|Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1|
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By 1933 the Nazi Party, the NSDAP, had reached very substantial proportions. At that time its plans called for the acquisition of political control of Germany. This was indispensable for consolidation, within the country, of all the internal resources and potentialities.
As soon as there was sufficient progress along this line of internal consolidation, the next step was to become disengaged from some of the external disadvantages of existing international limitations and obligations.
The restrictions of the Versailles Treaty were a bar to the development of strength in all the fields necessary if Germany were to make war. Although there had been an increasing amount of circumvention and violation from the very time that the Versailles Treaty came into effect, such operations under disguise and subterfuge could not attain proportions adequate for the objectives of the Nazis. To get the Treaty of Versailles out of the way was indispensable to the development of the extensive military power which they had to have for their purposes. It was as a part of same plan and for the same reason that Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations. It was impossible for the Nazis to carry out their plan on the basis of existing international obligations or on the basis of the orthodox kind of future commitments.
Every military and diplomatic operation undertaken by the Nazis was preceded by a plan of action and a careful coordination of all participating forces. At the same time each event was part of a long prepared plan of aggression. Each represented a necessary step in the preparation of aggression. Each represented a necessary step in the preparation of the schedule of aggressions which was subsequently carried out.
Three of the steps in preparation for aggression were first, the withdrawal from the Disarmament conference and the League of Nation; second, the institution of compulsory military service; and, third, the reoccupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland. Each of these steps was progressively more serious in the matter of international relations. In each of these steps Germany anticipated the possibility of sanctions being applied by other countries, and, particularly, a strong military action from France with the possible assistance of England. However, the conspirators were determined that nothing less than a preventive war would stop them, and they also estimated correctly that on one or combination of big powers would undertake the responsibility for such a war. The withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and from the league of Nations was, of course, conspiracy and the plan for aggression. The announcement action. It was a violation of the Versailles Treaty, but the Nazis got away with it, Then came outright military service was a more daring action. It was a violation the Versailles Treaty, but the Nazi got away with it, then came outright military defiance, with the occupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland.
A. Planning to Overthrow the Versailles Treaty.
The determination and the plans of the Nazi conspirators to remove the restrictions of Versailles, started very early. This fact is confirmed by their own statements, their boasts of long planning and careful execution. Hitler, in his speech to all Supreme Commanders on 23 November 1939, stated that his primary goal was to wipe out Versailles (789-PS). And Jodl, as Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, delivered and address after four years of war, on 7 November 1943, which he traced the development of German strength (L-172).an address after four years of war, on 7 November 1943, in which he traced the development of German strength(L-172). The seizure of power to him meant the restoration of fighting sovereignty, including conscription, occupation of the Rhineland, and rearmament, with special emphasis on modern armor and air forces. In his speech, entitled " The Strategic Position at the Beginning of the 5th years of war," General Jodl gave a retrospective summary of the war for the benefit of the Reich and Gau leaders. He stated:
"Introduction: Reichsleiter Bormann has requested me to give you a review today of the strategic position in the beginning of the 5th Year of War.
"I must admit that it was not without hesitation that I undertook this none too easy task. It is not possible to do it justice with a few generalities. It is not necessary to say openly what is. No one-the Fuehrer has ordered-may know more or be told more than he needs for his own immediate task, but I have no doubt at all in my mind, Gentlemen, but hat you need a great deal in order to be able to cope with your tasks. It is in your Gaus, after all, and among their inhabitants that all the enemy propaganda, the defeatism, and the malicious rumours concentrate, that try to find themselves a plan among our people. Up and down the country the devil of subversion strides. All the cowards are seeking a way out, or-as they call it-a political solution. They say, we must negotiate while there is still something in hand, and all these slogans are made use of to attack the natural sense of the people, that in this war there can only be a fight to the end. Capitulation is the end of the Nation, the end of Germany. Against this wave of enemy propaganda and cowardice you need more than force. You need to know the true situation and for this reason I believe that I am justified in giving you a perfectly open and uncolored account of the state of affairs. This is nor forbidden disclosure of secrets, but a weapon which may perhaps help you to fortify the morale of the people. For this war will not only be decided by the force of arms but by the will of the whole people. Germany was broken in 1918 not at the front but at home. Italy suffered not military defeat but morale defeat. She broke down internally. The result has been not the peace she expected but-through the cowardice of these criminal traitors-a fate thousand times harder than continuation of the war at our side would have brought to the Italian people. I can rely on you, Gentlemen, that since I give concrete figures and date concerning our own strength, you will treat these details as your secret; all the rest is at your disposal without restriction for application in your activities as leaders of the people.
"The necessity and objectives of this war were clear to all and everyone at the moment when we entered upon the War of Liberation of Greater Germany and by attacking parried the danger which menaced us both from Poland and from the Western powers. Our further incursions into Scandinavia, in the direction of the Mediterranean, and in that of Russia-these also aroused no doubts concerning the general conduct of the war so log as we were successful. It was not until more serious set-backs were encountered and our general situation began to become increasingly acute, that the German people began to ask itself whether perhaps we had not undertaken more than we could do and set out aims too high. To provide an answer to this questioning and to furnish you with certain points of view for use in your own explanatory activities is one of the main points of my present lecture. I shall divide it into three parts:
'I. A review of the most important development up to the present.
"II. Consideration of the present situation.
"III. The foundation of our morale and our confidence in victory.
"In view of my position as military advisor to the Fuehrer, I shall confine myself in my remarks to the problems of my own personal sphere of action, fully appreciating at the same time that in view of the protean nature of this war, I shall in this way be giving expression only to one side of events.
"1. The fact that the National Socialist movement and its struggle for internal power were the preparatory stage of the outer liberation from the bonds of the Dictate of Versailles is not one on which I need enlarge in this circle. I should like however to mention at this point how clearly all thoughtful regular soldiers realize what an important part has been played by the National Socialist movement in reawakening the will to fight [Wehrwillen] in nurturing fighting strength [Wehrkraft] and in rearming the German people. In spite of all the virtue inherent in it, the numerically small Reichswehr would never have been able to cope with this task, if only because of its own restricted radius of action. Indeed, what the Fuehrer aimed at-and has so happily been successful in bringing about-was the fusion of these two forces.
"2. The seizure of power in its turn has meant in the first place restoration of fighting sovereignty [Wehrhoheit-conscription, occupation of the Rhineland] and rearmament with special emphasis being laid on the creation of a modern armoured and air arm.
"3. The Austrian 'Anschluss' in its turn, brought with it not only the fulfillment of an old national aim but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas up till then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany (a wasp waist in the direction of France and an air base for the Allies, in particular Russia), Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers.
"Its own strategic position had now become so unfavorable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with rigour before effective aid from the West could be expected to arrive.
"This possibility of aid was furthermore made more difficult by the construction of the West Wall, which, in contra-distinction to the Maginot Line, was not a measure based on debility and resignation but one intended to afford rear cover for an active policy in the East.
"4. The bloodless solution of the Czech conflict in the autumn of 1938 and spring of 1939 and the annexation of Slovakia rounded off the territory of Greater Germany in such a way that it now became possible to consider the Polish problem on the basis of the more or less favourable strategic premises.
"This brings me to the actual outbreak of the present war, and the question which next arises is whether the moment for the struggle with Poland-in itself unavoidable-was favorably selected or not. The answer to this question is all the less in doubt since the opponent-after all, not inconsiderable in himself-collapsed unexpectedly quickly, and the Western Powers who were his friends, while they did declare war on us and form a second front, yet for the rest made no use of the possibilities open to them of snatching the initiative from our hands. Concerning the course of the Polish campaign, nothing further need be said beyond that it proved in a measure which made the whole world sit up and take notice a point which up till then had not been certain by any means; that is, the high state of efficiency of the young Armed Forces of Great Germany." (L-172).
In this speech General Jodl identifies himself fully with the Nazi movement. His own words show that he was not a mere soldier. Insofar as he is concerned, his speech identifies the military with the political, it also shows the deliberation with which the Treaty of Versailles was abrogated by Germany and the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland was militarized and fortified.
In one of Adolf Hitler's reviews of the six-year period between his ascendancy to power and the outbreak of hostilities, he not only admitted but boasted about the orderly and coordinated long-range planning. The minutes of conference of the Fuehrer kept by Schmundt, his adjutant, contain the following passage:
"In the period 1933-1939 progress was made in all fields. Our military system improved enormously."
"The period which lies behind us has, indeed, been put to good use. All measures have been taken in the correct sequence and in harmony with our aims." (L-79).
B. Economic and Financial Preparations for Aggressive War.
One of the most significant preparations for aggressive war is found in the Secret Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 (2261-PS). The law went into effect upon its passage. It stated at its outset that it was to be made public instant, but at the end of it Adolf Hitler signed the decree ordering that it be kept secret. General Thomas, who was in charge of War Armament Economy and for some time a high ranking member of the German High Command, refers to this law as the cornerstone of war preparations. He points out that, although the law was not made public until the outbreak of war, it was put into immediate execution as a program for preparations. These statements are made at page 25 of General Thomas' work, "A History of the German War and Armament Economy, 1923-1944." (2853-PS).
This secret law remained in effect until 4 September 1939, at which time it was replaced by another secret defense law (2194-PS) revising the system of defense organization and directing more detailed preparations for the approaching status of "mobilization," which was clearly an euphemism for war.
The covering letter, under which this second Reich Defense Law, was sent to the Ministry for Economy and Labor for Saxony in Dresden, on 6 December 1939, was classified Top Secret and read as follows:
"Transportation Section, attention of Construction Chief Counsellor Hirches, or representative in the office of the Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia, received Prague, 5 September 1939, No. 274.
"Inclosed please find a copy of the Reich Defense Law of 4 September 1938 and a copy each of the decrees of the Reich Minister of Transportation, dated 7 October 1938, RL 10.2212/38, top secret, and of 17 July 1939, RL / LV 1.2173/39, top secret. For your information and observance, by order, signed Kretzchmar. 3 inclosures completed to Dresden, 4 September 1939, signed Schneider 3 inclosures. Receipt for the letter of 4 September 1939, with 3 inclosures, signed 5 September, 1939, and returned to construction Counsellor Kretzchmar." (2194-PS)
Thus the second secret Reich Defense Law was transmitted under top secret cover.
The general plan for the breach of the Treaty of Versailles and for the ensuing aggressions was carried out in four ways: (1) secret rearmament from 1933 to March 1935; (2) the training of military personnel (that includes secret or camouflage training); (3) production of munitions of war; (4) the building of an air force.
The facts of rearmament and of secrecy are self-evident from the events that followed. The significant phase of this activity lies in the fact that it was necessary in order to break the barriers of the Treaty of Versailles and of the Locarno Pact, and to make ready for aggressive wars which were to follow.
Those activities by their nature and extent, could only have been for aggressive purposes. The highest importance which the German government attached to the secrecy of the program is emphasized by the disguised methods of financing utilized both before and after the announcement of conscription, and the rebuilding of the army, on 16 March 1935.
The point is illustrated by an unsigned memorandum by Schacht dated 3 May 1935, entitled, "The Financing of the Armament program, "Finanzierung der Ruestung." (1168-PS) It is not signed by Schacht, but in an interrogation on 16 October 1945, he identified it as being his memorandum. The memorandum reads as follows:
"Memorandum from Schacht to Hitler [identified by Schacht as Exhibit A, interrogation 16 October 1945, page 40] May 3, 1935.
"Financing of Armament. The following explanations are based upon the thought, that the accomplishment of the armament program with speed and in quantity is the problem of German politics, that everything else therefore should be subordinated to this purpose as long as the main purpose is not imperiled by neglecting all other questions. Even after Marcy 16, 1935, the difficulty remains that one cannot undertake the open propagandistic treatment of the German people for support of armament without endangering our position internationally (without loss to our foreign trade). The already nearly impossible financing of the armament program is rendered hereby exceptionally difficult.
"Another supposition must be also emphasized. The printing press can be used only for the financing of armament to such a degree, as permitted by maintaining of the money value. Every inflation increases the prices of foreign raw materials and increases the domestic prices, is therefore like a snail biting its own tail. The circumstance that our armament had to be camouflaged completely till March 16, 1935, and even since this date the camouflage had to be continued to a larger extent, making it necessary to use the printing press (bank note press) already at the beginning of the whole armament program, while it would have been natural, to start it (the printing press) at the final point of financing. In the portefeuille of the Reichsbank are segregated notes for this purpose, that is, armament, of 3,775 millions and 866 millions, altogether 4,641 millions, out of which the armament notes amount to Reichsmarks 2,374 millions, that is, of April 30, 1935. The Reichsbank has invested the amount of marks under its jurisdiction, but belonging to foreigners in blank notes of armament. Our armaments are also financed partly with the credits of our political opponents. Furthermore, 500 million Reichsmarks were used for financing of armament, which originated out of [Reichsanleihe], the federal loans, placed with savings banks. In the regular budget, the following amounts were provided. For the budget period 1933-34, Reichsmarks 750 millions; for the budget period 1934-35, Reichsmarks 1,100 millions; and for the budget period 1935-36, Reichsmarks 2,500 millions.
"The amount of deficits of the budget since 1928 increases after the budget 1935-36 to 5 to millions Reichsmarks. This total deficit is already financed at the present time by short term credits of the money market. If therefore reduces in advance the possibilities of utilization of the public market for the armament. The Minister of Finance [Reichsfinanzminister], correctly points out at the defense of the budget: As a permanent yearly deficit is an impossibility, as we cannot figure with security with increased tax revenues in amount balancing the deficit and any other previous debits, as on the other hand a balanced budget is the only secure basis for the impending great task of military policy. For all these reasons we have to put in motion a fundamental and conscious budget policy which solves the problem of armament financing by organic and planned reduction of other expenditures not only from the point of receipt, but also from the point of expenditure, that is, by saving.
"How urgent this question is, can be deduced from the following, that a large amount of task has been started by the state and party and which is now in process, all of which are not covered by the budget, but from contributions and credits, which have to be raised by industry in addition to the regular taxes.
"The existing of various budgets side by side, which serve more or less public tasks, is the greatest impediment for gaining a clear view over the possibilities of financing the armaments. A whole number of ministries and various branches of the party have their own budgets, and for this reason have possibilities of incomes and expenses, though based on the sovereignty of finance of the state, but not subject to the control of the Minister of Finance and therefore also not subject to the control of the cabinet. Just s in the sphere of politics the mush too far-reaching delegation of legislative powers to individuals brought about various states within the states, exactly in the same way the condition of the various branches of state and party, working side by side and against each other, has a devastating effect on the possibility of financing. If on this territory concentration and unified control is not introduced very soon, the solution of the already impossible task of armament financing is endangered.
"We have the following tasks:
"(1) A deputy is entrusted with finding all sources and revenues, which have its origin in contributions to the federal government, to the state and party and in profits of public and party enterprises.
"(2) Furthermore experts, entrusted by the Fuehrer, have to examine how these amounts were used and which of these amounts can in the future be withdrawn from their previous purpose.
"(3) The same experts have to examine the investments of all public and party organizations, to which extent this property can be used for the purpose of armament financing.
"(4) The federal Ministry of Finance is to be entrusted to examine the possibilities of increased revenues by way of new taxes or increasing of existing taxes.
"The up-to-date financing of armaments by the Reichsbank under existing political conditions was a necessity and the political success proved the correctness of this action. The other possibilities of armament financing have to be started now under any circumstances. For this purpose all absolutely non-essential expenditures for other purposes must not take place and the total financial strength of Germany, limited as it is, has to be concentrated for the one purpose of armament financing. Whether the problem of financing, as outlined in this program, succeeds, remains to be seen, but without such concentration, it will fail with absolute certainty." (1168-PS)
C. Renunciation of Armament Provisions of Versailles Treaty.
21 May 1935 was a very important date in the Nazi calendar. It was on that date that the Nazis passed the secret Reich Defense Law (2261-PS). The secrecy of their armament operations had already reached the point beyond which they could no longer maintain successful camouflage. Since their program called for still further expansion, they unilaterally renounced the armament provisions of the Versailles Treaty on the same date, 21 May 1935. Hitler's speech to the Reichstag on that day (2288-PS) was published in "Voelkischer Beobachter" under the heading "The Fuehrer Notifies the World of the Way to Real Peace."
"1. The German Reich Government refuses to adhere to the Geneva Resolution of 17 May.
"The Treaty of Versailles was not broken by Germany unilaterally, but the well-known paragraphs of the dictate of Versailles were violated, and consequently invalidated, by those powers who could not make up their own disarmament requested of Germany with their own disarmament as agreed upon by Treaty.
"2. Because the other powers did not live up to their obligations under the disarmament program, the Government of the German Reich no longer considers it self bound to those articles, which are nothing but a discrimination against the German nation for an unlimited period of time, since, through them, Germany is being nailed down in a unilateral manner contrary to the spirit of the agreement." (2288-PS)
In conjunction with other phases of planning and preparation for aggressive war, there ware various programs for direct and indirect training of a military nature. They included not only the training of military personnel, but also the establishment and training of other military organizations, such as the Police Force, which could be and were absorbed by the Army. The extent of this program for military training is indicated by Hitler's boast of the expenditure of ninety billion Reichsmarks during the period 1933 to 1939, in the building up of the armed forces.
