The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eleventh Day: Monday, 3rd December, 1945
(Part 2 of 8)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 6]

In May, June, July, and August of 1938, conferences between Hitler and his political and military advisers resulted in the issuance of a series of constantly revised directives for the attack on Czechoslovakia. It was decided that preparations for Xday, the day of the attack, should be completed not later than 1st October. I now invite the attention of the Tribunal to the more important of these conferences and directives.

On 28th May, 1938, Hitler called a conference of his principal advisers. At this meeting he gave the necessary instructions to his fellow conspirators to prepare the attack on Czechoslovakia. This fact Hitler later

[Page 7]

publicly admitted. I now refer and invite the notice of the Tribunal to Document 2360-PS, a copy of the Vo1kischer Beobachter for 31st January, 1939. In a speech before the Reichstag the preceding day, reported in this newspaper, reading now from Document 2360-PS, Hitler spoke as follows:
"On account of this intolerable provocation which has been aggravated by a truly infamous persecution and terrorisation of our Germans there, I have resolved to solve once and for all, and this time radically, the Sudeten-German question. On 28th May I ordered (1) that preparation should be made for military action against this State by 2nd October; I ordered (2) the immense and accelerated expansion of our defensive front in the West."
After this conference, on 30th May, 1938, Hitler issued the revised military directive for Case Green. This directive is Item 11 in the "Big Schmundt" file, Document 388-PS. It is entitled, "Two-front war, with main effort in the South-east," and this directive replaced the corresponding section, Part 2, Section 11, of the previous quote, "Directive for unified preparation for war," which had been promulgated by von Blomberg on 26th June, 1937, and which I have already introduced in evidence as our Document C-175, Exhibit USA 69. This revised directive represented a further development of the ideas for political and military action discussed by Hitler and Keitel in their conference on 21st April. It is an expansion of a rough draft submitted by the defendant Keitel to Hitler on 20th May, which may be found as Item 5 in the Schmundt file. It was signed by Hitler. Only five copies were made. Three copies were forwarded with a covering letter from defendant Keitel to General von Brauchitsch for the Army, to defendant Raeder for the Navy, and to defendant Goering for the Luftwaffe. In his covering memorandum Keitel noted that its execution must be assured; I quote, "As from 1st October, 1938, at the latest." I now read from this document, which is the basic directive under which the Wehrmacht carried out its planning for Case Green, a rather lengthy quotation:
"1. Political Prerequisites. It is my unalterable decision.."
THE PRESIDENT: Which page is this?

MR. ALDERMAN: From the first page of Item II. It is Page 16.

"It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future. It is the job of the political leaders to await or bring about the politically and militarily suitable moment.

An inevitable development of conditions inside Czechoslovakia or other political events in Europe, creating a surprisingly favourable opportunity and one which may never come again, may cause me to take early action.

The proper choice and determined and full utilisation of a favourable moment is the surest guarantee of success. Accordingly the preparations are to be made at once.

2. Political Possibilities for the Commencement of the Action. The following are necessary prerequisites for the intended invasion:

(a) suitable, obvious cause and, with it

(b) sufficient political justification,

(c) action unexpected by the enemy, which will find him prepared to the least possible degree.

[Page 8]

From a military as well as a political standpoint the most favourable course is a lightning-swift action, as the result of an incident by which Germany is unbearably provoked so that at least a part of world opinion will grant the moral justification of such action.

But even a period of tension, more or less preceding a war, must terminate in sudden action on our part, action which must have the elements of surprise both of time and extent, before the enemy is so advanced in military preparedness that he cannot be surprised.

3. Conclusions for the Preparation of 'Fall Grun'

For the Armed War it is essential that the surprise element, as the most important factor contributing to success, be made full use of by appropriate preparatory measures in peace-time, and by an unexpectedly rapid course of the action. It is therefore essential to create a situation within the first four days which plainly demonstrates to hostile nations eager to intervene, the hopelessness of the Czechoslovakian military situation, and which at the same time will give nations with territorial claims on Czechoslovakia an incentive to intervene immediately against her. In such a case, intervention by Poland and Hungary against Czechoslovakia may be expected, especially if France - due to the obvious pro-German attitude of Italy - fears, or at least hesitates, to unleash a European war by intervening against Germany. Attempts by Russia to give military support to Czechoslovakia, mainly by the Air Force, are to be expected. If concrete successes are not achieved by the land operations within the first few days, a European crisis will certainly result. This knowledge must give commanders of all ranks the impetus to decide on bold action.

The Propaganda War must on the one hand intimidate Czechoslovakia by threats and soften her power of resistance and on the other hand issue directions to national groups for support in the Armed War and influence the neutrals to our way of thinking. I reserve further directions and determination of the date.

4. Tasks of the Armed Forces.

Armed Forces preparations are to be made on the following basis:

(a) The mass of all forces must be employed against Czechoslovakia.

