Wilhelm Keitel 3

June 22, 1941: Operation Barbarossa (Unternehmen Barbarossa)—Nazi Germany's stunning invasion of the Soviet Union—begins as 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invade the USSR along an 1,800 mile front.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I have to say too that the intelligence service of the OKW, Admiral Canaris, placed at my disposal or at the Army's disposal very little material because the Russian area was closely sealed against German intelligence. In other words, there were gaps up to a certain point ... Halder reported that there were 150 divisions of the Soviet Union deployed along the line of demarcation. Then there were aerial photographs of a large number of airdromes. In short, there was a degree of preparedness on the part of Soviet Russia, which could at any time lead to military action. Only the actual fighting later made it clear just how far the enemy had been prepared. I must say, that we fully realized all these things only during the actual attack.

July 2, 1941: Heydrich sends an order setting out the verbal instructions to be given to the Einsatzgruppen (Operational Groups - paramilitary death squads) in the occupied Soviet territories:

All the following are to be executed: Officials of the Comintern (together with professional Communist politicians in general; top and medium-level officials and radical lower-level officials of the Party, Central Committee, and district and sub-district committees; People's Commissars; Jews in Party and State employment, and other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, inciters, etc.)...

July 3, 1941: Stalin addresses the USSR by way of radio:

Fascist Germany suddenly and treacherously violated the Non-Aggression Pact she concluded in 1939 with the USSR, disregarding the fact that she would be regarded as the aggressor by the whole world. Naturally, our peace-loving country, not wishing to take the initiative of breaking the pact, could not resort to perfidy. It may be asked how could the Soviet Government have consented to conclude a Non-Aggression Pact with such treacherous fiends as Hitler and Ribbentrop? Was this not an error on the part of the Soviet Government? Of course not. Non-Aggression Pacts are pacts of peace between states. It was such a pact that Germany proposed to us in 1939. Could the Soviet Government have declined such a proposal? I think that not a single peace-loving state could decline a peace treaty with a neighboring state, even though the latter was headed by such fiends and cannibals as Hitler and Ribbentrop. Of course only on one indispensable condition, namely, that this peace treaty does not infringe either directly or indirectly on the territorial integrity, independence and honor of the peace-loving state. As is well known, the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR is precisely such a pact...

July 10, 1941: From Ribbentrop to the German Ambassador in Tokyo:

I request you to use every means in your power to influence Matsuoka, in the way I have indicated, so that Japan will declare war on Russia as soon as possible; for the sooner this happens, the better it will be. It must still be our natural aim to shake hands with Japan on the Trans-Siberian railway before the winter. With the collapse of Russia the position of the countries participating in the Three Power Pact will be so strong that the collapse of England or the complete annihilation of the British Isles will be only a question of time.

From Ribbentrop's IMT testimony: The war against Russia had started, and I tried at the time—the Führer held the same view—to get Japan into the war against Russia in order to end the war with Russia as soon as possible. That was the meaning of that telegram.

July 10, 1941: Ostrov and Pskov are captured and the German 18th Army reaches Narva and Kingisepp. This has the effect of creating siege positions from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga, with the eventual aim of isolating Leningrad from all directions.

July 16, 1941: From a top-secret memorandum (prepared by Martin Bormann) of a conference at the Führer's headquarters concerning the war in the East attended by Hitler, Lammers, Göring, Keitel, Rosenberg, and Bormann:

A. Now it was essential that we did not publicize our aims before the world, also there was no need for that; but the main thing was that we ourselves knew what we wanted. By no means should we render our task more difficult by making superfluous declarations. Such declarations were superfluous because we could do everything wherever we had the power, and what was beyond our power we would not be able to do anyway. What we told the world about the motives for our measures ought to be conditioned, therefore, by tactical reasons. We ought to act here in exactly the same way as we did in the cases of Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. In these cases, too, we did not publish our aims; and it was only sensible to continue in the same way. Therefore, we shall emphasize again that we were forced to occupy, administer, and secure a certain area; it was in the interest of the inhabitants that we provided order, food, traffic, and so forth, hence our measures. Nobody shall be able to recognize that it initiates a final settlement. This need not prevent our taking all necessary measures—shooting, Resettling, etc.—and we shall take them. But we do not want to make any people our enemies prematurely and unnecessarily. Therefore we shall act as though we wanted to exercise a mandate only. At the same time we must know clearly that we shall never leave those countries.

Our conduct therefore ought to be:

1) To do nothing which might obstruct the final settlement, but to prepare for it only in secret;

2) To emphasize that we are liberators.

In particular: The Crimea has to be evacuated by all foreigners and to be settled by Germans only. In the same way the former Austrian part of Galicia will become Reich Territory. Our present relations with Romania are good, but nobody knows what they will be at any future time. This we have to consider, and we have to draw our frontiers accordingly. One ought not to be dependent on the good will of other people. We have to plan our relations with Romania in accordance with this principle. On principle, we have now to face the task of cutting up the giant cake according to our needs, in order to be able: First, to dominate it; second, to administer it; and third, to exploit it. The Russians have now ordered partisan warfare behind our front. This partisan war again has some advantage for us; it enables us to eradicate everyone who opposes us.

Principles: Never again must it be possible to create a military power west of the Urals, even if we have to wage war for a hundred years in order to attain this goal. Every successor of the Führer should know security for the Reich exists only if there are no foreign military forces west of the Urals. It is Germany who undertakes the protection of this area against all possible dangers. Our iron principle is and has to remain: We must never permit anybody but the Germans to carry arms...

The Führer emphasizes that the entire Baltic country will have to be incorporated into Germany. At the same time, the Crimea, including a considerable hinterland (situated north of the Crimea), should become Reich territory; the hinterland should be as large as possible. Rosenberg objects to this because of the Ukrainians living there. Note by Bormann: (Incidentally: It occurred to me several times that Rosenberg has a soft spot for the Ukrainians; thus he desires to aggrandize the former Ukraine to a considerable extent.) The Führer emphasizes furthermore that the Volga colony, too, will have to become Reich territory, also the district around Baku; the latter will have to become a German concession (military colony).

July 27, 1941: From an order signed by Keitel:

In accordance with the regulations concerning classified material the following offices will destroy all copies of the Führer's decree of 13 May 1941...

a) All of files up to the rank of 'general commands' inclusive b) group commands of the armored troops c) army commands and offices of equal rank, if there is an inevitable danger that they might fall into the hands of unauthorized persons. The validity of the decree is not affected by the destruction of the copies. In accordance with Paragraph III, it remains the personal responsibility of the commanding officers to see to it that the offices and legal advisers are instructed in time and that only the sentences are confirmed which correspond to the political intentions of the Supreme Command. This order will be destroyed together with the copies of the Fuehrer's decree.

August 4, 1941 Stalin to FDR:

The USSR attaches great importance to the matter of neutralizing Finland and her association from Germany. The severance of relations between Britain and Finland and the blockade of Finland, announced by Britain, have already borne fruit and engendered conflicts among the ruling circles of Finland. If the US Government were to threaten Finland with a rupture of relations, the Finnish Government would be more resolute in the matter of breaking with Germany. In that case the Soviet Government could make certain territorial concessions to Finland with a view to assuaging her and conclude a new peace treaty with her.

August 14, 1941: Churchill and FDR release a joint declaration; the Atlantic Charter:

...after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety...

August 16, 1941: Joseph Stalin, acting as People's Commissar of Defense, releases Order No. 270, prohibiting any Soviet soldier from surrendering: “There are no Russian prisoners of war, only traitors.” The order demands anyone deserting or surrendering to be killed on the spot, and subjects their families to arrest and their wives to be sent to labor camps.

August 24, 1941: Finnish President Ryti, who had declared in numerous speeches to the Finnish Parliament that the aim of the war is to gain more territories in the east and create a 'Greater Finland,' will later declare:

On August 24, 1941 I visited the headquarters of Marshal Mannerheim. The Germans aimed us at crossing the old border and continuing the offensive to Leningrad. I said that the capture of Leningrad was not our goal and that we should not take part in it. Mannerheim and the military minister Walden agreed with me and refused the offers of the Germans. The result was a paradoxical situation: the Germans could not approach Leningrad from the north.

August 30, 1941: The last rail connection to Leningrad is severed.

August 31 1941: Finnish military leader Mannerheim orders a stop to the offensive when the Finnish advance reaches the 1939 border with the USSR.

September 8 1941: German forces succeed in surrounding and isolating the city of Leningrad. Artillery bombardments, which had begun in August 1941, increase in intensity during 1942 and will be stepped up further during 1943. German shelling's and bombings will kill 5,723 and wound 20,507 civilians in Leningrad during the length of the siege.

September 8, 1941: Keitel's OKW issues a regulation for the treatment of Soviet POW's. It states that Russian soldiers will fight by any methods for the idea of Bolshevism and that consequently they have lost any claim to treatment in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Stern measures are to be employed against them, including the free use of weapons. The politically undesirable prisoners are to be segregated from the others and turned over to 'special purpose units' of the Security Police and the Security Service. There is to be the closest cooperation between the military commanders and these police units.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: Perhaps I can say by way of introduction that these directives were not issued until September, which can be attributed to the fact that at first an order by Hitler existed, saying that Russian prisoners of war were not to be brought back to Reich territory. This order was later on rescinded. Now, regarding the directive of 8 September 1941, the full text of which I have before me, I should like to say that all these instructions have their origin in the idea that this was a battle of nationalities, for the initial phrase reads, "Bolshevism is the deadly enemy of National Socialist Germany." That, in my opinion, immediately shows the basis on which these instructions were made and the motives and ideas from which they sprang. It is a fact that Hitler, as I explained yesterday, did not consider this a battle between two states to be waged in accordance with the rules of international law but as a conflict between two ideologies. There are also several statements in the document regarding selection from two points of view: Selection of people who seem, if I may express it in this way, not dangerous to us; and the selection of those who, on account of their political activities and their fanaticism, had to be isolated as representing a particularly dangerous threat to National Socialism.

Turning to the introductory letter, I may say that it has already been presented here by the Prosecutor of the Soviet Union. It is a letter from the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the OKW, Admiral Canaris, reminding one of the general order which I have just mentioned and adding a series of remarks in which he formulates and emphasizes his doubts about the decree and his objections to it. About the memorandum which is attached I need not say any more. It is an extract, and also the orders which the Soviet Union issued in their turn I think on 1 July, for the treatment of prisoners of war, that is, the directives for the treatment of German prisoners of war. I received this on 15 September, whereas the other order had been issued about a week earlier; and after studying this report from Canaris, I must admit I shared his objections. Therefore I took all the papers to Hitler and asked him to cancel the provisions and to make a further statement on the subject. The Führer said that we could not expect that German prisoners of war would be treated according to the Geneva Convention or international law on the other side. We had no way of investigating it and he saw no reason to alter the directives he had issued on that account. He refused point-blank, so I returned the file with my marginal notes to Admiral Canaris. The order remained in force... ...

According to my own personal observations and the reports which have been put before me, the practice was, if I may say so, very much better and more favorable than the very severe instructions first issued when it had been agreed that the prisoners of war were to be transported to Germany. At any rate, I have seen numerous reports stating that labor conditions, particularly in agriculture, but also in war economy and in particular in the general institution of war economy such as railways, the building of roads, and so on, were considerably better than might have been expected, considering the severe terms of the instructions.

September 16, 1941: From an order issued by Keitel at Hitler's direction:

Subject: Communist insurrection in occupied territories.

1. Since the beginning of the campaign against Soviet Russia, Communist insurrection movements have broken out everywhere in the area occupied by Germany. The type of action taken is growing from propaganda measures and attacks on individual members of the Armed Forces into open rebellion and widespread guerilla warfare. It can be seen that this is a mass movement centrally directed by Moscow, which is also responsible for the apparently trivial isolated incidents in areas which up to now have been otherwise quiet. In view of the many political and economic crises in the occupied areas, it must, moreover, be anticipated that nationalist and other circles will make full use of this opportunity of making difficulties for the German occupying forces by associating themselves with the Communist insurrection. This creates an increasing danger to the German war effort, which shows itself chiefly in general insecurity for the occupying troops, and has already led to the withdrawal of forces to the main centers of disturbance.

2. The measures taken up to now to deal with this general Communist insurrection movement have proved inadequate. The Führer has now given orders that we take action everywhere with the most drastic means, in order to crush the movement in the shortest possible time. Only this course, which has always been followed successfully throughout the history of the extension of influence of great peoples, can restore order.

3. Action taken in this matter should be in accordance with the following general directions: a. It should be inferred in every case of resistance to the German occupying forces, no matter what the individual circumstances, that it is of Communist origin. b. In order to nip these machinations in the bud the most drastic measures should be taken immediately and on the first indication, so that the authority of the occupying forces may be maintained and further spreading prevented. In this connection it should be remembered that a human life in the countries concerned frequently counts for nothing, and a deterrent effect can be attained only by unusual severity.

The death penalty for 50-100 Communists should generally be regarded in these cases as suitable atonement for one German soldier's death. The way in which sentence is carried out should still further increase the deterrent effect. The reverse course of action, that of imposing relatively lenient penalties and of being content, for purposes of deterrence, with the threat of more severe measures does not accord with these principles and shall not be followed...The commanding officers in the occupied territories shall see to it that these principles are made known without delay to all military establishments concerned in dealing with Communist measures of insurrection.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: Document UK-25, the Führer Order of the 16 September 1941, as has just been stated, is concerned with communist uprisings in occupied territories, and the fact that this is a Führer order has already been mentioned. I must clarify the fact that this order, so far as its contents are concerned, referred solely to the Eastern regions, particularly to the Balkan countries. I believe that I can prove this by the fact that there is attached to this document a distribution list, that is, a list of addresses beginning, "Wehrmacht Commander Southeast for Serbia, Southern Greece, and Crete." This was, of course, transmitted also to other Wehrmacht commanders and also to the OKH with the possibility of its being passed on to subordinate officers.

I believe that this document, which, for the sake of saving time, I need not read here, has several indications that the assumption on the part of the French Prosecution that this is the basis for the hostage law to be found in Document Number 1588-PS is false, and that there is no causal nexus between the two. It is true that the date of this hostage law is also September—the number is hard to read—but, as far as its contents are concerned, these two matters are, in my opinion, not connected. Moreover, the two military commanders in France and Belgium never received this order from the OKW, but they may have received it through the OKH, a matter which I cannot check because I do not know. Regarding this order of 16 September 1941, I should like to say that its great severity can be traced back to the personal influence of the Fuehrer. The fact that it is concerned with the Eastern region is already to be seen from the contents and from the introduction and does not need to be substantiated any further. It is correct that this order of 16 September 1941 is signed by me. ...

I pointed out that these instructions were addressed in the first place to the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht offices in the Southeast; that is, the Balkan regions, where extensive partisan warfare and a war between the leaders had assumed enormous proportions, and secondly, because the same phenomena had been observed and established on the same or similar scale in certain defined areas of the occupied Soviet territory. ...I signed the order and by doing so I assumed responsibility within the scope of my official jurisdiction. ...I knew from years of experience that in the Southeastern territories and in certain parts of the Soviet territory, human life was not respected to the same degree. ...I signed the order but the figures contained in it are alterations made personally by Hitler himself. ...The idea was that the only way of deterring them was to demand several sacrifices for the life of one soldier, as is stated here. ...Then I must say that with reference to the underlying principle there was a difference of opinion, the final results of which I no longer feel myself in a position to justify, since I added my signature on behalf of my department. There was a fundamental difference of opinion on the entire question.

September 30, 1941: From general orders of Keitel, better known in France under the name of 'Hostages Code,' which repeats and specifies in detail the previous order, namely that of 23 August 1941:

1. On 22 August 1941, I issued the following announcement: "'On the morning of 21 August 1941, a member of the German Armed Forces was killed in Paris as a result of a murderous attack. I therefore order that:

I. All Frenchmen held in custody of whatever kind, by the German authorities or on behalf of German authorities in France, are to be considered as hostages as from 23 August. If any further incident occurs, a number of these hostages are to, be shot, to be determined according to the gravity of the attempt.'

2. On 19 September 1941 by an announcement to the Plenipotentiary of the French Government attached to the Military Commander in France, I ordered that, as from 19 September 1941, all French males who are under arrest of any kind by the French authorities or who are taken into custody because of Communist or anarchistic agitation are to be kept under arrest by the French authorities also on behalf of the Military Commander in France.

3. On the basis of my notification of the 22d of August 1941 and of my order of the 19th of September 1941 the following groups of persons are therefore hostages:

(a) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the German authorities, such as police custody, imprisonment on remand, or penal detention.

(b) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the French authority on behalf of the German, authorities. This group includes:

(aa) All Frenchmen who are kept in detention of any kind whatsoever by the French authorities because of Communist or anarchist activities.

(bb) All Frenchmen on whom the French penal authorities impose prison terms at the request of the German military courts and which the latter consider justified.

(cc) All Frenchmen who are arrested and kept in custody by the French authorities upon demand of the German authorities or who are being handed over by the Germans to French authorities with the order to keep them under arrest.

(c) Stateless inhabitants who have already been living for some time in France are to be considered as Frenchmen within the meaning of my notification of the 22d of August 1941'.

III. Release from detention. Persons who were not yet in custody on 22 August 1941 or on 19 September 1941 but who were arrested later or are still being arrested are hostages as from the date of detention if the other conditions apply to them. The release of arrested persons authorized on account of expiration of sentences, lifting of the order for arrest, or for other reasons will not be affected by my announcement of 22 August 1941. Those released are no longer hostages. In as far as persons are in custody of any kind with the French authorities for Communist or anarchist activity, their release is possible only with my approval as I have informed the French Government....

VI. Lists of hostages. If an incident occurs which according to my announcement of 22 August 1941 necessitates the shooting of hostages, the execution must immediately follow the order. The district commanders, therefore, must select for their own districts from the total number of prisoners (hostages es) those who, from a practical point of view, may be considered for execution and enter them on a list of hostages. These lists of hostages serve as a basis for the proposals to be submitted to me in the case of an execution.

I. According to the observations made so far, the perpetrators of outrages originate from Communist or anarchist terror gangs. The district commanders are, therefore, to select from those in detention (hostages), those persons who, because of their Communist or anarchist views in the past or their positions in such organizations or their former attitude in other ways, are most suitable for execution.

In making the selection it should be borne in mind that the better known the hostages to be shot, the greater will be the deterrent effect on the perpetrators, themselves, and on those persons who, in France or abroad, bear the moral responsibility—as instigators or by their propaganda—for acts of terror and sabotage. Experience shows that the instigators and the political circles interested in these plots are not concerned about the life of obscure followers, but are more likely to be concerned about the lives of their own former officials. Consequently, we must place at the head of these lists:

(a) Former deputies and officials of Communist or anarchist organizations.

(b) Persons (intellectuals) who have supported the spreading of Communist ideas by word of mouth or writing.

(c) Persons who have proved by their attitude that they are particularly dangerous.

