Hitler’s Order of the Day Calling for Invasion of Yugoslovia and Greece, Berlin, April 6, 1941
SOLDIERS OF THE SOUTHEAST FRONT:
Since early this morning the German people are at war with the Belgrade government of intrigue. We shall only lay down arms when this band of ruffians has been definitely and most emphatically eliminated, and the last Briton has left this part of the European Continent, and that these misled people realize that they must thank Britain for this situation, they must thank England, the greatest warmonger of all time. The German people can enter into this new struggle with the inner satisfaction that its leaders have done everything to bring about a peaceful settlement.
We pray to God that He may lead our soldiers on the path and bless them as hitherto.
In accordance with the policy of letting others fight for her, as she did in the case of Poland, Britain again tried to involve Germany in the struggle in which Britain hoped that she would finish off the German people once and for all, to win the war, and if possible to destroy the entire German Army.
In a few weeks long ago the German soldiers on the Eastern Front, Poland, swept aside this instrument of British policy. On April 9, 1940, Britain again attempted to reach its goal by a thrust on the German north flank, the thrust at Norway.
In an unforgettable struggle the German soldiers in Norway eliminated the British within a period of a few weeks.
What the world did not deem possible the German people have achieved. Again, only a few weeks later, Churchill thought the moment right to make a renewed thrust through the British Allies, France and Belgium, into the German region of the Ruhr. The victorious hour of our soldiers on the West Front began.
It is already war history how the German Armies defeated the legions of capitalism and plutocracy. After forty-five days this campaign in the West was equally and emphatically terminated.
Then Churchill concentrated the strength of his Empire against our ally, Italy, in Africa. Now the danger has also been banned from the African theater of the war through the cooperation of Italian and German units.
The new aim of the British warmongers now consists of the realization of a plan that they had already hatched at the outbreak of the war and only postponed because of the gigantic victories of the German Army. The memory of the landing of British troops at Salonika in the course of the first World War also caught little Greece in the spider web of British intrigue.
I have repeatedly warned of the attempt by the British to land troops in Southeastern Europe, and I have said that this constitutes a threat to the German Reich. Unfortunately this warning went unheeded by the Yugoslav nation. I have further tried, always with the same patience, to convince Yugoslav statesmen of the absolute necessity for their cooperation with the German Reich for restoration of lasting peace and order within Yugoslavia.
After long effort we finally succeeded in securing the cooperation of Yugoslavia by its adherence to the Tripartite Pact without having demanded anything whatsoever of the Yugoslav nation except that it take its part in the reconstruction of a new order in Europe.
At this point the criminal usurpers of the new Belgrade government took the power of the State unto themselves, which is a result of being in the pay of Churchill and Britain. As in the case of Poland, this new Belgrade government has mobilized decrepit and old people into their inner Cabinet. Under these circumstances I was forced immediately to recall the German national colony within Yugoslav territory.
Members and officers of the German Embassy, employees of our consulates in Yugoslavia, were daily being subjected to the most humiliating attacks. The German schools, exactly as in Poland, were laid in ruins by bandits. Innumerable German nationals were kidnapped and attacked by Yugoslavs and some even were killed.
In addition, Yugoslavia for weeks has planned a general mobilization of its army in great secrecy. This is the answer to my eight-year-long effort to bring about closer cooperation and friendship with the Yugoslav people, a task that I have pursued most fastidiously.
When British divisions were landed in Greece, just as in World War days, the Serbs thought the time was ripe for taking advantage of the situation for new assassinations against Germany and her allies.
Soldiers of the Southeast Front: Now your zero hour has arrived. You will now take the interests of the German Reich under your protection as your comrades did a year ago in Norway and on the West Front. You will do just as well on the Southeast Front.
In doing this, your duty, you will not be less courageous than the men of those German divisions who in 1915, on the same Balkan soil, fought so victoriously. You will be humane only in those places where the enemy is humane toward you. Where the enemy confronts you with utter brutality you will beat them back with the same weapon.
The fight on Greek soil is not a battle against the Greek people, but against that archenemy, England, which is again trying to extend the war far into the Southeast Balkans, the same as he tried far in the north last year. For this reason, on this very spot in the Balkans, we shall fight shoulder to shoulder with our ally until the last Briton has found his Dunkerque in Greece.
If any Greeks support this British course, then those Greeks will fall at the same time as the British.
When the German soldier shall have proved himself, shall have proved that he is capable of beating the British in the Balkans, in the midst of snow and mountains, then also he will have proved that he can beat the British in the heat of the desert in Africa.
However, we will pursue no other ultimate aim than to win freedom for our German people and to secure a living-space for the German family.
The prayers and thoughts, the very life of all Germans, are again in the heart of every German soldier.
Commander in Chief.
Source: New York Times, April 7, 1941.