(b) For the West, a minimum of forces is to be provided as rear-cover as this may be required, the other frontiers in the East against Poland and Lithuania are merely to be protected, and the Southern frontiers to be watched.

(c) The sections of the army which can be rapidly employed must force the frontier fortifications with speed and decision, and must break into Czechoslovakia with the greatest daring, in the certainty that the bulk of the mobile army will follow them with the utmost speed. Preparations for this are to be made and timed in such a way that the sections of the army which can be rapidly employed, cross the frontier at the appointed time, simultaneously with the penetration by the Air Force, before the enemy can become aware of our mobilisation. (In a footnote: 'For this, a timetable between Army and Air Force is to be worked out in conjunction with O.K.W. and submitted to me for approval.')

[Page 9]

"5. Missions for the Branches of the Armed Forces.
(a) Army. The basic principle of the surprise attack against Czechoslovakia must not be endangered by the inevitable time required for transporting the bulk of the field forces by rail, nor the initiative of the Air Force be wasted. Therefore it is first of all essential to the Army, that as many assault columns as possible be employed at the same time as the surprise attack by the Air Force. These assault columns - the composition of each, according to their tasks at that time-must be formed with troops which can be employed rapidly owing to their proximity to the frontier or to their having been motorised and specially made ready. It must be the purpose of these thrusts to break into the Czechoslovakian fortification lines at numerous points and in a strategically favourable direction, to achieve a break-through or to break them down from the rear. For the success of this operation, co-operation with the SudetenGerman frontier population, with deserters from the Czechoslovakian army, with parachut1sts or airborne troops and with units of the sabotage service, will be of importance. The bulk of the army has the task of frustrating the Czechoslovakian plan of defence, of preventing the Czechoslovakian army from escaping ."
THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to read all this detail?

MR. ALDERMAN: I was just worried about not getting it into the transcript.

THE PRESIDENT: It seems to me that this is all detail, that before you pass from the document you ought to read the document on Page 15, which introduces it and which gives the date of it.

MR. ALDERMAN: I think so. It is a letter dated Berlin, 30th May, 1938. Copy of the 4th Copy. "Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. S.O. Only. Access only through officer. Written by an officer. Signed Keitel. D1stributed to C.-in-C. Army, C.-in-C. Navy, C.-in-C. Air Force. By order of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Part 2, Section II of the directive of the unified preparations for war of the Armed Forces dated 24th June, 1937, (0b.d.W.)", with some symbols, including "Chefsache", or Top Secret; " Two-Front War with main effort on the South-east - strategic concentration 'Grun', is to be replaced by the attached version. Its execution must be assured as from 1st October, 1938, at the latest. Alterations in other parts of the directives must be expected during the next few weeks.

By order of Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

Signed Keitel.

Certified a true copy, Zeitzler, Oberstleutnant on the General Staff."

In line with the suggestion of the presiding Justice, I shall omit the detailed instructions which are set out for action by the Luftwaffe and by the Navy, and I turn next to the last paragraph of the directive, which will be found on Page 19 of the English version:

"In war economy it is essential that in the field of the armament industry a maximum deployment of forces is made possible through increased supplies. In the course of operations, it is of value to contribute to the reinforcement of the total - economic war strength - by rapidly reconnoitring and restarting important factories. For this

[Page 10]

reason the sparing of Czechoslovakian industrial and works installations - in so far as military operations permit - can be of decisive importance to us."
In other words, the Nazi conspirators, four months before the date of their planned attack, were already looking forward to the contribution which the Czechoslovakian plan would make to further Nazi war efforts and economy.

Then the final paragraph of this directive, Paragraph 7, on Page 19:

"All preparations for sabotage and insurrection will be made by O.K.W. They will be made, in agreement with and according to the requirement of the branches of the armed forces, so that their effects accord with the operations of the Army and Air Force.

Signed Adolf Hitler. Certified Copy.

Signed Zeitzler, Oberstleutnant on the General Staff."

Three weeks later, on 18th June, 1938, a draft for a new directive was prepared and initialled by the defendant Keitel. This is Item 14 at Pages 27 to 32 of the large Schmundt file. It did not supersede the 30th of May directive. I shall read the third and fifth paragraphs on Page 28 of the English translation, and the last paragraph on Page 29.
"The immediate aim is a solution of the Czech problem by my own, free decision; this stands in the foreground of my political intentions. I am determined to use to the full every favourable political opportunity to realise this aim."
Then, skipping a paragraph:
"However, I will decide to take action against Czechoslovakia only if I am firmly convinced, as in the case of the occupation of the demilitarised zone and the entry into Austria, that France will not march and that therefore England will not intervene."
And then, skipping to the last paragraph on the 29th page:
"The directives necessary for the prosecution of the war itself will be issued by me from time to time."
Initials K of Keitel and Z of Zeitzler.

