The War Ends in a Hotel in Capri (1945)
…And then Schacht reverted to his favorite theme — his innocence of all blame for war.
“I always talked against war, and exerted all my influence in the only way I could to prevent war. I knew what British and American industry could do. I had seen it happen in the last war. I knew that by blitz, we can win campaigns, but you cannot win a long war by blitz. I am not a military man, but I know that.
“And I knew through my friends that England must come into any war in Europe and that would mean a long war.
“But not after 1938 did the Reichsbank finance anything of armament. That was when I left my position, though I had agreed to serve for another 4 years if Hitler would stop his rearming. This he would not do so I resigned….
“Actually, I was not all that close to him. There were no cabinet meetings after 1938. I did not know when the war would start. I read of the news in the papers at Munich where I was at the time.”
We explained to Dr. Schacht that in America, once war started, all the great industrialists — most of them opposed President Roosevelt politically — came instantly to the support of the Government, did all they could to convert their industry to war production. Schacht nodded his understanding of this fact. And then asked him:
In Germany, did the same thing happen? Did all the great industrialists come forward quickly and willingly go all out for war?
“No,” and this was emphatic; “Every industrialist knew that we could not win a war and so there was no enthusiastic support for war among them.”…
“Many industrialists I know had the courage to tell Hitler the truth, that we could not win a war against England and America. It did not add up for us. But Goering always talked of victory and that is what Hitler wanted to hear and so his influence increased.
“Many industrialists, even when our Luftwaffe seemed invincible, had the courage and foresight also to warn that our own factories would one day be bombed. But Goering always boasted that no enemy bomber would ever penetrate into Germany. That deceived the people. And Hitler. It did not deceive the industrialists.
“And there was at least one military man who opposed Goering — Udet. He knew the capacity of British and American factories to produce airplanes. He told Hitler, and Goering, that Germany would unquestionably lose superiority in the air by the beginning of 1943 and that after that German industry would be at the mercy of enemy bombers. You know what happened to Udet. He shot himself. No, he was not shot. He did it himself. I am sure of that.
“After the British in 1942 began their systematic bombing attacks, there was sudden effort to dislocate all our factories — to disperse them, I mean, move them to safer areas and put some of them even underground.
“But you will understand that the moving of a factory with all the people who work in it is not a thing that can be done quickly without great loss of production. Much manpower is required for the moving, and also many materials — bricks and cement and steel. And while it is being moved, it might just as well be destroyed. It does not produce.
“You must understand that I was out of direct touch with things in the end; but of course I learned much through friends, I know our industrial capacity, and I could see with my own eyes what it had done to our great cities with your bombing.
“Last evening, we sat here, three of us, and we made a list of all the German cities of more than 50,000 people. All of those cities are gone. Wiped out. Destroyed to the ground so far as industry is concerned. You ask me now when will Germany recover from this bombing?
“My answer is: Never.”
We pointed out that “never” was a very long time. We reminded him that in England, for instance, Coventry had been wiped out, and yet Coventry today produces more than before it was “coventrized.”
“Yes that is true. But remember, Coventry was a single city. In Germany, every city is destroyed. Do you understand, every city ruined.”
Source: Tab H, “Why Germany Lost,” Air Surrender Documents, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, prepared by HQ, M. A. A. F., Intelligence Section (US), c. 1945
Image: “Waves of Consolidated B-24 liberators of the 15th AAF fly over the target area, the Concordia Vega Oil refinery, Ploesti, Romania, unmindful of bursting flak, after dropping their bomb loads on the oil cracking plant, on 31 May ’44,” Library of Congresshttp://www.forgottenwarstories.com/2014/04/19/the-war-ends-in-a-hotel-in-capri-1945/http://www.forgottenwarstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Waves-of-Consolidated-B-24-liberators-of-the-15th-AAF-31-May-44-LOC.jpghttp://www.forgottenwarstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Waves-of-Consolidated-B-24-liberators-of-the-15th-AAF-31-May-44-LOC-300x300.jpgWW2world war IIInterview with Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, an early Nazi and German Minister of Economics and then a political prisoner of the Nazis, conducted at the Hotel Eden-Paradise, Capri, Italy: ...And then Schacht reverted to his favorite theme -- his innocence of all blame for war. 'I always talked against war,...stevenhardestySteven Hardestyforgottenwarstories@gmail.comAdministratorForgotten War Stories