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DR KUBUSCHOK: Yesterday I stopped at the point where I was describing what Papen did in the course of the measures of 30 June. I mentioned his resignation, his refusal to co-operate in any way. I shall continue at the bottom of Page 46, the last paragraph.
On the positive side he strives to have the Armed Forces intervene. He applies to his friend General Von Fritsch. Blomberg, because of his attitude, is out of the question. Fritsch will not act except on the express orders of the Reich President. Papen then endeavors to contact Hindenburg. But Hindenburg's entourage keeps him off. All access to his estate, Neudeck, is blocked by SS guards. Papen sends his secretary Ketteler to Hindenburg's neighbor and old friend Herr Von Oldenburg in order to obtain access to Hindenburg by this means, but that attempt also fails. He is left to witness how far Hindenburg has obviously been influenced when he publicly approves of Hitler's conduct in an official telegram on 30 June.
What steps were left for Papen to take with the prospect of even moderate success? In his negotiations with Hitler he had tried to put matters on a legal basis. His attempts to mobilize the only factor of power, the Armed Forces, had failed. Hindenburg was unapproachable; his advisers had evidently influenced him in the opposite direction.
The Prosecution hold that this was the time for Papen to refer openly to the criminal events of June 1930: by so doing he could have brought about the collapse of the entire Nazi system. mat assertion is untenable. Apart from the fact that, as we have demonstrated, Papen could no longer make an official statement of this nature, subsequent developments in Germany have made it plain that no individual protest of the kind would have had any effect on Hitler's power either at home or abroad. Hitler's prestige in Germany was already so great-and it increased as time went on-that such a protest, assuming that it reached the public at all, would certainly have found no echo in the masses of the population. The great masses saw only the economic improvement and the strengthening of Germany's position abroad, and only a comparatively
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small number of them realized the true danger of this development. Foreign countries were, for the most part, better informed of the events of 30 June than were the Germans themselves. A statement by Papen would not have made matters clearer to the German people. No conclusions were drawn from the available knowledge by foreign countries either at that time or later.
The Prosecution even believe that such a step might have led to the reoccupation of the Rhineland by the French. I cannot imagine on what the Prosecution base this assertion. It is contradicted by the fact that later events, not connected with internal politics, but vitally affecting other countries-for instance, the introduction of compulsory military service and the occupation of the Rhineland- called forth no military reaction.
By his resignation and his open refusal to attend cabinet and Reichstag sessions, Papen made it clear to the public that he was opposed to the state of affairs. His conduct was a public protest against the measures of 30 June and their perpetrator. The Prosecution cannot deny these outward signs, which are historical facts. They attempt, however, to construct an antithesis between his outward behavior and his inner convictions. The only evidence at their disposal for that purpose are the letters addressed by Papen to Hitler in July. Even if the real nature and purpose of these letters were not clearly discernible from their contents, as in fact is the case, such an attempt would fail in any case in face of the facts just stated-since the means at hand were, from their very nature, inadequate.
In this connection, I would like, in general, to make the following observations: What reason could Papen have for assuming in public a hostile attitude toward Hitler during his vice-chancellorship, and during the events of 30 June, if he had been, in fact, his loyal follower? What reason could Hitler who, according to the Prosecution, conspired with Papen, have had for desiring this, and this, after all, would only be a result of the conspiracy? Could Hitler have wished Papen to disclose in his Marburg speech all the weaknesses and abuses of the Nazi system? What reason could Hitler have had for wishing Papen to remain so obviously aloof from the lawless proceedings of 30 June? It could only have been in line with his policy to show the unity between Vice Chancellor and Reich Chancellor to the public. If these points are taken into consideration, there is only one possible conclusion: There is no logical basis for the Prosecutions interpretation of Papen's inner conviction.
This thesis of unconditional obedience to Hitler, despite certain facts apparently indicating the contrary-but actually for purposes of camouflage-is again applied by the Prosecution to Papen's acceptance of the Vienna post. Before discussing this problem, let
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me briefly state the following. In my opinion the final development in the Austrian question-which occurred after Papen's recall, and undoubtedly without his co-operation-namely the marching-in on 12 March 1938-does not represent a crime in the sense of the Charter either. The Charter considers as punishable the preparation and waging of a war of aggression, or a war by violation of international treaties. In the three counts of the Indictment, the Charter confines itself to the arraignment of what appears to be crime at its gravest, with terrible and all-embracing consequences. The forbidden war of aggression itself, the crimes against the laws regulating the conduct of warfare, the crimes against humanity in their most brutal form, the immeasurable consequences of these grave actions-all these things have justified this unusual trial. The Charter does not charge the Tribunal with the punishment of all the injustices which have occurred in the course of the development of National Socialism. In particular it does not charge the Tribunal with the task of investigating every political measure in order to determine whether it was necessary or permissible. Such a task is no part of the functions of this Tribunal, if only for technical reasons and for lack of the necessary time. It is not the task of the Tribunal to examine whether or not international treaties were observed. This question is only of importance if wars were caused, or if the crimes of violence which are to be described in detail have to be accounted for. The march into Austria is not a war, however far one stretches the meaning of the term, from the standpoint of international law. Here the sole decisive factor is that no force was employed, and not the slightest resistance offered; but that, on the contrary, the troops were received with jubilation. Furthermore, the march into Austria cannot be considered in connection with the later acts of aggression. It was a special case, based on an obvious predicament, which found its expression since 1918, in the fact that efforts had been made by both the Austrians and the Germans to effect some kind of constitutional union between the barely viable Austrian State and Germany. Therefore, the actual events must be considered apart from Hitler's war plans, and even from his purely military plans of preparation-with which I shall deal later-and must be regarded as the solution of a state political problem which had become acute, and the result of which had always been desired by both sides, independently of Hitler.
Papen's activity in Vienna is clearly characterized by three episodes: The circumstance of his appointment on 26 July 1934; his letter to Hitler dated 16 July 1936-Defense Exhibit Papen-71, Document 2247-PS-after the conclusion of the July agreement; and his recall on 4 February 1938.
The following circumstances led to his appointment. A crucial event had occurred: Dollfuss had been murdered. Not only were
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Austro-German relations strained, but they had reached an extremely dangerous stage of development. The international situation was acute. Italy was mobilizing at the Brenner. It was to be feared that Austria would now turn finally to one of the groups of powers interested. A situation which would definitely and finally render impossible the maintenance of even tolerable relations between Germany and Austria seemed to be impending. In this difficult situation, Hitler obviously thought it necessary to discard his objections to Papen's person and to entrust him with the mission in Vienna.
Papen was particularly fitted to initiate a policy designed to overcome the deadlock caused by the assassination of Dollfuss. In the Cabinet, Papen had always been in favor of developing friendly relations with Austria. Papen had an international reputation as being the representative of a reasonable policy of mutual understanding. He naturally had strong misgivings in taking over this post, however. His recent experience in home politics, his personal attitude to his own and his colleagues' treatment on 30 June, his attitude to the murder of Dollfuss, with whom he had remained on the most friendly terms since his previous office, were against his accepting the post. It was, therefore. a very difficult decision for Papen to make; but the consideration that he alone was in a position to fulfill this task in the spirit of genuine appeasement was bound to outweigh everything else. Could he assume that any other man had the necessary strength of will, as well as the power, to insure that the way of appeasement now begun would be followed to the end? The personal independence which he himself enjoyed could not be expected of a German Foreign Office official, much less of a Party man. Papen brought to this his experience as Vice-chancellor. He knew the difficulties of convincing Hitler by arguments of fact alone. He alone had any prospect of insuring a consistent peace policy in the future, in spite of the opposition of Hitler extremist advisers. On the other hand, he had learned caution from his experiences.
He stated conditions and demanded the establishment of a clear policy based on facts. He demanded that no further influence be exerted on the Austrian Nazi movement, and that this be insured, in the first place, by the dismissal of the man who had played a direct or indirect part in the criminal act-Landesinspektor Habicht. He asked that he himself be subordinated to Hitler personally in order to assure compliance with the conditions as he had proposed them, and to avoid their being weakened by administrative channels. He succeeded in doing something ordinarily impossible in his relations with the head of the State: The conditions under which he accepted the post of Ambassador were laid down in writing. They
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were signed by Hitler. He wanted always to be in a position to force Hitler to keep to his written word. We obtain a clear picture of these events through the testimonies given by witnesses, particularly by the statement made by Von Tschirschky, a man who, as the Prosecution have stated, is certainly not suspected of viewing the defendant in a favorable light.
The Prosecution assert that Papen, as a faithful follower of Hitler's already known plans of aggression, had, from motives of sheer opportunism, eagerly and willingly accepted the new post. On the other hand, can the form of the appointment and the extreme precautions taken by the defendant really harmonize with such an attitude? These secret conferences, this unpublished document signed by Hitler, which was in Papen's possession, cannot really be regarded as a pretense made in order to create a false impression, as the charge made by the Prosecution would infer. These things were not intended to be publicized and were, in fact, never made public. The circumstances connected with his acceptance of the Vienna post can only lead us to conclude that Papen was sincerely eager to maintain the appeasement policy agreed upon. It is absurd to speak of opportunism in this connection. Papen had declined the position of Ambassador to the Vatican. The position of Ambassador in Vienna was hardly an enticing post of honor for a former Reich Chancellor and recent Vice Chancellor. The soundness of Papen's own financial situation excluded all thought of material motives.
Papen's letter of 16 July 1936 to Hitler is a report on the success of his many years of work in the interests of settled peaceful relations between both countries. The treaty of 11 July 1936 put the seal upon this. There can be no question as to the value of this document as evidence. It gives a clear account of Papen's assignment and the way in which he carried it out. Papen points out that the task for which he was called to Vienna on 26 July 1934 is now concluded. He considers his work as finished with the conclusion of the treaty. There can be no clearer proof of the truth of Papen's statement, in regard to his task and the way in which it was carried out, than that furnished by this letter.
And yet, what farfetched and dubious motives have been imputed to him in connection with this mission! He is said to have acted as Hitler willing tool in accepting the task of preparing and carrying out the forcible annexation of Austria. He is said to have keen instructed to undermine the Schuschnigg Government and to co-operate for this purpose with the illegal Nazi movement in Austria. Everything he did with a view to mutual appeasement is described as camouflage to help him to carry out his underground plans. And here is a report of his work which is addressed to his employer and is above suspicion. Is it camouflage, intended to create
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an impression entirely incompatible with the facts-this letter, found by the Allied troops in the secret archive of the Reich Chancellery, and now obligingly placed at the disposal of the Defense Counsel by the Prosecution?
The third episode which clearly indicates the nature of Papen's
activity in Vienna is his recall on 4 February 1938. The numerous recalls and appointments made on that date clearly showed reorganization of the most important military and political posts. The identity of the military men and diplomats recalled makes clear what the sole reason was for the unusual and extensive changes made at that time. If Hitler at such a time recalled Papen from his post, without any other definite cause for doing so, entirely unexpectedly and without giving reason, this clearly proves that Hitler, embarking upon a foreign policy of extremism, no longer considered Papen the right man for Vienna.
These three points are in themselves sufficient and unequivocal proof of the peaceful nature of Papen's activities throughout the entire duration of his Austrian mission. As the Prosecution, however, tries in this case to interpret isolated incidents in a manner unfavorable to Papen, I shall briefly consider this period also.
We see Papen engaged in a steady struggle against the illegal movement. The charge that he had conspired with it is best refuted ad absurdum by the fact that plans made by the illegal movement, and stated by Foreign Minister Schmidt to be genuine, reveal that members of this same illegal movement had planned to murder Papen. The documentary evidence from the available reports sent by Papen to Hitler also leads in one direction only. This, too' is absolutely clear proof, since the routine reports regularly made to Hitler certainly exclude any possibility of deliberate deception of the public. It is regrettable that the reports could not be found in their entirety so as to furnish us with a clear and complete historical picture of Papen's activities. Only a fraction of the reports are in our hands. But if Papen sent carbon copies of all his reports abroad at the end of his period of activity, as the evidence has shown, he surely could only have done it in order to justify his policy of appeasement in the eyes of history. This constitutes absolutely clear proof that his policy, as shown in the complete series of reports, must have been a policy contrary to the development affected by other quarters in March 1938. All the witnesses who have appeared in court, and who could give information on conditions in Austria, have stated under oath that Papen's policy was a policy of appeasement, and that he opposed any attempts made by the illegal movement to interfere in politics.
In view of these facts, what can be concluded from the presentation of the Prosecution? That Papen, by reason of his position as
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German Ambassador, and in accordance with the state treaty concluded with Austria, had to maintain a certain external connection with members of the Austrian Nazi movement-a connection which was in no way secret, which was purely for purposes of observation, and which was necessary to enable him to fulfill his obligations to report to Berlin on actual conditions in Austria? If he had actually collaborated with the illegal movement in the way the Prosecution state he did, this would most certainly have been mentioned in his reports to Berlin. He does not work out any secret plans with the illegal movement. On the contrary, we see him openly negotiating with the Austrian Government over the part to be played by the National Opposition in the work of the Government, as agreed upon in the July treaty. Finally, since we have before us in Rainer's report the' written history of the illegal movement, we see their activities proceeding during those years without the slightest co-operation or support from Papen.
What conclusions can be drawn to the disadvantage of the defendant from the fact that he was interested in the activities of the Austrian Freiheitsbund, when this organization is described as representing a non-Nazi trade union, an Austrian organization which was thought to be willing to follow Schuschnigg and in support of his Cabinet? What conclusions can be drawn to the disadvantage of the defendant from the fact that he also watched the situation of the Government in Austria and reported on it to Berlin? Or when, in this connection, he expresses a wish that this or that combination may favor the development of friendly relations with Austria?
During the cross-examination the Prosecution presented reports from offices abroad, which Papen forwarded to Berlin. They believe that Papen had made use of the contents of these reports. This supposition must be wrong. The object of sending reports made by the foreign secret service to Berlin for purposes of information is clear. In addition, the following facts must be established: Papen also made a special point of forwarding to Berlin those documents containing criticism of conditions in Germany which came into his hands; the witnesses Gisevius and Lahousen have pointed out that Hitler was incorrectly or insufficiently informed by his closest coworkers; the critical reports originating abroad, which Papen sent directly to Hitler, could fulfill the aim of drawing Hitler's attention to abuses and of making him abolish them, and they were intended to do so-this is particularly often the case with statements about anticlerical conditions in Germany. The same applies to the reports on the activity of the Gestapo in the Tschirschky case-these have already been mentioned in the course of cross-examination. Some of Papen's regular reports to Hitler also deal with conditions in neighboring states. Inspection of their contents shows that these
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reports deal entirely with problems directly connected with Austria's foreign policy in the Balkans and, therefore, formed part of the assignment of the accredited Ambassador in Vienna.
Finally, Messersmith's affidavit must be considered. He describes events which happened 10 years earlier in Papen's case, apparently entirely from memory. Time and information acquired later have obviously clouded the picture so completely, for example, that Papen's explanations of his assignments in the southeastern area, contained in both affidavits, are two altogether different accounts. Apart from this, I may limit my criticism to the statement that the contents of the affidavit run counter to every rule of experience and logic. A diplomat cannot have revealed the secret aims of his policy to the representative of another state who meets him with deliberate reserve. It is impossible that Papen should, as Messersmith says elsewhere, not only have revealed to him his alleged plan to overthrow Schuschnigg-to whose Government Papen himself was accredited-but that he should even have spoken of it in public. It is impossible that such disclosures should have produced no reaction, and that they should have been written down for the first time in an affidavit made in 1945. No judgment can therefore be based on these two affidavits, even apart from the fact that their contents are refuted by the other evidence submitted with regard both to Papen's plans and to his actions.
I return to Gavronski's questionnaire, which was read yesterday- Document Papen-106. The answers which the Polish Ambassador Gavronski gave to this questionnaire form a thorough refutation of the Messersmith affidavit. This testimony from the diplomat of a country with which Germany was at war, from September 1939 on, seems particularly remarkable. Gavronski had an opportunity of observing Papen during the whole period covered by his activities in Vienna, from 1934 to 1938. In answering the questionnaire, the year 1937 was given by mistake instead of 1934-which is correct- as the beginning of Gavronski's activities in Vienna. All the charges which Messersmith makes against Papen-his collaboration with the illegal Nazi movement, the carrying on of intrigue, the plan to overthrow Schuschnigg's regime, the policy of aggression in the Southeastern area, the partition of Czechoslovakia between Poland and Hungary-are all refuted by Gavronski's testimony.
In addition, I refer to Rademacher van Unna's affidavit, part of which was read yesterday. By his refusal to enter into a secret agreement with an Austrian minister, Papen shows very clearly that he was not engaged in subversive activities, since he refused to take advantage of this propitious and convenient opportunity. I believe this suffices in regard to the period during which Papen acted as Ambassador Extraordinary in Vienna.
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In addition, the Prosecution have taken into consideration Papen's co-operation in the discussion at Berchtesgaden on 12 February. This Berchtesgaden conference was not the beginning of a new policy, but the result of previous development. In conversations held months before, Papen and Schuschnigg had already decided that a meeting between the two statesmen would be desirable in the near future. The July treaty had naturally left many points of difference unsettled. The testimony of the witness Guido Schmidt has given us a clear picture of the situation; a numerically strong opposition party, officially prohibited but tacitly tolerated-as a result of actual circumstances-and looking for all its ideological guidance to the man in Germany who was-spiritually at least-its leader. In Germany the leader of the Party was, at the same time, head of the state. From the standpoint of foreign policy, it was necessary to separate the parties in both countries. The inner ideological unity was bound, however, to lead to repeated disputes. The Austrian Government accordingly maintained an understandable attitude of reserve, and made constant efforts to prevent this movement from increasing its influence in the administration and Government. The questions arising from the July treaty were in practice treated in a manner suitable to these interests. It was natural that Austria should try to apply the stipulations of the treaty on as restricted a scale as possible. It was only natural that Germany should wish to make the fullest possible use of the opportunities offered by the treaty. The establishment of direct contact between the responsible heads of both countries-and in the case of Germany this meant also the head of the Party-could only be regarded, therefore, as reasonable. Papen's recall on 4 February threatened to interrupt this development. Perhaps the adoption of the extremist line of policy, which was expected, would cause the indefinite postponement of a meeting of this kind, which it was hoped would speed the removal of existing difficulties. To say the least of it, the results to be expected at a later date, and in a tenser atmosphere with an extremist successor, might be very different from those which Schuschnigg and Papen were hoping to attain. It is therefore perfectly understandable that, when discussing business with Hitler during his farewell visit on 5 February, Papen, although he had already been recalled, agreed to make definite arrangements for the prospective conference and to accompany the Austrian delegation to Berchtesgaden for this purpose.
The Prosecution reproach Papen with the fact that the program for the subsequent talks had already been settled at that time. Contrary to this, Papen testified in his interrogation that he was only instructed to arrange the discussion in order to clear up all points of difference on the basis of the July treaty. The Prosecution have failed to submit proof for their claim to the contrary. ~ view of
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Hitler's personality, no conclusions can be drawn from the events of 12 February as to his real thoughts when such a meeting was first mentioned on 5 February, much less as to how much of his plans he had made known. The evidence has shown that the points voiced by Hitler on 12 February are identical with the demands raised by the Austrian National Socialists immediately before the discussion and transmitted to Hitler through their own channels. From this it can be seen that the subject of conversation chosen by Hitler in the discussion of 12 February could certainly not have been decided upon on 5 February. If the Austrian Nazis hurried to Berchtesgaden ahead of Papen with their demands, this refutes the Prosecution's opinion that Papen had conspired with Hitler and the Austrian party. In this case he himself would probably have been the best liaison between the Party wishes and Hitler. This is further emphasized by the testimony of The witnesses Seyss-Inquart and Rainer, who have stated clearly that they had no contact with Papen during this period. Rainer also points out in his report that Papen believed that the fact of the prearranged discussion was kept secret from the Austrian party.
In order to incriminate Papen, the Prosecution also claim that at the reception of the Austrian delegation on the German-Austrian frontier he had called Schuschnigg's attention to the presence of generals. Whether this is really in accordance with the facts was not disclosed by the evidence. The sole evidence which can be used in respect to this is the testimony of Schmidt. The latter was no longer in a position to state with certainty whether Papen had spoken of one general, namely, Keitel, who is known to have remained constantly in Hitler's entourage after taking over his new office-or of several generals. Papen himself does not remember whether, and in what form, he made such a remark to Schuschnigg at the time. Neither does he remember whether he was at all aware of the presence of generals at the time. It is quite possible that it came to his knowledge on the night spent in Salzburg, where he stayed at a different hotel from that of the Austrian delegation. In any case, we cannot overlook the fact that even if Papen had made the statement alleged by the Prosecution, this statement was made before the visit, and he therefore did not take part in any attempt at intimidating the Austrian delegation and taking them by surprise;
The part he took in the discussion has been clarified by the evidence. Hitler was in sole command and, with a brutality which surprised even those who knew him, tried to impress Schuschnigg. Technical details were negotiated with Ribbentrop. Papen was present more or less in the capacity of a spectator, which also was accounted for by the fact that he no longer occupied an official position. The testimonies of those who attended the conference are
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unanimous in stating that he viewed his part in the proceedings as that of exerting a modifying influence, which the circumstances made necessary.
His position-must be taken into consideration; he saw his project doomed to failure through Hitler's behavior, which was such as no reasonable human being could have anticipated. He saw a man with a naturally violent temper in his excitement betray his lack of all the qualities necessary for a reasonable discussion at a conference of statesmen. Me heard Hitler's threats, and was bound to feel that he was determined to let things take an irrevocable course should the negotiations be broken off abruptly. Considering the situation, therefore, the fact that certain concessions were obtained- Hitler acquiesced with regard to the Army Ministry, the economic demands, and the postponement, achieved after a hard struggle, of the final settlement until ratified by the Austrian Government and the Federal President-was the best possible solution of the dangerous situation. Although in this point Papen agreed with the Austrian statesmen, who undoubtedly were only prepared to sign the document provisionally while safeguarding the interests of their State to a reasonable degree in the prevailing conditions, Papen cannot be charged with approving and intending the result from the outset.
Hitler's opinion of Papen's previous activities in Austria and the part he played in the conference at Berchtesgaden is best shown by the fact that no further post of any kind eras assigned to him in Vienna. It is highly unlikely that Hitler would not have given some assignment to a man who was wholeheartedly and actively interested in the result of the conference at Berchtesgaden. He would not have replaced him by new men from Berlin' nor, at a time when the diplomatic situation was becoming increasingly complicated, would he have dispensed with the services of the man who, by reason of his years of service, had an intimate knowledge of all the conditions. The personal contacts with Austrian statesmen, which qualified him more than others to continue working on- Hitler's plans, would certainly have been utilized. If the Prosecution were correct in interpreting as deceitful the maneuvering by which Papen attempted to bring about an understanding during the discussion in Berchtesgaden, there is little doubt but that Papen would have been permitted to continue working along these lines, and would not have been replaced by men instructed to carry on a program along much more radical lines.
Papen's memorandum on his farewell visit to the Prime Minister is revealing. A man who in his own commentary to Berlin passes on Schuschnigg's view-that to some extent he had acted under pressure in Berchtesgaden-as "worthy of note" is not likely to I have played an active part in the coercive negotiations.
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The record of evidence has proved that Papen held no further public appointments for some time afterward. The new Charge d'Affaires, Freiherr von Stein, a pronounced National Socialist, took charge of the Embassy. He was assisted by Keppler, a close confidant of Hitler. Papen, on the other hand, made his farewell calls and went to stay at Kitzbuhel, a winter sport resort.
In the meantime things grew more and more critical. The plebiscite announced by Schuschnigg led to a development the proportions of which perhaps even Hitler had not intended. The visit of Seyss-Inquart and Rainer to Papen on 9 March was only a casual one; there were no deliberations of any kind and no decisions were made. If Papen, as Rainer asserted, expressed the view that, considering the way in which the questionnaire was formulated, no decent Austria could be expected to say "no," and was therefore bound to follow Schuschnigg's instructions, that suffices to indicate the contrast between Papen's views and those of the Austrian Nazis and the intentions which were subsequently made plain in Berlin.
If, in conclusion, I may still refer to Papen's presence in Berlin on 11 March, I must say that even when I consider the matter in retrospect, I can give no clear explanation for Hitler's desire to have Papen in Berlin. There might have been many reasons. If Hitler had been, at that time, already determined to force the solution which was later adopted-although there may be doubts as to that-the reason might have been that he did not trust this representative of appeasement in Vienna, or that he assumed that the desperate position in which they found themselves might induce the Austrian Government officials to turn to him, and that with Papen's help proposals for a settlement might have been made. I may remind you of a similar situation prior to the beginning of the campaign against Poland, when Hitler was afraid "some swine might still come along at the last minute with a proposal for an understanding." On the other hand, it is also quite conceivable that Hitler wished to have Papen in Berlin so that, in the event that the Austrian Government yielded, he might not be deprived of the advice of a man who was familiar with conditions. As far as the Indictment is concerned, any attempt to understand Hitler's real motives is superfluous.
The sole deciding factor is constituted by Papen's actions while he was in the Reich Chancellery. Upon his arrival he expressed to Hitler his desire that the tension be lessened by a postponement of the plebiscite. His attitude toward later events is documented by his comments on the military preparations and the cancellation of the order to march in. The shorthand notes of the telephone conversations carried on by Goring afford us a vivid picture of the
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events in the Reich Chancellery. His testimony shows that, in the main, he was-the driving force, and occasionally went even further than Hitler intended. He emphasized that he had all along made consistent efforts to find a solution, and that he now needed no further advice and no further time to reflect on his decision. Seherr-Thoss' affidavit makes clear Papen's attitude on the evening of the day in question. He remarked to a circle of friends that he had advised against marching in, but that Hitler, against his advice, had just been "mad enough to give the order to march in."
Finally, we find another clear expression of Papen's attitude in his conversation with the witness Guido Schmidt, which took place years later. At that time, the annexation of Austria had long been a historical fact, and was considered by most Germans to be a great political achievement. Papen, on the other hand, severely criticized Hitler's method and acknowledged anew those fundamental principles of legality and faithfulness which in this case had been abandoned-a step which, in the long run, would prove harmful to Germany.
