This paper describes the last months before the outbreak of World War 2 as seen from the reports of the American Ambassador in Poland. As late as 1938 the Warsaw government was happily seconding Hitler in partitioning of Czechoslovakia. But as soon as word came from president Roosevelt about very concrete plans of crucifying Germany by the Western Powers, the Poles made a quick turnaround, and since then their only response to Hitler’s attempts to regulate the crazy conditions around the city of Danzig and East Prussia, which were created by Versailles, was middle finger. Poland, nominally an anti-Jewish country, made a momentous decision by choosing the Jewish-lead Western bloc over the continental, anti-Jewish alliance led by Germany. This choice had cataclysmic consequences for the future of Europe, as today’s European degeneration shows.
The nass media around the world painted a totally false picture of “Hitler on the march for world domination“. Their evidence was the unification of the impoverished, agricultural Austria with Germany – a move which met with acceptance of over 97% of all Austrians, as well as the transfer of ethnically German territory from Czechoslovakia. Germany was presented as an armed to the teeth aggressor, while in truth she was a paper (or rather – newspaper) tiger. Who remembers today that Germany was totally unprepared for any major war? Already the Polish campaign exhausted the German ammunition and fuel reserves, and the large part of panzer engines required overhauling. Did Hitler need Danzig so badly in 1939? Certainly not, but already in 1938 he felt that the noose was being put around his neck and time worked against him. He knew by then that the German-Jewish war could not be avoided. Hitler’s attempt to remove Jews from positions of political and economic importance in Germany was unacceptable and had to be revenged. And it was no longer possible just to remove Hitler and a couple of his friends. By 1939, after 6 years of National-Socialist rule, a large part of the society had been made aware of the Jewish Problem, and only a shock of epic proportions could persuade them, that Hitler was wrong in his assessment of Jews. The genocidal war and the, not less genocidal peace of 1945, as well as the Holocaust myth were necessary to put Germans to sleep again.
Siince 1938, unfortunately, Poland became a part of the Jewish bloc and, from Germany’s point of view, had to be neutralized to avoid encirclement. Paradoxically, Hitler’s mistake in 1939 was probably not attacking Poland, but rather the all too slow pace of German rearmament. Another miscalculation was his hope that Stalin would be unprepared for war at the time when Germany was dealing with the West. As is evident today, the Soviet dictator was methodically preparing his slave empire for the conquest of Europe and Asia since late twenties.
Some say that without FDR’s warmongering, there would have been no war. But FDR was just a marionette of forces of Jewish Internationale, a pitiful miscreant who sold himself from the very beginning, not unlike Obama, Cameron and others. In 1939, Roosevelt was a Jewish stooge arranging a war against Germany, not unlike Obama today, pushing for war with Syria.
Germany and Poland in American secret documents
Dr. Alfred Schickel
(Translated from German by Shoabloger)
A middle-sized state like the Republic of Poland saw, before the outbreak of the Second World War, ambassadors, senators or deputies as important political figures. This was evident for example in the “private visit” of the Ambassador William C. Bullitt in Warsaw.
The Polish newspapers reported on the arrival, stay and activities of the American visitor and presented him to their readers as a private person. After all, he was “the fourth prominent American who has visited Warsaw in the recent time, after Governor Earle, Congressman Lambeth and Senator Guffey” as the Warsaw newspaper “Express Poranny” on 14 November 1937 wrote – although he came only as a personal friend of the United States Ambassador to Poland, Drexel Biddle, and had no official functions on the Vistula. His former position as secretary to the president Woodrow Wilson as well as his current position as the US Ambassador in Paris, was sufficient in the eyes of the Poles to give him such attention and also to report that “Ambassador Bullitt is a widower and has a 15-year-old has daughter who is equally known for her beauty and intelligence. “
The official Poland also took note of his American guest from Paris which was expressed in an interview with the Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck on 16 November of 1937, followed by a dinner “in honor of Mr. Bullitt.”
This may be read in the relevant secret reports of the US embassy in Warsaw in November 1937. Bullitt was considered a friend of President Roosevelt and enjoyed the reputation of “one of the most outstanding professionals in foreign policy,” who was also closely connected US Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
A native of Philadelphia, descendant of French immigrants, William Christian Bullitt, who in the autumn of 1937 had been given just the honorary citizenship of Nimes, belonged to personal friends and advisors of Roosevelt, who liked to address him as “My dear Bill Buddha”. He was successful in the diplomatic service of the United States in exposed and important ambassador posts. This included his first assignment as Head of Mission of the United States (after the establishment of diplomatic relations) in the Soviet capital in late autumn 1933. Since 1936, he headed the US embassy in Paris and would remain at this post until 1941.
His visits and appearances always attracted attention and had never merely “strictly private character,” as he sought to downplay them in public. This was apparent also on his short visit in mid-November 1937 in Warsaw. Not for nothing, the Polish Foreign Minister Beck met three times with the “private guest,” from Paris and led a private conversation with him, as the American Embassy report dated 17 November 1937 shows. Drexel Biddle’s report shows that Josef Beck invited himself to a dinner at the US Embassy on 17th November which was “a lovely and interesting opportunity with frank and confidential conversation”.
The essence of the conversations conducted by Bullitt was eventually reflected in four confidential memoranda which the US Ambassador Biddle, together with his summary report of 26 November 1937, sent as “strictly confidential” to Secretary Hull.
1937: Poland on Hitler’s side
The “Memorandum A” was concerned with developments in Soviet Russia and with “cleansing” performed by Stalin. The former US ambassador to Moscow, William Christian Bullitt, talked about this topic with the newly appointed Japanese head of mission in Warsaw, Sako, and thereby came to the realization that the Stalinist persecutions rendered the Soviet Union currently largely inactive. An assessment which Bullitt represented also a year later and on account of which he saw Moscow temporarily outside an anti-Hitler coalition.
“Memorandum B« concerns itself, alongside a “tour d’horizon” of the political situation in Britain, France and the Soviet Union, especially with the German-Czech relations, as well as with anti-Semitism in Central and Eastern Europe. According to the report, the Polish Foreign Minister Beck expressed his decisively contradicted to the belief of Bullitt that France “would march” as a response to a German attack on Czechoslovakia, “mainly because of its internal political situation.” In his opinion, with the absence of a response to Hitler’s Rhineland occupation, France has already shown in 1936 her weakness, and thus indicated her future attitude towards similar events. Correspondingly,Poland also reconsidered her relationship to the German Reich, which meant that if Germany demanded autonomy for her people in Czechoslovakia, Poland was going to take care of her minority in Teschen area.
The joint action by of Germany and Poland a year later, in October 1938, against the Czechoslovak Republic was therefore already envisaged and Washington was informed soon enough about the likely solution of what was to become the Sudeten crisis. This exchange between Beck and Bullitt made it clear that Warsaw would follow each step of Berlin. Incorporation of Sudetenland into the German Reich would be followed by a Polish annexation of Teschen region by Poland, which indeed took place after the Munich Agreement. So the Warsaw foreign policy pursued during those months a line parallel to the Berlin’s Czechs policy.
