From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: After the first World War my life and my work were determined by the distress of my people. We called this distress 'Versailles' ... certain restoration of the power of the German Reich would have been desirable because I saw in the weakness of the Reich a potential danger of war.
But to change the Treaty of Versailles by means of war did not seem to me to be possible, expedient, nor desirable. The same sentiment prevailed later under the Hitler Government. Adolf Hitler gave two assurances on just this point which, for me and for millions of other Germans, were especially impressive. The first was the assurance: "I myself was a simple soldier and therefore know what war means." The second was the statement: "In all the bloody wars of the last thousand years not even the victors gained as much as they had sacrificed in the war." These two assurances sounded to German ears like holy and binding oaths. Whatever in Hitler's policy should have violated these two assurances was a betrayal of the German people.
Note: As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can be punishable by death.September 2, 1921: The Permanent Court of International Justice comes into force.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: At the seizure of power by National Socialism, I remained what I had been previously, Chief Editor of Drahtloser Dienst. That was the name of the German radio news service. I held that position for 5 more years. In May 1933 this wireless service, which had been a part of the Reich Radio Company, was incorporated into the press section of the Propaganda Ministry. As I was a specialist in journalistic news service, I soon was entrusted with the news agencies, first the smaller ones such as Transozean or Europapress or Eildienst. Later I was entrusted with the big Deutsches Nachrichtenburo (German news service). At that time, I had no power to issue orders to the agencies, for I was still an employee of the Ministry and not yet an official. I also had no right to determine the contents of the news. I had only the organizational supervision, but I believe that my advice was respected at the time. In those days I also gave other advice of a journalistic nature.January 30, 1933: From Goebbels' Diary:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: One can by no means say that we [Fritzsche and Goebbels] were friends. The relationship was on an official basis, reserved and to a certain extent formal. I was personally even less frequently with him than Other assistants of Dr. Goebbels of my rank. But l believed I observed that he treated me with more respect than any other of his co-workers. To that extent, I occupied a certain special position. I valued Dr. Goebbels' intelligence and his ability, at least sometimes, to change his own opinion in favor of a better argument. I saw him about twice a year during the first 5 years. When I was head of a department I saw him perhaps once a month. After the outbreak of war I saw him daily in the course of a conference with 30 to 50 fellow employees; and in addition, about once a week I had a conference on special subjects with him.January 30, 1933: From a telegram to Hindenburg from Ludendorff:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: ... the danger of war was mentioned as early as 1933--the danger of war due to the one-sided disarmament of one state in the midst of other states which were highly armed. This disproportion between armament and non-armament had to be considered as enticing (as) an attack. German propaganda after 1933 underlined this consideration and this contention as one of the main reasons, first, for the demand for disarmament of the other powers and afterwards for the German demand for equality of armament. That seemed completely logical to me. But never was the danger of war mentioned without, at the same time, making a reference to the German will for peace. That seemed to me honest.February 26, 1933: During a seance in Berlin, Eric Hanussen predicts that a great fire will soon strike a large building in the Capital. An eagle, he claims, will rise from the smoke and flames.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: As far as I can recollect, the persons to be taken to these camps were those who could not be restrained from taking an active part against the new State. It was stated that the reason for the establishment of these camps was the abnormal internal political situation prevailing at that time: A weak center party and two strong extreme parties, one of which had now assumed power. Steps were taken to put matters on a proper legal basis. Only later was it mentioned that habitual criminals were also to be brought to the concentration camps to prevent them from reverting to crime . . . . Before the war I had heard about three camps. During the war I suspected there were five to six; and the chart of a large number of camps which was exhibited here, was quite a surprise to me . . . .
Even as early as 1933 or 1934 I spoke to a journalist who had been interned for a few weeks in the Oranienburg concentration camp, which was the old Oranienburg camp. He informed me that he himself had not been tortured but that he had seen and heard how others had been beaten and how their fingers had deliberately been squeezed in a door . . . . This journalist--I believe his name was Stolzenberg, as far as I remember--did not wish to have his name mentioned. I wrote three letters, one to Dr. Goebbels--and he informed me that he would look into the matter--another letter to Frick as Minister of the Interior, and one to Goering as Prussian Prime Minister. Senior officials from both these offices rang me up and told me that an investigation was being carried out. A short time afterwards, I heard that this old camp Oranienburg had been dissolved and that the commander had been sentenced to death. This was a report given to me by a Herr Von Lutzow, who was press reporter for Diels or Diehl, who at that time was chief of the State Police.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I was not anti-Semitic in the idea of a noisy anti-Semitism. The Prosecution has asserted that all defendants--that is, including myself--had shouted, "Germany awake and Judaism shall die." I will state under oath that I never raised this cry or one similar. I was not anti-Semitic in the sense of either the radical theories or methods beginning with Theodor Fritsch to Julius Streicher. The Prosecution has stated that even the Defendant Streicher, the main anti-Jewish agitator of all times, could hardly have excelled Fritzsche when it came to libels against the Jews. I protest against this statement. I do not believe that I deserve any such accusation. Never did I give out any propaganda dealing with ritual murders, cabala, and the so-called secrets of the Elders of Zion. At all times of my life I considered them machinations of a rather primitive agitation.April 1, 1933: A week into Hitler's dictatorship of Germany, Goebbels orders a boycott of Jewish shops, banks, offices and department stores.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I should like to state only that in 1933 at the time of the Jewish boycott, which was organized by the NSDAP, the sympathies of the German people clearly turned again in favor of the Jews. For a number of years the Party tried hard to prevent the public from buying in Jewish stores. Finally they even had to resort to threats. A profound and decisive factor in this development was the promulgating of the Nuremberg Laws. As a result of these the fight against the Jews was taken for the first time out of the sphere of pure agitation, that is, the kind of agitation from which one could remain aloof, and, shifted to the field of State Police. At that time a deep feeling of fear ran through the German people, for now dissension spread even to individual families. At that time many human tragedies resulted, tragedies which were obvious to many, probably to everyone, and there was only one justification for these racial laws. There was only one excuse for them and one explanation; that was the assertion and the hope: Well, now that the separation of the two peoples is being carried out, although painfully, there will at last be an end to the wild and unbridled agitation; and due to this separation there will be peace where formerly only unrest reigned.April 2, 1933: From a letter from Neurath to Hitler:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I never set up or voiced the theory of the "master race." I even avoided this term. I expressly prohibited this term being used by the German press and the German radio when I was in charge of one or the other. I believe that the term "master race" played a greater role in the anti-National Socialist propaganda than in Germany proper. I do not know who invented this term. To my knowledge it was publicly mentioned only by men like Dr. Ley, for example, men--and I must explain this frankly and expressly--who were not taken seriously by anyone in this connection. It is true, however, that this term played a great role, without being expressed openly, among the SS because of its racial exclusiveness; but people of intelligence, tact and insight, and with some knowledge of the world, very carefully avoided the use of this word.April 1933: Goebbels summons Fritzsche to him for a personal audience. He informs Fritzsche of his decision to place the Wireless News Service within the Propaganda Ministry as of I May 1933. He suggests that Fritzsche make certain rearrangements in the personnel which would remove Jews and other persons who did not support the NSDAP. Fritzsche debates with Goebbels concerning some of these steps. (It must be said that during this period Fritzsche made some effort to place Jews in other jobs.) In a second conference with Goebbels, shortly thereafter, Fritzsche will inform Goebbels about the steps he has taken in reorganizing the Wireless News Service. Goebbels thereupon informs Fritzsche that he would like to have him reorganize and modernize the entire news services of Germany within the control of the Propaganda Ministry.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: I was acquainted with Dr. Goebbels since 1928. Apparently he had taken a liking to me, besides the fact that in my press activities I had always treated the National Socialists in a friendly way until 1931. Already before 1933 Goebbels, who was the editor of Der Angriff [The Attack], Nazi newspaper, had frequently made flattering remarks about the form and content of my writings, which I did as contributor of many 'national' newspapers and periodicals, among which were also some of more reactionary character . . . .
