The following address, opening the British presentation of the case under Count II of the Indictment, was delivered by Sir Hartley Shawcross, K.C., M.P., British Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, before the Tribunal on 4 December 1945.


On an occasion to which reference has already been made Hitler, the Leader of the Nazi Conspirators who are now on trial before you, said in reference to their warlike plans:

"I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war, never mind whether it be true or not. The victor shall not be asked later on whether we tell the truth or not. In starting and making a war not the right is what matters but victory-the strongest has the right." (1014-PS)

The British Empire has twice been victorious in wars which have been forced upon it within the space of one generation but it is precisely because we realize that victory is not enough; that might is not necessarily right; that lasting peace and the rule of International Law is not to be achieved by the strong arm alone, that the British Nation is taking part in this trial. There are those who would perhaps say that these wretched men should have been dealt with summarily without trial by "executive action"; that their personal power for evil broken, they should be swept aside into oblivion without this elaborate and careful investigation as to the part they played in plunging the world in war. Vae Victis. Let them pay the penalty of defeat. But that is not the view of the British Empire or of the British Government. Not so would the Rule of Law be raised and strengthened on the international as well as the municipal plane; not so would future generations realize that right is not always on the side of the big battalions; not so would the world be made aware that the waging of aggressive war is not only a dangerous venture but a criminal one. Human memory is short. Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon the sympathy and magnanimity of their victors so that the true facts, never authoritatively recorded, become obscured and forgotten. One has only to recall the circumstances following the last world war to see the dangers to which, in the absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With the passage of time the former tend to discount, perhaps because of their very horror, the stories of aggression and atrocity which may be handed down; the latter, misled by fanatical and dishonest propagandists, come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of what they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal, acting, as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by the victorious powers, with complete and judicial objectivity, will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth and future politicians for warning. From this record all generations shall know not only what our generation suffered but also that our suffering was the result of crimes against the laws of peoples which the peoples of the world enforced and will continue in the future to uphold by international cooperation, not based merely on military alliances but firmly grounded in the rule of law.

Nor, though this procedure and this Indictment of individuals may be novel, is there anything new in the principles which by this prosecution we seek to enforce. Ineffective though, alas, the sanctions proved themselves to be, the Nations of the world had, as it will be my purpose to show, sought to make aggressive war an international crime, and although previous tradition has sought to punish States rather than individuals, it is both logical and right that if the act of waging war is itself an offense against International Law those individuals who shared personal responsibility for bringing such wars about should answer personally for the course into which they lead their states. Again, individual war crimes have long been regarded by International Law as triable by the Courts of those States whose nationals have been outraged at least so long as a state of war persists. It would indeed be illogical in the extreme if those who, although they may not with their own hands have committed individual crimes, were responsible for systematic breaches of the laws of war affecting the nationals of many States should escape. So also in regard to crimes against humanity. The right of humanitarian intervention on behalf of the rights of man trampled upon by the State in a manner shocking the sense of mankind has long been considered to form part of the law of Nations. Here, too, the Charter merely develops a pre-existing principle. If murder, raping and robbery are indictable under the ordinary municipal laws of our countries shall those who differ only from the common criminal by the extent and systematic nature of their offenses escape accusation?

It is, as I shall show, the view of the British Government that in these matters the Tribunal will apply to individuals not the law of the victor but the accepted principles of international usage in a way which will, if anything can, promote and fortify the rule of International Law and safeguard the future peace and security of this war-stricken world.

By agreement between the Chief Prosecutors it is my task on behalf of the British Government and of the other States associated on this Prosecution to present the case on Count 2 of the Indictment and to show how these Defendants in conspiracy with each other and with persons not now before this Tribunal planned and waged a war of aggression in breach of the Treaty obligations by which, under International Law Germany, as other States, had sought to make such wars impossible.

That task falls into two parts. The first is to demonstrate the nature and the basis of the Crime against peace which, under the Charter of this Tribunal, is constituted by waging wars of aggression and in violation of Treaties. The second is to establish beyond doubt that such wars were waged by these Defendants.

As to the first, it would no doubt be sufficient to say this. It is not incumbent upon the Prosecution to prove that wars of aggression and wars in violation of International Treaties are, or ought to be, International Crimes. The Charter of this Tribunal has prescribed that they are crimes and that the Charter is the statute and the law of this Court. Yet, though that is the clear and mandatory law governing the jurisdiction of this Tribunal, we feel that we should not be fully discharging our task in the abiding interest alike of international justice and morality unless we showed the position of that provision of the Charter against the whole perspective of International Law. For just as some old English Statutes were substantially declaratory of the Common Law, so this Charter substantially declares and creates a jurisdiction in respect of what was already the Laws of Nations.

Nor is it unimportant to emphasize that aspect of the matter lest there be some, now or hereafter, who might allow their judgment to be warped by plausible catchwords or by an uninformed and distorted sense of justice towards these Defendants. It is not difficult to be misled by such phrases as that resort to war in the past has not been a crime; that the power to resort to war is one of the prerogatives of the sovereign State; that the Charter in constituting wars of aggression a crime has imitated one of the most obnoxious doctrines of National Socialist jurisprudence, namely post factum legislation; that the Charter is in this respect reminiscent of Bills of Attainder-and that these proceedings are no more than a measure of vengeance, subtly concealed in the garb of judicial proceedings which the Victor wreaks upon the Vanquished. These things may sound plausible-yet they are not true. It is, indeed, not necessary to doubt that some aspects of the Charter bear upon them the imprint of significant and salutary novelty. But it is our submission and conviction, which we affirm before this Tribunal and the world that fundamentally the provision of the Charter which constitutes such wars as these Defendants joined in waging and in planning a crime is not in any way an innovation. That provision does no more than constitute a competent jurisdiction for the punishment of what not only the enlightened conscience of mankind but the Law of Nations itself constituted an International Crime before this Tribunal was established and this Charter became part of the public law of the world.

So first let this be said. Whilst it may be true that there is no body of international rules amounting to law in the Justinian sense of a rule imposed by a sovereign upon a subject obliged to obey it under some definite sanction, yet for fifty years or more the people of the world, striving perhaps after that ideal of which the poet speaks:

When the War Drums throb no longer

And the Battle Flags are furled,

In the Parliament of Man,

The federation of the World

have sought to create an operative system of rules based on the consent of nations to stabilize international relations, to avoid war taking place at all and to mitigate the results of such wars as took place. The first such treaty was of course the Hague Convention of 1899 for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. This was, indeed, of little more than precatory effect and we attach no weight to it for the purpose of this case, but it did establish agreement that in the event of serious disputes arising between the signatory powers, they would so far as possible submit to mediation. That Convention was followed in 1907 by another Convention reaffirming and slightly strengthening what had previously been agreed. These early conventions fell indeed very far short of outlawing war or of creating any binding obligation to arbitrate. I shall certainly not ask you to say any crime was committed by disregarding them. But at least they established that the contracting powers accepted the general principle that if at all possible war should be resorted to only if mediation failed.

Although these Conventions are mentioned in the Indictment I do not rely on them save to show the historical development of the law. It is unnecessary, therefore, to argue about their effect, for their place has been taken by more effective instruments. They were the first steps.

There were, of course, other individual agreements between particular States which sought to preserve the neutrality of individual countries as, for instance, that of Belgium, but those agreements were, in the absence of any real will to comply with them, entirely inadequate to prevent the first World War in 1914.

Shocked by the occurrence of that catastrophe the Nations of Europe, not excluding Germany, and of other parts of the World came to the conclusion that in the interests of all alike a permanent organization of the Nations should be established to maintain the peace. And so the Treaty of Versailles was prefaced by the Covenant of the League of Nations.

I say nothing at this moment of the general merits of the various provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. They have been criticized, some of them perhaps justly, and they were made the subject of much warlike propaganda in Germany. But it is unnecessary to enquire into the merits of the matter, for however unjust one might for this purpose assume the Treaty to be, it contained no kind of excuse for the waging of war to secure an alteration in its terms. For not only was it a settlement by agreement of all the difficult territorial questions which had been left outstanding by the war itself but it established the League of Nations which, if it had been loyally supported, could so well have resolved those international differences which might otherwise have led, as they did lead, to war. It set up in the Council of the League, in the Assembly and in the Permanent Court of International Justice, a machine not only for the peaceful settlement of international disputes but also for the ventilation of all international questions by frank and open discussion. At the time the hopes of the world stood high. Millions of men in all countries-perhaps even in Germany-had laid down their lives in what they believed and hoped to be a war to end war. Germany herself entered the League and was given a permanent seat on the Council, on which, as in the Assembly, German Governments which preceded that of the Defendant Von Papen in 1932 played their full part. In the years from 1919 to 1932 despite some minor incidents in the heated atmosphere which followed the end of the war, the peaceful operation of the League continued. Nor was it only the operation of the League which gave good ground for hope that at long last the rule of law would replace that of anarchy in the international field.

The Statesmen of the world deliberately set out to make wars of aggression an international Crime. These are no new terms, invented by the Victors to embody in this Charter. They have figured prominently in numerous treaties, in governmental pronouncements and in declarations of Statesmen in the period preceding the Second World War. In treaties concluded between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other States-such as Persia (1 October 1927), France (2 May 1935), China (21 August 1937)-the Contracting Parties undertook to refrain from any act of aggression whatsoever against the other Party. In 1933 the Soviet Union became a party to a large number of treaties containing a detailed definition of aggression. The same definition appeared in the same year in the authoritative Report of the Committee on Questions of Security set up in connection with the Conference for the Reduction and the Limitation of Armaments. But States went beyond commitments to refrain from wars of aggression and to assist States victims of aggression. They condemned wars of aggression. Thus in the Anti-War Treaty of Non-Aggression and conciliation of 10 October 1933, a number of American States-subsequently joined by practically all the States of the American Continent and a number of European countries-the Contracting Parties solemnly declared that "they condemned wars of aggression in their mutual relations or in those of other States." That Treaty was fully incorporated into the Buenos Aires Convention of December 1936 signed and ratified by a large number of American countries, including the United States of America. Previously, in February 1928, the Sixth Pan-American conference adopted a Resolution declaring that as "war of aggression constitutes a crime against the human species * * * all aggression is illicit and as such is declared prohibited." In September 1927 the Assembly of the League of Nations adopted a resolution affirming the conviction that "a war of aggression can never serve as a means of settling international disputes and is, in consequence, an international crime" and declaring that "all wars of aggression are, and shall always be, prohibited." The first Article of the Draft Treaty for Mutual Assistance of 1923 reads: "The High Contracting Parties, affirming that aggressive war is an international crime, undertake the solemn engagement not to make themselves guilty of this crime against any other nation." In the Preamble to the Geneva Protocol of 1924 it was stated that "offensive warfare constitutes an infraction of solidarity and an international crime." These instruments remained unratified, for various reasons, but they are not without significance or instruction.

These repeated condemnations of wars of aggression testified to the fact that, with the establishment of the League of Nations and with the legal developments which followed it, the place of war in International Law had undergone a profound change. War was ceasing to be the unrestricted prerogative of sovereign States. The Covenant of the League did not totally abolish the right of war. It left certain gaps which probably were larger in theory than in practice. In effect it surrounded the right of war by procedural and substantive checks and delays which, if the Covenant had been observed, would have amounted to an elimination of war not only between Members of the League, but also, by virtue of certain provisions of the Covenant, in the relations of non-Members. Thus the Covenant restored the position as it existed at the dawn of International Law, at the time when Grotius was laying the foundations of the modern law of nations and established the distinction, accompanied by profound legal consequences in the sphere of neutrality, between just and unjust wars.

Neither was that development arrested with the adoption of the covenant. The right of war was further circumscribed by a series of treaties-numbering nearly one thousand-of arbitration and conciliation embracing practically all the nations of the world. The so-called Optional Clause of Article 36 of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice which conferred upon the Court compulsory jurisdiction with regard to most comprehensive categories of disputes and which constituted in effect the most important compulsory treaty of arbitration in the postwar period, was widely signed and ratified. Germany herself signed it in 1927; her signature was renewed and renewed, for a period of five years, by the National-Socialist Government in July 1933. (Significantly, that ratification was not renewed on the expiration of its validity in March 1938.) Since 1928 a considerable number of States signed and ratified the General Act for the pacific Settlement of International Disputes which was designed to fill the gaps left by the Optional Clause and the existing treaties of arbitration and conciliation.

