Hitler and the Nazis: Evil on Trial (2024) s01e04 Episode Script

The Road to Ruin

[Adolf Hitler, in German]
The Jewish watchword
"Proletarians of the world, unite"
will be conquered by our response,
"Working men of all nations,
recognize your common foe!"
[crowd cheering]
[somber music playing]
[Devin Pendas, in English]
Hitler had never made any secret
of his desire
to make Germany free of the Jews.
[Pendas] By the late 1930s,
we see increased radicalization.
Jews are facing increasing pressure
to give up their property.
-[glass shattering]
-[men grunting]
[Pendas] Many thousands of Jews
are being imprisoned,
often beaten,
and and occasionally murdered.
The goal for Hitler and the Nazis
is to put more pressure
on the Jews to leave.
[uneasy music playing]
[radio announcer] Jews from the Reich
are liquidating their property
accumulated in Germany for generations,
and are drifting to Hamburg,
the harbor city,
where they will set out on German steamers
for a new life across the sea.
[ship horn blows]
[Pendas] The SS St. Louis was a ship,
uh, with hundreds
of German Jewish refugees on it.
They had visas for Cuba.
[Feldman] For us youngsters,
it was really quite an adventure
because this was a luxury liner
where you had a cinema
and a ballroom and a swimming pool,
and all the usual games
you have on a boat.
We really had a very good time.
[evocative piano music playing]
[Feldman] Until we landed and found
that, um, things began to go wrong.
[ominous music playing]
[Pendas] When they arrived
in Havana Harbor,
they were informed that
the Cuban government had changed its mind,
had canceled their entry visas,
and now they're sort of stuck.
[Feldman] And the Cuban police came on
and the immigration people,
and we were told,
"Well, not today, not today."
"Mañana, tomorrow, tomorrow,"
but tomorrow never came.
[Pendas] The ship hopes that
they will be allowed to disembark
in the United States,
but the American government
denies that request,
and the ship has no choice
but to turn back.
[Feldman] One man committed suicide
with a razor blade.
I saw him rushing out,
the blood dripping down,
and, um he jumped into the water.
But even when he was in the rescue launch,
he was still trying
to pull his arteries out
and didn't want to be saved.
At the time,
Goebbels published in the newspapers,
"You see, nobody wants them either.
At least we are building camps for them."
[ominous music continues]
-[glass shattering]
-[people screaming]
[theme music playing]
[bells tolling]
[people murmuring indistinctly]
[camera whirring]
[dramatic music playing]
[man] Attention! Tribunal.
[Sidney Alderman] One of the most
striking and revealing
of all the captured documents
which have come to hand
is a document which we have come to know
as the Hossbach Note
[dramatic music continues]
of a conference in the Reich Chancellery
on 5 November, 1937,
in the course of which,
Hitler outlined to those present
the possibilities and necessities
of expanding their foreign policy
and requested, I quote,
"That his statements be looked upon
in the case of his death
as his last will and testament."
The document destroys any possible doubt
concerning the Nazis' premeditation
of their crimes against peace.
[Hitler shouting indistinctly]
[foreboding music playing]
[Pendas] For the prosecution,
this is a smoking gun, right?
You've got Hitler telling
several of the defendants,
"We're gonna annex Austria.
We're gonna annex Czechoslovakia."
That is pretty close to a textbook piece
of evidence for conspiracy.
[Nicole Eaton] At this very secret meeting
which took place in the Reich Chancellery,
Hitler called all of his generals together
and explained the sort of grand layout
of what he saw coming ahead,
which was the absolute necessary war
for the survival of the German people.
[Pendas] He says,
"We have to conquer living space,
because if we don't,
we will fail as a people." Right?
"We will die out,
and we will deserve to die out."
[Alexandra Richie] He's talking almost
as if this is going to be his legacy.
He's telling his would-be successors
that, "If I'm no longer here,
what I want you to do
is make sure you fulfill
these territorial goals for me."
And the ultimate aim is Lebensraum,
is getting living space for the Germans.
And so there's a sort of mission
that's creeping into his language
which now, overtly and explicitly,
talks about military action.
[Christopher Browning] And at this point,
Hitler has conducted a series of gambles
starting in 1936.
First, as he marches into the Rhineland,
the French do nothing,
the British do nothing.
Next, '38, he marches into Austria.
He's greeted with huge crowds,
sort of victory parade to to Vienna.
So having gone that far,
then there is a German minority
that lives in the kind of U-shaped ring
of Czechoslovakia on the German border
that's called the Sudetenland.
[Omer Bartov] There are about
three million Germans
living in the mountainous Sudetenland.
Germany wants those Germans
to belong to it.
And there's a fledgling Nazi Party there
that the German regime supports.
And so Hitler's argument is, uh,
"We just want these territories."
"They are full of Germans.
They should belong to Germany."
-[troops marching rhythmically]
-[dramatic music playing]
[Richie] So Hitler, he makes a case
that it's the Sudeten Germans' right
to be reunited in the German Reich.
