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From Jodl's IMT testimony: I reported [to Hitler] the results of Dieppe and, should we say, the violations of international law which we considered had been committed there--the shackling of German prisoners, and so on. There was only one thing which I did not report, namely, the shackling of some men belonging to the Todt Organization, in such a manner that they strangled themselves. I did not report that, and it did not appear in any order or Wehrmacht communiqué.
... those who are guilty of the Nazi crimes will have to stand up before tribunals in every land where their atrocities have been committed, in order that an indelible warning may be given to future ages and that successive generations of men may say, "So perish all who do the like again..."September 1942: Keitel and Jodl defend Field Marshal Siegmund List against the criticisms of Adolf Hitler.
From The Other Side of the Hill by Basil Liddell Hart: The failure of Field-Marshal List in the Low Caucasus not only led to his dismissal, but to a serious personal crisis in Hitler's headquarters, late in September, 1942. Sometime earlier, List had received the order to push on over the Low Caucasus towards the Black Sea, using all suitable routes. When he did not succeed in reaching his goal, Hitler once more became utterly impatient, and sent Jodl to List's headquarters. On his return, Jodl reported to Hitler that List had acted exactly in conformity to Hitler's orders, but that the Russian resistance was equally strong everywhere, supported by a most difficult terrain.
Hitler, however, kept on reproaching List with having split up his forces, instead of breaking through with concentrated power, while Jodl pointed to the fact that Hitler, by his own orders, had induced List to advance on a widely stretched front. This argument of Jodl's was followed by an unusual outburst of Hitler's. He was so taken aback by the recital of his own previous orders--which he now denied--that Jodl, and Keitel with him, fell in disgrace for a long time to come. Further consequences were that Hitler completely changed his daily customs. From that time on, he stayed away from the common meals, which he had taken twice a day with his entourage. Henceforth, he hardly left his hut in daytime, not even for the daily reports on the military situation, which from now on had to be delivered to him in his own hut, in the presence of a narrowly restricted circle. He refused, ostentatiously, to shake hands with any general of the OKW, and gave orders that Jodl was to be replaced by another officer.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: [Hitler] did not greet me any more, or rarely. This situation lasted until 30 January 1943. He told me, through Field Marshal Keitel, that he could no longer work with me, and that I would be replaced by General Paulus, as soon as Paulus had taken Stalingrad . . . . During all this time, every other day, I asked General Schmundt to see to it that I should be sent, at last, to a position at the front with the mountain troops in Finland. I wanted to go there. But nothing happened.
From the IMT testimony of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus: I do not know [about the fact that Hitler had already decided that I would become the successor to Jodl if the Stalingrad operation were successful] in this form, but there was a rumor that, late in the summer or early in the fall of 1942, a change was planned in the leadership. That was a rumor that the Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe told me at that time, but I did not get any official information about that. There was other information, that I should be relieved of the command of that army, and should be used to lead a new army group which was to be formed.
He who believes, for example, that Namsos was a victory, or who believes that Andalsnes was a victory, or who believes that even Dunkirk was quite the greatest victory in the history of the world, or who believes (it is all the same to me) that any expedition that lasts 9 hours is an astonishing and encouraging sign of a victorious nation--with such a one we, with our modest successes, cannot of course be compared. For what are our accomplishments as compared with these? If we push forward a thousand kilometers, that is really nothing--an absolute failure...
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The witness [Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus], for whom I feel the deepest sympathy, and with whom I have worked in the most comradely fashion possible, could not have known anything at all about [the OKW being responsible for the order to hold Stalingrad]. The facts are as follows: The moment danger threatened, the decision, that Stalingrad must be held, was made by the Fuehrer during a private conversation with Generaloberst Zeitzler, and contrary to the latter's advice. Zeitzler told me so himself on his return from this interview. At a later stage, when blizzards were already raging across the steppes of the Don, the question of a break-through by the Stalingrad garrison was discussed again. Field Marshal Keitel, Generaloberst Zeitzler, and I were present on this occasion.
In future, all terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers, but rather like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops, and will be ruthlessly eliminated in battle, wherever they appear.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: May I ask the Tribunal to permit me, as an exception, to go into greater detail. Very much depends on this order [Hitler's The Commando Order, October 18, 1942]; not my person--my own person does not matter in this Trial--but the honor of German soldiers and German officers whom I represent here, is in question. The Commando Order is inseparably linked with the announcement in the Wehrmacht communiqué of 7 October 1942; for this announcement in the Wehrmacht communiqué heralded the actual Commando Order.
This Wehrmacht communiqué of 7 October 1942--it was really a supplement to the communiqué--emanated in the main from me. It deals with the denial of a report by the British Ministry of War; a matter which I will not discuss further, for it is a very delicate point. The Prosecution especially does not wish it to be brought up . . . .
This communiqué is in direct connection with the Commando Order. Only the last paragraph of this Wehrmacht communiqué is important. It was written by the Fuehrer himself, as Field Marshal Keitel has already stated, and Professor Jahrreiss read it here before the Tribunal. It is the sentence which reads:
"[In] future, all terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers, but like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops, and will be ruthlessly eliminated in battle wherever they appear." This sentence was written, word for word, by the Fuehrer himself . . . .
The entire first part of this Wehrmacht communiqué [which this compiler has been unable to locate] has nothing whatever to do with Commando troops, but is concerned with the well-known affair of the shackling of German prisoners of war on the beach of Dieppe. I shall refer to that again later . . . . The first part of this Wehrmacht communiqué was formulated by me, and contains an authentic refutation of a statement of the British Ministry of War, broadcast by the British radio.