The second and third parts of this directive contain general directions for the deployment of troops and for precautionary measures, in view of the possibility that during the execution of the Fall Grun or Case Green, France or England might declare war on Germany. Six pages of complicated schedules which follow this draft in the original have not been translated into English. These schedules, which constitute Item 15 in the Schmundt file, give a timetable of specific measures for the preparation of the Army, Navy, and Luftwaffe for the contemplated action.

Corroboration for the documents in the Schmundt file is found in General Jodl's diary, our Document 1780-PS, and Exhibit USA 72, from which I quoted portions during the Austrian presentation. I now quote from three entries in this diary written in the spring of 1938. Although the first entry is not dated it appears to have been written several months after the annexation of Austria, and here I read under the heading on Page 3 of the English translation,

"Later undated entry:

After annexation of Austria the Fuehrer mentions that there is no hurry to solve the Czech question, because Austria has to be digested first. Nevertheless, preparations for Case Green will have to be carried out energetically. They will have to be newly prepared on the basis of the changed strategic position because of the annexation of Austria. State [Page 11] of preparation, see Memorandum L-1-A of 19th April, reported to the Fuehrer on 21st April.

The intention of the Fuehrer not to touch the Czech problem as yet is changed because of the Czech strategic troop concentration of 21st May, which occurs without any German threat and without the slightest cause for it. Because of Germany's self-restraint the consequences lead to a loss of prestige for the Fuehrer, which he is not willing to suffer a second time. Therefore, the new order is issued for Green on 30th May."

And then the entry, 23rd May:
"Major Schmundt reports ideas of the Fuehrer for the conferences, which gradually reveals his exact intentions and which takes place with the Chief of the Armed Forces and High Command O.K.W. on 28th May, 3rd and 9th June - see enclosures."
Then the entry of 30th May:
"The Fuehrer signs directive Green, where he states his final decision to destroy Czechoslovakia soon, and thereby initiates military preparation all along the line. The previous intentions of the Army must be changed considerably in the direction of an immediate break-through into Czechoslovakia on D-day - (X-Tag) - combined with aerial penetration by the Air Force.

Further details are derived from a directive for strategic concentration of the Army. The whole contrast again becomes acute between the Fuehrer's intuition that we must do it this year, and the opinion of the Army that we cannot do it as yet, as most certainly the Western Powers will interfere and we are not as yet equal to them."

During the spring and summer of 1938 the Luftwaffe was also engaged in planning in connection with the forthcoming Case Green and the further expansion of the Reich.

I now offer in evidence Document R-150, which will be Exhibit USA 82. This is atop secret document dated and June, 1938, issued by Air Force Group Command 3, and entitled "Plan Study 1938, Instruction for Deployment and Combat, 'Case Red'."

"Case Red" is the code name for action against the Western Powers should that be necessary. Twenty-eight copies of this document were made, of which this is Number 16. This is another staff plan, this time for mobilisation and employment of the Luftwaffe in the event of war with France. It is given significance by the considerable progress by this date of the planning for attack on Czechoslovakia.

I quote from the second paragraph on Page 3 of the English translation, referring to the various possibilities under which war with France might occur. You will note that they are all predicated on the assumption of a German-Czech conflict.

"France will either (a) interfere in the struggle between the Reich and Czechoslovakia in the course of 'Case Green', (b) start hostilities simultaneously with Czechoslovakia or (c) begin the fight while Czechoslovakia still remains aloof-a possible but unlikely contingency."
And then, reading down lower on the page under "Intention:
Regardless of whether France enters the war as a result of 'Case Green' or whether she makes the opening move of the war simultaneously with Czechoslovakia, the mass of the German offensive formations will, in conjunction with the Army, first deliver the decisive blow against Czechoslovakia."

[Page 12]

By mid-summer direct and detailed planning for Case Green was being carried out by the Luftwaffe. In early August at the direction of the Luftwaffe General Staff the German Air Attache in Prague reconnoitred the Freudenthal area of Czechoslovakia south of Upper Silesia for suitable landing grounds.

I offer in evidence Document 1536-PS as Exhibit USA 83, a report of the Luftwaffe General Staff, Intelligence Division, dated 12th August, 1938. This was a top secret document for general officers only, of which only two copies were made.

Attached as an enclosure was the report of Major Noericke, the German Attache in Prague, dated 4th August, 1938. I quote the first four paragraphs of the enclosure:

"I was ordered by the General Staff of the Air Force to reconnoitre the land in the region of Freudenthal- Freihermersdorf -
THE PRESIDENT: Page 3 of the document?


- for possible landing grounds. For this purpose I obtained private lodgings in Freudenthal with the manufacturer Macholdt, through one of my trusted men in Prague. I had specifically ordered this man to give no details about me to M., particularly about my official position. I used my official car (Dienst Pkw) for the journey to Freudenthal taking precautions against being observed."

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