The Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.

Berlin.   3rd September, 1939.   8 copies

Directive No. 2 For The Conduct Of The War

                1. After the declaration of war by the English Government, the English Admiralty issued orders at 1117 hours on 3rd September, 1939, to open hostilities.

                France has announced that she will be in a state of war with Germany from 1700 hours on 3rd September, 1939.

                2. The immediate aim of the German High Command remains the rapid and victorious conclusion of operations against Poland.

                The transfer of any considerable forces from the eastern front to the west will not be made without my approval.

                3. The basic principles for the conduct of the war in the west laid down in Directive No. 1 remain unchanged.

                The declaration of war by England and France has the following consequences:

(a) In respect of England


                Offensive action may now begin. In carrying out the war against merchant shipping, submarines also, for the time being, will observe prize regulations. Intensified measures leading to the declaration of danger zones will be prepared. I shall decide when these measures shall become effective.

                The entrances to the Baltic Sea will be mined without infringing neutral territorial waters.

                In the North Sea the blockade measures envisaged for defensive purposes and for the attacks on England will be carried out.

Air Force

                Attacks upon English naval forces at naval bases or on the high seas (including the English Channel), and on definitely identified troop transports, will only be made in the event of English air attacks on similar targets and where there are particularly good prospects of success. This applies also to action by the Fleet Air Arm.

                These limitations do not apply to operations in the German Bight, in the western mined areas, or during actions directly supporting naval operations.

                I reserve to myself the decision about attacks on the English homeland and on merchant shipping.

(b) In respect of France


                The opening hostilities in the west will be left to the enemy. Commander In Chief Army will decide on the reinforcement of our forces in the west from such reserves as are still available.


                Offensive action against France will only be permitted if the enemy has first opened hostilities. In that case the same instructions apply to France as have been laid down for England.

Air Force

                Offensive action against France will only be undertaken after French attacks on German territory. The guiding principle must be not to provoke the initiation of aerial warfare by any action on the part of Germany.

                In general the employment of the Air Force in the west will be governed by the need to preserve its fighting strength after the defeat of Poland for decisive action against the western powers.

                4. Order X issued on 25th August, 1939, with OKW No. 2100 / 39 g. K.WFA / L. II is extended to all the Armed Forces with effect from 3rd September, 1939.

                The conversion of the entire German economy to a war basis is hereby decreed.

                Further measures for mobilisation in civil life will be introduced by the High Command Of The Armed Forces on the request of the highest Government authorities.

Adolf Hitler.