Some comment on the nature of this alleged group is requisite. According to the Indictment and evidence before the Tribunal, it consists of approximately 130 officers, living and dead, who at any time during the period from February 1938, when Hitler reorganized the Armed Forces, and May 1945, when Germany surrendered, held certain positions in the military hierarchy. These men were high-ranking officers in the three armed services: OKH — Army, OKM — Navy, and OKL — Air Force. Above them was the overall Armed Forces authority, OKW — High Command of the German Armed Forces with Hitler as the Supreme Commander. The officers in OKW, including Defendant Keitel as Chief of the High Command, were in a sense Hitler's personal staff. In the larger sense they coordinated and directed the three services, with particular emphasis on the functions of planning and operations.

The individual officers in this alleged group were, at one time or another, in one of four categories: 1) Commanders-in-Chief of one of the three services; 2) Chief of Staff of one of the three services; 3) ''Oberbefehlshabers'', the field Commanders-in-Chief of one of the three services, which of course comprised by far the largest number of these persons; or 4) an OKW officer, of which there were three, Defendants Keitel and Jodl, and the latter's Deputy Chief, Warlimont. This is the meaning of the Indictment in its use of the term "General Staff and High Command".

The Prosecution has here drawn the line. The Prosecution does not indict the next level of the military hierarchy consisting of commanders of army corps, and equivalent ranks in the Navy and Air Force, nor the level below, the division commanders or their equivalent in the other branches. And the staff officers of the four staff commands of OKW, OKH, OKM, and OKL are not included. nor are the trained specialists who were customarily called General Staff officers.

In effect, then, those indicted as members are military leaders of the Reich of the highest rank. No serious effort was made to assert that they composed an "organization" in the sense of Article 9. The assertion is rather that they were a "group", which is a wider and more embracing term than "organization."

The Tribunal does not so find. According to the evidence, their planning at staff level, the constant conferences between staff officers and field commanders, their operational technique in the field and at headquarters was much the same as that of the armies, navies, and air forces of all other countries. The over-all effort of OKW at coordination and direction could be matched by a similar, though not identical form of organization in other military forces, such as the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff.