The Holocaust Historiography Project

Copy of document 3618-PS

   Report of the U.S. Military Attache in Berlin, dated 20
                         March 1939
                      GERMANY (Combat)

          Subject: The Occupation of Czechoslovakia

                        I. Evaluation

The following report, which has been hastily compiled from
notes and memorandums taken during the last week, is far
from complete and can be considered only as a preliminary
report on the situation as it appears today. It is believed,
however, that a chronological account of the occupation of
Czechoslovakia by Germany and the events immediately
preceding it, will be of value.

The military and economic sections of this report are of
necessity at the present moment incomplete, but are
submitted in order to round out the picture as seen at the
moment in Berlin.

                         II. Summary

A chronological account of the events leading up to the
occupation of Czechoslovakia begins with Thursday, March
10th, when President Hacha dismissed the Slovakian Cabinet.
Friday the 11th saw demonstrations and disorder in
Pressburg. On the 13th Father Tiso, accompanied by
Durzcansky, visited Berlin, where he interviewed the
Fuehrer. On Tuesday the 14th President Hacha was summoned to
Berlin for a consultation with the Fuehrer. That same
evening German troops of the VIII Corps crossed the frontier
into Moravia and occupied Maehrisch Ostrau. Wednesday the
15th the Fuehrer issued a proclamation calling for the
occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by German troops. The
occupation commenced in the early morning hours and by 9
a.m. Prague was in possession of the German army. The
Hungarians continued their advance into Ruthenia. On the
16th Hitler issued a proclamation setting forth in 13
articles the status of Bohemia and Moravia. At the request
of the Slovak government, Germany took over the military
protection of Slovakia and commenced the movement of German
troops into Pressburg. On the afternoon of the 16th the
Fuehrer entered Prague where he reviewed his victorious
army. Hungarian advanced units reached the Polish frontier
in Ruthenia.

                   III. Narrative Account

The events leading up to the annexation of Czechoslovakia
have moved with such speed and the action of Germany has
been so swift and overpowering that it is difficult to
clearly trace the steps by which the fait accompli was
brought about. Practically no warning was obtainable from
the press or other sources of the intentions of the Reich,
yet in retrospect it is quite obvious that this coup had
been planned well in advance by the German government.

The dissatisfaction of Slovakia and Ruthenia with their
status after the Munich agreement was a matter of common
knowledge as well as the fact that Nazi agents were working
within these states to provoke a separation movement. The
economic feature of their relations with the Czechoslovakian
government appeared to be the chief cause of
dissatisfaction, as Prague was apparently expected to foot
the bill, while at the same time grant a measure of autonomy
quite out of proportion to the economic dependency of the
two governments.

That Germany, also, was dissatisfied with the attitude of
the Prague government was quite evident, both in its foreign
relations and in its economic and diplomatic relations with
the Reich. However, there appeared to be no insurmountable
difficulties in the path of eventual settlement of these
differences. The final act of the drama, it is believed,
came as a complete surprise not only to foreign observers
but to the majority of the Germans themselves.

A brief synopsis of the events leading up to the annexation
follows. During the preceding week the Slovak separatist
movement under the leadership of Father Tiso, Prime Minister
of the Slovak Diet, Mr. Sane Mach, Chief of the Propaganda
Office, and the radical leader, Dr. Tuka, had gained such
headway that the Prague government was forced to take strong
and immediate action.

Early on the morning of Thursday, March 10th, President
Hacha dismissed Father Tiso and the rest of the Slovak
Cabinet, except Mr. Teplansky and Mr. Sider, appointing
Sider as Minister President of Slovakia in place of Father
Tiso.  The Klinka Guard was disarmed and martial law
proclaimed in Pressburg and other Slovak cities, which were
occupied by Czech troops.

Father Tiso sent a telegram to Berlin requesting aid from
Germany, while Durcansky, who had escaped to Vienna, the
headquarters of the separatist movement in Germany, in a
radio address refused to recognize the legality of Prague's
action in dismissing

                                                  [Page 391]

the Cabinet, proclaiming that he was the legal
representative of the Slovak government.

Some ten thousand Germans in Pressburg under their leader
Karmasin staged a demonstration against the Czechoslovakian

During Friday night and Saturday disorders and
demonstrations continued in Pressburg. A delegation of the
Slovakian Diet arrived in Prague, headed by Dr. Sokol and
his deputies, Dr. Maderli and Stane, to interview the
Czechoslovakian President.

On Sunday, March 12th, the German Memorial Day, Admiral
Raeder in his speech in the Staatsoper, declared that
whenever German blood was spilt either within or without the
Reich, Germany would act swiftly and with force to protect
her nationals.

