Do you think Communism is as bad as Nazism?

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
The exchange between count Ciano and Hitler is interesting in many details, I will copy the part that explains the timetable of the German attack on Poland and why the urgency to attack before autumn set in.

On 12 and 13 August, when preparations were practically
complete, Hitler and Ribbentrop at last disclosed their
intentions to their allies, the Italians. It will be
recalled that one of the passages in Hitler's speech on 23
May, in regard to the proposed attack on Poland, had said,
"Our object must be kept secret even from the Italians and
the Japanese." (L-79). Now, when the preparations were
complete, Hitler disclosed his intentions to his Italian
comrades in the hope that they would join him. Ciano was
surprised at Hitler's attempt to persuade the Italians to
come into the war with him. He had no idea, as he said, of
the urgency of the matter, and they are not prepared. He
therefore tried to dissuade Hitler from starting o until the
Duce could have a little more time to prepare himself. (TC-
77)

The Fuehrer's answer was clear:

"The Fuehrer answered that for a solution of the Polish
problem no time should be lost; the longer one waited
until the autumn, the more difficult would military
operations in Eastern Europe become. From the middle of
September, weather conditions made air operations
hardly possible in these areas, while the condition of
the roads, which were quickly turned into a morass by
the autumn rains, would be such as to make them
impossible for motorized forces. From September to May,
Poland was a great marsh and entirely unsuited for any
kind of military operations. Poland could, however,
occupy Danzig in September and Germany would not be
able to do anything about it since they obviously could
not bombard or destroy the place." (TC-77)

Ciano therefore asked what was the date by which Poland must
have satisfied Germany about her political condition.
He realized that this date depended upon climatic
conditions.

"The Fuehrer answered that the decision of Poland must
be made clear at the latest by the end of August.
Since, however, the decisive part of military
operations against Poland could be carried out within a
period of 14 days and the final liquidation would need
another four weeks, it could be finished at the end of
September or the beginning of October. These could be
regarded as the dates. It followed, therefore, that the
last dates on which he could begin to take action was
the end of August.

Shofar FTP Archives: imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-09-aggression-08

Rudolf von Scheliha, the First Secretary at the German embassy in Warsaw had been working as a Soviet spy since 1937, keeping the Kremlin well informed about the state of German-Polish relations, and it was due to intelligence provided by him that the Soviets knew that Hitler was seriously considering invading Poland from March 1939 onward, giving the orders for an invasion of Poland in May.[40] On 13 March 1939 Scheliha reported to Moscow that he had conversation with one of Ribbentrop's aides, a Peter Kleist, who told him Germany would probably attack Poland sometime that year.[41] In his reports to Moscow, Scheliha made clear that the Auswärtiges Amt had attempted to reduce Poland down to a German satellite in the winter of 1938-39, and the Poles had refused to play that role.[42] At the same time, the chief Soviet spy in Japan, Richard Sorge had reported to Moscow that the German attempt to convert the Anti-Comintern Pact into a military alliance had failed, as Germany wanted the alliance to be directed against Britain while Japan wanted the alliance to be directed against the Soviet Union.[43] On 5 April 1939, Baron Ernst von Weizsäcker, the State Secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt ordered Count Hans-Adolf von Moltke, the German ambassador to Poland, that he was under no conditions to engage in talks with the Poles over resolving the dispute over the Free City of Danzig (modern Gdansk) as the Danzig issue was just a pretext for war, and he was afraid if talks did begin, the Poles might actually agree to Danzig rejoining Germany, thereby depriving the Reich of its pretext.[44] Scheliha in his turn informed Moscow that the Auswärtiges Amt would not engage in talks for a diplomatic solution to the Danzig issue, indicating that German policy towards Poland was not a policy with a high risk of war, but was a policy aimed at causing a war.[45]

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations - Wikipedia

On 31 March 1939, Poland formed a military alliance with the United Kingdom and with France, believing that Polish independence and territorial integrity would be defended with their support if it were to be threatened by Germany.[33] On the other hand, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, still hoped to strike a deal with Hitler regarding Danzig (and possibly the Polish Corridor). Chamberlain and his supporters believed war could be avoided and hoped Germany would agree to leave the rest of Poland alone. German hegemony over Central Europe was also at stake. In private, Hitler said in May that Danzig was not the important issue to him, but pursuit of Lebensraum for Germany.[34]

In May 1939, in a statement to his generals while they were in the midst of planning the invasion of Poland, Hitler made it clear that the invasion would not come without resistance as it had in Czechoslovakia:[35]

With minor exceptions German national unification has been achieved. Further successes cannot be achieved without bloodshed. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries... Danzig is not the objective. It is a matter of expanding our living space in the east, of making our food supply secure, and solving the problem of the Baltic states. To provide sufficient food you must have sparsely settled areas. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and the decision remains to attack Poland at the first opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of Czechoslovakia. There will be fighting.[35]

Fall Weiss ("Case White", "Plan White"; German spelling Fall Weiß) was the German strategic plan for the invasion of Poland. The German military High Command finalized its operational orders on 15 June 1939 and the invasion commenced on 1 September, precipitating World War II.[1]

Fall Weiss (1939) - Wikipedia

(continued)
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
From Dir's post #917

