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LYZ wrote:Germany already had the Sudetenland after the Munich agreement.
It didn't annex all of CZ. I'm only working from memory and you can look up the details of dates if you want to. Hungary occupied the Hungarian-speaking area of Slovakia in late 1938 and Slovakia declared independence in March 1939, with German support. CZ had fallen apart.
This left a small rump of a state around Prague. One glance at a map shows the strategic danger that a power vacuum in this finger of land pointing into the heart of Germany represented given the Czechs' closeness to the Russians: a potential base for soviet air force; it sat across German road and rail communications; a long frontier to defend.
I am not getting involved in the ethics of this as that wasn't your question but on a strategic level Germany had little alternative. On a political and diplomatic level though it was what turned opinion in Britain and six months later led to war. I have seen it suggested that if Hitler had been prepared to settle for an alliance with German troops to be stationed in a still independent Czech state it could have helped to preserve the peace.
Kingfisher wrote:LYZ wrote:Germany already had the Sudetenland after the Munich agreement.
It didn't annex all of CZ. I'm only working from memory and you can look up the details of dates if you want to. Hungary occupied the Hungarian-speaking area of Slovakia in late 1938 and Slovakia declared independence in March 1939, with German support. CZ had fallen apart.
Important points and Poland took a small part as well BEFORE the German Army marched into the "Resttschechei". I think it's save to say that Germany annexed the Sudetenland. But what would be the status of the part that then in 1939 was turned into a protectorate?
1. There was genuine mistreatment of the German minority which he documented.
2. The Czech government which was in a military alliance with the Soviet Union wanted Hitler to invade their country in the hope that Britain and France would also be drawn in.
3. British foreign secretary Anthony Eden was in the pay of the Czech government. If this is true then it would explain his ignoring of the mistreatment of the Germans in Sudetenland.
4. The author tried to listen to a speech by Hitler in September 1938 but found that it was being jammed by radio stations in England. He had to tune into an Italian station to hear the speech. This was a year before World War 2 actually started and should indicate the type of censorship anything to do with the German government received.
http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/script ... /cc00.html
https://wearswar.wordpress.com/2017/11/ ... ropaganda/
https://wearswar.wordpress.com/2018/01/ ... -not-want/
The British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax was spreading lies about Hitler's intentions in Europe. From the article - "Halifax claimed that Hitler had recently planned to establish an independent Ukraine and that Hitler intended to destroy the Western nations in a surprise attack before he moved to the East. Halifax further claimed that not only British intelligence "but highly placed Germans who are anxious to prevent this crime" had furnished evidence of this evil conspiracy. These claims were all lies. Hitler did not have the remotest intention at the time of attacking the Ukraine or any Western country."
Czechoslovakia had been created by the Versailles Treaty and consisted of an unhappy union of Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles, Ruthenians, and Germans, all under Czech control. Following the Munich Pact the Sudetenland, populated by Germans, was reunited with Germany in Oct. 1938. The First Vienna Award returned lost lands to Hungary and Poland.
The German dispute with Poland concerned the city of Danzig, 95% German, and the 'Polish Corridor' separating Germany with East Prussia. Both Danzig and the Polish Corridor had been ceded to Poland by the Versailles Treaty.
On Oct. 24 1938 Germany's Ribbonthrop made the following offer to Poland: Poland would allow the reunification of Danzig with Germany, and allow Germany to build an 'extra-territorial' railway through the corridor connecting Germany with East Prussia. In return, Germany offered Poland an alliance against Russia. Hitler wanted an alliance with Poland against Communist Russia, he did not wan a war with Poland. The Poles refused the offer.
Hitler invited Beck (Polish foreign minister) to Berchtesgarten on January 5, 1939 ;
On Hitler's part is was a remarkably moderate demand' writes British historian Basil Liddel Hart. But again Beck rebuffed Hitler. Hitler offered to guarantee Poland's borders and to accept permanent Polish control of the Corridor, if Beck would simply agree to the return of Danzig and the construction of a rail-and-road route across the Corridor.
In March of 1939 the Slovaks obtained their independence, and Ruthenia was returned to Hungary. The remaining Czech area became, at the request of its president Emil Hacha, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, governed by ethnic Czechs, and Hacha remained president. Czechoslovakia was reverse-engineered by diplomatic means.
Putting the rest of Czech lands under the Reich's protection was a way for Hacha to keep order. Hitler knew a war with the USSR was inevitable and could not allow the Czech regions to serve as a staging area and "aircraft carrier" for the Soviet Union. Before the annexation, there was a Czech agreement with Romania allowing Soviet planes fly over Romania to Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Kamil Krofta even admitted to the Poles the existence of that agreement in June 1938.
