From Churchill's Deception by Louis C. Kilzer: Hitler arranged for the surrender to take place at Compiègne, the exact spot where the Germans had surrendered to the Allies in 1918. On a monument erected to commemorate that occasion, the Allies had emblazoned these words: "Here on the eleventh of November 1918 succumbed the criminal pride of the German empire …" Twenty-two years later, Adolf Hitler would erase those words . . . .
It was Hitler's turn to dictate peace. In some respects that diktat was to prove soft, better than the one Germany had received. Germany would occupy northern and far-western France, territory it needed to control, in order to further the fight against England if England still chose to fight. In the remaining territory, France would retain its sovereignty and, to Mussolini's dismay, its colonies. France would also retain its fleet, the one French instrument of war that most concerned the British. Marshal Henri Phillippe Pètain replaced Reynaud, and the locus of unoccupied France became Vichy, not Paris.
Hitler did not give these terms because he had any great respect for the French. He gave them to impress the British with his reasonableness. If he made such terms with a country he occupied, the British should know he would make even better terms for them. "The British," Hitler told Jodl, "have lost the war, but they don't know it. One must give them time, and they will come round." Hitler ordered the monument at Compiègne dynamited by German troops, allowing only the statue of Foch to remain, a symbol of the Führer's respect.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I never heard a single word about the Weygand case. I heard only one thing when Himmler reported to the Führer in my presence: "I have given Weygand a very nice villa in Baden. He is completely provided for there, in such a way that he can be satisfied." That is the only thing I ever heard in which the name of Weygand figured.June 30, 1940: From a document signed by Jodl:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: This proposal, which actually is only a compilation of notes, proves three things: First of all, that on 30 June 1940 I did not know of any intention or of the possibility of entering into a war with Russia, otherwise I would not have written: "Germany's final victory over England is only a question of time."
Secondly, I admit having voiced a thought that was later carried into practice with such perfection by the Anglo-American Air Force.
Thirdly, this thought came to me only after the attack on the civilian population had been started and continued by the English Air Force, despite months of efforts and repeated warnings on the part of the Führer.
It is a historical fact, confirmed by many documents, that the Führer tried to the utmost to avoid this form of aerial war against the population. But it was already clear at that time, that he would not be able to succeed . . . .
Not only do I still affirm that [I am an honorable soldier and a truthful man], but I also think that the submission of these documents has actually, and quite specifically, proved it.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I cannot make a statement on what other people thought. I can only talk about serious intentions in connection with Spain in 1940. That I can talk about. But as far as this paper [a document handed to Jodl in court, but not to be found today in the record] is concerned, I can say nothing about it. For at the time I had long ago dismissed the thing as impossible. I know of it only since I have been in Nuremberg; I never saw it before. As I have just said, it is some preliminary work carried out by the younger General Staff officers, which I saw here in the document room for the first time, with great interest and some amusement. It was not shown to me at the time, because it could already be seen that in a week's time the situation would change.July 19, 1940: Jodl is promoted to General of Artillery.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: If the Prosecution mean that as a so-called political soldier I was promoted especially quickly, they are mistaken. I became a general in my fiftieth year. That is quite normal. In July 1940, when I was appointed general of Artillery, it is true I skipped the grade of lieutenant general, but that was only an accident. A much younger general in the Air Force, Jeschonnek, Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe, was to be promoted to Air Chief Marshal. Then Schmundt said to the Führer: "Jodl could perhaps do that too." Thereupon, shortly before the Reichstag session, the Führer decided to promote me also-to general of Artillery. This Jeschonnek, who is much younger than I am, became Generaloberst much sooner than I. Zeitzler, who was formerly my subordinate, became Generaloberst at the same time as I did.July 29, 1940: Jodl holds a secret meeting with top level military officers in the OKW's command train, the Atlas. From an account by General Walter Warlimont:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: For the first time, on 29 July 1940, at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden [I first heard of the Führer's fears that Russia might prove hostile to us]. The Führer kept me back alone after a discussion on the situation, and said to me, most unexpectedly, that he was worried that Russia might occupy still more territory in Romania before the winter, and that the Romanian oil region, which was the conditio sine qua non for our war strategy, would thus be taken from us. He asked me whether we could not deploy our troops immediately, so that we would be ready by autumn to oppose with strong forces any such Russian intention. These are almost the exact words which he used, and all other versions are false . . . .