Interesting events preceding the invasion of Poland can be found in the diary of Halder, chief of the German General Staff
...
14.8 1939 (continued). Obersalzberg {39}

(Hitler's remarks)
...
Analysis of the real situation
Political moments (main)


Enemies: Poland, England (active), France. Russia is not going to carry [for England] chestnuts from the fire. She has nothing to expect from the war, but much to be feared. Perhaps she will take some action on the periphery, or will wish for such. In the central regions - no. Russia's interests: weakening of the Western powers, access to the Baltic Sea.
...
Relations with Russia: Weak contact, trade negotiations have begun. It will be ascertained whether we will send our representative to Moscow. At the stage of clarification, the question of whom to send is an authoritative person or not. [Russia] does not think about its obligations towards the West.
The Russians admit the defeat of Poland, but they are interested in how the situation with Ukraine will be. The promise to comply with Russian interests.
...
All this time, Halder writes in his diary about the progress of military preparations for the invasion of Poland.
...
Hitler's statements in the afternoon of 14.8 1939.


... The order to conduct the operation (against Poland - Dir) - 48 hours before the deadline.
... The main direction of impact is Poland. This should be maintained in all circumstances.
b.
When the West tries to alleviate the situation in Poland, it is unthinkable to expect a decisive attack on German fortified positions. The offensive is possible only by violating the Belgian-Dutch neutrality.
...
Apart from Poland itself, only England can be an adversary, in whose channel France is also moving.


- Thus, even before the signing of the pact with the Russians, Hitler did not consider the threat from Russia as real in the case of the German invasion of Poland

(Dir’s comment above, with which I agree – the Soviets were a concern in relation to the Allied reaction to the invasion of Poland. Removed from the picture, the Allied protection of Poland seemed even less probable to Hitler)

...
Russia is not going to drag chestnuts out of the fire for England and will evade war. Russia's interests do not go beyond the Baltic states.


August 22, 1939 (Tuesday)
...
Hitler's statements in the morning: I. Situation analysis and decision.


3. ... Only two powers can feel responsible for helping Poland: England and France.
...
The Russians said they were ready to conclude a pact. “Thus, I knocked out their weapons from the hands of Western masters [England and France]. We brought Poland to the position most convenient for us to achieve military success. ” It is not yet possible to foresee the consequences. Apparently some kind of new course! Stalin writes that this course promises great benefits to both sides. A giant twist on all European politics.



M. GARREAU, French Consul-General in Hamburg, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Hamburg, August 22, 1939. 4.10 p.m.

I LEARN on good authority that the German Government hopes, by a lightning attack, to dispose of Poland before the end of the month. The Reich seems to be convinced that Great Britain and France, equally disconcerted by the Russian attitude, will not move. The Reich believes that Moscow is preparing a great political upheaval which would tend to bring the ideologies of the two totalitarian regimes into harmony.

The rumour that the offensive against Poland would be launched on August 22 has been circulating in Hamburg for several days. A great number of railway employees have been ordered to report in various Polish towns, notably in Warsaw, Ibrun and Poznan, on a date which would be notified towards the end of the month. From this it would seem that the occupation of these centres by the German Army was expected very soon.

Avalon Project : The French Yellow Book : No. 211 - M. GARREAU, French Consul-General in Hamburg, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Hamburg, August 22, 1939. 4.10 p.m.


Neville Chamberlain writes a letter to Hitler, warning him the German-Soviet Agreement will not alter Britain's obligation to come to the aid of Poland. Note: Hitler will remain convinced that Chamberlain is bluffing, as he will also misjudge Neville's successor.

From: Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Sent: Tuesday, 22 Aug 1939
To: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany


Your Excellency, 10 Downing Street, August 22, 1939.

YOUR Excellency will have already heard of certain measures taken by His Majesty's Government, and announced in the press and on the wireless this evening.

These steps have, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, been rendered necessary by the military movements which have been reported from Germany, and by the fact that apparently the announcement of a German-Soviet Agreement is taken in some quarters in Berlin to indicate that intervention by Great Britain on behalf of Poland is no longer a contingency that need be reckoned with. No greater mistake could be made. Whatever may prove to be the nature of the German-Soviet Agreement, it cannot alter Great Britain's obligation to Poland which His Majesty's Government have stated in public repeatedly and plainly, and which they are determined to fulfil.

No. 56, 60, 68, 74, 78, & 89: Messages Between Chamberlain/UK Government and Hitler | World War II Database


August 23, 1939 -09: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact is signed in Moscow. Sometimes called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement of Non-aggression (or simply the 'Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact'), it sets up plans for a 10-year collaboration between Germany and Soviet Russia.

August 23, 1939 -09: Secret Additional Protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

August 23, 1939 -09: Hitler is delighted with the pact, and believes Stalin has just handed him the perfect opportunity to restore the Reich's "rightful possessions" without having to fight a war on two fronts. He is certain that this new treaty with the Russians will allow him to safely reclaim Danzig and take back the Polish Corridor; so certain that he tells his staff that Britain and France, without other major allies, will not go to war in such a situation... "especially over what everyone knows are, by all rights, German territories anyway."

