The Holocaust Historiography Project

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20. Constantin von Neurath


He was a member of the Nazi Party from 30 January 1937 until
1945, and vas awarded the Golden Party Badge on 30 January

He was General in the SS. He was personally appointed
Gruppenfuehrer by Hitler in September 1937, and was promoted
to Obergruppenfuehrer on 21 June 1943.

He was Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs under the
Chancellorship of von Papen from 2 June 1932, and under the
Chancellorship of Hitler from 30 January 1933 until he was
replaced by von Ribbentrop on 4 February 1938.

He was Reich Minister from 4 February 1938 until May 1945.

He was President of the Secret Cabinet Council, to which he
was appointed on 4 February 1938.

He was a member of the Reich Defense Council.

He was Reichs Protector for Bohemia and Moravia from 18
March 1939 until he was replaced by Frick on 25 August 1943.

He was awarded the Adlerorden by Hitler at the time of his
appointment as Reich Protector. Ribbentrop was the only
other German to receive this decoration.

These facts are collected in a document signed by von
Neurath and his counsel (2972-PS). Von Neurath comments on
certain of these matters. He says that the award of the
Golden Party Badge was made on 30 January 1937 against his
will and without his being asked. Yet he not only refrained
from repudiating
the allegedly unwanted honor, but after receiving it
attended meetings at which wars of aggression were planned,
actively participated in the forcible annexation of Austria,
and tyrannized over Bohemia and Moravia.

He also contends that his appointment as SS Gruppenfuehrer
was also against his will and without his being asked. But
in this connection, his wearing of the SS uniform, his
receipt of the further promotion to Obergruppenfuehrer, and
the actions against Bohemia and Moravia must be considered.
In addition, von Neurath says that his appointment as
Foreign Minister was by Reichspresident von Hindenburg. Yet
President von Hindenburg died in 1934, and von Neurath
continued as Foreign Minister until 1938, under the
chancellorship first of von Papen and then of Hitler. He
further claims that he was an inactive Minister from 4
February 1938 until May 1945. His activities in this
connection will be mentioned below, particularly with regard
to Bohemia and Moravia.

Von Neurath next alleges that the Secret Cabinet Council
never sat or conferred. This Council, of which von Neurath
was president, has been authoritatively described as a
select committee of the Cabinet for the deliberation of
foreign affairs, directly subordinated to the Fuehrer for
counsel and assistance (1774-PS):

"A Privy Cabinet Council, to advise the Fuehrer in the basic
problems of foreign policy, has been created by the decree
of 4 February 1938 *** This Privy Cabinet Council is under
the direction of Reich-Minister v. Neurath, and includes the
Foreign Minister, the Air Minister, the Deputy Commander for
the Fuehrer, the Propaganda Minister, the Chief of the Reich-
Chancellery, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army and Navy
and the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
The Privy Cabinet Council constitutes a select staff of
collaborators of the Fuehrer which consists exclusively of
members of the Government of the Reich; thus, it represents
a select committee of the Reich Government for the
deliberation on foreign affairs.” (1774-PS)

The formal composition of this body is shown in 201-PS. Von
Neurath held himself out as a member of this body by
communicating with the British Ambassador on Secret Cabinet
Council stationery. (3287-PS)

Von Neurath, finally, objects that he was not a member of
the Reich Defense Council. This Council was set up soon
after Hitler’s accession to power, on 4 April 1933 (2261-
PS). In an affidavit by Frick (2986-PS), this Council is
described as follows:

                                                 [Page 1016]

     “*** We were also members of the Reich Defense Council,
     which was supposed to plan preparations in case of war
     which later on were published by the Ministerial
     Council for the Defense of the Reich.” (2986-PS)

The membership of this Council included the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, who was then von Neurath. This is shown by
a document giving the composition of the Reich Defense
Council, and including among permanent members the Minister
for Foreign Affairs (EC-177). That document is dated
"Berlin, 22 May 1933,” which was during von Neurath’s tenure
of that office.

The functioning of the Reich Defense Council, with a
representative of von Neurath’s ministry, von Beulow,
present, is shown by the minutes of the 12th meeting on 14
May 1936 (EC-407). Under the secret law of 4 September 1938
von Neurath was a member of the Reich Defense Council by
virtue of his presidency of the Secret Cabinet Council. This
fact is shown by the enclosure of a copy of that law in a
letter addressed to von Neurath as Reich Protector for
Bohemia and Moravia on 6 September 1939 (2194-PS). It is
curious that the Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia
denies his membership in the Council when the letter
enclosing the law is one addressed to him. This law
describes the tasks of the Council as follows:

     “The task of the Reich Defense Council consists, in
     peacetime, of the decision on all measures for the
     preparation of Reich defense, and the gathering
     together of all forces and means of the nation
     according to the- directions of the Leaders and Reich
     Chancellor. The tasks of the Council in wartime will be
     especially determined by the Leader and Reich
     Chancellor.” (2194-PS)

The law also lists the permanent members of the Council, and
the seventh one is the President of the Secret Cabinet
Council, who was von Neurath.


