The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 14 of 21)

On the following day, 23 August, Hitler replied to Prime Minister Chamberlain. He started off by saying that Germany has always sought England's friendship, and went on to say that Germany, "like every other State, possesses certain definite interests which it is impossible to renounce." The letter continued as follows:

"Germany was prepared to settle the questions of Danzig, and of the Corridor by the method of negotiation on the basis of a proposal of truly unparalleled magnanimity. The allegations disseminated by England regarding a German mobilization against Poland, the assertion of aggressive designs towards Roumania, Hungary, etc., as well as the so-called guarantee declarations, which were subsequently given, had, however, dispelled Polish inclination to negotiate on a basis of this kind which would have been tolerable for Germany also. "The unconditional assurance given by England to Poland that she would render assistance to that country in all circumstances regardless of the causes from which a conflict might spring, could only be interpreted in that country as an encouragement thenceforward to unloosen, under cover of such a charter, a wave of appalling terrorism against the one and a half million German inhabitants living in Poland.

"The atrocities which then have been taking place in that country are terrible for the victims, but intolerable for a great power such as the German Reich, which is expected to remain a passive onlooker during these happenings. Poland has been guilty of numerous breaches of her legal obligations towards the Free City of Danzig, has made demands in the character of ultimata, and has initiated a process of economic strangulation."


"Germany will not tolerate a continuance of the persecution of the Germans."


"The German Reich government has received information to the effect that the British government has the intention to carry out measures of mobilization which, according to the statements contained in your own letter, are clearly directed against Germany alone. This is said to be true of France as well. Since Germany has never had the intention of taking military measures other than those of a defensive character

[Page 707]

against England, or France, and, as has already been emphasized, has never intended, and does not in the future intend, to attack England, or France, it follows that this announcement, as confirmed by you, Mr. Prime Minister, in your own letter, can only refer to a contemplated act of menace directed against the Reich. I, therefore, inform your Excellency that in the event of these military announcements being carried into effect, I shall order immediate mobilization of the German forces."


"The question of the treatment of European problems on a peaceful basis is not a decision which rests on Germany, but primarily on those who since the crime committed by the Versailles dictate have stubbornly and consistently opposed any peaceful revision. Only after a change of spirit on the part of the responsible powers can there be any real change in the relationship between England and Germany. I have all my life fought for Anglo-German friendship; the attitude adopted by British diplomacy -- at any rate up to the present -- has, however, convinced me of the futility of such an attempt. Should there be any change in this respect in the future, nobody could be happier than I." (TC-72 No. 60).

On 25 August the formal Anglo-Polish Agreement of Mutual Assistance was signed in London. Each government undertook to give assistance to the other in the event of aggression against either by any third power. (TC-73 No. 91)

A few days later the French Prime Minister Daladier addressed a letter to Hitler, which reads as follows:

"The French ambassador in Berlin has informed me of your personal communication ***.

"In the hours in which you speak of the greatest responsibility which two heads of the governments can possibly take upon themselves, namely, that of shedding the blood of two great nations, who long only for peace and work, I feel I owe it to you personally, and to both our peoples to say that the fate of peace still rests in your hands.

-"You cannot doubt what are my own feelings towards Germany, nor France's peaceful feelings towards your nation. No Frenchman has done more than myself to strengthen between our two nations not only peace, but also sincere cooperation in their own interests, as well as in those of Europe and o the whole world. Unless you credit the French people with lower sense of honor, than I credit the German Nation with; you cannot doubt that France loyally fulfills her obligations

[Page 708]

towards other powers, such as Poland, which as I am fully convinced, wants to live in peace with Germany.

"These two convictions are fully compatible.

"Till now there has been nothing to prevent a peaceful solution of the international crisis, with all honor and dignity for all nations, if the same will for peace exists on all sides.

"Together with the good will of France I proclaim that of all her allies. I take it upon myself to guarantee Poland's readiness, which she has always shown to submit to the mutual application of a method of open settlement, as it can be imagined between the governments of two sovereign nations. With the clearest conscience I can assure you that among the differences which have arisen between Germany and Poland over the question of Danzig, there is not one which could not be submitted to such a method, the purpose of reaching a peaceful and just solution.

"Moreover, I can declare on my honor that there is nothing in France's clear and loyal solidarity with Poland and her allies, which could in any way prejudice the peaceful attitude of my country. This solidarity has never prevented us, and does not prevent us today, from keeping Poland in the same friendly state of mind.

"In so serious an hour, I sincerely believe that no high-minded human being could understand it, if a war of destruction was started without a last attempt being made to reach a peaceful settlement between Germany and Poland. Your desire for peace could in all certainty work for this aim, without any prejudice to German honor. I, who desire good harmony between the French and the German people, and who am on the other hand bound to Poland by bonds of friendship, and by a promise, am prepared, as head of the French government, to do everything an upright man can do to bring this attempt to a successful conclusion.

"You and I were in the trenches in the last war. You know, as I do, what horror and condemnation the devastations of that war have left in the conscience of the peoples; without any regard to its outcome. The picture I can see in my mind's eye of your outstanding role as the leader of the German people on the road of peace, towards the fulfillment of its task in the common work of civilization, leads me to ask for a reply to this suggestion.

"If French and German blood should be shed again, as it was shed 25 years ago, in a still longer and more murderous war, then each of the two nations will fight, believing in its own

[Page 709]

victory. But the most certain victors will bedestruction and barbarity." (TC-78)

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

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