January 4, 1945 Churchill to Eden:
Treatment of Germany after the war. It is much too soon for us to decide these enormous questions. Obviously, when the German organized resistance has ceased the first stage will be one of severe military control. This may well last for many months, or perhaps for a year or two, if the German underground movement is active.
2. We have yet to settle the practical questions of the partition of Germany, the treatment of the Ruhr and Saar industries, etc. These may be touched upon at our forthcoming meeting, but I doubt whether any final decision will be reached then. No one can foresee at the present moment what the state of Europe will be or what the relations of the Great Powers will be, or what the tempers of their peoples will be. I am sure that the hatreds which Germany has caused in so many countries will find their counterpart here.
3. I have been struck at every point where I have sounded opinion at the depth of the feeling that would be aroused by a policy of ‘putting poor Germany on her legs again.’ I am also well aware of the arguments about ‘not having a poisoned community in the heart of Europe’…I remember so well last time being shocked at the savage views of the House of Commons and of the constituencies, and being indignant with Poincare when he sent the French into the Ruhr. In a few years however the mood of Parliament and the public changed entirely. Thousands of millions of money were lent to Germany by the United States. I went along with the tolerant policy towards Germany up to the Locarno Treaty and during the rest of Mr. Baldwin’s Government on the grounds that Germany had no power to harm us. But thereafter a swift change occurred. The rise of Hitler began. And thereafter I once again found myself very much out of sympathy with the prevailing mood…
January 27, 1945: From the notes of a Fuehrer conference:
Hitler: Do you think the English are enthusiastic about all the Russian developments?
Jodl: No, of course not. They have quite different plans. Perhaps we'll discover the full extent of their plans later.
Goering: They certainly didn't plan that we hold them off while the Russians conquer all of Germany... If this goes on we will get a telegram (from the English) in a few days. They were not counting on us defending ourselves step by step...holding them off like madmen while the Russians drive deeper and deeper into Germany, and practically have all of Germany now...
Jodl: The English have always regarded the Russians with suspicion.
Hitler: I have given orders that we shall play a trick on the English—an information sheet telling them the Russians are organizing 200,000 of our men (German POWs) led by German officers, all of them infected with Communism, and they will be marched into Germany. I have ordered this report to be delivered to the English. I have discussed it with the Foreign Minister (Ribbentrop). That will be like sticking them with a needle.
Goering: They entered the war to prevent us from going East, not to have the East reaching out to the Atlantic.
Hitler: That's quite clear. It is something abnormal. The English newspapers are already saying bitterly: Is there any sense in this war?
Goering: On the other hand I have read a report in Braune Blaetter that they can support the Russians with their air force. They can reach the Russian forces with their heavy bombers, even though it is a long flight. But the information comes from an absurd source.
Hitler: Tactically, the English cannot support them. Since we don't know where the Russians are and where we are, how on earth can the English know?
Hitler then assures the assembled participants that this strategy—instilling the fear of unchecked Russian expansionism in the hearts of the British and Americans—will yet prevail. However, the conference ends with no decision being made as to the defense of the Oder. (Payne, Shirer, Read)
January 28, 1945: The liberation of Auschwitz occurs.
February 9, 1945 Yalta Conference: Near the end of this day's session, Stalin inquires about Hess. An annoyed Churchill replies that 'events would catch up with Hess.' Churchill, in complete contrast to the Soviets, does not at this point any longer consider Hess a major war criminal. He tells Stalin that Hess and the rest of 'these men should be given a judicial trial.' (Taylor)
February 11, 1945 Yalta Conference: The Big Three sign the official Yalta Communique at lunch. FDR suggests that the host of the conference sign first, but Stalin declines, explaining that it will be said that he had 'led' the conference. Churchill jokingly argues that he should sign first for alphabetical reasons, and the other two agree. Vice Admiral Wilson Brown, FDR's naval aid, talks the president into leaving Yalta immediately in the USS Catoctin. (Harriman)
March 15, 1945: Himmler, having managed to get himself up from his hospital bed and make his way to the Fuehrerbunker, receives 'an extraordinarily severe dressing-down' from his enraged Fuehrer. Hitler has learned that one of his favorite generals, SS-Oberstgruppenfuehrer Sepp Dietrich, commander of the Sixth SS-Panzer Army—whose four crack Waffen-SS divisions include the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler—has ordered his troops to retreat from the hopeless situation in Budapest. The sputtering warlord orders a petrified Himmler to force the 'traitorous' units to remove their 'loyalty is my honor' armbands.' When Himmler relays the order, Dietrich refuses to pass it down to the embattled soldiery. (Read)
March 18, 1945: Panzer Leader General Heinz Guderian, extremely concerned that huge numbers of Waffen SS and other German troops are in danger of being surrounded and captured (and most probably killed) by the Red Army, meets with Himmler. Himmler, with no military training or aptitude whatsoever, is in command of the endangered forces, but Guderian finds him laid up 'with an attack of influenza' in a hospital. He finds the Reichsfuehrer sitting up in his bed and, as he wrote in his diary, 'apparently in robust health.'
Guderian, realizing that the lives of many German troops have no chance of rescue under Himmler, whose hospital stay in reality has been caused by the strain of being an incompetent officer faced with an impossible situation, attempts to convince Himmler to give up command by humoring him. He sympathetically points out that the SS chief has far too much responsibility, and that 'such a plethora of offices was bound to be beyond the strength of any one individual.' After Guderian musters a number of further arguments, Himmler protests that he simply could not face Hitler and ask to be relieved. 'He wouldn't approve of my making such a suggestion,' he answers.
Guderian offers to talk with the Fuehrer on Himmler's behalf, and Himmler soon gives his assent. Guderian meets with Hitler soon after and, explaining that Himmler is unwell and 'overburdened,' recommends that he be replaced by the commander of the 1st Panzer Army, General Heinrici. After 'a certain amount of grumbling,' Hitler agrees to the move. He will later comment ruefully that giving Himmler a military command had been a failed experiment. (Clark)
March 19, 1945 Nero Decree: Fuehrer Order:
Measures for destruction’s in Reich Territory: The struggle of our nation for existence also forces the utilization of all means to weaken the fighting power of our enemy and to prevent further advances. Advantage must be taken of all opportunities to inflict the most enduring damage to the striking power of the enemy directly or indirectly. It is a mistake to believe in the possibility of work resumption for our own purposes of undestroyed or only temporarily paralyzed traffic, communications, industrial, and supply installations after the recapture of lost territories. On his retreat the enemy will leave behind only scorched earth and refrain from any consideration for the population. I therefore command:
1. All military traffic, communications, industrial and supply installation as well as objects on Reich territory, which the enemy might immediately or later utilize for the continuation of his fight, are to be destroyed.
2. The military commands are responsible for the execution of this destruction of all military objects including traffic and communications installations. The Gauleiters and Commissioners for Reich Defense are responsible for the destruction of the industrial and supply installations as well as of other valuable objects; the Gauleiter and Commissioners for Reich Defense are to be given necessary assistance by the troops in carrying out this task.
3. This command is to be transmitted as promptly as possible to all troop commanders; orders to the contrary are null and void. Adolf Hitler.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I found myself in such a situation quite frequently, but the decisive questions which conflicted most violently with my conscience and my convictions were those which were contrary to the training which I had undergone during my 37 years as an officer in the German Army. That was a blow at my most intimate personal principles. ...the orders given for the conduct of the war in the East, insofar as they were contrary to the acknowledged usage of war; then something which particularly concerns the British Delegation, the question of the 50 RAF officers, the question which weighed particularly heavy on my mind, that of the terror-fliers and, worst of all, the Nacht und Nebel Decree and the actual consequences it entailed at a later stage and about which I did not know. Those were the worst struggles which I had with myself.