In assuming the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in
Hitler’s Cabinet, von Neurath assumed charge of a foreign
policy committed to breach of treaties.

The Nazi Party had repeatedly and for many years made known
its intention to overthrow Germany’s international
commitments, even at the risk of war. Sections 1 and 2 of
the Party Program (1708-PS), which was published year after
year, declared:

                                                 [Page 1017]

     “1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the
     Greater Germany on the basis of the right of self-
     determination of peoples.

     “2. We demand equality of rights for the German people
     in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the
     peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.” (1708-

An even clearer statement of these goals is contained in
Hitler’s speech at Munich on 15 March 1939, in which he

     “My foreign policy had identical aims. My program was
     to abolish the Treaty of Versailles. It is futile
     nonsense for the rest of the world to pretend today
     that I did not reveal this program until 1933 or 1935
     or 1937. Instead of listening to this foolish chatter
     of emigres, these gentlemen would have been wiser to
     read what I have written thousands of times.” (2771-PS)

If it is “futile nonsense” for foreigners to raise that
point, it would be still more futile for Hitler’s Foreign
Minister to suggest that he was ignorant of the aggressive
designs of Nazi policy. The acceptance of force as a means
of solving international problems and achieving the
objectives of Hitler’s foreign policy must have been known
to anyone as closely in touch with Hitler as was von
Neurath. This doctrine, for example, is constantly
reiterated in Mein Kampf (D-660). (See Section 6 of Chapter
IX on Aggression as a Basic Nazi Idea.)

Hence, by the acceptance and implementation of this foreign
policy, von-Neurath assisted and promoted the realization of
the illegal aims of the Nazi Party.


In his capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs von Neurath
directed the international aspects of the first phase of the
Nazi conspiracy, the consolidation of control in preparation
for war.

From his close connection with Hitler von Neurath must have
known the cardinal points of Hitler’s policy leading up to
the outbreak of World War II, as outlined in retrospect by
Hitler in his speech to his military leaders on 23 November
1939 (789-PS). This policy had two facets: internally, the
establishment of rigid control; externally, the program to
release Germany from its international commitments. The
external program had four points:

     1. Secession from the disarmament conference;

                                                 [Page 1018]

     2. The order to re-arm Germany;

     3. The introduction of compulsory military service; and

     4. The remilitarization of the Rhineland.

These points were set out in Hitler’s address of 23 November
1939, after the invasion of Poland:

     “ *** I had to reorganize everything beginning with the
     mass of the people and extending it to the armed
     forces. First, reorganization of the interior,
     abolishment of appearance of decay and defeatist ideas,
     education to heroism. While reorganizing the interior,
     I undertook the second task, to release Germany from
     its international ties. Two particular characteristics
     are to be pointed out: secession from the League of
     Nations and denunciation of the disarmament conference.
     It was a hard decision. The number of prophets who
     predicted that it would lead to the occupation of the
     Rhineland was large, the number of believers was very
     small. I was supported by the nation, which stood
     firmly behind me, when I carried out my intentions.
     After that, the order for rearmament. Here again there
     were numerous prophets who predicted misfortunes, and
     only a few believers. In 1935 the introduction of
     compulsory armed service. After that, militarization of
     the Rhineland, again a process believed to be
     impossible at that time. The number of people who would
     trust in me were very small. Then the beginning of the
     fortification of the whole country, especially in the
     West.” (789-PS)

Hitler thus summarized his pre-war foreign policy in four
points. Von Neurath participated directly and personally in
accomplishing each of these four points, at the same time
officially proclaiming that these measures did not
constitute steps toward aggression. The first is a matter of
history. When Germany left the disarmament conference von
Neurath sent telegrams, dated 14 October 1933, to the
President of the Conference announcing Germany’s withdrawal
(Documents of German Politics, 1933, vol. I, p. 94).
Similarly, von Neurath made the announcement of Germany's
withdrawal from the League of Nations on 21 October 1933.
(Documents of German Politics, 1933, vol. I). At the same
time, the German government was undertaking far-reaching
military preparation (C-140; C-153).

The second point regarding German rearmament: When von
Neurath was Foreign Minister, on 10 March 1935, the German
Government officially announced the establishment of the
German air force (TC-44). On 21 May 1935, Hitler announced a
purported unilateral repudiation of the Naval, Military, and

                                                 [Page 1019]

clauses of the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty for the
Restoration of Friendly Relations with the United States
(2288-PS). On the same day the Reich Cabinet, of which von
Neurath was a member, enacted the secret Reich Defense Law
creating the office of Plenipotentiary General for War
Economy (2261-PS), afterwards described by the Wehrmacht
armament expert as “the cornerstone of German rearmament”

     “The latter orders were decreed in the Reich defense
     law of 21 May 1935, which was supposed to be published
     only in case of war, and was already declared valid for
     carrying out war preparations. As this law fixed the
     duties of the armed forces and the other Reich
     authorities in case of war, it was also the fundamental
     ruling for the development and activity of the war
     economy organization.” (2353-PS)

The third point is the introduction of compulsory military
service. On 16 March 1935 von Neurath signed the law for the
organization of the armed forces, which provided for
universal military service and anticipated a vastly expanded
German army (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1935, I, p. 369) (1654-PS).
This was described by Keitel as the real start of the large-
scale rearmament program which followed.

