early days of the Nazi regime, were responsible for
Nazi Germany's rapid rise as a military power. But rearmament of
itself is not criminal under the Charter. To be a Crime against Peace
under Article 6 of the Charter it must be shown that Schacht carried
out this rearmament as part of the Nazi plans to wage aggressive
Schacht has contended that he participated in the rearmament program only because he wanted to build up a strong and independent Germany which would carry out a foreign policy which would command respect on an equal basis with other European countries; that when he discovered that the Nazis were rearming for aggressive purposes he attempted to slow down the speed of rearmament; and that after the dismissal of Von Fritsch and Von Blomberg he participated in plans to get rid of Hitler, first by deposing him and later by assassination.
Schacht, as early as 1936, began to advocate a limitation of the rearmament program for financial reasons. Had the policies advocated by him been put into effect, Germany would not have been prepared for a general European war. Insistence on his policies led to his eventual dismissal from all positions of economic significance in Germany. On the other hand, Schacht, with his intimate knowledge of German finance, was in a peculiarly good position to understand the true significance of Hitler's frantic rearmament, and to realize that the economic policy adopted was consistent only with war as its object.
Moreover Schacht continued to participate in German economic life and even, in a minor way, in some of the early Nazi aggressions. Prior to the occupation of Austria he set a rate of exchange between the mark and the schilling. After the occupation of Austria he arranged for the incorporation of the Austrian National Bank into the Reichsbank and made a violently pro-Nazi speech in which he stated that the Reichsbank would always be Nazi as long as he was connected with it, praised Hitler, defended the occupation of Austria, scoffed at objections to the way it was carried out, and ended with "to our Führer a triple 'Sieg Heil." He has not contended that this speech did not represent his state of mind at the time. After the occupation of the Sudetenland, he arranged for currency conversion and for the incorporation into the Reichsbank of local Czech banks of issue. On 29 November 1938 he made a speech in which he pointed with pride to his economic policy which had created the high degree of German armament, and added that this armament had made Germany's foreign policy possible.
Schacht was not involved in the planning of any of the specific wars of aggression charged in Count Two. His participation in the occupation of Austria and the Sudetenland (neither of which are charged as aggressive wars) was on such a limited basis that it does not amount to participation in the common plan charged in Count
Last modified: October 10, 1998