The War Guilt Question of World War II

All aspects including lead-in to hostilities and results.

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The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby Otium » 11 months 3 days 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:

Threads Relevant to the War-Guilt Question

'Why Germany Invaded Poland', by John Wear / 'peaceful Poland' debunked

Czechoslovakia: How Britain Turned the Failure of a State into a Cause for War

Hitler's 26 September 1938 claim Sudetenland "last territorial demand in Europe" a lie? // "Appeasement"

The Anschluss with Austria

What Counts as a Declaration of War? Poland Declares War on Germany First?

100 Documents on the Origins of the War Selected from the Official German White Book

Versailles Treaty - Fair or Unjust? Did it guarantee another war?

Hitler didn't care about Danzig?

The Hossbach Protocol and Hitler's bellicose intentions

HITLER STARTED WW2!! : Hitler's Obersalzberg Speech // DOCUMENTS 1014-PS, 798-PS and Raeder 27

[Video] A Last Appeal To Reason - Hitler's various peace offers

Hitler's Peace Offers Vs Unconditional Surrender

Did Hitler "prepare for war" since 1933?

"The Phoney Victory" WW2 Revisionism in the main stream.

How Britain & Roosevelt conspired to get America into WW2

76 years after the infamous D-Day, do the western allies WW2 veterans still think they fought on the right side?

Roosevelt's Road To War

Collusion: Franklin Roosevelt, British Intelligence, and the Secret Campaign to Push the US Into War

'Hitler Answers Roosevelt / The German Leader’s Reply to the American President’s Public Challenge', by Mark Weber

The Audacity of Niall Ferguson - His Bad Case Against Germany and apology for British War Mongering

Why did Hitler invade so many 'neutral' European countries?

Challenge to an Anti-German // Daughter of Albion //

Why did Germany annex all of Czechoslovakia? / Anschluss of the Sudeten Regions

Document suggests British were plotting to invade Germany before Germany invaded Poland

Offer to clear Poland?

Dutch/Belgian "Neutrality" In 1939-40

Veronica Clark drops the ball / Polish atrocities against Germans

All That for … This? What Resulted after World War II - John Wear


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 Otium » 11 months 3 days 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: Archive:

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


'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?
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: Archive:

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 Otium » 9 months 5 days 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.


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.


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 Otium » 7 months 4 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.


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 Otium » 7 months 3 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:


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.


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

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':


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.


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:


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.


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 » 7 months 5 days 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 Otium » 7 months 5 days 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 » 7 months 5 days 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 Otium » 7 months 4 days 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 » 7 months 4 days 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: ... 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:
"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 Otium » 7 months 4 days 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"

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 Otium » 5 months 2 days 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.”


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 Otium » 4 months 2 weeks 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 Otium on Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:04 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby Otium » 2 months 3 weeks ago (Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:03 pm)

The annexation of Bohemia and Moravia by Hitler's Germany in March 1939 is often the point at which conventional histories relay a shift in the foreign policy of Great Britain from Appeasement to "deterrence". It was this action, we're told, that "revealed Hitler's true intentions" and caused the world to wake up and recognize that Hitler was "bad news". It was this action which was used to be the moral justification of all opposition to Hitler and his reasonable demands on Poland, which having failed, ended up resulting in the invasion of that country.

The example of Czechia serves to this day, as the first alleged "warning" of Hitlerian aggression used to justify the real aggressive foreign policy shift from the Allies. Yet this is a malignant fiction used to incriminate Germany and justify the post-hoc moral pretences of the victors.

The reality is that the British didn't care about what happened to Czechia, and initially wrote it off as being none of their business. Indeed this is how Hitler himself also saw it.

Chamberlain declared in the House of Commons on 15 March 1939 there has been no breach of the Munich Convention. The the British Government is no longer bound by its commitment to Czechoslovakia because "the state whose borders we intended to guarantee from within and thus came to an end".

Annelies von Ribbentrop, Verschwörung gegen den Frieden: Studien zur Vorgeschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges (Druffel-Verlag, 1963), Pp. 304.
See too this post from Lamprecht.


Chamberlain was obliged to deliver a strongly worded speech in Birmingham, demanding: ‘Is this in fact a step in the direction of an attempt to dominate the world by force?’ About a week later, however, Chamberlain reassured Hitler through a third party that he quite sympathised with Germany’s move, even though he was unable to say so in public, as he was being exposed to intemperate attacks by the Churchill clique.

David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Focal Point Publications, Millennium Edition, 2002), Pp. 162-163.

According to the reputable mainstream historian D.C. Watt, the Birmingham speech:

marked a major reversal of British policy in Eastern and south-eastern Europe. The attempt to isolate Western Europe as the sole defensible frontier against Germany, which had been the centre of British policy since 1937, if not before, was abandoned. Within two weeks in fact Britain was to plunge headlong into a series, a web, of new commitments in Eastern and south-eastern Europe. Before six months were ended, Britain would be at war, ostensibly over a residual dispute resulting from the Treaty of Versailles, and involving a German minority. The process which was to bring Britain to this had begun even as the Prime Minister's train was pulling into Birmingham, even as the clouds of steam from its piston heads marked the end of its journey.

