Over a million people in Iraq have been killed since the Pentagon first bombed Iraq in January 1991. Yet the Democratic and Republican party politicians who have sat in the White House Oval Office, served as U.S. Vice-President or held cabinet and national security advisor posts since 1991 in either the Bush I, the Clintons’ Administration or the Bush II-Cheney Administration generally reject the U.S. anti-war movement’s allegation that they are personally responsible for war crimes in Iraq.
Coincidentally, as the following excerpt from the transcript of the March 21, 1946 and March 22, 1946 sessions of the Trial of The Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg indicates, former German Third Reich Marshall Hermann Goring also rejected the allegation that he was personally responsible for any war crimes during World War II:
Thursday, March 21, 1946 (87th day of international trial)
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: …Are you telling the Tribunal that you, who up to 1943 were the second man in the Reich, knew nothing about concentration camps?
GORING: …I did not know anything about what took place and what methods were used in the concentration camps later, when I was no longer in charge.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let me remind you of the evidence that has been given before this Court, that as far as Auschwitz alone is concerned, 4,000,000 people were exterminated. Do you remember that?
GORING: This I have heard as a statement here, but I consider it in no way proved—that figure, I mean.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If you do not consider it proved, let me remind you of the affidavit of Hoeftl, who was Deputy Group Leader of the Foreign Section of the Security Section of the Amt IV of the RSHA. He says that approximately 4,000,000 Jews have been killed in the concentration camps, while an additional 2,000,000 met death in other ways. Assume that these figures—one is a Russian figure, the other a German—assume they are even 50 percent correct, assume it was 2,000,000 and 1,000,000, are you telling this Tribunal that a Minister with your power in the Reich could remain ignorant that this was going on?
GORING: This I maintain, and the reason for this is that these things were kept secret from me. I might add that in my opinion not even the Fuhrer knew the extent of what was going on.
This is also explained by the fact that Himmler kept all these matters very secret. We were never given figures or any other details.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But, Witness, haven’t you access to the foreign press, the press department in your ministry, to foreign broadcasts? You see, there is evidence that altogether, when you take the Jews and other people, something like 10,000,000 people have been done to death in cold blood, apart from those killed in battle. Something like 10,000,000 people. Do you say that you never saw or heard from the foreign press in broadcast, that this was going on?
GORING: First of all, the figure 10,000,000 is not established in any way. Secondly, throughout the war I did not read the foreign press, because I considered it nothing but propaganda. Thirdly, though I had the right to listen to foreign broadcasts, I never did so, simply because I did not want to listen to propaganda. Neither did I listen to home propaganda.
Only during the last 4 days of the war did I—and this I could prove—listen to a foreign broadcasting station for the first time.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You told Mr. Justice Jackson yesterday that there were various representatives in Eastern territories, and you have seen the films of the concentration camps, haven’t you, since this Trial started? You knew that there were millions of garments, millions of shoes, 20,952 kilograms of gold wedding rings, 35 wagons of furs—all that stuff which these people who were exterminated at Maidanek or Auschwitz left behind them. Did nobody ever tell you, under the development of the Four Year Plan, or anyone else, that they were getting all these amounts of human material? Do you remember we heard from the Polish Jewish gentleman, who gave evidence, that all he got back from his family, of his wife and mother and daughter, I think, were their identity cards? His work was to gather up clothes. He told us that so thorough were the henchmen of your friend Himmler that it took 5 minutes extra to kill the women because they had to have their hair cut off as it was to be used for making mattresses. Was nothing ever told you about this accretion to German material, which came from the effects of these people who were murdered?
GORING: No, and how can you imagine this? I was laying down the broad outlines for the German economy, and that certainly did not include the manufacture of mattresses from women’s hair or the utilization of old shoes and clothes. I leave the figure open. But, also I do want to object to your reference to my “friend Himmler.”
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I will say, “your enemy Himmler,” or simply “Himmler,” whichever you like. You know what I mean, don’t you?