My conclusion is that-independent of the legal question of whether the case of Austria can be dealt with at all within the limitations of the Charter-Papen's defense is completed by the production of evidence to the effect that the defendant himself played no part in. bringing about the march into Austria, nor did he prepare the way for it by a policy directed to that end; and that his activity in Austria was exclusively directed toward the aim which he assumed on his appointment on 26 July 1934-a policy which was to restore friendly relations between the two countries- a lawful aim which had no connection with a special or general policy of aggression.
I should like to make the following remarks, which are not in my manuscript. This aim taken over by Papen is in no way contrary to the hopes, cherished since 1918 by the overwhelming majority of Germans and Austrians, for some form of close constitutional union as the result of a normal development. It was clear that in view of the existing restrictions imposed by the peace treaties, a good many difficulties would have to be overcome. But was Papen not in a position to assume with a clear conscience that the parties to the treaty would not refuse to sanction a wish of both peoples, a wish furthered by the political and economic impossibility of maintaining the status quo? Was this not the moment to apply the principle of the self-determination of peoples, the great principle of the twentieth century? The many opinions expressed abroad at the time-his tank with Ambassador Sir Revile Henderson, mentioned in Papen's report of 1 June 1937, Defense Exhibit Papen-74, Document 2246-PS; the attitude of neighboring
countries, which is also shown in the report, and, finally, the progress made in handling the question of reparations-might lead him to hope that the solution might some day be found in an international understanding. The first necessity for this was the initiative of a sovereign and independent Austrian Government. This could be based only on a genuinely friendly relationship with Germany. Papen's mission might, therefore, be the basis for the fulfillment of the national wishes publicly expressed in both states.
I continue from my manuscript.
The subsequent period is not taken into consideration by the Prosecution; but the Defense must deal with it for the purpose of refutation. It is a simple matter to establish facts, in connection with this period, which prove that the assertions made by the Prosecution, with regard to the earlier period, must be false. The Prosecution drop Papen at the end of his activities in Vienna and give no explanation for his inactivity since that time. There is no apparent reason or occurrence which might have induced such a change in conduct on the part of the alleged conspirator.
We now come to the period covering the immediate preparations for war and the outbreak of the war itself. The Prosecution assume that, at this time, in spite of the numerous opportunities which must have been open to him, the former conspirator Papen abandoned his previous course. The Prosecution must find some explanation for this transformation if the arguments by which they attribute a criminal intent to the actions of the earlier period are not to be considered inconclusive.
After the incorporation of Austria, Papen retired to the country and remained there, aloof from public life for over a year, until April 1939. This fact is significant in the light of the situation at that time. The events of 4 February 1938 were doubtlessly responsible for the adoption of a more rigorous course in German foreign policy. In the opinion of the Prosecution Papen was Hitler's willing tool in the actions which preceded and paved the way for this policy. If this were the case, the results achieved by Papen would cause him to be regarded as a hundred-percent successful diplomat. But this most successful diplomat and conspirator does not proceed to some place where he can continue his activities, and where similar preparations might be necessary as, for example, the Sudetenland. He is not sent to some place, where the main strands of European politics cross-in Paris, London, or Moscow, where, on the basis of his international reputation, he would undoubtedly seem the most suitable man to support the Hitlerite policy. This man retires from public life at a tune when Hitler's whole foreign policy, the Sudeten crisis, the incorporation of Czechoslovakia, and the preparations for the war against Poland were creating great
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political tension. The fact that Hitler did not even consider his services at such a time makes it quite clear that Papen was not a conspirator and not even a follower of Hitler and that he did not even bring about the first success won by the Hitlerite policy-the incorporation of Austria.
From this angle, too, it is significant that Papen was first called upon when there was no question of occupying a country or of preparing for intended operations. Papen was called upon at a time when the Italian policy of expansion into Albania was causing difficulties, and complications with Turkey were to be feared. So there he had a clearly defined mission, that of maintaining peace.
The Prosecution is unable to utilize his activities in Ankara in support of his case; it cannot refrain from judging Papen's acceptance of the post unfavorably. I am therefore compelled to go into this point also.
Papen was very reluctant to accept this new appointment. He had already refused the-appointment twice, in more peaceful times on general grounds, and because he no longer wished to accept any official position. Now he sees reasons which he can no longer refuse to acknowledge. He believes it his duty to devote himself to this new task. The entire political situation was extremely strained after March 1939. Even a secondary issue might easily cause a largescale conflict. A conflict between Italy and Turkey could, if existing treaties were honored, lead to a general war. If by his activities he could, to this extent at least, prevent war, Papen must have believed himself justified in accepting the assignment. He was confronted with the problem which confronts all those called upon to play a part in a system of which they disapprove. To stand aside and to remain completely passive is, of course, the easier way, especially if there is no other reason which might induce the person in question to accept the post. It is much more difficult to take over a mission which forms part of a general policy of which one disapproves, but has in itself an aim worthy of attention. And if this mission is of such importance that it may prevent possible outbreak of war, the decision to accept it is understandable and praiseworthy. Private interests and feelings must take a back seat if there is even the remotest possibility of attaining such a goal.
When we consider briefly what Papen really did after taking over this mission to Ankara, and see that, as a result of his intervention in the spring of 1939, it was possible for Germany to exercise a moderating influence on Italy and for war to be avoided; and if we further consider that Papen succeeded later on in preventing the war from spreading to Turkey and the other southeastern countries, we can only say, in the light of events, that in
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taking over the mission against his personal feelings, he made the right decision.
During the presentation of evidence we saw the extent of Papen's efforts to secure a peace through compromise as early as the year 1939. We must therefore his acceptance of the mission for this reason also-no matter what final success might crown his efforts, and even if there was only the smallest possibility of attaining the desired goal. Finally, his acceptance of such a position would be justified from the moral point of view if he had had even an infinitesimal success, as, for example, the rescue of 10,000 Jews from deportation to Poland which has been confirmed by Marchionini's affidavit.
In this connection I want to discuss a misunderstanding which might arise from the judicial inquiry with reference to this affidavit. Marchionini points out in his affidavit that the lives of the Jews concerned were saved by Papen's intervention. On being interrogated Papen confirmed the correctness of the affidavit. This confirmation corresponds also to the facts. This does not mean, however, that the significance of that action, as recognized by Marchionini today, and mentioned for that reason in his affidavit, was recognized at the time. Papen knew, of course, that this deportation to Poland for an unknown purpose, and to an unknown destination, was an extremely serious matter. For that reason he intervened. Like Marchionini, he did not know what he now knows very clearly-namely, that the path of these people was destined to lead them not into deportation and hard labor, but sleight to the gas chambers.
Now I should like to refer to Document Papen-105, the questionnaire filled out by the last apostolic nuncio in Paris, Roncalli, who describes in detail from his own personal knowledge the steps Papen took in Church affairs and his attitude toward them.
His Ankara activities have been described in detail by the witnesses Kroll and Baron von Lersner. They clearly indicate a unified peace policy, a peace policy which was independent of the military and political situations of the moment, and which laid stress on a peace through compromise even at the peak of the German victories. Rose and Kroll state that Papen was horrified by the outbreak of the Polish war, and that he condemned it from the first.
How can this attitude and these activities be reconciled with the assertions of the Prosecution? Papen is supposed to have brought about the war in conspiracy with Hitler. The Prosecution believe they can deduce his guilt in this criminal act from his behavior years before the war. No facts have been submitted to show what might have turned the conspirator Papen into an
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advocate of peace. The Prosecution have rested their accusations on the insecure foundation of deduction and omitted examining whether their assertions were even remotely in accord with the whole personality of the defendant. In view of the nature of the Indictment, it is not enough to solve the problem by crediting him with a split personality and an opportunist attitude. The Indictment includes crimes of monstrous proportions. Such an Indictment must also take into consideration the personality of the accused. Participation in such conspiracy is only conceivable in the case of a man who identifies himself completely with the doctrines discussed in the proceedings under the name of "Nazism" and accepts their full implications. A conspirator, in the sense of the Indictment, can only be a man who has dedicated his whole life and personality to that aim. He must be a man no longer conscious of even the most elementary moral obligations. A personality of this kind cannot be a temporary phenomenon; the predisposition to such a crime must be present in the character of the accused.
In contrast to the distorted picture of Papen's character drawn by the Prosecution, his true personality has appeared very clearly in the course of these proceedings. We see a man whose origin and education are on traditional and conservative lines-a man of patriotic feeling, conscious of responsibility toward his country, and who for precisely these reasons is naturally considerate of his fellows. His personal ties with Germany's western neighbors and his knowledge of the world suffice in themselves to prevent him from looking at things from a one-sided point of view-according to his own patriotic wishes. He knows that life requires understanding and readiness to understand. He knows that international life, too, is built on sincerity and faith, and that one must stand by one's word. We have before us here a man who, on account of his deep religious feeling, the principle on which all his actions are based, must necessarily oppose the ideology of National Socialism. We have followed his political career and have seen that through all the periods of his activity he held fast to his basic political creed, which was built on these elements. In accordance with this fundamental principle and with full consciousness of his responsibilities, he did not evade any of the tasks assigned to him. And though at the end we witness the collapse of his hopes and the failure of his endeavors, this is no touchstone for the sincerity of his convictions.
To arraign such a man at all under the charge of committing a crime in the sense of the facts established in the Charter was surely only possible on the basis of the simplifications which an Indictment on the count of conspiracy offers to the Prosecution from the legal point of view. Considering the facts in the case against
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Papen, even this interpretation must fail. The Prosecution have failed to prove that Papen, at any time, was involved in the alleged conspiracy. The truth is opposed to this. In the evidence offered in refutation, facts are established which make it impossible to connect his person even remotely with the facts of the Indictment.
The final conclusion is obvious: Franz von Papen is not guilty of the charge brought against him.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess divas taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: I call on Dr. Flachsner, Counsel for the Defendant Speer.
DR. HANS FLACHSNER (Counsel for Defendant Speer): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal:
The Prosecution have charged the Defendant Speer with violations of all four points of the Indictment which essentially covered the stipulations of Articles 6(a) to (c).
The French Prosecution, which substantiated more definitely the individual charges against the Defendant Speer, refrain from charging him with the violation of Article 6(a) of the Charter and demand only the application of Articles 6(b) and (c) against him. However, since the legal concept of conspiracy has frequently been dealt with during the oral proceedings by citing the person of the Defendant Speer as an example, and since it was asserted that the Defendant Speer also had made himself guilty within the meaning of Article 6(a) of the provisions of the Charter, details must be given by way of precaution.
The defendant has, in addition, been charged with the planning, preparation, launching, or conduct of a war of aggression, or a war violating international treaties, although at the time when the defendant assumed the office of Minister of Armaments-which was only expanded to a Ministry for Armament and War Production 11,'~ years later-the German Reich was already at ever with all the countries to which it capitulated in May 1945. Thus, at the time the defendant took charge of government affairs, all the events mentioned under Article 6(a) had without exception taken place, and the Defendant Speer's activity did not alter the existing situation in the slightest degree.
The defendant had done nothing at all to bring about this situation. His previous activity was that of an architect, who occupied himself exclusively with peacetime construction and did not contribute by his activity either to the preparation or the launching of a war violating international treaties. I refer to my document book, Page 19, Document 1435-PS.
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If the circumstances which Article 6(a) of the Charter materially and legally characterizes as criminal acts were applied to international law, and if the individual criminality of persons who bring about these conditions were generally recognized in international law, the Defendant Speer in my opinion could still not be held responsible for these conditions; for not the slightest evidence has been produced during the Trial thus far that Speer contributed in the least toward bringing about these conditions. In this connection we must consider that criminality of attitude requires that the person in question must have contributed in some way to bring about the circumstances which have been declared punishable, that is, he must have functioned as a cause of the result which was declared punishable. If, however, as in the case under consideration, the Defendant Speer entered the Government without having contributed anything at all to the so-called Crimes against Peace, he cannot be charged with criminal responsibility for this, even if such responsibility were applicable to other members of the Government.
The Prosecution have asserted that by joining the Government the defendant had accepted, or rather approved of, the preceding Crimes against Peace. This is a concept taken from the field of civil law, and it cannot be applied to criminal law. Criminal law applies only to circumstances consisting of actions which serve to bring about the circumstances declared punishable. Nor is this altered by the introduction of the legal concept of conspiracy. In this connection reference may be made to Dr. Stahmer's detailed statement on conspiracy. The legal views set forth in that statement are also made the subject of my own statement. I refer to it, and to Professor Jahrreiss' statements, in order to avoid repetition. It can, therefore, be confirmed that the Defendant Speer cannot be charged with a so-called crime against peace.
The personal interrogation of the defendant and the crossexamination regarding his activity in the Party have shown that Speer, by virtue of his position as an architect, exercised purely architectural and artistic functions even in the Party set-up. Speer
was the Commissioner for Building in the Hess staff; it was a purely technical assignment and had nothing at all to do with any form of preparation for war. The Party, which strove to seize and influence all the vital functions of the people, had created the position of Commissioner for Building, to insure uniformity in Party buildings. In their building projects, the Gauleiter and the other Party offices could confer with this office, but they availed themselves of the opportunity only to a very limited extent.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flachsner, the Tribunal think it might be appropriate, at some time convenient to you, if you were to deal with the question of the meaning of the words "waging of warfare
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of aggression" in Article 6 (a). I don't want to interrupt you to do it at this moment in your speech, but, at some time convenient to you the Tribunal would like you to give your interpretation of the words in Article 6 (a) "waging of a war of aggression."
DR.FLACHSNER: Yes, Mr. President. Perhaps I might return to this point later, Mr. President, when I have concluded this topic.
Naturally, it was for purely artistic reasons that the Party took over responsibility for building. It strove to give its buildings a uniformly representative character. Considering the peculiar nature of the architectural feeling, it was natural that each architect should follow his own line in solving the problems put to him. The activity of the defendant as Commissioner for Building was, therefore, relatively restricted and of minor importance, since he did not even have an office of his own at his disposal. It would be erroneous to try to deduce therefrom any participation by the defendant in any Crimes against the Peace. The same is true of the defendant's other functions prior to and during the war up to his assumption of office as Minister.
Although the defendant was given the ask of replanning the towns of Berlin and Nuremberg, this activity had nothing at all to do with Crimes against Peace. On the contrary, his activities must rather be regarded as hampering war preparations, as his task required large quantities of raw materials and equipment which might otherwise have been used directly or indirectly for rearmament. The construction projects assigned to Speer were, moreover, calculated and planned far ahead. They could only give Speer the impression that Hitler was counting on having a long period of peace. The defendant cannot, therefore, be said, prior to his assumption of office as Reich Minister, to have contributed directly or indirectly to the emergence of the events characterized by Article 6 (a) of the Charter as Crimes against Peace. The fact, too, that the defendant was a member of the Reichstag after 1941, cannot be quoted in support by the Prosecution because, as the Prosecution themselves pointed out, the Reichstag sank into complete insignificance under the totalitarian regime and became merely an institution which accepted and acclaimed the Fuhrer's decisions. Responsibility for war guilt is out of the question here, too; for no activity on the part of the Reichstag in connection with extending the war to the Soviet Union and the United States can be recognized.
The French Prosecution, therefore, rightly refrained from charging the defendant with the violation of Article 6 (a) of the Charter.
The Prosecution further charge the Defendant Speer with having participated in War Crimes committed during his term of office by
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forcibly transferring workers from the occupied countries to Germany, where they were employed for the purpose of warfare or of producing war materials. The following should be said in this connection.
The Prosecution charge the defendant with violations of Article 52 of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which states that services may only be demanded of nationals of the occupied country to cover the requirements of the occupying forces, that they must be in proportion to the resources of the country, and that they must not oblige the persons concerned to take part in military actions against their native land. In Article 2, the Hague Convention on Land Warfare lays down that all countries participating in the Year in question must be signatories-general participation clause (Allbeteiligungsklausel). As the Soviet Union was not a signatory of the Convention on Land Warfare, the latter could apply to conditions created by the war against the Soviet Union only if the legal principles laid down in the convention were considered as universally valid in international law. We must start, therefore, from the principle that those areas belonging to signatories of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare must be judged on a different legal basis from areas belonging to nonsignatories of the treaty.
In examining the question, we must first decide whether the deportation of laborers from territories occupied in wartime by an enemy power can be justified on the basis of Article 52 of the Hague Convention. Article 52 constitutes a limitation of Article 46 of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which lays down the principle that the population of occupied territories and their property are in general to be subjected to as little damage as the necessities of war will allow. Starting from this principle we must examine whether it involves the absolute prohibition of deportation for the purpose of securing labor for the essential war economy of a belligerent country. It must be remembered in this connection that the situation is altered if the deportation carried out by the occupying belligerent state is in accordance with agreements made with the government of the country occupied. The Prosecution have defended the view that such agreements are legally invalid because they were made under the pressure of the occupation and because the Government existing in France during the time of the occupation could not be considered as representing the French nation.
The first point does not support the Prosecution's contention. The contents of treaties concluded under international law will always be influenced by the respective power of the contracting parties. In every peace treaty concluded between a victor and a vanquished state, this difference of power will be reflected in the
contents. This is not, however, contrary to the nature of treatymaking.
The second point, by virtue of which the Prosecution reject the plea of an agreement between the German Government and the French Government, then in power, relating to the assignment of labor, is equally ineffectual.. The so-called Vichy Government, then in power, was the only government existing in French territory; it was the lawful successor of the government in office before the occupation-and from the point of view of international law-by the fact that states which were at that time not yet involved in the war maintained diplomatic relations with it.
It cannot. moreover, be assumed that the willingness shown by the French Government in this agreement to co-operate with the German Reich, which was then gaining military victories, ran counter to the real opinion of the French people. Reference can be made in this connection to Document R-124, Page 34 of my document book. Particular attention must be paid to the economic situation of occupied France at the time. After France's withdrawal from hostilities, the total blockade was extended to cover the whole of French territory in Europe, with the result that raw materials not produced in France were no longer obtainable, and production came to a standstill. Important sections of French production were, in this way, put out of action, and many workers deprived of the means of earning a living. In addition, the French Government did not pledge themselves unconditionally to send labor to Germany, but made this dependent on concessions such as the liberation of prisoners of war, et cetera.
Whether, and in what measure, the hopes placed in the treaty by the French Government were actually fulfilled, is irrelevant in determining whether the treaties in question were authentic treaties or not. From the legal point of view, there is no doubt that these agreements have the character of treaties. From this point of view, there is no justification for the accusation made by the Prosecution that workers were taken from occupied French territory against their will and, therefore, illegally.
No judgment of the legality of the measures relating to the workers from Belgium and Holland can be based on agreements such as those concluded between the German and French Government offices, since in those countries the Government had left the country, and consequently no political authority existed. The general secretaries remaining there could not be considered as representatives of the Government, and the decrees regulating the dispatch of workers to Germany were enacted by order of the Reich commissioners or the military commander. Dr. Steinbauer in his exposition on the Defendant Seyss-Inquart's activities in
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Holland has already explained in detail that particular rules must apply to those countries and to the dispatch of laborers from them. In order to avoid repetition, I refer you to these remarks.
With regard to the Eastern countries, we must start with the fact that the Soviet Union did not sign the Hague Convention on Land Warfare. It 'remains, however, to be seen whether the principle laid down in Article 46 of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, with reference to the treatment of civilians in war, and the case of occupation of a belligerent country by the enemy, must not be considered as a universally valid international law and therefore applicable even if the belligerent country concerned is not specifically a party to the Hague Convention on Land Warfare. An examination of this question would show the deportation of workers from occupied territories to be illegal unless some special factor emerges to cancel its illegality. A state of emergency in the sense of international law can be considered as one such factor. It is true that it is a matter of international law whether and in what measure such an emergency can legalize a practice which is in itself illegal; but such a state of emergency must be admitted in cases when the state is fighting for its bare existence.
It may be considered that after the Allies had declared the unconditional capitulation of Germany to be their goal such a state of emergency existed for the German State, since there remained no doubt that the enemy intended to destroy the existing German State to its very foundations. This state of emergency may, however, be considered as existing at an earlier period, when it became clear that the war had ceased to be a settlement of differences between two states, in the sense of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, and had become a war aimed not only against the fighting forces of the belligerent nations but also, and primarily, at their economic forces, and thus at their so-called war potential.
The Hague Convention on Land Warfare is based upon a conception of war which was already out of date in the first World War and much more so in the second. If in the first World War the belligerents sought to attack each other's economy by blockade and counterblockade, this is all the more true of the second World War, in which, in addition to the more indirect effects of the blockade, they introduced the element of direct attack on the enemy by destroying his productive installations by means of aerial war. In contrast to the conception of war on which the Hague Convention on Land Warfare is based, a complete change has come about. In view of the fact that a country can only resist an adversary who is well-equipped from the technical point of view if it has at its disposal an unimpaired capacity for production, the main objective in this war was the destruction of the enemy's capacity
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for production. This was the aim of the British blockade not only of Germany but of every country in the German sphere of influence. Dr. Kranzbuhler has already discussed the questions connected with this subject. I herewith refer to the relevant parts of his statement.
From this point of view, too, the war in the air was waged primarily not only to attack German national territory but also to destroy production capacity and possibilities in the occupied territories. Through continual air raids, the aerial war was directed against economic targets in France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Austria, and had as its further aim the interruption and disruption of the whole system of communications-not only on the front and immediately behind it but also hundreds of kilometers away from it-in order to paralyze vital functions of the adversary. The Allied air offensive against Japan is a particularly clear indication of this. This war went beyond the bounds of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare. It ceased to make any further distinction between the adversary's territory proper and the occupied territories, which were likewise included in the enemy blockade. In this war which sought not only to destroy the adversary as a nation but also to ruin its economic system and its power of production, we may speak of a real national emergency.
When the Defendant Speer was appointed Minister, the economic war just described was in full swing on both sides. In fact, the task assigned to Speer's department was that of solving the production problems caused by it. Speer, therefore, found himself in the thick of this war of economies; and we now have to decide whether, and to what extent, the measures taken on the German side were capable of alleviating the state of emergency.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flachsner, I would like to ask you this question. Is there any communication between states, either at the League of Stations or elsewhere, since the war of 1914-18, which suggests that the Hague Rules on Land Warfare were no longer applicable? Perhaps you would consider that question and answer it at your convenience?
DR.FLACHSNER: Mr. President, I can answer this question immediately in the negative. In the period between the two wars, these problems were dealt with only very superficially and, as far as I am acquainted with the facts, the questions considered lay in the sphere of naval warfare and also land warfare in connection with the treatment of prisoners of war. The Hague Convention on Land Warfare itself contained no additions or amendments whatsoever, apart from separate agreements concerning particular methods of conducting warfare. I might add that in the meantime various methods of warfare have been banned by treaties. But, as
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far as principles are concerned-and that is the basis of my argument-the principles laid down in the Hague Convention have undergone no changes through treaties in the meantime.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then I understand you to say there has been no communication between states, since the 1914-18 war, which suggests that the Hague Rules on Land Warfare are no longer applicable?
DR. FLACHSNER: Yes, that is correct.
We must decide whether, and to what extent, the measures taken on the German side were effective in remedying the state of emergency. In the course of the Trial, the Prosecution have claimed, on several occasions, that the imported labor was to be used to release workers for service at the front. This is certainly one reason why the recourse to foreign workers was used, but it is by no means the decisive reason-not even the most important reason. It is a fact that the total blockade of the German Reich carried out by the adversary compelled the Reich to an increasing extent to build plants for the production of substitute raw materials in order to carry on the war in the technical form which it had now assumed. It is also a fact that the disturbances caused in economic life by aerial warfare made it essential to employ an increased number of workers. As an example, let me say how much additional labor was necessary for the repair of air raid damage. This situation involved a state of emergency insofar as the waging of a war of self-preservation would no longer have been possible without the erection of such additional production plants.
Should it be contended that it is impossible to speak of an emergency overriding the illegality of the proceedings in terms of international law, since the war was begun as a war of aggression and was, therefore, illegal from the outset, it may at least be said in favor of the Defendant Speer, that he believed in the existence of such a state of emergency and had reason to do so.
The examination of evidence has revealed that the underlying causes which led to the war, so far as they have been exposed here by the Prosecution, were not known to most of the defendants, and least of all to the Defendant Speer. Insofar as the deportation of foreign workers to the Reich constitutes an objectively illegal measure according to international law, it remains to be examined what share of it can be charged to the Defendant Speer. At his interrogation prior to the beginning of the Trial, on 18 October 1945, the Defendant Speer admitted knowing that, at least as far back as September 1942, foreign workers had ceased to come voluntarily to the Reich. He said he had countenanced that because there was no possibility of meeting the labor requirements otherwise. It must be
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concluded from this declaration that the defendant was convinced of the necessity for this emergency measure. Subjectively, therefore, he must be credited with believing in the existence of such a state of emergency overriding illegality.
But in the first place, we must examine to what extent the Defendant Speer actually contributed to the dispatch of deportees to Germany. Here we must start from the principle that the Defendant Speer had a purely technical assignment which he described adequately in his evidence, to which reference can be made. In order to carry out this assignment, he stated his labor requirements. The way in which these requirements were met has beer described in detail by the witnesses Schieber and Schmelter. Requirements were submitted in terms of totals needed, and it was incumbent upon the Defendant Sauckel to satisfy them. These requirements referred to the total number of workers as a whole, and it was the Defendant Sauckel's task to meet these requirements as far as possible and in accordance with his judgment. He had power to exhaust the entire resources of the home labor potential as well as to recruit foreign labor. The witnesses Schieber, Kehrl, and Schmelter stated, in the course of their interrogations, that the Defendant Speer tried to procure German labor, in the first place, for assignments given to him by the Government.