(d) Persons who have collaborated in the distribution of leaflets...

2. Following the same directives, a list of hostages is to be prepared from the prisoners with De Gaullist sympathies.

3. Racial Germans of French nationality who are imprisoned for Communist or anarchist activity may be included in the list. Special attention must be drawn to their German origin on the attached form. Persons who have been condemned to death but who have been pardoned may also be included in the lists.... ...

5. The lists have to record for each district about 150 persons and for the Greater Paris Command about 300 to 400 people. The district chiefs should always record on their lists those persons who had their last residence or permanent domicile in their districts, because the persons to be executed should, as far as possible, be taken from the district where the act was committed.... "The lists are to be kept up to date. Particular attention is to be paid to new arrests and releases.' ...

VII. Proposals for executions: In case of an incident which necessitates the shooting of hostages, within the meaning of my announcement of 22 August 1941, the district chief in whose territory the incident happened is to select from the list of hostages persons whose execution he wishes to propose to me. In making the selection he must, from the personal as well as local point of view, draw from persons belonging to a circle which presumably includes the guilty...

For execution, only those persons who were already under arrest at the time of the crime may be proposed. The proposal must contain the names and number of the persons proposed for execution, that is, in the order in which the choice is recommended...When the bodies are buried, the burial of a large number in a common grave in the same cemetery is to be avoided, in order not to create places of pilgrimage which, now or later, might form centers for anti-German propaganda. Therefore, if necessary, burials must be carried out in various places.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: It is possible, and I do recall one such case, Stulpnagel called me up from Paris on such a matter because he had received an order from the Army to shoot a certain number of hostages for an attack on members of the German Wehrmacht. He wanted to have this order certified by me. That happened and I believe it is confirmed by a telegram, which has been shown to me here. It is also confirmed that at that time I had a meeting with Stulpnagel in Berlin. Otherwise, the relations between myself and these two military commanders were limited to quite exceptional matters, in which they believed that with my help they might obtain certain support with regard to things that were very unpleasant for them, for example, in such questions as labor allocation, that is, workers from Belgium or France destined for Germany, where also, in one case, conflicts arose between the military commanders and their police authorities. In these cases I was called up directly in order to mediate.

October 1, 1941: From an order signed by Keitel:

Attacks committed on members of the Armed Forces lately in the occupied territories give reason to point out that it is advisable that military commanders always have at their disposal a number of hostages of different political tendencies, namely: (1) Nationalists, (2) Democratic-bourgeois, and (3) Communists. It is important that these should include well-known leading personalities, or members of their families whose names are to be made public. Hostages belonging to the same group as the culprit are to be shot in case of attacks. It is asked that commanders be instructed accordingly. Signed Keitel.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I was not at all particular and the idea did not originate with me; but it is in accordance with the instructions, the official regulations, regarding hostages which I discussed yesterday or on the day before and which state that those held as hostages must come from the circles responsible for the attacks. That is the explanation, or confirmation, of that as far as my memory goes. ...I have already explained how orders for shooting hostages, which were also given, were to be applied and how they were to be carried out in the case of those deserving of death and who had already been sentenced. ...it says only that hostages must be taken; but it says nothing about shooting them. ...I personally had different views on the hostage system, but I signed it, because I had been ordered to do so.

October 3, 1941: Hitler opens up the charitable Winter Aid campaign with a speech at the Sportpalast:

I am grateful to fate that I may lead this fight. I am convinced that no understanding can be reached with these men. They are mad fools, men who for ten years had not spoken another word but 'We want another war with Germany.' When I endeavored to bring about an understanding, Churchill cried, 'I want war!' He has got it now...

October 7, 1941: From a top secret order of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces signed by Jodl:

The Führer has again decided that a capitulation of Leningrad or, later, of Moscow is not to be accepted even if it is offered by the enemy... Therefore, no German soldier is to enter these cities. By our fire we must force all who try to leave the city through our lines to turn back. The exodus of the population through the smaller, unguarded gaps toward the interior of Russia is only to be welcomed. Before the cities are taken, they are to be weakened by artillery fire and air attacks, and their population should be caused to flee. We cannot take the responsibility of endangering our soldiers' lives in order to save Russian cities from fire, nor that of feeding the population of these cities at the expense of the German homeland...All commanding officers shall be informed of this will of the Führer.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I think it was my last or the next to the last visit to Von Leeb where the questions of capitulation, that is to say, the question of the population of Leningrad, played an important role, which worried him very much at that time because there were certain indications that the population was streaming out of the city and infiltrating into his area. I remember that at that time he asked me to make the suggestion to the Führer that, as he could not take over and feed 1 million civilians within the area of his army group, a sluice, so to speak, should be made towards the east, that is, the Russian zone, so that the population could flow out in that direction. I reported that to the Führer at that time. ...According to Von Leeb a certain pressure exerted by the population to get through the German lines made itself felt at the time.

October 25, 1941: US Department of State Bulletin:

The practice of executing scores of innocent hostages in reprisal for isolated attacks on Germans in countries temporarily under the Nazi heel revolts a world already inured to suffering and brutality. Civilized peoples long ago adopted the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Unable to apprehend the persons involved in these attacks the Nazis characteristically slaughter fifty or a hundred innocent persons. Those who would 'collaborate' with Hitler or try to appease him cannot ignore this ghastly warning. The Nazis might have learned from the last war the impossibility of breaking men's spirits by terrorism. Instead they develop their lebensraum and 'new order' by depths of frightfulness which even they have never approached before. These are the acts of desperate men who know in their hearts that they cannot win. Frightfulness can never bring peace to Europe. It only sows the seeds of hatred which will one day bring fearful retribution.

October 29, 1941: From Appendix 1 to Operational Order Number 14 of the Chief of the Security Police and SD:

Chiefs of operational groups decide questions about execution on their own responsibility and give appropriate instructions to the special task forces. In order to carry out the measures laid down in the directives issued, the Commandos are to demand from the commandants of the camp the handing over to them of the prisoners. The High Command of the Army has issued instructions to the commandants for meeting such demands. Executions must take place unnoticed, in convenient places, and, in any event, not in the camp itself nor in its immediate vicinity. It is necessary to take care that the bodies are buried immediately and properly.

November 7, 1941: Göring, at a conference at the Air Ministry:

The Führer's point of view as to employment of prisoners of war in war industries has changed basically. So far a total of 5 million prisoners of war-employed so far 2 million. In the interior and the Protectorate it would be ideal if entire factories could be manned by Russian prisoners of war except the employees necessary for directing.

For employment in the interior and the Protectorate the following are to have priority:

(a) At the top, the coal mining industry. Order by the Fuehrer to investigate all mines as to suitability for employment of Russians, in some instances manning the entire plant with Russian laborers.

(b) Transportation (construction of locomotives and cars, repair shops, etc.). Railroad-repair and factory workers are to be sought out from the prisoners of war. Rail is the most important means of transportation in the East.

(c) Armament industries. Preferably factories of armor and guns. Possibly also construction of parts for aircraft engines. Suitable complete sections of factories to be manned exclusively by Russians if possible.

For the remainder, employment in groups. Use in factories of tool machinery, production of farm tractors, generators, etc. In emergency, erect in some places barracks for casual workers who are used in unloading units and for similar purposes. (Reich Minister of the Interior through communal authorities.) OKW/AWA is competent for procuring Russian prisoners of war.

Employment through Planning Board for employment of all prisoners of war. If necessary, offices of Reich commissariats. No employment where danger to men or supply exists, that is, factories exposed to explosives, waterworks, power-works, etc. No contact with German population, especially no 'solidarity.' German worker as a rule is foreman of Russians. Food is a matter of the Four Year Plan. Procurement of special food (cats, horses, etc. Clothes, billeting, messing somewhat better than at home where part of the people live in caves. Supply of shoes for Russians; as a rule wooden shoes, if necessary install Russian shoe repair shops. Examination of physical fitness in order to avoid importation of diseases. Clearing of mines as a rule by Russians; if possible by selected Russian engineer troops.

November 9, 1941: From a memorandum entitled 'Transportation of Russian Prisoners of War, destined for Execution, into the Concentration Camps’:

The commandants of the concentration camps are complaining that 5 to 10 percent of the Soviet Russians destined for execution are arriving in the camps dead or half dead. Therefore the impression has arisen that the Stalag’'s are getting rid of such prisoners in this way. It was particularly noted that when marching, for example, from the railroad station to the camp a rather large number of PW's collapsed on the way from exhaustion, either dead or half dead, and had to be picked up by a truck following the convoy. It cannot be prevented that the German people take notice of these occurrences. Even if the transportation to the camps is generally taken care of by the Wehrmacht, the population will attribute this situation to the SS.

In order to prevent, if possible, similar occurrences in the future, I therefore order that, effective from today on, Soviet Russians declared definitely suspect and obviously marked by death (for example with hunger-typhus) and therefore not able to withstand the exertions of even a short march on foot shall in the future, as a matter of basic principle, be excluded from the transport into the concentration camps for execution.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: The OKW was responsible in the case of incidents which violated general orders, that is, basic instructions issued by the OKW, or in the case of failure to exercise the right to inspect (POW camps). In such circumstances I would say that the OKW was responsible. ...At first, in the early days of the war, (the OKW exercised its right to inspect camps) through an inspector of the Prisoners of War Organization (the KGW), who was at the same time the office or departmental chief of the department KGW in the General Office of the Armed Forces. In a certain sense, he exercised a double function. Later on, after 1942 I believe, it was done by appointing an inspector general who had nothing to do with the correspondence or official work on the ministerial side. ...

If a protecting power wished to send a delegation to inspect camps, that was arranged by the department or the inspector for the prisoner-of-war matters, and he accompanied the delegation. Perhaps I ought to say that, as far as the French were concerned, Ambassador Scapini carried out that function personally and that a protecting power did not exist in this form. ...I do not know whether the procedure adopted in camps was always in accordance with the basic instructions, which were to render possible a direct exchange of views between prisoners of war and visitors from their own countries. As a general rule, it was allowed and made possible. ...

I did concern myself with the general instructions. Apart from that, my being tied to the Fuehrer and to headquarters naturally made it impossible for me to be in continuous contact with my offices. There were, however, the KGW branch office and the inspector, as well as the Chief of the General Armed Forces Office who was, in any case, responsible to me and dealt with these matters. These three departments had to deal with the routine work; and I, myself, was called on when decisions had to be made and when the Führer interfered in person, as he frequently did, and gave orders of his own. ...It is true that in this connection there was a difference in treatment due to the view, frequently stated by the Führer, that the Soviet Union on their part had not observed or ratified the Geneva Convention. It was also due to the part played by "ideological conceptions regarding the conduct of the war." The Fuehrer emphasized that we had a free hand in this field.

November 10, 1941: From a speech by Hitler:

The territory which now works for us contains more than 250 million men, but the territory in Europe which works indirectly for this battle includes now more than 350 million ... As far as German territory is concerned, the territory occupied by us and that which we have taken under our administration, there is no doubt that we shall succeed in harnessing every man for this work.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: May I say, first of all, that there was constant friction between Himmler and the corresponding police services and the departments of the Wehrmacht which worked in this sphere and that this friction never stopped. It was apparent right from the first that Himmler at least desired to have the lead in his own hands, and he never ceased trying to obtain influence of one kind or another over prisoner-of-war affairs. The natural circumstances of escapes, recapture by police, searches and inquiries, the complaints about insufficient guarding of prisoners, the insufficient security measures in the camps, the lack of guards and their inefficiency—all these things suited him; and he exploited them in talks with Hitler, when he continually accused the Wehrmacht behind its back, if I may use the expression, of every possible shortcoming and failure to carry out their duty. As a result of this Hitler was continually intervening, and in most cases I did not know the reason. He took up the charges and intervened constantly in affairs so that the Wehrmacht departments were kept in what I might term a state of perpetual unrest. In this connection, since I could not investigate matters myself, I was forced to give instructions to my departments in the OKW. ...

He (Himmler) wanted not only to gain influence but also, as far as possible, to have prisoner-of-war affairs under himself as Chief of Police in Germany so that he would reign supreme in these matters, if I may say so. ...

The searches and inquiries, made at certain intervals in Germany for escaped persons, made it clear that the majority of these prisoners of war did not go back to the camps from which they had escaped so that obviously they had been retained by police departments and probably used for labor under the jurisdiction of Himmler. Naturally, the number of escapes increased every year and became more and more extensive. For that, of course, there are quite plausible reasons. ...

The departments which dealt with this were the State Labor Offices in the so-called Reich Labor Allocation Service, which had originally been in the hands of the Labor Minister and was later on transferred to the Plenipotentiary for the Allocation of Labor. In practice it worked like this. The State Labor Offices applied for workers to the Army district commands which had jurisdiction over the camps. These workers were supplied as far as was possible under the existing general directives. ...

In general, of course, they had to supervise it, so that allocation was regulated according to the general basic orders. It was not possible, of course, and the inspector was not in a position to check on how each individual was employed; after all, the army district commanders and their generals for the KGW were responsible for that and were the appropriate persons. The actual fight, as I might call it, for prisoner-of-war labor did not really start until 1942. Until then, such workers had been employed mainly in agriculture and the German railway system and a number of general institutions, but not in industry. This applies especially to Soviet prisoners of war who were, in the main, agricultural workers.

November 29, 1941 Genaue Gegenteil: From a document captured from the Japanese; a message from the Japanese Ambassador in Berlin to Tokyo just before the attack on the United States:

Ribbentrop opened our meeting by again inquiring whether I had received any reports regarding the Japanese-United States negotiations. I replied that I had received no official word. (Quoting) Ribbentrop: "It is essential that Japan effect the New Order in East Asia without losing this opportunity. There never has been and probably never will be a time when closer cooperation under the Tripartite Pact is so important. If Japan hesitates at this time and Germany goes ahead and establishes her European New Order, all the military might of Britain and the United States wit be concentrated against Japan. As Führer Hitler said today, there are fundamental differences in the very right to exist between Germany and Japan, and the United States. We have received advice to the effect that there is practically no hope of the Japanese-United States negotiations being concluded successfully because of the fact that the United States is putting up a stiff front. If this is indeed the fact of the case and if Japan reaches a decision to fight Britain and the United States, I am confident that will not only be to the interest of Germany and Japan jointly but would bring about favorable results for Japan herself. Japanese Ambassador: I can make no definite statement as I am not aware of any concrete intentions of Japan. Is Your Excellency indicating that a state of actual war is to be established between Germany and the United States? Ribbentrop: Roosevelt's a fanatic, so it is impossible to tell what he would do."

(The Japanese Ambassador continues his dispatch:) Concerning this point, in view of the fact that Ribbentrop has said in the past that the United States would undoubtedly try to avoid meeting German troops, and from the tone of Hitler's recent speech as well as that of Ribbentrop's, I feel that the German attitude toward the United States is being considerably stiffened. There are indications at present that Germany would not refuse to fight the United States if necessary...

In any event Germany has absolutely no intention of entering into any peace with England. We are determined to remove all British influence from Europe. Therefore, at the end of this war, England will have no influence whatsoever in international affairs. The island empire of Britain may remain, but all of her other possessions throughout the world will probably be divided three ways by Germany, the United States and Japan. In Africa, Germany will be satisfied with, roughly, those parts which were formerly German colonies. Italy will be given the greater share of the African colonies. Germany desires, above all else, to control European Russia.

(Quoting) Japanese Ambassador: "I am fully aware of the fact that Germany's war campaign is progressing according to schedule smoothly. However, suppose that Germany is faced with the situation of having not only Great Britain as an actual enemy but also all of those areas in which Britain has influence, and those countries which have been aiding Britain as actual enemies, as well. Under such circumstances, the war area will undergo considerable expansion, of course. What is your opinion of the outcome of the war under such an eventuality. Ribbentrop: We would like to end this war during next year. However, under certain circumstances it is possible that it will have to be continued into the following year. Should Japan become engaged in a war against the United States, Germany, of course, would join the war immediately. There is absolutely no possibility of Germany's entering into a separate peace with the United States under such circumstances. The Führer is determined on that point."

From Keitel's IMT testimony: In the course of all this time, until the Japanese entry into the war against America, there were two points of view that were the general directives or principles which Hitler emphasized to us. One was to prevent America from entering the war under any circumstances; consequently to renounce military operations in the seas, as far as the Navy was concerned. The other, the thought that guided us soldiers, was the hope that Japan would enter the war against Russia; and I recall that around November and the beginning of December 1941, when the advance of the German armies west of Moscow was halted and I visited the front with Hitler, I was asked several times by the generals, "When is Japan going to enter the war?"

The reasons for their asking this were that again and again Russian Far East divisions were being thrown into the fight via Moscow, that is to say, fresh troops coming from the Far East. That was about 18 to 20 divisions, but I could not say for certain. I was present in Berlin during Matsuoka's visit, and I saw him also at a social gathering, but I did not have any conversation with him. All the deductions that might be made from Directive 24, C-75, and which I have learned about from the preliminary examination during my interrogation, are without any foundation for us soldiers, and there is no justification for anyone's believing that we were guided by thoughts of bringing about a war between Japan and America, or of undertaking anything to that end. In conclusion, I can say only that this order was necessary because the branches of the Wehrmacht offered resistance to giving Japan certain things, military secrets in armament production, unless she were in the war.

Winter 1941: 2.8 million Soviet POW's perish through starvation, exposure, and summary execution in the first 8 months of Barbarossa.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: During the winter of 1941-42 the problem of replacing soldiers who had dropped out arose, particularly in the eastern theater of war. Considerable numbers of soldiers fit for active service were needed for the front and the armed services. I remember the figures. The army alone needed replacements numbering from 2 to 2.5 million men every year. Assuming that about 1 million of these would come from normal recruiting and about half a million from rehabilitated men, that is, from sick and wounded men who had recovered, that still left 1.5 million to be replaced every year. These could be withdrawn from the war economy and placed at the disposal of the services, the Armed Forces. From this fact resulted the close correlation between the drawing off of these men from the war economy and their replacement by new workers. This manpower had to be taken from the prisoners of war on the one hand and Plenipotentiary Sauckel, whose functions may be summarized as the task of procuring labor, on the other hand. This connection kept bringing me into these matters, too, since I was responsible for the replacements for all the Wehrmacht—Army, Navy, and Air Force—in other words, for the recruiting system. That is why I was present at discussions between Sauckel and the Führer regarding replacements and how these replacements were to be found. ...

Up to 1942 or thereabouts we had not used prisoners of war in any industry even indirectly connected with armaments. This was due to an express prohibition issued by Hitler, which was made by him because he feared attempts at sabotaging machines, production equipment, et cetera. He regarded things of that kind as probable and dangerous. Not until necessity compelled us to use every worker in some capacity in the home factories did we abandon this principle. It was no longer discussed; and naturally prisoners of war came to be used after that in the general war production, while my view which I, that is the OKW, expressed in my general orders, was that their use in armament factories was forbidden; I thought that it was not permissible to employ prisoners of war in factories which were exclusively making armaments, by which I mean war equipment, weapons, and munitions. For the sake of completeness, perhaps I should add that an order issued by the Führer at a later date decreed further relaxation of the limitations of the existing orders. I think the Prosecution stated that Minister Speer is supposed to have spoken of so many thousands of prisoners of war employed in the war economy.