This statement of the British Ministry of War was false, and I established the reasons why it was false, on the basis of records, photographs, and affidavits that we possessed. Initially, this affair had nothing to do with Commandos and reprisals. That was only introduced into the Wehrmacht communiqué through the supplement by the Fuehrer, which begins with the sentence: "The High Command of the Wehrmacht is therefore compelled to decree the following." When the Fuehrer had written this last supplementary sentence, he turned to Field Marshal Keitel and to me, and demanded an executive order to follow this general announcement in the Wehrmacht communiqué. And he added: "But I do not want any military courts." . . . . I had very many doubts, which a careful study of The Hague Rules of Warfare could not dispel. Neither Field Marshal Keitel nor I prepared such a draft; but members of my staff, on their own initiative, asked for drafts, and for the views of various departments.
During the era of total warfare, sabotage has become one of the most important elements in the conduct of war. It is sufficient to state our attitude to this question. The enemy will find evidence of it in the reports of our own propaganda units . . . . Sabotage is an essential element ... we ourselves have strongly developed this means of combat . . . . We have already announced by radio our intention of liquidating, in future, all groups of terrorists and saboteurs acting like bandits. Therefore the VVFSt has only to issue regulations to the troops how to deal with terrorist and sabotage groups...In combat or in flight they are to be killed without mercy . . . .
Members of terrorist and sabotage groups of the British Army, wearing uniform, who, in the opinion of our troops, are guilty of acting dishonorably, or in any manner contrary to the law of nations, are to be kept in separate custody after capture . . . . . Instructions concerning the treatment to be inflicted upon them will be given by the WFSt in agreement with the Army legal service and the Counter-Intelligence Department, Foreign Section (Amt Ausland Abwehr) . . . . Violation of the laws of war by terrorist or sabotage troops is, in the future, always to be assumed, when individual assailants, as saboteurs or agents, regardless of whether they were soldiers, or whatever their uniform might be, place themselves outside the laws of war, by committing surprise attacks or brutalities which, in the judgment of our troops, are inconsistent with the fundamental rules of war . . . . In such cases, the assailants will be killed without mercy to the last man, in combat or in flight . . . . Confinement in prisoner-of-war camps, even temporarily, is forbidden.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: My wish was an entirely different one. It was my intention to avoid an order altogether. I rather expected that, as a result of the announcement in the Wehrmacht communiqué [October 7]--an announcement which was certainly not kept secret but which was broadcast over the air to the entire world--the British Ministry of War would approach us again, either directly or via Geneva, as it had done on several previous occasions. And I hoped that, in this way, the whole matter would be shifted to the sphere of the Foreign Office. However, that did not happen. The British War Ministry remained silent.
In the meantime, 10 days had passed and nothing had been done. Then, on 17 October, General Schmundt, the Chief Adjutant of the Fuehrer, came to me, and said that the Fuehrer was demanding an executive order. I gave him the following answer, word for word:
"Please give him my best regards, but I will not issue an order like that." Schmundt laughed and said, "Well, I cannot tell him that," and my reply was, "Very well, then, tell the Fuehrer that I do not see how a decree like that could be justified under international law."
And with that he left. I hoped now, that I would be asked to come to the Fuehrer, so that at last, after many months, I should again be able to speak to him personally . . . . I wanted an opportunity, either of telling him my misgivings, or else being thrown out altogether. Either eventuality would have helped me, but neither occurred. A few minutes later, Schmundt called me on the telephone, and informed me that the Fuehrer was going to draw up the orders himself. On 18 October, Schmundt again came in person, and brought with him these two orders of the Fuehrer--the order to the troops, and an explanation for the commanders . . . .
As I have already said, the members of my staff ... on their own initiative asked for proposals, firstly, from the foreign intelligence department, Canaris, because he had a group of experts on international law and, secondly, from the Wehrmacht legal department, since, after all, we were concerned with a legal problem. On Page 106, under paragraph "a," there is the proposal which the foreign division of the intelligence department made:
"Members of terrorist and sabotage troops who are found ... without uniform, or in German uniform, will be treated as bandits ... or if they fall into German hands outside battle operations, they are to be taken at once to an officer for interrogation. Thereafter they are to be dealt with by summary court martial."
That was quite impossible, for if one came across a soldier in civilian clothing, without uniform, no one could know just who he was. He might be a spy; or an escaped prisoner of war; or an enemy airman, who had saved his life by jumping from his plane, and now hoped to escape in civilian clothing. That had to be determined by an experienced interrogating officer; and not by a summary court martial, consisting of a lieutenant, two noncommissioned officers, and two soldiers . . . .
In paragraph "b" it was suggested that, if such sabotage groups were captured wearing uniforms, a report should be made to the Armed Forces Operations Staff, which should then decide what should be done. But in that case, the Armed Forces Operations Staff would have assumed the function of a military court; and that, it could never be. I really must claim for myself that, thanks to my wider experience, I saw these problems a little more clearly than some of my subordinates . . . .
These were questions--not points of view—questions, that were raised in the Armed Forces Operations Staff, as a result of the Armed Forces communiqué. Fortunately, the submission of all these documents proves the complete correctness of everything I said here, 2 days ago. The staff, the Legal Department, and the Auslands department racked their brains and pondered how they could draw up the executive order, implementing the Fuehrer's additions to the Wehrmacht communiqué. Neither they nor I came to any conclusion, and no proposal was made to the Fuehrer; nothing was done. That is what I stated here, the day before yesterday, and that is what, fortunately, you yourself have proved by submitting these documents . . . .
In the preliminary interrogation, I said that it was one of the few--or the only--order I received from the Fuehrer, which I, in my own mind, completely rejected. I have already described exactly how the commanding generals at the front, vigorously supported by me, interpreted this order in the mildest imaginable way, in practice; actually, only very few such incidents occurred, and I believe that most--at any rate, nearly all that came to my knowledge--were highly justified, because the fighting methods of those people were not methods of honest soldiers.
