Constantin von Neurath


February 2, 1873: Constantin Freiherr von Neurath is born in Wuerttemberg. Note: 'Freiherr' is not actually a name, but rather a title; it means 'Baron' in German. Also, many of the redundant von's in the von Neurath's have been left off the text below by design.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: On my father's side I come from an old family of civil servants. My grandfather, my great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandfather were Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs in Wurttemberg. On my mother's side I come from a noble Swabian family whose ancestors were mostly officers in the Imperial Austrian Army. Until my twelfth year I was brought up in the country in extreme simplicity, with particular emphasis laid on the duty of truthfulness, responsibility, patriotism, and a Christian way of life, along with Christian tolerance of other religions.

Note: The source for all items, unless otherwise noted, is the evidence presented to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at the first Nuremberg Trial, between November 21, 1945 and October 1, 1946. As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can possibly be punishable by death.

1892: Neurath joins a Wuerttemberg law firm after completing his law studies.

1901: Neurath becomes a civil servant (diplomat) working for the Foreign Office in Berlin.

May 30, 1901: Neurath weds Marie Auguste Moser von Filseck. The couple will have two children.

1903: Neurath is stationed to the German Embassy in London as Vice-Consul.

1909: Neurath is promoted to legation counsel (Legationsrat).

1914: Neurath is transferred to the German Embassy in Constantinople as an Embassy Counselor.

December, 1914: Captain Neurath, serving as an infantry officer, is awarded the Iron Cross. He will be badly wounded in 1916 and finish the war as mayor of Wuerttemberg.

January 25, 1919: The plenary session of the Peace Conference accepts the proposals for the creation of a League of Nations.

February, 1919: Rejoining the diplomatic service, Neurath is assigned to Copenhagen as Minister to Denmark.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The Social Democrat People's Commissioner, Ebert, requested me to return to the diplomatic service. I did so, with the reservation that I might keep my own political opinions, and then became Minister to Denmark, where my principal task was to handle the differences we had with Denmark over the solaced Schleswig question.

June 28, 1919: Exactly 5 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles officially ends World War I.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: It is in the senseless and impossible provisions of the Versailles Treaty, by which the economic system of the entire world was brought into a state of disorder, that the roots of National Socialism and with it the causes of the second World War are to be found. By combining this Treaty with the League of Nations and by making the League of Nations to a certain extent the guardian of the provisions of this Treaty' its original purpose, namely, of creating understanding among the nations and preserving the peace, became illusory. To be sure, the statute allowed for the possibility of revision. But the League of Nations Assembly made no use of this possibility. After the United States had withdrawn from participation, and Russia, and later Japan also, stood outside this so-called League of Nations, it consisted in the large majority only of a collection of interested parties desiring to maintain the status quo, which had been created precisely by the Treaty of Versailles. Instead of removing the tensions which appeared again and again in the-course of time, it was the aim of this assembly not to alter the existing state of affairs at all.

That a great and honor-loving nation, discriminated against as it was by the Versailles Treaty, could not stand for this for any length of time was something which any farsighted statesman could recognize. And it was not only in Germany that it was pointed out again and again that this must lead to an evil end; but in Geneva, the playground of eloquent and vain politicians, this fell upon deaf ears...

It was my view that the solution of the various political problems could be achieved only by peaceful means and step by step. Complete equality for Germany in all fields, in the military field therefore as well, and also the restoration of sovereignty in the entire territory of the Reich and the elimination of any discrimination were prerequisite conditions. But to achieve this was primarily the first task of German foreign policy...Germany and the whole world were still in the midst of the serious economic crisis which had been caused by the regulations of the Treaty of Versailles. Any new development of belligerency, therefore, could lead only to a great disaster.

January 10, 1920: Entry into force of the Versailles Peace Treaty and of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

December 15, 1920: Admission of Austria to the League of Nations.

September 2, 1921: The Permanent Court of International Justice comes into force.

December, 1921: Neurath is appointed German Ambassador to Rome.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: There I experienced the Fascist revolution, with its bloody events and results. At the outset I had sharp arguments with Mussolini, which gradually, however, developed into a relationship of confidence on his part toward me.

April 28, 1925: Field Marshal von Hindenburg is elected President of the Reich on the death of Friedrich Ebert.

September 8, 1926: Admission of Germany to the League of Nations. Germany is made a permanent Member of the Council.

1930: Neurath is appointed German Ambassador to London.

March 29, 1930: Heinrich Brüning becomes the twelfth Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.

September 26, 1931: The Assembly of the League of Nations adopts a General Convention to improve the Means of Preventing War.

February 2, 1932: The two-year Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments opens in Geneva.

March 13, 1932: Hitler receives 30.1% of the vote in the Presidential elections: 11,339,446 votes. Hindenburg fails to win a majority. Goebbels writes in his diary: “We’re beaten; terrible outlook. Party circles badly depressed and dejected.” A runoff election is scheduled for 19 April.

April 13, 1932: The SA and SS are banned by Chancellor Brüning after contingency plans for a Nazi coup are discovered.

April 19, 1932: Hindenburg is elected Reich President with 53.0 percent of the vote. Hitler's percentage improves from 30.1 to 36.8 percent of the electorate.

May 31, 1932: German President Paul von Hindenburg appoints Franz von Papen the thirteenth Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, to replace Heinrich Brüning, the leader of Papen's own party. Papen has practically no support in the Reichstag except from the DNVP (Conservative German National People's Party).

May 31, 1932: Neurath receives a telegram from the German Foreign Office:

The Reich President requests you, in view of your former promise, to take over the Foreign Ministry in the presidential cabinet now being formed, which will be made up of rightwing personalities free from political party allegiance and will be supported not so much by the Reichstag as by the authority of the Reich President. The Reich President addresses an urgent appeal to you not to refuse your services to the fatherland in this difficult hour. Should you not be able to give an affirmative answer immediately I ask you to return at once.

June 2, 1932: Neurath is appointed Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Chancellorship of the Von Papen.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Already in 1929, after Stresemann's death, Hindenburg had wanted to appoint me Foreign Minister. At that time I refused, because in view of the party conditions existing in the Reichstag in those days I saw no possibility for a stable foreign policy. I was not a member of any of the 30 or so parties, so that I would not have been able to have found any kind of support in the Reichstag of those days. Hindenburg, however, obtained my promise that I would answer his call if the fatherland should find itself in an emergency...

I was not the least bit keen on taking over the post of Foreign Minister at that time. I liked my post as Ambassador in London, enjoyed good relations there with the Government and the Royal Family, and I was hoping, therefore, that I could continue to be of service to both countries, Great Britain and Germany. I could not simply overlook Hindenburg's appeal, but even then I did not decide until after I had had a lengthy personal discussion with him in which I stated my own aims and ideas regarding German foreign policy and in which I assured myself of his support of a peaceful development and the means of attaining equality for Germany, the strengthening of her position in the council of nations and the regaining of sovereignty over German national territory.

June 1932: The German government of von Papen lifts the ban on the SA and SS enacted earlier by Brüning.

June 16, 1932 Lausanne Konferenz: The Lausanne conference begins as representatives from Great Britain, Germany, and France meet in Lausanne, Switzerland. Also: Reich Chancellor von Papen places a 1 month ban on the wearing of uniforms to political demonstrations.

July 9, 1932 Lausanne Konferenz: The Lausanne conference ends, resulting in an agreement to suspend World War I reparations payments imposed on the defeated countries by the Treaty of Versailles.

June - July 1932: At least 82 people are killed and 400 wounded in nearly 500 pitched battles between Nazis and Communists in Prussia alone.

July 12, 1932: Reich Chancellor von Papen on the Lausanne Conference, as quoted in the Trierische Landeszeitung:

But just as little as we are unable to erase by a one-sided act the signatures given since 1918 by former governments, just as little was this possible with regard to the solemn obligations which were undertaken by the then governing parties in the name of the German people. The present Government simply had to liquidate a situation which had been created by all the former governments since the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The question as to whether this situation can be liquidated by Germany's denying the validity of her signature and thus, at the same time, placing herself outside the conception of cultural and other standards, must be answered with an emphatic 'no'.

July, 1932: From a recorded Hitler speech:

Destiny has given Germany's present rulers more than thirteen years to prove themselves and to show what they can do. They themselves pronounce the most damning judgment on themselves, for by the very nature of their propaganda today they acknowledge the failure of their efforts. Once they wanted to govern Germany better than it had been governed in the past, and all they can say about their art of governing is that Germany and the German People are not yet dead...

July 30, 1932: German Chancellor von Papen: "The world does not realize that Germany is confronted with a civil war. The world did not help us to overcome our difficulties at Lausanne, and it is unbearable that 14 years after the end of the war there is no equality of rights for us."

July 31, 1932: The Nazis win big in Reichstag elections, making it Germany’s largest political party; but they still fall far short of a majority in the 608-member body.

August 13, 1932: Hindenburg rejects Hitler's demand to be appointed Chancellor. According to the minutes of the meeting kept by Otto Meißner, the Chief of the Presidential Chancellery:

Herr Hitler declared that, for reasons which he had explained in detail to the Reich President that morning, his taking any part in cooperation with the existing government was out of the question. Considering the importance of the National Socialist movement, he must demand the full and complete leadership of the government and state for himself and his party. The Reich President in reply said firmly that he must answer this demand with a clear, unyielding No. He could not justify before God, before his conscience, or before the Fatherland the transfer of the whole authority of government to a single party, especially to a party that was biased against people who had different views from their own. There were a number of other reasons against it, upon which he did not wish to enlarge in detail, such as fear of increased unrest, the effect on foreign countries, etc. Herr Hitler repeated that any other solution was unacceptable to him. To this the Reich President replied: "So you will go into opposition?" Hitler: "I have now no alternative."

August 30, 1932: Hermann Göring, with backing from the Catholic Center Party, becomes President of the Reichstag.

September 14, 1932: Germany notifies the President of the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of its decision to withdraw from the Conference.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The Disarmament Conference had been created by the League of Nations for the purpose of bringing about the disarmament of all nations, which was provided for in Article 8 as an equivalent for the German disarmament which had already been carried out by 1927. The negotiations during this Disarmament Conference were, however, suspended after a short time, despite the objections of the German representatives. The preceding negotiations and this adjournment made it quite clear, even at that time, that those states which had not disarmed were not prepared to carry through their own disarmament in accordance with the standards and methods applied to Germany's previous disarmament. This fact made it impossible for Germany to accept a resolution which had been proposed to the Disarmament Conference at this time, and the German representative therefore received instructions to declare that Germany would not participate in the work of the Disarmament Conference as long as Germany's equal right to equal participation in the results of the conference was not recognized.

November 6, 1932: New elections in Germany fail to break a parliamentary deadlock. The National Socialists lose 34 seats, but not enough to crowd them out of their key position, for again the formation of a majority in the Reichstag from the Socialists to the extreme Right is possible only with Hitler; without him, no majority.

November 14, 1932: A French plan as a basis of the negotiations is offered at the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: This plan, surprisingly enough, provided for the transformation of professional armies into armies with a short period of service, for according to the opinion presented by the French representative at that time only armies with a short period of service could be considered defensive armies, while standing armies consisting of professional soldiers would have an offensive character. This point of view on the part of France was completely new and was not only exactly the opposite of France's previous point of view, but it was also a change from the provisions laid down in the Versailles Treaty for the disarmament of Germany. This meant for Germany-at whom it was obviously aimed-the elimination of its standing army of 100,000 men. In addition, by this new plan France let it be seen that she herself did not want to disarm.

November 1932: Thirty-nine prominent German industrialists and businessmen petition Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as his new Chancellor. Hindenburg again refuses.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I did not know Hitler personally. I despised the methods of the Party during its struggle for power in the State; its ideas were not known to me in detail. Some of them, particularly in the socialist sphere, seemed good to me; others I considered revolutionary phenomena which would be gradually worn away in the manner I had observed during the German revolution in 1918, and later during the Fascist revolution in Italy as well. On the whole, however, I was not in sympathy with them; in any case, in those days I considered that a decisive role played by Hitler and the National Socialist Party in German politics, or Hitler's solo leadership of German politics, was wrong and not in the interest of Germany, especially not in the interest of German foreign policy...in view of the party situation and the impossibility of forming a government against the National Socialists I saw no other possibility unless one wanted to start a civil war, about the outcome of which there could be no doubt in view of the overwhelming number of Hitler's followers.

December 3, 1932: General von Schleicher is appointed the fourteenth Chancellor of Germany under the Weimar Republic.

December 11, 1932: Agreement between Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United States of America on the question of Equality of Rights and Security.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: At first the Disarmament Conference accomplished nothing; but later there resulted the so-called Five-Power Declaration in December 1932, which had been suggested by England. This declaration recognized Germany's claim to equal rights and to the elimination of those provisions of the Versailles Treaty which discriminated against Germany. After this declaration, which was made by the war powers and later by the Disarmament Conference or the Council of the League of Nations itself, Germany's equal rights were recognized for all time. Therefore, Germany could assert her right to renounce Part V of the Versailles Treaty by referring to the obligation of general disarmament undertaken by the signatory powers. This Five-Power Declaration provided the necessary condition for Germany's taking part in the deliberations of the Disarmament Conference once more.

January 1, 1933: Hypnotist Erik Hanussen predicts Hitler will come to power on January 30, 1933. His prediction will be widely ridiculed in the German press.

January 15, 1933: Election in the small state of Lippe: the NSDAP gains 6,000 votes over the preceding November total but is still 3,000 votes short of its July number. This small success is spun into a triumph by skillful propaganda.

January 28, 1933: Chancellor von Schleicher demands that President Hindenburg declare the Reichstag dissolved and grant him full powers. The President refuses and von Schleicher resigns as Chancellor. At noon, the Reich President instructs von Papen to begin negotiations for the formation of a new government.

January 29, 1933: Hitler, enjoying coffee and cakes with some of his aides at the Kaiserhof, is joined by Goering who announces triumphantly that Hitler will be named Chancellor on the morrow. (Shirer)

January 30, 1933 Machtergreifung: As Hitler assumes the Chancellorship, Neurath is reconfirmed as Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I served under the Imperial Government, was asked to re-enter the diplomatic service by the Socialist Government under Ebert, and was appointed Minister and Ambassador by it. I have served under Democratic, Liberal, and Conservative governments. Without identifying myself with their various programs, and often in opposition to the party government of the time, I have pursued only the interests of my fatherland in co-operation with the other powers. There was no reason for me not to attempt to do the same under Hitler and the National Socialist Party. One could put opposition opinions into effect with any prospect of success only from the inside as a member of the Government. Freedom of speech and the use of the press were forbidden in Germany, or at least made difficult. Personal freedom was endangered. Moreover, it is not greatly different in other countries; I mean by that participation in the governments of various parties, and I might cite the example of Reynaud, or of Lord Vansittart, whom I know well and who was in the English Foreign Office as an influential State Secretary under conservative as well as labor governments...

I explained to him (Hitler) that only by way of negotiation and by a policy conforming to the international situation could we achieve our ends. This would demand patience. Hitler seemed to understand this at the time, and I had the same impression during the following years, too. I am convinced that he at that time entirely approved the continuation of this policy and honestly meant it. He repeatedly emphasized that he knew what war was like and did not want to experience another one.

January 30, 1933: From Goebbels' Diary: "It is almost like a dream—a fairytale. The new Reich has been born. Fourteen years of work have been crowned with victory. The German revolution has begun!"

January 30, 1933: From a telegram to Hindenburg from Ludendorff:

By appointing Hitler Chancellor of the Reich you have handed over our sacred German Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you that this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action.

February 1, 1933: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issues his first proclamation:

We recognize no classes, we see only the German people, millions of peasants, bourgeois, and workers who will either overcome together the difficulties of these times or be overcome by them. We are firmly resolved and we have taken our oath. Since the present Reichstag is incapable of lending support to this work, we ask the German people whom we represent to perform the task themselves. Reichspräsident von Hindenburg has called upon us to bring about the revival of the German nation. Unity is our tool.

Therefore we now appeal to the German people to support this reconciliation. The National Government wishes to work and it will work. It did not ruin the German nation for fourteen years, but now it will lead the nation back to health. It is determined to make well in four years the ills of fourteen years. But the National Government cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the approval of those who wrought destruction. The Marxist parties and their lackeys have had fourteen years to show what they can do. The result is a heap of ruins. Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgment...

February 1, 1933: Hitler obtains a decree from Hindenburg ordering dissolution of the Reichstag. New elections are called for March 5, 1933.

February 2, 1933: The Geneva Disarmament Conference resumes.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The Disarmament Conference had been created by the League of Nations for the purpose of bringing about the disarmament of all nations, which was provided for in Article 8 as an equivalent for the German disarmament which had already been carried out by 1927. The negotiations during this Disarmament Conference were, however, suspended after a short time, despite the objections of the German representatives. The preceding negotiations and this adjournment made it quite clear, even at that time, that those states which had not disarmed were not prepared to carry through their own disarmament in accordance with the standards and methods applied to Germany's previous disarmament. This fact made it impossible for Germany to accept a resolution which had been proposed to the Disarmament Conference at this time, and the German representative therefore received instructions to declare that Germany would not participate in the work of the Disarmament Conference as long as Germany's equal right to equal participation in the results of the conference was not recognized.

February 3, 1933: Hitler, addressing a group of German generals gathered at the Hammerstein-Equord house, proclaims an offensive against the Communists and Pacifists; announces that the Reichswehr will remain independent of the political parties; promises complete rearmament.

February 4, 1933: Hitler announces a new rule 'for the protection of the German people' which allows the Nazis to forbid meetings of other political groups. He authorizes the Government to ban newspapers and rallies on the pretext that they are distributing false news to harm the State or defame the authorities and civil service.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I have never been anti-Semitic. My Christian and humanitarian convictions prevented that. A repression of the undue Jewish influence in all spheres of public and cultural life, as it had developed after the first World War in Germany, however, I regarded as desirable. But I opposed all measures of violence against the Jews as well as propaganda against the Jews; I considered the entire racial policy of the National Socialist Party wrong, and for that reason I fought against it. After the Jewish laws had been put in force, I opposed their being carried out and kept non-Aryan members of the Foreign Office as long as was possible. Not until after the Party had obtained the decision regarding the appointment of civil servants did I have to confine myself to defending individual persons. I enabled several of them to emigrate. The so-called racial law was drawn up by a racial fanatic in the Party, and was passed in Nuremberg in spite of my emphatic protest.

In them I saw an anti-Semitism which was not altogether rare in the German people, but had had no practical effects. I protested to Hitler against all excesses of which I knew, and not simply for foreign political reasons. I begged him, in particular, to restrain Goebbels and Himmler.

February 15, 1933: Hitler speaks in Stuttgart:

In fourteen years the system which has now been overthrown has piled mistake upon mistake, illusion upon illusion. And that is also true for our foreign policy. Only since the time when through our Movement the world has been shown that a new Germany of resolution and resistance is arising—only since then are we once more regarded with other eyes. If today in Geneva a people fights side by side with us for the freedom of Europe, it is we who have first formed this friendship and not the representatives of the former system...

February 26, 1933: During a séance in Berlin, Eric Hanussen predicts that a great fire will soon strike a large building in the Capital. An eagle, he claims, will rise from the smoke and flames.

February 27, 1933: A law is announced recognizing seven Catholic feast days as legal German holidays.

February 27, 1933: A huge fire destroys the Reichstag, the seat of German government.

February 28, 1933: The Prussian government announces that it has found communist publications stating that 'Government buildings, museums, mansions and essential plants were to be burned down... . Women and children were to be sent in front of terrorist groups.... The burning of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and civil war.... It has been ascertained that today was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil war.'

February 28, 1933: Hindenburg signs the 'Decree for the Protection of the People and the State,' which has been quickly drafted by Hitler and his aides. This emergency decree suspends the civil liberties granted by the Weimar Constitution by allowing the Nazis to put their political opponents in prison and establish concentration camps. Hermann Göring orders the arrest of 4,000 Communist functionaries. An excerpt from the Decree: "Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed."

March 5, 1933: The last multiparty general election for the Reichstag draws 88.8% of eligible voters to the polls. The Combat Front coalition formed by the NSDAP and Hugenberg’s German National Peoples Party wins a 51.9% majority but falls short of the 2/3rds majority needed to amend the constitution.

March 7, 1933: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss assumes dictatorial powers.

March 8, 1933: Dollfuss suspends freedom of the press in Austria.

