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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 005
Subdivision Subdivision 10 / High Command and General Staff
Part 2
Section 10.06 (Warlimont's study)
Title The German General Staff and National Socialism
Pages 21
Pages Supplemental With the following breakdown: Cover note (lp.) unnumbered; Index (lp.), unnumbered; text of the study (19pp.), 1-19.
Date 1945-07-04
Language English, with some parenthetical and incidental German
Author Walter Warlimont
Witness Walter Warlimont
Other Names von Seeckt; von Lossow; von Hammerstein; Hitler; Scherff; von Reichenau; Roehm; Hindenburg; Goebbels; Rosenberg; von Fritsch; von Schleicher; von Bredow; von Papen; Georg Thomas; von Blomberg; Bismarck; Schacht; Beck; Hossbach; von Brauchitsch; Haider; von Stuelpnagel; Keitel; Jodl; von Manstein; Rundstedt; Zeitzler; Rommel; Goering; Himmler; Falkenhausen; Fromm
Other Dates November 1923; January 30,1933; February 4, 1938; August 20,1939; July 19, 1940; July 20, 1944; May 23, 1945
Abstract Warlimont's study, written in awkward and sometimes ungrammatical English, endeavors to salvage the honor of the German Army Officers' Corps and to exculpate it for the war, mainly by asserting its resistance to National Socialism. Like other attempts of its kind, the study offers a detailed and largely irrelevant historical retrospective, set forth in part n, "Position and Attitude of the Gen. St. in the 100,000 men-Army," by way of establishing the bona fides of the German Officers Corps. Warlimont represents this group as a well-trained, apolitical cadre of professional military men whose personal qualities were of the highest order and whose loyalty to Germany beyond dispute. The Nazi Party had virtually no influence on these men until Hitler's ascension to power on January 30, 1933. In part m, "Development up to the War," Warlimont asserts that the typical General Staff Officer continued to hold himself aloof from National Socialism even after Hitler's seizure of power. Warlimont is at pains to show that he and his colleagues opposed Hitler's policies in general and advised the Fuehrer against initiating military action, yet is unable, finally, to explain away their eventual compliance, in deed if not in thought, with Hitler's preparations for and prosecution of aggressive war. Warlimont seems to think, or to want his audience to think, that the fact of nominal opposition is evidence of essential innocence - as if a spoken demurral were sufficient to cancel subsequent cooperation. His best attempt to mitigate the latter is the familiar assertion that the Officers' Corps was sworn to obey the orders of the political authority, however ruinous or misguided it might consider those orders to be. Part IV, "Position of the Gen. St. in the First Period of War," provides a brief recapitulation of military affairs related to the invasion of Poland and the attack against France. Warlimont admits that these successes enhanced Hitler's authority in the eyes of the General Staff, despite the various disagreements that attended them. Part V, "The Displacing of the Gen. Lt. [sic] in the Second Period of War," registers the surprise of the General Staff at Hitler's intention to attack Russia, an event that in Warlimont's opinion began the process by which the General Staff lost power and authority to conduct the war. The latter half of this section reads as chaotically as the German war effort seems generally to have become during 1943-44; Warlimont is most concerned with indicating how Hitler mismanaged the war on every front by disregarding the advice of the General Staff. As for the concentration camps, Warlimont disavows any knowledge of their activities prior to his having been taken prisoner by the Allied Powers and shown the evidence. The "Conclusion" reiterates Warlimont's basic assertion that National Socialism, not the German General Staff, was responsible for the war, and that the German Officers' Corps was merely fulfilling its sworn duty by waging as best it could the war that the political authority committed Germany to fight. This document is a single-spaced typewritten original. Its typographical quality is very good to excellent and the paper is slightly browning but generally stable.
Keywords National Socialism; German Army; German General Staff; 100,000-man Army; SA; SS; Sudeten crisis; Nuemberger Gesetz"; Reichskristallwoche; Bonzen; Wehrfreiheit; Spain; Anschluss; Westwall; Czechoslovakia; Poland; France; England; Russia; Concentration camps