The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3787-PS

Vol. 67-3 [pencil note]         140/39. W/Le 29

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces
AFA/L No. 1436/39 g Kdos IV

                                                  Berlin, 10th July 1939

                       Subject: 2nd Meeting of the Reich Defense Council
                                                  100 Copies. 84th copy.
                                                            (224) pencil

                         MOST SECRET

I enclose herewith the report of the 2nd meeting of the Reich Defense
Council on 25th June 1939.

--1 appendix
Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces

                                              By order of and acting for
                                                 [signed] v. [illegible]
                                               [stamp] Economic Staff Le
                                                          14th July 1939
                                                              No. 140/39


I. Party:

Fuehrer’s Deputy for the attention of SS-Brigadefuehrer Knoblauch  --
1st Copy.

II. Reich Departments and Prussiart State Ministry:

Chief of the Reich Chancellery — 2nd Copy.

for the attention of Min. Dir. Kritzinger
for the Chief of the Reich Chancellery  — 3rd Copy.

President of the Secret Cabinet Council
Ministerpraesident General Field Marshal Goering
     Commissioner for the Four Years Plan
     and the Prussian State Ministry
     for the attention of Min. Councillor
     Bergbohm — 4th & 5th Copies.

Reich Air Ministry and
     C. in C. Air Force
     Chief of the Ministry Office
     for the attention of Generalmajor
     Bodenschatz — 6th & 7th Copies.

Foreign Office
for the attention of Legation Councillor
Dr. Baron v.d. Heyden-Rynsch.  — 8th Copy.

                                                              [Page 719]

General Plenipotentiary for Reich Administration
for the attention of Min. Section Head
Dr. Danckwerts. — 9th-18th Copies.
     For Direction Staff of the General
          Plenipotentiary for Administration.
     For Reich Ministry of the Interior.
     For Reich Ministry of Justice.
     For Reich Ministry of Education.
     For Reich Ministry for Church Affairs.
     For Reich Office for Planning.

General Plenipotentiary for Economy
for the attention of Min. Director Sarnow:  19th–29th Copies.

     For Direction Staff of the General
          Plenipotentiary for Economy.
     For Reich :Ministry of Economy.
     For Reich Ministry of Food & Agriculture.
     For Reich Ministry of Labour.
     For Reich Chief Forrester.
     For Reich Commissioner for Price Control.

Reich Ministry of Finance
     for the attention of Min. Section Head:
          Geh. Rat. Dr. Bender. 30th Copy.

Reich Ministry of Finance
     for the attention of Finance President
     von Dietz. 31st Copy.

Reich Ministry of Transport — Motor Transport
     and roads —
     for the attention of Min. Section Head
     Baur.  32nd Copy.

Reich Ministry of Transport — railways —
     for the attention of Min. Councillor
     Dr. Ebeling. 33rd Copy.

Reich Post Ministry
     for the attention of Min. Councillor
     Honold. 34th Copy.

Reich Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda
     for the attention of Oberstleutnant
     Wentscher. 35th Copy.

Reichsbank Directorate
     for the attention of Reichsbank Director
     Dr. Mueller.  36th Copy.

                                                              [Page 720]

General Inspector of German roads
     for the attention of Chief Government Councillor
     for Construction (Oberreg. Baurat) Henne. 37th Copy.

III Armed Forces:

     OKH (Section 2 of Army General Staff). 38th-47th Copies.
     OKM (A II). 48th-53rd Copies.
     Reich Minister for Air and C. in C. Air Force.
     (Section 2 of the Air Force General Staff). 54th-61st Copies.

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces:

     WZ.                                62nd Copy.
     WH.                                63rd Copy.
     Armed Forces Reserve [?] (WR).     64th Copy.
     L (I, II, IV).                     65th-70th Copies.
     Armed Forces Communications Service
     also to the Liaison Officer at the
     Postal Ministry).                  71st-73rd Copies
     A/Ausl.Abw.                        74th-77th Copies.
     General Armed Forces Department.   78th-79th Copies.
     Armed Forces Staff.                80th-84th Copies
     Reserve held by L IV.              85th-100th Copies.