Those Soviet flights over the Romanian territory worried both the Germans and the Poles. As early as April 1938, Polish consuls started to report flights of Soviet planes over the Romanian territory to Czechoslovakia. The Polish inspector general of Polish forces, Marshal Edward Smigly Rydz, even raised the question of the Soviet flights over Romania in a conversation with the Romanian chief of staff, General Ionescu.
From the book: Hugh Ragsdale (2004) The Soviets, the Munich Crisis, and the Coming of World War II.
Full book: https://archive.is/ZhMfuIn fact, the presence of Soviet aircraft in Czechoslovakia was widely rumored throughout the summer, and yet precise details about the question have been as widely disputed subsequently as they were at the time. As early as April, Polish consuls began to report ﬂights of Soviet planes over Romanian territory to Czechoslovakia. In the weeks and months that followed, the Poles ﬁrst queried the Romanians, then protested the overflights.38
The question of the flights was taken quite seriously in Warsaw, such that Polish inspector general of armed forces, Marshal Edward Śmigly Rydz, raised it in conversation with the Romanian chief of staff, General E. Ionescu, on the latter’s visit to Warsaw. Śmigly Rydz said that the Poles took a very negative view of the flights. Ionescu answered noncommitally.39 In June, Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Kamil Krofta admitted to the Poles that his country had concluded an agreement with Romania to permit the overflights.40 The Romanian Embassy in Prague subsequently informed the Poles that Czechoslovakia was purchasing the Soviet planes, that Romania consented to the overflights on the condition that the planes were unarmed, were not provided with photographic equipment, and were piloted by Czechoslovak personnel.41
Not surprisingly, the Germans were also interested in these developments. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring himself inquired of the Romanian minister in Warsaw whether Soviet planes were being shipped to the Czechs overland. He was told that they were not; that it was possible, however, that Soviet planes were overflying Romania at altitudes above 4,000 meters. Göring remarked that at that altitude it was difﬁcult to interfere with aircraft.42 As the Polish chargé d’affaires reported of his conversation with German Embassy Counselor Kurt von Tippelskirch, “I sensed that the German government is quite alarmed at the possibility of Soviet assistance to Czechoslovakia.”43 In late August, Counselor von Tippelskirch brought to the Polish chargé in Moscow an interesting account of the matter. “[He] informed me conﬁdentially that the Italian consul in Odessa has declared that for some time eleven Czech pilots are coming regularly through Tighina [Bendery]-Tiraspol each week to the USSR. As this same consul said that these pilots do not return to Czechoslovakia through Romania, the German embassy here is of the opinion that they are coming to the USSR not [for training] but exclusively in order to transport the next flight of Soviet planes purchased by Czechoslovakia over Romania.”44 In the middle of September, the Polish consul in Northern Bukovina reported increasing numbers of overflights. “The planes are supposed to have been observed several times by shepherds in the mountains in the region of Vijnita southeast of Czerniowce. According to reports, the flights occur regularly at about 4:00 AM and recur every several days.”45
The Romanians informed the French that although their treaty obligations did not allow them to give formal permission for the overflights, their antiaircraft artillery would not reach planes flying at high altitudes and that in any event they would simply close their eyes to such flights.46 At the end of August at the meeting of the Little Entente at Bled, Yugoslavia, Comnen told Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Krofta that, although the transit of Soviet troops was impossible, Romania would respond to Soviet overflights only by harmless protests.47 Comnen wrote after the war that when these planes had engine trouble and made forced landings in Romania, the Romanians assisted in repairs and sent them on their way to Czechoslovakia.48
As substantial as the record of Soviet planes in Czechoslovakia appears from the indirect and somewhat remote testimony of the preceding evidence, we have few particulars from the Romanian archives. In fact, they are remarkably spare and elusive. So far as I know, no written record of the agreement between Bucharest and Prague to permit the overflights has come to light. We are in possession of one indubitable episode. On 16 June, the Romanian minister in Prague, Crutzescu, wrote to Comnen to request new arrangements for the expected arrival of a relatively large flight of Soviet planes in order to preserve conﬁdentiality. “Our military attaché [Colonel Eftimie] has informed me that he has been instructed to take charge of the expected arrival in Czechoslovakia of 40 Soviet planes beginning today. The transfer that he will be obliged to make from Prague to the landing ﬁeld in Slovakia will not escape the notice of foreign observers and will inevitably give rise to great suspicions.” Comnen was requested therefore to intervene with the General Staff to relieve Colonel Eftimie of this duty, which would lend credence to the rumors, and leave the matter rather to the previously assigned Czech air force ofﬁcer such as not to occasion political embarassment. Crutzescu also asked advice whether Warsaw was informed and how in any event to respond to whatever queries his Polish colleagues might make about the news.49
or http://books.google.com/books?id=mBDyAM ... 38&f=false
Another good article here entitled: "A German Patriot Reflects On September 1939"
Full text: https://archive.is/MrlzIIt is important to note that both Britain and Germany agreed to guarantee the borders of Czechoslovakia as soon as its other problems of national minorities were solved. Since Czechoslovakia never solved its minority problems, neither Hitler nor anyone else guaranteed any national borders. In March 1939 both the Slovaks and the Ruthenians declared independence, whereupon the Poles invaded Czechoslovakia and occupied the Olsa Region, which was populated by Poles. The Hungarians did the same, occupying the border areas that were populated by Hungarians.
