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DR. STAHMER: Did you take part in laying down the Party program?
Goering: No. The Party program had been compiled and announced when I heard about the movement for the first time and when I declared my intention of joining.
DR. STAHMER: What is your attitude towards these points of the Party program?
Goering: On the whole, positive. It is a matter of course that there is hardly any politically minded man who acknowledges and agrees with every point of the program of a political party.
DR. STAHMER: In addition to these generally known points of the Party program, were there other aims which were kept secret?
DR. STAHMER: Were these aims to be achieved by every means, even by illegal means?
Goering: Of course, they were to be achieved by every means. The conception "illegal" should perhaps be clarified. If I aim at a revolution, then it is an illegal action for the state then in existence. If I am successful, then it becomes a fact and thereby legal and law. Until 1923 and the events of 9 November I and all of us had the view that we would achieve our aim, even, if necessary, in a revolutionary manner. After this proved a failure, the Fuehrer, after his return from the fortress, decided that we should in the future proceed legally by means of a political fight, as the other parties had done, and the Fuehrer prohibited any illegal action in order to avoid any setback in the activity of the Party.
DR. STAHMER: When and with what aims was the SS created?
Goering: The SS was created while I was abroad; I think it was in 1926 or 1627. Its purpose, as far as I remember, was to form, first of all, within the Movement a specially picked body as a protection for the person of the Fuehrer. Originally it was extremely small.
DR. STAHMER: Did you at any time belong to the SS?
Goering: I never belonged to the SS in any way, at any time, neither actively nor passively.
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DR. STAHMER: The assumption that you were a general in the SS is therefore incorrect?
Goering: Yes, absolutely incorrect.
DR. STAHMER: What did you understand by the term "master race"?
Goering: I myself understood nothing by it. In none of my speeches, in none of my writings, will you find that term. It is my view that if you are a master you have no need to emphasize it.
DR. STAHMER: What do you understand by the concept "living space"?
Goering: That conception is a very controversial one. I can fully understand that powers who together -- I refer only to the four signatory powers -- call more than three-quarters of the world their own, explain this idea differently. But for us, where 144 people live in 1 square kilometer, the words "living space" meant the proper relation between a population and its nourishment, its growth, and its standard of living.
DR. STAHMER: An expression which is always recurring is that of "seizure of power."
Goering: I should like to call "seizure of power" a terminus technicus. We might just as well have used another term, but this actually expresses as clearly as possible what did in fact occur, that is to say, we seized power.
DR. STAHMER: What is your attitude to the Leadership Principle?
Goering: I upheld this principle and I still uphold it positively and consciously. One must not make the mistake of forgetting that the political structure in different countries has different origins, different developments. Something which suits one country extremely well would perhaps fail completely in another. Germany, through the long centuries of monarchy, has always had a leadership principle. Democracy appeared in Germany at a time when Germany was very badly off and had reached rock-bottom. I explained yesterday the total lack of unity that existed in Germany -- the number of parties, the continuous unrest caused by elections. A complete distortion of the concepts of authority and responsibility had arisen, and in the reverse direction. Authority lay with the masses and responsibility was with the leader, instead of the other way about. I am of the opinion that for Germany, particularly at that moment of its lowest ebb, when it was necessary for all forces to be welded together in a positive fashion, the Leadership Principle -- that is, authority from above downwards and responsibility from below upwards -- was the only possibility. Naturally I realize the fact that here, too, a principle, while thoroughly sound in itself,
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can lead to extremes. I should like to mention some parallels. The position of the Catholic Church rests now, as before, on the clear leadership principle of its hierarchy. And I think I can also say that Russia, too, without the leadership principle, could not have survived the great burden which was imposed on her by this war.
DR. STAHMER: Concerning the measures for strengthening your power which you described yesterday, did they take place in full agreement with Reich President Von Hindenburg?
Goering: As long as the Reich President was alive, and therefore active, they naturally did take place in agreement with him. And as far as his assent was constitutionally necessary, according to Paragraph 48, that assent was also given.
DR. STAHMER: Was the National Socialist Government recognized by foreign powers?
Goering: Our government was recognized from the first day of its existence and remained recognized until the end, that is, except where hostilities severed diplomatic connections with several states.
DR. STAHMER: Did diplomatic representatives of foreign countries visit your Party rallies in Nuremberg?
Goering: The diplomatic representatives were invited to the Party rallies, these being the greatest event and the greatest demonstration of the movement; and they all attended, even if not the full number of them every year. But one I remember very well.
DR. STAHMER: Until what year?
Goering: Until the last Party rally, 1938.
DR. STAHMER: To what extent after the seizure of power was property of political opponents confiscated?
Goering: Laws were issued which decreed confiscation of the property of people hostile to the State, that is, the Property of parties we declared to be hostile to the State. The party property of the Communist Party and its associated units, and the property of the Social Democratic Party was partly confiscated -- but not, and I want to emphasize that, the private property of the members or even of the leaders of these parties. On the contrary, a number of leading Social Democrats who had been ministers or civil servants were still paid their full pension. In fact, later on it was increased.
DR. STAHMER: How do you explain the actions against the trade unions? How do you explain the actions against free workers' associations?
Goering: First of all, the trade unions: Trade unions in Germany were for the most part, or the most important of them, very closely connected with the Social Democratic Party, and also to
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an increasing extent, due to the influence and the activity of the Communists, with the Communist Party. They were in fact, if not formally so, organs, indeed very active organs, of these parties, and here I am not talking about the masses of the members of the trade unions, but about the leaders of the trade unions. In addition there was also a smaller Christian trade union, an organ of the Center Party.
These trade unions, because of their leaders and the close connection of these leaders with those parties which we regarded as our opponents, agreed with our opponents to such an extent that they did not in any way fit into our new State. Consequently the organization of trade unions was dissolved, and for the workers the organization of the German Labor Front was created. This did not result in the destruction of the liberty of the German worker, in my opinion; on the contrary, I am convinced that we were the ones to give the German workers real freedom, for it consisted first of all in the fact that we made his right to have work secure, and laid particular stress on his position in the State.
We did, of course, do away with two things which perhaps must be regarded as two characteristics of a freedom which I do not understand: strikes on one side and lockouts on the other. These could not be made consistent with the right to have work nor with the duties which every citizen has towards the greatness of his nation. These two disquieting elements, which also contributed to the great number of unemployed, we removed and replaced with an enormous labor program.
Creation of work was another essential point of our social program and has also been adopted by others, though under a different name.
I do not propose to elaborate on this social program. It was, however, the first time that the worker had a right to a vacation, a paid vacation, this I only add as an aside. Great recreation centers were created for the workers. Enormous sums were invested in new housing projects for workers. The whole standard of living for the worker was raised. Up to that time the worker had been used and exploited. He hardly had any property of his own because, during years of unemployment, he had to sell everything or pawn it. Thus, without going into detail, I should like to say in conclusion that we did not enslave free workers, but rather we liberated the worker from the misery of unemployment.
DR. STAHMER: You talked about the Rohm revolt yesterday. Who was Rohm and of what did the revolt consist?
Goering: Rohm, from 1931, had been the Chief of Staff of the SA, that is to say, he was responsible, for the SA to the Fuehrer,
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who was himself the highest SA leader, and he led it in the Fuehrer's name.
The main controversy between Rohm and us was that Rohm, like his predecessor Pfeffer, wanted a stronger revolutionary way to be adopted, whereas the Fuehrer, as I said earlier, had ordered a legal development, the final victory of which could be expected.
After the seizure of power Rohm desired, under all circumstances, to get hold of the Reich Defense Ministry. The Fuehrer refused that point-blank, as he did not wish the Armed Forces to be conducted politically in any way, or to have any political influence brought to bear on the Armed Forces.
The contrast between the Armed Forces and the Rohm group -- I am intentionally not speaking of a contrast between the Armed Forces and the SA, since there was none, but solely of this leadership group, which called itself at that time the SA Leadership and it actually was -- was that Rohm wanted to remove the greater number of the generals and higher officers who had been members of the Reichswehr all this time, since it was his view that these officers did not offer a guarantee for the new State, because, as he expressed it, their backbone had been broken in the course of the years and they were no longer capable of being active elements of the new National Socialist State.
The Fuehrer, and I also, had exactly the opposite point of view in this connection.
Secondly, the aims of the Rohm-minded people, as I should like to call them, were directed in a different direction, towards a revolutionary act; and they were opposed to what they called reaction. They definitely desired to adopt a more Leftist attitude. They were also sharply opposed to the Church and also very strongly opposed to the Jews. Altogether, and I refer only to the clique consisting of certain persons, they wished to carry out a revolutionary act. That Rohm placed all his people in leading positions in the SA and removed the decent elements, and misguided the decent SA people without their knowledge, is a well-known fact.
If encroachments did occur at that time, they always involved the same persons, first of all the Berlin SA leader, Ernst, secondly the Breslau leader, Heines, the Munich and Stettin leaders, et cetera. A few weeks before the Rohm Putsch a low-ranking SA leader confided in me that he had heard that an action against the Fuehrer and his corps was being planned to replace the Third Reich as expeditiously as possible by a final Fourth Reich, an expression which these people used.
I myself was urged and begged to place outside my house not only guards from a police regiment but also to appoint an SA guard of honor. I had agreed, and later on I heard from the commander of
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these troops that the purpose of that guard of honor was to arrest me at a given moment.
I knew Rohm very well. I had him brought to me. I put to him openly the things which I had heard. I reminded him of our mutual fight and I asked him to keep unconditional faith with the Fuehrer. I brought forward the same arguments which I have just mentioned, but he assured me that he naturally was not thinking of undertaking anything against the Fuehrer. Shortly afterward I received further news to the effect that he had close connections with those circles who also were strongly opposed to us. There was, for instance, the group around the former Reich Chancellor Schleicher. There was the group around Gregor Strasser, the former member of the Reichstag and organizational leader of the Party, who had been excluded from the Party. These were groups who had belonged to the former trade unions and were rather inclined to the Left. I felt it my duty to consult the Fuehrer now on this subject. I was astonished when he told me that he, too, already knew about these things and considered them a great threat. He said that he wished, however, to await further developments and observe them carefully.
The next event occurred just about as the witness Korner described it here, and therefore I can skip it. I was given the order to proceed immediately against the implicated men of the Rohm group in northern Germany. It was decided that some of them were to be arrested. In the course of the day the Fuehrer ordered the execution of the SA leader of Pomerania, Ernst, and two or three others. He himself went to Bavaria where the last meeting of a number of Rohm leaders was taking place and personally arrested Rohm and these people in Wiessee.
At that time this matter presented a real danger, as a few SA units, through the use of false passwords, had been armed and called up. At one spot only a very short fight ensued and two SA leaders were shot. I deputized the police, which in Prussia was then already under Himmler and Heydrich, to make the arrests. Only the headquarters of Rohm, who himself was not present, I had occupied by a regiment of the uniformed police subordinated to me. When the headquarters of the SA leader Ernst in Berlin were searched, we found in the cellars of those headquarters more submachine guns than the whole Prussian police had in its possession.
After the Fuehrer, on the strength of the events which had been met with at Wiessee, had ordered who should be shot in view of the state of national emergency, the order for the execution of Ernst, Heydebreck, and some of the other Rohm collaborators was issued. There was no order to shoot the other people who had been arrested. In the course of the arrest of the former Reich Chancellor Schleicher, it happened that both he and his wife were killed. An investigation
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of this event took place and it was found that when Schleicher was arrested, according to the statements of the two witnesses, he reached for a pistol, possibly in order to kill himself, whereupon the two men raised their pistols and Frau Schleicher threw herself upon one of them to hold him, causing his revolver to go off. We deeply regretted that event.
In the course of that evening I heard that other people had been shot as well, even some people who had nothing at all to do with this Rohm Putsch. The Fuehrer came to Berlin that same evening. After I learned this, later that evening or night, I went to him at noon the next day and asked him to issue an order immediately, that any further execution was under any circumstances forbidden by him, the Fuehrer, although two other people who were deeply involved and who had been ordered by the Fuehrer to be executed, were still alive. These people were consequently left alive. I asked him to do that because I was worried lest the matter should get out of hand -- as, in fact, it had already done to some extent -- and I told the Fuehrer that under no circumstances should there be any further bloodshed.
This order was then given by the Fuehrer in my presence, and it was communicated at once to all offices. The action was then announced in the Reichstag, and it was approved by the Reichstag and the Reich President as an action called for by the state of national emergency. It was regretted that, as in all such incidents, there were a number of blunders.
The number of victims has been greatly exaggerated. As far as I can remember exactly today, there were 72 or 76 people, the majority of whom were executed in southern Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Did you know about the development of the attitude of the Party and the State toward the Church, in the course of time?
Goering: Certainly. But as a final remark on the Rohm Putsch I should like to emphasize that I assume full responsibility for the actions taken against those people -- Ernst, Heydebreck, and several others -- by the order of the Fuehrer, which I carried out or passed on; and that, even today, I am of the opinion that I acted absolutely correctly and with a sense of duty. That was confirmed by the Reich President, but no such confirmation was necessary to convince me that here I had averted what was a great danger to the State.
As to the attitude towards the Church -- the Fuehrer's attitude was a generous one, at the beginning absolutely generous. I should not like to say that it was positive in the sense that he himself was a positive or convinced adherent of any one confession, but it was
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generous and positive in the sense that he recognized the necessity of the Church. Although he himself was a Catholic, he wished the Protestant Church to have a stronger position in Germany, since Germany was two-thirds Protestant.
