This observation was made only two months after Hitler had given assurances to Yugoslavia that he would regard her frontier as final and inviolable. On the occasion of the visit to Germany of the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia on 1 June 1939, Hitler had said in a public speech:

"The firmly established reliable relationship of Germany to Yugoslavia now that owing to historical events we have become neighbors with common boundaries fixed for all time, will not only guarantee lasting peace between our two peoples and countries, but can also represent an element of calm to our nerve-racked continent. This peace is the goal of all who are disposed to perform really constructive work."
On 6 October 1939 Germany repeated these assurances to Yugoslavia, after Hitler and Von Ribbentrop had unsuccessfully tried to persuade Italy to enter the war on the side of Germany by attacking Yugoslavia. On 28 October 1940 Italy invaded Greece, but the military operations met with no success. In November Hitler wrote to Mussolini with regard to the invasion of Greece, and the extension of the war in the Balkans, and pointed out that no military operations could take place in the Balkans before the following March, and therefore Yugoslavia must if at all possible be won over by other means, and in other ways. But on 12 November 1940 Hitler issued a directive for the prosecution of the war, and it included the words: "The Balkans: The Commander-in-Chief of the Army will make preparations for occupying the Greek mainland north of the Aegean Sea, in case of need entering through Bulgaria."

On 13 December he issued a directive concerning the operation "Marita," the code name for the invasion of Greece, in which he stated:

"1. The result of the battles in Albania is not yet decisive. Because of a dangerous situation in Albania, it is doubly necessary that the British endeavor be foiled to create air bases under the protection of a Balkan front, which would be dangerous above all to Italy as to the Rumanian oilfields.

2. My plan therefore is (a) to form a slowly increasing task force in Southern Rumania within the next month, (b) after the setting in of favorable weather, probably in March, to vend a task force for the occupation of the Aegean north coast by way of Bulgaria and if necessary to occupy the entire Greek mainland."
On 20 January 1941, at a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini, at which the Defendants Von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Jodl, and others were present, Hitler stated:
"The massing of troops in Rumania serves a threefold purpose: