The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 4 of 29)

D. Development of Specific Plans.

At the 21 April meeting between Hitler and Keitel, specific plans for the attack on Czechoslovakia were discussed for the first time (388-PS, Item 2). This meeting was followed in the late spring and summer of 1938 by a series of memoranda and telegrams advancing Case Green. These notes and communications were carefully filed at Hitler's headquarters by Major Schmundt, the Fuehrer's military adjutant, and were captured by American troops in a cellar at Obersalzberg, Hitler's headquarters, near Berchtesgaden. This file, preserved intact, is document (388-PS).

The individual items in this file tell more graphically than any narrative the progress of the Nazi conspirators' planning to launch an unprovoked war against Czechoslovakia. From the start the Nazi leaders displayed a lively interest in intelligence data concerning Czechoslovak armament and defense. This interest is reflected in Item 4 of the Schmundt file, a telegram from Colonel Zeitzler in General Jodl's office of the OKW to Schmundt at Hitler's headquarters; Item A 12, Short survey of Armament of the Czech Army, dated Berlin 9 June 1938 and initialed "Z" for Zeitzler; and item 1, Questions of the Fuehrer, dated Berlin, 9 June 1938 and classified "Most Secret". The following are four of the questions on which Hitler wanted authoritative information:

[Page 520]

"Question 1: Armament of the Czech Army?

"Question 2: How many battalions, etc., are employed in the West for the construction of emplacements ?

"Question 3: Are the fortifications of Czechoslovakia still occupied in unreduced strength?

"Question 4: Frontier protection in the West?" (388-PS, Item 13)

These questions were answered in detail by the OKW and initialed by Colonel Zeitzler of Jodl's staff.

As a precaution against French and British action during the attack on Czechoslovakia, it was necessary for the Nazi conspirators to rush the preparation of fortification measures along the western frontier of Germany. A telegram, presumably sent from Schmundt in Berchtesgaden to Berlin, read in part as follows:

"Inform Colonel General von Brauchitsch and General Keitel: *** The Fuehrer repeatedly emphasized the necessity of pressing forward greatly the fortification work in the west." (388-PS, Item 8)

In May, June, July, and August of 1938 conferences between Hitler and his political and military advisers resulted in the issuance of a series of constantly revised directives for the attack. It was decided that preparations for X-day, the day of the attack, should be completed no later than 1 October.

On the afternoon of 28 May 1938 Hitler called a conference of his principal military and political advisers in the winter garden of the Reichs Chancellery in Berlin. This conference was the occasion on which Hitler made known to the inner circle of the Nazi conspirators the outlines of his plan to attack Czechoslovakia a.nd issued the necessary instructions. The meeting is described in an affidavit of Fritz Wiedemann, who at that time was Hitler's adjutant:

"FRITZ WIEDEMANN, being first duly sworn, deposes and says as follows:

"From the month of January 1935 to January 1939 I served as adjutant to Hitler. In this time my duties were to handle correspondence and complaints addressed to the Fuehrer's office. Occasionally I attended conferences held by the Fuehrer.

"I recall that on the afternoon of 28 May 1938 Hitler called a conference in the winter garden of the Reichs Chancellery of all the people who were important, from the Foreign Office, the Army, and the Command Staffs. Those present at this conference, as I recall, included Goering, Ribbentrop, von Neurath, General Beck, Admiral Raeder, General Keitel,

[Page 521]

and General von Brauchitsch. On this occasion Hitler made the following statement: 'It is my unshakable will that Czechoslovakia shall be wiped off the map.' Hitler then revealed the outlines of the plan to attack Czechoslovakia. Hitler addressed himself to the Generals, saying: 'So, we will first tackle the situation in the East. Then I will give you three to four years' time, and then we will settle the situation in the West.' The situation in the West was meant to be the war against England and France.

"I was considerably shaken by these statements, and on leaving the Reichs Chancellery I said to Herr von Neurath: 'Well, what do you say to these revelations ?' Neurath thought that the situation was not so serious as it appeared and that nothing would happen before the spring of 1939.

"/s/ Fr. Wiedemann." (3037-PS)

In the months after the occupation of the Sudetenland Hitler made no secret of this meeting. In a speech before the Reichstag on 80 January 1939, Hitler spoke as follows:

"On account of this intolerable provocation which had been aggravated by a truly infamous persecution and terrorization of our Germans there, I had resolved to solve once and for all, and this time radically, the Sudeten German question. On May 28 I ordered (1) that preparations should be made for military action against this state by October 2. I ordered (2) the immense and accelerated expansion of our defensive front in the West." (2360-PS)

Hitler also referred to this conference in his meeting with President Hacha on 15 March 1939. (2798-PS)

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

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