4 Dec. 45

Russia was called, went on. By the 1st of May 1941, the D-Day of the operation had been fixed. By the 1st of June preparations were virtually complete and an elaborate timetable was issued. It was estimated that, although there would be heavy frontier battles, lasting perhaps 4 weeks, after that no serious opposition was to be expected.

On the 22d of June, at 3:30 in the morning, the German armies marched again. As Hitler said in his proclamation to them, "I have decided to give the fate of the German people and of the Reich and of Europe again into the hands of our soldiers."

The usual false pretexts were, of course, given. Ribbentrop stated on the 28th of June that the step was taken because of the threatening of the German frontiers by the Red Army. It was a lie; and the Defendant Ribbentrop knew it was a lie.

On the 7th of June 1941 Ribbentrop's own Ambassador in Moscow was reporting to him, and I quote, that, "All observations show that Stalin and Molotov, who are alone responsible for Russian foreign policy, are doing everything to avoid a conflict with Germany." The staff records which you will see make it clear that the Russians were making no military preparations and that they were continuing their deliveries under the Trade Agreement to the very last day. The truth is, of course, that the elimination of Russia as a political opponent and the incorporation of the Soviet territory in the German Lebensraum had been one of the cardinal features of Nazi policy for a very long time, subordinated latterly for what the Defendant Jodl called diplomatic reasons.

And so, on the 22d of June, the Nazi armies were flung against the power with which Hitler had so recently sworn friendship, and Germany embarked upon that last act of aggression in Europe, which, after long and bitter fighting, was eventually to result in Germany's own collapse.

That, then, is the case against these defendants, as amongst the rulers of Germany, under Count Two of this Indictment.

It may be said that many of the documents which have been referred to were in Hitler's name, and that the orders were Hitler's orders, and that these men were mere instruments of Hitler's will. But they were the instruments without which Hitler's will could not be carried out; and they were more than that. These men were no mere willing tools, although they would be guilty enough if that had been their role. They are the men whose support had built Hitler up into the position of power he occupied; these are the men whose initiative and planning often conceived and certainly made possible the acts of aggression done in Hitler's name; and these are the men who enabled Hitler to build up the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the war economy, the political philosophy, by