The Project Gutenberg eBook of Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremburg, 14 November 1945-1 October 1946, Volume 09

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Title: Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremburg, 14 November 1945-1 October 1946, Volume 09

Author: Various

Release date: October 16, 2020 [eBook #63467]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by John Routh, Cindy Beyer, and the online
Project Gutenberg team at












14 NOVEMBER 1945 — 1 OCTOBER 1946







This volume is published in accordance with the

direction of the International Military Tribunal by

the Secretariat of the Tribunal, under the jurisdiction

of the Allied Control Authority for Germany.














8 March 1946 — 23 March 1946

Seventy-seventh Day, Friday, 8 March 1946,
Morning Session1
Afternoon Session28
Seventy-eighth Day, Monday, 11 March 1946,
Morning Session59
Afternoon Session99
Seventy-ninth Day, Tuesday, 12 March 1946,
Morning Session135
Afternoon Session170
Eightieth Day, Wednesday, 13 March 1946,
Morning Session194
Afternoon Session230
Eighty-first Day, Thursday, 14 March 1946,
Morning Session262
Afternoon Session289
Eighty-second Day, Friday, 15 March 1946,
Morning Session318
Afternoon Session333
Eighty-third Day, Saturday, 16 March 1946,
Morning Session365
Eighty-fourth Day, Monday, 18 March 1946,
Morning Session396
Afternoon Session426
Eighty-fifth Day, Tuesday, 19 March 1946,
Morning Session457
Afternoon Session475
Eighty-sixth Day, Wednesday, 20 March 1946,
Morning Session509
Afternoon Session540
Eighty-seventh Day, Thursday, 21 March 1946,
Morning Session580
Afternoon Session614
Eighty-eighth Day, Friday, 22 March 1946,
Morning Session647
Afternoon Session673
Eighty-ninth Day, Saturday, 23 March 1946,
Morning Session696

Friday, 8 March 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): I have three announcements to make.

First, to avoid unnecessary translation, Defense Counsel shall indicate to the Prosecution the exact passages in all documents which they propose to use, in order that the Prosecution may have an opportunity to object to irrelevant passages. In the event of disagreement between the Prosecution and the Defense as to the relevancy of any particular passage, the Tribunal will decide what passages are sufficiently relevant to be translated. Only the cited passages need be translated, unless the Prosecution require translation of the entire document.

Second, the Tribunal has received an application from Dr. Nelte, counsel for the Defendant Keitel, inquiring whether a defendant, in order to support his memory, may make use of written notes while giving oral evidence. The Tribunal sanctions the use of written notes by a defendant in those circumstances, unless in special cases the Tribunal orders otherwise.

Third, cases have arisen where one defendant has been given leave to administer interrogatories to or obtain an affidavit from a witness who will be called to give oral evidence on behalf of another defendant. If the witness gives his oral evidence before the case is heard in which the interrogatory or affidavit is to be offered, counsel in the latter case must elicit the evidence by oral examination, instead of using the interrogatory or affidavit.

That is all.

I now call upon counsel for the Defendant Göring.

DR. OTTO NELTE (Counsel for Defendant Keitel): Mr. President, in yesterday’s afternoon session, you observed that application Number 2, which I had submitted as a supplement, had not yet been discussed orally. I was unfortunately not present at the afternoon session yesterday. It is a question of a subsequent, formal supplement to my applications regarding the witnesses Westhoff and Wielen. Both of these witnesses had already been granted me in the open Tribunal session. I submitted these names again only in order to complete my application.

As an addition I mentioned only State Secretary Stuckart, a witness who also has already been granted me previously by a decision of the Tribunal. I believe, therefore, that I do not need to discuss this supplementary application, and that the Prosecution have no objection to this action.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Nelte, General Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application.

DR. NELTE: Is State Secretary Stuckart also granted me, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDENT: Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application. I am afraid it is difficult to remember these names. I think that Stuckart has been granted to you.


THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am told he has.

DR. ALFRED THOMA (Counsel for Defendant Rosenberg): Mr. President, at yesterday’s afternoon session my name was also mentioned in the following connection: I have hitherto submitted only written applications, and I must now present them orally. I assume that this refers to the written application which I handed in with my document and witness list, in which, in a rather lengthy written application, I requested that I might have permission to submit in evidence as historical documents of the time, quotations from theological and philosophical works which were considered important at the time of Rosenberg’s public power. I beg Your Honor to inform me whether this is the application in question.

I should like to repeat: The President told me yesterday that I should repeat my written application orally. Therefore I should like to ask whether this refers to the written request that I handed in with my list of witnesses and documents.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, so far as the Tribunal knows, everything will be covered by the written order which the Tribunal will make upon your application. It is not convenient, really, to deal with these matters now by way of oral requests, but everything that is in your written application will be covered by a written order of the Tribunal. It will be subject, of course, to the order which I have announced this morning, in order to assure that there will be no more translation than is absolutely necessary.

DR. OTTO STAHMER (Counsel for Defendant Göring): Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Tribunal, before I start with my presentation I beg to make two supplementary applications. I am aware of the fact that supplementary requests as such should be put in writing. But since it is a question of several requests, I should like to have your decision whether I should submit these applications now or whether the Tribunal desires a written request.

THE PRESIDENT: You may put your request now, verbally, but we would prefer to have it in writing afterwards as soon as possible.

DR. STAHMER: I name first Major Bütz, who is in custody here in Nuremberg, as a witness for the following facts: Reich Marshal Göring repeatedly opposed in the summer of 1944 the measures which Hitler had ordered against aviators taking part in terror attacks. Furthermore, he knows that no order was issued either by the Luftwaffe or by the Wehrmacht corresponding to Hitler’s orders regarding terror aviators. Finally, he can give evidence in regard to the following: An officer of the Luftwaffe in May 1944 in Munich protected an airman, who had bailed out, from the lynching which the crowd wanted to carry out. Hitler, who had knowledge of this incident, demanded of Göring the name of this officer, and that he be punished. In spite of repeated inquiries on Hitler’s part, Göring did not give the name of this officer, although he knew it, and in this way protected him. This is the application regarding the witness Bütz. Another supplementary request is concerned with the following: In the session of 14 February 1946 the Soviet Prosecution submitted that a German military formation, Staff 537, Pioneer Battalion, carried out mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war in the forests near Katyn. As the responsible leaders of this formation, Colonel Ahrens, First Lieutenant Rex, and Second Lieutenant Hodt were mentioned. As proof the Prosecution referred to Document USSR-64. It is an official report of the Extraordinary State Commission of the Soviet Union which was ordered to investigate the facts of the well-known Katyn case. The document I have not yet received. As a result of the publication of this speech by the Prosecution in the press, members of the staff of the Army Group Center, to which Staff 537 was directly subordinate and which was stationed 4 to 5 kilometers from Staff 537, came forward. These people stated that the evidence upon which the Prosecution have based the statement submitted was not correct.

The following witnesses are mentioned in this connection:

Colonel Ahrens, at that time commander of 537, later chief of army armament and commander of the auxiliary army; First Lieutenant Rex, probably taken as a prisoner of war at Stalingrad; Lieutenant Hodt, probably taken prisoner by the Russians in or near Königsberg; Major General of intelligence troops, Eugen Oberhauser, probably taken prisoner of war by the Americans; First Lieutenant Graf Berg—later ordnance officer with Field Marshal Von Kluge—a prisoner of war in British hands in Canada. Other members of the units which are accused are still to be mentioned. I name these witnesses to prove that the conclusion as to the complicity of Göring drawn by the Prosecution in the above-mentioned statement is not justified according to the Indictment.

This morning I received another communication bearing on the same question, which calls for the following request: Professor Naville, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Geneva, carried out, with an international commission at Smolensk, investigations of the bodies at that time. He established from the state of preservation of these corpses, from the notes found in the pockets of their clothes, and other means of evidence, that the deed must have been committed in the year 1940.

Those are my requests.

THE PRESIDENT: If you will put in those requests in writing, the Tribunal will consider them.

DR. STAHMER: And now I come to the . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Just one minute. Dr. Stahmer, if you would communicate your written application to the Prosecution, they would then be able to make a written statement if they have any objection to it. You will do that as soon as possible. Let us have both your written application and the Prosecution’s answer to it.

DR. STAHMER: The Tribunal has ordered in its decision of 11 December 1945 that the Defense is entitled to one speech only. This shall take place only after the conclusion of the hearing of the evidence. The Tribunal decided some time later that explanatory words may be permitted at the present stage of the proceedings in connection with the presentation of documents by the Defense. The witnesses have already been named by me. A decision has been made concerning their admission except for today’s request and, with the Court’s permission, I shall call a witness shortly. Before I do that, I wish to make the following comments to the documents to which I shall refer during my final speech:

The Prosecution have charged the defendant repeatedly with the violation of the Treaty of Versailles. This charge is not justified in the opinion of the Defense. Detailed statements on this question belong to the concluding speech of the Defense and will therefore be dealt with there. The present part of the proceedings deals only with the production of documents which will be used to support the contention that the Treaty was not violated by Germany but that the German Reich was no longer bound by it. I submit that the Fourteen Points of the American President Wilson, which were the basis of that Treaty, are commonly known, and therefore do not need further proof, according to Paragraph 21 of the Charter.

The Treaty of Versailles has already been submitted to the Tribunal. It was published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1919, Page 687. Of this Treaty of Versailles, Article 8 and Part V are important for its interpretation. These provisions insofar as they are of interest here, read as follows—I quote the first four paragraphs of Article 8:

“The members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.

“The Council, taking account of the geographical situation, and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several governments.

“Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every 10 years.

“After these plans shall have been adopted by the several governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.”

The first paragraph of Part V reads:

“In order to render possible the introduction of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval, and air clauses which follow.”

These regulations infer, not only that Germany had to disarm, but also that the signatories of the pact were likewise bound to disarm. Germany, however, was committed to start disarmament first. Germany completely fulfilled this commitment.

On 17 February 1927 Marshal Foch stated, “I can assure you that Germany has actually disarmed.”

Therefore, the signatories of the pact had to fulfill their commitment to disarm. As they did not disarm, Germany was no longer bound by the pact according to general principles of law, and she was justified in renouncing her obligations.

This interpretation agrees with the point of view which has been expressed by French as well as by English statesmen. Therefore, I should like to refer to the speech made by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927, in which Boncour stated as follows—I quote from Document Book 1, Page 28:

“It is correct that the introduction to Part V of the Treaty of Versailles concerns the limitation of armaments which was imposed on Germany as a prerequisite and as the forerunner of a general limitation of armaments. This brings out very clearly the difference between the armament restrictions of Germany and other similar armament restrictions which in the course of history have been imposed after the conclusion of wars. This time these regulations—and in this lies their entire value—have been imposed not only on one of the signatories to the Treaty, but they are rather a duty, a moral and legal responsibility, for the other signatories to proceed with a general limitation of armaments.”

Further, I should like to refer to the speech by David Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, in which he particularly describes the memorandum to the skeleton note of 16 June 1919, as—and I quote from the Document Book 1, Page 26:

“. . . document which we handed Germany as a solemn pledge on the part of Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and 20 other nations to follow Germany’s example after she was disarmed.”

The Treaty of Versailles was felt not only by the German people to be a bitter injustice—there were numerous voices even in foreign countries that called the Treaty exceedingly unfair for Germany. I am quoting the following from Rothermere’s Warnings and Prophecies, Document Book 1, Page 30:

“Germany was justified in feeling that she had been betrayed in Versailles. Under the pretext . . .”

MR. JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON (Chief of Counsel for the United States): [Interposing.] I call the Tribunal’s attention to the fact that the documents which are now being read into the record are documents which, as I understand it, were excluded as irrelevant by the Tribunal when that matter was before it before. They are matters of a good deal of public notoriety and would not be secret if they were not in evidence; but I think the reading of them into the record is in violation of the Tribunal’s own determination.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal has suspected that these documents had been excluded, and they have sent for the original record of their orders. But I must say now that the Tribunal expects the defendants’ counsel to conform to their orders and not to read documents which they have been ordered not to read.

[At this point Defendant Hess was led out of the courtroom.]

DR. STAHMER: Shall I continue?


DR. STAHMER: “Under the pretext that it was the first step to world disarmament, Germany was forcibly disarmed. Great Britain was, indeed, also deceived. She had actually continued to disarm for a period of 15 years. But from the day on which the various peace treaties were signed, France encouraged a number of small states to powerful rearmament and the result was that 5 years after Versailles, Germany was surrounded by a much tighter ring of iron than 5 years before the World War. It was inevitable that a German regime, which had renounced Versailles, would at the first opportunity rearm heavily. It was evident that its weapons, diplomatically, if not in the true sense of the word, were to be directed against the powers of Versailles.”

In the same way the Locarno Pact is contested, with a breach of which the defendant is also charged, and, as far as the Defense are concerned, unjustifiably.

Germany renounced this pact and could do so rightfully because France and Soviet Russia had signed a military assistance pact, although the Locarno Pact provided a guarantee of the French eastern border. This act by France, in the opinion of Germany, was in sharp contrast to the legal situation created by the Locarno Pact.

In a speech of Plenipotentiary Von Ribbentrop before the League of Nations on 19 March 1936, this opinion was expressed in the following terms—I quote from Document Book 1, Page 32 . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have before me now the order of the Tribunal of 26 February 1946, and Paragraph 4 of that order is in the following terms: “The following documents are denied as irrelevant,” and then the heading “Göring,” and the fourth of the documents is the speech by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927; and the sixth is the speech by Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, which you have not read but which you have put into your trial brief. I would again call your attention, and the attention of all the Defense Counsel, to the fact that they will not be allowed to read any document which has been denied by the Tribunal. Go on.

DR. STAHMER: This quotation is as follows:

“. . . but it is also clear that if a world power such as France, by virtue of her sovereignty, can decide upon concluding military alliances of such vast proportions without having misgivings on account of existing treaties, another world power like Germany has at least the right to safeguard the protection of the entire Reich territory by re-establishing within her own borders the natural rights of a sovereign power which are granted all peoples.”

Before I take up the question of aggressive war in detail I have the intention, if I have the permission of the Tribunal, to call on the first witness, General of the Air Force Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

[The witness Karl Bodenschatz took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

KARL BODENSCHATZ (Witness): Karl Bodenschatz.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: General Bodenschatz, since when have you known Reich Marshal Göring?

BODENSCHATZ: I have known Reich Marshal Göring since June 1918.

DR. STAHMER: In what capacity did you get to know him?

BODENSCHATZ: I came to know him when he was the commander of the Richthofen Squadron. I was at that time the adjutant of Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen who had just been killed in action.

DR. STAHMER: Were you taken into the Reichswehr at the end of the first World War?

BODENSCHATZ: At the end of the first World War I was taken into the Reichswehr as a regular officer and remained from the year 1919 until April 1933.

DR. STAHMER: When, after the completion of the World War, did you resume your connection with Göring?

BODENSCHATZ: In November 1918 I was with Göring at Aschaffenburg, at the demobilization of the Richthofen Fighter Squadron, and later in the spring of 1919 I was with him again for several weeks in Berlin. There our paths separated. Then I met Göring for the first time again at his first wedding, and I believe that was in the year 1919 or 1920. I cannot remember exactly. Up to 1929 there was no connection between us. In the year 1929, and until 1933, I met Hermann Göring several times here in Nuremberg where I was a company commander in Infantry Regiment 21. My meetings with Göring here in Nuremberg were solely for the purpose of keeping up the old friendship.

DR. STAHMER: And then in the year 1939, you entered the Luftwaffe?

BODENSCHATZ; In 1933 I reported to Hermann Göring in Berlin. At that time, Göring was Reich Commissioner of the Luftwaffe and I became his military adjutant.

DR. STAHMER: How long did you retain this post as adjutant?

BODENSCHATZ: I retained this post as adjutant until the year 1938. Later I became Chief of the Ministerial Bureau, 1938.

DR. STAHMER: And what position did you have during the war?

BODENSCHATZ: During the war, I was liaison officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and the Führer’s headquarters.

DR. STAHMER: Were you at the headquarters, or where?

BODENSCHATZ: I was alternately at the Führer’s headquarters and at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.

DR. STAHMER: When did you leave that position?

BODENSCHATZ: I left that position on 20 July 1944, because I was seriously wounded that day.

DR. STAHMER: And what was the cause of your being wounded?

BODENSCHATZ: The plot against Hitler.

DR. STAHMER: You were present?


DR. STAHMER: And what were your tasks at the Führer’s headquarters?

BODENSCHATZ: It was my duty in the Führer’s headquarters to report on special events, special matters, inquiries, and desires of the Reich Marshal if he were absent, and to transmit them. I also had to transmit inquiries from the Führer’s headquarters direct to Hermann Göring. Then I had to inform Hermann Göring early, that is, not through official channels, regarding all that took place in the Führer’s headquarters insofar as it was of interest to him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.

DR. STAHMER: Did you take part regularly in the conferences?

BODENSCHATZ: I was a listener at these conferences.

DR. STAHMER: From what time onwards did Reich Marshal Göring lose his influence with Hitler?

BODENSCHATZ: According to my personal opinion and conviction, Hermann Göring began to lose influence with Hitler in the spring of 1943.

DR. STAHMER: And what were the reasons?

BODENSCHATZ: That was the beginning of large-scale air attacks by night by the R.A.F. on German towns, and from that moment there were differences of opinion between Hitler and Göring which became more serious as time went on. Even though Göring made tremendous efforts, he could not recapture his influence with the Führer to the same extent as before. The outward symptoms of this waning influence were the following:

First, the Führer criticized Göring most severely. Secondly, the eternal conversations between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring became shorter, less frequent, and finally ceased altogether. Thirdly, as far as important conferences were concerned, the Reich Marshal was not called in. Fourthly, during the last months and weeks the tension between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring increased to such a degree that he was finally arrested.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything about this arrest? What was the cause?

BODENSCHATZ: I have no exact information about it. I can only tell you what I heard. I was at that time in Bad Reichenhall in the military hospital. I merely heard that Reich Marshal Göring had sent a telegram to the Führer, and in this telegram Göring requested that, since the Führer no longer had freedom of action, he might act himself. As the result of this telegram, which was sent by wireless to Berlin, the arrest took place. I would like to emphasize that I only heard that. I have no proof of any of these statements.

DR. STAHMER: And who made the arrest?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you about that because I know nothing. I heard, however, that a Kommando of the SS from Obersalzberg made the arrest.

DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Göring have any previous knowledge of the incidents against the Jews which took place during the night of 9 to 10 November 1938?

BODENSCHATZ: Göring had no previous knowledge of these incidents. I inferred that from his demeanor—how he acted towards me with regard to these incidents. He acted in the following manner: When he heard of these happenings he was dismayed and condemned them. A few days later he went with proof to the Führer and complained about the people who had instigated these incidents. Captain Wiedemann, the adjutant of the Führer, can give you further particulars on the subject on oath.

Several weeks later, Hermann Göring called all the Gauleiter to Berlin, in order to make clear his attitude regarding the incidents of the 9th and 10th. He was violently opposed to these individual acts of barbarism. He criticized them severely as unjust, as economically unreasonable and harmful to our prestige in foreign countries. The former Gauleiter, Dr. Uiberreither, who took part in this conference of Gauleiter, has already given further particulars on oath.

DR. STAHMER: Were you present at a conference which took place in the beginning of August 1939 at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I personally took part in that conference.

DR. STAHMER: Who was present there?

BODENSCHATZ: As far as I remember the following were present: Hermann Göring; Herr Dahlerus, from Stockholm; six to eight English economic experts, whose names I do not recall; I was present, and there was an interpreter, Ministerialrat Dr. Böcker.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us about the subject of this conference?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember it word for word, but as far as I can tell you Hermann Göring made the following statements . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, did the witness say where this conference took place?


THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell us where it was?

DR. STAHMER: [To the witness.] Please repeat where this conference took place.

BODENSCHATZ: The conference took place at the beginning of August at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein.

DR. STAHMER: Please continue. You were going to tell us about the subject of this conference.

BODENSCHATZ: I repeat, in substance, Göring made the following statement: At that moment relations between England and Germany were very tense. Under no circumstances should this tension be increased or peace be endangered. The welfare and the trade of our two countries could only flourish and prosper in peace. It was to the greatest interest of Germany and Europe that the British Empire should continue to exist. Göring emphasized that he himself would do his utmost for the maintenance of peace. He requested the British business leaders, on their return home, to use their influence in authoritative circles for that purpose.

DR. STAHMER: Did Göring give you his opinion on how the foreign policy of the Reich should be carried out? When and on what occasions did conversations take place?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring often discussed these topics with me, in 1938 and 1939, especially during the period following the Munich agreement. These conversations would take place perhaps in connection with a report, or perhaps in his special train. Hermann Göring was always of the opinion that the policy of the Reich must be directed in such a way as to avoid war if possible. Hermann Göring dealt with this topic at particularly great length in a conference with the Gauleiter in the summer of 1938 in Karinhall. Dr. Uiberreither, whom I have previously mentioned, has already given further sworn testimony to this effect.

DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Göring speak to you before leaving for Munich in September 1938?

BODENSCHATZ: Before Hermann Göring left for Munich, he told me he would do everything within his power to effect a peaceful settlement. He said, “We cannot have war.” He exerted his influence on the Führer to this effect, and during the negotiations in Munich, he worked decisively for the preservation of peace. When he left the conference hall after the conference at Munich he said to us spontaneously, “That means peace.”

DR. STAHMER: Did he often discuss with you for what reason he was against a war, and on what occasions?

BODENSCHATZ: We talked about this topic very frequently. He always said to me:

“In the first World War as an infantry officer and as an air force officer I was constantly at the front. I know the horrors of a war, and, therefore, my attitude is to preserve the German people from these horrors if possible. My ambition is to solve conflicts peacefully.”

In general, his opinion was that war is always a risky and unsure business. Even if you win a war, the advantages are in no relation whatsoever to the disadvantages and sacrifices which have to be made. If you lose the war, then, in our position, everything is lost. Our generation has already experienced the horrors of a great World War and its bitter consequences. To expect the same generation to live through another war would be unthinkable.

I would like to add that Hermann Göring, according to his inner thoughts and character, was never in favor of war. Nothing was further from his mind than the thought of a war.

DR. STAHMER: Did Göring converse with you about what were, according to his wish, the aims to be accomplished by the rearmament which Germany had undertaken? When and on what occasion?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring spoke with me about these matters in the year 1935 after the Wehrfreiheit had been proclaimed. He described Germany’s rearmament, after vain attempts to achieve general limitation of armament, as an attempt at equality with the armament of other countries, in order to be able to collaborate with other powers in world politics with equal rights.

DR. STAHMER: Did conversations of this kind take place after 1935 also?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. Now and then we resumed such conversations and he spoke in a similar vein.

DR. STAHMER: Did you find out through Reich Marshal Göring what purpose the Four Year Plan was to serve?

BODENSCHATZ: I happened to speak with Göring about this matter in the year 1936, and that was after the Four Year Plan had been announced. He explained it to me as follows: That in this plan he saw a means of securing for Germany those raw materials which she could not import in peacetime because of the lack of foreign exchange or whose import in an emergency might possibly be cut off.

DR. STAHMER: When and on what occasion did Göring give you his opinion on the Russian campaign?

BODENSCHATZ: Towards the end of 1941, after the first reverses in the Russian campaign, Hermann Göring talked with me about the fighting in the East. He said to me:

“Adolf Hitler foresaw a very hard battle in the East, but he did not count on such reverses. Before the beginning of this campaign I tried in vain to dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plan of attacking Russia. I reminded him that he himself, in his book Mein Kampf, was opposed to a war on two fronts and, in addition, I pointed out that the main forces of the German Luftwaffe would be occupied in the East, and England, whose air industry was hit, would breathe again and be able to recover.”

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off for 10 minutes?

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has observed that the witness is using notes whilst giving his evidence. The ruling which I announced this morning was confined to the defendants and did not extend to witnesses. Nevertheless, the Tribunal will allow the same rule to be applied to witnesses. But the evidence must not be read, the purpose of the rule being merely to assist recollection in giving evidence.

[Turning to Dr. Stahmer.]

Yes, Dr. Stahmer.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether people turned to the Reich Marshal with the request that their relatives should be freed from concentration camps or to help them in their difficulties with the Gestapo?

BODENSCHATZ: The Chief of Staff is the person who can answer that question. I myself only heard that such requests were made to the Reich Marshal.

DR. STAHMER: Did you not have to deal with such requests in the military section?

BODENSCHATZ: In the military section I had to deal with the requests which were concerned with the Luftwaffe. But they were only requests regarding the arrests of German citizens who stated that they had not been given the reason for their arrest. We also received communications regarding detention, grievances, and also regarding arrests of Jews. Requests of this kind came to me only from Luftwaffe sources or from my immediate circle of acquaintances.

DR. STAHMER: How were such requests treated?

BODENSCHATZ: Such requests were always treated as follows:

Most of the requests, which came from the broad masses of the people, were submitted to the Reich Marshal through the Staff. Those requests that came from the Luftwaffe were presented through my office, and requests that came from the Reich Marshal’s relatives or friends, they themselves presented. The Reich Marshal did not refuse his help in these cases. In individual cases he asked the Führer personally for a decision.

In all the cases that I dealt with help could be given.

DR. STAHMER: Did many Jews turn to Göring with requests for help?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, Jews, and particularly Jews of mixed blood applied to Reich Marshal Göring.

DR. STAHMER: How were these requests handled?

BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal did not deny his help and he gave instructions whenever possible that help should be given.

DR. STAHMER: What was Göring’s general attitude to human society?

BODENSCHATZ: In his feelings, thoughts, and actions, as far as human society was concerned, he was a benefactor to all in need. He was always ready to help those who were in need, for instance sick people, wounded, the relatives of those who had been killed in the war and of prisoners of war.

Care for the working classes was particularly important to him. Here is an example of this: The introduction of miners’ compensation. Every miner who had completed 25 years of steady work was to receive over 20,000 marks. This is one of his most important social works.

DR. STAHMER: Did you know of the conditions in the concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: I had no knowledge of the conditions in the concentration camps.

DR. STAHMER: Were the concentration camps spoken of at the Führer’s headquarters during discussions with the Führer, or on any other occasion?

BODENSCHATZ: In the Führer’s headquarters I never heard the Führer speak about the concentration camps. He never discussed them in our circle.

DR. STAHMER: Was the question of the annihilation of the Jews discussed there?

BODENSCHATZ: No, it was not; not in his discussions with me, at any rate.

DR. STAHMER: Not even in discussions on the war situation?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I cannot remember him ever discussing the annihilation of the Jews in my presence during discussions on the war situation.

DR. STAHMER: Did anyone else there mention anything?


DR. STAHMER: Not Himmler?

BODENSCHATZ: He never discussed the subject with Himmler. I have only heard since being in prison that Himmler’s reply to people who spoke to him on this matter was, “What you have heard is not true; it is incorrect.” I personally did not discuss this question with Himmler.

DR. STAHMER: Did you know how many concentration camps there were?

BODENSCHATZ: Everyone knew that the camps existed, but I was not aware that so many existed. It was only after the war that I learned the names of Mauthausen and Buchenwald from the newspaper. I only know of the camp of Dachau because I happen to come from Bavaria.

DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear of the atrocities either?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I never heard of the atrocities. The very first time I heard was last year, when I reported to the Reich Marshal—to be exact it was the middle of March 1945—when I reported my departure on sick leave. The Reich Marshal told me during lunch that very many Jews must have perished there and that we should have to pay dearly for it. That was the first time that I heard of crimes against the Jews.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions. I can now turn the witness over to the other Defense Counsel and to the Prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions of this witness?

DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces): I have only a few questions to ask this witness.

[Turning to the witness.]

Witness, in your capacity as liaison officer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe at the Führer’s headquarters you took part, as you have already mentioned, in the discussions on the war situation. Did you also take part in discussions on the war situation when front-line commanders were making their reports to Hitler?

BODENSCHATZ: I personally did not take part in such discussions. At two discussions, however, I was in the adjoining room, once when Field Marshal Von Kleist was there for a conference, and the second time was when the leader of the Crimea Army came to make a report after the evacuation of the Crimea. I was, as I said, not actually present at those conferences, but I heard, in the adjoining room, that there were some differences of opinion between Hitler and the commander in question as they were raising their voices. That is all I can say.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear enough to follow the trend of this discussion?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I could not follow the trend nor the substance of these discussions.

DR. LATERNSER: In that case I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions?

[There was no response.]

Then does the Prosecution wish to ask any questions?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal.

[Turning to the witness.] You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?

BODENSCHATZ: I beg your pardon. Could you please repeat the question. I did not understand it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?

BODENSCHATZ: At the present time I am a prisoner of war of the United States.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have been interrogated on a number of occasions by representatives of the United States?

BODENSCHATZ: I was interrogated several times by representatives of the United States.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have also had a number of consultations with Dr. Stahmer who has just examined you?

BODENSCHATZ: I have had several discussions with Dr. Stahmer who has just addressed questions to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Those questions were addressed to you some time ago and you prepared your answers in writing?

BODENSCHATZ: Those questions were submitted to me beforehand and I was able to prepare my answers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Coming to the subject of the concentration camps and the activities of your department in releasing persons from them—as I understand, a large number of applications came to the Göring office for release from concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: I stated before that the requests for release from concentration camps did not come to my department but to the Staff office. I received only the requests and complaints in which people begged for help because they had been arrested, among them Jews who were to be arrested.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And were those applications that did come to you numerous?

BODENSCHATZ: My sector covered only the Luftwaffe. There were perhaps 10 to 20 such applications.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those applications were from persons who were threatened with imprisonment, or had been imprisoned, or both?

BODENSCHATZ: Partly from people who were threatened with arrest and partly from people who had already been arrested.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in each case, as I understand you, you intervened to help them.

BODENSCHATZ: On the instructions of the Reich Marshal, I helped in all cases that were submitted to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you know of any other cases that came to the Staff in which help was not given to the imprisoned persons?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything about that. I only heard from Dr. Gritzbach, Chief of Staff, that requests that came to him also were settled in a humane way.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, were the persons that you intervened for innocent of crime or were you helping out those who were guilty of crime?

BODENSCHATZ: Those I helped were innocent people.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So it came to your notice that innocent people were being put in concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: Could you please repeat that question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your notice that innocent people then were being put in concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: Had not been put into concentration camps, but were destined for them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said you intervened for some who had been arrested.

BODENSCHATZ: Yes; they were not taken to concentration camps. I will give you a practical example. A comrade of mine, from the Richthofen Squadron, a Jew by the name of Luther, was arrested by the Gestapo, that is to say, he was not taken to a concentration camp, but first was simply arrested by the Gestapo. His lawyer informed me. I informed the Reich Marshal of this case, and the Reich Marshal instructed me to have this man freed from his temporary custody by the Gestapo in Hamburg. He was not yet in a concentration camp. So far as I know this case happened in 1943.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he charged with when he was arrested?

BODENSCHATZ: He was arrested because he was a Jew, and he had been told that he had committed an offense against decency in that he had been with an Aryan woman in a hotel.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you make any inquiries as to whether the charge was true?

BODENSCHATZ: I did not have to make such inquiries because I had no difficulty in obtaining his release. When I called up, he was released and thereafter stayed under the protection of Hermann Göring.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did you call up to get his release?

BODENSCHATZ: The chief of the Gestapo office in Hamburg. I do not know the name. I did not make the call myself but had it done by my assistant, Ministerialrat Dr. Böttger.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that the Gestapo would release persons upon the request of Hermann Göring?

BODENSCHATZ: Not from Hermann Göring’s office, but the Reich Marshal gave instructions that it should be carried out, and it was carried out.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said your assistant called up. Did Göring also call the Gestapo himself?

BODENSCHATZ: No, he did not call himself, not in this case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that even though this man may have been guilty of the charge, if he belonged to the Luftwaffe he was released, on the word of the Reich Marshal?

BODENSCHATZ: He was not a member of the Luftwaffe, he was a civilian. He had previously been one of our comrades in the Richthofen Squadron. He was not in the Wehrmacht during the war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your instructions were to release all persons who were Jews or who were from the Luftwaffe? Were those your instructions from Göring?

BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal told me, again and again, that in such cases I should act humanely, and I did so in every case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How did you find out that Jews were arrested against whom there were no charges?

BODENSCHATZ: In one case, in the case of the two Ballin families in Munich, these were two elderly married couples, more than 70 years old. These two couples were to be arrested, and I was informed of this. I told the Reich Marshal about it, and he told me that these two couples should be taken to a foreign country. That was the case of the two Ballin couples who, in 1923, when Hermann Göring was seriously wounded in front of the Feldherrnhalle, and was taking refuge in a house, received him and gave him help. These two families were to be arrested.


BODENSCHATZ: They were to be arrested because there was a general order that Jews should be taken to collection camps.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew of that order?

BODENSCHATZ: I did not know of the order. It was only through these examples which were brought to my notice that it became clear to me that this evacuation was to take place. I had never read the order myself nor even heard of it, because I had nothing to do with it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your attention that Jews were being thrown into concentration camps merely because they were Jews?

BODENSCHATZ: In this case I am not speaking of concentration camps, but it was ordered that people were to be brought to collection camps.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not concentration camps, but special camps? Where were they going from there?

BODENSCHATZ: That I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where was this special camp that you speak of?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they were to be taken. I was told they were to be taken away.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But neither you nor Göring had any suspicion that if they were taken to concentration camps any harm would come to them, did you?

BODENSCHATZ: I knew nothing about what took place in the concentration camps.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now did you not hear about the concentration camps, and was not the purpose of your saving these people from going to them, that the people who went there were mistreated?

BODENSCHATZ: I must reiterate that I freed people from their first arrest by the Gestapo that were not yet in the concentration camp.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What would the Gestapo take them into custody for, if not the concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: What purpose the Gestapo was pursuing with these arrests I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you intervened to save them from the Gestapo without even finding out whether the Gestapo had cause for arresting them?

BODENSCHATZ: If the Gestapo arrested any one, then they must have had something against him.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you made no inquiry into that, did you?

BODENSCHATZ: I have already said it was generally known that these people were taken to collection camps, not concentration camps. It was known—many German people knew that they were to be taken away. They knew that the people were taken to work camps, and in these work camps they were put to work.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Forced labor?

BODENSCHATZ: It was just ordinary work. I knew, for instance, that in Lodz the people worked in the textile industry.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where were they kept while they were doing that work?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say, for I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were in a camp, were they not?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you all that, for I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You would not know about that?

BODENSCHATZ: I have no idea.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What is the difference between a work camp and a concentration camp? You have drawn that distinction.

BODENSCHATZ: A work camp is a camp in which people were housed without their being in any way ill-treated.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And a concentration camp is where they are ill-treated? Is that your testimony?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I can only tell you that now because in the meantime I discovered it through the press and through my imprisonment. At that time I did not know it. I learned it from the newspapers. I was a prisoner of war in England for quite a while, and I read about it in the English press.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You spoke of collection camps, that many people knew they were being taken to collection camps to be taken away. Where were they being taken away?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they went from there.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever inquire?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I never inquired.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were adjutant to the Number 2 man in Germany, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you never ventured to ask him about the concentration camps?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not speak to him on that subject.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The only instruction you had was to get everybody out that you could.

BODENSCHATZ: Where a request or a complaint was made, I followed those cases down, and in those cases I assisted.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You knew that Hermann Göring was a close co-worker with Himmler, did you not?

BODENSCHATZ: I did not know that he was a fellow worker with Himmler, because he never worked with him directly. Himmler frequently came for discussions with Hermann Göring, but these were private conversations just between the two.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that he was not only a friend, but that he had aided Kaltenbrunner to his post when Kaltenbrunner came into office, did you not?

BODENSCHATZ: No, that I did not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not know that?

BODENSCHATZ: I did not know that Reich Marshal Göring recommended Kaltenbrunner for his office. My activity was confined simply to the military sector. I was military adjutant to the Reich Marshal. I had nothing to do with these matters.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you have anything to do with the procedure of making full Aryans out of half-Jews?

BODENSCHATZ: On the question of mixed blood, requests concerning the Luftwaffe came to me, and in fact, officers, according to the regulations, would have to be dismissed if they were of mixed blood. In many cases the Reich Marshal gave instructions that these officers should not be dismissed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was done about it?

BODENSCHATZ: In these cases the chief of the personnel office was instructed not to dismiss these officers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in some cases some kind of an order was made, was it not, that they were full Aryans, notwithstanding Jewish parentage?

BODENSCHATZ: At the moment I can remember no such case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You spoke of the requests for help from Göring coming from broad masses of the people, and those requests were submitted to his staff. Is that right?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was the head of that staff?

BODENSCHATZ: At the head of that staff stood the Chief of Staff, Dr. Gritzbach.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many assistants did he have?

BODENSCHATZ: There were three sections, a press section, with Dr. Gerner in charge of that, and the private secretariat—there were three sections.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And which of these sections handled the peoples’ requests for relief from arrest?

BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Gritzbach and Dr. Gerner were concerned with that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom did they talk about these matters, do you know?

BODENSCHATZ: These gentlemen, as well as myself, submitted these matters to the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that he was kept fully informed of what you did and of what they did?

BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal was kept fully informed of these applications to you and to the other sections?

BODENSCHATZ: He was informed by me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, as I understand you, he never failed to give his assistance to any one of the applications that was made to him, so far as you know?

BODENSCHATZ: As regards requests addressed to my office or to me personally he never refused assistance and actually help was always given.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And never inquired into the guilt or innocence of the person he was helping?

BODENSCHATZ: They were innocent; that was clearly established.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were present on the 20th of July at the bomb explosion, as I understand from your direct testimony?

BODENSCHATZ: On 20 July I was present at that meeting and stood very near the bomb.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where was Hermann Göring on that day?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring was in his headquarters on that day, about 70 kilometers from the Führer’s headquarters.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Only 70 kilometers away; is that right? And at what time were you instructed to represent him at that meeting?

BODENSCHATZ: I was not instructed to represent him at this meeting. I took part in this conference, as in any other, as a listener. I had no orders to represent Göring, to represent him in the Führer’s headquarters. I was merely in the Führer’s headquarters to inform him of what went on there.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You represented him to listen, but not to talk; is that right?

BODENSCHATZ: I did not say very much during those years. I was simply a listener and had to inform him as to what took place at the conference; what would interest him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How far in advance of that meeting were you instructed to attend?

BODENSCHATZ: At this meeting? On 20 July? On 19 July I was on a special commission, sent to the Münster Camp to take part in the review of an Italian division. On 20 July, at noon, I came by air to the Führer’s headquarters, gave Hitler a military communication, and Hitler said to me, “Come and discuss the situation.” I did not want to go, but I went with him and after 15 minutes the attempted assassination took place.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who sent you with the message? Whose message was it that you were delivering?

BODENSCHATZ: I was commissioned at that time by Reich Marshal Göring to attend the review of the Italian division at the Münster Camp and to tell Field Marshal Graziani that the men in that division were to be used to command flak guns. After Field Marshal Graziani had declared himself in disagreement with this, I was obliged to go to the Führer’s headquarters by air. It had been proposed that I should go by Mussolini’s special train which was in Münster, and on the night of 19 to 20 . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Answer my question, Witness. Just answer the question, please, and you will save us a great deal of time. Whose messages were you carrying to the Führer?

BODENSCHATZ: I brought the message that Graziani was not disposed to hand over these soldiers of the Italian division.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And before you started for the Führer’s headquarters you communicated with Göring about it, did you not?

BODENSCHATZ: Before my departure, when I flew to Münster Camp—that was a few days before—I spoke to him and when I returned, before reporting to the Führer, I telephoned Hermann Göring in his headquarters and gave him the same message.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he instruct you to go to the Führer’s headquarters at that time and give the message to the Führer?

BODENSCHATZ: This trip from Münster Camp I made on my own initiative because it was important for Adolf Hitler to know of this information before Mussolini, who was expected to arrive at the Führer’s headquarters at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on 20 July. . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: As I understand you, Göring wanted a peaceful outcome of the negotiations at Munich?

BODENSCHATZ: He said that to me several times.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was highly pleased with the outcome that was achieved there?

BODENSCHATZ: He was very pleased. I emphasized that before when I said that when he came from the conference room, he said spontaneously, “That means peace.”

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you say that Göring wanted peace with Poland, he also wanted that same kind of a peace, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Regarding peace with Poland, I did not speak to him.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he send someone or induce Hitler to take someone to Munich in order to countercheck Ribbentrop?

BODENSCHATZ: All I know personally on this subject is this: Here, in imprisonment, Captain Wiedemann told me that Hermann Göring had expressed the wish that Von Neurath should be taken, and Wiedemann told me that Hitler had granted that wish.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were interrogated by the United States about this subject before Wiedemann got here, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Before Wiedemann was brought here.

BODENSCHATZ: I was not interrogated on this subject—the Munich Agreement and Von Neurath.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you interrogated on the 6th of November 1945, and did you not then say that Göring used very harsh words about Ribbentrop and asked Hitler to take Neurath to Munich with him in order to have a representative present? Did you not say that to the interrogators of the United States?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember at the moment. If that is in the record then it must be so.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting as to which you have—oh, by the way, after Munich you know that Göring gave his word of honor to the Czechs that there would be no further aggression against them, do you not?

BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that after Munich, when Göring was pleased with the outcome, he gave his word of honor that there would be no further aggression against the Czechs. Do you know that?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not know that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting that took place in London, I mean the meeting that took place when the Englishmen were present . . .

BODENSCHATZ: In Husum, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the Swedish person who was present?

BODENSCHATZ: Herr Dahlerus was the Swede who was present.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who were the English who were present?

BODENSCHATZ: There were six to eight English economic experts. The names I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And at that time—by the way, have you fixed the time of that? What was the date?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say precisely. It was the beginning of August.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it not 7 August?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Mr. Dahlerus there?

BODENSCHATZ: The question as to whether Dahlerus was there—I cannot remember one hundred percent whether he was there. I know only that when I spoke to my lawyer he said that Dahlerus was there, but I cannot swear one hundred percent that he was there. I assumed he was, since the Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer told me that he was there. That was the reason why I said previously that Hermann Göring and Dahlerus were present at that meeting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the subject under discussion was the Polish relations with the German Reich?

BODENSCHATZ: Polish relations were not discussed, but relations between England and Germany. There was no talk of relations with Poland.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Göring wanted the English gentlemen to see that England did not attack Germany?

BODENSCHATZ: He did not express it quite that way. He said, as I have already stated, the English gentlemen should, when they returned home, work in the same way that he was working—for peace, and to make their influence felt in important circles.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, was that not said in connection with the Polish negotiations that were then going on?

BODENSCHATZ: With the Polish negotiations? I cannot remember that any mention was made of Polish negotiations.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you with Hermann Göring when the Polish war broke out?

BODENSCHATZ: When the Polish war broke out I was in Berlin.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you still in your office under Hermann Göring’s command?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was at that time under Hermann Göring’s command.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first begin preparing for a movement of your forces in the direction of Poland?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot make any definite statement on that subject; that was a matter for the General Staff. I know only that during the period before the outbreak of war the Chief of the General Staff several times visited the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Hermann Göring, and that such matters were discussed. I, myself, was not informed as to how many forces were to be used in the Polish campaign.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you present at the conference in which Hermann Göring stated that he, right after Munich, had orders to multiply the Air Force by five?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot recall having been present at any such discussion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that the Air Force was greatly enlarged after Munich?

BODENSCHATZ: No, I do not know that. The Air Force was augmented according to plan. In this connection I can say for certain that the German Air Force, at the beginning of the Polish campaign, as regards leadership, planning, or material, was not equal to its task.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, would you like to adjourn now or would you like to go on in order to finish?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This would be a convenient time. I am sure we cannot finish before lunch hour.

THE PRESIDENT: You would like to adjourn now?



[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

THE PRESIDENT: We will have no open session tomorrow.

GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): I want to say a few words with respect to the statement of Defense Counsel Stahmer. When speaking about the document concerning the German atrocities at Katyn, Defense Counsel Stahmer stated that it was not in his possession. I do not want to speak about the nature of this document. I want to report to the Tribunal that on 13 February this document, as Exhibit USSR-54—30 copies of it, all in the German language—was given to the Document Room for the purposes of the Defense. We did not think that we had to present the document to each Defense Counsel separately. We considered that if the document were given to the Document Room, the Defense would take the necessary steps concerning it. That is all I wish to say on this matter.

DR. LATERNSER: There must be a misunderstanding about the number of this document. It was submitted at that time in open session by the Russian Prosecutor as Exhibit Number USSR-64. USSR-64 has not been distributed. I have not received it, and upon request at Information Room of the Defense, upon two requests, I have not been able to obtain it.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we will inquire into the matter.

[The witness Bodenschatz took the stand.]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Previous to the spring of 1943, as I understand you, Hermann Göring was a man of great influence in the councils of the Reich?

BODENSCHATZ: Before the year 1943—that is, until the year 1943—Hermann Göring always had access to the Führer, and his influence was important.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, it was the most important in Germany outside of the Führer himself, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: Within the Reich he had great influence, very great influence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Air power was his special mission and his special pride, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: As an old airman, he was very proud to be able to build up and lead the Air Force.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He had more confidence in air power as a weapon of war than most of the other men of his time, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: At any rate he was convinced that his Air Force was very good. But I have to repeat what I said before, that at the beginning of the war, in the year 1939, that stage had not been reached by the Air Force. I repeat that at that time the Air Force was; as far as leadership, training, and material were concerned, not ready for war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But ever since you first went with Hermann Göring you had been rapidly building up the Air Force, had you not?

BODENSCHATZ: The building up of the Air Force went relatively fast.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you first went with Göring—I have forgotten what year you said that was.

BODENSCHATZ: I came to Hermann Göring in April 1933. At that time there was no Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, but only a Reich Commissariat for Aviation. But even at that time, the beginning of the building up of the Air Force—the first beginnings—started. It was only after 1935, however, when freedom from armament restriction was declared, that it was speeded up.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the building up of the Air Force was very largely in bombers, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: It was not mainly bombers; it was mixed, both fighters and bombers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring also had charge of the Four Year Plan?

BODENSCHATZ: He was commissioned by the Führer to carry out the Four Year Plan.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He also held several other offices, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring, besides being Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, was put in charge of the Four Year Plan. Before that, at the beginning of the seizure of power, he was Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister of Prussia, President of the Reichstag and Reichsforstmeister.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I notice that you use here, as you have used in your interrogations by the United States, the expression “seizure of power.” That was the common expression used in your group, was it not, to describe the coming to power of Adolf Hitler?

BODENSCHATZ: It cannot be used in this sense. At that time it was completely legal because the National Socialist Party was then the strongest party, and the strongest party nominated the Reich Chancellor, and the strongest party had, as such, the greatest influence. It must not be interpreted to mean that they usurped the power, but that they had the most influential and prominent position among the parties, that is, by the completely legal means of election.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You want to change the word “seizure”?

BODENSCHATZ: I have to change that. It is only an expression which was common usage in the press at that time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring got along without any open break with Hitler until 1945, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Until the year 1945 there was no open break. The arrest was only quite at the end, as I have said before.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the arrest was the first open break that had occurred between them, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, the first big break between the two which was apparent to the public. But since the year 1943, as I have said before, there was already a gradual estrangement in the attitude of the two men.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But that was kept from the public, was it not, kept from the German people?

BODENSCHATZ: It was not so visible to the public. It was a development which took place gradually from the spring of 1943 to 1945—first to a small extent, and then the tension became greater and greater.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When the arrest was made it was made by the SS, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: I only heard that. It was said that in Obersalzberg a unit of SS had arrived which arrested Hermann Göring in his small house and confined him there. As to that, perhaps the witness who is going to testify later, Colonel Brauchitsch, who was present at this arrest and who was arrested himself, can give more details.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were not arrested by the SS?

BODENSCHATZ: At that time . . . since 20 July 1944, when I was seriously injured, I had been in the hospital. I was close to Berchtesgaden, at Bad Reichenhall, convalescing.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whenever there were conferences which you attended, was it not the custom, at the conclusion of Hitler’s address to the group, for Göring as the ranking man present, to assure the Führer on behalf of himself and his fellow officers of their support of his plans?

BODENSCHATZ: Of course I was not present at all conferences. I only took the part of listener. At these discussions, or shall we say conferences, in which I took part, it happened from time to time that the Reich Marshal made a remark at the end and gave assurance that the will of the Führer would be carried out. But at the moment I cannot remember specifically any such conference.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You cannot remember any conference at which he did not do it either, can you?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. It was not always done; on the contrary, he did not do it as a rule. In the Reichstag Hermann Göring always made a concluding speech, after a session had ended, expressing his confidence in Adolf Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he not do that at every meeting of officers at which the Führer was present?

BODENSCHATZ: May I ask you to repeat the question? I have not quite understood it. I beg you to excuse me, but I would like to mention that owing to my injury I have lost 60 percent of my hearing, and therefore I beg you to excuse me if I ask for repetitions. Please, repeat your question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Quite all right, Sir. Do you know of any conference between Hitler and his High Command at which Göring did not close the meeting, as the ranking officer present, by making assurances of support to Hitler’s plans?

BODENSCHATZ: Some of the conferences I attended were concluded by a declaration of that nature. There were, however, many conferences—in fact most of the conferences—when nothing further was said at the end. When the Führer had finished his speech, the meeting was ended.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In 1943, when Göring began to lose influence with Hitler, it was a very embarrassing time for Göring, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring suffered from this fact. He often told me that he would suffer very much on that account.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: From the fact that the Führer was losing confidence in him?

BODENSCHATZ: What was that?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was suffering from the fact that the Führer was losing confidence in him? Was that what was causing his suffering?

BODENSCHATZ: That may have been part of the reason, but differences of opinion arose about the Luftwaffe.

MR. JUSTICE. JACKSON: Now, in the spring of 1943 it was apparent to you and apparent to him that the war was lost for Germany, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say that. The Reich Marshal did not tell me in 1943 that the war was lost, but that there were great difficulties, that it would become very dangerous; but that the war was definitely lost—I cannot remember that the Reich Marshal at that time, in the spring of 1943, made a statement to me of that kind, or a similar one.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that it would not be possible for them to be bombed, as Warsaw, Rotterdam, and other cities were bombed?

BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, he did not give the assurance in those words. Before the war, when our Air Force was growing—I mean at the beginning of the war, when the great successes in Poland and in France were manifest—he said to the German people that the Air Force would do its job and do everything to spare the country from heavy air raids. At the time that was justified. It was not clearly foreseen then that matters would develop differently later.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then he had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that the Luftwaffe would be able to keep enemy bombers away from Germany?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that he gave an official assurance to the German people in the form of a decree or a big speech. At times it was said that the German Air Force, after the successes in Poland and France, was at its peak. I do not know of any official statement whereby it was made known to the German people.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At all events, it became apparent in the spring of 1943 that any such assurance, if it had been given, was misleading?

BODENSCHATZ: In the year 1943 the conditions were entirely different, owing to the fact that the British and American Air Forces came into the picture in such large and overwhelming numbers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was also true that the air defenses of Germany were proving entirely inadequate to cope with the situation; is that not a fact?

BODENSCHATZ: The air defense of Germany was very difficult, as the entire defense did not depend on the air crews alone, but it was also a radio-technical war, and in this radio-technical war, it must be admitted frankly, the enemy was essentially better than we were. Therefore it was not only a war in the air, but if was also a radio war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It had become apparent that Germany could not cope with it—is that not a fact?—by 1943.

BODENSCHATZ: In the year 1943 it was not yet a hundred percent clear. There were fluctuations, low and high points. Efforts were made to increase the fighter strength at the expense of the bombers. It was not one hundred percent obvious that the enemy air force could not be opposed successfully. That became obvious only after the middle of 1944.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Führer lost confidence in Göring as the bombing of German cities progressed, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, indeed, from the moment the British Air Force started with their large-scale attacks on German cities, particularly when the first heavy British air attack on Cologne took place. From that moment it was obvious that differences of opinion, at first not too serious, were arising between the two men.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Hitler accused Göring, did he not, of misleading him as to the strength of the air defenses of Germany?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know that the Führer ever accused the Reich Marshal of any offense in this respect. Discussions between Adolf Hitler and the Reich Marshal were, in spite of all tension, always very moderate. The criticism is said to have become more vehement only later, in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. But I was not present, because I had been off duty since 20 July 1944.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I asked you a question. I did not intend to imply that the Führer accused him of an intentional misstatement, but he had misled him or he had misunderstood the strength of Germany’s air defenses. Was that not generally understood in your circle?

BODENSCHATZ: There could be no question of misleading. The reports which the Air Force made to the Führer were always correct. The weaknesses of the Air Force were also reported to the Führer.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were the efforts that were made by Göring, which you refer to as tremendous efforts, to recapture his influence with the Führer?

BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal, whenever there were conferences, asked through me that he might participate. The Reich Marshal came more frequently than usual to the Führer’s headquarters, and he also said to me, “I will try everything to regain the right contact with the Führer.” He said that personally to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was particularly careful after the spring of 1944 not to do anything that would offend the Führer?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say anything more about the year 1944, because then I was no longer active. I had no further contact.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, this bombing of German cities had become very troublesome from the point of view of the German people’s criticism of the government, had it not, in 1944?

BODENSCHATZ: The German people suffered terribly under these bombing attacks, and I can only say one thing—that Adolf Hitler suffered most from them. When at night the bombing of a German city was reported, he was really deeply moved, and likewise the Reich Marshal, because the horror of such a bombing was indescribable. I have experienced a few such bombings in Berlin myself, and whoever has lived through that, will never forget it as long as he lives.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this was all becoming very embarrassing to Hitler and to the Reich Marshal, was it not, to explain to the German people why this was going on?

BODENSCHATZ: That did not have to be explained, because the German people felt it. No explanation was given. It was only said that all possible measures would be taken to master this peril.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew at that time, and the Reich Marshal knew, that no measures could be taken that would prevent it?

BODENSCHATZ: No, no, no. I emphasized before that it was a radio-technical war, and there were moments when, in the defense, we could counter the measures of the enemy while constantly discovering a new means to hit him.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you made the announcement to the German people that all means would be taken, you had then no means at your disposal, that you knew of, to use, did you, to prevent the bombing of the German cities?

BODENSCHATZ: Oh yes, indeed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were they, and why were they not used?

BODENSCHATZ: There were, for example, the following means: The most important areas were protected by anti-aircraft guns. Then there were radio-technical means, jamming transmitters, which would have made it possible, and which partly did make it possible, to jam the radio sets in the enemy aircraft.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The movement to satisfy the German people under the bombing attacks was a matter of great concern to the Reich Marshal, was it not?

BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal was very anxious that the population should be informed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And see that the population was satisfied, was he not?

BODENSCHATZ: It is easy to say “satisfied.” He could only assure the German people that he would do everything in his power to master these attacks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, have you seen the Reich Marshal and Hitler when the reports came in of the bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam and of Coventry?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember whether I was present when the reports came.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never saw any such reactions on their part on those bombings, I take it?

BODENSCHATZ: I only know that Warsaw was a fortress which was held by the Polish Army in very great strength, provided with excellent pieces of artillery, that the forts were manned, and that two or three times Adolf Hitler announced that civilians should be evacuated from the city. That was rejected. Only the foreign embassies were evacuated, while an officer with a flag of truce entered. The Polish Army was in the city defending it stubbornly in a very dense circle of forts. The outer forts were very strongly manned, and from the inner town heavy artillery was firing towards the outskirts. The fortress of Warsaw was therefore attacked, and also by the Luftwaffe, but only after Hitler’s ultimatum had been rejected.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Coventry a fortified city?

BODENSCHATZ: Coventry was no fortress. Coventry, however, was a city which housed the key industry of the enemy air force, in which the aircraft engines were built, a city in which, as far as I know, many factories were situated and many parts of these aircraft engines were manufactured. In any case, the Luftwaffe had at that time received orders to bomb only the industrial targets. If the city also suffered, it is understandable, considering the means of navigation at that time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were interrogated in November of 1945, were you not, by Colonel Williams?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was interrogated.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Colonel Williams asked you about certain fictitious incidents along the German-Polish border late in August of 1939, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, he asked me about that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And would you care to tell the Tribunal what you know about the fictitious incidents along the Polish border?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything positive. I was asked by Colonel Williams whether I knew in advance about the incident of the Gleiwitz broadcasting section. I told him I knew nothing about it. It was only that the incidents on the Polish border were very similar to those which happened on the Czech border. It may have been presumed—that was only my opinion—that they were perhaps deliberate. But I had no positive proof that anything had been staged on our part.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you tell him on the 6th of November 1945, as follows:

“I heard about it, but I personally at that time had the feeling that all these provocations that had taken place had originated from our side, from the German side. As I said, I had no real proofs of that, but I always had that feeling.”

Did you not say that?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that you had talked with people about this, from whom you got that feeling. Is that right?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that very well now. I only know that the reports in the press gave me that suspicion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were asked, were you not, this question and gave this answer:

“Question: But you are of the opinion that what appeared in the press and these incidents that were reported were not true, but done merely to cause an incident as an excuse for an invasion?”

And did you not make this answer:

“I had that feeling. I cannot prove it, but I definitely know I had a feeling that the whole thing was being engineered by us.”

Did you not make that answer to that question?

BODENSCHATZ: The minutes will show it. If it is in the minutes, I said it. At the moment I cannot remember the exact words.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not deny the fact, however?

BODENSCHATZ: I had that feeling, but it was a purely subjective opinion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But it was your opinion?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now then, I ask you whether you were not interrogated about the Führer’s desire to make war on Poland, and whether you did not give this answer:

“Gentlemen, this question is very hard to answer, but I can state under my oath that the Führer actually wanted the war against Poland. I can prove that he actually wanted a war of aggression against Poland by the circle surrounding the Führer and the remarks that were made. I was present during the night when Hitler gave Henderson his conditions that he wanted Danzig, and I concluded from all the conferences that the Führer had with the Ambassador—I had the impression that the Führer did not really want the Poles to accept those conditions.”

And I ask you if you made those answers to Colonel Williams?

BODENSCHATZ: I can make the following answer to that:

I was not present at the conference. If I said that, I did not express myself correctly. I was not at the conference that the Führer had with Henderson, but I was standing in the anterooms with the other adjutants, and outside in the anteroom one could hear the various groups, some saying one thing, some another. From these conversations I gather that the conditions which Henderson received for the Poles in the evening were such, and that the time limit for answering these questions—which was noon of the next day—was so short, that one could conclude there was a certain intention behind it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, that is the impression that you received from being in the anteroom and talking with the people who were about Hitler that night?

BODENSCHATZ: There were adjutants, the Reich Press Chief, and the gentlemen who were waiting in the anteroom without taking part in the conference.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask you, in order to make this very clear, one more question about your interrogation on that subject. Were you not asked this question:

“Then we can summarize your testimony this morning by saying that you knew in 1938, several months before Germany attacked Poland, that Hitler fully intended to attack Poland and wage an aggressive war against her; is that right?”

And did you not make this answer:

“I can only say this with certainty that from the night when he told Henderson that he wanted Danzig and the Corridor, from that moment, I was sure Hitler intended to wage an aggressive war.”

Were you asked that question, and did you make that answer?

BODENSCHATZ: If it is in the minutes, I said it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, if it were not in the minutes, it would still be your testimony now, would it not? It is a fact, is it not?

BODENSCHATZ: My definition is precisely this: From the handing over of Adolf Hitler’s demands to Henderson and from the short time that Henderson was granted, I conclude that there was a certain intention. That is how I should like to define it precisely now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that you be shown Document Number L-79, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-27. You have seen that before, witness?

BODENSCHATZ: A copy of this document was shown to me by Colonel Williams, and I told him that I myself could not remember having been present. But if my name is on the minutes, then I was there.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your name is on the document, is it not?

BODENSCHATZ: Then I was there. I cannot remember the subject of this conference. I told Colonel Williams that that must have been discussed because Colonel Schmundt, whose handwriting I know—I was shown a copy—I told him that Colonel Schmundt was a man who was very conscientious in making his notes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all in his handwriting?

BODENSCHATZ: That is it as I see it here.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is signed by Colonel Schmundt?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is signed by Colonel Schmundt—Lieutenant Colonel Schmundt. The corrections are not in his handwriting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the body of the document is his handwriting?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is his own handwriting. I know it; yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you were asked about that by Colonel Williams, you took time to read it, and then you said, did you not: “I think that the thoughts are right as they are expressed here; these are the thoughts that the Führer usually voiced to us in a small circle.” You made that statement?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I did say that, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you said: “I cannot remember whether these things were expressed on that day. However, it is possible that the thoughts which are put down here are the thoughts of Adolf Hitler.” You said that to Colonel Williams, did you not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that to Colonel Williams.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all I care to ask about that, Sir.

I now ask to have shown to you the original exhibit, Document Number 798-PS, Exhibit USA-29 in evidence.

BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, a copy of this speech by the Führer was also shown to me by Colonel Williams.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is right. You said, did you not, that you did not recall whether you were present but that the thoughts that were expressed . . .

BODENSCHATZ: The thoughts expressed there are correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They are correct. That is all about that.

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, but I must say one more thing. I tried to speak to Colonel Williams again and could not reach him. Probably I attended this meeting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will take that statement now and excuse you from looking for Colonel Williams.

I ask to have shown to you Document 3474-PS, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-580. Is that your handwriting?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is my handwriting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And signed by you?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is a note of a conference of the 2d day of December 1936, is it not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You prepared this memorandum for your files; is that right?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to whom I gave this.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it says the notes for the files on that discussion; is that correct?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is a note for the files.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was present at that conference; is that correct?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. He must have conducted it. It states here, “Present: Generaloberst Göring.”

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, the note says he conducted it does it not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, there were also present Milch, Kesselring, and all of the others who are named in the list at the head of the note.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you then recorded that Göring told—oh, by the way, all of those men were men connected with the Armed Forces of Germany, were they not?

BODENSCHATZ: Those were all men from the Air Force, the leading men at the time. General Milch was concerned with armament; Lieutenant General Kesselring was, I believe, Chief of Staff; they were all officers who were in leading positions.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: All concerned with the Air Force you say. And this meeting was held on the 2d of December 1936. Are we correct about that?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Göring opened the conference by saying: “The press all over the world is excited about the landing of 5,000 German volunteers in Spain. Great Britain protests officially and takes up the matter with France.” Refreshing your recollection, that is what occurred, is it not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Göring said, “The general situation is very serious,” and that he took full responsibility, did he not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes. The general situation was very serious. England was rearming intensively, and a state of readiness was desired.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, he next said, did he not, “Silence until 1941 is desirable. However, we cannot know whether there will be implications before. We are already in a state of war. It is only that no shot is being fired so far.” Did he say that?

BODENSCHATZ: That is recorded in these minutes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he also said, did he not, that “beginning 1 January 1937, all factories for aircraft production shall run as if mobilization had been ordered.”


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it is there in the text, is it not?

BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is contained here in the minutes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you have testified that Göring had no prior knowledge of the action taken against the Jews on the night of November 9th and 10th of 1938.

BODENSCHATZ: I gathered that from the fact that on the next day he came to me and was very dismayed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was informed about them the next day?

BODENSCHATZ: The next day that was in the press, in the newspapers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said that he complained about the people who instigated them?

BODENSCHATZ: That I was told by Captain Wiedemann, who was here with me in captivity. He told me that a few days later Hermann Göring came to the Führer with proof and complained about what had occurred.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did he complain about?

BODENSCHATZ: He did not tell me that. Wiedemann told me that Göring complained about Heydrich and Goebbels.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I did not get that answer.

BODENSCHATZ: Wiedemann told me—this I did not learn myself from Hermann Göring, but Wiedemann told me he had complained about the instigators, and that the instigators were Heydrich and Goebbels.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Heydrich and Goebbels were both officials in Hitler’s regime, were they not?

BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda, and Heydrich was Chief of the Gestapo.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So, immediately following these pogroms Göring knew and complained to Hitler that they had been incited by officials of the Nazi regime?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the details as to what he said there. Captain Wiedemann knows about that and can testify to it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was then at the height of his influence, both with the Führer and with the country, was he not?

BODENSCHATZ: He had at that time the greatest influence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I understand you to say that he immediately called a meeting of Gauleiter?

BODENSCHATZ: The meeting of Gauleiter was a few weeks later. I heard about it from the former Gauleiter of Styria, Dr. Uiberreither, who is imprisoned here with me. This Gauleiter Uiberreither took part in that meeting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did he wait before he called the meeting?

BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Uiberreither told me that it was a few weeks afterwards.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, did you know about his holding a meeting on the 12th of November 1938 at his offices in the Reich Ministry for Aviation?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And do you remember that he had present at that meeting Heydrich, Goebbels, and many others? Is that the meeting to which you refer?

BODENSCHATZ: In this case it might be necessary to ask Dr. Uiberreither who was at that meeting. He told me that Dr. Goebbels was present as well as the Gauleiter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was the custom of Göring to keep minutes of the meetings that he conducted?

BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring always had stenographers present, and these stenographers took minutes of such meetings.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you want us to understand that Göring was shocked and offended by what had happened to the Jews on the nights of the 9th and the 10th of November 1938?

BODENSCHATZ: He did not agree with it because, as I mentioned previously, he said it would be a great wrong; it would be unreasonable economically, and it would harm our prestige abroad. I was told by Dr. Uiberreither that Göring had spoken in these terms to the Gauleiter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it known to you that on November the 12th, 2 days after those pogroms, Göring promulgated the order fining all of the Jews a billion Reichsmark, confiscated their insurance, and passed a new decree excluding them from economic life? Did you know about that?

BODENSCHATZ: I have heard of it, but I personally had nothing to do with the idea and with this decree, as I was only the military adjutant.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: These decrees were promulgated 2 days after this pogrom that you say he complained about, is that right?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the connection.


LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. M. G. GRIFFITH-JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, I have only one matter which I want to make clear.

You have referred to a meeting which took place in Schleswig-Holstein in July or August of 1939, at which Göring met a number of Englishmen, and you described those Englishmen, the first time you mentioned them, as members of the government, and the second time you mentioned them—I think you mentioned them as economic specialists?

BODENSCHATZ: So far as I know now, they were English leading men in economics, not members of the government.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am obliged to you. Would it be correct to say that they were leading industrial and business gentlemen with no connection with the government whatsoever?

BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to what degree these gentlemen were influential. At any rate, Hermann Göring asked at the end that the gentlemen should exert their influence on the authorities in England in the interests of peace.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you know that that conference between Göring and those gentlemen took place at the instigation of Dahlerus?

BODENSCHATZ: Dahlerus is said to have brought about this meeting, but I first learned of that in a conversation with Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer, who discussed the matter with me. Doctor Stahmer said he knew that Mr. Dahlerus had asked these gentlemen to come to Germany. It is only on the basis of this information that I assume Dahlerus asked these gentlemen to come.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And do you know that it was the object of Mr. Dahlerus that leading German and English personalities should meet, in order that they should understand one another’s points of view?

BODENSCHATZ: Mr. Dahlerus later . . . he was again in Berlin after that meeting. On that occasion I met him in Berlin, and in conversations with him there I gained the impression that he was greatly interested in peace being maintained between Germany and England, and that he, assisted by Reich Marshal Göring, tried to establish this connection with influential British circles.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: One last question to you. Do you know that, in arranging that meeting and throughout the course of the negotiations thereafter, Dahlerus stressed the British point of view to Göring and in particular tried to impress Göring with the fact that the English were losing their patience with the policy of aggression being pursued by the German Government?

BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember having discussed with Dahlerus this line of thought which you mention now.

THE PRESIDENT: Any other questions to ask?


DR. STAHMER: I have only one more question.

[Turning to the witness.] In the minutes of 2 December 1936, which were shown to you before and which you have before you, there is one paragraph which has not been read entirely. In my opinion it is very important for the interpretation and for the purpose and meaning of that meeting.

It says there:

“The general situation is very serious. Russia wants war. England is rearming strongly. Therefore, the order is: ‘From today on, highest degree of readiness, no consideration for financial difficulties. Generaloberst assumes full responsibility.’ ”

Was this order, “highest degree of readiness from today on,” issued merely because Russia, as it says here, wants war and England is rearming strongly? Was that the motive?

BODENSCHATZ: What do you mean?

DR. STAHMER: Was the gravity of the general situation the motive for the order, “highest degree of readiness from today on”?

BODENSCHATZ: At any rate, there was no intention of attack involved, but a measure for defense.

DR. STAHMER: If it says here “Generaloberst assumes full responsibility,” could that be understood to refer to the words “no consideration for financial difficulties” which would be a permissible literal interpretation?

BODENSCHATZ: That refers to financial difficulties, because the Reich Marshal had frequent controversies on that point with the Reich Finance Minister because the Luftwaffe had slightly exceeded its budget.

DR. STAHMER: Thank you. I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

[The witness left the stand.]

DR. STAHMER: I should like to call as the next witness General Field Marshal Milch.

[The witness Milch took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

ERHARD MILCH (Witness): Erhard Milch.

THE PRESIDENT: Repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, did you take part in the first World War?


DR. STAHMER: In what position?

MILCH: First I was an artillery officer and at the end a captain in the Air Corps.

DR. STAHMER: When did you leave the Army after the end of the first World War?

MILCH: In the spring of 1920.

DR. STAHMER: What were your activities after you left the Army?

MILCH: I went into civil aviation.

DR. STAHMER: When did you join the Wehrmacht again?

MILCH: 1933.

DR. STAHMER: Did you go straight into the Air Force?


DR. STAHMER: What position did you have when the second World War began?

MILCH: I was General and Inspector General of the Air Force.

DR. STAHMER: When did the military construction of the Luftwaffe start?

MILCH: 1935.

DR. STAHMER: To what extent?

MILCH: A defensive air force was built up.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us more details about that?

MILCH: In the year 1933 Germany had left the League of Nations and consequently also the Disarmament Conference. Hitler attempted to discuss with the individual nations whether or not disarmament should continue. These attempts to disarm failed, and Germany began to rearm. It was questionable whether the other nations would approve of that. Consequently Germany considered that it was imperative to have military strength in the air also, and to achieve that, the Air Force was itself to create an air power which would be sufficient for the defense of Germany. This is shown by the fact that principally fighters and anti-aircraft artillery were provided.

Likewise, the organization of the German Air Force was constructed for defense. It consisted at that time of four “air districts” (Luftkreise), which one can picture as a kind of cross over Germany. There was a Northeast section, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Moreover the strength of the Air Force, as it was organized, was not planned for an aggressive war or for a large-scale war. Besides fighter planes there were also bombers, but we always called these bomber formations the Risiko Luftwaffe (Risk Air Force), that is to say, their function was to prevent, if possible, any of Germany’s neighbors from entering a war against Germany.

DR. STAHMER: What were the relations of the German Air Force with the air forces of foreign countries during the period beginning with the year 1935?

MILCH: During the first years after 1935 Germany had no air force worth mentioning. There were only the first units and the first larger schools that were established. Also during these years, our industry was built up. Before the rearmament started, our industry had been on a very small scale. I happen to know that the number of workers in the entire German air force industry at the time of the seizure of power by the National Socialists was about 3,000 to 3,300 men—constructors, business men, technicians, and workers.

The first contacts with foreign countries in the field of aviation started in 1937. This was when, in January 1937, an English commission led by Air Vice Marshal Courtney and three other high-ranking officers—Courtney was the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the British Air Force—came to Germany. I myself accompanied this commission and acted as guide during the entire time. We complied with every request of these gentlemen as to what they wanted to see. Those were the first units which were established. We especially showed our training units, in which all new forms and models were first tried out, the industries, the schools, and anything else about which the gentlemen wanted to know. At the end of our conference the English vice marshal suggested that we should start a mutual German-English exchange of plans. I asked for the approval of my commander-in-chief and it was granted. At the time we forwarded to the British the plans of the German Air Force for 1937, 1938, and, I believe, 1939, and, on the other hand, we also received from the British the corresponding figures. We agreed that in the future also, should changes in plans occur or new units be established, an exchange of data should again take place. The visit was animated by a spirit of comradeship and was the beginning of further contacts.

In May of the same year, 1937, I was invited to Belgium with some other gentlemen, as representative of my commander-in-chief, to visit the air force there. Then in July . . .

DR. STAHMER: What happened on this visit to Belgium? Can you give me more details about that?

MILCH: It was a very cordial reception. I made the acquaintance of the Minister of War, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister, and also of His Majesty the King, besides the officers of the air force, who, of course, were of main interest to me. The discussion was friendly on both sides, and the Belgians assured us of their personal feelings of friendship for Germany.

DR. STAHMER: Was there also an exchange of data?

MILCH: No. Not in the same way; but later in Germany we also showed the Belgians everything, when the Chief of the Air Force, General Duvier, returned our visit. Then there was a big international meeting in the summer, in July 1937, on the occasion of the aviation meeting in Zurich, which was held every five years. At this meeting we purposely showed our latest models of fighters, bombers, and Stukas, also our new engines which had just been produced, and anything else that would be of international interest. There were large French, Italian, Czech, and Belgian delegations present, besides the German one; and a commission of British officers also attended to see the material displayed by us, but did not take part in the contests as representatives of Great Britain. We showed our material to the French, the British, and to the other nations, in a spirit of comradeship. There was, for instance, the Messerschmitt Fighter 109 with the improvements of the time, more or less as it was flown until the end of the war; the newest Dornier bomber type; the newest Stuka by Junkers; also the Daimler-Benz 600 and 601 engines, and also of Junkers . . .

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that this amount of detail is of any interest to the Tribunal.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, please, no details; make it short.

MILCH: Yes. Then in October 1937, there was an invitation to France from the French Government to inspect their air force also. The inspection is said to have been made in a very friendly spirit. Shortly after that, about one week later, a visit at the invitation of England took place in return for Air Vice Marshal Courtney’s visit. Here, also, factories, organizations, schools and the War Academy were shown; also, as regards industry, the “shadow factories” were shown, that is, industries which produce peacetime goods in time of peace, and switch over to building aircraft and aircraft engines in time of war. There were also reciprocal visits with Sweden. I think I can conclude with that.

DR. STAHMER: Did you take part in a discussion with the Führer on 23 May 1939?


DR. STAHMER: In what way did that happen?

MILCH: I was suddenly ordered to come on the morning of that day, because the Reich Marshal was not there.

DR. STAHMER: Do you remember the course of this conversation?

MILCH: The Führer made a long speech to the three commanders-in-chief of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and their chiefs of staff. Several other persons were also present. The gist of it was that Hitler declared he had decided to solve in one way or another the question of a corridor across the Corridor to East Prussia, and in connection with that he discussed the possibility of complications which, in consequence, might arise in the West. It was only a speech, not a discussion or a conversation.

DR. STAHMER: Was anything else discussed or presented by him, any further details?

MILCH: Yes, it was just the question whether the West—probably he was thinking primarily of France—would keep quiet or whether it would interfere.

DR. STAHMER: Was anything said of the possibility of an attack on Poland or, as I remember, was only the solution of this Corridor problem mentioned?

MILCH: Actually, I understood him to say that he would solve this problem in any case, so his first thought was probably of negotiations, but if these negotiations did not produce results, then a military solution would probably have to be considered.

DR. STAHMER: Were there any further discussions about that?

MILCH: No, it was expressly ordered that any discussion by the participants, even among themselves, was forbidden. I, for instance, was forbidden to inform the Reich Marshal, who was not there. Hitler declared that he himself would inform Göring. I remember that at that time there was also issued the famous order which has been mentioned previously, and which as Führer Order Number 1 had to be displayed in every one of our offices, to the effect that nobody should tell anybody anything he need not know; that nothing should ever be told sooner than was necessary; and that only just as much should be told as was necessary for the other person to know.

DR. STAHMER: Then you did not inform the Reich Marshal about this conference?

MILCH: No; I was forbidden to do so.

DR. STAHMER: When did he find out about it?

MILCH: I do not know.

DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the then Field Marshal Göring towards war?

MILCH: I was always under the impression—this already became apparent at the time of the occupation of the Rhineland—that he was worried lest Hitler’s policy might lead to war. In my opinion, he was against war.

DR. STAHMER: When did you find out for the first time that Hitler had planned some operation against Russia?

MILCH: As far as I remember, that was in the spring of 1941. May I correct myself once more? I want to look in my notebook. On 13 January the Reich Marshal told me that Hitler expected an attack against Germany on the part of Russia; then for some time I did not hear anything further and the Reich Marshal did not mention either what his opinion was. At any rate, during the weeks and months following I did not hear any more about it. It is true, however, that at that time I was very seldom in Berlin and not at all at headquarters, but on inspection tours, et cetera. When I returned—and I do not remember whether it was in March or April—one of my subordinates made a report to me on a question of clothing, and he put the question to me whether winter clothing had to be provided in case of war against Russia. I was very surprised at this question. I had not been previously informed. I could only tell him that if it came to war with Russia we should then need clothing for several winters, and I told him what kind of winter clothing I would suggest.

DR. STAHMER: Did you speak a second time to Field Marshal Göring about this war?


DR. STAHMER: When was that?

MILCH: On 22 May, on one of my tours, I again came into contact with the Commander-in-Chief for the first time after a long interval. It was in Veldenstein where Göring was at the time. There I discussed the question with him and I told him that, in my opinion, it would be a great historical task for him to prevent this war since it could only end with the annihilation of Germany. I reminded him that we should not voluntarily burden ourselves with a two-front war, et cetera. The Reich Marshal told me that he also had brought forward all these arguments, but that it was absolutely impossible to dissuade Hitler from this war. My offer to try to speak to Hitler once more was declared by the Reich Marshal to be absolutely hopeless. We had to resign ourselves; nothing could be done about it. From these words it was quite clear that he was against this war, and that under no circumstances did he want this war but that also for him, in his position, there was no possibility of dissuading Hitler from this project.

DR. STAHMER: Did it also appear from what he said that he had told Hitler of his misgivings?

MILCH: Yes, it was quite clear to me, that he had also spoken about the question of a two-front war, and he told me that he had also laid before Hitler the arguments I had brought forward; but he told me that it was hopeless. I would like to say something more about the 23rd of May. After this discussion, and owing to the fact that the German Air Force had hardly any reserves of bombs available, I proposed that bombs should be manufactured. Previously Hitler had considered this unnecessary and superfluous for the time being. The shortage of iron came into the question. After this conference, being under the impression that complications might arise, I pointed out that the Air Force with its bomber fleet was not ready for action. My proposal was again rejected by Hitler after 23 May. He would let me know in time if and when we needed bombs. When we pointed out that the manufacture of bombs would take several weeks, even months, he declared that there would be plenty of time for that later. From that I came to the conclusion and you know I was not allowed to discuss it with anybody—that Hitler’s words on 23 May were not meant as seriously as they had sounded to me.

DR. STAHMER: When was this last conversation concerning the refusal to manufacture bombs?

MILCH: That was about—I spoke once in that connection, after May when the situation was known. But later, during the latter part of summer, I again brought it to his attention. Again it was rejected. The order to manufacture bombs was not given by Hitler until 12 October 1939, although we had pointed out that deficiency before. Hitler said, if I remember correctly, “My attempts to make peace with the West after the campaign against Poland have failed. The war continues. Now we can and must manufacture the bombs.”

DR. STAHMER: Did Hitler ever tell you that it was his serious desire to live in peace with the West?

MILCH: Yes. I did not go into the details of my visits. When I came back from France, I was with Hitler for two hours on the Obersalzberg, to report to him about the visit to France. Likewise, after the visit in England about two weeks later, I had to make a report to Hitler which lasted several hours. He was very interested, and after the second report, that is to say, after the English visit, he declared, “I wish to carry on my policy in such and such a way, but you can all rest assured that I will always rely on England. I shall try to co-operate with England at all times.” This conversation took place on 2 November.