It was precisely on the basis of this conversation—when I protested that it was quite impossible to carry out a troop deployment at that time for it would take 4 months—that the Führer ordered that these deployment arrangements were to be improved. Two orders were then issued immediately. One, I believe, is of 9 August. It was called "Reconstruction East" and included all measures to improve the deployment arrangements in the eastern area. The second order was issued on 27 August. We do not have it here, but it has been recorded in the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: At first it was 10 divisions [that we had in the East], which in the course of the Western campaign were reduced to 6 or 5 divisions. The notification from the commander in the East that, with such weak forces, he could neither keep Poland quiet nor guard the demarcation line [is what prompted us to send troops to the East after the Western campaign]. This entry is a proof of the Führer's intentions at that time with regard to this reinforcement in the East . . . . The first order for deliberation concerning an attack, or for the discussion of any aggressive operation at all, was issued in writing by the Armed Forces Operations Staff and submitted to the Fuehrer on 12 November.September 3, 1940: Friedrich Paulus becomes Chief Quartermaster I to the High Command of the Army.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The reason [for this order] was a dispatch from Canaris reporting the concentration of 30 Russian divisions against Bessarabia. Whether the [May 24] note [Situation in the East becomes precarious due to the Russian menace against Bessarabia] expressing anxiety originated with me, or whether it was an idea of the Führer's which I jotted down, I can no longer say today . . . .
This order signed by me [above] was interpreted as the first attempt to conceal the impending attack on Russia. I issued instructions such as these to Canaris’ office every 6 weeks. They formed the basis for the so-called counterespionage work, which I do not wish to discuss in detail here. In this case, what matters to me was that the weak forces which we kept in the East at this time should be made to appear actually stronger. That, for instance, can be clearly seen from Paragraph 3 that says, and I quote: "In statements on the equipment situation of the forces, especially of the armored divisions, it is advisable to exaggerate if necessary."
I also pointed out in the next paragraph that antiaircraft defenses should be exaggerated. All this was done because at that time anxiety had already arisen that possibly a Russian operation against Romania might develop. The purpose of this order was to deter them from that, and it was intended for the intelligence only. If, on 6 September, I had already known of any aggressive intention against Russia, I would have said exactly the contrary; for with this order, as I had issued it, I would have been working in the interests of Gisevius and his friends--namely, I would have been informing the Russians that we were beginning to deploy our troops.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: But this first order, which is known to me, had to be preceded by oral instructions from the Führer to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. I am not in a position to say, however, when these oral instructions had been given to the Army . . . . In my presence the Führer never even hinted at any other reason than a purely strategic and operational one. For months on end, one might say, he incessantly repeated:
"No further doubt is possible. England is hoping for this final sword-thrust against us on the continent, else she would have stopped the war after Dunkirk. Private or secret agreements have certainly already been made. The Russian deployment is unmistakable. One day we shall suddenly become the victim of cold-blooded political extortion, or we shall be attacked."
But otherwise, though one might talk about it for weeks on end, no word was mentioned to me of any other than purely strategic reasons of this kind.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Italy was beaten, as usual, and sent the Chief of the Operational Staff of the Supreme Command to me, crying for help. But in spite of this calamity, the Fuehrer did not intervene in the war in Albania. He did not send a single German soldier there, although the matter had been under consideration. He ordered only an operation against Greece, starting from Bulgaria, to be prepared for the following spring. Even that was for the primary purpose of occupying the Salonika Basin, thereby giving direct relief to the Italians and only in the event, which to be sure was feared, of English divisions now landing in the Balkans as the result of Italy's madness. In that case it was decided to consider the whole of Greece as an operational area, since we could not possibly tolerate a Royal Air Force base in the immediate vicinity of the Romanian oil fields. And this contingency is shown very clearly in the order which has been submitted to the Tribunal . . . . I should like to quote two passages, two very brief passages from it ... it says:
"'Operation Marital' My plan therefore is"—I am quoting—". . . to send these forces straight through Bulgaria, for the occupation of the north Aegean coast and, if necessary, the entire mainland of Greece." I then quote ... : "The primary objective of the operation is the occupation of the Aegean coast and the Salonika Basin. The continuation of the attack by way of Larissa and the Isthmus of Corinth may prove necessary." It is quite obvious from these conditional orders that the occupation of the whole of Greece was intended only if we should be forced to take this measure by the landing of English troops, which at that time was not yet the case.
