Goering: Hitler attacked Russia to crush threat to rear

March 15 1946
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NUREMBERG, March 15, 1946 (UP) - Hermann Goering told the war-crimes tribunal today that Adolf Hitler attacked Russia because he had become convinced American war production would make possible a successful invasion of the Continent.

Hitler, Goering said, thought he could attack Russia and eliminate the threat to Germany's rear before American production reached the point which would make possible an Anglo-American invasion of Europe.

Goering said Hitler also had become convinced that Russia was planning to attack Germany at a favorable opportunity. One factor in Hitler's decision was the fact that Britain continued to fight on alone against Germany.

"If England continues to refuse to come to terms with us," Goering quoted Hitler as saying, "although she is fighting alone, then she must have an ace up her sleeve."

Goering represented himself as warning against the war on Russia, claiming that the United States was bound to become involved and that "even if Roosevelt loses, the other candidate, Willkie, will be unable to prevent it."

Goering admitted that German occupation forces in France indulged in "excess," which probably violated international law.

He was worked into a corner by U.S. Prosecutor Robert Jackson during the No. 2 Nazi's third day of testimony.

The court overruled Mr. Jackson's objection that Goering's testimony regarding French resistance activity was irrelevant unless he admitted German atrocities during the occupation. Mr. Jackson said Goering then might cite resistance activity as justification for reprisals.

Although the court held that he need not admit atrocities at this point, Goering said:

"I believe the statement I am about to make will satisfy Jackson on the conditions. I do not wish to dispute that things took place which may be debated as far as international law is concerned, and other things happened which must be considered excesses."

Goering concluded his defense statement with a quotation from Winston Churchill that "in a struggle for life and death there is no legality."

Goering, a professed art lover, declared that he neither confiscated nor removed a single French national art treasure.

He testified that Benito Mussolini moved against Greece without informing Hitler, who he said was trying to keep the war from spreading to the Balkans and Mediterranean.

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