On Monday, March 13th, the Berlin papers carried screaming
headlines “In Bruenn German Blood Flows Again.” From Sunday
on events moved with amazing rapidity. The deposited
Slovakian Minister-President, Father Tiso, accompanied by
Dr. Durcansky, arrived by special airplane in Berlin where
they conferred with Hitler and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop.

Tuesday, March 14th, saw the beginning of the end of the
drama. At 9.00 a.m. the Slovak Cabinet met in secret session
at Pressburg, under the chairmanship of Sider. There were
present Tiso, Mach, and Durcansky. The Cabinet prepared a
statement which Sider read to the Diet at 10:15 a.m. The
statement closed with the resignation of the Sider Cabinet.
Thereupon Tiso took the floor, describing the results of his
trip to Berlin. After a short recess, the representatives of
the Diet reassembled and approved by unanimous vote Father
Tiso’s declaration of independence of Slovakia. After
another short recess, the Diet reassembled at 12:20 p.m. to
elect the President of Slovakia and Minister President,
Tiso; Minister of Defense, Tuka; Minister of Education,
Zatlos; Minister of Interior, Sider; Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Durcansky; Minister of Justice, Fritz; Minister of
Finance, Pencinski; Minister of Propaganda, Mach.

At the same time that the Slovak Diet was in secret session,
Hungarian Gendarmerie had crossed the Hungarian Ruthenian
frontier. The Hungarian Foreign Minister, Count Czaky,
issued an ultimatum to the Ukraine Minister President,
Woleschin, demanding that he turn over the government of
Ukraine to the advancing Hungarian army and giving him until
8 p.m. to reply.

While Hungarian troops were marching into Ukrainia, Count
Esterhazy, leader of the Hungarian national group in
Slovakia, issued a proclamation proclaiming the joy of the
Hungarians over

                                                  [Page 392]

the independence of Slovakia. The Slovakian government,
however, apparently viewed the Hungarian advanced and the
concentration of Polish troops on the Slovakian frontier
with alarm, ordering the mobilization of five Slovak

It was rumored that during the noon hours Polish troops had
occupied Alt Lubau, in Slovakia, but later had withdrawn.

During the 14th the Hungarian advance was meeting a certain
amount of resistance from Czech troops and Ruthenian

During the night of the 14th, the Czech government at the
request of the Ruthenian government at Chust, capital of
Ruthenia, answered the Hungarian ultimatum, politely
stating, that wile the personal safety of Hungarian subjects
and their property rights would not be infringed upon, the
main demands of the Hungarian government could not be
fulfilled and denying the right of Hungarian subjects of
Ruthenia to organize armed formations. At the same time
withdrawal of Czech troops from the Carpathe-Ukraine was

While these events were taking place in the south, Hitler
summoned Dr. Hacha, the President of Czechoslovakia, and his
foreign minister, Chavalkewski, for a conference in Berlin.
They arrived in Berlin about 11:00 p.m. and were received
with the utmost courtesy by the German Foreign Office. As a
result of their conference with Herr Ribbentrop and Hitler,
Dr. Hacha officially requested German aid to restore and
maintain order in Bohemia and Moravia.

Actually, at the same time that President Hacha and his
foreign minister were in the train on their way to Berlin,
German troops were crossing the frontier. At 6:00 p.m. under
command of the Commanding General VIII Army Corps, troops of
the VIII Corps and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler crossed
the Oder bridge at Kenechau, moving down the road to
Maehrisch-Ostrau which was occupied by 7:00 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, the 15th, the Fuehrer issued a
proclamation calling for the occupation of Bohemia and
Moravia by the German Army, followed by another proclamation
to the Army ordering them to overcome all resistance. At the
same time the Prague government issued orders to its troops
that no resistance be offered. (For the text of the
Fuehrer’s Proclamation, see app. A.)

On the morning of the 15th, German troops commenced the
systematic occupation of all Moravia and Bohemia. At 9 a.m.
German advanced elements had entered Prague.

Also on the 15th, the Magyar National Holiday, Hungarian
regular troops commenced their advance into Ruthenia in
three col-

                                                  [Page 393]

ums, advancing on Nagyozoelloes (Sevljis) in the sector of
Munkaco, in the upper section of the Latorezt Valley, north
of Szolyva, and in the Hungarian sector, 5 km south of
Perecseny. Some opposition was encountered. It was reported
from Pressburg that heavy fighting had occurred between
Slovaks and Hungarian irregulars in the Lower and Upper

Another press dispatch from Pressburg announced that it was
reported from Chust that the Ukrainian people have opposed
with all their might the Hungarian occupation. They not only
have to fight against the enemy from the outside, but
against the Czechs as well. One thousand well armed and
determined Silsh guardists under the command of the former
police head, Bolay, are opposing the Hungarian troops.

