Note: This article is sourced from Richard Tedor’s book, “Hitler’s Revolution”. Noble has edited & condensed Tedor’s chapter (European Diplomacy – Poland) on Hitler’s self-defensive strike on Poland. Tedor’s book has 270 pages of text, supplemented by over 1000 footnotes and a bibliography of over 200 authors, mostly German. This book is still available on Amazon. Secure a copy now before Jewry has it “canceled”. https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-revolution-Richard-Tedor/dp/0988368226
I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist.” -Hitler
Played golf with Joe Kennedy (U.S. Ambassador to Britain). I asked him about his conversations with Roosevelt & Neville Chamberlain in 1938… He said that Hitler would have fought against Soviet Russia, without seeking a later conflict with England, if it were not for Bullitt’s & Roosevelt’s insistence in the summer of 1939 to humiliate Germany by means of Poland. Neither France, nor Britain, would have made Poland a cause for war, had it not been for Washington’s constant prodding… Chamberlain was convinced that the U.S.A. & world Jewry had forced England into war.” -James V. Forrestal (U.S. Secretary of the Navy)
Poland declared independence upon the collapse of Russia, and the defeat of the Central Powers in 1918. France supported Polish claims for additional territory in order to strengthen the emerging state. President Wilson remarked, “The only real interest of France in Poland is in weakening Germany by giving Poland territory to which she has no right.”
At this time, the Bolsheviks under Lenin were consolidating their control of Russia. The Red Army invaded Lithuania, which had declared independence in January 1919. The Polish army drove the Bolshevik forces back. Poland’s popular military leader, Marshal Joseph Pilsudski, became head of state. An aggressive field commander, he invaded the Ukraine in April 1920 to destroy a Soviet troop concentration on the frontier. Believing that Poland must become “a power equal to the great powers of the world”, Pilsudski conquered territories where less than five percent of the population was Polish. The Treaty of Riga ended the see-saw war against the Red Army on March 18, 1921, with Poland gaining Galicia.
On Poland’s western frontier in December 1918, the Polish secret military organization (POW), seized Posen, where Polish & German residents lived in harmony. German Freikorps militia launched a successful counterthrust. France’s Field Marshal, Ferdinand Foch, demanded that the Reich’s Government withdraw these troops from Posen. Too weak to resist the French ultimatum, German Prime Minister, Friedrich Ebert, complied. Polish insurgents continued attacking German villages in the region.
President Wilson proposed a plebiscite for Upper Silesia to allow the inhabitants to choose their country. 22,000 POW men staged an insurrection in August 1919 to take the region by force. The German Freikorps broke the revolt in less than a week. In February 1920, the Inter-Allied Control Commission assumed the administration of Upper Silesia. Over 11,000 French soldiers, supported by small contingents from the Italian and British armies, arrived to supervise the plebiscite. In the spring 1921 poll, 706,820 Silesians cast for union with Germany and 479,414 for Poland. Many Polish residents voted for Germany.
While the Allied commission fumbled with determining the ultimate boundaries, the POW staged another uprising in May 1921. Supplied with French weapons, the insurgents organized an army of 30,000 men. The Polish government officially denied supporting Wojciech Korfanty, the instigator of the revolts.
Though outnumbered, 25,000 German Freikorps volunteers counterattacked on May 21, and forced the Poles onto the defensive. Once the Germans began to advance, the French & British stepped in to restore order.
In October, the League of Nations awarded nearly a third of the contested territory to Poland. Based on the plebiscite, the entire region should have fallen to Germany. In the portion granted Poland dwelled 40 percent of the Upper Silesian population. It contained six-sevenths of the zinc & lead production, all the iron, and 91 percent of the coal.
Among the lands Germany lost was a 6,300 square-mile vertical strip of West Prussia extending from the Baltic coast down to Upper Silesia. Poland required this corridor, the Allies reasoned, to permit her to have unrestricted access to the sea. Within the corridor was the German port of Danzig.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Among the lands Germany lost was a 6,300 square-mile vertical strip of West Prussia extending from the Baltic coast down to Upper Silesia. Poland required this corridor, the Allies reasoned, to permit her to have unrestricted access to the sea. Within the corridor was the German port of Danzig. Just 15,000 of the city’s 400,000 inhabitants were Polish. The people of Danzig overwhelmingly demonstrated for union with Germany, but the Peace Commission favored Poland. Lloyd George’s tenacious resistance forced a compromise. The town became a “Free City” under League of Nations jurisdiction, subject to Polish customs administration.
