The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Treaty Violations
(Part 6 of 11)

(e) Czechoslovakia. In Article 81, Germany made pledges regarding Czechoslovakia:

"Germany, in conformity with the action already taken by the Allied and Associated Powers, recognizes the complete independence of the Czechoslovak State, which will include the autonomous territory of the Ruthenians to the South of the Carpathians. Germany hereby recognizes the frontiers of this State as determined by the principal Allied and Associated Powers and other interested states." (TC-7)

Captured minutes of the German Foreign Office record in detail the conference between Hitler and President Hacha, and Foreign Minister Chvalkowsky of Czechoslovakia, at which Goering and Keitel were present (2798-PS). The agreement subsequently signed by Hitler and Ribbentrop for Germany, and by Dr. Hacha and Dr. Chvalkowsky for Czechoslovakia, reads as follows:

"Text of the Agreement between the Fuehrer and Reichs Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the President of the Czechoslovak State, Dr. Hacha.

"The Fuehrer and Reichs Chancellor today received in Berlin, at their own request, the President of the Czechoslovak State, Dr. Hacha, and the Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, Dr. Chvalkowsky, in the presence of Herr Von Ribbentrop, the Foreign Minister of the Reich. At this meeting the serious situation which had arisen within the previous territory of

[Page 657]

Czechoslovakia owing to the events of recent weeks, was subjected to a completely open examination. The conviction was unanimously expressed on both sides that the object of all their efforts must be to assure quiet, order and peace in this part of Central Europe. The President of the Czechoslovak State declared that, in order to serve this end and to reach a final pacification, he confidently placed the fate of the Czech people and of their country in the hands of the Fuehrer of the German Reich. The Fuehrer accepted this declaration and expressed his decision to assure to the Czech people, under the protection of the German Reich, the autonomous development of their national life in accordance with their special characteristics. In witness whereof this document is signed in duplicate." (TC- 49)

Hitler's proclamation to the German people, dated 1 March 1939, reads as follows:

"Proclamation of the Fuehrer to the German people, 15 March 1939.

"To the German People:

"Only a few months ago Germany was compelled to protect her fellow-countrymen, living in well-defined settlements, against the unbearable Czechoslovakian terror regime; and during the last weeks the same thing has happened on an ever-increasing scale. This is bound to create an intolerable state of affairs within an area inhabited by citizens of so many nationalities.

"These national groups, to counteract the renewed attacks against their freedom and life, have now broken away from the Prague Government. Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist. "Since Sunday at many places wild excesses have broken out, amongst the victims of which are again many Germans. Hourly the number of oppressed and persecuted people crying for help is increasing. From areas thickly populated by German-speaking inhabitants, which last autumn Czechoslovakia was allowed by German generosity to retain, refugees robbed of their personal belongings are streaming into the Reich.

"Continuation of such a state of affairs would led to the destruction of every vestige of order in an area in which Germany is vitally interested particularly as for over one thousand years it formed a part of the German Reich.

"In order definitely to remove this menace to peace and to create the conditions for a necessary new order in this living space, I have to-day resolved to allow German troops to

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march into Bohemia and Moravia. They will disarm the terror gangs and the Czechoslovakian forces supporting them, and protect the lives of all who are menaced. Thus they will lay the foundations for introducing a fundamental reordering of affairs which will be in accordance with the 1,000-year old history and will satisfy the practical needs of the German and Czech peoples". (TC-50)

A footnote contains an order of the Fuehrer to the German armed forces of the same date, in which they are told to march in to safeguard lives and property of all inhabitants and not to conduct themselves as enemies, but as an instrument for carrying out the German Reich Government's- decision. (TC-50)

Next came the decree establishing the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. (TC-51 )

In a communication from Foreign Minister Halifax to Sir Neville Henderson, British Ambassador in Berlin, the British Government protested against these actions:

"Foreign Office, 17 March 1939:

"Please inform German Government that His Majesty's Government desire to make it plain to them that they cannot but regard the events of the past few days as a complete repudiation of the Munich Agreement and a denial of the spirit in which the negotiators of that Agreement bound themselves to cooperate for a peaceful settlement.

"His Majesty's Government must also take this occasion to protest against the changes effected in Czechoslovakia by German military action, which are, in their view, devoid of any basis of legality." (TC-52)

The French Government also made a protest on the same date:

"*** The French Ambassador has the honor to inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich of the formal protest made by the Government of the French Republic against the measures which the communication of Count de Welzeck records.

"The Government of the Republic consider, in fact, that in face of the action directed by the German Government against Czechoslovakia, they are confronted with a flagrant violation of the letter and the spirit of the agreement signed at Munich on 9 September 1938.

"The circumstances in which the agreements of March 15 have been imposed on the leaders of the Czechoslovak Republic do not, in the eyes of the Government of the Republic, legalize the situation registered in that agreement.

"The French Ambassador has the honor to inform His Excellency,

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the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich, that the Government of the Republic can not recognize under these conditions the legality of the new situation created in Czechoslovakia by the action of the German Reich." (TC-5)

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

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