zapper wrote:#1 lebensraum.
Raeder: “Whoever has pondered over this world order knows that its meaning lies in the success, of the best by means of force. And the German people belong to the best races of the earth. Providence has made us the leaders of this people and thereby given us the task of securing the necessary living space for the German people who are compressed 140 persons to a square kilometre."
He defines exactly who the lebensraum is for: “the German people who are compressed 140 persons to a square kilometer”. This is very odd way of referring to denizens of Danzig and the Polish corridor + these were populated areas and would thus not really solve “the living space” problem, which is one of density, often talked about by Hitler and referenced once more here. If the goal of the invasion was seizing Polish territory, real living space could be acquired by deportation of native populations from certain areas, something which supposedly ended up actually happening
Solving the Danzig and corridor question was one part of Hitler's vision to unite all Germans into one Reich, Lebensraum was nothing more than a vague idea with no solid planning or practical foundations. Hitler in his speeches often spoke of the small land mass which provided for millions of Germans, compared to that of the huge world empires heralded by Britain and France. Yet Hitler held no colonial ambition of his own, at best, he was expecting a confrontation with the Soviet Union in which Germany might be able to use to her advantage to gain further living space and protection from blockade.
The goal was not the invasion of Polish territory, Hitler never had any plans for what to do with Poland after the Wehrmacht invaded, and Hitler was quite open about his desire to initially create a rump state. Considering Germany's territory extended to East Prussia, around Poland, if Hitler had gone to war with the Russians with the Poles on his side, he would've still been able to secure living space for Germany further in the east and still give the Poles their own territory.
Hitler kept his options open in Poland for at least six weeks after the invasion began, partly in the residual hope of securing its assistance against the Soviet Union, but mainly in order to facilitate an agreement with London. In his remarks to Halder shortly after the British declaration of war, he held out the possibility that ‘rump Poland’ would be ‘recognized’, adding that while Germany would control the Narew and the Warsaw industrial area, ‘Krakau, Polen’ and ‘Ukraine’ [sic] would be ‘independent’. A month into the invasion, Hitler was still considering options for Poland, one of which was a ‘rump state’. This suggests that Hitler had not given up his idea of a modus vivendi with Poland based on joint expansion eastwards. A certain residual respect for Poland, even after the invasion, was evident in the fact that Hitler praised Marshal Piłsudski as ‘a man of indisputable realist understanding and energy’ in his Danzig speech of 19 September, blaming his death for the renewed hostility between Germany and Poland. The Führer also ordered an honour guard to be placed outside Marshal Piłsudski’s final resting place in Cracow, where it remained throughout the entire German occupation.
These moves culminated in a dramatic Reichstag address on 6 October 1939, in which Hitler announced victory in Poland and offered Britain a peace settlement which would include an ill-defined rump Polish statehood. This offer was not merely tactically motivated but–by his own lights–sincerely meant.
Brendan Simms, Hitler (Allen Lane, 2019), Pp. 355f.
Hitler’s territorial plans for Poland were still indeterminate. He had expected to be forced to accept Italian mediation and an eventual armistice, and to improve his position at the bargaining table he had seized as much Polish territory as possible in the first days. But the armistice offer never came. As his armies surged on, his appetite grew. In a secret speech to his generals on August 22 he had set as his goal “the annihilation of the Polish forces”—an orthodox Clausewitzian objective—rather than any particular line on the map. A week later he still talked only of fighting his “first Silesian war” and wrote off eastern Poland to the Russian claim. But on September 7, when Stalin had not yet moved his armies, Hitler also mentioned to his army Commander in Chief, General von Brauchitsch, the possibility of founding an independent Ukraine.
Hitler’s hazy notion was to mark the ultimate frontier between Asia and the West by gathering together the racial German remnants scattered about the Balkans, Russia, and the Baltic states to populate an eastern frontier strip along either the Bug or the Vistula river. The troops in their garrisons would be like the Teutonic knights in their castles or like the northwest frontier of India in more modern times. To the west of the 1914 Polish-German frontier, the Poles and Jews would be uprooted and displaced eastward ; the land would be resettled by the skill and industry of the Germans—those whom Himmler was already extracting from the South Tyrol would populate the northern slopes of the Beskid Mountains, for example. Warsaw would become a center of German culture ; or alternatively it would be razed and replaced by green fields on either side of the Vistula. Between the Reich and the “Asian” frontier, some form of Polish national state would exist, to house the ethnic Pole—a lesser species of some ten million in all. To stifle the growth of new chauvinistic centers, the Polish intelligentsia would be “extracted and accommodated elsewhere.”
