The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 7 of 21)

On 6 April, a week later, a formal communique was issued by the Anglo-Polish governments, which repeated the assurance the Prime Minister had given a week before, and in which Poland assured Great Britain of her support should Great Britain be attacked. (TC-72 No. 18)

The anxiety and concern that the governments of Poland and Great Britain were feeling at that time appears to have been justified. During the same week, on 3 April, an order, signed by Keitel, emanated from the High Command of the Armed Forces. It is dated Berlin, 3 April 1939. The subject is "Directive for the Armed Forces 1939/40." The order reads:

"Directive for the uniform preparation of war by the Armed Forces for 1939/40 is being reissued.

"Part I (Frontier Defense) and Part III (Danzig) will be issued in the middle of April. Their basic principles remain unchanged.

"Part II 'Fall Weiss' [the code name for the operation against Poland] is attached herewith. The signature of the Fuehrer will be appended later.

"The Fuehrer has added the following Directives to 'Fall Weiss':

"1. Preparations must be made in such a way that the operations can be carried out at any time from 1 September 1939 onwards.

[Page 689]

"2. The High Command of the Armed Forces has been directed to draw up a precise time-table for 'Fall Weiss' and to arrange by conferences the synchronized timings between the three branches of the armed forces.

"3. The plan of the branches of the Armed Forces and the details for the time-table must be submitted to the OKW by 1 May 1939." (C-120)

This order was distributed to the OKH, OKM, and OKW.

Another document, dated 11 April, and signed by Hitler, is annexed. It reads:

"I shall lay down in a later directive the future tasks of the Armed Forces and the preparations to be made in accordance with these for the conduct of the war.

"Until that directive comes into force, the Armed Forces must be prepared for the following eventualities:

"I. Safeguarding the frontiers of the German Reich, and protection against surprise air attacks.

"II. 'Fall Weiss'

"III. The annexation of Danzig.

"Annex IV contains regulations for the exercise of military authority in East Prussia in the event of a warlike development." (C-120)

Again, copies of that document went to the OKH, OKM, and OKW. Annex I to this order, which concerns the safeguarding of the frontiers of the German Reich, declares:

"*** Legal Basis: It should be anticipated that a state of Defense or State of War, as defined in the Reichdefense law of the 4th of September 1938, will not be declared. All measures and demands necessary for carrying out a mobilization are to be based on the laws valid in peacetime." (C-120)

The statement of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, followed by the Anglo-Polish communique of 6 April, was seized upon by the Nazi government to urge on the crisis which they we developing in Danzig between themselves and Poland.

On 28 April the German government issued a memorandum in which they alleged that the Anglo-Polish declaration was incompatible with the 1934 Agreement between Poland and Germany, and that as a result of entering into or by reason of entering intO that agreement, Poland had unilaterally renounced the 1934 agreement. The following are pertinent passages from that memorandum:

"The German government have taken note of the Polish-

[Page 690]

British declaration regarding the progress and aims of the negotiations recently conducted between Poland and Great Britain. According to this declaration there had been concluded between the Polish government and the British government a temporary understanding to be released shortly by a permanent agreement which will provide for the giving of mutual assistance by Poland and Great Britain in the event of the independence of one of the two states being directly or indirectly threatened." (TC-72 No. 14)

The memorandum goes on to set out in the next three paragraphs the history of German friendship towards Poland. It continues:

"*** The agreement which has now been concluded by the Polish government with the British government is in such obvious contradiction to these solemn declarations of a few months ago that the German government can take note only with surprise and astonishment of such a violent reversal of Polish policy.

"Irrespective of the manner in which its final formulation may be determined by both parties, the new Polish-British agreement is intended as a regular Pact of Alliance, which, by reason of its general sense and of the present state of political relations, is directed exclusively against Germany. "From the obligation now accepted by the Polish government, it appears that Poland intends, in certain circumstance, to take an active part in any possible German-British conflict, in the event of aggression against Germany, even should this conflict not affect Poland and her interests. This is a direct and open blow against the renunciation of all use of force contained in the 1934 declaration."


"The Polish government, however, by their recent decision to accede to an alliance directed against Germany have given it to be understood that they prefer a promise of help by a third power to the direct guarantee of peace by the German government. In view of this, the German government are obliged to conclude that the Polish government do not at present attach any importance to seeking a solution of German-Polish problems by means of direct, friendly discussion with the German government. The Polish government have thus abandoned the path traced out in 1934 to the sapping of German-Polish relations." (TC-72 No. 14)

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