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DR. STAHMER: What reasons were decisive for the invasion of Holland and Belgium?
Goering: This question had first been investigated from the purely military and strategic point of view. To begin with it had been examined whether the neutrality of the two States would be guaranteed absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: There is some difficulty with the equipment. The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
DR. STAHMER: Would you please continue.
Goering: I repeat. At first, we had to determine whether the neutrality of Holland and Belgium would, under all circumstances, be assured in case of a conflict and a war in the West. In the beginning it seemed as if it would. Then information came that negotiations had taken place not only between Belgium and France but also between Holland and England. There was an incident at Venlo, where a Dutch officer of the general staff had been caught on German territory, and I believe another one was shot by the frontier post during this occurrence, which made it clear that this neutrality could not be maintained under certain conditions and under increased pressure from the enemy side.
Now if neutrality was not assured under all circumstances, a tremendous danger would exist in battle, in that the right flank was menaced and exposed. The purely military authorities, who were concerned only with the strategic point of view, when being asked for their opinion had to give it from a purely military angle; that is, to point out that by occupying both countries, the purely military and strategic situation would of course be different from what it would be if this were not done, and such an occupation were undertaken by the enemy.
An additional element which gave rise to doubt as to the absolute neutrality of these countries was the fact that nearly all flights from Great Britain into Germany, which took place at that time, went
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over Dutch or Belgian territory. Reliable information reached us that the Belgian Army, which at the beginning of the war had been reinforced on its southwestern frontier, was being regrouped and drawn up along the German border with all its full fighting force.
Further information indicated that an interchange of view between the French and Belgian General Staffs had taken place, and that, under pressure from the French General Staff, Belgium had promised to intensify the work on the fortification line of the Maas against Germany.
Other information indicated that the chief of the French General Staff, Gamelin, as well as Admiral Darlan and the chief of the Air Force, Vuillemin, insisted on the occupation of Belgium under all circumstances, for the security of France, and that considerable negotiations were taking place on this subject between the French and the British governments. The information at the time was highly reliable. How correct and absolutely clear it was became evident later when, after marching into France, we found the secret documents of the French General Staff, and also minutes of conferences which had taken place between the French and British Governments in the so-called Supreme Military Council.
It was the opinion of the Fuehrer that the incapability of these countries to maintain their neutrality in the face of increased French and British pressure would in consequence expose to extreme danger the Ruhr area, which was particularly vital to us. How justified this opinion was can also be seen from reports in which the British chief of government suggested, and had also fully explained by the experts in the Military Council, how best the Ruhr Valley could be attacked by low-flying British aircraft, which would approach over Belgium and then, at the last moment, in a short flight from Belgium could attack the Ruhr Valley and destroy the most important industries there.
If that was not carried out at first, it was due to the concern of the French Premier, for he, on his part, was worried about French industry and wanted to leave it to the other side to make the first attacks against industrial areas. England insisted, however, that she would be able to carry out this attack on the Ruhr Valley via Belgium at any time.
If one takes into consideration how short the flying distance is from the Belgian border to the most important industries of the Ruhr Valley, only a few minutes, one can then fully realize the danger which would arise if the neutrality of Belgium was not respected by our enemies. On the other hand, if it were respected, an attack by the British Air Force on the Ruhr Valley would have necessitated a relatively long flight over the Helgoldnder Bucht from the north, and at that time it would easily have been possible for us
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to avoid and to repel such an attack. If, however, they came via Belgium, it would have been almost impossible.
In this hard struggle it was necessary in the first place, to think of our own war interests and our own existence, and not to leave the advantage to the enemy. At the very moment one was sincerely convinced of the reality of the danger threatening our people, and above all our Armed Forces; that danger had to be eliminated, in advance, and we had to secure for ourselves those advantages which the adversary had expected.
DR. STAHMER: For what reason were officers interned in France again, even after the war was over?
Goering: First I would like to correct an expression in regard to this question. In France the war as such was not terminated at all. An armistice had been concluded. This armistice was a very generous one. Even the preamble of this armistice showed a tendency to coming conciliation, in contrast to that armistice which had been signed in 1918 on the same spot.
When, at the time, Marshal Petain asked for an armistice, the first answer he received was that capitulation would have to be unconditional. Later, however, we gave him to understand that quite a number of wishes concerning the fleet, certain parts of the unoccupied territory, and the respecting of the colonies would be considered. The situation was such that Germany at that moment could have insisted on an absolutely unconditional surrender, since no French forces of any consequence, or any help that might come from England, were available to prevent a complete military catastrophe in France.
No line, no French formation, could have stopped the breakthrough of German troops to the Mediterranean. No reserves were available in England. All the available forces were in the expeditionary force which had been routed in the Belgian and northem French area and finally at Dunkirk.
In this armistice those conditions were respected for which a wish had been expressed. The Fuehrer also, apart from that, had hinted at a certain generous solution, especially in regard to the question of captured officers. When, contrary to far-reaching satisfaction which we had hoped for, and which we really got at the beginning, the resistance movement within France began to develop gradually by means of propaganda from across the Channel, and the establishment there of a new center of resistance under General de Gaulle, it was perfectly understandable, from my point of view, that French officers would offer their services as patriots. But at the same time it was just as natural for Germany, recognizing that danger and in trying to overcome it, again to take as prisoners of war those elements who would be the leaders and experts in such military
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resistance movements, that is to say all those officers who were still moving freely in France. That was a necessary basic condition in order to avoid the danger of a war in our back and of a renewed flare-up in France. I believe that it is quite unique, that, while war was still raging on all fronts, officers of a country with whom one had only an armistice were permitted to move around freely when war was at its height, As far as I know, that was the first time in the history of warfare that such a thing had happened.
DR. STAHMER: Can you give us specific facts to explain why the struggle in France, which was apparently carried out in a mutually honorable manner in 1940, later took on such a bitter character?
Goering: One must consider the two phases of the war with France completely separately. The first phase was the great military conflict, that is to say, the attack of the German forces against the French Army. This struggle was executed quickly. One cannot say that it was a chivalrous fight throughout, because from that period we know of several acts on the part of the French against our prisoners, which were recorded in the White Books and later presented to the International Red Cioss in Geneva. But all in all, it kept within the usual bounds of a military war with the excesses that always occur here and there in such a struggle.
After that had been terminated, appeasement and quiet set in for the time being. Only later, when the struggle continued and expanded, especially when the fight against Russia was added, and, as I said before, when on the opposite side a new French center of leadership had been created, then in the countries of the West, which had been quiet until then and where no serious incidents had taken place, a definite intensification of the resistance movement became evident. There were attacks on German officers and soldiers; hand grenades and bombs were thrown into restaurants where German officers or soldiers were present. Bombs were even thrown in places where there were women, members of the Women's Auxiliary Signal Service and Red Cross nurses. Cars were attacked, communications cut, trains blown up, and this on a growing scale.
A war behind the front during a period of land warfare represented difficulty enough but when aerial warfare was added, entirely new possibilities and methods were developed. Night after night a large number of planes came and dropped a tremendous quantity of explosives and arms, instructions, et cetera for this resistance movement, in order to strengthen and enlarge it. The German counterintelligence succeeded, by means of aerial deception and code keys dropped by enemy planes, in getting into their hands a large part of these materials; but a sufficient amount was left which fell into the hands of the resistance movement. The atrocities committed
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in this connection were also widespread. As to this, documents can be submitted. Of course ...
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If the Tribunal please, I am very reluctant to interrupt this examination, but I should like to ask if the Tribunal will avail itself of the Charter provision to require from Counsel a statement as to how this is relevant to the charges which we are engaged in trying.
It raises a rather large and important question, and that question is this, as I see it: It raises a question which involves a great deal of time, if time is an important element in this proceeding.
For the purposes of this statement, I may admit that there were actions taken by partisan groups within occupied territories which were very annoying and very objectionable and very injurious to, the would-be conqueror. If it is sought to introduce testimony as to what partisans did toward the German occupying forces, on the theory of reprisal, then I respectfully submit that Counsel is proceeding in reverse order, that is to say, if the Defense says "Yes, we did commit certain atrocities; we did violate international law," then it may be that the motive -- I shall argue that it is not -- is relevant under the Hague Convention, but then at least we might have that question presented.
But unless this evidence is offered on the theory that reprisals would be justified, it has no place, I submit, in the case. If it is offered on the basis of establishing a theory of reprisal, our first inquiry is, what is it that reprisals were for? In other words, the doctrine of reprisal can only be invoked when you first admit that you conunitted certain definite acts in violation of international law. Then your question is whether you were justified. I submit that it might shorten and,certainly would clarify this proceeding, if counsel will definitely state as to what acts on the part of the German occupying force he is directing this testimony, as I suppose, to excuse it; and that, unless there is some theory of reprisal pointed out with sufficient definiteness, so that we may identify the violations on Germany's part for which she is seeking excuse by way of reprisal, this testimony is not helpful in deciding the ultimate question.
The question here is not whether the occupying countries resisted. Of course they resisted. The question is whether acts of the character we have shown can be excused by way of reprisal; and, if so, there must be an admission of those acts, and the doctrine of reprisal must be set forth, it seems to me, much more specifically.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Stahmer.
DR. STAHMER: I have not been able to get all of the statement, because the translation did not quite keep up with it, but I believe
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that for the following reasons what we have discussed up to now is relevant:
The defendants are accused of the fact that hostages were taken in large numbers and shot and it is maintained that this was not justified; at any rate, the motives which led to the taking of hostages have not, up to now, been, discussed, at least not sufficiently. To clarify this question, which is so important for the decisions in this Trial, it is in my opinion absolutely necessary to make it clear that these decrees concerning the arrest and the treatment of hostages were called for by the attitude of the resistance movements. Therefore, in my opinion it could be said with justification that the actions of the resistance movement were the cause for the measures which had to be taken later by the German military authorities, much to their regret.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May I say one word in answer to Dr. Stahmer's offer, if it be an offer.
The suggestion of Dr. Stahmer that the motives here are to be tried seems to me to lead us very far afield. If he is invoking the international law doctrine of reprisal, then he has to meet the conditions of that doctrine. Article 2 of the Geneva Convention of the 27th of July 1929 provides specifically that measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited. He therefore must relate it to someone other than prisoners of war. Under the doctrine of reprisal, as we understand it, any act which is claimed to be justified as a reprisal must be related to a specific and continuing violation of international law on the other side. That is, it is not every casual and incidental violation which justifies wholesale reprisals. If it were, then international law could have no foundation, for a breach on one side, however unimportant, would completely absolve the other from any rules of warfare.
Secondly, anything which is claimed to be justified as a reprisal must follow within a reasonable time and it must be related reasonably to the offense which it is sought to prevent. That is, you cannot by way of reprisal engage in wholesale slaughter in order to vindicate a single murder. Next it must be shown as to the reprisals that a protest was made, as a basis for invoking reprisals. You cannot engage in reprisals without notice. The reprisal must be noticed and there must be notification by a responsible party of the government.