March 22, 1945: Himmler meets with General Heinrici, who records in his diary that the Reichsfuehrer looked 'unusually white and puffy.' During the meeting, General Busse, commander of the second Army, telephones with the dire news that the endangered German forces have finally been surrounded by the Red Army. Himmler quickly hands the phone to Heinrici: 'You command the Army Group now. Please give the appropriate order.' (Clark)
March 26, 1945: Hitler, concerned about the fate of the SS regiments surrounded by the Red Army, had ordered a breakthrough rescue mission. The attempt, launched this day, fails to provide any relief to the doomed soldiers. (Clark)
March 27, 1945: Hitler, enraged by the failure of Busse's relief attack, is fuming as Guderian defends Busse's failure, citing the high casualty rate of the failed attack. Keitel proposes that he himself visit the front to determine whether a further relief attack is 'a practical proposition.' (Clark)
March 28, 1945: Keitel, preparing to leave for the front, is called back to the Fuehrer Bunker for the afternoon conference. The long-running conflict between Hitler and his generals comes to a head as, in a scene reminiscent of a Mad-Hatter's Tea Party, Hitler dismisses General Heinz Guderian. Note: At this point in the war it hardly matters; the military situation is beyond hopeless, and, even though there are some Panzer's available for action, there is little fuel for them. (Clark)
From Barbarossa by Alan Clark: To avoid interruption from air attack, it had been customary for some time for these afternoon 'briefings,' as they were called, to be held in the corridor of Hitler's personal underground bunker, and into this confined space there crowded, at 2 PM on 28th March, Guderian and Busse, Keitel, Jodl, Burgdorf, Hitler, Bormann, and sundry adjutants, staff officers, stenographers, and men of the SS bodyguard. Soon the conference took on the character, which was to be a recurrent feature of the 'bunker period,' of a hysterical multipartite shouting match. Busse had barely started on his report when Hitler began to interrupt him with the same accusations of negligence, if not cowardice, which Guderian had protested against the previous day. Guderian then began to interrupt, using unusually strong and dissenting language, drawing in turn murmurs of reproof from Keitel and Burgdorf.
Finally Hitler brought the company to order by dismissing everyone except Guderian and Keitel, and turning to Guderian he said, 'Colonel-General, your physical health requires that you immediately take six weeks' convalescent leave.' With the dismissal of Guderian the last rational and independent influence was removed from the direction of military affairs in Germany. Only the 'Nazi soldiers' remained, all of them now in timid conformity with Brauchitch's 'office boy' image and tied to the execution of the Fuehrer's wayward policies. It was one more paradox of the Russian campaign that at the end, when Hitler had mastered the General Staff and finally extinguished the evasions and insubordination’s which had persisted among them (albeit in diminishing strength) since 1941, he began to take on all the characteristics which the generals had so long ascribed to him, and which they had used to excuse their own intermittent disobedience.
March 31, 1945: A secret codicil (kept secret for over 50 years) to the Yalta agreement is completed. Stalin agrees that as the Russians liberate POW camps in Germany, American and British POW's will be turned over to the American and British forces. Likewise, as the Americans and British liberate German POW camps, Russian POW's will, in all cases, be returned to Russia.
Unfortunately, while American and British POW's want to return to their own forces, Russian POW's, in the main, do not want to return to Russia because they know what awaits them. Stalin has made it clear that he considers Russian prisoners traitors to communism. Death or exile will be their fate. FDR and Churchill, aware of these facts, agree anyway; it is hard to see how they could do otherwise without running the risk of having their own troops become virtual hostages. Note: This is one of the events collectively referred to by some as the 'Allied Holocaust.' Ultimately, two million Soviet citizens will be sent back to the communists where they will either be immediately executed or sent to die in the Gulag.
April 12, 1945: President Roosevelt dies; Truman becomes President. The Allies liberate Buchenwald and Belsen concentration camps.
April 13, 1945: Former US Attorney General and now Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Justice Robert Jackson, speaks before the American Society of International Law:
...All else will fail unless we can devise instruments of adjudication, and conciliation, so reasonable and acceptable to the masses of people that future governments will have always an honorable alternative to war. The time when these institutions will be most needed will probably not come until the names that signify leadership in today’s world will have passed into history...
April 16, 1945: As the Soviets near Berlin and the Americans enter Nuremberg, Hitler addresses what is left of his forces:
...The Jewish Bolshevik arch-enemy has gone over to the attack with his masses for the last time. He attempts to smash Germany and to eradicate our nation. You soldiers from the east today already know yourselves to a large extent what fate is threatening, above all, German women, girls and children. While old men and children are being murdered, women and girls are humiliated to the status of barracks prostitutes. Others are marched off to Siberia. We have anticipated this thrust, and since January of this year everything has been done to build up a strong front. Mighty artillery is meeting the enemy. Our infantry's casualties were replenished by countless new units. Reserve units, new formations and the Volksturm reinforce our front. This time the Bolsheviks will experience Asia's old fate. That is, he must and will bleed to death...
April 18, 1945: German forces in the Ruhr surrender.
April 21, 1945: The Red Army reaches Berlin.
April 22, 1945: During a meeting in the bunker in Berlin, Hitler orders Keitel to fly to Berchtesgaden. Keitel, in Jodl's presence, declares: "In seven years I have never refused to carry out an order from you, but this is one order I shall never carry out." (Keitel)
April 29, 1945: Hitler dictates his Political Testament in his bunker in besieged Berlin:
...Many very brave men and women have resolved to link their lives to mine to the very end. I have requested them, and finally ordered them, not to do so, but instead to take part in the continuing struggle of the nation. I ask the commanders of the army, navy, and air force to strengthen by all possible means the spirit of resistance of our soldiers in the spirit of National Socialism, emphasizing especially that I too, as founder and creator of this movement, have preferred death to cowardly flight or even capitulation. May it be one day a part of the code of honor; as it is already in the navy, that the surrender of an area or of a town is impossible, and above all in this respect the leaders should give a shining example of faithful devotion to duty unto death...
April 30, 1945: An announcement on the German wireless: It has been reported from the Fuehrer's headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon...
May 1, 1945: Keitel becomes a member of the short-lived Flensburg government controlled by Reichspraesident Karl Doenitz.
May 2, 1945: Executive Order of US President Truman:
...Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal...
May 7, 1945: Jodl signs the instruments of unconditional surrender as representative for Karl Dönitz. Jodl receives permission to make a statement:
With this signature the German people and the German Armed Forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the hands of the victors...In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity.
May 7-8, 1945 VE Day: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
May 8, 1945: Reichspraesident Doenitz authorizes Keitel to sign the second instrument of unconditional surrender in Berlin. Note: On the previous day, Alfred Jodl had signed an instrument of unconditional surrender in Rheims, France.
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I took the full powers with me to Berlin. They had been signed by Grossadmiral Doenitz in his capacity as Chief of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht and stated in a few words that he had authorized and ordered me to conduct the negotiations and to sign the capitulation. ...In the course of the afternoon of 8 May I was asked to present the full powers. Obviously they were examined and several hours later they were returned to me by a high-ranking officer of the Red Army who said that I had to show them again when signing. ...I did have my credentials at hand during the act of capitulation and handed them over to become part of the record.
May 8, 1945: Churchill announces the end of the war in Europe:
...The German representatives will be Field-Marshal Keitel, Chief of the High Command, and the Commanders-in-Chief of the German Army, Navy, and Air Forces. Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight to-night (Tuesday, May 8), but in the interests of saving lives the "Cease fire" began yesterday to be sounded all along the front...
May 12, 1945: Keitel surrenders to the Allies.
From The Memoirs of Field Marshal Keitel: I was to surrender as a prisoner of war and would be flown out at 2:00 that afternoon - in two hours time. I was to turn over my official business to Colonel-General Jodl; I was to be allowed to take with me one personal staff officer, a batman and 300 lbs. of baggage. I stood up, saluted briefly with my Field Marshal's baton and drove back to headquarters...I took leave of Doenitz, who had already been briefed on what was to happen, and selected Lieutenant-Colonel John von Freyend and Monch to accompany me, thereby ensuring a considerably less arduous captivity for them. I handed my personal papers and keys to Jodl and handed Szimonski...one or two things and a letter for my wife which were to be flown down to Berchtesgaden in the courier plane.
