Albert Speer
(5 of 8)


June 6, 1944: D-Day.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In this connection I should again like to summarize a few points. The invasion was preceded by heavy air attacks on the transportation system in the occupied western territories. As a result of that, beginning with May and June 1944, production in France was paralyzed and 1 million workers were unemployed. With that, the idea of shifting production had collapsed as far as I was concerned; and according to normal expectations of the French officials, too, the impression was general that a large-scale movement toward Germany would now set in.

I gave the order that in spite of the fact that the entire French industry was paralyzed the blocked factories should be kept up, although I knew as an expert that their rehabilitation, considering the damage to the transportation system, would not be possible in less than 9 or 12 months, even if the air attacks should cease entirely. I was, therefore, acting against my own interests here.

Between 19 and 22 June I had a conference with Hitler and I obtained a decree according to which the workers in the occupied territories, in spite of the difficulties of transport, had to remain on the spot no matter what happened. Seyss-Inquart has already testified that a similar decision applied to Holland. Upon my orders the workers in these blocked factories even continued to receive their wages. I must say quite openly that this was the first decision of mine which had its inner justification in the war situation having deteriorated so disastrously. The invasion was a success. The heavy air attacks on production were showing decisive results. An early end of the war was to be forecast and all this altered the situation as far as I was concerned. The practical conclusions I drew from this situation will become apparent through various other examples which I shall put forward in the course of the Trial. Of course, Hitler was not of the same opinion during that period. On the contrary, he believed that everything ought to be done in order to utilize the last reserves of manpower.

June 9, 1944: From a speech by Speer:

These honorary co-workers, drawn from industry, carry the responsibility to the last detail for what is manufactured in the various enterprises and industries and how it is manufactured . . . . Among your main tasks, next to the awarding of contracts to these industries, is to supervise the restrictions on types, the specialization of industries, involving under certain circumstances the closing-down of certain enterprises; to further rationalization from the point of view of raw materials, construction, and production; as well as unconditional exchange of experience, without regard to patents . . . . Any institution which has lasted for some period of time and which exceeds a certain size has a tendency to become bureaucratic. Even if, in one of the first large attacks on Berlin, large parts of the current files of the Ministry were burned, and therefore, for some time, we were lucky enough to have unnecessary ballast taken from us, we cannot expect that occurrences of that sort will continuously bring new vigor into our work.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I personally was no expert, and I did not want to act as an expert. Therefore, I selected the best possible experts to be found in Germany as my co-workers. I believed that these men were to be found within industry itself. Therefore, I made up my Ministry of honorary industrial workers. This was done in the United States in a similar way during the war in matters of production. Professional civil servants were lacking in my Ministry, and you cannot really consider my Ministry as one set up along normal lines. In June 1944 I delivered a speech in Essen about the fundamental principles upon which I founded my Ministry and its work, to defend myself against the various attacks against my system in Party circles.

June 10, 1944: On their way toward Normandy to combat D-Day invasion forces, troops of the armored SS Division Das Reich slaughter 642 men, women and children in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France.

June 12, 1944: From a report from the files of Krupp directed to the 'Gau Camp Physician, Herr Dr. Jager,' and signed by Stinnesbeck:

In the middle of May I took over the medical supervision of the PW Camp 1420 in the Norggerathstrasse. The camp contains 644 French PW's. During the air raid on 27 April of this year the camp was largely destroyed and at the moment conditions are intolerable. 315 prisoners are still accommodated in the camp. 170 of these are no longer in huts, but in the tunnel in Grunerstrasse on the Essen-Mulheim railway line. This tunnel is damp and is not suitable for continued accommodation of human beings. The rest of the prisoners are accommodated in 10 different factories in Krupp's works. Medical attention is given by a French military doctor who takes great pains with his fellow countrymen. Sick people from Krupp's factories must be brought to the sick parade too. Miss parade is held in the lavatory of a burned-out public house outside the camp.

The sleeping accommodations of the four French medical orderlies is in what was the urinal room. There is a double tier wooden bed available for sick bay patients. In general, treatment takes place in the open. In rainy weather it has to be held in this small room. These are insufferable conditions! There are no chairs, tables, cupboards, or water. The keeping of a register of sick is impossible. Bandages and medical supplies are very scarce, although people badly hurt in the works are often brought here for first aid and have to be bandaged before being taken to the hospital. There are many strong complaints about food, too, which the guard personnel confirm as being justified. Illness and less manpower must be reckoned with under these circumstances. The construction of huts for the accommodation of the prisoners and the building of sick quarters for the proper treatment of the sick persons is urgently necessary. Please take the necessary steps.

From Speer's IMT testimony: That is a document which shows what conditions can be after severe air raids. The conditions were the same in these cases for Germans and foreign workers. There were no beds, no cupboards, and so forth. That was because the camp in which these things had been provided had been burned down. That the food supply was often inadequate in the Ruhr district during this period was due to the fact that attacks from the air were centered on communication lines, so that food transports could not be brought into the Ruhr to the necessary extent. These were temporary conditions which we were able to improve when the air raids ceased for a time. When conditions became even worse after September or October of 1944, or rather after November of 1944, we made every effort to give food supplies the priority for the first time over armament needs, so that in view of these difficulties the workers would be fed first of all, while armaments had to stand back somewhat.

It is true that I did so [made efforts to get food and to see to the conditions of these workers], and I am glad that I did, even if I am to be reproached for it. For it is a universal human obligation when one hears of such conditions to try to alleviate them, even if it is somebody else's responsibility. But the witness Riecke testified here that the whole of the food question was under the direction of the Food Ministry.

I said yesterday that the responsibility for labor conditions was divided up between the Food Ministry, the Health Office in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, the Labor Trustee in the office of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, and so on. There was no comprehensive authority in my hands. In the Reich, because of the way in which our state machine was built up, we lacked a comprehensive agency in the form of a Reich Chancellor, who would have gathered all these departments together and held joint discussions. But I, as the man responsible for production, had no responsibility in these matters. However, when I heard complaints from factory heads or from my deputies, I did everything to remove the cause of the complaints.

June 12, 1944: From a top-secret memorandum prepared for the Ministry of the Occupied Eastern Territories and approved by Rosenberg:

The Army group center has the intention to apprehend 40,000-50,000 youths at the ages of 10 to 14 who are in the Army territory and to transport them to the Reich . . . . It is intended to allot these juveniles primarily to the German trades as apprentices to be used as skilled workers after 2 years' training. This is to be arranged through the Organization Todt which is especially equipped for such a task by means of its technical and other set-ups. This action is being greatly welcomed by the German trade since it represents a decisive measure for the alleviation of the shortage of apprentices . . . . This action is aimed not only at preventing a direct reinforcement of the enemy's military strength but also at a reduction of his biological potentialities as viewed from the perspective of the future. These ideas have been voiced not only by the Reichsfuehrer SS but also by the Fuehrer. Corresponding orders were given during last year's withdrawals in the southern sector . . . . Obergruppenfuehrer Berger has received another memorandum on June 14, according to which the Reich Minister now has approved the action.

June 13, 1944: Germany launches the first V-1 flying-bomb on Britain. (Davies, Shirer)

From Speer's IMT testimony: From the point of view of their technical production the rockets were a very expensive affair for us, and their effect compared to the cost of their output was negligible. In consequence we had no particular interest in developing the affair on a bigger scale. The person who kept urging it was Himmler, in this case. He gave one Obergruppenfuehrer Kammler the task of firing off these rockets over England. In Army circles they were of the same opinion as I, namely, that the rockets were too expensive; and in Air Force circles, the opinion was the same, since for the equivalent of one rocket one could almost build a fighter. It is quite clear that it would have been much better for us if we had not gone in for this nonsense.

June 18, 1944: Goebbels' Diary:

People are already making bets that the war will be over in three or four or eight days. I see this as an enormous danger for us if these exaggerated hopes and illusions are not met. In the end, those carried away by enthusiasm will blame the government. I fear this excessive enthusiasm will end in great disappointment. That cannot happen. I have therefore given the press and radio firm instructions to reduce the revenge propaganda and keep to purely factual reporting.