Since Czechoslovakia had ceased to exist, its President Hacha flew to Berlin on 15 March 1939 and placed the remainder of his country under the protection of the Reich. He was afraid that Poland and Hungary would follow the Czech example and divide the Czech regions among themselves.
The Reich then formed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Maeren, which provided for exclusive Czech administration in all areas except military and foreign policy.
Hitler was concerned about the threat to German cities and industrial areas that was posed by Czech air bases. Because it felt betrayed by the Sudeten agreement and the Western powers, Czechoslovakia had adopted close relations with the Soviet Union, which had already stationed 300 airplanes in the Czech regions. Hitler, who knew that war with the Soviet Union inevitable, could not allow the Czech regions to serve as a staging area and "aircraft carrier" for the Soviet Union. Hacha remained in office and attended the parade of 20 April 1939 as a guest of the Reich, standing next to Hitler.
It is very clear that Hitler did not violate the Munich accord. When Prime Minister Chamberlain was questioned in the Lower House of the British Parliament about the entry of German troops in Prague on 15 March 1939, he explained:
In our view, the situation has changed significantly since the Slovakian parliament declared independence. This explanation produced the effect that the state whose borders we intended to guarantee collapsed internally and ceased to exist. Accordingly, the situation that the honorable Secretary for the Dominions has described, and which we had always considered temporary, has now ceased to exist.
Just two days later, however, in sharp contrast to this explanation given in the Lower House, Chamberlain condemned the "German invasion" in his Birmingham speech of 17 March 1939; and on 31 March 1939 he signed an agreement with the Polish government in which Great Britain promised to support Poland in the event of war. It promised to do this not only if Poland were attacked, but even if Poland should start a war - for example on account of its pretended rights in Danzig. Both of these contradicted in word and spirit the written message that Chamberlain carried in his hand on his return from Munich, to which he proudly referred and for which he was enthusiastically applauded by the masses. At that time he had announced "Peace in our time." In this announcement Hitler and Chamberlain established that all questions concerning their mutual interests would be handled in mutual consultations.
Original German: http://web.archive.org/web/200909130806 ... luege.html
Now I cannot remember where I read this, and of course i'm paraphrasing. But if someone else does please post it, I'd love to find it again.
I think it's also worth noting that Hitler after Czechia didn't consider that he made a blunder. This being the case means that Hitler didn't do something he secretly knew was 'evil' or wrong. He did something he didn't think was a big deal because it made sense.
The truth upsets vested financial & political interests.
By March 1939, Ruthenia and Slovakia were showing strong signs of secessionist movements.
- 12 February, Slovakian nationalist leader Vojtech Tuka met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin seeking support for Slovakian independence. Hitler agreed
- 28 February, Germany responded to the British and French inquiry of 8 Feb 1939 regarding why Germany had not yet guaranteed Czechoslovakian sovereignty, noting that Germany must "await first a clarification of the internal development of Czechoslovakia".
- 6 March, Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha dismissed the Ruthenian government in an attempt to quell nationalist sentiments that was breaking apart his country.
- 9 March, Hácha suspended Jozef Tiso's Slovakian government and placed Slovakia under martial law.
- 10 March, Hácha ordered the arrest of Slovakian political leader Jozef Tiso.
- 11 March, in response to Hácha's sudden moves to consolidate power within Czechoslovakia, Adolf Hitler issued a ultimatum for Czechoslovakia to hand over Bohemia and Moravia. Austrian NSDAP leader Arthur Seyß-Inquart visited Slovakian leaders, demanding them to proclaim independence immediately, otherwise Germany would no longer support their movement.
