The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Launching of Wars of Aggression
(Part 7 of 14)

[Page 390]

C. Formulation and Execution of the Plan to Invade Poland. The next phase of the aggression was the formulation and execution of the plan to attack Poland, resulting in the initiation of aggressive war in September 1939. Here again the careful and meticulous record keeping of Hitler's adjutant, Schmundt, has provided a document in his own handwriting which throws down the mask (L-79). The document consists of minutes of a conference held on 23 May 1939. The place of the conference was the Fuehrer's Study in the New Reich Chancellery. Goering, Raeder and Keitel were present. The subject of the meeting was, "Indoctrination on the political situation and future aims."

The authenticity and accuracy of Schmundt's record of the meeting of 23 May 1939 has been admitted by Keitel in a pretrial interrogation. The minutes read as follows:

"Top Secret "To be transmitted by officer only "Minutes of a Conference on 23 May 1939"

"Place: The Fuehrer's Study, New Reich Chancellery. "Adjutant on duty: Lt-Col. (G.S.) Schmundt.

"Present: The Fuehrer, Field-Marshal Goering, Grand- Admiral Raeder, Col-Gen. von Brauchitsch, Col-Gen. Keitel, Col-Gen. Milch, Gen. (of Artillery) Halder, Gen. Bodenschatz, Rear-Adml. Schniewindt, Col. ( G.S. ) Jeschonnek, Col. (G.S.) Warlimont, Lt-Col. (G.S.) Schmundt, Capt. Engel (Army), Lieut-Commd. Albrecht, Capt. v. Below (Army). "Subject: Indoctrination on the political situation and future aims.

"The Fuehrer defined as the purpose of the conference:

"1. Analysis of the situation.
"2. Definition of the tasks for the Armed Forces arising from the situation.
"3. Exposition of the consequences of those tasks.
"4. Ensuring the secrecy of all decisions and work resulting from these consequences.

"Secrecy is the first essential for success.

"The Fuehrer's observations are given in systematized form below.

"Our present situation must be considered from two points of view:

"1. The actual development of events between 1933 and 1939;

"2. The permanent and unchanging situation in which Germany lies.

"In the period 1933-1939, progress was made in all fields.

[Page 391]

Our military situation improved enormously.

"Our situation with regard to the rest of the world has remained the same.

"Germany had dropped from the circle of Great Powers. The balance of power had been effected without the participation of Germany.

"This equilibrium is disturbed when Germany's demands for the necessities of life make themselves felt, and Germany re-emerges as a Great Power. All demands are regarded as 'Encroachments'. The English are more afraid of dangers in the economic sphere than of the simple threat of force.

"A mass of 80 million people has solved the ideological problems. So, too, must the economic problems be solved. No German can evade the creation of the necessary economic conditions for this. The solution of the problems demands courage. The principle, by which one evades solving the problem by adapting oneself to circumstances, is inadmissible. Circumstances must rather be adapted to aims. This is impossible without invasion of foreign states or attacks upon foreign property.

"Living space, in proportion to the magnitude of the state, is the basis of all power. One may refuse for a time to face the problem, but finally it is solved one way or the other. The choice is between advancement or decline. In 15 or 20 years' time we shall be compelled to find a solution. No German statesman can evade the question longer than that.

"We are at present in a state of patriotic fervor, which is shared by two other nations: Italy and Japan.

"The period which lies behind us has indeed been put to good use. All measures have been taken in the correct sequence and in harmony with our aims.

"After 6 years, the situation is today as follows:

"The national-political unity of the Germans has been achieved, apart from minor exceptions. Further successes cannot be attained without the shedding of blood.

"The demarkation of frontiers is of military importance.

"The Pole is no 'supplementary enemy'. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries. In spite of treaties of friendship, Poland has always had the secret intention of exploiting every opportunity to do us harm.

"Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is a question of expanding our living space in the East and of securing our food supplies, of the settlement of the Baltic problem. Food supplies can be expected only from thinly populated

[Page 392]

areas. Over and above the natural fertility, thorough- going German exploitation will enormously increase the surplus.

"There is no other possibility for Europe.

"Colonies: Beware of gifts of colonial territory. This does not solve the food problem. Remember - blockade.

"If fate brings us into conflict with the West, the possession of extensive areas in the East will be advantageous. Upon record harvests we shall be able to rely even less in time of war than in peace.

"The population of non-German areas will perform no military service, and will be available as a source of labour.

"The Polish problem is inseparable from conflict with the West.

"Poland's internal power of resistance to Bolshevism is doubtful. Thus Poland is of doubtful value as a barrier against Russia.

"It is questionable whether military success in the West can be achieved by a quick decision, questionable too is the attitude of Poland.

"The Polish government will not resist pressure from Russia. Poland sees danger in a German victory in the West, and will attempt to rob us of the victory.

"There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision:

"To attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity. [This sentence is underscored in the original German text.]

"We cannot expect a repetition of the Czech affair. There will be war. Our task is to isolate Poland. The success of the isolation will be decisive,

"Therefore, the Fuehrer must reserve the right to give the final order to attack. There must be no simultaneous conflict with the Western. Powers [France and England].

"If it is not certain that a German-Polish conflict will not lead to war in the West, then the fight must be primarily against England and France.

"Fundamentally therefore: Conflict with Poland -- beginning with an attack on Poland -- will only be successful if the Western Powers keep out of it. If this is impossible, then it will be better to attack in the West and to settle Poland at the same time.

"The isolation of Poland is a matter of skillful politics.

"Japan is a weighty problem. Even if at first for various reasons her collaboration with us appears to be somewhat

[Page 393]

cool and restricted, it is nevertheless in Japan's own interest to take the initiative in attacking Russia in good time.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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