He basically threatens
to invade the Sudetenland,
and there are many, many people
all over Europe who realize
that one could go to war over this,
but do you really want to?
[William L. Shirer]
One day early in September,
I kissed Tess and Eileen goodbye,
and once more caught a plane to Germany.
Hitler has demanded
that Czechoslovakia agree
to the handing over of Sudetenland.
Mr. Chamberlain has agreed
to convey this demand
to the Czechoslovak government.
[uneasy music playing]
[Steve Wick] William L. Shirer,
like all foreign correspondents,
wants to get a news story out of it,
and he's talking to Czech officials
as part of his reporting duties.
They believed
they were being sold down the river,
and I think Shirer believed that as well.
He wants to report what they're doing
'cause he he feels
To him, he thinks it's a mistake.
[Shirer] Just as I was about
to go on the air at 2:00 a.m.
with the day's story
and the official communiqué,
Goebbels and the Nazi boss of German radio
forbade me to say anything over the air,
except to read the official communiqué.
[Wick] The censorship in Nazi Germany
is very challenging.
"You can't say this. You can't say that."
You know, you can't describe
German moves as "aggression."
You can't do anything critical at all
about Hitler,
and that drove him absolutely crazy.
So he was really in a very tight window
in terms of what he could say and not say.
[crowd chanting indistinctly]
[radio announcer] Now in a minute or two,
we're told Hitler will be coming.
He has left the Chancellery
a few seconds ago,
and he's driving down
the Leipziger Strasse
to the Potsdamer Platz.
-[fireworks exploding]
-[crowd cheering]
[Hitler, in German]
I have placed a memorandum
representing Germany's
last and final proposal
with the British government.
That any territory which is German
who wants to come to Germany,
belongs to Germany.
[crowd cheering]
[radio announcer 2, in English]
The world prays fervently
that the roar of this plane,
this dramatic meeting, may bring peace.
[Richie] The conference held
between Germany on the one hand,
the British, the French,
and the Italians on the other hand,
in which those great powers negotiate
that Hitler has the right
to the Sudetenland.
[Bartov] The thinking is,
if we finally let Hitler
have that territory,
there won't be any more reason
for conflict.
All the Germans will be together,
and Hitler will no longer
make any more demands.
[Browning] The reaction to Munich
on the Allies' side is mixed emotions.
On the one hand,
people are greatly relieved
that war has not broken out.
On the other hand,
there is a sense of shame
that they have sold out the Czechs.
So it was, on Hitler's part,
a brinksmanship gamble
that ultimately the Allies would cave.
[Shirer] It's all over.
At 12:30 this morning,
30 minutes after midnight,
Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain,
and Daladier signed a pact
turning over Sudetenland to Germany.
Czechoslovakia, which is asked
to make all the sacrifices
so that Europe may have peace,
was not consulted here
at any stage of the talks.
[somber music playing]
[Wick] Shirer is in Munich,
and he sees Hitler
in the street passing by,
and he sees in his face
this determination,
this satisfaction that he just took
another part of another country.
[Shirer] Hitler brushed past me
like the conqueror he is this morning.
I noticed his swagger.
[Wick] Shirer reads into his face
and in his eyes this determination
that, "I got away with it again."
"I fooled the British.
I'm gonna keep going."
"They're not gonna stop me.
No one's gonna get in my way."
"They didn't get in the way
in the Rhineland,
they didn't get in my way in Austria,
and they're not getting in my way
in the Sudetenland."
[crowd cheering]
[patriotic music playing]
[radio announcer, in German]
On 3rd October,
our dear Führer
visited his German Sudetenland.
[Richie, in English] The decision to
to give up the Sudetenland to Hitler
had many, many implications
because this was a very important
physical geographical barrier to invasion,
which means the road to Prague is open,
should Hitler decide to go further.
[Pendas] A few months after
the Munich Agreement,
Hitler moves in and takes over
the rest of Czechoslovakia,
which, you know,
contains almost no Germans.
[vehicles passing by]
[Pendas] The Czechs
don't really put up a fight. They can't.
Once he has control of the Sudetenland,
they don't have
any natural defensive terrain.
[Browning] When he occupies Prague
in the spring of '39,
he is occupying for the first time
a country that is non-German.
[Richie] Hitler looks at the collapse
over the Sudetenland
as just simply more of the weakness
of the Western Allies.
They're not going to fight him.
They're never going to stand up to him.
[Bartov] Now, according to
the Hossbach Memorandum,
it's not about
getting all the Germans together.
It's about having Lebensraum,
living space.
[David Maxwell-Fyfe]
Do you remember Hitler saying
that at six o'clock in the morning,
the German army would invade
Czechoslovakia from all sides?
[von Ribbentrop, in German]
I do not recall the exact words.
[Maxwell-Fyfe, in English]
Do you remember Hitler saying
that within two days,
the Czech army would not exist anymore?
[in German]
I do not remember the details. No.
[Maxwell-Fyfe, in English] You think you
could answer one of my questions directly?
I'll ask you it again.