D.C. Watt, How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War 1938-1939 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989), Pp. 169.

Arbitrarily Britain decided to extend her hand over Europe, into territory which as Watt tacitly admits was never seen to be in her sphere of interest prior to 1939. The irony being that this action by the British was - albeit without force of arms which was nonetheless implicitly threatened - similar to that which she complained the Germans were doing, that being the extension of German control over areas of central/eastern Europe. How then could Britain justify her change in policy to a Germany who was operating under different assumptions about the extent of her reach and authority in Europe? How could Germany possibly be criticised by those who assert that British demands and warnings be heeded in regards to what Germany could or couldn't pursue in terms of foreign policy, when there was no precedent to justify British involvement in those affairs which were previously agreed not to concern her? What makes Britain the arbiter of others? It is absurd and ridiculous to indite Germany on this basis.

Hitler felt that he could act against the Czechs without worrying about British involvement, because he felt it wasn't their business. After the fact the British decided to make it their business and attack Germany on this basis.

The speech delivered by Chamberlain in Birmingham was the beginning of the shift in Britain's opposition to Germany, and it was spurred on by a gross lie, not often mentioned in conventional histories that would seek to make it seem as if it was Hitler's annexation of Czechia alone which prompted such fierce resistance. In reality, the new foreign policy direction of Great Britain away from appeasement and towards war was prompted by a concoction originating from its own government.

The Romanian foreign minister in London, Virgil Tilea, came to Lord Halifax, Alexander Cadogan, and many many others with ridiculous claims that Germany intended to invade Romania:

That afternoon he [Tilea] called on Lord Halifax in a state of considerable excitement. Before that towering figure, those sceptical eyebrows, those fingers pressed lightly together, he poured forth a story of imminent German action against Romania, of economic demands presented as a virtual ultimatum. What would Britain do? If Romania fought, would Britain support her? Would Britain draw a line beyond which Hitler must not go? Germany, he said, had demanded that Romania grant her oil concessions, suppress certain industries likely to be in competition with German industries and become, in particular, an agricultural satellite of Germany. He again asked for a loan to enable Romania to buy armaments from Britain.

Ibid., p. 170.

This event is known as the 'TIlea-Lie'

We read, in a short breakdown of the consequences of this lie:

The Romanian envoy in London, Tilea, informed Lord Halifax on 17 March 1939 that Germany had issued an ultimatum to Romania. Although this account was immediately exposed as a lie, the British Foreign Secretary had

a) communicated it to the British press,
b) prevented a denial,
c) induced Chamberlain to make a sharp speech against Germany and to establish coalition ties with Warsaw and Moscow,
d) "made war the center of deliberations and discussions").
e) knew of this news and these reactions already a day before the meeting with Tilea knowledge).

Udo Walendy (ed.), Europa in Flammen 1939-1945, Band II (Vlotho: Verlag für Volkstum und Zeitgeschichtsforschung, 1967), Pp. 347-348.

Watt confirms that Halifax had indeed steered the course of Britain towards war, and admits that it was the Tilea-Lie, not Hitler's invasion of Czechia, which prompted this new course:

As Chamberlain spoke [In Birmingham], his Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, had already acted to commit Britain irretrievably to the newer and tougher tactics foreshadowed in Chamberlain's speech, and to a return to the politics of Eastern Europe from which he and Chamberlain had so recently been trying to withdraw her. The occasion for this reversal was provided by a man who otherwise has little more than a walk-on part in the play of events leading up to the outbreak of the war, one among several hundreds of the corps of European diplomatists in whose curiously artificial and confined world each major event produced ripples and cross-ripples of action and reaction in patterns of the most geometrical complexity. His name was Virgil Tilea; he was Romanian Minister in London. And what he had to say to Halifax was both extremely alarming and in its most important aspects almost certainly not true.

Watt, op cit., p. 169.

The result of this lie is what created the Allied justifications to set up their dubious moral justifications to oppose Germany. The myth of German aggression was created by intrigue with this one lie, which, as will be shown, was the brainchild of the Allies themselves who inflamed tensions in Europe to their own advantage. This it cannot be emphasised enough, led to the outbreak of the Second World War to which the Allies are more than partially responsible.

The actions of the German Reich, however, contradicted the British policy of the "Balance of Power". This prompted the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, and his advisor, Lord Vansittart, to take appropriate countermeasures without delay. Two days later, on March 17, 1939, the Romanian envoy in London, Virgil Tilea, made the claim, which fit well into the British concept, that Germany - which was conducting economic negotiations with Romania in Bucharest at the time - had "issued an ultimatum" to the Romanian state and that there was a danger of an imminent German invasion of Romania, although Germany did not even have a common border with Romania. This was a welcome occasion for Vansittart to immediately inform the London Times and the Daily Telegraph. The British newspapers immediately exploited this false report at the height of the "Czech crisis" in order to prove Hitler's alleged world conquest policy.

