Design for Aggression: The inside Story of Hitler's War Plans

By Peter De Mendelssohn | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTORY NOTES

DURING THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS OF THE NUREMBERG TRIAL ALONE THE British and American delegations to the prosecution submitted in evidence more than five hundred documents taken from captured enemy files and archives. These represented approximately one-tenth of a total considered relevant to the charges and sifted and scrutinized for this purpose at Nuremberg. But even that larger mass constituted only a fraction of the total haul. What this amounts to, in the British and American zones alone, we have yet to learn, but we know that it must run into at least several hundred thousand individual papers, some of them of considerable length. To these must be added, of course, the archives which fell into Soviet and French hands as well as the material seized and now held by the governments of the liberated countries.

This is an event without precedent or parallel in history. There was, of course, never such a national collapse as that of the Nazi state. Nor has ever before a disintegrating big power, in surrendering, yielded practically all its state secrets, military, political and economic, and many private secrets into the bargain, from confidential speeches of its leaders down to their secret diaries, private correspondence and even telephone conversations. After the discoveries at Flensburg, Fechenheim, Berchtesgaden and scores of other minor hiding places, it seems unlikely that any of the important events and developments of the twelve years of Hitler's regime will now remain obscure or open to conflicting interpretation. We know or shall know in due course

-vii-

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