On 15 March German troops occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and on 16 March the German decree was issued incorporating Bohemia and Moravia into the Reich as a protectorate, and this decree was signed by the Defendants Von Ribbentrop and Frick.

The Aggression against Poland

By March 1939 the plan to annex Austria and Czechoslovakia, which had been discussed by Hitler at the meeting of 5 November 1937, had been accomplished!. The time had now come for the German leaders to consider further acts of aggression, made more possible of attainment because of that accomplishment.

On 23 May 1939 a meeting was held in Hitler's study in the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Hitler announced his decision to attack Poland and gave his reasons, and discussed the effect the decision might have on other countries. In point of time, this was the second of the important meetings to which reference has already been made, and in order to appreciate the full significance of what was said and done, it is necessary to state shortly some of the main events in the history of German-Polish relations.

As long ago as the year 1925 an Arbitration Treaty between Germany and Poland had been made at Locarno, providing for the settlement of all disputes between the two countries. On 26 January 1934, a German-Polish declaration of non-aggression was made, signed on behalf of the German Government by the Defendant Von Neurath. On 30 January 1934, and again on 30 January 1937 Hitler made speeches in the Reichstag in which he expressed his view that Poland and Germany could work together in harmony and peace. On 20 February 1938 Hitler made a third speech in the Reichstag in the course of which he said with regard to Poland

"And so the way to a friendly understanding has been successfully paved, an understanding which, beginning with Danzig, has today, in spite of the attempts of certain mischief makers, succeeded in finally taking the poison out of the relations between Germany and Poland and transforming them into a sincere, friendly cooperation . . . . Relying on her friendships, Germany will not leave a stone unturned to save that ideal which provides the foundation for the task which is ahead of us — peace."
On 26 September 1938, in the middle of the crisis over the Sudetenland, Hitler made the speech in Berlin which has already been quoted, and announced that he had informed the British Prime Minister that when the Czechoslovakian problem was solved there would be no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe. Nevertheless, on 24 November of the same year, an OKW directive