Will you agree with me
that you had threatened
to march in in overwhelming strength,
and to bomb Prague if they didn't agree?
What further pressure
could you put on Czechoslovakia?
[von Ribbentrop, in German]
War, for instance.
[Maxwell-Fyfe, in English]
That What is that but war?
[unsettling music playing]
[Browning] In the spring of '39,
the war drums begin to beat,
and the Poles, they begin to realize
that they're next on the menu,
and their answer
is to not do what the Czechs did.
And so the Polish strategy is,
"No, we don't negotiate."
"We don't surrender anything."
[drums beating]
[radio announcer]
Poland's leaders were military men.
They answered force with force.
They enlarged the Polish army.
[Bartov] It's clear by then
to British policymakers
that the next move would be Poland.
So both France and Britain are now warning
that if Germany, uh, attacks Poland,
then they will declare war on it,
but they're still
highly reluctant to do so.
[Nazi official shouting in German]
-[troops shouting]
-[rhythmic marching]
[unsettling music continues]
[Richie] The Soviet Union has also
been watching all of the developments
of the Anschluss
and and Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia
with great, great interest,
and Stalin has been very nervous
because he's seen Germany
getting stronger and stronger,
and he isn't sure that Poland
is gonna be enough of a buffer zone
if, uh, Germany should attack Poland first
and then head off to the Soviet Union.
[Francine Hirsch] After Munich,
Stalin is very upset
that he hadn't been invited to the table,
that he had been excluded
from this conference.
If they had turned their backs
on Czechoslovakia,
then what was the role
that they were imagining
the Soviet Union played
in the future of Europe?
Hitler has some respect for Stalin,
but absolutely despises Bolshevism
and and what he thinks
the Soviet Union stands for.
[crowd applauding]
And Stalin despises racial ideology
of Nazi Germany.
So so these are countries and leaders
that are enemies,
but after the Munich conference,
Stalin really redoubles his efforts
to try to reach out to Hitler.
Hitler signals
that he's open to discussions.
[intriguing music playing]
[Hirsch] Stalin brings in
his Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Vyacheslav Molotov,
then they invite Ribbentrop to to Moscow.
[Pendas] Joachim von Ribbentrop
is an interesting figure.
He's one of these mediocrities
who manages to reach
very prominent positions
in the Third Reich.
He was a champagne dealer
for most of his adult life,
and then becomes
the Nazi foreign minister.
[Bartov] He's a Nazi who had
almost no experience in diplomacy before,
and Molotov is a long-term Bolshevik.
These two men,
they're acting very much as emissaries
of their respective leaders.
[von Ribbentrop, in German] The reception
given to me by Stalin and Molotov
was very friendly.
I told the Russian gentlemen
that Germany would do everything to settle
the situation in Poland
and to settle the difficulties peacefully.
But I left no doubt
that an armed conflict might break out.
That much was obvious.
[Hirsch, in English] And that's
the meeting at which they work out
the Soviet-German Nonaggression Pact.
[uneasy music playing]
[radio announcer] And then in August,
the bombshell.
This time, from Moscow.
Incredibly, Stalin and Hitler join hands.
The archenemies of old
become fellow aggressors,
and von Ribbentrop flies back to Berlin
with the news that the way is now clear.
[Richie] When he gets news
from Ribbentrop,
Hitler says "Now we have them."
And, of course,
the world is absolutely shocked.
You couldn't find
two more natural enemies.
Even the leadership within the Reich
is stunned by this news
because it's so unlikely.
It just so goes against
what Hitler has been proclaiming
about Jewish Bolsheviks.
But then the thing that killed Germany
in the First World War
was fighting with Russia on one front
and the Western Allies on the other.
And Hitler's found
a way out of that conundrum
by doing this pact.
[Hitler, in German] Throughout centuries,
Germany and Russia
have lived next to each other
in peace and friendship.
Why should it not be possible
in the future once again?
[in English] The Poles immediately knew
that this was their doom.
[intense string music playing]
[Eaton] And it was only a few days later,
after the pact was announced,
that Hitler told his generals
to begin mobilization
to almost imminently invade Poland.
[radio announcer] In Poland,
there is no official comment
on the latest German moves,
but a dispatch from Warsaw
says the country is standing firm
and ready to fight if necessary.
[Richie] On the eve of the war itself,
there was a German operation,
Operation Himmler,
and there were a number
of false flag operations
staged along the border
to make it look as if the Poles
had attacked Germany,
and therefore that the Germans
were defending themselves.
Nazi Germany staged a fake attack
and even brought
concentration camp prisoners,
dressed them up in uniform,
and had them drugged, had them killed,
to make it look like
Poland had attacked first.
And Hitler says, "This is an outrage.
Poland has provoked Germany,
and therefore, we have to,
uh, we have to answer back."
[intense rhythmic music playing]
[Richie] Well, of course, Hitler's been
preparing for war for a while.
[jet engines droning]
[radio announcer] Here is
a United Press flash from Warsaw
which says officially that German planes
have bombed railway stations
in three Polish towns.
[jet engine droning]
[air-raid sirens blaring]
[bombs exploding]
[Deirdre van Dyk] In September 1939,
the Nazis march into Poland,
and my grandfather,
along with other press people,
are invited to follow along behind
so that they can report
their glorious conquering of Europe.
[Shirer] On Tuesday, I found myself
on a hill in the midst of a city
which had been occupied two days before.
Two miles to the north of us,
the killing was going on.
You could hear the deep roar
of the German artillery,
the Poles had none,
and the rat-tat-tat
of the machine guns on both sides.
[artillery firing]
[Shirer] The sound
of these shells exploding
or the bombs from the airplanes,
was deafening.
[artillery fires]
[Shirer] Not the slightest sign
of strain or excitement
among the German officers
at our observation post.
They reminded me of coaches
of a championship football team at home,
who sit calmly on the sidelines and watch
the machine they created do its stuff.
Below us, in the stretch of the town,
women with their youngsters
stood around in little clusters
listening to the din of the cannon
and the rattling of machine guns.
The bitterness, the anguish on the faces
of old women was indescribable.
Tragic and grotesque.
Grotesque that we should be standing there
watching the killing
as though it were a football game,
and we, comfortably off in the grandstand.
[engine roaring]
[Richie] So the Germans' attack
is very fast, very, very effective.
All of a sudden on the 17th of September,
the Soviet Union invades from their side.
[bombs exploding]
[dark music playing]
[Hirsch] What the world didn't know was
that there were these secret agreements
that were part
of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,
in which Hitler and Stalin had agreed
that they would divide up Poland.
[trial participant] Will you please
explain what took place?
[von Ribbentrop, in German]
During the negotiations
with Stalin and Molotov,
a line of demarcation was agreed.
So that in the event of war,
there should be a boundary line
to avoid a collision
between Germany and Russian interests.
This was done
by a secret supplementary protocol.
[trial spectators murmuring]
[Hirsch, in English]
The Soviet prosecution team and judge,
they left for Nuremberg without knowing
the details of the secret protocols.
And Ribbentrop then makes the argument
that if Germany was guilty
of crimes against peace,
then the Soviets, right,
certainly must have been too.
For this to be revealed in court,
for Ribbentrop himself
to be describing it,
this this was a real moment
in the trial.
[intense string music playing]
[Eaton] Within about a month,
Poland ceased to exist as a country.
It was completely partitioned,
divided up between Germany
and the Soviet Union.
[Hitler, in German] Poland, the state
whose borders England had guaranteed,
was swept from the map within 18 days,
with that guarantee unfulfilled.
With that, the first phase
of this war has come to an end,
and the second begins.
[metallic clanging]
[Eaton, in English] All of the ideas
behind the German racial crusade,
behind Lebensraum,
behind all of these brutal visions
for dominance in Eastern Europe,
can be found in Mein Kampf,
in Hitler's speeches.
[somber piano music playing]
[Eaton] But it's truly in Poland in 1939
that the Nazis first had the chance
to carry out these policies.
[Bartov] Germany invades
with its military
but right behind its military
are Einsatzgruppen,
meaning task forces
which are made up of a mix of Gestapo,
the SS, uh, uniformed police.
Those units are charged
with eliminating Germany's political
and biological enemies,
and that's what they do.
-[Nazi soldier] Juden!
-[woman screaming]
[Richie] Even before the war begins,
lists of about 60,000 people are drawn up
of the Polish intelligentsia
and the elite,
including Jews, but not specifically Jews,
priests, landowners,
university professors, um,
business owners, government officials
[guns firing]
[Richie] This is not gonna be a war
of the conquest of territory merely.
This is going to be a war of annihilation.
[gun fires]
[somber piano music continues]
[Eaton] Especially after
the invasion of Poland,
Himmler's power grew significantly.
He and the SS were in charge
of much of the purging of Jews.
And so while they are taking over Poland,
they are also radicalizing policy
against the Jews.
[uneasy music playing]
[Richie] Himmler sees
in the invasion of Poland and in the east,
the chance for him
to grow a vast empire of power.
Empire of power
not only controlling people's lives,
controlling slave labor,
controlling the camps,
but economic power as well,
because, of course,
a lot of things are going to be looted.
A lot of money is going to be made
out of slave labor.
Himmler's got all of that
in his mind as well
as he starts to create this huge empire.
[Pendas] But for the Nazis,
there's a problem
that comes with their success in Poland,
which has the largest
Jewish population in Europe.
According to the Nazis,
Jews were a dangerous racial other.
So the question is,
"What do we do with these Jews?"
So as a kind of an interim measure,
they decide to essentially concentrate
the Jewish population of Poland
in ghettos in major cities,
where Jews are locked in.
They're tremendously overcrowded.
They're not particularly big areas.
They're bringing Jews from all over Poland
and cramming them into these cities.
They forced Jews to wear
a discernible badge on their clothing,
a star that identifies them as Jewish,
so that everyone knows
who is and who is not Jewish.
