Final statement Hermann Göring

THE PRESIDENT: I call on defendant Hermann Wilhelm Göring.
HERMANN WILHELM GÖRING: The prosecution, in its final speeches, has treated the defendants and their testimony as completely worthless. The statements made under oath by the defendants were accepted as absolutely true when they could serve to support the indictment, but conversely the statements were characterized as perjury whern they refuted the indictment. That is very elementary, but it is not a convincing basis for demonstration of proof.
The prosecution uses the fact that I was the second man of the State as proof that I must have known everything that happened. But it does not present any documentary or convincing proof in cases where I have denied under oath that I knew about certain things, much less desired them. Therefore it is only an allegation and a conjecture when the prosecution says: "Who should have known that, if not Göring who was the successor of the Führer?".
Repeatedly we have heard here how the worst crimes were veiled with the most secrecy. I wish to state expressly that I condemn these terrible mass murders to the utmost and cannot understand them in the least. But I should like to state clearly once more before the High Tribunal that I have never decreed the murder of a single individual at any time and neither did I decree any other atrocities or tolerate them while I had the power and the knowledge to prevent them.
The new allegation presented by Mr. Dodd in his last speech, that I had ordered Heydrich to kill the Jews, lacks every proof and is not true either. There is not a single order signed by me, or signed on my behalf, that enemy fliers should be shot or turned over to the SD. And not a single case has been established where units of my Luftwaffe carried out things like that.
The prosecution has repeatedly produced some documents which contain alleged statements, reported and writtenn down at third or fourth hand, without my having previously seen these statements in order to erroneous statements or to preclude misunderstandings.
How easily completely distorted reports can arise from thirdhand notes is also proven, among other things, by the stenographic transcripts of these court sessions, which often needed corrections when checked.
The prosecution brings forward individual statements over a period of 25 years, which were made under completely different circumstances and without any consequences arising from them at the time, and quotes them as proof of intent and guilt, statements which can easily be made in the excitement of the moment and of the atmosphere that prevailed at the time. There is probably not one leading personage on the opposite side who did not speak or write similarly in the course of a quarter of a century.
Out of all the happenings of these 25 years, from conferences, speeches, laws, actions and decisions, the prosecution proves that everything was esired and intended from the beginning according to a deliberate sequence and an unbroken connection. This is an erroneous conception which is entirely devoid of logic and which will be rectified some day by history, after the proceedings here have proved the incorrectness of these allegations.
Mr. Jackson in his final speech, points out the fact that the signatory states are still in a state of war with Germany, and that because of the unconditional surrender merely a state of truce prevails now. Now, international law is uniform. The same must apply to both sides. Therefore, if everything which is being done in Germany today on the part of the occuypying powers is admissable under international law, then Germany was formerly in the same position, at least as regards France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece. If today the Geneva Convention no longer has any validity so far as Germans are concerned, if today in all parts of Germany industry is being dismantled and other great assetrs in all spheres can be carried away to the other states, if today the property of millions of Germans is being confiscted and many other serious infringements on freedom and property are taking place, then measures such as taken by Germany in the countries mentioned above cannot have been criminal according to international law either.
Mr. Jackson stated further that one cannot accuse and punish a state, but rather that one must hold the leaders responsible. One seems to forget that Germany was a sovereign state and that her legislation within the German nation was not subject to the jurisdiction of foreign countries. No state ever gave notice to the Reich at the proper time, pointing out that any activity for National Socialism would be made subject to punishment and persecution. On the other hand, if we, the leaders as individuals are called to account and condemned - very well but you cannot punish the German people at the same time. The German people placed their trust in the Führer and under his authoritarian government they had no influence on events. Without knowledge of the great crimes which have become known today, the people, loyal, self-sacrificing and courageous, fought and suffered through the life-and-death struggle which had broken out against their will. The German people are free of guilt.
I did not want a war, nor did I bring it about. I did everything to prevent it by negotiations. After it had broken out, I did everything to assure victory. Since the three greatest powers on earth, together with many other nations, were fighting against us, we finally succumbed to their tremendous superiority.
I stand up for the things that I have done but I deny most emphatically that my actions were dictated by the desire to subjugate foreign peoples by wars, to murder them, to rob them or to enslave them or to committ atrocities or crimes.
The only motive which guided me was my ardent love for my people, its happiness, its freedom amd its life. And for this I call on the Allmighty and my German people to witness.

See also: Verdict Göring

Sources

International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1947.

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Published by:
Arnold Palthe
Published on:
20-12-2015
Last edit on:
24-12-2015
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