Chronology with links to the Blue Series at Library of Congress
November 20, 1945 On the First Day of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the indictment in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle; and though some know each other quite well, there are many who've never met. Göring's charismatic and somewhat overbearing personality immediately becomes a factor in the subsequent behavior of his peers, to the selective chagrin of the Tribunal, the prosecutors, and the defendants themselves.
November 21, 1945 The Tribunal rejects the Defense motion of Nov 19 on the grounds that, in so far as it is an argument against the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, it is in conflict with Article 3 of the Charter.
November 21, 1945 On day 2, Schacht's attorney, Dr. Rudolf Dix, begins the days session by addressing the court with a major concern of the defense: "Dr Dix: ...As speaker for the Defense I should like to broach a technical question and voice a question to this effect on behalf of the Defense. May I do so? The Defense Counsel were forbidden to talk to the defendants this morning. It is absolutely necessary that the Defense Counsel should be able to speak to the defendants before the session. It often happens that after the session one cannot reach one's client at night. It is quite possible that counsel may have prepared something overnight which he wishes to discuss with the defendant before the session. According to our experience it is always permissible for the Defense Counsel to speak to the defendant before the session. The question of conferring between Defense Counsel and clients during sessions could be dealt with at a later date. At present I request, on behalf of the entire Defense, that we be allowed to confer with our clients in the courtroom, into which they usually are brought at a very early hour. Otherwise, we shall not be in a position to conduct the defense in an efficient and appropriate manner. The President: I am afraid that you cannot consult with your clients in the courtroom except by written communication. When you are out of the courtroom, security regulations can be carried out and, so far as those security regulations go, you have full opportunity to consult with your clients. In the courtroom we must confine you to written communications to your clients. At the end of each day's sitting, you will have full opportunity to consult with them in private..."
November 21, 1945 Next, the defendants are required to plead guilty or not guilty: "...The President: I will now call upon the defendants to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. They will proceed in turn to a point in the dock opposite to the microphone. Hermann Wilhelm Göring. (Göring approaches the dock with a prepared statement) Göring: Before I answer the question of the Tribunal whether or not I am guilty... The President: I informed the Court that defendants were not entitled to make a statement. You must plead guilty or not guilty. Göring: I declare myself in the sense of the Indictment not guilty." The statement he isn't allowed to read in open court is quickly published in the press: "As Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Reich I accept the political responsibility for all my own acts or for acts carried out on my orders. These acts were exclusively carried out for the welfare of the German people and because of my oath to the Führer. Although I am responsible for these acts only to the German people and can be tried only before a German court, I am at the same time prepared to give all the neccessary information demanded of me by this court and to tell the whole truth without recognizing the jurisdiction of this court. I must, however, most strongly reject the acceptance by me of responsibility for acts of other persons which were not known to me; of which, had I known them, I would have disapproved and which could not have been prevented by me anyway."
November 21, 1945 Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement: "Jackson: ...If these men are the first war leaders of a defeated nation to be prosecuted in the name of the law, they are also the first to be given a chance to plead for their lives in the name of the law. Realistically, the Charter of this Tribunal, which gives them a hearing, is also the source of their only hope. It may be that these men of troubled conscience, whose only wish is that the world forget them, do not regard a trial as a favor. But they do have a fair opportunity to defend themselves-a favor which these men, when in power, rarely extended to their fellow countrymen. Despite the fact that public opinion already condemns their acts, we agree that here they must be given a presumption of innocence, and we accept the burden of proving criminal acts and the responsibility of these defendants for their commission. When I say that we do not ask for convictions unless we prove crime, I do not mean mere technical or incidental transgression of international conventions. We charge guilt on planned and intended conduct that involves moral as well as legal wrong. And we do not mean conduct that is a natural and human, even if illegal, cutting of corners, such as many of us might well have committed had we been in the defendants' positions.. It is not because they yielded to the normal frailties of human beings that we accuse them. It is their abnormal and inhuman conduct which brings them to this bar..."
November 22, 1945 On Day 3, Ralph G. Albrecht, Associate Trial Counsel for the United States, is delivering a briefing to the Tribunal on the structure of the German government: "Albrecht: ...The Führer at the top of our chart is the supreme and the only leader in the Nazi hierarchy. His successor-designate was first the Defendant Hess and subsequently the Defendant Göring... " From an eyewitness account by Telford Taylor: "On the third day of the trial I witnessed, by chance, an episode which, apparently, no one else noticed and which gave me an impression of Hess's condition. I was sitting in the courtroom at the American prosecution table while Ralph Albrecht was delivering his lecture on German governmental structure. It was my first opportunity to scrutinize the defendants and their counsel at leisure and close range. I was not paying close attention to Albrecht's presentation, but I heard him say that Hitler's 'successor-designate was first the Defendant Hess and subsequently the Defendant Göring.' This I well knew to be in error. The names were right but the order was wrong; Göring was number two and Hess number three. Since I was sitting barely twenty feet from those two gentlemen, I looked to see whether either of them had noticed the slip and, if so, how he reacted. Göring was already waving his arms to attract attention, pointing to himself, and saying repeatedly: 'Ich war der Zweite!' ('I was the second!') As these protests were pouring out of Göring, Hess turned and looked at him and burst into laughter. It appeared to me that Hess also knew that Albrecht had misspoken (Albrecht corrected the order of succession at the end of his presentation), and was vastly amused by Göring's characteristically vain reaction. I inferred from this occurrence that Hess's amnesia was not as complete as he had given out." (Taylor)
November 22, 1945 Major Frank B. Wallis, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the prosecutions case known as the Common Plan or Conspiracy: Wallis: "...As a means of implementing their master race policy and as a means of rallying otherwise discordant elements behind the Nazi banner, the conspirators adopted and publicized a program of relentless persecution of Jews. This program was contained in the official, unalterable 25 points of the Nazi Party, of which 6 were devoted to the master race doctrine. The Defendants Göring, Hess, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Funk, Schirach, Bormann, and others, all took prominent parts in publicizing this program..."
November 23, 1945 From the diary of the assistant defense attorney for Erich Raeder, Dr. Victor von der Lippe: "Among the American prosecutors General Donovan...played a special role. A lawyer by profession, during the war he was head of the American intelligence system. The relations between Donovan and the Chief Prosecutor Jackson were very tense. From an apparently well informed source it was heard that Donovan had a very different plan for the trial than Jackson and his men. He had the intention of making Göring, the second man in the Third Reich, a privileged witness for the prosecution, and giving him opportunity...to save his head. Göring, in discussion with Donovan, accepted this plan. The plan collapsed because of Jackson's opposition...Also as regards the handling of...the greater part of the military, Donovan had his own opinions." (Taylor)
November 26, 1945 From the letter by Chief Prosecutor Justice Jackson to General Donovan, virtually excluding him from participating further in the trial: "...In short, I do not think we can afford to negotiate with any of these defendants or their counsel for testimony...To use one of them ourselves will create the impression that there was some kind of a bargain about his testimony, opening the door for that defendant to plead for leniency on the ground he was 'helpful' and may give a background for claims that promises were made to that effect. My view is, therefore, that we should prove our case against these defendants with no use of them as witnesses...Frankly, Bill, your views and mine appear to be so far apart that I do not consider it possible to assign to you examination or cross-examination of witnesses. Therefore, I did not respond to your request for access to Göring. I repeat that time may prove you right and me wrong. I do not claim any great wisdom in so novel and complex matter. I only have responsibility."
November 27, 1945 From General Donovan's reply to Justice Jackson: "...It is true that I have frequently told you squarely and honestly that (1) the case needed centeralized administrative control. (2) that there was a lack of intellectual direction. (3) that it was not handled as an entity. (4) that because it was a lawsuit plus something else it needed an affirmative human aspect with German as well as foreign witnesses. I never knew there was ever disagreement on these points. As I told you several weeks ago I am leaving within a few days. Time will not be concerned with our opinions - right or wrong." (Taylor)
November 29, 1945 The prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps. That evening in their cells, the defendants react to the horrific images. Göring: "It was such a good afternoon, too - and then they showed that awful film, and it just spoiled everything!"
November 30, 1945 On day 9 of the historic trial, the first witness for the Prosecution, Major General Erwin Lahousen, takes the stand: "Lahousen: ...Canaris had a short talk with Ribbentrop, in which the latter explained the general political aims with regard to Poland and in connection with the Ukrainian question. The Chief of the OKW took up the Ukrainian question in subsequent discussions which took place in his private carriage. These are recorded in the files which I immediately prepared on Canaris' order. While we were still in the carriage of the Chief of the OKW, Canaris expressed his serious misgivings regarding the proposed bombardment of Warsaw, of which he knew. Canaris stressed the devastating repercussions which this bombardment would have in the foreign political field. The Chief of the OKW, Keitel, replied that these measures had been agreed upon directly by the Führer and Göring, and that he, Keitel, had had no influence on these decisions. I quote Keitel's own words here; naturally only after re-reading my notes. Keitel said: "The Führer and Göring are in frequent telephone communication; sometimes I also hear something of what was said, but not always..."
November 30, 1945 Göring reacts to Lahousen's testimony: "That traitor! That's one we forgot on the 20th of July! Hitler was right - the Abwehr was a traitor's organization!"
November 30, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Also on day nine, defendant Rudolf Hess makes an unexpected statement before the court: Hess: "At the beginning of the proceedings this afternoon I gave my defense counsel a note saying that I thought the proceedings could be shortened if I would be allowed to speak. I wish to say the following: In order to forestall the possibility of my being pronounced incapable of pleading, in spite of my willingness to take part in the proceedings and to hear the verdict alongside my comrades, I would like to make the following declaration before the Tribunal, although, originally, I intended to make it during a later stage of the trial: Henceforth my memory will again respond to the outside world. The reasons for simulating loss of memory were of a tactical nature. Only my ability to concentrate is, in fact, somewhat reduced. But my capacity to follow the trial, to defend myself, to put questions to witnesses, or to answer questions myself is not affected thereby. I emphasize that I bear full responsibility for everything that I did, signed or co-signed. My fundamental attitude that the Tribunal is not competent, is not affected by the statement I have just made. I also simulated loss of memory in consultations with my officially appointed defense counsel. He has, therefore, represented it in good faith."
The reactions of Hess's fellow defendants to the above statement are noted: "Göring was amazed and upset, and while he enjoyed the frustration of the Court, demonstrated considerable resentment that he had been so completely fooled. Von Schirach felt that such behavior was not the action of a normal man, and while he enjoyed Hess's jest upon the world, felt that it was not a gesture expected of a good German whose position was as important as that of Hess. Ribbentrop, upon learning the news, was dumbfounded, and was hardly able to speak when told Hess's statement, and merely kept repeating: 'Hess, you mean Hess? The Hess we have here? He said that?' Ribbentrop became quite agitated and seemed to feel such action was not possible. He stated: `But Hess did not know me. I looked at him. I talked to him. Obviously he did not know me. It is just not possible. Nobody could fool me like that.' Streicher's comment, as usual, was direct and blunt: "If you ask me, I think Hess's behavior was a shame. It reflects on the dignity of the German people." -- J. R. Rees, from 'The Case of Rudolf Hess.'
December 4, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...On Saterday, the Court held a session lasting until nearly 2 o'clock - the first Saterday session that has been held...A high point of the Saterday session was the request by the attorney for Göring to permit Göring to cross-examine the witness. We strenuously objected and the Tribunal held that no defendant who had counsel could cross-examine except through counsel. If defendants were pemitted to personally cross-examine, this case would be very likely to fall to the level of the sedition trials of unhappy memory in Washington last summer..."
December 4, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: United Kingdom Chief Prosecutor Sir Hartley Shawcross delivers his opening statement: Shawcross: "...Human memory is very short. Apologists for defeated nations are sometimes able to play upon the sympathy and magnanimity of their victors, so that the true facts, never authoritatively recorded, become obscured and forgotten. One has only to recall the circumstances following upon the last World War to see the dangers to which, in the absence of any authoritative judicial pronouncement, a tolerant or a credulous people is exposed. With the passage of time the former tend to discount, perhaps because of their very horror, the stories of aggression and atrocity that may be handed down; and the latter, the credulous, misled by perhaps fanatical and perhaps dishonest propagandists, come to believe that it was not they but their opponents who were guilty of that which they would themselves condemn. And so we believe that this Tribunal, acting, as we know it will act notwithstanding its appointment by the victorious powers, with complete and judicial objectivity, will provide a contemporary touchstone and an authoritative and impartial record to which future historians may turn for truth, and future politicians for warning..."
December 8, 1945 Göring, who had been boycotting the Protestant services of Pastor Gerecke from the start of internment because said services were not being run as Göring would prefer, informs Gerecke that he henceforth will again be attending services. Göring: "As ranking man of the group, if I attend the others will follow suit." Göring will later confide to Dr Gilbert, "Prayer, hell! It's just a chance to get out of this cell for half an hour!" (Tusa)
December 11, 1945 On the trial's 17th day, prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, 'The Nazi Plan,' compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreals. Far from viewing the film as another nail in their coffins, some of the defendants enjoy it hugely. From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe: 'Göring was visibly delighted to see himself once more "in the good times.'" (Taylor)
December 11, 1945 Following the viewing of the film, Mr Thomas J. Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, presents the case for the Exploitation of Forced Labor: "...the Defendant Göring, as Plenipotentiary General for the Four Year Plan, is responsible for all of the crimes involved in the Nazi slave labor program. Finally, we propose to show that the Defendant Rosenberg, as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and the Defendant Frank, as Governor of the Government General of Poland, and the Defendant Seyss-lnquart, as Reich Commissar for the occupied Netherlands, and the Defendant Keitel, as Chief of the OKW, share responsibility for the recruitment by force and terror and for the deportation to Germany of the citizens of the areas overrun or subjugated by the Wehrmacht. The use of vast numbers of foreign workers was planned before Germany went to war..."
December 13, 1945 On day 19, the prosecution introduces grisly evidence from Buechenwald concentration camp, including the head of an executed Pole used as a paperweight by Commandant Karl Koch, and tattooed human skin allegedly favored by the commandant's wife for use in lampshades and other household furnishings.
December 13, 1945 Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Concetration Camps: "Dodd: ...We propose to show that the concentration camp was one of the fundamental institutions of the Nazi regime, that it was a pillar of the system of terror by which the Nazis consolidated their power over Germany and imposed their ideology upon the German people, that it was really a primary weapon in the battle against the Jews, against the Christian church, against labor, against those who wanted peace, against opposition or non-conformity of any kind. We say it involved the systematic use of terror to achieve the cohesion within Germany which was necessary for the execution of the conspirators' plans for aggression. We propose to show that a concentration camp was one of the principal instruments used by the conspirators for the commission, on an enormous scale, of Crimes against Humanity..."
December 13, 1945 Major William Walsh, Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Persecution of the Jews: "Major Walsh: ...I know of no crime in the history of mankind more horrible in its details than the treatment of the Jews. It is intended to establish that the Nazi Party precepts, later incorporated within the policies of the German State, often expressed by the defendants at bar, were to annihilate the Jewish people. I shall seek to avoid the temptation to editorialize or to draw inferences from the documents, however great the provocation; rather I shall let the documentary evidence speak for itself - its stark realism will be unvarnished..."
December 14, 1945 The tendency of some of the defendants to denounce or critisize Hitler on the stand leads to an outburst by Göring during lunch: "You men knew the Führer. He would have been the first one to stand up and say 'I have given the orders and I take full responsibility.' But I would rather die ten deaths than to have the German sovereign subjected to this humiliation." Keital fell silent, but Frank was not crushed: "Other sovereigns have stood before courts of law. He got us into this..." Keital, Dönitz, Funk and Schirach suddenly get up and leave Göring's table."
December 15, 1945 The Trbunal finally approves the first payment of monetary compensation to the defense counsels; 3,000 marks now, more in three months. Schacht's counsel, Dr Rudolf Dix, had suggested 50,000 marks for the first three months followed by 10,000 mark refreshers for subsequent months (this schedule of diminishing returns could, presumably, have been an effective incentive encouraging a speedy trial).
December 20, 1945 After this days session, the trial adjourns for a Holiday break until Wednesday, the 2nd of January.
December 23, 1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Many of the defendants, most of whom are Protestant, attend Christmas Eve services conducted by Pastor Gerecke. Only Hess, Rosenberg and Streicher never attend services.
January 7, 1946 On day 28, the prosecution calls SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski to the stand: "...Dr. Thoma: Do you believe that Himmler's speech, in which he demanded the extermination of 30 million Slavs, expressed only his personal opinion; or do you consider that it corresponded to the National Socialist ideology? Von dem Bach-Zelewski: Today I believe that it was the logical consequence of our ideology. Dr. Thoma: Today? Von dem Bach-Zelewski: Today. Dr. Thoma: What was your own opinion at that time? Von dem Bach-Zelewski: It is difficult for a German to fight through to this conviction. It took me a long time. Dr. Thoma: Then how is it that a few days ago a witness, namely, the Witness Ohlendorf, appeared here and admitted that through the Einsatzgruppen he had killed 90,000 people, but told the Tribunal that this did not harmonize with the National Socialist ideology? Von dem Bach-Zelewski: I am of a different opinion. If for years, for decades, a doctrine is preached to the effect that the Slav race is an inferior race, that the Jews are not even human beings, then an explosion of this sort is inevitable. Dr. Thoma: Nevertheless the fact remains that, together with whatever attitude towards life you had at that time, you also had a conscience? Von dem Bach-Zelewski: And today, too; for that reason I am here..."
January 7, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: In his cell that evening, Göring reacts angrily to the testimony; when Gilbert declares that Bach-Zelewski's cross-examination 'ought to be interesting,' Göring rages: 'You won't see me bothering to ask such a swine any questions." (Gilbert)
January 8, 1946 On day 29, Ralph G. Albrecht for the prosecution presents its case against Göring: "Albrecht: ...We pass then to the case of perhaps the most important conspirator on trial before this Tribunal - the Number Two Nazi, the Nazi who stood next to the Führer himself, the Nazi who was in some respects even more dangerous than the Führer and other leading Party leaders. We say that he was more dangerous because, unlike many leading Nazis, including Hitler, who were morally and socially on the fringes of society before the Nazi Party rode to success in 1933, this conspirator was known to come of substantial family which had furnished officers to the army and important civil servants to the country in the past. Moreover, he was possessed of substantial appearance, an ingratiating manner, a certain affability. But all of these facets of character were but deceptions, because they helped to conceal the man's core of steel, his vindictiveness, his cruelty, his lust for self-adornment, self-glorification, and power. This man was most dangerous..."
"Hess...thought that the extra k-rations, which Dr. Pffücker weekly divided among the defendants, were intended to poison him, and one day passed a note around the dock inquiring if any of his co-defendants were willing to offer themselves as guinea pigs. Fritzsche volunteered; and, as Hess looked on with alarm, tipped the packet of sugar that Hess handed him into his mouth. The next day, Hess wanted to know what had happened; and Fritzsche, willing to conduct further 'tests,' informed Hess that he had suffered some discomfort, but it was to early to tell. Göring jealously offered to join Fritzsche as a test subject; and together the two of them strove to relieve Hess of his sweets and supplemental rations." -From 'Justice at Nuremberg' by Robert E. Conot.
January 17, 1946 On day 36 the Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, M. Francois De Menthon, presents the case for France: "De Menthon:...In violation of the text of the Geneva Convention, it was decided, at a conference held at the Führer's headquarters on 27 January 1945, in the presence of the Defendant Göring, to punish by death all attempts to escape made by prisoners of war when in convoy. Besides all these violations of the Geneva Convention, numerous crimes were committed by the German authorities against prisoners of war: Execution of captured allied airmen, murder of commando troops, collective extermination of certain prisoners of war for no reason whatsoever..."
January 18, 1946 On day 37 the Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic, M. Jacques B. Herzog, continues the presentation of the case for France: "M. Herzog: ...From 1939 the mobilization of workers was added to the compulsory labor service. Decrees were promulgated to that effect by the Defendant Göring in his capacity as Delegate for the Four Year Plan. I do not stress this point; it arises from the conspiracy entered into by the accused to commit their Crimes against Peace, and which my American colleagues have already brought to the attention of the Tribunal. I merely point out that the mobilization of workers was applicable to foreigners resident in German territory, because I find in this fact the proof that the principle of compulsory recruitment of foreign workers existed prior to the war..."
January 22, 1946 On day 40 the Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic, M. Charles Gerthoffer, presents the case regarding the economic pillage of France: "Gerthoffer: ...Shortly after the Armistice, in conformity with the directives of the Defendant Göring, a great number of French industries were the object of proposals on the part of German groups anxious to acquire all or part of the assets of these companies. This operation was facilitated by the fact that the Germans, as I have had the honor of pointing out to you, were in reality in control of industry and had taken over the direction of production..."
January 28, 1946 Day 44. From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "The evidence is building up a most terrible and convincing case of complete horror and inhumanity in the concentration camps. But from the point of view of this trial it is a complete waste of valuable time. The case has been proved over and over again..."
February 7, 1946 On day 53, the French prosecution presents its case against Göring: "...But, Gentlemen, without even reference to the famous Leadership Principle - for I see no reason to apply German law to the accused in any way - the Defendant Göring is in any case responsible in his capacity as leader. Responsibility begins with authority. Moreover, what did he do to stop the massacre of airmen by people whom he had ordered to do the opposite..."
February 7, 1946 From 'Nuremberg Diary' by Gustave Gilbert: "(In response to the presentation in court that day by France) Fritzsche and Speer showed that Göring's stealing of art treasures was really the damaging accusation in German eyes. 'They didn't even mention the worst part of it,' Fritzsche pointed out, " - that he even sold the stuff he stole. But that Frenchman who presented the case did a really good job - much more effective than name calling, and he cleverly left the word for it up to the court to decide.' 'You see,' said Speer, 'how can there be any talk of a united front among the defendants when that man has disgraced himself like that?' Göring came over after lunch while I was reading the papers to some of the others, looking over my shoulder. He started to wisecrack about having a grudge against the brain-doctor. The others walked away to avoid the pretense of joking with him, and Göring expressed great interest in the day's news." (Gilbert)
February 8, 1946 On day 54, the Russian prosecution presents its case against Göring: "Rudenko: ...For the purpose of successful execution of their criminal plans these conspirators - Göring, Hess, Rosenberg, Fritzsche, Schirach, and the other defendants-developed a fiendish theory of the superior or master race., By means of this so-called theory they had in mind to justify the claims of German fascism for the domination of other nations which were declared by their theory to be nations of inferior race. It followed from this theory that Germans, since they belonged to the "master race," have the "right" to build their own welfare on the bones of other races and nations. This theory proclaimed that German fascist usurpers are not bound by any laws or commonly accepted rules of human morality. The "master race" is permitted to do anything. No matter how revolting and shameless, cruel, and monstrous were the actions of those individuals, they were based on the idea of the superiority of this race..."
February 8, 1946 Göring, who, along with Hess had removed his earphones in disgust during Rudenko's presentation, declares during the lunch break: 'I did not think that they (the Russians) would be so shameless as to mention Poland.' And later: 'You will see - this trial will be a disgrace in 15 years.' (Gilbert)
February 9, 1946 From the notes of the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, Dr. Gilbert: "Von Schirach's attitude of remorse before the trial has completely disappeared since he came under Göring's influence again in the first weeks of the trial. The essential moral weakness of this narcissist has been clearly shown in the manner in which he has subdued his indignation at the 'betrayal' of German Youth by Hitler, under the influence of Göring's aggressive cynicism, nationalism, and pose of romantic heroism...His original intention to write a denunciation of 'Hitler's betrayal' to leave behind with me after he is executed, fizzled out, in spite of efforts by Major Kelly (the psychiatrist) and myself to encourage him to write it. He has acted as Göring's messenger to lay down the 'Party Line' to recalcitrant defendants like Speer...After yesterday's argument in which Göring impatiently attacked both Fritzsche and von Schirach as 'young weaklings' while he was by implication a more heroic nationalist, I decided the time was ripe to make another attempt to draw out von Schirach." (Taylor)
February 9, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...Yesterday, Friday, opened the Russian case. General Rudenko made his statement and the Russian photographers were all over the place. It lasted most of the day and about 4 o'clock the Russkies began presenting evidence. I conferred with the Justice about segregating Göring from the other defendants for he is browbeating and threatening them - and particularly those who might admit some guilt. He wants all to hang together - and to prove that Roosevelt was the cause of the war! Well, we will take care of that defense all right but I do not think he is entitled to go on intimidating people as he has done for much of his life."
February 11, 1946 From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe: "...The press reporters were all there; supposedly they had been told of Paulus' appearance beforehand. The defense lawyers were more or less taken by surprise. The news of Paulus' presence spread through the courthouse like wild-fire. Everyone rushed to the hearingroom so as not to miss the spectacle..." (Taylor)
February 11, 1946 On day 56, the Russians present a surprise witness, Field Marshal von Paulus, who had surrendered at Stalingrad. "...General Rudenko: And one last question: Whom do you consider as guilty of the criminal initiation of the war against Soviet Russia? Paulus: May I please have the question repeated? General Rudenko: I repeat the question... The President: The Tribunal is about to address an observation to General Rudenko. The Tribunal thinks that a question such as you have just put, as to who was guilty for the aggression upon Soviet territory, is one of the main questions which the Tribunal has to decide, and therefore is not a question upon which the witness ought to give his opinion. Is that what Counsel for the Defense wish to object to? Dr. Laternser: Yes, Mr. President, that is what I want to do. General Rudenko: Then perhaps the Tribunal will permit me to put this question rather differently. The President: Yes. General Rudenko: Who of the defendants was an active participant in the initiation of a war of aggression against the Soviet Union? Paulus: Of the defendants, as far as I observed them, 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 Göring, in his capacity as Reich Marshal, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces and as Plenipotentiary for Armament Economy. General Rudenko: In concluding the interrogation I shall make a summary. Have I rightly concluded from your testimony, that long before 22 June the Hitlerite Government and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces were planning an aggressive war against the Soviet Union for the purpose of colonizing the territory of the Soviet Union? Paulus: That is beyond doubt..."
