The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 13 of 21)

The report of the next day, 27 August, reads as follows:

"So far as I can judge, German allegations of mass ill- treatment of German minority by Polish authorities are gross exaggeration, if not complete falsification.

"2. There is no sign of any loss of control of situation by Polish civil authorities. Warsaw, and so far as I can ascertain, the rest of Poland is still completely calm.

"3. Such allegations are reminiscent of Nazi propaganda methods regarding Czechoslovakia last year.

[Page 704]

"4. In any case it is purely and simply deliberate German provocation in accordance with fixed policy that has since March [when the rest of Czechoslovakia was seized] exacerbated feeling between the two nationalities. I suppose this has been done with object (a) creating war spirit in Germany (b) impressing public opinion abroad (c) provoking either defeatism or apparent aggression in Poland.

"5. It has signally failed to achieve either of the two latter objects.

"6. It is noteworthy that Danzig was hardly mentioned by Herr Hitler.

"7. German treatment of Czech Jews and Polish minority is apparently negligible factor compared with alleged sufferings of Germans in Poland where, be it noted, they do not amount to more than 10 per cent of population in any commune.

"8. In face of these facts it can hardly be doubted that, if Herr Hitler decided on war, it is for the sole purpose of destroying Polish independence.

"9. I shall lose no opportunity of impressing on Minister for Foreign Affairs necessity of doing everything possible to prove that Herr Hitler's allegations regarding German minority are false." (TC-72 No. 55)

Further corroboration of General Lahousen's affidavit is contained in a memorandum of a conversation between the writer and Keitel. That conversation with Keitel took place on 17 August, and went as follows:

"I reported my conference with Jost to Keitel. He said that he would not pay any attention to this action, as the Fuehrer had not informed him, and had only let him know that we were to furnish Heydrich with Polish uniforms. He agrees that I instruct the General Staff. He says that he does not think much of actions of this kind. However, there is nothing else to be done if they have been ordered by the Fuehrer, that he could not ask the Fuehrer how he had planned the execution of this special action. In regard to Dirschau, he has decided that this action would be executed only by the Army." (795-PS)

That was the position at the end of the third week in August 1939. On 22 August the Russian-German Non-aggression Pact was signed in Moscow. The orders to invade Poland were given immediately after the signing of that treaty, and the H-hour was actually to be in the early morning of 25 of August.

[Page 705]

(5) Pleas for peace. On the same date, 22 August, news reached England that the German-Russian agreement was being signed. The significance of that pact from a military point of view to Germany was obvious, and the British government immediately made their position clear in one last hope, that the German government might possibly think better. The Prime Minister wrote to Hitler as follows:

"Your Excellency.

"Your Excellency will have already heard of certain measures taken by His Majesty's Government, and announced in the press and on the wireless this evening.

"These steps have, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, been rendered necessary by the military movements which have been reported from Germany, and by the fact that apparently the announcement of a German- Soviet Agreement is taken in some quarters in Berlin to indicate that intervention by Great Britain on behalf of Poland is no longer a contingency that need be reckoned with. No greater mistake could be made. Whatever may prove to be the nature of the German- Soviet Agreement, it can not alter Great Britain's obligation to Poland, which His Majesty's Government have stated in public repeatedly and plainly, and which they are determined to fulfill.

"It has been alleged that, if His Majesty's Government had made their position clear in 1914, the great catastrophe would have been avoided. Whether or not there is any force in that allegation, His Majesty's Government are resolved that on this occasion there shall be no such tragic misunderstanding.

"If the case should arise, they are resolved, and prepared, to employ without delay all the forces at their command, and it is impossible to foresee the end of hostilities once engaged. It would be a dangerous illusion to think that, if war once starts, it will come to an early end even if a success on any one of the several fronts on which it will be engaged should have been secured." (TC-72 No. 56).

The Prime Minister therefore urged the German government to try to solve the difficulty without recourse to the use of force. He suggested that a truce should be declared while direct discussions between the two governments, Polish and German, might take place. Prime Minister Chamberlain concluded:

"At this moment I confess I can see no other way to avoid a catastrophe that will involve Europe in war. In view of the grave consequences to humanity, which may follow from the

[Page 706]

action of their rulers, I trust that Your Excellency will weigh with the utmost deliberation the considerations which I have put before you." (TC-72 No. 56).

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