So it's a strategy
of extreme segregation and isolation.
[dark music playing]
And at that time,
when we moved to the ghetto,
life started, really,
to be very difficult for us.
We sold whatever we were able to.
My father got sick
and we were not able
to feed him with the right food.
He died of pneumonia in the ghetto.
[Browning] So in this phase,
it's still very unclear,
both to the Jewish victims
and to the Germans,
how ultimately
this is going to settle out.
Though for the Nazis, the vision
is ultimately the Jews have to go.
It's a question of when and how,
and that will be answered
depending upon the outcome of the war.
[dramatic music playing]
[radio announcer] The responsibility lies
on the shoulders of one man.
By his latest act of naked aggression,
Hitler has committed a crime
not only against Poland,
but against the whole human race.
[Pendas] Shortly after
Germany attacks Poland,
Britain and France declare war.
[Hitler, in German] In 1939,
the Western Powers dropped their masks.
[soldiers cheering]
[Hitler] They sent Germany
their declaration of war.
And I can only say to France and England,
"You too shall have your war!"
[crowd cheering]
[Eaton, in English] War, for Hitler,
was a fundamental human activity,
the motor of history.
Hitler felt that war would determine
the rise and fall of a nation,
that only by conquering other nations
would one race rise up.
It was not a sort of lament
that war would be necessary,
but it was it was something he desired.
[Hitler, in German] Our enemies,
they already cry out today,
"Germany shall fall!"
Yet Germany can give but one answer:
Germany will live,
and hence Germany will win!
[crowd cheering]
[in English] France and Britain
declare war on Germany,
and then they do nothing,
and they wait,
and they settle into
what the Germans called the sitzkrieg,
uh, "sitting war."
There's a few skirmishes here and there,
but basically,
the British Expeditionary Force
and the bulk of the French army
are sitting and waiting
for something to happen.
They have no plans to attack Germany.
The French have built a protective line,
the Maginot Line,
and very little happens
until May 10th, 1940,
Germany attacks
the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
[suspenseful music playing]
[jet engines droning]
[Richie] One of the key lessons
Hitler takes from World War I is that,
really, if you're going
to defeat Eastern Europe,
you have to take care
of Western Europe first.
So you have to defeat France.
You have to defeat the Low Countries.
You do not want a war on two fronts.
Hitler is determined
to control the coastline,
from northern Spain all the way up
to basically the Arctic Circle.
It's a way to neutralize Britain
so that there's no opportunity
for the blockade of Germany
or to launch an attack against Germany.
-[artillery fires]
-[tank engine rumbling]
[Pendas] So after the German armor
breaks through
and races to the Channel coast,
they've managed to split
the British forces in Europe
from the bulk of the French army.
And the British are trapped
in northern France and southern Belgium.
And so they retreat to the coast.
There's one open port, Dunkirk,
in northern France.
[radio announcer, in French] Dunkirk.
Here the French navy lost
in quick succession the SS Niger,
SS L'Adroit, SS La Bourrasque,
the SS Foudroyant, SS Cyclone,
and SS Siroco.
Despite the heroic defenders,
the soldiers at Dunkirk
reach their limits.
Only the sailors fight on.
[Pendas, in English] The British forces
and some French troops gather there
and begin to evacuate to England.
The British famously call
for any private boats
that are capable of crossing the Channel
to come and help with the evacuation.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Pendas] The German tank forces,
in particular, are exhausted.
They have been fighting nonstop
for quite some time at this point.
They're running low on ammunition,
they're running low on fuel,
and so the British are able to evacuate
the overwhelming majority
of their forces in continental Europe
and a fair number
of French troops as well.
They do have to abandon
most of their heavy equipment, however.
So it's not a victory
for the British by any means,
even if the British media
makes it into a moral victory.
[air-raid sirens blaring]
[radio announcer] Alarms sound over Paris.
Nazi bombers attack in earnest.
[air-raid sirens continue]
[Pendas] After the British withdrawal
at Dunkirk,
the French are in disarray,
and their politics
are even more fragmented.
And so, a decision is made
to sign an armistice with the Germans.
[intense orchestral music playing]
[Wick] William L. Shirer
is with the German army in Paris.
He sees the swastika on the Eiffel Tower.
And he gets a tip from a source,
an officer in the German High Command,
who tells him
there's gonna be an armistice.
The French are gonna surrender,
and Hitler wants it to be carried out
in the same railroad car
that the French
made the Germans surrender in 1918.
That railroad car was in a museum
in the little village
of Compiègne, France, north of Paris.
Shirer gets in a car and drives there.
And he sees the train
is pulled out of the museum.
Everything's being set up for this event.
There's only two
foreign correspondents there,
a freelance correspondent for NBC
and Shirer.
[van Dyk] My grandfather realizes
the Nazis miked everything,
and he goes around
and searches in the woods
for the sound engineers
and listens outside.
He got the whole story.
He was allowed to broadcast
with the condition
that it would be held in Berlin
and not broadcast
until after Hitler himself
had announced the signing of the treaty.