From the IMT testimony of General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar-Brandenfels: The chief authority for combating guerrillas was turned over to my department toward the end of the summer of 1942, and the tactical basis for combating guerrillas was dealt with by my department from that date on. In the autumn of 1942 a short and incomplete directive had been issued on the subject of combating guerrillas. At that time, we were still comparatively inexperienced; and since guerrilla fighting had not been anticipated in peacetime, we first had to get further experience . . . .
It is correct [to speak of a "guerrilla war"] according to the extent and danger which guerrilla fighting assumed, given its limitations in regard to time and space. I mean by "extent" the dimensions of the area affected by guerrilla fighting. The guerrilla fighting was certainly unusual, both in regard to its territorial extent, and the people who took part in it. I do not remember that, among the hundreds of reports I received on guerrilla fighting, there was ever any mention of Jews. If there were Jews in these groups, it can only have been to a very limited extent. I never heard anything about [exterminating the Jews]. I never heard so much as a hint of such a thing [as the extermination of the Slavs, either]. Such an interpretation would have been quite contrary to the intentions of the military leaders. The military command had a very definite interest in seeing a peaceful country, and a productive population behind every front; and every measure that aimed at this was always welcomed by the military authorities. Every soldier we had to use in guerrilla fighting was urgently needed at the front . . . .
From a May 20, 1946 affidavit by General Adolf Heusinger: It has always been my personal view that the treatment of the civilian population in operational areas, and the methods of guerrilla fighting in the operational zone, offered a welcome opportunity for the supreme political and military leadership to carry out their aims, that is to say, to bring about the systematic reduction of Slavs and Jews.
From the IMT testimony of General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar-Brandenfels: I worked closely with General Heusinger and, very often, I talked to him about questions concerning anti-guerrilla warfare. He never said anything to me which might express this view; and I cannot explain this statement of his, because it is entirely contrary to the basic views of the military leaders, in regard to the conduct of anti-guerrilla warfare . . . .
The Fuehrer always held the view that anti-guerrilla warfare was predominantly a task for the Police; and that police forces were more suited to carrying it out, than the partly over-aged security forces of the Army, which we could detail for these tasks. Just how far Himmler wanted to obtain a new increase of power in this connection, I do not know, nor how far he might have suggested it to the Fuehrer. It must be emphasized first of all in this connection that, so far as operational areas were concerned, there was no change. The operational area remained until the end, in the case of guerrilla warfare too, under the orders of the commanding generals. In the remaining areas, the Armed Forces Operations Staff did not altogether disagree with this arrangement, because we hoped that, in these zones, the Reichsfuehrer-SS would be in a position to use some of his reserves, which were mostly unknown to us; and we should then have some forces released for the front.
1. For some time, our enemies have been using, in their warfare, methods which are outside the international Geneva Conventions. Especially brutal and treacherous, is the behavior of the so-called commandos, who, as is established, are partially recruited even from freed criminals in enemy countries. From captured orders, it is divulged that they are directed not only to shackle prisoners, but also to kill defenseless prisoners on the spot, at the moment in which they believe that the latter, as prisoners, represent a burden in the further pursuit of their purpose, or could otherwise be a hindrance. Finally, orders have been found, in which the killing of prisoners has been demanded in principle.
2. For this reason, it was already announced, in an addendum to the Armed Forces communiqué of 7 October 1942 that, in the future, Germany, in the face of the sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, will resort to the same procedure, that is, that they will be ruthlessly mowed down by the German troops in combat, wherever they may appear.
3. I therefore order: From now on all enemies on so-called commando missions in Europe or Africa, challenged by German troops, even if they are to all appearances soldiers in uniform, or demolition troops, whether armed or unarmed, in battle or in flight, are to be slaughtered to the last man. It does not make any difference whether they are landed from ships and airplanes for their actions, or whether they are dropped by parachute. Even if these individuals, when found, should apparently be prepared to give themselves up, no pardon is to be granted them on principle. In each individual case, full information is to be sent to the OKW, for publication in the communiqué of the Armed Forces.
4. If individual members of such commandos, such as agents, saboteurs, et cetera, fall into the hands of the Armed Forces by some other means, through the police in occupied territories, for instance, they are to be handed over immediately to the SD. Any imprisonment under military guard, in PW stockades, for instance, et cetera, is strictly prohibited, even if this is only intended for a short time.
5. This order does not apply to the treatment of any soldiers who, in the course of normal hostilities, large-scale offensive actions, landing operations, and airborne operations, are captured in open battle, or give themselves up. Nor does this order apply to enemy soldiers falling into our hands after battles at sea, or to enemy soldiers trying to save their lives by parachute after air battles.
6. I will hold responsible under military law, for failing to carry out this order, all commanders and officers who, either have neglected their duty of instructing the troops about this order, or acted against this order when it was to be executed … a supplementary order of the Fuehrer is enclosed. This order is intended for commanders only, and must not, under any circumstances, fall into enemy hands. The further distribution is to be limited accordingly by the receiving bureaus. The bureaus named in the distribution list are held responsible for the return and destruction of all distributed copies of this order, and copies made thereof. "I have been compelled to issue strict orders for the destruction of enemy sabotage troops and to declare noncompliance with these orders severely punishable. I deem it necessary to announce to the competent commanding officers and commanders the reasons for this decree. As in no previous war, a method of destruction of communications behind the front, intimidation of the populace working for Germany, as well as the destruction of war-important industrial plants in territories occupied by us has been developed in this war . . . .