DR. STAHMER: What year?

MILCH: The year 1937, the 2d of November.

DR. STAHMER: You mentioned two conversations?

MILCH: Yes, the first was the report about the visit to France and the second about the visit to England. Hitler, who did not know foreign countries at all, was extremely interested to hear from a soldier something about his reception, the country, armaments, and so forth.

DR. STAHMER: What were the relations between Reich Marshal Göring and Himmler?

MILCH: It was not always clear to me. I had the impression that there was always some rivalry on the part of Himmler. The mutual relationship, however, must always have been very correct and very courteous on the surface; how they really stood, I could not say.

DR. STAHMER: In May of 1942, there was an exchange of correspondence between you and the SS-Obergruppenführer Wolff?

MILCH: Yes, Sir.

DR. STAHMER: In particular, about medical experiments on inmates of the Dachau Camp. Could you tell us anything about that?

MILCH: I was interrogated about that question here in Nuremberg, and what I no longer remembered of the matter was recalled by two letters—a letter from Wolff, who was adjutant to Himmler at the time, and another letter from Himmler to me and the answer which I had given, were submitted to me. They concerned the experiments with air-pressure chambers and chilling. These letters were addressed to me only because Himmler did not know the official channels of the Luftwaffe. The letters were delivered to the Medical Inspection department, which was not subordinate to me. The Medical Inspection department also wrote the answer and submitted it to me. I modified the answer a little and had it mailed. I have not read a report sent by Himmler in this connection. He also offered a film. I did not see the film. The Medical Inspector, whom I asked what it was all about, told me that the Air Force was fully informed about both problems, and that the experiments with air-pressure chambers had been carried out by our young doctors who had volunteered for that purpose. Likewise, in the question of chilling there was nothing of interest to the Air Force. We both agreed to his suggestion that we did not want to have anything to do with the matter. I asked him what these experiments were made for. He told me that criminals were subjected to these experiments. I asked him in what way. He said, in the same way as our young doctors had subjected themselves to these experiments. Then we wrote him a letter which was quite polite—one could not write differently to these people—but completely repudiating the experiments. We would have nothing to do with them. In Himmler’s letter I had been asked to make a report to the Reich Marshal also about that question.

I had the impression that by these experiments the SS wanted to make themselves important in Hitler’s eyes. These were the words also used by the chief of the medical department to me. During a long report on quite different questions I mentioned this matter briefly to the Reich Marshal, because I had to expect that one day he would be approached by Himmler, and perhaps would not know anything about the whole question. The Reich Marshal asked me, when I told him about such and such experiments, “What does this mean?” I gave him the reply which I had been given by the Medical Inspector. I told him that we did not want to have anything to do with them, and that we repudiated them. He said he was exactly of the same opinion, but I should be very careful not to provoke the SD or treat them badly. What the experiments were about I do not know, neither do I know what was done to the people; I do not know it even now.

DR. STAHMER: Did the Reich Marshal know?

MILCH: No, certainly not.

DR. STAHMER: Did Dr. Rascher leave you soon after that to join the SS?

MILCH: I could not say. I do not know Dr. Rascher, and had nothing to do with the question of transfer. Rascher was not subordinate to me any more than was the chief of the medical department or the personnel office.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether Reich Marshal Göring gave orders to the troops under his command, saying that sabotage troops should be annihilated, or that captured enemy terror-fliers should be turned over to the SD without judicial procedure?

MILCH: No, I did not know anything about that.

DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear anything of that kind?


DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal towards captured airmen in general?

MILCH: I sometimes used to speak to the Reich Marshal about that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I wish to interpose an objection. I think we have been very liberal. I think we have been very liberal in allowing all kinds of statements, but it does seem to me that this passes anything that is suitable as evidence. This witness has indicated that he has no knowledge of the subject; he did not know the orders which are in evidence, and he assumes to state the attitude of the Reich Marshal. I have no objection to his making any statement of any facts from which this Tribunal may be informed of the attitude of the Reich Marshal, but I think that for one witness to state the state of mind of another person without any facts whatever passes the bounds of what we can possibly let go here into evidence. It does not help to solve the problem and I respectfully object to the question and answer as not constituting credible and relevant evidence on any subject before the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I think you should confine yourself to any facts and observations of the Defendant Göring. As the witness had just said that he never heard of any action against the terror-fliers at all, I do not see how he could give evidence as to the attitude of the Defendant Göring about it.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President; I should like to formulate my question as follows: Did Reich Marshal Göring discuss with the witness as to how enemy airmen who had been shot down should be treated?


DR. STAHMER: That is, I suppose, a fact, is it not?

MILCH: This was not discussed with me.

DR. STAHMER: I have one more question. Did he speak to you about the fact that he was opposed to any cruelty in the treatment of the enemy?

MILCH: That was just what I wanted to say before. He said that to me before the war, remembering the first World War.

DR. STAHMER: And what did he say about it?

MILCH: That once they have been shot down, they are our comrades; that was the gist of it.

DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions to put to the witness. I place him at the disposal of the Defense or the Prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of you wish to ask this witness any questions?

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, as you know, the Prosecution have grouped together a certain circle of people consisting of the highest ranking military leaders in order to declare this circle criminal. You probably know this circle?


DR. LATERNSER: Was there such a grouping of equivalent offices within the German Armed Forces?

MILCH: I did not understand the question.

DR. LATERNSER: Was there ever a grouping of offices within the German Armed Forces like the one that has now been created in order to form that group?

MILCH: Yes. I believe that ever since an army existed there have also been high-ranking leaders who were grouped under their commander-in-chief.

DR. LATERNSER: Were the holders of these offices occupied with the elaboration of technical military problems on Hitler’s orders, or did they work out subjects on their own initiative which were submitted to Hitler for execution?

MILCH: No. The military leaders acted only upon the orders of their superiors, that is, the generals of the Air Force on the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, who got his orders from the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht—that was Hitler, and before him, Hindenburg.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether this alleged group of the General Staff and the OKW, as they are now combined, ever met collectively?

MILCH: Before the attack on Poland only the Army and Navy commanders who were assigned for action there were called together by Hitler. Likewise, those who were to go into action in the West in the spring of 1940 were called together by Hitler. The same thing happened again, as far as I know, before the attack on Russia.

DR. LATERNSER: Were you sometimes present at such conferences?

MILCH: At some of them, yes.

DR. LATERNSER: Could you describe the course of any such conference? Particularly I attach value to the point as to whether the higher military commanders had an opportunity to make counter-suggestions during these conferences?

MILCH: I remember the conference with Hitler which took place on the Obersalzberg before the Polish campaign. It was on 22 August. The commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the commanders of the armies attended. Hitler stood in front, behind a large desk, and the generals sat in chairs next to or behind each other. He made a speech giving the reasons, the political situation, as he usually did, and his intention. During this conference any reply or discussion on the part of the generals was impossible. Whether there was a subsequent conference dealing with the details I do not know. I know only of this speech of Hitler’s. Then, before the attack on Russia, there was a different procedure. We sat around a very large table, and the respective commanders of the army groups and armies had to demonstrate on the map their intentions and the methods of executing the orders which they had received, whereupon Hitler agreed in general or, perhaps, in certain cases, said he would prefer greater strength here and less strength there: his objections, however, were only very slight.

DR. LATERNSER: That means these conferences were more in the nature of a briefing?

MILCH: Definitely, briefing.

DR. LATERNSER: Can you tell me whether any member of the group “General Staff” or of the so-called group “General Staff and OKW” ever made suggestions to deviate from the international law then in force?

MILCH: Not that I know of.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether members of this alleged group frequently met with politicians or high Party members?

MILCH: In my opinion, no. I mean that, of course, for the majority of these gentlemen. It goes without saying that the commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces, or the Chief of the OKW, must frequently have held conferences with politicians also. But the average commanders of the army groups, fleet, or army had no opportunity to do so.

DR. LATERNSER: Did the members of this so-called group, those who belonged to the Army, Navy, or Air Force, have discussions among themselves?

MILCH: If they were assigned to collaborate in a common task, for example, if the commander-in-chief of an army or an army group had a naval commander-in-chief working with him, there were naturally discussions of that kind. But with a neighboring commander-in-chief the relationship was certainly not close, and with a more remote neighbor it did not exist at all.

DR. LATERNSER: That means such discussions took place only with regard to the execution of a common task?

MILCH: Yes, for that purpose.

DR. LATERNSER: Within the Air Force, is it true that this circle of people included those officers who had held the position of Chief of Staff of the Air Force or commander of the Air Force or of an air fleet during a certain period? I have a list here of those generals of the Air Force who belonged to that group, and I should like to ask you, with regard to a few of them, what rank and position these generals had when the war started. What was the rank of General Korten at the outbreak of war?

MILCH: I believe either colonel or lieutenant colonel, but I am not quite sure.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you know what position he held?

MILCH: I believe he was Chief of Staff of the Munich Air Fleet.

DR. LATERNSER: Then, from August to October 1944 General Kreipe was Chief of Staff of the Air Force. What was this officer when the war started?

MILCH: I presume major or lieutenant colonel.

DR. LATERNSER: Yes. Do you know what position he had?

MILCH: No, at the moment I could not say exactly. It may be that he was chief of staff of an air corps.

DR. LATERNSER: Yes. And what rank did he have at the time as Chief of Staff of an air corps?

MILCH: From major to colonel; that depends.

DR. LATERNSER: General Koller also was Chief of Staff of the Air Force for a short time. What was this officer when the war started?

MILCH: I believe lieutenant colonel.

DR. LATERNSER: Then I have only a few more names. Do you know what rank and position Dessloch had at the outbreak of war?

MILCH: I do not remember exactly; perhaps major general or colonel. I do not know exactly.

DR. LATERNSER: And General Pflugbeil?

MILCH: The same.

DR. LATERNSER: General Seidel?

MILCH: Seidel, I believe, was already Major General at the outbreak of war.

DR. LATERNSER: And what position did he have at that time?

MILCH: He was Quartermaster General in the General Staff.

DR. LATERNSER: What rank did that position have compared with commander, commander-in-chief, divisional commander. . . ?

MILCH: Corps commander is about the same as a quartermaster general.

DR. LATERNSER: Yes. I have a few more questions concerning the Air Force itself and the highest military leaders. From your testimony it is to be concluded that in 1939 the Air Force was not fully prepared for war. As to this point, could you state the reasons for this unpreparedness of the Air Force for war?

MILCH: During the few years between 1935 and 1939—I gave the figures for industry before—it would have been impossible for any soldier in any country to build an air force equal to the tasks with which we were faced from 1939 on. That is impossible. It is not possible to create the units nor to establish the schools and furnish them with adequate teaching staffs; nor is it possible to develop the planes which are necessary, and then to build them by mass production. Nor is it possible in that short period to train or produce air crews sufficiently qualified to meet the high technical standards necessarily demanded for modern aircraft. Likewise, it is impossible in such a short time to produce ground crews which are technically highly qualified and to put them at the disposal of the Air Force and also of the aviation industry. At the same time also. . . .

THE PRESIDENT: He said that it is impossible. It should not be necessary to go into this detail on this subject.

DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few more specific questions.

[Turning to the witness.] Did the Air Force expect resistance against the invasion of Austria?

MILCH: No. We knew definitely that there would be no resistance. We did not take any arms with us.

DR. LATERNSER: How was the reception there?

MILCH: So friendly that it could not be more so in our own country.

DR. LATERNSER: Were you, as Field Marshal, informed in advance that war was to be declared against the United States?


DR. LATERNSER: In this Trial there are serious accusations against German soldiers and their leaders on account of cruelties committed. Was not every soldier sufficiently informed and instructed about the regulations of international law?

MILCH: Yes. Each soldier had a pay book. On the first page of the pay book were pasted ten commandments for the soldier. They included all these questions.

DR. LATERNSER: Can you give me examples of points contained in this memorandum?

MILCH: Yes. For instance, that no soldier—no prisoner, should be shot; that looting was not permitted. By the way, I have my pay book here. Treatment of prisoners of war; Red Cross; civilian population inviolable; attitude of soldier when himself prisoner of war and, in conclusion, the threat of punishment for offenses.

DR. LATERNSER: If it became known that soldiers had committed offenses or outrages against the civilian population, did the commanders concerned, so far as you know, interfere with the severity necessary?

MILCH: I know of some cases, I knew of some cases, where that was definitely the case, even the death penalty being imposed.

DR. LATERNSER: So the commanders always strove under all circumstances to maintain the discipline of the troops?

MILCH: Yes. I can give a notable example. A general of the Air Force had appropriated jewelry which belonged to a foreign lady. He was sentenced to death and executed. I think it was in 1943 or 1944.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, in particular during the critical days of 1939 you were in close official contact with Defendant Göring. Did you ever hear through him about a large-scale plan for waging an extensive war?


DR. LATERNSER: In your opinion, did the other high military leaders hear or would they have heard more about it?

MILCH: No. All measures taken by Hitler—beginning with the occupation of the Rhineland—came very suddenly, as a rule after only a few hours’ preparation. That applies to Austria; that also applies to Czechoslovakia and to Prague. The only time that we were told anything beforehand was the affair with Poland, which I mentioned before, where we had a conference on 23 May.

DR. LATERNSER: In all other cases, therefore, it was rather a surprise to the high military leaders?

MILCH: Yes, a complete surprise.

DR. LATERNSER: Now I have one more question: What was the possibility of resignation for high military leaders during the war?

MILCH: That has been told several times. I have also experienced it myself—one was not permitted to hand in one’s resignation. It was said if there was a reason for anyone to leave, he would be informed by his superiors. In an authoritarian state the subordinate, the citizen has no right to resign on his own initiative, whether he be a soldier or a civilian.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until Monday morning.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 11 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Monday, 11 March 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, had you finished your examination?

DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few more questions to ask the witness.

[The witness Milch resumed the stand.]

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, I should like to refer again, very briefly, to the extent of the unpreparedness of the Luftwaffe for war in 1939. While on this subject I should like to ask whether the collaboration of the Luftwaffe with the OKW, the Army, and the Navy had been secured in 1939?

MILCH: In my opinion, the Luftwaffe was not prepared for a major war in 1939. No mutual agreements of any kind existed with the other branches of the Armed Forces. At any rate, I knew of no such agreements.

DR. LATERNSER: Had such agreements with other branches of the Armed Forces existed, would you have known about them?

MILCH: I imagine so, since at that time I certainly would have been involved in these matters.

DR. LATERNSER: What was the co-ordination like between the more important departments of the Luftwaffe?

MILCH: From 1937, it was rather loose. The General Staff, the technical branch and the personnel office were detached; they worked independently and more or less on their own.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, you have just mentioned the General Staff. What do you understand by the German “General Staff of the Luftwaffe”?

MILCH: General Staff means in German leaders’ assistants; in other words, junior officers who had been given specialized training, and who acted as assistants to troop commanders, from divisional commanders upwards.

DR. LATERNSER: Of whom did the General Staff of the Luftwaffe consist?

MILCH: It consisted of the officers in the administrative sections of the General Staff, from the Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe himself downwards, and also of officers who had been assigned as staff officers to divisions and corps in the field and to air fleets.

DR. LATERNSER: What time limits were set for the formation of new units of the Luftwaffe?

MILCH: The formation of larger units had not yet been ordered, although they had been discussed quite a long time before the outbreak of war. It was intended to create a larger Air Force later, but, as far as I can remember, the plans envisaged were scheduled for completion in 6 or 8 years.

DR. LATERNSER: In what year would the plans have been completed?

MILCH: I should think about 1944-1946.

THE PRESIDENT: Not only is there some technical fault—we are getting two translations at once—but both the witness and the defense counsel are going too fast.

DR. LATERNSER: Did an organization exist already in 1939 for day- and night-fighter planes?

MILCH: No, it did not exist at that time.

DR. LATERNSER: Did an organization exist for bomb warfare?

MILCH: Not to the extent necessary for a war of aggression.

DR. LATERNSER: What progress had been made at that time in the building of airfields?

MILCH: Airfields had been built with runways up to 1,000 meters, but these were only suitable for fighter planes and not for loaded heavier bombers.

DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Luftwaffe Signal Corps network?

MILCH: The operational network, that is, the cable network for operations, did not exist at that time; it had to be improvised and built up later on during the war.

DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Aircraft Observer Corps?

MILCH: This also had not yet been organized. Reverting to the question of bombers, the most I can add is that originally, in the early years, models of 4-engine bombers, which would also have been suitable for night use, were put into production. Although technically perfect, these bombers were abandoned—I believe in 1937. It was thought that the big expense entailed by such heavy bombers should be avoided, since, at that time, nobody was thinking of war. This was at the time when Field Marshal Kesselring was Chief of the General Staff, and the question was submitted for decision to the Reich Marshal, who agreed to the discontinuance of these large bombers.

DR. LATERNSER: When was that?

MILCH: One moment, I will just look it up. On 29 April 1937 the Reich Marshal, acting on the recommendations of the Chief of the General Staff, stopped the production of these long-distance bombers. Therefore, in 1939, there were no night bombers which could in any way compare with English machines of the Lancaster type, et cetera.

DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Luftwaffe crews?

MILCH: We had just sufficient personnel replacements for a comparatively small Luftwaffe at that time. The lack of personnel replacement was the greatest handicap of all in building up the Luftwaffe. The whole question of time limits, and so on, depended on the training of personnel. It was the personnel question which regulated the pace. It was possible to build planes more rapidly, but it was not possible to expedite the training of the crews. And, as I said on Friday, this was the main consideration when dealing with the question of time limits. Pilots and technical personnel are of no use unless thoroughly trained. It is much worse to have half-trained personnel than no personnel at all.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, I do not want to interrupt your cross-examination but we have been sitting here for nearly 20 minutes now, and all I have got from it is that the Luftwaffe was not ready for war in 1939. It seems to me too much is being taken up with detail.

DR. LATERNSER: I have one more question on this matter. Were there any reserves of aluminum, magnesium, and rubber; and did any means exist for producing these materials?

MILCH: Not in sufficient quantities.

DR. LATERNSER: And now—one last question. Witness, during your testimony on Friday, you mentioned “Basic Order Number 1.” You also gave us the contents of this order. In this connection I would like to ask: Was this order strictly observed, or not?

MILCH: Yes, very strictly.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions to ask the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other of the defendants’ counsel want to ask the witness any questions?

DR. HANS FLÄCHSNER (Counsel for Defendant Speer): I request permission to ask the witness a few questions.

[Turning to the witness.] Witness, do you remember when Hitler demanded the construction of bomb-proof aircraft factories in caves or concrete shelters?

MILCH: As far as I remember it was when the British started the heavy raids in 1943.

DR. FLÄCHSNER; Do you remember a conference on the Obersalzberg at the beginning of April 1944, and what you told Hitler at the time about the difficulties in the building industry, and the orders issued by Hitler on that occasion?

MILCH: Yes. On that occasion Hitler ordered very solid structures to be built. I believe he demanded six large bomb-proof factories, each with 600,000 square meters floor space. Later on, Speer, who had been absent from the April meeting through illness, raised objections to these orders. He considered this construction work to be on far too large a scale and that it was too late to undertake it. Later he obtained permission for all factories which by June 1944 were not in a sufficiently advanced stage of construction—that is, which could not start working by the beginning of 1945—to be discontinued immediately.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: I am above all interested in the question of labor. At this discussion on the Obersalzberg, did the Führer allocate the requisite labor for the construction of the factories demanded by him?

MILCH: Yes. I think I remember rightly that, in answer to the objection raised by one of the gentlemen present, he said that he himself would see that the labor was made available.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you said that Herr Speer was opposed to these constructions. What happened then? Speer was not present at that meeting?

MILCH: No, he was ill at the time.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Can you tell us briefly what happened?

MILCH: During Speer’s illness, requests reached the Führer from other quarters that Speer should be relieved of construction work. Difficulties arose owing to the fact that whereas in theory Speer still remained in charge of building, in practice the work was nearly all taken out of his hands. He was no longer able to have any say in construction work, since it had been decided that the construction department of the Todt Organization should receive orders direct from Hitler. Thus, Speer was excluded more and more from this sphere of activity. A great deal was said at that time about large-scale constructions, but very little work was actually done on them.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did Hitler give a written order to Herr Dorsch, and did he have it shown to Speer? Do you know anything about it?

MILCH: As far as I can remember, such a written order was given and it was also sent to Speer. I have a vague recollection that Speer once showed me such an order.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: One last question on this matter. In this way, Dorsch, who had been directly commissioned by the Führer, took over the responsibility for these buildings and the necessary manpower?


DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you were a member of the Central Planning Board. Can you tell me if the Central Planning Board was authorized to make decisions on the use of foreign or German labor and its allocation?


DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did the Central Planning Board ever make decisions of this kind?

MILCH: The Central Planning Board had been set up for the distribution of raw materials only; but a certain control over transportation devolved upon it. However, the matter of transportation was independent of any activity concerning allocation of raw material. It had no say in the allocation of labor. If the Central Planning Board attempted to obtain some influence as to the allocation of workers, it was because it was at the same time responsible for armaments, and therefore best able to judge the existing requirements. But here, too, considerable difficulties were encountered, and this branch of the Central Planning Board’s work had to be dropped.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: So no decision was ever reached? We have records before us which show that labor problems were sometimes discussed by the Central Planning Board.

MILCH: Yes, very frequently, as the armament offices which were represented on the Central Planning Board were greatly concerned with labor problems; but these discussions mostly concerned food supplies and extra rations for the workers.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: And now—one last question on the subject. Did the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor in any way look upon the Central Planning Board as authoritative, that is, as the final arbiter in the total plan for the utilization of manpower?

MILCH: No, he could not do that, as he himself represented that authority.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Were there any reserves of German workers in 1943 or 1944, and did Speer request the utilization of this German manpower instead of foreign labor?

MILCH: Yes, again and again Speer made strong representations that any German labor still available, even if difficult to mobilize, should be brought in and put to work. This reserve consisted mostly of female labor, women of professional circles and social stations who in wartime had nothing to do apart from domestic work.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you have already told us that the Defendant Speer was a sick man in 1944. Could you tell us approximately when his illness began and when it ended?

MILCH: His illness started in February, and I think it lasted until about June.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you. Do you know anything about this long illness being exploited in order to undermine severely his influence and authority? Can you tell me who was primarily interested in doing that?

MILCH: His influence was undermined in the above-mentioned building projects. It is very difficult for me to name here the individuals who probably hoped to succeed him.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did matters improve, or did they become worse after 20 July?

MILCH: Actually, as time went on they became worse. Speer’s position became more difficult than ever, as the whole of Speer’s views differed more and more from Hitler’s official opinion.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you. Now, may I remind you of something else? In February 1945, by a Hitler order, the Defendant Speer was entrusted with the distribution of motor vehicles; and you, if I am correctly informed, were appointed as his representative. Can you tell me what the transport situation was like at that time, and to what extent the armaments output depended on the transport situation?

MILCH: In those days, the transport situation was so deplorable, owing to the American daylight raids, that the transport system was no longer able to carry even the most essential commodities and armament materials. Our great forge, the Ruhr district, was particularly hard hit, as well as the transport system carrying products from the Ruhr to the finishing industries in Central Germany, Berlin, and Saxony. If very stringent measures had not been taken and extraordinary powers granted, total collapse, due solely to transport difficulties, would have become only a matter of hours. That was the situation at that time.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Could Speer, in his position, be expected to give preferential treatment to armaments when available transport was allocated? What did he actually do?

MILCH: No; Speer, like myself, saw quite clearly that the whole armament question could no longer influence the situation at that stage. Therefore, acting on his own initiative, he gave priority to the movement of food supplies for the population. The most urgent job was to remove the foodstuffs from the German territory in danger of being lost to the enemy.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Were these measures only taken to safeguard the current food supply, or were they long-term measures?

MILCH: The intention was to move all available and transportable food to a place of safety.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, motor transport was a particularly difficult problem at the time. Was the number of trucks and the quantity of fuel to drive them cut down when transport was allocated to the armaments industry; and what orders regarding trucks did Speer issue in mid-February? Do you know?

MILCH: I know that trucks were always in such short supply in the armament industry that not even essential orders could be filled. All kinds of alternative transport had to be found, such as electric trains, a great number of horse carts, and other vehicles. But, as far as my knowledge goes, here too, Speer used this means of transport for the benefit of the German population in order to maintain some sort of food distributing organization.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Fuel was, at that time, one of the most serious bottlenecks, was it not?

MILCH: It was, in fact, the most serious bottleneck of all.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, do you happen to know that after February 1945 Speer granted priority to repair work on nitrogen factories producing fertilizers for agriculture, which meant that repairs to fuel producing plants had to take second place?

MILCH: Yes, I do know, because Speer discussed with me in great detail the emergency measures to be taken, now that we were faced with imminent and inevitable collapse. He was of the opinion that first and foremost everything that was still possible should be done to help the German people to get through the very hard times which would follow the collapse. These first measures dealt with food supplies, salvage of food supplies, and transport for distribution.

Secondly, he sought to avoid the destruction of the German factories still in our possession, which was in direct opposition to Hitler’s “scorched earth” tactics.

Thirdly, he discussed the switch-over from war to peacetime production of such factories as might still be standing. First of all, he had in mind agricultural machinery and spare parts, and banked upon the assumption that, if once the orders were placed, they would be carried out in spite of the upheaval—for instance, even if some German factories passed into enemy hands, or when, the fighting having ceased, the government armament contracts would automatically fizzle out.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, we have now connected up an entire series of questions and I am most grateful to you. I should, however, like to ask you one more question: Could you give us any further details about the prevention of destruction?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flächsner, will you explain to me why this evidence that you are calling now is relevant and to what charge it is relevant?

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Mr. President, the Defendant Speer is charged with participating in the conspiracy and in the common plan for waging aggressive warfare until 7 May 1945. If I can now prove that his activities, at least for some time before that date, were incompatible with such common plan, then this item of evidence would be relevant to the question whether this charge of the Indictment is justified or not.

THE PRESIDENT: All the evidence that you have been giving for the last 15 minutes was related to 1943 and 1944, and was related to conferences with reference to the erection of factories for the production of bombers and the fact that—as far as I have understood it—the fact that Speer was engaged more on attempting to feed the German people than on building armament factories. What that has to do with it, I have not any idea.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: The first point referred to Document 1584-PS, which the Prosecution submitted as incriminating my client. The document says that, at a conference on the Obersalzberg, the construction of certain factories was ordered, and that 100,000 Hungarian Jews were employed on this construction. The purpose of the interrogation of this witness was to establish that the Defendant Speer could not be held responsible for this construction, since Hitler had given the order for this work directly to somebody else, and to eliminate this particular point submitted by the Prosecution in support of their charge. That was the purpose of the first question. The purpose of the second question, concerning the avoidance of destruction and the safeguarding of agricultural produce and the food supply of the German people, is connected with the accusation of participating in a conspiracy for the execution of a common plan; whereas all the activities, just confirmed by the witness, were to serve an entirely different aim and had just the opposite effect to the common plan alleged by the Prosecution. They did not serve the war effort but were directed towards peacetime economy.

THE PRESIDENT: There is no charge against Speer on the ground that he attempted to feed the German people during the war. The Prosecution have not laid that against him as a charge.

DE. FLÄCHSNER: Mr. President, I never said that the Prosecution had raised this charge against him. There must have been a mistake in the transmission.

[Turning to the witness.] One last question, Witness. Can you tell us to what extent Speer informed the Führer at a later date of the results of the heavy air raids on Hamburg and on other cities?

MILCH: He gave the Führer the fullest information and repeatedly drew his attention to the difficulties.

DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you.

DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (Counsel for Defendant Sauckel): Witness, did the Central Planning Board also concern itself with labor problems?


DR. SERVATIUS: Were the manpower requirements established?

MILCH: They were established by the industries and reported through the labor exchanges. We also submitted figures on the shortages of manpower in the armament industry.

DR. SERVATIUS: May I interrupt you? What did you do, once the requirements were established? And what was the purpose of establishing them?

MILCH: They showed the shortages in manpower caused by the continual calling up of the workers for war service.

DR. SERVATIUS: Was this not done in order to bring in more workers?

MILCH: The request for more workers came from the factories. We supported the factories in their negotiations with Sauckel by telling him that such and such an industry had applied for so and so many workers. We also told him which of their figures were too high according to our calculations.

DR. SERVATIUS: Did the figures represent the total sum of the workers needed?

MILCH: No. It was a general figure according to the statistics supplied by Sauckel’s labor exchanges.

DR. SERVATIUS: Who fixed the requirements, Sauckel or the applicants for labor?

MILCH: The factories did.

DR. SERVATIUS: What was the Central Planning Board’s task in connection with labor problems?

MILCH: The Central Planning Board dealt with the distribution of raw materials. It also had to see that raw materials were made available . . .

DR. SERVATIUS: My question concerns the workers and not raw materials.

MILCH: Please wait until I have finished what I want to say. You will then understand what I mean. The raw materials had to be produced and their production called for workers. For instance, in the mining industry and the aluminum factories . . .

DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, may I interrupt you? It is clear that workers are essential for production; but what I want to know is who made the request for labor, and who finally decided as to the numbers of workers required?

MILCH: The factories made the request and Sauckel decided on the figures. He placed at their disposal as many workers as he could get, but the numbers were always below the figure requested.

DR. SERVATIUS: In this connection did he have a free hand, or did the Führer make the decisions?

MILCH: As far as I know, the Führer intervened very frequently and Sauckel was often summoned to confer with Hitler.

DR. SERVATIUS: Were there not discussions at the Führer’s headquarters on all essential programs, especially those involving manpower?

MILCH: No, not all programs; but occasionally these matters were discussed. However, the discussions with the Führer about labor problems were mostly very brief. He did not wish to discuss the wider issues of this matter.

DR. SERVATIUS: What had the Four Year Plan to do with the matter?

MILCH: The Four Year Plan, as far as I know, also dealt with these problems. But I rather think that in this respect it served as an auxiliary organization for Hitler, who did not wish to discuss these matters in detail.

DR. SERVATIUS: Do you know that according to decrees Sauckel had to subordinate himself to the Four Year Plan, that is, to Göring, and that he had to receive orders from him?

MILCH: I do not exactly know how matters stood.

DR. SERVATIUS: One more question. How did the workers, the foreign workers, behave? Were they willing and hard working?

MILCH: The majority were excellent workers.

DR. SERVATIUS: How do you account for that?

MILCH: In the first years these workers were pleased to be able to get work and food. We treated them well, as far as I can judge, and their rations were larger than those of the German population. They received extra rations on the same scale as the German workers for heavy and very heavy physical work, also for overtime. The French and Russian workers worked exceptionally well. I occasionally heard complaints about the Dutch workers.

DR. SERVATIUS: Are you familiar with Sauckel’s regulations concerning the welfare of the foreign workers?

MILCH: I remember that on one occasion Sauckel spoke to us on this subject at the headquarters of the Central Planning Board.

DR. SERVATIUS: Did he show a humane or a severe attitude?

MILCH: His intentions were entirely humane. Sauckel had been set a very difficult task by Hitler. As far as I know, he had been a workingman himself and, as a seaman, had worked very hard in his time; consequently, he was kindly disposed towards workers.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to ask the witness.

PROFESSOR DR. HERMANN JAHRREISS (Counsel for Defendant Jodl): Witness, did you take part in the 1937 Wehrmacht maneuvers?

MILCH: In Mecklenburg, I believe.

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, that is so. Do you remember if any foreign officers were present as guests?

MILCH: Yes. I know that a large British military mission was present and a general, who later was appointed Governor of Gibraltar.

DR. JAHRREISS: General Ironside?

MILCH: Yes, Ironside. I spoke to him personally and also welcomed some of the gentlemen of his staff. There were also Italian officers and officers from many other countries; at the moment I cannot say exactly what countries—I have forgotten.

DR. JAHRREISS: Was there by any chance a French military mission as well?

MILCH: I think, so, but I cannot say for certain—I cannot remember so far back. But I did speak to General Ironside.

DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, do you know if at that time these foreign officers were also shown the most up-to-date German armament equipment?


DR. JAHRREISS: Was all the equipment demonstrated in action?

MILCH: Everything was demonstrated in action, with the exception of a new plane not yet in use; but even this was shown.

DR. JAHRREISS: Do you know if we, that is, Germany, also allowed foreign powers to inspect our air raid precautions equipment?

MILCH: Yes, on many occasions. A Mr. Fraser came to see me from England, together with Lord Trenchard. Mr. Fraser was interested in air raid precautions equipment, and was immediately shown the latest developments.

DR. JAHRREISS: When was that, please?

MILCH: I think it was in 1937 or 1938, but I will see if I can find the date. [Referring to his notes.] It was on 1 July 1937.

DR. JAHRREISS: Do you remember if anybody else came from England at a later date?

MILCH: It was later followed by a personal interchange between our services and the British. I myself, having brought them together, took no further part in the matter.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you. One more question. Do you remember the conflict which arose over the reoccupation of the Rhineland?


DR. JAHRREISS: You also know how great was the excitement it caused.


DR. JAHRREISS: Did the Luftwaffe also take part in the reoccupation of the Rhineland—to be precise, on the left bank of the Rhine?

MILCH: I cannot, at the moment, answer this question. The reoccupation of the Rhineland was so sudden that I was taken unawares while on leave. When I returned, the occupation was well under way. I know that Düsseldorf had been occupied and that the Luftwaffe had taken part. I myself went there a few days later.

DR. JAHRREISS: But that is on the right bank of the Rhine?

MILCH: That is on the right bank.

DR. JAHRREISS: Then you know nothing about the left bank of the Rhine?

MILCH: No, I cannot say anything about it at the moment. I do not believe there was an airfield there; anyhow, I cannot remember exactly.

DR. JAHRREISS: You say that the reoccupation of the Rhineland was very sudden. But had nothing been arranged beforehand by the Luftwaffe to provide for such an event?

MILCH: The decision was made when I was on leave and everything we had was naturally used for this purpose, but we did not have very much.

DR. JAHRREISS: Quite so, but let us get it quite clear. Was the Luftwaffe told to be ready for the first time while you were on leave?

MILCH: Yes, definitely; otherwise I would not have gone on leave.

DR. JAHRREISS: What was the earliest date on which the Luftwaffe was given the alert before the reoccupation?

MILCH: It might have been a matter of 14, 15, or 16 days. That would be the maximum.

DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, on Friday you made a statement about the part played by the Luftwaffe in the military operations for the completion of the Anschluss policy in March 1938. On what day did the preparations begin?

MILCH: The preparations began less than 48 hours beforehand. That I know exactly.

DR. JAHRREISS: And when did you first learn that military preparations were to be made for the solution of this problem?

MILCH: About 36 hours before the march into Austria.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you.

DR. KURT KAUFFMANN (Counsel for Defendant Kaltenbrunner): Witness, am I right in assuming that you were never in a position to issue orders to, that is, never had anything to do officially with either the Gestapo or with the concentration camps?

MILCH: No, I never had anything to do with them.

DR. KAUFFMANN: When did you first hear of the establishment of these camps?

MILCH: Through the general announcements in 1933 that concentration camps, or rather that one concentration camp had been established.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you, during the years which followed, receive more detailed information concerning further establishments of this kind?

MILCH: Until the war ended I had heard of Dachau and Oranienburg only. I knew nothing at all about any other concentration camps. At my own request and in the company of some high-ranking officers of the Luftwaffe, I inspected Dachau in 1935. I saw no other concentration camps, nor did I know anything about what happened in them.

DR. KAUFFMANN: During your inspection, what impression did you get of the establishment itself and the treatment of the internees, et cetera?

MILCH: At that time there was so much talk about these camps, also in Germany in our officers’ circles, that I decided to judge for myself. Himmler gave his immediate consent to my request. At that time, I believe, Dachau was the only concentration camp in existence. There I found a very mixed assortment of inmates. One group consisted of major criminals, all habitual offenders; other groups consisted of people who repeatedly committed the same offense which were not crimes, but only offenses. There was another group of persons who had participated in the Röhm Putsch. One of the men I recognized as having seen before. He had been a high-ranking SA leader and was now an internee. The camp, run on military lines, was clean and properly organized. They had their own slaughterhouse and their own bakery. We insisted on having the food of the internees served to us. The food was good and one of the camp leaders explained that they fed the inmates very well as they were engaged on heavy work. All the inmates whom we approached explained the reason for their internment. For instance, one man told us that he had committed forgery 20 times; another, that he had committed assault and other offenses 18 times. There were many cases of this kind. I cannot, of course, say if we were shown everything in this large establishment.

DR. KAUFFMANN: You have just mentioned that the question had been discussed in military circles, among the officers. Later, when you returned, did you convey your impressions of Dachau to anyone?

MILCH: I scarcely mentioned them to anybody, only if my more intimate comrades broached the subject. As I have said before, I did not go alone; there were several other gentlemen with me and, no doubt, they too must have had occasion to discuss this subject in smaller circles.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Unheard of acts of cruelty were perpetrated in the concentration camps. Did you come to hear of them and, if so, when did you first hear of them?

MILCH: On the day on which I was captured it was revealed to me for the first time when internees from an auxiliary camp in the vicinity were led past the place where I was captured. This was the first time I saw it for myself. The rest I learned in captivity from the various documents which we were shown.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Then it was completely unknown to you that more than 200 concentration camps existed in Germany and in the occupied territories.

MILCH: It was completely unknown to me. I have already mentioned the two camps whose existence was known to me.

DR. KAUFFMANN: It could be held against you that it must have been impossible not to know of these facts. Can you explain to us why it was not possible for you to obtain better information regarding existing conditions?

MILCH: Because the people who knew about these conditions did not talk about them, and presumably were not allowed to talk about them. I understand this to be so from a document in the Indictment against the General Staff, in which Himmler—also erroneously considered as one of the high-ranking military leaders—had issued an order to this effect. This document dealt with some conference or other of high-ranking police leaders under Himmler, in 1943, I believe.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I right in saying that any attempt to disclose conditions prevalent in the concentration camps was impossible unless the person in question was ready to risk his life?

MILCH: In the first place the large number of concentration camps was unknown to everybody, as it was unknown to me. Secondly, nobody knew what went on there. This knowledge was apparently confined to a very small circle of people who were in [on] the secret. Further, the SD was very much feared by the entire population, not only by the lower classes. If anybody tried to gain access to these secrets he did so at the peril of his life. And again, how could the Germans know anything about these things, since they never saw them or heard about them? Nothing was said about them in the German press, no announcements were made on the German radio, and those who listened to foreign broadcasts exposed themselves to the heaviest penalties, generally it meant death. You could never be alone. You could depend upon it that if you yourself contravened that law, others would overhear and then denounce you. I know that in Germany a large number of people were condemned to death for listening to foreign broadcasts.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did it ever come to your knowledge that there had been mass deportations of Jews to the Eastern territories? When did you first hear about it?

MILCH: I cannot give the exact date. Once, in some way or other, I can no longer remember how, the information did reach me that Jews had been settled in special ghetto towns in the East. I think it must have been in 1944 or thereabout, but I cannot guarantee that this date is exact.

DR. KAUFFMANN: You have just mentioned ghettos. Did you know that these mass deportations were, in effect, a preliminary step to mass extermination?

MILCH: No, we were never told.

DR. KAUFFMANN: May I ask you further if, in this connection, you had any idea about the existence of the Auschwitz extermination camp?

MILCH: No. I first heard of the name much later. I read it in the press after I was captured.

DR. KAUFFMANN: So-called Einsatzkommandos were employed in the East, where they carried out large-scale exterminations, also of Jews. Did you know that these Einsatzkommandos had been created by order of Adolf Hitler?

MILCH: No. The first I heard of these Einsatzkommandos was here in prison in Nuremberg.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you know that a special campaign was launched for the extermination of Jewish citizens in the southeastern provinces of the Reich, which, according to the statement of the leader concerned, named Eichmann, caused the death of from 4 to 5 million Jews?

MILCH: No, I know nothing at all about it. This is the first time I have heard the name Eichmann mentioned.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I correct in stating that in Germany, under the regime of an absolute leader, any opposition to a supreme order would most probably have meant death?

MILCH: That has been proved in many hundreds of cases.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I also correct in stating that the peril would have been equally deadly even if the order had been opposed on legal and moral grounds?

MILCH: I believe that here, too, one would have had to be prepared to pay the penalty, and not only one’s own, but the family’s as well.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you. I have no more questions to ask.

DR. WALTER SIEMERS (Counsel for Defendant Raeder): Witness, I have only a short question to ask you. You told us, on Saturday or on Friday, that in 1937 you had discussions with an English mission. This mission was headed by Air Vice Marshal Courtney. I should like to know from you if, in the course of these discussions, it was agreed that the competent German and British authorities should exchange information concerning the establishment plans for their respective Air Forces?

MILCH: Your surmise is correct.

DR. SIEMERS: How was the agreement made?

MILCH: The agreement was drawn up in writing.

DR. SIEMERS: Had the British and German Air Forces establishment plans for each year?

MILCH: No. The plans covered several years.

DR. SIEMERS: How many years ahead were covered by the 1937 plan?

MILCH: I cannot tell you from memory. At that time it may possibly have covered 2 or 3 years.

DR. SIEMERS: That would have been from 1938 till 1940?

MILCH: Possibly 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940. I cannot say for certain. I have forgotten.

DR. SIEMERS: Had this plan a technical name? Was it called “Establishment Plan,” or did it have some other name?

MILCH: I cannot remember now. We generally referred to it as the projected establishment plan.

DR. SIEMERS: On the English side, were the plans also drawn up to cover a definite period—say 3 years?

MILCH: I believe the periods covered were very much the same. The system was more or less the same.

DR. SIEMERS: I thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution now wish to cross-examine? Mr. Justice Jackson, I am sorry to have called you up. Perhaps it would be convenient to adjourn for 10 minutes now.

[A recess was taken.]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Witness, you are a prisoner of war of the United States at the present time?

MILCH: No, I am not a prisoner of war of the United States. I was an English prisoner of war, and since I have been here I have been declared an internee. I do not know what that means. At any rate, it is not correct to apply it to a prisoner-of-war officer taken by the enemy during action before the end of hostilities.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have been allowed to confer with counsel both while this Trial was in progress and . . .

MILCH: I have been able to confer with some of the Counsel for the Defense, not with all of them. I assume that the other Defense Counsel did not desire it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you will save a great deal of time if you will answer my questions as briefly as possible and with “yes” or “no” where possible. You have been allowed to prepare, keep, and bring to the Court notes after your consultations with counsel?

MILCH: The notes which I had with me were made by me before I conferred with defendants’ counsel.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have made none of the notes since your consultations with counsel?

MILCH: I made one note for myself about one consultation. It was merely about a date which had been mentioned to me and which otherwise I could not have remembered.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you occupied a very high position in the German Air Force?

MILCH: I was Inspector General.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You frequently attended conferences on behalf of Göring?

MILCH: On behalf of Göring, very rarely.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You deny that you attended conferences on behalf of Göring frequently?

MILCH: No. I do not deny it at all, but I was called upon to attend some of these conferences by virtue of my own office. I rarely had occasion to represent Göring as he usually attended these conferences himself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You had a very large part in building up the Luftwaffe, did you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were honored for that, were you not, in 1941, by the Hitler regime?

MILCH: 1941—no; I believe, Mr. Justice Jackson, you mean 1940.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 1940—well, perhaps I am wrong.

MILCH: You mean the promotion to Field Marshal, don’t you?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was your promotion to Field Marshal?

MILCH: On 19 July 1940.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you not receive a gift from the Hitler regime in recognition of your services?

MILCH: In 1942, on the occasion of my fiftieth birthday, I received a recognition.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the recognition was in the form of cash, wasn’t it?

MILCH: Yes, it was a cash recognition, with which I could buy myself an estate.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what did it consist of?

MILCH: The sum amounted to 250,000 marks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And now you come here to testify, as I understand your testimony, that the regime of which you were a part put Germany into a war for which it was in no way prepared. Do I understand you correctly?

MILCH: It is correct insofar as Germany in 1939 entered into a war for which she was not prepared as far as the Air Force was concerned.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did the head of the Air Force ever give any warning of that fact to the German people?

MILCH: That I am unable to say. I do not believe he could do that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not know that he ever did do it, do you?

MILCH: I cannot remember that he ever gave such a warning to the people publicly. I assume that the warning was given to his superior military officer.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what officer would be above him?

MILCH: That would be the Führer, Adolf Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Führer, yes.

MILCH: As a soldier, the Reich Marshal could not address himself to the public.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, can you point to any time at any meeting of the High Command, or at any other meeting that the Führer called, when Reich Marshal Göring, in the presence of any of these people, raised the question that Germany was not prepared for war?

MILCH: I cannot remember such a conference, because such conferences were held only between the two people concerned. The Reich Marshal never strongly opposed the Führer in public, or before any large group of his officers, because Hitler would not have tolerated such opposition.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know of any occasion when any one of the defendants in the box ever took a public position against going to war?

MILCH: Publicly, no; I cannot remember any occasion. But I rather think that also to the gentlemen who now stand accused the whole question of the war came as a great surprise.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You would like to believe that?

MILCH: I do believe it, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do believe it. How long did it take the German Armed Forces to conquer Poland?

MILCH: To conquer Poland—18 days, I believe.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Eighteen days. How long did it take to drive England off the Continent, including the disaster of Dunkirk?

MILCH: I believe 6 weeks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did it take to overrun Holland and Belgium?

MILCH: A few days.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did it take to overrun France and take Paris?

MILCH: Two months in all.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And how long did it take to overrun Denmark and take possession of Norway?

MILCH: Also a short time. Denmark took a very short time, because Denmark gave in immediately, and Norway gave in in a few weeks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you testify, and you want this Tribunal to understand you, as an officer, as saying that there was no preparation known to the officers in advance of those movements? Is that your testimony as an officer?

MILCH: Pardon me, I did not understand you just now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified that those were all surprise movements to the officers of the Luftwaffe. You were surprised at every one of them, you said.

MILCH: I said, surprised by the outbreak of war, because at first it was a question of Poland only. The other actions came very much later and there was more time to prepare for this war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well now, relative to Poland, you do not deny that Germany was well prepared for a war with Poland, or do you?

MILCH: The might of Germany, as compared with Poland, was powerful enough. What I meant to imply when speaking of preparedness for war in my testimony, was a degree of preparedness for entering a world war. For that Germany was not prepared in 1939.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But she was prepared for the campaign that she initiated, was she not?

MILCH: I would not say that; I would say that of course she had armaments, in the same way as every other nation with armed forces. Our armed forces were made ready against Poland and, to our own surprise, proved sufficiently powerful to crush Poland in a very short time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Would you question or deny that, relative to the other powers on the Continent of Europe, Germany was the best prepared for war on the first day of September 1939?

MILCH: I believe that, taking it all round, the British Air Force at that time was stronger than the German.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I asked you in reference to the Continental powers. Do you question that Germany was far better prepared for war than any of her immediate neighbors?

MILCH: I am convinced that France and Poland, according to their respective strength, were just as well prepared for war as Germany. They had the advantage of a longer time in which to arm, whereas Germany could only begin to arm 5 years before the outbreak of the war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first meet Hermann Göring?

MILCH: I believe in the year 1928.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he then? What position did he hold?

MILCH: He was then a member of the Reichstag.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what were you doing? What was your business?

MILCH: I was then Director of the German Lufthansa, a civil aviation concern.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you have some discussions with Hermann Göring at about that time as to the use of an Air Force if the Nazi Party came to power?

MILCH: At that very early time, no.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first discuss that with Göring?

MILCH: I believe Göring spoke to me on this subject in 1932, when a plan was formed to take over the government in 1932. It was believed already at that time that the other parties would form a government together with the National Socialists. On that occasion, I think, Göring did speak of the possibility of Germany being freed from armament restrictions, given a government at the helm which included the National Socialists.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Following that you became a member of the Nazi Party, did you not?

MILCH: I joined the Party only after 1933. When I again became an officer my membership lapsed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You waited until after they had seized the power?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you recall a conversation that you had with Hermann Göring on the 28th of January 1933?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where did that take place?

MILCH: In my own residence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he call upon you?

MILCH: I had guests in my house that evening, and he suddenly arrived because he wanted to talk to me very urgently.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And will you relate to the Tribunal the conversation that you had with Göring at that time?

MILCH: He told me that an agreement had now been reached with the other parties in question for the formation of a coalition government with the National Socialists. Reich President Von Hindenburg had agreed to the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in this government.

He asked me whether I would be ready to offer my collaboration in an Air Ministry to be set up. I proposed two other persons instead of myself, explaining that I did not wish to leave the Lufthansa. Göring rejected them and insisted that I place myself at his disposal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you agree to do so?

MILCH: I asked for his permission to think the matter over, and I made my consent dependent on whether Hitler would insist.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, what did Hitler do?

MILCH: I accepted on the 30th, after Hitler had told me once again that he considered my technical knowledge and ability in the field of aviation to be indispensable.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So, on the day that the Nazi Party came to power, you took over the task of building a Nazi air force, did you not?

MILCH: No, not an air force. The immediate problem was the linking up of all the various branches of aviation which existed at that time. For instance, there was one civil aviation transport company, or there might have been two. There were the aviation industries, the training schools for civilian pilots, the meteorological service, and I believe there were several research institutes. That, I think, covers the entire field of aviation of that time—but it had nothing to do with an air force.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Perhaps, I will say, you took over the task of making Germany predominant in the air?

MILCH: No, I cannot agree with that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Put it in your own way. Tell us what you did; what your object was in taking over this new task.

MILCH: My first task was to develop the various branches in order to build up a large air transport system.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You then made visits to France and England, and on your return reported to Hitler personally, did you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you returned from England, did you warn Hitler against the activities of Ribbentrop?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you tell Hitler about the activities of Ribbentrop in England?

MILCH: That I had gained the impression in England that Von Ribbentrop was not persona grata.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, when you were interrogated before, didn’t you state after your capture that you told Hitler that if he did not get rid of Ribbentrop soon he was going to have trouble with England? Is that not what you told Hitler in substance?

MILCH: I cannot now remember the exact words.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But is that not the sense of it?

MILCH: I was of the opinion that another man should be sent to England to bring about mutual understanding as to policy, in accordance with the wish so often expressed by Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Before you talked with Hitler about that, you had discussed it with Göring, had you not?

MILCH: With whom?


MILCH: About the journey? Or about what?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: About Ribbentrop.

MILCH: No, I did not discuss him with the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There came a time when some engineers were sent to Russia, were they not, to inspect the air construction there, factories, facilities, and that sort of thing?

MILCH: Yes, that is correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This was a group of engineers, and you had something to do with sending them there, did you not?

MILCH: No, I had nothing to do with that group. At that time technical research was not under my control.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Under whose orders were they?

MILCH: Under General Udet, who, in turn, was under the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when they came back, you learned that they had reported that Russia had greater capacity for building airplane engines than all six of the German factories, did you not?

MILCH: Yes, that is correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What order did Göring give about that information being made available even to the Führer?

MILCH: Göring did not believe the information at that time. I know that from the words of General Udet.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is it not a fact that you stated to the interrogators before that Göring called these experts defeatists, forbade them to repeat that information to anybody, and threatened them with the concentration camp if they repeated that information? Did you say that or didn’t you?

MILCH: I never said it in that form.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, use your own words and tell us just what Göring said on that subject.

MILCH: At a considerably later date, when the question of American armament figures came up, the Reich Marshal said to me, “Now, you too are going to turn defeatist and believe these large figures.” I told him then that I did indeed believe these figures; but that had nothing to do with the Russian matter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were those Russian figures ever reported to Hitler, to the Reichstag or in any way made public to the German people?

MILCH: The Russian figures? That I cannot say. I had nothing to do with the matter. The American figures were undoubtedly submitted to Hitler, but Hitler did not believe them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified on Friday, I believe, that you knew that the commencement of the war with Russia would mean the annihilation of Germany. I remind you of that, and that is correct, is it not?

MILCH: Not the destruction—the defeat. I think I said annihilation or defeat.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You went to Reich Marshal Göring to protest against the entrance into the Russian war, is that right?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did Göring agree with you that it would end in the defeat of Germany?

MILCH: No, he did not agree. He had to be extremely cautious in his statements in deference to his relations with Hitler. I told him the cause for Germany’s difficulties and he nodded. His words gave me the impression that he had already put the same arguments to Hitler, and that he had been unsuccessful.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In other words, he agreed with you that it would end with the defeat of Germany, but did not want it said to Hitler, is that right?

MILCH: No, I would not go as far as that. When I said that this meant the defeat of Germany, I was voicing the conclusion reached by me. He merely agreed that this war should be avoided at all costs and that it would prove a misfortune for Germany. That was the way he put it; he did not use the word “defeat” in this connection.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it mentioned by you?

MILCH: I mentioned that to open a second front against so strong an enemy would mean the defeat of Germany.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he disagree with you about that? Did he take issue with you about that?

MILCH: No, he did not argue about it, he only declared himself opposed to taking on anything else, as he considered it impossible to do so; what we thought would not make the slightest difference and it would only give Hitler the impression that we in the Luftwaffe were defeatists.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you did not attempt any further to convey the information, from which you thought Germany would be defeated if she entered into war with Russia, to Hitler or to any other officer of the High Command?

MILCH: It was impossible for me to do so. I could not act against the order of my superior officer.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Of the Reich Marshal?

MILCH: Yes, of the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, so far as you know, after his talk with you he never conveyed the information to Hitler that it was your opinion that the war would end in disaster?

MILCH: I had the impression that he had previously discussed the subject with Hitler but without any degree of success, because with Hitler that was impossible.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, but you had been abroad for Hitler and reported to him and he apparently had confidence in you, and I am asking you if Hermann Göring ever reported to Hitler that you, from your information, felt that it was a disaster to go into that war?

MILCH: My trips were not made at Hitler’s order. They were made in response to invitations from foreign governments to the Luftwaffe and at the order of the Reich Marshal. It was only because I was aware of the importance of these trips and because I incidentally heard political statements—in spite of my reluctance at the time, since they did not concern me as a soldier—that I thought it my duty to report personally to Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did Göring direct you to do that?

MILCH: To go to Hitler? Yes, Göring told Hitler about it and Hitler ordered me to report to him. I myself did not say, “I am now going to see Hitler,” but I received an order to that effect from Hitler himself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did not send you to Hitler until he knew what you were going to report?

MILCH: No, he himself had . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he did know?

MILCH: He himself had no cognizance of the subject. He had no time to receive me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring had no time to receive you?

MILCH: No. Göring at that time had many other matters on hand and he did not want to hear about these things.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he left that to Hitler, who was not busy, I take it. Is that true?

MILCH: Hitler was interested in the matter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you told us in interrogations that Göring was not very industrious. Is that correct?

MILCH: I should be very reluctant to answer that question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Very well, I withdraw it. It was not a kindly question to begin with. When you found that Germany was going into a war which you, an informed officer, considered a disaster, did you resign?

MILCH: Resign? What from?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Resign your commission as an officer or take any other steps to protest?

MILCH: No, that was absolutely impossible. There was an order which ruled it impossible.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who gave that order?

MILCH: Hitler himself.

MR, JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you said you had experienced this yourself.

MILCH: Not only in my own case. The order applied generally.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said on Friday that you experienced it yourself, that you could not resign.

MILCH: No; one could not resign.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you try it at any time?

MILCH: I frequently applied for my discharge in peacetime. My resignation, however, was not accepted, the reason given being that I had no right to ask for it, but that I would be told by higher authorities when I had to go. During the war I never applied for my discharge, because as a soldier in wartime I could not apply for it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not have some talk with Göring at one time about retiring from your position, in which he not only forbade you to leave, but also told you there would be no use in feigning ill health?

MILCH: Yes. There was no possibility of giving this as the reason unless one was really ill. When retiring from a high position it had been customary in the past to plead ill health. Now this was no longer possible.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did suggest to you in that discussion one way out, did he not?

MILCH: No, he did not suggest a way out, but I did.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you suggest? What talk did you have about suicide? Did Göring tell you that the only way you could get out was to commit suicide?

MILCH: That would have been the only possible way out.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, did Göring tell you that?

MILCH: No, I said that; not he.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did not disagree with you, I take it.

MILCH: No. He did not care if I did or not.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you have the regulations with you, which you say were printed for the information of every soldier, about international law and regulations. You have them with you this morning?

MILCH: I have them with me; the regulations are contained in my service book, the same as for every soldier.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You gave us a little information about that, but I would like you to get that out and give us exactly the text of those instructions or regulations, which you say reflect international law as you understood it.

MILCH: Do you want me to read it out now? The quotation . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not too fast.


“Ten Commandments for the Conduct of the German Soldier in War.

“1. The German soldier fights chivalrously for the victory of his people. Cruelty and needless destruction are unworthy of him.

“2. The fighter must wear a uniform, or else he must be provided with insignia visible from a good distance. Fighting in civilian clothes without such insignia is prohibited.

“3. No enemy once he has surrendered shall be killed, not even a partisan or a spy. The courts will administer the just punishment.

“4. Prisoners of war must not be maltreated or insulted. Weapons, plans and notes are to be taken from them. Apart from these, none of their possessions may be taken from them.

“5. Dum-dum bullets are prohibited. Bullets may not be transformed into dum-dum bullets.

“6. The Red Cross is inviolable. Wounded enemies must be treated humanely. Medical orderlies and chaplains must not be hindered in the performance of their medical and spiritual functions.

“7. The civilian population is inviolable. The soldier must not plunder or wantonly destroy. Historical monuments and buildings dedicated to religious service, art, science, or charity must be treated with special care. Personal services and services in kind shall only be required of the civilian population against compensation, and if ordered by the superior officer.

“8. Neutral territory must not be militarily involved by trespassing, by planes flying over it, or by gunfire.

“9. If a German soldier is captured, he must state his name and rank when questioned. Under no circumstances may he say to what unit he belongs, or speak about military, political, or economic conditions on the German side, neither may he allow himself to be induced to do so by threats or promises.

“10. Any contravention of these orders while on active service is punishable. Breaches by the enemy of the rules listed under 1 to 8 are to be reported. Reprisals are permissible only by order of the higher commanders.”

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now that, as you understand it, is the military law conforming with international law, which was promulgated for the governance of the troops in the field?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you understood, and it was generally understood in the German Army, that that was international law, was it not?

MILCH: Every soldier could not help knowing that these were the German regulations because they were pasted on the first sheet of the pay book, issued to every soldier, and which he had to carry on him. The common soldier, of course, did not know that they represented international law.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The higher commanders, like yourself did, didn’t they?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That represented your understanding and interpretation of your duties and obligations as honorable men in combat?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, did you participate in the activities of Hermann Göring in collecting the art treasures of France and other occupied territories?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you participate in the removal of the civilian population for forced labor?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that was done, do you not?

MILCH: I did not know that the workers who came from foreign countries had been deported; we were told that they had been recruited on a voluntary basis. In the case of France, I know that up to a certain date the French had wanted to come, but after that date they no longer wanted to come, and that the French Government itself had issued directives to deal with this.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Aside from that, then, you did not know anything about involuntary or forced labor in Germany? Is that your testimony?

MILCH: No. I only knew that . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Tell us what you did know about it and what you did about it.

MILCH: I knew that those people had been recruited and that they had come voluntarily. I knew that many of them were very satisfied, but as time went on and the German military situation deteriorated, discontent began to set in among these foreign workers, although, according to the information which reached my ears, only a small group was affected. I would add that in a general way, we ascribed this ill feeling to the fact that the food for these people was not everything they could wish; consequently, sundry organizations, with Speer’s ministry at the head, made efforts to improve their living conditions.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have not yet answered my question. Did you know that forced labor was being brought from occupied territories and compelled to work in German industry? Did you know it? Answer that “yes” or “no.”

MILCH: I knew that only in the end Frenchmen were forced by their own French Government to come.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that prisoners of war were forced to work in the airplane industry, and were actually forced to man guns? Did you know that?

MILCH: I did hear about it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you heard about it from your fellow officers, did you not?

MILCH: At the moment I cannot say from whom I heard it. I believe there was a group which I think was called “Volunteers.” As far as I know it was recruited on a voluntary basis from among those prisoners of war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you learn about—even if you did not participate in it—the plan for the collection of art treasures from the occupied countries?

MILCH: No. I knew nothing of this plan as it then existed. I first heard about it here in Nuremberg through some of the witnesses.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now I want to ask you some questions about certain exhibits; I refer to Document Number 343-PS, Exhibit USA-463. I will ask to have that exhibit shown to you.

[Document 343-PS was submitted to the witness.]

MILCH: These letters are signed by me and they are also written on my stationery. They must have been drafted by the Medical Inspection department. As I said a few days ago, I no longer remember the contents. I should only like to say that the answers were drafted in such a way as not to lead us, the Air Force, into any difficulties with Herr Himmler. For instance, I never read the statements made by Dr. Rascher and Dr. Romberg. They were read by the Medical Inspectorate. In this connection I acted, so to speak, as postman between the SS and our Medical Inspection department.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you testified, on interrogation, you had no recollection of these letters; but on Friday you testified that you made some alterations in one of them before it went out. Do you want to tell us what that alteration was?

MILCH: Yes, some of these letters were submitted to me during my interrogation and it was then that I first remembered it. The changes which I made were merely a matter of courtesy in style, in view of Herr Himmler’s extreme susceptibility. I do not think that either of these two letters contains the alteration; that, I believe, was in another letter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It was the other letter in which there was a change, Number 1607?

MILCH: I believe so, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, in your examination, your interrogation, you gave a reason why these were brought to you for signature instead of being signed by the bureau chiefs. Do you remember what that reason was?

MILCH: Yes. I had the impression that the Medical Inspector did not wish to address his refusal to Himmler because he was afraid; whereas Himmler had written to me because he always wrote only either to the Reich Marshal or to me, as he was unacquainted with the organization of the Luftwaffe in this particular sphere, for the Medical Inspector was not subordinate to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I understand from your interrogation that you gave as the reason why these letters were brought to you for signature, that your office was in fear of Himmler and did not want to take the responsibility of writing a letter to him, is that right?

MILCH: Not my office, but I think the Medical Inspection department did not wish to place themselves in an awkward position as concerns Himmler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I think you also said that the officials of that department were afraid of the SS.

MILCH: That is what I wished to express.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were they engaged in any illegal conduct or any activity against the government?

MILCH: I did not understand that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were those people who were afraid . . .

MILCH: Who? The Medical Inspection department? No.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were responsible officials doing their duty, as far as you know, is that right?

MILCH: Yes, Mr. Justice; but one must bear in mind the things which had come to pass during the war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is exactly what I want you to think about and tell about. Why were these people, who were performing their duties in a government office, afraid of Himmler or afraid of the SS? Explain that situation to us.

MILCH: Not afraid of the SS as such, but of the secret police. It was not easy for any of us. We were all convinced that we were being constantly watched, no matter how high our rank. There was probably not a single person concerning whom a dossier was not kept, and many people were subsequently brought to trial as a result of these records. The ensuing difficulties did not affect only these people or other people or me personally; they included everybody right up to the Reich Marshal, who also was affected by them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So you mean that from the Reich Marshal right down to the humblest citizen, there was fear of Heinrich Himmler and his organization?

MILCH: Well, the degree of fear may have varied. It was perhaps not so great among those in the highest and in the lowest positions. But things were far more difficult in the intermediate grades, since it was quite clear that the intermediate grades criticized everything that occurred and these criticisms were not tolerated by the authorities at the top.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I take it, from your testimony, that the reputation of the Gestapo was pretty well understood in Germany.

MILCH: Particularly so in the later war years. I could not say how far this feeling was justified, but at all events the feeling was there.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I think you also testified that some high military authorities did resign. I call your attention to your testimony in your interrogation by us about Von Fritsch and Beck. They resigned, didn’t they?

MILCH: No, they did not resign. They were removed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were thrown out, is that it?

MILCH: Yes. They were told they were no longer needed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understood you to testify in your interrogation that even the generals did not dare utter an opinion after those two left.

MILCH: No, I never put it like that. I cannot remember what I said. I should be grateful if I could see the minutes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I have them. I will ask you if you were not asked these questions and gave these answers:

“Question: From your knowledge of discussions in army circles among the Air Force and the General Staff people whom you knew, could you form any opinion as to their attitude for the beginning of war? Would they share your view?”

The minutes show that you answered:

“All officers agreed with me unanimously. All the higher officers agreed with me. A long time ago, in 1937, I talked to Field Marshal Von Blomberg about the danger of a war because of the careless policy of our statesmen. At that time we feared that England or France would not tolerate that policy in the long run. On the 1st of November 1937, I had a long discussion with Von Blomberg about this matter, and he was of the same opinion.”

MILCH: Yes, I remember.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is true? You were then asked this question:

“Is it true that after General Fritsch and General Beck left their offices, the positions in the Army were subordinated to the political personalities?”

MILCH: No, they had always been subordinate. The Army was always changed in this respect. The head of the State was at the same time the Supreme Commander.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At the time you were interrogated, your answer was this:

“Yes, because Hitler took over personally the Supreme Command of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. That was the position that was held by Von Blomberg before. Blomberg was in a position to resist Hitler, and he had done so very often, and Hitler respected him and listened to his advice. Blomberg was the only elderly soldier who was clever enough to reconcile military and political questions. This resistance . . .”

MILCH: Yes, that was my conviction.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: [Continuing.] “. . .This resistance could not be kept up by the men around Hitler later on. They were too weak for that. That is probably why he chose them.”

Is that true?

MILCH: That is my opinion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: [Continuing.] “Question: Did the generals with whom you associated not feel, even before 1939, that the course of action which was being taken by Hitler would be likely to result in a war?

“Answer: Those who were able to think in foreign political terms, yes; but they had to be very cautious about it, because they could not utter any opinion; they dared not utter any opinion.”

Is that right?

MILCH: Correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And of what were the high generals in command of the Army afraid, that they did not utter an opinion?

MILCH: The generals would not have had a chance to report anything to Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who would have done anything about it? There were many generals and only one Hitler. Who was going to carry out any orders against them?

MILCH: It was just not possible. Hitler was so powerful that he just turned down other people’s objections or else refused to listen to them at all.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Hitler had the SS, didn’t he, and Himmler and Kaltenbrunner?

MILCH: Yes, he had them as well. In addition he had the entire Wehrmacht who had sworn an oath of allegiance to him.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you said in your interrogation that after the 5th of March 1943, Hitler was no longer normal. Did you make that statement?

MILCH: I said that, in my opinion, the Hitler of the later years was not the Hitler of the early period from 1933 until the outbreak of war, and that after the campaign against France a change came over him. I formed this opinion, which was a purely private one, because what he did afterwards was diametrically opposed to what he had previously taught; and that I could not consider normal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you want us to understand that Göring continued to act as second man in the Reich and to take the orders from an abnormal man from that period on? Is that your story?

MILCH: The abnormality was not such that one could say, “this man is out of his senses,” or, “this man is insane”; it would not have to reach that stage. It often happens that abnormalities are such that they escape both the public and the nearest associates. I believe that a doctor would be better able to give information on that subject. I talked to medical men about it at the time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was their opinion that he was abnormal?

MILCH: That there was a possibility of abnormality was admitted by a doctor whom I knew well, personally.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: A doctor of repute in Germany?

MILCH: No, he is not very well known. He never told anybody else. It would not have been wise to do so.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If he had, he would have been put in a concentration camp, I suppose?

MILCH: Or worse.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And if you had expressed your opinion that he was abnormal, you probably would have been put there also, would you not?

MILCH: I would have been shot immediately.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON; So you never dared to tell your superior, Göring, your opinion about Hitler?

MILCH: I only once had an opportunity of stating my views about the war to Hitler. That was the only time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You informed Göring of your opinion?

MILCH: I talked to Göring. What I have just mentioned was a conversation I had with Hitler.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you do not—I think you misunderstood me—you do not mean that you informed Hitler that you considered him abnormal; I am sure you do not mean that.

MILCH: No, I did not tell Göring that either.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is what I said. You knew, did you not, that Göring, who was your immediate superior, was issuing the anti-Jewish decrees of the Reich Government?

MILCH: No, I did not know that. As far as I know, they emanated from a different office, from . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Didn’t you know that the decrees which excluded Jews and half-Jews from holding posts were issued by Göring?

MILCH: No, I did not know that. As far as I know, these regulations emanated from the Ministry of the Interior, which also would have been the proper department to deal with them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: As a matter of fact, did you not have to take certain proceedings to avoid the effect of those decrees yourself?

MILCH: No. I know what you mean. That was a question that had been cleared long ago.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long before that was it cleared?

MILCH: As far as I know, in 1933.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 1933, just after the Nazis came to power?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And at that time Göring had you—we will have no misunderstanding about this—Göring made you what you call a full Aryan; was that it?

MILCH: I do not think he made me one; I was one.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, he had it established, let us say?

MILCH: He had helped me in clearing up this question, which was not clear.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, your mother’s husband was a Jew; is that correct?

MILCH: It was not said so.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You had to demonstrate that none of your ancestry was Jewish; is that correct?

MILCH: Yes; everybody had to do that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in your case that involved your father, your alleged father; is that correct?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you certainly were informed from the very beginning of the attitude of the Nazi Party to Jews, were you not?

MILCH: No, I was not informed. Everybody had to submit his papers, and the certificate of one of my grandparents could not be found.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were never required to do that under the Weimar Republic?

MILCH: No, there was no such question at that time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that this whole question was raised by the Nazi Party, of which you became a member in 1933; in other words at about the time this happened. Is that right?

MILCH: I had applied for membership earlier, before this question came up.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you apply for membership?

MILCH: I do not know exactly—I think in March or April.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you had to clear up this question before you could become a member; wasn’t that the point?

MILCH: That had been cleared up in the meantime. I cannot say exactly when.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In 1933 you became aware of the concentration camp, the first one?

MILCH: Yes, I believe in 1933 there was a public announcement about it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And later, as I understand you, you heard so many rumors about concentration camps, that you thought the matter ought to be investigated; that you ought to go there and see?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was it that these rumors became so persistent that you thought the matter should be investigated?

MILCH: That must have been at the end of 1934 and in the spring of 1935, because, if I remember correctly, I was in Dachau in the spring of 1935.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those rumors persisted throughout the entire period until the collapse of Germany, didn’t they?

MILCH: Those rumors which led me to ask to visit Dachau were really only current in the circle of the higher officers, who passed them on to me. I had little contact with other circles; I cannot say to what extent the thing was generally discussed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, among the higher officers with whom you associated, the rumor went about that these concentration camps were the scene of atrocities as early as 1935. I understood you to say that; am I correct?

MILCH: No, not exactly. I said there . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, now you tell us what it was that you went to investigate.

MILCH: I was quite unable to conduct any investigation; all I could do was to see for myself—in order to dispel the many rumors—whether it was true that many people were shut up there who should not have been there at all, innocent people who were brought there for political reasons only. At that time there was much talk about many members of the so-called “Reaction” having been sent there. Some officers were very concerned about this, and I told them that I would go and see for myself to try to gain a personal insight.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not need to go to Dachau to find that out, did you? You could have asked Göring; didn’t you know that?

MILCH: To go where?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever ask Göring who were these people who were sent there?

MILCH: No. I did not talk to Göring about that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not know that Göring publicly said that political enemies of the regime were going to be sent there; that was what they were founded for; did you know that?

MILCH: I cannot say I ever heard that that had actually been said, but that was what I surmised at the time, and I wanted to see for myself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you found nobody there except criminals?

MILCH: All that I was shown were people who had committed crimes or rather serious offenses. The only political prisoners I saw were people who had taken part in the Röhm Putsch. Whether there were others, I am unable to say, because I cannot swear that I saw the entire camp. But we saw all we asked to see. We said, “Now I would like to see this, or that,” and the guide took us there.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: By whose authority did you get into the concentration camp for an examination?

MILCH; Himmler’s.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who asked Himmler if you could go?

MILCH: I do not understand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did Göring know that you were making the trip?

MILCH: I do not think so. I did not make a special trip. I had some business in southern Germany in my military capacity, and I set aside one morning for this purpose.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There were people in the concentration camp who had to do with the Röhm Putsch, as you call it?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many were there who had to do with that?

MILCH: I cannot say exactly. As far as I remember now, I should say that altogether I saw about four or five hundred people.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Four to five hundred people; and how many were killed?

MILCH: Well, I could not be too sure about this figure, there might easily have been 700. I estimate it at around that figure.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were killed in the Röhm Putsch?

MILCH: I can only give the figure which Hitler publicly stated in the Reichstag; I cannot say from memory. I may be right if I said the number ranged between 100 and 200.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now why were you so concerned about the concentration camps? Did you have any official responsibility for them?

MILCH: No, I had no responsibility whatsoever; but there was so much talk about them at the time that I decided I would find out for myself. I knew how many questions would be asked me, and I would not be able to answer them, so I said I would go there and see for myself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, Germany had ordinary prisons for criminal prisoners, had she not?

MILCH: Of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those prisons had sufficed for a good many years to take care of the criminal population, had they not?

MILCH: I could not say what their purpose was.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the concentration camp was something new that came in after 1933?

MILCH: Yes. It is true I never heard of anything like that in Germany before.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you see any Jews in the concentration camp when you inspected it?

MILCH: Yes; there was one hut which contained Jews, but they all were under heavy sentences for economic misdemeanors and crimes, such as forging documents, and so on. We passed right through, and each one told us, without even being asked, what his sentence was and the reason for it, and not one of them told us that he was there for political reasons. The only political prisoners were the SA men.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You could not find a single prisoner there who claimed he was innocent of a crime?

MILCH: No; everyone with whom we spoke related his case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who accompanied you on that trip?

MILCH: As far as I remember, General Weber, who at that time was Chief of the General Staff. I believe also General Udet and several other gentlemen. But at the moment I do not remember who they were.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who showed you through the concentration camp? Who guided you?

MILCH: I cannot recollect his name. It was one of the officials of the SD. I assume it was the commander of the camp himself, but I do not know his name.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was running the concentration camp? What organization was in charge of it?

MILCH: I could not say, but I presume it was one of Himmler’s offices.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have said that the march into the Rhineland was a great surprise to you?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where were you on your leave when this occurred?

MILCH: I was on winter leave in the mountains, abroad.


MILCH: No, no.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In which country?

MILCH: I was in the Alps; I believe it was Southern Tyrol, which, at that time, was Italy.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not hear of a meeting the minutes of which are in evidence here as Exhibit GB-160 (Document Number EC-405), concerning the Reich Defense Council meeting held on the 26th of June 1935, some nine months before the occupation of the Rhineland?

MILCH: I cannot say whether I was present. I can no longer remember.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There were, according to the evidence, 24 members of the Wehrmacht and five members of the Luftwaffe present, as well as 24 State and Party officials. Were you one of those present at that conference at which this discussion took place?

MILCH: May I ask again for the date?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 26th of June 1935.

MILCH: I cannot remember. I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever learn of that meeting?

MILCH: At the moment I really cannot remember. What is supposed to have been said at that meeting?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That the preparations for the occupation of the Rhineland were to be kept secret, and the plan was made to invade the Rhineland. Did you never learn of that meeting?

MILCH: I cannot remember that. I do not think I was present.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If your Honors please, the usual time for adjournment is here. I intend to take up a different subject involving some documents. It might be a convenient time to adjourn.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I want to ask you some questions regarding your duties and activities on the Central Planning Board. You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what was the period of your membership?

MILCH: From the beginning—I believe that was in the year 1941 or 1942—until the end.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Members of that Board, in addition to yourself, were the Defendant Speer?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Defendant Funk?

MILCH: Yes, but only later.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did he come on the Board?

MILCH: At the moment when a large part of the civil production was turned over to the Speer Ministry, the Ministry for Armament.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Körner? Körner was a member of the Board?

MILCH: Körner? Yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was Dr. Sauer?

MILCH: Sauer was an official in the Speer Ministry, but he did not belong to the Central Planning Board.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But he did keep some of the minutes, did he not?

MILCH: No; I think he did not keep them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Sauckel frequently attended the meetings, did he not?

MILCH: Not frequently, but occasionally.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were the functions of the Central Planning Board?

MILCH: The distribution of raw materials to the various groups which held quotas, such as the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and for civilian requirements for various branches such as industry, mining, industrial and private building, et cetera.


MILCH: Pardon me, labor? We did not have to distribute that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It had nothing to do with labor? Do I understand you correctly?

MILCH: We could make suggestions, but not the distribution.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean by that, not the distribution amongst different industries which were competing to obtain labor?

MILCH: That was a point which concerned Armaments more than the Central Planning Board.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that Speer turned over to the United States all of his personal papers and records, including the minutes of this Central Planning Board?

MILCH: I did not know that; I hear it now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that the minutes, volumes of minutes which constitute U.S. Document R-124, offered in evidence as French Exhibit Number RF-30, be made available for examination by the witness in the original German; I shall ask you some questions about it.


[Document R-124 was submitted to the witness.]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If you will point out to the witness Page 1059, Line 22.

This, Witness, purports to be the minutes of Conference Number 21 of the Central Planning Board, held on the 30th of October 1942 at the Reich Ministry of Armament and Munitions, and the minutes show you to have been present. Do you recall being there at that meeting?

MILCH: In that one sentence, I cannot see it, but I can well assume it. Yes. I see here in the minutes that my name is frequently mentioned.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention—Page 1059, Line 22−to the following entry and ask you if this refreshes your recollection about the functions of that Board:

“Speer: The question of slackers is another point to be dealt with. Ley has ascertained that the number of people reporting sick decreased to one-fourth or one-fifth where there are factory doctors and the workers are examined by them. SS and Police could go ahead with the job and put those known as slackers into undertakings run by concentration camps. There is no other choice. Let it happen a few times, and the news will go round.”

Were you not concerned with the discussion of the labor situation in that conference, and does that not refresh your recollection as to the dealing with the labor question?

MILCH: I do recall that the question of slackers as a whole was discussed. It was rather a question of slackers, workers, people, who while not normally employed in peacetime, as a result of the total mobilization of manpower, were compelled to work during the war. Among these people, who did not belong to the ranks of the workers, I repeat that there were some slackers who upset the good spirit of the workers. It was those people we had in mind.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Those were to be sent to concentration camps, as you know?

MILCH: Yes, I was told that. But no decision was arrived at. Moreover, it was not for us to send anybody to a concentration camp.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, was it not said that there was nothing to be said against the SS taking them over? You knew that the SS was running the concentration camps, did you not?

MILCH: Yes, of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, therefore, you knew that turning them over to the SS and sending them to the concentration camps was a means of forcing them to produce more goods, was it not?

MILCH: Yes, of course, these people should be forced to do so. They were Germans who refused to do their duty to their country.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did this apply only to Germans?

MILCH: As far as I know this applied to Germans only. By slackers—they were also called casual workers—was meant only those people who went from place to place, who practically every week changed their job and who were reported to us mainly by the representatives of our own workers. Our own workers complained that these people availed themselves of all privileges as to food, et cetera, while they did not do anything, that they always gave up their jobs soon, and that every establishment was glad to get rid of them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And got rid of them by sending them to the concentration camps under the SS?

MILCH: They had to be taught, and we were told that if these people had their additional—not their basic—rations made dependent on their output, as was the case in the concentration camps, they would very quickly learn.

I do, however, remember that it was proposed to limit this treatment to 2 or 3 months, after which they would be brought back, and if they had learned their lesson they would be given full freedom again.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, did you have anything to do on the Central Planning Board with the work of prisoners of war?

