Goebbels diary on the invasion of Poland

All aspects including lead-in to hostilities and results.

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Goebbels diary on the invasion of Poland

Postby gl0spana » 1 month 3 days ago (Sat May 15, 2021 2:47 am)

The suggestion to look through the Goebbels diaries for clues about the internal decision making process re invasion of Poland is an interesting one.

The following is from Longerich’s book on Goebbels which makes extensive use of the diaries.

————

24 August

“A letter from Chamberlain delivered to Hitler by Ambassador Nevile Henderson reinforced the message of Britain’s resolve in the event of an attack on Poland. Hitler replied to the letter with an equally clear counterthreat. As Goebbels’s notes have it, the Führer’s general assessment of the situation is as follows: The situation of Poland was “desperate. We will attack them at the first opportunity. The Polish state must be smashed, just like the Czech.” This would not be too difficult, but the question of whether the West would intervene was more complicated: It was not certain. “Italy is not enthusiastic, but will have to go along with us. It hardly has any choice.”


“The Polish state must be smashed, just like the Czech.” Goebbels is likely referring to the political existence of Poland here with this comparison, since the Czech and German military never met.

“Hitler then informed Goebbels of the details of the way the pact with Stalin had come about and its consequences: “Eastern Europe will be divided between Berlin and Moscow.” Naturally, a surprise treaty with the Soviet arch-enemy was a risky business. But Goebbels noted: “Beggars can’t be choosers.”


This entry suggests that a week before the war the division of Poland was close to a settled matter.

“Later in the same day Hitler met the British and French ambassadors. He declared plainly to Henderson that “the German-Polish problem must be resolved and could be resolved.” If Britain declared war because of a military move by Germany against Poland, then Germany would accept this challenge. On the other hand, Hitler promised Britain extensive cooperation once “the resolution of this problem had been achieved.” However, this step did not seem very promising even to Goebbels: “England will no longer believe we mean it.”


“The German reaction the next day was to describe the prospects for any further negotiations with Poland as no longer encouraging, but nonetheless the German side was ready to receive a Polish representative in Berlin for discussions, provided he arrived by the next day, meaning August 30.241 On the morning of August 30 Goebbels summarized the thinking behind this reply: “The Führer wants a plebiscite in the Corridor under international control. That way, he still hopes to pry London loose from Warsaw and find an excuse for striking. London’s attitude is not as rigid as previously.”


G hints that England is open to negotiation, but “find an excuse for striking” suggests the talks were just a way of saving face and Germany always preferred to attack

“In addition, the Swedish industrialist Birger Dahlerus, whom Hitler had requested a few days earlier to present his ideas about a resolution of the crisis directly to the British government, brought a message from London. Goebbels noted: “England might possibly agree to ceding of Danzig and a corridor in the Corridor. But guarantee of Polish border in return. Later also to discuss question of colonies. Long peace with England. […] Everything still hangs in the balance.”


More words from G about England being open to negotiation.

“The extremely tight deadline set for a Polish representative to be sent to Berlin made a resumption of negotiations appear quite improbable. But if, against the odds, Beck should come to Berlin, Goebbels was worried above all that the unexpected chance of peace could lead to an “unstoppable wave of optimism here,” which would “ruin our whole position.”242 Evidently, Goebbels was still assuming that the nation was not exactly enraptured by the prospect of war.”


Is it possible Longerich is blatantly misquoting entry, likely deceptively taking these quotes out of context? This could be easily fact checked if one had access to the full diaries, so I’m not sure why he would do it.

In the following days I will see if I can track down the full diary entries, which are not available in the German language version @ archive.org

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Re: Goebbels diary on the invasion of Poland

Postby Breker » 1 month 2 days ago (Sat May 15, 2021 7:33 pm)

gl0spana:
Longerich cannot show us the actual Goebbels diary pages for which he presented alleged English translations.
Without the originals to examine and compare renders what he has presented as pure nonsense.

As all can see, Longerich is a propagandist, a fraud, as easily demonstrated:
search.php?keywords=longerich&fid%5B0%5D=2
B.
Revisionists are just the messengers, the impossibility of the "Holocaust" narrative is the message.

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Re: Goebbels diary on the invasion of Poland

Postby HMSendeavour » 1 month 2 days ago (Sun May 16, 2021 9:12 am)

I've already commented on Longerich, and already put much of this information you've presented, which is nothing new, into the appropriate context elsewhere.

The TL;DR is that the Germans didn't resolve upon was with Poland because they had another choice. Hitler certainly knew by late August that the Poles weren't interested in coming to an agreement. He knew that they were determined on war and even thought that they would be able to take Germany on alone. This will be made clear in this post, where I'll reiterate the words directly from the mouth of the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Josef Lipski.

