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so that the positions shown in the attached chart embrace that group which was the actual advisory council of the High
Command of the German Armed Forces." (3706-PS) It should be noted that General Blaskowitz, like Colonel General Halder and Field Marshall von Brauchitsch, vouches for the accuracy of the structure and organization of the General Staff and High Command group as described by the prosecution.
It is, accordingly, clear beyond dispute that the military leaders of Germany knew of, approved, supported, and executed plans for the expansion of the Armed Forces beyond the limits set by treaties. The objectives they had in mind are obvious from the affidavits and documents to which reference has been made. In these documents and affidavits we see the Nazis and the Generals in agreement upon the basic objective of aggrandizing Germany by force or threat of force, and collaborating to build up the armed might of Germany in order to make possible the subsequent acts of aggression.
(a) Austria. Notes taken by Colonel Hossbach of a conference held in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on 5 November 1937 show that this conference, at which Hitler presided, was small and highly secret (386-PS). The only other participants were the four principal military leaders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (von Neurath), and Hossbach acting as Secretary. The four chief leaders of the Armed Forces—Blomberg, who was then Reich Minister for War, and the Commanders-in-Chief of the three branches of the Armed Forces, von Fritsch for the Army, Raeder for the Navy, and Goering for the Air Force-were present. Hitler embarked on a general discussion of Germany's diplomatic and military policy, and stated that the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia was an essential preliminary "for the improvement of our military position" and "in order to remove any threat from the flanks". (386-PS)
The military and political advantages envisaged included the acquisition of a new source of food, shorter and better frontiers, the release of troops for other tasks, and the possibility of forming new divisions from the population of the conquered territories. Von Blomberg and von Fritsch joined in the discussion and von Fritsch stated :
“That it was the purpose of a study which he had laid on for this winter to investigate the possibilities of carrying out operations against Czechoslovakia with special consideration of the conquest of the Czechslovakian system of fortifications" (386-PS).
In the following Spring, March 1938, the German plans with respect to Austria came to fruition. Entries in the diary kept by Jodl show the participation of the German military leaders in the absorption of Austria (1780-PS). As is shown by Jodl's diary entry for 11 February 1938, Keitel and other generals were present at the Obersalzberg meeting between Schuschnigg and Hitler:
signs protocol”. (1780-PS) Two days later Keitel and others were preparing proposals to be submitted to Hitler which would give the Austrian government the impression that Germany would resort to force unless the Schuschnigg agreement was ratified in Vienna:
by telephone for approval". (1780-PS) These proposals are embodied in a document 14 February 1938 and signed by Keitel (1775-PS). Portions of Keitel's proposals to the Fuehrer are as follows:
“1. To take no real preparatory measures in the Army or
“a. through V-men (V-Maenner) in Austria,
“4. Order a very active make-believe wireless exchange in
(1775–PS) As Jodl's diary entry for 14 February shows, these deceptive maneuvers and threats of force were very effective in Austria:
"The effect is quick and strong. In Austria the impression is created that Germany is undertaking serious military
preparations." (1780–PS) About a month later armed intervention was precipitated by Schuschnigg's decision to hold a plebiscite in Austria. Hitler ordered mobilization in accordance with the preexisting plans for the invasion of Austria (these plans were known as “Case Otto") in order to absorb Austria and stop the plebiscite. Jodl's diary entry for 10 March 1938 states:
“By surprise and without consulting the ministers,
'Prepare case Otto'.” (1780-PS) In an order 11 March, initialed by Keitel and Jodl, Hitler laid down the general instructions for the invasion, and directed that the Army and Air Force be ready for action by 12 March (C-102). On the same evening Hitler ordered the invasion of Austria to commence at daybreak on 12 March. The order was initialed by Jodl. (C-182)
The invasion of Austria differs from the other German acts of aggression in that the invasion was not closely scheduled and timed in advance. This was so simple because the invasion was precipitated by an outside event, Schuschnigg's order for the plebiscite. But although for this reason the element of deliberately timed planning was lacking, the foregoing documents make abundantly clear the participation of the military leaders at all stages. At the small policy meeting in November 1937, when Hitler's general program for Austria and Czechoslovakia was outlined, the only others present were the four principal military leaders and the Foreign Secretary (386-PS). In February, Keitel, Reichenau, and Sperrle were present at Obersalzberg to help subject Schuschnigg to "the heaviest military pressure" (1780-PS). Keitel and others immediately thereafter worked out and executed a program of military threat and deception for frightening the