MILCH: No; I do not think so.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I ask that you be shown the 22d conference of the Central Planning Board minutes of the meeting held on the 2d of November 1942, Page 1042, at Line 24, which quotes you. The English translation is on Page 27.

I ask you to refresh your recollection by reading this paragraph.

“Milch: I think that agriculture must get its labor quota. Assuming that we had given agriculture 100,000 more workers, we would now have 100,000 more people who would be decently fed, whereas, the human material we are now receiving, particularly the prisoners of war, are not sufficiently fit for work.”

Did you make that statement?

MILCH: I cannot remember details. But I suppose I did. I do not know if I have seen these minutes; but I know that we dealt with the question that agriculture, if possible, should get its workers because the food problem was so very important, and the farms could feed their people over and above the rations which the civilian population received. This proposal to put these people on the land was quite in accordance with my views, but these were merely suggestions by the Central Planning Board. I know Sauckel was present at that meeting. We also made suggestions to the armament representatives as to how their problems could be solved.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you made recommendations to the Reich Marshal, did you not?

MILCH: I cannot remember having done so, I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never did?

MILCH: I do not know, I cannot remember.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then you knew the Reich Marshal’s wishes in reference to the utilization of prisoners of war, did you not?

MILCH: That prisoners of war were also working was known to me. Especially on the land many prisoners of war were put to work.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you attend a meeting between the Führer and Minister Speer?

MILCH: On which date?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 5th of March 1944.

MILCH: The 4th of March?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 5th of March 1944.

MILCH: On the 5th of March, yes, I attended a meeting with the Führer. At that time there was a question of creating a “fighter” staff, that is, a general effort by the entire armament industry to produce as many fighter planes as possible.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, now I will ask that you be shown Speer’s memorandum of that meeting with the Führer at which General Bodenschatz and Colonel Von Below were also present. Were they not?

The English translation is on Page 35; the German on Page 139.

I call your attention to this paragraph:

“I told the Führer of the Reich Marshal’s wish to utilize the producing capacity of prisoners of war further by placing the Stalag under the SS, with the exception of the English and Americans? The Führer approves this proposal and has asked Colonel Von Below to take the necessary steps.”

I ask you how the SS could increase the production of the prisoners of war; what steps you expected to be taken?

Now, just answer my question. What steps did you expect the SS to take to increase the production of the prisoners of war?

MILCH: I cannot remember now. At any rate at that time we did not know what was being done by the SS—about their methods as we now know them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This was in March of 1944.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you have no knowledge of the methods by which the SS would be able to speed up production by prisoners of war. That is the way you want that to stand?

MILCH: No, that is not the way I want it to stand. I have to think this point over for a moment. I believe the point was whether or not prisoners of war should be made available. It was not a question of prisoners of war working for the SS, but of their being made available for work. That, I take it was the point.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Put at the disposal of the SS, you mean?

Well, let us go on to the 33d Conference by the Central Planning Board, held on the 16th of February 1943, at which Speer and Sauckel among others appear to have been present. The English translation is on Page 28; the German, Pages 2276 to 2307. There was at this meeting, to summarize, considerable discussion of the labor situation, first a report from Schreiber, and then Timm gave a general account of the labor situation, and I call your attention to your contribution on Page 2298 at the top.

MILCH: Yes, I have just read it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It is as follows:

“Milch: We have demanded that in the anti-aircraft artillery a certain percentage of personnel should consist of Russians. Fifty thousand in all should be brought in. Thirty thousand are already employed as gunners. This is an amusing thing, that Russians must work the guns . . .”

What was amusing about making the Russian prisoners of war work the guns?

MILCH: The words “We have demanded,” do not mean the Central Planning Board, but that Hitler made this demand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: “We” means Hitler?

MILCH: Yes, the German Government. And I myself find it strange that prisoners of war should be made to shoot at planes of their allies. We did not like it because it meant that these men could no longer work for us. We were opposed to their being used in the anti-aircraft artillery.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said: “This is an amusing thing that the Russians must work the guns.”

What was amusing about it?

MILCH: What is meant by amusing? . . . peculiar, strange, I cannot say, however, whether this word was actually used. I have not seen the minutes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention to the rest of your contribution.

“. . . 20,000 are still needed. Yesterday I received a letter from the Army High Command, stating: We cannot release any more men, we have not enough ourselves. Thus there is no prospect for us.”

Whom does “for us” refer to, if not to your industry requirements?

MILCH: I consider these minutes incorrect, it has never been discussed in this manner, it must be wrong. I cannot accept the minutes as they stand. To clarify this matter I may say that the proposal was to take people out of the armament industry and put them into anti-aircraft defense. We who were concerned with armament did not want to release these men and were opposed to it. That was the idea of the whole thing, and the OKH declared that they did not have enough people.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understand the sense of this to be that you applied for certain workmen for the armament industry and that the Army High Command refused to give you the men, saying that they are already employed making guns and on other work. Now, is that the sense of that, or is it not?

MILCH: No, not quite.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, just tell me what the sense of it is.

MILCH: As far as I remember, the armament industry was to release 50,000 Russian prisoners of war to the Air Force for anti-aircraft defense, and the armament industry could not spare these people.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid we must adjourn due to some technical difficulty.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, it may be convenient to you to know that we are going to rise at 4:30 today.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I hope to have finished before.

[Turning to the witness.] I will ask to have your attention called to Page 2297, in the English translation about Page 28, to your contribution, which reads as follows:

“Milch: There is of course a front also somewhere in the East. This front will be held for a certain time. The only useful thing the Russians will find in an area evacuated by us, is people. The question is whether the people should not generally be taken back as far as 100 kilometers behind the front line. The whole civilian population goes 100 kilometers behind the front.”

Do you find that?

MILCH: Yes, I have found it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I understood you this morning to state that it was a rule promulgated in your book that the civilian population should not be interfered with.

MILCH: From the last paragraph, according to which people were no longer to be employed on digging trenches, it appears that these people were last employed on this work. I cannot say what kind of people these were, only that they were already employed somewhere.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that. You knew that they were being used for that kind of work?

MILCH: So it says here. I do not remember it any more. It has been recorded in the minutes, provided they are correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew they were being used, the civilian population was being forced to dig trenches for your troops.

MILCH: Today I cannot remember any more, but at that time it was discussed according to the minutes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I will ask to have your attention called to the minutes of Conference Number 11 of the Central Planning Board, held on 22d of July 1942; German, Page 3062; English translation, 38.

First let me call your attention to the fact that at that meeting it appears that among those present were Speer, yourself, Körner. Did Körner represent the Reich Marshal?

MILCH: Yes, for the Four Year Plan; he was the representative for the Four Year Plan.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At all meetings of this Board, Körner represented the Reich Marshal did he not?

MILCH: Yes. He represented him as regards the Four Year Plan.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Sauckel was present, and representatives from the Iron Association, the Coal Association, and the Ministry for Armament and Munitions.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There was considerable discussion of the labor problem, and the requirements of those industries. On Page 3062 I call your attention to this entry:

“General Field Marshal Milch undertakes to accelerate the procuring of the Russian prisoners of war from the camps.”

I ask you what measures you expected to take to accelerate procuring prisoners of war from the camps.

MILCH: As I was a soldier I undertook to submit this question to the OKW, which was in charge of prisoners of war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not personally deal with the prisoners of war, but you undertook to obtain them from the OKW?

MILCH: The government had put these prisoners of war at our disposal for work. The transfer was very slow, and as we had to deal with the OKW in this matter, I was asked and I undertook to request the OKW to speed up the transfer.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now let us turn to Conference Number 36, dated 22d of April 1943; the English translation, Page 13; German, 2125. There again I call your attention to the fact that Speer, yourself, Sauckel, and Körner were among those present. There again you discussed the labor problem, did you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Körner reported as follows:

“On 1 April agriculture was still in need of about 600,000 workers. To cover this, labor from the East, mainly women, should be brought in. This labor must be supplied before we take other workers away from agriculture. We are now approaching a very busy season in work on the land which requires many workers,”—and considerably more, which I will not take the time to quote.

I call your attention to Page 2128, your contribution to that discussion, which reads as follows:

“If you do what I proposed and what has also been agreed to by Timm, no harm can be done. It should definitely be done. Moreover, I am also of the opinion that in any circumstances we have to bring in workers for coal mining. The bulk of the labor we are going to receive from the East, will be women. The women from the East are, however, accustomed to agricultural work, particularly to the kind of work which will have to be done during the next few weeks, that is, hoeing and planting of root crops, et cetera. We can use women quite well for this. Only one thing has to be kept in mind—agriculture must get the women before the men are taken away. It would be wrong to take men away and to leave the farmers without labor for 4 to 6 weeks. If the women come after that, it will be too late.”

I ask you how many women were transported to agriculture as a result of this conference?

MILCH: As a result of this conference none at all, as only suggestions were put forward by us for an arrangement between industry and agriculture to procure the necessary labor for the former. Without the necessary labor in the coal-mining industry the war could not be carried on. Therefore labor had to be found, and in this respect a suggestion was made for an exchange, namely, to replace men engaged in agriculture by women, who, of course, could not be put to work in the mines.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom did you make these suggestions? You say they were not decisions but just suggestions.

MILCH: No. The suggestions were made to representatives of the Ministry of Labor or to the Office for the Allocation of Labor. I see Timm is mentioned. He was one of the higher officials in this ministry.


MILCH: I do not know whether Sauckel attended that conference. I see only Timm’s name.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It appears from the minutes that he was there; but whether he was or not, you made suggestions to Sauckel as to the needs for labor, did you not, and called upon him to supply them?

MILCH: Yes; it was necessary to get workers for coal mining. New workers could not be found, thus there was no alternative but to make an exchange.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: We understand you. You will save a great deal of our time if you will just answer the questions.

Now I call your attention to Conference Number 54 of the Central Planning Board, held on 1 March 1944; English translation Page 1, German Page 1762. At this conference I remind you that it appears that Sauckel, Milch, Schreiber, and Körner were among those present. It was held at the Air Ministry and you discussed the desirability of draining off young men from France so that they would not be available to act as partisans in case there was an invasion by the Allies of French territory.

Do you recall such a meeting?

MILCH: I cannot remember details. In the course of other interrogations here in Nuremberg and in England I already stated that it is impossible to remember in detail all these matters, which were heaped upon us, especially as my memory has suffered through heavy blows on the head received at the time of my capture.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It will help you if you will refer to Page 1799, opposite the name “Milch” and read the entry, as follows:

“Milch: If landings take place in France and more or less succeed, we will have in France a partisan uprising, such as we never had in the Balkans or in the East, not because the people are particularly able to carry it through, but because we allow them to do so by failing to deal with them in the right manner. Four entire age groups have grown up in France, men between 18 and 23, that is, of an age when young people, for patriotic reasons or because they have been stirred up, are prepared to do anything to satisfy personal hatred—and it is only natural that they do hate us. These young men should have been registered according to age groups and brought to us, as they constitute the greatest danger in the event of a landing.

“I am firmly convinced, and have said so several times, that if and when the invasion starts, acts of sabotage to railways, works, and supply bases will be a daily occurrence. The Wehrmacht, however, will then no longer be able to deal with this internal situation, as it will have to fight at the front and will have in its rear a very dangerous enemy who will threaten supplies, et cetera. If severe executive measures had been taken, all would have been as quiet as the grave behind the front at a time when things were about to happen. I have drawn attention to this several times, but I am afraid nothing is being done. When we have to start shooting these people, it will already be too late. We shall no longer have the men to polish off the partisans.”

You then go on to state that you think the Army should handle the executive action required in rounding up these people. Does that refresh your recollection?

MILCH: Yes, that was roughly what I meant to say, but I cannot say whether I used these very words. In this life and death struggle of our country we had to make sure that we were not suddenly stabbed in the back by a secret army, as unfortunately happened later on.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you proposed to eliminate the population behind the lines insofar as they might constitute a menace to your operations in this invasion?

MILCH: No, it was proposed to send these people at the right time to work in Germany, as had been promised by the French Government. That was my view. It was necessary that these people should come to work in Germany, as the French Government had promised in its agreement with the German Government, instead of allowing these people to join the Maquis and commit sabotage, which would necessitate shootings as a countermeasure.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not confine your use of forced labor to your enemies; it was also applied against your own allies, was it not? For example turn to Page 1814, and did you not contribute to this discussion?

“Milch: Would not the S-factories”—that is, protected factories—“be better protected if we handle the whole problem of feeding the Italians and tell them: ‘You will get your food only if you work in S-factories or come to Germany.’ ”

MILCH: That was after a part of Italy had broken away, and it applied to Italian soldiers who had declared themselves against Mussolini. These people remained behind the front, did not want to work, and committed sabotage against the German Armed Forces. Thus it was proposed to say to these people, “You will have your food and everything else provided, but you will have to work somewhere, either in Italy in the iron ore mines, or in Germany.”

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you said in your direct examination, or perhaps earlier in your cross-examination, that you did not know about any forced labor from occupied territory, you had no knowledge of that. Is that still your statement?

MILCH: I did not quite understand that. Forced labor?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Forced labor, yes.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not know about it?

MILCH: These people were prisoners of war, Italians, who were at our disposal for work according to an agreement with the Italian Government which we had recognized. Mussolini had expressly put these men at our disposal for this purpose.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Excuse me for interrupting you, but let us not bother with Mussolini here. I ask you whether you still stand by the statement you made earlier, as I recall it, that you did not know of any forced labor brought in from the occupied countries to Germany. Is that your statement, or is it not?

MILCH: Insofar as they were free workers and free people, I still maintain this. My point is that these were people who had been placed at our disposal, and, Mr. Justice, as far as we are concerned, at the time this was said there was still an Italian Government, though this fact is forgotten today; but at that time it still existed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I ask that your attention be brought to Page 1827 of the minutes of this meeting at which you were present, and where the discussion you just admitted took place; and I call your attention to the line opposite the name “Sauckel,” from which it appears that Sauckel then reported: “Out of the 5 million foreign workers who arrived in Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily.”

MILCH: No, I cannot remember that at all.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not have any recollection of that? All right.

MILCH: No, I have no recollection of that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will go on then to Conference Number 23 of the Central Planning Board, held the 3rd of November 1942. It is the English translation, Page 27. The German text is on Page 1024, in which it appears that you were present at and participated in the discussion, and I call your attention to Page 1024, Line 10, to these entries of the stenographic minutes:

“Speer: Well, under the pretext of industry we could deceive the French into believing that we would release all prisoners of war who are rollers and smelters if they give us the names.

“Rohland: We have installed our own office in Paris. I see, you mean the French should give the names of the smelters who are prisoners of war in Germany?

“Milch: I would simply say, you get two men in exchange for one.

“Speer: The French firms know exactly which prisoners of war are smelters. Unofficially, you should create the impression that they would be released. They give us the names and then we get them out. Have a try.

“Rohland: That is an idea.”

Now, your contribution was to want two men in place of one; is that right?

MILCH: Yes; that is to say, two people from another trade for one of these particular skilled workers. In what straits we were, you can see from . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was your entire objective?

MILCH: The entire purpose was to get these people and to give them others in exchange.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, let us take up Conference Number 53 of the Planning Board, held the 16th of February 1944; English translation, Page 26, and the German from Page 1851 on. You will find yourself included among those who were present and it was at the Reich Air Ministry that it was held. I first call your attention to the entry on Page 1863, the words opposite “Milch”:

“The armament industry employs foreign workers in large numbers; according to the latest figures, 40%. The latest allocations from the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor are mostly foreigners and we had to give up many German workers in the recruitment drive. Particularly the aircraft industry, which is a young industry, employs a great many young men who should be called up. This will, however, be very difficult, as those working for experimental stations cannot be touched. In mass production, the foreign workers preponderate and in some instances represent 95 percent and even more; 88 percent of the workers engaged in the production of our newest engines are Russian prisoners of war and the 12 percent are German men and women. On the Ju-52, which are now regarded as transport planes only, and the monthly production of which is from 50 to 60 machines, only six to eight German workers are engaged; the rest are Ukrainian women who have lowered the record of production of skilled workers.”

Do you recall that?

MILCH: Yes, I can remember that distinctly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And on Page 1873, you come forward with this suggestion:

“Milch: The list of slackers should be handed to Himmler. He will make them work all right. This is of a great general educational importance, and has also a deterrent effect on others who would also like to shirk.”

MILCH: Yes, this applies again to the slackers in agriculture as I mentioned this morning.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Among foreign workers, was it not?

MILCH: No; these were Englishmen, the slackers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Englishmen are foreigners in Germany, are they not? I do not know what you mean, they were not foreigners. They were Englishmen.

MILCH: Englishmen never worked for us. So they cannot have been Englishmen.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were they? You say they were all German.

MILCH: What we understood as slackers were those people who were compelled to work during the war, Germans who normally were not regular workers, but were forcibly made to work during the war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: We will get to that in a minute. First, I want to ask you how Himmler was going to make them work. What did Himmler do, what methods did Himmler use? Why were you making proposals to Himmler in this matter?

MILCH: Because Himmler at a meeting had stated that as regards supplementary rations—the worker in Germany had the same basic rations as the rest of the population, and apart from this he received quite considerable additions which in the case of those doing the heaviest work were several times the normal basic rations. The general routine was that these rations were issued by food offices, irrespective of where and how the individual was working. The suggestion was made by Himmler that these additions should be made dependent upon the output of the workers. This was possible in the case of those workers who came from concentration camps, et cetera, and were under Himmler. This procedure could not be applied to free workers; hence the proposal to bring to reason those who sabotaged work in their own country, by issuing additional rations, as laid down for their type of work, only in proportion to their output.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know the difference between labor camps and concentration camps, do you not?

MILCH: Yes, of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And these people who were doing work in these industries were kept mainly in the work camps, were they not, in which their rations were controlled without Himmler’s hands being in it at all?

MILCH: No; the German workers were not kept in labor camps but they lived at home and, therefore, received their additional rations from the local food offices. I want to stress again that it was the German workers themselves who asked that measures be taken—the factory foremen, who were infuriated to see that people who did not do anything, who let their country down in times of stress, received more rations than ordinary civilians.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You still say that all you are talking about were German and never foreign workers. Now, be clear about that.

MILCH: By slackers I meant German workers; in my opinion, only these were in question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I ask that your attention be called to Page 1913: This is your contribution at that point:

“Milch: It is therefore quite impossible to utilize every foreigner fully unless we make them do piecework and are in a position to take measures against foreigners who are not doing their bit.”

Do you find that entry?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And then you proceed to complain that:

“If a foreman lays his hands on a prisoner of war and boxes his ears, there is at once a terrible row; the man is put in prison, and so on. There are many officials in Germany who consider it their first duty to stand up for other men’s human rights instead of looking after war production. I, too, am for human rights, but if a Frenchman says, ‘You fellows will be hanged and the works manager will be the first to have his head cut off’ and then if the boss says, ‘I’ll give him one for that,’ then he is in for it. Nobody sides with the manager, but only with the ‘poor devil’ who said that to him.”

Did you report that to the meeting?

MILCH: That may well be the case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you suggest?

MILCH: I can remember cases where foreign workers threatened and even assaulted their German foreman, and when he defended himself action was taken against him. I did not think it right.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you provided your own remedy, did you not? In the next line you say:

“I told my engineers, ‘If you do not hit a man like this, then I shall punish you. The more you do in this respect, the more I shall think of you; I shall see to it that nothing happens to you.’ This has not yet gone round. I cannot talk to every works manager individually. But I should like to see some one try to stop me, as I can deal with anyone who tries it.”

Do you find that?

MILCH: I cannot remember the exact words but I stick to the point that it was an impossible situation for a prisoner or foreign worker to be able to say to his German foreman, “We will cut your throat,” and the foreman . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, do you mean to say that if a prisoner of war attempted or threatened to cut his employer’s throat, that German officers would stand up for him as against the employer? You do not mean that, do you?

[There was no response.]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will go on:

“If the small works manager”—I am still quoting from you—“does that, he is put into a concentration camp . . .”

Do you find that?

MILCH: Yes, I see it here.


“. . . and runs the risk of having his prisoners of war taken from him.”

Now, I am still quoting you and I want you to find the entry.

“In one case, two Russian officers took off with an airplane but crashed. I ordered that these two men be hanged at once. They were hanged or shot yesterday. I left that to the SS. I wanted them to be hanged in the factory for the others to see.”

Do you find that?

MILCH: I have found it, and I can only say I have never had anybody hanged nor have I even given such an order. I could not possibly have said such a thing. I had nothing to do with this question. Neither do I know of any instance where two Russian officers tried to escape by plane.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is there anything else you would like to say with reference to that entry?

MILCH: No. I have nothing to say. I do not know anything about it and I also do not believe I ever said it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all that I have at the present time.

MR. G. D. ROBERTS (Leading Counsel for the United Kingdom): Witness, I have some questions on behalf of the British Delegation. My first point is this: You said on Friday that, beginning in 1935, an air force was built up in Germany for defensive purposes. Do you remember that?

MILCH: Yes; 1935.

MR. ROBERTS: And do you say that it remained on a defensive basis up to December 1939?


MR. ROBERTS: You do. I want you to listen to three pieces of evidence—speeches made by your chief, the Defendant Göring. I am quoting from the shorthand notes of the 8th of January, in the afternoon, on Page 2306. In May 1935, Göring said:

“I intend to create a Luftwaffe which, if the hour should strike, will burst upon the foe like an avenging host. The enemy must feel that he has lost even before he has started fighting.”

Does that sound like a defensive air force?

MILCH: No, that does not sound like it; but one has to distinguish between words and deeds.

MR. ROBERTS: I shall come to the deeds in a moment.


THE PRESIDENT: If there is any more of this laughter, the Court will have to be cleared.

MR. ROBERTS: On the 8th of July 1938 Göring, addressing a number of German aircraft manufacturers, said:

“War with Czechoslovakia is imminent; the German Air Force is already superior to the English Air Force. If Germany wins the war, she will be the greatest power in the world; she will dominate the world markets, and Germany will be a rich nation. To attain this goal risks must be taken.”

Does that sound like a defensive German Air Force? Does it?

MILCH: No, that certainly does not sound like it. I should like to be allowed to say something to that, when you have finished.

MR. ROBERTS: Please limit yourself, if you can, in the interest of time, to answering my question, which is very short. Now may I read you one further piece of evidence; the speech made by Göring on 14 October 1938, that is less than a month after the Munich Pact.

“Hitler has ordered me to organize a gigantic armament program, which would make all previous achievements appear insignificant. I have been ordered to build as rapidly as possible an air force five times as large as the present one.”

Does that sound like an air force for defensive purposes?

MILCH: This air force would have taken many years to build.

MR. ROBERTS: I suggest to you that your evidence on that point was grossly incorrect. I now want to come to my second point. You were present at the conference of chiefs of the services in the Chancellery on 23 May 1939?

MILCH: What was the date please?

MR. ROBERTS: I would like you to see the document, which is L-79. You did see it on Friday, I think.

MILCH: On 23 May, was it not?

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, that is right. I just want to remind you who else was present. There were the Führer, Göring, Raeder, Von Brauchitsch, Keitel, yourself, Halder, General Bodenschatz, Warlimont—was Warlimont the deputy for Jodl?

MILCH: I cannot say for whom he was there.

MR. ROBERTS: Very well—and others; I will not mention the names. Now, Witness, those were leaders of the German Armed Forces?

MILCH: May I say, as far as I can remember Field Marshal Göring was not present. I cannot remember.

MR. ROBERTS: He is down there as being present. You think he was not there?

MILCH: Yes. I cannot remember, but to my recollection I was sent there at the last moment to represent him.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, then, apart from Göring, if he was not there, those were mostly the leaders of the German forces, is that right?

MILCH: Yes. It was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and the OKW, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: Would you describe them, from your knowledge of them, as men of honor?


MR. ROBERTS: Is it one of the qualities of a man of honor that he keeps his word?


MR. ROBERTS: You knew, of course, did you not, that Germany had pledged her word to respect the neutrality of Belgium, of the Netherlands, and Luxembourg?

MILCH: I suppose so, but I did not know the various agreements.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you not know that less than a month before that meeting, namely on the 28th of April, Hitler in the Reichstag gave an assurance of his respect for the neutrality of a large number of countries, European countries, including the three I have mentioned? Did you not know that as a matter of history?

MILCH: I suppose so, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: We have seen the film, you know, in this Court, of that very occurrence with the Defendant Göring presiding as President of the Reichstag while that assurance was given.

MILCH: I have not seen the film. I do not know the film.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes. It is a German newsreel. Do you remember that at that conference Hitler said these words, which are well known to the Tribunal:

“The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by the Armed Forces. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored. . . . An effort must be made to deal the enemy a heavy or decisive final blow right at the start. Considerations of right or wrong, or treaties, do not enter into the matter.”

Do you remember those words being said?

MILCH: I cannot remember exactly what the words were. I know that it was a question of the Polish Corridor and Danzig, that in this connection Hitler explained what complications might follow in the West, and what he intended to do about it; but what he said in detail I can no longer remember.

MR. ROBERTS: Was any protest made by any of these honorable men at the breach of Germany’s pledged word?

MILCH: During this meeting it was impossible for anyone present to speak at all. Hitler addressed us from his desk, and after the speech he left the room. A discussion did not take place; he did not allow it.

MR. ROBERTS: You say it is impossible for an honorable man to protect his honor, Witness?

MILCH: I cannot remember Hitler’s actual words shown here.

MR. ROBERTS: Can you give the Tribunal your opinion of it?

MILCH: At this meeting I did not have the impression that Hitler said anything contrary to the obligations entered into. That I cannot remember.

MR. ROBERTS: Are you now saying that those minutes are wrong?

MILCH: No, I cannot say that either. I can only say I have no recollection of the exact words used. Whether the minutes are completely correct I do not know either. As far as I know they were recorded subsequently by one of the adjutants present.

MR. ROBERTS: Because we know that is exactly what Germany did 12 months after, when she broke her pledged word to Belgium, to the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and brought misery and death to millions. You know that now, do you not?

MILCH: That I know, yes; but as soldiers we had nothing to do with the political side. We were not asked about that.

MR. ROBERTS: Do you call the honoring of . . .

DR. RUDOLPH DIX (Counsel for the Defendant Schacht): I do not speak now for the Defendant Schacht, but for the entire Defense. I ask the Tribunal that the witness be questioned about facts, and not about his opinion as to moral standards.

THE PRESIDENT: He is being asked about facts.

MR. ROBERTS: You have just said that you know now—we know, that 12 months later Germany did violate the neutrality of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

MILCH: But we do not know what the reasons were for this, and what other obligations these countries might have entered into. It was not a job of the soldiers to judge this.

MR. ROBERTS: Was it not a job of the soldier to object if he was asked to break his country’s word?

MILCH: I fully agree with you, if a soldier breaks his word in matters which are his province and where he has a say as a soldier. As regards matters quite outside his province, which he cannot judge and about which he knows nothing, he cannot be made responsible and called to account.

MR. ROBERTS: You can only speak for your own knowledge. Are you saying that you did not know that your country was pledged to observe the neutrality of these three small countries?

MILCH: That I have read in the Reichstag speech. But I did not know how the other side had reacted to that promise. It was not known to me, and it could easily be that the other side did not at all want this protection, or this promise, or this guarantee. The soldier could not judge this at all; only the political authorities could know this.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, we perhaps will have to ask that of the soldiers in the High Command, who are now in the dock, when they get in the witness box. But I put it to you it must have been common knowledge in Germany that Hitler was giving guarantees and assurances to all these smaller countries?

MILCH: Hitler proposed and offered many things. He offered limitations of armaments for all countries; he offered not to use bombers; but in these cases also his proposals were not accepted. Therefore the political authorities alone could know what they should and could demand from their soldiers. The only duty of a soldier is to obey.

MR. ROBERTS: Will you please answer my question. That was not an answer at all to my question. We know the facts now, Witness, from the documents, from your own German documents. I want to test your knowledge and your ideas of honor. Did you not think it grossly dishonorable to give a pledge on 28 April, and to make secret resolution to break it on 23 May?

MILCH: You are right, if the situation had not changed in any way, and that I cannot judge.

MR. ROBERTS: You must have your own code of honor, even though you are in the service. You know, of course, that the neutrality of Norway was violated?

MILCH: Yes, according to our knowledge and in our opinion it was violated twice.

MR. ROBERTS: Do you know that on the 12th and 13th of March 1940 Jodl was putting in his diary, “The Führer is still looking for a pretext” to give out to the world for an invasion of Norway? Do you know that?

MILCH: I do not know this diary and this entry.

MR. ROBERTS: You took an active part in the invasion of Norway, did you not?

MILCH: A few days after the invasion started I was in command of the air force up there for a short time.

MR. ROBERTS: You had actually a command in Norway?


DR. JAHRREISS: I think it necessary to clear up a point which apparently concerns a misunderstanding by the interpreter. I have just heard that a diary entry by the Defendant Jodl has been wrongly translated back into German. The German text says “nach einer Begründung,” that is “for a justification.” I also believe the word “justification” is in the English translation. It should not have been interpreted as “Ausrede,” that would be “prétexte” in French and that is something quite different.

MR. ROBERTS: Whatever it reads in the translation, Witness, would you agree that according to the entry in the diary, the Führer was still looking for it, whether it was a reason or an excuse?

Now I want to ask you only one more question on this side of the case.

You know that Belgrade was bombed in, I think, April 1941?

MILCH: I heard about that from the Army report at the time.

MR. ROBERTS: Without any declaration of war, or any warning to the civilian population at all, you heard that?

MILCH: That I do not know, no.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you not discuss it with Göring?

MILCH: The attack on Belgrade? No; I cannot remember.

MR. ROBERTS: Did not even he express regret, shall we say, regarding the large-scale bombing of a large capital without even one hour warning to the civilian population?

MILCH: I do not know. I cannot remember any such conversation.

MR. ROBERTS: That is murder, is it not?

[There was no response.]

MR. ROBERTS: Perhaps you would rather not answer that question?

MILCH: I cannot answer “yes” or “no,” because I know nothing of the circumstances of the attack. I do not know whether war had been declared; I do not know whether a warning had been given. Neither do I know whether Belgrade was a fortress, nor which targets were attacked in Belgrade. I know of so many bombing attacks about which the same questions could be asked in the same manner.

MR. ROBERTS: I asked the question, Witness, because we had the use of the document in front of us, and knew that it was Hitler’s order that Belgrade was to be suddenly destroyed by waves of bombers, without any ultimatum, or any diplomatic arguments, or negotiations at all. Would I put that question if I had not known of the document? Let me turn to something else.

MILCH: May I say I have heard of this document only today because you quoted it.

MR. ROBERTS: I want to put to you now an incident with regard to the Camp Stalag Luft III at Sagan. Do you know about what I am talking?

MILCH: Yes, I know about that now.

MR. ROBERTS: Do you know that on 24 and 25 March 1944 about 80 air force officers, British and Dominion, with some others, escaped from the Stalag Luft III Camp?

MILCH: I know about this from the British interrogation camp in which I was kept, where the whole case was posted up on the wall.

MR. ROBERTS: We will come to that in a moment. Do you know that of those 80, 50 were shot?


MR. ROBERTS: In various parts of Germany and the occupied countries from Danzig to Saarbrücken; you have heard of that?

MILCH: I heard that about 50 were shot, but did not know where.

MR. ROBERTS: Have you heard that quite unusually the bodies were never seen again, but that urns said to contain their ashes were brought back to the camp; you heard of that?

MILCH: I heard of it in the camp where I was kept, from Mr. Anthony Eden’s speech in the House of Commons.

MR. ROBERTS: You heard that although these officers were reported by your Government as having been shot while offering resistance or trying to escape, yet not one was wounded, and all 50 were shot dead.

MILCH: At first I heard only the official report in Germany, that these officers had been shot while resisting or trying to escape. We did not believe this version, and there was a lot of discussion about this without precise knowledge. We were afraid that these men might have been murdered.

MR. ROBERTS: You were afraid that murder had been committed. It does appear likely, does it not?

MILCH: We got that impression, as the various details we heard could not be pieced together.

MR. ROBERTS: It is quite clear that if that was murder, the order for that murder would have to come from a high level, is it not?

MILCH: Certainly. I heard further details about this from the Inspector General for Prisoners of War, General Westhoff, while both of us were in captivity in England.

MR. ROBERTS: Now, I want to ask you, first of all, about the Prisoner-of-War Organization. Was the Prisoner-of-War Organization a department of the OKW?

MILCH: In my opinion, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: Which was called KGW, Kriegsgefangenenwesen?

MILCH: I cannot say anything about its organization, because I do not know. I only knew that there was a chief of the Kriegsgefangenenwesen with the OKW.

MR. ROBERTS: And was the chief of the Kriegsgefangenenwesen at that time Major General Von Graevenitz?

MILCH: Von Graevenitz, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: This was an air force camp? Stalag Luft III was an air force camp?

MILCH: Yes. So it was called, but I understand that all prisoners were under the OKW. That is what I thought. I cannot, however, state this definitely because I did not know much about that organization.

MR. ROBERTS: Was the directorate for supervising the air force camps, or the inspectorate, rather, called Inspectorate Number 17?

MILCH: There was an inspectorate, which as its name indicated had to deal with supervision. What it had to do and what were its tasks, I cannot say. Whether it was just for interrogation, I do not know.

MR. ROBERTS: Was the head of that Major General Grosch?

MILCH: I cannot say, it is possible, I know the name but not whether he held that post.

MR. ROBERTS: And the second in command, Colonel Waelde?

MILCH: Not known to me.

MR. ROBERTS: You were Number 2 in the Air Force at the Air Ministry in March 1944, were you not?

MILCH: There were several Number 2 people at that time. I held the same rank as the chief of the general staff, the chief of the personnel office, and the chief of technical armament, who were independent of me and on the same level. As to seniority, I ranked as second officer in the Air Force.

MR. ROBERTS: Was there a conference in Berlin on the morning of Saturday, the 25th of March, about this escape?

MILCH: I cannot remember.

MR. ROBERTS: Did not Göring speak to you about that conference?

MILCH: I have no recollection.

MR. ROBERTS: Did Göring never tell you that there was a conference between Hitler, Himmler, himself, and Keitel on that Saturday morning?

MILCH: No. I do not know anything about that. I do not remember.

MR. ROBERTS: At which the order for the murder of these recaptured prisoners of war was given?

MILCH: I cannot remember. According to what I heard later, the circumstances were entirely different. I had information about this from the previously mentioned General Westhoff and also from General Bodenschatz.

MR. ROBERTS: General Westhoff we are going to see here as a witness. He has made a statement about the matter saying . . .

MILCH: I beg your pardon. I could not hear you just now. The German is coming through very faintly. I can hear you, but not the German transmission.

MR. ROBERTS: General Westhoff . . .


MR. ROBERTS: . . . has made a statement . . .


MR. ROBERTS: . . . and we are going to see him as a witness.


MR. ROBERTS: So perhaps I had better not put his statement to you, because he is going to give evidence. Perhaps that would be fairer from the point of view of the Defense. But are you suggesting that action against these officers, if they were murdered—to use your words—having escaped from an air force camp, that action could have been taken without the knowledge of Göring?

MILCH: I consider it quite possible in view of the great confusion existing in the highest circles at that time.

MR. ROBERTS: High confusion in March 1944?

MILCH: All through there was terrible confusion.

MR. ROBERTS: But it is quite clear . . .

MILCH: Hitler interfered in all matters, and himself gave orders over the heads of the chiefs of the Wehrmacht.

MR. ROBERTS: But did you never discuss this matter with Göring at all?

MILCH: No. I cannot remember ever speaking to Göring about this question.

MR. ROBERTS: Do you not think this is a matter which reflects shame on the Armed Forces of Germany?

MILCH: Yes; that is a great shame.

MR. ROBERTS: Yet Göring never spoke to you about it at all? Did you ever speak to Keitel?

MILCH: I could not say. During that time I hardly ever saw Göring.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you ever speak to Keitel about it?

MILCH: No, never. I saw even less of Keitel than of Göring.

MR. ROBERTS: Was there not a General Foster or Foerster at the Air Ministry?

MILCH: Yes, there was.

MR. ROBERTS: General Foerster?


MR. ROBERTS: Was he director of operations?

MILCH: No. He was chief of the Luftwehr. As such he had to deal with replacements of personnel and he worked with the departments concerned, with the General Staff, and also the Reich Marshal. During the war he was also in charge of civil aviation, and in that capacity he worked together with me, but during the war it was a very small job . . .

MR. ROBERTS: I was going to ask you, did he ever mention this shooting to you?

MILCH: I have been asked that before, but try as I may I cannot remember. It is possible that in the course of conversation he may have told me that officers had been shot, but whether he did so, and in what way, under what circumstances, I cannot recollect. I did not receive an official report from him; I had no right to ask for one either.

MR. ROBERTS: If Foerster told you, did you ever report it to Göring?

MILCH: I cannot remember a conversation with Foerster about it: I do not think I spoke to him. He did not give me a report either, which I should have had to pass on to Göring. Such a report would have been given by him to Göring direct, through quite different channels and much quicker.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you take any steps to prevent this shooting from being carried out?

MILCH: When I first heard about it it was not clear to me what had actually happened. But even if it had been clear, it was evident from what Westhoff told me that it would unfortunately have been too late.

MR. ROBERTS: Why too late?

MILCH: Because Westhoff was the first officer to have knowledge of it. When he was informed he was told that the order had already been carried out. I may say that General Westhoff made this statement and will confirm it.

MR. ROBERTS: Very well, you never went to Göring at all in the matter, as you say.

MILCH: I do not know anything about it.

MR. ROBERTS: Now I am going to deal further with three short points. With regard to the use of labor for the armament industry, Mr. Justice Jackson has asked you questions on that. Was labor from concentration camps used?


MR. ROBERTS: Would you just look at Document Number 1584-PS: That is shorthand note 1357, 12 December, in the afternoon.

Is that a teletype from Göring to Himmler, dated 14 February 1944? There are various code numbers; then, to Reichsführer SS—that was Himmler, Reichsminister Himmler. Who actually sent that teletype? It is signed by Göring, but he would not be dealing with questions of labor, would he?

MILCH: I could not say, I could not say from whom it originated.

MR. ROBERTS: That was a subject with which you dealt, was it not, the provision of labor for air armament?

MILCH: Only while I had to do with air armament did I send demands for labor to the respective offices. But this telegram did not come from my office.

MR. ROBERTS: If it did not come from your office, whose office did it come from?

MILCH: It deals with various matters, there is first the question of another squadron.

MR. ROBERTS: Please answer the question, whose office did it come from?

MILCH: I cannot say that offhand.

MR. ROBERTS: Very well.

MILCH: I do not know.

MR. ROBERTS: Second sentence: “At the same time I request that a substantial number of concentration camp prisoners be put at my disposal for air armament, as this kind of labor has proved to be very useful.” You had frequently used concentration camp labor, had you?

MILCH: Latterly, yes. May I ask, is the teletype dated the 15th and what is the month?

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I told you, Witness, 14 February 1944. It is on the top.

MILCH: Yes, I could not read it here.

MR. ROBERTS: No, I quite understand. And did Himmler respond by providing you with 90,000 further concentration camp prisoners? I refer to Document 1584-PS, Number 3, dated 9 March 1944. It is to the “Most Honored Reich Marshal” from Heinrich Himmler. It says: “At present approximately 36,000 prisoners are employed for the Air Force. It is proposed to bring the number up to 90,000.”

Then he refers in the last paragraph: “The transfer of aircraft manufacturing plants underground requires a further 100,000 prisoners.”

Now, those were concentration camp internees, Witness?

MILCH: Yes; I see that from the letter.

MR. ROBERTS: You said you were almost ignorant of the conditions in concentration camps?

MILCH: No; I do not know anything about that.

MR. ROBERTS: You have not seen the films taken when the camps were captured?


MR. ROBERTS: The grim contrast—just wait a moment—the grim contrast between the plump and well-fed guards and civilians and the skeletons of the internees?

MILCH: I have not seen the film, but I saw photographs when I was in England.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you close your eyes deliberately to what was going on in Germany?

MILCH: No, it was not possible for us to see it.

MR. ROBERTS: You, in your position, could not know what was going on?

MILCH: It was absolutely impossible.

MR. ROBERTS: Now then, I just want to deal very shortly with a matter upon which Mr. Justice Jackson touched, but he did not read the letter. That is the question of the experiments for the purpose of Air Force research. I am anxious to refer to as few documents as possible, but I can give the reference.

Do you know that on 15 May 1941, and the reference is shorthand note 1848, Document Number 1602-PS, that Dr. Rascher wrote to Himmler?

MILCH: I did not know him. I think I mentioned that during my interrogation.

MR. ROBERTS: He had very dangerous experiments to make for which no human being would volunteer. Monkeys were not suitable, so he asked for human subjects which Himmler at once provided—said he would be glad to provide human subjects for the experiment. Now, that was in 1941. Did you know that was taking place?

MILCH: No, I did not know anything about that.

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Rascher was . . .

MILCH: I did not know Rascher personally.

MR. ROBERTS: He was a doctor on the staff of the Air Force.

THE PRESIDENT: But, Mr. Roberts, this is not a letter to this witness, is it?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I am leading up to it. The next letter is a letter signed by this witness. That was preliminary. Perhaps I had better come to the letter which he signed now; I am much obliged.

I want to put to you now Document Number 343-PS, and I also want to put to you, if the officer in charge of the documents would be so good, I want to put to you Document Number 607-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has already been cross-examined upon this letter, has he not?

MR. ROBERTS: I did not think the letter was read or was dealt with sufficiently. I believe Your Lordship thinks it was.

THE PRESIDENT: The letter was put to him. I do not know whether it was actually read.

MR. ROBERTS: I shall be guided by the Court entirely. I know the matter was touched upon. I felt perhaps the letter should be read but I may be quite wrong.

THE PRESIDENT: I am told it was not read but the two letters were put to him.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree. If Your Lordship would be good enough to bear with me for a very few minutes I can perhaps deal with the matters I think should be dealt with.

[Turning to the witness.] You will see that on the 20th of May 1942—this is your letter to “Wolffy,” is it not, that is Obergruppenführer Wolff, and that is signed by you is it not?

MILCH: Yes, I signed it. That is the letter which, as I said this morning was submitted to me by the Medical Inspection department and from which it appears that we wanted to dissociate ourselves from the whole business as politely as possible.

MR. ROBERTS: The point of the letter is, if I may summarize it, that you say: “In reference to your telegram of 12 May our Medical Inspection department . . .”

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, if I remember right, when these letters were put to the witness he said he had not read them; that he signed them without reading them.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, My Lord, perhaps I had better leave the matter if Your Lordship thinks I am going over ground which has been trodden too often.

[Turning to the witness.] Are you asking this Tribunal to believe that you signed these two letters to Wolff, who was liaison officer, was he not, between—who was Wolff?

MILCH: No, Wolff was not liaison officer, he was Himmler’s adjutant. He sent a telegram to us, apparently for the attention of the Medical Inspection department. The Medical Inspection department replied via my office because for some reason or other it did not appear expedient to reply direct. I stated in my interrogations that these letters, though signed by me, were not dictated in my office, but that for this reply from the Medical Inspection department my stationery was used as was customary. I had nothing to do either with our high altitude experiments or with the Medical Inspection department, nor was I in any way connected with experiments by the SS.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you know that these pressure chamber experiments were being carried out with human bodies, human souls, provided by Dachau?

MILCH: On whom they were made appears from the letter submitted to me by the Medical Inspection department. In the Air Force we made many experiments with our own medical officers who volunteered for it; and as we did it with our own people we considered it to be our own affair. We, therefore, did not want any experiments by the SS; we were not interested in them. We had for a very long time experimented with our own people. We did not need the SS, who interfered in a matter which did not concern them; and we could never understand why the SS meddled with this matter.

MR. ROBERTS: Did not Himmler write you a letter—the reference is shorthand note 1852—in November 1942, that is Document Number 1617-PS, in which he says: “Dear Milch: . . . both high pressure and cold water experiments have been carried out. . . .” and that he, Himmler, provided asocial persons and criminals from concentration camps? Do you remember that letter?

MILCH: This letter was shown to me but I cannot remember this letter either. I do not know why Himmler wrote to me at all. These letters were always passed on direct by my office, without my seeing them, to the respective offices of the Medical Inspection department and replied to via my office. I was not in a position to do anything in this respect because I did not know what it was all about, nor had I any idea of the medical aspect.

MR. ROBERTS: If you say you know nothing about letters which you signed I cannot carry the matter any further.

Now I want to deal with the last point.

MILCH: During the course of the day I had to sign several hundred letters and I could not know what they dealt with in detail. In this particular case it was a question for a specialist and I merely signed in order to relieve the Medical Inspector of responsibility who, for the reason mentioned this morning, did not want to sign himself.

MR. ROBERTS: Very well, I am leaving that point.

Now then, the last point. You said on Friday that a German general has been executed for looting jewelry. Where did the looting take place?

MILCH: I cannot say that. I seem to recollect that it was in Belgrade. The name of the general is General Wafer, this I still remember.

MR. ROBERTS: It was jewelry looted from Belgrade?

MILCH: That I cannot say. I know only what I said on Friday.

MR. ROBERTS: So the German authorities regarded the death penalty as a suitable one for looting; apparently that is right.

MILCH: I could not hear the question.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, perhaps it was a comment. I will ask you the next question. What was the value of the jewelry which was looted?

MILCH: I can say only that I do not know how it was stolen, or what was stolen, or how valuable it was; but only that it was said to be jewelry which he had appropriated and that he was sentenced to death.

MR. ROBERTS: Did Göring ever speak to you about his art collection he was getting from occupied countries?

MILCH: I do not know anything about that.

MR. ROBERTS: May I read you a piece of evidence, shorthand note 2317, and it is an order of Göring signed on the 5th of November 1940.

“Göring to the Chief of the Military Administration in Paris and to the Einsatzstab Rosenberg:

“To dispose of the art objects brought to the Louvre in the following order of priority:

“First, those art objects . . .”

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has never seen this document and he says he knows nothing about it.

MR. ROBERTS: If your Lordship pleases, if you do not think I should put it to him . . .

[Turning to the witness.] You say Göring never discussed with you his art collection?


MR. ROBERTS: Did you not know that valuable art objects, according to an inventory over 21,000 objects, were taken from the western occupied countries?

MILCH: No; that is not known to me.

MR. ROBERTS: What ought the general who looted the jewelry, perhaps from Belgrade, to have done with it? Given it to the Führer, or given it to Göring?

MILCH: I ask to be excused from answering this question.

GEN. RUDENKO: Will you please tell me when you heard of Hitler’s plan to go to war with the Soviet Union? In January 1941?

MILCH: As I said on Friday, I heard in January from Reich Marshal Göring that Hitler had told him he expected there would be an attack on Russia. Then for several months I heard nothing more about the whole thing, until by chance I found out from a subordinate that war with Russia was imminent and preparations for the clothing of the troops were being made.

GEN. RUDENKO: Did you know about Case Barbarossa?

MILCH: I had heard the name, and I heard the plan expounded at a Führer conference with the commanders of the various army groups and armies 1 or 2 days before the attack.

GEN. RUDENKO: And when did this take place—1, 2 days before the invasion?

MILCH: I will let you know the exact date in a minute.

GEN. RUDENKO: Please do.

MILCH: On 14 June. That is about eight days before the attack which took place on the 22d.

GEN. RUDENKO: And before that, you had neither heard of, nor seen this plan?

MILCH: I say that I had probably heard the name Barbarossa before.

GEN. RUDENKO: And how long before?

MILCH: That I cannot say, because during the months of January, February, March, and also in April I was outside Germany and I did not return until May. I was in Africa, Greece, Yugoslavia, and the West.

GEN. RUDENKO: I am interested in the period when you were in the High Command of the German Air Force. Were you in Germany in December and January?

MILCH: In December 1940.


MILCH: Only part of December as during that month I was in France and also in Italy.

GEN. RUDENKO: And where were you in January 1941?

MILCH: I was in the West, and as far as I remember not one day in Germany.

GEN. RUDENKO: But you just told us that in January 1941 you had a talk with Göring about the plan of war against the Soviet Union.

MILCH: Yes, I . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: In January 1941?

MILCH: Yes, on 13 January, but I cannot say now whether I spoke to Göring in France, or whether it was over the telephone, or whether I was in Germany for a day or two. That I cannot say, I did not make a note of it.

GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me; what has a telephone conversation to do with an attack on the Soviet Union?

MILCH: Not an attack on Russia, but an attack by Russia on Germany was mentioned at that time, and we had . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: You mean to say you discussed over the telephone the question of an attack by the Soviet Union on Germany?

MILCH: No, I have not stated anything like that, but I said I do not know whether I received the information on a special line which could not be tapped, or whether the Reich Marshal told me about it in France, or whether on that particular day I was in Germany.

GEN. RUDENKO: And when did you discuss this question with Göring, and when did Göring express his apprehension as to this war against the Soviet Union?

MILCH: That was on 22 May.

GEN. RUDENKO: The 22nd of May 1941?

MILCH: 1941, yes.

GEN. RUDENKO: And where was this question discussed?

MILCH: In Veldenstein near Nuremberg.

GEN. RUDENKO: Did you discuss this question with Göring alone, or was anybody else present at this conversation?

MILCH: At that time only with Göring. We were alone.

GEN. RUDENKO: And you assert that Göring did not wish to go to war with Russia?

MILCH: That was my impression.

GEN. RUDENKO: So. And why did Göring not want this war against the Soviet Union? This was a defensive war, was it not?

MILCH: Göring was opposed to such a war, because he wanted, all of us did . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: He was opposed also to a defensive war?

MILCH: He personally was against any war.

GEN. RUDENKO: That is strange. Maybe you will be able to give me precise reasons why Göring did not wish war against the Soviet Union.

MILCH: Because a war on two fronts, especially a war against Russia, as I saw it, meant losing the war; and I believe that many fighting men and others thought as I did.

GEN. RUDENKO: So you too were opposed to a war against the Soviet Union?

MILCH: Yes, most definitely so.

GEN. RUDENKO: Strange. Your statements are not very consistent. On the one hand, you say that the Soviet Union was going to attack Germany, and on the other hand that German officers did not want a war with the Soviet Union.

MILCH: May I explain again. On 13 January Göring told me that Hitler had the impression that Russia intended to march against Germany. That was not Göring’s opinion, neither was it mine. I assume it was Hitler’s opinion which he had expressed as his own.

GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me. Do I understand that neither you nor Göring thought this opinion of Hitler’s to be correct?

MILCH: I can only speak for myself. I often expressed it as my view that Russia would not go against us. What Göring thought about it I could not say. He did not talk to me about it. You should ask him.

GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, and now I shall ask you. You mean to say that you personally did not share Hitler’s opinion? And you mean that Göring, too, did not want a war against the Soviet Union?

MILCH: On 22 May, when I spoke to Göring about this matter and urgently requested him to do everything to prevent a war with Russia, he told me that he had used the same arguments with Hitler but that it was impossible to get Hitler to change his mind; he had made his decision and no power on earth could influence him.

GEN. RUDENKO: I see. You mean that Göring was opposed to a war with the Soviet Union, because he thought it impracticable while you were at war with England, and he wanted to prevent war on two fronts?

MILCH: From a purely military point of view, yes; and I believe that if war had been avoided at that time it would not have come about later.

GEN. RUDENKO: And you seriously maintain that it is possible to talk about a preventive war so far ahead, and at the same time to work out Case Barbarossa and all the directives to implement it, as well as gaining allies for the attack on Russia? Do you seriously believe in the preventive character of such a war?

MILCH: I do not understand the meaning of the question.

GEN. RUDENKO: Do you think one could make known that the Soviet Union was going to attack Germany, and at the same time work out an aggressive plan against the Soviet Union, and this as early as December 1940, as appears from the dates of the official documents?

MILCH: As I understand it, Hitler, expecting an attack by Russia—if he really expected it—said that he had to meet a Russian invasion by a preventive war. This, however, has nothing to do with the opinion for which I have been asked here. Speaking for myself, I did not unreservedly hold the view that Russia would invade us. Without being able to judge the situation as a whole, I personally believed that Russia in her own interest, which I tried to visualize, would not do this.

GEN. RUDENKO: I understand. I should like to put a few questions to you with regard to the prisoners of war. The employment of prisoners of war, especially from the Soviet Union, on work in the aircraft industry has already been mentioned here.


GEN. RUDENKO: What is your attitude to employing prisoners of war on work against their own country? What do you think of that?

MILCH: It is, of course, not a nice thing to do; but as far as I know it was also done to our prisoners of war by all the other countries.

GEN. RUDENKO: I am talking of Germany now. You say it is not a nice thing. Is not that a rather mild way of putting it?

MILCH: It depends upon what the others do. All laws of warfare are based on reciprocity, as long as there is any reciprocity.

GEN. RUDENKO: I should like you to answer my question. What was the German High Command’s attitude to this kind of employment? Do you consider that by this employment the regulations of international law were being violated?

MILCH: That is a moot point which even now is not clear to me. I only know that orders were given to employ them, and to use these men, as well as women, in the struggle for our existence.

GEN. RUDENKO: Do you consider this to be a legitimate order?

MILCH: I cannot judge that; that depends upon conditions and, as I said, upon reciprocity.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I ask to have this question and answer stricken from the record. The witness has been asked to give a legal opinion, and it is not for him to do so; since the question is not admissible, the answer too should be stricken.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko?

GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to say I did not realize that the witness did not know whether or not this was a violation of international law. I had every reason to believe that the witness was competent to answer this question, the more so as at the beginning of his statement today, and on Friday, he mentioned the ten rules of the soldier, which he said must not be broken as they were based on international law. I thought, therefore, the witness to be competent to answer the question concerning the use of prisoners of war by the Luftwaffe against their own country. If the Tribunal considers this question to be inadmissible, I will of course withdraw it.

THE PRESIDENT: The question might have been framed differently, as to whether it was not a breach of the rules set out in the soldiers’ pay book. However, as to international law, that is one of the matters which the Tribunal has got to decide, and upon that, of course, we do not wish the evidence of witnesses.

GEN. RUDENKO: Yes. I still have two questions to put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: We wanted to rise at half-past 4. If it is your intention to ask some more questions, perhaps we had better rise now, or, have you finished?

GEN. RUDENKO: We had better call a recess now, because I may still have a few questions to put to this witness.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 12 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Tuesday, 12 March 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, have you concluded your interrogation?


THE PRESIDENT: Does the French Prosecution wish to ask any questions?

Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to examine further?


THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

[The witness left the stand.]

DR. STAHMER: I call the next witness, Colonel of the Luftwaffe, Bernd von Brauchitsch.

[The witness Von Brauchitsch took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

BERND VON BRAUCHITSCH (Witness): Bernd von Brauchitsch.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat the oath after me. I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, what position did you hold on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was the first military adjutant of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. I held the rank of chief adjutant. I had the job of making the daily arrangements as ordered by the Commander-in-Chief and working out the adjutants’ duty roster. The military position had to be reported daily; military reports and messages only to the extent that they were not communicated by the offices themselves. I had no command function.

DR. STAHMER: In the course of your work did you know that on 25 March 1944 from the prison camp of Sagan, Stalag Luft III, 75 English Air Force officers had escaped?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I knew of this as a special event, as at that time it was reported that a number of air force officers had escaped.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us some information about the fate of these officers after their escape?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The fate of these officers is not known to me.

DR. STAHMER: Were you not ever informed that 50 of these officers were shot ostensibly while trying to escape?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I heard only much later that a number of these officers were said to have been shot.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us under what circumstances these shootings were carried out?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know anything about that.

DR. STAHMER: Did Reich Marshal Göring order the shooting, or did he have any part in these measures?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know nothing about the Reich Marshal having taken part or given an order in this matter.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know of the attitude of Hitler with regard to the treatment of so-called terror-fliers who were shot down?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the spring of 1944 the number of civilian air-raid casualties by machine-gunning increased suddenly. These attacks were directed against civilians working in the fields; against secondary railroads and stations without any military importance; against pedestrians and cyclists, all within the homeland. This must have been the reason for Hitler giving not only defense orders, but also orders for measures against the fliers themselves. As far as I know, Hitler favored the most drastic measures. Lynching was said to be countenanced.

DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal of the Luftwaffe to this order?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of the General Staff expressed their opinion that a most serious view must be taken of these attacks, which were directed solely against civilians. Notwithstanding, no special measure should be taken against these airmen. The suggestion that those who bailed out should be lynched and not afforded protection could not be agreed with. In view of Hitler’s instructions, the Luftwaffe was forced to deal with these questions. They endeavored to prevent these ideas of Hitler, of which they disapproved, from being put into practice. The solution was to pretend that measures would be taken which, however, were not actually carried out.

Then I was given the task, which was outside my competence, of conferring with the High Command of the Armed Forces about the definition of the term “terror-fliers.” All those cases which constituted violations of international law and criminal acts were the subject of subsequent discussions and correspondence. These definitions were meant to prevent lynching. The lengthy correspondence also shows the endeavors of the office to put the matter off. At the end of June 1944, the term “terror-fliers” was defined. The Stalag was instructed to report all cases of violation, but not to take any action. Thus we avoided giving an order of the character Hitler had wanted.

DR. STAHMER; In your opinion, therefore, could we say that the measures directed by Hitler were not carried out by the Luftwaffe?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes. It can be said that the measures directed by Hitler were not carried out. As confirmed by the commanders of the air fleets, their men did not receive any orders to shoot enemy airmen or to turn them over to the SD.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything about the Luftwaffe having received directives to take hostages or to shoot them?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know of any directive or order dealing with hostages.

DR. STAHMER: Now one more question: Can you give us any information about the treatment of the five enemy airmen who in March 1945 bailed out over the Schorfheide and were captured?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: In March 1945, an American four-engined bomber was shot down after an attack over the Schorfheide. Part of the crew saved themselves by jumping. Some of them were injured and sent to a hospital. The observer, an American captain of the reserve, who in civilian life was a film director in Hollywood, on the following day was interrogated by the Reich Marshal himself about this mission and his bringing down.

DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions for this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants’ counsel wish to ask the witness any questions?

DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few questions for this witness.

[Turning to the witness.] What post did you hold when the war started?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: At the outbreak of war I was at the war academy and had just left my squadron.

DR. LATERNSER: Can one say that the outbreak of war caused a happy feeling among the professional soldiers? What was the mood like at that time?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, one cannot say that the outbreak of war was greeted with enthusiasm. Rather we faced the fact with great gravity. As young soldiers, we saw our mission in training and educating our men for the defense of our country.

DR. LATERNSER: What posts did you hold during the war? Were you ever on the staff of an air fleet?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was never on the staff of an air fleet. Except for a short time, when I served as group commander, I was throughout adjutant of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.

DR. LATERNSER: As chief adjutant, as you said before, to the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, you had a lot of inside information about the Luftwaffe?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Insofar as material was available, yes.

DR. LATERNSER: Now, according to your inside information, did the chiefs of air fleets have any influence on political decisions or the conduct of the war?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: According to my information the chiefs of air fleets had no influence on any political decisions. Their job was the technical execution of the orders received, and orders on the conduct of the air war were given more and more by Hitler himself.

DR. LATERNSER: Did the chiefs of air fleets make any suggestions to use more severe methods in the conduct of the war?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know of any suggestions of that kind made by chiefs of air fleets. They were professional soldiers who acted according to orders.

DR. LATERNSER: I have still one question: Was there any co-ordination between the branches of the Wehrmacht? Was this co-ordination of a purely official nature or did it go farther?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: There was co-ordination between the leading local authorities at the front; at a higher level it was effected by the Führer himself.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defendant’s counsel wish to ask any questions? Do the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I would ask that the witness be shown Document Number 1156-PS of the United States documents.

[Document 1156-PS was submitted to the witness.]

Do you recognize this document, Witness?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, I do not know this document.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I call your attention to the date, the 20th of March 1941, and I call your attention to the fact that it purports to be a report to Reich Marshal Göring at the 19th of March 1941 meeting.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: While in the service I attended military conferences only if they did not take place at the Führer’s Headquarters, or if they were not personal discussions. I have not seen this document and I do not know the facts.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Let me call your attention to Item 2, which refers to you, I take it, and which reads:

“The directive worked out by the Wi regarding destructive measures to be undertaken by the Luftwaffe in Case Barbarossa was agreed to by the Reich Marshal. One copy was handed to Captain Von Brauchitsch for transmission to the General Staff of the Luftwaffe.”

And I ask you whether that states the facts.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I cannot remember these facts, neither can I give any information about the contents of the letter mentioned here.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You knew about Case Barbarossa, did you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I did not hear about Case Barbarossa until the beginning of 1941. I was not present at the conferences.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you did know that certain destructive measures were planned to be undertaken in connection with that by the Luftwaffe, did you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know only of the first missions given to the Luftwaffe, and I recollect that attacks on airfields were ordered.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did it not also provide for attacks against cities, particularly St. Petersburg?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: To my recollection and knowledge, at the time this letter was written nothing was said about these targets but only about attacks on airfields, which were the main targets of the Luftwaffe.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that the witness be shown Document Number 735-PS, in evidence as Exhibit Number GB-151.

[Document 735-PS was submitted to the witness.]

That is in evidence and appears to be a most secret document of which only three copies were made, is that correct?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I read this letter first before I answer the question?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I call your attention first to the signature at the end of it and ask you if you recognize it?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The signature is Warlimont.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was Warlimont?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Warlimont was the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew him well and he knew you well, is that not so?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I knew him by sight and on this occasion I spoke to him for the first time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: On the occasion of this meeting that is recorded in these minutes, is that the occasion when you first met and spoke to Warlimont?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: When I first spoke to him officially, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was on the 6th of June 1944, when this meeting was held?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: According to this letter, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention to Paragraph Number 1 of the minutes of this meeting, from which it appears that Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner opened this meeting with a report that a conference on the question of the fliers had been held shortly before with the Reich Marshal, the Reich Foreign Minister and the Reich Führer SS. That is the opening of it, is it not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know nothing of the record of this conference or even that it took place.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the Reich Marshal at that time?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I remember the fact because on the 6th of June the invasion started and during the night of the 5th to the 6th I phoned Reich Marshal Göring himself at 0200 hours and informed him that the invasion had begun. In the morning he left Veldenstein for Klessheim in order to attend in the afternoon a conference there on the situation.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this meeting is said to have been held in Klessheim on the afternoon of the 6th of June, is it not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I said once before that I do not know anything of the meeting as such and of the subject of the discussion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, I understand, you were not present. Göring was Reich Marshal; is that right?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister at that time, was he not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was the Reich Führer SS?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, it was as a result of that meeting at which the Foreign Minister—just follow the next sentence, “. . . the Foreign Minister who wished to include every type of terror attack on the native civilian population. . . .” It was agreed that this conference, which you did attend, was to take place; is that not the sense of the first paragraph?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the first place, I was not at this meeting and, secondly, I do not know anything about the subject as shown in evidence here.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, were you not at the meeting with Kaltenbrunner which Kaltenbrunner called?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was not at the meeting with Kaltenbrunner which is mentioned here.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Despite the signature of Warlimont on these minutes which says you were?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: In spite of the signature. May I first read the whole document before I give a definite answer?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Read the last sentence. Witness, I may be misinterpreting this. It does not say you were present, but it does say that you gave them this information. I ask you to look at the last paragraph and say whether that is not true?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The last paragraph of this document, above the signature, can only refer to a conference which, if I remember correctly, took place in the late afternoon of 6 June in General Warlimont’s quarters and which I have mentioned in my previous statement.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think I was confused about the two meetings and that these minutes do not show you to have been present. There was such a conference as Warlimont describes but it was not the same conference at which Kaltenbrunner was present, is that correct?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes, that is correct. I know only of this one meeting in the late afternoon of 6 June between Warlimont and myself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that is the conference to which he refers in the first paragraph?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, the conference in the afternoon has nothing to do with the first paragraph which I just read, and has no connection with it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The third paragraph had no connection with the first meeting, you say?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Paragraph Number 3 has no connection with Paragraph Number 1. I had no knowledge of Paragraph Number 1. I mentioned before that I was given the task of conferring with the OKW about the definition of acts which were to be considered as violations of international law, and criminal acts.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Let us ask it once more so we will have no misunderstanding about it. The conference referred to in Paragraph Number 3 of Warlimont’s minutes is a conference between you and him later that afternoon and had nothing to do with the Kaltenbrunner conference which was held earlier in the day.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what was the situation in the beginning of 1944 with reference to the bombing of German cities?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The situation was that the air raids had increased in intensity and in the beginning of 1944 they were very heavy.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was becoming very embarrassing to the Reich Marshal, was it not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Of course it was very unpleasant for the Luftwaffe, because their defensive strength was too weak to stave off these attacks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And they were being blamed somewhat and the Reich Marshal was being blamed for the air attacks, was he not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Of course, that goes without saying.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Reich Marshal was in the embarrassing position of having assured the German people back in 1939 that they could be protected against air attacks on the German cities. You understood that fact, did you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I understand that to be so, but I also know that the conditions in 1939, which led to this statement, were entirely different from those of 1944 when the whole world was against us.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the fact was that German cities were being bombed and the German people had looked to the Reich Marshal to protect them, is that not a fact?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: It is clear that the German people expected the Luftwaffe to use all available means to ward off these attacks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what were the relations between Göring and Hitler at this time?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I ask to have the question repeated? I did not understand it clearly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the relation between Göring and Hitler at this time? Was there any change in the relations as this bombing of German cities progressed?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The relations between the Reich Marshal and the Führer were no doubt worse than they had been before. Whether that was only due to the conditions caused by the air warfare is not known to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were very close to Reich Marshal Göring throughout this period, the entire period of the war, were you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know what you mean by close in the relations between a commander-in-chief and his adjutant.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you were particularly friendly; he had great confidence in you and you had great regard for him. Is that not a fact?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can confirm that, but unfortunately only on very rare occasions did the Reich Marshal disclose his real motives.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were with him on the 20th day of April 1945, when he sent the telegram proposing to take over the government of Germany himself, and was arrested and condemned to death?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes, I was present at that time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the SS seized you and the Reich Marshal and several others and searched your houses, seized all your papers, and took you prisoner, did they not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: It is correct that on 23 April at 1900 hours we were surrounded. The Reich Marshal was led to his room and from that moment on he was kept closely guarded; later we were separated and put into solitary confinement. Finally we were separated from him altogether by SS troops stationed at the Berghof.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this occurred at Berchtesgaden?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: It happened at Berchtesgaden.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you have told us that you were all supposed to be shot by the SS at the time of the surrender and were supposed to approve it by your own signature. Is that correct?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, that is not quite correct.

I know that an order existed that the Reich Marshal with his family and his entourage should be shot in Berlin at the time of capitulation.

The second thing you mentioned refers to something else, namely, that we were to be compelled to report voluntarily to the SS. I must say, in order to be just, that this SS leader would far rather not have had us there at that time so as not to have to carry out this order. At that time we were already separated from the Commander-in-Chief.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the state of your knowledge about the activities of the SS? What was the SS and what was its relation to the Wehrmacht at this time? What was its relation to the Luftwaffe? Tell us about the SS.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can only say this much, that SS was a comprehensive term, that the SD, Gestapo, and Waffen-SS were quite separate subdivisions, and that the Gestapo was an instrument of repression which restricted much personal freedom.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Waffen-SS likewise, is that not a fact?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: The Waffen-SS was a military force. I myself had neither trouble nor any friction with them.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But what about the SS proper? Witness, you know this situation about the SS, I am sure, and you impress me as wanting to tell us candidly what you know about this situation, and I wish you would tell us a little, what the influence of the SS was on these situations.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I pointed out once before that as a purely military adjutant I am able to give you information only about the Luftwaffe, but I am not in a position to say anything about general things of which I have no expert knowledge but merely personal opinions.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, was not the SS the subject of a good deal of discussion among you officers, and was not everybody aware that the SS was an organization like the Gestapo which was repressive and cruel?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the Luftwaffe we had so many troubles of our own because of the growing air power of the enemy that we had no time to worry about anything else.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you knew, did you not, about the campaign against the Jews of Germany and the Jews of occupied countries?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I did not know about the campaign against the Jews as it has been presented here and in the press.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I do not want to interrogate you on what is in the press, but do you want the Tribunal to understand that you had no knowledge of a campaign against the Jews in Germany?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I only knew that some of the Jews were taken to ghettos. I had, however, no knowledge of the cruelties against Jews as now published in the press.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your father was Field Marshal, was he not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At what period was he Field Marshal?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Field Marshal is a military rank which he held from 1940 until now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He has never been deprived of his rank, is that a fact?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: He was never deprived of his rank.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There came a time when your father, as you know, disagreed with Hitler as to military programs?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know that my father had great difficulties with Hitler concerning political and military questions, and that this led to his retirement in December 1941.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not say to the interrogator who examined you for the United States that he retired from active command in 1941?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what did you understand to be the reason for his retirement?

You gave the reasons as follows, that neither in the military nor in the political considerations did he see eye to eye with Hitler, and could not come to any accord and, since he could not make his own opinions prevail, he desired to manifest his dissent by resigning, and that specifically also referred to religious questions.


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is true, is it not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: That is correct, and I still maintain it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I hope you are proud of it.

You were also asked this:

“And from 1941 to the end of the war, do you know what he was doing?”

And you answered:

“Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he occupied himself with studies of family history and also with forestry, economics, and hunting, but did not take part . . .”

VON BRAUCHITSCH: Only with questions of military history and agriculture.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Beg pardon. I did not get that.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: He was interested only in economic questions and hunting, but not in military questions.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not in military, yes.

“. . . but did not take part in any sort of bloody political endeavors.”

You said that, did you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I ask to hear the question once more.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This is your answer in full. You interrupted me. This is your answer to the interrogator:

“Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he occupied himself with studies of family history and also with forestry, economics and hunting, but did not take part in any sort of bloody political endeavors.”

And, with, the exception of economics, you still stand by that answer, do you not?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I have never said that he ever took part in bloody things. It must be an error. I never saw this record again. I did not sign it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have not made myself clear. You said he did not take part in any bloody political endeavors. That is what this says you said.

VON BRAUCHITSCH: He did not take part; but I did not say anything of a bloody movement.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not use these terms in the examination?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, I cannot remember having said that. I did not sign the protocol and I did not see it again after the interrogation.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you say that you did not use these words on the 26th of February 1946 to Captain Horace Hahn, interrogator?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I say I did not use the words “take part in any bloody endeavors,” et cetera, because that expression is foreign to me. Neither do I know in what connection it is supposed to have occurred.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you do not know of any that he did partake in, do you?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: No. My father retired.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Absolutely from this whole Nazi outfit. He disassociated himself from them and retired to a little village rather than go on with the program he did not agree with, did he not? Is that not a fact?


HERR HORST PELCKMANN (Counsel for SS): I believe that I have no longer any formal right to question this witness after Justice Jackson has cross-examined him, but I should be grateful if I might be permitted to do so since Justice Jackson questioned the witness also about the SS.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness’ statement about the SS was that he knew nothing about it. What ground does it give for a cross-examination by you?

HERR PELCKMANN: He was asked whether he was guarded by the SS on Obersalzberg who also had the order to shoot him and Göring too. I should like to have it made clear whether that was SS or SD.


HERR PELCKMANN: I therefore ask the witness: Do you know whether these people whom you have just mentioned were members of the SS or SD? Do you know the difference, Witness?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I have a general idea of the difference. I believe that the troops which had the task of guarding us were SS, but that the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) had been given the special order.


THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other counsel for the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?

Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. STAHMER: I have only two short questions.

Colonel Von Brauchitsch, can you tell us something about the relations between the Reich Marshal and Himmler?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: As far as I know and am able to give information, in their outward relations Himmler and Göring exercised the utmost circumspection, but there was no real personal contact between the two.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us whether the German people, until the last moment, still had confidence in Reich Marshal Göring, and showed it on special occasions? Can you mention any particular instances?

VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can mention two cases.

The first one was at the end of 1944 or the beginning of 1945—I cannot say the exact date—in a public air raid shelter. The Reich Marshal had no guards or escort and chatted with the people, and they greeted him with the old cry, “Hermann, halt’ die Ohren steif! (Hermann, keep your chin up).”

Another example was on the trip from Berlin to Berchtesgaden during the night of the 20th to 21st April. In the morning or towards noon of the 21st the Reich Marshal arrived at a town in Sudetengau, where he made a short stop for breakfast at an inn. After a short while the market place became so crowded with people asking for his autograph, that we could not get his car through the crowd. Here too, he was greeted by the old cry, “Hermann.”

DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

DR. STAHMER: As next witness, I call State Secretary Paul Körner.

[The witness Körner took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Is your name Paul Körner?

PAUL KÖRNER (Witness): Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, what official post did you hold before the capitulation?

KÖRNER: I was State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.

DR. STAHMER: In this capacity were you one of the Reich Marshal’s close collaborators?


DR. STAHMER: When did you first meet the Reich Marshal?

KÖRNER: In 1926.

DR. STAHMER: When were you selected by him to collaborate?

KÖRNER: At the end of 1931.

DR. STAHMER: In what capacity?

KÖRNER: I became his secretary.

DR. STAHMER: When were you taken over by the Civil Service?

KÖRNER: In April 1933. Pardon; the previous date was 1931.

THE PRESIDENT: The translator said the previous date was 1931; which date was 1931?

DR. STAHMER: In 1931 he first came into contact with Göring and became his private secretary. In 1933 he entered the Civil Service.

DR. STAHMER: What post was given to you?

KÖRNER: I became State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.

DR. STAHMER: What do you know about the institution of the Secret State Police, the Gestapo?

KÖRNER: In the first months after the seizure of power the Secret State Police evolved from the Political Police Department Ia. Basically the Political Police Department remained; it was only reorganized under the name of Secret State Police.

DR. STAHMER: What was its range of activities?

KÖRNER: Its main task was to watch the enemies of the State.

DR. STAHMER: Have you any information about the establishment of concentration camps?

KÖRNER: I know that at that time concentration camps were established.

DR. STAHMER: What purposes did they serve?

KÖRNER: They were supposed to receive enemies of the State.

DR. STAHMER: What do you mean by “receive”?

KÖRNER: Elements hostile to the State, mainly Communists, were to be concentrated in these camps.

DR. STAHMER: And what was to be done with them there?

KÖRNER: They were to be taken into protective custody, and, as far as I remember, they were also to be re-educated so that later on they could be incorporated into the community of the people.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything of the treatment meted out to the inmates?

KÖRNER: As far as I know, the treatment was always good.

DR. STAHMER: Did you ever hear anything about unauthorized concentration camps?

KÖRNER: Yes, in 1933, in various places unauthorized concentration camps were established.

DR. STAHMER: By whom?

KÖRNER: I remember that one was established in Breslau by SA Gruppenführer Heines; and one in Stettin. Whether there were any others, I do not know.

DR. STAHMER: In Stettin?

KÖRNER: I think it was Karpfenstein, but I cannot say for certain.

DR. STAHMER: And what became of these camps?

KÖRNER: When the Reich Marshal heard about them he had them instantly disbanded because they were established without his permission.

DR. STAHMER: What was the Reich Marshal’s attitude when he heard of complaints?

KÖRNER: He always followed them up immediately.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know of any case where he took specially strong measures?

KÖRNER: Yes, I can remember the case of Thälmann.

DR. STAHMER: What happened in that case?

KÖRNER: It had come to the Reich Marshal’s knowledge that Thälmann had not been treated in the way the Reich Marshal wished. He immediately followed the matter up and had Thälmann brought to him.

DR. STAHMER: Who was Thälmann?

KÖRNER: Thälmann was one of the leaders of the Communist Party and a communist member of the Reichstag.

DR. STAHMER: And how did the Reich Marshal speak to Thälmann?

KÖRNER: He had him brought into his office and asked him to tell him exactly why he had made a complaint.

DR. STAHMER: And then?

KÖRNER: Thälmann was very reticent at first, because he feared a trap. When the Reich Marshal spoke to him in a humane manner, he realized that he could speak freely. He told the Reich Marshal that on several occasions he had not been treated properly. The Reich Marshal promised him immediate redress and gave the necessary instructions. He also asked Thälmann to notify him immediately if it happened again. In addition he ordered that any complaints made by Thälmann should be passed on to him.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know how long the Reich Marshal was in charge of the Gestapo in the concentration camps?

KÖRNER: Until the spring of 1934; I believe it was March or April.

DR. STAHMER: Under whom did they come then?

KÖRNER: By order of the Führer, they came under the competence of Reichsführer Himmler.

DR. STAHMER: What do you know about the events in connection with the Röhm revolt on 30 June 1934?

KÖRNER: That a Röhm revolt was planned I heard when I was with the Reich Marshal in Essen, where we were attending the wedding of Gauleiter Terboven. During the wedding festivities Himmler arrived and made a report to the Führer. Later the Führer drew the Reich Marshal aside and told him in confidence of Röhm’s designs.

DR. STAHMER: Do you also know what he told him?

KÖRNER: I can only say that what Himmler told the Führer was also brought to Göring’s knowledge.

DR. STAHMER: Do you not know any further details?

KÖRNER: No, I do not know any further details, but I think that is sufficient.

DR. STAHMER: What instructions did Göring receive?

KÖRNER: The Führer instructed Göring to return to Berlin immediately after the wedding festivities, and the Führer went to southern Germany to investigate the reports personally.

DR. STAHMER: When was this wedding?

KÖRNER: As far as I remember, it was 2 days before the Röhm Putsch.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether, on the day after the Röhm Putsch, the Reich Marshal was with Hitler?

KÖRNER: No. The Reich Marshal was in Berlin. We returned to Berlin the same evening.

DR. STAHMER: And on the day after the Röhm Putsch on 30 June, that is on 1 July?

KÖRNER: The Reich Marshal was in Berlin.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether there was a conversation between him and Hitler?

KÖRNER: Yes. I remember that the Reich Marshal drove to the Reich Chancellery to report several things to the Führer. In particular the Reich Marshal had heard that on this occasion innocent people also might have or rather had fallen victim. Therefore, he wanted to ask the Führer to stop the whole action immediately.

DR. STAHMER: Was that done?

KÖRNER: Yes, that was done.

DR. STAHMER: In what way?

KÖRNER: After the report of the Reich Marshal, the Führer himself issued an order that no further unauthorized action should take place, that the action was over, and if any guilty people were still found they should be brought before the ordinary courts which would decide whether or not proceedings should be brought against these people.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether the Reich Marshal had anything to do with the action against the Jews during the night of 9 November 1938?

KÖRNER: No, the Reich Marshal had definitely nothing to do with it and had no inkling of it.

DR. STAHMER: How do you know?

KÖRNER: Because I was with the Reich Marshal on 9 November in Munich—he was always there on that day. The same evening we went to Berlin. Had the Reich Marshal known anything about it, he would certainly have told me or those who were with him. He had no inkling.

DR. STAHMER: When did he find out about it?

KÖRNER: Shortly before he arrived in Berlin, or at the Anhalter Station in Berlin.

DR. STAHMER: Through whom?

KÖRNER: Through his adjutant.

DR. STAHMER: And how did he take the news?

KÖRNER: He was furious when he received the report, because he was strongly opposed to the whole action.

DR. STAHMER: And what did he do about it?

KÖRNER: He got in touch with the Führer immediately to ask for the action to be stopped at once.

DR. STAHMER: What were your tasks within the framework of the Four Year Plan?

KÖRNER: I was Chief of the Office of the Four Year Plan.

DR. STAHMER: What were your tasks?

KÖRNER: The management and supervision of that office.

DR. STAHMER: How did the Four Year Plan come about? When and how did it start?

