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Final statement Alfred Jodl

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the Defendant Alfred Jodl.

ALFRED JODL (Defendant): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal, it is my unshakable belief that later historians will arrive at a just and objective verdict concerning the higher military leaders and their assistants, for they and the entire German Wehrmacht with them, were confronted with an insoluble task namely, to conduct a war which they had not wanted under a commander-in-chief whose confidence they did not possess and whom they themselves only trusted within limits; with methods which frequently were in contradiction to their principles of leadership and their traditional, proved opinions; with troops and police forces which did not come under their full command; and with an intelligence service which in part was working for the enemy. And all this in the complete and clear realization that this war would decide the life or death of our beloved fatherland. They did not serve the powers of Hell and they did not serve a criminal, but rather their people and their fatherland.
As far as I am concerned, I believe that no man can do more than to try to reach the highest of the goals which appear attainable to him. That and nothing else has always been the guiding principle for my actions and for that reason, Gentlemen of the Tribunal, no matter what verdict you may pass upon me, I shall leave this courtroom with my head held as high as when I entered it many months ago.
But whoever calls me a traitor to the honorable tradition of the German Army, or whoever asserts that I remained at my post for personal and egotisticlal reasons, him I shall call a traitor to the truth. In a war such as this, in which hundreds of thousands of women and children were annihilated by layers of bombs or killed by low flying aircraft and in which partisans used every, yes, every single means of violence which seemed expedient, harsh measures, even though they may appear questionable from the standpoint of international law, are not a crime in morality or in conscience.
For I believe and avow that a man's duty toward his people and fatherland stands above every other. To carry out this duty was an honor for me and the highest law.
May this duty be supplanted in some happier future by an even higher one, by the duty toward humanity.

See also: Verdict Jodl


German armed military forces, divided in ground forces, air force and navy.


Alfred Jodl, chief of operations on the supreme command of the Wehrmacht


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Arnold Palthe
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International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1947