Keitel blames all on Hitler

NUREMBERG, April 8, 1946 (UP) -- Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, his voice quivering and his clenched fists pounding the witness box rail, testified today that he issued blanket orders for Nazi war crimes because he was under the malign domination of Adolf Hitler.

In his final statements under direct re-examination, Keitel fell back on his "soldier's faith" as a minion of Hitler in an impassioned attempt to exonerate himself of blame for the atrocity orders he admitted issuing.


After the prosecution finished a blistering cross-examination Keitel was turned back to his own counsel. He launched into an ideological tirade summing up his stubborn contention that as chief of the German high command he was a mere lackey of Hitler.

"Persons not concerned-particularly foreigners-cannot understand," he cried. "You must know the fuehrer. You must know the circumstances under which I worked for years.

"I raised my objections. The fuehrer would then raise his counter-arguments which he considered decisive. He did so in that positive way peculiar to him. He pointed out the welfare of our soldiers and our people.

"Thus I promulgated orders without consideration of the evil results. I may consider this a weakness, and of that I am guilty. But at any rate, the facts as I described them did exist. I admitted I often had serious bouts with my conscience.


"But one thing was certain-I would never disobey the leader. To me as a soldier, faith is something which cannot be violated. I may have made errors, but one thing you cannot accuse me of-that I was cowardly, dishonorable or lacked faith."

Under cross examination he admitted earlier that many of the orders he signed violated international law and the soldier's code. It was on that note that the prosecution wound up its examination of him.

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