August 23, 1939 -09: Hitler sets the date for the invasion of Poland: Saturday, August 26, at 4:30am. Colonel-General Alfred Jodl is appointed Chief of staff of the armed forces supreme command (OKW).

August 24, 1939 -08: Poland and Great Britain formally sign a treaty of mutual assistance. The British Parliament reconvenes and passes the Emergency Powers Act. Royal Assent is given on the same day and the Royal Navy is ordered to war stations. Soon afterward a general mobilization begins. Hitler predicts the Chamberlain government will fall.

Countdown To WW2: August 22 - September 1, 1939

(continued)
 
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Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
Speech by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on August 24, 1939.

That was the situation on Tuesday last, when in Berlin and Moscow it was announced that negotiations had been taking place, and were likely soon to be concluded, for a non-aggression pact between those two countries. I do not attempt to conceal from the House that that announcement came to the Government as a surprise, and a surprise of a very unpleasant character. For some time past there had been rumours about an impending change in the relations between Germany and the Soviet Union, but no inkling of that change had been conveyed either to us or to the French Government by the Soviet Government. The House may remember that on the 31st July I remarked that we had engaged upon steps almost unprecedented in character. I said that we had shown a great amount of trust and a strong desire to bring the negotiations with the Soviet Union to a successful conclusion when we agreed to send our soldiers, sailors and airmen to Russia to discuss military plans together before we had any assurance that we should be able to reach an agreement on political matters. Well, Sir, nevertheless, moved by the observation of the Russian Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that if we could come to a successful conclusion of our military discussions, political agreement should not present any insuperable difficulties, we sent the Mission.

The British and French Missions reached Moscow on the 11th August. They were warmly received, in friendly fashion, and discussions were actually in progress and had proceeded on a basis of mutual trust when this bombshell was flung down. It, to say the least of it, was highly disturbing to learn that while these conversations were proceeding on that basis, the Soviet Government were secretly negotiating a pact with Germany for purposes which, on the face of it, were inconsistent with the objects of their foreign policy, as we had understood it. I do not propose this afternoon to pass any final judgment upon this incident. That, I think, would be premature until we have had an opportunity of consulting with the French Government as to the meaning and the consequences of this agreement, the text of which was published only this morning. But the question that the Government had to consider when they learned of this announcement was what effect, if any, this changed situation would have upon their own policy. In Berlin the announcement was hailed, with extraordinary cynicism, as a great diplomatic victory which removed any danger of war, since we and France would no longer be likely to fulfil our obligations to Poland. We felt it our first duty to remove any such dangerous illusion.

The House will recollect that the guarantee which we had given to Poland was given before any agreement with Russia was talked of, and that it was not in any way made dependent upon any such agreement being reached. How, then, could we, with honour, go back upon such an obligation, which we had so often and so plainly repeated? Therefore, our first act was to issue a statement that our obligations to Poland and to other countries remained unaffected. Those obligations rest upon agreed statements made to the House of Commons, to which effect is being given in treaties which are at present in an advanced stage of negotiation. Those treaties, when concluded, will formally define our obligations, but they do not in any way alter, they do not add to or subtract from, the obligations of mutual assistance which have already been accepted. The communiqué which we issued to the Press after the meeting of the Cabinet this week spoke also of certain measures of defence which we had adopted. It will be remembered that, as I have said, Germany has an immense army of men already under arms and that military preparations of all kinds have been and are being carried on on a vast scale in that country.

The Avalon Project : The British Bluebook


August 25, 1939 -07: Hitler writes to Mussolini, informing him of his intent to fall upon Poland and requesting his assistance:

Letter from Hitler to Mussolini, August 25, 1939

DUCE: For some time Germany and Russia have been engaged in an exchange of views about a new attitude on both sides in regard to their political relations.

The necessity of arriving at some conclusions of this sort was increased by:

(1) The general situation of world politics as it affected both of the Axis Powers.

(2) The necessity of securing a clear statement of position from the Japanese Cabinet. Japan would probably agree to an alliance against Russia, which would have only a secondary interest, under the prevailing circumstances, for Germany, and in my opinion, for Italy also. She would not, however, undertake such definite obligations against England, and this, from the standpoint not only of Germany, but also of Italy, was of decisive importance. The intention of the military to force the Japanese Government in a short time to take a similarly clear position with respect to England had been stated months ago, but had never been realized in practice.

(3) The relation of Germany to Poland, not through the blame of the Reich, but as a result of the activity of England, has become considerably more unsatisfactory since spring and in the last few weeks the position has become simply unbearable. The reports about the persecution of the Germans in the border areas are not invented press reports but represent only a fraction of the terrible truth. The customs policy of Poland, resulting in the throttling of Danzig, has brought about a complete standstill in Danzig's entire economic life for the past several weeks and would if it were continued for only a brief length of time, destroy the city.

These grounds led me to hasten the conclusion of the German-Russian conversations. I have not kept you informed in detail, Duce, since I did not have an idea of the possible extent of these conversations, or any assurance of the possibility of their success.