And next, and most important, a deliberate course of violation of international law cannot be shielded as a reprisal. Specific acts must be reprisals for specific acts under the conditions I have pointed out. You cannot vindicate a reign of terror under the doctrine of reprisals; and so I respectfully submit that the offer of Dr. Stahmer to inquire into the motives of Goering individually, or of all defendants
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collectively, or of Germany, does not meet any legal test. It might be pointed out to the Tribunal by way of mitigation of sentence after conviction, but is not a proper consideration on the question of guilt or innocence of the charges which we have brought to the bar.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, I understood you to agree that this sort of evidence might be relevant in mitigation of sentence?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think if Your Honors find the defendants guilty, then it comes to the question of sentence, as is our practice. You might find almost anything that a defendant saw fit to urge relevant to the sentence, but I do not take it that Dr. Stahmer is now dealing with the question of offers relevant to that subject. If it is, I should consent that any plea for leniency be heard, of course. It is offered, as I understand it, on the question of guilt.
THE PRESIDENT: That may be so, but the Tribunal may consider it more convenient to hear the evidence now. The Charter, as far as I see, has not provided for any evidence to be given after conviction, if a defendant is convicted. Therefore any evidence which would have to be given in mitigation would be given now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The difficulty with that, I should think, would be this: that a defendant may very well be found guilty on some counts but not on others. That would require at this time the litigation of the question of sentence, two-thirds of which might be irrelevant because he might not be found guilty on more than one count.
I may be biased in favor of the practice that I know, or at least may be presumed to have some knowledge of. In our procedure the question of guilt is tried first. The question of sentence is a separate subject, to be determined after the verdict. I should think that would be the logical way to proceed here. And I understand that this -- and I think Dr. Stahmer confirms my view -- that this is not offered on the question of sentence. I do not think he concedes he has reached that point yet.
DR. STAHMER: May I briefly comment on the legal question? It is maintained, or at least this side asserts, that violations of international law were committed in France to a large extent by organizing guerrilla warfare. The struggle against these actions, which do not conform to international law, could be carried out by reprisals, as has just been expounded by Mr. Justice Jackson. It is correct that there were certain reasons for the application of reprisals, but in my opinion it is questionable if such ...
THE PRESIDENT: May I ask whether you agree that the conditions which Mr. Justice Jackson stated are accurately stated?
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DR. STAHMER: Yes, but we have to deal here, in my opinion, with the fact of an emergency, caused by conduct violating international law, that is by unleashing guerrilla warfare. This fact justified the army commanders to take general measures in order to remove these conditions brought about illegally. Therefore, at any rate, these facts are of importance for determining the verdict.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not propose to hear an unlimited number of the defendants' counsel, but I observe that Dr. Exner is there, and they are prepared to hear one other counsel -- if counsel wish, Dr. Exner -- upon the subject.
DR. FRANZ EXNER (Counsel for Defendant Jodl): May it please the Tribunal. We are indeed, all interested in the question of reprisals, and I would like to say a few words.
For 10 years I have lectured on international law at the university and I believe I understand a little about it. Reprisals are among the most disputed terms of international law. One can say that only on one point there is absolute certainty, namely that point, which Mr. Justice Jackson mentioned first -- "measures of reprisals against prisoners of war are prohibited." Everything else is matter of dispute and not at all valid as international law. It is not correct that it is the general practice in all states, and therefore valid international law, that a protest is a prerequisite for taking reprisals. Neither is it correct that there has to be a so-called reasonable connection. It was asserted that there must be a relation as regards time, and above all a proportionality between the impending and the actually committed violation of international law. There are scholars of international law who assert, and it is indeed so, that it would be desirable that there be proportionality in every case. But in existing international law, in the sense that some agreement has been made to that effect or that it has become international legal usage, this is not the case. It will have to be said therefore, on the basis of violations of international law by the other side, that we under no circumstances make a war of reprisals against prisoners of war, every other form of reprisals is, however, admissible.
I just wanted to state that in general terms; and perhaps I still might say that it has been asserted that we may not speak about reasons for mitigation now. I would like to remind the Tribunal that we are permitted to make only one address, and if in this speech, which takes place before the decision has been reached on the question of guilt, we are not permitted to speak about mitigation, then we would not have any opportunity to speak about it at all.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.
[A recess was taken.]
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THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that the evidence is admissible on the question of reprisals, and the weight that should be given this or similar evidence will be reserved for future consideration.
DR. STAHMER: Will you please continue?
Goering: I believe that the statement which I am about to make will fulfill those conditions which Justice Jackson has requested; namely, I do not in any way deny that things happened which may be hotly debatable as far as international law is concerned. Also other things occurred which under any circumstances must be considered as excesses. I wanted only to explain how it happened, not from the point of view of international law as regards reprisals, but considering it only from the feeling of the threatened soldier, who was constantly hindered in the execution of his task, not by regular troops in open combat, but by partisans at his back.
Out of all those things which I need not go into any further, this animosity arose which led spontaneously 00 or in certain cases was ordered as a necessity in a national emergency -- to these partial excesses committed here and there by the troops. One must go back to that period of stormy battles. Today, after the lapse of years, in a quiet discussion of the legal basis, these things sound very difficult and even incomprehensible. Expressions made at the moment of embitterment, today, without an understanding of that situation, sound quite different. It was solely my intention to depict to the Tribunal for just one moment that atmosphere in which and out of which such actions, even if they could not always be excused, would appear understandable, and in a like situation were also carried out by others. That was and is my answer to the question why the conditions in France necessitated two entirely different phases of war -- the first, that of the regular fighting, with which I have finished; the second, that of the fighting which was not carried out by regular troops, but by those coming out of hiding, from the underground, which always will and at all times has entailed cruelties and excesses quite different to those of regular military fighting. It often happens here that single actions occur, be it by individuals or by troop units, which the Supreme Command cannot always control or possibly keep in hand.
DR. STAHMER: What measures were taken by the German occupational authorities in France to help French agriculture during the occupation?
Goering: I can reply very briefly, and I refer to the testimony of the witness Korner, which I can only confirm. By that I mean that in France agriculture was tremendously promoted and increased during the period of occupation. A large number of tracts of fallow land or those which had not been put to good agricultural use were
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turned to profitable cultivation; other tracts, through intensified use of fertilizers or other means of cultivation, were made considerably more productive.
I am unable to give specific explanations as to just what was done and I am not conversant with the figures showing the increase in agricultural production in the course of the occupation years, which could be given only by the responsible experts.
DR. STAHMER: What were the reasons leading to the introduction of Reichskreditkasse notes in the occupied countries?
Goering: A measure which would probably be introduced by every occupying power to regulate money circulation, to keep it in its proper limits, and to keep the country's currency at a certain level, similar to the procedure which today takes place in all occupied zones of Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Document Number 141-PS is a decree of yours issued 15 November 1940 in which you effected a regulation regarding art objects brought to the Louvre. Are you familiar with this decree or shall I hand it to you?
Goering: I remember this document very distinctly as it has played an important part here. These art objects were taken at first to the Louvre and later to the exhibition hall called, I believe, "Salle du Jeu de Paume." This concerned art objects which were confiscated, being Jewish property, that is ownerless property as their owners had left the country. This order was not issued by me, I was not familiar with it; it was a Fuehrer decree. Then, when I was in Paris I heard of this, and heard also that it was intended that most of these art objects would -- as far as they had museum value -- be put into a Linz museum which the Fuehrer contemplated building. Personally, I admit this openly, I was interested that not everything should go to southern Germany. I decided quite sometime before, and informed the Finance Minister about it, that after the war, or at some other time which seemed opportune to me, I would found an art gallery containing the objects of art which I already had in my possession before the war, either through purchase, through gifts, or through inheritance, and give it to the German people. Indeed it was my plan that this gallery should be arranged on quite different lines from those usually followed in museums. The plans for the construction of this gallery, which was to be erected as an annex to Karinhall in the big forest of the Schorfheide, and in which the art objects were to be exhibited according to their historical background and age in the proper atmosphere, were ready, only not executed because of the outbreak of war. Paintings, sculptures, tapestries, handicraft, were to be exhibited according to period. Then, when I saw the things in the Salle du Jeu de Paume and heard that the
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greater part were to go to Linz, that these objects which were considered to be of museum value were to serve only a minor purpose, then, I do admit, my collector's passion got the better of me; and I said that if these things were confiscated and were to remain so, I would at least like to acquire a small part of them, so that I might include them in this North German gallery to be erected by me.
The Fuehrer agreed to this with one reservation, that he himself, should at least see the photographs of those objects which I intended to acquire. In many cases, of course, it so happened that he wished to earmark those particular objects for himself, that is, not for himself but for his museum in Linz, and I had to give them back. From the beginning, however, I wanted to have a clear distinction made, as I meant to pay for those objects which I wanted to have for the gallery I was going to build. Therefore I ordered an art expert, and not a German but a Frenchman -- it was some professor whose name I do not recall and to whom I never talked -- to value those things. I would then decide whether the price was too high for me, whether I was no longer interested, or whether I was willing to pay the price. One part, the first part, was settled that way, but then the whole thing stopped because some of the objects were sent back and forth; that is, they went back to the Fuehrer and they did not remain with me, and not until the matter was decided could the payment be made. In this decree, which I called a "preliminary decree" and which the Fuehrer would have had to approve, I emphasized that part of the things were to be paid for by me, and those things which were not of museum value were to be sold by auction to French or German dealers, or to whomever was present at the sale; that the proceeds of this, as far as the things were not confiscated but were paid for, was to go to the families of French war victims. I repeatedly inquired where I was to send this money and said that in collaboration with the French authorities a bank account would have to be opened. We were always referring to the opening of such an account. The amount of money was always available in my bank until the end. One day, when I inquired again, I received a surprising answer. The answer was the Reich Treasurer of the Party did not want to have this money paid. I at once answered, and my secretary can verify this on oath, that I could not at all understand what the Reich Treasurer of the Party had to do with this matter and that I wanted to know to which French account I could have this amount transferred. In this case, the Party, that is, the Reich Treasurer, could have no authority to exempt me from paying or not, because I myself had wished to make the payment. Even after France had been occupied again, I once again requested to know the account to which I could remit the amount reserved for it.
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In summarizing and concluding, I wish to state that according to a decree I considered these things as confiscated for the Reich. Therefore I believed myself to be justified in acquiring some of these objects, especially as I never made a secret of the fact -- either to the Reich Minister for Finance or to anybody else -- that these art objects of museum value, as well as the ones I previously mentioned as already in my possession, were being collected for the gallery which I described before.
As far as exchange was concerned, I would like to put this matter straight also. Among the confiscated paintings there were some of the most modern sort, paintings which I personally would not accept and never did, which, however, as I was told, were in demand in the French art trade. Thereupon I said that as far as I was concerned these pictures could also be valued and acquired, in order that they might be exchanged against old masters, in which I am interested. I never exerted any pressure in that direction. I was concerned only as to whether the price asked of me was too high; if so I would not enter into negotiations, but as in every art deal if the offer was suitable I would inquire into the authenticity of what was offered. This much about the exchange; under no circumstances did I exert any pressure.
Later, after I had acquired these objects, I naturally used some of them as well as some of my own for general trading with museums. In other words, if a certain museum was interested in one of those pictures and I was interested, for my gallery, in a picture which was in the possession of that museum, we would make an exchange. This exchange also took place with art dealers from. abroad. This did not concern exclusively pictures and art objects of these acquisitions, but also those which I had acquired in the open market, in Germany, Italy, or in other countries or which were earlier in my possession.