February 11, 1946 From 'Nuremberg Diary' by Gustave Gilbert: "During the afternoon intermission, the military section blew up in an uproar, and they argued with heated invective with their attorneys and each other. 'Ask that dirty pig if he's a traitor! Ask him if he has taken out Russian citizenship papers!' Göring shot at his attorney. Raeder saw me watching and shouted at Göring, 'Careful! The enemy is listening!' Göring kept right on shouting to his attorney, and there was real bedlam around the prisoners dock. 'We've got to disgrace that traitor,' he roared. Keital was still arguing with his attorney, and Raeder passed him a note with the same warning. At the other end of the dock, the attitude was more sympathetic to von (sic) Paulus. 'You see,' said Fritzsche, 'that is the tragedy of the German people. He was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea." (Gilbert)
February 12, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...(Yesterday) the Russians continued to present thier case and late in the day they rather dramatically presented the German Field Marshal von Paulus, whom they captured at Stalingrad. He denounced Hitler, the Nazis, and the defendants. However, his story struck me as being just a bit too well rehearsed. The German defense lawyers cross-examined von Paulus and did quite a good job of it..."
February 12, 1946 On day 57, prosecution witness von Paulus is cross-examined by various defense counsel: "...Paulus: If I judge correctly, then I believe that I am supposed to be here as a witness for the events with which the defendants are charged. I ask the Tribunal, therefore, to relieve me of the responsibility of answering these questions which are directed against myself. Dr. Nelte: Field Marshal Paulus, you do not seem to know that you also belong to the circle of the defendants, because you belonged to the organization of the High Command which is indicted here as criminal. Paulus: And, therefore, since I believe that I am here as witness for the events which have led to the indictment of these defendants here, I have asked to be relieved of answering this question which concerns myself. Dr. Nelte: I ask the Tribunal to decide. The President: The Tribunal considers that you must answer the questions..."
February 12, 1946 Göring, scornful of Paulus' reluctance to incriminate himself, comments on his selective memory: 'He doesn't remember - Hess, do you know that you've got a competitor? The witness doesn't remember. (Laughing) Why, he was the expert on Russian troop strength.' (Taylor)
February 15, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "The presentation of the case dealing with crimes against the civilian population of various countries overrun by the German armies has been most detailed, and is contained for the most part in official documents which purport to record judicial hearings of the evidence. The impression created on my mind is that there has been a good deal of exaggeration, but I have no means of checking this. But no doubt can remain in any dispassionate mind that great horrors and cruelties were perpetrated. I think, also, that there is a good deal of evidence to show that the Nazi hierarchy used calculated cruelty and terror as their usual weapons. But it is impossible to convict an army generally, and no doubt many of the terrible excesses were those of a brutal and licentious soldiery, to quote Gibbon. The only importance of the evidence is to convict the members of the Cabinet and the military leaders of calculated cruelty as a policy."
February 15, 1946 Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinment. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Göring's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)
February 22, 1946 In a further move to minimize his influence, Göring is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups. (Tusa)
March 5, 1946 Winston Churchill introduces the phrase Iron Curtain into the English language (the term was originally coined by Josef Goebbels) during his famous Cold War speech at Fulton, Missouri. Speer recorded the defendants' reactions: "...(The defendants showed) tremendous excitement. Hess suddenly stopped playing the amnesiac and reminded us how often he had predicted a great turning point that would put an end to the trial, rehabilitate all of us, and restore us to our ranks and dignities. Göring, too, was beside himself; he repeatedly slapped his thighs with his palms and boomed: 'History will not be deceived. The Führer and I always prophesied it. This coalition had to break up sooner or later.'" (Speer II)
March 8, 1946 On day 77 of the proceedings, General Karl Bodenschatz testifies for Göring's defense: "...Justice Jackson: Coming to the subject of the concentration camps and the activities of your department in releasing persons from them -- as I understand, a large number of applications came to the Güring office for release from concentration camps? Bodenschatz: I stated before that the requests for release from concentration camps did not come to my department but to the Staff office. I received only the requests and complaints in which people begged for help because they had been arrested, among them Jews who were to be arrested. Justice Jackson: And were those applications that did come to you numerous? Bodenschatz: My sector covered only the Luftwaffe.. There were perhaps 10 to 20 such applications. Justice Jackson: And those applications were from persons who were threatened with imprisonment, or had been imprisoned, or both? Bodenschatz: Partly from people who were threatened with arrest and partly from people who had already been arrested. Justice Jackson: And in each case, as I understand you, you intervened to help them. Bodenschatz: On the instructions of the Reich Marshal, I helped in all cases that were submitted to me. Justice Jackson: And did you know of any other cases that came to the Staff in which help was not given to the imprisoned persons? Bodenschatz: I do not know anything about that. I only heard from Dr. Gritzbach, Chief of Staff, that requests that came to him also were settled in a humane way. Justice Jackson: Now, were the persons that you intervened for innocent of crime or were you helping out those who were guilty of crime? Bodenschatz: Those I helped were innocent people. Justice Jackson: So it came to your notice that innocent people were being put in concentration camps..."
March 8, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Also on day 77, General Erhard Milch testifies for the defense: "Milch: ...All measures taken by Hitler - beginning with the occupation of the Rhineland - came very suddenly, as a rule after only a few hour's preparation. That applies to Austria; that also applies to Czechoslovakia and to Prague. The only time that we were told anything beforehand was the affair with Poland, which I mentioned before, where we had a conference on 23 May. Dr Laternser: In all other cases, therefore, it was rather a surprise to the high military leaders? Milch: Yes, a complete surprise. Dr Laternser: Now I have one more question: What was the possibility of resignation for high military leaders during the war? Milch: That has been told several times. I have also experienced it myself -- one was not permitted to hand in one's resignation. It was said if there was a reason for anyone to leave, he would be informed by his superiors. In an authoritarian state the subordinate, the citizen has no right to resign on his own initiative, whether he be a soldier or a civilian..."
March 11, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 78, General Erhard Milch continues his testimony: "Milch: ...In the first place the large number of concentration camps was unknown to everybody, as it was unknown to me. Secondly, nobody knew what went on there. This knowledge was apparently confined to a very small circle of people who were in the secret. Further, the SD was very much feared by the entire population, not only by the lower classes. If anybody tried to gain access to these secrets he did so at the peril of his life. And again, how could the Germans know anything about these things, since they never saw them or heard about them? Nothing was said about them in the German press, no announcements were made on the German radio, and those who listened to foreign broadcasts exposed themselves to the heaviest penalties, generally it meant death. You could never be alone. You could depend upon it that if you yourself contravened that law, others would overhear and then denounce you..."
March 11, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "It is the end of another day, the second of the defense and we are gradually getting ahead. Justice Jackson cross-examined General Milch, one of Göring's aides, after various defense attorneys had asked questions. Jackson did well but not as well as he did Friday - he labored some unimportant points and got into some matters where he did not have the goods. However, towards the end he came back hard and left Milch a discredited witness. He could have done it in much less time..."
March 12, 1946 On day 79, Colonel Bernd von Brauchitsch testifies for Göring's defense: "...Dr Stahmer: Do you know of the attitude of Hitler with regard to the treatment of so-called terror-fliers who were shot down? Brauchitsch: In the spring of 1944 the number of civilian air-raid casualties by machine-gunning increased suddenly. These attacks were directed against civilians working in the fields; against secondary railroads and stations without any military importance; against pedestrians and cyclists, all within the homeland. This must have been the reason for Hitler giving not only defense orders, but also orders for measures against the fliers themselves. As far as I know, Hitler favored the most drastic measures. Lynching was said to be countenanced. Dr Stahmer: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal of the Luftwaffe to this order? Brauchitsch: The Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of the General Staff expressed their opinion that a most serious view must be taken of these attacks, which were directed solely against civilians. Notwithstanding, no special measure should be taken against these airmen. The suggestion that those who bailed out should be lynched and not afforded protection could not be agreed with. In view of Hitler's instructions, the Luftwaffe was forced to deal with these questions. They endeavored to prevent these ideas of Hitler, of which they disapproved, from being put into practice. The solution was to pretend that measures would be taken which, however, were not actually carried out..."
March 12, 1946 Also on day 79, State Secretary Paul Korner testifies for Göring's defense: "...Justice Jackson: Now, from time to time complaints came to you about the treatment of people in concentration camps, during all the time you were with Goering, did they not? Korner: Yes, there were frequent complaints. Justice Jackson: What did they complain of? Korner: Various things. Justice Jackson: Tell the Tribunal what the complaints were with which you had to deal. Korner: Well, mostly from relatives of the people taken to concentration camps whose release was applied for; or complaints that these people had been taken to a concentration camp without reason. Justice Jackson: That is, that they were innocent people, innocent of any offense? Korner: The relatives asserted this. Justice Jackson: Did you do anything to get them released from concentration camps? Korner: The Reich Marshal had ordered that all complaints were to be replied to. Every case was followed up at once. Justice Jackson: And did you find that many of these people were innocent, or did you find that they were guilty? Korner: If anybody was found to have been wrongly taken to a concentration camp he was released immediately...<
March 12, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Göring's defense continues as Luftwaffe Field Marshal Albert Kesselring testifies: "...Dr Laternser: Did you get to know anything about the regrettable order that Russian commissars were to be shot after their capture? Kesselring: I heard of this order at the end of the war. The air fleet, not being engaged in ground fighting, had actually nothing to do with this question. I think I can safely say the Luftwaffe knew nothing whatsoever about it. Though I very frequently had personal dealings with Field Marshal Von Bock, with commanders of armies and armored units, none of these gentlemen ever told me of such an order. Dr Laternser: Did you know about the Commando Order? Kesselring: Yes, I did. Dr Laternser: And what did you think of this order? Kesselring: I considered such an order, received by me as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, where I held a double post, as not binding for me, but as the outline of an order which left me a free hand in its application. On this question I held the view that it was for me, as commander-in-chief, to decide whether a Commando action was contrary to international law'or whether it was tactically justified. The view adopted more and more by the army group, which view was directed by me, was that personnel in uniform who had been sent out on a definite tactical task were to be treated and considered as soldiers..."
March 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 80, Kesselring wraps up his testimony: "...Dr Laternser: Witness, do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side? Kesselring: During my many visits to the front I did, of course, come across a large number... General Rudenko: I protest against this question. In my opinion, the witness is not the person to make any statement as to whether Germany's enemies have violated international law. I think this question should be omitted. Dr Laternser: May I explain my point? I am interested in an answer to this question because I want to follow it with the further question to the witness, whether after he heard of violations of international law by the other side, he became more lenient concerning violations of international law by his own men. That is why I am anxious to have this question answered. The President: The Tribunal would like to know exactly ,vhat your question is and why you say it is competent. Dr Laternser: The exact wording of the question is as follows: I asked the witness, "Do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side?" According to his answer I intend to put the further questions to the witness, whether, in view of such violations of international law by the other side, he either did not punish at all or dealt more leniently with violations of international law by his own men. From the answer to this latter question I want to ascertain the attitude of the witness as a member of the group, and that is why I consider the answer to the first question to be important. The President: The Tribunal would like to hear what Counsel for the United States says about it. Justice Jackson: If Your Honor please, I believe it is a well-established principle of international law that a violation on one side does not excuse or warrant violations on the other side..."
March 13, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "Another day - Göring day if you please. He took the stand at 2:30 PM. It came very suddenly. We had finished our cross-examination for the witness Kesselring just after the noon recess when Dr Stahmer, counsel for Göring, suddenly called him to the stand. There was a flurry in the courtroom. Press men rushed to get the word on the wires. People came into the courtroom in a hurry and in two minutes it was packed to the doors. Our trial table was filled up. Jackson sits in the left front seat and I sit in the right front seat. Behind us sit the lawyers in two rows on either side of the table. We all felt it was a moment of historical importance. Göring was very calm as he began his testimony. The defendants all leaned forward in the dock - the judges turned in their high chairs to stare at him. He is a charming rascal - a real buccaneer. He said of himself, 'I am out of the Renaissance' - and indeed he is. One of his witnesses said he considered him the last great figure of the same period. He dominates this scene and he is far and away the dominating character in the dock. (As a matter of interest we have had to seperate him at lunch time from the other defendants because there are some who seem ready to admit some of the charges against the Nazis and he has been making life miserable for them, and in his sight and under the lash of his tongue they have no courage.) He began with the story of his life and went into his first association with Hitler and recounted the days and years up to 1933 - then we recessed for the day. He will continue tomorrow."
"Göring is the man who has really dominated the proceedings, and that, remarkably enough without ever uttering a word in public up to the moment he went into the witness box. That in itself is a very remarkable achievement and illuminates much that was obscure in the past few years...Nobody seems to have been quite prepared for his immense ability and knowledge...He has followed the evidence with great intentness when the evidence required attention, and has slept like a child when it did not; and it has been obvious that a personality of outstanding, though possibly evil qualities, was seated there at the dock...Suave, shrewd, adroit, capable, resourceful, he quickly saw the elements of the situation, and as his self-confidence grew, his mastery became more apparent." -Sir Norman Birkett, British Alternate Judge at Nuremberg.
March 13, 1946: Bob Cooper, correspondent for The Times: "We stirred with expectation when Göring left his corner seat in the dock and walked boldly to the witness box, his baggy trousers falling over high jackboots, a thick sheaf of papers under his arm. Not the Göring of pomp and power, but still a considerable figure."
March 13, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 80, defendant Hermann Göring is given vast latitude by the Tribunal to tell his life story. He will be at it for the next few days. No other defendant will be given so much uninterrupted time. "Göring: ...Then one day, on a Sunday in November or October of 1922...I went to this protest demonstration as a spectator, without having any connection with it. Various speakers from parties and organizations spoke there. At the end Hitler, too, was called for. I had heard his name once before briefly and wanted to hear what he had to say. He declined to speak and it was pure coincidence that I stood nearby and heard the reasons for his refusal. He did not want to disturb the unanimity of the demonstration; he could not see himself speaking, as he put it, to these tame, bourgeois pirates. He considered it senseless to launch protests with no weight behind them. This made a deep impression on me; I was of the same opinion..."