In almost the entire English press, as well as among most of the members of the House of Commons, a storm of indignation and outrage arose after this report. Once again Lord Halifax intervened, having received a warning from U.S. President Roosevelt in Washington during the night of March 14-15, 1939, that the mood in the U.S. might become anti-English unless Great Britain adopted a sharp policy against Germany. Halifax then told Chamberlain to change the previous tenor of his speech on the political situation and to join the front of general indignation against Germany at all costs, otherwise he would have to expect the fall of his government. Lord Halifax - he knew the Tilea tale - drafted a new speech for Chamberlain, which the latter then also delivered in Birmingham on March 17, 1939, and which, in contrast to earlier, was very aggressive toward Germany. There Chamberlain also claimed, among other things, that Hitler wanted to conquer the world.

Rolf Kosiek & Olaf Rose (ed.), Der Grosse Wendig: Richtigstellungen zur Zeitgeschichte, Band 1 (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 2006), Pp. 571-572.

The British had, it seems, created this lie and fed it to the Romanians and then used it to stage a massive press campaign against Germany, which of course had a massive influence on public opinion and certainly pushed the world one more massive step closer towards war. The rhetoric from this lie has stuck with us ever since, the myth that Hitler wanted to "conquer the world" step by step:

So it happened that, at a well-chosen moment in time, on 17 March 1939, the Rumanian Ambassador in London, Virgil Tilea, “following a telephone call from Paris” which had apparently been arranged by the Foreign Office, sent a false report to the British Foreign Secretary stating that Germany had presented an ultimatum to Rumania, or rather, the German government were to have demanded from Rumania a monopoly of Rumanian exports, as well as force Rumania to adopt measures of restriction of her industrial production in the interest of Germany while, concurrently, the Rumanian frontiers would be guaranteed by the German armed forces. The news of a German trade delegation staying in Rumania, coincidentally in the middle of March 1939, served as the peg on which to hang the story. The supposition that Mr. Tilea’s lie was put about by the Foreign Office by way of a fabricated “telephone call from Paris” could be reinforced, meanwhile, to the point of becoming conclusive proof.

Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 297.

Robert Boothby, one of Churchill's 'ilk' later admitted to have 'masterminded the scheme.' (Watt, p. 171.) So it appears to be rather likely that the British had indeed been behind this lie. Nonetheless, knowing it was a lie and basing their policy around it makes them just as guilty. It was nothing more than a convenient excuse to rally an anti-German cause together, while of course the lie itself was quietly dropped the matter of Czechia took its place and the outrage which resulted from the Tilea-Lie was quietly associated with Hitler's movement on Prague, when in truth this action had initially aroused very little sensation in Britain.

The British made no attempt to oppose, or prevent the German invasion of Czechia, and in-fact took actions which implicitly supported it, or at least, didn't show that they were practically against it. For example, when the Reichsbank requested the transfer of the Czech gold reserves from Britain, they were given to her. This seems like an odd thing to do, transferring another country's gold to a nation which had occupied her. Yet Britain did just that:

The British government did nothing to oppose this dissolution of Czechoslovakia, although it would certainly not have been impossible to do so. . . Not long after the Germans had occupied Bohemia, the Reichsbank requested the transfer of the Czechoslovak gold reserves kept in the Bank of England. Without further ado this gold was duly transferred. By tacitly approving this operation, the London government apparently endorsed the German annexation of Bohemia.

Hans Vogel, How Europe Became American (London: Arktos, 2021), Pp. 201.

In fact, Hitler's occupation of Czechia was primarily motivated by strategic concerns relevant to the defence of Germany, not conquest:

It was mainly strategic military considerations that led to the establishment of the protectorate over the rest of Czechoslovakia on March 16, 1939, after the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, which was so successful in terms of foreign policy.

From the Introduction by Dr. Otto Scrinzi in: Walter Post, Hitlers Europa: Die Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft 1940-1945 (Stegen am Ammersee: Druffel & Vowinckel-Verlag, 2011), Pp. 12-13.

This was a fact Hitler himself actually revealed to the Romanian Foreign Minister Grigore Gafencu on April 19, 1939:

The solution implemented in Munich would not lead to success. . . If I have occupied Bohemia, it is not for the pleasure of making conquests but to prevent the continuance, within the German living space, of an alien, hostile wedge driven into the body of the Reich.

Adolf Hitler to the Romanaian Foreign Minister, Grigore Gafencu, quoted in: Max Klüver, War es Hitlers Krieg? (Druffel-Verlag, 1984), Pp. 157. See too: Michael Freund, Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges in Dokumenten, Vol. II, p. 184. Originally from: Grigore Gafencu, Last Days of Europe: A Diplomatic Journey in 1939 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), Pp. 74.


“I never wanted to annex the Czechs, I assure you. My sole thought was to liberate the four million Germans who found themselves in an intolerable situation in Bohemia. But this problem immediately raised the question of the other nationalities. The Hungarians, Poles, and Slovaks all demanded their rights. So I was obliged to re examine in its entirety a question which had only been partially settled at Munich. [...] You Rumanians know better than anyone else the stubbornness with which the Hungarians and Poles sought to divide Subcarpathian Ukraine between them so as to have a common frontier. You were opposed to the idea; so were we. But I did not wish to play a thankless role, and I ended by yielding to the insistent demands of the Hungarians. . . . Since, at that moment, Slovakia manifested its desire to gain its independence, I realized that there could no longer be any question of maintaining a state that was breaking up itself.”