June 30, 1944: Speer writes to Hitler:

But in September of this year the quantities required to cover the most urgent needs of the Wehrmacht cannot possibly be supplied any longer, which means that from that time on there will be a deficiency which cannot be made good and which must lead to tragic consequences.

From Speer's IMT testimony: From a military point of view and as far as the general situation was concerned, it [the war] was certainly lost before that [January 1945]. It is difficult, however, to consider a war as lost and to draw the final conclusions as regards one's own person if one is faced with unconditional surrender.

From the armament point of view [it was] not until the autumn of 1944 [that I was in a position to have a comprehensive view], for I succeeded up to that time, in spite of bombing attacks, in maintaining a constant rise in production. If I may express it in figures, this was so great that in the year 1944 I could completely re-equip 130 infantry divisions and 40 armored divisions. That involved new equipment for 2 million men. This figure would have been 30 percent higher had it not been for the bombing attacks.

We reached our production peak for the entire war in August 1944 for munitions; in September 1944 for aircraft; and in December 1944 for ordnance and the new U-boats. The new weapons were to be put into use a few months later, probably in February or March of 1945. I may mention only the jet planes which had already been announced in the press, the new U-boats, the new antiaircraft installations, et cetera. Here too, however, bombing attacks so retarded the mass production of these new weapons-which in the last phase of the war might have changed the situation-that they could no longer be used against the enemy in large numbers. All of these attempts were fruitless, however, since from 12 May 1944 on our fuel plants became targets for concentrated attacks from the air.

This was catastrophic. 90 percent of the fuel was lost to us from that time on. The success of these attacks meant the loss of the war as far as production was concerned; for our new tanks and jet planes were of no use without fuel. I told him [Hitler] of this in great detail, both orally and in writing. Between June and December 1944 I sent him 12 memoranda, all with catastrophic news.

July 5, 1944: From a decree concerning implementation of a Hitler decree:

According to press reports, the Anglo-Americans intend in the future to attack from the air small places, too, which are of no importance militarily or to the war economy, as a retaliatory measure against the 'V-1'. Should this news prove true, the Fuehrer wishes it to be made known through the radio and the press that any enemy airman who takes part in such an attack and is shot down will not be entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war, but, as soon as he falls into German hands, will be treated as a murderer and killed. This measure is to apply to all attacks on small places which are not military targets, communications centers, armament targets, and the like, and therefore, are not of importance to the conduct of war. At the moment nothing is to be ordered; the only thing to be done is to discuss such a measure with the Wi. Ru and the Foreign Office.

July 6, 1944: Prime Minister Churchill's 'Poison Gas' Memo:

If the bombardment of London became a serious nuisance and great rockets with far-reaching and devastating effect fell on many centres of Government and labour, I should be prepared to do anything that would hit the enemy in a murderous place. I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention. We could stop all work at the flying bomb starting points. I do not see why we should have the disadvantages of being the gentleman while they have all the advantages of being the cad. There are times when this may be so but not now...

From Speer's IMT testimony: I was not able to make out from my own direct observations whether gas warfare was to be started, but I knew from various associates of Ley's and Goebbels' that they were discussing the question of using our two new combat gases, Tabun and Sarin. They believed that these gases would be of particular efficacy, and they did in fact produce the most frightful results. We made these observations as early as the autumn of 1944, when the situation had become critical and many people were seriously worried about it.

All I know is that these two gases both had a quite extraordinary effect, and that there was no respirator, and no protection against them that we knew of. So the soldiers would have been unable to protect themselves against this gas in any way. For the manufacture of this gas we had about three factories, all of which were undamaged and which until November 1944 were working at full speed. When rumors reached us that gas might be used, I stopped its production in November 1944. I stopped it by the following means. I blocked the so-called preliminary production, that is, the chemical supplies for the making of gas, so that the gas production, as the Allied authorities themselves ascertained, after the end of December or the beginning of January, actually slowed down and finally came to a standstill. Beginning with a letter which is still in existence and which I wrote to Hitler in October 1944, I tried through legal methods to obtain his permission to have these gas factories stop their production. The reason I gave him was that on account of air raids the preliminary products, primarily cyanide, were needed urgently for other purposes. Hitler informed me that the gas production would have to continue whatever happened, but I gave instructions for the preliminary products not to be supplied any more.

In military circles there was certainly no one in favor of gas warfare. All sensible Army people turned gas warfare down as being utterly insane since, in view of your superiority in the air, it would not be long before it would bring the most terrible catastrophe upon German cities, which were completely unprotected. A certain circle of political people, certainly very limited [were in favor of gas warfare]. It was mostly Ley, Goebbels and Bormann, always the same three, who by every possible means wanted to increase the war effort; and a man like Fegelein certainly belonged to a group like that too. Of Himmler I would not be too sure, for at that time Himmler was a little out of favor with Hitler because he allowed himself the luxury of directing -an army group without being qualified. I must say quite frankly that my reason for these plans was the fear that under certain circumstances gas might be used, and the association of ideas in using it myself led me to make the whole plan. It was because at that stage of the war it was perfectly clear that under no circumstances should any international crimes be committed which could be held against the German people after they had lost the war. That was what decided the issue . . . .

Actually, ordinary gas evaporates at normal atmospheric temperature. This gas would not evaporate until very high temperatures were reached and such very high temperatures could only be produced by an explosion; in other words, when the explosives detonated, a very high temperature set in, as you know, and then the gas evaporated. The solid substance turned into gas, but the effects had nothing to do with the high temperature. Experiments must certainly have been carried out with it...As far as I know it was the research and development department of the OKH in the Army ordnance office. I cannot tell you for certain.

July 11, 1944: From notes of a Foreign Manpower Executive Conference:

Reichsminister Speer stated that he had an interest both in spurring on an increased labor recruiting for the Reich and also in the maintaining of the production in the extra-German territories. Up to the present 25 to 30 percent of the German war production had been furnished by the occupied Western territories and Italy, by Italy alone 12.5 percent. The Fuehrer recently decided that this production must be maintained as long as possible, in spite of the difficulties already existing, especially in the field of transportation. The executive is well in a position, in the opinion of Reich Minister Speer, to seize sufficient foreign workers with its present strength, as a relatively small number of executive men are sufficient for this purpose. All that is needed are stricter orders, but no violent measures nor large-scale raids may be carried out. One should, rather, proceed with clean methods step by step...

From Sauckel's IMT testimony: I was responsible to the Four Year Plan and to the Fuehrer, and I had instructions from the Fuehrer to meet the requirements of Reich Minister Speer as far as it was possible for me to do so. At all events he agreed, or he demanded, that workers should be put at his disposal. Sometimes, however, we did not entirely agree as to how it should be done; for instance, we did not agree about the protected factories in France. Yes, they [Speer's requirements] had to have priority. It did happen that, contrary to my instructions, labor transports were stopped, or transferred to other regions or to other factories. But whether the order always emanated from Herr Speer, or from an armament commission, or from another office, I do not know. It was not always from the same quarter.

A factory was 'blocked' if it was manufacturing articles which were not essential for war, or if it was a question of so-called luxury articles. Sperrbetriebe were factories which worked for Speer in France, which had been agreed to by the French Minister Bichelonne, and they were blocked as far as labor recruitment was concerned. I asked him [Speer] and I urged him, but I could not succeed in putting an end to the blocking of these factories. I was very insistent with Hitler about it, but I had no success.

I did not ask for a general extension of my powers, but I asked that conditions should be allowed to remain as they had been previously, for--I ask to be permitted to explain this to the Tribunal--my task was to bring workers from France to Germany--may I make this statement: The departments under Speer demanded skilled workers from me. There skilled workers already in the factories which

Speer had blocked. Similar industries in Germany would, of course, be worse off if instead of having skilled French workers they were supplied with unskilled French workers, or men without experience in that particular trade. I had to procure workers in any case, but I considered it wiser for German economy to procure for it the right kind of workers and not workers who were unskilled.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I had no influence on the method by which workers were recruited. If the workers were being brought to Germany against their will that means, as I see it, that they were obliged by law to work for Germany. Whether such laws were justified or not, that was a matter I did not check at the time. Besides, this was no concern of mine. On the other hand, by application of force and terror I understand police measures, such as raids and arrests, and so on. I did not approve of these violent measures, which may be seen from the attitude I took in the discussion I had with Lammers on 11 July 1944. At that time I held the view that neither an increase in police forces, nor raids, nor violent measures were the proper thing. In this document I am, at the same time, referred to as one of those who expressed their objections to the violent measures which had been proposed.

