The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 151]



DR. SAUTER: May it please the Court, I should like to make

an application. I am Dr. Sauter and defend the defendant von

Ribbentrop. On the 30th October the defendant von Ribbentrop

requested that his former secretary, Margarete Blank, at

that time in the Remand Prison in Nuremberg, be made

available to him in order that he might make his reply to

the Indictment, as well as a survey of the manner in which

he performed his official duties in the last seven or eight

years. He wished to dictate the facts.

On the 11th November, 1945, the Tribunal allowed this plea.

The defendant von Ribbentrop thereupon was able to dictate

for a few hours, but this was stopped for reasons unknown to

him. The defendant von Ribbentrop has not yet had returned

to him either the shorthand notes or the type script

dictated to Fraulein Blank. He therefore makes application

to the Court that the President be good enough to decree

that his former secretary, Margarete Blank, be made

available to him for the transcription of the requisite

data. Such permission would appear to be essential for the

proper preparation of his testimony and for the preparation

of the testimony of the defence witnesses.

Particularly in the case of the defendant von Ribbentrop,

the material to be treated is so voluminous, that no other

way of treating it appears feasible to us. Von Ribbentrop

has a further request to put forward. He has repeatedly

asked that some of his former colleagues, in particular

Ambassador Gauss, Ambassador von Rintelen, Minister von

Sonnleitner, Professor Fritz Berber and Under-Secretary of

State Henke, be brought to Nuremberg as witnesses, and that

he be permitted to speak to these witnesses in the presence

of his counsel. This request has, in part, been refused by

the Court on the 10th November. The remaining part has not

yet been decided.

It is quite impossible for the defendant von Ribbentrop,

considering the question of the entire foreign policy for

the last seven or eight years, to give a clear and

exhaustive account, if nothing is placed at his disposal

except a pencil and a block of writing paper. The White Book

of the Foreign Office for which he has asked could not be

placed at his disposal. In view of the voluminous nature of

the material entailed by Germany's foreign policy during the

last seven or eight years, the defendant von Ribbentrop

cannot possibly remember every single detail of events,

documents et alia, unless he be afforded some outside help.

He will be unable to remember particulars unless his memory

be stimulated by discussions with his former colleagues.

Moreover, the defendant von Ribbentrop has been taking a

great many soporifics during the last four years, especially

bromides, and his memory has suffered in consequence. For a

comprehensive realisation of the historical truth in a field

which interests not only the Court, but universal public

opinion in particular, little would be achieved if, in the

course of his examination, he were to declare, over and over

again, that he could no longer remember these details.

Defendant von Ribbentrop therefore applies to the Court and

begs that his above-mentioned colleagues be brought here,

and that he receive permission to discuss with them matters

pertaining to the trial, in order that he may prepare for

further proceedings.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already intimated to

defendant's counsel that all applications should, as far as

possible, be made in writing and they consider

                                                  [Page 152]

that the applications which have now been made orally should

have been made in writing. They will consider the facts with

reference to the application in respect of defendant von

Ribbentrop's secretary. The other applications, as to

witnesses and documents, which have been made in writing,

have been considered, or will be considered by the Tribunal.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I would, in addition, like to

observe that the applications which I have today submitted

have been repeatedly lodged with the Court in writing, but

my client is anxious lest he experience difficulties in

preparing his own testimony and the examination of the

defence witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: As was announced at the sitting on Friday,

counsel for the prosecution were to try and arrange with

defendants' counsel some satisfactory arrangement with

reference to the production of documents in the German

language. In accordance with that announcement, counsel for

the prosecution saw counsel for the defence, and

representatives of the prosecution and the defence appeared

before the Tribunal, and the Tribunal has provisionally made

the following arrangement: One, that in future, only such

parts of documents as are read in Court by the prosecution,

shall in the first instance be part of the record. In that

way, those parts of the documents will be conveyed to

defendants' counsel through the earphones in German. Two, in

order that defendants and their counsel may have an

opportunity of inspecting such documents in their entirety

in German, a photostatic copy of the original and one copy

thereof shall be deposited in the defendants' counsel room

at the same time that they are produced in Court. Three, the

defendants' counsel may at any time refer to any other part

of such documents. Four, prosecuting counsel will furnish

defendants' counsel with ten copies of their trial briefs in

English and five copies of their books of documents in

English, at the time such briefs and books are furnished to

the Tribunal. Five, defendants' counsel will be furnished

with one copy each of the transcript of the proceedings.

That is all.

I call upon the prosecuting counsel for the United States.

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, may I make, Mr.

President, one inquiry with regard to your reference to

trial briefs.

On my section of the case I shall not expect to hand up to

the Court trial briefs. Whatever I have in the nature of

trial briefs will be put over the microphone. I wonder if

that is satisfactory.

THE PRESIDENT: I think what I said meets that case.