Adolf Hitler to the Romanaian Foreign Minister: Grigore Gafencu, Last Days of Europe: A Diplomatic Journey in 1939 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), Pp. 74-75.

Hitler didn't believe he had violated the Munich agreement, and rightly saw no reason why the subsequent events concerning Czechia and Slovakia ought to be the business of the British. He went on to tell Gafencu that "the western countries were not consulted, for they had no concern in that region where the role of maintaining peace is exclusively ours." (Gafencu, p. 75)

Further, Hitler elaborated:

“Why should this solution be in opposition to the Munich Agreements? What could these agreements accomplish against a decay which was in the nature of things? And by what right did England claim to intervene in order to prevent the normal, natural evolution of the situation in Central Europe?”

Ibid., p. 76.

Hitler, it seems to me, was more right in his opinion than the British who thought every issue concerning Europe was their business. This difference of opinion doesn't illustrate a conniving or malicious attempt on Hitler's part to achieve his aims, believing himself to be breaking agreements or his word, this he evidently did not believe and certainly didn't actually do despite the insistence of those who should know better.

And anyway, the Czechs had it pretty good under German occupation. They were permitted, within reason and under German guidance to essentially govern themselves. Their government was not German. Their economy was good, they were saved from the horrors of the Second World War, and they barely had any reason to complain, they were despite their seeming lack of full autonomy, treated pretty well, and perhaps not worse than the Germans who had previously been subjugated to foreign rule:

Incidentally, despite losing their independence in 1939, the Czechs lived better during World War II than they did later under Communist rule. Their country was spared from bombing. They did not have to do military service. Their industries, further developed by the Germans, worked at full speed for Hitler's war machine. In the field of economic cooperation with the Third Reich, the Czechs were second only to the Belgians. Czech workers never collected such high wages as in Hitler's protectorate, while peasants enriched themselves on the black market. The food situation was better than in the Reich and the number of politically persecuted people was generally no greater than in Germany itself.

The Slovak national state, created with the support of the Third Reich, affirmed by the majority of the population, was considered at that time as a "Danubian Switzerland."

Ferdinand Otto Miksche, Das Ende der Gegenwart: Europa ohne Blöcke (München: Herbig Verlag, 1990) Pp. 59. Cf. Hans Vogel, op cit., p. 202. For a full study on the Czechs and their protectorate, see: Lukas Beer, Hitlers Tschechen (Verlag Der Schelm, 2. Auflage, 2021).
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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Re: The War Guilt Question of World War II

Postby Otium » 2 months 2 weeks ago (Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:39 pm)

I would like to go into further detail with regards to this Hitler quote:

“I never wanted to annex the Czechs, I assure you. My sole thought was to liberate the four million Germans who found themselves in an intolerable situation in Bohemia. But this problem immediately raised the question of the other nationalities. The Hungarians, Poles, and Slovaks all demanded their rights. So I was obliged to re examine in its entirety a question which had only been partially settled at Munich. [...]You Rumanians know better than anyone else the stubbornness with which the Hungarians and Poles sought to divide Subcarpathian Ukraine between them so as to have a common frontier. You were opposed to the idea; so were we. But I did not wish to play a thankless role, and I ended by yielding to the insistent demands of the Hungarians. . . . Since, at that moment, Slovakia manifested its desire to gain its independence, I realized that there could no longer be any question of maintaining a state that was breaking up itself.”

Adolf Hitler to the Romanaian Foreign Minister: Grigore Gafencu, Last Days of Europe: A Diplomatic Journey in 1939 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), Pp. 74-75.

The historical facts of which Hitler mentions here are incontrovertibly true, and I wish to make that point here quite briefly.

The Poles and the Hungarians both sought to destroy Czechoslovakia, this is an inconvenient fact which is ignored in all major histories. if it is mentioned not much emphasis is given to it, because this fact alone justifies, or at least, puts into perspective Hitler's actions against the Czech remnant and his insistence to only support Slovakia if she were to announce her independence entirely. It was of course in Hitler's interest to see the Czech state disappear, for she would remain a possible threat to German security, simply looking at her geographical position on a map justifies Hitler's concern without question:

The hostility of Churchill and the "anti-appeasers" to an understanding with Germany prompted Hitler to consider the future. Should the opposition come to power in London, it would in all probability abandon the policy of understanding and seek to encircle Germany. In this case it had to be expected that Benesch would return to power in Prague and again pursue a policy hostile to Germany. In an alliance with England, France and Soviet Russia, Czechoslovakia could again become a danger to the German Reich, which Hitler wanted to prevent at all costs. He therefore issued an instruction to the General Staff of the Army on 21 October 1938 to make immediate preparations to "finish off the rest of Czechoslovakia".

Walter Post, Die Ursachen des Zweiten Weltkriekes: Ein Grundriß der internationalen Diplomatie von Versailles bis Pearl Harbor (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 2003), Pp. 303.

