...This requires careful handling. It is quite possible that rich Jews will pay large sums of money to escape being murdered by the Huns. It is tiresome that this money should get into the hands of ELAS (Greek Communist partisans), but why on Earth we should go and argue with the United States about it I cannot conceive. We should take a great responsibility if we prevented the escape of Jews, even if they should be rich Jews. I know it is the modern view that all rich people should be put to death wherever found, but it is a pity that we should take up that attitude at the present time. After all, they have no doubt paid for their liberation so high that in the future they will only be poor Jews, and therefore have the ordinary rights of human beings...July 20, 1944: Hitler survives an assassination attempt (bomb explosion) during a war conference.
...The claim by these usurpers that I am no longer alive, is at this very moment proven false, for here I am talking to you, my dear fellow countrymen. The circle which these usurpers represent is very small. It has nothing to do with the German armed forces, and above all nothing to do with the German army. It is a very small clique composed of criminal elements which will now be mercilessly exterminated...July 23, 1944: Majdanek is liberated.
...I share your conviction that firm agreement between the three leading powers constitutes a true guarantee of future peace and answers to the best hopes of all peace-loving peoples. The continuation of our governments in such a policy in the postwar period as we have achieved during this great war will, it seems to me, have a decisive influence. Of course, I have a great desire to meet with you and the President. I attach great importance to it from the point of view of the interests in our common business. But, as far as I am concerned, I must make one reservation. The doctors advise me not to undertake long journeys...October 9, 1944 Churchill arrives in Moscow. Soon, he and Stalin are discussing spheres of influence in the Balkans. Churchill’s account:
The moment was apt for business, so I said, "Let us settle our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don’t let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?" While this was being translated I wrote out on half a sheet of paper: Rumania Russia 90% The others 10% Greece Great Britain 90% (in accord with USA) Russia 10% Yugoslavia 50-50% Hungary 50-50% Bulgaria Russia 75% The others 25% I pushed this across to Stalin, who had by then heard the translation. There was a slight pause. Then he took his blue pencil and made a large tick upon it, and passed it back to us. It was all settled in no more time than it takes to sit down…After this there was a long silence. The penciled paper lay in the center of the table. At length I said, "Might it not be thought rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues, so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper." "No, you keep it," said Stalin.October 12, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes: Adolf "the Riverboat Gambler" Hitler takes Speer aside at the daily situation conference. He confides that he is planning a decisive move; a great, surprise offensive in the West utilizing all available forces. "For that you must organize a special corps of German construction workers, one sufficiently motorized to be able to carry out all types of bridge building even if rail transportation should be halted. Stick to the organizational forms that proved their value in the western campaign of 1940," Hitler continues: "Everything else must be put aside for the sake of this. No matter what the consequences. This will be the great blow which must succeed." (Speer)
...Major War Criminals. UJ (Churchill and FDR refer to Josef Stalin as Uncle Joe, or UJ, in their correspondence) took an unexpectedly ultra-respectable line. There must be no executions without trial otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law but he replied if there were no trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements...October 22, 1944 FDR to Churchill:
...Your statement of the present attitude of Uncle J. towards war criminals, the future of Germany, and the Montreux Convention is most interesting. We should discuss these matters, together with our Pacific war effort, at the forthcoming three-party meeting...October 30, 1944: Goering visits Peenemuende to view the latest anti-aircraft rockets. Goering is dressed in "bright red, soft morocco leather riding boots with silver spurs...wearing an amply cut thick fur coat of Australian oppossum, the fur outwards," according to the account of the rocket sites commander, General Dornberger: "He pretended to be studying the drawings on the walls, but he was no longer looking at them. He was totally disinterested...About every five minutes his eyes started to turn until one could only see the whites. He staggered, reached into the pocket of his coat, and swallowed a small, round, rose red pill. Instantly, he straightened and appeared to be quite normal again. After five minutes, the same process...When he climbed the stairs to the roof of the small tracking building of the 'waterfall' project, he pulled a heavy revolver out of its holster, threw it up in the air several times and caught it again. His adjutant took the weapon away from him with the remark that it was loaded and not on safety." (Read)
...The time to make history is short, and he who does not use the opportunity fails. The burdens of such a time certainly may seem unbearable, but those burdens decide which nation is called to victory and which is damned to defeat...January 4, 1945 Churchill to Eden:
Treatment of Germany after the war. It is much too soon for us to decide these enormous questions. Obviously, when the German organized resistance has ceased the first stage will be one of severe military control. This may well last for many months, or perhaps for a year or two, if the German underground movement is active.
2. We have yet to settle the practical questions of the partition of Germany, the treatment of the Rhur and Saar industries, etc. These may be touched upon at our forthcoming meeting, but I doubt whether any final decision will be reached then. No one can foresee at the present moment what the state of Europe will be or what the relations of the Great Powers will be, or what the tempers of their peoples will be. I am sure that the hatreds which Germany has caused in so many countries will find their counterpart here.
3. I have been struck at every point where I have sounded opinion at the depth of the feeling that would be aroused by a policy of ‘putting poor Germany on her legs again.’ I am also well aware of the arguments about ‘not having a poisoned community in the heart of Europe’…I remember so well last time being shocked at the savage views of the House of Commons and of the constituencies, and being indignant with Poincare when he sent the French into the Ruhr.