KÖRNER: The official Four Year Plan was announced in October 1936, but its origin goes back to the food crisis of 1935. In the autumn of 1935 the Reich Marshal received the order from the Führer . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, try not to go quite so fast. It is very difficult to get the translation.

KÖRNER: Yes, Sir.

In the autumn of 1935 the Reich Marshal received the order from the Führer to make the food for the German people secure, as the food situation was serious because of the bad harvests of 1934 and 1935. At the time we were short of at least 2 million tons of bread-grain and several hundred thousand tons of fat, which had to be procured by some means or other.

The Reich Marshal solved this problem satisfactorily, and this led the Führer to ask him for suggestions as to how the entire German economy could be made proof against crises. These suggestions were worked out in the first half of 1936 and by midsummer were submitted to the Führer.

These suggestions gave the Führer the idea of a Four Year Plan, which he announced on Party Day 1936. On 18 October 1936 the Führer issued a decree appointing the Reich Marshal Delegate of the Four Year Plan.

DR. STAHMER: What were the aims of the Four Year Plan?

KÖRNER: As I said before, to make [the] German economy proof against crises. The main tasks were to increase German exports to the utmost, and to cover any deficits as far as possible by increased production, particularly in the agricultural sphere.

DR. STAHMER: Did the Four Year Plan also serve rearmament?

KÖRNER: Of course it also served the rebuilding of the German Wehrmacht indirectly.

DR. STAHMER: Did the Four Year Plan also provide for the allocation of labor?

KÖRNER: Yes. The Four Year Plan provided for the appointment of a General Plenipotentiary for the Allocation of Labor. The former president of the Reich Labor Office, President Syrup, was appointed Plenipotentiary General.

DR. STAHMER: When was he appointed?

KÖRNER: That was at the beginning of the Four Year Plan, in the autumn of 1936.

DR. STAHMER: What were his particular tasks?

KÖRNER: He had to regulate the allocation of labor and thus put an end to the great muddle on the labor market.

DR. STAHMER: How long did Syrup remain in office?

KÖRNER: Syrup left in the spring of 1942 for reasons of health.

DR. STAHMER: Who became his successor?

KÖRNER: His successor was Gauleiter Sauckel.

DR. STAHMER: Who appointed Sauckel?

KÖRNER: Sauckel was appointed by the Führer.

DR. STAHMER: And what was his task?

KÖRNER: His main task as Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was to regulate labor.

DR. STAHMER: Under whom did he work?

KÖRNER: He was formally under the Delegate of the Four Year Plan, but he received his instructions straight from the Führer.

DR. STAHMER: What was your part in it?

KÖRNER: In the spring of 1942 I ceased to have any influence over the allocation of labor, since Sauckel received his directions straight from the Führer and carried them out accordingly.

DR. STAHMER: Did you not have any more dealings with Sauckel?

KÖRNER: No; there were no more dealings as far as I remember, because he received his directions from the Führer.

DR. STAHMER: Who allocated the manpower?

KÖRNER: The labor exchanges allocated the manpower and were under Sauckel.

DR. STAHMER: What were the relations between the Reich Marshal and Himmler?

KÖRNER: They were not very cordial. There was frequent tension and mutual confidence was completely lacking.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants’ counsel wish to ask any questions?

[There was no response.]

Do the Prosecution wish to ask any questions?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In your testimony you made some references to a conversation between Göring and Thälmann.

KÖRNER: Yes, I did.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Will you tell us when that occurred?

KÖRNER: That must have been in the summer of 1933.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In the summer of 1933? Was that before or after the Reichstag fire?

KÖRNER: That was after the Reichstag fire.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Thälmann was accused in the Reichstag fire trial and acquitted by the court, was he not?

KÖRNER: I cannot remember that very well.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you remember it at all? Do you remember that he was accused?

KÖRNER: I can no longer remember whether he was accused. It may be.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know where he died?

KÖRNER: No, I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know that he was interned in Buchenwald after the Reichstag fire and remained there until he died in 1944? Did you know that?

KÖRNER: Yes, I remember it was said he was a victim of an air attack.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where was he when he was caught in this air attack?

KÖRNER: Where was Thälmann? I did not quite understand the question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where was he when he became a victim of an air attack?

KÖRNER: As far as I heard, he was said to be in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And how long had he been there?

KÖRNER: That I do not know; I have no knowledge of that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you present at the conversation between Thälmann and Göring?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did he complain about then in the concentration camp?

KÖRNER: About treatment during interrogations.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was the only complaint he made?

KÖRNER: Yes, as far as I can remember. The Reich Marshal asked him whether he had good food and whether he was properly treated. All these things were discussed.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Thälmann found no fault with the concentration camp except treatment during interrogation?

KÖRNER: Yes; as far as I remember that was his chief complaint.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were the Communists regarded by the Nazis as enemies of the country?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And concentration camps, then, were built to receive Communists among others, were they not?



KÖRNER: Yes, as far as they were known to be enemies of the State.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were Jews also regarded as enemies of the State?

KÖRNER: Generally not; only when they had been recognized as such.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Recognized as such—what, as Jews?

KÖRNER: No, if a Jew was recognized as an enemy of the State, he was treated as an enemy of the State.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the test as to whether he was an enemy of the State?

KÖRNER: Well, his attitude, his active participation in actions hostile to the State.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Such as what? What actions?

KÖRNER: I cannot give any details. I was not Chief of the Gestapo, and therefore I do not know any details.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you not with Göring as his secretary during the time he was Chief of the Gestapo?

KÖRNER: In April 1933 I became State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you not have to do with concentration camps under the secret police as such?

KÖRNER: No, I had nothing to do with that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who handled that for Göring?

KÖRNER: The then Ministerialdirektor Diels.

MR; JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that, in setting up the Secret State Police, Göring used SS men to man the Gestapo?

KÖRNER: I cannot remember that any more.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were a member of the SS, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was your office in the SS?

KÖRNER: I never held any office in the SS, neither was I in charge of an SS formation. I was just a member of the SS.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you not Obergruppenführer?

KÖRNER: Yes, I was an SS-Obergruppenführer.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, as to these unauthorized concentration camps, you were asked who set them up, and I do not think you answered. Will you tell us about who set up these concentration camps?

KÖRNER: I remember two camps. In the case of one, I know for certain it was Gruppenführer Heines, in Breslau.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Gruppenführer of what?

KÖRNER: SA-Gruppenführer Heines, in Breslau.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the other?

KÖRNER: I cannot say exactly. I believe it was Karpfenstein, but I am not sure of it.


KÖRNER: Karpfenstein was Gauleiter in Stettin.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Gauleiter was a Party official?

KÖRNER: Yes, he was a Party official.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the concentration camps were designed to take care of not only enemies of the State but enemies of the Party, were they not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Prime Minister of Prussia was the Chief of the Secret State Police?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in his absence the State Secretary of the State Ministry was to act as Chief of the Secret State Police?

KÖRNER: No, that was Diels.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was that not the law, whatever was done about it? Did you not know that that was the law under which the Secret State Police was set up, Section 1, Paragraph 2?

KÖRNER: I cannot remember that law any more. I no longer know the details.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know the law of 30 November 1933? You do not know the law under which you were operating?

KÖRNER: I do not remember that law now. I would have to see it again.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what was wrong with these concentration camps that they had to be closed down?

KÖRNER: These unauthorized concentration camps had been established without permission of the then Prussian Prime Minister and for that reason he prohibited them immediately.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is the only reason, that they were set up without this authority?

KÖRNER: I believe so; yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he had them stopped immediately?

KÖRNER: Stopped; yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring did not tolerate concentration camps that were not under his control and the Führer backed him up in it, is that right?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, from time to time complaints came to you about the treatment of people in concentration camps, during all the time you were with Göring, did they not?

KÖRNER: Yes, there were frequent complaints.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did they complain of?

KÖRNER: Various things.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Tell the Tribunal what the complaints were with which you had to deal.

KÖRNER: Well, mostly from relatives of the people taken to concentration camps whose release was applied for; or complaints that these people had been taken to a concentration camp without reason.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, that they were innocent people, innocent of any offense?

KÖRNER: The relatives asserted this.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you do anything to get them released from concentration camps?

KÖRNER: The Reich Marshal had ordered that all complaints were to be replied to. Every case was followed up at once.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you find that many of these people were innocent, or did you find that they were guilty?

KÖRNER: If anybody was found to have been wrongly taken to a concentration camp he was released immediately.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And to whom was the communication given, that he had been found innocent and was to be released from the concentration camp?

KÖRNER: It was given to the Secret State Police.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom at the Secret State Police? Who was the man you communicated with?

KÖRNER: I cannot name the individual who dealt with these matters. The chief, as far as I remember, was first Heydrich and then Kaltenbrunner or Müller.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was on good terms with all of those, was he not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well acquainted with all of those men?

KÖRNER: Of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, when you say that Göring obtained the release of people from concentration camps, are you talking about just one or two cases or did he obtain the release of a good many people?

KÖRNER: In the course of the years, there were naturally several cases.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What do you mean by “several”?

KÖRNER: Well, I cannot give the number now, but there were quite a lot of releases.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you find any where the people were guilty when you investigated?

KÖRNER: If they could not be released, then they were guilty somehow.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who decided that?

KÖRNER: That, as far as I know, was decided by the chief men of the Secret State Police.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, then, what did you do in requesting their release? Did you advise the Secret State Police that you disagreed with their conclusion that the man was guilty, or did Göring simply order the man to be released or request his release?

KÖRNER: No, they were told the exact reason why the man should be released.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know of any instance in which Göring requested the release of a person from a concentration camp, where it was not granted?

KÖRNER: I cannot say that now. I have to think it over.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You cannot recall any today, can you, in which Göring’s word requesting a release was not honored?

KÖRNER: At the moment I cannot remember any particular case.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were put in concentration camps as a result of the Röhm revolt?

KÖRNER: That I cannot say either.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were killed as a result of it?

KÖRNER: I cannot say from memory. As far as I know, the figures were published at the time.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, would it be a couple of hundred people that were killed for it?

KÖRNER: I should not like to tie myself to a figure, because I may be wrong.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it was a very large number of people was it not?

KÖRNER: No, I am sure it was not a very large number.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Give a figure.

KÖRNER: The number was published at the time. This could still be checked.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, why did the Reich Marshal want Hitler to stop punishing the people who had been a party to the Röhm revolt?

KÖRNER: I did not quite understand the question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understood your testimony to be that the Reich Marshal went to Hitler at some time and wanted this campaign against people who were in the Röhm revolt to be stopped. And I want to know why he wanted it stopped?

KÖRNER: In order to prevent innocent people being involved. Only the really guilty were to be caught and punished accordingly. It was clear that someone or other might seize this opportunity to take personal revenge and do away with his enemy, and in order to prevent this the action should be stopped immediately and only ordinary courts should deal with the matter.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was in charge of the selection of the people who were shot or otherwise killed as a result of the Röhm revolt?

KÖRNER: The Führer himself.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Reich Marshal had sufficient influence to stop that immediately when he complained?

KÖRNER: At that time, yes, the Reich Marshal definitely had sufficient influence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In connection with this Four Year Plan you said that it was its function to regulate the confusion in the labor market?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you represented the Reich Marshal at many meetings, did you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And was not one of your functions to get prisoners of war to work in the armament industry and other industries that needed labor?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never had anything to do with that?

KÖRNER: No. The Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor of course applied for prisoners of war for labor.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You attended many meetings when that was discussed, did you not?

KÖRNER: I cannot recall that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you report to the Reich Marshal what happened at those meetings?

KÖRNER: When questions of a general nature were discussed, a report was made and submitted to the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were representing the Reich Marshal on that Board?

KÖRNER: No. I did not represent the Reich Marshal there. It was a board of three men—Minister Speer, Field Marshal Milch and myself. The Central Planning Board was set up in the spring of 1942.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who appointed you?

KÖRNER: The three of us were appointed to the Central Planning Board.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who appointed you?

KÖRNER: As far as I remember, Göring.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you reported to him, did you not, what occurred from time to time?

KÖRNER: The Central Planning Board was merely an office for the distribution of raw materials. We usually met every 3 months in order to fix the quotas for the following quarter. Previously the office of the Four Year Plan, in co-operation with the Minister of Economics, handled the distribution and, from the spring of 1942 on, the Central Planning Board handled it in the interests of armament.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, do you want us to understand that the Central Planning Board only met every 3 months?

KÖRNER: Yes, approximately. In very rare cases another meeting was called, especially if there were urgent problems to be solved. I remember, for instance, the case when it was said that agriculture was not getting enough nitrogen and that if the nitrogen quota were too small, agricultural production would suffer. In view of this State Secretary Backe asked for a meeting to be called and this took place at the Central Planning Board office.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Would you testify that Sauckel did not report to the Central Planning Board, at a meeting at which you were present, that out of all the labor that came to Germany only 200,000 came voluntarily—out of the millions who came only 200,000 came voluntarily?

KÖRNER: I cannot remember that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you say that the Central Planning Board never discussed labor questions?

KÖRNER: At the Central Planning Board only demands for labor were submitted, and the quota holders to whom raw materials were allocated also demanded the necessary labor. Only very rough figures were given and then passed on to the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What about prisoners of war?

KÖRNER: With these the Central Planning Board was not at all concerned, as it was given only rough figures. For instance, if some branch of industry needed so many thousand workers, they were asked for.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What about concentration camp labor?

KÖRNER: The distribution of labor was dealt with by the labor exchanges. The Central Planning Board had nothing to do with it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Are you familiar with a letter dated 9 March 1944, reciting that 36,000 concentration camp prisoners were now being used and wanting an increase to 90,000?

KÖRNER: I do not know about these demands.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know about the use of Russian prisoners of war in manning anti-aircraft guns?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: After Göring closed the unauthorized concentration camps, did you know that the number of concentration camps increased very greatly in Germany?

KÖRNER: This I do not know. What happened after they were turned over to Himmler is beyond my knowledge. It may be that a large number of concentration camps was then set up.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How do you come to know about Göring’s relations with Himmler? Did he tell you?

KÖRNER: Göring once spoke about it, and I concluded that the relations were not at all good.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know about the appointment of Kaltenbrunner as head of the Austrian State Police after the Anschluss?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know who obtained that appointment for Kaltenbrunner?

KÖRNER: No, I have no idea.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you say that Göring and you were in Munich on the night or nights of the anti-Jewish riots in Germany?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Goebbels also there?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Go ahead; do you want to say something else?

KÖRNER: On 9 November we traveled from Munich to Berlin, so Goebbels could not be there then.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Why could he not be there?

KÖRNER: Because the Reich Marshal, with his entourage, traveled in his train to Berlin.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I mean, did you know that Goebbels was in Munich before these uprisings?

KÖRNER: Yes, that I heard afterwards—that Goebbels was in Munich. All National Socialist leaders were in Munich because 9 November was a day when all of them met.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Goebbels spoke in Munich on the Jewish question that night, did he not?

KÖRNER: That I do not know. I do not remember the speech.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was there to attend the meeting of the National Socialist leaders, was he not?

KÖRNER: Yes, on 9 November the entire leadership of the National Socialist Party met in Munich. It was an anniversary meeting.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Göring attended regularly?

KÖRNER: Of course he did.


KÖRNER: I did also.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, Hess attended?

KÖRNER: As I said, all National Socialist leaders always attended if they possibly could. Nobody ever failed to attend unless he were ill, or prevented by official duties.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Which of the defendants in the dock attended those meetings? Ribbentrop, of course?

KÖRNER: Ribbentrop, certainly.


KÖRNER: I assume so.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Kaltenbrunner?

KÖRNER: I never saw Kaltenbrunner, because Kaltenbrunner held a public post only during the latter years, and during these years the meetings were not as regular as before.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Rosenberg, of course, was there?

KÖRNER: Of course, as I said before.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Frank and Frick?

KÖRNER: Certainly.


KÖRNER: Not during the latter years, I do not think so; but previously he attended.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was that, during the latter years?

KÖRNER: As far as I know, Streicher did not attend during the latter years, but I do not know for certain.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He attended in November 1938 when the anti-Jewish uprisings took place, did he not?

KÖRNER: I believe so, because at that time Streicher was still in Nuremberg.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was very active, was he not?

KÖRNER: I did not understand the question quite correctly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was very active in the anti-Jewish matters, was he not?

KÖRNER: Yes; this is generally known.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he see Funk at those meetings?

KÖRNER: I believe that Funk frequently attended these meetings.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the subject considered at this meeting of 9 November, the night of the anti-Jewish uprising?

KÖRNER: I do not know of any discussions as there was always a fixed program on that day, and I did not know about anything else, nor can the Reich Marshal have known.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the adjutant who informed him on his arrival the next morning that something had happened during the night?

KÖRNER: This I cannot say exactly as the adjutants were always changing. I only know that an adjutant came and reported.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did he say that happened?

KÖRNER: He reported that during the night anti-Jewish riots had taken place and were still going on; that shop windows had been smashed, goods thrown into the streets. Göring was infuriated about this.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he infuriated about?

KÖRNER: About the riots.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?

KÖRNER: About the entire action.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?

KÖRNER: Göring always showed a different attitude to the Jewish question.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You just tell us what it was. You may go into all details. Tell us what his attitude was.

KÖRNER: He always showed a moderate attitude towards the Jews.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Such as fining them a billion Reichsmark right after the fire, right after these outrages? You know that he did that, do you not?

KÖRNER: Yes. The Führer demanded it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that the Führer is dead, do you not? Do you know that for a fact?

KÖRNER: Yes, I know he is dead.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is generally understood, is it not, among all of you, that the Führer is dead?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So the Führer ordered the Reich Marshal to levy a fine of a billion Reichsmark? Who ordered the confiscation of the insurance of the Jews a few days after this assault?

KÖRNER: That I do not know. I can no longer remember the details.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you not remember that that was Göring’s order?

KÖRNER: I cannot recall it now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Why did Göring go to Hitler to get this stopped? Why did he not go to the head of the police, which is supposed to prevent crime?

KÖRNER: Naturally he went to the highest chief so that an authoritative order could be given for these riots to cease immediately.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he have any idea who had started them?

KÖRNER: It had gone round that Goebbels had instigated these riots.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he know that the Gestapo and SS also participated?

KÖRNER: I do not know. As far as I know the SS did not participate.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did the Gestapo?

KÖRNER: No, I do not know that either.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he went to Hitler to complain about Goebbels instigating these riots, is that the fact?

KÖRNER: Yes, that is correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that he knew the next morning that these riots against the Jews had been instigated by members of the Government?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were interrogated at Obersalzberg, the interrogation center, on the 4th of October of last year by Dr. Kempner of our staff, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you stated in the beginning of your interrogation that you would not give any testimony against your former superior, Reich Marshal Göring, and that you regarded Göring as the last big man of the Renaissance; the last great example of a man from the Renaissance period; that he had given you the biggest job of your life and it would be unfaithful and disloyal to give any testimony against him; is that what you said?

KÖRNER: Yes, that is more or less what I said.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that is still your answer?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: No further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other members of the Prosecution wish to examine this witness?

GEN. RUDENKO: Perhaps you can remember, Witness, the conference of the heads of the German authorities in the occupied territories which took place on 6 August 1942 under the chairmanship of Defendant Göring.

KÖRNER: I cannot remember straight off what conference that could have been.

GEN. RUDENKO: Perhaps you can recall that after this conference of 6 August you circulated the minutes to all the ministers. The appendix to these minutes showed how much foodstuff and other raw materials should be supplied to Germany by the occupied territories?

KÖRNER: I cannot remember offhand.

GEN. RUDENKO: I shall put before you a document signed by you yourself which gives proof of this meeting.

KÖRNER: Yes, I have read it.

GEN. RUDENKO: You remember that you circulated this document, do you not?


GEN. RUDENKO: The document shows that certain figures were fixed as to how much foodstuff should be sent to Germany: 1,200,000 tons from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. From Russia, 3,000,000 tons of grain were to be sent to Germany, et cetera. Do you not consider such deliveries to be a spoliation of the occupied territories?

KÖRNER: It was a matter of course that the occupied territories had to make every effort in contributing to the food supply. Quotas were imposed on the occupied territories which they could meet or, if they were not in a position to do so, they could subsequently ask for modifications.

GEN. RUDENKO: You said something about “squeezing out,” I think?

KÖRNER: No, I never talked of squeezing out. I said it was a matter of course that the occupied territories had to contribute to the food supply with all the means at their disposal.

GEN. RUDENKO: That the occupied territories had to contribute?


GEN. RUDENKO: Had these occupied territories asked Germany to come and rule over them?

KÖRNER: I did not quite understand that question.

GEN. RUDENKO: I do not suppose you did. I now want to ask you another question in connection with this. You did not see that this was plunder, but do you not recall that Göring himself . . .

KÖRNER: No, this could not have been plunder.

GEN. RUDENKO: Göring himself at the same meeting said in his address that he intended to plunder the occupied territories systematically; you do not remember his expression “systematically plunder”?

KÖRNER: No, I do not know this expression.

GEN. RUDENKO: No, you do not remember. Perhaps you can recall that at the same meeting, when addressing the leaders of the occupied territories, he said to them, “You are sent there not to work for the welfare of the people you are in charge of, but you are sent there in order to squeeze out of that country everything possible.” Do you remember these words of the Defendant Göring?

KÖRNER: No, I cannot remember these words.

GEN. RUDENKO: You cannot remember?


GEN. RUDENKO: And you do not recall a lengthy correspondence between Göring and Rosenberg in which Rosenberg insisted that all functions relative to the economic exploitation of the occupied territories of the Soviet Union should be taken away from the military economic offices and transferred to the ministry headed by Rosenberg?

KÖRNER: No, I do not recall this letter.

GEN. RUDENKO: You do not know. And in connection with this you do not remember that this correspondence did not lead to a final settlement of the question?

KÖRNER: I do not know anything about this correspondence.

GEN. RUDENKO: You do not know anything, do you? In 1944 do you not recall that . . .

DR. STAHMER: I should like to point out that the interpretation is very incomplete and hard to understand. We ourselves do not fully understand the questions either.

GEN. RUDENKO: I suggest it is not my fault if the witness does not get all my questions.

[Turning to the witness.] Do you not recall that in 1944, after the Red Army had driven the German troops from the Ukraine, Göring, wishing to shelve the question of the economic exploitation of the Ukraine, wrote to Rosenberg that it should be postponed until a more opportune time, and Göring mentioned a second seizure of the Ukraine and other Soviet territories?

KÖRNER: Is this supposed to have happened in 1944?

GEN. RUDENKO: In 1944.

KÖRNER: No, I cannot remember it.

GEN. RUDENKO: I shall not argue about it.

[Turning to the President.] Evidently, Mr. President, you wish to adjourn now. I have a few more questions, but I assume it will be convenient to resume after the adjournment.


[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn at 4:30 today.

GEN. RUDENKO: Witness, I intend to hand you a document which is a letter addressed to you by the Permanent Delegate of the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. This is Document Number USSR-174. I want you to read it and say whether you have ever seen this letter before. You will see that this document begins with the words, “Honorable Secretary of State and dear Party Comrade Körner.”

This letter deals with the unification of economic leadership.

KÖRNER: I have taken note of this document. I definitely received it.

GEN. RUDENKO: You have received it; that is quite obvious. As is quite clear from this communication, the question is that of holding a special meeting under your leadership.


GEN. RUDENKO: Therefore I may conclude that you were a very close collaborator of the Defendant Göring in the matter of the so-called unification of economic leadership?

KÖRNER: Yes, for the conference mentioned.

GEN. RUDENKO: One last question. Do you confirm that the Defendant Göring as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, was at the head of both the civilian and the military German organizations dealing with the economic exploitation of all the occupied territories, and that you were his closest collaborator where these economic measures were concerned?

KÖRNER: The conference mentioned in this document never took place. The unification of economic leadership was a problem which arose, but which never really became a fact. Therefore the conference mentioned was superfluous.

GEN. RUDENKO: The problem was not solved, because of circumstances over which you had no control. It depended on the advance of the Red and Allied Armies. Am I right?

KÖRNER: I did not understand the question clearly enough to answer it.

GEN. RUDENKO: You say that the question was not solved. I ask you, is it not a fact that the problem was not solved because of circumstances which did not depend on yourselves? You were prevented by the Red and Allied Armies?

KÖRNER: I believe that at the time this letter was sent no such influence could have been felt. The question of the comprehensive organization of economic matters in occupied territories did not, as a fact, materialize because it was opposed by other circumstances.

GEN. RUDENKO: I do not mean to discuss these causes with you at the present moment, but you have not yet answered my last question. I asked: Do you confirm that Göring, as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, was at the head of both the civilian and the military German organizations dealing with the economic exploitation of all the occupied territories, and that you were his closest collaborator?

KÖRNER: As far as the exploitation of occupied countries is concerned, it cannot be dealt with in this manner. The Four Year Plan had the possibility of exerting influence in economic questions in the occupied countries, but it was done only if it was absolutely necessary. In general it did not concern itself with such problems. The authorities who took care of economic matters in the occupied countries were the military commanders or the heads of the civil administration. In the East was the Economic Staff East and Rosenberg’s Ministry. Only if there was a matter between the military and the economic authorities or between German departments, where there was a dispute or a disagreement, could the Four Year Plan be drawn in. The Reich Marshal in those cases could make special decisions, but that was in very, very few cases as, for instance, in the case of this conference mentioned today, concerning the occupied countries having to help supply foodstuffs for Europe. We had the right, since in the occupied territories not only in the East but also in the West, we carried out many new developments in the sphere of agriculture. In the West I can point out . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: What right are you discussing?

KÖRNER: I speak of the right which Germany had to share in the agricultural production of these countries, because we introduced many new developments there. I would like to point out that in the East, the regions which had been completely devastated, which had no seed, no machines, and with greatest difficulty . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: Who gave that right to the Germans?

KÖRNER: The right? It is only natural that once we have occupied a country and built it up, we are entitled to share in the surplus. We had to take care of the whole of Europe and we knew what anxieties and problems we encountered in the occupied countries.

GEN. RUDENKO: I asked you, where did the Germans get the right?

KÖRNER: I am no jurist. Therefore I cannot answer the question.

GEN. RUDENKO: But you were talking about German rights.

KÖRNER: I am speaking only of the natural right that if we built up a country we should share in the results of that work of development.

GEN. RUDENKO: After you had devastated these areas?

KÖRNER: Germany did not devastate these areas, especially not in any agricultural respect. We, in fact, instituted great developments. I remember, in the West, that some parts of France were completely devastated and our organizations performed reconstruction work there. Thus we rebuilt the uncultivated land which we found in France, through a German organization which had reconstructed whole areas in Reich territory, and repatriated French people there, giving them the possibility of working again as peasants and sharing in the agricultural production of the country. In the East we found territories whose agriculture had been greatly damaged through the war. All the machines had disappeared. All the tractors had been taken away by the Russians, and all agricultural implements had been taken away or destroyed. There we had to start in the most elementary and primitive way to build up agriculture again.

That it was possible for us in the years of our occupation in the East to restore agriculture, German initiative and German machinery alone are to be thanked.

GEN. RUDENKO: Did German initiative also include, together with the restoration of agricultural measures and developments, a vast net of concentration camps which you established in the occupied countries? Was that also included in the extent of the German initiative?

KÖRNER: I had nothing to do with that problem, and can say nothing about it.

GEN. RUDENKO: But I am asking you this question . . .

KÖRNER: And therefore I do not understand what you mean.

GEN. RUDENKO: You are not sufficiently informed on the question of concentration camps, but it would appear that you are quite well informed, or appear to be informed, on restoration work in the agricultural field?

KÖRNER: Naturally, I know a great deal about the rehabilitation of agricultural areas.

GEN. RUDENKO: But you know nothing about concentration camps?

KÖRNER: I was not concerned with these matters.

GEN. RUDENKO: You knew nothing about the fact that millions were being annihilated by the German occupational authorities?

KÖRNER: No, I knew nothing about it.

GEN. RUDENKO: You really knew nothing about it?

KÖRNER: I have only just found out about it.

GEN. RUDENKO: Only now?


GEN. RUDENKO: I have no further question to ask.

HERR GEORG BOEHM (Counsel for SA): Witness, do you know that Heines was Chief of Police at Breslau?

THE PRESIDENT: I asked defendants’ counsel at the end of the examination by Dr. Stahmer whether they wished to ask any questions, and they said they did not wish to ask any questions. Therefore it is not your turn now to ask any questions.

HERR BOEHM: Mr. President. In the interrogation by Mr. Justice Jackson a point arose which I did not know of before and which calls for comment. It concerns the Chief of Police, Heines. May I be allowed to put two or three questions to the witness so that the point in question may be clarified?

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. We hope you will not take too long.

HERR BOEHM: I will try to be brief, Mr. President. Thank you.

[Turning to the witness.] Witness, do you know that Heines was Chief of Police at Breslau?


HERR BOEHM: Further, do you know that in that capacity he was in charge of the prisons in Breslau?

KÖRNER: Of course, the Police Chief is in charge of prisons.

HERR BOEHM: Do you know whether at the time in question when this camp was set up, the police prisons of Breslau were overcrowded?

KÖRNER: That I do not know. I mentioned the case of Heines only as one of the camps which at that time were set up without the permission of the Prime Minister or the Minister of the Interior.

HERR BOEHM: Then you also know that Heines could establish this camp merely in his capacity as Chief of Police?

KÖRNER: Yes, that may be.

HERR BOEHM: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, have you any questions to ask?

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness may retire.

DR. STAHMER: With the permission of the Tribunal I call as next witness, Field Marshal Kesselring.

[The witness Kesselring took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell me your name?

ALBERT KESSELRING (Witness): Albert Kesselring.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, since when have you served with the Luftwaffe?

KESSELRING: Since 1 October 1933.

DR. STAHMER: What rank did you hold on your transfer to the Luftwaffe?

KESSELRING: Up to that time I was a colonel and officer commanding artillery in Dresden. Then I was retired as air commodore.

DR. STAHMER: You helped to build up the Luftwaffe?

KESSELRING: During the first 3 years I was Chief of the Administrative Office, subsequently Chief of the General Staff, and I then served in the Gruppenkommando.

DR. STAHMER: Was the Luftwaffe being built up for defensive or aggressive purposes?

KESSELRING: The German Luftwaffe was purely a weapon of defense. I must, however, add the comment that the single plane as well as the whole of an air force by its very nature is an aggressive weapon. Even in land fighting, mere defense unaccompanied by offensive movements is considered not to lead to any appreciable results or successes. This applies to a still greater degree to air warfare. The air force covers a wider range, both for defense and attack. This had been realized by the Reich Marshal and his generals.

It is obvious that when an air force is being built up, only light machines are produced, or are the first types to reach the units. Thus, up to 1936-37 we had only light craft, fighters, Stukas, reconnaissance planes, and a few “old sledges” as we called them, such as Ju 52, Do 11 and D 13—all obsolete bomber types.

One may hold the view that defense can be successfully conducted with these light craft. On the other hand, I should like to point to the end of the World War, when the German defensive air force was smashed by the offensive air force of the enemy.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal thinks the witness is dealing with this matter in far too great detail.

KESSELRING: I will go on. Up to 1937-38 there was no offensive air force, especially no bombers, and the bombers which were built later had neither the range nor the load capacity necessary for an offensive weapon. There were no four-engine bombers.

DR. STAHMER: Did you play any part in the attack on Warsaw?

KESSELRING: As Chief of Air Fleet 1, I led this attack.

DR. STAHMER: Did the military situation at the time justify this attack, and how was it carried out?

KESSELRING: Several attacks were made on Warsaw. In the German view, Warsaw was a fortress, and, moreover, it had strong air defenses. Thus the stipulations of the Hague Convention for land warfare, which can analogously be applied to air warfare, were fulfilled.

As to the first phase of the attack on Warsaw, according to the operational principle governing the employment of the Luftwaffe, the enemy air force and the aircraft factories in the immediate vicinity of the airfields were to be attacked. These attacks were in my opinion fully justified and they comply with the rules.

The second phase concerns the combating of the operational movements of the Poles. I may add that Warsaw is a junction for northern and central Poland. When our long-range reconnaissance reported—this was confirmed by the final phase—that the railway stations were crammed with material and that reinforcements in increasing numbers were moving on Warsaw, the air attack on these movements was ordered and carried out.

It was mainly directed against railway stations and sidings and the Vistula bridges. For the execution of these attacks I detailed Stukas and ground “strafer” aircraft, because the precision of these machines afforded the guarantee that mainly the military targets would be hit.

The third phase was the shelling of Warsaw. I consider the shelling to be an army action in which, at the request of the army, small units of the Luftwaffe were employed against military targets. I myself was over Warsaw, and after practically every air attack I consulted the army commanders about the execution. From my own experiences and reports I can assert that everything that was humanly possible was done to hit military targets only and to spare civilian targets.

DR. STAHMER: Can you confirm conclusively that these attacks were kept throughout within the limits of military necessity?

KESSELRING: Absolutely.

DR. STAHMER: Did you play any part in the attack on Rotterdam?

KESSELRING: As Air Force Chief 2, to which rank I had been promoted, I led air attacks on Holland, Belgium, and France, and the airborne corps operated under my command also. The airborne corps was commanded by General Student, who asked for his paratroops to be supported by a bomber attack. General Student had such a comprehensive knowledge of the ground situation that he alone must be considered responsible for preparation and execution of the attack. The Fourth Air Corps was ordered to provide air support, and one group, the smallest unit necessary for this purpose, was employed. The attack was carried out solely in accordance with the tactical requirements and technical possibilities. The orders of General Student reached my command very early. Thus all preparations could be made leisurely according to plan. At the instance of the Reich Marshal the unit was informed of possible changes within Rotterdam and of the approach of Panzer divisions. The objective set by General Student was quite clear as to extent, central and key points, and occupation. It was not difficult for seasoned troops to grasp the objective. There was radio communication between General Student’s command, my staff, and other staffs, including the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. Any interruption of this communication could only have been a very short one as radio orders were transmitted by me or the Reich Marshal. The technique at that time made it possible to maintain contact through this radio communication between the tactical ground station and the flying unit, via its ground station. The ground communications usual at that time such as flags, flares, and signal code designations at the front were maintained according to plan. They functioned without a hitch. In accordance with its training and its orders the formation had sent out a reconnaissance aircraft which kept them informed of the situation and the objective. In addition, by order of the Reich Marshal, there followed a General Staff officer attached to my air fleet who had the same mission.

DR. STAHMER: Had the order been given that the situation and the objective should be . . .

KESSELRING: I myself never had any doubt that the attack had to be carried out; I was only not quite sure whether or not it should be repeated. And this was the question to which the signals referred. Judging from my knowledge of General Student and—I stress this particularly—his technique in leading an attack and his clearly stated requirements, I had to expect the attack to be carried out.

The attack was carried out according to plan and time schedule. The report that the target had been accurately bombed came through very quickly together with the message that no further attacks were necessary. During the 3 days of fighting in Holland the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe was kept well informed. Particularly on the third day, that is, the day I am talking of, the Reich Marshal in his outspoken manner intervened more than usual in the direction of the air fleet and did, in my opinion, everything that could possibly be done from such a high position. I do not remember any message to the effect that the bomber attack was no longer warranted by the tactical situation.

DR. STAHMER: Bombs are said to have been dropped when negotiations about capitulation had already started.

KESSELRING: As I said, no message to this effect had been received by the command, neither had the formation operating over Rotterdam picked up a message from the ground. Probably some confusion occurred at the command in Rotterdam itself of which I know nothing. Neither do I know about the agreements reached between General Student and the officer commanding the Dutch troops in Rotterdam. I wanted later to have a talk with General Student on this question, but it was not possible because of his having received a serious head injury. If, contrary to my firm conviction, the attack had been no longer warranted by the situation, this would be most regrettable. As a soldier of 42 years’ standing, as an artillery man, as an airman, as a General Staff officer, and as a leader for many years, I wish to make it clear that this case was one of those unforeseeable coincidences of war which, I am sorry to say, occur in the armed services of all countries more frequently than one might think; only the world does not know.

DR. STAHMER: How do you explain the big fires that still broke out in Rotterdam?

KESSELRING: When I received the report from the formation I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the effect of the bombing was confined to the target area, but this war has shown that most of the destruction is not caused by the bombs themselves, but by the spreading of fires. Unfortunately a bomb had hit a margarine or some other factory in Rotterdam, causing oil to run out and the fire to spread. As after the attack the capitulation was already effective, it should have been possible to prevent the fires from spreading by bringing in the fire services and the troops.

DR. STAHMER: What were the military consequences of this attack?

KESSELRING: The immediate consequence of the attack was the surrender of the Rotterdam troops. General Wenninger, who was air attaché at the time and who later was attached to my air fleet, told me that in consequence of this attack the whole of the Dutch Army capitulated.

DR. STAHMER: Did you lead the attack on Coventry in November 1940?

KESSELRING: As Chief of Air Fleet 2 I took part in this attack, without any doubt. I cannot say now whether Air Fleet 3 took part in it as well, but I did.

DR. STAHMER: What was the object of the attack?

KESSELRING: According to the target index kept by the archives department of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Coventry was an English armament center; it was known as “Little Essen.” This index was compiled with meticulous care by experts, engineers, and officers, and contained maps, charts, photographs, description of targets, key points, et cetera. I myself, as well as my men, was fully familiar with these details. Furthermore, I had the aforementioned General Wenninger and several engineers with the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe give lectures to the troops about targets, in order to make them acquainted with the nature of the targets, their vulnerability, and the effects of an air attack.

Preparations for an attack were made most conscientiously. I was very often present and the Reich Marshal himself occasionally inspected them. The case of Coventry was extremely simple, as during those nights favorable weather conditions prevailed, so that Coventry could be reached without radio navigation. The distribution of the targets in Coventry was likewise very simple, so that bombs could be dropped without the help of flares, and it was hardly possible to miss the target. But bombs follow the same law as other projectiles; in other words, in land and air warfare dispersion covers a wide range. With an air force this is the further peculiarity that if strong formations are employed not the individual target but only the target area as a whole can be aimed at, which naturally causes a deviation from the target itself. By order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and on the reconnaissance pilot’s own initiative, all hits and attacks were checked the following day by air photographs. The ground visibility was good but, as I already said in the case of Rotterdam, the destruction of the objective was not caused so much by the bombs themselves as by the spreading of fire.

I do not know whether I should add anything further. The Hague Convention on land warfare did not provide for the requirements of air warfare. In order to avoid an arbitrary selection of targets, the Supreme Command had to go into the question and issue general directives based on the preamble to the Hague Convention, the literature published in the meantime, and finally, the special conditions governing the Luftwaffe itself. Only those targets which we considered admissible according to international law were assigned to the air fleet or formation. This did not exclude the reconsideration and change of targets in individual cases, which were discussed with the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, and we took the responsibility . . .

THE PRESIDENT: You are speaking too fast.

KESSELRING: By personal visits and other means we impressed upon our units the need to study preparation, the dropping of bombs, aiming, the meteorological conditions, so carefully that the highest degree of accuracy could be obtained and regrettable deviations into the perimeter of the objectives could be avoided. The case of Coventry was particularly fortunate as it presented an important military target, and no one could speak of it as an attack directed against the civilian population.

DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defense counsel wish to ask questions?

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, since when were you commander of an army group?

KESSELRING: I became commander of an army group in September 1943 after, as commander of the German troops in the Supreme Command, I had already served in a supervisory capacity as far as general strategic and tactical questions were concerned.

DR. LATERNSER: The army group which you led was in Italy?

KESSELRING: The army group was in the Mediterranean area.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you know the composition of the General Staff and High Command group as presented by the Prosecution?


DR. LATERNSER: First I have a preliminary question. What is, strictly speaking, understood by the German General Staff of the individual branches of the Wehrmacht?

KESSELRING: The General Staff of the individual branches of the Wehrmacht comprises all those officers who assist the commanders-in-chief of the services and share their responsibility.

DR. LATERNSER: Would you please state how this group was composed and organized—in the Luftwaffe, for instance?

KESSELRING: The General Staff of the Luftwaffe was the equivalent of the General Staff of the Army and these organizations were as alike as two pins. The General Staff consisted of the central department, called the Operations Staff in the Luftwaffe, headed by the Chief of the General Staff, the operational departments, the organizational groups, the departmental chiefs of the Luftwaffe, the supply office, et cetera. The various commands, from the air fleet down to the division, the ground staff and the Luftgaue, had General Staff officers attached to them to assist in the command. A chief of general staff no longer bore co-responsibility, as was previously customary, since this was held to be inconsistent with the Leadership Principle. These chiefs of general staffs and the chief of the central department of the General Staff exercised their influence regarding military and ideological training on all the General Staff officers within the Wehrmacht, without prejudice to the responsibility of the individual military commander.

DR. LATERNSER: If I summarize your reply that by General Staff of the Luftwaffe is meant the Chief of General Staff and the regimental staff officers, would I then be describing correctly the composition of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe?

KESSELRING: Most certainly.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you consider the term “General Staff” as has been employed in these proceedings to be in accordance with military usage?

KESSELRING: As I said before, the General Staff was composed of officers assisting in the command, which did not include the commanders and commanders-in-chief. According to German views they did not belong to that category, because not all the commanders and commanders-in-chief had had the same education and training as the General Staff officers. The commanders-in-chief were single individuals. They would be treated collectively only in connection with their rank as generals and for budget and pay purposes.

DR. LATERNSER: Would you consider it to be erroneous to apply the term “General Staff” to the high military commanders?

KESSELRING: According to the German conception it would be a misnomer.

DR. LATERNSER: Have at any time in the history of the Wehrmacht the high military commanders been subsumed under this group as is being done here?

KESSELRING: In Germany such subsumption was not indicated and for various reasons was not even admissible. Neither did the commanders-in-chief form a collective body to act in any way as a war council or as a similar assembly with definite tasks. They were not even, individually or collectively, members of the Reich Defense Council, but were only appointed ad hoc commanders of a front or a command post. To set up the commanders-in-chief as a collective body for any specific purpose was in my opinion quite impossible, for the simple reason that they were under the commander-in-chief of the Army, the Luftwaffe, or the Navy or under the High Command of the Armed Forces. Moreover, some were 100 percent under the German Supreme Command; others were 100 percent under Axis command. Some of them were under two different commands, some were independent commanders-in-chief, others were army commanders-in-chief subordinate to an army group.

DR. LATERNSER: You are speaking too fast. Had the commanders-in-chief only to work out military problems set before them, or did they themselves draw up plans and submit them to Hitler for consideration?

KESSELRING: The commanders-in-chief were purely military leaders, responsible only for the task allotted to them. Within the scope of this task they could submit suggestions or improvements, et cetera, to the OKW or to the OKH, but their activities in the sense of collaboration were limited to these suggestions.

DR. LATERNSER: You just mentioned improvements and modifications. Did this mean that the commanders-in-chief were expected to suggest modifications of a plan only from the military-technical aspect, or also to submit suggestions as to whether or not a plan should be carried out at all?

KESSELRING: Generally it meant suggestions for modifications from the military-technical aspect only. In matters of minor importance they had a say also as to policy. If, however, the highest authority had made a decision, the others kept silent.

DR. LATERNSER: We will revert to this later. Did the “General Staff” group as presented here ever meet collectively?


DR. LATERNSER: Were there any rules providing for the organization of this group?


DR. LATERNSER: Did any members of this group ever suggest a departure from the rules of international law?

KESSELRING: I do not think so; rather the contrary.

DR. LATERNSER: Was there a frequent reshuffle of the holders of the offices which make up this group, or did they hold the offices for a long period?

KESSELRING: In the course of the later years the commanders-in-chief and commanders were rather frequently reshuffled.

DR. LATERNSER: What do you know about the conferences Hitler held with high-ranking military leaders?

KESSELRING: There were two kinds of conferences. First, an important address before a campaign to the higher leaders taking part in it. The object of the address was generally to inform the leaders of the situation and to brief them. In view of the Führer’s persuasive rhetoric it was hardly possible for us to take any stand in the matter, particularly as we were not informed about all the details. At such conferences discussions did not take place; they were not allowed. There sometimes followed military-tactical consultations, and every leader had the chance of putting forward and stressing his views and requests. As I have said, we had no say in political questions. We were, as is known, fated with the accomplished fact, which we as soldiers had to accept.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you attend a conference held by Hitler on 22 August 1939, that is, shortly before the Polish campaign started?


DR. LATERNSER: Was it not made known at the end of this conference that we had concluded a treaty with the Soviet Union?

KESSELRING: At the end, after the address, we were all called together again and informed that the message had just been received that Russia would adopt benevolent neutrality.

DR. LATERNSER: What impression did this message have on you and the other high military leaders?

KESSELRING: It was a tremendous relief to me and to the others. Otherwise we could not have dismissed the possibility of an extension of the war toward the East. Now that Russia was going to hold herself aloof, the Luftwaffe at least—I speak as an army commander—had a superiority which guaranteed a rapid and decisive success, and which over and above this, in my opinion, would possibly prevent the expansion of the war.

DR. LATERNSER: In any case, the message was a great relief to you?

KESSELRING: Yes, very great.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, can you tell me whether members of the General Staff and OKW group ever met and had discussions with leading politicians and Party men?

KESSELRING: If I may speak for myself, I was operating both in the Mediterranean area and in the West. In the Mediterranean area I had to work with the Gauleiter Rainer and Hofer and then in the West with . . .

DR. LATERNSER: That was not the point of the question. I wanted to know whether the high military leaders ever met and discussed any political plans with leading politicians.

KESSELRING: No, no. That I can definitely say was not the case. We as soldiers generally did not bother about politics. Political decisions were made by the politicians and we had to carry them out.

DR. LATERNSER: Among military leaders, as a result of their many years of experience in the Wehrmacht, which foster the principle of giving the soldier a nonpolitical education, this attitude is customary, is it not?

KESSELRING: This policy has been developed in the German Army since the 18th century.

DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether the higher military leaders had any contact with the Fifth Column?

KESSELRING: The military leadership had nothing to do with the Fifth Column. This was beneath us.

DR. LATERNSER: What was your impression of the conference Hitler held with the higher military leaders before the Eastern campaign started? Was the situation presented to you in such a way that war had to be considered unavoidable?

KESSELRING: I had the definite impression that the purpose of the address to the leaders was to convince them of the necessity of the war as a preventive war, and that it was imperative to strike before the building up and the mobilization of the Russian armed forces became a danger to Germany.

DR. LATERNSER: Could you state the reasons for your impression?

KESSELRING: As I have already said, the purpose of the address was to give us a convincing picture of the general situation, of the military situation and its time schedule—and it did convince us. In connection with the Russian campaign I should like to say that up to the last day of August I had no doubt . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you go more slowly please and have some consideration for the interpreters.

DR. LATERNSER: Would you please repeat the last answer.

KESSELRING: I had still less reason to doubt Hitler’s words because, up to the last moment, I, as Commander-in-Chief of Air Fleet 2, was engaged in operations against England and had had neither time nor the means to form a well-founded judgment of my own on the Russian situation. I had to confine myself . . .

DR. LATERNSER: This Trial has shown that the commanders-in-chief are being made responsible for what is bound to happen in a war. I should like you to describe the daily routine of a commander-in-chief of an army group, an army, or an air fleet.

KESSELRING: The daily routine depended of course on the personality of the individual leader. If I may speak of myself . . .

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, I ask you to be very brief.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness—Dr. Laternser, surely that is cumulative to what the witness has already been saying, and likely to be very long. About the description of the day of a commander, this witness already said the commander had nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with the staff. Why should we be troubled with what the commander’s day consists of?

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I attach particular importance to this question for the following reasons: In view of the range of a commander-in-chief’s activities, especially at the front, not every report can reach him because even reports from his own sector have to be dealt with by the respective officers. Thus, only those reports come to him which are of particular importance and of a decisive nature and which have a direct bearing on the conduct of the action.

THE PRESIDENT: Give it in that way then, rather than giving the witness a full day to describe.

DR. LATERNSER: Very well, I shall put it that way.

Witness, in view of the range of your activities as commander-in-chief did every report reach you, or only those which, after having been studied by the respective officers, were found to be of such importance that they had to be submitted to the commander-in-chief?

KESSELRING: Especially when an action was in progress all reports could not reach the commander-in-chief. In my particular case this was still less possible as I spent 50 to 70 percent of my time at the front. The staffs of the armies, air fleets, and navy units had to retain a responsibility of their own within their competence.

DR. LATERNSER: Did the many activities of a commander-in-chief allow all reports on violations of international law, even of a minor nature, to be submitted to him?

KESSELRING: This had to be aimed at. I doubt, however, for the aforementioned reasons, whether this was possible in every case.

DR. LATERNSER: In this matter, therefore, the commander-in-chief had to rely on his staff, had he not?

KESSELRING: Yes; 100 percent.

DR. LATERNSER: Were you commander-in-chief of an air fleet on the Eastern front from June to November 1941?


DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear anything about the extermination of Jews in the East?


DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear anything about the Einsatzgruppen of the SS?

KESSELRING: Nothing. I did not even know the name of these units.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you get to know anything about the regrettable order that Russian commissars were to be shot after their capture?

KESSELRING: I heard of this order at the end of the war. The air fleet, not being engaged in ground fighting, had actually nothing to do with this question. I think I can safely say the Luftwaffe knew nothing whatsoever about it. Though I very frequently had personal dealings with Field Marshal Von Bock, with commanders of armies and armored units, none of these gentlemen ever told me of such an order.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you know about the Commando Order?


DR. LATERNSER: And what did you think of this order?

KESSELRING: I considered such an order, received by me as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, where I held a double post, as not binding for me, but as the outline of an order which left me a free hand in its application. On this question I held the view that it was for me, as commander-in-chief, to decide whether a Commando action was contrary to international law or whether it was tactically justified. The view adopted more and more by the army group, which view was directed by me, was that personnel in uniform who had been sent out on a definite tactical task were to be treated and considered as soldiers in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention for land warfare.

DR. LATERNSER: The Commando Order was consequently not applied within your command?

KESSELRING: In one case, yes, it was certainly applied.

DR. LATERNSER: Which case do you mean?

KESSELRING: I mean the case of General Dostler.

DR. LATERNSER: The case of General Dostler has already been mentioned in this Trial. Did you know about this case when it was pending?

KESSELRING: As a witness under oath I have stated that I cannot remember this case. I think there are two reasons why I was not informed of it. Firstly, after a conversation with my chief, who spoke to another commander about it, it appeared that none of us knew anything. Secondly, because of the gigantic operations on the Southern Front, I was more often absent than not from my headquarters.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, if you had been called upon to make a decision on the Dostler case, how would you have decided?

KESSELRING: I am not well enough acquainted with the case. I know it only from hearsay.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I do not think we can try Dostler’s case, or that this witness should give his conclusions, inasmuch as Dostler’s case has been tried by a competent court and that issue is disposed of. I have no objection to any facts that inform this Tribunal, but his conclusion as to the guilt of his fellow officer is hardly helpful.

THE PRESIDENT: Particularly as he said he cannot remember.

DR. LATERNSER: I withdraw the question.

Witness, can you quote other cases where the Commando Order was not applied in your area?

KESSELRING: Small scale landings behind the lines at Commazzio, south of Venice, also airborne landings north of Albenda in the region of Genoa and minor actions in the Lago di Ortona district. I am convinced the troops adopted this general view and acted accordingly.

DR. LATERNSER: You were commander-in-chief of an air fleet in the East. What can you say about the treatment of the Russian civilian population during the campaign?

KESSELRING: I was in Russia until the end of November and I can say only that the population and the troops were on the best of terms, and that the field kitchens were used everywhere for the benefit of the poor and the children; also that the morality of the Russian woman, which, as is known, is on a high level, was respected by the German soldiers to a remarkable extent. I know that my doctors, during the hours of attendance, were frequently consulted by the Russian population. I remember this, because the doctors spoke to me about the fortitude they showed in enduring pain. The war passed so quickly over the plains as far as Smolensk that the whole area presented quite a peaceful aspect; peasants were at work, fairly large herds of cattle were grazing, and when I visited the area I found the small dwellings intact.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear of any excesses committed by German soldiers in the East? Whenever cases of violations of international law were reported to you, did you take action with all the means at your disposal?

KESSELRING: I at least tried to do so, if only for the sake of maintaining the reputation of the German Wehrmacht and also in the interests of the relations of the Wehrmacht with our Italian allies. I therefore thought it expedient to deal severely with any German soldier who committed an offense. As I was mindful of the fact that war is a brutal business and the longer it lasts the more brutal it becomes, particularly if the leaders and subordinates are no longer able to cope with their tasks, I had recourse to preventive measures. The preventive regulations, which I am sure were seen at many places by the Allied Forces during their advance through Italy, my various announcements of the penalties imposed which became generally known, are the best proof of what I just said.

As a preventive measure I ordered whole towns, or if this was not possible, their centers to be cleared of military and administrative offices and soldiers, and barricaded off. Furthermore, as far as air raid precautions allowed, the soldiers were garrisoned and billeted in confined areas. I also ordered detached individual soldiers, who are usually the cause of such trouble—for instance soldiers going on and returning from leave—to be grouped together, and nonmilitary vehicles to form convoys. For control purposes I had cordons drawn by military police, field police, gendarmes, with mobile courts and flying squads attached to them.

The buying-up of Italian goods, which was partly the cause of the trouble, was to be restricted by establishing stores, in co-operation with the Italian Government, along the return routes, and here the soldiers could buy something to take home. This was enforced by penalties. German offenders reported to me by the Italians, I had prosecuted or I myself took proceedings against them. Whenever local operations prevented my personal intervention, as for instance at Siena, I notified the Wehrmacht that I would have the case dealt with by court martial at a later date. In other cases, when the situation was critical, I declared an emergency law and imposed the death penalty for looting, robbery, murder, et cetera. The death penalty was, however, rarely found to have a deterrent effect. I took action against officers who, naturally disposed to shield their men, had shown too great leniency.

I understand all files are available here, so that all details can be seen from the marginal notes on the reports sent in by the military police.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side?

KESSELRING: During my many visits to the front I did, of course, come across a large number . . .

GEN. RUDENKO: I protest against this question. In my opinion, the witness is not the person to make any statement as to whether Germany’s enemies have violated international law. I think this question should be omitted.

DR. LATERNSER: May I explain my point? I am interested in an answer to this question because I want to follow it with the further question to the witness, whether after he heard of violations of international law by the other side, he became more lenient concerning violations of international law by his own men. That is why I am anxious to have this question answered.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to know exactly what your question is and why you say it is competent.

DR. LATERNSER: The exact wording of the question is as follows:

I asked the witness, “Do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side?”

According to his answer I intend to put the further questions to the witness, whether, in view of such violations of international law by the other side, he either did not punish at all or dealt more leniently with violations of international law by his own men.

From the answer to this latter question I want to ascertain the attitude of the witness as a member of the group, and that is why I consider the answer to the first question to be important.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to hear what Counsel for the United States says about it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If Your Honor pleases, I believe it is a well-established principle of international law that a violation on one side does not excuse or warrant violations on the other side. There is, of course, a doctrine of reprisal, but it is clearly not applicable here, on any basis that has been shown.

In the second place, even if the treatment of the subject matter were competent, I think it is being improperly gone into in this manner. Here is a broad question, “Did you hear of violations of international law?” It would at least, even if the subject were proper, require that some particularity of a case be given. A broad conclusion of a charge—a violation of international law—would hardly be sufficient to inform this Tribunal as to the basis on which this witness may have acted.

If there were some specific instance, with credible information called to his attention, there might be some basis; but surely the question as asked by counsel does not afford a basis here.

It seems to me we are getting far afield from the charges here and that this is far afield from anything that is involved in the case. I do not know what particular atrocities or violations of international law are to be excused by this method. There must have been atrocities committed, on the basis of which there is sought to be excused atrocities committed by somebody else. Who else committed them, why they were committed, is a subject we might have to try if we went into this subject. It seems to me that the inquiry is quite beside the point, and even if it were not, if there were any way that it is within the point, it is improperly put in this manner.

DR. STAHMER: This question, which is of fundamental importance, was argued before this Tribunal some time ago. This was when I applied for permission to be given to produce White Books containing reports on atrocities. I think it was during the sitting of 25 February.

At that time Professor Exner defined his attitude to this question and the Tribunal then permitted me to produce these White Books, with the proviso that I would still have to state what I intended to present from these books.

Already on that occasion attention was drawn to the importance of the question of whether atrocities were committed by the other side as well, because this very point may contribute to a more just and possibly to a more lenient judgment of German behavior. The motive of an act has always a decisive bearing on the findings, and the view will be taken here that an act on the German part will be judged differently if the other side has not really shown entirely correct behavior.

Furthermore it is an important question whether measures taken may have been reprisals. On the strength of these considerations I hold that this important question should be admitted.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for 10 minutes.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal have considered the questions which Dr. Laternser proposed to put to the witness and have also considered the objections made by General Rudenko and Mr. Justice Jackson, and they hold the questions are inadmissible.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I assume that I am allowed to put the following question.

[Turning to the witness.] Witness, did you either not punish at all or deal more leniently with violations of international law by your own men when violations of this law by the other side were reported to you?

THE PRESIDENT: That seems to me to be putting in one question what before you put in two.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, this question is not meant to cause the witness to give instances of violations of international law by the other side. From the answer, I merely want to ascertain the fundamental attitude of the witness, namely whether he, as commander-in-chief, dealt most severely with violations of international law by his own men even if violations on the other side were reported to him. I withdraw the question.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would see no objection in your asking the witness whether he was anxious to avoid violations of international law; if you wish to put that question to him there will be no objection to that question. The question which you have suggested putting is really identical with the questions you put before.

DR. LATERNSER: Witness, during this Trial severe accusations have been made because of atrocities committed by German soldiers. Was not every soldier sufficiently enlightened and instructed about the regulations of international law?

KESSELRING: I answer this question in the affirmative. The many talks given by me and the commanders under me always contained such admonitions and instructions.

DR. LATERNSER: Did you, as commander of an army group, spare art treasures and churches as far as possible?

KESSELRING: I regarded it as a matter of course as my duty to spare centers of art and learning and churches, and I gave orders accordingly, and acted accordingly myself in all my operations and tactical measures.

DR. LATERNSER: What do you know about the treatment of prisoners of war who had fallen into German hands?

KESSELRING: Prisoners of war were treated according to international law. Wherever inspections ordered by me revealed any neglect, I had it redressed and reprimanded the commandant in charge.

DR. LATERNSER: I have still three more questions. Were you, as Field Marshal, informed that Italy would enter the war?

KESSELRING: No, I had not been informed about that. As far as I know, the entry of Italy into the war was so spontaneous that even the political leaders were surprised.

DR. LATERNSER: And were you informed that war would be declared upon America?

KESSELRING: No. I cannot say anything about this question.

DR. LATERNSER: And now the last question. What was the position regarding the resignation of military leaders during the war?

KESSELRING: Resignation from the Wehrmacht of one’s own free will, or an application for permission to resign from the Wehrmacht, was not allowed. In 1944 there was an order prohibiting this under threat of the severest penalties. The Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht reserved for himself the exclusive right to make changes of personnel in the leading positions.

DR. LATERNSER: Was there a written order to this effect?

KESSELRING: Yes, I think so.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions.

DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, you said before that the commanders-in-chief had, in military matters, the right and the opportunity to present their demands and views to Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht. Did I understand that correctly?


DR. JAHRREISS: Did you personally have differences of opinion with Hitler?

KESSELRING: Considerable differences about operational and tactical questions.

DR. JAHRREISS: Did it come to a real clash?

KESSELRING: “Clash” is perhaps putting it too strongly; rather a divergence of opinion on either side.

DR. JAHRREISS: Shall we say disputes? Were they frequent?


DR. JAHRREISS: After all we have heard, here, Adolf Hitler must have been a rather difficult customer.

KESSELRING: That must be admitted. On the other hand, I found him—I do not know why—understanding in most of the matters I put to him.

DR. JAHRREISS: Did you yourself settle these differences of opinion with Hitler?

KESSELRING: In critical cases Colonel General Jodl called me in if he could not carry his point.

DR. JAHRREISS: If you could not carry the point?

KESSELRING: No, if Jodl could not carry the point.

DR. JAHRREISS: If Jodl could not carry the point, you were called in?


DR. JAHRREISS: Did Jodl’s opinions, too, differ from Hitler’s?

KESSELRING: On the various occasions when I attended for reporting I observed very definite, differences of opinion between the two gentlemen, and that Jodl—who was our spokesman at the OKW—put his point of view with remarkable energy and stuck to it right to the end.

DR. JAHRREISS: What do you mean, he was your spokesman? Whose spokesman?

KESSELRING: My theaters of war, speaking as a general in the Wehrmacht, were so-called OKW theaters of war, and the East was an Army theater of war. The East was an Army theater of war, whereas the others were OKW war theaters.

DR. JAHRREISS: Had the OKW no say regarding the Army theaters of war in the East?


DR. JAHRREISS: And the Army had no say regarding the OKW theater of war?


DR. JAHRREISS: I think not everybody will be able to understand this difference.

KESSELRING: It would be asking too much, because I myself cannot understand it.

DR. JAHRREISS: So, you were in an OKW theater of war?


DR. JAHRREISS: What does OKW mean in this connection?

KESSELRING: Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, I know that.

KESSELRING: It meant that the commander-in-chief was directly under Adolf Hitler, and headquarters under Jodl’s operations staff.

DR. JAHRREISS: In a previous interrogation you spoke of orders from the OKW, did you not?


DR. JAHRREISS: Who is the OKW? Who gave orders?

KESSELRING: Orders of a fundamental nature were issued by one person only, and that was Adolf Hitler. All the others were only executive officers. This did not prevent these executive officers from holding views of their own or sharing the views of the army groups under them. They presented these views energetically to Adolf Hitler.

DR. JAHRREISS: What you are saying now rather surprises me, since the opinion had been voiced that Jodl, who you say was a kind of spokesman for the commanders-in-chief, was a willing tool of Adolf Hitler.

KESSELRING: I think the one does not exclude the other. I cannot imagine any marriage of 6 years standing without both partners having tried to understand each other. On the other hand, I can very well imagine that even in the happiest marriage serious quarrels occur.

DR. JAHRREISS: But in the average marriage the husband does not necessarily have to be a willing tool.

KESSELRING: Here the situation is still a little bit different. As with all comparisons, this comparison with marriage does not go the whole way. In addition to this, in the army there is the principle of unquestioning subordination.

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, but what you have just told us, about Jodl’s position as spokesman for the commanders-in-chief, sounds as if Jodl acted as an intermediary, does it not?

KESSELRING: Jodl represented our interests in an outstanding way and thus acted as an intermediary for all of us.

DR. JAHRREISS: Did he also pit his opinions against those of Adolf Hitler when Adolf Hitler, in one of his famous fits of rage, had issued an order?

KESSELRING: I can state only that, on the occasion of my few visits to headquarters, I saw Colonel General Jodl grow red in the face, if I may say so, and in expressing his views he went very near the limit of what is permissible for a military man.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

[The Tribunal adjourned, until 13 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Wednesday, 13 March 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has made an order with respect to further proceedings on the charge against organizations and the applications of members thereof. I do not propose to read that order, but the order will be posted on the Defense Counsel’s information board and will be communicated to them and to the Prosecution.

Dr. Jahrreiss, had you finished your examination?


THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Does any other of the Defense Counsel wish to examine the witness?

[The witness Kesselring resumed the stand.]

DR. KAUFFMANN: Witness, have you any recollection when the Defendant Kaltenbrunner first came into the public eye?

KESSELRING: I have no knowledge of Kaltenbrunner’s becoming particularly prominent in the public eye. I heard the name Kaltenbrunner for the first time when he appeared as successor to General Canaris.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Have you any recollection of him being made the Chief of the Reich Security Main Office in January 1943?

KESSELRING: I may have heard of it, but I have no certain recollection of it.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Kaltenbrunner states that in April 1945 he tried to save the country of Austria from further acts of war. Have you by chance any recollection of that?

KESSELRING: I merely heard that Kaltenbrunner was one of those persons who were working for an independent Austria, but I have no definite, accurate knowledge of the situation.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Furthermore, Kaltenbrunner states that he, on the basis of an agreement with the Red Cross at Geneva, had arranged for the return of civilian internees to their homeland through the firing line. He had communicated a request to your office—not to you personally—to the effect that a gap should be created in the fighting line to let these civilian internees go home. Do you happen to remember that?

KESSELRING: It is quite possible that such a request was actually submitted. It did not come to my personal knowledge, because I was away from my office a great deal.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Witness, have you any recollection when concentration camps were first established in Germany?

KESSELRING: Yes. It was in 1933. I remember three concentration camps, but I do not know exactly when they were established: Oranienburg, which I often passed by and flew over; Dachau, which had been discussed vehemently in the newspapers; and Weimar-Nora, Weimar, a concentration camp which I flew over quite frequently on my official trips. I have no recollection of any other concentration camps; but perhaps I may add that, as a matter of principle, I kept aloof from rumors, which were particularly rife during those periods of crisis, in order to devote myself to my own duties which were particularly heavy.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Regarding the internees in the concentration camps, did you have any definite idea as to who would be brought to these concentration camps?

KESSELRING: I had an idea, without knowing where I got it from, which seemed plausible to me; namely, that the National Socialist Revolution should be achieved without the loss of life, and that political opponents should be detained until the founding of the new State had given sufficient security for them to return to public life. That is my knowledge of the situation, from which I conclude, in order to answer your question, that these people must, for the most part, have been persons who were opposed to the National Socialist ideology.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Have you ever thought what the treatment in these concentration camps would be like according to your idea? What was your conception of the treatment of the prisoners in the camps? There may perhaps be a difference according to whether you think of the earlier or the later years?

KESSELRING: I know nothing about the methods of treatment in the camps. During the earlier years, when I was still working in Germany, rumors were heard to the effect that treatment was normal. In the later years I was abroad, that is to say, in theaters of war outside Germany; and I was so far away that I knew nothing whatsoever of these incidents and did not ask for any information about them.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Is it right therefore to assume that as far as the atrocities were concerned which did actually occur, you had no positive knowledge?

KESSELRING: No, I did not have any positive knowledge, not even in March 1945, when I became Supreme Commander in the West. Even then the occurrences in the concentration camps were completely unknown to me. This I attributed to two reasons: First, the personal attitude which I expressed earlier, that on principle I concerned myself only with my own business—which in itself was sufficiently extensive, and secondly, that within the State a police state had developed which had hermetically sealed and closed itself off from the rest of the world.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Have you any proof that there was more knowledge in your officers’ circles than what you have just described with regard to yourself?

KESSELRING: I was in very close contact with my officers and I do not believe that there can have been a large number of officers who knew more about these things. Of course I cannot give information regarding individuals.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you know that Hitler had decided to eliminate the Jewish people physically?

KESSELRING: That was absolutely unknown to me.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you not have frequent opportunities to discuss ideological questions with Hitler?

KESSELRING: Whenever I was at headquarters only military and similar questions concerning my theater of war were discussed during the official part of the conversation. When I was invited to a meal, then historical matters or matters of general interest were usually discussed, but acute political problems or ideological questions never came up for discussion. I personally cannot remember any instance when Hitler influenced me, or any of the other generals, in any way whatsoever with regard to professing themselves active National Socialists.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you believe in Hitler’s personality in the sense that Hitler was determined to lead the German people to a better Germany, with consideration for personal freedom and respect for human dignity? What was your conception about that?

THE PRESIDENT: What is the relevancy of a witness’ belief upon a subject of that sort? What relevancy has it got to do with any part of the case of the Defendant Kaltenbrunner? The Tribunal considers this sort of question a waste of the Tribunal’s time.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Is it correct that in the absolute leadership state which existed in Germany any opposition by a human being to a superior order was impossible?

KESSELRING: In that form I would not deny that. One could certainly represent one’s own views against another view. But if one’s own views were rendered invalid by a decision, absolute obedience became necessary, and its execution was demanded and ensured under certain circumstances by the application of penal law. Resistance to that order, or an order, was, according to our knowledge of the personality and attitude of Adolf Hitler, out of the question and would have achieved nothing.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Would not a person attempting to resist a finally issued order have to consider whether he might not be risking his life?

KESSELRING: During the later years that was an absolute certainty.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you at any time think the war could not be won, and if so, when?

KESSELRING: In 1943, the possibility had to be considered that a victorious peace might not be achieved. I emphasize expressly that one had to consider that possibility, for by observing certain organizational or operational measures, the situation might still have been reversed.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you ever discuss this question with someone of importance—the misgivings which you may have had about the continuance of the war?

KESSELRING: At various times when I discussed my own military sector, I referred to certain difficulties which might influence the outcome of the war in general; however, as representative of one military sector, I considered myself in no way entitled to judge the entire military situation, since I could not, from my limited viewpoint, judge the situation regarding production and the organization of manpower reserves. And as I said before, I refused, as an amateur, to make any statement about a situation, which under certain circumstances might have been regarded as official as it would have had the signature of Field Marshal Kesselring.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly explain to the Tribunal what relevancy the last two or three questions have to the case of Kaltenbrunner?

DR. KAUFFMANN: The same applies to Kaltenbrunner, that he could not, as he says, resist an order. It would have meant the loss of his life.

THE PRESIDENT: You asked the witness whether at any time during the war he thought how long the war would last. What has that got to do with Kaltenbrunner?

DR. KAUFFMANN: The Prosecution accuses several defendants of having continued the struggle in spite of the fact that they knew it was hopeless, and of having prolonged the war. That is the problem I wish to clarify in my last question.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it was put specifically against Kaltenbrunner. If it is your last question you may put it.

DR. KAUFFMANN: If I understand you correctly, Witness, what you are trying to explain is that the leading motive of your continuing to fight was also your duty towards your country?

KESSELRING: That is a matter of course. I had other motives too. One was that the possibility of a political termination of the war was denied, at least officially; but that I believed in it, and I am still convinced of it today, may be proved by the fact that I personally, together with Obergruppenführer Wolff, undertook negotiations through Switzerland with an American, in order to prepare the ground for a political discussion to that end.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Mr. President, I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Any other Counsel for the Defense?

HERR PELCKMANN: Witness, Dr. Kauffmann asked you whether the officers’ corps had any knowledge of the conditions and the establishment of concentration camps. Do you know that within the Armed Forces so-called national-political instruction courses were held?

KESSELRING: Yes, I know of that.

HERR PELCKMANN: May I ask you whether you know that during one of the Armed Forces national-political courses of instruction, which were held from 15 to 23 January 1937, and I am referring now to Document Number 1992(a)-PS concerning the establishment of concentration camps, Himmler, the SS Leader, in the presence of the assembled officers, made a speech more or less to this effect:

“Naturally, we make a difference between inmates who may be there for a few months for educational purposes, and those who will be there for a long time.”

I skip a few sentences, and come to the ones I consider important:

“The order begins by insisting that these people live in clean barracks. This can, in fact, only be achieved by us Germans, for there is hardly any other nation which would act as humanely as we do. Linen is frequently changed. The people are instructed to wash twice a day, and the use of tooth brushes is advised, a thing which is unknown to most of them.”

Do you know that the Armed Forces were given instructions of this kind, which, as we know today, do not correspond to conditions as they really were?

KESSELRING: As I said earlier, we did not concern ourselves with such questions at all, and this lecture by Himmler is unknown to me.

HERR PELCKMANN: Unknown. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions? Then the Prosecution may cross-examine.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You understand, Witness, in giving your testimony, as to the definition of the High Command and the General Staff, as that definition is included in the Indictment, you are accused as a member of that group, do you not?

KESSELRING: I understand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that you are testifying here virtually as one of the defendants?

KESSELRING: I understand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have spoken of the establishment in Germany of a police state by the National Socialist Party, and I want to ask you whether it is not a fact that the police state rested on two institutions very largely, first, the Secret State Police, and secondly, the concentration camps?

KESSELRING: The assistance by the police is an established fact to me. The concentration camp was, in my opinion, a final means to that end.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And both the secret police and the concentration camp were established by Hermann Göring, is that not a fact known to you?

KESSELRING: The Secret State Police was created by Hermann Göring. Whether it was formed by Himmler . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your lectures will be reserved for your own counsel, and I shall ask to have you so instructed. Just answer my questions. Was not the concentration camp also established by Hermann Göring?

KESSELRING: I do not know.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not know that. Did you favor the police state?

KESSELRING: I considered it as abnormal according to German conceptions that a state had been formed within a state thus keeping certain things away from public knowledge.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever do anything or can you point to anything that you did in public life to prevent that abnormal condition coming to Germany?

KESSELRING: I cannot remember anything, except that during conversations with my superiors I may have brought the point up for discussion. But I emphasize expressly that in general I confined myself to my own sphere and my own tasks.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you want this Tribunal to understand that you never knew that there was a campaign by this state to persecute the Jews in Germany? Is that the way you want your testimony to be understood?

KESSELRING: A persecution of the Jews as such was not known to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is it not a fact that Jewish officers were excluded from your army and from your command?

KESSELRING: Jewish officers did not exist.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is it not a fact that certain officers of your army, certain officers of the Luftwaffe, took steps to Aryanize themselves in order to escape the effect of Göring’s decrees? Did you know about that?

KESSELRING: I heard rumors to that effect.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Any Aryanizing, where the father was suspected of Jewish ancestry, consisted in showing that the normal father was not the actual father, did it not?

KESSELRING: I admit that. Naturally there are other cases as well.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes. It might be that the mother was suspected of Jewish ancestry?

KESSELRING: That in certain exceptional cases certain facts were overlooked.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes. Did you know anything about the Jewish riots, anti-Jewish riots of November 9th and 10th in Germany in 1938?

KESSELRING: Are you talking about the “Mirror Action” (Spiegelsache)? I am not sure which day you are talking about.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I am talking about the riots in which synagogues were burned, which made Göring so very angry. Did you not hear about that in 1938?

KESSELRING: No, I did not hear anything about it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where were you in 1938?

KESSELRING: In 1938 I was in Dresden.


KESSELRING: In November I was in Berlin as Chief of the Air Force.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In Berlin. And you never heard about the anti-Jewish riots of the 9th and 10th of November 1938?

KESSELRING: I only heard about the so-called “Mirror or Glass Campaign (Spiegel- oder Glas-Campagne).”

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was that? You have me down. I do not know anything by that name.

KESSELRING: That was the smashing of shop windows and more, which assumed rather large proportions in Berlin.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did hear, then, about the anti-Jewish riots?

KESSELRING: About those, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you hear that Hermann Göring issued a decree confiscating the insurance that was to make reparations to those Jews who owned shops? Did you hear about Göring’s action in that respect?

KESSELRING: I did not quite understand. May I ask to have it repeated?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you hear about the decree passed by Hermann Göring a few days later, November 12th, to be exact, confiscating the insurance of the victims of those raids and fining the Jewish community a billion Reichsmark?

KESSELRING: It is possible that I heard about it at the time, but I now have no certain recollection.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you did hear about it. You did not regard those things as persecution?

KESSELRING: Naturally I must regard this “Glass Campaign” as an excess against the Jews.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have stated, as I understand you, based on your experience with Hitler, that it was permissible for officers to differ with him in opinion so long as they obeyed his orders. Is that what you want understood?

KESSELRING: I have to apologize, but I did not quite understand the last half of that sentence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have understood from your testimony this morning that you felt perfectly free to disagree with Hitler and to make suggestions to him and give him information, but that, after his mind was made up and an order issued, it had to be obeyed. That is to say . . .


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is to say, an officer was at all times at liberty to go to Hitler and give him technical information, such as the state of the preparedness of his branch of the service?

KESSELRING: Generally speaking, no. For that purpose the commanders-in-chief of the branches of the Armed Forces concerned were the only people admitted.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So the only channel through which information as to the state of the Air Force would reach Hitler was through Hermann Göring, is that a fact?

KESSELRING: Hermann Göring and, from time to time, State Secretary Milch, deputy of the Reich Marshal.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If Hitler was about to engage in a war for which the Luftwaffe was unprepared, based on your information of the situation, would it or would it not have been possible for the Luftwaffe officers to have advised Hitler of that fact?

KESSELRING: We had complete confidence in our Reich Marshal, and we knew that he was the only person who had a decisive influence upon Adolf Hitler. In that way we knew, since we also knew his peaceful attitude, that we were perfectly secure, and we relied on it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There came a time when you went into the East, did you not, as a commander? You went into Poland and you went into Soviet Russia, did you not?

KESSELRING: Poland and Russia, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And was it not understood among the officers in those Polish and Russian campaigns that the Hague regulations would not be applied to Soviet Russia as to the treatment of prisoners of war?

KESSELRING: That was not known to me.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have testified that the Luftwaffe was purely a weapon of defense, is that your testimony?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the German strength at the beginning of the Polish campaign in various types of planes?

KESSELRING: As I was not a member of the central board I can give you only an approximation on my own responsibility, without guaranteeing the historical certainty of these figures. All told, I would say we must have had approximately three thousand aircraft. All in all, so far as I can remember now, there were between thirty and forty bomber groups, the same number of fighters, and there were ten groups of dive-bombers, fighters . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Will you give me the number of each group?

KESSELRING: About thirty aircraft, which would drop to seven, six or five aircraft during the course of the day. To continue, there were ten to twelve groups of dive-bombers, including ground “strafers” and twin-engine fighters. Also included in that figure were reconnaissance planes and a certain number of naval aircraft.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the proportion of bombers to fighters was approximately two to one, was it not?

KESSELRING: The proportion of bombers to fighters was about one to one or one point two, or one point three to one. I said thirty to forty and about thirty fighter groups. If I include the twin-engine fighters, then the figure would be about one to one.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is the way you make up the total of about three thousand units?

KESSELRING. The reason why I can give you that figure is because during these months of quiet reflection I made an estimate, without thereby revealing the historical truth.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, do you count as a weapon of defense the bomber, or do you treat that as an offensive weapon?

KESSELRING: I must speak of the bomber in the same way as the dive-bomber and the fighter, equally as a defensive and as an offensive weapon. I explained yesterday that no matter whether defensive or offensive warfare is concerned, the task of the air force must be carried out on the offensive and the targets are far and wide. I also explained that an air force which has only light aircraft is doomed to be destroyed, since it cannot attack the phases of the enemy’s aircraft production, his air assembly areas, nor his movements in various sectors.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In other words, the Luftwaffe was a defensive weapon if you were on the defensive, and an offensive weapon if you were on attack?

KESSELRING: I did not understand the last half of the sentence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Luftwaffe would serve as a defensive weapon if you were on the defensive, and as an offensive weapon if you were on attack, is that not true?

KESSELRING: One could put it like that. I would express it differently. As I said, the air force is essentially an offensive weapon, no matter whether it is used for defense or for attack.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you have improved on my sentence. Now, in the Netherlands, in Poland . . .

KESSELRING: May I just say something else on the subject?


KESSELRING: Namely, what I said yesterday at the very end, that the essential of an offensive air force is the long-distance four-engine heavy bombers, and Germany had none of these.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How did it come that Germany had none of those?

KESSELRING: Firstly, because being actually in a period of danger, we were confining ourselves to the absolute essentials of a defensive air force only.

Secondly, we tried, in keeping with our characteristics, to achieve as much as possible by precision bombing, in other words, by dive-bombing, utilizing the minimum of war material, and I am here thinking of the Ju 88 as a typical example of that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were examined by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, were you not, on the 28th of June 1945? Do you recall that?

KESSELRING: Yes, of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it is quite certain, is it not?

