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German Field Marshals as War Criminals?

A British Embarrassment
Author(s): J. H. Hoffman
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan., 1988), pp. 17-35
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/260866 .
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J.H. Hoffman
German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
A British Embarrassment
More than two
years
after the surrender of Hitler's
Wehrmacht,
and
one
year
after the International
Military
Tribunal had rendered its
final
judgment
at
Nuremberg,
the British
government
was once
again
confronted with the issue of the
criminality
of senior German
military
leaders in its
custody.
With it arose the troublesome
possibility
of
renewed war crimes
trials,
a
possibility
that
occupied
senior cabinet
ministers and their advisers
intermittently
from
September
1947 to
September
1950. To
try
or not to
try
was the central issue of these
protracted
interministerial
discussions,
and the
subjects
were no
lesser 'fish' than the Field Marshals Walter von
Brauchitsch,
Gerd
von
Rundstedt,
Erich von
Manstein,
and Colonel General Adolf
Strauss,
all of whom had been in British
captivity
since the summer of
1945. What follows is an account of
decision-making regarding
a
legacy
of the
struggle against
nazism that still had
potentially
serious
domestic and international ramifications. It shows the
continuing
ambivalence of British officials to the American enthusiasm for a
legal
settlement of the emotional and moral residue of war. More
importantly,
it reveals the
conflicting
interests and concerns of
policy-makers
with different areas of
responsibility. Finally,
it
explains why only
one of the Wehrmacht commanders involved was
ever tried on war crimes
charges
four
years
after the war.
During
the summer of
1947, Brigadier-General
Telford
Taylor,
who had succeeded Justice Robert H. Jackson as the United States
Chief of Counsel for War
Crimes,
was
preparing
to
prosecute major
Wehrmacht leaders in American
custody
who had not been
brought
before the International
Military
Tribunal. In the course of
researching
these
cases,
which included Field Marshals Wilhelm
Ritter von Leeb and
Georg
von
Kuechler, Taylor's
team collected 'a
very
substantial amount of evidence' which also incriminated von
Brauchitsch,
von
Rundstedt,
von Manstein and Strauss.2
Taylor
Journal
of
Contemporary History (SAGE, London, Newbury Park, Beverly
Hills and
New
Delhi),
Vol. 23
(1988),
17-35.
Journal
of Contemporary History
forwarded these
findings
to Sir
Hartley Shawcross,
the British
Attorney General,
in the form of a
lengthy
memorandum,3
and
suggested
that Britain follow the American
example by referring
to
the
legal
basis for such action. In its
judgment
of the so-called
High
Command and General Staff
case,
the International
Military
Tribunal
had found 'clear and
convincing'
evidence that
many high-ranking
German officers had
participated
'in
planning
and
waging aggressive
war,
and in
committing
war crimes and crimes
against humanity',
and
urged
that those
responsible
be
brought
to trial.4
Moreover,
in
December of
1945,
the Allied Control Council had authorized zonal
authorities to
prosecute
war criminals not
charged
before the
International
Military
Tribunal
(IMT),
and had established a uniform
legal
basis for such trials.5
British officials seemed
initially
rather
perplexed
about how to
handle
Taylor's
evident reminder of a
presumed obligation
to
try
their
high-ranking
German POWs
along
with those about to be
prosecuted by
the Americans.
Shawcross,
who had been British chief
prosecutor
before the IMT at
Nuremberg,
referred
Taylor's
letter and
summary
of evidence to the War Office which had
jurisdiction
in the
matter, suggested
that the
Foreign
Office be
consulted,
and advised
Foreign Secretary
Ernest Bevin
accordingly.6
Bevin's German
experts
reacted
cautiously
to the news. There was
general agreement among
them that it would 'not be
politic',
or at least it would be
'inappropriate',
to
try
these officers for
anything
but
specific
war
crimes. Thus
they
wanted to see the evidence before
making up
their
minds.7 When the War Office sent
Taylor's memorandum,
Frederick
Bellenger,
the
Secretary
of
State,
wrote to Bevin that it made 'a
strong
prima facie
case'
against
von
Brauchitsch,
von
Rundstedt,
von
Manstein and Strauss. He
lamented,
'we were all
hoping
that there
would be no more of these trials of German
Generals',
but admitted it
would be difficult to
ignore
the evidence
'merely
because it has
only
now been unearthed'.
Still,
he saw considerable
problems
in
pursuing
the matter. The enormous amount of research in German documents
required
to
prepare
such
trials,
the unavoidable
delays involved,
and
the lack of
expert
staff and
money
for that
purpose
made him
reluctant to undertake it. The ideal
solution,
he
thought,
would be for
the Americans to include the four officers in their
proceedings,
unlikely
a
possibility
as that
appeared.8
If these
arguments
seem
specious
on the
surface, Bellenger
did indeed have
good
reason on his
side.
Eight
months
earlier,
Prime Minister Attlee had ordered a
general policy
review of war crimes trials in the British
Zone,
because
18
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
their
progress
was
'disappointingly
slow',
and the Law Officers
had
reported
criticism from members of the United Nations War
Crimes Commission on that account.
Clearly,
the
major
reason for
the slowness of these trials was the
shortage
of
specialized
staff
resulting
from
demobilization,
a situation that was not
likely
to
improve
but would
surely
be exacerbated
by
the addition of
major
cases.9
Since the
problems
raised
by Taylor's
initiative involved not
only
administrative difficulties for his
department,
but also had inter-
national
political implications
because of the
past
stature of the
officers
concerned,
Bellenger
referred the matter to his
colleague
at
the
Foreign Office,
where it
began
to take on
sharper
contours. On 10
October,
Bevin
personally
received
Elwyn Jones,
the
Parliamentary
Private
Secretary
of
Attorney-General
Shawcross and a former
member of the British
prosecution
team at
Nuremberg.
Jones had
studied the American memorandum of evidence and told Bevin that
it made a
persuasive
case
against
the German officers.'0 Five
days
later,
Lord Chancellor William Allen Jowitt summoned a
group
of
experts, including Jones,
the
Solicitor-General,
the
Treasury
Solicitor
and the
Judge
Advocate
General,
to discuss the
possibility
of a trial.
Although
Jowitt himself had 'no
strong
view' on whether von
Brauchitsch,
von
Rundstedt,
von Manstein and Strauss should be
prosecuted,
he
reported
to Bevin that he was
'unwilling
to send out a
British
judge
to
try
these
people' jointly
with the Americans. If it had
to be 'a British trial at all it must be before a British
Military
Court'.
