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for the Unified Preparation of the Armed Forces for War”, signed by von Blomberg on 24 June 1937 and promulgated to the Army, Navy, and Luftwaffe for the year beginning 1 July 1937, included as a probable warlike eventuality, for which a concentration plan was to be drafted, Case Green (“War on two fronts with the main struggle in the southeast”) (C-175). The original section of this directive dealing with the “probable war" against Czechoslovakia-it was later revised-opens with this supposition:
"The war in the east can begin with a surprise German operation against Czechoslovakia in order to parry the imminent attack of a superior enemy coalition. The necessary conditions to justify such an action politically and in the eyes of
international law must be created beforehand.” (C-175) After detailing possible enemies and neutrals in the event of such action, the directive continues as follows:
"2. The task of the German Armed Forces is to make
pation of Bohemia and Moravia." (C-175) The introduction to this directive sets forth as one of its guiding principles the following statement:
"The politically fluid world sitution, which does not preclude
vorable opportunities should they occur." (C-175) It ordered further work on the plan for mobilization without public announcement "in order to put the Armed Forces in a position to be able to begin a war suddenly which will take the enemy by surprise both as regards strength and time of attack." (C-175). This directive is, of course, a directive for staff planning. But the nature of the planning, and the very tangible and ominous developments which resulted from it, give it a significance that it would not have in another setting.
Planning along the lines of this directive was carried forward during the fall of 1937 and the winter of 1937-1938. On the political level this planning for the conquest of Czechoslovakia received the approval and support of Hitler in the conference with his military commanders-in-chief on 5 November 1937 (386-PS). In early March 1938, before the march into Austria, Ribbentrop and Keitel were concerned over the extent of the information about war aims against Czechoslovakia to be furnished to Hungary. On 4 March 1938 Ribbentrop wrote to Keitel, enclosing for Keitel's confidential cognizance the minutes of a conference with Sztojay, the Hungarian ambassador to Germany, who had suggested an interchange of views (2786-PS). An acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter was signed by Keitel on 5 March. In his letter to Keitel, Ribbentrop said:
"I have many doubts about such negotiations. In case we should discuss with Hungary possible war aims against Czechoslovakia, the danger exists that other parties as well would be informed about this. I would greatly appreciate it if you would notify me briefly whether any commitments were made here in any respect.” (2786-PS)
D. Development of Specific Plans.
At the 21 April meeting between Hitler and Keitel, specific plans for the attack on Czechoslovakia were discussed for the first time (388–PS, Item 2). This meeting was followed in the late spring and summer of 1938 by a series of memoranda and telegrams advancing Case Green. These notes and communications were carefully filed at Hitler's headquarters by Major Schmundt, the Fuehrer's military adjutant, and were captured by American troops in a cellar at Obersalzberg, Hitler's headquarters, near Berchtesgaden. This file, preserved intact, is document (388–PS).
The individual items in this file tell more graphically than any narrative the progress of the Nazi conspirators' planning to launch an unprovoked war against Czechoslovakia. From the start the Nazi leaders displayed a lively interest in intelligence data concerning Czechoslovak armament and defense. This interest is reflected in Item 4 of the Schmundt file, a telegram from Colonel Zeitzler in General Jodl's office of the OKW to Schmundt at Hitler's headquarters; Item 12, Short survey of Armament of the Czech Army, dated Berlin 9 June 1938 and initialed “Z” for Zeitzler; and Item 13, Questions of the Fuehrer, dated Berlin, 9 June 1938 and classified "Most Secret".
The following are four of the questions on which Hitler wanted authoritative information:
“Question 1: Armament of the Czech Army?
the West for the construction of emplacements?
occupied in unreduced strength? "Question 4: Frontier protection in the West ?" (388-PS,
Item 13) These questions were answered in detail by the OKW and initialed by Colonel Zeitzler of Jodl's staff.
As a precaution against French and British action during the attack on Czechoslovakia, it was necessary for the Nazi conspirators to rush the preparation of fortification measures along the western frontier of Germany. A telegram, presumably sent from Schmundt in Berchtesgaden to Berlin, read in part as follows:
"Inform Colonel General von Brauchitsch and General Keitel:
The Fuehrer repeatedly emphasized the necessity of pressing forward greatly the fortification work
in the west." (388-PS, Item 8) 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. It was decided that preparations for X-day, the day of the attack, should be completed no later than 1 October.
On the afternoon of 28 May 1938 Hitler called a conference of his principal military and political advisers in the winter garden of the Reichs Chancellery in Berlin. This conference was the occasion on which Hitler made known to the inner circle of the Nazi conspirators the outlines of his plan to attack Czechoslovakia and issued the necessary instructions. The meeting is described in an affidavit of Fritz Wiedemann, who at that time was Hitler's adjutant:
“FRITZ WIEDEMANN, being first duly sworn, deposes and
and General von Brauchitsch. On this occasion Hitler made
"/s Fr. Wiedemann."
(3037-PS) In the months after the occupation of the Sudetenland Hitler made no secret of this meeting. In a speech before the Reichstag on 30 January 1939, Hitler spoke as follows:
"On account of this intolerable provocation which had been aggravated by a truly infamous persecution and terrorization of our Germans there, I had resolved to solve once and for all, and this time radically, the Sudeten German question. On May 28 I ordered (1) that preparations should be made for military action against this state by October 2. I ordered (2) the immense and accelerated expansion of our
defensive front in the West.” (2360-PS) Hitler also referred to this conference in his meeting with President Hacha on 15 March 1939. (2798–PS)
Two days after this conference, on 30 May 1938, Hitler issued the revised military directive for Case Green. This directive is Item 11 in the Schmundt file (388-PS). Entitled "Two front war with main effort in the Southeast,” this directive replaced the corresponding section, Part 2, Section II, of the "Directive for Unified Preparation for War” promulgated by von Blomberg on 24 June 1937 (C-175). This directive represented a further development of the ideas for political and military action discussed by Hitler and Keitel in their conference on 21 April. It is an expansion of a rough draft submitted by Keitel to Hitler on 20 May, which may be found as Item 5 in the Schmundt file (388-PS). It was signed by Hitler. Only five copies were made. Three copies were forwarded with a covering letter from Keitel to General von Brauchitsch for the Army, to Raeder for the Navy, and to Goering for the Luftwaffe. In his
covering memorandum Keitel noted that its execution must be assured “as from 1 October 1938 at the latest”. (388-PS, Item 11)
This document, which is the basic directive under which the Wehrmacht carried out its planning for Case Green, reads as follows:
“1. Political Prerequisites.
"a. suitable obvious cause and, with it
prepared to the least possible degree.
a. 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 already in peace-time and by an unexpectedly rapid course of the action. Thus it is 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