Unfortunately the British later seized everything...even my...bank pass-book and the letter to my wife. We took off for a destination not disclosed to us and, after flying right across Germany, landed that evening in Luxumburg airport; there I was treated as a prisoner-of-war for the first time and taken to the internment camp in the Palace Hotel, Mondorf, where Seyss-Inquart had already arrived. In Flensburg I had been my own master; I drove to the airfield in my own car; in those two unguarded hours, I could have put an end to my life and nobody could have stopped me. The thought never occurred to me, as I never dreamed that such a 'via doloris' lay ahead of me, with this tragic end in Nuremberg.
May 15, 1945: Keitel writes a final message to the OKW staff:
It is hard for me to say farewell for ever to this comradely circle. As a prisoner-of-war I face sentence as a war criminal; my sole desire now is to shield my previous subordinates from a similar fate. My military career is at an end; my life is drawing to its close. (Maser)
From Keitel's IMT testimony: I can say that I was a soldier by inclination and conviction. For more than 44 years without interruption I served my country and my people as a soldier, and I tried to do my best in the service of my profession. I believed that I should do this as a matter of duty, laboring unceasingly and giving myself completely to those tasks which fell to me in my many and diverse positions. I did this with the same devotion under the Kaiser, under President Ebert, under Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, and under the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler... ...
As a German officer, I naturally consider it my duty to answer for what I have done, even if it should have been wrong. I am grateful that I am being given the opportunity to give an account here and before the German people of what I was and my participation in the events which have taken place. It will not always be possible to separate clearly guilt and entanglement in the threads of destiny. But I do consider one thing impossible, that the men in the front lines and the leaders and the subleaders at the front should be charged with the guilt, while the highest leaders reject responsibility. That, in my opinion, is wrong, and I consider it unworthy. I am convinced that the large mass of our brave soldiers were really decent, and that wherever they overstepped the bounds of acceptable behavior, our soldiers acted in good faith, believing in military necessity, and the orders which they received. ....
It is correct that there are a large number of orders, instructions, and directives with which my name is connected, and it must also be admitted that such orders often contain deviations from existing international law. On the other hand, there are a group of directives and orders based not on military inspiration but on an ideological foundation and point of view. In this connection I am thinking of the group of directives which were issued before the campaign against the Soviet Union and also which were issued subsequently.
May 23, 1945: SS Reichsfuehrer Himmler commits suicide.
May 23, 1945: British tanks enter Flensburg, Germany, where the British these Nazis that will soon be tried in the Major War Figures Trial: Jodl, Doenitz, Keitel, Rosenberg, and Speer.
June 5, 1945: The Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over the government.
June 7, 1945: Justice Jackson sends off a progress report to President Truman:
...The custody and treatment of war criminals and suspects appeared to require immediate attention. I asked the War Department to deny those prisoners who are suspected war criminals the privileges which would appertain to their rank if they were merely prisoners of war; to assemble them at convenient and secure locations for interrogation by our staff; to deny them access to the press; and to hold them in close confinement...
June 21, 1945: During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration. Chosen mainly because their names are well known to the public, they are assumed to be criminals; little effort has yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that will be available against them. The initial ten: Goering, Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Ribbentrop, Ley (see October 25, 1945, below), Keitel, Streicher, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank and Frick. (Taylor)
June 26, 1945: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
June 26, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of this days Conference Session:
...Niktchenko: It is, of course, impossible to foresee all the details that should be included in a statute of this kind and I agree that the court which is to be set up must have the power to elaborate detailed instructions that will be necessary; but we are afraid the actual wording of this paragraph number 8, as it is, rather implies that if we do not here and now define basic principles for government of the International Tribunal, it will be left then to the Tribunal itself when set up to do that work, and it would delay the work of the prosecutors.
Mr Roberts: May I say that it is our view, too. We would like to draft some rules by agreement although we quite understand that the Tribunal will have the power to modify or extend those rules, but we share the Russian fear that this paragraph as it is might lead to duplication and delay.
Niktchenko: This is a change we can discuss in a memorandum, but we could leave the text as it stands now in the statute and arrange that when necessary. The Tribunal may later elaborate or extend. Justice Jackson. I assume you mean that a memorandum will be prepared by the Soviet which will indicate the type of rules which you think should be incorporated. We do not object to adding any rules we feel should be incorporated as we go along...
June 27, 1945: From Keitel's interview this day by the US SBS: Q: Would you then say that from the beginning of the war until the beginning of the Russian campaign the capacity of the industry was adequate to satisfy the three branches of the Armed Forces?
Keitel: Yes. I am of the opinion that the Fuehrer thought so. We always believed that Russia would be finished by 1941. At that time we could determine which product should be emphasized, be it naval guns, or fighter planes, or flak (the Fuehrer always talked about flak). Hitler demanded a report every ten days about production. The Fuehrer knew the production of the war 1914-1918, the then Hindenberg program, and he knew the consumption figures, such as those of the Battle of Verdun or of the Somme. All these figures he had in his head. He knew every figure, the number of guns used in battles. He knew the amount of ammunition consumed and should it come to a stationary war, the consumption figures would have reached a new high. He was definitely of the opinion in the Summer of 1941 that the war could be brought to a rapid conclusion. Later on, Speer assumed Todt's duties.
Q: Was the Armament program considerably increased during the period from September 1940 up to the beginning of the Russian War?
Keitel: No. The increase came in the Winter of 1941/42 after the Russian campaign did not come to a conclusion in 1941. This is as far as the Army is concerned. In the Navy, the fullest efforts were made from the very beginning. The U-boat program began in 1939 or in the Winter 1939/40. There was no change in 1940/41 as far as the Army was concerned. But most accent was on the production of flak and flak ammunition. This was due to the fact that the Air Force has accentuated mainly aerial armaments and the Fuehrer wanted to balance that with flak and flak ammunition.
Q: Was that because Hitler was personally afraid of the bombs?
Keitel: It was through his far-sightedness. He saw ahead that the time would come in which we would be short mostly of flak and then the production would not be enough to satisfy the needs. The best we had in those days was the 88 mm. gun. That in itself was a work of art. That had to be increased to 105 mm. and 128 mm. The production of ammunition was so difficult because each round needed a time fuse. Manufacture of the fuses with the time pieces was in itself a problem.
Q: Would you personally believe that Hitler's opinion that more flak was needed was by any chance caused by personal cowardice?
Keitel: I do not believe that. He said that one could prevent the aiming through the influence of heavy flak, and that was also decisive in the last phases of the War, because you cannot aim properly against a well-defended bridge, and if those bridges had been well defended by flak, the disruption of transport would not have occurred. The hydrogenation plants, the refineries, etc., were all destroyed despite the fact that they were pinpoint targets, because they were attacked with 600-800 bombs and fighter protection could never prevent the well-aimed bombardment even if we had had superior fighters. That could be prevented only through flak. That was an intuitive recognition which the Fuehrer made. The last attacks on Berlin which lasted all through the night, from 9 o'clock in the evening until 4 o'clock in the morning, were impossible to combat with fighters.
July 1, 1945: US, British, and French occupying forces move into Berlin.
July 7, 1945: US Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Jackson visits a city 91% destroyed by Allied bombs: Nuremberg. He inspects the Palace of Justice and decides to recommend it as a site for the upcoming trials, even though the Soviets much prefer that the trials take place in Berlin, within their own zone of occupation.
July 16, 1945: Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately referred to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims: "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed.. ..they roll their own cigarettes." (Tusa)
July 17, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of this days Four Power conference session:
...Niktchenko: It would not be necessary to write down in the charter anything about the rights of the defendant not giving answer, because, if he refuses to give answer to the prosecution and to the counsel and to the Tribunal, nothing is to be done, and therefore we do not think it would be necessary to point it out in the charter. But as regards the rights of the prosecutor to interrogate, that is very important. If we do write anything about the defendant's right not to answer, then it would look as if we were preparing the ground for him to do so, and, if he knows about it, he will take advantage of it and refuse to answer. Therefore it is not necessary to mention it...