On March 16th, Hitler issued a proclamation setting forth in
thirteen articles the status of Bohemia and Moravia, as a
protectorate under the German Reich. (For text of
Proclamation see app. B.)

On the same day Germany took over the protection of the new
Slovak nation in an exchange of telegrams between Hitler and
Tiso as follows:

Tiso’s telegram to Hitler:

     “With strong confidence in you, the
     Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor of the
     Greater German Reich, the Slovak nation
     puts itself under your protection. The
     Slovak nation requests you to undertake
     this protection.

Hitler’s reply:

     “I acknowledge receipt of your telegram
     of yesterday and hereby take over the
     protection of the Slovak nation.
                                Adolf Hitler”

In the afternoon of the 16th Hitler made his triumphal entry
into Prague, where he reviewed the German troops from the
ancient castle. Leaving Prague that same day, Hitler visited
Bruenn and Linz on the 17th, arriving in Vienna, Saturday
the 18th.

On March 16th Minister President Count Teleki made the
following speech in the Hungarian Parliament regarding the
occupation of the Carpathe-Ukraine.

"Yesterday and today the Carpathe Ukrainian population and
their leaders requested the Hungarian government to
immediately occupy the Carpathe Ukrainian territory with its
army, in order to protect the life and property of the
Carpathe Ukrainian people and to reestablish peace and order
as quickly as possible. The Hungarian government complied
with this request. The Minister President stated that the
Hungarian army would occupy the entire area of the Carpathe

                                                  [Page 394]

"Through the occupation the Carpathe Ukraine which has
belonged to Hungary for a thousand years and to which
Hungarian interests are attached, will be reunited with its
old mother country. Within the Hungarian nation the people
of the Carpathe Ukraine will be granted self-government
which, as it is stated, will afford autonomy in
administration and cultural life.”

At 3:30 p.m. on the 16th, advance elements of the Hungarian
troops which had crossed the border at Muncacs and advanced
via Szelyva had reached the town Petensevics on the Polish
border. Another column starting from Szelyva reached Voloe
on the railway line between Muncacs and Lavoczne about 10 km
from the Polish border at the same time.

On Saturday, March 17th, the German troops commenced their
occupation of Slovakia and it is believed that by now
Slovakia has been completely occupied.

Bohemia and Moravia have been incorporated in the German
Reich as a Protectorate to be occupied and controlled by
German troops. Herr von Neurath has been appointed Reichs
Protector for the States of Bohemia and Moravia with station
at Prague, retaining his former position of Reich Minister
President of the Privy Council. In addition the Deputy
Gauleiter of the Sudetenland, Herr Frank, has been appointed
State Secretary and Curt v. Bergdorf has been appointed
Ministerialdirektor of the Reich Protectorate Bohemia and
Moravia. The exact status of Slovakia is not yet definitely

           IV. Military Aspects of the Occupation

Rumors of German troop movements began to reach Berlin on
Monday, March 13th, and on Tuesday had been definitely
confirmed. Since at this time of year, the training period
had only just reached the stage of company training in
garrison, and since so many interruptions to training had
occurred during the past year, any movement of troops which
would interrupt the normal training cycle could only mean
that the army was to be used for a serious purpose and
immediately. In other words, that the invasion of
Czechoslovakia was under way.

Reports reached Berlin of troop movements between Dresden
and Breslau, and between Munich and Vienna. It was learned
that a part of the Regiment General Goering and the
Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler left Berlin on Monday. The 3rd
Light Division from Cottbus was reported on the road near
Zwickau, moving south. The 4th Division was reported moving
through Dresden. It was learned that Schuetzen Regiment 1,
at Weimar, had been unable to participate in the Sunday
Memorial Service. Reconnaissance of the Berlin area revealed
that a part of the 3rd Armored Di-

                                                  [Page 395]

vision had left their barracks. A report reached Berlin from
Hamburg, that the barracks of the 30th Div., mot., at
Luebeck were empty.  The consul at Breslau reported troop
columns on the road Breslau-Beuthen moving east.

From these reports and from other fragmentary information
picked up through the press and from individual reports, it
is believed that the following units took part in the
occupation, forming part of the 3rd and 5th army groups
under Generals von Blaskowitz and List, respectively.