From the IMT testimony of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus: We [the office of the Chief of Stall] received the orders about military measures from the High Command of the Wehrmacht. Such was the Directive Number 21. I thought that those people held responsibility were the first military advisers of Hitler in the High Command of the Wehrmacht. As far as I can remember, Hitler signed that; and Keitel and Jodl initialed it. At any rate, most of the directives [were signed by Hitler], unless they were signed by other people in his name. [The office of the Chief of Stall] had to relegate the orders which were given it by the Supreme Command to the proper departments . . . .
I can only say, from my personal experience, and my own opinion as I look back now, following the entire development, that there was a clear plan from the beginning, the conception of that plan on 3 September 1940, then the directive of 21 December, and then its execution. Just at which precisely measurable date the decision was taken, I do not know, of course.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I believe it must have been during the first half of December that the orders were issued, the well known order Barbarossa. To be precise, these orders were given at the beginning of December, namely, the orders to work out the strategic plan . . . . I knew nothing about the conference in Zossen, and I think General Buschenhagen was also there, according to the statements he has made here. I did not know anything about the Finnish General Heinrichs' presence in Zossen and have heard about it for the first time here. The only way I can explain this is that the General Staff of the Army wanted to get information, or other things, and that for that purpose they discussed that with the persons concerned. I did not meet General Heinrichs until May 1941. At that time I had a conference with him and General Jodl at Salzburg. Before that I had never seen him and I had never talked to him . . . .
Yes, there was considerable significance attached to [the fact that Hitler would order the actual deployment of the troops 8 weeks before the operational plan would become effective]. I have been interrogated about that by the Soviet delegation here. The reason was that according to the calculations of the Army, it would take about eight weeks to get these troops, which were to be transported by rail, into position; that is to say, if troops from Reich territory were to be placed in position on an operative starting line. Hitler emphasized, when the repeated revisions of the plan were made, that he wanted to have complete control of such deployment. In other words, troop movements without his approval were not to be made. That was the purpose of this instruction.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: He [Hitler] attempted to [clear up the political situation by diplomatic means] by the well-known conference with Molotov; and I must say that I placed great hopes on this conference. The military situation for us soldiers was as follows: With a definitely neutral Russia in our rear—a Russia which in addition sent us supplies—we could not lose the war. An invasion, such as took place on 6 June 1944, would have been entirely out of the question if we had had at our disposal all the forces we had used and lost in this immense struggle in Russia. And it never for a single moment entered my mind that a statesman, who after all was also a strategist, would needlessly let such an opportunity go. And it is a fact that he struggled for months with himself about this decision, being certainly influenced by the many contrary ideas suggested to him by the Reich Marshal, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, as well as the Minister for Foreign Affairs . . . .
The Intelligence Service was put to work as from January 1941. The divisions on our borders and also along the Romanian frontier grew rapidly. On 3 February 1941 the Chief of the General Staff of the Army informed the Führer of the operations which he himself intended to carry out. At the same time he presented a map showing the Russian troop deployment. This map indicated—and this has been proved by documents—that there were 100 infantry divisions, 25 cavalry divisions . . . . I have already said that 150 Russian divisions were deployed against us in February . . . .
I should like to say ... that at this same time our deployment, as reported by General Halder, had only just begun. And furthermore ... it is clear ... that it was not until 1 June that the actual attack formations, consisting of 14 armored divisions and 12 motorized infantry divisions, were brought up. In fact, they were not actually moved until 10 June. I mention this so that it cannot be said that the German intention to attack was already obvious in February 1941. Such was not the case.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: At the beginning of the war, I believe, we began with three SS divisions. The number increased until the end of the war to an estimated 35 to 37 divisions, as against a number of Army divisions which varied, but which one can give approximately as about 280, 290, 300. As soon as the Führer had ordered the establishment of a new series of divisions he said, after consulting Himmler, that so-and-so many divisions were to be set up and so-and-so many Waffen-SS divisions. He determined the number. I had the impression that in setting up the SS divisions, the Fuehrer wanted to go as far as he absolutely could.