I may say, however, that many jobs had to be done in the armament industry which had nothing to do with the actual production of arms and ammunition. ...there are documents to show that prisoners of war in whose case the disciplinary powers of the commander were not sufficient were singled out and handed over to the Secret State Police. Finally, I have already mentioned the subject of prisoners who escaped and were recaptured, a considerable number of whom, if not the majority, did not return to their camps. Instructions on the part of the OKW or the Chief of Prisoners of War Organization ordering the surrender of these prisoners to concentration camps are not known to me and have never been issued. But the fact that, when they were handed over to the police, they frequently did end up in the concentration camps has been made known here in various ways, by documents and witnesses. That is my explanation.

December 6, 1941: Germans forces are pushed back by a major Russian counter-attack near Moscow. With supply lines badly over-stretched—and temperatures of -34C (-29F) and below making German equipment nearly useless—even Adolf Hitler himself begins to realize that he has horribly underestimated Soviet strength.

December 7, 1941 Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) Decree:

Within the occupied territories, communistic elements and other circles hostile to Germany have increased their efforts against the German State and the occupying powers since the Russian campaign started. The amount and the danger of these machinations oblige us to take severe measures as a determent. First of all the following directives are to be applied:

I. Within the occupied territories, the adequate punishment for offences committed against the German State or the occupying power which endanger their security or a state of readiness is on principle the death penalty.

II. The offences listed in paragraph I as a rule are to be dealt with in the occupied countries only if it is probable that sentence of death will be passed upon the offender, at least the principal offender, and if the trial and the execution can be completed in a very short time. Otherwise the offenders, at least the principal offenders, are to be taken to Germany.

III. Prisoners taken to Germany are subjected to military procedure only if particular military interests require this. In case German or foreign authorities inquire about such prisoners, they are to be told that they were arrested, but that the proceedings do not allow any further information.

IV. The Commanders in the occupied territories and the Court authorities within the framework of their jurisdiction, are personally responsible for the observance of this decree.

V. The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces determines in which occupied territories this decree is to be applied. He is authorized to explain and to issue executive orders and supplements. The Reich Minister of Justice will issue executive orders within his own jurisdiction.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I must state that it is perfectly clear to me that the connection of my name with this so-called Nacht und Nebel order is a serious charge against me, even though it can be seen from the documents that it is a Führer order. Consequently I should like to state how this order came about.

Since the beginning of the Eastern campaign and in the late autumn of 1941 until the spring of 1942, the resistance movements, sabotage and everything connected with it increased enormously in all the occupied territories. From the military angle it meant that the security troops were tied down, having to be kept on the spot by the unrest. That is how I saw it from the military point of view at that time. And day by day, through the daily reports we could picture the sequence of events in the individual occupation sectors. It was impossible to handle this summarily; rather, Hitler demanded that he be informed of each individual occurrence, and he was very displeased if such matters were concealed from him in the reports by military authorities. He got to know about them all the same.

In this connection, he said to me that it was very displeasing to him and very unfavorable to establishing peace that, owing to this, death sentences by court-martial against saboteurs and their accomplices were increasing; that he did not wish this to occur, since from his point of view it made appeasement and relations with the population only more difficult. He said at that time that a state of peace could be achieved only if this were reduced and if, instead of death sentences—to shorten it—in case a death sentence could not be expected and carried out in the shortest time possible, as stated here in the decree, the suspect or guilty persons concerned—if one may use the word 'guilty'—should be deported to Germany without the knowledge of their families and be interned or imprisoned instead of lengthy court-martial proceedings with many witnesses. I expressed the greatest misgivings in this matter and know very well that I said at that time that I feared results exactly opposite to those apparently hoped for. I then had serious discussions with the legal adviser of the Wehrmacht, who, had similar scruples, because there was an elimination of ordinary legal procedures. I tried again to prevent this order from being issued or to have it modified.

My efforts were in vain. The threat was made to me that the Minister of Justice would be commissioned to issue a corresponding decree, should the Wehrmacht not be able to do so. Now may I refer to details only insofar as these ways were provided in this order, L-90, of preventing arbitrary application, and these were primarily as follows: The general principles of the order provided expressly that such deportation or abduction into Reich territory should take place only after regular court-martial proceedings, and that in every case the officer in charge of jurisdiction, that is, the divisional commander must deal with the matter together with his legal adviser, in the legal way, on the basis of preliminary proceedings. I must say that I believed then that every arbitrary and excessive application of these principles was avoided by this provision. You will perhaps agree with me that the words in the order, "It is the will of the Fuehrer after long consideration..." put in for that purpose, were not said without reason and not without the hope that the addressed military commander would also recognize from this that this was a method of which we did not approve and did not consider to be right.

Finally we introduced a reviewing procedure into the order so that through the higher channels of appeal, that is, the Military Commander in France and the Supreme Command or Commander of the Army, it would be possible to try the case legally by appeal proceedings if the verdict seemed open to question, at least, within the meaning of the decree. I learned here for the first time of the full and monstrous tragedy, namely, that this order, which was intended only for the Wehrmacht and for the sole purpose of determining whether an offender who faced a sentence in jail could be made to disappear by means of this Nacht und Nebel procedure, was obviously applied universally by the police, as testified by witnesses whom I have heard here, and according to the Indictment which I also heard, and so the horrible fact of the existence of whole camps full of people deported through the Nacht und Nebel procedure has been proved. In my opinion, the Wehrmacht, at least I and the military commanders of the occupied territories who were connected with this order, did not know of this.

At any rate it was never reported to me. Therefore this order, which in itself was undoubtedly very dangerous and disregarded certain requirements of law such as we understood it, was able to develop into that formidable affair of which the Prosecution have spoken. The intention was to take those who were to be deported from their home country to Germany, because Hitler was of the opinion that penal servitude in wartime would not be considered by the persons concerned as dishonorable in cases where it was a question of actions by so-called patriots. It would be regarded as a short detention which would end when the war was over. These reflections have already been made in part in the note. If you have any further questions, please put them. ...

The order that was given at that time was that these people should be turned over to the German authorities of justice. This letter signed "by order" and then the signature, was issued 8 weeks later than the decree itself by the Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Foreign Affairs/Defense Office of the Armed Forces High Command) as I can see from my official correspondence. It indicates the conferences, that is, the agreements, which had to be reached at that time, regarding the method by which these people were to be taken from their native countries to Germany. They were apparently conducted by this Amt Abwehr, which evidently ordered police detachments as escorts. That can be seen from it. I might mention in this connection—I must have seen it—that it did not seem objectionable at that time, because I could have, and I had, no reason to assume that these people were being turned over to the Gestapo, frankly speaking, to be liquidated, but that the Gestapo was simply being used as the medium in charge of the transportation to Germany. I should like to emphasize that particularly, so that there can be no doubt that it was not our idea to do away with the people as was later done in that Nacht und Nebel camp.

December 7, 1941: Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor.

[For much detail see, Click here.]

December 11, 1941: Hitler declares war on the United States before the Reichstag:

And now permit me to define my attitude to that other world, which has its representative in that man, who, while our soldiers are fighting in snow and ice, very tactfully likes to make his chats from the fireside, the man who is the main culprit of this war... As a consequence of the further extension of President Roosevelt's policy, which is aimed at unrestricted world domination and dictatorship the USA together with England have not hesitated from using any means to dispute the rights of the German, Italian and Japanese nations to the basis of their natural existence. The Governments of the USA and of England have therefore resisted, not only now but also for all time, every just understanding meant to bring about a better New Order in the world. Since the beginning of the war the American President, Roosevelt, has been guilty of a series of the worst crimes against international law...

From Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer: In keeping with his character, Hitler gladly sought advice from persons who saw the situation even more optimistically and elusively than he himself. Keitel was often one of those. When the majority of the officers would greet Hitler's decisions with marked silence, Keitel would frequently feel called upon to speak up in favor of the measure. Constantly in Hitler's presence, he had completely succumbed to his influence. From an honorable, solidly respectable general he had developed in the course of years into a servile flatterer with all the wrong instincts. Keitel hated his own weakness; but the hopelessness of any dispute with Hitler had ultimately brought him to the point of not even trying to form his own opinion. If, however, he had offered resistance and stubbornly insisted on a view of his own, he would merely have been replaced by another Keitel.

December 12, 1941: Keitel defends the Night and Fog Decree:

Efficient and enduring terrorization can be achieved only either by capital punishment or by measures to keep the relatives of the criminal and the population in the dark as to the fate of the criminal. This aim is achieved by transferring the criminal to Germany.

January 3, 1942: From a Hitler Order:

Cling to every populated center; do not retreat a single step; defend yourself to the last soldier, to the last grenade. That is the requirement of the present moment. Every point occupied by us must be turned into a base, which must not be surrendered under any circumstances, even if outflanked by the enemy. If, however, the given point must be abandoned on superior orders, it is imperative that everything be razed to the ground, the stoves blown up.

February 8, 1942: While departing by plane from a meeting with Hitler at the Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze) at Rastenburg, builder of the Autobahn Dr. Fritz Todt, director of the Organization Todt and Reichsminister of Armaments, dies as his Junker 52 aircraft mysteriously explodes. He will be buried in the Invalidenfriedhof (The Invalids' Cemetery), located in the Scharnhorst-Strasse in Berlin and become the first holder (posthumously) of the Deutscher Orden (German Order). Note: It has been suggested that Todt was the victim of an assassination plot, but no evidence has ever been found to corroborate the intriguing notion.

From Keitel's US SBS interview:

Q: What was the reason for the considerable increase in production? Was the increase due to the urgent need or due to the skill of Minister Speer?

Keitel: All included, Speer's secret was the drawing of factories of similar production together. By employing them all on the same work he demanded higher accomplishments.

Q: Who formulated the program?

Keitel: Speer. The requirements came directly from the Führer after conference between the OKW and myself, and in the case of tanks, the Inspector General of Armored Forces. I have seen a case where industry said in the case of flak guns that they could produce 200 and the Führer demanded 500. Then the industry would say that they probably might produce 350, whereupon the Führer would call the leading industrialists and have a conference with them. He told them to think the matter over; and the next day they would tell him that they would try to produce those 500.

Q: Would you say, in general, that the requirements of the Wehrmacht were met?

Keitel: In general, the requirements were nearly always met and in some cases exceeded. An all inclusive program would be formulated and presented to the Führer. He would look at the figures and then start correcting them. He always wanted more and we (the people from OKW) could never refuse having more, but as a result of that the plant management would then request the release of additional men from the Armed Forces in order to meet the increased program, and then the Führer would usually decide that these men had to be released to that factory under all circumstances. But Speer's biggest difficulties were the frequent changes in the requirements and the necessary change-over that had to follow. I do believe that the continuous changes have caused the Speer Ministry tremendous difficulties.

The Supreme Commanders often came to Hitler and complained of not having enough of some items. Hitler would immediately telephone to Speer and the conversation would develop something like this. 'Speer, how many searchlights are you producing? '1,000,' was the reply. 'All right, we will make it 5,000' and Speer would reply that he could not do it. Whereupon Hitler would say 'Think it over until tomorrow, I want 5,000 and that is my order.' So Speer would start and try all possibilities and even though he probably was not able to produce 5,000, the next month would at least yield 2,000; and when he came to the Führer he was told: 'You must demand the impossible in order to get the maximum.'

Q: Was the Wehrmacht satisfied with the work of Speer in general?

Keitel: We had a very good and loyal work relationship with Speer. He decided upon a lot of things himself, without Hitler, as for instance when more spades were needed. I, personally, had very heavy fights with him with regard to manpower, and at the same time, I had to worry about Speer having all the people he needed for his production.

Q: Do you think that Speer's demands for labor were reasonable?

Keitel: I had at least to try to press him down, and we also succeeded in the last two years in again extricating a considerable number of young soldiers out of the armament industry, due in large part to the rationalization of production in different factories. [Note: The US SBS will conclude that Speer’s efforts prolonged the war by as many as two years. -W]

February 10, 1942: Speer secedes Fritz Todt as Reich Minister of Armaments.

From Keitel's US SBS interview: Q: Would the production have been higher without Hitler's interference?

Keitel: No, it was due to his personal influence that I ordered General Buhle to deal with the development of these problems. When then, the Supreme Commander of the East came to report, Hitler would ask him at the end; 'What are you short of?' He would complain that ammunition or guns were lacking. As a result of these conferences Hitler would sit down at the end of the day and look through his lists. In those lists Speer had to note in every month the monthly production for all kinds of armaments, ammunition and equipment in both the required and actually produced numbers. Here the Fuehrer had a picture of how for instance, the production of machine guns developed. If somebody came in and demanded those things, he would be immediately able to check them and said: 'Here I must demand something immediately.' The same evening he would call me or General Buhle, who knew a lot about these things and became Hitler's right hand in these matters. Then he would talk to Speer the next morning and give him the orders... ...

The last day of each month at 6 o'clock in the afternoon, you could not stop the Führer from telephoning Speer and asking him about the number of the current month's production. The next morning, he would call the Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces and tell them what the monthly production was, so that they could figure that in their plans. But when told that next month's production would not be available operationally for quite a period of time, he would say: 'But regardless, gentlemen, this is what you shall have."

February 20, 1942: Reich Foreign Minister Rosenberg to Keitel:

Of 3.6 million prisoners of war, only a few hundred thousand remain capable of working. Many have died of starvation, others from typhus. Although, given the immense numbers, supply problems were bound to be inevitable, a proper appreciation of our policies could have avoided this extent of loss. Thus, while a few sensible camp commanders facilitated the provision of food by local inhabitants, most of them prohibited it, preferring to let the men die or (on many occasions) even shooting them. In many camps, even in snow and ice, there was no covered accommodation and not only were there no latrines, but not even tools to enable the prisoners to dig holes. The result of the commonly employed maxim, 'The more croak, the better,' is that typhus has spread not only to the civilian population and German troops, but even into Germany.

February 24, 1942: Hitler speaks to the Reich via radio:

Just as the Hun assault could not be beaten back by pious wishes or fair warnings, just as the invasion of our country from the southeast in the course of centuries was not warded off by diplomatic tricks, and the Mongolian onslaught did not spare old monuments of culture, this danger also will not be overcome by right in itself but only by strength supporting this right. Right itself is nothing but the duty to defend the life entrusted to us by the Creator of the world. It is the sacred right of self-preservation. Whether this self-preservation will be successful depends solely on the greatness of our efforts and on willingness to make any sacrifice to preserve this life for the future. Attila's power was broken not at a meeting of the League of Nations but in battle...

March 1, 1942: From a signed Hitler Order:

The directives concerning co-operation with the Wehrmacht were given to the Chief of the OKW with the approval of Reichsleiter Rosenberg... "Jews, Freemasons, and related ideological enemies of National Socialism are responsible for the war which is now being waged against the Reich. The coordinated ideological fight against those powers is a military necessity. I have therefore charged Reichsleiter Rosenberg to carry out this task in co-operation with the chief of the OKW. His Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce) in the Occupied Territories is authorized to search libraries, record offices, lodges, and other ideological and cultural institutions of all kinds for suitable material, and to confiscate the said material for the ideological task of the NSDAP and the later scientific research work of the Hohe Schule (High School). The same regulation applies to cultural assets which are in possession of or the property of Jews, or ownerless, or not clearly of unobjectionable origin. The necessary measures within the Eastern territories under the German Administration are determined by Reichsleiter Rosenberg in his capacity as Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. -Adolf Hitler.

March 21, 1942: Sauckel is appointed Generalbevollmächtigter für den Arbeitseinsatz (General Plenipotentiary for the Allocation of Labor).

The assurance of the required manpower for the whole war economy, and in particular for the armament industry, necessitates a uniform direction, meeting the needs of the war economy, of all available labor, including hired foreigners and prisoners of war, as well as the mobilization of all unused labor still in the Greater German Reich, including the Protectorate as well as the Government General and the occupied territories. This mission will be accomplished by Reichsstatthalter (Imperial Lieutenant or Imperial Governor) and Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel in the capacity of Plenipotentiary General for Allocation of Labor. In this capacity he is directly responsible to the Delegate for the Four Year Plan." Note: General Keitel here associates himself with the policy of compulsory labor through the appointment of Sauckel, the principles and methods of whom he approves; the decree is countersigned by Keitel.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: As far as I know, workers came from occupied territories, especially those in the West: Belgium, Holland—I do not know about Holland, but certainly France—to Germany. According to what I heard, I understood at the time that it was done by recruiting volunteers. I think I remember that General von Stulpnagel, the military commander of Paris, told me in Berlin once during a meeting that more than 200,000 had volunteered, but I cannot remember exactly when that was. ...the OKW had nothing to do with it. These questions were handled through the usual channels, the OKH, the Military Commanders in France and in Belgium and Northern France with the competent central authorities of the Reich at home, the OKW never had anything to do with it. ...

In occupied territories with civilian administration, the Wehrmacht was excluded from any executive powers in the administration, so that in these territories the Wehrmacht and its services had certainly nothing to do with it. Only in those territories which were still operational areas for the Army were executive powers given to military troops, high commanders, army commanders, et cetera. The OKW did not come into the official procedure here either. ...

The view held by Plenipotentiary Sauckel can obviously be explained by the fact that he knew neither the official service channels nor the functions of the Wehrmacht, that he saw me at one or two discussions on the furnishing of manpower, and, thirdly, that he sometimes came to see me when he had made his report and received his orders alone. He had probably been given orders to do so, in Hitler's usual way: Go and see the Chief of the OKW; he will do the rest. The OKW had no occasion to do anything. The OKW had no right to give orders, but in Sauckel's case I did take over the job of informing the OKH or the technical departments in the General Quartermaster's office. I have never issued orders or instructions of my own to the military commanders or other services in occupied territories. It was not one of the functions of the OKW.

April 13, 1942: Berlin Radio broadcasts a report that German military forces in the Katyn forest near Smolensk had uncovered 'a ditch ... 28 metres long and 16 metres wide (92 ft by 52 ft), in which the bodies of 3,000 Polish officers were piled up in 12 layers." The broadcast accuses the Soviets of carrying out the massacre in 1940.

April 17-19, 1942: After learning German and memorizing a map of the surrounding area, General Giraud lowers himself down the cliff of the mountain fortress where he is imprisoned. With shaved moustache, he eventually makes his way back to Vichy France.

From Lahousen's IMT testimony: The name 'Gustav' was applied not to an operation but to an undertaking similar to the one which was demanded for the elimination of Marshal Weygand. ...'Gustav' was the expression used by the Chief of the OKW (Keitel) as a cover name to be used in conversations on the question of General Giraud. ...The Chief of the OKW, Keitel, gave an order of this kind to Canaris, not in writing but an oral order. ...I knew of this order in the same way as certain other chiefs of the sections, that is Bentivegni, Chief of Abwehr Section I, Pieckenbrock and a few other officers. We all heard it at a discussion with Canaris. ...The essential part of this order was to eliminate Giraud, in a fashion similar to Weygand. ...I mean the same as in the case of Marshal Weygand, that is, it was intended and ordered that he was to be killed. ...

