The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/09
                                                                  
By 25th August the imminence of the attack on Czechoslovakia
compelled the issuance by the Luftwaffe of a detailed intelligence
memorandum, entitled "Extended Case Green", in other words, an
estimate of possible action by the Western Powers during the
attack on Czechoslovakia.

I now offer in evidence this Document - 376-PS - as Exhibit USA
84. This is a top secret memorandum of the Intelligence Section of
the Luftwaffe, General Staff, dated Berlin, 25th August, 1938.
Based on the assumption that Great Britain and France would
declare war on Germany during Case Green, this study contains an
estimate of the strategy and air strength of the Western Powers as
on 1st October, 1938, the target date for Case Green. I quote the
first two sentences of the document, under the heading "Initial
Political Situation:

   1. The basic assumption is that France will declare war during
   Case Green. It is presumed that France will only decide upon
   war if active military ass1stance by Great Britain is
   definitely assured."

Now, knowledge of the pending or impending action against
Czechoslovakia was not confined to a close circle of high
officials of the Reich and the Nazi Party. During the summer
Germany's allies, Italy and Hungary, were apprised by one means or
another of the Nazi conspiracy. I offer in evidence Document 2800-
PS as Exhibit USA 85. This is a captured document from the German
Foreign Office files, a confidential memorandum of a conversation
with the Italian Ambassador, Attolico, in Berlin on 18th July,
1938. At the bottom is a hand-written note headed "For the
Reichsminister only," and the Reichsminister was the defendant
Ribbentrop. I now read this note. I read from the note the third
and fourth paragraphs:

   "Attolico added that we had made it unmistakably clear to the
   Italians what were our intentions regarding Czechoslovakia. He
   also
   
                                                         [Page 13]
   
   knew the appointed time well enough so that he could take
   perhaps a two months' holiday then, which he would not be able
   to later on.
   
   Giving an idea of the attitude of other governments, Attolico
   mentioned that the Roumanian Government had refused to grant
   application for leave to its Berlin Minister."

THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to break off for
ten minutes?

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, a month later Mussolini
sent a message to Berlin requesting that he be told the date on
which Case Green would take place. I offer in evidence Document
2791-PS as Exhibit USA 86, a German Foreign Office note on a
conference with Ambassador Attolico. This note is signed "R" for
Ribbentrop, and dated 23rd August, 1938, and I now read two
paragraphs from the memorandum:

   "On the voyage of the 'Patria' Ambassador Attolico explained to
   me that he had instructions to request the notification from
   the German Government of a contemplated date for German action
   against Czechoslovakia.
   
   I replied that in case the Czechs should again cause a
   provocation against Germany, Germany would march. This would be
   tomorrow, in six months, or perhaps in a year. However, I could
   promise him that the German Government, in case of an
   increasing gravity of the situation or as soon as the Fuehrer
   made his decision, would notify the Italian Chief of Government
   as rapidly as possible. In any case, the Italian Government
   would be the first one to receive such a notification."

Four days later -

THE PRESIDENT: You did not tell us what the initial was, did you?

MR. ALDERMAN: The initial "R" for Ribbentrop, and the date 23rd
August, 1938.

Four days later Attolico again requested to be notified of the
date of the pending attack. I offer Document 2792-PS as Exhibit
USA 87, another German Foreign Office memorandum, and from that
document I read three paragraphs under the heading "R.M. 251."
   
   "Ambassador Attolico paid me a visit today at twelve o'clock to
   communicate the following:
   
   He had received another written instruction from Mussolini
   asking that Germany communicate in time the probable date of
   action against Czechoslovakia. Mussolini asked for such
   notification, as Attolico assured me, in order to be able to
   take in due time the necessary measures on the French
   frontier.' Berlin, 27th August, 1938, 'R' for Ribbentrop."

And then: " N. 3. I replied to Ambassador Attolico, just as on his
former demarche, that I could not impart any date to him; that,
however, in any case Mussolini would be the first one to be
informed of any decision. Berlin, 2nd September, 1938."

