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 3 of 8)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 12]

By 25th August the imminence of the attack on Czechoslovakia compelled the issuance by the Luftwaffe of a detailed intelligence memorandum, entitled "Extended Case Green", in other words, an estimate of possible action by the Western Powers during the attack on Czechoslovakia.

I now offer in evidence this Document - 376-PS - as Exhibit USA 84. This is a top secret memorandum of the Intelligence Section of the Luftwaffe, General Staff, dated Berlin, 25th August, 1938. Based on the assumption that Great Britain and France would declare war on Germany during Case Green, this study contains an estimate of the strategy and air strength of the Western Powers as on 1st October, 1938, the target date for Case Green. I quote the first two sentences of the document, under the heading "Initial Political Situation:

1. The basic assumption is that France will declare war during Case Green. It is presumed that France will only decide upon war if active military ass1stance by Great Britain is definitely assured."
Now, knowledge of the pending or impending action against Czechoslovakia was not confined to a close circle of high officials of the Reich and the Nazi Party. During the summer Germany's allies, Italy and Hungary, were apprised by one means or another of the Nazi conspiracy. I offer in evidence Document 2800- PS as Exhibit USA 85. This is a captured document from the German Foreign Office files, a confidential memorandum of a conversation with the Italian Ambassador, Attolico, in Berlin on 18th July, 1938. At the bottom is a hand-written note headed "For the Reichsminister only," and the Reichsminister was the defendant Ribbentrop. I now read this note. I read from the note the third and fourth paragraphs:
"Attolico added that we had made it unmistakably clear to the Italians what were our intentions regarding Czechoslovakia. He also

[Page 13]

knew the appointed time well enough so that he could take perhaps a two months' holiday then, which he would not be able to later on.

Giving an idea of the attitude of other governments, Attolico mentioned that the Roumanian Government had refused to grant application for leave to its Berlin Minister."

THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to break off for ten minutes?

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, a month later Mussolini sent a message to Berlin requesting that he be told the date on which Case Green would take place. I offer in evidence Document 2791-PS as Exhibit USA 86, a German Foreign Office note on a conference with Ambassador Attolico. This note is signed "R" for Ribbentrop, and dated 23rd August, 1938, and I now read two paragraphs from the memorandum:

"On the voyage of the 'Patria' Ambassador Attolico explained to me that he had instructions to request the notification from the German Government of a contemplated date for German action against Czechoslovakia.

I replied that in case the Czechs should again cause a provocation against Germany, Germany would march. This would be tomorrow, in six months, or perhaps in a year. However, I could promise him that the German Government, in case of an increasing gravity of the situation or as soon as the Fuehrer made his decision, would notify the Italian Chief of Government as rapidly as possible. In any case, the Italian Government would be the first one to receive such a notification."

Four days later -

THE PRESIDENT: You did not tell us what the initial was, did you?

MR. ALDERMAN: The initial "R" for Ribbentrop, and the date 23rd August, 1938.

Four days later Attolico again requested to be notified of the date of the pending attack. I offer Document 2792-PS as Exhibit USA 87, another German Foreign Office memorandum, and from that document I read three paragraphs under the heading "R.M. 251."

"Ambassador Attolico paid me a visit today at twelve o'clock to communicate the following:

He had received another written instruction from Mussolini asking that Germany communicate in time the probable date of action against Czechoslovakia. Mussolini asked for such notification, as Attolico assured me, in order to be able to take in due time the necessary measures on the French frontier.' Berlin, 27th August, 1938, 'R' for Ribbentrop."

And then:
" N. 3. I replied to Ambassador Attolico, just as on his former demarche, that I could not impart any date to him; that, however, in any case Mussolini would be the first one to be informed of any decision. Berlin, 2nd September, 1938."
Hungary, which borders Czechoslovakia to the South-east, was from the first considered to be a possible participant in Case Green. You will recall that in early March, 1938, defendants Keitel and Ribbentrop had exchanged letters on the question of bringing Hungary into the Nazi plan. At

[Page 14]

that time the decision was in the negative, but by mid-August, 1938, the Nazi conspirators were attempting to persuade Hungary to join in the attack.

From the 21st to 26th August Admiral Horthy and some of his ministers visited Germany. Inevitably there were discussions of the Czechoslovakian question. I now offer Document 2796-PS as Exhibit USA 88. This is a captured German Foreign Office account, signed by von Weizsaecker, of the conversations between Hitler and Ribbentrop and a Hungarian delegation consisting of Horthy, Imredy, and Kanya aboard the S. S. "Patria" on 23rd August, 1938. In that conference Ribbentrop inquired about the Hungarian attitude in the event of a German attack on Czechoslovakia, and suggested that such an attack would prove to be a good opportunity for Hungary.

