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A Pledge Betrayed
Part 2: United Nations War Crimes Commission

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The allied forces on the ground were likewise hindered from completing the denazification program by their own officers. In a meeting of the Finance Division Captain Norbert Bogdan, a former vice president of the Schroder Banking Corporation of New York, argued furiously against investigations against the Stein Bank on grounds it was small potatoes. Bogdan was a former vice president of the Schroder Banking Corporation of New York. Shortly after Bogdan's successful effort in blocking the investigation, two of his staff applied for permission to investigate the bank. The Intelligence Division blocked that request. ITT was closely associated with Kurt von Schroder and wanted to conceal its past in helping the Nazis for all time. Once an investigation of the Stein Bank was started the connection would be soon exposed.117

Unfortunately, many officers were loyal to their former employer and not their country. As IBMís pressed for Treasury permission to transact business with Germany and Italy increased, Harold Carter, an employee of the Economic Warfare Section, took notice. Carter carefully prepared his case against IBM, but was unable to convince a court to issue a denied a subpoena. To further complicate the matter, the Dehomag machines were only leased to the Nazis. A quirk in the law meant they were American property and were to be protected.

Further, Watson had anticipated the war and on March 31, 1941, incorporated a new subsidiary, Munitions Manufacturing Corporations. Two small canning factories were purchased to house the new unit. Within sixty days of Pearl Harbor, Watson unveiled a fully equipped manufacturing facility staffed by 250 employees. Their first product was a 20mm anti-aircraft cannon. Eventually the subsidiary grew to produce a whole range of war munitions, including 90mm anti-aircraft gun directories, M1 rifles, gas masks, bombing sights and other items. IBM had taken up a host of research projects for the military.

IBM arrived on the beaches of Normandy shortly after the beachheads were established. Their mobile MRUs (Machine Records Units) specialized in deploying IBM made equipment. These MRUs were on the front line and became indispensable. These MRUs made up of IBM employees and those trained by IBM became the backbone of the MRU forces. Their loyalty laid more with IBM than with their country. Watson received hundreds of letters from IBM soldiers many telling of capturing Dehomag machines. None, however, caused more of a stir than a letter from a Lt. Lawernce Flick, written on September 2, 1945. Flick had told of enlisting a Captain from the Property Control Division to support Hermann Fellinger, a former Nazi IBM partner. Fellinger had been one of those in the Dehomag revolt, which tried to overthrow the iron grip of Watson on Dehomag. Watson had no intention of re-empowering Fellinger.118

Officers that retained a greater loyalty of their company than their country plagued the army's officer's ranks. (Note: this should not detract from the thousands that served their country honorably.) Many undoubtedly thought their corporate loyalty would stand them in good stead upon their return home. Others owning stock in the company were simply protecting their own investments.

As early as 1942, there were clear indications of corporate Americaís connivance to continue doing business with the German cartels after the war as if the war had never taken place. In a speech on June 3, 1942, before the Illinois Bar Association Assistant Attorney General Thurmond Arnold warned:

"The secret influence of the international cartel is going to be thrown in favor of peace without victory when the first opportunity arises---just as it was thrown in that direction at Munich.

The small group of American businessmen who are parties to these international rings are not unpatriotic, but they still think of war as a temporary recess from business as usual with a strong Germany. They expect to begin the game all over again after the war.

It is significant that all these cartel leaders still talk and think as if the war would end in a stalemate, and that therefore, they must be in a position to continue their arrangements with a strong Germany after the war. This is not shown by their speeches, but by actual documents and memoranda of business policy which we find in their files."6

Arnoldís words confirm the findings listed in the previous chapter. As of June 1942, corporate America had yet given up hope of negotiating a peace with the Nazis. Arnold effectively predicted the outbreak of the Cold War. Perhaps, the only mistake Arnold made in his speech was in labeling these treasonous corporate leaders as patriotic. They were not.

