Did Britain and France tell Poland that they are not going to provide relief to it?

Dec 2017
310
Poland
NO TIME did Hitler say to the invading Generals' if you encounter resistance stop advancing.
I have the impression that you somehow misunderstand me. Hitler was not sure if Stalin would help him. Stalin delayed the attack on Poland. Some say that it was a "Stalin's trap" (he promised to help the Germans, and preferred to wait for them to destroy Poland, or at least the government in Warsaw). Hitler was always ready to go to the western front if such a front appears. Hitler's generals were afraid of it seriously. A group of Polish soldiers wanted to blow up Hitler in Warsaw, but someone hesitated and did not turn on the detonator. Same facts, no fantasy.

Another funny fact: during the First World War, the Polish paramedic was carrying a wounded Hitler from the battlefield. This Pole said that Hiter was already shouting at people to fight more and order him to carry him faster, although he was of very low rank.
 
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sparky

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Jan 2017
5,783
Sydney
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Stalin timing was concerned with other things
Since May 1939 , in the far East soviet and mogolian units had been clashing with a provocative Imperial japanese Army ,

the Kwantung army was a by word for independent aggression ,
a sharp fight between the forces went to the Soviets , then both forces build up to division level with a fair bit of armor , an early July Japanese attack was defeated by the local commander , later Marshall Zhukov .
He consolidated his line brought forward more reinforcement and waited for the order
this came on the 20th , the day before Stalin had approved the Soviet German treaty ,
the Japanese would not receive any support from there .
he also broke the tripartite discussion with the British and French military negotiators ,they were quite disappointing ,
refusing to commit to a mutual offensive , obviously they would sit it out while Germany and the Soviets would bleed each other ,
on top they were not abilitated to sign anything and could only negotiate .
the commission also had taken their sweet time to come to talk ,

So with some reluctant allies dismissed , the very enthusiastic German seemed a sure bet
this would royally screw the Japanese into the dust just to learn the news
He gave Zhukov the order to attack , after a heated contest the Imperial Japanese force was totally destroyed .

the Japanese government entered in negotiation with the Soviets for a neutrality treaty , they didn't inform Berlin as a pay-back for the bad news of the Ribbentrop/Molotov surprise

while being asked to start invading Poland , Stalin held his hand , only when the news of a great victory was confirmed and the approach of Japanese envoy for a peace treaty did he roll the dice
 
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Dec 2017
310
Poland
Certainly it was also important, but another matter is that thanks to the delay Stalin could say: "Poland no longer exists, the Germans destroyed it, the government fled Warsaw, so agreements with Poland are irrelevant."
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
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Sydney
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that was the "legal"argument
since Poland had ceased to exist , Moscow took on the responsibility to protect the locals.

it was a fig leaf of an argument but there was nobody to argue .
a bit of the absurd , one German unit had advanced 60 km past the demarcation line , within hours
in a flurry of orders from their HQ they were told to retreat at all speed out of the zone , this was a time of mellow fellowship between the Soviets and German , Stalin told Ribbentrop not to worry about it , Germany could keep that particular piece ,

HQ send a frantic order to the unit to re-advance at once to it's former position
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,103
Dispargum
Nazi-Soviet Pact - August 23, 1939

German invasion of Poland - Sept 1, 1939

Soviet invasion of Poland - Sept 17, 1939

time from when the Soviets first considered invading Poland to when they actually crossed the border - 26 days

I suspect the Soviet Army needed each and every one of those 26 days to complete their preparations to invade Poland.
 
Dec 2017
310
Poland
Some Soviets infantry units had rifles with strings so that they could be carried on the shoulder. There should be leather belts, but there was not enough time. It's a bit funny, but probably if someone shoots at you, it's an unimportant detail (the bigger problem in Mosin is the bolt, which is hard to open).
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,160
Poland might not have been either France or the UK in military terms in 1939, but it certainly was considered no slouch either. The Germans were generally expected to have to spend well into at least 1940 subduing it.

So regardless of what the French and British were promising, at least they weren't promising to be in Berlin inside the month, having defeated the Nazis. Everyone expected a war that would last quite some time.