The readiness on the part of the Kremlin to arrive at a reorientation of its relations with Germany, which became apparent after the departure of Litvinov, has become ever stronger in the last few weeks and has made it possible for me, after successful preparation, to send my Foreign Minister to Moscow for the conclusion of a treaty which is the most extensive non-aggression pact in existence and whose text will be made public. The pact is unconditional and includes also the obligation for consultation about all questions affecting Russia and Germany. I may tell you, Duce, that through these arrangements the favorable attitude of Russia in case of any conflict is assured, and that the possibility of the entry of Rumania into such a conflict no longer exists!

The Avalon Project : Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941


August 25, 1939 -07: After reading the following answering letter from Mussolini, Hitler cancels his invasion of Poland scheduled for 4:30 AM the following morning:

The Avalon Project : Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941

(continued)
 
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Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
Diplomatic contact between Britain and Germany continued even days before the war. The British government tried its best to avoid war while making it clear that it would stick to its commitment to Poland. Hitler, on the other hand, tried to play the Allies into inaction, all the while determined to invade. And in all probability, thinking he could get away with it, with minor Allied reactions. Excerpts.

In a pre-trial interrogation on 29 August 1945, Goering was
asked the question:

"When the negotiations of the Polish Foreign Minister
in London brought about the Anglo-Polish Treaty at the
end of March or the beginning of April, was it not
fairly obvious that a peaceful solution was
impossible?" (TC-90)


This was Goering's answer:

"Yes, it seemed impossible according to my conviction,
but not according to the convictions of the Fuehrer.
When it was mentioned to the Fuehrer that England had
given her guarantee to Poland, he said that England was
also guaranteeing Rumania, but then when the Russians
took Bessarabia -nothing happened, and this made a big
impression on him. I made a mistake here. At this time
Poland only had the promise of a guarantee. The
guarantee itself was only given shortly before the
beginning of the war. On the day when England gave her
official guarantee to Poland the Fuehrer called me on
the telephone and told me that he had stopped the
planned invasion of Poland. I asked him then whether
this was just temporary or for good. He said, 'No, I
will have to see whether we can eliminate British
intervention.


Shofar FTP Archives: imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-09-aggression-08


Sir N. Henderson to Viscount Halifax. August 25, 1939.

2. Herr Hitler began by saying that he had always and still desired good relations with Great Britain, and his conscience compelled him to make this final effort to secure them. It was his last attempt. He suggested that I should fly to England myself in order to put the case to His Majesty's Government.

3. Conversation lasted an hour, my attitude being that Russian Pact in no way altered standpoint of His Majesty's Government, and that I must tell him quite honestly that Britain could not go back on her word to Poland and that I knew his offer would not be considered unless it meant a negotiated settlement of the Polish question. Herr Hitler refused to guarantee this on grounds that Polish provocation might at any moment render German intervention to protect German nationals inevitable. I again and again returned to this point but always got the same answer.

7. Among various points mentioned by Herr Hitler were: that the only winner of another European war would be Japan; that he was by nature an artist not a politician, and that once the Polish question was settled he would end his life as an artist and not as a war-monger; he did not want to turn Germany into nothing but a military barracks and he would only do so if forced to do so; that once the Polish question was settled he himself would settle down; that he had no interest in making Britain break her word to Poland; that he had no wish to be small-minded in any settlement with Poland and that all he required for an agreement with her was a gesture from Britain to indicate that she would not be unreasonable.

8. After I had left, Herr von Ribbentrop sent Dr. Schmidt to the Embassy with text of verbal statement and also a message from him to the effect that Herr Hitler had always and still wished for an agreement with Britain and begging me to urge His Majesty's Government to take the offer very seriously.

The Avalon Project : The British Bluebook


From: His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom
Sent: Monday, 28 Aug 1939
To: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany


HIS Majesty's Government have received the message conveyed to them from the German Chancellor by His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin, and have considered it with the care which it demands.

They note the Chancellor's expression of his desire to make friendship the basis of the relations between Germany and the British Empire and they fully share this desire. They believe with him that if a complete and lasting understanding between the two countries could be established it would bring untold blessings to both peoples.

8. A just settlement of these questions between Germany and Poland may open the way to world peace. Failure to reach it would ruin the hopes of better understanding between Germany and Great Britain, would bring the two countries into conflict, and might well plunge the whole world into war. Such an outcome would be a calamity without parallel in history.


From: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany
Via: Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany
Sent: Monday, 28 Aug 1939
To: His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom


THE British Ambassador in Berlin has submitted to the British Government suggestions which I felt bound to make in order-

(1) to give expression once more to the will of the Reich Government for sincere Anglo-German understanding, co-operation and friendship;

(2) to leave no room for doubt as to fact that such an understanding could not be bought at the price of a renunciation of vital German interests, let alone the abandonment of demands which are based as much upon common human justice as upon the national dignity and honour of our people.

The German Government have noted with satisfaction from the reply of the British Government and from the oral explanations given by the British Ambassador that the British Government for their part are also prepared to improve the relationship between Germany and England and to develop and extend it in the sense of the German suggestion.

In this connexion, the British Government are similarly convinced that the removal of the German-Polish tension, which has become unbearable, is the pre-requisite for the realisation of this hope.

The demands of the German Government are in conformity with the revision of the Versailles Treaty in regard to this territory which has always been recognised as being necessary: viz., return of Danzig and the Corridor to Germany, the safeguarding of the existence of the German national group in the territories remaining to Poland.