The fourth point was the remilitarization of the Rhineland.
The Rhineland was reoccupied on 7 March 1936. This action
was announced by Hitler (2289-PS), who had also previously
given the order for “Operation Schulung,” directing the
military action which was to be taken if necessary (C-139).
These were acts for which von Neurath shared responsibility
from his position and from the steps which he took. Some
time later he summed up his views on the actions detailed
above in a speech to Germans abroad, on 29 August 1937:

     “The unity of the racial and national will created
     through Nazism with unprecedented elan has made
     possible a foreign policy through which the bonds of
     the Versailles Treaty were slashed, freedom to arm
     regained, and the sovereignty of the whole nation
     reestablished. We have again become master in our own
     home, and we have produced the means of power to remain
     henceforth that way for all times. The world should
     notice from Hitler’s deeds and words that his aims are
     not aggressive war.” (D-449)

                                                 [Page 1020]


Both as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as one of the inner
circle of the Fuehrer’s advisors on foreign political
matters, von Neurath participated in the political planning
and preparation for acts of aggression against Austria,
Czechoslovakia, and other nations.

(1) The von Neurath technique. If von Neurath’s policy may
be described in a sentence it may be summarized as breaking
one treaty only at a time. He himself put it slightly more
pompously but to the same effect in a speech before the
Academy of German Law on 30 October 1937:

     “ *** Out of the acknowledgment of these elementary
     facts the Reich Cabinet has always interceded in favor
     of treating every concrete international problem within
     methods especially suited for it, not to complicate it
     unnecessarily by amalgamation with other problems, and
     as long as problems between only two powers are
     concerned to choose the way for an immediate
     understanding between these two powers. We are in a
     position to state that this method has fully proved
     itself good not only in the German interest, but also
     in the general interest.”

The only countries whose interests von Neurath failed to
mention in that speech are the other parties to the various
treaties that were dealt with in that way. The working out
of that policy can be seen from a brief summary of the
actions of von Neurath when he was Foreign Minister, and
those of his immediate-successor when von Neurath still
purported to have influence.

In 1935 action was directed against the Western Powers, in
the form of the rearmament of Germany. When that was going
on another country had to be reassured. At that time it was
Austria, which still had — up to 1935 — the support of
Italy. Hence, the fraudulent and clearly false assurance,
the essence of the technique in that case, given by Hitler,
on 21 May 1935. (TC-26)

Then, in 1936, action was again taken against the Western
Powers in the occupation of the Rhineland. Another
fraudulent assurance was made to Austria in the Treaty of 11
July of that year, (TC-22) the deceitful nature of which is
shown by letters from von Papen. (2246-PS;

Then, in 1937 and 1938, the Nazis moved on a step and action
was directed against Austria. That action was absorption,
finally planned, at the latest, at the meeting on 5 November

                                                 [Page 1021]

(386-PS). The action was taken on 11 March 1938. Reassurance
had to be given to the Western Powers; hence the assurance
to Belgium on 13 October 1937. (TC-34)

Less than a year later the object of the aggressive action
was Czechoslovakia. The Sudetenland was obtained in
September 1938, and the whole of Bohemia and Moravia was
absorbed on 15 March 1939. At that time it was necessary to
reassure Poland; so an assurance to Poland was given by
Hitler on 20 February 1938 (2357-PS), and repeated up to 26
September 1938 (2358-PS). The falsity of that assurance is
shown in Section 8 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against

Finally, when the Nazis decided to take action for the
conquest of Poland in the next year, assurance had to be
given to Russia. Hence, a non-aggression pact was entered
into with the USSR. on 23 August 1939. (TC-25)

With regard to the foregoing summary, the Latin tag, res
ipsa loquitur is apposite. But a frank statement from von
Neurath with regard to the earlier part of it is found in
the account of his conversation with the United States
Ambassador, Mr. Bullitt, on 18 May 1936 (L-150):

     “Von Neurath said that it was the policy of the German
     Government to do nothing active in foreign affairs
     until 'the Rhineland had been digested.' He explained
     that he meant that, until the German fortifications had
     been constructed on the French and Belgian frontiers,
     the German Government would do everything possible to
     prevent rather than encourage an outbreak by the Nazis
     in Austria and would pursue a quiet line with regard to
     Czechoslovakia. 'As soon as our fortifications are
     constructed and the countries of Central Europe realize
     that France cannot enter German territory at will, all
     those countries will begin to feel very differently
     about their foreign policies and a new constellation
     will develop,' he said.”