Hungary, which borders Czechoslovakia to the South-east, was from
the first considered to be a possible participant in Case Green.
You will recall that in early March, 1938, defendants Keitel and
Ribbentrop had exchanged letters on the question of bringing
Hungary into the Nazi plan. At

                                                         [Page 14]

that time the decision was in the negative, but by mid-August,
1938, the Nazi conspirators were attempting to persuade Hungary to
join in the attack.

From the 21st to 26th August Admiral Horthy and some of his
ministers visited Germany. Inevitably there were discussions of
the Czechoslovakian question. I now offer Document 2796-PS as
Exhibit USA 88. This is a captured German Foreign Office account,
signed by von Weizsaecker, of the conversations between Hitler and
Ribbentrop and a Hungarian delegation consisting of Horthy,
Imredy, and Kanya aboard the S. S. "Patria" on 23rd August, 1938.
In that conference Ribbentrop inquired about the Hungarian
attitude in the event of a German attack on Czechoslovakia, and
suggested that such an attack would prove to be a good opportunity
for Hungary.

The Hungarians, with the exception of Horthy, who wished to put
the Hungarian intention to participate on record, proved reluctant
to commit themselves. Thereupon Hitler emphasised Ribbentrop's
statement and id that whoever wanted to join the meal would have
to participate in the cooking as well. I now quote from this
document the first two paragraphs:

   "While in the forenoon of the 23rd August the Fuehrer and the
   Regent of Hungary were engaged in a political discussion, the
   Hungarian Ministers, Imredy and Kanya, were in conference with
   von Ribbentrop. Von Weizsaecker also attended the conference.
   
   Von Kanya introduced two subjects for discussion. Point 1: The
   negotiations between Hungary and the Little Entente; and 2:
   The Czechoslovakian problem."

Then I skip two paragraphs and read the fifth paragraph:

   "Von Ribbentrop inquired as to what Hungary's attitude would
   be if the Fuehrer should carry out his decision to answer a
   new Czech provocation by force. The reply of the Hungarians
   presented two obstacles: the Yugoslavian neutrality must be
   assured if Hungary marches towards the North and perhaps the
   East, and moreover, the Hungarian rearmament had only been
   started, and one to two more years' time should be allowed for
   its development.
   
   Von Ribbentrop then explained to the Hungarians that the
   Yugoslavs would not dare to march while they were between the
   pincers of the Axis Powers. Roumania alone would therefore not
   move. England and France would also remain tranquil. England
   would not recklessly risk her Empire. She knew our newly
   acquired power. In reference to time, however, for the above-
   mentioned situation, nothing definite could be predicted since
   it would depend on Czech provocation. Von Ribbentrop, repeated
   that, 'Whoever desires revision must exploit the good
   opportunity and participate'.
   
   The Hungarian reply thus remained a conditional one. As to von
   Ribbentrop's question, what purpose the desired General Staff
   conferences were to have, not much more was elucidated than
   the Hungarian desire for a mutual inventory of military
   material and preparedness for the Czech conflict. The clear
   political basis for such a conflict - the time of a Hungarian
   intervention - was not obtained.
   
   In the meantime, more positive language was used by Horthy in
   his talk with the Fuehrer. He wished not to hide his doubts
   with regard to the English attitude, but he wanted to put
   Hungary's intention to
   
                                                         [Page 15]
   participate on record. The Hungarian ministers were and
   remained, even later, more sceptical since they felt more
   strongly about the immediate danger for Hungary with her
   unprotected flanks.
   
   When von Imredy had a discussion with the Fuehrer in the
   afternoon, he was very relieved to have it explained to him
   that in regard to the situation in question the Fuehrer
   demanded nothing of Hungary. He himself would not know the
   time. Whoever wanted to join the meal would have to
   participate in the cooking as well. Should Hungary wish
   conferences of the General Staffs he would have no
   objections."

