The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 3 of 29)

C. Planning for Aggression.

Behind the screen of these assurances the Nazi conspirators proceeded with their military and political plans for aggression. Ever since the preceding fall it had been established that the immediate aim of German policy was the elimination of Austria and Czechoslovakia. In both countries the Nazi conspirators planned to undermine the will to resist by propaganda and by fifth column activities, while the actual military preparations were being developed. The Austrian operation, which received priority for political and strategic reasons, was carried out in February and March 1938. Thenceforth Wehrmacht planning was devoted to Case Green Fall Gruen), the designation given to the operation against Czechoslovakia.

The military plans for Case Green had been drafted in outline form as early as June 1937. The OKW top secret "Directive

Page 518]

for the Unified Preparation of the Armed Forces for War", signed by von Blomberg on 24 June 1937 and promulgated to the Army, Navy, and Luftwaffe for the year beginning 1 July 1937, included as a probable warlike eventuality, for which a concentration plan was to be drafted, Case Green ("War on two fronts with the main struggle in the southeast") (C- 175). The original section of this directive dealing with the "probable war" against Czechoslovakia -- it was later revised -- opens with this supposition:

"The war in the east can begin with a surprise German operation against Czechoslovakia in order to parry the imminent attack of a superior enemy coalition. The necessary conditions to justify such an action politically and in the eyes of international law must be created beforehand." (C-175)

After detailing possible enemies and neutrals in the event of such action, the directive continues as follows:

"2. The task of the German Armed Forces is to make their preparations in such a way that the bulk of all forces can break into Czechoslovakia quickly, by surprise, and with the greatest force, while in the West the minimum strength is provided as rear cover for this attack.

"The aim and object of this surprise attack by the German Armed Forces should be to eliminate from the very beginning, and for the duration of the war, the threat by Czechoslovakia to the rear of the operations in the West, and to take from the Russian Air Force the most substantial portion of its operational base in Czechoslovakia. This must be done by the defeat of the enemy armed forces and the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia." (C-175)

The introduction to this directive sets forth as one of its guiding principles the following statement:

"The politically fluid world situation, which does not preclude surprising incidents, demands constant preparedness for war on the part of the German Armed Forces *** to make possible the military exploitation of politically favorable opportunities should they occur." (C-175)

It ordered further work on the plan for mobilization without public announcement "in order to put the Armed Forces in a position to be able to begin a war suddenly which will take the enemy by surprise both as regards strength and time of attack." (C-175). This directive is, of course, a directive for staff planning. But the nature of the planning, and the very tangible and ominous developments which resulted from it, give it a significance that it would not have in another setting.

[Page 519]

Planning along the lines of this directive was carried forward during the fall of 1937 and the winter of 1937-1938. On the political level this planning for the conquest of Czechoslovakia received the approval and support of Hitler in the conference with his military commanders-in-chief on November 1937 (386-PS). In early March 1938, before the march into Austria, Ribbentrop and Keitel were concerned over the extent of the information about war aims against Czechoslovakia to be furnished to Hungary. On 4 March 1938 Ribbentrop wrote to Keitel, enclosing for Keitel's confidential cognizance the minutes of a conference with Sztojay, the Hungarian ambassador to Germany, who had suggested an interchange of views (2786-PS). An acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter was signed by Keitel on 5 March. In his letter to Keitel, 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 this. I would greatly appreciate it if you would notify me briefly whether any commitments were made here in any respect." (2786-PS)

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

[ Previous ] Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.