All this vast network of instruments of pacific settlement testified to the growing conviction that war was ceasing to be the normal and legitimate means of settling international disputes. The express condemnation of wars of aggression, which has already been mentioned, supplied the same testimony. But there was more direct evidence pointing in that direction. The Treaty of Locarno of 16th October 1925, to which I will refer later and to which Germany was a party, was more than a treaty of arbitration and conciliation in which the parties undertook definite obligations with regard to the pacific settlement of disputes that might arise between them. It was, subject to clearly specified exceptions of self-defense in certain contingencies, a more general undertaking in which the parties agreed that "they will in no case attack or invade each other or resort to war against each other". This constituted a general renunciation of war and was so considered to be in the eyes of jurists and of the public opinion of the world. For the Locarno Treaty was not just one of the great number of arbitration treaties concluded at that time. It was regarded as the corner stone of the European settlement and of the new legal order in Europe in partial, voluntary and generous substitution for the just rigours of the Treaty of Versailles. With it the term "outlawry of war" left the province of mere pacifist propaganda. It became current in the writings on international law and in official pronouncements of governments. No jurist of authority and no statesman of responsibility would have associated himself, subsequent to the Locarno Treaty, with the plausible assertion that, at least as between the parties, war had remained an unrestricted right of sovereign States.

But although the effect of the Locarno Treaty was limited to the parties to it, it had a wider influence in paving the way towards that most fundamental and truly revolutionary enactment in modern international law, namely, the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War of 27 August 1928, known also as the pact of Paris, or the Kellogg-Briand pact, or the Kellogg Pact. That Treaty-a most deliberate and carefully prepared piece of international legislation-was binding in 1939 upon more than sixty nations, including Germany. It was-and has remained-the most widely signed and ratified international instrument. It contained no provision for its termination, and was conceived as the corner-stone of any future international order worthy of that name. It is fully part of international law as it stands today, and has in no way been modified or replaced by the Charter of the United Nations. It is right, in this solemn hour in the history of the world when the responsible leaders of a State stand accused of a premeditated breach of this great Treaty which was-and remains-a source of hope and faith for mankind, to set out in detail its two operative Articles and its Preamble:

"The Preamble

"The President of the German Reich, * * *

"Deeply sensible of their solemn duty to promote the welfare of mankind;

"Persuaded that the time has come when a frank renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy should be made to the end that the peaceful and friendly relations now existing between their peoples may be perpetuated;

"Convinced that all changes in their relations with one another should be sought only by pacific means and be the result of a peaceful and orderly progress, and that any signatory Power which shall hereafter seek to promote its national interests by resort to war should be denied the benefits furnished by this Treaty;

"Hopeful that, encouraged by their example, all the other nations of the world will join in this humane endeavour and by adhering to the present Treaty as soon as it comes into force bring their peoples within the scope of its beneficent provisions, thus uniting civilized nations of the world in a common renunciation of war as an instrument of their national policy;

"Article I

"The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

"Article II

"The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

In that General Treaty for the Renunciation of War practically the entire civilized world abolished war as a legally permissible means of enforcing the law and of changing it. The right of war was no longer of the essence of sovereignty. Whatever the position may have been in 1914 or in 1918 (and it is not necessary to discuss it) no International lawyer of repute, no responsible Statesman, no soldier concerned with the legal use of Armed Forces could doubt that with the Pact of Paris on the Statute Book a war of aggression was contrary to positive International Law. Nor have the repeated violations of the pact of the Axis Powers in any way affected its validity. Let this be firmly and clearly stated. Those very breaches, except to the cynic and the malevolent, have added to its strength; they provoked the sustained wrath of people angered by the contemptuous disregard of the great Statute and determined to vindicate its provisions. The Pact of Paris is the Law of Nations. This Tribunal will enforce it.

Let this also be said. The Pact of Paris was not a clumsy enactment likely to become a signpost for the guilty. It did not enable Germany to go to war against Poland and yet rely, as against Great Britain and France, on any immunity from warlike action because of the provisions of the Pact of Paris. For that Pact laid down expressly in its Preamble that no State guilty of a violation of its provisions may invoke its benefits. When on the outbreak of the Second World War Great Britain and France communicated to the League of Nations the fact that a state of war existed between them and Germany as from 3 September, 1939, they declared that by committing an act of aggression against Poland Germany had violated her obligations assumed not only towards Poland but also towards other signatories of the Pact of Paris. A violation of the Pact in relation to one signatory was an attack upon all the other signatories and they were fully entitled to treat it as such. This point is to be emphasized lest any of the defendants should seize upon the letter of the Particulars of Count Two of the Indictment and maintain that it was not Germany who initiated war with the United Kingdom and France on 3 September 1939. The declaration of war came from the United Kingdom and France; the act of war and its commencement came from Germany in violation of the fundamental enactment to which she was a party.

The General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, the great constitutional instrument of an international society awakened to the deadly dangers of another Armageddon, did not remain an isolated effort soon to be forgotten in the turmoil of recurrent international crises. It became, in conjunction with the Covenant of the League of Nations or independently of it, the starting point for a new orientation of governments in matters of peace, war and neutrality. It is of importance to quote some of these statements and declarations. In 1929, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom said, in connection with the question of conferring upon the Permanent Court of International Justice jurisdiction with regard to the exercise of belligerent rights in relation to neutral States:

"* * * But the whole situation * * * rests, and International Law on the subject has been entirely built up, on the assumption that there is nothing illegitimate in the use of war as an instrument of national policy, and, as a necessary corollary, that the position and rights of neutrals are entirely independent of the circumstances of any war which may be in progress. Before the acceptance of the Covenant, the basis of the law of neutrality was that the rights and obligations of neutrals were identical as regards both belligerents, and were entirely independent of the rights and wrongs of the dispute which had led to the war, or the respective position of the belligerents at the bar of world opinion.

"* * * Now it is precisely this assumption which is no longer valid as regards states which are members of the League of Nations and parties to the Peace Pact. The effect of those instruments, taken together, is to deprive nations of the right to employ war as an instrument of national policy, and to forbid the states which have signed them to give aid or comfort to an offender. As between such states, there has been in consequence a fundamental change in the whole question of belligerent and neutral rights. The whole policy of His Majesty's present Government (and, it would appear, of any alternative government) is based upon a determination to comply with their obligations under the Covenant of the League and the Peace Pact. This being so, the situation which we have to envisage in the event of a war in which we were engaged is not one in which the rights and duties of belligerents and neutrals will depend upon the old rules of war and neutrality, but one in which the position of the members of the League will be determined by the Covenant and the Pact. * * *" (Memorandum on the Signature of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of the Optional Clause of the Statute, Misc. No. 12 (1929), Cmd. 3452, p. 9).

Chief of Counsel for the United States referred in his opening speech before this Tribunal to the weighty pronouncement of Mr. Stimson, the Secretary of State, in which, in 1932, he gave expression to the drastic change brought about in International Law by the Pact of Paris. It is convenient to quote the relevant passage in full:

"War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Briand-Kellogg Treaty. This means that it has become illegal throughout practically the entire world. It is no longer to be the source and subject of rights. It is no longer to be the principle around which the duties, the conduct, and the rights of nations revolve. It is an illegal thing. Hereafter when two nations engage in armed conflict either one or both of them must be wrongdoers-violators of this general treaty law. We no longer draw a circle about them and treat them with the punctilios of the duelist's code. Instead we denounce them as law-breakers."

Nearly ten years later, when numerous independent States lay prostrate, shattered or menaced in their very existence before the impact of the war machine of the Nazi State, the Attorney-General of the United States-subsequently a distinguished member of the highest tribunal of that great country-gave weighty expression to the change which had been effected in the law as the result of the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War. He said on 27 March 1941:

"* * * The Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928, in which Germany, Italy and Japan covenanted with us, as well as with other nations, to renounce war as an instrument of policy, made definite the outlawry of war and of necessity altered the dependent concept of neutral obligations.

"* * * The Treaty for the Renunciation of War and the Argentine Anti-War Treaty deprived their signatories of the right of war as an instrument of national policy or aggression and rendered unlawful wars undertaken in violation of their provisions. In consequence, these treaties destroyed the historical and juridical foundations of the doctrine of neutrality conceived as an attitude of absolute impartiality in relation to aggressive wars. * * *

"It follows that the state which has gone to war in violation of its obligations acquires no right to equality of treatment from other states, unless treaty obligations require different handling of affairs. It derives no rights from its illegality.

"* * * In flagrant cases of aggression where the facts speak so unambiguously that world opinion takes what may be the equivalent of judicial notice, we may not stymie International Law and allow these great treaties to become dead letters. Intelligent public opinion of the world which is not afraid to be vocal and the action of the American States has made a determination that the Axis Powers are the aggressors in the wars today which is an appropriate basis in the present state of international organization for our policy. * * *"

There is thus no doubt that by the time the National-Socialist State had embarked upon the preparation of the war of aggression against the civilized world and by the time it had accomplished that design, aggressive war had, in virtue of the Pact of Paris and of other treaties, become illegal beyond all uncertainty and doubt. It is on that Universal Treaty that count 2 is principally based.

The Prosecution has deemed it necessary-indeed imperative-to establish beyond all possibility of doubt, at what may appear to be excessive length, that only superficial learning or culpable sentimentality can assert that there is any significant element of retroactive law in the determination of the authors of the Charter to treat aggressive war as conduct which International Law has prohibited and stigmatized as criminal. We have traced the progressive limitation of the right of war, the renunciation and condemnation of wars of aggression, and, above all, the total prohibition and condemnation of all war conceived as an instrument of national policy. What statesman or politician in charge of the affairs of a nation could doubt, from 1928 onwards, that aggressive war, that all war-except in self-defense, or for the collective enforcement of the law, or against a State which has itself violated the Pact of Paris-was unlawful and outlawed? What statesman or politician embarking upon such war could reasonably and justifiably count upon an immunity other than that by a successful outcome of the criminal venture? What more decisive evidence of a prohibition laid down by positive International Law could any lawyer desire than that which has been adduced here?

There are, it is true, some small town lawyers who deny the existence of any International Law. Indeed, as I have said, the rules of the law of Nations may not satisfy the Justinian test of being imposed by a sovereign. But the legal regulation of International Relations rests upon quite different juridical foundations. It depends upon consent, but upon consent which cannot be withdrawn by unilateral action. In the International field the source of law is not the command of a sovereign but the treaty agreement binding upon every state which has adhered to it. It is indeed true-and the recognition of its truth today by all the great Powers of the World is vital to our future peace-that as M. Litvinoff once said, and as Great Britain fully accepts, "Absolute Sovereignty and entire liberty of action only belong to such states as have not undertaken International obligations. Immediately a state accepts International obligations it limits its sovereignty".

Yet it may be argued that although war had been outlawed and forbidden it was not criminally outlawed and forbidden. International Law, it may be said, does not attribute criminality to states, still less to individuals. But can it really be said on behalf of these Defendants that the offense of these aggressive wars, which plunged millions of peoples to their deaths, which by dint of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought about the torture and extermination of countless thousands of innocent civilians; which devastated cities; which destroyed the amenities, nay the most rudimentary necessities of civilization in many countries, which has brought the world to the brink of ruin from which it will take generations to recover-will it seriously be said that such a war is only an offense, only an illegality, only a matter of condemnation and not a crime justiciable by any Tribunal? No Law worthy of the name can permit itself to be reduced to an absurdity. Certainly the Great Powers responsible for this Charter have refused to allow it. They drew the inescapable consequences from the renunciation, prohibition, and condemnation of war which had become part of the law of Nations. They refused to reduce justice to impotence by subscribing to the outworn doctrines that the sovereign state can commit no crime and that no crime can be committed by individuals on its behalf. Their refusal so to stultify themselves has decisively shaped the law of this Tribunal.

