Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 2119-PS

Previous Document Volume IV Menu Next Document



Decree of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor concerning the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, March 16, 1939

The Bohemian-Moravian countries belonged for a millennium to the living space of the German people. Violence and want of judgment have torn them arbitrarily from their old, historic environment and finally created, through their inclusion in the artificial structure of Czechoslovakia, a center of continuous unrest. Year after year the danger increased that out of this area-as once before in the past-would arise a new, stupendous menace to European peace. For the Czechoslovak State and its rulers had not succeeded in organizing in a reasonable manner the co-existence of the national groups arbitrarily comprised within it, and thus they failed to awaken and to preserve the interest of all concerned in the maintenance of the state common to them. Thereby this state has demonstrated its inherent inability to exist and therefore now has fallen into actual dissolution.

The German Reich cannot tolerate everlasting disturbances in these areas, areas so decisively essential not only to its own peace and security but also to the general welfare and the general peace. Sooner or later the German Reich would have had to suffer the most serious consequences because it is the power which is the most vitally interested and concerned by history as well as by geographical position. It is therefore only an act of compliance with the law of self-preservation if the German Reich is resolved to take decisive action for the reestablishment of the foundations of a Central European Order based on reason and to resort to measures impelled by this aim. For the millennial this historic past of the German Reich has proven that it alone is chosen by virtue of its greatness and the qualities of the German people to solve this problem.

Imbued with the earnest desire to serve the true interests of the nations settled in this living space, to safeguard the national life of the German and Czech nations, to promote peace and the social welfare of all, I therefore order, in the name of the German Reich, the following as foundations on which the inhabitants of these areas can live side by side in the future:

Article 1. (1) The territories of the erstwhile Czechoslovak Republic, occupied by the German Armies in March, 1939, are hereby incorporated into the territory of the Greater German Reich and are placed under its protection as the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia."

(2) In so far as the defense of the Reich requires it, the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor may issue, for specified areas of these territories, orders at variance with these articles.

Article 2. (1) The residents of the Protectorate of German origin are hereby declared to be German nationals and German citizens, in accordance with the provisions of the Reich Nationality Code [Reichsburgergesetz] of September 15, 1935 (RGBl. I, p. 1146). Therefore, the provisions for the protection of German blood and German honor shall apply to them. They shall be subject to the jurisdiction of German courts.

(2) The other residents of Bohemia and Moravia are hereby declared to be citizens of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

Article 3. (1) The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia is declared to be autonomous and shall govern itself.

(2) It shall exercise the sovereign rights to which it is entitled within the framework of the Protectorate in conformity with the political, military, and economic interests of the Reich.

(3) The Protectorate shall exercise these sovereign rights through its own political agencies, authorities, and officials.

Article 4. The head of the autonomous administration of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia shall be entitled to the protection and the full honors of the head of a sovereign government. The head of the Protectorate must enjoy, in the exercise of his high office, the confidence of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

Article 5. (1) The Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor will appoint as a guardian of the interests of the Reich a "Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia." His official residence shall be in Prague.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Reich Protector, as representative of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor and as the agent of the Government of the Reich, to assure compliance with the political instructions issued by the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

(3) The members of the government of the Protectorate shall hold office subject to confirmation of the Reich Protector. A confirmation may be later revoked.

(4) The Reich Protector may demand information concerning all acts of the government of the Protectorate and may offer his counsel to the government. He may protest against measures which may be harmful to the Reich, and, in cases of emergency, may take all steps necessary to the common welfare.

(5) The publication of statutes, orders, and other general rules and regulations, and the enforcement of administrative measures and execution of judicial decisions which have become final, shall be suspended upon notice of protest given by the Reich Protector.

Article 6. (1) The foreign affairs of the Protectorate, especially the protection of its citizens abroad, shall be entrusted to the Reich. The Reich shall take charge of the foreign affairs in such a manner as shall conform with the common interest of both countries.

(2) The Protectorate shall have a representative with the Government of the Reich officially designated as Minister.

Article 7. (1) The Reich shall extend military protection to the Protectorate.

(2) For the purpose of extending such protection the Reich shall maintain garrisons and military establishments in the Protectorate.

(3) The Protectorate may establish its own units for the maintenance of home security and protection. The Government of the Reich shall determine the form of organization, the number of the forces, and the armament to be employed.

Article 8. The Reich shall directly supervise all traffic, posts, and telegraphs.

Article 9. The Protectorate shall form part of the German customs area and shall be subject to its customs authority.

Article 10. (1) In addition to the Reichsmark the Krone shall constitute legal tender until further notice.

(2) The rate of exchange for the two currencies shall be determined by the government of the Reich.

Article 11. (1) The Reich may issue orders having the force of statutes for the Protectorate, in so far as required by the common welfare of both of them.

(2) In so far as there is a common need, the Reich may take over branches of the administrative services and may establish the necessary Reich agencies in their stead.

(3) The Government of the Reich may take all measures necessary for the maintenance of security and order.

Article 12. The laws and statutes presently in effect in Bohemia and Moravia shall remain in effect unless incompatible with the purposes of protection by the German Reich.

Article 13. The Reich Minister of the Interior shall, in agreement with the reich ministers concerned, issue all rules and regulations, general and administrative, required for the enforcement and implementation of this decree.

Prague, March 16, 1939.

Adolf Hitler, Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor

Frick, Reich Minister of the Interior

von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dr. Lammers, Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

Previous Document Volume IV Menu Next Document

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.