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 8 of 8)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 39]

On 1st October, 1938, German troops began the occupation of the Sudetenland. During the conclusion of the Munich Pact the Wehrmacht had been fully deployed for the attack, awaiting only the word of Hitler to begin the assault.

With the cession of the Sudetenland new orders were issued. On 30th September the defendant Keitel promulgated Directive No. 1 on occupation of territory separated from Czechoslovakia. This is Item 39 at Page 64 Of the Schmundt file. This directive contained a timetable for the occupation of sectors of former Czech territory between 1st and 10th October and specified the tasks of the German Armed Forces.

I read now the fourth and fifth paragraphs of that document:

"2. The present degree of mobilised preparedness is to be maintained completely, for the time being in the West, also order for the rescinding of measures taken is held over.

The entry is to be planned in such a way that it can easily be converted into operation 'Grun'."

It contains one other important provision about the Henlein forces and I quote from the l1st under the heading "A. Army: Henlein Free Corps. All combat action on the part of the Volunteer Corps must cease as from 1st October."

The Schmundt file contains a number of additional secret O.K.W. directives, giving instructions for the occupation of the Sudetenland. I think I need not read them, as they are not essential to the proof of our case. They merely indicate the scope of the preparations of the O.K.W.

Directives specifying the occupational area of the army, the units under its command, arranging for communication facilities, supply and propaganda, and giving instructions to the various departments of the Government, were

[Page 40]

issued over defendant Keitel's signature on 30th September. These are Items 40, 41 and 42 in the Schmundt file. I think it is sufficient to read the caption and the signature.THE PRESIDENT: What page?

MR. ALDERMAN: Page 66 of the English version. "Special Orders No. 1." This is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Most Secret." Special Orders No. 1 to Directive No. 1. Subject: Occupation of territory ceded by Czechoslovakia. Signature: Keitel." Item 41 is on Page 70 of the Schmundt file. "Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. Most Secret IVa. MOST SECRET. Subject: Occupation of Sudeten-German Territory, signed Keitel." Item 42 in the Schmundt file is on Page 75, again "most secret". "Subject: Occupation of the Sudeten-German area, signed Keitel." By 10th October von Brauchitsch was able to report to Hitler that German troops had reached the demarcation line and that the order for the occupation of the Sudetenland had been fulfilled. The O.K.W. requested Hitler's permission to rescind Case Green, to withdraw troops from the occupied area, and to relieve the 0.K.H. of executive powers in the Sudeten-German area as on 15th October. These are Items 45, 47 and 48 in the Schmundt file. Item 46, which appears at Page 77, is a letter from Berlin, dated 10th October, 1938, signed by von Brauchitsch: "My Fuehrer: I have to report that the troops will reach the demarcation line as ordered, by this evening. In so far as further military operations are not required, the order for the occupation of the country which was given to me will thus have been fulfilled. The guarding of the new frontier line will be taken over by the reinforced frontier supervision in the next few days. It is thus no longer a military necessity to combine the admin1stration of the Sudetenland with the command of the troops of the Army under the control of one person. I therefore ask you, my Fuehrer, to relieve me, with effect from 15th October, 1938, of the charge assigned to me: that of exercising executive powers in Sudeten-German territory. Heil, my Fuehrer, von Brauchitsch." Item 47 of the Schmundt file, appearing on Page 78, is a secret telegram from the 0.K.W. to the Fuehrer's train, for Lt. -Col. Schmundt:

"If evening report shows that occupation of Zone Five has been completed without incident, O.K.W. intends to order further demobilisation.

Principle: (1) To suspend operation 'Grun' but maintain a sufficient state of preparedness on part of Army and Luftwaffe to make intervention possible if necessary.

(2) All units not needed to be withdrawn from the occupied area and reduced to peacetime status, as population of occupied area is heavily burdened by the massing of troops."

Skipping to below 0.K.W.'s signature, this appears, at the left:
"Fuehrer's decision:

[Page 41]

1. Agreed
2. Suggestion to be made on 13th October in Essen by General Keitel. Decision will then be reached."
On the same date additional demobilisation of the forces in the Sudetenland was ordered by Hitler and defendant Keitel. Three days later the O.K.W. requested Hitler's consent to the reversion of the R.A.D., Labour Corps, from the control of the Armed Forces. These are Items 52 and 53 in the Schmundt file.