In a speech by Adolf Hitler delivered on 1 September, 1939, (2322-PS), which was published in the "Voelkischer Beobachter" under the heading "The Fuehrer announces the Battle for the Justice and Security of the Reich", the following passage occurred:
"For more than six years now, I have been engaged in building up the German Armed Forces. During this period more than ninety billion Reichsmarks were spent building up the Wehrmacht. Today, ours are the best-equipped armed forces in the world, and they are superior to those of 1914. My confidence in them can never be shaken." (2322-PS)
The secret nature of this training program and the fact of its early development is illustrated by a report to Hess, in 1932, concerning the secret training flying personnel, as well as the early plans to build a military air force (1143-PS). This report was sent in a letter from Schickedantz to Rosenberg, for delivery to Hess. Apparently Schickedantz was very anxious that no one but Hess should get this letter, and therefore sent it to Rosenberg for personal delivery to Hess. The letter points out that the civilian pilots should be so organized as to enable their transfer into the military air force organization. The letter dated 20 October, 1932, reads:
"Dear Alfred [Rosenberg]: I am sending you enclosed a communication from the RWM forwarded to me by our confidential man (Vertrauensmann) which indeed is very interesting. I believe we will have to take some steps so that the matter will not be procured secretly for the Stahlhelm. This report is not known to anybody else. I intentionally did not inform even our tall friend." [Rosenberg, in an interrogation on 5 October 1945, identified this "tall friend" as being Von Albensleben.] "I am enclosing an additional copy for Hess, and ask you to transmit the letter to Hess by messenger, as I do not want to write a letter to Hess for fear that it might be read somewhere. Mit bestem Gruss, Yours Amo." (1143-PS)
Enclosed in the report is:
"Air Force Organization"
"Purpose: Preparation of material and training of personnel to provide for the case of the armament of the air force.
"Entire management as a civilian organization will be transferred to Col. Von Willberg, at present commander of Breslau, who, retaining his position in the Reichswehr, is going on leave of absence.
"(a) Organizing the pilots of civilian air lines in such a way as to enable their transfer to the air force organization.
"(b) Prospects to train crews for military flying. Training to be done within the organization for military flying of the Stahlhelm [steel helmet] which is being turned over to Col. Hanel, retired.
"All existing organizations for sport flying are to be used for military flying. Directions on kinds and tasks of military flying will be issued by this Stahlhelm organization will pay the military pilots 50 marks per hour fight. These are due to the owner of the plane in case he himself carries out the fight. They are to be divided in case of non-owners of the plane, between flight organization, proprietor and crew in the proportion of 10:20:20. Military flying is now paid better than flying for advertisement (40). We therefore have to expect that most proprietors of planes or flying associations will go over to the Stahlhelm organization. It must be achieved that equal conditions will be granted by the RWM, also the NSDAP organization." (1143-PS)
D. Secret Rearmament
The program of rearmament and the objectives of circumventing and breaching the Versailles Treaty are forcefully shown by a number of Navy documents, showing the participation and cooperation of the German navy in this rearmament program which was secret at first. When it was deemed safe to say so, the Navy openly acknowledged that it had always been its objective to break the Versailles Treaty.
In 1937 the Navy High Command (OKM) published a secret book entitled, "The Fight of the Navy Against Versailles, 1919 to 1935", written by Sea Captain Schussler (C-156). The preface refers to the fight of the navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace treaty of Versailles. The table of contents includes a variety of navy activities, such as saving of coastal guns from destruction as required by Versailles; independent armament measures behind the back of the government and behind the back of the legislative bodies; resurrection of the U-boat arm; economic rearmament; and camouflaged rearmament from 1933 to the freedom from the restrictions in 1935. (C-156)
This book points out the significant effect of seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933 on increasing the size and determining the nature of the rearmament program. It also refers to the far reaching independence in the building and development of the navy, which was only hampered insofar as concealment of rearmament had to considered in compliance with the Versailles Treaty (C-156). With the restoration of what was called the military sovereignty of the Reich in 1935-the reoccupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland-the external camouflage of rearmament was eliminated.
This book of the German navy bears the symbol of the Nazi Party, the Swastika in the spread eagle on the cover sheet, and it is headed "secret", underscored (C-156). Raeder has identified this book in an interrogation and explained that the Navy tried to fulfill the letter of the Versailles Treaty and at the same time to make progress in naval development. The following are pertinent extracts from the book:
"The object and aim of this memorandum under the heading 'Preface', is to draw a technically reliable picture based on documentary records and the evidence of those who took part in the fight of the Navy against the unbearable regulations of the peace treaty of Versailles. It shows that the Reich navy after the liberating activities of the Free Corps and of Scapa Flow did not rest, but found ways and means to lay with unquenchable enthusiasm, in addition to the building up of the 15,000-man navy, the basis for a greater development in the future, and so create by work of soldiers and technicians the primary condition for a later rearmament. It must also distinguish more clearly the services of these men, who, without being known in wide circles, applied themselves with extraordinary zeal in responsibility in the service of the fight against the peace treaty; thereby stimulated by the highest feeling of duty, they risked, particularly in the early days of their fight, themselves and their position unrestrainedly in the partially self-ordained task. This compilation makes it clearer, however that even such ideal and ambitious plans can be realized only to a small degree if the concentrated and united strength of the whole people is not behind the courageous activity of the soldier. Only when the Fuehrer had created the second and even more important condition for an effective rearmament in the coordination of the whole nation and in the fusion of the political, financial and spiritual power, could the work of the soldier find its fulfillment. The framework of this peace treaty, the most shameful known in world history, collapsed under the driving power of this united will. [signed] The Compiler". (C-156)
The summary of the contents indicated in the chapter titles is significant:
"I. First, defensive action against the execution of the Treaty of Versailles (from the end of the war to the occupation of the Ruhr, 1923).
"1. Saving of coastal guns from destruction to removal of artillery equipment and ammunition, hand and machine weapons. * * *
"3. Limitation of destruction in Heligoland.
"II. Independent armament measures behind the back of the Reich Government and of the legislative body (from 1923 to the Lomann case in 1927).
"1. An attempt to increase the personnel strength of the Reich Navy.
"2. Contributing to the strengthening of patriotism among the people.
"3. Activities of Captain Lohmann.
"4. Preparation for the resurrection of the German U-boat arm.
"5. Building up of the air force.
"6. Attempt to strengthen our mine arm (Die Mine).
"7. Economic rearmament.
"8. Miscellaneous measures.
"a. The Aerogeodetic, and;
"b. Secret evidence.
"III. Planned armament work countenance by the Reich government but behind the back of the legislative body from 1927 to the seizure of power, 1933.
"IV. Rearmament under the leadership of the Reich Government in camouflage (from 1933 to the freedom from restrictions, 1935)." (C-156)
The following is a passage from chapter IV:
"The unification of the whole nation which was combined with the taking over of power on 30 January 1933 was of the decisive influence on the size and shape of further rearmament.
"While the second chamber, Reichsrat, approached its dissolution and withdrew as a legislative body, the Reichstag assumed a composition which could only take a one-sided attitude toward the rearmament of the armed forces. The government took over the management of the rearmament program upon this foundation.
"Development of the Armed Forces."
"This taking over of the management by the Reich Government developed for the armed forces in such a manner that the War Minister, General von Blomberg, and through him the three branches of the armed forces, received far reaching powers from the Reich Cabinet for the development of the armed forces. The whole organization of the Reich was included in this way. In view of these powers the collaboration of the former inspecting body in the management of the secret expenditure was from then on dispensed with. There remained only the inspecting duty of the accounting office of the German Reich.
"Independence of the Commander in Chief of the Navy"
"The commander-in-chief of the Navy, Admiral Raeder, honorary doctor, had received the help of a far-reaching independence in the building and development of the navy. This was only hampered insofar as the previous concealment of rearmament had to be continued in consideration of the Versailles Treaty. Besides the public budget there remained the previous special budget, which was greatly increased in view of the considerable credit for the provision of labor, which was made available by the Reich. Wide powers in the handling of these credits were given to the Director of the Budget Department of the navy, up to 1934 Commodore Schussler, afterwards Commodore Foerster. These took into consideration the increased responsibility of the Chief of the Budget.
