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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Day: Tuesday, 4th June, 1946
(Part 9 of 9)

[Page 328]

DR. EXNER: Gentlemen of the Tribunal, there is one point I want to draw your attention to. In my opinion, it is once more a mistake in the translation. I refer to the second paragraph on Page 36 counting from below. That is the report about the incident. The second but last paragraph on Page 36 states in German "that the 'Operation Case Green' may be set in motion as a result of an incident in Czechoslovakia, which will give Germany the 'cause' for military intervention." The translation in English of these last words is a "provocation", should it be "cause" or "provocation"?

THE PRESIDENT: What are you saying? What is the alteration?

DR. EXNER: I believe that the translation is not correct. I am not absolutely certain but I would like to call the Tribunal's attention to it. "Anlass" in French means "pretexte". It should be "cause" as far as we know, and not "provocation".

THE PRESIDENT: But, Dr. Exner, there is no difference in the meaning of the words, whether it is "provocation" or whether it is "cause".

DR. EXNER: "Provocation" sounds a bit more aggressive, does it not? I just want to call your attention to it. In the German it is "cause" and not "provocation". Now the prosecution are calling these considerations which we have just talked about criminal and connects them with the supposedly planned murder of the German Ambassador in Prague. We are said to have planned that murder so as to have a cause for marching into Czechoslovakia. What do you have to say to that?

[ALFRED JODL] A. That, of course, is grotesque. The example that the Fuehrer allegedly mentioned in his talks with Field Marshal Keitel, that the German Ambassador had been murdered by the people of Prague was not even known to me. General Keitel did not tell me that; I only heard it here. Apart from that, I think it is useless to go on discussing it as we did exactly the opposite, we gave the order to General Toussaint to protect the German Embassy in Prague and to protect the lives of the people in it, because, in fact, at one stage it had been seriously threatened.

Q. This is proved by Document AJ-9, third volume of the Document Book, Page 200. That again is the interrogatory of General Toussaint, who was a military attache in Prague at that time. The third question is as follows:

[Page 329]

"Is it true or not that in the summer of 1938 you received the order to defend the German Embassy at Prague and to protect the lives of all the Germans in the Embassy?"
And his answer is:
"Yes, it is true. I remember this order was given to me by telephone, probably in September 1938 ", and so on and so forth, and then in question No. 4:

"It is true that the German Embassy..."

THE PRESIDENT: The witness has already said once it was so.

DR. EXNER: Then I shall only refer to the testimony of Toussaint. In addition, it has been said that the incident had been staged by us. We need not go into that in detail.


Q. Did the incident really happen?

A. No, there was neither a preparation for the incident, nor was it necessary. Incidents kept multiplying day after day, and the solution was a political one and quite an entirely different one at that.

Q. So that this record of a report which we have often read, remained purely theoretical, did it?

A. It was mere paper work, a train of thought which was not really necessary at all.

But it has already been made clear that as soon as the political discussions started I made continuous efforts to prevent the provocations apparently desired on the part of the Czechs from leading to any military measures on our part.

Q. Did the signatory powers in Munich at the end of September know of Germany's military preparations? Did the statesmen there know that we were militarily prepared?

A. The prosecution gave me the distinct impression that that had become known only today and that it was unknown in the autumn of 1938 at Munich. Put that is quite impossible. All the world knew of the calling up of the eight age groups in Czechoslovakia in September. The whole world knew of the total mobilization on 23rd September. A political correspondent of The Times wrote an article on 28th September against this Czechoslovakian mobilization. Nobody was surprised that immediately after the signing of the Munich pact, on 1st October, we marched into ....

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner....

DR. EXNER: Well, let us go on.

Q. Is it true that in August 1938 you prepared a new plan for action of which you had already spoken.

A. Yes. Already before the solution brought about by the Munich pact, I, on my own initiative, made a secret plan for the protection of all the German frontiers. It was so prepared that the frontiers were primarily to be protected while the bulk of the army was to be kept in reserve in the centre of Germany. That complete plan was available during my interrogation. It is now no longer contained in Document 388-PS, but there is a reference made to it.

Q. On Page 40, Volume I, of our Document Book, I again read an extract from Document PS-388. At the very end the following is stated:

"... after the drafting of Case 'Green' we should soon be able to have a temporary deployment."
And then:
"First the Wehrmacht will guarantee the protection of the German frontiers including those of the newly acquired lands, while the bulk of the army and of the air force will remain at our disposal. Such a future deployment, 'Frontier Protection', should be executed separately on the various fronts."

[Page 330]

Why did you prepare this "Frontier Protection" deployment; what was the cause of that?

A. The reason was that once the necessity for a deployment against Czechoslovakia had become superfluous, due to the problem finding some sort of solution, we would no longer have had any deployment plan at all. And since no other intention of the Fuehrer was known to me, I, on my own initiative, made a plan for this deployment which could be applied in any eventuality.

Q. Did you know anything about the intentions of the Fuehrer after the Munich Agreement, to go even further and occupy Bohemia and Moravia?

A. No, I had not any idea of that. I was acquainted with his speech of 26th September where he said:

"Now we are facing the last problem which must be solved."
I believed in that assurance, and this is proved by the fact that during those days, on or about 10th or 11th September, I suggested to Field Marshal Keitel, then General Keitel, that he should ask the British Delegation, the arrival of which was pending, to come to Iglau in Moravia, because many Germans who were living there had been threatened by armed Czechoslovakian Communists. This, of course, was a suggestion which I would never have made had I had any idea that the Fuehrer nourished any other intentions of attacking Bohemia and Moravia.