During the whole period from 1933 to 1945 it was the task of the German Press Division to supervise the entire domestic press and to provide it with directives by which this division became an efficient instrument in the hands of the German State leadership. More than 2,300 German daily newspapers were subject to control.
The aim of this supervision and control, in the first years following 1933, was to change basically the conditions existing in the press before the seizure of power. That meant the coordination into the New Order of those newspapers and periodicals which had been serving capitalistic individual interests or party politics. While the administrative functions wherever possible were exercised by the professional associations and the Reich Press Chamber, the political direction of the German press was entrusted to the German Press Division.
The head of the German Press Division held daily press conferences in the Ministry for the representatives of all German newspapers. Thereby all instructions were given to the representatives of the press. These instructions were transmitted daily, almost without exception and mostly by telephone from headquarters by Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, in a set text, the so-called "Daily Parole of the Reich Press Chief." Before the formulation of this text the head of the German Press Division submitted to him, Dietrich, the foremost press wishes expressed by Dr. Goebbels and by other ministries. This was the case especially with the wishes of the Foreign Office about which Dr. Dietrich always wanted to make decisions personally or through his representatives at headquarters, Helmut Sundermann and chief editor Lorenz.
The actual interpretation of the direction in detail was thus left entirely to the individual work of the various editors. Therefore, it is by no means true that the newspapers and periodicals were a monopoly of the German Press Division or that essays and leading articles had to be submitted by them to the Ministry. Even in war times this happened in exceptional cases only. The less important newspapers and periodicals which were not represented at the daily press conferences received their information in a different way--by providing them either with ready--made articles and reports, or by confidential printed instruction. The publications of all other official agencies were directed and coordinated likewise by the German Press Division.
To enable the periodicals to get acquainted with the daily political problems of newspapers and to discuss these problems in greater detail, the Informationskorreipondenz was issued especially for periodicals. Later on it was taken over by the Periodical Press Division. The German Press Division likewise was in charge of pictorial reporting insofar as it directed the employment of pictorial reporters at important events.
In this way, and conditioned upon the prevailing political situation, the entire German press was, by the German Press Division, made a permanent instrument of the Propaganda Ministry. Thereby, the entire German Press was subordinate to the political aims of the government. This was exemplified by the timely limitation and the emphatic presentation of such press polemics as appeared to be most useful, as shown for instance in the following themes: The class struggle of the system era; the Leadership Principle and the authoritarian state; the party and interest politics of the system era; the Jewish problem; the conspiracy of world-Jewry; the Bolshevistic danger; the plutocratic democracy abroad; the race problem generally; the church; the economic misery abroad; the foreign policy; the living space [Lebensraum].
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: At this time Dr. Goebbels suggested to me, in my capacity as the expert on news technique, the establishment and direction of a section "News" within the Press Division of his Ministry, in order to thoroughly organize and modernize the German news agencies. In carrying out the task assigned to me by Dr. Goebbels my field covered the entire news service for the German press and the radio in accordance with the directions given by the Propaganda Ministry, excepting at first the DNB [German News Agency].
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I did not join the NSDAP on account of the Party program, nor through Hitler's book Mein Kampf; nor did I join because of the personality of Hitler, whose suggestive power, which has frequently been mentioned here, escaped me entirely. I rejected the harsh radicalism of the methods of the Party. This harsh radicalism was contrary to the habits of my whole life and my personal principles. Due to this coarse practice I even came into a conflict with the Party in 1932. I joined the Party when it had without doubt, won over the majority of the German people. This Party had overcome, at the time, the disunion of the German people and brought it unity after Bruening's great attempt at recovery on a democratic basis had failed on account of the foreign political opposition, not because of the resistance of the German people. After the cabinets also had failed to find a footing among the people, the appointment of Hitler, as Reich Chancellor, meant a return to democratic principles. ....
When I joined the NSDAP I did not believe I was really joining a party in the true sense of the word, for the NSDAP did not have a party theory similar to those of the Marxist parties which had a developed and mature theory; all theorists of the Party were disputed. The theoretical writings of Gottfried Feder had been prohibited. The theorist Rosenberg was disputed in the Party to the very end. The lack of a theory for the Party was so great that even the printing of the bare Party program was forbidden for the German papers. The German papers were even forbidden a few years after 1933 to quote arbitrarily any part of Hitler's Mein Kampf. At that time, then, I did not believe that I was joining a narrowly defined party but I thought I was joining a movement, a movement which united in itself contrasts such as those between Ley and Funk, between Rosenberg and the Reich bishop; a movement which was variable in its choice of methods; which at one time prohibited the labor of women and at some other time solicited this same labor of women. I believed I WAS joining such a movement because one group within the NSDAP saw in the swastika flag nothing but a new combination, a new form for the colors black, white, and red, while another group saw in this banner the red flag with a swastika. It is a fact that there were whole groups of the former German Nationalist Party in the NSDAP or of former Communists in the NSDAP.
Thus, I hoped to find in this wide-flung Movement a forum for intellectual discussions which would no longer be carried on with the murderous animosity which had previously ruled in Germany but which could be carried on with a certain discipline dominated by nationalist and socialist conceptions. For this reason and by making constant compromises, I put aside my own ravishes, my own misgivings, my own political beliefs. In many conversations I advised my friends to do the same when they complained that they and their interests were not given proper consideration during the time of the Nazification. I came to the conviction that millions of Germans had joined the Party only for this reason and in this expectation. They thought they were serving a good cause. Out of pure idealism they were willing to sacrifice everything to this cause, everything except their honor. Meanwhile, I had to realize that the leader of this cause accepted the sacrifice of these idealists, that he squandered it, and that, besides, he stained their honor with a senseless and inhuman murder, unique in history--a murder which no war necessity could have justified, for which one could not even find any reason in any necessity of war.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: The official German propaganda did not persecute the churches. On the other hand, in order to clear up this point for you, here again there was an unofficial, illegal propaganda which preached against the Church. However, the State and its organizations, during the time of the struggle with the Church, made many utterances and declarations which might have created an impression as if they had participated in the struggle against the churches. By this I mean the trials against clergymen which were given sensational importance . . . . I maintain that the German propaganda gave the German nation in the case of every individual action which was carried out, from the occupation of the Rhineland to the attack against the Soviet Union, a picture of the events which, among the Germans, must have created the impression that we were in the right.
On the other hand, however, I myself...had recognized that the structure of these arguments had a basis which was shaky in various respects . . . . Looking at it today, it was the misfortune of the German people that its propaganda, particularly with regard to those details which can be checked and controlled, was so clean that it was completely overlooked that in its three basic principles there were three fundamental mistakes...The first, the trust in Adolf Hitler's humanness, which was destroyed by the order to murder 5 million people; the second, the trust in the ethical purity of the system, which was destroyed by the orders to apply torture; and the third, the absolute trust in Adolf Hitler's peaceful intentions, shaken by what has been brought up in this courtroom...
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I frequently made individual inquiries [concerning concentration camps] of members of the Gestapo or of the press section of the Reichsfuehrer SS. All of the individuals whom I asked declared the following: Beastliness in the concentration camps only occurred in 1933 or at the beginning of 1934 at the time when these camps were guarded by members of the SA, who had no profession--that is to say, by those members of the SA who had the whole day at their disposal, and some of them were far from being the best type of men. In this connection I was told further that the 30th of June signified that a purge had taken place. The 30th of June had removed those Gauleiter and those SA leaders who had abused their power. They declared finally that the concentration camps were now being guarded by the SS, who had engaged professional guards, professional administrators and officials expert in dealing with criminal matters, and prison control officials. I was told that this would be a guarantee against abuses . . . . I inquired about well-known personalities such as Parson Niemoller or Schuschnigg, also about Leipkins, Hess' private secretary who had been arrested; and in each case I received information which was reassuring.August 19, 1934 Gleichschaltung: The German electorate approves Hitler's merging the two offices of Chancellor and President by 90% of the vote. Hitler is Fuehrer und Reichskanzler.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I demanded the disarmament of the others, and then equality of armament; and I advocated the arming [Wehrhaftmachung] of the German people. The expression Wehchaftmachung is liable to be misunderstood, at any rate, to be easily misinterpreted. I should like to define it expressly as the ability to fight in self-defense. The German people were promised again and again, often by me, that the restoration of military sovereignty would be for defensive purposes only...In the modest sphere of my weekly radio speeches, while making casual remarks. I was a patriot; but I feel myself to be free from chauvinism, that is, exaggerated nationalism.
To me, as a historian, it was at that time already clear that, especially in the narrow confines of Europe, the old nationalism was an anachronism and that it was incompatible with modern communications and weapons. At that time I believed I saw in Hitler's doctrine also certain elements for a new type of mutual understanding among peoples. It was particularly the constantly repeated thesis that only the nationalism of one people can understand the nationalism of another people. Only today have I realized ideologically--but particularly, of course materially--through the further development of arms, that the time of nationalism is past, if mankind does not want to commit suicide, and that the period of internationalism has come, for good or evil. At that time, however, nationalism was not considered a crime. Everyone advocated it. It can be seen that it is still advocated today, and I also advocated it.
From Fritzsche's testimony before the IMT: My co-workers and I, in the press and on the radio, without exception I would say, rejected Der Stuermer radically. I personally, during a period of 13 years of regular newspaper comments, never quoted this paper. Der Stuermer was not quoted in the German press either. The editors did not belong to the journalists' union and the publisher did not belong to the publishers' organization during my term of office. How things were later on, I do not know. As I have already stated in my affidavit, I tried twice to ban Der Stuermer. However, I did not succeed. Then it was proposed that I censor Der Stuermer. However, I declined the offer. I wanted to prohibit the publishing of Der Stuermer, not just because the mere verbatim reproduction of a page of the newspaper Der Stuermer was the most effective anti-German propaganda which ever existed, but I wanted to ban Der Stuermer simply for reasons of good taste. I wanted to prohibit it as a source of radicalism against which I fought wherever I met it.
The great secret for the sudden increase in the circulation of Der Stuermer after 1933 to half a million, already referred to in this Court, lay in the same cause as the secret of the sudden increase of such organizations as the SA. The Party in 1933 had blocked the influx of new members, and a great many people tried to get in somehow, if not directly with the Party, then with some organization connected with the Party, such as, perhaps, the SA. Or they tried to show sympathy with National Socialist ideas by subscribing to Der Stuermer and displaying it. Therefore, in that sense, I was not anti-Semitic. But I was anti-Semitic in this sense: I wanted a restriction of the predominant influence of Jewry in German politics, economy, and culture, such as was manifested after the first World War. I wanted a restriction based on the ratio of Jews to Germans. I proclaimed publicly this view of mine on occasions, but I did not exploit these views in extensive systematic propaganda. Those anti-Semitic statements with which I am charged by the Prosecution have a different connection.
The facts are as follows: After the outbreak of the war I referred frequently to the fact that Jewish emigrants immediately after 1933, were the first ones to emphasize that a war against the National Socialist German State was necessary; for instance, Emil Ludwig or George Bernhard or the Pariser Tagblatt. As far as I recall, this was the only connection in which I made anti-Semitic statements of any kind. I cannot say this without asking to be permitted to emphasize one more point. Only in these proceedings here did I learn that in the autumn of 1939 there was more at stake than just one city and a road through the Corridor; that in truth and in fact, a new partition of Poland had already been prepared at least, and only here in these proceedings did I learn that Hitler had confirmed in a dreadful manner the warnings of the Jews against him by an order to murder them. If I had known both of these things at that time, then I would have pictured the role of Jewish propaganda before the outbreak of the war quite differently.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I also swore, twice, an oath to the Weimar Constitution, in 1933 and 1938. Let me add something. It was always and it still is my conviction that no oath relieves a man of his general duties to humanity. No one is made an irresponsible tool by an oath. My oath would never have made me carry out an order if I had recognized it to be criminal. Never in my life did I obey anyone blindly. For that reason, I do not refer for any of my actions to my duty to obey . . . . No actions were expected of me which I could have considered criminal or a violation of written or unwritten laws. Moreover, I kept the oath which I took, not to Hitler, but to the German people . . . . I kept it to the end.February 20, 1938: British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns in protest of Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Italy and Germany.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: On 1 July 1938 [I became acquainted with Fritzsche]. I was an editor in Braunschweig and I was called to the Ministry of Propaganda in order to become Dr. Goebbels' personal press expert. Up to 1 July 1943 I was Dr. Goebbels' personal press expert; then I was personal expert to State Secretary Dr. Gutterer until 1 April 1944; then I went with him for 3 months to the UFI which was the controlling company of all film companies. Then, on 31 July 1944, I went to the front. During the war I had to look through all the news and propaganda material coming in from enemy broadcasting stations and regularly submit extracts from it to Goebbels. These extracts formed the basis for Dr. Goebbels' propaganda instructions which he himself issued every morning. In the afternoon and evening I had to telephone them to the press section and radio section. So that during the war, except when my deputies took my place, I was with Dr. Goebbels in his apartment, I took my meals with him, slept in his house, accompanied him on journeys, and so on.
