The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 8 of 29)

F. Negotiations with Italy and Hungary about Case Green.

Knowledge of pending action against Czechoslovakia was not confined to a close circle of high officials of the Reich. During the summer Germany's allies, Italy and Hungary, were apprised by one means or another of the plans of the Nazi conspirators. A captured document from German Foreign Office files contains a confidential memorandum of a conversation with the Italian ambassador, Attolico, in Berlin on 18 July 1938 (2800-PS). At the bottom is a handwritten note, headed "For the Reichsminister [Ribbentrop] only." This note reads:

"Attolico added that we had made it unmistakably clear to the Italians what our intentions are regarding Czechoslovakia. He also knew the appointed time well enough so that he could take perhaps a two months' holiday now which he could not do later on.

[Page 529]

"Giving an idea of the attitude of other governments Attolico mentioned that the Roumanian government had refused to grant application for leave to its Berlin Minister." (2800-PS)

A month later Mussolini sent a message to Berlin, asking that he be told the date on which Case Green would take place. The German response is outlined in a German Foreign Office note on a conversation with Ambassador Attolico, signed "R" for Ribbentrop) and dated 23 August 1938:

"On the voyage of the 'Patria' Ambassador Attolico explained to me that he had instructions to request the notification of a contemplated time for German action against Czechoslovakia from the German government.

"In case the Czechs should again cause a provocation against Germany, Germany would march. This would be tomorrow, in six months or perhaps in a year. However, I could promise him, that the German government, in case of an increasing gravity of the situation or as soon as the Fuehrer made his decision, would notify the Italian-Chief of Government as rapidly as possible. In any case, the Italian government will be the first one who will receive such a notification.

"R (initial) ."

Four days later Attolico again asked to be notified of the date of the pending attack. The conversation is recorded in another German Foreign Office Memorandum:

"Ambassador Attolico paid me a visit today at 12 o'clock to communicate the following:

"He had received another written instruction from Mussolini asking that Germany communicate in time the probable date of action against Czechoslovakia. Mussolini asked for such notification, as Mr. Attolico assured me, in order 'to be able to take in due time the necessary measures on the French frontier.'

"Berlin, 27 August 1938 R

"N. B. I replied to Ambassador Attolico, just as on his former demarche, that I could not impart any date to him, that, however, in any case Mussolini would be the first one to be informed of any decision.

"Berlin, 2 September 1938." (2792-PS)

Hungary, which borders Czechoslovakia to the southeast, was

[Page 530]

from the first considered to be a possible participant in Case Green. It will be recalled that in early March 1938 Keitel and Ribbentrop had exchanged letters on the question of bringing Hungary into the Nazi planning (2786-PS). At that time the decision was in the negative. But by mid- August 1938 the Nazi conspirators were attempting to persuade Hungary to join in the attack.

From August 21st to 26th Admiral Horthy and some of his ministers visited Germany. Admiral Horthy witnessed the launching of the Prince Eugen and conferred with Hitler. There were discussions of the Czechoslovak question. A captured German Foreign Office document, signed by von Weizsacker, records the conversations between Hitler and Ribbentrop and a Hungarian delegation consisting of Horthy, Imredy, and Kanya aboard the S. S. Patria on 23 August 1938 (2796-PS). In this conference Ribbentrop inquired about the Hungarian attitude in the event of a German attack on Czechoslovakia and suggested that such an attack would prove to be a good opportunity for Hungary. The Hungarians, with the exception of Horthy, who wished to put the Hungarian intention to participate on record, proved reluctant to commit themselves. Thereupon Hitler emphasized Ribbentrop's statement, and said:

"Whoever wanted to join the meal would have to participate in the cooking as well." (2796 PS)

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

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