The conversation between von Papen as Ambassador and Mr.
Messersmith is much to the same effect. (1760-PS)

(2) Austria. At the time of the aggression against Austria
von Neurath was Foreign Minister. This included the
preliminary stages, during the early Nazi plottings against
Austria in 1934. In this period occurred the Nazi murder of
Chancellor Dolfuss and the ancillary acts which were
afterwards so strongly approved by the German Government.
(See Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against Austria.)
Von Neurath was also Foreign Minister when the false
assurance was given to Austria

                                                 [Page 1022]

on 21 May 1935 (TC-26) and the fraudulent treaty was made on
11 July 1936 (TC-22). And von Neurath was Foreign Minister
when his ambassador to Austria, von Papen, was carrying on
his subterranean intrigue in the period from 1935 to 1937.
(2247-PS; 2246-PS)

Von Neurath was present when Hitler declared, in a highly
confidential circle, on 5 November 1937, that the German
question could only be solved by force, and that his plans
were to conquer Austria and Czechoslovakia (386-PS). Hitler
expressed his designs on Austria as follows:

     “*** For the improvement of our military political
     position, it must be our first aim in every case of
     entanglement by war to conquer Czechoslovakia and
     Austria simultaneously, in order to remove any threat
     from the flanks in case of a possible advance
     westwards.” (386-PS)

It is impossible for von Neurath, after that meeting, to say
that he was not acting except with his eyes completely open
and with complete comprehension as to what was intended.

During the Anschluss von Neurath received a note from the
British Ambassador dated 11 March 1938 (045-PS). In reply
von Neurath uttered two obvious untruths. The first:

     “*** It is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure
     to bring about this development, especially the
     assertion, which was spread later by the former
     Chancellor Schuschnigg, that the German Government had
     presented the Federal President with a conditional
     ultimatum. It is a pure invention.” (3287-PS)

According to the German ultimatum, Schuschnigg had to
appoint a proposed candidate as Chancellor and form a
Cabinet conforming to the proposals of the German
Government. Otherwise the invasion of Austria by German
troops was held in prospect. (See Section 3 of Chapter IX on
Aggression Against Austria.) The second untruth:

     “The truth of the matter is that the question of
     sending military or police forces from the Reich was
     only brought up when the newly formed Austrian Cabinet
     addressed a telegram, already published by the press,
     to the German Government, urgently asking for the
     dispatch of German troops as soon as possible, in order
     to restore peace and order and to avoid bloodshed.
     Faced with the immediately threatening danger of a
     bloody civil war in Austria the German Government then
     decided to comply with the appeal addressed to it.”

                                                 [Page 1023]

(As to the inspired nature of the Austrian telegram, see
Section 3 of Chapter IX on Aggression Against Austria.)

All that can be said is that it must have given von Neurath
a certain macabre sort of humor to write that note (3287-PS)
when the truth was the opposite, as shown by the report of
Gauleiter Rainer to Buerckel (812-PS), the transcripts of
Goering’s telephone conversations with Austria (2949-PS),
and the entries in Jodl’s diary for 11, 13, and 14 February.

According to Jodl’s diary — the entry for 10 March:

     “At 13.00 hours General Keitel informs Chief of
     Operational Staff and Admiral Canaris. Ribbentrop is
     being detained in London. Neurath takes over the
     Foreign Office.” (1780-PS)

It is inconceivable when von Neurath had taken over the
Foreign Office, was dealing with the matter and was co-
operating with Goering to suit the susceptibilities of the
Czechs, that he should have been so ignorant of the truth of
events as to write that letter (3287-PS) in good faith.

Von Neurath’s position is shown equally clearly by the
account which is given of him in the affidavit of
Messersmith (2385-PS). Von Neurath’s style of activity at
this crisis is described as follows:

     “I should emphasize here in this statement that the men
     who made these promises were not only the dyed-in-the-
     wool Nazis, but more conservative Germans who already
     had begun to willingly lend themselves to the Nazi

     “In an official dispatch to the Department of State
     from Vienna, dated 10 October 1935, I wrote as follows:

     “ 'Europe will not get away from the myth that Neurath,
     Papen, and Mackensen are not dangerous people and that
     they are diplomats of the old school. They are in fact
     servile instruments of the regime, and just because the
     outside world looks upon them as harmless they are able
     to work more effectively. They are able to sow discord
     just because they propagate the myth that they are not
     in sympathy with the regime'.” (2385-PS)

(3) Czechoslovakia. At the time of the occupation of
Austria, von Neurath gave the assurance to M. Mastny, the
Ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Berlin, regarding the
continued independence of Czechoslovakia (TC-27). M. Jan
Masaryk, Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister, describes the
circumstances as follows:

     “I have in consequence been instructed by my Government
     to bring to the official knowledge of His Majesty's

                                                 [Page 1024]

     ment the following facts: Yesterday evening (the 11th
     March) Field-Marshal Goering made two separate
     statements to M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in
     Berlin, assuring him that the developments in Austria
     will in no way have any detrimental influence on the
     relations between the German Reich and Czechoslovakia,
     and emphasizing the continued earnest endeavor on the
     part of Germany to improve those mutual relations.”


