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Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection

Nuremberg trial transcripts and documents from the Collection of General William J. Donovan

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Volume 002
Subdivision German Activities / Subdivision 6 / History Generally
Part Not applicable
Section 6.16 (Thomas narrative, guilt)
Title Concerning the Question of Guilt
Pages 39
Pages Supplemental None
Date 1945-11-12
Language English; the translator's name is not given.
Author Georg R. Thomas
Witness Not applicable
Other Names Hitler; Beck; Witzleben; Olbricht; Oster; Stuelpnagel; Fellgiebel; Keitel; Canaris (Dohnanyi) ; Popitz; Schacht; Goerdeler; Ambassador von Hassel; Goering; Stresemann; von Hammerstein; von Schleicher; Hindenburg; Blomberg; Reichanau; Milch; Halder; von Boeckelberg; Jodl; Guderian; Warlimont; Reinicke; Schmundt; von Fritsch; Reusch; Ribbentrop; Chiang Kai-Check; von Brauchitsch; Himmler; Plank, Wittke, Todt; Speer; Funk; Rader; von Hanneken; Koerner; Neumann; Rosenberg; Sauckel; Roechling; Sano; Krauch; Burgdorff; Maisal, Scherff; Stengel; Bodenschatz; Kluge; Rundtstedt, Leeb; Bock; List; von Lodenstern; von Greiffenberg; von Manstein; Reinhardt; Stauffenberg; Tschoerner; Model; Richthofen; Greim; Kesselring
Other Dates July 20, 1944; 1934; 30 June 1934; May-June 1933; 1935-1937; 1918; 8 November 1938; March 1939; 1 September 1939; 30 November 1939; November 26, 1939; November 27, 1939; December 10, 1939; January 1940; November 1940; October 1942; November 1942; January 31, 1943
Abstract In this account, Thomas tries to answer the question, which he himself sets forth, "How was it possible that a nation which gave to the world a Kant, Goethe, Lessing, Bach and Beethoven, trusted and obeyed such a regime for twelve years?" The narrative that follows generally represents the German populace as demoralized by the defeat of 1918 and the high rate of unemployment, and German government officials, military leaders, and industrialists as variously hoodwinked by Hitler's appeals to German pride and national sentiment, as well as by his disingenuous proclamations in favor of peace. Thomas cites other specific factors (p. 3) and anatomizes Hitler's seizure and consolidation of power (pp.5-8) before chronicling the years (1935-1937) of Hitler's greatest political successes (pp.8-14). Of Germany's rearmament, Thomas represents himself and others as believing that its purpose was purely defensive and undertaken with the tacit approval of the Western Powers as a hedge against Bolshevism (p.10). Concerning aggressive war, Thomas asserts that it seemed impossible, given what he regarded as Germany's incapacity for sustaining a war effort of long duration (p.11). In the latter half of the narrative, Thomas recounts his involvement in assessing Germany's economic capacity to conduct war while exploring, with others of the "opposition group," the possibility of deposing Hitler, liquidating the Nazi government and putting its members on trial. Throughout, Thomas is at pains to determine responsibility and assign guilt - both of which he does with particular specificity in the Conclusion (pp.38-39). This document is a typewritten original.
Keywords Versailles Treaty; Bolshevism; Bolshevist; Seizure of power; Persecution of Jews; Jewish Question; Nuremberg Laws; Blomberg Affair; Fritsch Affair; Gestapo; Invasion of Austria; Beck-Witzleben opposition group; Invasion of Czechoslovakia; Invasion of Poland; Armistice with France; Invasion of England; Opposition to Hitler; German resistance; Complicity with Hitler; Nazi sympathizers; German industrialists; German labor leaders; German Armed Forces; German people; War against Russia; Occupied territories; Four Year Plan; Foreign laborers; United States; Armament; Nazification; Corruption