With this independent rump Poland, Hitler planned to negotiate a peace settlement that had some semblance of legality and thereby spike the guns of Britain and France. If, however, this rump Poland fell apart, the Vilna area could be offered to Lithuania, and the Galician and Polish Ukraine could be granted independence—in which case, as Abwehr Chief Wilhelm Canaris noted, Keitel’s instructions were that his Abwehr-controlled Ukrainians “are to provoke an uprising in the Galician Ukraine with the destruction of the Polish and Jewish element as its aim.” On no account was this Ukrainian nationalist ferment to spill over into the Soviet Ukraine, Keitel warned. Moscow’s attitude toward Poland was still uncertain, however ; the Russians were eager to amputate a slice of territory but reluctant to wield the knife in public.
David Irving, Hitler's War: Volume One (New York: Viking Press, 1977), Pp. 8-9.
What you need to understand is that once Hitler was forced to go to war with Poland, all bets were off. The Poles had lost and they wouldn't get the state back that they had once been granted by the Versailles treaty, Hitler was quite clear about that saying, on October 6: "Why should there be war in the West? To restore Poland? The Poland of the Treaty of Versailles shall never rise again! This two of the world’s greatest states guarantee." This makes sense because Hitler had to make a deal with Russia, and lest you forget, it was Stalin who broached the idea of Poland being carved up, not Hitler. Hitler went to Stalin under a time crunch wanting nothing more than a nonaggression pact, due to this, Stalin was able to wring concessions from Hitler. Not that Hitler had a soft spot for Poland, it didn't matter. But this wasn't some plan Hitler had that he was seeking to fulfil.
However, even after all of this, it didn't mean that no Polish state would exist at all, it would, albeit in a limited form. The mistake I see you making, is that you seem to think this was Hitler's aim from the beginning to destroy Poland, yet there's no evidence for that. Hitler didn't go to war with it in his mind that Poland wouldn't exist whatsoever. His mind only changed after getting rebuked, and then decided just to swallow Poland up entirely. Which doesn't particularly bother me, I can understand why he'd do that:
Of course he was going to restore a Polish state—he did not want to gorge himself with Poles. . .
An indirect but readily traceable result of the British snub of his peace overture was a further hardening in Hitler’s attitude to the future of Poland. After his Reichstag speech of October 6, he did not renew his offer to set up a rump Polish state. The Poland of 1939 would be subdivided, dismembered, and repopulated in such a way that it would never again rise to embarrass Germany or the Soviet Union. The eastern half, of course, had gone to Stalin ; in the west, part would be absorbed by the Reich, while central Poland, i.e., the districts of Warsaw, Radom, Lublin, and Cracow, would become a Polish reservation under exclusively German rule—a reservoir of cheap labor for the Reich’s industries. By the end of September, Hitler had already drafted the first decrees for radical surgery of Poland’s population under the overall direction of Heinrich Himmler as “Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of the German Population.” The Polish and Jewish populations in western Poland were to be displaced to a reservation in central Poland, and refugees of German descent from the Baltic states and eastern Poland would take their place.
Ibid., p. 38, 41.
The carving up of Poland was a post hoc
decision, and thus not relevant to the discussion of war guilt, or Hitler's planning for a potential war with Poland.
Hitler, in a letter to the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin on October 31, 1942, wrote regarding a new book that had been gifted to him entitled Amerika im Kampf der Kontinente
where he reminisced about those final days of August 1939:
I have already finished reading the book and welcome it, the more so as you discuss the offers I made to the Poles at the beginning of the war in such detail. When I think back on those days, it all seems so long ago and so unreal that I almost reproach myself for having bent over backwards too far. In the event, those who set out to do evil did a great deal of good. For had Poland been prepared to take the hand I held out to her then the war would never have started, But in that case Russia would have been able to re-arm to an extent that we could not possibly have grasped and appreciated until today. Five more years of peace in Europe would simply have been steam-rolled by the weight of the Bolshevik war machine. For it is clear today that once the German-Polish points of dispute had been solved by peaceful means, the Reich and above all the National Socialist Movement would have devoted itself primarily to cultural, and especially to social, questions. . .
Werner Maser, Hitler's Letters and Notes (Harper & Row, 1974), Pp. 192.
zapper wrote:#2. Propaganda
Raeder: "The conflict will be set in motion by appropriate propaganda. The credibility is unimportant hereby, the right lies in the victory."
Halder: “Trigger: Means indifferent. The winner will never be questioned as to whether his reasons were justified. It is not a question of having the law on our side, it is all about victory."
In your view these quotes are nonsensical. But in another view the ‘appropriate propaganda’ was the public reasons given for the invasion. Assuming these reasons were valid, Hitler/Halder/Raeder wouldn’t need to talk like this. The law would be on their side, the innate credibility of their actions would be very important. So what we’re talking about is a manufactured casus belli.
They are nonsensical. At best they're purely hypothetical, nothing contained here is in the form of any sort of plan. There was no "manufactured casus belli" and the official reasons for going to war with Poland was to retake Danzig and the corridor, there was nothing more morally righteous and valid than that. And in any case, the Germans had no need to manufacture any such propaganda stunt, the Poles themselves when one considers the documents were the first to mobilise and the first to say that their answer to the German 16 points was to go to war. Explicitly, this was what they said. The Poles had effectively declared war on Germany on August 30-31s, before the Germans invaded on September 1st. So even if the Germans had manufactured anything, it wouldn't even matter, the Poles were still to blame. It's very simple to understand.
What you seem to not understand is that these quotes aren't verbatim from Hitler, and so they must be treated with caution from the get go. If these were Hitler's sentiments on August 22nd, that only means Hitler was taking into account the situation at that time. Over the course of the next days the situation would change rapidly, particularly with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Hitler could not, on August 22nd, have known what would happen days later, so discussing various issues surrounding what might happen, or need to be done, isn't to be unexpected. Remember, no plan or orders resulted from this speech, there is no reason to expect that the Germans needed to do any of this (or that they did) as the situation was currently unfolding. Hypothetical scenarios and actions aren't set in stone, nor are they policy decisions.
The Germans from the very beginning had the moral high ground, that was enough to justify an invasion of Poland.
Walendy addressed this alleged quotation:
Document Raeder-27 (signed Boehm):
“The conflict will be triggered with appropriate propaganda.”
Document 798-PS turns this into:
“I shall give a propaganda reason for starting the war – no matter whether it is plausible or not.”
a) The deposition doc. Raeder-27 (signed Boehm) is an assessment regarding a future contingency that bears in mind enemy actions, but makes no reference to any initiative on Hitler’s part.
b) Why would Hitler have made incriminating statements of such magnitude before men whose passive resistance he is said to have recognised already for a long time?
c) It is a fact that Hitler’s instructions to the German press, which, after all, are documentary material, have never been consulted as documentary evidence by the IMT, because they clearly refute the theories of these forged “documents.” Only such documentation – i.e. a definite Führer directive to the German press ordering appropriate propaganda for starting a war – was considered to have any value for the court. Since 1945, these directives to the press have remained withdrawn from historical research – not without reason.Udo Walendy, Who Started World War II? (Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), Pp. 461-462.
Raeder-27 does not support 798-PS, the latter distorts Raeder-27 to make Hitler sound as if he is making claims that he isn't making, it's your incorrect interpretation Zapper, that has allowed you to believe this gives credence to 798-PS. The differences in the text are obvious. Any war that's launched will be launched with appropriate propaganda, that does not mean it will be propaganda in which false reasons are given to justify said war.
zapper wrote:In this view the real reason for invading Poland would be to pacify it permanently, perhaps by making it a protectorate like Bohemia and Moravia earlier that year.
Such a claim isn't evidenced by any of the documents discussed here. You're making a baseless assertion. How does a manufactured casus belli equate to the desire to establish a protectorate and pacify Poland entirely? It doesn't, there's no logical connection there. Now, if you're going to war with a country your job is to win and to prevent the war being fought in your own territory. So yes, pacifying Poland would be the logical thing to do if you're going to war with Poland, but nothing there implies the creation of a protectorate.
zapper wrote:Even the document (case white) you just posted speaks of a possible future necessity to remove “any threat from this direction forever”. That is not accomplished by taking Danzig and the Corridor alone.