In a few years however the mood of Parliament and the public changed entirely. Thousands of millions of money were lent to Germany by the United States. I went along with the tolerant policy towards Germany up to the Locarno Treaty and during the rest of Mr. Baldwin’s Government on the grounds that Germany had no power to harm us. But thereafter a swift change occurred. The rise of Hitler began. And thereafter I once again found myself very much out of sympathy with the prevailing mood…
From Goering's IMT testimony: When, after 12 January 1945, the Russian offensive pushed forward to the Oder and at the same time the Ardennes offensive had not penetrated, it was then that I was forced to realize that defeat would probably set in slowly. Up to that time I had always hoped that, on the one side, the position at the Vistula toward the East and, on the other side, the position at the West Wall towards the West, could be held until the flow of the new mass produced weapons should bring about a slackening of the Anglo-American air war ...
I knew that enemy propaganda emphasized that under no circumstances would there be negotiations with Hitler. That Hitler did not want to negotiate under any circumstances, I also knew, but not in this connection. Hitler wanted to negotiate if there were some prospect of results; but he was absolutely opposed to hopeless and futile negotiations. Because of the declaration of the enemy in the West after the landing in Africa, as far as I remember, that under no circumstances would they negotiate with Germany but would force on her unconditional surrender, Germany's resistance was stiffened to the utmost and measures had to be taken accordingly. If I have no chance of concluding a war through negotiations, then it is useless to negotiate, and I must strain every nerve to bring about a change by a call to arms ... As long as Hitler was the Fuehrer of the German people, he alone decided whether the war was to go on. As long as my enemy threatens me and demands absolutely unconditional surrender, I fight to my last breath.
We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage--of our resolve--of our wisdom--our essential democracy. If we meet that test--successfully and honorably-we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time. As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen--in the presence of our God--I know that it is America's purpose that we shall not fail. In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work and fight for total victory in war. We can and we will achieve such a peace...January 21, 1945: Hitler orders that all commanding generals down to divisional level must inform him in advance of any operational movements by the units under their command. "They must ensure that I have time to intervene in their direction if I think fit, and that my counter-orders can reach the front-line troops in time." (Read)
Hitler: Do you think the English are enthusiastic about all the Russian developments?
Jodl: No, of course not. They have quite different plans. Perhaps we'll discover the full extent of their plans later.
Goering: They certainly didn't plan that we hold them off while the Russians conquer all of Germany... If this goes on we will get a telegram (from the English) in a few days. They were not counting on us defending ourselves step by step...holding them off like madmen while the Russians drive deeper and deeper into Germany, and practically have all of Germany now...
Jodl: The English have always regarded the Russians with suspicion.
Hitler: I have given orders that we shall play a trick on the English—an information sheet telling them the Russians are organizing 200,000 of our men (German POWs) led by German officers, all of them infected with Communism, and they will be marched into Germany. I have ordered this report to be delivered to the English. I have discussed it with the Foreign Minister (Ribbentrop). That will be like sticking them with a needle.
Goering: They entered the war to prevent us from going East, not to have the East reaching out to the Atlantic.
Hitler: That's quite clear. It is something abnormal. The English newspapers are already saying bitterly: Is there any sense in this war?
Goering: On the other hand I have read a report in Braune Blaetter that they can support the Russians with their air force. They can reach the Russian forces with their heavy bombers, even though it is a long flight. But the information comes from an absurd source.
Hitler: Tactically, the English cannot support them. Since we don't know where the Russians are and where we are, how on earth can the English know?
Hitler then assures the assembled participants that this strategy--instilling the fear of unchecked Russian expansionism in the hearts of the British and Americans--will yet prevail. However, the conference ends with no decision being made as to the defense of the Oder. (Payne, Shirer, Read)
I've now finally given up hope that the war will be won. What an enormous guilt Hitler bears. If I can't see my family again, I don't want to live any longer. Above all, a quick death would be better for them than to be deported or otherwise tortured. I've buried one hope after another in this war. But now is the worst time. What will happen? ... The biggest mistake was the war with Russia. Whatever the courage and readiness for sacrifice, you can't take on an entire world...We just bit off too much to chew. Above all our leadership. (Kershaw)January 29, 1945: Zhukov, more or less ignoring Himmler's army group, reaches the Oder. Himmler soon orders a counter-attack that immediately fails miserably. Bischofsburg falls to the Soviets as the Red Army continues its advance. (Read)
...I particularly address myself to German youth. In vowing ourselves to one another, we are entitled to stand before the Almighty and ask Him for His grace and His blessing. No people can do more than that everybody who can fight, fights, and that everybody who can work, works, and that they all sacrifice in common, filled with but one thought: to safeguard freedom and national honor and thus the future of life. However grave the crisis may be at the moment, it will, despite everything, finally be mastered by our unalterable will...January 31, 1945: The Czechoslovakian Government in London recognizes the Lublin Government in Poland. The US First Army enters Germany east of St. Vith and the French First Army gains ground in Alsace near Colmar. Zhukov's forces on the Oder River are now less than 50 miles from Berlin.
From Keitel's SBS interview: After the attack on Hamburg and the joint attacks which killed all the cultural monuments in Germany, it was quite obvious that there was no defense against it. The concentration of flak only meant that flak had to be withdrawn from some other place. We all had to admit that the Fuehrer was right in demanding more and more flak back in the days when he argued with Todt. In that manner, he proved the predictions which we didn't take seriously enough. He was saying the only defense id flak and more flak, and this must be supplemented by extremely fast bombers that hit back with the same type of attack ... There were trains of thought which the Fuehrer would entirely keep to himself. We could not exercise any influence especially because it was well known that the Fuehrer himself knew all the reasons very well and had discussed all these things with Goering alone. If somebody else than Goering had been the Supreme Commander of the Air Force, he would have taken a different attitude.