The German Government note with satisfaction that the British Government also are in principle convinced that some solution must be found for the new situation which has arisen.

While the British Government may still believe that these grave differences can be resolved by way of direct negotiations, the German Government unfortunately can no longer share this view as a matter of course. For they have made the attempt to embark on such peaceful negotiations, but, instead of receiving any support from the Polish Government, they were rebuffed by the sudden introduction of measures of a military character in favour of the development alluded to above.

The British Government attach importance to two considerations: (1) that the existing danger of an imminent explosion should be eliminated as quickly as possible by direct negotiation, and (2) that the existence of the Polish State, in the form in which it would then continue to exist, should be adequately safeguarded in the economic and political sphere by means of international guarantees.

On this subject the German Government makes the following declaration:-

Though sceptical as to the prospects of a successful outcome, they are nevertheless prepared to accept the English proposal and to enter into direct discussions. They do so, as has already been emphasised, solely as the result of the impression made upon them by the written statement received from the British Government that they too desire a pact of friendship in accordance with the general lines indicated to the British Ambassador.

The German Government desire in this way to give the British Government and the British nation a proof of the sincerity of Germany's intentions to enter into a lasting friendship with Great Britain.

The Government of the Reich felt, however, bound to point out to the British Government that in the event of a territorial rearrangement in Poland they would no longer be able to bind themselves to give guarantees or to participate in guarantees without the U.S.S.R. being associated therewith.

For the rest, in making these proposals the German Government have never had any intention of touching Poland's vital interests or questioning the existence of an independent Polish State. The German Government, accordingly, in these circumstances agree to accept the British Government's offer of their good offices in securing the despatch to Berlin of a Polish Emissary with full powers. They count on the arrival of this Emissary on Wednesday, the 30th August, 1939.

The German Government will immediately draw up proposals for a solution acceptable to themselves and will, if possible, place these at the disposal of the British Government before the arrival of the Polish negotiator.

No. 56, 60, 68, 74, 78, & 89: Messages Between Chamberlain/UK Government and Hitler

(continued)
 
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Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
From: His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom
Via: Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany
Joachim von Ribbentrop, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany
Sent: Tuesday, 29 Aug 1939
To: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany


His Majesty's Government appreciate the friendly reference in the Declaration contained in the reply of the German Government to the latter's desire for an Anglo-German understanding and to their statement of the influence which this consideration has exercised upon their policy.

2. His Majesty's Government repeat that they reciprocate the German Government's desire for improved relations, but it will be recognised that they could not sacrifice the interests of other friends in order to obtain that improvement. They fully understand that the German Government cannot sacrifice Germany's vital interests, but the Polish Government are in the same position and His Majesty's Government believe that the vital interests of the two countries are not incompatible.

3. His Majesty's Government note that the German Government accept the British proposal and are prepared to enter into direct discussions with the Polish Government.

4. His Majesty's Government understand that the German Government accept in principle the condition that any settlement should be made the subject of an international guarantee. The question of who shall participate in this guarantee will have to be discussed further, and His Majesty's Government hope that to avoid loss of time the German Government will take immediate steps to obtain the assent of the U.S.S.R., whose participation in the Guarantee His Majesty's Government have always assumed.

5. His Majesty's Government also note that the German Government accept the position of the British Government as to Poland's vital interests and independence.


No. 56, 60, 68, 74, 78, & 89: Messages Between Chamberlain/UK Government and Hitler



Speech by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on August 29, 1939.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain): Since the House met on Thursday last there has been little change in the main features of the situation. The catastrophe, as I said then, is not yet on us, but I cannot say that the danger of it has yet in any way receded. In these circumstances it might perhaps have seemed that it was unnecessary to ask the House to meet again before the date which had been fixed, but in times like these we have felt that it was right that the House should be kept as far as possible continuously informed of all the developments in the situation as they took place. That will continue to be the principle which will guide us in further meetings of this House.

I should be glad if I could disclose to the House the fullest information as to the contents of the communications exchanged with Herr Hitler, but hon. members will understand that in a situation of such extreme delicacy, and when issues so grave hang precariously in the balance, it is not in the public interest to publish these confidential communications or to comment on them in detail at this stage. I am, however, able to indicate in quite general terms some of the main points with which they deal. Herr Hitler was concerned to impress upon His Majesty's Government his wish for an Anglo-German understanding of a complete and lasting character. On the other hand, he left His Majesty's Government in no doubt of his views as to the urgency of settling the German-Polish question. His Majesty's Government have also frequently expressed their desire to see the realisation of such an Anglo-German understanding, and as soon as circumstances permit they would naturally welcome an opportunity of discussing with Germany the several issues a settlement of which would have to find a place in any permanent agreement. But everything turns upon the manner in which the immediate differences between Germany and Poland can be handled and the nature of the proposals which might be made for any settlement. We have made it plain that our obligations to Poland, cast into formal shape by the agreement which was signed on 25th August, on Friday last, will be carried out. The House will remember that the Government have said more than once, publicly, that the German-Polish differences should be capable of solution by peaceful means.