Q. These further intentions of the Fuehrer were recorded on 21st October, 1938, in a directive. Did you know of it in the OKW, or how was that?

A. No, I did not. I did not see it. I only saw it here in this courtroom, during my preliminary interrogations.

Q. And now, where were you transferred to?

A. I was transferred to Vienna as Artillery Commander of the 44th Division stationed there.

Q. That was the end of October, was it not?

A. Right.

Q. How did you look upon the further military developments ...? Of course, you have already answered that.

A. Actually, I expected an easing of the political tension and a period of peace. I can certainly say peace.

Q. And what happened to you then?

A. Since I knew of no other plan or intention, I transferred my home to Vienna, taking all my furniture with me. Naturally, I would never have done this, if I had had the faintest idea of a pending war, because I knew that in the event of a war I was to become the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Wehrmacht, and so would have had to return to Berlin. I asked General Keitel to help me become the Commander of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall, starting 1st October, 1939, a request which again it would never have entered my mind to make if I had had any idea of what was going to come.

Q. Did you as Artillery Commander in Vienna remain in contact with the OKW?

A. No, hardly at all. I had no connections with the OKW. I did not receive any military documents from the OKW during all that period.

Q. And who informed you about the situation at that time?

A. Nobody. During that time I knew no more about what was going on or what was intended, than any lieutenant in my artillery.

Q. Did you have private correspondence with Keitel?

A. I received one letter from General Keitel. It was, I think, at the end of July 1939. He personally gave me the good news that quite probably I would become the Commander of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall on 1st October, and that General von Sodenstern would become Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, now staffed for peace, on 1st October.

Q. Did you help draw up the plan for the occupation of the remaining part of Czechoslovakia?

[Page 331]

A. No, I did not. During that period I remained in Vienna for the time being and temporarily became Chief of Staff of the 8th Army Corps at Vienna. Then, later on, I was transferred to Brunn in Czechoslovakia together with the entire 44th Division.

Q. When did you hear about the whole thing?

A. It was through the orders of my divisional staff that I heard of that operation in March of 1939, perhaps two or three days beforehand.

Q. Was this move into Czechoslovakia the carrying out of the plan "Case Green", which you had originally drafted?

A. No; it had nothing whatever to do with that any longer. There were completely different units, for instance. Not even half of the troops provided for in 1938 were actually used for the march into Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Q. Now, during that period when you were in Vienna there was a conference with the Fuehrer on 23rd May, 1939, which has often been mentioned here on account of the disregard of neutrality, etc. It has often been claimed that Warlimont was present there as your representative. Please explain this. Was he your representative?

A. With extraordinary tenacity it has again and again been claimed that General Warlimont took part in the conference as the representative of Jodl, or even, as it was once said, as his assistant. There is no question of that. He was my successor but not my representative. And if you repeat that again and again, it still does not make truth. He was my successor.

Q. You had left the OKW, had you not?

A. Yes, I had no connection with the OKW. The fact that quite accidentally Warlimont became my, representative, my deputy later on, has nothing whatever to do with the events of May 1939.

Q. When did you hear of this meeting for the first time, in May 1939?

A. Here in Nuremberg, in 1945.

Q. Did you have any contact with Party leaders at that time, or Austrian National Socialists?

A. No, not in the least.

Q. Or with these defendants here?

A. No. Neither with them.

Q. Once during that time the Fuehrer went to Vienna with Keitel. I think they were there two days or so. Did you have to report to him on that occasion?

A. Yes, coming from Prague he quite unobtrusively visited Vienna, and on that occasion I spoke a few words with General Keitel, but I did not talk to the Fuehrer.

Q. You were not presented to him?

A. No.

Q. What about your war service orders?

A. As I have already said, in the event of a war I was to become the head of the Army Operations Staff.

Q. What about your private personal plans for that summer?

A. In that summer I already had the ticket for a sea voyage into the eastern Mediterranean on 23rd September, 1939.

Q. On 23rd September, 1939, the voyage ....

A. Yes, on 23rd September, the voyage was to start at Hamburg; I had already paid for the tickets.

Q. When did you buy the tickets, do you remember?

A. I think I bought them during the second half of July.

Q. When did you return to Berlin?

A. I am not absolutely certain about the exact date but I expect that it was on 23rd or 24th August judging from a telegram which surprised me in Brunn.

Q. Well, if you had not received that telegram, when would you have had to go to Berlin?

A. In the case of general mobilization I would have had to go to Berlin anyway.

[Page 332]

Q. And did you now have to report to the Fuehrer in Berlin?

A. No, I did not report to him, either. I only reported, of course, to General Keitel and to the Chief of the General Staff of the Army and the Air Force, and to the Naval Command.

DR. EXNER: Mr. President, I have now completed that subject and I thought that this would be a convenient time to adjourn.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us how long you are likely to be?

DR. EXNER: I very much hope ... certainly it will be in the course of tomorrow morning, but shall we say until lunch-time?

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, as counsel for Seyss-Inquart, I have to ask on behalf of my client that he may be permitted to be absent from the session for two days, to prepare his defence.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 5th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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