At this point, I would like to add that independent of these acquisitions -- and I am referring to the Salle du Jeu de Paume, where these confiscated objects were located -- I, of course, had acquired works of art in the open market in France as in other countries before and after the war, or rather during the war. I might add that usually if I came to Rome, or Florence, Paris, or Holland, as if people had known in advance that I was coming, I would always have in the shortest time a pile of written offers, from all sorts of quarters, art dealers, and private people. And even though most were not genuine, some of the things offered were interesting and good, and I acquired a number of art objects in the open market. Private persons especially made me very frequent offers in the beginning. I should like to emphasize that, especially in Paris, I was rather deceived. As soon as it was known that it
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was for me the price was raised 50 to 100 percent. That is all I have to say briefly and in conclusion in regard to this matter.
DR. STAHMER: Did you make provisions for the protection of French art galleries and monuments?
Goering: I should like to refer at first to the state art treasures of France, that is, those in the possession of the state museums. I did not confiscate a single object, or in any way remove anything from the state museums, with the exception of two contracts for an exchange with the Louvre on an entirely voluntary basis. I traded a statue which is known in the history of art as La Belle Allemande, a carved wood statue which originally came from Germany, for another German wood statue which I had had in my possession for many years before the war, and two pictures -- an exchange such as I used to make before the war with other museums here, and as is customary among museums. Moreover I have always instructed all authorities to do their utmost to protect art objects against destruction by bombs or other war damage. I remember that when the directors of the Louvre told me that most of the things had just been put into the rooms of the so-called Loire castles, I said that I would be willing at their request, and if it seemed necessary with the increased bombing attacks, to help them put these objects into safekeeping at places determined by them, as they complained of not having transportation facilities.
Now I wish to refer to art monuments, which I would call the buildings, churches, and other monuments -- anything of a stationary character. Here I can say that perhaps sometimes I issued an order which stood in contradiction to my strictly military duties, because I strongly emphasized to my fliers that the magnificent Gothic cathedrals of the French cities were, under all circumstances, to be protected and not to be attacked, even if it were a question of troop concentrations in those places; and that if attacks had to be made, precision bombing Stukas were to be used primarily. Every Frenchman who was present at the time will confirm this, that the peculiar situation arose, be it in Amiens, Rouen, Chartres or in other cities, that the cathedrals -- those art monuments of such great importance and beauty were saved and purposely so, in contrast to what later happened in Germany. There was of course some broken glass in the cathedrals, caused by bomb detonations, but the most precious windows had been previously removed, thank God. As far as I remember, the small cathedral in Beauvais had fallen victim to bombing attacks on the neighboring houses, the large cathedral still is standing. The French Government repeatedly acknowledged recognition of this fact to me. I have no other comment on that point.
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DR. STAHMER: What reasons made you put Colonel Veltjens in charge of centralizing the black market in France?
Goering: Colonel Veltjens was a retired colonel. He was a flier in the first World War. He then had entered business. Therefore, he was not sent there in his capacity as colonel, but as an economist. He was not only in charge of the black market in France, but also of that in Holland and Belgium. It came about in the following manner: After a certain period during the occupation, it was reported to me that various items, in which I was particularly interested for reasons of war economy, could be obtained only in the black market. It was then, for the first time, that I became familiar with the black market, that is that copper, tin, and other vital materials were still available, but that some of them lay buried in the canals of Holland, and had also been carefully hidden in other countries. However, if the necessary money were paid, these articles would come out of hiding, while, on the basis of the confiscation order, we would receive only very little of the raw materials necessary for the conduct of the war. At that time, as during the entire war, I was guided only by intentions and ideas leading toward the ultimate war aim, the winning of victory. It was more important to me to procure copper and tin, just to cite one example, to get them in any case, no matter how high the price might be than not to get them merely because I did not consider such high prices justified. I therefore told Veltjens in rather general terms, "You know in what things German war economy is interested. Where and how you get these things is immaterial to me. If you get them by means of confiscation, that is all the better. If we have to pay a great deal of money to get them, then we shall have to do that too." The unpleasant thing was that other departments, first without my knowing it -- as the French Prosecution has shown here quite correctly -- also tried in the same way to get the same things, in which they also were interested. The thought of now having internal competition as well was too much for me. So, then I gave Veltjens the sole authority to be the one and only office in control as far as the civilian dealers were concerned who insisted they could procure these things only in that other way, and to be the only purchasing office for these articles and, with my authority, to eliminate other offices.
The difficulty of combating the black market is the result of many factors. Afterwards, at the special request of Premier Laval, I absolutely prohibited the black market for Veltjens and his organization as well. But in spite of this it was not thereby eliminated, and the statement of the French Prosecution confirms my opinion that the black market lasted even beyond the war. And as far as I know it is again flourishing here in Germany today to the widest
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extent. These are symptoms which always arise during and after a war when there is on the one hand a tremendous scarcity and holding back and hiding of merchandise and on the other hand the desire to procure these things.
DR. STAHMER: Shall I stop now?
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal understood from you that the witness would probably -- that the defendant would probably finish his examination in chief at midday today. Can you now tell me how much longer you think the defendant will be with his testimony?
DR. STAHMER: I had counted on being able to finish this morning, but there were several interruptions, and I hope to finish during the course of the day.
THE PRESIDENT: There was no interruption with the exception of that one interruption with reference to Mr. Justice Jackson's objection as to reprisals. There was no other interruption that I remember.
DR. STAHMER: Yes, there was a technical disturbance earlier.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then the Tribunal will sit tomorrow morning from 10 to 1.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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DR. STAHMER: What were the reasons that led to the attack on Yugoslavia?
Goering: Germany, during all the years before the beginning of the war, had the very best of relations with the Yugoslav people and the Yugoslav Government. It was part of my foreign political task to cultivate these relations especially. Since the Regent, Prince Paul, and Prime Minister Stojadinovic were personal friends of mine, I often visited the country and also spent a long vacation there.
It was our intention to have not only the best economic relations by each complementing the other, but also beyond that to come to a close political understanding and friendship. This was successful to the fullest extent and found its climax in the return visit which the Regent, Prince Paul, made to Germany.
Since at the same time I also had similar friendly relations with King Boris of Bulgaria, I was able to exert a stabilizing influence here too, and at times also in regard to Italy. My intervention in behalf of Yugoslavia even caused there, for a time, a certain misapprehension where I was concerned.
After the outbreak of the war everything was likewise avoided which could cause anything but friendly relations with Yugoslavia. Unfortunately Prime Minister Stojadinovic resigned, but his successor followed the same policy.
The entering into the Three Power Pact had the purpose of maintaining Yugoslavia's neutrality under all circumstances and of not drawing her into the war. Even at the time when the pact was signed one recognized the necessity for sending troops to Romania as a precautionary measure, and also to Greece because of the English landing there or the impending English landing. In spite of that agreement it was expressly provided that no troop transports should go through Yugoslavia, so that the neutrality of that country after its entry into the Three Power Pact would be confirmed in every way.
When Premier Cvetkovic came to power, General Simovic's revolt against the government of the Prince Regent and the accession to the throne of the King, who was still a minor, followed shortly after. We very quickly learned, through our close relations with Yugoslavia, the background of General Simovic's revolt. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that the information from Yugoslavia was correct, namely, that a strong Russian political influence existed, as well as extensive financial assistance for the undertaking on the part of England, of which we later found proof. It was clear that this venture was directed against the friendly policy of the previous Yugoslav Government toward Germany. It must be
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mentioned here that in later press statements it was pointed out by the Russian side how strong their influence had been and for what purpose this undertaking had been executed.
The new Yugoslav Government, quite obviously and beyond doubt, stood visibly in closest relationship with the enemies we had at that time, that is to say, England and, in this connection, with our enemy to be, Russia.
The Simovic affair was definitely the final and decisive factor which dispelled the very last scruples which the Fuehrer had in regard to Russia's attitude, and caused him to take preventive measures in that direction under all circumstances. Before this Simovic incident it is probable that, although preparations had been undertaken, doubts as to the inevitable necessity of an attack against Soviet Russia might have been pushed into the background. These clear relations between Moscow and Belgrade, however, dispelled the Fuehrer's very last doubts. At the same time it was evident that Yugoslavia, under the new government, was merely trying to gain time for massing her troops, for the very night the revolt was undertaken secret and shortly afterwards official orders for mobilization were issued to the Yugoslav Army.
In spite of the assurances which Simovic gave Berlin, that he would feel himself bound to the agreement or something like that, the maneuver could easily be seen through.
The situation was now the following: Italy, our ally, had at the time attacked Greece, advancing from Albania in October or September 1940, if I remember correctly. Germany had not been informed of this venture. The Fuehrer heard of this undertaking through me on the one hand, who had by chance learned of it, and also through the Foreign Office, and he immediately rerouted his train, which was on the way from France to Berlin, in order to speak to the Duce in Florence.
The Italian Government, or Mussolini himself, saw very clearly at this moment why the Fuehrer wanted to talk to him, and as far as I remember the order to the Italian Army to march from Albania to Greece was therefore released 24 or 48 hours before originally scheduled. The fact is that the Fuehrer, in his concern to prevent under all circumstances an expansion of the conflict in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, wanted to urge the Duce to forego such plans, which were not necessary, but were undertaken only for reasons of prestige.
When the meeting took place at 10 o'clock in the morning and the Fuehrer had mentioned his misgivings, Mussolini actually declared that since 6 o'clock of that morning the Italian troops had already been advancing through Greece and, in his opinion, would shortly be in Athens. The Fuehrer pointed out again that this
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would mean that under certain circumstances relations with Turkey would also be most seriously endangered and another theater of war would be created, since he well knew, although he did not mention it at that time, that an Italian theater of war sooner or later would mean drawing on the German ally for help.
That actually was the situation at the outbreak of the attack on Yugoslavia. Italy, stopped and thrown back, was left in a most unfavorable position strategically and tactically while still facing the Greek enemy. If only a part of the Yugoslav Army moved against the flank and the rear of the Italian Skutari position, then not only would Italy be eliminated there, but also an essential part of the Italian fighting forces would be destroyed. It was clear that the position of these Italian fighting forces would soon be hopeless, since because of the landing of British auxiliary troops in Greece it was to be expected that as soon as they came to the aid of the Greeks the Italian Army would not only be thrown out of Greece, where they were standing merely at the border, but also out of Albania; and the British troops would then be in dangerous proximity to Italy and ihe Balkans, which were economically of decisive importance for us.
By means of the Simovic revolt and the mobilization of Yugoslavia the elimination of the Italian Balkan armies would have been achieved. Only the quickest action could prevent a two-fold danger: first, a catastrophe befalling our Italian ally; and second, a British foothold in the Balkans, which would be detrimental to a future vantage point in the conflict with Russia.
The German troops which were on the march for "Operation Marita," Greece, which were to march against Greece in order to throw back into the Mediterranean those British divisions which had landed, and to relieve the rear of the Italian ally, were turned with the spearhead to the right, and with accelerated, short-notice preparations for attack, they were thrown into the flank of the massed Yugoslav troops. The Air Force was called from its airfields in Germany within a very short time and assembled at the airfields in the southeast area, which was easily possible, and was also used to support the attack. Only by such quick action, and due to the fact that the basic conditions had been provided by Operation Marita, was Germany able to staveoff an extraordinary danger to her entire position in the Balkans and in the southeast area at that moment. Politically and from a military point of view it would have been a crime against the State as far as the vital German interests were concerned, if in that case the Fuehrer had not acted as he did.
DR. STAHMER: What targets did the Air Force attack in Yugoslavia first?
