May 14, 1945
Churchill to the Foreign Office:
1.) It is of high importance that the surrender of the German people should be completed through agencies which have authority over them. I neither know nor care about Doenitz. He may be a war criminal. He used submarines to sink ships, though with nothing like the success of the First Sea Lord or Admiral King. The question for us is, has he any power to get the Germans to lay down their arms and hand them over quickly without any more loss of life? We cannot go running round into every German slum and argue with every German that it is his duty to surrender or we will shoot him. There must be some kind of force which will give orders which they will obey. Once they obey, we can do what we like to carry through unconditional surrender.
May 17, 1945:
2. I deprecate the raising of these grave constitutional issues at a time when the only question is to avoid sheer chaos. You seem startled at General Busch giving orders. The orders seem to be to get the Germans to do exactly what we want them to do. We will never be able to rule Germany apart from the Germans unless you are prepared to let every miserable little German schoolchild lay its weary head upon your already overburdened lap. Sometimes there are great advantages in letting things slide for a while. In a few days when we have arrived at solutions to the more important questions requiring action and possibly gunfire, we will find a great many things will settle down. We can then lay down the great principles applicable to the qualities of vast communities.
3. It must of course be remembered that if Doenitz is a useful tool to us that will have to be written off against his war atrocities for being in command of submarines. Do you want to have a handle with which to manipulate this conquered people, or just to have to thrust your hands into an agitated ant-heap?
The Soviet delegates finally arrive to join the other representatives of the Allied Control Commission in Flensburg. Before the day is out, the 'Government of the Reich' is ordered to report on board the laid-up German passenger steamer Patria
at 9:45 AM on May 23. Doenitz, well aware of what is afoot, tells his associates: 'Pack your things.' (Heydecker)
May 19, 1945:
J. K. Galbraith, the American economist, arrives in Flensburg to interview Albert Speer concerning the effectiveness of Allied bombing; the Strategic Bombing Survey. The confusion of Allied policy in the last days of the war in Europe is clearly demonstrated by the massive influx of German officers and troops returning from Denmark and the East; by Allied officers scrupulously saluting German officers; and by the cabinet meetings held every morning by Doenitz's skeleton government, discussing options and making decisions they have no power to implement.
May 23, 1945:
SS Reichsfuehrer Himmler commits suicide.
May 23, 1945:
Doenitz and his Flensburg regime are arrested aboard the steamship Patria
From The Nuremberg Trial by Joe J. Heydecker and Johannes Leeb: In the saloon bar of the Patria, at the appointed hour, began the last act of the Greater German Reich..."It is quite clear what they are planning," Doenitz whispered to Jodl. "Gentlemen," said (American general and Allied Control Chief) Lowell Rooks formally, "I have received instructions from General Eisenhower to summon you before me this morning to inform you that the Acting German Government and the High Command of the German Army with their various officials are to be arrested as prisoners of war. The Acting German Government is hereby dissolved. From this moment, you must regard yourselves as prisoners of war. When you leave this room, an Allied officer will be assigned to you and will accompany you to your quarters where you will pack, have a meal, and put your affairs in order." The war correspondent Drew Middleton, who was present, writes that during the ceremony Admiral Doenitz sat stiffly, but General Jodl seemed to shrink in his chair, his nose becoming even redder than usual and purple blotches breaking out on his face. The general rubbed and squeezed his hands. "He (General Rooks) then asked General Truskov if he had anything to say. The Russian General shook his head. Admiral Doenitz, replying to the same question, said, 'Any word would be superfluous.'"
June 7, 1945:
A company of the 159th Brigade of the 11th Division of the British Second Army dashed with fast armored vehicles into the neighboring town of Gluecksburg. Doenitz's Minister of Economy and Production, Albert Speer, had his office there. He, too, was on the list of war criminals. Speer was a rational man—perhaps the only Nazi leader who judged the position calmly and correctly. When the British officer came to arrest him he surrendered without fuss.
Meanwhile, Doenitz was walking up and down outside his official residence in Flensburg-Muerwick. He had packed his bags and was waiting for transport to the prison camp. At his side was Admiral Friedeburg. Both men had their hands clasped behind their backs and walked down the small garden path in silence. The cars pulled up. The prisoners were to be taken to Flensburg police headquarters with their luggage. Before Friedeburg left with his cases he asked his English guard if he could go to the toilet. He disappeared behind the door and locked it. Minutes passed. There was no sound. The soldiers began to feel uneasy. They knocked. No answer. A sturdy corporal forced the door. There was the last Commander in Chief of the German Fleet, lying on his back. His body was trembling under the effects of the cyanide he had taken; his eyes were wide open, but he was no longer conscious
Meanwhile, Doenitz, Jodl, and Speer were waiting for their transport in the courtyard of the police headquarters, with the muzzle of a British machine gun pointing at them. A handful of uniformed war correspondents had found their way to them and tried to obtain interviews, but with little success. Jodl answered the first question that was put to him brusquely and icily: 'I am a prisoner of war and need only give my name and rank—nothing else.' The military trucks arrived and took the prisoners to the airfield, guarded by armored cars. For Jodl, Doenitz, and Speer this was the beginning of the road to the dock at Nuremberg, and from there to the gallows or to Spandau prison. With the end of the German High Command and Government the fate of Germany was completely in the hands of the Allies.
Justice Jackson sends off a progress report to President Truman:
June 21, 1945:
The most elementary considerations for insuring a fair trial and for the success of our case suggest the imprudence of permitting these prisoners to be interviewed indiscriminately or to use the facilities of the press to convey information to each other and to criminals yet uncaptured. Our choice is between treating them as honorable prisoners of war with the privileges of their ranks, or to classify them as war criminals in which case they should be treated as such...
During a joint US-UK conference, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe presents a list of ten defendants for consideration: Schacht is not named at this point. Chosen mainly because their names are well known to the public, they are assumed to be criminals; little effort has yet to be made to determine the actual evidence that will be available against them. The initial ten: Goering, Hess (though the British warned that he was possibly insane), Ribbentrop, Ley (see October 25, 1945, below), Keitel, Streicher, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank and Frick. (Taylor)
June 25, 1945:
Since his resignation, Raeder has been living in retirement with his wife, Erika, at Babelsberg near Berlin; unfortunately now located in the Soviet zone. Colonel Pimenov and six Soviet officers arrest Raeder and his wife and transport them to Lichtenberg Prison this day. They will soon be transported to a log hut twelve miles from Moscow. (Heydecker)
June 26, 1945
International Conference on Military Trials:
From the minutes of this days Conference Session:
June 28, 1945:
Justice Jackson: Our first task as prosecutors, as we see it, is to get the evidence in the case. We would not wait for any court to be set up to do that because we think of that as a prosecutor's function, and therefore we have already started work on it and have many people trying to examine captured orders and reports. We have interrogated prisoners of war, interrogated civilian prisoners taken since the surrender, interrogated witnesses, and gathered all of the evidence we can get in proof of the charges. Then we envisage the preparation of an indictment or bill of accusation you can call it by various names-in which we would select persons indicated by the evidence to be guilty, they would be charged with crimes, and that indictment would then be presented to the court. That would be the first time there would be any contact between the prosecutors and the court in our system-when the charges are presented. That brings the case into court-when you have an indictment. The Court would then have nothing before it except the indictment but it would fix the time of trial and might assign counsel. On the trial date we would produce in court all of our evidence. The court would not have the evidence merely as a result of its being gathered by the prosecutors but it would have received it in open session. Documentary proof, as we call it, would be offered and some facts would be established by 'judicial notice,' which means it would not be necessary to prove them...
From this day's interview of Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz by the US SBS Team:
Q: At what time did you transfer responsibility for submarine construction to Speer?
July 16, 1945:
Doenitz: In summer 1943, as we finished the construction drawings we turned them over to Speer.
Q: Do you think that Speer increased production efficiency?
Doenitz: I would put it this way. The Navy could have done it by itself, if the industry had not suffered from air raids, and if there had been sufficient raw materials. Under the war conditions, there had to be a central office which equalized losses and helped related industries.
Q: Was the production of submarines by sections Speer's idea?
Doenitz: Yes. That is, it was riginated by your Mr. Kaiser in the construction of other vessels, and so was not a new idea, but Speer applied it to submarines.
Q: Was the new U-boat invulnerable against air attacks?
Doenitz: Yes, it was. Invulnerable.
Q: Why did you not slightly modify the bombers used against England, so that they would have a longer range?
Doenitz: The Navy always advocated that, but I can only say that the number of these long-range airplanes was very small.
Q: Who made the decision not to build these long-range aircraft?
Doenitz: The Air Force. Grand Admiral Raeder was of the opinion that the Navy should have its own Air Force, and Goering was of the opinion that he would have to control all the Air Forces. If the Navy had had control, it would have built long-range airplanes.
Q: Was this issue presented to Keitel or Hitler himself?
Doenitz: Grand Admiral Raeder asked the Fuehrer for a decision on the question of the Navy's own air arm, but the Fuehrer decided in favor of the Luftwaffe.
Q: If you had finished your aircraft carriers, would these airplanes have been under the jurisdiction of the Luftwaffe?
Doenitz: That is another matter on which the 'doctors' disagreed. I believe that the navigation of the ship and its strategic employment would have been under the Navy, but the rest of the work under the Air Force. But we never had any carriers anyway. (SBS)
Since May, the Allies have been collecting Nazis and tossing the high-ranking ones into a former hotel in Mondorf, Luxemburg, affectionately referred to as 'Ashcan.' On this day, Ashcan's commander, Colonel Burton C. Andrus, takes representatives of the world's Press on a tour of the facility to squash rumors that the prisoners are living the high-life. "We stand for no mollycoddling here," Andrus proclaims. "We have certain rules and the rules are obeyed ... they roll their own cigarettes." (Tusa)
July 16, 1945
International Conference on Military Trials:
From the minutes of this days Conference Session:
July 17, 1945
: ...we have a considerable group of people who we think come under this classification as major war criminals. I think we have various listings running as high as 350 which the Judge Advocate General's office has classified as such. Our list runs into quite a number of people. I don't want them left on our hands. We have tried to group them to avoid more than one trial. The complication is in trying to reach in a single trial a very large number of people, but we do not want to go through a large number of trials if we can avoid it...
International Conference on Military Trials:
From the minutes of this days Four Power conference session:
July 19, 1945
: It would not be necessary to write down in the charter anything about the rights of the defendant not giving answer, because, if he refuses to give answer to the prosecution and to the counsel and to the Tribunal, nothing is to be done, and therefore we do not think it would be necessary to point it out in the charter. But as regards the rights of the prosecutor to interrogate, that is very important. If we do write anything about the defendant's right not to answer, then it would look as if we were preparing the ground for him to do so, and, if he knows about it, he will take advantage of it and refuse to answer. Therefore it is not necessary to mention it...
