The conference of the 5th November, 1937, made it quite
plain that the seizure of Czechoslovakia by Germany had been definitely
decided upon. The only question remaining was the selection of the suitable
moment to do it. On the 4th March, 1938, the defendant Ribbentrop wrote
to the defendant Keitel with regard to a suggestion made to Ribbentrop
by the Hungarian Ambassador in Berlin, that possible war aims against
Czechoslovakia should be discussed between the German and Hungarian
armies. In the course of this letter 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
On the 11th March, 1938, Goering made two separate
statements to M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin, assuring
him that the developments then taking place in Austria would in no way
have any detrimental influence on the relations between the German Reich
and Czechoslovakia, and emphasised the continued earnest endeavour on
the part of the Germans to improve those mutual relations. On the 12th
March, Goering asked M. Mastny to call on him, and repeated these assurances.
This design to keep Czechoslovakia quiet whilst Austria
was absorbed was a typical manoeuvre on the part of the defendant Goering,
which he was to repeat later in the case of Poland, when he made the
most strenuous efforts to isolate Poland in the impending struggle.
On the same day, the 12th March, the defendant von Neurath spoke with
M. Mastny, and assured him on behalf of Hitler that Germany still considered
herself bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention concluded
at Locarno in October, 1935.
The evidence shows that after the occupation of Austria
by the German Army on the 12th March, and the annexation of Austria
on the 13th March, Conrad Henlein, who was the leader of the Sudeten
German party in Czechoslovakia, saw Hitler in Berlin on the 28th March.
On the following day, at a conference in Berlin, when Ribbentrop was
present with Henlein, the general situation was discussed, and later
the defendant Jodl recorded in his diary:
"After the annexation of Austria the Fuehrer mentions
that there is no hurry to solve the Czech question, because Austria
has to be digested first. Nevertheless, preparations for Case Gruen
(that is, the plan against Czechoslovakia) will have to be carried out
energetically; they will have to be newly prepared on the basis of the
changed strategic position because of the annexation of Austria."
On the 21st April, 1938, a discussion took place between
Hitler and the defendant Keitel with regard to " Case Gruen ",
showing quite clearly that the preparations for the attack on Czechoslovakia
were being fully considered. On the 28th May, 1938, Hitler ordered that
preparations should be made for military action against Czechoslovakia
by the 2nd October, and from then onwards the plan to invade Czechoslovakia
was constantly under review. On the 30th May, 1938, a directive signed
by Hitler declared his " unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia
by military action in the near future."
In June, 1938, as appears from a captured document
taken from the files of the SD in Berlin, an elaborate plan for the
employment of the SD in Czechoslovakia had been proposed. This plan
provided that " the SD follow, if possible, immediately after the
leading troops, and take upon themselves the duties similar to their
tasks in Germany .... "
Gestapo officials were assigned to co-operate with
the SD in certain operations. Special agents were to be trained beforehand
to prevent sabotage, and these agents were to be notified " before
the attack in due time .... in order to give them the possibility to
hide themselves, avoid arrest and deportation .... "
" At the beginning, guerrilla or partisan warfare
is to be expected, therefore weapons are necessary .... "
Files of information were to be compiled with notations
as follows: " To arrest " .... " To liquidate "
...." To confiscate " .... " To deprive of passport"
The plan provided for the temporary division of the
country into larger and smaller territorial units, and considered various
" suggestions ", as they were termed, for the incorporation
into the German Reich of the inhabitants and districts of Czechoslovakia.
The final " suggestion " included the whole country together
with Slovakia and Carpathian Russia, with a population of nearly is
The plan was modified in some respects in September
after the Munich Conference, but the fact that the plan existed in such
exact detail and was couched in such war-like language indicated a calculated
design to resort to force.
On the 31st Augt, 1938, Hitler approved a memorandum
by Jodl dated 24th Augt, 1938, concerning the timing of the order for
the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the question of defence measures.
This memorandum contained the following:
" Operation Gruen 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."
These facts demonstrate that the occupation of Czechoslovakia
had been planned in detail long before the Munich conference.
In the month of September, 1938, the conferences and
talks with military readers continued. In view of the extradordinarily
critical situation which had arisen, the British Prime Minister, Mr.
Chamberlain, flew to Munich and then went to Berchtesgaden to see Hitler.
On the 22nd September Mr. Chamberlain met Hitler for further discussions
at Bad Godesberg. On the 26th September, 1938, Hitler said in a speech
in Berlin, with reference to his conversation:
" 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 Czechoslovakia solves its other problems, that is to say, when
the Czechs have come to an arrangement with their other minorities,
peacefully and with out oppression, I will be no longer interested in
the Czech State, and that as far as I am concerned I will guarantee
it. We don't want any Czechs."
On the 29th September, 1938, after a conference between
Hitler and Mussolini and the British and French Prime Ministers in Munich,
the Munich Pact was signed, by which Czechoslovakia was required to
acquiesce in the cession of the Sudetenland to Germany. The " piece
of paper " which the British Prime Minister brought back to London,
signed by himself and Hitler, expressed the hope that for the future
Britain and Germany might live without war. That Hitler never intended
to adhere to the Munich Agreement is shown by the fact that a little
later he asked the defendant Keitel for information with regard to the
military force which in his opinion would be required to break all Czech
resistance in Bohemia and Moravia. Keitel gave this reply on the 11th
October 1938. On the 21st October, 1938, a directive was issued by Hitler,
and countenacened by the defendant Keitel, to the armed forces on their
future tasks, which stated:
" 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."
On the 14th March, 1939, the Czech President Hacha
and his Foreign Minister Chvalkovsky came to Berlin at the suggestion
of Hitler and attended a meeting at which the defendants Ribbentrop,
Goering and Keitel were present, with others. The proposal was made
to Hacha that if he would sign an agreement consenting to the incorporation
of the Czech people in the German Reich at once, Bohemia and Moravia
would be saved from destruction. He was informed that German troops
had already received orders to march" and that any resistance would
be broken with physical force. The defendant Goering added the threat
that he would destroy Prague completely from the air. Faced by this
dreadful alternative, Hacha and his Foreign Minister put their signatures
to the necessary agreement at 4.30 in the morning, and Hitler and Ribbentrop
signed on behalf of Germany.
On the 15th March German troops occupied Bohemia and
Moravia, and on the 16th March the German decree was issued incorporating
Bohemia and Moravia in the Reich as a protectorate, and this decree
was signed by the defendants Ribbentrop and Frick.