This order was given to Canaris several times. I cannot say for certain when it was given for the first time as I was not present in person. It was probably after the flight of Giraud from Konigstein and prior to the attempt on the life of Heydrich, in Prague. According to my notes, this subject was discussed with me by Keitel in July of the same year, in the presence of Canaris. ...I cannot repeat his (Keitel's) exact words, but the meaning was that he proclaimed the intention of having Giraud killed, and asked me, as in the case of Weygand, how the matter was progressing or had progressed so far. ..I cannot remember the exact words (I used). I probably gave some evasive answer, or one that would permit gaining time. ...

According to my recollection, this question was once more discussed in August. The exact date can be found in my notes. Canaris telephoned me in my private apartment one evening and said impatiently that Keitel was urging him again about Giraud, and the section chiefs were to meet the next day on this question. The next day the conference was held and Canaris repeated in this larger circle what he had said to me over the phone the night before. That is, he was being continually pressed by Keitel that something must at last be done in this matter. Our attitude was the same as in the matter of Weygand. All those present rejected flatly this new demand to initiate and to carry out a murder. We mentioned our decision to Canaris, who also was of the same opinion and Canaris thereupon went down to Keitel in order to induce him to leave the Military Abwehr out of all such matters and requested that, as agreed prior to this, such matters should be left entirely to the SD.

In the meantime, while we were all there, I remember Pieckenbrock spoke, and I remember every word he said. He said it was about time that Keitel was told clearly that he should tell his Herr Hitler that we, the Military Abwehr, were no murder organization like the SD or the SS. After a short time, Canaris came back and said it was now quite clear that he had convinced Keitel that we, the Military Abwehr, were to be left out of such matters and further measures were to be left to the SD. I must observe here and recall that Canaris had said to me, once this order had been given, that the execution must be prevented at any cost. He would take care of that and I was to support him. ...

A little later, it must have been September, the exact date has been recorded, Keitel, then chief of the OKW, rang me up in my private apartment. He asked me, "What about 'Gustav'? You know what I mean by 'Gustav'?" I said, "Yes, I know." "How is the matter progressing? I must know, it is very urgent." I answered, "I have no information on the subject. Canaris has reserved this matter for himself, and Canaris is not here, he is in Paris." Then came the order from Keitel, or rather, before he gave the order, he put one more question: "You know that the others are to carry out the order?" By "the others," he meant the SS and SD. I answered, "Yes, I know." Then came an order from Keitel to immediately inquire of Mueller how the whole matter was progressing. "I must know it immediately," he said. I said, "Yes," but went at once to the office of the Ausland Abwehr, General Oster, and informed him what had happened, and asked for his advice as to what was to be done in this matter which was so extremely critical and difficult for Canaris and me. I told him—Oster already knew as it was—that Canaris so far had not breathed a word to the SD concerning what it was to do, that is, murder Giraud.

General Oster advised me to fly to Paris immediately and to inform Canaris and to warn him. I flew the next day to Paris and met Canaris at a hotel at dinner in a small circle, which included Admiral (Leopold) Bürckner, and I told Canaris what had happened. Canaris was horrified and amazed, and for a moment he saw no way out. During the dinner Canaris asked me in the presence of Bürckner and two other officers, that is, Colonel Rudolph, and another officer whose name I have forgotten, as to the date when Giraud had fled from Konigstein and when the Abwehr III conference had been held in Prague and at what time the assassination of Heydrich had taken place. I gave these dates, which I did not know by memory, to Canaris. When he had the three dates, he was visibly relieved, and his saddened countenance took on new life. He was certainly relieved in every way.

I must add that—at this important conference of the Abwehr III Heydrich was present. It was a meeting between Abwehr III and SD officials who were collaborating with it-officials who were also in the counterintelligence. Canaris then based his whole plan on these three dates. His plan was to attempt to show that at this conference he had passed on the order to Heydrich, to carry out the action. That is to say, his plan was to exploit Heydrich's death to wreck the whole affair. The next day we flew to Berlin, and Canaris reported to Keitel that the matter was taking its course, and that Canaris had given Heydrich the necessary instructions at the Abwehr III conference in Prague, and that Heydrich had prepared everything, that is, a special purpose action had been started in order to have Giraud murdered, and with that the matter was settled and brought to ruin. ...Nothing more happened. Giraud fled to North Africa, and much later only I heard that Hitler was very indignant about this escape, and said that the SD had failed miserably- so it is said to be written in shorthand notes in the records of the Hauptquartier (Headquarters) of the Führer. The man who told me this is in the American zone.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: Giraud's successful escape from the Fortress of Konigstein near Dresden on 19 April 1942 created a sensation; and I was severely reprimanded about the guard of this general's camp, a military fortress. The escape was successful despite all attempts to recapture the general, by police or military action, on his way back to France. Canaris had instructions from me to keep a particularly sharp watch on all the places at which he might cross the frontier into France or, Alsace-Lorraine, so that we could recapture him. The police were also put on to this job; 8 or 10 days after his escape it was made known that the general had arrived safely back in France. If I issued any orders during this search I probably used the words I gave in the preliminary interrogations, namely, "We must get the general back, dead or alive." I possibly did say something like that. He had escaped and was in France.

Second phase: Efforts, made through the Embassy by Abetz and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop to induce the general to return to captivity of his own accord, appeared not to be unsuccessful or impossible, as the general had declared himself willing to go to the occupied zone to discuss the matter. I was of the opinion that the general might possibly do it on account of the concessions hitherto made to Marshal Petain regarding personal wishes in connection with the release of French generals from captivity. The meeting with General Giraud took place in occupied territory, at the staff quarters of a German Army Corps, where the question of his return was discussed. The Military Commander informed me by telephone of the general's presence in occupied territory, in the hotel where the German officers were billeted. The commanding general suggested that if the general would not return voluntarily it would be a very simple matter to apprehend him if he were authorized to do so. I at once refused this categorically for I considered it a breach of faith. The general had come trusting to receive proper treatment and be returned unmolested.

Third phase: The attempt or desire to get the general back somehow into military custody arose from the fact that Canaris told me that the general's family was residing in territory occupied by German troops; and it was almost certain that the general would try to see his family, even if only after a certain period of time and when the incident had been allowed to drop. He suggested to me to make preparations for the recapture of the general if he made a visit of this kind in occupied territory. Canaris said that he himself would initiate these preparations through his Counterintelligence office in Paris and through his other offices. Nothing happened for some time; and it was surely quite natural for me to ask on several occasions, no matter who was with Canaris or if Lahousen was with him, "What has become of the Giraud affair?" or, in the same way, "How is the Giraud case getting on?" The words used by Mr. Lahousen were, "It is very difficult; but we shall do everything we can." That was his answer. Canaris made no reply. That strikes me as significant only now; but at the time it did not occur to me. ...

Fourth phase. This began with Hitler's saying to me: "This is all nonsense. We are not getting results. Counterintelligence is not capable of this and cannot handle this matter. I will turn it over to Himmler and Counterintelligence had better keep out of this, for they will never get hold of the general again." Admiral Canaris said at the time that he was counting on having the necessary security measures taken by the French secret state police in case General Giraud went to the occupied zone; and a fight might result, as the general was notoriously a spirited soldier, a man of 60 who lowers himself 45 meters over a cliff by means of a rope—that is how he escaped from Konigstein.

Fifth phase: According to Lahousen's (Generalmajor Erwin von Lahousen) explanation in Berlin, Canaris desire to transfer the matter to the Secret State Police, which Lahousen said was done as a result of representations from the departmental heads, was because I asked again how matters stood with Giraud and he wanted to get rid of this awkward mission. Canaris came to me and asked if he could pass it on to the Reich Security Main Office or to the police. I said yes, because the Fuehrer had already told me repeatedly that he wanted to hand it over to Himmler. Next phase: I wanted to warn Canaris some time later, when Himmler came to see me and confirmed that he had received orders from Hitler to have Giraud and his family watched unobtrusively and that I was to stop Canaris from taking any action in the case. He had been told that Canaris was working along parallel lines. I immediately agreed.

Now we come to the phase which Lahousen has described at length. I had asked about "Gustav" and similar questions. I wanted to direct Canaris immediately to stop all his activities in the matter, as Hitler had confirmed the order. What happened in Paris according to Lahousen's detailed reports, that excuses were sought, et cetera, that the matter was thought to be very mysterious, that is, Gustav as an abbreviation for the G in Giraud, all this is fancy rather than fact. I had Canaris summoned to me at once, for he was in Paris and not in Berlin. He had done nothing at all, right from the start. He was thus in a highly uncomfortable position with regard to me for he had lied to me. When he came I said only, "You will have nothing more to do in this matter; keep clear of it." Then came the next phase: The general's escape without difficulty to North Africa by plane, which was suddenly reported—if I remember correctly—before the invasion of North Africa by the Anglo-American troops. That ended the business. No action was ever taken by the Counterintelligence whom I had charged to watch him, or by the police; and I never even used the words to do away with the general. Never!

The final phase of this entire affair may sound like a fairy tale, but it is true nevertheless. The general sent a plane from North Africa to Southern France near Lyons in February or March 1944, with a liaison officer who reported to the Counterintelligence and asked if the general could return to France and what would happen to him on landing in France. The question was turned over to me. Generaloberst Jodl is my witness that these things actually happened. The chief of the Counterintelligence Office involved in this matter was with me. The answer was: "Exactly the same treatment as General Weygand who is already in Germany. There is no doubt that the Fuehrer will agree." Nothing actually did happen, and I heard no more about it. But these things actually happened. ...

I had only an unobtrusive watch kept on the family's residence in order to receive information of any visit which he might have planned. But no steps of any kind were ever taken against the family. It would have been foolish in this case. ...I never gave such an order (to kill Giraud), unless the phrase "We must have him back, dead or alive" may be considered of weight in this respect. I never gave orders that the general was to be killed or done away with, or anything of the kind. Never.

From The Unseen War in Europe by John H. Waller: (Admiral) Canaris had been under orders from Hitler to spare no effort in tracking down Giraud and having him killed before he could cause difficulties for Vichy and the Germans. This project was known as Operation Gustav. But despite prodding from General Keitel and a bounty of one hundred thousand marks offered to the public by Hitler for information of Giraud's whereabouts, the French fugitive was able to evade capture by the Abwehr. Canaris in fact had no intention of capturing Giraud. From the beginning he would not be party to the French General's assassination and let Keitel know that the operation was not the sort of thing the Abwehr would undertake. He protested that unlike the SD, his organization was not a band of assassins. Canaris had, however, made an effort to discover the general's intentions before he made his escape.

Because of Hitler's intense interest in this matter, the Abwehr dispatched an agent to get in touch with Giraud and try to ascertain whether the general believed the Americans and British would try to land somewhere in North or northwestern Africa in early 1943 and whether he intended to plan any significant role in the future. The agent was also instructed to discover and comment on the prospect of French resistance to such landings. Churchill showed great concern about Giraud when this German message, broken at Bletchley in late September 1942, was shown to him. He scrawled in the margin of the text that Giraud should be duly warned he might be questioned by a German-sent agent about his knowledge of Allied intentions to open a second front and his own intentions in French North Africa. Canaris was playing a dangerous game in defying and evading Hitler's order to kill Giraud. His inaction could not be easily explained if he were found out, but he seized on Heydrich's death to lie to Keitel, telling him that he had turned over the operation to the late SD chief. It had therefore been Heydrich, now unable to defend himself, who had to bear responsibility for letting Giraud slip through the SS dragnet and collaborate with the Allies in North Africa.

April 27, 1942: From a note by V. M. Molotov, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR:

By direct order of its High Command the German fascist Army has subjected Soviet towns and villages to unparalleled devastation upon seizure and in the course of the army's occupation... The special detachments set up by the German Command for the purpose of setting fire to Soviet populated centers and for the mass extermination of the civilian population during the retreat of the Hitlerite Army, are perpetrating their sanguinary deeds with the cold-bloodedness of professional criminals. Thus, for instance before their retreat from the village of Bolshekrepinskaya, Rostov region, the Germans sent down the streets of the village special flame-throwing machines which burned 1,167 buildings, one after the other. The large, flourishing village was turned into flaming bonfires which consumed the dwellings, the hospital, the school, and various other public buildings.

At the same time machine gunners, without any warning, shot at inhabitants who approached their burning houses; some of the residents were bound, sprayed with gasoline and thrown into the burning buildings...In their insane fury against the Soviet people, which was caused by defeats suffered at the front, the commanding general of the 2d German Panzer Army, General Schmidt, and the commander of the Orel administrative region and military commander of that city, Major General Hamann, had created special demolition commandos for the destruction of towns, villages, and collective farms of the Orel region. These commandos, plunderers, and arsonists destroyed everything in the path of their retreat. They destroyed cultural monuments and works of art of the Russian people, burned down cities, towns, and villages.

May 1, 1942: People's Commissar of Defense Stalin releases Order No. 130:

It is undoubtedly true, in the first place, that fascist Germany and its army have become weaker during this period than they were ten months ago. The war has brought the German people great disillusionment’s, the sacrifice of millions of human victims, starvation and impoverishment. The end of the war is not in sight, but the reserves of man-power are giving out, oil is giving out, raw materials are giving out. The German people are becoming more and more aware of the inevitability of Germany’s defeat. The German people realize with growing clarity that the only way out of the situation that has arisen is the liberation of Germany from the adventurist Hitler-Goering clique.

The Hitlerite imperialists have occupied vast territories in Europe, but they have not broken the will to resistance of the European peoples. The struggle of the enslaved peoples against the regime of the German-fascist highwaymen is beginning to assume general scope. Sabotage at war plants, the blowing up of German ammunition stores, the wrecking of German troop trains and the killing of German soldiers and officers have become everyday occurrences in all the occupied countries. All Yugoslavia and the German-occupied Soviet areas are swept by the flames of partisan warfare. All these circumstances have led to a weakening of the German rear, which means the weakening of fascist Germany as a whole...

May 5, 1942: Jodl finally convinces Hitler to, in effect, cancel the infamous Commissar Order (See June 6, 1941). (Maser)

July 1-27, 1942: The advance of Axis troops on Alexandria is blunted by the Allies at the First Battle of El Alamein.

From Keitel's SBS interview: In North Africa we had seen for the first time the strength of the Allied Air Force and its effective operations during the battle of El Alamein. It was there for the first time that we felt the effect of an air force against ground operations. That strength was not expected. It came as a surprise." ...

Q: What reasons lie behind the failure of Rommel to achieve success in Cyrenaica and Libya? What prevented adequate supplies from reaching Rommel?

Keitel: It was the breakdown of the supply system. The reason for it was that the Italians did not live up to the minimum expectations a far as transportation and the security of transport was concerned. Therefore, they were not able to bring up the bare necessities of supplies.

June 16, 1942 Jodl's Diary:

The Operational Staff of the Navy (SKL) applied on the 29th May for permission to attack the Brazilian sea and air forces. The SKL considers that a sudden blow against the Brazilian war ships and merchant ships is expedient at this juncture because defense measures are still incomplete, because there is the possibility of achieving surprise, and because Brazil is actually fighting Germany at sea.

July 28, 1942: From Stalin's Order (#227) for the Defense of the Soviet Union:

The population of our country, who love and respect the Red Army, start to be discouraged in her, and lose faith in the Red Army, and many curse the Red Army for leaving our people under the yoke of the German oppressors, and itself running east. Some stupid people at the front calm themselves with talk that we can retreat further to the east, as we have a lot of territory, a lot of ground, a lot of population and that there will always be much bread for us. They want to justify the infamous behavior at the front. But such talk is falsehood, helpful only to our enemies. Each commander, Red Army soldier and political commissar should understand that our means are not limitless. The territory of the Soviet state is not a desert, but people—workers, peasants, intelligentsia, our fathers, mothers, wives, brothers, children. The territory of the USSR which the enemy has captured and aims to capture is bread and other products for the army, metal and fuel for industry, factories, plants supplying the army with arms and ammunition, railroads. After the loss of Ukraine, Byelorussia, Baltic republics, Donetzk, and other areas we have much less territory, much less people, bread, metal, plants and factories. We have lost more than 70 million people, more than 800 million pounds of bread annually and more than 10 million tons of metal annually. Now we do not have predominance over the Germans in human reserves, in reserves of bread. To retreat further—means to waste ourselves...

August 6, 1942: To the Commandant de la Police de Surete et du SD:

In the criminal proceedings against the French citizens: (1) Jean Marechal, born on 15 October 1912. (2) Emmanuel Thepault, born on 4 June 1916. Field Marshal Keitel, acting within the powers given to him on 26 and 27 June 1942 by the Führer in his office as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, has refused to pardon these two men condemned to death and has ordered that the sentences should be executed within the scope of the general punishments.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: As I have already described in connection with the Nacht und Nebel Decree, sabotage acts, the dropping of agents by parachute, the parachuting of arms, ammunition, explosives, radio sets and small groups of saboteurs reached greater and greater proportions. They were dropped at night from aircraft in thinly populated regions. This activity covered the whole area governed by Germany at that time. It extended from the west over to Czechoslovakia and Poland, and from the East as far as the Berlin area. Of course, a large number of the people involved in these actions were captured and much of the material was taken. This memorandum was to rally all offices, outside the Wehrmacht, as well, police and civilian authorities, to the service against this new method of conducting the war, which was, to our way of thinking, illegal, a sort of "war in the dark behind the lines."

Even today, after reading this document through again—it has already been given to me here—I consider this memorandum unobjectionable. It expressly provides that members of enemy forces, that is members of any enemy force, if captured by the police, should be taken to the nearest Wehrmacht office after being identified. I know that in the French sector the French police did their full share in arresting these troops and putting them in safe charge. They collaborated in preventing these acts of sabotage. It will perhaps make clear how extensive these activities were if I mention that on certain days there were as many as 100 railways blown up in this way. That is in the memorandum.

August 19, 1942: The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe or Operation Jubilee, begins as 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, supported by large British naval and Allied air force contingents, invade the German-occupied port of Dieppe in France. 3,623 of the 6,086 men who make it ashore will either be killed, wounded, or captured.

