The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg
(Part 2 of 6)

[Page 763]

Therefore it is held to be essential to obtain the opinion of the Army as to the conditions under which an occupation of this area could be carried out and how long it would take, and in this case it would be necessary to reassess the commitment against Great Britain." (375-PS)

It was apparently assumed by the staff officer who prepared this document, and assumed quite rightly, that the leaders of the German nation and the High Command would not pay the smallest attention to the fact that Germany had given her word not to invade Holland or Belgium. It was recommended as a militarily advantageous thing to do, with the knowledge that, if the commanders and the Fuehrer agreed with that view, treaties would be completely ignored. Such was the honor of the German Government and of its leaders.

In March of 1939, the remainder of Czechoslovakia had been peacefully annexed, and the time had come for further guarantees. Assurances which were accordingly given to Belgium and the Netherlands on 28 April 1939 (TC-30). A guarantee was also made to Luxembourg in a speech by Hitler in the Reichstag, in which he dealt with a communication from Mr. Roosevelt, who was feeling a little uneasy as to Hitler's intentions (TC-42-A). In "The Nazi Plan," a motion picture shown to the Tribunal by the American prosecution (3054-PS), the delivery by Hitler of this part of this speech was shown. Hitler appeared in one of his jocular moods, as his words were greeted and delivered in a jocular vein; The film shows that Goering, who sits above Hitler in the Reichstag, appreciated very much the joke, the joke being this: That it is an absurd suggestion to make that Germany could possibly go to war with any of its neighbors.

In this speech Hitler declared:

"Finally Mr. Roosevelt demands the readiness to give him an assurance that the German fighting forces will not attack the territory or possessions of the following independent nations, and above all, that they will not march into them. And he goes on to name the following as the countries in question: Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Iran.

"Answer: I started o by taking the trouble to find out in the case of the countries listed, firstly, whether they feel themselves threatened, and secondly and particularly, whether this question Mr. Roosevelt has asked us was put as

[Page 764]

the result of a demarche by them or at least with their consent.

"The answer was a general negative, which in some cases took-the form of a blunt rejection. Actually, this counter-question of mine could not be conveyed to some of the states and nations listed, since they are not at present in possession of their liberty (as for instance Syria), but are occupied by the military forces of democratic states, and therefore, deprived of all their rights.

"Thirdly, apart from that, all the states bordering on Germany have received much more binding assurances and, above all, much more binding proposals than Mr. Roosevelt asked of me in his peculiar telegram." (TC-42-A)

Although that is sneering at Mr. Roosevelt, it is suggesting in the presence, among others, of Goering, as being quite absurd that Germany should nurture any warlike feeling 'against its neighbors. The hollow falsity of that declaration and of the preceding guarantee is shown by the minutes of Hitler's conference of the 23rd of May (79). The first page shows that those present included the Fuehrer, Goering, Raeder, von Brauchitsch, Keitel, Warlimont (Jodl's deputy), and various others. The purpose of the conference was an analysis of the situation, which proceeded in this fashion:

"What will this struggle be like?"


"The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by armed force. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored."


"Therefore, if England intends to intervene in the Polish war, we must occupy Holland with lightning speed. We must aim at securing a new defense line on Dutch soil up to the Zuider Zee." (L-79)

In Hitler's speech on 22 August, the following passage occurred:

"Attack from the West from the Maginot Line: I consider this impossible.

"Another possibility is the violation of Dutch, Belgium, and Swiss neutrality. I have no doubts that all these states as well as Scandinavia will defend their neutrality by all available means. England and France will not violate the neutrality of these countries." (798-PS)

Nevertheless, a further assurance was given by the Ambassador of Germany to the Belgian Government:

"In view of the gravity of the international situation, I am

[Page 765]

expressly instructed by the Head of the German Reich to transmit to Your Majesty the following communication:

"Though the German Government is at present doing everything in its power to arrive at a peaceful solution of the questions at issue between the Reich and Poland, it nevertheless desires to define clearly, here and now, the attitude which it proposes to adopt towards Belgium should a conflict in Europe become inevitable.

"The German Government is firmly determined to abide by the terms of the declaration contained in the German note of 13 October 1937. This provides in effect that Germany will in no circumstances impair the inviolability of Belgium and will at all times respect Belgium territory. The German Government renews this undertaking; however, in the expectation that the Belgium Government, for its part, will observe an attitude of strict neutrality and that Belgium will tolerate no violations on the part of a third power, but that, on the contrary, she will oppose it with all the forces at her disposal. It goes without saying that if the Belgium Government were to adopt a different attitude, the German Government would naturally be compelled to defend its interests in conformity with the new situation thus created." (TC-36)

It seems likely that the decision having been made to violate Belgian neutrality, those last words were put in to afford some excuse in the future.

A similar document assurance was communicated to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands on the same day, 26 August 1939 (TC-40). Likewise assurances were given to Luxembourg at the same time. - It is in the same terms as the other two assurances, and amounts to a complete guarantee with the sting in the tail (TC-42). Poland was occupied by means of a lightning victory, and in October 1939 German armed forces were free for other tasks. The first step that was taken, so far as the Netherlands and Belgium are concerned, was a German assurance on 6 October 1939, as follows:

"Immediately after I had taken over the affairs of the state I tried to create friendly relations with Belgium. I renounced any revision or any desire for revision. The Reich has not made any demands which would in any way be likely to be considered in Belgium as a threat." (TC-32)

A similar assurance was made to the Netherlands on the same day:

"The new Reich has endeavored to continue the traditional

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