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Goering: I have just explained the very particular situation of the German Armed Forces at the outbreak of this war and the problems which had to be solved with extraordinary speed and the likewise extraordinary results which had to be attained in order to carry out their original task, which was the piercing of -- I do not remember the name now -- the Metaxas line in northern Greece before English troops, which had already landed near Athens, could come to the support of the Greek garrisons along the Metaxas line.
Therefore there was first of all an order for a concentrated smaller part of the German forces to penetrate that line, while the other part, as planned, had to throw itself upon the Yugoslav Army and, here too with insufficient forces in the shortest possible time, had to eliminate this army. That was a necessary condition for the success of the whole thing.. Otherwise not only would the Italian Army surely be destroyed, but the German Army, thus divided, with a part of its forces advancing in Yugoslavia -- the Bulgarian support came much later -- another part breaking through the strong Metaxas Line in time to prevent the English deployment there, might get itself into a very difficult and critical, and perhaps disastrous military position. Therefore the Air Force had, in this case, to be employed with the greatest effect, in order that the Yugoslav action of deployment against Germany and her ally should be stopped as quickly as possible.
Therefore there was first of all an order for a concentrated attack upon the Yugoslav Ministry of War in Belgrade, and secondly, upon the railroad station, which in Belgrade particularly, in view of the small number of Yugoslavian railroad lines, was a special deployment junction. Then there were several other rather important centers, the General Staff building, et cetera, included in the order because, at that time, the political and military headquarters were still located in Belgrade. Everything was still concentrated there, and the bombing of that nerve center at the very beginning would have an extraordinary paralyzing effect on the further deployment of the resistance.
A warning to Yugoslavia was not necessary for the following reasons. Strictly speaking the objection might be raised that we did not send a declaration of war or a warning. Actually, however, none of the leading men in Yugoslavia had the least doubt but that Germany would attack. That was recognized, for they had feverishly busied themselves with deployment, and not only with mobilization. Moreover the attacks of the German Army were made before the bombing of Belgrade. But even assuming that the Air Force had made the first attack and only then the Army -- that is, without warning -- Yugoslavia's actions and the extraordinary danger of the
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military situation would have demanded that. We were already in the midst of the most severe battle. It was a question of securing the Balkans on both sides and holding them firmly. The targets -- and I emphasize this once more -- were, as I remember exactly, the Ministry of War, the railroad station, the General Staff building, and one or two other ministries. The city, of course, since these buildings were spread about within the city, was also affected by the bombardment.
DR. STAHMER: During the last days we have heard here repeatedly about the aerial attacks on Warsaw, Coventry, and Rotterdam. Were these attacks carried out beyond military necessity?
Goering: The witnesses, and especially Field Marshal Kesselring, have reported about part of that. But these statements made me realize once more, which is of course natural, how a commander of an army, an army group or an air fleet really views only a certain sector. As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, however, I am in a position to view the whole picture, since I, after all, was the man responsible for issuing orders, and according to my orders and my point of view the chiefs of the fleets received their instructions and directives as to what they had to do.
Warsaw: First of all I should like to make clear the statement that on the first morning of the attack on Poland, a number of Polish cities, I believe the British prosecutor mentioned their names, were attacked. I do not remember their names any more. In my instructions for the first day of the attack on Poland it says specifically, first target: destruction and annihilation of the enemy air force. Once that had been achieved the other targets could be attacked without further delay. Therefore I gave the order to attack the following airfields -- I am certain, without having the names at hand just now, that 80 percent of the names mentioned were cities near which there were air bases. The second main target, which was however to be attacked only to a slight extent on the first day, or with the first main blow, were railroad junctions of first importance for the marshaling of larger troop units. I would point out that shortly before the last and decisive attack on Warsaw, an air attack, about which I will speak in a minute, the French military attache in Poland sent a report to his government which we are in a position to submit here, which we found later in Paris, from which it can be seen that even this opponent declared that the German Air Force, he had to admit, had attacked exclusively military targets in Poland, "exclusively" particularly emphasized.
At first Warsaw contained only one, two targets, long before -- "long before" is the wrong expression because it took place quickly -- in other words, before the encirclement of Warsaw. That was the
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Okecie airfield, where the main enemy Polish air force was concentrated, and the Warsaw railroad station, one of the main strategic railroad stations of Poland. However, these attacks discussed were not the decisive ones; after Warsaw was encircled, it was asked to surrender. That surrender was refused. On the contrary I remember the appeals which urged the entire civilian population of Poland as well as the inhabitants of Warsaw to offer resistance, not only military but also resistance as civilians, which is contrary to international law, as is known. Still we gave another warning. We dropped leaflets at first, not bombs, in which we urged the population not to fight. Secondly, when the commanding officer persisted in his stand, we urged the evacuation of the civilian population before the bombing.
When a radio message was received that the commanding officer wanted to send a truce emissary we agreed, but waited for him in vain. But then we demanded that at least the diplomatic corps and all neutrals should leave Warsaw on a road designated by us, which in fact was done.
Then, after it was clearly stated in the last appeal that we would now be forced to make a heavy attack on the city if no surrender took place, we proceeded to attack first the forts, then the batteries erected within the city and the troops. That was the attack on Warsaw.
Rotterdam: In Rotterdam the situation was entirely different. In order to terminate the campaign in the Netherlands as quickly as possible and thereby avoid further bloodshed for a people with whom we had no basic differences, but had to carry through this campaign only for the previously mentioned reasons, I had suggested the use of the parachute division in the rear of the entire Dutch forces deployed against Germany, especially in order to capture the three most important bridges, one near Moerdijk across the Rhine, the other near Dordrecht, and the third near Rotterdam. Thereby from the beginning the way would be paved in the rear of the entire troop deployment and, were we to succeed, the Dutch Army with all its valor could only hold out for a few days. This attack or landing of my parachute division on the three bridges proved entirely successful.
While at Moerdijk and Dordrecht resistance was overcome quickly, the unit at Rotterdam got into difficulty. First it was surrounded by Dutch troops. Everything hinged on the fact that the railroad bridge and the road bridge, which were next to each other, should under all circumstances fall into our hands without being destroyed, because then only would the last backdoor to the Dutch stronghold be open. While the main part of the division was in the southern section of Rotterdam, a few daring spearheads
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of the parachutists had crossed both bridges and stood just north of them, at one point in the railroad station, right behind the railroad bridges north of the river, and the second point within a block of houses which was on the immediate north side of the road bridge, opposite the station and near the well-known butter or margarine factory which later played an important role. This spearhead held its position in spite of heavy and superior attacks.
In the meantime a German panzer division approached Rotterdam from the outside via the Moerdijk and Dordrecht bridges, and here I would like to correct a misapprehension which arose in the crossexamination of Field Marshal Kesselring by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe concerning persons involved. Lieutenant General Schmidt belonged to this group which came from the outside and led the panzer troops. General Student led the parachute division which was in Rotterdam, that is, inside, and that explains the fact that at one time there were negotiations for capitulation with the German commander of the troops coming from the outside, and at another time surrender negotiations with the general commanding the parachute troops within the city. Both were later co-ordinated. I do not want to go into details here as to whether clear agreements were arrived at -- examining this chronologically one can trace it down to the very minute -- and whether it could be seen at all that capitulation would come about or not; this of course, for the time being concerned Rotterdam alone. At that time the group north of the two bridges was in a very precarious and difficult position. Bringing reinforcements across the two bridges was extremely difficult because they were under heavy machine gun fire. To this day I could still draw an exact picture of the situation. There was also artillery fire, so that only a few individual men, swinging from hand to hand under the bridge, were able to work their way across, in order to get out of the firing line -- I still remember exactly the situation at that bridge later on.
It had been ordered that the batteries standing north of the station, and also the Dutch forces on the road leading north between the station and the butter factory, which presented a great handicap to our shock troops, were to be bombed. For at that moment the parachute troops had no artillery, and bombing was the only sort of artillery available for the parachute troops, and I had assured my parachutists before the venture that they would under all circumstances receive protection by bombers against heavy fire. Three groups of a squadron were used. The call for help came over the radio station of the paratroopers in Rotterdam, which did not function as well as has been claimed here, and also from the clearly exhibited and agreed upon ground signals which the reconnaissance planes brought back. These were signs such as arrows, indicators,
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and letters which intimated to the reconnaissance fliers: "We are pressed by artillery from the north, east, south, et cetera."
Thereupon I ordered the air fleet to use one squadron. The squadron started in 3 groups, about 25 to 30 or 36 planes. When the first group arrived, as far as I know, the surrender negotiations were in progress, but to no clearly defined end. In spite of that red flares were sent up. The first group did not grasp the significance of these flares but threw their bombs as agreed upon, exactly in that area, as had been ordered. If I remember the figures correctly, there were at the most 36 twin-motored planes which released mainly 50-kilo bombs. The second and third groups which followed understood the red signals, turned around, and did not drop their bombs.
There was no radio connection between Rotterdam and the planes. The radio connection went from Rotterdam by way of my headquarters, Air Fleet 2, to the division, from division to squadron ground station, and from there there was a radio connection to the planes. That was in May 1940, when in general the radio connection between ground station and planes was, to be sure, tolerably good but in no way to be compared with the excellent connections which were developed in the course of the war. But the main point was that Rotterdam could not communicate directly with the planes and therefore sent up the signals agreed upon, the red flares, which were understood by Groups 2 and 3, but not by group 1.
The great amount of destruction was not caused by bombs but, as has been said, by fire. That can best be seen from the fact that all the buildings which were built of stone and concrete are still standing in the ruined part, while the older houses were destroyed. The spread of this fire was caused by the combustion of large quantities of fats and oils. Secondly -- I want to emphasize this particularly -- the spread of this fire could surely have been prevented by energetic action on the part of the Rotterdam fire department, in spite of the storm coming up.
The final negotiations for capitulation, as far as I remember, took place not until about 6 o'clock in the evening. I know that, because during these surrender negotiations there was still some shooting going on and the paratroopers' general, Student, went to the window during the surrender negotiations and was shot in the head, which resulted in a brain injury.
That is what I have to say about Rotterdam in explanation of the two generals and their surrender negotiations, one from within and one from without.
Coventry: After the period from 6 or 7 September to November, after repeating warnings to the English Government, and after the Fuehrer had reserved for himself the right to give the order for
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reprisal attacks on London -- and had long hesitated to give this order -- and after German cities which were not military objectives had been bombed again and again, then London was declared a target for attack. From 6 and 7 September -- the first attack was on the 6 September in the afternoon -- the German Luftwaffe pounded London continuously. Although this seemed expedient for reasons of retaliation and for reasons of political pressure on the part of the political leadership, I did not consider it of ultimate value.
I do not wish to be misunderstood when I say that I knew from the first World War that the people of London can take a great deal and that we could not break their military resistance in this manner. It was important to me, first of all, to prevent an increase in the defense power of the British Air Force. As a soldier or, better said, as Commander-in-Chief of the German Luftwaffe, the weakening and elimination of the enemy air force was a matter of decisive importance for me.
Although the Fuehrer wanted, now as before, to see London attacked, I, acting on my own initiative, made exact preparations for the target of Coventry because, according to my information, there was located in and around Coventry an important part of the aircraft and aircraft accessories industry. Birmingham and Coventry were targets of most decisive importance for me. I decided on Coventry because there the most targets could be hit within the smallest area.