[I was against such violent measures] Because through violent measures of that kind a regular allocation of manpower in the occupied countries would not have been possible in the long run. However, I wanted production to be regulated and orderly in the occupied countries. Measures of violence meant to me a loss of manpower in the occupied countries, because there was the danger that these people would in increasing numbers take to the woods so as not to have to go to Germany, and thus strengthen the lines of the resistance movements. This, in turn, led to increased acts of sabotage and that, in turn, to a decrease of production in the occupied countries.

Therefore, time and again the military commanders, and the commanders of the army groups, as well as myself, protested against large-scale measures of violence as proposed. I was especially interested in labor recruitment from France, Belgium and Holland—that is, countries in the West—and from Italy, because, beginning with the spring of 1943, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor had decreed that mainly workers from these regions were to be assigned for war production. On the other hand, the workers from the East were mainly to be used for agriculture, for forestry, and for the building of railroads. This decree was repeatedly stressed to me by Sauckel, even as late as 1944.

During this meeting of 11 July I maintained my point of view. Once again I pointed to Germany's reserves, as becomes apparent from the minutes, and I announced that the transport difficulties should not be allowed to influence production, and that the blocked factories were to be kept up in those territories. Both I and the military commanders of the occupied territories were perfectly aware of the fact that with this the well-known consequences for these blocked factories would be the same as before, that is, that the transfer of labor from the occupied western territories to Germany would be stopped. The minutes of the meeting show, as I said before, that I opposed measures of coercion. I did not see Keitel's actual order.

July 12, 1944: From an account of a meeting in Berlin:

The Representative of the Chief of the OKW, General Warlimont, referred to a recently issued Fuehrer order, according to which all German forces had to participate in the task of raising manpower. Wherever the Wehrmacht was stationed, if it was not employed exclusively in pressing military duties (as, for example, in the construction of coastal defenses), it would be available, but it could not be assigned expressly for the purpose of the GBA. General Warlimont made the following practical suggestions: a) The troops employed in fighting the partisans are to take over, in addition, the task of raising manpower in the partisan areas. Everyone who cannot give a satisfactory reason for his presence in these areas is to be recruited by force. b) When large cities are wholly or partly evacuated on account of the difficulty of providing food, those members of the population suitable for labor are to be utilized for labor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht. c) The refugees from the areas near the front should be rounded up with special vigor with the assistance of the Wehrmacht . . . . Gauleiter Sauckel accepted these suggestions with thanks and expressed the expectation that a certain amount of success could be achieved by this means.

From Speer's IMT testimony: The minutes of the meeting show, as I said before, that I opposed measures of coercion. I did not see Keitel's actual order. I know that the order was not carried out. To understand the situation, it is necessary to become familiar with the atmosphere prevailing about 20 July. At that time not every order from headquarters was carried out. As the investigations after 20 July proved, at that time in his capacity as Commander, West, Kluge was already planning negotiations with the western enemies for a capitulation and probably he made his initial attempts at that time. That, incidentally, was the reason for his suicide after the attempt of 20 July had failed.

It is out of the question that Field Marshal Kluge, in the military situation in which he found himself, and considering his views, should have given orders for raids and measures of coercion at that moment. The release of the Sauckel-Laval agreement, which was mentioned in this document, had no practical significance, since the blocked factories were maintained, and thus this agreement could not become effective. This was well known to the officials in France, and the best proof for the fact that the order was not carried out is Document RF-22 of the French Prosecution, which shows that in July 1944 only 3,000 workers came to Germany from France. If the military authorities had used measures of coercion, it would have been a simple matter to send a very much larger number of workers than these 3,000 from France to Germany. I must state quite frankly that although I did use my influence to reduce the recruitment of labor or to put an end to measures of coercion and raids, I did not use it to stop the allocation of labor completely.

July 20, 1944: Hitler survives an assassination attempt (bomb explosion) during a war conference. During the subsequent investigation, a list of ministers slated for the post-Hitler German government is found in a safe of one of the conspirators. Speer is the only minister from the National Socialist regime on this opposition list.

From Speer's Spandau Draft: Toward evening new excitement. A tank unit coming from Potsdam stood at the ready [in the center of the city] waiting for orders from Guderian, their chief commander, the only one they would obey.

"And who knows which side he is on?" I say to Goebbels. "He's always been hot-blooded." But I was wrong about that. A colonel well known to me from my work with the Tank Corps people was in command of this unit, and I managed to get in touch with him. The tanks, he told me, were not part of the rebellion, and shortly afterwards he joined us in Goebbels house to be informed about the situation. Meanwhile it had become clear that the center of the rebellion was Bendlerstrasse ... and an action against them was initiated with the tanks.

It was dark outside by the time we received the report that the building had been taken. I drove over with the tank colonel . . . . [Note: In Inside the Third Reich, Speer says he drove over with Major Remer, the leader of the troops loyal to the regime.] At the gate I found Kaltenbrunner [head of the Gestapo] with a number of SS leaders. He told me he thought this was an army matter, to be settled by them, and therefore, as any participation by the SS would only lead to ill-feeling, his people had been forbidden to enter the building. I thought it was a sensible attitude, though as it turned out, it didn't last long. [Note: The full account in the Spandau Draft is quite different in both detail and tone from the later, published version. In the Draft, Speer works closely with Goebbels in mobilizing loyal units. In Inside the Third Reich, he implies between the lines that he was actually somewhat in favor of the attempted coup.] (Sereny)

From Speer's Nuremberg Draft: What clearly emerged [from the interrogations conducted by Kaltenbrunner of the conspirators] was that there was no indication whatever of any connection or communication between the conspirators and the enemy . . . . It was quite clear, that these accused men who were on the Central Staff, or serving members of the Home Army or at the front, in no way forgot or neglected their duty to their country. What emerged was a clear division between their commitment to the coup, and their awareness of their obligation to maintain the army's will to fight . . . . They manifestly intended to continue the war in the East, hopefully in collaboration with the Western Allies with whom they would doubtlessly have negotiated better conditions for peace. It is important to state for posterity that these men were not traitors to their country. (Sereny)

From Speer's IMT testimony: I did not participate, nor was I informed of it [the assassination attempt] in advance. At that time I was against assassinating Hitler. At that period I was working in collaboration with Army experts of the General Staff and the commander of the Home Defense Forces. Both staffs were the nucleus of the attempt of 20 July. I had particularly close relations with Generaloberst Fromm, chief of the Home Defense Forces, and also with Generaloberst Zeitzler, the Chief of the Army General Staff. After 20 July Fromm was hanged and Zeitzler was dismissed from the Army. A close contact developed through this collaboration, and these circles recognized my technical achievements. I assumed at that time that that was why they wanted to retain me. I was well known for the fact that for a long time I had spoken my mind emphatically and in public regarding the abuses which took place in Hitler's immediate circle. As I found out later, I shared the opinions of the men of 20 July in many points of principle . . . .

During that time it was extremely easy to start a plot. One could accost practically any man in the street and tell him what the situation was, and then he would say: "This is insane"; and if he had any courage he would place himself at your disposal. Unfortunately, I had no organization behind me which I could call upon and give orders to, or designate who should have done this or that. That is why I had to depend on personal conversations to contact all kinds of people. But I do want to say that it was not as dangerous as it looks here because actually the unreasonable people who were still left only amounted perhaps to a few dozen. The other 80 million were perfectly sensible as soon as they knew what it was all about.

I, personally, when I became Minister in February 1942, placed myself at the disposal of this Fuehrer Principle. But I admit that in my organization I soon saw that the Fuehrer Principle was full of tremendous mistakes, and so I tried to weaken its effect. The terrible danger of the authoritarian system, however, became really clear only at the moment when we were approaching the end. It was then that one could see what the principle really meant, namely, that every order should be carried out without criticism. Everything that has become known during this Trial in the way of orders carried out without any consideration, finally proved-for example the carrying-out of the order to destroy the bridges in our own country-to be a mistake or a consequence of this authoritarian system. The authoritarian system-or let me put it like this-upon the collapse of the authoritarian system it became clear what tremendous dangers there are in a system of that kind, quite apart from the personality of Hitler. The combination of Hitler and this system, then, brought about these terrible catastrophes in the world.