                       DEFENSE COUNCIL

Date: 23.6.1939.
Commencement: 1110
Place: Large Conference Room of the Reich Air Ministry.

                                                       Termination: 1355

President: Ministerpraesident General Field Marshal Goering.

Persons present:

                  Supreme Reich Authorities

The Fuehrer’s Deputy           SS-Brigadefuehrer Knoblauch
Chief of the Reich Chancellery       Reichminister Dr. Lammers
Ministerpraesident General           Secretary of State Koerner
     Field Marshal Goering           Secretary of State Neumann
Commissioner for the Four Years Plan Min. Councillor Bergbohm.
Prussian State Ministry              Oberst.v.Schell
                                     Oberstleutnant Schricker
General Plenipotentiary for          Reichsminister Dr. Frick
     Reich Administration            Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler
                                     Secretary of State Pfundtner
                                     Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart
                                     General of the Regular Uniformed
                                          Police Daluege
                                     Ministerial Section Head Danckwerts
General Plenipotentiary for Economy  Reichsminister Funk.
                                     Secretary of State Dr. Posse.
                                     Secretary of State Dr. Syrup.
                                     Secretary of State Dr. Landfried
                                     Secretary of State Backe
                                     Ministerial Councillor Dr. Burandt
Reich Ministry of Finance            Keichsminister count Schwerin
Reich Ministry of Transport          Reichsminister Dr. Dorpmueller
                                     Secretary of State Kleinmann
General Inspector of German Roads    Professor Dr. Ing. Todt

                        ARMED FORCES [Wehrmacht]

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces  Generaloberst Keitel
     WFA (Secretariat Reich Defense  Oberst d.G. Warlimont
                                     Oberst d.G. Gause
                                     Oberstleutnant v.Mauch
Armed Forces Staff                   Generalmajor Thomas
Supreme Command of the Army
Army General Staff                   General of Artillery Halder
                                     Oberst i.G. Gercke
General Army Department              Oberst d.G. Burdach
Supreme Command of the Navy          Grossadmiral Dr.h.c.Raeder
Reich Minister for Air and C. in C.  Generaloberst Milch
Air Force                            General der Flieger Stumpff
                                     Generalmajor Bodenschatz




     Directives of the President of Reich Defense Council.
     Principles governing the distribution and employment of the
     population in wartime.
     Employment of labour in the case of mobilization; Schedule of
     manpower for the war.
     Effect of the schedule of manpower on the continued direction of
     Economy in personnel in public administration.

Increase in the efficiency of the Transport Service.
Suspension of the Secret Protection of the Reich Defense Laws


                       A. INTRODUCTION

Ministerpraesident General Field Marshal Goering emphasized, in a
preamble that, according to the Fuehrer’s wishes, the Reich Defense
Council was the determining body in the Reich for all questions of
preparation for war. It is to discuss only the most important questions
of Reich Defense. They will be worked out by the Reich Defense

Meetings of the Reich Defense Council are to be convened only for those
decisions which are unavoidable. It is urged that the Departmental
Chiefs themselves be present.

                  B. DISTRIBUTION OF LABOUR

I. The President announced the following directives to govern the
distribution and employment of the population in wartime.

1. The total strength of the Armed Forces is determined by the Fuehrer.
It includes only half the number of those fit and liable for military
service. Nevertheless, their disposition will involve difficulties for
economy, the administration, and the whole of the civil sphere.

2. When a schedule of manpower is made out, the basis on which the
question is to be judged is how the remaining number, after those
required for the Armed Forces have been withdrawn, can be most suitably

3. Of equal importance to the requirements of the Armed Forces are those
of the Armament Industry. It, above all, must be organized in
peace-time, materially and as regards personnel, in such a way that its
production does not decrease but increases immediately with the outbreak
of war.

4. The direction of labour to the vital war armament industry and to
other civilian requirements is the main task of the General
Plenipotentiary for Economy.

a. War armament covers not only the works producing war materials, but
also those producing synthetic rubber (Buna),

                                                              [Page 723]

armament production tools [Waffenbetriebsmittel], hydrogenation works,
coal mining etc.

b. (1) As a rule, no essential and irreplaceable workers may be taken
away from “war decisive” factories, on whose production depends the
course of the war, unless they can be replaced. Coal mining is the most
urgent work. Every worker who is essential to coal mining is

Note. Coal mining has even now become the key point of the whole of the
armament industry, of communications and of export. If the necessary
labour is not made available for it now, the most important part of the
export trade, the export of coal, will cease. The purchase of coal in
Poland will stop. The correct distribution of labour is determinative.
In order to be able to man these key points with the right people,
severe demands will shortly be submitted to the Fuehrer which, even in
the current mobilization year, will under certain circumstances, lead to
an exceptional direction of the war, e.g. to the immobilization of
lorries and to the closing down of unessential factories owing to lack
of coal.

In addition, there is the supplying of Italy and other countries such a.
Scandinavia with coal (to maintain the German supplies of iron).

(2) The remaining “war essential” industries can and must suffer losses,
as must the “vital” industries which are of importance to the life of
the people, --cf. No. 23--.

Note by the Reich Defense Committee. The industries will be combined
under the term “war economy industries,” --cf. the “General principles
for cooperation between the OKW and the General Plenipotentiary for
Economy in the preparation of war economy industries for war” dated
3.5.1939, which was approved by the President of the Reich Defense
Council, and the “Principles for the distribution and direction of the
Population in wartime,” dated 10.6.1939.

c. (1) An important and valuable specialist worker will be of more use
in his place of work than at the fighting front. The greater number of
specialist workers must be drawn from those who are no longer liable for
military service, that is from the older age groups.

(2) A second category of workers liable for military service will be
called up during the war after their replacements have been trained. A
decisive role is played by the extensive preliminary training and
retraining of workers.

(3) Preparations must be made for replacing the mass of other workers
liable for military service, even by drawing on an increased number of
women. There are also disabled servicemen.

(4) Compulsory work for women in wartime is of decisive importance. It
is important to proceed to a great extent with the training of women in
war-essential work, as replacements and to augment the number of male

d. In order to avoid confusion when mobilization takes place, persons
working in war-essential branches e.g. administration, communication,
police, food, will not at first be removed. It is essential to establish
the degrees of urgency and the standard of value.

e. In the interests of the auxiliary civilian service, provided by every
European people to gain and maintain the lead in the decisive initial
weeks of a war, efforts must, in this way, be made to ensure by a
trustworthy organization, easily understood, that every German in
wartime not only possesses his mobilization orders but has also been
thoroughly prepared for his wartime activity. The works must be adapted
to receive the replacements and additional workers.

II. The President of the Reich Defense Committee, Generaloberst Keitel,
Chief of the OKW, made a report explaining the “Principles for the
distribution and employment of the population in wartime,” issued by the
Reich Defense Council on 10th June 1939.

III. The President allotted the following tasks:

5. In 4 weeks time, Secretary of State Dr. Syrup will be requested to
make a conclusive report to the President of the Reich Defense Council
on the problem of personnel in connection with the employment of women.

6. The General Plenipotentiary for Economy is given the task of settling
what work is to be given to prisoners of war, to those in prison,
concentration camp and penitentiary. According to a statement by the
Reichsfuehrer-SS, greater use will be made of the concentration camps in
wartime. The 20,000 inmates will be employed mainly in workshops inside
the concentration camps.

IV. Secretary of State Reich Minister of Labor Dr. Syrup made a report
on the employment of labor in the event of mobilization and the schedule
of manpower for the war.

7. The figures for the schedule of manpower drawn up experimentally,
could be only of a preparatory character and merely give certain guiding
principles. The basis of a population of 79 million was taken. Of these,
56.5 million are between the ages of 14 and 65. It is also possible to
draw upon men over the age of 65 and upon minors of between 13 and 14.
Defectives and the infirm must be deducted from the 56.5 million. Most
prisoners are already employed in industry. The greatest deduction is
that of 11 million mothers with children under 14. After these deduc-
tions have been made, there remains an employable population of 43.5

     26.2 million men, after deducting 7 million members of the Armed
     Forces: 19.2.

     17.3 million men, after deducting 250,000 nurses etc.: 17.1 for the
     whole of Germany’s employable economic civil life.