March 21, 1933 Potsdam Day: From the tomb of Frederick the Great at Potsdam, Hitler carefully stages a ceremonial opening of the first Reichstag of the Third Reich. Hitler and Goebbels intentionally fail to attend special Catholic services. An official communique explains that they feel obliged to absent themselves because Catholic bishops in a number of recent declarations had called Hitler and members of the NSDAP renegades of the Church, who should not be admitted to the sacraments. 'To this day, these declarations have not been retracted and the Catholic clergy continues to act accordingly to them.'

March 22, 1933: Dachau concentration camp opens near Munich, soon to be followed by Ravensbrück for women, Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany, and Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The institution of the so-called concentration camps was known to me from the Boer War. The existence of such camps in Germany became known to me in 1934 or 1935 when two officials of my office, among them the Chief of Protocol mentioned by Herr Gisevius, were suddenly arrested. When I investigated their whereabouts, I discovered that they had been removed to a so-called concentration camp. I sent for Himmler and Heydrich and remonstrated with them, which resulted in a very heated argument.

I complained at once to Hitler, and these two officials were released. I then asked them how they had been treated, and both of them agreed in saying that, apart from the lack of freedom, the treatment had not been bad. The concentration camp to which they had been taken was the camp at Oranienburg. Later on I learned of the existence of a camp at Dachau, and in 1939 I also heard of Buchenwald, because the Czech students who had been arrested by Himmler were taken there. The extent of the concentration camps as it has become known here, and in particular the treatment of the prisoners and the existence of the extermination camps, are things which I learned about for the first time here in Nuremberg.

March 23 1933 Ermöglichende Tat: In the evening session of the Reichstag, Monsignor Kaas announces that the Catholic Center Party, despite some certain misgivings, will vote for the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act is then passed by the Reichstag, transferring the power of legislation from the Reichstag to the cabinet. The Enabling Act gives Hitler the power to pass his own laws, independent of the President or anyone else, making Hitler more powerful than any Kaiser in German History.

March 23 1933: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

For years Germany has been waiting in vain for the fulfillment of the promise of disarmament made to her by the others. It is the sincere desire of the national Government to be able to refrain from increasing our army and our weapons, insofar as the rest of the world is now also ready to fulfill its obligations in the matter of radical disarmament...

April 1, 1933: A week into Hitler's dictatorship of Germany, Goebbels orders a boycott of Jewish shops, banks, offices and department stores.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I had already learned from personal experience that Hitler could not stand contradiction of any kind and that he was not amenable to any kind of petition if it was made before a fairly large group, because then he would always develop the complex that he was facing some sort of opposition against which he had to defend himself. It was different when one confronted him alone. Then, at least during the earlier years, he was accessible, thoroughly amenable to reasonable arguments, and much could be achieved in the way of moderating or weakening radical measures...one of Herr Goebbels' provocations. But actually there were no excesses and acts of violence whatsoever on that occasion. It was confined merely to boycotting. Moreover, the fact that no further disturbances arose in that case was the result of a joint intercession by Herr Von Papen and myself with Hitler and especially with Hindenburg.

April 2, 1933: From a letter from Neurath to Hitler:

The Italian Ambassador telephoned me last night and informed me that Mussolini had declared himself prepared to deny, through the Italian delegations abroad, all news about the persecution of the Jews in Germany that had been distorted by propaganda, if we should consider this course useful. I thanked Herr Cerruti, also on your behalf, and told him that we would be glad to accept his offer. I regard this friendly gesture of Mussolini's as important enough to bring it to your notice...

June 19, 1933: Neurath writes to Reich President Von Hindenburg from the London Conference:

Unfortunately I have to state that the impressions I received here are most alarming...In view of the reports of the chiefs of our foreign missions I was prepared for many bad manifestations, many gloomy events, and disturbing opinions on the part of foreign countries. Nevertheless, despite all my apprehensions, I had hopes that much of this would perhaps be only transitory, that much could straighten itself out. However, my apprehensions proved more justified than my hopes. I hardly recognized London again. I found a mood there, first in the English world and then in international circles, which showed a retrogression in the political and psychological attitude toward Germany which cannot be taken seriously enough.

July 9, 1933: The world learns that a Concordat has been initialed by Nazi Germany and the Holy See when Hitler releases a public statement. Public opinion generally regards this as a great diplomatic victory for Hitler and helps to reconcile German Catholics to the new regime.

July 14, 1933: Hitler's Cabinet approves the Concordat with the Vatican. During the deliberations, Hitler stresses the significance of the Concordat, especially 'in the urgent fight against the international Jews. Possible shortcomings in the Concordat can be rectified later when the foreign policy situation is better.' Also: The new government approves the 'Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring.' It allows for compulsory sterilization in cases of 'congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy, and severe alcoholism.' It will not be announced until July 25, so as not to jeopardize the signing of the Concordat.

July 20, 1933 Reichskonkordat: Vice-Chancellor Papen and Pacelli formally sign the Concordat in an elaborate ceremony at the Vatican.

July 22, 1933: The text of the Concordat is released to the press, though a secret annex is never announced to the public, or even to party members.

In view of the special situation existing in Germany, and in view of the guarantee provided through this Concordat of legislation directed to safeguard the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic Church in the Reich and its component states, the Holy See will prescribe regulations for the exclusion of clergy and members of religious orders from membership of political parties...

July 24, 1933: The Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter describes the Concordat as a most solemn recognition of National Socialism by the Catholic Church.

July 31, 1933: Six months after the Nazis assumption of power, the first concentration camps are full; 26,789 political prisoners are now in detention.

September 17, 1933: From the Völkischer Beobachter, quoting Neurath:

The stupid talk abroad about purely internal German affairs, as for example the Jewish problem, will quickly be silenced if one realizes that the necessary cleaning up of public life must temporarily entail individual cases of personal hardship but that nevertheless it served only to establish all the more firmly the authority of justice and law in Germany.

October 14, 1933: Germany withdraws from the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The negotiations, as I said, dragged on the whole year, into the summer of 1933. In the fall there was again a Disarmament Conference session in which the same subject was more or less debated over again. Well, the result of this conference was that disarmament was definitely refused by the Western Powers and that was the reason why we then first of all withdrew from the Disarmament Conference, since we considered useful work there no longer possible. Following this, we also withdrew from the League of Nations, since we had witnessed its failure in the most widely different fields. And so, quite briefly, that brings us up to the point which caused us to withdraw from the League of Nations.

October 14, 1933: Hitler addresses the Reich by radio:

The former German governments confidently joined the League of Nations hoping to find there a forum where they could achieve a just resolution of conflicting national interests, and above all genuine reconciliation with their former enemies. This presupposed, however, the ultimate recognition of equal rights for the German nation. Their participation in the disarmament conference was based on the same assumption. Demotion to the status of membership without equal rights in an institution or conference of this nature is an intolerable humiliation for a nation of 65 million people which values its honor and for a government which attaches no less importance to its honor! The German People more than fulfilled its obligation to disarm. It should now be the turn of the nations who are armed to show no less willingness to fulfill the same obligations. In taking part in this conference the German Government's goal is not to negotiate for a few canons or machine guns for the German People, but to work towards universal world peace...

October 21, 1933: Germany gives notice of withdrawal from the League of Nations.

December 23, 1933: Pope Pius XI condemns the Nazi sterilization program.

January 30, 1934: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

There are those political birds of passage who constantly appear wherever it is harvest time. These spineless individuals seize on any opportunity to join a successful movement and, either to forestall questions about their origins and their past activities, or else by way of response, they "protest too much" and indulge in super-correct behavior. The reason why they are dangerous is that they, whilst posing as supporters of the new regime, seek to pursue purely personal and selfish interests. In so doing they become a real burden to a movement for whose sake millions of decent people have for years made enormous sacrifices, without the thought even crossing their minds they might one day be rewarded for the suffering and deprivation which they accepted...

April 6, 1934: From the Diary of Ambassador Dodd, in which he refers to Neurath: "I am sorry for these clear-headed Germans who know world affairs very well and who must work for their country and yet submit to the ignorance and autocracy of Hitler and his followers."

June 28, 1934: Neurath writes to the head of the political section of the Foreign Office: "The development of events in Austria cannot be foreseen. It appears to me, however, that the acute danger has been averted due to rapid action. We should act with great reserve now and to this end I spoke to the Reich Chancellor yesterday. I found complete understanding."

June 30, 1934 Blutbereinigung: The Blood Purge (Night of the Long Knives) occurs.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Aside from the fact that from the description which Hitler gave of the events of the Rohm Putsch at that time I had to conclude that it had been a serious revolt, I have known a number of revolutions from my own experience, for example, the Russian revolution and, as I already said, the Fascist revolution in Rome, and I have seen that in such revolutions innocent people very often have to suffer. In addition I adapted myself entirely to Hindenburg's attitude; even if I had wanted to resign he would never have let me do so.

As an illustration that I had to acknowledge the seriousness of this revolt and the truth of Hitler's description of it, I should like to mention briefly that on this day, 30 June, a brother of the Emperor of Japan was in Berlin and I had to invite him to dinner. Generaloberst Von Fritsch was also present at this dinner and a number of other high officers and officials of the Foreign Office. The Prince did not make his appearance at the dinner; that is, he came an hour late. When I asked for the reason I learned that my house had also been surrounded by the SA and the Prince had been prevented by them from entering my house. A few days later Generaloberst Von Fritsch, after he had described the events on the military side, asked me whether I knew that he himself, and I as well, had been on Herr Rohm's list.

July 13, 1934: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag:

I have for this reason always insisted that in their conduct and behavior higher demands should be made of the National Socialist leaders that of the rest of the people (volksgenossen). He who desires to receive higher respect than others must meet this demand by a higher achievement. The most elementary demand that can be made of him is that in is life he should not give a shameful example to those about him. I do not desire therefore that National Socialist guilty of such offenses should be judged and punished more leniently that are other fellow countrymen of theirs; rather, I expect that a leader who forgets himself in this way should be punished with greater rigor...

July 25, 1934: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss is murdered.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I should like especially to stress the fact that in our relations with Austria my views remained unchanged from start to finish, that is, I wanted a close economic connection, such as a customs union, between the two countries and a foreign policy run on common lines on the basis of state treaties and close contact between the two Governments, but whatever happened I wanted to see the full independence of Austria guaranteed. For that reason I was always a determined opponent of any interference in the internal political affairs of Austria, and I was against any support being given to the Austrian National Socialists by the German National Socialists in the fight of the former against Dollfuss and Schuschnigg; and I constantly urged Hitler to take the same line. I need not repeat that I sharply condemned the murder of Dollfuss from the moral as well as the political point of view and that the Foreign Office under my direction had nothing whatever to do with this murder, as the Prosecution recently asserted.

But that Hitler too had absolutely nothing to do with the murder, I can confirm from various statements which he made to me. The deed was carried out by Austrian National Socialists, some of whom were much more radical than the Germans. This attitude of mine is best proved by the fact that when shortly after the murder of Dollfuss the German Minister in Vienna, Herr Rieth, without my knowledge demanded of the Austrian Government safe conduct to Germany for several persons involved in the murder, I at once recalled him from Vienna and dismissed him from the Foreign Service. I myself, as well as a number of other ministers, also opposed the travel embargo imposed on Austria by Germany. But I did welcome the efforts for an understanding with Austria, which started in 1935 and were carried through with success by Herr Von Papen, and I always tried to influence Hitler to bring this about. As to Von Papen's actions in Vienna during this time, I was only imperfectly informed, as Herr Von Papen was not subordinate to me and received his orders directly from Hitler.

August 2, 1934: Hindenburg dies.

August 19, 1934 Gleichschaltung: The German electorate approves Hitler's merging the two offices of Chancellor and President by 90% of the vote. Hitler is Führer und Reichskanzler.

September 18, 1934: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is admitted into the League of Nations. The Assembly approves the Council's proposal that the Union should be made a permanent Member.

November 8, 1934: Hitler speaks in Munich: "...let us look back in this new Reich upon that which lies behind us and do so in the most distant future, too, and let us bear in mind one article of faith: We shall be resolved at all times to take action! Willing at all times, if necessary, to die! Never willing to capitulate..."

January 13, 1935 Saar Volksabstimmung: 90.7 percent of Saar voters cast their ballot in favor of a return to Germany, 0.4 percent vote for union with France.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The right of self-determination is a basic condition in the modern state, recognized by international law. It was also the basis, theoretically at least, of the Treaty of Versailles, and on the same basis the plebiscites were carried out in the border areas. The union of all Germans on the basis of this recognized principle was therefore an absolutely permissible political postulate, as far as international law and foreign policy are concerned. The removal of the discriminatory terms of the Treaty of Versailles by changing the terms of the Treaty was the essential aim of German foreign policy, as also of all bourgeois and Social Democrat governments which preceded the National Socialists. I cannot see how one can deduce any aggressive intention if a people strives to free itself from the burdens of a treaty which it feels to be unjust, provided that this is done by peaceful means.

January 17, 1935: The Council of the League of Nations decides that the Saar Territory should be united with Germany rather than with France.

January 29, 1935: The American Senate refuses to ratify the accession of the United States to the Permanent Court of International justice.

March 1, 1935: Germany takes over the Government of the Saar Territory.

March 7, 1935: Hitler occupies the Rhineland.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: There was no decision or plan to wage aggressive war any more than there had been the year before. The restoration of full sovereignty in all parts of the Reich had no military, but only political significance. The occupation of the Rhineland was carried out with only one division and this fact alone shows that it had only a purely symbolic character. It was clear that a great and industrious people would not tolerate forever such a drastic limitation of its sovereignty as had been imposed by the Versailles Treaty. It was simply a dynamic development which the leaders of German foreign policy could not oppose...It was one of those sudden decisions of Hitler which was to be carried out within a few days...

The reoccupation, as can be seen from my statements, had a purely defensive character and was not intended to have any other purpose. The occupation by such a weak force as a single division made it clear that it was a purely symbolic act. It has been testified to here by the military—the witness Milch, for example—that the Luftwaffe had no part whatever and had learned of the action only 2 or 3 days before. That there were no aggressive plans for the future is shown by the fact that the German Government, at the suggestion of England, on 12 March 1936 undertook, until such time as an understanding had been reached with the Western Powers, particularly with France, not to increase the garrisons in the Rhineland and not to move the troops any closer to the border than they were already, on condition, however, that France would do the same. France did not want to accept this offer. Then, in the memorandum of 7 March 1936 addressed to the signatory powers of Locarno, which the Prosecution has already submitted here, Germany not only made definite suggestions for an agreement with France, Belgium, and the other Locarno Powers, but also declared her willingness to sign a general Air Pact to avoid the danger of sudden air raids, and in addition to join the League of Nations again.

In a speech to the Reichstag on 7 March 1936 Hitler explained to the world the reasons for the reoccupation of the Rhineland. This speech, as well as the memorandum, I had discussed beforehand with Hitler, and I can only repeat that I did not have the slightest suspicion that Hitler was not honest or that he was trying to conceal his real intentions which tended toward war. Even today I have the firm conviction that at that time Hitler was not thinking of war. I need not emphasize that any such intention was far from my own thoughts. On the contrary, I considered the restoration of sovereignty throughout the Reich a step toward peace and understanding.

March 16, 1935: Neurath signs a law for the organization of the Armed Forces, providing for universal military service and anticipating a vastly expanded German army.

May 1, 1935: Hitler speaks in Berlin:

What we want lies clear before us: not war and not strife. Just as we have established peace within our own people, so we want nothing else than peace with the world. For we all know that our great work can succeed only in a time of peace. But just as the leadership of the nation in the domestic sphere has never sacrificed its honor in its relations with the German people, so it can never surrender the honor of the German people in its dealings with the world...

June 18, 1935: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement, a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and the German Reich regulating the size of the Kriegsmarine in relation to the Royal Navy, is signed.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: (It was) the first and only agreement to limit armaments which was actually put into effect on the basis of the German proposals...Of course, I would have preferred it if the negotiations with all countries concerning proposals for armament limitation had been successful. Nevertheless, this agreement between only two states was warmly welcomed by us as the first step in this direction. We know that at least England held aloof from the decision of the League of Nations stating that Germany had broken the Versailles Treaty by rearming. The German step was thus recognized as justified...our willingness to co-operate in a positive way for the limitation of armaments, which had been declared by us on many occasions, also found expression in the negotiations for disarmament in the air.

Right from the outset, as early as 1933, Hitler had stressed the importance of this point for the maintenance of peace. Germany was ready to accept any limitation, and even the complete abolition of air armament, if it was done on a reciprocal basis. But only England reacted to such suggestions. The difficulty was to persuade France to participate in the negotiations. She did this only after 3 months through the efforts of England. But France stipulated conditions which made it practically impossible for these negotiations to succeed. Apart from a general agreement embracing all European states, special bilateral agreements were to be permitted. In addition, the continuation of negotiations on air armament was to be made dependent on negotiations concerning the Eastern Pact. Germany could not participate in this Eastern Pact, since she would have had to assume military obligations whose consequences could not be foreseen. Owing to this and the outbreak of the Italian-Abyssinian war, which brought the differences among the Western Powers into the open, the negotiations came to a standstill.

August, 1935: Hitler begins rearmament in earnest.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: At that time Germany could not help feeling she was encircled by her highly armed neighbors. Russia and France had concluded a mutual assistance pact which could only be called a military alliance. It was immediately followed by a similar treaty between Russia and Czechoslovakia. According to her own statements, Russia had increased the peacetime strength of her army by more than half. How strong it actually was could not be ascertained. In France, under the leadership of Petain, efforts were being made to strengthen the Army considerably. Already in 1934 Czechoslovakia had introduced 2-year military service.

On 1 March 1935 France issued a new defense law, which also increased the period of military service. This whole development, which had come about in a few months, could only be considered as an immediate threat. Germany could no longer be a defenseless and inactive spectator. In view of these facts the decision which Hitler then made to reintroduce compulsory military service and gradually to build up an army of 36 divisions was not an act which seriously threatened the neighboring countries bound together by alliances...An English inquiry as to whether Germany would be ready to continue to participate in general disarmament negotiations in the same manner and to the same extent as laid down in the so-called London Communiqué of February 1935 was immediately answered in the affirmative.

On 18 March—that is, 2 days after the introduction of military service—the Embassy in London was instructed to resume negotiations and, in particular, to suggest an agreement to limit the strength of the Navy. In May 1935 Hitler made a speech to the Reichstag, in which he expounded a concrete German plan for peace. He emphasized particularly the German will for peace, and again declared himself willing to co-operate in any system of international agreements for the maintenance of peace, even collective agreements. The only condition he made, and this he had always done, was the recognition of Germany's equal rights. He also declared himself willing to rejoin the League of Nations. By so doing he wanted to prove that Germany, in spite of the conclusion of military alliances which she felt to be a threat, and our own rearmament, continued to desire peace.

October 21, 1935: Germany ceases to be a Member of the League of Nations.

September 21, 1935: Hitler addresses the Hitler Youth in Nuremberg:

We must educate our entire People so that if at any time anywhere one person is destined to command, the others recognize that it is their duty to obey, because the very next hour it may be their turn to give orders, and this they can do only if in turn others obey them. It is the expression of a nation state which speaks with the voice of authority, not of a weak and wordy democracy, but an authoritarian state in which everyone is proud to have the privilege of obeying, because he knows: if I have to give orders, I shall be obeyed in precisely the same way. Germany is not a chicken coop where everyone runs around and cackles and crows. We are a People who from an early age learn discipline. If others do not understand us, this need not be our concern. It has never been the worst things in the world that most people did not understand, quite the contrary...

January 16, 1936: The French Foreign Minister, M. Laval, announces that after his return from Geneva he will present a Russian-French Pact to the French Chamber for ratification.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The fact that Hitler, in an interview with M. de Jouvenel, the correspondent of the reputable French paper Paris Midi, while pointing out the dangers of this pact, once again held out his hand to France in an attempt to bring about an honorable and permanent understanding between the two peoples, was of no avail. I had previously discussed this interview in detail with Hitler, and I received the definite impression that he was absolutely serious in his desire for a permanent reconciliation of the two peoples. But this attempt also was in vain. The strong opposition to the pact from large portions of the French people, under the leadership of the Union Nationale des Combattants, and in Parliament itself could not prevent the French Government from ratifying the pact.

February 27, 1936: The French Chamber ratifies the Russian-French Pact.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: We saw in the Franco-Russian Pact and in France's whole attitude a most serious threat. This accumulation of power in French hands through the various mutual assistance pacts could be directed only against Germany. There was no other country in the world at which it could be directed. In the event of hostilities-a possibility which, in view of the whole situation, any responsible government would have to reckon with-the western border of Germany was completely open owing to the demilitarization of the Rhineland. This was not only a discriminating provision of the Versailles Treaty, but also one which threatened Germany's security most. However, it had become obsolete through the decision of 11 December 1932 by the Five Powers in Geneva.