The Polish government’s oppressive minority policy provoked the anger of other European states. Poland’s Jewish, Ukrainian and German populations suffered legal persecution to disenfranchise them, strip them of political influence, or force their migration out. The regime dismissed German officials & employees from civil service. It confiscated German farms, closed ethnic schools and forced the pupils to enroll in Polish educational institutions. These measures compelled many Prussian & Silesian Germans to move into Germany. A quarter of the ethnic German population had left Poland by 1926.
Heinrich Bruning, German chancellor from 1930-1932, pursued a trade policy the Poles considered disadvantageous to their commerce. Pilsudski responded by conducting military maneuvers and massing troops near Germany’s border.
The Polish general staff had been weighing options for invading the Reich since 1921. German diplomats considered the appointment to Polish foreign minister of Joseph Beck, an army colonel and confidant of Pilsudski’s, in November 1932 as indicative of a more militant policy.
Polish saber-rattling provoked resentment in Germany. The Reich’s Foreign Office refused to renew even minor compacts with Poland that were about to expire. When Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, relations with his eastern neighbor were strained to the utmost. The Polish press launched a campaign of vilification against the new chancellor. Pilsudski deployed combat divisions near Danzig and reinforced the 82-man garrison guarding the Westerplatte peninsula.
In April 1933, Pilsudski asked Paris for the second time in less than two months to join in a ‘preventative war’ to invade the Reich. The French showed no interest.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
In April 1933, Pilsudski asked Paris for the second time in less than two months to join in a “preventative war” to invade the Reich. The French showed no interest.
The German representative in Warsaw, Hans von Moltke, discovered the plan and duly warned Hitler. The Fuhrer sidestepped a confrontation. During his first meeting with the Polish envoy on May 2, 1933, he proved gracious and reassuring. Hitler agreed to a public declaration that his government would observe all Polish-German treaties currently in force.
In November, Hitler offered Pilsudski a friendship & non-aggression pact. Only after another discreet, unsuccessful bid to enlist France for his “preventative war” hobbyhorse did the marshal agree. The two governments ratified a ten-year treaty the following January. New trade agreements provided a fresh market for Poland’s depressed economy. Hitler banned newspaper editorials addressing German claims in the East. Warsaw relaxed the anti-German tendency of its own press. The Fuhrer directed Danzig’s National Socialist senate to cease complaining to the League of Nations about Polish violations there.
After Pilsudski’s death in May 1935, two government officials assumed virtual autonomy in their respective ministries, much to the detriment of Polish-German relations. These were Foreign Minister Beck and the army commander-in-chief, Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly. Both were disciples of an expansionist foreign policy.
The friendship treaty with Germany evoked little sense of obligation on Poland’s part.
In February 1936, the German consul general in Thorn, Kiichler, informed Berlin about the disproportionate transfer of German farms into Polish hands through government-implemented land reform.
Diplomatic relations between Poland and the German Reich further deteriorated due to a simultaneous tariff dispute. Dissatisfied with Germany’s compensation for coal trains crossing the corridor from the Reich to supply East Prussia’s energy needs, Warsaw announced in January 1936 that it would curtail 50 to 80 percent of German rail traffic there. The Polish Ministry of Transportation threatened to block it completely during negotiations.
In March 1936, Beck informed the French that Poland was ready to join France in a war against Germany.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
In March 1936, Beck informed the French that Poland was ready to join France in a war against Germany. Rydz-Smigly ordered General Tadeusz Kutrzeba to draft a war plan against Germany. Completed in January 1938, the study envisioned a war with the Reich for 1939. To date, Hitler had never made a threatening gesture to Poland.
Of all territories robbed from the Reich after World War 1, the German people felt most keenly the loss of Danzig and the lands taken by Poland. To placate his own public, and remove one more obstacle to improving relations with Warsaw, Hitler required at least a nominal correction of the Versailles arrangement. He limited his proposal to two revisions. First, he asked to construct an Autobahn (highway) & railroad line across the corridor to connect Germany with East Prussia.