The Protestant Church, however, was divided into provincial churches, and there were various small differences which the dogmatists took very seriously. For that reason they once in the past, as we know, fought each other for 30 years; but these differences did not seem so important to us. There were the Reformed, the United, and the pure Lutherans -- I myself am not an expert in this field.
Constitutionally, as Prussian Prime Minister, I was, to be sure, in a certain sense the highest dignitary of the Prussian Church, but I did not concern myself with these matters very much.
The Fuehrer wanted to achieve the unification of the Protestant Evangelical Churches by appointing a Reich Bishop, so that there would be a high Protestant church dignitary as well as a high Catholic church dignitary. To begin with, he left the choice to the Evangelical churches, but they could not come to an agreement. Finally they brought forward one name, exactly the one which was not acceptable to us. Then a man was made Reich Bishop who had the Fuehrer's confidence to a higher degree than any of the other provincial bishops.
With the Catholic Church the Fuehrer ordered a concordat to be concluded by Herr Von Papen. Shortly before that agreement was concluded by Herr Von Papen I visited the Pope myself. I had numerous connections with the higher Catholic clergy because of my Catholic mother, and thus --I am myself a Protestant -- I had a view of both camps.
One thing, of course, the Fuehrer and all of us, I, too, stood for was to remove politics from the Church as far as was possible. I did not consider it right, I must frankly say, that on one day the priest in church should humbly concern himself with the spiritual welfare of his flock and then on the following day make a more or less belligerent speech in parliament.
A separation was planned by us, that is to say, the clergy were to concentrate on their own sphere and refrain from becoming involved in political matters. Owing to the fact that we had in Germany political parties with strong church leanings, considerable confusion had arisen here. That is the explanation of the fact that, because of this political opposition that at first played its role in the political field in parliament, and in election campaigns, there arose among certain of our people an antagonistic attitude toward the Church. For one must not forget that such election disputes and speeches often took place before the electors between political
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representatives of our Party and clergymen who represented those political parties which were more closely bound to the Church.
Because of this situation and a certain animosity, it is understandable that a more rabid faction -- if I may use that expression in this connection -- did not forget these contentions and now, on its side, carried the struggle on again on a false level. But the Fuehrer's attitude was that the churches should be given the chance to exist and develop. In a movement and a party which gradually had absorbed more or less the greater part of the German nation, and which now in its active political aspect had also absorbed the politically active persons of Germany, it is only natural that not all the members would be of the same opinion in every respect, despite the Leadership Principle. The tempo, the method, the attitude may be different; and in such large movements, even if they are ever so authoritatively led, certain groups form in response to certain problems. And if I were to name the group which still saw in the Church, if not a political danger, at least an undesirable institution, then I should mention above all two personages: Himmler on one side and Bormann -- particularly later on much more radically than Himmler -- on the other side.
Himmler's motives were less of a political and more of a confused mystical nature. Bormann's aims were much more clearcut. It was clear, too, that from the large group of Gauleiter, one or another might be more keenly interested in this fight against the Church. Thus, there were a number of Gaue where everything was in the best of order as far as the Church was concerned, and there were a few others where there was a keen fight against the Church.
I did interfere personally on frequent occasions. First of all, in order to demonstrate my attitude and to create order, I called into the Prussian State Council, as men in whom I had special confidence, a high Protestant and a high Catholic clergyman.
I myself am not what you might call a churchgoer, but I have gone now and then, and have always considered I belonged to the Church and have always had those functions over which the Church presides -- marriage, christening, burial, et cetera -- carried out in my house by the Church.
My intention thereby was to show those weak-willed persons who, in the midst of this fight of opinions did not know what they should do, that, if the second man in the State goes to church, is married by the Church, has his child christened and confirmed, et cetera, then they can calmly do the same. From the number of letters which I received as the result, I can see that I did the right thing.
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But as time went by, in other spheres as well as this, the situation became more critical. During the early years of the war I spoke to the Fuehrer about it once more and told him that the main concern now was, that every German should do his duty and that every soldier should go to his death, if need be, bravely. If in that connection his religious belief is a help and a support to him, whether he belongs to this or that confession, it can be only an advantage, and any disturbance in this connection could conceivably affect the soldier's inward strength. The Fuehrer agreed absolutely. In the Air Force I deliberately had no chaplains, because I was of the opinion that every member of the Air Force should go to the clergyman in whom he had the most confidence.
This was repeatedly told to the soldiers and officers at roll call. But to the Church itself I said that it would be good if we had a clear separation. Men should pray in church and not drill there; in the barracks men should drill and not pray. In that manner, from the very beginning, I kept the Air Force free from any religious disturbances and I insured complete liberty of conscience for everyone.
The situation became rapidly more critical -- and I cannot really give the reasons for this -- especially in the last 2 or 3 years of the war. It may have something to do with the fact that in some of the occupied territories, particularly in the Polish territory and also in the Czech territory, the clergy were strong representatives of national feeling and this led again to clashes on a political level which were then naturally carried over to religious fields. I do not know whether this was one of the reasons, but I consider it probable. On the whole I should like to say that the Fuehrer himself was not opposed to the Church. In fact, he told me on one occasion that there are certain things in respect to which even as Fuehrer one cannot entirely have one's way if they are still undecided and in need of reform, and that he believed that at the time much was being thought and said about the reorganization of the Church. He said that he did not consider himself destined to be a reformer of the Church and that he did not wish that any of his political leaders should win laurels in this field.
DR. STAHMER: Now, in the course of years, a large number of clergy, both from Germany and especially from the occupied territories -- you yourself mentioned Poland and Czechoslovakia -- were taken to concentration camps. Did you know anything about that?
Goering: I knew that at first in Germany a number of clergymen were taken to concentration camps. The case of Niemoller was common knowledge. I do not want to go into it in detail, because
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it is well known. A number of other clergymen were sent to concentration camps but not until the later years when the fight became more critical, for they made political speeches in the pulpit and criticized measures of the State or the Party; then, according to the severity of this criticism, the police intervened.
I told Himmler on one occasion that I did not think it was wise to arrest clergymen. As long as they talked in church they should say what they wanted, but if they made political speeches outside their churches then he could proceed against them, just as he would in connection with any other people who made speeches hostile to the State. Several clergymen who went very far in their criticism were not arrested. As far as the arrest of clergy from occupied territories is concerned, I heard about it; and I said earlier that this did not occur so much on the religious level just because they were clergymen, but because they were at the same time nationalists -- I understand that from their point of view -- and consequently often involved in actions hostile to the occupying forces.
DR. STAHMER: The Party program included two points, I believe, dealing with the question of the Jews. What was your basic attitude towards this question?
Goering: This question, which has been so strongly emphasized in the Indictment, forces me under all circumstances to interpose certain statements.
After Germany's collapse in 1918 Jewry became very powerful in Germany in all spheres of life, especially in the political, general intellectual and cultural, and, most particularly, the economic spheres. The men came back from the front, had nothing to look forward to, and found a large number of Jews who had come in during the war from Poland and the East, holding positions, particularly economic positions. It is known that, under the influence of the war and business concerned with it -- demobilization, which offered great possibilities for doing business, inflation, deflation -- enormous shifts and transfers took place in the propertied classes.
There were many Jews who did not show the necessary restraint and who stood out more and more in public life, so that they actually invited certain comparisons because of their numbers and
the position they controlled in contrast to the German people. In addition there was the fact that particularly those parties which were avoided by nationally minded people also had Jewish leadership out of proportion to the total number of Jews.
That did not apply only to Germany, but also to Austria, which we have always considered a part of Germany. There the entire Social Democratic leadership was almost exclusively in Jewish
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hands. They played a very considerable part in politics, particularly in the left-wing parties, and they also became very prominent in the press in all political directions.
At that time, there thus ensued a continuous uninterrupted attack on everything national, national concepts and national ideals. I draw attention to all the magazines and articles which dragged through the mud things which were holy to us. I likewise call attention to the distortion which was practiced in the field of art in this direction, to plays which dragged the fighting at the front through the mud and befouled the ideal of the brave soldier. In fact I could submit an enormous pile of such articles, books, plays, and so forth; but this would lead too far afield and I am actually not too well informed on the subject. Because of all this, a defense movement arose which was by no means created by National Socialism but which had existed before, which was already strong during the war and which came even more strongly to the fore after the war, when the influence of Jewry had such effects.
Moreover, in the cultural and intellectual sphere also many things which were not in accordance with German feeling came to be expressed. Here, too, there was a great split. In addition there was the fact that in economic matters, if one overlooks the western industry, there was an almost exclusive domination on the part of Jewry, which, indeed, consisted of elements which were most sharply opposed by the old, established Jewish families.
When the movement then drew up its program, which was done by a few simple people -- as far as I know, not even Adolf Hitler himself took part in the drafting of the program, at least not yet as a leader -- the program included that point which played a prominent part as a defensive point among large sections of the German people. Shortly before that there had been the Rate-Republik in Munich and the murder of hostages, and here, too the leaders were mostly Jews. It can be understood, therefore, that a program drawn up in Munich by simple people quite naturally took this up as a defense point. News also came of a Rate-Republik in Hungary -- again consisting mainly of Jews. All this had made a very strong impression. When the program became known, the Party -- which was at that time extremely small -- was at first not taken seriously and was laughed at. But then, from the very beginning, a concentrated and most bitter attack on the part of the entire Jewish press, or the Jewish-influenced press, was started against the movement. Everywhere Jewry was in the lead in the fight against National Socialism, whether in the press, in politics, in cultural life by making National Socialism contemptible and ridiculous, or in the economic sphere. Whoever was a National Socialist could not get a position; the National Socialist businessman
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could not get supplies or space for advertisements, and so on. All this naturally resulted in a strong defensive attitude on the part of the Party and led from the very beginning to an intensification of the fight, such as had not originally been the intention of the program. For the program aimed very definitely at one thing above all -- that Germany should be led by Germans. And it was desired that the leadership, especially the political shaping of the fate of the German people, should be in the hands of German persons who could raise up the spirit of the German people again in a way that people of a different kind could not. Therefore the main point was at first merely to exclude Jewry from politics, from the leadership of the State. Later on, the cultural field was also included because of the very strong fight which had developed, particularly in this sphere, between Jewry on the one side and National Socialism on the other.
I believe that if, in this connection, many a hard word which was said by us against Jews and Jewry were to be brought up, I should still be in a position to produce magazines, books, newspapers, and speeches in which the expressions and insults coming from the other side were far in excess. All that obviously was bound to lead to an intensification.
Shortly after the seizure of power countless exceptions were made. Jews who had taken part in the World War and who had been decorated were treated differently and shown consideration; they remained unaffected by measures excluding Jews from civil services.
As I have said, the chief aim was to exclude them from the political sphere, then from the cultural sphere.
The Nuremberg Laws were intended to bring about a clear separation of races and, in particular, to do away with the notion of persons of mixed blood in the future, as the term of half Jew or quarter Jew led to continuous distinctions and confusion as far as their position was concerned. Here I wish to emphasize that I personally had frequent discussions with the Fuehrer regarding persons of mixed blood and that I pointed out to the Fuehrer that, once German Jews were clearly separated, it was impossible to have still another category betweenthe two which constituted an unclarified section of the German people, which did not stand on the same level as the other Germans. I suggested to him that, as a generous act, he should do away with the concept of the person of mixed blood and place such people on the same footing as the other Germans. The Fuehrer took up this idea with great interest and was all for adopting my point of view, in fact, he gave certain preparatory orders. Then came more troubled times, as far as
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foreign policy was concerned -- the Sudeten crisis, Czechoslovakia, the occupation of the Rhineland, and afterward the Polish crisis -- and the question of persons of mixed blood stepped into the background; but at the beginning of the war the Fuehrer told me that he was prepared to solve this matter in a positive, generous fashion, but only after the war.
The Nuremberg Laws were to exclude, for the future, that concept of persons of mixed blood by means of a clear separation of races. Consequently it was provided in the penal regulations of the Nuremberg Laws, that never the woman but always the man should be punishable, no matter whether he was German or Jewish. The German woman or the Jewess should not be punished. Then quieter times came, and the Fuehrer was always of the opinion that for the time being Jews should remain in economy, though not in leading and prominent positions, until a controlled emigration, gradually setting in, then intensified, should solve this problem. In spite of continuous disturbances and difficulties in the economic field, the Jews on the whole remained unmolested in their economic positions.
The extraordinary intensification which set in later did not really start in until after the events of 1933, and then to a still greater extent in the war years. But here, again, there was naturally one more radical group for whom the Jewish question was more significantly in the foreground than it was for other groups of the Movement; just as, as I should like to emphasize at this point, the idea of National Socialism as a philosophy was understood in various ways -- by one person more philosophically, by another mystically, by a third in a practical and political sense. This was also true of the different points of the program. For one person certain points were more important, for another person less so. One person would see in the point of the program which was directed against Versailles and toward a free and strong Germany the main point of the program; another person, perhaps, would consider the Jewish question the main point.
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off? Dr. Stahmer, can you inform the Tribunal how much longer you think the Defendant Goering's examination will last?
DR. STAHMER: I think that we shall finish in the course of tomorrow morning.
THE PRESIDENT: That is a very long time.
DR.STAHMER: I shall do my best to shorten it.
[A recess was taken.]
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DR. STAHMER: To what extent did you participate in the issuing of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935?
Goering: In my capacity as President of the Reichstag I announced those laws and the law concerning the new Reich flag simultaneously here in Nuremberg when the Reichstag was meeting at that time.
DR. STAHMER: In the Indictment it says that the destruction of the Jewish race was part of the planning of aggressive wars.