But since
Bellenger
had
already pointed
out the difficulties involved
in that
course,
Jowitt
agreed
that the best solution would be 'to let the
Americans
try
them'. Bevin's own
experts
came to the same
tentative conclusion.
They
reminded him of the Prime Minister's wish
to
bring
to a
speedy
end the
ongoing
trials in
Germany
of members of
nazi criminal
organizations. They
also
pointed
out that
political
reaction at home would
likely
be critical of new
trials,
and that
charges
of crimes
against peace
would be difficult to
try
in a British
court.'2 The
Foreign Secretary accepted
these
arguments
and the
recommended solution. Like
Jowitt,
he
opposed
the
possible
alter-
native of a
joint trial, fearing
that it would
give
'the
appearance
of an
Anglo-American
bloc' with undesirable
consequences
for
Anglo-
Russian relations.'3 Before
taking
the matter to the Cabinet for a
decision, however,
he asked the
Military
Governor in
Germany
to
find out whether American authorities would be
agreeable
to the
proposed
course of action.14
19
Journal
of Contemporary History
Air Marshal Sir Sholdo
Douglas
was rather taken aback
by
this
request.
As the Commander-in-Chief in
Germany,
he took offence at
having
been excluded from the London
discussions,
and
objected
vigorously
to the
government's apparent
decision. Before
approach-
ing
General Lucius
Clay,
his American
colleague,
he wanted 'to be
satisfied that the
equity
of our
proposed
action has been
carefully
considered'. He
evidently
had
strong
reservations and
expressed
them in unmistakable terms:
We know that the Americans will make use of a lot of evidence of a
very
dubious
character. Yet we are
apparently prepared
to send these
men, including
one who is
seventy-three,
to trial
by
the Americans. I
frankly
do not like this. I feel that if the
Americans wish to be critical about our inaction in
trying
war
criminals,
I should
prefer
that
they
should continue to criticize rather than that we should commit an
injustice
in order to avoid their criticism.5
Assured that the final decision on the
disposition
of the four
officers held in
England
would be made
by
the
Cabinet,
and that his
views would be considered at that time,'6
Douglas
had his
deputy
in
Berlin talk to
Clay. Formally, Clay responded
to Lieutenant-General
Sir Brian Robertson's
inquiry
that he would be 'most reluctant' to
agree
to the British
proposal
because the American indictments had
been
completed
and trial was to
begin shortly.
In
fact,
unbeknown to
the
British, Clay
had
already
withheld his
approval
of the same
proposal
made several months earlier
by Taylor. Informally,
he made
it clear 'that he did not at all wish to take these Generals for trial and
he
hoped
that we would come to the conclusion that we would not
try
them either'. These comments led Robertson to assure the
Foreign
Office that there would be no
'responsible
American criticism' if the
whole
question
of a trial were
dropped. Privately
he
added,
'I am sure
we should be well advised to do so."'7
That, however,
was not an
acceptable
solution to
Bevin,
who came under
increasing pressure
to
act.
Attorney-General
Shawcross,
in New York as
principal
United
Kingdom delegate
to the
UN,
informed him that Telford
Taylor
had
made
repeated inquiries
as to
any
British decision. Shawcross
expressed
concern over the continued
prosecution
in the British Zone
of minor
offenders,
while men
'against
whom
strong
evidence of
grave
War Crimes exists' seemed to
go unpunished;
and he took issue
with the Commander-in-Chiefs
opinion
that
Taylor's
evidence was
inadequate. Elwyn
Jones,
whom he considered 'a
very capable
lawyer',
had convinced him of the
contrary.18
Bevin
replied
that
he,
too, agreed
with Jones
and,
in view of
Clay's response,
had advised
20
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
the Lord Chancellor: 'We
are, therefore,
left with the
necessity
to
try
[the
German
officers] ourselves, presumably by
a
Military
Court. I
fully appreciate
the
great
difficulties which this would
involve,
but we
clearly
cannot let the matter
rest,
and
I, therefore,
see no alternative.'19
At the same
time,
Bevin asked his Permanent
Under-Secretary,
Sir
Orme
Sargent,
to
clarify
the issues to be confronted
'urgently
and
enable me to take a decision'.20 The result was a
departmental
briefing paper
for the
Foreign Secretary
and a
meeting
in his office of
all the
principals
concerned: the Lord
Chancellor,
the
Attorney-
General,
the
Secretary
of
War,
the
Judge
Advocate General and their
experts.
Bevin's
department
recommended to him that he 'should
press
for the decision' of a trial
only
if the evidence were deemed
likely
to lead to
convictions,
and that such a trial should be before a British
military
court. It
pointed
out
again
that a decision
against prosecuting
might
lead to considerable
political
criticism in both Britain and
Germany.
On the other
hand,
'a considerable
body
of
public opinion'
was
opposed
to more trials so
long
after the German
surrender,
and
the Cabinet seemed 'to share the Lord Chancellor's wish to finish the
whole business
by
the end of the
year..
.'.21 The discussion with his
colleagues
on 19 December 1947
yielded
no less
equivocal guidance
for Bevin. While Emanuel
Shinwell,
who had succeeded
Bellenger
at the War
Office,
was satisfied that
strong
cases existed and thus
spoke
for a
trial,
Shawcross and Jowitt were uncertain. The Lord
Chancellor had not
yet
examined the
summary
of evidence
himself,
since a
copy
of it had not been made available to him. It was therefore
agreed
that he should have a look in order to render an
opinion.22
Three
days
later he informed Bevin of what the
Foreign Secretary
already knew, namely
that there was evidence of a
primafacie
case of
war crimes.
Jowitt, however,
foresaw
juridical problems:
he believed
it difficult to link
offending
documents to the accused and harder still
to
prove
that criminal action resulted from
offending
orders.
Moreover,
the evidence
against
Colonel General Strauss
appeared
to
him too weak for successful
prosecution,
which clouded the whole
issue further when the
question
arose whether all or none of the four
Germans should be
brought
before the bar.23
Thus at the end of
1947,
the British
government
had come no closer
to a decision on what to do with von
Brauchitsch,
von
Rundstedt,
von
Manstein and Strauss than it had when the
question
was first
raised.24
Bevin,
whose
political responsibility
the
problem
had
become,
found himself in a
quandary.
He was
personally
convinced
that
justice
demanded
prosecution,
and
Shinwell,
who had formal
21
Journal
of Contemporary History
jurisdiction
in the
matter, agreed
with
him,
but the
highest legal
authorities of the Crown as well as his own
department
were
ambivalent in their counsel.
The new
year brought
with it additional
complications.
Before
pursuing
further
legal investigations,
the
Secretary
of War
'thought
it
a wise
precaution'
to have medical examinations determine
if,
in view
of their
ages,
his
high-ranking
POWs were
physically
fit to endure a
trial.25 The result was not
encouraging
and
prompted
Shinwell to
change
his mind. Like his
predecessor,
he did not wish to embark on
costly preparations
for
proceedings
which would in the end not take
place.
Thus he now recommended that the officers be
repatriated
in
due course. The
Attorney-General opposed letting
off the Wehrmacht
commanders on what he
thought
'dubious medical
grounds'
found
by
an
army
medical
board,
and called for an
inquiry
of Home Office
prison
doctors to decide the
question
of medical fitness
according
to
English
criminal court standards.26 When Bevin met
again
with
Shinwell,
Shawcross and Jowitt on 22 March
1948, they
could
agree
on little more than to seek another medical
review,
and to let the
Cabinet determine if all or
any
of the four officers should be tried.27
Since the new medical
reports
considered
only
von Manstein fit for
the burden of a
lengthy judicial proceeding,
von Brauchitsch
definitely
too ill and the others at
risk,28
Shinwell
pressed
his view
with the
argument
that 'it should be all or none' and reiterated his
unwillingness
to commit the time and resources
necessary
for a trial.
Bevin,
in
contrast,
minuted almost in
exasperation:
'I do not see how
we can avoid
taking
action in the three cases in view of what has taken
place
with others and our
undertakings. They
should stand trial. We
can't
get
out of it
-
it is a matter of evidence.'29
Referring
to the
agreement
of 22
March,
the
Foreign Secretary
now invited the War
Office to
prepare
the
necessary paper
for submission to the Cabinet.
In the
meantime,
as
pressures
for a decision
mounted,
the entire
issue
confronting
the British ministers had become more intricate as a
result of Russian and American intervention. On 11
March,
the
Soviet
Military
Administration in
Germany
demanded the
handing
over of von Manstein and von Rundstedt for their trial of war crimes
committed
against
Soviet citizens and
property.30
Four weeks
later,
the American Chief Counsel for War Crimes
sought
the same two
men and von Brauchitsch as defence witnesses in the
Nuremberg
trial
of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb et al.3' Marshal
Sokolovsky's request
was
readily
fielded
by
General
Robertson,32 although implicit
in its
rejection
was the
assumption
that the men be detained in
England
for
22
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
reasons similar to those stated
by
the Russians.
If, however,
the four
officers were to be
repatriated
to
Germany
as Shinwell had
suggested,
they
would be
subject
to renewed extradition
demands;
therefore
Robertson
opposed
their return. A
possible way
out of this dilemma
came with the
government's
decision of 12
April
to end all British war
crimes
proceedings by
1
September
1948 and to consider extradition
requests presented
after that date
only
in
exceptional
cases. German
experts
at the
Foreign
Office reasoned that if the Cabinet should
decide for a trial and the War Office could
delay
until
September,
the
problem
would resolve itself.33 That still left the difficulties raised
by
the American
request.
To be
helpful
witnesses for the defence in the
Nuremberg case,
von Rundstedt and von Manstein would
necessarily
face cross-examination
by
the
prosecution,
which would most
likely
implicate
them as well. Even if
they
were allowed to refuse
giving
self-incriminating evidence,
their
very appearance
at
Nuremberg
could embarrass the Cabinet or
pre-empt
it of a
decision;
for it could
then no
longer
be
argued
on medical
grounds
that the officers could
not stand trial in a British or a Russian court. An answer to the
American
request
had therefore to be
delayed
until a Cabinet
decision on the entire
question
could be reached.34
In
preparation
for that
decision,
the
Secretary
of State for War
drew
up
a
policy paper
which reviewed for his
colleagues
the
history
and the interministerial discussions of the issue
confronting
them.
Shinwell
pointed
out that Britain had a 'direct interest'
only
in von
Rundstedt for his
responsibility
of
passing
on the 'commando order'
that led to the
killing
of
Special
Air Service
troops.
In
light
of von
Brauchitsch's
grave illness,
he
repeated
his view that 'on
balance,..
.
it is not worth
while,
at this
date, undertaking
the
heavy
task of
attempting
to
bring
these three
generals
to trial'. His own
position,
that
they
should be set free and returned to the British Zone of
Germany
in due course
-
which would be no later than 12
July
1948
-
was understated and modified
by
the
Foreign
Office
suggestion
that 'it would not be unreasonable' to
delay repatriation
until after
1
September.
The
questions
to be decided
by
the
Cabinet,
he
concluded,
were whether all or
any
of the three Germans should
stand
trial;
if
not,
whether
they
should be turned over to those who
had asked for
them;
how
they
should be
disposed
of if
they
were not
to be
prosecuted by anyone;
and whether the American
request
for
them as witnesses should be
granted.35
Before the Cabinet could
address these
questions, however,
the
Attorney-General,
in a sub-
mission of his
own,
took
sharp
issue with Shinwell's
presentation
of
23
Journal
of Contemporary History
the matter. Shawcross accused the War Office of inexcusable
procrastination
and contended that the
resulting
difficulties were
now
begin
used as reasons for
abandoning
a trial. His
long-held
suspicions
found
expression
in his
argument
that if
those difficulties are allowed to
prevail
there is no doubt that it will be said both
by
the Americans and at the
Assembly
of the United Nations that the Generals have
escaped,
while their
underlings
have been
hanged, owing
to the reluctance of British
officers to allow
highly placed
members of the
profession
of arms to be submitted to
such
indignities,
and
owing
to the fact
that,
for the most
part,
the victims
were,
after
all, only
Russians or Poles. Criticisms of this kind have
already
been made.
Shawcross
professed
to have 'no desire to be
vindictive',
and to be
'sick of these war crimes trials'. But he insisted that it was a matter of
British
good
faith both
nationally
and
internationally
that von
Rundstedt,
von Manstein and Strauss be
tried,
and that the two
required by
the Americans be sent to
Nuremberg.36
When the Cabinet
finally
considered the entire
problem
for the first time on 5
July 1948,
Shawcross, supported by Bevin,
carried the
day. Although
Jowitt still
'expressed
doubts about the wisdom of
bringing
these officers to
trial',
Shinwell was 'invited . . . to take immediate
steps'
towards
prosecuting
all four of them. Von Brauchitsch's case was to be
reconsidered in
light
of his medical
condition,
if the evidence
collected
against
him warranted a trial.