"Declaration of Military Freedom"
"When the Fuehrer, relying upon the strength of the armed forces executed in the meanwhile, announced the restoration of the military sovereignty of the German Reich, the last-mentioned limitation on rearmament works namely, the external camouflage, was eliminated. Freed from all the shackles which have hampered our ability to move freely on and under water, on land and in the air for one and a half decades, and carried by the newly-awakened fighting spirit of the whole nation, the armed forces, and as part of it, the navy, can lead with full strength towards its completion the rearmament already under way with the goal of securing for the Reich its rightful position in the World." (C-156)
An interrogation of Raeder concerning this book went as follows:
"Q. I have here a document, C-156, which is a photostatic copy of the work prepared by the High Command of the Navy, and covers the struggle of the Navy against the Versailles Treaty from 1919 to 1935. I ask you initially whether you are familiar with the work?
"A. I know this book. I read it once when it was edited.
"Q. Was that an official publication of the Germany navy?
"A. This Captain Schuessler, indicated there, was Commander in the Admiralty. Published by the OKM, which was an idea of these officers to put all these things together.
"Q. Do you recall the circumstances under which the authorization to here in the foreword.
"A. I think he told me that he would write such a book as he told us here in the foreword.
"Q. In the preparation of this work he had access to the official naval files, and based his work on the items contained therein?
"A. Yes, I think so. He would have spoken with other persons, and he would have had the files, which were necessary.
"Q. Do you know whether before the work was published, a draft of it was circulated among the officers in the Admiralty for comment?
"A. No, I don't think so. Not before it was published. I saw it only when it was published.
"Q. Was it circulated freely after its publication?
"A. It was a secret object. I think the upper commands in the Navy had knowledge of it.
"Q. It was not circulated outside of the naval circles?
"Q. What then is your opinion concerning the comments contained in the work regarding the circumventing of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty?
"A. I don't remember very exactly what is in here. I can only remember that the Navy had always the object to fulfill the word of the Versailles Treaty, but wanted to have some advantages. But the flying men were exercised one year before they went into the Navy. Quite young men. So that the word of the Treaty of Versailles was filled. They didn't belong to the Navy, as long as they were exercised in flying, and the submarines were developed but not in Germany, and not in the Navy, but in Holland. There was a civil bureau, and in Spain there was an Industrialist; in Finland, too, and they were built much later when we began to act with the English government about the Treaty of thirty-five to one-hundred, because we could see that then the Treaty of Versailles would be destroyed by such a treaty with England, and so in order to keep the word of Versailles, we tried to fulfill the word of Versailles, but tried to have advantages.
"Q. Would the fair statement be that the Navy High Command was interested in avoiding the limited provisions of the Treaty of Versailles regarding the personnel and limits of armaments, but would it attempt to fulfill the letter of the treaty, although actually avoiding it?
"A. That was their endeavor".
Raeder had his explanations:
"Q. Why was such a policy adopted?
"A. We were much menaced in the first years after the first war by danger that the Poles would attack East Prussia and so we tried to strengthen a little our very, very weak forces in this way, and so all our efforts were directed to the aim to have a little more strength against the Poles, if they would attack us; it was nonsense to them of the attacking the Poles in this state, and for the Navy a second aim was to have some defense against the entering of French forces into the Ostsee, or East Sea, because we knew the French had intentions to sustain the Poles from ships that came into the Ostsee Goettinger, and so the Navy was a defense against the attack by the Poles, and against the entrance of French shipping into an Eastern Sea. quite defensive aims.
"Q. When did the fear of attack from Poles first show itself in official circles in Germany would you say?
"A. When the first years they took Wilma. In the same minute we thought that they would come to East Prussia. I don't know exactly the year, because those judgments were the judgments of the German government ministers, of the Army and Navy Ministers, Groner and Noske.
"Q. Then those views in your opinion were generally held existing perhaps as early as 1919 or 1920, after the end of the First World War?
"A. Oh, but the whole situation was very, very uncertain, and about those years in the beginning, I can not give you a very exact thing, because I was then two years in the Navy archives to write a book about the war, and how the cruisers fought in the first war. Two years, so I was not with these things."
The same kind of aims and purposes are reflected in the table of contents of a history of the German Navy, 1919 to 1939, found in captured official files of the German Navy (C-17). Although a copy of the book itself has not been found, the project was written by Oberst Scherff, Hitler's special military historian. The table of contents however, is available. It refers by numbers to groups of documents and notes in the documents, which evidently were intended as working material for the basis of the chapters to be written in accordance with the table of contents. The title of its table of contents fairly establishes the navy planning and preparations that were to get the Versailles Treaty out of the way, and to rebuild the navy strength necessary for war. Some of the headings in the table of contents read:
"Part A (1919-The year of Transition.)
First efforts to circumvent the Versailles Treaty and to limit its effects.
"Demilitarization of the administration, incorporation of naval offices in civil ministries, etc. Incorporation of greater sections of the German maritime observation station and the sea-mark system in Heligoland and Kiel, of the Ems-Jade-Canal, etc. into the Reich Transport Ministry up to 1934;
"Noskos' proposal of 11.8.1919 to incorporate the Naval Construction Department in the Technical High School, Berlin;
"Formation of the "Naval Arsenal Kiel".
"(b) The saving from destruction of coastal fortifications and guns.
"1. North Sea. Strengthening of fortifications with new batteries and modern guns between the signing and the taking effect of the Versailles Treaty; dealings with the Control Commission-information, drawings, visits of inspection, result of efforts."
"2. Baltic. Taking over by the Navy of fortresses Pilau and Swinemunde;
"Salvage for the Army of one-hundred and eighty-five movable guns and mortars there.
"3. The beginnings of coastal air defense.
"Part B (1920-1924. The Organizational New Order)
"Fulfillment and avoidance of the Versailles Treaty
"(a) The inter-allied Control Commissions
"(b) Defense measures against the fulfillment of the Versailles Treaty and independent arming behind the back of the Reich Government and the legislative bodies.
"1. Dispersal of artillery gear and munitions, of hand and automatic weapons.
"2. Limitation of demolition work in Heligoland.
"3. Attempt to strengthen personnel of the navy, from 1923.
"4. The activities of Captain Lohmann (founding of numerous associations at home and abroad, participations, formation of "sports" unions and clubs, interesting the film industry in naval recruitment).
"5. Preparation for re-establishing the German U-boat arm since 1920. (Projects and deliveries for Japan, Holland, Turkey, Argentine and Finland. Torpedo testing.)
"6. Participation in the preparation for building of the Luftwaffe (preservation of aerodromes, aircraft construction, teaching of courses, instruction of midshipmen in anti-air raid defense, training of pilots).
"7. Attempt to strengthen the mining branch.
Part C (1925-1932. Replacement of Tonnage) Chapter IV.
"The Navy, The Versailles Treaty, Foreign Countries.
"(a) The activities of the Inter-allied Control Commissions (up to 31.1.27; discontinuance of the activity of the Naval Peace Commission)
"Independent armament measures behind the back of the Reich Government and legislative bodies up to the Lohmann case.
"1. The activities of Captain Lohmann (continuation), their significance as a foundation for the rapid reconstruction work from 1935.
"2. Preparation for the re-strengthening of the German U-boat arm from 1925 (continuation), the merit of Lohmann in connection with the preparation for rapid construction in 1925, relationship to Spain, Argentine, Turkey: the first post war U-boat construction of the German Navy in Spain since 1927; 250 to specimen in Finland, preparation for rapid assembly; electric torpedo; training of U-boat personnel abroad in Spain and Finland. Formation of U-boat school in 1932 disguised as an anti-U-boat school.
"3. Participation in the preparation for the reconstruction of the Luftwaffe (continuation). Preparations for a Naval Air Arm, Finance Aircraft Company Sevra, later Luftdienst CMRH; Naval Flying School Warnemunde; Air Station List, training of sea cadet candidates, Military tactical questions "Air Defense Journeys", technical development, experimental station planning, trials, flying boat development DOX etc., catapult aircraft, arming, engines ground organization, air-craft torpedoes, the Deutchland Flight 1925 and the Seaplane Race 1926.
"4. Economic re-armament ("the Tebeg"- Technical Advice and Supply Company as a disguised Naval Office abroad for inv4estigating the position of raw materials for industrial capacity and other War economic questions.)
"5. Various measures. (The NV Aerogeodetic Company-secret investigations.)
"(c) Planned armament work with the tacit approval of the Reich government, but behind the backs of the legislative bodies (1928 to the taking over of power.)
"1. The effect of the Lohmann case on the secret preparations; winding up of works which could not be advocated; re-sumption and carrying on of other work.
"2. Finance question. ("Black Funds" and the Special Budget).
"3. The Labor Committee and its objectives
"(d) The Question of Marine Attaches (The continuation under disguise; open re-appointment 1939-1933)
"(e)The question of Disarmament of the Fleet abroad and in Germany (The Geneva Disarmament Conference 1927; the London Naval Treaty of 1930; the Anglo-French-Italian Agreement 1931. The League of Nations Disarmament Conference 1932).