The limit [of how far Hitler could go] was in the fact that the soldiers of these Waffen SS divisions were to be volunteers; and the time came very soon when Himmler had to report, "I do not get any more replacements for the divisions;" and from that time on the situation arose that, when the men came for military duty, the cream of the crop was taken by the SS, and these people, even if they were strict Catholic peasants' sons, were drafted into the SS divisions. I myself received bitter letters from peasants' wives about this . . . .
[Political viewpoints were not taken into account], the decisive thing was that the fellow was big, looked healthy, and promised to become a good soldier. That was the decisive thing. I believe that the majority of the men in the General SS came to the Waffen-SS and volunteered. But I also know that very many did not do that and were drafted in the normal way by the Army, so that they were treated in the Army just like any other German . . . . [It] is true [that there were many who belonged neither to the Party nor to the SS but served in the Waffen-SS]; it does not apply to the very beginning of the war, but it is absolutely true for the second half of the war. Undoubtedly, [the second half of the war contained the greater number], that—the second half—I always call that part after the big losses in the first Russian campaign of 1941.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The document [above] is very important. First, I must make a confession. So far I have been accused of merely having received this document. But it emanated from me; I authorized it. My staff in the Navy group worked it out. Consequently, I knew this document better than anybody else. It is not an operational order, it is a guide for German officers. All German officers who officially or unofficially came into contact with Japanese officers were to be told exactly what the aims of German policy were, namely, to attack England even in the Far East and, precisely thereby, to keep America out of the war . . . .
Such a directive was necessary, in order that officers of the Japanese Army and Navy should not use careless statements on the part of German officers for their own political purposes. For this reason, the Foreign Office also received a copy, as is shown in the distribution list . . . . This would never have happened in the case of an operational order. Also, that is why the Fuehrer did not sign it. I should like to add that the purpose of this document was not to exert influence on Japan, as that would have been a political action; it was merely a directive for all officers telling them what to say in such a case . . . . And so, in all the war measures of the Naval Operations Staff, America was granted an exceptional position for a long time.
From The Order of the Death's Head by Heinz Hoehne: [Helmut] Krausnick, the historian, has summarized all that can be said with certainty concerning the genesis of the "Final Solution" plan: "What is certain is that, the nearer Hitler's plan to overthrow Russia as the last possible enemy on the continent of Europe approached maturity, the more he became obsessed with the idea—with which he had been toying as a 'final solution' for a long time—of wiping out the Jews in the territories under his control. It cannot have been later than March 1941, when he openly declared his intention of having the political commissars of the Red Army shot, that he issued his secret decree for the elimination of the Jews."
Documentary evidence exists for a sort of warning order: on 3 March 1941 Hitler dictated to General Alfred Jodl a general directive [issued March 13, below] for the forthcoming war against the Soviet Union and this contained the first intimation that the Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler, would assume responsibility for the Jewish/Bolshevist ruling class in the East. Jodl noted: "The Bolshevist/Jewish intelligentsia must be eliminated as having been the 'oppressor' of the people up to now."
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Consultation on military questions depended entirely on the circumstances of the moment. At a time when he [Hitler] himself was filled with doubts, he often discussed military problems for weeks or months, but if things were clear in his own mind, or if he had formed a spontaneous decision, all discussion came to an end. The Führer informed us of events and occurrences at the beginning of the war—that is, the efforts of other countries to prevent this war, and even to put an end to it after it had already begun, only to the extent that these events were published in the press. He spoke to the politicians and to the Party quite otherwise than to the Wehrmacht, and to the SS differently again.
The secrecy concerning the annihilation of the Jews, and the events in the concentration camps, was a masterpiece of secrecy. It was also a masterpiece of deception by Himmler, who showed us soldiers faked photographs about these things in particular, and told us stories about the gardens and plantations in Dachau, about the ghettos in Warsaw and Theresienstadt, which gave us the impression that they were highly humane establishments.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: This [Simovic] Putsch against a legal government, by officers meddling in politics, immediately after Yugoslavia had joined the Tripartite Pact, had necessarily an anti-German tendency. We stood directly on the verge of the campaign against Greece, against the whole of Greece, for in the meantime English divisions had landed there, and this campaign could only be waged with a safely neutral Yugoslavia behind us . . . .
