Alfred Jodl 2
August 24, 1938:
From notes, signed by Jodl:
Fall Grun will start with the creation of an incident in Czechoslovakia, which will give Germany a pretext for military intervention. It is of the greatest importance to fix the exact day and hour for staging the incident. This incident must be provoked under weather conditions favorable for our superior air force in carrying out the operation, and it should be timed in such a way that the ... notification [of optimal weather conditions] should ... reach us by midday of X-1 Day. This will enable us to follow it up immediately by issuing the order X, on X-1 Day, at 1400 hours . . . .
The purpose of these statements is to show how greatly interested the Armed Forces are in the incident, and that they should know well in advance the intentions of the Führer, inasmuch as the organization of the incident will be entrusted, in any case, to the Abwehr.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The Führer's order of 30 May which I have already explained, assuming that it ever came to this action, left no other choice than to attack on a previously decided date. This could only follow as the result of an incident because, without provocation, the operation was out of the question; and it was not to be attempted if too long a time had passed.
August 26, 1938:
The Army, in order to be ready for such a surprise break-through of the Czech fortifications, required 4 days of preparation. If nothing happened after those 4 days, the military preparations could no longer be kept secret and the surprise element would disappear. Therefore, nothing else remained but, either a spontaneous incident in Czechoslovakia, which would then 4 days later have resulted in military action, or a date which had to be decided on previously. In that case, an incident had to happen during those 4 days that the Army required for deployment.
The Fuehrer's demands could, in fact, not be solved in any other way, from the point of view of the General Staff. My letter to Major Schmundt was meant to explain that difficult situation to the Führer.
At that time, incidents occurred every day. May I remind you that, since the first partial mobilization in Czechoslovakia, the Sudeten Germans liable to be called for military service had mostly evaded the order. They escaped over the border into Germany, and the Czechoslovakian border police shot at them. Bullets were shot over daily into Germany. Altogether, more than 200,000 Sudeten Germans crossed the border in that manner.
From that point of view, the conception of an incident was not so mean and criminal as it might have been, for instance, if peaceful Switzerland had been involved. If I said, therefore, how keenly interested we would be in such an incident, that was meant to express that, if one resorted to military action at all--all this is, of course, purely theoretical—one might use just such an incident as a [casus belli] . . . .
I had too much knowledge of European military history not to know that the question of the first shot—the apparent cause of war, not the inner cause of war--has played an important part in each war and on each side.
The responsibility for the outbreak of war is always attributed to the enemy; it is not characteristic of Germany alone, but of all European nations who have ever been at war with one another. In the case of Czechoslovakia, the deeper cause of the war was quite apparent. I need not describe the condition in which 3 1/2 million Germans found themselves who were supposed to fight against their own people. I myself was able to watch that tragedy in my own house. In this case, the deeper cause of the war was firmly established, and Lord Runciman, who came on that mission from London, left no doubt about it whatsoever. In such a situation, I certainly had no moral scruples about exaggerating one of these incidents and, by means of a counteraction in vigorous reply to the Czech doings and activities, extending and enlarging such an incident in order that if the political situation allowed it, and England and France did not interfere--as the Fuehrer believed--we might find a really obvious reason for taking action . . . .
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; I only heard of 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.
Jodl initials a memorandum entitled Timing of the X-Order and the Question of Advance Measures:
The Luftwaffe's endeavor to take the enemy air forces by surprise at their peace-time airports justifiably leads them to oppose measures taken in advance of the X-order and to the demand that the X-order itself be given sufficiently late on X minus 1 to prevent the fact of Germany's mobilization becoming known to Czechoslovakia on that day. The army's efforts are tending in the opposite direction. It intends to let OKW initiate all advance measures between X minus 3 and X minus 1, which will contribute to the smooth and rapid working of the mobilization. With this in mind, OKW also demands that the X order be given not later than 1400 on X minus 1.
To this, the following must be said: Operation (Aktion) Green 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. It must come at a time when weather conditions are favorable for our superior air forces to go into action, and at an hour which will enable authentic [sic] news of it to reach us on the afternoon of X minus 1. It can then be spontaneously answered by the giving of the X order at 1400 on X minus 1.
On X minus 2 the Navy, Army and Air Force will merely receive an advance warning. If the Führer intends to follow this plan of action, all further discussion is superfluous. For then no advance measures may be taken before X minus 1 for which there is not an innocent explanation, as we shall otherwise appear to have manufactured the incident. Orders for absolutely essential advance measures must be given in good time and camouflaged with the help of the numerous maneuvers and exercises. Also, the question raised by the Foreign Office, as to whether all Germans should be called back in time from prospective enemy territories, must in no way lead to the conspicuous departure from Czechoslovakia of any German subjects before the incident. Even a warning of the diplomatic representatives in Prague is impossible before the first air attack, although the consequences could be very grave in the event of their becoming victims of such an attack (e. g., death of representatives of friendly or confirmed neutral powers.)
If, for technical reasons, the evening hours should be considered desirable for the incident, then the following day cannot be X day, but it must be the day after that. In any case, we must act on the principle that nothing must be done, before the incident, which might point to mobilization, and that the swiftest possible action must be taken after the incident. (X-Fall) It is the purpose of these notes to point out what a great interest the Wehrmacht has in the incident and that it must be informed of the Führer's intentions in good time—in so far as the Abwehr Section is not also charged with the organization of the incident. I request that the Führer's decision be obtained on these points."
Note: In handwriting at the bottom of the page are the notes of Schmundt, Hitler's adjutant. These reveal that the memorandum was submitted to Hitler on 30 August, that Hitler agreed to act along these lines, and that Jodl was so notified on 31 August.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: 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 entirely different. It was merely work on paper, an idea, 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 . . . .