- 12-13 March, German leaders demanded Slovakian leader Jozef Tiso visit Berlin where he was told to declare Slovakian independence immediately otherwise Germany would withdraw its support. German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop presented Tiso reports of Hungarian troop movements on its border.
- 14-15 March, Slovakia and Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine) declared independence from Czechoslovakia; as Czechoslovakia had fallen apart, the United Kingdom and France considered Czechoslovakia to no longer exist as a nation. Therefore, they no longer had any alliance obligations. During the day, Hácha traveled by train to Berlin, Germany to conduct last-minute negotiations with Hitler to save his country.
- 15 March, is the meeting of Hácha with Hitler. Please see the following thread: viewtopic.php?t=8342
- 16 March, Hitler establishes 'Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia'; Hungary occupies Carpatho-Ukraine / Ruthenia and formally annexes it
Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, March 15, 1939:
https://archive.is/AMR5j or http://web.archive.org/web/201908270048 ... slovakia-1To a large extent the information which I have given to the House is based on Press reports, and while I have very little reason to think that the general effect is not as I have described it to be, final judgment on all the details should await further confirmation. I must deal with three matters which arise out of the circumstances I have described. In the first place, hon. Members will want to know how they affect the guarantee which was described by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions on 4th October last in the following words: "The question has been raised whether our guarantee to Czecho-Slovakia is already in
operation. The House will realise that the formal Treaty of guarantee has yet to be drawn up and completed in the normal way, and, as the Foreign Secretary has stated in another place, there are some matters which must await settlement between the Governments concerned. Until that has been done, technically the guarantee cannot be said to be in force. His Majesty's Government, how ever, feel under a moral obligation to Czecho-Slovakia to treat the guarantee as being now in force. In the event, therefore, of an act of unprovoked aggression against Czecho-Slovakia, His Majesty's Government would certainly feel bound to take all steps in their power to see that the integrity of Czecho-Slovakia is preserved."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th October, 1938; col. 303, Vol. 339.]" That remained the position until yesterday, and I may say that recently His Majesty's Government have endeavoured to come to an agreement with the other Governments represented at Munich on the scope and terms of such a guarantee, but up to the present we have been unable to reach any such agreement. In our opinion the situation has radically altered since the Slovak Diet declared the independence of Slovakia. The effect of this declaration put an end by internal disruption to the State whose frontiers we had proposed to guarantee and, accordingly, the condition of affairs described by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions, which was always regarded by us as being only of a transitory nature has now ceased to exist, and His Majesty's Government cannot accordingly hold themselves any longer bound by this obligation.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)
The circumstances of the Debate to-day enabled the hon. Gentleman, and those who have taken the same line, to combine the grave and measured language of distress and regret about these deplorable events, as to which we shall find general agreement in all parts of the House, with an intermittent and sometimes bitter attack upon the Prime Minister, with which the majority in this
House will not agree at all. I am going to endeavour, in the course of what I have to say in concluding the Debate, to draw a distinction between those two things. I do not think as some hon. Gentlemen seem to suggest that judgment and condemnation ought to follow automatically upon the view of recent events, which every one of us deplores, but it is easy and a very natural temptation when grave and deplorable matters occur which we honestly regret, and view with distress and horror, to look around to blame the persons who, we think, can most easily be held responsible. The circumstance that it is easy to do so does not in the least prove that it is right.
We certainly start with this amount of common ground, that there cannot be any difference of opinion as to the gravity of these events, or their suddenness. I do not feel in the least embarrassed by the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that we were on the prongs of a dilemma. It is no reflection on our very competent Ambassador that he is unable to predict action—very sudden action—which depends upon the decision, and, as far as one can see, the very sudden decision, of a single man. It would be very unjust to select him and our Diplomatic Service as another of the targets of criticism when we are labouring under this disappointment. The central tragic thing I would put in a sentence which I observed in, I believe, one of the evening papers, and which was reported to be included in a proclamation or pronouncement of some sort by Herr Goebbels, to whom was attributed the statement issued in Berlin: "The State of Czecho-Slovakia has ceased to exist." That is the central tragic thing. It does not require any very technical or precise advice from anybody else for the Prime Minister to make the point—if I may say so, the obvious point—that in that situation it was indeed impossible to suppose that a guarantee to maintain the State of Czecho-Slovakia could have any meaning at all.
