The War Guilt Question of World War II

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The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 7 months 2 hours ago (Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:26 am)

I want to start a new thread on the question of war guilt as it pertains to the pre-history of the Second World War, simply because no thread thus-far created, to my knowledge, is broad enough to encompass just this question which is of prime historical importance.

There are threads on many of the individual incidents leading up to the Second World War, threads on the various speeches and what not, but nothing so general, yet not too broad, as to bring together the information needed to form a general revisionist outline of events of this time. The goal in this thread is to kind of act as central hub to questions relating to war-guilt, and provide links to already existing threads on more specific topics that are related to this question also.

I want to use this thread to post titbits, and potentially longer posts that really don't have a place among the much more specific topics already dealt with on the forum thus far.

Two of my most relevant posts on this issue:
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12331#p99479

https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12662#p97358




Threads Relevant to the War-Guilt Question


'Why Germany Invaded Poland', by John Wear / 'peaceful Poland' debunked
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12331

Czechoslovakia: How Britain Turned the Failure of a State into a Cause for War
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13657

Hitler's 26 September 1938 claim Sudetenland "last territorial demand in Europe" a lie? // "Appeasement"
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13155

The Anschluss with Austria
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12836

What Counts as a Declaration of War? Poland Declares War on Germany First?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12870

100 Documents on the Origins of the War Selected from the Official German White Book
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12755

Versailles Treaty - Fair or Unjust? Did it guarantee another war?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13234

Hitler didn't care about Danzig?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13557

The Hossbach Protocol and Hitler's bellicose intentions
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=8055

HITLER STARTED WW2!! : Hitler's Obersalzberg Speech // DOCUMENTS 1014-PS, 798-PS and Raeder 27
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13213

[Video] A Last Appeal To Reason - Hitler's various peace offers
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12662

Hitler's Peace Offers Vs Unconditional Surrender
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10192

Did Hitler "prepare for war" since 1933?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13711

"The Phoney Victory" WW2 Revisionism in the main stream.
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?t=12619

How Britain & Roosevelt conspired to get America into WW2
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13252

76 years after the infamous D-Day, do the western allies WW2 veterans still think they fought on the right side?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13294

Roosevelt's Road To War
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?t=7486

Collusion: Franklin Roosevelt, British Intelligence, and the Secret Campaign to Push the US Into War
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?t=13184

'Hitler Answers Roosevelt / The German Leader’s Reply to the American President’s Public Challenge', by Mark Weber
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13599

The Audacity of Niall Ferguson - His Bad Case Against Germany and apology for British War Mongering
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13127

Why did Hitler invade so many 'neutral' European countries?
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12421

Challenge to an Anti-German // Daughter of Albion //
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13240

Why did Germany annex all of Czechoslovakia? / Anschluss of the Sudeten Regions
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=9569

Document suggests British were plotting to invade Germany before Germany invaded Poland
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12422

Offer to clear Poland?
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12044

Dutch/Belgian "Neutrality" In 1939-40
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12153

Veronica Clark drops the ball / Polish atrocities against Germans
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=9476

All That for … This? What Resulted after World War II - John Wear
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=12779



[EDIT:

See this essential post I made in another thread regarding war guilt.]
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 7 months 1 hour ago (Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:47 am)

A few comments on a few topics.

Nick Kollerstrom in his book 'How Britain Initiated Both World Wars', quotes excerpts from various other books, speeches, and blog posts. It's a fine book, small, and concise, although it does seem to be a bit all over the place at times just due to the fact that there's no continuity between the different portions of material he cites. Because this is the case, some stuff included in the book is much better sourced than others. On pages 115-117 he quotes from 'Justice4Germans' and provides two original footnotes for this excerpt.

'Justice4Germans' cite the dubious Rydz-Smigly quote everyone has heard before:

"Poland wants war with Germany and Germany will not be able to avoid it, even if she wants to." - Rydz Smigly, Chief insepctor of the Polish army in a public speech in front of Polish officers. (In June 1939).96

Nick Kollerstrom PhD., 'How Britain Initiated Both World Wars' (3rd Edition, 2020), Pp. 116, quoted originally from: https://justice4germans.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/die-kriegschuld-luge-answering-the-victors-lies-about-german-war-guilt/ Archive: https://archive.vn/Zhxg6


Nick correctly recognizes that this quote is unsubstantiated, in his footnote no. 96 on page 138 he says "There is doubt over the authenticity of this quote.".

The next paragraph with a relevant footnote reads:

The fact that Chamberlain, knowing of the Polish, French and American desire for war, gave a free hand to Polish war policies and did not urge Poland to accept the moderate German demands can be explained only by the fact that he also wanted war on 1 September 1939.

Another indication of this is the fact that in Britain the evening edition of the newspaper DAILY MAIL for 31 August 1939 was confiscated. The edition had carried the story of Germany’s proposals concerning the Polish Corridor as well as Poland’s response, which was general mobilization. The newspaper was compelled to publish a different evening edition.97

Ibid.


'Justice4Germans' do not, ironically, do justice to the magnitude of the background to this historical incident.

When I first read this I was very interested to know the source of this claim about the Newspaper, unfortunately, Kollerstrom couldn't find a source, so he says in footnote no. 97, p. 138: "I have not been able to verify this, NK". As it happens however, I do know the source for this piece of information:

the Daily Telegraph of 31st August reported that the Cabinet had met that night to consider the German proposals. This edition of this great London newspaper was significantly withdrawn and replaced by another edition, which did not carry this report. In any event, it is a fact that the German proposals were known in London and also in Warsaw on the morning of 31st August and that on this critical day the British Government made no serious attempt to overcome the crisis, although a British demarche on 31st August could easily have done so. Anyway, Warsaw could have authorized Lipski to receive the German proposals, but not even this was done.

The Ribbentrop Memoirs, Introduction by Alan Bullock (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1954), Pp. 124. Also see: Rudolf von Ribbentrop, My Father Joachim von Ribbentrop: Hitler's Foreign Minister Experiences and Memoirs (Pen & Sword Military, 2019), Pp. 214, endnote no. 293, p. 450


It's no wonder Kollerstrom couldn't find the reference to the Newspaper article, because 'Justice4Germans' had gotten the name of the newspaper wrong. From the testimony of Hans Fritzsche at Nuremberg, we also hear about the Newspaper incident, which is probably its origin:

DR. HORN: I have one more question. After the last discussion on 30 August 1939 between the British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson and the then Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, in which the conditions for negotiating with Poland were made public, these conditions were published the next day in the Daily Telegraph; and allegedly this issue of the paper was recalled. What do you know about this article?
193
28 June 46
FRITZSCHE: First of all, I should like to correct another error which has found its way into your question. On the following morning in question, the Daily Telegraph did not publish the conditions or the note, but only published a report that during the preceding night the British Government had been in consultation on the German demands to Poland, conditions which had been transmitted to them by their Ambassador in Berlin. Therefore it could be seen from this article-at any rate, it could not be interpreted in any other way-that these conditions were known in London.

Source: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/06-28-46.asp Archive: https://archive.vn/vO6KK


To fully appreciate the magnitude of this historical titbit, I would recommend reading chapter 7 of Ribbentrop's memoirs, and also see: Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 390ff..

This is what happened:

Hitler had given a verbal declaration to the British Ambassador on August 25th 1939 of his willingness to negotiate with the Poles and conclude an assistance pact with Britain. From the 26th to the 28th the British cabinet discussed Hitler's proposal and at 2pm that very day, sent a telegram to Warsaw to ask whether they would accept the British going to Berlin to let the Germans know that they would enter discussions with them over the Danzig and corridor question.

Neville Henderson at 5pm flew to Berlin to tell the German government that they received word from the Poles that they were ready for an immediate negotiation. They invoked the existence of a Polish reply to this effect that would've been received between 2pm when the British sent their inquiry to the Poles, and 5pm when Henderson left London to go to Berlin, with the Polish reply supposedly "in hand". However, Ribbentrop notes that no such reply seems to exist. The Polish reply of August 28th wasn't published in the British blue book, nor any other subsequent document book. At Nuremberg the British refused to provide it when asked. Ribbentrop also makes the point that the Poles mobilised their armed forces, secretly, on August 30th flagrantly contradicts the alleged magnanimous Polish reply as described by the British on the 28th[2].

The Germans believing the British had actually received confirmation from the Poles, accepted to begin negotiations immediately and asked the Poles to send a plenipotentiary to Belin by August 30th. Then, inexplicably, the British changed their minds and decided it would be best to delay the sending of a Polish diplomat with powers to negotiate by calling the German request "unreasonable" and not submitting the German terms to Warsaw. Even though a flight form Warsaw to Berlin would only have taken an hour or so.

The British reneged on their previous energetic willingness to start a discussion over the Danzig and corridor question immediately, and instead wanted to negotiate over the "when, where and how" even though the Germans had already told them that they would be willing to accept a Polish team to discuss the problem on August 30th in Berlin. The conclusion, to put it simply, is that the British were deliberately wasting time, while pretending that they and the Poles were open to negotiations. It's all very interesting.

On August 31st at midnight, after the deadline for a Polish diplomat to be received, Ribbentrop met with Henderson and got into a bit of a tussle. Ribbentrop verbally relayed Hitler's proposal, but wasn't allowed to give it to Henderson in writing. A.J.P. Taylor confirms that this was due to the fact that Ribbentrop only had a 'rough draft' that wasn't in proper condition to be given to Henderson (Origins of the Second World War (Hamish Hamilton, 1983), p. 274.). However Hitler, as Ribbentrop confirms, in the morning of August 31st had the text sent to the British Ambassador via Goring and Dahlerus. And this is where it gets worse for the British. Henderson at 2 am, after the meeting with Ribbentrop had met Lipski and therefore would've notified the British government as well around that time. At 9am Henderson had the report of the meeting with Ribbentrop and the cabinet was said to have been discussing it. This is what was withdrawn from the Newspapers on August 31st, to give off the impression that the Germans had blanked in reply to British and Polish attempts at mediation, and therefore give the British an excuse to do nothing regarding the German proposals, forcing Germany to invade Poland on September 1st when there was more than enough time to induce the Poles to accept the generous German terms.

However, when Henderson did receive the terms he went with Dahlerus to the Polish embassy to see Lipski again:

The visit was fruitless. There the Poles were preparing for departure. Lipski said he had no interest in any German proposals because if was was declared the Nazis would be overthrown and 'the Polish Army would probably arrive in Berlin in triumph'. Henderson was appalled.

Richard Lamb, The Ghosts of Peace 1935-1945 (Michael Russell Ltd, 1987), p. 116. Also see, A.J.P. Taylor, Origins of the Second World War (Hamish Hamilton, 1983), p. 274.


The Poles were not interested in negotiation, and Lipski, even if he did want to take the German proposals, was not allowed to receive them, on orders from Warsaw:


Lipski never asked to see Hitler’s sixteen-point proposal and even if Ribbentrop had volunteered it he was not authorized to receive it. He was following his orders “not to enter into any concrete negotiations.” The Poles were apparently so confident they could whip the Germans (with help from their allies) that they were not interested in discussing Hitler’s offer. Nor were England and France extending themselves to persuade the Poles to negotiate. When Lipski arrived back at his embassy he attempted to phone Warsaw. The line was dead. The Germans had cut communications. There was no more they needed to know.

John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (Doubleday, 1976), p. 567.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 5 months 1 day ago (Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:32 am)

In 1939 Hitler had no time to waste, he was getting to a point where he was losing time to broker a deal with Poland that evidently did not wish to concede the justified 'demands' made by Germany on Danzig and the Polish corridor.

After September 2nd Germany would've suffered poor weather conditions that would've made waging a successful war against Poland unlikely:

military operations, if it should come to war, ought not to begin after 2 September because of climate and weather factors. Road conditions thereafter would be too difficult for the army in Eastern Europe, and likewise flying weather for the air force. Thus, this date has an influence on Hitler's decision. [About whether to go to war with Poland or not.]

Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Olzog Verlag, George F. Held English Translation, 2011), Pp. 572.


It should be recalled in this regard that during the 'Phoney War' the weather was a factor:

The Luftwaffe needed five consecutive days of good weather to destroy the French air force and the meteorological report on Tuesday the seventh was so unpromising that Hitler postponed A-Day. ['A-Day' was November 12th, 1939, the day Hitler initially planned to breakout in the West.]

John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (Doubleday, 1976), Pp. 590.


Not that this kind of weather would've been the same in the east, I don't know. But I think this is an interesting fact to keep in mind.

Not only was the weather a factor, but so was rearmament. Hitler did not have all the time in the world to wait while his arms stagnated and those of his encircling antagonists were ever growing:

Since Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union were all accelerating their rearmament at precisely this moment, Hitler found himself facing a sharp deterioration in the balance of forces at a date far earlier than he had expected.

Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction (Penguin Books, 2008), Pp. 663.


This meant the British and the Poles could count on their growing stronger and play for time by dragging out the negotiations. In doing so, Germany had two options - to give up her rightful aspirations or break out and risk a war with Poland. In either case Germany really only stood to lose. If she fought (as she did) she would be characterized as an aggressor who started a needless war when there was time to negotiate, or she could suffer a diplomatic defeat and remain enfeebled.

The fact is there was no time to wait, negotiations had been fruitless and were to remain that way. This is why Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. Even enemies of Hitler and Germany's ambitions Frederick Oechsner et al. had to tacitly admit Hitler was left with no other choice:

Hitler was taking no chances. He had arranged with Mussolini, exactly as in the Czech crisis, to make a public offer of mediation [on the Polish question]. Hitler and Ribbentrop seemed convinced that this proposal of a “second Munich" would work. Hotels in Munich had already been informed that they could expect prominent guests, and the Vierjahreszeiten, Munich’s leading hostelry, had already been earmarked by the Foreign Office for occupancy by French and British guests. The offer of mediation was ignored. The guests never came.

At this point it is quite clear that Hitler, antagonized not only by the flat refusal of the Poles to give way, but by the British and French rejection of a “course of reason," determined coldly to go ahead with war.

Frederick Oechsner, This is the Enemy (William Heinemann Ltd., 1943), Pp. 11.


I spoke in my previous post in this thread about the alleged agreement from the Poles on August 28th 1939 to accept immediate negotiations with Germany on the basis of a German offer that was given to Britain on August 25th. I'm now less sure the Poles didn't send a reply, as Rhonhof does actually cite a Polish reply on page 596 of his book (although the document he cites might be from the British Ambassador and not a member of the Polish government, I will have to investigate this further). In any case, it doesn't change the fact that by simply observing Polish actions it's patently obvious they didn't want to negotiate, which makes it interesting to view Hitler's subsequent actions from this perspective.

Prior to Henderson arriving in Berlin, Hitler told Brauchitsch about what he expected to happen:

When Brauchitsch reported to him, Hitler made no bones about his strategy: he would demand Danzig, right of transit across the Polish Corridor, and a Saar-type plebiscite there. Britain would probably accept these proposals, Poland would reject them, and the split would then be wide open. Hitler instructed the foreign ministry to draft a set of formal proposals along these lines, for the British government to study. The proposals – sixteen in all – were so moderate that one of his diplomats termed it ‘a real League of Nations document.’ He read them out to Keitel in the conservatory. The general naively replied, ‘I find them astoundingly moderate.

David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Focal Point Publications, Millennium Edition, 2002), Pp. 210.


Later in the day when Henderson arrived Hitler confirmed that he still wanted to come to an agreement:

the British announced that they had received a ‘definite assurance’ from the Poles that they were prepared to negotiate. Hitler replied that he was still minded to deal with Poland on a ‘very reasonable basis’ – no doubt thinking of the still-unrevealed sixteen-point proposals.

Ibid.


On August 29th, Hitler woke up with a strategy in mind. He knew, or at least he was correct to suspect that the Poles in reality had no interest in negotiating. So Hitler decided to call their bluff:

He would ‘accept’ the British proposals for negotiations with Poland – but he would give Warsaw just one day to send a plenipotentiary to Berlin. They would, of course, refuse. Alternatively, if they agreed, on the thirtieth the Pole would have to arrive; the next day the talks would break down, and on September 1 ‘White’ could begin, as planned. As an Abwehr colonel noted in his diary: ‘The Führer has told Ribbentrop, Himmler, Bodenschatz, etc., “Tonight I’m going to hatch something diabolical for the Poles – something they’ll choke on.”’

Ibid., p. 211.


This scene has often been falsely portrayed to show that it was in-fact Hitler who wanted the negotiations to fail, when in truth there weren't going to be any negotiations to begin with, this is why the Poles would choke, and Hitler knew it:

That it was unlikely that a Polish plenipotentiary would appear before the deadline at midnight was known to Hitler from intercepted conversations (outside the scope of this Forschungsamt report, which solely describes Britain's policy) that the Poles were adopting deliberate delaying tactics [vershleppen]. While Hitler had not originally issued an ultimatum to the Poles, there was thus no profit from extending the deadline he had set. By their obstinacy, the Poles had thus rendered nugatory Hitler's attempt to separate them from their Allies. A few hours later. Hitler issued the executive order for the attack on Poland early next morning, 1 September.

David Irving, Breach of Security: The German Secret Intelligence File on Events leading to the Second World War (Focal Point Publications), Pp. 104.


And:

Soon after midday the FA’s intercept of Warsaw’s explicit instructions to him was in Hitler’s hands: Lipski was ‘not to enter into any concrete negotiations,’ he was merely to hand a Polish government communication to the Reich government. Thus the Nazis knew that the Poles were merely stalling for time. Lipski went to ground – ‘He can’t be found,’ recorded Goebbels, ‘for hours at a time. Poland is obviously playing for time.’ It worried the minister that Field Marshal Göring, the Luftwaffe’s commander in chief, was ‘still sceptical,’ but he consoled himself in his diary: ‘The Führer still does not believe Britain will intervene.

Irving, Hitler's War, op cit., p. 213.


Nor did Lipski report Hitler's request to Warsaw:

The deadlock lasted until 29 August. Then it was broken by Hitler. He was in the weaker position, though the British did not know it. There was not much time left before 1 September for him to pull off diplomatic success. At 7.15 p.m. he made to Henderson a formal offer and a formal demand: he would negotiate directly with Poland if a Polish plenipotentiary arrived in Berlin the following day. [...] Henderson pressed the demand on his own government; he urged the French government to advise an immediate visit by Beck; he was most insistent of all with the Polish ambassador Lipski. Lipski took no notice—apparently he did not even report Hitler’s demand to Warsaw.

Taylor, Origins, op cit., p. 272-273. also see: Irving, Breach, op cit., p. 102.


Hitler therefore successfully called Poland's bluff because he knew they wouldn't come no matter how long the deadline was, and in any case they most certainly wouldn't concede on the German proposals, no matter how moderate:

The telegram [from Halifax to Kennard the British Ambassador in Warsaw asking the Poles if they will enter direct negotiations with Germany] contains not a single word about Danzig and not the least hint addressed to Warsaw that the Germans should be accommodated in any way. [...] One expects that Poland negotiate and nothing more. According to this message, in London one can be sure that Warsaw will stonewall in regard to Danzig.

Rhonhof, 1939, op cit., p. 596.


In which case the negotiations would break down. and could attack them without hesitation. The fact that Hitler correctly anticipated that his offers were going to come to nothing is evidenced by the fact that when Henderson went to see Lipski about making contact with Germany before it was too late on August 31st, he ignored him:

On his return to the British embassy, he summoned Lipski at 2 a.m., and urged him to seek an interview with Ribbentrop at once. Lipski took no notice, and went back to bed.

A.J.P. Taylor, Origins of the Second World War (Hamish Hamilton, 1983), Pp. 274.


Irving confirms in more detail:

The FA (Forschungsamt) knew that Henderson had advised the Polish embassy to telephone Warsaw for urgent instructions. At 8:30 a.m. Henderson had urgently telephoned the embassy again, warning that an unquestionably reliable source had informed him that there would be war if Poland did not undertake some move over the next two or three hours. The Polish ambassador Lipski, however, refused even to come to the telephone.

Irving, Hitler's War, op cit., p. 213.


The British didn't even try to get the Poles to concede either:

The British offered to arrange direct negotiations between Germany and Poland if Hitler would promise to behave peacefully; Hitler replied that there would be no war if he got his way over Danzig. Later writers have argued that Hitler’s reply was dishonest; that he was concerned to isolate Poland, not to avoid war. This may well be true. But the offer by the British government was dishonest also; there was no chance of extracting concessions from the Poles once the danger of war was removed, and the British knew it. In the previous year Benes had appealed for British support. They had implied that he might secure it if he were conciliatory enough; and he had swallowed the bait. Now the British were already committed—their hands tied not so much by their formal alliance with Poland, as by the resolution of British public opinion. They could not dictate concessions to the Poles; they could not allow Hitler to dictate them. Yet there would be no concessions unless someone did the dictating. On 28 August Sir Horace Wilson, acting on Chamberlain’s behalf, saw Kennedy, the American ambassador. After the conversation, Kennedy telephoned the State Department: “The British wanted one thing of us and one thing only, namely that we put pressure on the Poles. They felt that they could not, given their obligations, do anything of this sort but that we could”. President Roosevelt rejected this idea out of hand. Chamberlain—again according to Kennedy—then lost all hope: “He says the futility of it all is the thing that is frightful; after all, they cannot save the Poles; they can merely carry on a war of revenge that will mean the destruction of all Europe”

Taylor, Origins, op cit., p. 272.


The British evidently couldn't induce the Poles to concede to Germany, otherwise it would look like appeasement and in fact they had done the opposite (Rhonhof, p. 599-600.) - somehow the Poles had to come to the conclusion on their own willingly, and they simply weren't going to, especially not when they had a guarantee. And we already know how the Poles responded to the German offer to negotiate, by mobilising their armed forces (Ibid., p. 603.).

The question that has to be answered is not whether time to negotiate could've been secured, but what exactly was going to be negotiated? If there was absolutely no way the Poles would 'give up' Danzig (that didn't even belong to them) then war was inevitable because Hitler would certainly not give her up either. So what good would negotiating do? The Poles were going to have to have been forced to give it up one way or another, either diplomatically or by war. Nobody can claim the Poles didn't have their chance.

The realisation of this fact makes the historians condemnation of Hitler's "aggression" even more ridiculous because to them the "right" thing to do was stand up to Germany and prevent any more concessions, and what could've been the outcome of that? Only war. Unless they honestly believe Germany's justified grievances over Danzig should've gone unaddressed. The fact is there was only one moral solution, and that was to accept Hitler's 16 points.


Yesterday I emailed David Irving and asked him whether he thought it would be accurate to characterize Hitler's position in late August 1939 as that of being resolved upon a short war with Poland exclusively, barring intervention from the west, because it's known that the Poles were simply not going to accept any negotiations. That in the end Hitler had no choice but to resolve upon a war with Poland. He agreed with this.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 3 months 3 weeks ago (Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:01 am)

Something interesting I noticed while reading the Forschungsamt document extracts in David Irving's 'Breach of Security' is regarding how the Poles operated in the last days before the outbreak of the war. How they were delaying any sort of negotiation, and in fact thwarting any attempt by the Germans or the British to make a pledge for a peaceful resolution to the Danzig and corridor problem.

I haven't seen anyone make these observations before. Hopefully others find them interesting, it was kind of an epiphany for me.


Józef Lipski the Polish Ambassador to Germany refused to see Hitler's 16 point proposal which Hermann Göring had given to Neville Henderson the British Ambassador to Germany via the Swedish businessman Birger Dahlerus. This was the confrontation where Lipski claimed the Poles would successfully march on Berlin. He also claimed that 'German morale was weakening' and that Hitler's 16 points was 'proof' of that:

[During the morning Field Marshal Göring ensured that Henderson was supplied unofficially with a copy of the Ferman Sixteen Point proposals. Henderson again called Lipski, but the Polish Ambassador refused to see him; so Birger Dahlerus, who had brought the document to Henderson, and Ogilvie-Forbes went to see Lipski in person. The Polish Ambassador refused even to look at the paper: this was not the way that diplomacy was to be conducted at such a serious time as this. He was, he said, prepared to stake his reputation that the Germans' morale was weakening - Hitler's latest proposal merely bore this out. Dahlerus telephoned to London to protest to Sir Horace Wilson at the Foreign Office that it was obvious that the Poles were just obstructing the possibilities of negotiations.

David Irving, Breach of Security: The German Secret Intelligence File on Events leading to the Second World War (Focal Point Publications), Pp. 114.


Poland was thus under the false impression that they would win in a confrontation with Germany and therefore sought to drag out the "negotiations" until the Germans attacked, provoking a confrontation. Of course the Germans knew this (p. 104.) and were willing to attack. The Poles as we now know also had the support of the Americans which we know from the Secret Polish Documents (Archive), this would surely have bolstered Polish obstinacy, which means the United States has to share part of the blame for inciting WWII.

The Poles were dragging out the situation by claiming that the proper 'procedure' was not being followed, which is evidenced by Lipskis remark that 'this was not the way that diplomacy was to be conducted'. The British thought this was nonsense and procedure at such a delicate juncture was not important:

At 11.20 a.m. Henderson communicated the following urgent message to the Foreign Office: 'I understand that the Polish Government is raising the question of procedure before instructing [their[ Ambassador to make any démarche here. Time is a vital point and I would suggest that on British responsibility [the Polish] Ambassador should be given instructions from [his] Government immediately to ask for an interview. The question of procedure should not be allowed to stand in the way.'

Ibid., p. 114.


However the Poles insisted. Lipski was not allowed, as the Germans knew, to accept any negotiations. So when Lipski met with Ribbentrop on the evening of August 31st to stall further, the Pole wasn't even allowed to ask for the proposals, even though they'd been offered to him already:

[Most damning to the Polish cause was that the Germans had also intercepted the instructions passed to Lipski from Warsaw: he had been instructed 'not to ender into any concrete negotiations'. Thus when at 1 p.m. Lipski finally asked for an interview with von Ribbentrop, the Germans knew that he was only stalling for time, and at 4 p.m. that afternoon the secret executive order for the attack to begin was confirmed. When Lipski at last called on von Ribbentrop at 6.30 p.m., he merely handed the Foreign Minister a brief communication setting out that his Government were 'favourably considering' the British proposal for direct negotiations between Poland and Germany, and that a formal decision would be communicated to the German Government in the immediate future. Von Ribbentrop formally asked whether Lipski was a Plenipotentiary, and the Ambassador replied that he was not. The interview - the first between diplomatic representatives of Poland and Germany since March 1939 - had lasted only minutes. Lipski had not asked to hear the German Sixteen Point proposals, and von Ribbentrop had not volunteered them to him. Not surprisingly, when the Polish Ambassador tried to telephone his superiors in Warsaw, he found that his telephone was dead. The Germans had concluded that the Polish Ambassador had wasted enough of their time.

Ibid., p. 115.


Some things to note here. According to British claims, and alleged documents (see my previous where I mentioned Rhonof) the Poles had already agreed on August 28th to immediately negotiate with Germany. This is the now infamous 'Polish reply' which Ribbentrop was not allowed to see at Nuremberg, and which, I have found, Udo Walendy thinks was manufactured by Halifax after the fact to 'prove' that the Poles had indeed agreed to negotiations (see Walendy's Who Started World War II?, p. 392ff.). The idea that the Poles agreed to direct negotiations is contradicted by multiple facts. For one, and most obviously, the Poles simply didn't send a plenipotentiary to Berlin, and instead they mobilised their armed forces on the 31st, and as we've just read, they flat out refused to even receive any German proposals at all. One also has to wonder why Lipski would claim on August 31st that the Polish government was 'favourably considering' the British proposal for direct negotiations if they had in-fact already agreed to direct negotiations on the 28th. It doesn't add up whatsoever.

What becomes clear is that the Poles were waiting for 'official knowledge' of the German proposals - as Robert Coulondre, the French Ambassador to Germany told Henderson - which the Poles explicitly tried to prevent from being able to receive:

That evening, Henderson discussed with Coulondre a visit the Polish Ambassador had paid to Ribbentrop. Coulondre informed him that Lipski had only handed over his Government's Note; he had probably not received the German proposals. Henderson displayed great astonishment at this, and exclaimed, 'But what's the point of that? It's ludicrous, the whole thing!" One and a half hours later, Henderson and Coulondre had a further [telephone] conversation, this time on the question of whether the German proposals should be accepted, if the chance was given again, or not. Coulondre formally represented the view that this would not be possible until Warsaw had official knowledge of the proposals. Henderson, on the other hand, held the view that Lipski could not even have asked for the proposals.

Ibid.