Meanwhile,
von Rundstedt
and von Manstein were to be made available as witnesses at
Nuremberg.37
Once a decision had been
reached,
the War Office acted with
considerable
dispatch. By
14
July,
von Brauchitsch and Strauss were
on their
way by hospital ship
to the
Miinsterlager
base
hospital
in
Lower
Saxony;
and within a
week,
von Rundstedt and von Manstein
followed them
by way
of
Nuremberg,
where
they
had declined to
testify.38
While the
legal preparations
of their cases were
underway,
the men were
being
held in their
hospital
rooms under
twenty-four-
hour
guard
as a
precaution against
suicide
attempts. They
remained
officially
uninformed of their fate until New Year's Eve
1948,
when
three of them
finally
received so-called
holding charges preferred
against
them. Werner von Brauchitsch had meanwhile succumbed
to
coronary
thrombosis.39 General Robertson learned of these
developments
in
early August
from
Headquarters,
British
Army
of
the Rhine. He was
dismayed
that Whitehall had once
again
made a
decision on a matter of some
importance
to the
Military
Governor in
Germany
without
consulting
or even
informing
him
directly.
24
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
Robertson
protested
to Bevin
personally
and asked 'most
earnestly
to
have the matter reconsidered before it is too late'.
Referring obliquely
to the fears and difficulties raised
by
what had now become a full-
blown Cold War crisis over the total Soviet blockade of
Berlin, he
argued
that a new war crimes trial 'at this late
stage
and at this
juncture
in the affairs of Western
Germany'
could
only
'excite
widespread indignation
and resentment'
among
the German
public
and 'undo much of the
good' resulting
from his earlier announcement
of the end of such trials
by
1
September
1948.40 Unmoved
by
these
arguments,
Bevin defended the Cabinet's decision as
morally just
and
politically necessary.
While
assuring
Robertson that his views had
received careful
consideration,
he nonetheless refused his
request
for
reconsideration.41
The
Military
Governor's critical reaction to the news from London
was
only
one indication of the
negative response
the
government's
decision soon met with in certain
quarters
of the
press
and in
Parliament.42 It forced Bevin's hand to raise the issue in the Cabinet
for a second time. He
proposed
to counter the
emerging
criticism with
a statement
during
a
foreign
affairs debate in the House of Commons
to forestall
any suggestion
that the
government
had
changed
its mind.
In the
ensuing
discussion with his
colleagues,
doubts were
again
expressed
about the
possibility
of
obtaining
evidence sufficient for
convicting
the Wehrmacht
officers,
because much of the case
against
them involved incidents in the Soviet Union and Poland. But since the
alternative to a British trial was
turning
the men over to the
Russians,
the Cabinet
supported
Bevin's
proposed
course of action.43 Two
days
earlier,
members of the House of Commons had raised a number of
questions concerning
the German commanders which the
Foreign
Secretary
was to answer.44 When Bevin made his statement on 22
September,
he
began by sketching
the evolution of the entire matter
since
August
1947. He defended the Cabinet's decision as
having
been
'taken
purely
on the merits' of the cases involved and 'in the interest
of
justice'.
While
expressing
his own
regret
about the
delay
in
bringing
the officers to
trial,
he
emphasized
that
having
sanctioned
the trial of those who carried out someone else's
orders,
he could not
but sanction the trial of those who
gave
them. The
Opposition
spokesman
confined himself to a mild rebuke of
justice delayed by
questioning
the
'decency'
of such
conduct,
and left to other members
more
specific
criticisms. These
ranged
from the
charge
that the
government
had turned
customary legal procedure upside
down to
the accusation of
political
blunder. In the end it was obvious that
25
Journal
of Contemporary History
Bevin had not
changed any minds;
those who had
spoken
continued
to view the idea of
trying
'old and ill' Wehrmacht commanders more
than three
years
after the war as 'not
only wrong
but mistaken'.45
The same theme surfaced
again
in a
major foreign policy
debate
several weeks later.
Repeatedly,
criticism focused on the timeliness of
the
proposed trial,
on the reasons for the Cabinet decision to hold
it,
and on the conditions under which the accused were
detained,
especially
since their return to
Germany.
Even Labour members did
not hold back. Michael
Foot,
for
example,
called attention to
'many
persons
in
many parties
who feel
deeply
anxious about the conduct of
the
government
in this
matter',
and
urged
that a 'different course of
action' be taken as 'an
example
to the whole world'. Winston
Churchill, speaking
for the
Opposition,
condemned the
government's
course as an 'act of administrative and
political stupidity
and of
judicial impropriety, equally repugnant
of humanitarian and
soldierly
sentiment'. The
Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State for
War,
Michael
Stewart, replied
for the
government
that the much-criticized
delay
was not so unreasonable in view of the
complexity
of the issue
and the fact that the matter had not become a
reality
until
August
1947;
that the decision to
prosecute
was
soundly
based on the
gravity
of the
alleged offences,
the unfairness of not
trying superiors
when
their subordinates had been
punished,
and the international
commitments Britain had undertaken with
regard
to war
criminals;
and that the treatment of the
officers,
in
particular
their demilitari-
zation,
was not in violation of the Geneva Convention but in
conformity
with inter-Allied
agreements.
Still,
a
pervasive
sentiment
in the House remained:
'Surely,
it is
not,
even
now,
too late to
stop?
After
all,
the
goodwill
of the
people
of
Germany
is now of some
importance
to us.'46
As had been
expected
from the
onset,
the
preparation
of indict-
ments for the trial of the German commanders was an arduous and
time-consuming task,
which involved interviews in
Germany
and
searches
among
mountains of German records
kept
as far
apart
as
Nuremberg,
Berlin,
London and
Washington.
In March
1949,
Shinwell
reported
to his
colleagues significant progress
in the
legal
legwork.
But with it came
'disquieting'
news about the
deteriorating
health of von Rundstedt and Strauss. He had ordered another
medical examination of the three
surviving
officers
by
a
joint
board of
civilian and
military physicians,
who had concluded
unanimously
that
only
von Manstein remained fit to stand trial. For
Shinwell,
this
raised anew the
question
of whether to
accept
these medical
findings
26
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
and
stop
further
proceedings against
von Rundstedt and
Strauss;
and
if
so,
whether to
pursue
the trial of von Manstein alone. The latter
issue was related to the first because a
part
of the case
against
von
Manstein involved Wehrmacht
operations
in
Poland,
where he had
served in a subordinate
capacity
as von Rundstedt's Chief of Staff. In
Shinwell's
opinion,
this fact
might
enable him to deflect
responsibility
to his former
commanding
officer.47 But the Cabinet was not
persuaded
and wanted von Manstein
'brought
to trial as
speedily
as
possible'.