International Conference on Military Trials:
From the minutes of today's Conference Session:
July 22, 1945:
: We do not consider as a criminal violation the launching of a war of aggression. If we declare war a criminal act of individuals, we are going farther than the actual law. We think that in the next years any state which will launch a war of aggression will bear criminal responsibility morally and politically; but on the basis of international law as it stands today, we do not believe these conclusions are right. Where a state would launch a war of aggression and not conduct that war according to rules of international law, it would be desirable to punish them as criminals, but it would not be criminal for only launching a war of aggression. We do not want criticism in later years of punishing something that was not actually criminal, such as launching a war of aggression. The judges would be in a very difficult position if we insist...
The New York Herald Tribune, in a story about the Ashcan defendants, improbably claims that Doenitz's cell cupboard contains pink underwear. (Tusa)
July 25, 1945
International Conference on Military Trials:
During this days Four Power conference session:
July 31, 1945
: ...I think that every one of the top prisoners that we have is guilty...
From the letters of Thomas Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel for the Prosecution at Nuremberg:
Much gossip is abroad about friction between the US, Great Britain, France and Russia over these trials. The truth is there is no trouble between US, Britain and France—but the Russians are just holding up the whole proceeding. They are impossible, in my opinion. I do not know the details but I do know they are not cooperative on this problem so far. I believe they want to put on another Russian farce for a trial. If that happens, I go home, and promptly! The English appointed their chief counsel 21 days after the US appointed Jackson (who was the first to be appointed). The French followed soon after. Thus far no one has been appointed for Russia. Our people meet with certain Russian representatives but nothing happens. When representatives of the United Nations went to Nuremberg to look it over as a possible site for the trial only the Russians failed to make the trip.
August 1, 1945
At the Twelfth Plenary Session, the subject of trying Nazi war criminals is raised:
Truman: You are aware that we have appointed Justice Jackson as our representative on the London Commission. He is an outstanding judge and a very experienced jurist. He has a good knowledge of legal procedure. Jackson is opposed to any names of war criminals being mentioned and says that this will hamper their work. He assures us that the trial will be ready within thirty days and that there should be no doubt concerning our view of these men. Stalin: Perhaps we could name fewer persons, say three. Bevin: Our jurists take the same view as the Americans. Stalin: And ours take the opposite view. But perhaps we shall agree that the first list of war criminals to be brought to trial should be published not later than in one month.
August 2, 1945
International Conference on Military Trials:
During this days Four Power conference session:
August 6, 1945:
: There is one question. What is meant in the English by "cross-examination"? Lord Chancellor: In an English or American trial, after a witness has given testimony for the prosecution he can be questioned by the defense in order that the defense may test his evidence verify his evidence, to see whether it is really worthy of credit. In our trials the defendant or his counsel is always entitled to put questions in cross-examination. And I think the same situation prevails in the courts of France. Judge Falco: Yes, the same. General Nikitchenko: According to Continental procedure, that is very widely used too. The final form would be then, "The Defendant shall have the right to conduct his own defense before the Tribunal, to cross-examine any witness called by the prosecution...
Hiroshima is destroyed by an atomic bomb.
August 8, 1945:
Russia declares war on Japan.
August 8, 1945:
The London Agreement
August 9, 1945:
Nagasaki is destroyed by an atomic bomb.
August 12, 1945:
Justice Jackson releases a statement to the American press:
August 12, 1945:
Experience has taught that we can hardly expect them [the Germans] to try each other. The scale of their attack leaves no neutrals in the world. We must summon all that we have of dispassionate judgment to the task of patiently and fairly presenting the record of these evil deeds in these trials. We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned...
Colonel Andrus and his 15 Ashcan prisoners are loaded onto a US C-47 transport plane bound for Nuremberg. When Andrus emphasizes the importance of the safety of the prisoners, the lieutenant in charge of the guards screws up his mouth and nods, "You mean no leaving the plane without a chute, sir?" As they fly above Germany, Goering continually points out various geographical features below, such as the Rhine, telling Ribbentrop to take one last look as he is unlikely to ever get the opportunity again. Streicher becomes air-sick. (Tusa, Conot)
August 15, 1945:
E. J. Passant, Chief Librarian for the British Foreign Office, circulates a memorandum criticizing the choice of several of the proposed defendants for the upcoming trial. Passant considers the case against Doenitz 'very much weaker' than that against Keitel, writing:
On the point of aggressive war Doenitz can plead that, between 1933-9, he was a relatively subordinate officer (1933 Captain in Command of U-boats, 1939 Rear Admiral)...However completely he may have approved of the Nazi war to dominate Europe by aggressive war it will be impossible to prove that Doenitz knew what those plans were, still less that he contributed to their formulation...So far as is known he played no part at all in politics before the war. (b) Specific war crimes: After enquiry at the Admiralty, I gather that the position is as follows:
August 25, 1945:
1. A case of some strength could be made out against Doenitz from his diary and other documents, for responsibility for increasing ruthlessness in the methods of submarine warfare...
2. It is to be remembered that most of the measures adopted by the Germans were also adopted by ourselves and the Americans, so that the defense would be in a position to throw a good deal of mud back at the prosecutor.
3. It should perhaps be added that those to whom I have spoken on the Admiralty appear to hold the view that, though tough, the German Navy, with one or two exceptions amongst U-boat commanders, behaved on the whole pretty well... (Taylor)
Representatives of the Big Four (Jackson, Fyfe, Gros, and Nikitchenko), agree on a list of 22 defendants (from the original list of 122), 21 of which are in custody. The 22nd, Martin Bormann, is presumed to be in Soviet custody, but Nikitchenko cannot confirm it. The list is scheduled to be released to the press on October 28. (Conot)
August 28, 1945:
Just in time to stop the release of the names of the 22, Nikitchenko informs the other three Allied representatives that, unfortunately, Bormann is not in Soviet custody. However, he announces that the valiant Red Army has captured two vile Nazis, Erich Raeder, and Hans Fritzsche, and offers them up for trial. Though neither man was on anyone's list of possible defendants, it emerges that their inclusion has become a matter of Soviet pride; Raeder and Fritzsche being the only two ranking Nazis unlucky enough to have been caught in the grasp of the advancing Russian bear. (Conot)
August 29, 1945:
The final list of defendants is released to the press. Bormann, though not in custody, is still listed, though there is no longer a Krupp on the list. (Conot)
August 29, 1945:
The 'Manchester Guardian' reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Grave precedents are being set. For the first time the leaders of a state are being tried for starting a war and breaking treaties. We may expect after this that at the end of any future war the victors—whether they have justice on their side or not, as this time we firmly believe we have—will try the vanquished.
August 30, 1945:
The 'Glasgow Herald' reacts to the release of the list of defendants:
Scanning this list, one cannot but be struck by the completeness of the Nazi catastrophe. Of all these men, who but a year ago enjoyed wide influence or supreme power, not one could find a refuge in a continent united in hate against them.
September 17, 1945
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday, Jackson told the press that the US would be ready to start the trial on November 1. By the way, the Russian representative (Nikitchenko) had been suddenly withdrawn. No explanations—mere notice that he will no longer represent Russia in this matter. After weeks of negotiating, weeks of work with him as chief counsel for Russia, he simply goes home and does not come back. These Russians are impossible. What effect this will have on the trial or the trial; date no one knows, but you can imagine the confusion that may arise out of it.
October 5, 1945:
Andrus loses his first German prisoner to suicide; Dr Leonard Conti, Hitler's 'Head of National Hygiene.'
October 6, 1945:
Letter of reservation from Justice Robert Jackson to M. Francois de Menthon, Sir Hartley Shawcross, and General R. A. Rudenko:
Dear Sirs: In the Indictment of German War Criminals signed today, reference is made to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and certain other territories as being within the area of the USSR. This language is proposed by Russia and is accepted to avoid the delay which would be occasioned by insistence on an alteration in the text. The Indictment is signed subject to this reservation and understanding: I have no authority either to admit or to challenge on behalf of the United States of America, Soviet claims to sovereignty over such territories. Nothing, therefore, in this Indictment is to be construed as a recognition by the United States of such sovereignty or as indicating any attitude, either on the part of the United States or on the part of the undersigned. toward any claim to recognition of such sovereignty. Respectfully submitted, Robert H. Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States.
October 18, 1945:
Raeder and Fritzsche, the two defendants in Russian captivity, are presented with a copy of the indictment by a Soviet officer in Berlin. (Taylor)
October 19, 1945:
British Major Airey Neave presents each of the remaining defendants in turn with a copy of the Indictment. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, asks the accused to write a few words on the documents margin indicating their attitude toward the development. Doenitz: "After all, none of the points of the indictment apply to me. Typical American sense of humor." (Heydecker)
October 20, 1945:
Kapitanleutnant Heinz-Wilhelm Eck is sentenced to death (his U-852
had sank the Peleus
and then machine-gunned the survivors); he will be executed on 30 November. Note: See January 14, 1946, second item.
October 20, 1945:
Doenitz, the only one of the defendants prepared to request specific counsel, asks for German naval judge advocate Flottenrichter (Captain) Otto Kranzbuhler. Doenitz: "But if he cannot be reached I have requested that a British or American submarine admiral come here to defend me. You see, he can understand me. He did the same job." Note: Kranzbuhler is found, still a serving naval officer, working on a team lifting mines from the port of Hamburg. Kranzbuhler is surprised to be asked to defend his former commander; he was not even aware that Doenitz had been indicted. As a captain in uniform, he demands, and is granted: a car, a driver, and a British officer to navigate him to Nuremberg—there to defend not only Karl Doenitz, but the German Navy as well. Doenitz's choice of counsel will ultimately be revealed to be one of the wisest decisions he will ever make. (Conot, Tusa)
October 25, 1945:
Andrus loses yet another Nazi as the defendant Dr Robert Ley, Hitler's head of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), commits suicide in his Nuremberg cell.
October 29, 1945:
Only seven of the defendants have obtained counsel by this date.
October 30, 1945:
The Soviets deliver Raeder and fellow defendant Fritzsche to Nuremberg.
: Prior to the trial, the defendants are given an IQ test. Administered by Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg Prison psychologist, and Dr. Kelly, the psychiatrist, the test includes ink blots and the Wechsler-Bellevue test. Doenitz scores 138. Note: After the testing, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that all the defendants are 'intelligent enough to have known better.' Andrus is not impressed by the results: 'From what I've seen of them as intellects and characters I wouldn't let one of these supermen be a buck sergeant in my outfit.' (Tusa)
November 19, 1945:
After a last inspection by Andrus, the defendants are escorted, handcuffed, into the empty courtroom and given their assigned seats.
November 19, 1945:
The day before the trial's opening, a motion is filed on behalf of all defense counsel:
November 20, 1945:
During the last decades public opinion in the world challenged with ever increasing emphasis the thesis that the decision of waging war is beyond good and evil. A distinction is being made between just and unjust wars and it is asked that the Community of States call to account the State which wages an unjust war and deny it, should it be victorious, the fruits of its outrage. More than that, it is demanded that not only should the guilty State be condemned and its liability be established, but that furthermore those men who are responsible for unleashing the unjust war be tried and sentenced by an International Tribunal. In that respect one goes nowadays further than even the strictest jurists since the early middle ages. This thought is at the basis of the first three counts of the Indictment which have been put forward in this Trial, to wit, the Indictment for Crimes against Peace. Humanity insists that this idea should in the future be more than a demand, that it should be valid international law. However, today it is not as yet valid international law...
Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 1 of the historic trial, the prosecutors take turns reading the indictment in court. Unfortunately, no one had given any thought to the prisoners' lunch break, so, for the first and only time during 218 days of court, the defendants eat their midday meal in the courtroom itself. This is the first opportunity for the entire group to mingle, and though some know each other quite well, there are many who've never met. The defendants do not speak much about the charges, but a few mention the improved quality of the food. Note: While most of the defendants counsel wear traditional robes, Captain Kranzbuhler stands out in his full dress Kriegsmarine uniform. (Taylor)
November 21, 1945
On day 2, the defendants enter their pleas: "The President: I will now call upon the defendants to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. They will proceed in turn to a point in the dock opposite to the microphone... Doenitz: Not guilty."
November 21, 1945
Immediately following the pleas of the defendants, Justice Jackson delivers his opening statement:
November 23, 1945:
Of course, it was, under the law of all civilized peoples, a crime for one man with his bare knuckles to assault another. How did it come that multiplying this crime by a million, and adding firearms to bare knuckles, made it a legally innocent act? The doctrine was that one could not be regarded as criminal for committing the usual violent acts in. the conduct of legitimate warfare. The age of imperialistic expansion during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries added the foul doctrine, contrary to the teachings of early Christian and international law scholars such as Grotius, that all wars are to be regarded as legitimate wars. The sum of these two doctrines was to give war-making a complete immunity from accountability to law: This was intolerable for an age that called itself civilized. Plain people with their earthy common sense, revolted at such fictions and legalisms so contrary to ethical principles and demanded checks on war immunities. Statesmen and international lawyers at first cautiously responded by adopting rules of warfare designed to make the conduct of war more civilized. The effort was to set legal limits to the violence that could be done to civilian populations and to combatants as well. The common sense of men after the first World War demanded, however, that the law's condemnation of war reach deeper, and that the law condemn not merely uncivilized ways of waging war, but also the waging in any way...
From the diary of Dr. Victor von der Lippe, Siemers' assistant in Raeder's defense:
Among the American prosecutors General Donovan...played a special role. A lawyer by profession, during the war he was head of the American intelligence system. The relations between Donovan and the Chief Prosecutor Jackson were very tense. From an apparently well informed source it was heard that Donovan had a very different plan for the trial than Jackson and his men. He had the intention of making Goering, the second man in the Third Reich, a privileged witness for the prosecution, and giving him opportunity ... to save his head. Goering, in discussion with Donovan, accepted this plan. The plan collapsed because of Jackson's opposition...Also as regards the handling of...the greater part of the military, Donovan had his own opinions.
November 26, 1945:
From the letter by Chief Prosecutor Justice Jackson to General Donovan, virtually excluding him from participating further in the trial:
In short, I do not think we can afford to negotiate with any of these defendants or their counsel for testimony...To use one of them ourselves will create the impression that there was some kind of a bargain about his testimony, opening the door for that defendant to plead for leniency on the ground he was 'helpful' and may give a background for claims that promises were made to that effect. My view is, therefore, that we should prove our case against these defendants with no use of them as witnesses...Frankly, Bill, your views and mine appear to be so far apart that I do not consider it possible to assign to you examination or cross-examination of witnesses. Therefore, I did not respond to your request for access to Goering. I repeat that time may prove you right and me wrong. I do not claim any great wisdom in so novel and complex matter. I only have responsibility. (Taylor)
November 27, 1945:
From General Donovan's reply to Justice Jackson:
It is true that I have frequently told you squarely and honestly that (1) the case needed centralized administrative control. (2) that there was a lack of intellectual direction. (3) that it was not handled as an entity. (4) that because it was a lawsuit plus something else it needed an affirmative human aspect with German as well as foreign witnesses. I never knew there was ever disagreement on these points. As I told you several weeks ago I am leaving within a few days. Time will not be concerned with our opinions—right or wrong. (Taylor)
November 29, 1945:
The prosecution presents as evidence a film shot by US troops as they were liberating various German concentration camps. Doenitz, Sauckel, Neurath, and Jodl reportedly retreat into a state of denial.
December 14, 1945
The tendency of some of the defendants to denounce, or at least criticize Hitler on the stand, leads to an outburst by Goering during lunch: "You men knew the Fuehrer. He would have been the first one to stand up and say 'I have given the orders and I take full responsibility.' But I would rather die ten deaths than to have the German sovereign subjected to this humiliation." Keitel fell silent, but Frank was not crushed: "Other sovereigns have stood before courts of law. He got us into this..." Doenitz, Funk, Keitel and Schirach suddenly get up and leave Goering's table." (Tusa)
December 20, 1945
After this day's session, the trial adjourns until Wednesday, the 2nd of January, for a holiday break.
December 23, 1945:
Many of the defendants—most of whom are Protestant—attend Christmas Eve services, conducted by Pastor Gerecke.
January 4, 1946
Day 27; Beginning of US Colonel Telford Taylor's Presentation of the Case Against the General Staff and the High Command:
January 14, 1946
The last of the five defendants, Doenitz, was a relatively junior officer when the Nazis came to power. During the early years of the Nazi regime, he specialized in submarine activities and was in command of the U-boat arm when the war broke out. He rose steadily in the Navy and was chosen to succeed Raeder when the latter retired in 1943. He then became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and attained the rank of Grossadmiral. When the German Armed Forces collapsed near the end of the war, Doenitz succeeded Hitler as head of the German Government...
On day 33, Colonel Phillimore, Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom, opens the prosecution's case against Doenitz:
The course of the war waged against neutral and Allied merchant shipping by the U-boats followed under the defendant's direction a course of consistently increasing ruthlessness. The defendant displayed his masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the changing fortunes of war. From the very early days, merchant ships, both Allied and neutral, were sunk without warning; and when operational danger zones had been announced by the German Admiralty, these sinkings continued to take place both within and without those zones. With some exceptions in the early days of the war, no regard was taken for the safety of the crews or passengers...
From The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor: Phillimore was...on a sticky wicket. Although the defendant was indicted under Counts One, Two, and Three, the colonel put the major emphasis on the accusation of war crimes committed by U-boat crews pursuant to Doenitz's orders. There was abundant evidence that the U-boats had regularly sunk ships without warning, in apparent violation of the London Submarine Agreement of 1936, but it was common knowledge that other maritime belligerents had done likewise. Accordingly, Phillimore undertook to establish that under Doenitz's orders, the U-boats had not only abandoned all efforts to assist the crews of torpedoed ships in life-boats or clinging to flotsam, but also had machine-gunned ships' crewmen who had taken to the boats. To establish these charges, Phillimore read the texts of several Doenitz orders and then called two former submarine officers, Peter Heisig and Karl Heinz Moehle, as witnesses. Both testified that Doenitz, in speeches to U-boat officers in training, and by implication in an order issued in September 1942 had encouraged the killing of enemy crews to prevent their manning ships again in the future. Otto Kranzbuhler, representing Doenitz, cross-examined the two officers in a manner much superior to any prior cross-examination by defense counsel. Although both witnesses were intelligent and articulate and stood firm on their testimony, Kranzbuhler drew from Moehle (a decorated lieutenant commander whose boats had sunk twenty ships) admissions that the standing orders of the U-boat's High Command contained no directive for the killing of shipwrecked crews and that he knew of no instance of its happening as a result of instructions from the German submarine command. Dr. von der Lippe declared the cross-examination 'short, effective, and shrewd,' and Kranzbuhler's performance made him a standout among the defense counsel for the rest of his time at Nuremberg.
January 14, 1946
On day 33, the prosecution calls Oberleutnant zur See Peter Josef Heisig to the stand:
January 15, 1946
: Since you have knowledge of the circumstances, do you maintain that the speech of Grossadmiral Doenitz mentioned in any way that fire should be opened on shipwrecked sailors?
: No; we gathered that from his words; and from his reference to the bombing war, we gathered that total war had now to be waged against ships and crews. That is what we understood, and I talked about it to my comrades...
On day 34, the prosecution calls Korvettenkapitan Karl Heinz Moehle to the stand:
January 15, 1946
: When you got this order of the 17th of September 1942, did you take it merely as prohibiting rescue or as going further?
: When I received that order I noticed that it was not entirely clear, as orders of the BdU normally were. One could see an ambiguity in it.
: You have not answered my question. Did you take the order to mean that a U-boat commander should merely abstain from rescue measures, or as something further?
: I took the order to mean that something further was implied, only it was not actually ordered but was considered desirable...
On day 34, the prosecution concludes the presentation of its case against Doenitz:
February 1, 1946
...the defendant was no plain sailor, playing the part of a service officer, loyally obedient to the orders of the government of the day; he was an extreme Nazi who did his utmost to indoctrinate the Navy and the German people with the Nazi creed. It is no coincidence that it was he who was chosen to succeed Hitler; not Goering, not Ribbentrop, not Goebbels, not Himmler. He played a big part in fashioning the U- boat fleet, one of the most deadly weapons of aggressive war. He helped to plan and execute aggresive war...
On day 48, French prosecutor M. Charles Dubost's presentation of the case regarding German atrocities.
February 1, 1946
The German people whose military virtue we recognize, whose poets and musicians we love, whose application to work we admire, and who did not fail to give examples of probity in the most noble works of the spirit; this German people, which came rather late to civilization, beginning only with the eighth century, had slowly raised itself to the ranks of nations possessing the oldest culture. The contribution to modern or contemporary thought seemed to prove that this conquest of the spirit was final; Kant, Goethe, Johann Sebastian Bach belong to humanity just as much as Calvin, Dante, or Shakespeare; nevertheless, we behold the fact that millions of innocent men have been exterminated on the very soil of this people, by men of this people, in execution of a common plan conceived by their leaders, and this people made not a single effort to revolt. This is what has become of it because it has scorned the virtues of political freedom, of civic equality, of human fraternity. This is what has become of it, because it forgot that all men are born free and equal before the law, that the essential action of a state has for its purpose the deeper and deeper penetration of a respect for spiritual liberty and fraternal solidarity in social relations and in international institutions. It allowed itself to be robbed of its conscience and its very soul. Evil masters came who awakened its primitive passions and made possible the atrocities which I have described to you...
Shaking his head, Doenitz reacts to Dubost's presentation: "I must say, I was furious over the idea of being dragged to trial in the beginning because I did not know anything about these atrocities. But now, after hearing all this evidence—the double dealing, the dirty business in the East—I am satisfied that there was good reason to try to get to the bottom of the thing." (Conot)
February 11, 1946
On day 56, the Russians present a surprise witness, Field Marshal von Paulus, who had surrendered at Stalingrad. During his testimony Paulus will single out Keitel, Jodl, and Goering by name as advocates of Hitler's aggressive wars. He does not mention or refer to Doenitz at all.