MR. ALDERMAN: I thought so, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Because what I said was that the defendants'

counsel would be furnished with ten copies of the trial

briefs in English at the same time that they are furnished

to the Tribunal. Therefore, if you don't furnish the trial

briefs to the Tribunal, none will be furnished to the

defendants' counsel.


When the Tribunal rose on Friday last, I had just completed

an introductory statement preliminary to the presentation of

evidence on the aggressive war aspect of the case. In that

introductory statement I had invited attention to the parts

of the Charter and to the parts of the Indictment which are

pertinent to this aspect of the case. I had also discussed

the relationship between recorded history and the evidence

to be presented, indicating what sort of additions to

recorded history would be made by the evidence contained in

the captured documents.

I then indicated to the Court that I would first proceed by

presenting singly a handful of captured documents, which, in

our opinion, prove the corpus of the crime of Aggressive

War, leaving no reasonable doubt concerning the aggressive

character of the Nazi war, or concerning the conspiratory

premeditation of that war. I indicated to the Tribunal that,

after proving the corpus of the crime in this way, I would

follow the presentation of this evidence with a more or less

                                                  [Page 153]

chronological presentation of the case on Aggressive War,

producing evidence in greater detail of the relevant

activities of the conspirators from 1933 to 1941.

As the members of the Tribunal may understand, it is easier

to make plans about presentation than to keep them. There

have been, by necessity, some changes in our plans. I

indicated on Friday that to a certain extent the American

case under Count 1 and the British case under Count 2 would

interlock. The British Chief Prosecutor, Sir Hartley

Shawcross, is by force of circumstances required to be in

London this week. He expects to be back next week. The

intention now is that he will make his opening statement

covering Count 2 of the Indictment, and such interrelated

parts of Count 1 of the Indictment as have not by then been

presented, when he returns on Monday.

So that what is at the moment planned, if it meets with the

Court's views, is that I shall continue as far as I may

within two days of this week on the detailed story as to

Aggressive War; that thereupon we shall alter the

presentation and present some other matters coming under

Count 1. Then, following the British Chief Prosecutor's

opening on Monday of next week, we shall continue jointly

with the Chapters on Poland, Russia, and Japan, as parts of

both Count 1 and Count 2. While that may not be strictly

logical it seems to us the best method to proceed with under

the circumstances.

I turn now to the period of 1933 to 1936, a period

characterised by an orderly, planned sequence of

preparations for war. This is the period covered by

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of IV (F) of the Indictment. This may be

found at Page 7 of the printed English text of the


The essential character of this period was the formulation

and execution of the plan to rearm and to re-occupy and

fortify the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of

Versailles and other treaties, in order to acquire military

strength and political bargaining power to be used against

other nations.

Hitler's own eloquence in a secret speech delivered to all

supreme commanders on 23rd November, 1939, at 12.00 hours,

is sufficient to characterise this phase of the Nazi

conspiracy.  This document comes to hand as a captured

document found in the OKW files - OKW is Ober Kommando der

Wehrmacht, the High Command of the Army, Chief of the High

Command of the Armed Forces - and was captured at Flensburg.

The document is numbered 789-PS in our numbered series of


I have in my hand, if the Court please, the German original

of this document in the condition in which it was captured,

and I wish to offer the document in evidence and have it

given the proper serial number as the United States

Prosecutor's exhibit. The serial number, I understand, is

exhibit USA 23. I would ask that the German text of the

original be handed to the interpreters, the German


If the Court please, understanding the ruling just made by

the presiding Justice, although I have offered the entire

document, it is a very long speech, and I shall not read it

into the record in its entirety. Of course, as the Presiding

Judge said, defence counsel may insert any other parts of it

as they wish.

I shall begin reading at the beginning, and read a little

more than half of the first page in the English text. I am

advised that the German original is marked with a blue

pencil at the point where I shall stop reading. I will read

the English translation:

   "November 23rd, 1939, 12.00 hours. Conference with the

   Fuehrer, to which all supreme Commanders are ordered.

   The Fuehrer gives the following speech:


   The purpose of this conference is to give you an idea of

   the world of my thoughts, which takes charge of me, in

   the face of future events, and to tell you my decisions.

   The building up of our armed forces was only possible in

   connection with the ideological - the German word is "

   weltanschaulich" - "education of the German people by

   the Party."

                                                  [Page 154]

  If I may interpolate just to comment on that interesting

German word weltanschaulich." I take it that ideological is

about as close a translation as we can get, but the word

means more than that. It means a whole attitude towards the

world, the way of looking on the world.