THREE NATIONS INVADING CZECH PROVINCES
Malaya Tribune, 15 March 1939, Page 11
The following short book is an account of how the Anschluss & Annexation of Czechoslovakia took place. It was written by German major general and historian Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof and has been translated into English by George F. Held. Like Udo Walendy, Schultze-Rhonhof disputes Germany's guilt for the Second World War.
Every day recently pundits in the media compare Putin’s “invasion of Ukraine” to Hitler’s “invasion of Czechoslovakia.” They do so obviously on the assumption that people today well know what took place in Czechoslovakia seventy-six years ago. It is only thus that the comparison might help them to understand what is taking place in Ukraine today. But is this assumption correct? I doubt that it is and have therefore undertaken to make available free online an abbreviated version of Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof’s detailed account of the events leading up to Germany’s Anschluss of the Sudeten Regions in 1938. This account is found in pages 165-249 of his book: 1939 – The War That Had Many Fathers: the Long Run-Up to the Second World War, available online at Lulu. In this abbreviated version of that account nearly all the footnotes have been omitted. For documentation of the facts cited herein, see the full version of the book.
[Book] The Anschluss of the Sudeten Regions and the Subjugation of Czechia - Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof
PDF: https://web.archive.org/web/20191106002 ... zechia.pdf
TXT: https://archive.is/t0DcO or http://web.archive.org/web/201911060030 ... g/Nj3VX42p
Google Books (preview): https://books.google.com/books?id=vtRWCAAAQBAJ
An excerpt from page 10-12:
In 1919 the newly-baked nation of the Czechs and Slovaks consists of Czechs 48%, Germans 28%, Slovaks 14%, Hungarians 7% and Ruthenians 3%. In the first years after its foundation the country develops into a new central state in the hands of the Czechs. State officials, police and military are predominantly Czech and reflect in no way the proportions of the peoples. The economic system, schools, and administration in the hitherto purely or predominantly German-inhabited towns and cities are emphatically czechized against the will of the local population and also against the guarantees of the constitution. 354 German schools and 47 secondary schools must close; about 40,000 German government officials are removed from service. The German cities are renamed and given Czech names. Eger becomes Cheb, Aussig becomes Usti, and so on. The German street names are changed. All German land acquisitions since 1620 are expropriated in a so-called land reform and “restored” to the Czech population... The provisions of the Treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon which require Czechoslovakia to develop into a state with equal rights for all peoples are never implemented. The spirit of the Czechoslovak constitution also has no influence here.
Even the Slovaks, whose agreement had led to the founding of this state, remain for a long time outsiders in regard to the distribution of power... In the 20’s and 30’s, the Sudeten Germans become increasingly a nuisance to the domination and self-service of the Czechs in the new state. The German ethnic group is at first split into a number of fragmented parties. It remains therefore for a long time without any political influence. Only in 1933 does a 35-year-old Sudeten German named Henlein succeed in gathering the German-speaking citizens of Czechoslovakia into a movement which he calls the “Sudeten German Home Front.” Henlein recognizes Czechoslovakia as the state of the Sudeten Germans, but he tries to maintain the culture, the local law, the economic position, and the jobs of the German population in their new state, and, where necessary, to implement [steps to maintain] them. From the Sudeten German Home Front there is soon formed the “Sudeten German Party” (Sudentedeutsche Partei = SdP), which already in the May 1935 election becomes the strongest party in the country in terms of votes. The Prague government, against its own will, is spellbound at the up-swing of the SdP. It dissolves two of the German political parties and drives their voters into the new one. In July 1936, the SdP with 44 seats even becomes the strongest faction in the Prague National Assembly. Behind it follows the primarily Slovak Agricultural Party, which henceforth puts forth the prime minister in the person of Milan Hodža. Both the Sudeten Germans and the Slovaks push for the internal autonomy of the nations in the multi-ethnic state Czechoslovakia, as promised in Saint-Germain.
Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof Lecture w/ English Subtitles
The War That Had Many Fathers - The Documentary
(Book) The War That Had Many Fathers
Why did Hitler invade so many 'neutral' European countries?
Debunking the Annexation Myth – The Reunion of Austria with Germany was the Greatest Example of Democracy in History
https://archive.is/iC7FB or https://web.archive.org/web/20170718063 ... n-history/
In the book Aspects of the Third Reich, Chapter 6: "Hitler's War Plans and Great Power Response", the author of the chapter, E.M. Robertson, claims:
Even before Munich Hitler was giving serious consideration to the possibility of first incorporating the Sudeten areas of Czechoslovakia into Germany that autumn and invading the rest of the country in the spring of 1939. He was at that time determined to go ahead with his plan for the conquest of Czechoslovakia in two stages even if it led to war with the western powers.37 After Munich Czechoslovakia was progressively reduced as a power factor. In October she was still capable of pinning down 25 German divisions: the figure before Munich was 35. In October an attack from German Silesia and Austria was planned, the aim of which was to cut Czechoslovakia at her waist. At this stage Czechoslovakia had ceased to count as a power factor. On 17 December this plan was to be implemented regardless of Czech provocation but no date was given when it was to take effect. It was more than just one among several contingency plans as contended by Newman.38
H.W. Koch (ed.), Aspects of the Third Reich (Macmillan, 1985), Pp. 205.
