WAR CRIMES: Excuses

Poker-faced and ramrod-stiff in his military grey, the first of the generals faced the court at Nürnberg last week. In Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel's defense, there was none of Hermann Göring's brilliant, bravura justification of Naziism. Like sweating, terrified Ribbentrop, who testified before him—but in a very different manner—the once proud Wehrmacht chief hid behind his Führer's back.

"The concept of aggressive war is a politician's concept, not a soldier's," he announced. "I did no more than write the Führer's orders and forward them."

Colonel General Jodl and Grand Admiral Raeder, soon to make their own defenses, nodded solemn approval. Couldn't...

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