     “M. Mastny was in a position to give him [Goering]
     definite and binding assurances on this subject [Czech
     mobilization] and today spoke with Baron von Neurath,
     who, among other things, assured him on behalf of Herr
     Hitler that Germany still considers herself bound by
     the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention
     concluded at Locarno in October 1925.” ( TC-27) .

In view of von Neurath’s presence at the meeting on 5
November 1937, four months previously, where he had heard
Hitler’s views on Czechoslovakia (386-PS), and that it was
only six months before the treaty was disregarded, von
Neurath’s assurance is an excellent example of the technique
of diplomacy developed by von Neurath.

On 28 May 1938 Hitler held a conference of important
leaders, including Beck, von Brauchitsch, Raeder, Keitel,
Goering, and Ribbentrop, at which Hitler affirmed that
preparations should be made for military action against
Czechoslovakia by October (388-PS; 2360-PS). It is believed,
although not confirmed, that von Neurath attended.

On 4 September 1938 the Government of which von Neurath was
a member enacted a new Secret Reich Defense Law which
defined various official responsibilities, in clear
anticipation of war. This law provided, as did the previous
Secret Reich Defense Law, for a Reich Defense Council as a
supreme policy board for war preparations (2194-PS). Then
came the Munich agreement of 29 September 1938, in spite of
which, on 14 March 1939, German troops marched into
Czechoslovakia. (TC-50)

On 16 March 1939 the German Government, of which von Neurath
was still a member, promulgated the Decree of the Fuehrer
and Reich Chancellor on the Establishment of the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. (TC-51) During the
following week, von Ribbentrop signed a treaty with Slovakia
(1439-PS), Article 2 of which reads as follows:

     “For the purpose of making effective the protection
     undertaken by the German Reich, the German armed forces

                                                 [Page 1025]

     have the right at all times to construct military
     installations and to keep them garrisoned in the
     strength they deem necessary, in an area delimited on
     its western side by the frontiers of the State of
     Slovakia, and on its eastern side by a line formed by
     the eastern rims of the Lower Carpathians, the White
     Carpathians, and the Javornik Mountains.

     “The Government of Slovakia will take the necessary
     steps to assure that the land required for these
     installations shall be conveyed to the German armed
     forces. Furthermore, the Government of Slovakia will
     agree to grant exemption from custom duties for imports
     from the Reich for the maintenance of the German troops
     and the supply of military installations.” (1439-PS)

The ultimate objective of Hitler’s policies, disclosed at
the meeting at which von Neurath was present on 5 November
1937 (86-PS), is obvious from the terms of this treaty. It
was the resumption of the drang for lebensraum in the East.

                                                 [Page 1025]


By accepting and occupying the position of Reich Protector
of Bohemia and Moravia, von Neurath personally adhered to
the aggression against Czechoslovakia. As Protector he
further actively participated in the conspiracy for world
aggression, and assumed a position of leadership in the
execution of policies involving violations of the laws of
war and the commission of crimes against humanity.

Von Neurath’s responsibility for these crimes derives from
the legal position which he assumed. Von Neurath assumed the
position of Protector under a sweeping grant of powers.
Article V of the act creating the Protectorate provided:

     “1. As trustee of Reich interests, the Leader and
     Chancellor of the Reich shall nominate a Reich
     Protector in Bohemia and Moravia. His seat of office
     will be Prague.

     “2. The Reich Protector, as representative of the
     Leader and Chancellor of the Reich and as Commissioner
     of the Reich Government, is charged with the duty of
     seeing to the observance of the political principles
     laid down by the Leader and Chancellor of the Reich.

     “3. The members of the Government of the Protectorate
     shall be confirmed by the Reich Protector. The
     confirmation may be withdrawn.

                                                 [Page 1026]

     “4. The Reich Protector is entitled to inform himself
     of all measures taken by the Government of the
     protectorate and to give advice. He can object to
     measures calculated to harm the Reich and, in case of
     danger, issue ordinances required for the common

     “5. The promulgation of laws, ordinances and other
     legal announcements and the execution of administrative
     measures and legal judgments shall be annulled if the
     Reich Protector enters an objection.” (2119-PS)

At the very outset of the Protectorate, von Neurath's
supreme authority was implemented by a series of basic
decrees. These established the alleged legal foundation for
the policy and program which resulted, all aimed toward the
systematic destruction of the national integrity of the
Czechs. Among these decrees were:

(1) The decree granting “Racial Germans” in Czechoslovakia a
supreme order of citizenship (2119-PS);

(2) An act concerning the representation in the Reichstag of
Greater Germany of German Nationals Resident in the
Protectorate (13 April 1939);

(3) An order concerning the acquisition of German
citizenship by former Czechoslovakian citizens of German
origin (20 April 1939)

Another series of decrees granted “Racial Germans” in
Czechoslovakia a preferred status at law and in the courts:

(1) An order concerning the Exercise of Criminal
Jurisdiction in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (14
April 1939);

(2) An order concerning the Exercise of Jurisdiction in
Civil Proceedings (14 April 1939);

(3) An order concerning the Exercise of Military
Jurisdiction (8 May 1939).