In two footnotes (Notes 37 & 38) he cites 2 sources. The first (note 37) I haven't been able to check yet, his reference is to: Weizsäcker-Papiere, 10 October 1938, p. 143.
His second source (note 38) is concerning two military directives authorized by Hitler and Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, dated October 21, 1938 and December 17, 1938. Both of these documents I have quoted in full, both in English and in German:
English:Directive by the Führer for the WehrmachtBERLIN, October 21, 1938.
OKW L la. No. 236/38
The future tasks of the Wehrmacht 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 Wehrmacht must at all times be prepared for the following eventualities:
1. Securing the frontiers of the German Reich and protection against surprise air attacks.
2. Liquidation of the remainder of the Czech State.
3. The occupation of Memelland.[Translation of Part 1 omitted]
LIQUIDATION OF THE REMAINDER OF THE CZECH STATE
It must be possible to smash at any time the remainder of the Czech State, should it pursue an anti-German policy.
to be made by the Wehrmacht for this eventuality will be considerably less in extent than those for Operation "Green"; on the other hand, as planned mobilization measures will have to be dispensed with, they must guarantee a continuous and considerably higher state of preparedness. The organization, order of battle, and degree of preparedness of the units earmarked for that purpose are to be prearranged in peace time for a surprise assault so that Czechoslovakia herself will be deprived of all possibility of organized resistance. The aim is the speedy occupation of Bohemia and Moravia and the cutting off of Slovakia. The preparations must be so made that the defense of the western frontier [Grenzsicherung West] can be carried out simultaneously.
The following are the individual tasks of the Army and Air Force:
The units stationed near the Czech frontier and certain motorized formations are to be detailed for surprise attack. Their number will be determined by the forces left to Czechoslovakia; quick and decisive success must be assured. The deployment and preparations for the attack must be worked out. Forces not required are to be kept in readiness in such a manner that they either can be used for securing the frontier or can follow up the attacking army.
B. Air Force
The rapid advance of our Army is to be assured by the early elimination of the Czech Air Force.
For this purpose the rapid move of the formations near the frontier from their peace stations is to be prepared. Whether even stronger forces will be required for this purpose can only be seen from the development of the military and political situation in Czechoslovakia.
In addition, the simultaneous deployment of the remainder of the offensive forces against the west must be prepared.[Translation of Part 3 omitted]
Certified Correct:Adolf Hitler
German:Weisung des Führers und Obersten Befehlshabers der WehrmachtBERLIN, den 21. Oktober 1938
OKW L Ia Nr. 236/38 g. Kdos. Chefs.
Die künftigen Aufgaben der Wehrmacht und die sich daraus ergebenden Vorbereitungen für die Kriegführung werde ich später in einer Weisung niederlegen.)
Bis zum Inkrafttreten dieser Weisung muß die Wehrmacht jederzeit auf folgende Fälle vorbereitet sein:
1.) Sicherung der Grenzen des deutschen Reiches und Schutz gegen überraschende Luftangriffe,
2.) Erledigung der Rest-Tschechei,
3.) Inbesitznahme des Memellandes.[Teil 1 hier ausgelasses.]
ERLEDIGUNG DER REST-TSCHECHEI
Es muß möglich sein, die Rest-Tschechei jederzeit zerschlagen zu können, wenn sie etwa eine deutsch-feindliche Politik betreiben würde.
Die hierfür von der Wehrmacht zu treffenden Vorbereitungen werden ihrem Umfange nach erheblxh geringer sein, als s. Zt. für „Grün"; sie müssen dafür aber, unter Verzicht luf planmäßige Mobilmachungsmaßnahmen, eine ständige und wesentlich höhere Bereitschaft gewährleisten. Organisation, Gliederung und Bereitschaftsgrad der dafür vorgesehenen Verbände sind schon im Frieden derart auf Überfall abzustellen, daß der Tschechei selbst jede Möglichkeit planmäßiger Gegenwehr genommen wird. Das Ziel ist die rasche Besetzung der Tschechei und die Abriegelung gegen die Slowakei. Die Vorbereitungen müssen so getroffen werden, daß gleichzekig die „Grenzsicherung West" durchgeführt werden kann.