July 20, 1944: Hitler addresses the Reich by radio:

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.

July 23, 1944: From an article by Goebbels:

As our V-1s raced over the English Channel for the first time during the night of 16 June, the English public was struck by paralyzing fear. The British Home Secretary Morrison saw himself forced to speak to the House of Commons the next morning about the use of our new weapon of revenge. He did that in a very tortured manner, openly admitting the seriousness of the situation for the British capital, but also attempting to reduce or even deny the serious effects of our revenge weapon. He apparently believed that he could deceive us about the extent of the damage caused, which was not possible, since our months of tests gave us opportunity to understand the new V-1 weapon in every detail, in particular its accuracy and explosive force. But there was yet another crucial reason behind the British home secretary's attempt to make our first revenge weapon ridiculous. He did not want to give foreign countries the chance to learn the effects of the V-1, particularly since English government circles hoped to develop sufficient defensive measures. These hopes have proved vain...

August 1, 1944: Speer's ministry takes control of air armament.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I took over the air armament from Goering on 1 August 1944. With that the total production was marshaled under me with 14 million workers. The number of workers applies to the Greater German Reich, not including the occupied countries. The administrative sectors in the various armament offices retained their tasks. In that way, for example, in the Army, the Heereswaffenamt--the Army Ordnance Office--which contained several thousand workers, gave the orders, supervised the carrying out of these orders, and saw to it that delivery of the orders and payment were carried out in a proper manner. Only in that way did I succeed in having the entire armament production-which amounted to 3,000 or 4,000 million marks a month-carried through with an honorary co-worker staff of 6,000 people. There actually was a small group of enterprises which were run directly by the Wehrmacht branches with their own workers. These were excepted. They were the munitions plants and similar industries, and also the enterprises of the SS.

Up to August, 1944--that is up till the time when I took over the air armament as well--perhaps 30 or 40 percent of all the workers provided. Of course, by far the majority of them were German workers. When in August 1944 I took over the air armament I had no appreciable demand for workers because the bomber attacks on the transportation system in the Reich resulted in a steady decline of armament production. The volume of armament production and also of our entire production with my corresponding need for labor was governed by our raw material supply. My need for labor was limited by the amount of raw materials.

In 1944, 7 times as many weapons were manufactured as in 1942, 5 times as many armored vehicles, and 6 times as much ammunition. The number of workers in these branches was increased by only 30 percent. This success was not brought about through a greater exploitation of labor but rather through the abolition of obsolete methods of production and through an improved system of controlling the production of armament.

August 3, 1944: Speer speaks at a second conference (See: October 6, 1943) of Gauleiter’s in the town hall of Posen, in Nazi occupied Poland.

August 4, 1944: From Goebbels' Diary:

[Yesterday, another Posen Conference was held] which simply cannot be compared with the last one [October 6, 1943] . . . In the afternoon Speer speaks for two hours ... giving them for the first time the detailed new production figures which cause a sensation: his achievements, of which the Gauleiter really had no idea, are very impressive and have a calming effect on them . . . . Later Himmler ... [spoke about] the Twentieth of July [the failed assassination attempt on Hitler] with shocking details ... which we must not allow the public to hear . . . . At midnight I travel with Speer to headquarters.

August 10, 1944: Speer and General Adolf Galland, in opposition to Hitler's ordered transfer of the newly refurbished Reich air fleet to the West, meet with Hitler at his headquarters. Speer and Galland contend that any air fleet unfortunate enough to be deployed within reach of the American and British air forces will soon be completely destroyed. Hardly have their arguments been voiced when Hitler breaks out in a rage: "Operative measures are my concern! Kindly concern yourself with your armaments! This is none of your business." He dismisses the two with "I have no more time for you." (Speer)

August 11, 1944: Speer and Galland, about to fly back to Berlin, are summoned back to the still raging Fuehrer for a further dressing down:

I want no more planes produced at all. The fighter arm is to be dissolved. Stop aircraft production! Stop it at once, understand? Your always complaining about the shortage of skilled workers, aren't you? Put them into flak production at once. Let all the workers produce antiaircraft guns. Use all the material for that too! Now that's an order. Send Saur to headquarters immediately. A program for flak production must be set up. Tell Saur that too. A program five times what we have now . . . We'll shift hundreds of thousands of workers into flak production. Every day I read in the foreign press reports [about] how dangerous flak is. They still have some respect for that, but not for our fighter. [Note: Hitler will later allow the production of aircraft to proceed after being informed that it is simply not possible to convert all those aircraft plants to flak production.] (Speer)

August 18, 1944: From a Letter from the Fuehrer's headquarters marked Top Secret:

Pending judicial proceedings against any act of terror or sabotage, or any other crime committed by non-German civilians in the occupied territories which endangers the security or the state of tactical readiness of the occupying power, are suspended. Indictments are to be withdrawn. The carrying out of sentences is not to be ordered. The accused and the records are to be turned over to the nearest office of the Security Police and SD . . . . Non-German civilians in the occupied territories who endanger the security or state of tactical readiness of the occupying power in a manner other than through acts of terrorism and sabotage are to be turned over to the SD.

August 19, 1944: General Guenther 'Hans' von Kluge commits suicide.

August 30, 1944: Speer writes to Hitler:

... there are shortages in important categories (chemical industry and the fuel production industry) of those materials necessary for the conduct of modem warfare.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In this phase of the war Hitler deceived all of us. From the summer of 1944 on he circulated, through Ambassador Hewel of the Foreign Office, definite statements to the effect that conversation with foreign powers had been started. Generaloberst Jodl has confirmed this to me here in Court. In this way, for instance, the fact that several visits were paid to Hitler by the Japanese Ambassador was interpreted to mean that through Japan we were carrying on conversations with Moscow; or else Minister Neubacher, who was here as a witness, was reported to have initiated conversations in the Balkans with the United States; or else the former Soviet Ambassador in Berlin was alleged to have been in Stockholm for the purpose of initiating conversations.

In this way he raised hopes that, like Japan, we would start negotiations in this hopeless situation, so that the people would be saved from the worst consequences. To do this, however, it was necessary to stiffen resistance as much as possible. He deceived all of us by holding out to the military leaders false hopes in the success of diplomatic steps and by promising the political leaders fresh victories through the use of new troops and new weapons and by systematically spreading rumors to encourage the people to believe in the appearance of a miracle weapon--all for the purpose of keeping up resistance. I can prove that during this period I made continual reference in my speeches and in my letters, which I wrote to Hitler and Goebbels, as to how dishonest and disastrous I considered this policy of deceiving the people by promising them a miracle weapon. All the military leaders whom I knew said at that time that the war was bound to end in October or November, since the invasion had been successful.

I myself was of the same opinion in view of the fuel situation. This may be clearly seen from the memorandum, which I sent to Hitler on 30 August, in which I told him that in view of this development in the fuel situation no operational actions by the troops would be possible by October or November. The fact that the war lasted longer than that can be ascribed only to the standstill of the enemy of Pensive in 1944. This made it possible to throttle our fuel consumption and to give the Western Front new supplies of tanks and ammunition. In these circumstances I was perfectly willing to accept responsibility for abandoning the industries in the western countries to the enemy in an undamaged condition, for they could be of no use to them for at least 9 months, the transport system having been destroyed beforehand. This memorandum coincides with the protection of the unemployed workers in the blocked factories--a matter which is dealt with this morning.

August 31, 1944: Speer tells a group of colleagues that "I do not intend to succumb to the psychosis of attaching too much importance to the new weapons. Nor am I responsible for the extremely prominent place they are being given in our propaganda." (Speer)

From Speer's IMT testimony: No, and I consider it utterly improbable [that a newly invented weapon of destruction eradicated almost instantaneously 20,000 people in an experiment which was carried out near Auschwitz]. If we had had such a weapon under preparation, I should have known about it. But we did not have such a weapon. It is clear that in chemical warfare attempts were made on both sides to carry out research on all the weapons one could think of, because one did not know which party would start chemical warfare first.

