Goering: Hossbach Conference
1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 81, defendant Hermann Goering is given vast latitude by the Tribunal to tell his life story. He will be at it for the next few days. No other defendant will be given so much uninterrupted time.
As far as the technical aspect of this record is concerned, I want to say the following: Hossbach [above] was the adjutant of the Fuehrer, the chief adjutant. As such, he was present at the meeting and took notes. Five days later, as I have ascertained, he prepared this record on the basis of his notes. This is, therefore, a record which contains all the mistakes which easily occur in a record, which is not taken down on the spot by alternating stenographers, and which under certain circumstances contains the subjective opinions of the recorder or his own interpretations.
Now, what did he aim at in this discussion? The Minister of War, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and the Luftwaffe and the then Reich Foreign Minister were called together. Shortly before the Fuehrer had informed me, as I was there earlier, that he was going to call this meeting mainly in order, as he called it, to put pressure on General von Fritsch [above], since he was dissatisfied with the rearmament of the Army. He said it would not do any harm if Herr von Blomberg would also exercise a certain amount of pressure on von Fritsch.
I asked why von Neurath was to be present. He said he did not want the thing to look too military, that as far as the commanders-in-chief were concerned it was not so important, but that he wanted to make it very clear to Commander-in-Chief Fritsch that the foreign political situation required a forced speed in armament and that for that reason he had asked the Foreign Minister, who knew nothing about the details, to come along. The statements were then made in the way the Fuehrer preferred on such occasions. He went to great lengths to picture things within a large political framework and he talked about the whole world situation from all angles; and for anybody who knew him as well as I did the purpose which he pursued was obvious. He was quite clearly … saying that he had great plans, that the political situation was such and such, and the whole thing ended in the direction of a stronger armament program.
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.
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