[intriguing music playing]
[van Dyk] Someone in Berlin
flipped the wrong switch.
[Wick] It went through a shortwave system
on to New York.
[van Dyk] My grandfather got
the biggest scoop of his life.
He scooped Hitler and the whole world.
[Shirer] Negotiations began at 3:30 p.m.
German summer time this afternoon.
A warm June sun beat down
on the great elm and pine trees
and cast pleasant shadows
on the wooded avenue
as Herr Hitler,
with the German plenipotentiaries
at his side, appeared.
His face was grave,
but there is a certain spring in his step
as he walks for the first time
towards the spot
where Germany's fate was sealed
on that November day of 1918.
In the center is a great granite block
which stands some three feet
above the ground.
Hitler, followed by the others,
walks slowly over to it,
steps up, and reads the inscription
engraved in great high letters,
"Here on the 11th of November, 1918,
succumbed the criminal pride
of the German Empire,
vanquished by the free peoples
which it tried to enslave."
We looked for an expression
on Hitler's face,
but it does not change.
And in this quaint, old,
wartime Wagons-Lits car,
another armistice is being drawn up
as I speak to you now.
We peered through the windows of the car
and saw Adolf Hitler
laying down the terms.
The German leader told the French
that he had not chosen
this spot out of revenge,
but merely to right an old wrong.
What a turning back of the clock,
what a reversing of history
we've been watching here
in this beautiful Compiègne forest
this afternoon.
[whimsical string music playing]
[Bartov] After the signing
of the armistice,
Hitler goes
on a very early morning tour of Paris.
And Paris is still asleep.
It's very early in the morning.
He goes to see the the Eiffel Tower.
He goes to the Panthéon.
He visits Napoleon's monument
and seems to imagine himself
as the victor over Napoleon as well.
It's as if he still needs
to persuade himself
that he has won that war,
and then vanishes into the mist
and goes back to Germany.
[radio announcer, in German]
All Germans thank the Führer
for the greatest victory in history.
The drive from the front
back to the capital
became a triumphant parade.
[crowd cheering]
[contemplative piano music playing]
[Pendas, in English] When Hitler returns
from his victory in France,
when he returns to Berlin,
the celebrations are rapturous.
They won.
[Hitler, in German] The German Volk
has proved, above all, its inner attitude
through its sons
who are fighting on the battlefield.
Within weeks, they have beaten
Germany's strongest military adversary
and have destroyed him.
Their spirit was and remains
the spirit of the German Homeland!
[Bartov, in English] Hitler has delivered
everything he promised,
and I suspect that
if he had allowed elections at that point,
it would have been a sweeping victory.
[crowd cheering]
[radio announcer, in German]
Security teams can hardly resist
the onslaught of the masses.
[uplifting orchestral music playing]
[Anne Berg, in English]
The initial successes
really gave Hitler
a public relations boost,
and so Germans felt that maybe
this is going to be a quick war.
[man, in German]
You're the dream who makes me happy ♪
Who makes me happy tonight ♪
[crowd cheering]
You are the rush
That warmly embraces me ♪
And enriches me greatly tonight ♪
Don't you feel
That you are the only one ♪
For whom I would have to die tonight? ♪
[Hitler] The future belongs
to the young nations
who will solve these questions.
We have undertaken these solutions,
and we shall see to them.
[crowd cheering]
[intriguing music playing]
[Bartov, in English] At that point,
Hitler's seriously considering,
uh, invading Britain.
There is an operation being planned,
which is supposed to be
an amphibious invasion of Britain.
Hermann Goering,
who is, among other things,
the commander of the Luftwaffe
and who was an ace pilot in World War I,
promises that they can
have aerial superiority over Britain.
[radio announcer] British fighters
speed to engage the foe.
In hundreds of desperate dogfights,
the invaders are held at bay.
[artillery firing]
[jet engine roaring]
And they fail.
[engines roaring]
[Bartov] The Royal Air Force,
especially with its
newly-produced Spitfire,
which are, uh, very good planes
for that period,
manages not only to hold off
the Luftwaffe, the German air force,
uh, but also to cause
a great deal of damage to it.
And so with the Blitz,
that is the bombing
of London and other cities,
the evacuation of children
from London to the countryside
[children chattering indistinctly]
both stiffens the back
of the British population
against the Germans
[radio announcer] Never in history
has an entire people
borne so frightful an ordeal so bravely.
Yes, England can take it!
[Bartov] and,
from the German perspective,
makes an invasion of Britain
clearly impossible.
And now the question is,
where do we go next?
[horns honking]
[Richie] When Hitler took power,
he went about transforming the economy.
Hitler started the ball rolling,
in a sense, by a sleight-of-hand,
creating a kind of economy
that made it look
as if Germany was tremendously prosperous,
but a lot of it was done
on borrowed money and printing money.
[spectators applauding]
[tense music playing]
[Richie] Even before the war starts,
Hitler decides that, in a way,
in order to pay a lot of this back,
he's going to have to plunder,
he's going to have to steal.