The testimony of the witness Saur affords evidence that the satisfaction of the labor requirements necessary to enable Speer to accomplish his assignment of increasing armament production was of considerable, though not decisive, importance-Document Book 2, Page 146. According to this testimony, the number of workers in the direct armament industry rose from 4,000,000 to 4,900,000-for the whole of the armament industry-during the defendant's activity as Armament Minister, while the manufacture of basic products for armament increased five and a half to seven times in many departments. It must, therefore, be borne in mind that the increase in armament production which the Defendant Speer was required to produce was achieved, in the first place, not so much through an increase in the number of workers employed as by means of technical and organizational measures. It follows from this again that, for the defendant, the procurement of labor was admitted to be an important, though not decisive, element in the fulfillment of the task assigned to him.
The defendant made the credible statement that he had applied to Sauckel for workers, but had stressed the fact that he wanted German workers first of all. In the defendant's opinion, an increased number of workers could have been found in the economic sector under his control without having recourse to foreign labor to the extent that it was done. The measures taken by the defendant to
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prevent the transfer of workers from the West into the Reich have been adequately described by the evidence. In taking those measures-that is, in transferring the production of consumer goods and the manufacture of high priority armament parts, such as, for instance, forged parts, railway equipment, et cetera, to the western countries and in installing protected industries there-Speer was actuated by the belief that the conscription of workers from France, as well as from Belgium and Holland, would be halted. The result of his talks with the French Minister Bichelonne, as the defendant explained during his interrogation, was for all practical purposes to end the deportation of workers to Germany. The results have been accurately described by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor at the session of the Central Planning Board held on 1 March 1944-see Page 32 of my document book.
In spite of all the opposition made to this policy-compare Sauckel's letter to Hitler, dated 17 March 1944, Document 3819-PS Speer persevered in his purpose. The decision adopted at Hitler's conference on 4 January 1944-a report of which was submitted by the Prosecution under Document 556-PS-also reveals that the protected industries, the abolition of which was urged by Sauckel were to remain out of bounds to Sauckel's labor conscription. Speer wanted to employ the French workers in France, in an effort to transfer the production of consumer goods and products which did not represent armament production to the occupied western territories. He wished to utilize for armament production the German workers released as a result of the closing down of German plants- see Document R-124, Pages 33-34 of the Speer document book. In this manner Speer was able to increase production because German workers could more easily be retrained, as there were no language difficulties and no difficulties regarding food-compare Kehrl, Page 110, the Speer document book. The result of this policy was that workers from the western areas were mainly used in the production of civilian goods, but not in armament production.
On the question of employment of foreign labor in the protected industries, it must also be said the statute is based on two factual circumstances: Deportation for forced labor and forced labor itself.
Forced labor in France was ordered by a decree from the French Government. According to international law there could be no objection to this, unless the view were taken that the French Government was not entitled to take such measures and to issue such decrees. As the Defendant Speer stated, the French economic leadership obtained its independence through the agreement with Bichelonne, naturally with the restrictions imposed by the agreement.
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As established by Berck-see Document Book 1, Page 38, Document 1289-PSff-worker of the Defendant Sauckel, 20 percent went from the protected industries of France to French economy, whereas more than 40 percent went from the consumer goods industry into French hands. It follows that the French armament industry did not manufacture weapons and actual implements of war, for the German authorities would scarcely have left these to the French agencies.
In the session of 20 June 1946 the Tribunal summarized its misgivings as to the manner in which we presented our evidence by stating that questions of suitability were irrelevant. On the other hand the Defense may be said to represent the viewpoint that this speech was only intended to clarify the question of legality. If the French Government were justified in decreeing compulsory labor service, and if plants employing French workers on the basis of this decree or on the basis of voluntary labor contracts were provided with German orders, no legal objection could be raised. The establishment of protected industries, which prevented the withdrawal of workers and their transfer to Germany, and the removal of single branches of production to France, Belgium, and Holland permitted the objective-that is, satisfaction of the requirements of the German economy-to be attained in a manner which was legally unobjectionable. Even though the Defendant Speer did not completely check the transfer of workers, he nevertheless did succeed in decreasing their commitment appreciably. Instead of the policy Pursued by other Reich offices of removing foreign workers to the Reich, the defendant aimed at employing the labor needed for his purpose in the workers' homeland-Exhibit Speer-9, Page 24, and Exhibit Speer-11, Page 27 of the Speer document book. To this extent he counteracted the tendency to deport workers from their native country.
In order to prove the assertion that Speer played a decisive part in intensifying deportation for forced labor, the Prosecution refer to Document 556-PS, which is a file memo by Sauckel of a telephone conversation he had with Speer on 5 January 1941. In contrast to this Speer Exhibit-35 has been submitted, the copy of the minutes of the Fuhrer conference of 3 and 5 January 1941, which was the object of the telephone conversation. Even if sharp remarks by Hitler are reproduced here also, the exhibit; nevertheless, does not reveal the tendency which was noted by Sauckel in his file memo. The Defendant Speer was already at that time on bad terms with Sauckel. The order issued to Speer in the minutes of the Fuhrer conference, with reference to the control of the French armament industry, gave him a pretext for the establishment of protected
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industries. For all practical purposes the termination of labor commitments from France was thereby achieved-just the opposite, therefore, of what the Prosecution would like to prove. Reference must be made in this connection to Document F-515, Exhibit RF-22. There it is asserted that, owing to the Speer-Bichelonne agreement, labor commitments to Germany from October 1943 onward were one-tenth less-compare Page 41 of my document book.
In weighing the question as to what extent this exonerates the defendant, it is of no importance whether he acted in such a way for reasons of expediency, or with the conviction that the other procedure was illegal. The only thing that matters in this case is the result, which actually put a practical stop to the transfer of laborers to Germany, as is evident from the document quoted, RF-22. It is certainly clear from the Fuhrer's minutes of 19 to 22 June 194
Exhibit Speer-12, Page 19 of the Speer document book-and from the testimony of Seyss-Inquart, 11 June 1946, that in spite of the loss of industry in the western territories and; the intention of other departments to bring the unemployed workers to Germany, Speer succeeded in maintaining his protected industries, and thus the plan to commit more foreign workers to Germany finally collapsed.
In the case of the Defendant Speer, we cannot say that it was his duty to examine how far Sauckel's measures were admissible from the point of view of international law, and this for the following reasons. When he took over his post in the year 1942, the transfer of foreign labor to Reich territory had already been practiced for some time. Speer relied on the assumption that the legal foundations for these measures had been examined before their introduction. It was not his duty, in the eyes of the law, to examine them individually; he could be sure that the offices which handled the allocation of labor commitment had examined the legal basis of their activity. During his years of office, he was repeatedly assured by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor that the transfer of labor to the Reich was carried out strictly within legal limits. He could depend on it that the authorities who were entrusted by the State with the tasks of labor procurement would examine, from the point of view of their legal admissibility, the measures they took in order to carry out these tasks.
The activity of the defendant within the framework of the Government could, if transferred to the sector of civil law, be compared with that of the technical plant manager of a factory, and in this case Sauckel's position would correspond to that of a director of the personnel office. In such a case the technical plant manager's duty is not to examine whether, and to what extent, the employment contracts concluded with the individual workers conform to legal regulations.
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He has only to see that the manpower he is given to carry out his tasks is employed in the right place and in the right manner. This cannot be met with the argument that the Defendant Sauckel merely considered himself as the deputy of the Defendant Speer. This would not present a fair picture of the way in which the different tasks had been distributed between the two codefendants by the state leaders. The fact cannot be overlooked that of all the sectors of the economy which sent in their requests to the Defendant Sauckel, those presented by the Defendant Speer were the most important for the conduct of the war and, therefore, had priority over the others. This does not mean, however, that it was Sauckel's duty to satisfy all the demands of the department represented by Speer before all the others. He did not do so, as can be seen from the evidence-in particular from the testimonies of the witnesses Schieber, Document Book 2, Page 114, and Kehrl, Document Book 1, Page 106-and moreover he could not do so since the demands of the other branches of economy, which were all known as "Bedaristrager," were very often equally urgent, and the labor potential at hand was not sufficient to fulfill all the demands to the same extent. Had Sauckel not been more than a deputy of Speer, a mere tool who had only to carry out the instructions of Speer, the profound differences between the two could never have come into existence.
It has been emphasized by the Prosecution that the appointment of the Defendant Sauckel as Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was only made possible through the intervention of the Defendant Speer, and that this gave reason to believe that Sauckel had been more or less a tool of the Defendant Speer, or depended on him to a large extent. This assumption does not correspond with the actual facts. When he took over his office as Armament Minister, the Defendant Speer soon discovered that the supply of labor to plants, which had been carried out until then by the Ministry of Labor, could not equal the demands made on it. Within the field of work of the Ministry of Labor, this activity represented only a small fraction of its over-all functions.
The Defendant Speer declared in the course of his interrogation that the Ministry of Labor was constantly coping with the temperaments of the different Gauleiter in their districts, because it was the ambition of every Gauleiter to do everything within his power to prevent the transfer of workers from his Gau to another. The Ministry of Labor, which was organized on purely bureaucratic lines, did not seem to the Defendant Speer to be equal to its task, and the suggestion was made to the state leadership that a Gauleiter be entrusted with this task. When Speer's suggestion was followed up by the request that a Gauleiter, charged with the
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procurement of labor, be put under him, it was not granted by the state leadership because of other existing competencies. The person proposed by Speer was also turned down, and the Defendant Sauckel was appointed instead. So that in Speer's endeavors to create a Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, the reasons involved were merely of an organizational nature with the purpose of overcoming the afore-mentioned opposition, which was directed against the activity of the labor procurement office in the Ministry of Labor. But to draw from these facts the conclusion that the Defendant Speer was responsible for all the measures ordered by the Defendant Sauckel would be erroneous.
The fact that the defendant, as a member of the Central Planning Board, participated in sessions at which the problem of the procurement of labor was discussed, cannot be used to support the claim of the Prosecution. The Prosecution attempt to prove from the sessions of the Central Planning Board that the Defendant Speer played a leading part in the procurement of labor from foreign countries. In reply to this the following must be stated. The Prosecution have only submitted the text of the minutes of a session, but not the decisions which were made on the basis of this session. And yet, it is exactly these which are decisive. Since all the Defendant Speer's records, including also the notes on the decisions of the Central Planning Board, were placed by him at the disposal of the Allied authorities, it would have been easy for the Prosecution to present such decisions which would have shown the exact participation of the defendant in the procurement of labor. But such conclusions do not exist and, therefore, the fact that at the conferences of the Central Planning Board questions of labor mobilizations were mentioned should not lead to the conclusion that the Central Planning Board had taken this point over in its sphere of activity.
The decree regarding the establishment of the Central Planning Board is given under Number 42 in Exhibit Speer-7. The scope of the Central Planning Board in labor questions is clearly outlined, and it is stated that the procurement and distribution of labor need not be included in the sphere of competence of the Central Planning Board, as the new office of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor has been specially created for it. It is clear also from the testimony that when the Codefendant Sauckel discussed questions concerning the policy of labor commitment before the Central Planning Board, he underlined sharply his independence of the Central Planning Board, and stressed the fact that when he made his decisions he was responsible only to the Fuhrer in the last instance and was independent of the Central Planning Board. For this I refer to the testimonies of the witness Kehrl and the witness Schieber, Exhibits Speer-36 and 37. This does not mead that no
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attempts were made in the Central Planning Board to exert an influence in the sphere of the Plenipotentiary General for the A]location of Labor. These attempts, however, did not have any results. In principle we must take the stand that the responsibility of the Defendant Speer for the transportation of labor from the occupied territories to the Reich cannot be deduced from his activity within the Central Planning Board.
If the Prosecution charge the defendant with the fact that he knew that a great portion of the workers made available to him by Sauckel had been brought to Germany against their will, and that he used these workers in the industry which was under his control,
this conclusion encounters legal criticism. If, and insofar as, the removal of labor to the Reich alas a violation of international law, this crime would be limited, at the most to the removal of labor to the Reich. The fact that the persons removed into Reich territory were assigned to work is, legally speaking, a new fact to which the Prosecution apply the concept of slave labor.
In this connection the following should be considered. By reason of the Reich Service Law, and the decree which enforced it, there existed for every German an obligation to contribute his services to the war effort. Through the labor office as the highest instance, the leaders of the State could dispose of the work of every citizen for any purpose they considered appropriate, and they did so.
Foreign workers who were removed to Germany likewise became subject to this regulation. We, on our part, do not deny that the Hague Convention on Land Warfare itself contains no provision which would support the extension of compulsory labor service from German nationals to the inhabitants of the occupied territories. Since the Hague Convention on Land Warfare reflects the influence of a different concept of warfare, it is impossible that it should have taken into consideration conditions produced by economic warfare. Yet, it is not possible to answer in the affirmative the question of whether the Hague Convention on Land Warfare finally and definitely regulates all the powers of an occupation authority. Such an answer is contradicted by the practice of all the nations which participated in this war. But here, too, we can resort to the aforementioned aspect of national emergency to obtain a correct evaluation and appreciation of the case. It should be admitted that the Prosecution are right in that this extension of liability to compulsory labor can be justified from that point of view only.
If we accept the Prosecution's contention that there is no legal justification for the extension of liability to compulsory labor to foreign nationals of occupied territories, we are still obliged to check the extent to which the Defendant Speer has rendered himself guilty in the employment of labor subject to such compulsion. In this
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connection we may refer to what was said earlier about deportation. That the Defendant Speer, although he was not responsible for this, still attempted to mitigate the living conditions of these workers, and that he also took steps to correct bad conditions-insofar as these came to his attention-is shown by Exhibits 3, 4, and 5 of the Speer document book and Pages 7, 8, 9 of the Speer document book. Reference must also be made to the testimony of the defend ant himself, in direct examination, as well as in cross-examination, where he described his activity in that field.
Justice Jackson, the American chief prosecutor, when placing before the Defendant Speer, during his cross-examination, a series of documents to demonstrate the bad treatment of foreign workers by the firm of Krupp in Essen, himself stated that he did not intend to hold the Defendant Speer responsible for such individual incidents. (Session of 21 June 1946 p. m.) The documents involved were Dr. Jager's affidavit-Document D-288-discussed by Dr. Servatius, and a letter of the locomotive manufacturing department of the firm of Krupp, dated February 1942, shortly after the Defendant Speer's appointment as Reich Minister. The conditions described therein had caused Speer to intervene with Hitler in March 1942-Exhibit Speer-3, Page 7 of the Speer document book. A further document submitted, Document D-321, describes the conditions under which Russian laborers came to Essen in 1941-that is, before the Defendant Speer took office. Document D-258, Exhibit USA-896, which was submitted during cross-examination, was not produced in order to incriminate the defendant, as stated by Justice Jackson-it may therefore be passed over. Further documents submitted all deal with incidents in the Krupp works. As far as he was able to do so, the defendant explained all of them.
These documents show that abuses of a general nature, for which the firm of Krupp might be held responsible, were caused by air bombardments and the resulting demolition of living quarters. But even if the incidents cited had actually occurred on the premises of that firm-which the Defense is not in a position to verify-these incidents would not supply adequate ground for the assumption that the conditions under which foreign laborers worked in armament industries were the same everywhere. No conclusions may be drawn as to a whole system simply by selecting and investigating one firm. Only evidence showing the general prevalence of such conditions would be relevant.
It is true that the activity of the Defendant Speer would not affect the criminal evaluation of his actions in principle, but it would be of decisive import in establishing the degree in which he participated. When the defendant took office, the practice of employing foreign labor and prisoners of war was already in
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existence. Thus he cannot be considered as the originator, which fact must also be taken into consideration when passing judgment; for it appeared impossible to depart from the established practice. The employment of foreign labor in German economy was nothing unusual. Many foreign laborers were employed in agriculture, mining, and surface and underground construction in peacetime as well. During the war many foreign laborers from both East and West had already been brought to Germany before the Defendant Speer took office, and only part of these belonged to the sector under Speer's control.
In order to define the spheres of responsibility of the two defendants, Sauckel and Speer, it will be shown below how the assignment and distribution of workers was handled in the establishments last controlled by the Defendant Speer. Acting as organs of the Speer Ministry, commissions and pools assigned certain production tasks to individual establishments as part of the armament program. The factory then calculated the number of workers needed. This was reported simultaneously to the Armament Command and to the Labor Office, where the labor requirements of all employers in need of workers were recorded. The Armament Command examined all requests received from plants under its jurisdiction and passed them on to the Armament Production Office. Labor requirements reported to the Labor Office were forwarded by them in turn to the Gau labor offices. Armament Inspection Offices collected the requests and forwarded them to the Speer Ministry, labor allocation division. The Gau labor offices directed applications which they received to the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor.
It must be noted in this connection that in 1942 the Speer Ministry controlled only construction work and ground forces armament. Navy and air armament made their requests for labor independently. In the spring of 1943 Navy armament was assigned to the Speer Ministry, and, from that time on, labor requisitions for this purpose were handled through the labor allocation division. In the fall of 1943 the rest of production was added, while aircraft armament continued to handle its requisitions independently through the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor until August 1944.
An account of these details is indispensable to disprove the Prosecution's assumption that Speer was the main beneficiary of Sauckel's mobilization of labor. The fact that along with the Speer Ministry there existed essential labor employing agencies of equal importance as, for instance, the Armed Forces Administration, the Transport System, and so forth, need be mentioned only incidentally, but has also been confirmed by the testimony of witnesses.
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The Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor distributed the labor at his disposal among the various labor employing agencies and assigned the required labor to the Gau labor office which in turn referred them to the local labor offices where workers were assigned to individual establishments on the strength of applications previously examined by the Armament Office. An exception to this cumbersome procedure was made by the introduction of the so-called "red-slip process" which was used in the case of exceptionally urgent production assignments-I refer to Page 122 of the document book. A certain number of red slips were issued monthly by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor and placed at the disposal of the Armaments Ministry for distribution by the latter to the plants under its supervision through the industry's administrative agencies. The plant itself then presented these red slips to the Labor Office, which had to satisfy these red-slip requests for workers regardless of the requirements of other consuming agencies. Not until this had been done could allocations be made to other establishments. General requests for labor were involved in all instances. The allocation was exclusively in the hands of labor authorities directed by the Defendant Sauckel, so that neither the individual factory nor the offices of the Defendant Speer, nor the Defendant Speer himself, had any influence on the distribution. The question of whether local, foreign, or prisoner-of-war labor should be used to satisfy requisitions was left for the labor authorities to decide-document book, Pages 8 and 9.
In concluding the presentation of evidence, the Prosecution submitted the decree of 1 December 1942, Document 4006-PS, issued jointly by Speer and Sauckel. The Prosecution contend that this document, and the decree of 22 June 1944 submitted at the same time, furnish a basis for appraisal of the power ration between Speer and Sauckel. Some comment on this is, therefore, appropriate.
The decree of 1 December 1942 leaves no doubt that the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was authorized to examine requests for labor submitted to him which came from the armaments industry. Thus, when a factory asked for additional laborers in order to carry out the production job assigned to it, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor reserved for himself the right to examine the requests submitted with a view to determine whether they were necessary. The intention was to make each factory practice the greatest possible economy in the use of labor within its own precincts.
Another purpose of these commissions was to determine the extent to which an establishment might be able to release its own labor for work in other plants, without prejudice to the task assigned to it. It was the task of the Ministry for Armament and
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War Production, and of the agencies subordinate to it, to determine the sequence of priority of requests for labor received by establishments under its jurisdiction. They also had to determine which of the plants was in a position to release workers for other plants manufacturing similar products for similar Armed Forces requirements. To give an example: The supply program of a plant manufacturing component parts for vehicles was modified, then it was left to the Armament Command to decide that the labor power thus set free should be assigned to another factory in the same line of production.
In general, the allotment of labor remained in the hands of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. The agencies of Speer's Ministry were merely concerned with directing the labor already available in this economic branch which had been procured and assigned to these establishments by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. The procurement of labor from other plants remained in the hands of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, and the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor participated authoritatively in the examination of the question as to what extent plants could release labor in order to make it available to others-the so-called combing-out action.
The authority of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was, therefore, not limited to any considerable extent through this mutual agreement between him and the Reich Minister for Armament and War Production. His task, now as before, was merely to procure labor for the plants. He was even given a considerable amount of authority in labor questions-to look over the armament plants under the control of the Defendant Speer and to examine if, and to what extent, these plants could make available labor for other plants.
The decree of 22 June 1944 ordained that labor which was already available was to be used in accordance with the directives of the central authorities or according to the orders of the Chairman of the Armament Commission. It must also be noted in this respect that it was not a matter of using new labor, which was unskilled in armament work, and which was still procured through the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, but solely of so-called transfer actions from one armament plant to another. Therefore, the Sauckel agencies, in accordance with this decree, could no longer check the demands for labor made by the plants which were controlled by the Speer Ministry, if the Chairman of the Armament Commission had recognized these demands. This decree brought about a change in the basic distribution of authority, according to which the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation
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of Labor had to procure the required labor and to handle the whole allocation of labor. If the agencies of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor allocated labor in response to demands which had been checked, then it was left to their judgment as to what type of labor, whether native or foreign, et cetera, was to be furnished. The authority of the agencies of the Minister for Armament and War Production in questions of the commitment of labor was limited to a large extent to the execution of so-called transfer actions, that is, the assignment of labor from one armament plant to another.
It would be wrong to try to conclude from these decrees that there was a considerable limitation of the authority of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor and a fundamental expansion of authority on the side of Speer. It would be just as wrong to conclude from this that the influence of the Ministry for Armament and War Production had been increased over other authorities of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor.
In order apparently to characterize the relationship between Speer and Sauckel, the Prosecution have finally submitted a file note by General Thomas, the Director of the War Economy and Armament Division in the OKW, regarding a discussion which took place on 24 March 1942 between the Defendant Speer on the one hand, himself, and the directors of the armament offices of the three branches of the Armed Forces on the other hand, in which Thomas states that the Fuhrer considered Speer as his main authority and his agent for all economic spheres. This note can only be understood in connection with the report of the account given by General Thomas of his activity as Director of the War Economy and Armament Office, and which has been presented to the Tribunal in excerpt form under Document 2353-PS.
Prior to Speer's appointment as Minister for Armament and War Production, Thomas had to try to bring about an expansion of the position of Plenipotentiary for Economy as it had been provided in the Reich Defense Law, so that it should become an office which would control the whole war economy. When now the armament economy was confronted with heavy demands in connection with the first winter campaign in Russia, and the losses which had been sustained there, and Hitler, after the death of Dr. Todt, appointed Speer to be his successor in the Ministry for Armaments and Munitions, Thomas thought he would find in Speer a personality who would receive the authority which he had striven to obtain for the Plenipotentiary for Economy.
This, however, did not occur. As has been shown from the evidence, Speer was entrusted only with the equipment of the Army
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and construction tasks. The control of the new office of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor by his Ministry, for which the Defendant Speer was striving, was not sanctioned by Hitler. Speer's rights as Minister for Armament and War Production are stated in the decree. The expectations which General Thomas held on the whole with regard to the appointment of Speer, were therefore not fulfilled in any way. Speer only received increased authority when in the year 1943 he took over industrial production from the Ministry of Economy. But even then he was still far from having the same field of tasks as General Thomas had expected for him. Relying on his expectations, General Thomas thought that he had found in the person of Speer the man appointed by Hitler who would settle matters on all economic questions. In the file note of General Thomas, which confines itself merely to generalities, it is a matter of an expression of opinion which was not justified by the actual state of affairs. It offers no grounds on which to answer the question as to how we must distribute responsibility for the policy of the labor commitment to which the Prosecution object.
In summarizing, it must be stated to this count of the Indictment: Speer is not responsible for the means employed for the procurement of foreign labor, nor for its removal to Germany. He is at the most responsible for the utilization of part of this labor in Germany.
As a further count of the Indictment, it has been stated that the defendant employed prisoners of war in the economic sector which was under his direction, and that he thereby violated Article 32 of the Geneva Convention of July 1929, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. The defendant never denied that he employed prisoners of war in plants under his control. This, however, cannot be regarded simply as a violation of Articles 31 and 32 of the previously mentioned agreement.
The expression "armament economy" and/or "armament plant" has not the same meaning as "plant" or "economy," the task of which is the manufacture of arms and direct war requirements.
The term "armament plant" can only be understood from its development. When, at the beginning of rearmament, there began to be a limitation of raw materials, plants which were working for rearmament were given preference in obtaining raw materials. These plants were controlled by the armament inspections, which
were set up by the Armed Forces and called "armament plants." In addition to all other plants, those were included in it which served the manufacture of iron, steel, and metals, as well as those plants which manufactured machine boilers, vehicles, and appliances; also the entire manufacture of raw steel in the first stages
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of preparation-foundries, rolling works, forges-as well as the whole remaining subsidiary supply industry, for example, electrotechnical plants, plants which produced optical instruments, plants which manufactured ball bearings, cogwheels, et cetera. This is shown by the testimony of the witness Schieber question 9, document book, Page 114.
Only 30-35 percent, roughly, of the whole iron production was used for the production of armaments to the extent previously described, and 60 percent for the maintenance of production for other consumers-Reich railroads, the construction of merchant vessels, agricultural machines, export goods, appliances for the chemical industry, et cetera. We refer to the testimony of the witness Kehrl, which has been submitted under Exhibit Speer-36, and particularly to his answer to Question 5.
Since the iron quota assigned to the armament industry also includes the production of raw steel and the different stages of manufacture, it can be safely presumed that of all the plants which were combined in the armament inspections, only approximately 20-30 percent manufactured armament products in the sense implied in the Geneva Convention. These details had to be examined in order to gain an idea as to what extent Article 31 of the Geneva Convention could be violated by the employment of prisoners of war.
The Prosecution have presented an affidavit of the American economic statistician Deuss under Document 2520-PS, in order to prove thereby how many prisoners of war and foreign workers were employed in the armament industry. This compilation, which is principally supported by figures taken from the documents in the possession of the Defendant Speer, does not, however, state in which branches of the armament industry the individual prisoners of war worked. A large enterprise which falls under one of the above-listed categories and as a result thereof was considered an armament plant in its entirety, needs only to manufacture a fraction or perhaps no weapons or equipment at all which stand in direct relationship to war activities. If prisoners of war are employed in it, then their occupation does not represent a violation of Article 31 of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention. Such a plant, however, appears in its entirety in Deuss' affidavit. The affidavit thereby loses its value as evidence as to what extent Article 31 of the Geneva Convention was violated. Thus we have no proof of whether, and to what extent, Article 31 was violated by the employment of prisoners of war in the armament industry.