"...captivity had transformed the man (Göring). His trousers were baggy because prison food and some exercise had made him fitter than he had been for years. Weaning him from drugs had restored the clarity of his intellect and memory; his mind was fitter than ever. His courage was as great as it had ever been. He was not trammelled by false optimism or distracted by an urge to scrabble for loopholes of extenuation. 'Göring is certain he is going to be hanged,' said Werner Bross, one of his assistant counsel. 'But he says he will die like a man. Göring's vanity, which had handicapped his career, was now transformed into a possible strength. He was resolved to pass into history as the hero who had remained true to his cause and given his powers and his life to defend it...After completing his statement, Göring was examined be nearly all the defence counsel in turn. He rose to the occasion with seigneurial generosity and genuine cleverness. Everyone was afforded some protection some protection; everyone was presented with a suitable line of defence to develop, in some instances better than anything they were to manage later themselves. Even so, to be defended by Göring was not a source of unalloyed satisfaction. His favorite means of parrying charges against his fellow defendants was to employ disparagement...But where there was public praise it was for the style of Göring's statement and not its content. In spite of all his care in preperation and the brilliance of his performance, Göring had failed to convince." -From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa.
March 14, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 81, Hermann Göring testifies on his own behalf, answering a series of leading questions posed by his defense counsel. ...Dr Stahmer: What did you understand by the term "Master race"? Göring: I myself understood nothing by it. In none of my speeches, in none of my writings, will you find that term. It is my view that if you are a master you have no need to emphasize it. Dr Stahmer: What do you understand by the concept "living space"? Göring: That conception is a very controversial one. I can fully understand that powers who together -- I refer only to the four signatory powers -- call more than three-quarters of the world their own, explain this idea differently. But for us, where 144 people live in 1 square kilometer, the words "living space" meant the proper relation between a population and its nourishment, its growth, and its standard of living. Dr Stahmer: An expression which is always recurring is that of "seizure of power." Göring: I should like to call "seizure of power" a terminus technicus. We might just as well have used another term, but this actually expresses as clearly as possible what did in fact occur, that is to say, we seized power..."
March 14, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "This is the second Göring day as he was on the stand all day and he has made a most unusual witness, and I think quite a frank one. He admitted responsibility for many of the offenses and he is not cringing or crawling. He will go down fighting - somehow he makes me think of a captured lion. Of course I am not forgetting his part in all this business and much less am I unmindful of the facts that all of these top flight Nazis are spellbinders and fakers - that is how they did it - or part of how they did it anyway."
March 15, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 82, defendant Hermann Göring continues his testimony: "...Göring: Prisoners of war were used for anti-aircraft operations mainly for those stationary batteries at home which were for the protection of factories and cities. And indeed these were auxiliary volunteers. They were chiefly Russian prisoners of war, but not entirely as far as I remember. One must not forget that in Russia there were various racial groups who did not think alike and did not all have the same attitude to the system there. Just as there were so-called East Battalions made up of volunteers, so there were also a great number of volunteers who, after the announcement in the camps, reported for service in the anti-aircraft batteries. We also had an entire company of Russian prisoners of war who volunteered to fight against their own country. I did not think much of these people, but in time of war one takes what one can get. The other side did the same thing..."
March 15, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "Göring reveals himself as a very able man who percieves the intent of every question almost as soon as it is uttered. He has considerable knowledge, and has an advantage over the Prosecution in this respect, for he is always on familiar ground... ...If this procedure is followed (allowing the defendants all the time they care to consume on the stand) in the case of all the defendants...then the time taken will be so great that the trial will be written down as a failure. It will have done more to restore German belief in their leaders, and the verdicts against the leaders will be regarded by the German people as excessively unjust."
March 15, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...I was in court all day and Göring continued on and he gets bolder and more doctrinaire with each hour. He is a supreme egoist and a consumate liar but a charming rascal. He is also a forceful talker and he knows how to tell a story. The other defendants are taking courage from him now but if Jackson does the proper job on cross(-examination) they will soon get over this new found confidence..."
March 16, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 83, defendant Hermann Göring continues his testimony: "Göring: ...With the dynamic personality of the Führer, unsolicited advice was not in order, and one had to be on very good terms with him. That is to say, one had to have great influence, as I had - and I ask you to understand me correctly - as I had beyond doubt for many years, in order to come to him unsolicited, not only with advice, but also with suggestions or even persistent contradictions. On the other hand, if one were not on these terms with the Führer, suggestions and advice were curtly brushed aside whenever he had once made his decisions, or if he would not allow the would-be adviser to attain that influence or that influential position. Here I wish to say that the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in important and decisive questions certainly was no adviser. In current, everyday affairs, he was an adviser insofar as he may have suggested to the Fuehrer here and there that this or that should be said to the commanders, or that in regard to the movement of troops this or that should be pointed out. After all, advice from the chief of a general staff is still more important than advice from the chief of an organization or a state office. It was this way: In the sphere of important strategic and tactical decisions the chief responsibility lay with the adviser on the General Staff, the commanders-in-chief, the Chief of Staff, and the Fuehrer..."
March 16, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From the notes of the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, Dr. Gilbert: "Von Schirach was very pleased with his hero (Goering). He thought it would be political madness to sentence him, because he was so popular, even in America, 'and now you can see why he was so popular.' He thought that Ribbentrop was far more guilty for the war." (Taylor)
"I had prepared a rather careful cross-examination of Göring because of the difficulties of the case with which the Americans were charged...As I had originally planned the cross-examination, I had thought to confront him first with the documents showing his criminal acts. Among other things he had signed some eighteen decrees which embodied the whole anti-Semetic program. We had evidence of his looting of art treasures, of his financial irregularities that he would not like to admit. I had thought it might be wise to first confront him with these and rather to take the conceit out of him. Then I planned to turn to the political questions which I was obliged to go into because we had to sustain our charge of general conspiracy - that from the begining it was the purpose of these men who got together in top Nazi ranks to overthrow the Weimar Republic, to suppress the liberty of the Geerman people, to force the preoeration for war, and to conduct war without declaring it. However, as the direct examination of Göring went, I became convinced that I should reverse the process and should start by flatering him and induce him to display his Nazi attitudes as much as possible, instead of humiliating him..." -From the oral history memoirs of Justice Robert Jackson. (Taylor)
March 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 84, defendant Hermann Göring deftly fields cross-examination by the prosecution: "...Justice Jackson: By the time of January 1945 you also knew that you were unable to defend the German cities against the air attacks of the Allies, did you not? Göring: Concerning the defense of German cities against Allied air attacks, I should like to describe the possibility of doing this as follows: Of itself ... Justice Jackson: Can you answer my question? Time may not mean quite as much to you as it does to the rest of us. Can you not answer 'yes' or 'no'? Did you then know, at the same time that you knew that the war was lost, that the German cities could not successfully be defended against air attack by the enemy? Can you not tell us 'yes' or 'no'? Göring: I can say that I knew that, at that time, it was not possible. Justice Jackson: And after that time it was wen known to you that the air attacks which were continued against England could not turn the tide of war, and were designed solely to effect a prolongation of what you then knew was a hopeless conflict? Göring: I believe you are mistaken. After January 1945 there were no more attacks on England, except perhaps a few single planes, because at that time I needed all my petrol for the fighter planes for defense. If I had had bombers and oil at my disposal, then, of course, I should have continued such attacks up to the last minute as retaliation for the attacks which were being carried out on German cities, whatever our chances might have been. Justice Jackson: What about robot attacks? Were there any robot attacks after January 1945? Göring: Thank God, we still had one weapon that we could use. I have just said that, as long as the fight was on, we had to hit back; and as a soldier I can only regret that we did not have enough of these V-1 and V-2 bombs, for an easing of the attacks on German cities could be brought about only if we could inflict equally heavy losses on the enemy. Justice Jackson: And there was no way to prevent the war going on as long as Hitler was the head of the German Government, was there? Göring: As long as Hitler was the Führer of the German people, he alone decided whether the war was to go on. As long as my enemy threatens me and demands absolutely unconditional surrender, I fight to my last breath..."
March 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From a report to the British Foreign Office by Patrick Dean: "...Justice Jackson began his cross-examination of Göring at noon today. It was very disappointing and unimpressive and has been severely critisized here. He never pressed Göring on any of the numerous matters on which the cross-examination touched even though Göring was frequently lying and good material for cross-examination exists. In consequence Göring indulged in much Nazi propaganda and showed everything in the most favorable light for himself..."
March 18, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...Defense Counsel interrogated Göring with respect to various features of the case which involved their own clients. Of course it was lengthy and in many cases repetitive but in the long run it will probably save time. Göring was in his element, obviously enjoying his position as a witness and particularly in his pose as the successor to Hitler and the No. 1 Nazi now alive. He readily went out of his way to take shots at the Allied countries. We all thought the examination was terribly lengthy and our spirits sank because if this was any standard then our chances of finishing this case in anything like a reasonable time are practicaly nil. The Justice began his cross-examination late in the morning and for the rest of that session he had Goering pretty well on the ropes but the Tribunal simply would not curtail Göring in his answers. Immediately after the session the Justice called a meeting of the Chief Prosecutors and also invited me to attend. General Rudenko had already left the building so that the Russians were not represented. The Justice was very much disturbed about the way the Court was permitting Göring to make speeches and it was the unanimous opinion of Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, Champetier de Ribes and myself that the Justice was absolutely right about it. We all talked it out and I have never seen the Justice as disturbed as he appeared to be. However it was decided that he would make a strong effort immediately in the next session to require the Court to control Göring..."
March 18, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "...At 12:15...Mr. Justice Jackson rose to begin the long awaited cross-examination...but before the adjournment had been reached it was clear that all the high hopes were to be disappointed...The cross-examination had not proceeded more than ten minutes before it was seen that he (Göring) was the complete master of Mr. Justice Jackson...(who) despite his great abilities and charm and his great powers of exposition had never learnt the very first elements of cross-examination as it is understood in the English courts. He was overwhelmed by his documents, and there was no chance of the lightning questions following upon some careless or damaging answer, no quick parry and thrust, no leading the witness on to the prepared pitfall, and above all no clear over-riding conception of the great issues which could have been put with simplicity and power..."
March 19, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 85, Swedish industrialist Birger Dahlerus gives testimony on behalf of his freind, Hermann Göring. "...Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Now, just let me put it to you -- it is quite short -- how you described it at the time, and you tell me if it is right, "If there should be a war," he said, "Dann werde ich U-Boote bauen, U-Boote, U-Boote!" and he raised his voice each time? Dahlerus: Yes. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: "The voice became more indistinct and finally one could not follow him at all. Then he pulled himself together, raised his voice as though addressing a large audience and shrieked - shrieked - "Ich werde Flugzeuge bauen, Flugzeuge bauen, Flugzeuge, Flugzeuge, und ich werde meine Feinde vernichten."' And you go on to say: "Just then he seemed more like a phantom from a story book than a real person. I stared at him in amazement and turned to see how Göring reacted, but he did not turn a hair." Now, would you mind turning on to Page 53? No, just one sentence before the bit I read on Page 47, I just want to get that clear. You say: "His words became blurred and his behavior was that of a completely abnormal person." Now, you turn to Page 53. I want you to tell the Tribunal your impression of the way he treated the Defendant Göring. The Tribunal has heard a lot about the relations between them. At the bottom of the page you say this: "From the very beginning of our conversation I had resented his manner toward Göring, his most intimate friend and comrade from the years of struggle. His desire to dominate was explicable, but to require such obsequious humility, as Göring now exhibited, from his closest collaborator seemed to me excessively repellent and unprepossessing." Would you just turn over to Page 54, the fifth line from the end? "I realized that I was dealing with a person who could not be considered normal." That was your considered view, was it not, Mr. Dahlerus? Dahlerus: It was the opinion I formed the first time I met him. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: That was the Chancellor of Germany..."
March 19, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...After Dahlerus had testified Göring went back to the stand. Justice Jackson resumed his cross-examination and obviously Göring was needled up, also resentful because he had been made to look badly, and he proceeded to become arrogant, impertinent and unresponsive. Things went from bad to worse and the defense lawyers ganged up to complain that they had not recieved copies of documents that the Justice was using in cross-examination. This, of course, was senseless to us as the element of surprise in cross-examination is one of the fundamentals. But strangely the Tribunal temporized and did not take a very strong stand. This was apparently the beginings of the difficulties and from that time on Göring really got out of hand with Biddle apparently opposing the Justice and making cross-examination extremely difficult."
March 20, 1946 On day 86, as Hermann Göring is cross-examined by Justice Jackson, the chief US prosecutor goes off on a rant. "Jackson: ...If the Tribunal please, the last question which I asked last night referring to mobilization preparations in the Rhineland, as shown in the official transcript, was this: "But of a character which had to be kept entirely secret from foreign powers?" The answer was: "I do not believe I can recall the publication of the preparations of the United States for mobilization." Now, representing the United States of America, I am confronted with these choices -- to ignore that remark and allow it to stand for people who do not understand our system; or to develop, at considerable expense of time, its falsity; or to answer it in rebuttal. The difficulty arises from this, Your Honor, that if the witness is permitted to volunteer statements in cross-examination there is no opportunity to make objection until they are placed on the record. Of course, if such an answer had been indicated by a question of counsel, as I respectfully submit would be the orderly procedure, there would have been objection; the Tribunal would have been in a position to discharge its duty under the Charter and I would have been in a position to have shortened the case by not having that remark placed..."