I have something else to add which concerns me personally with regard to the Yugoslav problem. On this morning, when the Führer spontaneously ordered the immediate preparation of an attack on Yugoslavia, I proposed to him, or at least I mentioned to him that, after concentrating our troops, we ought first to clarify the real situation, the political situation, by an ultimatum. He refused to do so. He said, "That will not be of any use." Field Marshal Keitel has already confirmed this ... that was on the 27th . . . .
If the Court will compare this sentence on Page 71, Paragraph 1, with the sentence on Page 69 of the document book a difference will be noticed. Page 69 contains the order signed by the Führer, and it begins with this sentence which I shall quote: "The military putsch in Yugoslavia has altered the political situation in the Balkans. Even if she makes a declaration of loyalty, Yugoslavia must be considered as an enemy, and therefore beaten as quickly as possible."
This, as appears from the date, was issued on 27 March. I worked that whole night at the Reich Chancellery, which is another proof of the sudden nature of the whole case. At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 28th … I put the following aide-memoire, this operational aide-memoire, into the hand of General Von Rintelen, our liaison officer with the Italian High Command. In it I had written—I quote: "Should political developments call for armed intervention against Yugoslavia, it is the German intention..." et cetera. I must admit that, in this instance, I ventured a little into the political field, but in so doing I thought that if Germany did not clarify the political situation beyond any doubt, Italy perhaps might do it. A code name for this operation was ordered for the first time 3 days after the putsch, which proves that it had not been planned in 1937 as was once stated here . . . .
From the point of view of international law [Greek neutrality] no longer existed at that date. The English had in the meantime landed on Crete and at Piraeus, and we had already learned about this on 5 or 6 March. The order, therefore, was in accordance with all the principles of international law. But to conclude the Yugoslav problem I may add that the allegation made by the Prosecution, that the plan to attack Yugoslavia emanated from Jodl's office, is a statement which has not been and cannot be substantiated by anything . . . .
I recall [Ribbentrop suggesting to Hitler that before military action was taken, an attempt should be made to settle the differences with Yugoslavia by diplomatic means] especially well because about 1 hour before I had said the same thing to the Führer, that we should clear up the situation with an ultimatum. An hour later, without knowing about this, the Reich Foreign Minister made the same remark, and he fared considerably worse than I did. The Führer said: "Is that how you size up the situation? The Yugoslavs would swear black is white. Of course, they say they have no warlike intentions, and when we march into Greece they will stab us in the back." I recall that statement very exactly.
From the IMT testimony of Friedrich Paulus: Due to the development of events in Yugoslavia, Hitler, at the end of March 1941, decided to attack Yugoslavia. On 27 or 28 March I was called to the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, where there had just been a conference between Hitler, Keitel, and Jodl, in which the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of Staff of the Army had participated, that is, had been ordered to be present.
When I arrived I was advised by the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Halder, that Hitler had decided to attack Yugoslavia, in the first place to eliminate a threat to the flank of the intended operation against Greece, and get hold of the rail line going from Belgrade southward through Dish, and then also with an eye to the future—to Plan Barbarossa—to keep the right flank free from the outset.
From Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring's IMT testimony: I had the definite impression that the purpose of the address to the leaders was to convince them of the necessity of the war as a preventive war; and that it was imperative to strike before the building up and the mobilization of the Russian armed forces became a danger to Germany ... the purpose of the address was to give us a convincing picture of the general situation; of the military situation and its time schedule--and it did convince us.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: Views were expressed there regarding the administration and economic exploitation of the territories to be conquered or occupied. There was the completely new idea of setting up Reich commissioners and civilian administrations. There was the definite decision to charge the Delegate for the Four Year Plan with the supreme direction in the economic field. And what was for me the most important point, and what affected me most was the fact that besides the right of the military commander to exercise the executive power of the occupation force, a policy was to be followed here in which it was clearly expressed that Reichsführer-SS Himmler was to be given extensive plenipotentiary powers concerning all police actions in these territories, which later on became known. I firmly opposed that, since to me it seemed impossible that there should be two authorities placed side by side. In the directives here it says: "The authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army is not affected by this."
That was a complete illusion and self-deception. Quite the opposite happened. As long as it was compatible with my functions, I fought against this. I think I ought to say that I have no witness to that, other than General Jodl, who shared these experiences with me. Eventually, however, Hitler worked out those directives himself, more or less, and gave them the meaning he wanted. That is how these directives came about. That I had no power to order the things which are contained in these directives is clear from the fact that it says that the Reich Marshal receives this task ... the Reichsführer-SS receives that task, et cetera. I had no authority whatever to give orders to them. ...