The consequences of these activities are of extraordinary weight. I do not know whether each commander and officer is cognizant of the fact that, the destruction of one single electric power plant, for instance, can deprive the Luftwaffe of many thousand tons of aluminum, thereby eliminating the construction of countless aircraft, that will be missed in the fight at the front, and so contribute to serious damage of the homeland as well as to bloody losses of the fighting soldiers. Yet, this form of war is completely without danger for the adversary. Since he lands his sabotage troops in uniform but, at the same time, supplies them with civilian clothes, they can, according to need, appear as soldiers or civilians. While they themselves have orders ruthlessly to remove any German soldiers, or even natives who get in their way, they run no danger of suffering really serious losses in their operations since, at the worst, if they are caught, they can immediately surrender, and thus believe that they will theoretically fall under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
There is no doubt, however, that this is a misuse in the worst form of the Geneva agreements, especially since part of these elements are even criminals liberated from prisons, who can rehabilitate themselves through these activities. England and America will therefore always be able to find volunteers for this kind of warfare, as long as they can truthfully assure them that there is no danger of loss of life for them. At worst, all they have to do is successfully to commit their attacks on people, traffic installations, or other installations and, upon being encountered by the enemy, to capitulate.
If the German conduct of war is not to suffer grievous damage through these incidents, it must be made clear to the adversary that all sabotage troops will be exterminated, without exception, to the last man. This means that their chance of escaping with their lives is nil. Under no circumstances, can it be permitted, therefore, that a dynamite, sabotage, or terrorist unit simply allows itself to be captured, expecting to be treated according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. It must, under all circumstances, be ruthlessly exterminated. The report on this subject appearing in the Armed Forces communiqué will briefly and laconically state that, a sabotage, terror, or destruction unit has been encountered, and exterminated to the last man.
I therefore expect the commanding officers of armies subordinate to them, as well as individual commanders, not only to realize the necessity of taking such measures, but to carry out this order with energy. Officers and noncommissioned officers who fail, through some weakness, are to be reported without fail or, if the circumstances require [it], e. g. if danger is imminent, to be at once made strictly accountable. The homeland, as well as the fighting soldier at the front, has the right to expect that, behind their backs, the essentials of nourishment, as well as the supply with war-important weapons and ammunition, remains secure. These are the reasons for the issuance of my decree. If it should become necessary, for reasons of interrogation, initially to spare one man or two, then they are to be shot immediately after interrogation.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: Now, as to the Fuehrer orders of 18 October 1942, which have been mentioned very often here, and which I may describe as the further development of the regulations mentioned in this memorandum: As to these methods, this way of conducting illegal warfare kept on increasing, and individual parachutists grew into small Commando units, which landed from heavy aircraft or by parachute, and were systematically employed, not to create disturbances or destruction in general, but to attack specific, vital, and important military objectives.
In Norway, for instance, I recall that they had the task of blowing up the only aluminum works. It may sound strange, but during this period, half to three-quarters of an hour of the daily discussion on the situation was devoted to the problem of how to handle these incidents. These incidents in all sectors caused the Fuehrer to demand other methods, vigorous measures, to combat this activity, which he characterized as "terrorism" and said that the only method that could be used to combat it was severe countermeasures. I recall that, in reply to our objections as soldiers, the following words were spoken: "As long as the paratrooper or saboteur runs the danger only of being taken captive, he incurs no risk; in normal circumstances he risks nothing; we must take action against this." These were the reasons behind his thoughts.
I was asked several times to express myself on this subject and to present a draft. General Jodl will also recall this. We did not know what we, as soldiers, were to do. We could make no suggestion. If I may sum up briefly, we heard Hitler's bursts of temper on this subject almost every day, but we did nothing, not knowing what we could do. Hitler declared that this was against the Hague Convention and illegal; that it was a method of waging war not foreseen in the Hague Convention, and which could not be foreseen. He said that this was a new war, with which we had to contend, in which new methods were needed. Then, to make it short, as I have already testified in the preliminary investigation, these orders--this order itself, and the well-known instructions that those who did not carry out the first order should be punished--were issued in a concise form and signed by Hitler.
They were then distributed, I believe, by the Chief of the Operations Staff, Jodl. I might add that, many times, the commanders who received these orders asked questions about how they were to be applied, particularly in connection with the threat that they would be punished if they did not carry them out. The only reply we could make was, "You know what is in the orders," for we were not in a position to change these signed orders ... neither General Jodl nor I thought that we were in a position, or considered it possible, to draft or submit such a written order. We did not do it because we could not justify it or give reasons for it . . . . I no longer opposed it, firstly on account of the punishment threatened, and secondly because I could no longer alter the order without personal orders from Hitler . . . . According to my inner convictions, I did not consider it right but, after it had been given, I did not oppose it or take a stand against it in any way.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: If it was not possible by open contradiction to prevent something which, according to my innermost convictions, I should prevent, there was still the means I often employed, of using delaying tactics, a kind of passive resistance. I delayed work on the matter, and waited for a psychologically favorable moment to bring the question up again. This procedure, too, was occasionally successful, for example, in the case of the intention to turn certain low-level fliers over to lynch justice. It had no success in the case of the Commando Order . . . .
After the issuing of the Commando Order, I reported enemy violations of international law to the Fuehrer, only when he would be certain to have heard of them through other channels. I reported cases of Commando undertakings and capture of Commandos, only when I could be quite sure that he would hear of them through other channels. In this respect I did try to hold back any new spontaneous emotional decisions . . . .
First of all, I had a number of doubts as to its legality. Secondly, the order was ambiguous, and also it was not sufficiently clear for practical application. Particularly in this case, I considered military courts absolutely necessary. I know well that, even judges may on occasion, consciously or not, be under coercion; and may pass judgment not strictly in accordance with the law; but at least they provide some safeguard against a miscarriage of justice . . . .
The theory was that, soldiers who, by their actions put themselves outside the laws of war, cannot claim to be treated in accordance with the laws of war. This is a basic principle definitely recognized in international law, for instance, in the case of a spy or a franc-tireur. The aim of this order was to intimidate British Commando troops, who were using such methods of warfare. But the order of the Fuehrer went further, and said that all Commando troops were to be massacred. This was the point on which I had grave misgivings . . . .