And one of the things he does is,
of course, plan to plunder the resources
of the countries he's conquering.
And one of the other things
he plans to steal is labor,
the labor of human beings,
which, if you put people to work for free,
then you don't have to pay
your own workers.
[radio announcer, in German] Following
the decree of the Führer and Chancellor
on the administration
of the occupied Polish territories
of October 12th, 1939,
Jewish residents of the German Government
will be forced to work
with immediate effect.
[in English] Poland was occupied
as a colony,
not directly incorporated into the Reich,
and was turned into something
called the General Government.
And it was overseen
by, um, a civilian Nazi Party leader,
Hans Frank.
Hans Frank's job was to, uh,
submit the Poles in this territory,
make sure that they did not, uh, rise up,
make sure that
they did not form their own government.
They imagined the Poles
as truly second-class inhabitants
who would be forced
into a kind of slave subservience.
[no audible dialog]
[trial participant]
Will you give your full name?
Hans Frank.
[somber string music playing]
[Seidl, in German] Witness,
did Hitler give you any instructions
as to how you should carry out
your administration as Governor General?
[Frank] Adolf Hitler instructed me
to see to it
that this territory,
which had been utterly devastated,
was somehow put into order again.
[Seidl] Did you yourself introduce
forced labor in the General Government?
[Frank] Forced labor
and compulsory labor service
were introduced by me
in one of the first decrees,
but clearly, I had in mind
only a labor service within the country
for repairing the damage
caused by the war,
and for carrying out work
necessary for the country itself.
[somber string music continues]
[Seidl] Witness, you have told us
what you did for the welfare
of the population
of the General Government.
The Prosecution, however, has charged you
with making a series of statements
which they found in your own diary,
which seem to contradict that.
How can you explain that contradiction?
[trial participant 2, in English]
The documents, uh, are all,
or nearly all, I imagine, in German
and can be put to the defendant
in the course of his examination.
[Frank, in German] In the turmoil
of a country in flames,
in the midst of a life-and-death struggle,
such words may easily be used.
Some of the words are terrible.
I admit that I was shocked
at many of the words which I used.
[Eaton, in English] At Nuremberg,
Hans Frank disavowed responsibility.
He claimed that as he was
just a civilian governor of one territory,
that is of occupied Poland,
that he had played really
no fundamental role.
That's utterly belied
by the fact that he was, uh, instrumental
in setting up the ghettos,
in creating starvation,
uh, conditions in the ghettos
and forced labor conditions
in the ghettos,
and the very act of ghettoization
was understood from the start
to be a form of murder.
[baby crying]
The idea was that they would die,
and the idea was
they would die in very short order.
[child crying]
[intense music playing]
[Pendas] By the winter of 1940-41,
Hitler is in a situation
where he has, um,
you know, won the war in the west,
except that he can't conquer Britain.
[Hirsch] France has fallen.
The Soviets have invaded
and annexed the Baltic states
of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
At this point, Hitler or Ribbentrop,
they reach out to Stalin
and let him know that Molotov
should come to to Germany,
and, "We should have
some more discussions."
And so, Molotov goes to Berlin
in November 1940.
[moody music playing]
[Shirer] A dark, drizzling day,
and Molotov arrived.
His reception extremely stiff and formal.
For more than a year,
ever since Ribbentrop signed the pact
which brought the two archenemies
of this Earth together,
we've had rumors
that the number two Bolshevik
would repay the visit.
[typewriter keys clacking]
[Eaton] And at stake was the division
of Eastern Europe once again
between the Soviets and the Germans.
Issues were becoming tense
about the fate of the Baltics,
about the fate of the Balkans.
[Hirsch] Molotov goes with a whole number
of questions from Stalin
about what is it exactly
that Hitler intends
for the shape of Europe?
Why is it that Germany
has troops in Finland, right?
Why are they there?
What are the intentions?
And really pushes, presses Ribbentrop
and Hitler on these questions.
[Eaton] Whereas the first round of talks
in 1939 had gone very well,
in this second round of talks,
the real conflicts between the two powers
started to surface.
[Hirsch] And one of the things
that Hitler is trying to convince Molotov
is that the war against Britain
will soon be won.
And on the second day of the negotiations
[air-raid sirens blaring]
things are cut short
because there are British bombers
over Berlin.
[Shirer] The British came over
early that evening.
Shortly after nine o'clock,
the air-raid sirens began to whine,
and soon, you could hear
the thunder of the flak guns,
and in between them,
the hum of the bombers overhead.
[Richie] Hitler's meeting with Molotov
is a little bit of an embarrassment
because Hermann Goering has promised
that no Western planes
would ever hit Berlin.
[Hirsch] And Ribbentrop,
he's trying to continue to make the point
that the war against Britain
will soon be won.
At which point,
Molotov apparently makes a quip about,
"Then why are we sitting here
in this bunker?"
So Molotov leaves,
and it's really shortly after that
that Hitler begins to initiate war plans
against the Soviet Union.