Secondly, Hitler wanted Danzig to come under German sovereignty. In return, he was prepared to acknowledge Germany’s eastern border fixed by the Allied Peace Commission as final, something no Weimar administration had hitherto done, and offer Poland a 25-year nonaggression pact.
The Autobahn plan meant that Hitler was willing to renounce an entire province in exchange for a strip of real estate wide enough to accommodate a highway. Financed by the Reich, the project would utilize Polish labor & construction materials to help relieve unemployment in Poland.
The Danzig territory, encompassing 730 square miles, was under League of Nations, not Polish, jurisdiction.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
The recovery of Danzig required even less of Warsaw. The Danzig territory, encompassing 730 square miles, was under League of Nations, not Polish, jurisdiction. Regarding the city’s value as a harbor, the Poles no longer needed it for nautical export; further up the coast they had constructed the port city of Gydnia, which opened in 1926. Offering economic incentives to shippers, they had taken more than half of Danzig’s commerce by 1930.
Since March 1933, the Reich’s Foreign Office had documented 15,000 cases of abuse against Poland’s ethnic German colony.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Hitler’s package called for the Reich’s forfeiture of Upper Silesia with its valuable industry, Posen & West Prussia. These provinces had been German for centuries and had belonged to Germany less than 20 years before. Nevertheless, it would abandon nearly a million ethnic Germans residing there to foreign rule, despite the fact that since March 1933, the Reich’s Foreign Office had documented 15,000 cases of abuse against Poland’s ethnic German colony. The Fuhrer was willing to publicly announce that no more territorial issues exist with Poland. No Weimar administration could have survived such an offer.
On January 5, 1939, Beck visited Germany to negotiate with Hitler. At the close of the meeting, Beck asked for time to weigh the situation carefully.
In mid-January, Beck told Rydz-Smigly of his decision to reject the German proposals, though two weeks later he mendaciously (lying) reassured Ribbentrop that he was still contemplating the matter.
A wave of fresh persecution swept over the ethnic German minority in Poland. In addition to the forced closing of German schools, it was becoming practically impossible for a German living in Poland to earn enough to exist.
An unrelated episode aggravated tensions. On March 22, the Germans recovered Memel from Lithuania. This was a narrow, 700-square mile strip of northeastern Prussia which the Lithuanians seized by force in 1923. The League of Nations demanded that the territory be governed according to democratic principles. In the 1925 elections, 94 percent of the voters, including many Lithuanian residents, cast their vote for German parties. The Lithuanian government in Kaunas refused to recognize the results. The entire country fell under a dictatorship the following year. The authorities began jailing Prussian residents found guilty of “preserving German heritage”.
After the Austrian Anschluss, Memel-Germans organized public demonstrations. In November 1938, Kaunas offered to negotiate with Berlin over the region’s future. In an internationally supervised plebiscite in December, 87 percent of voters decided for union with Germany. Ribbentrop promised Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Juozas Urbsys, economic incentives for his country. Upon the transfer of Memel back to Germany, the Lithuanians employed their own dock workers & administrative personnel at the harbor there. They also operated a railroad across the now-German strip of Memel territory directly connecting the port to Lithuania. This was the same solution that Hitler had proposed to Warsaw regarding Danzig and the corridor.
During the weeks before the final settlement with Kaunas, Berlin deployed the three army divisions garrisoned in East Prussia on the border with Memel. Rydz-Smigly declared this to be evidence that Germany was about to annex Danzig.
On March 23, 1939, Rydz-Smigly accordingly mobilized a large part of Poland’s army reserve. Since Memel was at the opposite end of the province from Danzig, the three divisions were actually moving away from the city that Rydz-Smigly claimed they were about to seize.
The Memel affair coincided with Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia on March 15. Beck exploited the occasion to negotiate with London to form an alliance against Germany.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
The Memel affair coincided with Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia on March 15. Beck exploited the occasion to negotiate with London to form an alliance against Germany.
Hitler maintained a conciliatory posture.
Returning to Berlin, Polish Ambassador Lipski delivered a letter to Ribbentrop on March 26 formally rejecting the Danzig-Autobahn proposal. Lipski bluntly told his host, “Any further pursuit of these German plans, especially as far as the return of Danzig to the Reich is concerned, will mean war with Poland.”