I was afraid that, not only enemy soldiers [who], to use the Fuehrer's expression, really behaved like bandits, but also decent enemy soldiers, would be wiped out. In addition--and this was especially repugnant to me--at the very end of Document 503-PS [the Command Order], it was ordered that soldiers were to be shot after they had been captured and had been interrogated. What was totally unclear to me was the general legal position, namely, whether a soldier who had acted like a bandit would upon capture enjoy the legal status of a prisoner of war, or whether, on account of his earlier behavior, he had already placed himself outside this legal status ... I mean the Geneva Convention . . . .
Yes, I could quite understand that [the idea that enemy soldiers who had acted in an un-soldierly manner should not be treated as soldiers], and so could others, for the Fuehrer had received very bitter reports. We had captured all the orders of the Canadian brigade [that] had landed at Dieppe; and these orders were put before me in the original. These orders said that, wherever possible, German prisoners were to have their hands shackled. But after some time, through the Commander, West, I received authentic reports and testimony of witnesses, with photographs, which definitely convinced me that numerous men of the Todt Organization, fathers of families, unarmed, old people, who were wearing an arm band with a swastika--that was their badge--had been shackled with a loop around their necks, and the end of the rope fastened around their bent-back legs, in such a way that they had strangled themselves.
I may add that I kept these photographs from the Fuehrer, and I did not tell him of these aggravating incidents, which to me had been proved. I concealed them from the German people and from the Propaganda Ministry. Then came the English radio report, denying emphatically that any German soldier had been shackled at Dieppe.
Some time later, a Commando troop made an attack on the island of [Sark]. Again we received official reports that German prisoners had been shackled.
Finally, we captured the so-called British order for close [combat]. That was the last straw for the Fuehrer; I also studied it very carefully. These close combat instructions showed by pictures, how men could be shackled in such a way that, they would strangle themselves through the shackling; and it was stated exactly within what time death would occur. The Fuehrer first makes the general statement that, for some time, our opponents, in their conduct of the war, have been using methods [that] violate the international Geneva Convention. I must support this statement as true, on the basis of reports which, regrettably, we had been receiving since the summer of 1941. I do not wish to go into individual cases. There was an outrageous incident with a British U-boat in the Aegean Sea. There was the order in North Africa that German prisoners of war should not be given water before they were interrogated. There were a large number of such reports . . . .
And I do not want to speak about these matters any longer. I only want to point out, as I think I must, that, generally speaking, the reasons given by the Fuehrer for this order did not spring from a diseased imagination; but were based on actual proof, in his and in our possession. For it is certainly very different whether I, in my own mind, had to admit there was some justification for this order, or whether I considered the whole order an open scandal. That is a vital point for my own conduct. But I shall try to be very brief. The fact that many previously convicted persons and criminals were included in the Commandos, who were of course reckless people, was proved by the testimony of prisoners; and the fact that prisoners were shackled was obvious from captured orders, and the testimony of witnesses . . . .
In conclusion, I want to say that I did not see any order, any captured order, which decreed death for German prisoners of war, though this was also contained as a reason in the Fuehrer Order. But I must explain that the British Ministry of War advised us-I cannot recall exactly whether it was via Geneva or through the radio--that situations might very well arise, in which prisoners of war would have to be killed--no, rather, in which prisoners of war would have to be shackled, because otherwise one would be forced to kill them. And so, if at the end here the Fuehrer says orders have been found, according to which the Commandos were on principle to kill prisoners, then I think he is referring to the British close-combat instructions, which described a method of shackling [that] would cause death . . . .
My part consisted only in distributing this order, or having it distributed, in accordance with express instructions . . . . I signed only a general decree to have one of the orders kept secret ... if I had refused to transmit an order of the Fuehrer, I would have been arrested immediately; and I must say, with justification. But as I said, I was not at all sure whether this decree, either in its entirety or in part, actually violated the law; and I still do not know that today. I am convinced that if one were to convene here a conference of experts on international law, each one of them would probably have a different opinion on the subject . . . .
At that time, however--a time of conflict with the Fuehrer--it was not possible for me to speak to him personally, at all. To broach the subject during the general conference on the situation was quite out of the question. Therefore I intended in the execution of this order to adopt a very magnanimous attitude, and I was certain that the commanders-in-chief would do the same.
The order offered two ways of avoiding the treatment of really decent soldiers like criminals. If a Commando troop, mostly encountered in fights at night, was not wiped out, but captured, as was the rule in almost all cases, that was already certain proof that our troops did not consider these men as bandits. It was then the task of the commanders-in-chief to make an investigation. If it was purely a reconnaissance operation, the entire action did not fall within the sphere of the Commando Order at all, and would not be reported as a Commando raid. However, if the operation was really carried out by a sabotage and demolition unit, its equipment had to be examined. It had to be investigated whether the men were wearing civilian clothing under their uniforms; whether they were carrying the famous armpit guns, which go off automatically when the arms are lifted in the act of surrender; or whether they used other despicable methods during the fighting. The commanders-in-chief could then act in accordance with the outcome of such an investigation. I believe that, in that way, it was quite possible, and in fact it happened many times, I might almost say in the bulk of cases--that the shooting of brave, decent soldiers was avoided . . . .
I tried to exert my influence on various occasions. When it was reported to me that a Commando unit had been captured--which according to the Fuehrer decree was not allowed--then I raised no questions or objections. I made no report at all to the Fuehrer on Commando operations [that] met with only minor success. And finally, I often dissuaded him from taking too drastic views, as in the Pescara case, which Field Marshal Kesselring has already described here, when I succeeded in convincing the Fuehrer that only a reconnaissance unit was involved . . . .
May I add that this sentence ["If it should become necessary, for reasons of interrogation, initially to spare one man or two, then they are to be shot immediately after interrogation."] became the source of all trouble. The troops made use of that sentence and, on principle, or as a rule, did not kill Commandos, but took them prisoner . . . . One might have doubts in that respect [that it was it was against international law] too. But I found it distasteful from a human point of view, for if one does shoot a man, I think it is base to extort all information out of him first . . . .