I prepared that attack myself with both air fleets, which regularly checked the target information -- and then with the first favorable weather, that is, a moonlit night, I ordered the attack and gave directions for it to be carried out as long and as repeatedly as was necessary to achieve decisive effects on the British aircraft industry there. Then to switch to the next targets in Birmingham and to a large motor factory south of Weston, after the aircraft industry, partly near Bristol and south of London, had been attacked.
That was the attack on Coventry. That here the city itself was greatly affected resulted likewise from the fact that the industry there was widely spread over the city, with the exception of two new plants which were outside the city, and again in this case the damage was increased by the spreading of fire. If we look at German cities today, we know how destructive the influence of fire is. That was the attack on Coventry.
DR. STAHMER: In the year 1941, negotiations took place about collaboration with Japan. Were you present at these negotiations?
Goering: I myself did not take part in the negotiations. I can say very little about negotiations with Japan because from a military point of view I had very little to do with Japan and seldom
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met the Japanese. During the entire war only once, and for a short time, I received a delegation of Japanese officers and attaches. Therefore, I cannot say anything about collaboration with Japan. We were instructed to exchange experiences, war experiences, with the Japanese, but that went through the various offices. Personally had nothing to do with the Japanese.
DR. STAHMER: When were you first informed that Hitler thought a war against Russia necessary?
Goering: It was not until the late fall of 1940, in Berchtesgaden, that I was informed about the intentions of the Fuehrer to enter into, conflict with Russia under certain circumstances.
DR. STAHMER: Were you present at the conversation, which took place in Berlin in November 1940 with the Russian Foreign Minister, Molotov?
Goering: I personally was not present at the conversation between Hitler and Molotov. Mr. Molotov, however, also paid me a visit, and we discussed the general situation. I know, of course, about the conversation with Molotov, because the Fuehrer informed me about it in detail. It was just this conversation which very much increased the Fuehrer's suspicion that Russia was getting ready for an attack upon Germany, and this was brought out during this discussion by the remarks and demands which Mr. Molotov made.
These were, firstly, a guarantee to Bulgaria, and a pact of assistance with Bulgaria, such as Russia had made with the three Baltic states.
Secondly, it involved the complete abandonment of Finland by Germany, to such an extent that Russia, who had signed a peace with Finland a short time ago, thought herself justified in attapking Finland again in order not to have to acquiesce in the results of the previous agreements, Hango, et cetera.
Thirdly, it dealt with discussions about the Dardanelles and the Bosporus; and the fourth point was the possibility of penetration into Romania beyond Bessarabia.
These were the points which were discussed with the Fuehrer. There was also a hint to the Foreign Minister about an occupation, or securing of interests, at the exit of the Baltic.
The Fuehrer viewed these demands in a different light. Although Russia might have been justified in making demands to Germany concerning Finland, he believed, that in connection with other reports which he had received about Russian preparations and deployment of troops, Russia wanted to strengthen her position in Finland, in order to outflank Germany in the north and to be in immediate proximity to the Swedish ore mines, which were of vital
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or at least very decisive importance to Germany in this war. Secondly, as to the advance, as demanded, into the Romanian and Bulgarian area, the Fuehrer was not at all sure that this pressure would continue in the south, that is, the Dardanelles, or in a near-easterly direction, but rather in a westerly direction; that is to say, that here also Russia might push into the southern flank of Germany and, by getting control of the Romanian oil fields, make Germany absolutely dependent on Russia for deliveries of oil. In these demands he saw the camouflaged attempts to deploy troops and obtain troop positions against Germany. The suggestion of securing an outlet to the Baltic did not even come up for discussion, as far as Germany was concerned, at that time. Altogether that conversation caused the Fuehrer to feel that further relations were being menaced by Russia.
Already in his discussion with me the Fuehrer told me why he was thinking about anticipating the Russian drive under certain circumstances. The information about feverish work on deployment preparations in the area newly acquired by Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia, made him extremely suspicious. Until then we had sometimes only 8, later 20 and 25 divisions along the entire eastern border. Further reports came that Russia might be expected to attack us from the rear as soon as Germany had gone to war in the West, either because of an invasion by Britain or because Germany on her part had decided to invade England. His arguments were strengthened even more by the fact that shortly before, contrary to anything practiced in Russia before this, engineers, and, I believe, also officers of ours, that is, Germans, were suddenly shown the tremendous Russian armament works of the aviation and tank industry. These reports about the surprisingly high production capacity of these armament works further strengthened the Fuehrer's conviction. He was so firmly convinced because, he said -- and this was his political reflection -- if England still will not consider coming to an agreement with us, although shenow stands alone against us, she must have something at the back of her mind. He had information that Prime Minister Churchill had pointed out two things to worried elements in England.
First, that increased support by the United States could be expected, first of all in the technical field, that is, with respect to armaments, and then extending to other fields; and, secondly, which he considered even more probable, that Churchill had already come to an understanding with Russia in that direction, and he pointed out that here sooner or later there would be a clash. His calculations were the following: Before the United States could be ready with her armaments and the mobilization of her army, he would have to smash the Russian troop concentrations, and break down and weaken the Russian forces to such an extent by strong concentrated attacks, that they would not represent a danger in the rear if he had to
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enter into an English-American conflict on the Continent. These were the explanations of the Fuehrer.
Then came the visit of Molotov, which I just mentioned and which enhanced this point of view considerably.
DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude toward an attack on Russia at that time?
Goering: At first I was very much surprised at the time and asked the Fuehrer to give me a few hours to state my view. It came entirely as a surprise to me. Then in the evening, after this conversation had taken place in the afternoon, I told the Fuehrer the following:
I urged him most particularly not to start a war against Russia at that moment, or even a short time after; not that I was moved by considerations of international law or similar reasons; my point of view was decided by political and military reasons only. First, at all times since the seizure of power I, perhaps of all the leading men in Germany, was the only one who always considered conflict with Russia as a threatening menace to Germany. I knew -- and many others with me -- that for over 10 years an exceedingly strong rearmament and training program had been in effect in Russia, that the standard of living had been lowered in all other fields in favor of one single tremendous rearmament. The deliveries made by German industry and examination of the deliveries made by the American, British, and other industries always showed clearly that they consisted only of such machines as were directly or immediately necessary for a gigantic industrial rearmament program. One could thereby estimate the speed and the size of the Russian rearmament. If Germany had now developed in the way of communism, then of course the Russian rearmament, in my opinion, would have been directed against other danger. But since we had come to power, the inner political and ideological contrast naturally played, in my opinion, a menacing part. I have come to understand that such contrasts do not necessarily have to lead to conflicts between countries, because the political interests of nation and state will alwayp be stronger and greater than all ideological contrasts or agreements. But here also I saw a menace, because what did this tremendous Russian rearmament signify at a time when Germany before the seizure of power, was impotent? I now told the Fuehrer that in spite of this basic attitude I always feared this danger from Russia and had always recognized it, but that I was asking him rather to leave this danger in abeyance and, if at all possible, to direct Russia's interests against England.
And indeed I said to him:
"'We are at present fighting against one of the greatest world powers, the British Empire. If you, my Fuehrer, are not of
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exactly the same opinion, then I have to contradict you, because I am definitely of the opinion that sooner or later the second great world power, the United States, will march against us. This will not depend on the election of President Roosevelt; the other candidate will also not be able to prevent this. Then we shall be at war against two of the largest world powers. It was your masterstroke at the beginning of the war to make possible a one-front war; you have always pointed that out in your Kampf. In the case of a clash with Russia at this time, the third great world power would be thrown into the struggle against Germany. We would again stand alone, against practically the entire world; the other nations do not count. And again we would have two fronts."
And he replied,
"I fully appreciate your arguments. I appreciate the Russian menace more than anybody else, but if we should succeed in executing our plans as prepared in the fight against the British Empire, and if these were only half-way successful, Russia would not launch her attack. Only if we should become deeply involved in a serious conflict in the West would I be of your opinion, that the Russian menace would increase enormously."
I was even of the opinion that the quick assent of the Russians to the settlement of the Polish crisis was given in order that Germany, free from that side, would be all the more likely to get into this conflict, because the German-French-British conflict would come about thereby, and it would be entirely understandable, as far as Russian interests were concerned, to bring about this conflict and come out of it as well as before. I furthermore told the Fuehrer that, according to my reports and evidence, Russian rearmament would reach its climax in the year 1942-43, or perhaps even in 1944. Before then we should, however, succeed, if not in achieving a peace by victory on our part, at least in coming to an arrangement with England. This, however, would be possible only if decisive successes were achieved against England. At that time the German Air Force with all its weight was being employed in the attack on England. If now a new front should be formed for an attack on Russia, a considerable part of these air forces, more than half, two-thirds, would have to be diverted to the East. For practical purposes an energetic air attack on England would thereby cease. All the sacrifices up to that time would be in vain; England would be given a chance to reorganize and build up her shattered aircraft industry undisturbed.
Much more decisive than these considerations was the fact that with a deployment of that kind against Russia, my plan, which I had
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submitted to the Fuehrer, to attack England at Gibraltar and Suez, would have to be dropped more or less finally. The attack on Gibraltar was so methodically prepared by the Air Force that, according to all human expectations, there could be no failure. The British air force stationed there on the small airfield north of the Rock of Gibraltar was of no importance. The attack of my paratroopers on the Rock would have been a success. The simultaneous occupation of the other side, the African side, and a subsequent march on Casablanca and Dakar would at least have been a safeguard against America's intervention -- a campaign, such as later took place in North Africa. To what extent beyond this, by agreement, the Cape Verde Islands could still be used, was an open question. It is obvious what it would have meant to be established with aircraft and submarines at North African bases and to attack all the convoys coming up from Capetown and South America from such favorable positions. Even if the Mediterranean had been closed in the west, it would not have been difficult, by pushing across Tripoli, to bring the Suez project to a conclusion, the time and success of which could be calculated in advance.
The exclusion of the Mediterranean as a theater of war, the key point Gibraltar -- North Africa down to Dakar -- Suez, and possibly extended further south, would have required only a few forces, a number of divisions on the one side and a number of divisions on the other, to eliminate the entire insecurity of the long Italian coast line against the possibility of attack.
I urged him to put these decisive considerations in the foreground and only after the conclusion of such an undertaking to examine further the military and political situation with regard to Russia. For, if these conditions were brought about, we would be in a favorable position in the case of an intervention by the United States, a flanking position. I explained to him all these reasons in great detail and pointed out to him again and again that here we would be giving up something relatively secure for something still insecure, and that, after securing such a position, there would be much more of a prospect of coming, under certain circumstances, to an arrangement with England at a time when the two, both armed, would be standing opposite each other, the one on this, the other on that side of the Channel. These were my reasons for delaying the date, and I also told him that increased successes in this direction might enable us to steer Russian preparations politically, where possible, into other channels, against our enemies of the moment. I emphasize, however, that the Fuehrer, restrained by considerations of caution, at first made only general preparations and was going to hold in reserve, as he told me at the time, the
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actual attack; and the final decision was not taken until after the Simovic revolt in Yugoslavia.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.
[A recess was taken.]
DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution has submitted Document Number 376-PS, notes of 29 October 1940, Paragraph 5 of which states the following: "The Fuehrer concerns himself with the question of a later war with America and with an examination of the occupation of the Atlantic islands."
What can you say about this?
