3 Dec. 45

as United States Exhibit Number 25, which I read to the Tribunal in my introductory statement a week ago today.

"The question for Germany," the Führer had informed his military commanders at that meeting, "is where the greatest possible conquest can be made at the lowest cost."

At the top of his agenda stood two countries, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

On March 12, 1938 Austria was occupied by the German Army, and on the following day it was annexed to the Reich. The time had come for a redefinition of German intentions regarding Czechoslovakia. A little more than a month later two of the conspirators, Hitler and Keitel, met to discuss plans for the envelopment and conquest of the Czechoslovak State.

Among the selected handful of documents which I read to the Tribunal in my introduction a week ago to establish the corpus of the crime of aggressive war was the account of this meeting on 21 April 1938. This account is Item 2 in our Document Number 388-PS, as United States Exhibit Number 26.

The Tribunal will recall that Hitler and Keitel discussed the pretext which Germany might develop to serve as an excuse for a sudden and overwhelming attack. They considered the provocation of a period of diplomatic squabbling which, growing more serious, would lead to an excuse for war. In the alternative—and this alternative they found to be preferable—they planned to unleash a lightning attack as the result of an incident of their own creation.

Consideration, as we alleged in the Indictment and as the document proved, was given to the assassination of the German Minister at Prague to create the requisite incident.

The necessity of propaganda to guide the conduct of Germans in Czechoslovakia and to intimidate the Czechs was recognized. Problems of transport and tactics were discussed, with a view to overcoming all Czechoslovak resistance within 4 days, thus presenting the world with a fait accompli and forestalling outside interventions.

Thus, in mid-April 1938, the designs of the Nazi conspirators to conquer Czechoslovakia had already reached the stage of practical planning.

Now all of that occurred, if the Tribunal please, against a background of friendly diplomatic relations. This conspiracy must be viewed against that background. Although they had, in the fall of 1937, determined to destroy the Czechoslovak State, the leaders of the German Government were bound by a treaty of arbitration and assurances freely given, to observe the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia By a formal treaty signed at Locarno on 16 October 1925