This threat, together with Rydz-Smigly’s partial mobilization against Germany, violated the 1934 non-aggression & friendship treaty. The pact stated word for word, “Under no circumstances will the signatories resort to the use of force for the purpose of settling issues in controversy.”
The British responded favorably to an alliance with Poland. The western democracies had just lost Czechoslovakia as an ally flanking the Reich. Her military-industrial resources were now at German disposal. The British army chief of staff warned Chamberlain that in the event of war against Germany, it would be better to have Poland on the Allies’ side.
On March 30, British Ambassador Kennard received instructions from London to present the British offer (alliance) to guarantee Poland.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
On March 30, British Ambassador Kennard received instructions from London to present the British offer (alliance) to guarantee Poland. Beck accepted immediately.
The next day, Chamberlain explained the details in the House of Commons. “In the event of any action which clearly threatens Polish independence, and which the Polish government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish government all support in their power.”
Beck visited London to conclude details for the alliance on April 3. On the 23rd, Warsaw mobilized another 334,000 army reservists, in the absence of threats from Germany.
Warsaw’s agreement with London opened a floodgate of war scares and hostile anti-German editorials in the Jewish-controlled Polish press. Poland’s ethnic German community suffered the backlash of media-generated Polish chauvinism.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Warsaw’s agreement with London opened a floodgate of war scares and hostile anti-German editorials in the Jewish-controlled Polish press.
Poland’s ethnic German community suffered the backlash of media-generated Polish chauvinism. On April 13, the German consul in Danzig cabled to Berlin that rural Germans in the corridor “are so cowed that they have already buried their most valuable possessions. They no longer risk traversing roads & fields by daylight. They spend their nights in hiding places beyond the farms, for fear of being attacked.”
Historians praise Beck for defiantly defending his country from becoming a German satellite. Since Hitler’s proposal included an offer for Poland to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, reaching a Danzig settlement with the Reich would have supposedly drawn the Poles into an alliance with Germany against the USSR. Warsaw would then have eventually become embroiled in Hitler’s planned military crusade against Russia.
Its purpose (Anti-Comintern Pact) was to promote cooperation among civilized nations to prevent internal Communist subversion.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Beyond the fact that no German documents exist to support this theory, it overlooks the essence of the Anti-Comintern Pact. Its purpose was to promote cooperation among civilized nations to prevent internal Communist subversion. Governments would share intelligence, much in the same way that Interpol affiliates do to combat global terrorism today.
Also, Hitler had expressed his often-quoted ideas about invading Russia for living space (Lebensraum) when he wrote “Mein Kampf”, during the previous decadein 1925. After the Bolsheviks consolidated power in the former Czarist empire, the Fuhrer no longer advocated such an option.
Hitler understood that he could never normalize relations with Poland without a Danzig settlement. The British guarantee for Poland had robbed Hitler of the opportunity to withdraw his demands without losing face. On April 3, 1939, he ordered the OKW to draft a study for combat operations against Poland. He stipulated that the military solution would only be exercised “if Warsaw revises its policy toward Germany and assumes a posture threatening to the Reich.”
Berlin continued to receive reports from its consulates in Poland regarding harsh treatment of the German colony in Poland.
In June, Hubert Gladwyn Jebb & Sir William Strang of the British Foreign Office visited Warsaw. Jebb sent back a report on the 9th that summarized the discussions with Polish government ministers & army officers. He quoted a Polish economist in Warsaw’s foreign ministry as describing how Polish farmers anticipated generous grants of German land after the war with Germany. Jebb opined that the Polish general staff was “overly optimistic”, and that officials in Warsaw had become “amazingly arrogant” since the British guarantee.
Poland wants war with Germany and Germany will not be able to avoid it even if she wants to.” -Polish Marshal, Rydz-Smigly
The following month, British General, Sir Edmund Ironside, visited Poland. Rydz-Smigly told him that war with Germany is unavoidable. None of the British emissaries said anything to the Poles to mollify this bellicose (war-mongering) attitude.