July 19, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of today’s Conference Session:
...Professor Gros: We do not consider as a criminal violation the launching of a war of aggression. If we declare war a criminal act of individuals, we are going farther than the actual law. We think that in the next years any state which will launch a war of aggression will bear criminal responsibility morally and politically; but on the basis of international law as it stands today, we do not believe these conclusions are right. Where a state would launch a war of aggression and not conduct that war according to rules of international law, it would be desirable to punish them as criminals, but it would not be criminal for only launching a war of aggression. We do not want criticism in later years of punishing something that was not actually criminal, such as launching a war of aggression. The judges would be in a very difficult position if we insist...
July 21, 1945: Justice Jackson returns to Nuremberg to inspect possible housing accommodations with British and French representatives.
July 25, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session: "Justice Jackson: ...I think that every one of the top prisoners that we have is guilty..."
July 31, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg:
...Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France—but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip...
August 1, 1945 Potsdam Conference: At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the subject of trying Nazi war criminals is raised:
Truman: You are aware that we have appointed Justice Jackson as our representative on the London Commission. He is an outstanding judge and a very experienced jurist. He has a good knowledge of legal procedure. Jackson is opposed to any names of war criminals being mentioned and says that this will hamper their work. He assures us that the trial will be ready within thirty days and that their should be no doubt concerning our view of these men.
Stalin: Perhaps we could name fewer persons, say three. Bevin: Our jurists take the same view as the Americans. Stalin: And ours take the opposite view. But perhaps we shall agree that the first list of war criminals to be brought to trial should be published not later than in one month...
August 2, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session:
General Nikitchenko: There is one question. What is meant in the English by "cross-examination"?
Lord Chancellor: In an English or American trial, after a witness has given testimony for the prosecution he can be questioned by the defense in order that the defense may test his evidence verify his evidence, to see whether it is really worthy of credit. In our trials the defendant or his counsel is always entitled to put questions in cross-examination. And I think the same situation prevails in the courts of France.
Judge Falco: Yes, the same.
General Nikitchenko: According to Continental procedure, that is very widely used too. The final form would be then, "The Defendant shall have the right to conduct his own defense before the Tribunal, to cross-examine any witness called by the prosecution be their technique...
August 8, 1945: The London Agreement is signed. The Soviets declare war on Japan and invade Manchuria.
August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
August 12, 1945: Justice Jackson releases a statement to the American press:
...The representatives of the United Kingdom have been headed by the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General. The Soviet Republic has been represented by the Vice President of its Supreme Court and by one of the leading scholars of Soviet jurisprudence. The Provisional Government of France has sent a judge of its highest court and a professor most competent in its jurisprudence. It would not be a happy forecast for the future harmony of the world if I could not agree with such representatives of the world's leading systems of administering justice on a common procedure for trial of war criminals...
August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. As they fly above Germany, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
August 14, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...I am able to report the most fascinating days of my life...After lunch at the hotel we returned to the Palace of Justice and began our questioning of Lieutenant General Alfred Jodl. He was in charge of operations—a post like that occupied by Eisenhower. He came in under guard, attired in a long lack outside coat, high crowned cap, a tunic of blue trimmed in red and gold, pale green breeches of whip cord and shining black riding boots. He is well built man of 53 years. A lean hard face, thin lips, blue eyes, light thin hair, very erect in carriage. (Keitel is more dumpy, particularly about the hips, but also very military in his bearing). Jodl has a deep rumbling voice. Keitel's too is deep but softer. Jodl was every inch and every moment the Prussian general—arrogant and haughty. We discussed the Norwegian campaign. He talked freely but sternly. He too told of the impending British invasion.
August 15, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...I am able to report the most fascinating days of my life. After breakfast I went to the Palace of Justice. Colonel Amens, Colonel Brundage, Lt. Col. Hinkel, representatives of the Norwegian government and an interpreter started our interrogation of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. The chief of staff of the German army. He came in under guard, dressed in a long blue field coat, a pale green tunic with red and gold trimming, light blue whip cord breeches, black riding boots. He has an unusual countenance—light hair, blue eyes, a light mustache. We talked with him for three hours about the invasion of Norway—the preparations, etc. I cannot give you details but I knew I was sitting in on and participating in a history making occasion. I can only tell you that he claims the Germans invaded Norway only a few hours before the English intended to do so. Remind me to tell you what two Norwegian army officers said when we asked them if there was anything to Keitel's story. Keitel had five children when the war started. Two sons are missing in battle, one was killed in Russia, one daughter is dead and one is living. He is a German officer of the old school, Hitler's close military advisor. Also remind me to tell you of his attitude towards Hitler...
August 25, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants, 21 of which are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on August 28. (Conot)
August 27, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
After lunch I started my first formal questioning of Field Marshal Keitel. We were busy until five o'clock. Present were my interpreter and my stenographer. I did no more than some preliminary questioning as this was our first session alone. I asked him about the military preparations and rearmament of Germany. He told me that Germany started to rearm in earnest in 1935 and that she was expected to be at full peak somewhere between 1943 and 1945. This I believe to be true as I have seen the minutes of a highly secret conference between Hitler, von Blomberg, von Fritsch, Admiral Raeder, Goering, and von Neurath on November 5, 1937. At that time Hitler told these men of his aim and said he could accomplish it by force. He said: 'We should be ready between 1943 to 1945. After that we decline.' He also said that an earlier opportunity might present itself—but from the tenor of his remarks on that afternoon in 1937 it seems clear that he did not expect to start until 1943 to 1945. He planned for war—and he stated the basic proposition to be, 'How much can Germany get by conquest at the least cost?'
Of course Keitel was not then Chief of Staff—he was assistant to von Blomberg. How ever he did tell me that he considered German assistance to Franco Spain as a training opportunity for German arms. He is a gentle appearing man, very polite, very proper. But I never forget that he was Hitler's handyman for war. But we must remember that these men actually planned for war, and nothing in this world could have stopped them. It was a matter of time only. Tomorrow I will question him further. I realize that I am talking with one of the three or four top military men of this war and with Hitler's top military man. It is something I shall never forget.
August 28, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: Just in time to delay the release of the names of the final 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible major defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)
August 29, 1945: The final list of defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody, is still listed; Raeder and Fritzsche are now included, though there is no longer a Krupp represented. (Conot)
August 29, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...All day yesterday I questioned Field Marshal Keitel—a very interesting session in which we discussed plans and events from November 1937 to September 1, 1939. He insists that the order to prepare to march in Austria was issued only two or three days in advance. As to Czechoslovakia, plans were made earlier and the real order was given on May 28, 1939 by Hitler to Brauchitsch. Keitel has a very considerable respect for Hitler—he shows it at frequent intervals. I am surprised at his effrontery concerning some matters. For example, when I asked why he suggested a surprise attack on Czechoslovakia, he answered, 'Because the Czechs were planning to attack us.'
Of course he attempts to justify his every deed in the same light. Always and ever Germany had to act to defend herself from imminent attack! You see how these people cling to this sort of answer—much as they shouted about the Versailles treaty before the war. This morning I questioned him again - and this afternoon I will continue. Thus you see the field marshal and I are seeing quite a bit of each other...This afternoon I questioned Keitel until after 5 PM. He insisted that Germany feared an attack by Czechoslovakia and France in 1938—and offered this as an explanation for German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Obviously this is a weak explanation for I confronted him with a letter dated May 20, 1938 which he wrote to Hitler suggesting that it must somehow appear to the world that Germany as provoked into attacking the Czechs - even if the incident had to be framed by the Germans! He was very embarrassed and flustered and made a stupid answer. I am convinced that these people were really spoiling for a war - and they intended to get their objectives by war.