If this be an innovation, it is innovation long overdue-a desirable and beneficent innovation fully consistent with justice, with commonsense and with the abiding purposes of the law of Nations. But is it indeed so clear an innovation? Or is it no more than the logical development of the law? There was indeed a time when International lawyers used to maintain that the liability of a State was, because of its sovereignty, limited to contractual responsibility. International tribunals have not accepted that view. They have repeatedly affirmed that a State can commit a tort; that it may be guilty of trespass, of a nuisance, of negligence. They have gone further. They have held that a State may be bound to pay what are in effect penal damages for failing to provide proper conditions of security to aliens residing within their territory. In a recent case decided in 1935 between the United States and Canada an arbitral commission, with the concurrence of its American member, decided that the United States were bound to pay what amounted to penal damages for an affront to Canadian sovereignty. On a wider plane the Covenant of the League of Nations, in providing for sanctions, recognized the principle of enforcement of the law against collective units such enforcement to be, if necessary, of a penal character. There is thus nothing startlingly new in the adoption of the principle that the State as such is responsible for its criminal acts. In fact, save for the reliance on the unconvincing argument of sovereignty, there is in law no reason why a State should not be answerable for crimes committed on its behalf. In a case decided nearly one hundred years ago Dr. Lushington, a great English Admiralty judge, refused to admit that a State cannot be a pirate. History, very recent history, does not warrant the view that a State cannot be a criminal. On the contrary, the immeasurable potentialities for evil inherent in the State in this age of science and organization would seem to demand imperatively means of repression of criminal conduct even more drastic and more effective than in the case of individuals. In so far therefore as the Charter has put on record the principle of the criminal responsibility of the State it must be applauded as a wise and far-seeing measure of international legislation.

Admittedly, the conscience shrinks from the rigours of collective punishment, which fall upon the guilty and the innocent alike-although, it may be noted, most of those innocent victims would not have hesitated to reap the fruits of the criminal act if it had been successful. Humanity and justice will find means of mitigating any injustice of collective punishment. Above all, much hardship can be obviated by making the punishment fall upon the individuals directly responsible for the criminal conduct of the state. It is here that the Powers who framed the Charter took a step which justice, sound legal sense and an enlightened appreciation of the good of mankind must acclaim without cavil or reserve. The Charter lays down expressly that there shall be individual responsibility for the crimes, including the crime against the peace, committed on behalf of the State. The state is not an abstract entity. Its rights and duties are the rights and duties of men. Its actions are the actions of men. It is a salutory principle of the law that politicians who embark upon a war of aggression should not be able to seek immunity behind the intangible personality of the State. It is a salutory legal rule that persons who, in violation of the law, plunge their own and other countries into an aggressive war, do so with a halter round their necks.

To say that those who aid and abet, who counsel and procure a crime are themselves criminals is a commonplace in our own municipal jurisprudence. Nor is the principle of individual international responsibility for offenses against the law of nations altogether new. It has been applied not only to pirates. The entire law relating to war crimes-as distinguished from the crime of war-is based on that principle. The future of International Law and, indeed, of the world, depends on its application in a much wider sphere-in particular in that of safeguarding the peace of the world. There must be acknowledged not only, as in the Charter of the United Nations, fundamental human rights, but also, as in the Charter of this Tribunal, fundamental human duties. Of these none is more vital or more fundamental than the duty not to vex the peace of nations in violation of the clearest legal prohibitions and undertakings. If this is an innovation, then it is one which we are prepared to defend and to justify. It is not an innovation which creates a new crime. International Law had already, before the Charter was adopted, constituted aggressive war a criminal act.

There is therefore in this respect no substantial retroactivity in the provisions of the Charter. It merely fixes the responsibility for a crime, clearly established as such by positive law, upon its actual perpetrators. It fills a gap in international criminal procedure. There is all the difference between saying to a man: "You will now be punished for an act which was not a crime at the time you committed it", and telling him: "You will now pay the penalty for conduct which was contrary to law and a crime when you executed it though, owing to the imperfection of international machinery, there was at that time no court competent to pronounce judgment against you." If that be retroactivity, we proclaim it to be most fully consistent with that higher justice which, in the practice of civilized States, has set a definite limit to the retroactive operation of laws. Let the defendants and their protagonists complain that the Charter is in this as in other matters an ex parte fiat of the victor. These victors, composing as they do the overwhelming majority of the nations of the world, represent also the world's sense of justice which would be outraged if the crime of war, after this second World War, were to remain unpunished. In thus interpreting, declaring and supplementing the existing law they are content to be judged by the verdict of history. securus judicat orbis terrarum. In so far as the Charter of this Tribunal introduces new law, its authors have established a precedent for the future-a precedent operative against all, including themselves. In essence that law, rendering recourse to aggressive war an international crime, had been well established when the Charter was adopted. It is only by way of corruption of language that it can be described as a retroactive law.

There remains the question, with which it will not be necessary to detain the Tribunal for long, whether these wars launched by Germany and her leaders in violation of treaties, agreements or assurances, were also wars of aggression. A war of aggression is one which is resorted to in violation of the international obligation not to have recourse to war or, in cases in which war is not totally renounced, when it is resorted to in disregard of the duty to utilize the procedure of pacific settlement which a State has bound itself to observe. There was indeed, in the period between the two World Wars, a divergence of view among jurists and statesmen whether it was preferable to attempt in advance a legal definition of aggression or to leave to the States concerned and to the collective organs of the international community freedom of appreciation of the facts in any particular situation that might arise. Those holding the latter view urged that a rigid definition might be abused by an unscrupulous State to fit in with its aggressive design; they feared, and the British Government was for a time among those who thought so, that an automatic definition of aggression might become "a trap for the innocent and sign-post for the guilty". Others held that in the interest of certainly and security a definition of aggression, like a definition of any crime in municipal law, was proper and useful; they urged that the competent international organs, political and judicial, could be trusted to avoid any particular case a definition of aggression which might lead to obstruction or to an absurdity. In May 1933 the Committee on Security Questions of the disarmament Conference proposed a definition of aggression on the following lines:

"The aggressor in an international conflict shall, subject to the agreements in force between the parties to the dispute, be considered to be that State which is the first to commit any of the following actions:

"(1) declaration of war upon another state;

"(2) invasion by its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State;

"(3) attack by its land, naval, or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels, or aircraft of another State;

"(4) naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State;

"(5) provision of support to armed bands formed in its territory which have invaded the territory of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded State, to take in its own territory all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection."

The various treaties concluded in 1933 by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other States followed closely that definition. So did the Draft Convention submitted in 1933 by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to the Disarmament Conference.

However, it is unprofitable to elaborate here the details of the problem or of the definition of aggression. This Tribunal will not allow itself to be deflected from its purpose by attempts to ventilate in this Court what is an academic and, in the circumstances, an utterly unreal controversy as to what is a war of aggression. There is no definition of aggression, general or particular, which does not cover abundantly and irresistibly and in every material detail the premeditated onslaught by Germany upon the territorial integrity and the political independence of so many States.

This then being the law-that the peoples of the world by the Pact of Paris had finally outlawed war and made it criminal-let us turn to the facts and see how these Defendants under their Leader and with their associates destroyed the high hopes of mankind and sought to revert to international anarchy. And first in general terms let this be said, for it will be established beyond doubt by the documents. From the moment Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, with the Defendant Von Papen as Vice Chancellor, and with the Defendant Von Neurath as his Foreign Minister, the whole atmosphere of the world darkened. The hopes of the people began to recede. Treaties seemed no longer matters of solemn obligation, but were entered into with complete cynicism as a means for deceiving other States of Germany's war-like intentions. International Conferences were no longer to be used as a means for securing pacific settlements but as occasions for obtaining by blackmail demands which were eventually to be enlarged by war. The World came to know the War of Nerves, the diplomacy of the fait accompli, of blackmail and bullying.

In October 1933 Hitler told his Cabinet that as the proposed Disarmament Convention did not concede full equality to Germany, "It would be necessary to torpedo the Disarmament Conference. It was out of the question to negotiate: Germany would leave the Conference and the League". And on the 21st October 1933 she did so, and by so doing struck a deadly blow at the fabric of security which had been built up on the basis of the League Covenant. From that time on the record of their foreign policy became one of complete disregard of all international obligations and certainly not least of those solemnly concluded by themselves. As Hitler had expressly avowed, "Agreements are kept only so long as they serve a certain purpose" (789-PS). He might have added that often the purpose was only to lull an intended victim into a false sense of security. So patent, indeed, did this eventually become that to be invited by the Defendant Ribbentrop to enter into a nonaggression pact with Germany was almost a sign that Germany intended to attack the state concerned. Nor was it only the formal treaty which they used and violated as circumstances made expedient. These defendants are charged, too, with breaches of the less formal assurances which, in accordance with diplomatic usage Germany gave to neighboring states. To-day with the advance of science the world has been afforded means of communication and intercourse hitherto unknown, and as Hitler himself expressly recognized, International relations no longer depend upon treaties alone. The methods of diplomacy change. The Leader of one Nation can speak to the Government and peoples of another. But though the methods change the principles of good faith and honesty, established as the fundamentals of civilized society, both in the national and the International spheres, remain. It is a long time since it was said that we are part, one of another. And if to-day the different states are more closely connected and thus form part of a World Society more than ever before, so also more than ever before is there that need of good faith between them.

Let us see further how these Defendants, Ministers and High Officers of the Nazi Government individually and collectively comported themselves in these matters.


In the early hours of the 1st September 1939 under manufactured and, in any event, inadequate, pretexts, the armed Forces of the German Reich invaded Poland along the whole length of her Frontiers and thus launched upon the world the war which was to bring down so many of the pillars of our civilization. It was a breach of the Hague Conventions (TC-2). It was a breach of the Treaty of Versailles which had established the Frontiers between Germany and Poland. And however much Germany disliked that Treaty-although Hitler had stated that he would respect its territorial provisions-she was certainly not free to break it by unilateral action. It was a breach of the Arbitration Treaty between Germany and Poland concluded at Locarno on 16th October 1925 (TC-15). By that Treaty Germany and Poland expressly agreed to refer any matters of dispute not capable of settlement by ordinary diplomatic machinery to the decision of an Arbitral Tribunal or of the Permanent Court of International Justice. But that is not all. It was also a breach of a more recent and, in view of the repeated emphasis laid on it by Hitler himself, a more important engagement into which Nazi Germany had entered. On the 26th January 1934 the German and Polish Governments had signed a ten year Pact of Nonaggression (TC-21). It was, as the signatories stated, to introduce "a new era in the political relations between Poland and Germany". It was stated in the text of the pact itself that "the maintenance and guarantee of lasting Peace between the two countries is an essential prerequisite for the general peace of Europe". The two Governments therefore agreed to base their mutual relations on the principles laid down in the Pact of Paris of 1928. They declared that

"In no circumstances * * * will they proceed to the application of force for the purpose of reaching a decision in such disputes". (TC-21)

That declaration and agreement was to remain in force for at least ten years and thereafter would remain valid unless it was denounced by either Government six months before the expiration of the ten years, or subsequently a denunciation, with six months notice took place.

Both at the time of its signature and during the following four years Hitler spoke of the German-Polish Agreement publicly as though it were a corner-stone of his foreign policy. By entering into it he persuaded many people that his intentions were genuinely pacific, for the re-emergence of an independent Poland had cost Germany much territory and had separated East Prussia from the Reich. That Hitler should of his own accord enter into friendly relations with Poland; that in his speeches on foreign policy he should proclaim his recognition of Poland's right to an exit to the sea, and the necessity for Germans and poles to live side by side in amity-these facts seemed to the world convincing proof that Hitler had no "revisionist" aims which would threaten the peace of Europe, and that he was even genuinely anxious to put an end to the age-old hostility between the Teuton and the Slav. If his professions were genuine his policy excluded a renewal of the Drang nach Osten and thereby would contribute to the stability of Europe. We shall have occasion enough to see how little truth these pacific professions contained. The history of the fateful years from 1934 to 1939 shows quite clearly that the Germans used this Treaty, as they used other Treaties, merely as an instrument of policy for furthering their aggressive aims. It is clear from the documents now presented to the Tribunal that these five years fall into two distinct phases in the realization of aggressive aims which always underlay the Nazi policy. There was first the period from the Nazi assumption of power in 1933 until the autumn of 1937. That was the preparatory period. During that time there occurred the breaches of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties, the feverish rearmament of Germany, the reintroduction of conscription, the reoccupation and remilitarization of the Rhineland, and all the other necessary preparatory measures for future aggression with which my United States colleagues have already so admirably dealt. During that time they lulled Poland into a false sense of security. Not only Hitler, but also the Defendant Goering and the Defendant Ribbentrop made statements approbating the Pact. In 1935 Goering was saying that "the pact was not planned for a period of ten years but forever: there need not be the slightest fear that it would not be continued." Even though Germany was steadily building up the greatest war machine that Europe had ever known, and although, by January 1937, the German military position was so secure that Hitler could refer openly to his strong Army, he took pains also to say at the time that "by a series of agreements we have eliminated existing tensions and thereby contributed considerably to an improvement in the European atmosphere. I merely recall the agreement with Poland which has worked out to the advantage of both sides. * * *" (2368-PS). And so it went on-abroad protestations of pacific intentions-at home "guns before butter".