German-Polish agreement on the Jewish Question
The Polish policy showed similarities also to the German one in the treatment of the Jews. Both governments made efforts to move as many Jews as possible to emigrate. Of course, in Poland at that time lived nearly six times more Jewish residents than in the German Reich, namely almost three million. They accounted for about ten percent of the total population, while the five hundred thousand German Jews not even constituted one percent of the population of Germany. According to the “strictly confidential” memorandum B of the US Embassy in Warsaw, Beck and Bullitt had agreed that it would not be possible to resettle the excess Jews in one country, but rather to “spread” the emigrees widely.
The “strictly confidential memorandum C” of the US embassy reflects the evaluation of the situation by the Polish Marshal Rydz-Smigly that he had given in a conversation with Foreign Minister Beck, Ambassador Biddle and Ambassador Bullitt. It culminated in the finding that neither the French nor the Russians were at the moment in a position to conduct a military intervention, in which Rydz-Smigly was in complete agreement with his foreign minister. Ambassador Biddle noted this in his record.
In the fourth memorandum (“Memorandum D”) Bullitt and Biddle noted the Polish great-power ambitions and described Warsaw’s – or rather Foreign Minister Beck’s – ideas about the possible role of Poland in Europe. As the “Third Europe” in the east of the continent, it would establish itself not only as a great power and dominate the region from the Baltic to the Black Sea, but also keep a self-confident distance from the Soviet Union and the German Reich, a policy that would bring Washington’s interest applause, because they defied both the Bolshevik dictatorship and the Nazi regime – and laid great weight on Roosevelt’s European policy. The conversations diplomatic talks between Bullitt and the Poles in Paris and Washington in November 1938 and early 1939 illustrated the intention of Roosevelt to assure Poland any assistance against a possible German threat to prevent another aggression of the Nazi Reich in Eastern Europe.
Bilateral efforts to ease tension
At the time of Bullitt visit, however, the German-Polish relations seemed neither hostile nor strained, on the contrary: Berlin and Warsaw had just a few days before the arrival of the top American diplomat on the Vistula concluded a minority Agreement, which suitable to reducing the existing stress of the mutual relations. In connection with this agreement, on the same day, the 5th November 1937, Chancellor Hitler in Berlin received a representative of the “Union of Poles in Germany” and the Polish President Moscicki – a delegation of the German minority in Poland, as a demonstration of mutual understanding. And what the attitude of Warsaw to the German-Czech tensions was concerned, on the Vistula there were hardly any friendly feelings towards Prague, after at the beginning of 1937, a book was released by the Czechoslovak envoy in Bucharest, Jan Seba (“Russia and the Little Entente”) in which the author stood up for a common border between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union – and – as one pointed out in Warsaw, at Poland’s expense. According Polish circles who were close to Marshal Rydz-Smigly, the book, in which the reigning Czech Foreign Minister Krofta had written a preface, represented a further step of Prague to her role as the “vanguard of the Soviet Union in the event of war.” It is well known, that Berlin would a year later harbor the same suspicion against Czechoslovakia, and speak of a conscious coalition of Prague and Moscow. This is evident, among other sources, from the American Embassy reports from Berlin during the so-called Sudeten crisis in summer, 1938. The time good neighborhood between Germany and Poland continued in the following year. In early January 1938, the Polish foreign minister was staying for a few days in Berlin and was received by both Hitler and the Reich Foreign Minister, and “other leading German statesmen”. And when in March 1938, in the wake of Austria’s annexation to Germany (“Anschluss”), foreign missions in Vienna were closed, Poland has not taken the example of Bulgaria or Switzerland, which converted their current embassies to consulates general, but dissolved her diplomatic mission without replacement, which best corresponded to the German desires. With the Sudeten crisis looming ever more clearly, Warsaw still preserved benevolent neutrality towards Berlin and was sometimes pronounced germanophile, although the former Prime Minister and Defense Minister, General Sikorski, according to the American Embassy report 4 November 1937, in a much-publicized essay, had expressed himself for the course “Neither Germany nor Russia” and anti-German feelings began to appear in army circles.
Warsaw’s understanding with Berlin
The Polish government remained suspicious of latent sympathy for communism in Czechoslovakia and attacked Prague on 30 March 1938 with a protest note against the anti-Polish activities of members of the Comintern and the Communist Party of the border with Poland, and was not entirely satisfied by the Czech reply. Likewise the Polish public criticized the minority policy of the Prague government and called for the autonomy for the Polish minority in Czechoslovakia and “compensation for the losses, which has the Polish population suffered since 1918″ – similar to the demands in Berlin against the Czech government in those months. Also in the military sphere there were tensions between Prague and Warsaw – just as between Berlin and Czechoslovakia. Poles and Czechs accused each other of aggressive troop concentrations on the border. Prague explained her troop movements in the border area with “domestic political needs.” The intention was to influence the local elections on 22 May 1938 in the German populated areas through demonstration of state power. When the question was discussed in May 1938 whether France should stand by its ally Czechoslovakia in the event of a military conflict with Germany, Warsaw made it bluntly clear that it did not feel obliged in such a case, to go to war on the side of France and Czechoslovakia.
What is more, while the German Reich because of the escalating Sudeten crisis was threatened with a conflict with France and Britain, and the Soviet Union signaled its willingness to help the Czechoslovak Republic, the Warsaw government agreed with Berlin over a uniform presentation of history in school textbooks and agreed on 1 July 1938 with the Reich Government that “those periods in which the two countries were in opposition to each other, should be represented objectively and dispassionately”, and that “in particular, all expressions and phrases should be avoided that may seem offensive or demeaning to the other country.”
Textbook recommendations in 1938
With these “textbook recommendations« Berlin and Warsaw wanted to set a signal for similar agreements with other states, and extend these to the textbooks of other school disciplines. Textbook recommendations negotiated after the Second World War had thus already a predecessor in 1938.
Almost in unison with the Berlin’s Czech policy, the Polish government accused the Prague state leadership of a too great tolerance of communist intrigues and sent it for example on 23 July 1938, a further protest “against anti-Polish activities of communist elements in Czechoslovakia.”
And in autumn, when the Sudeten crisis was reaching its critical peak, the official Poland on 13 September 1938 commented Hitler’s speech of the previous day with the following conclusions:
»1 The speech of the Chancellor concerned the international situation and clearly underlined the willingness of Germany to maintain peace and to stabilize it with one exception, namely the Czecho-Slovakia, where everything was made conditional on the regulation of the Sudeten German question.
2 The speech highlighted the importance of the agreement with Poland from 1934 to the cause of peace. Through this agreement, Poland has been included into the system of stabilization the borders of Germany as an essential element of peace. This view was understood in Poland with full recognition.
3 The categorical emphasis on the interest of Germany in the Sudeten problem was no surprise in the current situation.
4 The speech of the Chancellor does not preclude a peaceful settlement of the Sudeten German question, dependent of the internal changes in Czecho-Slovakia.