KESSELRING: I have often been interrogated.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I ask you whether on the 28th of June 1945, you did not say to the officer examining you on behalf of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey this:

“Everything had been done to make the German Air Force from the point of view of airmanship, aircraft, flak, air corps, signals, and so forth, the most formidable in the world. This effort led to the fact that at the beginning of the war, or in 1940 at the latest, from a fighter viewpoint, from a dive-bomber viewpoint, from a combat viewpoint, we had particularly good aircraft, even if the standard was not uniform entirely.”

Did you not state that?

KESSELRING: That is still my view today, that as far as material, pursuit planes, dive-bombers, and fighters were concerned, we did in fact have a certain advantage over the other powers.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, as to the failure to have the number of four-engine bombers; that was because of your peaceful intentions, was it, or was it because of a mistake in judgment as to what the requirements of war would be?

KESSELRING: To that I must say the following: It would have been insanity on the part of the Air Force leaders to consider producing a complete air force within 3 to 4 years. It was in 1940, at the earliest, that the possibility existed of building up an effective air force which would comply with all requirements. For that reason, in my view, it was an amazing achievement of organization to have attained such effectiveness under the existing limitations.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understood you to give as one of the indications of your unaggressive intentions the fact that you had not an adequate number of four-engine bombers at the outset of the war. Did I misunderstand you?

KESSELRING: That is an excerpt from the whole story. The strength of the Air Force was, particularly in comparison with the small states, to be regarded as sufficient; certainly not, however, in comparison with powerful opponents who were fully equipped in the air.

I have an example in mind. In a heated discussion with the Reich Marshal, before the beginning of the Russian campaign, I asked for reinforcements for fighters and dive-bombers. For certain reasons that was refused. The certain reasons were, firstly, shortage of material, and secondly, which I could also gather from the conversation, that the Reich Marshal did not agree with this campaign.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not testify to the Bomber Investigating Commission of the United States that you intended to build a long-range heavy bomber but—and I quote your words:

“We had developed the He 111 and the Ju 88 and they were actually put into the fighting as long-range heavy bombers. The Ju 88 was then used in the French campaign and against England.

“Question: The Ju 88 is not really a long-range bomber?”

Your answer:

“It was considered a long-range bomber at that time, but unfortunately we had a low opinion of the four-engine aircraft, and an erroneous belief which proved to be a mistake in the course of later years.”

Is that true?

KESSELRING: That was my opinion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the reason you did not build the four-engine aircraft was your low opinion of it?

KESSELRING: May I say the following: That was the conception of a service department; the decisions in all these questions were made in the highest service department.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The highest service department made a mistake about the utility of the four-engine bomber?

KESSELRING: Well, looking at the situation retrospectively, I must say that the absence of a four-engine bomber became extremely awkward.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that the highest authority in aircraft production was Hermann Göring. He was the head of the whole plan of aircraft production, was he not?

KESSELRING: Yes, that is correct but it did not exclude the fact that erroneous conceptions of certain measures for the conduct of war or organizational measures may exist temporarily.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were in the Polish campaign you have said?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is it not a fact that the German Air Force made the decisive contribution to that campaign as regards the time taken to conquer Poland?

KESSELRING: From the point of view of the Air Force officers I must agree with that conception absolutely, but the army officers did not quite share it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you are testifying now as to your opinion. And in that campaign you developed the technique of low-level attacks by fighters, light bombers, and dive-bombers against marching columns, and the dive-bomber, the light bomber, and the fighters all contributed to the success of that movement.

KESSELRING: I must admit that. The foundations of the short-range bombing technique were certainly laid during the Polish campaign.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I turn now to the French campaign. You were in the air in the French campaign, were you not?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Air Force contributed decisively to the success of that campaign, did it not?

KESSELRING: From the point of view of an Air Force officer, I must consider that view as correct.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you testified, did you not, that Dunkirk would not have been such a catastrophe if the Luftwaffe had not been there? That is true, is it not?

KESSELRING: Dunkirk, did you say? I did not quite understand.


KESSELRING: Yes. In my opinion, that is certain, and it would have been even more so if bad weather had not considerably hindered our operations.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, the catastrophe would have increased for the English except for bad weather. You had the air force to do a better job at Dunkirk than you did, from your point of view?

KESSELRING: We were grounded for about 2 days.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were one of the principal advocates of the plan to invade England, were you not?

KESSELRING: Personally I am of the opinion that, if the war against England was to be brought to a successful end, this end could only be achieved for certain by invasion.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you had an adequate Air Force after having defeated Poland, defeated Holland, defeated Belgium, and defeated France, so that you advocated proceeding with an invasion of England, did you not?

KESSELRING: I must give an explanation on that point.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: First tell me if that is true.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you please understand that you must answer the question first, and give an explanation afterwards. Every question, or nearly every question, admits of either an affirmative or negative answer, and you will kindly give that answer and make your explanation afterwards.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not advocate the invasion of England, and was not the Air Force ready to invade England?

KESSELRING: Subject to certain conditions, considering the existing air situation at that time the Air Force was ready to fulfill that task.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you recommended very strongly to the Reich Marshal that the invasion take place immediately after Dunkirk, did you not?

KESSELRING: Yes, and I still advocated that view later on too.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the preparations of the Luftwaffe for this invasion were complete, and the invasion was called off only because the procurement of sea-going craft was not sufficient, is that not true?

KESSELRING: Yes. I have to supplement the previous statement by saying that, of course, a certain interval between the French campaign and the English campaign would have had to elapse in order to effect the material replenishment of the air force.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you also told the Strategic Bombing Survey that Hitler had ordered not only the bombing of military targets, including industrial production, but also the bombing of political targets. Is that true?

KESSELRING: After a certain date, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, to paralyze the government of the enemy. That is what you meant by a political target, did you not?

KESSELRING: That is not what I mean by political targets. I answered the question differently; I understood it differently, namely, that this order became effective at a later date.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You attended the speech made by Hitler in August of 1939?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At that time you were informed that the attack on Poland would commence immediately or very soon?

KESSELRING: During that conference, the final decision to commence the Polish campaign had not yet been reached. Negotiations were still in progress and we were all still hoping that they would bring favorable results.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were ordered on the 15th of August to get the Luftwaffe in readiness for an attack on Poland?

KESSELRING: This order as such is not known to me in detail, but I must admit that for months before we had made air preparations and erected bases in a general defensive direction, always thinking of a defensive situation.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You expected Poland to attack Germany in the air? Is that your point?

KESSELRING: At any rate, we took this possibility into consideration on our side. The whole political situation was too unknown for us to be able to form a pertinent, incontestable judgment on it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have said that you never held conferences with Party leaders or talked politics or had any contacts with politicians, in substance, have you not?

KESSELRING: Essentially, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was not your immediate superior the Number 2 politician of Germany? Did you not know that?

KESSELRING: I did, but I must emphasize that the conversations which I had with the Reich Marshal were 99 percent concerned with military and organizational problems.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you knew that he, at all times, was one of the leading men in Nazi politics?

KESSELRING: Certainly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified that you knew of the order to shoot Soviet Commissars?

KESSELRING: Certainly.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that you did not approve it and did not carry it out.

KESSELRING: I did not answer to that effect yesterday.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you answer?

KESSELRING: I answered as follows: That the Air Force, which was not fighting on the ground, was not concerned with this problem, and that an official notification of that order is no longer in my recollection.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who executed that order? Who was expected to execute it?

KESSELRING: I was in Russia only until November 1941 and I can give you no information on it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever hear of the SS?

KESSELRING: Yes, of course.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And is it not a fact that the execution of that order was committed to the SS?

KESSELRING: I knew nothing about that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you think the SS existed for?

KESSELRING: In my opinion, the SS, as far as it was used in military operations, was a special section of the Army, indeed a sort of guard of the Army.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The SS was to guard the Army, or to guard whom?

KESSELRING: No, but the SS divisions were, purely from the point of view of men, numbers and material, well above the average Army division as far as equipment and readiness were concerned.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was commanding the SS?

KESSELRING: The SS was commanded by Himmler. As far as these divisions were used within the army, they were tactically under the army commanders, commanders of the army groups, or the corps headquarters staffs to which they were attached.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So far as they had special missions, they were under the command of Himmler, is that right?

KESSELRING: Yes, certainly; a very clear distinction.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified yesterday that you did not consider Hitler’s Commando Order binding on you, and that you did not carry out that order, is that right?

KESSELRING: In the Mediterranean theater, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was that because the order left discretion in your hands, or because you just took discretion into your hands?

KESSELRING: I made those reservations myself, firstly for ideological considerations, and secondly because in the Mediterranean I had, as I said yesterday, a twofold command, and the German orders could not be included in the general administration without modification.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well then, the extent to which an order of that kind was carried out depended somewhat on the character and courage of the officer who received it, did it not?

KESSELRING: I would like to express it somewhat differently. These orders could be interpreted in different ways—that Commando Order, for instance—insofar as it was certainly quite possible for the Commander-in-Chief to consider an operation either as a special task or as a tactical measure which was militarily justified.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were in command of the forces in Italy at this time, were you not, at the time of the Commando Order?

KESSELRING: With a difference. I did not have full powers until September 1943.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask to have you shown Document Number 498-PS in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-501.

I call your attention to Paragraph Number 6 of that order which reads as follows:

“I will hold responsible, under military law, for failing to carry out this order, all commanders and officers who either have neglected their duty of instructing the troops about this order, or acted against this order where it was to be executed.”

You see that paragraph in the order?

KESSELRING: Yes, I have just read it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, did you ever report that you were not carrying out this order or did you deceive your superior officers as to whether it was being carried out?

KESSELRING: In one special case that question was treated very decisively at headquarters. This concerned the Commando action “Pescara” where Adolf Hitler ordered the shooting of certain people in spite of the fact that we, my troops and I, wanted to spare them. I think particularly that the influence of Jodl here, as an intermediary, was decisive; namely, that this subject was forgotten and that consequently these people were kept alive, in hospitals and prisoner-of-war camps.

But I should not like to call it deception, the word you used just now, for I wish to emphasize that, in my military sector, I considered actions of this kind as guiding orders, and this Commando Order certainly allowed for several interpretations.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In other words, the extent to which one of these orders was carried out depended on the commanders in charge, is that right, that Hitler could not depend on it that an order as emphatic as this would be carried out by his commanders? Was that the state of the German Army?

KESSELRING: No, not that, but the situation can be explained as follows: If, on the part of an army, such an operation is reported to a superior as a Commando operation in the sense of that order, then the necessary measures would have to be carried out. That depended, however, on the way of reporting by the units concerned, and I already explained in detail yesterday that a unified conception had gradually set in, that men in uniform, who carried out a tactical move, were not Commandos within the meaning of this order.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified today, and another witness has testified here, that if an order of Adolf Hitler was resisted, it meant death. You are also testifying that an absolute order to execute Commandos, under threat of punishment if you failed, left you discretion to do it or not, and I want you once and for all to tell the Tribunal which is the fact, and then we will leave that subject.

KESSELRING: I must repeat what I said before, namely, that the Italian theater of war was not to be compared with the other theaters of war. Through the co-operation of Hitler and Mussolini there was always a very obliging attitude, therefore, these orders made by OKW could not easily be applied to the Italian theater of war.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were applied everywhere, so far as you know, except in the Italian theater, then?

KESSELRING: That I cannot say. I have repeatedly explained that I confined myself exclusively to my own sphere of operations, which was considerable.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified, as I understand you, that you punished looting on the part of your soldiers in Italy.

KESSELRING: As soon as I heard of these instances, I punished them, and I most strictly ordered the Army commanders and Air Force commanders to do the same.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, the punishment was very mild that you ever inflicted for any looting, was it not?

KESSELRING: I even went so far as to have culprits shot on the spot, and in that manner I succeeded in remedying the disorder which had arisen.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So a German general, dealing with a German soldier, considers shooting the proper penalty for looting?

KESSELRING: These far-reaching conclusions are something I cannot admit. On that subject I wish to make the following remarks: If an army—as was the case with the 14th Army at the time—fell into a certain disorder, the most severe measures were justified in the interests of the reputation of that army, and in the interests of the population, in order to bring about orderly conditions among the civilian population. I had heated discussion at headquarters on that particular subject.

Apart from that, I was of the opinion that all penalties eventually became useless, and therefore, for some time I considered penalties purely as an educational means and not really as punishment. Consequently for some time, penalties were rather mild.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified that you took vigorous steps to protect the art treasures of Italy.

KESSELRING: Insofar as I was informed of art treasures, yes.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What steps did you take, and against whom did you take them?

KESSELRING: Primarily they were preventive measures: First, by excluding places of art and culture from the field of battle; secondly, by having these places cleared if they were liable to air raids by the enemy; and thirdly, by co-operating with General Wolff and having these cultural and art treasures removed to secure places. I make mention of the art treasures of Cassino and Florence.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that any art treasure was removed from Mount Cassino, for instance, and taken to Berlin?

KESSELRING: Much later, at Mondorf, I heard about that. At the time all I could recollect was that they were handed over to the Vatican in Rome.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Oh. Did you know that art treasures were taken and delivered to Göring from Mount Cassino? Did you ever hear that?

KESSELRING: I once heard something about some statue of a saint, but I cannot really give you any more details.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And if Göring received such a thing from Mount Cassino, was it a violation of your orders?

KESSELRING: The Hermann Göring Division was stationed in that sector. It was commanded by the former adjutant of Hermann Göring, and it is clear that there was a certain connection here, but to what extent I cannot tell you.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have a few more questions concerning your interrogations.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better break off for 10 minutes.

[A recess was taken.]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think, Your Honors, that we will save some duplication—perhaps save time—if I now yield to Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, who is prepared on some of the subjects I was about to take up. I think he is in a better position to take up the examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever you think, Mr. Justice Jackson.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom): Witness, you have been told why Dr. Stahmer wanted you to give evidence? Have you been told by Dr. Stahmer what to do to give evidence?

KESSELRING: The individual points were communicated to me, without all questions being directly defined.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to read you one sentence, so that you will have it in mind, of Dr. Stahmer’s statement:

“When Rotterdam became a battle zone in May 1940, it became a military necessity to employ bombers, as the encircled fighting parachute troops, who had no support from the artillery, had urgently asked for help from bombers.”

Do you remember the incident? I wanted you to have it in your mind.

KESSELRING: Yes, certainly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you remember being asked about this incident in the interrogation on the 28th of June, by the United States bombing survey? Remember?

KESSELRING: Certainly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you say there at the question, “What about Rotterdam?”

“Answer: ‘First, Rotterdam had been defended in the parts which were later on attacked. Secondly, in this case one could notice that a firm attitude had to be taken. This one attack brought immediate peace to Holland. It was asked for by Model and was approved by the OKW. It was a very small part in the heart of Rotterdam.’ ”

Do you remember saying that?

KESSELRING: Approximately I did say that, yes, and I repeated those words yesterday.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to deal first with the strategic aspects. I will come to the tactical aspects later. Your strategic purpose and real object was to take a firm attitude and secure immediate peace, was that not right?

KESSELRING: That far-reaching task had not been given to me but, as I said yesterday, General Wenninger reported the result of the attack to me in such a way that close on the attack the total surrender of Holland followed.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But I want you to think of your own words. This was approved by the OKW; a firm attitude had to be taken. Was not your purpose in this attack to secure a strategic advantage by terrorization of the people of Rotterdam?

KESSELRING: That I can deny with the clearest conscience. Neither did I say, when I was at Mondorf, that I had to adopt a firm attitude. I merely said that the support which was demanded by Student would have to be carried out. We only had the one task, and that was to furnish artillery support for Student’s troops.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What did you mean by saying that a firm attitude had to be taken, if you did not mean that the people of Holland had to be possibly terrorized into peace.

KESSELRING: May I repeat in that connection that the conception of the expression, “firm attitude,” is not in keeping with my accustomed wording. I cannot admit that this word was in the minutes, and it was not read out to me, either.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What do you think you said instead of firm attitude, if you did not say it?

KESSELRING: I remarked that severe measures would bring quick results.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is exactly what I am putting to you, Witness, “severe measures” . . .

KESSELRING: But only for the purpose of tactical results. May I once more emphasize that I am a soldier and not a politician, and did not act as a politician. At that time I was merely and solely complying with Student’s requirements.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just before I deal with the tactical position—which I do with great pleasure—have you had to work with the Defendant Raeder? Have you had to work with the Defendant Raeder at all?

KESSELRING: Admiral Raeder? Only in a general way, insofar as naval questions were concerned.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I just want you to listen to the views which the Defendant Raeder has expressed and tell the Tribunal whether you agree with them. This is United Kingdom Exhibit Number GB-224, Document Number C-157, and here is the transcript in Page 2735 (Volume V, Page 274). Now, just listen carefully, if you will be so kind:

“It is desirable to base all military measures taken on existing international law. However, measures which are considered necessary from a military point of view, provided a decisive success can be expected from them, will have to be carried out, even if they are not covered by existing international law.”

Do you agree with that?

KESSELRING: I cannot completely agree with that concept. As far as Rotterdam is concerned, conditions were exactly the opposite.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, just for the moment we will deal with the Defendant Raeder’s words. Do you agree with them?


DR. LATERNSER: I have an objection. I object to the earlier and to this present question put to the witness, because they are irrelevant, and secondly because they do not refer to facts but opinions. The witness is here to testify to facts.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, the witness is here, as I pointed out carefully, to deal with what is military necessity.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, the Tribunal thinks that the question in the form in which you put it may be objectionable, by the introduction of the views of the Defendant Raeder.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Of course, I bow to the Tribunal, but this witness is called to say that the explanation for this is military necessity. I was asking whether he did not agree with the views of one of his colleagues on this point, what is military necessity. If the Tribunal has any doubt, I would rather pass it. But the question of military necessity is one which the Tribunal will have to consider in a number of fields, and I respectfully do not abandon that point, which will run through the questions I have to ask on other matters.

[Turning to the witness.] Now, I will come to the tactical position at Rotterdam: Will you just tell the Tribunal who were the officers involved? There was a Lieutenant General Schmidt and with him was Major General Student, who were in charge of the troops that were attacking Rotterdam. Do you remember that?

KESSELRING: Only General Student. General Schmidt is unknown to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, the evidence that is given in this case is that the negotiations, the terms of capitulation, were actually written out by Lieutenant General Schmidt in a creamery near Rotterdam. I suppose he would be General Student’s superior officer, would he not?

KESSELRING: General Student was the senior German officer in the Rotterdam sector and the responsible commander. General Schmidt is unknown to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So that General Schmidt would be junior to General Student, would he?

KESSELRING: He may have been called in for the special purpose, but I do not know of him.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want you to have the times in mind: Do you know what time in the day the bombing of Rotterdam started?

KESSELRING: As far as I know, in the early afternoon, about 1400 hours, I believe.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I was going to put to you 1330.

KESSELRING: Yes, that is quite possible.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you know that negotiations for a capitulation had been in progress since 1030 in the morning?

KESSELRING: No; as I said yesterday, I have no knowledge of these facts.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And did you know that at 1215 a Dutch officer, Captain Backer, went to the German lines and saw General Schmidt and General Student, and that General Schmidt wrote out the suggested terms of capitulation at 1235?

KESSELRING: No, that is unknown to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That had never been told to you?

KESSELRING: It was not communicated to me. At least, I cannot remember it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, you see, Witness, it is 35 minutes before the bombing began and . . .

KESSELRING: The important factor would have been for Student to call off the attack as such, but that did not happen. The cancellation never reached me, and did not reach my unit either.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I just want you to have the facts in mind, and then I will ask you some questions. The terms that were discussed at 1235 were to expire; the answer was called for at 1620. After Captain Backer left with the terms, at 1322 and 1325 two red flares were put up by the German ground troops under General Student. Did you hear of that?

KESSELRING: I did not hear of that either. Moreover, two red flares would naturally not have sufficed for the purpose.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, but in addition to that your ground troops were in excellent wireless communication with your planes, were they not? Will you answer the question?

KESSELRING: I already said yesterday . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you please answer the question?

KESSELRING: Yes, and no. So far as I know, there was no immediate communication between the ground station and the aircraft, but, as I said yesterday, from the tactical force, through the ground station, to the aircraft formation.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If it had been wanted to pass the communication to the aircraft and stop the bombing, it could quite easily have been done by wireless, apart from putting up these two red flares?

KESSELRING: In my opinion, yes.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, what I am suggesting is, you see, that everyone saw these bombers coming over. You know that. Student saw the bombers coming over. You know that do you not?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If that attack had any tactical significance about helping your troops, it could have been called off, could it not?

KESSELRING: I did not understand the final sentence.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If the object of this attack was merely tactical, to help in the attack on Rotterdam, it could easily have been called off by a wireless message from General Student to the planes, could it not?

KESSELRING: Yes, if the tactical situation had been communicated, or if the situation had been reported to the bombing units immediately, then there could have been no doubt.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But if in honest negotiations, Witness, terms of surrender have been given and are to expire 3 hours later, it is only demanded of a soldier that he will call off the attack, is it not?

KESSELRING: If no other conditions have been made, yes.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But if he can stop the attack, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to do so. I want to make my suggestion quite clear—that this tactical matter had nothing to do with the attack on Rotterdam; that the purpose of the attack on Rotterdam was, in your own words, to show a firm attitude and to terrorize the Dutch into surrender.

KESSELRING: May I repeat again, that I have said explicitly that this attack was only serving the tactical requirements, and that I disassociate myself completely from these political considerations.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, you know that General Student apologized afterwards for the attack; you know that? Apologized to the Dutch commander for the attack?

KESSELRING: I do not know it and, as I explained yesterday, I saw General Student when he was seriously injured, and I could not even talk to him.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am not going to take more time. I have put my point, I hope, quite clearly. I want to ask you on one other point on which you spoke yesterday in regard to bombing. You said that the attack on Warsaw on 1 September 1939 was made because you considered Warsaw a defended fortress with air defense. Is that fair?

KESSELRING: Yes, certainly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, you know that at the same time—at 5 o’clock on the morning of Friday, 1 September—the German Air Force attacked Augostów, Nowy Dwor, Ostrów Mazowiecki, Tczew, Puck, Zambrów, Radomsko, Toron, Kutno, Kraków, Grodno, Trzebinia, and Gdynia, which is in rather a different position. Just answer my question. The German Air Force attacked these towns?

KESSELRING: With my comrades—yes. Not the towns, I repeat, not the towns.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, all this attack was made at 5 o’clock on the morning of 1 September, was it not?

KESSELRING: The attack started in the morning, but not, as you put it, on the towns but on military targets; airfields, staff headquarters, and traffic centers were attacked. As I have already explained, very detailed instructions were published by the OKW that only these military targets should be bombed.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You are suggesting that all these towns I had read out were military targets?

KESSELRING: Insofar as they were in my sector, yes.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You had not had time for a single reconnaissance plane to fly over Poland before that attack was made, had you?

KESSELRING: That is correct. On the other hand, agents and others furnished sufficient intelligence on the situation and, apart from that, this whole plan was absolutely controlled by operational considerations of air warfare.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Of course, the whole plan had been worked out in April of 1939 under the Fall Weiss, had it not?

KESSELRING: At that time I did not even know that I was going to be concerned in it, or that war would be declared.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you not know, Witness, after you were appointed, that a Fall Weiss had been worked out in April 1939? You were never told that?

KESSELRING: That was not said, but, on the other hand, may I say, as a soldier, that a general plan made in April would undergo many alterations by September, and decisive alterations might still have to be made even at the very last minute.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just one other point I want you to have in mind. Do you remember that the German radio broadcast the last note to Poland at 9 o’clock the night before, on 31 August? Do you remember that?

KESSELRING: I believe I do.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That was 8 hours before your attack, and you know, do you not, that the Defendant Göring had been at his secret headquarters for a week before that, considering this matter?

KESSELRING: That I can well imagine, if on the . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, what I am putting to you is that this general attack on Polish towns was again a well-planned scheme to try and break down natural resistance for your attack?

KESSELRING: May I say the following on that subject? If my statements as Field Marshal and witness under oath are considered as little as you are considering them, Mr. Prosecutor, then further statements of mine do not serve any purpose. I have emphasized that it was not an attack against towns, but an attack on military targets, and you must finally believe me when I say that as a soldier.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The Tribunal will decide as to the value of the evidence. I am not going to discuss it. I am just going to ask you about one or two other matters, in order to get your view on it, what you consider to be of military necessity. You remember the orders with regard to partisans in Italy during the time of your command? The orders with regard to partisans?

KESSELRING: Certainly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And I want to put it perfectly correctly, so tell me if I am wrong, but I understand this to be the position. The Defendant Keitel issued a general order as to partisans on 16 December 1942. A copy was found in your headquarters or your ex-headquarters, and your recollection is that it came to your attention later on, but you are not quite sure of the date. Is that right? You are not quite sure of the time?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I would like you to try, because you have had time to consider it; do you think that Keitel’s order of December 1942 had come to your attention before you issued your own order of 17 June 1944? Perhaps you would like to see your own order, would you?

KESSELRING: It was read out to me; but in November, then again in December, and subsequently in January, I requested that I should be heard once more on these questions and these orders, as I had certain doubts about the issuing of these orders, the distribution, the persons to whom they were sent, and the date.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I will pass you the orders, Witness, because you ought to see them and recall them to your recollection. I do not think they have been put in before. Let us take first Defendant Keitel’s order of 16 December 1942.

[The document was submitted to the witness.]

I hope I have passed you the right document. Does it read—I will read it very slowly.

“The Führer has therefore ordered that:

“1. The enemy employs, in partisan warfare, communist-trained fanatics who do not hesitate to commit any atrocity. It is more than ever a question of life and death. This fight has nothing to do with soldierly gallantry or principles of the Geneva Convention. If the fight against the partisans in the East, as well as in the Balkans, is not waged with the most brutal means, we will shortly reach the point where the available forces are insufficient to control this area.

“It is therefore not only justified, but it is the duty of the troops to use all means without restriction, even against women and children, as long as it insures success. Any consideration for the partisans is a crime against the German people.”

Do you remember that order?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And you in turn issued an order on the 17th of June 1944 when you were commanding in Italy? Do you remember that? I will show you in one moment, if I can get the German copy out of the file. I will just read a short passage again so that the Tribunal will have it in mind; but Witness, please refer to any other passage because I want to give a fair effect of the order:

“1. The partisan situation in the Italian theater, particularly central Italy, has recently deteriorated to such an extent that it constitutes a serious danger to the fighting troops and their supply lines, as well as to the war industry and economic potential. The fight against the partisans must be carried on with all means at our disposal and with the utmost severity. I will protect any commander who exceeds our usual restraint in the choice of severity of the methods he adopts against partisans. In this connection the old principle holds good, that a mistake in the choice of methods in executing one’s orders is better than failure or neglect to act.”

Do you remember that, Witness?

KESSELRING: Yes, I remember that order.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And you remember 3 days later, so that there will be no mistake as to what you meant, you issued this further one, another top-secret order. Reading the third line after saying, “The announcement does not represent an empty threat,” you say:

“It is the duty of all troops and police in my command to adopt the severest measures. Every act of violence committed by partisans must be punished immediately. Reports submitted must also give details of countermeasures taken. Wherever there is evidence of considerable numbers of partisan groups, a proportion of the male population of the area will be arrested; and in the event of an act of violence being committed, these men will be shot.”

Now, I just want only to take two examples, Witness, of the way that that was carried out. You remember when one of your officers, Colonel Von Gablenz, was captured by partisans; do you remember?

KESSELRING: General Von Gablenz?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I think he was a colonel at this stage, it was the 26th of June, just after your order. You remember Colonel Von Gablenz being captured, do you?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: He was a colonel of the lines of communication; not a very important officer, but still a colonel.

KESSELRING: Yes, I remember.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, just look at these two documents. Is this right?—this is an extract from the daily situation report by the Commander-in-Chief of Southwest Italy for the 26th of June.

“Partisan situation. North of Arezzo, Colonel Von Gablenz, a member of the staff of the officer commanding lines of communication, area 10th Army, was captured by bandits. The entire male population of the villages on the stretch of road concerned was taken into custody.”

It was further announced that all these hostages would be shot if the captured colonel were not set free within 48 hours. Remember that?

KESSELRING: Not in detail, but in general . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, no, but do you remember the incident?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Look at the next bit which is the 2-day situation report, the report for 2 days later, the 28th of June, the second paragraph: “As reprisal for the capture of Colonel Freiherr Von Gablenz, so far 560 persons, including 250 men, have been taken into custody.”

Is that your conception of what is meant by “steps necessary to deal with partisan warfare” that 410 women and children should be taken into custody?

KESSELRING: That was not necessary, but in connection with this I may . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let us take one other example. You remember Civitella? You remember what was done with Civitella by your forces, do you not?

KESSELRING: At the moment, no.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, just let me remind you what was done at Civitella—that was on the 18th of June, one day after your order.

“Two German soldiers were killed and a third wounded in a fight with partisans in the village of Civitella. Fearing reprisals, the inhabitants evacuated the village, but when the Germans discovered this, punitive action was postponed. On June 29”—that, you will remember, Witness, was 9 days after your proclamation to reinforce your order—“when the local inhabitants were returned and when feeling secure once more, the Germans carried out a well-organized reprisal, combing the neighborhood. Innocent inhabitants were often shot on sight. During that day 212 men, women, and children in the immediate district were killed. Some of the dead women were found completely naked. In the course of investigations, a nominal roll of the dead has been compiled and is complete with the exception of a few names whose bodies could not be identified. Ages of the dead ranged from 1 year to 84 years. Approximately one hundred houses were destroyed by fire. Some of the victims were burned alive in their homes.”

That is the report of the United Nations War Crimes Commission on the incident. Now, Witness, do you really think that military necessity commands the killing of babies of 1 and people of 84?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, I just want to acquaint you with one subject which you have dealt with yourself, that is the position of the Hermann Göring Division. You mentioned one of the persons I have in mind, but let me just, in order to make it clear to the Tribunal, get clear who your officers were at that time.

Did General Vietinghoff—sorry, I think it was Von Vietinghoff—did he command the 10th Army?




SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Was he directly under your orders?

KESSELRING: Yes, he was under my command.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Then I take it he is a fairly senior and responsible general. I do not know his rank—full general or . . .

KESSELRING: Full general.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And under him was the 76th Corps, was it not, commanded by General Herr; is that correct?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And under General Herr was a Hermann Göring Division, commanded by General Schmalz, whom you mentioned this morning; is that right?

KESSELRING: General Von Schmalz commanded, but previously I mentioned another name.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I think it was Schmalz at this time. Now, the Hermann Göring Division had been concerned in a number of three—I call them incidents; I would not say—what I mean by incidents is the sort of thing which I have been describing at Civitella. Let me remind you of one or two. Do you remember at Stia, on the 13th to the 18th of April, 137 civilians were killed, including 45 women and children; do you remember that incident? Civitella, that was on the 29th of June. And do you remember Buchini on the 7th and 9th of July; do you remember an incident at Buchini?

KESSELRING: It is possible, but I would have to study the details first.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Perhaps you will remember this. I will put it to you generally, Witness, because it is a perfectly general course of conduct, and there were a number of these incidents in which the Hermann Göring Division was engaged. Do you remember that?

KESSELRING: There were many incidents like that on both sides, and I would first have to study the exact details of the question.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, this is what I really want you to apply your mind to. Is it correct that the Hermann Göring Division was only under General Herr and General Von Vietinghoff for tactical purposes, and reported each day to Berlin to Reich Marshal Göring as to what they were doing?

KESSELRING: The Hermann Göring Division was under the General Command and the Army for tactical purposes, but I must assume that, in these questions, subordination to the General Command and the Army actually did exist. Whether there were any matters operating outside that, I do not know.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I will put the words exactly, and you can see where I have the words from the way I put them:

“The 1st Airborne Division and the Hermann Göring Division came under the army commanders only as regards tactics; for all other questions, on the other hand, directly under the Reich Marshal, to whom they had to send daily reports. They were not permitted to receive orders from the army commanders concerning criminal proceedings, nor to report the results of such proceedings. Thus they carried on the war against guerrillas according to principles which to some extent deviated from those of the Army.”

Is that a correct statement?

KESSELRING: That conception is correct, but the question is, perhaps, that the word “tactics” can, of course, be understood in a somewhat wider or narrower sense.


KESSELRING: Tactics. That this tactical subordination can be understood either in a wider or a narrower sense.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Witness, that is why I read the whole thing to you, because it is quite clear what the person’s statement I am reading means there, is it not? He says that they were not permitted to receive orders from the army commanders on criminal proceedings or to report the results, and that they carried on the war against guerrillas according to principles which deviated from those of General Von Vietinghoff, did they not?

KESSELRING: This is the first time that I have heard of this, but if another officer has said so then I must assume it is correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, are you sure it is the first time that you have heard about it? It is very difficult to remember every incident. Please, do not think that I want to be offensive, but I want you to try to remember. Did not General Herr make numerous complaints to you about this anomalous position with regard to the Hermann Göring Division, and did you never give any official reply to General Herr’s reports?

KESSELRING: Numerous reports certainly did not arrive from General Herr. There may have been verbal consultations . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: In your command post?

KESSELRING: Yes. And may I add once more that such definitions of attitude were definitely in existence within the army group. With regard to the case concerned, I must say that I do not know whether this comes under the heading “tactics” or belongs to another function.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I am not really putting the point to you quite clearly. What I am suggesting is this: If you disagree with “numerous,” will you accept “some,” that on some occasions General Herr reported to you that he was in difficulties through this anomalous position of the Hermann Göring Division?

KESSELRING: That I can assume.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Your Chief of Staff at this time was General Roettiger, was he not?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: From the 10th of June onwards, just over this time, did not General Roettiger also talk to you about the position of the Hermann Göring Division being under the special protection of Reich Marshal Göring in Berlin?

KESSELRING: Yes. We discussed that subject quite a lot.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, as far as the particular incident, in which the Hermann Göring Division was involved, is concerned, they took their orders from the Defendant Göring, who is sitting at the dock, did they not, as to how they were to treat the partisans?

KESSELRING: I could not tell you that. Those channels bypassed me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes; they bypassed you. They bypassed General Herr, they bypassed Vietinghoff, they bypassed you, and went straight to Berlin. That is right, is it not?

KESSELRING: Yes, certainly. That was the special channel for the SS and for the Hermann Göring Division.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes. You see, at the moment the Tribunal is dealing with the case of the Defendant Göring. That is why I ask you these questions.

Now, just one or two short points. You remember Dr. Laternser asking you one or two questions about the High Command and the General Staff.

Do you remember Dr. Laternser asking you some questions?

KESSELRING: Yes, I am aware of that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I wanted just to clear one part out of the way altogether. You must have realized, Witness, that the body that is mentioned in this case has nothing to do with the Staff Corps of the German Army. I think you made that clear yourself yesterday.

KESSELRING: With what did you say?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: With the staff corps. You had, both in the Army and the Air Force, a corps of officers who had gone through the Military Academy and were staff officers of all ranks, I suppose down to captain, had you not?

KESSELRING: The question is not quite clear to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am sorry. You had in both the Army and the Luftwaffe a staff corps of officers who had been to Military Academy and were thereafter staff officers. And they had, I think, the right of reporting directly to the Chief of Staff if they wanted to? Is that not so? Is that right or wrong?

KESSELRING: That is not correct, except, as I said yesterday, as far as education was concerned. As far as the general attitude was concerned, the General Chief of Staff had the right to influence General Staff officers directly; but the other way around, no.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, that corps went right down, I suppose, to captain or lieutenant, did it not?

KESSELRING: No, captain.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I thought that was it. May I tell you, we are not interested in that corps at all. The Prosecution are not interested in that corps at all.

Now, with regard to the persons who are named in the Indictment, you know there are nine commander-in-chief or staff positions named, and then the Oberbefehlshaber, who commanded in certain areas or commanded certain fleets of the Luftwaffe. You have looked at that, I suppose, have you?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am trying to put it shortly, Witness, so that we would not take time. I just want you to consider this. Are not these people who are mentioned—that is, the heads of the OKW, OKH, OKM, OKL, and their deputies and the Oberbefehlshaber—the officers in the German Armed Forces who would have had most to do with the policy and planning of wars?

KESSELRING: The commanders-in-chief of the branches of the Armed Forces were of course the advisory organs of the Supreme Head of the State in all military-political questions. The commanders-in-chief of Army Groups had no influence whatever.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I would like you to take the case of two examples. I think you were present at both of these. Before the attack on Poland there was a meeting on the 22d of August, which has been mentioned here before. Did that consist of these higher officers that I mentioned, the heads of the various branches, and also of the Oberbefehlshaber?

KESSELRING: It consisted of the commanding officers of the war in that theater.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes. Well, at that time the sector which was going to be the subject of war was Poland. At that time the main purpose was considering the Polish campaign, was it not? The main purpose of that meeting, I suppose, was to consider the Polish campaign with the possibility of a campaign against the Western Powers if they came in?

KESSELRING: About that I can give you no information. Generally speaking we discussed only Polish questions . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, the Tribunal has heard about that meeting so often I am not going to ask about it. I am only getting from you the people who were there.

Now, let me remind you of another meeting. On the 9th of June 1941 there was a conference—Barbarossa—for the attack on the Soviet Union. Do you remember that? Berchtesgaden.

KESSELRING: Whether it was on the 9th of June, I do not know. But I did take part in one conference.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You were there, and again, before the Russian campaign, the people who were there were the holders of these supreme positions and the Oberbefehlshaber, were they not?

KESSELRING: That is correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Including those that had territorial commands, like, for example, General Von Falkenhorst, who was the Army High Commander in Norway at that time? He was there?

KESSELRING: General Von Falkenhorst?


KESSELRING: It is quite possible.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: General Stumpf of Air Fleet 5, and, if I may, I do not know what the ranks were so I just give the names. Rundstedt, Reichenau, Stülpnagel, Schubert, Kleist, and of course Bock, Kluge, Guderian, Halder, Kesselring?

KESSELRING: The latter were certainly there. As for Stumpf and Falkenhorst, I cannot say.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So that before a campaign it was customary for the holders of these high positions to meet, was it not—to meet the Führer?

KESSELRING: Certainly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I just want you to help me on one other small point. Do you remember saying yesterday to Dr. Laternser that the members of this alleged group were far too concerned with high matters of strategy to have anything to do with Fifth Columnists? Do you remember saying that, words to that effect?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I do not know if you know, but outside Germany the name Quisling has become an ordinary word of use as an alternative to Fifth Columnist. Did you know that? You talk about a Quisling meaning a Fifth Columnist. You have not heard that?

KESSELRING: No, I did not know that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You know who Quisling was?

KESSELRING: Yes, indeed I do.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I would just like you to listen to this, because it concerns your service. The Defendant Rosenberg in January 1940 wrote to the Führer as follows:

“Assuming that his”—that is, Quisling—“statements would be of special interest to the Marshal of the Reich, Göring, for aero-strategical reasons, Quisling was referred to State Secretary Körner by the Foreign Affairs Office.”

Did he come to you at all for aero-strategical reasons?

KESSELRING: No, that is unknown to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, did you know that the Defendant Raeder introduced Quisling to Hitler in December 1939? Did you know that?

KESSELRING: No, that is unknown to me.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You agree that the head of the German Air Force and the head of the German Navy are important members of this group of commanders-in-chief, are they not?

KESSELRING: Supreme commanders, yes.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If they were dealing with the typical columnist, perhaps members of the group had more to do with Fifth Columnists than you knew.

KESSELRING: Yesterday I merely spoke from the point of view of the supreme commanders on the front and our tasks were in a different sphere.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I think I have finished, but perhaps your Lordship would allow me just over the adjournment to see if there is any small point.

My Lord, the other thing is this. I think we ought to put in these documents to which I have referred, because the Defense may want to deal with them later on.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, if they have not already been put in.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I think some of the orders have not been put in. I have read part of them into the record, and I will put them in.

THE PRESIDENT: They must be put in and marked then.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you direct your attention to the text after the bomb plot in Rome on 23 March 1944. Do you remember what I have in mind—the bomb plot in Rome? Remember? At that time your Chief of Staff was General Westphal, and he reported the plot directly to General Buettler? Perhaps you will help me as to the pronunciation?



KESSELRING: General Winter.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Didn’t he report to a General Buettler, spelled B-u-e-t-t-l-e-r?

KESSELRING: Von Buttlar.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: General Von Buttlar?

KESSELRING: That was his predecessor.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: General Von Buttlar informed your Chief of Staff that he would have to report the matter to the Führer, is that right?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And he got in touch with the Defendant Jodl, and the Defendant Jodl and the Defendant Keitel reported the matter to the Führer?

KESSELRING: That is probably correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The Führer gave an order that either 20 or 10—you aren’t quite sure which, but you rather think 20—Italians should be killed?

KESSELRING: I believe that that is a report from Westphal, which I must assume is correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Can you remember, Witness, whether it was 20 or 10 now?

KESSELRING: I assume 10, I do not know the exact number.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You do not know the exact number?

KESSELRING: I assume 10.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: We will take it as 10 for the moment.

The competent authority for Rome was General Von Mackensen, was it not?

KESSELRING: General Mackensen was Commander-in-Chief of the 14th Army, and the commander of Rome was subordinate to him.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And the person, to use your words, who advised him on this matter was a man called Kappler, wasn’t he?

KESSELRING: Kappler, of the Security Service.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What was he? An Obergruppenführer or something like that?

KESSELRING: Obersturmbannführer.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You remember, after some comments in the Osservatore Romano you had an inquiry directed into the incident by your intelligence officer whose name was Zolling, don’t you?

KESSELRING: Yes, that is correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And you also got a report from Kappler himself, did you not?

KESSELRING: Kappler merely had a brief report relayed to me by telephone to the effect that he had a corresponding number of condemned men available.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Didn’t Kappler tell you that he had executed 382 people?

KESSELRING: The execution lay in the hands of the 14th Army and I finally received merely the news of its being carried out without any further explanation, and had no direct conversation with Kappler.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you sure of that?

KESSELRING: At the end—I expressly emphasize this once more—I conversed with him briefly by telephone, after I had arrived at my command post and this report had been given me, as I said earlier. Otherwise I can recall no further direct communication. I do remember that perhaps 8 or 10 days later I met him and I told him that I was to a certain extent grateful to him that this very distasteful matter had been settled in a way which was legally and morally above reproach.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let us see what you had to be grateful for. You were interrogated about this on the 8th of January. Do you remember being asked this question? “Then Zolling didn’t tell you that all this number that was executed had previously been convicted of some crime punishable by death?” And you answered, “Yes, I said that already. Yes, he did that. Even Kappler had told me that.”

KESSELRING: Yes, that is correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So the explanation which you say was given to you was that they took a number of people, 382 I suggest, who had been guilty of other crimes and executed them as a reprisal for the bomb plot, isn’t that right?

KESSELRING: That is correct, on the assumption that these people had been sentenced to death.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: This has already been put to you. This is Kappler’s account—that of the 382, 176 had committed acts punishable by death; 22 were people whose cases were marked “closed”; 17 had been sentenced to terms of labor; 4 had actually been condemned to death; 4 had been arrested near the scene of the crime. That made 223.

Didn’t Kappler say to you, “Later the number of victims rose to 325 and I decided to add 57 Jews?” Didn’t Kappler give you these figures?


SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But you agree with this, that a large number of persons were executed in consequence of the order to kill 10 Italians, or maybe 20 Italians, for one German who had been killed?

KESSELRING: I admit that, on the assumption, as I have already stated, that these were people who had already been convicted.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But it didn’t make any difference to you whether they had been convicted for the bomb outrage or for any other offense?

KESSELRING: The situation was as follows: The Garigliano battle had begun to rage on the Southern Front. At that time a bomb attack was made on a police company by people of Rome, who had been treated with unparalleled mildness until then. The excitement on the German side was such that I, as well as the officers under my command, including Embassy Counsellor Moellhausen, had to do anything we could to calm the agitation. Therefore on the one side, and on the other, something had to be done—something which seemed to me the most expedient measure for preventing such incidents, namely a public humiliation, a notification that nothing could be undertaken against the German Army without consequences being faced. For me that was the essential point; whether X or Y was involved in this outrage was for me a question of small importance. This alone was of primary importance—that public opinion should be quieted in the shortest possible time, on the Roman as well as on the German side.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Your prior point was to take a third attitude, or some people might say, “terrorize” the population, so that they would not repeat or do anything against the German Army.

KESSELRING: I do not know—this expression comes from the Rotterdam examination. As far as I know and believe I did not use this expression. I have to repeat that I stood, if I may say so, on ideally friendly terms with the Italians—for this very reason I was called to Italy—and that I had the most compelling reason to win friendship and not to sow enmity; and I intervened there, and certainly in a decisive way, only because it was a matter of cutting off the root of this evil growth within a short time.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I asked you various questions about your acts of friendship to the Italians this morning and I am not going back to them. I only want to ask you one other point about which perhaps you will be able to relieve my mind. On the 2d of November 1943 were you the commanding general in Italy, that is, after you became . . .

KESSELRING: May I add something to the first point?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You must come on to this point, and I want you to tell whether you were the commanding general in Italy on the 2d of November 1943? Were you?

KESSELRING: Since November, since 2 November 1943?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you remember sending a telegram to the OKW that three British Commandos taken prisoner near Pescara were to be given special treatment? That means murder, “special treatment”; it means that they were killed by the SS.

KESSELRING: No. I beg your pardon . . .

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What do you mean by “special treatment”?

KESSELRING: That these people at Pescara, as I have already mentioned once today, were not shot, but rather the wounded were taken to a hospital and, as far as I recall, the unwounded to a prisoner-of-war camp.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: There were nine others who were taken to a hospital and three, according to your telegram got “special treatment” and nine others were taken to hospitals. I was going to ask you about those taken to hospitals. What did you do with people who came under the Commando Order who were taken to hospitals?

KESSELRING: As I have already stated before, they were treated according to the principles of the Hague Convention as generally practiced.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I am not going to argue with you whether the Commando Order was in accordance with the Hague Convention. We know what the Commando Order was, that people taking in Commandos were to be shot. What I am asking you is, supposing some Commandos had the misfortune to be wounded, what happened to them?

KESSELRING: According to the text of this order they would have to be shot. I stated before that this order in this case—I assume with the collaboration of General Jodl—was carried out in the normal fashion.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: There is heard evidence in this Court that in Vilna it was the practice of the SS to kill offhand newborn Jewish babies in hospitals. Can you give me your assurance that Commando troops who were wounded and taken to hospitals were not killed offhand.

KESSELRING: I assure you that I was not informed of any execution of this sort and would also not have tolerated it.


THE PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution wish any further cross-examination? Then, Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. STAHMER: The British Prosecution has just submitted new facts which were not known until now, especially about the shooting of hostages, which was carried out in Italy by the Hermann Göring Division in connection with the combating of partisans and for which the Defendant Göring apparently is to be made responsible. In this connection new documents were submitted. At the moment I am not in the position to answer these facts and these serious charges, and to put pertinent questions to the witness.

After a careful examination of the material, I shall submit the appropriate motions and I ask for the opportunity to make a statement as to whether I need further witnesses and have to recall the witness Kesselring.

I shall of course limit myself to submitting only absolutely necessary requests for evidence within the framework of the accusations just made, in order to prevent an unnecessary prolongation of the trial.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal thinks that you must re-examine the witness now and that if you wish to make an application hereafter to recall the witness you will have to show very strong grounds for doing it. You may make written application to recall the witness at a later stage, but I would point out to you that the cross-examination of this witness has not been relevant solely to the case of the Defendant Göring. He is a member of the General Staff and, as it was pointed out to him at the opening of one part of the cross-examination, he is one of the accused persons as such, and the evidence, therefore, may be relevant to Göring, or it may have been relevant to the General Staff. Is that clear to you?

DR. STAHMER: Yes, I quite follow; but I can naturally put questions to a witness only if I am in possession of the facts. I am not in such a position today because documents were referred to which are completely unknown to me, and, as far as I know, the Prosecution has the intention of making this material available to us.

THE PRESIDENT: Documents were put to the witness and, as I say, the Tribunal will consider any application which you make hereafter to have this witness recalled, but you may continue now with your re-examination and finish with the witness.

DR. STAHMER: At present I have no further questions to address to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then the witness can retire.

[The witness left the stand.]

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, this morning I have noted that the witness has been called a defendant twice, once by a member of the Prosecution and now in your statement. First of all, the witness has appeared here as a witness, and moreover not the individual member of the group but rather the group itself is indicted, so that it cannot be correct to call the witness a defendant.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, possibly it was inaccurate to call him an accused person, but he is a member of the General Staff. I rather think that Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe made it clear that he meant only a member of the group which the Indictment asked the Tribunal to declare criminal. That is all that is meant, and I was only pointing out to Dr. Stahmer that the questions which have been asked were not necessarily relevant to the Defendant Göring, but might be relevant and relevant alone to the case of the General Staff.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I fully understand the position of the individual generals. I just wished to prevent the generals being called defendants now, which they are not. For that I wanted to have evidence.


DR. STAHMER: If the High Tribunal agree, I wish to call the former Reich Marshal, Defendant Hermann Göring, to the witness stand.

[The Defendant Göring took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you give your name please?

HERMANN WILHELM GÖRING (Defendant): Hermann Göring.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath in German.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.

DR. STAHMER: When were you born and where?

GÖRING: I was born on 12 January 1893 in Rosenheim, Bavaria.

DR. STAHMER: Give the Tribunal a short account of your life up to the outbreak of the first World War, but briefly, please.

GÖRING: Normal education, first a tutor at home; then cadet corps, then an active officer. A few points which are significant with relation to my later development: The position of my father as first Governor of Southwest Africa; his connections at that time, especially with two British statesmen, Cecil Rhodes and the elder Chamberlain. Then the strong attachment of my father to Bismarck; the experiences of my youth, half of which was spent in Austria to which I already felt a close attachment, as to a kindred people. At the beginning of the first World War I was a lieutenant in an infantry regiment.

DR. STAHMER: With what rank did you participate in the first World War?

GÖRING: As I just mentioned, at first as a lieutenant in an infantry regiment in the so-called border battles. From October 1914 on I was an aircraft observer. In June 1915 I became a pilot, at first with a reconnaissance plane, then for a short time with a bomber and in the autumn of 1915 I became a fighter pilot. I was seriously wounded in aerial combat. After recovery I became the leader of a fighter squadron, and after Richthofen was killed I became the commander of the then well-known “Richthofen Squadron.”

DR. STAHMER: What war decorations did you receive?

GÖRING: First the Iron Cross Second Class, then Iron Cross First Class, then the Zähring Lion with Swords, the Karl Friedrich Order, the Hohenzollern with Swords Third Class, and finally the Order Pour le Mérite, which was the highest decoration possible.

DR. STAHMER: Tell the Tribunal when and under what circumstances you came to know Hitler.

GÖRING: I should like to mention one basic fact in advance. After the collapse in the first World War I had to demobilize my squadron. I rejected the invitation to enter the Reichswehr because from the very beginning I was opposed in every way to the republic which had come to power through the revolution; I could not bring it into harmony with my convictions. Shortly afterwards I went abroad to find a position there. But after a few years I longed to get back to my own country. First, I spent quite some time at a hunting lodge in the mountains and studied there. In some way I wanted to participate in the fate of my country. Since I could not and would not do that as an officer for the reasons mentioned above, I had first of all to build up the necessary foundation, and I attended the University of Munich in order to study history and political science. I settled down in the neighborhood of Munich and bought a house there for my wife. Then one day, on a Sunday in November or October of 1922, the demand having been made again by the Entente for the extradition of our military leaders, at a protest demonstration in Munich—I went to this protest demonstration as a spectator, without having any connection with it. Various speakers from parties and organizations spoke there. At the end Hitler, too, was called for. I had heard his name once before briefly and wanted to hear what he had to say. He declined to speak and it was pure coincidence that I stood nearby and heard the reasons for his refusal. He did not want to disturb the unanimity of the demonstration; he could not see himself speaking, as he put it, to these tame, bourgeois pirates. He considered it senseless to launch protests with no weight behind them. This made a deep impression on me; I was of the same opinion.

I inquired and found that on the following Monday evening I could hear Hitler speak, as he held a meeting every Monday evening. I went there, and there Hitler spoke in connection with that demonstration, about Versailles, the treaty of Versailles, and the repudiation of Versailles.

He said that such empty protests as that of Sunday had no sense at all—one would just pass on from it to the agenda—that a protest is successful only if backed by power to give it weight. Until Germany had become strong, this kind of thing was of no purpose.

This conviction was spoken word for word as if from my own soul. On one of the following days I went to the office of the NSDAP. At that time I knew nothing of the program of the NSDAP, and nothing further than that it was a small party. I had also investigated other parties. When the National Assembly was elected, with a then completely unpolitical attitude I had even voted democratic. Then, when I saw whom I had elected, I avoided politics for some time. Now, finally I saw a man here who had a clear and definite aim. I just wanted to speak to him at first to see if I could assist him in any way. He received me at once and after I had introduced myself he said it was an extraordinary turn of fate that we should meet. We spoke at once about the things which were close to our hearts—the defeat of the fatherland, and that one could not let it rest with that.

The chief theme of this conversation was again Versailles. I told him that I myself to the fullest extent, and all I was, and all I possessed, were completely at his disposal for this, in my opinion, most essential and decisive matter: the fight against the Treaty of Versailles.

The second point which impressed me very strongly at the time and which I felt very deeply and really considered to be a basic condition, was the fact that he explained to me at length that it was not possible under the conditions then prevailing to bring about, in co-operation with only that element which at that time considered itself national—whether it be the political so-called nationalist parties or those which still called themselves national, or the then existing clubs, fighter organizations, the Free Corps, et cetera—with these people alone it was not possible to bring about a reconstruction with the aim of creating a strong national will among the German people, as long as the masses of German labor opposed this idea. One could only rebuild Germany again if one could enlist the masses of German labor. This could be achieved only if the will to become free from the unbearable shackles of the Treaty of Versailles were really felt by the broad masses of the people, and that would be possible only by combining the national conception with a social goal.

He gave me on that occasion for the first time a very wonderful and profound explanation of the concept of National Socialism; the unity of the two concepts of nationalism on the one hand and socialism on the other, which should prove themselves the absolute supporters of nationalism as well as of socialism—the nationalism, if I may say so, of the bourgeois world and the socialism of the Marxist world. We must clarify these concepts again and through this union of the two ideas create a new vehicle for these new thoughts.

Then we proceeded to the practical side, in regard to which he asked me above all to support him in one point. Within the Party, as small as it was, he had made a special selection of these people who were convinced followers, and who were ready at any moment to devote themselves completely and unreservedly to the dissemination of our idea.

He said that I knew myself how strong Marxism and communism were everywhere at the time, and that actually he had been able to make himself heard at meetings only after he had opposed one physical force disturbing the meeting with another physical force protecting the meeting; for this purpose he had created the SA. The leaders at that time were too young, and he had long been on the lookout for a leader who had distinguished himself in some way in the last war, which was only a few years ago, so that there would be the necessary authority. He had always tried to find a “Pour le Mérite” aviator or a “Pour le Mérite” submarine man for this purpose, and now it seemed to him especially fortunate that I in particular, the last commander of the “Richthofen Squadron,” should place myself at his disposal.

I told him that in itself it would not be very pleasant for me to have a leading part from the very beginning, since it might appear that I had come merely because of this position. We finally reached an agreement that for 1 to 2 months I was to remain officially in the background and take over leadership only after that, but actually I was to make my influence felt immediately. I agreed to this, and in that way I came together with Adolf Hitler.

DR. STAHMER: And when was that?

GÖRING: The end of October or the beginning of November 1922.

DR. STAHMER: The end of October?

GÖRING: Either the end of October or the beginning of November 1922.

DR. STAHMER: And then you officially entered the Party?

GÖRING: Yes, that was the same date. Just a few days after that I signed up.

DR. STAHMER: What tasks did Hitler then give you, that is, say, until November 1923?

GÖRING: The tasks arose from my position, which at that time had the title “Commander of the SA.” At first it was important to weld the SA into a stable organization, to discipline it, and to make of it a completely reliable unit which had to carry out the orders which I or Adolf Hitler should give it. Up to that point it had been just a club which had been very active, but which still lacked the necessary construction and discipline.

I strove from the beginning to bring into the SA those members of the Party who were young and idealistic enough to devote their free time and their entire energies to it. For at that time things were very difficult for these good men. We were very small in number and our opponents were far more numerous. Even in those days these men were exposed to very considerable annoyances and had to suffer all sorts of things.

In the second place I tried to find recruits among workmen, for I knew that among workmen particularly I should enroll many members for the SA.

At the same time we had naturally to see to it that the meetings of the Party, which generally were limited at that time to Munich, Upper Bavaria and Franconia, could actually be carried through in a satisfactory manner, and disturbances prevented. In most cases we succeeded. But sometimes we had a strong party of our opponents present. One side or the other still had weapons from the war and sometimes critical situations arose, and in some cases we had to send the SA as reinforcements to other localities.

In the course of the year 1923 the contrast between Bavaria and the Reich became even stronger. One could see that the Bavarian Government of that time wanted to go a different way to that of the Reich Government. The Reich Government was influenced strongly by Marxism, but the Bavarian Government was free from that, it was bourgeois.

Then suddenly the Bavarian Government was completely transformed when a governor general—I believe he was called that—or something of the sort, was appointed for Bavaria. It was Von Kahr, to whom the Bavarian Government was subordinate and to whom the Bavarian Government delegated all authority. Shortly after that the Reichswehr conflict developed. The 7th Reichswehr Division, which was stationed in Bavaria, was released from its oath to the Reich, which it had sworn to the Reich Constitution—I do not know its name any longer—that is to Von Kahr. This led to the conflict of the Generals Von Seeckt and Lossow. The same thing happened with the Bavarian police.

The Bavarian Government at the same time curried favor with the so-called national associations which were in part organized along military or semi-military lines and also possessed weapons. The whole thing was directed against Berlin and, as we expressed it, against the “November Republic.” We could agree up to that point.

On the Sunday, before the 9th of November, there was a large parade in Munich. The whole Bavarian Government was there. The Reichswehr, the police and the fatherland associations, and we too, marched past. Suddenly, on that occasion, we saw that the figure in the foreground was no longer Herr Von Kahr but the Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht. We were very much taken aback by that. The suspicion arose among us that Bavaria wished to follow a course which would possibly lead to a considerable disintegration, and Bavaria might secede from the body of the Reich. But nothing was farther from our intentions than to permit that. We wanted a strong Reich, a unified Reich; and we wanted to have it cleansed of certain parties and authorities which were now ruling it.

We had become distrustful of the so-called “March on Berlin.” When this became a certainty and Herr Von Kahr had called the well-known meeting in the Bürgerbräukeller, it was high time to frustrate such plans and to guide the whole undertaking in the direction of the “Greater Germany” idea. Thus the events of 9 November 1923 materialized in very short time. But as far as I personally am concerned, I was—and I never made a secret of this—ready from the beginning to take part in every revolution against the so-called November Republic, no matter where and with whom it originated, unless it originated with the Left, and for these tasks I had always offered my services.

Then I was severely wounded at the Feldherrnhalle—the events are well known—and with this incident I close this first chapter.

DR. STAHMER: When, after that time, did you come together with Hitler again?

GÖRING: At first I was in a hospital in Austria. There was a trial before the Bavarian People’s Court regarding the 9th of November.

DR. STAHMER: Who was indicted?

GÖRING: Hitler was indicted first of all, and naturally all those who had been present and were apprehended. I had been in Upper Bavaria for several days in a seriously wounded state and was then brought to the border, was arrested there, and then the Bavarian police brought me back to a different place. I asked Hitler at that time, whether I should appear at the trial. He begged me urgently not to do that, and that was a good thing. In this way the proceedings could not be held behind closed doors, because I had made the statement that if that was done I, for my part, would make an appropriate public statement with regard to the trial.

Then, after my recuperation, I spent about a year in Italy; then elsewhere abroad. In the year 1926 or 1927 there was a general amnesty for all the people involved in the different illegal—if I should call them that—incidents which had occurred up to then, not only for us but also for the Leftists and the peasants, and I could return to Germany.

I met Hitler again for the first time in 1927 at a rather brief conference in Berlin, where he was present. I was not active in the Party then, rather I wanted first to provide myself with an independent position once more. Then for months I was not in touch with Hitler again. Shortly before the May elections of the Reichstag in 1928 Hitler called me and told me he wanted to put me up as one of the first of the Reichstag candidates for the National Socialist Party and asked me whether I were willing and I said “yes,” and also whether my activity in the Party to a still greater extent . . .

DR. STAHMER: One question. Had you meanwhile joined the SA?

GÖRING: No; at that time I had nothing more to do with the SA. In the meantime there were new appointments in the SA and the new leader of the SA, Von Pfeffer, naturally wanted to keep his position and would not have liked to see me in close touch with the SA.

DR. STAHMER: Then after 1923 you had no office or position in the SA?

GÖRING: After 1923 my active position in the SA ceased. Not until after the seizure of power, at a later date, when the so-called honorary offices were created, did I receive, as an honorary post, the highest rank in the SA. But to come back, in 1928 I was elected to the Reichstag and from that time on I toured the country as a speaker for the Party.

The SA, I do not recall in what year, had been re-established and was now no longer limited to Bavaria, but had been extended to the whole Reich.

DR. STAHMER: Was it prohibited after 1923?

GÖRING: After 1923, it was prohibited for the time being.

DR. STAHMER: When was this prohibition rescinded?

GÖRING: I cannot say exactly, at any rate at a time when I had not yet returned to Germany. But in any case it had spread over all Germany and was now urgently necessary. The parties at that time, the larger ones, all had their so-called fighting units. Especially active, I remember, was the Red Front, a collection of the fighting units of the Communists, our greatest opponents, with whom we had repeated clashes and who very often tried to break up our meetings. In addition, there was the Reichsbanner, the organization of the Social Democrats, the Democratic Party. Then there was the Stahlhelm; that was a nationalist organization of the Right. And then there was our SA, which is to be mentioned in the same connection.

I should like to emphasize that at that time the SA often had to suffer heavily. Most of the SA men came from the broad masses; they were minor employees, workmen, men who took part only for idealistic reasons and who had to give their services nights and evenings without receiving anything in payment, and who did so only out of their real faith in the fatherland. They were often most severely wounded and many of them were shot in the clashes. They were persecuted by the government. They could not be officials; an official could not join the SA. They had to endure terrific pressure. I should like to emphasize that I had the highest respect and affection for these men, these SA men, who were not determined as has been pictured here, simply to do something cruel, but who were rather men who really exposed themselves voluntarily to the most difficult trials and vexations because of their idealism and their aims, and renounced many things in order to realize their ideals.

DR. STAHMER: What was your position in the Party during the period from 1928 until the seizure of power?

GÖRING: I had no office in the Party. I was never a political leader in the Party—that is perhaps strange—either in the Reich Party Directorate or elsewhere. I was first of all, as I said, a member of the Reichstag and thereby a member of the Reichstag faction of the Party. At the same time I was the Party speaker, that is, I travelled from city to city and tried to do whatever I could to extend the Party, to strengthen it, to recruit and convince new members, and especially to win over to our side Communist and Marxist adherents in order to create a broad base among the people and not to have Rightist circles only, which were nationalist of themselves.

From the middle of 1932 on, after we had weathered countless elections and for all of these elections had had to participate in the campaigns by holding speeches, for example, often three in one evening, often the whole night long; I, as a member of the Party, or better said, because our Party had the strongest representation in the Reichstag, was chosen President of the Reichstag and thereby took over a generally political task.

Shortly before, at the end of 1931, when I saw that the Party had grown to an extraordinary extent and was gaining, the Führer said to me that he would very much like to have a direct representative who was independent of a Party office and who could carry out political negotiations. This person was not to be tied down to any particular Party office. He asked me whether I would take over this function, especially as I was living in the capital of the Reich anyway.

I took over this commission—it was not an office, but rather a commission of a general nature. In a few sentences he gave me the liberty to negotiate with all parties from the Communists to the extreme Rightists, in order, let us say, to undertake specific joint action in the Reichstag, or other suitable political steps. Naturally also I was given in this connection, the task of effecting the dissemination and the penetration of our ideals in all circles. To these circles belonged, as has already been mentioned, the industrial and intellectual groups. Since I had connections with and access to all these circles, it was quite natural that the Führer considered me specially suited for this task, as he could depend upon me absolutely in this respect and knew that I would use all my powers to advance our ideas. When I became President of the Reichstag my task in this capacity was greatly eased, for now I was, so to speak, legally authorized and even obliged to participate in political events. If, for instance, a government resigned in the Reichstag or fell through a vote of no confidence, it was my duty as President of the Reichstag, to suggest to the Reich President, after having negotiated with the parties, what the possibilities were in my opinion for a new coalition government. Thus the Reich President was always bound to receive me in this capacity with regard to these matters. So I was able to create a rather close connection between the Reich President and myself. But I should like to emphasize that this connection had already existed before; it was a matter of course that Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, if I requested it, would always receive me, because he had known me in the first World War.

DR. STAHMER: What part did you play in the appointment of Hitler as Reich Chancellor?

GÖRING: I should just like to explain first that when I said that I held no office in the Party, no political office, my position had nevertheless naturally become stronger and stronger, especially since the end of 1931, from which time on I worked more and more closely with the Führer and was considered his special exponent—but only on the basis of normal and natural authority which increased greatly after the seizure of power.

As to my part in the appointment of Hitler: If I am to explain this to the Tribunal I must first describe the situation briefly. The balance among the parliamentary parties had been disturbed as early as the end of 1931 or the beginning of 1932. Things were going badly in Germany and no proper enduring parliamentary majority could actually be procured, and already the Enabling Act then in force had come into play to the exclusion, in part, of the Constitution. I call to mind the Brüning cabinet which had to work to a large extent with the Enabling Act and which at the time was also greatly concerned with Article 48 of the Reich Constitution. Then there followed the Cabinet of Von Papen, which also could not put itself on a parliamentary basis, on a more lasting or firmer basis. Herr Von Papen at that time tried to make that possible and, in order to get a parliamentary basis, he asked the National Socialists, the strongest party at that time, to establish such a basis together with the other parties. There was some talk—Von Papen’s name had been given to the President as a nominee for Reich Chancellor—that Hitler should become the Vice Chancellor in this Cabinet. I remember that I told Herr Von Papen at that time that Hitler could become any number of things, but never Vice. If he were to be made anything, he would naturally have to be in the highest position and it would be completely unbearable and unthinkable to place our Führer in any sort of second position. We would then have had to play the role of governing, but possibly not all according to our lights, and Hitler as a representative of the strongest party would have had to be responsible for these things. This we declined categorically. I do not emphasize that because Herr Von Papen is in the dock with me. He knows that we always respected him personally, but I told him then, after this gesture had come to nought, that we would not only not support him, but would also oppose his Cabinet in the Reichstag to the utmost, just as we would consistently fight every succeeding cabinet which did not give us a leading influence in the Chancellery.

There came then—I do not remember exactly for how many months Herr Von Papen held the reins—the well-known clash between him and me, he as Reich Chancellor, I as the President of the Reichstag, in which it was my intention to bring about the fall of his government, and I knew there was to be a motion of “no confidence” by the Communists, in which practically everybody would participate. It was necessary for this vote of “no confidence” to be expressed under all circumstances in order to show the Reich President that one could not govern with such cabinets without some sort of strong reserve. I saw the “red portfolio” and knew that the order for dissolution was in it, but let the voting be carried through first. Thirty-two votes were for Von Papen and about five hundred were against him. The Cabinet of Von Papen resigned.

Up to that point all the parties had drawn up cabinets, apart from the few small fragmentary parties. All men who were available had already been presented to the people at some time. Towards the end, Reich Defense Minister Von Schleicher, the political figure behind the scenes, had played an increasingly important part. There were therefore only two possibilities: Either the actual proportion of power would be taken into account and the leader of the strongest party, as is generally customary, would be brought into conferences and entrusted with the power, or else the man who was operating behind the scenes, the only possibility that was left, would be brought forward. And this happened. Herr Von Schleicher himself took over the chancellorship in conjunction with—and this is important—the office of Reich Defense Minister. It was clear to us, not only to us but also to the other parties, that as Herr Von Schleicher had far fewer personal sympathizers than Herr Von Papen and could not bring about a majority, a military dictatorship was finally aimed at by Von Schleicher. I had discussions with Herr Von Schleicher and told him that at this moment it was even possible to form a parliamentary majority. Through conferences I had succeeded in bringing together the German Nationals, National Socialists, Center, German People’s Party and smaller supporting groups, to form a majority. It was clear to me that such a majority could be only temporary because the conflicting interests were too great. But it was a matter of indifference to me whether I brought our Party to power this way or that—if by means of parliamentary negotiations, very good; if by the Reich President’s summons, all the better.

These negotiations were turned down by Herr Von Schleicher because he knew that he would then not be able to remain chancellor. Then again there were Emergency Laws and Enabling Acts. Parliament had thus been more or less excluded even before our seizure of power.

I immediately issued the same challenge to Herr Von Schleicher in the Reichstag, much more emphatically than previously to Herr Von Papen. In the meantime the presidential election had taken place and after that a Reichstag election, in which, after the dissolution of Von Papen’s Cabinet we lost several seats. We were reduced from 232 to 196 seats. Then in January there were further elections, which showed an extraordinary rise in favor of our Party and proved that the short crisis had been surmounted and that the Party was on the upgrade more strongly than ever before.

On Sunday, the 22nd of January 1933—the 30th was a Monday—I was in Dresden at a large political meeting, when I was summoned in the morning by the Führer to motor to Berlin immediately. I arrived that afternoon, and he told me, which I already knew, that the Reich President was no longer satisfied with Von Schleicher and saw that political matters could not continue in this way; nothing was ever accomplished; the Reich President had independently arrived at the conclusion that somehow some responsibility must now be given to the strongest Party. Before that time, in a very clever way, a wrong personal impression of the Führer had been created in the old gentleman’s mind and he was prejudiced—he probably took offense at the word socialism, because he understood that in a different way.

Briefly, Hitler revealed to me that day, that that evening I was to speak to the Field Marshal’s son at the home of Herr Von Ribbentrop. I believe Herr Von Papen was to be present also and—I am not sure about this—Meissner, who was the State Secretary of the Reich President. The Field Marshal’s son wanted to inquire on behalf of his father what the possibilities were of Hitler as chancellor and the inclusion of the Party in responsibility. In a rather lengthy conversation I declared to the son that he should tell his father that, one way or another, Von Schleicher would lead to shipwreck. I explained to him the new basic conditions for forming a new government, and how I had heard now of the Field Marshal’s willingness to entrust Hitler with the chancellorship, thereby regarding the Party as a main basis for a future government majority if Adolf Hitler were also able to succeed on this occasion in drawing in the German Nationals and the Stahlhelm—for he wanted to see a definite national basis. The Stahlhelm was not a parliamentary party but it had many followers. The German Nationals under Hugenberg were a parliamentary party.

We did not discuss very much more that evening. I told Von Hindenburg’s son that he could tell his father that I would undoubtedly bring that about, and the Führer gave me orders to undertake negotiations during the coming week with these parties on the one hand and with the Reich President on the other. There were difficulties here and there. I found that our conceding . . .

THE PRESIDENT: I think we will break off now.

[A recess was taken.]

DR. STAHMER: You were dealing with the question of your participation in the appointment of Hitler as Reich Chancellor. Would you continue?

GÖRING: I had arrived at the last decisive period. The negotiations had become somewhat difficult. The Field Marshal, Reich President Von Hindenburg, who, until then, had come to know the Führer personally only through two conversations and who had not yet overcome his distrust of him—a distrust which had been instilled and nourished for many years by a variety of influences, simply because he did not know him—had at that time demanded some severe restrictions, so that we, the strongest and now the leading party, which would have to be responsible to the nation for future measures, would be relatively very restricted and, in comparison with our strength, weakly represented in the government.

One must not forget that at this moment Germany had arrived at the lowest point of her downward trend. There were 8 million unemployed; all programs had failed; confidence in the parties existed no more; there was a very strong rise on the part of the revolutionary Leftist side; and political insecurity. Therefore those measures were necessary which the people would expect of us, if we were in the government, and for which we had to stand. So it was a very heavy burden to take over such a responsibility with such severe political conditions imposed.

First condition: The Reich President wanted, under all circumstances, that Herr Von Papen should become Vice Chancellor in this Cabinet. Apart from his sympathetic personality Herr Von Papen did not bring us anything, because there was no party behind him. But the Reich President demanded, beyond that, that Herr Von Papen should attend the presentation of the reports which the Führer, after being appointed Reich Chancellor, would have to make to the Reich President. But this was abandoned very quickly, and by the Reich President himself.

Secondly, the Reich President desired that the Foreign Office, independent of all parties, should be in the hands of Herr Von Neurath. Herr Von Neurath also brought us nothing in the way of political power, apart from his knowledge and ability.

Thirdly, the position of Prussian Prime Minister which, next to that of the Reich Chancellor was always the most important in Germany during the period after the World War, was likewise to be filled by the person of Herr Von Papen. Before the World War, as it is known, the offices of Reich Chancellor and Prussian Prime Minister were for these reasons always combined in one person.

Fourthly, the Reich President demanded that the office of Reich Defense Minister should also be in the hands of an independent person, a soldier; and he himself chose him, without our having anything to do with it, namely, General Von Blomberg, who at that time was at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. Herr Von Blomberg was not known personally either to the Führer or to me at that time.

Even though the essential and definitely most important posts in the Cabinet were thus already filled by persons in whose choice we had had no influence, still further demands developed in the course of the week. It was demanded that the Finance Ministry should be in the hands of Count Schwerin von Krosigk, again a man backed by no political party. The Ministry of Transportation was to be under Herr Von Eltz, to whom the same applied. The leader of the Stahlhelm, Seldte, was to be taken into the Cabinet. Certainly the Stahlhelm was a large and extensive movement, but not politically, and it was not represented by a single delegate in the Reichstag.

There was left, as a really political party, only the German National Party, with 36 seats—our only parliamentary ally, so to speak. Here too, extraordinary demands were made, which were in no correct proportion to the smallness of that party.

In the end we, as the strongest party at that time with 232 seats, were given only the following, as far as I remember: The office of Reich Chancellor of course; then Dr. Frick as Reich Minister of the Interior, in the Cabinet; and I third in the Reich Cabinet, with an assignment as Reich Commissioner for Aviation, a very small subordinate division, an insignificant branch of a small Aviation Department in the Ministry of Transport, but no department otherwise. But then I succeeded in becoming, without conditions attached, Prussian Minister of the Interior and thereby a political minister of the largest German state, for in the end Prussia was actually the place where the rise to internal power started.

It was so far an extraordinarily difficult affair. At the last moment the forming of the Cabinet threatened to fail because of two factors. The Führer had made the unconditional demand that shortly after the appointment of the new Cabinet a new Reichstag election should take place, knowing correctly that the Party would be greatly strengthened thereby and possibly could represent a majority by itself, and thus be in a position to form the government platform by parliamentary means.

Hugenberg, as leader of the German National Party, absolutely opposed this, knowing that his party would probably disappear more or less in this election. Even 5 minutes before the meeting of the Cabinet there was still danger that it would break up because of this. It was pure chance that at this moment the Reich President undertook to administer the oath to the new ministers; and so the Cabinet was formed.

The second danger threatened from Schleicher who, through his confidant, on the Sunday made the following offer to the Führer and me: He wanted to emphasize that the Reich President was not a sure factor as far as the new government was concerned; it would serve the purpose better if he—even though he had withdrawn the day before—were to join us to form a government now quite definitely not on a parliamentary basis of any kind, but rather on the basis of an entirely new situation, a coalition of the Reichswehr and the NSDAP.

The Führer refused, recognizing that this would be impossible and that the intentions were not honest.

When Herr Von Blomberg arrived at the railroad station from Geneva on the Monday morning, he was given two orders, one from Herr Von Hammerstein, Chief of the Army Command and his superior, to come to him immediately; the other from Hindenburg, his commander-in-chief, to come to him immediately. There was at that time, known only to a few, the threat of a Putsch by Schleicher and Hammerstein with the Potsdam Garrison.

On the Sunday evening I mentioned that to Reich President Von Hindenburg, and that is the reason why, 2 hours before the rest of the Cabinet, Herr Von Blomberg was appointed Minister of War, or at that time Reich Defense Minister, in order to prevent any wrong move by the Reichswehr.

At 11 o’clock on the morning of the 30th the Cabinet was formed and Hitler appointed Reich Chancellor.

DR. STAHMER: Had the Party come to power in a legal way, in your opinion?

GÖRING: Of course the Party had come to power in an entirely legal way, because the Party had been called upon by the Reich President according to the Constitution, and according to the principles in force the Party should have been called upon much earlier than that. The Party gained strength and came to power only by way of normal elections and the franchise law then valid.

DR. STAHMER: What measures were now taken to strengthen this power after Hitler’s appointment?

GÖRING: It was a matter of course for us that once we had come into power we were determined to keep that power under all circumstances. We did not want power and governmental authority for power’s sake, but we needed power and governmental authority in order to make Germany free and great. We did not want to leave this any longer to chance, to elections, and parliamentary majorities, but we wanted to carry out the task to which we considered ourselves called.

In order to consolidate this power now, it was necessary to reorganize the political relationship of power. That was carried out in such a manner that, shortly after the seizure of governmental authority in the Reich and in Prussia, the other states followed automatically and more or less strong National Socialist governments were formed everywhere.

Secondly, the so-called political officials who according to the Reich Constitution could be recalled at any time, or could be dismissed, would naturally have to be replaced now, according to custom, by people from the strongest party.

As far as legality, that is, the opinion that we came to power legally, is concerned, I should like to emphasize two considerations in particular.

Firstly: in the years 1925 to 1932 no fewer than 30 Reichstag, Landtag, and presidential elections took place in Germany. The very fact that 37 parties had candidates in one Reichstag election alone gives a clear picture of how it happened that one strong coalition formed the so-called government majority, and another strong grouping formed the opposition, each with an entirely different point of view. Just think of an opposition formed in common by Communists and National Socialists for example, and the fact that one small party which had eight representatives altogether was now the decisive factor, and in two readings of a law, especially of a decisive law—every law had to have three readings—voted against the government and then secured sufficient political and material advantages to force the law through for the government at its third, final reading. This may give a picture of the conditions.

The second point which I want to emphasize especially in regard to the legality of our coming to power, is the following:

Had the democratic election system of England or the United States of America existed in Germany, then the National Socialist German Workers Party would, at the end of 1931 already, have legally possessed all seats in the Reichstag, without exception. For in every electoral district in Germany at that time, or at the beginning of 1932 at the latest, in every one—I emphasize this once more—the NSDAP was the strongest party; that is to say, given an electoral system as it is in Great Britain or in the United States all these weaker parties would have failed to gain any seats and from this time on we would have had only National Socialists in the Reich, in a perfectly legal way according to the democratic principles of these two great democracies.

For the further seizure of power the main political offices were now filled by new holders, as is the case in other lands when there has been a change-over of power among the political parties. Besides the ministers there were first of all—taking Prussia as an example—the administrative heads of the provinces, the official heads of administrative districts, the police commissioners, county heads (Landräte). In addition there was a certain further grade—I believe down to ministerial directors—who were considered political officials. District attorneys were considered political officials. This on the whole describes the range of offices which were filled anew when a shift in political power took place and had previously been bargained out among the parties having the majority. It did not go so far as in other countries—all the way down to the letter carrier. There was a change of office holders, but only of the most important posts.