Goering: I am very well acquainted with this document because it has been submitted to me here. It concerns a letter which the representative of the Luftwaffe in the OKW, the then Lieutenant Colonel Von Falkenstein, wrote to the chief of the General Staff of my Air Force. It is a study of, it refers to those points which I have just set forth, namely the occupation of Gibraltar, North Africa, and perhaps also the Atlantic Islands -- first as a combat base against England, our enemy at that time, and, secondly, in case America entered the war, to have a better flanking position against her convoys. But this was just a General Staff note. At that time I had already of my own accord, without having spoken to the Fuehrer beforehand, made my military investigation of the possibility of carrying out such an undertaking. It is, therefore, of no consequence.
DR. STAHMER: In this connection I have a further question. An organization plan for the year 1950 prepared by a Major Kammhuber has been submitted here.
Goering: This question also may be answered briefly. I am familiar with this document, for on two or three occasions it has been mentioned by the Prosecution. Consultation with an expert general staff officer of any one of the powers represented would prove immediately that this document is of secondary value. It is simply a General Staff study, by the subordinate Organization Section, in order to work out the best scheme for a leadership organization. It was a question of whether one should concentrate on air fleets or land fortifications. It was a question of whether mixed squadrons consisting of bombers and fighters, or squadrons consisting only of bombers, or of fighters, should be used, and other such questions which are always being dealt with by the offices of a general staff, independent of war and peace. That such studies must of course be based on certain assumptions which are in the realm of strategic possibility, must be taken for granted. In this case the Major took as a basis the situation around or until
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1950, a two-front war, which was not entirely beyond all probability, namely, a war on the one side with England and France in the west, and on the other side with Russia in the east. The basic assumption was that Austria and Poland were in our own hands, and so on. This study never reached me. I have just become acquainted with it here. But that is of no significance because it was made in my ministry and in my general staff and was therefore also made on my orders. For I placed such tasks within the general framework of having organization, leadership, and composition constantly tested by maneuvers and examples. This is completely irrelevant to the political evaluation and completely out of place in the framework of this Trial.
DR. STAHMER: Several days ago reference was made to a speech which you are said to have made to Air Force officers, in which you said that you proposed to have such an air force that, once the hour had struck, it would fall like an avenging host on the enemy. The opponent must have the feeling of having lost before he ever started fighting with you. I shall have this speech submitted to you and I would like you to tell us whether this speech was known to you and what its purpose was?
Goering: This quotation has been used by the Prosecution twice. Once in the beginning and the second time, the other day, in the cross-exaniination of Field Marshal Milch. This concerns a speech which appeared in a book by me called Speeches and Compositions which has already been submitted to the Tribunal as evidence. The speech is called "Comradeship, Fulfillment of Duty, and Willingness to Sacrifice," an address to 1,000 flight lieutenants on the day they took their oath in Berlin on 20 May 1936.
Here I was explaining at length to thousands of young flyers, the day they became commissioned officers, the concepts of comradeship, fulfillment of duty, and willingness to sacrifice. This quotation had been completely removed from its context. I therefore take the liberty of asking the Tribunal's permission, to read a short preceding paragraph, so that it will be seen in the right context, and I also request to be allowed to portray the atmosphere. Before me stand 1,000 young flight lieutenants full of hope, whom I now had to imbue with the appropriate fighting spirit. That has nothing to do with an offensive war, but the important thing was that my boys, should it come to war, this way or that, should be brave fellows and men with a will to act. The short quotation before this one is as follows:
"I demand of you nothing impossible. I do not demand that you should be model boys. I like to be generous. I understand that youth must have its follies, otherwise it would not be youth. You may have your pranks, and you will get your
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ears boxed for it. But that is not the decisive factor. The decisive factor is rather that you should be honorable, decent fellows, that you should be men. You can have your fun as much as you wish, but once you get into the plane you must be men, determined to smash all resistance. That is what I demand of you, brave, daring fellows."
Then comes the paragraph, which has just been read. "I have visions" ... "of possessing a weapon" ... "which shall come like an avenging host against the foe." That has nothing to do with vengeance, for "an avenging host" is a terminus technicus, a usual term, in Germany. I might just as well have said that the opponent would use another word to express the same thing. I shall not read any further here, for these words, if I were to read them, would be readily understandable; one has to realize to whom I was speaking.
DR. STAHMER: To what extent did you assist in the economic and military preparation of Case Barbarossa?
Goering: As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force I naturally took all the measures which were necessary in the purely military field for the preparation of such a campaign. Consent or refusal, as I have already recently explained.... I took the obvious military preparations which are always necessary in connection with a new strategic deployment, and which every officer was in duty bound to carry out, and for which the officers of the Air Corps received their command from me. I do not believe that the Tribunal would be interested in the details as to how I carried out the deployment of my air fleet. The decisive thing at the time of the first attacks was, as before, to smash the enemy air arm as the main objective. Independent of the purely military preparations, which were a matter of duty, economic preparations seemed necessary according to our experiences in the previous war with Poland, and in the war in the West; and doubly necessary in the case of Russia, for here we encountered a completely different form of economic life from that in the other countries of the Continent. Here it was a matter of state economy and state ownership; there was no private economy or private ownership worth mentioning. That I was charged with this was again a matter of course resulting from the fact that I, as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, directed the whole economy and had to provide the necessary instructions. I had therefore instructed the War Economy Staff to formulate a general economic plan for the invasion, in consultation with economic experts on Russia, especially as we had to expect that with our advance, Russia, according to long-established procedure, would destroy large parts of its economy. The result of these prepared economic mobilization studies was the so-called "Green File." I am of the opinion that in every future war, as in past wars on other
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sides, there must always be an economic mobilization besides a military and political mobilization; otherwise one would get into very unpleasant situations.
The Green File has been cited repeatedly, and also here some of the quotations have been torn from their context. In order to save time I do not wish to read further passages from this Green File. That can perhaps be done when documentary evidence is given. But if I were to read the whole Green File from beginning to end, from A to Z, the Tribunal would see that this is a very useful and suitable work for armed forces which have to advance into a territory with a completely different economic structure; the Court will also realize that it could be worked out only that way. This Green File contains much positive material, and here and there a sentence which, cited alone, as has been done, gives a false picture. It provides for everything, among other things for compensation. If an economy exists in a state, when one enters into war with that state, and if one then gains possession of that economy, it is to one's interest to carry out this economy only insofar, of course, as the interests of one's own war needs are concerned -- that goes without saying. But in order to save time I shall dispense with the reading of those pages which would exonerate me considerably for, I am stating, as a whole as it is, that our making claims on the Russian state economy for German purposes, after the conquest of those territories, was just as natural and just as much a matter of duty for us as it was for Russia when she occupied German territories, but with this difference, that we did not dismantle and transport away the entire Russian economy down to the last bolt and screw, as is being done here. These are measures which result from the conduct of war. I naturally take complete responsibility for them.
DR. STAHMER: A document has been submitted as Document Number 2718-PS, and this reads as follows:
"Memorandum concerning the result of today's conference with the state secretaries in regard to Barbarossa.
"1. The war can be continued further only if the entire Armed Forces can be supplied with food by Russia in the third year of war.
"2. Millions of people will hereby doubtless starve if we take from this country that which is needed by us."
Were you informed of the subject of this conference with the state secretaries and of this document.
Goering: I became familiar with this document only when it was submitted to me here. This is a rather unreliable document. We can not tell clearly just who was present, where this was
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discussed, and who was responsible for the nonsense that is expressed in it. It is a matter of course that, within the framework of all the conferences of official experts, many things were discussed which proved to be absolute nonsense.
First of all the German Armed Forces would have been fed, even if there had been no war with Russia. Therefore it was not the case, as one might conclude from this, that, in order to feed the German Armed Forces, we had to attack Russia. Before the attack on Russia the German Army was fed, and it would have been fed thereafter. But if we had to march and advance into Russia it was a matter of course that the army would always and everywhere be fed from that territory.
The feeding of several millions of people, that is, two or three, if I figure the entire troop deployment in Russia with all its staff, cannot possibly result in the starvation of many, many millions on the other side. It is impossible for one soldier on the one side to eat so much that on the other side there is not enough left for three times that number. The fact is moreover that the population did not starve. However, famine had become a possibility, not because the German Army was to be fed from Russia, but because of the destruction or the sending back by the Russians of all agricultural implements, and of the entire seed stocks. It was first of all impossible to bring the harvest, which had been partly destroyed by the retreating Russian troops, in from the fields to an extent even approaching what was necessary, because of inadequate implements; and, secondly, the spring and autumn crops were greatly endangered owing to the lack of implements and seed.
If this crisis was met, it was not because the Russian troops had not destroyed or removed everything, but because Germany had to draw heavily on her own stocks. Tractors, agricultural machines, scythes, and other things had to be procured, even seed, so that for the time being the troops were not fed by the country, but food had to be sent from Germany -- even straw and hay. Only through the greatest efforts of organization and administration, and in cooperation with the local population could a balance gradually be achieved in the agricultural sector, and also a surplus for the German territories.
As far as I know, famine occurred only in Leningrad, as has also been mentioned here.
But Leningrad was a fortress which was being besieged. In the history of war I have until now found no evidence that the besieger generously supplies the besieged with food in order that they can resist longer; rather I know only of evidence in the history of wars that the besiegers do everything to force the surrender of the fortress by cutting off the food supply. Neither from the point of
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view of international law nor from the point of view of the military conduct of war were we under any obligation to provide besieged fortresses or cities with food.
DR. STAHMER: And what part did the Air Force play in the attacks on Leningrad?
Goering: The air force at Leningrad was very weak. The most northern sector of our position had the poorest air protection, so that the air force there had to carry out very many tasks simultaneously. At no time was there a concentrated attack by the Air Force on Leningrad, such as we have made on other cities or as have been carried out on German cities on the largest scale. The Fuehrer not once but repeatedly, in the presence of other gentlemen at briefing sessions, reproachfully said that apparently the German Luftwaffe dared not venture into Leningrad. I replied:
"As long as my Air Force is ready to fly into the hell of London it will be equally prepared to attack the much less defended city of Leningrad. However I lack the necessary forces, and besides you must not give me, so many tasks for my Air Force north of, the front, such as preventing reinforcements from coming over Lake Ladoga and other tasks."
Attacks were therefore made only on Kronstadt and on the fleet which was left in the outer bay of Leningrad, and other targets such as heavy batteries.
I was interested to hear from the sworn testimony of the Russian professor for museums, that he was under the impression that the German Air Force was mainly out to destroy museums, and then from the testimony -- not, sworn to-by I believe he called -- himself a metropolitan, who had the impression that my Air Force had mainly chosen his cathedrals as targets. I would like to call your attention to this contradiction -- perhaps understandable for people who are not experts. St. Petersburg was in fact at the very front of the fighting, and it was not necessary to attack by air, for medium and heavy artillery was sufficient to reach the center of the city.
DR. STAHMER: Was confiscation by the occupying power in Russia limited to state property?
Goering: In connection with the last question I forgot to mention something briefly.
There has been a great deal of talk here about the great destruction in Russia. Pictures and films were shown, impressive in themselves, but not so impressive to a German, for they showed only a modest proportion of the destruction which we personally experienced in our own cities. But I would like to point out that
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much of this destruction took place in the course of battle, in other words, that destruction was not intended, by the Air Force or by the artillery, but that cities, historical cities or art monuments were very frequently destroyed by battle action.
Also, in Germany men of the rank of the musician and composer Tschaikovsky, and the poets Tolstoy and Pushkin are too highly revered for deliberate destruction of the graves of these great and creative men of culture to have been intended.