From Nuremberg Diary by Gustave Gilbert: During the afternoon intermission, the military section blew up in an uproar, and they argued with heated invective with their attorneys and each other. ' Ask that dirty pig if he's a traitor! Ask him if he has taken out Russian citizenship papers!' Goering shot at his attorney. Raeder saw me watching and shouted at Goering, 'Careful! The enemy is listening!' Goering kept right on shouting to his attorney, and there was real bedlam around the prisoners dock. 'We've got to disgrace that traitor,' he roared. Keitel was still arguing with his attorney, and Raeder passed him a note with the same warning. At the other end of the dock, the attitude was more sympathetic to von [sic] Paulus. 'You see,' said Fritzsche, 'that is the tragedy of the German people. He was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.'
February 12, 1946
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
(Yesterday) The Russians continued to present their case and late in the day they rather dramatically presented the German Field Marshal von Paulus, whom they captured at Stalingrad. He denounced Hitler, the Nazis, and the defendants. However, his story struck me as being just a bit too well rehearsed. The German defense lawyers cross-examined von Paulus and did quite a good job of it.
February 15, 1946
Colonel Andrus tightens the rules for the defendants by imposing strict solitary confinement. This is part of a strategy designed to minimize Goering's influence among the defendants. (Tusa)
February 22, 1946
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial:
In a further move to minimize his influence, Goering is now required to eat alone during the court's daily lunch break. The other defendants are split up into groups, with Doenitz in the 'Elders Lunchroom' among the Old Conservatives; Papen, Neurath and Schacht. (Tusa, Conot)
March 5, 1946
Winston Churchill (now a private citizen) introduces the phrase Iron Curtain into the English language during his famous Cold War speech at Fulton, Missouri. Speer recorded his fellow defendants' reactions:
(The defendants showed) tremendous excitement. Hess suddenly stopped playing the amnesiac and reminded us how often he had predicted a great turning point that would put an end to the trial, rehabilitate all of us, and restore us to our ranks and dignities. Goering, too, was beside himself; he repeatedly slapped his thighs with his palms and boomed: 'History will not be deceived. The Fuehrer and I always prophesied it. This coalition had to break up sooner or later.' (Speer II)
March 5, 1946
Kranzbuhler, Doenitz's counsel, requests the Tribunal's permission to send an interrogatory to American Admiral Chester W. Nimitz concerning US wartime policies and practices on the high seas, specifically those having to do with submarines. Maxwell-Fyfe immediately objects, accusing Kranzbuhler of attempting the banned 'tu quoque' defense (the 'you did it too' argument). Kranzbuhler shrewdly replies:
The stand taken by the Prosecution differs entirely from the conception on which my application is based. I in no way wish to prove or even to maintain that the American Admiralty in its U-boat warfare against Japan broke international law. On the contrary, I am of the opinion that it acted strictly in accordance with international law. In the United States' sea war against Japan, the same question arises as in Germany's sea war against England, namely the scope and interpretation of the London Submarine Agreement of 1936. The United States and Japan were both signatories to this agreement. My point is that, because of the orders to merchant vessels to offer resistance, the London Agreement is no longer applicable to such merchantmen...Through the interrogatory to Admiral Nimitz I want to establish that the American Admiralty in practice interpreted the London Agreement in exactly the same as the German Admiralty, and thus prove that the German sea war was perfectly legal. (Taylor)
April 10, 1946
After much discussion behind closed doors, Kranzbuhler wins a major victory as the Tribunal allows his proposed interrogatory to be sent to Admiral Nimitz. 'The International Military Tribunal have authorized the enclosed questionnaire formulated by counsel for Admiral Doenitz, to Admiral Nimitz. The basis of the Tribunal's decision in authorizing the questionnaire was that it was appropriate to construe the international law of submarine warfare by determining what actions were taken by the powers during the war." (Taylor)
April 13, 1946
Nuremberg War Crimes Trials:
On day 108, Kaltenbrunner's defense calls Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, to the stand. The court listens in silence to the horrible testimony concerning millions murdered. Only Doenitz and Goering manage a comment later to Gilbert. Both remark that Hoess is obviously a South German; a Prussian could never have done such things. (Tusa)
May 8, 1946
On day 124, Kranzbuhler opens his defense of Doenitz, introducing documents and pursuing evidence requests:
May 8, 1946
: As a soldier I had not the slightest influence on the question of how the political leadership believed they had to treat this or that neutral. Regarding this particular case, however, from knowledge of the orders I received through the Chief of the Naval Operations Staff from the political leadership, I should like to say the following: I believe that the political leadership did everything to avoid any incident on the high seas with the United States. First, I have already stated that the U-boats were actually forbidden even to stop American ships. Second...
: One moment, Admiral. To stop them where, in the operational area or outside the operational area?
: At first, everywhere. Second, that the American 300-mile safety zone was recognized without any question by Germany, although according to the existing international law only a three-mile zone was authorized. Third, that...
: Dr. Kranzbuhler, an interesting distinction which may be drawn between the United States and other neutrals is not relevant to this Trial, is it? What difference does it make?
: In connection with the document cited by me, GB-195, the Prosecution has made the accusation that Admiral Doenitz conducted his U-boat warfare cynically and opportunistically: that is, in that he treated one neutral well and the other one badly. This accusation has been made expressly, and I want to give Admiral Doenitz the opportunity to make a statement in reply to this accusation. He has already said that he had nothing to do with the handling of this question.
: What more can he say than that?
: Mr. President, according to the principles of the Statute, a soldier is also made responsible for the orders which he executed. For this reason it is my opinion that he must be able to state whether on his side he had the impression that he received cynical and opportunistic orders or whether on the contrary he did not have the impression that everything was done to avoid a conflict and that the orders which were given actually were necessary and right...
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
We turned the corner yesterday. We are now actually in the second row of defendants as they sit in the dock. The case of Admiral Doenitz began about 3:30 yesterday and he is on the witness stand as I write these few lines in the courtroom.
May 8, 1946
Dr. Gilbert, the Nuremberg psychologist, records that most of Doenitz's fellow defendants gave his performance on the stand high marks. Goering jumped up, rubbed his hands, and declared to those around him, 'Ah, now I feel great for the first time in those weeks—Now we finally hear a decent German soldier speak for once.' Frank opined: 'Doenitz makes a marvelous impression.' Only Albert Speer seemed displeased by the showing of Hitler's favorite admiral. Gilbert remarked to Doenitz that 'it is noticeable that the military men still refuse to say anything against Hitler even if they know he was a murderer.' Doenitz lamely replied that the Tribunal 'did not give me a chance to say anything about the black side of Hitler.' (Taylor)
May 8, 1946
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial:
Bob Cooper of 'The Times,' who had written that there is 'something indefinably sympathique about Doenitz sitting politely attentive in his corner behind Goering,' this day comments that there is 'an unusual sprinkling of naval uniforms in the courtroom' for Doenitz's first day of testimony. But, after Doenitz's first day, Cooper updates his opinion of Doenitz; '...harsh, ruthless, arrogant. You felt in him the eternal German militarist and... you saw that his selection as Hitler's successor was probably no mere hazard.' (Tusa)
From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann and John Tusa: Maxwell-Fyfe's cross-examination of Doenitz, which began early on 9 May and took up most of the following day, was not one of his more successful or impressive pieces of work at Nuremberg. ' The Times' correspondent claimed to notice an 'unfamiliar edge of severity' in Maxwell-Fyfe's voice and wondered if it came from emotional response to the huge loss of life in the war at sea suffered by his Liverpool constituents. More probably it came from ill-ease with the task he had to perform. What is observable in the trial transcript is a very different approach from his usual manner: much more hesitance in use of tactics, less readiness to follow up points and infinitely less confident mastery of the subject matter than when dealing with other defendants. It must have occurred to him that in tackling Doenitz and Kranzbuhler, two naval experts in a technical and detailed case, he could not try to bamboozle by implying more knowledge than he possessed—the other two would all too easily outgun him, however careful his preparatory work...
May 9, 1946
By the time Doenitz left the witness box he may not have won sympathy—he would have scorned the attempt—but he had not conceded any points to the prosecution...Dean, who had not been convinced even by Doenitz's evidence on the Laconia Incident, let alone over such charges as the use of concentration camp labor and the renunciation of the Geneva Convention, still could not put his finger on any particular lie or unanswered allegation. He seems to have been judging not on the evidence but with the instinctive dislike and mistrust of Doenitz which so many observers felt. Whatever Dean's personal suspicions about the Doenitz case, he reported that 'there is no doubt that it will be more difficult to demonstrate his guilt than that of the majority of the other defendants.' He summed him up as a 'formidable opponent and typical Nazi' and believed he would be convicted, and rightly so.
On day 125, Doenitz testifies on his own behalf:
May 9, 1946
: In the course of all these actions did any of the U-boat commanders who were subordinate to you voice objections to the manner in which the U-boats operated?
: No, never.
: What would you have done with a commander who refused to carry out the instructions for U-boat warfare?
: First, I would have had him examined; if he proved to be normal I would have put him before a court-martial...
After the first day of cross-examination by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, the 'Daily Telegraph' comments that Doenitz' "frigid poise which has distinguished his bearing throughout his evidence in chief, fell from him like a garment as he indignantly protested in a high-pitched, flustered voice." (Tusa)
May 10, 1946
On day 126, Doenitz gives testimony during cross-examination by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe:
May 13, 1946
: ...And the only cases in 5.5 years of war, during several thousand attacks, are the ones brought up here.
: Yes, and of course for the 2.5 of these years that the submarine commanders have been shooting up survivors, you are not likely to get many cases, are you? I just want to ask you one other point...
: Submarine commanders with the exception of the case of Eck have never shot up shipwrecked persons. There is not a single instance. That is not true.
: That is what you say.
: In no case is that proved. On the contrary, they made the utmost efforts to rescue. No order to proceed against shipwrecked people has ever been given the U-boat force, with the exception of the case of Eck, and for that there was a definite reason. That is a fact.
: Well, now, tell me this: Did you know that the log of the Athenia was faked, after she came in?
: No, it was not faked, but there was a clear order that the case of the Athenia should be kept secret for political reasons and, as a result, the log had to be changed.
: I see. You do not like the word "faked." Well, I will use the word "changed"; that a page was cut out of the log and a false page had been put in. Did you know about that?
: I cannot tell you that today. It is possible...
On day 128, Doenitz's defense calls Admiral Gerhard Wagner of the Reich Naval Operations Staff to the stand:
May 14, 1946
: What was the relationship between the Naval Operations Staff and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, the OKW?
: The OKW passed on the instructions and orders of Hitler, who was the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, regarding the conduct of the war; usually, as far as naval warfare particularly was concerned, after examination and review by the Naval Operations Staff. General questions of the conduct of the war were decided without previous consultations with members of the Naval Operations Staff.
: In which manner were the preparations of the High Command of the Navy for a possible war carried out?
: Generally speaking, they consisted of mobilization preparations, tactical training, and strategic considerations for the event of a possible conflict.
: Did the Naval Operations Staff during your time receive an order to prepare for a definite possibility of war?
: The first instance was the order for "Case White," the war against Poland. Before that, only tasks regarding security measures were given us...
On day 129, defense witness Admiral Wagner is cross-examined by the prosecution:
May 14, 1946
: It is a very simple question to answer generally and it takes less time. Do you say that men captured in uniform should be taken out and shot without trial?
: I cannot consider men of whom I know that they have orders to commit crimes, as soldiers, within international law.
: Are you saying that this action was perfectly proper—are you?
: Yes, entirely and perfectly...
On day 129, Doenitz's defense calls Admiral Eberhard Godt to the stand:
May 14, 1946
: Will you please tell me now how this alteration was made in the log in the case of the Athenia
: In the case of the Athenia
Oberleutnant Lemp reported on returning that he had torpedoed this ship, assuming it to be an auxiliary cruiser. I cannot now tell you exactly whether this was the first time I realized that such a possibility existed or whether the idea that this might possibly have been torpedoed by a German submarine had already been taken into consideration. Lemp was sent to Berlin to make a report and absolute secrecy was ordered with regard to the case.
: By whom?
: By the Naval Operations Staff, after a temporary order had been issued in our department. I ordered the fact to be erased from the war log of the U-boat.
: And that, of course, was on the orders of Admiral Doenitz?
: Yes, or I ordered it on his instructions.
: Did you participate in the further handling of this incident?
: Only with regard to the question of whether Lemp should be punished. As far as I remember, Commander, U-boats, took only disciplinary action against him because it was in his favor that the incident occurred during the first few hours of the war, and it was held that in his excitement he had not investigated the character of the ship as carefully as he might have done...
On day 129, Doenitz's defense calls Fregattenkapitaen Gunther Hessler (Doenitz's son-in-law) to the stand:
May 15, 1946
: Korvettenkapitan Mohle testified that he asked Korvettenkapitan Kuppisch, who was a member of your staff, for an explanation of the Laconia order and that Kuppisch told him about the incident of the U-386
; and told it in such a way as to make it appear that Commander, U-boats, ordered the shooting of survivors.
: That is impossible.
: Because Kuppisch took his U-boat out to sea in July 1943 and never returned from that cruise. The incident of U-386 happened in the autumn of 1943, which was later...
On day 130, Raeder testifies on his own behalf:
Admiral Doenitz has already commented on the result of this training of our men and officers, and I should like only to confirm that these German naval men earned full recognition in peace-time, both at home and abroad, for their dignified and good behavior and their discipline; and also during the war, when they fought to the end in an exemplary manner, in complete unity, with irreproachable battle ethics, and, in general, did not participate in any kind of atrocities. Also in the occupied areas to which they came, in Norway for instance, they earned full approval of the population for their good and dignified conduct...
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: During his interrogation in Moscow, Raeder had unburdened himself of some of his feelings about his fellow leaders in the Wehrmacht; and his opinions were now read in court. 'Speer flattered Doenitz's vanity, and vice versa,' Raeder declared. 'Doenitz's strong political party inclination brought him difficulties as head of the navy. His last speech to the Hitler Youth, which was ridiculed in all circles, gave him in the navy the nickname of Hitlerbube Doenitz (Hitlerboy Doenitz).' 'Keitel,' Raeder said, was 'a man of unimaginable weakness, who owes his long stay in his position to this characteristic. The Fuehrer could treat him as badly as he wished—he stood for it.' 'Goering,' Raeder asserted, 'had a disastrous effect on the fate of the German Reich. His main peculiarities were unimaginable vanity and immeasurable ambition, running after popularity and showing off, untruthfulness, impracticality, and selfishness. He was outstanding in his greed, wastefulness, and soft unsoldierly manner.' Doenitz, who had to sit brushing shoulders with Raeder for another three months, exploded: 'A pissed-off jealous old man!'
May 21, 1946
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
Yesterday, Raeder continued his testimony—but under cross-examination. He followed the defense line and committed perjury high, wide and handsome. Sir David did a good job I thought on the cross-exam. I am continually shocked at the appearance of former German admirals, generals, cabinet officers, bankers, etc., who get on the witness stand under oath and proceed to lie in the most shameful manner. Little wonder that catastrophe attended them..."
July 15, 1946
On day 178, Doenitz's counsel, Flottenrichter Otto Kranzbuhler, details his closing arguments:
From the very first day of the war, U-boat reports reached the Flag Officer of U-boats and the Naval Operations Staff stating that hardly an enemy ship submitted voluntarily to being stopped and examined. The merchant vessels were not content with attempting to escape through flight or by changing their course and bearing directly down upon the U-boat in order to force it to dive. Every U-boat sighted was at once reported by radio; and subsequently, in the shortest space of time, attacked by enemy airplanes or naval forces. However, it was the arming of all enemy merchant vessels that settled the matter...
From Justice at Nuremberg by Robert E. Conot: In the end, the personality and skill of Kranzbuhler had more to do with the outcome of the case against Doenitz than the evidence against the admiral. It was because Kranzbuhler had caught favor in the eye of Biddle that the American judge, pleading personal privilege, had overcome the reluctance of Lawrence and Birkett to permit an interrogatory to be submitted to Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the American Pacific Fleet during the war. To the question, 'Was it customary for submarines to attack merchantmen without warning? Nimitz replied: 'Yes, with the exception of hospital ships and other vessels under safe conduct voyages for humanitarian purposes.' Q: 'Were, by order or on general principles, the US submarines prohibited from carrying out rescue measures toward passengers and crews of ships sunk without warning in those cases where by doing so the safety of their own boat was endangered?' Nimitz: 'On general principles, the US submarines did not rescue enemy survivors if undue additional hazard to the submarine resulted, or the submarine would be prevented from accomplishing its further mission. Therefore, it was unsafe to pick up many survivors.' Kranzbuhler thus won his point. Circumventing the barrier to 'tu quoque,' he had obtained affirmation that American submarine practices had paralleled the Germans, that none of the combatants had attempted to rescue survivors if their own vessels had been endangered, and that therefore, in practice, if not strictly in theory, German naval warfare had been 'legal.' In a case as massive and complex as this, in which few defendants won even minor points, it was striking to have one succeed in a major.
July 16, 1946
On day 179, Flottenrichter Kranzbuhler completes his closing arguments:
July 16, 1946
The same sense of responsibility caused him, when he became head of the State on 1 May 1945 to cease hostilities against the West, but to protract the surrender in the East for a few days, days in which hundreds of thousands were able to escape to the West. From the moment when—to his own complete surprise—he was given a political task, he calmly and intelligently averted a threatening chaos, prevented desperate mass action without a leader, and assumed responsibility before the German people for the gravest action which any statesman can take at all. Thus, to revert to the beginning of the Indictment, he did nothing to start this war, but he took the decisive steps to end it. Since that moment the German nation has learned of many things which it did not expect, and more than once it has been referred to the unconditional surrender which the last head of the State carried through. It is for this Tribunal to decide whether in the future this nation will be reminded of the binding value of the signature of a man who is being outlawed as a criminal before the whole world by his partners in the agreement...
From the letters of Thomas Dodd:
The defendants reflect the ending of these proceedings. They seem to feel that their days are definitely numbered. Even Goering, who has been positively impish up to very recently, now is gray and crestfallen. Keitel wears the mask of the doomed already. And so it goes through the entire dock. General Jodl and Seyss-Inquart being exceptions to some extent and mostly because they are more stable emotionally.
July 22, 1946
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial:
On day 187, US Justice Jackson details Prosecutions closing arguments against Doenitz:
July 22, 1946
Doenitz urged his submarine crews not to rescue survivors of torpedoed enemy ships in order to cripple merchant shipping of the Allied Nations by decimating their crews...Doenitz, Hitler's legatee of defeat, promoted the success of the Nazi aggressions by instructing his pack of submarine killers to conduct warfare at sea with the illegal ferocity of the jungle...It was the fatal weakness of the early Nazi band that it lacked technical competence. It could not from among its own ranks make up a government capable of carrying out all the projects necessary to realize its aims. Therein lies the special crime and betrayal of men like Schacht and Von Neurath, Speer and Von Papen, Raeder and Doenitz, Keitel and Jodl. It is doubtful whether the Nazi master plan could have succeeded without their specialized intelligence which they so willingly put at its command. They did so with knowledge of its announced aims and methods, and continued their services after practice had confirmed the direction in which they were tending. Their superiority to the average run of Nazi mediocrity is not their excuse. It is their condemnation.
At lunchtime, when Jackson's speech was finished, Gilbert observed the reaction of the defendants. It was 'hurt surprise that the prosecution still considered them criminals.' 'What have we been sitting here for eight months for?' protested Papen. 'The prosecution isn't paying the slightest attention to our defense.' Doenitz and Schacht joined in and denounced Jackson's speech. (Heydecker)
July 23, 1946
On day 188, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
July 29, 1946
Was Doenitz ignorant, when he addressed to a Navy of some 600,000 men, a speech on the "spreading poison of Jewry"? Doenitz, who thought fit to circulate to the Naval War Staff Hitler's directive for dealing with the general strike at Copenhagen—terror should be met by terror—and asked for 12,000 concentration camp workers for the shipyards...
On day 189, M. Charles Dubost, Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French Republic, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
July 29, 1946
Doenitz was Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy. He succeeded Hitler with Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. He was a recipient of the Golden Party Badge. His adherence to the criminal policy of the system is indisputable. He said, among other things: "The officer is the representative of the State. This talk about nonpolitical officers is sheer nonsense." He recommended the use of labor from the extermination camps in order, he said, to increase output by 100 percent. He proclaimed unrestricted submarine warfare and ordered his sailors "to be hard," and not to effect any further rescues. He approved and extolled massacres of Communists to do so...
On day 189, General Rudenko, Chief Prosecutor for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, details Prosecutions closing arguments:
August 30, 1946
My British colleague has proved the guilt of Defendants Karl Doenitz and Erich Raeder so convincingly and thoroughly that I see no need to dwell particularly on these Grossadmiral of Hitlerite Germany, who have stained their admirals' uniforms by such infamous crimes. In the course of his cross-examination Doenitz told the Soviet prosecutor that he was unaware of the reasons for which Hitler had appointed him as his successor. I do not believe that Doenitz was quite sincere in making this statement. One has only to refer to the transcripts of the sessions of 8 May in order to understand without any confession on his part why he became Hitler's successor when the Hitlerite Reich collapsed to the ground. The important point is not the fact that an admiral was needed at a moment like this, but the fact that in the opinion of Hitler, who so soon was to fade from the picture, only the Nazi Grossadmiral Doenitz could do anything to save the sinking ship...
On day 216, the defendants make their final statements: "...The President: I call upon the Defendant Karl Doenitz.
Final Statement of Karl Doenitz: I should like to say three things. Firstly, you may judge the legality of German submarine warfare as your conscience dictates. I consider this form of warfare justified and have acted according to my conscience. I would have to do exactly the same all over again. My subordinates however, who carried out my orders, acted with complete confidence in me and without there being a shadow of a doubt about the necessity and legality of these orders. In my eyes no subsequent judgment can deprive them of their belief in the honorable character of a struggle for which they voluntarily made sacrifice after sacrifice up to the last hour.
