The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document C-66

           USE, SIGNED “RAEDER,” 10 JANUARY 1944.]

I. S. O. Only
a. Barbarossa.

1. At this time the Fuehrer had made known his “unalterable decision” to
conduct the Eastern campaign in spite of all remonstrances. After that,
further warnings, if no new situations had arisen, were found to be
completely useless. As Chief of

Naval War Staff I was never convinced of the “Compelling necessity” for

2. During the campaign in France and also during the,beginning of
preparation for Seeloewe [invasion of England], while the Fuehrer still
had hopes of gaining control of the air (which he too recognized as
being an essential prerequisite of Seeloewe), it was doubtless his
intention after France’s fall to concentrate on the Navy and Air Force.
The Fuehrer described the moving of troops to the Eastern front in
August to me as a large scale camouflage measure for Seeloewe. (A
statement from the Supreme Command of the Army would have to be obtained
on this point.)

The Fuehrer very early had the idea of one day settling accounts with
Russia, doubtless his general ideological attitude played an essential
part in this. In 1937-38 he once stated that he intended to eliminate
the Russians as a Baltic power; they would then have to be diverted in
the direction of the Persian Gulf. The advance of the Russians against
Finland and the Baltic States in 1939-40 probably further strengthened
him in this idea.

The fear that control of the air over the Channel in the autumn of 1940
could no longer be attained-a realization which the Fuehrer, no doubt,
gained earlier than the Naval War Staff, who were not so fully informed
of the true results of air raids on England (our own losses)-surely
caused the Fuehrer, as far back as August and September, to consider
whether-even prior to victory in the West-an Eastern campaign would be
feasible with the object of first eliminating our last serious opponent
on the Continent. The Fuehrer did not openly express this fear, however,
until well into September.

The Fuehrer’s remark of 21 July 1940 is an indication of reflections of
this kind (Section 68) ("It is of course our duty to give careful
consideration to the question of America and Russia!") ; furthermore,
comments such as Section 76, dated 12.8, dealing with the fortification
of the North Norwegian fjords, and occasional statements regarding the
meeting of Russian demands for the delivery of ships and heavy
artillery, which show the Fuehrer’s mistrust of the Russian attitude and
his hope of evading certain commitments altogether.

Doubtless during September 1940 the possibility of an Eastern campaign
was mentioned rather often by the Fuehrer, for 1 was worried that the
war should take a wrong turn (being diverted from the main danger
"England"), and this caused me to have an interview with the Fuehrer,
tete a tete, “even outside my own department” on 26 June 1940,
concerning the significance of the Mediterranean and North Africa. after
I had first made

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a thorough report on these questions, on 6 September 1910. In this
interview of 26 September 1940 my statement — “It is questionable
whether an attack on Russia from the North is necessary,” removed all
doubt that there had been talk during the previous weeks of the Eastern
operation. It is in keeping with the Fuehrer’s usual mode of procedure
for him to exercise personal reserve in the first instance in this
matter vis-a-vis the Chief of Naval War Staff, whose concept would
necessarily be a different one. In this connection the Supreme Command
of the Army will be able to give fuller details, since it was primarily
concerned in the preparations, and will have been addressed by the
Fuehrer on the matter. I would particularly point out here — quite
apart from the Eastern operation — how I have attempted to impress on
the Fuehrer the decisive importance for the war of the question of the
Mediterranean and North Africa (when I reported to the Fuehrer on 6.9
and 26.9.40). After the discussion on 26.9. the Fuehrer told Kapitan zur
See von Puttkamer that this report had been especially valuable to him,
and that he could, in the light of it, review his own opinions, and see
whether he was “in the right perspective.”

3. At that time (al above), the Fuehrer was firmly resolved on a
surprise attack on Russia, regardless of what was the Russian attitude
to Germany, this, according to reports coming in, was frequently
changing. The communication to Matsuoka was designed entirely as a
camouflage measure and to insure surprise. Concern lest a .note to
Matsuoka which stated his telling Matsuoka the whole truth. He told me
so at the time at a party!

4. The expression “greatly abbreviated” describes the representations I
have always made while at 1 SKL, — memorandums, which were not so much
German essays, or very exhaustive, as notes, and thus easier to put into
report form. By means of the notes I could the more briefly and
forcefully present this report, which without doubt gave a particularly
clear and significant picture of the situation. It formed a very good
supplement to and continuation of my reports made on the 6.6. and
29.6.40. The Fuehrer, whose primary interest was in the setting in
motion of Barbarossa (thus, for instance, he wanted to employ the German
Air Forces principally on the Eastern Front) — naturally took a special
interest in those points in connection with which fuller aid could be
secured from the Italians. It would be a mistake to conclude, from the
expression “greatly abbreviated,” that there was “reserve” on my part on
this subject, to which I have always given the greatest publicity.

5. In view of previous statements by the Fuehrer (see Section

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2), and the contrasts in ideology, I personally have always doubted that
the Fuehrer believed from the very beginning that the Russo-German pact
would last. I think that the pact arose solely out of the need of the
moment and that the Fuehrer (in spite of his speech in the Reichstag on
1.9.39) in no way intended it to be a permanent solution of the Russian
problem. After the campaign against Poland he had contented himself in
the first instance with a frontier line which would, with the help of an
Eastern wall, afford an effective defense against Russia. In my opinion
it was only later-when, on the one hand, the first successes in Russia
had been gained, and on the other, when the prospects of turning North
Africa to good account were fading — that it became his aim to make the
feeding of Europe dependent on the Ukraine, this plan bringing with it
permanent opposition to Russia. Though nothing was actually said, this
would involve giving up all thought of targets for which a certain
measure of sea power was required, that is, it would mean striving for a
pure continental policy.

