The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg
(Part 3 of 6)

[Page 766]

friendship with Holland. It has not taken over any existing differences between the two countries and has not create any new ones." (TC-32)

The value of these pledges of Germany's good faith is shown by an order issued on the very next day, 7 October. This order was from the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Von Brauchitsch, and was addressed to various Army Groups. The third paragraph provided:

"The Dutch Border between Ems and Rhine is to be observed only.

"At the same time, Army Group B has to make all preparations according to special orders, for immediate invasion of Dutch and Belgian territory, if the political- situation so demands." (2329-PS)

Two days later, on 9 October, Hitler directed that:

"Preparations should be made for offensive action on the northern flank of the Western Front crossing the area of Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland. This attack must be carried out as soon and as forcefully as possible. ***"


"The object of this attack is to acquire as great an area of Holland, Belgium and Northern France as possible." (C-62) That document is signed by Hitler himself. It is addressed to the Supreme Commander of the Army, Keitel; Navy, Raeder; and Air Minister and Commander in Chief of the Air Force, Goering. On 15 October 1939, a supplementary order was issued from the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. It was signed by Keitel in his familiar red pencil signature, and was addressed to Raeder, Goering, and the General Staff of the Army. It declared, in part: "It must be the object of the Army's preparations, therefore, to occupy -- on receipt of a special order -- the territory of Holland, in the first instance as far as the Grebbe-Maas line." (C-62)

The second paragraph deals with the taking possession of the West Frisian islands.

It is clear that from that moment the decision to violate the neutrality of these three countries had been made. All that remained was to work out the details, to wait until the weather became favorable, and in the meantime, to give no hint that Germany's word was about to be broken again. Otherwise, these small countries might have had some chance of combining with themselves and their neighbors.

Another Keitel directive, again sent to the Supreme Command-

[Page 767]

ers of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces, gives details of how the attack is to be carried out. The following are pertinent passages: "Contrary to previously issued instructions, all action intended against Holland may be carried out without a special order which the general attack will start.

"The attitude of the Dutch armed forces cannot be anticipated ahead of time."


"Wherever-there is no resistance, the entry should carry the character of a peaceful occupation."


"At first the Dutch area, including the West-Frisian islands -situated just off the coast, for the present without Texel, is to be occupied up to the Grebbe-Maas line."

"The 7th Airborne Division will be committed for the airborne operation only after the possession of bridges across the Albert Canal" (in Belgium) "has been assured." (440-PS)

In addition to Belgium and Holland, the document, in paragraph 5) and (6)(b) mentions Luxembourg. The signature of Keitel is typed. It is authenticated by a staff officer.

A later order of 28 November 1939, over the signature of Keitel, in the usual red pencil, is addressed to the Army, Navy, and Air force. It states that if a quick break-through should fail north of Liege, other machinery for carrying out the attack will be used. Paragraph 2 shows clearly that the Netherlands is to be violated. It speaks of "The occupation of Walcheren Island and thereby Flushing harbor, or of some other southern Dutch island especially valuable for our sea and air warfare," and "b Taking of one or more Maas crossings between Namur and Dinant ***." (C-10)

From November until March of 1940 the High Command and .the Fuehrer were waiting for favorable weather before A-Day, as they called it. That referred to the attack on Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. The successive postponements are shown in a series of orders which range in date from 7 November 1939 until 9 May 1940, and which are all signed either by Keitel or by Jodl. (C-72)

On 10 January 1940, a German airplane made a forced landing in Belgium. The occupants endeavored to burn the orders of which they were in possession, but they were only partially successful. Among the papers which were captured is an order to the Commander of the Second Army Group, Air Force Group Luftflotte -- the Second Air Force Fleet, clearly for offensive action against France, Holland, and Belgium. It deals with the dis-

[Page 768]

position of the Belgian Army. The Belgian Army covers the Liege-Antwerp Line. Then it deals with the disposition of the Dutch Army. The German Western Army is accordingly directing its attack between the North Sea and the Moselle, with the strongest possible air-force support, through the Belgo-Luxembourg region. The rest consists of operational details as to the bombing of the various targets in Belgium and in Holland. (TC-58)

The nature of the Army's planning is shown in the 1 February 1940 entry in Jodl's diary, which reads in part as follows:

"1. Behavior of parachute units. In front of The Hague they have to be strong enough to break in if necessary by sheer brute force. The 7th Division intends to drop units near the town.

"2. Political mission contrasts to some extent with violent action against the Dutch air force." (1809-PS)

The entry for 2 February 1940 states that "landings can be made in the centre of The Hague." On 26 February Jodl wrote:

"Fuehrer raises the question whether it is better to undertake the Weser Exercise before or after case 'Yellow.' "

On 3 March, he recorded the answer:

"Fuehrer decides to carry out Weser Exercise before case 'Yellow', with a few days' interval."

And on May 8, two days before the invasion, Jodl made this entry:

"Alarming news from Holland, canceling of furloughs, evacuations, road-blocks, other mobilization measures; according to reports of the intelligence service the British have asked for permission to march in, but the Dutch have refused." (1809-PS)

In other words, the Germans objected because the Dutch were actually making some preparation to resist their endeavor. Furthermore, the Dutch armies, according to the Germans' own intelligence reports, were still adhering properly to their neutrality.

At 4:30 a.m. on 10 May, the months of planning bore fruit, and Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg were violently invaded with all the fury of modern warfare. No warning was given by Germany and no complaint was made by Germany of any breaches of neutrality before this action was taken.

After the invasion of each of the three countries was a fait accompli, the German Ambassador called upon representatives of the three Governments some hours later and handed them documents which were similar in each case, and which are described as memoranda or ultimatums. An account of what happened in Belgium is contained in an official Belgian report:

"From 4:30 information was received which left no shadow

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