The Supreme Commander
of the Armed Forces
OKW/WFA/No. 170/39g. K. Chefs. LI.
MOST SECRET
Senior Commanders Only
By hand of Officer only
8 copies


DIRECTIVE No. 1
FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  1. Now that all the political possibilities of disposing by peaceful means of a situation on the Eastern Frontier which is intolerable for Germany are exhausted, I have determined a solution by force.

  2. The attack on Poland is to be carried out in accordance with the preparations made for Case White, with the alterations which result, where the Army is concerned, from the fact that it has in the meantime almost completed it.

    Allotment of tanks and the operational target remain unchanged.
    Date of attack: September 1, 1939.

    Time of attack: 4:45 A.M.

    This timing also applies to the operation at Gdynia, Bay of Danzig and the Dirschau Bridge.

  3. In the West it is important that the responsibility for the opening of hostilities should rest squarely on England and France. For the time being insignificant frontier violations should be met by purely local action.

    The neutrality of Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, to which we have given assurances, must be scrupulously observed.

    On land, the German Western Frontier is not to be crossed without my express permission.

    At sea, the same applies for all warlike actions or actions which could 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 of 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 Air Forces.

  4. If Britain and France open hostilities against Germany, it is the task of the Wehrmacht formations operating in the West to conserve their forces as much as possible and thus maintain the conditions for a victorious conclusion of the operations against Poland. Within these limits enemy forces and their military-economic resources are to be damaged as much as possible. Orders to go over to the attack I reserve, in any case, to myself.

    The Army will hold the West Wall and make preparations to prevent its being outflanked in the north through violation of Belgian or Dutch territory by the Western powers. Should French forces invade Luxembourg the bridges on the frontier may be blown up.

    The Navy will carry on warfare against merchant shipping, directed mainly at England. 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 will decide whether the entrances to the Baltic should be mined for this purpose.

    The Air Force is, in the first place, to prevent the French and British Air Forces from attacking the German Army and the German territory.

    In conducting the war against England, preparations are to be made for the use of the Luftwaffe in disrupting British supplies by sea, the armaments industry, and the transport of troops to France. A favorable opportunity is to be taken for an effective attack on massed British naval units, especially against battleships and aircraft carriers. Attacks against London are reserved for my decision.

    Preparations are to be made for attacks against the British mainland, bearing in mind that partial success with insufficient forces is in all circumstances to be avoided.
signed: ADOLF HITLER