Austrian Government into acceptance of the Schuschnigg protocol (1775-PS). When the actual invasion took place it was, of course, directed by the military leaders and executed by the German Armed Forces. Jodl has given a clear statement of why the German military leaders were delighted to join with the Nazis in bringing about the end of Austrian independence. In his lecture to the Gauleiters in November 1943 (L-172) Jodl explained :
“The Austrian 'Anschluss', in its turn, brought with it not only fulfilment of an an old national aim but also had the effect both of reinforcing our fighting strength and of materially improving our strategic position. Whereas up till then the territory of Czechoslovakia had projected in a most menacing way right into Germany (a wasp waist in the direction of France and an air base for the Allies, in particular Russia), Czechoslovakia herself was now enclosed by pincers. Its own strategic position had now become so unfavorable that she was bound to fall a victim to any attack pressed home with vigour before effective aid from the West could be expected
to arrive". (L-172) (6) Czechoslovakia
The steps in the planning for the invasion of Czechoslovakia (“Case Green" or Fall Gruen) bear the evidence of knowing and wilful participation by Keitel, Jodl, and other members of the General Staff and High Command Group.
The Hossbach minutes of the conference between Hitler and the four principal German military leaders on 5 November 1937 show that Austria and Czechoslovakia were then listed as the first intended victims of German aggression (386-PS). After the absorption of Austria in March 1938, Hitler as head of the State and Keitel as Chief of all the armed forces lost no time in turning their attention to Czechoslovakia. In the Hitler-Keitel discussions on 21 April 1938 a nice balance of political and military factors was worked out (388-PS):
"A. Political Aspect 1. Strategic surprise attack out of a clear sky without any cause or possibility of justification has been turned down. As result would be: hostile world opinion which can lead to a critical situation. Such a measure is justified only for the elimination of the last opponent on the mainland.
2. Action after a time of diplomatic clashes, which gradually come to a crisis and lead to war.
3. Lightning-swift action as the result of an incident (e.g. assassination of German ambassador in connection with an antiGerman demonstration).
B. Military Conclusions 1. The preparations are to be made for the political possibilities 2 and 3. Case 2 is the undesired one since "Gruen" will have taken security measures.
4. Politically, the first 4 days of military action are the decisive ones. If there are no effective military successes, a European crisis will certainly arise. Accomplished facts must prove the senselessness of foreign military intervention, draw Allies into the scheme (division of spoils!) and demoralize “Gruen".
Therefore: bridging the time gap between first penetration and employment of the forces to be brought up, by a determined and ruthless thrust by a motorized army. (e.g. via Pi past Pr) [Pilsen, Prague). (388-PS)
From this point on, nearly the whole story is contained in the Schmundt file (388-PS) and in Jodl's diary (1780-PS). These two sources of information demolish in advance what will, no doubt, be urged in defense of the military defendants and the General Staff and High Command Group. They will seek to create the impression that the German generals were pure military technicians; that they were uninterested and uninformed about political and diplomatic considerations and events; that they passed their days mounting mock battles at the Kriegsakadamie; that they prepared plans for military attack or defense on a purely hypothetical basis. They will say all this in order to suggest that they did not share and could not estimate Hitler's aggressive intentions, and that they carried out politically conceived orders like military automatons, with no idea whether the wars they launched and waged were aggressive or not.
If these arguments are made, the Schmundt file (388-PS) and Jodl's diary (1780–PS) make it abundantly apparent that aggressive designs were conceived jointly between the Nazis and the generals; that the military leaders were fully posted on the aggressive intentions of the Nazis; that they were fully informed of political and diplomatic developments; that indeed German generals had a habit of turning up at diplomatic gatherings.
If the documents did not show these things so clearly, a moment's thought must show them to be true. A highly successful program of conquest depends on armed might, and cannot be executed with an unprepared, weak, or recalcitrant military leadership. It has, of course, been said that war is too important a business to be left to soldiers alone. It is equally true that aggressive diplomacy is far too dangerous a business to be conducted without military advice and military support.