September 6, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
The Prosecution gave me the distinct impression that [the signatory powers in Munich did not know of Germany's military preparations by the end of September, but that] … it was unknown in the autumn of 1938 at Munich. But that is quite impossible. The entire world knew of the calling up of the eight age groups in Czechoslovakia in September. The whole world knew of the total mobilization on 23 September. A political correspondent of The Times wrote an article on 28 September against this Czechoslovakian mobilization. Nobody was surprised that immediately after the signing of the Munich Pact, on 1 October, we marched...
Chief of General Staff, General of Artillery Halder, has a conference with the Hungarian Chief of General Staff Fischer. Before that, I brief him on the political attitude of the Führer—especially his order not to give any hint on the exact moment. The same with OQI, General v. Stuelpnagel.
September 8, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
General Stuelpnagel OQI asks for written assurance that the Army High Command will be informed five days in advance, if the plan is to take place. I agree, and add that the overall meteorological situation can be estimated, to some extent, only for two days in advance, and that therefore the plans may be changed up to this moment (D-day-2) (X-2 TAG). General Stuelpnagel mentions that, for the first time, he wonders whether the previous basis of the plan is not being abandoned. It presupposed that the Western Powers would not interfere decisively. It gradually seems as if the Führer would stick to his decision, even though he may no longer be of this opinion.
It must be added that Hungary is at least moody, and that Italy is reserved. I must admit that I am worrying too, when comparing the change of opinion about political and military potentialities, according to directives of 24 June, 5 Nov 37, 7 Dec 37, 30 May 38, with the last statements. In spite of that, one must be aware of the fact that the other nations will do everything they can to apply pressure to us. We must pass this test of nerves; but because only very few people know the art of withstanding this pressure successfully, the only possible solution is to inform only a very small circle of officers of news that causes us anxiety, and not to have it circulate through anterooms as heretofore.
1800 hours to 2100 hours: Conference with Chief of Army High Command and Chief of General Staff of the Air Force (present were Jeschonnek, Kammhuber, Sternburg and myself). We agree about the promulgation of the D-Day order (X-Befehl), (X-1, 4 o'clock) and pre-announcement to the Air Force (D-Day-1, X-1 day, 7 o'clock). The 'Y time' has yet to be examined; some formations have an approach flight of one hour.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I was certainly convinced of that [that the conflict might be localized], because I could not imagine that the Führer, in the position we were in, would start a conflict with France and Britain which had to lead to our immediate collapse.
September 10, 1938:
In my diary on 8 September, there is reference to a conversation with General Stuelpnagel. According to that, Stulpnagel was at the moment very worried lest the Führer should depart from his oft-defined attitude, and allow himself to be dragged into military action, in spite of the danger of France's intervention.
According to the entry in my diary I replied that actually at the moment I shared his worries to some extent. It was out of the question with five fighting divisions and seven reserve divisions in the western fortifications, which were nothing but a large construction site, to hold out against 100 French divisions. That was militarily impossible.
Hitler issues an order bringing the Reichsarbeitsdienst
('Reich Labour Service', RAD), the German labor service, under the OKW.
1. The whole RAD organization comes under the command of the Supreme Command of the Army effective 15 September.
September 11, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
2. The Chief of OKW decides on the first commitments of this organization in conjunction with the Reich Labor Leader (Reichsarbeitsführer) and on assignments from time to time to the Supreme Commands of the Navy, Army, and Air Force. Where questions arise with regard to competency he will make a final decision in accordance with my instructions.
3. For the time being, this order is to be made known only to the departments and personnel immediately concerned.
In the afternoon, conference with Secretary of State Jahnke from the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda on imminent common tasks. The joint preparations for refutation [Wiederlegung] of our own violations of international law, and the exploitation of its violations by the enemy, were considered particularly important.
September 14, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
At noon, it was announced that the general order for mobilization had been posted in Czechoslovakia . . . . This, however, did not take place, although approximately eight age groups were called up at short notice. As the Sudeten Germans are crossing the border en masse, we request, at about 1730 hours, at the suggestion of the OKH, Department 2, the calling up of the strengthened frontier guard (GAD) along the Czech border, in military districts VIII, IV, XIII, and XVII. The Fuehrer gives his authorization from Munich.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: On 13 or 14 September the eight age groups were called up in Czechoslovakia. We used the strengthened frontier guard, so that the many escaping Sudeten Germans could be taken over.
September 15, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
On 17 September, the Führer formed the Freikorps Henlein, contrary to the previous agreement, and without telling us beforehand. Previously it had been agreed that these Sudeten Germans of military age were to join the Reserve Army. Around that time, the political discussions started. The first one at the Berghof had already taken place. Benes ordered mobilization in Czechoslovakia on 23 September and, only now, and in accordance with the political discussions, did the military deployment against Czechoslovakia commence. I had no doubt that it was going to be used in the event of Czechoslovakia not submitting to any agreement we had made with the Western Powers, for the Fuehrer had clearly stated that he would negotiate, only if France and England did not intervene politically or militarily.
In the morning conference with Chief of Army High Command and Chief of General Staffs of Army and Air Forces, the question was discussed what could be done if the Führer insists on advancement of the date, due to the rapid development of the situation.
September 16, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
General Keitel returns from the Berghof at 1700 hours. He graphically describes the results of the conference between Chamberlain and the Fuehrer. The next conference will take place on the 21st or 22nd in Godesberg. With consent of the Führer, the order is given in the evening by the Armed Forces High Command to the Army High Command and to the Ministry of Finance, to line up the VGAD along the Czech border. In the same way, an order is issued to the railways to have the empty rolling stock kept in readiness clandestinely for the strategic concentrations of the Army, so that it can be transported starting 28 September.