What stuck out to me in all of this was the emphasis on 'official knowledge' of the German proposals, and the Polish insistence on 'procedure', despite the fact that Lipski was unauthorized to even discuss the proposals in the first place had he been offered them 'officially'. This very clearly shows, in my view, that the Poles were attempting to avoid any possibility that they could receive 'official knowledge' of the German proposals, so as to breakdown the 'negotiations' and provoke a conflict between Germany and Poland. Now, while one could say Ribbentrop should've offered the 16 points to Lipski when he had the chance, again, it wouldn't have mattered because Lipski wasn't authorized to the receive them anyway, and the Germans knew it. This is a key point to recognize.

Finally, it should be noted that the Poles actually did respond to the German 16 points. Their only official response - despite the fact they never received the 16 points officially but were nevertheless aware of it - was effectively a declaration of war.

On August 31st, 1939, at 9 p.m. the Germans sent the Poles (and the British too I think) an official communiqué (document number 468, which you can read in the German White Book 'Documents on the Events Preceding the Outbreak of the War') that discussed various things, particularly the basis for negotiations between Poland and Germany. Attached to this communiqué was the official German 16 point proposal.

At 11 p.m. that same night, the Poles replied to this official German communiqué via a broadcast from Warsaw, acknowledging the 16 point proposal, dismissing it, and declaring that their response was 'the military orders issued by the Polish Government.' Which they issued earlier that day, and very clearly mean't war. To reiterate, the Poles chose war as their answer to a reasonable German offer, and expressed desire for negotiations. This is their full reply (Doc. 469.):

The publication of the official German communique today (Doc No. 468) has clearly revealed the aims and intentions of German policy. It proves the undisguised aggressive intentions of Germany towards Poland. The conditions under which the Third Reich is prepared to negotiate with Poland are: Danzig must immediately return to the Reich; Pomorze, together with the cities of Bromberg and Graudenz, are to be subjected to a plebiscite, for which all Germans who left that territory for any reason whatsoever since the year 1918 may return ; the Polish military forces and the police force shall be evacuated from Pomorse; the police force of England, France, Italy and the U.S.S.R. will be placed in charge of the territory; the plebiscite is to take place after twelve months have elapsed ; the territory of the Hela Peninsula will also be included in the plebiscite; Gdynia as a Polish town is excluded; irrespective of the result of the plebiscite an exterritorial road one kilometer wide is to be constructed. . . . .

The German News Agency announces that the time allowed for the acceptance of these conditions expired yesterday. Germany has waited in vain for a Polish delegate. The answer given was the military orders issued by the Polish Government.

Words can now no longer veil the aggressive plans of the new Huns. Germany is aiming at the domination of Europe and is cancelling the rights of nations with as yet unprecedented cynicism. This impudent proposal shows clearly how necessary were the military orders given by the Polish Government.

Document no. 469, in Documents on the Events Preceding the Outbreak of the War, Compiled and published by the German Foreign Office (New York, 1940), Pp. 490-491.


It doesn't get much clearer than this. See another post I made about it here.


Something else worthy of note, is that the 16 points was possibly designed so as not to be accepted by the Poles at all (because Hitler knew they wouldn't accept any concessions no matter what) but to be so utterly agreeable, as they were, that the British would see how ridiculous the Poles were being to refuse them, and therefore break with their pledge to Poland and not get involved in the inevitable skirmish between the two nations that was about to occur, and must occur before the window of opportunity for Germany closed in September. Hitler only had a limited amount of time to drive a wedge between Britain and Poland (a perfectly legitimate tactic), and to minimalize the players in the conflict. This very nearly worked, but unfortunately, as Irving writes, perhaps one day too late:

[Hitler's diplomatic outflanking was succeeding, but a day too late. A dangerous rift was beginning to open between the viewpoints of Paris and London, and London and Warsaw. Late that night, the British Foreign Secretary cabled Warsaw, 'I do not see why the Polish Government should feel difficulty about authorising [the] Polish Ambassador [in Berlin] to accept a document from the German Government.' Had Hitler's Intelligence agencies secured a copy of this cable, he might have been sorely tempted to postpone the attack, for surely the British breach with Poland must now come into the open. But all was in vain, and by a matter of hours war had broken out in Europe again.

Irving, Breach of Security, p. 115.


More evidence of this can be found in Chapter 22 of Irving's Göring biography.

Clearly, the origins of the Second World War cannot be found in some 'malicious' German desire for a war for its own sake.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 3 months 2 weeks ago (Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:29 am)

A short update. Further confirmation of my above posts using another primary source, the diary of Alfred Rosenberg.
As is known, Hitler was going to cook something up for the Poles to 'choke' on. That was the 16 point proposal, which you can read in full here (Appendix II, p. 485-488.). The Poles would choke because they'd be faced with an offer so absolutely reasonable that to deny it would make their warlike intentions plain for all to see, especially to their ally, Britain. This, I feel very confident in saying was Hitler's plan in those last days of August. That indeed as Irving stated, Hitler's plan would've succeeded if only given another 24 hours. This is pretty much confirmed by a conversation that was had between Alfred Rosenberg and Hermann Göring on September 1st, 1939:

English:

When I entered the Reichstag on September 1, I met Göring, who was waiting for the Führer, in the lobby area. [...] G[öring]: I fought like a lion last night to have the decision delayed for another 24 hours, so that the 16 points could have an effect. Ribbentrop had seen that the Führer spoke decisively to Henderson, and his small mind believed he needed to reinforce this again. Henderson complained that R[ibbentrop] read him the proposals too quickly. Then I did something I was not allowed to do: I read them slowly to him once again, on the telephone. Otherwise people could say we had made the proposals only for the purpose of distraction. . .

[Rosenberg]: I know that special envoys of yours were in London. For my part, I arranged that the political adviser of the British Air Ministry, in the event that Poland is brought down, will say that he is coming from Switzerland to see me, if something can still be done for peace. G[öring].: Yes, I read your memorandum for the Führer.

At this moment the Führer entered the building, and G[öring] had to greet him. The Reichstag began.


German:

Als ich am 1.9. in den Reichstag kam, traf ich in der Vorhalle Göring, der den Führer erwartete. [...] G.: Ich habe heute nacht wie ein Löwe darum gekämpft, um den Entschluss noch um 24 Stunden hinauszuschieben, damit die 16 Punkte sich auswirken könnten. Ribbentrop hatte gesehen, dass der Führer mit Henderson entschieden gesprochen hatte, u. der kleine Geist glaubte, das noch verstärken zu müssen. Henderson klagte, R. habe ihm die Vorschläge zu schnell vorgelesen. Darauf habe ich etwas getan, was ich nicht hätte tun dürfen: ich habe sie ihm per Telefon noch einmal langsam vorgelesen. Sonst könnte man es sagen, wir hätten die Vorschläge nur zur Ablenkung gemacht...

Ich: Ich weiss, dass von Ihnen noch Sondergesandte in London waren. Ich habe meinerseits ausgemacht, dass der politische Berater des brit. Luftfahrtministeriums für den Fall der Erledigung Polens sich aus der Schweiz bei mir ansagt, falls noch etwas für den Frieden getan werden kann. G.: Ja, ich habe Ihre Aktennotiz für den Führer gelesen.

In diesem Augenblick betrat der Führer das Gebäude u. G. musste ihn begrüssen. Der Reichstag begann.


Rosenberg Diary, September 24, 1939, see: The Political Diary of Alfred Rosenberg and the onset of the Holocaust, edited by Jürgen Matthäus & Frank Bajohr (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), Pp. 161-162. Original diary entry scan for the relevant pages quoted:

Archive: 1 & 2
ImageImage


Ribbentrop and Goebbels were not held in high regard by Rosenberg, nor by Göring it seems (at least in case of the former). This is evident when you read the diary.

That Göring wanted to wait another 24 hours for the 16 points to sink in shows that indeed what I wrote in the latter part of my previous post is correct, a war limited to Poland was the aim, keeping Britain and France out of the war was also Hitler's intention as he knew a war with Poland at the least could not be avoided. The only thing that could be done was to present the 16 points to the British and the Poles, while the latter would (as they did) reject them, the British would find them very reasonable and hopefully try to induce the Poles to negotiate. Of course they wouldn't, and so hopefully the British would break with the Poles and not get involved in the coming conflict, this would be the 'effect' Göring mentioned. But unfortunately this strategy didn't end up working, and it was perhaps a 'day too late' as Irving correctly stated. The Poles were saved from choking, and helped to plunge the world into another anti-German conflict.

A few things to clarify:

1. When Rosenberg is quoting Göring about Ribbentrop, he's referring to the conversations had in late August between Hitler and Henderson on the 30th, and then with Ribbentrop on the 31st. I mentioned this meeting in an earlier post in this thread.

2. Unfortunately Göring's fears were correct, despite the fact that he went to the trouble of ensuring that the 16 points were relayed to Henderson, historians since the war have ignored this and indeed latched onto the lie that Ribbentrop had read out the proposals 'at top speed' in order to disturb the negotiations. Dr. Paul Schmidt, Hitler's English interpreter was there and denied that this was the case. See: Walendy, Who Started World War II?, p. 413. Other historians too, such as A.J.P. Taylor and Rhonhof have also denied that Ribbentrop did this, it has no basis in fact it seems.

3. The 'envoys' Rosenberg refers to that Göring had in London was the Swede Birger Dahlerus.
Another interesting revelation from the dairy is a very small anecdote about a dinner conversation where Rosenberg, sitting next to Hitler, quotes Hitler as saying that he believes Henderson was 'bluffing':

English:

In the evening I was at the Reich Chancellery: [...] At dinner I sat to the right of the Führer; he thought Henderson was bluffing: whether with regard to us or to England was not discernible.


German:

Am Abend war ich in der R-Kanzlei: [...] Zum Essen sass ich rechts vom Führer; er meinte, Henderson habe auf Bluff hin gesprochen: ob im Hinblick auf uns, oder auf England, war nicht zu verstehen.


Rosenberg Diary, op cit., p. 162.


Although Rosenberg doesn't say what about, or even speculate, I'm guessing that it was about England bluffing about going to war. As on the same day (September 1st) we know Hitler said he didn't believe the British were going to intervene which Goebbels related to his diary:

English:

Coulondre and Henderson try to get Lipski to go to the guide on his own. But he's untraceable by the hour. So it looks like Poland is going to drag this thing out. At noon the Führer gives the order to attack at night around 5am. It seems that the die is finally cast. Goering is still skeptical. The Fuhrer does not yet believe that England will intervene.


German:

Coulondre und Henderson suchen Lipski zu bewegen, auf eigene Faust zum Führer zu gehen. Aber er ist stundenweise unauffindbar. Polen will also offenbar die Sache hinzie hen. Mittags gibt der Führer Befehl zum Angriff in der Nacht gegen 5th. Es scheint, daß damit die Würfel endgültig gefallen sind. Göring ist noch skeptisch. Der Führer glaubt noch nicht daran, daß England eingreifen wird.


Goebbels Diary, September 1, 1939. See: Joseph Goebbels Tagebücher 1924-1945: Band 3 1935-1939, Herausgegeben von Ralf Georg Reuth (Piper Verlag, München, Auflage März 2003), Pp. 1322-1323.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby zapper » 3 months 1 day ago (Tue May 04, 2021 5:41 am)

HMSendeavour wrote:Yesterday I emailed David Irving and asked him whether he thought it would be accurate to characterize Hitler's position in late August 1939 as that of being resolved upon a short war with Poland exclusively, barring intervention from the west, because it's known that the Poles were simply not going to accept any negotiations. That in the end Hitler had no choice but to resolve upon a war with Poland. He agreed with this.


Interesting topic. All this diplomacy is a bit over my head, but were Poland and Britain angling to eventually invade here? What would have happened if Germany had not struck first? "Hitler had no choice but to resolve upon a war with Poland"

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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 3 months 1 day ago (Tue May 04, 2021 9:22 am)

zapper wrote:Interesting topic. All this diplomacy is a bit over my head, but were Poland and Britain angling to eventually invade here? What would have happened if Germany had not struck first? "Hitler had no choice but to resolve upon a war with Poland"


Germany would've been encircled and outgunned on all fronts. The British and French had no effective way of coming to Poland's aid, and the USSR was seeking to provoke a conflict between what they saw as the 'capitalist states', and would not have gone to war with Germany if it meant getting dogpiled by the West. What would've happened is that Germany would've been completely pacified. If the Poles attacked, we can only wonder, although they certainly wouldn't have won in a confrontation against Germany that might've potentially turned the British away from supporting Poland, although that's purely speculation on my part. Clearly though, the Poles were ready to fight, but I don't think they wanted to fire the "first shots" as it were.

Hitler had no choice but to take the risk to attack Poland because he had a limited window of opportunity, and a favourable geographic position that would've allowed him to attack Poland without getting caught up in a conflict with any other nation. Especially as the USSR was not going to intervene on Poland's behalf, even though when the Germans invaded, they actually elicited the Soviets for help. So the way really was clear in the east for the Wehrmacht. If Hitler had backed down Germany would've gotten nothing. And really, Hitler had a good chance of forcing the West to make peace, but the British held out for further alliances with the United States and eventually the USSR. The war wouldn't have gotten as bad as it did, had it not been for British obstinance to a reasonable conclusion of the war in late 1939 or 1940.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby zapper » 3 months 1 day ago (Tue May 04, 2021 9:39 pm)

HMSendeavour wrote:If Hitler had backed down Germany would've gotten nothing.


So you're saying Hitler risked a war against a Britain/France for a small slice of Polish territory holding a few hundred thousand Germans? I feel like there must have been much more to it than this.

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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 3 months 1 day ago (Tue May 04, 2021 11:38 pm)

zapper wrote:So you're saying Hitler risked a war against a Britain/France for a small slice of Polish territory holding a few hundred thousand Germans? I feel like there must have been much more to it than this.


It wasn't Polish territory, it was German territory with a National Socialist government that had been torn away from the Reich and given protection by the league of nations (not Poland). Poland only ever had economic rights to Danzig, although they were ethnically cleansing the German population of Western Poland in order to colonize those territories.

Danzig was a port city, which gave Germany access to the sea. The trouble abounded because the Germans had to pay exorbitant customs fees across the corridor in order to access their own territory, particularly to East Prussia, which was still apart of the German Reich, but cut off from the rest of Germany, which essentially made it impossible for Germany to avoid blockade or encirclement.

Europe Map.png
Map from: Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War (Allen Lane, 2021), Pp. 73.


When the Allies tore Danzig away from the German Reich, it was a clear violation of point 5 of President Woodrow Wilsons 14 points, which read that "the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined." This principle constructed by the victorious Allies was immediately violated by them on numerous occasions when Europe was carved up after WW1.

You shouldn't forget that the British and French were worried about their own power. If Germany became the dominant force on the continent, she could be a potential threat. Keeping Germany landlocked was the only way to ensure the balance of power policy which favoured Britain and France could be maintained. They were just as willing as they claimed Germany was, to proclaim their own aggressive intentions, albeit hidden behind a veil as being in the interest of 'smaller nations' when in truth, they didn't much care for anything but their own power, and were willing to defend it:

For their part, the Allied nations were not - as their propaganda insisted - fighting a morally 'good war' simply to destroy Hitler and National Socialism. They were defending their own powerful political interests in the world against the strategic threat of Germany's military aggression.

Frank McDonough, The Hitler Years Volume 2: Disaster 1940-1945 (Head of Zeus, London, 2020), Pp. 15.


One can see, although mainstream historians would never emphasize it in Hitler's favour, why he would desire to risk a potential war with the West (which he didn't think was likely nor did he desire) due to Germany's enfeebled position on the continent:

Germany at the start of 1940 remained a medium-sized economic and military power without easily defensible borders, surrounded by a range of potential enemies. As a result, Germany needed to limit the number of its opponents and any military campaign it undertook had to be rapid, because it lacked a sufficient industrial and financial base to sustain a longer conflict against huge economic powers.

Ibid., p. 12.


That Hitler would seek to rectify this is only logical, and hardly immoral or surprising, let alone unique in the history of geopolitical controversies. At worst Germany was no more ambitious than any other nation before or after. The specific demonization of Germany and Hitler is ridiculously hypocritical.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby zapper » 3 months 22 hours ago (Wed May 05, 2021 5:48 am)

HMSendeavour wrote:
zapper wrote:So you're saying Hitler risked a war against a Britain/France for a small slice of Polish territory holding a few hundred thousand Germans? I feel like there must have been much more to it than this.


It wasn't Polish territory, it was German territory with a National Socialist government that had been torn away from the Reich and given protection by the league of nations (not Poland). Poland only ever had economic rights to Danzig, although they were ethnically cleansing the German population of Western Poland in order to colonize those territories.

Danzig was a port city, which gave Germany access to the sea. The trouble abounded because the Germans had to pay exorbitant customs fees across the corridor in order to access their own territory, particularly to East Prussia, which was still apart of the German Reich, but cut off from the rest of Germany, which essentially made it impossible for Germany to avoid blockade or encirclement.

Europe Map.pngMap from: Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War (Allen Lane, 2021), Pp. 73.


When the Allies tore Danzig away from the German Reich, it was a clear violation of point 5 of President Woodrow Wilsons 14 points, which read that "the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined." This principle constructed by the victorious Allies was immediately violated by them on numerous occasions when Europe was carved up after WW1.



It seems Hitler had a different position w regards to demanding that territory just a year prior,

Neville Chamberlain: https://encyc.org/wiki/Chamberlain%27s_ ... r_27,_1938
"You know already that I have done all that one man can do to compose this quarrel. After my visits to Germany I have realised vividly how Herr Hitler feels that he must champion other Germans, and his indignation that grievances have not been met before this. He told me privately, and last night he repeated publicly, that after this Sudeten German question is settled, that is the end of Germany's territorial claims in Europe."


Hitler re Sudetenland and future claims: http://der-fuehrer.info/reden/english/38-09-26.htm
"And now we face the last great problem that must be resolved and that will be resolved! It is the last territorial demand I shall make in Europe. It is a demand which I shall insist upon and a demand which I will satisfy so God will"
 -

What changed? I must do more research on the subject, but I can't help but feel something doesn't add up here.

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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 3 months 22 hours ago (Wed May 05, 2021 5:56 am)

zapper wrote:
It seems Hitler had a different position w regards to demanding that territory just a year prior,


No that's incorrect. Ribbentrop had met with the Poles in October 1938 to discuss the outstanding problems relating to Danzig, which had always been a sore spot Germany would've needed to rectify. The problem of Danzig and the corridor had been known for years and was briefly touched upon in January 1938. The point is that it wasn't a new "territorial demand" by any means, it was well known. Hoggan makes the same point:

The Poles and the Germans knew that Germany at this time was automatically claiming the entire territory which she had lost in the East in 1918, but the world as a whole had taken no notice of this. The precedent set by Stresemann at Locarno in 1925 in refusing to recognize any of the German territorial losses to Poland had not yet been modified. It was easy for propagandists to claim that the specific German request for the return of Danzig in the following month was a violation of Hitler’s solemn promise. Later, when the Czech state was disrupted in March 1939, the same propagandists were quick to claim that the establishment of a German protectorate in Bohemia-Moravia was a violation of Hitler’s promise of 1938. This was extremely effective propaganda, and it was widely believed in Germany itself. Nevertheless, it does not take full account of existing realities.

David L. Hoggan, The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed (Institute for Historical Review, 1989), Pp. 109.


It should be noted by the way, that the question of Germany's moral rights to Danzig was never in dispute because Hitler had spoken these words in 1938. No British statesmen declared that Hitler was 'breaking his promise' by perusing Danzig because he had earlier said he had no more territorial demands to make. So irrespective of whether that was true, the reality is that the conflict over Danzig was of a special nature in which such a promise could obviously not apply. The argument that Hitler "broke" his promise at Munich is most often attributed to the March 1939 invasion of Czechia, not the September invasion of Poland. This is because Germany isn't perceived to have had any right to have turned Bohemia and Moravia into a protectorate, whereas Danzig was German through and through, and Germany had moral rights to claim her. So in this way you're also getting confused, the issue of Danzig was always recognized and not called into question because of this Hitler speech.

So, to put it simply, Hitler pursuing Danzig was not a "further" territorial demand, it was an original territorial demand which still obviously stood to be solved:

A request for the return of Danzig, which Germany had made regularly since 1919, could reasonably be understood as no "further" territorial claim. The same can be said of Memelland, which Lithuania had illegally and violently seized in 1923. In fact, Danzig and Memel were the two areas in which HITLER made internal reservations when he made his promise (of September 26, 1938, H. W.) ”.

Rolf Kosiek und Olaf Rose (ed.), Der Grosse Wendig: Richtigstellungen zur Zeitgeschichte: Band 1 (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 2006), Pp. 592.


Therefore Hitler did not change his mind, nor did he "break" his word.

If you're interested, there is already a topic discussing Hitler's remarks in September 1938:

Hitler's 26 September 1938 claim Sudetenland "last territorial demand in Europe" a lie? // "Appeasement"
https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13155

I'd suggest you read through the OP before making posts that become redundant. I'd prefer if these threads didn't get cluttered by posts that have already been discussed or have a dedicated thread. If something you want to discuss doesn't have a dedicated thread, then by all means make one.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 4 weeks 1 day ago (Wed Jul 07, 2021 4:54 am)

To some extent or another, war guilt is arbitrary. The righteousness of the cause is what really determines war guilt, not any kind of intent or physical action. As long as one side is considered to have been morally justified, it doesn't matter what they do in pursuit of their aims, the actions are justified purely due to the the perceived inherent "goodness" of the side perusing them. This is why the Allies can firebomb upwards of 500,000 German civilians in WW2 and people will make excuses for them, attempting to justify these heinous acts of barbarism when had the Germans been responsible, we'd never hear the end of it.

And indeed, we do never heard the end of it when it comes to the German bombings of Coventry, Rotterdam and Warsaw, collectively the death figures of the combined civilian losses wouldn't even break 10,000, and nobody is willing to stress how cities like Warsaw and Coventry were legitimate military targets. As was Rotterdam I imagine, although I'd have to check up on that; nonetheless, the Rotterdam bombing was a mistake, and was called off at the very last minute but nonetheless it was too late for a few of the bombers who didn't find out in time. Still we hear again and again about the bombings of these cities, while there's conspicuously always silence from the same "arbiters" of morality when it comes to the bombing of cities like Dresden. Such people seek to delegitimize the death and suffering of the Germans of such cities because they hate "Nazis", not because they give a damn about human lives. Even if you accepted the now official 25,000 figure for the losses at Dresden, it's still twice as high as the figures for those cities bombed by Germans put together, yet that's all we hear about.

The example of the bombing war is a perfect display of the arbitrariness of guilt. By all accounts the Allies are the worst offenders, yet because they're perceived to have been de facto morally superior to the Germans, it doesn't matter even if they commit and allow the same actions they subsequently indict the Germans for.

This is also perfectly displayed by the question of war guilt. In order to "confront" Hitler, the Allies had to try and win over the Soviet Union. We see from the documentary record the effort by the Allies to try and convince Poland to accept Soviet "help" (by allowing passage of the Red Army into Poland) in a conflict with Germany, admitting in the process that there's nothing that they could do to help her without the Soviet Unions support. This meant appeasing the Soviet Union. The British foreign secretary Viscount Halifax expressed his frustration in this respect to Kennard the British Ambassador in Warsaw on August 17th, 1939 saying thus:

If the outcome of the Moscow negotiations depends on Poland's consent to the Soviet march-through, then the Moscow negotiations have already failed. For the Polish government says no to the Soviet-French-English demands as coldly and firmly as to those of Hitler. Still on the threshold of war and doom, the Poles refuse to negotiate with the Reich as well as to consent to the Red Army waging war from Polish soil.

Michael Freund, Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges in Dockumenten, Vol. III, Der Ausbruch des Krieges 1939 (München, 1956), Pp. 100.


The Poles would not accept the insistent demands of the British and French to allow Soviet troops into Poland, nor was she willing to accept any German offers, or to even negotiate on any offers. The Poles were obviously the ones who made the war inevitable in the end, which Halifax shows, but nonetheless the Allies could do nothing without help from the Soviets, and they probably knew what would happen once they gave the Russians an inch. But they didn't care, because if it meant that Hitler was going to make it one step closer to autarky, he had to be stopped.

In another instance we can observe the British attempting to woo the Communists by offering them the Balkans, contrary to their policy of "protecting" small states, they were quite willing to see those countries swallowed up by the Soviet Union if it meant preserving the "balance of power" and preventing Germany from becoming dominant in Europe. This is borne out by a wire report to Berlin from the German ambassador in Moscow, von der Schulenburg on July 13th 1940, who was reporting on a meeting held between Stafford Cripps, the British ambassador to the Soviet Union and Stalin himself as related by Molotov:

Molotov informed me today that the British Ambassador here, Cripps, had been received by Stalin a few days ago at the request of the British Government. On this occasion Molotov handed me a record of the conversation on Stalin's orders.

Cripps asked for the Soviet Government's opinion on the following questions:

1.) British Government was convinced that Germany was striving for supremacy over Europe and wanted to swallow up all European states. This was a danger both to the Soviet Union and to England. Therefore, both countries should agree on a common line of self-protection against Germany and for the purpose of restoring the European balance.

2.) Independently of this, England would like to trade with the Soviet Union on condition that England's export goods would not be resold to Germany.

3.) British Government believes that the Soviet Union deserves to unite and lead the Balkan states for the purpose of maintaining the status quo. This serious mission, under present circumstances, could be accomplished only by Soviet Union.

4.) The British Government was aware that the Soviet Union was dissatisfied with the regime in the Straits and the Black Sea. Cipps was of the opinion that the interests of the Soviet Union in the straits should indeed be safeguarded.


Alfred Seidl (ed.), Die Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und der Sowjetunion 1939–1941 (H. Laupp'sche Buchhandlung, Tübingen, 1949), Doc. 148, p. 194-195.


In plain language, it was in the interests of Britain to maintain the "status quo" in Europe - which was her true concern, not the ex post facto moral justification of preventing "aggression" against other European countries - and in order to do this she would allow the Soviet Union to invade the Balkans. Stalin however, was quite explicit in his reply to the British offer, and refused to do any of this (which of course he later reneged on when it suited him by toppling the Yugoslav government etc.) and quite explicitly positioned himself against any attempts by the British to restore the status quo which benefitted them, stating:

The previous so-called European equilibrium had weighed down not only Germany but also the Soviet Union. Therefore, the Soviet Union would take all measures to ensure that the old equilibrium in Europe would not be restored.

Ibid., p. 195.


As a result of this, did the British decide to consider the Soviets as much of a "threat" as National Socialist Germany? No. Even though Stalin had expressed to them that he was principally against their entire war aim, which is what made Germany a "threat" and a cause for war in the first place, the British didn't apply the same consistent logic toward the Soviets. Any moral justifications the British had were nothing more than a pretext to justify their own war of economic conquest in Europe, to stifle German independence and peruse their own interests. Which is fine in principle, but the problem lies in the lie itself, which is that the British had somehow a more "noble" cause than Hitler. When in truth, Hitler by all metrics had a much more noble cause than the British.


After the war between Germany and Poland broke out, and the Soviets invaded Eastern Poland on September 17th, the British were trying their damndest to avoid consistently applying the logic they used to indict Germany against the Soviet Union:

we should not let Western statesmen off the hook. British and French leaders chose to swallow Molotov’s lies about Stalin reclaiming former Soviet territory not because the lies were clever, but because they wanted to believe them, so as to avoid armed entanglement with the USSR at a time when they were already having trouble figuring out how to defeat Germany alone. As Foreign Minister Halifax explained to the British war cabinet on September 17, 1939, he and the French ambassador, Charles Corbin, had earlier agreed that the “provisions of the Anglo-Polish Agreement would not come into operation as a result of Soviet aggression against Poland, since the Agreement provided for action to be taken by His Majesty’s Government only if Poland suffered aggression from a European power.” In their grasping for legal straws to avoid entanglement with Stalin, Halifax and Corbin had adopted the view of Slavophile intellectuals that Russia was not really a European country. Realizing how absurd this sounded, Halifax informed the war cabinet that, whatever the text of the agreement may have said, there was an unwritten “understanding between the two governments” of Britain and France “that the European power in question was Germany.” “On this interpretation,” Halifax concluded in his odd legal briefing, “Great Britain was not bound by treaty to become involved in war with the U.S.S.R. as a result of their invasion of Poland. M. Corbin has indicated that the French Government took the same view.” The Allied cause was not one of principled objection to armed aggression as such, but to German aggression specifically. Hitler’s invasion of Poland, less cynically camouflaged than Stalin’s, was easier to grandstand against.

Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War: A New History of World War II (New York: Basic Books, 2021), Pp. 110-111.


The responsibility for the war must lie with the ill considered British insistence on a war with Germany over her internationally recognized moral grievances over Danzig and the corridor. Regardless of Hitler's ambitions, whatever one would say about that, the actions and motives of the British and her allies cannot be swept under the rug and ignored. Nor can the impact of their decisions which clearly led to the world conflagration known as the Second World War.

Again we see that the British were hardly consistent in their logic, in fact they were outright hypocrites, as the Allied "hero" of the war Winston Churchill will show us again in a moment.

The concern for Britain was not Poland but Germany. The British knew when the pact was signed between Berlin and Moscow what that would mean for their efforts in avoiding a conflict in Eastern Europe to prevent Germany getting back what rightfully belonged to her. Yet Britain insisted on aiding Polish intransigence with her blank cheque, and didn't encourage mediation, but instead continued to do nothing and promote delays. These actions were irresponsible and saddle her with much of the guilt for the war which broke out. As the German historian H.W. Koch points out:

Especially after the conclusion of the Russo-German Pact Hitler could legitimately hope that it nullified any hopes the Poles might entertain of Anglo-French military intervention on their behalf. And even if the Poles persisted in not giving way to Hitler's claims without the use of force, Hitler, who could not know the secret stipulation of the Anglo-Polish treaty, according to which the British guarantee was limited to the sole contingency of German aggression, had to assume that it applied also to Russian intervention in Poland. Since this meant war between the Russo-German alliance and the Anglo-French-Polish combination, a war in which neither French nor British could do anything effective to aid their Polish ally, there was good reason to suppose that Britain and France would not aid their ally. In Hitler's view if the Poles had any sense of realities they would see it the same way. The extent to which Hitler discounted Anglo-French intervention is best seen when one looks at the troop dispositions on Germany's western frontier between September and October 1939. Moreover Hitler and Ribbentrop tried very hard to get Russian military demonstrations on Poland's eastern frontier prior to 1 September 1939 (which Stalin and Molotov judicially avoided). This is surely inconsistent with the thesis underlying Walter Hofer's book War Premeditated: the thesis that in 1939, Hitler's objective was war (a war of which Chamberlain in 1938 had deprived him), for this kind of demonstration would have been the likeliest thing to make Poland more amenable to German demands, and thus kill Hitler's chance of having his own little war. One can hardly exclude the possibility that in spite of all Hitler was aware that another diplomatic victory might not be granted to him. But weighing the possibilities it seems likely that Hitler gambled in the conviction that the odds, or providence, as he would have put it, favoured this.

H.W. Koch, Hitler and the Origins of the Second World War. Second Thoughts on the Status of Some of the Documents, The Historical Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1968), Pp. 142.


This also refutes the argument used by those who want to blame Hitler, that somehow he should've known that the British would've been so stupid and irresponsible as to continue her phoney moral crusade against Germany if she invaded Poland. The claim, as it often goes, that Hitler had been "warned" by a country who in reality could do nothing without Soviet help, of which the Poles didn't want to accept, and which the Germans deprived her of all possibilities of attaining on August 23rd 1939 when the non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia was signed. To expect Hitler to have taken them seriously thus stretches credulity beyond the realm of suspendable disbelief. Hitler, by all measures, took a risk that to any sane person viewing the cards at play could only conclude was a safe bet.

The ultimate responsibility therefore lies disproportionately with the British. Keep in mind, these facts still stand, regardless of Hitler's intentions. No "whataboutism" can save the Allies from their own duplicitous actions which have been there for all to see since the very beginning, and which do not go away no matter the German intentions. These facts which the arbiters of morality know about, but judicially avoid discussing because it makes the claim that Germany was solely guilty for starting the war look like nothing more than an attempt to cover ones eyes and ears to the reality of the situation, which was that the British weren't the morally righteous policemen of the world, but instead self-interested hypocrites who would appease the Soviet Union and sell-out any countries in Eastern Europe they needed to in order to maintain the "status quo". Which is exactly what they did with regard to the Balkans as we've already seen, but also to Poland, the Baltic countries, and Finland.

Winston Churchill on October 1st, 1939 commented on how the Soviet invasion of Poland was "justified" because it was in the "interests of its own safety", an argument which really has no validity in terms of the Soviet Union and her geographic position, but which nonetheless could legitimately be applied to Germany in her invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia, but which Churchill would feel repulsed to admit:

October 1, 1939, in the first of a series of wartime radio addresses on the BBC, Churchill defended the USSR’s invasion of eastern Poland “in the interests of its own safety” and pointed out that the forward Soviet position there posed a roadblock to German expansion.

McMeekin, op cit., p. 112.


The admission therefore, is that the Soviet Union is justified in doing exactly what Germany did, but for dubious reasons, but that's "okay" because the aim is stifling German expansion, not Russian expansion.

In a meeting of the war cabinet on November 16, 1939, Churchill went still further in endorsing Stalinist aggression. “No doubt it appeared reasonable to the Soviet Union,” Churchill argued, “to take advantage of the present situation to regain some of the territory which Russia had lost as a result of the last war, at the beginning of which she had been the ally of France and Great Britain.” That Hitler had used the same justification for Germany’s territorial claims on Poland either did not occur to Churchill or did not bother him. Nor did it trouble him that, as he predicted, Stalin would shortly apply the same rationale “not only to the Baltic territories, but also to Finland.” Far from being opposed to Soviet aggression, Churchill argued that “it was in our [British] interests that the USSR should increase their strength in the Baltic, thereby limiting the risk of German domination of this area.” The imperative for British policy in the short term, he argued, was to avoid making the “mistake” of trying to “stiffen the Finns against making concessions to the USSR.”

Ibid.


Far from being "principled" opponents of military aggression, Churchill and his ilk were staunch proponents of it!

The question of "war guilt" is thus further muddied by the poisoned well of the moral pre-disposition of taking the Allies and their justifications for the war at their word.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby HMSendeavour » 2 weeks 2 days ago (Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:01 am)

An interesting, yet overlooked, "event" in the pre-history of the Second World War, would be what occurred between the U.S. Ambassadors in France, Willian Bullit and Anthony Biddle and the Polish Ambassador to France Juliusz Łukasiewicz.

The TL;DR is that Lukasiewicz had been told by Biddle and Bullet that the German-Soviet talks had not included discussions surrounding Poland or Romania, this was a lie, which subsequently provoked Lukasiewicz into urging Beck not to yield to any sort of pressure from the Germans. This trick helped push Poland into a war with Germany, because Beck might've otherwise reconsidered had he known the Soviets and Germans had agreed that in case of war there would be a demarcation line which would delineate the spheres of interest of their respective countries in Poland. The German historian Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof writes:

It is quite obvious on that day (August 31) that a last-ditch effort to persuade the Poles, British and French to rethink their positions is deliberately neglected. Roosevelt, who has known for the last seven days that Hitler has conceded East Poland to the Soviet Union as her field of interest, wraps himself even now in silence. It would not have been difficult for the president of the United States to imagine that the Polish government with the knowledge that he possesses would have preferred the reincorporation of the Free State of Danzig into the German Reich to the new sure loss of East Poland. It certainly sounds quite macabre, but on the morning of this last day before the war the American Ambassador in Paris, Bullit, assures his Polish colleague, Count Łukasiewicz, that he knows from a reliable source that a possibly existing secret agreement, supplemental to the Hitler-Stalin Pact, concerns only the three Baltic States, but not Poland.

Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, George F. Held (trans.), 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Munich: Olzog-Verlag, 2011), Pp. 624-625. Cf. p. 609-610.


Another historian, an expert on Roosevelts foreign policy writes:

The Polish Foreign Minister Beck had invited U.S. Ambassador Biddle to his home late in the evening of August 30, in order to inform him precisely of the reasons for his uncompromising attitude. Moreover, the invitation served the purpose of having the American ally with him when England's expected reply to Hitler's last peace offer arrived in Warsaw. This did not happen until after Biddle had left. The English note did not contain any pressures on Poland. But Beck had already told the American diplomat that he had no intention of sending an emissary to Berlin by midnight and had discussed Poland's completely negative response with Biddle. On the morning of August 31, the Polish ambassador in Paris, Juliusz Lukasiewicz, was astonished to discover in the English note which Foreign Minister Bonnet showed him that Chamberlain was apparently prepared to accept a European summit conference à la Munich after all. This time, of course, Russia was to take part in it.

The Polish diplomat was under the impression of press reports that spoke of an incipient "détente" between England and Germany. Since Lukasiewicz also still had indications of a softening of the French position, he urged Beck by telegraph to adopt an unyielding attitude toward the Anglo-German overtures. The result was Beck's reply to the English note, which, strangely enough, did not reach London until the evening hours of August 31, although Beck had already informed the English envoy in the morning that the Polish ambassador in Berlin would not be authorized to receive German negotiating proposals. Oddly enough, Hitler's definite order to attack lay exactly inbetween.

Dirk Bavendamm, Roosevelts Weg zum Krieg: Amerikanische Politik 1914-1939 (Herbig, 1983), Pp. 604.


The Polish attitude therefore wasn't amicable at all. But what's new? I guess what astonishes me about this is that people will still reprimand Hitler for his decision to attack Poland, yet avoid mentioning that it was justified not only morally, but strategically. No mention is ever made of what the Poles would or wouldn't actually accept (or it's glossed over but nonetheless admitted the Poles wouldn't accept anything). That this can be glossed over is rather remarkable, yet historians generally get away with it. The point here is to simply emphasise the Polish attitude at this point, which was hopeless in regards to establishing a peaceful resolution to the German-Polish crisis.

Perhaps Hitler's orders to attack Poland are less odd when you consider that he probably knew, or at least could've made an educated guess that the Polish attitude hadn't changed. That is if the Forschungsamt hadn't informed him already of these not so surprising developments.

Bavendamm goes on:

In this context, which made war inevitable, Ambassadors Biddle and Bullitt played key roles. Bullitt, citing reliable sources, had assured Lukasiewicz on the morning of August 31 that the Germans and Russians had mentioned neither Poland nor Romania in their negotiations in Moscow, and that the possibly existing secret supplementary agreement to the Hitler-Stalin Pact concerned only the Baltic states, not Poland.

Certainly, one does not dare to claim at first that Bullitt wanted to deliberately lie to his Polish colleague at this critical moment. After all, one can think that the American ambassador himself was not exactly informed about what his colleague Steinhardt had reported from Moscow a week before. But since the Hitler-Stalin Pact was the outstanding event in international politics before the outbreak of war, in the content of which every diplomat was vitally interested, and since Bullitt possessed Roosevelt's personal confidence, one must rather assume the opposite. Why did the American ambassador not pass on his information to Lukasiewicz at least at that moment?

It was the same reason that had prevented the Roosevelt administration from telling England, France and Poland the truth in good time. Lukasiewicz, in fact, began to realize on that very August 31 that in the event of an Anglo-German rapprochement Poland would be placed "in an extremely difficult and uncomfortable position." If this realization became a reality in Warsaw, the whole quarantine could be shaken. Therefore, even in view of the concrete circumstances, the only conclusion that remains is that Bullitt's communication was a deliberate disinformation intended to dissuade Beck from revising his exaggerated position. It was given additional weight by the fact that it was confirmed by Foreign Minister Bonnet.

Consciously deceived or left in the dark by the Americans about the fate their country would suffer in the event of a war against Germany, the Poles ran to their doom. Since Beck saw in Biddle his political confidant, one must assume that the U.S. ambassador in Warsaw played a decisive role in determining Polish behavior on the last day of peace as well. In any case, he kept himself closely informed about Beck's communications with the governments in Berlin and London. To the desperate question of his English colleague Kennard whether Roosevelt could not make one last effort for peace, the American diplomat only waved wearily: Since Hitler had not answered the President's two appeals, further steps were not to be expected.

Ibid., p. 604-605.


Interestingly too, the British mobilised their armed forces on the same day. Really gets the noggin joggin if you ask me.

On August 31, England also ordered general mobilization, making war only a matter of hours. Mussolini did launch the expected attempt to solve the German-Polish problems through a conference of the four main European powers. But the French government rejected this proposal as preparation for a "second Munich," as Bullitt just as expectedly reported to Washington. Thus the last, only theoretical chance for peace had burst.

Ibid., p. 605.


That Roosevelt wanted to incite a European war is old news, and has been known virtually since the war ended, if not before, but again, totally ignored by historiography for the sake of emphasising anything and everything related to Hitler. The vacuum intended to promote German war guilt didn't permit the contextualisation of information long known, and admitted to having been quite real, case and point the secret Polish documents that were published by the German foreign office and dismissed as "German propaganda". These papers, to this very day, haven't been taken into account because they're so utterly damning.

How they fit into this narrative is perhaps rather simple. The Americans purposefully avoided saying anything to the Poles which might've induced them to come to an agreement with Germany, in order to ferment a European conflict, as they had already promised the Poles military support before September 1939:

A different aspect of Roosevelt’s policy was revealed by the Polish documents ransacked by the Nazis from the archives in Warsaw. The dispatches of the Polish ambassadors in Washington and Paris laid bare Roosevelt’s efforts to goad France and Britain into war. In November 1938, William C. Bullitt, his personal friend and ambassador in Paris, had indicated to the Poles that the President’s desire was that ‘Germany and Russia should come to blows,’ whereupon the democratic nations would attack Germany and force her into submission; in the spring of 1939, Bullitt quoted Roosevelt as being determined ‘not to participate in the war from the start, but to be in at the finish.’ Washington, Bullitt had told the Polish diplomats, was being guided solely by the material interests of the United States.

David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (London: Focal Point Publications, 2019 edition), Pp. 243.


As to whether these documents are legitimate or not, as has been known and admitted by people directly involved in their composition, I defer nonetheless to the reputable American President, Herbert Hoover who states:

After the Germans had invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and seized the Polish Foreign Office records, they released a mass of documents which certainly indicated that the American Ambassador to France, William C. Bullitt, who could act only on Mr. Roosevelt’s authority, in January, 1939, had made a profusion of oral assurances to officials of Poland and France which they could only interpret as a promise of assistance of some kind of force from the United States. These statements by Bullitt were contained in numerous dispatches from Polish Ambassadors abroad to their Foreign Ministers in Warsaw.

When published, these documents were denounced as fabrications by Ambassador Bullitt, the Polish Ambassador to Washington, Count Jerzy Potocki, and by our State Department. But subsequently, the Polish Ambassador in Washington informed me that the documents were genuine and that he had denied their authenticity at the request of the State Department.

Herbert Hoover, George H. Nach (ed.), Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath (California: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 2011), Pp. 131-132.


Hoover also notes that the documents published by the Germans had ancillary documentation located in the Polish Embassy in Washington:

However, more convincing than these denials are the files of the Polish Embassy in Washington which were given to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. A new translation showed only minor differences from the German publication. There were many of these documents. . .

Ibid., p. 132.


An interesting dispatch from January 16, 1939, at the time well before Hitler decided to attack Poland (he was still speaking of a peaceful solution as late as August 29th, but most explicitly in a Führer directive dated March 25) the American Ambassador Potocki had dispatched to the Polish foreign office this note regarding Roosevelts foreign policy, and willingness to go to war again Germany and provide material support to the Western Allies:

In talking with Bullitt I had the impression that he had received from President Roosevelt a very detailed definition of the attitude taken by the United States towards the present European crisis. He will present this material at the Quai d’Orsay and will make use of it in discussions with European statesmen. The contents of these directions, as Bullitt explained them to me in the course of a conversation, lasting half an hour, were:

1.–The vitalizing foreign policy, under the leadership of President Roosevelt, severely and unambiguously condemns totalitarian countries.

2.–The United States preparation for war on sea, land and air which will be carried out at an accelerated speed and will consume the colossal sum of 1, 250 million dollars.

3.–It is the decided opinion of the President that France and Britain must put end to any sort of compromise with the totalitarian countries. They must not let themselves in for any discussions aiming at any kind of territorial changes.

4.–They have the moral assurance that the United States will leave the policy of isolation and be prepared to intervene actively on the side of Britain and France in case of war. America is ready to place its whole wealth of money and raw materials at their disposal.


Ibid., p. 132-133.


Particularly damning are points 3 and 4. It's fairly self-explanatory, but nonetheless worth briefly discussing. These points are significant because the United States who had the ability to essentially decide the outcome of a conflict before it started provided both assurance to Britain, France and Poland that they could count on her support so long as they rebuffed Germany, thus stiffening the backs of those countries to Hitler's more than reasonable proposals. Keep in mind, Poland wasn't even guaranteed by Britain until March 30th! Is it any wonder the British persisted on a policy of war with Germany, declaring it on September 3rd and rejecting all of Hitler's peaceful overtures? Is it any wonder the American Ambassadors in Paris didn't pass along vital information to Poland, or that the Poles simply refused to negotiate with the Germans at all? What can be said then, of German "guilt"? Nothing.

Hitler's remarks to Otto Ernst Remer regarding his decision to attack Poland, and the United States come to mind here:

Hitler had only asked for an extra-territorial highway and rail line across Polish territory, and he wanted the return of Danzig to the Reich. These were really very modest demands. With a bit more patience, couldn't he have obtained these, in much the same way that Austria and the Sudetenland had been united with the Reich?

And Hitler replied:

"You are mistaken. I knew as early as March 1939 that Roosevelt had determined to bring about a world war, and I knew that the British were cooperating in this, and that Churchill was involved. God knows that I certainly did not want a world war. That's why I sought to solve the Polish problem in my own way with a kind of punishment expedition, without a declaration of war. After all, there had been thousands of murders of ethnic Germans and 1.2 million ethnic German refugees. What should I have done? I had to act. And for that reason, four weeks after this campaign, I made the most generous offer of peace that any victorious leader could ever have made. Unfortunately, it wasn't successful.


And then he said:

"If I had not acted as I did with regard to the Polish question, to prevent a second world war, by the end of 1942 at the latest we would have experienced what we are now experiencing in 1944."


That's what he said.

Stephanie Schoeman Interview with General Otto Ernst Remer. |Link| Archive | Also see Remer's book on German war guilt: Otto Ernst Remer, Kriegshetze gegen Deutschland: Lüge und Wahrheit über die Ursachen beider Weltkriege (Remer-Heipke Verlag, 1989).


Just as a side note, Hoover had previously admitted that the loss of the German city of Danzig had been an issue for quite some time, that the German demands had merit, and that the Poles were "fearful" (i.e. unwilling) to compromise with Hitler:

The separation of the German city of Danzig from Germany, and the size of the Corridor at the time of the Treaty of Versailles had long been a cause of agitation by the Germans. Both were a part of vengeance and there was merit in the German claims. I had stated at one time that they should be corrected. The Poles at this time were fearful that any compromise with Hitler was of no use.

Hoover, op cit., p. 131.


All of this goes to show that a strong focus on Hitler isn't sufficient to determine war guilt. The Allies, quite apart from Hitler, had their own intentions which amounted to war, none of which could be concealed as righteous (not for lack of trying).
Last edited by HMSendeavour on Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:04 am, edited 6 times in total.
Now what does it mean for the independent expert witness Van Pelt? In his eyes he had two possibilities. Either to confirm the Holocaust story, or to go insane. - Germar Rudolf, 13th IHR Conference.


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