Goering is indicted on all four counts. The evidence shows that after Hitler he was the most prominent man in the Nazi Regime. He was Commander-in-Chief
of the Luftwaffe, Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, and had tremendous
influence with Hitler,
at least until 1943 when their relationship deteriorated, ending in his arrest in 1945.
He testified that Hitler kept him informed of all important military and political problems.
Crimes against Peace
From the moment he joined the Party in 1922 and took
command of the street-fighting organisation, the SA, Goering was the
adviser, the active agent of Hitler and one of the prime leaders of the Nazi movement. As Hitler's political deputy he was largely instrumental in bringing the National
Socialists to power in 1933,
and was charged with consolidating this power and expanding German armed
might. He developed the Gestapo,
and created the first concentration
camps, relinquishing them to Himmler in 1934, conducted
the Roehm purge in that year, and engineered the sordid proceedings
which resulted in the removal of von
Blomberg and von Fritsch from the Army. In 1936 he became Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, and in theory and
in practice was the economic dictator of the Reich. Shortly after the
Pact of Munich, he announced that he would embark on a five-fold expansion
of the Luftwaffe. and speed rearmament with emphasis on offensive weapons.
Goering was one of the five important leaders present
at the Hoszbach Conference of 5th November, 1937,
and he attended the other important conferences already discussed in
this Judgment. In the Austrian Anschluss, he was indeed the central
figure, the ringleader. He said in Court: " I must take 100 per
cent. responsibility.... I even overruled objections by the Fuehrer
and brought everything to its final development." In the seizure
of the Sudetenland, he played his role as Luftwaffe chief by planning
an air offensive which proved unnecessary and his role as a politician
by lulling the Czechs with false promises of friendship. The night before
the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the absorption of Bohemia and Moravia,
at a conference with Hitler and President Hacha he threatened to bomb Prague if Hacha did not submit.
This threat he admitted in his testimony.
Goering attended the Reich Chancellery meeting of 23rd
May, 1939, when Hitler told his military
leaders " there is, therefore, no question of sparing Poland,"
and was present at the Obersalzburg briefing of 22nd August, 1939. And
the evidence shows he was active in the diplomatic manoeuvres which
followed. With Hitler's connivance, he used the Swedish businessman,
Dahlerus, as a go-between to the British, as described by Dahlerus to
this Tribunal, to try to prevent the British Government from keeping
its guarantee to the Poles.
He commanded the Luftwaffe in the attack on Poland
and throughout the aggressive wars which followed.
Even if he opposed Hitler's plans against Norway and the Soviet Union, as he
alleged, it is clear that he did so only for strategic reasons; once Hitler had decided the
issue, he followed him without hesitation. He made it clear in his testimony
that these differences were never ideological or legal. He was “in
a rage” about the invasion of Norway, but only because he had
not received sufficient warning to prepare the Luftwaffe offensive.
He admitted he approved of the attack: "My attitude was perfectly
positive." He was active in preparing and executing the Yugoslavian
and Greek campaigns, and testified that “Plan Marita,” the
attack on Greece, had been
prepared long beforehand. The Soviet Union he regarded as the "
most threatening menace to Germany," but said there was no immediate
military necessity for the attack. Indeed, his only objection to the
war of aggression against the U.S.S.R. was its timing; he wished for
strategic reasons to delay until Britain was conquered. He testified:
" My point of view was decided by political and military reasons
After his own admissions to this Tribunal, from the
positions which he held, the conferences he attended, and the public
words he uttered, there can remain no doubt that Goering was the moving
force for aggressive war second only to Hitler.
He was the planner and prime mover in the military and diplomatic preparation
for war which Germany pursued.
War Crimes and Crimes against
The record is filled with Goering's admissions of his
complicity in the use of slave
labour. “We did use this labour for security reasons so that
they would not be active in their own country and would not work against
us. On the other hand, they served to help in the economic war.”
And again: “Workers were forced to come to the Reich. That is
something I have not denied.” The man who spoke these words was
Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan charged with the recruitment
and allocation of manpower. As Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief he demanded
from Himmler more slave labourers for his underground aircraft factories:
“That I requested inmates of concentration camps for the armament
of the Luftwaffe is correct and it is to be taken as a matter of course.”
As Plenipotentiary, Goering signed a directive concerning
the treatment of Polish workers in Germany and implemented it by regulations
of the SD, including " special treatment ". He issued directives
to use Soviet and French prisoners of war in the armament industry;
he spoke of seizing Poles and Dutch and making them prisoners of war
if necessary, and using them for work. He agrees Russian prisoners of
war were used to man anti-aircraft batteries.
As Plenipotentiary, Goering was the active authority
in the spoliation. of conquered territory. He made plans for the spoliation
of soviet territory long before the war on the Soviet Union. Two months
prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler gave Goering the over-all direction for the economic administration
in the territory. Goering set up an economic staff for this function.
As Reichsmarshal of the Greater German Reich " the orders of the
Reichmarshal cover all economic fields, including nutrition and agriculture."
His so-called " Green " folder, printed by the Wehrmacht,
set up an " Economic Executive Staff, East." This directive
contemplated plundering and abandonment of all industry in the food
deficit regions and from the food surplus regions, a diversion of food
to German needs. Goering claims its purposes have been misunderstood
but admits " that as a matter of course and a matter of duty we
would have used Russia for our purposes," when conquered.
And he participated in the conference of 16th July, 1941, when Hitler said the National Socialists had no intention of ever leaving the occupied
countries, and that “all necessary measures-shooting, desettling,
etc.-” should be taken.
Goering persecuted the Jews, particularly after the November 1938 riots,
and not only in Germany where he raised the billion mark fine as; stated
elsewhere, but in the conquered territories as well. His own utterances
then and his testimony now show this interest was primarily economic
— how to get their property and how to force them out of the economic
life of Europe. As these countries fell before the German army he extended
the Reich's anti-Jewish laws to them; the Reichsgesetzblatt for 1939,
1940, and 1941 contains several anti-Jewish decrees signed by Goering.
Although their extermination was in Himmler's hands, Goering was far from disinterested or inactive, despite his protestations
in the witness box. By decree of 31st July, 1941, he directed Himmler and Heydrich to bring
“about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German
sphere of influence in Europe.”
There is nothing to be said in mitigation. For Goering
was often, indeed almost always, the moving force, second only to his
leader. He was the leading war aggressor, both as political and as military
leader; he was the director of the slave labour programme and the creator
of the oppressive programme against the Jews and other races, at home
and abroad. All of these crimes he has frankly admitted. On some specific
cases there may be conflict of testimony, but in terms of the broad
outline his own admissions are more than sufficiently wide to be conclusive
of his guilt. His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses
no excuses for this man.
The Tribunal finds the defendant Goering guilty on
all four counts of the Indictment.
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