GORING: Yes, indeed…
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The Fuhrer, at any rate, must have had full knowledge of what was happening with regard to concentration camps, the treatment of the Jews, and the treatment of the workers, must he not?
GORING: I already mentioned it as my opinion that the Fuhrer did not know about details in concentration camps, about atrocities as described here. As far as I know him, I do not believe he was informed. But insofar as…
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am not asking about details; I am asking about the murder of four or five million people. Are you suggesting that nobody in power in Germany, except Himmler and perhaps Kaltenbrunner, knew about that?
GORING: I am still of the opinion that the Fuhrer did not know about these figures…
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you please answer my question. Do you still say neither Hitler nor you knew of the policy to exterminate the Jews?
GORING: As far as Hitler is concerned, I have said I do not think so. As far as I am concerned, I have said I did not know, even approximately, to what extent these things were taking place.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You did not know to what degree, but you knew there was a policy that aimed at the extermination of Jews?
GORING: No, a policy of emigration, not liquidation of the Jews. I knew only that there had been isolated cases of such perpetrations…
GEN. RUDENKO:…You admit that as chief of the German Air Force and Reich Marshall you participated in preparations for the attack on the Soviet Union?
GORING: I once more repeat that I prepared for the possibility of an attack, mainly because of Hitler’s assumption that Soviet Russia was adopting a dangerous attitude. In the beginning the certainty of an attack was not discussed, and that is stated clearly in the directive of November 1940.
Secondly, I want to emphasize that my position as Reich Marshall is of no importance there. That is a title and a rank.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you do not deny—rather you agree—that the plan was already prepared in November 1940?
GEN. RUDENKO: …Do you admit that the objectives of the war against the Soviet Union consisted of invading and seizing Soviet territory up to the Ural Mountains and joining it to the German Reich, including the Baltic territories, the Crimea, the Caucasus; also the subjugation by Germany of the Ukraine, of Bielorussia, and of other regions of the Soviet Union? Do you admit that such were the objective of that plan?
GORING: That I certainly do not admit…
GEN. RUDENKO: And so, summing this up on the basis of the replies which you gave to my question, it has become quite clear, and I think you will agree, that the war aims were aggressive.
GORING: The one and only decisive war aim was to eliminate the danger which Russia represented to Germany.
GEN. RUDENKO: And to seize the Russian territories.
GORING: I have tried repeatedly to make this point clear, namely, that before the war started this was not discussed. The answer is that the Fuhrer saw in the attitude of Russia, and in the lining up of troops on our frontier, a mortal threat to Germany, and he wanted to eliminate that threat. He felt that to be his duty. What might have been done in peace, after a victorious war, is quite another question, which at that time was not discussed in any way. But to reply to your question, by that I do not mean to say that after a victorious war in the East, we would have had no thoughts of annexation…
GEN. RUDENKO: You must have known about the mass extermination of the Soviet citizens from the occupied territories of the Soviet Union with the help of the SD and the Security Police. Is it not true that the Einsatz Kommandos and their activities were the result of the plan prepared in advance for the extermination of Jews and other groups of Soviet citizens?
GORING: No. Einsatz Kommandos were an internal organ which was kept very secret…
Friday, March 22, 1946 (88th day of international trial)
GEN. RUDENKO: If you thought it possible to co-operate with Hitler, do you recognize that, as the second man in Germany, you are responsible for the organizing on a national scale of murders of millions of innocent people, independently of whether you knew about those facts or not? Tell me briefly, “yes” or “no.”
GORING: No, because I did not know anything about them and did not cause them.
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to underline again, “whether you were informed of these facts or not.”
GORING: If I actually do not know them, then I cannot be held responsible for them…
GEN. RUDENKO: …Was it your duty to know about these facts?
GORING: In what way my duty? Either I know the fact or I do not know it. You can ask me only whether I was negligent in failing to obtain knowledge.
GEN. RUDENKO: You ought to know yourself better—Millions of Germans knew about the crimes which were being perpetrated, and you did not know about them?
GORING: Neither did millions of Germans know about them. That is a statement which has in no way been proved…
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