The Avalon Project : The British Bluebook


August 31, 1939 -01: At half past noon, Hitler issues a Directive for the conduct of the war:

1. Now that all the political possibilities of disposing by peaceful means of a situation which is intolerable for Germany are exhausted, I have determined on a solution by force. 2. The attack on Poland is to be carried out. Date of attack: September 1, 1939. Time of attack: 4:45 AM.



We have no quarrel with the German people, except that they allow themselves to be governed by a Nazi Government. As long as that Government exists and pursues the methods it has so persistently followed during the last two years, there will be no peace in Europe. We shall merely pass from one crisis to another, and see one country after another attacked by methods which have now become familiar to us in their sickening technique.

We are resolved that these methods must come to an end. If out of the struggle we again re-establish in the world the rules of good faith and the renunciation of force, why, then even the sacrifices that will be entailed upon us will find their fullest justification.


Neville Chamberlain - September 1, 1939

The History Place - Great Speeches Collection: Neville Chamberlain Speech - On Hitler's Invasion of Poland
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,476
Londinium
You're repeating the same things in this post as well, with an added grain of irritation and a pinch of rudeness. Is that really necessary?
.....
I’ve been saying the same thing since we started our discussion, you have also accused me of introducing speculation and other similar tactics to avoid the discussion, which I have not been doing - it is very frustrating.

Now, finally after several pages where I’ve been using primary sources and other means to support my argument, you produce a whole mass of links within a few posts, filled with copied and pasted text and little in the way of commentary or explanations; which is almost impossible to respond to in this manner - am I expected to go through all those many paragraphs and respond to each in kind? Do you want me to run through all that text you pasted into this forum and pick out the parts that actually support my argument? You seemingly taken the "throw enough mud, some will stick" approach. It's getting more and more frustrating to debate this with you.

Anyway, there a few statements you make above which need more attention. I will go through the key ones, line by line to ensure you actually understand my point I’ve been repeating ad nauseum. Simply put (RE: my 1st post in this thread), the soviets actively enabled the invasion, the allies did so passively.

“would the Germans invade Poland if the pact with the Soviets wasn't signed?"

They wanted to move east, we can only speculate if they would have, which I’m not doing and neither should you – remember you’ve previously accused me of introducing speculation into this thread. Here you are doing so (and not for the 1st time IIRC).

As I said before, Lebensraum was a key element of Hitlers thoughts and ideology and he wanted to spread east long before taking power (RE: Mein Kampf) to re-unite the German populations and achieve his “colonies” in a similar vein as the UK, France, Spain etc.

“This is a pivotal issue, because a "yes" means that the Soviet pact simply facilitated a historic course already en route,”

The soviets actively allowed for Hitlers plans to come to come about, they gave the greenlight to invasion; cause precedes effect; the pact precedes the invasion.

The wording you use implies Hitler moving east was unstoppable, that resistance was fruitless – it is an incorrect way to approach history, in this instance at lease. It was only a “historical course” in retrospect, and was by no means “en-route”, this means that Hitlers goals were inevitably going to be achieved – that the Nazis moving east was destiny or unstoppable. It was a desire, a goal; yes, but this is not the same thing as it actually happening without chance of prevention, again, the allies tried to prevent the invasion passively (although they did enter the defensive alliance with Poland AFTER the USSR gave that greenlight to Hitler – which was an active and reactionary measure).

The route as such was to build up the army to invade (break armaments limitation treaties, expand the airforce etc) then get assurance from the Soviets that by invading Poland, by contesting their sphere of influence, there would be no reciprocal invasion by the USSR of the Nazis (RE: centuries of war between Germany and Imperial Russia, and the German fear of fighting a war on 2 fronts, as per ww1 and Hitlers personal experience).

You then further explain, by accident I assume, that Hitlers concerns were lifted by signing the M-R pact; “Hitler feared a tripartite of the UK, France and Soviets”. Ok, well he managed to sign a deal with the soviets preventing that – the M-R Pact! Read the clauses where it was agreed neither would help the others enemies and continue to supply industries required for war i.e. oil, to Germany. Hitlers fears lifted – invasion of Poland can commence, this is actual timeline of events. Then follow-up with the Frontier Pact, Hitler and the Nazis were satisfied, clearly, with the Soviets and visa-versa.

“The pact certainly facilitated the resolve to invade Poland”

This is such indirect and opaque language, tell me directly what are you trying to say. It sounds very much like your actually saying “It allowed for (“certainly facilitated”) the desire (“resolve”) to invade Poland to be realized; which is exactly what I’ve been saying all this time. The Pact allowed for the Nazis to invade (alongside the communists) without fear of starting a war between the Nazis and Communists.

Allied diplomacy was based on appeasement. To over simplify it, give Hitler the ability to reconnect the German-speaking populations and over turn certain aspects of Versaile Treaty and perhaps that would be enough – we must avoid another WW1 using *any and all options aside from a war*. Hence the re-affirmation of the already existing Anglo-Polish defensive agreement. Unlike the Soviet approach which was to permit Hitler to move east and also benefit from it at the same time RE: the M-R Pact and the Nazi-Soviet frontier treaty and all the benefits they received as a result, unlike the west you should note.

