The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/nca/nca-02//nca-02-16-responsibility-04-04

Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-04-04
Last-Modified: 1996/12/21

   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume II, Chapter XVI

                                                  [Page 541]

The general political background against which the Armed
Forces were to work having thus been set down, the later
paragraphs outlined the tasks and operational objectives of
the three branches of the Armed Forces. It was also decreed
that a "camouflaged or open ('general' added in ink)
mobilization will not be ordered before D-Day 1 at the
latest possible moment", and further that the "preparations
for the opening of operations are to be made in such a way
that -- without waiting for the planned assembly of
mobilized units -- positions can be taken up immediately by
the first available troops." (C-120)

On 10 May an order signed by Hitler promulgated his
instructions for the seizure of economic installations in
Poland and directed the commanders-in-chief of the three
branches of the armed forces to report by 1 August 1939 on
the measures taken in consequence of these instructions. (C-

On 23 May 1939 Hitler called a meeting of his military
leaders at the Reich Chancellery. Keitel was at the meeting;
Jodl was not, but Warlimont (also from the Planning
Department of OKW) was. Hitler announced the necessity of a
war against Poland, not over Danzig, but in order to acquire
living space in the East. He recognized the possibility that
this would provoke a war against France and England, but the
Wehrmacht was instructed to prepare detailed plans.

A directive dated 22 June 1939, signed by Keitel as Chief of
the OKW, indicates an advanced stage of preparation. On the
basis of particulars already available from the Navy, Army,
and Air Force, he stated, he had submitted to Hitler a
"preliminary timetable" for "Fall Weiss." The Fuehrer was
reported to be in substantial agreement with the intentions
submitted by the three branches; he had also made
suggestions with regard to the need to camouflage the
scheduled maneuvers "in order not to disquiet the
population," and had commented on the disposition of an SS
Artillery Regiment. (C-16)

Two days later, Keitel issued instructions for further study

                                                  [Page 542]
on two specific problems: the capture, in undamaged
condition, of bridges over the Vistula; and the possible
adverse effect of Navy mining in Danzig Bay on the element
of surprise in the Army's attack against the bridge at
Dirschau, southeast of Danzig. (C-120)

On 22 August 1939, Hitler called together at Obersalzberg
the Supreme Commanders of the three branches of the armed
forces, as well as the lower ranking Commanding Generals
(Oberbefehlshaber), and announced his decision to attack
Poland near dawn on 26 August. Keitel was at this meeting.
(L-; 798-PS; 1014-PS)

Three documents reporting this meeting have been uncovered:
the text of one, overlaps the contents of the other two, 798-
PS and 1014-PS; the latter two appear to be complementary,
798-PS being a record of a morning speech, and 1014-PS of an
afternoon speech. Violent and abusive language appears in
both L-3 and 798-PS. That Hitler made, at a minimum, the
following points, appears from all of them:

1. The decision to attack Poland was made last spring. (1798-

2. The aim of the war in Poland is to destroy the Polish
armed forces, rather than to reach a fixed line. (L-3; 1014-

3. The attack will start early Saturday morning, 26 August
(L-3; 1014-PS)

4. A spurious cause for starting the war will be devised by
German propaganda. It is a matter of indifference whether it
is plausible or not. The world will not question the victor
(L-3; 1014-PS). The text in L-3 further describes the
pretext to be used to start the war: "I'll let a couple of
companies, dressed in Polish uniforms, make an assault in
Upper Silesia or in the Protectorate."

A handwritten entry in the diary of Jodl, at that time Chief
of the Operations Department of the OKW, confirms that the
time for the attack on Poland had been fixed for 0430 on 26
August 1939. (1780-PS)

(4) Aggression against Norway and Denmark. On or about 12
September 1939 Hitler ordered the OKW to start preparations
for the occupation of Norwegian bases early in 1940. (1546-

The possibility of using Quisling was discussed with Hitler
on 12 December 1939, in a conference at which Raeder,
Keitel, and Jodl were present. Hitler agreed with Raeder's
suggestion that, if he was favorably impressed with
Quisling, the OKW should

                                                  [Page 543]
be authorized to prepare for the occupation either with
Quisling's assistance, or by force. (C-64)

In January of 1940 the Navy was ordered to concentrate
barges for the invasion, and further preparations were to be
conducted under the code name "Weserubung" (C-6). The
general directive for the invasion was issued by Hitler on 1
March 1940. (C-174; 1809-PS)

(5) Aggression against Belgium, the Netherlands, and
Luxembourg. At a conference with Hitler on 23 May 1939 it
was determined that the occupation of the Low Countries was
necessary to the successful conduct of the war against
England. A small planning staff was formed at OKW with
responsibility for further planning of the invasion, and
complete secrecy was invoked. Keitel was at this meeting. (L-

On 9 October 1939 it was stated in a general directive for
the conduct of the war in the West that the invasion should
be started soon, in order to protect the Ruhr and to provide
air bases for use against England. A copy of this directive
was distributed to OKW. (L-52)

In October and November of 1939 a number of military orders
was issued concerning the invasion of the Low Countries
"Fall Gelb". Questions of how far the troops should advance
under the plan were clarified (C-62; 440-PS). Instructions
were issued concerning the deployment of troops,
communications systems, crossing of the borders, and the
administration and pacification of the countries to be taken
(2329-PS). Provisions were made for special operations by
the 7th Flieger Division near the Belgian-French border. (C-

Between 7 November 1939 and 9 May 1940 seventeen orders were
issued setting and postponing the day for starting
operations. These delays were caused by the weather. One of
the orders, dated 11 January 1940, shows that all the others
were concerned with the action against the Low Countries,
and that the 7th Flieger Division (see C-10) was involved.
All these orders were signed either by Keitel or Jodl. (C-

The development of the plans, and the various questions
which came up for consideration are shown in the entries in
Jodl's diary. At one point the Foreign Office did not regard
the prepared justification for the attack as satisfactory,
but Jodl thought it was sufficient. His diary shows the
existence of the plan against the Low Countries and the
steps taken to put it into execution. (1809-PS)

                                                  [Page 544]

(6) Aggression against Greece and Yugoslavia. On 12 November
1940 Hitler issued orders to the Army to prepare for the
occupation of the Greek mainland (444-PS). On 13 December
1940 a Hitler order stated that the invasion of Greece was
planned and would start as soon as the weather became
favorable. The composition of combat teams and their routes
of march were given. When the Greek operation was concluded,
the mass of the troops involved were to be employed for a
new task. This order was distributed to the OKW, as well as
to the-three armed services. (1541-PS)

On 11 January 1941 Hitler ordered preparation for armed
intervention in Albania, to assist the Italians against
Greece. The order was initialled by Keitel and Jodl (448-
PS). On 20 January  1941 Jodl reported, in notes of a
meeting between Hitler and Mussolini, that Hitler stated
that one of the purposes of German troop concentrations in
Rumania was for use in his plan for the operation against
Greece. This was four months prior to the attack. (C-134)

On 19 February 1941 an OKW order signed by Warlimont gave
decisions for carrying out the Greek campaign, providing
that pontoon building would commence on 26 February, and
that the Danube would be crossed on 2 March. (C-59)

On 18 March 1941 Raeder, in the presence of Keitel and Jodl,
asked for confirmation that the whole of Greece would have
to be occupied even in the event of a peaceful settlement,
and Hitler replied that complete occupation was a
prerequisite to any settlement. (C-167)

At a meeting on 27 March 1941, attended by both Keitel and
Jodl, Hitler outlined the proposed operations against
Yugoslavia and Greece. The actual plan for military
operations, Directive No. 25, was issued on the same day.

(7) Aggression against the U.S.S.R. On 12 November 1940
Hitler issued a directive in which, among other things, it
was stated that preparations for the East already verbally
ordered should be continued, regardless of the outcome of
current political discussions for the clarification of
Russia's attitude. The directive was initialled by Jodl.

The original directive for preparation of the attack on
Russia -- case "Barbarossa" -- was signed by Hitler on 18
December 1940 and initialled by Keitel and Jodl (446-PS). On
3 February 1941 Hitler held a meeting to discuss the
intended invasion. Keitel and Jodl were both present (872-
PS). On 1 March 1941 an OKW map was prepared to show the
intended division of occupied

                                                  [Page 545]
Russian territory. The distribution list shows that Keitel
and .Jodl received copies. (1642-PS)

In March of 1941 Keitel wrote to Reich Minister Todt to give
him detailed instructions about camouflaging the coming
invasion. The letter was initialled by Jodl. (874-PS)

On 13 March 1941 Keitel issued an operational supplement to
Hitler's Barbarossa order (446-PS). This order defined the
area of operations and established the relationship between
political and military officers in those areas (4.47-PS). On
1 June 1941 there was issued, with Hitler's approval, a
timetable for the invasion, showing the disposition and
missions of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. This paper was
signed by Keitel (C-39). On 14 June 1941 an order was issued
for final reports on Barbarossa to be made in Berlin by
Army, Navy, and Air Commanders. (C-78)

While the foregoing preparations were being made, planning
for the production of armaments and supplies was being
conducted by one of Keitel's subordinates, General Thomas,
Chief of the Wirtschaft Ruestungsamt in OKW. (2353-PS)

By a Fuehrer order dated 20 April 1941 Rosenberg was
appointed "Deputy for a Centralized Treatment of Problems
concerning the Eastern Territories". Jodl and Warlimont were
appointed Keitel's representatives with the Rosenberg office
(865-PS). A preliminary report by Rosenberg on his work up
to the time of the invasion mentions Keitel and Jodl as
having consulted and worked with him in those preparations.
(1039-PS) A memorandum written by General Thomas on 20 June
1941. states that Keitel had confirmed to him Hitler's
policy on raw materials -- that it took less manpower to
seize territories containing raw materials, than it did to
make synthetic substitutes. (1456-PS)

(8) War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity -- Crimes against
Military Personnel -- Lynching of Allied Airmen. On 21 May
1944 Keitel received a note from WFST to the effect that
Hitler had decided that enemy fliers who had been forced
down should be shot without court-martial, if they had
engaged in "acts of terror". Keitel wrote on the note
"Please arrange for order to be drafted. K". (731-PS)

By 4 June 1914 Jodl and Warlimont were ready to go ahead
with formulating the plans. Goering was to be asked what
actions of enemy fliers should be punishable by death; the
Airmen's Reception Camp at Oberursel was to be told which
fliers should be delivered to the SD; and the Foreign Office
was to be kept advised. (737-PS)

                                                  [Page 546]
At subsequent conferences Keitel and Jodl raised question
about the difficulty of establishing general rules in such a
matter. The "Acts of Terror" were:

1. Low level attacks on civilians.

2. Shooting German fliers in parachutes.

3. Attacks on civilian passenger planes.

4. Attacks on Red Cross hospitals or trains. (735-PS)

On 17 June 1944 Keitel wrote to the Foreign Office to ask
their approval of the proposed measure and the agreed
definition of "Acts of Terror" (730-PS). On the same day
Keitel wrote to Goering to ask for his approval of the
definitions of "Acts of Terror", and also to ask that he
give verbal instructions to the Commandant of the camp at
Oberursel to hand over fliers guilty of such acts to the SD.
Both Keitel and Jodl initialled this letter (729-PS).
Goering replied that fliers not guilty of acts of terror
must be protected, and suggested that such matters be
handled by the courts. (732-PS)

A draft of a Foreign Office letter dated 20 June 1944
expresses misgivings about the Geneva Convention, and
concern about the publicity that would be involved. (728-PS)

On 26 June 1944 Goering's adjutant telephoned the WFST to
say that Goering agreed to the procedures suggested. (733-PS)

On 29 June Warlimont was informed that Ribbentrop had
approved the Foreign Office draft (728-PS), but wished to
obtain Hitler's approval before communicating his own final
written approval to Keitel. (740-PS)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.