I think perhaps that sentence, "Whoever wanted to join the meal
would have to participate in the cooking as well," is perhaps as
cynical a statement as any human being has ever been guilty of
making.

By the third day of the conference the Germans were able to note
that, in the event of a German-Czech conflict, Hungary would be
sufficiently armed for participation on 1st October. I now offer
in evidence Document 2797-PS which will be Exhibit USA 89, another
captured German Foreign Office memorandum of a conversation
between Ribbentrop and Kanya on 25th August, 1938. You will note
that the English mimeographed translation bears the date 29th
August. That is incorrect: it should read 25th August. I read the
last paragraph from that document, or rather the last two
paragraphs:

   "Concerning Hungary's military preparedness in case of a
   German-Czech conflict von Kanya mentioned several days ago
   that his country would need a period of one to two years in
   order to develop adequately the armed strength of Hungary.
   
   During today's conversation, von Kanya corrected this remark
   and said that Hungary's military situation was much better.
   His country would be ready, as far as armaments were
   concerned, to take part in the conflict by 1st October of that
   year."

Signed-an illegible signature which probably is that of
Weizsaecker.

The account of the German-Hungarian conference again finds its
corroboration in General Jodl's diary, Document 1780-PS, from
which I have already several times read. The entry in that diary
for 21st to 26th August on Page 4 of the English version of the
document reads as follows:

"Visit to Germany of the Hungarian Regent. Accompanied by the
Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Nonved
Minister von Raatz "

 - with a question mark in the original in parentheses.
   
   "They arrive with the idea that in the course of a great war
   after a few years, and with the help of German troops, the old
   state of Hungary can be re-established. They leave with the
   understanding that we make neither demands on them nor claims
   against them, but that Germany will not stand for a second
   provocation by Czechoslovakia. If they want to participate at
   that moment, it is up to them.
   
   Germany, however, will never play the role of an arbitrator
   between them and Poland. The Hungarians agree; but they
   believe that when the issue arises a period of forty-eight
   hours would be indispensable to them to find out Yugoslavia's
   attitude."

The upshot of the talks with the Hungarians proved to be a staff
conference on 6th September.

                                                         [Page 16]
I quote again from Jodl's diary, the entry for 6th September,
beginning at the end of that same page.

   "Chief of General Staff, General of Artillery Halder, has a
   conference with the Hungarian Chief of Staff Fischer. Before
   that he is briefed by me on the political attitude of the
   Fuehrer, especially his order not to give any hint of the
   exact moment. The same with O.Q.I., General von Stuelpnagel."

It is somewhat interesting to find a high-ranking General giving a
briefing on such political matters.

Then we come to the final, actual preparations for the attack.
With a 1st October target date set for "Case Green," there was a
noticeable increase in the tempo of the military preparations in
late August and September. Actual preparations for the attack on
Czechoslovakia were well under way. The agenda of the Nazi
conspirators were devoted to technical details, the timing of "X-
days", questions of mobilisation, of transport, and of supplies.

On 25th August the defendant Jodl initialled a memorandum entitled
"Timing of the X-0rder and the Question of Advance Measures." This
is Item 17 at Pages 37 and 38 of the English translation of the
Schmundt file on "Case Green", our Document 388-PS.

I should like to invite the special attention of the Tribunal to
this memorandum. It demonstrates beyond the slightest doubt the
complicity of the O.K.W. and of the defendants Keitel and Jodl in
the shameful fabrication of an incident as an excuse for war. It
reveals in bare outline the deceit, the barbarity, the completely
criminal character of the attack that Germany was preparing to
launch.

I ask leave to read this document in full:

   "Chief Section L.
   Written by General Staff Officer
   
   MOST SECRET
   
   s.o. Only
   Berlin, 24th August, 1938
   access only through Officer
   
   1 Copy
   
   Timing of the X-Order and the Question of Advance Measures
   
   The Luftwaffe's attempt to take the enemy air forces by
   surprise at their peace-time airports, justifiably leads them
   to oppose measures taken in advance of the X-order and to
   demand that the X-order itself be given sufficiently late on X
   minus 1, to prevent the fact of Germany's mobilisation
   becoming known to Czechoslovakia on that day.
   