Ribbentrop seems to have been correct in stating that the Poles were betting on the German government actually being too weak to fight a war, they thought that there would be a putsch and the National Socialist regime would fall:

(1) Not only had the British Government taken no concrete action in Warsaw to settle the German-Polish problem, but it had even described a possible visit by Beck to Berlin as ‘undesirable’. It was obviously feared that in a talk with Hitler Beck would after all agree to a peaceful settlement. (2) Obviously informed about the plans of the German opposition, Lipski beheved that ‘the outbreak of war would be the signal for a military putsch in Germany’, which would ‘remove Adolf Hitler’, and that the Polish Army would be in Berlin in six weeks at the latest.

Lipski’s views are understandable now that it is known from the evidence of Gisevius at Nuremberg that the German conspirators, who included Ministers, a Chief of the General Staff, Generals and high civil servants, had implored Britain in those days not to make any concessions to German wishes. Britain was asked to ‘remain firm’, and then there would be a war in which the Army would refuse obedience to Hitler so that England and the conspirators could combine to over- throw Hitler and the National Socialist regime.

The Ribbentrop Memoirs, Introduction by Alan Bullock (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1954), Pp. 126.


I have read the document Ribbentrop refers to in which the British government expressed that it would be 'undesirable' for Beck to visit Berlin, Halifax expressed this to Kennard, the British ambassador in Warsaw:

I fully agree as to the necessity for discussing detailed arrangements for the negotiations and as to the undesirability of a visit by M. Beck to Berlin.

British War Blue Book: Documents Concerning German-Polish Relations and the Outbreak of Hostilities Between Great Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939 (New York: Farrarr & Rinehart, 1939), Doc. 100, p. 198.


And Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador to Germany, confirms Ribbentrop's remark in a communication to Lord Halifax on August 31, 1939:

The Polish Ambassador, who was showing signs of strain, took a note of Mr. D[ahlerus].'s statement and when Mr. D. temporarily left the room to have the proposals put in writing, the Ambassador informed the Counsellor that this plan was a breach of Polish sovereignty and was quite out of the question. He had had many years experience of Germany. He would stake his reputation in his conviction that German morale was breaking and that the present regime would soon crack. It would be fatal for M. Beck or a Polish representative to come to Berlin. We must for heaven's sake stand firm and show a united front and Poland if deserted by her allies was prepared to fight and die alone.

Documents on British Foreign Policy 1918-1945 (DBFP), Third Series, Vol. VII, Doc. 597, p. 446; IMT, vol. IX, p. 475.


It would be "fatal" because the Poles knew full well what the German proposals were, that they couldn't be denied without making Poland look like the warmonger she was. So that they thought the German government was unstable partially explains the Polish obstinance. Yet not entirely, because as Kennard, the British Ambassador to Warsaw wrote to Halifax:

Considering that the Polish Government, standing alone and when they were largely unprepared for war, refused the March terms it would surely be impossible for them to agree to proposals which appear to go beyond the March terms now that they have Great Britain as their ally. . .

August 30, 1939. DBFP, 3, vol. VII, Doc. 512, p. 395.


Kennard makes a good point. If the Poles weren't willing to accept the German offers of March 1939, and not only refused, but actually mobilised their armed forces at that time before Germany had even prepared any military plans against Poland, the she surely wasn't going to accept even more agreeable German proposals in August, especially when she believed herself to have the military support of two of Europe's other Great Powers, Sean McMeekin confirms:

Meanwhile, Mr. G reported later on August 30 that, while Hitler had been insisting on recovering “all Polish territories which had been within the pre-war boundaries of Germany,” Göring had badgered him down into settling for only Danzig (Gdańsk) and the Polish corridor. Of course, this was still more than Polish leaders—bolstered by the new pact of August 25 and their understandable, if misguided, conviction that Britain and France would support them with genuine military action against Germany—were willing to give up.

Sean McMeekin, Stalin's War (Allen Lane, 2021), Pp. 92.


And how could the Poles not be obstinate? The French Ambassador to Germany Robert Coulondre admitted to Geroges Bonnet, the Minister for Foreign Affairs on May 9, 1939 that the Poles had basically been given the button to decide when war should come:

The question is not whether we should fight, or not, for the sake of Danzig. It is up to Poland, when the times comes, to decide this question. The only concern of France and Great Britain is to be determined to prevent another coup by Hitler, and to check Nazi expansion while there is still time.

French Yellow Book: Diplomatic Documents 1938-1939 (Hutchinson & Co., 1940) , doc. 124, p. 140.


Clearly the Poles weren't going to negotiate or accept any settlement, and clearly they had an inflated sense of their own superiority. They stiffened their backs, and obstinately refused to budge. Kennard also wrote:

I feel sure that it would be impossible to induce the Polish Government to send Colonel Beck or any other representative immediately to Berlin to discuss a settlement on basis proposed by Herr Hitler. They would certainly sooner fight and perish rather than submit to such humiliation. . .

August 30, 1939. DBFP, 3, vol. VII, Doc. 512, p. 395.


