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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office

                                                   [Page 30]

The plan to seize Belgium and the Netherlands was considered
in August, 1938, when the attack on Czechoslovakia was being
formulated, and the possibility of war with France and
England was contemplated. The advantage to Germany of being
able to use these countries for their own purposes,
particularly as air bases in the war against England and
France, was emphasized. In May, 1939, when Hitler made his
irrevocable decision to attack Poland, and foresaw the
possibility at least of a war with England and France in
consequence, he told his military commanders:

     "Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied ..
     Declarations of neutrality must be ignored."

                                                   [Page 31]

On  August 22nd in the same year, he told his military
commanders that England and France, in his opinion, would
not "violate the neutrality of these countries." At the same
time he assured Belgium and Holland and Luxembourg that he
would respect their neutrality; and on the 6th October,
1939, after the Polish campaign, he repeated this assurance.
On the 7th October General von Brauchitsch directed Army
Group B to prepare "for the immediate invasion of Dutch and
Belgian territory, if the political situation so demands."
In a series of orders, which were signed by the Defendants
Keitel and Jodl, the attack was fixed for 10th November,
1939, but it was postponed from time to time until May of
1940 on account of weather conditions and transport

At the conference on the 23rd November, 1939, Hitler said:

     "We have an Achilles heel: The Ruhr. The progress
     of the war depends on the possession of the Ruhr.
     If England and France push through Belgium and
     Holland into the Ruhr, we shall be in the greatest
     danger .... Certainly England and France will
     assume the offensive against Germany when they are
     armed. England and France have means of pressure
     to bring Belgium and Holland to request English
     and French help. In Belgium and Holland the
     sympathies are all for France and England .... If
     the French Army marches into Belgium in order to
     attack us, it will be too late for us. We must
     anticipate them .... We shall sow the English
     coast with mines which cannot be cleared. This
     mine warfare with the Luftwaffe demands a
     different starting point. England cannot live
     without its imports. We can feed ourselves. The
     permanent sowing of mines on the English coasts
     will bring England to her knees. However, this can
     only occur if we have occupied Belgium and
     Holland.... My decision is unchangeable; I shall
     attack France and England at the most favorable
     and quickest moment. Breach of the neutrality of
     Belgium and Holland is meaningless. No one will
     question that when we have won. We shall not bring
     about the breach of neutrality as idiotically as
     it was in 1914. If we do not break the neutrality,
     then England and France will. Without attack, the
     war is not to be ended victoriously."

On the 10th May, 1940, the German forces invaded the
Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. On the same day the
German Ambassadors handed to the Netherlands and Belgian
Governments a memorandum alleging that the British and
French Armies, with the consent of Belgium and Holland, were
planning to march through those countries to attack the
Ruhr, and justifying the invasion on these grounds. Germany,
however, assured the Netherlands and Belgium that their
integrity and their possessions would be respected. A
similar memorandum was delivered to Luxembourg on the same

There is no evidence before the Tribunal to justify the
contention that the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg
were invaded by Germany because their occupation had been
planned by England and France. British and French staffs had
been cooperating in making certain plans for military
operations in the Low Countries, but the purpose of this
planning was to defend these countries in the event of a
German attack.

The invasion of Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg was
entirely without justification.

It was carried out in pursuance of policies long considered
and prepared, and was plainly an act of aggressive war. The
resolve to invade was made without any other consideration
than the advancement of the aggressive policies of Germany.

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