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Archive/File: imt/ tgmwc/judgment/j-invasion-czechoslovakia
Last-Modified: 1997/09/11

                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office

                                                   [Page 19]

The conference of 5th November, 1937 made it quite plain
that the seizure of Czechoslovakia by Germany had been
definitely decided upon. The only question remaining was the
selection of the suitable moment to do it. On 4th March,
1938 the Defendant Ribbentrop wrote to the Defendant Keitel
with regard to a suggestion made to Ribbentrop by the
Hungarian Ambassador in Berlin, that possible war aims
against Czechoslovakia should be discussed between the
German and Hungarian Armies. In the course of this letter
Ribbentrop said:

     "I have many doubts about such negotiations. In
     case we should discuss with Hungary possible war
     aims against Czechoslovakia, the danger exists
     that other parties as well would be informed about

On 11th March, 1938 Goering made two separate statements to
M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin, assuring him
that the developments then taking place in Austria would in
no way have any detrimental influence on the relations
between the German Reich and Czechoslovakia, and emphasized
the continued earnest endeavor on the part of the Germans to
improve those mutual relations. On 12 March Goering asked M.
Mastny to call on him, and repeated these assurances.

                                                   [Page 20]
This design to keep Czechoslovakia quiet whilst Austria was
absorbed was a typical maneuver on the part of the Defendant
Goering, which he was to repeat later in the case of Poland,
when he made the most strenuous efforts to isolate Poland in
the impending struggle. On the same day, 12 March, the
Defendant von Neurath spoke with M. Mastny, and assured him
on behalf of Hitler that Germany still considered herself
bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention
concluded at Locarno in October, 1925.

The evidence shows that after the occupation of Austria by
the German Army on 12 March and the annexation of Austria on
13th March, Conrad Henlein, who was the leader of the
Sudeten German Party in Czechoslovakia, saw Hitler in Berlin
on 28 March. On the following day, at a conference in
Berlin, when Ribbentrop was present with Henlein, the
general situation was discussed, and later the Defendant
Jodl recorded in his diary:

     "After the annexation of Austria the Fuehrer
     mentions that there is no hurry to solve the Czech
     question, because Austria has to be digested
     first. Nevertheless, preparations for Case Gruen
     (that is, the plan against Czechoslovakia) will
     have to be carried out energetically; they will
     have to be newly prepared on the basis of the
     changed strategic position because of the
     annexation of Austria."

On the 21st April, 1938, a discussion took place between
Hitler and the Defendant Keitel with regard to "Case Gruen",
showing quite clearly that the preparations for the attack
on Czechoslovakia were being fully considered. On 28th May,
1938 Hitler ordered that preparations should be made for
military action against Czechoslovakia by the 2nd October,
and from then onwards the plan to invade Czechoslovakia was
constantly under review. On the 30th May, 1938, a directive
signed by Hitler declared his "unalterable decision to smash
Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future".

In June, 1938, as appears from a captured document taken
from the files of the SD in Berlin, an elaborate plan for
the employment of the SD in Czechoslovakia had been
proposed. This plan provided that "the SD follow, if
possible, immediately after the leading troops, and take
upon themselves the duties similar to their tasks in Germany

Gestapo officials were assigned to co-operate with the SD in
certain operations. Special agents were to be trained
beforehand to prevent sabotage, and these agents were to be
notified "before the attack in due time order to give
them the possibility to hide themselves, avoid arrest and
deportation ....

     "At the beginning, guerrilla or partisan warfare
     is to be expected, therefore weapons are necessary

Files of information were to be compiled with notations as
follows: "To arrest." ...."To liquidate." .... "To
confiscate." .... "To deprive of passport." etc.

The plan provided for the temporary division of the country
into larger and smaller territorial units, and considered
various "suggestions", as they were termed, for the
incorporation into the German Reich of the inhabitants and
districts of Czechoslovakia. The final "suggestion" included
the whole country, together with Slovakia and Carpathian
Russia, with a population of nearly 15 millions.

The plan was modified in some respects in September after
the Munich Conference, but the fact the plan existed in such
exact detail and was couched in such war-like language
indicated a calculated design to resort to force.

                                                   [Page 21]
On 31st August, 1938 Hitler approved a memorandum by Jodl
dated 24th August, 1938, concerning the timing of the order
for the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the question of
defense measures. This memorandum contained the following:

     "Operation Gruen 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."

These facts demonstrate that the occupation of
Czechoslovakia had been planned in detail long before the
Munich Conference.

In the month of September, 1938, the conferences and talks
with military leaders continued. In view of the
extraordinarily critical situation which had arisen, the
British Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain, flew to Munich and
then went to Berchtesgaden to see Hitler. On the 22
September Mr. Chamberlain met Hitler for further discussions
at Bad Godesberg. On the 26th September, 1938, Hitler said
in a speech in Berlin, with reference to his conversation:

     "I assured him, moreover, and I repeat it here,
     that when this problem is solved there will be no
     more territorial problems for Germany in Europe;
     and I further assured him that from the moment
     when Czechoslovakia solves its other problems that
     is to say, when the Czechs have come to an
     arrangement with their other minorities,
     peacefully and without oppression, I will be no
     longer interested in the Czech State, and that as
     far as I am concerned I will guarantee it. We
     don't want any Czechs."

On the 29th September, 1938, after a conference between
Hitler and Mussolini and the British and French Prime
Ministers in Munich, the Munich Pact was signed, by which
Czechoslovakia was required to acquiesce in the cession of
the Sudetenland to Germany. The "piece of paper" which the
British Prime Minister brought back to London signed by
himself and Hitler, expressed the hope that for the future
Britain and Germany might live without war. That Hitler
never intended to adhere to the Munich Agreement is shown by
the fact that a little later he asked the defendant Keitel
for information with regard to the military force which in
his opinion would be required to break all Czech resistance
in Bohemia and Moravia. Keitel gave his reply on the 11th
October, 1938. On the 11th October, 1938 a directive was
issued by Hitler, and countersigned by the Defendant Keitel,
to the Armed Forces on their future tasks, which stated:

     "Liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
     It must be possible to smash at any time the
     remainder of Czechoslovakia if her policy should
     become hostile towards Germany."

On the 14th March, 1939, the Czech President Hacha and his
Foreign Minister Chvalkovsky came to Berlin at the
suggestion of Hitler, and attended a meeting at which the
Defendants Ribbentrop, Goering, and Keitel were present,
with others. The proposal was made to Hacha that if he would
sign an agreement consenting to the incorporation of the
Czech people in the German Reich at once, Bohemia and
Moravia would be saved from destruction. He was informed
that German troops had already received orders to march and
that any resistance would be broken with physical force. The
Defendant Goering added the threat that he would destroy
Prague completely from the air. Faced by this dreadful
alternative, Hacha and his Foreign Minister put their
signatures to the necessary agreement at 4:30 in the
morning, and Hitler and Ribbentrop signed on behalf of

                                                   [Page 22]
On the 15 March German troops occupied Bohemia and Moravia,
and on 16 March the German decree was issued incorporating
Bohemia and Moravia into the Reich as a protectorate, and
this decree was signed by the Defendants Ribbentrop and

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