5 The emphasis of the principle of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans was made by the Chancellor in the spirit of understanding. «
“Almost seamless convergence”
Whoever reread the aggressive speech by Hitler on the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, can find this Polish commentary and interpretation only benevolent and “borne by a friendly understanding.” Hitler has shown little patience and did not shun from blunt threats vis á vis Prague: “I have … declared that the Reich will not tolerate further oppression and persecution of these three and a half million Germans, and I assure foreign statesmen at it is not empty phrases … If the democracies should think, however, that it will be possible to suppress the Germans with all and any means, then this will have serious consequences! “
The nearly seamless agreement of the Polish Czech policies with those of Germany was also expressed in a statement of the Warsaw government to the two Western Powers of 17 September 1938 in which it is stated that “Poland is a country that is interested in the Czechoslovakian problem, and that any concession made to the Sudeten Germans must also have application for the Polish ethnic group in Teschen.”
Three days later, on 20 September 1938, the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, Josef Lipski, explained to the German Chancellor on the Obersalzberg this attitude of his government, demonstrating in this way the concordance between Berlin and Warsaw in the Czechoslovak question.
On 21 September 1938, on the day the Czech declaration of transfer of the Sudetenland, the Polish government requested in a note to Prague, that they expected “for the territory with Polish national group similar rules, as laid down for the territory with German population,” namely the transfer. At the same time the Warsaw Polish-Czechoslovak abrogated the Convention of 1925 on the status of the Polish population in the CSR and issued a protest to France and Britain because they, in their transfer recommendation of 18-19 September 1938, had ignored the Polish minority in Czechoslovakia.
On 22 September 1938, the Polish government set up a “volunteer corps for the liberation of Poles in Czechoslovakia “and forbade in a sharp demarché of 23 September 1938 any interference of Moscow in favor of the Czechoslovak leadership which the Soviet Deputy People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Petrovich Potemkin had hinted to the Polish Chargé (“The necessary protective measures concern the Polish government only and Poland is not obliged to provide any explanation to third parts. “)
Beneficiaries of the Sudeten crisis
Similar to the German government’s expectation of the autonomy of Slovakia, the semiofficial Poland in those days – for example, statements of 23 September 1938 – expressed the idea of an independent Slovakia, which should enter into a union with an independent Carpatho-Ukraine and join Hungary. Poland would thereby obtain a common border with the Magyar state.
And since the two Western powers in their recommendations had only included the Sudetenland, and Benes in his secret offer (“Necas Paper”) had only spoken of Sudeten German areas, Warsaw was forced to present her territorial claims on Czechoslovakia separately. Thus, the Polish government demanded on 27 September 1938 in a note to Prague an immediate border revision, and hardened this demand – after a dilatory response of Benes – on 30 September 1938 to an ultimatum. The Czech government yielded on 1 October 1938 after the Munich Agreement and after the cession of the Sudetenland was initiated. A comparison of the two texts shows that the agreement between Warsaw and Prague leans noticeably on the provisions of the Munich Agreement (for example, evacuation of the area by the Czechs and occupation by Polish troops within ten days, understanding about the procedure of plebiscite, immediate release of all Poles from the Czech Army and the release of political prisoners of Polish nationality). Analogous to the Border Committee of the Munich Agreement (Article 6), in which a representative of the Prague government was included, Warsaw agreed with Czechoslovakia on a “Mixed Boundary Commission” for the final determination of the Polish-Czech border, and gave it time until 30 November 1938 to accomplish this task.
The “International Committee” of the Munich Agreement ended their deliberations on 20 November 1938. The border settlement between Warsaw and Prague, stipulated that after the cession of the county districts of Teschen and Freistadt (= Olsagebiet) beginning in October 1938 also the region north of Cadca (Czacza) and the northern Tatra Mountains were to be transferred to Poland. Similarly to the speech of German Chancellor at the Berlin Sports Palace 26 September 1938 in which he explained “that – when this problem is solved – Germany has no more territorial problems in Europe”, the Polish government after adoption of these final border line, declared “to have no further territorial claims against Czechoslovakia.” A border incident on 26 and 27 November 1938 in which, after Warsaw representation, two Polish officers had been wounded, led the Polish government on 28 November to prematurely occupy a region in High Tatras awarded to Poland. This problem of the Polish minority in Czechoslovakia – as well as the pending settlement of the Hungarian claims – was then taken into account in supplement statements to the Munich Agreement of Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini. It stated:
“The Heads of Governments of the Four Powers declared that the problem of the Polish and Hungarian minorities in Czechoslovakia, if it is not settled within three months by an agreement between the governments concerned, will be subject of another meeting of Heads of Government of the Four Powers.” And: “His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the French Government have joined the above agreement on the basis that they will offer an international guarantee of the new frontier of the Czechoslovak State against unprovoked attack , as specified in paragraph 6 of the English-French proposals of 19 September. Once the question of the Polish and Hungarian minorities is regulated in Czechoslovakia, Germany and Italy will in turn give a guarantee to Czechoslovakia. “
Thus, Poland not only ran and achieved her own ‘Munich’, but also obtained a connection to the Quadripartite Agreement of 29 September, and broadly along the lines of the Berlin policy, and often with the same procedure.
First shots from Washington
The US government saw the analogy between Warsaw and Berlin with increasing discomfort and responded in two ways.
In addition to the statements of Roosevelt at a press conference on 30 September 1938 and the statements of Secretary of State Hull’s, it let it be known through diplomatic channels on the same day to the two Western powers, that it considered “Munich” as a “capitulation of democratic states” and as a “sign of their weakness against the German Reich” – and by the same secret diplomatic channels it strengthened Poland’s back against any subsequent German territorial claims.
Moreover, on 19 November 1938 William Christian Bullitt met with the Polish Ambassador in Washington, Count Jerzy Potocki, for a detailed discussion on the current situation in Europe and was able to continue on this occasion the exchange began in Warsaw a year ago, especially since Potocki had been fully informed about the Bullitt visit in November 1937 in Warsaw by his relative Joseph Potocki, to leader Department of Anglo-Saxon in the Polish Foreign Ministry. According to Potocki’s secret report to the Polish Foreign Minister of 21 November 1938, Bullitt spoke “about Germany and Chancellor Hitler with the greatest vehemence and strong hatred” and said “that only force, and possibly a war may make an end to the insane German expansion in the future.” To Potocki’s question on how Bullitt imagined a future war against Germany, he said, “that especially the United States, France and England would have to arm in order to be able to face the German power.” Further Bullitt reported to Ambassador Potocki, “that the democratic states needed another two years to complete their arms programs.” In the meantime Germany would probably go forward with her expansion in the Eastern direction. It would be the desire of democratic states that it came in the east to an armed conflict between Germany and Russia. ” After the outbreak of this war, continued Bullitt, “Germany would be too far removed from her base and condemned to a long and attenuating war. Only then would the democratic states attack Germany and force her to capitulation.”
