Hello Panzer. Good question.
On this document specifically we can make the very reasonable deduction that it's a fake. Or at the very least, not a complete document that hasn't been distorted in any way.
Grand Admiral Raeder was fierce in his denunciation of this document as an unreliable "abstruse" document. Here is the Nuremberg transcript regarding this:
Then I come to the second key document which the Prosecution submitted-namely, Document L-79, the so-called "Little Schmundt." It is Exhibit USA-27, Number 10 in the document book of the British Delegation, Page 24. The document in spite of its astonishing length was also presented in full by the Prosecution, so that I shall not read from it. May I remind the Court that it states that further successes could not be achieved without bloodshed, and on 23 May 1939 with reference to Poland it states that not Danzig but the readjustment of Lebensraum was the issue at stake.
It speaks of the readjustment of Lebensraum and of the fact that the Polish problem could not be separated from the conflict with the West. Thereupon Hitler said that the only way out was to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity. Unfortunately, this is again a document which is undated.
Do you know when Lieutenant Colonel Schmundt prepared this report?
Mr. President, there is no date stating when the document was prepared.
There is only the date referring to the minutes of the conference of 23 May. In the case of the Hossbach Document the conference was on 5 November, but it was written down by Hossbach 5 days later from memory, on 10 November. In the case of Schmundt, we do not know whether it was written down after 1 day, 5 days, or 4 weeks.
Does this document contain a correct reproduction in all points of Hitler's speech, or does what you said about the Hossbach Document apply here also?RAEDER:
It applies even more here. In my opinion it is the most abstruse document concerning a Hitler speech in existence, for a large part of the statements in my opinion makes no sense whatsoever, as I have tried to show. The adjutant stated that he was only paraphrasing.DR. SIEMERS:
This is on the first page in the center where it is written, "Reproduced in Substance."Source: https://archive.vn/TMb2
So, we know that this document was
tampered with. It was "reproduced in substance", which could mean literally anything. If you wanted to present a document in an interpretation that you saw more favourable to your own position, you would be incentivised to "reproduce in substance" your own interpretation of a document.
Seeing as how at Nuremberg the prosecution took Judicial notice, only allowing into evidence the documents and diary excerpts they approved of, it isn't surprising that a document like this was produced.
As C.W. Porter has noted, there were next to no original documents presented at Nuremberg.
The standard version of events is that the Allies examined 100,000 documents and chose 1,000 which were introduced into evidence, and that the original documents were then deposited in the Peace Palace at The Hague. This is rather inexact.
The documents used in evidence at Nuremberg consisted largely of "photocopies" of "copies". Many of these original documents were written entirely on plain paper without handwritten markings of any kind, by unknown persons. Occasionally, there is an illegible initial or signature of a more or less unknown person certifying the document as a 'true copy'. Sometimes there are German stamps, sometimes not. Many have been 'found' by the Russians, or 'certified authentic' by Soviet War Crimes Commissions.
Volume XXXIII, a document volume taken at random, contains 20 interrogations or affidavits, 12 photocopies, 5 unsigned copies, 5 original documents with signatures, 4 copies of printed material, 3 mimeographed copies, 3 teletypes, 1 microfilm copy, 1 copy signed by somebody else and 1 unspecified.
The Hague has few, if any, original documents. The Hague has many original postwar 'affidavits', or sworn statements, the Tribunal Commission transcripts, and much valuable defense material. They have the 'human soap', which has never been tested, and the 'original human soap recipe' (Document USSR-196), which is a forgery; but apparently no original wartime German documents.
The Hague has negative photostats of these documents, on extremely brittle paper which has been stapled. To photocopy the photostats, the staples are removed. When they are re-stapled more holes are made. Most of these documents have not been photocopied very often, and officials at The Hague say it is very unusual for anyone to ask to see them. The National Archives in Washington claim that the original documents are in The Hague. The Hague claims the original documents are in the National Archives.
The Staatsarchiv Nürnberg and the Bundesarchiv Koblenz also have no original documents, and both say the original documents are in Washington. Since the originals are, in most cases, 'copies', there is often no proof that the documents in question ever existed.Source: http://www.cwporter.com/document.htm
This has been confirmed by another historian, although the source and name escapes me now. Forgive me for that. When I find the source again I will post it here.