The French Prosecution have taken the point of view that the employment of French civilian workers who had been released from confinement as prisoners of war, and who were employed in the
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armament industry, was also to be considered a violation of Article 31. This is not applicable. From the time of their release the former prisoners of war were free people who were unlimited in their freedom of movement, and who were restricted only by the obligations embodied in their labor contracts. In addition to this, no French prisoner of war could be forced to agree to his release under the obligation of putting himself as a worker at the disposal of German industry. It was his own free decision if he preferred to accept his release as a prisoner of war under these conditions. If he did so, from this moment onward he was no longer a soldier, and was no longer subject to military discipline; he received his working wages like every free worker, and was not subjected to any camp discipline or any other restrictions of the same nature. To those prisoners of war who preferred to agree to their release under these circumstances, the advantages apparently appeared far greater than the protection which they enjoyed as prisoners of war. If they did so, then their occupation, even in work which in itself is prohibited for prisoners of war in accordance with Article 31, cannot be considered a violation of this article.
The employment of prisoners of war in the industry of the country which is holding them prisoner is not prohibited by the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention. Only that work is prohibited which is directly connected with military operations-for example, the use of prisoners of war for fortification works for a combat unit. The Defendant Speer cannot be accused of anything of that kind. It is also prohibited for them to manufacture and transport weapons of all kinds, as well as to transport war material for combat units. In the armament economy under the control of the Defendant Speer, the only thing which could be considered as a violation of the afore-mentioned rule is the manufacture of weapons and munitions of all kinds. Such a violation, however, has so far not been proved by the Prosecution at all.
It must furthermore be examined how the assignment of prisoners of war to plants took place. According to the testimony of the Defendant Sauckel, this as a matter of principle was done by the war economy officers with the military district commanders, who submitted the number of prisoners of war available for work to the Gau labor office; and the transfer of the prisoners of war to the plants then took place in the same manner as with ordinary labor. The only difference was that the camp officers-the prisoners of war were billeted in so-called enlisted men's camps (Stammlager)-were responsible for seeing that the directives issued by the OKW for the employment and treatment of prisoners of war were complied with. It was the responsibility of these camp of fleers to see that in the employment of prisoners of war any violation of Article 31
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of the Prisoners of War Convention was made impossible. The commitment officers (Einsatzoffiziere) appointed by the camp commanders had constantly to control and examine the working conditions and the nature of the occupation of prisoners of war in armament plants, and they had to watch to see that no prohibited work was imposed on the prisoners of war. The Defendant Keitel has given an exact description of the manner in which the control of prisoners of war in the home area was carried out. Documents have also been submitted which give information about the treatment of prisoners
The prisoners of war who were confined in assembly camps were constantly being examined by camp commitment officers to see that their employment was in accordance with Articles 31 and 32 of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention. As far as French prisoners of war were concerned, a special authority existed for them in the person of Ambassador Scapini, who had to forward to the OKW any complaints which were made against the use of prisoners of war for labor in a way which violated international law. Complaints of this kind by Ambassador Scapini were immediately investigated, and if they were found to be justified, improvements were made. It is, of course, possible that mistakes sometimes occurred in view of the vast organization necessitated by the large number of French prisoners of war. Measures for the correction of mistakes of this kind are, after all, provided by the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention itself in its regulations. These regulations were also effective in the last war. The representatives of the protecting powers intervened against bad conditions brought to their attention through complaints, and they also demanded and achieved their abolition. If such mistakes were recognized and reported, they were then immediately remedied. It would be wrong to try to conclude from individual occurrences that there was a premeditated plan. The protection which prisoners of war found through the labor commitment officers even laid Defendant Speer open to criticism by individual plant directors as being too extensive.
In this respect, as far as the Defendant Speer's position in law is concerned, we must first examine whether the employment of prisoners of war in the armament industry is to be fundamentally regarded as a violation of the rules of international law. After the previous statements as to the character of the plants which were combined in the armament industry, this must be answered in the negative. Only insofar as prisoners of war were actually employed in the production of arms and in the production of urgent war materials could there be any mention of a violation of Article 31. That this regulation may have been violated in individual cases we will not deny. If, for example, as the photographs submitted by the
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American Prosecution show, prisoners of war were used near the front lines to unload munition trains, then this undoubtedly represents a violation of the regulations of Article 31. The Defendant Speer, however, cannot be accused of such incidents, as they do not fall within his competence. To use the fact of the employment of prisoners of war in the armament industry to conclude a violation on a large scale of the regulations of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention is not justified.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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M. JEAN JACQUES LANOIRE (Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic): Mr. President, I would request the authorization of the Tribunal to make a very short statement in the name of the French Prosecution. Even though it is not the custom that the Prosecution should intervene in the course of the discussion, the counsel for Speer gave a few opinions which it seems to me I must go into without waiting for my turn, and also request the Tribunal to reject them.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not think it is appropriate that the speeches of the defendant's counsel should be interrupted by counsel for the Prosecution. Counsel for the Prosecution are going to speak afterward, and they will then have a full opportunity of answering the speeches that have been made on behalf of the defendants.
M. LANOIRE: Certainly, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flachsner, if you will wait one moment, I have an announcement to make. The Tribunal refers to its order of 23 February 1946, Paragraph 8 of that order, which is on the subject of the statements which the defendants may make, under Article 24 of the Charter.
In view of the full statements already made by the defendants and their counsel, the Tribunal assumes that if it is the defendants, desire to make any further -statements, it will be only to deal with matters previously omitted. The defendants will not be permitted to make further speeches or to repeat what has already been said by themselves or their counsel but will be limited to short statements of a few minutes each to cover matters not already covered by their testimony or the arguments of counsel.
That is all.
DR. FLACHSNER: Mr. President, Your Honors, I now continue my speech. A further charge of the Prosecution refers to the violation of Article 32 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement, according to which prisoners of war were employed in unhealthy work, insofar as prisoners of war had been employed in mines. For this reference is made to the minutes of a meeting of the Central Planning Board where the employment of Russian prisoners of war in mines is discussed. The employment of prisoners of war in mines is not to be considered as forbidden in itself, and it has been practiced in all industrial nations. The employment of Russian prisoners of war in mines is, therefore, not to be objected to, insofar as the prisoners concerned were in a
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physical condition that enabled them to do heavy mining work. It has not been established and proved by the Prosecution that these prisoners of war were not physically fit for the work given them. From the fact that the employment of prisoners of war in mines was discussed and approved by the Central Planning Board, it cannot be concluded that Article 32 of the Prisoner of War Agreement was violated. The treatment of prisoners of war has to be examined legally from various points of view. The German Government have taken the point of view that Soviet prisoners of war should be treated on a different legal basis from the subjects of the Western States, who were all parties to the treaty of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1929, whereas the Soviet Union did not sign this agreement. The Soviet Prosecution have presented Document EC-338, USSR-356, an investigation of the Foreign Counter-Intelligence Office (Amt Ausland Abwehr) in the High Command of the Armed Forces concerning the legality of the regulations issued on the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, according to international law, and leveled sharp criticism at the latter. The essential point is that in this report the view is expressed that, as a matter of fundamental principle, Soviet prisoners of war cannot be treated according to the rules of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement because the Soviet Union did not participate in this. Moreover, this report refers to the decree of the Soviet Union of 1 July 1941 concerning the treatment of prisoners of war regarding which the opinion of the CounterIntelligence of the Armed Forces confirms that on essential points it agrees with the rules of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement. It is, however, characteristic that in this decree it is ordered that noncommissioned officers and enlisted men taken as prisoners of war may be put to work for industry and agriculture inside the camp or outside and that the only restriction is that the use of prisoner-of-war labor is forbidden: (a) in the combat area, (b) for personal needs of the administration as well as for the needs of other prisoners of war, so-called orderly service (see Pages 12-13 of the Speer document book, Document Number EC-338).
An order restricting the use of prisoner-of-war labor according to Articles 31 and 32 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement is not to be understood from the above-mentioned command. It now remains to investigate whether the stipulations of Articles 31 and 32 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement flow from general rules of international law, which should be observed even if there were no special ruling by treaty, such as the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement represents. This cannot generally be affirmed. The above-mentioned treaty regulations cannot be regarded as the prescription by treaty of a generally valid legal
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concept, if so important a member of the group observing international law as the Soviet Union does not accept a ruling of this sort.
Proceeding from this idea, the employment of Soviet prisoners of war in work forbidden by Article 31 of the Prisoner of War Agreement is not to be objected to. The Italian military persons interned in Germany after Italy's fall do not come under the regulations of the Geneva Prisoner of War Agreement since no state of war existed between Germany and Italy. Moreover, these military internees did not come under the restrictions of Article 31 in their employment as manpower. It must, however, be pointed out that these military internees are comprised in the enumeration of Mr. Deuss of prisoners of war occupied in the armament industry.
In conclusion, the following is to be said on this point:
The procurement of prisoners of war for the factories was effected exclusively through the offices of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. The control of the proper allocation in accordance with the Prisoner of War Agreement depended on the labor commitment officer of the Stalag, who in return was himself finally responsible to the general for prisoner-of-war affairs at the Army High Command. It was not possible for the Defendant Speer to have any influence on the distribution of prisoners of war and their occupation. The Prosecution have not been in a position to bring any proof from which the participation of the Defendant Speer in unlawful employment of prisoners of war might be deduced. These assertions of the Prosecution have remained unproved.
The Prosecution have now further brought against the defendant the charge that the Todt Organization, at the head of which Speer was placed in February 1942 after Dr. Todt's death, had used native workers to build fortifications in the French coastal areas. As far as the Todt Organization is concerned, it is a purely civilian institution of the general construction inspector for road maintenance. It worked on a private economic basis, that is, it allocated the construction work that it intended to carry out to private firms, also to foreign firms, which were established in the respective countries; and it merely supervised the execution of the constructions. The private firms could undertake the procurement of the necessary materials and labor themselves. For the very reason that native construction enterprises were used, it was possible to eliminate the difficulties which otherwise would have opposed themselves to the execution of the work. The workyards of the Todt Organization enjoyed a certain favor with the natives because the workmen had the assurance that they could not be
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compelled to go to Germany to work in industry there because these places of construction of the Organization Todt were considered as urgently important. The workers went voluntarily to the firms which were active for the Todt Organization to obtain this security. The example, quoted by the Defendant Speer during cross-examination, of 50,000 Todt Organization workers who were once taken from France to Germany to repair damages caused to two west German valley dams by air attacks, made such a bad impression on the workers employed in other Todt Organization construction sites that there was nothing else left to be done but to send these 50,000 workers back to France. In the meantime, many workmen of the Todt Organization construction sites in France disappeared, because they feared they would be taken to Germany sooner or later against their will, while up to then they had regarded employment in enterprises which worked for the Todt Organization as insurance against an eventual transfer to Germany. Only the return of the above-mentioned 50,000 workers to France, which was brought about by the Defendant Speer when these unfavorable consequences developed, restored the hitherto existing state of confidence.
Here, too, the fact should be emphasized that, as a result of the event described, the Todt Organization workers were free to go where they wished in France-in any case, that no coercion was used against them. The consequence of this was that when the protected plants (Sperrbetriebe) were established in France, all enterprises working for the Todt Organization were declared protected plants and therefore could not be otherwise employed. This instance shows that the view of the Prosecution that the workers of the Todt Organization were forced into the Todt Organization plants against their will is a wrong interpretation.
As it is established that the French Government agreed to the use of French workers in construction sites under administration of the Todt Organization as well as in any other armament industries in Germany and the occupied territories, illegality is excluded. It should not be left unmentioned here that, after the conclusion of the Armistice Agreement with France, the latter took no part in military hostilities. The Armistice Treaty certainly did not mean an agreement for a truce but, de facto, a final end to hostilities and was to serve as a preparation for the conclusion of peace. It was no longer a period of war, but it was not a definite return to peacetime conditions regulated by treaty. A resumption of hostilities was, however, according to both partners to the Armistice, completely out of the question. The Armistice was exclusively to regulate the situation until the definite conclusion of peace. Stipulations of the Hague Convention for Land Warfare
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as well as of the Prisoner of War Agreement forbidding services which run counter to loyalty toward one's own country still at war do not apply because the country is no longer at war. After a general armistice the production of arms and munitions can no longer be directed against the ally which has retired from hostilities but only against other allies still in the field. The aforementioned principle of respecting the loyalty to one's own country can no longer be applied in such cases.
It must, moreover, be pointed out that the Todt Organization was in no way a paramilitary organization as has been falsely asserted. Apparently this false assumption has been strengthened by the fact that the German members of the administration of the Todt Organization abroad wore a uniform. These people were considered as Armed Forces followers; but on the other hand the labor engaged by the firms and the construction workers of the firms, as well as the technical personnel, stood in no such relation. The charge cannot be made, therefore, that these native workers were indirectly incorporated into an Armed Forces' organization. ~
A further charge against the Defendant Speer consists in the fact that prisoners from concentration camps were employed in the economic sector controlled by him. The defendant admitted this. Criminal responsibility because of this fact does not, however, stand the test of a legal verification. The employment of convicts for work of an economic nature has always been a practice in Germany. It could be carried out in various ways, partly by employment within the convict prison itself, partly outside. Owing to the shortage of labor due to the intensification of the economic war, it was necessary to draw upon the labor available in the concentration camps.
The Prosecution have submitted documents from which can be seen how much trouble was taken by the offices subordinate to the Reich Minister Himmler to use the reserves of labor contained in the concentration camps for the construction of their own SS plants; and the Defendant Speer has supplied information during his hearing before the Court on 20-21 June regarding Himmler's efforts to build up a separate armament industry of his own, subordinate to him only, which would render any control over the production of arms in these intended SS plants impossible, so that the SS could have provided themselves with weapons without supervision by the Army or any other offices.
The Defendant Speer successfully fought this. It was agreed that Himmler would release a part of the inmates of the concentration camps to be employed in the armament industry. The inmates of the concentration camps would thus improve their
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situation, since they obtained the higher food rations provided for those on long shifts or doing heavy work, as has been attested by witness Riecke; moreover, they left the large concentration camps and were no longer under SS control during working hours, but in the plants they were subject to the control of foremen and skilled workmen appointed by the plants themselves.
It is true that to avoid transportation and marching difficulties special camps were erected near the plants or working places where they were employed, and these were not accessible to the supervision of the plant managers nor to the control of the offices of the Defendant Speer but were exclusively under the direction of the offices in charge of the administration of the concentration camps. For the poor conditions prevailing in such camps neither the plant manager nor the offices of the Defendant Speer can be held responsible. In general, as attested by the letter of the department chief Schieber of 7 May 1944 to the Defendant Speer (Speer Document Book 2, Page 88), the inmates preferred work in such plants rather than be assigned by the administration of -the concentration camp itself. And Schieber quite clearly states in his letter that for these reasons the employment of concentration camp inmates should be extended in order to improve their lot. But he further states that the number of concentration camp inmates employed in the armament industry amounted to 36,000 and that this figure was decreasing. The defendant's assertion, however, at his interrogation that the total number of concentration camp workers employed in the armament industry amounted to 1 percent of the total number of workmen employed in the whole armament industry has been calculated too high. Of 4.9 million workmen engaged in the final processing of armaments, the figure of 36,000 represents only 7 per thousand. The number of concentration camp inmates employed in the armament industry represents a very small part of the total number employed in the final processing of armaments, that is, of the total number employed in the plants manufacturing finished products.
These figures show how misleading the assumption of the Prosecution is, that the employment of such prisoners in the armament industry had resulted in an increased demand for such labor and that this increased demand was satisfied by sending to concentration camps people who under normal conditions would never have been sent there. The opinion that the employment of prisoners from concentration camps in the armament industry led to an increase in the number of concentration camp inmates is disproved by Schieber's letter already . mentioned (Exhibit Number Speer-6, Page 88) and by his testimony, also submitted as Exhibit Number Speer-37. According to this the employment
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of concentration camp inmates in the armament industry occurred for the first time in the autumn of 1943, and the number of prisoners employed there reached its peak with the maximum figures of 36,000 in March 1944 and from that time on actually decreased. Therefore the conclusions of the Prosecution in no way bear examination. Nor has proof been brought forward that Speer had attempted to have people sent to concentration camps.
At his interrogation the defendant admitted that everywhere in Germany people were afraid of being sent to a concentration camp. The population's dread of concentration camps was quite justified, for it depended only on the judgment of the police authorities under Himmler whether a person was sent to a concentration camp or not; further, because there was no legal authority to check the charges resulting in a transfer to a concentration camp; and finally-and this is the main reason-because it was left entirely to the discretion of the concentration camp authorities to decide for how long one was to be sent to a concentration camp.
The Prosecution have further asserted that Speer went on having concentration camp inmates work in the armament industry after he had obtained knowledge of conditions prevailing in the Mauthausen Camp after a visit he had made there. That this was not the case improved by the evidence of the defendant on this point. As it was only a hurried visit for the purpose of instructing the camp administration to desist from tasks which served purely peacetime purposes but rather place labor at the disposal of the armament industry, the Defendant Speer could only obtain a superficial impression of the living conditions in the camp. On this point his evidence may be referred to.
Moreover, through witnesses for the Prosecution, detailed reference has been made to the fact that during such visits to concentration camps by important personalities, the camps were seen from the best side only, and any signs of atrocities, et cetera, were carefully removed so that the visitor received no unfavorable impressions.
In connection with this question we will deal with the further charge of the Prosecution, which asserts that Speer had approved using Hungarian Jews for the construction of the bombproof aircraft factories ordered by Hitler. In this respect reference must be made to the evidence of the witness Milch and that of the witness Frank. Milch stated that Speer, who was ill at the time, strongly opposed these constructions but that Hitler, who demanded that the work be undertaken, commissioned Dorsch, the leader of the Todt Organization, to carry them out. So that the controversy between Hitler and Speer should not become known to
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outsiders, Dorsch officially remained subordinate to Speer; but in this matter he had to deal directly with Hitler alone and was immediately subordinate to him. In his evidence Milch further stated that these construction plans were never actually carried out. I have submitted Hitler's order to Speer of 21 April 1944 as Exhibit Number Speer-34, Page 52, in my document book (Speer Document Book 1). This order clearly shows that Hitler designated Dorsch as being directly responsible to him, since the appointment of Speer, who was given the duty of incorporating these tasks into the building plans under him, was of a purely formal nature. The evidence given by Field Marshal Milch is thus confirmed by this letter.
To support the opinion of the Prosecution that the Defendant Speer had helped send people to concentration camps, a statement by Speer at a sitting of the Central Planning Board of 30 October 1942 on the question of shirkers is quoted. In this connection we must look at the evidence of the Defendant Speer in the witness box where he declared that upon this statement no steps to stop this evil were taken with the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor either by the Central Planning Board or by himself. In reality, nothing was done about it. It was only in November 1943 that Sauckel issued a decree against shirkers. The term "shirker" is applied to those workers who evade their obligations by simulating illness or who stay away from work under flimsy pretexts or for no reason at all.
It may incidentally be mentioned here that economic warfare did not neglect even this question. Efforts were made in every imaginable way to dampen the worker's spirit. By dropping leaflets and through other channels of information, the workers were told how to feign sickness and slow up their work, et cetera. At first this propaganda succeeded only in isolated cases. Since such isolated cases had an unfavorable influence on the working discipline of the personnel as a whole, the Defendant Speer discussed the possibility of police intervention. Speer did not, however, take steps of any kind which would have led to practical action on the part of the Police. It was not until a year later that a decree was issued by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, first making it an obligation for the employer to use disciplinary penalties. In particularly grave cases, the trustees for production could ask for court punishment. Based on this decree sentences could be pronounced providing for transfer to a workers' training camp for a term of 56 days. Only in exceptionally grave cases of infractions of the working law did the decree of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor provide for transfer to a concentration camp.
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It must be mentioned here that this decree was applicable both to native and foreign workers, for in no case were native workers to be treated differently. In the cross-examination of Defendant Sauckel, the French Prosecution produced the document about a meeting of Sauckel's labor authorities at the Wartburg. At this meeting Dr. Sturm, the specialist on questions of labor law with the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, gave a lecture on the punishment of workmen; and it was thereby established that only an infinitesimal percentage of workers had to be sentenced to penal punishment.
But from this it is again evident that the Prosecution have brought forward no proof for the assertion that, as a consequence of Sauckel's decree concerning shirkers, the concentration camps were filled; so that conclusive proof is lacking that Sauckel or the Defendant Speer contributed by any measures they took to the filling of concentration camps.
In his statement before the Central Planning Board of 22 May 1944 (Page 49 in my document book, Speer Document Book 1) Speer pointed out that the escaped prisoners of war who were apprehended by the Police had to be taken back to their work. From this remark we see the basic attitude of the Defendant Speer, who did not want to see the escaped prisoners of war thrown into concentration camps but demanded that they be immediately incorporated into industry. So far the Prosecution has not been able to bring forward any proof that will stand the test for the assertion that Speer had the concentration camps filled in order to obtain labor from them.
Mr. President, perhaps now I may go into the question which you asked me at the beginning of my plea as to how I interpret Paragraph 6(a) of the Charter in regard to the Defendant Speer, especially in regard to the terminology: "The waging of a war of aggression." I should like to say the following: The Charter, under 6(a), cites, among other punishable actions, the waging of a war of aggression. As for the definition of a war of aggression, I need say nothing here. Professor Jahrreiss has already done that in detail. Here it is only the interpretation of the term "the waging of a war of aggression" that is in question. My point of view is that a war of aggression can be waged only by the person who has supreme command. All others are only led, even if their participation may mean a considerable contribution to the war.
In the case of the Defendant Speer, therefore, the waging of a war of aggression cannot be applied. I should like to point out the following as well: In a session on about 28 February or 1 March, one of the judges told Justice Jackson that the Prosecution had
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represented the point of view that the charge of a war of aggression was concluded with its outbreak. I can only share this opinion.
During the hearing of evidence I had ample opportunity to state the activities of the Defendant Speer during the last phases of the war from June 1944. I can, therefore, confine myself now to proving in regard to this detailed chronological description that the entire testimony of Speer is covered almost completely by testimonies of other witnesses and by documents. The written statements of witnesses, which I refrained from reading before the Court, run entirely along the same lines, although the witnesses came from different camps and expressed themselves in a completely unbiased manner.
Beginning with June 1944 the Defendant Speer readily reported to Hitler on the situation of his armament production, and he expressly pointed out at the same time that the war would be lost if such decline of production were allowed to continue. This is proved by the memoranda of Speer to Hitler submitted as Exhibits Speer-14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. As stated by the witness General Guderian, Chief of the General Staff of the Army, Hitler from the end of January 1945 defined any such information as high treason and subjected it to corresponding punishment. Nevertheless, as it appears also from the statement of General Guderian, Chief of the Army General Staff, Speer stated clearly time and again to Hitler as well as to Guderian his opinion about the prospects of the war.
Hitler had especially forbidden that third persons should be informed about the true situation of the war. Nevertheless, after the severest orders for destruction had been issued by Hitler, Speer informed the Gauleiter and the commanders of various army groups that the war was lost and thus helped prevent, in part at least, Hitler's policy of destruction. This is evident from the testimonies of witnesses Hupfauer, Kempf, and Von Poset.
Hitler declared to Speer on 29 March 1945 that the latter would have to take the consequences customary in such cases, if he continued to declare that the war was lost. This conversation is contained in the testimony of the witness Kempf. In spite of it Speer traveled 2 days later to Seyss-Inquart-on 1 April 1945-in order to explain to him, too, that the war was lost. The witness SeyssInquart and the witness Schwebel in the interrogations of 11 June 1946 and 14 June 1946 stated that this conversation with Speer of 1 April 1945 occasioned the conferences of Seyss-Inquart with the Chief of the General Staff of General Eisenhower, General Smith. This led finally to the handing over of undestroyed Holland to the Allies.
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On 24 April 1945 Speer flew once again to Berlin, which was already besieged, in order to persuade Hitler that this senseless battle should be given up, as is evident from the testimony of the witness Poser. In his last will Hitler dismissed Speer on 29 April 1945. The American Chief Prosecutor, Chief Justice Jackson, in his cross-examination was, therefore, obliged to concur with the Defendant Speer that he evidently was the only man who told Hitler the whole truth.
The representatives of the Prosecution have produced no evidence that destructions of industries took place in Poland, the Balkans, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Holland during the German retreat. This is to be credited to the Defendant Speer above~ all who, partly even by falsely interpreting existing orders, prevented the destruction of the industries of these countries as ordered by Hitler. That Speer was convinced as early as the summer of 1944 that this destruction should be prevented in the general European interest is evident from the testimony of the witness Von Poser. It would have been easy by executing the orders to cripple completely the highly developed industries of Central Europe and of the occupied western European countries for 2-3 years and thus destroy the entire industrial production and civilized life of these peoples and even make their own reconstruction impossible for years.
The witness Seyss-Inquart has stated in his interrogation on 11 June 1946 that the calculated destruction of only 14 points in Holland would have absolutely destroyed the basis of existence of this country. The destruction, for instance, of all power plants in these countries would have produced an effect similar to the destruction in 1941 by the Soviets of two or three power plants in the Donets territory. In spite of all efforts it was not until the summer of 1943 that some scanty production could start again there. Similar and still more far-reaching consequences had to be expected from carrying out Hitler's orders on the European continent.
After the success of the invasion of these occupied territories Speer gave the authorization to refrain from any destructions, as is confirmed by the witnesses Von Poser, Kempf, Schieber, Kehrl, Rohland, Seyss-Inquart, and Hirschfeld. Immediately after the appointment of the Codefendant Donitz as successor to Hitler, he submitted to him orders prohibiting any destruction in the still occupied territories of Norway, Czechoslovakia, and Holland, as well as Werewolf activities, as is shown in the testimony of the witnesses Von Poser and Kempf.