Key words "if necessary". It turned out to be necessary.
The Polish armed forces were going to fight, and because they were going to fight you cannot expect Germany to allow the battle to be won just because she successfully takes back Danzig and the Corridor. She has to be able to keep it. What you're saying is, quite frankly, stupid. Because the implication is that Germany should've only invaded those territories which she was annexing, and let the war be fought in those territories she was attempting to defend. Hitler could not allow the Wehrmacht to be hindered, or German territory turned into a war zone because in a war with Poland he didn't want to violate her territory. That makes no sense.
If a war with Poland became necessary (which again, it was) then it was the duty of the victor to ensure Poland could not become a threat again. This same logic was used at the end of WW1 and WW2 when Germany was defeated. Nothing in 'Case White' gave specifics to how such an end could be achieved, but you have, based on no evidence, decided that it would mean taking more than just what Germany deserved (the Poles had their own plans to expand West and annex German territory if they got the chance, see: Stefan Scheil, Polen 1939: Kriegskalkül, Vorbereitung, Vollzug (Antaios Verlag, 2014).)
And perhaps it does, especially for the sake of practicality. But this isn't relevant to the discussion of war guilt or German plans and intentions, as this was a possibility reserved for a particular event in which these choices would be considered "if necessary".
However, Hitler did discuss what the German defences would be, on September 29, 1939 he spoke with Alfred Rosenberg about the necessity of building an east wall on the Vistula and securing peace with the West, which by the way, utterly contradicts your contention that if the August 22nd speeches were legitimate, then Hitler wanted a war with the west. What it shows is that Hitler's mind changed:
Er wolle das jetzt festgelegte Gebiet in drei Streifen teilen: 1. Zwischen Weichsel u. Bug: das gesamte Judentum (auch a. d. Reich), sowie alle irgendwie unzuverlässigen Elemente. An der Weichsel einen unbezwingbaren Ostwall – noch stärker als im Westen. 2. An der bisherigen Grenze ein breiter Gürtel der Germanisierung und Kolonisierung. Hier käme eine grosse Aufgabe für das gesamte Volk: eine deutsche Kornkammer zu schaffen, starkes Bauerntum, gute Deutsche aus aller Welt umzusiedeln. 3. Dazwischen eine polnische „Staatlichkeit“. Ob nach Jahrzehnten der Siedlungsgürtel vorgeschoben werden kann, muss die Zukunft erweisen.English:
He [Hitler] wants to divide the territory that has now been defined into three strips: 1. Between the Vistula and the Bug: all the Jews (also from the Reich), as well as all elements that are unreliable in some way. Along the Vistula, an impregnable eastern line of fortifications [Ostwall] - even stronger than in the West. 2. Along the former border, a broad belt of Germanization and colonization. Here a large task awaits the entire Volk: creating a German breadbasket, a community of sturdy farmers, and resettling good Germans from all over the world. 3. In between, a form of Polish "statehood" [Staatlichkeit]. Whether the [German] settlement zone can be pushed forward after a few decades is something the future will reveal.Rosenberg Diary, September 29, 1939, see: The Political Diary of Alfred Rosenberg and the onset of the Holocaust, edited by Jürgen Matthäus & Frank Bajohr (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), Pp. 165. Original diary entry scan for the relevant pages quoted, here.
This diary entry addresses and refutes a few of your unfounded assertions Zapper. It confirms what I had said previously about how a war with Poland for Danzig and the Corridor would've supplied Germany with the necessary Lebensraum
, and it shows that Hitler was initially planning on forming a Polish rump state. It also fits perfectly well into the established facts I've posted about time and time again about how Hitler wanted an isolated war with Poland that would bar any conflict with the West, and would only be an isolated short-war, which indeed the Polish campaign was. So there was no discussions or intentions for some larger scale war. The future, as Rosenberg wrote, would tell as to whether or not Germany could expand further eastward at the expense of the Soviet Union; which of course Hitler had suspected would be the case, and he was right. But nothing here shows that Hitler was looking to precipitate such a conflict either in the East or West.
zapper wrote:#3. The war with the west
Halder’s phrase “testing of the instrument” evidences that Hitler foresaw or was considering a large-scale military struggle against the West at some future point (though ideally not at the same time as the fight against Poland), contradicting the notion that all he was out for was a short, localized war.