Guderian explodes: We can't wait until the last can of petrol and the last shell has been issued! By that time the Russians will be too strong!
Hitler snaps back: I will not allow you to accuse me of procrastination!
Guderian: I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm simply saying that there's no use in waiting until the last load of supplies has been issued - and the favorable moment to attack has been lost.
Hitler: I just told you that I won't allow you to accuse me of procrastinating!
Guderian: I want General Wenck at Army Group Vistula as Chief of Staff. Otherwise there is no guarantee that the attack will be successful. (Glaring at Himmler) The man can't do it. How could he do it?
Hitler: The Reichsfuehrer is man enough to lead the attack on his own.
Guderian: The Reichsfuehrer doesn't have the experience or the right staff to lead the attack without help. The presence of General Wenck is absolutely necessary.
Hitler: How dare you criticize the Reichsfuehrer! I won't have you criticize him!
Guderian: I must insist that General Wenck be transferred to the staff of Army Group Vistula to lead the operation properly.
The argument goes on for hours as most of the conference participants slip out of the room one by one. Finally, with only Hitler, Guderian, Himmler, Wenck and their adjutants remaining in the room, Hitler suddenly relents. Stopping in front of Himmler's chair he declares:
Well, Himmler, General Wenck is going to Army Group Vistula tonight, to take over as Chief of Staff. (Turning to Guderian and flashing his most charming smile) Now let us please continue with the conference. Today, Colonel-General, the General Staff has won a battle. (Read, Guderian)
From Speer's IMT testimony: Among the military leaders there were many who, each in his own sphere, told Hitler quite clearly what the situation was. Many commanders of army groups, for instance, made it clear to him how catastrophic developments were, and there were often fierce arguments during the discussions on the situation. Men like Guderian and Jodl, for instance, often talked openly about their sectors in my presence, and Hitler could see quite well what the general situation was like. But I never observed that those who were actually responsible in the group around Hitler, ever went to him and said, "The war is lost." Nor did I ever see these people who had responsibility endeavor to unite in undertaking some joint step with Hitler. I did not attempt it for my part either, except once or twice, because it would have been useless, since at this stage, Hitler had so intimidated his closest associates that they no longer had any wills of their own.
...Right itself is nothing but the duty to defend the life entrusted to us by the Creator of the world. It is the sacred right of self-preservation. Whether this self-preservation will be successful depends solely on the greatness of our efforts and on willingness to make any sacrifice to preserve this life for the future...February 25, 1945: From an order by Gauleiter and National Defense Commissioner of Westfalen-Sud, Albert Hoffman:
Fighter-bomber pilots who are shot down are in principle not to be protected against the fury of the people. I expect from all police officers that they will refuse to lend their protection to these gangster types. Authorities acting in contradiction to the popular sentiment will have to account to me. All police and gendarmerie officials are to be informed immediately of this, my attitude.February 26, 1945: At the urging of Field Marshal Kesselring, the German consul in Lugano, Alexander von Neurath, meets on the Western Front with Rundstedt's chief of staff, General Westphal, and Field Marshal Blaskowitz, commander of Army Group G. They propose to surrender the Western and Italian Fronts in return for immunity from war crime trials. (Waller)
...When we met at Yalta, in addition to laying our strategic and tactical plans for the complete, final military victory over Germany, there were other problems of vital political consequence. For instance, there were the problems of occupational control of Germany after victory, the complete destruction of her military power, and the assurance that neither the Nazis nor Prussian militarism could again be revived to threaten the peace and civilization of the world.
Secondly, again for example, there was the settlement of the few differences which remained among us with respect to the international security organization after the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. As you remember at that time, I said afterward we had agreed 90 per cent. A pretty good percentage. I think the other 10 per cent was ironed out at Yalta.
Thirdly, there were the general political and economic problems common to all of the areas that would be in the future, or which had been, liberated from the Nazi yoke. There are special problems--we over here find it difficult to understand the ramifications of many of these problems in foreign lands. But we are trying to. Fourth, there were the special problems created by a few instances, such as Poland and Yugoslavia. Days were spent in discussing these momentous matters. We argued freely and frankly across the table. But at the end, on every point, unanimous agreement was reached.
And more important even than the agreement of words, I may say we achieved a unity of thought and a way of getting along together. Of course we know that it was Hitler's hope--and German war lords'--that we would not agree, that some slight crack might appear in the solid wall of Allied unity, a crack that would give him and his fellow-gangsters one last hope of escaping their just doom. That is the objective for which his propaganda machine has been working for many months. But Hitler has failed. Never before have the major Allies been more closely united...
If anyone can master the crisis, then he (Hitler) can. No one else can be found who is anywhere near touching him... The general mood in the Reich Chancellery is pretty dismal. I would rather not go again because the atmosphere is infectious. The generals hang their heads and the Fuehrer holds his head high. (Kershaw, Seward)March 6, 1945: The first regiment of the new Romanian Nationalist Army takes a position along the Oder River and is inspected by General Platon Chirnoaga, Minister of Defense in the new Romanian government-in-exile. Meanwhile, King Michael appoints a new government dominated by the Romanian Communist Party under Petru Groza. This is the first solid proof since Yalta that Stalin may not intend to honor his assurances about doing nothing to hinder the process of democracy in Eastern Europe.