Although Speer had no direct authority for the destruction of industries in the occupied territories, he had to accomplish this
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task on his own responsibility and through his agencies within the borders of the so-called Greater German Reich. He was kept busy in this connection trying to obstruct total destruction of all real values, which was obstinately demanded by Hitler. Information on this desire to destroy on the part of Hitler and many of his Gauleiter is furnished in the testimonies of witnesses Guderian, Rohland, Hupfauer, Von Poser, Stahl, and Kempf.
The most important document in this regard is the letter of Speer to Hitler of 29 March 1945 submitted as Exhibit Number Speer-24, in which Speer repeats again Hitler's remarks during the conversation on 18 March 1945. This document shows clearly that Hitler had made up his mind to destroy completely the foundations of the life of the German people. This document should yield abundant information about Hitler's time for any future historian. In connection therewith follows the evidence of General Guderian who certifies that in February 1945 Hitler, 1.) identified his inevitable fate with that of the German people, 2.) wished to continue this senseless fight by all means and thereby, 3.) ordered the reckless destruction of all things of real value. That is Guderian on Page 177 and Page 179 of my document book.
At the same time the clear demolition and evacuation orders of Hitler and Bormann, which were issued the day after the conference with Speer, have been submitted to the Tribunal as documents under Exhibits Speer-25, 28.
Ever since the middle of March 1944 Speer, considering this war inevitably lost, was determined to maintain the vital necessities for the German people, as has been confirmed by the witness Rohland. Notwithstanding the growing danger, he repeated this determination with increasing urgency to his collaborators, as the witnesses Kempf, Von Poser, and Stahl can certify for the months of July and August 1944 and the witnesses Stahl, Kempf, Von Poser, Rohland, and Hupfauer for the critical period from February 1945 onward.
Numerous orders of Speer dealing with the preservation of industrial plants issued between September 1944 until the end of March 1945 were submitted to the Tribunal. They were first partly issued without Hitler's authorization; but by a clever exploitation of Hitler's hope that these territories could be reconquered, they were in part subsequently approved by him. The testimonies of the witnesses Rohland, Kempf, and Von Poser, as well as Speer's numerous memoranda regarding the war situation, prove that he exploited Hitler's illusion, which he did not share, in order to prevent these demolitions.
Since the beginning of February 1945, Hitler no longer lent an ear to any such argument. On the contrary, the introduction
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to his demolition orders of 19 March 1945 shows that he considered it necessary to oppose actively such argument. In counterorders, such as those of 30 March 1945 to all industrial plants, as well as those of 4 April 1945 for all sluices and dams, Speer gave instructions-in opposition to the orders issued by Hitler-not to undertake any industrial demolitions. This likewise is corroborated by the witnesses Kempf, Von Poser, and Rohland. During the month of March the executive power for the demolition of industrial plants and of other objects of value was transferred from Speer to the Gauleiter.
During this period Speer acted in open insubordination, and on trips to the danger zones he arranged for the sabotage of these orders. Thus, for instance, by clever planning he withdrew the stocks of explosives from the grasp of the Gauleiter, as stated by the witnesses Von Poser, Kempf, and Rohland, and gave orders that the so-called industrial explosives, which were used for demolition, should no longer be produced, as is proved by the statement of the witness Kehrl, the Chief of the Office for Raw Products of Speer's Ministry.
It seems important that Speer had urgently drawn Hitler's attention to the consequences which the demolitions would have for the German people, as is shown in Speer's submitted memorandum dated 15 March 1945 (Exhibit Number Speer-23). In this Speer, for example, has established that by the planned demolition of industrial plants and bridges, in the Ruhr for instance, the reconstruction of Germany by her own forces after this war would be made impossible. Thus it is without doubt mainly to Speer's credit that the industrial reconstruction of western and central Europe can make progress today and that in France, Belgium, and Holland, according to their latest reports, production has already reached the level of the peacetime production of 1938.
Speer was the minister responsible for the means of production, that is, the factories and their installations. Thus he sat in the transmission center through which Hitler's intended demolition orders must necessarily pass. We have noticed in this Trial how in an authoritative system such centers are in the position to carry out on a big scale the orders of the head of the State. It was a fortunate coincidence that at this decisive period a clear-thinking man like Speer directed this office of industrial demolition.
But with increasing intensification Speer took measures beyond his sphere of action in order to ease the transition for the German people and at the same time to shorten the war. Thus Speer tried to prevent the destruction of bridges. Every German knows that up to the last days of the war and to the farthest corner of the
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German Reich, bridges were destroyed in a senseless way. Nevertheless, his efforts had no doubt a partial success. The numerous conferences which Speer held in this connection with military commanders are testified to by the witnesses Kempf and Lieutenant Colonel Von Poser. This witness was Speer's liaison officer with the Army, and accompanied him on all trips to the front.
These conferences were partially successful. Finally by the middle of March 1945 the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, General Guderian, and Speer, according to the latter's proposal, tried to obtain Hitler's agreement to alter his demolition orders regarding bridges; but they did not succeed. This is confirmed by the witness, General Guderian.
Knowing the possible consequences of those bridge demolitions, Speer finally, on 6 April 1945, issued 6 orders in the name of General Winter of the High Command of the Armed Forces to spare the bridges of essential railway lines in the Reich and in the entire Ruhr territory. These unauthorized orders were confirmed by the statements of the witnesses Von Poser and Kempf.
At the end of January 1945 he noticed that from a long-range point of view, the guarantee of sufficient food supplies for the German people and the spring tilling of fields for the harvest of 1945 in particular were endangered. Speer, therefore, allowed the requests for armament and production which were in his jurisdiction to be superseded and gave priority to the supply of food.
That this was done not only on account of the actual food situation but was mainly in order to relieve the transition period after the occupation by the Allied troops is proved by the statements of the witnesses Hupfauer, Kempf, Rohland, Von Poser, Riecke- State Secretary in the Ministry of Food-Milch, Kehrl, and SeyssInquart.
When Speer believed that he had new reasons for apprehension that Hitler, induced by his close collaborators in Party circles, would use poison gas in the fall of 1944 and then in the spring of 1945, he opposed this determinedly as proved in his crossexamination by the U.S. prosecutor, Justice Jackson, and by the testimony of the witness Brandt. Speer's statement that due to this apprehension he had closed down the German poison gas production as early as November 1944 was confirmed by the witness Schieber. Speer at the same time established that the military authorities unanimously opposed such a plan.
Finally, since the end of February 1945, the Defendant Speer had tried by planning conspiracies to have the war brought to an earlier end.
The statements of the witnesses Stahl and Von Poser show that 5peer had planned other violent measures. Chief Justice Jackson
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has established, too, in the course of Speer's cross-examination, that the Prosecution knew of further plans which were to be executed under Speer's leadership. Apart from all these activities, Speer's political attitude is illuminated by two facts:
1) In Speer's memorandum addressed to Hitler, submitted as Exhibit Number Speer-1, the defendant establishes that Bormann and Goebbels called him alien and hostile to the Party and that a continued collaboration would be impossible, should he and his assistants be judged by party-political standards.
2) In their government list of 20 July 1944 the Putschists quoted Speer as Armament Minister and as the only Minister from the Hitlerite system, as stated by the witnesses Ohlendorf, Kempf, and Stahl. Would these circles have proposed Speer as Minister, both in Germany and abroad, if he had not been considered an honest and nonpolitical expert for a long time? Is not the very fact that he, as one of the closest collaborators of Hitler, was chosen for this post a further proof for the high esteem in which he was held by the opposition.
My Lords, let me say a few more fundamental words about the Speer case itself. When the defendant took over the office of Minister at the age of 36, his country was in a life-and-death struggle. He could not evade the task with which he had been charged. He devoted his entire energy to the solution of the task, which seemed almost insoluble. The success he obtained there did not cloud his view of the actual condition of things. He realized only too late that Hitler was not thinking of his people, but only of himself. In his book Mein Kampf Hitler wrote that the government of a people always had to remain conscious of the fact that it should not plunge the people into disaster. Its duty was rather to resign at the right time, so that the people could continue to live. Naturally, such principles were valid only for governments in which Hitler had no part. As far as he himself was concerned, however, he was of the point of view that, if the German people should lose this war, they would have proved themselves the weaker nation and would no longer have any right to live. In contrast to this brutal egoism, Speer still felt that he was the servant of his people and his nation. Without consideration for his person and without consideration for his safety, Speer acted as he considered it his duty to act toward his people.
Speer had to betray Hitler in order to remain loyal to his people. One cannot but respect the tragedy which lies in this fate.
THE PRESIDENT: I now call on Dr. Von Ludinghausen for the Defendant Von Neurath..
DR. OTTO FREIHERR VON LUDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for Defendant Von Neurath): Your Lordship, Your Honors, "Never
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before has war impressed me as being quite so abominable." This is what Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to the Directorate in Paris in the year 1799 after the victorious capture of Jaffa where he had ordered the shooting of 2,000 captured Turks. This statement by one of the most outstanding warriors of all nations stood for unqualified condemnation, not merely of war as such, but also of all means used in the conduct of war considered unavoidable but tolerated at that time. The ethical condemnation of war voiced in this phrase was not uttered in vain. As early as the middle of the last century, high-minded individuals made efforts to eliminate at least some of the horrors of war. The founding of the Red Cross in Geneva was the first far-reaching result of such endeavors, the first fruits of Napoleon's phrase. But I dare say, this phrase is, so to speak, also the actual impetus which gave birth to this present Trial. It, too, was caused and dictated by the endeavor, not only to restrict methods of warfare, but beyond that to find means and ways to eliminate war altogether as a political measure. It strives for the same high goal: To create a body of international law to govern the relations between the peoples of all states, a law to which governments and peoples will submit, if they wish to take their place among civilized states, and by which they will be forced to abide in the same manner as the individual national of a state must abide by the law his state has established for the common existence of its people. It may be difficult for you, Your Honors, and for the entire world to understand how infinitely painful it is for us Germans that it is just our state and our people who have furnished cause for the creation of such international law by a war in which we engaged; yet my client, the Defendant Von Neurath, and I could not help but welcome this Trial, because the greatest efforts were made by my client during his entire official activity, from his first day in office to the last, to avoid war and to serve peace. And I do not hesitate to emphasize this, although it is because of an entirely new principle of law that my client is facing this Court today. Because for the first time in history the idea is to be carried into practice according to which the statesmen of a nation are to be held personally responsible and are to be punished for the inhuman acts of wars of aggression caused by them. This thought, which this High Court is about to carry into practice as a principle of law, is a novelty in the history of international law. But if the present Trial and the Charter on which it is based is to be more than a single procedure worked out and intended for this one case-in other words for this war just ended-if it arose not merely from the thought of vengeance because of harm and damage done to the victorious nations and if it really was brought forth by the will and the decision to eliminate war in itself for good by
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holding the statesmen of the nations personally responsible, then this constitutes a deed which the sincere conviction of every peaceloving person will welcome. It furthermore contains two elements calculated to revolutionize all that was heretofore known in this world regarding the foreign policy of states and to raise it to a new and undoubtedly higher ethical basis.
Since the famous speech made by Pericles and since Plato's state doctrines it is an ancient' well-established postulate for the policy of a statesman to endeavor to obtain for his people, for the state under his stewardship, the highest possible level of existence, the maintenance, and improvement of its standard of living, of its position among the nations, irrespective of the means it might require. Every nation on earth includes in its history statesmen who, seen in this light, are extolled and honored as shining examples, and who went down in history Is such merely because they were successful, without examining whether the means they used to obtain success were in harmony or not with the ethical principles not only of the Christian but of all leading moral philosophies. To this maxim the Charter of this High Tribunal opposes a new maxim in that it plainly stipulates that every war of aggression places culpability on the person responsible for the war, regardless of whether the war was won or lost. However, this means nothing else but subjection to the moral law-which rejects application of force of any kind as a means of policy-of every state stewardship, even the successful and the victorious.
If, however, this is to have practical meaning and is to be successful, then there follows the subjection of every state stewardship to the test and judgment of all other civilized states in the world. On that principle of the Charter established by this High Tribunal it would call for the examining and possible judgment of all inner-political measures which, in retrospect, might be seen as actions of preparation for this war. To discuss consequences resulting from this would lead too far; this must rather be left to the discussion by scholars of state law and to further developments, and I wish, therefore, to confine myself to pointing to one consequence only, the consequence that the statesmen involved in the war of aggression will be subject to such judgment of a future international world court and will be liable to punishment, even if that war of aggression ends in victory. Perhaps this is the main point, reflecting the highest ethics of the stipulations and principles established in the Charter.
If I particularly stress these points it is not because my client or I doubt that the authors of this Charter were not fully aware of these consequences too. But in the fact that this new tenet
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of international law is to find application for the first time before the world forum and by the Allied governments not through a power dictate but through a court procedure based on objectivity and impartiality, in this fact my client and I see proof that this court procedure had its birth in the ideal aspiration of mankind to free itself from the scourge of war.
And even if my client and I fully recognize the important issue in this Trial as based on the Charter, namely that in sharp contrast to the principles of law of all democratic states, of every democratic-liberal principle of law, it proposes to pass judgment and inflict punishment for actions which at the time they were committed were not governed by law, my client and I nevertheless are confident because of our conviction that this High Tribunal will not base its verdict on individual and incoherently joined actions, on single bare facts, but that it will scrutinize and examine with care the motives and aspirations which moved each individual defendant. If then you, Your Honors, will establish, as I awn convinced you will, that from the first to the last day of his official activity as Reich Foreign Minister or as Reich Protector, my client was moved by one desire only, that all his deeds and actions were governed by one aspiration, to prevent a war and its cruelties, to maintain peace, and that the very reason for his remaining in office was to prevent war and its inhumanity through his influence and that he did not withdraw from his post until he was forced to conclude that all his efforts were in vain and that the will and determination of the highest ruler of the State, Hitler, to wage war were more powerful than he, then the fact of his membership and continuance in office in the Reich Government until that moment cannot possibly be construed as approval, much less as assistance and copartnership in the planning, preparing, or waging of war, thereby placing upon him joint responsibility for the war, and even for cruelties and atrocities committed during its course.
The very fact of the application-an application made for the first time in this Trial, at least in international law and in democratic states-of the legal doctrine, that an action already committed can subsequently be made punishable by law, results in the imperative demand that the question of the subjective guilt of the defendant-in other words the consciousness not only of the amorality and the presumed criminality of the deed in question, but also the intent to commit the deed or at least to offer active assistance despite such awareness-be examined and answered before a verdict is arrived at. Disregard of this postulate would not only rob this Trial of its high ethical importance but would open wide the door to arbitrariness, making such court procedure
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appear before the world, not as a real court in the truest meaning but a power dictate wearing the robe of justice.
An extraordinary responsibility is thus placed upon your shoulders, so great as has never before been placed on the shoulders of any court in the world. Carrying out the will and the vision of the father of this Trial, President Roosevelt, who passed away far too soon, it is your task, Your Honors, to lay the first cornerstone for the temple of peace of the nations of the earth. You are to lay the foundation for the attainment of the ideal he envisaged, perpetual peace. Coming generations are to continue to build on your judgment. You are to give the directives according to which those who come after us must continue to aspire to this high goal. It is not a precedent you are to establish, not an individual case you are to judge and to punish the guilty men according to your judgment, but you are to lay down the fundamental principles of a new international law which is to govern the world in the future. This alone, this task assigned to you, establishes the meaning of this Tribunal, its justification, and its high ethical inspiration, to which we yield. At the same time, however, this also includes the recognition that the verdict to be established by you in regard to these defendants is not a verdict in the ordinary meaning of the word; it is not merely a judge's sentence pronounced on behalf of individual defendants and their deeds; but it is the new fundamental law itself, the source from which all future courts are to draw, in accordance with which your verdict is to be established.
It is, therefore, your task, Your Honors, to interpret the provisions of the Charter according to their principle and to establish in practice and for all time to come, the rules and principles of the Charter. The responsibility which you thereby assume before history puts two fundamental questions to you, the answers to which are all the more complicated because the legal concept of conspiracy incorporated in the Charter and forming the legal foundation of the Indictment is a concept foreign not only to the majority of peoples, especially the European peoples, but also because in some countries it owes its existence to its previous application to the fight against common crimes and offenses against the legal provisions governing domestic affairs and against those alone. The postulate necessarily follows that the method of interpretation and the application of this legal concept in international law must never be the same as that employed in the fight against common bands of gangsters, guilty of a breach of the social order of a particular country and of the laws promulgated for its protection. The latter ordinarily involves individuals of a more or less amoral disposition, who act for reasons of selfishness, lust
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for money, or other unethical instincts which place them outside the existing social order. In the last analysis, however, and particularly when wars of aggression are involved, international law does not deal with individual statesmen but much rather with whole peoples. The age of absolutism, where the will of the ruler alone determined the destiny and acts of a people, has definitely passed. In this age it may be said that one cannot imagine any avowed dictator or omnipotent despot who can rule without or against the will, or at least the tacit approval of the nation, at least its majority. And so-it is necessary to make this known to the world-invisible behind the defendants, there sits also in the prisoners' dock our poor beaten and tortured German people, because it placed upon a pedestal and selected as leader a man who led it to its doom. From this follows of necessity the inescapable demand that, contrary to the concept of a conspiracy applied in regard to ordinary criminals, application of the concept of conspiracy applied in international law must first proceed gate and examine how it happened-how it could happen that an intellectual, high ranking people, a people who gave so much to the world in terms of cultural and spiritual gifts as the German people did-that it could hail a man such as Hitler, follow him into the bloodiest of all wars, giving him the best it had. Not until you, Your Honors, have taken this into consideration and examined this question, will you be able to establish a just verdict in regard to the individual defendants themselves, with due consideration for their dissimilarity-a judgment which will stand the test of history. Because of such reasoning and not merely by reason of my right as defense counsel of the Defendant Freiherr van Neurath, but also because of my duty as a German, I deemed it necessary to explain in mere outline the fact of Nazi domination which the world outside Germany cannot grasp; to make you visualize how it happened as a result of the effects of the Versailles Treaty and finally, because of the manner of its application, how it was bound to happen, true to historical necessity.
In view of the short amount of time made available to me by the decision of the Tribunal, I must refrain from reading that part of my final pleading; but I express my definite hope that the Tribunal will subsequently go to the trouble of reading it themselves and that they will consider its arguments when pronouncing the verdict.
After the world-embracing battles of her great emperors, after the death of the last of them, the Emperor }3arbarossa, the royal sovereignty perished and consciousness of national unity became more and more lost; the ancient hydra of dissension among the German tribes raised its multiple serpent's head. On the decayed ruins of the German throne a new world of particularized territorial powers came into being. Spiritual and temporal princes, free cities, counts and knights Loomed in the course of the following centuries a shapeless confused mosaic of incomplete greater, smaller, or infinitesimal state structures, which
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undermined and strangled all desire for a unified state and nation. Princes, freemen, and peasants all chose their own individual ways. Particularistic and selfish interests of the different classes frustrated all attempts to classify politically the abundance of creative power within the German nation, and to reconstruct in some form the decayed unity of state and nation. In addition to all this an event occurred at the turn of the fifteenth century which was perhaps the greatest tragedy in the history of the German nation: The Lutheran Reformation, born of the deepest origins of German religious feeling and thought. This Reformation however, instead of uniting the various German races instead of arousing this nation split into hundreds of small parts to a common ideal and to a consciousness of national unity, brought a still greater and deeper schism, the schism of faith, to this poor dismembered people under the rule of an emperor who, though powerful again, not only failed to understand German mentality or the Reformation born of it, but even felt hostile toward it.
For Charles V attempted to smite this Reformation, which he considered heretical and sinful, with fire and sword and thus led the German people into the darkest hour of their history. In the subsequent wars of religion, Germans turned their weapons against Germans, forgetting their kinship to such a point that they called in foreign nations to aid them against their own German fellow countrymen and tore each other to pieces side by side with them. With the end of the Thirty Years War the helplessness of the German nation was finally settled, It became the plaything of its neighbors' desires, the welcome battlefield of foreign nations; and all this occurred at the very time when the English people under the leadership of their gifted Queen Elizabeth, and shortly afterward under Oliver Cromwell and under a Parliament which, freely elected by its people, was possessed of a sense of responsibility, laid the foundation necessary for its ultimate position as a world power, at a time when the French people, led by their energetic and powerful kings after the defeat of a feudal aristocracy, had long been welded together into full unity and into a nation. In Germany, however, every German purpose became benumbed. Through poverty caused by the long wars all national consciousness vanished, not only in the political but also in the psychological sphere, even to the very language. The people embroidered their ancient language with foreign idioms, and the great philosophers and poets wrote in French or Latin. Thus, in the petty troubles of a miserable existence, the mass of the German people lost its last recollections of the sovereignty of their Reich.
Unfamiliar and no longer understood, the Gothic cathedrals tower up in this changed world as witness as of the past glory of the German burghers. Each lived only for himself, for his poor petty existence. Was it to be wondered at that on such miserable soil, under the rays emanating from the admired French monarchy, an absolutism developed in almost all German courts, down to the smallest domains, which enabled these more or less important gentlemen to copy the Roi Soleil of France? Only when, at the beginning of the 19th century, Germany in alliance with other countries rose against the foreign rule of Napoleon, did the Germans reawaken to consciousness of their racial community by these wars of liberation.
After eight centuries the slumbering desire for a revival of the ancient glory of a unified and honored empire of the German nation in a new form was rekindled. But only some 75 years ago, after decades of strife and disappointment, did this ardent dream become reality, so that a unified German Reich could arise in a new form. In this hour though, for the first time in its history, the German people was taken into consultation by the new Constitution, to advise and collaborate in the direction of this new Reich. Together with this fight, however, the common responsibility for the administration of the State was also imposed. However enthusiastically and joyfully this new right was received, the people could hardly judge at once of the eminent seriousness of this duty. Was it not demanding too much that a people, the bulk of whom had for centuries been excluded from any participation in the leadership of its country and its fate, should learn in a few years that which others had taken centuries to learn gradually, something which was to be an essential part of its existence, thought, acts, and feeling?
One of the leading men in the oldest democracy in the world, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, in his speech in the House of Commons on 11 March 1935, declared democracy to be the most difficult system of government, which can only function if the entire population is able to think intelligently
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and to appreciate well-considered opinions and is not liable to be led away by propaganda and sentiment. This is the fundamental difference between the Germans and the other western peoples, which cannot be erased by any dialectics and which explains to a great part the developments of the last seven decades. An entire population, however gifted and clever it may be, cannot in a period of 50 years be trained and fully educated in a sphere previously unknown. By experience alone, and even then only gradually and slowly, are political intelligence, sense, and instinct evolved together with a gift of perception of fight and the understanding of cohesion in political and social life, and likewise the knowledge that each individual is himself responsible for what is done for and in the name of his people. Inexorably the continuous action of the past in the present is reflected in the history of those nations which do not believe in this historical law nor wish to do so.
Inevitably, the primary consequence of nonparticipation and lack of coresponsibility in the government for hundreds of years by the German people was the belief that it could give its confidence to the men charged with the leadership, the more so if such leadership, particularly in matters of foreign policy, was in the hands of a statesman like Bismarck, under whom the young Reich incontestably flourished in all spheres, particularly in its economic life and under whom it enjoyed a blessed period of peace such as it had not experienced for a long time. Trusting and inexperienced as they still were, the German people believed it could also meet the successor of a Bismarck with the same confidence.
But even if in the sphere of domestic politics some opposition was gradually voiced against the new policy, the bulk of the German people was firmly convinced that in foreign policy the new leaders would not divert from Bismarck's peaceful trend. In its lack of experience and faced with the secret diplomacy generally followed, the German people were not in a position to judge whether the policy followed by their leader was fight or wrong. It therefore never occurred to the bulk of the German people, nor could it occur to them, that the policy followed by Bismarck's successors might lead to war. To the people itself the idea of war was quite remote. It had no other wish, no other longing, but to work peacefully for the domestic development of its recently created empire, and to live for the growth of its prosperity. There was nothing beyond this wish that would have been worth the blood of its sons.
The nation was therefore utterly disconcerted when the first World War broke out and could not understand how other countries could possibly believe it to bear the exclusive guilt for this war after its Kaiser's ostensible exertions for the preservation of peace. With the greatest seriousness, inspired by the most sacred conviction that it was now a matter of defending home, wife, and child against the unprovoked attacks of hostile powers, it took to arms. And for the same motive, the German nation has never, even after the cot/apse of its powers of resistance through enemy superiority, to this day understood or in any way sanctioned the admission of exclusive war guilt imposed upon it by the Peace Treaty of Versailles.
Consequently it did not feel and, to this day, does not feel this treaty to have been a real peace treaty, but a peace dictate imposed upon it by the victorious powers, a dictate which, to it, is not the expiation of a wrongdoing it committed, the kindling of a war, but solely the expression of the purpose to destroy the unity and freedom it had reconquered only a few decades back, and its existence as a nation and a state.
Again this poor people stood on the brink of the abyss; all that it had longed for and dreamed of during long centuries had finally become reality a few decades ago, and now everything threatened to crumble once more into rubble and ruin. Again it stood, as centuries before, at the bier of what it possessed; again it stood in danger of losing its existence as a people and a nation and of falling back again into the misery of earner times. Only one thing was left to it at this time; and that was the consciousness of its national character, of its solidarity as a nation. And it is a veritable page of honor in the history of German social democracy that it Marie this consciousness, this feeling of solidarity, its rallying cry, inscribed it on its banner, preserved and strengthened it in the great masses of the people and opposed with all its influence the separatism which was once again rising, and so helped to preserve the unity of the Reich and of the nation.
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Although it still was not enough, because the Treaty of Versailles faced it as a terrible danger. This treaty put the axe to the roots of its material existence, to its economic life, and cast it for generations into an economic bondage which was bound to suffocate it. I do not need to review these stipulations to you in detail, they are history. After a short time they worked to the detriment of the entire world, thus proving themselves untenable. But whom did the German people have to regard as the principal author of this treaty? Franc" alone, who thereby once more believed she could perpetuate the policy applied toward Germany since Richelieu of keeping Germany down, if not of annihilating her for an time. That was the desire and dream of a nation which proclaimed to the world the Rights of Man, the same nation which 130 years before had written on its banners the motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
To an this was added the internal revolution, which had deprived it of any natural and given leadership which might have been able to show it the way to combat threatening chaos. AU by itself, without any help, without any experience of its own, it had to create for the first time a new nation, or rather the foundation stone for such a nation-truly a gigantic task for a people which up to this moment, in its entire past, had always been led, to which a right of set/-determination and therewith a duty of coresponsibility, had only been given 50 years ago and then but- to a modest extent. Was it astonishing that this task should overtax its strength, that this nation, which had not yet gained a firm political tradition and was torn internally in many directions, soon became the victim and playground of a variety of prophets who promised it salvation in an possible ways?