The Ordinance on Legislation in the Protectorate (7 June
1939) also granted to the Protector broad powers to change
by decree the autonomous law of the Protectorate.

Finally, the Protector was authorized, with the Reich Leader
SS and the Chief of the German Police (Himmler) “to take, if
necessary, such (police) measures which go beyond the limits
usually valid for police measures.” It is difficult to
imagine what can be police measures “beyond the limits
usually valid for police measures” in view of the police
measures in Germany between 1933 and 1939. (See Section 4 of
Chapter VII on Purge of Political Opponents and Section 6 of
Chapter XV on the Gestapo and SD.) But presumably such
increase was believed to be pos-

                                                 [Page 1027]

sible, and was given to von Neurath to use for coercion of
the Czechs.

The declared basic policy of the Protectorate was to destroy
the identity of the Czechs as a nation and to absorb their
territory into the Reich. This is borne out by a memorandum
signed by Lt. Gen. of Infantry Frederici (86-PS), which is
headed “The Deputy General of the Armed Forces with the
Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia". It is marked Top
Secret and dated 15 October 1940. That was practically a
year before von Neurath went on leave, as he puts it, on 27
September 1941. The memorandum discusses “Basic Political
Principles in the Protectorate,” and copies went to Keitel
and Jodl. The memorandum states:

     “On 9 October of this year [1940] the office of the
     Reich protector held an official conference in which
     State Secretary SS Lt. General K. H. Frank spoke about
     the following:

     “Since creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and
     Moravia, party agencies, industrial circles, as well as
     agencies of the central authorities of Berlin, have had
     difficulties about the solution of the Czech problem.

     “After ample deliberation, the Reich Protector
     expressed his view about the various plans in a
     memorandum. In this, three ways of solution were

     “A. German infiltration of Moravia and reduction of the
     Czech nationality to a residual Bohemia.

     “This solution is considered as unsatisfactory, because
     the Czech problem, even if in a diminished form, will
     continue to exist.

     “B. Many arguments can be brought up against the most
     radical solution, namely, the deportation of all
     Czechs. Therefore the memorandum comes to the
     conclusion that it can not be carried out within a
     reasonable space of time.

     “C. Assimilation of the Czechs, i.e. absorption of
     about half of the Czech nationality by the Germans,
     insofar as this is of importance by being valuable from
     a racial or other standpoint. This will take place
     among other things, also by increasing the
     Arbeitseinsatz of the Czechs in the Reich territory,
     with the exception of the Sudeten German border
     district; in other words, by dispersing the closed
     Czech nationality. The other half of the Czech
     nationality must be deprived of its power, eliminated
     and shipped out of the country by all sorts of methods.
     This applies particularly to the racially mongoloid
     part, and to the major part of the intellectual class.
     The latter can scarcely be converted ideologi-

                                                 [Page 1028]

     cally, and would represent a burden by constantly
     making claims for leadership over the other Czech
     classes, and thus interfering with a rapid

     “Elements which counteract the planned Germanization
     are to be handled roughly and should be eliminated.

     “The above development naturally presupposes an
     increased influx of Germans from the Reich territory
     into the Protectorate.

     “After a discussion, the Fuehrer has chosen Solution C
     (assimilation) as a directive for the solution of the
     Czech problem, and decided that while keeping up the
     autonomy of the Protectorate on the surface, the
     Germanization will have to be carried out in a
     centralized way by the office of the Reich Protector
     for years to come. From the above no particular
     conclusions are drawn by the Armed Forces. This is the
     direction which has always been represented from here.

     “In this connection, I refer to my memorandum which was
     sent to the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed
     Forces, dated 12 July 1939, entitled 'The Czech
     Problem'.” (862-PS)

That view of the Reich Protector was accepted and formed a
basis of his policy. The result was a program of
consolidating German control over Bohemia and Moravia by the
systematic oppression of the Czechs through the abolishment
of civil liberties, and the systematic undermining of the
native political, economic, and cultural structure by a
regime of terror. The only protection given by von Neurath
was a protection to the perpetrators of innumerable crimes
against the Czechs. (Proof of this aspect of von Neurath's
responsibility was left for development by the Soviet
prosecuting staff.)