This evening's Mosquito raid was particularly disastrous for me because our Ministry was hit. The whole lovely building on the Wilhelmstrasse was totally destroyed by a bomb...The Fuehrer telephones me immediately after the raid on the Ministry. He too is very sad that it has now hit me. So far we have been lucky even during the heaviest raids on Berlin. Now, however, we have lost not only a possession but an anxiety. In future I need no longer tremble for the Ministry. All those present at the fire voiced only scorn and hatred for Goering. All were asking repeatedly why the Fuehrer does not at last do something definite about him and the Luftwaffe. The Fuehrer than asks me over for a short visit. During the interview I have with him he is very impressed by my account of things. I give him a description of the devastation which is being wrought and tell him particularly of the increasing fury of the Mosquito raids which take place every evening. I cannot prevent myself voicing sharp criticism of Goering and the Luftwaffe.
But it is always the same story when one talks to the Fuehrer on this subject. He explains the reasons for the decay of the Luftwaffe, but he cannot make up his mind to draw the consequences therefrom. He tells me that after the recent interviews he had with him Goering was a broken man. But what is the good of that! I can have no sympathy with him. If he did lose his nerve somewhat after his recent clash with the Fuehrer, that is but a small punishment for the frightful misery he has brought and is still bringing on the German people. I beg the Fuehrer yet again to take action at last, since things cannot go on like this. We ought not, after all, to send our people to their doom because we do not possess the strength of decision to root out the cause of our misfortune. The Fuehrer tells me that new fighters and bombers are now under construction, of which he has certain hopes. But we have heard it so often before that we can no longer bring ourselves to place much hope in such statements. In any case it is now plenty late--not to say too late--to anticipate any decisive effect from such measures.
Measures for destruction’s in Reich Territory: The struggle of our nation for existence also forces the utilization of all means to weaken the fighting power of our enemy and to prevent further advances. Advantage must be taken of all opportunities to inflict the most enduring damage to the striking power of the enemy directly or indirectly. It is a mistake to believe in the possibility of work resumption for our own purposes of undestroyed or only temporarily paralyzed traffic, communications, industrial, and supply installations after the recapture of lost territories. On his retreat the enemy will leave behind only scorched earth and refrain from any consideration for the population. I therefore command:
1. All military traffic, communications, industrial and supply installation as well as objects on Reich territory, which the enemy might immediately or later utilize for the continuation of his fight, are to be destroyed. 2. The military commands are responsible for the execution of this destruction of all military objects including traffic and communications installations. The Gauleiters and Commissioners for Reich Defense are responsible for the destruction of the industrial and supply installations as well as of other valuable objects; the Gauleiter and Commissioners for Reich Defense are to be given necessary assistance by the troops in carrying out this task. 3. This command is to be transmitted as promptly as possible to all troop commanders; orders to the contrary are null and void. Adolf Hitler.
But it pains me that he (Hitler) is at present not moved to do anything so that the political crisis in the enemy camp deepens. He doesn't change personnel, either in the Reich government or in the diplomatic service. Goering stays, Ribbentrop stays. All failures--apart from the second rank--are retained, and it would in my view be so necessary to undertake here in particular a change of personnel because this would be of such decisive importance for the morale of our people. I press and press; but I can't convince the Fuehrer of the necessity of these measures that I put forward. (Kershaw)March 28, 1945: Churchill, in spite of opposition by 'Bomber' Harris and others, orders restrictions on area bombings of German population centers, telling the war cabinet: "Otherwise, we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land... The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing." (Jenkins)
Under the fury of the enemy offensives that have been pressing down on our fronts to the west, east, and south for months, as well as the almost unceasing bombing of our German cities and provinces, some hearts are beginning to shake and tremble...April 10, 1945: Medics of the US 3rd Armored Division report that they have discovered Nordhausen Death Camp on the way to Camp Dora. In the two adjacent camps they discover 5,000 corpses. 1,200 patients are soon evacuated, with 15 dying on their way to the hospital area and another 300 subsequently dying of malnutrition. The American Third Army liberates the prison camp at Buchenwald, where nearly 57,000 prisoners (mostly Jews) had perished. (Sellier)
...All else will fail unless we can devise instruments of adjudication, and conciliation, so reasonable and acceptable to the masses of people that future governments will have always an honorable alternative to war. The time when these institutions will be most needed will probably not come until the names that signify leadership in today’s world will have passed into history...April 14, 1945: Franz Von Papen is arrested by an American platoon in a rustic lodge in the forests of Westphalia, eating stew with a granddaughter. Papen has been constantly on the run (first from the Gestapo, then from the Allies) since returning to Germany from his diplomatic post in Turkey. The Americans wait patiently as he packs a small rucksack. (Tusa)
...The Jewish Bolshevik arch-enemy has gone over to the attack with his masses for the last time. He attempts to smash Germany and to eradicate our nation. You soldiers from the east today already know yourselves to a large extent what fate is threatening, above all, German women, girls and children. While old men and children are being murdered, women and girls are humiliated to the status of barracks prostitutes. Others are marched off to Siberia. We have anticipated this thrust, and since January of this year everything has been done to build up a strong front. Mighty artillery is meeting the enemy. Our infantry's casualties were replenished by countless new units. Reserve units, new formations and the Volksturm reinforce our front. This time the Bolsheviks will experience Asia's old fate. That is, he must and will bleed to death...April 16, 1945: In his first speech to Congress, President Harry S. Truman pledges to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
...So that there can be no possible misunderstanding, both Germany and Japan can be certain, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that America will continue the fight for freedom until no vestige of resistance remains! We are deeply conscious of the fact that much hard fighting is still ahead of us. Having to pay such a heavy price to make complete victory certain, America will never become a party to any plan for partial victory! To settle for merely another temporary respite would surely jeopardize the future security of all the world. Our demand has been, and it remains-Unconditional Surrender! We will not traffic with the breakers of the peace on the terms of the peace.
The responsibility for making of the peace-and it is a very grave responsibility-must rest with the defenders of the peace. We are not unconscious of the dictates of humanity. We do not wish to see unnecessary or unjustified suffering. But the laws of God and of man have been violated and the guilty must not go unpunished. Nothing shall shake our determination to punish the war criminals even though we must pursue them to the ends of the earth. Lasting peace can never be secured if we permit our dangerous opponents to plot future wars with impunity at any mountain retreat - however distant. In this shrinking world, it is futile to seek safety behind geographical barriers. Real security will be found only in law and in justice...
After all, the German people did not want it otherwise. The German people by a great majority decided through a plebiscite on the withdrawal from the League of Nations and against a policy of yielding and chose, instead, a policy of courage and honor; thereby the German people themselves chose the war which they have now lost."April 21, 1945 Death: Field Marshal Walter Model (AKA the "Fuehrer's Fireman") learns that the USSR has indicted him for the deaths of 577,000 people in concentration camps in Latvia, the deportation of 175,000 others as slave labor, and other war crimes. Model tells his staffers: "Has everything been done to justify our actions in the light of history? What can there be left for a commander in defeat? In antiquity they took poison". After his attempts to seek death on the front line do not succeed, he commits suicide this day by shooting himself in the head. (Newton)
...This is the age of wars between nations. When whole peoples are threatened, whole peoples must defend themselves. The enemy does not want to take a province from us or push us back to more favorable strategic borders; he wants to cut our very arteries by destroying our mines and factories, destroying our national substance. If he succeeds, Germany will become a cemetery. Our people will starve and perish, aside from the millions who will be deported to Siberia as slave labor. In such a situation, any means is justified...April 22, 1945: At 11:30 AM, the Red Air Force (the RAF and Americans have already made their last attacks on Berlin, leaving the Soviets to deal with the Nazi capital unencumbered) and Red Army artillery begins a fierce bombardment of Berlin's city center (the Zentrum), with shells and bombs falling at a rate of one every 5 seconds. The Brandenburg Gate is hit and the Reichstag and old Royal Palace catch fire. Heavy explosions rock the Fuehrerbunker, causing Hitler to experience flashbacks to his WW1 days in the trenches. Hitler never does recover from the unnerving barrage, and issues frantic and contradictory orders throughout the day. He furiously calls Koller, demanding why there is no air cover. When the Luftwaffe officer replies that there is no fuel for the jets, Hitler explodes: "Then we don't need the jets anymore! The Luftwaffe is superfluous. The entire Luftwaffe leadership should be hanged immediately!"
My Fuehrer, Since you are determined to remain at your post in Fortress Berlin, do you agree that I, as your deputy in accordance with your decree of 29.6.41, assume immediately total leadership of the Reich with complete freedom of action at home and abroad? If by 2200 hours no answer is forthcoming, I shall assume that you have been deprived of your freedom of action. I will then consider the terms of your decree to have come into force and act accordingly for the good of the people and the Fatherland. You must realize what I fell for you in these most difficult hours of my life, and I am quite unable to find words to express it. God bless you and that you may come here (to Berchtesgaden) after all as soon as possible. Your most loyal Herman Goering.April 23, 1945: Albert Speer, in his best selling books about the period, claimed to have been present at a remarkable number of key moments and events. This is perhaps one of the moments he actually witnessed first hand. He will later write: "Perhaps this was Bormann's last effort to induce Hitler to fly to Berchtesgaden and take control there." Speer then relates that Bormann--waving the printout of Goering's message in his hand--declares it proof that Goering is staging a coup d'etat. He fails to get a reaction from a still apathetic Fuehrer. However, the text of a further message from Goering addressed to Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop--with a copy intended for Keitel--is delivered to Bormann, who immediately reads it aloud to Hitler and Speer. (Speer, Read)
"Goering is engaged in treason!" Bormann cried. "He's already sending telegrams to members of the government and announcing that on the basis of his powers he will assume your office at twelve o'clock tonight, my Fuehrer!" ...An outburst of wild fury (from Hitler) followed, in which feelings of bitterness, helplessness, self-pity and despair mingled. With flushed face and staring eyes, Hitler ranted on as if he had forgotten the presence of his entourage: "I've known it all along. I know that Goering is lazy. He let the air force go to pot. He was corrupt. His example made corruption in our state. Besides, he's been a drug addict for years. I've known it all along." As suddenly as it had begun, the tantrum ends with a statement of resignation: "Well, all right. Let Goering negotiate the surrender, it doesn't matter who does it." He will soon change his mind again. (Speer)April 23, 1945: At 5 PM, Goering receives a message from Bormann in Hitler's name: "The decree of 29.6.41 only comes into effect on my specific agreement. There can be no talk of lack of freedom to act. I forbid you to take any steps in the direction you have indicated." Goering immediately orders that a signal go out to Ribbentrop and Keitel canceling his previous message. However, just minutes later a further communication from the Fuehrerbunker . He is told that because of his long service his life is to be spared, but he must immediately resign from all his official offices, titles, and duties. Goering does so within the next half an hour. (Read)
Reich Marshal Hermann Goering has been taken ill with his long-standing chronic heart condition, which has now entered an acute stage. At a time when the efforts of all forces are required, he has therefore requested to be relieved of his command of the Luftwaffe and all duties connected thereto. The Fuehrer has granted this request. The Fuehrer has appointed Colonel-General Ritter von Greim as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe while simultaneously promoting him to Field Marshal.April 26, 1945: In the evening a small plane containing famed test pilot Hanna Reitsch and Luftwaffe General Ritter von Greim lands on an improvised air strip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate following a daring flight in which Greim had been wounded in the foot by Soviet ground fire. Reitsch will later write that Hitler's "head drooped heavily on his shoulders, and a continual twitching affected both his arms. His eyes glassy and remote, he greets us with an expressionless voice." The wounded Greim--who could just as well have been appointed by phone--is informed personally by Hitler that he is now a Field-Marshal and Goering's successor. Hitler tells them of Goering's "treachery": "Nothing is spared me! Nothing! Every disillusion, every betrayal, dishonor, treason has been heaped upon me. I have had Goering placed under immediate arrest, stripped him of all his offices, expelled him from every party organization." Hitler abruptly ends the meeting and leaves the room. Note: Payne places this meeting on the 24th, while Kershaw maintains that it occurred on the 26th. (Kershaw, Payne)
...Many very brave men and women have resolved to link their lives to mine to the very end. I have requested them, and finally ordered them, not to do so, but instead to take part in the continuing struggle of the nation. I ask the commanders of the army, navy, and air force to strengthen by all possible means the spirit of resistance of our soldiers in the spirit of National Socialism, emphasizing especially that I too, as founder and creator of this movement, have preferred death to cowardly flight or even capitulation. May it be one day a part of the code of honor; as it is already in the navy, that the surrender of an area or of a town is impossible, and above all in this respect the leaders should give a shining example of faithful devotion to duty unto death...April 29, 1945: Hitler and Eva Braun exchange marriage vows.