So it came about, as it was bound to come about, that a constitution was given to It in Weimar which did not suit either the actual circumstances or the character of the German people or the requirements of a strong state leadership, a constitution which did not create a real democratic people's state but only a party state, in which not the people but rather the parties were made the supporters of the state, in which merely the mechanical counting of the votes was assured, while it was left to the parties to settle the conflicts resulting from this. The inevitable result was an infinity of parties which fought with every means for the votes of the masses and thereby created an unlimited splitting of the people into a multitude of components, an fighting tooth and nail among each other, which paralyzed any strong and consistent state leadership from the beginning and indeed rendered it impossible.
Right here, in the conflict of interests and allegiances of the parties struggling with one another for supremacy in the state, lies one of the tragic causes that explain the birth of National Socialism and the subsequent seizure of power in 1933. For the history, the rise, and the fan of re-emerging nations is, determined by eternal laws which develop and direct events with inexorable logic. Just as without the great French Revolution a Napoleon would never have been possible, so without the basic weakness of the Weimar Constitution there could have been no Hitler. Under such conditions, which became increasingly difficult, the German people took up the fight against the destruction which threatened them.
Who refuses or fails to understand that they had become the football of innumerable parties which fought for their votes, who, out of egotistical interests, destroyed one government after another and thereby made any strong, unified state leadership impossible? With admirable courage and under exertion of their utmost strength, the German people, nevertheless, had taken up and carried on this almost hopeless struggle, had tried to fulfill the reparations, imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, which were bleeding them white. They had even accepted the inflation, which had left its imprint on their economic life; and for the sake of the existence, above an, of their middle classes and to avoid the selling out of their properties through foreign capital, had persevered and conquered it.
But all their efforts, their labors, their privations were ultimately of no avail. Their standard of living became lower and lower, more and more factories had to close their doors, sales to foreign countries increased more and more, for a piece of bread and butter more and more items of the national wealth passed into foreign hands, unemployment increased more and more, and finally almost lo percent of the entire population were without employment and food.
And why ail this? The Western Powers, primarily France, instead of mitigating in their own interests the impossible conditions imposed upon Germany
by the Versailles Treaty, used every opportunity to weaken Germany's situation still more and to make it more difficult, to enslave the German people still more. I would only remind you, above an, of the occupation of the Ruhr territory by France in 1922, which was the reason why, in spite of superhuman efforts, Germany was not in a position to meet the fun amount of the reparations imposed upon her.
Already in 1920, French troops had entered the Main province on the doubtful grounds that, while subduing the Communist revolt in the Ruhr area, the Reichswehr had entered demilitarized territory. And in February 1921, at a London conference, new payment conditions were laid down for Germany as the result of a delivery of reparation coal to not quite the full amount, due to a Communist revolt in the Ruhr area. When again these simply could not be met by Germany to the full extent, Allied troops crossed the lower Rhine and occupied the bridgeheads on the left bank of the Rhine. When on 3 May 1921 the ultimatum, which had been prepared in London, was delivered in Berlin by the victor nations, whereby the payment of 132,000 million marks in 37 years, and a quarter of the German export to England and France was imposed on Germany, French and British troops already stood prepared to march in in order to enforce this ultimatum.
In view of the coming plebiscite concerning the d vision of the Upper Silesian industrial sector, the German Government had no choice but to accept this ultimatum at a time when 30,000 minion marks were required to produce a 1,000 million in foreign gold currency. And as, after the division of Upper Silesia between Germany and Poland to Germany's disadvantage, the year 1921 came to a close, Germany came under the domination of the so-called Reparations Commission, which not only dictated to Germany a number of new taxes but, moreover, also demanded at once a payment of 280 million gold marks.
From the Economic Conference which met at Genoa on 10 April 1922, Germany hoped in vain for deliverance. From the start France rejected any discussion of reparations and an other economic problems. It was soon to become clear to the whole world what France was aiming at by this uncompromising attitude. Weakened by the measures of the Western Powers, the loss of the Upper Silesian industrial area, and the vertiginous devaluation of the German mark, the German Government in 1922 saw itself twice forced to request delay in the payments. It had, however, to pay for this delay by the acceptance of a financial control by the Western Powers and by impotently standing by as the Germans were evacuated and driven away from Alsace-Lorraine by France, their property being confiscated by France. And when on 15 August 1922 the German term policy finally collapsed, the German Reich could no longer meet fully even deliveries in kind, so that in December 1922 the Reparations Commission believed it could establish the fact that during the year Germany, due to insufficient deliveries of lumber and telegraph poles, had been guilty of a deliberate misdemeanor. France seized the opportunity of this ostensibly deliberate misdemeanor to introduce the fight to impose sanctions.
In contrast to England and Italy, who did not insist on territorial pledges she permitted her troops to cross the Rhine and occupied the Ruhr area. Her dream had come true. Germany, completely without rights, had collapsed and was at her mercy. How does this open desire for destruction, which no flower of rhetoric can deny, compare with the community spirit, so strongly emphasized today by the French Prosecution, with humanity and the teachings of the Christian faith? Your Honors, I was forced to bring an these historical events once more into the open in order to show you how the soil was prepared in which grew the seed of National Socialism. Indeed, that seed had inevitably to grow, and was only recognized as dragon's seed when it was already too late.
Almost simultaneously with the establishment of the Stahlheim in northern Germany, the German Labor Patty was established in southern Germany, which Hitler joined as its seventh member during 1919, immediately assuming leadership. Both were derived from the war experiences of a million soldiers and the comradeship which had been carried to the highest level during the war, both had inscribed on their banner the national idea, the re-establishment of a new national state. While the Stahlhelm was satisfied in the main with the promotion of national and socialist tradition amongst its members, which soon numbered hundreds of thousands, and did not aim at party-political goals, the German Labor Party under Hitler's leadership soon extended its aim very much further, thus making itself the political exponent and mouthpiece of a national as well as a socialist aim,
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namely, that of bringing about an internal regeneration of the entire nation by blending the national idea with the social idea in approaching the problems of the day.
This aim was based on the conviction that at some time, as a result of Germany's collapse, there would gradually change in the social structure of the German people and, further, that a re-establishment of the Reich would only be possible ff a really uniform racial community necessary for this were created on a national and social basis. According to Hitler's conviction, this was only possible ff socialism were based on racial community and vice versa and both were welded into one unity. He therefore gave the German Labor Party the program which is only too wed known, while at the same time changing its name to National Socialist German Labor Party. This program was national in its demands for liberation from the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles and for the establishment of a new unified German Reich, socialist in those demands which, with special emphasis on the value of labor, included above an the discontinuance of an income without work or effort, nationalization of certain industries and the resources of the soil, as well as abolition of the so-called servitude of interest.
As soon as this program had been set up, there red??ated unmistakably from it the desire and win, slumbering in millions of Germans, for a rebirth of Germany out of an her misery, for a new national and social freedom. And in connection with this program there is something which I must strictly and definitely establish once and for all before the whole world. It is not true that the much discussed Point 2 of this program, which demands the setting aside of the Treaty of Versailles, contains or contemplates a threat of force. The assertion of the Prosecution to that effect lacks all justification. Nowhere in this program was a single word said regarding force. Or does the Prosecution recognize a threat of force in the reference to the principle of a nation's fight of self-determination.
No wonder that this program, which, more than an other Party programs, embodied the wishes and demands of the time, gradually met with approval and exercised a greater and greater attraction. And it was the ever-recurring burdens and reverses imposed on the German people by the Western Powers, above an the occupation of the Suer area, which more and more enhanced this attraction. For particularly the occupation of the Ruhr territory, which the entire German nation regarded as oppression and which had brought forth this courageous opposition, permitted the awareness of national unity to flare up in all its brilliance for the first time since 1918. A great tragedy Yes in the fact that the Western Powers did not recognize this first flaring up of a new German national consciousness, did not understand this symptomatic sign, and showed no interest at an. Who knows if, by a gradual loosening of Germany's economic and political shackles on the part of the Western Powers, the development of things would not have taken an altogether different course; and the world might have been spared the bloodiest of all wars!
But instead of loosening their grip, the Powers tightened it more and more during the following years. Under the pressure of the Western Powers the well known Dawes Plan was drawn up in 1924, which changed the German reparation obligations into negotiable papers and thus compelled Germany to contract enormous loans abroad against the possibility that the Reichsbank might be emancipated from the Reich and placed under the supervision of a special commission against the transformation of the Reichsbahn into a joint stock company and the mortgaging of debts, taxes, and other securities, in order to be able to comply with her reparation obligations. This, however, in face of the impoverishment of Germany due to inflation and to the enormous sewing of German national property to foreign countries, together with the necessity of having to pay interest on these loans abroad, meant a still greater enslavement and subjection of German economy, of German activity in all spheres, under the rule of foreign countries and foreign capital. And the Ruhr area remained occupied.
In 1925 the Dawes Plan was followed by the Locarno Pact. The latter, which was in the first place a political insurance scheme of international finance against the risk contained in the granting of loans to Germany, indeed in a certain sense connected the interests of the Western Powers with Germany's economic payment obligations and compelled them to extend a respite to Germany and also gave her, through her more or less compulsory admission to the League of Nations, the basis for her eventual struggle for the recognition of equal fights; it meant how ever, on the other hand, the repetition of the discrimination against Germany
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by the repeated recognition of all military and political obligations imposed upon her at Versailles. Meanwhile German economy indeed appeared to flourish as a consequence of the capital pouring into Germany under the Dawes Plan, this economic prosperity, however, turned out after a short time to be sham prosperity. Another period of tremendous unemployment set in, one factory after another was forced to close down again, the standard of living constantly decreased, poverty became worse and worse.
The distress of wide circles of the population and the impossibility of complying with the German payment obligations became constantly more obvious. Instead of helping Germany, however, the Western Powers submitted a new plan at this moment of extreme distress, the so-called Young Plan, which indeed brought with it the evacuation of the Ruhr, although no alteration of the discriminating conditions of the Versailles Treaty, but the imposition of Immense yearly reparation payments up to the year 1966. In order to protect Germany from a catastrophe, the German Government was compelled to accept this plan.
Not only a complete revolution of the economic structure, but also a revolution of the sociologic structure was taking place within the German people under pressure of all these events attended by their difficulties. What had already been proclaimed in World War I, and had found a definite shape during the years of the inflation, now became conspicuous and grew into a decisive factor of further development. The majority among the independent middle class and the larger part of the bourgeoisie were gradually becoming proletarian while the working classes partly sank more and more to the bottom of the social order because of increasing unemployment; property was held only by a small and dwindling part of the people. Through this revolution in social conditions and class contrasts the difference between the bourgeoisie and the working class was practically eliminated and a large community with a common destiny grew out of the distress of the times, in which all parts of the people found themselves united.
This fusion of the upper and lower classes, which had hitherto been separated from one another, produced a state of mind in which the concept of racial community was innate and the inner contrasts and distinctions of which were conditioned more by participation in politics than attitude to the latter. These contrasts, this contrasting attitude toward pot/tics culminated in two ideas, that of nationalism and that of international Communism. And here Hitler, and the NSDAP with him, began that struggle for the soul of the German people in which he took a resolute and purposeful stand in the struggle for the national idea against the international communist idea. In this struggle, which was started by him immediately after the occupation of the Ruhr with an propagandistic possibilities and by fully exploiting his indisputably extraordinary, suggestive influence on the masses, it was precisely the Western Powers, with their policy of confining the German people in ever closer bondage and driving it into ever greater distress, who furnished him his keenest weapon.
With this weapon he succeeded in rekindling the national idea in more and more circles of the German people, so that in the Reichstag elections of 14 September 1930 the NSDAP was already able to figure in the Reichstag as the second strongest party. These elections showed two things of singular significance: First of all, the will of constantly expanding circles of the German people to re-establish its honor and equality in the council of the nations, the will to live of a people who for 12 years had been suppressed and humiliated in its most elementary feelings and had been gagged and threatened in its existence. However, they also showed that a large part of the people had become tired of the eternal party strife in the Reichstag and the Government and were longing for a leader to lead them out of the threatening chaos, and that this large part of the people regarded Hitler as the leader.
However once again the Western Powers faded to recognize this signal. They forgot, or did not want to acknowledge, that the fundamental physical law that every living force is subjected to pressure without an outlet, will explode the shell around it, also applies to the life of the nations, because the nations also represent a living force. They forgot this, although in their own history they had excellent examples for the correctness of this thesis: the French people in their great Revolution, the English in Cromwell. Instead of obeying this law, they continued without change in their previous policy. They replied to the elections of 14 September 1930 by withdrawing the credits granted to Germany, and France
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obstructed all attempts of the German Government obtain any kind of mitigation in the economic and political fields.
In view of the limitation of time for their final pleas, to which the Defense have been subjected, I must desist from describing the results of this policy more closely; and I must limit myself to the statement that the need of Germany became constantly greater, while conditions in Germany were gradually becoming intolerable. No one who has not personally lived through it can quite imagine what conditions were like inside Germany at that time, and what appalling distress what atrocious pressure assayed her. Germany at that time was literally suspended over the abyss because, in addition to the struggle for her very existence, there was the struggle for the inner change of form of the people, the struggle over the question whether the majority of the German people was waling to surrender itself to socialism on a national basis or a millennial international Communism.
To this question the German people first of all replied by reselecting Reich President Van Hindenburg on 13 March 1932 and finally, when even a man like Braning no longer succeeded in forming a capable government majority from the parties of the Reichstag, by the Reichstag elections of 6 November 1932, from which the NSDAP emerged by far the strongest party of the Reich. Almost one-half of the nation had thereby uniformly expressed that it was tired of eternal party disunity, that it longed for a strong leader who was to save the German people from an Its want, to tear it away from the abyss, and to lead it toward a new future.
Since on the other hand, however, the Communists also had achieved a great success in the elections and prepared for an open battle for power, Hindenburg saw himself confronted by the choice of either appointing Hitler Reich Chancellor as leader of the strongest party or of proclaiming military dictatorship. The latter, however, would have meant civil war. After a severe inner struggle, Hindenburg, in accordance with the democratic basic principles to which he was pledged, decided to appoint Hitler Reich Chancellor and thereby saved the German people from a civil war.
Thus, and in no other way, did the seizure of power in the German Reich through Hitler and the NSDAP take place. History in its logical development was uncompromising as always. The reason for Hitler's appearance and his rise to power lies after all in the Versailles Treaty, which put the German people into intolerable chains which no people on earth could endure in the long run. It was the tragedy of Germany and of an Europe that the victor powers of Versailles refused to consider this, and instead of recognizing the unnatural condition which had been established in Versailles with its unavoidable results, proceeded to aggravate them more and more in the course of the years. Let it be said here in all frankness that it is not only the German people who bear the guilt for Hitler's appearance but, if in history one can refer to any guilt at an, to an equal extent the effects of the Versailles Treaty. Ail nations on earth, as long as they harbored a spark of the will to live and strength of life within themselves, have always in days of the deepest need and dishonor produced men who, chosen by history, have risen to be leaders out of such misery by their very personality and by their ability to carry away the masses. The great tragedy of the German people lies in the fact that here was a man who did not spring from the authentic and genuine German race, did not incorporate in himself the true character, the true disposition of the German people, but was a stranger whose origin and descent is still wrapped in mystery. But at that time, in those fateful days, he must have appeared as the only one who could lead the German people from chaos to a new life, and who through the circumstances and the will of the people obtained the force and power to do so. The power of attraction of Hitler on the masses was all the greater since behind him stood the towering shape and nimbus of Reich President Von Hindenburg, who had already almost become a myth. But it must be pointed out with emphasis, in the interest of truth and for the honor of the German people, that at the first new elections after the assumption of power by Hitler the Party did not succeed in obtaining the absolute majority in the Reichstag, rather that about half the electors still followed the democratic spirit of their old parties, which proves how deeply rooted the democratic idea already was in the German people.
Hindenburg's authority also backed up Hitler's governmental actions which now followed, which from his point of view aimed logically and consistently at helping his state leadership to lend the maximum vigor and strength to his fight
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against the forces of decomposition still in the country, as wed as in the struggle for economic and poetical freedom. Without such strong and uniform state stewardship this struggle was not feasible. This was proved by the experiences of the postwar period. It was therefore not only a consequence resulting from the personality of Hitler, even though he did endeavor to collect for his state stewardship an the forces inherent in the people for the approaching fight for their existence and then to agree, with the consent of the President of the Reich through the democratic Constitution of a freely elected Reichstag, to the so-called Enabling Act of 23 March 1933, whereby he obtained the sanction of the Cabinet to the so-called Conformity Act of 7 April 1933. Both laws served Hitler s ambition to enable the Government to enlist all the necessary national strength in the coming fight for existence. The law concerning the unity of State and Party, as well as the dissolution of an other parties, served the same purpose. As a result of existing conditions all this was due to the demands to eliminate all internal disturbances and thereby give the Reich Government a free hand in its fight against economic distress, and at the same time to regain for Germany a fitting place in the council of nations. This demand explains also the establishment of the Secret State Police to deal with the combating and ruminating of underground Communist agitation.
The majority of the German people, above an the youth, lacked, besides any experience whatsoever, also the faculty to judge at that time the future extent and possible development of these measures. Above all it was the youth which in its distress rejoiced in Hitler as the longed-for leader and followed him with blind confidence as the man who was to deliver it from an unnatural shackles and all shame. Gerhart Hauptmann, the well-known German poet and great authority on national traits, who died recently, wrote a sentence in what is perhaps his profoundest psychological book Der Narrin Christo (The Foolin Christ):
"Nature's greatest social unifier is always a common image of phantasy as is wed known to those who wish to establish an orderly unit out of a multitude of people. Such state-building oppressors and dominating types make use of those men who, endowed with a fanatical imagination, believe in, further, and carry out their dreams, and thereby erect for the masses a common shrine for which, for long periods of time, no sacrifice is too costly."
How much more must the truth of this quotation hold good with a nation which, as I have attempted to show, throughout its entire history has always been accustomed to be led, which practically never directed its own fate, which for 15 years had again and again been disappointed and had had to lose an hope that the other states would come to its aid. All the more did it approve this strength of the state leadership since it was tired of the constant party connects and, undisturbed by further internal fights and upsets, only desired to devote itself to the re-establishment of its economic existence: In its blind confidence, it had as yet not recognized that through government measures it could in future itself be placed in shackles, that it could itself be deprived of the possibility of taking a stand against a state leadership which was repugnant to its innermost feeling. At first confidence in Hitler was still confirmed and strengthened by the undeniable fact that Hitler succeeded in restarting the economy and banishing the specter of unemployment, for in the short span of one year Hitler had already succeeded in giving work and bread again to almost 2 mutton unemployed. And if these successes were partly made possible by recommencing armament and other public works, he did not promote any of the formerly somewhat belligerent desires and impulses of the German people, but met only a craving for military spectacles which had been present in the German people since olden times, together with a certain inferiority complex. General Smuts recognized this absolutely correctly in his speech before the Royal Institute of International Affairs on 12 November 1934, when he said:
"We are continuously told what is going on on the opposite side of the Rhine, on the subject of the secret armaments. It probably is nothing else but the consequence of an inferiority complex. It is not real militarism, but these are military stimulants for the masses. This wild behavior creates a blessed feeling of satisfaction and relief in those who consider themselves inferior or humiliated by their neighbors across the Rhine." So the German people enjoyed the military rights offered to them, not out of the belligerent impulses attributed to them by the Prosecution or even from
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a wad for aggression dormant in them, but simply because of joy in the spectacle and out of an instinctive feeling which the founder of modern historical research has expressed as follows:
"The national consciousness of a great people demands a suitable position in the world. Conditions abroad do not form an empire of convenience, but of essential power. The respect of a state will always correspond to the development of its interior powers, and each nation will resent not seeing itself in the place befitting it."
And now these people, who had languished under this instinctive feeling of inferiority up to the seizure of power by Hitler, saw how suddenly, as if by magic forces, one discriminating chain of the Treaty of Versailles after the other dropped under Hitler's leadership, and how Germany was about to regain her place in the family of nations, which she had had to forego for such a long time. Does it not actually almost resemble a miracle how the foreign policy conducted by my client succeeded in cleverly exploiting the foreign poetical constellations and incidents which occurred in the period of the following years, and how it succeeded by peaceful ways and means in removing, one after the other, an the regulations of the Versailles Treaty which gagged Germany in her foreign poetical position; the Western Powers who had up to that time insisted upon exact compliance with the most unimportant regulations of the Treaty of Versailles, now tolerated everything quietly and could not rise above protests on paper. Is it not actually almost grotesque that from 1933 on the same people who in former years had retaliated against the slightest nonfulfillment of the obligations of the reparations by a democratically governed Germany with military means, like the occupation of the bridgeheads on the right side of the Whine and the occupation of the Ruhr area, suddenly reacted only by meaningless protests to measures on the part of Germany which they presumably considered violations of the most important treaties, like armaments and the remilitarization of the Rhineland, and that they did not even think of offering serious resistance? But did this not also necessarily tend to increase Hitler's national popularity his respect among the large masses, their readiness to follow him and their faith in him, and to make the people blind toward the measures applied within the country, which were gradually becoming more and more severe, toward the gradual throttling of cultural, artistic, and intellectual liberty, the free expression of opinion, and criticism, and toward the anti-Semitic measures. Even the bloody incidents of 30 June i934 were hardly able to affect this attitude, and in some respects resulted in the contrary. For after the extremely clever explanation which Hitler gave them, these things could not but appear to the people as a purely internal affair of the Party which served to purge the Party from impure elements, and were not only bound to strengthen confidence in him, but also to remove any doubts and misgivings about him and his authoritarian state leadership, which had already arisen here and there. And the fact that the murder of high-ranking generals did not arouse any reaction whatsoever in the people actually only proves how little the attitude of the people was militaristic. Although in this Trial the Prosecution reproaches the entire German people with such emphatic indignation for not having revolted and risen up unanimously against this restraint and enslavement, the excesses and frightfulness of the concentration camps, against the persecution of the Jews, the following must be made clear with all emphasis: The gagging of cultural and intellectual liberty primarily and chiefly affected the upper class intelligentsia, which were relatively weak in number in relation to the entire population, and it was therefore hardly felt by the total sum of the people, because on the other hand Hitler took care to a very great extent to satisfy the needs of the masses by popular and inexpensive, in many cases free, theaters and movie performances and concerts, by the presentation of public dramas, and by other arrangements. What consequences the gagging of the intellectual upper class Was bound to have, was not and could not be readily realized by the great masses, because they were kept completely busy with their work and the manifold other diversions.
But with respect to the concentration camps and the cruelties committed in them, I consider it my duty to state once and for all, for the honor of the German people: It is not true that the great majority of the German people, up to the last period of the war, had any knowledge about what was going on in the concentration camps. An assertion to the contrary can only be made by someone who has no idea of the actual conditions in Germany, about the cunningly devised system of keeping conditions in the concentration camps, and even
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the existence of most of them, a secret. After all, how could it have been possible for larger groups of the people to have learned about the conditions in the camps? The Prosecution itself has tried to prove here that only a very small percentage of concentration camp prisoners were set free again, and those who were set free had to bind themselves in writing, under threat of capital punishment, to keep absolutely spent about their experiences during their imprisonment. They knew that if they violated these obligations and the Gestapo became informed of the fact they would forfeit their lives. I have myself been faced in my practice with a number of liberated concentration camp prisoners, but I have not been able to induce any one of them to speak and it was the same with many others. And if one or other of them- did ten anything, his audience was careful not to repeat it, because they knew that they incurred inevitable arrest and internment in a concentration camp if the Gestapo should become informed of the fact. When in the course of the war particulars concerning concentration camps slowly transpired, most German cities were already under the hand of guided bombs. It is admittedly only too human that faced with the horror of daily air raids the populace should have harbored no thoughts for the fate of concentration camp internees, but rather for their own fate and that of their kinsfolk, and for sheer life, for existence. And lastly, let me ask you, Gentlemen, who should have revolted, who should have risen up with violence against the domination of Hitler and the Party? Since the outbreak of war, since the autumn of 1939, the flower of the male population was under arms and fighting a hard battle at the front. A revolution cannot be made by children, women, old people, and more or less disabled or feeble men. And who was going to take the initiative, who was going to lead it? No revolution has ever yet been carried out by leaderless masses. Always and everywhere there must be leadership to guide and lead the masses and manage them. A levee en masse, especially when undertaken by an unarmed populace against an armed and organized power, is as doomed to remain a hopeless issue in the internal sphere as it is in war. The hopelessness of a popular rising or revolt is clearly conveyed by the fact that the conspiracy of 20 July 1944 faded, long prepared as it was with every conceivable precautionary measure, by real leaders enjoying wide popular support. The fact of this conspiracy alone, however, proves one thing: that the French prosecutor, M. De Menthon, is not right when, in his very brilliant and interesting address on 11 January 1946, he represented the abhorred National Socialist ideology and its glorification of race and German racial superiority over every other nation on earth as the expression and supreme product of the German mind and of its true nature, and names Fichte and Hegel as heralds of this development: Fichte, one of the greatest and noblest champions of Christianity, Christian ethics, and morals, is worlds removed from this National Socialist ideology. And how can anyone so much as name such an ideology in the same breath with Beget, whose philosophical system was perhaps the most idealistic of all systems, who saw in the state the union of every moral force and purpose, to whom the state appeared as the materialization of the notion of morality in a manner reminiscent of the antique ideal, as something divine on earth. And the French prosecutor forgets that it was the German nation which produced a Kant, whose imperishable doctrine of the categorical imperative, except for Christian ethics, is probably the profoundest and most august expression of the moral principle of all times. And he is mistaken when he brings Nietzsche, the unique thinker who stands alone in the whole German spiritual universe, and his longed-for superman, into any relation whatsoever to the ideology of the National Socialist leaders. He also is worlds removed from them. No, Gentlemen, these spiritual heroes of the German nation have nothing in common with Nazi ideology. The latter stands, in truth, in the sharpest contradiction to real, genuine German thought and sentiment, the real character and dispositions of the German nation and, most of all, its attitude toward the other nations of the world. For this nation has never assumed itself to be better or more august than other nations. Neither was it ever possessed by a desire to destroy other nations. It is, above an, ignorant of hatred and revenge. The great tragedy of the relations between the German and the French nations is precisely that the latter has always refused to understand that the German nation has not, like France from the war of 1870 to the World War, been possessed by the thought of revenge, nor obsessed, even after Versailles, by the reconquest of Alsace-Lorraine. The idea of Pan-Germanism, of the Greater German Empire, has never, even in the period of greatest enthusiasm for Hitler, stirred any echo in the German nation despite the undeniably kindred
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example offered by the Pan-Slavic doctrine and its enthusiastic reception by the Slav populations And these very ideologies, preached by the spiritual leaders of the Party, immediately determined and fortified the opposition, first in the intellectual circles and classes of the German nation and then in other classes and in the very ranks of the Party, as a result of further constraints and limitations of personal freedom. For those reasons the nation in its overwhelming majority was by no means inflamed by the war initiated by Hitler in the summer of 1939. What the nation's frame of mind was like as early as the autumn of 1938, I take the liberty of Illustrating for you, Gentlemen, by a minor personal experience on 25 or 26 September 1938.