On the trials, Thomas Dalton PhD has this to say:
within a matter of months, the occupiers initiated an extensive and lengthy series of “warcrime trials” against their captives. But these were unlike any trials ever seen before. There was no precedent. No “civil law” could be applied because the alleged crimes were international in scope, and the alleged perpetrators were citizens of a polity—National Socialist Germany—that no longer existed. The Allies were effectively absolute powers, establishing any rules or procedures that they saw fit.
And we must bear in mind: they were the victors. They were no neutral parties; they were belligerent and hostile forces, the very same ones that had just expended so much blood and treasure on the battlefield to defeat the very men now on trial. And they had complete control. They were, quite literally, judge, jury and executioner. This was in no sense an objective and dispassionate process. There was no real quest for any truth. Guilt was the pre-determined outcome, and all proceedings aimed at that end.1 Furthermore, there was no functional right of appeal. All verdicts were permanently and irrevocably binding. The victors set the rules, and the victors had the final say.
Thomas Dalton, Streicher, Rosenberg, and the Jews: The Nuremberg Transcripts (Castle Hill Publishers, 2020), Pp. 11-12
It must also be kept in mind that the Germans were being tried for "crimes" that didn't even exist at the time. They were being used to set a precedent for crimes the victors decided to invent, and being judged, post hoc
, for these arbitrary crimes invented by the Allies in order to prosecute the Germans. They invented it all and the Germans were screwed either way. It was not justice, it was a farce.
When Raeder was asked what impression the May 23rd speech had on him, he said:
I should like to point out again here that the trial brief makes the comment that consultation took place regarding the scale on which the plan should be executed. Particularly in this case this does not at all represent the character of the speech correctly. The meaning of the whole first part of the speech, as I said, is extremely vague. Whereas in the 1937 speech he gave 1943 to 1945 as the latest deadline and the possibility of an earlier date under certain improbable circumstances, here Hitler speaks of a solution as being possible in 15 to 20 years He says that Poland is always on the side of the enemy, in spite of the treaty of friendship, that her secret intention is to take advantage of any opportunity to act against us, and that he, therefore, wants to attack Poland at the first opportunity. The Polish problem cannot be separated from the conflict in the West, but a conflict in the West must not be permitted to arise simultaneously. If it is uncertain as to whether a war with the West will or will not take place in the wake of the German-Polish conflict, then a line of battle first against England and France is perhaps of greater importance. Then again, he says that we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into a war with England on account of Poland, a war on two fronts such as the incapable men of 1914 had brought about.
Then again, England-and that is comparatively new here-is the driving force against Germany. We must prepare for a long war in addition to a surprise attack, obviously against England. It is astonishing that we were to endeavor, at the beginning of such a war, to strike a destructive blow against England. The goal is to force England to her knees. Then follows quite a new part...Source: https://archive.vn/TMb2
Now, I have one final question. During your testimony Document L-79, the "Little Schmundt" file, was treated. You objected to this document as inaccurate and not of probative value?RAEDER:
You can read the full length transcript at your own leisure.
The document 079-L was:
passed off by the IMT as “document from the captured German archives,” has, with the exception of “Top Secret – to be handled by officer only,” no heading, no date, no official stamp to denote classified matter, no counter-signature. It is handwritten, giving just the “gist” of the content, and it contains corrections in ink, which were later inserted at some undefined point in time – not by the hand of Schmundt! Schmundt had succumbed to his injuries on 1 October 1944, having incurred these during the attempted assassination of 20 July; the authenticity of his signature is doubtful. The “document” has not been registered in the secret material journal, although that would have been
imperative for a matter of “Top Secret – to be handled by officer only.” Furthermore, there is no detail given about the number of copies.
Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 453 also see, Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Olzog Verlag, George F. Held English Translation, 2011), Pp. 397-403
The document presented at Nuremberg thus has no credibility. It's a "true copy" without an original to back it up like so many of the Nuremberg documents. There is no proof that this document ever existed at all. This doesn't mean the speech never occurred, only that this alleged document doesn't give an accurate representation of what Hitler actually said. I at least, have never seen proof that an original version existed.
The historian Michael Freund writes about this “protocol”:
“One cannot consider the report as an exact transcript of the speech. Also, it is not at all certain that Hitler wanted to announce his actual intentions and ideas during this conference. Some of it is obviously just saying the first thing that comes into his head.”25
Yet in spite of this, Freund awards this paper the “impression of credibility.” What an unscientific way to give an opinion from the pen of an historian!