In spite of that we did very little in this direction at first. First of all, I requested Herr Von Papen to relinquish to me the position of Prussian Prime Minister, as he, having no party behind him, could not very well undertake this reshuffling, but rather I, that is, one of us, should undertake it. We agreed at once. Thereupon I filled some, a relatively small part, of the highest administrative Prussian offices with National Socialists. At the same time I generously allowed Social Democrats to remain in these posts for many weeks. I filled a few important provincial offices with leading Catholic persons who were much closer to the Center Party than to us. But slowly, by degrees, in the course of time these offices, to the extent that they were key administrative positions, were, of course, filled with National Socialists—it could hardly be otherwise in the further course of the change-over, since these offices at the same time corresponded to the political districts. Even until the very end district heads remained in part National Socialists, in part, however, simply officials. The same was true of the Landräte. In the case of police commissioners, I should like to emphasize for the information of the Tribunal that the police commissioners at first had nothing to do with the Gestapo. A police commissioner in the bigger cities had the same function as a Landrat in the country, in part at least. These police commissioner posts had always been filled by the largest political parties until the seizure of power. Thus I found Social Democrats in these positions who could not, with the best of intentions, remain, as they had always been our opponents up to that date. That would have been absurd. I filled these police commissioner posts partly with National Socialists but partly, however, with people who had nothing to do with the Party. I remember that to the most important police commissioner post in the whole German Reich, the one in Berlin, I appointed Admiral Von Levetzow, retired, who was not a member of the Party. In some of these offices I put former SA leaders.

For the purpose of consolidation of power, which seemed very important not only to me but all of us because that was to form the basic condition for our further work, a still stronger influence came into the Reich Cabinet. New National Socialists received positions as ministers. New ministries were created. In addition came a number of new basic laws.

It was indeed clear to everyone who had concerned himself with German conditions, either abroad or especially in Germany, that we would put an end to the Communist Party as quickly as possible. It was an absolutely necessary consequence that it should be prohibited. We were convinced that if the Communist Party, which was the strongest next to us, had succeeded in coming to power, it would certainly not have taken any National Socialists into its cabinet or tolerated them elsewhere. We were aware that we would have been eliminated in an entirely different manner.

A further point in the consolidation of power was to eliminate to a certain extent the Reichstag as a parliament, at least for a period of time during the reorganization, because its influence was increasing until then. That, however, had happened owing to the fact that we had an absolute majority in the Reichstag after the new election. In some cases we suggested to the former parties that they should dissolve themselves, because they no longer had any purpose, and those which could not dissolve themselves were dissolved by us. I was speaking of the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Beyond that, we wanted finally to fulfill an old, old longing of the German people and now not only appear to have the structure of a Reich, but at last, really become a unified German Reich. This purpose was served by firmly establishing the Reich idea and the Reich’s power throughout the countless states and provinces. If it had been difficult for a fervent German patriot before the first World War to get along with a heap of petty princes, it was even worse with those who took their places, for in the place of one small will there now appeared the most various, party-bound officials.

In the Reich there was a majority based on one thing; in Prussia, on another; in Bavaria, on yet another; and in Hesse, on something quite different. It was impossible in this manner to establish Reich sovereignty and a Reich which could be great again.

Therefore I suggested to the Führer that the state parliaments should be dissolved and done away with as a matter of principle. In Prussia I began with the elimination of state parliaments, which I considered entirely superfluous, for the simple reason that the principle “Reich dominion, not state authority” was already in force. I saw no reason why so many different authorities should exist which, with their unnecessary frictions and discussions merely hindered constructive work. Yet, however much I wanted to see and make the Reich structurally unified, I, and the Führer above all, always supported the idea that within the German states and provinces cultural life should remain many-sided and bound to local traditions; that is to say, all the old centers of culture, which, as is well known, had formed around Munich, Dresden, Weimar, and so on, should continue to exist in that way and be supported.

For the further consolidation of power those laws were created which would first of all eliminate any further obstacle to progress, that is to say, on the basis of Paragraph 48, the law did away with the so-called freedoms. The conception of these freedoms is a matter of controversy. The “Law for the Protection of People and State” was created, a law which was most urgently needed. In the past years much had been prohibited which could have stimulated patriotic activity, yet a senseless defamation had been allowed of the German people, its history, the German State, and those symbols and objects which are, after all, very holy things to a patriot; and they were not protected in any way.

It is a matter of course that in connection with the concept of “conformity” which arose at this time, very many unnecessary and excessive things were done, for after the seizure of power the whole movement developed along revolutionary lines, although not in the way of revolutions as they had been known in history until then, such as the French Revolution, or the great Bolshevist Revolution—that is to say, not by way of great conflicts and cruel changes, revolutionary tribunals that executed people by hundreds of thousands—but still with a strong revolutionary aim in the direction of unity of State, Party, and National Socialism as the basis of leadership and of ideology.

This “conformity” which I have just mentioned was then effected in detail; but, as I have said, on the occasion of such drastic political transformations people will always overstep the mark here and there. Personally I did not consider it necessary that every organization should now become National Socialist or that—if I am to express myself quite drastically—every club or similar organization should absolutely have to have a National Socialist chairman. But in decisive political matters, and in matters of principle, our ideas and our ideology had to be recognized more and more; for that was the basic condition for the rebuilding, establishing, and strengthening of the Reich.

An additional strengthening, which occurred only after the death of Reich President Von Hindenburg in 1934, was the confirmation of the head of the state and the Reich Chancellor in one person. To this I should like to add that on this occasion I had a long conversation with the Führer. Right from the beginning we had discussed whether Hitler would and should take over the position of head of the State, and whether I should take over the chancellorship. In view of the Führer’s temperament and attitude it was unthinkable that the Führer, sitting on a throne above the political clouds, so to speak, should appear only as head of the State. He was definitely a political leader and hence a leader of the government. Also the thought of putting in some other person as a puppet head of the State we considered unworthy of the situation.

The Führer told me then that the simplest thing to do would be to take as example the United States of America, where the head of the state is at the same time also the head of the government. Thus, following the example of the United States, we combined the position of the head of the State with the head of the government, and he called himself “Führer of the German People and Reich Chancellor of the German Reich.”

That he thereby automatically became also the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces followed as a matter of course, according to the Constitution, and also according to the previous Constitution, just as is the case in other countries also.

That was the position, broadly speaking, apart from a number of other developments which probably will have to be mentioned later in my testimony—as, for instance, the establishment of police power, the basic element of the consolidation of power, and so on.

In conclusion I wish to say: 1) It is correct that I—and I can speak only for myself—have done everything which was at all within my personal power to strengthen the National Socialist movement, to increase it, and have worked unceasingly to bring it to power under all circumstances and as the one and only authority. 2) I have done everything to secure for the Führer the place as Reich Chancellor which rightfully belonged to him. 3) When I look back, I believe I have not failed to do anything to consolidate our power to such an extent that it would not have to yield to the chances of the political game or to violent actions, but would rather in the further course of reconstruction, become the only factor of power, which would lead the Reich and lead it—as we hoped—to a great development.

DR. STAHMER: What offices did you hold after the seizure of power?

GÖRING: First I was President of the Reichstag, as before, and I remained that until the end. In the Reich Cabinet I was given at first the post of Reich Minister and Reich Commissioner for Aviation, not the Air Force. In parentheses I should like to say that from the very beginning it was clear to me that we had to establish an air force.

In Prussia I was given the position of the Prussian Minister of the Interior, then on 20 April 1933, in addition, the post of Prime Minister of Prussia.

The Reich Commissariat for Aviation had become before this, I believe already in March 1933, a Reich Ministry for Aviation.

Then there were still several not very important offices, President of the State Council, and so on.

Important at that time, however, were the two offices of Prime Minister of Prussia on the one hand and Minister of Aviation on the other. The office of Prussian Minister of the Interior I handed over to the Reich Minister of the Interior at the beginning of 1934, for it was part of the consolidation of power and above all, of the clarification necessary for proper governing authority in the Reich, that the Prussian ministries should be combined with those of the Reich. Only in this way was it possible for the Reich ministries to receive practical information about the political work of the day and about the work of the departments. Only through this combination was that possible.

DR. STAHMER: Did you in your capacity as Prussian Minister of the Interior create the Gestapo and the concentration camps which have so often been mentioned here? When and for what purpose were they established?

GÖRING: I mentioned before that for the consolidation of power the first prerequisite was to create along new lines that instrument which at all times and in all nations is always the inner political instrument of power, namely, the police. There was no Reich police, only provincial police. The most important was the Prussian police. This had already been filled by our predecessors, the former parties, with their own people, according to their political attitude. I have mentioned the filling of the posts of police commissioners and those of the chiefs of the main police offices within the Prussian Ministry of the Interior. Thus it was that our opponents, our most bitter opponents, who up to then had always opposed us most vigorously with this police power, were still in the regional offices.

A slight loosening up had taken place before I took charge, during the time when the Social Democratic Braun-Severing government was replaced by the government of Herr Von Papen. At that time the bitterest opponents were also removed from the police. Nevertheless the most important positions were still in the hands of definite political opponents. I could not very well expect that those who until yesterday were ready to employ the police with particular severity against us, would today show the same loyalty to the new state.

Before our time there was also a political police in Prussia. That was Police Department Ia, and its task was first of all the supervision of and the fight against the National Socialists, and also, in part, against the Communists.

Now, I could have simply put new people into this political police and let it continue along the old lines. But the situation had changed because of our seizure of power, for at this time, as I have mentioned before, the Communist Party was extraordinarily strong. It had over 6 million voters, and in its Red Front Organization it had a thoroughly revolutionary instrument of power. It was quite obvious to the Communist Party that if we were to stay in power for any length of time, it would ultimately lose its power.

Looking back, the danger positively existed at that time of political tension, and with [an] atmosphere of conflict, that revolutionary acts might have taken place on the part of the Communists, particularly as, even after we came to power political murders and political shootings of National Socialists and policemen by that party did not stop, but at times even increased. Also the information which I received was such that I was made extremely fearful of a sudden swing in that direction. Therefore with this department as it was, I could not ward off that danger. I needed reliable political police not only in the main office, but also in the branch offices. I therefore had to enlarge this instrument.

In order to make clear from the outset that the task of this police was to make the State secure I called it the Secret State Police, and at the same time I established branch offices of this police. I took in a great number of political officials who were experienced, and at the beginning took fewer people from the Party circles because for the time being I had to attach importance to professional ability.

I also wanted this police to be concerned exclusively with protecting the State, first of all against its enemies. And the leader whom I selected for this police force was not from the Party but came from the former police. He, Diels, was already there at that time as Oberregierungsrat and later as Ministerialrat, and likewise the main chiefs of the Gestapo were officials who were not from the Party. Later the Party element appeared in the police more and more. Their mission was first of all to create as quickly as possible all assurance of security against any action from the left.

I know—as was afterwards proved—that the headquarters of the Communists in Berlin, the Liebknecht House, was strongly fortified and contained very many arms; we had also at that time brought to light very strong connections between the Russian Trade Delegation and the German Communist Party. Even if I arrested, as I did, thousands of communist functionaries at one blow, so that an immediate danger was averted at the outset, the danger as such was by no means eliminated. It was now necessary to disclose the secret connections, the network of these secret connections, and to keep them constantly under observation. For that purpose a police leadership would have to crystallize. The Social Democratic Party on the whole seemed to me not nearly so dangerous, especially as far as its members were concerned. But of course they were also absolute opponents of our new State. A part of their functionaries were radical, another part less radical. The more radical I likewise placed under observation, while a whole number of former Social Democratic ministers, heads of Prussian provinces and higher officials, as I said before, were quietly discharged and received their pensions, and nothing further was undertaken against them. Of course there were also other functionaries of the Social Democratic Party whom we definitely had to watch carefully. Thus the Secret State Police was created by me for these tasks, first of all in Prussia, because I had nothing to do with the other states at that time. The organization of the rest of the police is not of such importance here.

DR. STAHMER: The concentration camps?

GÖRING: When the need became evident for creating order first of all, and removing the most dangerous element of disorder directed against us, I decided to have the communist functionaries and leaders arrested all at once. I therefore had a list made for that purpose, and it was clear to me that even if I arrested only the most important and most dangerous of these functionaries it still would involve several thousands, for it was necessary to arrest not only the party functionaries but also those from the Red Front Organization, as the Communists also had affiliated organizations. These arrests were in accordance with reasons of State security and State necessity. It was a question of removing a danger. Only one possibility was available here, that of protective custody—that is, whether or not one could prove that these people were involved in a traitorous act or an act hostile to the State, whether or not one could expect such an act from them, such an act must be prevented and the possibility eliminated by means of protective custody. That was nothing new and it was not a National Socialist invention. Already before this such protective custody measures had been carried out, partly against the Communists, and chiefly against us, the National Socialists. The prisons were not available for this purpose, and also I want to stress from the very beginning that this was a political act for the defense of the State. Therefore, I said that these men should first of all be gathered into camps—one to two camps were proposed at that time—because I could not tell them how long the internment of these people would be necessary nor how the number would be increased by the further exposure of the entire communist movement. When we occupied the Karl Liebknecht House we found so many arms, material, and preparations for a civil war, that, as I said, one could not gain a general view of its extent. I have already indicated, as is obvious, that in view of such great political tension as existed between the extreme wings of these political opponents and in view of the bitterness of the opposition caused by the continuous fighting in the streets, the mutual tension, et cetera, resulting from the political struggle, the situation would conceivably not be a very pleasant one for the inmates. For this reason I gave instructions that the guard, if possible to a large extent, should consist of police forces; only where these were not adequate should auxiliary forces be called. I have stated my opinion with regard to the question of concentration camps and I should like to point out that this name was not created by us, but that it appeared in the foreign press and was then adopted. Where the name originated, is rather an historical matter. At the end of 1933 in a book, which at first appeared in English, at the request of an English publisher, and which has already been presented by the Prosecution as evidence, I stated my views on this matter quite openly—that was at the end of 1933. I point out again that it was for foreign countries, for English-speaking countries. At that time I openly stated the following: Of course, in the beginning there were excesses; of course, the innocent were also hurt here or there; of course, there were beatings here and there and acts of brutality were committed; but compared to all that has happened in the past and to the greatness of the events, this German revolution of freedom is the least bloody and the most disciplined of all revolutions known to history.

DR. STAHMER: Did you supervise the treatment of the prisoners?

GÖRING: I naturally gave instructions that such things should not happen. That they did happen and happened everywhere to a smaller or greater extent I have just stated. I always pointed out that these things ought not to happen, because it was important to me to win over some of these people for our side and to re-educate them.

DR. STAHMER: Did you do anything about abuses of which you heard?

GÖRING: I took a personal interest in the concentration camps up to the spring of 1934. At that time there were two or three camps in Prussia.

Witness Körner has already mentioned the case of Thälmann. I would like to speak about it briefly, because it was the most striking case, as Thälmann was the leader of the Communist Party. I could not say today who it was who hinted to me that Thälmann had been beaten.

I had him called to me in my room directly, without informing the higher authorities and questioned him very closely. He told me that he had been beaten during, and especially at the beginning, of the interrogations. Thereupon, as the witness who was present has said already, I told Thälmann that I regretted that. At the same time I told him, “Dear Thälmann, if you had come to power, I probably would not have been beaten, but you would have chopped my head off immediately.” And he agreed. Then I told him that in the future he must feel free to let me know if anything of this sort should happen to him or to others. I could not always be there, but it was not my wish that any act of brutality should be committed against them.

Just to demonstrate this case, which was not an unimportant one, I want to stress that later Thälmann’s wife turned to me for help and that I answered her letter immediately.

At that time I also—this I can prove by evidence—helped the families of the inmates financially so far as that was necessary.

At this opportunity I should also like to speak about the unauthorized concentration camps which have been mentioned, the purpose of which came under the heading of abolition of abuses. At first I did not know anything about them, but then I found out about one such camp near Stettin. It had been established by Karpfenstein, at that time Gauleiter of Pomerania. I had this camp closed at once—my Defense Counsel will remember that he, independently of me, received information about this during the Trial, from an inmate whom I do not know at all—and I had the guilty persons, who had committed acts of brutality there, brought before a court and prosecuted by the state attorney, which can likewise be proved. Karpfenstein was expelled from the Party.

A second camp of that kind was found in Breslau, which Heines had established. I do not remember today what happened there. At any rate, it was a camp not authorized by me. This one I likewise closed down and did away with immediately. Heines was one of the closest of Röhm’s collaborators, about whom I shall speak later.

As far as I can remember—I cannot name the place exactly anymore—close to Berlin another unauthorized concentration camp had been secretly established by Ernst, the SA leader in Berlin, whom I had always suspected of acts of brutality. That also was closed. Ernst belonged to those evil figures who were eliminated in the Röhm Putsch. It is possible to question persons who were inmates of these camps at that time, 1933 and the beginning of 1934, as to whether during that time anything happened which even approached that which happened later.

DR. STAHMER: Did you, after a consolidation of power had taken place, ever free inmates to any great extent and at what time did you do so?

GÖRING: At Christmas of 1933 I gave orders for the release of the lighter cases, that is the less dangerous cases, and those cases of which one had the impression the people had resigned themselves to the situation; that was about 5,000 people. I repeated that once more in November 1934 for 2,000 inmates. I stress again that that refers only to Prussia. At that time, as far as I remember—I cannot say exactly—one camp was dissolved or at least closed temporarily. That was at a time when nobody thought that it would ever be the subject of an investigation before an international tribunal.

DR. STAHMER: How long were you in charge of the Gestapo and the concentration camps and until what date?

GÖRING: Actually I was in charge until the beginning of 1934, that is, at the beginning of 1934 Diels was the head and he gave me frequent reports about the Gestapo and about the concentration camps. Meanwhile, outside Prussia a re-grouping of police had taken place with the result that Himmler was in charge of the police in all the provinces of Germany with the exception of Prussia only. Probably following the example of my measures, he had installed the Secret State Police there, because the police at that time was still a matter of the states. There were the police of Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Hesse, Saxony, et cetera.

He had become the leader of all these police forces, and of course he now sought to get the leadership of the police in Prussia as well. I was very satisfied with Diels at that time, and from my point of view I saw no reason for letting any change take place.

These efforts, I believe, started as early as in the late summer of 1933. Shortly after I had transferred the Prussian Ministry of the Interior to the Reich Ministry of the Interior, in the spring of 1934, and so was no longer a departmental minister, Himmler, I assume, probably urged the Führer more strongly to put him in charge of the Prussian police as well. At that time I did not expressly oppose it. It was not agreeable to me; I wanted to handle my police myself. When, however, the Führer asked me to do this and said that it would be the correct thing and the expedient thing, and that it was proved necessary for the enemy of the State to be fought throughout the Reich in a uniform way, I actually handed the police over to Himmler, who put Heydrich in charge. But legally I still retained it, because there was still no Reich police in existence.

The rest of the police, the state police—that is the uniformed police—I did not turn over to him, because, as I shall explain later, I had to a large extent organized this police in Prussia along military lines, in order to be able to fit it into the future rearmament program. For this reason I could not and did not want to give him the uniformed police, because it had been trained for purely military purposes—by me, at my instigation, and on my responsibility—and had nothing to do with the actual police. It was turned over to the Armed Forces by me in 1935.

In 1936 the Reich Police Law was issued, and thereby the office of the Chief of the German Police was created. By virtue of this law the police was then legally and formally turned over to the Reichsführer SS, or, as he was called, the Chief of the German Police.

DR. STAHMER: You mentioned before the Röhm Putsch. Who was Röhm, and with what event was this Putsch connected?

GÖRING: Röhm had become leader of the SA, Chief of Staff of the SA.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better adjourn. It is 5 o’clock now.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 14 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Thursday, 14 March 1946

Morning Session

DR. STAHMER: Did you take part in laying down the Party program?

GÖRING: No. The Party program had been compiled and announced when I heard about the movement for the first time and when I declared my intention of joining.

DR. STAHMER: What is your attitude towards these points of the Party program?

GÖRING: On the whole, positive. It is a matter of course that there is hardly any politically minded man who acknowledges and agrees with every point of the program of a political party.

DR. STAHMER: In addition to these generally known points of the Party program, were there other aims which were kept secret?


DR. STAHMER: Were these aims to be achieved by every means, even by illegal means?

GÖRING: Of course, they were to be achieved by every means. The conception “illegal” should perhaps be clarified. If I aim at a revolution, then it is an illegal action for the state then in existence. If I am successful, then it becomes a fact and thereby legal and law. Until 1923 and the events of 9 November I and all of us had the view that we would achieve our aim, even, if necessary, in a revolutionary manner. After this proved a failure, the Führer, after his return from the fortress, decided that we should in the future proceed legally by means of a political fight, as the other parties had done, and the Führer prohibited any illegal action in order to avoid any setback in the activity of the Party.

DR. STAHMER: When and with what aims was the SS created?

GÖRING: The SS was created while I was abroad; I think it was in 1926 or 1927. Its purpose, as far as I remember, was to form, first of all, within the Movement a specially picked body as a protection for the person of the Führer. Originally it was extremely small.

DR. STAHMER: Did you at any time belong to the SS?

GÖRING: I never belonged to the SS in any way, at any time, neither actively nor passively.

DR. STAHMER: The assumption that you were a general in the SS is therefore incorrect?

GÖRING: Yes, absolutely incorrect.

DR. STAHMER: What did you understand by the term “master race”?

GÖRING: I myself understood nothing by it. In none of my speeches, in none of my writings, will you find that term. It is my view that if you are a master you have no need to emphasize it.

DR. STAHMER: What do you understand by the concept “living space”?

GÖRING: That conception is a very controversial one. I can fully understand that powers who together—I refer only to the four signatory powers—call more than three-quarters of the world their own, explain this idea differently. But for us, where 144 people live in 1 square kilometer, the words “living space” meant the proper relation between a population and its nourishment, its growth, and its standard of living.

DR. STAHMER: An expression which is always recurring is that of “seizure of power.”

GÖRING: I should like to call “seizure of power” a terminus technicus. We might just as well have used another term, but this actually expresses as clearly as possible what did in fact occur, that is to say, we seized power.

DR. STAHMER: What is your attitude to the Leadership Principle?

GÖRING: I upheld this principle and I still uphold it positively and consciously. One must not make the mistake of forgetting that the political structure in different countries has different origins, different developments. Something which suits one country extremely well would perhaps fail completely in another. Germany, through the long centuries of monarchy, has always had a leadership principle. Democracy appeared in Germany at a time when Germany was very badly off and had reached rock-bottom. I explained yesterday the total lack of unity that existed in Germany—the number of parties, the continuous unrest caused by elections. A complete distortion of the concepts of authority and responsibility had arisen, and in the reverse direction. Authority lay with the masses and responsibility was with the leader, instead of the other way about. I am of the opinion that for Germany, particularly at that moment of its lowest ebb, when it was necessary for all forces to be welded together in a positive fashion, the Leadership Principle—that is, authority from above downwards and responsibility from below upwards—was the only possibility. Naturally I realize the fact that here, too, a principle, while thoroughly sound in itself, can lead to extremes. I should like to mention some parallels. The position of the Catholic Church rests now, as before, on the clear leadership principle of its hierarchy. And I think I can also say that Russia, too, without the leadership principle, could not have survived the great burden which was imposed on her by this war.

DR. STAHMER: Concerning the measures for strengthening your power which you described yesterday, did they take place in full agreement with Reich President Von Hindenburg?

GÖRING: As long as the Reich President was alive, and therefore active, they naturally did take place in agreement with him. And as far as his assent was constitutionally necessary, according to Paragraph 48, that assent was also given.

DR. STAHMER: Was the National Socialist Government recognized by foreign powers?

GÖRING: Our government was recognized from the first day of its existence and remained recognized until the end, that is, except where hostilities severed diplomatic connections with several states.

DR. STAHMER: Did diplomatic representatives of foreign countries visit your Party rallies in Nuremberg?

GÖRING: The diplomatic representatives were invited to the Party rallies, these being the greatest event and the greatest demonstration of the movement; and they all attended, even if not the full number of them every year. But one I remember very well.

DR. STAHMER: Until what year?

GÖRING: Until the last Party rally, 1938.

DR. STAHMER: To what extent after the seizure of power was property of political opponents confiscated?

GÖRING: Laws were issued which decreed confiscation of the property of people hostile to the State, that is, the property of parties we declared to be hostile to the State. The party property of the Communist Party and its associated units, and the property of the Social Democratic Party was partly confiscated—but not, and I want to emphasize that, the private property of the members or even of the leaders of these parties. On the contrary, a number of leading Social Democrats who had been ministers or civil servants were still paid their full pension. In fact, later on it was increased.

DR. STAHMER: How do you explain the actions against the trade unions? How do you explain the actions against free workers’ associations?

GÖRING: First of all, the trade unions: Trade unions in Germany were for the most part, or the most important of them, very closely connected with the Social Democratic Party, and also to an increasing extent, due to the influence and the activity of the Communists, with the Communist Party. They were in fact, if not formally so, organs, indeed very active organs, of these parties, and here I am not talking about the masses of the members of the trade unions, but about the leaders of the trade unions. In addition there was also a smaller Christian trade union, an organ of the Center Party.

These trade unions, because of their leaders and the close connection of these leaders with those parties which we regarded as our opponents, agreed with our opponents to such an extent that they did not in any way fit into our new State. Consequently the organization of trade unions was dissolved, and for the workers the organization of the German Labor Front was created. This did not result in the destruction of the liberty of the German worker, in my opinion; on the contrary, I am convinced that we were the ones to give the German workers real freedom, for it consisted first of all in the fact that we made his right to have work secure, and laid particular stress on his position in the State.

We did, of course, do away with two things which perhaps must be regarded as two characteristics of a freedom which I do not understand: strikes on one side and lockouts on the other. These could not be made consistent with the right to have work nor with the duties which every citizen has towards the greatness of his nation. These two disquieting elements, which also contributed to the great number of unemployed, we removed and replaced with an enormous labor program.

Creation of work was another essential point of our social program and has also been adopted by others, though under a different name.

I do not propose to elaborate on this social program. It was, however, the first time that the worker had a right to a vacation, a paid vacation, this I only add as an aside. Great recreation centers were created for the workers. Enormous sums were invested in new housing projects for workers. The whole standard of living for the worker was raised. Up to that time the worker had been used and exploited. He hardly had any property of his own because, during years of unemployment, he had to sell everything or pawn it. Thus, without going into detail, I should like to say in conclusion that we did not enslave free workers, but rather we liberated the worker from the misery of unemployment.

DR. STAHMER: You talked about the Röhm revolt yesterday. Who was Röhm and of what did the revolt consist?

GÖRING: Röhm, from 1931, had been the Chief of Staff of the SA, that is to say, he was responsible for the SA to the Führer, who was himself the highest SA leader, and he led it in the Führer’s name.

The main controversy between Röhm and us was that Röhm, like his predecessor Pfeffer, wanted a stronger revolutionary way to be adopted, whereas the Führer, as I said earlier, had ordered a legal development, the final victory of which could be expected.

After the seizure of power Röhm desired, under all circumstances, to get hold of the Reich Defense Ministry. The Führer refused that point-blank, as he did not wish the Armed Forces to be conducted politically in any way, or to have any political influence brought to bear on the Armed Forces.

The contrast between the Armed Forces and the Röhm group—I am intentionally not speaking of a contrast between the Armed Forces and the SA, since there was none, but solely of this leadership group, which called itself at that time the SA Leadership and it actually was—was that Röhm wanted to remove the greater number of the generals and higher officers who had been members of the Reichswehr all this time, since it was his view that these officers did not offer a guarantee for the new State, because, as he expressed it, their backbone had been broken in the course of the years and they were no longer capable of being active elements of the new National Socialist State.

The Führer, and I also, had exactly the opposite point of view in this connection.

Secondly, the aims of the Röhm-minded people, as I should like to call them, were directed in a different direction, towards a revolutionary act; and they were opposed to what they called reaction. They definitely desired to adopt a more Leftist attitude. They were also sharply opposed to the Church and also very strongly opposed to the Jews. Altogether, and I refer only to the clique consisting of certain persons, they wished to carry out a revolutionary act. That Röhm placed all his people in leading positions in the SA and removed the decent elements, and misguided the decent SA people without their knowledge, is a well-known fact.

If encroachments did occur at that time, they always involved the same persons, first of all the Berlin SA leader, Ernst, secondly the Breslau leader, Heines, the Munich and Stettin leaders, et cetera. A few weeks before the Röhm Putsch a low-ranking SA leader confided in me that he had heard that an action against the Führer and his corps was being planned to replace the Third Reich as expeditiously as possible by a final Fourth Reich, an expression which these people used.

I myself was urged and begged to place outside my house not only guards from a police regiment but also to appoint an SA guard of honor. I had agreed, and later on I heard from the commander of these troops that the purpose of that guard of honor was to arrest me at a given moment.

I knew Röhm very well. I had him brought to me. I put to him openly the things which I had heard. I reminded him of our mutual fight and I asked him to keep unconditional faith with the Führer. I brought forward the same arguments which I have just mentioned, but he assured me that he naturally was not thinking of undertaking anything against the Führer. Shortly afterward I received further news to the effect that he had close connections with those circles who also were strongly opposed to us. There was, for instance, the group around the former Reich Chancellor Schleicher. There was the group around Gregor Strasser, the former member of the Reichstag and organizational leader of the Party, who had been excluded from the Party. These were groups who had belonged to the former trade unions and were rather inclined to the Left. I felt it my duty to consult the Führer now on this subject. I was astonished when he told me that he, too, already knew about these things and considered them a great threat. He said that he wished, however, to await further developments and observe them carefully.

The next event occurred just about as the witness Körner described it here, and therefore I can skip it. I was given the order to proceed immediately against the implicated men of the Röhm group in northern Germany. It was decided that some of them were to be arrested. In the course of the day the Führer ordered the execution of the SA leader of Pomerania, Ernst, and two or three others. He himself went to Bavaria where the last meeting of a number of Röhm leaders was taking place and personally arrested Röhm and these people in Wiessee.

At that time this matter presented a real danger, as a few SA units, through the use of false passwords, had been armed and called up. At one spot only a very short fight ensued and two SA leaders were shot. I deputized the police, which in Prussia was then already under Himmler and Heydrich, to make the arrests. Only the headquarters of Röhm, who himself was not present, I had occupied by a regiment of the uniformed police subordinated to me. When the headquarters of the SA leader Ernst in Berlin were searched, we found in the cellars of those headquarters more submachine guns than the whole Prussian police had in its possession.

After the Führer, on the strength of the events which had been met with at Wiessee, had ordered who should be shot in view of the state of national emergency, the order for the execution of Ernst, Heydebreck, and some of the other Röhm collaborators was issued. There was no order to shoot the other people who had been arrested. In the course of the arrest of the former Reich Chancellor Schleicher, it happened that both he and his wife were killed. An investigation of this event took place and it was found that when Schleicher was arrested, according to the statements of the two witnesses, he reached for a pistol, possibly in order to kill himself, whereupon the two men raised their pistols and Frau Schleicher threw herself upon one of them, to hold him, causing his revolver to go off. We deeply regretted that event.

In the course of that evening I heard that other people had been shot as well, even some people who had nothing at all to do with this Röhm Putsch. The Führer came to Berlin that same evening. After I learned this, later that evening or night, I went to him at noon the next day and asked him to issue an order immediately, that any further execution was under any circumstances forbidden by him, the Führer, although two other people who were deeply involved and who had been ordered by the Führer to be executed, were still alive. These people were consequently left alive. I asked him to do that because I was worried lest the matter should get out of hand—as, in fact, it had already done to some extent—and I told the Führer that under no circumstances should there be any further bloodshed.

This order was then given by the Führer in my presence, and it was communicated at once to all offices. The action was then announced in the Reichstag, and it was approved by the Reichstag and the Reich President as an action called for by the state of national emergency. It was regretted that, as in all such incidents, there were a number of blunders.

The number of victims has been greatly exaggerated. As far as I can remember exactly today, there were 72 or 76 people, the majority of whom were executed in southern Germany.

DR. STAHMER: Did you know about the development of the attitude of the Party and the State toward the Church, in the course of time?

GÖRING: Certainly. But as a final remark on the Röhm Putsch I should like to emphasize that I assume full responsibility for the actions taken against those people—Ernst, Heydebreck, and several others—by the order of the Führer, which I carried out or passed on; and that, even today, I am of the opinion that I acted absolutely correctly and with a sense of duty. That was confirmed by the Reich President, but no such confirmation was necessary to convince me that here I had averted what was a great danger to the State.

As to the attitude towards the Church—the Führer’s attitude, was a generous one, at the beginning absolutely generous. I should not like to say that it was positive in the sense that he himself was a positive or convinced adherent of any one confession, but it was generous and positive in the sense that he recognized the necessity of the Church. Although he himself was a Catholic, he wished the Protestant Church to have a stronger position in Germany, since Germany was two-thirds Protestant.

The Protestant Church, however, was divided into provincial churches, and there were various small differences which the dogmatists took very seriously. For that reason they once in the past, as we know, fought each other for 30 years; but these differences did not seem so important to us. There were the Reformed, the United, and the pure Lutherans—I myself am not an expert in this field.

Constitutionally, as Prussian Prime Minister, I was, to be sure, in a certain sense the highest dignitary of the Prussian Church, but I did not concern myself with these matters very much.

The Führer wanted to achieve the unification of the Protestant Evangelical Churches by appointing a Reich Bishop, so that there would be a high Protestant church dignitary as well as a high Catholic church dignitary. To begin with, he left the choice to the Evangelical churches, but they could not come to an agreement. Finally they brought forward one name, exactly the one which was not acceptable to us. Then a man was made Reich Bishop who had the Führer’s confidence to a higher degree than any of the other provincial bishops.

With the Catholic Church the Führer ordered a concordat to be concluded by Herr Von Papen. Shortly before that agreement was concluded by Herr Von Papen I visited the Pope myself. I had numerous connections with the higher Catholic clergy because of my Catholic mother, and thus—I am myself a Protestant—I had a view of both camps.

One thing, of course, the Führer and all of us, I, too, stood for was to remove politics from the Church as far as was possible. I did not consider it right, I must frankly say, that on one day the priest in church should humbly concern himself with the spiritual welfare of his flock and then on the following day make a more or less belligerent speech in parliament.

A separation was planned by us, that is to say, the clergy were to concentrate on their own sphere and refrain from becoming involved in political matters. Owing to the fact that we had in Germany political parties with strong church leanings, considerable confusion had arisen here. That is the explanation of the fact that, because of this political opposition that at first played its role in the political field in parliament, and in election campaigns, there arose among certain of our people an antagonistic attitude toward the Church. For one must not forget that such election disputes and speeches often took place before the electors between political representatives of our Party and clergymen who represented those political parties which were more closely bound to the Church.

Because of this situation and a certain animosity, it is understandable that a more rabid faction—if I may use that expression in this connection—did not forget these contentions and now, on its side, carried the struggle on again on a false level. But the Führer’s attitude was that the churches should be given the chance to exist and develop. In a movement and a party which gradually had absorbed more or less the greater part of the German nation, and which now in its active political aspect had also absorbed the politically active persons of Germany, it is only natural that not all the members would be of the same opinion in every respect, despite the Leadership Principle. The tempo, the method, the attitude may be different; and in such large movements, even if they are ever so authoritatively led, certain groups form in response to certain problems. And if I were to name the group which still saw in the Church, if not a political danger, at least an undesirable institution, then I should mention above all two personages: Himmler on one side and Bormann—particularly later on much more radically than Himmler—on the other side.

Himmler’s motives were less of a political and more of a confused mystical nature. Bormann’s aims were much more clear-cut. It was clear, too, that from the large group of Gauleiter, one or another might be more keenly interested in this fight against the Church. Thus, there were a number of Gaue where everything was in the best of order as far as the Church was concerned, and there were a few others where there was a keen fight against the Church.

I did interfere personally on frequent occasions. First of all, in order to demonstrate my attitude and to create order, I called into the Prussian State Council, as men in whom I had special confidence, a high Protestant and a high Catholic clergyman.

I myself am not what you might call a churchgoer, but I have gone now and then, and have always considered I belonged to the Church and have always had those functions over which the Church presides—marriage, christening, burial, et cetera—carried out in my house by the Church.

My intention thereby was to show those weak-willed persons who, in the midst of this fight of opinions did not know what they should do, that, if the second man in the State goes to church, is married by the Church, has his child christened and confirmed, et cetera, then they can calmly do the same. From the number of letters which I received as the result, I can see that I did the right thing.

But as time went by, in other spheres as well as this, the situation became more critical. During the early years of the war I spoke to the Führer about it once more and told him that the main concern now was, that every German should do his duty and that every soldier should go to his death, if need be, bravely. If in that connection his religious belief is a help and a support to him, whether he belongs to this or that confession, it can be only an advantage, and any disturbance in this connection could conceivably affect the soldier’s inward strength. The Führer agreed absolutely. In the Air Force I deliberately had no chaplains, because I was of the opinion that every member of the Air Force should go to the clergyman in whom he had the most confidence.

This was repeatedly told to the soldiers and officers at roll call. But to the Church itself I said that it would be good if we had a clear separation. Men should pray in church and not drill there; in the barracks men should drill and not pray. In that manner, from the very beginning, I kept the Air Force free from any religious disturbances and I insured complete liberty of conscience for everyone.

The situation became rapidly more critical—and I cannot really give the reasons for this—especially in the last 2 or 3 years of the war. It may have something to do with the fact that in some of the occupied territories, particularly in the Polish territory and also in the Czech territory, the clergy were strong representatives of national feeling and this led again to clashes on a political level which were then naturally carried over to religious fields. I do not know whether this was one of the reasons, but I consider it probable. On the whole I should like to say that the Führer himself was not opposed to the Church. In fact, he told me on one occasion that there are certain things in respect to which even as Führer one cannot entirely have one’s way if they are still undecided and in need of reform, and that he believed that at the time much was being thought and said about the reorganization of the Church. He said that he did not consider himself destined to be a reformer of the Church and that he did not wish that any of his political leaders should win laurels in this field.

DR. STAHMER: Now, in the course of years, a large number of clergy, both from Germany and especially from the occupied territories—you yourself mentioned Poland and Czechoslovakia—were taken to concentration camps. Did you know anything about that?

GÖRING: I knew that at first in Germany a number of clergymen were taken to concentration camps. The case of Niemöller was common knowledge. I do not want to go into it in detail, because it is well known. A number of other clergymen were sent to concentration camps but not until the later years when the fight became more critical, for they made political speeches in the pulpit and criticized measures of the State or the Party; then, according to the severity of this criticism, the police intervened.

I told Himmler on one occasion that I did not think it was wise to arrest clergymen. As long as they talked in church they should say what they wanted, but if they made political speeches outside their churches then he could proceed against them, just as he would in connection with any other people who made speeches hostile to the State. Several clergymen who went very far in their criticism were not arrested. As far as the arrest of clergy from occupied territories is concerned, I heard about it; and I said earlier that this did not occur so much on the religious level just because they were clergymen, but because they were at the same time nationalists—I understand that from their point of view—and consequently often involved in actions hostile to the occupying forces.

DR. STAHMER: The Party program included two points, I believe, dealing with the question of the Jews. What was your basic attitude towards this question?

GÖRING: This question, which has been so strongly emphasized in the Indictment, forces me under all circumstances to interpose certain statements.

After Germany’s collapse in 1918 Jewry became very powerful in Germany in all spheres of life, especially in the political, general intellectual and cultural, and, most particularly, the economic spheres. The men came back from the front, had nothing to look forward to, and found a large number of Jews who had come in during the war from Poland and the East, holding positions, particularly economic positions. It is known that, under the influence of the war and business concerned with it—demobilization, which offered great possibilities for doing business, inflation, deflation—enormous shifts and transfers took place in the propertied classes.

There were many Jews who did not show the necessary restraint and who stood out more and more in public life, so that they actually invited certain comparisons because of their numbers and the position they controlled in contrast to the German people. In addition there was the fact that particularly those parties which were avoided by nationally minded people also had Jewish leadership out of proportion to the total number of Jews.

That did not apply only to Germany, but also to Austria, which we have always considered a part of Germany. There the entire Social Democratic leadership was almost exclusively in Jewish hands. They played a very considerable part in politics, particularly in the left-wing parties, and they also became very prominent in the press in all political directions.

At that time, there thus ensued a continuous uninterrupted attack on everything national, national concepts and national ideals. I draw attention to all the magazines and articles which dragged through the mud things which were holy to us. I likewise call attention to the distortion which was practiced in the field of art in this direction, to plays which dragged the fighting at the front through the mud and befouled the ideal of the brave soldier. In fact I could submit an enormous pile of such articles, books, plays, and so forth; but this would lead too far afield and I am actually not too well informed on the subject. Because of all this, a defense movement arose which was by no means created by National Socialism but which had existed before, which was already strong during the war and which came even more strongly to the fore after the war, when the influence of Jewry had such effects.

Moreover, in the cultural and intellectual sphere also many things which were not in accordance with German feeling came to be expressed. Here, too, there was a great split. In addition there was the fact that in economic matters, if one overlooks the western industry, there was an almost exclusive domination on the part of Jewry, which, indeed, consisted of elements which were most sharply opposed by the old, established Jewish families.

When the movement then drew up its program, which was done by a few simple people—as far as I know, not even Adolf Hitler himself took part in the drafting of the program, at least not yet as a leader—the program included that point which played a prominent part as a defensive point among large sections of the German people. Shortly before that there had been the Räte-Republik in Munich and the murder of hostages, and here, too the leaders were mostly Jews. It can be understood, therefore, that a program drawn up in Munich by simple people quite naturally took this up as a defense point. News also came of a Räte-Republik in Hungary—again consisting mainly of Jews. All this had made a very strong impression. When the program became known, the Party—which was at that time extremely small—was at first not taken seriously and was laughed at. But then, from the very beginning, a concentrated and most bitter attack on the part of the entire Jewish press, or the Jewish-influenced press, was started against the movement. Everywhere Jewry was in the lead in the fight against National Socialism, whether in the press, in politics, in cultural life by making National Socialism contemptible and ridiculous, or in the economic sphere. Whoever was a National Socialist could not get a position; the National Socialist businessman could not get supplies or space for advertisements, and so on. All this naturally resulted in a strong defensive attitude on the part of the Party and led from the very beginning to an intensification of the fight, such as had not originally been the intention of the program. For the program aimed very definitely at one thing above all—that Germany should be led by Germans. And it was desired that the leadership, especially the political shaping of the fate of the German people, should be in the hands of German persons who could raise up the spirit of the German people again in a way that people of a different kind could not. Therefore the main point was at first merely to exclude Jewry from politics, from the leadership of the State. Later on, the cultural field was also included because of the very strong fight which had developed, particularly in this sphere, between Jewry on the one side and National Socialism on the other.

I believe that if, in this connection, many a hard word which was said by us against Jews and Jewry were to be brought up, I should still be in a position to produce magazines, books, newspapers, and speeches in which the expressions and insults coming from the other side were far in excess. All that obviously was bound to lead to an intensification.

Shortly after the seizure of power countless exceptions were made. Jews who had taken part in the World War and who had been decorated were treated differently and shown consideration; they remained unaffected by measures excluding Jews from civil services.

As I have said, the chief aim was to exclude them from the political sphere, then from the cultural sphere.

The Nuremberg Laws were intended to bring about a clear separation of races and, in particular, to do away with the notion of persons of mixed blood in the future, as the term of half Jew or quarter Jew led to continuous distinctions and confusion as far as their position was concerned. Here I wish to emphasize that I personally had frequent discussions with the Führer regarding persons of mixed blood and that I pointed out to the Führer that, once German Jews were clearly separated, it was impossible to have still another category between the two which constituted an unclarified section of the German people, which did not stand on the same level as the other Germans. I suggested to him that, as a generous act, he should do away with the concept of the person of mixed blood and place such people on the same footing as the other Germans. The Führer took up this idea with great interest and was all for adopting my point of view, in fact, he gave certain preparatory orders. Then came more troubled times, as far as foreign policy was concerned—the Sudeten crisis, Czechoslovakia, the occupation of the Rhineland, and afterward the Polish crisis—and the question of persons of mixed blood stepped into the background; but at the beginning of the war the Führer told me that he was prepared to solve this matter in a positive, generous fashion, but only after the war.

The Nuremberg Laws were to exclude, for the future, that concept of persons of mixed blood by means of a clear separation of races. Consequently it was provided in the penal regulations of the Nuremberg Laws, that never the woman but always the man should be punishable, no matter whether he was German or Jewish. The German woman or the Jewess should not be punished. Then quieter times came, and the Führer was always of the opinion that for the time being Jews should remain in economy, though not in leading and prominent positions, until a controlled emigration, gradually setting in, then intensified, should solve this problem. In spite of continuous disturbances and difficulties in the economic field, the Jews on the whole remained unmolested in their economic positions.

The extraordinary intensification which set in later did not really start in until after the events of 1938, and then to a still greater extent in the war years. But here, again, there was naturally one more radical group for whom the Jewish question was more significantly in the foreground than it was for other groups of the Movement; just as, as I should like to emphasize at this point, the idea of National Socialism as a philosophy was understood in various ways—by one person more philosophically, by another mystically, by a third in a practical and political sense. This was also true of the different points of the program. For one person certain points were more important, for another person less so. One person would see in the point of the program which was directed against Versailles and toward a free and strong Germany the main point of the program; another person, perhaps, would consider the Jewish question the main point.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off? Dr. Stahmer, can you inform the Tribunal how much longer you think the Defendant Göring’s examination will last?

DR. STAHMER: I think that we shall finish in the course of tomorrow morning.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a very long time.

DR. STAHMER: I shall do my best to shorten it.

[A recess was taken.]

DR. STAHMER: To what extent did you participate in the issuing of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935?

GÖRING: In my capacity as President of the Reichstag I announced those laws and the law concerning the new Reich flag simultaneously here in Nuremberg when the Reichstag was meeting at that time.

DR. STAHMER: In the Indictment it says that the destruction of the Jewish race was part of the planning of aggressive wars.

GÖRING: That has nothing to do with the planning of aggressive wars; also, the destruction of the Jewish race was not planned in advance.

DR. STAHMER: Were you a party to the action against the Jews in the night of 9-10 November 1938?

GÖRING: I should like to discuss that briefly. I gathered yesterday, from the cross-examination of the witness Körner, that a misunderstanding had arisen in regard to this. On 9 November the march to the Feldherrnhalle took place. This march was repeated every year and for this occasion the prominent leaders of the movement gathered. Körner referred to that when he said that everybody came to Munich. It was customary, after the march was over, for practically everybody to meet at the Munich City Hall for a dinner, at which the Führer was also present.

I never attended that dinner in any of the years in question, as I used to utilize my stay in Munich by attending to various other matters in the afternoon of that day. I did not take part in the dinner on this occasion either, nor did Körner. He and I returned in my special train to Berlin in the evening. As I heard later, when the investigation was carried out, Goebbels announced at that dinner, after the Führer had left, that the seriously wounded counsellor of the Embassy in Paris had died of his wounds. There was a certain amount of excitement and then Goebbels apparently spoke some words about retaliation and in his way—he was probably the very strongest representative of anti-Semitism—must have brought on this development of events; but that was after the Führer had left.

I myself, in fact, heard of the events upon my arrival in Berlin. First of all the conductor in my car told me that he had seen fires in Halle. Half an hour later I called my adjutant, who reported to me that riots had taken place during the night, that Jewish stores had been broken into and plundered and that synagogues had been set on fire. He did not know any more about it himself.

I proceeded to my apartment and at once had a call put through to the Gestapo. I demanded a report of the events of that night. That is the report which has been referred to here and which was made to me by the Chief of the Gestapo, Heydrich, concerning the events, as much as he knew about them at that time; that was the evening of the following day, I believe. The Führer, too, arrived in Berlin in the course of the morning. Having in the meantime heard that Goebbels had at least played an important part as instigator, I told the Führer that it was impossible for me to have such events taking place at this particular time. I was making every effort, in connection with the Four Year Plan, to concentrate the entire economic field to the utmost. I had, in the course of speeches to the nation, been asking for every old toothpaste tube, every rusty nail, every bit of scrap material to be collected and utilized. It could not be tolerated that a man who was not responsible for these things should upset my difficult economic tasks by destroying so many things of economic value on the one hand and by causing so much disturbance in economic life on the other hand.

The Führer made some apologies for Goebbels, but on the whole he agreed that such events were not to take place and must not be allowed to take place. I also pointed out to him, that such a short time after the Munich agreement such matters would also have an unfavorable effect on foreign policy.

In the afternoon I had another discussion with the Führer. In the meantime Goebbels had been to see him. The latter I had told over the telephone in unmistakable terms, and in very sharp words, my view of the matter. I told him then, with emphasis, that I was not inclined to suffer the consequences of his uncontrolled utterances, as far as economic matters were concerned.

In the meantime the Führer, influenced by Goebbels, had somewhat changed his mind. Just what Goebbels told him and to what extent he referred to the excitement of the crowd, to urgently needed settlements, I do not know. At any rate, the Führer’s views were not the same as they were on the occasion of my first complaint.

While we were talking, Goebbels, who was in the house, joined us and began his usual talk: that such things could not be tolerated; that this was the second or third murder of a National Socialist committed abroad by a Jew. It was on that occasion that he first made the suggestion that a fine should be imposed. Indeed, he wished that each Gau should collect such a fine and he named an almost incredibly high sum.

I contradicted him and told the Führer that, if there was to be a fine, then the Reich alone should collect it, for, as I said, Herr Goebbels had the most Jews right here in Berlin and would therefore not be a suitable person for this, since he was the most interested party. Apart from that, if such measures were to be taken, then only the sovereign State had the right to take them.

After a short discussion, this way and that, about the amount, 1,000,000,000 was agreed upon. I pointed out to the Führer that under certain circumstances that figure would have repercussions on the tax returns. The Führer then expressed the wish and ordered that the economic solution also be carried through now. In order that there should be no further occasion for such events, businesses obviously Jewish and known to be Jewish were first of all to be Aryanized, in particular the department stores. These were often a source of friction, as the officials and employees from the ministries, who could shop only between 6 and 7 in the evening, often went to these stores and had difficulties. He ordered, in general terms, what should be done.

Thereupon I called the meeting of 12 November with those departments which had jurisdiction over these matters. Unfortunately, the Führer had demanded that Goebbels should be represented on this commission—actually a commission was to be appointed. He was, in fact, present, although I maintained that he had nothing to do with economic questions. The discussion was very lively. We were all irritated at this meeting. Then I had the economic laws drafted and later I had them published.

I rejected other proposals which lay outside the economic sphere, such as restriction of travel, restriction of residence, restriction in regard to bathing resorts, et cetera, as I was not competent to deal with these things and had not received any special orders. These were issued later on by the police authorities, and not by me; but through my intervention various mitigations and adjustments were made.

I should like to point out that although I received oral and written orders and commands from the Führer to issue and carry out these laws, I assume full and absolute responsibility for these laws which bear my signature; for I issued them and consequently am responsible, and do not propose to hide in any way behind the Führer’s order.

DR. STAHMER: Another matter. What were the reasons for the refusal to take part in the Disarmament Conference and for the withdrawal from the League of Nations?

GÖRING: The chief reasons for that were, first of all, that the other states who, after the complete disarming of Germany, were also bound to disarm, did not do so. The second point was that we also found a lack of willingness to meet in any way Germany’s justified proposals for revisions; thirdly, there were repeated violations of the Treaty of Versailles and of the Covenant of the League of Nations by other states, Poland, Lithuania, et cetera, which were at first censured by the League of Nations, but which were then not brought to an end, but were rather accepted as accomplished facts; fourthly, all complaints by Germany regarding questions of minorities were, indeed, discussed, and well-meaning advice was given to the states against which the complaints had been brought, but nothing was actually done to relieve the situation.

Those are the reasons for leaving the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference.

DR. STAHMER: Why did Hitler decide to rearm and reintroduce compulsory service?

GÖRING: When Germany left the League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference, she simultaneously announced to the leading powers concerned her definite decision to aim at universal disarmament. The Führer then made various proposals which, it can be assumed, are historically known: restriction of active armed forces to a certain number of men; restriction of weapons to be used; abolishing of certain weapons as, for example, bombers; and various other points. Each one of these proposals was rejected, however, and did not reach a general realization, nor were even discussed.

When we and the Führer recognized clearly that the other parties did not think of disarming and that, on the contrary, that mighty power to the east of us in particular, Russia, was carrying out an armament program as never before, it became necessary for us, in order to safeguard the most vital interests of the German people, their life and their security, to free ourselves from all ties and to rearm to such an extent as was now necessary for the interests and security of the Reich. That was the first reason for the necessity of reintroducing compulsory service.

DR. STAHMER: To what extent did the Luftwaffe participate in this rearmament?

GÖRING: In 1933, when I founded the Air Ministry, we had not yet gone into the question of rearmament. In spite of that I did arrange for certain basic conditions. I immediately extended manufacture and increased air traffic beyond the extent of necessary traffic, so as to be able to train a larger number of pilots. At that time I took over a number of young people, lieutenants, cadets, who then had to leave the Wehrmacht in order to take up commercial flying and there to learn to fly.

I was aware from the beginning that protection in the air was necessary as one of the most essential conditions for the security of my nation. Originally it was my belief that a defensive air force, that is, a fighter force, might suffice; but upon reflection I realized—and I want to underline what witness Field Marshal Kesselring said on that subject—that one would be lost with merely a fighter force for defense purposes and that even a defensive force must contain bombers in order that it can be used offensively against the enemy air force on enemy territory.

Therefore I had bomber aircraft developed from commercial airplanes. In the beginning rearmament proceeded slowly. Everything had to be created anew since nothing existed in the way of air armament.

In 1935 I told the Führer that I now considered it proper, since we had repeatedly received refusals in answer to our proposals, to declare to the world openly that we were creating an air force, and that I had already established a certain basis for that. This took place in the form of an interview which I had with a British correspondent.

Now I could proceed to rearm on a larger scale; but in spite of that we confined ourselves at first to what we called a “Risk Air Force,” that is a risk insofar as an enemy coming to attack Germany should know that he could expect to meet with an air force. But it was by no means strong enough to be of any real importance.

In 1936 followed the famous report, which was presented to the witness Bodenschatz, in which I said that we must from this moment on work on the basis of mobilization, that money mattered nothing, and that, in short, I should take the responsibility for overdrawing the budget.

Since nothing had existed before, I should be able to catch up quickly only if aircraft production on one hand were made to work with as many shifts and as much speed as possible, that is with maximum effort and on a mobilization basis, and if, on the other hand, extension of the ground forces and similar matters was carried out at once with the greatest possible speed.

The situation in 1936 is defined by me, in that report to my co-workers, as serious. Other states had, to be sure, not disarmed, but here and there they had perhaps neglected their air force and they were catching up on lost ground. Violent debates were taking place in England with regard to modernizing and building up the air force; feverish activities were taking place in Russia, concerning which we had reliable reports—I shall refer to the question of Russian rearmament later.

When the Civil War broke out in Spain, Franco sent a call for help to Germany and asked for support, particularly in the air. One should not forget that Franco with his troops was stationed in Africa and that he could not get the troops across, as the fleet was in the hands of the Communists, or, as they called themselves at the time, the competent Revolutionary Government in Spain. The decisive factor was, first of all, to get his troops over to Spain.

The Führer thought the matter over. I urged him to give support under all circumstances, firstly, in order to prevent the further spread of communism in that theater and, secondly, to test my young Luftwaffe at this opportunity in this or that technical respect.

With the permission of the Führer, I sent a large part of my transport fleet and a number of experimental fighter units, bombers, and anti-aircraft guns; and in that way I had an opportunity to ascertain, under combat conditions, whether the material was equal to the task. In order that the personnel, too, might gather a certain amount of experience, I saw to it that there was a continuous flow, that is, that new people were constantly being sent and others recalled.

The rearming of the Air Force required, as a basic condition, the creation of a large number of new industries. It was no help to me to build a strong Air Force and not to have any gasoline for it. Here, too, therefore, I had to speed up the development of the refineries to the utmost. There were other auxiliary industries, above all, aluminum. Since I considered the Luftwaffe the most important part of the Wehrmacht, as far as the security of the Reich was concerned, and, in view of the modernization of technical science, it was my duty as Commander-in-Chief to do everything to develop it to the highest peak; and, too, as nothing was there to begin with, a supreme effort and a maximum amount of work had to be achieved. That I did.

Much has been said here in a cross-examination about four-engine bombers, two-engine bombers, et cetera. The witnesses made statements to the best of their knowledge and ability, but they were familiar only with small sections and they gave their opinions from that point of view. I alone was responsible and am responsible, for I was Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and Minister for Air. I was responsible for the rearmament, the training and the morale of the Luftwaffe.

If at the beginning I did not build any four-engine bombers, it was not because I had qualms that they might be construed as an aggressive force. That would not have disturbed me for one minute. My only reason was that the necessary technical and production conditions did not exist. That kind of bomber simply had not yet been developed by my industry, at any rate not so that I could use it. Secondly, I was still short of aluminum, and anyone only half an expert knows how much aluminum a four-engine bomber swallows up and how many fighters, that is, two-engine bombers, one can build with the same amount.

To start with, I had to ascertain who were likely to be Germany’s opponents in a war. Were the technical conditions adequate for meeting an attack against Germany by such an enemy? Of all possible opponents I considered Russia the main opponent, but of course England, France, and Italy also had to be considered. It was my duty to consider all possibilities.

As far as the European theater of war was concerned, I could, for the time being, be satisfied with bombers which could operate against the important centers of enemy armament industry. Thus, for the time being, I did not need anything more than aircraft which would enable me to do that, but it was important to have more of that kind.

But in a speech to the aircraft industrialists I let it be clearly known that I desired most urgently to have a bomber which, loaded with the necessary bombs, could fly to America and back. I asked them to work on that diligently so that, if America should enter into war against Germany, I could also reach the American armament industry. It was not a question, therefore, of not wanting them. I even, as far as I remember, inaugurated a prize competition for bombers capable of flying at great heights and at great speeds over large distances. Even before the beginning of the war we had begun to develop propellerless aircraft.

Summing up, I should like to say that I did everything possible under the technical and production conditions then prevalent, to rebuild and rearm a strong Air Force. The technical knowledge of that time led us to believe that, after 5 years of war, new technical and practical advances would be made. That is a principle based on experience. I wanted to be prepared to have an Air Force which, however the political situation might develop, would be strong enough to protect the nation and to deal blows to Germany’s enemy. It is perfectly correct for Mr. Justice Jackson to ask whether the speedy elimination of Poland and France was due to the fact that the German Air Force, acting according to modern principles, contributed so much. It was the decisive factor. On the other hand, though this does not concern me, the use of the American air force was also a decisive factor for the Allied victory.

DR. STAHMER: Has the fact that you were given control of raw materials already in April 1936 anything to do with this rebuilding of the Air Force?

GÖRING: I need not repeat what the witness Körner elaborated yesterday, or the day before yesterday, with regard to my gradual rise in economic leadership. The starting point was the agricultural crisis in the year of 1935. In the summer of 1936 the then Minister of War, Von Blomberg, the Minister of Economy and President of the Reichsbank, Schacht, and Minister Kerrl came to me and asked me whether I was prepared to back a suggestion of theirs which they wanted to submit to the Führer, namely, that I be appointed Commissioner for Raw Materials and Foreign Exchange. It was agreed that I should not function as an economics expert, which I was not; but someone was needed to take care of the difficulties due to shortage of foreign currency, which continuously arose because of our heavy demands, and at the same time to make available and accumulate raw materials—someone who was capable of taking measures which would perhaps not be understood by many people, but would have the weight of his authority. Secondly, it was decided that in this sphere, though not as an expert, I should be the driving power and use my energy.

Minister Schacht, who was the expert, had difficulties with the Party. He was not a member of the Party. He was at that time on excellent terms with the Führer and me, but not so much with the members of the Party. The danger arose that the appropriate measures might not be understood by the latter, and in this connection I would be the right man to make these things known to the people and the Party.

That is how that came about. But since I, as Minister of Air, was, as I have explained, interested in raw materials, I played an ever increasingly important role. Then the differences between agriculture and economy in regard to foreign currency came more to the fore, so that I had to make decisions, decisions which became more drastic. Thus I entered the field of economic leadership. I devoted a great deal of time and work to this task, particularly to procuring the raw materials necessary for economy and for rearmament. Out of this the Four Year Plan arose which gave me far-reaching plenary powers.

DR. STAHMER: What was the aim of the Four Year Plan?

GÖRING: The Four Year Plan had two aims: First, that German economy as far as possible and particularly in the agricultural sector, should be made secure against any crisis; secondly, in the event of war, Germany should be able to withstand a blockade to the greatest extent possible. Therefore it was necessary, first, to increase agriculture to the utmost, to control and direct it, to control consumption, and to store up supplies by means of negotiations with foreign countries; secondly, to ascertain which raw materials, imported until then, could be found, produced, and procured in Germany itself, and which raw materials that were difficult to import could be replaced by others more easily obtainable. Briefly, as far as the agricultural sphere was concerned: utilization of every available space; regulation of cultivation according to the crops needed; control of animal breeding; building up of reserves for times of need or crop failures; as far as the industrial sector was concerned, the creation of industries supplying raw materials: First, coal—although there was sufficient coal, its production would have to be increased considerably, since coal is the basic raw material on which so many other things are dependent; iron—our mining industry had made itself so dependent on foreign countries that, in the event of a crisis, a most disastrous situation might arise here. I can quite understand that from the purely financial and business point of view that was all right but, nevertheless, we should have to mine and make available the German iron ores which were at our disposal, even though they were inferior to the Swedish ores; we should have to compel industry to make alloys and manage with German ores.

I recklessly allowed industry a year’s time. As industry by then had still not begun to exploit these ores, I founded the Reich works which were given my name. They were primarily for opening up iron-ore reserves in German soil and using them in the mining industry. It was necessary to set up oil refineries, aluminum works and various other works, and then to promote the development of the so-called synthetic material industry in order to replace necessary raw materials which could be obtained only from abroad and under difficult circumstances. In the field of textiles this involved the conversion of the textile industry and of I. G. Farben.

That, roughly, was the task of the Four Year Plan.

Naturally a third question is of importance in this connection: the question of labor. Co-ordination was necessary here too. The most important industries had to have workers; less important industries had to dispense with them. The control of this allocation of labor, which before the war functioned only within Germany, was another task of the Four Year Plan and the Department for the Allocation of Labor.

The Four Year Plan as such very quickly assumed too large proportions as an official organization. Then, after Schacht had left, I took over the Ministry of Economy for 2 months and fitted the Four Year Plan into it. I retained only a very small staff of collaborators and carried out the tasks with the assistance of the ministries competent to deal with these things.

DR. STAHMER: Was the purpose of carrying out these plans that of preparing for aggressive war?

GÖRING: No, the aim of the plans was, as I said, to make Germany secure against economic crises, and to make her secure against a blockade in the event of war, and, of course, within the Four Year Plan to provide the necessary conditions for rearmament. That was one of its important tasks.

DR. STAHMER: How did the occupation of the Rhineland come about?

GÖRING: The occupation of the Rhineland was not, as has been asserted here, a long-prepared affair. What had been discussed previously did not deal with the occupation of the Rhineland, but with the question of mobilization measures in the Rhineland in case of an attack on Germany.

The Rhineland occupation came about for two reasons. The balance which was created through the Locarno Pact had been disturbed in western Europe, because a new factor had arisen in France’s system of allies, namely Russia, who even at that time had an extraordinarily large armed force. In addition, there was the Russian-Czechoslovakian mutual assistance pact. Thus, the conditions upon which the Locarno Pact had been based no longer existed, according to our way of thinking. So, there was now such a threat to Germany, or the possibility of such a threat, that it would have been a neglect of duty and honor on the part of the Government if it had not done everything to ensure, here also, the security of the Reich. The Government therefore—as a sovereign state—made use of its sovereign right and freed itself from the dishonorable obligation not to place a part of the Reich under its protection, and it did place this important part of the Reich under its protection by building strong fortifications.

The construction of such strong fortifications, such expensive fortifications and such extensive fortifications, is justified only if that frontier is regarded as final and definitive. If I had intended to extend the frontier in the near future, it would never have been possible to go through with an undertaking so expensive and such a burden to the whole nation as was the construction of the West Wall. This was done—and I want to emphasize this particularly—from the very beginning only in the interest of defense and as a defensive measure. It made the western border of the Reich secure against that threat which, because of the recent shift of power, and the new combination of powers such as the Franco-Russian mutual assistance pact, had become a threat to Germany. The actual occupation, the decision to occupy the Rhineland, was made at very short notice. The troops which marched into the Rhineland were of such small numbers—and that is an historical fact—that they provided merely a token occupation. The Luftwaffe itself could not, for the time being, enter the Rhine territory on the left at all, since there was no adequate ground organization. It entered the so-called demilitarized territory on the right of the Rhine, Düsseldorf and other cities. In other words, it was not as if the Rhineland were suddenly occupied with a great wave of troops; but, as I said before, it was merely that a few battalions and a few batteries marched in as a symbol that the Rhineland was now again under the full sovereignty of the sovereign German Reich and would in the future be protected accordingly.

DR. STAHMER: What were Hitler’s aims when he created the Reich Defense Council and when he issued the Reich Defense Law?

GÖRING: The Reich Defense Council, during the last months, played a very important role here. I hope I shall not be misunderstood; I believe that during these months more has been said about it than was ever said since the moment of its creation. In the first place it is called Reich Defense Council and not Reich Council for the Offensive. Its existence is taken for granted. It exists in every other country in some form or other, even if it has another name. First of all, there was a Reich Defense Committee already, before our seizure of power. In this committee there were official experts from all the ministries for the purpose of carrying out mobilization preparations or, better said, mobilization measures, which automatically come into consideration in any kind of development—war, the possibility of war, the facts of war involving bordering states and the subsequent need to guard one’s neutrality. These are the usual measures to be taken—to ascertain how many horses have to be levied in case of mobilization, what factories have to be converted, whether bread ration cards and fat ration cards have to be introduced, regulation of traffic, et cetera—all these things need not be dealt with in detail, because they are so obvious.

All such discussions took place in the Reich Defense Committee—discussions by the official experts presided over by the then chief of the ministerial office in the Reich Ministry of War, Keitel. The Reich Defense Council was created, for the time being, as a precautionary measure, when the armed forces were re-established, but it existed only on paper. I was, I think, Deputy Chairman or Chairman—I do not know which—I heard it mentioned here. I assure you under oath that at no time and at no date did I participate in a meeting at which the Reich Defense Council as such was called together. These discussions, which were necessary for the defense of the Reich, were held in a completely different connection, in a different form and depended on immediate needs. Naturally, there were discussions about the defense of the Reich, but not in connection with the Reich Defense Council. This existed on paper, but it never met. But even if it had met, that would have been quite logical, since this concerns defense and not attack. The Reich Defense Law, or rather the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense, which is probably what you mean, was created only one day before the outbreak of the war, since the Reich Defense Council actually did not exist. This Ministerial Council for Reich Defense is not to be considered the same as, for instance, the so-called War Cabinet that was formed in England when the war broke out, and perhaps in other countries. On the contrary, this Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense was—by using abbreviated procedure—to issue only the regulations necessary for wartime, laws dealing with daily issues, explanations to the people, and it was to relieve the Führer to a considerable extent, since he had reserved for himself the leadership in military operations. The Ministerial Council therefore issued, first of all, all those laws which, as I should like to mention, are to be expected in any country at the beginning of a war. In the early period it met three or four times, and after that not at all. I, too, had no time after that. To abbreviate the procedure, these laws were circulated and then issued. One, or one and a half years afterwards—I cannot remember the exact time—the Führer took the direct issuance of laws more into his own hands. I was the co-signer of many laws in my capacity as Chairman of this Ministerial Council. But that, too, was practically discontinued in the latter years. The Ministerial Council did not meet again at all after 1940, I think.

DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution has presented a document, Number 2261-PS. In this document a Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 is mentioned, which for the time being was kept in abeyance by order of the Führer. I shall have that document shown to you and I ask you to give your views on it?

GÖRING: I am familiar with it.

DR. STAHMER: Would you please state your views?

GÖRING: After the Reich Defense Council had begun to exist, a Reich Defense Law was provided in 1935 for the event of a mobilization. The agreement or, better said, decision, was made by the Reich Cabinet and this law was to be applied and became effective in the case of a mobilization. Actually it was replaced when mobilization did come about, by the law I have mentioned regarding the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense. In this law, before the time of the Four Year Plan, that is 1935, a Plenipotentiary for Economy was created, at first for the event of a mobilization, and a Plenipotentiary for Administration; so that if war occurred, then all the departments of the entire administration would be concentrated under one minister and all the departments concerned with economy and armament were likewise to be concentrated under one minister. The Plenipotentiary for Administration did not function before mobilization. The Plenipotentiary for Economy, on the other hand—this title was not to be made known to the public—was to begin his tasks immediately. That was indeed necessary. This is perhaps the clearest explanation of the fact that the creation of the Four Year Plan necessarily led to clashes between the Plenipotentiary for Economy and the Delegate for the Four Year Plan, since both of them were more or less working on the same or similar tasks. When, therefore, in 1936, I was made Delegate for the Four Year Plan, the activities of the Plenipotentiary for Economy practically ceased.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, ought I to stop now with the questioning?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think that would be a good time.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

DR. STAHMER: A word has been repeatedly used here: Reich Research Council (Reichsforschungsrat). What kind of institution was that?

GÖRING: I believe it was in the year 1943 that I received the order to concentrate the entire field of German research, particularly insofar as it was of urgent importance to the conduct of war. Unfortunately, that was done much too late. The purpose was to avoid parallel research and useless research, to concentrate all research on problems important for the war. I myself became President of the Reich Research Council and established directives for research according to the purpose mentioned.

DR. STAHMER: Did this have any connection with the Research Office of the Air Force?

GÖRING: No, the Research Office of the Air Force was entirely different, and it had nothing to do with either research on the one hand or the Air Force on the other hand. The expression was a sort of camouflage, for, when we came to power, there was considerable confusion on the technical side of control of important information. Therefore, I established for the time being the Research Office, that was an office where all technical devices for the control of radio, telegraph, telephone, and all other technical communications could be provided. Since I was then only Reich Minister for Air I could do this within only my own ministry and therefore used this camouflaged designation. This machinery served to exert control above all over foreign missions, and important persons, who had telephone, telegraph, and radio connections with foreign countries, as is customary everywhere in all countries, and then to decipher the information thus extracted and put it at the disposal of other departments. The office had no agents, no intelligence service, but was a purely technical office intercepting wireless messages, telephone conversations, and telegrams, wherever it was ordered, and passing on the information to the offices concerned. In this connection I may say that I have also read much about those communications made by Mr. Messersmith, which figured here. He was at times the main source for such information.

DR. STAHMER: What was the purpose and importance of the Secret Cabinet Council which was created a short time after the seizure of power?

GÖRING: In February 1938 there came about the retirement of the War Minister, Field Marshal Von Blomberg. Simultaneously, because of particular circumstances, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Colonel General Von Fritsch, retired, that is to say, the Führer dismissed him. The coincidence of these retirements or dismissals was, in the eyes of the Führer, disadvantageous to the prestige of the Wehrmacht. He wanted to divert attention from this change in the Wehrmacht by means of a general reshuffling. He said he wanted above all to change the Foreign Office because only such a change would make a strong impression abroad and would be likely to divert attention from the military affairs. At the time I opposed the Führer very strongly about this. In lengthy, wearisome personal conversations I begged him to refrain from a change in the Foreign Office. He thought, however, that he would have to insist upon it.

The question arose as to what should be done after Herr Von Neurath’s retirement or after the change. The Führer intended to keep Herr Von Neurath in the Cabinet by all means for he had the greatest personal esteem for him. I myself have always expressed my respect for Herr Von Neurath. In order to avoid a lowering of Herr Von Neurath’s prestige abroad, I myself was the one to make a proposal to the Führer. I told him that in order to make it appear abroad that Von Neurath had not been entirely removed from foreign policy, I would propose to appoint him chairman of the Secret Cabinet Council. There was, to be sure, no such cabinet in existence, but the expression would sound quite nice, and everyone would imagine that it meant something. The Führer said we could not make him chairman if we had no council. Thereupon I said, “Then we shall make one,” and offhand I marked down names of several persons. How little importance I attached to this council can be seen in the fact that I myself was, I think, one of the last on that list.

Then, for the public at large the council was given out to be an advisory council for foreign policy. When I returned I said to my friends, “The affair has gone off all right, but if the Führer does not ask the Foreign Minister for advice, he certainly will not ask a cabinet council for advice on foreign policy; we will not have anything to do with it!” I declare under oath that this Cabinet Council never met at all, not even for a minute; there was not even an initial meeting for laying down the rules by which it should function. Some members may not even have been informed that they were members.

DR. STAHMER: When was the Reich Cabinet in session last?

GÖRING: As far as I remember, the last meeting of the Reich Cabinet was in 1937, and, as far as I can remember, I presided over the last meeting, the Führer having left shortly after the beginning. The Führer did not think much of Cabinet meetings; it was too large a circle for him, and perhaps there was too much discussion of his plans, and he wanted that changed.

From that time on there were only individual conferences—conferences with single ministers or with groups of ministers from the ministries concerned. But since the ministers found, very rightly, that this made their work difficult, a solution was adopted whereby I, under the title of the Four Year Plan, called the ministers together more frequently, in order to discuss general matters with them. But at no time in the Cabinet or the Ministerial Council was any political decision of importance mentioned or discussed, as, for instance, those decisions—the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia—which finally led to war. I know how much importance the Führer attached to the fact that in all these matters only those ministers should be informed who absolutely had to be informed, because of the nature of their work, and that only at the very last minute. Here too, I can say under oath that quite a number of ministers were not informed about the beginning of the war or the march into Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, or Austria until the next morning, when they learned about it by radio or through the press, just as any other German citizen.

DR. STAHMER: What part did you have in making the Munich Pact of September 1938?

GÖRING: The incorporation of the Sudeten Germans or, better said, the solution of the Sudeten German problem I had always emphasized as being something that was necessary. I also told the Führer after the Anschluss of Austria that I should regret it if his statements were misunderstood to mean that with the Anschluss of Austria this question had been settled.

In November 1937, I stated to Lord Halifax that the Anschluss of Austria, the solution of the Sudeten German question in the sense of a return of the Sudeten Germans, and the solution of the problem of Danzig and the Corridor were integral parts of German policy. Whether they were tackled by Hitler one day, or by me or somebody else the next day, they would still remain political aims which under all circumstances would have to be attained sometime. However, both of us agreed that all efforts should be made to achieve that without resorting to war.

Furthermore, in my conversations with Mr. Bullitt I had always taken up the very same position. And I told every other person, publicly and personally, that these three points had to be settled and that the settlement of the one would not make the others unimportant.

I also want to stress that, if in connection with this, and also in connection with other things, the Prosecution accuses us of not having kept this or that particular promise that Germany had made in the past, including the Germany that existed just before the seizure of power, I should like to refer to the many speeches in which both the Führer—this I no longer remember so well—and I, as I know very well, stated that we warned foreign countries not to make any plans for the future on the basis of any promises made by the present government, that we would not recognize these promises when we acquired power. Thus there was absolute clarity in respect to this.

When the Sudeten question approached a crisis and a solution was intended by the Führer, I, as a soldier and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, as was my duty, took the preparatory measures, ordered for any eventuality. As a politician I was extremely happy at the attempts which were made to find a peaceful solution. I acknowledge that at that time I was very glad when I saw that the British Prime Minister was making every possible effort. Nevertheless, the situation on the day before the Munich agreement had again become very critical.

It was about 6:30 or 7 o’clock in the morning when the Italian Ambassador, Attolico, rang me up and said that he had to see me immediately on orders from Mussolini, that it was about the solution of the Sudeten problem. I told him he should go and see the Foreign Minister. He said he had a special order from Mussolini to see me alone first. I met him, as far as I remember, at 9 o’clock in the morning, and there he suggested that Mussolini was prepared to mediate; that a meeting should be called as soon as possible between Germany (Adolf Hitler), England (Prime Minister Chamberlain), France (Premier Daladier), and Italy (Mussolini), in order to settle the question peacefully. He, Mussolini, saw a possibility of that and was prepared to take all necessary steps and asked me personally to use all my influence in that direction. I took the Ambassador, and also Herr Von Neurath although he was not Foreign Minister at that time, at once to the Reich Chancellery and reported everything to the Führer, tried to persuade him, explained to him the advantages of such a step and said that this could be the basis for a general easing of tension. Whether the other current political and diplomatic endeavors would be successful one could not yet say, but if four leading statesmen of the four large western European powers were to meet, then much would be gained by that.

Herr Von Neurath supported my argument, and the Führer agreed and said we should call the Duce by telephone. Attolico, who waited outside, did that immediately, whereupon Mussolini called the Führer officially and matters were agreed and Munich decided upon as the place.

Late in the afternoon I was informed by the Italian Embassy that both the British Prime Minister and the French Prime Minister had agreed to arrive at Munich the next day.

I asked the Führer, or rather, I told him, that under all circumstances I would go along. He agreed. Then I suggested that I could also take Herr Von Neurath with me in my train. He agreed to that also.

I took part in some of the discussions and, when necessary, contributed to the settlement of many arguments and, above all, did my best to create a friendly atmosphere on all sides. I had personal conversations with M. Daladier and Mr. Chamberlain, and I was sincerely happy afterwards that everything had gone well.

DR. STAHMER: Before that, the Anschluss of Austria with Germany had taken place. What reasons did Hitler have for that decision, and to what extent did you play a part in those measures?

GÖRING: I told the Tribunal yesterday, when I gave a brief outline of my life, that I personally felt a great affinity for Austria; that I had spent the greater part of my youth in an Austrian castle; that my father, even at the time of the old empire, often spoke of a close bond between the future of the German motherland of Austria and the Reich, for he was convinced that the Austrian Empire would not hold together much longer.

In 1918 while in Austria for 2 days, having come by plane, I saw the revolution and the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire take place. Those countries, with a predominantly German population, including Sudeten Germany, convened at that time in Vienna in the Parliament. They declared themselves free of the dissolved Hapsburg State and declared, including the representatives of Sudeten Germany, Austria to be a part of the German Reich. This happened, as far as I know, under the Social Democratic Chancellor, Renner. This statement by the representatives of the Austrian-German people that they wanted to be a part of Germany in the future was changed by the peace treaty of St. Germain and prohibited by the dictate of the victorious nations. Neither for myself nor for any other German was that of importance.

The moment and the basic conditions had of course to be created for a union of the two brother nations of purely German blood and origin to take place. When we came to power, as I have said before, this was naturally an integral part of German policy.

The assurances which Hitler gave at that time regarding the sovereignty of Austria were no deception; they were meant seriously. At first he probably did not see any possibility. I myself was much more radical in this direction and I asked him repeatedly not to make any definite commitments regarding the Austrian question. He believed, however, that he had first of all to take Italy into consideration.

It was evident, especially after the National Socialist Party in Germany had come to power, that the National Socialist Party in Austria was also growing more and more. This party, however, had existed in Austria even before the seizure of power in Germany, just as the origin of the National Socialist Workers Party goes back to Sudeten Germany. The Party in Austria was therefore not a Fifth Column for the Anschluss, because the Austrian people themselves originally wanted and always wanted the Anschluss. If the idea of the Anschluss did not figure so clearly and strongly in the Austrian Government of that time, it was not because it did not want to be joined to Germany, but because the National Socialist form of government was not compatible in any way with the form of government in Austria at that time.