Von Neurath received many honors and rewards as his worth.
It even appears that Hitler showered more honors on von
Neurath than on some of the leading Nazis who had been with
the Party since the very beginning. His appointments-as
President of the newly created Secret Cabinet Council in
1938 was in itself a new and singular distinction. On 22
September 1940 Hitler awarded him the War Merit Cross, First
Class, as Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia. He was
also awarded the Golden Badge of the Party, and was promoted
by Hitler personally from the rank of Gruppenfuehrer to
Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS, on 21 June 1943. Von Neurath
and Ribbentrop were the only two Ger-

                                                 [Page 1029]

mans to be awarded the Adlerorden, a distinction normally
reserved for foreigners. Von Neurath’s seventieth birthday,
2 February 1943, was made the occasion for most of the
German newspapers to praise his many years of service to the
Nazi regime. This service, in the view of the prosecution,
may be summed up in two ways:

(1) He was an internal fifth columnist among Conservative
political circles in Germany. They had been anti-Nazi but
were converted in part by seeing one of themselves, in the
person of von Neurath, wholeheartedly with the Nazis.

(2) His previous reputation as a diplomat made public
opinion abroad slow to believe that he would be a member of
a cabinet which did not stand by its words and assurances.
It was most important for Hitler that his own readiness to
break every treaty or commitment should be concealed as long
as possible, and for this purpose he found in von Neurath
his handiest tool.

                                                 [Page 1029]

Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6.
Vol. I, Pg. 5

 International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1,
Section IV (H); Appendix A. Vol. I, Pg. 29,64

[Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates
that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg
trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number
indicates that the document was referred to during the trial
but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason
given in parentheses following the description of the
document. The USA series number, given in parentheses
following the description of the document, is the official
exhibit number assigned by the court.]

                                                 [Page 1030]

*386-PS;  Notes on a conference with Hitler in the Reich
Chancellery, Berlin, 5 November 1937, signed by Hitler's
adjutant, Hossbach, and dated 10 November 1937. (USA 25).
Vol. III, Pg. 295

*388-PS;  File of papers on Case Green (the plan for the
attack on Czechoslovakia), kept by Schmundt, Hitler's
adjutant, April-October 1938. (USA 26) . Vol. III, Pg. 305

*789-PS;  Speech of the Fuehrer at a conference, 23 November
1939, to which all Supreme Commanders were ordered. (USA 23)
. Vol. III, Pg. 572

*812-PS;  Letter from Rainer to Seyss-Inquart, 22 August
1939 and report from Gauleiter Rainer to Reichskommissar
Gauleiter Buerckel, 6 July 1939 on events in the NSDAP of
Austria from 1933 to 11 March 1938. (USA 61) . Vol. III, Pg.

*862-PS;  Memorandum by General Friderici, Plenipotentiary
of the Wehrmacht to the Reich Protector of Bohemia and
Moravia, initialled by Keitel, Jodl and Warlimont, 15
October 1940, concerning plan to Germanize Czechoslovakia.
(USA 313) . Vol. III, Pg. 618

                                                 [Page 1031]

*1439-PS;  Treaty of Protection between Slovakia and the
Reich, signed in Vienna 18 March 1939 and in Berlin 23 March
1939. 1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 606. (GB 135) .
Vol. IV, Pg. 18

*1654-PS;  Law of 16 March 1935 reintroducing universal
military conscription. 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p.
369. (Referred to but not offered in evidence.) . Vol. IV,
Pg. 163

*1708-PS;  The Program of the NSDAP. National Socialistic
Yearbook, 1941, p. 153. (USA 255, USA 324). Vol. IV, Pg. 208

*1760-PS;  Affidavit of George S. Messersmith, 28 August
1945. (USA 57). Vol. IV, Pg. 305

*1774-PS;  Extracts from Organizational Law of the Greater
German Reich by Ernst Rudolf Huber. (GB 246). Vol. IV, Pg.

*1780-PS;  Excerpts from diary kept by General Jodl, January
1937 to August 1939. (USA 72). Vol. IV, Pg. 360

*2031-PS;  Decree establishing a Secret Cabinet Council, 4
February 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, p. 112. (GB
217) . Vol. IV, Pg. 654

2119-PS;  Decree of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor
concerning the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, 16 March
1939. Vol. IV, Pg. 751

*2194-PS;  Top secret letter from Ministry for Economy and
Labor, Saxony, to Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia,
enclosing copy of 1938 Secret Defense Law of 4 September
1938. (USA 36). Vol. IV, Pg. 843

*2246-PS;  Report of von Papen to Hitler, 1 September 1936,
concerning Danube situation. (USA 67). Vol. IV, Pg. 930

                                                 [Page 1032]

*2247-PS;  Letter from von Papen to Hitler, 17 May 1935,
concerning intention of Austrian government to arm. (USA
64). Vol. IV, Pg. 930

*2261-PS;  Directive from Blomberg to Supreme Commanders of
Army, Navy and Air Forces, 24 June 1935; accompanied by copy
of Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 and copy of Decision of
Reich Cabinet of 12 May 1935 on the Council for defense of
the Reich. (USA 24). Vol. IV, Pg. 934

*2288-PS;  Adolf Hitler’s speech before the Reichstag,
published in Voelkischer Beobachter, Southern Germany
Special Edition, No. 14a, 22 May 1935. (USA 38). Vol. IV,
Pg. 993