Herr Fritzsche in those days was the deputy chief in the department Home Press. I was to get acquainted with the work of the department Home Press. Conditions there were as bad as they could be. The chief, Herr Berndt, adopted undisguised table-thumping tactics. He went about barking out commands and sacking editors en masse.
In ability and knowledge the officials in charge were inferior to the average editor. The only steadying influence was Herr Fritzsche; he was the only expert. He knew the needs and requirements of the press. On the one hand he had to mend the machine which Herr Berndt [Alfred Ingemar Berndt, director of the Home Press Division of the Propaganda Ministry] was constantly smashing and on the other hand he tried to replace inefficient officials in the organization with better ones. The extremist Party men in the Ministry did not give Fritzsche his full due. But as an expert he was there to mend the good spirit of the press.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: He [Berndt] exaggerated minor events very strongly, sometimes used old episodes as new--and there even came complaints from the Sudetenland itself that some of the news reported by the German press was untrustworthy. As a matter of fact, after the great foreign political success at Munich in September 1938, there arose a noticeable crisis in the confidence of the German people in the trustworthiness of its press. This was one reason for the recalling of Berndt, in December 1938 after the conclusion of the Sudeten action, and for my appointment as head of the German Press Division. Beyond this, Berndt, by his admittedly successful but still primitive military-like orders to the German press, had lost the confidence of the German editors.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: Alfred Ingemar Berndt, [was] the head of the department [and was responsible for the definitely false or exaggerated news in the German press during the Sudeten crisis]. At that time he spent whole nights pouring over General Staff maps, directories, and lists of names, using them to fabricate atrocity reports from the Sudetenland. Herr Fritzsche watched this with anxiety. He came to me once and asked me' "What are we drifting into? Are we not drifting into war? If only we knew what they really want at the top and what is behind it all." ...
Not only did he [Goebbels] not consult with Herr Fritzsche [in connection with any military or political actions], but with nobody at all. The Minister never had any such consultations . . . . In 1938 certainly none of us in the Ministry realized that Dr. Goebbels was the instigator [of the anti-Semitic excesses in November 1938]. During the night in question Dr. Goebbels was not in Berlin. As far as I remember, just before that he had been to see the Fuehrer and he was still in southern Germany. The conversation which you have just mentioned did not take place until the middle of the war. It took place at Lanke, where the Minister had a house and it was on an occasion when Herr Fritzsche had also been invited. Someone put the direct question to the Minister as to the cause of these excesses of November 1938. Thereupon Dr. Goebbels said that the National Socialist economic leadership had come to the conclusion that the elimination of Jewry from Germany's economy could not be carried out further.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: When, in the winter of 1938, I became head of the so-called German Press Section, I attempted to loosen the bonds which had been imposed on the German press. I attempted that in the material and personnel field. For example, I called back to their work with the press hundreds of editors of other parties who had been dismissed in 1933 and 1934. Today they will be angry with me. I had the best intentions at that time. In addition to the official press conferences which were very strictly controlled, also as far as their records were concerned, by my superiors, I also arranged the so-called supplementary conferences in which I met the representatives of the 50 or 60 most important papers and discussed more freely the possibilities of their work. I coined the slogan which was often used there: "You may write any criticism you like in the German papers provided such criticism is not shown in big headlines but is buried somewhere in the text in an elegant form." Very many German journalists made use of this possibility in the past 12 years. I should be glad if this work, which was hidden work, would be honored in some way today in the interest of these people who, in part, returned to their profession as journalists only out of personal confidence in me. Of course, I must add that the possibility of criticizing was not unlimited.March 15, 1939: In defiance of the Munich Pact, the Nazis seize and occupy Bohemia and Moravia.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: The action for the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia, which took place on 15 March 1939, while I was head of the German Press Division, was not prepared for such a long period as the Sudeten action. According to my memory it was in February that I received the order from the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich, and repeated requests by the envoy Paul Schmidt of the Foreign Office, to draw the attention of the press to the aspirations of Slovakia for independence and to the continued anti-German coalition politics of the Prague Government. I did this. The daily paroles of the Reich Press Chief and the press conference minutes at that time show the wording of the pertinent instructions.
The following were the typical headlines of leading newspapers and the conspicuous leading articles of the German daily press at that time: (1) The terrorizing of Germans within the Czech territory by arrest, shooting at Germans by the state police, destruction and damaging of German homes by Czech mobs; (2) the concentration of Czech forces on the Sudeten frontier; (3) the kidnapping, deportation, and persecution of Slovakian minorities by the Czechs, (4) the Czechs must get out of Slovakia; (5) secret meetings of Red functionaries in Prague.
Some few days before the visit of Hacha, I received the instruction to publish in the press very conspicuously the incoming news on the unrest in Czechoslovakia. Such information I received only partly from the German News Agency DNB but mostly from the Press Division of the Foreign Office and some from big newspapers with their own news services. Among the newspapers offering information was, above all, the Volkischer Beobachter which, as I learned later on, received its information from the SS Standartenfuehrer Gunter D'Alquen, who was at that time at Bratislava. I had forbidden all news agencies and newspapers to issue news on unrest in Czechoslovakia until I had seen it. I wanted to avoid a repetition of the very annoying accompaniments of the Sudeten action propaganda, and I did not want to suffer a loss of prestige caused by untrue news.