6. As under section 3. A statement such as this to the Duce should be
considered merely as camouflage. The Fuehrer kept his plans most
carefully secret from the Italians. I believe that Stalin is our
greatest enemy-a statesman at home and abroad, a soldier and an
organizer on a prodigious scale, a Titanic genius seeing far into the
future. I consider it extremely probable that in 1937 and 38 Stalin came
to recognize, through the efforts of the United States ambassador, as
described by Davies in “Mission to Moscow,” that Russia could play an
important part in a subsequent conflict between the Anglo-Saxon races
and Germany, and that he thereupon began to speed up his armaments. The
pact with Germany was of a kind which would help him toward the
realization of the first part of his scheme — Eastern Poland, the
Baltic countries, Bessarabia and perhaps the Balkans and the
Dardanelles. The gains of 1939-40 were indeed great. In 1940-41 Stalin
had no reason to march against Germany. Germany’s surprisingly great
successes against France and the Balkans impressively demonstrated her
strength to him and perhaps even awakened fear of her. Stalin cannot
therefore have intended to take the initiative in attacking this strong
Germany in 1941, but while continuing to arm, he must have wanted to
wait and see whether the subsequent course of the tear between Germany
and the Anglo-Saxon powers would offer him a favorable opportunity — he
knew from Davies that the USA would join in sooner or later. Whether in
this connection he favored a push towards the

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Rhine, passing through the Scandanavian countries, or to the North
Atlantic, or in the direction of the Mediterranean to the Dardanelles,
or through Persia to the Indian Ocean, or finally towards India, must
have depended entirely on the course of the struggle between Germany --
and the Anglo-Saxon powers. As I see it, it does not do justice to the
importance of Stalin to assume that he intended “to start the war
against Germany in the autumn of 1941.” It is true that an essential
part of his armament was made ready for this deadline. I have sometimes
been in doubt whether, for Stalin, the ideological point of view had not
taken second place long ago in favor of a tremendous effort to use to
the full the opportunity he was offered of realizing the schemes of
Peter the Great. Was the announcement of the dissolution of the
Commintern perhaps a hint to Germany that an understanding between
Germany and Russia would have been possible even then, and that, after
the Russian territories had been regained, a peaceful relationship would
have been possible between the two States, who, taking the long view,
are both threatened by the USA?

7. As no other course is possible, I have submitted to compulsion. If,
in doing so, a difference of opinion arises between 1 SKL and myself, it
is perhaps because the arguments the Fuehrer used on such occasions
(dinner speech in the middle of July to the Officers in Command, to
justify a step he had planned) usually had a greater effect on people
not belonging to the “inner circle,” than on those who often heard this
type of reasoning.

Many remarks and plans indicate that the Fuehrer calculated on the final
ending of the Eastern campaign in the autumn of 1941, whereas the
Supreme Command of the Army (General Staff) was very skeptical.

Gross Admiral Assmann, for your own personal information. Not for

                                        [signed] Raeder. 10.1.44.
                                        1 Chefaache


b. Weser-Ubung. The memo is wholly insufficient and does not correspond
to the contents of the report. During the weeks preceding the report on
10.10. 39, I was in correspondence with Admiral Carls, who, in a
detailed letter to me, first pointed out the importance of an occupation
of the Norwegian coasts by Germany. I passed this letter on to C/SKl for
their information and prepared some notes* based on this letter for my
report to the Fuehr er which I made on 10.10.:39, since my opinion was

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cal to that of Admiral Carls, while, at that time, SKI was more dubious
about the matter. In these notes, I set out the disadvantages which an
occupation of Norway by the British would have for us — control of the
approaches to the Baltic, flanking of our naval operations and of our
air attacks on Britain, pressure on Sweden. I also mentioned the
advantages for us of the occupation of the Norwegian coast-outlet to the
North Atlantic, no possibility of British minefields as in the year
1917-18. Naturally at the time, only the coast and bases were
considered; I included Narvik, though Admiral Carls, in the course of
our correspondence, hoped that Narvik might be excluded. (At that time,
we were able to use Murmansk and/or a special Russian Base). The Fuehrer
saw at once the significance of the Norwegian problem; he asked me to
leave the notes and stated that he wished to consider the question

In the further developments, I was supported by Korv. Kapitaen Schreiber
Naval Attache in Oslo and the M-chief personally — in conjunction with
the Rosenberg Organization. Thus, we got in touch with Quisling and
Hagelin, who came to Berlin in December and were taken to the Fuehrer by
me — with the approval of Reichsleiter Rosenberg.** On the grounds of
the Fuehrer’s discussion with Quisling and Hagelin on the afternoon of
14.12.39, the Fuehrer gave the order that preparations for the Norwegian
operation were to be made by Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

Until that moment, the Naval War Staff had taken no part in the
development of the Norwegian question, and, even then, they were
somewhat skeptical about. it. The preparations, which were undertaken by
Kpt.z.S. Kranke in the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, were
founded, however, on a memorandum of the Naval War Staff.


* With the help of K.Adm.v.Puttkamer, these may possibly still be
obtainable; I had no duplicate as I did not think I should have to give
the notes up.

** At the crucial moment, R. hurt his foot, so that I visited him in his
house on the morning of 14.12.