August 30, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: With the additions of Raeder and Fritzsche, the final list of 24 defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody (or even alive), is still listed. (Conot, Taylor)
August 30, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
I was at the office all day questioning Field Marshal Keitel. We are getting along well together. Sometimes I find myself liking him—and feeling sorry for him. He is a very bright man—in my opinion—and a very charming one too. This afternoon he was in good spirits and he told me what he thought of the Italians. It was really humorous. He blames much of Germany's defeat on Italy. For example, Keitel, Hitler and Jodl were in Hendaye, France, in conference with Petain when word reached them that Italy was about to attack Greece. They immediately left for Florence and arrived the next morning at 6 AM. Mussolini greeted them by announcing that he had invaded Greece. Hitler was wild. So was Keitel—and of course Mussolini was cocky. Keitel said: 'How can you defeat the Greeks?' Mussolini said, 'There will be no battles—Ciano has bought up the opposition with a little gold.' Hitler told Keitel once, 'I never tell Mussolini anything important' for what Mussolini knows, Ciano knows, London knows, and Washington knows. About the Finns: Keitel and Jodl met with the Finnish Chief of Staff at Salzburg in May of 1941. They made a proposal to the Finns, Keitel said, 'The Finns gave us their answer with action—they were brave soldiers—our most faithful allies. They never asked for anything and they desired only to preserve their country.'
August 31, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...I continued to question Keitel. We talked of the plans for the attack on Russia and he told me that Hitler wished to attack in the summer of 1941, but the troops could not be moved from France to the East in time. Then he talked of the diplomatic moves in Berlin in October of 1940—the conferences with Molotov and with the Japanese, and the Russo-Japanese agreement. From late fall or surely early winter it was clear that the attack on Russia would come in the spring. He discussed the failure of the Japanese to attack Russia in the summer and fall of 1941 and then he said, 'But in the fall of 1941 I realized that Japan could be most helpful against the US.'
This afternoon, he told me the story of von Blomberg's marriage and the resultant dismissal as Minister of War.
Said he, 'This woman was of easy virtue—his second wife to be—and what made it worse was his invitation to Hitler to be his best man. This upset the Fuehrer very much and the officer corps would not stand for it.' (Keitel) agreed that the charges against von Fritsch were probably framed up—degrading charges of homosexuality. But even with respect to this he clings to his defense of Hitler. It is always the same—admiration, respect, affection for Hitler. I cannot understand it. At the time of the attempt on Hitler's life on July 20, 1944. Keitel was in the room where the bomb exploded. An eyewitness who survived tells us that Keitel called out, 'Where is the Fuehrer - where is the Fuehrer?'
Keitel leaned toward me across the desk and said, 'Now I will tll you something that few people know. Hitler was no mere corporal in the German Army in the last war. After the war he was an instructor of officers in Munich!' Finally he said to me, 'I wish you would see my wife in Berchtesgaden. Tell her I am well and to go to our country home in Hanover. If you will do this for me and tell me that she is well I can stand anything.' He stood very erect and handsome as he said these words—and his eyes glistened with a slight trace of water. I admit it touched me some. I assured him I would see what could be done. He asked for paper. I handed him my small notebook and in it he wrote his wife’s name—Frau Lisa Keitel, and her address.
September 1, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...This Saturday, I continued with Field Marshal Keitel. We discussed the killing of hostages: men, women and children in Poland and Russia and Italy. He admitted that he gave such orders but only after terrible attacks had been made on German soldiers. He even verified the wording of his order as calling for 'the most brutal measures even against women and children.' Whole towns were slaughtered and burned. Some few able bodied (people) were shipped back to Germany as slave labor. It is a degrading business for these once proud Prussians to admit these orders. Yet Keitel is adamant. He said, 'I would do it all over again if the situation presented itself as it did then.'...
September 2, 1945: Victory over Japan Day.
September 4, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...In the afternoon we talked with Keitel—Colonal Amens and Brundage and I. It was a little painful for Colonel Amens who felt that Keitel was lying. I do not think so. It all grew out of some questions I asked Keitel about the Japanese and what plans the Germans and Japanese had. He answered by saying that there were no plans—and that he, Keitel—did not even think of the Japs with reference to the US until the late summer of 1941. Well, we found an order which Keitel issued on March 5, 1941—discussing the Japanese and stating that early intervention by the Japs was desirable. It made reference to an attack on American naval vessels. Keitel freely admitted having written it when confronted but claimed he had forgotten about it. I believe him because in my judgement he is not as bright as legend has tried to make him. He told me that in July of 1941 he, Admiral Nomura (of Japan) and General Marras of Italy met as representatives of the three countries and decided on the line 70 degrees (longitude) as a line of demarcation between German-Italian and Japanese influence...
September 5, 1945: Justice Jackson meets with President Truman, who proposes naming former attorney general Francis Biddle as the American judge at Nuremberg. Jackson, who does not think highly of Biddle, suggests alternatives. Biddle will ultimately get the appointment.
September 9, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...Now, to return to Friday, September 7, when I left Nuremberg. That morning and afternoon I questioned Keitel again very thoroughly and after confronting him with certain directives which he signed, he admitted planning an attack on Czechoslovakia. In his written memo to Hitler he suggested three ways of starting the attack, one of which would be to have the German Ambassador in Czechoslovakia assassinated! He was very uneasy about all this and his explanation is 'Hitler told me what he wanted to do - and I, as a soldier, had to carry out his wishes.'
September 23, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...in the afternoon I interrogated Dr Wilhelm Heinrich Scheidt, who was the historian for the German High Command. He is a very interesting creature with a scholastic background. He can be very helpful to us and it is my intention to develop him that way. For example, he knows a lot about Keitel and Jodl and those who were associated with them. He confirms my opinion of Keitel—i.e., a stupid opportunist with enough cunning to hold a job. But he surprised me when he said Jodl wasn't the brains either—instead General (Walther) Warlimont, a member of Hitler's personal staff. Scheidt said there was considerable friction between Keital and Jodl on one side and Warlimont on the other, and largely because Warlimont was a strict Catholic and Keitel and Jodl did not profess any faith. Scheidt tells me that he has some authentic papers hidden away. One is a memorandum on the fight within the German Army to resist Hitler. I am taking steps to find these at once.
September 26, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...This afternoon I had a wonderful session with Keitel. He admitted that he, Jodl, Hitler and others planned to attack Czechoslovakia in September of 1938...in this very city of Nuremberg—Hitler and his generals had a meeting which lasted far into the night and talked of the war, the attack they were soon to make on Czechoslovakia. They were ready, and no power on earth could have stopped them. Perhaps Chamberlain will take an honorable place yet—he got an extension of time for England—maybe for the world. Keitel gets under my skin. I know he is terribly guilty. I know better than most men. Yet I now know him—he has a pathetic aspect to me. He is so weak.
October 2, 1945: From a letter from Keitel to Colonel Amen:
In carrying out these thankless and difficult tasks, I had to fulfill my duty under the hardest exigencies of war, often acting against the inner voice of my conscience and against my own convictions. The fulfillment of urgent tasks assigned by Hitler, to whom I was directly responsible, demanded complete self-abnegation.
October 5, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
(I interrogated Keitel) all afternoon. Some of the Russian staff sat in and listened. Keitel was uneasy—he kept a weary eye on the Russkies, and well he might, for they will stretch his neck. He admitted ordering the branding of Russian prisoners with a hot lancet —a mark on the left buttocks. He also admitted ordering terrorist measures in Russia and the shooting of captured commissars. The indictment should be filed next week. We should start the trial in November. But this is conjecture.
October 5, 1945: Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's 'Head of National Hygiene.'
October 6, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
I was busy with Keitel both in the morning and in the afternoon. We had a long heart to heart. He told me what he considered his part in the Hitler regime—and he insists that while he believes in Hitler and was a follower to some extent he did not know many of the things that were done—or knowing of them felt there was nothing he could do about them, or finally in those matters which he ordered done in Hitler's name, he was simply carrying out his orders. In any case he is a tragic figure. I think he possesses very limited ability—a certain shrewdness—and a handsome face. He was a perfect tool for Hitler.
October 10, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...a most interesting interview with Keitel. He told me the most romantic story of the last days in Berlin. I feel it is of great historical significance. His eyes filled with tears, his whole facial expression was one of suppressed emotion as he spoke of his last conversation with Hitler. Surely that man, Hitler, must have possessed an amazing personality, a magnetic power and an iron will. These old soldiers believed in him and admired him. This afternoon Keitel and I talked at great length about Hitler as a personality. Believe me it was an interesting few hours.