Thus, all news checked by me was admittedly full of tendency but not invented. Following the visit of Hacha in Berlin and after the beginning of the invasion of the German Army, which took place on 15 March 1939, the German press had enough material for describing these events. Historically and politically the event was justified with the indication that the declaration of independence of Slovakia had required an interference and that Hacha with his signature had avoided a war And had reinstated a thousand-year-old union between Bohemia and the Reich.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: About the summer of 1939 I established within the German Press Division a section called 'Speed Service'...at the start it had the task of checking the correctness of news from foreign countries. Later on, about the fall of 1939, this section also worked on the compilation of material which was put at the disposal of the entire German press: For instance, dates from the British Colonial policy, political statements of the British Prime Minister in former times, descriptions of social distress in hostile countries, et cetera. Almost all German newspapers used such material as a basis for their polemics, whereby close concentration in the fighting front of the German press was gained. The title 'Speed Service' was chosen because materials for current comments were supplied with particular speed.August 23, 1939: The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed in Moscow. It is sometimes called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of Non-aggression, or simply the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: In the summer of 1939, when the danger of war became more and more imminent, I saw Dr. Goebbels more often than ever before. I gave Dr. Goebbels a number of little memoranda as, so to speak, a contribution from my field of work, the news service. They were analyses of public opinion in western countries, and they repeatedly indicated that England was determined to go to war in case of a conflict with Poland. I recall that Dr. Goebbels was deeply impressed when I once again gave him one of these memoranda. He expressed his concern and decided immediately to fly to Hitler. He said to me, literally, 'Believe me, we did not work successfully for 6 years in order to risk everything in a war now.' Furthermore, in the summer of 1939, I knew of some serious gaps in German armament which have already been mentioned in part here in the courtroom. Therefore I was convinced of the honesty of the peaceful intentions in Hitler's policy. If documents have been submitted during this Trial which indicate that Hitler secretly thought differently or acted differently, then I am at a loss to form a judgment, since the documents of the opposite side have not yet been published. But if it should be, as the documents submitted here say, I must state that I was deceived about the aims of German policy.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: In the case of Poland, we knew of course that the question of Danzig and the Corridor was awaiting a decision. But Dr. Goebbels himself repeatedly assured us, and he himself believed, that this question would not lead to war because, completely mistaken in his view of the attitude of the Western Powers, he was convinced that they were only bluffing and that Poland would not risk a war without the military support of the Western Powers.September 1, 1939: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: Very complicated and varying was the press and propagandistic treatment in the case of Poland. Under the influence of the German-Polish Agreement, the German press was for many years forbidden, on principle, to publish anything on the situation of the German minority in Poland. This was still the case when in the spring of 1939 the German press was asked to become somewhat more active as to the problem of Danzig. Also when the first Polish-English conversations took place and the German press was advised to use a sharper tone against Poland, the question of the German minority still remained in the background. At first during the summer this problem was picked up again and created immediately a noticeable sharpening of the situation. Each larger German newspaper had for some time quite an abundance of material on complaints and grievances of the Germans in Poland without the editors having had a chance to use this material.
The German papers, from the time of the minority discussions at Geneva, still had correspondents or free collaborators in Katowice, Bydgoszcz, Posen, Torun, et cetera. Their material now came forth with a bound. Concerning this, the leading German newspapers brought out in accordance with directions given for the so- called daily paroles the following articles, in conspicuous setting: (1) Cruelty and terror against racial Germans and the extermination of racial Germans in Poland; (2) Construction of field works by thousands of racial German men and women in Poland; (3) Poland, land of servitude and disorder; the desertion of Polish soldiers; the increased inflation in Poland; (4) provocation of frontier clashes upon direction of the Polish Government; the Polish aspirations for conquest; (5) persecution of Czechs and Ukrainians by Poland. The Polish press retorted hotly.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: The prohibition against listening to foreign radio stations was issued decidedly against my will. This prohibition was only a hindrance for me in my discussions with my foreign opponents in the various countries. Due to this prohibition my enemy was, so to speak, half in shadow; I could not speak to him officially, but, on the other hand, I knew that many of my listeners had heard him. May I mention here that I always advocated a mild judgment on the violators of this prohibition against listening to foreign radio stations. Legal authorities often consulted me as an expert. I may emphasize that, particularly after Stalingrad, I established my own listening service for the Russian radio in order to learn the names of German soldiers captured at Stalingrad which were mentioned on the Russian radio and report them to the relatives, because it seemed cruel to me to deprive the relatives of such a source of information about the fate of their people.
Moreover, there was only one alternative with regard to the prohibition of listening to the radio. That was either to confiscate all radios and stop the whole German radio system--the Party often demanded this--or the prohibition against listening to foreign stations, which seemed to me the lesser of the two evils. Finally, we were in a war, and the enemy was not too particular in his methods. I should like to give an example; that was the station Gustav Siegfried 2, which at the beginning of its work gained listeners in Germany with stories that I do not want to characterize more precisely but which caused me to prohibit my own listening station from receiving this broadcast.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: [H]ere in the prison in Nuremberg, I realized from a talk with Grand Admiral Raeder that it was actually a German submarine which sank the Athenia. Up to that time I had firmly believed in the truth of the official German report that there had been no German submarine in the neighborhood. I have asked my lawyer to pick out the most caustic statements I made in my radio speeches about the Athenia case and include them in my document book. They are utterances which would really speak against me but which, on the other hand, show that I worked not alone on the basis of the official German news, but that I also collected the news which supported the official German version; for example, the fact which was not at first made public and therefore was suspicious, that the wreck of the Athenia, one day after the catastrophe, was sunk by being shelled by British destroyers, which is a matter of Course in the interest of shipping but which at the time seemed to me to be an occasion for suspicion. I also used American news on the same subject . . . . I spoke very frequently about the case of the Athenia, on the basis of official reports which I believed. I spoke about this case because I happened to be the very man who, at the beginning of the war, spoke on the radio in the evenings.September 3, 1939: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: The reproach was repeatedly made that the German press and the German radio did not arouse hatred at all against Roosevelt, Churchill, or Stalin but that they made these three personalities popular as efficient men. For that reason, for years the German press was forbidden to mention these three names at all unless, in an individual case, permission was given with exact instructions . . . .
