The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 5 of 29)

Two days after this conference, on 30 May 1938, Hitler issued the revised military directive for Case Green. This directive is Item 11 in the Schmundt file (388-PS). Entitled "Two front war with main effort in the Southeast," this directive replaced the corresponding section, Part 2, Section II, of the "Directive for Unified Preparation for War" promulgated by von Blomberg on 24 June 1937 (C-175). This directive represented a further development of the ideas for political and military action discussed by Hitler and Keitel in their conference on 21 April. It is an expansion of a rough draft submitted by Keitel to Hitler on 20 May, which may be found as Item 5 in the Sclnnundt file (388-PS). It was signed by Hitler. Only five copies were made. Three copies were forwarded with a covering letter from Keitel to General von Brauchitsch for the Army, to Raeder for the Navy, and to Goering for the Luftwaffe. In his

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covering memorandum Keitel noted that its execution must be assured "as from 1 October 1938 at the latest". (388-PS, Item 11)

This document, which is the basic directive under which the Wehrmacht carried out its planning for Case Green, reads as follows:

"1. Political Prerequisites.

"It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future. It is the job of the political leaders to await or bring about the politically and militarily suitable moment.

"An inevitable development of conditions inside Czechoslovakia or other political events in Europe creating a surprisingly favorable opportunity and one which may never come again may cause me to take early action.

"The proper choice and determined and full utilization of a favorable moment is the surest guarantee of success. Accordingly the preparations are to be made at once.

"2. Political Possibilities for the Commencement of the Action.

"The following are necessary prerequisites for the intended invasion:

"a. suitable obvious cause and, with it

"b. sufficient political justification,

"c. action unexpected by the enemy, which will find him prepared to the least possible degree.

"From a military as well as a political standpoint the most favorable course is a lightning-swift action as the result of an incident through which Germany is provoked in an unbearable way for which at least part of world opinion will grant the moral justification of military action.

"But even a period of tension, more or less preceding a war, must terminate in sudden action on our partwhich must have the elements of surprise as regards time and extent before the enemy is so advanced in military preparedness that he cannot be surpassed.

"3. Conclusions for the Preparation of "Fall Gruen".

a. For the Armed War it is essential that the surprise element as the most important factor contributing to success be made full use of by appropriate preparatory measures already in peace-time and by an unexpectedly rapid course of the action. Thus it is essential to create a situation within the first four days which plainly demonstrates, to hostile nations eager to intervene, the hopelessness of the Czechoslovakian military situation and which at the same

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time will give nations with territorial claims on Czechoslovakia an incentive to intervene immediately against Czechoslovakia. In such a case, intervention by Poland and Hungary against Czechoslovakia may be expected, especially if Francedue to the obvious pro- German attitude of Italy fears, or at least hesitates, to unleash a European war by intervening against Germany. Attempts by Russia to give military support to Czechoslovakia mainly by the Air Force are to be expected. If concrete successes are not achieved by the land operations within the first few days, a European crisis will certainly result. This knowledge must give commanders of all ranks the impetus to decided and bold action.

"b. The Propaganda War must on the one hand intimidate Czechoslovakia by threats and soften her power of resistance, on the other hand issue directions to national groups for support in the Armed War and influence the neutrals into our way of thinking. I reserve further directions and determination of the date.

"4. Tasks of the Armed Forces.

"Armed Forces Preparations are to be made on the following basis:

"a. The mass of all forces must be employed against Czechoslovakia.

"b. For the West, a minimum of forces are to be provided as rear cover which may be required, the other frontiers in the East against Poland and Lithuania are merely to be protected, the Southern frontiers to be watched.

"c. The sections of the army which can be rapidly employed must force the frontier fortifications with speed and decision and must break into Czechoslovakia with the greatest daring in the certainty that the bulk of the mobile army will follow them with the utmost speed. Preparations for this are to be made and timed in such a way that the sections of the army which can be rapidly employed cross the frontier at the appointed time at the same time as the penetration by the Air Force before the enemy can become aware of our mobilization.

"For this, a timetable between Army and Air Force is to be worked out in conjunction with OKW and submitted to me for approval.

"5. Missions for the branches of the Armed Forces.

"a. Army: The basic principle of the surprise attack against Czechoslovakia must not be endangered by the inevitable time required for transporting the bulk of the field

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forces by rail nor the initiative of the Air Force be wasted. Therefore it is first of all essential to the army that as many assault columns as possible be employed at the same time as the surprise attack by the Air Force. These assault columns the composition of each, according to their tasks at that time must be formed with troops which can be employed rapidly owing to their proximity to the frontier or to motorization and to special measures of readiness. It must be the purpose of these thrusts to break into the Czechoslovakian fortification lines at numerous points and in a strategically favorable direction, to achieve a breakthrough or to break them down from the rear.

"For the success of this operation, cooperation with the Sudeten German frontier population, with deserters from the Czechoslovakian army, with parachutists or airborne troops and with units of the sabotage service will be of importance. The bulk of the army has the task of frustrating the Czechoslovakian plan of defense, of preventing the Czechoslovakian army from escaping into Slovakia, of forcing a battle, of beating the Czechoslovakian army and of occupying Bohemia and Moravia speedily. To this end a thrust into the heart of Czechoslovakia must be made with the strongest possible motorized and armored units using to the full the first successes of the assault columns and the effects of the Air Force operations. The rear cover provided for the West must be limited in numbers and quality to the extent which suits the present state of fortifications.

"Whether the units assigned this will be transported to the Western frontier immediately or held back for the time being will be decided in my special order. Preparations must however, be made to enable security detachments to be brought up to the Western frontier even during the strategic concentration 'Gruen'. Independent of this, a first security garrison must be improvised from the engineers at present employed in constructing fortifications and from formations of the Labor Corps. The remaining frontiers as well as East Prussia, are to be only weakly protected. But, always depending on the political situation, the transfers by sea, of a part or even the bulk of the active forces of East Prussia, into the Reich must be taken into account.

"b. Air Force. While leaving a minimum of defensive forces in the West, the Air Force is to be employed in bulk in a surprise attack against Czechoslovakia. The frontier is to be flown over at the same time as it is crossed by the first section of the Army ***" (388-PS, Item 11)

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

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