, discussed among themselves the "new idea" of attacking Norway, Denmark, and Holland, but guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium. Many of the 17 orders postponing the attack in the West for various reasons, including weather conditions, until May 1940, were signed by Jodl.

He was active in the planning against Greece and Yugoslavia. The Hitler order of 11 January 1941 to intervene in Albania was initialed by Jodl. On 20 January, 4 months before the attack, Hitler told a conference of German and Italian generals in Jodl's presence that German troop concentrations in Romania were to be used against Greece. Jodl was present on 18 March when Hitler told Raeder all Greece must be occupied before any settlement could be reached. On 27 March, when Hitler told the German High Command that the destruction of Yugoslavia should be accomplished with "unmerciful harshness," and the decision was taken to bomb Belgrade without a declaration of war, Jodl was also there.

Jodl testified that Hitler feared an attack by Russia and so attacked first. This preparation began almost a year before the invasion. Jodl told Warlimont as early as 29 July 1940 to prepare the plans since Hitler had decided to attack; and Hitler later told Warlimont he had planned to attack in August 1940 but postponed it for military reasons. He initialed Hitler's directive of 12 November 1940 that preparations verbally ordered should be continued and also initialed "Case Barbarossa" an 18 December. On 3 February 1941, Hitler, Jodl, and Keitel discussed the invasion, and he was present on 14 June when final reports on "Case Barbarossa" were made.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

On 18 October 1942 Hitler issued the Commando Order, and a day later a supplementary explanation to commanding officers only. The covering memorandum was signed by Jodl. Early drafts of the order were made by Jodl's staff, with his knowledge. Jodl testified he was strongly opposed on moral and legal grounds but could not refuse to pass it on. He insists he tried to mitigate its harshness in practice by not informing Hitler when it was not carried out. He initialed the OKW memorandum of 25 June 1944 reaffirming the order after the Normandy landings.

A plan to eliminate Soviet commissars was in the directive for "Case Barbarossa." The decision whether they should be killed without trial was to be made by an officer. A draft contains Jodl's handwriting suggesting this should be handled as retaliation, and he testified this was his attempt to get around it.

When in 1945 Hitler considered denouncing the Geneva Convention, Jodl argued the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. On 21 February he told Hitler adherence to the Convention would not interfere with the conduct of the war, giving as an example the sinking of a British hospital ship as a reprisal and calling it a mistake. He said he did so because it was the only attitude Hitler would consider, that moral or legal arguments had no effect, and argues he thus prevented Hitler from denouncing the Convention.

There is little evidence that Jodl was actively connected with the slave labor program, and he must have concentrated on his strategic planning function. But in his speech of 7 November 1943 to the Gauleiter he said it was necessary to act "with remorseless vigor and resolution" in Denmark, France, and the Low Countries to compel work on the Atlantic Wall.

By teletype of 28 October 1944, Jodl ordered the evacuation of all persons in northern Norway and the burning of their houses so they could not help the Russians. Jodl says he was against this, but Hitler ordered it and it was not fully carried out. A document of the Norwegian Government says such an evacuation did take place in northern Norway and 30,000 houses were damaged. On 7 October 1941, Jodl signed an order that Hitler would not accept an offer of surrender of Leningrad or Moscow, but on the contrary he insisted that they be completely destroyed. He says this was done because the Germans were afraid those cities would be mined by the Russians as was Kiev. No surrender was ever offered.

His defense, in brief, is the doctrine of "superior orders," prohibited by Article 8 of the Charter as a defense. There is nothing in mitigation. Participation in such crimes as these has never been required of any soldier and he cannot now shield himself behind a mythical requirement of soldierly obedience at all costs as his excuse for commission of these crimes."

(The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 22 - Tuesday, 1 October 1946, pps. 567-70) online at:
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/10-01-46

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Post by British Free Corps » 13 Aug 2003 19:15

Notwithstanding the IMT judgment, Jodl was posthumously rehabilitated by a West German appeals court 28 Feb 1953.
What were the grounds for this rehabilitation? I do believe the death sentence was inappropriate for Jodl, but I would be interested to know of the terms of the West German rehabilitation.

With regards to the the IMT judgement against Jodl, I do not believe that his actions warranted the death sentence.

Thanks for the post, David...

Regards,
Matt

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Post by David Thompson » 13 Aug 2003 19:21

British Free Corps -- You're welcome.

On the rehabilitation judgment, I believe it was based on the "only following orders" theory and took place in a West German denazification proceeding to forfeit property from Jodl's widow, but that's just my recollection. I'll check my computer files to see if I have a copy of the West German judgment or some newspaper citation to it.

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Post by Tancred » 14 Aug 2003 00:07

British Free Corps wrote:
Notwithstanding the IMT judgment, Jodl was posthumously rehabilitated by a West German appeals court 28 Feb 1953.
What were the grounds for this rehabilitation? I do believe the death sentence was inappropriate for Jodl, but I would be interested to know of the terms of the West German rehabilitation.

With regards to the the IMT judgement against Jodl, I do not believe that his actions warranted the death sentence.

Thanks for the post, David...

Regards,
Matt

Jodl was clearly made into a scapegoat, simply because Hitler was unavailable. Jodl did little except obey orders - some of which were criminal ones. He could have refused to obey some of these orders and probably been either: dismissed and thrown into a concentration camp (if he was lucky) or executed in front of a firing squad (if he was unlucky). It takes a brave man to defy a dictator; Jodl lacked the instinct for martydom. I don't believe he should have been incriminated for this, he was not an evil man. I would have acquitted him on all counts.

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Post by British Free Corps » 14 Aug 2003 00:17

Jodl was clearly made into a scapegoat, simply because Hitler was unavailable. Jodl did little except obey orders - some of which were criminal ones. He could have refused to obey some of these orders and probably been either: dismissed and thrown into a concentration camp (if he was lucky) or executed in front of a firing squad (if he was unlucky). It takes a brave man to defy a dictator; Jodl lacked the instinct for martydom. I don't believe he should have been incriminated for this, he was not an evil man. I would have acquitted him on all counts.
The above reasons were most probably the causes for his posthumous rehabilitation by a West German Court, which, as David states took place on 28th February 1953. The IMT judgement does not, to my eyes, answer the question as to whether Jodl was in any serious position to refuse order from the top. From such judgements, it would seem that Jodl offered protests to orders such as the Norwegian Evacuation and the Commando Order. I believe it was an over-simplification to transform Jodl into the focal point for such orders...

Regards,
Matt

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Post by David Thompson » 14 Aug 2003 05:16

Tancred -- You said: "It takes a brave man to defy a dictator; Jodl lacked the instinct for martydom. I don't believe he should have been incriminated for this, he was not an evil man. I would have acquitted him on all counts."

Honorable men don't commit crimes ordered by their superiors. They ignore the orders or resign. Under your theory a street thug who stomped a man to death instead of refusing the paramount hoodlum's orders should be acquitted as well. After all, why not have some sympathy for him -- he may not have been brave enough to refuse his chief's orders, but at least he was brave enough to stomp another man to death.

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Post by Tancred » 16 Aug 2003 01:43

David,

I have already explained the consequences of 'resignation'. He would have ended up in a concentration camp and targeted as an opponent of the regime. Not to mention the suffering his family would have been put through.

He was no saint, he was a man, a sinner, like all of us. But he was also a patriot and a soldier. I stand by what I said.

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Post by Caldric » 16 Aug 2003 02:11

Tancred wrote:David,

I have already explained the consequences of 'resignation'. He would have ended up in a concentration camp and targeted as an opponent of the regime. Not to mention the suffering his family would have been put through.

He was no saint, he was a man, a sinner, like all of us. But he was also a patriot and a soldier. I stand by what I said.
There were several that did not end up in the Concentration camp. That theory does not fly. They would have been relieved and sent to a front somewhere or kicked out of the military.

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Post by Dan » 16 Aug 2003 02:17

Well, he was involved it the invasion of Norway. Good, kill him. But wait, who were the senior Brit officials involved in their planned invasion of Norway, and the ignoring of Norwegian rights?

And what happened to them?

Thanks much.

Dan

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Post by David Thompson » 16 Aug 2003 02:34

Dan -- You mentioned the invasion of Norway in 1940, but isn't the list of Jodl's offenses in the IMT judgment a little longer than that? I think there was something about a commando order, and a commissar order, and the evacuation of all persons in northern Norway and the burning of their houses, and perhaps some other things too.