When the reproaches of Dr. Goebbels and Dr. Dietrich accumulated, I had all caricatures from the first and second World War collected-from England, the United States of America, France, and a few from Russia. In addition, I had all anti-German propaganda films which I could lay my hands on, collected. Then in five to six demonstrations of several hours each, I presented these caricatures and these films to German journalists and German radio speakers. I, myself, spoke only 2 or 3 minutes in introduction. It is quite possible that I created hatred through these showings, but I should like to leave the judgment of this means of producing hatred in the midst of war to the Tribunal. In any case, Dr. Goebbels said later that he was dissatisfied and we were "bunglers." I may add one statement. I would have had a means of carrying out my orders of arousing real hatred, that is, not one means but a whole group of methods; that would have been, to give only one example, a German edition of the last two volumes of the Tarzan series, an adventure series which was very popular in Germany at that time and of which the last two volumes were strongly anti-German. I need not describe them here. I never pointed out such early products of anti-German propaganda. I always deliberately ignored such methods.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: Never did I attempt to arouse hatred against the English, French, Americans, or Russians, et cetera. There is not a single word of this type in perhaps a thousand speeches which I made before the microphone. I did speak strongly against governments, members of governments, governmental systems; but I never preached hatred generally or attempted to awaken it indirectly as was the case--and I ask your pardon for my taking an example from the courtroom--at the moment when a film was presented here and the words were spoken, "Here you see Germans laughing over hanged Yugoslavs." Never did I try to awaken hatred in this general form and I may point out that for years many anti-National Socialist statements from certain countries, which were still neutral at that time, remained unanswered.October 23, 1939 Athenia-Ereignis: Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels propagates that the Athenia was sunk by none other than Winston Churchill himself, in an effort to repeat history with a Lusitania-like provocation. The Nazi Party paper, the Volkischer Beobachter, publishes Churchill sank the Athenia in screaming headlines:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: Since 1932 I spoke once a week, for 10 to 15 minutes, on some German stations and on the Deutschlandsender (radio station for foreign broadcasts). At the beginning of the war I spoke daily on all the stations, I believe for 3 or 4 months. Then I spoke three times a week, then twice a week, and finally once a week again. At first these radio speeches were just reviews of newspaper articles, that is, a collection of quotations from domestic and foreign newspapers. After the beginning of the war, however, these speeches, of course, became a polemic on the basis of quotations mostly from foreign papers and foreign radio stations . . . . The speeches were not official. At the beginning they were purely personal elaboration’s. Of course, I could not prevent, as time went on, the private speeches of a man holding a position in the Propaganda Ministry being no longer considered as personal, but semi-official.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: After the war broke out there were daily conferences at 1100 hours, which were presided over by Dr. Goebbels personally and at which he gave all necessary propaganda instructions. At the beginning, that is to say, up to the beginning of the Russian campaign, about 20 people [attended these 11 o'clock meetings]. Later the circle grew to about 50 people. There was no discussion during these conferences. First of all, the liaison officer from the OKW would give a survey of the military situation and then Dr. Goebbels would give his instructions regarding propaganda, mostly for the press, the radio, and the newsreels. Normally the State Secretary [presided over the conferences when Dr. Goebbels was not present]. Usually Herr Fritzsche [presided when the State Secretary was not there either], sometimes also the head of the foreign press department or the foreign department, but mostly Herr Fritzsche . . . .
When Dr. Goebbels was farther away from Berlin, it might happen that the latest news did not reach him in time. In these cases Herr Fritzsche would bring things up for discussion, consider the pros and cons and then give instructions on his own initiative. That was then put down in writing; the Minister read it afterward and he either approved it or altered it. In the course of the morning, naturally, individual department chiefs also came for official discussions with the Minister. The Minister used the conferences at which all departments were represented to summarize whatever he had to say for the press, radio, and newsreels. The heads of those departments whose special functions were not of interest to the others, came for individual conferences. The state secretaries could always be present during these individual conferences and so could the personal advisers who were always there. Herr Fritzsche was very rarely present at these individual conferences.
The leading man [of German broadcasting] was Dr. Goebbels himself. Apart from that, Fritzsche here again was between two stools, because on the other side demands came in from the Foreign Office with reference to foreign broadcasts. I myself, by order of the Minister, repeatedly had to reprimand Fritzsche, because the former claimed that his broadcasts were much too weak . . . . Herr Fritzsche was one of the few people in the Ministry of Propaganda who did contradict the Minister, both during conferences and in his apartment. He was always calm and determined and often it had a certain effect.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: On the day before the attack on Belgium and Holland events were overshadowed by the state visit of the Italian Minister Pavolini. In the evening there was a performance at the theater and afterwards a reception in the House of the Airmen. At night Dr. Goebbels went with me to the ministry where he occasionally spent the night. During the night I had to telephone to several gentlemen; and in the morning the minister, in my presence, presented to Herr Fritzsche the two announcements which were then broadcast, the first containing the military reasons and the second containing the secret service reasons. Herr Fritzsche did not even have time to look at these announcements, moreover, he had a sore throat and I had to read the second broadcast with the secret service reasons; I also had not seen these announcements beforehand . . . .
The same thing happened In the evening the minister had dismissed his adjutant, had given him leave. During the night I had to call the various gentlemen over the phone and ask them to assemble; and early in the morning the statement, which up to that time had been completely unknown to us, was read to us over the radio.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: Up to the first year of the Russian campaign, Dr. Goebbels in the conferences over which he presided, repeatedly mentioned the Madagascar plan. Later he changed this and said that a new Jewish state was to be formed in the East, to which the Jews were to be taken . . . .
[In dealing with reports from abroad concerning alleged German atrocities, not only towards the Jews but towards other peoples as well, Fritzsche always had inquiries made at the RSHA or other authorities concerned] Not only with regard to atrocity reports but all propaganda reports from abroad which were embarrassing to us. He made inquiries sometimes at the office of Muller, at the RSHA in Berlin, and sometimes he inquired of the authorities that were directly concerned in these matters. There were not always denials, not at all; very frequently we had quite precise answers. For example, if it was asserted that there had been a strike in Bohemia-Moravia, then the answer was: Yes, in such and such a factory a strike took place. But always and without exception, there was a very definite denial of concentration camp atrocities and so forth. That is precisely why these denials were so widely believed. I must emphasize that this was our only possibility of getting information. These pieces of information were not intended for the public, but for the minister, and again and again the answer came: "No, there is no word of truth in this." Even today I do not know by what other means we could have obtained information.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: During the war I conducted the propaganda almost exclusively with the concept of the necessity and the obligation to fight. I repeatedly painted the results of defeat very dark and systematically I gave quotations from the press and the radio of the enemy countries. I quoted repeatedly the enemy demands for unconditional surrender. I used the expression of the "super-Versailles" frequently and did--I emphasize that--describe the consequences of a lost war very pessimistically. It does not behoove me today to make a comparison with reality . . . . I once used the trick of quoting the wording of a medieval declaration of war in which it had already been said that a war was declared only on the King of France but that one wanted to bring freedom to the French people . . . .
