The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 2 of 29)

B. The Background of Friendly Diplomatic Relations.

This conspiracy must be viewed against a background of amicable German-Czech diplomatic relations. Although they had in the fall of 1937 determined to destroy the Czechoslovak State, the leaders of the German government were bound by a treaty of arbitration and by assurances freely given to observe the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia. By a formal treaty signed at Locarno on 16 October 1925, Germany and Czechoslovakia agreed, with certain exceptions, to refer to an arbitral tribunal or to the Permanent Court of International Justice,

" *** all disputes of every kind between Germany and Czechoslovakia with regard to which the parties are in conflict as to their respective rights, and which it may not be possible to settle amicably by the normal methods of diplomacy.*** (TC-14)

The preamble of this treaty stated:

"The President of the German Empire and the President of the Czechoslovak Republic; equally resolved to maintain

[Page 517]

peace between Germany and Czechoslovakia by assuring the peaceful settlement of differences which might arise between the two countries; declaring that respect for the rights established by treaty or resulting from the law of nations is obligatory for international tribunals; agreeing to recognize that the rights of a State cannot be modified save with its consent; and considering that sincere observance of the methods of peaceful settlement of international disputes permits of resolving, without recourse to force, questions which may become the cause of division between States; have decided to embody in a treaty their common intentions in this respect. ***" (TC-14)

Formal and categoric assurances of their good will toward Czechoslovakia were forthcoming from the Nazi conspirators as late as March 1938. On 11 March 1938 and 12 March 1938, at the time of the annexation of Austria, Germany had a considerable interest in inducing Czechoslovakia not to mobilize. At this time Goering assured M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin, on behalf of the German Government that German-Czech relations were not adversely affected by the developments in Austria and that Germany had no hostile intentions toward Czechoslovakia.

As a token of his sincerity Goering accompanied his assurance with-the statement: "Ich gebe Ihnen mein Ehrenwort" ("I give you my word of honor") (TC-27). At the same time on Neurath, who was handling German foreign affairs during Ribbentrop's stay in London, assured M. Mastny on behalf of Hitler and the German government that Germany still considered herself bound by the Arbitration Convention of 1925 (TC-27).

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