As the German forces entered the Sudetenland, Henlein's Sudetendeutsche Partei was merged with the N.S.D.A.P. of Hitler. The two men who had fled to Hitler's protection in mid-September, Henlein and Karl Hermann Frank, were appointed Gauleiter and Deputy Gauleiter, respectively, of the Sudetengau. In the parts of the Czechoslovak Republic that were still free the Sudetendeutsche Partei constituted itself as the National Socialistic German Worker Party in Czechoslovakia, N.S.D.A.P. in Czechoslovakia, under the direction of Kundt, another of Henlein's deputies.

The Tribunal will find these events set forth in the Czechoslovak official report, Document 998-PS.

The stage was now prepared for the next move of the Nazi conspirators, the plan for the conquest of the remainder of Czechoslovakia. With the occupation of the Sudetenland and the inclusion of German-speaking Czechs within the greater Reich, it might have been expected that the Nazi conspirators would be satisfied. Thus far in their programme of aggression the defendants had used as a pretext for their conquests the union of the Volksdeutsche, the people of German descent, with the Reich. Now, after Munich, the Volksdeutsche in Czechoslovakia had been substantially all returned to German rule.

On 26th September, at the Sportspalast in Berlin, Hitler spoke to the world. I now refer and invite the notice of the Tribunal to the Volkischer Beobachter Munich edition, special edition for 27th September, 1938, in which this speech is quoted. I read from Page 2, Column 1, quoting from Hitler:

"And now we are confronted with the last problem which must be solved and will be solved. It is the last territorial claim--"
THE PRESIDENT: Is this document in our document book?

MR. ALDERMAN: No. I am asking the Court to take judicial notice of that.


MR. ALDERMAN: It is a well-known German publication.

"It is the last territorial claim I have to make in Europe, but it is a claim from which I will not swerve and which I will satisfy, God willing." And further

"I have little to explain. I am grateful to Mr. Chamberlain for all his efforts, and I have assured him that the German people want nothing but peace; but I have also told him that I cannot go back beyond the limits of our patience." This is Page 3, Column 1.

"I assured him, moreover, and I repeat it here, that when this problem is solved there will be no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe. And I further assured him that from the moment when

[Page 42]

Czechoslovakia solves its other problems - that is to say, when the Czechs have come to an arrangement with their other minorities peacefully and without oppression - I will no longer be interested in the Czech State. And that, as far as I am concerned, I will guarantee it. We do not want any Czechs!"
The major portion of this passage I have quoted will be contained in Document TC-28, which, I think, will be offered by the British Prosecutor.

Nevertheless two weeks later Hitler and defendant Keitel were preparing estimates of the military force required to break Czechoslovak resistance in Bohemia and Moravia.

I now read from Item 48, at Page 82, of the Schmundt file. This is a top secret telegram sent by Keitel to Hitler's headquarters on 11th October, 1938 in answer to four questions which Hitler had propounded to the 0.K.W. I think it is sufficient merely to read the questions which Hitler propounded.

"Question 1: What reinforcements are necessary in the present situation to break all Czech resistance in Bohemia and Moravia?

Question 2: How much time is requested for the regrouping or moving up of new forces.

Question 3: How much time will be required for the same purpose if it executed after the intended demobilisation and return measures?

Question 4: How much time would be required to achieve the state of readiness of 1st October?"

THE PRESIDENT: Sent on 11th October?

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, 11th October.

On 21st October, the same day on which the administration of the Sudetenland was handed over to civilian authorities, a directive outlining plans for the conquest of the remainder of Czechoslovakia was signed by Hitler and initialled by defendant Keitel.

I now offer into evidence Document C-136, which will be Exhibit USA 104, a top secret order of which ten copies were made, this being the first copy, signed in ink by Keitel.

In this order, issued only three weeks after the winning of the Sudetenland, the Nazi conspirators are already looking forward to new conquests. I quote the first part of the body of the document:

"The future tasks for the Armed Forces and the preparations for the conduct of war resulting from these tasks will be laid down by me in a later directive. Until this directive comes into force the Armed Forces must be prepared at all times for following eventualities:

(1) The securing of the frontiers of Germany and protection against surprise air attacks.
(2) The liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
(3) The occupation of the Memelland.