I elaborated on all ideological and all practical political contrasts or differences between the individual Allied nations. I considered that a permissible method of waging war. At that time I wanted a split between the Allies just as much as today I wish their unity, since Germany would be the first victim of any conflict . . . . I never agitated against democracy as such. I attacked the democracy of the 36 parties, the democracy which had prevailed in Germany previously, the democracy under which even strong groups such as the two Marxist parties, for example, were powerless. I criticized foreign democracy only on two points: First, the elements which limited the basic concept of democracy--l believe it is superfluous and perhaps it would be misunderstood to enumerate them today. Secondly, I criticized the demands of the foreign democracies to force their form of government on us. According to my knowledge and information at that time, it seemed unjustified to me.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: ... you will see that I completely agreed with Mr. Roosevelt when he said that there was no master race. I endorsed the correctness of this sentence not only as it applied to the German people, but to Jewry as well. The Prosecution concluded from this sentence that it was a justification for acts committed in Jewish persecutions in the past and that it was a foreboding of more persecutions to come.April 6, 1941: The Axis Invasion of Yugoslavia, also known as the April War, begins.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: During the period immediately preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia, on the 6th of April 1941, the German press emphasized by headlines and leading articles the following boldly made up announcements: (1) The systematic persecution of racial Germans in Yugoslavia including the burning down of German villages by Serbian soldiers and the confining of racial Germans in concentration camps, as well as the physical mishandling of German-speaking persons; (2) the arming of Serbian bandits by the Serbian Government; (3) the indictment of Yugoslavia by the plutocrats against Germany; (4) growing anti-Serbian feeling in Croatia; (5) the chaotic situation of the economic and social conditions in Yugoslavia.May 21, 1941: The SS Robin Moor, a US merchant steamship carrying nine officers, 29 crewmen, eight passengers, and a commercial cargo from New York to Mozambique via South Africa, is sunk by U-69. Although the Robin Moor was flying the flag of a neutral country (the US is still not at war with anyone), her mate was told by the U-boat crew that they had decided to 'let us have it.' After a brief period for the ship's crew and passengers to board her four lifeboats, the U-boat fired a torpedo and then shelled the vacated ship. Once the ship sank beneath the waves, the submarine's crew pulled up to Captain W.E. Myers' lifeboat, left him with four tins of ersatz bread and two tins of butter, and explained that the ship had been sunk because she was carrying supplies to Germany's enemy.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I learned of the order to shoot captured Soviet commissars at the beginning of May 1942 when I came to the 6th Army. I immediately opposed it. Whether it was carried out or not, I do not know. Field Marshal Paulus, no doubt, is correct when he said that he had already prevented in his army the execution of this order. At any rate, I made it my business to have the order as such rescinded, and I achieved this. The 6th Army, at my advice, gave certain information to the High Command of the Wehrmacht or to the Armed Forces Operations Staff. I am convinced, moreover, that many army leaders acted in the same way as the leader of the 6th Army and simply did not carry out the order. At any rate, it was expressly rescinded afterward.June 12, 1941 Declaration of St James's Palace: The representatives of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa and of the exiled governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and of General de Gaulle of France, meet at the ancient St. James’s Palace and sign a Declaration: The only true basis of enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social security; It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: During the night from the 21st to the 22d of June 1941, Ribbentrop called me in at about 5 o'clock in the morning for a conference in the Foreign Office at which representatives of the domestic and foreign press were present. Ribbentrop informed us that the war against the Soviet Union would start that same day and asked the German press to present the war against the Soviet Union as a preventive war for the defense of the fatherland, a war which was forced upon us by the imminent danger of an attack of the Soviet Union against Germany. The claim that this was a preventive war was later repeated by the newspapers which received their instructions from me during the usual daily parole of the Reich Press Chief. I myself have also given this presentation of the cause of the war in my regular broadcasts.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: Before the attack on the Soviet Union, the minister [Goebbels], for purposes of camouflage, had lied to his own department chiefs. Around the beginning of May he selected 10 of his colleagues out of the 20 who ordinarily participated in the conferences, and he told them: "Gentlemen, I know that some of you think that we are going to fight Russia, but I must tell you today that we are going to fight England; the invasion is imminent. Please adapt your work accordingly. You, Dr. Glasmeier, will launch a new propaganda campaign against England." These were impudent lies told to his own department chiefs for purposes of camouflage . . . .
The following gentlemen in the Propaganda Ministry knew about the Russian campaign--if I may presume, a letter to Dr. Goebbels from Lammers offered a clue for it, for in it Lammers told the minister in confidence that the Fuehrer intended to appoint Herr Rosenberg to be Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories; the letter also asked Dr. Goebbels to name a liaison man from our ministry to Herr Rosenberg personally, and that, of course, gave away the secret. The people who knew of this were the minister; Herr Hadamowsky, as his provisional personal representative; Dr. Tauber, the liaison man to be appointed; I, myself, because by accident I had read this letter; and the head of the foreign press department, Dr. Bohme. Dr. Bohme, and this is very important, told me on the day before his arrest in the presence of Prince Schaumburg-Lippe that he had received this information from Rosenberg's circle, that is-and I want to emphasize this-not from our ministry or from our minister. Otherwise, as heads of two parallel departments, both would, of course, have been informed. If Bohme did not know it from the minister, then Herr Fritzsche could not have known it either. As a result of a careless remark on this subject, Bohme was arrested on the following day and later killed in action.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: The then Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop received, in the early morning hours of the day when the Russian campaign started, the foreign press correspondents and the German press. He put a White Book before them and he went on to explain in a speech what the situation was and concluded with the following emphatic statement: "For all these reasons Germany was forced to begin this attack against the Soviet Union in order to forestall a Soviet attack. I ask you, gentlemen of the press, to please present the facts in this manner."July 5, 1941: From a radio speech by Fritzsche:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: With this statement I was neither calling for ruthless measures against the population of the Soviet Union, nor did I want to vilify the people of the Soviet Union . . . . I spoke of the reports which the German public received about what German soldiers had seen in their advance in the Soviet Union, especially in connection with prisoners in the prisons in various cities. I did not describe these things once more; I only recalled them from the reports which had been given out at the time. From them I drew the conclusion that now one saw how necessary the fight was against a system under which such atrocities were possible. For the peoples of the Soviet Union I expressly used words of compassion and sympathy.July 6, 1941: The Soviets launch a counter-attack with 700 tanks.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: It is correct to say that I stated in Moscow that the war against the Soviet Union had not been prepared for by propaganda, because this war came very suddenly and as a surprise. Furthermore, it is correct to say that after the attack on the Soviet Union it was the main task of German propaganda to justify the necessity of this attack; therefore we had to emphasize again and again that we had merely forestalled a Soviet attack. Further, it is correct that I said that the next task for propaganda was to show that not Germany but Russia was guilty of this war, which amounts to practically the same thing.
Unfortunately the most important argument which I quoted is omitted from this record, namely, that I and with me millions of Germans believed the official communiqués given out by the German Government because it would have seemed to us nonsensical and crazy if in the middle of a war which had not yet been decided in the West, we wantonly and willfully risked another war in the East. I continue. It is also correct that the evidence given in the White Book published by the Foreign Office at the time was rather meager and it is furthermore correct to say that German propaganda wanted to make Europe afraid of Bolshevism. It is finally correct that German propaganda again and again emphasized the fact that Germany was the only bulwark against the Soviet world revolution.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: I referred once more to the reports just mentioned. I also referred to the descriptions coming from foreign correspondents. I then quite frankly reported Moscow's attitude toward these events and I said, quite honestly, 'Radio Moscow says that these atrocities are facts, but it maintains that these atrocities were not committed by Russians but by Germans.' In view of this attitude of Moscow, I, so to speak, took the public into my confidence. I called upon millions of German soldiers as witnesses; I called upon their mothers and fathers and wives as witnesses. I formally called as witnesses the inhabitants of the occupied territories in which Germans were in power at the time, and in which, as I said, they were subordinated only to the moral laws in their own breasts. Then I drew the conclusion: These German soldiers cannot have committed the atrocities which were described by Berlin and Moscow in the same way. The Prosecution asserted that this attempt to ascribe German atrocities to the Russians was ridiculous. I do not consider it ridiculous; I consider it tragic. It shows clearly, as I understand it, the absolute cleanliness and honesty of the whole German conduct of the war. I still believe today that murder and violence and Sonderkommandos only clung like a foreign body, like a boil to the morally sound body of the German people and their Armed Forces.July 30, 1941: The Aktion Klostersturm (Operation Attack-the-Monastery, the Nazi anti-Church program organized by Bormann) is put to an end by a decree of Hitler, who feared the increasing protests by the Catholic part of German population might result in passive rebellions and thereby harm the Nazi war effort at the eastern front.
