The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 26 of 29)

In reply to this long harangue, Hacha, according to the German minutes, said he agreed that resistance would be useless. He expressed doubt that he would be able to issue the necessary orders to the Czech Army in four hours left him before the German army crossed the Czech border. He asked if the object of the invasion was to disarm the Czech Army. If so, that might be arranged. Hitler replied that his decision was final, that it

[Page 576]

was well known what a decision of the Fuehrer meant. He turned to the circle of Nazi conspirators surrounding him, which included Goering, Ribbentrop, and Keitel, for their support. The only possibility of disarming the Czech Army, Hitler said, was by the intervention of the German Army. At this point Hacha and Chvalkovsky retired from the room. (2798-PS)

A dispatch from the British Ambassador, Sir Nevile Henderson, published in the British Blue Book, describes a conversation with Goering in which the events of this early morning meeting are set forth (2861-PS). Dispatch No. 77 in the French Yellow Book from M. Coulondre, the French Ambassador, gives another well-informed version of this same midnight meeting (2943-PS). The following account of the remainder of this meeting is drawn from these two sources, as well as from the captured German minutes (2787-PS). (Cf. also 061-PS.)

When President Hacha left the conference room in the Reichs Chancellery, he was in such a state of exhaustion that he needed medical attention from a physician who was on hand for that purpose. It appears that he was given an injection to sustain him during the ordeal. When the two Czechs returned to the room the Nazi conspirators again told them of the power and invincibility of the Wehrmacht. They reminded him that in three hours, at 6 in the morning, the German Army would cross the border. Goering boasted of what the German Wehrmacht would do if Czech forces resisted the invading Germans. If German lives were lost, Goering said, his Luftwaffe would blast half Prague into ruins in two hours. And that, Goering said, would be only the beginning. Under this threat of imminent and merciless attack by land and air, the President of Czechoslovakia at 4:30 in the morning signed the document with which the Nazi conspirators confronted him. This Declaration of 15 March 1939 reads:

"the President of the Czechoslovak State *** entrusts with entire confidence the destiny of the Czech people and the Czech country to the hands of the Fuehrer of the German Reich." (TC-49)

While the Nazi officials were threatening and intimidating the representatives of the Czech government, the Wehrmacht had in some areas already crossed the Czech border. The Czech industrial centres of Maehrisch-Ostrau and Witkowitz, close to the Silesian and Polish borders, were occupied by German troops 'and SS units during the early evening of 14 March. An article in the German military magazine, the Wehrmacht, of 29 March 1939 describes the movement of German troops during the occupation:

"From Silesia, Saxony and Northern Bavaria and the Ost-

[Page 577]

mark, seven Army Corps moved on the morning of March 15 past the former Czech border. On the evening of March 14 parts of the VIII Army Corps and the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, under the command of the Commanding General of the VIII Army Corps, had already occupied the industrial centers of Witkowitz and Maehrisch Ostrau.

"The troops of Army Group 3 under the command of General of Infantry Blaskowitz were to take Bohemia under their protection, while the troops of Army Group 5 under General of Inf. List were given the same mission for Moravia.

"For this purpose parts of the Air Force (particularly reconnaissance planes and antiaircraft artillery) as well as parts of the SS Verfuegungstruppen were placed at the disposal of the two army groups.

"On the evening of March 14, the march order was received by the troops. On March 15 at 6 A. M. the columns moved past the border and then moved on with utmost precision. ***" (3571-PS)

(Other descriptions of the military movements of 14 and 15 March are contained in documents 2860-PS, 3618-PS, and 3619- PS.)

At dawn on 15 March German troops poured into Czechoslovakia from all sides. Hitler issued an order of the day to the Armed Forces and a proclamation to the German people, which stated succinctly, "Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist." (TC- 50)

On the following day, in direct contravention of Article 81 of the Treaty of Versailles, Czechoslovakia was formally incorporated into the German Reich under the name of the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia." This decree, signed in Prague on 16 March 1939 by Hitler, Lammers, Frick, and Ribbentrop, commenced with this declaration:

"The Bohemian-Moravian countries belonged for a millennium to the living space of the German people." (TC-51)

The remainder of the decree sets forth in bleak detail the extent to which Czechoslovakia henceforth was to be subjugated to Germany. A German Protector was to be appointed by the Fuehrer for the so-called Protectorate. The German Government assumed charge of their foreign affairs and of their customs and their excise. It was specified that German garrisons and military establishments would be maintained in the Protectorate. (TC-51)

At the same time the extremist leaders in Slovakia, who at German insistence had done so much to undermine the Czech State, found that the independence of their week-old state was in fact qualified. A Treaty of Protection between Slovakia and

[Page 578]

the Reich was signed in Vienna on 18 March and by Ribbentrop in Berlin on 23 March (1439-PS). A secret protocol to this treaty was also signed in Berlin on 23 March by Ribbentrop for Germany, and by Tuka and Durcansky for Slovakia (2793- PS). The first four articles of this treaty provide:

"The German Government and the Slovak Government have agreed, after the Slovak State has placed itself under the protection of the German Reich, to regulate by treaty the consequences resulting from this fact. For this purpose the undersigned representatives of the two governments have agreed on the following provisions.

"ARTICLE 1. The German Reich undertakes to protect the political independence of the State of Slovakia and the integrity of its territory.

"ARTICLE 2. For the purpose of making effective the protection undertaken by the German Reich, the German armed forces shall have the right, at all time, to construct military installations and to keep them garrisoned in the strength they deem necessary, in an area delimited on its western side by the frontiers of the State of Slovakia and on its eastern side by a line formed by the eastern rims of the Lower Carpathians, the White Carpathians and the Javornik Mountains.

"The Government of Slovakia will take the necessary steps to assure that the land required for these installations shall be conveyed to the German armed forces. Furthermore the Government of Slovakia will agree to grant exemption from custom duties for imports from the Reich for the maintenance of the German troops and the supply of military installations.

"Military sovereignty will be assumed by the German armed forces in the zone described in the first paragraph of this article.

"German citizens who, on the basis of private employment contracts, are engaged in the construction of military installations in the designated zone shall be subject to German jurisdiction.

"ARTICLE 3. The Government of Slovakia will organize its military forces in close agreement with German armed forces.

"ARTICLE 4. In accordance with the relationship of protection agreed upon, the Government of Slovakia will at all times conduct its foreign affairs in close agreement with the German Government." (1439-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.