DOENITZ! Our impression grows daily stronger that the divisions in the Berlin theater have been standing idle for several days. All reports we receive are controlled, suppressed, or distorted by Keitel .... The Fuehrer orders you to proceed at once, and mercilessly, against all traitors .... The Fuehrer is alive, and is conducting the defense of Berlin ... (Shirer)April 30, 1945 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler's aides, burned with difficulty due to the conditions and the limited supply of gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. Kempka, Goebbels, Bormann, Krebs, Linge, and Burgdorf give one last Nazi salute to their Fuehrer, before an exploding Soviet shell sends them scurrying back down into the Bunker. (Read)
MY FUEHRER! My loyalty to you will be unconditional. I shall do everything possible to relieve you in Berlin. If fate nevertheless compels me to rule the Reich as your appointed successor, I shall continue this war to an end worthy of the unique, heroic struggle of the German people. (Shirer)April 30, 1945: The Red Army captures the Reichstag.
Announcer: It has been reported from the Fuehrer's headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon in his battle headquarters at the Reich Chancellery, fallen for Germany, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism. On the 30th of April the Fuehrer nominated Grossadmiral Doenitz to be his successor. The Grossadmiral and Fuehrer's successor will speak to the German nation." Doenitz: "German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed Forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero's death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably straight and steady life.May 1, 1945: Doenitz receives another radio message signed by Goebbels and Bormann: The Fuehrer died yesterday, 1530 hours. In his will dated April 29 he appoints you as President of the Reich, Goebbels as Reich Chancellor, Bormann as Party Minister, Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. The will, by order of the Fuehrer, is being sent to you and to Field Marshal Schoerner and out of Berlin for safe custody. Bormann will try to reach you today to explain the situation. Form and timing of announcement to the Armed Forces and the public is left to your discretion. Acknowledge.
...Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal...May 4, 1945: Goering, having finally talked his SS captors into letting him go, writes a letter to Doenitz complaining of Bormann's intrigues against him and his resultant loss of status. He offers his services as official German negotiator to Eisenhower--"as one marshal to another"--and reminds him of how well he had done in the past "in all the important negotiations abroad with which the Fuehrer always entrusted me before the war." "Moreover," he continues, "both Great Britain and America have proved through their press and radio, and in the declarations of their statesman over the last few years, that their attitude toward me is more favorable than toward all other political leaders in Germany." Doenitz never replies. (Read)
From The Face Of The Third Reich by Joachim C Fest: In the final phase of his life he (Goering) suffered from profound illusion. In April 1945 he had been dismissed with ignominy from all his posts, arrested, and bequeathed a curse. But when he heard of Hitler's death, he was, his wife recalled, "close to despair" and exclaimed, "He's dead, Emmy. Now I shall never be able to tell him that I was true to him till the end!" In much the same way as Himmler, he hoped to be accepted by the Allies as a partner in negotiations. As General Bodenschatz has testified, soon after his capture by the Americans his main concern was the proclamation which he intended to make to the German people as soon as he had reached a satisfactory agreement with Eisenhower. His claim to the leadership of the Reich after Hitler's death was indisputable in his view. Even at Nuremberg he compelled his fellow prisoner the Grand Admiral Doenitz to admit that he owed his own 'nomination as the Fuehrer's successor solely to coincidence'. And if Goering defended himself before the International Court of Justice with striking skill and some aggressiveness, behind which some of the old elemental force of his personality could be felt, it was because of his conviction that his role as leader placed greater responsibility upon him than upon the other prisoners. Obstinately and at times not without success, he tried to command them, to influence their statements, and to establish a regime which Speer referred to angrily as "Goering's dictatorship." At last, after so many years, so many blows and humiliations, for a brief and fruitless span he had reached his goal: to be the First Man and "Nazi Number One." as he called himself.