Goering: That has nothing to do with the planning of aggressive wars; also, the destruction of the Jewish race was not planned in advance.
DR. STAHMER: Were you a party to the action against the Jews in the night of 9-10 November 1938?
Goering: I should like to discuss that briefly. I gathered yesterday, from the cross-examination of the witness Korner, that a misunderstanding had arisen in regard to this. On 9 November the march to the Feldherrnhalle took place. This march was repeated every year and for this occasion the prominent leaders of the movement gathered. Korner referred to that when he said that everybody came to Munich. It was customary, after the march was over, for practically everybody to meet at the Munich City Hall for a dinner, at which the Fuehrer was also present.
I never attended that dinner in any of the years in question, as I used to utilize my stay in Munich by attending to various other matters in the afternoon of that day. I did not take part in the dinner on this occasion either, nor did Korner. He and I returned in my special train to Berlin in the evening. As I heard later, when the investigation was carried out, Goebbels announced at that dinner, after the Fuehrer had left, that the seriously wounded counsellor of the Embassy in Paris had died of his wounds. There was a certain amount of excitement and then Goebbels, apparently spoke some words about retaliation and in his way -- he was probably the very strongest representative of anti-Semitism -- must have brought on this development of events; but that was after the Fuehrer had left.
I myself, in fact, heard of the events upon my arrival in Berlin. First of all the conductor in my car told me that he had seen fires in Halle. Half an hour later I called my adjutant, who reported to me that riots had taken place during the night, that Jewish stores had been broken into and plundered and that synagogues had been set on fire. He did not know any more about it himself.
I proceeded to my apartment and at once had a call put through to the Gestapo. I demanded a report of the events of that night. That is the report which has been referred to here and which was made to me by the Chief of the Gestapo, Heydrich, concerning the
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events, as much as he knew about them at that time; that was the evening of the following day, I believe. The Fuehrer, too, arrived in Berlin in the course of the morning. Having in the meantime heard that Goebbels had at least played an important part as instigator, I told the Fuehrer that it was impossible for me to have such events taking place at this particular time. I was making every effort, in connection with the Four Year Plan, to concentrate the entire economic field to the utmost. I had, in the course of speeches to the nation, been asking for every old toothpaste tube, every rusty nail, every bit of scrap material to be collected and utilized. It could not be tolerated that a man who was not responsible for these things should upset my difficult economic tasks by destroying so many things of economic value on the one hand and by causing so much disturbance in economic life on the other hand.
The Fuehrer made some apologies for Goebbels, but on the whole he agreed that such events were not to take place and must not be allowed to take place. I also pointed out to him, that such a short time after the Munich agreement such matters would also have an unfavorable effect on foreign policy.
In the afternoon I had another discussion with the Fuehrer. In the meantime Goebbels had been to see him. The latter I had told over the telephone in unmistakable terms, and in very sharp words, my view of the matter. I told him then, with emphasis, that I was not inclined to suffer the consequences of his uncontrolled utterances, as far as economic matters were concerned.
In the meantime the Fuehrer, influenced by Goebbels, had somewhat changed his mind. Just what Goebbels told him and to what extent he referred to the excitement of the crowd, to urgently needed settlements, I do not know. At any rate, the Fuehrer's views were not the same as they were on the occasion of my first complaint.
While we were talking, Goebbels, who was in the house, joined us and began his usual talk: that such things could not be tolerated; that this was the second or third murder of a National Socialist committed abroad by a Jew. It was on that occasion that he first made the suggestion that a fine should be imposed. Indeed, he wished that each Gau should collect such a fine and he named an almost incredibly high sum.
I contradicted him and told the Fuehrer that, if there was to be a fine, then the Reich alone should collect it, for, as I said, Herr Goebbels had the most Jews right here in Berlin and would therefore not be a suitable person for this, since he was the most interested party. Apart from that, if such measures were to be taken, then only the sovereign State had the right to take them.
After a short discussion, this way and that, about the amount, 1,000,000,000 was agreed upon. I pointed out to the Fuehrer that
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under certain circumstances that figure would have repercussions on the tax returns. The Fuehrer then expressed the wish and ordered that the economic solution also be carried through now. In order that there should be no further occasion for such events, businesses obviously Jewish and known to be Jewish were first of all to be Aryanized, in particular the department stores. These were often a source of friction, as the officials and employees from the ministries, who could shop only between 6 and 7 in the evening, often went to these stores and had difficulties. He ordered, in general terms, what should be done.
Thereupon I called the meeting of 12 November with those departments which had jurisdiction over these matters. Unfortunately, the Fuehrer had demanded that Goebbels should be represented on this commission -- actually a commission was to be appointed. He was, in fact, present, although I maintained that he had nothing to do with economic questions. The discussion was very lively. We were all irritated at this meeting. Then I had the economic laws drafted and later I had them published.
I rejected other proposals which lay outside the economic sphere, such as restriction of travel, restriction of residence, restriction in regard to bathing resorts, et cetera, as I was not competent to deal with these things and had not received any special orders. These were issued later on by the police authorities, and not by me; but through my intervention various mitigations and adjustments were made.
I should like to point out that although I received oral and written orders and commands from the Fuehrer to issue and carry out these laws, I assume full and absolute responsibility for these laws which bear my signature; for I issued them and consequently am responsible, and do not propose to hide in any way behind the Fuehrer's order.
DR. STAHMER: Another matter. What were the reasons for the refusal to take part in the Disarmament Conference and for the withdrawal from the League of Nations?
Goering: The chief reasons for that were, first of all, that the other states who, after the complete disarming of Germany, were also bound to disarm, did not do so. The second point was that we also found a lack of willingness to meet in any way Germany's justified proposals for revisions; thirdly, there were repeated violations of the Treaty of Versailles and of the Covenant of the League of Nations by other states, Poland, Lithuania, et cetera, which were at first censured by the League of Nations, but which were then not brought to an end, but were rather accepted as accomplished facts; fourthly, all complaints by Germany regarding
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questions of minorities were, indeed, discussed, and well-meaning advice was given to the states against which the complaints had been brought, but nothing was actually done to relieve the situation.
Those are the reasons for leaving the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference.
DR. STAHMER: Why did Hitler decide to rearm and reintroduce compulsory service?
Goering: When Germany left the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference, she simultaneously announced to the leading powers concerned her definite decision to aim at universal disarmament. The Fuehrer then made various proposals which, it can be assumed, are historically known: restriction of active armed forces to a certain number of men; restriction of weapons to be used; abolishing of certain weapons as, for example, bombers; and various other points. Each one of these proposals was rejected, however, and did not reach a general realization, nor were even discussed.
When we and the Fuehrer recognized clearly that the other parties did not think of disarming and that, on the contrary, that mighty power to the east of us in particular, Russia, was carrying out an armament program as never before, it became necessary for us, in order to safeguard the most vital interests of the German people, their life and their security, to free ourselves from all ties and to rearm to such an extent as was now necessary for the interests and security of the Reich. That was the first reason for the necessity of reintroducing compulsory service.
DR. STAHMER: To what extent did the Luftwaffe participate in this rearmament?
Goering: In 1933, when I founded the Air Ministry, we had not yet gone into the question of rearmament. In spite of that I did arrange for certain basic conditions. I immediately extended manufacture and increased air traffic beyond the extent of necessary traffic, so as to be able to train a larger number of pilots. At that time I took over a number of young people, lieutenants, cadets, who then had to leave the Wehrmacht in order to take up commercial flying and there to learn to fly.
I was aware from the beginning that protection in the air was necessary as one of the most essential conditions for the security of my nation. Originally it was my belief that a defensive air force, that is, a fighter force, might suffice; but upon reflection I realized -- and I want to underline what witness Field Marshal Kesselring said on that subject -- that one would be lost with merely a fighter force for defense purposes and that even a defensive force must contain
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bombers in order that it can be used offensively against the enemy air force on enemy territory.
Therefore I had bomber aircraft developed from commercial airplanes. In the beginning rearmament proceeded slowly. Everything had to be created anew since nothing existed in the way of air armament.
In 1935 I told the Fuehrer that I now considered it proper, since we had repeatedly received refusals in answer to our proposals, to declare to the world openly that we were creating an air force, and that I had already established a certain basis for that. This took place in the form of an interview which I had with a British correspondent.
Now I could proceed to rearm on a larger scale; but in spite of that we confined ourselves at first to what we called a "Risk Air Force," that is a risk insofar as an enemy coming to attack Germany should know that he could expect to meet with an air force. But it was by no means strong enough to be of any real importance.
In 1936 followed the famous report, which was presented to the witness Bodenschatz, in which I said that we must from this moment on work on the basis of mobilization, that money mattered nothing, and that, in short, I should take the responsibility for overdrawing the budget.
Since nothing had existed before, I should be able to catch up quickly only if aircraft production on one hand were made to work with as many shifts and as much speed as possible, that is with maximum effort and on a mobilization basis, and if, on the other hand, extension of the ground forces and similar matters was carried out at once with the greatest possible speed.
The situation in 1936 is defined by me, in that report to my co-workers, as serious. Other states had, to be sure, not disarmed, but here and there they had perhaps neglected their air force and they were catching up on lost ground. Violent debates were taking place in England with regard to modernizing and building up the air force; feverish activities were taking place in Russia, concerning which we had reliable reports -- I shall refer to the question of Russian reannament later.
When the Civil War broke out in Spain, Franco sent a call for help to Germany and asked for support, particularly in the air. One should not forget that Franco with his troops was stationed in Africa and that he could not get the troops across, as the fleet was in the hands of the Communists, or, as they called themselves at the time, the competent Revolutionary Government in Spain. The decisive factor was, first of all, to get his troops over to Spain.
The Fuehrer thought the matter over. I urged him to give support under all circumstances, firstly, in order to prevent the further-
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spread of communism in that theater and, secondly, to test my young Luftwaffe at this opportunity in this or that technical respect.
With the permission of the Fuehrer, I sent a large part of my transport fleet and a number of experimental fighter units, bombers, and antiaircraft guns; and in that way I had an opportunity to ascertain, under combat conditions, whether the material was equal to the task. In order that the personnel, too, might gather a certain amount of experience, I saw to it that there was a continuous flow, that is, that new people were constantly being sent and others recalled.
The rearming of the Air Force required, as a basic condition, the creation of a large number of new industries. It was no help to me to build a strong Air Force and not to have any gasoline for it. Here, too, therefore, I had to speed up the development of the refineries to the utmost. There were other auxiliary industries, above all, aluminum. Since I considered the Luftwaffe the most important part of the Wehrmacht, as far as the security of the Reich was concerned, and, in view of the modernization of technical science, it was my duty as Commander-in-Chief to do everything to develop it to the highest peak; and, too, as nothing was there to begin with, a supreme effort and a maximum amount of work had to be achieved. That I did.
Much has been said here in a cross-examination about four-engine bombers, two-engine bombers, et cetera. The witnesses made statements to the best of their knowledge and ability, but they were familiar only with small sections and they gave their opinions from that point of view. I alone was responsible and am responsible, for I was Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and Minister for Air. I was responsible for the rearmament, the training and the morale of the Luftwaffe.
If at the beginning I did not build any four-engine bombers, it was not because I had qualms that they might be construed as an aggressive force. That would not have disturbed me for one minute. My only reason was that the necessary technical and production conditions did not exist. That kind of bomber simply had not yet been developed by my industry, at any rate not so that I could use it. Secondly, I was still short of aluminum, and anyone only half an expert knows how much aluminum a four-engine bomber swallows up and how many fighters, that is, two-engine bombers, one can build with the same amount.
To start with, I had to ascertain who were likely to be Germany's opponents in a war. Were the technical conditions adequate for meeting an attack against Germany by such an enemy? Of all possible opponents I considered Russia the main opponent, but of
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course England, France, and Italy also had to be considered. It was my duty to consider all possibilities.
As far as the European theater of war was concerned, I could, for the time being, be satisfied with bombers which could operate against the impoftant centers of enemy armament industry. Thus, for the time being, I did not need anything more than aircraft which would enable me to do that, but it was important to have more of that kind.
But in a speech to the aircraft industrialists I let it be clearly known that I desired most urgently to have a bomber which, loaded with the necessary bombs, could fly to America and back. I asked them to work on that diligently so that, if America should enter into war against Germany, I could also reach the American armament industry. It was not a question, therefore, of not wanting them. I even, as far as I remember, inaugurated a prize competition for bombers capable of flying at great heights and at great speeds over large distances. Even before the beginning of the war we had begun to develop propellerless aircraft.
Summing up, I should like to say that I did everything possible under the technical and production conditions then prevalent, to rebuild and rearm a strong Air Force. The technical knowledge of that time led us to believe that, after 5 years of war, new technical and practical advances would be made. That is a principle based on experience. I wanted to be prepared to have an Air Force which, however the political situation might develop, would be strong enough to protect the nation and to deal blows to Germany's enemy. It is perfectly correct for Mr. Justice Jackson to ask whether the speedy elimination of Poland and France was due to the fact that the German Air Force, acting according to modern principles, contributed so much. It was the decisive factor. On the other hand, though this does not concern me, the use of the American air force was also a decisive factor for the Allied victory.
DR. STAHMER: Has the fact that you were given control of raw materials already in April 1936 anything to do with this rebuilding of the Air Force?