I happened, on this day, to have my car held up in a street leading to one of the large thoroughfares running south out of Berlin, because the whole street was jammed with vehicles. When I asked a common woman of the people, who happened to pass by, the reason for the traffic jam, she answered, "They are going to war down there," with such an expression of abysmal despair and horror that I was chilled. Such was the attitude of the population toward war, an attitude likewise evidenced by the fact that the departing troops were by no means hayed and cheered by enthusiastic crowds, but were gazed at with dull, frightened eyes. And if you ask me why the nation did not then rise up and revolt, you will find the explanation in what ~ have said before. As a nation accustomed to be led and to centuries of abed Once, the German nation followed once again the order of the leader which it had raised to power. As a nation slowly but surely fettered by this leadership, it had likewise no possibility of a spontaneous, unprepared and unguided uprising against its leaders. Such a contingency could only occur as the pressure of war became ever more stringent, and when conscientious men in leading positions concurred in the attempt by slow end determined work, in order to put an end to the folly of Nazi domination and resulting war, and to save the German nation from an otherwise certain catastrophe. Nevertheless, Providence denied success to the attempt. But, I repeat, the very fact of the attempt, its support by wide circles of the nation and even of the Party, definitely proves that the Nazi ideology, which clearly governed pot/tics since 1938, was neither in keeping with the real character of the German people nor with their nature, talents, soul, and mentality; neither was it engendered by them, but rather it was foreign and naturally opposed to them.
But there were not only the men connected with 20 July 1944 who had striven to do away with Hitler and the whole National Socialist domination. There were other men who were determined to reach the same goal, ff by different methods, and had already taken the first steps to that end. As you heard in witness Strohlin's testimony, the Defendant Van Neurath was one of them. How could it have been otherwise with this offspring of an old family which has given many a trustworthy civil servant to its Wurttemberg home; whose whole life, inspired by the spirit prevailing m his family home, has been filled with the most ardent patriotism and devotion to his nation, whose entire aspirations were directed toward the exclusive purpose of placing all his strength and an his power, all his talents and capacities, at the service of his nation's welfare, and to subject and, indeed, sacrifice his personal interests to it.
[A recess was taken.]
??DEVON LUDINGHAUSEN: Born as a scion of an old family which gave its small home state Wurttemberg so many loyal high government officials, the Defendant Von Neurath grew up with a simple and strict education in a parental home filled not only with a real Christian spirit and true love for mankind, but also with an ardent, devoted love for his German people and fatherland. From his tenderest age and during his entire life his thoughts and actions had implanted in him the desire and will, the holy-duty, to place all his powers, all his ability, all his gifts and capacities at the service of the welfare of his people, to subordinate and even sacrifice
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all his personal interests to this. But, and this must certainly be emphasized in this place, aside from this aspiration there was alive in him and woven into his being in an equally strong degree a deep religious feeling, love of the truth and love of mankind that made him from the beginning adverse to the use of any form of violence against his fellow men not only in his private life, in his relations with his fellow men, but which ruled rather to the same extent his entire official activity, even after the Treaty of Versailles. His acts bore the stamp of this feeling and it became the law governing his official dealings as a representative of the Reich in other countries, as well as Foreign Minister and lastly as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
Not only by his conciliatory amiability, his skill and demeanor, so understandable in a man of his origin and education' but also primarily through the love of peace and sincerity which permeated all his actions as a diplomat and statesman, he won the unlimited and sincere respect and sympathy of all people with whom he came into contact the world over, even of his political opponents. As unequivocal proof of this fact, the truth of which, Your Honors, may be confirmed by your own diplomats, it will suffice to refer to the fact that, as you know from the sworn affidavit of my client, King George V and King Edward VIII of England received the defendant in private audiences on the occasions of his presence in London in 1933 and 1935; that the British Government in the summer of 1937 and again in 1938, when he was no longer Foreign Minister, invited him to visit England for political discussions, and finally, that on his sixty-fifth birthday on 2 February 1938 the entire diplomatic corps called on him to congratulate him and to express through Monsignore Orsenigo, who at that time was doyen, its thanks and its appreciation for the reasonable and understanding manner in which he always discharged all his duties. Do you, Your Honors, credit your own diplomats and statesmen with so little knowledge of human nature, so little experience and knowledge of the world that in the course of the defendant's 6 years' activity they would not have found out, if the assertion of the Prosecution were true, that Herr Von Neurath had knowingly let himself and his good reputation be used as a covering shield by the Nazis, and that all his statements and assurances as Foreign Minister revere mere camouflage, that is to say, a deliberate deceiving of the whole world?
In this connection, it may well be pointed out as quite obvious that such old and experienced democracies as England, America, France, as well as the Vatican, had delegated to the post of Ambassador in Berlin, the most important post at that time, their cleverest and most experienced diplomats. And I am tempted to assume that the Prosecution possibly did not realize quite clearly
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what a dubious compliment they paid to their own diplomats by their assertion about the defendant, when they produce in proof of this assertion only the highly fantastic report of the American Consul Messersmith. I am moreover unshakably convinced that you, Your Honors, based on the very reason of your long judicial experience, have far too much knowledge of human nature not to see at first glance that my client, by his entire personality is absolutely incapable of such a perfidious and untruthful way of acting, let alone capable of play-acting to such an extent that for 6 long years he could have fooled the ablest and most experienced diplomats in the whole world. A man like the defendant, who for 60 years has led an honorable and absolutely decent life, would never in the world at the end of such a life have lent himself to such a disavowal and negation of all that he had so far held highest. That would be contrary to personal experience.
And on the same level stands the Prosecution's assertion that the Defendant Von Neurath, by joining and remaining in Hitler's Cabinet, served as a fifth columnist in the conservative circles of Germany for the express purpose of winning them over to National Socialism. This slandering of the defendant which, moreover, was brought forward without any attempt of proving it, is contradicted by the sworn statements of all witnesses and the affidavits submitted, which unanimously state that the resignation of the defendant from the office of Foreign Minister was viewed in just these circles with the greatest dismay and concern, because these circles considered that this withdrawal of the defendant from the Government was in itself a sign that from then on his pronounced peace policy would be replaced by another more belligerent tendency in foreign policy, which was quite rightly considered as a national calamity. For, like everybody else, they shared the conviction of Reich President Von Hindenburg that Herr Von Neurath was the exponent of the peaceful foreign policy of the Reich and the guarantor of a consistent continuation of this peace policy against any possible, undesired aggressive experiments by Hitler and the Nazi Party and that for this reason the Reich President stipulated that the defendant should remain in the Cabinet as Foreign Minister when Hitler was called to the Reich Chancellery.
This fact is confirmed beyond doubt by the sworn statements of all the witnesses heard, as well as by the carbon copy submitted by me of the letter of the witness Dr. Koepke of 2 June 1932 to Ambassador Rumelin, Neurath Document Book 1, Exhibit Number Neurath-8, and the affidavit of Baroness Hitter, Neurath Document Book 1, Exhibit Number Neurath-3.
But the latter proves also at the same time how unwillingly and after how long a struggle the defendant finally decided to accept this call and, therefore, supports the defendant's own sworn
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statement that he only decided to do so after the Reich President, whom he so highly venerated, appealed to his love for his country and reminded him of the promise he had made 2 years before not to leave him in the lurch whenever he, the Reich President, needed him.
There is certainly no need for further proof for the utter emptiness and inaccuracy of the further assertion of the Prosecution, also submitted without proof, that the defendant had used his position, his reputation, his connections, and his influence to lift Hitler and the Nazi Party into the saddle, and to help them to secure supreme power in the Reich. Therefore, I hardly need to refer again to the statements of the Defendant Goring and other witnesses, particularly Dr. Koopke, from which it appears beyond doubt that at that time there were absolutely no relations between Hitler and the Nazis and the defendant, and, therefore, even less could the defendant have taken any part in the negotiations which took place before Hitler's call to the chancellorship.
Love for his country, a strong sense of responsibility, deepest concern about the weal and woe of his people and his promise not to leave Reich President Von Hindenburg in the lurch in this time of need, these were the only reasons which moved this man to leave the post of Ambassador in London he had come to like so much, to assume the office of Foreign Minister of the Reich at that critical and fateful hour, and to accept the task assigned him by the President of the Reich to continue to guide the foreign policy of the Reich in a peaceful manner, even perhaps against the will of Hitler.
The Defendant Von Neurath can claim rightly that he carried out this grave task at all times with all his strength and with the full allegiance of his personality, even after the death of Reich President Von Hindenburg, up to the time he was forced to admit that this task was beyond his strength, that Hitler no longer let himself be influenced by him but had decided to pursue a line of foreign policy along which the defendant, owing to his inmost convictions and his personal point of view, could not follow.
Up to 5 November 1937, the date of the famous speech of Hitler to the commanders of the various branches of the Armed Forces, the Defendant Von Neurath remained at his post, in the most faithful performance of his promise to the Reich President Von Hindenburg, even after the death of the latter. By reason of this loyalty to the deceased Reich President, he endured the odium, in many cases concerning Hitler's domestic politics, of having been compelled as a member of the Reich Cabinet to allow in silence things to happen which were contrary to his own convictions, which did not agree with his views and even were in direct contradiction to them. It was not in his power to prevent them. So he was forced to be satisfied with trying as far as possible to mitigate their effects and
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consequences, as you could see from the affidavit of the Bishop Dr. Wurm, Neurath Document Book 1, Number 1, and the statements of the other witnesses heard in this connection.
The reproach of the Prosecution that he did not make such cases an excuse to lay down his office of minister, but that by remaining in office he had consciously approved and abetted them, is entirely irrelevant. The first law governing his actions was the carrying out of the duty assigned him by President Von Hindenburg, to secure the continuance of the Reich's peaceful foreign policy. He would have broken his word had he resigned his post as Foreign Minister before this was accomplished or before there was no possibility of its accomplishment. What person thinking objectively could bring himself to reproach him regarding this, or even identify him with the Nazis, as does the Prosecution?
But this attitude of the defendant, however, is the only reason why he did not refuse, as did Minister Von Eltz-Rubenach, his nomination to the rank of honorary Gruppenfuehrer of the SS in September 1937 and the presentation by Hitler of the Golden Party Badge at the cabinet session of 30 January 1937, which facts are made a reproach by the Prosecution and a proof of his alleged National Socialist sentiments. For as the statement of the Defendant Goring indicates, such a refusal by the Defendant Von Neurath, as was the case with Von Eltz-Rubenac4 would have been resented by Hitler as an act of rudeness which would without any hesitation have been answered by the immediate dismissal of the defendant. But this was just what the defendant wished to avoid, for at that time he was still in a position to carry out to the full extent the task assigned him by the President of the Reich-to be the guarantor of peace in the foreign policy of the Reich, because he was fully justified in his conviction that his influence over Hitler was still strong enough to insure his agreement with the peace policy he was then fostering.
The evidence submitted proves beyond doubt that in both cases it was not a question of actual membership of the SS and the Party, but only a matter of uniform, an external whim of Hitler in regard to the men of his retinue during Mussolini's impending visit; and secondly, it was a matter of a visible recognition for the services rendered by the defendant as Foreign Minister, which at the same time implied a proof of the unlimited agreement of Hitler with the peaceful foreign policy followed by the defendant-in other words, an entirely normal awarding of decorations as is practiced in every state. The conferring of decorations in the ordinary sense was not yet possible because at that time they did not yet exist in the Third Reich. That the defendant in both cases nevertheless expressed at once that under no circumstances did he wish to proclaim his entry or admission into the SS or the Party by accepting this decoration,
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intended by Hitler as a mark of honor, has been proved by his affidavit. Moreover, he never took the oath required of a member of the SS; he never exercised even the slightest activity in the SS and wore the SS uniform only twice in his life at Hitler's explicit request. This has also been confirmed by his affidavit.
Both cases actually concerned a personal sacrifice of the defendant to the promise he had given Hindenburg. If the Prosecution consequently believe it must infer from these two incidents a National Socialist conviction from the defendant's agreement with Hitler's ideas and his entire governmental system, it has altogether missed the mark. And the conferring of the Order of the Eagle supports the Prosecution's assertion even less. For this Order was not conferred on him nor on the Defendant Ribbentrop as a personal distinction for services rendered, but it was merely conferred on them in their positions as Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs and Reich Protector as such. This was done in order to give this Order, which was intended to be conferred on foreign personalities only, a special significance in the eyes of people abroad, which is even shown by the fact that it had to be returned by the defendant when he resigned.
The presentation of evidence, through the affidavits of all the witnesses examined in this connection, unequivocally resulted in the fact that the defendant's attitude toward the National Socialist system and its maxims were negative from the beginning to the end, and that, therefore, certain Party circles continually bore him ill will and opposed him. For these circles knew quite well that the Defendant Von Neurath, as is proved by his own statement and by those of the witnesses Dr. Koepke and Dr. Dieckhoff, energetically and successfully opposed to the last day all attempts to introduce members of the Party as officials into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in so doing, open it to Nazi influences; and that in spite of various intrigues he could not be dissuaded from his definite peace policy. On account of his inviolable sense of responsibility and his patriotism, the defendant also took upon himself this enmity and these intrigues, endeavoring only to conduct German foreign policy along those lines, which were prompted by his convictions, formed by long years of successful diplomatic activity. He was fully convinced that when he resigned his office it meant the collapse of the last bulwark against the infiltration of members of the Party and of the Nazi spirit into the Reich Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also meant that the danger of renouncing the peace policy embodied in his policies was imminent, which indeed came true on his resignation on 4 February 1938.
It was therefore for the defendant the bitterest disillusionment in his official life when he was forced to recognize in Hitler's speech on the ominous day of 5 November 1937 that all his efforts, his
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entire struggle, all his personal sacrifices during the last 5 years appeared to be in vain and that his influence with Hitler was broken, that the latter had decided to abandon him and the policy of peace and agreement advocated by him, and, if the occasion arose, to make use of military means in order to carry out his more than Utopian plans set forth in this speech. The recognition struck him like a bolt from the blue, since up to then nothing had intimated that Hitler might no longer agree on the peace policy advocated by the defendant. The heart attack which he had the next day may testify to the fact how seriously he felt this blow, which seemed to shatter all his hopes, all his efforts to protect Germany from the dangers of this foreign policy, from military entanglements, and a possible, nay probable, catastrophe.
But in consciousness of his responsibility, his burning concern regarding the future of his people, before drawing the last selfevident conclusions and resigning, he considered it his duty to try once again by a very detailed and serious conversation to dissuade Hitler from persevering in his fatal plans and intentions. Yet, having to recognize from this conversation that Hitler's decisions were unalterable, he did not hesitate for one instant to tell Hitler that he had decided under no circumstances to take part in this pernicious policy, and that for such a foreign policy Hitler must find another foreign minister. Hitler accepted his resignation by his letter of 4 February 1938.
I ask you, Gentlemen, is there a more unequivocal and clearer proof than this resignation to show the absolute inaccuracy, the entire hollowness of the charges made against my client at this Trial of having assisted or having wished to assist by his foreign policy in the planning and the preparation of wars of aggression which took place one and a half years later? Is there a more unequivocal and clearer proof of the absurdity of the application of the principles of conspiracy to the acts and deeds of statesmen and, in particular, of the defendant? Finally, is there a more unequivocal and clearer proof of the absurdity of a retrospective judgment of the policy of states, constituting as they do here one of the main bases of the whole prosecution?
All of you, Gentlemen, who are here to do justice, know from your own activity and experience at least as well as I do, how dangerous conclusions a posterior) are regarding the actions of a man, regarding the thoughts, views, and deeds of this man, several years removed in time. Tempora mutantur et nos in illis. Each of us has surely experienced the truth of this sentence more than once in his life. Convictions and views, intentions and resolutions, which we have held and carried out at a certain time, have in the course of years become changed and altered, partly because of the transformation of one's own personality, partly because of exterior
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circumstances, or change of conditions. Does one really wish to expound this thesis and draw a conclusion retrospectively, that the former views, assertions, and actions were only camouflage, and that the person already intended to do and was determined to do what he did years later under quite different circumstances? Why should you demand a different standard of a politician, a statesman? He, too, is only a human being and is subject to the same changes of ideas, opinions, and intentions as others. He is even more acutely subject to exterior influences, exterior conditions, to certain imponderable circumstances than the ordinary man. Just one example for this: What would you say to a man who would dare to assert in earnest that Napoleon Bonaparte, when he went to Paris during the great revolution, or later on when taking over the supreme command of the French armies in northern Italy, already had the plan or even the intention of making himself in 1804 Emperor of the French and of marching on Moscow in 1812? I believe that whoever adopted this attitude would stand alone in the world. And an able dialectician with more or less apparent logic and justice could still base this opinion on the historical development of events, like the Prosecution with regard to their opinion that Hitler, at the time of his assumption of power, yes, already with the presentation of the Party program in 1920, had not only the intention but even the plan ready for conducting his later wars of aggression, and everything which Hitler and the Nazis or his collaborators did, from the very moment of the assumption of power, both in domestic and foreign politics, was the conscious preparation for those wars of aggression.
Your Honors, I believe whoever follows the Prosecution and their principle, which still stands on a very weak basis, and their retrospective consideration of things, overrates too highly the spiritual and statesmanlike abilities, not only of his satellites but also of Hitler himself. Because, after all, it is in any case already evidence of a certain mental limitation if a person, and particularly a statesman, founded his policy on the basis, as Hitler indisputably did, that the governments and statesmen of the remaining states would again and again let themselves be fooled and bluffed by the same methods, that they would again and again stand for actions which they considered to be violations of treaties, and that they would watch quietly until Hitler believed himself to be ready to attack the whole world by force of arms. And is it not all the more proof of a mental limitation if a statesman in this way underestimates the abilities, astuteness, and the weapons of his opponents as Hitler did? In addition to all this, however, there is something which must not be underestimated either; that is Hitler's desultory way of thinking and the thought processes resulting in snap decisions. I do not consider it necessary to have
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to give you any further evidence of these, as they are generally well known. Hitler, however, was also a man who did not stand for any argument or any resistance, and who on encountering obstacles which he could not remove by an emphatic word, forthwith changed his plans and intentions and made contrary decisions, the very opposite of those he had formerly cherished.
All this speaks against the intention of planning and preparing wars at the time of the seizure of power, or even in previous years, which the Prosecution have ascribed to Hitler. The impossibility of this charge is further apparent, if one considers the following: It is indisputable that Hitler not only testified his love for peace in public speeches, addresses, and diplomatic notes on several occasions from the day of the seizure of power until 1937, as can be seen from documents presented by me, but he also made positive suggestions for the practical limitation of armament of all states, including therefore Germany, from which it can be readily seen that he declared himself satisfied with a reduced land and air power in proportion to the others, which from the very beginning excluded any aggressive war against the other states. And now just suppose that one of these offers of Hider had been accepted by the remaining states, then the war of aggression which Hitler supposedly had been planning and preparing for years would never have been possible. All efforts, work, and expenses in connection with it would have been in vain. Or do you perhaps consider it possible that Hitler looked ahead and figured that his offers-would be refused, and that he only made them in this realization? Then he would really be an almost demoniacal genius, a prophetic seer of the first rank. Do you really wish to assume from it the claim of the Prosecution that aggressive war of the year 1939 had been planned a long time before the seizure of power? And even if you should answer this question in the affirmative for the person of Hitler, do you also ascribe such a gift of second sight to his collaborators, his servants, yes, even all Party members? To ask this question is to answer it in the negative. With this question alone also falls the painfully constructed and artificial structure of the motivation ascribed by the Prosecution. And along with it falls also the classification of the whole charge, and in particular the coresponsibility of all collaborators of Hitler generally under the conception of conspiracy, at least until the period of time when it could be recognized by the most extensive circles of his followers that Hitler finally wanted war and had decided on it. Simultaneously with this, however, the unconditional accuracy of the postulate advanced by me at the beginning of my statements becomes evident after examining the subjective joint guilt of every single defendant, after the denial of the coresponsibility of each individual only from the fact of his participation in the actions which are considered
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as preparations for a war of aggression by the Prosecution at any period of time, simply without examination and investigation of his knowledge of Hitler's aims and intentions. To disregard this postulate, as the Prosecution do, would be to contradict every sense of justice, the most primitive as well as the most highly developed, in every nation on earth. The summing jus sought in this Trial would become a summa injuria.
The best evidence of the truth of this assertion is personified by the Defendant Von Neurath himself. Is it not pure folly, is it not summa injuria to accuse this man of connivance in planning and preparing wars of aggression, this man who deemed it his exclusive duty, a duty to which he has made great personal sacrifice, to prevent every form of entanglement involving war-and who, the moment he realized that the task was beyond him, forthwith resigned his function and demanded his dismissal? The Prosecution obviously feel this themselves, otherwise they would not have brought as evidence of the defendant's alleged joint culpability his presence at Hitler's conference on 5 November 1937, wittingly omitting, however, that it was this conference and Hitler's deviation from a peace to a war policy which caused the defendant to refuse further collaboration and thereby make it clear that he never concurred in the past and was not prepared in the future to concur in or approve of, the planning, preparation or waging of a war of aggression. Thus, every charge of guilt made in the Indictment against the Defendant Von Neurath is void, once and for all. For should he be further accused of having broken international treaties while responsible for the conduct of German foreign policy, it must be pointed out in answer that according to the clear wording of the Charter, the breach of international treaties does not constitute a punishable crime in itself, and becomes a punishable crime only when it serves the purpose of preparation for wars of aggression. If such a breach of treaty serves this purpose, it must be intended to do so by its author, or at least its author must be conscious of the fact. That Defendant Von Neurath had no such intention, nor indeed the faintest knowledge of the above implication, is quite' clearly proved by his resignation from the office of Foreign Minister. But I shall moreover demonstrate to you that even the charge of violating or breaking international treaties is without foundation.
When, on 2 June 1932, the Defendant Von Neurath took over the Foreign Office at Hindenburg's request, there were two questions that far surpassed in importance every other European problem and demanded an urgent solution; they were the problem of the German reparations and the problem of the disarmament of the victorious powers and of German equality of rights, a factor which was inseparable from it,
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The defendant and Von Papen who was Reich Chancellor at the time managed to treat the first question satisfactorily at the conference held by the powers in Lausanne on 10 June 1932, a few days after the defendant's assumption of office. At the closing session of the conference on 9 July 1932, Germany was freed of the financial servitude established by the Treaty of Versailles of a single final payment of 3 milliard marks. The Young Plan was obsolete, and only Germany's obligations deriving from the loans granted her remained in force. Thus Part VIII of the Treaty of Versailles in which the reparation obligations were contained by virtue of Article 232 became obsolete for Germany. The first gap was made.
Matters were different with regard to the disarmament problem. This arose from the obligation for disarmament imposed on Germany according to Part V of the Treaty of Versailles which, I presume, is well known. In case of its fulfillment, the preamble to this part likewise prescribed disarmament for the highly armed victorious nations in reciprocity. Germany had disarmed. It had already fully met its obligations in 1927, an uncontested fact which the League of Nations also had expressly recognized. This was the basis for Germany's request for reciprocal compliance by the other partners to the treaty, as provided for in the preamble to Part V. And Germany had announced its request for disarmament by the highly armed states and in conjunction therewith recognition of her equality of rights a considerable time before the defendant took office. However, during the so-called Disarmament Conference the negotiations not only had made no progress by the time the defendant took over the Foreign Office, but just at that time, the summer of 1932, they had become considerably more difficult. In view of the short time allotted for my disposal, I again refer for details to the German memorandum of 29 August 1932-my Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-40-and to my client's interview of 6 September 1932 with a representative of the Wolff telegraph office, to be found in the same document book under Exhibit Number Neurath-41. Lastly, I should like to refer to the defendant's declaration of 30 September 1932 before the German press, submitted to the Tribunal under Exhibit Number Neurath-45, my Document Book 2.
These declarations, all of which were made preparatory to the resumption of negotiations by the Disarmament Conference on 16 October 1932 and in order to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation to the world and to the Western Powers, prove clearly and unequivocally the great, fundamental tendency of the defendant's ideas, his trend of thought and intentions as a human being, as a diplomat and as Foreign Minister, which dominated his entire policy from the beginning until his resignation, and which can be
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summarized in the statement: To avoid and prevent the settling of differences through force of arms; to realize all goals and tasks of German foreign policy by peaceful means only; to reject war as a means of policy; in a word, to strengthen and safeguard peace among the nations.