"When I started my political task" - I am quoting again -

"in 1919, my strong belief in final success was based on a

thorough observation of the events of the day and the study

of the reasons for their occurrence. Therefore, I never lost

my belief in the midst of setbacks which were not spared me

during my period of struggle. Providence has had the last

word and brought me success. On top of that, I had a clear

recognition of the probable course of historical events, and

the firm will to make brutal decisions. The first decision

was in 1919 when I, after long internal conflict, became a

politician and took up the struggle against my enemies. That

was the hardest of all decisions. I had, however, the firm

belief that I would arrive at my goal. First of all, I

desired a new system of selection. I wanted to educate a

minority which would take over the leadership. After 15

years I arrived at my goal, after strenuous struggles and

many setbacks. When I came to power in 1933, the period of

the most difficult struggle lay behind me. Everything

existing before that had collapsed. I had to reorganise

everything, beginning with the mass of the people, and

extending it to the armed forces. First, reorganisation of

the interior, abolishment of appearances of decay and

defeatist ideas, education to heroism. While reorganising

the interior, I undertook the second task: to release

Germany from its international ties. Two particular

characteristics are to be pointed out: secession from the

League of Nations and denunciation of the Disarmament

Conference. It was a hard decision. The number of prophets

who predicted that it would lead to the occupation of the

Rhineland, was large, the number of believers was very

small. I was supported by the nation, which stood firmly

behind me, when I carried out my intentions. After that the

order for rearmament. Here again there were numerous

prophets who predicted misfortunes, and only a few

believers. In 1935 the introduction of compulsory armed

service. After that the militarisation of the Rhineland,

again a process believed to be impossible at that time. The

number of people who put trust in me was very small. Then -

beginning of the fortification of the whole country,

especially in the West.

One year later, Austria came" - I suppose he meant Austria

went - "this step also was considered doubtful. It brought

about a considerable reinforcement of the Reich. The next

step was Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. This step also was not

possible to accomplish in one campaign. First of all, the

Western fortification had to be finished. It was not

possible to reach the goal in one effort. It was clear to me

from the first moment that I could not be satisfied with the

Sudeten-German territory. That was only a partial solution.

The decision to march into Bohemia was made. Then followed

the erection of the Protectorate, and with that the basis

for the action against Poland was laid, but I wasn't quite

clear at that time whether I should start first against the

East and then in the West, or vice versa."

There are some curious antitheses of thought in that speech,

as in most of Adolf Hitler's speeches. In one sentence he

combines guidance by Providence with the making of brutal

decisions. He constantly speaks of how very few people were

with him, and yet of how the mass of the German people were

with him. But he does give a brief summary of the gist of

what is contained in the allegations of our Indictment, to

which I have invited your attention: the organisation of the

mass of the people, then extending to the armed forces, and

the various brutal decisions that he did make, about which

history knows.

That long document contains other material of great

interest. It may be that we shall advert to other portions

of it later. At this point, however, I have simply

                                                  [Page 155]

asked the Court to focus attention on the matter I have just

read and its hearing on the development of the conspiracy

during the period 1933 to 1936.

Another captured document is sufficient to demonstrate the

preparations for war in which the Nazi conspirators were

engaged during this period. I refer to a top secret letter

dated 24th June, 1935, from General von Brauchitsch to the

Supreme Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Forces.

Attached to that letter is a copy of a secret Reich Defence

law of 21st May, 1935, and a copy of a decision of the Reich

Cabinet of 21st May, 1935, on the Council for the defence of

the Reich.

These documents were captured in the OKW files at

Fechenheim. This group of documents is numbered 2261-PS in

our numbered series of documents. It seems to us one of the

most significant evidences of secret and direct preparations

for aggressive war.

I gave expression to a typographical error. That was General

von Blomberg instead of Brauchitsch.

I have the original of these documents. I ask that they be

admitted into evidence as exhibit USA 24.

The top page of that document I shall read in full, which is

the letter signed "von Blomberg, Berlin, 24th June, 1935,

'Top Secret' " headed "The Reich Minister of War and Supreme

Commander of the Armed Forces, No. 1820/35 Top Secret L


   To: The Supreme Commander of the Army

       The Supreme Commander of the Navy

       The Supreme Commander of the Air Forces


   In the appendix I transmit one copy each of the law for

   the defence of the Reich of the 21st May, 1935, and of a

   decision of the Reich Cabinet Of 21st May, 1935,

   concerning the Reich Defence Council. The publication of

   the Reich's Defence Law is temporarily suspended by

   order of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.


   The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor has nominated the

   President of the Directorate of the Reichsbank, Dr.

   Schacht, to be Plenipotentiary-General for war economy.


   I request that the copies of the Reich's Defence Law

   needed within the units of the Armed Forces, be ordered

   before 1st July, 1935, at Armed Forces Office (L) where

   it is to be established with the request that the law

   should only be distributed down to Corps Headquarters

   outside of the Reich Ministry of War.


   I point out the necessity of strictest secrecy once


Signed by "von Blomberg." Underneath that is an endorsement

"Berlin. 3rd September, 1935; No. 1820/35 L Top Secret II a.

To Defence-Economic Group C-3, copy transmitted (signed)


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