In Silesia, under command of Commanding General VIII Army
Corps, the following troops are believed to have entered
Northern Moravia:

                   8th Infantry Division
                  18th Infantry Division
                  28th Infantry Division
                    5th Armored Division
                   Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler

From the north, by way of Dresden and the northern Sudeten-
Deutsch area:

                            4th Division
                           14th Division
                           46th Division
                            Standarte Sachsen

From the west over Pilsen:

                    1st Armored Division
                      3rd Light Division
                      2nd Light Division
                        30th Div. (Mot.)
                        29th Div. (Mot.)

From the west between Nurnberg and

                           17th Division
                           10th Division
                        1st Mtn Division

From Vienna north:

                    2nd Armored Division
                      4th Light Division

From Vienna into Slovakia through

                           44th Division
                           45th Division
                            7th Division
                Standarte Deutschland, Munich
                            Standarte Vienna.

                                                  [Page 396]

This makes a total of 11 infantry divisions, 2 motorized
infantry divisions, 1 mountain division, 3 light divisions,
3 armored divisions and 4 SS Standarten, which it has been
fairly definitely established participated.

Other troops not yet identified also may have been present.
The strength of this force is approximately 300,000 officers
and men.

No extensive mobilization measures such as were evident in
September were put into effect for this operation, and it is
believed that only the active units brought to approximate
war strength by the addition of unit trains were employed.

It is significant to note that the 20th Div. (Mot.)
stationed at Stettin on the eastern frontier which took part
in the September concentration, was not moved. In fact,
except for the troops of the VIII Corps, it is believed that
no troops along the Polish frontier were engaged.

In connection with the movement of the VIII Corps, a slip in
one of the newspapers indicates that some of the troops were
concentrated opposite Michalowitz on the Polish frontier. In
other words, in this operation Germany did not denude her
eastern frontier of troops as she did in September last.

The occupation of Bohemia and Moravia progressed smoothly in
spite of heavy snow and bad weather. No opposition was

All Czech troops were disarmed and are confined to the

The military and strategic advantages which Germany has
gained by the occupation of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia
are enormous. Strategically Germany has placed herself
between Poland and Hungary and definitely and forever
prevented joint Polish-Hungarian action against her.

Further, in case Germany desires to move against Poland, she
now commands the gateway to Krakow, Limburg, and the Russian
Ukraine. Her new position now places her armies on three
sides of Poland, poised for a quick and telling blow.

With respect to Hungary, Germany also threatens Budapest
from the north and west and her armies are in a position to
march directly into the fertile plains of Hungary or through
Hungary to Roumania. The occupation of the mountainous
Ruthenia by Hungary becomes unimportant in the light of
Germany’s new strategic position.

In addition to the strategic advantage gained, Germany has
taken over a large store of artillery of all calibers,
including much valuable antiaircraft material and heavy guns
and howitzers from the Czechs.

                                                  [Page 397]

Once again the German army has achieved a bloodless triumph.
Once again the efficiency of her troops has been
demonstrated, and once again her ability to stride swiftly
and without warning has been demonstrated.

                     V. Economic Aspect

The attached short article (app. C) on Slovakia and her
economic position, from the Berliner Illustrierte
Nachtausgabe of March 16th, 1939, is included in this report
as it shows more eloquently than could be presented in any
other manner the impossibility of Slovakia remaining an
independent state. Her separatist movement from Prague could
only have succeeded if she would have fallen in the hands of
a strong and more powerful neighbor. Strategically Slovakian
economic dependence lay with Hungary and Poland and the
swiftness of German military action and the thoroughness of
German political activities within the Slovak state may be
accounted for from the fact that from a military point of
view it was vital to Germany not to allow Slovakia to be
occupied by either Hungary or Poland.

In this connection it can already be stated that German
economic gain in Bohemia and Moravia is practically nil. The
expert markets which the former state of Czechoslovakia
enjoyed, will now be closed to German goods. Little or no
gold remains in Prague and financial experts are of the
opinion that after her debts and credits have been balanced,
little monetary advantage will accrue to Germany.

The agricultural products of Bohemia and Moravia are at
present barely sufficient to sustain her own population and
the former Czechoslovakian state existed primarily through
her export trade. A part of this export trade will naturally
be absorbed by Germany, but she cannot compensate for the
loss of markets which will inevitably follow the annexation.

It is possible that Germany may obtain a small immediate
monetary advantage from the Czech banks, but it is not
believed that this is sufficient to make any substantial
difference in Germany’s position.

                                   Percy G. Black
                                   Major, F.A.
                                   Acting Military Arrache.