Former Luftwaffe second-in-command testifies for Goering

March 08 1946
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NUREMBERG, March 8, 1946 (UP) -- Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering tried vainly to prevent war and only built up the Luftwaffe for use if Germany's neighbors started it, his onetime second in command testified before the war crimes court today.

Marshal Erhard Milch, next to Goering in the German air command, was the second witness as the defense for the Nazi leaders opened.

Milch testified that Goering did not want war, "but in his position there was nothing he could do-it was hopeless."

Before 1935, Milch said, there was no German air force and only 3,000 industrial workers in aircraft. That year the building "for defense"-in case someone else began the conflict-began.

The chief technician for the Luftwaffe said he advised Hitler that the air force was short of bombers and not ready for war against Russia, but Hitler disregarded the warning.

Goering, aware of Nazi experiments on human guinea pigs at Dachau, "wanted no part of them," Milch said.

He quoted Goering as saying before the war that captured airmen should be "treated as our comrades."

Earlier, Lt. Gen. Karl Bodenschatz, a friend of the pudgy Reichsmarshal, told of deteriorating relations between Hitler and Goering, which suffered particularly after the might of Allied air raids became felt in Germany.

He was cringing and sweating by the time Robert Jackson, chief American prosecutor, finished cross examining him. He acknowledged that Goering said during the Spanish civil war that "We are already in a state of war-it's only that no shot is being fired."

Bodenschatz pictured Goering as a peace-loving man who opposed the war with Russia and the Jewish pogroms. He said Goering came out of the conference room when the Munich pact was signed in 1938 and said happily, "that is peace."

Goering's influence with Hitler began to wane in the spring of 1943, Bodenschatz testified, and soon there were frequent arguments between them. Goering made tremendous but futile efforts to regain the fuehrer's ear.

The witness said Hitler frequently criticized Goering openly. Their conferences grew shorter and finally ceased all together.

Goering once boasted that no Allied bombs would fall on Germany. It was in 1943 that the Anglo-American air offensive first began to have a heavy effect on German industry and communications.

In the final days of the war, Hitler had Goering arrested after the Reichsmarshal sent him a telegram "seeking permission to act for himself since Hitler no longer had freedom of action," the witness said.

Goering sat in the defendants' box, obviously enjoying himself as the center of proceedings. He alternately smiled and glowered for photographers, they looked thoughtful while Bodenschatz testified.

Bodenschatz, dressed in a gray business suit, looked at a notebook as he testified. He was deaf from injuries in the bombing attempt on Hitler's life on July 20, 1944. Bodenschatz lost two fingers in the explosion.

He testified that Goering had told Hitler it was "unbearable" to think of another war. Goering told Bodenschatz, "I tried to persuade Hitler from attacking Russia, telling him that he himself in Mein Kampf opposed a two-front war."

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