There was no Soviet diplomatic failure in the build-up to WW2, they absolutely didn’t play any “double-game” as you state above, they got what they wanted and benefitted greatly from the various agreements with the Nazis. Which can be easily verified by their own national gains enshrined within the various deals made, did the western allies gain extra land or resources from the Munich agreement?

“You skip all previous and following developments, keeping the image of the pact and the invasion alone, and thereby inextricably linking them.”

Far from it, I previously discussed the Anglo-Polish agreements, the broader appeasement policy (as per my 1st post in this thread) and the Nazi-Soviet frontier pact after the invasion of Poland. I am trying to demonstrate to you that the invasion and the M-R pact are inextricably linked – indeed, my support for this argument comes directly from the clauses of that pact previously quoted to you in previous posts.

This accusation of yours that I only focus on a few treaties or select information is then immediately refuted by yourself where you state ,” "The chronology" is not just about "the ENTIRE history of Nazi/Soviet diplomatic agreements" as you prompted me to read” – Yes I promoted you to read all the diplomatic agreements between the Nazis and communists i.e. I have NOT skipped the “previous and following developments” as per your accusation above.

“while I refer to the chronology of events leading to WWII.”

I must have missed this, unless you’re referring to your most recent posts?

Please note, I’m not saying anything new in the above that I have not said before.

I see nothing in your extensive copy and paste sources that demonstrates your argument as I currently understand it; Hitler was planning to invade Poland on the day he did with or without the Soviet assurances given within the various pacts and diplomatic discussions held between the Nazis and Soviets. Please, in your response, provide the *exact lines* that demonstrate your point. Previously, when I provided sources I had extracted the treaty clauses or text that I felt supported my argument then provided a line of commentary underneath to that affect, with links provided for further reading.. I did not paste the entire M-R pact.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
I see nothing in your extensive copy and paste sources that demonstrates your argument as I currently understand it; Hitler was planning to invade Poland on the day he did with or without the Soviet assurances given within the various pacts and diplomatic discussions held between the Nazis and Soviets. Please, in your response, provide the *exact lines* that demonstrate your point. Previously, when I provided sources I had extracted the treaty clauses or text that I felt supported my argument then provided a line of commentary underneath to that affect, with links provided for further reading.. I did not paste the entire M-R pact.
Posts 939, 940, 941. And to narrow it even further:

On 10 May an order signed by Hitler promulgated his instructions for the seizure of economic installations in Poland and directed the commanders-in-chief of the three branches of the armed forces to report by 1 August 1939 on the measures taken in consequence of these instructions. (C-120)

On 23 May 1939 Hitler called a meeting of his military leaders at the Reich Chancellery. Keitel was at the meeting; Jodl was not, but Warlimont (also from the Planning Department of OKW) was. Hitler announced the necessity of a war against Poland, not over Danzig, but in order to acquire living space in the East. he recognized the possibility that this would provoke a war against France and England, but the Wehrmacht was instructed to prepare detailed plans. (L-79)

Three documents reporting this meeting have been uncovered: the text of one, L-3, overlaps the contents of the other two, 798-PS and 1014-PS; the latter two appear to be complementary, 798-PS being a record of a morning speech, and 1014-PS of an afternoon speech. Violent and abusive language appears in both L-3 and 798-PS. That Hitler made, at a minimum, the following points, appears from all of them:

1. The decision to attack Poland was made last spring. (L-3; 798-PS)


Avalon Project : Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression - Volume 2 Chapter XVI Part 4

In May 1939, in a statement to his generals while they were in the midst of planning the invasion of Poland, Hitler made it clear that the invasion would not come without resistance as it had in Czechoslovakia:[35]

With minor exceptions German national unification has been achieved. Further successes cannot be achieved without bloodshed. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries... Danzig is not the objective. It is a matter of expanding our living space in the east, of making our food supply secure, and solving the problem of the Baltic states. To provide sufficient food you must have sparsely settled areas. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and the decision remains to attack Poland at the first opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of Czechoslovakia. There will be fighting.[35]

Invasion of Poland - Wikipedia
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,476
Londinium
On 10 May an order signed by Hitler promulgated his instructions for the seizure of economic installations in Poland and directed the commanders-in-chief of the three branches of the armed forces to report by 1 August 1939 on the measures taken in consequence of these instructions. (C-120)

On 23 May 1939 Hitler called a meeting of his military leaders at the Reich Chancellery. Keitel was at the meeting; Jodl was not, but Warlimont (also from the Planning Department of OKW) was. Hitler announced the necessity of a war against Poland, not over Danzig, but in order to acquire living space in the East. he recognized the possibility that this would provoke a war against France and England, but the Wehrmacht was instructed to prepare detailed plans. (L-79)

Three documents reporting this meeting have been uncovered: the text of one, L-3, overlaps the contents of the other two, 798-PS and 1014-PS; the latter two appear to be complementary, 798-PS being a record of a morning speech, and 1014-PS of an afternoon speech. Violent and abusive language appears in both L-3 and 798-PS. That Hitler made, at a minimum, the following points, appears from all of them:

1. The decision to attack Poland was made last spring. (L-3; 798-PS)

Avalon Project : Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression - Volume 2 Chapter XVI Part 4

In May 1939, in a statement to his generals while they were in the midst of planning the invasion of Poland, Hitler made it clear that the invasion would not come without resistance as it had in Czechoslovakia:[35]

With minor exceptions German national unification has been achieved. Further successes cannot be achieved without bloodshed. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries... Danzig is not the objective. It is a matter of expanding our living space in the east, of making our food supply secure, and solving the problem of the Baltic states. To provide sufficient food you must have sparsely settled areas. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and the decision remains to attack Poland at the first opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of Czechoslovakia. There will be fighting.[35]

Invasion of Poland - Wikipedia

All the posts above show is that Hitler had planned to move east, he personally planned to spread east before taking power and then asked his generals t plan for the same. Nothing new here at all, and nothing I’ve argued against.