September 16, 1938:
From a telegram from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Legation in Prague:
Tonight 150 subjects of Czechoslovakia of Czech blood were arrested in Germany. This measure is an answer to the arrest of Sudeten Germans since the Führer's speech of 12 September. I request you to ascertain the number of Sudeten-Germans arrested since 12 September, as extensively as possible. The number of those arrested there is estimated conservatively at 400 by the Gestapo. Cable report. Woermann.
September 17, 1938:
From a telegram from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Legation in Prague:
I. Request to inform the local government immediately of the following: The Reich Government has decided that:
September 19, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
(a) Immediately as many Czech subjects of Czech descent, Czech-speaking Jews included, will be arrested in Germany, as Sudeten Germans have been in Czechoslovakia since the beginning of the week.
(b) If any Sudeten Germans should be executed pursuant to a death sentence on the basis of martial law, an equal number of Czechs will be shot in Germany.
Order is given to the Army High Command to take care of the Sudeten German Free Corps.
September 20, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
England and France have handed over their demands in Prague, the contents of which are still unknown. The activities of the Free Corps start assuming such an extent that they may bring about, and already have brought about, consequences harmful to the plans of the Army. (Transferring rather strong units of the Czech Army to the proximity of the border.) By checking with Lt. Col. Koechling, I attempt to lead these activities into normal channels. Toward the evening, the Fuehrer also takes a hand, and gives permission to act, only with groups up to 12 men each, after the approval of the Corps HQ.
September 22, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
Captain Burckner, chief of the foreign section, reports that, according to an intercepted long-distance telephone conversation between Prague and the local Czech Legation Counselor, the German Embassy in Prague has just been stormed. I am immediately having connection made by telephone and wireless with Prague through Colonel Juppe. 1050 hours: Burckner reports that the incident has not been confirmed. The Foreign Office has spoken with our Embassy.
September 24, 1938:
1055 hours: I establish liaison with Prague and with Toussaint. To my question as to how he is getting along, he replies, "Thanks, excellently." The Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces, who had been informed of the first report with the suggestion that he should think over what measures would have to be taken if the Führer should wish for an immediate bombardment of Prague, is informed … about the false report which may have had the purpose of provoking us to a military action.
From a telegram from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Legation in Prague:
According to information received here, Czechs have arrested 2 German frontier-policemen, seven customs-officials, and 30 railway-officials. As counter-measure, all the Czech staff in Marschegg were arrested. We are prepared to exchange the arrested Czech officials for the German officials. Please approach Government there and wire result . . . . Yielding of the Czech hostages arrested here, for the prevention of the execution of any sentences passed by military courts against Sudeten-Germans is, of course, out of question.
September 26, 1938 Jodl's Diary
It is important that false reports do not induce us to military actions before Prague replies . . . . Chief of the Armed Forces High Command, acting through the Army High Command, has stopped the intended approach march of the advance units to the Czech border, because it is not yet necessary, and because the Führer does not intend to march in before the 30th in any case. Order to approach towards the Czech frontier need be given on the 27th only. In the evening of the 26th, fixed radio stations of Breslau, Dresden, and Vienna are put at the disposal of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, for interference with possible Czech propaganda transmissions. Question by Foreign office whether Czechs are to be allowed to leave and cross Germany. Decision from Chief of the Armed Forces High Command: yes.
September 26, 1938:
1515 hours: The Chief of the Armed Forces High Command informs General Stumpf about the result of the Godesberg conversations and about the Führer's opinion. In no case will X day be before the 30th. It is important that we do not permit ourselves to be drawn into military engagements, because of false reports, before Prague replied. A question of Stumpf about Y hour results in the reply that on account of the weather situation, a simultaneous intervention of the Air Force and Army cannot be expected. The Army needs the dawn, the Air Force can only start later, on account of frequent fogs. The Führer has to make a decision for the commander in chief: who is to have priority. The opinion of Stumpf is also that the attack of the Army has to proceed. The Führer has not made any decision as yet about commitment against Prague.
2000 hours: The Führer addresses the people and the world in an important speech at the Sportpalast.
Hitler speaks at the Sportspalast in Berlin:
And now we are confronted with the last problem which must be solved, and which will be solved. It is the last territorial claim that I have to make in Europe, but it is a claim from which I will not swerve, and which I will satisfy, God willing. 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. 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 [without] oppression, I will no longer be interested in the Czech State. And that, as far as I am concerned, I will guarantee. We don't want any Czechs at all.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Already before the solution brought about by the Munich Pact, I, on my own initiative, drew up a secret operational plan for the protection of all the German borders. It was so arranged that the borders only were to be protected, while the bulk of the Army was to be kept in reserve in the center of Germany. That complete plan was available here during my interrogation. The reason was that, once the necessity for an operation against Czechoslovakia had become superfluous, through the problem being solved in some way, we would no longer have had any deployment plan at all. And as no other intention of the Führer was known to me, I, on my own initiative, drew up a plan for this operation, which would be suitable for any eventuality . . . .
September 27, 1938:
I had no idea ... that [the Führer, after the Munich Agreement, intended to go even further and occupy Bohemia and Moravia]. I knew of his speech of 26 September where he said: "Now we are facing the last problem to be solved." I believed in that assurance, and this is proved by the fact that during those days—it was about 10 or 11 September—I suggested to Field Marshal Keitel, then General Keitel, that he should ask the British Delegation, whose arrival had been announced, 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 that I would never have made, if I had had any idea that the Führer nourished any further intentions concerning Bohemia and Moravia.
From Conference notes initialed by Jodl:
As a matter of principle, every effort should be made for a coordinated attack by Army and Air Forces on X Day. The Army wishes to attack at dawn, i.e., about 0615. It also wishes to conduct some limited operations in the previous night, which, however, would not alarm the entire Czech front. Air Force's time of attack depends on weather conditions. These could change the time of attack and also limit the area of operations. The weather of the last few days, for instance, would have delayed the start until between 0800 and 1100 due to low ceiling in Bavaria . . . .
September 28, 1938:
Thus it is proposed: Attack by the Army—independent of the attack by the air force—at the time desired by the Army (0615) and permission for limited operations to take place before then, however, only to an extent that will not alarm the entire Czech front. The Luftwaffe will attack at a time most suitable to them.
From an OKW most secret order signed by Jodl:
Those SS-Totenkopf units now operating in the Asch Promontory (I and II Bn of Oberbayern Regiment) will come under the C in C Army only when they return to German Reich territory, or when the Army crosses the German-Czech frontier.
September 29, 1938 Jodl's Diary:
Note: According to the 25 September entry in General Jodl's diary these SS Totenkopf battalions are operating in this area on direct orders from Hitler.
The Munich Pact is signed, Czechoslovakia as a power is out. Four zones as set forth will be occupied between the 2nd and 7th of October. The remaining part of mainly German character will be occupied by the 10th of October. The genius of the Führer and his determination not to shun even a world war have again won the victory without the use of force. The hope remains that the incredulous, the weak, and the doubtful people have been converted and will remain that way.
From the IMT testimony of General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar-Brandenfels: Perhaps I may state ... that during the years 1937 to 1939 quite a number of General Staff officers came to see Lieutenant Colonel von Zielberg and me, as personnel administrators of the General Staff officers, and talked to us. The majority of these officers were chiefs of army corps, army, and army group general staffs; and they were, therefore, the confidential and responsible advisers of the commanding generals and commanders. These officers, just like their commanding generals, had fought in the First World War; and the opinion they always expressed to us was only that the German nation should be spared a second war. In spite of every positive attitude to the Führer's successes, there was a certain anxiety about his policy and particularly about the rapid rearmament of the forces, which made careful work difficult. After the Munich negotiations, confidence increased a great deal and it was the general opinion of the officers that the Führer would continue to be successful in maintaining peace . . . .
September 30, 1938:
After the Munich Agreement I concluded from my talks with General Staff officers that there was a general conviction among them that, thanks to his policy, the Führer would continue to preserve peace. I remember that as late as 25 or 26 August I saw the Führer, at headquarters in Zossen, having a conversation with Lieutenant Colonel von Zielberg and several other officers. At that time these officers were still of the opinion that a war would not occur and that, to render the Führer's political aims feasible, it was only necessary to keep the troops firmly under control, so that no political catastrophe should be produced by the laying down of arms.
After it has became clear that the Munich settlement will result in a peaceful occupation of the Sudetenland, Keitel orders that the Free Corps Heinlein in its present composition be placed under command of Himmler:
1. Attachment of Heinlein Free Corps: The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has just ordered that the Heinlein Free Corps in its present composition be placed under command of Reichsführer-SS and Chief of German Police. It is therefore at the immediate disposal of OKH as field unit for the invasion, but is to be later drawn in like the rest of the police forces for police duties in agreement with the Reichsführer SS.
October 1, 1938:
From a memorandum of the High Command of the German Armed Forces drawn up in anticipation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia:
Use of prisoners of war and civilians for war work, (construction of roads, digging trenches, making munitions, employment in transport, et cetera) . . . . Captured Czech soldiers or Czech civilians are ordered to construct roads or to load munitions . . . . Article 31 of an agreement signed 27 July 1938 concerning the treatment of prisoners of war forbids their use in tasks directly related to war measures. Compulsion to do such work is in every case contrary to international law. The use of prisoners of war as well as civilians is allowed for road construction but forbidden for the manufacture of munitions . . . . The use of these measures may be based on war needs or on the declaration that the enemy has acted in the same way first.
October 1, 1938:
From a detailed study compiled by Section L, Jodl's section of the OKW, where anticipated violations of International Law in the invasion of Czechoslovakia are listed, and counter-propaganda suggested for the use of the propaganda agencies.
The first 10 hypothetical incidents:
1 In an air-raid on Prague the British Embassy is destroyed.
2. Englishmen or Frenchmen are injured or killed.
3. The Hradčany [Note: This is a reference to the Castle District of the city of Prague, surrounding the Prague Castle.] is destroyed in an air raid on Prague. 4. On account of a report that the Czechs have used gas, the firing of gas projectiles in ordered. 5. Czech civilians, not recognizable as soldiers, are caught in the act of sabotage (destruction of important bridges, destruction of foodstuffs and fodder) are discovered looting wounded or dead soldiers and thereupon shot.
6. Captured Czech soldiers or Czech civilians are detailed to do roadwork or to load munitions.
7. For military reasons, it is necessary to requisition billets, food stuffs, and fodder from the Czech population. As a result, the latter suffer from want.
8. Czech population is, for military reasons, compulsorily evacuated to the rear area.
9. Churches are used for military accommodation.
10. In the course of their duty, German aircraft fly over Polish territory where they are involved in an air battle with Czech aircraft.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I do not think this document [above] is so remarkable after all. It was compiled at the end of September 1938, shortly before the Munich Conference. As I, in my department, did not know for certain whether we would have an armed conflict or not, and as at that time the stipulations of international law were not clear to us, I wanted, by taking various examples, to find out from the experts on international law what the present attitude was towards such infractions. Every officer in my division then racked his brain to find an example, and we tried to cover every branch of international law through some specific instance. I consider it worthy of note that, even then, we concerned ourselves with the conception of international law. There can be no doubt whatsoever that I alone carry responsibility for having thought out these examples. But if one were to take exception to the reply to these examples, that is to the judgment on the lines of international law, or to justification according to the rules of warfare, I can only say that this did not come from me; it emanated from the office of Canaris. Apart from that, it shows a very careful and noteworthy attitude toward international law, especially concerning air warfare. At any rate, it was on a much higher level than what took place in actual practice . . . .
October 1, 1938:
Not at all [was it the intention to commit these infractions of international law], but as one conversant with the history of warfare, I knew that there has never yet been in this world a war, in which infractions of international law did not occur.
If, perhaps, objection should be raised that quite at the end of the paragraph there appears: "Explanation by the Propaganda Ministry," I should like to say that that comes at the end, after the justification according to the laws of war and the judgment from the standpoint of international law. Admiral Burckner, who gave the reply, himself referred to it—that propaganda could be put into practice only after the aspects of international law had been clarified. Moreover the whole answer was only a preliminary one, as first the Foreign Office and the various branch chiefs of the Wehrmacht would have had to be heard on the subject . . . .
I recognized and valued international law with which I was well acquainted, as a prerequisite for the decent and humane conduct of war. Copies of the Hague Rules of Land Warfare, and the Geneva Convention were always lying on my desk. I believe that, by my attitude toward the Commissar Order, toward lynching, and toward the intention to repudiate the Geneva Convention—bluntly rejected by all Commanders-in-Chief and all branches of the Wehrmacht, and by the Foreign Office—I have proved that I tried, as far as it was possible for me, to observe international law.
Of course, there is a wealth of positive proof available. The pertinent documents will probably be submitted by my defense counsel. I will refer only to the behavior of the German Wehrmacht in Norway, a matter in which I collaborated. I refer to the partisan regulations.
German troops begin the occupation of the Sudetenland.
October 15, 1938:
German troops complete the occupation of the Sudetenland; the Czech government resigns.
October 21, 1938:
On the same day on which the administration of the Sudetenland is handed over to the civilian authorities, a directive outlining plans for the conquest of the remainder of Czechoslovakia is signed by Hitler and initialed by Keitel:
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 the following eventualities:
1. The securing of the frontiers of Germany and the protection against surprise air attacks.
2. The liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
3. The occupation of the Memelland. 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 Gruen; they must, however, guarantee a continuous and considerably higher state of preparedness, since planned mobilization measures have been dispensed with. The organization, 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 organized resistance. 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 defense 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 motorized divisions are to be earmarked for a surprise type of attack. The forces remaining in Czechoslovakia will determine their number; 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 in securing the frontiers, or sent after the attack army.
b. Air Force: The quick advance of the German Army is to be assured by an early elimination of the Czech Air Force. For this purpose, the commitment in 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.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: No, I did not know about it [the above directive]. I did not see it. I only saw it here in this courtroom during my preliminary interrogation.
Jodl is assigned as an Artilleriekommandeur
[artillery commander] of the 44th Division in Vienna. General Keitel will later testify that, had he known war to be imminent, he would not have allowed his right-hand-man to transfer.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: From 1932 to 1935 I was in the division which was later called the Operations Division of the Army. From the middle of 1935 until October 1938 I was Chief of the Department for National Defense in the Wehrmachtsamt, which was later called the OKW. From October 1938 until shortly before the Polish campaign I was artillery commander at Vienna; and at Brunn, in Moravia. On 27 August 1939 I took over the office and the tasks of Chief of the General Staff. At that time, there were no preparations in the Operations Division, except for combat directives for the improvised Grenzschutz 0st (frontier guard East). This was a militia-like organization, and preparations were made to evacuate the whole German border in case of enemy occupation. That was all . . . .
November 6, 1938:
In this position I had to work out the operational strategic directives according to the instructions of my chiefs, Keitel and Blomberg. I had to study and to clarify the problem of the leadership of the Wehrmacht, [and] to prepare studies and exercises for the big Wehrmacht maneuvers in 1937. I had to supervise the Wehrmacht Academy; I had to work out drafts for laws in connection with the general conscription order, and with the unified preparation for mobilization in the civilian sector, that is, of state and people. The so-called Secretariat of the Reich Defense Committee came under me . . . .
I expected an easing of the political tension and a period of peace. I can certainly say that. As I knew of no other plans, I transferred my home to Vienna taking all my furniture with me. Naturally I would never have done that if I had had the faintest idea that war was pending, because I knew that in the event of war I was to become the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff and so would have to return to Berlin. I asked General Keitel to help me to become the Commander of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall, from 1 October 1939, a request which again it would never have entered my mind to make, if I had any idea of what was going to come. I had no connections with the OKW. I received no military documents from the OKW during all that period. During that time, I knew no more about what was going on, or what was intended, than any lieutenant in my artillery.
Hitler speaks in Weimar:
From the very first day, I have proclaimed as a fundamental principle: "The German is either the first soldier in the world or he is no soldier at all." No soldiers at all we cannot be, and we do not wish to be. Therefore we shall be only the first. As one who is a lover of peace, I have endeavored to create for the German people such an army and such munitions as are calculated to convince others...
