The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Day: Tuesday, 4th June, 1946
(Part 8 of 9)

[DR. EXNER continues his direct examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 323]

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 that?

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 telephone,

[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 Czechoslovakia?

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 words:

"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 occasion."

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 Munich."
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 introduced?

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 action."
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 impossible.

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 passed.

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 position.

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 action.

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