Concerning
von Rundstedt and
Strauss,
the discussion now turned
on the British
practice
which
required
the
prosecution
to decide
whether a
prisoner
was fit to be tried. For obvious
reasons,
the
ministers wanted to avoid
making
that decision and
hoped
to leave it
to a
preliminary judgment
of the
military
court.
They
also considered
the dilemma which would arise if von Rundstedt were not
prosecuted
on account of his health and
subsequently
became a defence witness
in von Manstein's trial. It
might
then be
argued
that a man able to
give
evidence and to stand cross-examination could also stand trial
himself. Worse
still,
with the
certainty
of
being exempted
from
prosecution,
von Rundstedt could be
willing
to take full
responsibility
for
part
of the crimes with which von Manstein was
charged
and thus
undermine the case
against
him.
However,
on the
assumption
that a
court which would hold von Rundstedt unfit to stand trial himself
would
weigh
his evidence
given
at another's trial
accordingly,
the
Cabinet asked Shinwell to find out if a war crimes court could
legally
make a
preliminary
determination on fitness. It also
agreed
that
should the court declare von Rundstedt and Strauss
unfit,
the two
officers would for that reason not be turned over to
any
other
government
but set free.48
Within a
month,
the ministers were forced to confront the issue for
the fourth time. The
legal experts
at the War Office had advised their
Secretary
of
State,
with the concurrence of the Lord
Chancellor,
that
neither a British war crimes court set
up
under the
Royal
Warrant of
14 June
1945,
nor a Field General Court Martial convened under the
Army Act,
had the
authority
to rule on a
question
of
physical
fitness
for trial. That issue could be decided
only by
the
convening
officer
who,
in this
instance,
would be the General Officer
Commanding-in-
Chief,
BAOR. Shinwell considered it
'extremely embarrassing
from a
political
and international
point
of view' to have
any
British officer
make such a
decision,
and told his
colleagues:
'I feel
strongly
in these
circumstances that the
proper
course is for the
government
to
accept
27
Journal
of Contemporary History
the
responsibility
of
making
a decision and to meet
any
criticism
which the decision arouses.'49 But the Cabinet was still not
willing
to
bite the bullet. Once
again,
the
pros
and cons of
proceeding
with a
trial were discussed. Bevin
professed
to be
'gravely
embarrassed' that
nothing
had come of
it,
and Shawcross allowed he would be hard
put,
even with all the available medical
evidence,
to
stay proceedings
in a
comparable
domestic criminal trial. In the
end,
Jowitt and Shawcross
were asked to conduct
yet
another medical
inquest,
and to
present
their
findings
to the Cabinet within a week.50 With the
help
of Sir
Henry Cohen,
Professor of Medicine at
Liverpool University, they
interviewed the
attending physicians
of the German officers and the
four members of the
Army-Home
Office medical board who had
examined them earlier.
Again
the conclusion was unanimous: von
Rundstedt and Strauss were unfit and von Manstein was fit to stand
trial. In their
report,
Jowitt and Shawcross also
supported
Shinwell's
advice that the Cabinet now take the
responsibility
for a final
decision.51
On 5
May 1949,
the Cabinet
accepted
the Lord Chancellor's
recommendation. It
agreed
to release Field Marshal von Rundstedt
and Colonel General Strauss from
custody
for reasons of
ill-health,
and to announce the decision
during
a debate on the
government's
war crimes
policy
scheduled for that afternoon in the House of Lords.
In this
connection,
notice was also to be
given
that the indictment
against
Field Marshal von Manstein would be served
shortly.52
Thus
the Cabinet
finally
came to
grips
with this troublesome issue
-
if not
with obvious
political courage,
at least with considerable
circumspec-
tion.
By announcing
its decision as
part
of a wider debate in the
House of
Lords,
it made certain that the focus of attention would not
be on the
particulars
of the
announcement,
but on the
general policy
henceforth to be
pursued
with
regard
to war crimes.
Indeed,
the
Bishop
of
Chichester, long
a
spokesman
for moderation towards
'good
Germans' as distinct from
nazis,
framed the debate with 'issues
of
justice, humanity
and
political
wisdom'.
Highly
critical of the
Charter of the International
Military Tribunal, especially
its
preclusion
of the defence of
superior
orders,
the
Bishop pleaded
for a
general amnesty
and the unconditional release of the old Wehrmacht
commanders: 'After all this
time,
at this distance from the Moscow
Declaration,
after four
years
of
imprisonment,
let them
go.'
This sentiment was echoed
by
others who
supported
his
motion,
albeit with different
emphases.
The Lord Chancellor's Conservative
predecessor,
Viscount
Simon, questioned
the decision on
policy
28
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
grounds, by pointing
out that the British
conception
of war crimes
trials he had
helped
to formulate was meant to establish law and
justice by example
with a limited number of cases. What
advantage,
he
asked,
was to be
gained by making
still another
example
of von
Manstein? Others
spoke
of
dangerous precedents,
the confusion of
justice
with
vengeance,
and blind adherence to international
agree-
ments
long
voided
by
Soviet behaviour. Jowitt
responded
for his
ministerial
colleagues
with
essentially
the same
arguments
heard
from the
government
bench in the House of Commons in October.
He confessed that the whole business had been 'a source of
great
worry'
to
him,
but assured their
Lordships
that the
government
would conduct von Manstein's trial 'in accord with our
great
traditions'.53 Whether this assurance was indeed made
good
has
remained a matter of divided
opinion among legal
authorities. The
British court that was convened in
Hamburg
on 24
August
sat until 19
December 1949 to consider an indictment of seventeen counts
against
von Manstein. It
acquitted
him of
eight,
sustained two in their
original form,
and
upheld
seven others with modifications.54
The
lengthy
trial had been conducted on
legal principles
and
procedures
established
by
the
Royal
Warrant and the
Nuremberg
precedents.
The basis of the
general charge
that Manstein had
committed acts in violation of the laws and
usages
of war was the
Hague
Convention on Land Warfare.
Specifically,
the
prosecution
alleged
that as commander of the Eleventh
Army
and
Army Group
'Don', Manstein was
guilty
of
having given
criminal orders and
having acquiesced
in criminal orders
already
issued. The two counts
on which he was convicted as
charged
involved
using
Russian POWs
to build
military
fortifications and to clear
minefields,
and
deporting
civilians to
Germany
from his area of command.