From Jodl's IMT testimony: From the autumn of 1938 on, the picture became much more favorable because the preparations in the armament industry were now producing results, and plenty of equipment was being delivered for the divisions; also, because from this time on, the trained age groups were beginning to come in. Therefore, in the late autumn of 1938, we were in a position to set up approximately 55 divisions—including reserve divisions—even though some of them may have been only poorly equipped. In 1939—as I said before, according to my recollection—there were between 73 and 75 divisions ... these 55 divisions, or rather these 75, were still very short of equipment, in the same way as the small number in the spring of 1938, or in April 1938, which I mentioned. But the fact that from that time on armament went much faster was due—as I have said—to the very nature of things.
December 17, 1938:
Keitel issues an appendix to the original order of October 21:
Reference 'Liquidation of the Rest of Czechoslovakia' the Führer has given the following additional order:
The preparations for this eventuality are to continue on the assumption that no resistance 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 peacetime Armed Forces only, without reinforcements from mobilization. The necessary readiness for action, especially the ensuring that the most necessary supplies are brought up, must be effected by adjustment within the units. Similarly, the units of the Army detailed for the march 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 organization should be limited to the minimum, and will be camouflaged as much as possible. Necessary movements, if any, of single units and particularly of motorized 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.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: It was through the orders of my divisional staff that I heard of that operation in March of 1939, some 2 or 3 days beforehand. It had no longer anything to do with [Case Green]. There were completely different troop units, and not even half of the troops provided for in 1938 were actually used for the march into Czechoslovakia in 1939.
March 15, 1939 Proclamation of the Führer:
To the German People: Only a few months ago, Germany was compelled to protect her fellow-countrymen, living in well-defined settlements, against the unbearable Czechoslovakian terror regime; and during the last weeks, the same thing has happened on an ever-increasing scale. This is bound to create an intolerable state of affairs within an area inhabited by citizens of so many nationalities. These national groups, to counteract the renewed attacks against their freedom and life, have now broken away from the Prague Government.
March 17, 1939:
Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist. Since Sunday, at many places, wild excesses have broken out, amongst the victims of which are, again, many Germans. Hourly, the number of oppressed and persecuted people, crying for help, is increasing. From areas thickly populated by German-speaking inhabitants, which last autumn Czechoslovakia was allowed by German generosity to retain, refugees, robbed of their personal belongings, are streaming into the Reich. Continuation of such a state of affairs would lead to the destruction of every vestige of order in an area, in which Germany is vitally interested, particularly as, for over 1,000 years, it formed a part of the German Reich.
In order definitely to remove this menace to peace, and to create the conditions for a necessary new order in this living space, I have today resolved to allow German troops to march into Bohemia and Moravia. They will disarm the terror gangs and the Czechoslovakian forces supporting them, and protect the lives of all who are menaced. Thus they will lay the foundations for introducing a fundamental re-ordering of affairs, which will be in accordance with the 1,000-year-old history, and will satisfy the practical needs of the German and Czech peoples. -Adolf Hitler, Berlin.
A statement by the Acting US Secretary of State Welles:
The Government of the United States has on frequent occasions stated its conviction that only through international support of a program of order based upon law can world peace be assured. This Government, founded upon, and dedicated to the principles of human liberty and of democracy, cannot refrain from making known this country's condemnation of the acts which have resulted in the temporary extinguishment of the liberties of a free and independent people with whom, from the day when the Republic of Czechoslovakia attained its independence, the people of the United States have maintained specially close and friendly relations.
April 7, 1939:
The position of the Government of the United States has been made consistently clear. It has emphasized the need for respect for the sanctity of treaties, and of the pledged word, and for non-intervention by any nation in the domestic affairs of other nations; and it has on repeated occasions expressed its condemnation of a policy of military aggression. It is manifest that acts of wanton lawlessness and of arbitrary force are threatening the world peace, and the very structure of modern civilization. The imperative need for the observance of the principles advocated by this Government has been clearly demonstrated by the developments that have taken place during the past 3 days.
Italian troops gain an immediate land border with Greece when they occupy Albania.
May 22, 1939:
Hitler signs the Pact of Steel with Italy.
May 23, 1939:
The Prosecution at Nuremberg will claim that, during a conference with the Fuehrer on this day, General Warlimont was present there as Jodl's representative.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: With great persistence, it has been said again and again, that General Warlimont took part in the conference as the representative of Jodl, or even, it was once said, as his assistant. There is no question of that. He was my successor, but not my representative. And even if it is repeated again and again, it still does not make it true. He was my successor ... I had completely left the OKW. The fact that, quite accidentally, Warlimont became my deputy later on, has nothing whatsoever to do with the events of May 1939. [I first heard of this meeting] here in Nuremberg in 1946.
July 31, 1939:
An agreement between the military and the SS concerning the task of the Einsatzgruppen (EG) in Poland is defined this day, as the 'combating of all anti-German elements in hostile country behind the troops in combat.'
From Jodl's IMT testimony: 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 Commander of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall on 1 October, and that General Von Sodenstern would become Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, now on peacetime footing, on 1 October . . . .
August 22, 1939:
During this occupation [of Czechoslovakia] I remained in Vienna for the time being, and temporarily became Chief of Staff of the 18th Army Corps at Vienna. Then, later on, I was transferred to Brunn in Czechoslovakia together with the entire 44th Division.
At a meeting on the Obersalzberg, Hitler tells his generals that the destruction of Poland "starts on Saturday morning" (26 August), and that the aim of this war is the wholesale destruction of Poland. Hitler proclaims to the commanders of the armed services:
Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees him only as a great state builder . . . . Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my "Death's Head Units" with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. Only in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?"
Note: The authenticity of this quote has been disputed because the quote allegedly comes from a speech made by Hitler, not from any written or published text. Its authenticity or otherwise thus depends on the recollections of those who were present at the time, the validity of which may be doubted, and has been doubted, by some later commentators. Versions of Hitler's speech found in minutes among the German documents seized by the Allies do not contain the Armenian quote. In the absence of any means of either confirming or refuting the authenticity of the quote, and in light of the intense partisan passions surrounding both the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust, it is unlikely that this issue can ever be completely resolved. The quote is now inscribed on one of the walls of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I do not know what the Fuehrer actually said in his conference on the 22d of August. I did not even know that a discussion had taken place, for I was in Vienna. I only know what is ostensibly in documents that have been submitted here.
August 23, 1939:
The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed in Moscow. Sometimes called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of Non-aggression, or simply the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. Jodl arrives in Berlin to discover that the invasion of Poland is all set for August 25. He is appointed chief of staff of the armed forces supreme command (OKW).
August 23, 1939:
Secret Additional Protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:
On the occasion of the signature of the Non-aggression Pact between the German Reich and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics the undersigned plenipotentiaries of each of the two parties discussed in strictly confidential conversations the question of the boundary of their respective spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. These conversations led to the following conclusions:
August 23, 1939:
1. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and the USSR. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.
2. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state the spheres of influence of Germany and the USSR shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narew, Vistula, and San. The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish state and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.
3. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares; its complete political disinterestedness in these areas. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.
Jodl cancels a planned Mediterranean cruise vacation when he is recalled to the OKW (the High Command of the Armed Forces) from his artillery employment. He becomes the Chief of the Operations Staff of the OKW.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: For that summer I already had tickets for a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean on 23 September 1939. The voyage was to start at Hamburg; I had already paid for the tickets. I bought them about the second half of July. I am not absolutely certain about the exact date [I returned to Berlin], but I imagine that it was on 23 or 24 August—according to a telegram which reached me unexpectedly in Brunn. In case of a general mobilization, I would have had to go to Berlin anyway. I did not report to [Hitler], 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 Commander-in-Chief of the Navy . . . . The Führer was not responsible for my being called back. I do not know whether he knew about it at all. I do not believe so . . . .
August 24, 1939:
Because of the significance of the activity, one can certainly say that the Armed Forces Operations Staff was one of the most important departments of the OKW. In the majority of cases, I was the deputy [for Keitel] only in operational matters. As for war ministerial questions, it was the senior chief, as a rule, Admiral Canaris, who [was] deputized. When Keitel was not at headquarters, then, as a matter of course, whenever the Führer had anything to say to the OKW, he talked first with me, as I was the next officer by seniority. In individual cases, when the Field Marshal was not there, and in unimportant things [I was the acting deputy]; but when it came to important things, I could reach him by telephone at any time, and so it hardly ever happened that I [was] deputized. He was never ill, and was never away on leave. When he was away, he was in Berlin at headquarters.
Jodl arrives in Berlin from Vienna.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I found a completely incomprehensible state of affairs in Berlin—at least it was incomprehensible to me. Nobody knew what was really true, or what was bluff. The pact with Russia sustained all our hopes for the preservation of peace, hopes that were immensely increased and strengthened by the surprise cancellation of the attack ordered for 26 August. None of the soldiers to whom I spoke expected a war with the Western Powers at that time. Nothing had been prepared except the operations for the attack on Poland.
August 24, 1939:
[On the West Wall], there was only a defensive deployment of troops. The forces stationed there were so weak that we could not even man all the pillboxes. The actual efforts for the preservation of peace, however, efforts I have heard about here from the Reich Marshal, the name of Dahlerus, all these negotiations, remained unknown to me insofar as they were not published in the press. But there is one thing I can say in conclusion. When the declaration of war was received from England and France, it was like a blow from a cudgel for us soldiers who had fought in the First World War And I heard in confidence from General Stapf—today, the matter is no longer confidential--that the Reich Marshal reacted in exactly the same way . . . .
[When Poland mobilized] I cannot say. I only know that, at the moment when I arrived in Berlin, and was being informed by General Von Stuelpnagel for the very first time about the situation and our own strength, a Polish deployment was already in progress along the frontier, as well as the German one . . . . Not by a single stroke of the pen, did I participate in the preparations for the Polish war. The plan of attack was [already] completely worked out.
Poland and Great Britain formally sign a treaty of mutual assistance. The British Parliament reconvenes and passes the Emergency Powers Act. Royal Assent is given on the same day, and the Royal Navy is ordered to war stations. Soon afterward, a general mobilization begins. Hitler predicts that the Chamberlain government will fall.
August 24, 1939:
President Roosevelt telegrams the President of Poland:
August 25, 1939:
It is, I think, well known to you that, speaking on behalf of the United States, I have exerted, and will continue to exert, every influence on behalf of peace. The rank and file of the population of every nation—large and small—want peace. They do not seek military conquest. They recognize that disputes, claims, and counter-claims will always arise from time to time between nations, but that all such controversies, without exception, can be solved by a peaceful procedure, if the will on both sides exists to do so...
Hitler writes to Mussolini, informing him of his intent to fall upon Poland, and requesting his assistance:
August 25, 1939:
I have not kept you informed in detail, Duce, since I did not have an idea of the possible extent of these [German-Russian] conversations, or any assurance of the possibility of their success. The readiness on the part of the Kremlin to arrive at a reorientation of its relations with Germany, which became apparent after the departure of Litvinov, has become ever stronger in the last few weeks, and has made it possible for me, after successful preparation, to send my Foreign Minister to Moscow for the conclusion of a treaty, which is the most extensive non-aggression pact in existence, and whose text will be made public. The pact is unconditional, and includes also the obligation for consultation about all questions affecting Russia and Germany. I may tell you, Duce, that through these arrangements the favorable attitude of Russia in case of any conflict is assured, and that the possibility of the entry of Rumania into such a conflict no longer exists...
