The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Greece & Yugoslavia
(Part 3 of 8)

"My plan, therefore, is (a) to form a slowly increasing task force in Southern Rumania within the next months. (b) After the setting in of favorable weather, probably in March, to send the task force for the occupation of the Aegean North coast by way of Bulgaria, and if necessary to occupy the entire Greek mainland (Operation Marita). The support of Bulgaria is to be expected." (1541-PS)

The next paragraph gives the forces for the operation, and paragraph 4 deals with the operation Marita itself. Paragraph 5 states:

"The Military preparations which will produce exceptional political results in the Balkans demand the exact control of all the necessary measures by the General Staff. The transport through Hungary and the arrival in Rumania will be reported step by step by the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and are to be explained at first as a strengthening of the German Army mission in Rumania.

"Consultations with the Rumanians or the Bulgarians which may point to our intentions as well as notification of the Italians are each subject to my consent, also the sending of scouting missions and advanced parties." (1541-PS)

Another "Top Secret Directive" carries the plan a little farther. It deals with decisive action in support of the Italian forces in Tripoli and in Albania. The first short paragraph reads:

"The situation in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations demands for strategical political and psychological reasons German assistance, due to employment of superior forces by England against our allies." (448-PS)

Paragraph three, after dealing with the forces to be transferred to Albania, sets out what the duties of the German forces will be:

"a. To serve in Albania for the time being as a reserve for an emergency case, should new crises arise there.

[Page 781]

"b. To ease the burden of the Italian Army group when later attacking with the aim:

"To tear open the Greek defense front on a decisive point for a far-reaching operation.

"To open up the straits west of Salonika from the back in order to support thereby the frontal attack of List's Army." (448-PS)

That directive was signed by Hitler, and, as shown on the original, was initialed by both Keitel and Jodl. A copy went to Raeder, and the copy sent to Foreign Intelligence presumably reached Ribbentrop.

A conference took place on 19 and 20 January between Keitel and the Italian General, Guzzoni. This was followed by a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini, at which Ribbentrop, Keitel, and Jodl were present. In the speech which the Fuehrer made on 20 January 1941, after the conference with the Italians, he declared:

"*** The massing of troops in Roumania serves a threefold purpose:

"a. An operation against Greece.

"b. Protection of Bulgaria against Russia and Turkey.

"c. Safeguarding the guarantee to Roumania.

"Each of these tasks requires its own group of forces, altogether therefore very strong forces whose deployment far from our base requires a long time.

"Desirable that this deployment is completed without interference from the enemy. Therefore discIose the game as late as possible. The tendency will be to cross the Danube at the last possible moment and to line up for attack at the earliest possible moment." (C-134)

At a conference between Field Marshal List and the Bulgarians, 8 February, the following plans were discussed:

"Minutes of questions discussed between the representatives of the Royal Bulgarian General Staff and the German Supreme Command -- General Field Marshal List -- in connection with the possible movement of German troops through Bulgaria and their commitment against Greece and possibly against Turkey, if she should involve herself in the war."


"*** The Bulgarian and the German general staff will take all measures in order to camouflage the preparation of the operations and to assure in this way the most favorable conditions for the execution of the German operations as planned.

[Page 782]

"The representatives of the two general staffs consider it to be suitable to inform their governments that it will be good to take the necessity of secrecy and surprise into consideration when the three-power treaty is signed by Bulgaria, in order to assure the success of the military operations." (1746-PS)

A further top secret directive of 19 February sets the date for the Operation Marita (C-59). It states that the bridge across the Danube is to be begun on 28 February, the river crossed on 2 March, and the final orders to be issued on 26 February at the latest. On the original of this order the actual dates are filled in in the handwriting of Keitel.

The position of Bulgaria at this moment was this: Bulgaria adhered to the Three-Power Pact on 1 March 1941. On the same day the entry of German troops into Bulgaria began in accordance with the Plan Marta and associated directives already referred to. The landing of British troops in Greece on 3 March, in accordance with the guarantee given in the spring of 1939 by the British Government, may have accelerated the movement of the German forces. In any event, as has been shown, the invasion of Greece had been planned long beforehand and was already in progress at this time.

A short extract from a report by Raeder on an interview with Hitler, which the original shows took place in the presence of Keitel and Jodl at 1600 hours on 18 March, shows the ruthless nature of the German intentions:

"The C in C of the Navy asks for confirmation that the whole of Greece will have to be occupied even in the event of a peaceful settlement.

"Fuehrer: The complete occupation is a prerequisite of any settlement." (C-167)

This report shows, it seems clear, that the Nazi conspirators, in accordance with their principle of liquidating any neutral which did not remain disinterested, had made every preparation by the end of January and were at this date in the process of moving the necessary troops to ensure the final liquidation of Greece, which was already at war with, and getting the better of their Italian allies.

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

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