Thus there resulted that tension, first in Austria itself, which has repeatedly been mentioned by the Prosecution in its charges. This tension was bound to come because the National Socialists took the idea of the Anschluss with Germany more seriously than the Government did. This resulted in political strife between the two. That we were on the side of the National Socialists as far as our sympathies were concerned is obvious, particularly as the Party in Austria was severely persecuted. Many were put into camps, which were just like concentration camps but had different names.

At a certain time the leader of the Austrian Party was a man by the name of Habicht from Wiesbaden. I did not know him before; I saw him only once there. He falsely led the Führer to believe, before the so-called Dollfuss case, that the Austrian armed forces were prepared to undertake something independently in order to force the government to accept the Anschluss, or else they would overthrow it. If this were the case, that the Party in Austria was to support whatever the armed forces undertook along those lines, then, so the Führer thought, it should have the political support of the Party in Germany in this matter. But the whole thing was actually a deception, as it was not the Austrian Army which intended to proceed against the Austrian Government but rather a so-called “Wehrmacht Standarte,” a unit which consisted of former members, and released or discharged members, of the Austrian Army who had gone over to the Party or joined it.

With this deceptive maneuver Habicht then undertook this action in Vienna. I was in Bayreuth with the Führer at the time. The Führer called Habicht at once and reproached him most severely and said that he had falsely informed him, tricked him and deceived him.

He regretted the death of Dollfuss very much because politically that meant a very serious situation as far as the National Socialists were concerned, and particularly with regard to Italy. Italy mobilized five divisions at that time and sent them to the Brenner Pass. The Führer desired an appeasement which would be quick and as sweeping in its effect as possible. That was the reason why he asked Herr Von Papen to go as an extraordinary ambassador to Vienna and to work for an easing of the atmosphere as quickly as possible.

One must not forget the somewhat absurd situation which had developed in the course of years, namely, that a purely German country such as Austria was not most strongly influenced in governmental matters by the German Reich but by the Italian Government. I remember that statement of Mr. Churchill’s, that Austria was practically an affiliate of Italy.

After the action against Dollfuss, Italy assumed a very stand-offish attitude toward Germany and made it clear that Italy would be the country which would do everything to prevent the Anschluss. Therefore, besides the internal clearing up of Germany’s relations with Austria by Herr Von Papen, the Führer also tried to bring about a change in Mussolini’s attitude to this question. For this reason he went to Venice shortly afterwards—maybe it was before—at any rate he tried to bring about a different attitude.

But I was of the opinion that in spite of everything we may have had in common, let us say in a philosophic sense—fascism and National Socialism—the Anschluss of our brother people was much more important to me than this coming to an agreement. And if it were not possible to do it with Mussolini, we should have to do it against him.

Then came the Italian-Abyssinian war. With regard to the sanctions against Italy, Germany was given to understand, not openly but quite clearly, that it would be to her advantage, as far as the Austrian question was concerned, to take part in these sanctions.

That was a difficult decision for the Führer to make, to declare himself out and out against Italy and to achieve the Anschluss by these means or to bind himself by obligation to Italy by means of a pro-Italian or correct attitude and thus to exclude Italy’s opposition to the Anschluss. I suggested to him at that time, in view of the somewhat vague offer regarding Austria made by English-French circles, to try and find out who was behind this offer and whether both governments were willing to come to an agreement in regard to this point and to give assurances to the effect that this would be considered an internal German affair, and not some vague assurances of general co-operation, et cetera.

My suspicions proved right; we could not get any definite assurances. Under those circumstances, it was more expedient for us to prevent Italy being the main opponent to the Anschluss by not joining in any sanctions against her.

I was still of the opinion that the great national interest of the union of these German peoples stood above all considerations regarding the differences between the two present governments. For this to happen it could not be expected that the government of the great German Reich should resign and that Germany should perhaps be annexed to Austria; rather the Anschluss would have to be carried through sooner or later.

Then came the Berchtesgaden agreement. I was not present at this. I did not even consent to this agreement, because I opposed any definite statement which lengthened this period of indecision; for me the complete union of all Germans was the only conceivable solution.

Shortly after Berchtesgaden there was the plebiscite which the then Chancellor Schuschnigg had called. This plebiscite was of itself an impossibility, a breach of the Berchtesgaden agreement. This I shall pass over, but the way in which this plebiscite was supposed to take place was unique in history. One could vote only by “yes,” every person could vote as often as he wanted, five times, six times, seven times. If he tore up the slip of paper, that was counted as “yes,” and so on. It has no further interest. In this way it could be seen from the very beginning that if only a few followers of the Schuschnigg system utilized these opportunities sufficiently the result could be only a positive majority for Herr Schuschnigg. That whole thing was a farce.

We opposed that. First of all a member of the Austrian Government who was at that moment in Germany, General Von Glaise-Horstenau, was flown to Vienna in order to make clear to Schuschnigg or Seyss-Inquart—who, since Berchtesgaden, was in Schuschnigg’s Cabinet—that Germany would never tolerate this provocation. At the same time troops which were stationed near the Austrian border were on the alert. That was on Friday, I believe, the 11th. On that day I was in the Reich Chancellery, alone with the Führer in his room. I heard by telephone the news that Glaise-Horstenau had arrived and made our demands known clearly and unmistakably, and that these things were now being discussed. Then, as far as I remember, the answer came that the plebiscite had been called off and that Schuschnigg had agreed to it. At this moment I had the instinctive feeling that the situation was now mobile and that now, finally, that possibility which we had long and ardently awaited was there—the possibility of bringing about a complete solution. And from this moment on I must take 100 percent responsibility for all further happenings, because it was not the Führer so much as I myself who set the pace and, even overruling the Führer’s misgivings, brought everything to its final development.

My telephone conversations have been read here. I demanded spontaneously, without actually having first spoken to the Führer about it, the immediate retirement of Chancellor Schuschnigg. When this was granted, I put my next demand, that now everything was ripe for the Anschluss. And that took place, as is known.

The only thing—and I do not say this because it is important as far as my responsibility is concerned—which I did not bring about personally, since I did not know the persons involved, but which has been brought forward by the Prosecution in the last few days, was the following: I sent through a list of ministers, that is to say, I named those persons who would be considered by us desirable as members of an Austrian Government for the time being. I knew Seyss-Inquart, and it was clear to me from the very beginning that he should get the Chancellorship. Then I named Kaltenbrunner for Security. I did not know Kaltenbrunner, and that is one of the two instances where the Führer took a hand by giving me a few names. Also, by the way, I gave the name of Fischböck for the Ministry of Economy without knowing him. The only one whom I personally brought into this Cabinet was my brother-in-law, Dr. Hueber, as Minister of Justice, but not because he was my brother-in-law, for he had already been Austrian Minister of Justice in the Cabinet of Prelate Seipel. He was not a member of the Party at that time, but he came from the ranks of the Heimwehr and it was important for me to have in the Cabinet also a representative of that group, with whom we had at first made common cause, but then opposed. I wanted to be sure of my influence on this person, so that everything would now actually develop towards a total Anschluss. For already plans had again appeared in which the Führer only, as the head of the German Reich, should be simultaneously the head of German Austria; there would otherwise be a separation. That I considered intolerable. The hour had come and we should make the best use of it.

In the conversation which I had with Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, who was in London at that time, I pointed out that the ultimatum had not been presented by us but by Seyss-Inquart. That was absolutely true de jure; de facto, of course it was my wish. But this telephone conversation was being listened to by the English, and I had to conduct a diplomatic conversation, and I have never heard yet that diplomats in such cases say how matters are de facto; rather they always stress how they are de jure. And why should I make a possible exception here? In this telephone conversation I demanded of Herr Von Ribbentrop that he ask the British Government to name British persons in whom they had the fullest confidence. I would make all arrangements so that these persons could travel around Austria everywhere in order to see for themselves that the Austrian people in an overwhelming majority wanted this Anschluss and greeted it with enthusiasm. Here, during the discussion of the Austrian question no mention was made of the fact that already—this conversation took place on a Friday—the Sunday before in Styria, one of the most important parts of the hereditary countries, an internal partial Anschluss had practically taken place, and that the population there had already declared itself in favor of the Anschluss and had more or less severed its ties with the Viennese Government.

DR. STAHMER: I have handed to you a record of that conversation. It has been put in by the Prosecution. One part of it has not been read into the record yet, but you have given its contents. Would you please look at it?

GÖRING: Yes; I attach importance to having only those passages in this document read in which I refer to the fact that I considered it important that the English Government should send to Austria as soon as possible people in whom they had confidence, in order that they might see for themselves the actual state of affairs; and secondly, those passages in which I refer to the fact that we were going to hold a plebiscite according to the Charter of the Saar Plebiscite and that, whatever the result might be, we should acknowledge it. I could promise that all the more, as it was personally known to me and quite clear that an overwhelming majority would vote in favor of the Anschluss.

Now I come to the decisive part concerning the entry of the troops. That was the second point where the Führer interfered and we were not of the same opinion. The Führer wanted the reasons for the march into Austria to be a request by the new Government of Seyss-Inquart, that is the government desired by us—that they should ask for the troops in order to maintain order in the country. I was against this, not against the march into Austria—I was for the march under all circumstances—against only the reasons to be given. Here there was a difference of opinion. Certainly there might be disturbances at one place, namely Vienna and Wiener-Neustadt, because some of the Austrian Marxists, who once before had started an armed uprising, were actually armed. That, however, was not of such decisive importance. It was rather of the greatest importance that German troops should march into Austria immediately in sufficient numbers to stave off any desire on the part of a neighboring country to inherit even a single Austrian village on this occasion.

I should like to emphasize that at that time Mussolini’s attitude to the Austrian question had not yet crystallized, although I had worked on him the year before to that end. The Italians were still looking with longing eyes at eastern Tyrol. The five divisions along the Brenner Pass I had not forgotten. The Hungarians talked too much about the Burgenland. The Yugoslavs once mentioned something about Carinthia, but I believe that I made it clear to them at the time that that was absurd. So to prevent the fulfillment of these hopes once and for all, which might easily happen in such circumstances, I very definitely wanted the German troops to march into Austria proclaiming: “The Anschluss has taken place; Austria is a part of Germany and therefore in its entirety automatically and completely under the protection of the German Reich and its Armed Forces.”

The Führer did not want to have such a striking demonstration of foreign policy, and finally asked me to inform Seyss-Inquart to send a telegram to that effect. The fact that we were in agreement about the decisive point, the march into Austria, helps explain the telephone conversation in which I told Seyss-Inquart that he need not send a telegram, that he could do it by telephone; that would be sufficient. That was the reason. Mussolini’s consent did not come until 11:30 at night. It is well known what a relief that was for the Führer.

In the evening of the same day, after everything had become clear, and the outcome could be seen in advance, I went to the Flieger Club, where I had been invited several weeks before, to a ball. I mention this because here that too has been described as a deceptive maneuver. But that invitation had been sent out, I believe, even before the Berchtesgaden conference took place. There I met almost all the diplomats. I immediately took Sir Nevile Henderson, the British Ambassador, aside. I spoke to him for 2 hours and gave him all the reasons and explained everything, and also asked him to tell me—the same question which I later asked Ribbentrop—what nation in the whole world was damaged in any way by our union with Austria? From whom had we taken anything, and whom had we harmed? I said that this was an absolute restitution, that both parts had belonged together in the German Empire for centuries and that they had been separated only because of political developments, the later monarchy and Austria’s secession.

When the Führer flew to Austria the next morning, I took over all the business of the Reich in his absence, as is known. At that time I also prohibited for the time being the return of the so-called Austrian Legion—that was a group of people who had left Austria during the early time of the fighting period—because I did not want to have any disturbances. Secondly, however, I also made sure that north of the Danube, that is between the Czechoslovak border and the Danube, only one battalion should march through the villages, so that Czechoslovakia would see very clearly that this was merely an Austro-German affair. That battalion had to march through so that the towns north of the Danube could also take part in the jubilation.

In this connection I want to stress two points in concluding: If Mr. Messersmith says in his long affidavit that before the Anschluss I had made various visits to Yugoslavia and Hungary in order to win over both these nations for the Anschluss, and that I had promised to Yugoslavia a part of Carinthia, I can only say in answer to these statements that I do not understand them at all. My visits in Yugoslavia and the other Balkan countries were designed to improve relations, particularly trade relations, which were very important to me with respect to the Four Year Plan. If at any time Yugoslavia had demanded one single village in Carinthia, I would have said that I would not even answer such a point, because, if any country is German to the core, it was and is Carinthia.

The second point: Here in the Indictment mention is made of an aggressive war against Austria. Aggressive war is carried out by shooting, throwing bombs, and so on; but there only one thing was thrown—and that was flowers. But maybe the Prosecution meant something else, and there I could agree. I personally have always stated that I would do everything to make sure that the Anschluss should not disturb the peace, but that in the long run, if this should be denied us forever, I personally might resort to war in order to reach this goal; that these Germans return to their fatherland—a war for Austria, not against Austria.

I believe, I have given in brief a picture of the Austrian events. And I close with the statement that in this matter not so much the Führer as I, personally, bear the full and entire responsibility for everything that has happened.

DR. STAHMER: On the evening before the march of the troops into Austria you also had a conversation with Dr. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Ambassador. On this occasion you are supposed to have given a declaration on your word of honor. What about that conversation?

GÖRING: I am especially grateful that I can at last make a clear statement about this “word of honor,” which has been mentioned so often during the last months and which has been so incriminating for me.

I mentioned that on that evening almost all the diplomats were present at that ball. After I had spoken to Sir Nevile Henderson and returned to the ballroom, the Czechoslovak Ambassador, Dr. Mastny, came to me, very excited and trembling, and asked me what was happening that night and whether we intended to march into Czechoslovakia also. I gave him a short explanation and said, “No, it is only a question of the Anschluss of Austria; it has absolutely nothing to do with your country, especially if you keep out of things altogether.”

He thanked me and went, apparently, to the telephone. But after a short time he came back even more excited, and I had the impression that in his excitement he could hardly understand me. I said to him then in the presence of others: “Your Excellency, listen carefully. I give you my personal word of honor that this is a question of the Anschluss of Austria only, and that not a single German soldier will come anywhere near the Czechoslovak border. See to it that there is no mobilization on the part of Czechoslovakia which might lead to difficulties.” He then agreed.

At no time did I say to him, “I give you my word of honor that we never want to have anything to do with Czechoslovakia for all time.” All he wanted was an explanation for this particular event, for this particular time. I gave him this particular explanation, because I had already clearly stated before that that the solution of the Sudeten German problem would be necessary at some time and in some way. I would never have given him a declaration on my word of honor in regard to a final solution, and it would not have been possible for me, because before that, I had already made a statement to a different effect. An explanation was desired for the moment and in connection with the Austrian events. I could conscientiously assure him on my word of honor that Czechoslovakia would not be touched then, because at that time no decisions had been made by us, as far as a definite time was concerned with respect to Czechoslovakia or the solution of the Sudeten problem.

DR. STAHMER: On the 15 March 1939 a conversation took place between Hitler and President Hacha. Were you present during that conversation? And what was your part in it?

GÖRING: That was the beginning of the establishment of the Protectorate in Czechoslovakia. After Munich—that is, after the Munich Agreement and the solution of the Sudeten German problem—a military decision had been reached by the Führer and some of his collaborators to the effect that, if there should be new difficulties after the Munich agreement, or arising from the occupation of the zones, certain measures of precaution would have to be taken by the military authorities, for, after the occupation of the zones, the troops which had been in readiness for “Case Green” (Schmundt File) had been demobilized. But a development might easily take place which at any moment could become extremely dangerous for Germany. One needs only to remember what an interpretation was given at that time by the Russian press and the Russian radio to the Munich agreement and to the occupation of the Sudetenland. One could hardly use stronger language. There had been a liaison between Prague and Moscow for a long time. Prague, disappointed by the Munich agreement, could now strengthen its ties with Moscow. Signs of that were seen particularly in the Czech officers’ corps and we were informed. And in the event of this proving dangerous to Germany, instructions had been issued to the various military offices to take preventive measures, as was their duty. But that order has nothing to do with any intention of occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia after a short time.

I myself went to the Riviera at the end of January for my first long vacation and during that time I dropped all business affairs. At the beginning of March, much to my surprise, a courier came from the Führer with a letter in which the Führer informed me that developments in Czechoslovakia were such that he could not let things go on as they were with impunity. They were becoming an increasing menace to Germany, and he was determined to solve the question now by eliminating Czechoslovakia as a source of danger right in the center of Germany, and he therefore was thinking of an occupation.

During that time I had met many Englishmen in San Remo. I had realized that they had made the best of Munich and even found it satisfactory, but that any other incidents, or demands on Czechoslovakia would cause considerable excitement.

I sent a letter back by courier. Maybe it is among the many tons of documents in the possession of the Prosecution. I could also understand if they do not submit it, for it would be a document of an extenuating character as far as I am concerned. In this letter I communicated these views to the Führer and wrote to him somewhat as follows: That if this were to take place now, it would be a very serious loss of prestige for the British Prime Minister, Chamberlain, and I hardly believed that he would survive it. Then probably Mr. Churchill would come in, and the Führer knew Churchill’s attitude toward Germany. Secondly, it would not be understood, since just a short time previously we had settled these things to general satisfaction. Thirdly, I thought I could calm him by telling him the following: I believed that what he wanted to eliminate at the moment in the way of danger, by the occupation of Czechoslovakia, could be achieved in a somewhat lengthier manner, at the same time avoiding anything which might excite Czechoslovakia as well as other countries. I was convinced that since the Sudetenland had been separated and Austria was a part of Germany an economic penetration of Czechoslovakia would be only a matter of time. That is to say, I hoped by strong economic ties to reach a communications, customs, and currency union, which would serve the economic interests of both countries. If this took place, then a sovereign Czechoslovakia would be politically so closely bound to Germany and German interests that I did not believe that any danger could arise again. However, if Slovakia expressed her desire for independence very definitely we should not have to counteract that in any way. On the contrary, we could support it, as then economic co-operation would naturally become even much closer than otherwise; for, if Slovakia were to secede, both countries would have to look to Germany in economic matters, and in such matters both countries could be made interested in Germany and could be most closely bound to Germany.

This letter—I have just given the gist of it—the courier took back. Then I heard nothing for some days.

THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time for us to break off?

[A recess was taken.]

DR. STAHMER: Will you continue, please?

GÖRING: I was then called to Berlin on very short notice. I arrived in Berlin in the morning and President Hacha arrived in the evening of the same day. I presented orally to the Führer the views which I had already expressed in my letter. The Führer pointed out to me certain evidence in his possession to the effect that the situation in Czechoslovakia had developed more seriously. This state had, for one thing, disintegrated because of the detachment of Slovakia, but that was not the decisive question. He showed me documents from the Intelligence Service which indicated that Russian aviation commissions were present at the airfields of Czechoslovakia, or certain of them, undertaking training, and that such things were not in keeping with the Munich agreement. He said that he feared that Czechoslovakia, especially if Slovakia were detached, would be used as a Russian air base against Germany.

He said he was determined to eliminate this danger. President Hacha had requested an interview, so he told me at the time, and would arrive in the evening; and he wished that I too should be present at the Reich Chancellery.

President Hacha arrived and talked first with the Reich Foreign Minister. At night he came to see the Führer; we greeted him coldly. First he conversed with the Führer alone; then we were called in. Then I talked to him in the presence of his ambassador and urged him to meet as quickly as possible the Führer’s demand that troops be kept back when the Germans marched in, in order that there might be no bloodshed. I told him that nothing could be done about it; the Führer had made his decision and considered it necessary, and there would be only unnecessary bloodshed as resistance for any length of time was quite impossible. And in that connection I made the statement that I should be sorry if I had to bomb beautiful Prague. The intention of bombing Prague did not exist, nor had any order been given to that effect, for even in the case of resistance that would not have been necessary—resistance could always be broken more easily without such bombing. But a point like that might, I thought, serve as an argument and accelerate the whole matter.

I succeeded then in getting a telephone connection between him and his Government in Prague, he gave the order, and the occupation and the march, into Prague took place the next day.

DR. STAHMER: Did you accompany the Führer to Prague?

GÖRING: No, I did not accompany him to Prague. I was rather annoyed. I did not enter Czechoslovakia or Sudeten Germany at any time after that incident, with the exception of 21 April 1945 when I passed through a part of Czechoslovakia.

DR. STAHMER: Why were you annoyed?

GÖRING: Because the whole matter had been carried out more or less over my head.

DR. STAHMER: Did other powers take a part in the occupation of Czechoslovakia?

GÖRING: Yes. Poland took the Olsa territory at that time.

DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution have presented a document from which the conclusion is drawn that the murder of the German Ambassador was to take place in connection with anti-German demonstrations in Prague. It has been interpreted as if this assassination of the German Ambassador were to be carried out in order to provide a motive for the annexation.

GÖRING: That comes before the solution of the Sudeten German problem, and I listened very carefully when that point came up. I also remember what the facts really were. It was not discussed in that way and should not be interpreted, that we wanted to murder our own Ambassadors, or had even considered this possibility, in order to find a motive for settling this problem. But we considered the possibilities which might lead to an immediate clash. In view of the tension which existed between Czechoslovakia and Germany in regard to Sudeten Germany, the possibility was also considered that the German Ambassador in Prague might actually be assassinated by the Czechs, and that this would necessitate immediate action on Germany’s part under all circumstances, quite apart from any other political actions.

This possibility arose from the fact that outside the German Embassy in Prague there had been a number of demonstrations, which cannot be denied, for which reason Germany had sent arms to the Embassy for its defense, so threatening was the situation. For these reasons we talked of that possibility. That has been wrongly understood here. We did not want to have the Ambassador assassinated as a provocation, or a possible provocation, but we saw the possibility of such an assassination being committed by the other side; and then the Führer would have acted immediately.

DR. STAHMER: To what extent were confiscations carried out in Czechoslovakia?

GÖRING: Before the war no confiscation took place in Czechoslovakia, that is, no economic goods were taken away. On the contrary, Czechoslovakia’s large and vigorous economic capacity was aligned in its full extent with the economic capacity of Germany. That is to say, we attached importance above all to the fact that, now that we had declared the Protectorate and thus concluded an action, the Skoda Works and the Brünn Armament Works, that is important armament works, would naturally be included in the armament potential of Germany. That means that orders were sent there for the time being to a considerable extent. Over and above that we even created new industries there and gave our support in respect to this.

The accusation had been raised that among other things we dismantled new rails there and replaced them with old rails from Germany. I believe that to be a complete error, for the transportation system in Czechoslovakia, the Protectorate, was one of the most important for Germany. The entire southeastern transportation from the Balkans went through the Protectorate, first, in the direction of Vienna, Prague, Dresden, and Berlin; and secondly, the main line of Vienna-Lundenburg-Oderberg-Breslau. And, since the canal had not been completed, the entire transportation of all economic goods no longer made a detour around the border, but took the shortest way. We would have been mad if we had weakened this transportation system. I can think of only one explanation, and that is that during the extension of the existing transportation system perhaps, many rails from German stock were also used which later appeared in the government report as “old.” But that we dismantled new for old is absolute nonsense.

Furthermore, it is obvious that as Sudetenland was included in the Reich, the accusation that state property and forests were taken over into German State possession has no bearing; for naturally if a country is taken over, then its state property must also become the property of the new state.

Likewise the accusation, as far as Sudetenland is concerned, that the banks there were affiliated with German banks is obviously not justified, as German currency was introduced for the country, and therefore the branch banks also had to be converted to that.

As far as the later Protectorate is concerned, I have already emphasized that even before the creation of that Protectorate a strong economic penetration of Czechoslovakia had been prepared by me, on the one hand by our acquiring shares from other owners which gave us a voice in Czech and Slovak enterprises, and further I believe, by our replacing certain loans originally made by Western powers.

In this connection the Hermann Göring Werke came to the fore, as they had acquired large number of shares in the Skoda Works, in order to use the latter as a finishing industry for the products of their own rolling mills and steel works, just as they used other industries in Germany.

Moreover, after, the creation of the Protectorate, the total economic capacity of the Protectorate was of course amalgamated with Germany’s total economic capacity.

DR. STAHMER: On 15 November 1937 a discussion with the Führer took place at the Reich Chancellery, a record of which was prepared by a certain Colonel Hossbach, and that has been referred to as Hitler’s last will. It has repeatedly been the subject of the proceedings here. May I ask you for a short explanation as to what significance this conference had. I am going to have that document shown to you. It is Document Number 386-PS.

GÖRING: This document has already been shown to me here, and I am fairly familiar with the contents. This document played an important role in the Indictment, since it appears under the heading “Testament of the Führer.” This word “testament” is, in fact, used in one place by Hossbach.

As far as the technical aspect of this record is concerned, I want to say the following: Hossbach was the adjutant of the Führer, the chief adjutant. As such, he was present at the meeting and took notes. Five days later, as I have ascertained, he prepared this record on the basis of his notes. This is, therefore, a record which contains all the mistakes which easily occur in a record, which is not taken down on the spot by alternating stenographers, and which under certain circumstances contains the subjective opinions of the recorder or his own interpretations.

It contains a number of points, as I said at the time, which correspond exactly to what the Führer had repeatedly said; but there are other points and expressions which I may say do not seem like the Führer’s words.

During the last months I have seen too many records and interrogations which in part had nothing to do with it nor with the interpretation which had been given to it; for that reason I must here too point out the sources of mistakes.

As far as the word “testament” is concerned, the use of this word contradicts the Führer’s views completely. If anybody at all knows anything about these views, it is I.

The decision that I was to be the successor was not made first on 1 September 1939, but as early as the late autumn of 1934. I have often had the opportunity of discussing the question of a so-called political testament with the Führer. He turned it down, giving as his reason the fact that one could never appoint a successor by means of a political testament, for developments and political events must allow him complete freedom of action at all times. Quite possibly one could set down political wishes or views, but never binding statements in the shape of a will. That was his view then and as long as I stood in his confidence.

Now, what did he aim at in this discussion? The Minister of War, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and the Luftwaffe and the then Reich Foreign Minister were called together. Shortly before the Führer had informed me, as I was there earlier, that he was going to call this meeting mainly in order, as he called it, to put pressure on General Von Fritsch, since he was dissatisfied with the rearmament of the Army. He said it would not do any harm if Herr Von Blomberg would also exercise a certain amount of pressure on Von Fritsch.

I asked why Von Neurath was to be present. He said he did not want the thing to look too military, that as far as the commanders-in-chief were concerned it was not so important, but that he wanted to make it very clear to Commander-in-Chief Fritsch that the foreign political situation required a forced speed in armament and that for that reason he had asked the Foreign Minister, who knew nothing about the details, to come along.

The statements were then made in the way the Führer preferred on such occasions. He went to great lengths to picture things within a large political framework and he talked about the whole world situation from all angles; and for anybody who knew him as well as I did the purpose which he pursued was obvious. He was quite clearly aiming at saying that he had great plans, that the political situation was such and such, and the whole thing ended in the direction of a stronger armament program. I should like to say that, if the Führer, a couple of hours later, had talked to another group, for instance, diplomats of the Foreign Office, or Party functionaries, then he probably would have represented matters quite differently.

Nevertheless, some of these statements naturally do reflect the basic attitude of the Führer, but with the best intentions I cannot attach the same measure of significance to the document as is being attached to it here.

DR. STAHMER: You said you had been considered as the Führer’s successor. Were you in this capacity initiated in all political problems by Hitler?

GÖRING: I am now talking of the period of my good relations, which lasted until long into the war. Of course he informed me of all important political and military problems. He initiated me into these problems for the most part in many long discussions, which would take place for many hours, day after day. Sometimes I was certainly surprised concerning foreign political questions, but whenever possible I found things out for myself, and on one occasion he said, in fact, that I had a decided opinion of my own on foreign matters and that he did not always find it easy to agree with me. But I want to emphasize that on all important political questions I was, of course, always informed.

DR. STAHMER: On 23 May 1939 a conference took place with the Führer, which was briefly discussed in connection with the examination of the witness Milch.

A report of that was also made, Document Number L-79. According to the wording of that report, you participated in this meeting, but the witness Milch stated that you were not present.

GÖRING: Actually I was not present. Milch was called in at the last moment to represent me. But, of course, if the witness says that he had not received any permission from the Führer to inform me, then you must understand that the Führer did not want to have me informed of this matter by way of my state secretary, but wanted rather to inform me himself. But no, I was actually present at this meeting—I see that now from another clue. But even if I had not been present, I think Milch must have been thinking of another meeting. That would not be one of any importance, for it is out of the question that the Führer would have had a conference with such gentlemen without notifying me either before, or afterwards if I myself were absent. It is, therefore, not at all important. It is quite obvious that in such cases I was informed either previously or, if I was not present, afterwards in great detail by the Führer. But I see now that Milch must have made a mistake here, and he is probably thinking of another meeting, for at the very end I asked some questions with respect to the armament program which I now recall very well.

DR. STAHMER: What was the significance of this meeting?

GÖRING: It was a conference held by the Führer at which he once more stated his views with regard to the situation and the tasks demanded of the Wehrmacht as a result of this situation. Once more the main point was to inform the Armed Forces concerning armament and preparedness, that he was considering all possible developments, political and otherwise, and that he himself wanted to have complete freedom of decision.

Looking back, in regard to the events which have occurred up to this moment—and I need not emphasize how easily matters viewed in retrospect, in the light of their development, are seen and presented differently to what they actually were when they occurred—but I can now easily say that even at that time I wanted this or that, since I have in the meantime achieved it. I can easily say also—this involuntarily suggests itself—that this or that was always my intention, even though one knows perfectly well that one was originally very dependent on other factors, and that under certain circumstances one’s intentions at that time might have been quite different.

Generally speaking, this is another case where there are misconceptions on the part of the adjutant; but, on the whole, it is typical of the conferences which the Führer used to hold when he had some particular purpose in mind which he wanted to achieve and wanted to give this aim the necessary emphasis.

DR. STAHMER: During the period from 1935 to 1938 you made many state visits to Poland. What was the purpose of these visits?

GÖRING: After German-Polish relations had been clarified in 1934, the Führer wished a strengthening of that pact and the creation of a better atmosphere. He requested me to take over this task because he believed that I would find it easy to talk to these Polish gentlemen, which was indeed the case.

The President of the Polish State had invited me. That was in 1935, and from then on—in 1935, 1936 and 1937—I spent about 1 or 2 weeks in Poland each year. I had a long discussion with the then Marshal Pilsudski, and afterwards always with the Foreign Minister, and Marshal Rydz-Smygly.

At that time the Führer had given me the serious task—not a task of deception—while improving relations, to tell Poland that he was interested in a strong Poland, because a strong Poland would be an excellent barrier between Germany and Russia. The Führer had laid stress on the solution of the Danzig question and the Corridor question in speaking to me at that time, and had said that the opportunity for this would come, but that, until then, there might be some sort of opportunity to come to an agreement with Poland about that problem. The Lithuanian problem played a part in this. But the decisive factor is that he did not say, “Lull Poland to sleep. I am going to attack Poland afterwards.” It was never the case, that from the very beginning, as has often been represented here, we got together and, conspiring, laid down every point of our plans for decades to come. Rather, everything arose out of the play of political forces and interests, as has always been everywhere the case, the whole world over, in matters of state policy. I had this task, and I consciously considered it a serious task and carried it out with an honest belief in it. Consequently, when the clash with Poland came about it was not a very pleasant situation for me.

DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude toward the Memel, Danzig, and Polish Corridor question?

GÖRING: My attitude was always unequivocal. It was that Danzig and the Free State, as purely German territory, should at some date in the near future return to Germany. On the other hand, we certainly recognized that Poland should have access to the sea, and also a port. Consequently, our first thought was that the Free State and Danzig should be returned to us and that through the Polish Corridor there should be a German traffic lane. That was a very small and most modest demand which for a long time was considered absolutely necessary, and seemed to us quite possible.

DR. STAHMER: Another conference with the Führer took place on 23 November 1939. The record of that conference is Document Number 789-PS, which was submitted to the Tribunal. I ask you to look at this document and then to tell me briefly what your attitude is toward the subject of this conference.

GÖRING: About that I can be comparatively brief. This is an address before the commanders-in-chief and commanders of the formations and armies which were to be made ready for the attack in the West after Poland’s defeat. This is quite understandable to me and indeed requires no explanation if the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who is actually leading these forces, decides to undertake a strategic and extensive tactical operation, as in this case, after the end of the Polish Campaign. The Führer wanted under all circumstances, and was perfectly correct, to transfer the troops in the late autumn and carry out the blow against France, so that in the autumn and winter of 1939 the end of that operation could be achieved. What prevented him was the weather, since without using the Air Force he could not carry out this operation, particularly the penetration of the Maginot Line at Sedan. He needed good flying weather for at least 4 or 5 days at the beginning of the attack. Merely because we could not assure him of such weather conditions for weeks and weeks, the matter dragged on into the winter and was eventually postponed, after Christmas and New Year, until the beginning of the spring.

But this was at a time when he still believed that he could carry it through. Therefore he called the commanders-in-chief together and informed them about the orders for attack. It was one of the speeches customarily made in such cases. Naturally, since the Führer was not only a military man but above all a politician, it always happened that these military speeches, which a soldier would have confined exclusively to the military-strategical field, were always to a large extent filled with references to his political views and his political tendencies or intentions. It must never be forgotten that he gave such speeches not only as the Commander-in-Chief or the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but also as the head of the German State; and that is why so frequently there was such a strong political tendency even to the military speeches.

But no general was asked on such occasions what his opinions were or whether he approved of the principal tendencies of the policy or not. At such speeches he was not even asked whether he approved of the military plan or not; that happened at another time. If a matter was concluded and purely strategical-tactical matters had been discussed with the single commanders, then came a summary, also definitely political, in which the last final concluding thoughts of the Führer were presented to the generals. And if—this I emphasize since it has often played a role here—if a general had been able to say, “My Führer, I consider your statements wrong and not in keeping with the agreements we have made,” or “This is not a policy of which we can approve,” it would have defied understanding. Not because that particular general would have been shot; but I would have doubted the sanity of that man, because how does one imagine that a state can be led if, during a war, or before a war, which the political leaders have decided upon, whether wrongly or rightly, the individual general could vote whether he was going to fight or not, whether his army corps was going to stay at home or not, or could say, “I must first ask my division.” Perhaps one of them would go along, and the other stay at home! That privilege in this case would have to be afforded the ordinary soldier too. Perhaps this would be the way to avoid wars in the future, if one were to ask every soldier whether he wanted to go home! Possibly, but not in a Führer State. This I should like to emphasize, that in every state of the world the military formula is clearly defined. When there is a war, or when the state leadership decides upon war, the military leaders receive their military tasks. With respect to these they can voice an opinion, can make proposals as to whether they want to press the attack on the left or the right or in the center. But whether they thereby march through a neutral state or not, is not the business of military leadership. That is entirely the responsibility of the political leadership of the state. Therefore there could be no possibility that a general discussion as to right or wrong would ensue; rather the generals had already received their orders. The Supreme Commander had decided and therefore there was nothing left for a soldier to discuss; and that applies to a field marshal as well as to the ordinary soldier.

DR. STAHMER: A Führer Decree of 7 October 1939 bears your signature. In this decree Himmler is given the task of germanizing. This decree is presented as Document Number 686-PS. Please look at this and say what the significance of this decree is?

GÖRING: This decree of 7 October 1939 was issued after the Polish campaign had ended. Poland at that time had been conquered and the Polish State as such had ceased to exist. I draw your attention to the note of the then People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs in Russia, Molotov, who states his opinion about this, according to which that injustice which Germany had felt, when in the Treaty of Versailles German provinces were detached and given over to Poland, had been compensated by the victory of arms. It was therefore a matter of course for us that that part of Poland, which until 1918 had been German, should again be given back, that is, returned to Germany. But in that territory, in the course of years, more than one million Germans who had formerly lived there, who had had property there, particularly farms, estates, et cetera, had been thrown out, expelled and dispossessed. That is quite clear from numerous complaints which during the years after 1919 had been made to the League of Nations about this matter; and a study of all these complaints and of all the events which had been reported there, which must still be in the archives at Geneva, will prove to what an enormous extent the Polonization of these German territories was carried out. This decree aimed to put an end to that and to make these territories German once more, that is, that those farms and estates from which Germans had been driven, should once more come into the hands of Germans. The fact that this task was given to Himmler did not meet with my full agreement; but at the moment that was not of decisive importance. He was given this task, not in his capacity as Chief of the Police, but because, as is known, he was always particularly and keenly interested in the question of the new development of the German people, and therefore this office of “Folkdom” or whatever it was called—just a moment, it does not make any difference—anyhow Himmler was given this task. The Führer issued the law. I naturally was also a signatory, since I was the Chairman of the Ministerial Council at the time, and then it was also signed by the Chief of the Chancellery, Lammers. These signatures are a matter of course. I take a very positive attitude to this; it was quite in accordance with my views, that where the Germans had been driven out from what were German territories, they should return. But I want to draw your attention to the fact that this, to be exact, is a question of former German provinces.

DR. STAHMER: You mean the occupied western Polish provinces?

GÖRING: Yes. The Government, for instance, was not appointed for purposes of Germanization. If Germans later were settled there—and I am not certain of that—that was not done on the basis of this decree. You asked about my attitude to the Memel question, I believe. Danzig and the Polish Corridor, I have emphasized. Memel was a comparatively small matter. In Memel, according to the Treaty of Versailles or the League of Nations, there was to be a plebiscite. Shortly before, the Lithuanians occupied Memel and the Memel territory. In order to prevent the plebiscite Lithuania incorporated Memel and thereby produced a fait accompli. Complaints of the German Government at that time naturally were as futile as all previous complaints to the League of Nations. What the Lithuanians had done was regretted, it was considered false and wrong, but there could be no talk about returning it, or going through with the prescribed plebiscite. After the Lithuanians, in violation of all agreements, had occupied Memel, it was naturally our absolute national right to rectify this encroachment and now to occupy Memel ourselves.

DR. STAHMER: On 19 October 1939 you published a decree which ordered the removal of economic goods from Poland. This decree has been submitted in Document Number EC-410. I should like to have your opinion on this decree.

GÖRING: This is a decree which represents general instructions as to what economic procedure should be adopted in the whole of the Polish territory occupied by us. It regulates the seizure and administration of property of the Polish State within the territories occupied by German troops, money and credit matters, the taking of economic measures, the preparation for a settlement with foreign creditors which would become necessary, et cetera. Confiscation was to be carried out only by the Main Trustee Office East, et cetera. It is not so much a question of the removal of economic goods. That was not the case. On the contrary, even in the Government General, the economy in existence there, that economy of course which could be used for purposes of war at that time, was strengthened and extended. Such economy as was not absolutely essential was cut down, just as in the rest of Germany and in all other states in the event of war. As far as those raw materials are concerned which were available and were important for the conduct of the war, such as steel or copper or tin, it was my view, or better said my intention, that these raw materials should be converted into manufactured products there where they could most quickly be used for manufacture. If the locality and its transportation facilities permitted it, they should remain and be used for manufacture there. If it was not possible to use them for manufacture on the spot, I would of course not let raw materials of importance for the war lie there, but would have them brought to wherever they could most quickly be used to serve the needs of the war. That is in general, what this decree says. That was my basic attitude and my basic instruction. The object was the quickest and most purposeful use for manufacture wherever it was possible.

DR. STAHMER: On 19 November 1945 a Dr. Kajetan Mühlmann made an affidavit, which has been presented by the Prosecution under Document Number 3042-PS. In this it says the following in three short sentences:

“I was the Special Deputy of the Governor General of Poland, Hans Frank, for the safeguarding of art treasures in the Government General from October 1939 to September 1943. This task was given to me by Göring in his capacity as the Chairman of the Committee for Reich Defense. I confirm that it was the official policy of the Governor General, Hans Frank, to take in custody all important works of art which belonged to Polish public institutions, private collections and the church. I confirm that the mentioned works of art were actually confiscated and I am aware that, in the event of a German victory, they would not have remained in Poland but would have been used to complete German art collections.”

GÖRING: Actually I had nothing directly to do with the safeguarding of art treasures in Poland, absolutely nothing, in my capacity as Chairman of the Ministerial Council for the Reich Defense. However, Mühlmann, whom I knew, did come to see me and told me that he was to take steps for the safeguarding of art treasures there. It was my view too that these art treasures should be safeguarded during the war, regardless of what was to be done with them later, so that no destruction would be possible through fire, bombing, et cetera. I want to emphasize now—I shall refer to this matter again later in connection with France—that nothing was taken from these art treasures for my so-called collection. I mention that just incidentally. That these art treasures were actually safeguarded is correct, and was also intended, partly for the reason that the owners were not there. Wherever the owners were present, however—I remember Count Potocki of Lincut, for instance—the art collections were left where they were. The Führer had not yet finally decided what was to be done with these art treasures. He had given an order—and I communicated that by letter to Mühlmann and also, as far as I remember, to Frank—that these art treasures were for the time being to be brought to Königsberg. Four pictures were to be taken to the safety “bunker” or the safety room of the German Museum in Berlin or to the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. The Dürer drawings in Lemberg also figured here. In this connection I want to mention them now, since the Prosecution has already concerned itself with them. The Dürer drawings in Lemberg were not confiscated by us at that time, because Lemberg had become Russian. Not until the march against Russia were these Lemberg drawings—as far as I can remember from Mühlmann’s story—rescued from the burning city in the battle by a Polish professor, who had hidden from the Russians until that time, and he gave them over to him. They were drawings and he came with them to visit me. Although I am usually very interested in such things I unfortunately did not have time to look at them properly, as I was on my way to the Führer at the moment. I took them along with me and, as Mühlmann has confirmed, delivered them there immediately. Where they went after that I do not know. I believe I have now answered the question about the Polish art treasures. Apart from that there is still the Veit Stoss altar, which was originally made here in Nuremberg, a purely German work. The Führer wished that this altar should come to the Germanisches Museum here in Nuremberg—with that I personally had nothing to do. I merely know about it. What was intended to be done with it finally had not yet been stated. But it is certain that it also would have been mentioned in negotiations for peace.

DR. STAHMER: What connection did you have with Quisling?

GÖRING: I met Quisling for the first time long after the occupation of Norway, for the first and only time. He was in Berlin, visited me, and we had a short, unimportant conversation. Before that, that is before the outbreak of war, one of his men whom I did not know personally sent a letter to me, which has been shown to me here but which I myself cannot remember, as such letters, according to our practice, were hardly ever submitted to me—that is immaterial. In that letter he expressed himself in Quisling’s name to the effect that we should give financial support to Quisling’s movement, and he described to what extent political money contributions, on the one side from Russia—the Communist Party there—and on the other from England, would flow into the political office concerned. Then I—later on someone discussed with me whether some sort of contribution could be given to Quisling by way of coal deliveries. My point of view was that, because of the foreign exchange situation and other factors—we were not so rich, we naturally could not compete with the Russian or English money contributions—those authorities should be consulted who could judge whether it was expedient to give the Quisling movement financial support or not. If they answered in the affirmative, then it would be perfectly clear to me that Quisling should receive money. The amount concerned, which I also would have given, was very much higher than the amount which was, I believe, paid later on by the Führer by way of the Foreign Office.

I never thought much of such small money contributions; if one was going to give, then one should give properly, so that an end could really be gained thereby. From the last World War I had experience enough in connection with the money which went to the Romanian Parliament, but which was unfortunately too little. On the basis of these experiences it was my advice that if we were to contribute, then we should give the proper amount. Apart from this, as I said, I did not become acquainted with Quisling until much later, and had a very unimportant conversation with him, which I do not remember.

DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude towards the Norway project?

GÖRING: The Norwegian project surprised me rather, since strangely enough for a rather long time I was not informed about it. The Führer went very far in his basic decree, which I already mentioned at the beginning, and did not call in the Air Force until very late. But since the most important part of this undertaking fell to the Air Force, I expressed my views in regard to this in an unmistakable and unfriendly fashion. From a military point of view I was definitely against this undertaking as such, since as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, quite independent of political considerations, I had first of all to think exclusively of strategic considerations. That it would considerably improve my position as far as the Air Force was concerned if my squadrons could operate against England from Norwegian bases was obvious, and would be obvious to any prudent military expert. From the strategic point of view I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, could take only a very definite stand against this undertaking. My objection was, firstly, that I had been informed too late and, secondly, that the plans did not seem quite correct to me.

DR. STAHMER: Was Hitler afraid of complications with Sweden, because of this occupation?

GÖRING: Yes, not because of occupation by German forces as such; but when we, that is, the Führer, decided to occupy Norway, we already had considerable and detailed information regarding the intended occupation by the English and French, which was later also confirmed by the papers of the English and French General Staff which we captured. In this connection we also knew that the intention was not merely of occupying Norway, but, above all, of cutting off the Swedish ore deliveries to Germany by way of Narvik, and, over and above that, of intervening on the side of Finland in the Russian-Finnish conflict, which was still taking place at the time. The Führer feared that Sweden would yield entirely to English pressure, that is, under the pretext of coming to Finland’s aid, a march through would be allowed, thereby effecting the complete cutting off of the Swedish iron ore basin and the ore deliveries to us. I took a very heavy responsibility upon myself at that time by assuring Hitler that I knew Sweden and her people and her King so well that I knew that, whoever might want to exert pressure on Sweden, regardless of which power—whether our power or another—Sweden under all circumstances would defend her neutrality, with arms against any power that tried to violate it, no matter what reasons there might be for this violation. And I said that I personally and consciously would take the responsibility for this, and that we could rest assured in this respect. Therewith the question was settled.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 15 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Friday, 15 March 1946

Morning Session

DR. STAHMER: What reasons were decisive for the invasion of Holland and Belgium?

GÖRING: This question had first been investigated from the purely military and strategic point of view. To begin with it had been examined whether the neutrality of the two States would be guaranteed absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: There is some difficulty with the equipment. The Tribunal will adjourn.

[A recess was taken.]

DR. STAHMER: Would you please continue.

GÖRING: I repeat. At first, we had to determine whether the neutrality of Holland and Belgium would, under all circumstances, be assured in case of a conflict and a war in the West. In the beginning it seemed as if it would. Then information came that negotiations had taken place not only between Belgium and France but also between Holland and England. There was an incident at Venlo, where a Dutch officer of the general staff had been caught on German territory, and I believe another one was shot by the frontier post during this occurrence, which made it clear that this neutrality could not be maintained under certain conditions and under increased pressure from the enemy side.

Now if neutrality was not assured under all circumstances, a tremendous danger would exist in battle, in that the right flank was menaced and exposed. The purely military authorities, who were concerned only with the strategic point of view, when being asked for their opinion had to give it from a purely military angle; that is, to point out that by occupying both countries, the purely military and strategic situation would of course be different from what it would be if this were not done, and such an occupation were undertaken by the enemy.

An additional element which gave rise to doubt as to the absolute neutrality of these countries was the fact that nearly all flights from Great Britain into Germany, which took place at that time, went over Dutch or Belgian territory. Reliable information reached us that the Belgian Army, which at the beginning of the war had been reinforced on its southwestern frontier, was being regrouped and drawn up along the German border with all its full fighting force.

Further information indicated that an interchange of views between the French and Belgian General Staffs had taken place, and that, under pressure from the French General Staff, Belgium had promised to intensify the work on the fortification line of the Maas against Germany.

Other information indicated that the chief of the French General Staff, Gamelin, as well as Admiral Darlan and the chief of the Air Force, Vuillemin, insisted on the occupation of Belgium under all circumstances, for the security of France, and that considerable negotiations were taking place on this subject between the French and the British governments. The information at the time was highly reliable. How correct and absolutely clear it was became evident later when, after marching into France, we found the secret documents of the French General Staff, and also minutes of conferences which had taken place between the French and British Governments in the so-called Supreme Military Council.

It was the opinion of the Führer that the incapability of these countries to maintain their neutrality in the face of increased French and British pressure would in consequence expose to extreme danger the Ruhr area, which was particularly vital to us. How justified this opinion was can also be seen from reports in which the British chief of government suggested, and had also fully explained by the experts in the Military Council, how best the Ruhr Valley could be attacked by low-flying British aircraft, which would approach over Belgium and then, at the last moment, in a short flight from Belgium could attack the Ruhr Valley and destroy the most important industries there.

If that was not carried out at first, it was due to the concern of the French Premier, for he, on his part, was worried about French industry and wanted to leave it to the other side to make the first attacks against industrial areas. England insisted, however, that she would be able to carry out this attack on the Ruhr Valley via Belgium at any time.

If one takes into consideration how short the flying distance is from the Belgian border to the most important industries of the Ruhr Valley, only a few minutes, one can then fully realize the danger which would arise if the neutrality of Belgium was not respected by our enemies. On the other hand, if it were respected, an attack by the British Air Force on the Ruhr Valley would have necessitated a relatively long flight over the Helgoländer Bucht from the north, and at that time it would easily have been possible for us to avoid and to repel such an attack. If, however, they came via Belgium, it would have been almost impossible.

In this hard struggle it was necessary in the first place, to think of our own war interests and our own existence, and not to leave the advantage to the enemy. At the very moment one was sincerely convinced of the reality of the danger threatening our people, and above all our Armed Forces; that danger had to be eliminated, in advance, and we had to secure for ourselves those advantages which the adversary had expected.

DR. STAHMER: For what reason were officers interned in France again, even after the war was over?

GÖRING: First I would like to correct an expression in regard to this question. In France the war as such was not terminated at all. An armistice had been concluded. This armistice was a very generous one. Even the preamble of this armistice showed a tendency to coming conciliation, in contrast to that armistice which had been signed in 1918 on the same spot.

When, at the time, Marshal Pétain asked for an armistice, the first answer he received was that capitulation would have to be unconditional. Later, however, we gave him to understand that quite a number of wishes concerning the fleet, certain parts of the unoccupied territory, and the respecting of the colonies would be considered. The situation was such that Germany at that moment could have insisted on an absolutely unconditional surrender, since no French forces of any consequence, or any help that might come from England, were available to prevent a complete military catastrophe in France.

No line, no French formation, could have stopped the breakthrough of German troops to the Mediterranean. No reserves were available in England. All the available forces were in the expeditionary force which had been routed in the Belgian and northern French area and finally at Dunkirk.

In this armistice those conditions were respected for which a wish had been expressed. The Führer also, apart from that, had hinted at a certain generous solution, especially in regard to the question of captured officers. When, contrary to far-reaching satisfaction which we had hoped for, and which we really got at the beginning, the resistance movement within France began to develop gradually by means of propaganda from across the Channel, and the establishment there of a new center of resistance under General de Gaulle, it was perfectly understandable, from my point of view, that French officers would offer their services as patriots. But at the same time it was just as natural for Germany, recognizing that danger and in trying to overcome it, again to take as prisoners of war those elements who would be the leaders and experts in such military resistance movements, that is to say all those officers who were still moving freely in France. That was a necessary basic condition in order to avoid the danger of a war in our back and of a renewed flare-up in France. I believe that it is quite unique, that, while war was still raging on all fronts, officers of a country with whom one had only an armistice were permitted to move around freely when war was at its height. As far as I know, that was the first time in the history of warfare that such a thing had happened.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us specific facts to explain why the struggle in France, which was apparently carried out in a mutually honorable manner in 1940, later took on such a bitter character?

GÖRING: One must consider the two phases of the war with France completely separately. The first phase was the great military conflict, that is to say, the attack of the German forces against the French Army. This struggle was executed quickly. One cannot say that it was a chivalrous fight throughout, because from that period we know of several acts on the part of the French against our prisoners, which were recorded in the White Books and later presented to the International Red Cross in Geneva. But all in all, it kept within the usual bounds of a military war with the excesses that always occur here and there in such a struggle.

After that had been terminated, appeasement and quiet set in for the time being. Only later, when the struggle continued and expanded, especially when the fight against Russia was added, and, as I said before, when on the opposite side a new French center of leadership had been created, then in the countries of the West, which had been quiet until then and where no serious incidents had taken place, a definite intensification of the resistance movement became evident. There were attacks on German officers and soldiers; hand grenades and bombs were thrown into restaurants where German officers or soldiers were present. Bombs were even thrown in places where there were women, members of the Women’s Auxiliary Signal Service and Red Cross nurses. Cars were attacked, communications cut, trains blown up, and this on a growing scale.

A war behind the front during a period of land warfare represented difficulty enough but when aerial warfare was added, entirely new possibilities and methods were developed. Night after night a large number of planes came and dropped a tremendous quantity of explosives and arms, instructions, et cetera for this resistance movement, in order to strengthen and enlarge it. The German counterintelligence succeeded, by means of aerial deception and code keys dropped by enemy planes, in getting into their hands a large part of these materials; but a sufficient amount was left which fell into the hands of the resistance movement. The atrocities committed in this connection were also widespread. As to this, documents can be submitted. Of course . . .

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If the Tribunal please, I am very reluctant to interrupt this examination, but I should like to ask if the Tribunal will avail itself of the Charter provision to require from Counsel a statement as to how this is relevant to the charges which we are engaged in trying.

It raises a rather large and important question, and that question is this, as I see it: It raises a question which involves a great deal of time, if time is an important element in this proceeding.

For the purposes of this statement, I may admit that there were actions taken by partisan groups within occupied territories which were very annoying and very objectionable and very injurious to the would-be conqueror. If it is sought to introduce testimony as to what partisans did toward the German occupying forces, on the theory of reprisal, then I respectfully submit that Counsel is proceeding in reverse order, that is to say, if the Defense says “Yes, we did commit certain atrocities; we did violate international law,” then it may be that the motive—I shall argue that it is not—is relevant under the Hague Convention, but then at least we might have that question presented.

But unless this evidence is offered on the theory that reprisals would be justified, it has no place, I submit, in the case. If it is offered on the basis of establishing a theory of reprisal, our first inquiry is, what is it that reprisals were for? In other words, the doctrine of reprisal can only be invoked when you first admit that you committed certain definite acts in violation of international law. Then your question is whether you were justified. I submit that it might shorten and certainly would clarify this proceeding, if counsel will definitely state as to what acts on the part of the German occupying force he is directing this testimony, as I suppose, to excuse it; and that, unless there is some theory of reprisal pointed out with sufficient definiteness, so that we may identify the violations on Germany’s part for which she is seeking excuse by way of reprisal, this testimony is not helpful in deciding the ultimate question.

The question here is not whether the occupying countries resisted. Of course they resisted. The question is whether acts of the character we have shown can be excused by way of reprisal; and, if so, there must be an admission of those acts, and the doctrine of reprisal must be set forth, it seems to me, much more specifically.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Stahmer.

DR. STAHMER: I have not been able to get all of the statement, because the translation did not quite keep up with it, but I believe that for the following reasons what we have discussed up to now is relevant:

The defendants are accused of the fact that hostages were taken in large numbers and shot and it is maintained that this was not justified; at any rate, the motives which led to the taking of hostages have not, up to now, been discussed, at least not sufficiently. To clarify this question, which is so important for the decisions in this Trial, it is in my opinion absolutely necessary to make it clear that these decrees concerning the arrest and the treatment of hostages were called for by the attitude of the resistance movements. Therefore, in my opinion it could be said with justification that the actions of the resistance movement were the cause for the measures which had to be taken later by the German military authorities, much to their regret.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May I say one word in answer to Dr. Stahmer’s offer, if it be an offer.

The suggestion of Dr. Stahmer that the motives here are to be tried seems to me to lead us very far afield. If he is invoking the international law doctrine of reprisal, then he has to meet the conditions of that doctrine. Article 2 of the Geneva Convention of the 27th of July 1929 provides specifically that measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited. He therefore must relate it to someone other than prisoners of war. Under the doctrine of reprisal, as we understand it, any act which is claimed to be justified as a reprisal must be related to a specific and continuing violation of international law on the other side. That is, it is not every casual and incidental violation which justifies wholesale reprisals. If it were, then international law could have no foundation, for a breach on one side, however unimportant, would completely absolve the other from any rules of warfare.

Secondly, anything which is claimed to be justified as a reprisal must follow within a reasonable time and it must be related reasonably to the offense which it is sought to prevent. That is, you cannot by way of reprisal engage in wholesale slaughter in order to vindicate a single murder. Next it must be shown as to the reprisals that a protest was made, as a basis for invoking reprisals. You cannot engage in reprisals without notice. The reprisal must be noticed and there must be notification by a responsible party of the government.

And next, and most important, a deliberate course of violation of international law cannot be shielded as a reprisal. Specific acts must be reprisals for specific acts under the conditions I have pointed out. You cannot vindicate a reign of terror under the doctrine of reprisals; and so I respectfully submit that the offer of Dr. Stahmer to inquire into the motives of Göring individually, or of all defendants collectively, or of Germany, does not meet any legal test. It might be pointed out to the Tribunal by way of mitigation of sentence after conviction, but is not a proper consideration on the question of guilt or innocence of the charges which we have brought to the bar.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, I understood you to agree that this sort of evidence might be relevant in mitigation of sentence?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think if Your Honors find the defendants guilty, then it comes to the question of sentence, as is our practice. You might find almost anything that a defendant saw fit to urge relevant to the sentence, but I do not take it that Dr. Stahmer is now dealing with the question of offers relevant to that subject. If it is, I should consent that any plea for leniency be heard, of course. It is offered, as I understand it, on the question of guilt.

THE PRESIDENT: That may be so, but the Tribunal may consider it more convenient to hear the evidence now. The Charter, as far as I see, has not provided for any evidence to be given after conviction, if a defendant is convicted. Therefore any evidence which would have to be given in mitigation would be given now.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The difficulty with that, I should think, would be this: that a defendant may very well be found guilty on some counts but not on others. That would require at this time the litigation of the question of sentence, two-thirds of which might be irrelevant because he might not be found guilty on more than one count.

I may be biased in favor of the practice that I know, or at least may be presumed to have some knowledge of. In our procedure the question of guilt is tried first. The question of sentence is a separate subject, to be determined after the verdict. I should think that would be the logical way to proceed here. And I understand that this—and I think Dr. Stahmer confirms my view—that this is not offered on the question of sentence. I do not think he concedes he has reached that point yet.

DR. STAHMER: May I briefly comment on the legal question? It is maintained, or at least this side asserts, that violations of international law were committed in France to a large extent by organizing guerrilla warfare. The struggle against these actions, which do not conform to international law, could be carried out by reprisals, as has just been expounded by Mr. Justice Jackson. It is correct that there were certain reasons for the application of reprisals, but in my opinion it is questionable if such . . .

THE PRESIDENT: May I ask whether you agree that the conditions which Mr. Justice Jackson stated are accurately stated?

DR. STAHMER: Yes, but we have to deal here, in my opinion, with the fact of an emergency, caused by conduct violating international law, that is by unleashing guerrilla warfare. This fact justified the army commanders to take general measures in order to remove these conditions brought about illegally. Therefore, at any rate, these facts are of importance for determining the verdict.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not propose to hear an unlimited number of the defendants’ counsel, but I observe that Dr. Exner is there, and they are prepared to hear one other counsel—if counsel wish, Dr. Exner—upon the subject.

DR. FRANZ EXNER (Counsel for Defendant Jodl): May it please the Tribunal. We are indeed, all interested in the question of reprisals, and I would like to say a few words.

For 10 years I have lectured on international law at the university and I believe I understand a little about it. Reprisals are among the most disputed terms of international law. One can say that only on one point there is absolute certainty, namely that point, which Mr. Justice Jackson mentioned first—“measures of reprisals against prisoners of war are prohibited.” Everything else is matter of dispute and not at all valid as international law. It is not correct that it is the general practice in all states, and therefore valid international law, that a protest is a prerequisite for taking reprisals. Neither is it correct that there has to be a so-called reasonable connection. It was asserted that there must be a relation as regards time, and above all a proportionality between the impending and the actually committed violation of international law. There are scholars of international law who assert, and it is indeed so, that it would be desirable that there be proportionality in every case. But in existing international law, in the sense that some agreement has been made to that effect or that it has become international legal usage, this is not the case. It will have to be said therefore, on the basis of violations of international law by the other side, that we under no circumstances make a war of reprisals against prisoners of war, every other form of reprisals is, however, admissible.

I just wanted to state that in general terms; and perhaps I still might say that it has been asserted that we may not speak about reasons for mitigation now. I would like to remind the Tribunal that we are permitted to make only one address, and if in this speech, which takes place before the decision has been reached on the question of guilt, we are not permitted to speak about mitigation, then we would not have any opportunity to speak about it at all.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that the evidence is admissible on the question of reprisals, and the weight that should be given this or similar evidence will be reserved for future consideration.

DR. STAHMER: Will you please continue?

GÖRING: I believe that the statement which I am about to make will fulfill those conditions which Justice Jackson has requested; namely, I do not in any way deny that things happened which may be hotly debatable as far as international law is concerned. Also other things occurred which under any circumstances must be considered as excesses. I wanted only to explain how it happened, not from the point of view of international law as regards reprisals, but considering it only from the feeling of the threatened soldier, who was constantly hindered in the execution of his task, not by regular troops in open combat, but by partisans at his back.

Out of all those things which I need not go into any further, this animosity arose which led spontaneously—or in certain cases was ordered as a necessity in a national emergency—to these partial excesses committed here and there by the troops. One must go back to that period of stormy battles. Today, after the lapse of years, in a quiet discussion of the legal basis, these things sound very difficult and even incomprehensible. Expressions made at the moment of embitterment, today, without an understanding of that situation, sound quite different. It was solely my intention to depict to the Tribunal for just one moment that atmosphere in which and out of which such actions, even if they could not always be excused, would appear understandable, and in a like situation were also carried out by others. That was and is my answer to the question why the conditions in France necessitated two entirely different phases of war—the first, that of the regular fighting, with which I have finished; the second, that of the fighting which was not carried out by regular troops, but by those coming out of hiding, from the underground, which always will and at all times has entailed cruelties and excesses quite different to those of regular military fighting. It often happens here that single actions occur, be it by individuals or by troop units, which the Supreme Command cannot always control or possibly keep in hand.

DR. STAHMER: What measures were taken by the German occupational authorities in France to help French agriculture during the occupation?

GÖRING: I can reply very briefly, and I refer to the testimony of the witness Körner, which I can only confirm. By that I mean that in France agriculture was tremendously promoted and increased during the period of occupation. A large number of tracts of fallow land or those which had not been put to good agricultural use were turned to profitable cultivation; other tracts, through intensified use of fertilizers or other means of cultivation, were made considerably more productive.

I am unable to give specific explanations as to just what was done and I am not conversant with the figures showing the increase in agricultural production in the course of the occupation years, which could be given only by the responsible experts.

DR. STAHMER: What were the reasons leading to the introduction of Reichskreditkasse notes in the occupied countries?

GÖRING: A measure which would probably be introduced by every occupying power to regulate money circulation, to keep it in its proper limits, and to keep the country’s currency at a certain level, similar to the procedure which today takes place in all occupied zones of Germany.

DR. STAHMER: Document Number 141-PS is a decree of yours issued 15 November 1940 in which you effected a regulation regarding art objects brought to the Louvre. Are you familiar with this decree or shall I hand it to you?

GÖRING: I remember this document very distinctly as it has played an important part here. These art objects were taken at first to the Louvre and later to the exhibition hall called, I believe, “Salle du Jeu de Paume.” This concerned art objects which were confiscated, being Jewish property, that is ownerless property as their owners had left the country. This order was not issued by me, I was not familiar with it; it was a Führer decree. Then, when I was in Paris I heard of this, and heard also that it was intended that most of these art objects would—as far as they had museum value—be put into a Linz museum which the Führer contemplated building. Personally, I admit this openly, I was interested that not everything should go to southern Germany. I decided quite sometime before, and informed the Finance Minister about it, that after the war, or at some other time which seemed opportune to me, I would found an art gallery containing the objects of art which I already had in my possession before the war, either through purchase, through gifts, or through inheritance, and give it to the German people. Indeed it was my plan that this gallery should be arranged on quite different lines from those usually followed in museums. The plans for the construction of this gallery, which was to be erected as an annex to Karinhall in the big forest of the Schorfheide, and in which the art objects were to be exhibited according to their historical background and age in the proper atmosphere, were ready, only not executed because of the outbreak of war. Paintings, sculptures, tapestries, handicraft, were to be exhibited according to period. Then, when I saw the things in the Salle du Jeu de Paume and heard that the greater part were to go to Linz, that these objects which were considered to be of museum value were to serve only a minor purpose, then, I do admit, my collector’s passion got the better of me; and I said that if these things were confiscated and were to remain so, I would at least like to acquire a small part of them, so that I might include them in this North German gallery to be erected by me.

The Führer agreed to this with one reservation, that he himself should at least see the photographs of those objects which I intended to acquire. In many cases, of course, it so happened that he wished to earmark those particular objects for himself, that is, not for himself but for his museum in Linz, and I had to give them back. From the beginning, however, I wanted to have a clear distinction made, as I meant to pay for those objects which I wanted to have for the gallery I was going to build. Therefore I ordered an art expert, and not a German but a Frenchman—it was some professor whose name I do not recall and to whom I never talked—to value those things. I would then decide whether the price was too high for me, whether I was no longer interested, or whether I was willing to pay the price. One part, the first part, was settled that way, but then the whole thing stopped because some of the objects were sent back and forth; that is, they went back to the Führer and they did not remain with me, and not until the matter was decided could the payment be made. In this decree, which I called a “preliminary decree” and which the Führer would have had to approve, I emphasized that part of the things were to be paid for by me, and those things which were not of museum value were to be sold by auction to French or German dealers, or to whomever was present at the sale; that the proceeds of this, as far as the things were not confiscated but were paid for, was to go to the families of French war victims. I repeatedly inquired where I was to send this money and said that in collaboration with the French authorities a bank account would have to be opened. We were always referring to the opening of such an account. The amount of money was always available in my bank until the end. One day, when I inquired again, I received a surprising answer. The answer was the Reich Treasurer of the Party did not want to have this money paid. I at once answered, and my secretary can verify this on oath, that I could not at all understand what the Reich Treasurer of the Party had to do with this matter and that I wanted to know to which French account I could have this amount transferred. In this case, the Party, that is, the Reich Treasurer, could have no authority to exempt me from paying or not, because I myself had wished to make the payment. Even after France had been occupied again, I once again requested to know the account to which I could remit the amount reserved for it.

In summarizing and concluding, I wish to state that according to a decree I considered these things as confiscated for the Reich. Therefore I believed myself to be justified in acquiring some of these objects, especially as I never made a secret of the fact—either to the Reich Minister for Finance or to anybody else—that these art objects of museum value, as well as the ones I previously mentioned as already in my possession, were being collected for the gallery which I described before.

As far as exchange was concerned, I would like to put this matter straight also. Among the confiscated paintings there were some of the most modern sort, paintings which I personally would not accept and never did, which, however, as I was told, were in demand in the French art trade. Thereupon I said that as far as I was concerned these pictures could also be valued and acquired, in order that they might be exchanged against old masters, in which I am interested. I never exerted any pressure in that direction. I was concerned only as to whether the price asked of me was too high; if so I would not enter into negotiations, but as in every art deal if the offer was suitable I would inquire into the authenticity of what was offered. This much about the exchange; under no circumstances did I exert any pressure.

Later, after I had acquired these objects, I naturally used some of them as well as some of my own for general trading with museums. In other words, if a certain museum was interested in one of those pictures and I was interested, for my gallery, in a picture which was in the possession of that museum, we would make an exchange. This exchange also took place with art dealers from abroad. This did not concern exclusively pictures and art objects of these acquisitions, but also those which I had acquired in the open market, in Germany, Italy, or in other countries or which were earlier in my possession.

At this point, I would like to add that independent of these acquisitions—and I am referring to the Salle du Jeu de Paume, where these confiscated objects were located—I, of course, had acquired works of art in the open market in France as in other countries before and after the war, or rather during the war. I might add that usually if I came to Rome, or Florence, Paris, or Holland, as if people had known in advance that I was coming, I would always have in the shortest time a pile of written offers, from all sorts of quarters, art dealers, and private people. And even though most were not genuine, some of the things offered were interesting and good, and I acquired a number of art objects in the open market. Private persons especially made me very frequent offers in the beginning. I should like to emphasize that, especially in Paris, I was rather deceived. As soon as it was known that it was for me the price was raised 50 to 100 percent. That is all I have to say briefly and in conclusion in regard to this matter.

DR. STAHMER: Did you make provisions for the protection of French art galleries and monuments?

GÖRING: I should like to refer at first to the state art treasures of France, that is, those in the possession of the state museums. I did not confiscate a single object, or in any way remove anything from the state museums, with the exception of two contracts for an exchange with the Louvre on an entirely voluntary basis. I traded a statue which is known in the history of art as La Belle Allemande, a carved wood statue which originally came from Germany, for another German wood statue which I had had in my possession for many years before the war, and two pictures—an exchange such as I used to make before the war with other museums here, and as is customary among museums. Moreover I have always instructed all authorities to do their utmost to protect art objects against destruction by bombs or other war damage. I remember that when the directors of the Louvre told me that most of the things had just been put into the rooms of the so-called Loire castles, I said that I would be willing at their request, and if it seemed necessary with the increased bombing attacks, to help them put these objects into safekeeping at places determined by them, as they complained of not having transportation facilities.

Now I wish to refer to art monuments, which I would call the buildings, churches, and other monuments—anything of a stationary character. Here I can say that perhaps sometimes I issued an order which stood in contradiction to my strictly military duties, because I strongly emphasized to my fliers that the magnificent Gothic cathedrals of the French cities were, under all circumstances, to be protected and not to be attacked, even if it were a question of troop concentrations in those places; and that if attacks had to be made, precision bombing Stukas were to be used primarily. Every Frenchman who was present at the time will confirm this, that the peculiar situation arose, be it in Amiens, Rouen, Chartres or in other cities, that the cathedrals—those art monuments of such great importance and beauty—were saved and purposely so, in contrast to what later happened in Germany. There was of course some broken glass in the cathedrals, caused by bomb detonations, but the most precious windows had been previously removed, thank God. As far as I remember, the small cathedral in Beauvais had fallen victim to bombing attacks on the neighboring houses, the large cathedral still is standing. The French Government repeatedly acknowledged recognition of this fact to me. I have no other comment on that point.

DR. STAHMER: What reasons made you put Colonel Veltjens in charge of centralizing the black market in France?

GÖRING: Colonel Veltjens was a retired colonel. He was a flier in the first World War. He then had entered business. Therefore, he was not sent there in his capacity as colonel, but as an economist. He was not only in charge of the black market in France, but also of that in Holland and Belgium. It came about in the following manner: After a certain period during the occupation, it was reported to me that various items, in which I was particularly interested for reasons of war economy, could be obtained only in the black market. It was then, for the first time, that I became familiar with the black market, that is that copper, tin, and other vital materials were still available, but that some of them lay buried in the canals of Holland, and had also been carefully hidden in other countries. However, if the necessary money were paid, these articles would come out of hiding, while, on the basis of the confiscation order, we would receive only very little of the raw materials necessary for the conduct of the war. At that time, as during the entire war, I was guided only by intentions and ideas leading toward the ultimate war aim, the winning of victory. It was more important to me to procure copper and tin, just to cite one example, to get them in any case, no matter how high the price might be, than not to get them merely because I did not consider such high prices justified. I therefore told Veltjens in rather general terms, “You know in what things German war economy is interested. Where and how you get these things is immaterial to me. If you get them by means of confiscation, that is all the better. If we have to pay a great deal of money to get them, then we shall have to do that too.” The unpleasant thing was that other departments, first without my knowing it—as the French Prosecution has shown here quite correctly—also tried in the same way to get the same things, in which they also were interested. The thought of now having internal competition as well was too much for me. So then I gave Veltjens the sole authority to be the one and only office in control as far as the civilian dealers were concerned who insisted they could procure these things only in that other way, and to be the only purchasing office for these articles and, with my authority, to eliminate other offices.

The difficulty of combating the black market is the result of many factors. Afterwards, at the special request of Premier Laval, I absolutely prohibited the black market for Veltjens and his organization as well. But in spite of this it was not thereby eliminated, and the statement of the French Prosecution confirms my opinion that the black market lasted even beyond the war. And as far as I know it is again flourishing here in Germany today to the widest extent. These are symptoms which always arise during and after a war when there is on the one hand a tremendous scarcity and holding back and hiding of merchandise and on the other hand the desire to procure these things.

DR. STAHMER: Shall I stop now?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal understood from you that the witness would probably—that the defendant would probably finish his examination in chief at midday today. Can you now tell me how much longer you think the defendant will be with his testimony?

DR. STAHMER: I had counted on being able to finish this morning, but there were several interruptions, and I hope to finish during the course of the day.

THE PRESIDENT: There was no interruption with the exception of that one interruption with reference to Mr. Justice Jackson’s objection as to reprisals. There was no other interruption that I remember.

DR. STAHMER: Yes, there was a technical disturbance earlier.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Then the Tribunal will sit tomorrow morning from 10 to 1.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

Afternoon Session

DR. STAHMER: What were the reasons that led to the attack on Yugoslavia?

GÖRING: Germany, during all the years before the beginning of the war, had the very best of relations with the Yugoslav people and the Yugoslav Government. It was part of my foreign political task to cultivate these relations especially. Since the Regent, Prince Paul, and Prime Minister Stojadinovic were personal friends of mine, I often visited the country and also spent a long vacation there.

It was our intention to have not only the best economic relations by each complementing the other, but also beyond that to come to a close political understanding and friendship. This was successful to the fullest extent and found its climax in the return visit which the Regent, Prince Paul, made to Germany.

Since at the same time I also had similar friendly relations with King Boris of Bulgaria, I was able to exert a stabilizing influence here too, and at times also in regard to Italy. My intervention in behalf of Yugoslavia even caused there, for a time, a certain misapprehension where I was concerned.

After the outbreak of the war everything was likewise avoided which could cause anything but friendly relations with Yugoslavia. Unfortunately Prime Minister Stojadinovic resigned, but his successor followed the same policy.

The entering into the Three Power Pact had the purpose of maintaining Yugoslavia’s neutrality under all circumstances and of not drawing her into the war. Even at the time when the pact was signed one recognized the necessity for sending troops to Romania as a precautionary measure, and also to Greece because of the English landing there or the impending English landing. In spite of that agreement it was expressly provided that no troop transports should go through Yugoslavia, so that the neutrality of that country after its entry into the Three Power Pact would be confirmed in every way.

When Premier Cvetkovic came to power, General Simovic’s revolt against the government of the Prince Regent and the accession to the throne of the King, who was still a minor, followed shortly after. We very quickly learned, through our close relations with Yugoslavia, the background of General Simovic’s revolt. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that the information from Yugoslavia was correct, namely, that a strong Russian political influence existed, as well as extensive financial assistance for the undertaking on the part of England, of which we later found proof. It was clear that this venture was directed against the friendly policy of the previous Yugoslav Government toward Germany. It must be mentioned here that in later press statements it was pointed out by the Russian side how strong their influence had been and for what purpose this undertaking had been executed.

The new Yugoslav Government, quite obviously and beyond doubt, stood visibly in closest relationship with the enemies we had at that time, that is to say, England and, in this connection, with our enemy to be, Russia.

The Simovic affair was definitely the final and decisive factor which dispelled the very last scruples which the Führer had in regard to Russia’s attitude, and caused him to take preventive measures in that direction under all circumstances. Before this Simovic incident it is probable that, although preparations had been undertaken, doubts as to the inevitable necessity of an attack against Soviet Russia might have been pushed into the background. These clear relations between Moscow and Belgrade, however, dispelled the Führer’s very last doubts. At the same time it was evident that Yugoslavia, under the new government, was merely trying to gain time for massing her troops, for the very night the revolt was undertaken secret and shortly afterwards official orders for mobilization were issued to the Yugoslav Army.

In spite of the assurances which Simovic gave Berlin, that he would feel himself bound to the agreement or something like that, the maneuver could easily be seen through.

The situation was now the following: Italy, our ally, had at the time attacked Greece, advancing from Albania in October or September 1940, if I remember correctly. Germany had not been informed of this venture. The Führer heard of this undertaking through me on the one hand, who had by chance learned of it, and also through the Foreign Office, and he immediately rerouted his train, which was on the way from France to Berlin, in order to speak to the Duce in Florence.

The Italian Government, or Mussolini himself, saw very clearly at this moment why the Führer wanted to talk to him, and as far as I remember the order to the Italian Army to march from Albania to Greece was therefore released 24 or 48 hours before originally scheduled. The fact is that the Führer, in his concern to prevent under all circumstances an expansion of the conflict in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, wanted to urge the Duce to forego such plans, which were not necessary, but were undertaken only for reasons of prestige.

When the meeting took place at 10 o’clock in the morning and the Führer had mentioned his misgivings, Mussolini actually declared that since 6 o’clock of that morning the Italian troops had already been advancing through Greece and, in his opinion, would shortly be in Athens. The Führer pointed out again that this would mean, that under certain circumstances relations with Turkey would also be most seriously endangered and another theater of war would be created, since he well knew, although he did not mention it at that time, that an Italian theater of war sooner or later would mean drawing on the German ally for help.

That actually was the situation at the outbreak of the attack on Yugoslavia. Italy, stopped and thrown back, was left in a most unfavorable position strategically and tactically while still facing the Greek enemy. If only a part of the Yugoslav Army moved against the flank and the rear of the Italian Skutari position, then not only would Italy be eliminated there, but also an essential part of the Italian fighting forces would be destroyed. It was clear that the position of these Italian fighting forces would soon be hopeless, since because of the landing of British auxiliary troops in Greece it was to be expected that as soon as they came to the aid of the Greeks the Italian Army would not only be thrown out of Greece, where they were standing merely at the border, but also out of Albania; and the British troops would then be in dangerous proximity to Italy and the Balkans, which were economically of decisive importance for us.

By means of the Simovic revolt and the mobilization of Yugoslavia the elimination of the Italian Balkan armies would have been achieved. Only the quickest action could prevent a twofold danger: first, a catastrophe befalling our Italian ally; and second, a British foothold in the Balkans, which would be detrimental to a future vantage point in the conflict with Russia.

The German troops which were on the march for “Operation Marita,” Greece, which were to march against Greece in order to throw back into the Mediterranean those British divisions which had landed, and to relieve the rear of the Italian ally, were turned with the spearhead to the right, and with accelerated, short-notice preparations for attack, they were thrown into the flank of the massed Yugoslav troops. The Air Force was called from its airfields in Germany within a very short time and assembled at the airfields in the southeast area, which was easily possible, and was also used to support the attack. Only by such quick action, and due to the fact that the basic conditions had been provided by Operation Marita, was Germany able to stave off an extraordinary danger to her entire position in the Balkans and in the southeast area at that moment. Politically and from a military point of view it would have been a crime against the State as far as the vital German interests were concerned, if in that case the Führer had not acted as he did.

DR. STAHMER: What targets did the Air Force attack in Yugoslavia first?

GÖRING: I have just explained the very particular situation of the German Armed Forces at the outbreak of this war and the problems which had to be solved with extraordinary speed and the likewise extraordinary results which had to be attained in order to carry out their original task, which was the piercing of—I do not remember the name now—the Metaxas line in northern Greece before English troops, which had already landed near Athens, could come to the support of the Greek garrisons along the Metaxas line.

Therefore there was first of all an order for a concentrated smaller part of the German forces to penetrate that line, while the other part, as planned, had to throw itself upon the Yugoslav Army and, here too with insufficient forces in the shortest possible time, had to eliminate this army. That was a necessary condition for the success of the whole thing. Otherwise not only would the Italian Army surely be destroyed, but the German Army, thus divided, with a part of its forces advancing in Yugoslavia−the Bulgarian support came much later—another part breaking through the strong Metaxas Line in time to prevent the English deployment there, might get itself into a very difficult and critical, and perhaps disastrous military position. Therefore the Air Force had, in this case, to be employed with the greatest effect, in order that the Yugoslav action of deployment against Germany and her ally should be stopped as quickly as possible.