Goering: I need not repeat what the witness Korner elaborated yesterday, or the day before yesterday, with regard to my gradual rise in economic leadership. The starting point was the agricultural crisis in the year of 1935. In the summer of 1936 the then Minister of War, Von Blomberg, the Minister of Economy and President of the Reichsbank, Schacht, and Minister Kerrl came to me and asked me whether I was prepared to back a suggestion of theirs which they wanted to submit to the Fuehrer, namely, that I be appointed Commissioner for Raw Materials and Foreign Exchange. It was
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agreed that I should not function as an economics expert, which I was not; but some one was needed to take care of the difficulties due to shortage of foreign currency, which continuously arose because of our heavy demands, and at the same time to make available and accumulate raw materials -- someone who was capable of taking measures which would perhaps not be understood by many people, but would have the weight of his authority. Secondly, it was decided that in this sphere, though not as an expert, I should be the driving power and use my energy.
Minister Schacht, who was the expert, had difficulties with the Party. He was not a member of the Party. He was at that time on excellent terms with the Fuehrer and me, but not so much with the members of the Party. The danger arose that the appropriate measures might not be understood by the latter, and in this connection I would be the right man to make these things known to the people and the Party.
That is how that came about. But since I, as Minister of Air was, as I have explained, interested in raw materials, I played an ever increasingly important role. Then the differences between agriculture and economy in regard to foreign currency came more to the fore, so that I had to make decisions, decisions which became more drastic. Thus I entered the field of economic leadership. I devoted a great deal of time and work to this task, particularly to procuring the raw materials necessary for economy and for rearmament. Out of this the Four Year Plan arose which gave me far-reaching plenary powers.
DR. STAHMER: What was the aim of the Four Year Plan?
Goering: The Four Year Plan had two aims: First, that German economy as far as possible and particularly in the agricultural sector, should be made secure against any crisis; secondly, in the event of war, Germany should be able to withstand a blockade to the greatest extent possible. Therefore it was necessary, first, to increase agriculture to the utmost, to control and direct it, to control consumption, and to store up supplies by means of negotiations with foreign countries; secondly, to ascertain which raw materials, imported until then, could be found, produced, and procured in Germany itself, and which raw materials that were difficult to import could be replaced by others more easily obtainable. Briefly, as far as the agricultural sphere was concerned: utilization of every available space; regulation of cultivation according to the crops needed; control of animal breeding; building up of reserves for times of need or crop failures; as far as the industrial sector was concerned, the creation of industries supplying raw materials: First, coal -- although there was sufficient coal, its production would have
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to be increased considerably, since coal is the basic raw material on which so many other things are dependent; iron-our mining industry had made itself so dependent on foreign countries that, in the event of a crisis, a most disastrous situation might arise here. I can quite understand that from the purely financial and business point of view that was all right but, nevertheless, we should have to mine and make available the German iron ores which were at our disposal, even though they were inferior to the Swedish ores; we should have to compel industry to make alloys and manage with German ores.
I recklessly allowed industry a year's time. As industry by then had still not begun to exploit these ores, I founded the Reich works which were given my name. They were primarily for opening up iron-ore reserves in German soil and using them in the mining industry. It was necessary to set up oil refineries, aluminum works and various other works, and then to promote the development of the so-called synthetic material industry in order to replace necessary raw materials which could be obtained only from abroad and under difficult circumstances. In the field of textiles this involved the conversion of the textile industry and of I. G. Farben.
That, roughly, was the task of the Four Year Plan.
Naturally a third question is of importance in this connection: the question of labor. Co-ordination was necessary here too. The most important industries had to have workers; less important industries had to dispense with them. The control of this allocation of labor, which before the war functioned only within Germany, was another task of the Four Year Plan and the Department for the Allocation of Labor.
The Four Year Plan as such very quickly assumed too large proportions as an official organization. Then, after Schacht had left, I took over the Ministry of Economy for 2 months and fitted the Four Year Plan into it. I retained only a very small staff of collaborators and carried out the tasks with the assistance of the ministries competent to deal with these things.
DR. STAHMER: Was the purpose of carrying out these plans that of preparing for aggressive war?
Goering: No, the aim of the plans was, as I said, to make Germany secure against economic crises, and to make her secure against a blockade in the event of war, and, of course, within the Four Year Plan to provide the necessary conditions for rearmament. That was one of its important tasks.
DR. STAHMER: How did the occupation of the Rhineland come about?
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Goering: The occupation of the Rhineland was not, as has been asserted here, a long-prepared affair. What had been discussed previously did not deal with the occupation of the Rhineland, but with the question of mobilization measures in the Rhineland in case of an attack on Germany.
The Rhineland occupation came about for two reasons. The balance which was created through the Locarno Pact had been disturbed in western Europe, because a new factor had arisen in France's system of allies, namely Russia, who even at that time had an extraordinarily large armed force. In addition, there was the Russian-Czechoslovakian mutual assistance pact. Thus, the conditions upon which the Locarno Pact had been based no longer existed, according to our way of thinking. So, there was now such a threat to Germany, or the possibility of such a threat, that it would have been a neglect of duty and honor on the part of the Government if it had not done everything to ensure, here also, the security of the Reich. The Government therefore -- as a sovereign state -- made use of its sovereign right and freed itself from the dishonorable obligation not to place a part of the Reich under its protection, and it did place this important part of the Reich under its protection by building strong fortifications.
The construction of such strong fortifications, such expensive fortifications and such extensive fortifications, is justified only if that frontier is regarded as final and definitive. If I had intended to extend the frontier in the near future, it would never have been possible to go through with an undertaking so expensive and such a burden to the whole nation as was the construction of the West Wall. This was done -- and I want to emphasize this particularly -- from the very beginning only in the interest of defense and as a defensive measure. It made the western border of the Reich secure against that threat which, because of the recent shift of power, and the new combination of powers such as the Franco-Russian mutual assistance pact, had become a threat to Germany. The actual occupation, the decision to occupy the Rhineland, was made at very short notice. The troops which marched into the Rhineland were of such small numbers -- and that is an historical fact -- that they provided merely a token occupation. The Luftwaffe itself could not, for the time being, enter the Rhine territory on the left at all, since there was no adequate ground organization. It entered the so-called demilitarized territory on the right of the Rhine, Dusseldorf and other cities. In other words, it was not as if the Rhineland were suddenly occupied with a great wave of troops; but, as I said before, it was merely that a few battalions and a few batteries marched in as a symbol that the Rhineland was now again under the full sovereignty of the sovereign German Reich and would in the future be protected accordingly.
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DR. STAHMER: What were Hitler's aims when he created the Reich Defense Council and when he issued the Reich Defense Law?
Goering: The Reich Defense Council, during the last months, played a very important role here. I hope I shall not be misunderstood; I believe that during these months more has been said about it than was ever said since the moment of its creation. In the first place it is called Reich Defense Council and not Reich Council for the Offensive. Its existence is taken for granted. It exists in every other country in some form or other, even if it has another name. First of all, there was a Reich Defense Committee already, before our seizure of power. In this committee there were official experts from all the ministries for the purpose of carrying out mobilization preparations or, better said, mobilization measures, which automatically come into consideration in any kind of development -- war, the possibility of war, the facts of war involving bordering states and the subsequent need to guard one's neutrality. These are the usual measures to be taken -- to ascertain how inany horses have to be levied in case of mobilization, what factories have to be converted, whether bread ration cards and fat ration cards have to be introduced, regulation of traffic, et cetera -- all these things need not be dealt with in detail, because they are so obvious.
All such discussions took place in the Reich Defense Committee discussions by the official experts presided over by the then chief of the ministerial office in the Reich Ministry of War, Keitel. The Reich Defense Council was created, for the time being, as a precautionary measure, when the armed forces were re-established, but it existed only on paper. I was, I think, Deputy Chairman or Chairman -- I do not know which -- I heard it mentioned here. I assure you under oath that at no time and at no date did I participate in a meeting at which the Reich Defense Council as such was called together. These discussions, which were necessary for the defense of the Reich, were held in a completely different connection, in a different form and depended on immediate needs. Naturally, there were discussions about the defense of the Reich, but not in connection with the Reich Defense Council. This existed on paper, but it never met. But even if it had met, that would have been quite logical, since this concerns defense and not attack. The Reich Defense Law, or rather the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense, which is probably what you mean, was created only one day before the outbreak of the war, since the Reich Defense Council actually did not exist. This Ministerial Council for Reich Defense is not to be considered the same as, for instance, the so-called War Cabinet that was formed in England when the war broke out, and perhaps in other countries. On the contrary, this Ministerial Council for the
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Reich Defense was -- by using abbreviated procedure -- to issue only the regulations necessary for wartime, laws dealing with daily issues, explanations to the people, and it was to relieve the Fuehrer to a considerable extent, since he had reserved for himself the leadership in military operations. The Ministerial Council therefore issued, first of all, all those laws which, as I should like to mention, are to be expected in any country at the beginning of a war. In the early period it met three or four times, and after that not at all. I, too, had no time after that. To abbreviate the procedure, these laws were circulated and then issued. One, or one and a half years afterwards -- I cannot remember the exact time -- the Fuehrer took the direct issuance of laws more into his own hands. I was the co-signer of many laws in my capacity as Chairman of this Ministerial Council. But that, too, was practically discontinued in the latter years. The Ministerial Council did not meet again at all after 1940, I think.
DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution has presented a document, Number 2261-PS. In this document a Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 is mentioned, which for the time being was kept in abeyance by order of the Fuehrer. I shall have that document shown to you and I ask you to give your views on it?
Goering: I am familiar with it.
DR. STAHMER: Would you please state your views?
Goering: After the Reich Defense Council had begun to exist, a Reich Defense Law was provided in 1935 for the event of a mobilization. The agreement or, better said, decision, was made by the Reich Cabinet and this law was to be applied and became effective in the case of a mobilization. Actually it was replaced when mobilization did come about, by the law I have mentioned regarding the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense. In this law, before the time of the Four Year Plan, that is 1935, a Plenipotentiary for Economy was created, at first for the event of a mobilization, and a Plenipotentiary for Administration; so that if war occurred, then all the departments of the entire administration would be concentrated under one minister and all the departments concerned with economy and armament were likewise to be concentrated under one minister. The Plenipotentiary for Administration did not function before mobilization. The Plenipotentiary for Economy, on the other hand -- this title was not to be made known to the public -- was to begin his tasks immediately. That was indeed necessary. This is perhaps the clearest explanation of the fact that the creation of the Four Year Plan necessarily led to clashes between the Plenipotentiary for Economy and the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, since both of them were more or less working on
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the same or similar tasks. When, therefore, in 1936, I was made Delegate for the Four Year Plan, the activities of the Plenipotentiary for Economy practically ceased.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, ought I to stop now with the questioning?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think that would be a good time.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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DR. STAHMER: A word has been repeatedly used here: Reich Research Council (Reichsforschungsrat). What kind of institution was that?
Goering: I believe it was in the year 1943 that I received the order to concentrate the entire field of German research, particularly insofar as it was of urgent importance to the conduct of war. Unfortunately, that was done much too late. The purpose was to avoid parallel research and useless research, to concentrate an research on problems important for the war. I myself became President of the Reich Research Council and established directives for research according to the purpose mentioned.
DR. STAHMER: Did this have any connection with the Research Office of the Air Force?
Goering: No, the Research Office of the Air Force was entirely different, and it had nothing to do with either research on the one hand or the Air Force on the other hand. The expression was a sort of camouflage, for, when we came to power, there was considerable confusion on the technical side of control of important information. Therefore, I established for the time being the Research Office, that was an office where all technical devices for the control of radio, telegraph, telephone, and all other technical communications could be provided. Since I was then only Reich Minister for Air I could do this within only my own ministry and therefore used this camouflaged designation. This machinery served to exert control above all over foreign missions, and important persons, who had telephone, telegraph, and radio connections with foreign countries, as is customary everywhere in all countries, and then to decipher the information thus extracted and put it at the disposal of other departments. The office had no agents, no intelligence service, but was a purely technical office intercepting wireless messages, telephone conversations, and telegrams, wherever it was ordered, and passing on the information to the offices concerned. In this connection I may say that I have also read much about those communications made by Mr. Messersmith, which figured here. He was at times the main source for such information.,
DR. STAHMER: What was the purpose and importance of the Secret Cabinet Council which was created a short time after the seizure of power?
Goering: In February 1938 there came about the retirement of the War Minister, Field Marshal Von Blomberg. Simultaneously, because of particular circumstances, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Colonel General Von Fritsch, retired, that is to say, the
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Fuehrer dismissed him. The coincidence of these retirements or dismissals was, in the eyes of the Fuehrer, disadvantageous to the prestige of the Wehrmacht. He wanted to divert attention from this change in the Wehrmacht by means of a general reshuffling. He said he wanted above all to change the Foreign Office because only such a change would make a strong impression abroad and would be likely to divert attention from the military affairs. At the time I opposed the Fuehrer very strongly about this. In lengthy, wearisome personal conversations I begged him to refrain from a change in the Foreign Office. He thought, however, that he would have to insist upon it.
The question arose as to what should be done after Herr Von Neurath's retirement or after the change. The Fuehrer intended to keep Herr Von Neurath in the Cabinet by all means for he had the greatest personal esteem for him. I myself have always expressed my respect for Herr Von Neurath. In order to avoid a lowering of Herr Von Neurath's prestige abroad, I myself was the one to make a proposal to the Fuehrer. I told him that in order to make it appear abroad that Von Neurath had not been entirely removed from foreign policy, I would propose to appoint him chairman of the Secret Cabinet Council. There was, to be sure, no such cabinet in existence, but the expression would sound quite nice, and everyone would imagine that it meant something. The Fuehrer said we could not make him chairman if we had no council. Thereupon I said, "Then we shall make one," and offhand I marked down names of several persons. How little importance I attached to this council can be seen in the fact that I myself was, I think, one of the last on that list.