March 8, 1936: Germany denounces the treaty of Locarno.

March 20, 1936: Hitler speaks in Hamburg:

I need the German people to demonstrate therewith to the whole world that whatever happens we will not retreat one inch from our equal rights—not because we want to disturb European order, but because we are convinced, contrary to the opinion of temporary and mortal politicians, that permanent order in Europe is possible only on a foundation of peoples enjoying equal rights. The opinion that European order can be founded permanently on the defamation of a people numbering 67000000 is lunacy and madness. They do not need to think that the German nation has rebelled simply because a certain man, Adolf Hitler, stands at its head. No, if I were not there, another would have come sooner or later...

May 18, 1936: From an account of a conversation between Neurath and United States Ambassador Bullitt:

Von Neurath said that it was the policy of the German Government to do nothing active in foreign affairs until the Rhineland had been digested. He explained that he meant that, until the German fortifications had been constructed on the French and Belgian frontiers, the German Government would do everything possible to prevent rather than encourage an outbreak by the Nazis in Austria and would pursue a quiet line with regard to Czechoslovakia. 'As soon as our fortifications are constructed and the countries of Central Europe realize that France cannot enter German territory at will, all those countries will begin to feel very differently about their foreign policies and a new constellation win develop,' he said.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: At first the occupation of the Rhineland had naturally created unrest in the cabinets and public opinion and among the signatory powers of the Treaty of Versailles. This applied especially to France and Czechoslovakia. Therefore it was natural, if a reasonable German foreign policy was to be conducted, to allow this unrest to die down, so as to convince the world that Germany was not pursuing aggressive plans, but only wanted to restore full sovereignty in the Reich. The erection of fortifications was to serve only to decrease the temptation to our highly armed neighbors to march at any time they saw fit into German territory, lying there unprotected. Despite all the negotiations and efforts, it had not been possible to get them to observe the disarmament clause in the Treaty of Versailles.

As I have already said, France and Czechoslovakia especially, instead of disarming, continued to arm, and by concluding agreements with Soviet Russia increased their military superiority. In my discussion with Mr. Bullitt I attempted to bring all this out when I said that we would not start any further diplomatic actions for the time being. By making any military attack more difficult I hoped to get France and Czechoslovakia to change their policy, which was hostile to Germany, and to create better relations with both these countries in the interests of peace. These hopes and views which I held can be seen clearly in the last part of Mr. Bullitt's report—and with this Mr. Bullitt was in full agreement. As to the remark about British policy...at that time Great Britain was trying to prevent a rapprochement between Germany and Italy, with whom her relations were strained to a breaking-point because of the Abyssinian question...

The Bullitt report also shows that I said that Hitler's greatest wish was a real understanding with France. Apart from that I also told Mr. Bullitt—and he himself states that right from the beginning—that the German Government would do everything to prevent an uprising of the National Socialists in Austria.

July 11, 1936: The Berchtesgaden Agreement regarding the maintenance of Austrian sovereignty is negotiated.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I honestly and gladly welcomed this treaty. It corresponded to my point of view in every respect. I saw therein the best means of clearing up the unnatural dissensions, and for that reason I did everything I could to bring it about...I found satisfaction in the fact that the treaty had a special significance as regards foreign policy. By this treaty, in which the Reich clearly recognized Austrian independence, the German-Austrian differences, which were of danger to peace in Europe, were removed...

The Foreign Office thought the rapprochement could be prevented by making it known that it would no longer oppose the Anschluss between Germany and Austria. At that time Mussolini was still entirely opposed to the Anschluss. The realization of this specious intention on the part of Britain was one of the motives for the conclusion of the German-Austrian Agreement of 11 July 1936. The British statement which I had hinted at and expected was forthcoming in November 1937 on the occasion of the visit of Lord Halifax to Berlin. Lord Halifax told me at that time-and I took care to make a note of his statement, which I quote in English word for word: "People in England would never understand why they should go to war only because two German countries wish to unite." But at the same time, the Foreign Office, in a directive to the British Minister in Vienna, the wording of which is now well known, called upon the Austrian Government to offer stubborn resistance to the Anschluss, and promised every support.

August 1936: Hitler appoints Ribbentrop ambassador to London. His main objective will be to persuade the British government not to get involved in Germany territorial disputes and to work together against the the communist government in the Soviet Union.

January 3, 1937: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag:

Only a few months ago honorable British citizens felt they must make a protest to us for detaining in a concentration camp one of the most criminal subjects of Moscow. (Presumably Herr von Ossietzky, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.) I do not know whether these honorable men have also protested against the slaying and burning of tens of thousands of men, women, and children in Spain. We are assured that the number of people slain in Spain is 170,000. On this basis we would have had the right to murder 400,000 to 500,000 people in the Nazi Revolution! The National Socialist program replaces the liberalistic conception of the individual by the conception of a people bound by their blood to the soil. Of all the tasks with which we are confronted, it is the grandest and most sacred task of man to preserve his race...

January 30, 1937 Goldenes Parteiabzeichen: Awarded the rank of Gruppenführer, Neurath joins the Nazi Party and is awarded the Golden Party Badge.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I was not a member of any party. Between 1933 and 1937 I had several times been requested to join the Party but had refused. My attitude toward the Party was generally known. For that reason I was repeatedly attacked by the Party. I believe that (that is) the reason...why this insignia was awarded on 30 January 1937 to various members of the Cabinet, and also to generals who were not allowed to become members of the Party at all.

May 1, 1937: Hitler's Germany is outraged when an Austrian official in the small hamlet of Pinkafeld hauls down a flag of the German Reich.

From Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer: Once when Hitler told his adjutant late one evening: 'I'd like to talk to the Foreign Minister,' he received the reply: 'The Foreign Minister has already gone to bed.' Hitler: 'Tell them he's to be waked when I want to talk to him.' Another telephone call; the adjutant returned discomfited: 'The Foreign Minister says he will be available in the morning; he's tired now and wants to sleep.' Faced with such resolution, Hitler could only give up, but he was in bad humor for the rest of the evening. Moreover, he could never forget such defiance and took revenge at the first opportunity...

One day in 1937 Hitler decided that Neurath's villa was not adequate for the Foreign Minister's official duties and sent me to Frau von Neurath to offer to have the house significantly enlarged at government expense. She showed me through but stated in a tone of finality that in her opinion and that of the Foreign Minister it fully served the purpose; would I tell the Chancellor: 'No, thank you.' Hitler was annoyed and did not repeat the offer. Here for once a member of the old nobility was demonstrating confident modesty and deliberately abstaining from the craving for ostentation on the part of the new masters.

August 29, 1937: From a speech by Neurath:

The unity of the racial and national will created through Nazism with unprecedented elan has made possible a foreign policy by which the fetters of the Versailles Treaty were forced, the freedom to arm regained, and the sovereignty of the whole nation reestablished. We have really again become master in our own house and we have created the means of power to remain henceforth that way for all times. The world should notice from Hitler's deeds and words that his aims are not aggressive war...

But this attitude of the new German Reich is in reality the strongest bulwark for safeguarding peace, and will always prove itself as such in a world in turmoil. Just because we have recognized the danger of certain destructive tendencies which are attempting to assert themselves in Europe, we are not looking for differences between countries and peoples, but are trying to find connecting links. We are not thinking of political isolation. We want political co-operation between governments, a co-operation which, if it is to be successful, cannot be based on theoretical ideas of collectivity, but on living reality, and which must devote itself to the concrete tasks of the present. We can state with satisfaction that in pursuing such a realistic peace policy, we are working hand in hand with our friend Italy. This justifies the hope that we may also reach a friendly understanding with other governments regarding important questions of foreign policy.

September, 1937: Neurath becomes a member of the SS.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: In September 1937 Mussolini had announced his visit to Germany. For some days just before this visit I was not in Berlin. When I returned in the morning I found my tailor at the entrance of my house with the uniform of an SS Gruppenführer. I asked him what that meant. He told me the Reich Chancellery had instructed him to make me a uniform immediately. I then went to Hitler and asked him why he had done this. He said he wanted all the people who were to be present at the reception of Mussolini to be in uniform. I told him that was not very agreeable to me and I had to explain that in no case would I be subordinate to Himmler and I did not want to have anything to do with the SS. Hitler assured me solemnly that this would not be asked of me and' that I need have no obligation to the SS; and this actually did not happen. Moreover, I had no power to issue orders, and my later appointment as Obergruppenführer was apparently done in the course of general promotions without any special emphasis.

October 30, 1937: From a speech by Neurath before the Academy of German Law:

In recognition of these elementary facts the Reich Cabinet has always interceded in favor of treating every concrete international problem within the scope of methods especially suited to it, not to complicate it unnecessarily by involvement with other problems; and, as long as problems between only two powers are concerned, to choose the direct way for an immediate understanding between these two powers. We are in a position to state that this method has fully proved itself good not only in the German interest, but also in the general interest...I am convinced that the same or similar considerations will also arise in other cases where it is intended to set up a schematic structure, such as an absolutely mutual system of assistance for a more or less large group of states. Such projects, even in favorable cases, namely, when intended to be an equal guarantee by all participants, will only remain as a piece of paper.

November 5, 1937 Hossbach-Konferenz: Hitler addresses Neurath, Raeder, Göring and other political and military leaders.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Although the plans set forth by Hitler in that long speech had no concrete form, and various possibilities were envisaged, it was quite obvious to me that the whole tendency of his plans was of an aggressive nature. I was extremely upset at Hitler's speech, because it knocked the bottom out of the whole foreign policy which I had consistently pursued-the policy of employing only peaceful means. It was evident that I could not assume responsibility for such a policy...

About 2 days after this speech I went to see General Von Fritsch, who had also been present on the occasion of this speech; and together with him and the Chief of the General Staff, Beck, I discussed what could be done to get Hitler to change his ideas. We agreed that first of all General Von Fritsch, who was due to report to Hitler during the next few days, should explain to him all the military considerations which made this policy inadvisable. Then I intended to explain the political reasons to him. Unfortunately Hitler left for the Obersalzberg soon afterward and could not or did not wish to receive me before his departure...

In this discussion Hitler talked about war plans only in a general way. There was no talk about an aggressive plan against Czechoslovakia. Hitler said that if events led to a war, Czechoslovakia and Austria would have to be occupied first so that our right flank be kept free. The form of this or any other attack on Czechoslovakia, and whether there would be any conflict at all in the East, was doubtful and open to discussion. In effect, the Sudetenland, which strategically held the key position of the Czech defense, was subsequently ceded in a peaceful manner by agreement with the Western Powers. Concrete plans for a war against Czechoslovakia, as General Jodl has testified, were not given to the General Staff for elaboration until the end of May 1938. I learned for the first time here about the existence of these plans. For the rest, when Hitler told me that he would undertake nothing against Czechoslovakia, I could not but believe that this was his real intention; in other words, that he had relinquished his plans for alternative action as set forth on 5 November 1937.

January 3, 1938: Neurath meets with Hitler.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: On that occasion I tried to show him that his policy would lead to a world war, and that I would have no part in it. Many of his plans could be realized by peaceful means, even if the process was slower. He answered that he could not wait any longer. I called his attention to the danger of war and to the serious warnings of the generals. I reminded him of his speech to the Reichstag in 1933 in which he himself had declared every new war to be sheer madness, and so forth. When despite all my arguments he still held to his opinions, I told him that he would have to find another Foreign Minister, and that I would not be an accessory to such a policy.

At first Hitler refused to accept my resignation, but I insisted...I believe Hitler had been wanting this for some time...it was known throughout Germany and abroad that I was no National Socialist, but rather that I combated National Socialist excesses against the Church and the Jews and that, in addition, I obstructed any policy which endangered peace. This was clearly shown by my dismissal in February 1938, and the fact that the general consternation about this was not publicly expressed in the German press was simply because there was no press available for this. It is therefore completely absurd that these conservative circles could have assumed that I was with all my heart with the Nazis, as the Indictment says. Other countries knew this just as well and saw in me an obstacle to Nazi policy. That I was not regarded as a blind adherent to Nazi theories, as is stated in the Indictment, is best known to the foreign diplomats in Berlin, since they could observe my constant struggle against the Party from close at hand.

January 20, 1938: Hitler speaks before the Reichstag:

In the fifth year following the first great foreign political agreement with the Reich, it fills us with sincere gratification to be able to state that in our relations with the state, with which we had had perhaps the greatest differences, not only has there been a détente, but in the course of these years there has been a constant improvement in relations. This good work, which was regarded with suspicion by so many at the time, has stood the test, and I may say that since the League of Nations finally gave up its continual attempts to unsettle Danzig and appointed a man of great personal attainments as the new commissioner, the most dangerous spot from this point of view of European peace has entirely lost its menacing character.

The Polish State respects the national conditions in this state, and both the City of Danzig and Germany respect Polish rights. And so the way to friendly understanding has been successfully paved, an understanding which beginning with Danzig has today, in spite of the attempts of certain mischief makers, succeeded in finally taking the poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland and transforming them into a sincere, friendly co-operation. To rely on her friendships, Germany will not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which provides the foundation for the task which is ahead of us—peace.

February 2, 1938: Neurath, on the occasion of his 65th birthday, is made an honorary citizen of Stuttgart.

From the testimony of Stuttgart Mayor Karl Strolin before the IMT: This appointment was to express to von Neurath the gratitude and appreciation not only of the people of Stuttgart but of all Swabia for his manifest love of peace and the calm and prudence with which he had conducted foreign affairs. It was also a token of respect for his honest and incorruptible character...

By chance, I was with von Neurath in the Foreign Ministry on 4 February 1938 at the very moment when his resignation was accepted. He described how this resignation came about. He said that until the end of the year 1937 he had been convinced that Hitler was completely in sympathy with the foreign policy which he was pursuing and that Hitler as well as himself had not wanted to chance an armed conflict, but at the end of 1937 Hitler had altogether unexpectedly changed his attitude; he had suddenly struck a different note, and it was impossible to decide whether it was to be taken seriously. von Neurath went on to say that in a personal conversation with Hitler he had attempted to persuade him to give up this altered view, but that he had the impression that he had lost his influence over Hitler, and this prompted him to submit his resignation.

  February 4, 1938 Konsolidierung: Hitler’s Cabinet meets for the final time. Neurath, after resigning as Reich Foreign Minister (replaced by Ribbentrop), is appointed president of the Secret Cabinet Council (which will never meet), and becomes minister without portfolio.

This Privy Cabinet Council is under the direction of Reich-Minister v. Neurath, and includes the Foreign Minister, the Air Minister, the Deputy Commander for the Führer, the Propaganda Minister, the Chief of the Reich Chancellery, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army and Navy and the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. The Privy Cabinet Council constitutes a select staff of collaborators of the Führer which consists exclusively of members of the Government of the Reich; thus, it represents a select committee of the Reich Government for the deliberation on foreign affairs.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: From the personal point of view I had no close connection of any kind with Hitler. I did not belong to his close circle either. In the beginning I had frequent discussions with him concerning foreign policy and on the whole found him open to my arguments. However, in the course of time this changed when other organizations, especially the Party, began to concern themselves with foreign policy and came to Hitler with their plans and their ideas.

This applied especially to the so-called Ribbentrop Bureau. Ribbentrop became more and more a personal adviser of Hitler in matters of foreign policy, and gained more and more influence. It was often difficult to dissuade Hitler from proposals which had been submitted to him through these channels. German foreign policy was to a certain extent going two different ways. Not only in Berlin but also in its offices abroad the Foreign Office had constantly to contend with difficulties caused by the working methods and the sources of information of this Ribbentrop Bureau. I personally was always opposed to the Party exercising any influence on foreign policy. I was especially opposed to Ribbentrop's direct handling of important questions and his official interference in matters of foreign policy in cases where they had not been removed from my control. For that reason I handed in my resignation several times, and for a time I succeeded in getting Hitler to dispense with Ribbentrop's meddlesome methods which he had hitherto supported.

February 11, 1938 From the Diary of Alfred Jodl:

In the evening and on 12 February General K (Keitel) with General Von Reichenau and Sperrle at Obersalzberg. Schuschnigg, together with G. Schmidt are being put under the heaviest political and military pressure. At 2300 hours Schuschnigg signs protocol.

February 12, 1938: The Austro-German Crisis begins as Hitler meets with Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden.

February 13, 1938 From Jodl's Diary: In the afternoon General K asks Admiral C (Canaris) and myself to come to his apartment. He tells us that the Führer's order is to the effect that military pressure, by shamming military action, should be kept up until the 15th. Proposals for these deceptive maneuvers are drafted and submitted to the Führer by telephone for approval.

February 14, 1938 Jodl's Diary: At 2:40 o'clock the agreement of the Führer arrives. Canaris went to Munich to the Counter-Intelligence Office VII and initiates the different measures. The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military preparations."

February 16, 1938: Schuschnigg complies with Hitler's demands by appointing Arthur Seyss-Inquart, a pro-Nazi lawyer, as Interior Minister and another Nazi, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, as a Minister without Portfolio.

February 19, 1938: Schuschnigg's government extends full amnesty to imprisoned National Socialists and gives the National Socialists access to the Fatherland Front.

February 20, 1938: In a speech aimed specifically at Czechoslovakia, Chancellor Adolf Hitler proclaims that the German government vows to protect German minorities outside of the Reich.

February 20, 1938: British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns in protest of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Italy and Germany.

February 24, 1938: Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, in response to an earlier speech by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler; calls for international support to resist future German demands for Austrian concessions; reaffirms the independence of Austria; promises to protect the ten million Germans living outside of the Reich.

March 3 - 9, 1938: German Chancellor Adolf Hitler begins an official state visit to Rome to soften Mussolini up in anticipation of Hitler's impending move into Austria.

March 4, 1938: In response to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler's posturing, Czechoslovak Prime Minister Milan Hodza declares that Czechoslovakia will defend itself against foreign interference.

March 9, 1938: Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg schedules a plebiscite on the independence of Austria for 13 March. The question is to be: 'Are you for an independent and social, a Christian, German and united Austria?

March 10, 1938 Jodl's Diary:

By surprise and without consulting his ministers, Schuschnigg ordered a plebiscite for Sunday, 13, March, which should bring strong majority for the Legitimists in the absence of plan or preparation. Führer is determined not to tolerate it. The same night, March 9 to 10, he calls for Göring. General v. Reichenau is called back from Cairo Olympic Committee. General v. Schebert is ordered to come, as well as Minister Glaise Horstenau, who is with the District leader (Gauleiter) Buerckel in the Palatinate. General Keitel communicates the facts at 1:45. He drives to the Reichskanzlei at 10 o'clock. I follow at 10:15, according to the wish of General v. Viebahn, to give him the old draft. Prepare case Otto. 1300 hours: General K informs Chief of Operational Staff (and) Admiral Canaris. Ribbentrop is being detained in London. Neurath takes over the Foreign Office. Fuehrer wants to transmit ultimatum to the Austrian Cabinet. A personal letter is dispatched to Mussolini and the reasons are developed which force the Führer to take action. 1830 hours: Mobilization order is given to the Command of the 8th Army (Corps Area 3) 7th and 13th Army Corps; without reserve Army.

March 11, 1938: Hitler meets with Neurath and others:

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Late in the afternoon, Hitler suddenly rang me up in my apartment and asked me to come and see him. In the anteroom I met, besides Herr Von Papen, General Von Brauchitsch and a number of other high officials and officers of his immediate entourage. Göring was also in the room with Hitler when I came in. Hitler told me that the Anschluss with Austria was a fact, and that German troops would cross the border during the night of the 11th and 12th. When I raised the question whether that had to be, Hitler told me the reason why he did not wish to wait any longer. He asked me what the Foreign Office should do, as the Foreign Minister was absent and in London at the time. I told him quite clearly that we would probably receive protests to which a reply would have to be sent. Apart from that we on our part should make a statement to the powers. There should be no formal negotiations. I also told him that the Foreign Minister should be immediately recalled from London. Göring opposed this. Finally Hitler asked me to tell the State Secretary of the Foreign Office what he had just told me, so that the Foreign Office would know what was happening.