Now to the question whether only state property was confiscated; as far as I know, yes. Private property, as has been mentioned here from state documents -- I can easily imagine that in the cold winter of 1941-42 German soldiers took fur shoes, felt boots, and sheep furs here and there from the population -- that is possible; but by and large there was no private property, therefore it could not be confiscated. I personally can speak only of a small section, namely of the surroundings of the city of Vinnitza and the city of Vinnitza itself. When I stopped there with my special train as headquarters, I repeatedly visited the peasant huts, the villages, and the town of Vinnitza, because life there interested me.
I saw such abject poverty there that I cannot possibly imagine what one could have taken. As an insignificant but informative example I would like to mention that for empty marmalade jars, tin cans, or even empty cigar boxes or cigarette boxes, the people would offer remarkable quantities of eggs and butter because they considered these primitive articles very desirable.
In this connection I would also like to emphasize that no theaters or the like were ever consciously destroyed either with my knowledge or that of any other German person. I know only the theater in Vinnitza that I visited. I saw the actors and actresses there and the ballet. The first thing I did was to get material, dresses, and all sorts of things for these people because they had nothing.
As the second example, the destruction of churches. This is also a personal experience of mine in Vinnitza. I was there when the dedication took place of the largest church which for years had been a powder magazine, and now, under the German administration, was reinstated as a church. The clergy requested me to be present at this dedication. Everything was decorated with flowers. I declined because I do not belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.
As far as the looting of stores was concerned, I could see only one store in Vinnitza that was completely empty.
DR. STAHMER: What was the significance for the Air Force of the work camp Dora, which has been mentioned by the French Prosecution?
Goering: Before I go on to that I must addthat the accusation that we destroyed industry everywhere is incorrect, but rather for
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our own purposes we had to reconstruct a great part of industry. Thus I would like to recall the famous dam of Dniepropetrovsk which was destroyed and which was important for the electricity supply of the entire Ukraine, and even for the Donetz area.
As far as industry and agriculture are concerned, I have spoken of that before and mentioned the scorched earth policy as it was described in the Russian order and as it was carried out. This scorched earth policy, the destruction of all stock, of everything, created a very difficult situation which was hard to overcome. Therefore, from the economic point of view, we also had much reconstruction to do.
As far as destruction of cities is concerned, I would like to add that over and beyond that which was shot to pieces in the course of battle, during the advance or retreat, there were considerable parts and important buildings of cities that had been mined and at the proper time went up in the air, involving, of course, many German victims. I can cite Odessa and Kiev as two main examples.
Now I come to the question of Camp Dora. I also heard about Camp Dora here for the first time. Of course, I knew of the subterranean works which were near Nordhausen, though I never was there myself. But they had been established at a rather early period. Nordhausen produced mainly V-1's and V-2's. With the conditions in Camp Dora, as they have been described, I am not familiar. I also believe that they are exaggerated. Of course, I knew that subterranean factories were being built. I was also interested in the construction of further plants for the Luftwaffe. I cannot see why the construction of subterranean works should be something particularly wicked or destructive. I had ordered construction of an important subterranean work at Kahla in Thuringia for airplane production in which, to a large extent, German workers and, for the rest, Russian workers and prisoners of war were employed. I personally went there to look over the work being done and on that day found everyone in good spirits. On the occasion of my visit I brought the people some additional rations of beverages, cigarettes, and other things, for Germans and foreigners alike.
The other subterranean works for which I requested concentration camp internees were not built any more. That I requested inmates of concentration camps for the aviation industry is correct, and it is in my opinion quite natural because I was, at that time, not familiar with the details of the concentration camps. I knew only that many Germans also were in concentration camps -- people who had refused to join the Army, who were politically unreliable, or who had been punished for other things, as also happens in other countries in time of war. At that time everyone had to work in Germany. Women were taken into the ranks of labor, including
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those who had never worked before. In my own home parachute production was started, in which everyone had to participate. I could not see why, if the entire people had to take part in work, the inmates of prisons, concentration camps, or wherever they might be, should not also be put to use for work essential to the war.
Moreover I am of the opinion, from what I know today, that it certainly was better for them to work and to be billeted in some plane factory than in their concentration camps. The fact per se that they worked, is to be taken as a matter of course, and also that they worked for war production. But that work meant destruction is a new idea. It is possible that it was strenuous here or there.
I for my part was interested that these people should not be destroyed, but that they should work and thereby produce. The work itself was the same as done by German workers -- that is, plane and motor production -- no destruction was intended thereby.
DR. STAHMER: Under what conditions were prisoners of war used in anti-aircraft operations?
Goering: Prisoners of war were used for anti-aircraft operations mainly for those stationary batteries at home which were for the protection of factories and cities. And indeed these were auxiliary volunteers. They were chiefly Russian prisoners of war, but not entirely as far as I remember. One must not forget that in Russia there were various racial groups who did not think alike and did not all have the same attitude to the system there. Just as there were so-called East Battalions made up of volunteers, so there were also a great number of volunteers who, after the announcement in the camps, reported for service in the anti-aircraft batteries. We also had an entire company of Russian prisoners of war who volunteered to fight against their own country. I did not think much of these people, but in time of war one takes what one can get. The other side did the same thing.
The volunteer auxiliaries liked to go to the anti-aircraft because they had considerably less work there and their food was better as it was soldiers' rations; whatever other reasons they may have had I do not know. However, if one did look at a local German anti-aircraft battery in the year 1944 or 1945 it made, I admit, a rather strange impression. There were German youths from 15 to 16 and old men from 55 to 60, some women and some auxiliary volunteers of all nationalities, I always called them my "gypsy batteries." But they shot, and that was what mattered.
DR. STAHMER: What was Sauckel's official relation to you?
Goering: I mentioned that in the Four Year Plan in 1936 there was already a Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor.
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In the year 1942, after he had become ill and was being represented by somebody else, I was taken aback by the direct appointment of a new Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor -- an appointment made directly by the Fuehrer, and without my being consulted.
But at that time the Fuehrer had already begun to intervene much more strongly and directly in such problems. If he did it here too, he did so because the labor problem became more acute from day to day. It had been suggested to him that he should appoint a new deputy for the time being, perhaps a Gauleiter of a different name, the one from Silesia. But the Fuehrer decided on the Gauleiter from Thuringia, Sauckel, and made him plenipotentiary. This order was countersigned by Lammers, not by me, but that is of no significance; and it was formally included in the Four Year Plan, for the Four Year Plan had general plenary authority for all matters concerning economy. For this reason, up to the end even the appointment of Goebbels as Plenipotentiary General for the total war, which had nothing at all to do with me, was also included in the plenary power of the Four Year Plan, since otherwise the entire legislative work of the Four Year Plan, which I had gradually built up with its plenary powers, would have collapsed and we should have had to create entirely new conditions.
If Sauckel from that time on received his orders mainly from the Fuehrer, it was because the Fuehrer now intervened more effectively in all these matters; but I welcomed the appointment of Sauckel, for I considered him one of the calmest and most reliable Gauleiters and was also convinced that he would fully dedicate himself to this new task. The connection with the offices of the Four Year Plan was of course maintained, and in the case of important legislative decrees Sauckel and my offices of the Four Year Plan worked together, as far as I know.
Sauckel himself spoke to me on several occasions after he had been with the Fuehrer, and sent me also a few of the reports which he sent to the Fuehrer. Even if not in full detail I was, on the whole, informed.
DR. STAHMER: In March of 1944, 75 English Air Force officers escaped from the prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III. As you probably know from the proceedings, 50 of these officers after their recapture were shot by the SD. Did this order for shooting come from you, and did you know of this intention?
Goering: I came to know of the course of events, but unfortunately not until a later period. When these 75 or 80 English Air Force officers attempted to escape during the last 10 days of March, I was at the moment on leave, as I can prove. I heard 1 or 2 days
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later about this escape. As, however, prior to that, a few large escapes had already taken place and each time a few days later most of the escaped prisoners had been brought back to camp, I assumed that would happen in this case also.
On my return from my leave, the chief of my general staff told me that a part, but he could not give me the figure at the time, of these escaped officers had been shot. This had to a certain extent caused talk and excitement in our Luftwaffe; one also feared reprisals. I asked from whom he had his information and what had really happened. He said he knew only that part of the escaped men had been recaptured by the camp guards in the vicinity of the camp, and by the police authorities in the immediate neighborhood, and had been brought back to camp. Nothing had happened to these men. On the other hand, of the fate of those who had been recaptured at a greater distance from the camp he knew only that some of them had been shot.
I then went to Himmler and asked him. He confirmed this without mentioning a definite figure, and told me that he had received the order from the Fuehrer. I called his attention to the fact that such a thing was utterly impossible, and that the English officers in particular were bound to make at least one or two attempts to escape and that we knew this. He said, I believe, that he had at least opposed the Fuehrer in this matter at first, but that the Fuehrer had absolutely insisted on it, since he maintained that escapes to such an extent represented an extreme danger to security.
I told him then that this would lead to the most severe agitation among my forces, for no one would understand this action, and that if he were to give such orders, he could at least inform me before carrying them out so that I might have the opportunity of countermanding them if possible.
After giving these instructions I talked to the Fuehrer personally about the matter, and the Fuehrer confirmed the fact that he had given the order and told me why -- the reasons just mentioned. I explained to him why this order, according to our opinion, was completely impossible and what repercussions it would cause with regard to my airmen employed against the enemy in the West.
The Fuehrer -- our relations were already extremely bad and strained -- answered rather violently that the airmen who were flying against Russia have to reckon with the possibility of being immediately beaten to death in case of an emergency landing, and that airmen going to the West should not want to claim a special privilege in this respect. I then told him that these two things really had no connection with each other.
Then I talked with the Chief of my General Staff and asked him -- I believe he was the Quartermaster General -- to write to the OKW
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and say that I was now requesting, that the Air Force was requesting, that these camps be taken from our control. I did not want to have anything more to do with prisoner-of-war camps in case such things should happen again. This letter was closely connected with those events, a few weeks after those events. That is what I know about this matter.
DR. STAHMER: Witness Von Brauchitsch testified the other day that in May of 1944 the Fuehrer decreed the strictest measures against the so-called terror-fliers. Did you, in compliance with this Fuehrer decree, issue instructions to shoot enemy terror-fliers or to have them handed over to the SD?
Goering: The definition of "terror-fliers" was very confused. A part of the population, and also of the press, called everything which attacked cities "terror-fliers," more or less. Tremendous excitement had arisen among the German population because of the very heavy and continued attacks on German cities, in the course of which the population saw to a certain extent that the really important industrial targets were less frequently hit than houses and nonmilitary targets. Some German cities had thus suffered most severely in their residential districts, while the industries in these same cities remained on the whole untouched.
Then with the further flights of enemy forces to Germany there came so-called low-flying aircraft which attacked both military and nonmilitary targets. Reports came repeatedly to the Fuehrer, and I too heard of these reports, that the civilian population was being attacked with machine guns and cannons; that single vehicles, which could be recognized as civilian vehicles, and also ambulances which were marked with a red cross, had been attacked. One report came in -- I remember it distinctly because the Fuehrer became especially excited about it -- which said that a group of children had been shot at. Men and women standing in front of stores had also been shot at. And these activities were now called those of terror-fliers. The Fuehrer was extremely excited.
The populace in its fury resorted at first to lynching, and we tried at first to take measures to prevent this. I heard then that instructions had been given through the police and Bormann not to take measures against this. These reports multiplied, and the Fuehrer then decreed, or made a statement to the effect that these terror-fliers should be shot on the spot.