In 1937, however, this preparatory period drew to a close and Nazi policy moved from general preparation for future aggression to specific planning for the attainment of certain specific aggressive aims. Two documents in particular mark this change.

The first of these was an important "Directive for unified preparation for War" issued on June 29, 1937, by the Reich-Minister for War (von Blomberg) and C-in-C of the Armed Forces (C-175). This document is important, not only for its military directions, but for the appreciation it contained of the European situation and for the revelation it provides of the Nazi attitude towards it.

"The general political position", von Blomberg stated, "justifies the supposition that Germany need not consider an attack from any side. Grounds for this are, in addition to the lack of desire for war in almost all Nations, particularly the Western Powers, the deficiencies in the preparedness for war of a number of States, and of Russia in particular". (C-175)

He added, it is true, "The intention of unleashing an European War is held just as little by Germany". And it may be that that phrase was carefully chosen, for Germany hoped to conquer the world in detail: to fight on one front at a time, not to unleash a general European conflict. But, he went on, "the politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands a continuous preparedness for war of the German Armed Forces (a) to counter attack at any time (yet he had just said that there was no fear of any attack) and (b) to enable the military exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should they occur". That phrase is no more than a euphemistic description of aggressive war. It reveals the continued adherence of the German military leaders to the doctrine that military might, and if necessary war, should be an instrument of policy-the doctrine explicitly condemned by the Kellogg pact, to which Germany had adhered. The document goes on to set out the general preparations necessary for a possible war in the mobilization period 1937/1938. The document is evidence at least for this-that the leaders of the German Armed Forces had it in mind to use the military strength which they were building up for aggressive purposes. "No reason"-they say-"to anticipate attack from any side * * * there is a lack of desire for war". Yet they prepare to "exploit militarily favorable opportunities".

Still more important as evidence of the transition to planned aggression is the record of the important conference which Hitler held at the Reichs Chancellery on November 5, 1937, at which von Blomberg, Reich Minister for War, von Fritsch, C-in-C of the Army, Goering, C-in-C of the Luftwaffe, Raeder, C-in-C of the Navy and von Neurath, then the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, were present. The minutes of that conference have already been put in evidence (386-PS). I refer to them now to emphasize those passages which make apparent the ultimate intention to wage an aggressive war. As will be remembered, the burden of Hitler's argument at that conference was that Germany required more territory in Europe. Austria and Czechoslovakia were specifically envisaged. But Hitler realized that the process of conquering these two countries might well bring into operation the treaty obligations of Great Britain and France. He was prepared to take the risk.

"The history of all times: Roman Empire, British Empire, has proved that every space expansion can only be effected by breaking resistance and taking risks. Even setbacks are unavoidable: neither formerly nor today has space been found without an owner. The attacker always comes up against the proprietor. The question for Germany is where the great possible conquest can be made at the lowest possible cost". (386-PS)

In the course of his address to that Conference Hitler had foreseen and discussed the likelihood that Poland would be involved if the aggressive expansionist aims which he put forward brought about a general European war in the course of their realization by Germany. When, therefore, on that very day Hitler assured the Polish Ambassador of the value of the 1934 Pact it can only be concluded that its real value in Hitler's eyes was that of keeping Poland quiet until Germany had acquired such a territorial and strategic position that Poland would no longer be a danger to her.

That view is confirmed by the events which followed. At the beginning of February 1938 the change from Nazi preparation for aggression to active aggression itself took place. It was marked by the substitution of Ribbentrop for Neurath as Foreign Minister, and of Keitel for Blomberg as head of OKW. Its first fruits were the bullying of Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden on February 12, 1938, and the forcible absorption of Austria in March. Thereafter the Green Plan (Fall Gruen) for the destruction of Czechoslovakia was steadily developed-the plan partially foiled, or of which the final consummation was at least delayed, by the Munich Agreement.

With these developments of Nazi aggression my United States colleagues have already dealt. But it is obvious that the acquisition of these two countries, and of their resources in manpower and in the production of munitions of war, immensely strengthened the position of Germany as against Poland. It is, therefore, not surprising that, just as the defendant Goering assured the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin, at the time of the Nazi invasion of Austria that Hitler recognized the validity of the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Treaty of 1925, and that Germany had no designs against Czechoslovakia herself-"I give you my word of honor" said Goering-so also continued assurances should be given during 1938 to Poland in order to keep that country from interfering with the Nazi aggression on Poland's neighbors.

Thus, on the 20th February 1938 on the eve of his invasion of Austria, Hitler, referring to the fourth anniversary of the Polish Pact, permitted himself to say this to the Reichstag:

"* * * and so a way to a friendly understanding has been successfully paved, an understanding which beginning with Danzig has today succeeded in finally taking the poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland and transforming them into a sincere friendly cooperation. Relying on her friendships, Germany will not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which provides the foundation for the task ahead of us-Peace". (2357-PS)

Still more striking are the cordial references to Poland in Hitler's speech in the Sportpalast at Berlin on the 26 September 1938. He then said:

"The most difficult problem with which I was confronted was that of our relations with Poland. There was a danger that Poles and Germans would regard each other as hereditary enemies. I wanted to prevent this. I know well enough that I should not have been successful if Poland had had a democratic constitution. For these democracies which indulge in phrases about peace are the most bloodthirsty war agitators. In Poland there ruled no democracy, but a man: and with him I succeeded, in precisely twelve months, in coming to an agreement which, for ten years in the first instance, entirely removed the danger of a conflict. We are all convinced that this agreement will bring lasting pacification. We realize that here are two peoples which must live together and neither of which can do away with the other. A people of 33 millions will always strive for an outlet to the sea. A way for understanding, then, had to be found, and it will be ever further extended. Certainly things were hard in this area. * * * But the main fact is that the two Governments, and all reasonable and clear-sighted persons among the two peoples and in the two countries, possess the firm will and determination to improve their relations. It was a real work of peace, of more worth than all the chattering in the League of Nations Palace at Geneva".

Thus flattery of Poland preceded the annexation of Austria and renewed flattery of Poland preceded the projected annexation of Czechoslovakia. The realities behind these outward expressions of goodwill are clearly revealed in the documents relating to Fall Gruen, which are already before the Tribunal. They show Hitler as fully aware that there was risk of Poland, England and France being involved in war to prevent the German annexation of Czechoslovakia, and that this risk though realized was also accepted. On the 25th August top secret orders to the German Air Force in regard to the operations to be conducted against England and France if they intervened pointed out that, as the French-Czechoslovak Treaty provided for assistance only in the case of "unprovoked" attack, it would take a day or two for France and England to decide whether legally the attack was unprovoked or not. A blitzkrieg accomplishing its aims before effective intervention became possible was the object to be aimed at.

On the same day an Air Force memorandum on future organization was issued to which was attached a map on which the Baltic States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland are all shown as part of Germany and preparations for expanding the Air force "as the Reich grows in area", as well as dispositions for a two front war against France and Russia are discussed (L-43; Chart No. 10). And on the following day von Ribbentrop is being minuted about the reaction of Poland towards the Czechoslovak problem:

"The fact that after the liquidation of the Czech question it will be generally assumed that Poland will be next in turn" is recognized but, it is stated, "the later this assumption sinks in, the better". (TC-76)

I will pause at the date of the Munich Agreement for a moment and ask the Tribunal to consider what the evidence of documents and historical facts shows up to that time. It has made undeniable the fact both of Nazi aggressiveness and of active aggression. Not only does the Conference of 1937 reveal Hitler and his associates deliberately considering the acquisition of Austria and Czechoslovakia, if necessary by war, but the first of those operations had been carried through in March 1938 and a large part of the second, under threat of war, though without actual need for its initiation, in September of the same year. More ominous still, Hitler had revealed his adherence to his old doctrines of Mein Kampf, those essentially aggressive to the exposition of which in Mein Kampf long regarded as the Bible of the Nazi Party we shall draw attention. He is in pursuit of Lebensraum and he means to secure it by threats of force or, if they fail, by force, by aggressive war.

So far actual warfare has been avoided because of the love of peace, the lack of preparedness, the patience or the cowardice-which you will-of the democratic Powers. But, after Munich, the questions which filled the minds of all thinking people with acute anxiety was, "Where will this end? Is Hitler now satisfied, as he declares he is? Or will his pursuit of Lebensraum lead to further aggressions, even if he has to make an openly aggressive war to secure it?"

It was in relation to the remainder of Czechoslovakia and to Poland that the answer to these questions was to be given. So far no direct and immediate threat to Poland had been made. The two documents from which I have just quoted (L-43; TC-76) show that high officers of the defendant Goering's Air Staff already regarded the extension of the Reich and, it would appear, the destruction and absorption of Poland as a foregone conclusion. They were already anticipating, indeed, the last stage of Hitler's policy stated in Mein Kampf, war to destroy France and to secure Lebensraum in Russia. And the writer of the Minute to Ribbentrop already took it for granted that, after Czechoslovakia, Poland would be attacked. More impressive than these two documents is the fact that, as I have said, the record of the Conference of November 5, 1937, shows that war with Poland, if she should dare to attempt to prevent German aggression against Czechoslovakia, had been coolly contemplated and that the Nazi leaders were ready to take the risk. So also had the risk of war with England and France under the same circumstances been considered and accepted. Such a war would, of course, have been an aggressive war on Nazi Germany's part. For to force one State to take up arms to defend another against aggression in order to fulfill treaty obligations is to initiate aggressive war against the first State.

Yet it remains true that until Munich the decision for direct attack upon Poland and her destruction by aggressive war had apparently not as yet been taken by Hitler and his associates. It is to the transition from the intention and preparation of initiating an aggressive war, evident in regard to Czechoslovakia, to the actual initiation and waging of aggressive war against Poland that I now pass. That transition occupies the eleven months from October 1, 1938 to the actual attack on Poland on September 1, 1939.

Within six months of the signature of the Munich Agreement the Nazi Leaders had occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia, which by that agreement they had indicated their willingness to guarantee. On March 14th, 1939, the aged and infirm President of the "Rump" of Czechoslovakia, Hacha, and his foreign Minister, Chvalkowsky, were summoned to Berlin. At a meeting held between 1.15 and 2.15 a.m. in the small hours of the 15th March in the presence of Hitler and the defendants Ribbentrop, Goering, and Keitel, they were bullied and threatened and informed bluntly that Hitler "had issued the order for the German troops to march into Czechoslovakia, and for the incorporation of this country into the German Reich". It was made quite clear to them that resistance would be useless and would be crushed "by force of arms with all available means". It was thus that the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was set up and that Slovakia was turned into a German satellite, though nominally independent, state. By their own unilateral action, on pretexts which had no shadow of validity, without discussion with the Governments of any other country, without mediation and in direct contradiction of the sense and spirit of the Munich Agreement, the Germans acquired for themselves that for which they had been planning in September of the previous year, and indeed much earlier, but which at that time they had felt themselves unable completely to secure without too patent an exhibition of their aggressive intentions. Aggression achieved whetted the appetite for aggression to come. There were protests. England and France sent diplomatic notes. Of course there were protests. The Nazis had clearly shown their hand. Hitherto they had concealed from the outside world that their claims went beyond incorporating into the Reich persons of German Race living in bordering territory. Now for the first time, in defiance of their own solemn assurances to the contrary, non-German territory had been seized. This acquisition of the whole of Czechoslovakia, together with the equally illegal occupation of Memel on the 22nd March, resulted in an immense strengthening of the German position, both politically and strategically, as Hitler had anticipated it would when he discussed the matter at his conference on November 5th, 1937. (386-PS)

Long before the consummation by the Nazi Leaders of their aggression against Czechoslovakia, however, they had already begun to make demands upon Poland. On October 25th, 1938, that is to say within less than a month of Hitler's reassuring speech about Poland already quoted and of the Munich Agreement itself, M. Lipski, the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, reported to M. Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, that at a luncheon at Berchtesgaden the day before (October 24th) the defendant Ribbentrop had put forward demands for the reunion of Danzig with the Reich and for the building of an extra-territorial motor road and railway line across Pomorze, that is, the province which the Germans called the Corridor. From that moment onwards until the Polish Government had made it plain, during a visit of the defendant Ribbentrop to Warsaw which ended on January 27th, 1939, that they would not consent to hand over Danzig to German Sovereignty negotiations on these German demands continued. Even after Ribbentrop's return Hitler thought it worth while in his Reichstag Speech on January 30th, 1939 to say-

"We have just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of our nonaggression pact with Poland. There can scarcely be any difference of opinion today among the true friends of peace as to the value of this agreement. One only needs to ask oneself what might have happened to Europe if this agreement, which brought such relief, had not been entered into five years ago. In signing it, the great Polish marshal and patriot rendered his people just as great a service as the leaders of the National-Socialist State rendered the German people. During the troubled months of the past year the friendship between Germany and Poland has been one of the reassuring factors in the political life of Europe".