Nor was this the only warning of the connivance. On June 4, 1943, Homer Boone, Chairman of the Senate Patents Committee informed the Senate Military Affairs Committee:

The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey directors were asked by certain stockholders to cut off all relations with Farben after the war, but it refused. One official said such a request was an affront. There is clear indication that after this unpleasant interlude of war they will hold hands again and resume their very harmonious and beautiful arrangements with cartels."7

The quotes above should serve as a grim reminder to the power of the Nazi elements among us when compared to the success of the T Forces at Nordhausen.

To fully understand how the 4-Ds program was sabotaged from within a brief look at the development of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the elements assigned to the 4-Ds program is needed. Most studies only cover the Nuremberg trials. However, there were several other trials as well. The Nuremberg Trials were actually a culmination of a long and complicate process, steeped in geopolitics. Since, the agreement leading to the Nuremberg Trials was not reached until mid-1945 there was no official policy in handling of the Nazis as the allied forces swept over Germany.

From the very beginning, the debate between Washington and London on what constituted a war crime was haunted by the failure of the war crime trials following WWI in Leipzig.

The question of punishing war criminals in WWII was first raised in 1940 by the exiled government of Poland. The British Foreign Office opposed this so it laid dormant until after the German invasion of Russia, which took place accompanied by a horrendous increase in Nazi brutality. Existing international law was inadequate for the crimes committed, and an agreement was needed between the big three powers to adjust international law to address the horrors of this new type of war.

Periodically the British would issue periodic statements to fortify the moral of the occupied peoples. On October 21, 1940, Churchill stated that all crimes of Hitler would be upon him and upon all who belonged to his system. In May 1941, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden spoke of a reckoning that would be wide and fierce. On June 12, 1941, following the Nazi invasion of Russia, Churchill was quoted as follows.

These quislings, like Nazi leaders, if not disposed of by their fellow countrymen---which would save trouble----will be delivered by us on the morrow of victory to the justice of Allied tribunals.23

Germanyís invasion of Russia marked a turning point in the relations between Poland and Britain. Britain, seeking allies against Germany, was now intent upon improving relations with the Soviet Union. The exiled Polish government wanted to preserve its 1939 borders while Moscow was adamant about retaining the Polish territory ceded to Russia following the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement. Therefore, Polish wishes were incumbent upon the greater goals of British geopolitics.

By the autumn 1941, the Foreign Office had to contend with growing unrest in both the Cabinet and Parliament in response to reports of German atrocities. In September 1941, Hugh Dalton, Labour MP and minister of economic warfare, called Edenís attention to the German practice of executing hostages whenever German forces were attacked. Dalton proposed telling the people of Europe keep a list of names of all those connected to the execution of hostages including the commanding officer. After liberation those on the lists would be hunted down and summarily executed. The Foreign Office remained cold to Daltonís proposal and warned of a repetition of the "Hang the Kaiser" campaign after WWI.

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Recognizing the growing concern over Nazi atrocities Eden asked the War Cabinet on October 1, 1941 to approve of a statement along the lines of the Ango-Franco-Polish declaration of April 1940. The draft declaration was a vague statement unacceptable to the War Cabinet. The Foreign Office quickly revised the declaration to read as follows.
 

"We therefore publicly declare that brutalities which are being committed in occupied countries are contrary to the dictates of humanity; are a reversion to barbarism; and will meet with sure retribution. To this end, we are united in our resolve to win freedom of the oppressed peoples and to execute justice. The methods of oppression and terror used by Hitler are such that many people, including Germans and Italians, are ignorant of the full facts. When these things are known, world opinion will not allow the criminals to escape just punishment for their crimes. The facts are being put on record so that in due time the world may pronounce its judgement. With victory will come retribution."24

Leaders in the Parliament called for a stronger declaration. The Foreign Office did not deliver the declaration to the United States and Soviet Union until October 21, which indicated the low priority, they held for the war crime issue. Four days later, in an unexpected moved on October 25, Roosevelt unexpectedly issued a statement condemning the execution of 50 hostages in Nantes for reprisal of the shooting of the military commander of the region. Rooseveltís statement compelled the Foreign Office to make several quick decisions. Churchill responded immediately to Rooseveltís statement and concluded, "Retribution for these crimes must henceforth take its place among the major purposes of the war."25 

Also plaguing the establishment of a unified war crimes declaration was the tendency of both London and Washington to dismiss the Soviet reports as exaggerations or worse as imaginary. Yet, some of the most brutal war crimes such as the Bari Yar massacre were occurring on the eastern front.