Document Raeder-27 (signed Boehm):
“The view held then in spring was still to put the resolution of the Polish question on ice, in order to deal first with the, in his opinion, unavoidable dispute in the west. However, as a politician one must not get tied to a rigid time sequence, but must remain elastic. The preconditions for his original intentions had changed. In any case, he never believed that Poland would keep to the Non-Aggression Pact in the event that Germany would be otherwise engaged. That is already indicated by the map [meant here is the map that was widely distributed in Poland in 1939, showing the Polish western boundaries to be at the Elbe river], but is especially noticeable from the press in the latter times, revealing the innermost thoughts of the Poles.”
Grand Admiral Raeder reproved the words “unavoidable dispute” and stated:
“I am speaking here of an imminent dispute. An imminent dispute is not exactly something to strive for, it is rather to be feared.”
Doc. 798-PS turns that into:
“I wanted to establish an acceptable relationship with Poland in order to fight first against the west. But this plan, which was agreeable to me, could not be executed since essential points had changed. It became clear to me that Poland would attack us in the event of a conflict with the west.”
Admiral Boehm stressed most emphatically on 13 June 1946 in an affidavit – and his testimony is confirmed by each and every historical evidence – that a turn of phrase expressing “offensive intentions towards the western powers” was never used, just as phrases like “My Polish policy hitherto was contrary to the views of the people” or: “Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich.”Walendy, op cit., p. 461.
Walendy is of course correct, every piece of evidence, including what I have previously posted, does not support the idea that Hitler had any intention of going to war with the West. Perhaps it should be stated, that Raeder-27 is not perfect, it's simply the most accurate account out of the 3 documents according to some of the particiapnts:
Grand Admiral Raeder described the “Boehm version” (Document Raeder 27) which also does not constitute any minutes taken and also has no counter-signature, out of the three versions as “that one which corresponds most closely to reality.”
Ibid., p. 460.
This doesn't make the document perfect, clearly it's not to be taken as a verbatim transcript of what Hitler said, so it must be referenced with caution.
All Raeder-27 is saying, is that if a dispute were to have erupted in the West, potentially at Munich, then Germany could not have expected the Poles to have remained neutral. After all, during the Munich affair the Poles helped themselves to the former Polish provinces (Teschen) which was given to the Czechs. It isn't talking about Germany wanting to go to war with the West, as Boehm states quite clearly. Therefore, any interpretation in which this is said to be the case has to be dismissed.
In any case, the conditions in which the Germans would've gone to war with the West had clearly not come to fruition as Hitler had been attempting all throughout August 1939 to avoid such a conflict, as I have conclusively shown already. If Hitler had desired such a conflict, then he would not have bothered to negotiate with the British until the last minute. He would've invaded Poland on August 26th, and because he knew the West couldn't adequately come to Poland's aid, he would've defeated her and swung right back around to the West. That he didn't do this is conclusive proof, on top of Hitler's explicit statements which I have quoted, that he had no such intentions.
As if it wasn't clear enough, Hitler was explicitly attempting to make peace with the West through the remainder of 1939 and 1940. He made no serious plans to invade Britain, and was more interested in making peace:
During his stay at the Berghof, Hitler was very preoccupied with this topic as, so to speak, an alternative to his plan for a ‘peace offer’. On 11 July, he conferred with Keitel and Raeder about the possibility of an invasion. Hitler and Raeder, who had already discussed this in May and June, were in agreement that it could be considered only as ‘a last resort’, in order to force Britain ‘to make peace’. On this occasion, Hitler agreed in principle to Raeder’s proposal to revive the large naval construction programme (on the basis of the Z plan), which had not been further pursued since the start of the war. On 13 July, Hitler instructed Halder to begin the actual planning for Sea Lion and made certain practical suggestions. However, one gets the sense from Halder’s notes that Hitler was primarily concerned with the question of ‘why England is not prepared to make peace’.
Peter Longerich, Hitler: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2019), Pp. 695-696.
Hitler clearly didn't desire a war in the West, nor did he plan on waging one unless he was forced to fight.
A potential war with the West was off the cards anyway due to changing circumstances if we take these Nuremberg documents seriously. And even if Hitler did consider that to be a possibility, it has nothing to do with war guilt.
