The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. And what is the significance of Document C-103, Exhibit
USA 75, referring to a possible clash with Czech troops or
Italian troops on Austrian territory? How did you come to

A. That was based on an inquiry from the General Staff of
the Army, for there must be - even for the remotest
eventuality - information as to how the troops were to
conduct themselves. I clarified the matter over the

                                                  [Page 324]

through General Schmundt, with the Fuehrer, and I then put
his decision down in writing - by his order.

Q. And how did the operation come off?

A. It came off exactly as expected. There was a triumphant
parade, a triumphant march, such as the world probably has
seldom seen - even if today one does not like to acknowledge
it. The population ran to meet us during the night. The
customs barriers were removed, and then the entire German
forces marched in under a hail of flowers (Blumenkorso).

Q. We now turn to the question of Czechoslovakia: Did you
participate in the conferences on 21st April, 1938, and 28th
May, 1938, which the prosecution have described as
"Conspirators' Conferences"?

A. I did not participate in any of these conferences.

Q. What type of General Staff work were you carrying out for
the Case "Green" - which is, of course, the Operation

A. I must refer again to Document C-175, which is on Page 17
of the first volume of my Document Book. In that general
directive for the unified preparation for war, two important
cases were dealt with, or were to be dealt with; a defensive
action, against France if it opened hostilities - Operation
"Red"; and an offensive action - Case "Green" - against
Czechoslovakia. That would have been dealt with in just the
same way, even if there had not been an acute conflict with
Czechoslovakia, because a war on two fronts - which was the
problem we always faced - could never be conducted and
victoriously finished in any other way than by means of an
attack against the weaker. This directive, as far as the
Case "Green" is concerned, had to be dealt with anew at the
very moment that Austria automatically became a new
operational base. Thus, on 20th May, 1938, a new draft was
made by me for Case "Green", which began with the customary
words: "I do not intend to attack Czechoslovakia in the near
future without being challenged."

Q. Just wait a minute. That quotation is Document PS-388,
Exhibit USA 26. It is the document dated 20th May, 1938. "I
do not intend to attack Czechoslovakia in the near future
without being challenged." Now, what were you going to say?

A. That was 20th May. On the 21st, the day after, an
incredible incident occurred, however. Czechoslovakia not
only mobilised but even took up positions along our
frontiers. The Czechoslovakian Chief of the General Staff
explained this by saying that twelve German divisions had
been stationed in Saxony. I can only state - and my diary
entries prove it - that not a single German soldier had been
moved. Nothing-absolutely nothing had happened.

DR. EXNER: In this connection I think I ought to draw the
attention of the Tribunal to a questionnaire, an
interrogatory - AJ-9. It is an interrogatory submitted to
General Toussaint who at that time was the German military
attache in Prague. He confirms the mobilization of that
time. Third volume, at 199, on Page 201 of the document
there is the following question: "What was the reason for
the Czechoslovakian mobilization in May 1938?"

And he answered:

  "It is my personal opinion that the Czechoslovakian
  Government wished to force her political allies to take
  up a definite position. Krejci, the Czechoslovak Chief of
  the General Staff, informed me, as reason for the
  mobilization, that he had exact information that ten to
  twelve German divisions had assembled in the Dresden area
  and that he could no longer bear the responsibility of
  not taking counter-measures."

On the other hand a diary note from Jodl, Volume 1, Page 26,
should be mentioned:

  "The Fuehrer's decision (not to touch on the Czech
  problem yet) is altered by the Czech deployment on 21st
  May, which took place without any German threat and
  without even any apparent cause. Germany's silence
  thereto would lead to a loss of prestige for the Fuehrer,
  which he is not willing to

                                                  [Page 325]

  suffer again. Hence the issue on 30th May of the new
  directive for the Case 'Green'."

Q. That is from Jodl's diary, Page 26, first volume. Now
continue, please.

THE WITNESS: Well then, that was the information which I
received, partly through General Keitel and partly through
the then Major Schmundt, regarding the impression made on
the Fuehrer. The result was that he personally changed my
draft on 20th May and put at the beginning the following

  "It is my unalterable decision that Czechoslovakia must
  be smashed within a short period of time. To decide upon
  the military and politically opportune moment is a matter
  for the political leadership."