September 2, 1944: Goebbels’ Diary:

Speer rings from HQ [where Hitler had ordered that all services, including the armaments industry, had to supply men for the army] complaining once again . . . . He tells me the Fuehrer wants 300,000 men at once . . . . Goering will give us 100,000 from the Luftwaffe, Speer says he [can only find] 50,000. But I intend to persuade the Fuehrer not to let Speer pick the raisons out of the cake.

September 3, 1944: Goebbels’ Diary: The Fuehrer has decided: Speer has to give us 100,000 men now.

September 5, 1944: Speer, acting to stop scorched earth destruction, directs the managers of the coal and iron production and the chief of the civilian administration in Luxembourg to prevent destruction of the ore mines in the Saar and Minette and the coal mines of Holland and Belgium.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In case of occupation by the Allies, Hitler had ordered a far-reaching system of destruction of war industries in all these countries; according to planned preparations, coal and mineral mines, power plants, and industrial premises were to be destroyed. The Commander, West was responsible for carrying out these orders, since they concerned his operational zone. But I informed him that as far as I was concerned this destruction had no sense and no purpose and that I, in my capacity of Armament Minister, did not consider this destruction necessary. Thereupon no order to destroy these things was given. By this, of course, I made myself responsible to Hitler for the fact that no destruction took place.

He could not sanction these measures for he knew nothing about them. It was a period of such hectic activity at headquarters that he never thought of checking up on the measures taken for destruction. Later, in January 1945, reports appeared in the French press on the rapid reconstruction of their undestroyed industries. Then, of course, serious charges were raised against me.

As a matter of fact, some overzealous lower officials caused the basic decrees not to destroy in the West to be ignored. Our communications system for orders had been largely destroyed through bombing attacks. Seyss-Inquart had drawn my attention to the fact that destruction was to take place in Holland. He has already testified that I authorized him not to take destructive measures. This was in September 1944.

In addition, in order to prevent such destruction, on 5 September 1944, acting without authorization, I directed the managers of the coal and iron production and the chief of the civilian administration in Luxembourg to prevent destruction in the Minette ore mines, in the Saar coal mines, and the coal mines of Belgium and Holland, et cetera. In view of the hopeless war situation at that time, I, as the person responsible for supplying electric current, continued to furnish current to the undertakings on the other side of the front so that the pump stations in the coal mines would not have to stop working, because if these pump stations had stopped the mines would have been flooded.

September 14, 1944: Speer returns to Berlin after a tour of the front.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I returned from a trip to the Western Front on 14 September 1944 and found the decree awaiting me that everything was to be destroyed ruthlessly. I immediately issued a counter-decree officially ordering all industrial installations to be spared. At that time I was very much upset about the fact that industries were now to be destroyed in Germany in the hopeless war situation, and I was all the more upset because I thought I had succeeded in saving the industries in the occupied western territories from destruction.

September 14, 1944: Speer to Hitler:

Belief in the imminent commitment of new, decisive weapons is widespread among the troops. They are expecting such commitment within days or weeks. This opinion is also seriously shared by high-ranking officers. It is questionable whether it is right, in such difficult times, to arouse hopes which cannot be fulfilled in so short a time and therefore must necessarily produce a disappointment which could have unfavorable effects upon morale. Since the population, too, is daily waiting for the miracle of the new weapons, wondering whether we know that the eleventh hour is already upon us and that holding back these new--stockpiled--weapons can no longer be justified, the question arises whether this propaganda serves a useful purpose. (Speer)

September 15, 1944: A US Colonel in the War Department's Special Project Branch, Murray Bernays, proposes the most controversial part of the approach that will be used by the prosecution at Nuremberg; that of treating the Nazi regime as a criminal conspiracy.

September 15, 1944: At the Quebec summit conference between Roosevelt and Churchill, the Treasury Plan for the Treatment of Germany, known as the Morgenthau Plan, is adopted. Its three main points are: 1) Germany is to be partitioned into two independent states. 2) Germany's main centers of mining and industry, including the Saar area, the Ruhr area and Upper Silesia are to be Internationalized or annexed by neighboring nations. 3) All heavy industry is to be dismantled or otherwise destroyed. The Morgenthau Plan, along with the Allied policy of Unconditional Surrender, will to be fuel for Nazi propaganda. Opposition among some Allies to the plan, as well as Cold War realities, will ultimately cause most of its provisions to be ignored.

September 20, 1944: Goebbels’ Diary:

... Conference with Speer who brought Field Marshal Milch along for support and becomes very stubborn. I try again to explain to him that the choice is not between having ammunition or soldiers, but to have arms and soldiers. Without soldiers the war cannot be carried on ... and the armament industry is now the only place where we can find large numbers of deferred men . . . . What we are calling up now only covers the most essential needs of the Wehrmacht. We have no intention to confront the enemy with unarmed soldiers . . . . Speer's function is to make sure that the new divisions we are creating are properly equipped . . . .

Speer still hasn't learned: I, in any case, will now be more reserved with him. I think we have allowed this young man to become too big . . . . I'm not impressed with his constant talk of historical responsibility and his threats to resign ... it is entirely un-National Socialist behavior.

September 20, 1944: From a memorandum from Speer to Hitler:

The task which I have to fulfill is a nonpolitical one. I was content in my work as long as I personally and my work were evaluated only according to professional achievements and standards. I do not feel strong enough to carry out successfully and without hindrance the technical work to be accomplished by myself and my co-workers if it is to be measured by Party political standards.

From At Hitler's Side, the memoirs of Nicolaus von Below: There can be no doubt that even though Speer, in his innermost being, had been withdrawn from Hitler and, from the time he returned after his illness, frequently ignored his orders, it was immensely important to him not to lose Hitler's trust. Hitler was aware of the change in Speer--he knew that Speer was no longer convinced of our victory. But, in the many conversations he drew me into, particularly during those comparatively quiet [spring] months ... he said repeatedly that despite Speers diminishing faith in victory, he was the only one capable of understanding the complexity of the armaments sector. "Given our urgent needs now," he said, "Speer is the only one who can deal with it." And the fact is, that once Speer had taken it all in hand again, the close relationship between him and Hitler was quickly restored and there was not a trace of distrust on either side.

September 30, 1944: Stalin to Churchill:

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. (Churchill)

October 1, 1944: By this date, 506 women are enslaved in two shifts at the Weichsel Union Metallwerk. The number will rise to 1,088 by the following year.

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. (Churchill)

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)

October 22, 1944: Churchill to FDR:

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. (Churchill)

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. (Churchill)

November 2, 1944: From a letter from Speer to Goebbels:

... it seems to me unwise to arouse hopes in the public which cannot be fulfilled for a considerable time . . . . I would therefore request you take measures so that the daily press and technical journals refrain from alluding to future successes in our armaments production. (Speer)

November 10, 1944: From a Speer circular:

All men and women of the NSDAP, its subsidiaries and affiliated bodies in the works will, in accordance with instructions from their Kreisleiter, be warned by their local group leaders (Ortsgruppenleiter) and be put under obligation to play their part in keeping foreigners under the most careful observation. They will report the least suspicion to the works foreman, which he will pass on to the defense deputy or, where such a deputy has not been appointed, to the police department concerned, while at the same time reporting to the works manager and the local group leader will exert untiringly and continuously their influence on foreigners, both in word and deed, in regard to the certainty of German victory and the German will to resist, thus producing a further increase of output in the works. Party members, both men and women, and members of Party organizations and affiliated bodies must be expected more than ever before to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner.

November 28, 1944: Himmler orders the gas chambers at Auschwitz destroyed. (THC)

December 1, 1944: After witnessing a demonstration of some new Wunderwaffen, Speer comments:

You have seen that we do not have a miraculous secret weapon and probably will never have one. We for our part, speaking as technicians, have always made it perfectly clear to anyone who cared to listen that technical miracles of the sort that the layman expects are not really possible . . . . During my tours of the front I have time and again observed that the divisional and regional commanders are concerned because their men are more and more clinging to a faith in these miracle weapons. I consider such delusions ominous. (Speer)

From Speer's IMT testimony: From August, or rather June or July 1944 on I very often went to the front. I visited about 40 front-line divisions in their sectors and could not help seeing that the troops, just like the German people, were given hopes about a new weapon coming, new weapons and wonder-weapons which, without requiring the use of soldiers, without military forces, would guarantee victory. In this belief lies the secret why so many people in Germany offered their lives, although common sense told them that the war was over. They believed that within the near future this new weapon would arrive.