"Part D (1933-1939. The Germany Navy during the Military Freedom Period)
"I. National Socialism and the question of the Fleet and of prestige at sea.
"II. Incorporation of the navy in the National Socialist State."
"III. The Re-armament of the Navy under the Direction of the Reich Government in a Disguised Way." (C-17)
The policy development of the navy is also reflected from the financial side. The planned organization of the navy budget for armament measures was based on a co-ordination of military developments and political objectives. Military political development was accelerated after the withdrawal from the League of Nations. (C-17)
A captured document, entitled "Chef der Marineleitung, Berlin, 12 May 1934," and marked "Secret Commando Matter," discusses the "Armament Plan (A.P.) for the 3rd Armament Phase." (C-153). This document, which bears the facsimile signature of Raeder at the end, speaks of war tasks, war and operational plans, armament target, etc., and shows that it was distributed to many of the High Command of the Navy. Dated 12 May 1934, it shows that a primary objective was readiness for a war without any alert period. The following are pertinent extracts:
* * * "The planned organization of armament measures is necessary for the realization of the target; this again requires a coordinated and planned expenditure in peace time. This organization of financial measures over a number of years according to the military viewpoint is found in the armament program and provides
"a. for the military leaders a sound basis for their operational considerations and
"b. for the political leaders a clear picture of what may be achieved with the military means available at a given time."
"All theoretical and practical A-preparations are to be drawn up with a primary view to readiness for a war without any alert period." (C-153)
The conspiratorial nature of these Nazi plans and preparations long before the outbreak of hostilities is illustrated in many other ways. Thus, in 1934, Hitler instructed Raeder to keep secret the U-Boat construction program; also the actual displacement and speed of certain ships. Work on U-Boats had been going on, as already indicated, in Holland, Spain, and Finland.
Secrecy was equally important then because of the pending naval negotiations with England. The subject was discussed in a conversation between Raeder and Adolf Hitler in June 1934. The record of that conversation (C-189) is not signed by Raeder, but in an interrogation on 8 November 1945, Raeder admitted that (C-189) was a record of this conversation, and that it was in his handwriting, though he did not sign his name at the end. The report is headed, "Conversation with the Fuehrer in June 1934 on the occasion of the resignation of the Commanding Officer of the Karlsruhe." It reads:
"1. Report by the C-in-C Navy concerning displacement of D. E. (defensive weapons).
"Fuehrer's instructions: No mention must be made of a displacement of 25-26,000 tons, but only of improved 10,000-ton (ships). Also, the speed over 26 nautical miles may be stated.
"2. C-in-C Navy expresses the opinion that later on the Fleet must anyhow be developed to oppose England, that therefore from 1936 onwards, the large ships must be armed with 35 c.m. guns (Like the King George Class).
"3. The Fuehrer demands to keep the construction of the U-Boats completely secret. Plebiscite also in consideration of the Saar." (C-189)
In order to continue the increase in navy strength, as planned, more funds were needed than the navy had available. Hitler therefore proposed to put funds of the Labor Front at the disposal of the navy. This appears from another Raeder memorandum of a conversation between Raeder with Hitler, on 2 November 1934 (C-190). this report, again, is not signed, but it was found in Raeder's personal file and seems clearly his memorandum. It is headed: "Conversation with the Fuehrer on 2.11.34 at the time of the announcement by the Commanding Officer of the "Emden". It reads:
"1. When I mentioned that the total funds to be made available for the armed forces for 1935 would presumably represent only a fraction of the required sum, and that therefore it was possible that the navy might be hindered in its plans, he replied that he did not think the funds would be greatly decreased. He considered it necessary that the navy be speedily increased by 1938 with the deadlines mentioned. In case of need, he will get Dr. Ley to put 120-150 million from the Labor Front at the disposal of the navy, as the money would still benefit the workers. Later in a conversation with Minister Goering and myself, he went on to say that he considered it vital that the navy be increased as planned, as no war could be carried on if the navy was not able to safeguard the ore imports from Scandinavia.
"2. Then, when I mentioned that it would be desirable to have six U-Boats assembled at the time of the critical situation in the first quarter of 1935, he stated that he would keep this point in mind, and tell me when the situation demanded that the assembling should commence." (C-190)
Then there is an asterisk and a note at the bottom:
"The order was not sent out. The first boats were launched in the middle of June 35 according to plan." (C-190)
The development of the armament industry by the use of foreign markets was a program encouraged by the navy, so that this industry would be able to supply the requirements of the navy in case of need. A directive of Raeder, dated 31 January 1933, and classified "Secret Commando Mater," requires German industry to support the armament of the navy (C-29). It provides:
"General directions for support given by the German Navy to the German Armament Industry
"The effects of the present economic depression have led here and there to the conclusion that there are no prospects of an active participation of the German Armament Industry abroad, even if the Versailles terms are no longer kept. There is no profit in it and it is therefore not worth promoting. Furthermore, the view has been taken that the increasing "self-sufficiency" would in any case make such participation superfluous.
"However obvious these opinions may seem, formed because of the situation as it is today, I am nevertheless forced t make the following contradictory corrective points:
"a. The economic crisis and its present effects must perforce be overcome sooner or later. Though equality of rights in war politics is not fully recognized today, it will, by the assimilation of weapons, be achieved at some period, at least to a certain extent,
"b. The consequent estimation of the duties of the German Armament Industry lies mainly in the Military-political sphere. It is impossible for this industry to satisfy, militarily and economically, the growing demands made of it by limiting the deliveries to our own armed forces. Its capacity must therefore be increased by the delivery of supplies to foreign countries over and above our own requirements.
"c. Almost every country is working to the same end today, even those which, unlike Germany, are not tied down by restrictions. Britain, France, North America, Japan, and especially Italy are making supreme efforts to ensure markets for their armament industries. The use of their diplomatic representations, of the propaganda voyages of their most modern ships and vessels, of sending missions and also of the guaranteeing of loans and insurance against deficits are not merely to gain commercially advantageous order for their armament industries, but first and foremost to expand their output from the point of view of military policy.
"d. It is just when the efforts to do away with the restrictions imposed on us have succeeded, that the German Navy has an ever-increasing and really vital interest in furthering the German Armament Industry and preparing the way for it in every direction in the competitive battle against the rest of the world.
"e. If, however the German Armament Industry is to be able to compete in foreign countries, it must inspire the confidence of its purchasers. The condition for this is that secrecy for our own ends be not carried too far. The amount of material to be kept secret under all circumstances in the interest of the defence of the country is comparatively small. I would like to issue a warning against the assumption that, at the present stage of technical development in foreign industrial states, a problem of vital military importance which we perhaps have solved, has not been solved there. Solutions arrived at today, which may become known, if divulged to a third person by naturally always possible indiscretion, have often been already superseded by new and better solutions on our part, even at that time or at any rate after the copy has been made. It is of greater importance that we should be technically well to the fore in any really fundamental matters, than that less important points should be kept secret unnecessarily and excessively.
"f. To conclude: I attach particular importance to guaranteeing the continuous support of the industry concerned by the navy, even after the present restrictions have been relaxed. If the purchasers are not made confident that something special is being offered them, the industry will not be able to stand up to the competitive battle and therefore will not be able to supply to requirements of the German Navy in case of need." (C-29)
This surreptitious rearmament, in violation of treaty obligations, starting even before the Nazi came into power, is illustrated by a 1932 order of Raeder, chief of the naval command, addressed to the main naval command, regarding the concealed construction of torpedo tubes in E-Boats (C-141). He ordered that torpedo tubes be removed and stored in the naval arsenal but be kept ready for immediate refitting. By using only the number permitted under the Treaty, at a given time, and by storing them after satisfactory testing, the actual number of operationally effective E-Boats was constantly increased.
This German order for the concealed armament of E-Boats, issued by Raeder on 10 February 1932, provides:
"In view of our treaty obligations and the Disarmament Conference steps must be taken to prevent the 1st E-Boat-Half-Flotilla, which in a few months will consist of exactly similar newly built (E)-Boats, from appearing openly as a formation of torpedo-carrying boats as it is not intended to count these E-Boats against the number of torpedo-carrying boats allowed us.
"I therefore order:
"1. S2-S5, will be commissioned in the shipyard Luerssen, Vegesack without armament, and will be fitted with easily removable cover-sheet-metal on the spaces necessary for torpedo-tubes. The same will be arranged by T.M.I. [Inspectorate of Torpedoes and Mining] in agreement with the naval arsenal, for the Boat 'S1' which will dismantle its torpedo-tubes, on completion of the practice shooting, for fitting on another boat.