Hitler knew full well what the Polish attitude was, and was under no illusions that if Germany was going to take back what belonged to her, she needed to isolate Poland and remove any effort by the British to come to Poland's aid. Poland did need to be smashed, Goebbels hadn't written anything wrong in his diary. The German invasion of Poland was a necessity, pure and simple:

To Hitler the invasion of Poland was not war, only a coup to seize what was rightfully Germany’s. It was a localized action which both England and France, after making face-saving gestures, would surely accept as a fait accompli. Time and again his adjutants had heard him say at the dinner table, “The English will leave the Poles in the lurch as they did the Czechs.” [...] “England is bluffing,” he recently had told his court photographer, then added with a rare impish grin, “And so am I!”

John Toland, Adolf Hitler (New York: Doubleday, 1976), Pp. 568.


Hitler was taking a calculated risk, one that he didn't believe would lead to a European war, let alone a world war. This is obvious and hardly needs to be said. Although historians have a habit of not emphasising it, so it can be hard to miss although they almost all admit it.

So while it's true that Hitler was planning to go to war with Poland, he did so because he knew that no agreement was going to be made with the Poles. He was less so negotiating with Poland in the last few days of peace, more than he was with the British, who he was really trying to win over and get to abandon Poland in order to avoid a large scale war. Hitler had no impression that going to war with Poland would result in anything but a small war, a border skirmish. After all, Hitler had the moral high ground, the Poles, and certainly not the British, had no right to get in his way.


The Polish Ambassador, Josef Lipski, wasn't even authorized to accept any German proposals, Beck explicitly made this quite clear to Kennard, the British Ambassador in Warsaw:

I then asked him (Beck) what attitude the Polish Ambassador would adopt if Herr von Ribbentrop or whoever he saw handed him the German proposals. He said that M. Lipski would not be authorized to accept such a document as, in view of past experience, it might be accompanied by some sort of ultimatum.

August 31, 1939, Received at 7:15 p.m. Blue Book, op cit., Doc. 96, Pp. 191.


This was a rather poor excuse, and even the British didn't think this attitude was reasonable:

I do not see why the Polish Government should feel difficulty about authorising Polish Ambassador to accept a document from the German Government, and I earnestly hope that they may be able to modify their instructions to him in this respect. There was no mention of any ultimatum in the report on the German proposals which has been furnished to us, and the suggestion that the demand for the presence of a Polish plenipotentiary at Berlin on 30th August amounted to an ultimatum was vigorously repudiated by Herr von Ribbentrop in conversation with His Majesty's Ambassador. If the document did contain an ultimatum, the Polish Government would naturally refuse to discuss it until the ultimatum was withdrawn. On the other hand, a refusal by them to receive proposals would be gravely misunderstood by outside opinion.

I should have thought that the Polish Ambassador could surely be instructed to receive and transmit a document and to say (a) if it contained anything like an ultimatum, that he anticipated that the Polish Government would certainly be unable to discuss on such a basis, and (b) that, in any case, in the view of the Polish Government, questions as to the venue of the negotiations, the basis on which they should be held, and the persons to take part in them, must be discussed and decided between the two Governments.

September 1st, 1939, 12:50 a.m. Ibid., Doc. 100, p. 198-199.


Of course, it makes no sense for Beck to order Lipski not to receive any German proposals, they didn't need to be agreed upon right there, and of course, like the British said, the Poles could simply refuse them. But, as we know, the German "demands" were so spectacularly magnanimous that any Pole who did receive them would probably be compelled to accept them. Beck clearly didn't want this, and as I've discussed before, I think the Poles were in-fact trying to avoid receiving any official German proposals (they already had unofficial knowledge of Hitler's 16 points).

The two documents I just quoted were written and received on August 31st. By this time the Poles had already mobilised their armed forces on the 30th and at 11:00pm replied to the German 16 points declaring that they chose to go to war. Any assurances that Beck made to the British after the Polish mobilisation and after his country had responded to Germany's magnanimous offer with a resolution to go to war can thus be ignored as nothing more than an attempt to maintain British support in light of the German invasion he knew he had provoked and would come, and did, on September 1st.

That the Poles weren't interested in any kind of peace talks is evidenced by their refusal on September 2nd, to enter into any negotiations, instead they demanded military assistance not even 24 hours after the German attack:

French Ambassador tells me he received today' most secret instructions from M. Bonnet to sound M. Beck regarding an ill-defined Italian suggestion for a five-Power conference.

2. M. Beck replied that Poland was the victim of unprovoked aggression and was being pressed hard. It was time to talk not of conferences but of mutual aid in resistance to aggression. He subsequently telephoned to the Ambassador after consulting the Marshal to confirm his reply.

3. French Ambassador told me this was very secret and asked particularly that it should not be revealed that he had told me.

4. M. Beck expressed great satisfaction with the British and French declarations of support this morning. It has given general satisfaction but every Pole is now asking how quickly and effectively we can implement the alliance.

Kennard to Halifax, September 2nd, 1939, 2:47 a.m. DBFP, 3, vol. VII, doc. 693, p. 498f.