I wrote to Hitler about it and also tried in different speeches, even before Goebbels' propaganda leaders, to work against this belief. Both Hitler and Goebbels told me, however, that this was no propaganda of theirs but that it was a belief which had grown up amongst the people. Only in the dock here in Nuremberg, I was told by Fritzsche that this propaganda was spread systematically among the people through some channels or other, and that SS Standartenfuehrer Berg was responsible for it. Many things have become clear to me since, because this man Berg, as a representative of the Ministry of Propaganda, had often taken part in meetings, in big sessions of my Ministry, as he was writing articles about these sessions. There he heard of our future plans and then used this knowledge to tell the people about them with more imagination than truth.

December 11, 1944: Speer to Hitler:

In view of the whole structure of the Reich economy, it is obvious that the loss of the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area will in the long run spell ruin for the whole German economy and the further successful prosecution of the war. This would mean, in fact, the total loss of the Ruhr territory as far as the German economy is concerned, with the exception of products manufactured locally within the sector . . . . It is superfluous to discuss the consequence resulting for the whole German Reich if it is deprived of the Ruhr territory.

From Speer's IMT testimony: No [I had no political discussions with Hitler], he regarded me as a purely technical minister. Attempts to discuss political or personnel problems with him always failed because of the fact that he was unapproachable. From 1944 on, he was so averse to general discussions and discussions on the war situation that I set down my ideas in memorandum form and handed them to him. Hitler knew how to confine every man to his own specialty. He himself was therefore the only coordinating factor. This was far beyond his strength and also his knowledge. A unified political leadership was lacking in consequence, as was also an expert military office for making decisions.

December 12, 1944: 800 bombers of the US 8th Air Force carry out attacks against the synthetic fuel plants at Zeitz, Luetzkendorf, Leuna-Merseburg and Bruex. (Davies)

From Speer's US SBS interview: I remember that once you made an attack on Zeitz that had much more effect than the other attacks on the hydrogenation plants. You must have used a different system, because, while we only need a few weeks to reconstruct the factories, the damage in this case was so great that we did not want to repair the damage at first. It might be of interest to you if you would check on which system was used. (SBS)

December 16, 1944 Beleidigender Ardennes: Hitler's big gamble in the West, the Battle of the Bulge, gets underway in Belgium and Luxembourg.

From Speer's US SBS interview: The December offensive was a mistake in its organization. Only a few of the officers were permitted to know about it. Those were listed by name. When, a few days before it started, I checked the spare parts situation for tanks, the responsible men told me 'I have so and so many tanks but they don't roll, therefore I don't need any spare parts.' This ignorance of impending events was in itself an impossible situation. (SBS)

December 17, 1944: From a Goebbels article in Das Reich:

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...

December 17, 1944: The Malmedy massacre, the murder of 90 unarmed American prisoners of war by a unit of the 1st SS Panzer Division, occurs.

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. (Churchill)

January 9, 1944: From the Fuehrer's headquarters, signed by Generaloberst Jodl:

It is of no importance to establish documentary proof of breaches of international law. What is important, however, is the collection of material suitable for a propaganda presentation of a display trial. A display trial as such is therefore not meant actually to take place but merely to be a propaganda presentation of cases of breaches of international law by enemy soldiers, who will be mentioned by name and who have already either been punished with death or are awaiting the death penalty. The Chief of the OKW asks the Chief of the Foreign Department to bring with him pertinent documents for his next visit to the Fuehrer's headquarters.

From Speer's IMT testimony: This proposal, as I already testified yesterday, came from Dr. Goebbels. It was made after the air attack on Dresden, but before this, from the autumn of 1944 on, Goebbels and Ley had often talked about intensifying the war effort in every possible way, so that I had the impression that Goebbels was using the attack on Dresden and the excitement it created merely as an excuse to renounce the Geneva Convention.

January 13, 1945: Speer, in conversation with a group of generals and corps commanders:

I have repeated again and again that we cannot expect miraculous secret weapons, and I have also notified the Fuehrer several times that I consider this entire propaganda campaign utterly wrong-headed, not only because it is misleading but also because it underrates the German soldiers fighting powers . . . . We will never have a secret weapon that will end the war in one blow. There is simply no such thing in the offing. (Speer)

January 18, 1945: An internal accounting is made of the remaining prisoners in the assorted labor and concentration camps: Birkenau; 15,058 Jews remain. Auschwitz: 16,226 people remaining, mostly Poles. Monowitz; 10,233 Jews, Poles and assorted prisoners remaining. Factories of Auschwitz: Another 16,000 Jews, Poles and prisoners. The order for immediate evacuation--by forced march, if necessary--is given.

January 24, 1945: General Guderian meets with Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop. He tells him that the war is lost, and urges him to negotiate an immediate armistice in the West. Ribbentrop acts sympathetic, swears him to secrecy, and then subsequently runs to Hitler with a squealers version of Guderian's views. Two days later, Hitler will express his fury to Keitel within earshot of Guderian:

So, when the Chief of the General Staff goes to see the Foreign Minister and informs him of the situation in the East with the object of securing an armistice in the West, he is doing neither more nor less than committing high treason .... In the future, anyone who tells anyone else that the war is lost will be treated as a traitor, with all the consequences for him and his family. I will take action without regard to rank and reputation! (Read, Kershaw)

From Speer's IMT testimony: Guderian, the Chief of Staff of the Army, reported to Ribbentrop at that time to tell him that the war was lost. Ribbentrop reported this to Hitler. Hitler then told Guderian and myself at the beginning of February that pessimistic statements of the nature of those contained in my memorandum or the step I had taken in regard to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs would in future be considered as high treason and punished accordingly. In addition, some days later, in a situation conference, he forbade his other close collaborators to make any statements about the hopelessness of the situation. Anyone who disobeyed would be shot without regard for position or rank and his family would be arrested.

The statements which Guderian and I made to Hitler about the hopelessness of the war situation had precisely the opposite effect from that which we desired. Early in February, a few days before the beginning of the Yalta Conference, Hitler sent for his press expert and instructed him, in my presence, to announce in the most uncompromising terms and in the entire German press, the intention of Germany never to capitulate. He declared at the same time that he was doing this so that the German people should in no case receive any offer from the enemy. The language used would have to be so strong that enemy statesmen would lose all desire to drive a wedge between himself and the German people.

At the same time Hitler once again proclaimed to the German people the slogan "Victory or Destruction." All these events took place at a time when it should have been clear to him and every intelligent member of his circle that the only thing that could happen was destruction.

No unified action was taken by the leading men in Hitler's circle. A step like this was quite impossible, for these men considered themselves either as pure specialists or else as people whose job it was to receive orders-or else they resigned' themselves to the situation. No one took over the leadership in this situation for the purpose of bringing about at least a discussion with Hitler on the possibility of avoiding further sacrifices.

On the other side there was an influential group which tried, with all the means at their disposal, to intensify the struggle. That group consisted of Goebbels, Bormann, and Ley, and, as we have said, Fegelein and Burgsdorff. This group was also behind the move to induce Hitler to withdraw from the Geneva Convention. At the beginning of February Dr. Goebbels handed to Hitler a very sharp memorandum demanding our withdrawal from the Geneva Convention. Hitler had already agreed to this proposal, as Naumann, who was State Secretary to Goebbels, told me. This step meant that the struggle was to be carried on with all available means and without regard for international agreements. This was the sense of the memorandum addressed by Goebbels to Hitler.
It must be said that this intention of Hitler and Goebbels failed on account of the unanimous resistance offered by the military leaders, as Naumann also told me later.

January 25, 1945 Beleidigender Ardennes: Hitler's big gamble, the Battle of the Bulge, collapses. The last of the German reserves are now gone. (Shirer)

January 27, 1945: From the notes of a Fuehrer conference:

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)

January 27, 1945: The liberation of Auschwitz occurs.