August 20, 1942: From a Hitler speech:

The law is not an end in itself. Its function is to maintain public order...All means used to this end are justifiable...It must adapt itself to this end...The idea that the judge is there to give absolutely irrevocable judgement, even if the world should come to an end as a result, is nonsense. (Maser)

September 8, 1942: From a Hitler order initialed by Keitel:

The extensive coastal fortifications which I have ordered to be erected in the area of Army Group West make it necessary that in the occupied territory all available workers be assigned and give the fullest extent of their productive capacities to this task. The previous allotment of workers originating from these countries is insufficient. In order to increase it I order the introduction of compulsory labor and the prohibition of changing the place of employment without permission of the authorities in the occupied territories. Furthermore, the distribution of food and clothing ration cards to those subject to labor draft should in the future depend on the possession of a certificate of employment. Refusal to accept an assigned Job, as well as leaving the place of work without the consent of the authorities in charge, will result in the withdrawal of the food and clothing ration cards. The GBA (DeputyGeneral for Arbeitseinsatz - Deputy General for Labor Deployment) in agreement with the military commander, as well as the Reich Commissioner, will issue the appropriate decrees.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: The document starts like a document which has been confiscated in a police department. It starts with the words, "The OKW has ordered as follows:"; after that come the Numbers 1, 2, 3 and then it goes on to say, "In this connection I order...", and that is the Supreme Police Chief of the Reich Security Head Office; it is signed by Muller, not Kaltenbrunner but Muller. I have certainly not signed this order OKW 1 to 3, and I have not seen it; there is no doubt about that. The fact that technical expressions, "Stage 3b" et cetera, are used proves that in itself. These are terms used by the police and they are unknown to me. I must say, therefore, that I am not sure how this document was drafted. I cannot explain it. There are assumptions and possibilities, and I should like to mention them briefly because I have given a great deal of thought to the matter.

First, I do not believe that any department of the OKW, that is, the Chief of Prisoners of War Organization or the Chief of the General Wehrmacht Office, could have issued this order independently without instructions to do so. I consider that quite impossible, as it was completely contrary to the general tendency. I have no recollection that I have ever received any instructions of this kind from Hitler or that I have passed any such instruction on to anybody else. I conclude that even if this may look like an excuse, there were, of course, other channels which the Fuehrer used without regard to competency. And, if I must supply an explanation, such orders could have been given through an adjutant without my knowledge. I emphasize that this is a supposition and that it cannot absolve me from blame... ...

The facts are as follows: During the summer of 1942, the Führer called the Quartermaster General of the Army to headquarters for a report lasting several hours, at which the Führer asked him to report on conditions in the Eastern rear army territory. I was suddenly called in and told that the Quartermaster General was saying that thousands of Russian prisoners of war were escaping every month, that they disappeared among the population, immediately discarded their uniforms, and procured civilian clothes, and could no longer be identified. I was ordered to make investigations and to devise some means of identification which would enable them to be identified even after they had put on civilian clothing. Thereupon I sent instructions to Berlin, saying that such an order should be prepared but that investigations should first be made by the international law department of the Foreign Office to find out whether such an order could be given at all; and, secondly, whether it could be carried out technically. I should like to say that we were thinking of tattoo marks of the kind found on many seamen and bricklayers in Germany. But I heard no more about it. One day I met the Foreign Minister at headquarters and talked to him about the question.

Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop knew about the inquiry submitted to the Foreign Office and considered the measure extremely questionable. That was the first news I had about the subject. I gave immediate instructions, whether personally or through the adjutant I cannot remember, that the order was not to go out. I had neither seen a draft nor had I signed anything. At any rate I gave an unmistakable order: "The order is in no circumstances to be issued." I received no further detailed information at the time. I heard nothing more about it and I was convinced that the order had not been issued. When I was interrogated, I made a statement on those lines. I have now been told by my Defense Counsel that the woman secretary of the Chief of the Prisoners of War Organization has volunteered to testify that the order was rescinded and was not to be issued and, further, that she had received those instructions personally. She said in her statement, however, that this did not happen until several days after the order had actually gone out and that that was the only possible explanation of how that order came to be found in the police office as still valid.

September 8, 1942: Churchill addresses the House:

Continued efforts are made by us and our Allies to unify and concert the command and action of the United Nations, and particularly of their leading members. These efforts are made in spite of all the obvious difficulties which geography can interpose. During the month of July, President Roosevelt sent a most important mission to this country. No announcement of this was made at the time. The mission comprised General Marshall, the Head of the United States Army, Admiral King, the Head of the Navy, and Mr. Hopkins, the President's Personal Representative. These gentlemen met in numerous conferences, not only the British Chiefs of Staff, but the Members of the War Cabinet, and of the Defense Committee, which is a somewhat smaller grouping of it. During a period of 10 days or more the whole field of the war was explored and every problem of importance in it was scrutinized and weighed. Decisions of importance were taken affecting the whole future general conduct of our operations not only in Europe but throughout the world...

September 15, 1942: From previous correspondence from Canaris to Keitel:

The separation of civilians and prisoners of war who are politically undesirable, and decision to be made in regard to their fate, is to be effected by task forces (Einsatzkommando) belonging to the Security Police and the SD in accordance with directives not known to the Wehrmacht establishments and whose execution cannot be checked by the latter." Keitel's handwritten note in the margin: "Highly expedient." From an answering letter from Keitel to Canaris: "These objections arise from the military conception of chivalrous warfare. We are dealing here with the destruction of an ideology and, therefore, I approve such measures and I sanction them. Signed: Keitel.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: ...on receiving that letter (from Canaris), I immediately submitted it to the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, especially on account of the enclosed publication by the Peoples' Commissars, which was dated the beginning of July, and I asked for a new decision. On the whole I shared the objections raised by Canaris. ...I wrote that after it had been submitted to the Führer for decision. I wrote it then. ...The word "expedient" refers to the fact that the army offices had nothing to do with these Einsatzkommandos and know nothing about them. It states that they are not known to the Wehrmacht. ...I thought it expedient that the activities of these Kommandos be unknown to the Armed Forces. That is what I meant. That appears here and I underlined 'unknown.' ...I signed both decrees and I, therefore, bear the responsibility within the sphere of my office; I assume the responsibility.

September 24, 1942: Hitler relieves General Franz Halder from duty, placing him in the so-called 'Führer Reserve.'

From Keitel's SBS interview: There were probably two reasons (why Hitler relieved General Franz Halder). The first, because he lost some of the confidence the Führer had in him through certain unsuccessful operations in the East. Secondly, in autumn, 1942, there were very great differences of opinion about the procedure to be adopted in the Caucasus and before Stalingrad. Hitler was of the opinion that General Halder did not agree with him whole-heartedly. Halder was in no position to resign. Hitler gave very clear orders that nobody resigns in wartime and that only he, himself, could relieve a man of his position. Hitler would not have entrusted leadership in the hands of a man who did not quite believe in the correctness of his decisions. He probably relieved him on those grounds.

September 1942: Keitel and Alfred Jodl defend Field Marshal Siegmund List against the criticisms of Adolf Hitler. This results in Jodl being sacked and for many months afterwards Hitler refuses to shake hands with Keitel. This is the last time that Keitel is to challenge Hitler's military decisions.

From The Other Side of the Hill by Basil Liddell Hart: The failure of Field-Marshal List in the Low Caucasus not only led to his dismissal, but to a serious personal crisis in Hitler's headquarters late in September, 1942. Sometime earlier List had received the order to push on over the Low Caucasus towards the Black Sea, using all suitable routes. When he did not succeed in reaching his goal. Hitler once more became utterly impatient and sent Jodi to List's headquarters. On his return Jodi reported to Hitler that List had acted exactly in conformity to Hitler's orders, but that the Russian resistance was equally strong everywhere, supported by a most difficult terrain.

Hitler, however, kept on reproaching List with having split up his forces instead of breaking through with concentrated power, while Jodi pointed to the fact that Hitler by his own orders had induced List to advance on a widely stretched front. This argument of Jodl's was followed by an unusual outburst of Hitler's. He was so taken aback by the recital of his own previous orders—which he now denied—that Jodi, and Keitel with him, fell in disgrace for a long time to come. Further consequences were that Hitler completely changed his daily customs. From that time on he stayed away from the common meals which he had taken twice a day with his entourage. Henceforth he hardly left his hut in daytime, not even for the daily reports on the military situation, which from now on had to be delivered to him in his own hut in the presence of a narrowly restricted circle. He refused ostentatiously to shake hands with any general of the OKW, and gave orders that Jodi was to be replaced by another officer.

September 30, 1942: Hitler speaks in Berlin:

He who believes, for example, that Namsos was a victory, or who believes that Andalsnes was a victory, or who believes that even Dunkirk was quite the greatest victory in the history of the world, or who believes (it is all the same to me) that any expedition that lasts 9 hours is an astonishing and encouraging sign of a victorious nation—with such a one we, with our modest successes, cannot of course be compared. For what are our accomplishments as compared with these? If we push forward a thousand kilometers, that is really nothing—an absolute failure...

September 30, 1942: From the Einsatzstab Rosenberg Administrative Regulations:

The Führer has ordered, among other things, that the 'Special Purpose Staff of Reichsleiter Rosenberg for the occupied areas' should be authorized in the occupied areas under military administration and in the occupied Eastern territories under civil administration—exclusive of the General Government—to a. Search libraries, archives, lodges, and other philosophical and cultural institutions of all kinds, for material suitable to the accomplishment of his task, and to have this material seized. b. To cause the seizure of cultural goods which are owned by Jews, or without ownership...

From Keitel's IMT testimony: They (regulations) originated partly in answers to queries from various military offices which considered themselves responsible for the safekeeping or guarding of whatever was in the occupied territories, and also from offices which obviously were going to collect, inspect, to register, or otherwise investigate these art treasures, libraries, et cetera, and to confiscate them. In one case I was called up on the phone by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, I think, who protested against this, at other times by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. The Führer directed me to instruct military services to acquiesce in this and to state their agreements, as they were directives which he had issued and approved himself. The way in which the documents are drawn up shows, in itself, that they did not emanate from an OKW office. My adjutant signed them; but I myself dictated them on the Führer's orders and sent them out. These queries may have been made just because no provision had been made and no orders given. I did not know what was to be done with these art treasures, et cetera; but I naturally took the view that the object was to safeguard them. No mention was made of transport, or confiscation, or expropriation; and the question did not occur to me; I merely gave these instructions in quite a brief form and did not bother any further about the matter. I took them to be precautionary measures and they did not seem to me to be unjustified... ...I never had anything to do with these things.

October 7, 1942: Hitler personally pens a note in the Wehrmacht daily communiqué: "In future, all terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers but rather like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops and will be ruthlessly eliminated in battle, wherever they appear."

October 14, 1942: From the minutes of a meeting of the General Staff of the Wehrmacht:

During the era of total warfare sabotage has become one of the most important elements in the conduct of war. It is sufficient to state our attitude to this question. The enemy will find evidence of it in the reports of our own propaganda units. ...We have already announced by radio our intention of liquidating, in future, all groups of terrorists and saboteurs acting like bandits. Therefore the VVFSt (Wehrmachtführungsstab – Wehrmacht Operational Orders Department) has only to issue regulations to the troops how to deal with terrorist and sabotage groups. ...In combat or in flight they are to be killed without mercy. ...

Members of terrorist and sabotage groups of the British Army wearing uniform, who in the opinion of our troops are guilty of acting dishonorably or in any manner contrary to the law of nations, are to be kept in separate custody after capture. ...Instructions concerning the treatment to be inflicted upon them will be given by the WFSt in agreement with the Army legal service and the Counter-Intelligence Department, Foreign Section (Amt Ausland Abwehr). ...Violation of the laws of war by terrorist or sabotage troops is in the future always to be assumed when individual assailants as saboteurs or agents, regardless of whether they were soldiers or whatever their uniform might be, place themselves outside the laws of war by committing surprise attacks or brutalities which in the judgment of our troops are inconsistent with the fundamental rules of war. ...In such cases the assailants will be killed without mercy to the last man, in combat or in flight. ...Confinement in prisoner-of-war camps, even temporarily, is forbidden.

October 18, 1942: From a Hitler Order (The Commando Order):

1. For some time our enemies have been using in their warfare methods which are outside the international Geneva Conventions. Especially brutal and treacherous is the behavior of the so-called commandos, who, as is established, are partially recruited even from freed criminals in enemy countries. From captured orders it is divulged that they are directed not only to shackle prisoners, but also to kill defenseless prisoners on the spot at the moment in which they believe that the latter, as prisoners, represent a burden in the further pursuit of their purpose or could otherwise be a hindrance. Finally, orders have been found in which the killing of prisoners has been demanded in principle.

2. For this reason it was already announced, in an addendum to the Armed Forces communiqué of 7 October 1942, that in the future, Germany, in the face of the sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, will resort to the same procedure, that is, that they will be ruthlessly mowed down by the German troops in combat, wherever they may appear.

3. I therefore order: From now on all enemies on so-called commando missions in Europe or Africa, challenged by German troops, even if they are to all appearances soldiers in uniform or demolition troops, whether armed or unarmed, in battle or in flight, are to be slaughtered to the last man. It does not make any difference whether they are landed from ships and airplanes for their actions, or whether they are dropped by parachute. Even if these individuals, when found, should apparently be prepared to give themselves up, no pardon is to be granted them on principle. In each individual case full information is to be sent to the OKW for publication in the communiqué of the Armed Forces.

4. If individual members of such commandos, such as agents, saboteurs, et cetera, fall into the hands of the Armed Forces by some other means, through the police in occupied territories, for instance, they are to be handed over immediately to the SD. Any imprisonment under military guard, in PW stockades, for instance, et cetera, is strictly prohibited, even if this is only intended for a short time.

5. This order does not apply to the treatment of any soldiers who, in the course of normal hostilities, large-scale offensive actions, landing operations, and airborne operations, are captured in open battle or give themselves up. Nor does this order apply to enemy soldiers falling into our hands after battles at sea, or to enemy soldiers trying to save their lives by parachute after air battles.

6. 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 when it was to be executed … a supplementary order of the Führer is enclosed. This order is intended for commanders only and must not, under any circumstances, fall into enemy hands. The further distribution is to be limited accordingly by the receiving bureaus. The bureaus named in the distribution list are held responsible for the return and destruction of all distributed copies of this order and copies made thereof. "I have been compelled to issue strict orders for the destruction of enemy sabotage troops and to declare noncompliance with these orders severely punishable. I deem it necessary to announce to the competent commanding officers and commanders the reasons for this decree. As in no previous war, a method of destruction of communications behind the front, intimidation of the populace working for Germany, as well as the destruction of war-important industrial plants in territories occupied by us has been developed in this war...

The consequences of these activities are of extraordinary weight. I do not know whether each commander and officer is cognizant of the fact that the destruction of one single electric power plant, for instance, can deprive the Luftwaffe of many thousand tons of aluminum, thereby eliminating the construction of countless aircraft that will be missed in the fight at the front and so contribute to serious damage of the homeland as well as to bloody losses of the fighting soldiers. Yet this form of war is completely without danger for the adversary. Since he lands his sabotage troops in uniform but at the same time supplies them with civilian clothes, they can, according to need, appear as soldiers or civilians. While they themselves have orders ruthlessly to remove any German soldiers or even natives who get in their way, they run no danger of suffering really serious losses in their operations, since at the worst, if they are caught, they can immediately surrender and thus believe that they will theoretically fall under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

There is no doubt, however, that this is a misuse in the worst form of the Geneva agreements, especially since part of these elements are even criminals liberated from prisons, who can rehabilitate themselves through these activities. England and America will therefore always be able to find volunteers for this kind of warfare, as long as they can truthfully assure them that there is no danger of loss of life for them. At worst, all they have to do is successfully to commit their attacks on people, traffic installations, or other installations and, upon being encountered by the enemy, to capitulate. If the German conduct of war is not to suffer grievous damage through these incidents, it must be made clear to the adversary that all sabotage troops will be exterminated, without exception, to the last man.

This means that their chance of escaping with their lives is nil. Under no circumstances can it be permitted, therefore, that a dynamite, sabotage, or terrorist unit simply allows itself to be captured, expecting to be treated according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. It must, under all circumstances, be ruthlessly exterminated. The report on this subject appearing in the Armed Forces communiqué will briefly and laconically state that a sabotage, terror, or destruction unit has been encountered and exterminated to the last man. I therefore expect the commanding officers of armies subordinate to them, as well as individual commanders, not only to realize the necessity of taking such measures, but to carry out this order with energy.

Officers and noncommissioned officers who fail through some weakness are to be reported without fail or, if the circumstances require aft, e. g. if danger is imminent, to be at once made strictly accountable. The homeland, as well as the fighting soldier at the front, has the right to expect that behind their backs the essentials of nourishment as well as the supply with war-important weapons and ammunition remains secure. These are the reasons for the issuance of my decree. If it should become necessary, for reasons of interrogation, initially to spare one man or two, then they are to be shot immediately after interrogation.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: Now, as to the Führer orders of 18 October 1942, which have been mentioned very often here and which I may describe as the further development of the regulations mentioned in this memorandum: As to these methods, this way of conducting illegal warfare kept on increasing, and individual parachutists grew into small Commando units which landed from heavy aircraft or by parachute and were systematically employed, not to create disturbances or destruction in general, but to attack specific, vital, and important military objectives.

In Norway, for instance, I recall that they had the task of blowing up the only aluminum works. It may sound strange, but during this period half to three-quarters of an hour of the daily discussion on the situation was devoted to the problem of how to handle these incidents. These incidents in all sectors caused the Fuehrer to demand other methods, vigorous measures, to combat this activity, which he characterized as "terrorism" and said that the only method that could be used to combat it was severe countermeasures. I recall that in reply to our objections as soldiers the following words were spoken: "As long as the paratrooper or saboteur runs the danger only of being taken captive, he incurs no risk; in normal circumstances he risks nothing; we must take action against this." These were the reasons behind his thoughts.

I was asked several times to express myself on this subject and to present a draft. General Jodl will also recall this. We did not know what we, as soldiers, were to do. We could make no suggestion. If I may sum up briefly, we heard Hitler's bursts of temper on this subject almost every day, but we did nothing, not knowing what we could do. Hitler declared that this was against the Hague Convention and illegal, that it was a method of waging war not foreseen in the Hague Convention and which could not be foreseen. He said that this was a new war with which we had to, contend, in which new methods were needed. Then, to make it short, as I have already testified in the preliminary investigation, these orders—this order itself and the well-known instructions that those who did not carry out the first order should be punished—were issued in a concise form and signed by Hitler.

They were then distributed, I believe, by the Chief of the Operations Staff, Jodl. I might add that many times the commanders who received these orders asked questions about how they were to be applied, particularly in connection with the threat that they would be punished if they did not carry them out. The only reply we could make was, "You know what is in the orders," for we were not in a position to change these signed orders. ...neither General Jodl nor I thought that we were in a position, or considered it possible, to draft or submit such a written order. We did not do it because we could not justify it or give reasons for it. ...I no longer opposed it, firstly on account of the punishment threatened, and secondly because I could no longer alter the order without personal orders from Hitler. ...According to my inner convictions I did not consider it right, but after it had been given I did not oppose it or take a stand against it in any way.

October 18, 1942: From a Letter from Jodl to Senior Officers:

I have been compelled to issue strict orders for the destruction of enemy sabotage troops and to declare non-compliance with these orders severely punishable. I deem it necessary to announce to the competent commanding officers and commanders the reasons for this decree. As in no previous war, a method of destruction of communications behind the front, intimidation of the populace working for Germany, as well as the destruction of war-important industrial plants in territories occupied by us has been developed in this war. In the east, this type of combat in the form of partisan warfare as early as last winter led to severe encroachment upon our fighting strength and cost the lives of numerous German soldiers, railroad workers, members of the labor corps [Organization Todt], the labor service, etc.

It severely interfered with and sometimes delayed for days, the performance of transportation necessary for the maintenance of the fighting strength of the troops. By a successful continuation or perhaps even intensification of this form of war, a grave crisis in one or another place at the front might develop. Many measures against these horrible, as well as wily, sabotage activities have failed, simply because the German officer and his soldiers were not aware of the great danger confronting them and therefore in individual cases did not act against these enemy groups as would have been necessary in order to help the forward echelons of the front thereby the entire conduct of the war. It was therefore in part necessary in the East to organize special units...

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I have not seen the letter and I think General Jodl should be asked about it. I do not know the contents, but I have already stated the opinion of both of us. I cannot give you the reason. ...I do not know the motives behind it and I would ask you to put this question to General Jodl. I have not seen it. But I have already stated my own views and those of General Jodl. ...

I did not personally carry out the orders of 18 October 1942. I was not present either at the mouth of the Gironde or at the attack on the battleship Tirpitz. I knew only that the order was issued, together with all the threats of punishment which made it so difficult for the commanders to alter or deviate from the order on their own initiative. ...I could not have prevented the action taken at the mouth of the Gironde or in the case of Tirpitz if I had wanted to. ...I was not responsible either for the Navy or for the Army or for the Air Force. I was not a commander; I was a Chief of Staff and I had no authority to intervene in the execution of orders in the various branches of the Armed Forces, each of which had its own Commander-in-Chief.

November 7, 1942: Intelligence reports from late October of an Allied convoy that had been spotted in the Atlantic come to Jodl’s attention. He concludes that their mission is probably an invasion of Malta. (Brown)

November 8, 1942: The convoy first spotted in late October disembarks its troops and equipment in North Africa as Operation Torch begins. Hitler and his generals are caught totally by surprise. (Brown)

November 20, 1942 Stalin to FDR:

We have begun the offensive operations in the Stalingrad area—in its southern and north-western sectors. The objective of the first stage is to seize the Stalingrad-Likhaya railway and disrupt the communications of the Stalingrad group of the German troops. In the north-western sector the German front has been pierced along a 22-kilometer line and along a 12-kilometer line in the southern sector. The operation is proceeding satisfactorily.

December 6, 1942 Stalin to FDR:

I welcome the idea of a meeting between the three heads of Governments to establish a common strategy. To my great regret, however, I shall be unable to leave the Soviet Union. This is so critical a moment that I cannot absent myself even for a single day. Just now major military operations—part of our winter campaign—are under way, nor will they be relaxed in January. It is more than likely that it will be the other way round. Fighting is developing both at Stalingrad and on the Central Front. At Stalingrad we have encircled a large group of German troops and hope to complete their destruction.

December 16, 1942: From an order to the German Army issued by Keitel:

This war no longer has anything to do with knightly conduct or with the agreements of the Geneva Convention. If this war is not fought with the greatest brutality against the bands both in the East and in the Balkans then in the foreseeable future the strength at our disposal will not be sufficient to be able to master this plague. The troops are therefore empowered and are in duty bound in this war to use without mitigation even against women and children any means that will lead to success. Consideration of any kind are a crime against the German people and the soldier at the front.

From Keitel's cross-examination before the IMT:

Rudenko: I ask you, Defendant Keitel, Field Marshal of the former German Army, do you consider that this order is a just one, that measures may be employed at will against women and children?

Keitel: Measures, insofar as it means that women and children were also to be removed from territories where there was partisan warfare, never atrocities or the murder of women or children. Never!

Rudenko: To remove—a German term—means to kill?

Keitel: No. I do not think it would ever have been necessary to tell German soldiers that they could not and must not kill women and children.

Rudenko: You did not answer my question. Do you consider this order a just one in regard to measures against women and children or do you consider it unjust? Answer 'yes' or 'no.' Is it just or unjust? Explain the matter later.

Keitel: I considered these measures to be right and as such I admit them; but not measures to kill. That was a crime.

Rudenko: "Any kind of measures" includes murder.

Keitel: Yes, but not of women and children.

Rudenko: Yes, but it says here "Any kind of measures against women and children."

Keitel: No, it does not say 'any measures.' It says '...and not to shrink from taking measures against women and children.' That is what it says. No German soldier or German officer ever thought of killing women and children.

Rudenko: And in reality?

Keitel: I cannot say in every individual case, since I do not know and I could not be everywhere and since I received no reports about it.

Rudenko: But there were millions of such cases?

Keitel: I have no knowledge of that and I do not believe that it happened in millions of cases.

Rudenko: You do not believe it?

Keitel: No.

December 17, 1942: United Nations Statement: ...those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution...

January 18, 1943: An insurgency is launched against the Germans by the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.

February 2, 1943: Paulus surrenders at Stalingrad.

February 5, 1943 FDR to Stalin:

As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America I congratulate you on the brilliant victory at Stalingrad of the armies under your Supreme Command. The one hundred and sixty-two days of epic battle for the city which has for ever honored your name and the decisive result which all Americans are celebrating today will remain one of the proudest chapters of this war of the peoples united against Nazism and its emulators.

June 4, 1943 FDR to Stalin:

Basic strategy in the recent decisions approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff…

In respect support of the USSR, the following decisions were made: the air offensive now being mounted against enemy-held Europe will be intensified, for the three-fold purpose of destruction of enemy industry, of whittling down of German fighter plane strength, and for the breaking down of German civil moral … In March, there were about 350 United States heavy bombers in England. At the present time there are about 700. Plans call for 900 at the end of June, 1,150 at the end of September and 2,500 by the first of April. It has been decided to put Italy out of the war at the earliest possible moment …

The collapse of Italy will greatly facilitate the carrying out of the air offensive against South and East Germany, will continue the attrition of their fighter strength and will jeopardize the Axis position in the Balkan area. With Africa firmly in our hands, it was decided that it was now feasible to resume the concentration of ground forces in England…there should be a sufficiently large concentration of men and material in the British Isles in the spring of 1944 to permit a full-scale invasion of the continent at that time. The great air offensive will then be at its peak. A certain number of landing craft have necessarily been sent to the South-west Pacific, the Aleutians, and to the Mediterranean.

The necessity of so doing has of course reduced by that extent the number of such boats sent to England. This has been the most important limiting factor as far as operations out of England have been concerned. The decisions enumerated and explained above are believed to be such that the enemy will be forced to disperse his ground forces to an extensive degree, both to oppose actual attacks and to guard against the possibility of attack. He will in addition be subject to heavy and continuous activity in the air. When signs of Axis weakness become apparent in any quarter, actual attacks and threats of attack will easily and quickly be translated into successful operations. We believe that these decisions as stated herein will require the full resources which we will be able to bring to bear.

June 11, 1943 Stalin to FDR:

The opening of a second front in Europe, previously postponed from 1942 till 1943, is now being put off again, this time till the spring of 1944. Your decision creates exceptional difficulties for the Soviet Union, which, straining all its resources, for the past two years, has been engaged against the main forces of Germany and her satellites, and leaves the Soviet Army, which is fighting not only for its country, but also for its Allies, to do the job alone, almost single-handed, against an enemy that is still very strong and formidable. Need I speak of the disheartening negative impression that this fresh postponement of the second front and the withholding from our Army, which has sacrificed so much, of the anticipated substantial support by the Anglo-American armies, will produce in the Soviet Union—both among the people and in the Army? As for the Soviet Government, it cannot align itself with this decision, which, moreover, was adopted without its participation and without any attempt at a joint discussion of this highly important matter and which may gravely affect the subsequent course of the war.

July 24, 1943: The large port city of Hamburg is hit by a large raid of 740 aircraft killing about 1,500 people. Only 12 aircraft are lost, 1.5% of the force.

From Speer's US SBS interview: The first heavy attack was that against Hamburg. The attack against Hamburg caused me great concern that our production might be handicapped by a speedy continuation of similar attacks. Losses in Hamburg were very heavy then, the greatest we had ever suffered through air attack, mostly because of burning houses. The population was extraordinarily depressed. Loss of production in some places seemed to be very heavy. After this attack I went to the Führer to tell him that it would be a great shock to armament production if we were to get about 6 or 8 such attacks against big cities. The effect of this attack consisted less in actual damage than in shock, and it may have been the mistake of all the attacks before and after Hamburg that they conditioned us systematically for air attack. That can be said as well for all previous attacks which were being increased as for the attack; against Hamburg which never reoccurred that severely. Hamburg remained a special case for a long time.

July 25, 1943: Mussolini is overthrown and arrested by Italian authorities. Pietro Badoglio becomes head of the government.(Brown)

July 26, 1943: Hitler meets with his generals to discuss the situation in Italy. When a foreign ministry officer suggests that they block the exits to the Vatican to prevent the flight of the Pope and other Vatican officials, Hitler seizes on the idea and expands upon it: "I'll go right into the Vatican," he declares. "Do you think the Vatican embarrasses me? We'll take that over right away. For one thing the entire diplomatic corps are in there. It's all the same to me. That rabble is in there (Note: An often-mentioned interpretation contends that this is a reference to Jews that have been given sanctuary in the Vatican.). We'll take that bunch of swine out of there...Later we can make apologies..." (Brown)

September 3, 1943: The Allied invasion of Italy begins.

September 8, 1943: Italy surrenders to the Allies.

September 10, 1943: German forces occupy Rome.

September 1943: An order is issued to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD to arrest all Danish citizens of Jewish religion and transport them to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt.

October 13, 1943: Pietro Badoglio declares that the Kingdom of Italy is now at war with its former ally, Nazi Germany. Note: Italy has the distinction of being the only nation that ended neither World War on the same side on which it had begun the war.

November 1, 1943 Moscow Declaration:

Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusers in order that justice may be done. The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of German criminals whose offenses have no particular geographical localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the government of the Allies...

November 8, 1943: Hitler speaks in Munich:

The battle in the East is the most difficult which the German People have ever had to bear. Our enemy's achievements pale by comparison with what our men are enduring here. Here, too, not only will their ultimate goal, to cause the collapse of the German front, not be achieved, but as always in world history only the final battle will decide the final outcome. This battle will, however, be won by the People which with the greatest innate worth, with the greatest persistence and with the greatest fanaticism take advantage of the decisive moment. Hence what I am demanding of the German soldier is enormous.

The task of those at the front is to accomplish the seemingly impossible. The task of those at home is to support and strengthen those at the front line in their struggle to achieve what seems impossible, or what may seem impossible to bear, so that those at the front recognize clearly that the fate of our entire People, of our women and children and of our entire future depends on the mobilization of our total strength to force a decision in our favor; that every sacrifice which we make today is nothing compared to the sacrifices which we would be forced to make if we were not to win the war; that therefore our only thought must be to conduct the war ruthlessly with the unalterable goal of achieving victory, no matter what the situation and where we have to fight...

December 24, 1943: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat:

During the last two days in (at) Teheran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead—ahead to the days and months and years that (which) will follow Germany's defeat. We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might. The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word 'respectable'—for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the Master Race...

January 9, 1944: From the Führer's headquarters, signed by Generaloberst Jodl:

It is of no importance to establish documentary proof of breaches of international law. What is important, however, is the collection of material suitable for a propaganda presentation of a display trial. A display trial as such is therefore not meant actually to take place but merely to be a propaganda presentation of cases of breaches of international law by enemy soldiers, who will be mentioned by name and who have already either been punished with death or are awaiting the death penalty. The Chief of the OKW asks the Chief of the Foreign Department to bring with him pertinent documents for his next visit to the Führer's headquarters.

February 20, 1944: The Allies begin a massive bombing campaign of Germany.

From Keitel's SBS interview:

Q: What is your over-all view as to the effectiveness of strategic bombing? What targets proved to be most decisive?

Keitel: Of decisive influence were, first, the destruction of the transportation network, and, second, the demoralization of the Wehrmacht and the nation. In this connection, I would like to stress that the tremendous damage that was inflicted throughout Germany as a result of your air attacks was out of all proportion to the damage inflicted on armament production. There was always the possibility to disperse the production. Only the oil industry was beyond repair... ...I can say that you can notice worsening of the moral of the troops being subject to such (air) attacks against which they cannot be protected and on top of that when their forces themselves do not have a similar means of attack. The time when we actually noticed it came after the bulk of the forces were thrown back across the Rhine... ...

The effects on the morale of the (civilian population) of the nation have been visible only after the front has moved closer to their towns. You attacked in such a manner that the English or American troops would drive up to a city and then it was capitulation or being smashed to pieces. That's where the morale of the population really cracked. I should like to add that during the strategic and tactical bombing attacks as well, the civilian population has shown an attitude which will never be equaled by any other nation.

March 4, 1944 Kugel Erlass:

Subject: Measures to be taken against captured escaped prisoners of war who are officers or not working non-commissioned officers, except British and American prisoners of war. The Supreme Command of the Army has ordered as follows: 1. Every captured escaped prisoner of war who is an officer or a not working non-commissioned officer, except British and American prisoners of war, is to be turned over to the Chief of the Security Police and of the Security Service under the classification "Step III" regardless of whether the escape occurred during a transport, whether it was a mass escape or an individual one. 2. Since the transfer of the prisoners of war to the security police and security service may not become officially known to the outside under any circumstances other prisoners of war may by no means be informed of the capture. The captured prisoners are to be reported to the Army Information Bureau as "escaped and not captured". Their mail is to be handled accordingly. Inquiries of representatives of the Protective Power of the International Red Cross, and of other aid societies will be given the same answer. 3. If escaped British and American prisoners of war who are officers or not working non-commissioned officers, respectively, are captured they are to be detained at first outside the prisoner of war camps and out of sight of prisoners of war...

March 1944 Operation Margarethe (Unternehmen Margarethe): German troops occupy Hungary. SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann begins to oversee large-scale mass deportations of Jews to German death camps in occupied Poland.

March 24, 1944: 76 Allied prisoners-of-war crawl through a tunnel and escape Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, in Poland. Within a few days, 50 of the captured prisoners (only three will actually get away) will be murdered by order of Hitler.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: The facts are that one morning it was reported to me that the escape had taken place. At the same time I received the information that about 15 of the escaped officers had been apprehended in the vicinity of the camp. I did not intend to report the case at the noon conference on the military situation held at Berchtesgaden, or rather, at the Berghof, as it was highly unpleasant, being the third mass escape in a very short period. As it had happened only 10 or 12 hours before, I hoped that in the course of the day the majority of them would be caught and that in this way the matter might be settled satisfactorily. While I was making my report Himmler appeared. I think that it was towards the end of my report that he announced the incident in my presence, as he had already started the usual general search for the escaped prisoners. There was an extremely heated discussion, a serious clash between Hitler and myself, since he immediately made the most outrageous accusations against me on account of this incident. Things are sometimes incorrectly represented in Westhoff's account, and that is why I am making a detailed statement.

During this clash the Führer stated in great excitement, "These prisoners are not to be sent back to the Armed Forces; they are to stay with the Police." I immediately objected sharply. I said that this procedure was impossible. The general excitement led Hitler to declare again and with considerable emphasis, "I am ordering you to retain them, Himmler; you are not to give them up." I put up a fight for the men who had already come back and who should, according to the original order, be brought out again and handed over to the police. I succeeded in doing it; but I could not do anything more. ...

As far as I remember, Colonel General Jodl was certainly present, at least for part of the time, and heard some of it, though perhaps not every word, since he was in the adjoining room at first. At any rate, Jodl and I returned to our quarters together. We discussed the case and talked about the extremely unpleasant consequences which the whole matter would have. On returning to my quarters I immediately ordered General von Graevenitz; to report to me the following morning. In this connection I must explain that Reich Marshal Göring was not present. If I was a little uncertain about that during my interrogation it was because I was told that witnesses had already stated that Goering was present. But right from the beginning I thought it improbable and doubtful. It is also incorrect, therefore, that Göring raised any accusations against me at the time. There had not been a conference in Berlin either. These are mistakes which I think I can explain by saying that Graevenitz, who came with Westhoff and saw me for the first time, was present during the report and witnessed a scene of a kind unusual in military life, because of the violence of my remarks in connection with the incident. ...

First of all, I made serious accusations. I myself was extraordinarily excited, for I must say that even the order that the prisoners were to be retained by the police caused me extreme anxiety regarding their fate. I frankly admit that the possibility of their being shot while trying to escape remained in my subconscious mind. I certainly spoke in extreme agitation at the time and did not weigh my words carefully. And I certainly repeated Hitler's words, which were, "We must make an example," since I was afraid of some further serious encroachments upon the Prisoners of War Organization in other ways, apart from this single case of the prisoners not being returned to the Wehrmacht. On reading the interrogation report I saw the statement by Graevenitz, or rather, Westhoff, to the effect that I had said, "They will be shot, and most of them must be dead already." I probably said something like, "You will see what a disaster this is; perhaps many of them have been shot already." I did not know, however, that they had already been shot; and I must confess that in my presence Hitler never said a word about anybody being shot. He only said, "Himmler, you will keep them; you will not hand them over."

I did not find out until several days later that they had been shot. I saw among other papers also an official report from the British Government stating that not until the 31st—the escape took place on the 25th—that not until the 31st were they actually shot. Therefore Westhoff is also wrong in thinking that orders had already been issued saying that an announcement was to be made in the camp stating that certain people had been shot or would not return and that lists of names were to be posted. That order did not come until later, and I remember it; I remember it because of the following incident: A few days afterwards, I think on or about the 31st, before the situation report, one of the adjutants told me that a report had been received that some had been shot. I requested a discussion alone with Hitler and told him that I had heard that people had been shot by the police. All he said was that he had received it too—naturally, since it was his report. In extreme disgust I told him my opinion of it.

At that time he told me that it was to be published in the camp as a warning to the others. Only upon this the announcement in the camp was ordered. In any case, Westhoff's recollection of some of the facts, which he has sworn to, is not quite accurate, even if such expressions as those used by him and explained by me here may have occurred. We shall hear his own account of that. ...No, he (Hitler) never told me that (he'd ordered them shot). I never heard it from him. I heard it very much later, as far as I can remember, from Reich Marshal Goering, with whom the whole incident was, of course, the subject of discussions and conversations, especially as an Air Force camp was involved. ...I neither received that order nor did I know or hear of it; nor did I pass on such an order. I can repeat this herewith under oath.

March 30, 1944: 781 British bombers attack Nuremberg.

From Keitel's SBS interview:

Q: Which part of the OKW studied the effectiveness of Allied weapons?