And then proceeding, the statement following number (2):
"Liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia: It must be possible to smash at any time the remainder of Czechoslovakia if her policy should become hostile towards Germany.

The preparations to be made by the Armed Forces for this contingency will be considerably smaller in extent than those for 'Grun'; they must, however, guarantee a continuous and considerably higher state

[Page 43]

of preparedness, since planned mobilisation measures have been dispensed with. The organisation, order of battle and state of readiness of the units earmarked for that purpose are in peace- time to be so arranged for a surprise assault that Czechoslovakia herself will be deprived of all possibility of organised res1stance. The object is the swift occupation of Bohemia and Moravia and the cutting off of Slovakia. The preparations should be such that at the same time 'Grenzsicherung West' - the measures of frontier defence in the West - can be carried out.

The detailed mission of Army and Air Force is as follows:

(a) Army: The units stationed in the vicinity of Bohemia-Moravia and several motorised divisions are to be earmarked for a surprise type of attack. Their number will be determined by the forces remaining in Czechoslovakia; a quick and decisive success must be assured. The assembly and preparations for the attack must be worked out. Forces not needed will be kept in readiness in such a manner that they may be either committed to secure the frontiers or sent after the attack army.

(b) Air Force: The quick advance of the German Army is to be assured by early elimination of the Czech Air Force.

For this purpose the commitment to a surprise attack from peacetime bases has to be prepared. Whether for this purpose still stronger forces may be required can only be determined from the development of the military situation in Czechoslovakia. At the same time a simultaneous assembly of the remainder of the offensive forces against the West must be prepared."

And then number (3) goes on under the heading "Annexation of the Memel D1strict."

It is signed by Adolf Hitler and authenticated by defendant Keitel. It was distributed to the O.K.H., to defendant Goering's Luftwaffe, and to defendant Raeder at Navy Headquarters.

Two months later, on 17th December, 1938, defendant Keitel issued an appendix to the original order, stating that by command of the Fuehrer preparations for the liquidation of Czechoslovakia were to continue.

I offer in evidence Document C-138 as Exhibit USA105, and other captured O.K.W. documents classified "Top Secret".

Distribution of this order was the same as for the 21st October order. I shall read the body of this order.

"Corollary to Directive of 21st October, 1938. Reference 'Liquidation of the Rest of Czechoslovakia'. The Fuehrer has given the following additional order:

The preparations for this eventuality are to continue on the assumption that no res1stance worth mentioning is to be expected.

To the outside world too, it must clearly appear that it is merely an action of pacification and not a warlike undertaking.

The action must therefore be carried out by the peace-time Armed Forces only, without reinforcements from mobilisation. The necessary readiness for action, especially the ensuring that the most necessary supplies are brought up, must be effected by adjustment within the units.

[Page 44]

Similarly the units of the Army detailed for the march in must, as a general rule, leave their stations only during the night prior to the crossing of the frontier, and will not previously form up systematically on the frontier. The transport necessary for previous organisation should be limited to the minimum and will be camouflaged as much as possible. Necessary movements, if any, of single units and particularly of motorised forces, to the troop-training areas situated near the frontier, must have the approval of the Fuehrer.

The Air Force should take action in accordance with the similar general directives.

For the same reasons the exercise of executive power by the Supreme Command of the Army is laid down only for the newly occupied territory and only for a short period." Signed: "Keitel".

I invite the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that this particular copy of this order, an original carbon signed in ink by Keitel, was the one sent to the 0.K.M., the German Naval Headquarters. It bears the initials of Fricke, Head of the Operation Division of the Naval War Staff, Schneewind, Chief of Staff, and of defendant Raeder.

As the Wehrmacht moved forward with plans for what it clearly considered would be an easy victory, the Foreign Office played its part. In a discussion of means of improving German-Czech relations with the Slovakian Foreign Minister Chvalkovsky in Berlin, on 21St January, 1939, defendant Ribbentrop urged upon the Czech Government a quick reduction in the size of the Czech Army. I offer in evidence Document 2795-PS as Exhibit USA 106, captured German Foreign Office notes of this discussion. I will read only the footnote, which is in Ribbentrop's handwriting.

"I mentioned to Chvalkovsky especially that a quick reduction in the Czech Army would be decisive in our judgement."
Does the Court propose sitting beyond 4.30?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I think not. The Tribunal will adjourn,

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1000 hours 4th December, 1945.)

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