The German attitude to the Italian proposal (DGFP, D, 7, doc. 535) was quite different, Hitler accepted the offer in the afternoon of September 2nd, having heard the offer for the first time that morning:

On 2 September, in the afternoon, Hitler accepted the plan of a general conference and the suspension of German military operations in Poland and agreed to have proposals for it completed within 24 hours. Hitler’s willingness to use the mediator Dahlerus to the last and to send even on 3 September, i.e. within the running-time of the British ultimatum to Germany, Göring with full powers to London, is proof that he must have accepted Mussolini’s suggestion for a ceasefire conference for 5 September.

At 12.50 p.m. on 31 August, Chamberlain’s first reaction was already (hardly two hours after Mussolini’s suggestion) to refuse, “under the threat of mobilised armies,” to agree to such a conference.

Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 419-420.



The first quote from Longerich you produce Gl0spana, is a reference to the events of August 25th, 1939. From these events we can observe how desperately Hitler tried to preserve some semblence of peace, particularly with the British - because again, he knew the Poles were going fight, and were trying their best to play for time.

Before noon on August 25th, Hitler postponed the planned invasion of Poland for the first time and met with his British Ambassador, Henderson at 1:30pm, it was at this meeting where Hitler tried in vain to pledge German support to the British empire and prevent the British from intervening in Poland, basically, trying to come to some sort of last minute agreement. Although the conversation overall, obviously, didn't work out. And at 3.02pm Hitler again confirmed the order to attack Poland at dawn the next morning. (John Toland, Adolf Hitler (New York: Doubleday, 1976), Pp. 552.)

Hitler later the same day at 5:30pm met with the French Ambassador Coulondre, who had insisted on France's determination to fight on the side of Poland, even though Hitler had stressed to him that he had no desire to go to war with France, and couldn't understand why Germany and France need to go to war, especially because Germany had renounced her claims to Alsace-Lorraine in order to conciliate friendly relations with France. But this didn't matter to the French Ambassador, so Hitler reprimanded him, and by extension the French government, for giving Poland a "blank check to act as she pleased" (Ibid., p. 553.). Hitler with these remarks clearly shows how uninterested he was in fighting any other country other than Poland, and didn't want France or Britain to get involved. To solidify this fact, after Hitler dismissed the French Ambassador, he met with the Italian Ambassador Attolico at 6pm in which the latter handed Hitler a letter from Mussolini in which he stated that Italy could not go to war because she wasn't prepared, and Hitler's interpreter, Paul Schmidt, observed the fact that the 1. British-Polish pact (which had been signed the same day) 2. the French declaration to fight as expressed by Coulondre in his earlier meeting with the Führer, and 3. The withdrawal of Italy from going to war, had hit Hitler like "a bombshell" (Halder recorded that Hitler was "considerably shaken" (ziemlich zusammengebrochen), DGFP, D, 7, p. 561). So again, Hitler postponed the orders to march a second time, because, as he told Wilhelm Keitel: "I need time for negotiations." (Ibid., p. 554.)

From this, it's clear Hitler didn't want or intend to fight Britain or France. This is further proven by the fact that Hitler on the same day reiterated to Walther Hewel that he didn't actually believe the British would fight for Poland (Ibid.). At this time too, Hermann Göring was working with the Swedish businessman Birger Dahlerus, with Hitler's knowledge, to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crises. (Ibid., p. 554ff.).

One shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that Hitler wasn't clear about his intentions, he stated them very clearly to the British. In his discussion with Neville Henderson as briefly mentioned, Hitler apart from imploring the British to see reason and trying to come to a peaceful alliance with them, Hitler made it clear that if an alliance couldn't be made, then he wouldn't hesitate to defend German interests in Poland:

If the British Government would consider these ideas, a blessing for Germany and also for the British Empire might result. If they reject these ideas, there will be war. In no case would Great Britain emerge stronger from this war; the last war had already proved this.

DGFP, D, vol. VII, doc. 265, p. 281.


One cannot say that Hitler didn't make himself clear, he warned the British and when war with Poland came as he knew it would, he didn't declare war on the West. The guilt therefore, belongs to Britain and France. Not to Hitler.

Hitler in-fact stated to Henderson that he would, after the Polish problem was solved, make another offer to the British government:

Immediately after the solution of the German-Polish question he would approach the British Government with an offer.

Ibid.


After the fall of Poland, on October 6th 1939, Hitler did just that. He offered the British a settlement over Poland, offering to grant the Poles an autonomous rump state, not the same size as the Poland before the war, but still a territory that would be theirs. Yet the British rebuked Hitler again, and decided to fight the war they declared. True to his word Hitler made offer after offer, only to be ignored time and again. The war that resulted cannot therefore be put onto Hitler shoulders, even if you think he deserves part of the blame for perusing legitimate German interests.


Hitler went to war with Poland because he had no choice. The Poles were obstinate, and due to the rapidly increasing armaments levels of Germany's enemies and time constraints due to the weather, the latest Germany could afford to go to war was, ideally August 26th, but certainly no later than September 7. Hitler himself had warned Henderson of this fact:

Hitler argued that he was being pressed by his General Staff. “My soldiers,” he said, “are asking me ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ ” The Wehrmacht was ready to strike and its commanders were complaining that a week had been lost already. Another week might bring them into the rainy season.