If the argument from the Polish side is that they were left in the lurch, while that is true, it is also true that the probability of getting help that's actually useful radically increases with your ability to meaningfully help yourself first.
 
Jul 2012
792
Australia
The British and French had no intentions of providing "material assistance" to the Poles as they were unprepared for a conflict. Britain had no presence on the continent and would need time to build up its forces there (they managed to get 250,000 there by May 1940). The French were very aware of their own short-comings despite having an impressive force on paper.

The issuing of the Guarantee was meant to scare Hitler off as the Western Allies developed a new post-appeasement strategy. If it came to physical action then their first thought was to the Soviet Union as the only viable force in the East to match the Germans - a strategy the French tried to pursue in the 1920's but forced to abandon when the Poles refused to allow Soviet troops passage through Polish lands, just as the Poles refused to do so in 1939 when the British proposed such an Alliance. The Allies nevertheless continued quietly to try to work a deal with the Soviets.

Stalin saw early that such an alliance would mean a lot of commitment from the Soviets for little benefit for themselves. But the threat from Germany on the Soviet Union was real and required action. A deal with the Germans that would allow the Germans to avoid a war on two fronts also gave Stalin time to build up his forces and start his own expansion plans.

A war between the Western Allies and Germany was not about preventing Germany conquering another country but preventing Germany growing larger and more influential and threatening the global interests of Britain and France. The focus was to be the eventual defeat of Germany and not winning any particular battle. Poland became a pawn that could be sacrificed in a wider strategic game.

The Polish government probably understood that the West could not provide any material assistance during an attack on Poland - since the early 1930's Poland understood that the French although big on talk showed little enthusiasm for action. Nevertheless, they did expect the French to do more than they did. The agreement called for the Allies to attack western Germany within 2 weeks of declaration of war, to force a withdrawal of a significant number of German troops from the Polish front.
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
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Sydney
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For the poles and British, a declaration was essentially a diplomatic move , there was no discution on joint action before and precious little after ,
it dawn on the British government that should their bluff was called , Poland was toast , the French were arm twisted into joining , after the blood bath of WW1 the last thing on France mind was a glorious offensive with mountains of dead , all their many joint military discutions were around a defensive posture and a full naval blockade to starve Germany .

So far so good.....but !

The whole thing could work only if the soviets were part of the blockade , they were the only power which could check the Germans in the East.

After a bit of diplomatic foot shuffling , the decision was taken to send a military team to Leningrad for headquarters level talks .
After Munich , Stalin had absolutely no faith in Britain or France to honor any commitment , the talks went very badly , on one hand the Allied stuck to their passive strategy , which means the soviet would do the bulk of the bleeding ,
on the other , Stalin price was a high hand on the three Baltic states ,
they were thoroughly on board with the Nazis and had like Poland an authoritarian military running the country .

Ribbentrop being informed by a German trade delegation of Stalin goodwill , seized the moment , checked that it was for real , flew to Moscow , hammered a classic deal , got hitler to send a telegram to Stalin confirming that the whole thing was kosher , by mutual agreement added a secret protocol and broke the incredible news to the world .

Poland was doomed ,with the Western allied sitting on their positions , their army short of everything bar bravery was annihilated , Stalin watched and bid his time , not wanting to pounce until Germany was fully committed .
As far as he saw it , this was getting back Ukrainian and Belorussian lands which were rightfully his

It should be pointed out that at the Tehran conference both Britain and the USA agreed for the Soviets to have everything they wanted under the Non-aggression pact , it was agreed not to publicize this fact and Churchill never told the London Poles that the Curzon line was agreed upon
no matter what they choose to believe .
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Zbigniew-slightly off topic but how is the Polish General Rommel -who commanded the Lodz Army in 1939 regarded by modern Polish students of W.W.2 ?
I believe he - -unlike his German namesake, Erwin Rommel- survived the war and died in 1967 but he lacked German Rommel's tactical battlefield nous.
Did Juliusz Karol Rommel's decision to serve the post war Gomulka regime also mean that he is not very well regarded among Polish military historiasn-although he gained a great victory during the Bolshevik-Polish war while commanding cavalry.?
Just curious.