Die Aufgaben für Heer und Luftwaffe sind im einzelnen folgende:
Die der Tschechei naheliegenden Einheiten und einzelne motorisierte Verbände sind für einen überfafartigen Angriff vorzusehen. Ihre Zahl richtet sich nach den der Tschechei verbleibenden Kräften; schneller und durchschlagender Erfolg muß gewährleistet sein. Der Aufmarsch und die Vorbereitungen für den Angriff sind zu bearbeiten. Die nicht gebrauchten Kräfte sind so bereit zu halten, daß sie je nach Lage entweder fir Grenzsicherung eingesetzt, oder der Angriffsarmee nachgeführt werden können.
Durch frühzeitiges Ausschalten der tschechischen Luftwaffe ist der rasche Vormarsch des eigenen Heeres zu gewährleisten.
Hierfür ist zunächst der überfallartige Einsatz der grenznahen Verbände aus den Friedensstandorten heraus vorzubereiten. Inwieweit hierzu noch stärkere Kräfte erforderlich werden, kann erst die Entwicklung der militär-politischen Lage in der Tschechei ergeben.
Daneben ist der gleichzeitige Aufmarsch der übrigen Angriffskräfte gegen Westen vorzubereiten.[Teil 3 hier ausgelassen.]ges. Adolf Hitler
für die Richtigkeit
Directive for October 21, 1938. For the English see: Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945 (DGFP), D, Vol. IV (4). Doc. 81, p. 99-100. For the German: Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik 1918-1945 (ADAP), D, bd. IV (4), Dok. 81., 90-91.
This document is a contingency plan, just as Simon Newman said it was. It's clear from the wording, which doesn't mince words:
At first I was uncertain, because the English word used "eventualities" sounded a lot more deterministic, and aggressive. If you translate the German phrase using either DeepL translator, or Google Translate the results are seemingly different:
Google Translate: Until this directive comes into force, the Wehrmacht must be prepared for the following cases at all times
You either get the word "contingencies" or "cases". Both of which make it quite clear that the document is not discussing a German plan that is going to be implemented, but a plan in case of certain circumstances, or, eventualities. I asked a native German speaking friend of mine how accurate the official translation was and this is what he told me:
This solidifies the fact that this plan was indeed a contingency for a potential future scenario, as my friend so aptly put it.
English:Directive by the Chief of Stall of the Supreme Command of the WehrmachtBERLIN, December 17, 1938.
TOP SECRET MILITARY
WRITTEN BY AN OFFICER
No. 248/38 f Kdos. Chefsache WFA/LIaReference: The Führer and Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht, OKW No. 236/38 g Kdos. Chefs. Lla. of October 21, 1938.
SECOND SUPPLEMENT TO DIRECTIVE OF OCTOBER 21, 1938
With reference to the "liquidation of the Rump Czech State," the Führer has given the following orders:
The case is to be prepared on the assumption that no appreciable resistance is to be expected.
Outwardly it must be quite clear that it is only a peaceful action and not a warlike undertaking.
The action must therefore be carried out only with the peacetime Wehrmacht, without reinforcement by mobilization. The necessary mobility, in particular safeguarding the transport of the most vital supplies, must be achieved by transfers within formations.
Likewise, the army units detailed to march in must not as a general rule leave their stations until the night before the crossing of the frontier and must not, as previously planned, deploy on the frontier. Administrative transport required beforehand must be kept to a minimum and must as far as possible be camouflaged. Any necessary movements of individual units-especially of motorized formations-to training areas near the frontier require the approval of the Führer. The Air Force is to act on corresponding lines.
For the same reasons the exercise of executive power by the Commander in Chief of the Army is envisaged only for the newly occupied territory and only for a short period.
The Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht,Keitel
German:Weisung des Chefs des Oberkommandos der WehrmachtBERLIN, den 17. Dezember 1938
Von Offizier geschrieben
Nr. 248/38 g. Kdos. Chefsache WFA/L I a
Bez. D. Führer u. Ob. Befehlshaber d. Wehrm.
OKW Nr. 236/38 g. Kdos. Chefs. L I a v. 21. Oktober 19382. NACHTRAG ZUR WEISUNG VOM 21. OKTOBER 1938
Betr. „Erledigung der Resttschechei" hat der Führer noch folgendes befohlen:
Die Bearbeitung des Falles hat unter der Voraussetzung zu erfolgen, daß kein nennenswerter Widerstand zu erwarten ist.