Toland, op cit., p. 562.


And when Hitler was looking to make a deal with Stalin, it was only because he wanted to defend his rear and hopefully get the West to back down. This is widely known already, but Hitler was running out of time:

As summer wore on, it became clear that Germany’s ardor for a deal was much stronger than Russia’s. Every day brought a possible armed clash with Poland closer for Hitler, and dry summer weather would not last forever (the Wehrmacht’s ideal launch date was August 26). Hitler’s Polish war plans, along with his acute economic vulnerability, were well known to Stalin, who had a highly placed mole in the German embassy in Warsaw. Meanwhile, although the battle raging at Khalkin-Gol kept Soviet forces tied down all summer, the dramatic failure of Japan to break through on July 23 eased the strategic pressure on Moscow. The longer the diplomatic picture in Europe was unclear, the greater leverage Stalin enjoyed over Hitler.

McMeekin, op cit., p. 78.


Rhonhof makes the point remarkably well:

For Hitler time is running out. At this late hour he can no longer stop the march of the German troops (1900 hours). With each additional day now he is stalled, the risk increases that the campaign against Poland will get stuck not in Warsaw but in mud and rain. The generals have advised him not to begin a campaign after 2 September. The generals among the British and the French also know that. General Gamelin - as already mentioned - expected that a German attack in the fall and winter would get stuck and be unsuccessful. For Hitler on this evening the choice is no longer between negotiations and war, but only between the abandonment of Danzig and of the protection of the German minority in Poland and war. He now sees that the British will not help him with the Poles, and that the Poles under the protection of Britain do not want to negotiate.

Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Olzog Verlag, George F. Held English Translation, 2011), Pp. 623.


Neville Henderson himself admitted in his memoirs that Germany would've been unable to have gone to war with Poland in October due to the "impossible" weather conditions:

He (Hitler) could scarcely afford to hold the party rally at Nuremberg in September without being able to announce some development of the situation. On the other hand, if the party rally took place, with the vast effort of organization which its celebrations required, it was probable that there would be no war in 1939, since the habitual rainy weather in Poland in October would be likely to make it impossible for the highly mechanized German Army to win the rapid victory which was regarded by the German Army commanders as essential to success. Apart, in fact, from the danger of a serious incident’s occurring in the interval or of Hitler and ourselves being placed in a position from which neither of us could withdraw, there was every reason to feel fairly confident of the temporary security of the lull. The whole problem, to my mind, was how to reach the Nuremberg party rally without disaster.

[...]

If anything did count, it was the opinion of his military advisers. It was they, I fancy, who told Hitler that further delay would be fatal lest the seasonal bad weather in Poland might upset their calculations for her swift overthrow. The Army grudged him even the week between August 25th and September 1st which his last attempt to secure British neutrality had cost it.


Neville Henderson, Failure of a Mission: Berlin 1937-1939 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1940), Pp. 241-242, 297.


As is well known, the period we know as the "Phoney War" was plagued with bad weather. Hitler was right to want to avoid it.

Also interesting is Henderson's tacit admission that it was his goal to essentially stall negotiations until it wasn't possible for Germany to take any action.


Halder's diary also confirms everything I've said here, particularly emphasising that the Poles were stalling for time, and that Hitler really wanted to avoid any conflict with the British and French, and was thereby attempting to drive a wedge between them and the Poles, the latter he knew he'd have to fight:

On August 26th:

faint hope that England might still, by negotiation, be brought to accept the demands rejected by Poland. Danzig Corridor. (Henderson: offer on solution of Corridor and Danzig questions: now in London.)

DGFP, D Series, vol. VII (7), Appendix I: Extracts from the notebook of Colonel General Halder August 14-September 3, 1939, Pp. 561.


We see two things then, the Poles were not accepting any German offers, and the Germans wanted to make a deal with the British. But Hitler also made it clear that if he was "pushed to it" he would wage a two-front war if necessary. (Ibid., p. 565.)

Because it uncertain when exactly the Wehrmacht would march, the Germans seemed to have operated by simply preparing day-to-day for mobilisation at any time, without actually being ordered to march. August 26th was the first "mobilisation day", and August 31st was the sixth mobilisation day.

On August 26th 5:15 P.M. Halder noted that the Armed forces needed to be ready by August 31st at the earliest:

Preparations to continue. Make preparations on assumption that attack be launched on 6th [Mob. Day] (at earliest).

Ibid., p. 562.


Halder doesn't portray it as a given that Germany would be going to war. This shows that Hitler was keeping his options open for a most favourable outcome, not simply going to war because he wanted to, which is surely what he would've done if war was his aim. Clearly it wasn't, it was but another option to achieve his aims and unfortunately one might think, it was his final option.

On August 27th. Halder notes that France and Britain had begun to mobilise:

France: Frontier build-up now proceeding; only against Germany. Corps commanders still at their peacetime posts. Fourth degree of readiness confirmed. General mobilization not confirmed. No change in disposition of troops on frontier. Transport of “A” Echelons {A Staffeln] from Central Corps Areas apparently only partially started.