...The Germans are still in places resisting the Russian troops, but should they continue to do so after midnight they will, of course, deprive themselves of the protection of the laws of war, and will be attacked from all quarters by the Allied troops. It is not surprising that on such long fronts and in the existing disorder of the enemy the orders of the German High Command should not in every case be obeyed immediately. This does not, in our opinion, with the best military advice at our disposal, constitute any reason for withholding from the nation the facts communicated to us by General Eisenhower of the unconditional surrender already signed at Rheims, nor should it prevent us from celebrating to-day and to-morrow (Wednesday) as Victory in Europe days. Today, perhaps, we shall think mostly of ourselves. Tomorrow we shall pay a particular tribute to our Russian comrades, whose prowess in the field has been one of the grand contributions to the general victory. The German war is therefore at an end...May 9, 1945 Stalin to Truman:
I thank you with all my heart for your friendly congratulations on the unconditional surrender of Hitler Germany. The peoples of the Soviet Union greatly appreciate the part played by the friendly American people in this liberation war. The joint effort of the Soviet, US, and British Armed Forces against the German invaders, which has culminated in the latter’s complete rout and defeat, will go down in history as a model military alliance between our peoples. On behalf of the Soviet people and Government I beg you to convey my warmest greetings and congratulations on the occasion of this great victory to the American people and the gallant US Armed Forces.May 10, 1945: Churchill to Field-Marshal Alexander (Italy):
I have seen the photograph. The man who murdered Mussolini made a confession, published in the Daily Express, gloating over the treacherous and cowardly method of his action. In particular he said he shot Mussolini’s mistress. Was she on the list of war criminals? Had he had any authority from anybody to shoot this woman? It seems to me the cleansing hand of British military power should make inquiries on these points.May 14, 1945: The Allies recognize the reestablishment of the Democratic Republic of Austria.
He (Goering) is by no means the comical figure he has been depicted so many times in newspaper reports. He is neither stupid nor a fool in the Shakespearean sense, but generally cool and calculating. He is able to grasp the fundamental issues under discussion immediately. He is certainly not a man to be underrated. Although he tried to soft-pedal many of the most outrageous crimes committed by Germany, he said enough to show that he is as much responsible for the policies within Germany and for the war itself as anyone in Germany.
Goering took great pride in claiming that it was he who was responsible for the planning of the paratroop landing in Crete, that it was he who had drawn up plans for a capture of Gibraltar...that it was he who was responsible for the development of the Luftwaffe. On the other hand, he denied having anything to do with the racial laws and with the concentration camps, with the SS and the atrocities committed both in Germany and outside. Goering is at all times an actor who does not disappoint his audience...behind his spirited and often witty conversation, is a constant watchfulness for the opportunity to place himself in a favorable light.
...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 14, 1945: By His British Majesty's Command, Regulations for the Trial of War Criminals is issued by Royal Warrant:
...If it appears to an officer authorized under the Regulations to convene a Military Court that a person then within the limits of his command has at any place whether within or without such limits, committed a war crime he may direct that such person if not already in military custody shall be taken into and kept in such custody pending trial in such manner and in the charge of such military unit as he may direct. The commanding officer of the unit having charge of the accused shall be deemed to be the commanding officer of the accused for the purposes of all matters preliminary and relating to trial and punishments. But such commanding officer shall have no power to dismiss the charge or deal with the accused summarily...June 21, 1945: During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration. Chosen mainly because their names are well known to the public, they are assumed to be criminals; little effort has yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that will be available against them. The initial ten: Goering, Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Ribbentrop, Ley (see October 25, 1945, below), Keitel, Streicher, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank and Frick. (Taylor)
...Justice Jackson: Our first task as prosecutors, as we see it, is to get the evidence in the case. We would not wait for any court to be set up to do that because we think of that as a prosecutor's function, and therefore we have already started work on it and have many people trying to examine captured orders and reports. We have interrogated prisoners of war, interrogated civilian prisoners taken since the surrender, interrogated witnesses, and gathered all of the evidence we can get in proof of the charges. Then we envisage the preparation of an indictment or bill of accusation you can call it by various names--in which we would select persons indicated by the evidence to be guilty, they would be charged with crimes, and that indictment would then be presented to the court. That would be the first time there would be any contact between the prosecutors and the court in our system--when the charges are presented. That brings the case into court--when you have an indictment. The Court would then have nothing before it except the indictment but it would fix the time of trial and might assign counsel. On the trial date we would produce in court all of our evidence. The court would not have the evidence merely as a result of its being gathered by the prosecutors but it would have received it in open session. Documentary proof, as we call it, would be offered and some facts would be established by "judicial notice", which means it would not be necessary to prove them...June 26, 1945: The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
...Justice Jackson: ...we have a considerable group of people who we think come under this classification as major war criminals. I think we have various listings running as high as 350 which the Judge Advocate General's office has classified as such. Our list runs into quite a number of people. I don't want them left on our hands. We have tried to group them to avoid more than one trial. The complication is in trying to reach in a single trial a very large number of people, but we do not want to go through a large number of trials if we can avoid it...July 16, 1945: Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately referred to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed...they roll their own cigarettes." Meanwhile: First US atomic bomb test; the Potsdam Conference begins. (Tusa)
...Local crimes should be tried locally. We only gave Frank as an example, but there are other main, criminals who ought to be charged by the international court but still whose activities refer mainly to certain countries and can be localized, and we had those in mind when we made the amendment to the draft. There are criminals who may be claimed by different governments, like France or Britain, those who have committed mainly crimes against their governments. For example, Goering was mainly responsible for the attacks on London, and therefore the British Government might claim that his trial should take place in London.
