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Summary of Hitler’s Meeting with the Heads of the Armed Services on November 5, 1937 (Hossbach Protocol of November 10, 1937)

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General von Fritsch mentioned that this was the very purpose of a study which he had ordered made this winter, namely, to examine the possibility of conducting operations against the Czechs with special reference to overcoming the Czech fortification system; the General further expressed his opinion that under existing circumstances he must give up his plan to go abroad on his leave, which was due to begin on November 10. The Führer dismissed this idea on the ground that the possibility of a conflict need not yet be regarded as so imminent. To the Foreign Minister’s objection that an Anglo-French-Italian conflict was not yet within such a measurable distance as the Führer seemed to assume, the Führer put the summer of 1938 as the date which seemed to him possible for this. In reply to considerations offered by Field Marshal von Blomberg and General von Fritsch regarding the attitude of Britain and France, the Führer repeated his previous statements that he was convinced of Britain’s non-participation, and therefore he did not believe in the probability of belligerent action by France against Germany. Should the Mediterranean conflict under discussion lead to a general mobilization in Europe, then we must immediately begin action against the Czechs. On the other hand, should the powers not engaged in the war declare themselves disinterested, then Germany would have to adopt a similar attitude to this for the time being.

Colonel General Göring thought that, in view of the Führer’s statement, we should consider liquidating our military undertakings in Spain. The Führer agrees to this with the limitation that he thinks he should reserve a decision for the proper moment.

The second part of the conference was concerned with concrete questions of armament.


Colonel (General Staff)

Source of English translation: Minutes of the Conference in the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, November 5, 1937, from 4:15 to 8:30PM (November 10, 1937), in United States Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy: From the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1957-1964. Series D (1937-1945), From Neurath to Ribbentrop, Volume 1: September 1937-September 1938. Document Number 19, pp. 29-39.

Source of original German text: Niederschrift des Obersten Hossbach vom 10. November 1937 über die Besprechung vom 5. November 1937 in der Reichskanzlei, an der Hitler, von Blomberg, von Fritsch, Raeder, Göring und von Neurath teilnahmen, mit Wiedergabe von Hitlers Rede über die Ziele der deutschen Politik, die Hitler als seine „Testamentarische Hinterlassenschaft“ bezeichnet und in der er erklärt, dass es „zur Lösung der deutschen Frage nur den Weg der Gewalt geben könne“ (Beweisstück US-25), in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militärgerichtshof. Nürnberg 14. November 1945 - 1. Oktober 1946. Volume XXV, Amtlicher Text – Deutsche Ausgabe, Urkunden und anderes Beweismaterial. Nuremberg 1947. Reprint: Munich, Delphin Verlag, 1989, Document 386-PS, pp. 402-13.

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