I must admit that Keitel gets under my skin—I think I like him and I guess he rather likes me. He was a career man, of course, in the German Army—an administrative officer. Hitler made him Chief of the High Command, a job for which he was not fitted either by experience, training, or character or ability. If he had been left at his own level he would probably be a free man today. He got a big job and now he is in a big mess. You will recall that I have often spoken of the tragedy of placing incompetents in important places. Please do not think I am becoming soft about the Nazis—but in this mission, as in most realistic affairs, one knows that things are not all black and white. For nothing ever is. There are always shadings. I have learned such in these few months.
October 14, 1945: British representative Sir Geoffrey Lawrence is elected President of the IMT (International Military Tribunal).
October 19, 1945: British Major Airey Neave presents each defendant in turn with a copy of the indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development. Keitel: "To a soldier, orders are orders" (Heydecker)
October 19, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...Later in the morning I had a session with Keitel—the last one before the indictment was served on him. Shortly after noon the document had been served on all the defendants and about 4 PM I saw von Papen, Keitel and Seyss-Inquart—in that order. Von Papen was shaken and expressed surprise. Keitel was greatly distressed—nervous and highly excited. Seyss-Inquart was obviously upset but appeared despondent and dejected. Old Keitel bothers me—I feel badly about him. We have become rather good friends—so to speak.
October 24, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...At 5 PM today I saw von Papen to tell him that our interviews were over and that a new man would talk with him. He seemed very sorry—and so said. He thanked me, etc., and then handed me his own reconstruction of the Hindenburg will. You see he drafted the original—which the Nazis either destroyed or distorted and the document of course has disappeared. I also saw Seyss-Inquart and bade him adieu—he was thankful, etc. Finally Keitel. He seemed very distressed about the change. He said, 'I feel that you have come to know me as a personality. I am very grateful for the honorable way in which you have treated me. I am sorry that you will not continue to talk with me. I would like to feel that I may write to you or ask to see you and I shall be a soldier to the end.' It was really quite moving. I pity him.
October 25, 1945: Andrus loses yet another Nazi as the defendant Dr Robert Ley, Hitler's head of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell.
November 19, 1945: The day before the opening of the trial, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:
...Two frightful world wars and the violent collisions by which peace among the States was violated during the period between these enormous and world embracing conflicts caused the tortured peoples to realize that a true order among the States is not possible as long as such State, by virtue of its sovereignty, has the right to wage war at any time and for any purpose. During the last decades public opinion in the world challenged with ever increasing emphasis the thesis that the decision of waging war is beyond good and evil. A distinction is being made between just and unjust wars and it is asked that the Community of States call to account the State which wages an unjust war and deny it, should it be victorious, the fruits of its outrage...
November 19, 1945: After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted individually into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats. (Tusa)
1945: Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Keitel scores 129. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Andrus is not impressed by the results: 'From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit.' (Tusa)
November 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 1 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, their are many who've never met. (Tusa, Conot)
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 2, the defendants enter their pleas: 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... Keitel: "I declare myself not guilty."
November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:
Jackson: ...In the prisoners' dock sit twenty-odd broken men. Reproached by the humiliation of those they have led almost as bitterly as by the desolation of those they have attacked, their personal capacity for evil is forever past. It is hard now to perceive in these men as captives the power by which as Nazi leaders they once dominated much of the world and terrified most of it. Merely as individuals their fate is of little consequence to the world. What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust. We will show them to be living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence, and of the arrogance and cruelty of power. They are symbols of fierce nationalism’s and of militarism, of intrigue and war making...
November 29, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: 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. Keitel: "It was those dirty SS swine...I'll never be able to look people in the face again." Note: Unlike most people who were in court that day, Keitel is able to eat a hearty supper that evening. (Conot).
November 30, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 9th day of the trial, prosecution witness Erwin Lahousen is cross-examined by Keitel's defense counsel:
Dr Nelte: Did Keitel ever ask questions or order any inquiries to be made about the political views of the officers in the Intelligence Department? Did he ever ask whether there were any National Socialists in the departments of the intelligence service?
Lahousen: At the aforementioned periodical meetings he asked this question and others of this nature in an unmistakable way, and he left no doubt that in an office such as the OKW he could not tolerate any officers who did not believe in the idea of final victory, or who did not give proof of unswerving loyalty to the Fuehrer and much more besides.
Dr Nelte: Could these statements be taken to mean that he demanded obedience in the military sense, or do you think he was speaking from a political point of view?
Lahousen: Of course, he was speaking from a military point of view, but no less clearly from the political aspect, for it was not admissible to make any distinction between the two. The Wehrmacht was to form a single whole—the National Socialistic Wehrmacht. Here he touched upon the root problem.
Dr Nelte: You believe, therefore, that the basic attitude was really the military one, also in the OKW?
Lahousen: The basic attitude was, or should have been, National Socialistic, and not military. In other words, first and foremost National Socialistic, and everything else afterwards.
Dr Nelte: You said "should have been."
Lahousen: Yes, because it actually was not the case.
December 1, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 10, prosecution witness Erwin Lahousen is cross-examined by various defense counsel:
Dr Nelte: Is it true that Keitel, as the Chief of the OKW at first every year, and then from 1943 on, at regular and shorter intervals, spoke to the office and department chiefs of the OKW and on such occasions made a point of telling them that anyone who believed that something was being asked of him which his con science would not allow him to carry out should tell him, Keitel, about it personally?
Lahousen: It is true that the Chief of the OKW did several times address the circle just mentioned. I cannot recall any exact words of his which could be interpreted in such a way as to mean that one could take the risk, in cases about which I testified yesterday, of speaking with him so openly and frankly as myself and others, that is, witnesses still alive, could speak to Canaris at any time. I definitely did not have that impression, whatever the meaning might have been which was given to his words at that time.
Dr Nelte: Do I understand you correctly to mean that in principle you do not wish to challenge the fact that Keitel actually said these words?
Lahousen: I can neither challenge it, nor can I add anything to it, because I have no exact recollection of it. I do recall that these addresses or conferences took place, and it is quite possible that the Chief of the OKW at that time might have used those words...
December 1, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Keitel reacts to Lahousen's testimony: "I don't know what to say—that Giraud affair—well, I knew that was coming up, but what can I say?...I don't care if they accuse me of starting the war—I was only doing my duty and following orders—But these assassination stories—I don't know how I ever got mixed up in this thing." (Taylor)
December 3, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 11, Sidney Alderman, Associate Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Prosecutions case on Waging Aggressive War:
Alderman: ...The Tribunal will recall that Hitler and Keitel discussed the pretext which Germany might develop to serve as an excuse for a sudden and overwhelming attack. They considered the provocation of a period of diplomatic squabbling which, growing more serious, would lead to an excuse for war. In the alternative—and this alternative they found to be preferable—they planned to unleash a lightning attack as the result of an incident of their own creation...
December 4, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 12, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, begins presentation of the Case on (Count 2) Conspiracy to Commit Aggressive War:
Shawcross: .... Hitler had foreseen and discussed the likelihood that Poland would be involved if the aggressive expansionist aims which he put forward brought about a general European war in the course of their realization by the Nazi State. And when, therefore, on that very day on which that conference was taking place, Hitler assured the Polish Ambassador of the great value of the 1934 Pact with Poland, it can only be concluded that its real value in Hitler's eyes was that of keeping Poland quiet until Germany had acquired such a territorial and strategic position that Poland was no longer a danger. That view is confirmed by the events which followed. At the beginning of February of 1938 the change from Nazi preparation for aggression to active aggression itself took place. It was marked by the substitution of Ribbentrop for Neurath as Foreign Minister, and of Keitel for Blomberg as head of the OKW...
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: 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.