However the point here is to show that the Poles were attempting to bully their neighbours by issuing ultimatums, and threatening war if they didn't comply with her demands. Firstly, the German Ambassador to Poland, Hans-Adolf von Moltke, received information from a source close to the Polish Foreign Minister Beck, in which he learned of the Polish insistence on a common border with Hungary, exactly as Hitler stated to Gafencu. Moltke reported this in a telegram to the German Foreign Ministry on October 22, 1938:

From a source close to Foreign Minister Beck I have heard that he returned greatly disappointed from his trip to Rumania. Although King Carol had shown understanding for the Polish viewpoint, Comnen had stubbornly opposed any solution which would deprive Rumania of direct contact with Czechoslovakia. M. Beck had not, however, permitted this to divert him from his plans and was determined to achieve a common frontier with Hungary under any circumstances, if necessary by force.

DGFP, D, Vol. V, Doc. 79, p. 102.

If one looks at a map, this common border could only have been created had Slovakia ceased to retain relations with Czechia, and either announced its independence or was ravaged by either Poland or Hungary, perhaps both.

Sean McMeekin Map.jpg
Map from: Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War (Allen Lane, 2021), Pp. 73.
As can be seen by looking at this map, in order for Poland and Hungary to share a border, Czechoslovakia would have to have been eliminated.

This is what lead Hitler to invite Tiso to Berlin, and give him an option of either being hung out to dry, or allowing Slovakia to survive independently secured by Germany:

He [Hitler] had now summoned Minister Tiso in order to clear up this question in a very short time. Germany had no interests east of the Carpathians. It was a matter of complete indifference to him what happened there. The question was, did Slovakia want to lead an independent existence or not? He wanted nothing from Slovakia. He would not stake his people, or even a single soldier, for something which the Slovak people did not want at all. He wanted a final confirmation as to what Slovakia really wanted. He did not want Hungary to reproach him for preserving something which did not want to be preserved. In general, he took a very generous view of disturbances and demonstrations, but in this case the disturbances were only an outward sign of internal uncertainty. He could not put up with that, and he had therefore summoned Tiso to hear his decision. It was a question not of days but of hours. He had previously said that if Slovakia wished to become independent he would support and even guarantee her efforts in that direction. He would keep his promise as long as Slovakia clearly expressed the desire for independence. If she hesitated or refused to be separated from Prague, he would leave the fate of Slovakia to events for which he was no longer responsible. Then he would look after German interests only, and they did not extend east of the Carpathians. Germany had nothing to do with Slovakia. She had never belonged to Germany.

Hewel Memo of the Conversation between Adolf Hitler and Josef Tiso on March 13, 1939: DGFP, D, Vol. IV, Doc. 202, p. 245.

This is how D.C. Watt describes this conference, although he makes Hitler sound more urgent than the memo itself seems to justify, nonetheless it's accurate:

Hitler was at his most truculent. He was going to settle with the Czechs. What would the Slovaks do? They could choose independence now and Germany would guarantee their security, or they could stay with the Czechs; in which case Hitler washed his hands of them. He would abandon them to their destiny, probably to occupation by Poland and Hungary. He wanted a decision at once - Blitzschnell!

D.C. Watt, How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War 1938-1939 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989), Pp. 149.

However, I think the best most succinct account is given by the historian Kurt Glaser. He confirms all the most important points, which I will underline:

Among the Slovak leaders, Monsignor Tiso, Deputy Premier Karol Sidor, and their supporters from the Agrarian party would have been content to have Slovakia remain an autonomous state within a federal Czecho-Slovakia, had such a solution been possible. Others, such as Professor Tuka (released from prison in October, 1938) and Minister Ferdinand Durcansky, favored complete independence. It is doubtful, however, whether Slovakia would have become an independent state in 1939 without pressure from Germany—particularly since Prague still had large contingents of Czech troops stationed in Slovakia, while the Slovak contingents of the Czecho-Slovak army were mostly in Bohemia.

While the Western Powers and Prague assumed that Hitler would respect the new boundaries drawn after Munich, Tiso and his ministers had better information. Through the Carpatho-German leader, Franz Karmasin, and other German contacts, they learned that the Führer planned to seize Bohemia and Moravia in the near future.64 They also knew that Hungary planned to annex the remainder of Slovakia and that Hitler—who, like many Austrians, tended to believe that Slovaks liked Magyar rule—was not averse to this move. Politics being the art of the possible, there was only one way in which Tiso and his friends could stave off the reconquest of Slovakia by Hungary. That was to convince the Nazi leadership that Slovak independence would be more to Germany’s interest. To accomplish this end, the leaders of the Bratislava government, including Durcansky, Mach, Tuka, Karmasin (since October 10, 1938 State Secretary for German Affairs), and on one occasion Tiso himself, held extensive conferences with Reich officials. These conferences alarmed President Hacha and the Prague ministers, who walked squarely into the trap which the Nazis had set for them.