*2289-PS;  Hitler’s speech in the Reichstag, 7 March 1936,
published in Voelkischer Beobachter, Berlin Edition, No. 68,
8 March 1936. (USA 56). Vol. IV, Pg. 994

*2353-PS;  Extracts from General Thomas' Basic Facts for
History of German War and Armament Economy. (USA 35). Vol.
IV, Pg. 1071

*2357-PS;  Speech by Hitler before Reichstag, 20 February
1938, published in Documents of German Politics, Part VI, 1,
pp. 50-52. (GB 30) . Vol. IV, Pg. 1099

2358-PS;  Speech by Hitler in Sportspalast, Berlin, 26
September 1938, from Voelkischer Beobachter, Munich Edition,
27 September 1938. Vol. IV, Pg. 1100

*2360-PS;  Speech by Hitler before Reichstag, 30 January
1939, from Voelkischer Beobachter, Munich Edition, 31
January 1939. (GB 134). Vol. IV, Pg. 1101

*2385-PS;  Affidavit of George S. Messersmith, 30 August
1945. (USA 68). Vol. V, Pg. 23

                                                 [Page 1033]

2541-PS;  Extracts from German Publications. Vol. V, Pg. 285

2771-PS;  U.S. State Department, National Socialism,
published by U.S. GPO, 1943. Vol. V, Pg. 417

*2852-PS;  Minutes of meetings of Council of Ministers for
Reich Defense. (USA 396). Vol. V, Pg. 512

*2949-PS;  Transcripts of telephone calls from Air Ministry,
11 March 1938-14 March 1938. (USA 76). Vol. V, Pg. 628

*2972-PS;  List of appointments held by von Neurath, 17
November 1946. (USA 19). Vol. V, Pg. 679

*2986-PS;  Affidavit of the defendant, Wilhelm Frick, 19
November 1945. (USA 409). Vol. V, Pg. 688

*3045-PS;  Letter, 12 March 1938, to British Embassy
enclosing letter from Henderson to Neurath, 11 March 1938.
(USA 127). Vol. V, Pg. 765

*3287-PS;  Letter from von Neurath to Henderson, 12 March
1938. (USA 128). Vol. V, Pg. 1090

*C-139;  Directive for operation — “Schulung” signed by
Blomberg, 2 May 1935. (USA 53) . Vol. VI, Pg. 951

*C-140;  Directive for preparations in event of sanctions,
25 October 1935, signed by Blomberg. (USA 51). Vol. VI, Pg.

*C-153;  National Armament Plan for the 3rd Armament Phase,
signed by Raeder, 12 May 1934. (USA 43). Vol. VI, Pg. 967

D-449;  Extract from The Archive, 1937, p. 50. Vol. VII, Pg.

D-471;  Extract from The Archive, October 1937, p. 921. Vol.
VII, Pg. 59

*D-660;  Extracts from Hutchinson’s Illustrated edition of
Mein Kampf. (GB 128). Vol. VII, Pg. 164

*EC-177;  Minutes of second session of Working Committee of
the Reich Defense held on 26 April 1933. (USA 390). Vol.
VII, Pg. 328

*EC-407;  Minutes of Twelfth Meeting of Reichs Defense
Council, 14 May 1936. (GB 247) . Vol. VII, Pg. 462

*L-150;  Memorandum of conversation between Ambassador
Bullitt and von Neurath, German Minister for Foreign
Affairs, 18 May 1936. (USA 65). Vol. VII, Pg. 890

*TC-22;  Agreement between Austria and German Government and
Government of Federal State of Austria, 11 July 1936. (GB
20). Vol. VII, Pg. 369

*TC-25;  Non-aggression Treaty between Germany and USSR and
announcement of 25 September 1939 relating to it. (GB 145).
Vol. VII, Pg. 375

*TC-26;  German assurance to Austria, 21 May 1935, from
Documents of German Politics, Part III, p. 94. (GB 19). Vol.
VII, Pg. 376

*TC-27;  German assurances to Czechoslovakia, 11 March 1938
and 12 March 1938, as reported by M. Masaryk, the
Czechoslovak Minister to London to Viscount Halifax. (GB 21)
. Vol. VII, Pg. 377

*TC-34;  German Declaration to the Belgian Minister of 13
October 1937. (GB 100). Vol. VII, Pg. 381

*TC-44;  Notice by German government of existence of German
Air Force, 9 March 1935. (GB 11). Vol. VII, Pg. 386

*TC-50;  Proclamation of the Fuehrer to the German people
and Order of the Fuehrer to the Wehrmacht, 15 March 1939,
from Documents of German Politics, Part VII, pp. 499-501.
(GB 7). Vol. VIII, Pg. 402

*TC-51;  Decree establishing the Protectorate of Bohemia and
Moravia, 16 March 1939. (GB 8). Vol. VIII, Pg. 404

*Chart No. 1;  National Socialist German Workers' Party.
(2903-PS; USA 2). Vol. VIII, Pg. 770