In this meeting, of which there is not one faultless transcript in existence, were again described in theory merely the different alternatives that would be affecting German policy, and which would be brought about by a possible determination for war on the part of Britain, France and Poland.
Since at this conference no minutes were taken either and therefore no copies were to be distributed, the deliberations on the situation do not constitute a conclusion reached by the Führer. The purpose of the meeting was the formation of a research staff within the OKW (High Command of the Wehrmacht), which “will have to keep the Führer informed.” Theirs was the brief to “study” and provide for all possible military contingencies to ensure military success in a confrontation – as it is practiced by every military leadership in the world. Not even from the “document” 079-L – IMT vol. XXXVII, p. 546 – can it be deduced that this planning staff had been given a definite military decision for an operative planning. Had this been the case, then perhaps one could have inferred “a determination for war.” The Reich Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, stated before the IMT Nuremberg:
“I know that he [Hitler] repeatedly told me that one had to talk with military men as if war was about to break out here or there on the next day.”26
Yet the former Colonel General Keitel had left this conference on 23 May 1939, believing “that there would be no war” in 1939.27 He was not alone in holding that opinion. Just as an example: Field Marshal von Brauchitsch quoted before the IMT-Nuremberg Hitler’s words from this conference:
“I should be an idiot if on account of Poland I were to drift into a war, like those incapable people of 1914.”28
“…and when, in reply to the observation made by Field Marshal Milch that the production of heavy bombs was quite inadequate in the event of a war, and must be immediately increased, Hitler said that there was ample time for such measures, the military leaders were bound to conclude from this that Hitler had made military preparations only to support the initiated political moves, but that he would on no account risk an armed conflict with Poland.”29
Of course, declarations such as these were naturally not in the submitted “document.” Consequently, they cannot be “protocols,” cannot be proper minutes.
Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 455-456 also see: Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Olzog Verlag, George F. Held English Translation, 2011), Pp. 397-403
David Hoggan concurs with Walendy:
Germany’s plans for a possible war with Poland were complete by this time. The various conferences between Hitler and his military leaders, after the operational planning order of April 11, 1939, have been the subject of speculation, but there are no official records available for any of these conferences. Colonel Rudolf Schmundt, who was Hitler’s military adjutant, was the alleged author of two unofficial records, compiled after the event, of an important military conference on May 23, 1939. Schmundt died of wounds received in the assassination attempt against Hitler on July 20, 1944, and the question of his alleged authorship has remained unresolved.
Several of Hitler’s biographers have warned that it would be dangerous to attach much importance to the dubious records attributed to Schmundt. Ribbentrop recalled after World War II that Hitler “repeatedly told me that one had to talk with military men as if war was about to break out here or there on the next day.” This is an obvious fact to every analyst of the relations between political and military leaders, but it does not seem to apply to this particular conference. General Wilhelm Keitel, who recalled the specific details of this meeting with great clarity after World War II, noted that he left the conference of May 23rd with the firm belief that there would be no war in 1939.
The so-called Schmundt notes suggest that Hitler was envisaging the possibility of conflict with both Poland and the Western Powers, but that he hoped to prevent the intervention of the Western Powers by diplomatic means if there was war between Germany and Poland. This phase of the record is consistent with various declarations by Hitler, and it corresponds to the version of Keitel. The detailed comments in the notes, such as the alleged statement by Hitler that Germany was “at present in a state of patriotic fervor” are of doubtful validity.
The actual German military plan had been worked out in most of its details before the conference of May 23, 1939. The Germans intended to rely heavily on airpower in the event of war with Poland, but it was stipulated that only military objectives would be bombed. The principal offensive operations of the ground forces were to be launched from East Prussia and Pomerania in the North, and from West Upper Silesia and Western Slovakia in the South. The preliminary deployment of German troops for possible operations was in process at the time of the Polish ultimatum to Danzig of August 4, 1939, and it was completed on August 20th. The Slovakian Government had agreed to extend full cooperation to Germany in the event of war, although there was no German request for the deployment of the Slovak armed forces against Poland. German Ambassador Moltke at Warsaw was informed of this agreement on August 4, 1939. The German consulate at Lvov predicted on August 7, 1939, that the Ukrainian minority of Poland would stage an insurrection against the Poles in the event of a German-Polish war.
