4 Jan. 46

"England cannot live without its imports. We can feed ourselves. The permanent sowing of mines on the English coasts will bring England to her knees. However, this can occur only if we have occupied Belgium and Holland. It is a difficult decision for me. None has ever achieved what I have achieved. My life is of no importance in all this. I have led the German people to a great height, even if the world does hate us now. I risk the loss of this achievement. I have to choose between victory or destruction. I choose victory. Greatest historical choice, to be compared with the decision of Frederick the Great before the first Silesian war. Prussia owes its rise to the heroism of one man. Even there, the closest advisers were disposed to capitulation. Everything depended on Frederick the Great. Even the decisions of Bismarck in 1866 and 1870 were no less great. My decision is unchangeable. I shall attack France and England at the most favorable and quickest moment. Breach of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won. The arguments we will choose for the breach of neutrality shall not be as idiotic as they were in 1914. If we do not break the neutrality, then England and France will. Without attack the war is not to be ended victoriously. I consider it possible to end the war only by means of an attack. The question as to whether the attack will be successful, no one can answer. Everything depends upon favorable providence."
Thereafter the winter of 1939 and 1940 passed quietly, the winter of so-called "phony war."

The General Staff and High Command group all knew what the plan was — they had all been told. To attack ruthlessly at the first opportunity; to smash the French and English forces; to pay no heed to treaties with, or neutrality of, the Low Countries. "Breaking of the neutrality of Holland and Belgium is meaningless. No one will question that when we have won." That is what Hitler told the Oberbefehlshaber. The generals and admirals agreed and went forward with their plans.

Now it is not true that all the steps in this march of conquest were conceived by Hitler and that the military leaders embarked on them with reluctance and misgivings. To show this we need only hark back for a moment to what Major Elwyn Jones told the Tribunal about the plans for the invasion of Denmark and Norway.

The Tribunal will recall that Hitler's utterances in October and November, which I have just read, although they are full of threatening comments about France and England and the Low Countries, contain no suggestion of an attack on Scandinavia. Indeed, Hitler's memorandum of 9 October, from which I read Document L-52,