Auch nach außen muß klar in Erscheinung treten, daß es sich nur um eine Befriedungsaktion und nicht um eine kriegerische Unternehmung handelt.
Deshalb darf die Aktion nu r mit der Friedenswehrmacht ohne Mob.-Verstärkungen durchgeführt werden. Die notwendige Verwendungsbereitschaft, insbesondere die Sicherstellung der Nachführung des allernötigsten Nachschubs muß durch Ausgleich innerhalb der Verbände erreicht werden.
Ebenso haben die für den Einmarsch bestimmten Einheiten des Heeres im allgemeinen erst in der Nacht vor der Grenzüberschreitung ihre Standorte zu verlassen und nicht schon vorher planmäßig an der Grenze aufzumarschieren. Vorher notwendige Organisationstransporte sind auf ein Mindestmaß zu beschränken und soweit irgend möglich zu tarnen. Etwa notwendig werdende Verlegungen einzelner Einheiten — insbesondere von motorisierten Verbänden — auf nahe der Grenze gelegene Truppenübungsplätze unterliegen der Genehmigung des Führers.
Von der Luftwaffe ist nach entsprechenden Richtlinien zu verfahren. Aus denselben Gründen ist die Ausübung vollziehender Gewalt durch den Ob.d.H. nur für das neubesetzte Gebiet und nur für kurze Zeitdauer vorgesehen.Der Chef des Oberkommandos der WehrmachtKeitel
Directive for December 17, 1938. For the English see: Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945 (DGFP), D, Vol. IV (4). Doc. 152, p. 185-186. For the German: Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik 1918-1945 (ADAP), D, bd. IV (4), Dok. 152., 163-164.
Robertson claims that "On 17 December this plan was to be implemented regardless of Czech provocation but no date was given when it was to take effect." yet the actual document doesn't seem to say anything like that at all, and Robertson provides no other reference to substantiate it. Therefore, unless there's something I'm missing, Hitler didn't say that the plan was to take effect "regardless of Czech provocation".
What further invalidates this statement, is by Robertson's own admission the fact that the document has no date for when it was to take effect. This doesn't make any sense if your claim is that Hitler was planning an attack on the rest of Czechoslovakia after the Munich agreement had been signed. Nor does it make sense to allow various party members to take a vacation like Goering did to Switzerland in January 1939 (IMT, vol. IX, p. 302.), only to be recalled back to meet with Hitler and Hacha in March. This is hardly evidence of a premeditated step towards the annexation of Czechoslovakia.
The December 17th directive itself is quite clear, it was yet another contingency plan, which makes sense considering it's an addendum to the directive of October 21: "Second supplement to Directive of October 21, 1938" (2. Nachtrag zur Weisung vom 21. Oktober 1938)
As has been shown, the directive for October 21st was a contingency plan, this is also evidenced by the first line which states:
When you consider that the directive issued on December 17th was a supplement to the the first directive (Nachtrag zur Weisung vom 21. Oktober 1938), which was clearly a contingency plan, it means that it was also apart of the same contingency plan. This explains why it has no date for implementation. Neither documents do, because they're contingencies. This is obvious, that Robertson ignores this and implies that the addendum directive is it's own plan is ridiculous, and based on no evidence.
Even if you just read the December addendum, it's written with the same indeterminate language used in a plan that's clearly outlining a contingency, for example:
This quote - and really the entire document - is predicated on meeting specific circumstances as a necessary prerequisite in order to be implemented, this fact seems to utterly contradict Robertson's first claim that this order was to take effect "regardless of Western intervention", and even that it was supposed to be implemented no matter what.
Notice too regarding what I just quoted. The German word Fälles is used again, just like in the first directive. Except in the English version, instead of being translated as "eventuality" it's translated as "case" but could also be translated as "contingency", so, it says in essence:
What this shows is, although perhaps not immediately obvious, is that the December 17th directive is also to be considered a contingency, which utterly contradicts Robertson's argument that "It was more than just one among several contingency plans". See the Cambridge English/German dictionary to see how the word Fälles is used to refer to many potential options or possible events.
I find his argument thoroughly unconvincing, it goes to show that you simply cannot trust what these historians say.
My German friend, when I asked for his opinion on the documents, said this:
You could interpret the second document as saying that the first order is to be followed, in the sense of an invasion, immediately, if it can be done peacefully. But because no date is given that interpretation is silly, but maybe someone who's native tongue isn't German could think that.
I have to agree with him.
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