The belief that these fliers had been forbidden by their superiors to make such attacks, and that really they were to attack with their weapons only targets which could be recognized as military, I had confirmed beforehand through an interrogation of the airmen.
Now, as is often the case in matters of this kind, all offices which had anything to do with this were called in and we were aware, as
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Brauchitsch has already declared -- not only those of us in the Air Force, but also those in the OKW and other military offices -- that it would be very hard to formulate and to support an order in regard to this matter. First of all the term "terror-flier" would have to be defined once and for all. In this connection four points were set down, and these points have already been read here.
Debate on this matter went to and fro. In general I expressed the opinion that these fliers, since they were prohibited by their own superiors to do these things, could be legally prosecuted by a military court every time. At any rate we arrived at no definite order after long bickering; and no office of the Air Force was ever instructed to undertake any steps in this direction.
The document in which it is said on 6 June 1944 that a conference between Himmler, Ribbentrop, and me took place in Klessheim and which is signed by Warlimont, states that Warlimont said that Kaltenbrunner had told him he had learned that such a conference had taken place. It does not say it actually took place. Now this day, 6 June 1944, is a very significant day, as Brauchitsch has already explained, for it is the day of the invasion in France. I no longer know exactly who came to Klessheim. Klessheim is a castle near Berchtesgaden and was used when allied or foreign missions came to visit.
For a long time already it had been customary that when such allied visits took place I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, was not present for each of these visitors naturally wanted above all, on the occasion of these conversations, to obtain help from the German Air Force and always asked for German fighters and machines no matter whether it was Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Finland, or Italy or someone else. I made a point of not being there on such occasions, so that the Fuehrer might have an opportunity to be evasive and to say, "I must first consult with the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces."
Therefore I had already left Berchtesgaden on the 4th or the 3rd, as far as I remember, and was on my estate near Nuremberg. The General Staff officer who accompanied me, the physician and various others will be able to testify to this if necessary. In the morning hours I learned here of the invasion. Brauchitsch is wrong in one point, that this had already been reported as an invasion. On the contrary, in response to my further inquiry it was said that one could not yet tell whether it was a diversion maneuver or the actual invasion. Thereupon I returned to Berchtesgaden in the late evening or, in the afternoon -- I remember exactly. I left after lunch and it takes about 4 1/2 hours from here. I therefore did not take part in the conference on this matter with Ribbentrop or Himmler in Klessheim or anywhere else, and I want to emphasize this especially.
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This conference was held by my adjutant, Von Brauchitsch, that is, my General Staff officer, and he was the one who told the OKW, without consulting me once more, that it was my opinion that it was right to have court proceedings in such cases. The decisive thing, however, is that no such order, as a Fuehrer order, or as an order of mine, was issued to any office of the Luftwaffe or to the transit camp or interrogation camp in Oberursel, or to any part of the troops.
A document which has been read here concerns a report from Luftgau XI, which mentions the shooting of American fliers. I believe they were Americans, and this is mentioned in this connection because it says Luftgau XI. I looked through the document -- there are two very detailed appendices. It is stated very definitely and clearly here that Luftgau XI reported that a crew which had bailed out and been rescued from the lake by some troops which did not belong to the Air Force, were shot by the police while on the way to the airfield -- the exact name of the police office is given -- that they therefore did not reach the airfield, but had been shot beforehand bythe police. Luftgau XI duly reports these events as required. In the attached report each of the men is mentioned by name and also what happened to him. Some were taken to hospitals, others, as said before, were shot. And all these reports and each individual report sheet can be explained by the fact that the Luftgau offices, as the competent offices at home, were instructed automatically to make reports on a printed form as to whether it was a crash or a forced landing of our own or of enemy aircraft; at what time; whether the crew bailed out; whether the crew was killed, or half of it killed; whether they were brought to the camp or to the hospital. And in this case it is correctly reported, "Shot by the police while trying to escape; buried at such and such a place."
Records of this type ran into hundreds; I mean records of our own and of hostile craft, which had been shot down with their crews, in the heavy air fighting. The records were channeled from the Luftgau to the competent offices. The Air Force itself had nothing to do with this; it is very clear from the German original document that this was merely a report.
In this connection there were heated discussions. All of the gentlemen who had to take part in the Fuehrer's daily briefing sessions will recall exactly that the Fuehrer repeatedly told me in a very unfriendly manner that he definitely wished to know the names and the punishment of those officers who again and again had protected fliers from the population. I did not have these people searched for or arrested, nor did I have them punished. I always pointed out to the Fuehrer that it had already happened that even our own fliers who had bailed out had been most severely
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mishandled by our own people, who at first were completely confused, and I therefore repeatedly emphasized on behalf of the Air Force that such things must be stopped.
There was one last sharp controversy, again in the presence of many gentlemen, at a briefing session in which, when again I referred to these things, the Fuehrer cut me short with the words, "I well know that both air forces have come to a mutual agreement of cowardice." Whereupon I told him, "We have not come to an agreement of cowardice, but somehow we airmen have always remained comrades, no matter how much we fight each other." All the gentlemen present will remember this.
DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude as the highest judicial authority of the Luftwaffe with regard to punishable acts committed by the soldiers under you in occupied territory?
Goering: As highest judicial authority I had all the bad cases referred to me and spent many hours examining them. That is why I attach particular importance to the highest legal counsel of the Air Force by being heard here on this point. In many cases I rescinded sentences because they were too mild, especially if it was a matter of rape. In these cases I always confirmed the death sentence which had been handed down by the court, unless an appeal for mercy was made by the injured party in exceptional cases. I thus confirmed the death sentence of a number of members of the Air Force who took part in the murder of inhabitants of the occupied territories in the East as well as in the West.
I do not wish to take up the time of the Tribunal by citing a number of detailed cases which would prove this. Beyond this I was the judicial authority with regard to such inhabitants of occupied territories as were brought before an Air Force court. For instance, when in France, Holland, or Russia or another country, the native civilian population had helped enemy fliers to escape, or had been guilty of acts of sabotage on airplanes, or had engaged in espionage in connection with the Air Force, that is to say, all punishable acts which had taken place in connection with the Air Force. The war situation demanded, of course, that in general we should enforce strict measures here.
I should like to say in this connection that death sentences were, of course, also duly pronounced by the courts on women. In all these cases involving women, during the entire war years, I did not once confirm with my signature a single death sentence on a woman, not even in the case of fatal attacks, or participation in such on members of my Luftwaffe; even in the most severe cases I did not fail to give a reprieve.
DR. STAHMER: In your military and economic measures in the occupied territories did you take into consideration whether these
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measures were in keeping with the Hague Convention on land warfare?
Goering: I scanned through the regulations for land warfare of the Hague Convention for the first time just before the outbreak of the Polish conflict. As I read them at that time I regretted that I had not studied them much more thoroughly at an earlier date. If so I would have told the Fuehrer that, in view of these Hague Convention regulations for land warfare, set down paragraph for paragraph, a modern war could not be waged under any circumstances. One would perforce come into conflict with conditions laid down in 1906 or 1907, because of the technological expansion of modern war. Either they would have to be cancelled, or else modern new viewpoints corresponding to technical developments would have to be introduced. My reasoning is as follows:
The regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention, as they now existed, I had in my opinion studied quite correctly and logically as regulations for land warfare in 1907. But from 1939 to 1945 there was no longer merely land warfare but also air warfare, which had not been taken into consideration here and which in part created an entirely new situation, and changed the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention in many respects. But that is not so much the decisive point; rather, modern and total war develops, as I see it, along three lines: the war of weapons on land, at sea, and in the air; economic war, which has become an integral part of every modern war; and, third, propaganda war, which is also an essential part of this warfare.
If one recognizes these principles on the basis of logic, certain deviations will then result which, according to the letter, may be a violation of logic, but not according to the spirit. If the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention provide that weapons of the opponent are to be regarded as booty, as a matter of course, then I must say that today in a modern war the weapons of the opponent under certain circumstances have value only as scrap, but that economic goods however, raw materials, high grade steel, aluminum, copper, lead, and tin, seem and are much more essential as war booty than obsolete weapons, which I might take from an opponent. But beyond that it is not only a matter of raw materials, no matter whose property they are. The regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention provided at one point -- I do not remember it now -- that those things which are necessary can be confiscated, but against compensation, of course. That is also not the decisive factor, as one can readily believe. Decisive is, however, the fact that in this modern war, and in an economic war, which forms the basis for any further conduct of war, supplies, first of all food, must be regarded as absolutely necessary for war and must
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be made available for use in war, and beyond that raw materials for industry. Moreover production plants and machinery are also part of economic warfare. If they have until now served the opponent -- be they industries directly or indirectly contributing to armaments and the conduct of war -- they must now also serve whoever has come into the possession of these means of production through military decision, even if only temporarily, during an armistice in occupied territories. In this connection the labor question naturally also plays a far greater role in economic war than it did in those former wars which served as examples in the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention. In 1907 the most recent wars, the Russo-Japanese War, and perhaps the English Boer War, which were, however, conducted under entirely different circumstances -- wars which practically lay only one decade behind at that time -- could serve as an example of warfare. A war at that time between one army and another, in which the population was more or less not involved, cannot be compared with today's total war, in which everyone, even the child, is drawn into the experience of war through the introduction of air warfare.
According to my opinion, manpower and thereby the workers and their use at the moment, are also an integral part of economic war. By that it is not meant that a worker should be so exploited that he suffers physical injury, but only that his labor should be fully used.
One of the witnesses mentioned recently what it means to be in an occupied territory where fighting is still going on, and where one remains for years, while one, two, three, four, or five new military age groups are growing up, and if they have no work in their home country ...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, is there any chance that the defendant will finish by tonight?
DR. STAHMER: This is the last question.
THE PRESIDENT: Please continue.
Goering: The question of the deportation of workers had therefore also to be regarded from this point of view of security. We were obliged to feed, as far as possible, the entire occupied territory. We also had to dispose of manpower and, at the same time had to consider the removal especially of those who had no work in their own country and represented a danger in the growth of the underground resistance arising against us.
If these age groups were drafted into Germany for work, it was because of basic considerations of security, in order that they should not be left idle in their own country -- and thus be made available
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for the work and the struggle against us -- but should be used to our advantage in economic war.
Thirdly -- I want to mention these things just very briefly -- in conclusion, the war of propaganda. At one point in the Indictment it is also mentioned that we requisitioned radios, which is, to be sure, a matter of course. For the great importance in propaganda warfare enemy propaganda had, which extended by way of radio far into the hinterland, no one has felt more strongly than Germany. All the great dangers of underground movements, partisan war, the resistance movements and sabotage, and everything connected with it, and finally also in this war, this embitterment and this atmosphere, have been called forth to the extreme by this mutual fight over the radio.
Also whatever happened in the way of atrocities and similar acts, which should not be tolerated, are in the last analysis, if one thinks about it calmly, to be attributed primarily to the war of propaganda.
Therefore the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention are in my opinion not an instrument which can be used as a basis for a modern war, because they do not take into consideration the essential principles of this war; the war in the air, the economic war, and the war of propaganda.
And at this point I should like to say the same words which one of our greatest, most important, and toughest opponents, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, used: "In the struggle for life and death there is in the end no legality."
THE PRESIDENT: The Court will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 16 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]