Cornell University Law Library

Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection

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

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Volume 007
Subdivision "Subdivision 13 / Preparation for Aggressive Warfare"
Part 1
Section 13.11 (Goerdeler's USA)
Title U.S.A.
Pages 55
Pages Supplemental With the following breakdown: Letter to Donovan from von Schlabrendorflf (lp.), unnumbered; English translation of "U.S.A." (15pp.), 1-15; German text of "U.S.A." (39pp.), 1-39.
Date 1938-01-02
Language English; the name of the translator is not given.
Author Dr. Goerdeler
Witness Not applicable
Other Names Von Schlabrendorff; Donovan; President Roosevelt
Other Dates 13 November 1945
Abstract This document is the English translation of Dr. Goerdeler's German original, which follows immediately in this volume of the Donovan Archive. Dr. von Schlabrendorflf9 s letter to General Donovan, which precedes both versions of Goerdeler's "U.S.A.," introduces the German text, as the handwritten instruction, "This should be translated," indicates. Curiously, von Schlabrendorff's letter characterizes "U.S.A." as "a report about a travel to the United States of America from the year 1937/38," and alludes to certain "addresses" as being "all important German political and military offices." Based on the English text, the former statement is a gross over-simplification and the latter an enigma, for no addresses are to be found. Admittedly, much may have been lost in the translation; the German original of "U.S.A." covers some 39 single-spaced, legal-size pages, whereas the English translation appears complete in approximately 15 single-spaced, letter-size pages; on the other hand, the typeface of the English text is predominately elite, whereas the German text is uniformly pica. In any event, "U.S.A." is much more than a travelogue. Although Dr. Goerdeler evidently toured the United States and spoke in considerable detail with many unnamed sources, his report is, in fact, a reckoning of the economic and political conditions in America, circa 1938, and how these conditions are likely to evolve in the near future. Goerdeler bases his assessment not just on prevailing circumstances but also on America's democratic political traditions and its citizens' strong sense of self-determination and independence. He evaluates Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives in detail and at length, and despite judging these policies both short-sighted and naive, and therefore failures, Goerdeler emphasizes that the United States, with its self-sufficient supplies of food and natural resources, will recover its economic prosperity once it fully acknowledges the reality of global economic interdependence and adjusts its policies to accord with its place in the international web. The purpose of this analysis is not, however, a De Tocqueville-like survey of cultural and political institutions, but rather an accurate and practical understanding of the United States and its people that will inform Germany's approach to her own economic revitalization and reintegration into the community of nations. The latter part of "U.S.A." addresses aspects of the international situation, particularly America's conflict of interests with Japan and the likelihood of its making common cause with England, with an eye toward improving Germany's relations with the United States. Having found no anti-German sentiment in America (and having noted its demonstrable anti-Semitism), Goerdeler is optimistic about incorporating Germany into a power block that might include England and France as well as the United States to stand against Japan in the Far East and Italy in the Mediterranean. Obviously, this part of the report is speculative and Dr. Goerdeler was in no sense defining German foreign policy in 1938; and yet, his outlook does suggest that Germany's difficulties might have been effectively addressed by means other than those shortly to be decreed by Hitler. The English translation of "U.S.A." is a typewritten original on generally stable, good quality paper. The German text is a typewritten carbon copy made on thin but fairly stable paper. The von Schlabrendorff letter is handwritten on lined paper that is browning and fragile.
Keywords Mass immigration; Culture; Arable land; Small farmers; Industrial raw materials; Industrial workers; Assembly line; Automobile; Birth rate; Installment plan; Treaty of Versailles; Democratic constitution; Isolationist policy; Boycott movement; Jews; American anti-Semitism; Internationalist policy; Trade treaty with England; Japanese occupation of China; European coalition; Global politics, circa 1938