   The army's efforts are turning in the opposite direction. It
   intends to let O.K.W. initiate all advance measures between X
   minus 3 and X minus 1, which will contribute to the smooth and
   rapid working of the mobilisation. With this in mind O.K.H.
   also demands that the X-order be given not later than 1400 on
   X minus 1. To this the following must be said:
   
   Operation (Aktion) Grun will be set in motion by means of an
   'incident' in Czechoslovakia which will give Germany
   provocation for military intervention. The fixing of the exact
   time for this incident is of the utmost importance.
   
   It must come at a time when weather conditions are favourable
   for our superior air forces to go into action and at an hour
   which will enable

                                                         [Page 17]

   authentic news of it (news of this prepared incident) to reach
   us on the afternoon of X minus 1.It can then be spontaneously
   answered by the giving of the X-order at 1400 on X minus 1.
   
   On X minus 2 the Navy, Army and Air Force will merely receive
   an advance warning.
   
   If the Fuehrer intends to follow this plan of action, all
   further discussion is superfluous.
   
   For then no advance measures may be taken before X minus 1 for
   which there is not an innocent explanation, as we shall
   otherwise appear to have manufactured the incident. Orders for
   absolutely essential advance measures must be given in good
   time and camouflaged with the help of the numerous manoeuvres
   and exercises.
   
   Also, the question raised by the Foreign Office as to whether
   all Germans should be called back in time from prospective
   enemy territories must in no way lead to the conspicuous
   departure from Czechoslovakia of any German subjects before
   the incident.
   
   Even a warning to the diplomatic representatives in Prague is
   impossible before the first air attack, although the
   consequences could be very grave in the event of their
   becoming victims of such an attack (e.g. death of.
   representatives of friendly or confirmed neutral powers).
   
   If, for technical reasons, the evening hours should be
   considered desirable for the incident, then the following day
   cannot be X-day, but it must be the day after that.
   
   In any case we must act on the principle that nothing must be
   done before the incident which might point to mobilisation,
   and that the swiftest possible action must be taken after the
   incident (X-Fall).
   
   It is the purpose of these notes to point out what a great
   interest the Wehrmacht: has in the incident and that it must
   be informed of the Fuehrer's intentions in good time - in so
   far as the Abwehr Section is not also charged with the
   organisation of the incident.
   
   I request that the Fuehrer's decision be obtained on these
   points."

In handwriting, at the bottom of the page of that document, are
the notes of the indefatigable Schmundt, Hitler's adjutant. These
reveal that the memorandum was submitted to Hitler on 30th August;
that Hitler agreed to act along these lines, and that Jodl was so
notified on 31st August. There follow Jodl's initials once more.

On 3rd September Keitel and von Brauchitsch met Hitler at the
Berghof. Again Schmundt kept notes of the conference. These will
be found as Item 18 at Pages 39 and 40 of Document 388-PS. I shall
read the first three short paragraphs of these minutes:

   "Gen. Ob. v. Brauchitsch: Reports on the exact time of the
   transfer of the troops to 'exercise areas' for 'Grun.' Field
   units to be transferred on 28th September. From here will then
   be ready for action. When X-day becomes known, field units
   carry out exercises in opposite directions.
   
   Fuehrer: Has objection. Troops assemble field units. A 2-day
   march away. Carry out camouflage exercises everywhere."

Then there is a question mark.
   
   "O.K.H. must know when X-day is by 1200 noon, 27th September."

You will note that von Brauchitsch reported that field troops
would be

                                                         [Page 18]

transferred to the proper areas for "Case Green" on 28th September
and would then be ready for action. You will also note that the
O.K.H. must know when X-day is, by 12 noon on 27th September.


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