Since June, 70 percent of the Germans in Upper Silesia were out of work, compared to Poland’s national unemployment rate of 16 percent. The Reich’s Government registered 70,000 ethnic German refugees who had recently fled Polish sovereign territory. Another 15,000 had taken refuge in Danzig. Among the acts of brutality inflicted on those still in Poland were five documented cases of castration. Ambassador Kennard protested to the Polish government about the abuse of the German minority. The complaint “did not appear to have had any definite results.”
The crisis also focused on Danzig, still administered by League of Nations Commissioner, Carl Burckhardt, but under Poland’s customs union. The city’s senate was embroiled in a perpetual controversy over the conduct of the Polish tariff inspectors.
Danzig’s senate president, Arthur Greiser, protested to the Polish commissioner in Danzig, Marjan Chodaki, on June 3rd, 1939, about the customs inspectors. Chodaki threatened economic sanctions against Danzig.
On August 4, Chodaki stated that Polish customs officials would henceforth be armed. Interference with their activity would result in an immediate reprisal against Danzig; the Poles threatened to block the import of foodstuffs. Beck informed Ambassador Kennard that Poland would intervene militarily if the Danzig senate failed to comply with Polish terms.
On August 9, German diplomat, Ernst von Weizsacker met with the Polish diplomat, Michael Lubomirski, in Berlin. He protested the Polish ultimatum to Danzig of August 4. Weizsacker warned that “sanctions against the Free City may result in Danzig seeking stronger economic ties with Germany herself.
The next day, an undersecretary in Warsaw’s foreign ministry told the German diplomat that any involvement by the Reich’s Government in the Danzig issue would be regarded by Poland as an act of war.
Hitler asked the high commissioner from the League of Nations, Carl J Burckhardt, “Could you go yourself to London? If we want to avoid catastrophes, the matter is rather urgent.” Roger Makins, from the British Foreign Office, wrote to England’s delegate in Geneva, Frank Walter, informing him that the Fuhrer wanted to open negotiations to prevent an armed clash.
Historians assert that Hitler was determined to invade Poland. However, had this been his intention, he could have instructed the Danzig senate to pass a resolution abolishing League of Nations jurisdiction, and returning the city to the Reich’s sovereignty. This would have provoked the Polish military response… and Germany could then intervene with her own army in order to defend the Danzig population’s right to self-determination.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Historians assert that Hitler was determined to invade Poland. However, had this been his intention, he could have instructed the Danzig senate to pass a resolution abolishing League of Nations jurisdiction, and returning the city to the Reich’s sovereignty. This would have provoked the Polish military response Beck warned of, and Germany could then intervene with her own army in order to defend the Danzig population’s right to self-determination. Given the sensitive issue of “democratic principles”, and the fact that Poland was striking the first blow, it would then have been difficult for Britain to justify support for Poland under the provisions of the guarantee. The anti-war masses of Britain would not support the war.
The Polish government rounded up “disloyal” ethnic Germans and transported them to concentration camps. Authorities closed daily traffic between Upper Silesia & Germany, preventing thousands of ethnic Germans from commuting to their jobs in the Reich. Polish coastal anti-aircraft batteries fired on German Lufthansa passenger planes flying over the Baltic Sea to East Prussia. The Luftwaffe provided military fighter escorts for the airliners.
In Danzig, the police chief formed his law enforcement personnel into two rifle regiments. In defiance of the League of Nations charter, the city re-militarized. The Germans transferred a battalion from SS Death’s Head Regiment 4 to Danzig. The 1,500-man “SS Home Guard Danzig” paraded publicly on Danzig’s May Field on August 18. The Poles evacuated the families of their civil servants, fortified public buildings and installations with armor plate or barbed wire and posted machine gun nests at bridges.
Alliances do not represent political ends, but only means to those ends.” -Hitler
On August 23, Germany concluded a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. The pact, signed in Moscow, contained a secret clause defining mutual spheres of interest. It stated, “The question of whether or not maintaining an independent Polish state will appear desirable for both parties’ interests, and how this state should be divided, can be clarified in the course of further political developments.” In return for roughly half of Poland, the Soviet dictator gave Germany a free hand to invade.