After short reports regarding the operational orders to the individual commanders, there followed a recapitulation, which I must describe as a purely political speech. The main theme was that this was the decisive battle between two ideologies, and that this fact made it impossible—that the leadership in this war, the practices which we knew as soldiers, and which we considered to be the only correct ones under international law, had to be measured by completely different standards. The war could not be carried on by these means. This was an entirely new kind of war, based on completely different arguments and principles. With these explanations, the various orders were then given to do away with the legal system in territories that were not pacified, to combat resistance with brutal means, to consider every local resistance movement as the expression of the deep rift between the two ideologies. These were decidedly quite new and very impressive ideas, but also thoughts which affected us deeply . . . . I personally made no remonstrance's, apart from those that I had already advanced and the objections I had already expressed before. However, I have never known which generals, if any of the generals, addressed the Führer. At any rate, they did not do so after that discussion.
From The Crucial Years 1939-1941 by Hanson W. Baldwin: Undeniably dissidence and separatism existed in Russia, particularly in the Ukraine, sickened by the blood purges and communization of the land, and the stern rule of the Bolsheviks. A skillful political and ideological plan might well have capitalized upon a real yearning for freedom. But, well before the event—in March 1941—the nature of the forthcoming campaign was clearly forecast.
Early in March, General Jodl, reflecting Hitler's wishes, issued a general statement of special instructions to the OKW staff, in which he stressed that the "forthcoming campaign is more than a mere armed conflict; it is a collision between two different ideologies." During the month, these instructions were elaborated into detailed plans; conquered areas would not be governed by the Army but would be administered by the Nazi Party, with Reich commissars and Gauleiters in control, and the dreaded SS the ultimate authority. Conquered Russia was to serve as a granary for the Reich, even though "as a result many millions of people will be starved to death."
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Not only did Yugoslavia receive assurances from Hitler, but we also received them from the Yugoslav Government, which had concluded a treaty with us on the previous day. I do not know what preparations for warning the Yugoslav Government had been made, but at the moment of the putsch it immediately made military preparations and deployed its forces along our border . . . .
I do not hold the view [that it is honorable to attack a city crowded with civilians without a declaration of war or even half an hour's warning]. I have already said that I, personally, and half an hour or an hour later the Reich Foreign Minister, suggested an ultimatum. This city [Belgrade] was at the same time the center of a putsch government which had annulled a treaty concluded with Germany, and which, from that moment on, had made preparations along the whole front for war with Germany . . . . I cannot say [how many civilians were killed in the bombing of Belgrade without warning], but surely only a tenth of the number killed in Dresden, for example, when you had already won the war.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Minister Lammers sent the very same letter to all Reich Ministries. He asked every Ministry to designate a plenipotentiary and a deputy; and accordingly, Field Marshal Keitel naturally designated the two officers who were at headquarters. I never worked with Rosenberg, and it was not necessary to do so—except for one single talk with him, which I mentioned yesterday. Only my propaganda section conferred with the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories about leaflets—quite simple matters which every soldier can understand. To a certain extent politics did come into it, for without politics there could be no strategy. It is an essential part of strategy. But since I was not a strategist, but only dealt with this matter as a General Staff officer, I was not concerned with this subject directly.May 13, 1941: Hitler Order:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I did not participate in preparing this draft. I was not concerned with prisoners of war nor with questions of martial law at that time. But the draft was submitted to me before it was transmitted to Field Marshal Keitel. The intention of the Führer that was set forth in this draft was rejected unanimously by all soldiers. Very heated discussions took place about this also with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. This resistance ended with the characteristic sentence by the Führer: "I cannot demand that my generals should understand my orders, but I do demand that they follow them." Now, in this case, by my notation I wanted to indicate to Field Marshal Keitel a new way by which one might possibly still circumvent this order which had been demanded . . . .