March 11, 1938 Anschluss: Neurath writes to the British Ambassador:

It is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure to bring about this development, especially the assertion, which was spread later by the former Federal Chancellor, that the German Government had presented the Federal President with a conditional ultimatum. It is a pure invention...The truth of the matter is that the question of sending military or police forces from the Reich was only brought up when the newly formed Austrian Cabinet addressed a telegram, already published by the press, to the German Government, urgently asking for the dispatch of German troops as soon as possible, in order to restore peace and order and to avoid bloodshed. Faced with the imminent danger of a bloody civil war in Austria, the German Government then decided to comply with the appeal addressed to it.
 

From Neurath's IMT testimony: On 12 March, in the morning, I did as Hitler had instructed me, and passed on his description of events to the State Secretary, who was the official representative of Ribbentrop. Göring was appointed by Hitler to be his deputy during the time he was absent...

I personally told the former about the letter addressed to me by the British Ambassador containing the British protest against the occupation of Austria. I told him that the Foreign Office would submit a note of reply. When the draft of this note had been prepared I told Göring about the contents of the note over the telephone. Göring as Hitler's deputy asked me to sign the reply in his stead, since the British Ambassador's letter had been addressed to me. Göring has already stated this as a witness here in this courtroom; hence the phrase in this letter which says "in the name of the Reich Government." I repeatedly asked Göring to have Ribbentrop recalled from London and to keep him informed. From the telephone conversation between Göring and Ribbentrop, which has already been mentioned here, it appears that Göring did this. The explanation why the British note was addressed to me I learned only here through the testimony of Göring, when he said that on the evening of the 11th he himself had told the British Ambassador that he, Göring, was representing Hitler during his absence and that Hitler had asked me to advise him, if need be, on matters of foreign policy...

Ministerial Director Von Weizsacker telephoned me at my home, telling me that the Czechoslovakian Minister Mastny was with him and wanted to know whether he could see me sometime during the course of the day. I asked M. Mastny to come to my apartment during the afternoon. M. Mastny asked me whether I believed that Hitler, after the Austrian Anschluss, would now undertake something against Czechoslovakia as well. I replied that he could set his mind at rest, that Hitler had told me on the previous evening, in reply to my suggestion that the Austrian Anschluss might create unrest in Czechoslovakia, that he had no thoughts of undertaking anything against Czechoslovakia. Mastny then asked me whether Germany still considered herself bound by the agreement concluded in 1925. On the strength of the answer given to me by Hitler I was able to confirm this with a clear conscience. Hitler had added in this connection that he believed the relations with Czechoslovakia would even improve considerably. The settlement of the Austrian Anschluss was after all a domestic affair.

March 12, 1938 Anschluss: The German Army marches unopposed into Vienna. Hitler announces that a plebiscite will be held April 10 on the question of Germany the annexation of Austria into the Reich.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: "I should like to add that the incidents which led to the Austrian Anschluss were never planned during my period of office, and nothing of the kind was ever mentioned. Hitler never had any definite foreign policy plans at all, rather did he take decisions very suddenly and immediately translated them into action, so that even his closest associate had knowledge of them only a few days in advance.

The expression "Austrian Anschluss," as it is used here and generally, does not express that which actually happened later, which was in fact the incorporation of Austria. It is this incorporation of Austria that we are now concerned with. This incorporation of Austria was conceived by Hitler at the very last moment, in Linz, as the troops were marching in. A further proof that the plan for invasion had not been made in advance is the fact that Hitler a few days earlier had sent his Foreign Minister to London to clear up some diplomatic formalities.

March 12, 1938 Anschluss: Nazi Minister of Propaganda Goebbels reads an address by Hitler on the radio:

I have therefore decided to offer the millions of Germans in Austria the assistance of the Reich. Since this morning soldiers of the German armed forces have been crossing all of the German-Austrian borders. Armored units, infantry divisions and SS units on the ground and the German Luftwaffe in the skies, summoned by the new National Socialist Government in Vienna, will ensure that the Austrian People are within the very near future finally given the opportunity to determine for themselves their future, and thus their fate, through a genuine plebiscite. And these units are supported by the will and determination of the entire German nation. I myself, as Führer and Chancellor of the German People, will be happy once again to be able to enter the country which is also my homeland as a German and a free citizen. The world, however, shall see for itself that for the German People in Austria these days are filled with hours of blissful joy...

March 14, 1938: The Czechoslovak government receives assurances from Hitler's government of the German desire to improve relations between the two states.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Czech policy towards us was always characterized by a profound mistrust. This was to be explained partly by the geographical position of the country between Germany and Austria, and partly by the diversity of nationalities within the country. These were swayed by strong feelings. The country's being drawn into the Franco-Russian military and friendship pact did not contribute to the establishment of closer relations between Germany and Czechoslovakia. As Reich Foreign Minister I always worked to improve political relations. I also tried to strengthen our economic connections, which were of manifest importance. In so doing I no more thought of using force, or of military occupation, than I did in our relations with all the other neighboring states...

The Germans living in the Sudetenland as a compact group had been given the assurance, at the peace negotiations in 1919 when they were attached to the Czechoslovak State, that they would be given autonomy on the model of the Swiss Confederation, as expressly stated by Mr. Lloyd George in the House of Commons in 1940. The Sudeten-German delegation at that time, as well as Austria, had demanded an Anschluss with the Reich. The promise of autonomy was not kept by the Czech Government. Instead of autonomy, there was a vehement policy of "Czechification." The Germans were forbidden to use their own German language in the courts, as well as in their dealings with administrative authorities, et cetera, under threat of punishment.

March 16-19, 1938: As most of Europe is preoccupied with the German absorption of Austria, the Polish government issues a series of demands to the Lithuanians. Faced with the threat of war, the Lithuanian government immediately agrees to all of the Polish demands, including recognition of the status quo in eastern Europe. The Lithuanian capitulation prevents the crisis from escalating.

March 22-25, 1938: German political parties which had joined the Hodza ministry in Czechoslovakia, and the members of the German Activists withdraw from the government. Sudeten Germans are unmoved when Prime Minister Milan Hodza responds by announcing a new Nationality Statute designed to protect Czechoslovakian minorities.

March 25, 1938: Hitler speaks in Koenigsberg:

I decided not to wait until April 10, but to effect the unification forthwith. That which has happened in those last weeks is the result of the triumph of an idea, a triumph of will, but also a triumph of endurance and tenacity and, above all, it is the result of the miracle of faith: for only faith has availed to move these mountains. I once went forth with faith in the German people and began this vast fight. With faith in me first thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and at last millions have followed after me.

With faith in Germany and in this idea, millions of our fellow countrymen in the New Ostmark in the south of our Reich have held their banners high and have remained loyal to the Reich and to the life of the German people. And now I have faith in this 10th of April. I am convinced that on this day for the first time in history in very truth all Germany will be on the march. And on this day I shall be the Leader of the greatest army in the history of the world; for when on this 10th of April I cast my voting paper into the urn, then I shall know that behind me come 50 millions, and they all know only my watchword: One People and one Reich...

April 10, 1938 Annexionvolksabstimmung: In a national plebiscite, Austrian voters register 99.75% in favor of union with Germany: Austria becomes part of the Reich as a new state, divided into seven Gaue (states). Austria withdraws as a member state from the League of Nations because of the republic's incorporation into Germany.

June 16, 1938: The German Anschluss results in the extension of anti-Jewish laws to former Austrian provinces. Under the new regulations, Austrian Jews have to register all their property, at home and abroad, within a few weeks.

September 28, 1938: Hitler speaks in Berlin:

And now we are faced with the final problem that must be solved and will be solved! It is the final territorial demand which I shall make of Europe, but it is the demand which I shall not give up and which with God's help I shall ensure is fulfilled. The history of this problem is this: in 1918, in the spirit of "the right of nations to self-determination" Central Europe was torn apart and reshaped by some insane so-called statesmen. Without regard to the origins of the Peoples, their national aspirations, the economic necessities, Central Europe was fragmented and new states were formed arbitrarily. It is to this process that Czechoslovakia owes its existence. This Czech state began with one single lie...

September 28, 1938: Neurath meets with Hitler.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: After my dismissal in February 1938 I lived on my estate. On about 26 September I received a telephone call from one of my former ministerial colleagues informing me that Hitler had instructed the Armed Forces to be ready to march by 28 September. Apparently he wanted to solve the Sudeten question by force. I was asked to come to Berlin immediately and attempt to dissuade Hitler from this intention. During the night I went to Berlin. After my arrival I inquired at the Foreign Office about the situation and reported to Hitler that I was there. I was sent away. Nevertheless, on the 28th I went to the Reich Chancellery and there I met Hitler's entire entourage ready to march. I inquired for Hitler and was told that he was in his room, but would receive no one.

Nevertheless, I went to the door and entered Hitler's room. When he saw me he asked, in a harsh voice: "What do you want here?" I answered that I wanted to point out to him the consequences of his intended step. I explained to him that he would bring on a European war, and probably a world war, if he were to march into Czechoslovakia while negotiations were still in progress on the Sudeten problem; that Czechoslovakia would doubtless resist and that it would not be an easy struggle, and in any case it would involve France and England and Poland. I told him that it would be a crime he could never answer for to shed so much blood unless all possibilities of peaceful settlement had been exhausted. I knew that Mr. Chamberlain was prepared to come to an agreement and that he was also prepared to induce the Czechs to turn over the Sudetenland if that could prevent war...

Hitler refused to consider such a conference. During our talk, however, Göring had appeared and he supported me in my efforts to persuade Hitler to have a conference. Finally Hitler agreed, if I could bring Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini to Berlin by the next day. Since that was impossible for Mussolini, I suggested Munich as the place for negotiations. I immediately established contact with the British and French Ambassadors, who severe both on their way to see Hitler. Hitler himself telephoned directly to Mussolini, and by 6 o'clock the promises and answers had been received.

September 29, 1938 München Konferenz: The Munich Conference concludes.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: In view of Hitler's irritated frame of mind, I was concerned about the course of the conference and I told him that I considered it expedient that I should go to Munich too, since I knew the foreign representatives personally and for that reason could serve as mediator. When he agreed, Göring invited me to come along in his special train. Later, in the course of the long session, I frequently talked to the three persons and to Hitler and tried to mediate in the differences which arose. Mr. Chamberlain, at the end of this discussion, asked me to arrange a talk with the Führer alone, without Ribbentrop, on the next day, since he would like to make a new suggestion. The Führer did not want to at first, but finally I persuaded him.

At this talk, a "consultation agreement" was reached between England and Germany, which France later joined. Chamberlain, who was staying at the same hotel as I was, showed me this agreement with great joy after the talk, and I also was glad to see it. I hoped that Anglo-German relations, which had suffered in the Godesberg and Berchtesgaden meetings, might be brought back to normal by this agreement and that the way would be opened for further conferences. As in the summer of 1937, Chamberlain invited me to visit him in England. I immediately told him that I did not believe that Hitler, who had forbidden me to go to England in the summer of 1937, would now give his approval, especially since I was no longer Foreign Minister. In January 1938 the British Ambassador repeated the invitation, but I had to tell him that I had had no opportunity of obtaining Hitler's approval.

September 29, 1938 Jodl's Diary:

The Munich Pact is signed, Czechoslovakia as a power is out. Four zones as set forth will be occupied between the 2d and 7th of October. The remaining part of mainly German character will be occupied by the 10th of October. The genius of the Führer and his determination not to shun even a world war have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak, and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way.

November 6, 1938: Hitler speaks in Weimar:

If today at times in foreign countries Parliamentarians or politicians venture to maintain that Germany has not kept her treaties, then we can give as our answer to these men: the greatest breach of a treaty that ever was practiced on the German people. Every promise which had been made to Germany in the Fourteen Points—those promises on the faith of which Germany had laid down her arms—was afterwards broken. In 1932 Germany was faced with final collapse. The German Reich and people both seemed lost. And then came the German resurrection. It began with a change of faith. While all the German parties before us believed in forces and ideals which lay outside of the German Reich and outside of our people, we National Socialists have resolutely championed belief in our own people, starting from that watchword of eternal validity: God helps only those who are prepared and determined to help themselves...

March 14, 1939: Czechoslovak President Emil Hacha leaves for Berlin.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: After I learned of these events I disapproved strongly, and I would not have taken office as Reich Protector under any circumstances if I had known of these things at the time. I was completely surprised by the events in March 1939. I no longer received any foreign political information, as I have already said. I was dependent upon the radio and the newspapers. The preparation for attack on Czechoslovakia in 1938 I considered to have been eliminated after the Munich Agreement.

I learned of Hacha's visit to Berlin, like every other German, by radio and newspapers the next morning. The official statement of the taking-over of protection of the remainder of Czechoslovakia seemed not improbable to me after Slovakia had become independent, and after I learned that the Czech Foreign Minister, Chvalkovsky, in the course of the winter 1938-39 had said in Berlin that Czechoslovakia's former policy must be completely changed and that closer connections would have to be sought with Germany. However, I was concerned about how the signatory powers of Munich would react to this development, which was in contravention of the agreement which had been reached in Munich.

My first question to Hitler, when I went to Vienna at his request, was whether England and France had been informed beforehand and had given their approval. When he said no, that that was quite unnecessary, and that the Czech Government itself had asked us to take over the protection, I immediately realized how dangerous the situation was, and said so to Hitler. However, at the time I still believed that it had, in fact, been a free decision of the Czech Government.

March 15, 1939: In defiance of the Munich Pact, the Nazis seize and occupy Bohemia and Moravia.

March 16, 1939: From the Decree of the Führer and Reich Chancellor on the Establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia:

For the purpose of making effective the protection undertaken by the German Reich, the German Armed Forces shall have the right at all times to construct military installations and to keep them garrisoned in the strength they deem necessary in an area delimited on its western side by the frontiers of the State of Slovakia, and on its eastern side by a line formed by the eastern rims of the Lower Carpathians, the White Carpathians, and the Javornik Mountains. The Government of Slovakia will take the necessary steps to assure that the land required for these installations shall be conveyed to the German Armed Forces. Furthermore, the Government of Slovakia will agree to grant exemption from custom duties for imports from the Reich for the maintenance of the German troops and the supply of military installations.

From 'The Devil's Disciples' by Anthony Read: Speaking from the balcony of the castle (Hradschin Castle in Prague), Hitler proclaimed to a shocked and sullen populace that their country no longer existed. It had been replaced by the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, to be governed by a Reich Protector who would be appointed by himself, as would his State Secretary and Head of the Civil Administration. He chose Neurath as Protector, with the Sudeten leader Henlein as administrative head and his former deputy and bitter rival, Karl Hermann Frank, as Secretary of State, thus guaranteeing the perpetual internal friction that Hitler liked to generate among his subordinates.

March 18, 1939: Neurath is appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia (Reichsprotektorat Böhmen und Mähren), a post he will hold until replaced by Frick. He is also awarded the Adler Order (Adlerorden) by Hitler. Note: Ribbentrop is the only other person to ever receive this decoration."

From Neurath's IMT testimony: Hitler's request that I should take the post of Reich Protector was a complete surprise to me, the more so since I had discovered that he had very much taken amiss my spontaneous intervention in September 1938, which led to the Munich conference. I had misgivings about taking the office, which I also expressed to Hitler. I realized that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would, at the very least, strongly offend the signatory powers of the Munich Agreement, even if Hacha had asked for protection of his own accord; and it was also clear to me that any aggravation of the situation through bad treatment of the Czechs would bring about an immediate danger of war.

The patience of England and France must surely be exhausted. I mentioned this to Hitler, too. Hitler's answer was that that was precisely the reason why he was asking me to take over the post-to show that he did not wish to carry on a policy hostile to Czechoslovakia. I was generally known abroad as a peaceful and moderate man, and he would give me the most extensive powers to oppose all excesses, especially by the Sudeten German element. When I still hesitated and said that I did not know conditions in Czechoslovakia and that I was not an administrator, Hitler said that I should try it, that it could be changed at any time. He gave me two experienced men who knew the conditions. I did not realize at the time that the fact that the Police and the SS were not subordinate to any higher authority, already a practice then, would make it impossible for me to prevent the rule by force of Himmler and his agencies. But I cannot refrain from pointing out that great responsibility for further developments lies with the other powers, especially the signatory powers of Munich. Instead of making protest on paper, I had expected that they would at least recall their ambassadors. Then, perhaps, the tension might have increased for the moment, but the German people would have realized how serious the situation was, and Hitler would have avoided taking further aggressive steps and the war could have been prevented...

Hitler said that I was to attempt to reconcile the Czechs to the new conditions and to keep from excesses the German population which was filled with hatred by the years of struggle over nationality and measures of suppression...He (Hitler) assured me that he would support me in every way and at all times in my work of settling the national conflicts justly and winning over the Czechs by a conciliatory and moderate policy. In particular, he would protect my administration from all attacks by political radicals, above all by the SS and Police and Sudeten Germans; I had pointed out this danger particularly.

March 20, 1939: In response to the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, FDR recalls the US ambassador to Berlin.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The Czechs were generally disillusioned by the conduct of their former allies in the autumn of 1938. To a large extent they seemed ready to be loyal and to co-operate. However, the influence of anti-Czech and Sudeten-German circles, supported by Himmler and the SS, was considerable. This influence was personified especially in the Sudeten leader Karl Hermann Frank, who had been appointed my State Secretary at Himmler's instigation. I had the greatest difficulty with him from the very beginning, because he favored a completely different policy toward the Czechs. The office of the Reich Protector was still being built up...

The police force was completely independent of my office. It was directly under the Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police; that is to say, Himmler. Himmler appointed my own State Secretary Frank as Higher SS and Police Chief, who thus had a double position. Under Frank, in turn, was the commander of the Security Police. All police measures were ordered by Frank or directly by Himmler and the Reich Security Main Office without a request for my approval, without my even having been informed previously. From this fact resulted most of the difficulties with which I constantly had to struggle in Prague.

March 23, 1939: The German government guarantees Lithuanian independence and integrity while the Lithuanians acquiesce to the peaceful transfer of Memel back to Germany. Also: Hitler issues strong demands to the Polish government for the annexation of Danzig and Posen.

April 1, 1939: Hitler speaks in Wilhelmshaven:

When the Allies, without regard or purpose, right, tradition, or even reasonableness, changed the map of Europe, we had not the power to prevent it. If, however, they expect the Germany of today to sit patiently by until the very last day when this same result would again be repeated—while they create satellite States and set them against Germany—then they are mistaking the Germany of today for the Germany of before the war. He who declares himself ready to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for these powers must realize he burns his fingers. Really, we feel no hatred against the Czech people. We have lived together for years. The English statesmen do not know this. They have no idea that Hradcany castle was not built by an Englishman but by a German and that the St. Vitus Cathedral likewise was not erected by Englishmen but that German hands did it...

April 20, 1939 Ordnung des deutschen Adlers: Constantin von Neurath is awarded a Special Degree of the Order of the German Eagle.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: The Order of the German Eagle was founded in 1937 and was to be awarded only to foreigners. It would however have had no great value abroad but would have been considered more a type of special order, such as a colonial order, if no German had held it. For that reason in my capacity as Foreign Minister, immediately when the order was founded, Hitler awarded me the Grand Cross of the order and thus also heightened the value of this order.

August 23, 1939: The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed in Moscow. It is sometimes called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of Non-aggression, or simply the 'Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.'

September 1, 1939: After some delays, Hitler's forces invade Poland.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I considered this war the greatest piece of stupidity, for on the basis of my knowledge of British psychology and politics, I was convinced that England would keep her promise to Poland, and that therewith the war against England and France would also commence, in which the United States, with its tremendous production capacity, would stand behind these powers. That was clear to me from all the statements made by President Roosevelt before the beginning of the war. I also rejected and condemned the rather reckless beginning of this war because of my ethical convictions and my ideology...

I told myself that during the war, on the one hand, the Czechs would try, if not to throw off German rule, at least to disturb, either openly or secretly, through uprisings, sabotage, et cetera, the military measures of the Armed Forces taken in the Protectorate and that on the other hand due to this the severest measures would be taken against the population on the part of Germany, which would cause the Police, above all the Gestapo, to proceed with all kinds of terrorist acts. Through my remaining in office I wanted to prevent both of these things, and I also wanted to prevent a harsher treatment of the Czech population by the policy of conciliation and compromise which I followed. To lay down my office at a moment like that would have been desertion.

But, on the other hand, I believed that in a war in which the existence of the German people was at stake I could not, as a German—which I am, with full devotion—refuse my services and my knowledge. After all, it was not a question of Hitler or the Nazi regime, but rather of my people and their existence...

I told Hitler my attitude and my opinion about the insanity of the war quite clearly. But I would have considered myself a traitor to the German and Czech peoples if, in this hour of need, I had abandoned the difficult task which I had undertaken for the benefit and welfare of both peoples, as long as I could even in a restricted measure live up to my task. I do not believe that any decent person would have acted differently, for, above all, and beyond personal wishes, there is one's duty to one's own people.

September 1, 1939: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. Since 5:45 a. m. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met with bombs. Whoever fights with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same. I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured. For six years now I have been working on the building up of the German defenses. Over 90 milliards have in that time been spent on the building up of these defense forces. They are now the best equipped and are above all comparison with what they were in 1914. My trust in them is unshakable. When I called up these forces and when I now ask sacrifices of the German people and if necessary every sacrifice, then I have a right to do so, for I also am to-day absolutely ready, just as we were formerly, to make every personal sacrifice...

September 3, 1939 Der zweite Weltkrieg: WW2 begins as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and France declare war on Germany.

September 17, 1939: The USSR invades Poland from the east.

September 29, 1939: The USSR and Germany divide Poland between them.

Oct 26, 1939: A forced labor decree is issued for Polish Jews between the ages of 14 to 60.

October 28, 1939: Public demonstrations occur in Prague for the first time on the occasion of the Czech Independence Day. On this occasion, some of the demonstrators and some policemen are either killed or injured, for the Police take rather strong measures against the people demonstrating.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: At that time I was not in Prague, and only on 29 October did Frank inform me over the telephone about the unrest. The details I did not learn until I returned on 30 or 31 October. I told Frank that through his personal interference on the streets and through the use of the SS he had intensified the tumult instead of leaving the restoration of order to the Czech police.

November 15, 1939: At the funeral of one of the students who was killed on 28 October, there are fresh demonstrations in Prague, in the course of which numerous students are shot, others arrested, and the universities closed.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: When this student, Opletal, who was injured in the fracas, died of his wounds, the Police, in order to prevent new demonstrations, prohibited the participation of students at the funeral, which was to take place on 15 November. Despite this, crowds collected, and when the Police attempted to disperse them, renewed demonstrations and shootings resulted. When this was reported to Hitler by Frank, Hitler was greatly enraged and called me, Frank, and the Military Plenipotentiary, General Friderici, to a conference to be held in Berlin. Hitler had also asked the Czech Minister, Chvalkovsky, the former Foreign Minister, to be present at this conference.

Hitler was in a rage. I tried to calm him, but despite that he made serious charges against the Czech Minister and gave him instructions to tell the Czech Government that if such events should recur he would take the most severe measures against the people who were disturbing the peace and, furthermore, that he would hold the entire Czech Government liable. The language used by Hitler was quite uncontrolled and the proceeding was extremely distressing to us who were listening. After the Czech Minister had left, we stayed with Hitler for a few minutes longer. He asked me how long I would remain in Berlin and I told him 1 to 2 days. Then we were asked to dinner, but there was no further discussion about these incidents. Hitler asked State Secretary Frank to come back later. Hitler said no word about the shooting of the leaders of the demonstration or taking the students to concentration camps; neither did he mention the closing of the universities. When, toward evening, I asked after the pilot of my airplane in order to give him instructions, I was told at the airport that he had flown back to Prague in my airplane together with Frank.

November 16, 1939: Neurath returns to Prague.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I returned to Prague by train and only then did I learn that Hitler had decreed the closing of all Czech universities for 3 years, the arrest of some 1,200 students and their transfer to a concentration camp, as well as the shooting of the ringleaders of the demonstration. At the same time a proclamation, which was signed with my name, was submitted to me in which these orders were announced which had been published in the press and had been posted publicly. I had Frank summoned immediately and challenged him with these unheard-of things which had taken place without my knowledge. He referred to a specific decree of Hitler's. I had not even seen this proclamation. My name had been affixed to it illegally by Frank. Even as my deputy, he was not justified in doing this; but later, through an official in my office, I learned that Frank often misused my name in this way. If I had had any advance knowledge of these decrees of Hitler—and, of course, he had the opportunity to reach me by telephone in Berlin—I would naturally have objected to these decrees and at that time would have asked to resign.

Immediately I tried to have these students released. I tried with Hitler personally and tried going to Himmler, and gradually most of them were released, I believe more than 800 in all, the last of their number being released in the summer of 1941. Shortly after this incident, when I was again present in Berlin, I complained bitterly to Hitler about his conduct toward me. He evaded an answer, as far as I recall, but he promised me that the students would be released very soon and that the Czech universities would be reopened after 1 year. Neither of these promises did he keep.

November 17, 1939: From posters posted in the streets of Prague:

In spite of repeated serious warnings, a number of Czech intellectuals, in collaboration with émigré circles abroad, are trying to disturb peace and order in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by committing major or minor acts of resistance. In this connection it was possible to prove that the ringleaders of these resistance acts are especially to be found in the Czech universities. Since on 28 October and 15 November these elements gave way to acts of physical violence against individual Germans, the Czech universities have been closed for the duration of 3 years, nine of the perpetrators have been shot, and a considerable number of the participants have been arrested. Signed, The Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Freiherr von Neurath.

April 9, 1940: Nazi forces invade Norway and Denmark.

May 19, 1940: The Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister.

June 25, 1940: An Armistice is signed between France and Germany. Under its terms, the French army is to be disbanded and two thirds of France is to be occupied by the Germans.


August 31, 1940: From a letter from Neurath to Lammers:

Dear Herr Lammers: Enclosed I send you the memorandum which I mentioned in advance in my letter of 13 July 1940...about the question of the future organization of the Bohemian-Moravian country. I enclose another memorandum on the same question, which my Secretary of State K. H. Frank has drawn up independently of me and which, in its train of thoughts, leads to the same result and with which I fully agree. Please present both memoranda to the Führer and arrange a date for a personal interview for myself and State Secretary Frank. As I have heard from a private source that individual Party and other offices intend to submit proposals to the Führer for separating various parts of the Protectorate under my authority, without my knowing these projects in detail. I should be grateful to you if you would arrange the date for my interview early enough for me, as the competent Reich Protector and one who understands the Czech problem, to have an opportunity, together with my State Secretary, to place our opinions before the Führer before all sorts of plans are suggested to him by other people...

Any considerations about the future organization of Bohemia and Moravia must be based on the goal which is to be laid down for that territory from a state-political (staatspolitisch) and ethnic-political (volkspolitisch) point of view. From a state-political standpoint there can be but one aim: total incorporation into the Greater German Reich; from an ethnic-political standpoint to fill this territory with Germans...These 7.2 million Czechs, of whom 3.4 millions live in towns and communities of under 2,000 and in the country, are led and influenced by an intelligentsia which is unduly puffed up in proportion to the size of the country. This part of the population also tried, after the alteration of the constitutional situation of this area, more or less openly to sabotage or at any rate postpone necessary measures which were intended to fit the circumstances of the country to the new state of affairs. The remainder of the population, that is small craftsmen, peasants, and workmen, adapted themselves better to the new conditions...

But it would be a fatal mistake to conclude from this that the Government and population behaved in this correct manner because they had inwardly accepted the loss of their independent state, and incorporation into Greater Germany. The Germans continue to be looked upon as unwelcome intruders and there is a widespread longing for a return to the old state of affairs, even if the people do not express it openly. By and large, the population submit to the new conditions but they do so only because they either have the necessary rational insight or else because they fear the consequences of disobedience. They certainly do not do so from conviction. This will be the state of affairs for some time to come...

But as things are like that, a decision will have to be taken as to what is to be done with the Czech people in order to attain the objective of incorporating the country and filling it with Germans as quickly as possible and as thoroughly as possible. The most radical and theoretically complete solution to the problem would be to evacuate all Czechs completely from this country and replace them by Germans...It will, where the Czechs are concerned, rather be a case on the one hand of keeping those Czechs who are suitable for Germanization by individual selective breeding, while on the other hand of expelling those who are not useful from a racial standpoint or are enemies of the Reich, that is, the intelligentsia which has developed in the last 20 years. If we use such a procedure, Germanization can be carried out successfully.

  September 22, 1940 Kriegsverdienst-Kreuz: Hitler awards Neurath the War Merit Cross 1st Class.

  October 15, 1940: From Basic Political Principles in the Protectorate:

On 9 October of this year the Office of the Reich Protector held an official conference in which State Secretary SS Gruppenführer K. H. Frank spoke about the following:

Since creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, party agencies, industrial circles, as well as agencies of the central authorities of Berlin have been considering the solution of the Czech problem. After careful deliberation, the Reich Protector expressed his view about the various plans in a memorandum. In this, three possibilities of solution were indicated: a. German infiltration of Moravia and withdrawal of the Czech part of the people to a remainder of Bohemia. This solution is considered as unsatisfactory, because the Czech problem, even if in a diminished form, will continue to exist. b. Many arguments can be brought up against the most radical solution, namely, the deportation of all Czechs. Therefore the memorandum comes to the conclusion that it cannot be carried out within a reasonable space of time. c. Assimilation of the Czechs, that is, absorption of about half of the Czech people by the Germans, to the extent that it is of importance from a racial or other standpoint. This will be brought about, among other things, also by increasing the Arbeitseinsatz of the Czechs in the Reich territory, with the exception of the Sudeten German border districts—in other words, by dispersing the block of Czech people. The other half of the Czech nationality must by all possible ways be deprived of its power, eliminated, and shipped out of the country. This applies particularly to the racially mongoloid parts and to the major part of the intellectual class. The latter can scarcely be converted ideologically and would represent a burden by constantly making claims for the leadership over the other Czech classes and thus interfering with a rapid assimilation. Elements which counteract the planned Germanization are to be handled roughly and should be eliminated. The above development naturally presupposes an increased influx of Germans from the Reich territory into the Protectorate.

After a report, the Führer has chosen solution c (assimilation) as a directive for the solution of the Czech problem and decided that, while keeping up the autonomy of the Protectorate outwardly, Germanization will have to be carried out uniformly by the Office of the Reich Protector for years to come. From the above no specific conclusions are drawn by the Armed Forces. It is the way that has always been followed. In this connection, I refer to my memorandum which was sent to the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, dated 12 July 1939, entitled 'The Czech Problem.'

April 5, 1941: From notes of a meeting between Hitler, Matsuoka and Ribbentrop:

Matsuoka then spoke of the general high morale in Germany, referring to the happy faces he had seen everywhere among the workers during his recent visit to the Borsig. works. He expressed his regret that developments in Japan were not yet as far advanced as in Germany and that in his country the intellectuals still exercised considerable influence. The Reich Foreign Minister replied that at best a nation which had realized its every ambition could afford the luxury of intellectuals, some of whom are parasites, anyway. A nation, however, which has to fight for a place in the sun must give them up. The intellectuals ruined France; in Germany they had already started their pernicious activities when National Socialism put a stop to these doings; they will surely be the cause of the downfall of Britain, which is to be expected with certainty.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: In the so called Berlin-Rome-Tokyo policy. Hitler pursued this plan stubbornly, and Ribbentrop supported him in this. I rejected this policy, as I considered it detrimental and in some ways fantastic, and I refused to allow my staff to carry this through. Ribbentrop therefore, in his capacity as Ambassador with a special mission, carried on these negotiations independently, and on Hitler's instructions concluded the so-called Anti-Comintern Pact. Hence this pact bore Ribbentrop's signature and not my own, even though I was still Foreign Minister at that time and in the ordinary way would have had to sign the pact.

June 12, 1941 Declaration of St James's Palace: The representatives of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa and of the exiled governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and of General de Gaulle of France, met at the ancient St. James’s Palace and sign a declaration:

The only true basis of enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social security; It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end...

June 22, 1941 Unternehmen Barbarossa: Operation Barbarossa begins as 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invade the USSR along an 1,800 mile front.

August 7, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:

The Jews have always been carriers of infectious diseases. One must either crowd them together in ghettos and leave them to it, or else liquidate them, failing which they will always infect the healthy civilized population.

August 14, 1941: Churchill and FDR release a joint declaration; the Atlantic Charter: "...after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety..."

August 19, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:

The Führer is convinced that his prophecy in the Reichstag (January 20, 1939 and subsequently repeated anually) that, if Jewry succeeded once more in provoking war it would end with their annihilation, is almost uncannily true.

September 27, 1941: Reichsprotektorat of Bohemia and Moravia (Böhmen und Mähren), Neurath, is replaced in all but official title by Heydrich.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: I had given my promise to Hindenburg to enter the Government and to remain there as long as it was at all possible for me to follow a course unfavorable to any use of violence and to protect Germany from warlike entanglements. That was my task and nothing else. But it was not only this promise I had given to Hindenburg, but also my sense of duty, and my feeling of responsibility toward the German people, to protect them from warlike entanglements as long as it was at all possible, which bound me to this office.

Beside these considerations all my personal wishes, which were quite different, had to take second place. Unfortunately, my power and influence as Foreign Minister did not reach far enough to enable me to prevent pernicious and immoral actions in other spheres, as for instance, that of domestic policy, although I did try in many cases, not least of all in the Jewish question itself. However, I considered that my highest duty was to carry out the work assigned to me and not try to escape it, even if in another sphere where I had no influence, things occurred which hurt me and my opinions very deeply.

December 11, 1941: Hitler declares war on the United States.

December 17, 1942: United Nations Statement: "...those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution..."

January 22, 1943: From the secret diary of Ulrich von Hassell:

According to people who...have pipe lines to the Army both on the battle front and at home, there is now a real possibility for peace. The evil of the situation is revealed in the fact that at this same time there come reports from the 'enemy's side' which give rise to ever-increasing doubts as to whether they are now holding out for the complete destruction of Germany.

January 24, 1943 Casablanca: FDR, flanked by Churchill, announces the controversial policy of Unconditional Surrender:

Some of you Britishers know the old story: we had a general called US Grant. His name was Ulysses Simpson Grant but in my, and the Prime Minister's early days, he was called 'Unconditional Surrender Grant.' The elimination of German, Japanese and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy and Japan...It does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

February 2, 1943: Paulus surrenders at Stalingrad.

February 2, 1943: Neurath celebrates his seventieth birthday. Hitler presents Neurath with a check for 250,000 marks.

From Neurath's IMT testimony: On the day of my seventieth birthday, in the morning, an envoy of Hitler called on me and brought me a congratulatory letter from Hitler and an oil painting by a young German painter, showing an Italian landscape. The letter contained a check for 250,000 marks. I was painfully surprised and immediately told the envoy that I considered this so-called donation an insult, that I was not a lackey whom one paid with a tip, and that he should take the check back with him. He said he was not authorized to do so.

The next morning I went to the Reich Finance Minister to give him the check for the Reich treasury. He said that for formal reasons—I believe because the check was on a special account of Hitler's—he could not accept it. At his advice I turned the check over to the Reich Credit Association to a special account and informed the competent finance office in writing. I never touched one penny of this sum. The painting, the value of which was not especially great, I did not refuse, because it was entirely within the limits of a normal birthday gift and sending it back would have been considered a deliberate insult.

February 2, 1943: From the newspaper Frankischer Warier:

The most outstanding events in the field of foreign policy after Hitler's coming to power, in which Freiherr von Neurath played a most important role as Reich Foreign Minister and with which his name will always be connected, are: Germany's leaving the Geneva Disarmament Conference...the reuniting of the Saar to Germany...and the denouncing of the Locarno Pact...

Reich Protector Freiherr von Neurath was repeatedly decorated by the Führer for outstanding services in the interest of the people and the Reich. He was decorated with the Golden Party Badge of Honor, received the rank of SS Gruppenführer, was a knight of the Order of the Eagle, and received the Gold Badge of Honor for Faithful Service for his 40 years of diplomatic service. In appreciation of his outstanding services in the field of military efforts in the post of Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia, the Führer decorated him with the Military Cross, First Class.

From Neurath's testimony before the IMT: If I had to investigate the correctness of every article written by some journalist or other, I would have had a lot to do. These statements are the opinion of a journalist and nothing more.

  February 18, 1943 Totalkrieg: In Berlin, Goebbels delivers his most famous speech:

The tragic battle of Stalingrad is a symbol of heroic, manly resistance to the revolt of the steppes. It has not only a military, but also an intellectual and spiritual significance for the German people. Here for the first time our eyes have been opened to the true nature of the war. We want no more false hopes and illusions. We want bravely to look the facts in the face, however hard and dreadful they may be. The history of our party and our state has proven that a danger recognized is a danger defeated. Our coming hard battles in the East will be under the sign of this heroic resistance. It will require previously undreamed of efforts by our soldiers and our weapons. A merciless war is raging in the East. The Führer was right when he said that in the end there will not be winners and losers, but the living and the dead...

March ?, 1943: Goebbels' Diary:

Herr von Neurath visited me and told me how he is now living. He feels rather shelved at a time when he enjoys the best of health. His attitude towards the Führer is most loyal. All in all Herr von Neurath is a gentleman, who has never been guilty of any incorrectness or disloyalty toward the Führer. The next time I report to the Führer I shall tell him about this visit. Maybe the Führer will see a new possibility for making use of Herr von Neurath.

June 21, 1943: Neurath is promoted from the rank of Gruppenführer to the rank of Obergruppenführer of the SS.

August 25, 1943: Neurath's resignation as Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia (he's actually been out of the loop since September, 1941) becomes official; he is succeeded by Frick.

May 6, 1945: Neurath is arrested in the French occupation zone; the only defendant captured by the French. Note: The Americans have ten defendants in custody, the Brits five, three are in joint US/UK custody and the Russians have two.

May 7-8, 1945 VE Day: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

May 23, 1945: SS Reichsführer Himmler commits suicide.

June 5, 1945: The Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over the government.

June 6, 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: Göring, 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.

July 1, 1945: US, British, and French occupying forces move into Berlin. HQ USFET, with main headquarters at Frankfurt, Germany, is established.

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 14, 1945: SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) is dissolved and, concerning the US forces, is replaced by USFET (US Forces, European Theater).

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 reffered 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."  Meanwhile: First US atomic bomb test; the Potsdam Conference begins. (Tusa)

July 19, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: From the minutes of todays Conference Session: 

Niktchenko: The definition of "war criminals" was set forth in the Moscow and Crimea declarations, and it is our opinion we should act on those declarations. If we turn once again to the terms of the Moscow declaration, we see that apparently the conception of what is a war criminal is quite clear. But the difficulty is in trying to confine this definition to a legal formula which would form the basis of a trial of these war criminals. In my opinion we should not try to draw up this definition for the future...

The critics will try to find any inconsistencies and any points that are not clear and to turn these points against those who draw up the definition in the charter. In my opinion our task should be to form the basis for the trial not of any criminals who may commit international crimes in the future but of those who have already done so...

July 21, 1945: Justice Jackson returns to Nuremberg to inspect possible housing accomodations 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..."

August 6, 1945: The United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

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. When Andrus emphasizes the importance of the safety of the prisoners, the lieutenant in charge of the guards screws up his mouth and nods, 'You mean no leaving the plane without a chute, sir?' As they fly above Germany, Göring 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 15, 1945: Proclamation of V-J Day.

August 15, 1945: The High Court of Justice finds Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain guilty of plotting against the French republic and of intelligence with the enemy. The court sentences the former Vichy France leader to death. His sentence will later be commuted to life imprisonment.

August 21, 1945: The US government officially ends Lend-Lease assistance to the Allies.

August 23, 1945: The four Chief Prosecutors meet in London. Even though Trevor-Roper's findings are not yet known, they determine that Hitler is dead. They also decide, however, that Bormann may very well be alive, but the Russian member is uncertain whether or not he is a captive of the Red Army; it is being investigated.

August 25, 1945: Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants (from the original list of 122), 21 of which known to be alive and actually in custody, including Papen. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot yet confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on October 28. (Conot)

August 28, 1945: Just in time to stop the release of the names of the 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valient 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 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)

From the affidavit of Mr. Messersmith (August 29, 1945): During the years 1933 and 1934 the Nazi Government left the German Foreign Office for the most part in charge of conservative officials of the old school. Generally speaking, this situation continued throughout the period during which Baron von Neurath was Foreign Minister. After von Ribbentrop became chief of the Foreign Office, the situation gradually changed as regards the political officials. During von Neurath's incumbency, the German Foreign Office had not been brought into line with Nazi ideology, and von Neurath and his assistants can hardly be blamed for acts of German foreign policy during this period, though his continuation in office may appear to indicate his agreement with National Socialist aims. In defense of these activities von Neurath might easily adduce reasons of patriotic motives.

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. (Conot)

August 29, 1945: The Manchester Guardian reacts to the release of the list of defendants: "Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors—whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have—will try the vanquished."

August 30, 1945: The Glasgow Herald reacts to the release of the list of defendants: "Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them."

September 5, 1945: President Truman proposes naming former attorney general Francis Biddle as the American judge at Nuremberg during a meeting in Washington, DC with Justice Jackson. The Justice, who does not think highly of Biddle, suggests alternatives, but Biddle will ultimately get the appointment.

September 10, 1945: A Norwegian court finds Vidkun Quisling guilty of treason.

October 5, 1945: Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's 'Head of National Hygiene.'

October 8, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:

It is a secret—but Dr (Leonardo) Conti, on of those who worked medical experiments on concentration camp inmates, hung himself in the jail Saterday morning. No announcement has been made so far so keep this to yourself.

October 9, 1945: A French court sentences Pierre Laval, the Vice Premier of Vichy France, to death for collaborating with the Germans.

October 14, 1945: British representative Sir Geoffrey Lawrence is elected The President of the IMT (International Military Tribunal).

October 15, 1945: Pierre Laval, the former Vice Premier of Vichy France, is executed.

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. (Heydecker, Speer)

October 21, 1945 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:

He (Jackson) feared the Tribunal was taking on functions which it was not able to carry out...The prosecutors had been prepared to do these things and had written orders ready. They had planned to assign counsel to the defendants if necessary. He felt the problem of interpretation was important and that the General Secretary could not handle it...He would emphasize that the court should avoid to the utmost the taking on of administrative responsibilities...

This is not an ordinary trial. Some of the proprieties went by the way when General Nikitchenko, who had been the Soviet Prosecutor, was made a member of the Tribunal...He (Jackson) did not think the defense would want many witnesses. They did not dispute the fact that crimes had been committed. Their defense would be that a particular individual did not participate. They would attempt to lay everything on Hitler.

October 24, 1945: Vidkun Quisling is executed for treason.

October 24, 1945: The United Nations is officially established when 29 nations sign the United Nations Charter.

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. Scorecard: There are now officially 23 indicted defendants; 22 of these are actually alive and in Allied custody.

October 27, 1945: Only seven of the defendants have obtained counsel by this date.

From the interrogation of the former President of Bohemia, Richard Bienert (November 8, 1945): When we got to know him more closely, we noticed that he, Neurath, was ruthless toward the Czechs. As the Landesprasident of Bohemia I knew that it was Neurath who subjected the political administration in Bohemia and Moravia to German control, both the state administration and the local government as well.

I remember also that Neurath caused the abolition of the local school counsellors, and the appointment of German school inspectors in their place. Neurath ordered the dissolution of the regional representative bodies; he caused Czech workers to be sent to the Reich from April 1939 onward in order to work for the war machine of the Reich. He ordered the closing down of the Czech universities and of many Czech secondary and elementary-schools. He abolished the Czech sport clubs and associations, such as Sokol and Orel, and ordered the confiscation of all the property of these gymnastic organizations; he abolished...the Czech recreation homes and sanatoria for young workmen and students, and ordered the confiscation of their property. The Gestapo carried out the arrests, but on the order of the Reich Protector...I myself was arrested on 1 September 1939, as well.

From the interrogation of the former Prime Minister of the so-called Protectorate, Dr. Krejci (November 8, 1945): "I know that the gymnastic associations were disbanded and their property confiscated at the order of the Reich Protector, and their funds and equipment handed over to be used by German associations such as SS, SA, Hitler Youth, and so on.

On 1 September 1939, when Poland was attacked by the German Army, arrests took place on a large scale, especially arrests of army officers, intellectuals, and important political personalities. The arrests were made by the Gestapo, but it could not be done without the approval of the Reich Protector...As far as the Jewish problem was concerned, the Government of the Protectorate was forced by the Reich Protector into a campaign against the Jews, and when this pressure had not the desired result, the Germans-or the Reich Protector's office-started persecuting the Jews according to the German laws. The result was that tens of thousands of Jews were persecuted and lost their lives and property.

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. Neurath scores 125. 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 19, 1945: After a last inspection by Andrus, each defendant is escorted by a soldier, unhandcuffed, into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats.

November 19, 1945: The day before the opening of the trial, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:

The Defense of all defendants would be neglectful of their duty if they acquiesced silently in a deviation from existing international law and in disregard of a commonly recognized principle of modern penal jurisprudence and if they suppressed doubts which are openly expressed today outside Germany, all the more so as it is the unanimous conviction of the Defense that this Trial could serve in a high degree the progress of world order even if, nay in the very instance where it did not depart from existing international law...

November 20, 1945: The Allied Control Council approves the transfer of almost 7 million Germans from Hungary, Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and the German regions east of the Oder-Niesse Line. Through the expulsion of the Germans, these East European countries hope to avoid future problems with German minorities in their territories. Estimates of deaths associated with the expulsions are in the range of 1-3 million, including deaths from all causes. Note: Many of these deaths are the result of the privations of a forced and hasty migration in a postwar environment characterized by chaos, famine, crime, disease, and cold winter conditions, as well as ill-prepared evacuation plans and mindless homicide by vengeful mobs and individuals taking out their frustration on anyone smelling of the Swastika.

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, there are many who've never met.

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... Neurath: I answer the question in the negative."

November 21, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:

Jackson: By the fortunes of war these defendants fell into our hands. Although they are not, by any means, all the guilty ones, they are survivors among the most responsible. Their names appear over and over in the documents and their faces grace the photographic evidence. We have here the surviving top politicians, militarists, financiers, diplomats, administrators, and propagandists, of the Nazi movement. Who was responsible for these crimes if they were not?...

November 29, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 8 the prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps.

December 4, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 12, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, begins presentation of the Case on Conspiracy to Commit Aggressive War:

Shawcross: From the moment Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, with the Defendant Von Papen as Reich Chancellor, and with the Defendant Von Neurath as his Foreign Minister, the whole atmosphere of the world darkened. The hopes of the people began to recede. Treaties seemed no longer matters of solemn obligation but were entered into with complete cynicism as a means for deceiving other states of Germany's warlike intentions. International conferences were no longer to be used as a means for securing pacific settlements but as occasions for obtaining by blackmail demands which were eventually to be enlarged by war. The world came to know the 'war of nerves,' the diplomacy of the fait accompli, of blackmail and bullying...

December 11, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 17, the prosecution presents as evidence a four-hour movie, 'The Nazi Plan,' compiled from various Nazi propaganda films and newsreels.

December 13, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 19, the prosecution introduces grisly evidence from Buechenwald concentration camp, including the head of an executed Pole used as a paperweight by Commandant Karl Koch, and tattooed human skin allegedly favored by the commandant's wife for use in lampshades and other household furnishings.

December 14, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: The tendency of some of the defendants to denounce, or at least critisize Hitler on the stand, leads to an outburst by Göring during lunch: "You men knew the Führer. He would have been the first one to stand up and say 'I have given the orders and I take full responsibility.' But I would rather die ten deaths than to have the German sovereign subjected to this humiliation." Keitel fell silent, but Frank was not crushed: "Other sovereigns have stood before courts of law. He got us into this..." Keitel, Dönitz, Funk and Schirach suddenly get up and leave Göring's table." (Tusa)

December 20, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: After this days session, the trial adjourns until Wednesday, the 2nd of January, for a Holiday break.

December 23, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: Many of the defendants, most of whom are Protestant, attend Christmas Eve services conducted by Pastor Gerecke. Only Hess, Rosenberg and Streicher never attend services.

January 23, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 41, the prosecution presents its case against Neurath:

He says that the award of the Golden Party Badge was made on 30 January 1937 against his will and without his being asked. I point out that this defendant not only refrained from repudiating the allegedly unwanted honor, but after receiving it, attended meetings at which wars of aggression were planned, actively participated in the rape of Austria, and tyrannized Bohemia and Moravia. The second point is that his appointment as Gruppenführer was also against his will and without his being asked. On that point, the Prosecution submits that the wearing of the uniform, the receipt of the further promotion to Obergruppenführer and the actions against Bohemia and Moravia must be considered when the defendant's submission is examined. He then says that his appointment as Foreign Minister was by Reich President Von Hindenburg.

We submit we need not do more than draw attention to the personalities of the Defendant Von Papen and Hitler and to the fact that President Von Hindenburg died in 1934. This defendant continued as Foreign Minister until 1938. He then says that he was an inactive Minister from the 4th of February 1938 until May 1945. At that moment attention is drawn to the activities which will be mentioned below and to the terrible evidence as to Bohemia and Moravia which will be forthcoming...

January 24, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 42 of deliberations, the prosecution concludes the presentation of its case against Neurath:

His previous reputation as a diplomat made public opinion abroad slow to believe that he would be a member of a cabinet which did not stand by its words and assurances. It was most important for Hitler that his own readiness to break every treaty or commitment should be concealed as long as possible, and for this purpose he found in the Defendant von Neurath his handiest tool...

February 15, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinment. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Göring's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)

February 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: In a further move to minimize his influence, Göring is now required to eat alone during the courts daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups. (Speer, Tusa)

From the interrogation of Karl Hermann Frank (March 7, 1946): The Reich Protector, von Neurath, regularly received reports on the most important events in the Protectorate which had some bearing on the Security Police, from me, from the State Secretary, as well as from the Chief of the Security Police. For example, von Neurath was informed in the special case concerning the student demonstrations in November 1939 both by me and by the Chief of the Security Police. This case dealt with Hitler's direct orders demanding the shootings of all the ringleaders. The number of ringleaders was to be fixed by the Prague Stapo and the Reich Protector was informed about this. In this case an estimate on the number of the ringleaders was left to the discretion of the State Police, or rather to the approval of the Reich Protector.

Reich Protector von Neurath signed the official dispatch announcing the execution of these students, thereby approving this action. It can therefore not be said that in this case the Reich Protector was merely responsible for the carrying out of the general Hitler order which deals with the execution of all ringleaders, but that he is also responsible for the fixing of the number of ringleaders, namely nine. I informed him in detail about the interrogation and he signed the poster. If this had not met with his approval and had he wished to revise it, as for instance, making it less severe, which he had the right to do, then I should have had to abide by his decision.

March 25, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 90, Mayor Karl Strolin of Stuttgart is cross-examined by Neurath's counsel:

Strolin: As Reich Foreign Minister he (Neurath) was convinced that Germany would succeed in getting by peaceful means the place in the world which she deserved. He rejected any other way. He strove to build up and strengthen relations of mutual confidence with other European powers, particularly with England. He was convinced that it was precisely in this field that he had done everything possible. Later, I had occasion to examine with him Henderson's book Two Years with Hitler, which particularly emphasized how extremely popular Von Neurath had been in London at that time.

I recall that we also discussed the sentence written by Henderson, that he acknowledged Von Neurath's honest devotion to peace and to peaceful and friendly relations with England. Von Neurath was also greatly concerned with the cultivation of better relations, with the United States. I recall that he discussed the subject with me after my trip to America and said that I had done well to emphasize in my various speeches Germany's desire for friendship with the United States.

I also remember how severely Von Neurath criticized the tone of Hitler's speech made in the beginning of 1939 in reply to Roosevelt's message. He said at that time that the international tension had been increased by that speech. Then Von Neurath spoke of the Munich Agreement, in which he had been an active participant. Later he very frequently spoke of the tragedy that was implicit in the fact that, despite all efforts, the relation between England and Germany had not remained one of continuing confidence. He pointed out how tragic it was for Europe and for the world. All my conversations with Von Neurath convinced me that he desired an understanding and a peaceful settlement, and that he would never have pursued a policy that might lead to war...

March 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 94, Ribbentrop testifies on his own behalf:

Ribbentrop: After the occupation I went to Prague with the Führer. After the occupation, or maybe it was in Prague, the Führer gave me in the morning a proclamation in which the countries of Bohemia and Moravia were declared to be a protectorate of the Reich. I read out this proclamation in Prague which, I may say, was somewhat a surprise to me. No protest of any sort was made as far as I recall, and I believe I might mention that the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, which the Führer considered necessary in the ultimate interest of the Reich, took place for historical and economic reasons and above all for reasons of security for the German Reich...

April 8, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 102, Lammers testifies:

Lammers: When Von Neurath resigned as Foreign Minister, the Führer wanted to give Von Neurath as much prominence as possible in the eyes of the world, and he ordered me to draw up a decree regarding a Secret Cabinet Council of which Herr Von Neurath was to be President, with the title President of the Secret Cabinet Council. Other members were, as far as I can recall, the Reich Foreign Minister; the Deputy of the Führer, Reich Minister Hess; Field Marshal Keitel; and I, myself. I think that is all. But I gathered from statements made by the Führer that the creation of this council was purely a formal matter which was to procure a special position for Herr Von Neurath in the eyes of the public. I was convinced that the Führer would never call a meeting of the Secret Cabinet Council. In fact, the Secret Cabinet Council has never actually met, not even for a constitutional meeting. It never received any task from the Führer through me; it merely existed on paper...

April 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 115, Hans Bernd Gisevius is cross-examined by the prosecution:

The President: Mr. Justice Jackson, I think you put your question, "Did not these men in the dock form a ring which prevented you getting to Hitler," and the question was answered rather as though it applied only to Keitel. If you intended to put it with reference to all defendants I think it ought to be cleared up.

Mr. Justice Jackson: I think that is true. (Turning to the witness.) Each of the defendants who held ministerial positions of any kind controlled the reports which should go to Hitler from that particular ministry, did he not?

Gisevius: As far as this general question is concerned, I must reply cautiously, for, first of all, it was a close clan which put a cordon of silence around Hitler. A man like Von Papen or Von Neurath cannot be included in this group, for it was obvious that Von Papen and Von Neurath, and perhaps one or the other of the defendants, did not have the possibility, or much later no longer had the possibility, of having regular access to Hitler, for besides Von Neurath, Hitler already had his Ribbentrop for a long time. Thus I can only say that a certain group, which is surely well known, composed the close circle of which I am speaking.

Mr. Justice Jackson: I should like you to identify those of the defendants who had access to Hitler and those who were able to prevent access to Hitler by their subordinates. That would apply, would it not, to Göring, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Frick, and to Schacht-during the period until he broke with them, as you have testified-and to Dönitz, Raeder, Sauckel, and Speer?

Gisevius: You mentioned a few too many and some are missing. Take the Defendant Jodl, for instance. I would like to call your attention to the strange influence which this defendant had and the position he had with regard to controlling access to Hitler. I believe my testimony shows that Schacht, on the other hand, did not control access to Hitler, but that he could only be glad about each open and decent report which got through to Hitler from his and other ministries. As far as the defendant Frick is concerned, I do not believe that he was necessarily in a position to control access to Hitler. I believe the problem of Frick centers in the matter of responsibility.

Mr. Justice Jackson: Should I have included Funk in the group that had access to Hitler?

Gisevius: Funk, without a doubt, had access to Hitler for a long time, and for his part Funk had of course the responsibility to see that affairs in the Ministry of Economics and in the Reichsbank were conducted in the way Hitler desired. Without a doubt Funk put his surpassingly expert knowledge at the service of Hitler...

May 21, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 135, Counsel for Neurath, Dr Otto Freiherr von Ludinghausen, cross-examines Raeder's witness, Baron Von Weizsaecker, former State Secretary in the Reich Foreign Office:

Dr. von Ludinghausen: Did you observe, when Von Neurath and Hitler met, whether they frequently discussed the political situation, what had to be done, and what should be done?

Weizsaecker: I can only say that we of the Foreign Office regretted that the contact was not closer; all the more so as Hitler was frequently absent from Berlin. We considered the contact too loose.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: Then, one cannot speak of close relations or of very close collaboration with Hitler in the case of Von Neurath?

Weizsaecker: In my opinion, no.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: And, in your opinion and according to your observation, how did the activity of Von Neurath affect foreign policy? Was he the leading man, or was he not perhaps a retarding element, that is a brake, so to speak, where matters contrary to his convictions were concerned?

Weizsaecker: I have no actual proof that important foreign political actions of this period were influenced by Von Neurath. But I can well imagine that certain actions in the sphere of foreign politics were prevented...

The President: Wait a minute. I do not think we can have the witness imagine. We cannot have the witness telling us what he can imagine. I think the question is too vague, and not a proper question to ask.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: During the time when Herr Von Neurath was Foreign Minister, did any authority in the Party also have an influence on the foreign policy which in effect was contrary to the tendencies of Von Neurath or at least was not shared by him?

Weizsaecker: I believe there was not only one but many who acted in that way and had connection and influence with Hitler of course. That could not be verified, but it could be concluded from the results...

May 23, 1946 From the diary of the British Alternate Judge, Mr. Justice Birkett:

When I consider the utter uselessness of acres of paper and thousands of words and that life's slipping away. I moan for the shocking waste of time, I used to protest vigorously and suggest matters to save time, but I have now got completely dispirited and can only chafe in impotent despair.

June 18, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 157, Von Papen undergoes cross-examination:

Dr. von Ludinghausen: Now the charge is made against Herr Von Neurath of having co-operated in the rearmament of Germany. What was Hitler's reason and motive for this rearmament, which it may be supposed started before the actual taking over of the military sovereignty?

Von Papen: I stated yesterday that the actual rearmament began only after I had resigned from the Cabinet. But as far as I am informed, all of my former colleagues held the view that a rearmament was only to serve the purpose of giving Germany a defensive protection for her borders.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: Now I come to the problem of Austria. Do you know the attitude of Herr Von Neurath concerning the Austria problem?

Von Papen: Herr Von Neurath's attitude concerning the Austria problem was the same as mine. Like myself, he constantly protested in the Cabinet against the terror measures staged by the Party in 1933 and 1934.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: Were you yourself, when Hitler sent you on an extraordinary mission to Vienna, under Herr Von Neurath? And did you receive your instructions from him or only from Hitler?

Von Papen: I was not subordinate to Herr Von Neurath but had asked that I might be directly subordinate to Hitler. But, of course, I reported all steps which I took to Herr Von Neurath and the Foreign Office, as is proved by the documents submitted here.

Dr. von Ludinghausen: What was Herr Von Neurath's attitude toward the negotiations in the summer of 1936 which led to the Agreement of 11 July between Germany and Austria?

Von Papen: Herr Von Neurath had exactly the same opinion as I had, that this agreement was to serve and had to serve the cause, once and for all, of peace between these two peoples of the same race...

June 22, 1946 From the letters of Thomas Dodd: "We finished von Papen and Speer and this morning we started von Neurath."

From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: Constantin von Neurath, white-haired and visually impressive, was carrying his seventy-four years with enough difficulty so that his counsel equipped him with written questions and answers. The lawyer, Dr Otto Freiherr von Ludinghausen, would have done better had he asked fewer questions and shortened the answers...

Ludinghausen took his client through a long recital of his positions and actions during the course of German political history, larded with readings of excerpts from affidavits of a bishop, a baroness, and a former ambassador, all of whom extolled the defendant's wisdom and morals. The presentation went so slowly that Lawrence (The President) intervened repeatedly to stop irrelevancies and repetitions...No evidence emerged suggesting that Neurath had supported plans for aggressive war, or that he had reason to believe that Hitler had such intentions...

Germany, by threat of military force, annexed Bohemia and Moravia as a Protectorate of the Reich. Slovakia became an autonomous German appendage. Hitler soon summoned Neurath to Vienna and requested him to accept appointment as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. Unbelievable as it seems, Neurath testified that he believed Hitler's assurances that he had acted in accordance with 'a firm decision by the Czech Government' and that he wished Neurath to 'win over the Czechs by a consiliatory and moderate policy.' Of course it was all lies. Hitler installed the Nazi Karl Hermann Frank as Neurath's Secretary of State and gave Himmler full authority over police and security matters. Neurath had to carry out orders from national agencies in Germany, many of which were intended to align Czech social and economic policies with those of the Reich. Thus the Nuremberg Laws and other anti-Semetic policies were introduced under Neurath's local authority.

June 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 161, Neurath testifies on his own behalf:

Neurath: I have never been anti-Semitic. My Christian and humanitarian convictions prevented that. A repression of the undue Jewish influence in all spheres of public and cultural life, as it had developed after the first World War in Germany, however, I regarded as desirable...

June 24, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 162, Neurath testifies on his own behalf:

Neurath: I considered this war the greatest piece of stupidity, for on the basis of my knowledge of British psychology and politics, I was convinced that England would keep her promise to Poland, and that therewith the war against England and France would also commence, in which the United States, with its tremendous production capacity, would stand behind these powers. That was clear to me from all the statements made by President Roosevelt before the beginning of the war. I also rejected and condemned the rather reckless beginning of this war...