The Germans hoped that news of Soviet-German rapprochement would demonstrate to Beck that his country’s position had become precarious, compelling him to “return to the conference table”. -Hitler’s Revolution book
The Germans hoped that news of Soviet-German rapprochement would demonstrate to Beck that his country’s position had become precarious, compelling him to “return to the conference table”. Beck however, dismissed the alliance as untenable, because Russia & Germany harbored a serious ideological rivalry. A Warsaw communiqué stated, “The conclusion of the nonaggression pact has no influence on Poland’s situation or policy.”
The Fuhrer then postponed the attack, explaining to General Keitel that he needed to ‘gain time for further negotiations’, still seeking a ‘solution without bloodshed.’” -Hitler’s Revolution book
On August 23, Hitler told his armed forces adjutant that the military must be ready to invade Poland by the morning of the 26th. The Fuhrer then postponed the attack, explaining to General Keitel that he needed to “gain time for further negotiations,” still seeking a “solution without bloodshed.” The Poles, without provocation from Germany, closed Danzig’s borders. Since the metropolis imported much of its foodstuffs, this created a critical situation for the population.
Hitler & Goring requested British mediation to help persuade Warsaw to resume talks. From Warsaw, British Ambassador Kennard cabled London on August 25. The cable stated that if Beck or Lipski were to seek an audience with Hitler, the
Fuhrer would consider this a “sign of weakness” and respond with an ultimatum. Prime Minister Chamberlain concluded the alliance with Poland the same day.
Along the German-Polish frontier, Polish border guards fired on ethnic German refugees attempting to flee into Germany. German infantry patrols crossed into Poland and fought to free them.
German men & women were hunted like wild beasts through the streets of Bromberg (Poland). When they were caught, they were mutilated & torn to pieces by the Polish mob… Every day the butchery increased… Thousands of Germans fled from their homes in Poland with nothing more than the clothes that they wore.” -William Joyce, Irish defector to Germany
On the 26th, a Polish cavalry unit rode boldly through German villages near Neidenburg in East Prussia. The German army’s Artillery Regiment 57 engaged the horsemen on sovereign Reich territory. The Poles withdrew, leaving 47 dead on the battlefield.
On August 29, Hitler received a half-hearted pledge from London to urge the Poles to enter negotiations, without, however, stating when. Tired of these dilatory tactics, Hitler wrote back that he expected a Polish diplomat empowered to negotiate by the following day. Examining the note in front of Hitler that evening, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador in Berlin, protested that it “has the ring of an ultimatum.” The Fuhrer retorted, “This sentence only emphasizes the urgency of the moment. Consider that at any time it could come to a serious incident, when two mobilized armies are confronting one another.” Henderson insisted that the deadline was too short. Hitler responded, “We’ve been repeating the same thing for a week… This senseless game can’t go on forever. My people are bleeding day after day.”
Hitler said… ‘We’ve been repeating the same thing for a week… This senseless game can’t go on forever. My people are bleeding day after day.”’ -Hitler’s Revolution book
In Warsaw, Beck, Rydz-Smigly and the defense minister, Tadeusz Kasprzycki, conferred. They decided to declare general mobilization the next morning.
German diplomats & lawyers spent the morning of August 30 preparing the 16-point Marienwerder proposal as a basis for discussions with the Poles. The salient points were Danzig’s immediate return to the Reich, a German transit route linking East Prussia to Germany, Gydnia remaining under Polish sovereignty, a minority protection treaty, and a plebiscite for the population of the northern corridor region. Goring emphasized that the Fuhrer is trying to avoid infringement of Poland’s vital interests. Ambassador Henderson confessed to London that Hitler is considering how generous he can be.
Chamberlain’s cabinet concluded that the proposal does not harm Poland’s interests nor threaten her independence. Even the suggested corridor plebiscite should not have concerned Warsaw, since it claimed (lied) that the population there was 90 percent Polish. The French government recommended to the Poles that they negotiate. London telegraphed Kennard, instructing him to formally protest Poland’s recent practice of shooting at German refugees.
The Polish Foreign Office assumed that Hitler would interpret any willingness on its part to negotiate as a sign of weakness. In reality, simply receiving the German 16-point plan represented no threat to Poland. It would have opened a dialog, and at the very least postponed the outbreak of war. The Poles could have broken off the discussions if Berlin imposed an ultimatum. They could then have fully relied on the support of the Western powers. Beck however, wanted no negotiations.
