Adolf Hitler - “Proclamation to the German Volk”
March 15, 1939
To the German Volk!
Once already, a few months ago, Germany was forced to extend its protection to our German Volksgenossen living in closed settlements in Czechoslovakia, and to counter the intolerable aggression of its terrorist regime against them. These last weeks have borne witness to similar phenomena. An area that is home to so many nationalities, living next to one another, of necessity leads to the development of intolerable conditions. In response to the renewed aggression imperiling their life and liberty, the various ethnic groups have now divorced themselves from the Government in Prague. Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist.
Since last Sunday, wild outrages have frightened many cities and victimized numerous Germans. Renewed pleas for help reach us every hour from those concerned and persecuted. Another wave of refugees who have been robbed of their possessions flows toward the Reich from the populous German-speaking enclaves which only the magnanimity of the Reich allowed to remain in Czechoslovakia this past autumn. Persistence of this situation will eradicate the last aspects of public order in the area affected, one which is of vital interest to the Reich. Indeed, this land formed part of the German Reich for over one thousand years.
To eliminate this threat to the general peace and to create the preconditions for the necessary new order in this Lebensraum, I have determined to order German troops to march on Bohemia and Moravia as of this day. Their task is to disarm the terrorist gangs and the Czech armed forces backing them. They will extend their protection to all those whose lives are threatened; and thereby they will secure the basis of a fundamental settlement, which will do justice to a thousand-year-old history and the practical requirements of the German and the Czech people.
Berlin, March 15, 1939 Adolf Hitler