     The President does not consider women over the age of 60 as

8. The number of workers at present employed and of employees (2/3 of
those gainfully employed) distributed over 20 large branches of
industry, amounts roughly to the following: 24 million men (excluding 2
million service men), 14 million women.

9. No information was then available regarding the number which the
Armed Forces will take from the individual branches of industry.
Therefore an estimate was made of the numbers remaining in the
individual branches of industry after 5 million servicemen had been
called up.

The President’s demand, that the exact number liable to be drawn upon be
established, is being complied with. These enquiries are not secret
apart from figures given and formations.

10. About 13 economic groups can support the deduction of approx. 2
million men apart from service men called up, especially the building
trade, whose peace-time strength of 2.6 million can be cut to 1 million,
to the advantage mainly of mining and agriculture. Builders will be
required only for roads, expansion of the war industry and the like.

11. Apart from the 13.8 million women at present employed a further 3.5
million unemployed women, who are included on the card index of the
population, can be employed.

2 million women would have to be redirected: e.g. a transfer can be made
to agriculture and to the metal and chemical industry, from the textile,
clothing and ceramic industries, from small, trading, insurance, and
banking businesses and from the number of women in domestic service.

12. The lack of workers in agriculture, from which about 25% of the
physically fit male workers will be withdrawn, must be made up by women
(2 in the place of 1 man) and prisoners of war. No foreign workers can
be counted on. The Armed Forces are requested to release to a great
extent works managers and specialist workers such as milkers, tractor
drivers (35/c. are still liable for call up).

13. The President emphasized that factory managers, police, and the
Armed Forces must make preparations for the employment of

14. In the agricultural sphere, preparations must also be made to
relieve individual employment through help from neighboring farms,
systematic use of all machines and making a store of spare parts

15. The President announced that, in the war, hundreds of thousands of
workers from non-war economy concerns in the Protectorate are to be
employed under supervision in Germany, particularly in agriculture, and
housed together in hutments. General Field Marshal Goering will obtain a
decision from the Fuehrer on this matter.

16. The speaker recommended the increased expansion of Women’s Labor
Service in peacetime, in contrast to the men's, which is to be
decreased. The girls are to be employed by the peasants, not in groups
but singly.

17. a. The result of the procedure of establishing indispensable and
guaranteed workers is at present as follows: of 1,172,000 applications
for indispensability, 727,000 have been approved and 233,000 rejected;
8.1 million peacetime personnel and 1.9 supplementary workers have been
guaranteed. These are mainly distributed as follows: war economy --
industries 8.13 million, administration 890,000, security and auxiliary
service, air defense 320,000, additional police defense 185,000,
civilians attached to the Armed Forces 740,000.

Note. Reserves for the additional Police Defense will he reduced to
100,000 persons.

b. The great flucuation in labor has been considerably decreased by the
restriction on periods of notice and recruiting contained in the latest
decrees and, in the case of mobilization, is stopped altogether.

c. The orders to supplementary personnel to report for duty are ready
and tied up in bundles at the Labor Offices.

18. a. There can be production premium in connection with the wage
schedule to be fixed for the war.

b. Family accommodation will be made to depend on the employment of
members of the family.

19. Service men, no longer fit for service in the field, are to be
placed in employment in Germany as soon as possible.

20. New occupational recruits will, in wartime, be directed only into
war economy factories.

21. When labor is being regrouped, it is important and, with specialist
workers, essential that the workers are re-trained for their work in the
new factory, in order to avoid setbacks in the initial months of the
war. After a few months have passed, it must be possible to replace most
of the specialist workers.

22. The speakers asked that the table of figures for the schedule of
personnel be checked by all authorities, in order to gain a complete and
detailed picture.

23. The President remarked that factory managers, even if they can in
wartime count only on their older and most valuable workers, must not
neglect the training of new young workers and must make preparations for
the training of older age groups as specialist workers.

V. The General Plenipotentiary for Economy, Reich Minister of Economy
Funk, stated his opinion of the consequences of the schedule of
manpower, from the point of view of the carrying on of industry.

24. a. In accordance with the verbal agreements made with the OKW, the
regulations regarding indispensable personnel have been laid down, and
the certificates of indispensability issued.

b. The regrouping of labor must lead to decreases in production. The
re-training will be carried out at high pressure after determining those
to be called up for war service.