Then, for the public at large the council was given out to be an advisory council for foreign policy. When I returned I said to my friends, "The affair has gone off all right, but if the Fuehrer does not ask the Foreign Minister for advice, he certainly will not ask a cabinet council for advice on foreign policy; we will not have anything to do with it!" I declare under oath that this Cabinet Council never met at all, not even for a minute; there was not even an initial meeting for laying down the rules by which it should function. Some members may not even have been informed that they were members.
DR. STAHMER: When was the Reich Cabinet in session last?
Goering: As far as I remember, the last meeting of the Reich Cabinet was in 1937, and, as far as I can remember, I presided over the last meeting, the Fuehrer having left shortly after the beginning. The Fuehrer did not think much of Cabinet meetings; it was too large a circle for him, and perhaps there was too much discussion of his plans, and he wanted that changed.
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From that time on, there were only individual conferences -- conferences with single ministers or with groups of ministers from the ministries concerned. But since the ministers found, very rightly, that this made their work difficult, a solution was adopted whereby I, under the title of the Four Year Plan, called the ministers together more frequently, in order to discuss general matters with them. But at no time in the Cabinet or the Ministerial Council was any political decision of importance mentioned or discussed, as, for instance, those decisions -- the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia -- which finally led to war. I know how much importance the Fuehrer attached to the fact that in all these matters only those ministers should be informed who absolutely had to be informed, because of the nature of their work, and that only at the very last minute. Here too, I can say under oath that quite a number of ministers were not informed about the beginning of the war or the march into Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, or Austria until the next morning, when they learned about it by radio or through the press, just as any other German citizen.
DR. STAHMER: What part did you have in making the Munich Pact of September 1938?
Goering: The incorporation of the Sudeten Germans or, better said, the solution of the Sudeten German problem I had always emphasized as being something that was necessary. I also told the Fuehrer after the Anschluss of Austria that I should regret it if his statements were misunderstood to mean that with the Anschluss of Austria this question had been settled.
In November 1937, 1 stated to Lord Halifax that the Anschluss of Austria, the solution of the Sudeten German question in the sense of a return of the Sudeten Germans, and the solution of the problem of Danzig and the Corridor were integral parts of German policy. Whether they were tackled by Hitler one day, or by me or somebody else the next day, they would still remain political aims which under all circumstances would have to be attained sometime. However, both of us agreed that all efforts should be made to achieve that without resorting to war.
Furthermore, in my conversations with Mr. Bullitt I had always taken up the very same position. And I told every other person, publicly and personally, that these three points had to be settled and that the settlement of the one would not make the others unimportant.
I also want to stress that, if in connection with this, and also in connection with other things, the Prosecution accuses us of not having kept this or that particular promise that Germany had made in the past, including the Germany that existed just before the
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seizure of power, I should like to refer to the many speeches in which both the Fuehrer -- this I no longer remember so well -- and I, as I know very well, stated that we warned foreign countries not to make any plans for the future on the basis of any promises made by the present government, that we would not recognize these promises when we acquired power. Thus there was absolute clarity in respect to this.
When the Sudeten question approached a crisis and a solution was intended by the Fuehrer, I, as a soldier and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, as was my duty, took the preparatory measures, ordered for any eventuality. As a politician I was extremely happy at the attempts which were made to find a peaceful solution. I acknowledge that at that time I was very glad when I saw that the British Prime Minister was making every possible effort. Nevertheless, the situation on the day before the Munich agreement had again become very critical.
It was about 6:30 or 7 o'clock in the morning when the Italian Ambassador, Attolico, rang me up and said that he had to see me immediately on orders from Mussolini, that it was about the solution of the Sudeten problem. I told him he should go and see the Foreign Minister. He said he had a special order from Mussolini to see me alone first. I met him, as far as I remember, at 9 o'clock in the morning, and there he suggested that Mussolini was prepared to mediate; that a meeting should be called as soon as possible between Germany (Adolf Hitler), England (Prime Minister Chamberlain), France (Premier Daladier), and Italy (Mussolini), in order to settle the question peacefully. He, Mussolini, saw a possibility of that and was prepared to take all necessary steps and asked me personally to use all my influence in that direction. I took the Ambassador, and also Herr Von Neurath although he was not Foreign Minister at that time, at once to the Reich Chancellery and reported everything to the Fuehrer, tried to persuade him, explained to him the advantages of such a step and said that this could be the basis for a general easing of tension. Whether the other current political and diplomatic endeavors would be successful one could not yet say, but if four leading statesmen of the four large western European powers were to meet, then much would be gained by that.
Herr Von Neurath supported my argument, and the Fuehrer agreed and said we should call the Duce by telephone. Attolico, who waited outside, did that immediately, whereupon Mussolini called the Fuehrer officially and matters were agreed and Munich decided upon as the place.
Late in the afternoon I was informed by the Italian Embassy that both the British Prime Minister and the French Prime Minister had agreed to arrive at Munich the next day.
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I asked the Fuehrer, or rather, I told him, that under all circumstances I would go along. He agreed. Then I suggested that I could also take Herr Von Neurath with me in my train. He agreed to that also.
I took part in some of the discussions and, when necessary, contributed to the settlement of many arguments and, above all, did my best to create a friendly atmosphere on all sides. I had personal conversations with M. Daladier and Mr. Chamberlain, and I was sincerely happy afterwards that everything had gone well.
DR. STAHMER: Before that, the Anschluss of Austria with Germany had taken place. What reasons did Hitler have for that decision, and to what extent did you play a part in those measures?
Goering: I told the Tribunal yesterday, when I gave a brief outline of my life, that I personally felt a great affinity for Austria; that I had spent the greater part of my youth in an Austrian castle; that my father, even at the time of the old empire, often spoke of a close bond between the future of the German motherland of Austria and the Reich, for he was convinced that the Austrian Empire would not hold together much longer.
In 1918 while in Austria for 2 days, having come by plane, I saw the revolution and the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire take place. Those countries, with a predominantly German population, including Sudeten Germany, convened at that time in Vienna in the Parliament. They declared themselves free of the dissolved Hapsburg State and declared, including the representatives of Sudeten Germany, Austria to be a part of the German Reich. This happened, as far as I know, under the Social Democratic Chancellor, Renner. This statement by the representatives of the Austrian-German people that they wanted to be a part of Germany in the future was changed by the peace treaty of St. Germain and prohibited by the dictate of the victorious nations. Neither for myself nor for any other German was that of importance.
The moment and the basic conditions had of course to be created for a union of the two brother nations of purely German blood and origin to take place. When we came to power, as I have said before, this was naturally an integral part of German policy.
The assurances which Hitler gave at that time regarding the sovereignty of Austria were no deception; they were meant seriously. At first he probably did not see any possibility. I myself was much more radical in this direction and I asked him repeatedly not to make any definite commitments regarding the Austrian question. He believed, however, that he had first of all to take Italy into consideration.
It was evident, especially after the National Socialist Party in Germany had come to power, that the National Socialist Party in
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Austria was also growing more and more. This party, however, had existed in Austria even before the seizure of power in Germany, just as the origin of the National Socialist Workers Party goes back to Sudeten Germany. The Party in Austria was therefore not a Fifth Column for the Anschluss, because the Austrian people themselves originally wanted and always wanted the Anschluss. If the idea of the Anschluss did not figure so clearly and strongly in the Austrian Government of that time, it was not because it did not want to be joined to Germany, but because the National Socialist form of government was not compatible in any way with the form of government in Austria at that time.
Thus there resulted that tension, first in Austria itself, which has repeatedly been mentioned by the Prosecution in its charges. This tension was bound to come because the National Socialists took the idea of the Anschluss with Germany more seriously than the Govermnent did. This resulted in political strife between the two. That we were on the side of the National Socialists as far as our sympathies were concerned is obvious, particularly as the Party in Austria was severely persecuted. Many were put into camps, which were just like concentration camps but had different names.
At a certain time the leader of the Austrian Party was a man by the name of Habicht from Wiesbaden. I did not know him before; I saw him only once there. He falsely led the Fuehrer to believe, before the so-called Dollfuss case, that the Austrian armed forces were prepared to undertake something independently in order to force the government to accept the Anschluss, or else they would overthrow it. If this were the case, that the Party in Austria was to support whatever the armed forces undertook along those lines, then, so the Fuehrer thought, it should have the political support of the Party in Germany in this matter. But the whole thing was actually a deception, as it was not the Austrian Army which intended to proceed against the Austrian Government but rather a so-called "Wehrmacht Standarte," a unit which consisted of former members, and released or discharged members, of the Austrian Army who had gone over to the Party or joined it.
With this deceptive maneuver Habicht then undertook this action in Vienna. I was in Bayreuth with the Fuehrer at the time. The Fuehrer called Habicht at once and reproached him most severely and said that he had falsely informed him, tricked him and deceived him.
He regretted the death of Dollfuss: very much because politically that meant a very serious situation as far as the National Socialists were concerned, and particularly with regard to Italy. Italy mobilized five divisions at that time and sent them to the Brenner Pass. The
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Fuehrer desired an appeasement which would be quick and as sweeping in its effect as possible. That was the reason why he asked Herr Von Papen to go as an extraordinary ambassador to Vienna and to work for an easing of the atmosphere as quickly as possible.
One must not forget the somewhat absurd situation which had developed in the course of years, namely, that a purely German country such as Austria was not most strongly influenced in governmental matters by the German Reich but by the Italian Government. I remember that statement of Mr. Churchill's, that Austria was practically an affiliate of Italy.
After the action against Dollfuss, Italy assumed a very standoffish attitude toward Germany and made it clear that Italy would be the country which would do everything to prevent the Anschluss. Therefore, besides the internal clearing up of Germany's relations with Austria by Herr Von Papen, the Fuehrer also tried to bring about a change in Mussolini's attitude to this question. For this reason he went to Venice shortly afterwards -- maybe it was before -- at any rate he tried to bring about a different attitude.
But I was of the opinion that in spite of everything we may have had in common, let us say in a philosophic sense -- fascism and National Socialism -- the Anschluss of our brother people was much more important to me than this coming to an agreement. And if it were not possible to do it with Mussolini, we should have to do it against him.
Then came the Italian-Abyssinian war. With regard to the sanctions against Italy, Germany was given to understand, not openly but quite clearly, that it would be to her advantage, as far as the Austrian question was concerned, to take part in these sanctions.
That was a difficult decision for the Fuehrer to make, to declare himself out and out against Italy and to achieve the Anschluss by these means or to bind himself by obligation to Italy by means of a pro-Italian or correct attitude and thus to exclude Italy's opposition to the Anschluss. I suggested to him at that time, in view of the somewhat vague offer regarding Austria made by English-French circles, to try and find out who was behind this offer and whether both governments were willing to come to an agreementin regard to this point and to give assurances to the effect that this would be considered an internal German affair, and not some vague assurances of general co-operation, et cetera.
My suspicions proved right; we could not get any definite assurances. Under those circumstances, it was more expedient for us to prevent Italy being the main opponent to the Anschluss by not joining in any sanctions against her.
I was still of the opinion that the great national interest of the union of these German peoples stood above all considerations
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regarding the differences between the two present governments. For this to happen it could not be expected that the government of the great German Reich should resign and that Germany should perhaps be annexed to Austria; rather the Anschluss would have to be carried through sooner or later.
Then came the Berchtesgaden agreement. I was not present at this. I did not even consent to this agreement, because I opposed any definite statement which lengthened this period of indecision; for me the complete union of all Germans was the only conceivable solution.
Shortly after Berchtesgaden there was the plebiscite which the then Chancellor Schuschnigg had called. This plebiscite was of itself an impossibility, a breach of the Berchtesgaden agreement. This I shall pass over, but the way in which this plebiscite was supposed to take place was unique in history. One could vote only by "yes," every person could vote as often as he wanted, five times, six times, seven times. If he tore up the slip of paper, that was counted as "yes," and so on. It has no further interest. In this way it could be seen from the very beginning that if only a few followers of the Schuschnigg system utilized these opportunities sufficiently the result could be only a positive majority for Herr Schuschnigg. That whole thing was a farce.
We opposed that. First of all a member of the Austrian Government who was at that moment in Germany, General Von Glaise-Horstenau, was flown to Vienna in order to make clear to Schuschnigg or Seyss-Inquart -- who, since Berchtesgaden, was in Schuschnigg's Cabinet -- that Germany would never tolerate this provocation. At the same time troops which were stationed near the Austrian border were on the alert. That was on Friday, I believe, the 11th. On that day I was in the Reich Chancellery, alone with the Fuehrer in his room. I heard by telephone the news that Glaise-Horstenau had arrived and made our demands known clearly and unmistakably, and that these things were now being discussed. Then, as far as I remember, the answer came that the plebiscite had been called off and that Schuschnigg had agreed to it. At this moment I had the instinctive feeling that the situation was now mobile and that now, finally, that possibility which we had long and ardently awaited was there -- the possibility of bringing about a complete solution. And from this moment on I must take 100 percent responsibility for all further happenings, because it was not the Fuehrer so much as I myself who set the pace and, even overruling the Fuehrer's misgivings, brought everything to its final development.
My telephone conversations have been read here. I demanded spontaneously, without actually having first spoken to the Fuehrer about it, the immediate retirement of Chancellor Schuschnigg. When
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this was granted, I put my next demand, that now everything was ripe for the Anschluss. And that took place, as is known.
The only thing -- and I do not say this because it is important as far as my responsibility is concerned -- which I did not bring about personally, since I did not know the persons involved, but which has been brought forward by the Prosecution in the last few days, was the following: I sent through a list of ministers, that is to say, I named those persons who would be considered by us desirable as members of an Austrian Government for the time being. I knew Seyss-Inquart, and it was clear to me from the verk beginning that he should get the Chancellorship. Then I named Kaltenbrunner for Security. I did not know Kaltenbrunner, and that is one of the two instances where the Fuehrer took a hand by giving me a few names. Also, by the way, I gave the name of Fischbock for the Ministry of Economy without knowing him. The only one whom I personally brought into this Cabinet was my brother-in-law, Dr. Hueber, as Minister of Justice, but not because he was my brother-in-law, for he had already been Austrian Minister of Justice in the Cabinet of Prelate Seipel. He was not a member of the Party at that time, but he came from the ranks of the Heimwehr and it was important for me to have in the Cabinet also a representative of that group, with whom we had at first made common cause, but then opposed. I wanted to be sure of my influence on this person, so that everything would now actually develop towards a total Anschluss. For already plans had again appeared in which the Fuehrer only, as the head of the German Reich, should be simultaneously the head of German Austria; there would otherwise be a separation. That I considered intolerable. The hour had come and we should make the best use of it.
In the conversation which I had with Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, who was in London at that time, I pointed out that the ultimatum had not been presented by us but by Seyss-Inquart. That was absolutely true de jure; de facto, of course it was my wish. But this telephone conversation was being listened to by the English, and I had to conduct a diplomatic conversation, and I have never heard yet that diplomats in such cases say how matters are de facto; rather they always stress how they are de jure. And why should I make a possible exception here? In this telephone conversation I demanded of Herr Von Ribbentrop that he ask the British Government to name British persons in whom they had the fullest confidence. I would make all arrangements so that these persons could travel around Austria everywhere in order to see for themselves that the Austrian people in an overwhelming majority wanted this Anschluss and greeted it with enthusiasm. Here, during the discussion of the Austrian question no mention was made of the fact
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that already -- this conversation took place on a Friday -- the Sunday before in Styria, one of the most important parts of the hereditary countries, an internal partial Anschluss had practically taken place, and that the population there had already declared itself in favor of the Anschluss and had more or less severed its ties with the Viennese Government.
DR. STAHMER: I have had handed to you a record of that conversation. It has been put in by the Prosecution. One part of it has not been read into the record yet, but you have given its contents. Would you please look at it?
Goering: Yes; I attach importance to having only those passages in this document read in which I refer to the fact that I considered it important that the English Government should send to Austria as soon as possible people in whom they had confidence, in order that they might see for themselves the actual state of affairs; and secondly, those passages in which I refer to the fact that we were going to, hold a plebiscite according to the Charter of the Saar Plebiscite and that, whatever the result might be, we should acknowledge it. I could promise that all the more, as it was personally known to me and quite clear that an overwhelming majority would vote in favor of the Anschluss.
Now I come to the decisive part concerning the entry of the troops. That was the second point where the Fuehrer interfered and we were not of the same opinion. The Fuehrer wanted the reasons for the march into Austria to be a request by the new Government of Seyss-Inquart, that is the government desired by us -- that they should ask for the troops in order to maintain order in the country. I was against this, not against the march into Austria -- I was for the march under all circumstances -- against only the reasons to be given. Here there was a difference of opinion. Certainly there might be disturbances at one place, namely Vienna and Wiener-Neustadt, because some of the Austrian Marxists, who once before had started an armed uprising, were actually armed. That, however, was not of such decisive importance. It was rather of the greatest importance that German troops should march into Austria immediately in sufficient numbers to stave off any desire on the part of a neighboring country to inherit even a single Austrian village on this occasion.
I should like to emphasize that at that time Mussolini's attitude to the Austrian question had not yet crystallized, although I had worked on him the year before to that end. The Italians were still looking with longing eyes at eastern Tyrol. The five divisions along the Brenner Pass I had not forgotten. The Hungarians talked too much about the Burgenland. The Yugoslavs once mentioned something about Carinthia, but I believe that I made it clear to them at the time that that was absurd. So to prevent the fulfillment of
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these hopes once and for all, which might easily happen in such circumstances, I very definitely wanted the German troops to march into Austria proclaiming: "The Anschluss has taken place; Austria is a part of Germany and therefore in its entirety automatically and completely under the protection of the German Reich and its Armed Forces."
The Fuehrer did not want to have such a striking demonstration of foreign policy, and finally asked me to inform Seyss-Inquart to send a telegram to that effect. The fact that we were in agreement about the decisive point, the march into Austria, helps explain the telephone conversation in which I told Seyss-Inquart that he need not send a telegram, that he could do it by telephone; that would be sufficient. That was the reason. Mussolini's consent did not come until 11:30 at night. It is well known what a relief that was for the Fuehrer.
In the evening of the same day, after everything had become clear, and the outcome could be seen in advance, I went to the Flieger Club, where I had been invited several weeks before, to a ball. I mention this because here that too has been described as a deceptive maneuver. But that invitation had been sent out, I believe, even before the Berchtesgaden conference took place. There I met almost all the diplomats. I immediately took Sir Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador, aside. I spoke to him for 2 hours and gave him all the reasons and explained everything, and also asked him to tell me -- the same question which I later asked Ribbentrop -- what nation in the whole world was damaged in any way by our union with Austria? From whom had we taken anything, and whom had we harmed? I said that this was an absolute restitution, that both parts had belonged together in the German Empire for centuries and that they had been separated only because of political developments, the later monarchy and Austria's secession.
When the Fuehrer flew to Austria the next morning, I took over all the business of the Reich in his absence, as is known. At that time I also prohibited for the time being the return of the so-called Austrian Legion -- that was a group of people who had left Austria during the early time of the fighting period -- because I did not want to have any disturbances. Secondly, however, I also made sure that north of the Danube, that is between the Czechoslovak border and the Danube, only one battalion should, march through the villages, so that Czechoslovakia would see very clearly that this was merely an Austro-German affair. That battalion had to march through so that the towns north of the Danube could also take part in the jubilation.
In this connection I want to stress two points in concluding: If Mr. Messersmith says in his long affidavit that before the Anschluss
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I had made various visits to Yugoslavia and Hungary in order to win over both these nations for the Anschluss, and that I had promised to Yugoslavia a part of Carinthia, I can only say in answer to these statements that I do not understand them at all. My visits in Yugoslavia and the other Balkan countries were designed to improve relations, particularly trade relations, which were very important to me with respect to the Four Year Plan. If at any time Yugoslavia had demanded one single village in Carinthia, I would have said that I would not even answer such a point, because, if any country is. German to the core, it was and is Carinthia.
The second point: Here in the Indictment mention is made of an aggressive war against Austria. Aggressive war is carried out by shooting, throwing bombs, and so on; but there only one thing was thrown -- and that was flowers. But maybe the Prosecution meant something else, and there I could agree. I personally have always stated that I would do everything to make sure that the Anschluss should not disturb the peace, but that in the long run, if this should be denied us forever, I personally might resort to war in order to reach this goal; that these Germans return to their fatherland - a war for Austria, not against Austria.
I believe, I have given in brief a picture of the Austrian events. And I close with the statement that in this matter not so much the Fuehrer as I, personally, bear the full and entire responsibility for everything that has happened.
DR. STAHMER: On the evening before the march of the troops into Austria you also had a conversation with Dr. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Ambassador. On this occasion you are supposed to, have given a declaration on your word of honor. What about that conversation?
Goering: I am especially grateful that I can at last make a clear statement about this "word of honor," which has been mentioned so often during the last months and which has been so incriminating for me.
I mentioned that on that evening almost all the diplomats were present at that ball. After I had spoken to Sir Nevile Henderson and returned to the ballroom, the Czechoslovak Ambassador, Dr. Mastny, came to me, very excited and trembling, and asked me what was happening that night and whether we intended to march into Czechoslovakia also. I gave him a short explanation and said, "No, it is only a question of the Anschluss of Austria; it has absolutely nothing to do with your country, especially if you keep out of things altogether."
He thanked me and went, apparently, to the telephone. But after a short time he came back even more excited, and I had the impression that in his excitement he could hardly understand me. I said
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to him then in the presence of others: "Your Excellency, listen carefully. I give you my personal word of honor that this is a question of the Anschluss of Austria only, and that not a single German soldier will come anywhere near the Czechoslovak border. See to it that there is no mobilization on the part of Czechoslovakia which might lead to difficulties." He then agreed.
At no time did I say to him, "I give you my word of honor that we never want to have anything to do with Czechoslovakia for all time." All he wanted was an explanation for this particular event, for this particular time. I gave him this particular explanation, because I had already clearly stated before that that the solution of the Sudeten German problem would be necessary at some time and in some way. I would never have given him a declaration on my word of honor in regard to a.final solution, and it would not have been possible for me, because before that, I had already made a statement to a different effect. An explanation was desired for the moment and in connection with the Austrian events. I could conscientiously assure him on my word of honor that Czechoslovakia would not be touched then, because at that time no decisions had been made by us, as far as a definite time was concerned with respect to Czechoslovakia or the solution of the Sudeten problem.
DR. STAHMER: On the 15 March 1939 a conversation took place between Hitler and President Hacha. Were you present during that conversation? And what was your part in it?
Goering: That was the beginning of the establishment of the Protectorate in Czechoslovakia. After Munich -- that is, after the Munich Agreement and the solution of the Sudeten German problem -- a military decision had been reached by the Fuehrer and some of his collaborators to the effect that, if there should be new difficulties after the Munich agreement, or arising from the occupation of the zones, certain measures of precaution would have to be taken by the military authorities, for, after the occupation of the zones, the troops which had been in readiness for "Case Green" (Schmundt File) had been demobilized. But a development might easily take place which at any moment could become extremely dangerous for Germany. One needs only to remember what an interpretation was given at that time by the Russian press and the Russian radio to the Munich agreement and to the occupation of the Sudetenland. One could hardly use stronger language. There had been a liaison between Prague and Moscow for a long time. Prague, disappointed by the Munich agreement, could now strengthen its ties with Moscow. Signs of that were seen particularly in the Czech officers' corps and we were informed. And in the event of this proving dangerous to Germany, instructions had been issued to the various military offices to take preventive measures, as was their
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duty. But that order has nothing to do with any intention of occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia after a short time.
I myself went to the Riviera at the end of January for my first long vacation and during that time I dropped all business affairs. At the beginning of March, much to my surprise, a courier came from the Fuehrer with a letter in which the Fuehrer informed me that developments in Czechoslovakia were such that he could not let things go on as they were with impunity. They were becoming an increasing menace to Germany, and he was determined to solve the question now by eliminating Czechoslovakia as a source of danger right in the center of Germany, and he therefore was thinking of an occupation.
During that time I had met many Englishmen in San Remo. I had realized that they had made the best of Munich and even found it satisfactory, but that any other incidents, or demands on Czechoslovakia would cause considerable excitement.
I sent a letter back by courier. Maybe it is among the many tons of documents in the possession of the Prosecution. I could also understand if they do not submit it, for it would be a document of an extenuating character as far as I am concerned. In this letter I communicated these views to the Fuehrer and wrote to him somewhat as follows: That if this were to take place now, it would be a very serious loss of prestige for the British Prime Minister, Chamberlain, and I hardly believed that he would survive it. Then probably Mr. Churchill would come in, and the Fuehrer knew Churchill's attitude toward Germany. Secondly, it would not be understood, since just a short time previously we had settled these things to general satisfaction. Thirdly, I thought I could calm him by telling him the following: I believed that what he wanted to eliminate at the moment in the way of danger, by the occupation of Czechoslovakia, could be achieved in a somewhat lengthier manner, at the same time avoiding anything which might excite Czechoslovakia as well as other countries. I was convinced that since the Sudetenland had been separated and Austria was a part of Germany an economic penetration of Czechoslovakia would be only a matter of time. That is to say, I hoped by strong economic ties to reach a communications, customs, and currency union, which would serve the economic interests of both countries. If this took place, then a sovereign Czechoslovakia would be politically so closely bound to Germany and German interests that I did not believe that any danger could arise again. However, if Slovakia expressed her desire for independence very definitely we should not have to counteract that in any way. On the contrary, we could support it, as then economic co-operation would naturally become even much closer than otherwise; for, if Slovakia were to secede, both countries would
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have to look to Germany in economic matters, and in such matters both countries could be made interested in Germany and could be most closely bound to Germany.
This letter -- I have just given the gist of it -- the courier took back. Then I heard nothing for some days.
THE PRESEDENT: Would that be a convenient time for us to break off?
[A recess was taken.]
DR. STAHMER: Will you continue, please?
Goering: I was then called to Berlin on very short notice. I arrived in Berlin in the morning and President Hacha arrived in the evening of the same day. I presented orally to the Fuehrer the views which I had already expressed in my letter. The Fuehrer pointed out to me certain evidence in his possession to the effect that the situation in Czechoslovakia had developed more seriously. This state had, for one thing, disintegrated because of the detachment of Slovakia, but that was not the decisive question. He showed me documents from the Intelligence Service which indicated that Russian aviation commissions were present at the airfields of Czechoslovakia, or certain of them, undertaking training, and that such things were not in keeping with the Munich agreement. He said that he feared that Czechoslovakia, especially if Slovakia were detached, would be used as a Russian air base against Germany.
He said he was determined to eliminate this danger. President Hacha had requested an interview, so he told me at the time, and would arrive in the evening; and he wished that I too should be present at the Reich Chancellery.
