Goering: The Sudeten Crisis

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 81, Hermann Goering testifies on his own behalf, answering a series of leading questions posed by his defense counsel.

Dr Stahmer: What part did you have in making the Munich Pact of September 1938?

Goering: The incorporation of the Sudeten Germans or, better said, the solution of the Sudeten German problem I had always emphasized as being something that was necessary. I also told the Fuehrer after the Anschluss of Austria that I should regret it if his statements were misunderstood to mean that with the Anschluss of Austria this question had been settled.

In November 1937, I stated to Lord Halifax that the Anschluss of Austria, the solution of the Sudeten German question in the sense of a return of the Sudeten Germans, and the solution of the problem of Danzig and the Corridor were integral parts of German policy. Whether they were tackled by Hitler one day, or by me or somebody else the next day, they would still remain political aims that under all circumstances would have to be attained sometime. However, both of us agreed that all efforts should be made to achieve that without resorting to war.

Furthermore, in my conversations with Mr. Bullitt I had always taken up the very same position. And I told every other person, publicly and personally, that these three points had to be settled and that the settlement of the one would not make the others unimportant. I also want to stress that, if in connection with this, and also in connection with other things, the Prosecution accuses us of not having kept this or that particular promise that Germany had made in the past, including the Germany that existed just before the seizure of power, I should like to refer to the many speeches in which both the Fuehrer--this I no longer remember so well--and I, as I know very well, stated that we warned foreign countries not to make any plans for the future on the basis of any promises made by the present government, that we would not recognize these promises when we acquired power. Thus there was absolute clarity in respect to this.

When the Sudeten question approached a crisis and a solution was intended by the Fuehrer, I, as a soldier and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, as was my duty, took the preparatory measures, ordered for any eventuality. As a politician I was extremely happy at the attempts which were made to find a peaceful solution. I acknowledge that at that time I was very glad when I saw that the British Prime Minister was making every possible effort. Nevertheless, the situation on the day before the Munich agreement had again become very critical.

It was about 6:30 or 7 o'clock in the morning when the Italian Ambassador, Attolico, rang me up and said that he had to see me immediately on orders from Mussolini, that it was about the solution of the Sudeten problem. I told him he should go and see the Foreign Minister. He said he had a special order from Mussolini to see me alone first. I met him, as far as I remember, at 9 o'clock in the morning, and there he suggested that Mussolini was prepared to mediate; that a meeting should be called as soon as possible between Germany [Adolf Hitler], England [Prime Minister Chamberlain], France [Premier Daladier], and Italy [Mussolini], in order to settle the question peacefully. He, Mussolini, saw a possibility of that and was prepared to take all necessary steps and asked me personally to use all my influence in that direction.

I took the Ambassador, and also Herr Constantin von Neurath although he was not Foreign Minister at that time, at once to the Reich Chancellery and reported everything to the Fuehrer, tried to persuade him, explained to him the advantages of such a step and said that this could be the basis for a general easing of tension. Whether the other current political and diplomatic endeavors would be successful one could not yet say, but if four leading statesmen of the four large western European powers were to meet, then much would be gained by that. Herr von Neurath supported my argument, and the Fuehrer agreed and said we should call the Duce by telephone. Attolico, who waited outside, did that immediately, whereupon Mussolini called the Fuehrer officially and matters were agreed and Munich decided upon as the place.

Late in the afternoon I was informed by the Italian Embassy that both the British Prime Minister and the French Prime Minister had agreed to arrive at Munich the next day. I asked the Fuehrer, or rather, I told him, that under all circumstances I would go along. He agreed. Then I suggested that I could also take Herr von Neurath with me in my train. He agreed to that also. I took part in some of the discussions and, when necessary, contributed to the settlement of many arguments and, above all, did my best to create a friendly atmosphere on all sides. I had personal conversations with M. Daladier and Mr. Chamberlain, and I was sincerely happy afterwards that everything had gone well.
The Nuremberg Tribunal Biographies
Click to join 3rdReichStudies

Click to join 3rdReichStudies

Caution: 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.

Disclaimer:The Propagander!™ includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander!™ condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.

Source Note: The trial portion of this material, which is available in its entirety at the outstanding Avalon and Nizkor sites, is being presented here in a catagorized form for ease of study and is not meant to supplant or replace these highly recommended sources.

Fair Use Notice: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Make your own free website on Tripod.com