Early in March, 1939, Hacha and his cabinet decided to liquidate the Slovak government, or at least its “separatist” wing. The Czech Minister in Berlin, Dr. Mastny, asked the Wilhelmstrasse how Germany would regard Czech military intervention in Slovakia, and was given to understand that the Reich viewed it as “a Czecho-Slovak internal matter.” On the night of March 9, President Hacha dismissed Tiso and his cabinet, and declared a state of emergency in Slovakia. General Homolka, the local commander, arrested Ministers Cernak, Mach, and Tuka, while Durcansky escaped to Vienna, where he made a radio speech urging the Slovaks to revolt against the Czech oppressors. Reluctantly, Sidor assumed the premiership: his first act was to obtain the release of the arrested ministers.

Hitler, of course, had no intention of regarding Hacha’s coup de force as a Czecho-Slovak internal matter. On March 12, 1939, a Nazi delegation headed by State Secretary Wilhelm Keppler of the Foreign Office and Reich Governor Arthur Seyss-Inquart of Austria arrived in Bratislava and urged Premier Sidor to proclaim the immediate independence of Slovakia. Sidor refused adamantly, stating that he lacked authority for such an act, but arrangements were made for Tiso and Durcansky to fly to Berlin and for a special session of the Slovak parliament to be held upon their return.

At a conference in the Chancellory, Hitler laid down the terms of the decision the Slovaks had to make. If Slovakia wished independence, he would support it and even guarantee it, but “if she hesitated or did not wish to dissolve the connection with Prague, he would leave the destiny of Slovakia to the mercy of events for which he was no longer responsible.” At the psychological instant, Ribbentrop produced a telegram reporting Hungarian troop movements along the Slovak frontier. After Monsignor Tiso had reported to the Slovak parliament the following morning, a law was passed unanimously declaring the independence of Slovakia and transforming the regional parliament into that of the Slovak Republic. A new government was formed with Tiso as premier and Durcansky as Foreign Minister.

Kurt Glaser, Czecho-Slovakia a Critical History (Caxton Printers Ltd. 1961), Pp. 44-46.

In other words, without Germany Slovakia would've been stuck under the thumb of the Czechs, unable to militarily decide their own fate even if they wanted to. Therefore it wasn't possible for the Slovaks to remain independent in a federal Czecho-Slovakia, they needed outside help and Germany was in the perfect position to provide that help, in fact, they were the only country the Slovaks could rely upon. Thus to talk of a possible federal Czecho-Slovak state is to miss the entire point, which is that because of Germany's advantageous position she needn't have applied any sort of pressure upon the Slovaks, but instead simply impress on her leaders that without German help, Slovakia might disappear, and if she wanted to avoid that the Slovaks would have to come to terms with a solution that also benefitted German interests which would entail the full independence of Slovakia, which it mustn't be forgotten, couldn't have occurred had there not been a latent desire for it in the first place. This is exactly what happened. The Slovaks were simply, due to matters of fate out of their geographic and geo-political control, in a more subservient position in which they needed Germany more than Germany needed them. Although it seems as though both nations needed each other in the end, and both benefitted.

None of the aforementioned events could've happened by Hitler's will alone, and it took the independent choice of others to create the situation possible for certain outcomes to be brought about. To blame Hitler for how things turned out would be an absurd simplification. That's assuming the situation that resulted is even that which needs to have blame delegated to it.

Hitler could not have regarded the actions taken by the Czechs against the Slovaks as a purely "internal matter", he had already made it clear in his popularly cited speech on September 26, 1938 that he would not be interested in the Czech state once she resolved her minority problem:

It could also be pointed out that Hitler is usually quoted incompletely with his Sports Palace speech of September 26, 1938, that he guaranteed the Czech state and that he did not want any Czechs at all. For Hitler had made this declaration conditional at the outset on the Czechs having to come to terms with their other minorities in a satisfactory manner: "And I further assured him [Chamberlain] that the moment Czecho-Slovakia solves its problems, i.e., the moment the Czechs have come to terms with other minorities, and have done so peacefully and not by oppression, that I will then no longer be interested in the Czech state. And that is guaranteed! We don't want Czechs at all. . ."

Dr. Richard Pemsel, Hitler: Revolutionär - Staatsmann - Verbrecher? (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 1986), Pp. 291-292.

The point here is that Hitler had made an independent decision on the course Germany would take toward the Czech state and her position on Slovakia. According to this course he frankly told Tiso (as we just read) that unless he declared total Slovakian independence that country would not be able to count on the support of Germany in the future. Hitler then left the ball in Tiso's court, it was still his decision to make. One cannot criticise Hitler for this, he wasn't obligated to unconditionally support Slovakia. The genius of this foreign policy manoeuvre lies in the nature of Hitler's ability to take advantage of a situation he didn't create to guide an outcome that was best suited to German interests. This he cannot be blamed for and can only have been expected.

Hitler had asked Ribbentrop at the meeting with Tiso if he had anything to add:

The Reich Foreign Minister also emphasized that a decision was a matter of hours, not days. He handed to the Führer a report just received announcing Hungarian troop movements on the Slovak frontier. The Führer read this report, told Tiso of its contents, and expressed the hope that Slovakia would reach a decision soon.

DGFP, D, Vol. IV, Doc. 202, p. 245.

