4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
In the appendix I transmit one copy each of the law for the defense of the Reich of the 21 May 1935 and of a decision of the Reichs Cabinet of 21 May 1935 concerning the Reich's defense council. The publication of the Reich's defense law is temporarily suspended by order of the Fuehrer and Reichchancellor.
The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor has nominated the President of the directorate of the Reichsbank Dr. schacht to be "plenipotentiary-general for war economy".
I request that the copies of the Reich defense law needed within the units of the armed forces be ordered before 1 July 1935 at armed forces office (L) where it is to be established with the request that the law should only be distributed down to Corps headquarters outside of the Reichministry of war.I point out the necessity of strictest secrecy once more.
The Reich Cabinet has enacted the following law that is hereby made public:
Part I State of Defense
The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor can declare a state of defense for the area of the Reich in case danger of war threatens.
(1) With the declaration of a state of defense the entire power of execution devolves upon the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor. The Reichsminister of war exercises it by his orders.
(2) The Reichsminister is empowered in the carrying out of the power of execution to issue legal regulations which may deviate from existing laws. He can, in order to enfocre his regulation, threaten punishments and set up special courts.
(1) The Reichsministers are to observe the instructions of the Reichminister of war. They remain the highest Reich authorities within their realm of activity.
(2) The Reichministers will in case of a state of defense effect the necessary measures and are empowered to issue legal regulations which may deviate from existing laws.
Part II Mobilization
(1) If conflict with an external enemy becomes unavoidable, the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor can order mobilization.
(2) The ordering of mobilization includes in itself the declaration of a state of defense according to Part I, in case the latter is not already proclaimed, without prejudice to the directive of Article Six.
(3) With the ordering of mobilization a state of war in the definition of this law beings.
The Reichsministers will effect the necessary measures in case of mobilization and are empowered to issue legal regulations which may deviate from existing laws.
(1) The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor will appoint a plenipotentiary-general for war economy to direct the entire war economy.
(2) It is the task of the plenipotentiary-general for war-economy to put all economic forces in the service of carrying on the war and to secure the life of the German people economically.
(3) Subordinate to him are:
The Reichsminister for Economy
The Reichsminister for food and agriculture
The Reichs labor minister
The Reichs forest master and all Reichs' agents immediately subordinate to the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor.
Furthermore the financing of the war effort (in the province of the Reichs finance ministry and of the Reichsbank) will be carried on under his responsibility.
(4) The plenipotentiary-general for war economy is authorized, within his realm of responsibility, to issue legal regulations, which may deviate from the existing laws.
Part III Setting of penalties and Conclusion
Whoever purposely or carelessly acts in violation of a decree issued by authority of this law will be, insofar as a more severe punishment is not stipulated according to other directives, punished with jail and with fine or with one of these penalties.
The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor will issue the necessary legal and administrative directives for carrying out of this law.Berlin, 21 May 1935
Note on the law for the defense of the Reich of 21 May 1935
The publication of the law for the defense of the Reich of 21 May 1935 will be suspended. The law became effective 21 May 1935.The Fuehrer and Reichschancellor
Supplementing the decision of the Reichscabinet of 4 April 1933 and 13 Dec 34 on formation of a council for defense of the Reich, the Reichscabinet has made the following decision:
1. The plenipotentiary-general for war economy appointed by the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor will begin his work already in peacetime. At the suggestion of the chairman of the Council for the defense of the Reich, he will direct the economic preparations for war, insofar as they do not, in reference to the armament industry fall into the province of the Reichs' Ministry of war. In case of mobilization the following are subordinate to him:
Reichsministry of economic affairs
Reichministry for food and agriculture
Reichministry of Labor
Reich's forest-master and all Reichoffices immediately subordinate to the Fuehrer.
In case of mobilization he will direct and be responsible for the financing of the war effort (in the province of the financeministry and the Reichsbank).
Those ministries and the Reich's authorities are bound already in time of peace to observe his recommendations for the preparation of a war economy and the financing of the war-effort.
2. The Reichsminister of War and the plenipotentiary for war economy will effect the preparations for mobilization in closest cooperation on both sides.
3. The plenipotentiary-general for war-economy will be a permanent working committee he represents through his leadership staff the interests of war economy. The department heads [Referenten] for the defense of the Reich of the Ministries mentioned in Point I are bound by the recommendations of this leadership staff.
The State of War, an institution of the old law, as it was established in the old Reichsconstitution of 1871, the Prussian law on the state of siege of 4 June 1861 and the Bavarian law on the state of war of 5 Nov 1912, has been only incompletely replaced by Article 48 of the Reichsconstitution of 11 August 1919. Moreover, the provisions of Article 48 no longer correspond to the actual legal conditions.
The new law for the defense of the Reich should create clear legal bases for the transfer of the whole machinery of state from a state of peace to one of war. In this connection it was to be noted that a state of war can begin unexpectedly or from a state of foreign political tension. Since the time of such tension must be utilized as far as foreign political relations will bear, in order to create a readiness for war in time, the law for the defense of the Reich provides two steps for the transfer from state of peace to state of war:
1. The state of defense
2. The mobilization
For both steps of war preparation, the law gives the legal basis, upon which the individual measures of the Reichsdepartments can be built up as the council for the defense of the Reich instructs.
It is to be mentioned in regard to the provisions of the law in detail:
To Article 2
The exercise of the power of execution by the Reichsminister of war under the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor should emphasize the pressing necessity of all demands of the immediate conduct of the war and should guarantee their fulfillment.
To Article 4, Section 3
In numerous laws special provisions for war are contained. It is therefore necessary, to establish the beginning of a state of war, in respect to times in order to create clear conditions for the administration of justice etc. Since, however, in a future war official declarations of war are not to be expected, as a result of which Article 42 Section 2 of the Reichsconstitution also is obsolete, the beginning of a state of war is to be considered as being at the same time as the beginning of the mobilization.
To Article 6
The experiences of the great war have demonstrated the necessity of including owing?? a war the entire economy and the financing of the conduct of the war under unified leadership. The plenipotenary-general for war-economy should according to the will of the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor take over the responsible leadership and stands thereby independently along side the Reichsminister of war, the possessor of the power of execution, and responsible for the realm of activity under the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946