Justice Jackson: Where does the Soviet Delegation think Goering's trial should take place?
Niktchenko: I would not like to suggest a place where Goering should stand trial. He may be charged as one of the main criminals in Nuremberg. On the other hand, if Britain should think he should stand trial in England, I do not think we should have the power to refuse such a claim if reasonable.
Sir Thomas Barnes: But Goering is a major war criminal. In respect to his local crimes, that ought to be subsidiary to the main trial.
Mr Troyanovsky: He would be tried as a major criminal, but perhaps in London?
Niktchenko: I quite agree he should be tried as a main war criminal and by the International Military Tribunal, but the place of that Tribunal may be London if the British Government should think it satisfactory.
Sir Thomas Barnes: We had come to think all major war criminals should be tried in Germany...
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 accommodations with British and French representatives.
...Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France--but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip...August 1, 1945 Potsdam Conference: At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the subject of trying Nazi war criminals is raised:
...Truman: You are aware that we have appointed Justice Jackson as our representative on the London Commission. He is an outstanding judge and a very experienced jurist. He has a good knowledge of legal procedure. Jackson is opposed to any names of war criminals being mentioned and says that this will hamper their work. He assures us that the trial will be ready within thirty days and that their should be no doubt concerning our view of these men. Stalin: Perhaps we could name fewer persons, say three. Bevin: Our jurists take the same view as the Americans. Stalin: And ours take the opposite view. But perhaps we shall agree that the first list of war criminals to be brought to trial should be published not later than in one month...August 2, 1945 International Conference on Military Trials: During this days Four Power conference session:
General Nikitchenko: There is one question. What is meant in the English by "cross-examination"?
Lord Chancellor: In an English or American trial, after a witness has given testimony for the prosecution he can be questioned by the defense in order that the defense may test his evidence verify his evidence, to see whether it is really worthy of credit. In our trials the defendant or his counsel is always entitled to put questions in cross-examination. And I think the same situation prevails in the courts of France.
Judge Falco: Yes, the same.
General Niktchenko: According to Continental procedure, that is very widely used too. The final form would be then, "The Defendant shall have the right to conduct his own defense before the Tribunal, to cross-examine any witness called by the prosecution..."
...The representatives of the United Kingdom have been headed by the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General. The Soviet Republic has been represented by the Vice President of its Supreme Court and by one of the leading scholars of Soviet jurisprudence. The Provisional Government of France has sent a judge of its highest court and a professor most competent in its jurisprudence. It would not be a happy forecast for the future harmony of the world if I could not agree with such representatives of the world's leading systems of administering justice on a common procedure for trial of war criminals...August 12, 1945: Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. 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, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa)
...I am able to report the most fascinating days of my life...Finally, at about 4 PM, in strutted Hermann Goering--wearing a long light blue outside coat, a cap, and a light blue tunic and trousers, and black shoes. He has lost a lot of weight, his color is good, eyes blue, thin brown hair, thin lips, a large mouth. He was in a bad mood--shouted and pounded the desk--calmed down some when he learned our attitude about his loud voice and desk pounding...August 21, 1945: The US government officially ends Lend-Lease assistance to the Allies.
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.
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.
Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Niktchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations--mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it.October 5, 1945: Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's "Head of National Hygiene."
Dear Sirs: In the Indictment of German War Criminals signed today, reference is made to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and certain other territories as being within the area of the USSR. This language is proposed by Russia and is accepted to avoid the delay which would be occasioned by insistence on an alteration in the text. The Indictment is signed subject to this reservation and understanding: I have no authority either to admit or to challenge on behalf of the United States of America, Soviet claims to sovereignty over such territories. Nothing, therefore, in this Indictment is to be construed as a recognition by the United States of such sovereignty or as indicating any attitude, either on the part of the United States or on the part of the undersigned. toward any claim to recognition of such sovereignty. Respectfully submitted, Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States.October 8, 1945 From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
...It is a secret--but Dr (Leonardo) Conti, one of those who worked medical experiments on concentration camp inmates, hung himself in the jail Saturday 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.
...Rudolf Hess arrived yesterday from England, so he was called up for an interview. He is completely balmy--and was when he flew to England. He has no memory at all. We had Goering, von Papen, Haushofer and Bohle--all old friends--confront him. He didn't know one of them--and it was no fake. I watched him. He has suffered a complete mental collapse. Goering said to him, 'Don't you recall me, your old companion and friend?' Then he mentioned many personal experiences with no sign of recollection from Hess, who said, "I am really very sorry--I realize you must be an old friend. But I cannot remember you." It is genuine--believe that when I tell you so. And so we mark off in tragic terms another of these Nazis...October 14, 1945: British representative Sir Geoffrey Lawrence is elected The President of the IMT (International Military Tribunal).
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 Niktchenko, 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: A Norwegian court finds Vidkun Quisling guilty of treason.
... During the last decades public opinion in the world challenged with ever-increasing emphasis the thesis that the decision of waging war is beyond good and evil. A distinction is being made between just and unjust wars and it is asked that the Community of States call to account the State which wages an unjust war and deny it, should it be victorious, the fruits of its outrage. More than that, it is demanded that not only should the guilty State be condemned and its liability be established, but that furthermore those men who are responsible for unleashing the unjust war be tried and sentenced by an International Tribunal. In that respect one goes now a days further than even the strictest jurists since the early middle ages. This thought is at the basis of the first three counts of the Indictment which have been put forward in this Trial, to wit, the Indictment for Crimes against Peace. Humanity insists that this idea should in the future be more than a demand, that it should be valid international law. However, today it is not as yet valid 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.