The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Greece & Yugoslavia
(Part 1 of 8)

[Page 775]

A. Treaties and Assurances Breached.

The invasions of Greece and of Yugoslavia by the Germans, which took place in the early hours of the morning of 6 April 1941, constituted direct breaches of The Hague Convention of 1899 on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, and of the Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928. In the case of Yugoslavia, the invasion further constituted a breach of an express assurance by the Nazis.

[Page 776]

The assurance was originally given in a German Foreign Offlce release made in Berlin on 28 April 1938 (2719-PS), but was subsequently repeated by Hitler himself on 6 October 1939 in a speech he made in the Reichstag. The German Foreign Office release on 28 April 1938 reads, in part:

"Berlin, 28 April 1938. The State Secretary of the German Foreign Office to the German Diplomatic Representatives. "As a consequence of the reunion of Austria with the Reich, we have now new frontiers with Italy, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Hungary. These frontiers are regarded by us as final and inviolable. On this point the following special declarations have been made:"


"3. Yugoslavia.

"The Yugoslav Government have been informed by authoritative German quarters that German policy has no aims beyond Austria, and that the Yugoslav frontier would in any case remain untouched. In his speech made at Graz on 3 April, the Fuehrer and Chancellor stated that, in regard to the reunion of Austria, Yugoslavia and Hungary had adopted the same attitude as Italy. We were happy to have frontiers there which relieved us of all anxiety about providing military protection for them." (2719-PS)

In a speech made on the occasion of the dinner in honor of the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia on 1 June 1939, Hitler declared:

"The German friendship for the Yugoslav nation is not only a spontaneous one. It gained depth-and durability in the midst of the tragic confusion of the world war. The German soldier then learned to appreciate and respect his extremely brave opponent. I believe that this feeling was reciprocated. This mutual respect finds confirmation in common political, cultural and economic interests. We therefore look upon your Royal Highness's present visit as a living proof of the accuracy of our view and at the same time on that account we derive from it the hope that German-Yugoslav friendship may continue further to develop in the future and to grow ever closer.

"In the presence of your Royal Highness, however, we also perceive a happy opportunity for a frank and friendly exchange of views which, and of this I am convinced, in this sense can only be fruitful to our two peoples and States. I believe this all the more because a firmly established reliable relationship of Germany to Yugoslavia, now that, owing to historical events, we have become neighbors with common boundaries

[Page 777]

fixed for all time, will not only guarantee lasting peace between our two peoples and countries, but can also represent an element of calm to our nerve-wracked continent. This peace is the goal of all who are disposed to perform really constructive work." (TC-92)

As is now known this speech was made at the time when Hitler had already decided upon the European war. It occurred a week after the Reichschancellery conference recorded in the Schmundt note (L-79). The reference to "nerve-wracked continent" might perhaps be attributed to the war of nerves which Hitler had himself been conducting for many months. The German Assurance to Yugoslavia on 6 October 1939 was in these terms:

"Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss I informed Yugoslavia that, from now on, the frontier with this country would also be an unalterable one, and that we only desire to live in peace and friendship with her." (TC-43)

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