The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Launching of Wars of Aggression
(Part 5 of 14)

"Once Czechoslovakia is conquered -- and a mutual frontier; Germany-Hungary is obtained -- then a neutral attitude by Poland in a German-French conflict could more easily be relied upon. Our agreements with Poland remain valid only

[Page 384]

as long as Germany's strength remains unshakeable; should Germany have any setbacks then an attack by Poland against East Prussia, perhaps also against Pomerania, and Silesia, must be taken into account.

"Assuming a development of the situation, which would lead to a planned attack on our part in the years 1943 to '45, then the behavior of France, England, Poland and Russia would probably have to be judged in the following manner:

"The Fuehrer believes personally, that in all probability England and perhaps also France, have already silently written off Czechoslovakia, and that they have got used to the idea that this question would one day be cleaned up by Germany. The difficulties in the British Empire and the prospect of being entangled in another long-drawn-out European War, were decisive factors in the non-participation of England in a war against Germany. The British attitude would certainly not remain without influence on France's attitude. An attack by France, without British support, is hardly probable assuming that its offensive would stagnate along our Western fortifications.

Without England's support, it would also not be necessary to take into consideration a march by France through Belgium and Holland, and this would also not have to be reckoned with by us in case of a conflict with France, as in every case it would have as a consequence, the enmity of Great Britain. Naturally we should in every case, have to bar our frontier during the operation of our attacks against Czechoslovakia and Austria. It must be taken into consideration here that Czechoslovakia's defence measures will increase in strength from year to year, and that a consolidation of the inside values of the Austrian Army will also be effected in the course of years. Although the population of Czechoslovakia, in the first place is not a thin one, the embodiment of Czechoslovakia and Austria would nevertheless constitute the conquest of food for five to six million people, on the basis that a compulsory emigration of two million from Czechoslovakia, and of one million from Austria could be carried out. The annexation of the two States to Germany, militarily and politically, would constitute a considerable relief, owing to shorter and better frontiers, the freeing of fighting personnel for other purposes, and the possibility of reconstituting new armies up to a strength of about twelve Divisions, representing a new Division per one million population.

[Page 385]

"No opposition to the removal of Czechoslovakia is expected on the part of Italy; however, it cannot be judged today what would be her attitude in the Austrian question, since it would depend largely on whether the Duce were alive at the time or not.

"The measure and speed of our action would decide Poland's attitude. Poland will have little inclination to enter the war against a victorious Germany, with Russia in the rear.

"Military participation by Russia must be countered by the speed of our operations; it is a question whether this needs to be taken into consideration at all, in view of Japan's attitude.

"Should Case 2 occur -- paralyzation of France by a Civil War -- then the situation should be utilized at any time for operations against Czechoslovakia, as Germany's most dangerous enemy would be eliminated.

"The Fuehrer sees Case 3 looming near; it could develop from the existing tensions in the Mediterranean, and should it occur, he has firmly decided to make use of it any time, perhaps even as early as 1938.

"Following recent experiences in the course of events of the war in Spain, the Fuehrer does not see an early end to hostilities there. Taking into consideration the time required for past offensives by Franco, a further three years duration of war is within the bounds of possibility. On the other hand, from the German point of view, a one hundred per cent victory by Franco is not desirable; we are more interested in a continuation of the war and preservation of the tensions in the Mediterranean. Should Franco be in sole possession of the Spanish Peninsula, it would mean the end of Italian intervention and the presence of Italy on the Balearic Isles. As our interests are directed towards continuing the war in Spain, it must be the task of our future policy to strengthen Italy in her fight to hold on to the Balearic Isles However, a solidification of Italian positions on the Balearic Isles can not be tolerated either by France or by England and could lead to a war by France and England against Italy, in which case Spain, if entirely in white [Franco's] hands, could participate on the side of Italy's enemies. A subjugation of Italy in such a war appears very - unlikely. Additional raw materials could be brought to Italy via Germany. The Fuehrer believes that Italy's military strategy would be to remain on the defensive against France

[Page 386]

on the Western frontier and carry out operations against France from Libya, against the North African French colonial possessions.

"As a landing of French-British troops on the Italian coast can be discounted, and as a French offensive via the Alps to Upper Italy would be extremely difficult, and would probably stagnate before the strong Italian fortifications, French lines of communication by the Italian fleet will to a great extent paralyze the transport of fighting personnel from North Africa to France, so that at its frontiers with Italy and Germany, France will have, at its disposal, solely the metropolitan fighting forces.

"If Germany profits from this war by disposing of the Czechoslovakian and the Austrian questions, the probability must be assumed that England -- being at war with Italy would not decide to commence operations against Germany. Without British support, a warlike action by France against Germany is not to be anticipated.

"The date of our attack on Czechoslovakia and Austria must be made independent of the course of the Italian- French-English war and would not be simultaneous with the commencement of military operations by these three States. The Fuehrer was also not thinking of military agreements with Italy, but in complete independence and by exploiting this unique favorable opportunity, he wishes to begin to carry out operations against Czechoslovakia. The attack on Czechoslovakia would have to take place with the speed of lightning [blitzartig schnell].

"Fieldmarshal von Blomberg and Generaloberst von Fritsch in giving their estimate on the situation, repeatedly pointed out that England and France must not appear as our enemies, and they stated that the war with Italy would not bind the French Army to such an extent that it would not be in a position to commence operations on our Western frontier with superior forces. Generaloberst von Fritsch estimated the French forces which would presumably be employed on the Alpine frontier against Italy to be in the region of twenty divisions, so that a strong French superiority would still remain on our Western frontier. The French would, according to German reasoning, attempt to advance into the Rhineland. We should consider the lead which France has got in mobilization, and quite apart from the very small value of our then existing fortifications --which

[Page 387]

was pointed out particularly by Generalfieldmarshal von Blomberg -- the four motorized divisions which had been laid down for the West would be more or less incapable of movement. With regard to our offensive in a Southeasterly direction, Fieldmarshal von Blomberg drew special attention to the strength of the Czechoslovakian fortifications, the building of which had assumed the character of a Maginot Line and which would present extreme difficulties to our attack.

"Generaloberst von Fritsch mentioned that it was the purpose of a study which he had laid on for this winter to investigate the possibilities of carrying out operations against Czechoslovakia with special consideration of the conquest of the Czechoslovakian system of fortifications; the Generaloberst also stated that owing to the prevailing conditions, he would have to relinquish his leave abroad, which was to begin on the 10 November. This intention was countermanded by the Fuehrer, who gave as a reason that the possibility of the conflict was not to be regarded as being so imminent.

In reply to statements by Generalfieldmarshal von Blomberg and Generaloberst von Fritsch regarding England and France's attitude, the Fuehrer repeated his previous statements and said that he was convinced of Britain's non-participation and that consequently he did not believe in military action by France against Germany. Should the Mediterranean conflict already mentioned, lead to a general mobilization in Europe, then we should have to commence operations against Czechoslovakia immediately. If, however, the powers who are not participating in the war should declare their disinterestedness, then Germany would, for the time being, have to side with this attitude.

"In view of the information given by the Fuehrer, Generaloberst Goering considered it imperative to think of a reduction or abandonment of our military undertaking in Spain. The Fuehrer agreed to this, insofar as he believed this decision should be postponed for a suitable date.

"The second part of the discussion concerned material armament questions.

"(Signed) Hossbach". (386-PS)

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