The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Preparation for Aggression
(Part 13 of 14)

There follow-detailed orders for the military operation.

The order for Naval cooperation was issued on 6 March 1936, in the form of an order on behalf of the Reich Minister for War, von Blomberg, signed by Keitel, and addressed to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy (Raeder) (C-194). The order set out detailed instructions for the Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet and the admirals commanding the Baltic and North Sea. The short covering letter is as follows:

"To: C-in-C Navy: "The Minister has decided the following after the meeting:

"1. The inconspicuous air reconnaissance in the German bay, not over the line Texel-Doggerbank, from midday OR Z-Day onward, has been approved. C-in-C air force will instruct the air command VI from midday 7 March to hold in readiness single reconnaissance aircraft to be at the disposal of the C-in-C fleet.

"2. The Minister will reserve the decision to set up a U-Boat reconnaissance on line, until the evening of 7 March. The immediate transfer of U-Boats from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven has been approved.

"3. The proposed advance measures for the most part exceed Degree of Emergency A and therefore are out of the question a the first counter-measures to be taken against military preparations of-neighboring states. It is far more essential to examine the advance measures included in Degree of Emergency A, to see whether one or other of the especially conspicuous measures could not be omitted." (C-194)

The re-occupation and fortification of the Rhineland was carried out on 7 March 1936. For the historical emphasis of this occasion, Hitler made a momentous speech on the same day, in which he declared:

[Page 443]

"Men of the German Reichstag! France has replied to the repeated friendly offers and peaceful assurances made by Germany by infringing the Reich pact though a military alliance with the Soviet Union exclusive directed against Germany. In this manner, however, the Locarno Rhine Pact has lost its inner meaning and ceased i practice to exist. Consequently, Germany regards herself, for her part, as no, longer bound by this dissolved treaty. The German government are now constrained to face the new situation created by this alliance, a situation which is rendered more acute by the fact that the Franco-Soviet treaty has been supplemented by a Treaty of Alliance between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union exactly parallel in form. In accordance with the fundamental right of a nation to secure its frontiers and ensure its possibilities of defense, the German government have today restored the full and unrestricted sovereignty of Germany in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland." (2289-PS)

The German reoccupation of the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland caused extensive international repercussions. As a result of the protests lodged with the League of Nations, the Council of the league made an investigation and announced the following finding, which is published in the League of Nations monthly summary, March, 1936, Volume 16, Page 78. [It is also quoted in the American Journal of International Law, page 487 (1936)]:

"That the German government has committed a breach of Article 43 of the Treaty of Versailles, by causing on 7 March 1936, military forces to enter and establish themselves in the demilitarized zone, referred to in Article 42 and the following articles of that Treaty, and in the Treaty of Locarno. At the same time, on 7 March 1936, the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland in flagrant violation of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties. They again tried to allay the fears of other European powers and lead them into a false sense of security by announcing to the world we have no territorial demands to make in Europe."

The last phrase occurred in Hitler's speech on 7 March 1936:

"We have no territorial claims to make in Europe. We know above all that all the tensions resulting either from false territorial settlements or from the disproportion of the numbers of inhabitants to their living space cannot, in Europe, be solved by war." (2289-PS)

The existence of prior plans and preparations for the re- occu-

[Page 444]

pation and fortification of the Rhineland is indisputable. The method and sequence of these plans and their accomplishments are clearly indicated of the increasingly aggressive character of the Nazi objective international obligations and considerations of humanity notwithstanding.

The Nazi conspirators were determined, as these documents have shown, to use whatever means were necessary to abrogate and overthrow the Treaty of Versailles and its restrictions upon the military armament and activity of Germany. In this process, they conspired and engaged in secret armament and training, the secret production of munitions of war, and they built up an air force. They withdrew from the International Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations on 14 October 1938. They instituted universal military service on 16 March 1935. On 21 May 1935 they falsely announced that they would respect the territorial limitations of Versailles and Locarno. On 7 March 1936 they reoccupied and fortified the Rhineland and at the same time, falsely announced that they had no territorial demands in Europe.

The accomplishment of all these objectives, particularly the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty restrictions, opened the gates for the numerous aggressions which were to follow.

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