March 20, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "...The trial from now on is really outside the control of the Tribunal, and in the long months ahead the prestige of the trial will steadily diminish..."
"As the trial moved out of its preparatory period of massive, static documentation and entered its period of skirmishing and battle in the open, where the brains and personalities of the opponents were what counted, Jackson began to show inadequacies as the leading Allied man. Up to then his main contribution to this very special legal scene had been the high humanitarianism which marked his fine opening address in November. Beneath that humanitarianism there lies his burning private conviction that the Nazi prisoners are mere common criminals. This, too logically, led to his treating them in a blustering police court manner, which was successful with the craven small fry but disastrous for him in cross-examining that uncommon criminal, Göring, himself accustomed to blustering in a grander way. Even physically, Jackson cut a poor figure. He unbuttoned his coat, whisked it back over his hips, and, with his hands in his back pockets, spraddled and teetered like a country lawyer. Not only did he sem to lack the background and wisdom of our Justice Holmes tradition, but his prepared European foreground was full of holes, which he fell into en route to setting traps for Göring." -From 'Janet Flanner's World' by Janet Flanner.
March 20, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...The Justice continued his cross-examination of Göring and gave him a good pasting with documents and new information at our disposal...we discovered only the night before one document which showed Göring as advocating cruel treatment for American and British flyers who were prisoners of war. The cross-examination continued all day with the Justice looking very good and Göring looking very poorly..."
March 20, 1946 Albert Speer, in conversation with Dr. Gilbert: "You know, when Jackson cross-examines Göring, you can see that they represent two entirely opposite worlds - they don't even understand each other. Jackson asks him if he didn't help plan the invasion of Holland and Belgium and Norway, expecting Göring to defend himself against a criminal accusation, but instead Göring says, Why yes, of course, it took place thus and so, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to invade a neutral country if it suits your strategy." (Gilbert)
March 21, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: On day 87, Hermann Göring undergoes effective cross-examination by the prosecution: "...Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Do you still seek to justify and glorify Hitler after he had ordered the murder of these 50 young flying officers at Stalag Luft Number III? Göring: I am here neither to justify the Führer Adolf Hitler nor to glorify him. I am here only to emphasize that I remained faithful to him, for I believe in keeping one's oath not in good times only, but also in bad times when it is much more difficult. As to your reference to the 50 airmen, I never opposed the Führer so clearly and strongly as in this matter, and I gave him my views about it. After that no conversation between the Führer and myself took place for months. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: The Führer, at any rate, must have had full knowledge of what was happening with regard to concentration camps, the treatment of the Jews, and the treatment of the workers, must he not? Göring: I already mentioned it as my opinion that the Führer did not know about details in concentration camps, about atrocities as described here. As far as I know him, I do not believe he was informed. But insofar as he ... Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: I am not asking about details; I am asking about the murder of four or five million people. Are you suggesting that nobody in power in Germany, except Himmler and perhaps Kaltenbrunner, knew about that? Göring: I am still of the opinion that the Führer did not know about those figures..."
March 22, 1946 On day 88, Hermann Göring's cross-examination by the prosecution concludes. "...General Rudenko: On 8 March, here in the Tribunal, your witness Bodenschatz stated that you told him in March 1945 that many Jews were killed and that for that you will have to pay dearly. Do you remember this testimony of your witness? Göring: This testimony, in the form in which it was translated now, I do not recollect at all. The witness Bodenschatz never said it that way. I ask that the record of the session be brought in. General Rudenko: How did Bodenschatz say that? Do you remember? Göring: That if we lost the war we would have to pay dearly. General Rudenko: Why? For the murders which you had perpetrated? Göring: No, quite generally, and after all, we have experienced just that..."
March 22, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "Today saw the end of Göring on the stand and of his defense - at last...Jackson argues well for our side and the defense put up a strong fight and one or two of them again came very close to insolence. The court temporized again but did finally admit that Göring had been allowed to make speeches and that it must stop. This was a victory for us and I know now that these judges are begining to know that we have them licked and particularly that faker Biddle...Late in the afternoon (of March 21) Rudenko began to cross-examine Göring and Göring snarled answers at him. This morning Göring proceeded to attack the Russians for their conduct in the war - and while I hold no brief for them I do feel that this forum is not for the purpose of trying the Russians and also I thought it might help the international situation - so I suggested to Jackson that he support Rudenko in objecting to this sort of evidence. He did it and the court ruled it out. Rudenko came over to our table and thanked the Justice for his help..."
March 24, 1946 As his defense is about to get underway, Hess reveals to Dr Gilbert that he does not intend to take the stand 'because he did not want to be subjected to the embarrassment of not being able to answer the questions the prosecution would ask.' Note: Since Hess will neither give testimony nor be cross-examined, his defense will last only a day and a half. Göring's, by far the longest defense, went a dozen days; the average for the other defendants will be about four days of defense. (Gilbert, Taylor)
March 26, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...I had a long talk with Bill Jackson tonight about the case. I told him that unless we moved it along we would never finish it. The Justice is ill in bed and will not be back for a few days. I think he is worn out from his experience with Göring - he has been on the bench too long to take the cross-examination work..."
April 8, 1946 On day 102, Keitel is cross-examined by the prosecution: "...Keitel: I recall very distinctly my discussion with Reich Marshal Göring at the Berghof. We waited for Hitler who was to give a speech to the generals. This must have been at about the same time. In this discussion two points were mentioned. Point one was the conception of the desired or how should I say of the planned or the conceived lynch law. The second question was that my influence with Hitler had not been strong enough to definitely settle this matter. These two points I talked over with Göring that day. We established that the entire method discussed here should be the prerequisite for the free use of lynch law, that we agreed that as soldiers we rejected it; and secondly, I asked him most urgently to use his influence with Hiker so that he might desist from such measures. This discussion took place at the Berghof in the anteroom of the hall where Hitler addressed the generals. I remember this very distinctly. I just looked over the correspondence which was exchanged all along. I only recognize certain fragments. They deal with the deliberations on a measure desired by Hitler which, thank goodness, never was adopted, as corresponding orders were not issued..."
April 8, 1946 Chief US prosecutor Justice Jackson writes a long message to the US War Department; an excerpt: "My position was stated to be, first, that no commitment by the United States to participate in another international trial exists and none should be made until the result of this trial is known. Second, one trial will accomplish one of the primary purposes, which was to authenticate and document the history of the Nazi conspiricy, aggression, and atrocities. Third, if this tribunal should hold the case against Schacht insufficiant, the precedent would embarrass the trial and probably preclude the conviction of other industrialists. Fourth, that the United States has not undertaken to act as host at Nuremberg to more than one trial which has involved very considerable cost, and that I am not now prepared to recommend a repitition...From the point of view of proving our case for history I am completely satisfied and would think another trial would add little relatively to that. Rumors about the judges' attitude float about Nuremberg just as they do about any county seat. Without relying too much on them it is possible of course that some defendants, possibly Schacht, will be acquitted. In that event we should certainly not proceed with weaker cases before an International Military Tribunal." (Conot)
April 10, 1946 On day 104, General Adolf Westhoff, a witness for Keital, is cross-examined: "......Dr Stahmer: Witness, did you depose the statement from your own knowledge or did you learn of this fact only through Field Marshal Keitel, namely, the fact that the meeting mentioned by you between Hitler, Himmler, and Keitel regarding the escape of these 80 flyers is supposed to have taken place in the presence of Reich Marshal Göring? Westhoff: I learned of it through Field Marshal Keitel. Dr Stahmer: I have no further questions..."
April 13, 1946 On day 107 of deliberations, Justice Jackson opens the morning session with an unscheduled rant from the lectern: "Jackson: ...I should like to take up a matter before the examination of the witnesses, if I may ask the indulgence of the Tribunal. I regret to say that this matter of printing documents has proceeded in its abuses to such an extent that I must close the document room to printing documents for German counsel. Now, that is a drastic step, but I know of nothing less that I can do and I submit the situation to the Tribunal. We received from the General Secretary's office an order to print and have printed a Document Book Number I for Rosenberg. That document book does not contain one item in its 107 pages that, by any stretch of the imagination, can be relevant to this proceeding. It is violent anti-Semitism and the United States simply cannot be put in the position, even at the order - which I have no doubt was an ill-considered one - of the Secretary of the Tribunal, of printing and disseminating to the press just plain anti-Semitism; and that is what this document is. Now, I ask you to consider what it is. I should say it consists of two kinds of things: anti-Semitism and what I would call, with the greatest respect to those who think otherwise, rubbish. And this is an example of the rubbish we are required to print at the expense of the United States and I simply cannot be silent any longer..."
April 13, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "...The subject (printing documents; see above item) was unimportant, but the manner of Jackson's appearance was revealing and disturbing. He is a thoroughly upset man because of his failure in cross-examining Göring..."
April 13, 1946 From an account by Mr. Francis Biddle, Chief Judge for the United States: "...Bob Jackson came to see (Judge) Parker and me after lunch in a very wild and uncontrolled mood. Apparently the criticism of his cross-examination of Göring has got under his skin. He threatens to resign - this is not new; talks about refusing any printing of documents he does not approve (irrespective, apparently, of what we order!); says Lawrence (The President) always rules against the Americans (this is absurd); says immense trouble has been caused to the moral of his organization by Katherine's (Biddle's wife) coming over (to which I say perhaps but that was authorized by the President)...Bob still contends that the defendants are ingaged in active propaganda, and the Tribunal is falling into disrepute, that Thoma violated an order (he doesn't know the facts). Parker and I tried to cool him off, said we'd help to prevent unnecessary printing, and agreed that Lawrence is too easy-going. Bob certainly has it in for me. He's very bitter. He seems to me very unfair and unhappy. I am sorry for him."
April 13, 1946 On day 108 of deliberations, Kaltenbrunner's defense calls Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, commandant of Auswitz, to the stand. The court listens in silence to the horrible testimony concerning millions murdered. Only Göring and Dönitz manage a comment later to Gilbert. Both remark that Hoess is obviously a South German; a Prussian could never have done such things. (Tusa)
April 15, 1946 The court listens in silence to the horrible testimony of Rudolf Hoess concerning millions murdered. Only Göring and Dönitz manage a comment later: Both remark that Hoess is obviously a South German; a Prussian could never have done such things. Astonished by his matter-of fact apathy, Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, questions Hoess on the subject: Hoess: "Don't you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never occurred to us. And besides, it was something already taken for granted that the Jews were to blame for everything...It was not just newspapers like 'Stürmer' but it was everything we ever heard. Even our military and ideological training took for granted that we had to protect Germany from the Jews...We were all so trained to obey orders without even thinking that the thought of disobeying an order would never have occurred to anybody." (Gilbert, Tusa)
April 18, 1946 On day 111, Hans Frank delivers his controversial testimony. From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa: "The defendants in the dock had listened to Frank's testimony intently, leaning forward and following every word. At lunch, Papen and Syss-Inquart gave him some words of encouragement. But most of the others had been horrified by what they heard. Fancy saying that Germay had been disgraced! Frank, however, was delighted with his testimony, proud that he had stood out from the other defendants who always claimed ignorance of what was going on. 'I DID know what was going on. I think that the judges are really impressed when one of us speaks from the heart and doesn't try to dodge the responsibility.' Schirach had certainly been impressed. Having wavered for so long he was now inspired to make a clean breast of things himself; to declare that everyone had been misled by Hitler on the racial question. As Schacht noticed, Schirach's mood was the first sign that Goering had lost control over the other defendants. Frank had damaged the united front. Schacht himself was prepared to go further. He wanted to make accusations against fellow defendants - Göring, Ribbentrop, Keital and Raeder were his chosen targets. 'My people must be shown,' he declared 'how the Nazi leaders plunged them into an un-necessary war.' So by mid-April the defendants were clearly divided." (Tusa)
April 18, 1946: From 'Nuremberg Diary' by Gustave Gilbert:" Sweating in his cell in the evening, Göring was defensive and deflated and not very happy over the turn the trial was taking. He said that he had no control over the actions or the defense of the others, and that he had never been anti-Semitic himself, had not believed these atrocities, and that several Jews had offered to testify in his behalf. If (Hans) Frank (Governor-General of occupied Poland) had known about atrocities in 1943, he should have come to him and he would have tried to do something about it. He might not have had enough power to change things in 1943, but if somebody had come to him in 1941 or 1942 he could have forced a showdown. (I still did not have the desire at this point to tell him what [SS General Otto] Ohlendorf had said to this: that Göring had been written off as an effective "moderating" influence, because of his drug addiction and corruption.) I pointed out that with his "temperamental utterances," such as preferring the killing of 200 Jews to the destruction of property, he had hardly set himself up as champion of minority rights. Göring protested that too much weight was being put on these temperamental utterances. Furthermore, he made it clear that he was not defending or glorifying Hitler...We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction. "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Göring shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship." "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars." "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
April 19, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...The court recessed yesterday at 4:30 PM after a day which saw Hans Frank take the witness stand and make the most dramatic admissions of the trial. He has become a Catholic and I guess it took. We expected him to be a most ornery defendant - his record in Poland was wicked. Well, you no doubt know from the press that he practically admitted his guilt. We saw little need for cross-examination. I asked him only a few questions hoping to get even more admissions from him. I got only one. He stung Göring on his theft of art treasures. We also finished two of his witnesses and as a result we moved nearer to the end..."