January 30, 1945: Speer to Hitler:

After the loss of Upper Silesia, the German armament production will no longer be in a position to cover even a fraction of the requirements of the front as regards munitions, weapons and tanks, losses on the front, and equipment needed for new formations . . . . The material superiority of the enemy can therefore no longer be compensated, even by the bravery of our soldiers.

From Speer's IMT testimony: From January 1945 onward, a very unpleasant chapter begins: The last phase of the war and the realization that Hitler had identified the fate of the German people with his own; and from March 1945 onward, the realization that Hitler intended deliberately to destroy the means of life for his own people if the war were lost. I have no intention of using my actions during that phase of the war to help me in my personal defense, but this is a matter of honor which must be defended; and for that reason I should like to tell you briefly about this period of time.

The fuel production had been quite inadequate since the beginning of the attacks on fuel plants in May 1944, and the situation did not improve afterwards. The bombing of our transportation centers had eliminated the Ruhr area as a source of raw material for Germany as early as November 1944; and with the successful Soviet offensive in the coal areas of Upper Silesia, most of our supply of coal from that region had been cut off since the middle of January 1945.

Thus we could calculate precisely when economy must collapse; we had reached a point at which, even if there were a complete cessation of operations on the part of the enemy, the war would soon be lost, since the Reich, because of its lack of coal, was on the verge of an economic collapse.

At that time Hitler issued the slogan that in defense of the fatherland the soldiers' bravery would increase tremendously and that vice versa the Allied troops, after the liberation of the occupied territories, would have less will to fight. That was also the main argument employed by Goebbels and Bormann to justify the use of all means to intensify the war.

February 8, 1945: Speer sends his friend and assistant, Rudolf Wolters, on a trip to what will soon be the British Zone, to lay the foundation for a post-war enterprise.

From Segments of a Life by Rudolf Wolters: His [Speers] plan was to start, together with a small number of the architects of his Baustab, an architectural firm which would introduce prefabricated housing on a large scale. Rather than use our obsolete building industry to produce these prefabs, he planned to turn to experienced airplane manufacturers such as Heinkel and Messerschmitt.

He himself, he said, was unlikely to be available to this future project for the first few months after the war: he was pretty certain the Allies would wish to use his expertise for the country's reconstruction . . . .

He had wanted my friend Schlempp, one of his top Baustab managers, to accompany me on this trip, but as Schlempp was still busy supervising factory construction for the V-2 rockets, he told me to take Schlempp's deputy, a man called Luebke. [Note: Heinrich Luebke is a surveyor who will, fourteen years later, become President of West Germany.]

February 4-11, 1945 Yalta Conference: President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin meet near Yalta, on the Crimean Peninsula, for the second of three wartime conferences among the major Allied Power leaders. The three leaders agree that: "The establishment of order in Europe, and the rebuilding of national economic life, must be achieved by processes which will enable the liberated peoples to destroy the last vestiges of Nazism and fascism and to create democratic institutions of their own choice."

February 13-15, 1945: 1,300 heavy bombers drop over 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices in four raids on the city of Dresden. Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent scholarship places the figure at somewhere between 24,000 and 40,000. (Davies)

February 14, 1945: Speer writes to the Reich Finance Minister Count Schwerin-Krosigk, offering to turn over "the entire sizable increase of my personal fortune since the year 1933 for the benefit of the Reich," an act of self-sacrifice intended to help stabilize the unstable mark. When Schwerin-Krosigk discusses the offer with Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister, perhaps fearful that he will be expected to follow suit, disallows the action. (Speer)

February 19-20, 1945: From notes of a conferences between Grand Admiral Doenitz and Hitler:

The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany should renounce the Geneva Convention...The Fuehrer orders the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy to consider the pros and cons of this step and to state his opinion as soon as possible. Doenitz:

On the contrary, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Even from a general standpoint it appears to the Commander-in-Chief that this measure would bring no advantage. It would be better to carry out the measures considered necessary without warning, and at all costs to save face with the outer world.

February 24, 1945: Hitler addresses the Reich by radio:

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...

March 2, 1945: Goebbels’ Diary:

... Evacuation now proceeding in a semi-orderly manner. The question is whether we can actually transport great masses of German refugees to Denmark, as the Fuehrer wishes.

March 2, 1945: Goebbels’ Diary:

... In the Reich, overall, some 17 million people have now been evacuated ... a really horrifying percentage . . . . Some 800,000 people [moved] ... largely by sea since the Soviets had already cut the roads. The Reich has now become fairly constricted. We have therefore decided to carry out no more evacuations from the west ... people must look after themselves.

March 13, 1945: Goebbels’ Diary:

... The Fuehrer now decided that, notwithstanding the extraordinary difficulties, evacuation is to continue in the west. But [his] decision, as I can see from a situation report from Speer after a trip to the west, is based on false premises since the people simply refuse to leave their towns and villages. Speer studied conditions exhaustively and reached the conclusion that further evacuation is impracticable.

He is very critical of these measures. His viewpoint is that it is no function of war policy to lead a people to a historic doom ... and he points out that the Fuehrer explicitly stated this himself in Mein Kampf.

Note: Goebbels refers to two excerpts from Mein Kampf that German industrialist Friedrich Lueschem had passed to Speer in February:
The task of diplomacy is to ensure that a nation does not heroically perish, but that measures are taken to preserve it. Any means that achieves this purpose is entirely proper and any failure to pursue this end must be considered a criminal neglect of duty . . . .

Authority of the state cannot exist as an end in itself since otherwise every tyranny on earth would be sacred and unassailable. If, by means government has at its disposal, it leads a people to destruction, then the rebellion of every single member of such nation is not only a right, but a duty.

March 18, 1945: Responding to a report by Commander in Chief in the West, Kesselring, that the German populace is playing a negative role in the struggle against advancing American forces, Hitler orders Keitel to draft the following order:

The presence of the population in the battle zone threatened by the enemy imposes difficulties upon the fighting troops, as it does upon the population itself. The Fuehrer therefore issues the following command: West of the Rhine, or in the Saar Palatinate, as the case may be, all inhabitants are to be evacuated at once from the area, beginning directly behind the main battle field . . . . Removal is to take place in a general southeasterly direction.

Neither Speer, nor anyone else present at the conference, raises any objection to this ridiculous order. In fact, Bormann sends out a circular the next day with implementation instructions, including that 'in case transportation is not available, evacuation should be undertaken in horse- or ox-drawn wagons. If necessary the male part of the population should proceed on foot. (Speer)

From Speer's IMT testimony: I can say quite briefly that the preferential food supplies which I finally put into effect were arranged at the time for the purpose of planned re-conversion from war to peace. This was at the expense of armament, which I personally represented. The tremendous number of measures which we introduced would be too extensive to describe here. All of these decrees are still available. It was a question of arranging, contrary to the official policy, that shortly before their occupation large towns should be sufficiently supplied with food and of taking every step to insure that, despite the catastrophe in transportation, the 1945 crop should be insured by sending the seed in good time, which was a burning problem just then. Had the seeds arrived a few weeks too late, then the crops would have been extremely bad. These measures had, of course, a direct, disadvantageous effect on armament production which cannot be measured. But at any rate, armaments were only able to maintain production through reserves until the middle of March, after which there was no armament production worth mentioning. This was due to the fact that we had only 20 to 30 percent of the transportation capacity at our disposal, which necessitated preference for food transports over armaments. Therefore transportation of armaments was, practically speaking, out of the question.

March 18, 1945: On a beautiful Sunday morning, 1,250 American bombers with a 700 fighter escort deliver a devastating raid on Berlin. The Luftwaffe sends 28 ME-262 jet fighters into the fray--the first significant number of these jets to see action--and they succeed in shooting down a mere 15 Allied planes. 7 more US planes are brought down by flak. Speer finds himself sharing a shelter from this raid with Dieter Stahl, a 'Dollar-a-Year' industrialist in charge of munitions production. (Read, Sereny, Davies)

From Speer's Spandau Draft: The tension of the raid no doubt contributed to the frankness of our [Speer and Dieter Stahl] conversation about the catastrophic policies pursued by the Reich Chancellory. I asked him whether he thought he could get hold of some of the poison gas Tabun for me and when, not surprisingly, he looked at me questioningly, I told him that I wanted to try to introduce it into the Reich Chancellory bunker. He seemed neither surprised nor alarmed.