From the IMT testimony of Moritz von Schirmeister: Herr Fritzsche adopted the views [on church questions] taken by the minister during the war. At the beginning of the war, the minister demanded complete cessation of the strife regarding this question, for anything which could have brought dissension among the German people would have had a disturbing influence. I do not know whether I should go into further details.August 7, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: When the Jews were forced to wear the emblem of a star and when, for instance, in Berlin they were prohibited from occupying seats on streetcars, the German people openly took sides with the Jews and it happened again and again that Jews were ostentatiously offered seats. In this connection I heard several declarations by Dr. Goebbels, who was extremely bitter about this undesired effect of the marking of the Jews. I, as a journalist who worked during that period, am firmly convinced that the German people were unaware of the mass murders of the Jews and assertions to that effect were considered rumors; and reports which reached the German people from outside were officially denied again and again. As these documents are not in my possession, I cannot quote from memory individual cases of denial; but one case I do remember with particular clearness. That was the moment when the Russians, after they recaptured Kharkov, started legal proceedings during which killing by gas was mentioned for the first time.
I ran to Dr. Goebbels with these reports and asked him about the facts. He stated he would have the matter investigated and would discuss it with Himmler and with Hitler. The next day he sent me notice of denial. This denial was not made public; and the reason stated was that in German legal proceedings it is necessary to state in a much plainer manner matters that need clarification. However, Dr. Goebbels explicitly informed me that the gas vans mentioned in the Russian legal proceeding were pure invention and that there was no actual proof to support it. It was not without reason that the people who operated these vans were put under the ban of strictest secrecy. If the German people had learned of these mass murders, they would certainly no longer have supported Hitler. They would probably have sacrificed 5 million for a victory, but never would the German people have wished to bring about victory by the murder of 5 million people. I should like to state further that this murder decree of Hitler's seems to me the end of every race theory, every race philosophy, every kind of race propaganda, for after this catastrophe any further advocacy of race theory would be equivalent to approval in theory of further murder. An ideology in the name of which 5 million people were murdered is a theory which cannot continue to exist.
From Fritzsche's IMT Affidavit: The utilization of the productive capacity of the occupied countries for the strengthening of the German war potential, I have openly and with praise pointed out, all the more so as the competent authorities put at my disposal much material, especially on the voluntary placement of manpower.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: That was the time when German soldiers were stationed from the Black Sea to the Bay of Biscay. I spoke of the possibility of exploiting the resources of this enormous territory. I said, "The possibilities of this continent are so considerable that they can cover any need for war and for peace." I said, in this connection, that a starving--but by blockade, such as was attempted in 1914-18, was now out of the question. I spoke of the possibilities of the organization of Europe which could begin in the midst of the war ... in the midst of war, and I meant the organization of European nations with equal rights. It is beyond all doubt that at that time I was not thinking of ruthless exploitation of the occupied territories, but only of winning them over politically and economically after the storms of war had blown by . . . .
This speech was made in those days of the autumn of 1941 when the Reich Press Chief had announced that German victory in the East had been decisive. I had warned the entire German press about taking this slogan without reservations. I did not believe in this decision which supposedly had already taken place. I suggested to all German newspapers that they speak about a prolonged duration of the war. In this speech of mine I wanted to weaken the impression of the official victory bulletin. Therefore, in this speech, and perhaps for the first time in Germany, I mentioned those three factors which, in fact, later on determined the war in the East against Germany: First of all, the partisans; secondly, the international help in the way of arms and munitions; and thirdly, propaganda.
From Fritzsche's IMT testimony: In this quotation, I discussed the unpleasant fate of Jewry in Europe. According to the things that we know today, this must appear as though I meant the murder of the Jews. But in this connection, I should like to state that at that time I did not know about these murders; therefore I could not have meant it. I did not even mean the evacuation of Jews, for even this was not carried out in Berlin at least until a year or two later. What I meant was simply the elimination of Jews from politics and economic life. The expression "unpleasant" hints at this; otherwise the inoffensiveness of this term could not be explained.
And now to the question of why I spoke about the Jews in America in this connection. The sentence quoted by the Prosecution is inextricably connected with a communication preceding it, stating that a Jewish National Council had submitted to President Roosevelt their wish to enter the war. Not even this association of ideas, which is perhaps understandable now, was used by me without good reason. The largest part of the speech in question, perhaps nine-tenths of it, in fact, deals with the investigation commission set up in the United States to investigate the causes of Pearl Harbor...In this polemic address I not only suggested investigating whether the guards of the U. S. Navy had been careless but I also advised checking into American politics, as to whether someone might not have been interested in the outbreak of the war. In this connection, I recalled that an investigating committee of the American Senate, 20 years after the first World War, had investigated the causes for entry of the United States in the war in 1917 . . . .
I learned of various things from a former co-worker of mine who had been transferred into the administration of the Government General and who had an administrative position in the region Biala-Podlaska. He said that the area under his control had become a Jewish area, and he repeatedly pictured the arrival and the housing of these transporters. He also mentioned the difficulties and the employment of Jews as workers or on plantations. His entire description bore witness to his humane point of view. He told me that under him the Jews fared better than they had in the Reich . . . .
Sturmbannfuehrer Radke of the staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS reported, perhaps in the winter of 1942, that the mortality rate of the Jews in the eastern ghettos was abnormally high due to the changeover from mental work to manual labor. He mentioned there were even some isolated cases of typhus. Apart from that, Dr. Tauber, who was head of the section dealing with Jewish questions in the propaganda department, told me in 1941, if I remember correctly, that there had been pogroms during the occupation of Lvov and Kovno, but they were carried out by the local population. He assured me at the same time that the German authorities had taken steps against these pogroms. Nevertheless the references to such things caused me to criticize matters severely, even though these things today look almost insignificant compared with what we know of today. My criticism was directed against my superiors, particularly Dr. Goebbels, and also against coworkers and members of the Gestapo and of the Party. I referred repeatedly to the legal, political, and moral necessity of protecting these Jews, who, after all, had been entrusted to our care . . . .
On several occasions Jews or relatives or friends of Jews appealed to me because of discrimination or arrests. A large number of non-Jews also did this as my name had become well known to the public. Without exception, I made their pleas my own and I tried to help through various offices such as the RSHA, through the personnel section of my Ministry, through individual ministers and Gauleiter, et cetera.