The Hungarians, with the exception of Horthy, who wished to put the Hungarian intention to participate on record, proved reluctant to commit themselves. Thereupon Hitler emphasised Ribbentrop's statement and said that whoever wanted to join the meal would have to participate in the cooking as well. I now quote from this document the first two paragraphs:

"While in the forenoon of the 23rd August the Fuehrer and the Regent of Hungary were engaged in a political discussion, the Hungarian Ministers, Imredy and Kanya, were in conference with von Ribbentrop. Von Weizsaecker also attended the conference.

Von Kanya introduced two subjects for discussion. Point 1: The negotiations between Hungary and the Little Entente; and 2: The Czechoslovakian problem."

Then I skip two paragraphs and read the fifth paragraph:
"Von Ribbentrop inquired as to what Hungary's attitude would be if the Fuehrer should carry out his decision to answer a new Czech provocation by force. The reply of the Hungarians presented two obstacles: the Yugoslavian neutrality must be assured if Hungary marches towards the North and perhaps the East, and moreover, the Hungarian rearmament had only been started, and one to two more years' time should be allowed for its development.

Von Ribbentrop then explained to the Hungarians that the Yugoslavs would not dare to march while they were between the pincers of the Axis Powers. Roumania alone would therefore not move. England and France would also remain tranquil. England would not recklessly risk her Empire. She knew our newly acquired power. In reference to time, however, for the above- mentioned situation, nothing definite could be predicted since it would depend on Czech provocation. Von Ribbentrop, repeated that, 'Whoever desires revision must exploit the good opportunity and participate'.

The Hungarian reply thus remained a conditional one. As to von Ribbentrop's question, what purpose the desired General Staff conferences were to have, not much more was elucidated than the Hungarian desire for a mutual inventory of military material and preparedness for the Czech conflict. The clear political basis for such a conflict - the time of a Hungarian intervention - was not obtained.

In the meantime, more positive language was used by Horthy in his talk with the Fuehrer. He wished not to hide his doubts with regard to the English attitude, but he wanted to put Hungary's intention to

[Page 15]

participate on record. The Hungarian ministers were and remained, even later, more sceptical since they felt more strongly about the immediate danger for Hungary with her unprotected flanks.

When von Imredy had a discussion with the Fuehrer in the afternoon, he was very relieved to have it explained to him that in regard to the situation in question the Fuehrer demanded nothing of Hungary. He himself would not know the time. Whoever wanted to join the meal would have to participate in the cooking as well. Should Hungary wish conferences of the General Staffs he would have no objections."

I think perhaps that sentence, "Whoever wanted to join the meal would have to participate in the cooking as well," is perhaps as cynical a statement as any human being has ever been guilty of making.

By the third day of the conference the Germans were able to note that, in the event of a German-Czech conflict, Hungary would be sufficiently armed for participation on 1st October. I now offer in evidence Document 2797-PS which will be Exhibit USA 89, another captured German Foreign Office memorandum of a conversation between Ribbentrop and Kanya on 25th August, 1938. You will note that the English mimeographed translation bears the date 29th August. That is incorrect: it should read 25th August. I read the last paragraph from that document, or rather the last two paragraphs:

"Concerning Hungary's military preparedness in case of a German-Czech conflict von Kanya mentioned several days ago that his country would need a period of one to two years in order to develop adequately the armed strength of Hungary.

During today's conversation, von Kanya corrected this remark and said that Hungary's military situation was much better. His country would be ready, as far as armaments were concerned, to take part in the conflict by 1st October of that year."

Signed-an illegible signature which probably is that of Weizsaecker.

The account of the German-Hungarian conference again finds its corroboration in General Jodl's diary, Document 1780-PS, from which I have already several times read. The entry in that diary for 21st to 26th August on Page 4 of the English version of the document reads as follows:

"Visit to Germany of the Hungarian Regent. Accompanied by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Nonved Minister von Raatz "
- with a question mark in the original in parentheses.
"They arrive with the idea that in the course of a great war after a few years, and with the help of German troops, the old state of Hungary can be re-established. They leave with the understanding that we make neither demands on them nor claims against them, but that Germany will not stand for a second provocation by Czechoslovakia. If they want to participate at that moment, it is up to them.

Germany, however, will never play the role of an arbitrator between them and Poland. The Hungarians agree; but they believe that when the issue arises a period of forty-eight hours would be indispensable to them to find out Yugoslavia's attitude."

The upshot of the talks with the Hungarians proved to be a staff conference on 6th September.

[Page 16]

I quote again from Jodl's diary, the entry for 6th September, beginning at the end of that same page.
"Chief of General Staff, General of Artillery Halder, has a conference with the Hungarian Chief of Staff Fischer. Before that he is briefed by me on the political attitude of the Fuehrer, especially his order not to give any hint of the exact moment. The same with O.Q.I., General von Stuelpnagel."
It is somewhat interesting to find a high-ranking General giving a briefing on such political matters.