That utterance, however, was the last friendly word from Germany to Poland and the last occasion upon which the Nazi Leader mentioned the German-Polish Agreement with approbation. During February 1939 silence fell upon German demands. But as soon as the final absorption of Czechoslovakia had taken place, and Germany had also absorbed Memel, Nazi pressure upon Poland was at once renewed. In two conversations between himself and the defendant Ribbentrop, held on March 21st and March 26th respectively (Polish white Book Number 61 and Number 63), German demands upon Poland were renewed and further pressed. In view of the fate which had overtaken Czechoslovakia and of the grave deterioration in her strategical position towards Germany it is not surprising that the Polish Government took alarm at these developments. Nor were they alone in this. The events of March 1939 had at last convinced both the English and French Governments that the Nazi designs of aggression were not limited to men of German race and that the spectre of European war resulting from further aggressions by Nazi Germany had not been exorcised by the Munich Agreement.

As a result, therefore, of the concern of Poland, England, and France at the events in Czechoslovakia and at the newly applied pressure on Poland, conversations between the English and Polish Governments had been taking place, and, on 31st March, 1939, Mr. Neville Chamberlain, speaking in the House of Commons, stated that His Majesty's Government had given an assurance to help Poland in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist (TC-72 No. 17). On 6th April 1939 an Anglo-Polish communiqué stated that the two countries were prepared to enter into an Agreement of a permanent and reciprocal character to replace the present temporary and unilateral assurance given by His Majesty's Government. (TC-72, No. 18)

The justification for such concern is not difficult to find. With the evidence which we now have of what was happening within the councils of the German Reich and its armed forces during these months it is manifest that the German Government were intent on seizing Poland as a whole, that Danzig-as Hitler was to say himself a month later-"was not the subject of the dispute at all". The Nazi Government was intent upon aggression and the demands and negotiations in respect of Danzig were merely a cover and excuse for further domination.

As far back as September 1938 plans for aggressive war against Poland, England, and France were well in hand. While Hitler, at Munich, was telling the world that the German people wanted peace and that, having solved the Czechoslovakian problem. Germany had no more territorial problems in Europe, the staffs of his armed forces were already preparing plans. On the 26th September 1938 he had said:

"We have given guarantees to the States in the West. We have assured all our immediate neighbours of the integrity of their territory as far as Germany is concerned. That is no mere phrase. It is our sacred will. We have no interest whatever in a breach of the peace. We want nothing from these peoples."

The world was entitled to rely upon these assurances. International cooperation is impossible unless one can assume good faith in the leaders of the various States. But within two months of that solemn and considered undertaking, Hitler and his confederates were preparing for the seizure of Danzig. To recognize these assurances, these pledges, these diplomatic moves as the empty frauds they were, one must go back to enquire what was happening within the inner councils of the Reich from the time of the Munich Agreement.

Written some time in September 1938 is an extract from a file on the Reconstruction of the German Navy (C-23). Under the heading "Opinion on the Draft Study of Naval Warfare against England" it is stated:

"1. If, according to the Fuehrer's decision Germany is to acquire a position as a world power, she needs not only sufficient colonial possessions but also secure naval communications and secure access to the ocean.

"2. Both requirements can only be fulfilled in opposition to Anglo-French interests and would limit their position as world powers. It is unlikely that they can be achieved by peaceful means. The decision to make Germany a world power, therefore, forces upon us the necessity of making the corresponding preparations for war.

"3. War against England means at the same time war against the Empire, against France, probably against Russia as well and a large number of countries overseas, in fact, against half to one-third of the world.

"It can only be justified and have a chance of success if it is prepared economically as well as politically and militarily and waged with the aim of conquering for Germany an outlet to the ocean." (C-23)

Here is something which is both significant and new. Until this date the documents in our possession disclose preparations for war against Poland, England, and France purporting at least to be defensive measures to ward off attacks which might result from the intervention of those powers in the preparatory aggression of Germany in central Europe. Hitherto aggressive war against Poland, England, and France has been contemplated only as a distant objective. Now, for the first time, we find a war of conquest by Germany against France and England openly recognized as the future aim, at least of the German Navy.

On the 24th November 1938 an Appendix was issued by Keitel to a previous order of the Fuehrer. In this Appendix there are set out the future tasks for the armed forces and the preparation for the conduct of the war which would result from those tasks.

"The Fuehrer has ordered that besides the three eventualities mentioned in the previous Directive preparations are also to be made for the surprise occupation by German troops of the Free State of Danzig.

"For the preparation the following principles are to be borne in mind-the primary assumption is the lightning seizure of Danzig by exploiting a favorable political situation and not war with Poland * * *. Troops which are going to be used for this purpose must not be held at the same time for the seizure of Memel-land, so that both operations can take place simultaneously should such necessity arise." (C-137)

Thereafter, as the evidence which has already been produced has shown, final preparations for the invasion of Poland were taking place. On the 3d April 1939, three days before the issue of the Anglo-Polish communiqué, Keitel issued to the High Command of the Armed Forces a Directive in which it was stated that the Directive for the uniform preparation of war by the armed forces in 1939-40 was being re-issued, and that the part concerning Danzig would be issued in the middle of April. The basic principles were to remain the same as in the previous Directive. Attached to this document were the orders "Fall Weiss", the code name for the proposed invasion of Poland. Preparations for that invasion were to be made in such a way that the operation could be carried out at any time from the 1st September 1939 onwards. (C-120)

On the 11th April Hitler issued his Directive for the uniform preparations of war by the armed forces 1939-40. In it he says:

"I shall lay down in a later Directive future tasks of the armed forces and the preparations to be made in accordance with these for the conduct of war. Until that Directive comes into force the armed forces must be prepared for the following eventualities:

"1. Safeguarding of the frontiers.

"2. "Fall Weiss".

"3. The annexation of danzig."

In an Annex to that document headed "Political Hypotheses and Aims" it is stated that quarrels with Poland should be avoided. Should Poland, however, change her present policy and adopt a threatening attitude towards Germany, a final settlement would be necessary, notwithstanding the pact with Poland. The Free City of Danzig was to be incorporated into Germany at the outbreak of the conflict at the latest. The policy aims to limit the war to Poland and this is considered possible with the internal crisis in France and resulting British restraint.

The wording of this document does not directly involve the intention of immediate aggression. It is a plan of attack "if Poland changes her policy and adopts a threatening attitude". But the picture of Poland, with her inadequate armaments, threatening Germany is ludicrous enough and the real aim emerges in the sentence "The aim is then to destroy Polish military strength and to create, in the East, a situation which satisfies the requirements of defense"-a sufficiently vague phrase to cover designs of any magnitude. Even now the evidence does not suffice to prove that the actual decision to attack Poland has been taken. But all preparations are being set in train in case that decision is reached.

It was within three weeks of the date of this last document that Hitler addressed the Reichstag (April 28th, 1939). In his speech he repeated the German demands already made to Poland and proceeded to denounce the German-Polish Agreement of 1934. Leaving aside for the moment the warlike preparations for aggression, which Hitler had set in train behind the scenes, I will ask the Tribunal to consider the nature of the denunciation of an Agreement to which, in the past, Hitler had professed to attach so high an importance.

In the first place Hitler's denunciation was per se ineffectual, since the text of the Agreement made no provision for its denunciation by either Party until six months before the expiration of the ten years for which it was concluded. No denunciation could be legally affective, therefore, until June or July 1943, and Hitler was speaking on April 28th 1939-more than five years too soon!

In the second place Hitler's actual attack on Poland when it came on September 1st, 1939, was made before the expiration of the six months period after denunciation required by the Agreement before such a denunciation became operative. In the third place the grounds for his denunciation of the Agreement stated by Hitler in his speech to the Reichstag are entirely specious. However one reads its terms it is impossible to accept the view that the Anglo-Polish guarantee of mutual assistance against aggression could render the Pact null and void. If that were so then certainly the Pacts already entered into by Hitler with Italy and Japan had already invalidated it, and Hitler might have spared his breath. But the truth is that the text of the German-Polish Agreement contains nothing whatever to support Hitler's contention.

Why then did Hitler make this trebly invalid attempt to denounce his own pet diplomatic child? Is there any other possible answer but that, the Agreement having served its purpose, the grounds which he put forward were chosen merely in an effort to provide Germany with some justification for the aggression on which she was intent.

For Hitler sorely needed some kind of justification, some apparently decent excuse, since nothing had happened, or was likely to happen, from the Polish side to provide him with it. So far he had made demands upon his Treaty partner which Poland, as a sovereign State had every right to refuse. If dissatisfied with that refusal Hitler was bound, under the terms of the Agreement itself, to "seek a settlement through other peaceful means, without prejudice to the possibility of applying those methods of procedure, in case of necessity, which are provided for such a case in the other agreements between them that are in force"-a reference, it can only be supposed, to the German-Polish Arbitration Treaty signed at Locarno in 1925.

The very fact, therefore, that as soon as the Nazi leader cannot get what he wants, but is not entitled to, from Poland by merely asking for it, and that, on his side, he made no further effort to settle the dispute "by peaceful means" in accordance with the terms of the Agreement and of the Kellogg Pact, to which the Agreement pledged both Parties, in itself creates a strong presumption of aggressive intentions against Hitler and his associates. That presumption becomes a certainty when the documents to which I shall now refer are studied.

On 10th May Hitler issued an order for the capture of economic installations in Poland and on 16th May the Defendant Raeder, as Commander in Chief of the Navy, issued a memorandum setting out the Fuehrer's instructions to prepare for the operation "Fall Weiss" at any time from the 1st September 1939. (C-120)

But the decisive document is the record of the Conference held by Hitler on May 23d, 1939 with various high-ranking officers, including the defendants Goering, Raeder, and Keitel. Hitler then stated that the solution of the economic problems could not be found without invasion of foreign States and attacks on foreign property.

"Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all: it is a question of expanding our living space in the East * * *. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision: to attack Poland at the earliest opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The success of this isolation will be decisive. The isolation of Poland is a matter of skillful politics." (L-79)

He anticipated the possibility that war with England and France might result. But a two front war was to be avoided if possible. Yet England was recognized as the most dangerous enemy. "England is the driving force against Germany * * * the aim will always be to force England to her knees." More than once he repeated that the war with England and France would be a life and death struggle. All the same, he concluded, "We shall not be forced into war but we shall not be able to avoid one."

On the 14th June, 1939, General Blaskowitz, then Commander in Chief of the 3d Army Group, issued a detailed battle plan for the "Fall Weiss" (2327-PS). The following day Von Brauchitsch issued a memorandum in which it was stated that the object of the impending operating was to destroy the Polish Armed Forces. "High Policy demands"-he said-"that the war should be begun by heavy surprise blows in order to achieve quick results (C-126). The preparations proceeded apace. On the 22d June Keitel submitted a preliminary time table for the operation which Hitler seems to have approved and suggested that the scheduled manouevre must be camouflaged "in order not to disquiet the population". On the 3d July Brauchitsch wrote to Raeder urging that certain preliminary naval moves should be abandoned in order not to prejudice the surprise of the attack. On the 12th and 13th August Hitler and Ribbentrop had a conference with Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister.