As far as I remember, right at the beginning, he [Hitler] spoke only to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, or the Chief of the General Staff and a few officers of the OKW, about this Commissar Order. As far as I recollect, he referred to that order of his at a later date, when addressing the commanding generals. I believe that it was during that second conference that he used the words, "I cannot expect that my generals understand my orders, but I must demand that they obey them." . . . . Later on someone told me--I do not know whether it is true--that Field Marshal Rommel had burned this order.
I have been compelled to issue strict orders for the destruction of enemy sabotage troops and to declare non-compliance with these orders severely punishable. I deem it necessary to announce to the competent commanding officers and commanders the reasons for this decree. As in no previous war, a method of destruction of communications behind the front, intimidation of the populace working for Germany, as well as the destruction of war-important industrial plants in territories occupied by us, has been developed in this war. In the east, this type of combat, in the form of partisan warfare as early as last winter, led to severe encroachment upon our fighting strength; and cost the lives of numerous German soldiers, railroad workers, members of the labor corps [Organization Todt], the labor service, etc. It severely interfered with, and sometimes delayed for days, the performance of transportation, necessary for the maintenance of the fighting strength of the troops.
By a successful continuation, or perhaps even intensification, of this form of war, a grave crisis in one or another place at the front might develop. Many measures against these horrible, as well as wily, sabotage activities have failed, simply because the German officer and his soldiers were not aware of the great danger confronting them; and therefore, in individual cases, did not act against these enemy groups as would have been necessary, in order to help the forward echelons of the front thereby the entire conduct of the war. It was therefore in part necessary, in the East, to organize special units.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I have not seen the letter, and I think General Jodl should be asked about it. I do not know the contents, but I have already stated the opinion of both of us. I cannot give you the reason . . . . I do not know the motives behind it, and I would ask you to put this question to General Jodl. I have not seen it. But I have already stated my own views, and those of General Jodl . . . . I did not personally carry out the orders of 18 October 1942. I was not present either at the mouth of the Gironde, or at the attack on the battleship Tirpitz. I knew only that the order was issued, together with all the threats of punishment, which made it so difficult for the commanders to alter or deviate from the order on their own initiative . . . . I could not have prevented the action taken at the mouth of the Gironde or in the case of Tirpitz if I had wanted to . . . . I was not responsible either for the Navy, or for the Army, or for the Air Force. I was not a commander; I was a Chief of Staff and I had no authority to intervene in the execution of orders in the various branches of the Armed Forces, each of which had its own Commander-in-Chief.
We have begun the offensive operations in the Stalingrad area--in its southern and north-western sectors. The objective of the first stage is to seize the Stalingrad-Likhaya railway and disrupt the communications of the Stalingrad group of the German troops. In the north-western sector the German front has been pierced along a 22-kilometre line and along a 12-kilometre line in the southern sector. The operation is proceeding satisfactorily.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: It was on 1 December 1942. As the Tribunal will remember, a directive in regard to combating the guerrillas was issued on 11 November by the Armed Forces Operations Staff, which we declared to be outdated by the new issue on 6 May 1944. In that directive, which was issued on 11 November, I had written the sentence: ' The burning down of villages as a reprisal is forbidden, because it necessarily only creates new partisans."
The draft of that instruction remained in the Fuehrer's hands for weeks. He always objected that this instruction would hamper the troops in ruthlessly combating the guerrillas. As at that time I had already issued that instruction, and he still had not given his approval, I became rather rude; and when he once more came with lengthy explanations of his fighting experience, his experience of fighting the Communists in Chemnitz, I said, in order to break the ice at last, "My Fuehrer, what people do in battle does not come into this instruction at all. As far as I am concerned, they can quarter them or they can hang them upside down."
If I had known that the Russian gentlemen have so little sense of irony, I would have added, "and roast them on the spit." That is what I said and I added, "But in this instruction we are concerned with reprisals after the battle, and they must be prohibited."
Then there were roars of laughter from all the officers present, and also from the Fuehrer; and he gave me permission to issue that directive; and the testimony of a witness, General Buhle, who was present, will confirm that to you. That quartering people has not been the custom in Germany since the sixteenth century, any more than hanging people upside down, everybody in the world certainly knows. Therefore that remark could only be an ironical one.
From the IMT testimony of General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar-Brandenfels: Without any doubt ... the Wehrmacht would have been glad to see a different policy in the East, for the very sake of its volunteer units. We ourselves, with our own methods, made attempts to reach a bloodless pacification of the country, even among the guerrillas. Big propaganda campaigns were undertaken there, to induce the guerrillas to stop fighting. In certain cases, there were special negotiations with individual groups; and, although they were limited to certain occasions and periods, these were most successful.
I welcome the idea of a meeting between the three heads of Governments to establish a common strategy. To my great regret, however, I shall be unable to leave the Soviet Union. This is so critical a moment that I cannot absent myself even for a single day. Just now major military operations--part of our winter campaign--are under way, nor will they be relaxed in January. It is more than likely that it will be the other way round. Fighting is developing both at Stalingrad and on the Central Front. At Stalingrad we have encircled a large group of German troops and hope to complete their destruction.December 12, 1942: From a report of a discussion of the current military situation, Jodl speaking:
The military commander of France reports: The number of French workers deported into the Reich since 1 June has now passed 220,000. There are in round figures 100,000 skilled laborers in Berlin.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I cannot say [how many of these 220,000 were volunteers]; I only quoted from a report that was appended to the situation report from France. That a large-scale exchange between prisoners of war and workers had been in progress, has already been stated in detail by Sauckel.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: To my surprise, when the Vinnitza crisis was over, on 30 January 1943, I received from the Fuehrer the Golden Party Badge. That was the only decoration I received from the Fuehrer. Not a single cent [gift or donation did I receive from Hitler, or from the Party]. If I am to conceal nothing I must mention the fact that, at headquarters, we received a package of coffee from the Fuehrer each Christmas . . . . Nothing at all [did I receive in property in the territories occupied by us, nor did I receive any as a gift or as a token of remembrance]. When in the Indictment the sentence is found to the effect that the defendants enriched themselves from the occupied territories, as far as I am concerned I have only one word for that, and I must be frank--it is a libel against a decent German officer . . . . My entire savings of this war are at the moment in Reich bonds
From the IMT testimony of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus: Of course, it is so that all the operational orders which led to the terrible conditions of Stalingrad, in spite of my objections . . . . About 20 January, as I said, I had made a report that conditions had reached such a measure of misery and of suffering through cold, hunger, and epidemics as to be unbearable, and that to continue the fighting would be beyond human possibility. The answer given to me by the Supreme Command was: "Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty by fighting to the utmost, in order to make the reconstruction of the Eastern front possible." . . . .
I did not say that it was clear to me [that Barbarossa was] a crime from the very beginning, but that later I had this impression, as a result of retrospective considerations. My knowledge comes actually from my experience at Stalingrad.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America I congratulate you on the brilliant victory at Stalingrad of the armies under your Supreme Command. The one hundred and sixty-two days of epic battle for the city which has forever honored your name, and the decisive result which all Americans are celebrating today will remain one of the proudest chapters of this war of the peoples united against Nazism and its emulators.
From the IMT testimony of Professor Dr. Percy Ernst Schramm: From March 1943 onwards, I was working in the Armed Forces Operations Staff … until the end--that is to say, the beginning of May 1945. During my entire time in the Armed Forces Operations Staff I kept the War Diary of that staff. My appointment to the Armed Forces Operations Staff was due to the fact that my civilian profession is professor of history at the University of Gottingen. At that time, an expert was sought, whose name would constitute a guarantee for expert work. General Jodl appointed me to the position at the suggestion of the deputy chief. I did not attend the Fuehrer's situation discussions or the internal conferences; but I did participate every day in the situation discussions of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, and every important document passed through my office during those two years . . . .
It is impossible to overestimate the range of the General's [Jodl's] activities. As proof of this, I may say that in 1944 alone, according to information that I received from a competent officer, 60,000 teleprint messages went through the teleprint department of the Armed Forces Operations Staff. There was also a large courier correspondence that, of course, was even larger. Then there was internal correspondence between individual departments. The bulk of that correspondence appeared on the General's desk at some time or other. To look at it from another angle, the General was responsible for four theaters of war: North Finland and Norway; West Holland, Belgium, France; then the Southwest, in the first place Africa and Italy; and then the Southeast. It was the General's task not only to have up-to-date information based on incoming reports, but also to act as operational adviser to the Fuehrer. The East was under the General Staff of the Army, and the General was concerned only insofar as the main difficulty always lay in coordinating the interests of the other theaters of war with those of the Eastern Front . . . .
60,000 [teleprint messages passed through my office in a year]. I remember the exact figure. And I remember it exactly, because my clerk calculated that 120 volumes of files passed through the War Diary office, and that they were so [demonstrating] thick. Therefore, about 12 yards of material passed constantly through my office. That represents 10,000 sheets of paper, if not 100,000.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I confirmed this communiqué of 6 April which included the contribution from the commander in Norway as I received it on 6 April; this brief formulation always originated with the commander at the front. But what actually happened is set down in this note of 10 May which, most unfortunately, I never saw, because on 10 May 1943 I traveled by train to Bad Gastein, to begin a cure for a severe case of lumbago; and so, unfortunately, I saw this document for the first time here in Nuremberg. I am sorry, because this would have been one of the few cases in which I might have been able to intervene. Before this contribution of 6 April, I heard nothing about the whole matter, but only on the 10th of May did it come to our knowledge, and then the Armed Forces Operations Staff drew up this note. The whole investigation into these events was made by the Intelligence Service, the office of Canaris, together with its Security Police; it was not the SD; that is wrong; it was the Security Police. Unfortunately I did not know of these details; the Intelligence Service knew them. I was concerned with the whole question, only because I had to edit the Armed Forces communiqué; otherwise I would never have dealt with the Commando Order, I was quite innocent of it.
On 30 March 1943 in Toftefiord an enemy cutter was sighted. Cutter was blown up by enemy. Crew; 2 dead men, 10 prisoners. Cutter was sent from Scalloway (Shetlands) by the Norwegian Navy. Arms: Two Colt machine guns, two mounted machine guns, a small transmitter...1,000 kilograms of explosives . . . . Purpose: Forming an organization for sabotaging strong-points, battery positions, staff and troop billets, and bridges . . . . Fuehrer order executed by the SD.July 4, 1943: Preliminary fighting begins in what will become known as the Battle of Kursk, the last strategic offensive the Germans will able to mount in the east. The resulting decisive Soviet victory will give the Red Army the strategic initiative for the rest of the war. (Clark)
From The Desert Fox in Normandy by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr: In February 1943, after an epic siege, the 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad, and Germany lost 230,000 of her best soldiers. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein temporarily restored the situation in the following months. Despite odds of 5 to 1 he counterattacked, retook Kharkov on March 14, and brought the Russian winter offensive to a halt. Unfortunately, Hitler did not leave the direction of the Eastern Front to Manstein or any other commander. In July 1943 the Nazi dictator launched a major offensive at Kursk, despite the objections of Jodl, Manstein, Guderian, and others. It was a disaster. Germany lost more Panzers in this single battle than she was ever able to commit on the Western Front at any single time. Hitler had exhausted his capabilities and resources in the East, and the initiative passed forever to the Soviets. Defeat after defeat followed.