England: Mobilization started 23 August. First contingent: (regular army) two to three Divs. and two Armd. Divs. were ready on 25 August, morning. No evidence of transports (embarkation).

Ibid.


One could say that Germany wasn't expecting to come into conflict with France because their Corps commanders hadn't been moved from their peacetimes posts. Unless I'm looking too much into it, this doesn't seem to jive with the idea that Germany was seeking a conflict with the West.

August 28th:

12:15 p.m:

Conference at Reich Chancellery at 1730 (5:30 p.m. Aug. 27): Reichstag and several Party notables, Führer accompanied by Himmler, Heydrich, Wolff, Goebbels and Bormann.

Situation very grave.

Determined to solve Eastern question one way or another.

Minimum demands: return of Danzig, settling of Corridor question.

Maximum demands: ‘‘Depending on military situation.”

If minimum demands not satisfied, then war : Brutal!

He will himself be in the front line.

The Duce’s attitude serves our best interests.

War very difficult, perhaps hopeless; “As long as I am alive there will be no talk of capitulation.”—Soviet Pact widely misunderstood by Party. A pact with Satan to cast out the Devil. . .


Ibid., p. 563.


Further proof that Hitler was keeping his options open in case of a peaceful outcome. I don't think the implications need to be explained, but for the hell of it I will.

That Hitler was going to solve the Polish problem "one way or another" implies that war was not his only decision, if it was, this statements makes no sense. Nor does it make sense to say that Germany had a minimum demand, if as some historians maintain, Hitler was planning to attack Poland anyway. Not that it'd matter, the Poles weren't going to acquiesce to any German offer no matter how limited. It only makes sense then to go to war if your minimum demand will not be accepted, the 16 points was certainly a most minimal of demands. The risk was run, and Hitler was correct.

Clearly though, Hitler was stressed:

Personal impression [of Führer]: exhausted, haggard, croaking voice, preoccupied. “Keeps himself completely surrounded now by his SS advisers."

Ibid., p. 564.


I wonder why? For a man who was supposedly getting what he wanted, Hitler was certainly not in the best of shape at this time. Hitler's reaction to the British and French declaration of war on September 3rd comes to mind. . .

Halder also notes what Henderson admitted in his memoirs, that he was seeking to gain time. (Ibid.)

ObdH:
1) Attack starts September 1.
2) Führer will let us know at once if we are not to strike,
3) Führer will let us know at once if further postponement is necessary,
4) It is intended to force Poland into an unfavourable position for negotiations and so achieve maximum objective [grosse Losung}, (Hend[erson].)

Führer very calm and clear.


Ibid., p. 565.


Again, Hitler's options are open. As it stood, the invasion was set for September 1st, but could be postponed. We see too that Hitler was intending to push Poland into an "unfavourable position" in order to achieve their maximum objective (?). Evidently Hitler planned to do this with the 16 points, which I've shown in another thread.

Halder confirms this:

Plan: we demand Danzig, corridor through Corridor, and plebiscite on the same basis as Saar. England will perhaps accept, Poland probably not. Wedge between them!

Line to be followed: try to agree with Britain on comprehensive solution [Grosslosung]: Danzig, corridor through Corridor, several corridors.

Selection of date : according to political considerations.

Ibid., p. 566.


The Germans therefore know that the Poles probably won't even accept such a moderate request. What remains consistent is the German intention of isolating Poland and preventing British intervention, and preferably, making an agreement with her.

On August 29th Hitler met with Henderson, a few remarks made by Hitler I think are worth quoting in full, rather than the exerpt quoted by Halder:

Henderson [...] who, ever since he had occupied his post in Berlin, and particularly just recently, had done everything in his power to prevent war and bloodshed. The choice between war and peace now lay with the Führer.

The Führer replied that this was not a correct picture of the situation and declared that the alternatives before him were either to defend the rights of the German people or to abandon them at the cost of an agreement with England. For him there was no choice: his duty was to defend the rights of the German people.

[...]

On parting, the Führer, after expatiating on the course of his efforts to reach understanding with England, again expressed most forcibly his desire to cooperate with England. He had always cherished this desire and had endeavoured to realize it. England had repulsed him again and again and had thus forced him against his will into alliances with others, which had not been in keeping with his original intentions. Even now he still wanted friendship with England and he expressed the sincere hope that England would not let this last chance slip.

DGFP, D, Vol. VII, Doc. 384, p. 381-382.


Hitler was sincere, nobody doubts that. You certainly cannot doubt it once evaluating the evidence provided here which shows, overwhelmingly, that Hitler didn't desire a conflict with Britain, and in-fact, tried hard to avoid one.

On August 30th:

1840 (6:40 p.m.): Siewert: Make all preparations so that attack can begin at 0430 on Sept. 1. Should negotiations in London necessitate postponement, then postponement to Sept. 2. In that case we shall be notified before 1500 tomorrow. Army Group North has already been instructed.