President Hacha arrived and talked first with the Reich Foreign Minister. At night he came to see the Fuehrer; we greeted him coldly. First he conversed with the Fuehrer alone; then we were called in. Then I talked to him in the presence of his ambassador and urged him to meet as quickly as possible the Fuehrer's demand that trdops be kept back when the Germans marched in, in order that there might be no bloodshed. I told him that nothing could be done about it; the Fuehrer had made his decision and considered it necessary, and there would be only unnecessary bloodshed as resistance for any length of time was quite impossible. And in that connection I made the statement that I should be sorry if I had to bomb beautiful Prague. The intention of bombing Prague did not exist, nor had any order been given to that effect, for even in the case of resistance that would not have been necessary -- resistance could always be broken more easily without such bombing. But a point
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like that might, I thought, serve as an argument and accelerate the whole matter.
I succeeded then in getting a telephone connection between him and his Government in Prague, he gave the order, and the occupation and the march into Prague took place the next day.
DR. STAHMER: Did you accompany the Fuehrer to Prague?
Goering: No, I did not accompany him to Prague. I was rather annoyqd. I did not enter Czechoslovakia or Sudeten Germany at any time after that incident, with the exception of 21 April 1945 when I passed through a part of Czechoslovakia.
DR. STAHAIER: Why were you annoyed?
Goering: Because the whole matter had been carried out more or less over my head.
DR. STAIMIER: Did other powers take a part in the occupation of Czechoslovakia?
Goering: Yes. Poland took the Olsa territory at that time.
DR.STAHMER: The Prosecution have presented a document from which the conclusion is drawn that the murder of the German Ambassador was to take place in connection with anti-German demonstrations in Prague. It has been interpreted as if this assassination of the German Ambassador were to be carried out in order to provide a motive for the annexation.
Goering: That comes before the solution of the Sudeten German problem, and I listened very carefully when that point came up. I also remember what the facts really were. It was not discussed in that way and should not be interpreted, that we wanted to murder our own Ambassadors, or had even considered this possibility, in order to find a motive for settling this problem. But we considered the possibilities which might lead to an immediate clash. In view of the tension which existed between Czechoslovakia and Germany in regard to Sudeten Germany, the possibility was also considered that the German Ambassador in Prague might actually be assassinated by the Czechs, and that this would necessitate immediate action on Germany's part under all circumstances, quite apart from any other political actions.
This possibility arose from the fact that outside the German Embassy in Prague there had been a number of demonstrations, which cannot be denied, for which reason Germany had sent arms to the Embassy for its defense, so threatening was the situation. For these reasons we talked of that possibility. That has been wrongly understood here. We did not want to have the Ambassador assassinated as a provocation, or a possible provocation, but we saw
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the possibility of such an assassination being committed by the other side; and then the Fuehrer would have acted immediately.
DR. STAHMER: To what extent were confiscations carried out in Czechoslovakia?
Goering: Before the war no confiscation took place in Czechoslovakia, that is, no economic goods were taken away. On the contrary, Czechoslovakia's large and vigorous economic capacity was aligned in its full extent with the economic capacity of Germany. That is to say, we attached importance above all to the fact that, now that we had declared the Protectorate and thus concluded an action, the Skoda Works and the Brunn Armament Works, that is important armament works, would naturally be included in the armament potential of Germany. That means that orders were sent there for the time being to a considerable extent. Over and above that we even created new industries there and gave our support in respect to this.
The accusation had been raised that among other things we dismantled new rails there and replaced them with old rails from Germany. I believe that to be a complete error, for the transportation system in Czechoslovakia, the Protectorate, was one of the most important for Germany. The entire southeastern transportation from the Balkans went through the Protectorate, first, in the direction of Vienna, Prague, Dresden, and Berlin; and secondly, the main line of Vienna-Lundenburg-Oderberg-Breslau. And, since the canal had not been completed, the entire transportation of all economic goods no longer made a detour around the border, but took the shortest way. We would have been mad if we had weakened this transportation system. I can think of only one explanation, and that is that during the extension of the existing transportation system perhaps, many rails from German stock were also used which later appeared in the government report as "old." But that we dismantled new for old is absolute nonsense.
Furthermore, it is obvious that as Sudetenland was included in the Reich, the accusation that state property and forests were taken over into German State possession has no bearing; for naturally if a country is taken over, then its state property must also become the property of the new state.
Likewise the accusation, as far as Sudetenland is concerned, that the banks there were affiliated with German banks is obviously not justified, as German currency was introduced for the country, and therefore the branch banks also had to be converted to that.
As far as the later Protectorate is concerned, I have already emphasized that even before the creation of that Protectorate a strong economic penetration of Czechoslovakia had been prepared
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by me, on the one hand by our acquiring shares from other owners which gave us a voice in Czech and Slovak enterprises, and further I believe, by our replacing certain loans originally made by Western powers.
In this connection the Hermann Goering Werke came to the fore, as they had acquired large number of shares in the Skoda Works, in order to use the latter as a finishing industry for the products of their own rolling mills and steel works, just as they used other industries in Germany.
Moreover, after the creation of the Protectorate, the total economic capacity of the Protectorate was of course amalgamated with Germany's total economic capacity.
DR. STAHMER: On 15 November 1937 a discussion with the Fuehrer took place at the Reich Chancellery, a record of which was prepared by a certain Colonel Hossbach, and that has been referred to as Hitler's last will. It has repeatedly been the subject of the proceedings here. May I ask you for a short explanation as to what significance this conference had. I am going to have that document shown to you. It is Document Number 386-PS.
Goering: This document has already been shown to me here, and I am fairly familiar with the contents. This document played an important role in the Indictment, since it appears under the heading "Testament of the Fuehrer." This word "testament" is, in fact, used in one place by Hossbach.
As far as the technical aspect of this record is concerned, I want to say the following: Hossbach was the adjutant of the Fuehrer, the chief adjutant. As such, he was present at the meeting and took notes. Five days later, as I have ascertained, he prepared this record on the basis of his notes. This is, therefore, a record which contains all the mistakes which easily occur in a record, which is not taken down on the spot by alternating stenographers, and which under certain circumstances contains the subjective opinions of the recorder or his own interpretations.
It contains a number of points, as I said at the time, which correspond exactly to what the Fuehrer had repeatedly said; but there are other points and expressions which I may say do not seem like the Fuehrer's words.
During the last months I have seen too many records and interrogations which in part had nothing to do with it nor with the interpretation which had been given to it; for that reason I must here too point out the sources of mistakes.
As far as the word "testament" is concerned, the use of this word contradicts the Fuehrer's views completely. If anybody at all knows anything about these views, it is I.
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The decision that I was to be the successor was not made first on 1 September 1939, but as early as the late autumn of 1934. 1 have often had the opportunity of discussing the question of a so-called political testament with the Fuehrer. He turned it down, giving as his reason the fact that one could never appoint a successor by means of a political testament, for developments and political events must allow him complete freedom of action at all times. Quite possibly one could set down political wishes or views, but never binding statements in the shape of a will. That was his view then and as long as I stood in his confidence.
Now, what did he aim at in this discussion? The Minister of War, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and the Luftwaffe and the then Reich Foreign Minister were called together. Shortly before the Fuehrer had informed me, as I was there earlier, that he was going to call this meeting mainly in order, as he called it, to put pressure on General Von Fritsch, since he was dissatisfied with the rearmament of the Army. He said it would not do any harm if Herr Von Blomberg would also exercise a certain amount of pressure on Von Fritsch.
I asked why Von Neurath was to be present. He said he did not want the thing to look too military, that as far as the commanders-in-chief were concerned it was not so important, but that he wanted to make it very clear to Commander-in-Chief Fritsch that the foreign political situation required a forced speed in armament and that for that reason he had asked the Foreign Minister, who knew nothing about the details, to come along.
The statements were then made in the way the Fuehrer preferred on such occasions. He went to great lengths to picture things within a large political framework and he talked about the whole world situation from all angles; and for anybody who knew him as well as I did the purpose which he pursued was obvious. He was quite clearly ah-aing at saying that he had great plans, that the political situation was such and such, and the whole thing ended in the direction of a stronger armament program. I should like to say that, if the Fuehrer, a couple of hours later, had talked to another group, for instance, diplomats of the Foreign Office, or Party functionaries, then he probably would have represented matters quite differently.
Nevertheless, some of these statements naturally do reflect the basic attitude of the Fuehrer, but with the best intentions I cannot attach the same measure of significance to the document as is being attached to it here.
DR. STAHMER: You said you had been considered as the Fuehrer's successor. Were you in this capacity initiated in all political problems by Hitler?
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Goering: I am now talking of the period of my good relations, which lasted until long into the war. Of course he informed me of all important political and military problems. He initiated me into these problems for the most part in many long discussions, which would take place for many hours, day after day. Sometimes I was certainly surprised concerning foreign political questions, but whenever possible I found things out for myself, and on one occasion he said, in fact, that I had a decided opinion of my own on foreign matters and that he did not always find it easy to agree with me. But I want to emphasize that on all important political questions I was, of course, always informed.
DR. STAHMER: On 23 May 1939 a conference took place with the Fuehrer, which was briefly discussed in connection with the examination of the witness Milch.
A report of that was also made, Document Number L-79. According to the wording of that report, you participated in this meeting, but the witness Milch stated that you were not present.
Goering: Actually I was not present. Milch was called in at the last moment to represent me. But, of course, if the witness says that he had not received any permission from the Fuehrer to inform me, then you must understand that the Fuehrer did not want, to have me informed of this matter by way of my state secretary, but wanted rather to inform me himself. But no, I was actually present at this meeting -- I see that now from another clue. But even if I had not been present, I think Milch must have been thinking of another meeting. That would not be one of any importance, for it is out of the question that the Fuehrer would have had a conference with such gentlemen without notifying me either before, or afterwards if I myself were absent. It is, therefore, not at all important. It is quite obvious that in such cases I was informed either previously or, if I was not present, afterwards in great detail by the Fuehrer. But I see now that Milch must have made a mistake here, and he is probably thinking of another meeting, for at the very end I asked some questions with respect to the armament program which I now recall very well.
DR. STAHMER: What was the significance of this meeting?
Goering: It was a conference held by the Fuehrer at which he once more stated his views with regard to the situation and the tasks demanded of the Wehrmacht as a result of this situation. Once more the main point was to inform the Armed Forces concerning armament and preparedness, that he was considering all possible developments, political and otherwise, and that he himself wanted to have complete freedom of decision.
Looking back, in regard to the events which have occurred up to this moment -- and I need not emphasize how easily matters
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viewed in retrospect, in the light of their development, are seen and presented differently to what they actually were when they occurred -- but I can now easily say that even at that time I wanted this or that, since I have in the meantime achieved it. I can easily say also -- this involuntarily suggests itself -- that this or that was always my intention, even though one knows perfectly well that one was originally very dependent on other factors, and that under certain circumstahces one's intentions at that time might have been quite different.
Generally speaking, this is another case where there are misconceptions on the part of the adjutant; but, on the whole, it is typical of the conferences which the Fuehrer used to hold when he had some particular purpose in mind which he wanted to achieve and wanted to give this aim the necessary emphasis.
DR. STAHMER: During the period from 1935 to 1938 you made many state visits to Poland. What was the purpose of these visits?
Goering: After German-Polish relations had been clarified in 1934, the Fuehrer wished a strengthening of that pact and the creation of a better atmosphere. He requested me to take over this task because he believed that I would find it easy to talk to these Polish gentlemen, which was indeed the case.
The President of the Polish State had invited me. That was in 1935, and from then on -- in 1935, 1936 and 1937 -- I spent about 1 or 2 weeks in Poland each year. I had a long discussion with the then Marshal Pilsudski, and afterwards always with the Foreign Minister, and Marshal Rydz-Smygly.
At that time the Fuehrer had given me the serious task -- not a task of deception -- while improving relations, to tell Poland that he was interested in a strong Poland, because a strong Poland would be an excellent barrier between Germany and Russia. The Fuehrer had laid stress on the solution of the Danzig question and the Corridor question in speaking to me at that time, and had said that the opportunity for this would come, but that, until then, there might be some sort of opportunity to come to an agreement with Poland about that problem. The Lithuanian problem played a part in this. But the decisive factor is that he did not say, "Lull Poland to sleep. I am going to attack Poland afterwards." It was never the case, that from the very beginning, as has often been represented here, we got together and, conspiring, laid down every point of our plans for decades to come. Rather, everything arose out of the play of political forces and interests, as has always been everywhere the case, the whole world over, in matters of state policy. I had this task, and I consciously considered it a serious task and carried it out with an honest belief in it. Consequently, when the clash with Poland came about it was not a very pleasant situation for me.
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DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude toward the Memel, Danzig, and Polish Corridor question?
Goering: My attitude was always unequivocal. It was that Danzig and the Free State, as purely German territory, should at some date in the near future return to Germany. On the other hand, we certainly recognized that Poland should have access to the sea, and also a port. Consequently, our first thought was that the Free State and Danzig should be returned to us and that through the Polish Corridor there should be a German traffic lane. That was a very small and most modest demand which for a long time was considered absolutely necessary, and seemed to us quite possible.
DR. STAHMER: Another conference with the Fuehrer took place on 23 November 1939. The record of that conference is Document Number 789-PS, which was submitted to the Tribunal. I ask you to look at this document and then to tell me briefly what your attitude is toward the subject of this conference.