Where does it state in the above that Hitler would invade with or without the M-R pact? The central point, the key aspect of our discussion that Hitler only moved east once he knew that the Soviets wouldn’t attack – once he knew that the Soviet and Nazi regime were in agreement on the fate of Poland – certainly, he did not consider a war with England and France likely, or considered it likely but didn’t concern himself this sufficiently to prevent his invasion. Again, this is all easily supported by the chronology.

As far as I can see, the above is all further proof that Hitler would not have invaded without the pact in place. This is however now speculating – as you insist….

May 22nd 1939 – the M-R pact was signed

In his meeting with the Reich Chancellery on the *23rd May 1939* – Hitler stated he feared invading Poland would provoke a war against France and England i.e. *he did not fear a war against the USSR as per the clauses of the Pact*. It could therefore be argued that the Pact provided Hitler the required assurances to begin his invasion of Poland.


“decision remains to attack Poland *at the first opportunity*” The opportunity was provided by the compliance of the Soviets.

Again, show me where Hitler stated he would/would not attack without the Soviet pact in place - otherwise we have only the timeline to go; desire to spread east -> Pact with USSR -> spreading east -> ww2 declared by the western allies while the communist continue to make treaties and gain advantages with the Nazis
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
All the posts above show is that Hitler had planned to move east, he personally planned to spread east before taking power and then asked his generals t plan for the same. Nothing new here at all, and nothing I’ve argued against.

Where does it state in the above that Hitler would invade with or without the M-R pact? The central point, the key aspect of our discussion that Hitler only moved east once he knew that the Soviets wouldn’t attack – once he knew that the Soviet and Nazi regime were in agreement on the fate of Poland – certainly, he did not consider a war with England and France likely, or considered it likely but didn’t concern himself this sufficiently to prevent his invasion. Again, this is all easily supported by the chronology.

As far as I can see, the above is all further proof that Hitler would not have invaded without the pact in place. This is however now speculating – as you insist….

May 22nd 1939 – the M-R pact was signed

In his meeting with the Reich Chancellery on the *23rd May 1939* – Hitler stated he feared invading Poland would provoke a war against France and England i.e. *he did not fear a war against the USSR as per the clauses of the Pact*. It could therefore be argued that the Pact provided Hitler the required assurances to begin his invasion of Poland.


“decision remains to attack Poland *at the first opportunity*” The opportunity was provided by the compliance of the Soviets.

Again, show me where Hitler stated he would/would not attack without the Soviet pact in place - otherwise we have only the timeline to go; desire to spread east -> Pact with USSR -> spreading east -> ww2 declared by the western allies while the communist continue to make treaties and gain advantages with the Nazis
I don't understand your argument - sorry, it might be the fatigue of a long day.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed 23 August 1939.

The links I posted previously show that the decision for the invasion was taken at the latest in May 1939, 3 months before the pact.

So what exactly are you arguing?
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,596
Athens, Greece
I’ve been saying the same thing since we started our discussion, you have also accused me of introducing speculation and other similar tactics to avoid the discussion, which I have not been doing - it is very frustrating.

Now, finally after several pages where I’ve been using primary sources and other means to support my argument, you produce a whole mass of links within a few posts, filled with copied and pasted text and little in the way of commentary or explanations; which is almost impossible to respond to in this manner - am I expected to go through all those many paragraphs and respond to each in kind? Do you want me to run through all that text you pasted into this forum and pick out the parts that actually support my argument? You seemingly taken the "throw enough mud, some will stick" approach. It's getting more and more frustrating to debate this with you.
You're doing me injustice by saying these, I thought the speeches of the British prime minister, the letters between the British and Nazi governments, the contacts of Hitler with Mussolini and Ciano, and all that diplomatic fever a few days before the invasion would have been interesting to read. I've also posted links with extensive details concerning the Nazi preparations to invade Poland, I think all of these are quite relevant and enlightening regarding the discussion at hand. And how is one supposed to include sources in the forum, other than copy-pasting important excerpts and posting the relevant links? Is all this material mud to you? Commentary and explanation was included in general terms, because I used these sources to support my opening post. I didn't want to repeat my views again in each following post, so I used only broad guidelines. I can explain each source, if you so wish.

Finally, you're not expected to do anything, if you find these sources interesting, you might want to read them at your leisure, they offer a vivid insight to the situation before the invasion of Poland. It took me considerable time and effort to read them through, concentrate and present them here, I thought they would have been welcome in a history forum.
 
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