The career of the Defendant Rosenberg embraced the entire history of National Socialism and permeated nearly every phase of the conspiracy. In order to obtain a full conception of his influence, it is necessary to review his political history, and to consider his political activities which stretches from the inception of the Party in 1919 to the defeat of Germany in 1945.
It is both interesting and revealing to note that for Rosenberg the 30th of November 1918 marked the “beginning of political activities with a lecture about the ‘Jewish Problem.’ ” That statement is found at Line 2 of the translation of Document 2886-PS, which is an excerpt from a book entitled The Work of Alfred Rosenberg, a biography.
Rosenberg was a member of the German Labor Party, afterwards the National Socialist German Workers Party, in January 1919 and that Hitler joined forces with Rosenberg and his colleagues in October of the same year. Thus, Rosenberg was a member of the National Socialist movement even before Hitler himself.
Now I wish to offer Document 3530-PS, which is an extract from Das Deutsche Führer Lexikon, the year of 1934-35, and I offer it as Exhibit Number USA-593. In this document we obtain additional biographical data on Rosenberg as follows:
“From 1921 until the present he was editor of the Völkische Beobachter; editor of the N. S. Monatshefte; in 1930, he became member of the Reichstag and representative of the foreign policies for the Party . . . since April 1933 he was leader of the foreign political office of the NSDAP, then designated Reichsleiter; in January 1934, deputized by the Führer for the supervision of the ideological education of the NSDAP, the German labor front, and all related organizations.”
The Document 2886-PS, which I have just referred to, offered as Exhibit Number USA-591, adds that in July 1941 Rosenberg was appointed Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.
With this general background information in mind the first phase of proof will deal with Rosenberg as official National Socialist ideologist. The proof which I will present will show the nature and scope of the ideological tenets he expounded, and the influence he exerted upon the unification of German thought, a unification which was an essential part of the conspirators’ program for the seizure of power and preparation for aggressive war.
Rosenberg wrote extensively on, and actively participated in, virtually every aspect of the National Socialist program. His first publication was the Nature, Basic Principles, and Aims of the NSDAP. This publication appeared in 1922. Rosenberg spoke of this book in a speech which we have seen and heard delivered in the motion picture previously introduced as Exhibit Number USA-167. On Page 2, Part 1, of the transcription of the speech, which is our Document Number 3054-PS, Rosenberg stated as follows:
“During this time”—that is, during the early phase of the Party—“I wrote a short thesis which nevertheless is significant in the history of the NSDAP.”—This is Rosenberg speaking.—“It was always being asked what points of program the NSDAP had and how they were to be interpreted. Therefore I wrote the Nature, Basic Principles, and Aims of the NSDAP, and this writing made the first permanent connection for Munich and local organizations being created and friends within the Reich.”
We thus see that the original draftsman of, and spokesman on, the Party program was the Defendant Rosenberg. Without attempting to survey the entire ideological program advanced by the Defendant Rosenberg in his various writings and speeches, which are very numerous, I wish to offer into evidence certain of his statements as an indication of the nature and broad scope of the ideological program which he championed.
It will be seen that there was not a single basic tenet of the Nazi philosophy which was not given authoritative expression by Rosenberg. Rosenberg wrote the book entitled Myth of the Twentieth Century, published in 1930. This book has already been offered as Exhibit USA-352. At Page 479, which Your Honor will find on the second page of Document 3553-PS, Rosenberg wrote on the race question as follows:
“The essence of the contemporary world revolution lies in the awakening of the racial type; not in Europe alone but on the whole planet. This awakening is the organic counter movement against the last chaotic remnants of the liberal economic imperialism, whose objects of exploitation out of desperation have fallen into the snare of Bolshevik Marxism, in order to complete what democracy had begun, the extirpation of the racial and national consciousness.”
Rosenberg expounded the Lebensraum idea, which idea was the chief motivation, the dynamic impulse behind Germany’s waging of aggressive war. In his journal, the National Socialist Monatshefte, for May 1932, which I wish to offer as Exhibit Number USA-594, our Document Number 2777-PS, he wrote at Page 199:
“The understanding that the German nation, if it is not to perish in the truest sense of the word, needs ground and soil for itself and its future generations; and the second sober perception that this soil can no more be conquered in Africa, but in Europe and first of all in the East—these organically determine the German foreign policy for centuries.”
Rosenberg expressed his theory as to the place of religion in the National Socialist State in his Myth of the Twentieth Century, additional excerpts from which are cited in Document 2891-PS. At Page 215 of the “Myth” he wrote as follows:
“We now realize that the central supreme values of the Roman and the Protestant Churches being a negative Christianity do not respond to our soul, that they hinder the organic powers of the people designated as a Nordic race, that they must give way to them, that they have to be remodelled to conform to a Germanic Christianity. Therein lies the meaning of the present religious search.”
In the place of traditional Christianity, Rosenberg sought to implant the neo-pagan myth of the blood.
At Page 114 in the Myth of the Twentieth Century he stated as follows:
“Today, a new faith is awakening; the myth of the blood, the belief that the divine being of mankind generally is to be defended with the blood. The faith embodied by the fullest realization that the Nordic blood constitutes that mystery which has supplanted and overwhelmed the old sacraments.”
Rosenberg’s attitudes on religion were accepted as the only philosophy compatible with National Socialism. In 1940 the Defendant Bormann wrote to Rosenberg in Document 098-PS, which has been previously introduced as Exhibit Number USA-350; and I quote:
“The churches cannot be conquered by a compromise between National Socialism and Christian teachings but only through a new ideology, whose coming you, yourself, have announced in your writings.” Rosenberg actively participated in the program for elimination of church influence.
The Defendant Bormann frequently wrote Rosenberg in this regard, furnishing him information as to proposed action to be instituted against the churches; and, when necessary, requesting that action be taken by Rosenberg’s department.
Rosenberg was particularly avid in his pursuit of what he called the “Jewish question.” On the 28th of March 1941, on the occasion of the opening of the Institute for the Exploration of the Jewish Question, he set the keynote for its activities and indicated the direction which the exploration was to take.
I would like to quote from Document 2889-PS, which I offer as Exhibit Number USA-595. This is an excerpt from the Völkischer Beobachter, 29th of March 1941. This is a statement made by Rosenberg on the occasion of the opening of the institute.
“For Germany the Jewish question is only then solved when the last Jew has left the Greater German space.
“Since Germany with its blood and its folkdom has now broken for always this Jewish dictatorship for all Europe and has seen to it that Europe as a whole will become free from the Jewish parasitism once more, we may, I believe, also say for all Europeans: For Europe the Jewish question is only then solved when the last Jew has left the European continent.”
It has already been seen that Rosenberg did not overlook any opportunity to put these anti-Semitic beliefs into practice.
It has already been seen that Rosenberg did not overlook any opportunity to put these anti-Semitic beliefs into practice. Your Honors will recall that Rosenberg recommended that instead of executing 100 Frenchmen as retaliation for attempts on lives of members of the Wehrmacht, there be executed 100 Jewish bankers, lawyers, et cetera.
The recommendation was made with the avowed purpose of awakening the anti-Jewish sentiment.
Adapted from Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (1946). Alfred Rosenberg photograph public domain.