At the beginning of the conversation Hitler emphasized the strength of the German position, of its western and eastern fortifications and of the strategic and other advantages that they held in comparison with those of England, France, and Poland.

"Since the poles through their whole attitude had made it clear that in any case in the event of a conflict they would stand on the side of the enemies of Germany and Italy, a quick liquidation at the present moment could only be of advantage for the unavoidable conflict with the Western democracies. If a hostile Poland remained on Germany's Eastern frontier, not only would the eleven East Prussian divisions be tied down, but also further contingents would be kept in Pomerania and Silesia. This would not be necessary in the event of a previous liquidation. Generally speaking, the best thing to happen would be for the neutrals to be liquidated one after the other. This process could be carried out more easily if on every occasion one partner of the Axis covered the other while it was dealing with an uncertain neutral. Italy might well regard Yugoslavia as a neutral of this kind."

Ciano was for postponing the operation. Italy was not ready-she believed that a conflict with Poland would develop into a general European war. Mussolini was convinced that conflict with the Western democracies was inevitable but he was making plans for a period two or three years ahead. But the Fuehrer said that the Danzig question must be settled one way or the other by the end of August. "He had, therefore, decided to use the occasion of the next Polish provocation in the form of an ultimatum." On the 22d August Hitler called his Supreme Commanders together at Obersalzberg and gave the order for the attack: in the course of what he said he made it clear that the decision to attack had in fact been made not later than the previous spring. He would give a spurious cause for starting the war (1014-PS; L-3). At that time the attack was timed for the early hours of the 26th August. On the day before the British Government, in the hope that Hitler might still be reluctant to plunge the world into war, and in the belief that a formal treaty would impress him more than the informal assurances which had been given previously, entered into an agreement for mutual assistance with Poland, embodying the previous assurances. It was known to Hitler that France was bound by the Franco-Polish Treaty of 1921, and by the Guarantee Pact signed at Locarno in 1925 to intervene in Poland's aid in case of aggression. For moment Hitler hesitated. Goering and Ribbentrop agree that it was this Anglo-Polish Treaty which led him to call off, or rather postpone the attack. Perhaps he hoped that there was still some chance of repeating, after all, what he had called the Czech affair. If so, his hopes were short-lived.

On the 27th August Hitler accepted Mussolini's decision not at once to come into the war, but asked for propaganda support and a display of military activities to create uncertainty in the minds of the Allies. Ribbentrop on the same day said that the Armies were marching.

In the meantime, of course, and particularly in the last month, desperate attempts had been made by the Western Powers to avert war. You will have details of them in evidence. Of the intervention of the Pope. Of President Roosevelt's message. Of the offer by Mr. Chamberlain to do our utmost to create the conditions in which all matters in issue could be the subject of free negotiations and to guarantee the resultant decisions. This and all the other efforts of honest men to avoid the horror of a European war were predestined to failure. The Germans were determined that the day for war had come. On the 31st August Hitler issued a top secret order for the attack to commence in the early hours of the 1st September. The necessary frontier incidents duly occurred-was it for these that Keitel had been instructed by Hitler to supply Heydrich with Polish uniforms?-and thus, without a declaration of war, without even giving the Polish Government an opportunity of seeing Germany's final demands the Nazi troops invaded Poland. On the 3d September, Hitler sent a telegram to Mussolini thanking him for his intervention but pointing out that the war was inevitable and that the most promising moment had to be picked after cold deliberation (1831-PS). And so Hitler and his Confederates now before this Tribunal began the first of their wars of aggression for which they had prepared so long and so thoroughly. They waged it so fiercely that within a few weeks Poland was overrun.

On the 23d November 1939 Hitler reviewed the situation to his military Commanders and in the course of his speech he said this:

"One year later Austria came; this step was also considered doubtful. It brought about a tremendous reinforcement of the Reich. The next step was Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland. This step also was not possible to accomplish in one campaign. First of all the Western fortifications had to be finished * * *. Then followed the creation of the Protectorate and with that the basis of action against Poland was laid. But I wasn't quite clear at that time whether I should start first against the East and then in the West or vice versa. The decision came to fight with Poland first. One might accuse me of wanting to fight again and again. In struggle, I see the fate of all human beings." (789-PS)

He was not sure when to attack first. But that sooner or later he would attack was never in doubt, and he had been warned not only by the British and French Prime Ministers but even by his confederate Mussolini that an attack on Poland would bring England and France into the war. He chose what he considered the opportune moment-and he struck.

In these circumstances the intent to wage war against England and France, and to precipitate it by an attack on Poland, is not to be denied. Here was defiance of the most solemn treaty obligations: here was neglect of the most pacific assurances. Here was aggression, naked and unashamed, which was indeed to arouse the horrified and heroic resistance of all civilized peoples but which was to tear down many of the pillars of our civilization.

Once started upon the active achievement of their plan to secure the domination of Europe, if not of the world, the Nazi Government proceeded to attack other countries, as occasion offered. The first actually to be invaded after the attack on Poland were Denmark and Norway.

On the 9th April 1940 the German Armed Forces invaded Norway and Denmark without warning, without any declaration of war. It was a breach of the Hague Convention of 1907. It was a breach of the Convention of Arbitration and Conciliation between Germany and Denmark dated 2d June, 1926. It was, of course, a breach of the Briand-Kellogg pact of 1928. It was a violation of the Nonaggression Treaty between Germany and Denmark made on the 31st May 1939. And it was a breach of the most explicit assurances which had been given. After his annexation of Czechoslovakia had shaken the confidence of the world, Hitler attempted to reassure the Scandinavian States. On the 28th April, 1939, he affirmed that he had never made any request to them which was incompatible with their sovereignty and independence. On the 31st May, 1939, he signed a nonaggression Pact with Denmark.

On the 2d September, the day after he had invaded Poland and seized Danzig, he again expressed his determination to observe the inviolability and integrity of Norway in an aide memoire which was handed to the Norwegian Foreign Minister by the German Minister in Oslo on that day. (TC-31)

A month later, on the 6th October 1939, he said in a public speech:

"Germany has never had any conflicts of interest or even points of controversy with the Northern States, neither has she any to-day. Sweden and Norway have both been offered nonaggression pacts by Germany and have both refused them solely because they do not feel themselves threatened in any way."

When the invasion of Norway and Denmark had already begun in the early morning of the 9th April, a German memorandum was handed to the Governments of those countries attempting to justify the German action. Various allegations against the Governments of the invaded countries were made. It was said that Norway had been guilty of breaches of neutrality. It was said that she had allowed and tolerated the use of her territorial waters by Great Britain. It was said that Britain and France were making plans themselves to invade and occupy Norway and that the Government of that country was prepared to acquiesce in such an event.

I do not propose to argue the question whether or not those allegations were true or false. That question is irrelevant to the issue before this Court. Even if the allegations were true (and they were patently false), they would afford no conceivable justification for the action of invading without warning, without declaration of war and without any attempt at mediation or conciliation. Aggressive war is none the less aggressive war because the State which wages it believes that other states may take similar action. The rape of a nation is not justified because it is thought she may be raped by another. Nor even in selfdefense are warlike measures justified except after all means of mediation have failed and force is actually being exercised against the State concerned.

In actual fact, with the evidence which we now possess it is clear that the invasion of these countries was undertaken for quite different purposes, that it had been planned long before any question of breach of neutrality or occupation of Norway by England could ever have occurred. It is clear also that the assurances repeated again and again throughout the year 1939 were made for no other purpose than to lull suspicion in those countries and to prevent them taking steps to resist the attack against them which was under active preparation.

For some years, Rosenberg, in his capacity of Chief of the Foreign Affairs Bureau (APA) of the NSDAP, had interested himself in the promotion of fifth column activities in Norway, and close relationship was established with the "Nasjonal Samling", a political group headed by the now notorious traitor, Vidkun Quisling (007-PS). During the winter of 1938/39, APA was in contact with Quisling and later Quisling conferred with Hitler, Raeder, and Rosenberg. In August 1939 a special 14 day course was held at the school of the office of Foreign Relations in Berlin for 25 followers whom Quisling had selected to attend. The plan was to send a number of selected and "reliable" men to Germany for a brief military training in an isolated camp. These were to be area and language specialists to German special troops who were taken to Oslo on coal barges to undertake political action in Norway. The object was a coup in which Quisling would seize his leading opponents in Norway, including the King, and prevent all military resistance from the beginning. Simultaneously Germany was making military preparations. On the 2d September, 1939, Hitler had assured Norway of his intention to respect her neutrality, and on 6th October he said that the Scandinavian States were not menaced in any way, yet on 3d October 1939 Raeder was pointing out that the occupation of bases, if necessary by force, would greatly improve the strategic and economic position (1546-PS). On the 9th October Doenitz was recommending Trondheim as the main base with Narvik as an alternative base for fuel supplies. Rosenberg was reporting shortly afterwards on the possibility of a coup d'etat by Quisling immediately supported by German military and naval forces. On the 12th December 1939 Raeder advised Hitler, in the presence of Keitel and Jodl, that if Hitler was favourably impressed by Quisling, OKW should prepare for the occupation of Norway, if possible with Quisling's assistance, but if necessary entirely by force. Hitler agreed but there was a doubt whether action should be taken against the Low Countries or Scandinavia first. Weather conditions delayed the march against the Low Countries. In January instructions were given to the Germany Navy for the attack on Norway, and on March 1st, 1940, a Directive for the occupation was issued by Hitler. The general objective was not said to be to prevent occupation by English Forces but in vague and general terms to prevent British encroachment in Scandinavia and the Baltic and "to guarantee our ore bases in Sweden and give our Navy and Air Force a wider start line against Britain." But the Directive went on:

"* * * on principle we will do our utmost to make the operation appear as a peaceful occupation the object of which is the military protection of the Scandinavian States * * * it is important that the Scandinavian States as well as the Western opponents should be taken by surprise by our measures. * * * In case the preparations for embarkation can no longer be kept secret the leader and the troops will be deceived with fictitious objectives."

The form and success of the invasion are well known. In the early hours of the 9th April 7 cruisers, 14 destroyers, and several torpedo boats and other small craft carried advance elements of 6 divisions totalling about 10,000 men, forced an entry and landed troops in the outer Oslo Fjord, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik. A small number of troops were also landed at Arendal and Egersund on the southern coast. In addition airborne troops were landed on aerodromes near Oslo and Stavanger. The German attack came as a surprise and all the invaded towns along the coast were captured according to plan with only slight losses. Only the plan to capture the King and members of the Government and the Parliament failed. Brave as the resistance was that was hurriedly organized throughout the country, nothing could be done in the face of the long-planned surprise attack and on 10 June military resistance ceased. So was another act of aggression brought to completion.

Almost exactly a month after the attack on Norway, on the 10th May 1940 the German Armed Forces, repeating what had been done 25 years before, streamed into Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg according to plan-the plan that is, of invading without warning and without declaration of War.

What was done was of course a breach of the Hague Convention of 1907, and is so charged. It was a violation of the Locarno Agreement and Arbitration Convention with Belgium of 1925 which the Nazi Government affirmed in 1935, only illegally to repudiate it two years later. By that agreement all questions incapable of settlement by ordinary diplomatic means were to be settled by arbitration. You will see the comprehensive terms of these agreements. It was a breach of the Treaty of Arbitration and Conciliation signed between Germany and the Netherlands on the 20th May 1926; it was a violation of the similar Treaty with Luxembourg on the 11th September 1929. It was a breach of the Briand-Kellogg Pact. But those Treaties had not perhaps derived in the minds of the Nazi rulers of Germany any added sanctity from the fact that they had been solemnly concluded by the Governments of pre-Nazi Germany.