The Boehm Protocol (Raeder-27) in-fact confirms what I've already been saying, that Hitler didn't expect the West to intervene in the Polish conflict:
It is clear, first, that a political relationship with Poland, as it now exists, is unsustainable in the long term. Therefore, the proposal of the Führer with regard to the cession of Danzig and the creation of a connecting route through the Corridor. This attempt at a compromise was disrupted by England, which worked itself up into hysteria and prompted Poland to insolent notes and military measures . . . . For England, however, a lasting period of instability [between Poland and Germany] was and is desired in order that, when it itself wants to attack, it be able at any time to unleash Poland on the other side . . . . Idle compromises are to be rejected . . . . The likelihood of intervention by the western powers in a conflict, according to the Führer, is not great.
Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, 1939 - The War that Had Many Fathers (Olzog Verlag, George F. Held English Translation, 2011), Pp. 411.
Notice that according to Raeder-27, it was the West who was looking to precipitate a conflict, not Germany.
In Halder's version (no. 4) he says:
1) Development of the decision to settle Eastern question: theoretically desirable to settle with West first, but as it has become increasingly clear that Poland would fall on us from behind in any difficult situation the Eastern question must be disposed of before the problems in the West are tackled.
DGFP, D, vol. VII, p. 557.
Key word "theoretically". All this means is that the West would have to be tackled after the Polish campaign, but that doesn't necessarily denote military force. As we know, Hitler attempted as early as October 6th to offer peace to the West. Which they refused. From that point on he had every right to fight them, after all, it was the West who declared war on Germany. Rosenberg in his diary on September 29th, which I've already quoted confirms without a shadow of a doubt that Hitler's intentions towards the West were not military in nature, but about securing peace:
Führer werde jetzt den Vorschlag einer grossen Friedenskonferenz machen; dazu Waffenstillstand, Demobilisierung, Regelung aller Fragen nach Vernunft u. Billigkeit. [...] Ob er ev. den Krieg nach Westen offensiv führen wolle? – Natürlich, die Maginot-Linie schrecke nicht mehr. Wenn die Engländer keinen Frieden wollten, werde er sie mit allen Mitteln anfallen u. vernichten.English:
Führer will now propose a large peace conference; to this end, cease-fire, demobilization, settlement of all questions on a basis of reason and equity.Rosenberg Diary, September 29, 1939. op cit., p. 166.
Would he potentially want to wage an offensive in a westward direction? - Naturally, the Maginot Line is no longer daunting. If the English do not want peace, he will attack and destroy them with all available means.
Hitler in a speech on October 6th went into some of these things when he presented the West with the possibility to make peace:
Never, and in no instance, have I ever really stood in the way of British interests. Only too often, regrettably, I was forced to ward off British intervention in German interests, even in instances where England’s interests were not concerned in the least.
Why should there be war in the West? To restore Poland? The Poland of the Treaty of Versailles shall never rise again! This two of the world’s greatest states guarantee.
What is the reason then? Has Germany placed demands on England which might threaten the British world empire or might have placed into question its existence? No. To the contrary, Germany has not addressed any such demands to either England or France.
Should this war really be waged only to institute a new regime in Germany, then this would mean the destruction of the present Reich; the creation of a new Versailles; the senseless sacrifice of millions of human beings. Neither will the German Reich fall apart nor will a new Versailles rise up.
Two problems are up for discussion today: 1. The settlement of the questions arising from the disintegration of Poland, and 2. the problem of the removal of those international concerns which burden the political and economic lives of all peoples.
What are the goals entertained by the Reich Government with regard to a settlement of the situation in the lands west of the German and Soviet-Russian line of demarcation, recognized as the German sphere of influence?
1. The establishment of a Reich border which, as stressed already, renders justice to the historic, ethnographic, and economic conditions;Max Domarus, The Complete Hitler: His Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945 (Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers), Pp. 1841, 1844-1845.
2. the ordering of this entire Lebensraum by the criteria of nationalities, i.e. the resolution of the minorities questions which not only concern this area, but all southern and southeastern European states;
3. in this context: the attempt at putting into order and regulating the Jewish problem;
4. the rebuilding of the infrastructure and the economy to the benefit of all peoples living in this area;
5. the guarantee of the security of this entire area, and
6. the establishment of a Polish state, the structure and leadership of which affords us a guarantee that it shall not become yet another source of fire against the German Reich, nor a central office for intrigues spun against Germany and Russia.