Watt claims the report Ribbentrop received on Hungarian troop movements was most certainly "a lie" yet presents no evidence for this claim. As I've established, and will emphasise a little more with another document or two in a moment, the Poles and Hungarians seriously intended to annex their own territories at the Czechs "expense", lauded Hitler biographer Alan Bullock confirms this:

At the same time, the ground was carefully prepared with the Hungarians, who were eager to recover Ruthenia and at least part of Slovakia, and with the Slovaks themselves, who were cast for the same role the Sudeten Germans had played the year before. The actual moment at which the crisis broke was not determined by Hitler and took him by surprise, but that was all. The Slovaks were at once prodded into declaring their independence and putting themselves in Hitler's hands. The Czech government, after Hitler had threatened President Hacha in Berlin, did the same. The 'legality' of German intervention was unimpeachable: Hitler had been invited to intervene by both the rebels and the government. War had been avoided, no shots exchanged, peace preserved - yet the independent state of-Czechoslovakia had been wiped off the map.

Alan Bullock, "Hitler and the Origins of the Second World War," in: The Origins of the Second World War: Historical Interpretations (Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1971), Pp. 210.

As we can see Bullock says the Hungarians had some designs on Slovakia. Clearly, if Ribbentrop had presented Tiso with a lie it hardly would've mattered, because for it to have been effective it would've had to have some basis in fact. This is the inconvenient point historians like Watt choose to ignore.

However, on March 12 1939, "The Legation in Czechoslovakia to the Foreign Ministry" reported on Polish and Hungarian troop movements directed against Czechia, this was a day before Tiso came to Berlin, so it seems that Ribbentrop was indeed presenting Tiso with accurate information:

Military preparedness seems to have been ordered in the barracks in Bohemia and Moravia.

Small-scale military convoys in the direction of Slovakia. Movement of police continues.

Polish military and police reinforcements reported opposite Mahrisch-Ostrau.

Reinforcements on the Hungarian frontier reported at the same time.

DGFP, D, Vol. IV, Doc. 189, p. 235-236.

After the meeting with Hitler, Tiso left Berlin without having been subject to any pressure but rather presented with a choice, yet some historians don't seem to be able to tell the difference. Nothing was signed, nothing was accepted, and nothing was even asked of Tiso. Hitler knew he didn't have to ask or push for anything at all, that the situation was such that if the Slovaks were smart they would realise that if they wanted to remain a fixture on the map of Europe they would have to declare their independence.

Tiso remained unmoved and simply told Hitler that he would have to consult the Slovak Assembly which he had meet on the 14th:

Tiso thanked the Führer for his words. He had long desired to hear from the lips of the Führer the latter’s attitude toward his people and his country and how he viewed the problems. He noted what had been said and assured the Führer that he could rely on Slovakia. The Führer would pardon him if, under the impact of the latter’s words, he could make no definite statement at once, let alone give a decision. He would retire with his colleague and consider the whole question calmly, but they would prove themselves worthy of the Führer’s benevolence and interest in their country. Thereupon the conversation ended.

DGFP, D, Vol. IV, Doc. 202, p. 245.

In the end the Slovakian assembly voluntarily decided to declare their independence after having been told about the new German position presented to them.

Tiso nevertheless knew when the cards were stacked too heavily against him. At 9 a.m. the following morning, March 14, he met the Sidor Cabinet and explained what had happened. At 11 he met the Slovak Assembly. Sidor announced the resignation of his Cabinet. Drily and with irony Tiso explained the nature of the choice with which Hitler had faced them. He made no recommendations or proposals. This was left to Martin Sokol, Speaker of the Assembly, who put the vote on a declaration of independence to the Assembly. 'All in favour, rise to their feet.' All present, fifty-seven of the sixty-three members of the Assembly, rose to their feet. Sokol declared, 'I confirm that the Assembly of the Slovakian region, as the sole organ competent to express the political will of the Slovak nation, is decided on the proclamation of an independent Slovak state.' It was just after midday.

Watt, op cit., p. 150.

However it wasn't only the Slovak assembly that unanimously agreed on independence, but also the Slovak people:

There had been no encouragement from Hitler to induce Poland to incorporate the Czech Olsa territory that included the town of Teschen, where large part of the population was German. Furthermore, he had not ordered or advocated provincial parliamentary elections in Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine, and he certainly did not pre-determine their result: The local population there had voted 98% and 92.4%, respectively, in favour of setting up an autonomous government and against centralism from Prague. Furthermore, it was not Hitler’s fault that, after Austria’s reunion with Germany and the breaking away of Slovakia, Czechia’s remaining borderline to the outside world was reduced to a mere 50 kilometres (31 miles), which in this case was a far from friendly Poland.

Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 127-128; Paul Rassinier, Die Jahrhundert-Provokation: Wie Deutschland in den Zweiten Weltkrieg getrieben wurde (Tübingen: Grabert-Verlag, 1989), Pp. 221.

Any sane man who wanted to see the independence of his nation would've heeded Hitler's advice as Tiso did, but was by no means forced to do. Hitler was simply provided with a perfect opportunity by his rowdy neighbours to let the "chips fall where they may" and let the logical conclusions be come to by his allies who would've recognized that Germany was the only country which offered them the best outcome. Hitler knew this, and so Germany benefitted and Czechoslovakia fell apart just as Hitler described to Gafencu. He was absolutely correct, and justified in his actions. No responsible statesmen would've done differently, even if you consider it to be a bit of a gamble.