Among
the seven
counts modified
by
the court for
guilty verdicts,
the
gravest charges
concerned the mistreatment and
shooting
of Russian
prisoners
of
war,
including commissars;
the
killing
of Jews and
gypsies;
and the
taking
of
unusually
harsh
reprisals against partisans.
On the last
charge,
the court held Manstein
responsible
for the actions of
subordinate officers
following Supreme
Command orders but not his
own,
as the
prosecution
had
alleged.
On the other
charges,
the court
found him
guilty
of
disregarding
his
duty
as
commander-in-chief,
but
not
'deliberately
and
recklessly'
as the
prosecution
had claimed.
Manstein's defence was able to demonstrate that most of the
alleged
criminal acts were carried out in his rear areas
by
forces
expressly
withdrawn from his direct command.
Thus,
it
may
be
argued
that
29
Journal
of Contemporary History
Manstein was convicted of the failure to control the rear areas of his
theatre of
operation,
and the failure to forbid the execution of Hitler's
orders
by
forces under his command.55 The court sentenced him to
eighteen years' imprisonment.
A
military
review board reduced that
sentence to twelve
years,
of which Manstein served a little more than
three.
Concurrent with
disposing
of this cause of
persistent
embarrass-
ment to the
government,
Bevin had also undertaken
steps
to
prevent
anything
of the sort from
happening again.
In order that British
policy
on 'this vexed
question
of war crimes
should,
as far as
possible,
keep
in
step
with the
policies
of the American and French
govern-
ments',
his
representatives
had discussed in
Washington
and Paris the
general policy
line announced in the House of Lords on 5
May.
During
these discussions it was
agreed
that Britain would
stop
prosecuting persons
accused of war
crimes,
apart
from von
Manstein;
that cases of crimes
against humanity
would henceforth be tried in
German courts
only,
and under German criminal
law;
that the British
policy
of not
pursuing
crimes
against peace
would remain
unchanged;
but that the extradition of
persons
to countries where
they
were
wanted for murder would
continue, provided
extradition
requests
included
primafacie
evidence and
good
reasons for
failing
to meet the
deadline of 1
September
1948.56 This last
part
of the
agreement,
a
concession on which France had insisted with the
support
of the
United
States,
was soon vitiated. In
September 1950,
the Cabinet
decided to withdraw from a formal commitment made in 1945 for the
surrender of war criminals and traitors. The decision followed a
recommendation of the
Foreign
Office which feared that 'there
might
in future be some
embarrassing
case . . .'.57
In
retrospect,
it is
readily apparent why
four senior Wehrmacht
commanders,
in the
custody
of the War Office since the summer of
1945,
had become such an
embarrassing
case for the Cabinet after
1947. British
policy-makers
had never had much enthusiasm for
broadly
cast
legal proceedings against
the leaders of nazi
Germany.
Thus,
after the trials of
major
war criminals at
Nuremberg,
the
demands of law and
justice
as understood in London had been served
by
the most
telling examples. Moreover,
British
military
courts in
Germany
had also tried eleven Wehrmacht
generals
for 'minor war
crimes',
defined
by
the Moscow Declaration of 1943 as offences
against
the laws and customs of war committed at a
particular
location,
i.e.
against particular units,
who were British in these cases.
To treat von
Brauchitsch,
von
Rundstedt,
von Manstein and Strauss
30
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
as
anything
other than
prisoners
of war
was, understandably,
not
among
the
post-war priorities
of the War Office.
Nor,
for that
matter,
was it in the
professional
self-interest of senior British officers. Field
Marshal
Montgomery's oft-quoted remark,
that the
Nuremberg
trials made the unsuccessful
waging
of war a crime for which the
defeated
generals
would in future be tried and
hanged,
no doubt
reflected in
exaggerated
form a
perspective
shared
by many
of his
colleagues, including
his successors as commanders-in-chief in
Germany,
Air Marshal
Douglas
and General Robertson. It is little
wonder British authorities were at first
perplexed by
Telford
Taylor's
initiative and then embarrassed
by
his
persistence.
That the matter was not
dropped,
as Robertson had
urged
with
encouragement
from General
Clay,
but became a vexed
question,
finds its
explanation
in Ernest Bevin. It is
astonishing,
in view of the
wide
range
and
weight
of his
responsibilities,
that the
Foreign
Secretary
troubled himself so often with this
comparatively
minor
issue. The motives for his
personal engagement
are not
easily
discernible from the evidence examined.
Unquestionably,
it was for
Bevin at least in
part
a matter of
justice,
as he himself
put
it
officially.
But it was
justice
in the
philosophic
sense that concerned him and
enabled him to cut
through
the
legal ambiguities
which troubled
some of his ministerial
colleagues
and advisers. The
lifelong spokes-
man for
ordinary
men and women would not
couptenance
special
treatment for aristocratic field marshals
merely
to
satisfy legal
niceties. Alan
Bullock,
who leaves little doubt about the fairminded-
ness and
good judgement
of the mature
statesman,
has also
pointed
to the
strong personal
sentiments which sometimes determined
Bevin's mind or coloured his
relationships.
His
antipathy
for Herbert
Morrison and
Beaverbrook,
and his dislike of
Zionists,
were well
known,
albeit
widely
misunderstood. His attitude towards Germans
was
similarly pronounced.
He could not
forgive
them for the war that
destroyed
so
much,
and confided in General
Robertson,
'I tries
'ard,
Brian,
but I 'ates them.'58 It would not be unreasonable to assume
that this sentiment reinforced his sense of
justice and, given
his
dominant
position
in the
Cabinet,
dwarfed all other
considerations,
whether
they
involved financial
exigency, political expediency,
judicial impropriety
or moral
magnanimity.
After
all,
no
group
of
Germans
symbolized
the war for which he could not
forgive
them
better than 'Prusso-German militarists'.
31
Journal
of Contemporary History
Notes
The research for this
article, part
of a
larger study
of British
occupation politics
in
Germany,
was made
possible
with
support
from the Graduate Dean of
Creighton
University
and the
Fulbright
Commission of
Germany.
1. Telford
Taylor,
Final
Report
to the
Secretary of
the
Army
on the
Nuremberg
War
Crimes Trials under Control Council Law No. 10
(Washington,
DC
1949),
80-1. For a
brief
summary,
Earl F. Ziemke, The US
Army
in the
Occupation of Germany
1944-46
(Washington,
DC
1975),
393-5n. Harold
Zink,
The United States in
Germany
1944-55
(Westport,
CT
1974),
145-9.
