The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 12 of 29)

From Nurnberg, on 10 September, Hitler issued an order bringing the Reicharbeitsdienst, the German labor service, under the OKW. This top secret order, of which 25 copies were made, provides as follows:

"1. The whole RAD organization comes under the command of the Supreme Command of the Army effective 15 September.

"2. The Chief of OKW decides on the first commitments of this organization in conjunction with the Reichs Labor Leader (Reichsrbeitsfuehrer) and on assignments from time to time to the Supreme Commands of the Navy, Army and Air Force. Where questions arise with regard to competency he will make a final decision in accordance with my instructions.

"3. For the time being this order is to be made known only to the departments and personnel immediately concerned.

"(signed) ADOLF HITLER."
(388-PS, Item 20)

Four days later, on 14 September, Keitel issued detailed instructions for the employment of specific RAD units. This order is item 21 in the Schmundt file. A further order issued by Jodl on 16 September specified RAD units which would receive military training. This is Item 24 in the Schmundt file. (388-PS)

Two entries in Jodl's diary give further indications of the problems of the OKW in this period of mid-September, just two weeks before the anticipated X-day. The entries for 15 and 16 September read as follows:

"15 September:

"In the morning conference with Chief of Any High Command and Chief of General Staffs of Army and Air Forces; the question was discussed what could be done if the Fuehrer insists on advancement of the date, due to the rapid development of the situation.

"16 September:

"General Keitel returns from the Berghof at 1700 hours. He graphically describes the results of the conference between Chamberlain and the Fuehrer. The next conference will take place on the 21st or 22nd in Godesberg.

"With consent of the Fuehrer, the order is given in the

[Page 539]

evening by the Armed Forces High Command to the Army High Command and to the Ministry of Finance, to line up the VGAD along the Czech border.

"In the same way, an order is issued to the railways to have the empty rolling stock kept in readiness clandestinely for the strategic concentrations of the Army, so that it can be transported starting 28 September." (1780-PS)

The order to the railroads to make rolling stock available which General Jodl referred to appears as Item 22 in the Schmundt file. In this order Keitel told the railroads to be ready by 28 September but to continue work on the western fortifications even after 20 September in the interest of camouflage. The first and fourth paragraphs of this order provide:

"The Reichsbahn must provide trains of empty trucks in great numbers by September 28 for the carrying out of mobilization exercises. This task now takes precedence over all others."

"However, in accordance with the Fuehrers directive, every effort should be made to continue to supply the materials in as large quantities as feasible even after 20 September 1938, and this for reasons of camouflage as well as in order to continue the important work of the Limes." (388-PS, Item 22)

The penultimate stage of the aggression began on 18 September. From that day until the 28th a series of orders were issued advancing preparations for the attack. These orders are included in the Schmundt file (388-PS). On the 18th the commitment schedule for the five participating armiesthe 2d, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 14thwas set forth (388- PS, Item 26). Hitler approved the secret mobilization of five divisions in the west to protect the German rear during Case Green 388-PS, Item 31). Further discussions were held between the Army and the Luftwaffe about the time of day for the attack. Conference notes initialed by Jodl and dated 27 September reveal the difference in views. These notes are Item 54 in ie Schmundt file. The first three paragraphs read:


"As a matter of principle, every effort should be made for a coordinated attack by Army and Air Forces on X Day.

"The Army wishes to attack at dawn, i.e., about 0615. It also wishes to conduct some limited operations in the previous night, which however, would not alarm the entire Czech front.

"Air Force's time of attack depends on weather conditions.

[Page 540]

These could change the time of attack and also limit the area of operations. The weather of the last few days, for instance, would have delayed the start until between 0800 and 1100 due to low ceiling in Bavaria." (388-PS, Item 54)

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

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