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Post by Penn44 » 16 Aug 2003 02:41

Dan wrote:Well, he was involved it the invasion of Norway. Good, kill him. But wait, who were the senior Brit officials involved in their planned invasion of Norway, and the ignoring of Norwegian rights?

And what happened to them?

Thanks much.

Dan
Quite simple: The Allies were not bent on territorial conquests, the Nazis were. Motivations. There was always a significant difference underlying what the Allies did and what the Germans did during the war. Simple formula: Allies=good, Nazis=bad. If anyone can't accept that, despite all the evidence at hand, then their inability to see this "truth" lies within them, as a personality factor, and not within the argument.

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Post by David Thompson » 16 Aug 2003 03:18

Now that I think about it, I can't recall anyone who was ever put on trial or convicted solely for their participation in the 1940 Nazi attack on Norway.

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Post by Scott Smith » 16 Aug 2003 08:38

David Thompson wrote:Now that I think about it, I can't recall anyone who was ever put on trial or convicted solely for their participation in the 1940 Nazi attack on Norway.
Well, Raeder was basically given a Life sentence for just that--but he was paroled in 1955 due to failing health, since he was no real Nazi, like Hess.
:)

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Post by Scott Smith » 16 Aug 2003 09:05

Penn44 wrote:
Dan wrote:Well, he was involved it the invasion of Norway. Good, kill him. But wait, who were the senior Brit officials involved in their planned invasion of Norway, and the ignoring of Norwegian rights?

And what happened to them?

Thanks much.

Dan
Quite simple: The Allies were not bent on territorial conquests, the Nazis were. Motivations.
Allied propaganda was more subtle, that's all. In an era of nascent finance-capitalism you don't need to control territory if you have access to financial markets. Besides, the Allies needed war or their economies were stuck in a quagmire and would remain so without a socialist overhaul. The British spent the seed-corn of their empire but the USA was in it for the long haul and stood little or no risk. A little bitter medicine of war-socialism was acceptable to both the old-money conservatives and the new breed of totalitarian-liberals, hence war.
There was always a significant difference underlying what the Allies did and what the Germans did during the war. Simple formula: Allies=good, Nazis=bad. If anyone can't accept that, despite all the evidence at hand, then their inability to see this "truth" lies within them, as a personality factor, and not within the argument.
Yeah, our Commander-in-Chief takes his Thanksgiving Day dinner from a plastic tray and a styrofoam cup just like the troops. Ya gotta love those crusades against Evil, and the ideological blindness and mass-insanity that goes with them, so necessarily a part for such a mighty exhalted (and rotten) business. Let us ever-pray, for our God is the bloody good one. Perpetual Holy War for Perpetual Peace, Hoo-Ah!
:wink:

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Post by British Free Corps » 16 Aug 2003 12:27

Penn44 wrote:
Dan wrote:Well, he was involved it the invasion of Norway. Good, kill him. But wait, who were the senior Brit officials involved in their planned invasion of Norway, and the ignoring of Norwegian rights?

And what happened to them?

Thanks much.

Dan
Quite simple: The Allies were not bent on territorial conquests, the Nazis were. Motivations. There was always a significant difference underlying what the Allies did and what the Germans did during the war. Simple formula: Allies=good, Nazis=bad. If anyone can't accept that, despite all the evidence at hand, then their inability to see this "truth" lies within them, as a personality factor, and not within the argument.
Jodl's participation in the invasion of Norway should not feature in the debate over whether the death sentence was an appropriate punishment. Personally, I do not believe that it was. The judgements against Jodl seem to draw parallels with almost every other senior and/or high ranking officer in the OKH/Heer/Waffen SS. What is written on the IMT quote does not warrant the death sentence.
For example, it appears the the "Commando" and "Commissar" orders feature heavily in his conviction, yet the IMT fails to state whether Jodl was in a position to refuse such an order. If parallels are to be drawn, Karl Dönitz should have been sentenced to death for his part in the "Laconia" order - yet we all know how ludicrous and unnecessary such a judgement would have been.

Regards,
Matt

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