From 'Justice at Nuremberg' by Robert E. Conot: Neurath, at seventy-two the oldest prisoner in the dock, had served for five years as Hitler's foreign minister. He considered himself a victim of hysteria similar to that which had led to the trial of aristocrats during the French Revolutionary terror...When he became excited, Neurath stuttered badly; and though his age did not show on his face, he exhibited a number of signs of incipient senility. His mind wandered, and Lawrence (President of the Tribunal) had to remind him that it was not sufficiant merely to shake his head when responding to questions.

June 25, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 163, Neurath is cross-examined concerning his August 31, 1940 (above) letter to Lammers:

Neurath: The class of the intelligentsia was the greatest obstacle to co-operation between Germans and Czechs. For that reason, if we wanted to achieve this co-operation, and that was still the aim of our policy, then this intelligentsia had to be reduced in some way and principally their influence had to be diminished, and that was the meaning of my explanation.

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe: Yes, you said to achieve your policy, but by achieving your policy you meant to destroy the Czech people as a national entity with their own language, history, and traditions, and assimilate them into the Greater German Reich. That was your policy, wasn't it?

Neurath: My policy was, first of all, to assimilate Czechoslovakia, as far as possible. But in the final analysis that could not have been achieved for generations. The first thing to do was to bring about co-operation so as to have peace and order...

June 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 164, Neurath undergoes tough cross-examination

Mr. Counsellor Raginsky (Assistant Prosecutor for the USSR): I shall try to say it in such a way that you will understand it now. In this order of yours, in the penultimate paragraph, it is stated, '`The responsibility for all acts of sabotage will be borne not only by the individual perpetrators, but by the entire Czechoslovak population." This means that not only guilty persons have to be punished, but there were punishments set up for innocent people too. With this order you inaugurated the mass terrorism against the Czech population.

Neurath: Not at all. It only meant that the moral responsibility for any possible acts was to be laid to the account of the Czech people.

Mr. Counsellor Raginsky: Well, in Lidice, was this not applied in practice? Was it only a question of the moral responsibility there?

Neurath: Yes, yes.

Mr. Counsellor Raginsky: In this order you state the following: 'Those who do not take these necessities into account will be considered enemies of the Reich.' To the enemies of the Reich you applied only the principles of moral responsibility and nothing else?

Neurath: Yes, if someone did not obey orders, then naturally he was punished.

Mr Counsellor Raginsky: That is exactly what I am trying to determine and that is why I put this question to you, that just by this order of August 1939 you started the general terrorism of a massacre and punishment of innocent people.

Neurath: Well, I do not know how you can draw this conclusion...

From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: Fritzsche, like many others, accepted Neurath's view of himself as a conservative aristocrat with a strong sense of duty and inbred decency. Like Papen he projected the image of a high-minded public servant. Fritzsche added to his respect of a German class and tradition pity for the oldest defendant. Neurath sat next to him every day in the dock, straight-backed and still. But on occasion he would drop his head on Fritzsche's shoulder as if asleep, but in fact in a faint. His neighbors would pick the old man up and a guard would advise him to go and rest in his cell. But Neurath would pull himself together and insist on remaining, stiff and dignified again...

During his testimony in chief Neurath retained the 'mild and quiet' manner,' the look of 'handsome distinction' which impressed early observers at the trial. Papen thought it was Neurath's 'Swabian temperment' which 'never allowed him to get flustered.' He claimed ignorance of concentration camps and illegalities by the Gestapo...As the cross-examination wore on, Neurath became ''red-faced with anger and outraged dignity.' No wonder since such irreparable damage was done to his defence and above all to his pose of selfless aristocratic service.

June 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Neurath's defense calls their first witness, Dr Gerhard Kopke:

Kopke: I was never present at conferences which Herr Von Neurath held with Hitler. I myself never had any official conversation with Hitler whatsoever. But, according to Neurath's own description, and according to the information which I received from other important personalities in the course of time, I had the impression that, especially in the first years, Hitler treated Herr Von Neurath carefully and politely. To what extent this was out of respect for the Reich President, whose regard for Von Neurath was, of course, known to Hitler, I cannot say.
In any case, Neurath was never actually in the confidence of Hitler and was not in the small circle close to Hitler, the powerful men of the Party. After the death of President Von Hindenburg, Von Neurath remained because he had promised the Reich President to do so. During the following period also, Neurath repeatedly attempted to exercise his moderating and calming influence on the Party. However, I know that as disappointments and differences of opinion multiplied, Herr Von Neurath tried many times to separate from Hitler. In this connection I can recall two occasions on which he offered his resignation, and one of these appeals he showed me. It was in writing and must have been dated from the beginning of the year 1936. For at that time I had already resigned and visited Herr Von Neurath as a friend in a purely private capacity.

Dr von Ludinghausen: Now can you also give us a brief picture of Neurath's attitude toward the National Socialist Party?

Kopke: At first Herr Von Neurath adopted an attitude of reserve toward the Party and in particular its leading men. To my knowledge he was personally acquainted with hardly any of these men, since, indeed, he had lived most of the time abroad. Neurath was convinced that by reason of his years of experience as an old diplomat and supported by his confidential position with the Reich President, and the latter's moderating influence, he would succeed in working in accordance with his policy, which was directed toward compromise and understanding...

June 26, 1946 From the diary of Mr. Justice Birkett:

(Neurath's counsel, Dr Ludinghausen, was) tall, aristocratic, aloof, insensible to affront, with an extraordinary droning voice, and bearded like a poet...He loses himself in the maze of events, and produces an effect of complete and utter stupefaction.

June 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Neurath's defense calls their second witness, Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff:

Dr von Ludinghausen: And now one last question. What do you know about Herr Von Neurath's resignation from the position of Reich Foreign Minister in February 1938?

Dieckhoff: I was Ambassador to Washington at that time and I was completely surprised by Foreign Minister Von Neurath's sudden departure. I did know that there were many things he did not agree with and that he had asked several times to be allowed to resign. I also knew that he was ill; he suffered from a neurotic heart. I also knew that he had passed his sixty-fifth birthday, which gave him the right to retire. But I was surprised all the same, particularly as I did not know the details at that time. I regretted the resignation of the Foreign Minister, in whose peace policy I had confidence, very much. I remember that the official circles—in Washington also regretted the departure of Herr Von Neurath very much, for Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles approached me a few days after this event and told me that the American Government regretted the departure of this man who had pursued a moderate policy...

June 26, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Neurath's defense calls their last witness, Hans Herman Volkers:

Volkers: When Hitler came to power I had the impression that he was skeptical and reserved toward him. He did not belong to the circle of the closer associates of Hitler, and during the time I was with him he never attended these evening conferences which Hitler held in the Reich Chancellery in those days. Gradually, however, the pressure on the Foreign Office increased more and more. The Auslands-Organisation was created and the office of Ribbentrop started a competitive enterprise into which were called all sorts of people who had been abroad. They made all sorts of reports which went directly to the Fuehrer without being controlled by the Foreign Office. And then later on the head of the Auslands-Organisation was installed as commissioner in the Foreign Office while Prince Waldeck was transferred into the personnel department of the Foreign Office. At that stage the pressure became so strong that finally one could not fight against it any more. But the fact that the Foreign Office had isolated itself for so long and that it was still evading the pressure of the Party, that, I think, is certainly the merit of the then Foreign Minister and his State Secretary Von Bulow.

When the Jewish laws were then introduced into the Foreign Office, too, I know that Herr Von Neurath protected, as far as that was possible, his officials. I was in Stockholm during the last 2 years of the war and met there two former colleagues of mine with whom I am close friends. One is Ministerial Director Richard Meter who used to be in charge of the Eastern department and who had to leave quite soon and who often told me in Stockholm how grateful he was to Herr Von Neurath for not only having enabled him to take with him his family and his furniture and everything when he went abroad but also that Herr Von Neurath, until the collapse, continued to pay him...

July 23, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 184, Dr Otto Freiherr von Ludinghausen delivers his closing remarks in Neurath's defense:

Dr von Ludinghausen: It may be difficult for you, Your Honors, and for the entire world to understand how infinitely painful it is for us Germans that it is just our state and our people who have furnished cause for the creation of such international law by a war in which we engaged; yet my client, the Defendant Von Neurath, and I could not help but welcome this Trial, because the greatest efforts were made by my client during his entire official activity, from his first day in office to the last, to avoid war and to serve peace. And I do not hesitate to emphasize this, although it is because of an entirely new principle of law that my client is facing this Court today. Because for the first time in history the idea is to be carried into practice according to which the statesmen of a nation are to be held personally responsible and are to be punished for the inhuman acts of wars of aggression caused by them.

This thought, which this High Court is about to carry into practice as a principle of law, is a novelty in the history of international law. But if the present Trial and the Charter on which it is based is to be more than a single procedure worked out and intended for this one case—in other words for this war just ended—if it arose not merely from the thought of vengeance because of harm and damage done to the victorious nations and if it really was brought forth by the will and the decision to eliminate war in itself for good by holding the statesmen of the nations personally responsible, then this constitutes a deed which the sincere conviction of every peaceloving person will welcome. It furthermore contains two elements calculated to revolutionize all that was heretofore known in this world regarding the foreign policy of states and to raise it to a new and undoubtedly higher ethical basis. Since the famous speech made by Pericles and since Plato's state doctrines it is an ancient, well-established postulate...

July 24, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 185, the verbose Dr von Ludinghausen finally completes his closing remarks:

Dr von Ludinghausen: ot everyone has an aggressive character, is a revolutionary who can use violence against the hated system and its leaders. And do not forget, Your Honors, that at that time under Hitler's autocratic regime there were only these two possibilities to work really actively and positively against the Nazi regime and its terror. Under this regime there were not the thousand and one possibilities of fighting a hated and accursed government, as is the case in free democratic countries with free and independently elected parliaments. In Hitler Germany any form of active or even public opposition only meant a completely useless sacrifice. And therefore I beg you, Your Honors, in judging these matters and in answering my question, to free yourselves from the democratic conditions and circumstances which you take so much for granted, but which are completely incomparable with the conditions in Germany under Hitler at that time—the lack of consideration of which fact has already caused much disaster up to very recent times. And did not the Defendant Von Neurath save the freedom and lives of thousands of people, whose freedom and lives would have been irretrievably lost without him, by his very acceptance of the office of the Reich Protector, and by remaining in it despite the fact that he had to realize that through no fault of his, he could not fulfill the task connected with this office, that he did not have at his disposal the necessary means for its accomplishment, but yet, in spite of all this, continuing his fight against the terror of the Nazi regime?...


July 22, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 187, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Neurath:

Justice Jackson: As early as 5 November 1937 the plan to attack had begun to take definiteness as to time and victim. In a meeting which included the Defendants Raeder, Göring, and Von Neurath, Hitler stated the cynical objective: "The question for Germany is where the greatest possible conquest could be made at the lowest possible cost." He discussed various plans for the invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia, indicating clearly that he was thinking of these territories not as ends in themselves, but as means for further conquest. He pointed out that considerable military and political assistance could be afforded by possession of these lands and discussed the possibility of constituting from them new armies up to a strength of about 12 divisions. The aim he stated boldly and baldly as the acquisition of additional living space in Europe, and recognized that "the German question can be solved only by way of force"...

Von Neurath, the old-school diplomat, who cast the pearls of his experience before Nazis, guided Nazi diplomacy in the early years, soothed the fears of prospective victims, and, as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, strengthened the German position for the coming attack on Poland'...It was the fatal weakness of the early Nazi band that it lacked technical competence. It could not from among its own ranks make up a government capable of carrying out all the projects necessary to realize its aims. Therein lies the special crime and betrayal of men like Schacht and Von Neurath, Speer and Von Papen, Raeder and Dönitz, Keitel and Jodl. It is doubtful whether the Nazi master plan could have succeeded without their specialized intelligence which they so willingly put at its command. They did so with knowledge of its announced aims and methods, and continued their services after practice had confirmed the direction in which they were tending. Their superiority to the average run of Nazi mediocrity is not their excuse. It is their condemnation...

Who led Hitler, utterly untraveled himself, to believe in the indecision and timidity of democratic peoples if not Ribbentrop, von Neurath, and von Papen...

July 23, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 188, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Shawcross: Papen and, if mercy can survive his record in Czechoslovakia, Neurath, are in like case with Raeder. Like him they professed old family and professional integrity, facts which carry with them a great responsibility from which men like Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner are free. Within 18 months of putting Hitler in power Papen knew that Hitler's Government meant oppression of opponents, ill-treatment of the Jews, and persecution of the churches including his own. His recent political friends had been sent to concentration camps or killed, including men like Von Schleicher, and Von Bredow. He had himself been arrested, two members of his staff killed and another compelled to witness killing. None of these things were hidden from Von Neurath, yet he remained in office...

July 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 189, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Dubost: Von Neurath, Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1932, remained in this office when the Nazis seized power in 1933. He continued to occupy this post until 1939 and both he and his departments were gradually absorbed by the growing State and Party machine. As he was a member of the Government from the outset, he cannot have been ignorant of the political ideology of the Movement. If he claims to have been shocked when he learned in 1937 that Hitler was planning aggression, he nevertheless remained in office and made no attempt to dissuade Hitler.

On the contrary, it was he who by his approval encouraged Hitler to reoccupy the left bank of the Rhine-the first stage in the wars of aggression for the conquest of living space. He remained Minister of the Reich until the end. A conservative himself, his presence encouraged conservative elements in Germany to co-operate with Hitler. Mainspring of the Party and State machine, Von Neurath is closely connected with this machine in the crimes of extermination of which he was fully aware and which he himself decreed...

July 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 190, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments:

Rudenko: Neurath said that he heard of these acts of terror post factum. But we have submitted to the Tribunal a public announcement of the shooting and arrests of the students which bears Neurath's signature. Neurath then seeks another loophole. He declares that Frank signed this announcement in his - Neurath's - name, and to be more convincing he even adds that later he heard from an official that Frank often misused his name in documents. Are Neurath's statements to be credited? One has only to analyze briefly the actual facts in order to answer this question in the negative. Neurath says that Frank misused his name. What did Neurath do in answer to this? Did he demand Frank's resignation or his punishment for forgery? No. Did he, perhaps, report this forgery officially to somebody?

No. On the contrary, he continued to collaborate with Frank as before. Neurath says that he heard of Frank's misuses from an official. Who is that official? What is his name? Why was no application made to call him to the witness stand or at least to secure his written testimony? This is simply because nobody spoke to Neurath of Frank having forged his signature on the documents, and nobody could have done so, for there was no forgery...

August 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 216, the defendants make their final statements.

Final Statement of Constantin von Neurath: Firm in the conviction that truth and justice will prevail before this High Tribunal over all hatred, slander, and misrepresentation, I believe that I should add only this one thing to the words of my defense counsel: my life was consecrated to truth and honor, to the maintenance of peace and the reconciliation of nations, to humanity and justice. I stand with a clear conscience not only before myself, but before history and the German people. If, in spite of this, the Tribunal should find me guilty, I shall be able to bear even this and take it upon myself as a last sacrifice on behalf of my people, to serve whom was the substance and purpose of my life.

September 1-30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: The thirty-two American journalists covering the trial had created a blackboard in the foreign press room listing the correspondents' predictions concerning the defendants' sentences in columns headed 'Guilty,' 'Not Guilty,' 'Death Sentence' and 'Prison.' The pressmen were unanimous on the death sentence only for Göring, Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner; as regards the rest, bets on the death sentence were: Keital and Sauckel 29, Hans Frank 27, Seyss-Inquart 26, Rosenberg 24, Hess 17, Raeder 15, Dönitz and Streicher 14, Jodl 13, Frick 12, Speer 11, von Schirach 9, von Papen 6, Schact 4, von Neurath 3 and Fritzsche 1. (Maser)

September 2, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: As the defendants await the courts judgement, Colonel Andrus somewhat relaxes the conditions of confinement and allows the prisoners limited visitation. (Conot)

September 29, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: From notes by Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor: "Yesterday, the defendants said farewell to their relatives...von Neurath is calm as always. He remains the old-school diplomat who retains his poise without effort." (Maser)

September 30, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgements are read in open court.

Final Judgment: Von Neurath is indicted under all four Counts. He is a professional diplomat who served as German Ambassador to Great Britain from 1930 to 1932. On 2 June 1932, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Von Papen Cabinet, a position which he held under the Cabinets of Von Schleicher and Hitler. Von Neurath resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 4 February 1938, and was made Reich Minister without Portfolio, President of the Secret Cabinet Council, and a member of the Reich Defense Council. On 18 March 1939, he was appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia and served in this capacity until 27 September 1941. He held the formal rank of Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS.

Crimes against Peace: As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Von Neurath advised Hitler in connection with the withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations on 14 October 1933; the institution of rearmament; the passage, on 16 March 1935, Of the law for universal military service; and the passage, on 21 May 1935, of the secret Reich Defense Law. He was a key figure in the negotiation of the Naval Accord entered into between Germany and England on 18 June 1935. Von Neurath played an important part in Hitler's decision to reoccupy the Rhineland on 7 March 1936, and predicted that the occupation could be carried through without any reprisals from the French. On 18 May 1936, he told the American Ambassador to France that it was the policy of the German Government to do nothing in foreign affairs until "the Rhineland had been digested," and that as soon as the fortifications in the Rhineland had been constructed and the countries of central Europe realized that France could not enter Germany at will, "all those countries will begin to feel very differently about their foreign policies and a new constellation will develop."

Von Neurath took part in the Hossbach conference of 5 November 1937. He has testified that he was so shocked by Hitler's statements that he had a heart attack. Shortly thereafter, he offered to resign, and his resignation was accepted on 4 February 1938, at the same time that Von Fritsch and Von Blomberg were dismissed. Yet with knowledge of Hitler's aggressive plans he retained a formal relationship with the Nazi regime as Reich Minister without Portfolio, President of the Secret Cabinet Council, and a member of the Reich Defense Council. He took charge of the Foreign Office at the time of the occupation of Austria, assured the British, Ambassador that this had not been caused by a German ultimatum, and informed the Czechoslovakian Minister that Germany intended to abide by its arbitration convention with Czechoslovakia. Von Neurath participated in the last phase of the negotiations preceding the Munich Pact but contends that he entered these discussions only to urge Hitler to make every effort to settle the issues by peaceful means. Criminal Activities in Czechoslovakia: Von Neurath was appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia on 18 March 1939. Bohemia and Moravia were occupied by military force. Hacha's consent, obtained as it was by duress, cannot be considered as justifying the occupation. Hitler's decree of 16 March 1939, establishing the Protectorate, stated that this new territory should "belong henceforth to the territory of the German Reich," an assumption that the Republic of Czechoslovakia no longer existed. But it also went on the theory that Bohemia and Moravia retained their sovereignty subject only to the interests of Germany as expressed by the Protectorate. Therefore, even if the doctrine of subjugation should be considered to be applicable to territory occupied by aggressive action, the Tribunal does not believe that this proclamation amounted to an incorporation which was sufficient to bring the doctrine into effect. The occupation of Bohemia and Moravia must therefore be. considered a military occupation covered by the rules of warfare. Although Czechoslovakia was not a party to the Hague Convention of 1907, the rules of land warfare expressed in this Convention are declaratory of existing international law and hence are applicable.

As Reich Protector, Von Neurath instituted an administration in Bohemia and Moravia similar to that in effect in Germany. The free press, political parties, and trade unions were abolished. All groups which might serve as opposition were outlawed. Czechoslovakian industry was worked into the structure of German war production, and exploited for the German war effort. Nazi anti-Semitic policies and laws were also introduced. Jews were barred from leading positions in government and business. In August 1939 Von Neurath issued a proclamation warning against any acts of sabotage and stating that "the responsibility for all acts of sabotage is attributed not only to individual perpetrators but to the entire Czech population." When the war broke out on 1 September 1939, 8,000 prominent Czechs were arrested by the Security Police in Bohemia and Moravia and put into protective custody. Many of this group died in concentration camps as a result of mistreatment. In October and November 1939, Czechoslovakian students held a series of demonstrations. As a result, on Hitler's orders all universities were closed, 1,200 students imprisoned, and the nine leaders of the demonstration shot by Security Police and SD.

Von Neurath testified that he was not informed of this action in advance, but it was announced by proclamation over his signature posted on placards throughout the Protectorate, which he claims, however, was done without his authority. On 31 August 1940 Von Neurath transmitted to Lammers a memorandum which he had prepared dealing with the future of the Protectorate, and a memorandum with his approval prepared by Karl Hermann Frank on the same subject. Both dealt with the question of Germanization and proposed that the majority of the Czechs might be assimilated racially into the German nation. Both advocated the elimination of the Czechoslovakian intelligentsia and other groups which might resist Germanization, Von Neurath's by expulsion, Frank's by expulsion or "special treatment."

