5 Dec. 45

"It is to be observed" — and the fact is surely not without significance — "that the towns of Mährisch-Ostrau and Vitkovice were actually occupied by German SS detachments on the evening of the 14th March, while the President and the Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia were still on their way to Berlin and before any discussion had taken place."
At dawn on March 15, German troops poured into Czechoslovakia from all sides. Hitler issued an order of the day to the Armed Forces and a proclamation to the German people, which stated distinctly, "Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist."

On the following day, in contravention of Article 81 of the Treaty of Versailles, Czechoslovakia was formally incorporated into the German Reich under the name of "The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia." The decree is Document TC-51, another of the documents which the British Delegation will present to the Tribunal later in this week. It was signed in Prague on 16 March 1939, by Hitler, Lammers, and the Defendants Frick and Von Ribbentrop.

I should like to quote the first sentence of this decree, "The Bohemian and Moravian countries belonged for a millennium to the Lebensraum" — living space — "of the German people." The remainder of the decree sets forth in bleak detail the extent to which Czechoslovakia henceforth was subjected to Germany. A German Protector was to be appointed by the German Führer for the so-called "Protectorate" — the Defendant Von Neurath. God deliver us from such protectors! The German Government assumed charge of their foreign affairs and of their customs and of their excises. It was specified that German garrisons and military establishments would be maintained in the Protectorate. At the same time the extremist leaders in Slovakia who, at German Nazi insistence, had done so much to undermine the Czech State, found that the independence of their week-old state was itself, in effect, qualified.

I offer in evidence Document 1439-PS as Exhibit USA — I need not offer that. I think it is a decree in the Reichsgesetzblatt, of which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice, and it is identified as our Document 1439-PS. It appears at Page 606, 1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part II.

The covering declaration is signed by the Defendant, Ribbentrop, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and then there is a heading:

"Treaty of Protection to be extended by the German Reich to the State of Slovakia."

"The German Government and the Slovakian Government have agreed, after the Slovakian State has placed itself under the protection of the German Reich, to regulate by treaty the consequences resulting from this fact. For this purpose, the