DR. EXNER: These words appear in the Document PS-388, which
I have already referred to, which is Exhibit USA 26. It is
the order of 30th May, 1939.


Q. Please tell us briefly what the contents of these
directives were.

A. In that order of 30th May three possibilities had been
noted by the Fuehrer as to how a conflict with
Czechoslovakia might arise: (1) without particular cause
politically impossible and out of the question; (2) after a
prolonged period of tension - most undesirable, because of
the lack of the element of surprise; (3) the best solution
would be: after an incident, such as were happening nearly
daily at that time, and which would justify us morally
before the world if we decided to intervene.

Furthermore, there was the demand that on the first day the
Army should break through the fortifications in order to
clear the way so that the mobile forces, the armoured
divisions could operate freely, and then, after four days,
create such a situation that the military position of
Czechoslovakia became untenable.

Q. Why was the entire directive redrafted in June?

A. The entire directive, Document C-175, was thoroughly
revised in June. This was done because on 1st October a new
draft year began, the new calling-up period, and because the
Directive C-1 75 was in any case only planned to be valid
until 30th September, 1938. So the old directive, which of
course was still in force until 1st October, did become
invalid on 1st October through that directive which on 24th
June, or 18th June, had been drafted by me. In that
directive the Case "Green" was mentioned in the sense of the
Fuehrer's intention - namely, that it was the immediate aim
of his policy that beginning with 1st October, 1938 - not on
but beginning with 1st October, 1938 - any favourable
opportunity was to be utilised to solve the Czechoslovakian
problem, but only if France and Great Britain would not
interfere or march.

I declare that no date existed in any one of the orders for
the starting of a war against Czechoslovakia. In the
directive of 30th May, the date was left open altogether,
the new instructions, C-175, of 18th June only stated "...
beginning with 1st October and on the first favourable

DR. EXNER: That is on Page 29 of our Document Book, second
paragraph: "I have decided, beginning on 1st October ...."

A. May I perhaps conclude this whole question by saying, in
order to be explicit, that, in fact, before 14th September
and as far as the military forces were concerned, nothing at
all was done.

DR. EXNER: I once again refer to an entry in Jodl's diary,
Volume I, Page 32. It is an extract from Document PS-1780,
Exhibit USA 72, and is the entry under 14th September, 1938:

  "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 with short term orders. Since
  the Sudeten-Germans are crossing the border en masse, we
  are requesting at around 1730, at the suggestion of the
  High Command of the Army, 2nd Department, the calling up
  of the Frontier Guard Service - the G.A.D. -

                                                  [Page 326]

  along the Czech border in the service commands VIII, IV,
  XIII and XVII. The Fuehrer gives his authorisation from

THE PRESIDENT: What was it that you were reading from then?

DR. EXNER: I have read from Page 32 of my Document Book,
Volume I, Page 32, and it is an excerpt from Jodl's diary of
14th September, therefore an entry made in the midst of that
critical period.


Q. Just what were these military measures which were being

A. On 13th or 14th September, the eight age groups were
called up in Czechoslovakia. We used the increased frontier
protection squads so that the many Sudeten-German refugees
could be taken care of.

On 17th September the Fuehrer formed the Freikorps (illegal
military formation) Henlein, against 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 23rd September and
only then and in accordance with the political discussions,
did the military action against Czechoslovakia commence.

As far as I was concerned, there was no doubt that they were
to serve the purpose in the event that Czechoslovakia would
not submit to an agreement which we had made with the
Western Powers, since the Fuehrer had clearly expressed that
he would only act if France and England would not intervene
politically or militarily.

Q. You made two more entries in your diary on 22nd and 26th
September, which prove that you were worried at the time.
Statement made by Captain Burkner in the first volume of my
Document Book, on Page 34, excerpts from Document PS-1780,
dated 22nd September:

  "Captain Burkner, in charge of foreign relations, reports
  that according, to an intercepted long-distance telephone
  conversation between Prague and the local Czech Legation
  Counsellor, the German Embassy in Prague has just been
  stormed. I am immediately initiating liaison by telephone
  and wireless with Prague through Colonel Juppe. At 1030
  hours, Burkner reports that the incident has not been
  confirmed. The Foreign Office has spoken with our
  Embassy. At 1035 hours I established liaison with Prague
  and with Toussaint. To my question as to how he was
  getting along, he replied, 'Thanks; excellently.' The
  Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, who had been
  informed of the first report with the suggestion to think
  over what measures would have to be taken if the Fuehrer
  requests an immediate bombardment of Prague, is informed
  through Counter-Intelligence about the false report which
  may have had the purpose of inducing us to a military

Then, on 26th September, it says:

  "It is important that false reports do not induce us to
  military actions before Prague replies."

The prosecution have stated that the 1st October had long
ago been decided on as the date for aggression. Will you
tell me what significance that date, 1st October, 1938, had
for Case "Green"?

A. I have already said that, I believe. I explained that the
new mobilization year had started, and that no order
contained a fixed date for the beginning of the campaign
against Czechoslovakia.

Q. Did you believe that the conflict might be localised?

A. I was certainly convinced of that, because I could not
imagine that the Fuehrer would, in such a situation as the
one we were in, start a conflict with France and Britain
which would have led to our immediate collapse.

Q. And the entries in your diary probably show your concern
about incidents?

                                                  [Page 327]

A. Yes. In my diary on 8th September, there is reference to
a conversation with General Stulpnagel. According to that,
Stulpnagel was at the moment quite worried that the Fuehrer
might depart from his oft-defined attitude, and allow
himself to be dragged into military actions in spite of the
danger of France's intervention.

According to the entry in my diary, I replied to him that
actually at the moment I shared his worries to some extent.

DR. EXNER: This is an entry which the Tribunal will find on
Page 26 of the first volume of my Document Book. Once again,
it is an extract from Document PS-1780, and it is the entry
of 8th September, 1938.


You have already said, have you not, what your worries were?
Our weakness?

A. It was out of the question that with five fighting
divisions and seven reserve divisions we should have held
the western fortifications which were nothing but a large
construction site, and that we should have held out against
one hundred French divisions. That was militarily

Q. On 24th August, in a letter addressed to Schmundt, you
referred to the importance of an incident for the tasks of
the armed forces in this Operation Case "Green". You have
been accused of that, and I want you to tell me what the
significance of that statement is.

DR. EXNER: It is Document PS-388, and it is on Pages of the
first volume. It is an extract from the often-quoted
Document PS-388. It is a report made at the time of the "X"
Order, dealing with the measures provided for.


Q. Please, will you state what you intended when you
prepared this report?

A. The Fuehrer's order of 30th May, which I have already
explained, left no other choice, assuming that it would ever
come to this action, than to attack on a previously decided
date. This could only follow as a result of an incident,
because, without an excuse, the operation was out of the
question; and it was not to be attempted if too much time

The Army, in order to be ready for such a surprise
break-through of the Czech fortifications, required four
days of preparation. If nothing happened after those four
days, then the military preparations could no longer be kept
secret, and the surprise element disappeared. Therefore,
nothing else remained than either a spontaneous incident
with Czechoslovakia, which would then, four days later, have
resulted in military action, or that date had to be decided
on previously. In that case an incident had to happen during
those four days which the army required for going into

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 meant to explain that difficult
situation to the Fuehrer.

At that time incidents occurred every day. May I remind you
that since the first partial mobilization in Czechoslovakia
the Sudeten-Germans subject to being called up had for the
most part escaped the draft. They escaped over the frontier
into Germany, and the Czechoslovakian frontier police shot
at them. Daily, shots were fired over into Germany. All
together, more than 200,000 Sudeten-Germans crossed the
frontier in that manner.

From that point of view, the conception of an incident was
not anything mean and criminal as it might be, for instance,
if a peaceful Switzerland had been involved. If I said,
therefore, how keenly interested we would have been in such
an incident, then 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.

                                                  [Page 328]

Q. And how do you explain that remark of yours: "... unless
Counter-Intelligence will be ordered to organize this
incident in any case"?

That is at the end of Page 38 in the second paragraph. It is
an extract from Document PS-388.

A. Yes, I had too much knowledge of European military
history in order not to know that the question of the first
shot, not the deeper cause of the 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 three-and-a-half 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 did not, of course, have any moral scruples
about exaggerating one of these incidents, and, by means of
a counter action in vigorous reply to the Czech doings and
activities, of - I might say - extending and enlarging such
an incident, and, provided the political situation allowed
it, and England and France did not interfere, as the Fuehrer
believed, of thus finding a really obvious reason for taking

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