Von Neurath has argued that the actual enforcement of the repressive measures was carried out by the Security Police and SD who were under the control of his state secretary, Karl Hermann Frank, who was appointed at the suggestion of Himmler and who, as Higher SS and Police Leader, reported directly to Himmler. Von Neurath further argues that anti-Semitic measures and those resulting in economic exploitation were put into effect in the Protectorate as the result of policies decided upon in the Reich. However this may be, he served as the chief German official in the Protectorate when the administration of this territory played an important role in the wars of aggression which Germany was waging in the East, knowing that war crimes and crimes against humanity were being committed under his authority.

In mitigation it must be remembered that he did intervene with the Security Police and SD for the release of many of the Czechoslovaks who were arrested on 1 September 1939, and for the release of students arrested later in the fall. On 23 September 1941 he was summoned before Hitler and told that he was not being harsh enough and that Heydrich was being sent to the Protectorate to combat the Czechoslovakian resistance groups. Von Neurath attempted to dissuade Hitler from sending Heydrich, and when he was not successful offered to resign. When his resignation was not accepted he went on leave, on 27 September 1941, and refused to act as Protector after that date. His resignation was formally accepted in August 1943.

Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Von Neurath is guilty under all four Counts.

October 1, 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed down: "Defendant Konstantin von Neurath, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to fifteen years' imprisonment." From notes by Dr Pflücker, Nuremberg Prison's German Doctor: "Neurath, who is suffering from high blood pressure, was given a quick heart check and found to be in good shape. He shows no trace of agitation. We talked about how well his heart had stood up to imprisonment and were both of the opinion that one is saved many of the agitations of the outside world when in prison." (Maser)

October 13, 1946: Justice Jackson reports to President Truman:

The International Military Tribunal sitting at Nurnberg, Germany on 30 September and 1 October, 1946 rendered judgment in the first international criminal case in history. It found 19 of the 22 defendants guilty on one or more of the counts of the Indictment, and acquitted 3. It sentenced 12 to death by hanging, 3 to imprisonment for life, and the four others to terms of 10 to 20 years imprisonment...

October 13, 1946: Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners on this day that all appeals have been turned down.

October 17, 1946: After the prisoner's are either released, incarcerated elsewhere, or executed, their cells are thoroughly cleaned and searched. Colonal Andrus, Nuremberg Warden, relates to the press the items found: "...A steel screwdriver was found in Constantin von Neurath's cell. With its point the prisoner could have opened an artery. It was large enough to be fatal if swallowed..." (Heydecker)

October 19, 1946 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Every morning we clean the prison corridor: Hess, Dönitz, Neurath, and Raeder precede with brooms; Schirach and I mop the floor with an evil-smelling disinfectant solution. Dönitz wears a blue admiral's coat, Neurath his hunting fur, Schirach an expensive fur coat with a sable collar, and Raeder his black overcoat with a fur collar given him by the Russians when he was housed in a dacha near Moscow waiting for the beginning of the trial. With the broom on his shoulder, Neurath paces restively back and forth. Six guards in steel helmets watch this scene contemptuously...

This afternoon the prison rules were read out. In addressing a guard or an officer we must come to attention. When the commandant, Colonel Andrus, or a prominent visitor approaches, we are expected to stand stiffly and at the same time fold our arms across our chests, as in the Orient. The American lieutenant on duty commented that we need not bother about any of 'this nonsense.'" (Speer II)

December 24, 1946 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

As always, the morning was spent with sweeping and mopping the corridor. Talk with my fellow prisoners. Christmas greetings are exchanged. At eleven o'clock steam thumps in the heating pipes, but the radiator in my cell seems to be blocked. Or else there is too little pressure—the cell is at the end of the corridor. At two o'clock I have a half-hour walk in the prison yard with Dönitz, Schirach, Raeder, and Neurath. Hess and Funk remain inside. Two guards armed wth submachine guns keep watch. We are still required to walk apart. It is well below freezing; I am wearing the winter jacket with the hood up. Dönitz calls out to me good-naturedly that I look—he actually says—happy and contented. When I come back I find letters from my wife and my parents on my cot. Altogether disconcerted, I read them, with long pauses.

In our chapel in the second tier there is a Christmas tree decorated with candles, a tinsel angel fastened to its tip. The primitive atmosphere in the cleared-out double cell reminds me of the catacombs of the early Christian congregations. Six of us sing Christmas carols; Hess alone does not take part. Chaplain Eggers, the American, reads a sermon written for us by the Nuremberg clergyman, Schieder. Before we are led back to our cells Funk, with a ew jokes intended to hide his Christmassy feelings, hands Dönitz a sausage; with more reserve, Schirach gives me a piece of bacon, since Dönitz and I have not received packages of presents. Neurath gives me some Christmas cookies; later the American chaplain brings chocolate, cigars, and a few cigarettes. I give Dönitz a cigar. In our wing there is silence; each of us is now locked up for the rest of the day..." (Speer II)

July 8, 1947 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

The wives of Funk, Hess, Schirach, and Göring are being held along with the wives of other prominent officials in a Bavarian prison camp. The wives of Dönitz, Neurath, and Raeder, as well as my own wife, have so far been let alone. To judge by letters, the women get along with one another even worse than we do. Not hard to see why. Whereas we here are playing a historic part, though one reduced to banality, they are really just prisoners and nothing more. They don't even have any guilt to their credit. Moreover, in the past each of them was socially a focal point, ruler of a circle that was held together by her husbands power. That, too, is over now. So they have nothing left. The bickering we hear about probably concerns place in a by-now imaginary hierarchy. But then again, it isn't very different among us. (Speer II)

July 18, 1947: The prisoners are finally moved to their permanent home at Spandau. Restrictons on mail are abolished. Note: It had been expected that the seven surviving convicts would be sent to Spandau Prison in Berlin before the end of the year (1946), but for some reason there had been several delays, and the move is not made until more than nine months after the end of the trial. Colonel Andrus had departed, and his second in command, Major F. C. Teich, had taken over and somewhat loosened the reins. (Taylor)

December 14, 1947 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Today Schirach brought up my quarrel with Doenitz. In our uneventful world that minor disagreement seems to have been the subject of extensive discussion. Doenitz has Neurath entirely on his side, and for once Raeder also; Hess is completely indifferent; this time Funk sides with me; Schirach vacillates. He admits that the entire Third Reich was founded more upon Hitler's personal fascination than upon the attractiveness of an idea. That particularly struck him about his fellow Gauleiters. Powerful satraps though they might be in their own provinces, he says, in Hitler's presence they all seemed small and crawling. He reminded me of how they would grovel before Hitler when he came to the capital of their Gau, how they would concur with his every phrase, even when the context was completely beyond them. That was true for everything from staging an opera to the planning of a building or a technological problem.

Surprisingly, Schirach decides on the basis of these facts that in a sense Doenitz was right in his quarrel with me. The identity of Hitler and the State was so complete, he contends, that it would have been impossible to turn against one for the sake of preserving the other. In conclusion he threw at me, as his strongest argument: 'Don't you see, with Hitler's death it wasn't so much the government as the State itself ceased to exist. The State was indissolubly bound up with Hitler.' I replied, 'Just tell that to Doenitz. As Hitler's successor and the Reichs last head of state I'm sure he'll be delighted to hear it. (Speer II)

February 3, 1949 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Each of us has developed his own pattern of behavior toward the guards and directors. Hess is unfriendly, regards them as his personal enemies, and receives all reprimands with unruffled, contemptuous calm. Neurath and Raeder are reserved, polite, and somewhat forbearing. Dönitz vacillates, now huffily acting the high-ranking navel officer and keeping his distance from everybody, now genially seeking contact....

Among us are passive types who pass the time by endless talking. Among these are Funk, Schirach, and - a taciturn and absurd variant of the type - Hess. The active types who go to pieces without occupation are Raeder, Neurath, Dönitz, and I. We have at any rate got rid of titles. Raeder is no longer the grand admiral... (Speer II)

March 14, 1949 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

All morning I glazed windows for the hotbeds, sowed peas and carrots in the first bed, planted pansies, violet, lillies of the valle, and asters in others. Neurath, Dönitz, and the rest prefer to raise vegetables. (Speer II)

April, 1949: US IMT prosecutor Telford Taylor, in International Conciliation, writes:

Nuremberg's influence on world politics is of a high order, both now and in the long term...It is undoubtedly a dim but growing awareness that we have deeply committed ourselves to the Nuremberg principles by undertaking to judge men under them and punish men for their violation that explains the comment one so often hears today that 'Nuremberg has established a dangerous precedent.

April 6, 1950 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary: "Ambassador Francios-Poncet has requested Director Bresard to ask Neurath and me whether there was anything we wished. 'Of course, to be free,' was the message I sent back." (Speer II)

October 11, 1950: From the Chicago Daily News:

Telford Taylor proposed yesterday...creation of a UNO tribunal to punish all war crimes committed in Korea - by Koreans, the UN Allies and even the Russians. The prosecutor said in an interview...that trials must not be run on the lines of those at Nuremberg when only the defeated Germans were in the dock. 'If international law is to have meaning,' he said, 'we must bring both sides to court or alternately admit that extenuating circumstances are valid for both sides and let everyone go their own way.

December 26, 1950 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Last night Neurath had a mild attack of angina pectoris. He mentions it in the morning, shrugging. According to the medical aide, the doctors are worried that Neurath may die within hours, that his blood pressure is much too high. But 'the old gentleman,' as everyone calls him, shows no sign; he remains amiable and calm. (Speer II)

December 5, 1951 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Saw an article in the Revue but was so hurried that I could read only part of it. It was two and a half months old, for even the guards kept this article a secret from us—which also saved us from bothersome questions. An account of our life in Spandau is given, with many distortions. Neurath and I agreed that such polemical articles are bound to deter the Western Powers from urging our early release.

The Schirach, Funk, and Dönitz group, on the other hand, seem very pleased. From small signs I conclude that the material for the article was supplied by Funk. Probably he too has a channel to the outside at his disposal; in general iut may be assumed that each of the prisoners by now has an illegal means of communication available. (Speer II)

January 1, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

A New Years walk in the afternoon. Always the same: Dönitz walks with Neurath, Schirach with Raeder and Funk. Hess remains for me. (Speer II)

April 1, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Yesterday Neurath had a severe heart attack. Excited coming and going in the corridor, and in between repressed cries. Today we heard that he is close to death. But a slight improvement seems to have come. At any rate, everything is relatively calm today. Recently I have thought relation between us were becoming somewhat warmer, although he always remains aristocratic and aloof. But he is the only fellow prisoner whose absence would be a loss to me. (Speer II)

June 13, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Three days ago, Raeder complained to the French director about Hess's groaning at night. It's shattering his nerves, he claims. Major Bresard asked Neurath, Dönitz, and me whether Hess disturbed our sleep too, but we said no. At nine o'clock this morning Major Besard, who is generally so decent, went into Hess's cell and shouted, 'Allez, allez, raus!' Hess stood up; Bresard ordered the guards to take the blanket and mattress out of the cell until evening. Hess sat on his chair and wailed.

At half past the hour Pease had me carry the bedding back in. Half an hour later the Russian director, in an emphatic, friendly tone, gave me the order to take the blanket and mattress out again. In an equally friendly manner I replied that I would not participate in carrying out a measure against a fellow prisoner. But Hess solved the impasse by asking me to do so. (Speer II)

June 15, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Today a notice posted on the cell door stipulated that Prisoner Number Seven may remain in bed every morning until half past nine if he has pain. This is an official a acknowledgment that Hess is sick. However, the sickness is not taken seriously, since the medical aide reports that he is injecting only 'aqua destilla' (distilled water), a trick frequently used with hysterics. In the medical office this morning Raeder irritably tells the guards Hawker and Wagg that they were wrong to give in, that Hess ought to be handled roughly; he doesn't have any real pain at all. Dönitz is outraged when he hears this.

In the washroom he says to Neurath and me, 'Raeder would suffer for that in a prisoner-of-war camp. And rightly so, to my mind. That's terribly un-comradely. Hess has a right to malinger if he wants to. We ought to be supporting him. And not to upset him, we shouldn't even tell him that the sedative injection is a trick. You can never tell what he might do then. (Speer II)

September 24, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Neurath pays me a visit at the cell door and tells me that from 1935 on, at the order of his doctors, he took two or three Theominal tablets daily because of his heart trouble. He recommends this drug to me because it also has a tranquilizing effect. No doubt Neurath's physical complaints at that time were produced by Hitler's foreign policy, for the foreign minister was one of those who attempted to tame Hitler. But at the same time those tablets brought Neurath to Spandau - they took away his heart trouble, but simultaneously removed his scruples. (Speer II)

October 14, 1952 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Big quarrel among all of us because of the lighting problem. Everyone wants something different. Dönitz, Neurath, Hess, and I are against Schirach's proposal that a weak blue bulb be screwed into the socket, because in that case we could no longer read. Violent discussion. Funk backs off ten paces and berates first Neurath and then all of us. When he starts using vulgar epithets, I shout back: 'You sound like a truck driver!' He clears out. The first scene of this sort in seven years and, worse yet, in the presence of a guard. (Speer II)

January 20, 1953 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

There is great excitement. Funk tells us in the garden: 'A plot has been uncovered. Skorzeny, the man who liberated Mussolini, is said to have wanted to kidnap us, using two helicopters and a hundred men. Along with this there was to be a putsch. All of us were going to serve as a new government, headed by Dönitz as Hitler's successor. The British Secret Service has arrested Naumann, Goebbels's undersecretary, the former press chief, Suendermann, and Gauleiter Scheel. The newspapers are headlining the whole thing.' Apparently, Dönitz wanted to keep this news from me. 'But I couldn't help hearing you talking with the American a while ago,' I say. 'According to what I've heard, your Number One in the new government of the Reich...'

Excited, he interrupts me: 'What nonsense. They ought to let me out of here so that I can issue a statement that I have nothing to do with it. I condemn Hitler's system, and I never had anything to do with SS men like Skorzeny.' There was a short pause. 'But I am still and will remain the legal chief of state. Until I die.' I pretend astonishment. 'But there has been a new chief of state for the longest time. Heuss was elected, after all.' 'I beg your pardon,' Dönitz insists. 'He was installed under pressure from the occupying powers. Until all political parties, including the National Socialists, are permitted to function and until they elect someone else, my legitimacy remains. Nothing can change that one iota. Even if I wanted it changed.' I try persuasion, 'If I were in your position I would renounce my rights.' Dönitz shakes his head in despair at such incomprehension. 'You simply refuse to understand. Even if I renounced the office I would remain chief of state, because I cannot renounce it until I have appointed a successor.' At this point I too became obstinate. 'But even emperors and kings abdicate after a revolution.' Dönitz sets me straight: 'They always appointed a successor. Otherwise their abdication had no validity.'

I play my trump card. 'But then your in luck that the crown prince is dead. Otherwise there would be three of you.' Then it occurs to me that Prince Louiis Ferdinand is alive, and I ask, 'Tell me, what arrangement did you make in 1945 with the head of the House of Hohenzollern?' Neurath, shrugging, puts in, 'This idea has become an obsession with him.' (Speer II)

February 26, 1953 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

A notice on Neurath's door: 'For health reasons Number Three has been issued an armchair.' 'I don't need one at all,' Neurath grumbles. But apparently his occasional bouts of asthma are taken more seriously than he likes. This afternoon his chair was delivered. I could scarcely believe my eyes: it comes from the Chancellery and was designed by me in 1938...

Only on reflection do I gradually realize that this simple chair in Neurath's cell may be the only thing I shall ever see of all my work during those years...How often Hitler said to me that our buildings would testify to the greatness of our epoch after thousands of years - and now this chair. (Speer II)

March 31, 1953 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Neurath...came back from his wife's visit looking quite rejuvenated. 'She made many hints.' But an hour later he was skeptical again. 'I'll not believe it until I stand on the other side of the gate.' (Speer II)

April 9, 1953 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

The judicial representatives of the four high commissioners are said to have sat conferring for five hours in the Control Commission building. I would greatly miss Neurath. (Speer II)

October 26, 1954 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

At the Paris Conference it was decided to admit the new German army into NATO. 'Die Welt' has a report on the structure of this new army and its methods of training. Dönitz took a critical view: 'A mistake not to build the Bundeswehr on the traditions of the Wehrmacht. They are cutting off the limb they are sitting on.' And Schirach exclaims, 'Outrageous! Saluting officers only once a day! And no more high boots! I can't understand it. The best part of the army.'

Doenitz was more interested in what all this might portend for us. 'I've never ventured to prophesy, but this time I predict that all of us will be going home next spring. The Western Powers simply cannot keep us prisoners longer than that. My naval officers simply wouldn't go along with it.' Neurath could not take part in this conversation. Since his last attack he has been sitting alone in his cell, reading in his armchair or staring into space. He is not allowed visitors, allegedly so that he won't be agitated. Nevertheless, some of the guards open his cell door to let us talk with him.
(Speer II)

November 4, 1954 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

This afternoon something incredible happened. Raeder did not send the newspapers around the cells in their normal order, but actually came dashing out of the library room into the corridor. 'Come,' he called excitedly, 'read this! It's incredible.' Lowering his voice so Neurath would not be able to hear, he explained, 'It says in the paper that Neurath is about to be released.'

An uncensored AP item in today's Die Welt reports that Soviet High Commissioner Pushkin has proposed to his three Western colleagues that Neurath be released because of his age and ill-health. The final negotiations are to be carried out by the high commissioners. Attracted by the noise, Guryev came up. When he saw that Dönitz was trying to snatch back the newspaper, he insisted on seeing it. He looked at the headline, lowered the paper for a moment, stared stunned into space, then carefully studied the text.

Shortly afterwards an order came that Neurath must not be given the newspaper until after he had received a dose of Theominal in the presence of the medical aide. But Neurath took the news calmly. Again he remarked that he would have to stand on the other side of the gate before he would believe it. He is counting on at least three more weeks, he said, before the regulations for his life on the outside can be drawn up. Hess displayed wild agitation. 'You must explain to Neurath at once,' he called out to me across the corridor, 'that it is just a propaganda lie. I know the Communists' tactics!' (Speer II)

November 6, 1954 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Saturday. Neurath was irritable today because his clothes locker was emptied overnight. 'What right have the Russians to clear out my locker?' Later he noticed that his books had been taken away also. Angrily, he repeated again and again, 'What right have they!' At eleven o'clock I came back from the bath. In the corridor I saw the American guard Felner, who gave me a sign. But I did not understand what he meant. While I was standing there, Felner entered Neurath's cell. I saw the old man in his armchair slowly raise his head. 'Come along to the storeroom,' the American said.

I went to my cell, and saw Neurath in his slippers shuffling unsteadily along behind Felner. At the end of the corridor the iron door closed behind the two. For a moment there was silence. Suddenly Charles Pease was standing beside me. 'He's gone,' he said dryly. That was all. No farewell, no ceremony, not even a handshake. Just this disappearance through the iron door. One of us was in freedom. For hours afterward we all felt dazed. Dönitz's eyes were wet. In my case, too, my old trick of biting my thumb failed me. Hess, shaking his head, admitted, 'I never would have thought it possible.' (Speer II)

November 6, 1954: Neurath, who'd had a heart attack in 1952, is granted an early release from Spandau on grounds of ill-health. (Taylor)

November 7, 1954 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

Before the (Sunday) service the chaplain gave us messages from Neurath. It grieved him that he had been unable to say goodbye, the chaplain said. He had been led to the storeroom without explanation. There, instead of his moth-eaten suit, he had been given prison clothing without a number. Neurath's daughter had received her father in the visiting room and then, without identification papers or a certificate of release, taken him to the car waiting in the prison yard. No restrictions on his freedom had been imposed on him. After Bruckner's Te Deum the chaplain read Psalm 126: 'He that goes forth weeping...shall come home with shouts of joy.' The chaplain prayed for Neurath. Then for our release. (Speer II)

November 8, 1954 From Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diary:

This afternoon we read the reports on Neurath's release. That same evening Adenauer telegraphed hid congratulations, and even Heuss wrote him. This concern of the representatives of new Germany has made a profound impression on all of us, even on Dönitz and Hess. After the release, Neurath asked a reporter worriedly, 'What will become of my garden without me?' In passing out supper, Raeder poured the coffee into the sugar bowl instead of his cup. (Speer II)

August 14, 1956: Neurath dies.

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