It is correct that, because of his ideological opposition to Bolshevism, the Fuehrer counted on the possible authorization of the commissars [decree] as a certainty. He was confirmed in this belief, and gave his reasons by saying: "I have carried on the war against Communism for 20 years. I know Communism, but you do not know it." I must add that we as well were, of course, to a certain extent under the influence of what had been written in the literature of the entire world about Bolshevism since 1917. We also had had some experiences, for example, the [Bavarian Soviet] Republic in Munich. Despite that, I was of the opinion that first of all we should wait and see whether the [commissars] would actually act as the Führer expected them to act; and if his suspicions were confirmed, we could then make use of reprisals. That was what I meant by my notation in the margin . . . .
I believe one should further explain the expression aufziehen. The German word auiziehen also has something doubtful about it. It has been said that that was a typical military expression used by the Defendant Jodl at that time. That does not mean, as is assumed by the Prosecution, "to camouflage." Rather, I would say literally: "I believe we must handle this operation quite differently," that is, tackle it in a different way. We would say that we would handle the demonstration to the Führer of new weapons in a different way; that means, for instance, "in a different sequence; in a different manner." Among us soldiers aufziehen, to handle, meant exactly the same as "to tackle" or "to arrange" something. But it did not mean "to deceive." . . . .
I have only to add that the Fuehrer said on that occasion: "If you do not believe what I am telling you, then read the reports from Counterintelligence which we have received regarding the behavior of the Russian commissars in the occupied Baltic states. Then you will get a picture of what can be expected from these [commissars]."
From Jodl's IMT testimony: We had to use 10,000 trains for this deployment. If one could have run 100 a day it would have taken 100 days; but we never reached that figure, So for purely technical reasons this deployment had already taken 4 months . . . .
[Events in Yugoslavia] gave [the Führer's decision] the final impetus. Until that the Führer still had doubts. On 1 April, not earlier, he decided to attack; and on 1 April he ordered the attack to be made ready for about 22 June. The order for the attack itself--that is, the real opening of the campaign--was issued only on 17 June, which is likewise proved by documents . . . .
[Barbarossa] was undeniably a purely preventive war. What we found out later on was the certainty of enormous Russian military preparations opposite our frontiers. I will dispense with details, but I can only say that, although we succeeded in a tactical surprise as to the day and the hour, it was no strategic surprise. Russia was fully prepared for war . . . . I recall approximately that there had been about 20 [Soviet] airfields in eastern Poland, and that in the meantime these had been increased to more than a hundred . . . .
I do not want to go into the strategic principles, into the operations behind the front; but I can state briefly that we were never strong enough to defend ourselves in the East, as has been proved by the events since 1942. That may sound grotesque, but in order to occupy this front of over 2,000 kilometers we needed 300 divisions at least; and we never had them. If we had waited until the invasion, and a Russian attack had caught us in a pincer movement simultaneously, we certainly would have been lost. If, therefore, the political premise was correct; namely, that we were threatened by this attack, then from a military point of view also, the preventive attack was justified. The political situation was presented to us soldiers in this light; consequently we based our military work accordingly.
From the IMT testimony of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus: The attack on the Soviet Union took place as I have related, according to a plan prepared carefully and well in advance. The troops for this attack were at first assembled in the rear of the deployment area. By special orders they were then moved by groups into jumping-off positions, and then took up their position along the entire long front from Romania to East Prussia for a simultaneous attack. The Finnish theater of war was excluded from this operation.
Just as the large-scale operational plan, as I described it at the beginning, was to a certain extent tried out theoretically, the detailed employment of troops was discussed during military exercises by the staffs of army groups, corps, and divisions; and drawn up in orders down to the details, long before the beginning of the war.
A large-scale diversion, which was to be organized in Norway and along the coast of France, was designed to simulate an invasion of Britain in June 1941, and thus divert Russia's attention.
All measures were taken not only for operational, but also for tactical surprise, as for instance, the prohibition of open reconnaissance, on and across the boundary, before the beginning of the war. That meant, on the one hand, that possible losses that might be caused due to the lack of reconnaissance had to be taken into account for the sake of surprise; but on the other hand, it meant that a surprise attack across the boundary by the enemy was not feared.
All of these measures show that it was a question of a criminal attack . . . . Of the defendants, as far as I observed them, [these are] the top military advisers to Hitler. They are the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, Keitel; Chief of the Operations Branch, Jodl; and Goering, in his capacity as Reich Marshal, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces and as Plenipotentiary for Armament Economy.
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Caution: As always, excerpts from
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kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of
hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift
responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can possibly
be punishable by death.
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