2.
FO371/64474, Taylor
to Sir
Hartley Shawcross,
6
August
1947.
(Unless
otherwise
indicated,
all documents referred to hereafter are located in the Public
Record
Office, Kew.)
3.
FO371/64474,
'Memorandum of
Incriminating
Evidence ...'. The
particular
charges
included
responsibility
for the
following: against
all four officers
(1)
liquidation
of Soviet
political
commissars under the Commissar
Order; (2)
murder and
mistreatment of Allied
POWs, mostly Russians; (3)
execution of
hostages,
excessive
reprisals, deportation
of civilians as slave labour and extermination of
Slavs,
Jews and
communists.
Against
von
Brauchitsch,
von Rundstedt and von
Manstein,
violations of
the Geneva Convention in the treatment of POWs.
Against
von
Rundstedt,
transfer of
captured
commandos to the
Gestapo, by
whom
they
were killed. Cf. CAB129/28
CP(48)151:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
War,
17 June 1948.
Taylor
forwarded the evidence on orders from General Lucius
Clay,
who had
rejected
Taylor's
recommendation
that, barring agreement
on a Four-Power or an
Anglo-
American
trial,
the German officers held in
England
be included in the US
'High
Command Case' to be tried at
Nuremberg. Taylor,
Final
Report, op. cit.,
82-3.
4. Nazi
Conspiracy andAggression: Opinion
and
Judgment (Washington,
DC
1947),
107. Cf.
Bradley
F.
Smith,
Reaching Judgment
at
Nuremberg (New
York
1977), 143-70,
passim; Airey Neave,
On Trial at
Nuremberg (Boston,
MA
1978),
288-95.
5. Control Council Law No. 10 in Beate Ruhm von
Oppen,
Documents on
Germany
under
Occupation,
1945-54
(London 1955), 97-101; Taylor,
Final
Report, op. cit.,
250-3.
6.
FO371/64474,
Shawcross to
Bevin,
7
September
1947.
7.
FO371/64474,
minutes of
Fraser, Dean,
Wheeler-Bennett and
Simpson,
9
September-8
October 1947.
Interestingly,
Fraser
speculated
on the
possibility
that the
evidence
might
be based on General Halder's
writings,
in which case it should be
treated with reserve since 'he was a
personal enemy
of all four'. Dean
suggested
that the
German officers detained in
England
also be
given
the
opportunity
of
recording
their
views of the
war,
a
suggestion
that Wheeler-Bennett
supported enthusiastically:
'... it
seems a
pity
to
deprive
ourselves of what would
clearly
be material of
outstanding
historical interest and value'.
8.
F0371/64474, Bellenger
to
Bevin,
3 October 1947.
9.
F0371/66559,
Attlee's
personal
minutes to
Bevin,
12
February 1947;
F0371/64475, Sargent (FO)
to
Craigie (UNWCC),
30 October 1947.
10.
F0371/64474,
German Section brief for the
Secretary
of
State,
9 October
1947;
F0371/64475,
Shawcross to
Bevin,
17 November 1947.
32
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
11.
FO371/64475,
Jowitt to
Bevin,
20 October
1947; F0371/64474,
minute Bevin to
Jowitt,
15 October 1947.
12.
FO371/64474,
brief for the
Secretary
of
State,
9 October 1947.
13.
F0371/64474,
Bevin to
Jowitt,
15 October
1947; F0371/64475,
Bevin to
Jowitt,
5 November
1947; FO371/64475, Sargent
to
Craigie,
30 October 1947.
14.
FO371/64474, Foreign
Office to
Military
Governor
(Berlin),
15 October 1947.
15.
FO371/64475,
C-in-C
(Luebbecke)
to
Foreign Office,
23 October 1947.
16.
FO371/64475, Foreign
Office to C-in-C
(Berlin),
29 October 1947.
17.
F0371/64475, Military
Governor
(Berlin)
to
Foreign Office,
11 November
1947;
Robertson to
Pakenham, private,
15 November
1947; Taylor,
Final
Report, op.
cit.,
82. Robertson also told Jowitt that the evidence was
'decidedly shaky'.
FO371/64475,
Jowitt to
Bevin,
5 December
1947;
brief for the
Secretary
of
State,
19
December 1947.
18.
FO371/64475,
Shawcross
(New York)
to
Bevin,
17 November 1947.
19.
FO371/64475,
Bevin to
Jowitt,
2 December
1947,
with
copies
to Shinwell
(War
Office),
Robertson
(Berlin)
and Shawcross
(New York);
Bevin to
Shawcross,
2
December 1947.
20.
F0371/64475, marginal
note without date on letter from
Shawcross,
17
November 1947.
?1.
F03/1/64475,
brief for the
Secretary
of
State,
without date.
2.
F0371/64475, summary
of the
meeting,
without date. A
follow-up meeting
of
i ie
principals' representatives
was to be held on 22
December,
but there is no record
that it took
place.
23.
F0371/64475,
Jowitt to
Bevin,
22 December 1947.
24. In
November,
the
Attorney-General's
Office
finally responded
to Telford
Taylor's repeated inquiries, informing
him
only
of General
Clay's
decision. In
December,
at the
suggestion
of the
Foreign Office,
Shawcross told
Taylor
that 'it was
likely'
that London would decide to
try
the four officers.
F0371/64475,
Shawcross to
Bevin,
17 November
1947; CAB129/28, CP(48)159:
memorandum
by
the
Attorney-
General,
22 June 1948.
25. CAB129/28
CP(48)151:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
War,
17
June 1948. Von Rundstedt was
seventy-three,
Strauss
sixty-nine,
von Brauchitsch
sixty-seven,
von Manstein
sixty-one.
26.
FO371/70652,
brief for the
Secretary
of
State,
2
February
1948.
27.
FO371/70797, summary
of the
meeting,
without date.
28.
FO371/70798, reports
of J.C.M. Matheson and H.K.
Snell,
26 March 1948.
29.
F0371/70798,
Drew
(WO)
to Henniker
(FO),
2
April 1948;
Bevin's
marginal
minute,
without
date;
Henniker to
Drew,
8
April
1948.
30.
FO371/70797, Major-General
N.C.D.
Brownjohn (CCG/BE, Berlin)
to
Foreign
Office,
20 March
1948; Marshal
Sokolovsky
to
Robertson,
11
March;
Robertson to
Sokolovsky,
18 March 1948.
31.
FO371/70798,
Office of US
Military
Attache
(London)
to Colonel Barratt
(JAG's Office),
10
April
1948.
32. He
simply pointed
out that the men in
question
were detained in
England,
and
that Article IV of Control Council Law No. 10 cited
by
the Russians
applied only
to
persons
held in
occupied Germany.
33.
FO371/70798,
minute of
Marsden-Smedley (FO,
German
Section),
24
April
1948;
Marsden-Smedley
to
Shapcott (JAG's Office),
27
April
1948.
33
Journal
of Contemporary History
34.
FO371/70798, Marsden-Smedley
to
Shapcott,
7
May
1948.
35.
CAB129/28, CP(48)151,
17 June 1948.
Paragraph
12 of the
paper
was indeed
drafted
by
the German Section of the
Foreign
Office.
FO371/70800,
Henniker to
Drew,
4 June 1948.
36. CAB
129/28, CP(48)159,
22 June 1948. Shinwell
rejected
Shawcross's
criticism,
especially
the accusation of wilful
delay.
He noted that the
question
of
prosecuting
the
German officers 'did not become a
practical
one' for the War Office until it received
Taylor's
letter in
September 1947,
and that the IMT's Final
Judgment
was not
rendered until October 1946.
CAB129/28, CP(48)165:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
War,
30 June 1948.
37.
CAB128/13,
CM
47(48)3.
38.
FO371/70803, Marsden-Smedley
to
Major-General
J.C.
Haydon (70HQ,
CCG/BE),
15
July 1948; F0371/70853,
Frederick Bieri
(International
Red Cross and
Central
Agency
for
POWs)
to
Foreign Office,
27
July
and 12
August
1948. Von
Rundstedt and von Manstein declined to
give
evidence in the trial of von Leeb on the
advice of defence counsel. Great
Britain, Parliament,
HC
Deb., 5s, 457(1948):
1367.
39.
CAB129/34, CP(49)73:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
War,
28
March 1949. Von Brauchitsch died at 19.15 hours on 18 October 1948.
F0371/70804,
HQ,
BAOR to
Military
Governor
(Berlin),
19 October 1948. Von Manstein was served
the full
charges
with
supporting
evidence for his trial on 24
May
1949. HC
Deb., 5s,
465(1949):
1895.
40.
FO371/70804,
Robertson
(Berlin)
to
Bevin,
7
August
1948.
41.
FO371/70804,
Bevin to Robertson
(Berlin),
9
August
1948.
42.
See,
for
example,
B.H. Liddell Hart's letter to the editor of The
Times,
16
August
1948, p. 5,
which
prompted
the War Office to issue a
press
statement
concerning
the
treatment of the German
generals. FO371/70804,
Bevin to
Shinwell,
21
August
1948.
43.
CAB128/13,
CM 61
(48)2,
22
September
1948.
44. The
specific questions
dealt with the
lengthy
detention of the officers as
POWs;
the decision to
try
them as war
criminals;
the reason for their demilitarization in
Germany;
the conditions of their confinement in
Germany;
the
charges preferred
against them;
and the new evidence discovered. HC
Deb., 5s, 456(1948):
488.
45. HC
Deb., 5s, 456(1948):
894-8
(Bevin); 917, 923-5, 933-4, 955-6,
986-7
(Opposition).
46. HC
Deb., 5s, 457(1948):
57-84. The issue over 'demilitarization' involved
objections
that the
men,
treated as
captive
officers in
England,
were
stripped
of their
military
rank and treated as
ordinary
criminals on their arrival in the British Zone of
Germany.
The
government justified
this action as
compliance
'with the
quadripartite
agreement
on the disbandment of the Wehrmacht .. .' and conformation with the
practice adopted
towards 'the
major
war criminals tried before the International
Military
Tribunal...'. Cf. Bevin in the House of Commons on 22
September
1948. HC
Deb., 5s, 456(1948): 896;
Stewart on 26 October 1948. HC
Deb., 5s, 457(1948):
73.
Airey
Neave wrote that at
Nuremberg
the demilitarization and
degradation
of
'top-
ranking
German officers' was
justified by
the
'infamy'
into which
they
'had
plunged.
They
had authorized mass murder.
They
were not
prisoners
of war but war criminals.'
On Trial at
Nuremberg, op. cit.,
186.
47. CAB
129/34, CP(49)73,
28 March 1949.
Appendix
A contains the
report
of the
medical examinations undertaken in the 94th British
Military Hospital (Hamburg),
on
10 March
1949, by
the same doctors who had examined the men on
previous
occasions.
48.
CAB128/15,
CM
24(49)2,
21 March 1949.
34
Hoffman: German Field Marshals as War Criminals?
49.
CAB129/34, CP(49)90:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
War, 19
April
1949.
50.
CAB128/15,
CM
30(49)3,
28
April
1949.
51.
CAB129/34, CP(49)97:
memorandum
by
the Lord
Chancellor,
3
May
1949.
52. CAB
128/15,
CM
32(49)4,
5
May
1949. Von Manstein learned the
particulars
of
the indictment on 24
May
1949.
53. HL
Deb., 162(1949):
376-418.
54. Von Manstein was defended
by
an
experienced
team of German and British
attorneys,
two of whom have
published
detailed accounts of the trial: Paul
Leverkuehn, Verteidigung
Manstein
(Hamburg 1950); Reginald
T.
Paget,
Manstein: His
Campaigns
and His Trial
(London 1951).
55.
Paget, op. cit.,
194-95.
56.
CAB129/34, CP(49)94:
memorandum
by
the
Secretary
of State for
Foreign
Affairs,
26
April 1949; CAB128/15,
CM
32(49)4,5 May
1949. In his
presentation
of the
government's general policy regarding
war crimes
trials,
Lord
Henderson,
Parlia-
mentary Under-Secretary
of
State,
also
provided
statistics of the number of cases
investigated,
tried and convicted. HL
Deb., 162(149):
385-91.
57.
CAB129/42, CP(50)212:
memorandum
by
the
Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State for
Foreign Affairs,
23
September 1950; CAB128/18,
CM
62(50)3,
28
September
1950.
58. Alan
Bullock,
Ernest Bevin.
Foreign Secretary,
1945-51
(New
York
1983),
90.
J.H. Hoffman
is an Associate Professor of Modern
European History
at
Creighton University.
He has
published
on German subversion
politics during
the first world
war,
and is
currently working
on
aspects
of British
occupation politics
in
Germany
from 1945
to 1949.
35