The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Senior Commanders only
By hand of Officer only
31st August 1939.
Directive No. 1 for the Conduct of the War
1. Since the situation on Germany's Eastern frontier has become intolerable and all political possibilities of peaceful settlement have been exhausted, I have decided upon a solution by force.
2 The attack on Poland will be undertaken in accordance with the preparations made for 'Case White', with such variations as may be necessitated by the build-up of the Army which is now virtually complete.
The allocation of tanks and the purpose of the operation remain unchanged.
Date of attack 1st September 1939.
This time also applies to operations at Gdynia, in the Bay of Danzig, and at the Dirschau bridge.
3. In the West it is important to leave the responsibility for opening hostilities unmistakably to England and France. Minor violations of the frontier will be dealt with, for the time being, purely as local incidents.
The assurances of neutrality given by us to Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are to be meticulously observed.
The Western frontier of Germany will not be crossed by land at any point without my explicit orders.
This applies also to all acts of warfare at sea or to acts which might be regarded, as such.
The defensive activity of the Air Force will be restricted for the time being to the firm repulse of enemy air attacks on the frontiers of the Reich. In taking action against individual aircraft or small formations, care will be taken to respect the frontiers of neutral countries as far as possible. Only if considerable forces of French or British bombers are employed against German territory across neutral areas will the Air Force be permitted to go into defensive action over neutral soil.
It is particularly important that any infringement of the neutrality of other states by our Western enemies be immediately reported to the High Command of the Armed Forces.
4. Should England and France open hostilities against Germany, it will be the duty of the Armed Forces operating in the West, while conserving their strength as much as possible, to maintain conditions for the successful conclusion of operations against Poland. Within these limits enemy forces and war potential will be damaged as much as possible. The right to order offensive operations is reserved absolutely to me.
The Army will occupy the West Wall and will take steps to secure it from being outflanked in the north, through the violation by the Western powers of Belgian or Dutch territory. Should French forces invade Luxembourg the bridges on the frontier may be blown up.
The Navy will operate against merchant shipping, with England as the focal point. In order to increase the effect, the declaration of danger zones may be expected. The Naval High Command will report on the areas which it is desirable to classify as danger zones and on their extent. The text of a public declaration in this matter is to be drawn up in collaboration with the Foreign Office and to be submitted to me for approval through the High Command of the Armed Forces.
The Baltic Sea is to be secured against enemy intrusion. Commander-in-Chief Navy1 will decide whether the entrances to the Baltic should be mined for this purpose.
The Air Force is, first of all, to prevent action by the French and English Air Forces against the German Army and German territory.
In operations against England the task of the Air Force is to take measures to dislocate English imports, the armaments industry, and the transport of troops to France. Any favourable opportunity of an effective attack on concentrated units of the English Navy, particularly on battleships or aircraft carriers, will be exploited. The decision regarding attacks on London is reserved to me.
Attacks on the English homeland are to be prepared, bearing in mind that inconclusive results with insufficient forces are to be avoided in all circumstances.
signed: ADOLF HITLER
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805