Keitel: The Wehrmacht Operations Staff. This was not steered centrally, but the different parts of the armed forces handled different questions independently. They would all report to the Führer who was a man with great understanding foe technical questions. There was only one man in Germany who knew all details about all navies; when the ships were built, how they were armed, etc.; and that man was Hitler.

May 25, 1944 Jodl's Diary:

All partisans captured in enemy uniform or civilian clothing or surrendering during combat are to be treated in principle as prisoners of war. The same applies to all persons encountered in the immediate fighting area who may be considered as supporting the partisans, even when no combat action can be proved against them. Partisans in German uniform, or in the uniform of an allied army, are to be shot after careful interrogation if captured in combat. Deserters, no matter how they are dressed are, on principle, to be well treated. The partisans must hear of this.

June 2, 1944: Allied shuttle bombing of Germany begins.

From Keitel's SBS interview:

Q: During 1943, did the Luftwaffe tell the German High Command that they could stop the bombing offensive?

Keitel: The OKW just took notice of it. The Führer would talk things over with the Supreme Commander of the Air Force. He would listen to the reasons and tell him to do this or that. Reichsmarschall Göring took up all these things with Hitler alone and asked him for his decisions without my knowing about it.

Q: Did the OKW consider Göring to be an able Supreme Commander of the Air Force?

Keitel: Göring was a man who deserves great credit for the building up of a powerful Air Force in the short time of 1935 to 1939. He had only a few of the old Air Force from World War I to start with. That is a tremendous achievement. Naturally, under the strong influence of the Führer, he managed to lead the Air Force in a superior way, as long as it was at least technically. It is just a tragedy that a sort of vacuum was created and a series of mistakes followed which did not lead to any success. Then, of course, the German nation, the army and the navy as well, had to suffer from that superiority of the Allied Air Force. Only an expert of the Air Force can speak about the relationships and the reasons which influenced in those days the wrong development or, better say, the inability to recognize the new ways in the technical field.

Q: Did you personally hold Göring responsible?

Keitel: Since he was the Supreme Commander of the Air Forces, he was responsible for it. From 1943 on, the Führer believed that he would have to personally take a very strong hand in the further development of the Air Force, which he did. Göring on the other hand believed that through Hitler's decisions, his own plan was being disturbed. The Führer maintained to the very end that he had to take a hand in affairs when they did not run the way they should have.

Q: When did you yourself become dissatisfied with the Air Force, and what did you do about it?

Keitel: About the same time that everybody else noticed it. After the beginning of the bombing attacks in the autumn of 1943. After the attack on Hamburg and the joint attacks which killed all the cultural monuments in Germany, it was quite obvious that there was no defense against it. The concentration of flak only meant that flak had to be withdrawn from some other place. We all had to admit that the Führer was right in demanding more and more flak back in the days when he argued with Todt. In that manner, he proved the predictions which we didn't take seriously enough. He was saying the only defense id flak and more flak, and this must be supplemented by extremely fast bombers that hit back with the same type of attack.

Q: Why was the leadership of the Air Force changed, when the Air Force demanded fast bombers and did not get them?

Keitel: That is very difficult to answer. There were trains of thought which the Führer would entirely keep to himself. We could not exercise any influence especially because it was well known that the Führer himself knew all the reasons very well and had discussed all these things with Göring alone. If somebody else than Goering had been the Supreme Commander of the Air Force, he would have taken a different attitude.

June 6, 1944 D-Day:

From Keitel's SBS interview:

Keitel: We did not know the exact date of the invasion. We could have guessed it by the study of the tides. If we had fully believed our radio intelligence interception, we would have even known the exact time of the invasion through the radio communications that you had with the French. ... The Allied Air Force has played the most decisive part in the battle of Normandy. It is my belief that the invasion succeeded only due to our inability to bring up our reserves at the proper time to bear pressure on the beach-heads. On June 6th, von Rundstedt asked me by telephone if I would give him full command of all the armored forces in the sector, which I gave him. Later on, I was reprimanded by Hitler for giving him this privilege. All our tank divisions were rather far back. Nobody can ever prove to me that we could not have repelled the invasion had not the superiority of the enemy air force in bombers and fighters made it impossible to throw these divisions in the fight; and then we had no bombers of our own with which we could have fought the landings.

Q: What should have been the role of the Luftwaffe?

Keitel: They should have kept away the enemy Air Force over the landing territory with their fighters, and with their bombers should have brought immediate pressure on the landings themselves. That did not succeed to a significant extent. Naturally, it is quite possible that the viewpoint of the Luftwaffe, those of Goering, Field Marshal Sperrle, and also the view of Field Marshal von Rundstedt do not coincide with mine.

From Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown: Having wakened from his drugged sleep, Hitler was informed of the landings. Admiral von Puttkamer and General Rudolf Schmundt, Hitler's Army adjutant, took a prepared situation map into his suite at the Berghof. The Führer, who was in his dressing gown, listened to the briefing and then sent for Keitel and Jodl. They declared that a full report from Rundstedt had not yet been received, but it was clear that a number of major landings had taken place between Cherbourg and Le Havre, and that more landings were either expected or were occurring. Jodl explained that he had countermanded Rundstedt's orders to the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) and Panzer Lehr divisions. Hitler approved and stated that, in his opinion, this might well be the opening of the invasion but that Allied intentions in Normandy were diversionary. He repeated this belief several times, and announced that any question of using the strategic reserves must await a clarification of the picture. Hitler issued several commands that morning. He ordered Jodl to issue the code word 'Junkroom,' the command to begin the V-1 bombardment of London, which meant little since the launch units were not ready to open fire.

June 6, 1944 D-Day: Hitler issues the following order:

Chief of Staff Western Command emphasizes the desire of the Supreme Command to have the enemy bridgehead annihilated by the evening of June 6 since there exists the danger of additional sea and air-borne landings for support... The beachhead must be cleaned up not later than tonight.

From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: In the eerie mountain air of the Obersalzberg, from which Hitler was now trying to direct the most crucial battle of the war up to this moment—he had been saying for months that Germany's destiny would be decided in the West—this fantastic order seems to have been issued in all seriousness, concurred in by Jodl and Keitel. Even Rommel, who passed it on by telephone shortly before 5 o'clock that afternoon, an hour after his return from Germany, seems to have taken it seriously.

June 6, 1944: German troops execute 96 prisoners by firing squad.

June 6, 1944: From notes of a meeting at the Führer's headquarters:

Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner informed the Deputy Chief of Operations Staff in Klessheim on the afternoon of the 6th of June that a conference on this question had been held shortly before by the Reich Marshal (Göring) the Reich Foreign Minister (Ribbentrop) and the Reichsführer SS (Himmler). Contrary to the original suggestion made by the Reich Foreign Minister, who wished to include every type of terror attack on the German civilian population, including bombing attacks on cities, it was agreed in the above conference that merely those attacks carried out with aircraft armament aimed directly at the civilian population and their property should be taken as the standard for the evidence of a criminal action in this sense. Lynch law would have to be the rule, there was no mention of trial by court-martial or handing over to the police...

The Deputy Chief of the WFS pointed out that, besides the lynch law, a procedure must be worked out for segregating such enemy aviators who are suspected of criminal action of this kind by sending them to the reception camp for aviators at Oberursel and, if the suspicion was confirmed, handing them over to the SD for special treatment.... At a conference with Colonel von Brauchitsch (Colonel of the Air Force) on the 6th of June, it was settled that the following actions are to be regarded as terror actions justifying lynch law: Low-level attacks with aircraft armament on the civilian population, single persons as well as crowds. Shooting in the air our own (German) men who had bailed out. Attacks with aircraft armament on passenger trains in the public service. Attacks with aircraft armament on military hospitals, hospitals, and hospital trains, which are clearly marked with the red cross." Additional note on document by Keitel: "Remarks by the Chief of the OKW on the agenda dated 6 June 1944. Most secret; Staff officers only. If one allows the people to carry out lynch law, it is difficult to enforce rules. Ministerial Director Berndt got out and shot the enemy aviator on the road. I am against legal procedure. It doesn't work out. Signed: Keitel

From Keitel's IMT testimony: There are some notes in handwriting made by Jodl and myself. That is the record of a report written by me in the margin which runs as follows: 'Courts-martial will not work'; at least that was the content. That was written at the time because the question of sentence by courts-martial came up for discussion since this very document laid down in detail for the first time what a terror-flier was, and because it stated that terror attacks were always attacks carried out from low-flying aircraft with machine guns. I was led to think that crews attacking in low-level flights could not, generally speaking, in 99 out of 100 cases be captured alive, if they crashed; for there is no possibility of saving oneself with a parachute from a low-level attack. Therefore, I wrote that remark in the margin.

Furthermore, I considered, apart from the fact that one could not conduct proceedings against such a flier, one would, secondly, not be able to conclude a satisfactory trial or a satisfactory investigation if an attack had been carried out from a considerable height, because no court, in my opinion, would be able to prove that such a man had had the intention of attacking those targets which possibly were hit. Finally, there was one last thought, which was that, in accordance with the rules, court-martial sentences against prisoners of war had to be communicated to the enemy state through the protecting power, and 3 months' grace had to be given during which the home state could object to the sentence. It was, therefore, out of the question that, through those channels the deterrent results desired could be achieved within a brief period. That was really what I meant. I also wrote another note, and this refers to lynch law. It states: "If you allow lynching at all, then you can hardly lay down rules for it." To that I cannot say very much, since my conviction is that there is no possibility of saying under what circumstances such a method could be regulated or considered justified by mob justice, and I am still of the opinion that rules cannot be laid down, if such proceedings are tolerated. ...

It was my point of view that it was a method completely impossible for us soldiers. One case had been reported by the Reich Marshal in which proceedings against a soldier who had stopped such action were suppressed. I know of no case where soldiers, with reference to their duty as soldiers, behaved towards a prisoner of war in any way other than that laid down in the general regulations. That is unknown to me. I should also like to state, and this has not been mentioned yet, that I had a discussion with Reich Marshal Goering at the Berghof about the whole question, and he, at that time, quite clearly agreed with me: We soldiers must reject lynch law under any circumstances. I requested him in this awkward position in which we found ourselves to approach Hitler once more personally, to persuade him not to compel us to give an order in these matters or to draft an order. That was the situation.

June 6, 1944: From a report signed by General Warlimont:

Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner informed the deputy chief of the Operations Staff in Klessheim on the afternoon of the 6th that a conference on this question had been held shortly before, between the Reich Marshal, the Reich Foreign Minister, and Reichsführer SS. Contrary to the original suggestion made by Ribbentrop, who wished to include every type of terror attack on the German civilian population, that is, also bombing attacks on cities, it was agreed at the above conference that only attacks carried out with aircraft armament should be considered as criminal actions in that sense.

June 10, 1944: On their way toward Normandy to combat D-Day invasion forces, troops of the armored SS Division 'Das Reich' slaughter 642 men, women and children in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France.

June 13, 1944: Germany launches the first V-1 flying-bomb on Britain.

June 19, 1944: From Göring to Colonel von Brauchitsch:

The population's reaction is, in any case, not in our hands; but, if possible, the population must be prevented from acting against other enemy fliers to whom the above state of affairs does not apply. In my opinion, a state of affairs as above can also at any time be tried by a court, as it is here a question of murders which the enemy has forbidden his fliers to commit.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: The fact that, starting from a certain date in the summer of 1944, machine-gun attacks from aircraft against the population as has already been mentioned here, increased considerably, with 30 to 40 dead on certain days, caused Hitler to demand categorically an adequate ruling on this question. We soldiers were of the opinion that existing regulations were sufficient, and that new regulations were unnecessary. The question of lynch law was dragged into the problem and the question of what was meant by the term terror-flier. These two groups of questions resulted in the very large quantity of documents which you all know, and which contain the text of the discussion on these subjects. ...

I merely wanted to state, first of all, that I had suggested, following the lines of the warning issued when German prisoners of war taken at Dieppe were shackled, that a warning should be issued here, too, in the form of a similar official note, saying that we should make reprisals unless the enemy commanders stopped the practice of their own accord. That was turned down as not being a suitable course of action.

June 25, 1944: OKW's reply to the inquiry from the Supreme Command West, signed by Keitel, initialed by Warlimont and Jodl: Subject: Treatment of commando participants.

1. Even after the landing of Anglo-Americans in France, the order of the Führer on the annihilation of terror and sabotage units of 18 October 1942 remains fully in force. Enemy soldiers in uniform in the immediate combat area of the bridgehead, that is, in the area of the divisions fighting in the most forward lines, as well as of the reserves up to the corps commands, according to Number 5 of the basic order of 18 October 1942, remain exempted.

2. All members of terror and sabotage units, found outside the immediate combat area, who include fundamentally all parachutists, are to be killed in combat. In special cases, they are to be turned over to the SD.

3. All troops committed outside the combat area of Normandy are to be informed about the duty to destroy enemy terror and sabotage units briefly and succinctly, according to the directives issued for it.

4. Supreme Commander West will report immediately daily how many saboteurs have been liquidated in this manner. This applies especially also to undertakings by the military commanders. The number is to be published daily in the Armed Forces communiqué to exercise a frightening effect, as had already been done toward previous commando undertakings in the same manner.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: It is true that the Commander-in-Chief West, after the landing of Anglo-American forces in Northern France, considered that a new situation had arisen with reference to this Führer Order of 18 October 1942 directed against the parachute Commandos. The inquiry was, as usual, reported, and General Jodl and I represented the view of the Commander-in-Chief West, namely, that this order was not applicable here. Hitler refused to accept that point of view and gave certain directives in reply, which, according to the document, had at least two editions; after one had been cancelled as useless, the Document 551-PS remained as the final version as approved by the Fuehrer during that report. I remember all this so accurately because, on the occasion of presenting that reply during the discussion of the situation, this handwritten appendix was added by General Jodl with reference to the application in the Italian theatre, too. With that appendix, this version, which was approved and demanded by Hitler, was then sent out to the Commander-in-Chief West. ...

I am of the opinion that, giving any assistance to agents or other enemy organs in such sabotage acts, is a violation of the Hague Rules for Land Warfare. If the population takes part in, aids, or supports such action, or covers the perpetrators—hides them or helps them in any way or in any form—that, in my opinion, is clearly expressed in the Hague Rules for Land Warfare, namely that the population must not commit such actions.

June 27, 1944 Stalin to Churchill:

If the scale of military operations in Northern France is becoming increasingly powerful and dangerous for Hitler, the successful development of the Allies' offensive in Italy is also worthy of every attention and applause. We wish you new successes. Concerning our offensive, it can be said that we shall not give the Germans a breathing-space, but shall continue to widen the front of our offensive operations by increasing the strength of our onslaught against the German armies. You will of course agree with me that this is indispensable for our common cause. As regards the Hitlerite flying bombs, this expedient, it is clear, can have no serious importance either for operations in Normandy, or for the population of London, whose bravery is known to all.

July 5, 1944: Concerning a Hitler decree:

According to press reports, the Anglo-Americans intend in the future to attack from the air small places, too, which are of no importance militarily or to the war economy, as a retaliatory measure against the 'V-1'. Should this news prove true, the Führer wishes it to be made known through the radio and the press that any enemy airman who takes part in such an attack and is shot down will not be entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war, but, as soon as he falls into German hands, will be treated as a murderer and killed. This measure is to apply to all attacks on small places which are not military targets, communications centers, armament targets, and the like, and therefore, are not of importance to the conduct of war. At the moment nothing is to be ordered; the only thing to be done is to discuss such a measure with the Wi. Ru and the Foreign Office.

July 10, 1944: Field Marshal Smuts to Churchill:

In view of the spectacular Russian advance, and of the capture of Caen, which forms a welcome pendant, the Germans cannot, as things are now developing, face both fronts. They will soon have to decide whether to throw their main weight against the attack from the east or that from the west. Knowing what to expect from a Russian invasion, it is likely that they will decide on concentrating on the Russian front. This will help to ease our task in the west. Having broken through at Caen, it is essential that we should maintain the initiative and offensive without pause, and advance to the rear of the German flying bomb bases as soon as possible...I continue to hope that in the end your strategy will again prove successful, backed as it is by every sound military as well as political consideration.

July 12, 1944: From an account of a meeting in Berlin:

The Representative of the Chief of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recently issued Führer order, according to which all German forces had to participate in the task of raising manpower. Wherever the Wehrmacht was stationed, if it was not employed exclusively in pressing military duties (as, for example, in the construction of coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not be assigned expressly for the purpose of the GBA. General Warlimont made the following practical suggestions:

a) The troops employed in fighting the partisans are to take over, in addition, the task of raising manpower in the partisan areas. Everyone who cannot give a satisfactory reason for his presence in these areas is to be recruited by force.

b) When large cities are wholly or partly evacuated on account of the difficulty of providing food, those members of the population suitable for labor are to be utilized for labor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht.

c) The refugees from the areas near the front should be rounded up with special vigor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht. ...Gauleiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and expressed the expectation that a certain amount of success could be achieved by this means.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I am not aware that the Armed Forces have ever received an order mentioning the rounding-up of workers. I would like to say that I know of no such demand and I have not found any confirmation of it. The conference as such is unknown to me and so are the proposals you mentioned. It is new as far as I am concerned. ...But as far as I know it has never happened. I do not know that such an order was given. According to the record, this is a proposal made by General Warlimont, yes. ...I do not recollect that any order was given in this connection. I gather from the statement by Warlimont that discussions took place.

July 20, 1944: Keitel is among the officers present in the conference hut when Stauffenberg's time-bomb explodes. His first thought on this pivotal afternoon is to rescue Hitler. He then wages a ceaseless teletype campaign against the conspirators to rally all the military bases throughout the Reich. Despite the fact that Hitler is leading Germany towards total destruction, Keitel can never bring himself to understand Stauffenberg's action, which he considers to be perfidy of the worst kind.

July 23, 1944: Majdanek is liberated.

July 27, 1944: From a memo Subject: Delivery of prisoners of war to the secret state police:

1. a. According to the decrees 2 and 3, the commander of the camp has to deliver Soviet prisoners of war in case of punishable offenses to the secret state police and to dismiss them from imprisonment of war, if he does not believe that his disciplinary functions suffice to prescribe punishment for violations committed. Report of the facts is not necessary.

b. Recaptured Soviet prisoners of war have to be delivered first to the nearest police office in order to ascertain whether punishable offenses have been committed during the escape. The dismissal from imprisonment of war takes place upon suggestion of the police office, Section A 6 of the decree referred to in No. 4 regarding the contraction of all regulations on the Arbeitseinsatz (Labor Deployment) prisoners of war who have been recaptured and refuse to work.

c. Recaptured Soviet officers who are prisoners of war, have to be delivered to the Gestapo and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C 1 of the decree referred to under 4 and under 5).

d. Soviet officer prisoners of war, who refuse to work and those who distinguish themselves as agitators and have an unfavorable influence upon the willingness to work of the other prisoners of war have to be delivered by the responsible Stalag to the nearest state police office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C 1 of the decree referred to under 4 and 5).

e. Soviet enlisted prisoners of war, refusing to work who are ringleaders and those who distinguish themselves as agitators and therefore have an unfavorable influence upon the willingness to work of the other prisoners of war, have to be delivered to the nearest state police office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Section C 2 of the decree, referred to in 4).

f. Soviet prisoners of war (enlisted men and officers), who with respect to their political attitude have been sifted out by the special purpose command [Einsatzkommando] of the security police and the security service, have to be delivered upon request by the camp commander to the special purpose command and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. (Decree referred to in 6).

g. Polish prisoners of war have to be delivered if acts of sabotage are proven, to the nearest state police office and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war. The decision rests with the camp commander. Report of the deed is not necessary. (Decree referred to under 7).