December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: 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 Goering, 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-Inquart, 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 14, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: The tendency of some of the defendants to denounce, or at least criticize Hitler on the stand, leads to an outburst by Goering during lunch: "You men knew the Fuehrer. 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." Keitel fell silent, but Frank was not crushed: "Other sovereigns have stood before courts of law. He got us into this..." Keitel, Doenitz, Funk and Schirach suddenly get up and leave Goering's table." (Tusa)
December 17, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After the court views the film 'The Nazi Plan, Dr. Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the United States, begins presentation of the Case on Forced Labor:
Dodd: ...We shall show that the Defendants Sauckel and Speer are principally responsible for the formulation of the policy and for its execution: that the Defendant Sauckel, the Nazis' Plenipotentiary General for Manpower, directed the recruitment, deportation, and the allocation of foreign civilian labor, that he sanctioned and directed the use of force as the instrument of recruitment, and that he was responsible for the care and the treatment of the enslaved millions; that the Defendant Speer, as Reich Minister for Armament and Munitions, Director of the Organization Todt, and member of the Central Planning Board, bears responsibility for the determination of the numbers of foreign slaves required by the German war machine, was responsible for the decision to recruit by force and for the use under brutal, inhumane, and degrading conditions of foreign civilians and prisoners of war in the manufacture of armaments and munitions, the construction of fortifications, and in active military operations.
We shall also show in this presentation that the Defendant Goering, 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-Inquart, 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...
December 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After this days session, the trial adjourns for a Holiday break until Wednesday, the 2nd of January.
December 23, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Many of the defendants, most of whom are Protestant, attend Christmas Eve services conducted by Pastor Gerecke.
January 4, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Day 27; Beginning of Colonel Telford Taylor's Presentation of the Case Against the General Staff and the High Command:
Colonel Taylor: ...Why did this group support Hitler and the Nazis? I think Your Honors will see, as the proof is given, that the answer is very simple. The answer is that they agreed with the truly basic objectives of Hitlerism and Nazism and that Hitler gave the generals the opportunity to play a major part in achieving these objectives The generals, like Hitler, wanted to aggrandize Germany at the expense of neighboring countries and were prepared to do so by force or threat of force. Force, armed might, was the keystone of the arch, the thing without which nothing else would have been possible.
As they came to power and when they had attained power, the Nazis had two alternatives: either to collaborate with and expand the small German Army, known as the Reichswehr, or to ignore the Reichswehr and build up a separate army of their own. The generals feared that the Nazis might do the latter and accordingly were the more inclined to collaborate. Moreover, the Nazis offered the generals the chance of achieving much that they wished to achieve by way of expanding German armies and German frontiers; and so, as we will show, the generals climbed onto the Nazi bandwagon. They saw it was going in their direction for the present. No doubt they hoped later to take over the direction themselves. In fact, as the proof will show, ultimately it was the generals who were taken for a ride by the Nazis...
January 9, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 30, the prosecution presents a joint case against Jodl and Keitel:
Mr Roberts: ...Keitel, as would only be expected, he being Chief of the Supreme Command of all the Armed Forces, and Jodl, as only would be expected also, he being Chief of the Operations Staff, were vitally and intimately concerned with every single act of aggression which took place successively against the various victims of Nazi aggression....
So far as Jodl's part in the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity is concerned, he figures much less than Keitel. Of course, he had no power of giving orders or directives, but we see that he at any rate signed and circulated an infamous order of the Fuehrer saying that commandos ought to be shot and are not to be treated as prisoners of war at all. In my submission the evidence against these two men is overwhelming and their conviction is demanded by the civilized world...
January 28, 1946: 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 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 54, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the USSR, opens the Russian presentation:
General Rudenko: ...the fascist aggressors, the defendants, knew that by their predatory attacks on other countries they committed the gravest Crimes against Peace. They knew it, and they know it now, and that is the reason why they attempted and are now attempting to camouflage their criminal aggression with lies about defense. Furthermore, it has been repeatedly and authoritatively declared that violations of laws and customs of war established by international conventions must entail criminal responsibility. In this connection it is necessary to note that the gravest outrages in violation of laws and customs of war committed by the Hitlerites—murder, violence, arson, and plunder—are considered punishable criminal acts by all criminal codes throughout the world...
February 11, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: 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 Goering, 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 Nuremberg Tribunal: 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!' Goering shot at his attorney. Raeder saw me watching and shouted at Goering, 'Careful! The enemy is listening!' Goering 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. Keitel 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.'" Later, Keitel declares: 'I always stuck up for him with the Fuehrer. It is a shame for him to be testifying against us.' (Gilbert, Tusa)
February 12, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 57 of deliberations, 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 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...(Yesterday) The Russians continued to present their 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 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinement. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Goering's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)
February 19, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "...I saw Keitel at 6 PM and von Papen at 6:30. Keitel looks terrible and says the trial is wearing him out—I think he is cracking up..."
February 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: In a further move to minimize his influence, Goering is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups, with Keitel now sharing his mid-day meal with Frank, Sauckel, and Seyss-Inquart. (Tusa)
March 5, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Winston Churchill (now a private citizen) introduces the phrase Iron Curtain into the English language during his famous Cold War speech at Fulton, Missouri. Speer recorded his fellow 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. Goering, too, was beside himself; he repeatedly slapped his thighs with his palms and boomed: 'History will not be deceived. The Fuehrer and I always prophesied it. This coalition had to break up sooner or later.' (Speer II)
March 14, 1946: From an affidavit sworn by Keitel: In summing up it must be established that:
1. In addition to the Wehrmacht as the legal protector of the Reich internally and externally (as in every State) a particular, completely independent power factor arose and was legalized, which politically, biologically, in police and administration matters actually drew the powers of the State to itself.
2. Even at the beginning of military complications and conflicts the SS came to be the actual forerunner and standard bearer of a policy of conquest and power.
3. After the commencement of the military actions the Reichsfuehrer SS devised methods which always appeared appropriate, which were concealed at first, or were hardly apparent, at least from the outside, and which enabled him in reality to build up his power under the guise of protecting the annexed or occupied territories from political opponents.
4. From the occupation of the Sudeten territory, beginning with the organization of political unrest, that is, of so-called liberation actions and 'incidents,' the road leads straight through Poland and the Western areas in a steep curve into the Russian territory.
5. With the directives for the Barbarossa Plan for the administration and utilization of the conquered Eastern territories, the Wehrmacht was, against its intention and without knowledge of the conditions, drawn further and further into the subsequent developments and activities.
6. I (Keitel) and my colleagues had no deeper insight into the effects of Himmler's full powers, and had no idea of the possible effect of these powers. I assume without further discussion that the same holds true for the OKH, which according to the order of the Fuehrer made the agreements with Himmler's officials and gave orders to the subordinate army commanders.
7. In reality, it was not the Commander-in-Chief of the Army who had the executive power assigned to him and the power to decree and to maintain law in the occupied territories, but Himmler and Heydrich decided on their own authority the fate of the people and prisoners, including prisoners of war in whose camps they exercised the executive power.
8. The traditional training and concept of duty of the German officers, which taught unquestioning obedience to superiors who bore responsibility, led to an attitude,—regrettable in retrospect—which caused them to shrink from rebelling against these orders and these methods even when they recognized their illegality and inwardly refuted them.
9. The Fuehrer, Hitler, abused his authority and his fundamental Order Number 1 in an irresponsible way with respect to us. This Order Number 1 read, more or less:
A. No one shall know about secret matters which do not belong to his own range of assignments.
B. No one shall learn more than he needs to fulfill the tasks assigned to him.
C. No one shall receive information earlier than is necessary for the performance of the duties assigned to him.
D. No one shall transmit to subordinate offices, to any greater extent or any earlier than is unavoidable for the achievement of the purpose, orders which are to be kept secret.
10. If the entire consequences which arose from granting Himmler authority in the East had been foreseen, in this case the leading generals would have been the first to raise an unequivocal protest against it. That is my conviction. As these atrocities developed, one from the other, step by step, and without any foreknowledge of the consequences, destiny took its tragic course, with its fateful consequences.