April 24, 1946 On day 113, Frick's counsel, Dr Otto Pannenbecker, calls Hans Bernd Gisevius to the stand: "Gisevius: ...it was the Prussian Minister of the Interior Göring who considered this Secret State Police as his special preserve. During those months nothing happened in this office which was not known or ordered by Göring personally. I want to stress this, because in the course of years the public formed a different idea of Göring because he noticeably retired from his official functions. At that time, it was not yet the Göring who finally suffocated in his Karinhall. It was the Göring who looked after everything personally and had not yet begun to busy himself with the building of Karinhall or to don all sorts of uniforms and decorations. It was Göring still in civilian clothes, who was the real chief of an office, who inspired it, and who attached importance to being the 'iron' Goering..."
April 24, 1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trial: Schacht's delighted reaction to Gisevius's first day of testimony: "Now all the rotten business is coming to light. It was so stupid of the prosecution to indict me. My witness is their best witness." (Tusa)
April 25, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "This has been a very interesting day. The defense witness, Gisevius, has been on the stand and as you may have read in the press he completely destroyed the defendants - man by man, with the exception of Schacht, for whom he was a good witness - but not good enough in my opinion to exculpate Schacht or to save him from punishment. Justice Jackson cross-examined him and brought out amazing and indeed shocking information about these Nazis. The defendants looked very glum - and disconsolate and indeed they might. They are a group of evil, wicked men. This is perfectly clear to me - and I have been in a position to know. Gisevius did not complete his testimony when the court adjourned for the day. He will be on again in the morning...."
April 25, 1946 On day 114 Hans Bernd Gisevius continues his testimony: "Gisevius: ...Marshal Blomberg had already asked Göring severe months ago whether it was permissible to have an affair with a woman of low birth, and shortly thereafter he had asked Göring whether he would help him to obtain a dispensation to marry this lady "with a past" as he put it. Later Blomberg came again and told Göring that this lady of his choice unfortunately had another lover and he must ask Göring to help him, Blomberg, to get rid of that lover. Dr Dix: Excuse me. Göring told that to Helldorf and you learned it from Helldorf? Gisevius: Yes, that is what Göring said, and in the further course of the investigation we learned of it from other sources too. Göring then got rid of that lover by giving him foreign currency and sending him off to South America. In spite of that, Göring did not inform Hitler of this incident. He even went with Hitler, as a witness, to the wedding..."
April 26, 1946 On day 115 Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution: "...Mr Justice Jackson: May it please the Tribunal: Dr. Gisevius, yesterday you made some reference to Herbert Göring in saying that Schacht had sent word to you about the Gestapo microphones in Schacht's house. Will you tell us who Herbert Göring was in relation to the defendant? Gisevius: Herbert Göring was a cousin of the Defendant Göring. I had known him for many years. Herbert, as well as his brothers and sisters, warned me already years ago about the disaster which would overtake Germany if at any time a man like their cousin Hermann Göring should get a position of even the smallest responsibility. They acquainted me with the many characteristics of the defendant which all of us had come to know in the meantime, starting with his vanity, and continuing with his love of ostentation, his lack of responsibility, his lack of scruples, even to the extent of walking over the dead. In this way I already had some idea what to expect
May 1, 1946 On day 118, Schacht testifies on his own behalf: "Schacht: ...Hitler knew how to gather around him all bad elements, within the Party and its organization, and to chain tightly all those elements to himself, because he understood how to exploit shrewdly any mistake, slip-up, or misdemeanor on their part. Yesterday I talked about drunkenness as a constituent part of Nazi ideology; I did not do that with the purpose of degrading anyone personally. I did it for another quite definite reason. In the course of further developments, I observed that even many Party members who had fallen into this net of Hitler and who occupied more or less leading positions, gradually became afraid because of the consequences of the injustices and the evil deeds to which they were instigated by the regime. I had the definite feeling that these people resorted to alcohol and various narcotics in order to flee from their own conscience, and that it was only this flight from their own conscience that permitted them to act the way they did. Otherwise, there would be no explanation for the large number of suicides that took place at the end of the Nazi regime..."
May 1, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...Yesterday Schacht was on the stand all day. He is an old hypocrite - a typical banker, full of righteous phrases and evil designs and working both sides of the street. The Justice held him to a fairly direct line of testimony, but it is difficult to do much when the court is so weak. Today Schacht was on the stand all day - he will finish his direct testimony tomorrow..."
May 2, 1946 On day 120, Schacht is cross-examined: "...Mr Justice Jackson: Now, if we return to the Four Year Plan which began in 1936, as I understand it you opposed the appointment of Göring to have charge of the Four Year Plan on two grounds: First, you thought that that new plan might interfere with your functions; and secondly, if there were to be a Four Year Plan, you did not think Göring was fit to administer it? Schacht: I do not know what you mean by 'opposed.' I was not satisfied with it and considered the choice of Göring not the right one for any leading position in economics. Mr Justice Jackson: As a matter of fact you have described Göring as a fool in economics, have you not? Schacht: Yes, as one does say such things in a heated conversation. Mr Justice Jackson: Or in interrogation? Schacht: Interrogations are also sometimes heated. Mr Justice Jackson: Now, very soon Göring began to interfere with your functions, did he not? Schacht: He tried it repeatedly..."
May 3, 1946 Day 120, Schacht is cross-examined by Justice Jackson: "...Mr Justice Jackson: Now, is it not a fact that your controversy with Göring was a controversy of a personal character, between you and him, for control and not a controversy as to the question of armament? You both wanted to rearm as rapidly as possible. Schacht: I do not want to continue that play with words as to whether it was personal or anything else, Mr. Justice. I had differences with Göring on the subject; and if you ask whether it was on armament, speed, or extent, I reply that I was at greatest odds with Göring in regard to these points. I have never denied that I wanted to rearm in order to gain equality of position for Germany. I never wanted to rearm any further. Göring wanted to go further; and this is one difference which cannot be overlooked. Mr Justice Jackson: Now I do not want to play upon words; and if you say my reference to it as personal is a play upon words, you force me to go into what you told us about Göring. Is it not a fact that you told Major Tilley this? "Whereas I have called Hitler an amoral type of person, I can regard Göring only as immoral and criminal. Endowed by nature with a certain geniality which he managed to exploit for his own popularity, he was the most egocentric being imaginable. The assumption of political power was for him only a means to personal enrichment and personal good living. The success of others filled him with envy. His greed knew no bounds. His predilection for jewels, gold and finery, et cetera, was unimaginable. He knew no comradeship. Only as long as someone was useful to him did he profess friendship. Goering's knowledge in all fields in which a government member should be competent was nil, especially in the economic field. Of all the economic matters which Hitler entrusted to him in the autumn of 1936 he had not the faintest notion, though he created an immense official apparatus and misused his powers as lord of all economy most outrageously. In his personal appearance he was so theatrical that one could only compare him with Nero. A lady who had tea with his second wife reported that he appeared at this tea in a sort of Roman toga and sandals studded with jewels, his fingers bedecked with innumerable jewelled rings and generally covered with ornaments, his face painted and his lips rouged." Did you give that statement to Major Tilley? Schacht: Yes. Mr Justice Jackson: Yes. And you say you had no personal differences with Goering..."
May 8, 1946 On day 125, Dönitz testifies on his own behalf. Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, records that most of Dönitz's fellow defendants gave his peformance on the stand high marks. Göring jumped up, rubbed his hands, and declared to those around him, 'Ah, now I feel great for the first time in those weeks - Now we finally hear a decent German soldier speak for once.' (Taylor)
May 21, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "Yesterday, Raeder continued his testimony...I am continually shocked at the appearance of former German admirals, generals, cabinet officers, bankers, etc., who get on the witness stand under oath and proceed to lie in the most shameful manner. Little wonder that catastrophe attended them..."
May 21, 1946 Raeder's defense calls former Weimar politician Karl Severing to the stand: "...Severing: I retired from official public life in July 1932, and from political life when the Social Democratic Party was prohibited. Dr Siemers: Were you arrested when leaving public life in 1933, or perhaps at a later date and, if so, at whose order? Severing: I was arrested on the very same day on which the Enabling Act was scheduled to be read and passed in the Reichstag. The order for my arrest was signed by the then Minister of the Interior, Herr Göring, who at that time was also President of the Reichstag and, if I may utter an opinion, who would have had the obligation, as President of the Reichstag, to protect the immunity of the members of the Reichstag. Under breach of this immunity I was arrested the moment I entered the Reichstag building. Dr Siemers: But you participated in the vote on the Enabling Act? Severing: The Chairman of the Social Democratic Reichstag faction had complained to Göring against the treatment to which I was subjected with the result that I was given leave to vote. But the voting had already come to a close. However, Reichstag President Göring still permitted me to give my 'no' vote for the Enabling Act..."
May 23, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett: "When I consider the utter uselessness of acres of paper and thousands of words and that life's slipping away. I moan for the shocking waste of time, I used to protest vigorously and suggest matters to save time, but I have now got completely dispirited and can only chafe in impotent despair..."
May 24, 1946 Reactions to Schirach's second morning of testimony from 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Ann and John Tusa: "During the statement Gilbert had noticed the tension in the dock: Frank, Funk and Raeder dabbing their eyes, Streicher sneering. When Schirach went down to lunch he was congratulated by Fritzsche, Funk and Speer, and in their own room Papen, Neurath and Schacht agreed he was perfectly right in his judgement of Hitler. Göring had not been in court; he was excused on grounds of indisposition. Gilbert suspected that Göring was unwilling to sit through the embarrassment of hearing what Schirach was going to say. That evening Göring complained in equal measure of 'treachery' and 'sciata' - evidently suffering from all kinds of stabs in the back....Speer was delighted by what had happened. He suggested that he and Schirach should now call each other by the intimate 'du.' This invitation held out the prospect of an additional pleasure: 'Goering will have a stroke.'...." (Tusa)
June 20, 1946 On day 159, Speer testifies on his own behalf: "...Dr Flachsner: Herr Speer, the witness Stahl said in his written interrogatory that about the middle of February 1945 you had demanded from him a supply of the new poison gas in order to assassinate Hitler, Bormann, and Goebbels. Why did you intend to do this then? Speer: I thought there was no other way out. In my despair I wanted to take this step as it had become obvious to me since the beginning of February that Hitler intended to go on with the war at all costs, ruthlessly and without consideration for the German people. It was obvious to me that in the loss of the war he confused his own fate with that of the German people and that in his own end he saw the end of the German people as well. It was also obvious that the war was lost so completely that even unconditional surrender would have to be accepted. Dr Flachsner: Did you mean to carry through this assassination yourself, and why was your plan not realized? Speer: I do not wish to testify to the details here. I could only carry it through personally because from 20 July only a limited circle still had access to Hitler. I met with various technical difficulties..."
June 20, 1946 In his cell later, Göring reacts to Speers testimony: "This was a bad day. Damn that stupid fool Speer! Did you see how he disgraced himself in court today? Gott im himmel! Donnerwetter nochamal! How could he stoop so low as to do such a rotten thing to save his lousy neck! I nearly died with shame! To think that Germans will be so rotten to prolong this filthy life - to put it bluntly - to piss in front and crap behind a little longer! Herr Gott, Donnerwetter! Do you think I give that much of a damn about this lousy life? For myself, I don't give a damn if I get executed, or drown, or crash in a plane, or drink myself to death! But there is still a matter of honor in this damn life! Assasination attempt on Hitler! Ugh! Gott im Himmel! I could have sunk through the floor."
June 22, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...We finished von Papen and Speer and this morning we started von Neurath. Only Fritzsche remains in the dock. I did not cross-examine Speer - but I wish I had done so. I urged the Justice to do it. I felt he needed it as Speer was the last one for whom the US had primary responsibility - and I thought too that Speer would be easy and Jackson would look good. Well, he made a mess of it. That is, he did not do at all well. He just cannot cross-examine. Of that I am completely convinced. When the Göring case went so poorly I felt that Biddle had made Jackson's task very difficult - that Göring himself was a difficult man to examine. That perhaps the Justice had a bad day - that on the record it wasn't as bad as it sounded. With Schacht, I reasoned that Schacht was tough. We had a fairly weak case - and that Jackson was nervous because of his Göring situation and that all in all it wasn't too bad. But after yesterday - I know now - that the Justice simply does not have the ability to cross-examine. It shocks me that he doesn't know it himself. He could have avoided all this by exercising only the duties of chief counsel in a case of this size. Speer was ripe for the plucking - but it didn't work out. Of course he will not escape - we have far too much on him. But we could have destroyed him - as he really deserved. Well, anyway, we are moving along..."
June 25, 1946 On day 163, von Neurath is cross-examined by the Prosecution: "...Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Well, so you see that the Times and Manchester Guardian of that date gave the most circumstantial examples of typical murders of Jews? You must have seen that; you must have seen that the foreign press was saying it. Why did you think that it was distorted? What inquiry did you make to discover whether it was distorted? Neurath: Who-who-who-who gave me information about-about-about-murders? Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: I am putting it to you that it was in the foreign press. I have given you the two examples from the press of my own country; and' obviously from what Signor Mussolini was saying, it was in the press of other countries. You must have known what they were saying. What inquiries did you make to find out whether it was true or not? Neurath: I used the only way possible for me, namely through the police authorities concerned. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Did you ask Himmler, or did you ask the Defendant Göring? Neurath: Most certainly not. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: What? You asked Himmler? Or did you ask the Defendant Göring? Why not? Why not? He was the head, inventing the Gestapo and the concentration camps at that time. He would have been a very good man to ask, would he not? Neurath: The man who could have given me information was the chief, the supreme head of the Police, and it was in no way personally... Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Did you ask the Defendant Frick? Neurath: In any case, I did not ask him personally..."