[foreboding music playing]
[Bartov] Hitler was dedicated to creating
German living space in the east.
For Hitler, it was impossible
not to attack the Soviet Union.
Again, the question was when.
[foreboding music continues]
[traffic sounds]
[Wick] William L. Shirer has kind of
reached the end of the line for him.
He can't deal with the censorship.
Mind you,
the British are now bombing Berlin.
They're now bombing other German cities.
[artillery fires]
[Wick] There are nights of bombing
where shrapnel's falling
all over the place,
and him running across parking lots.
It becomes intolerable.
At some point that fall,
he begins to fear he's gonna get arrested.
[van Dyk] The thing that he really wants
to get out are his diaries.
If he's smart
and he wants to play it safe,
he should destroy them.
But he doesn't want to do that.
It's valuable information
that he wants to get out.
Things he wasn't able to say
on the air, things he observed
[Shirer] For weeks,
I had mulled over how to get
my diaries safely out of Berlin.
At some moments, I had thought
I ought to destroy them before leaving.
There was enough in them to get me hanged
if the Gestapo ever discovered them,
but I wanted very much
to preserve them if I could.
Suddenly, the solution became clear.
It was risky, but it was worth a try.
I laid out the diaries
in two big suitcases I had bought.
Over them, I placed a number
of my broadcast scripts,
each page of which had been stamped
by the military and civilian censors
as "passed for broadcast."
On top, I put a few maps I had picked up
from friends on the general staff.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Wick] His plan is to put
layers of old broadcast notes,
which were all approved by the censors,
so they wouldn't particularly care
about that.
On top of that goes some military maps,
and he thought that maybe they would
take those and not dig any deeper.
So he actually goes
to Gestapo headquarters.
And they open it up,
and they see the maps.
They take the maps.
He's scared.
[Shirer] "What else you got there?"
one of the men said,
putting his paw on the pile of papers.
"The texts of my broadcasts," I said.
"Every page, as you can see,
stamped for approval by the High Command
and the two ministries."
Both men studied the censors' stamps.
I could see they were impressed.
They poked a little deeper,
each man now working a suitcase.
Soon, they would reach the diaries.
I now wished I now wished I had not come.
I felt myself beginning to perspire.
I had deliberately
got myself into this jam.
What a fool.
"You reported on the German army?"
one of the agents looked up to ask.
"All the way to Paris
and the Armistice at Compiègne," I said.
"It will go down in history."
[Shirer] That apparently clinched it.
"Okay," one of them said,
obviously proud
of his one word of English
and without a word, sealed the two bags.
I was free at last.
[radio announcer]
And here is William L. Shirer,
CBS correspondent
recently returned from Berlin.
Mr. Shirer.
[Shirer] Nazi Germany
and Soviet Russia tonight
are fighting it out on a 2,000-mile front,
stretching from the Arctic Sea
to the Black Sea.
Germany struck today
against her late friend and helpmate
with the same kind of lightning force
which she unleashed
on the Western Front a year ago.
[uneasy music playing]
[jet engines droning]
[bombs exploding]
[Bartov] When the Germans
invade the Soviet Union
on the 22nd of June, 1941,
the German army
numbers over three million soldiers.
They have about 3,000 tanks,
about 600,000 horses,
close to 3,000 aircraft,
and they invade along a vast front,
from the Baltic
all the way to the Black Sea.
Barbarossa is chosen as the name
because this was
a medieval German emperor,
and he's a kind of mythical figure
for the Nazis.
[artillery fires]
[Bartov] The Red Army has two,
two and a half million troops,
has a lot of artillery.
And so what you have here
is the largest military confrontation
in military history.
[dramatic string music playing]
[Eaton] With the launching
of Operation Barbarossa,
Hitler moved his, uh,
military headquarters
to the swampy marshes
of southern East Prussia
in this region called Masuria.
The Wolf's Lair was this
elaborate set of underground bunkers
and conference rooms and dining halls.
[Richie] This was a very isolated,
very desolate,
uh, very unpleasant place
with a terrible climate.
Full of mosquitoes and bugs in the summer,
deathly cold and damp in the winter.
[Eaton] And Hitler was going to carry out
what he thought was going to be
a few weeks campaign in this Wolf's Lair.
Hitler was wildly confident
that the Soviet Union would collapse
in a matter of weeks.
[Browning] Hitler gives a speech
to his generals
that this war
will not be a conventional war.
This war will not be fought
like the war we fought in Western Europe.
This will be a culmination
of his race war for Lebensraum.
[Eaton] Barbarossa was designed
to be brutal from the start.
It was designed to show no mercy.
-[gun fires]
-[body thuds]
[somber music playing]
[Bartov] It's a war against
Germany's military and racial enemies.
It's a genocidal war.
[Shirer] Hitler the conqueror,
deliberately, out of his own madness,
decided to turn
on his friend and ally, the Soviet Union.
It led to his doom.
From then on, the road for Adolf Hitler
stretched down to utter disaster.
The ensuing bloody nightmare
has no parallel in history.
[plaintive piano music playing]
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