Halder actually provides good reasons on the German side to attack Poland earlier rather than later:
England's rearmament has not yet altered the situation substantially in England’s favour. Improvement of Navy will not be noticeable until 41 /42 ; on land it will also take considerable time for effects to be felt; only air force improved. Today England’s vulnerability in the air is still great. Therefore England desires armed conflict only m three to four years’ time.
DGFP, op cit., p. 558.
That Germany had little time to act is something I've discussed before, so working for a peaceful solution to the Polish question couldn't have been advantageous to German interests in the long run. Especially because the British and the Poles would've held all the card had Germany not acted at all (which was ideal for them), therefore this was actually incentive for Germany to attack Poland in order to prevent the Poles and the West from gaining a substantial advantage in armaments, which would've prevented Germany from being able to receive any amicable settlement in her favour. The Poles and the West needed only to play for time, and if Germany attacked they could simply use that as proof (as they did) of Germany's aggressiveness.
The rest of the Halder entry contains nothing indicative of a war against the West after an invasion of Poland, Rhonhof is therefore right to say;
Neither Boehm in his protocol nor the Army Chief of the General Stall, General Halder, in his diary entry (4th Version) confirms the many compromising formulations, which are attributed to Hitler in Nuremberg by that second protocol version (798-PS).
Rhonhof, op cit., p. 413.
He also writes that:
In Boehm there is not a single word to be read about Hitler's plans to later attack France or England, of the "total smashing of Poland" or even of a "German world-domination" (in 1st Version).
Ibid., p. 412.
By the way, the first bit of Raeder-27 I quoted from Rhonhof proceeds the part which you quote:
zapper wrote:Here is Raeder on that subject:
“The last three great events regarding the "Ostmark" (Austria), Sudatenland and Czecho Slavakia are doubtless an excellent political accomplishment. It would however be extremely dangerous for a nation, and especially for her armed forces, to regard to the matter solely as an instrument of bluffing for political purposes without the intention of using them in earnest. From the viewpoint of a later, large and final settlement in the West which believed unavoidable, it appears advisable from a military point of view to test the armed forces in a single task.“
In context, this quote is simply talking about how the Wehrmacht must be willing to act and not rely on bluffs. It isn't a call to arms against the West, it's using the possibility of a conflict in the West as a hypothetical example for why Germany should consider attacking Poland in the near future, in order to test the Wehrmacht in a "single task", which is the attack on Poland. But nonetheless, Hitler didn't consider it likely that the West would get involved. Hence, he thought Poland would be successfully isolated, and then the Wehrmacht would be ready in case the West did intervene later.
However it does appear to be a contradiction to state that Hitler considered a confrontation in the west "unavoidable" yet subsequently say that he doesn't consider it likely that the West will get involved. But then again, nobody ever said these documents were all internally consistent, that they contradict each other is one of their striking features which makes their authenticity questionable. But even if Hitler did consider a Western confrontation "unavoidable" that in no way implies Hitler was looking to start a confrontation with the West, such an interpretation is a stretch, it isn't tenable. Nothing in Raeder-27 says suggests anything like that.
zapper wrote:Regarding peace offers from Germany, can you find something in writing or at least a primary source? I’m looking for an offer where Poland’s sovereignty is assured. The west would have decent reason to reject any other kind of offer.
Some of the papers from German files regarding peace offers went missing:
German papers on the subject (of peace offers) went missing when they were in Allied hands after the war.
Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (Chicago, Ivan R. Dee, 1991), Pp. 117.
Yet we still have files from the Public Records Office (PRO) which contain British documents regarding German Peace Feelers. These are located in the archives: PRO: F.O. 371/26542/C4216, PRO, PREM 4/100/8, FO 371/30913.
Many peace offers were delivered in the form of speeches by Hitler, and also through neutral emissaries. If you're looking for specific written peace offers, you probably won't find anything that exact.
As for the West having a "decent reason" to reject a German peace offer regarding Polish sovereignty, one must ask why then, when Hitler offered just that, they refused. The West had no say in determining what offers they should and should not accept, they were in no position to dictate such offers. But Germany was.