Bullitt promises participation in the war
Moreover, the “mood in the United States toward Nazism and Hitlerism was so excited among Americans today, that it reminded of a similar psychosis prior to the declaration of war of the United States to Germany in 1917. ” To Potocki’s question whether the United States would participate in such a war against Germany, Bullitt replied: “Undoubtedly yes, but only after England and France strike first! « On the situation and role of Poland the top US diplomat said, “that Poland would also join in the fight if Germany overstep her boundaries,” which was, undoubtedly, meant as an encouragement and a compliment. The Bullitt’s remarks about Warsaw’s quest to get a border with Hungary: “I understand the question of a common frontier with Hungary very well. The Hungarians are also a capable people. A common defense line with Yugoslavia would facilitate the opposition to the German expansion” went in the same direction and finally reached a self-evident character of encouragement in his comments about German intentions in Ukraine when Bullitt said,” that Germany have a complete Ukrainian Staff which should in the future take over the government of Ukraine and establish there an independent Ukrainian state under German influence.”
Bullitt – according to the Potocki report – said literally: “Such a Ukraine would of course be very dangerous for you, as it would have a direct effect on the Ukrainians in Eastern Poland. «
Since it was known – and was noted by Ambassador Potocki in the secret report at the outset – that Bullitt was one of the most influential and closest friends of Roosevelt, great importance was attached to these messages, and they were regarded as thoughts of the President. The more so, because the same Bullitt spoke in the same way to the Polish ambassador in Paris, Count Juliusz Lukasiewicz, and tried to boost Poland’s courage against Germany in February 1939.
These objections of the United States government against existing policy of the European powers, and their massive influence on the Warsaw state leadership could explain the almost abruptly changing Polish attitude toward Germany. For just ten days after the arrival of Potocki’s secret report, it was reported on 1 December 1938 from Warsaw, that Poland was concerned “in the event of the continued existence of an autonomous Carpatho-Russia for the repercussions on its Ukrainian population” – exactly as Ambassador William Bullitt explained to Potocki on 19 November 1938 in Washington.
The German foreign policy had since October 1938 turned to the problem of Danzig which was expressed in two meetings between Foreign Minister Ribbentrop and Lipski, the Polish Ambassador in Berlin. According to the German proposals, the Free State administered by the League of Nations should return to Germany, and Poland should, in compensation, receive certain rights in the Danzig harbor. In addition, Berlin wished “an extraterritorial autobahn belonging to Germany and an equally extraterritorial multi-track railroad” through the Corridor, between Pomerania and East Prussia. But the Polish side would not accept these proposals. Neither Hitler during his conversation with Beck, nor Ribbentrop on his state visit to Warsaw on 26./27.January 1939 could achieve a promise from the Polish government. Poland apparently did not consider the Danzig problem for negotiable and did not have the slightest hint of a willingness to discuss this issue. It is natural to see this intransigence in the context of Bullitt’s talks in Washington and Paris.
That Polish politicians, especially the Foreign Minister Josef Beck, considered as “pro-German”, in the winter of 1938/39, spoke a different language than a few months earlier, is evident from American secret documents of those days.
The US ambassador in Warsaw, Biddle, under date of the 10th January 1939 in a report marked as »strictly confidential for the President and the Secretary << informed Washington what the Polish Foreign Minister told him about his conversations with Hitler and Ribbentrop on 5 and 6 January 1939 in Berchtesgaden. The German Chancellor had during his general “tour d’horizon” held a “boastful review” of his successes in the past year, and was quite angry about President Roosevelt’s message to the Congress of 4 January 1939. The passage of Roosevelt’s congressional message which awoke Hitler’s anger was: “Words may be futile, but war is not the only Means of commanding a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. There are many methods short of war, but stronger and more effective than mere words, of bringing home to aggressor Governments the aggregate sentiments of our own people. At the very least, we can and should avoid any action, or any lack of action, which will encourage, assist or build up an aggressor. «
According to the secret report by Biddle, Beck and his government were deeply impressed and of these statements and drew the conclusion that Poland and France must soon agree on their position against Germany, since they sat in the same boat. Beck and the American Ambassador would discuss further details with the Polish Chief of General Staff. Out of the statements of Bullitt on 19 November 1938 in Washington had thus already developed concrete ideas about the future attitude towards Germany. Anti-German sentiments among the Polish officer corps which were noticeable during the confidential conversations on the evening of 10 January 1939, increased remarkably in the following weeks. The US ambassador found the attitudes so important, that he reported on it in a “strictly confidential” cable to Washington dated 20 February 1939. His informants in this case were American military attaché in Warsaw, Major Colbern, and the Romanian Ambassador in Poland. The Polish officer circles viewed the currently observed calming in the German-Polish relations, wrote Biddle, as a temporary respite, which would sooner or later be followed by new German attacks, which could potentially result in a violent confrontation between Poland and Germany. Also Polish government circles, according to Biddle, expressed growing antipathy towards Germany. According to a source, only the Polish Minister of Justice Grabowski was still considered a German-friendly. Foreign Minister Beck, hitherto claimed to have harbored no negative feelings towards Germany, was not a sympathizer of Berlin, even if just a few weeks previously he showed considerable friendliness towards Hitler and Ribbentrop.
The “Increasing anti-German feeling in Army circles and preponderant anti-German feeling in inner government circles” of which Ambassador Biddle wrote in his dispatch No. 962 of 20 February 1939 seemed to have spread to the streets of Warsaw and Poznan. Of this speaks another secret cable from the US Embassy in Warsaw, in which Biddle writes about anti-German student demonstrations in front of the War Office in Warsaw and the German Consulate General in Poznan. They were triggered by a sign, which the German nationalist students had mounted on the the entrance of the Danzig »Polytechnic” and which bore the inscription: “For dogs and Poles access forbidden”! The resolution by Polish students demanding an economic, cultural and social boycott of Germany seemed not to have satisfied their fellow students in Warsaw and Poznan, and they came together to protest demonstrations. In the capital, it should have been about 500 students, according to the US Embassy report, which called in front of the Ministry of War “Down with Hitler!” and “Down with Beck’s pro-German policy!” Then they called for Marshal Rydz-Smigly to march troops to Gdansk. Warsaw police made no attempt to intervene, from which it was clear “that the government harbored sympathy with the demonstration.” Attempts to reach the German Embassy were of course in vain, According to the American embassy cables, the Polish students in Poznan carried the same demands and were able to smash a number of windows in the German library and in the offices of a German newspaper.
Other, much larger demonstrations were planned for the following Sunday, but were canceled because of the arrival of the Italian Foreign Minister in the Polish capital. On 27 February 1939, two days after the US embassy report, the Polish Government expressed regret to the German Ambassador about this incident and promised severe punishment of the guilty. It could not be excluded that the presence of Count Ciano (from February 25 to March 1) prompted this excuse; Italy was closely aligned to the German Reich, both ideologically and through the “Rome-Berlin Axis.”A following visit of the Romanian foreign minister Gafencu, from 4 to 6 March 1939 boosted the self-perception of Poland as a rising great power, while the idea of a “Third Europe” between the Baltic and Black Sea was once again aired – there was even talk about the Aegean! Relevant political and economic issues were also discussed.