September 2, 1946
Secondly, there has been much talk here about a conspiracy which is alleged to have existed among the defendants. I consider this allegation a political dogma. As such it cannot be proved, but can only be believed or rejected. Considerable portions of the German people will never believe, however, that such a conspiracy could have been the cause of their misfortune. Let politicians and jurists argue about it; they will only make it harder for the German people to draw a lesson from this Trial, which is of decisive importance for its attitude toward the past and the shaping of its future the acknowledgement that the Fuehrer principle as a political principle is wrong. In the military leadership of all armies in this world, the Fuehrer principle has proved itself in the best possible way. On the strength of this experience I considered it also right with regard to political leadership, particularly in the case of a nation in the hopeless position in which the German people found itself in 1932. The great successes of the new government and a feeling of happiness such as the entire nation had never known before seemed to prove it right. But if, in spite of all the idealism, all the decency, and all the devotion of the great majority of the German people, no other result has been achieved through the Fuehrer principle, in the last analysis, than the misfortune of this people, then this principle as such must be wrong, wrong because apparently human nature is not in a position to use the power of this principle for good, without falling victim to the temptations of this power.
Thirdly, my life was devoted to my profession and thereby to the service of the German people. As the last Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy and as the last Head of the State, I bear the responsibility towards the German people, for everything which I have done and left undone."
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial:
As the defendants await the court's judgment, Colonel Andrus somewhat relaxes the conditions of confinement, allowing the prisoners limited visitation.
September 26, 1946
From the Daily Telegraph (byline by Rebecca West):
The judgment that is now about to be delivered has to answer a challenge which has been thrown down not only by Germans but by many critics among the Allies. It has to prove that victors can so rise above the ordinary limitations of human nature as to be able to try fairly the foes they vanquished, by submitting themselves to the restraints of law...The meeting of the challenge will also warn all future war-mongers that law can at last pursue then into peace and thus give humanity a new defense against them. Hence the judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal may be one of the most important events in the history of civilization.
September 1-30, 1946
The thirty-two American journalists covering the trial had created a blackboard in the foreign press room listing the correspondents' predictions concerning the defendants' sentences in columns headed 'Guilty,' 'Not Guilty,' 'Death Sentence' and 'Prison.' The pressmen were unanimous on the death sentence only for Goering, Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner; as regards the rest, bets on the death sentence were: Keitel and Sauckel 29, Hans Frank 27, Seyss-Inquart 26, Rosenberg 24, Hess 17, Raeder 15, Doenitz and Streicher 14, Jodl 13, Frick 12, Speer 11, von Schirach 9, von Papen 6, Schacht 4, von Neurath 3 and Fritzsche 1. (Maser)
September 30, 1946
On the penultimate day of this historic trial, the final judgments are read in open court:
Final Judgment: "Doenitz is indicted on Counts One, Two, and Three. In 1935 he took command of the first U-Boat flotilla commissioned since 1918, became in 1936 commander of the submarine arm, was made Vice-Admiral in 1940, Admiral in 1942, and on 30 January 1943 Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy. On 1 May 1945 he became the Head of State, succeeding Hitler.
October 1, 1946
Crimes against Peace: Although Doenitz built and trained the German U-Boat arm, the evidence does not show he was privy to the conspiracy to wage aggressive wars or that he prepared and initiated such wars. He was a line officer performing strictly tactical duties. He was not present at the important conferences when plans for aggressive wars were announced, and there is no evidence he was informed about the decisions reached there. Doenitz did, however, wage aggressive war within the meaning of that word as used by the Charter. Submarine warfare which began immediately upon the outbreak of war, was fully co-ordinated with the other branches of the Wehrmacht. It is clear that his U-boats, few in number at the time, were fully prepared to wage war. It is true that until his appointment in January 1943 as commander-in-chief he was not an "Oberbefehlshaber."
But this statement underestimates the importance of Doenitz' position. He was no mere army or division commander. The U-Boat arm was the principal part of the German fleet and Doenitz was its leader. The High Seas Fleet made a few minor, if spectacular, raids during the early years of the war, but the real damage to the enemy was done almost exclusively by his submarines, as the millions of tons of allied and neutral shipping sunk will testify. Doenitz was solely in charge of this warfare. The Naval War Command reserved for itself only the decision as to the number of submarines in each area. In the invasion of Norway, for example, he made recommendations in October 1939 as to submarine bases, which he claims were no more than a staff study, and in March 1940 he made out the operational orders for the supporting U-boats, as discussed elsewhere in this Judgment.
That his importance to the German war effort was so regarded is eloquently proved by Raeder's recommendation of Doenitz as his successor and his appointment by Hitler on 30 January 1943 as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. Hitler too knew that submarine warfare was the essential part of Germany's naval warfare. From January 1943, Doenitz was consulted almost continuously by Hitler. The evidence was that they conferred on naval problems about 120 times during the course of the war. As late as April 1945 when he admits he knew the struggle was hopeless, Doenitz as its commander-in-chief urged the Navy to continue its fight. On 1 May 1945 he became the Head of State and as such, ordered the Wehrmacht to continue its war in the East until capitulation on 9 May 1945. Doenitz explained that his reason for these orders was to insure that the German civilian population might be evacuated and the Army might make an orderly retreat from the East. In the view of the Tribunal, the evidence shows that Doenitz was active in waging aggressive war.
War Crimes: Doenitz is charged with waging unrestricted submarine warfare contrary to the Naval Protocol of 1936, to which Germany acceded, and which reaffirmed the rules of submarine warfare laid down in the London Naval Agreement of 1930. The Prosecution has submitted that on 3 September 1939 the German U-Boat arm began to wage unrestricted submarine warfare upon all merchant ships, whether enemy or neutral, cynically disregarding the Protocol, and that a calculated effort was made throughout the war to disguise this practice by making hypocritical references to international law and supposed violations by the Allies. Doenitz insists that at all times the Navy remained within the confines of international law and of the Protocol. He testified that when the war began, the guide to submarine warfare was the German Prize Ordinance, taken almost literally from the Protocol; that pursuant to the German view, he ordered submarines to attack all merchant ships in convoy and all that refused to stop or used their radio upon sighting a submarine. When his reports indicated that British merchant ships were being used to give information by wireless, were being armed and were attacking submarines on sight, he ordered his submarines on 17 October 1939 to attack all enemy merchant ships without warning, on the ground that resistance was to be expected. Orders already had been issued on 21 September 1939 to attack all ships, including neutrals, sailing at night without lights in the English Channel.
On 24 November 1939, the German Government issued a warning to neutral shipping that, owing to the frequent engagements taking place in the waters around the British Isles and the French coast between U-Boats and Allied merchant ships which were armed and had instructions to use those arms as well as to ram U-Boats, the safety of neutral ships in those waters could no longer be taken for granted. On I January 1940, the German U-Boat command, acting on the instructions of Hitler, ordered U-Boats to attack all Greek merchant ships in the zone surrounding the British Isles which was banned by the United States to its own ships and also merchant ships of every nationality in the limited area of the Bristol Channel. Five days later a further order was given to U-Boats "to make immediately unrestricted use of weapons against all ships" in an area of the North Sea, the limits of which were defined. Finally on 18 January 1940, U-Boats were authorized to sink, without warning, all ships "in those waters near the enemy coast in which the use of mines can be pretended." Exceptions were to be made in the cases of United States, Italian, Japanese, and Soviet ships. Shortly after the outbreak of war, the British Admiralty, in accordance with its Handbook of Instructions of 1938 to the merchant navy, armed its merchant vessels, in many cases convoyed them with armed escort, gave orders to send position reports upon sighting submarines, thus integrating merchant vessels into the warning network of naval intelligence.
On 1 October 1939, the British Admiralty announced British merchant ships had been ordered to ram U-Boats if possible. In the actual circumstances of this case, the Tribunal is not prepared to hold Doenitz guilty for his conduct of submarine warfare against British armed merchant ships. However, the proclamation of operational zones and the sinking of neutral merchant vessels which enter those zones presents a different question. This practice was employed in the war of 1914<ndash>1918 by Germany, and adopted in retaliation by Great Britain. The Washington Conference of 1922, the London Naval Agreement of 1930 and the Protocol of 1936 were entered into with full knowledge that such zones had been employed in that war. Yet the Protocol made no exception for operational zones. The order of Doenitz to sink neutral ships without warning when found within these zones was, in the opinion of the Tribunal, therefore a violation of the Protocol. It is also asserted that the German U-Boat arm not only did not carry out the warning and rescue provisions of the Protocol, but that Doenitz deliberately ordered the killing of survivors of shipwrecked vessels, whether enemy or neutral.
The Prosecution has introduced much evidence surrounding two orders of Doenitz, War Order Number 154, issued in 1939, and the so-called Laconia order of 1942. The Defense argues that these orders and the evidence supporting them do not show such a policy and introduced much evidence to the contrary. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the evidence does not establish with the certainty required that Doenitz deliberately ordered the killing of shipwrecked survivors. The orders were undoubtedly ambiguous, and deserve the strongest censure. The evidence further shows that the rescue provisions were not carried out and that the defendant ordered that they should not be carried out. The argument of the Defense is that the security of the submarine is, as the first rule of the sea, paramount to rescue and that the development of aircraft made rescue impossible. This may be so, but the Protocol is explicit. If the commander cannot rescue, then under its terms he cannot sink a merchant vessel and should allow it to pass unharmed before his periscope. These orders, then, prove Doenitz is guilty of a violation of the Protocol. In view of all of the facts proved, and in particular of an order of the British Admiralty announced on 8 May 1940, according to which all vessels should be sunk at night in the Skagerrak, and the answer to interrogatories by Admiral Nimitz that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war, the sentence of Doenitz is not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the international law of submarine warfare.
Doenitz was also charged with responsibility for Hitler's Commando Order of 18 October 1942. Doenitz admitted he received and knew of the order when he was Flag Officer of U-boats, but disclaimed responsibility. He points out that the order by its express terms excluded men captured in naval warfare, that the Navy had no territorial commands on land, and that submarine commanders would never encounter Commandos. In one instance, when he was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, in 1943, the members of the crew of an Allied motor torpedo boat were captured by German naval forces. They were interrogated for intelligence purposes on behalf of the local admiral, and then turned over by his order to the SD and shot. Doenitz said that if they were captured by the Navy their execution was a violation of the Commando Order, that the execution was not announced in the Wehrmacht communique, and that he was never informed of the incident. He pointed out that the admiral in question was not in his chain of command, but was subordinate to the Army general in command of the Norway occupation. But Doenitz permitted the order to remain in full force when he became commander-in-chief, and to that extent he is responsible.
