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Old June 13th, 2018, 07:15 AM   #1

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The limits of appeasement 1938/1939


I'm a bit reluctant to start yet another speculative thread related to Nazi-Germany, given the plethora of these on Historum, but I was wondering about this matter. We know that appeasement by Britain and France was convenient, but not necessarily persued by Hitler. He was dissapointed by the outcome of the Munich Conference and increasingly sought freedom to act without the Western interference that he resented so much. However, for the sake of discussion, did he fully exhaust the possibilities of appeasement that were available to him before choosing the path of war?

Dismembering Czechoslovakia and annexing Bohemia and Moravia was clearly a big mistake in this regard, by violating the Munich Agreement and incorporating millions of non-Germans (contrary to Nazi propaganda) in Germany. What if Hitler had abided by the Munich Agreement and - after fuelling the flames by organizing demonstrations and a referendum - annexed the Free City of Danzig instead? Poland had always made it very clear that this would constitute a declaration of war, but how would Britain and France react in the run-up to this crisis and after the outbreak of actual war? Would Danzig, to which Germany held some legitimate claims, be an opening through which Hitler could drive a wedge between Poland and its Western allies?
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Old June 13th, 2018, 08:11 AM   #2
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I don't understand what you're attempting to ask. Do you think Hitler wasn't going to ultimately invade Poland or go to war elsewhere? That WW2 could have been diplomatically prevented?
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:23 AM   #3

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I don't understand what you're attempting to ask. Do you think Hitler wasn't going to ultimately invade Poland or go to war elsewhere? That WW2 could have been diplomatically prevented?
Hitler would still be Hitler, so there was going to be a big war sooner or later. But instead of opting for direct war, how far could Hitler have taken his gangster diplomacy against Germany's neighbors? In particular, could he have used appeasement by the Western powers to weaken or isolate Poland? Could there have a Munich Conference about Danzig and the Polish Corridor?

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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:32 AM   #4

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Part of the deal for the Munich conference was that they would give him the Sudetenland and he would not demand any more territory. If he then said I want Danzig now, they would probably just tell him no. Then he would either keep demanding and get nothing or go to war to take it.
Worth mentioning is after he conquered Czechoslovakia he did demand and get Memel from Lithuania and no war happened. (guess no one cared about Lithuania).
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaius Julius Civilis View Post
Hitler would still be Hitler, so there was going to be a big war sooner or later. But instead of opting for direct war, how far could Hitler have taken his gangster diplomacy against Germany's neighbors? In particular, could he have used appeasement by the Western powers to weaken or isolate Poland? Could there have a Munich Conference about Danzig and the Polish Corridor?
How Poland was attacked was a large reason for the declaration for war. Germany rolled in hard and fast and violently. Previously, other govts let it happen, they did not truly resist, whereas Poland did. That helped fire up British and French politicians to resist too. Would the Polish govt had stood by and allowed Germany to take Danzig or the Polish Corridor without a fight?
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
How Poland was attacked was a large reason for the declaration for war. Germany rolled in hard and fast and violently. Previously, other govts let it happen, they did not truly resist, whereas Poland did. That helped fire up British and French politicians to resist too. Would the Polish govt had stood by and allowed Germany to take Danzig or the Polish Corridor without a fight?
I mean wasn't danzig a free city though? and its not like they lacked any official claim to the area, what it being Prussianland and all that
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:53 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
How Poland was attacked was a large reason for the declaration for war. Germany rolled in hard and fast and violently. Previously, other govts let it happen, they did not truly resist, whereas Poland did. That helped fire up British and French politicians to resist too. Would the Polish govt had stood by and allowed Germany to take Danzig or the Polish Corridor without a fight?
To add to this, Germany’s primary excuse for invading Poland - or at least their initial target - was Gdańsk. So, given the scenario in the OP, the answer is “no” and I don’ see how things would have played out any differently then they actually did.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:20 AM   #8
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To add to this, Germany’s primary excuse for invading Poland - or at least their initial target - was Gdańsk. So, given the scenario in the OP, the answer is “no” and I don’ see how things would have played out any differently then they actually did.
Yep. They had a false flag planned to do what they were blatant about wanting to do anyway.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:43 AM   #9

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To add to this, Germany’s primary excuse for invading Poland - or at least their initial target - was Gdańsk. So, given the scenario in the OP, the answer is “no” and I don’ see how things would have played out any differently then they actually did.
I thought this was pretty clear in my original post, but no German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia takes place. Germany annexes the Free City of Danzig, after which Poland threatens with war. How do Britain and France respond to this? Would Britain and France really back Poland if it started a war over Danzig, a city that was overwhelmingly German and over which Poland held no sovereignty? If they sided with Germany instead, this would damage their relations with Poland and mean a diplomatic victory for Germany.

Last edited by Gaius Julius Civilis; June 13th, 2018 at 11:12 AM.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:55 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by Gaius Julius Civilis View Post
I thought this was pretty clear in my original post, but no German invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia takes place. Germany annexes the Free City of Danzig, after which Poland threatens with war. How do Britain and France respond to this?
It's hard to say for sure, but my guess is that they would let Germany keep Danzig in exchange for Germany giving up all of its territorial claims against Poland. If Poland will insist on fighting over Danzig anyway, it will have to do so alone.
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