The Polish great-power ambitions were underlined on 11th March 1939 by the demand of the unofficial magazine “National Unity” to acquire colonies. With the acquisition of suitable lands it would also be possible to counteract the free emigration “to countries where the Polish blood is denationalized”, and thereby to keep the national substance.
The Warsaw government took the German occupation of the rump Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 quietly and already on 16 March granted the now independent Slovakia Poland’s diplomatic recognition. In contrast, the American government denounced in sharp words the action of Germany and refused to recognize the legality of the de facto takeover of Bohemia and Moravia by Germany. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles declared on 18 March 1939 to the media US government’s regret over the actions of Germany, “it was the temporary demise of the freedom of an independent and free people, with which the American people maintained close and friendly relations,” and spoke in this context of “armed attack” and “arbitrary acts”. The formula of the “temporary demise” may have been chosen especially for the ears of the anguished Czechoslovakia’s former president Benes; they could of course also have to be understood as a hidden indication of future American intervention policy. The decisive tone of the statement is in any case could not be misunderstood and soon found its echo in Warsaw.
This is also confirmed in ambassador Biddle’s “strictly confidential” secret telegram of 29 March 1939 to the Secretary of State. In it, he reproduced the substance of his conversation with Foreign Minister Beck of 28 March. It revolved mainly around the German-Polish relations and the determination of Warsaw, not to give in to any pressure on the part of the Reich. Poland’s defensive preparedness would constitute a “dignified, polite but firm response” to specific suggestion of Berlin. Although Poland was for any understanding on the basis of equality, but not accessible for a solution that would be forced upon her by intimidation. Therefore, it was agreed upon to maintain for the time being the current state of mobilization, till the current international danger was gone. According to Ambassador Biddle Berlin was during those weeks “power drunk” and not used to encountering resistance; German political extremists would harass Hitler to enforce the quickest possible annexation of Danzig and also to achieve the rights of passage through the corridor. According to Biddle’s report Marshal Rydz-Smigly was convinced that Berlin was out to provoke a war with Poland, but the firm attitude of the Polish government enjoyed a full support of the people. And should they, as in the case of Danzig, give in, that would be not only a sign of defeatism, but would also lead to overthrow of the government and thus also of Beck. According Biddle’s the German-Polish conflict could have been prevented if Berlin and Warsaw agreed to a clear change in the status of Danzig, and Berlin would settle on a right of way through the corridor – but not an extraterritorial status – and also would dispense with further issues.
As is now known, such a compromise was not agreed upon, and the United States seemed not to be willing to promote it through an appropriate recommendation. Of course, this is not a proof that the Polish leadership was receptive over American suggestions. This is at least suggested in a secret report by two British diplomatic emissaries who in May 1939 undertook a fact-finding visit to Poland on behalf of their government and conferred with key politicians and the military in Warsaw. Their Polish interlocutors averred that there “regarding Danzig were certain concessions which no Poles would do voluntarily” and that they could not understand that Englishmen spoke of “the legitimacy of the claims of Herr Hitler”; and they would ask, “what were the Germans actually doing in Prague?” Ultimately, they, the Poles, knew better “how to deal with the Germans” than the English.
This reference to the German invasion of the remainder of Czechoslovakia, explains the background for the Polish behavior.
The Poles did not want to be the next victim of German revision and expansion policy, but confront Hitler’s claims in this respect militarily from the beginning.
Bullitt’s repeated pledges of support for Poland by the United States encouraged Warsaw undoubtedly in addition to her own uncompromising attitude.
Two days after sending the American Embassy report, the British Prime Minister Chamberlain declared on 31 March 1939 at London’s House of Commons, “that the British government is committed to lend Poland all the assistance in their power, if it should be attacked …, especially when it would be clear that the attack aimed at the destruction of Polish independence, so that the Polish government would have no choice but to fight back with all the national resources. We have given the Polish government the appropriate assurances.”
This unique British guarantee was thus given. It was then confirmed in August, and finally 3 September 1939 should lead to war between Germany and England, after German troops entered Poland on the morning of the first day of September.
A first step to mobilize Poland’s national defense force was done already on 28 March 1939. It was also decided to issue a national defense bond for the purpose of expansion of the air defenses and air force in a total of 1.2 billion zloty, and General Skwarczynski on the same day stated that Germany by the invasion of the rest-Czechoslovakia created with a fait accompli, “which has brought Poland without a doubt in a serious situation.”
The situation of Poland was not improved by the statement of the fascist “Giornale d’Italia” of 4 April, in which Warsaw was reminded that England and France had not kept their guarantees for the CSR. On the same day Moscow declared, that in case of war the Soviet Union was not obliged to supply war materials to Poland, nor would it stop deliveries of its raw materials to Germany. The Kremlin signaled with this explanation its willingness to enter into closer contact with Berlin, if so desired by the German side.
On 6 April 1939 Foreign Minister Beck concluded his state visit to London where a mutual assistance agreement between Poland and the UK was agreed upon.
The “Völkische Beobachter” called it a “dangerous step” and a departure from the “wise political course” of Polish national hero, Marshal Pilsudski, which could “set Europe ablaze.” In this context, the central organ of the NSDAP also criticized the partial mobilization of the Polish Army on the border with Germany and called it a “provocation”.
Pilsudski’s path abandoned
In the shadow of the events in high politics, several important events on the diplomatic and journalistic level have hardly been registered by posterity. They include the suicide of the former Polish prime minister and close associate of Marshal Pilsudski, Colonel Valery Slawek, on 4 April 1939, as well as the return of the previously exiled oppositional leader of the Polish Peasant Party Witos and his political friends on 11 April 1939. It is assumed that the motive of the suicide of Pilsudski’s confidant Slawek was despair over the change of course, and it is possible that the return of the previously undesirable in Poland peasant leader should be seen as a sign of “national concentration”. Undeniably, however, the measure of the Warsaw Parliament of 11April 1939 was a further step in preparations for a confrontation: it was decided to make each privately owned vehicle available for national defense “in the event of mobilization or other urgent necessity”, while private farmers were required to perform collective work in agriculture. By these decrees the military readiness of Poland was again clearly demonstrated.
On 25 April 1939 the Polish press stated that the relationship between Moscow and Warsaw allegedly “were developing on the basis of good neighborly relations and that the Soviet Union was showing a better understanding of Polish interests”. This more desired than actually observed relaxation between the Soviet Union and Poland should indicate to Berlin that Warsaw had her back free and would not feel vulnerable to blackmail as an encircled country. In reality, the Kremlin had already secretly decided to pursue a German-Soviet rapprochement and the pro-Western Foreign Minister Litvinov was forced to resign on May 1939. In the same extent as the benevolent interest of the Kremlin in Germany rose, fell the sympathies of the Soviet government for Poland.