2. A report on the delivery and dismissal from imprisonment of war in the cases mentioned under #1 of this decree, to the Mil. District Command VI, dept of prisoners of war, is not necessary.

3. Prisoners of war from all nations have to be delivered to the secret state police and to be dismissed from imprisonment of war, if a special order of the OKW or of the Mil. District Command VI, department for Prisoners of War, is issued.

4. Prisoners of war under suspicion of participating in illegal organizations and resistance movements have to be left upon request to the Gestapo for the purpose of interrogation. They remain prisoners of war and have to be treated as such.

The delivery to the Gestapo and their dismissal from imprisonment of war has to take place only by order of the OKW or of the Mil. District Command VI, department of prisoners of war. In case of French and Belgian prisoners of war and interned Italian military personnel, approval of Mil. District command VI, dept of prisoners of war, has to be obtained—if necessary by phone—before delivery to the Gestapo for the purposes of interrogation.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: This is a captured order from the Wehrkreiskommando (Military District Command) VI, at Munster, dated 27 July 1944, in other words, the summer of 1944. It deals with escaped prisoners of war and how they are to be dealt with. It says 'Reference,' and then it quotes seven different orders from the year 1942 up to the beginning of July 1944. This order deals with the question of escaped prisoners of war and ought to have been incorporated in this document, if the military office of Wehrkreis (Military District) VI had had such an OKW order. That fact is remarkable, and it led me to the conclusion that there never was a written order and that the military authorities in question never received such an order at all. I cannot say more about it since I cannot prove it.

July 30, 1944: From an order issued by Keitel:

Subject: Treatment of members of foreign 'Military Missions' captured together with partisans. In the areas of the High Command Southeast and Southwest, members of foreign so-called 'Military Missions'—Anglo-American as well as Soviet-Russian—captured in the course of the struggle against partisans shall not receive the treatment as specified in the special orders regarding the treatment of captured partisans. Therefore they are not to be treated as prisoners of war but in conformity with the Führer's order concerning the annihilation of terror and sabotage troops of 18 October 1942. This order shall not be transmitted to units subordinate to the corps commands and the equivalent staffs of the other branches of the Armed Forces, and is to be destroyed after being made known. The Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, Keitel.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: It had been reported that, attached to the staffs of these partisans, particularly those of the leaders of the Serbian and Yugoslav partisans, there were military missions which, we believed, were certainly individual agents or teams for maintaining liaison with the states with which we were at war. It had been reported to me, and I had been asked what should be done if such a mission, as it was called, were captured. When this was reported to the Fuehrer he decided to reject the suggestions of the military authority concerned, namely, to treat them as prisoners of war, since, according to the directive of 18 October 1942, they were to be considered as saboteurs and treated as such. This document is, therefore, the transmission of this order which bears my signature.

August 17, 1944: From a directive of the OKW:

Subject: Treatment of War Prisoners—Increase in Production. The measures taken until now with regard to the treatment of war prisoners and the increasing of their production have not given the hoped-for results. The offices of the Party and those of economy continually complain of the poor labor output of all the war prisoners. The object of this circular is to make known the directives for prisoners of war made in agreement with all interested offices of the Party and State. Accordingly all guard companies and their auxiliaries are to be given detailed instructions.

I. Collaboration with the Hoheitsträger of the NSDAP. The cooperation of all officers in charge of war prisoners with the Hoheitsträger (Public Authorities) of the Party must be intensified to an even greater extent.

To this end the commanders of the prisoners-of-war camps shall immediately detail, for all the Kreise (District) in their command, an energetic officer acquainted with all questions concerning prisoners of war, to act as liaison officer to the Kreisleiter (County Leader). This officer shall have the duty of settling in closest collaboration with the Kreisleiter, according to the instructions of the camp commander, all questions concerning prisoners of war which. might be of public interest.

The aim of this collaboration must be:

(a) To increase the labor output of war prisoners;

(b) to solve all arising difficulties quickly and on the spot; to organize the employment of war prisoners in the Kreise in such a way that it meets with the political, military, and economic requirements. The Chancellery of the Party will give the necessary orders to the Gauleiter and the Kreisleiter.

2. Treatment of prisoners of war. The treatment of prisoners of war shall be dictated, within limits compatible with security, by the sole purpose of increasing the labor output to the utmost extent. In addition to just treatment, providing the prisoners with the food due them according to stipulations, and with proper billets, supervision of the labor output is necessary to achieve this highest possible production. Available means must be employed with extreme rigor as regards lazy and rebellious prisoners.

August 19, 1944: From a suicide letter addressed to Adolf Hitler from Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge:

When you receive these lines I shall be no more. I cannot bear the reproach that I have sealed the fate of the West through faulty measures, and I have no means of defending myself. I draw a conclusion from that and am dispatching myself where already thousands of my comrades are. I have never feared death. Life has no more meaning for me, and I also figure on the list of war criminals who are to be delivered up. Our applications were not dictated by pessimism but by sober knowledge of the facts. I do not know if Field-Marshal Model, who has been proved in every sphere, will still master the situation. From my heart I hope so. Should it not be so, however, and your cherished new weapons not succeed, then, my Fuehrer, make up your mind to end the war. The German people have borne such untold suffering that it is time to put an end to this frightfulness. There must be ways to attain this end, and above all to prevent the Reich from falling under the Bolshevist heel.

August 21, 1944: Allied representatives meet at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington to discuss plans for postwar security. American, British, Soviet, and Chinese representatives lay the basis for future discussions leading to the foundation of the United Nations. Meetings will continue until October. Edward Stettinius, Jr., leads the American delegation.

September 1944: The Military Service Law is changed to allow active-duty soldiers to also become members of the Party.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: In the late summer or autumn of 1944 the Military Service Law was changed so that active soldiers could also be Party members. At that time I was invited to submit personal data for the Party in order to be listed as a member of the Party. At the same time I was asked to send in a donation of money to the Party. I submitted personal data to Party headquarters and also sent in a donation, but as far as I know I never became a member. I never received a membership card... Owing to my position and to the fact that I accompanied the Führer constantly, I participated at public functions of the Party several times, for example, at the Party rallies in Nuremberg, also each year when the Winter Relief Work campaign was launched. Finally, according to orders, each year on the 9th of November, I had to attend, together with a representative of the Party a memorial service at the graves of the victims of 9 November 1923. It took place symbolically in memory of the fight on 9 November, between the Party and the Wehrmacht. I never participated in internal conferences or meetings of the Party directorate. The Fuehrer had let me know that he did not want this. Thus, for example, every year on 9 November I was in Munich, but never participated in the gatherings of the so-called Hoheitsträger of the Party.

From Keitel's IMT cross-examination:

Rudenko: You stated here that in 1944, after the law had been amended, you received an offer to join the Nazi Party. You accepted this offer, presented your personal credentials to the leadership of the Party, and paid your membership fees. Tell us, did not your acceptance to join the membership of the Nazi Party signify that you were in agreement with the program, objectives, and methods of the Party?

Keitel: As I had already been in possession of the Golden Party Badge for three or four years, I thought that this request for my personal particulars was only a formal registration; and I paid the required Party membership subscription. I did both these things and have admitted doing them.

Rudenko: In other words, before this formal offer was ever made, you already, de facto, considered yourself a member of the Nazi Party?

Keitel: I have always thought of myself as a soldier; not as a political soldier or politician.

Rudenko: Should we not conclude, after all that has been said here, that you were a Hitler General, not because duty called you but on account of your own convictions?

Keitel: I have stated here that I was a loyal and obedient soldier of my Führer. And I do not think that there are generals in Russia who do not give Marshal Stalin implicit obedience.

September 4, 1944: From an order issued by Keital in agreement with Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, the Reich Minister of Justice and Dr. Lammers:

Non-German civilians in occupied territories who have been sentenced by German courts for a criminal act against the security or tactical preparedness of the occupying power, the sentence having become final, and who are in custody in the occupied territories or in the home front area, are to be handed over, together with a report on the facts, to the nearest local Security Police and SD office. An exception is made only in the case of those sentenced to death for whom the execution of the penalty has been ordered...

II. Persons convicted of criminal acts against the Reich or the occupying power and prohibited, in accordance with the directives ... issued by the Führer for the prosecution of such acts, from intercourse with the outside world, are to be given a distinguishing mark.

From Keitel's IMT testimony: I cannot say anything about that. I know only that it was made necessary by the increasing tension in the occupied territories, due to lack of troops to keep order.

September 15, 1944: A US Colonel in the War Department's Special Project Branch, Murray Bernays, proposes part of the framework that will be used in Nuremburg; that of treating the Nazi regime as a criminal conspiracy.

September 15, 1944: At the Quebec summit conference between Roosevelt and Churchill, the Treasury Plan for the Treatment of Germany, known as the Morgenthau Plan, is adopted. Its three main points are:

1) Germany is to be partitioned into two independent states.

2) Germany's main centers of mining and industry, including the Saar area, the Ruhr area and Upper Silesia are to be Internationalized or annexed by neighboring nations.

3) All heavy industry is to be dismantled or otherwise destroyed.

Note: The Morgenthau Plan, along with the Allied policy of Unconditional Surrender, will fuel Nazi propaganda. Opposition among some Allies to the plan, as well as Cold War realities, will ultimately cause most of its provisions to be ignored.

September 30, 1944 Stalin to Churchill:

I share your conviction that firm agreement between the three leading powers constitutes a true guarantee of future peace and answers to the best hopes of all peace-loving peoples. The continuation of our governments in such a policy in the postwar period as we have achieved during this great war will, it seems to me, have a decisive influence. Of course, I have a great desire to meet with you and the President. I attach great importance to it from the point of view of the interests in our common business. But, as far as I am concerned, I must make one reservation. The doctors advise me not to undertake long journeys. For a certain period I must take account of this. I warmly welcome your wish to come to Moscow in October. We shall have to consider military and other questions, which are of great importance.

October 9, 1944: Churchill arrives in Moscow. Soon, he and Stalin are discussing spheres of influence in the Balkans. Churchill’s account:

The moment was apt for business, so I said, "Let us settle our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don’t let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?" While this was being translated I wrote out on half a sheet of paper: Rumania Russia 90% The others 10% Greece Great Britain 90% (in accord with USA) Russia 10% Yugoslavia 50-50% Hungary 50-50% Bulgaria Russia 75% The others 25% I pushed this across to Stalin, who had by then heard the translation. There was a slight pause. Then he took his blue pencil and made a large tick upon it, and passed it back to us. It was all settled in no more time than it takes to sit down… After this there was a long silence. The penciled paper lay in the center of the table. At length I said, "Might it not be thought rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues, so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper." "No, you keep it," said Stalin.

October 12, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes: Hitler takes Speer aside at the daily situation conference. He confides that he is planning a decisive move; a great, surprise offensive in the West utilizing all available forces. 'For that you must organize a special corps of German construction workers, one sufficiently motorized to be able to carry out all types of bridge building even if rail transportation should be halted. Stick to the organizational forms that proved their value in the western campaign of 1940,' Hitler continues: 'Everything else must be put aside for the sake of this. No matter what the consequences. This will be the great blow which must succeed. (Speer)

October 15, 1944: Horthy announces that Hungary has signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. However, the Hungarian army ignores the armistice.

October 22, 1944 Churchill to FDR:

Major War Criminals. UJ (Note: Churchill and FDR refer to Josef Stalin as Uncle Joe, or UJ, in their correspondence. -W) took an unexpectedly ultra-respectable line. There must be no executions without trial otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law but he replied if there were no trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements.

October 22, 1944 FDR to Churchill:

...Your statement of the present attitude of Uncle J. towards war criminals, the future of Germany, and the Montreux Convention is most interesting. We should discuss these matters, together with our Pacific war effort, at the forthcoming three-party meeting...

November 28, 1944: Himmler orders the gas chambers at Auschwitz destroyed.

December 16, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes: Hitler's big gamble in the West, the Battle of the Bulge, gets underway in Belgium and Luxembourg.

From Keitel's SBS interview:

Keitel: The time of the Ardennes offensive was so chosen that we could expect a series of days during which the Anglo-American Air Force was unable to play a decisive part. We were clear in our minds tat an offensive was entirely impossible in those days if the enemy fighter-bombers and the rest of the Air Force were permitted to bear full pressure. Our Air Force had a large reserve of fighter aircraft piled up, but these were hampered through unfavorable weather conditions as well... The place and the general direction of the attack all originated in the head of the Führer. Through the Army, and the mobilization of the Volkssturn Divisions in the rear, and through the calling in of the best reserves, he took care of assembling this offensive strength.

Q: Do you believe today that it was a mistake?

Keitel: If we wanted to do it at all, this is the only time to go through with it. Purely from the soldier's point of view, I say that the reason the success was so limited was due to the insufficient training of the troops, who were not at all trained for this type of warfare. But something had to be done to prevent the threat of a break-through from Aachen in the direction of Cologne. I believe I belong to the school which thought that this break-through could not have been stopped by throwing in more new divisions around Aachen, where you were extremely strong, and our men were plainly being slaughtered. It is no use to get your troops killed and still retreat mile by mile. I am sure in the terms of the military situation in the Aachen sector, it was high time something should happen. We completely succeeded in surprising the allied troops both strategically and operationally. The offensive did not succeed because among other reasons the leadership of armored troops was not in competent hands. It is probably the responsibility of the OKW that the question of leadership was not being given proper weight. Good technical equipment and good will alone can't make it. That is a lesson and not a blame. And to that I would like to add that if I had had more influence on that, the leadership would have been different. That was the wish and the command of the Fuehrer, which in the long last we obeyed.

From Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth by Gitta Sereny: (Albert) Speer's fifty-nine page profile of Hitler, written when he was in custody at Eisenhower's HQ near Frankfurt in 1945, remains, I think, one of the most authoritative analyses that has been done of Hitler. 'One thing is certain,' he says there. 'All those who worked closely with him were to an extraordinary degree dependent on and servile to him. However powerful they appeared in their domain, in his proximity they became small and timid.' This effect Hitler had on the people around him would preoccupy Speer for the rest of his life. He wrote in the Nuremberg draft: 'In the autumn of 1943, after a visit to Führer HQ, Doenitz and I once discussed this hypnotic quality of his. And we realized that both of us had reduced our attendance at Führer HQ to once every few weeks for the same reason; to maintain our inner independence. Both of us were certain that we could no longer function properly if, like Keitel for example, we were continuously near him. We were sorry for Keitel who was so much under his influence that he was finally nothing but his tool, without any will of his own...' ...

Paradoxically, in the matter of daily or marginal decisions, he wrote, Hitler was immensely subject to influence from people who understood how to handle him. He wrote of this in 'Inside the Third Reich,' but more fully in the 'Spandau draft': 'He had one extraordinary deficiency, if one can call it that. He himself was not really manipulative, not in the accepted sense of the term. After all, he totally dominated his environment—he did not need to manipulate; he ordered. Thus, though he was certainly suspicious of others, he had no understanding of, no feeling for the game of manipulation, indeed no suspicion that anyone could slowly, steadily work on him and manipulate him so cunningly that he would finally be convinced that he, and he alone, had changed a long-held opinion. Goering, Goebbels, Bormann and up to a point Himmler, too, were masters at this game. It was Hitler's lack of awareness of this kind of subtle deception that helped these men to obtain and maintain their position of power'... ... I asked if, particularly in the last months of 1941, the generals he had now begun to hobnob with told him what was happening in the Eastern theater of war, and what they were ordered to do. 'Never,' he said, repeating what he had said many times before. 'Nobody ever told me anything. They would not have dared. I was too close to Hitler.'

December 17, 1944: From a report related to the murder of 129 American prisoners of war which was perpetrated by the German Army in a field in the southwest, and west of Baignes in Belgium:

The artillery and machine gun fire on the column of American vehicles continued for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then two German tanks and some armored cars came down the road from the direction of Weismes. Upon reaching the intersection, these vehicles turned south on the road toward St. Vith. The tanks directed machine gun fire into the ditch along the side of the road in which the American soldiers were crouching; and upon seeing this, the other American soldiers dropped their weapons and raised their hands over their heads. The surrendered American soldiers were then made to march back to the crossroad, and as they passed by some of the German vehicles on highway N-23, German soldiers on these vehicles took from the American prisoners of war such personal belongings as wrist watches, rings, and gloves. The American soldiers were then assembled on the St. Vith road in front of a house standing on the southwest corner of the crossroad.

Other German soldiers, in tanks and armored cars, halted at the crossroad and also searched some of the captured Americans and took valuables from them. ...an American prisoner was questioned and taken with his other comrades to the crossroads just referred to...at about this same time a German light tank attempted to maneuver itself into position on the road so that its cannon would be directed at the group of American prisoners gathered in the field approximately 20 to 25 yards from the road…some of these tanks stopped when they came opposite the field in which the unarmed American prisoners were standing in a group, with their hands up or clasped behind their heads.

A German soldier, either an officer or a noncommissioned officer, in one of these vehicles which had stopped, got up, drew his revolver, took deliberate aim and fired into the group of American prisoners. One of the American soldiers fell. This was repeated a second time and another American soldier in the group fell to the ground. At about the same time, from two of the vehicles on the road, fire was opened on the group of American prisoners in the field. All, or most, of the American soldiers dropped to the ground and stayed there while the firing continued, for 2 or 3 minutes. Most of the soldiers in the field were hit by this machine gun fire.

The German vehicles then moved off toward the south and were followed by more vehicles which also came from the direction of Weismes. As these latter vehicles came opposite the field in which the American soldiers were lying, they also fired with small arms from the moving vehicles at the prostrate bodies in the field … some German soldiers, evidently from the group of those who were on guard at the crossroad, then walked to the group of the wounded American prisoners who were still lying on the ground in the field ... and shot with pistol or rifle, or clubbed with a rifle butt or other heavy object, any of the American soldiers who still showed any sign of life. In some instances, American prisoners were evidently shot at close range, squarely between the eyes, in the temple, or the back of the head.

December 29, 1944 Battle of Budapest: The Red Army completes the encirclement of Budapest.
[Next: Part Three, Click Here.]
[Part Four, 1/4/1944-10/20/12946.] [Part Three, 6/22/1941-12/29/1944.] [Part Two, 9/1/1939-6/21/1941.] [Part One, 9/22/1892-9/1/1939.] Twitter: @3rdReichStudies E-MAIL

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