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:
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.
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 This order was later on rescinded.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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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]
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.'
[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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