25. In reply to the request by the speaker that when withdrawing workers
for the Naval Dockyards, more consideration should be shown for the
important sections of industry particularly Export and Newspaper
concerns, the President pointed out the necessity of carrying out the
Naval Building Program as ordered by the Fuehrer, in its entirety.

26. Secretary of State Backe, Reich Ministry of Food, stated the
percentage of workers in agriculture, liable for military service to be
30-34%, and not only 25% — see para. 12. He repeated the request that
factory managers, milkers, and tractor drivers be released; of 3.3%
"indispensable” applications, only one-half had been approved.

VI. The General Plenipoteniary for Administration, Reich Minister of
the Interior, Dr. Frisk, dealt with the saving of labor in the public

27. The task is primarily a problem of organization. As can be seen from
the surveys showing how the authorities, economic and social services
are organized, which were submitted to those attending the Conference,
there are approximately 50 different

                                                              [Page 728]

kinds of officials in the District Administration (Kreisinstanz), each
quite independent of the other-an impossible state of affairs. Formerly
there were in the State two main divisions, the state Civil Service and
the Wehrmacht. After the seizure of power the Party and the permanent
Organizations (Reich Food Estate etc.) were added to these, with all
their machinery from top to bottom. In this way the number of public
posts and officials was increased many times over. This makes Public
Service more difficult.

28. Since the war tasks have increased enormously, the organizing of
total war naturally requires much more labor, even in the Public
Administration, than in 1914. But it is an impossibility that this
system should have increased its numbers 20- to 40-fold, in the lowest
grade alone. For this reason the Reich Ministry of the Interior is
striving for the co-ordination of administration. The officials of the
general and domestic administration are the backbone of the
administration, also in time of war. Difficulties arise through the
numerous authorities who, from the highest to the lowest, all make a
particular effort to increase their numbers. That is a heritage from the
Liberal system, where every Specialist Department endeavored to build up
its own official organization, At the very least there must be extensive
co-ordination of all the authorities in the middle grade, such as has
been introduced in the Ostmark and Sudeten Gau Law. In the Kreis
administration the authorities must be co-ordinated as much as possible.
For then in this way difficulties can already be smoothed out at this
stage or by middle grade authorities, without calling upon the central
authorities or even the chief state administration.

29. Instead of further discussions before the whole assembly, the
forming of a small commission was recommended, which will make definite
proposals. Extensive preparatory work has been undertaken.

Note by the Reich Defense Committee. The commission came into operation
under letter OKW WFA No. 1465/39 Top Secret L IVa dated 27.6.1939.

President: Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart, Plenipotentiary for

     Fuehrer’s Deputy.
     Commissioner for the Four Years' Plan
     Plenipotentiary for Economy.
     Reich Minister for Finance.
     Reich Minister of the Interior.

30. The President requested that the commission’s proposals be
submitted. It was an important section of the preparation for war.

VII. The speech by the GBW [Plenipotentiary for Economy] provided for in
the agenda regarding the importance of the officials of the GBW, the
factories and organizations, the directing of new occupational recruits
(shortage of labor, migration from the country, Women’s Labor Service),
training of youth, stepping-up of production, procedure for obtaining
maximum efficiency, supply position, was not given.


Report by the Chief of the Transport Service in wartime, Oberst Gercke,
Chief of Department 5 (Transport Department) of the Army General Staff.

31. The result of the examination of the work necessary for strategic
concentration a year and a half ago showed that the transport service
could not meet all the demands made on it by the Armed Forces. The
Minister of Transport agreed. The 1938 section of the Four Year Program
will presumably be completed in August 1939.

32. Shortly after this program was drawn up, demands were made on the
Wehrmaeht, which changed completely the usual employment of the
Wehrmacht at the beginning of a war. Troops had to be brought to the
frontier, in the shortest possible time, in numbers which had until then
been completely unforeseen. The Wehrmacht was able to fulfill these
demands by means of organizational measures, but transport could not.

33. In, the Transportation sphere Germany is at the moment not ready for

a.  In the case of the three operations in 1938/1939 there was no
question of an actual strategic concentration. The troops were
transported a long time beforehand near to the area of strategic
concentration by means of camouflaged measures.

b.  This stop gap is of no acre whatsoever, when the time limit cannot
be laid down and known a long time beforehand, but an unexpected and
almost immediate military decision is required instead. According to the
present situation transport is not in a position despite all
preparations, to bring up the troops.

34. a. There was now a considerably extended program to be drawn up for
5 years, as against that of the year before. This means the utmost which
can be achieved, both as regards manufacture, and in the way of train
personnel and rolling stock by the Reichsbahn.

b. Nevertheless this program is not expected to be sufficient for the
demands made by the Wehrmacht and Industry. The speed of the
mobilization of the Wehrmacht has made this mobilization more
complicated. And in addition there is the speeding up of the strategic

c. In addition to this, shipping and lorries must be utilized more than
ever before. And at the same time to ensure the transportation of the
speedily mobilized Wehrmacht and Industry, better use must be made of
rolling stock by means of a more extensive employment of lorries in the
supply and distribution traffic of the Reichsbahn.

35. The renewal of installations and tracks, only 50% of which is at the
moment possible, is, from 1940 onwards, to be included in the rearmament

36. Mainly Industry but also the Army and Air Force, are interested in
the water-ways in connection with the distribution of fuel reserves and
the replenishing of stocks. The demands of the Sections of the Wehrmacht
for the allocation of shipping space can be met in the main during the
current year.

37. a. In order of importance in the development of the waterways, the
connection from the Weser to the Danube is, from the military point of
view, as important, if not more important, than the connection from the
Rhine. to the Danube. The usefulness of the Rhine is questionable, for
the time being there is no water communication from the North to the
South East.

b. The Armed Forces have a further particular interest in the Central
Canal (Mittellandkanal). It cannot be put to sufficient use for the war
industry situated thereby means of the ships' lifting gear on the Elbe

c. The Hansa Canal must be connected above Hamburg if the transportation
of war industry is to be carried out without a hitch.

If the Elbe-Trave Canal is separated from the Hansa Canal by the port of
Hamburg, the efficiency of the installations will decrease.

38. In order that troops may be moved in lorries speedily and without
hindrance, the highways which secured the connections from East to West
and from North to South must be determined in the same way as are the
transport routes in connection with the railways; they, together with
the Reichsautobahnen, must be developed to a greater degree.

                                                              [Page 731]

Cross roads and level crossings are to be abolished, especially at the
exit areas [Auslaufgebieten]. This matter will be taken up further by
the Reich Defense Committee.

39. The President remarked that, even in peacetime, certain vital supply
stores of Industry and the Armed Forces are to be transferred to the war
industrial centers to economize in transport later on.

The VJP will provide for the further development of the shipping pool so
that it can be used principally for reinforcements. The Central Canal is
of special importance. Numerous other canals could also be used. AA guns
could be employed, on inland ships, to good effect. Unfortunately, many
bridges are too low; this must be remedied. At any rate, it is urged
that the water-ways be included in the forefront of the subjects to be
considered by the departments.

40. a. The Reich Minister for Transport, Dr. Dorpmueller, explained that
the reason for the shortage of rolling stock was that the railway
network had been considerably increased. Furthermore, the additional
Reich territories required a new communications system and new railway
lines. The materials there needed to be considerably supplemented. The
delay was caused by the fact that the Reich Ministry of Transport
received neither steel, nor material, nor personnel. For work on the
railways and the waterways was not described as essential to the State.

b. The President gave the assurance that, under certain circumstances,
vital sections of the work of the Reich Ministry of Transport would be
declared essential to the State.

41. To sum up, the President affirmed that all essential points had been
cleared up at this meeting. The directive of the Reich Defense Council
for preparing means of transportation for war was issued on June 23rd,
1939: RVR OKW/WFA No. 1371/39 Secret L IV dated 24.6.1939.


The results of the suspension of the secret protection (Geheimschutz) of
the Reich, Defense Law and measures for facilitating commercial
intercourse are dealt with by the letter from the Reich Defense
Committee OKW WFA/L No. 1114/39 Most Secret IVa dated 26.6.1939.