Doenitz in a conference of 11 December 1944, said "12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed in the shipyards as additional labor. At this time he had no jurisdiction over shipyard construction and claims that this was merely a suggestion at the meeting that the responsible officials do something about producing ships, that he took no steps to get these workers, since it was not a matter for his jurisdiction, and that he does not know whether they ever were procured. He admits he knew of concentration camps, A man in his position must necessarily have known that citizens of occupied countries in large numbers were confined in the concentration camps. In 1945 Hitler requested the opinion of Jodl and Doenitz whether the Geneva Convention should be denounced. The notes of the meeting between the two military leaders on 20 February 1945 show that Doenitz expressed his view that the disadvantages of such an action outweighed the advantages. The summary of Doenitz' attitude shown in the notes taken by an officer, included the following sentence: "It would be better to carry out the measures considered necessary without warning, and at all costs to save face with the outer world."
The Prosecution insisted that "the measures" referred to meant that the Convention should not be denounced, but should be broken at will. The Defense explanation is that Hitler wanted to break the Convention for two reasons: to take away from German troops the protection of the Convention, thus preventing them from continuing to surrender in large groups to the British and Americans; and also to permit reprisals against Allied prisoners of war because of Allied bombing raids. Doenitz claims that what he meant by "measures" were disciplinary measures against German troops to prevent them from surrendering and had no reference to measures against the Allies; that this was merely a suggestion, and that in any event no such measures were ever taken, either against Allies or Germans. The Tribunal, however, does not believe this explanation. The Geneva Convention was not, however, denounced by Germany. The Defense has introduced several affidavits to prove that British naval prisoners of war in camps under Doenitz' jurisdiction were treated strictly according to the Convention, and the Tribunal takes this fact into consideration and regards it as a mitigating circumstance.
Conclusion: The Tribunal finds Doenitz is not guilty on Count One of the Indictment, and is guilty on Counts Two and Three."
On the 218th and last day of the trial, sentences are handed down: "Defendant Karl Doenitz, on the Counts of the Indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to ten years' imprisonment." Doenitz comments: 'Well, anyway, I cleared U-boat warfare.' (Tusa)
October 13, 1946:
Colonel Andrus informs the prisoners that all appeals have been turned down. Kranzbuhler had appealed Doenitz's conviction on the grounds that the final judgment had been ambiguous; Doenitz had been found not guilty on the charge of waging aggressive war, and seems to have been cleared of war crimes at sea. It is still, to this day, not completely clear just what Doenitz was actually convicted of.
October 16, 1946:
Those defendants sentenced to imiprisonment endure a sleepless night as the names of those condemned to death are called off, one by one, and led to the gallows.
October 16, 1946
: After the executions, the defendants' former cells are cleaned thoroughly. Colonel Andrus is unpleasantly surprised by the amount of contraband articles subsequently discovered, and what that says about his security regime. Nearly all the prisoners had squirreled away something in anticipation of an eventual act of desperation. Doenitz had tied together 5 shoelaces and hidden them. (Heydecker)
December 6, 1946
From 'Spandau Diary' by Albert Speer:
During the morning's work in the corridor, Raeder's, Doenitz's and Schirach's dislike of me for my attitude toward the Nuremberg Trial came out in the open. Schirach, who always looks to someone to lean on, is now following the two grand admirals; during the trial he belonged to my faction, together with Funk and Fritzsche. (Speer II)
December 24, 1946
As always, the morning was spent in sweeping and mopping the corridor. Talk with my fellow prisoners. Christmas greetings are exchanged...At two o'clock I have a half-hour walk in the prison yard with Doenitz, Shirach, Raeder, and Neurath...Doenitz calls to me good-naturedly that I look—he actually says—happy and contented...Before we are led back to our cells Funk, with a few jokes intended to hide his Christmassy feelings, hands Doenitz a sausage...I give Doenitz a cigar... (Speer II)
January 1, 1947
Began the New Year dispiritedly. Swept corridor, a walk, and then to church. Doenitz and I sing louder than usual because Raeder is sick and Funk is due to go to the hospital. (Speer II)
March 18, 1947
For several days we have been allowed to talk to one another while walking. I usually walk with Doenitz or Funk. Our conversations circle around prison problems. This morning, while we are griping about dull razor blades, Doenitz abruptly and aggrievedly says to me that the Nuremberg verdict made a mockery of all justice, if only because the judging nations would not have behaved any differently. Suddenly I realize the futility of reminding him of, for example, the photographs, by way of making him see the moral legitimacy of the verdict. Instead, I argue nonpolitically, pointing out that our conviction might lead to the quicker release of the German prisoners of war, for it is hardly possible to condemn us for violation of the Geneva Convention and at the same time hold millions of prisoners of war for forced labor in mines, in military depots, or in agriculture for years after the war...That had been Sauckel's argument, Doenitz replies. The fact remains: he is unable to see the magnitude of the horror. It is fortunate that we are together only half an hour; the walk is too brief for us to develop our opposing views... (Speer II)
March 25, 1947
Doenitz has news from his son-in-law, Hessler, who served on his staff during the war. He is being hired by the British to provide information on the U-boat war. Payment is in British pounds. Doenitz considers this good news. Astonishingly, he cannot repress a touch of family pride as he tells me about it. (Speer II)
June 30, 1947
We are still here. Doenitz, Hess, and I are convinced that the idea of Spandau has been dropped. But many of us were always inclined to mistake wishes for reality. (Speer II)
July 8, 1947
The wives of Funk, Hess, Schirach, and Goering are being held along with the wives of other prominent officials in a Bavarian prison camp. The wives of Doenitz, Neurath, and Raeder, as well as my own wife, have so far been let alone. (Speer II)
July 9, 1947
October 11, 1947
Doenitz and Milch's wives have been receiving packages from Sven Hedin in Sweden. (Speer II)
July 19, 1947:
The prisoners are finally moved to their permanent home at Spandau, near Berlin.
Today, Saturday, we had our first Spandau religious service...The French chaplain, Casalis, gave a sermon on the subject: 'The lepers in Israel were cut off from the community of the people by a host of legal prohibitions; these are as insurmountable as a prison wall.' Raeder, Doenitz, and Shirach take offense; they contend that the chaplain called them 'lepers.' Fierce discussions rage in the yard and the washroom... (Speer II)
December 10, 1947
A clash with Doenitz that once again reveals the enormous distance between us—an abyss ordinarily concealed by everyday commonplaces. While sweeping the hall we were at first perfectly easygoing. Doenitz made jokes about my broomstick, which is bent, because I use it more as a support than as a tool, he said. A rather silly but friendly conversation developed. But then it took a sudden turn, I no longer remember just how. I made some chance remark, for which Doenitz reproved me: 'After all, this man was the legal head of state in the Reich. His orders were necessarily binding upon me. How else could a government be run?' For all his personal integrity and dependability on the human plane, Doenitz has in no way revised his view of Hitler. To this day, Hitler is still commander in chief...Any sweeping condemnation of Hitler strikes Doenitz as a kind of treason. And it seems to me that in this view he may have a large proportion of the generals and perhaps of the German people behind him. But his concept of authority seems to me empty. Doenitz does not ask what authority stands for...what orders it issues, what it conceals. People like him will never realize what has actually happened... (Speer II)
December 14, 1947
Today Schirach brought up my quarrel with Doenitz. In our uneventful world that minor disagreement seems to have been the subject of extensive discussion. Doenitz has Neurath entirely on his side, and for once, Raeder also; Hess is completely indifferent; this time Funk sides with me; Schirach vacillates. He admits that the entire Third Reich was founded more upon Hitler's personal fascination than upon the attractiveness of an idea. That particularly struck him about his fellow Gauleiters. Powerful satraps though they might be in their own provinces, he says, in Hitler's presence they all seemed small and crawling. He reminded me of how they would grovel before Hitler when he came to the capital of their Gau, how they would concur with his every phrase, even when the context was completely beyond them. That was true for everything from staging an opera to the planning of a building or a technological problem. Surprisingly, Schirach decides on the basis of these facts that in a sense Doenitz was right in his quarrel with me. The identity of Hitler and the State was so complete, he contends, that it would have been impossible to turn against one for the sake of preserving the other. In conclusion he threw at me, as his strongest argument: 'Don't you see, with Hitler's death it wasn't so much the government as the State itself ceased to exist. The State was indissolubly bound up with Hitler.' I replied, 'Just tell that to Doenitz. As Hitler's successor and the Reich's last head of state I'm sure he'll be delighted to hear it. (Speer II)
August 29, 1948
Outside in the corridor Doenitz says to me that if he were a guard he would inspect the pockets of my trousers; my behavior has been highly suspect. As best I can, I pretend amazement. But maybe I have really become too careless and am incurring suspicion. For, in my right pocket, wrapped in my handkerchief, I was carrying the notes of the past several days. (Speer II)
February 3, 1949
Each of us has developed his own pattern of behavior toward the guards and directors. Hess is unfriendly, regards them as his personal enemies, and receives all reprimands with unruffled, contemptuous calm. Neurath and Raeder are reserved, polite, and somewhat forbearing. Doenitz vacillates, now huffily acting the high-ranking naval officer and keeping his distance from everybody, now genially seeking contact. (Speer II)
June 13, 1952
Three days ago, Raeder complained to the French director about Hess's groaning at night. It's shattering his nerves, he claims. Major Bresard asked Neurath, Doenitz, and me whether Hess disturbed our sleep too, but we said no. (Speer II)
June 15, 1952
Today a notice posted on the cell door stipulated that Prisoner Number Seven may remain in bed every morning until half past nine if he has pain. This is an official acknowledgment that Hess is sick. However, the sickness is not taken seriously, since the medical aide reports that he is injecting only 'aqua destilla' (distilled water), a trick frequently used with hysterics. In the medical office this morning Raeder irritably tells the guards Hawker and Wagg that they were wrong to give in, that Hess ought to be handled roughly; he doesn't have any real pain at all. Doenitz is outraged when he hears this. In the washroom he says to Neurath and me, 'Raeder would suffer for that in a prisoner-of-war camp. And rightly so, to my mind. That's terribly uncomradely. Hess has a right to malinger if he wants to. We ought to be supporting him. And not to upset him, we shouldn't even tell him that the sedative injection is a trick. You can never tell what he might do then. (Speer II)
October 5, 1952
A week ago nine pages of notes were found under Doenitz's mattress. Luckily they were written on official paper. The authorities suspect they were intended for his memoirs. In the trash pail I found fragments of the report of a conference of directors at which the incident was discussed. The new Russian director demanded that Doenitz's reading and writing be banned for two weeks because in the note he described activities that took place in fascist Germany. But no verdict could be agreed on. (Speer II)
January 20, 1953
...there is great excitement. Funk tells us in the garden: 'A plot has been uncovered. Skorzeny, the man who liberated Mussolini, is said to have wanted to kidnap us, using two helicopters and a hundred men. Along with this there was to be a putsch. All of us were going to serve as a new government, headed by Doenitz as Hitler's successor. The British Secret Service has arrested Naumann, Goebbels' undersecretary, the former press chief, Suendermann, and Gauleiter Scheel. The newspapers are headlining the whole thing.' Apparently, Doenitz wanted to keep this news from me. 'But I couldn't help hearing you talking with the American a while ago,' I say. 'According to what I've heard, you're Number One in the new government of the Reich...' Excited, he interrupts me: 'What nonsense. They ought to let me out of here so that I can issue a statement that I have nothing to do with it. I condemn Hitler's system, and I never had anything to do with SS men like Skorzeny.' There was a short pause. 'But I am still and will remain the legal chief of state. Until I die.' I pretend astonishment. 'But there has been a new chief of state for the longest time. Heuss was elected, after all.' 'I beg your pardon,' Doenitz insists. 'He was installed under pressure from the occupying powers. Until all political parties, including the National Socialists, are permitted to function and until they elect someone else, my legitimacy remains. Nothing can change that one iota. Even if I wanted it changed.' I try persuasion, 'If I were in your position I would renounce my rights.' Doenitz shakes his head in despair at such incomprehension. 'You simply refuse to understand. Even if I renounced the office I would remain chief of state, because I cannot renounce it until I have appointed a successor.' At this point I too became obstinate. 'But even emperors and kings abdicate after a revolution.' Doenitz sets me straight: 'They always appointed a successor. Otherwise their abdication had no validity.' I play my trump card. 'But then you're in luck that the crown prince is dead. Otherwise there would be three of you.' Then it occurs to me that Prince Louis Ferdinand is alive, and I ask, 'Tell me, what arrangement did you make in 1945 with the head of the House of Hohenzollern?' Neurath, shrugging, puts in, 'This idea has become an obsession with him.' (Speer II)
February 17, 1953
During the noon rest, Frederik slips me the first installment of a series on Doenitz's government, which is being published under the title 'The Twenty-Three Day Fourth Reich.' Doenitz must already have read it, for he looks distinctly complacent when he talks with Fredrik. For my part, I read the whole thing with rather irritable feelings, for a large part of it is viewed wrongly; most of the individuals are seen in a heroic light, and almost everything is distorted. The tenor of the article is plain from the statement by Doenitz that is used as an epigraph for this first installment: 'I have nothing to apologize for and would do everything all over again just as I did then.' All this makes me want to record many details of that period that come back to me now. (Speer II)
March 4, 1953
Today I passed by Doenitz's cell to fetch clean sheets. His door was open; he eagerly beckoned me to come in. His face had suddenly become several years younger. He pointed out the caption for a news photo of him. 'The man who saved the lives of hundreds of thousands.' (Speer II)
April 11, 1953
Through a clandestine note from his son-in-law, Doenitz has heard the results of a (July 1952) survey...He himself stands at the head of the list of formerly prominent personages (former Nazis) whom the Germans still have a good opinion of. Doenitz has 46 percent; he is closely followed by Schacht with 42, Goering with 37, myself with 30, Hitler with 24 percent. Schirach and Hess lag behind with 22 percent. Seven percent have a bad opinion of Doenitz, 9 percent of me, 10 of Schacht, 29 of Schirach and Hess, 36 of Goering and 47 percent of Hitler. 'Because the German people cherish me in their hearts, I shall soon be getting out,' Doenitz observed complacently as he stood beside me today washing his hands. Nevertheless, the letter gave Doenitz no pleasure, for his son-in-law unforgivably passed on the information that he is now as popular as Rommel. In a tone of sharp repugnance, Doenitz commented that Rommel had been nothing but a propaganda hero because he participated in the July 20 conspiracy. Then Doenitz stalked off. (Speer II)
April 14, 1953
When Doenitz became Raeder's successor in the spring of 1943, I worked closely with him. He was always decent and reliable, and made an excellent impression on me. Despite the clouding of our relationship in the course of our imprisonment, I remember our collaboration with pleasure. I understood why he has held aloof from me, and respect the reasons. Moreover, he has been gripped by the psychosis of a prisoner who dashes his head against the wall of his verdict and sentence. Such refusal to accept often produces unexpected, uncontrollable reactions. (Speer II)
January 9, 1954
In the library in the evening Doenitz...shows concern over the ambitions ascribed to him (in an article in the 'Empire News') to become chief of state after his release.' But the newspaper also wrote that I would like to establish a children's home,' he says, trying to comfort himself. 'My wife is trying to dissuade me from it because I'm too old. She may be right.' Hess assumes a false kindly tone. 'Well, well! Too old for a children's home, but young enough to be head of state. Is that the idea?' (Speer II)
August 28, 1954
Surprisingly, Doenitz has come out strongly for Adenauer.' Granted, he's a thickheaded martinet, but by his obstinacy he holds the government together. Always better to have someone like that, rather than one of these intellectuals whose cabinet ministers go running in all directions.' All of us are struck by the fact that the newspaper from East Germany is constantly invoking such notions as 'Fatherland' or 'Germany.' Today Schirach commented to Doenitz on Ulbricht's speech at a youth group meeting, a speech larded with quotations from Schiller: 'You've got to read this! One of the best speeches I've seen. Simply tremendous! And Raeder echoed him: 'Simply tremendous!' (Speer II)
October 26, 1954
At the Paris Conference it was decided to admit the new German army into NATO.' Die Welt' has a report on the structure of this new army and its methods of training. Doenitz took a critical view: 'A mistake not to build the Bundeswehr on the traditions of the Wehrmacht. They are cutting off the limb they are sitting on.' And Schirach exclaims, 'Outrageous! Saluting officers only once a day! And no more high boots! I can't understand it. The best part of the army.' Doenitz was more interested in what all this might portend for us. 'I've never ventured to prophesy, but this time I predict that all of us will be going home next spring. The Western Powers simply cannot keep us prisoners longer than that. My naval officers simply wouldn't go along with it.' (Speer II)
May 24, 1955
Yesterday, on the tenth anniversary of our arrest, reporters and several of Doenitz's adherents are said to have waited outside the prison, for it was expected that Doenitz, whose ten years have expired, would be released. Schirach, for whom it is hardest to realize that life is going on outside, commented, 'Only a few? What a miserable nation. Why aren't tens of thousands standing out there demonstrating?' But today Colonel Cuthill informed Doenitz that by English law time spent in prison before trial is not counted. Doenitz protested indignantly. Schirach has made a malicious but not altogether unjustified comment: 'All along, he kept saying that his sentence was as unlawful as the entire trial. So he's being inconsistent now in asserting that his sentence has come to an end.' (Speer II)
November 15, 1955
Today the Russian commandant of Berlin, General Dibrova, came on an inspection. He began with Hess, who complained about his health. Doenitz treated him with coolness, for he and his comrades are responsible for Doenitz's still being held here. The general asked the admiral, 'Who is that in this photo?' 'My son,' Doenitz replied tersely. 'What does he do? Dibrova asked in a friendly tone. Doenitz: 'He was killed in the war.' Dibrova pointed to another photo: 'And this one?' Doenitz: 'My second son.' Dibrova: 'And where is he?' Doenitz: 'Also killed.' Thereupon, so I am told, the general bowed sympathetically. (Speer II)
August 1, 1956
Doenitz had a half hour conference with his lawyer, Otto Kranzbuhler.' Negotiations are in progress with the three Western Powers to find a procedure for my dismissal that will not attract attention.' Once again he is all 'head of state,' obviously delighted that the three powers are conducting negotiations on his account. He genially informs us that discussions are to be held soon on the dissolution of Spandau; basically, the prison has been kept up this long because the British have grudges against him. Somewhat haughtily he adds, 'But that doesn't mean for certain that you others will be released.' Then he says, 'Admiral Ruge, the new inspector-general of the Navy, happens to be one of the officers I trained. He literally hangs on my lips. Even now.' Once again he is talking about 'my officer corps,' as though the navy were his family business. Sometimes he reminds me of a naval lieutenant who has won his promotions too quickly. (Speer II)
August 30, 1956
Waking up from sleep at midnight, Doenitz had an attack of dizziness. Everything spun around him; he had to vomit. The professional guard Pemberton commented: 'I've seen this. Circulatory diseases very frequently appear among long-term prisoners shortly before their release.' (Speer II)
September 7, 1956
Before going into the yard this afternoon we had to wait for Hess. When he arrived at last, Doenitz said to him, 'If I had a mark, Herr Hess, for every quarter-hour I've had to wait for you in the past eleven years, I'd be a rich man.' Hess retorted without hesitation, 'And if I, Herr Doenitz, had only a single pfennig for every useless word you've addressed to me in these eleven years, I'd be much richer than you.' Recently Doenitz has been showing his irritation with the preferential treatment of Hess by speaking of him as 'Herr Baron.' Lately he has formed the habit of posting himself ten paces in front of Hess and staring at him for minutes at a time. Sometimes I then post myself beside Hess and stare back, which makes him stop his rudeness. (Speer II)
September 30, 1956
Doenitz's last day...When we were seated side by side, Doenitz said: 'You once told me that during your last visit in Hitler's bunker you recommended me to Hitler as his successor. You said there was a discussion of his testament and my appointment. Just how did that come about?' 'It wasn't quite that way,' I replied. 'Rather, Hitler asked me probing questions about how you were doing as his deputy for the northern region, and I said you were doing very well indeed. Of course I was fairly certain that Hitler had specific intentions in mind when he asked this question. But as his way was, he didn't let on. When Goering was deposed a few hours later, I had the feeling that now your turn to take over was coming. Who else did he have left? Therefore your appointment didn't surprise me very much. But it wasn't I who proposed you.' Doenitz nodded. 'That was what I wanted to know. Because when I write my memoirs I have to know clearly how my appointment came about.' For a moment we sat side by side in silence, staring into space. I made an effort to recall the scene in the bunker, but could not. Suddenly I heard Doenitz saying in an entirely changed, cutting voice, 'Because of you I've lost these eleven years. You're to blame for it all. That I was indicted like a common criminal. What did I have to do with politics? But for you Hitler would never have had the idea of making me chief of state. All my men have commands again. But look at me! Like a criminal. My career is wrecked.' (Speer II)
October 1, 1956:
Doenitz is released from Spandau Prison and settles in the little town of Aumuehle near Hamburg.
October 1, 1956
I read in Die Welt that Doenitz has held a press conference in Dusseldorf. He said that for some time to come he have to hold his peace, until he can form some opinion on various problems. He is most concerned, he said, with the fate of his fellow sufferers, and his thoughts are constantly returning to them. (Speer II)
Doenitz publishes his memoirs, Zehn Jahre, Zwanzig Tage
(Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days). A quote:
The betrayer of military secrets is a pariah, despised by every man and every nation. Even the enemy whom he serves has no respect for him, but merely uses him. Any nation which is not uncompromisingly unanimous in its condemnation of this type of treachery is undermining the very foundations of its own state, whatever its form of government may be.
October 7, 1966:
In an interview in Christ und Welt
, Doenitz is asked: 'In regard to the Nuremberg trial you declared that it was not the best solution but that at any rate it was an effort at purification and as such better than no effort at all. Was this an affirmation on the part of the defendant, which you were at the time, to the trial, or rather to the basic idea underlying this trial?' Doenitz repines: "Yes, exactly, insofar as the crimes against humanity are concerned.'
Doenitz's second book, Mein wechselvolles Leben
(My Ever-Changing Life) is published, dealing with the events of his life before 1934.
December 24, 1980:
Doenitz dies of a heart attack in Aumuehle.