From Hitler, A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock: In a conference with his generals between 9:30 and 10:15 on the evening of 25 July, only a few hours after Mussolini's dismissal, Hitler brushed aside Jodl's argument that they ought to wait for exact reports.
Hitler: Certainly, but we have to plan ahead. And undoubtedly, in their treachery, they will proclaim that they will remain loyal to us; but this is treachery. Of course they won't remain loyal . . . . Although that so-and-so Marshal Badoglio declared immediately that the war would be continued, that won't make any difference. They have to say that. But we'll play the same game, while preparing everything to take over the whole area with one stroke, and capture all that riff-raff . . . .
Hitler attached great importance to securing Mussolini, in person, to lead a restored Fascist government; and he used the occasion of the ex-Duce's sixtieth birthday on 29 July to demonstrate his loyalty. Laudatory notices were published in the German Press, together with the news that the Fuehrer had sent the Duce a special edition of Nietzsche's works in twenty-four volumes, with a personal dedication. The others were less sure. While Goering and Ribbentrop supported Hitler, Goebbels, in his diary, described Hitler as "over-optimistic about the Duce and the possibilities of a Fascist comeback." Doenitz, Rommel, and Jodl thought the same and said so. "These are matters which a soldier cannot comprehend," was Hitler's retort. "Only a man with political insight can see clearly."
From The Unseen War in Europe by John H. Waller: When Ribbentrop joined the talks, he immediately objected to the involvement of the Vatican in German operations against Badoglio. Goebbels too objected, presumably fearing the adverse affect it would have on Germany's image. As a result, Hitler's impulsive idea to invest the Vatican and seize the Pope seemed to have been abandoned. And because of fears that Germany's forces in Italy could be threatened by precipitous action, Hitler's military advisors, Jodl, Doenitz, and Rommel, talked the Fuehrer out of doing anything in the time being. Until German forces in Italy could be augmented, no effort would be made to unseat the new government.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Discussion of political questions was generally not admissible for us soldiers. One example is especially characteristic. When I reported to the Fuehrer in September 1943 that Fascism was dead in Italy, for party emblems were scattered all over, this is what he said: "Such nonsense could only be reported by an officer. Once again it is obvious that generals do not understand politics." It can be easily understood that after such remarks the desire for any political discussions was slight.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: A compulsory labor order was issued in most countries, but I--you may not know it--I state under my oath that in Denmark and Holland, and also in Belgium, local firms, which recruited their own labor under the labor order, worked on these fortifications and that the populations of these areas were particularly glad about this, because the stronger their coast was fortified, the more certain were they that the invasion would not take place in their neighborhood. And, of course, they were greatly interested in preventing an invasion, which they knew would destroy everything. Though it sounds incredible, the local inhabitants did work on these fortifications, some of them with the greatest enthusiasm. That is a fact.
The Fuehrer has agreed in principle with Dr. Best's telegram that the Jewish question in Denmark be solved very soon, by deportation. Execution of this measure should take place while the state of military emergency still exists. It is not certain if sufficient police forces can be provided for the arrest of the Jews and their families, about 6,000 persons, most of whom live in Copenhagen. The Army would be heavily burdened . . . . I believe that the results of the deportation will be serious . . . . The armament industry deliveries will be prejudiced. Considerable disturbances will have to be reckoned with.
A note by Jodl is found on the back of the document: I know nothing of this. If a political measure is to be carried out by the commander of Denmark the OKW must be notified by the Foreign Office.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I must explain in connection with this document that the deportation of Jews from Denmark was discussed during a conference at which I did not participate. Himmler suggested it to the Fuehrer; and the Fuehrer approved or ordered it. I was informed of it either through General Schmundt or Ambassador Hewel.
Then, on instructions conveyed to me by Schmundt, I transmitted to the military commander in Denmark the details of this order. The heading, or rather, the address of this teleprint message shows that it was directed to two offices, namely to the Foreign Office and to the commander of the German troops in Denmark. These are the two principal offices for which it was destined. The Reichsfuehrer SS received the letter only for information purposes, as is noted on it in accordance with our office practice. He did not have to act upon it; it was not an order for him, but it was merely for information. He already knew the Fuehrer's decision.
I did not in any way order the deportation of the Jews, but I wrote, "The deportation of Jews will be carried out by the Reichsfuehrer-SS..." . . . .
Had this been an order, it would have had to be addressed to the Reichsfuehrer-SS; and it would have had to be worded like this: "Reichsfuehrer-SS is to deport Jews from Denmark." But it is exactly the other way about. This Figure 2 informs General von Hanneckeh in Denmark that he has nothing to do with this affair, but that the Reichsfuehrer-SS is handling it. But General von Hanneckeh had to be told of this, because at that time a state of military emergency existed. He had executive power in Denmark, and if anything like that had been done without his knowledge, he might immediately have objected to it and forbidden it.
The matter appeared to me so urgent that, in order to avoid incidents, I informed the military commander in Denmark about it over the telephone, quite openly and without regard to its secrecy. The French Prosecution mentioned an indiscretion, which enabled most Jews to escape from Denmark into Sweden; presumably it was this telephone call which made that possible.
Finally, therefore, I repeat that I was far from ordering the deportation of Jews; I merely informed the military commander in question that he was to have nothing to do with the matter. Besides, as I heard afterwards on making inquiries, these Jews were taken to Theresienstadt, where they were cared for and visited by the Red Cross; and even the Danish minister declared himself satisfied with their treatment . . . . Actually this affair did not concern me at all. I signed the order because Field Marshal Keitel was away on that day . . . .
Yes. I would not have recalled this document, but I certainly wrote the note. It proves that I did not remember until now, that obviously this question had been discussed in Denmark, some days before; and that the commander in Denmark had been making objections. Consequently I wrote, I know nothing of this. This is a political measure, and if a political measure is to be carried out in Denmark, then the Foreign Office should kindly notify us.
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