Only Britain encouraged the Polish defense will by a draft law on mobilization on 26 April 1939, which should significantly facilitate the calling of reserves and auxiliaries in the future. In a second bill, the introduction of limited conscription was provided for. Both had a validity period of three years. This could only mean that a military conflict was expected during this time.
Hitler responded to the Polish and British mobilization arrangements with a speech to the German Reichstag in which he repealed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 and the German-Polish treaty of January 1934. On 28 April 1939 the Warsaw government was formally informed through a memorandum. Thus a confrontation course between the Reich and Poland was officially started. The Polish Foreign Minister Beck held a speech at the Warsaw Chamber of Deputies on 5 May in which he announced the mutual aid agreement with England and the “strengthening” of the agreements with France. At the same time he commented on Hitler’s suggestion to launch new negotiations for a future German-Polish treaty, which, as he said, would be possible only with certain reservations and conditions. The Polish Foreign Office Minister said verbatim: “Our war generation, soaked with blood, certainly deserves a period of peace. But peace has a high, even if determinable price. We Poles, do not know the concept of peace at any price. In people’s lives, as in the lives of States, only a thing is priceless: honor. “
Thus Beck made it clear that for his country a second ‘Munich’ or even a ‘protectorate solution ” are out of the question, and that the threshold of tolerance to German demands had been reached.
Also the ethnic Germans in Poland felt the change of course painfully. The telegram No. 1023 of 6 April 1939 of the American Embassy was concerned with them and their situation. According to it between 1919-1926 a total of 990.000 ethnic Germans had left Poland to settle in Germany; the proportion of the urban population, the teachers and public servants from the districts in what was now western Poland was greatest. As evidenced by the last census in Poland, the number of ethnic Germans living in Poland – according to US Embassy report of 6 April 1939 – was 741.000 people, a share of the total population of 2.3 percent. According to the same source, in 1931 a total of 31.9158 million people lived in the Republic of Poland. The most numerous German minorities lived in the provinces of Posen (193.100), Łódź (155.300) and “Pomorze” (105.400). This – German – minority had felt the most the Polish “hand of the state” alongside the Jews, and had to endure government restrictions. The strengthening of the German Reich and the “return” of the German Austrians, the Sudeten Germans and the Memellanders awoke in the ethnic Germans in Poland a stronger self-confidence, which the Poles and their authorities in turn met with increased official arrogance and restrictions, a practice which already in the Twenties had been sharply criticized by the Foreign Minister Stresemann who brought the question before the tribunal of the League of Nations. With the deteriorating political and diplomatic relations between Berlin and Warsaw also understanding and tolerance between Germans and Poles in the Republic worsened noticeably.
This development quickened as mid May 1939 agents’ reports were received, which indicated an imminent German invasion of Poland. US Ambassador Biddle reported it, “strictly confidential for the President and the Secretary” on 15 May 1939. Reportedly, Hitler wanted to realize his plans for world domination with an attack on Poland in June to be followed by a world war in September. The attack on Poland would be conducted with motorized forces simultaneously from north and south, and flanked by a rapid occupation of Danzig. In addition, the German High Command allegedly planned a concentrated outbreak from the encirclement in the east and southeast of Germany, at the same time overrunning the “Siegfried and Maginot Line” in the West. A binding of French forces by the Spaniards in the Pyrenean region and a use of the German Luftwaffe against England were also expected.
In a second telegram of the same date (15 May 1939) Ambassador Biddle informed of the assessment of the current situation and of the personality of Hitler by the Polish Foreign Minister Beck and reported back to Washington that Warsaw saw Hitler on the defensive and helpless because the German and Austrian mentality is strong in the offensive, but confused on the defensive. Beck saw Hitler’s inner balance disturbed by the Anglo-Polish pact, the message of President Roosevelt to Hitler and Mussolini (dated 15 April 1939), the Anglo-Turkish Pact (May 12, 1939), Beck talks with the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Potemkin, and the refusal of the Scandinavian countries to conclude a non-aggression pact with Germany, and said that a continuation of such defeats would most likely show the German dictator his place. According to Biddle, Beck was aware of the seriousness of the situation and did not exclude a war in the coming few days. Yet he thought, that Hitler had preserved a remnant of reason in order to avoid the utmost. However, the time has come to express the will to resist unequivocally and publicly. In this connection
Beck expressed once again his satisfaction with the Anglo-Polish pact, which was the appropriate means, in his opinion, of dealing with dictators of Hitler’s type and a proper response to their aggressive policies.
Incident in Danzig
A few days after this report, in the night of 21 May, came in Danzig to an incident in which a citizen of Danzig was shot by a Polish citizen, namely the driver of a motor vehicle, in which the Polish Legation Terkowski sat. According to Polish representation the chauffeur was acting in self-defense because he had been the target of a provocative attack, that is, both sides blamed each other for this incident. Two days later the so-called Committee of Three of the League of Nations for Danzig, composed of one representative of England, France and Sweden decided, in agreement with the wishes of the Polish government, to make no change in the status of the Free City of Danzig, and simultaneously requested the High Commissioner of the League of Nations for Danzig to return as soon as possible to the city and to prepare a report on the situation there. On 24 May 1939 there was a sharp exchange of notes between the Polish Commissioner-General in Danzig and the Danzig NS government over the responsibility for the bloody incident of 21 May.
On 31 May Poland received an indirect support of Molotov, who spoke in a speech to the two chambers of the Supreme Soviet of an improvement in the relationship between Moscow and Warsaw and in the same breath strongly condemned Berlin’s policy towards Czechoslovakia, and Memel. It is an open question whether this unkind speech of the Soviet Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs was be a deliberate provocation of Berlin or an answer to secret instructions of the Foreign Office to make no further effort for a German-Russian rapprochement for the time being. According to a confidential report of US Ambassador Steinhardt’s from Moscow on 25 May 1939, the German Chief of Mission, Graf Schulenburg received appropriate explanations, since apparently Japan was concerned by the developments.
Already a fortnight later, the US Ambassador Steinhardt reported “confidentially”to Washington that the German and the Soviet government still kept in contact with each other. Three days later, on 12 June 1939, the US ambassador in Warsaw, A.J. Drexel Biddle, reported about a conversation he had with the influential Polish Trade Councilor in Warsaw Foreign Ministry, Jan Wszelaki, and informed “strictly confidential” to the “Secretary of State” that in the opinion of his interlocutor, the Poles would be ready to give their lives for their country. Above all, the Polish Army would resist aggression, especially since it also could count on the help of Romanian troops. In all case, the Poles would behave differently than the Czechs and defy the Germans aggression. Berlin seemed not to have understood this determination of the Poles. Otherwise is the speech of Joseph Goebbels on 17 June 1939 in Danzig hardly explainable. Hitler’s propaganda minister qualified Polish claims a coming from “agitators” and said, that Berlin does not take seriously “Polish megalomania”.
The mentioned by Goebbels aspirations of Poland, to annex Silesia and East Prussia, with Oder as a border river, as well as to “butcher” the Germans in a possible war “in an upcoming Battle of Berlin” certainly were not new. They were already noted by the two British diplomats, William Strang and Gladwyn Jebb, in a report from their secret trip, and had a real background – quite apart from the fact that these Polish wishes seemed to be fulfilled in 1945. On 29 June 1939 the Polish authorities underlined their unshakable resolve when President Moscicki on the occasion of the “Day of the Sea” gave a speech in which he stated: “The worse the external conditions, the greater is the determination of the Polish nation to assert their rights to this coastal strip on the Baltic Sea … We live in a time of the arms race but we are determined to maintain peace in the Polish shore of the Baltic Sea. This intention is forcing us to increase the Polish Armed Forces at Sea …. Powerful on earth and in the air, we also want to be strong at sea to ensure the maritime mission of the Polish nation.”
Declarations of France and England
In the same connection, the Polish government announced that it was in possession of reliable information on the organization of a German Freikorps in Danzig, which exacerbated the crisis in the city even more. The French Foreign Minister Bonnet declared on 2 July that France as well as England were firmly resolved to honor their commitments not to tolerate any change of the status quo in Danzig or in the Polish Corridor, “be it through unilateral action from within, or by an act of violence from the outside.” Background for this statement were widespread rumors according to which Hitler supposedly wanted to come to Danzig in order to to proclaim the Anschluss of the port of Danzig to the German Reich. Apparently for the same reason, the British Prime Minister Chamberlain said he on 10 July 1939 before the British House of Commons:
“The recent events in Danzig have inevitably given rise to fears that it was intended to change the status of the city by a unilateral action and in this way to put Poland and other powers before a fait accompli … We have issued a guarantee that we will give our help to Poland in the event of a clear threat to its independence and we are determined to carry out these obligations. “
The presence of the National Socialist Gauleiter of Danzig, Forster in Berchtesgaden and his conversation with Hitler at the Berghof on 13 July intensified the rumors in foreign newspapers that the Danzig Nazis wanted to elect Hitler for president of the Free City of Danzig and in this way to unite the city with the German Reich by personal union. The Polish government responded to these conjectures with the official release of 24 July 1939, in which it said:
“Regardless of the manner in which Germany wanted to incorporate the Free City of Danzig in the Reich, the Polish political circles declare that form for Anschluss would be considered an unauthorized change of the current political and legal state of affairs and therefore would entail an appropriate response.”
After these declarations of British, French and Polish side it should now have been made sufficiently clear to Berlin that another political earthquake would lead to a military confrontation over the status of Danzig, and therefore a “Munich Agreement” or 党March 1939媒 would not be repeated. Warsaw elevated the existing status quo of Danzig to the point of honor, which was not negotiable, and the allied Western powers strongly strengthened Poland in his attitude.
The opinion of the Polish military
In the spirit of Beck’s psychological strategy against Hitler, namely the demonstration of determination and strength, several high officers expressed themselves in the following days and weeks.
Naturally, Marshal Rydz-Smigly played in this connexion a prominent role. Many foreign diplomats turned to him for an assessment. US Ambassador Biddle was one of his selected interlocutors and he reported in detail about his conversation to Washington. Here, the secret telegram “strictly confidential, for the President and the Secretary” of 26 July 1939 is particularly revealing. It includes the assessment of the latest military situation by the top Polish officer and testifies to the almost inevitable development of a military conflict between Poland and Germany. And so, when the Polish army leadership deployed two divisions to the German-Polish border, the Germans sent in return three divisions to the opposite strip of territory. In recent days, as Rydz-Smigly explained to the US Ambassador, a concentration of German troops was reported vis-・vis the city of Posen, and very recently also in the area of Breslau-Oppeln, which was, however not considered very alarming. In the opinion of the Polish Marshal the Germans would need around two weeks to mobilize sufficient forces for an attack on Poland: a prediction which Ambassador Biddle felt it necessary to validate from other sources.
According to recent intelligence findings, confided to Rydz-Smigly to the American ambassador, holidays of German officers have been canceled and reservists were, instead of harvesting, from 10 August 1939 were provided for military use. The probability of war, as of late, was greater than the chances of its prevention, but the policy of strength and determination have been proven correct and the strength of the “anti-aggression front” increased at the expense of the Axis. Time worked against Germany and after a year should the military strength of the anti-aggression front (= Poland, England and France along with their allies) would have caught up and even surpass the Axis powers in two years. Rydz-Smigly and Foreign Minister Beck were united in the belief that only a stiff attitude of the “anti-aggression front” constituted an effective counterweight to Germany’s expansionist ambitions and that the language of strength was the only one which could bring Hitler to a halt. The brown dictator used hi armed forces for blackmail rather than as “a factor Intended to actually come to grips with formidable strength,” as Biddle summarized the opinion of Beck and Smigly-Rydz. Nevertheless, Hitler would remain vigilant in order to exploit any sign of weakness of the “anti-aggression front” and strike. The State Department held the telegram from Biddle’s for so important that Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles forwarded it along with other dispatches from Warsaw to President Roosevelt’s personal inspection, as the enclosure of the letter shows. On 17 August 1939 Ambassador Biddle turned again “strictly confidential” to the President and to the Secretary of State to report the mass arrests of German people, who had been arrested under the pretense of espionage and spying activities. Among those arrested was also Rudolph Weisner, one of the prominent leaders of the German minority in Poland, who the Poles now referred to as a “former” member of the Polish Senate, as Biddle noted in his secret report. Background for these arrests was the suspicion that these ethnic Germans were working as a “fifth column” of Berlin and were behind some border incidents where Polish people had been wounded. The US Embassy telegram of 17 August 1939 mentioned some examples that have been attributed to the German minority. Whether the allegations were right, could not be objectively determined. In any case, for the wrought-up polish majority already a suspicion was sufficient to consider the action warranted. That there was possibly more resentment and propaganda behind the suspicions of the Germans, is evident from a remark that the already mentioned Trade Councilor Wszelaki made in an interview with British diplomats Strang and Jebb in May 1939. He was afraid, in case of a possible outbreak of war, a terrible massacre of ethnic Germans, as it then in the first days of September and actually happened, where about five thousand ethnic Germans lost their lives.
The US Ambassador Biddle reported on the emotionally charged atmosphere of the Poles in a telegram on 9 August 1939, when, on the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Pilsudski’s Legion, on 6 August and reproduced the speech of Marshal Rydz-Smigly. In it, the Polish Commander in Chief had made it clear that the city of Danzig was centuries connected with Poland and its economy, and that force would be met with counter-violence, that the Poles were no less patriotic than the Germans. At the end of his speech a vow was heard from the lips of the assembled Legionnaires and over a hundred thousand people from all over Poland: “We swear to fight in a war until victory.” Biddle thought that the crowd gathered in Krakow probably expressed the mood of all Poles. Moreover Rydz-Smigly repeated the core of his speech in Cracow in an interview with the American journalist Mary Heaton Vorse.