Let us consider the specific assurances and undertakings which the Nazi Rulers themselves gave to the States which lay in the way of their plans against France and England and which they always intended to attack. Not once, not twice, but eleven times the clearest assurances were given to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. On those assurances solemnly and formally expressed, those countries were entitled to rely. In respect of their breach these Defendants are charged. On the 30th January, 1937 Hitler said:

"As for the rest, I have more than once expressed the desire and the hope of entering into similar good and cordial relations with our neighbours. Germany has, and here I repeat this solemnly, given the assurance time and time again, that, for instance, between her and France there cannot be any humanly conceivable points of controversy. The German Government has further given the assurance to Belgium and Holland that it is prepared to recognize and to guarantee the inviolability and neutrality of these territories."

After Hitler had remilitarized the Rhineland and had repudiated the Locarno Pact, England and France sought to reestablish the position of security for Belgium which Hitler's action had threatened. They, therefore, themselves gave to Belgium on the 24th April 1937, a specific guarantee that they would maintain in respect of Belgium, undertakings of assistance which they had entered into with her both under the Locarno Pact and the Covenant of the League of Nations. On the 13th October 1937 the German Government also made a declaration assuring Belgium of its intention to recognize the inviolability and integrity of that country.

It is, perhaps, convenient to deal with the remaining assurances as we review the evidence which is available as to the preparations and intentions of the German Government prior to their invasion of Belgium on the 10th May 1940.

As in the case of Poland, as in the case of Norway and Denmark, so also here the dates speak for themselves.

As early as August 1938 steps were being made to utilize the Low Countries as defense bases for decisive action in the West in the event of France and England opposing Germany in its aggression upon Czechoslovakia.

In an air force letter dated 25th August 1938 which deals with the action to be taken if England and France should interfere in the operation against Czechoslovakia, it is stated:

"It is not expected for the moment that other States will intervene against Germany. The Dutch and the Belgian area assumes in this connection much more importance for the prevention of the war in Western Europe than during the world war. This mainly is an advance base for the air war." (375-PS)

In the last paragraph of that order it is stated "Belgium and the Netherlands when in German hands represent an extraordinary advantage in the prosecution of the air war against Great Britain as well as against France." (375-PS)

That was in august 1938. Eight months later (on the 28th April 1939) Hitler is declaring again, "I was pleased that a number of European states availed themselves of this declaration by the German Government to express and emphasize their desire to have absolute neutrality."

A month later, on the 23d May, 1939, Hitler held the conference in the Reich Chancellery, to Which we have already referred. The Minutes of that meeting report Hitler as saying:

"The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by armed force. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored. If England and France enter the war between Germany and Poland they will support Holland and Belgium in their neutrality. * * * Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning speed. We must aim at securing new defense lines on Dutch soil up to the Zuyder Zee". (L-79)

Even after that he was to give his solemn declarations that he would observe Belgian neutrality. On the 26th August 1939 when the crisis in regard to Danzig and Poland was reaching its climax, declarations assuring the Governments concerned of the intention to respect their neutrality were handed by the German Ambassadors to the King of the Belgians, the Queen of the Netherlands, and to the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the most solemn form. But to the Army-"If Holland and Belgium are successfully occupied and held"-It was said-"a successful war against England will be secured."

On the 1st September Poland was invaded, and two days later England and France came into the War against Germany in pursuance of the treaty obligation already referred to. On the 6th October Hitler renewed his assurances of friendship to Belgium and Holland. But on the 9th October, before any kind of accusation had been made by the German Government of breaches of neutrality by Belgium, the Netherlands, or Luxembourg, Hitler issued a directive for the conduct of the war.

In that directive he stated:

"1. If it becomes evident in the near future that England and France acting under her leadership, are not disposed to end the war, I am determined to take firm and offensive action without letting much time elapse.

"2. A long waiting period results not only in the ending of the advantage to the Western Powers, of Belgium and perhaps also of Dutch neutrality, but also strengthens the military power of our enemies to an increasing degree, causes confidence of the neutrals in German final victory to wane, and does not help to bring Italy to our aid as brothers-in-arms.

"3. I therefore issue the following orders for the further conduct of military operations:

"(a) Preparations should be made for offensive action on the Northern flank of the Western front crossing the area of Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland. This attack must be carried out as soon and as forcefully as possible.

"(b) The object of this attack is to defeat as many strong sections of the French Fighting Army as possible, and her ally and partner in the fighting, and at the same time to acquire as great an area of Holland, Belgium and Northern France as possible, to use as a base offering good prospects for waging aerial and sea warfare against England and to provide ample coverage for the vital district of the Ruhr."

Nothing could state more clearly or more definitely the object behind the invasion of these countries than that document.

On the 15th October 1939 Keitel wrote a most secret letter concerning Fall Gelb, which was the code name for the operation against the Low Countries. In it he stated:

"The protection of the Ruhr area by moving A/C reporting service and the air defense as far forward as possible in the area of Holland is significant for the whole conduct of the war. The more Dutch territory we occupy the more effective can the defense of the Ruhr area be made. This point of view must determine the choice of objectives of the army even if the army and navy are not directly interested in such territorial gain. It must be the object of the army's preparations, therefore, to occupy on receipt of a special order the territory of Holland in the first instance in the area of the Grebbe-Marse line. It will depend on the military and political attitude of the Dutch as well as on the effectiveness of their flooding, whether objects can and must be further extended." (C-62)

The operation had apparently been planned to take place at the beginning of November. We have in our possession a series of 17 letters dated from 7th November until the 9th May postponing almost from day to day the D-day of the operation, so that by the beginning of November all the major plans and preparations had been made. (C-72)

On the 10th January 1940 a German aeroplane force landed in Belgium. In it was found the remains of a half-burnt operation order setting out considerable details of the Belgian landing grounds that were to be captured (TC-58). Many other documents have been found which illustrate the planning and preparation for this invasion in the latter half of 1939 and early 1940, but they carry the matter no further, and they show no more clearly than the evidence to which I have already referred, the plans and intention of the German Governments and its armed forces.

On the 10th May 1940 at about 0500 hours in the morning the German invasion of Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg began.

Once more the forces of aggression marched on. Treaties, assurances, the rights of Sovereign States meant nothing. Brutal force, covered by as great an element of surprise as the Nazis could secure, was to seize that which was deemed necessary for striking the mortal blow against England, the main Enemy. The only fault of these unhappy countries was that they stood in the path of the German invader. But that was enough.

On the 6th April 1941 German armed forces invaded Greece and Yugoslavia. Again the blow was struck without warning and with the cowardice and deceit which the World now fully expected from the self-styled "Herrenvolk". It was a breach of the Hague Convention of 1899. It was a breach of the Pact of Paris of 1928. It was a breach of a specific assurance given by Hitler on the 6th October 1939.

"Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss", he said, "I informed Yugoslavia that, from now on, the frontier with this country will also be an unalterable one and that we only desire to live in Peace and Friendship with her". (TC-43)

But the plan for aggression against Yugoslavia had, of course, been in hand well before that. In the aggressive action eastward towards the Ukraine and the Soviet territories security of the Southern flank and the lines of communication had already been considered.

The history of events leading up to the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany is well known. At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 28th October 1940 a 3-hour ultimatum had been presented by the Italian Government to the Greek Government and the presentation of this ultimatum was followed by the aerial bombardment of Greek provincial towns and the advance of Italian troops into Greek territory. The Greeks, not prepared for such an assault, were at first forced to withdraw. Later the Italian advance was first checked, then driven towards the Albanian frontier, and by the end of 1940 the Italian Army had suffered severe reverses at Greek hands.

Of German intentions there is the evidence of what occurred when, on 12th August 1939, Hitler held his meeting with Ciano.

You will remember Hitler said:

"Generally speaking, the best thing to happen would be for the neutrals to be liquidated one after the other. This process could be carried out more easily if on every occasion one partner of the Axis covered the other while it was dealing with an uncertain neutral. Italy might well regard Yugoslavia as a neutral of this kind." (TC-77)

Later again on the second day of the conversation, 13th August, he said:

"In general, however, from success by one of the Axis partners not only strategical but also psychological strengthening of the other partner and also of the whole Axis would ensue. Italy carried through a number of successful operations in Abyssinia, Spain and Albania and each time against the wishes of the Democratic Entente. These individual actions have not only strengthened Italian local interests but have also reinforced her general position. The same was the case with German action in Austria and Czechoslovakia. * * * The strengthening of the Axis by these individual operations was of the greatest importance for the unavoidable clash with the Western Powers."

Once again we see the same procedure being followed. That meeting had taken place on the 12/13th August, 1939. Less than two months later, on 6 October 1939 Hitler was giving his assurance to Yugoslavia that Germany only desired to live in peace and friendship with the Yugoslav State, the liquidation of which by his Axis partner he had himself suggested.

On the 28th October 1940 the Italians presented a 3 hour ultimatum to Greece and commenced war against her. Eventually the advance was checked, then driven back, and the Italians suffered considerable reverses at Greek hands.

We have an undated letter from Hitler to Mussolini which must have been written about the time of the Italian aggression against Greece. (2762-PS)

"Permit me at the beginning of this letter to assure you that within the last 14 days my heart and my thoughts have been more than ever with you. Moreover, Duce, be assured of my determination to do everything on your behalf which might ease the present situation for you. * * * When I asked you to receive me in Florence, I undertook the trip in the hope of being able to express my views prior to the beginning of the threatening conflict with Greece, about which I had only received general information. First, I wanted to request you to postpone the action, if possible until a more favorable time of year, at all events, however, until after the American presidential election. But in any case, however, I wanted to request you, duce, not to undertake this action without a previous lightning-like occupation of Crete and, for this purpose, I also wanted to submit to you some practical suggestions in regard to the employment of a German parachute division and a further airborne division. * * * Yugoslavia must become disinterested, if possible, however from our point of view interested in cooperating in the liquidation of the Greek question. Without assurances from Yugoslavia, it is useless to risk any successful operation in the Balkans. * * * Unfortunately I must stress the fact that waging war in the Balkans before March is impossible. Hence it would also serve to make any threatening influence upon Yugoslavia of no purpose, since the Serbian General Staff is well aware of the fact that no practical action could follow such a threat before March. Here Yugoslavia must, if at all possible, be won over by other means and other ways."

On the 12th November in his Top Secret Order No. 18 Hitler ordered the OKH to make preparations to occupy Greece and Bulgaria if necessary. Approximately 10 divisions were to be used in order to prevent Turkish intervention. To shorten the time the German divisions in Rumania were to be increased.

On the 13th December 1940 Hitler issued an order to OKW, OKL, OKH, OKM and General Staff on the operation Marita, which was the invasion of Greece. In that order it is stated that the invasion of Greece is planned and is to commence as soon as the weather becomes advantageous. Further orders were issued on the 13th December and 11th January. (448-PS; 1541-PS)

On the 28th January Hitler saw Mussolini. Jodl, Keitel, and Ribbentrop were present at the meeting and it is from Jodl's notes of what took place that we know that Hitler stated that one of the purposes of German troop concentrations in Rumania was for use in his plan for the operation against Greece.

On the 1st March 1941 German troops entered Bulgaria and moved towards the Greek frontier. In the face of this threat of an attack on Greece by German as well as Italian forces British forces were landed in Greece on the 3d March in accordance with the declaration which had been given by the British Government on the 13th April 1939 that Great Britain would feel bound to give Greece and Rumania respectively all the support in her power in the event of either country becoming the victim of aggression and resisting such aggression. Already the Italian aggression had made this pledge operative.

On the 25th March 1941 Yugoslavia joined the 3-Power Pact which had already been signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan. The preamble of the Pact stated that the 3 Powers would stand side by side and work together.

On the same day Ribbentrop wrote two notes to the Yugoslav Prime Minister assuring him of Germany's full intention to respect the sovereignty and independence of his country. That declaration was yet another example of the treachery employed by German diplomacy. We have seen already the preparations that had been made. We have seen Hitler's efforts to tempt the Italians into an aggression against Yugoslavia. We have seen in January his orders for his own preparation to invade Yugoslavia and Greece and now on the 25th March he is signing a pact with that country and his Foreign Minister is writing assurances of respect for her sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As a result of the signing of that Pact the anti-Nazi element in Yugoslavia immediately accomplished a coup d'etat and established a new Government. Thereupon the decision was taken to invade immediately and on the 27th March, two days after the 3-Power Pact had been signed by Yugoslavia, Hitler issued instructions that Yugoslavia was to be invaded and used as a base for the continuance of the combined German and Italian offensive against Greece. (C-127)

Following this, further deployment and other instructions for the action Marita were issued by Von Brauchitsch on the 30th March 1941. (R-95)

It is stated that "the orders issued with regard to the operation against Greece remain valid so far as not affected by this order. On the 5th April, weather permitting, the Air Forces are to attack troops in Yugoslavia, while simultaneously the attack of the 12th Army begins against both Yugoslavia and Greece" (R-95). As we now know, the invasion actually commenced in the early hours of the 6th April.