After the 2nd we will not attack.

(Goring has objected to 0430.) Inform Jesch[onnek].

Poland: Notice too short. Going to Berlin = submission. Führer insists on demand that a Polish negotiator be sent immediately. Führer drafts letter to England, listing in detail demands on Poland.

Halder Diary, DGFP, op cit., p. 568.


I have never once read of any historian who's mentioned that the Germans were willing to postpone the invasion even to September 2nd, let alone that after September 2nd there was to be no invasion at all. This goes to show how strapped for time the Germans were, but also that they were still finding wiggle room.

The letter drafted to England was the 16 points, according to the DGFP (doc. 458) the despatch was recorded at 9:15 p.m. August 30th and 12:40 a.m. August 31st, it was received in two parts. The hope was that the British would accept these, while the Poles were expected to reject them. This is important to note, because at 5:30 p.m. the Germans received word of the Polish mobilisation, a very clear indication that the Poles were not only not going to send a plenipotentiary to Berlin, but that they had resolved upon war:

Instead of a Polish negotiator, at 1730 hours a report arrives from the German Embassy in Warsaw that since this morning all over Poland the general mobilization has been officially proclaimed. When even by the afternoon no one has come from Warsaw, and Hitler's hopes are dwindling, he summons to the Reich Chancellery General von Brauchitsch, the Commander in Chief of the Army, and General Keitel, Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, and postpones again for 24 hours the start of the attack on Poland, previously set for 31 August. The new D-Day (X-Tag) is now 1 September; attack time is 0445 hours. Hitler thus allows himself one more chance to attain success without bloodshed.

Rhonhof, op cit., p. 609.


Yet Hitler postpones, presumably, to allow the British to receive the German 16 points and allow for time to drive the wedge between them and the Poles. The Poles were going to be smashed, and there was nothing anybody could do about it, it was unavoidable at this stage and the Poles had it coming, all Hitler could do was mitigate the conflict.

On August 31st, when Hitler issued Directive No. 1 for the Conduct of War against Poland he ordered:

1. Now that every political possibility has been exhausted for ending by peaceful means the intolerable situation on Germany’s eastern frontier I have determined on a solution by force.

2. The attack on Poland is to be carried out in accordance with the preparations made for “Operation White [Fall Weiss]" with the alterations, in respect of the Army, resulting from the fact that strategic deployment has by now been almost completed.

Assignment of tasks and the operational objective remain un-changed.

DGFP, D, Vol. VII, Doc. 493, p. 477.


What's worth noting about this, is that even on August 31st Hitler ordered that the attack on Poland was still to be in accordance with the Führer directive issued on April 11th 1939, which explicitly stated that Poland was to be isolated in a possible conflict:

German relations with Poland continue to be based on the principles of avoiding any disturbances. Should Poland, however, change her policy towards Germany, which so far has been based on the same principles as our own, and adopt a threatening attitude towards Germany, a final settlement might become necessary in spite of the Treaty in force with Poland.

The aim then will be to destroy Polish military strength, and create in the East a situation which satisfies the requirements of national defence. The Free State of Danzig will be proclaimed a part of the Reich territory at the outbreak of hostilities, at the latest.

The political leaders consider it their task in this case to isolate Poland if possible, that is to say, to limit the war to Poland only.

Führer Directive, April 11, 1939. DGFP, D, Vol. VI, Doc. 185, p. 224.


What's interesting to, is that Halder notes that there was to be no terror attacks on Warsaw, only legitimate military targets:

Warsaw: No terror attack (only military targets !) —Order for West: deployment of forces.

Halder Diary, DGFP, op cit., p. 568.


Historians don't seem to like mentioning this either.

Again Hitler indicates that the conflict might ensure on September 2nd, and after that date there will be no conflict:

Führer’s proposal to Poland: Danzig, plebiscite (via Gö[ring] telephone). Poles have not yet arrived; England has become party [to negotiations]. Führer: either 1 or 2 [Sept.]; all off after 2 [Sept.].

Ibid., p. 569.


Finally, August 31st, Halder notes at 1130 hours that there's talk of intervention from the West being "unavoidable", yet this is clearly not Hitler's position, because at 1800 hours Halder writes:

Poles are delaying, tapped telephone conversation.

Decision against evacuation shows that he expects France and England will not take action.

Reichstag tomorrow; demands will be put before it (Danzig, Corridor, plebiscite). Greatest impression on the German people and on the world.

Italy is putting up a comparatively big show. Hopes that Mu[ssolini]’s influence will contribute to the avoidance of big conflict. Restraining influence on France.

Ibid.


Hitler earlier at 4:20 refused to meet with the Lipski, the Polish Ambassador, presumably because he knew that the Pole wasn't authorized to receive any German proposals:

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.

David Irving, Hitler's War and the War Path (Focal Point Publications, 2019), Pp. 213; also see: David Irving, Breach of Security: The German Secret Intelligence File on Events leading to the Second World War (William Kimber & Co. Ltd., 1968), Pp. 115. And, Toland, op cit., p. 567.