A few days later he told me that he had talked to his people and found out that Tabun only became effective on explosion. Although they told him that, if required, it could be introduced into artillery shells which his own factory produced, we both realized that, as this would have shattered the thin air ducts of the bunker, it meant that this method was unsuitable for my purpose. (Sereny)

From the IMT written interrogatory of Dieter Stahl: To my total surprise, I found here for the first time a man in a leading and responsible position who saw the situation realistically, prosaically and clearly, and had not only the courage to initiate such really dangerous conversations, but was determined to act.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I thought there was no other way out [than to assassinate Hitler, Bormann, and Goebbels]. In my despair I wanted to take this step as it had become obvious to me since the beginning of February that Hitler intended to go on with the war at all costs, ruthlessly and without consideration for the German people. It was obvious to me that in the loss of the war he confused his own fate with that of the German people and that in his own end he saw the end of the German people as well. It was also obvious that the war was lost so completely that even unconditional surrender would have to be accepted.

I do not wish to testify to the details here. I could only carry it through personally because from 20 July only a limited circle still had access to Hitler. I met with various technical difficulties . . . . I am most unwilling to describe the details because there is always something repellent about such matters. I do it only because it is the Tribunal's wish.

In those days Hitler, after the military situation conference, often had conversations in his shelter with Ley, Goebbels, and Bormann, who were particularly close to him then because they supported and co-operated in his radical course of action. Since 20 July it was no longer possible even for Hitler's closest associates to enter this shelter without their pockets and briefcases being examined by the SS for explosives. As an architect I knew this shelter intimately. It had an air-conditioning plant similar to the one installed in this courtroom.

It would not be difficult to introduce the gas into the ventilator of the air-conditioning plant, which was in the garden of the Reich Chancellery. It was then bound to circulate through the entire shelter in a very short time. Thereupon, in the middle of February 1945, I sent for Stahl, the head of my main department "Munitions," with whom I had particularly close relations, since I had worked in close co-operation with him during the destruction’s. I frankly told him of my intention, as his testimony shows. I asked him to procure this new poison gas for me from the munitions production. He inquired of one of his associates, Oberstleutnant Soika of the armament of lice of the Army, on how to get hold of this poison gas; it turned out that this new poison gas was only effective when made to explode, as the high temperature necessary for the formation of gas would then be reached. I am not sure whether I am going too much into detail.

An explosion was not possible, however, as this air-conditioning plant was made of thin sheets of tin, which would have been torn to pieces by the explosion. Thereupon I had conferences with Hanschel, the chief engineer of the Chancellery, starting in the middle of March 1945. By these discussions I managed to arrange that the anti-gas filter should no longer be switched on continuously. In this way I would have been able to use the ordinary type of gas. Naturally, Hanschel had no knowledge of the purpose for which I was conducting the talks with him. When the time came, I inspected the ventilator shaft in the garden of the Chancellery along with Hanschel; and there I discovered that on Hitler's personal order this ventilator had recently been surrounded by a chimney 4 meters high. That can still be ascertained today. Due to this it was no longer possible to carry out my plan.

March 18, 1945: Speer to Hitler:

The enemy air force has concentrated further on traffic installations. Economic transportation has thereby been considerably reduced . . . . In 4 to 8 weeks the final collapse of German economy must therefore be expected with certainty . . . . After that collapse, the war cannot even be continued militarily . . . . We at the head have the duty to help the nation in the difficult times which must be expected. In this connection we must soberly, and without regard for our fate, ask ourselves the question as to how this can be done even in the more remote future. If the opponent wishes to destroy the nation and the basis of its existence, then he must do the job himself. We must do everything to maintain, even if perhaps in a most primitive manner, a basis of existence for the nation to the last. . . .

It must be insured that, if the battle advances farther into the territory of the Reich, nobody has the right to destroy industrial plants, coal mines, electric plants, and other supply facilities, as well as traffic facilities and inland shipping routes, et cetera. The blowing-up of bridges to the extent which has been planned would mean that traffic facilities would be more thoroughly destroyed than the air attacks of the last years have been able to achieve. Their destruction means the removal of any further possibilities of existence for the German nation...We have no right, at this stage of the war, to carry out destruction’s on our part which might affect the life of the people. If the enemies wish to destroy this nation, which has fought with unique bravery, then this historical shame shall rest exclusively upon them. We have the obligation of leaving to the nation all possibilities which, in the more remote future, might be able to insure for it a new reconstruction.

March 18, 1945: After reading Speer's memorandum, Hitler meets privately with Speer, telling him:

If the war is lost, the nation will also perish. This fate is inevitable. There is no necessity to take into consideration the basis which the people will need to continue a most primitive existence. On the contrary, it will be better to destroy these things ourselves because this nation will have proved to be the weaker one and the future will belong solely to the stronger eastern nation (Russia). Besides, those who remain after the battle are only the inferior ones, for the good ones have been killed. (Shirer)

March 19, 1945 Nero Decree:

Fuehrer Order: 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 Gauleiter’s 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.

From Speer's IMT testimony: The scorched earth policy was officially proclaimed in the Volkischer Beobachter at the same time in an official article by the Reich press chief, so that I realized quite clearly that my counter-decree could not be effective for any length of time. In this connection I used a method which is perhaps typical of the means employed by Hitler's immediate circle. In order to dissuade him from the scorched earth policy, I made use of the faith which he induced in all his co-workers that the lost territories would be recaptured. I made him decide between the two situations: Firstly, if these industrial areas were lost, my armament potential would sink if they were not recaptured; and secondly, if they were recaptured they would be of value to us only if we had not destroyed them.

All these measures were not so difficult; and they were not so dangerous, as one might perhaps imagine, because in those days—after January 1945—any reasonable measure could be carried out in Germany against the official policy. Any reasonable man welcomed such measures and was satisfied if anyone would assume responsibility for them. All of these conferences took place among a large circle of specialists. Every one of these participants knew the meaning of these orders without its ever being said. During those days I also had close contacts with reference to other similar measures with the State Secretaries of the Ministries of Transport, of Food, of Propaganda, and later even with the State Secretary of the Party Chancellery, that is, Bormann himself. They were all old Party members and in spite of that they did their duty to the nation at that time differently from the way in which many leading men in the Party were doing it. I kept them currently informed—in spite of Hitler's prohibition—of the developments in the military situation, and in that manner there was much that we could do jointly to stop the insane orders of those days.

By the middle of March 1945 the enemy troops were once more on the move. It was absolutely clear by then that quite soon those territories which had not yet been occupied would be occupied. That included the territories of Polish Upper Silesia and others outside the borders of the old Reich. The ordered destruction of all bridges during retreat was actually the greatest danger, because a bridge blown up by engineers is much more difficult to repair than a bridge which has been destroyed by an air attack. A planned destruction of bridges amounts to the destruction of the entire life of a modern state.

In addition, beginning with the end of January, radical circles in the Party were making demands for the' destruction of industry; and it was also Hitler's opinion that this should be so. In February 1945 therefore I stopped production and delivery of the so-called industrial dynamiting materials. The intention was that the stocks of explosives in the mines and in private possession should be diminished. As a witness of mine has testified, these orders were actually carried out. In the middle of March Guderian and I tried once more to stop the ordered destruction of bridges or to reduce it to a minimum. An order was submitted to Hitler which he refused bluntly, on the contrary demanding intensified orders for the destruction of bridges.

Simultaneously, on 18 March 1945, he had eight officers shot because they had failed to do their duty in Connection with the destruction of a bridge. He announced this fact in the Armed Forces bulletin so that it should serve as a warning for future cases. Thus it was extremely difficult to disobey orders for the destruction of bridges. In spite of this existing prohibition I sent a new memorandum to Hitler on 18 March 1945, the contents of which were very clear and in which I did not allow him any further excuses for the measures he had planned. The memorandum was brought to the attention of numerous of his associates. This expressed clearly enough something which Hitler must know in any case, because there was no need for much economic insight to realize the results of such destruction for the future of the nation.



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