June 28, 1946 On day 166, Fritzsche gives testimony during cross-examination: "Fritzsche: ...Dr. Goebbels announced in the '11 o'clock morning conference,' which has been mentioned quite frequently in this courtroom, that in the Dresden attack 40,000 people had been killed. It was not known then that the actual figure was a considerably higher one. Dr. Goebbels added that in one way or another an end would now have to be put to this terror; and Hitler was firmly determined to have English, American, and Russian flyers shot in Dresden in numbers equal to the figure of Dresden inhabitants who had lost their lives in this air attack. Then he turned to me and asked me to prepare and announce this action. There followed an incident: I jumped up and refused to do this. Dr. Goebbels broke off the conference, asked me to come to his room, and there a very heated discussion developed between us..."
July 4, 1946 On day 171, Dr Stahmer delivers his closing arguments in Göring's defense: "Stahmer: ...In itself the Charter is an exceptional law by the mere fact that it was created only against members of the Axis Powers and based on an agreement made for one year and subject to notice. If, in addition, it should abolish the maxim nu1la poena sine lege praevia, specifically for actions that were not only within the scope of German legality, but under most severe penalties had even been made a duty by the Government of the sovereign German State, then all understanding would cease- for the interpretation that the Court is bound by the Charter. Nor is an examination of the political aims connected with the Charter of any assistance. Justice Jackson has called the Charter and the Trial a step toward "creating a juridical guarantee that he who starts a war will pay for it personally." The American commentator Walter Lippmann stated elsewhere that the system of collective security for the prevention of wars had broken down because nobody was prepared to declare war on the country breaking the peace in order to help prevent a war which did not directly affect them. The means for combating the disease of war would have been just as bad as the disease itself. In consequence of the fiasco of the collective methods the conception of basing security in the future upon holding responsible those individual persons accountable for breaking the peace was evolved by the enemies of Germany in the last war. And this finally led to the Nuremberg Trial. Taking one's starting point from this fact, today one might say: During this second World War revolutionary developments have taken place; it has driven humanity beyond the bounds of what was the modern age until a short time ago. The first but essential steps to create a world state have been made. The way to peace, as shown here, will be welcomed on principle, although one will still doubt its absolute reliability. Justice Jackson himself has expressed doubts whether punishment will serve to intimidate and thus help prevent breaking the peace in the future. Only somebody certain of victory will decide to wage a war and thus will not seriously consider punishment, which would reach him only in the case of defeat..."
July 5, 1946 On day 172, Dr Stahmer fnishes his closing arguments in Göring's defense: "Stahmer: ...Certainly he knew that there still were concentration camps, also that the number of inmates had risen because of war tension and that they contained foreigners because of the expansion of the war machine over all of Europe; but the terrible happenings which have been disclosed in this Trial were unknown to him. He knew nothing of the inhuman experiments which were being carried out on inmates in misinterpretation of true scientific methods. The testimony of the witness Field Marshal Milch has shown that the Luftwaffe was not interested in these experiments and that the defendant personally did not learn anything specific at all about this matter. By no means did the establishment of concentration camps as such have anything to do with the later extermination of Jews, which apparently originated in Heydrich's and Himmler's brains and was kept secret in a masterly manner until it was disclosed after the collapse as the horror of Auschwitz and Maidanek. This brings me to the Jewish question. The Defendant Göring has explained in detail his views on the Jewish question during his interrogation as witness; furthermore, he has shown in all detail the reasons which influenced the National Socialist Party and, after the seizure of power, the State, to take a hostile attitude toward the Jews..."
July 12, 1946 From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe (assistant defense attorney for Raeder): "From a court source...the rumor went round today that, irrespective of the final pleas, the Tribunal was so far advanced with its findings that, as things stood, death sentences must be reckoned with except for Schacht, Papen and Fritzsche..."
July 16, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...The defendants reflect the ending of these proceedings. They seem to feel that the days are definitely numbered. Even Göring, who has been positively impish up to very recently, now is gray and crestfallen..."
July 22, 1946 On day 187, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Göring. "Justice Jackson: ...In 1933 Göring forecast the whole program of purposeful cruelty and oppression when he publicly announced: "Whoever in the future raises a hand against a representative of the National Socialist movement or of the State must know that he will lose his life in a very short while"...It is hard to say whether the spectacle of Germany's Number 2 leader urging his people to give up every comfort and strain every sinew on essential war work while he rushed around confiscating art by the trainload should be cast as tragedy or comedy. In either case it was a crime...Nowhere do we find a single instance where any one of the defendants stood up against the rest and said: "This thing is wrong and I will not go along with it." Wherever they differed, their differences were as to method or disputes over jurisdiction, but always within the framework of the common plan...On whom did Hitler rely for such things more than upon these men in the dock? Who led him to believe he had an invincible air armada if not Göring? Who kept disagreeable facts from him? Did not Göring forbid Field Marshal Milch to warn Hitler that in his opinion Germany was not equal to the war upon Russia? Did not Göring, according to Speer, relieve General Galland of his air force command for speaking of the weaknesses and bungling of the air forces?...Nowhere is the whole catalog of crimes of Nazi oppression and terrorism within Germany so well integrated with the crime of war as in that strange mixture of wind and wisdom which makes up the testimony of Hermann Göring."
July 22, 1946 From 'The Nuremberg Trial' by Heydecker and Leeb: "At lunchtime, when Jackson's speech was finished, Gilbert observed the reaction of the defendants. It was 'hurt surprise that the prosecution still considered them criminals.' 'What have we been sitting here for eight months for?' protested Papen. 'The prosecution isn't paying the slightest attention to our defense.' Dönitz and Schacht joined in and denounced Jackson's speech - 'it had a very low niveau,' thought Schacht. Göring was not surprised, he said, that the defense had had so little impact: 'Thing whole trial is a farce.' He expressed pleasure that those 'who kowtowed to the prosecution' and denounced Nazism had 'got it in the neck just the same' and claimed to be delighted by the way Jackson had described him: 'I'd rather be called a murderer than a hypocrite and opportunist like Schacht.' His delight increased next day when he had logged the transcript of the speech: 'I was way out front with forty-two mentions and Schacht was a poor second.' Streicher had been hardly interested in the speech at all, just rather puzzled by Jackson's estimate of the number of Jews murdered: 'I don't think it was six million...maybe four million.' He said he had been deeply impressed recently by reading about Jewish riots in Palestine. 'Anybody who can fight and resist and stick together...for such people I can only have the greatest respect...I would be ready to join them now and help them in their fight.' Perhaps he could go as soon as the trial was over, he thought. Jodl and Rosenberg listened for a while wide-eyed, then roared with laughter."
July 23, 1946 On day 188, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments: "Shawcross: ...Göring's responsibility in all these matters is scarcely to be denied. Behind his spurious air of bonhomie, he was as great an architect as any in this satanic system. Who, apart from Hitler, had more knowledge of what went on, or greater influence to affect its course? The conduct of government in the Nazi State, the gradual build-up of the organization for war, the calculated aggression, the atrocities-these things do not occur spontaneously or without the closest co-operation between the holders of the various offices of state. Men do not advance into foreign territory, pull the trigger, drop their bombs, build the gas chambers, collect the victims, unless they are organized and ordered' to do it. Crimes on the national and systematic scale which occurred here must involve anyone who forms a part of the necessary chairs, since without that participation, plans for aggression here, mass murder there, would become quite impossible. The Führer Principle by which the Nazis placed their bodies and their very souls at the disposal of their leader was the creation of the Nazi Party, and of these men. When I addressed you at the opening of this Trial, I remarked that there comes a time when a man must choose between his conscience and. his leader. No one who chooses, as these men did, to abdicate their consciences in favor of this monster of their own creation can complain now if they are held responsible for complicity in what their monster did..."
July 23, 1946 As the defendants leave the dock after Shawcross's closing speech, Göring turns to Ribbentrop and quips: "There, it is just as if we hadn't made any defense at all." Later, in his cell he will tell Gilbert that "compared to Shawcross, Jackson was downright chivalrous." (Tusa)
July 29, 1946 On day 189, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments: "Dubost: ...They stopped at nothing in order to achieve their end: Violation of treaties, invasion, and enslavement in peacetime of weak and peaceful neighbors, wars of aggression, and total warfare, with all the atrocities which these words imply. Göring and Ribbentrop cynically admitted that they took both a spiritual and a material part in it; and the generals and admirals did their utmost to help matters forward. Speer exploited to the point of exhaustion and death the manpower recruited for him by Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, the NSDAP Gauleiter, and the generals. Kaltenbrunner made use of the gas chambers, the victims for which were furnished by Frick, Schirach, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Jodl, Keitel, and the rest. But the existence of the gas chambers themselves was only made possible through the development of a political ideology favorable to such things; there, inextricably merged, we find the responsibility of all of them - Göring, Hess, Rosenberg, Streicher, Frick, Frank, Fritzsche, down to Schacht himself, the pro-Jewish Schacht. Did he not say to Hirschfeld: "I want Germany to be great; to accomplish this I am prepared to ally myself with the very devil." He did enter into this alliance with the devil and with hell. We may include Papen, who saw his secretaries and his friends killed around him and still continued to accept official missions in Ankara and Vienna because he thought he could appease Hitler by serving him..."
July 29, 1946 On day 189, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments: "Rudenko: ...Göring was tireless in his efforts to annihilate everybody and everything which hampered this conspiracy. And Hitler praised him for this. For example, on 13 July 1934 he declared to the Reichstag that Göring, '. . .with his iron fist smashed the attack against the National Socialist State before this attack could become effective.' All these terroristic activities of Göring were calculated to clear the way for the realization of the fundamental idea of the fascist conspiracy, that is, the conquest of Europe and, later, to achieve world supremacy of Hitlerite Germany. The legal proceedings have established Goering's guilt..."
August 20, 1946 - Day 207 - Hermann Goering returns to the witness stand.
August 30, 1946 On day 216, the defendants make their final statements. "...The President: Article 24 D (j) provides that each defendant may make a statement to the Tribunal. I therefore now can upon the defendants who wish--whether they wish to make statements. Defendant Hermann Wilhelm Göring. Final Statement of Hermann Wilhelm Göring: "The Prosecution, in the final speeches, has treated the defendants and their testimony as completely worthless. The statements made under oath by the defendants were accepted as absolutely true when they could serve to support the Indictment, but conversely the statements were characterized as perjury when they refuted the Indictment. That is very elementary, but it is not a convincing basis for demonstration of proof. The Prosecution uses the fact that I was the second man of the State as proof that I must have known everything that happened. But it does not present any documentary or other convincing proof in cases where I have denied under oath that I knew about certain things, much less desired them. Therefore, it is only an allegation and a conjecture when the Prosecution says, "Who should have known that if not Goering, who was the successor of the Führer?" Repeatedly we have heard here how the worst crimes were veiled with the most secrecy. I wish to state expressly that I condemn these terrible mass murders to the utmost, and cannot understand them in the least. But I should like to state clearly once more before the High Tribunal, that I have never decreed the murder of a single individual at any time, and neither did I decree any other atrocities or tolerate them, while I had the power and the knowledge to prevent them. The new allegation presented by Mr. Dodd in his final speech, that I had ordered Heydrich to kill the Jews, lacks every proof and is not true either. There is not a single order signed by me or signed in my behalf that enemy fliers should be shot or turned over to the SD. And not a single case has been established where units of my Luftwaffe carried out things like that. The Prosecution has repeatedly submitted some documents which contain alleged statements, reported and written down at third and fourth hand, without my having previously seen these statements in order to correct erroneous ideas or to preclude misunderstandings. How easily completely distorted reports can arise from third hand notes is also proven, among other things, by the stenographic transcript of these court sessions, which often needed correction when checked. The Prosecution brings forward individual statements over a period of 25 years, which were made under completely different circumstances and without any consequences arising from them at the time, and quotes them as proof of intent and guilt, statements which can easily be made in the excitement of the moment and of the atmosphere that prevailed at the time. There is probably not one leading personage on the opposing side who did not speak or write similarly in the course of a quarter of a century. Out of all the happenings of these 25 years, from conferences, speeches, laws, actions, and decisions, the Prosecution proves that everything was desired and intended from the beginning according to a deliberate sequence and an unbroken connection. This is an erroneous conception which is entirely devoid of logic, and which will be rectified some day by history, after the proceedings here have proved the incorrectness of these allegations. Mr. Jackson, in his final speech, points out the fact that the signatory states are still in a state of war with Germany, and that because of the unconditional surrender merely a state of truce prevails now. Now, international law is uniform. The same must apply to both sides. Therefore, if everything which is being done in Germany today on the part of the occupying powers is admissible under international law, then German was formerly in the same position, at least as regards France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece. If today the Geneva Convention no longer has any validity so far as Germans are concerned, if today in all parts of Germany industry is being dismantled and other great assets in all spheres can be carried away to the other states, if today the property of millions of Germans is being confiscated and many other serious infringements on freedom and property are taking place, then measures such as those taken by Germany in the countries mentioned above cannot have been criminal according to international law either. Mr. Jackson stated further that one cannot accuse and punish a state, but rather that one must hold the leaders responsible. One seems to forget that Germany was a sovereign state, and that her legislation within the German nation was not subject to the jurisdiction of foreign countries. No state ever gave notice to the Reich at the proper time, pointing out that any activity for National Socialism would be made subject to punishment and persecution. On the other hand, if we, the leaders as individuals, are called to account and condemned--very well; but you cannot punish the German people at the same time. The German people placed their trust in the Fuehrer, and under his authoritarian government they had no influence on events. Without knowledge of the grave crimes which have become known today, the people, loyal, self-sacrificing, and courageous, fought and suffered through the life-and-death struggle which had broken out against their will. The German people are free of guilt. I did not want a war, nor did I bring it about. I did everything to prevent it by negotiations. After it had broken out, I did everything to assure victory. Since the three greatest powers on earth, together with many other nations, were fighting against us, we finally succumbed to their tremendous superiority. I stand up for the things that I have done, but I deny most emphatically that my actions were dictated by the desire to subjugate foreign peoples by wars, to murder them, to rob them, or to enslave them, or to commit atrocities or crimes. The only motive which guided me was my ardent love for my people, its happiness, its freedom, and its life. And for this I call on the Almighty and my German people to witness."