Mussolini replies to Hitler's letter (above):
August 25, 1939:
Concerning the agreement with Russia, I approve of that completely . . . . As for the practical position of Italy, in case of a military collision, my point of view is as follows: If Germany attacks Poland, and the conflict remains localized, Italy will afford Germany every form of political and economic assistance which is requested. If Germany attacks, and Poland's allies open a counterattack against Germany, I want to let you know in advance that it would be better if I did not take the initiative in military activities, in view of the present situation of Italian war preparations, which we have repeatedly previously explained to you, Führer, and to Herr von Ribbentrop. Our intervention can, therefore, take place at once, if Germany delivers to us immediately the military supplies and the raw materials, to resist the attack which the French and English especially would direct against us.
At our meetings, the war was envisaged for after 1942 and, at such time, I would have been ready on land, on sea, and in the air according to the plans which had been arranged. I am also of the opinion that the purely military preparations which have already been undertaken, and the others which will be entered upon in Europe and Africa, will serve to immobilize important French and British forces. I consider it my implicit duty as a true friend to tell you the whole truth, and inform you about the actual situation in advance. Not to do so might have unpleasant consequences for us all. This is my point of view, and since within a short time I must summon the highest governmental bodies of the realm, I ask you to let me know yours as well...
After reading Mussolini's reply, Hitler cancels his invasion of Poland scheduled for 4:30 AM the following morning.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: When, on the 25th, to our great surprise we received the order, "The attack fixed for the 26th will not take place," I telephoned to the then Major Schmundt—Field Marshal Keitel was not there—and asked him what was the matter. He told me that, shortly before, the Reich Foreign Minister had reported to the Führer that Britain had concluded a pact—a mutual assistance pact—with Poland, and for that reason he could expect British intervention in the war with Poland. For this reason the Führer had withdrawn the order for attack. That is what I learned at that time.
August 25, 1939:
President Roosevelt once again appeals to Hitler for peace:
August 27, 1939:
Countless human lives can yet be saved, and hope may still be restored, that the nations of the modern world may, even now, construct the foundation for a peaceful and happier relationship, if you and the Government of the German Reich will agree to the pacific means of settlement accepted by the Government of Poland. All the world prays that Germany, too, will accept...
Jodl assumes the office and the tasks of Chief of the General Staff.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I had to deal with the entire general staff work concerning the strategic operational conduct of the war. Then, subordinate to me, was the military propaganda department, whose duty it was to co-operate with the press; and thirdly, I was head of an office which, speaking broadly, had to distribute means of communication to the various branches of the Wehrmacht. The whole of this sphere of work took up my time to such an extent that, as a rule, I worked night after night, until 3 o'clock in the morning. I had no time at all to concern myself with other things. I already had to delegate to my personal adjutant almost all my work with the press, which had to receive daily information . . . .
August 31, 1939:
[The idea that I was Chief of Staff to Field Marshal Keitel] is not correct as has already been shown by the organization which was explained here during Field Marshal Keitel's case. There is a great difference. As Chief of Staff, I would have been Field Marshal Keitel's assistant, concerned with all of his duties. I was, however, only the chief of one of the many departments subordinate to Field Marshal Keitel. Beginning with the year 1941, it became the practice for me and my operational branch to report to the Führer direct on all matters concerned with strategies, while Field Marshal Keitel, using my quartermaster department as a sort of personal working staff, took over all other tasks . . . .
[I had no authority to issue orders] or rather only through my working staff. I was subordinate to Field Marshal Keitel, and even Keitel himself was not a commander, but only the chief of a staff. But in the course of this war I naturally decided many operational details myself, and signed them myself. There was no disagreement of any sort in these matters with the commanders-in-chief, for I had their confidence, and I worked on the best possible terms with them . . . .
One must differentiate [as to the orders I signed in different ways—sometimes with my full name, sometimes with a "J"] as follows: The decrees which the Führer himself signed, if they were of an operational nature, bear my initial at the end, on the lower right; and that means that I at least assisted in the formulation of that order. Then there were orders which also came from the Führer, though they were not signed by him personally, but were signed "by order, Jodl"; but they always had at the beginning the sentence, "The Führer has decreed," or that sentence was found somewhere in the course of the order. There would be a preamble, usually giving reasons for the order, and then, it would read: "The Führer has therefore decreed." . . . . The difference was merely that the orders signed by me were of less importance . . . .
These orders were as a rule signed: "The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, by order, Jodl" These were orders which emanated from me, that is, my staff or I formulated them. The Führer himself, and Field Marshal Keitel, had perhaps been informed of these orders, but not in every case. Then there were other orders, which bear my initial on the first page, in the upper right-hand corner. Those were orders issued by other departments. My initial "J" on the first page was merely an office notation to show that the order had been submitted to me. But it did not mean that I had read it for if, on perusing the first page, I saw that the decree dealt with a matter not connected with my sphere of work, then I initialed it and put it aside, because I had to save time.
These summarized notes were an arrangement used on higher staff levels for the convenience of people who had not time to study enormous files. The summarized notes contained, in a short condensed form, a description of some matter or other, frequently the views taken by other departments and sometimes even a proposal. The important point, however, is that it was not an order; it was not a draft of an order, but it formed the basis for an order.
The British fleet mobilizes; Civilian evacuations begin from London.
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