I took a bit of a detour in order to contextualise what happened with Slovakia's independence. This is fully in line with Hitler's comments to Gafencu, which means that Hitler had the full support of the historical facts behind him. He was indeed justified upon the basis which he defended. However we're not done. Some final documents from October, and finally November 1938 show how determined the Poles were in attempting to induce the Slovaks to secede from their union with the Czechs.

On 27 October 1938 von Moltke again informed Ribbentrop of Poland's actions against the Czecho-Slovak state:

As I have already stated in report P V 47 of October 14, 1938, Poland is trying to induce Slovakia to break away from the political union in which she has been joined until now. For this purpose use is made of the Slovak Deputy, Sidor, who for a long time apparently has been getting material support from Poland for his political purposes. So far, however, it has not been possible to discover any indication here that the Polish Government may be bent on uniting an independent Slovakia with Poland through a personal union, in violation of the interests of its close ally, Hungary. Rather, the information available here indicates that according to the Polish view Slovakia could very well become an independent state ; it would then remain to be seen whether she would seek a future alignment with Hungary or Poland. Moreover, this also seems to be the opinion of the Hungarian Minister here, who regards the rumors mentioned in the telegram referred to above, which he likewise has heard of, merely as Czech attempts to cause trouble.

DGFP, D, Vol. V, Doc. 87, p. 115.

A telegram a few days prior, on October 22, 1938 also made comments about Hungary, Poland and Slovakia:

In the Slovak question the Polish Government, too, was of the opinion that Hungary had to make certain concessions. On the other hand it took the view that the cities of Ungvar and Munkacs should be given to Hungary. For the rest, it was well known that the Poles favored an autonomous Carpatho-Ukraine associated with Hungary. Since all this was well known he was today only requesting that regular contact be maintained with Poland in dealing with. Hungarian frontier questions; he had spoken about this with the State Secretary a few days ago.

DGFP, D, Vol. V, Doc. 80, p. 103.

And on November 1st the Legation in Czechoslovakia sent a telegram to the German Foreign Ministry stating:

The Czechoslovak Foreign Minister told me shortly before he left for Vienna that an agreement had been reached between the Polish and Czechoslovak Governments- whereby the Czechoslovak Government had in the main complied with the Polish demands except for cession of the industrial area near Hrusow (telegram 685, paragraph 1 a). Yesterday the Slovak Government had given its consent to this settlement. Polish pressure on Czechoslovakia had been extremely strong. The Polish note had spoken of immediate resort to extreme measures in the event that the proposal was rejected. The Czechoslovak Government had had no other choice than to accept the heavy territorial and economic sacrifice demanded, in order to avoid armed conflict.

DGFP, D, Vol. V, Doc. 94, p. 121.

David Hoggan was thus entirely correct in his summation of Poland:

There is an astonishing parallel between American policy toward Japan in 1941 and Polish policy toward Germany in 1939. In the latter case, the Poles maintained the fiction of seriously seeking an agreement with the Germans until confronting them with a mobilization and a threat of war. Some observers have suggested that events in Bohemia explained this Polish attitude, but the records show that the Poles were actually eager to produce the collapse of the rival Czech state. After initiating a crisis, the Poles refused to negotiate for a solution. Much the same happened in 1941.

David L. Hoggan, The Myth of 'New History': The Techniques and Tactics of the New Mythologists of American History (The Craig Press, Nutley, N. J., 1965), Pp. 178.

Udo Walendy makes the same point:

The rejection of the German negotiation proposal of 26 March 1939 [to the Poles] was deliberately provocative, since there was no cause whatsoever for answering this with threats of war, mobilisation, aggravated minority policies, with the “awakening of the anti-German mood among the Polish people of every social strata and circle” and, lastly, to underline it with the acceptance of a British carte-blanche.

The assertion that Hitler’s entry into Prague on 15 March 1939 was responsible for this response is demonstrably false. The Polish leadership, “the only one not to have issued a formal protest against the annexation” of Czechia, did not consider the establishment of the protectorate – done with the approval of the Czech government! – as being a threat to Poland. Indeed, they were the ones who had never believed in the viability of Czecho-Slovakia and, in addition, it was they who were working toward the further partitioning of this State with their territorial claims and ultimata after the Munich conference, and who were defending a common border with Hungary.

Walendy, op cit., p. 190.

I suppose the TL;DR is that yes, there is documentary proof of Poland and Hungary's attempt to put pressure on Czechoslovakia in order to bring about a common frontier, just as Hitler stated to the Romanian Foreign Minister Grigore Gafencu. Hitler's actions against the Czechs on this basis was justified, he was far from the only one who could gain from the total destruction of the Czech state. There is no reason to suppose that Czechoslovakia, a state barely 20 years old, was an integral, or sacred political fixture. To view it as such when nobody at the time considered it to be so is ridiculous. The only reason anybody cares about Czechoslovakia is because it serves an anti-German "anti-Nazi" political dogma.
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.

Former username: HMSendeavour

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