To derive from this pattern of their activities the existence of an association or group does not, in the opinion of the Tribunal, logically follow. On such a theory the top commanders of every other nation are just such an association rather than what they actually arc, an aggregation of military men, a number of individuals who happen at a given period of time to hold the high-ranking military positions.

Much of the evidence and the argument has centered around the question of whether membership in these organizations was or was not voluntary; in this case, it seems to the Tribunal to be quite beside the point. For this alleged criminal organization has one characteristic, a controlling one, which sharply distinguishes it from the other five indicted. When an individual became a member of the SS for instance, he did so, voluntarily or otherwise, but certainly with the knowledge that he was joining something. In the case of the General Staff and High Command, however, he could not know he was joining a group or organization for such organization did not exist except in the charge of the Indictment. He knew only that he had achieved a certain high rank in one of the three services, and could not be conscious of the fact that he was becoming a member of anything so tangible as a "group", as that word is commonly used. His relations with his brother officers in his own branch of the service and his association with those of the other two branches were, in general, like those of other services all over the world.

The Tribunal therefore does not declare the General Staff and High Command to be a criminal organization.

Although the Tribunal is of the opinion that the term "group" in Article 9 must mean something more than this collection of military officers, it has heard much evidence as to the participation of the officers in planning and waging aggressive war, and in committing War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. This evidence is, as to many of them, clear and convincing.

They have been responsible in large measure for the miseries and suffering that have fallen on millions of men, women, and children. They have been a disgrace to the honorable profession of arms. Without their military guidance the aggressive ambitions of Hitler and his fellow Nazis would have been academic and sterile. Although they were not a group falling within the words of the Charter, they were certainly a ruthless military caste. The contemporary German militarism flourished briefly with its recent ally, National Socialism, as well as or better than it had in the generations of the past.

Many of these men have made a mockery of the soldier's oath of obedience to military orders. When it suits their defense they