The French Yellow Book

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No. 79 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, March 18, 1939.

ACCORDING to information that I have gathered from the best sources, the development the Czechoslovak drama seems to have been as follows:

The Nazi leaders, displeased at the resistance offered by Czechoslovakia to her new position of tutelage last December, worked out a scheme which, as the Germans put it, would effectively prevent this State from ever again becoming a menace to the Reich. But M. Chvalkovsky did not succeed in persuading Prague to accept this plan, which must already have almost amounted to a Protectorate. It was decided in Berlin to break this too unmanageable tool. From the month of February onwards, this Embassy drew attention to certain characteristic signs in this respect.

It was in these circumstances that the leaders of Austria, Seyss-Inquart and Bürckel, were personally ordered about three weeks ago to fan the agitation in Slovakia in favour of its independence. The Vienna wireless station took part in this. The Czech Government, frightened by the speed with which the movement was growing, dismissed Mgr. Tiso, who was considered to be too conciliatory. Herr Hitler was waiting for this mistake. It is only then, that is to say about March 9, that he seems to have taken the decisions which led to the disappearance of Czechoslovakia. Mgr. Tiso was summoned to Berlin. The Führer informed him of the coming invasion of Bohemia and Moravia and charged him, under threat of seeing Slovakia suffer the same fate, with bringing about the immediate separation of that country from Prague.

In order to prevent Germany's seizure of Slovakia the Hungarians and Poles hastened to recognize the independence of that country on the day of its proclamation, March 14; Germany, the instigator of the whole thing, abstained from so doing but sent troops to occupy Bratislava. Under pressure, Mgr. Tiso telegraphed to the Führer asking for protection, which was immediately granted. The German troops continued their march into Slovakia, but, on representations from Poland, Berlin decided to withdraw them to the line of the Vaag.


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