1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 83, defendant Hermann Goering is given vast latitude by the Tribunal to defend everything Nazi. No other defendant will be given so much uninterrupted time.
Dr Exner (Counsel for Defendant Alfred Jodl): Is it known to you that particularly in 1942 a severe conflict arose between the Fuehrer and Colonel General Jodl?
Dr Exner: Is it known to you that at that time Jodl was even to be relieved?
Goering: The conflict arose from the Caucasus crisis. The Fuehrer blamed General Jodl for the fact that no concentrated forces had been used to press forward in the direction of Tuapse; but that battalions of mountain troops had been marched from the valleys over the mountain chain of the Elbrus, which the Fuehrer thought was senseless. At that time, as far as I remember, Jodl pointed out to him that this matter had been discussed with, and approved by him. The Fuehrer severely criticized the commander who was in charge of this sector. Jodl defended him on those grounds, and this led to extremely strained relations. The Fuehrer mentioned to me that he wanted to relieve Jodl. The tension was so strong that from this moment on, as far as I remember, the Fuehrer withdrew from the Officers Club jointly used by both his Operations Staff and High Command, and even took his meals alone. For quite some time, for several months, he refused to shake hands with this gentleman.
This illustration is just to show you how great the tension was at that time. As successor to Jodl, Paulus was already selected; the Fuehrer had special confidence in him. Just why this change did not materialize, I do not know exactly. I assume that here again, despite all tension, the decisive factor for the Fuehrer was that it was extremely hard for him to get used to new faces, and that he did not like to make any changes in his entourage. He preferred to continue working with men of his entourage whom he did not like rather than change them. In the course of the years, however, his confidence in Jodl's tactical ability increased again considerably; he had complete confidence in his tactical capacity. The personal relations of both gentlemen were never very close.
Dr Exner: Is it known to you that, particularly in 1945, withdrawal from the Geneva Convention was being considered? Do you know what attitude Jodl took at that time?
Goering: It may have been February 1945, when Minister Goebbels made this proposal to the Fuehrer. This proposal met with the utmost opposition by all of us. In spite of that the Fuehrer reverted to it again and again, and for days was inclined to withdraw from this Convention. The reason given was, oddly enough, that there were too many deserters in the west and that the troops were inclined to surrender too easily. The Fuehrer was of the opinion that if the troops knew that in captivity they were no longer protected by the Geneva Convention, they would fight harder and would not react to the extensive enemy propaganda telling them how well they would be treated if they stopped fighting. The united efforts, in which, of course, Jodl participated, succeeded in dissuading the Fuehrer with the argument that this action would cause great disturbance among the German people and anxiety for their relatives in captivity.
Dr Exner: One more question. Before the Norwegian campaign, Jodl entered in his diary -- it has been mentioned here before: "The Fuehrer is looking for a pretense." But that is incorrect. The original reads: "for a basis." Now, to what extent did the Fuehrer look for a basis at that time?
Goering: I remember this point also very well and therefore, I can state under oath that the use of the word "basis" or "pretense" is entirely out of place here. The case was as follows: The Fuehrer knew exactly, and we knew as well, and had rather extensive intelligence and reliable reports to the effect that Norway was to be occupied by the Allies, England and France. I mentioned this the other day. In order to prevent this, the Fuehrer wanted to act first. He spoke about the fact, that for us the basis of an Anglo-French attack was clear, but that we had not sufficient proof for the outside world. Hitler explained that he was still trying to get evidence. It would have been better if Jodl had written, not that the Fuehrer was still looking for a basis, but--according to what the Fuehrer meant--that the Fuehrer was still looking for conclusive evidence for the outside world. Evidence as such we had. This was one thing.
The second was that generally, for such steps the Foreign Office had to execute the necessary preparatory work including the drafting of notes. In the case of Norway, however, the Fuehrer advised the Foreign Office only, I believe, 24 or 48 hours in advance. He did not want to inform it at all at that time because he kept the entire plan extremely secret. I remember that I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, was informed of this plan at a very late date. This secrecy was the second reason why he himself was concerned with finding a basis for the attack. These were the two reasons. I would like to state again that it would have been expressed much more clearly if he had said that the Fuehrer was looking for evidence, rather than for a basis.
Dr Exner: If I understand correctly, you mean evidence showing that the British had the intention of occupying Norway?
Goering: We had the report, but the final written evidence we received only later.
Dr Exner: The Fuehrer had no doubt about this?
Goering: Not for a moment, none of us had any doubt about it. We received the evidence later."
1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 84, Hermann Goering is cross-examined by defense counsel.
Dr Siemers: The Prosecution have submitted the diary of General Jodl under Document Number 1809-PS. In this diary there are two entries from the first half of 1940, in regard to which I should like to have your opinion. These two entries concern Russia at a time when Germany and Russia were on friendly terms. I should like to say in advance that the substance of the intentions which are contained in these entries sounds rather fantastic, and that is why I would like to have your opinion as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force.
I quote the first entry dated 13 February 1940: "Have learned from Admiral Canaris that the Rewel Squadron is to be employed in full force going from Bulgaria toward the Caucasus. The Air Force must explain with whom this false idea originated." The second entry of May 1940 reads as follows, and I quote verbatim: "Fuehrer rejects request of the Air Force to set up a listening post in the Caucasus." I would like you to tell me what the thoughts were which guided you in these plans as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, and what facts were the basis of those thoughts.
Goering: If these entries were made on the basis of a report by Admiral Canaris, who was the chief of foreign intelligence, and if they were entered by Jodl in connection with the special long reconnaissance Rewel Squadron, it is because of the formers connection with this squadron--to which he himself frequently assigned intelligence or espionage tasks -- that he had heard of my intention to use it--which was something which I wanted to have kept especially secret. He apparently informed the High Command of the Armed Forces, where this action, or the intended action, met with complete misapprehension and could not be understood. My intention in this connection--and I had personally ordered it--was entirely clear. The statement that it was to do reconnaissance work in or in the direction of the Caucasus is not quite correct. It would have been more correct to say in the direction of the Caucasus, Syria, and Turkey. But this mistake may have occurred in the report transmitted by Canaris.
I had received more and more intelligence reports to the effect that from Asia Minor actions were to be undertaken against the Russian oil fields of the Caucasus--Baku--and likewise actions for the purpose of gravely disrupting the oil supply from Romania to Germany. As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force I was the one chiefly interested in obtaining Romanian oil as well as Caucasian oil, more precisely petroleum and gasoline, on the basis of a trade agreement with Russia, because at that time the refineries were not completed and not working to capacity. A disturbance in either one of these supplying regions would have affected my Air Force very badly. Therefore I had to watch this closely.
I anticipated disruption of the oil regions in the Caucasus. I had the agents' report checked by very reliable people and found that in Syria an army was actually formed under General Weygand which had the name of "Orient Army." I was more interested, however, in the concentration of squadrons of aircraft in the Syrian area, not only of French but also English squadrons. As far as I remember I received these reports about the intentions of the French-British air squadrons through agents in Turkey, that is to say, from Turks, because there had been negotiations with Turkey regarding permission to fly over her territory in order to carry out the intention of the English-French air squadrons of suddenly bombing the Baku area and thereby severely damaging the Russian oil fields and eliminating deliveries to Germany. I therefore had to, or rather I was obliged to find out constantly, through long-range reconnaissance flights, the extent to which the airfields in Syria were becoming more active than before. There could be no other reason for massing aircraft there exactly at this time, for it was not a theater of war nor was any threat there on the part of Germany at that moment.
On the contrary, it would have been understandable if all British and French aircraft had been needed in England and France themselves. If, therefore, my long-range reconnaissance flights established the fact that the airdromes in Syria were being used more than ever, and further confirmed that possibly the airfields in the east of Turkey were being increased, this would have been, and actually was, a confirmation of the alleged intentions. In this case, as soon as I was fully convinced of this, I should have to point out to the Fuehrer that Germany should draw Russia's attention to the danger threatening her. The establishing of listening posts, not in the Caucasus but before the Caucasus, naturally served the same purpose, namely that of setting up secret radio stations along the general line of flight, Syria-Caucasus, Syria-Baku, East Turkey-Baku, one, two or three, in order to find out whether preparatory ffights by the French and English Air Forces were taking place; that is to say, reconnaissance on the oilfields, et cetera, in order to get more information that way also.
Since at the time I did not yet have conclusive and final proof in my hands, I kept these things to myself and dealt with them only in the offices responsible to my sector of the Air Force until I could obtain a clear picture. Only later, after the termination of the French campaign, absolute confirmation of these intentions was obtained by the discovery of the secret reports of the French General Staff and of the meetings of the combined Supreme Military Council of England and France, which proved that my information was entirely correct and that a plan for a surprise bombing attack on all the Russian oilfields had been prepared. In the meantime the confirmation of the plan to eliminate the Romanian oilfields, already known to us, was communicated to the Romanian Government and this attack on neutral Romania was then prevented.
Dr Siemers: I understood you correctly, did I not, that these plans were made by both England and France?
Dr Siemers: And that the intelligence you received was to the effect that the attacks on the oilfields were directly aimed at the then neutral Russia and also indirectly at Germany by the cutting off of her oil supply?
Goering: Of course.
Dr Siemers: Thank you.
Goering: Of course.
The Nuremberg Tribunal Biographies
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