March 16, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 83, defendant Hermann Goering is cross-examined by counsel for Keitel:
Goering: ...It goes without saying that if it came to a clash between the Fuehrer and myself, or other determined commanders-in-chief, the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces (Keitel) was, I may say, trodden on by both sides. He came between the millstones of stronger personalities; the one protested that in speaking to the Fuehrer he had not exerted enough pressure; the Fuehrer, when Keitel made presentations, turned a deaf ear and said he would settle matters himself. The task was certainly a very thankless one and a difficult one. I remember that once Field Marshal Keitel approached me and asked me whether I could not arrange for him to be given a frontline command; that he would be satisfied, though a Field Marshal, with one division if he could only get away, because he was getting more kicks than ha'pence. Whether the task was thankless or appreciated was all the same, I answered him; he had to do his duty where the Fuehrer ordered it.
Dr Nelte: Are you aware that in this connection Field Marshal Keitel was reproached with not being able to assert himself, as they say, with the Fuehrer?
Goering: This reproach was made against him by quite a number of commanders-in-chief of armies and army groups. It was easy for them to make that reproach because they were out of range of Adolf Hitler, and did not have to submit any proposals themselves. I know that, especially after the collapse, quite a number of generals adopted the point of view that Keitel had been a typical 'yes-man.' I can only say I personally should be interested if I could see those who today consider themselves no-men...
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...
April 3, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 98, Keitel testifies on his own behalf:
Dr Nelte: Do you have any sons?
Keitel: I had three sons, all of whom served at the front as officers during this war. The youngest one died in battle in Russia in 1941. The second was a major in Russia and has been missing in action, and the eldest son, who was a major, is a prisoner of war... ...
Dr Nelte: Then Field Marshal Von Brauchitsch's statement in his affidavit, of which I have already spoken, is correct? It says here: "When Hitler had decided to use military pressure or military power in attaining his political aims, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, if he participated, received his instructions first orally, as a rule, or by an appropriate order. Thereupon the OKW worked out the operation and deployment plans. When they had been submitted to Hitler and were approved by him, a written order from the OKW to the branches of the Wehrmacht followed." Is that correct?
Keitel: Yes, in principle it is correct insofar as the final formulation of the order to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army took the form of a directive, as we called it, based on the general plans which had already been submitted and approved. This work was done by the Wehrmacht Operational Staff (Wehrmachtfdhrungsstab); thus the Wehrmacht Operational Staff was not an office which became independently active and did not handle matters concerning the issuing of orders independently; rather the Wehrmacht Operational Staff and I took part in the basic determination or approval of these proposals and formulated them in the manner in which they were then carried out by Hitler as Commander-in-Chief. To speak technically we then passed these orders on...
April 3, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Ribbentrop down—Keitel to go. And 17 to go for a touchdown. Yesterday saw the end of Rib but not until Amen made a mess of cross-exam for us. He is impossible and a real faker, and this myth of the great prosecutor is just about exploded. The court was fed up and so were all the people in the courtroom. It should end his part in the case but the next defendant after Keitel has been assigned to him and it is too late to change and anyway the proof is so strong against him that Amen cannot do much harm...Keitel came on the stand this morning and I must say he made the best appearance so far. Somehow I have a feeling for him. I was glad he looked like an honest soldier. Of course he is guilty but to a lesser degree in my own opinion. He will be on the stand another day or two...
April 4, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 99, Keitel testifies on his own behalf:
Dr Nelte: When were the preparations made for the occupation of Danzig?
Keitel: I believe that as early as the late autumn of 1938 orders were issued that Danzig be occupied at a favorable moment by a coup de main from East Prussia. That is all I know about it.
Dr Nelte: Was the possibility of war against Poland discussed in this connection?
Keitel: Yes, that was apparently connected with the examination of the possibilities to defend the border, but I do not recall any, nor was there any kind of preparation, any military preparations, at that time, apart from a surprise attack from East Prussia.
Dr Nelte: If I remember rightly you once told me, when we discussed this question, that Danzig was to be occupied only if this would not result in a war with Poland.
Keitel: Yes, that is so. This statement was made time and again, that this occupation of, or the surprise attack on Danzig was to be carried out only if it was certain that it would not lead to war.
Dr Nelte: When did this view change?
Keitel: I believe Poland's refusal to discuss any kind of solution of the Danzig question was apparently the reason...
April 4, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Keitel, in conversation with US Prosecutor Thomas Dodd:
He (Hitler) was full of ideas. He had a thousand ideas. It was very difficult to report to him. When you reported, he started talking very soon. After the second or third sentence, he interrupted me and started to talk to himself. Then lots of ideas come up. After such a report, one was very confused to figure out what he really wanted. It was all very irrational. I did not know what he wanted. (Conot)
April 5, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 100, Keitel is cross-examined by the prosecution:
Keitel: ...Hitler had studied general staff publications, military literature, essays on tactics, operations, and strategy and that he had a knowledge in the military fields which can only be called amazing. May I give an example of that which can be confirmed by the other officers of the Wehrmacht. Hitler was so well informed concerning organization, armament, leadership, and equipment of all armies, and what is more remarkable, of all navies of the globe, that it was impossible to prove any error on his part; and I have to add that also during the war, while I was at his headquarters and in his close proximity, Hitler studied at night all the big general staff books by Moltke, Schlieffen, and Clausewitz and from them acquired his vast knowledge by himself. Therefore we had the impression: Only a genius can do that.
General Rudenko: You will not deny that by reason of your military training and experience you were Hitler's adviser in a number of highly important matters?
Keitel: I belonged to his closest military entourage and I heard a lot from him; but I pointed out yesterday to the question of my counsel that even in the simple, every-day questions concerning organization and equipment of the Wehrmacht, I must admit openly that I was the pupil and not the master...
April 5, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday was another trial day. They run on so and surely this case has already set a record for me and for most lawyers. Keitel was on direct examination all day—he continues to be a most frank witness and to make the best impression so far...
April 6, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 101, Keitel is cross-examined by the prosecution:
General Rudenko: I am asking you, Defendant Keitel, known as Field Marshal and one who, before this Tribunal, has repeatedly referred to yourself as a soldier, whether you, in your own bloodthirsty decision of September 1941, confirmed and sanctioned the murder of the unarmed soldiers whom you had captured? Is that right?
Keitel: I signed both decrees and I, therefore, bear the responsibility within the sphere of my office; I assume the responsibility.
General Rudenko: That is quite clear. In this connection I would like to ask you, since you have repeatedly mentioned it before the Tribunal, about the duty of a soldier. I want to ask you: Is it in accordance with the concept of a 'soldier's duty' and the 'honor of an officer' to promulgate such orders for reprisals on prisoners of war and on peaceful citizens?
Keitel: Yes, as far as the reprisals of August and September are concerned, in view of what happened to German prisoners of war whom we found in the field of battle, and in Lvov where we found them murdered by the hundreds.
General Rudenko: Defendant Keitel, do you again wish to follow the path to which you resorted once before, and revive the question of the alleged butchery of German prisoners of war? You and I agreed yesterday that as far back as May 1941, prior to the beginning of the war, you had signed a directive on the shooting of political and military workers in the Red Army. I have some ...
Keitel: Yes, I also signed the orders before the war but they did not contain the word 'murder.'
General Rudenko: I am not going to argue with you since this means arguing against documents; and documents speak for themselves...
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: The initial cross-examination, conducted by Rudenko, was uneven, and Biddle criticized it as 'childish cross-examination, hardly ever directed to the facts.' Fyfe, following, slashed into Keitel with relish...Goering, cursing in one and the same breath the wiliness of Fyfe and the stupidity of the defense attorney's, raged at Keitel for not putting up more of a fight: 'You don't have to answer so damn directly! The question itself doesn't matter so much as the way you answer it. You can dodge around such dangerous questions and wait until they hand you one you have a good answer for and the sail into it!' Keitel shot back: 'But I can't make white out of black!' To Gilbert he said: 'I could only tell them the way things were. The only thing that is absolutely impossible for me is to sit there like a louse and lie—that is absolutely impossible.'