Therefore there was first of all an order for a concentrated attack upon the Yugoslav Ministry of War in Belgrade, and secondly, upon the railroad station, which in Belgrade particularly, in view of the small number of Yugoslavian railroad lines, was a special deployment junction. Then there were several other rather important centers, the General Staff building, et cetera, included in the order because, at that time, the political and military headquarters were still located in Belgrade. Everything was still concentrated there, and the bombing of that nerve center at the very beginning would have an extraordinary paralyzing effect on the further deployment of the resistance.

A warning to Yugoslavia was not necessary for the following reasons. Strictly speaking the objection might be raised that we did not send a declaration of war or a warning. Actually, however, none of the leading men in Yugoslavia had the least doubt but that Germany would attack. That was recognized, for they had feverishly busied themselves with deployment, and not only with mobilization. Moreover the attacks of the German Army were made before the bombing of Belgrade. But even assuming that the Air Force had made the first attack and only then the Army—that is, without warning—Yugoslavia’s actions and the extraordinary danger of the military situation would have demanded that. We were already in the midst of the most severe battle. It was a question of securing the Balkans on both sides and holding them firmly. The targets—and I emphasize this once more—were, as I remember exactly, the Ministry of War, the railroad station, the General Staff building, and one or two other ministries. The city, of course, since these buildings were spread about within the city, was also affected by the bombardment.

DR. STAHMER: During the last days we have heard here repeatedly about the aerial attacks on Warsaw, Coventry, and Rotterdam. Were these attacks carried out beyond military necessity?

GÖRING: The witnesses, and especially Field Marshal Kesselring, have reported about part of that. But these statements made me realize once more, which is of course natural, how a commander of an army, an army group or an air fleet really views only a certain sector. As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, however, I am in a position to view the whole picture, since I, after all, was the man responsible for issuing orders, and according to my orders and my point of view the chiefs of the fleets received their instructions and directives as to what they had to do.

Warsaw: First of all I should like to make clear the statement that on the first morning of the attack on Poland, a number of Polish cities, I believe the British prosecutor mentioned their names, were attacked. I do not remember their names any more. In my instructions for the first day of the attack on Poland it says specifically, first target: destruction and annihilation of the enemy air force. Once that had been achieved the other targets could be attacked without further delay. Therefore I gave the order to attack the following airfields—I am certain, without having the names at hand just now, that 80 percent of the names mentioned were cities near which there were air bases. The second main target, which was however to be attacked only to a slight extent on the first day, or with the first main blow, were railroad junctions of first importance for the marshaling of larger troop units. I would point out that shortly before the last and decisive attack on Warsaw, an air attack, about which I will speak in a minute, the French military attaché in Poland sent a report to his government which we are in a position to submit here, which we found later in Paris, from which it can be seen that even this opponent declared that the German Air Force, he had to admit, had attacked exclusively military targets in Poland, “exclusively” particularly emphasized.

At first Warsaw contained only one, two targets, long before—“long before” is the wrong expression because it took place quickly—in other words, before the encirclement of Warsaw. That was the Okecie airfield, where the main enemy Polish air force was concentrated, and the Warsaw railroad station, one of the main strategic railroad stations of Poland. However, these attacks discussed were not the decisive ones; after Warsaw was encircled, it was asked to surrender. That surrender was refused. On the contrary I remember the appeals which urged the entire civilian population of Poland as well as the inhabitants of Warsaw to offer resistance, not only military but also resistance as civilians, which is contrary to international law, as is known. Still we gave another warning. We dropped leaflets at first, not bombs, in which we urged the population not to fight. Secondly, when the commanding officer persisted in his stand, we urged the evacuation of the civilian population before the bombing.

When a radio message was received that the commanding officer wanted to send a truce emissary we agreed, but waited for him in vain. But then we demanded that at least the diplomatic corps and all neutrals should leave Warsaw on a road designated by us, which in fact was done.

Then, after it was clearly stated in the last appeal that we would now be forced to make a heavy attack on the city if no surrender took place, we proceeded to attack first the forts, then the batteries erected within the city and the troops. That was the attack on Warsaw.

Rotterdam: In Rotterdam the situation was entirely different. In order to terminate the campaign in the Netherlands as quickly as possible and thereby avoid further bloodshed for a people with whom we had no basic differences, but had to carry through this campaign only for the previously mentioned reasons, I had suggested the use of the parachute division in the rear of the entire Dutch forces deployed against Germany, especially in order to capture the three most important bridges, one near Moerdijk across the Rhine, the other near Dordrecht, and the third near Rotterdam. Thereby from the beginning the way would be paved in the rear of the entire troop deployment and, were we to succeed, the Dutch Army with all its valor could only hold out for a few days. This attack or landing of my parachute division on the three bridges proved entirely successful.

While at Moerdijk and Dordrecht resistance was overcome quickly, the unit at Rotterdam got into difficulty. First it was surrounded by Dutch troops. Everything hinged on the fact that the railroad bridge and the road bridge, which were next to each other, should under all circumstances fall into our hands without being destroyed, because then only would the last backdoor to the Dutch stronghold be open. While the main part of the division was in the southern section of Rotterdam, a few daring spearheads of the parachutists had crossed both bridges and stood just north of them, at one point in the railroad station, right behind the railroad bridges north of the river, and the second point within a block of houses which was on the immediate north side of the road bridge, opposite the station and near the well-known butter or margarine factory which later played an important role. This spearhead held its position in spite of heavy and superior attacks.

In the meantime a German panzer division approached Rotterdam from the outside via the Moerdijk and Dordrecht bridges, and here I would like to correct a misapprehension which arose in the cross-examination of Field Marshal Kesselring by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe concerning persons involved. Lieutenant General Schmidt belonged to this group which came from the outside and led the panzer troops. General Student led the parachute division which was in Rotterdam, that is, inside, and that explains the fact that at one time there were negotiations for capitulation with the German commander of the troops coming from the outside, and at another time surrender negotiations with the general commanding the parachute troops within the city. Both were later co-ordinated. I do not want to go into details here as to whether clear agreements were arrived at—examining this chronologically one can trace it down to the very minute—and whether it could be seen at all that capitulation would come about or not; this of course, for the time being concerned Rotterdam alone. At that time the group north of the two bridges was in a very precarious and difficult position. Bringing reinforcements across the two bridges was extremely difficult because they were under heavy machine gun fire. To this day I could still draw an exact picture of the situation. There was also artillery fire, so that only a few individual men, swinging from hand to hand under the bridge, were able to work their way across, in order to get out of the firing line—I still remember exactly the situation at that bridge later on.

It had been ordered that the batteries standing north of the station, and also the Dutch forces on the road leading north between the station and the butter factory, which presented a great handicap to our shock troops, were to be bombed. For at that moment the parachute troops had no artillery, and bombing was the only sort of artillery available for the parachute troops, and I had assured my parachutists before the venture that they would under all circumstances receive protection by bombers against heavy fire. Three groups of a squadron were used. The call for help came over the radio station of the paratroopers in Rotterdam, which did not function as well as has been claimed here, and also from the clearly exhibited and agreed upon ground signals which the reconnaissance planes brought back. These were signs such as arrows, indicators, and letters which intimated to the reconnaissance fliers: “We are pressed by artillery from the north, east, south, et cetera.”

Thereupon I ordered the air fleet to use one squadron. The squadron started in 3 groups, about 25 to 30 or 36 planes. When the first group arrived, as far as I know, the surrender negotiations were in progress, but to no clearly defined end. In spite of that red flares were sent up. The first group did not grasp the significance of these flares but threw their bombs as agreed upon, exactly in that area, as had been ordered. If I remember the figures correctly, there were at the most 36 twin-motored planes which released mainly 50-kilo bombs. The second and third groups which followed understood the red signals, turned around, and did not drop their bombs.

There was no radio connection between Rotterdam and the planes. The radio connection went from Rotterdam by way of my headquarters, Air Fleet 2, to the division, from division to squadron ground station, and from there there was a radio connection to the planes. That was in May 1940, when in general the radio connection between ground station and planes was, to be sure, tolerably good but in no way to be compared with the excellent connections which were developed in the course of the war. But the main point was that Rotterdam could not communicate directly with the planes and therefore sent up the signals agreed upon, the red flares, which were understood by Groups 2 and 3, but not by group 1.

The great amount of destruction was not caused by bombs but, as has been said, by fire. That can best be seen from the fact that all the buildings which were built of stone and concrete are still standing in the ruined part, while the older houses were destroyed. The spread of this fire was caused by the combustion of large quantities of fats and oils. Secondly—I want to emphasize this particularly—the spread of this fire could surely have been prevented by energetic action on the part of the Rotterdam fire department, in spite of the storm coming up.

The final negotiations for capitulation, as far as I remember, took place not until about 6 o’clock in the evening. I know that, because during these surrender negotiations there was still some shooting going on and the paratroopers’ general, Student, went to the window during the surrender negotiations and was shot in the head, which resulted in a brain injury.

That is what I have to say about Rotterdam in explanation of the two generals and their surrender negotiations, one from within and one from without.

Coventry: After the period from 6 or 7 September to November, after repeating warnings to the English Government, and after the Führer had reserved for himself the right to give the order for reprisal attacks on London—and had long hesitated to give this order—and after German cities which were not military objectives had been bombed again and again, then London was declared a target for attack. From 6 and 7 September—the first attack was on the 6 September in the afternoon—the German Luftwaffe pounded London continuously. Although this seemed expedient for reasons of retaliation and for reasons of political pressure on the part of the political leadership, I did not consider it of ultimate value.

I do not wish to be misunderstood when I say that I knew from the first World War that the people of London can take a great deal and that we could not break their military resistance in this manner. It was important to me, first of all, to prevent an increase in the defense power of the British Air Force. As a soldier or, better said, as Commander-in-Chief of the German Luftwaffe, the weakening and elimination of the enemy air force was a matter of decisive importance for me.

Although the Führer wanted, now as before, to see London attacked, I, acting on my own initiative, made exact preparations for the target of Coventry because, according to my information, there was located in and around Coventry an important part of the aircraft and aircraft accessories industry. Birmingham and Coventry were targets of most decisive importance for me. I decided on Coventry because there the most targets could be hit within the smallest area.

I prepared that attack myself with both air fleets, which regularly checked the target information—and then with the first favorable weather, that is, a moonlit night, I ordered the attack and gave directions for it to be carried out as long and as repeatedly as was necessary to achieve decisive effects on the British aircraft industry there. Then to switch to the next targets in Birmingham and to a large motor factory south of Weston, after the aircraft industry, partly near Bristol and south of London, had been attacked.

That was the attack on Coventry. That here the city itself was greatly affected resulted likewise from the fact that the industry there was widely spread over the city, with the exception of two new plants which were outside the city, and again in this case the damage was increased by the spreading of fire. If we look at German cities today, we know how destructive the influence of fire is. That was the attack on Coventry.

DR. STAHMER: In the year 1941, negotiations took place about collaboration with Japan. Were you present at these negotiations?

GÖRING: I myself did not take part in the negotiations. I can say very little about negotiations with Japan because from a military point of view I had very little to do with Japan and seldom met the Japanese. During the entire war only once, and for a short time, I received a delegation of Japanese officers and attachés. Therefore, I cannot say anything about collaboration with Japan. We were instructed to exchange experiences, war experiences, with the Japanese, but that went through the various offices. Personally I had nothing to do with the Japanese.

DR. STAHMER: When were you first informed that Hitler thought a war against Russia necessary?

GÖRING: It was not until the late fall of 1940, in Berchtesgaden, that I was informed about the intentions of the Führer to enter into conflict with Russia under certain circumstances.

DR. STAHMER: Were you present at the conversation, which took place in Berlin in November 1940 with the Russian Foreign Minister, Molotov?

GÖRING: I personally was not present at the conversation between Hitler and Molotov. Mr. Molotov, however, also paid me a visit, and we discussed the general situation. I know, of course, about the conversation with Molotov, because the Führer informed me about it in detail. It was just this conversation which very much increased the Führer’s suspicion that Russia was getting ready for an attack upon Germany, and this was brought out during this discussion by the remarks and demands which Mr. Molotov made.

These were, firstly, a guarantee to Bulgaria, and a pact of assistance with Bulgaria, such as Russia had made with the three Baltic states.

Secondly, it involved the complete abandonment of Finland by Germany, to such an extent that Russia, who had signed a peace with Finland a short time ago, thought herself justified in attacking Finland again in order not to have to acquiesce in the results of the previous agreements, Hangö, et cetera.

Thirdly, it dealt with discussions about the Dardanelles and the Bosporus; and the fourth point was the possibility of penetration into Romania beyond Bessarabia.

These were the points which were discussed with the Führer. There was also a hint to the Foreign Minister about an occupation, or securing of interests, at the exit of the Baltic.

The Führer viewed these demands in a different light. Although Russia might have been justified in making demands to Germany concerning Finland, he believed, that in connection with other reports which he had received about Russian preparations and deployment of troops, Russia wanted to strengthen her position in Finland, in order to outflank Germany in the north and to be in immediate proximity to the Swedish ore mines, which were of vital or at least very decisive importance to Germany in this war. Secondly, as to the advance, as demanded, into the Romanian and Bulgarian area, the Führer was not at all sure that this pressure would continue in the south, that is, the Dardanelles, or in a near-easterly direction, but rather in a westerly direction; that is to say, that here also Russia might push into the southern flank of Germany and, by getting control of the Romanian oilfields, make Germany absolutely dependent on Russia for deliveries of oil. In these demands he saw the camouflaged attempts to deploy troops and obtain troop positions against Germany. The suggestion of securing an outlet to the Baltic did not even come up for discussion, as far as Germany was concerned, at that time. Altogether that conversation caused the Führer to feel that further relations were being menaced by Russia.

Already in his discussion with me the Führer told me why he was thinking about anticipating the Russian drive under certain circumstances. The information about feverish work on deployment preparations in the area newly acquired by Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bessarabia, made him extremely suspicious. Until then we had sometimes only 8, later 20 and 25 divisions along the entire eastern border. Further reports came that Russia might be expected to attack us from the rear as soon as Germany had gone to war in the West, either because of an invasion by Britain or because Germany on her part had decided to invade England. His arguments were strengthened even more by the fact that shortly before, contrary to anything practiced in Russia before this, engineers, and, I believe, also officers of ours, that is, Germans, were suddenly shown the tremendous Russian armament works of the aviation and tank industry. These reports about the surprisingly high production capacity of these armament works further strengthened the Führer’s conviction. He was so firmly convinced because, he said—and this was his political reflection—if England still will not consider coming to an agreement with us, although she now stands alone against us, she must have something at the back of her mind. He had information that Prime Minister Churchill had pointed out two things to worried elements in England.

First, that increased support by the United States could be expected, first of all in the technical field, that is, with respect to armaments, and then extending to other fields; and, secondly, which he considered even more probable, that Churchill had already come to an understanding with Russia in that direction, and he pointed out that here sooner or later there would be a clash. His calculations were the following: Before the United States could be ready with her armaments and the mobilization of her army, he would have to smash the Russian troop concentrations, and break down and weaken the Russian forces to such an extent by strong concentrated attacks, that they would not represent a danger in the rear if he had to enter into an English-American conflict on the Continent. These were the explanations of the Führer.

Then came the visit of Molotov, which I just mentioned and which enhanced this point of view considerably.

DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude toward an attack on Russia at that time?

GÖRING: At first I was very much surprised at the time and asked the Führer to give me a few hours to state my view. It came entirely as a surprise to me. Then in the evening, after this conversation had taken place in the afternoon, I told the Führer the following:

I urged him most particularly not to start a war against Russia at that moment, or even a short time after; not that I was moved by considerations of international law or similar reasons; my point of view was decided by political and military reasons only. First, at all times since the seizure of power I, perhaps of all the leading men in Germany, was the only one who always considered conflict with Russia as a threatening menace to Germany. I knew—and many others with me—that for over 10 years an exceedingly strong rearmament and training program had been in effect in Russia, that the standard of living had been lowered in all other fields in favor of one single tremendous rearmament. The deliveries made by German industry and examination of the deliveries made by the American, British, and other industries always showed clearly that they consisted only of such machines as were directly or immediately necessary for a gigantic industrial rearmament program. One could thereby estimate the speed and the size of the Russian rearmament. If Germany had now developed in the way of communism, then of course the Russian rearmament, in my opinion, would have been directed against other danger. But since we had come to power, the inner political and ideological contrast naturally played, in my opinion, a menacing part. I have come to understand that such contrasts do not necessarily have to lead to conflicts between countries, because the political interests of nation and state will always be stronger and greater than all ideological contrasts or agreements. But here also I saw a menace, because what did this tremendous Russian rearmament signify at a time when Germany before the seizure of power, was impotent? I now told the Führer that in spite of this basic attitude I always feared this danger from Russia and had always recognized it, but that I was asking him rather to leave this danger in abeyance and, if at all possible, to direct Russia’s interests against England.

And indeed I said to him:

“We are at present fighting against one of the greatest world powers, the British Empire. If you, my Führer, are not of exactly the same opinion, then I have to contradict you, because I am definitely of the opinion that sooner or later the second great world power, the United States, will march against us. This will not depend on the election of President Roosevelt; the other candidate will also not be able to prevent this. Then we shall be at war against two of the largest world powers. It was your masterstroke at the beginning of the war to make possible a one-front war; you have always pointed that out in your Kampf. In the case of a clash with Russia at this time, the third great world power would be thrown into the struggle against Germany. We would again stand alone, against practically the entire world; the other nations do not count. And again we would have two fronts.”

And he replied,

“I fully appreciate your arguments. I appreciate the Russian menace more than anybody else, but if we should succeed in executing our plans as prepared in the fight against the British Empire, and if these were only half-way successful, Russia would not launch her attack. Only if we should become deeply involved in a serious conflict in the West, would I be of your opinion, that the Russian menace would increase enormously.”

I was even of the opinion that the quick assent of the Russians to the settlement of the Polish crisis was given in order that Germany, free from that side, would be all the more likely to get into this conflict, because the German-French-British conflict would come about thereby, and it would be entirely understandable, as far as Russian interests were concerned, to bring about this conflict and come out of it as well as before. I furthermore told the Führer that, according to my reports and evidence, Russian rearmament would reach its climax in the year 1942-43, or perhaps even in 1944. Before then we should, however, succeed, if not in achieving a peace by victory on our part, at least in coming to an arrangement with England. This, however, would be possible only if decisive successes were achieved against England. At that time the German Air Force with all its weight was being employed in the attack on England. If now a new front should be formed for an attack on Russia, a considerable part of these air forces, more than half, two-thirds, would have to be diverted to the East. For practical purposes an energetic air attack on England would thereby cease. All the sacrifices up to that time would be in vain; England would be given a chance to reorganize and build up her shattered aircraft industry undisturbed.

Much more decisive than these considerations was the fact that with a deployment of that kind against Russia, my plan, which I had submitted to the Führer, to attack England at Gibraltar and Suez, would have to be dropped more or less finally. The attack on Gibraltar was so methodically prepared by the Air Force that, according to all human expectations, there could be no failure. The British air force stationed there on the small airfield north of the Rock of Gibraltar was of no importance. The attack of my paratroopers on the Rock would have been a success. The simultaneous occupation of the other side, the African side, and a subsequent march on Casablanca and Dakar would at least have been a safeguard against America’s intervention—a campaign, such as later took place in North Africa. To what extent beyond this, by agreement, the Cape Verde Islands could still be used, was an open question. It is obvious what it would have meant to be established with aircraft and submarines at North African bases and to attack all the convoys coming up from Capetown and South America from such favorable positions. Even if the Mediterranean had been closed in the west, it would not have been difficult, by pushing across Tripoli, to bring the Suez project to a conclusion, the time and success of which could be calculated in advance.

The exclusion of the Mediterranean as a theater of war, the key point Gibraltar—North Africa down to Dakar—Suez, and possibly extended further south, would have required only a few forces, a number of divisions on the one side and a number of divisions on the other, to eliminate the entire insecurity of the long Italian coast line against the possibility of attack.

I urged him to put these decisive considerations in the foreground and only after the conclusion of such an undertaking to examine further the military and political situation with regard to Russia. For, if these conditions were brought about, we would be in a favorable position in the case of an intervention by the United States, a flanking position. I explained to him all these reasons in great detail and pointed out to him again and again that here we would be giving up something relatively secure for something still insecure, and that, after securing such a position, there would be much more of a prospect of coming, under certain circumstances, to an arrangement with England at a time when the two, both armed, would be standing opposite each other, the one on this, the other on that side of the Channel. These were my reasons for delaying the date, and I also told him that increased successes in this direction might enable us to steer Russian preparations politically, where possible, into other channels, against our enemies of the moment. I emphasize, however, that the Führer, restrained by considerations of caution, at first made only general preparations and was going to hold in reserve, as he told me at the time, the actual attack; and the final decision was not taken until after the Simovic revolt in Yugoslavia.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[A recess was taken.]

DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution has submitted Document Number 376-PS, notes of 29 October 1940, Paragraph 5 of which states the following: “The Führer concerns himself with the question of a later war with America and with an examination of the occupation of the Atlantic islands.”

What can you say about this?

GÖRING: I am very well acquainted with this document because it has been submitted to me here. It concerns a letter which the representative of the Luftwaffe in the OKW, the then Lieutenant Colonel Von Falkenstein, wrote to the chief of the General Staff of my Air Force. It is a study of, it refers to those points which I have just set forth, namely the occupation of Gibraltar, North Africa, and perhaps also the Atlantic Islands—first as a combat base against England, our enemy at that time, and, secondly, in case America entered the war, to have a better flanking position against her convoys. But this was just a General Staff note. At that time I had already of my own accord, without having spoken to the Führer beforehand, made my military investigation of the possibility of carrying out such an undertaking. It is, therefore, of no consequence.

DR. STAHMER: In this connection I have a further question. An organization plan for the year 1950 prepared by a Major Kammhuber has been submitted here.

GÖRING: This question also may be answered briefly. I am familiar with this document, for on two or three occasions it has been mentioned by the Prosecution. Consultation with an expert general staff officer of any one of the powers represented would prove immediately that this document is of secondary value. It is simply a General Staff study, by the subordinate Organization Section, in order to work out the best scheme for a leadership organization. It was a question of whether one should concentrate on air fleets or land fortifications. It was a question of whether mixed squadrons consisting of bombers and fighters, or squadrons consisting only of bombers, or of fighters, should be used, and other such questions which are always being dealt with by the offices of a general staff, independent of war and peace. That such studies must of course be based on certain assumptions which are in the realm of strategic possibility, must be taken for granted. In this case the Major took as a basis the situation around or until 1950, a two-front war, which was not entirely beyond all probability, namely, a war on the one side with England and France in the west, and on the other side with Russia in the east. The basic assumption was that Austria and Poland were in our own hands, and so on. This study never reached me. I have just become acquainted with it here. But that is of no significance because it was made in my ministry and in my general staff and was therefore also made on my orders. For I placed such tasks within the general framework of having organization, leadership, and composition constantly tested by maneuvers and examples. This is completely irrelevant to the political evaluation and completely out of place in the framework of this Trial.

DR. STAHMER: Several days ago reference was made to a speech which you are said to have made to Air Force officers, in which you said that you proposed to have such an air force that, once the hour had struck, it would fall like an avenging host on the enemy. The opponent must have the feeling of having lost before he ever started fighting with you. I shall have this speech submitted to you and I would like you to tell us whether this speech was known to you and what its purpose was?

GÖRING: This quotation has been used by the Prosecution twice. Once in the beginning and the second time, the other day, in the cross-examination of Field Marshal Milch. This concerns a speech which appeared in a book by me called Speeches and Compositions which has already been submitted to the Tribunal as evidence. The speech is called “Comradeship, Fulfillment of Duty, and Willingness to Sacrifice,” an address to 1,000 flight lieutenants on the day they took their oath in Berlin on 20 May 1936.

Here I was explaining at length to thousands of young flyers, the day they became commissioned officers, the concepts of comradeship, fulfillment of duty, and willingness to sacrifice. This quotation had been completely removed from its context. I therefore take the liberty of asking the Tribunal’s permission, to read a short preceding paragraph, so that it will be seen in the right context, and I also request to be allowed to portray the atmosphere. Before me stand 1,000 young flight lieutenants full of hope, whom I now had to imbue with the appropriate fighting spirit. That has nothing to do with an offensive war, but the important thing was that my boys, should it come to war, this way or that, should be brave fellows and men with a will to act. The short quotation before this one is as follows:

“I demand of you nothing impossible. I do not demand that you should be model boys. I like to be generous. I understand that youth must have its follies, otherwise it would not be youth. You may have your pranks, and you will get your ears boxed for it. But that is not the decisive factor. The decisive factor is rather that you should be honorable, decent fellows, that you should be men. You can have your fun as much as you wish, but once you get into the plane you must be men, determined to smash all resistance. That is what I demand of you, brave, daring fellows.”

Then comes the paragraph which has just been read. “I have visions” . . . “of possessing a weapon” . . . “which shall come like an avenging host against the foe.” That has nothing to do with vengeance, for “an avenging host” is a terminus technicus, a usual term, in Germany. I might just as well have said that the opponent would use another word to express the same thing. I shall not read any further here, for these words, if I were to read them, would be readily understandable; one has to realize to whom I was speaking.

DR. STAHMER: To what extent did you assist in the economic and military preparation of Case Barbarossa?

GÖRING: As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force I naturally took all the measures which were necessary in the purely military field for the preparation of such a campaign. Consent or refusal, as I have already recently explained. . . . I took the obvious military preparations which are always necessary in connection with a new strategic deployment, and which every officer was in duty bound to carry out, and for which the officers of the Air Corps received their command from me. I do not believe that the Tribunal would be interested in the details as to how I carried out the deployment of my air fleet. The decisive thing at the time of the first attacks was, as before, to smash the enemy air arm as the main objective. Independent of the purely military preparations, which were a matter of duty, economic preparations seemed necessary according to our experiences in the previous war with Poland, and in the war in the West; and doubly necessary in the case of Russia, for here we encountered a completely different form of economic life from that in the other countries of the Continent. Here it was a matter of state economy and state ownership; there was no private economy or private ownership worth mentioning. That I was charged with this was again a matter of course resulting from the fact that I, as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, directed the whole economy and had to provide the necessary instructions. I had therefore instructed the War Economy Staff to formulate a general economic plan for the invasion, in consultation with economic experts on Russia, especially as we had to expect that with our advance, Russia, according to long-established procedure, would destroy large parts of its economy. The result of these prepared economic mobilization studies was the so-called “Green File.” I am of the opinion that in every future war, as in past wars on other sides, there must always be an economic mobilization besides a military and political mobilization; otherwise one would get into very unpleasant situations.

The Green File has been cited repeatedly, and also here some of the quotations have been torn from their context. In order to save time I do not wish to read further passages from this Green File. That can perhaps be done when documentary evidence is given. But if I were to read the whole Green File from beginning to end, from A to Z, the Tribunal would see that this is a very useful and suitable work for armed forces which have to advance into a territory with a completely different economic structure; the Court will also realize that it could be worked out only that way. This Green File contains much positive material, and here and there a sentence which, cited alone, as has been done, gives a false picture. It provides for everything, among other things for compensation. If an economy exists in a state, when one enters into war with that state, and if one then gains possession of that economy, it is to one’s interest to carry out this economy only insofar, of course, as the interests of one’s own war needs are concerned—that goes without saying. But in order to save time I shall dispense with the reading of those pages which would exonerate me considerably for, I am stating, as a whole as it is, that our making claims on the Russian state economy for German purposes, after the conquest of those territories, was just as natural and just as much a matter of duty for us as it was for Russia when she occupied German territories, but with this difference, that we did not dismantle and transport away the entire Russian economy down to the last bolt and screw, as is being done here. These are measures which result from the conduct of war. I naturally take complete responsibility for them.

DR. STAHMER: A document has been submitted as Document Number 2718-PS, and this reads as follows:

“Memorandum concerning the result of today’s conference with the state secretaries in regard to Barbarossa.

“1. The war can be continued further only if the entire Armed Forces can be supplied with food by Russia in the third year of war.

“2. Millions of people will hereby doubtless starve if we take from this country that which is needed by us.”

Were you informed of the subject of this conference with the state secretaries and of this document.

GÖRING: I became familiar with this document only when it was submitted to me here. This is a rather unreliable document. We can not tell clearly just who was present, where this was discussed, and who was responsible for the nonsense that is expressed in it. It is a matter of course that, within the framework of all the conferences of official experts, many things were discussed which proved to be absolute nonsense.

First of all the German Armed Forces would have been fed, even if there had been no war with Russia. Therefore it was not the case, as one might conclude from this, that, in order to feed the German Armed Forces, we had to attack Russia. Before the attack on Russia the German Army was fed, and it would have been fed thereafter. But if we had to march and advance into Russia it was a matter of course that the army would always and everywhere be fed from that territory.

The feeding of several millions of people, that is, two or three, if I figure the entire troop deployment in Russia with all its staff, cannot possibly result in the starvation of many, many millions on the other side. It is impossible for one soldier on the one side to eat so much that on the other side there is not enough left for three times that number. The fact is moreover that the population did not starve. However, famine had become a possibility, not because the German Army was to be fed from Russia, but because of the destruction or the sending back by the Russians of all agricultural implements, and of the entire seed stocks. It was first of all impossible to bring the harvest, which had been partly destroyed by the retreating Russian troops, in from the fields to an extent even approaching what was necessary, because of inadequate implements; and, secondly, the spring and autumn crops were greatly endangered owing to the lack of implements and seed.

If this crisis was met, it was not because the Russian troops had not destroyed or removed everything, but because Germany had to draw heavily on her own stocks. Tractors, agricultural machines, scythes, and other things had to be procured, even seed, so that for the time being the troops were not fed by the country, but food had to be sent from Germany—even straw and hay. Only through the greatest efforts of organization and administration, and in co-operation with the local population could a balance gradually be achieved in the agricultural sector, and also a surplus for the German territories.

As far as I know, famine occurred only in Leningrad, as has also been mentioned here.

But Leningrad was a fortress which was being besieged. In the history of war I have until now found no evidence that the besieger generously supplies the besieged with food in order that they can resist longer; rather I know only of evidence in the history of wars that the besiegers do everything to force the surrender of the fortress by cutting off the food supply. Neither from the point of view of international law nor from the point of view of the military conduct of war were we under any obligation to provide besieged fortresses or cities with food.

DR. STAHMER: And what part did the Air Force play in the attacks on Leningrad?

GÖRING: The air force at Leningrad was very weak. The most northern sector of our position had the poorest air protection, so that the air force there had to carry out very many tasks simultaneously. At no time was there a concentrated attack by the Air Force on Leningrad, such as we have made on other cities or as have been carried out on German cities on the largest scale. The Führer not once but repeatedly, in the presence of other gentlemen at briefing sessions, reproachfully said that apparently the German Luftwaffe dared not venture into Leningrad. I replied:

“As long as my Air Force is ready to fly into the hell of London it will be equally prepared to attack the much less defended city of Leningrad. However I lack the necessary forces, and besides you must not give me so many tasks for my Air Force north of the front, such as preventing reinforcements from coming over Lake Ladoga and other tasks.”

Attacks were therefore made only on Kronstadt and on the fleet which was left in the outer bay of Leningrad, and other targets such as heavy batteries.

I was interested to hear from the sworn testimony of the Russian professor for museums, that he was under the impression that the German Air Force was mainly out to destroy museums, and then from the testimony—not sworn to—by I believe he called himself a metropolitan, who had the impression that my Air Force had mainly chosen his cathedrals as targets. I would like to call your attention to this contradiction—perhaps understandable for people who are not experts. St. Petersburg was in fact at the very front of the fighting, and it was not necessary to attack by air, for medium and heavy artillery was sufficient to reach the center of the city.

DR. STAHMER: Was confiscation by the occupying power in Russia limited to state property?

GÖRING: In connection with the last question I forgot to mention something briefly.

There has been a great deal of talk here about the great destruction in Russia. Pictures and films were shown, impressive in themselves, but not so impressive to a German, for they showed only a modest proportion of the destruction which we personally experienced in our own cities. But I would like to point out that much of this destruction took place in the course of battle, in other words, that destruction was not intended, by the Air Force or by the artillery, but that cities, historical cities or art monuments were very frequently destroyed by battle action.

Also, in Germany men of the rank of the musician and composer Tschaikovsky, and the poets Tolstoy and Pushkin are too highly revered for deliberate destruction of the graves of these great and creative men of culture to have been intended.

Now to the question whether only state property was confiscated; as far as I know, yes. Private property, as has been mentioned here from state documents—I can easily imagine that in the cold winter of 1941-42 German soldiers took fur shoes, felt boots, and sheep furs here and there from the population—that is possible; but by and large there was no private property, therefore it could not be confiscated. I personally can speak only of a small section, namely of the surroundings of the city of Vinnitza and the city of Vinnitza itself. When I stopped there with my special train as headquarters, I repeatedly visited the peasant huts, the villages, and the town of Vinnitza, because life there interested me.

I saw such abject poverty there that I cannot possibly imagine what one could have taken. As an insignificant but informative example I would like to mention that for empty marmalade jars, tin cans, or even empty cigar boxes or cigarette boxes, the people would offer remarkable quantities of eggs and butter because they considered these primitive articles very desirable.

In this connection I would also like to emphasize that no theaters or the like were ever consciously destroyed either with my knowledge or that of any other German person. I know only the theater in Vinnitza that I visited. I saw the actors and actresses there and the ballet. The first thing I did was to get material, dresses, and all sorts of things for these people because they had nothing.

As the second example, the destruction of churches. This is also a personal experience of mine in Vinnitza. I was there when the dedication took place of the largest church which for years had been a powder magazine, and now, under the German administration, was reinstated as a church. The clergy requested me to be present at this dedication. Everything was decorated with flowers. I declined because I do not belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.

As far as the looting of stores was concerned, I could see only one store in Vinnitza that was completely empty.

DR. STAHMER: What was the significance for the Air Force of the work camp Dora, which has been mentioned by the French Prosecution?

GÖRING: Before I go on to that I must add that the accusation that we destroyed industry everywhere is incorrect, but rather for our own purposes we had to reconstruct a great part of industry. Thus I would like to recall the famous dam of Dniepropetrovsk which was destroyed and which was important for the electricity supply of the entire Ukraine, and even for the Donetz area.

As far as industry and agriculture are concerned, I have spoken of that before and mentioned the scorched earth policy as it was described in the Russian order and as it was carried out. This scorched earth policy, the destruction of all stock, of everything, created a very difficult situation which was hard to overcome. Therefore, from the economic point of view, we also had much reconstruction to do.

As far as destruction of cities is concerned, I would like to add that over and beyond that which was shot to pieces in the course of battle, during the advance or retreat, there were considerable parts and important buildings of cities that had been mined and at the proper time went up in the air, involving, of course, many German victims. I can cite Odessa and Kiev as two main examples.

Now I come to the question of Camp Dora. I also heard about Camp Dora here for the first time. Of course, I knew of the subterranean works which were near Nordhausen, though I never was there myself. But they had been established at a rather early period. Nordhausen produced mainly V-1’s and V-2’s. With the conditions in Camp Dora, as they have been described, I am not familiar. I also believe that they are exaggerated. Of course, I knew that subterranean factories were being built. I was also interested in the construction of further plants for the Luftwaffe. I cannot see why the construction of subterranean works should be something particularly wicked or destructive. I had ordered construction of an important subterranean work at Kahla in Thuringia for airplane production in which, to a large extent, German workers and, for the rest, Russian workers and prisoners of war were employed. I personally went there to look over the work being done and on that day found everyone in good spirits. On the occasion of my visit I brought the people some additional rations of beverages, cigarettes, and other things, for Germans and foreigners alike.

The other subterranean works for which I requested concentration camp internees were not built any more. That I requested inmates of concentration camps for the aviation industry is correct, and it is in my opinion quite natural because I was, at that time, not familiar with the details of the concentration camps. I knew only that many Germans also were in concentration camps—people who had refused to join the Army, who were politically unreliable, or who had been punished for other things, as also happens in other countries in time of war. At that time everyone had to work in Germany. Women were taken into the ranks of labor, including those who had never worked before. In my own home parachute production was started, in which everyone had to participate. I could not see why, if the entire people had to take part in work, the inmates of prisons, concentration camps, or wherever they might be, should not also be put to use for work essential to the war.

Moreover I am of the opinion, from what I know today, that it certainly was better for them to work and to be billeted in some plane factory than in their concentration camps. The fact per se that they worked, is to be taken as a matter of course, and also that they worked for war production. But that work meant destruction is a new idea. It is possible that it was strenuous here or there. I for my part was interested that these people should not be destroyed, but that they should work and thereby produce. The work itself was the same as done by German workers—that is, plane and motor production—no destruction was intended thereby.

DR. STAHMER: Under what conditions were prisoners of war used in anti-aircraft operations?

GÖRING: Prisoners of war were used for anti-aircraft operations mainly for those stationary batteries at home which were for the protection of factories and cities. And indeed these were auxiliary volunteers. They were chiefly Russian prisoners of war, but not entirely as far as I remember. One must not forget that in Russia there were various racial groups who did not think alike and did not all have the same attitude to the system there. Just as there were so-called East Battalions made up of volunteers, so there were also a great number of volunteers who, after the announcement in the camps, reported for service in the anti-aircraft batteries. We also had an entire company of Russian prisoners of war who volunteered to fight against their own country. I did not think much of these people, but in time of war one takes what one can get. The other side did the same thing.

The volunteer auxiliaries liked to go to the anti-aircraft because they had considerably less work there and their food was better as it was soldiers’ rations; whatever other reasons they may have had I do not know. However, if one did look at a local German anti-aircraft battery in the year 1944 or 1945 it made, I admit, a rather strange impression. There were German youths from 15 to 16 and old men from 55 to 60, some women and some auxiliary volunteers of all nationalities, I always called them my “gypsy batteries.” But they shot, and that was what mattered.

DR. STAHMER: What was Sauckel’s official relation to you?

GÖRING: I mentioned that in the Four Year Plan in 1936 there was already a Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. In the year 1942, after he had become ill and was being represented by somebody else, I was taken aback by the direct appointment of a new Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor—an appointment made directly by the Führer, and without my being consulted.

But at that time the Führer had already begun to intervene much more strongly and directly in such problems. If he did it here too, he did so because the labor problem became more acute from day to day. It had been suggested to him that he should appoint a new deputy for the time being, perhaps a Gauleiter of a different name, the one from Silesia. But the Führer decided on the Gauleiter from Thuringia, Sauckel, and made him plenipotentiary. This order was countersigned by Lammers, not by me, but that is of no significance; and it was formally included in the Four Year Plan, for the Four Year Plan had general plenary authority for all matters concerning economy. For this reason, up to the end even the appointment of Goebbels as Plenipotentiary General for the total war, which had nothing at all to do with me, was also included in the plenary power of the Four Year Plan, since otherwise the entire legislative work of the Four Year Plan, which I had gradually built up with its plenary powers, would have collapsed and we should have had to create entirely new conditions.

If Sauckel from that time on received his orders mainly from the Führer, it was because the Führer now intervened more effectively in all these matters; but I welcomed the appointment of Sauckel, for I considered him one of the calmest and most reliable Gauleiters and was also convinced that he would fully dedicate himself to this new task. The connection with the offices of the Four Year Plan was of course maintained, and in the case of important legislative decrees Sauckel and my offices of the Four Year Plan worked together, as far as I know.

Sauckel himself spoke to me on several occasions after he had been with the Führer, and sent me also a few of the reports which he sent to the Führer. Even if not in full detail I was, on the whole, informed.

DR. STAHMER: In March of 1944, 75 English Air Force officers escaped from the prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III. As you probably know from the proceedings, 50 of these officers after their recapture were shot by the SD. Did this order for shooting come from you, and did you know of this intention?

GÖRING: I came to know of the course of events, but unfortunately not until a later period. When these 75 or 80 English Air Force officers attempted to escape during the last 10 days of March, I was at the moment on leave, as I can prove. I heard 1 or 2 days later about this escape. As, however, prior to that, a few large escapes had already taken place and each time a few days later most of the escaped prisoners had been brought back to camp, I assumed that would happen in this case also.

On my return from my leave, the chief of my general staff told me that a part, but he could not give me the figure at the time, of these escaped officers had been shot. This had to a certain extent caused talk and excitement in our Luftwaffe; one also feared reprisals. I asked from whom he had his information and what had really happened. He said he knew only that part of the escaped men had been recaptured by the camp guards in the vicinity of the camp, and by the police authorities in the immediate neighborhood, and had been brought back to camp. Nothing had happened to these men. On the other hand, of the fate of those who had been recaptured at a greater distance from the camp he knew only that some of them had been shot.

I then went to Himmler and asked him. He confirmed this without mentioning a definite figure, and told me that he had received the order from the Führer. I called his attention to the fact that such a thing was utterly impossible, and that the English officers in particular were bound to make at least one or two attempts to escape and that we knew this. He said, I believe, that he had at least opposed the Führer in this matter at first, but that the Führer had absolutely insisted on it, since he maintained that escapes to such an extent represented an extreme danger to security.

I told him then that this would lead to the most severe agitation among my forces, for no one would understand this action, and that if he were to give such orders, he could at least inform me before carrying them out so that I might have the opportunity of countermanding them if possible.

After giving these instructions I talked to the Führer personally about the matter, and the Führer confirmed the fact that he had given the order and told me why—the reasons just mentioned. I explained to him why this order, according to our opinion, was completely impossible and what repercussions it would cause with regard to my airmen employed against the enemy in the West.

The Führer—our relations were already extremely bad and strained—answered rather violently that the airmen who were flying against Russia have to reckon with the possibility of being immediately beaten to death in case of an emergency landing, and that airmen going to the West should not want to claim a special privilege in this respect. I then told him that these two things really had no connection with each other.

Then I talked with the Chief of my General Staff and asked him—I believe he was the Quartermaster General—to write to the OKW and say that I was now requesting, that the Air Force was requesting, that these camps be taken from our control. I did not want to have anything more to do with prisoner-of-war camps in case such things should happen again. This letter was closely connected with those events, a few weeks after those events. That is what I know about this matter.

DR. STAHMER: Witness Von Brauchitsch testified the other day that in May of 1944 the Führer decreed the strictest measures against the so-called terror-fliers. Did you, in compliance with this Führer decree, issue instructions to shoot enemy terror-fliers or to have them handed over to the SD?

GÖRING: The definition of “terror-fliers” was very confused. A part of the population, and also of the press, called everything which attacked cities “terror-fliers,” more or less. Tremendous excitement had arisen among the German population because of the very heavy and continued attacks on German cities, in the course of which the population saw to a certain extent that the really important industrial targets were less frequently hit than houses and nonmilitary targets. Some German cities had thus suffered most severely in their residential districts, while the industries in these same cities remained on the whole untouched.

Then with the further flights of enemy forces to Germany there came so-called low-flying aircraft which attacked both military and nonmilitary targets. Reports came repeatedly to the Führer, and I too heard of these reports, that the civilian population was being attacked with machine guns and cannons; that single vehicles, which could be recognized as civilian vehicles, and also ambulances which were marked with a red cross, had been attacked. One report came in—I remember it distinctly because the Führer became especially excited about it—which said that a group of children had been shot at. Men and women standing in front of stores had also been shot at. And these activities were now called those of terror-fliers. The Führer was extremely excited.

The populace in its fury resorted at first to lynching, and we tried at first to take measures to prevent this. I heard then that instructions had been given through the police and Bormann not to take measures against this. These reports multiplied, and the Führer then decreed, or made a statement to the effect that these terror-fliers should be shot on the spot.

The belief that these fliers had been forbidden by their superiors to make such attacks, and that really they were to attack with their weapons only targets which could be recognized as military, I had confirmed beforehand through an interrogation of the airmen.

Now, as is often the case in matters of this kind, all offices which had anything to do with this were called in and we were aware, as Brauchitsch has already declared—not only those of us in the Air Force, but also those in the OKW and other military offices—that it would be very hard to formulate and to support an order in regard to this matter. First of all the term “terror-flier” would have to be defined once and for all. In this connection four points were set down, and these points have already been read here.

Debate on this matter went to and fro. In general I expressed the opinion that these fliers, since they were prohibited by their own superiors to do these things, could be legally prosecuted by a military court every time. At any rate we arrived at no definite order after long bickering; and no office of the Air Force was ever instructed to undertake any steps in this direction.

The document in which it is said on 6 June 1944 that a conference between Himmler, Ribbentrop, and me took place in Klessheim and which is signed by Warlimont, states that Warlimont said that Kaltenbrunner had told him he had learned that such a conference had taken place. It does not say it actually took place. Now this day, 6 June 1944, is a very significant day, as Brauchitsch has already explained, for it is the day of the invasion in France. I no longer know exactly who came to Klessheim. Klessheim is a castle near Berchtesgaden and was used when allied or foreign missions came to visit.

For a long time already it had been customary that when such allied visits took place I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, was not present for each of these visitors naturally wanted above all, on the occasion of these conversations, to obtain help from the German Air Force and always asked for German fighters and machines no matter whether it was Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Finland, or Italy or someone else. I made a point of not being there on such occasions, so that the Führer might have an opportunity to be evasive and to say, “I must first consult with the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces.”

Therefore I had already left Berchtesgaden on the 4th or the 3rd, as far as I remember, and was on my estate near Nuremberg. The General Staff officer who accompanied me, the physician and various others will be able to testify to this if necessary. In the morning hours I learned here of the invasion. Brauchitsch is wrong in one point, that this had already been reported as an invasion. On the contrary, in response to my further inquiry it was said that one could not yet tell whether it was a diversion maneuver or the actual invasion. Thereupon I returned to Berchtesgaden in the late evening or in the afternoon—I remember exactly. I left after lunch and it takes about 4-1/2 hours from here. I therefore did not take part in the conference on this matter with Ribbentrop or Himmler in Klessheim or anywhere else, and I want to emphasize this especially. This conference was held by my adjutant, Von Brauchitsch, that is, my General Staff officer, and he was the one who told the OKW, without consulting me once more, that it was my opinion that it was right to have court proceedings in such cases. The decisive thing, however, is that no such order as a Führer order, or as an order of mine, was issued to any office of the Luftwaffe or to the transit camp or interrogation camp in Oberursel, or to any part of the troops.

A document which has been read here concerns a report from Luftgau XI, which mentions the shooting of American fliers. I believe they were Americans, and this is mentioned in this connection because it says Luftgau XI. I looked through the document—there are two very detailed appendices. It is stated very definitely and clearly here that Luftgau XI reported that a crew which had bailed out and been rescued from the lake by some troops which did not belong to the Air Force, were shot by the police while on the way to the airfield—the exact name of the police office is given—that they therefore did not reach the airfield, but had been shot beforehand by the police. Luftgau XI duly reports these events as required. In the attached report each of the men is mentioned by name and also what happened to him. Some were taken to hospitals, others, as said before, were shot. And all these reports and each individual report sheet can be explained by the fact that the Luftgau offices, as the competent offices at home, were instructed automatically to make reports on a printed form as to whether it was a crash or a forced landing of our own or of enemy aircraft; at what time; whether the crew bailed out; whether the crew was killed, or half of it killed; whether they were brought to the camp or to the hospital. And in this case it is correctly reported, “Shot by the police while trying to escape; buried at such and such a place.”

Records of this type ran into hundreds; I mean records of our own and of hostile craft, which had been shot down with their crews, in the heavy air fighting. The records were channeled from the Luftgau to the competent offices. The Air Force itself had nothing to do with this; it is very clear from the German original document that this was merely a report.

In this connection there were heated discussions. All of the gentlemen who had to take part in the Führer’s daily briefing sessions will recall exactly that the Führer repeatedly told me in a very unfriendly manner that he definitely wished to know the names and the punishment of those officers who again and again had protected fliers from the population. I did not have these people searched for or arrested, nor did I have them punished. I always pointed out to the Führer that it had already happened that even our own fliers who had bailed out had been most severely mishandled by our own people, who at first were completely confused, and I therefore repeatedly emphasized on behalf of the Air Force that such things must be stopped.

There was one last sharp controversy, again in the presence of many gentlemen, at a briefing session in which, when again I referred to these things, the Führer cut me short with the words, “I well know that both air forces have come to a mutual agreement of cowardice.” Whereupon I told him, “We have not come to an agreement of cowardice, but somehow we airmen have always remained comrades, no matter how much we fight each other.” All the gentlemen present will remember this.

DR. STAHMER: What was your attitude as the highest judicial authority of the Luftwaffe with regard to punishable acts committed by the soldiers under you in occupied territory?

GÖRING: As highest judicial authority I had all the bad cases referred to me and spent many hours examining them. That is why I attach particular importance to the highest legal counsel of the Air Force by being heard here on this point. In many cases I rescinded sentences because they were too mild, especially if it was a matter of rape. In these cases I always confirmed the death sentence which had been handed down by the court, unless an appeal for mercy was made by the injured party in exceptional cases. I thus confirmed the death sentence of a number of members of the Air Force who took part in the murder of inhabitants of the occupied territories in the East as well as in the West.

I do not wish to take up the time of the Tribunal by citing a number of detailed cases which would prove this. Beyond this I was the judicial authority with regard to such inhabitants of occupied territories as were brought before an Air Force court. For instance, when in France, Holland, or Russia or another country, the native civilian population had helped enemy fliers to escape, or had been guilty of acts of sabotage on airplanes, or had engaged in espionage in connection with the Air Force, that is to say, all punishable acts which had taken place in connection with the Air Force. The war situation demanded, of course, that in general we should enforce strict measures here.

I should like to say in this connection that death sentences were, of course, also duly pronounced by the courts on women. In all these cases involving women, during the entire war years, I did not once confirm with my signature a single death sentence on a woman, not even in the case of fatal attacks, or participation in such on members of my Luftwaffe; even in the most severe cases I did not fail to give a reprieve.

DR. STAHMER: In your military and economic measures in the occupied territories did you take into consideration whether these measures were in keeping with the Hague Convention on land warfare?

GÖRING: I scanned through the regulations for land warfare of the Hague Convention for the first time just before the outbreak of the Polish conflict. As I read them at that time I regretted that I had not studied them much more thoroughly at an earlier date. If so I would have told the Führer that, in view of these Hague Convention regulations for land warfare, set down paragraph for paragraph, a modern war could not be waged under any circumstances. One would perforce come into conflict with conditions laid down in 1906 or 1907, because of the technological expansion of modern war. Either they would have to be cancelled, or else modern new viewpoints corresponding to technical developments would have to be introduced. My reasoning is as follows:

The regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention, as they now existed, I had in my opinion studied quite correctly and logically as regulations for land warfare in 1907. But from 1939 to 1945 there was no longer merely land warfare but also air warfare, which had not been taken into consideration here and which in part created an entirely new situation, and changed the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention in many respects. But that is not so much the decisive point; rather, modern and total war develops, as I see it, along three lines: the war of weapons on land, at sea, and in the air; economic war, which has become an integral part of every modern war; and, third, propaganda war, which is also an essential part of this warfare.

If one recognizes these principles on the basis of logic, certain deviations will then result which, according to the letter, may be a violation of logic, but not according to the spirit. If the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention provide that weapons of the opponent are to be regarded as booty, as a matter of course, then I must say that today in a modern war the weapons of the opponent under certain circumstances have value only as scrap, but that economic goods however, raw materials, high grade steel, aluminum, copper, lead, and tin, seem and are much more essential as war booty than obsolete weapons which I might take from an opponent. But beyond that it is not only a matter of raw materials, no matter whose property they are. The regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention provided at one point—I do not remember it now—that those things which are necessary can be confiscated, but against compensation, of course. That is also not the decisive factor, as one can readily believe. Decisive is, however, the fact that in this modern war, and in an economic war, which forms the basis for any further conduct of war, supplies, first of all food, must be regarded as absolutely necessary for war and must be made available for use in war, and beyond that raw materials for industry. Moreover production plants and machinery are also part of economic warfare. If they have until now served the opponent—be they industries directly or indirectly contributing to armaments and the conduct of war—they must now also serve whoever has come into the possession of these means of production through military decision, even if only temporarily, during an armistice in occupied territories. In this connection the labor question naturally also plays a far greater role in economic war than it did in those former wars which served as examples in the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention. In 1907 the most recent wars, the Russo-Japanese War, and perhaps the English Boer War, which were, however, conducted under entirely different circumstances—wars which practically lay only one decade behind at that time—could serve as an example of warfare. A war at that time between one army and another, in which the population was more or less not involved, cannot be compared with today’s total war, in which everyone, even the child, is drawn into the experience of war through the introduction of air warfare.

According to my opinion, manpower and thereby the workers and their use at the moment, are also an integral part of economic war. By that it is not meant that a worker should be so exploited that he suffers physical injury, but only that his labor should be fully used.

One of the witnesses mentioned recently what it means to be in an occupied territory where fighting is still going on, and where one remains for years, while one, two, three, four, or five new military age groups are growing up, and if they have no work in their home country . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, is there any chance that the defendant will finish by tonight?

DR. STAHMER: This is the last question.

THE PRESIDENT: Please continue.

GÖRING: The question of the deportation of workers had therefore also to be regarded from this point of view of security. We were obliged to feed, as far as possible, the entire occupied territory. We also had to dispose of manpower and, at the same time had to consider the removal especially of those who had no work in their own country and represented a danger in the growth of the underground resistance arising against us.

If these age groups were drafted into Germany for work, it was because of basic considerations of security, in order that they should not be left idle in their own country—and thus be made available for the work and the struggle against us—but should be used to our advantage in economic war.

Thirdly—I want to mention these things just very briefly—in conclusion, the war of propaganda. At one point in the Indictment it is also mentioned that we requisitioned radios, which is, to be sure, a matter of course. For the great importance in propaganda warfare enemy propaganda had, which extended by way of radio far into the hinterland, no one has felt more strongly than Germany. All the great dangers of underground movements, partisan war, the resistance movements and sabotage, and everything connected with it, and finally also in this war, this embitterment and this atmosphere, have been called forth to the extreme by this mutual fight over the radio.

Also whatever happened in the way of atrocities and similar acts, which should not be tolerated, are in the last analysis, if one thinks about it calmly, to be attributed primarily to the war of propaganda.

Therefore the regulations on land warfare of the Hague Convention are in my opinion not an instrument which can be used as a basis for a modern war, because they do not take into consideration the essential principles of this war; the war in the air, the economic war, and the war of propaganda.

And at this point I should like to say the same words which one of our greatest, most important, and toughest opponents, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, used: “In the struggle for life and death there is in the end no legality.”

THE PRESIDENT: The Court will adjourn.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 16 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]

Saturday, 16 March 1946

Morning Session

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I have purposely deferred one single question and not yet dealt with it, that is, Göring’s efforts to maintain peace in the months of July and August 1939, before the outbreak of the war. I have deferred the question for the following reasons: Originally, I had intended to call Göring to the witness stand only after the interrogation of the witness Dahlerus. But because Dahlerus had not yet arrived, and I wanted to avoid an interruption of the proceedings, I called Göring first.

I now ask for a decision as to whether I may call Göring back to the witness stand after the examination of the witness Dahlerus, who in the meantime has arrived—I consider it expedient in the interest of saving time, because in my opinion quite a number of questions would thereby become unnecessary−or, whether I may question him again on this point after the cross-examination. If that is not possible, I shall deal with this matter immediately. It seems to me advisable, however, to put this question after the examination of Dahlerus.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Your Honor, I can help on this point. If the Tribunal could consider this application without its establishing a precedent for other cases, I should have no objection, because in the case of Dahlerus we are to understand that some one will have to go into the matter in detail as to the events that happened within the last fortnight. It might well mean a saving of time if that detail were gone into only once, and it would be rather difficult for Dr. Stahmer to examine the witness Dahlerus without going into the details. While I feel strongly with the Tribunal that a defendant should not be recalled except in the most exceptional circumstances, I think in this case it might conceivably bring about a shortening of time.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that if the witness Dahlerus were called, it might obviate the necessity of calling the Defendant Göring in reference to those events?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It might obviate that necessity, and it would in any case mean, I should think, that the Defendant Göring would have to answer only very few questions; but if it were opened up now, it would be difficult to avoid both witnesses covering the same ground.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is only concerned with the saving of time, and as the Tribunal is informed by the defendant’s counsel, Dr. Stahmer, that it may save time, the Tribunal is prepared to adopt that course, and to allow the witness Dahlerus to be called before these questions are put to the Defendant Göring; but it must not be taken as a precedent for the recalling of any other witnesses.

DR. STAHMER: Thank you, Sirs. Then I have no further questions to ask the defendant at this time.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution, in their presentation, have frequently mentioned the Defendant Keitel in connection with orders, directives, and so forth. They were always quoted as Keitel orders, Keitel decrees, and upon this, the Prosecution have based, among other things, their indictment of the Defendant Keitel. I am anxious to clear up through questioning you what the position of Field Marshal Keitel was, what powers and what responsibility he had as Chief of the OKW or in other official functions. Are you familiar with the decree of 4 February 1938 by which the High Command of the Armed Forces, the OKW, was created and Field Marshal Keitel appointed Chief of the OKW?

GÖRING: Of course, I am familiar with that decree because I assisted in the making of the decree in that the Führer discussed with me the entire reshuffling of 8 February, and the resulting consequences and organizational changes of his entire staff.

DR. NELTE: Can you remember the diagram which was submitted by the Prosecution concerning the organization of the German Armed Forces?

GÖRING: Yes, I remember that it was here on the board.

DR. NELTE: I shall have it shown to you.

Do you think the OKW is placed correctly on this diagram?

GÖRING: No, it is not correct. It says on top, “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,” then there is a line, and below it says “Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces.” From there, indicating a subordination, lines lead directly to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. That is wrong.

The High Command of the Armed Forces, and also the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, should not be placed in that manner, but set separately to one side, that is to say, the three Commanders-in-Chief of the three branches of the Armed Forces were immediately subordinate to the Führer, as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and in no subordination whatsoever to the High Command of the Armed Forces, or to the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces.

The Führer at that time, in February, reorganized his entire staff, for he had in his capacity as head of State the State Chancellery. He made Meissner, who was then State Secretary, State Minister, and established the State Chancellery as his administrative office. Thus he, in collaboration with the records department of the Foreign Office, was in charge of matters that concerned only the head of State. In his capacity as Reich Chancellor and chief of the Government, he ruled that his administrative organism should be the Reich Chancellery, and the State Secretary of the Reich Chancellery became on the same day Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery. It was the function of this office to maintain liaison with the ministries and the entire machinery of the government of the Reich. The function of this minister as an organ of the Führer, was not the issuing, but the execution of the Führer’s orders and decrees.

Thirdly, the Führer, as leader of the Party, had the Party Chancellery of which the Deputy of the Führer, Rudolf Hess, was in charge at that time and occupied a high position within that organization. After his leaving, Bormann did not become Deputy of the Führer but Chief of the Party Chancellery.

Fourthly, there was the Private Chancellery of the Führer, with a Reichsleiter as Chief.

For military matters, as his military cabinet or military staff—or as it used to be known in former years, the “Maison Militaire”—the High Command of the Armed Forces was formed.

This reorganization was necessary, because after the retirement of Blomberg as Minister of War, no new Minister of War had been appointed, and the Führer, since as head of State he was in any case Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, was now determined not only formally to be this Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but to execute that function in fact. In consequence, he now needed a staff organization. This was to be the High Command of the Armed Forces, and Keitel became Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces.

In Germany the word “chief” in the military sense has a different meaning from “commander-in-chief.” The responsibility and right to issue orders rest with the commander or the commander-in-chief. The assistant in staff administration, in the working out, administering, and transmitting of orders, and in maintaining liaison, is the actual chief of the respective staff. Thus, the former Colonel General Keitel, or General Keitel, was Chief of Staff of the military staff of the Commander-in-Chief, called the High Command of the Armed Forces. On the one hand, he had charge of the entire machinery of the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, as far as military organizational and technical matters, and military direction, that is to say, strategy, were concerned, to the extent that the Führer wanted to have his strategic orders administered from a central point. For this there was established in the High Command as a purely general staff, strategic department, the Supreme General Staff.

DR. NELTE: If I understand you correctly, OKW is translated as High Command of the Armed Forces, but this apparently has been used in different ways, at one time as the Staff of the High Command of the Armed Forces—as, for example, when Keitel was called the Chief of the OKW—and at another time, as the OKW Office of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in other words, Hitler. Is that right?

GÖRING: That is correct as such, but not very clear. The High Command of the Armed Forces is the staff of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in the same way that I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force had my General Staff on one hand, and my chief adjutant’s office on the other—these formed the staff with which I worked. The High Command constituted for the Führer, as Supreme Commander a similar organization. The chief of my General Staff likewise could give no direct orders to the commanders of the air fleets, commanding generals of air corps or divisions. The orders could only be issued “By command of the Commander-in-Chief,” signed “I.A.,” that is to say, “Im Auftrag (by order).”

The chief of a staff, therefore, even the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, had no command function except to the members of his immediate office and the few administrative organizations connected with that staff. An order, command, or directive from the High Command of the Armed Forces, for instance, to me as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, was only possible when the instruction began in the following form: “The Führer has ordered . . .” or, “By command of the Führer, I hereby inform you . . .”

May I express myself quite emphatically: At one time I told Colonel General Keitel, “I am bound only by orders of the Führer. Only orders in the original and signed by Adolf Hitler are presented to me personally. Instructions, directives or orders which start ‘By command of the Führer,’ or ‘By order of the Führer’ go to my chief of staff who gives me an oral report indicating the most important points. Whether then—to put it bluntly—they are signed, ‘By command of the Führer: Keitel, Colonel General,’ or ‘Meier, Stabsgefreiter’, makes no difference to me. But if they constitute a direct command from you, an order, which you want to give me, then save yourself time and paper because both are meaningless to me. I am Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, and immediately and exclusively subordinate to the Führer.”

DR. NELTE: Do you know whether Hitler, on the one hand, and the commanders-in-chief of the branches of the Armed Forces, on the other, observed these command functions described by you, or whether in other branches of the Armed Forces the actual procedure was, perhaps, different?

GÖRING: Whether my two colleagues made it as clear to the Chief of the High Command as I did, I cannot say; but that the two other commanders-in-chief did not permit any interference with their rights and prerogatives is obvious.

DR. NELTE: Does the same apply to Himmler as Chief of the SS?

GÖRING: The SS was never subordinate to the High Command of the Armed Forces. Within the Armed Forces there was, from the beginning of the war, the Waffen-SS, divided into divisions and corps. That was purely a combat unit. Tactically and strategically it was subordinate to those units of the Army to which it was assigned; in the matter of personnel and development, it was subordinate to Himmler; and he had nothing to do with the OKW. Here it might happen that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in questions of armament and organization of the Waffen-SS, transmitted orders or decrees of the Führer.

On this occasion I should like to correct an error which was made during Justice Jackson’s examination of Field Marshal Kesselring. Field Marshal Kesselring spoke of the Waffen-SS, as “Garde Truppe.” Then he was asked, “Whom did it have to guard?” In applying the word “Garde” we do not employ it as it has been translated, as “guard,” meaning sentries, but, as Field Marshal Kesselring intended, a “picked troop”; just as in the Russian military language there is a “Garde Korps,” and in the old Imperial Army there was a “Garde Korps,” and also formerly in other armies. The Waffen-SS during the first years of the war was not to be regarded as a guard unit, but as a “picked unit” as far as personnel, et cetera, was concerned.

DR. NELTE: I would like to ask you to say something about the official relationship between Adolf Hitler and Field Marshal Keitel; that is to say, what official relations had Adolf Hitler in mind when he established the office of the OKW? I mean, I should like to know what Keitel was supposed to be and what, subsequently, his official functions actually were after 1938?

GÖRING: I think that is just what I have been explaining.

DR. NELTE: I wanted to ask you, for instance, was he Hitler’s adviser?

GÖRING: Adviser is a debatable expression. I can let somebody advise me as to whether or not he thinks it will rain during the coming 3 hours, when I am riding; but I can also have someone advise me in very important and decisive questions. That depends on the temperament and the attitude of the person who wants to be advised, and the one who wishes to advise.

With the dynamic personality of the Führer, unsolicited advice was not in order, and one had to be on very good terms with him. That is to say, one had to have great influence, as I had—and I ask you to understand me correctly—as I had beyond doubt for many years, in order to come to him unsolicited, not only with advice, but also with suggestions or even persistent contradictions. On the other hand, if one were not on these terms with the Führer, suggestions and advice were curtly brushed aside whenever he had once made his decisions, or if he would not allow the would-be adviser to attain that influence or that influential position. Here I wish to say that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in important and decisive questions certainly was no adviser. In current, everyday affairs, he was an adviser insofar as he may have suggested to the Führer here and there that this or that should be said to the commanders, or that in regard to the movement of troops this or that should be pointed out. After all, advice from the chief of a general staff is still more important than advice from the chief of an organization or a state office. It was this way: In the sphere of important strategic and tactical decisions the chief responsibility lay with the adviser on the General Staff, the commanders-in-chief, the Chief of Staff, and the Führer; in matters of pure strategy and tactics, more with the chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff; organizational questions or current developments of the day, with the Chief of the High Command. Because the Führer himself, as I said before, held several of the highest offices, he had to limit his signatures. It often took weeks until one could obtain the necessary signature from the Führer, especially during the war when he had a tremendous amount of work, so that the secretaries of the respective state offices were authorized to sign “by order.” This explains why there was hardly any decree or order issued by the Führer, that went out signed “By order of” or “By command of the Führer,” which was not signed by Keitel, who was very industrious.

DR. NELTE: Wasn’t it a very thankless task that Field Marshal Keitel had, I mean, thankless insofar as he frequently was in the position of having to mediate between the various offices which were subordinated to the Supreme Commander, namely Hitler; to submit their grievances to him, and to exert himself on behalf of the two parties, helping here and restraining there?

GÖRING: That again depended very much on the personalities. It goes without saying that if it came to a clash between the Führer and myself, or other determined commanders-in-chief, the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces was, I may say, trodden on by both sides. He came between the millstones of stronger personalities; the one protested that in speaking to the Führer he had not exerted enough pressure; the Führer, when Keitel made presentations, turned a deaf ear and said he would settle matters himself.

The task was certainly a very thankless one and a difficult one. I remember that once Field Marshal Keitel approached me and asked me whether I could not arrange for him to be given a front-line command; that he would be satisfied, though a Field Marshal, with one division if he could only get away, because he was getting more kicks than ha’pence. Whether the task was thankless or appreciated was all the same, I answered him; he had to do his duty where the Führer ordered it.

DR. NELTE: Are you aware that in this connection Field Marshal Keitel was reproached with not being able to assert himself, as they say, with the Führer?

GÖRING: This reproach was made against him by quite a number of commanders-in-chief of armies and army groups. It was easy for them to make that reproach because they were out of range of Adolf Hitler, and did not have to submit any proposals themselves. I know that, especially after the collapse, quite a number of generals adopted the point of view that Keitel had been a typical “yes-man.” I can only say I personally should be interested if I could see those who today consider themselves “no-men.”

DR. NELTE: Was there ever, as far as Hitler was concerned, any possibility of Field Marshal Keitel getting a release from his office?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, the Tribunal does not think—at least we should like to ask you—what relevance does the gossip of the General Staff or any reproaches which may have been raised against him by it have to the charges against Keitel? What has that to do with the charges against Keitel?

DR. NELTE: If one wants to do justice to the Defendant Keitel, that is to say, if one wants to try to establish what role he has played in this terrible tragedy, then that is only possible if one establishes clearly what his function was, and thereby what his legal responsibility was; and then, if one takes the tactical conditions into consideration . . .

THE PRESIDENT: I know that perfectly well and we have spent three-quarters of an hour in hearing the Defendant Göring describe what his relationship was and what Keitel’s function was. What I asked you was what this had to do with the case, the criticisms or gossip of the General Staff about Keitel? I say we have spent three-quarters of an hour in hearing what the Defendant Göring says his function was, and what his relationships with the Führer were, and nothing else.

DR. NELTE: I began with the organization of the OKW. I wanted to determine the chain of command between the OKW and the Chief of the OKW, on the one hand, and the branches of the Armed Forces, on the other; and then I have tried to clarify the responsibilities which, as Chief of the OKW, he was to have, according to Hitler’s wishes, and how he carried these out.

The gossip, Mr. President, was only, I believe, a subject for a few minutes during the examination of the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: My interruption was made because you asked the defendant a question about somebody being reproached for something or other by the members of the General Staff, and that seems to me to be totally irrelevant.

DR. NELTE: The last question which I put was whether there had been any possibility of Field Marshal Keitel’s obtaining a release from his position. May I assume, Mr. President, that this question is relevant?

THE PRESIDENT: You may certainly ask that question as to whether he asked to be relieved of his command. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nelte, that question was asked before, the question at which I interrupted you; and I have the answer written down, that Keitel asked for a command, even if only of a division.

DR. NELTE: That was the question which he put to Reich Marshal Göring. He came to him, Göring, and put the question to him. Now I want to ask whether there existed any possibility of Keitel’s obtaining a release from his position from Hitler?

GÖRING: The question whether a general could ask for and obtain his release from the Führer has played an important role in these proceedings generally. Actually, one has to make a distinction between two phases, peace and war.

In times of peace a general could ask for his release. Unless he was in a prominent and definitely important position, and very well known to the Führer, such a request for release was granted without question. If he was in an especially important position and well known to the Führer, then, using all his persuasive powers, with all the means at his disposal the Führer appealed to him to remain at his post. If, however, a general had asked the Führer for his release and had given as a reason that in principle he was of a different political opinion, either domestic or foreign, then without doubt he was retired, even if not on that very day. But at the same time it would have given rise to an extraordinary suspicion on the part of the Führer concerning the person.

During the war, the matter was entirely different. The general, like every soldier, was obliged to do his duty, to obey orders. The Führer had issued the statement that he wanted no requests for release, neither from generals nor any other important state personalities. He himself would decide if a person were to resign or not. He himself could not resign if things became unpleasant now, he considered that desertion.

If, in spite of this, a general submitted a request for release in wartime and this was refused, he certainly could not insist upon it. If he resigned notwithstanding, he violated the law and from that moment was guilty of desertion.

Field Marshal Keitel might have asked the Führer, “Have me transferred to a different office.” But the Führer disliked exceedingly to make any changes in his immediate circle; and during the war—that I know from his own words—he would not have agreed to a change, particularly with regard to Field Marshal Keitel with whom he was used to working, unless the Field Marshal had become ill and thereby really unable to continue his duties.

DR. NELTE: Were these considerations of which you have just spoken likewise the determining factor in the retirement of Field Marshal Von Brauchitsch?

GÖRING: The case of Field Marshal Von Brauchitsch’s retirement is very well known to me, because the Führer had discussed it at length with me beforehand; for at first he was not decided whether he or someone else should take over the command of the Army. Thus we discussed who should succeed, and so forth. At that moment the Führer was not satisfied with the direction of the Army by the commander-in-chief of the Eastern Front. The commander-in-chief was Brauchitsch; the chief of the Army General Staff was Halder. I suggested to the Führer that he change the chief of the Army General Staff, because I thought he was by far the less capable. The Führer wanted to do that. Then the next morning he had made up his mind and told me that he, the Führer, would himself assume this command to bring about order on the Eastern Front, and that therefore it was more important for him to retire the Commander-in-Chief, although he agreed with me that the Chief of Staff was the weaker one. Then I suggested that both be dismissed.

The Führer called Brauchitsch, talked with him for 2 hours and requested him in a clear way, that is in a way that could not be misunderstood, to resign.

Thus, in this case, a clear decision was made by the Führer to dismiss the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in order to assume personally the command of the Army. From that time on, the Führer was not only Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces but also de facto Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution has stated and has produced evidence that Field Marshal Keitel was a member of the Reich Defense Council. You spoke of this question yesterday. And I can now state that you said that Field Marshal Keitel was a member of the Reich Defense Council according to the Reich Defense Law, but that this Reich Defense Council was never constituted. You ought to know that because you were, according to that law, chairman of that Reich Defense Council. Is that correct?

GÖRING: I have stated clearly that I never attended a meeting, or called a meeting.

THE PRESIDENT: You know, do you not, that the Tribunal is directed to hold an expeditious trial and for that reason they are not going to hear cumulative evidence? The defendant has already given us an answer to the question you have just put to him. The Tribunal do not wish to hear the same answer again.

DR. NELTE: I have not seen yesterday’s transcript yet, and it is of great importance for the Defendant Keitel . . .

THE PRESIDENT: You were in court and you can take it from me that the answer was given.

DR. NELTE: The questions and the answers are not always as clear as they may seem on reading the transcript.

[Turning to the witness.] Can you tell me whether Field Marshal Keitel ever was a minister?

GÖRING: He was not a minister. He had only the assimilated rank of a minister.

DR. NELTE: Was he entitled to participate in Cabinet meetings?

GÖRING: Not by virtue of his positions; but, concerning questions of interest to him which pertained to his work, he could be invited by the Führer to attend Cabinet meetings.

DR. NELTE: Keitel was a member of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich. Did that make him a minister?

GÖRING: No, he remained the same. He had only the rank of a minister. Field Marshal Keitel could not attend Cabinet meetings of the Reich Cabinet because he became Chief of the High Command only in 1938, and from that time on no Cabinet meetings took place.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution have also asserted that there was a triumvirate, consisting of the Plenipotentiary General for Economy, the Plenipotentiary General for Administration, and the Chief of the OKW. Can you tell us something about that?

GÖRING: I know nothing about that.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution have accused Field Marshal Keitel of having been a political general. Do you know anything about that?

GÖRING: The generals in the Third Reich had no right whatsoever to participate in any political activity. The only exception in this respect was myself—and that was due to the peculiar nature of my position, for I was at the same time a soldier, a general, and on the other hand, in politics, a politician. The other generals, as the Führer always very clearly pointed out, had nothing to do with politics.

The general who always most interested himself in politics was the late Field Marshal Von Reichenau. That was the reason the Führer, in spite of his personal sympathies and the strongly positive attitude of Reichenau toward the Nazi Party, refused to make him Commander-in-Chief of the Army after the resignation of Fritsch; the Führer did not want any political generals.

DR. NELTE: But it cannot be denied that in the so-called decrees often the political objective was made known, and that such decrees and orders were signed by Keitel.

GÖRING: Decrees were principally Führer decrees, because they contained broad directives. The preamble of an important decree very commonly was the political premise which explained why the Führer had decided on this or that military measure. But that has nothing to do with a general being political.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution have frequently mentioned that the Defendant Keitel was present at state receptions, such as that accorded Hacha, and at other ministerial receptions; from that they have tried to deduce that he was a political general.

GÖRING: When the Führer, as head of State, received foreign missions, heads of states, or chiefs of governments, it was customary for the chiefs of his most important offices to be present; the Chief of the State Chancellery, frequently of the Reich Chancellery, depending on who came; and the Chief of the High Command, since, in the conferences, questions might come up for which the Führer would need military information of some kind. And then, of course, there was also a certain amount of ceremony involved. Whenever I had important visitors, my military staff, or a representative of the staff, were also with me.

DR. NELTE: May I say then that Field Marshal Keitel was present at, but did not participate in, the conferences?

GÖRING: If he participated, it was not at any rate of any consequence.

DR. NELTE: The Prosecution stated that, on the occasion of the visit of President Hacha, the Defendant Keitel exerted pressure on President Hacha by threatening to bomb Prague.

GÖRING: I said yesterday that I made that statement.

DR. NELTE: I just wanted to establish it.

Now I should like further to question you concerning the terror-fliers. Do you remember that about the middle of June 1944, when negotiations on this question took place among the various departments, you were waiting at the Platterhof with Field Marshal Keitel for Hitler, and discussed this question there?

GÖRING: I cannot say whether that was at the Platterhof. At any rate, I talked with the Field Marshal many times on the subject.

DR. NELTE: It is important in this connection to establish whether the Defendant Keitel approached you on this question and stated to you that he was against the idea of lynch law, which was advocated by the Party.

GÖRING: He said that several times. We were in agreement on this.

DR. NELTE: Did the Defendant Keitel at that time also state to you that he was in favor of an official warning or a note to the Allied Governments—in respect to the well-known Dieppe case—rather than separate court-martial proceedings without legal evidence?

GÖRING: I think we had frequent discussions on this point. I advocated that in the case of pure terror-fliers—that is to say, those who violated the orders of their own superiors—there should be legal proceedings. Keitel said it would be hard to differentiate, and to carry this out. It would be more practical to send a note to the Allies to the effect that if it were not stopped, measures would have to be taken. The view that this course should be adopted was also advocated in other quarters.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, when submitting my applications for evidence, I proposed, among other things, a characterization of Field Marshal Keitel given to me by Göring. In the session of 25 February an agreement was reached with the Prosecution that this characterization, which is in the form of an affidavit, might be submitted in the presence of the witness, that is, Göring. Am I now permitted to read you this characterization, of which you have already received the original, or may I refer to it as evidence and merely put it in? I ask this question because a part of the description which is contained in the affidavit has already been given by this witness in this interrogation.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the document that you are referring to? What is the origin of it? Is it a document drawn up by the Defendant Göring?

DR. NELTE: It is an affidavit signed by Göring, entitled, “Characteristics of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.” It is referred to in my applications as an affidavit. Much of what is contained in it has already been said by Reich Marshal Göring.

THE PRESIDENT: The Defendant Göring is giving evidence under oath. Therefore, nothing in the shape of an affidavit ought to be put in. If you have any questions to ask him which he has not already answered, about the Defendant Keitel, you may ask them now. It is inappropriate to put in a written, sworn statement when you have a defendant giving evidence under oath.

DR. NELTE: In the session of 25 February 1946 this was approved, for the reason that it would shorten the proceedings if an affidavit were to be read and the witness were then to state: “That is correct.” I have a copy here of the transcript of that session, should the Tribunal not recall.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal, I should not care to object to this upon the ground that it is written, because I think there are occasions when the writing out of the testimony of a witness might be more expeditious than their examination.

I object to it on the ground that it does not get us anywhere when you include it. It starts off: “Keitel gives the impression of a military man, an officer of the old school.” That is not testimony that gets us anywhere. I admit that statement; he always impressed me that way. His philosophy is dominated in the main by militaristic ideas and concepts.

Let Keitel give us a description of himself, if we must have one. I think an examination of this affidavit will show that it consists of matter that has been covered, or of matter on which another witness never ought to be interrogated. I object to it upon the ground that it has no probative value.

THE PRESIDENT: As you are aware, Dr. Nelte, any decision which the Tribunal made about documents was expressly made provisionally and with the condition that the decision about the relevancy of the document should be made when the document was produced. If the document had been produced before the Tribunal, they would have been able to look at it. They have not seen the document.

The document appears, as Mr. Justice Jackson says, to be not a document which has any evidential value at all, and as the defendant is at present giving evidence under oath, the Tribunal will not look at the document.

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, as the Tribunal have examined this document and found that it is irrelevant, I accept that decision. But it seems to me that the Tribunal . . .

THE PRESIDENT: We are not preventing you from asking any questions of the witness which may be relevant, but we do not desire to read another document from the same person who is giving testimony.

DR. NELTE: I shall omit this affidavit.