It is the same tendency which M. Francois Poncet, the former French Ambassador to Berlin, so eloquently referred to as a characteristic of the defendant in his letter-which I submitted to the Tribunal as Number 157 of my Document Book 5-and which was unanimously confirmed by all witnesses and affidavits.
While the opening of negotiations at the Disarmament Conference started with what really might be termed an affront to Germany, which caused the head of the German delegation to declare that under such conditions it would not be possible for him to continue to attend the negotiations, the Western Powers in the end could not close their minds to the ethics of a policy inspired by such tendencies, and following a suggestion by the British Government, on 11 December 1932, the well-known Five Power Agreement was concluded (see my Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-7a) in which England, France, and Italy, with the consent of the United States of America, recognized Germany's equality of rights. On 14 December 1932, the main committee of the Disarmament Conference expressed its satisfaction in acknowledging this agreement, and the German delegate expressed his readiness to resume participation in the deliberations of the conference, stressing also that the equality recognized on 11 December 1932 in regard to Germany was the conditio sine qua non for this continued participation by Germany. It seemed that a great step forward had thus been made in the path leading to an understanding on the question of disarmament.
However, things were to take a different turn. Immediately following the opening of the conference meeting again in Geneva on 2 February 1933, serious clashes occurred between the German and the French delegations, in the course of which M. Paul Boncour, the French delegate, even went so far as to declare the Five Power Agreement of 11 December 1932 legally invalid because it involved five powers only. To the astonishment not only of Germany, the cause for these increasingly acute differences was the fundamental change in France's attitude with regard to the basic question of the entire armaments problem laid down in the French plan of 14 November 1932 as a basis for these negotiations. For, contrary to the stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles and its own attitude heretofore, France suddenly took the position in this plan that armies composed of professional soldiers with a long period of service were aggressive in character and consequently meant a threat
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to peace and that only armies with a short period of service were defensive in character.
I regret that for lack of time I must desist not only from referring at greater length to the details of the French plan, but also to the sequence of the differences which became more and more critical between Germany and the other powers. I must assume that they are known and confine myself to stressing that the new French thesis, which the Disarmament Conference adopted as its own, was clearly and unequivocally directed against Germany and the Reichswehr as it had come into being in accordance with the disarmament stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles, a thesis which, if it was to be carried into effect, would have required the transformation of the Reichswehr into a militia army with a short period of service, thus signifying a still further reduction in its armament, inadequate as it already was for an effective protection against attack. The establishment of this thesis, however, also proved clearly that France was unwilling to disarm, which was also shown by statements of the French representative himself.
This new plan of France, as also her attitude particularly in the question of the ratio in the reduction of the individual armies, was merely a new expression of her old thesis, first security, then disarmament, which brought about the failure not only of the previous negotiations but also that of a new plan of mediation, the so-called MacDonald Plan, proposed by England to prevent the threatening break-down of negotiations.
Germany's reference to consideration for her own security and her demand for general disarmament as a result of the right to equality by reason of recognition accorded her on 11 December 1932 were received by the other parties as a provocation, indication being given that, should negotiations fail, responsibility would rest with her.
In the interest of the clarification of these things and of the presentation of the increasing gravity of the whole situation before world publicity, my client felt it necessary to publish an article in the well-known Geneva periodical Volkerbund, on 11 May 1933- Neurath Document Book 2, Number 51-in which he discussed the result which the conference had so far achieved, described the German attitude in detail, and finally established that the German demand for the practical realization of the equality of rights of Germany by disarmament of the heavily armed countries was wrecked by the lack of will of those countries to disarm, and that Germany, therefore, in the interest of her own security was forced to start completing her armament, should the general limitation and disarmament within the framework of the English MacDonald Plan not satisfy her justified demands for security.
This conclusion was wholly justified in view of the entire foreign political situation at that time. These aggravated events which had
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intensified the crisis at the Disarmament Conference were only a small part, so to speak, of the expression of the international tension which prevailed since Hitler's assumption of power. Domestic events occurring in Germany were first observed abroad with astonishment, but also with a certain lack of comprehension.
Soon after Hitler had assumed power, on 30 January 1933, an opinion was formed abroad-the discussion of which would lead too far here-about the so-called German revolution, which made it appear a European danger not only to France and her allies but also to Great Britain as well. The fear of such a danger affected the attitude of the Western Powers at the Disarmament Conference to an ever increasing degree, where Germany's completely logical and consistent point of view was regarded as a provocation. But these worries of theirs, their insecurity in the face of the new Germany, led to even much more extensive measures and threats.
With England's consent France began military preparations in the first days of May 1933, placing the border fortifications-which had already been provided with increased garrisons during the winter-in a state of alarm by alerting the large camps in Lorraine, the deployment area of her army of the Rhine, and carrying out a large trial mobilization between Belfort, Mulhouse, and St. Louis, at which the Chief of the French General Staff, General Weygand, appeared in person. And at the same time the French Foreign Minister Paul Boncour ostentatiously declared in his speech on 12 May 1933 before the French Senate that, in view of the revolutionary explosions in Germany, Italy would have to be kept firmly among the group of Western Powers; and, in response to Germany's attitude at the Disarmament Conference, he added that Germany must adhere strictly to the Treaty of Versailles if she wanted to keep the Reichswehr. And these words of the French Minister, which could only be understood as a threat, were still further emphasized and confirmed by similar statements of the British Minister of War, Hailsham, and the otherwise so pacifist-minded Lord Cecil, in the English House of Commons; the latter even encouraged France to carry out further military operations. The situation was so strained that Europe seemed to be standing directly on the brink of a new war.
This increasing gravity of the situation, this obvious crisis which was leading Europe close to disaster is one of the basic reasons for the entire subsequent policy of the Defendant Von Neurath during the following years. Therefore, the question must be examined as briefly as possible, to see what consequences it was bound to have and did have, for German foreign policy, from the German point of view. One thing is undeniably clear. In the spring of 1933 Germany was in no condition whatsoever to fight a war; it would have -been complete madness, a sheer desire for self-destruction, to fight
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a war against the armies of France and her allies, which counted millions of men and were excellently equipped with the latest weapons of attack, to fight with the small Reichswehr of one hundred thousand men which had at its disposal no motorized weapons of attack whatsoever, no tanks, no heavy artillery, no military airplanes.
Fear of an imminent warlike attack on the part of Germany could, therefore, from the point of view of the Western Powers, under no circumstances be the reason for their position and attitude. The one plausible reason could lie only in the attitude of the Western Powers with regard to the question of disarmament as such, that is, in their unwillingness to carry it out, to continue to discriminate against Germany, to continue to refuse her the realization of her equality of rights and to continue to keep her down.
In this alone, in the eyes of the leader of German foreign policy, lay the reason for the final French and English proposals at the Disarmament Conference, which were unacceptable to Germany for reasons of justice as well as for reasons of her own security and her national honor. Because even in spite of Germany's equality recognized by the Western Powers in the Five Power Declaration, the French plan of 14 November 1932, as well as also the English plan of 16 March 1933, the MacDonald Plan, and the resolutions of the Disarmament Conference included therein, lacked practical realization of equality, even from the most objective standpoint.
What justly and objectively thinking person would reproach the German state leadership, if they drew their conclusions from all this, and recognized that this behavior of the Western Powers contained not only a violation of existing treaties and of the Treaty of Versailles with regard to disarmament, but also the will of the Western Powers to prevent Germany from fulfilling her demands justified by treaty, by force of arms if necessary, and furthermore to keep her as a second-rate state, and to refuse her the security guaranteed her also in the Treaty of Versailles?
Can you, Your Honors, reproach a state leadership which was aware of its responsibility towards its people, if this realization from now on had to be decisive for the continued direction of foreign policy? Because the highest duty of every state leadership, which is aware of its responsibility in foreign policy, is the securing and maintenance of the existence and the independence of its state, the regaining of a respected and free position in the council of nations. A statesman who neglects this duty sins against his own people. This realization should carry all the more weight because, on the part of Germany, nothing had happened which might have been interpreted as a threat against the Western Powers. On the contrary in his first program speech in a Reichstag still elected in accordance with democratic principles, Hitler had emphatically
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declared on 23 March 1933, punctuated by unanimous applause, his will for peace, particularly emphasizing this with regard to France; and he confessed himself prepared for peaceful collaboration with the other nations of the earth, but emphasized also that as a prerequisite for this he considered necessary the final removal of the discrimination against Germany, the division of the nations into victors and vanquished.
To these declarations of his, however, not the slightest attention was paid by the Western Powers, although they corresponded throughout with the given conditions and might have contained anything but certainly no threat. Unfortunately, they were unable to effect a change in the attitude of the Western Powers and to prevent an acceleration of the crisis.
A discernible relaxation only took place when Hitler, under the influence of the Defendant Von Neurath, at the climax of the crisis, repeated once more to the world, with the greatest emphasis, his and the German people's will for peace in his great so-called peace address before the Reichstag on 17 May 1933-it is in excerpt form in my Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-52-and expressed his conviction that, as he declared literally, no new European war would be in the position to replace the unsatisfactory conditions of today by something better; the outbreak of such an insanity, as he described the war, would be bound to lead to the collapse of the present social and state order.
This speech of Hitler, whose honesty and sincerity cannot be denied according to the evidence, and whose power of conviction also proved irresistible to the Western Powers, effected a general relaxation of the situation; the danger of a new international war was averted, and the world took a deep breath. This, however, also marked the end of the isolation of Germany which had made for inner change and revolution, and German foreign policy gladly and with a sincere will took the opportunity for active collaboration in the political state gamble, an opportunity offered her by the suggestion of Mussolini to unite the great powers, England, France, Italy, and Germany, in a so-called Four Power Pact. This treaty, which was drawn up on 8 June 1933 in Rome and which was signed in the middle of June 1933 also by Germany, and which in its preamble also referred expressly to the Five Power Agreement of 11 December 1932, was to place the participating powers in such a position that, if further negotiations in a larger circle, as for example in the Disarmament Conference, should reach a stalemate they could meet at a smaller conference table. For Germany, the main motive lay in the fact that she again became an active member in the body of European policy in which she was participating as a partner with equal rights in an international agreement.
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As a matter of fact, this pact was concluded at a time when a new international tension was already arising and increasing which again threatened to isolate Germany. This time it had its source not so much in the Disarmament Conference, the proceedings of which after the customary fruitless endeavors were again suspended on 29 June 1933 until 16 October 1933, as in the position of Germany and Austria in the World Economic Conference which opened in London on 12 June 1933. The Austrian Prime Minister Dollfuss made use of this conference to call the attention of the powers to an alleged threat to Austria's independence by Germany, in that he accused Germany of lending support to the Austrian National Socialists in their fight against his Government. Making the Austrian question the center of gravity for European policy and calling on the powers for protection against an alleged threat to Austria's independence by Germany-which the former considered a cornerstone in the construction of European power relations-he fanned the old embers into a new flame. What the mood was then in the summer of 1933 is shown in my Document Book 1, under Exhibits Number Neurath 11 and 12, reports of the defendant to Reich President Von Hindenburg and Hitler, dated 19 June 1933; but reference is also made to it in the speech by the defendant on 15 September 1933-Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-56-before representatives of the foreign press, which also comments on the consequences of such an attitude for the prospects of the proposed negotiations to be resumed by the Disarmament Conference on 16 October 1933, and which is reflected in his words:
Nudging by certain indications the readiness of highly armed states to carry out disarmament obligations for which they pledged themselves today seems to be smaller than ever. Finally, there is only one alternative: Realization of the right to equality or else a collapse of the entire idea of disarmament, with incalculable consequences, for which responsibility would not rest on Germany."
This skepticism of the defendant with regard to the political situation in general, and prospects of the Disarmament Conference in particular, were only too well founded. For the new so-called Simon Plan-submitted even before the conference started by Sir John Simon, head of the English delegation, as a basis for negotiations-and to no less a degree the statement relative thereto made by Sir John, made it clear beyond doubt that the attitude of the Western Powers still continued to be the same as in the spring of 1933 and that they were even still less disposed to do justice to Germany's demand for an equality of rights. For Sir John declared in plain language that in view of the present nonclarified conditions in Europe, and considering the seriously shaken confidence in peace, a disarmament conference, even according to the pattern of the
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MacDonald Plan, which Germany had declared unacceptable in the spring, was an impossibility.
This not only meant bringing an unjustified accusation against Germany-which had done no more than stand on the rights accorded it by treaty-but it also was a clear denial of Germany's equality of rights and of disarmament. As a matter of fact, this Simon Plan falls even farther short than previous plans in doing justice to Germany's rightful demand for equality of right and disarmament, that is, a balancing of all states' armament in accordance with one another, including Germany.
Time being too short, I once more have to refrain here from going into detail and must confine myself to pointing out that it meant an increased restriction and reduction of German armament in favor of the other nations. For it provided that during the first half of the 8 years' duration of the proposed disarmament, Germany alone-through the conversion of its Reichswehr into an army with a brief period of service-would practically be still further disarmed, subjecting herself, in addition, to an armament control by the powers, while the highly armed powers were not scheduled to begin disarming until the fifth year, and then only in terms of manpower reserve, not in terms of arms. These provisions demonstrated more clearly than ever that not only did the Western Powers not intend to disarm, but that they wanted to weaken Germany still more and make her tractable to their power interests. There was no more mention made of the fact that the Five Power Agreement of 11 December 1932 had agreed to recognize Germany's equality of rights.
It really should have been clear to the Western Powers as well that such a plan depriving her of a chance to participate in further negotiations at the conference was bound to be unacceptable to Germany from the outset. However, on the strength of the lessons which German foreign policy learned in the spring of 1933-when Germany came very near having the Western Powers threaten her with war because she was unwilling to renounce her just demands- nothing was left to her this time but to answer the new threat which this plan undoubtedly involved, not only by rejecting the plan but also by withdrawing from the Disarmament Conference as well as the League of Nations. Further negotiations during the conference under such conditions were deemed hopeless from the very start and could only result in a still greater heightening of contrasts.
It is difficult to understand why the Western Powers failed to foresee Germany's attitude and were surprised by her withdrawal from the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference. In Hitler's speech, already referred to here, an appeal for peace,
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delivered on 17 May 1933, he expressed in unequivocal terms that notwithstanding the sincere will for peace and further disarmament -provided it were mutual-on the part of the German Government and the German people, they would never consent to further humiliation and to renunciation of their claim for equality of rights but that if such were the demand they would rather assume the consequences without hesitation. Still more incomprehensible is the fact that in all earnestness the Prosecution place the blame for this withdrawal by Germany on its foreign policy, and that they believe they can find evidence of deliberate action for the preparation of wars of aggression; and this can only be understood by the fact that the Prosecution preserves complete silence on the events which led up to this withdrawal and thereby tries to create the impression that Germany's withdrawal occurred entirely without cause. The Prosecution's interpretation of the withdrawal as an action in preparation for war is contrary to objective history as becomes clearly apparent from the fact-which the Prosecution also passed over in silence-that concurrent with its declaration of withdrawal, the German Government, through Hitler's speech of 14 October 1933 as well as also through the speech of the Defendant Von Neurath of 16 October 1933, not only declared with all possible emphasis their unchanging desire for peace and readiness to negotiate in the case of any disarmament plan which would consider Germany's equality of rights, but tried to carry into practice this willingness to negotiate by submitting on her part practical proposals for general disarmament, as set forth in the memorandum prepared by my client and submitted to the powers on 18 December 1933 (Neurath Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-61).
The interview granted by the defendant to the representative of The New York Times in Berlin is an expression of the same endeavor. A government or a foreign minister that intends to prepare or even plan an aggressive war is hardly likely to make proposals for limiting or even reducing still further the armament of that country.
Diplomatic negotiations between Germany and the individual Western Powers which followed the memorandum of 18 December 1933 ended, as I may presume to be well known, with the note of the French Government to the English Government of 17 April 1934, which closed the door to further negotiations as proposed in an English memorandum of 29 January 1934 as well as another memorandum of the German Government of 13 March 1934, as this was fully stated in the speech of the Defendant Von Neurath on 27 April 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-70).
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The fact which appeared in the preceding discussions is interesting and must be emphasized here, that in their course an indisputable change was shown in relations between France and Russia, the further development of which became more or less authoritative, not only for German foreign policy, but also for the entire European policy in the coming years. The Russian representative in his speech to the Office of the Disarmament Conference on 10 April 1934 took the stand, contrary to the point of view always previously represented by Russia, that the task of the Disarmament Conference was to decide on a most wide-reaching reduction of armaments to provide maximum security, and though he admitted the failure of their disarmament efforts he did not however draw the conclusion therefrom that the conference had broken down, but on the contrary held that the creation of new security instruments of international law was the sole task of the Disarmament Conference, a point of view which was endorsed by the Russian Foreign Minister Litvinov on 29 April 1934. With this thesis Russia had adopted France's point of view: First security, then disarmament, and, beyond that, the door was opened to the increased armament of all nations from now on. It is evident how important this fact was in the light of the French-Russian Assistance Pact which was signed one year later, made for the re-establishment of German armed sovereignty and an increase in the armament of all the remaining states. A direct path leads from this declaration of the Russian Foreign Minister via the extensive negotiations during the summer of 1934 regarding the so-called Eastern Pact to the Franco-Russian Assistance Pact of 2 May 1935 and the Russian-Czechoslovak Assistance Pact of 16 May 1935.
The French note of 17 April 1934 with its categorical "no" signified the end of one epoch and the beginning of a new one in international policy. France finally made it clear that she was no longer willing to carry on with a general agreement among all states desiring a solution of the questions of disarmament and security, but decided to go her own way from now on. The reason for this lay obviously in the fact that she recognized or thought she had recognized that the most important of the participating powers, England and Italy, were no longer prepared to follow her unconditionally, and to continue to refuse Germany the equality of rights theoretically granted her on 11 December 1932. This was expressed through the far-reaching rapprochement of the English and Italian points of view in the English memorandum of 29 January 1934 and in the declaration of Mussolini to the English Minister Eden on 26 February 1934, which dealt with the clearly outlined German point of view in the memoranda of 13 March and 16 April 1934. A similar tendency was shown in the memorandum of the so-called neutral powers, namely Denmark, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and
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Switzerland of 14 April 1934, and above all the speech of the Belgian Prime Minister Count de Brocqueville of 6 March 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-66) showed the same tendency.
In this note of 17 April 1934, to which the Defendant Von Neurath referred in his speech of 27 April 1934 before the German press, he explained his attitude thoroughly and convincingly. France, as was soon apparent, finally abandoned the principles of the Versailles Treaty, the preamble to Part V which fixed in an unmistakable manner the general disarmament of all states of the League of Nations as the basis for the disarmament of Germany. The new French policy set up immediately after the note of 17 April 1934 soon made it known that she had decided to proceed along lines diametrically opposed to the basic idea of the Versailles Treaty regarding German disarmament.
On 20 April 1934 the French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou began his journey eastward, which took him to Warsaw and Prague. He first tried to prepare the ground for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the states of the so-called Little Entente with Russia, which so far did not exist, and thus prepare the way for the inclusion of the greatest military power of Europe on the side of France. He succeeded. Czechoslovakia and Romania, the most important states of the Little Entente, recognized and renewed diplomatic relations with the Russian Government on 9 June 1934. Thus France had made the first breach in the ideological and psychological opposition at that time felt by the European states against Soviet Russia, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, then on his second journey to the East, was not only able to gain the consent of all states of the Little Entente to the so-called Eastern Pact which France had long ago been negotiating with Russia, but subsequently was able to place it openly on the agenda of the International Policy Conference in London at the beginning of July. With this, as the Czechoslovak Minister for Foreign Affairs Banes justly stated in his speech of 2 July 1934, a regrouping of the European powers was announced, which appeared capable of overthrowing, to a certain extent all former relations on the continent.
Stanley Baldwin, who at that time was Lord President of the Council, had on 18 May 1934 already stated before the House of Commons that in view of the question of collective peace which of necessity involved the need for sanctions, England stood before one of the most difficult decisions in her history. He coined the phrase: Sanctions are war. England agreed at the beginning of July 1934, on the occasion of the visit of Barthou to London, not only to the Eastern Pact but in addition also to the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations, which had been suggested by
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France. On 18 December 1934 the League of Nations officially resolved to accept Russia into the League. Thus France had for the most part already reached her goal, the inclusion of Russia, the strongest military power, into European politics and indeed on her side as win shortly be shown.
In spite of this heralded change in European power relations, German foreign policy under the direction of the defendant not only continued calmly and consistently in its peaceful struggle for the practical recognition of German equality-even after the French note of 17 April 1934 which it considered disastrous-but also in its policy of peace. In his speech of 27 April 1934-previously quoted-my client once more unreservedly expressed the will of Germany that she was still prepared for any understanding even at the price of further armament limitations by agreement, if this would correspond with her demand for equality. She did not, however, limit herself to this alone. In order to resume the international discussions and negotiations regarding the disarmament question, which had been interrupted by France's "no" of 17 April 1934, Hitler met Mussolini in Venice in the middle of June 1934. The purpose and subjects of discussion at this meeting were at that time summarized by Mussolini with the words: "We have met in order to try to disperse the clouds which are darkening the political horizon of Europe."
May I, then, for the sake of prudence, recall the fact that Italy at that time was still entirely on the side of the Western Powers. Several days later, in his speech at the Gautag at Gera on 17 June 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-80), Hitler used the opportunity to emphasize once more his and Germany's unshakable wish for peace, when he stated literally among other things:
"If anyone says to us: 'If you National Socialists wish equality for Germany, then we must increase our armaments,' then we can only say: 'As far as we are concerned you can do so, because after all we have no intention of attacking you. We merely wish to be so strong that the others will have no wish to attack us. The more the world speaks of the formation of blocks, the clearer it becomes to us that we must concern ourselves with the maintenance of our own power."'
There was a definite clearly defined change in power relationships and the political tendencies were taking shape, which were also the basis of the English air armament program announced before the House of Commons on 19 July 1934, and the idea became prevalent expressed by the French Prime Minister Doumergue in his speech of 13 October 1934 at the bier of the assassinated Minister Louis Barthou: "The weak nations are booty or a danger." No matter how irrefutable this idea really was, as far as the attitude of the
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Western Powers toward Germany was concerned, it received as little consideration as all attempts of German foreign policy to carry on the negotiations regarding the disarmament question and as the repeated declarations of Germany about her readiness for an understanding. Now, as before, Germany was denied the de facto recognition of her equality. Apart from the encirclement policy of France which became more discernible every day, this fact also made it impossible for German foreign policy to join the Eastern Pact. The reasons for this rejection of the Eastern Pact have been presented in detail in the communiqué of the German Government of 10 September 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-85). They culminated in the statement that Germany, in view of her indisputable military weakness and inferiority, could not take on any treaty obligations toward the highly armed states which might involve her in all possible conflicts in the East, and could make her a probable theater of operations.
It was not the lack of preparedness to participate in international treaties or even a lack of a will for peace which caused Germany to maintain this attitude, but first and foremost her notorious military weakness. Added to this was the true character of France's policy which showed itself more and more, and that of the Eastern Pact as an instrument of the French policy of encirclement directed against Germany. This character became clear to all the world when, in the session of the Army Committee of the French Cabinet on 23 November 1934, the reporter Archimbaud described it as an undeniable fact that a formal entente existed between France and Russia on the basis of which, in the event of a conflict, France would be prepared to furnish a considerable well-equipped and well-trained army (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-89). This fact, however, was clearly and openly proved by the declaration of the French Minister for Foreign Affairs Laval on 20 January 1935 before a representative of the Russian newspaper Izvestia, in connection with the French-Russian record of 5 December 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-91) and Litvinov's interpretations of it of 9 December 1934. For those well informed there could exist no further doubt of the existence of a close French-Russian alliance, even if the ratification of its final text only took place on 2 May 1935, which was then immediately followed by the ratification of the Russo-Czechoslovak Non-Aggression Pact of 16 May 1935.
It was forced upon the mind of every clear-thinking person that the French system of alliances made in this way was desperately akin to the one which had opposed Germany once already in the year 1914. This involuntary parallel was bound to make every German statesman draw the conclusion that those alliances could only be directed against Germany and accordingly constituted, at least, a menace to her. And this, much more so, as these alliances, this
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obvious encirclement of Germany; were by no mean the only alarming events. Coupled with it, a vast increase in military armaments of nearly all non-German countries had been carried out in the course of the preceding months. Not only had England begun to carry out her large-scale armament program, as is shown by the British White Book of 1 March 1935, the submission of which does not seem necessary, since it is an official historical document, but in France too the efforts to reinforce her Army had begun under the guidance of Marshal Petain, her most popular general at that time, while in Russia an increase in the peacetime figure of her Army from 600,000 to 940,000 men had taken place, with the joyful acquiescence of France. Czechoslovakia had introduced a 2-year compulsory service in December 1934 (Neurath Document Book 3, Exhibit Number Neurath-92) and Italy, too, was continually increasing her armaments.
After the bitter experiences of the latter years, all this was bound to be felt from the point of view of German politics, as I have shown you, My Lords, as nothing but a serious menace, and interpreted accordingly, a menace which left Germany all but defenseless.
A foreign policy, conscious of its responsibility, had to reckon at each moment with the danger that such a concentrated and continually increasing power of France and her Allies could fall upon Germany and crush her. For nothing is more dangerous than a concentration of power in one hand. According to experience, it is bound to cause an explosion sometime, if not counterbalanced by some other power, and this explosion is then directed toward the nearest country considered as an enemy. This latter was and could be only Germany, as this country alone was considered by France as her foe, and no other country in the world besides her.
And now I beg to ask you, My Lords, whether it was not an obvious command of self-defense, an obvious demand of the most primitive instinct for self-preservation of any living being-and nations, too, are living entities with such an instinct for selfpreservation-that now the German Government and the German people took back the military sovereignty which had constantly been denied them for no' reason and that they on their part tried to take measures of security against the menace hanging, over Germany by organizing a military air fleet and by the law concerning the establishing of a peacetime army of only 36 divisions on the basis of compulsory military service. I refer to the proclamation of the German Reich Cabinet concerning the restoration of German compulsory service of 16 March 1935 (Neurath Document Book 2, Exhibit Number Neurath-97).
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 24 July 1946 at 1000 hours.]