The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 11 of 21)

The Germans could not possibly bombard or destroy any place such as Danzig where there happened to be Germans living. The discussion continued:

"Ciano asked how soon, according to the Fuehrer's view, the Danzig question must be settled. The Fuehrer answered that this settlement must be made one way or another by the end of August. To the question of Ciano's as to what solution the Fuehrer proposed, Hitler answered that Poland must give up political control of Danzig, but that Polish economic interests would obviously be reserved and that Polish general behavior must contribute to a general lessening of the tension. He doubted whether Poland was ready to accept this solution since, up to the present, the German proposals had been refused. The Fuehrer had made this proposal personally to Beck at his visit to Obersalzberg. They were ex-

[Page 699]

tremely favorable to Poland. In return for the political sur, render of Danzig, under a complete guarantee of Polish interests and the establishment of a connection between East Prussia and the Reich, Germany would have given a frontier guarantee, a 25- year pact of friendship and the participation of Poland in influence over Slovakia. Beck had received the proposal with the remark that he was willing to examine it. The plain refusal of it came only as a result of English intervention. The general Polish aims could be seen clearly from the press. They wanted the whole of East Prussia, and even proposed to advance to Berlin." (TC-77)

The meeting was held over that night, and it continued on the following day:

"The Fuehrer had therefore come to two definite conclusions: (1) in the event of any further provocation, he would immediately attack; (2) if Poland did not clearly and plainly state her political intention, she must be forced to do so."


"As matters now stand, Germany and Italy would simply not exist further in the world through lack of space; not only was there no more space, but existing space was completely blockaded by its present possessors; they sat like misers with their heaps of gold and deluded themselves about their riches. The Western Democracies were dominated by the desire to rule the world and would not regard Germany and Italy as their class. This psychological element of contempt was perhaps the worst thing about the whole business. It could only be settled by a life and death struggle which the two Axis partners could meet more easily because their interests did not clash on any point.

"The Mediterranean was obviously the most ancient domain for which Italy had a claim to predominance. The Duce himself had summed up the position to him in the words that Italy already was the dominant power in the Mediterranean. On the other hand, the Fuehrer said that Germany must take the old German road eastwards and that this road was also desirable for economic reasons, and that Italy had geographical and historical claims to permanency in the Mediterranean. Bismarck had recognized it and had said as much in his well-known letter to Mazzini. The interests of Germany and Italy went in quite different directions and there never could be a conflict between them.

"Ribbentrop added that if the two problems mentioned in yesterday's conversations were settled, Italy and Germany

[Page 700]

would have their backs free for work against the West. The Fuehrer said that Poland must be struck down so that for 50 years she would be incapable of fighting. In such a case, matters in the West could be settled.

"Ciano thanked the Fuehrer for his extremely clear explanation of the situation. He had, on his side, nothing to add and would give the Duce full details. He asked for more definite information on one point in order that the Duce might have all the facts before him. The Duce might indeed have to make no decision because the Fuehrer believed that the conflict with Poland could be localized on the basis of long experience. HeCianoquite saw that so far the Fuehrer had always been right in his judgment of the position. If, however, Mussolini had no decision to make, he had to take certain measures of precaution, and therefore Ciano would put the following question:

"The Fuehrer had mentioned two conditions under which he would take Poland (1) if Poland were guilty of serious provocation, and (2) if Poland did not make her political position clear. The first of these conditions depended on the decision of the Fuehrer, and German reaction could follow it in a moment. The second condition required certain decisions as to time. Ciano therefore asked what was the date by which Poland must have satisfied Germany about her political condition. He realized that this date depended upon climatic conditions.

"The Fuehrer answered that the decision of Poland must be made clear at the latest by the end of August. Since, however, the decisive part of military operations against Poland could be carried out within a period of 14 days and the final liquidation would need another four weeks, it could be finished at the end of September or the beginning of October. These could be regarded as the dates. It followed, therefore, that the last dates on which he could begin to take action was the end of August.

"Finally, the Fuehrer assured Ciano that since his youth he had favored German-Italian cooperation, and that no other view was expressed in his books. He had always thought that Germany and Italy were naturally suited for collaboration, since there were no conflicts of interest between them. He was personally fortunate to live at a time in which, apart from himself, there was one other statesman who would stand out great and unique in history; that he could be this man's friend was for him a matter of real personal satisfaction,

[Page 701]

and if the hour of common battle struck, he would always be found on the side of the Duce." (TC-77)

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