David L. Hoggan, The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed (Institute for Historical Review, 1989), Pp. 415-416
The document doesn't lend credence to Hitler's own attitude later on that year. On September 26th, 1939 at 4pm Alfred Rosenberg was called in to meet with Hitler and Ribbentrop. At this meeting, Hitler freely told Rosenberg what his plans were for the future, namely offering peace to Britain, and a German border wall fortified in the east along the Vistula. Rosenberg, later that same day, recorded this in his diary:
: Er wolle das jetzt festgelegte Gebiet in drei Streifen teilen: 1. Zwischen Weichsel u. Bug: das gesamte Judentum (auch a. d. Reich), sowie alle irgendwie unzuverlässigen Elemente. An der Weichsel einen unbezwingbaren Ostwall – noch stärker als im Westen. 2. An der bisherigen Grenze ein breiter Gürtel der Germanisierung und Kolonisierung. Hier käme eine grosse Aufgabe für das gesamte Volk: eine deutsche Kornkammer zu schaffen, starkes Bauerntum, gute Deutsche aus aller Welt umzusiedeln. 3. Dazwischen eine polnische „Staatlichkeit“. Ob nach Jahrzehnten der Siedlungsgürtel vorgeschoben werden kann, muss die Zukunft erweisen.English:
He wanted to divide the area that has now been defined into three strips: 1. Between the Vistula and Bug: the whole of Judaism (also from the Reich), as well as all somehow unreliable elements. On the Vistula an impregnable east wall - even stronger than in the west. 2. A broad belt of Germanization and colonization at the previous border. Here would be a big task for the entire people: to create a German granary, strong peasantry, good Germans from all over the world to relocate. 3. In between a Polish “statehood”. The future must show whether the settlement belt can be advanced after decades.Rosenberg Diary, 29.09.1939, p. 301
See my post: https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12662#p98670
The claims made according to the less than reliable document of May 23rd 1939 were thus abrogated by Hitler himself later in 1939 as the situation progressed. Also, nothing was decided or acted upon after the alleged May 23rd speech, so it's importance as it relates to later actions taken by Hitler is non-existent.
The Schmundt document is also refuted by Case White
the German plan for the invasion of Poland, which explicitly specified that Poland should be isolated
, so that the war was limited to Poland and nobody else.
Although Germany would continue trying to avoid a conflict with Poland, the preamble to "Operation White" stated that Poland would be destroyed if she changed her policy. Military preparations had to be complete and plans ready for action by September 1st, 1939. The task of diplomacy was to isolate Poland.
Sidney Aster, ‘1939’ The Making of the Second World War (Andre Deutsch, 1974), Pp. 194
David Irving further confirms this:
A few days later, on May 23, Hitler delivered a four-hour speech to his Commanders in Chief in his cavernous study. He stood at a lectern and addressed altogether a dozen officers seated in three rows: Raeder, Milch, Brauchitsch, and Keitel formed the front row (Göring was away), and their chiefs of staff and adjutants the two other rows.
Hitler stated once again that Danzig was not his ultimate objective –that would be to secure Lebensraum in the east to feed Germany’s eighty million inhabitants. ‘If fate forces us to fight in the west,’ Hitler told them, ‘it will be just as well if first we possess more in the east.’ This was why he
had decided to ‘take on Poland at the first suitable opportunity.’
His immediate purpose now, he explained, would be to isolate Poland. ‘It is of crucial importance that we succeed in isolating her.’
The only surviving note is one by Colonel Schmundt, but it lists as present officers – including Göring and Warlimont – who were not there and contains various anachronisms. Halder, questioned in mid-1945, well remembered Hitler’s assurances that he would keep the western powers out of ‘White’: ‘I would have to be a complete idiot to slither into a world war – like the nincompoops of 1914 – over the wretched Polish Corridor.’
David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Focal Point Publications, 2002), Pp. 176-177
On the document itself, Irving tells us that it was written up much later:
The only note on Hitler's 23 May 1939 conference is by Rudolf Schmundt (ND, L-079) but there are grounds, too numerous to elicit here, for believing that the note was written much later, probably for OKW historical brance files. At least five passages appear anachronistic, and I have therefore ignored them.