September 2, 1946 As the defendants await the courts judgement, Colonel Andrus somewhat relaxes the conditions of confinement and allows the prisoners limited visitation. Göring, who had refused to speak to Schirach after Schirach had joined Speer and Frizsche and 'confessed,' held out his hand and said: 'Let's bury it, Schirach. I know you are a patriot. Let's not spoil these last days before were hanged.' (Conot)
September 26, 1946 From the Daily Telegraph, byline by Rebecca West: "The judgement that is now about to be delivered has to answer a challenge which has been thrown down not only by Germans but by many critics among the Allies. It has to prove that victors can so rise above the ordinary limitations of human nature as to be able to try fairly the foes they vanquished, by submitting themselves to the restraints of law...The meeting of the challenge will also warn all future war-mongers that law can at last purue then into peace and thus give humanity a new defense against them. Hence the judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal may be one of the most important events in the history of civilization."
September 1-30, 1946 The thirty-two American journalists covering the trial had created a blackboard in the foreign press room listing the correspondents' predictions concerning the defendants' sentences in columns headed 'Guilty,' 'Not Guilty,' 'Death Sentence' and 'Prison.' The pressmen were unanimous on the death sentence only for Göring, Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner; as regards the rest, bets on the death sentence were: Keital and Sauckel 29, Hans Frank 27, Seyss-Inquart 26, Rosenberg 24, Hess 17, Raeder 15, Dönitz and Streicher 14, Jodl 13, Frick 12, Speer 11, von Schirach 9, von Papen 6, Schact 4, von Neurath 3 and Fritzsche 1. (Maser)
September 30, 1946 On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgements are read in open court: Final Judgement: "Göring is indicted on all four Counts. The evidence shows that after Hitler he was the most prominent man in the Nazi regime. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, and had tremendous influence with Hitler, at least until 1943, when their relationship deteriorated, ending in his arrest in 1945. He testified that Hitler kept him informed of all important military and political problems. Crimes against Peace: From the moment he joined the Party in 1922 and took command of the street-fighting organization, the SA, Göring was the adviser, the active agent of Hitler, and one of the prime leaders of the Nazi movement. As Hitler's political deputy he was largely instrumental in bringing the National Socialists to power in 1933 and was charged with consolidating this power and expanding German armed might. He developed the Gestapo and created the first concentration camps, relinquishing them to Himmler in 1934, conducted the Roehm purge in that year, and engineered the sordid proceedings which resulted in the removal of Von Blomberg and Von Fritsch from the Army. In 1936 he became Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan and in theory and in practice was the economic dictator of the Reich. Shortly after the Pact of Munich, he announced that he would embark on a five-fold expansion of the Luftwaffe and speed up rearmament with emphasis on offensive weapons. Göring was one of the five important leaders present at the Hossbach conference of 5 November 1937, and he attended the other important conferences already discussed in this Judgment. In the Austrian Anschluss he was indeed the central figure, the ringleader. He said in court: "I must take 100 percent responsibility... I even overruled objections by the Fuehrer and brought everything to its final development." In the seizure of the Sudetenland, he played his role as Luftwaffe chief by planning an air offensive which proved unnecessary, and his role as a politician by lulling the Czechs with false promises of friendship. The. night before the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the absorption of Bohemia and Moravia, at a conference with Hitler and President Hacha, he threatened to bomb Prague if Hacha did not submit. This threat he admitted in his testimony. Göring attended the Reich Chancellery meeting of 23 May 1939, when Hitler told his military leaders "there is, therefore, no question of sparing Poland," and was present at the Obersalzberg briefing of 22 August 1939. And the evidence shows he was active in the diplomatic maneuvers which followed. With Hitler's connivance, he used the Swedish businessman, Dahlerus, as a go-between to the British, as described by Dahlerus to this Tribunal, to try to prevent the British Government from keeping its guarantee to the Poles. He commanded the Luftwaffe in the attack on Poland and throughout the aggressive wars which followed. Even if he opposed Hitler's plans against Norway and the Soviet Union, as he alleged, it is clear that he did so only for strategic reasons; once Hitler had decided the issue, he followed him without hesitation. He made it clear in his testimony that these differences were never ideological or legal. He was "in a rage" about the invasion of Norway, but only because he had not received sufficient warning to prepare the Luftwaffe offensive. He admitted he approved of the attack: "My attitude was perfectly positive." He was active in preparing and executing the Yugoslavian and Greek campaigns and testified that "Plan Marita," the attack on Greece, had been prepared long beforehand. The Soviet Union he regarded as the "most threatening menace to Germany," but said there was no immediate military necessity for the attack. Indeed, his only objection to the war of aggression against the USSR was its timing; he wished for strategic reasons to delay until Britain, was conquered. He testified: "My point of view was decided by political and military reasons only." After his own admissions to this Tribunal, from the positions which he held, the conferences he attended, and the public words he uttered, there can remain no doubt that Goering was the moving force for aggressive war second only to Hitler. He was the planner and prime mover in the military and diplomatic preparation for war which Germany pursued. War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: The record is filled with Göring's admissions of his complicity in the use of slave labor. "We did use this labor for security reasons so that they would not be active in their own country and would not work against us. On the other hand, they served to help in the economic war." And again: "Workers were forced to come to the Reich. That is something I have not denied." The man who spoke these words was Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan charged with the recruitment and allocation of manpower. As Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief he demanded from Himmler more slave laborers for his underground aircraft factories: "That I requested inmates of concentration camps for the armament of the Luftwaffe is correct and it is to be taken as a matter of course." As plenipotentiary, Göring signed a directive concerning the treatment of Polish workers in Germany and implemented it by regulations of the SD, including "special treatment." He issued directives to use Soviet and French prisoners of war in the armament industry; he spoke of seizing Poles and Dutch and making them prisoners of war if necessary, and using them for work. He agrees Russian prisoners of war were used to man anti-aircraft batteries. As plenipotentiary, Göring was the active authority in the spoliation of conquered territory. He made plans for the spoliation of Soviet territory long before the war on the Soviet Union. Two months prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler gave Göring the overall direction for the economic administration in the territory. Göring set up an economic staff for this function. As Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, "the orders of the Reich Marshal cover all economic fields, including nutrition and agriculture." His so-called "Green" folder, printed by the Wehrmacht, set up an "Economic Executive Staff East." This directive contemplated plundering and abandonment of all industry in the food deficit regions and, from the food surplus regions, a diversion of food to German needs. Göring claims its purposes have been misunderstood, but admits "that as a matter of course and a matter of duty we would have used Russia for our purposes" when conquered. And he participated in the conference of 16 July when Hitler said the National Socialists had no intention of ever leaving the occupied countries, and that "all necessary measures-shooting, resettling, et cetera..." should be taken. Göring persecuted the Jews, particularly after the November 1938 riots, and not only in Germany, where he raised the billion-mark fine as stated elsewhere, but in the conquered territories as well. His own utterances then and his testimony now shows this interest was primarily economic-how to get their property and how to force them out of the economic life of Europe. As these countries fell before the German Army, he extended the Reich anti-Jewish laws to them; the Reichsgesetzblatt for 1939, 1940, and 1941 contains several anti-Jewish decrees signed by Göring. Although their extermination was in Himmler's hands, Göring was far from disinterested or inactive, despite his protestations in the witness box. By decree of 31 July 1941 he directed Himmler and Heydrich to "bring about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe." There is nothing to be said in mitigation. For Göring was often, indeed almost always, the moving force, second only to his leader. He was the leading war aggressor, both as political and as military leader; he was the director of the slave labor program and the creator of the oppressive program against the Jews and other races, at home and abroad. All of these crimes he has frankly admitted. On some specific cases there may be conflict of testimony, but in terms of the broad outline his own admissions are more than sufficiently wide to be conclusive of his guilt. His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses no excuses for this man. Conclusion: The Tribunal finds the Defendant Göring guilty on all four Counts of the Indictment."
October 1, 1946 On the 218th and last day, sentences are handed down: "Defendant Hermann Wilhelm Göring, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the International Military Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging."
"The eleven condemned to death were no longer permitted to exercise in the yard. Whenever one emerged from his cell, he was handcuffed to a guard. For a few minutes a day, one at a time, they were marched up and down in the center of the cell block in lock step with a military policeman. When they saw their attorneys in the Palace of Justice, a GI sat with each of them like a Siamese twin joined at the wrist...The Allied Control Council ordered the executions carried out on the fifteenth day after sentencing. The condemned, however, were not informed of the date...The British and French were so apprehensive about demonstrations or a possible attempt to rescue the prisoners that they insisted that no prior announcement of the executions be made." -From 'Justice at Nuremberg' by Robert E. Conot.
October 7, 1946: Justice Jackson reports to President Truman: "...The trial began on November 20,1945 and occupied 216 days of trial time. 33 witnesses were called and examined for the prosecution. 61 witnesses and 19 defendants testified for the defense; 143 additional witnesses gave testimony by interrogatories for the defense. The proceedings were conducted and recorded in four languages - English, German, French, and Russian - and daily transcripts in the language of his choice was provided for each prosecuting staff and all counsel for defendants. The English transcript of the proceedings covers over 17,000 pages. All proceedings were sound-reported in the original language used. In preparation for the trial over 100,000 captured German documents were screened or examined and about 10,000 were selected for intensive examination as having probable evidentiary value. Of these, about 4,000 were translated into four languages and used, in whole or in part, in the trial as exhibits. Millions of feet of captured moving picture film were examined and over 100,000 feet brought to Nurmberg. Relevant sections were prepared and introduced as exhibits. Over 25,000 captured still photographs were brought to Nurmberg, together with Hitler's personal photographer who took most of them. More than 1,800 were selected and prepared for use as exhibits. The Tribunal, in its judgment, states: "The case, therefore, against the defendants rests in large measure on documents of their own making..."
October 13, 1946: Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners on this day that all appeals have been turned down. Göring, along with Keital and Jodl, had requested that the Allied Control Counsil, the body ruling on the defendants' appeals, modify their sentences allowing them to be shot rather than hung. According to Maser, the defendants' consels are informed, and they in turn bring the bad news to the defendants. It seems likely that, in the event, it was a mixture of both; those with counsel present informing their clients and Andrus telling those without. (Tusa)
October 13, 1946: From 'Spandau Diary' by Albert Speer: "A guard goes from cell to cell. He asks whether we want to make use of our right to a daily walk on the ground floor. The yard is still barred to us. I have to get out; the cell is begining to feel unbearably oppresive. So I ask to go. But I shudder at the prospect of seeing the men on death row (Note: The 11 condemned men are housed in cells on the ground floor; the 7 sentenced to prison time are being kept in an upper tier of cells). The guard holds out the chrome handcuffs. Linked together, we have some difficulty descending the winding staircase. In the silence, every step on the iron stairs sounds like a thunderclap. On the ground floor I see eleven soldiers staring attentively into eleven cells. The men inside are eleven of the surviving leaders of the Third Reich...Hermann Göring, the principal in the trial, grandiloquently took all responsibility, only to employ all his cunning and energy to deny that he bore any specific guilt. He had become a debauched parasite; in prison he regained his old self and displayed an allertness, intelligence, and quick-wittedness such as he had not shown since the early days of the Third Reich...As the rules prescribe, most of them are lying on their backs, hands on the blanket, heads turned toward the inside of the cell. A ghostly sight, all of them in their immobility; it looks as though they have already been laid on their biers...I cannot stand it for long. Back in my cell, I decide not to go back down again." Note: German author Werner Maser, in 'Nuremberg: A Nation on Trial,' comments on the above passage by Speer: "These and the comments immediately following are typical of Speer's usual fanciful descriptions. Since he was handcuffed to a guard, he could not have seen what was going on in the cells. His remarks on his fellow-defendants speak for themselves."
October 14, 1946: The condemned men, most of whom have become convinced that the executions will be carried out on the 15th, spend this day as if it were their last.
October 15, 1946: Two hours before his execution is due to take place, Göring commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell, taking a capsule of poison (potassium cyanide) that he has somehow succeeded in obtaining.
October 15, 1946: Göring leaves several letters behind in his cell. This one, in two parts, is addressed to