"2. The torpedo-tubes of all S-Boats will be stored in the naval arsenal ready for immediate fitting. During the trial runs the torpedo-tubes will be taken on board one after the other for a short time to be fitted and for practice shooting so that only one boat at a time carries torpedo armament. For public consumption its boat will be in service for the purpose of temporary trials by the T.V.A. [Technical Research Establishment].
"It should not anchor together with the other, unarmed boats of the Half-Flotilla because of the obvious similarity of type. The duration of firing, and consequently the lengthy of time the torpedo-tubes are aboard, is to be as short as possible.
"3. Fitting the torpedo-tubes on all E-Boats is intended as soon as the situation of the political control allows it." (C-141)
Along similar lines the navy was also carrying on the concealed preparation of auxiliary cruisers, under the disguised designation of Transport Ships O. The preparations under this order were to be completed by 1 April 1935. At the very time of construction of these ships as commercial sips, plans were made for their conversion. This was the result of a Top Secret order from the command office of the navy, dated 12 March 1934, and signed in draft by Groos. This order bears the seal of the Reichministerium, Marineleitung, over the draft signature. It provides:
"Subject: Preparation of Auxiliary Cruisers.
"It is intended to include in the Establishment Organization 35 (AG-Aufstellungsgliederung) a certain number of auxiliary cruisers which are intended for use in operations on the high seas.
"In order to disguise the intention and all the preparations the ships will be referred to as "Transport Ships O". It is requested that in future this designation only will be uses.
"The preparations are to be arranged so that they can be completed by 1.4.35." (C-166)
In the official navy files, notes were kept year by year, from 1927 to 1940, on the reconstruction of the German Navy. One of these notes discloses that the displacement of the battleship "Scharnhorst-Gneisenau" was actually greater than the tonnage which had been notified to the British under the treaty obligations:
"The true displacement of the battleship "Scharnhorst-Gneisenau' and 'F/G' exceeds by 20 percent in both cases the displacement reported to the British." (C-23)
There is annexed to this document a table with reference to different ships, and two columns, headed "Displacement by Type"; one column reads "Actual Displacement," and the other, "Notified Displacement." The actual displacement of the "Scharnhorst" is thus shown to be 31,300 tons, although the notified displacement was only 26,000 tons. On the "F/G" actual was 41,700, wile notified was 46,850. And so on down the list. (C-23).
In these notes there also occurs the statements,
In a clear cut program for the construction, the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has set the navy the task of carrying out the aims of his foreign police." (C-23)
The German Navy constantly planned and committed violations of armament limitation, and with characteristic German thoroughness had prepared superficial pretexts to explain away these violations. Following a conference with the Chief of "A" section [the military department of the Navy], an elaborate survey list was prepared and compiled, giving a careful list of the quantity and type of German naval armament and ammunition on hand under manufacture or construction (C-32). A statement of the justification or defense that might be used was included in those instances where the Versailles Treaty was violated or its allotment has been exceeded. The list contained 30 items under "Material Measures" and 14 items under "Measures of Organization." The variety of details covered necessarily involved several sources within the navy, which must have realized their significance.
This Top Secret document, which is headed "A Survey Report of German Naval Armament after Conferences with Chief of "A" Section, dated 9 September 1933," contains three columns, one header "Measure," one headed "Material Measures, Details," and the third headed "Remarks." The "Remarks" contain the pretext or justification for explaining away the violations of the treaty. The following are examples:
"1. Exceeding the permitted number of mines." Then figures are given. "Remarks: Further mines are in part ordered, in part being delivered." (C-32)
"Number 2. Continuous storing of guns from the North Sea are for Baltic artillery batteries." The remarks column reads, "Justification: Necessity for over-hauling. Cheaper repairs." (C-32)
"Number 6. Laying gun-platforms in the Keil area." Remarks: "The offense over and above that in serial number 3 lies in the fact that all fortifications are forbidden in the Kiel area. This justification will make it less severe; pure defense measures." (C-32)
"Number 7. Exceeding the calibre permitted for coastal batteries." Remarks: "possible justification is that, though the calibre is larger, the number of guns is less." (C-32)
"Number 8. Arming of mine-sweepers." Remarks: "The guns are taken from the fleet reserve stores, have been temporarily installed only for training purposes. All nations arm their mine-sweeping forces (equality of rights)." (C-32)
"Number 13. Exceeding the number of machine guns, et cetera, permitted." Remarks: "Can be made light of." (C-32)
"Number 18. Construction of U-boat parts." Remarks: "Difficult to detect. If necessary can be denied." (C-32)
"Number 20. Arming of fishing vessels." Remarks: "For warning shots. Make little of it." And so on throughout the list (C-32). This document must have been used as a guide for negotiators who were attending the Disarmament Conference, as to the position that they might take.
E. Withdrawal From the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations: Building of the Air Force.
At this point, on 14th October 1933, Germany withdrew from the International Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations. The Nazis took this opportunity to break away from the international negotiations and to take an aggressive position on an issue which would not be serious enough to provoke reprisal from other countries. At the same time, Germany attached so much importance to this action that it considered the possibility of the application of sanctions by other countries. In anticipation of the probable nature of such sanctions and the countries which might apply them, plans wee made for armed resistance on land, at sea, and in the air. Military preparations were ordered in a directive from the Reichsminister for Defense (von Blomberg) to the head of the Army High Command (Fritsch), the head of the Navy High Command, (Raeder), and the Reichsminister for Air, (Goering) (C-140). This directive, dated 25 October 1933, 11 days after the withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations, provides:
"1. The enclosed directive gives the basis for preparation of the armed forces in the case of sanctions being applied against Germany.
"2. I request the chiefs of the Army and Navy High Command and the Reichsminister for Air to carry out the preparations in accordance with the following points:
"(a) Strictest secrecy. It is of the utmost importance that no facts become known to the outside world from which preparation for resistance against sanctions can be inferred or which is incompatible with Germany's existing obligations in the sphere of foreign policy regarding the demilitarized zone. If necessary, the preparations must take second place to this necessity." (C-140)
One of the immediate consequences of this action was that following the withdrawal from the League of Nations, Germany's armament program was still further increased. As it was ordered on 12 May, 1934:
"5. Owing to the speed of military political development since Germany quitted Geneva and based on the progress of the army, the new A-Plan will only be drawn up for a period of two years. The third A phase lasts accordingly from 1.4.34 to 31.3.36." (C-153)
On 10 Marcy 1935, Goering announced that Germany was building a military air force. At page 1830 of Das Archiv it is stated:
"The Reich Minister for Aviation, General of the Airmen, Goering, in his talk with the special correspondent of the Daily Mail, Ward Price, expressed himself on the subject of the German Air Force.
"General Goering said:
"In the extension of our national defense [Sicherheit], it was necessary, as we repeatedly told the world, to take care of defense in the air. As far as that is concerned, I restricted myself to those measures absolutely necessary. The guiding line of my actions was, not the creation of an aggressive force which would threaten other nations, but merely the completion of a military aviation which would be strong enough to repel, at any time, attacks on Germany."
"In conclusion, the correspondent asked whether the German Air Force will be capable of repelling attacks on Germany. General Goering replied to that exactly as follows:
"The German Air Force is just as passionately permeated with the will to defend the Fatherland to the last as it is convinced, on the other hand, that it will never be employed to threaten the peace of other nations." (2292-PS)
Since they had gone as far as they could on rearmament and the secret training of personnel, the next step necessary to the conspirators' program for aggressive war was a large-scale increase in military strength. This could no longer be done under disguise and camouflage, and would have to be known to the world. Accordingly, on 16 March 1935, there was promulgated a law for universal military service, in violation of Article 173 of the Versailles Treaty. That law appeared in the Reichsgesetzblatt, Title I, Vol. I, 1935, page 369. The text of the law itself provides:
"In this sprit the German Reich Cabinet has today passed the following law:
"Law for the Organization of the Armed Forces of March 16, 1935.
"The Reich Cabinet has passed the following law which is herewith promulgated:
"Service in the Armed Forces is based upon compulsory military duty.
"In peace time, the German Army, including the police troops transferred to it, is organized into: 12 Corps and 36 Divisions.