Beck instructed his ambassador not to discuss anything with the Germans, and that he is not authorized to receive their proposals.
The radio monitoring station in the Reich’s Air Ministry intercepted a transmission from Beck ordering Lipski not to accept a copy of Germany’s Marienwerder proposals. Hitler now knew that Poland would not compromise over Danzig and the corridor. He nonetheless postponed the military operation once more, upon Goring’s request for a last-minute conference with Ambassador Henderson and the Swedish mediator, Birger Dahlerus.
Hitler… ‘Now that all political possibilities for relieving the intolerable conditions for Germany on her eastern border by peaceful means are exhausted, I have decided for a solution by force.”’ -Hitler’s Revolution book
The meeting between Henderson & Goring was cordial, but failed to reach a solution. A session between Lipski & Ribbentrop the same evening was also fruitless. Hitler summoned Keitel at 9:00 p.m. The directive he gave the general began, “Now that all political possibilities for relieving the intolerable conditions for Germany on her eastern border by peaceful means are exhausted, I have decided for a solution by force.” Less than eight hours later, the German armed forces invaded Poland.
Historical documents reveal that the attack on Poland was not a step in a long-planned, systematic program to expand Germany’s living space. Hitler ordered the offensive upon the failure to achieve a negotiated settlement.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
Historical documents reveal that the attack on Poland was not a step in a long-planned, systematic program to expand Germany’s living space. Hitler ordered the offensive upon the failure to achieve a negotiated settlement. Among the most important issues was the welfare of the ethnic German colony beyond the Reich’s borders, though to wage war for the sake of people related by blood, but no longer by nationality, may today seem unjustified. The present-day “global community” concept rejects the notion that a nation can be defined more by its race than by geographical boundaries. During the 1930’s, however, pride of ethnic heritage was a powerful force in the consciousness of the European peoples.
The 1938 Munich Accord, by which Germany regained the Sudeten territory populated by ethnic Germans under foreign rule, was regarded by the Reich’s Foreign Office as a legal precedent. “The right of protection from the mother state was fundamentally acknowledged once and for all, through an international act in which the four Great Powers and three other states took part.”
The right of protection from the mother state was fundamentally acknowledged once and for all, through an international act in which the four Great Powers and three other states took part.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
In August 1939, Hitler confronted a serious situation regarding Danzig and the German minority in Poland. Blockaded by the Poles since August 24, the Free City’s German population faced economic ruin and potential starvation. During the month’s final days, Polish radicals murdered over 200 ethnic German residents of western Poland. “German intervention was completely legitimate in accordance with on one hand, the right of the mother state to protect its ethnic families living under foreign rule, and on the other hand, with respect to their right to self-determination,” as a German diplomat asserted.
Once Czechoslovakia collapsed in March 1939, the Anglo-French lost an integral component of their “collective security” alliance system. London’s public guarantee of Poland followed immediately. Hitler surmised that Chamberlain’s purpose for this declaration was to turn Poland against Germany, to replace one hostile state on the Reich’s eastern frontier with another. The Fuhrer told his architect, Hermann Giesler, that he believed that the coalition forming against Germany wanted war. “I must strive to prevent the encirclement of Germany or punch through it, regardless of what direction.”
I must strive to prevent the encirclement of Germany or punch through it, regardless of what direction.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
On August 9, 1939, British Ambassador Henderson had written Undersecretary Cadogan in London that both the Germans and the Italians believed that Poland would attempt to settle the dispute with the Reich by force that year, before British support becomes lukewarm. In Warsaw, army commanders and certain Polish politicians recommended challenging Germany soon, since the cost of indefinitely maintaining so many soldiers on active duty was too great a strain on the national budget. The general mobilization Poland announced on August 30 was another ominous sign for Hitler. Feeling threatened both to the east and to the west, he opted to strike first.
Feeling threatened both to the east and to the west, he (Hitler) opted to strike first.” -Hitler’s Revolution book
One could perhaps judge his decision in the spirit of a maxim of Prussia’s 18th Century monarch Friedrich the Great. He declared that “in war, the real aggressor is he who forces the enemy to fire the first shot.”