David Irving, The War Path: Hitler's Germany 1933-1939 (The Viking Press, New York, 1978), Pp. 280-281
Udo Walendy rightly pointed out - as we read earlier - that:
The purpose of the meeting was the formation of a research staff within the OKW (High Command of the Wehrmacht), which “will have to keep the Führer informed.” Theirs was the brief to “study” and provide for all possible military contingencies to ensure military success in a confrontation – as it is practiced by every military leadership in the world. Not even from the “document” 079-L – IMT vol. XXXVII, p. 546 – can it be deduced that this planning staff had been given a definite military decision for an operative planning.
Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 456
This point is extremely important. All of the documents used to "prove" Hitler's intentions for a war, were only every standard operating procedure that planned for many different events/possibilities and how to military deal with them. But because it was Hitler doing this, the orthodox historians and other anti-Hitler pseudo-intellectuals purposely neglect this in order to paint a menacing picture of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as some monolithic geo-political demon that wanted to "secure Lebensraum" (not that there's anything wrong
with that). A.J.P. Taylor put it best when he wrote in his 1963 foreword to 'The Origins of the Second World War'
Hitler certainly directed his generals to prepare for war. But so did the British, and for that matter every other, government. It is the job of general staffs to prepare for war. The directives which they receive from their governments indicate the possible war for which they are to prepare, and are no proof that the governments concerned have resolved on it. All the British directives from 1935 onwards were pointed solely against Germany; Hitler’s were concerned only with making Germany stronger. If therefore we were (wrongly) to judge political intentions from military plans, the British government would appear set on war with Germany, not the other way round.
But of course we apply to the behaviour of our own governments a generosity of interpretation which we do not extend to others. People regard Hitler as wicked; and then and proofs of his wickedness in evidence which they would not use against others. Why do they apply this double standard? Only because they assume Hitler’s wickedness in the first place.
A.J.P. Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War (Penguin Books, 1964), Pp. 13
I don't blame Hitler for not abiding by what the Allies thought was moral because it played into their own interests. If Germany wanted Lebensraum, good, Germany should've done all she could to get it. Who better to get it from than the Soviet Union that had already spilled the blood of millions? I have no sympathy for the Soviets. Hitler, in my mind, had every right to do for Germany what the British, Americans, and French had already done for themselves around the world. Invade and secure themselves from starvation and political incursion by foreign powers.
Germany had no such protection, and the Allies knew that. So they effectively criminalized Germany protecting itself, and turned Hitler's bid for German safety and global influence into a dichotomy of "right and wrong" that would invariably play into the hands of the Allies that didn't want to see a resurgent Germany. It was all to their benefit. It outlawed, effectively, the German bid for nationalism and self determination. They constructed the moral dichotomy in such a way where it would be "wrong" for Germany to secure her borders and become a world power, where such actions for Germany to defend herself would itself be seen as wrong. The reality is that there is nothing wrong with what Hitler wanted, even if he wanted exactly what the Allies claimed he did.
Playing the game by the morality of the Allies who themselves constructed the moral lenses we see through is disingenuous and self serving. There's no reason why anyone needs to play the game that was created to benefit only one side.
The biggest mistake, whether done intentionally or maliciously, is to believe that ideas and plans stayed the same. The years 1938-1939 were hectic and constantly changing, the circumstances one month might've been totally different the next. To quote one document, with doubtful origins, as "proof" of anything that Hitler supposedly planned or desired is ridiculous. It makes the presumption that Hitler was making static plans in an uncertain time where those plans may or may not have been applicable. It also ignores the countless other sources that contradict or show a change in Hitler's thinking.
Because it isn't only Hitler that we need to consider. But also his enemies and allies who were planning and preparing their own schemes and wars to be used against Germany. If an alliance was made, like, it was between Britain and Poland, that made Germany's geopolitical situation much more uncertain. They then needed to factor in how they could deal with a possible western offensive while not losing a war in the east. Hitler of course wanted to avoid any such war in the west. It must be kept in mind too, that the only reason a war in the west became imminent was because the British, particularly Neville Chamberlain, had inserted themselves into a border conflict with Germany that they had no right getting involved in. So in this way Hitler was forced to change tactics to something that was perhaps less peaceful than he had originally expected.
The actions of people aren't purely determined by themselves, but also the actions of others. To forget this in favour of a hysterical interpretation where Hitler is this monster controlling everything, where the world is at his mercy, is just a despicable misportrayal of events.