"The Reich Minister of War is charged with the duty of submitting immediately to the Reich Ministry detailed laws on compulsory military duty." (1654-PS)
The law is signed first by the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and then by many other officials, including von Neurath, Frick, Schacht, Goering, Hess, and Frank. (1654-PS)
As a part of their program to weaken resistance in other states, the Nazis followed a policy of making false assurances, thereby tending to create confusion and a false sense of security. Thus, on 21 May 1935, the same date on which Germany renounced the armament provisions of the Versailles Treaty, Hitler announced the intent of the German Government to respect the territorial limitations of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties. In his speech in the Reichstag on that date Hitler stated:
"Therefore, the Government of the German Reich shall absolutely respect all other articles pertaining to the cooperation [zasammenleben] of the various nations including territorial agreements; revisions which will be unavoidable as time goes by it will carry out by way of a friendly understanding only.
"The Government of the German Reich has the intention not to sign any treaty which it believes not to be able to fulfill. However, it will live up to every treaty signed voluntarily even if it was composed before this government took over. Therefore, it will in particular adhere to all the allegations under the Locarno Pact as long as the other partners of the pact also adhere to it." (2288-PS)
For convenient reference, the territorial limitations in the Locarno and Versailles Treaties, include the following:
Article 1 of the Rhine Pact of Locarno, 16 October 1925, provides:
"The High Contracting parties, collectively and severally, guarantee, in the manner provided in the following Articles: the maintenance of the territorial status quo, resulting from the frontiers between Germany and Belgium and between Germany and France and the inviolability of the said frontiers, as fixed by, or in pursuance of the Treaty of Peace, signed at Versailles, on June 28, 1919, and also the observance of the stipulation of Articles 42 and 43 of the said Treaty, concerning the demilitarized zone."
That has reference, of course, to the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland.
Article 42 of the Versailles Treaty, 28 June 1919, provides:
"Germany is forbidden to maintain or construct any fortifications either no the left bank of the Rhine or on the right bank, to the west of the line drawn 50 kilometers to the east of the Rhine."
Article 43 provides:
"In the area defined above, the maintenance and the assembly of armed forces, either permanently or temporarily and military maneuvers of any kind, as well as the upkeep of all permanent works for mobilization, are in the same way forbidden."
G. Reoccupation of the Rhineland.
The demilitarized zone of the Rhineland was a sore spot with the Nazis ever since its establishment after World War I. Not only was this a blow to their increasing pride, but it was a bar to any effective strong position which Germany might want to take on any vital issues. In the event of any sanctions against Germany, in the form of military action, the French and other powers would get well into Germany east of the Rhine, before any German resistance could even be put up. Therefore, any German plans to threaten or breach international obligations, or for any kind of aggression, required the preliminary reoccupation and refortification of this open Rhineland territory. Plans and preparations for the reoccupation of the Rhineland started very early.
A Document apparently signed in the handwriting of von Blomberg, deals with what is called "Operation Schulung", meaning schooling or training (C-139). It is dated 2 May 1935 and refers to prior staff discussions on the subject. It is addressed to the Chief of the Army Command, who at that time was Fritsch; the Chief of the Navy High Command (Raeder); and the Reich Minister for Air (Goering). The document does not use the name "Rhineland" and does not, in terms, refer to it. It seems clear, however, that it was a plan for the military reoccupation of the Rhineland, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Rhine Pact of Locarno. The first part, headed "Secret Document," provides:
"For the operation, suggested in the last staff talks of the Armed Forces, I lay down the Code name Schulung [training].
"The supreme direction of the operation 'Schulung' rests with the Reich Minister of Defense as this is a joint undertaking of the three services.
"Preparations for the operation will begin forthwith according to the following directives:
"1. The operation must, on issue of the code word 'Carry out Schulung,' be executed by a surprise blow at lightning speed. Strictest secrecy is necessary in the preparations and only the very smallest number of officers should be informed and employed in the drafting of reports, drawing, etc., and these officers only in person.
"2. There is no time for mobilization of the forces taking part. These will be employed in their peace-time strength and with their peace-time equipment.
"3. The preparation for the operation will be made without regard to the present inadequate state of our armaments. Every improvement of the state of our armaments will make possible a greater measure of preparedness and thus result in better prospects of success." (C-139)
The rest of the order deals with military details. There are certain points in this order which are inconsistent with any theory that it was merely a training order, or that it might have been defensive in nature. The operation was to be carried out as a surprise blow at lightning speed. The air forces were to provide support for the attack. There was to be reinforcement by the East Prussian division. Furthermore, since this order is dated 2 May 1935, which is about 6 weeks after the promulgation of the Conscription Law of 16 March 1935, it could hardly have been planned as a defensive measure against any expected sanctions which might have been applied by reason of the passage of the Conscription Law.
The actual reoccupation of the Rhineland did not take place until 7 March, 1936, and this early plan (C-139) necessarily underwent revision to suit changed conditions and specific objectives. That the details of this particular plan were not ultimately the ones that were carried out in reoccupying the Rhineland does not detract from the fact that as early as 2 May 1935, the Germans had already planned that operation, not merely as a staff plan but as a definite operation. It was evidently not on their timetable to carry out the operation so soon, if it could be avoided. But they were prepared to do so if necessary.
It is significant to note the date of this order is the same as the date of the signing of the Franco-Russian Pact, which the Nazis later asserted as their excuse for the Rhineland reoccupation.
The military orders on the basis of which the Rhineland reoccupation was actually carried into execution on 7 March 1936, were issued on 2 March 1936 by the War Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, von Blomberg. They were addressed to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (Raeder), and the Air Minister and C-in-C of the Air Force (Gering) (C-159). That order, classified "Top Secret", in the original bears Raeder's initial in green pencil, with a red pencil note, "To be submitted to the C-in-C of the Navy".
The first part of the Order reads:
"Supreme Command of the Navy:
"1. The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has made the following decision:
"By reason of the Franco-Russian alliance, the obligations accepted by Germany in the Locarno Treaty, as far as they apply to Articles 42 and 43 of the Treaty of Versailles, which referred to the demilitarized zone, are to be regarded as obsolete.
"2. Sections of the army and air force will therefore be transferred simultaneously in a surprise move to garrisons of the demilitarized zone. In this connection, I issue the following orders: * * *" (C-159)
There follow detailed orders for the military operation.
The order for Naval cooperation was issued on 6 March 1936, in the form of an order on behalf of the Reich Minister for War, von Blomberg, signed by Keitel, and addressed to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (Raeder) (C-194). The order set out detailed instructions for the Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet and the admirals commanding the Baltic and North Sea. The short covering letter is as follows:
"To: C-in-C Navy:
"The Minister has decided the following after the meeting:
"1. The inconspicuous air reconnaissance in the German bay, not over the line Texel-Doggerbank, from midday on Z-Day onward, has been approved. C-in-C air force will instruct the air command VI from midday 7 March to hold in readiness single reconnaissance aircraft to be at the disposal of the C-in-C fleet.
"2. The Minister will reserve the decision to set up a U-Boat reconnaissance on line, until the evening of 7 March. The immediate transfer of U-Boats from Keil to Wilhelmshaven has been approved.
"3. The proposed advance measures for the most part exceed Degree of Emergency A and therefore are out of the question as the first counter-measures to be taken against military preparations of neighboring states It is far more essential to examine the advance measures included in Degree of Emergency A, to see whether one or other of the especially conspicuous measures could not be omitted." (C-194)
The re-occupation and fortification of the Rhineland was carried out on 7 March 1936. For the historical emphasis of this occasion, Hitler made a momentous speech on the same day, in which he declared:
"Men of the German Reichstag! Frances has replied to the repeated friendly offers and peaceful assurances made by Germany by infringing the Reich pack through a military alliance with the Soviet Union exclusive directed against Germany. In this manner, however, the Locarno Rhine Pact has lost its inner meaning and ceased in practice to exist. Consequently, Germany regards herself, for her part, as no longer bound by this dissolved treaty. The German government are now constrained to face the new situation created by this alliance, a situation which is rendered more acute by the fact that the Franco-Soviet treaty has been supplemented by a Treaty of Alliance between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union exactly parallel in form. In accordance with the fundamental right of nation to secure its frontiers and ensure its possibilities of defense, the German government have today restored the full and unrestricted sovereignty of Germany in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland." (2289-PS)
The German reoccupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland caused extensive international repercussions. As a result of the protests lodged with the League of Nations, the Council of the League made an investigation and announced the following finding, which is published in the League of Nations monthly summary, March, 1936, Volume 16, Page 78. [It is also quoted in the American Journal of International Law, page 487 (1936)]:
"That the German government has committed a breach of Article 43 of the Treaty of Versailles, by causing on Marcy 7, 1936, military forces to enter and establish themselves in the demilitarized zone, referred to in Article 42 and the following articles of that Treaty, and in the Treaty of Locarno. At the same time, on March 7, 1936, the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland in flagrant violation of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties. They again tried to allay the fears of other European powers and lead them into a false sense of security by announcing to the world 'we have no territorial demands to make in Europe."