Goering: About that I can be comparatively brief. This is an address before the commanders-in-chief and commanders of the formations and armies which were to be made ready for the attack in the West after Poland's defeat. This is quite understandable to me and indeed requires no explanation if the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who is actually leading these forces, decides to undertake a strategic and extensive tactical operation, as in this case, after the end of the Polish Campaign. The Fuehrer wanted under all circumstances, and was perfectly correct, to transfer the troops in the late autumn and carry out the blow against France, so that in the autumn and winter of 1939 the end of that operation could be achieved. What prevented him was the weather, since without using the Air Force he could not carry out this operation, particularly the penetration of the Maginot Line at Sedan. He needed good flying weather for at least 4 or 5 days at the beginning of the attack. Merely because we could not assure him of such weather conditions for weeks and weeks, the matter dragged on into the winter and was eventually postponed, after Christmas and New Year, until the beginning of the spring.
But this was at a time when he still believed that he could carry it through. Therefore he called the commanders-in-chief together and informed them about the orders for attack. It was one of the speeches customarily made in such cases. Naturally, since the Fuehrer was not only a military man but above all a politician, it always happened that these military speeches, which a soldier would have confined exclusively to the military-strategical field, were always to a large extent filled with references to his political views and his political tendencies or intentions. It must never be
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forgotten that he gave such speeches not only as the Commander-in-Chief or the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but also as the head of the German State; and that is why so frequently there was such a strong political tendency even to the military speeches.
But no general was asked on such occasions what his opinions were or whether he approved of the principal tendencies of the policy or not. At such speeches he was not even asked whether he approved of the military plan or not; that happened at another time. If a matter was concluded and purely strategical-tactical matters had been discussed with the single commanders, then came a summary, also definitely political, in which the last final concluding thoughts of the Fuehrer were presented to the generals. And if -- this I emphasize since it has often played a role here -- if a general had been able to say, "My Fuehrer, I consider your statements wrong and not in keeping with the agreements we have made," or "This is not a policy of which we can approve," it would have defied understanding. Not because that particular general would have been shot; but I would have doubted the sanity of that man, because how does one imagine that a state can be led if, during a war, or before a war, which the political leaders have decided upon, whether wrongly or rightly, the individual general could vote whether he was going to fight or not, whether his army corps was going to stay at home or not, or could say, "I must first ask my division." Perhaps one of them would go along, and the other stay at home! That privilege in this case would have to be afforded the ordinary soldier too. Perhaps this would be the way to avoid wars in the future, if one were to ask every soldier whether he wanted to go home! Possibly, but not in a Fuehrer State. This I should like to emphasize, that in every state of the world the military formula is clearly defined. "When there is a war, or when the state leadership decides upon war, the military leaders receive their military tasks. With respect to these they can voice an opinion, can make proposals as to whether they want to press the attack on the left or the right or in the center. But whether they thereby march through a neutral state or not, is not the business of military leadership. That is entirely the responsibility of the political leadership of the state. Therefore there could be no possibility that a general discussion as to right or wrong would ensue; rather the generals had already received their orders. The Supreme Commander had decided and therefore there was nothing left for a soldier to discuss; and that applies to a field marshal as well as to the ordinary soldier.
DR. STAHMER: A Fuehrer Decree of 7 October 1939 bears your signature. In this decree Himmler is given the task of germanizing.
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This decree is presented as Document Number 686-PS. Please look at this and say what the significance of this decree is?
Goering: This decree of 7 October 1939 was issued after the Polish campaign had ended. Poland at that time had been conquered and the Polish State as such had ceased to exist. I draw your attention to the note of the then People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in Russia, Molotov, who states his opinion about this, according to which that injustice which Germany had felt, when in the Treaty of Versailles German provinces were detached and given over to Poland, had been compensated by the victory of arms. It was therefore a matter of course for us that that part of Poland, which until 1918 had been German, should again be given back, that is, returned to Germany. But in that territory, in the course of years, more than one million Germans who had formerly lived there, who had had property there, particularly farms, estates, et cetera, had been thrown out, expelled and dispossessed. That is quite clear from numerous complaints which during the years after 1919 had been made to the League of Nations about this matter; and a study of all these complaints and of all the events which had been reported there, which must still be in the archives at Geneva, will prove to what an enormous extent the Polonization of these German territories was carried out. This decree aimed to put an end to that and to make these territories German once more, that is, that those farms and estates from which Germans had been driven, should once more come into the hands of Germans. The fact that this task was given to Himmler did not meet with my full agreement; but at the moment that was not of decisive importance. He was given this task, not in his capacity as Chief of the Police, but because, as is known, he was always particularly and keenly interested in the question of the new development of the German people, and therefore this office of "Folkdom" or whatever it was called -- just a moment, it does not make any difference -- anyhow Himmler was given this task. The Fuehrer issued the law. I naturally was also a signatory, since I was the Chairman of the Ministerial Council at the time, and then it was also signed by the Chief of the Chancellery, Lammers. These signatures are a matter of course. I take a very positive attitude to this; it was quite in accordance with my views, that where the Germans had been driven out from what were German territories, they should return. But I want to draw your attention to the fact that this, to be exact, is a question of former German provinces.
DR. STAHMER: You mean the occupied western Polish provinces?
G40RING: Yes. The Government, for instance, was not appointed for purposes of Germanization. If Germans later were settled there -- and I am not certain of that -- that was not done on the basis
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of this decree. You asked about my attitude to the Memel question, I believe. Danzig and the Polish Corridor, I have emphasized. Memel was a comparatively small matter. In Memel, according to the Treaty of Versailles or the League of Nations, there was to be a plebiscite. Shortly before, the Lithuanians occupied Memel and the Memel territory. In order to prevent the plebiscite Lithuania incorporated Memel and thereby produced a fait accompli. Complaints of the German Government at that time naturally were as futile as all previous complaints to the League of Nations. What the Lithuanians had done was regretted, it was considered false and urong, but there could be no talk about returning it, or going through with the prescribed plebiscite. After the Lithuanians, in violation of all agreements, had occupied Memel, it was naturally our absolute national right to rectify this encroachment and now to occupy Memel ourselves.
DR. STAHMER: On 19 October 1939 you published a decree which ordered the removal of economic goods from Poland. This decree has been submitted in Document Number EC-410. I should like to have your opinion on this decree.
Goering: This is a decree which represents general instructions as to what economic procedure should be adopted in the whole of the Polish territory occupied by us. It regulates the seizure and administration of property of the Polish State within the territories occupied by German troops, money and credit matters, the taking of economic measures, the preparation for a settlement with foreign creditors which would become necessary, et cetera. Confiscation was to be carried out only by the Main Trustee Office East, et cetera. It is not so much a question of the removal of economic goods. That was not the case. On the contrary, even in the Government General, the economy in existence there, that economy of course which could be used for purposes of war at that time, was strengthened and extended. Such economy as was not absolutely essential was cut down, just as in the rest of Germany and in all other states in the event of war. As far as those raw materials are concerned which were available and were important for the conduct of the war, such as steel or copper or tin, it was my view, or better said my intention, that these raw materials should be converted into manufactured products there where they could most quickly be used for manufacture. If the locality and its transportation facilities permitted it, they should remain and be used for manufacture there. If it was not possible to use them for manufacture on the spot, I would of course not let raw materials of importance for the war lie there, but would have them brought to wherever they could most quickly be used to serve the needs of the war. That is in general, what this decree says. That was my basic attitude and my basic instruction. The
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object was the quickest and most purposeful use for manufacture wherever it was possible.
DR. STAHMER: On 19 November 1945 a Dr. Kajetan Muhlmann made an affidavit, which has been presented by the Prosecution under Document Number 3042-PS. In this it says the following in three short sentences:
"I was the Special Deputy of the Governor General of Poland, Hans Frank, for the safeguarding of art treasures in the Government General from October 1939 to September 1943. This task was given to me by Goering in his capacity as the Chairman of the Committee for Reich Defense. I confirm that it was the official policy of the Governor General, Hans Frank, to take in custody all important works of art which belonged to Polish public institutions, private collections and the church. I confirm that the mentioned works of art were actually confiscated and I am aware that, in the event of a German victory, they would not have remained in Poland but would have been used to complete German art collections."
Goering: Actually I had nothing directly to do with the safeguarding of art treasures in Poland, absolutely nothing, in my capacity as Chairman of the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense. However, Muhlmann, whom I knew, did come to see me and told me that he was to take steps for the safeguarding of art treasures there. It was my view too that these art treasures should be safeguarded during the war, regardless of what was to be done with them later, so that no destruction would be possible through fire, bombing, et cetera. I want to emphasize now -- I shall refer to this matter again later in connection with France -- that nothing was taken from these art treasures for my so-called collection. I mention that just incidentally. That these art treasures were actually safeguarded is correct, and was also intended, partly for the reason that the owners were not there. Wherever the owners were present, however -- I remember Count Potocki of Lincut, for instance -- the art collections were left where they were. The Fuehrer had not yet finally decided what was to be done with these art treasures. He had given an order -- and I communicated that by letter to Muhlmann and also, as far as I remember, to Frank -- that these art treasures were for the time being to be brought to Konigsberg. Four pictures were to be taken to the safety "bunker" or the safety room of the German Museum in Berlin or to the Kaiser Friederich Museum in Berlin. The Durer drawings in Lemberg also figured here. In this connection I want to mention them now, since the Prosecution has already concerned itself with them. The Durer drawings in Lemberg were not confiscated by us at that time, because Lemberg had become Russian. Not until the march against
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Russia were these Lemberg drawings -- as far as I can remember from Muhlmann's story -- rescued from the burning city in the battle by a Polish professor, who had hidden from the Russians until that time, and he gave them over to him. They were drawings and he came with them to visit me. Although I am usually very interested in such things I unfortunately did not have time to look at them properly, as I was on my way to the Fuehrer at the moment. I took them along with me and, as Muhlmann has confirmed, delivered them there immediately. Where they went after that I do not know. I believe I have now answered the question about the Polish art treasures. Apart from that there is still the Veit Stoss altar, which was originally made here in Nuremberg, a purely German work. The Fuehrer wished that this altar should come to the Germanisches Museum here in Nuremberg -- with that I personally had nothing to do. I merely know about it. What was intended to be done with it finally had not yet been stated. But it is certain that it also would have been mentioned in negotiations for peace.
DR.STAHMER: What connection did you have with Quisling?
Goering: I met Quisling for the first time long after the occupation of Norway, for the first and only time. He was in Berlin, visited me, and we had a short, unimportant conversation. Before that, that is before the outbreak of war, one of his men whom I did not know personally sent a letter to me, which has been shown to me here but which I myself cannot remember, as such letters, according to our practice, were hardly ever submitted to me - that is immaterial. In that letter he expressed himself in Quisling's name to the effect that we should give financial support to Quisling's movement, and he described to what extent political money contributions, on the one side from Russia -- the Communist Party there and on the other from England, would flow into the political office concerned. Then I -- later on someone discussed with me whether some sort of contribution could be given to Quisling by way of coal deliveries. My point of view was that, because of the foreign exchange situation and other factors -- we were not so rich, we naturally could not compete with the Russian or English money contributions -- those authorities should be consulted who could judge whether it was expedient to give the Quisling movement financial support or not. If they answered in the affirmative, then it would be perfectly clear to me that Quisling should receive money. The amount concerned, which I also would have given, was very much higher than the amount which was, I believe, paid later on by the Fuehrer by way of the Foreign Office.
I never thought much of such small money contributions; if one was going to give, then one should give properly, so that an end could really be gained thereby. From the last World War I had
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experience enough in connection with the money which went to the Romanian Parliament, but which was unfortunately too little. On. the basis of these experiences it was my advice that if we were to contribute, then we should give the proper amount. Apart from this, as I said, I did not become acquainted with Quisling until much later, and had a very unimportant conversation with him, which I do not remember.
DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude towards the Norway project?
Goering: The Norwegian project surprised me rather, since strangely enough for a rather long time I was not informed about. it. The Fuehrer went very far in his basic decree, which I already mentioned at the beginning, and did not call in the Air Force until very late. But since the most important part of this undertaking fell to the Air Force, I expressed my views in regard to this in an unmistakable and unfriendly fashion. From a military point of view I was definitely against this undertaking as such, since as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, quite independent of political considerations, I had first of all to think exclusively of strategic considerations. That it would considerably improve my position as far as the Air Force was concerned if my squadrons could operate against England from Norwegian bases was obvious, and would be obvious to any prudent military expert. From the strategic point of view I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, could take only a very definite stand against this undertaking. My objection was, firstly, that I had been informed too late and, secondly, that the plans did not seem quite correct to me.
DR. STAHMER: Was Hitler afraid of complications with Sweden because of this occupation?
Goering: Yes, not because of occupation by German forces as such; but when we, that is, the Fuehrer, decided to occupy Norway, we already had considerable and detailed information regarding the intended occupation by the English and French, which was later also confirmed by the papers of the English and French General Staff which we captured. In this connection we also knew that the intention was not merely of occupying Norway, but, above all, of cutting off the Swedish ore deliveries to Germany by way of Narvik, and, over and above that, of intervening on the side of Finland in the Russian-Finnish conflict, which was still taking place at the time. The Fuehrer feared that Sweden would yield entirely to English pressure, that is, under the pretext of coming to Finland's aid, a march through would be allowed, thereby effecting the complete cutting off of the Swedish iron ore basin and, the ore deliveries to us. I took a very heavy responsibility upon
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myself at that time by assuring Hitler that I knew Sweden and her people and her King so well that I knew that, whoever might want to exert pressure on Sweden, regardless of which power -- whether our power or another -- Sweden under all circumstances would defend her neutrality, with arms against any power that tried to violate it, no matter what reasons there might be for this violation. And I said that I personally and consciously would take the responsibility for this, and that we could rest assured in this respect. Therewith the question was settled.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 15 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]