And:

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.

Irving, Breach, p. 104. Also see: David Irving, Das Reich hört mit: Görings “Forschungsamt”: Der geheimste Nachrichtendienst des Dritten Reiches (Arndt Verlag, 1989).


So, for this reason the "Letter" (as Halder refers to the 16 points) was not transmitted because: "it was conditional on Poles coming to him. (Hitler)", which he knew the Poles wouldn't do because they weren't interested in negotiating, and because Beck wasn't going to authorize a Pole to actually receive the Letter. Nevertheless, the Letter was read out by Ribbentrop to Henderson the same day and the German proposals had gone out via radio that evening at 9:15 p.m. (Walendy, op cit., p. 424. Halder has the time at 2100 hours, DGFP, D, 7, p. 570.), the Poles, at this point, could not pretend they hadn't known about them. So of course they doubled down and as I've mentioned previously, countless times before, at 11:00 p.m. they effectively declared war on Germany, stating:

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.

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. 491.


According to the Poles, their answer to the magnanimous German proposals was the mobilisation of their armed forces, it doesn't get any clearer than that.

Even though Hitler, for good reason, refused to meet Lipski, Ribbentrop was received the Pole at 6:30 pm. and as I've already quoted, asked him whether he was authorized to negotiate. The Pole said no, and that was all the Germans needed to hear in order to know that their time was being wasted:

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.

Toland, op cit., p. 567.


And finally, on September 2nd, Halder made it clear that Hitler still wanted to be able to receive the British and French Ambassadors, because the "links must not be broken":

Führer wants to receive the Ambassadors of France and England; we must not commit ourselves; links must not be broken.

Halder Diary, DGFP, op cit., p. 571.


This is unsurprising, because we know that Hitler didn't want a war in the West, and immediately at this time was still using emissaries like Dahlerus to submit peace feelers to the British government.


At the end of all this, the simplest facts remain.

If the British had put pressure on the Poles to accept the German proposals, or had told the Poles they wouldn't fight on their behalf, then the Second World War could've been avoided.

There was no outcome in which the Germans didn't take back Danzig and the corridor, or where the British successfully came to the aid of Poland to thwart Germany's advance. The responsibility therefore lies with the British for not recognizing her weak geographical position and still insisting on a conflict. The Poles are to blame for their obstinacy that might not have changed whether the British backed them or not. Nonetheless, the war could've been much smaller than it turned out to be.

Germany couldn't have been expected to back down, let alone give up any less than what she deserved. In the end the British facilitation of Polish obstinacy allowed the Germans more than they probably deserved, but all's fair in love and war. Hitler gambled, and he won big. Germany after the fall of Poland ended up with much more territory and leverage than the British had. Only by refusing to make peace did the British have any hope in attacking Germany, she therefore needed to hope that she'd be able to solicit support from countries like the United States or the Soviet Union in order to widen the war and potentially win it. That Hitler reacted to this strategy in 1941 to forestall a Soviet attack, but also to potentially knock the Russians out of the war and deprive the British of any further hope of alliance, was something that Hitler hardly had any choice in. Either he made a move, or waited to be encircled. The blame still lies with those who refused, time and again, to make peace.
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: Goebbels diary on the invasion of Poland

Postby HMSendeavour » 1 month 2 days ago (Sun May 16, 2021 9:54 am)

gl0spana wrote:This entry suggests that a week before the war the division of Poland was close to a settled matter.


The actual secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact isn't nearly as concrete as this:

Secret Additional Protocol


On the occasion of the signature of the Non-Aggression Treaty between the German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the undersigned plenipotentiaries of the two Parties discussed in strictly confidential conversations the question of the delimitation of their respective spheres of interest in Eastern Europe. These conversations led to the following result:

1. In the event of a territorial and political transformation in the territories belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern frontier of Lithuania shall represent the frontier of the spheres of interest both of Germany and the U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna territory is recognized by both Parties.

2. In the event of a territorial and political transformation of the territories belonging to the Polish State, the spheres of interest of both Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula, and San. The question whether the interests of both Parties make the maintenance of an independent Polish State appear desirable and how the frontiers of this State should be drawn can be definitely determined only in the course of further political developments. In any case both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly understanding.

3. With regard to South-Eastern Europe, the Soviet side emphasizes its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares complete political désintéressement in these territories.

4. This Protocol will be treated by both parties as strictly secret.

Moscow, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of
the German Reich:
v. Ribbentrop

With full power of the
Government of the U.S.S.R.:
V. Molotov

DGFP, D Series, Vol. VII, doc. 229, p. 246-247.


As you can see, the document doesn't at all imply that anything was a "settled matter". It's simply talking about spheres of interest, although that's not to say the Germans didn't expect the Soviets not to invade Poland. They did, that was the expectation, but the point is that a rump Poland was certainly not out of the question. You might call this protocol the geo-political equivalent of calling "dibs". It's a contingency based on undetermined circumstances that were yet to mature, at that point in time at least. I think that's clear.
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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