Then we come to the final, actual preparations for the attack. With a 1st October target date set for "Case Green," there was a noticeable increase in the tempo of the military preparations in late August and September. Actual preparations for the attack on Czechoslovakia were well under way. The agenda of the Nazi conspirators were devoted to technical details, the timing of "X- days", questions of mobilisation, of transport, and of supplies. On 25th August the defendant Jodl initialled a memorandum entitled "Timing of the X-0rder and the Question of Advance Measures." This is Item 17 at Pages 37 and 38 of the English translation of the Schmundt file on "Case Green", our Document 388-PS.

I should like to invite the special attention of the Tribunal to this memorandum. It demonstrates beyond the slightest doubt the complicity of the O.K.W. and of the defendants Keitel and Jodl in the shameful fabrication of an incident as an excuse for war. It reveals in bare outline the deceit, the barbarity, the completely criminal character of the attack that Germany was preparing to launch.

I ask leave to read this document in full:

"Chief Section L.
Written by General Staff Officer

Berlin, 24th August, 1938
access only through Officer

1 Copy

Timing of the X-Order and the Question of Advance Measures

The Luftwaffe's attempt to take the enemy air forces by surprise at their peace-time airports, justifiably leads them to oppose measures taken in advance of the X-order and to demand that the X-order itself be given sufficiently late on X minus 1, to prevent the fact of Germany's mobilisation becoming known to Czechoslovakia on that day.

The army's efforts are turning in the opposite direction. It intends to let O.K.W. initiate all advance measures between X minus 3 and X minus 1, which will contribute to the smooth and rapid working of the mobilisation. With this in mind O.K.H. also demands that the X-order be given not later than 1400 on X minus 1. To this the following must be said:

Operation (Aktion) Grun will be set in motion by means of an 'incident' in Czechoslovakia which will give Germany provocation for military intervention. The fixing of the exact time for this incident is of the utmost importance.

It must come at a time when weather conditions are favourable for our superior air forces to go into action and at an hour which will enable

[Page 17]

authentic news of it (news of this prepared incident) to reach us on the afternoon of X minus 1.It can then be spontaneously answered by the giving of the X-order at 1400 on X minus 1.

On X minus 2 the Navy, Army and Air Force will merely receive an advance warning.

If the Fuehrer intends to follow this plan of action, all further discussion is superfluous.

For then no advance measures may be taken before X minus 1 for which there is not an innocent explanation, as we shall otherwise appear to have manufactured the incident. Orders for absolutely essential advance measures must be given in good time and camouflaged with the help of the numerous manoeuvres and exercises.

Also, the question raised by the Foreign Office as to whether all Germans should be called back in time from prospective enemy territories must in no way lead to the conspicuous departure from Czechoslovakia of any German subjects before the incident.

Even a warning to the diplomatic representatives in Prague is impossible before the first air attack, although the consequences could be very grave in the event of their becoming victims of such an attack (e.g. death of. representatives of friendly or confirmed neutral powers).

If, for technical reasons, the evening hours should be considered desirable for the incident, then the following day cannot be X-day, but it must be the day after that.

In any case we must act on the principle that nothing must be done before the incident which might point to mobilisation, and that the swiftest possible action must be taken after the incident (X-Fall).

It is the purpose of these notes to point out what a great interest the Wehrmacht: has in the incident and that it must be informed of the Fuehrer's intentions in good time - in so far as the Abwehr Section is not also charged with the organisation of the incident.

I request that the Fuehrer's decision be obtained on these points."

In handwriting, at the bottom of the page of that document, are the notes of the indefatigable Schmundt, Hitler's adjutant. These reveal that the memorandum was submitted to Hitler on 30th August; that Hitler agreed to act along these lines, and that Jodl was so notified on 31st August. There follow Jodl's initials once more.

On 3rd September Keitel and von Brauchitsch met Hitler at the Berghof. Again Schmundt kept notes of the conference. These will be found as Item 18 at Pages 39 and 40 of Document 388-PS. I shall read the first three short paragraphs of these minutes:

"Gen. Ob. v. Brauchitsch: Reports on the exact time of the transfer of the troops to 'exercise areas' for 'Grun.' Field units to be transferred on 28th September. From here will then be ready for action. When X-day becomes known, field units carry out exercises in opposite directions.

Fuehrer: Has objection. Troops assemble field units. A 2-day march away. Carry out camouflage exercises everywhere."

Then there is a question mark.
"O.K.H. must know when X-day is by 1200 noon, 27th September."
You will note that von Brauchitsch reported that field troops would be

[Page 18]

transferred to the proper areas for "Case Green" on 28th September and would then be ready for action. You will also note that the O.K.H. must know when X-day is, by 12 noon on 27th September.

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