Biddle sent the text in an annex to a secret telegram of 9 August. The marshal said to the reporter that Poland was determined to fight if Germany pursued her plans to annex Danzig. All in the Poles agreed Danzig was absolutely necessary for Poland. Furthermore, each Polish boy learned the prayer that he should be a good soldier in and defend his country.
Quintessence of Biddle’s messages from Warsaw was that Marshal Rydz-Smigly and Foreign Minister Beck – were of the opinion »that durable peace could not be secured by the granting of further territorial concessions in Eastern and Central Europe to Hitler”; with further concessions would ultimately not assure a lasting peace.
Thus, the Polish position was made clear enough to potential counterparties in the West and any doubts about the sincerity were removed. The German side responded to numerous expressions of Warsaw’s resolve only in speeches of subordinate persons like the Danzig Gauleiter Forster or government spokesmen.
At the highest level Berlin was strikingly silent, while a surprise coup was being prepared, one which should bring the whole edifice of alliance and support, the so-called “anti-aggression front”, to a collapse: an agreement with the Soviet Union. As evidenced by the confidential US embassy reports from Moscow Berlin steered towards such a conclusion since the late spring of 1939. On 21 August 1939 the negotiations reached signature-mature results, and the conclusion of the treaty could be made known.
Warsaw, which the German-Soviet rapprochement was meant to intimidate, was unimpressed and on 22 August declared:
“The announcement of the impending conclusion of the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union has not made a big impression in the Polish circles, because basically this treaty brings no actual change in the balance of forces in Europe … The conclusion of the non-aggression pact will have no influence on the position and the attitude of Poland”. One could hardly imagine that the non-aggression treaty only a fig leaf for the much more important “secret additional protocol” between the German Reich and the USSR, which divided Poland into a future German and a Soviet Russian spheres of influence, her independence terminated, as it happened in September 1939.
The US continue to deceive Poland
Poland could get the knowledge of this most menacing intent of Hitler and Stalin, had the State Department or the White House in Washington decided to pass this secretly acquired information to friendly Poland. From the secret telegram of the US Embassy in Moscow on 24 August 1939, we know that the American government has been notified a few hours after the signing of the “Secret Additional Protocol” about its content. Considering the frankness with which the Polish government informed the US officials in Warsaw on all important developments, an appropriate confidentiality towards Poland by the US government would have been natural to expect. And remembering the public reactions to alleged German machinations around Danzig, one can only wonder about the quiet acceptance of this sensational as well as imperialist butchering of the Polish state.
After 23 August 1939 all identifiable pronouncements of the “anti-aggression front” took no notice to the content of the Soviet-German “additional protocol” to the Hitler-Stalin Pact, but essentially commented current events or reacted specifically to the published text of the German-Soviet agreement. And so, the British government, signed on 25 August 1939 the Anglo-Polish mutual assistance agreement, and stressed their determination to stand by their commitments to Poland, and the French Prime Minister Daladier reiterated on the same day the fateful ties of his country with the people of Poland. And US President Roosevelt addressed on 25 August 1939 a message to Hitler: not in order to denounce his complicity with Stalin, but to offer his own services in a peaceful solution to the German-Polish conflict. Upon receipt of the Polish approval of his negotiation proposals, Roosevelt turned on 26 this August 1939 again to Hitler and said: “Moscicki in his reply stated that the Polish government was ready to resolve the conflict between Poland and the German Reich on the basis suggested in my message, by negotiation or by arbitration. We can still save the lives of countless people, and we are still full of the hope that the nations of the modern world can establish the basis for peaceful and happier relationship if you and the Reich government agreed to a peaceful settlement accepted by the Polish Government.”
Upon arrival of this Roosevelt message, the German Wehrmacht should, according to Hitler’s plans, already be marching into Poland, as the German Chancellor had already on 25 August 1939 at 14:50 clock given the order to open the attack on Poland on 26 August at 4:45 clock. This attack order was on the same day, at 18:15 clock, revoked, to respond to the latest diplomatic intervention of England, France and the US. Hitler’s expectation that the German-Soviet alliance would make Britain and France distance themselves from their commitments to Poland, so that the campaign against Poland could be isolated, had proven to be false, and led to a delay of a few days duration. In this period, the UK sought to create a direct communication between Berlin and Warsaw, and let Hitler (30 August) to submit his 16-point proposal for a regulation of the Danzig-Corridor problem, and the German-Polish minority question. He envisaged the return of Danzig to the German federation, a referendum in the area of the Polish Corridor “before the expiry of 12 months,” with an exchange of population, as well as Polish special rights in the port of Danzig, the demilitarization of the Hel peninsula and an »International fact-finding mission” to settle the question of minorities. After an agreement on this basis, Poland and Germany should be ready to “organize and carry out” immediate demobilization of their forces. An offer, which the German chief interpreter Paul Schmidt reported after the war, had been submitted only as “alibi” and was not meant seriously by Hitler, as the brown dictator “confirmed with unsurpassed clarity”.
What is certain is that the Polish government ordered general mobilization on 30 August 1939 and by the evening of 31 August had not sent an authorized representative to Berlin to receive the 16 points. It is also on record that on 31 August 1939 at 12:40 clock the instruction went to the German Wehrmacht to open hostilities against Poland on 1 September 1939 at 4:45 clock.
Thus silenced the voices of diplomats and of reason and the weapons roared – accompanied by resounding declamations of both sides.
The worst of all solutions seemed to have come: war.
Dr. Schickel is the founder and head of the Zeitgeschichtliche Forschungsstelle (Research Office for Recent History) Ingolstadt, which since he established it in 1981 has become one of the leading centers of Historical Revisionist scholarship in West Germany. While Dr. Schickel’s ZFI has steered clear of attacking the Bundesrepublik’s regnant taboo, the extermination myth, ZFI scholars have effectively exposed such historical impostures as Hermann Rauschning’s fraudulent Conversations with Hider, and thrown new light on historical problems ranging from Hitler’s various relations with the Soviet Union to the failure of the Third Reich’s atomic-bomb program.
But it has been above all for its focus on the long veiled crimes of the Allies against the Germans, during and after the war, that Dr. Schickel’s ZFI has become celebrated. This is not surprising in that Dr. Schickel himself was born at Aussig, in the Sudetenland, and thus experienced the expulsion of over three million of his countryman in 1945. A prolific scholar, Dr. Schickel is the author of Die Vertreibung der Deutschen (The Expulsion of the Germans), Sudetendeutsches Schicksalsjahr: 1938 (Sudeten German Year of Destiny: 1938), and Von Grossdeutschland zur Deutschen Frage, 1938-1946).
The original, German version of this paper is here: Schickel, Dr. Alfred – Deutschland und Polen im Spiegel amerikanischer Geheimdokumente (22 S.)