Following Churchillís remarks on October 25 various allies weighed in with their own comments. The Australians thought the statement to be coached in inappropriate language and should be made simple and all remarks about retributions be dropped. Governments-in-exile disagreed. The Greeks accepted in principle the British statement in principle but insisted on adding Bulgaria's name to the war crimes declaration. The Yugoslavian government wanted to include all forms of atrocities including dive-bombing, burning of villages, and others. They also wanted to indict the Nazi Quisling governments, including the so-called Independent Croatia.

The War Cabinet however, approved the Foreign Office stance that the statements by Roosevelt and Churchill had made a joint resolution by the allies unnecessary. Frank Roberts, the first acting secretary in the Central Department of the Foreign Office argued that such a move by keeping Britain from signing a joint declaration would not commit Britain to whatever determination the allies might reach at the warís end. Many in the Foreign Office wanted to go further and free Britain of any commitment to making a list of war criminals or engaging in any preparation of any registry of atrocities.

Britain ultimately chose not to associate itself with the proposed declaration. Further complicating the matters was a dispute broke out among the allies as to the inclusion of the Soviet Union in such a declaration. The Poles, Czechs and Yugoslavs sided with England e in favor of the inclusion. However, most other governments were opposed to the inclusion. The United States not yet at war declined to attend any joint signing of the declaration.

The meeting of the allies took place on January 13, 1942. Representatives from nine nations took part: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and the French National Committee. Also present as observers were the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, China, the Dominions and India. Eden addressed the group with caution, concluding that the governments of occupied territories should take the initiative in declaring the principles by which they will be guided once liberated.

While the atrocities increased in Poland, the Polish government-in-exile began demanding more than just declarations. It asked that the British conduct bombing raids in central and western Germany in retaliation for the execution of one hundred hostages in Warsaw. The Foreign Office refused the request. Another Polish demand called for the execution of five Germans after the war for each Pole, Yugoslav or Czech killed. They further demanded that a special air force unit be created for the daily bombing of a German town that had no military value as a reprisal for the atrocities being committed in Poland.

The Poles were not the only occupied territory that demanded stronger measures from Britain. After the destruction of Lidice, the Czechs demanded that the RAF raze a German village. The Foreign Office turned this demand down, too. In response to British inaction, the Czechs announced unilaterally they would judge and punish those responsible. The Czech list included Hitler, the members of his government, all representatives of Germany stationed in Czechoslovakia as well as their subordinates and any German or Czech that aided them even indirectly.

The Foreign Office objecting that it was not consulted in advance, condemned the Czech action as inexcusable. Britainís rejection of the demands of the Poles and Czechs was not totally without reason. Up to this time, Britain had fared badly in the war, and there was a legitimate concern over German reprisals against captured British POWs. British mistrust of claims coming from Eastern Europe contributed to the rejections.

 

It wasnít until October 1943 that the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC do not confuse with the present day United Nations---the allies during the war referred to themselves as the United Nations) was established. The commission was plagued with differences between Britain and the Soviet Union as to what constituted a war crime, as well as differences on how to conduct the war. Just as some in the British Foreign Office were opposed to any war crime trials, a similar faction existed within the United States State Department. The influence of these factions is reflected by the eighteen months it took for the UNWCC to take shape.

Two of the largest stumbling blocks between Britain and the Soviets were the case of Rudolf Hess and the inclusion of the Dominions. The Soviets desired immediate trials, including that of Hess, the British on the other hand wanted to wait until after the war before beginning any trials. The British also wanted to include the Dominions such as New Zealand and South Africa on the commission. The Soviets were opposed to such inclusions unless each of the Soviet states was granted equal status. This was also a bedrock issue for the Soviets in the formation of the United Nations. By demanding that the Dominions each have a separate vote, British influence was multiplied by several fold, while denying the Soviet demand of a vote for each of its states weakening the overall influence of the Soviet Union.