The Las phrase occurred in Hitler's Speech on 7 March 1936:
"We have no territorial claims to make in Europe. We know above all that all the tensions resulting either from false territorial settlements or from the disproportion of the numbers of inhabitants to their living space cannot, in Europe, be solved by war. (2289-PS)
The existence of prior plans and preparations for the re-occupation and fortification of the Rhineland is indisputable. The method and sequence of these plans and their accomplishments are clearly indicative of the increasingly aggressive character of the Nazi objectives, international obligations and considerations of humanity notwithstanding.
The Nazi conspirators were determined, as these documents have shown, to use whatever means were necessary to abrogate and overthrow the Treaty of Versailles and its restrictions upon the military armament and activity of Germany. In this process, they conspired and engaged in secret armament and training, the secret production of munitions of war, and they built up an air force. They withdrew from the International Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations on 14 October 1933. They instituted universal military service on 16 March 1935. On 21 May 1935 they falsely announced that they would respect the territorial limitations of Versailles and Locarno. On March 7 1936 they reoccupied and fortified the Rhineland and at the same time, falsely announced that they had no territorial demands in Europe.
The accomplishment of all these objectives, particularly the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty restrictions, opened the gates for the numerous aggressions which were to follow.
Document Description Vol. Page
Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6 (a) .....I 5
International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1, Section IV (F) 1,2; V ..I 22,29
Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number indicates that the document was referred to during the trial but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason given in parentheses following the description of the document. The USA series number, given in parentheses following the description of the document, is the official exhibit number assigned by the court.
*789-PS Speech of the Fuehrer at a conference, 23 November 1939, to which all Supreme Commanders were ordered. (USA 23) ....... III 572
*1143-PS Letter from Schickendanz to Rosenberg, 20 October 1932, for personal transmission to Hess concerning organization of Air Force. (USA 40) .....III 806
*1168-Ps Unsigned Schacht memorandum to Hitler, 3 May 1935, concerning the financing of the armament program. (USA 37) ....III 827
*1639-A-PS Mobilization book for the Civil Administration, 1939 Edition, issued over signature of Keitel. (USA 777) ......IV 143
**1654-PS Law of 16 March 1935 reintroducing universal military conscription. 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 369. (Referred to but not offered in evidence) ...IV 163
*2194-PS Top secret letter from Ministry for Economy and Labor, Saxony, to Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia, enclosing copy of 1938 Secret Defense Law of 4 September 1938. (USA 36) ......................... IV 843
*2261-PS Directive from Blomberg to supreme Commanders of Army, Navy and Air Forces, 24 June 1935; accompanied by copy of Reich Defense Law 21 May 1935 and copy of Decision of Reich Cabinet of 12 May 1935 on the Council for defense of the Reich. (USA 24) ...IV 934
*2288-PS Adolf Hitler's speech before the Reichstag, published in Voelkischer Beobachter, Southern Germany Special Edition, No. 142a, 22 May 1935. (USA 38) .....IV 993
*2289-PS Hitler's speech in the Reichstag, 7 March 1936, published in Voelkischer Beobachter, Berlin Edition, No. 68, 8 March 1936. (USA 56) ......................... IV 994
*2292-PS Interview of Goering by representative of London Daily Mail, concerning the German Air Force, from German report in The Archive, March 1935, p. 1830. (USA 52) ......IV 995
*2322-PS Hitler's speech before the Reichstag, 1 September 1939. (USA 39) ....IV 1026
*2353-PS Extracts from General Thomas' Basic Facts for History of German War and Armament Economy. (USA 35) ..IV 1071
2907-PS Notes of conferences of Reich Minister on 12 September 1933, 13 October 1933, and 14 October 1933 ....IV 572
*3054-PS "The Nazi Plan", script of a motion picture composed of captured German film. (USA 167) ........IV 801
*3308-PS Affidavit by Paul Otto Gustav Schmidt, 28 November 1945. (GB 288) ....V 1100
*3474-PS Manuscript notes by Bodenschatz on conference of German Air Forces leaders, 2 December 1936. (USA 580) ...VI 199
*3575-PS Memorandum, 19 November 1938, concerning meeting of Reich Defense Council. (USA 781) ...VI 267
3581-PS Letter from Minister of Interior to Minister of Propaganda Goebbels, 20 July 1934, concerning unauthorized press releases about military affairs ...VI 278
3585-PS Letter from Chief of Staff of Army (von Fritsch) to Minister of War, 8 October 1934, enclosing memorandum signed by Brauchitsch 29 September 1934, on military situation in East Prussia ...VI 279
3586-PS Directive to Counter Intelligence units, 16 October 1934, directing that new troop units which may be activated should be listed in telephone books only under camouflage designations ......VI 281
3587-PS Memorandum from Beck, 14 November 1934, forbidding public use of designation "General Staff" ....VI 282
C-17 Extracts from History of the German Navy 1919-1939. (USA 42) ...VI 819
*C-23 Unsigned documents found in official Navy files containing notes year by year from 1927 to 1940 on reconstruction of the German Navy, and dated 18 February 1938, 8 March 1938, September 1938. (USA 49) ....VI 827
*C-29 Directive of 31 January 1933 by Raeder for German Navy to support the armament industry. (USA 46) ...VI 830
*C-32 Survey report of German Naval Armament after conference with Chief of "A" Section, 9 September 1933. (USA 50) .....VI 833
*C-135 Extract from history of war organization and of the scheme for mobilization. (GB 213) .....VI 946
*C-139 Directive for operation "Schulung" signed by Blomberg, 2 May 1935. (USA 53) .....VI 951
*C-140 Directive for preparations in event of sanctions, 25 October 1935, signed by Blomberg. (USA 51) ....VI 952
*C-141 Order for concealed armament of E-boats, 10 February 1932, signed by Raeder. (USA 47) .....VI 955
*C-153 Naval Armament Plan for the 3rd Armament Phase, signed by Raeder, 12 May 1934. (USA 43) ....VI 967
*C-156 Concealed Rearmament under Leadership of Government of Reich, from "Fight of the Navy against Versailles 1919-1935". (USA 41) ...VI 970
*C-159 Order for Rhineland occupation signed by Blomberg, 2 March 1936.(USA 54) ...VI 974
*C-166 Order from Command Office of Navy, 12 March 1934, signed in draft by Groos, concerning preparation of auxiliary cruisers. (USA 48) ....VI 977
*C-175 OKW Directive for Unified Preparation for War 1937-1938, with covering letter from von Blomberg, 24 June 1937. (USA 69) .............VI 1006
*C-189 Conversation with the Fuehrer in June 1934 on occasion of resignation of Commanding Officer of "Karlsruhe". (USA 44) ......VI 1017
*C-190 Memorandum of conversation with Hitler on financing Naval rearmament and assembling six submarines, 2 November 1934. (USA 45) ...VI 1018
*C-194 Orders by Keitel and Commander-in-Chief of Navy, 6 March 1936, for Navy cooperation in Rhineland occupation. (USA 55) .......VI 1019
*EC-177 Minutes of second session of Working Committee of the Reich Defense held on 26 April 1933. (USA 390) .....VII 328
*EC-404 Minutes of conference of Sixth Session of Working Committee of Reichs Defense Council, held on 23 and 24 January 1934. (USA 764) ....VII 443
*EC-405 Minutes of Tenth Meeting of Working Committee of Reichs Defense Council, 26 June 1935. (GB 160) ......VII 450
*EC-406 Minutes of Eleventh Meeting of Reichs Defense Council, 6 December 1935. (USA 772) .....VII 455
*EC-407 Minutes of Twelfth Meeting of Reich Defense Council, 14 May 1936. (GB 247) ..........VII 462
*L-79 Minutes of conference, 23 May 1939, "Indoctrination on the political situation and future aims". (USA 27) ......VII 847
*L-172 "The Strategic Position at the Beginning of the 5th Year of War", a lecture delivered by Jodl on 7 November 1943 at Munich to Reich and Gauleiters. (USA 34) ......................... VII 920
*TC-44 Notice by German government of existence of German Air Force, 9 March 1935. (GB 11) .......VIII 386
TC-45 Proclamation to German People of 16 March 1935 ....VIII 388
TC-46 German memorandum to Signatories of Locarno Pact reasserting full German sovereignty over Rhineland, 7 March 1936 ......................... VIII 394
Statement VII The Development of German Naval Policy - 1933-1939 by Erich Raeder, Moscow, fall 1945 ....VIII 684
Statement XIV Hungarian Relations with Germany Before and During the War by Nicholas Horthy Jr., Nurnberg, 22 February 1946 ......................... VIII 756