Treaties, Pacts, Assurances-obligations of any kind-are brushed aside and ignored wherever the aggressive interests of Germany are concerned.

I turn now to the last act of aggression in Europe with which these Nazi conspirators are charged-the attack upon Russia. In August 1939 Germany although undoubtedly intending to attack Russia at some convenient opportunity, sufficiently deceived the Russian Government to secure a pact of non-aggression between them. It followed, therefore, that when Belgium and the Low Countries were occupied and France collapsed in June 1940, England-although with the inestimably valuable moral and economic support of the United States of America-was left alone as the sole representative of Democracy in the face of the forces of aggression. Only the British Empire stood between Germany and the achievement of her aim to dominate the Western world. Only the British Empire-only England as its citadel. But it was enough. The first, and possibly the decisive, military defeat which the enemy sustained was in the campaign against England, and that defeat had a profound influence on the future course of the war. On the 16th July 1940 Hitler issued to Keitel and Jodl a Directive for the invasion of England. It started off by stating-and Englishmen will be forever proud of it-that

"Since England, despite her militarily hopeless situation, shows no signs of willingness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare a landing operation against England and if necessary to carry it out. The aim is * * * to eliminate the English homeland as a base for the carrying on of the war against Germany. The preparations for the entire operation must be completed by mid-August." (442-PS)

But the first essential condition for that plan was "that the English Air Force must morally and actually be so far overcome that it does not any longer show any considerable aggressive force against the German attack." (442-PS)

The German Air Force made the most strenuous efforts to realize that condition, but, in one of the most splendid pages of our history, it was decisively defeated. And although the bombardment of England's towns and villages was continued throughout that dark winter of 1940-41 the enemy decided in the end that England was not to be subjugated by these means, and accordingly Germany turned back to the East, the first major aim achieved.

On the 22d June 1941, German Armed Forces invaded Russia-without warning, without declaration of war. It was a breach of the Hague Conventions; it was a violation of the Pact of Paris of 1928: it was in flagrant contradiction of the Treaty of nonaggression which Germany and Russia had signed on the 23d August 1939.

But that Treaty, perhaps more blatantly than any other, was made without any intention of being observed and only for the purpose of assisting the German Government to carry out their aggressive plans against the Western democracies before eventually turning east in their own good time.

Hitler himself in referring to the Agreement said agreements were only to be kept as long as they served a purpose. Ribbentrop was more explicit. In an interview with the Japanese Ambassador in Berlin on 23d February 1941 he made it clear that the object of the Agreement had merely been to avoid a two front war. (1834-PS)

In contrast to what Hitler and Ribbentrop were planning within the councils of Germany, we know what they were saying to the rest of the world.

On the 19th July Hitler spoke in the Reichstag:

"In these circumstances I consider it proper to negotiate as a first priority a sober definition of interests with Russia. It would be made clear once and for all what Germany believes she must regard as her sphere of interest to safeguard her future and, on the other hand, what Russia considers important for her existence.

"From the clear delineation of the sphere of interest on either side, there followed the new regulation of Russo-German relations. Any hope that now at the end of the term of the agreement a new Russo-German tension could arise is childish. Germany has taken no step which would lead her outside her sphere of interest, nor has Russia. But England's hope, to achieve an amelioration of her own position through the engineering of some new European crisis, is, in so far as it is concerned with Russo-German relations, an illusion.

"British statesmen perceive everything somewhat slowly, but they too will learn to understand this in course of time."

Yet it was not many months after that that the arrangements for attacking Russia were put in hand. Raeder gives us the probable reasons for this sudden decision in a note to Admiral Assmann.

"The fear that control of the air over the Channel in the Autumn of 1940 could no longer be attained, a realization which the Fuehrer no doubt gained earlier than the Naval War Staff, who were not so fully informed of the true results of air raids on England (our own losses), surely caused the Fuehrer, as far back as August and September, to consider whether, even prior to victory in the West, an Eastern campaign would be feasible with the object of first eliminating our last serious opponent on the continent. The Fuehrer did not openly express this fear, however, until well into September."

He may not have told the Navy of his intentions until later in September, but by the beginning of that month he had undoubtedly spoken of them to Jodl.

Dated 6th September 1940 we have a directive of the OKW signed by Jodl: "Directions are given, for the occupation forces in the east to be increased in the following weeks. For security reasons this should not create the impression in Russia that Germany is preparing for an Eastern offensive." Directives are given to the German Intelligence Service pertaining to the answering of questions by the Russian intelligence Service. "The total strength of the German troops in the East to be camouflaged by frequent changes in this area. The impression is to be created that the bulk of the troops in the south have moved whilst the occupation in the north is only very small." (1229-PS)

Thus we see the beginning of the operations.

On the 12th November 1940 Hitler issued a directive signed by Jodl in which he stated that the political task to determine the attitude of Russia had begun, but without reference to the result of preparations against the East, which had been ordered orally before it could be carried out.

On the same day Molotov visited Berlin. At the conclusion of conversations between himself and the German Government a communiqué was issued in the following terms:

"The exchange of ideas took place in an atmosphere of mutual trust and led to a mutual understanding on all important questions interesting Germany and the Soviet Union."

It is not to be supposed that the USSR would have taken part in those conversations or agreed to that communiqué if it had been realized that on the very day orders were being given for preparations to be made for the invasion of Russia and that the order for the operation "Barbarossa" was in preparation. Four days later that order was issued-"the German armed forces have to be ready to defeat Soviet Russia in a swift campaign before the end of the War against Great Britain" (446-PS). And later in the same instruction,

"All orders which shall be issued by the High Commanders in accordance with this instruction have to be clothed in such terms that they may be taken as measures of precaution in case Russia should change her present attitude towards ourselves." (446-PS)

Keeping up the pretense of friendliness on the 10th January, 1941-after the plan Barbarossa for the invasion of Russia had been decided upon-the German-Russo frontier treaty was signed. On the 3d February 1941 Hitler held a conference, attended by Keitel and Jodl, at which it was provided that the whole operation was to be camouflaged as if it was part of the preparations for the "Seelowe" as the plan for invasion of England was called. By March 1941 the plans were sufficiently advanced to include provision for dividing the Russian territory into 9 separate States to be administered under Reich commissars under the general control of Rosenberg. At the Same time detailed plans for the Economic exploitation of the country were made under the supervision of Goering, to whom the responsibility was delegated by Hitler. You will hear something of the details of these plans. It is significant that on the 2d May 1941 a conference of the State Secretaries on the Plan Barbarossa noted:

"1. The war can only be continued if all armed forces are fed out of Russia in the third year of the war.

"2. There is no doubt that as a result many millions of people will be starved to death if we take out of the country the things necessary for us."

But this apparently created no concern. The plan Oldenberg, as the scheme for economic organization was called, went on. By the 1st May the D date of the operation was fixed. By the 1st June preparations were virtually complete and an elaborate time table was issued. It was estimated that although there would be heavy frontier battles, lasting perhaps 4 weeks, after that no serious opposition was to be expected.

On the 22d June at 3.30 in the morning the German Armies marched again. As Hitler said in his Proclamation:

"I have decided to give the fate of the German People and of the Reich and of Europe again into the hands of our soldiers."

The usual false pretexts were of course given. Ribbentrop stated on the 28th June that the step was taken because of the threatening of the German frontiers by the Red Army. It was untrue and Ribbentrop knew it was untrue. On the 7th June his Ambassador in Moscow was reporting to him that "All observations show that Stalin and Molotov who are alone responsible for Russian foreign policy are doing everything to avoid a conflict with Germany". The staff records which you will see make it clear that the Russians were making no military preparations and that they were continuing their deliveries under the Trade Agreement to the very last day. The truth was, of course, that the elimination of Russia as a political opponent and the incorporation of the Russian territory in the German Lebensraum had long been one of the cardinal features of Nazi policy, subordinated latterly for what Jodl called diplomatic reasons.

And so, on the 22d June, the Nazi armies were flung against the Power with which Hitler had so recently sworn friendship and Germany embarked on that last act of aggression which, after long and bitter fighting, was eventually to result in Germany's own collapse.


This then is the case against these Defendants, as amongst the rulers of Germany, under Count 2 of this Indictment. It may be said that many of the documents which have been referred to were in Hitler's name, that the orders were Hitler's orders, that these men were mere instruments of Hitler's will. But they were the instruments without which Hitler's will could not be carried out. And they were more than that. These men were no mere willing tools, although they would be guilty enough if that had been their role. They are the men whose support had built Hitler up into the position of power he occupied: they are the men whose initiative and planning perhaps conceived and certainly made possible the acts of aggression made in Hitler's name, and they are the men who enabled Hitler to build up the Army, Navy and Air Force by which these treacherous attacks were carried out, and to lead his fanatical followers into peaceful countries to murder, to loot and to destroy. They are the men whose cooperation and support made the Nazi Government of Germany possible. The Government of a totalitarian country may be carried on without the assistance of representatives of the people. But it cannot be carried on without any assistance at all. It is no use having a leader unless there are also people willing and ready to serve their personal greed and ambition by helping and following him. The dictator who is set up in control of the destinies of his country does not depend upon himself alone either in acquiring power or in maintaining it. He depends upon the support and backing which lesser men, themselves lusting to share in dictatorial power, anxious to bask in the adulation of their leader, are prepared to give. In the Criminal Courts, where men are put upon their trial for breaches of the municipal laws, it not infrequently happens that of a gang indicted together in the Dock, one has the master mind, the leading personality. But it is no excuse for the common thief to say "I stole because I was told to steal"; for the murderer to plead "I killed because I was asked to kill". These men are in no different position for all that it was nations they sought to rob, whole peoples they tried to kill, "The warrant of no man excuseth the doing of an illegal act." Political loyalty, military obedience are excellent things. But they neither require nor do they justify the commission of patently wicked acts. There comes a point where a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his conscience. Even the common soldier, serving in the ranks of his Army is not called upon to obey illegal orders. But these men were no common soldiers: they were the men whose skill and cunning, whose labour and activity made it possible for the German Reich to tear up existing treaties, to enter into new ones and to flout them, to reduce international negotiations and diplomacy to a hollow mockery, to destroy all respect for and effect in International Law and finally to march against the peoples of the world to secure that domination in which as arrogant members of their self-styled master race they professed their belief. If the crimes were in one sense the crimes of Nazi Germany, they also are guilty as the individuals who aided, abetted, counselled, procured and made possible the commission of what was done.

The sum total of the crime these men have committed-so awful in its comprehension-has many aspects. Their lust and sadism, their deliberate slaughter and the degradation of so many millions of their fellow creatures that the imagination reels incomprehensively, are but one side only of this matter. Now that an end has been put to this nightmare and we come to consider how the future is to be lived, perhaps their guilt as murderers and robbers is of less importance and of less effect to future generations of mankind than their crime of fraud-the fraud by which they placed themselves in a position to do their murder and their robbery. This is the other aspect of their guilt. The story of their "diplomacy", founded upon cunning, hypocrisy and bad faith, is a story less gruesome but no less evil and deliberate. And should it be taken as a precedent of behaviour in the conduct of international relations, its consequences to mankind will no less certainly lead to the end of civilized society. Without trust and confidence between Nations, without the faith that what is said is meant and what is undertaken will be observed, all hope of peace and of security is dead. The Governments of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, of the USA, of the USSR, and of France, backed by and on behalf of every other peace-loving Nation of the world, have therefore joined to bring the inventors and perpetrators of this Nazi conception of international relationship before the bar of this Tribunal.

They do so that these Defendants may be punished for their crimes. They do so also that their conduct may be exposed in its naked wickedness. And they do so in the hope that the conscience and good sense of all the world will see the consequences of such conduct and the end to which inevitably it must always lead. Let us once again restore sanity and with it also the sanctity of our obligations towards each other.