The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 15 of 21)

On 27 August Hitler replied to M. Daladier's letter of 26 August. The sense of it was very much the same as that which he -wrote to the British Prime Minister in answer to the letter which he had received from him earlier in the week. (TC-79)

After the letters from Chamberlain and Daladier, the German Government could no longer be in any doubt as to the position of both the British and French Governments in the event of German aggression against Poland. But the pleas for peace did not end there. On 24 August President Roosevelt wrote to both Hitler and to the President of the Polish Republic (TC-72 No. 124). His letter stated in part:

"In the message which I sent to you on the 14th April, I stated that it appeared to me that the leaders of great nations had it in their power to liberate their peoples from the disaster that impended, but that unless the effort were immediately made with good will on all sides to find a peaceful and constructive solution to existing controversies, the crisis which the world was confronting must end in catastrophe. Today that catastrophe appears to be very near at hand indeed.

"To the message which I sent you last April I have received no reply, but because my confident belief that the cause of world peace -- which is the cause of humanity itself -- rises above all other considerations, I am again addressing myself to you, with the hope that the war which impends and the consequent disaster to all peoples may yet be averted.

"I therefore urge with all earnestness -- and I am likewise urging the President of the Republic of Poland -- that the Government of Germany and Poland agree by common accord to refrain from any positive act of hostility for a reasonable stipulated period, and that they agree, likewise by common accord, to solve the controversies which have arisen between them by one of the three following methods:

"First, by direct negotiation;

"Second, by the submission of these controversies to an impartial arbitration in which they can both have confidence; or

"Third, that they agree to the solution of these controversies through the procedure of conciliation." (TC-72 No. 124).

Hitler's answer to that letter was the order to his armed forces to invade Poland on the following morning. The reply to Mr.

[Page 710]

Roosevelt's letter from the President of the Polish Republic, however, was an acceptance of the offer to settle the differences by any of the peaceful methods suggested. (TC-72 No. 126)

On 25 August, no reply having been received from the German Government, President Roosevelt wrote again:

"I have this hour received from the President of Poland a reply to the message which I addressed to your Excellency and to him last night."

The Polish reply is then set out.

"Your Excellency has repeatedly publicly stated that the aims and objects sought by the German Reich were just and reasonable.

"In his reply to my message the President of Poland has made it plain that the Polish Government is willing, upon the basis set forth in my message, to agree to solve the controversy which has arisen between the Republic of Poland and the German Reich by direct negotiation or the process of conciliation.

"Countless human lives can yet be saved and hope may still be restored that the nations of the modern world may even now construct the foundation for a peaceful and happier relationship, if you and the Government of the German Reich will agree to the pacific means of settlement accepted by the Government of Poland. All the world prays that Germany, too, will accept." (TC-72 No. 127)

But Germany would not accept those proposals, nor would it pay heed to the Pope's appeal on the same date, 24 August (TC-72 No. 139). It is an appeal in similar terms. There was yet a further appeal from the Pope on 31 August:

"The Pope is unwilling to abandon hope that pending negotiations may lead to a just pacific solution such as the whole world continues to pray for." (TC-72 No. 141).

Those negotiations, on the last days of August, to which the Pope referred as "pending negotiations", were unhappily, completely bogus negotiations insofar as Germany was concerned. They were put forward simply as an endeavor to dissuade England, either by threat or by bribe, from meeting her obligations to Poland. The final German "offers" were no offers in the accepted sense of the word. There was never any intention behind them of entering into discussions, negotiation, arbitration, or any other form of peaceful settlement with Poland. They were merely an attempt to make it easier to seize and conquer Poland than it would likely be if England and France were to observe the obligations they had undertaken.

[Page 711]

(6) Events of the Last Week in August, 1939. This was the progress of those last negotiations: On 22 August the German- Soviet Pact was signed. On 24 August, orders were given to the German armies to march the following morning. After those orders had been given, the news apparently reached the German Government that the British and Polish Governments had signed a formal pact of non-aggression and of mutual assistance. Up until that time, the position was that the British Prime Minister had made a statement in the House of Commons and a joint communique had been issued, on 6 April, that the two nations would in fact assist one another if either were attacked; but no formal agreement had been signed.

Now, on 24 August, after the orders to march had been given by Hitler, the news came that such a formal document had been signed. The invasion was thereupon postponed for the sole purpose of making one last effort to keep England and France out of the war -- not to cancel the war, but solely to keep England and France out of it. On 25 August, having postponed the invasion, Hitler issued a verbal communique to Sir Neville Henderson, the British ambassador in Berlin, which was a mixture of bribe and threat, and with which he hoped to persuade England to keep out.

On 28 August, Sir Neville Henderson handed the British Government's reply to that communique to Hitler. That reply stressed that the differences ought to be settled by agreement. The British Government put forward the view that Danzig should be guaranteed, and that any agreement reached should be guaranteed by other powers. Whether or not these proposals would have been acceptable or unacceptable to Germany are of no great matter. For once it had been made clearas it was in the British Government's reply of 28 Augustthat England would not be put off assisting Poland in the event of German aggression, the German Government had no concern with further negotiation but was concerned only to afford itself some kind of justification and to prevent itself from appearing too blatantly to turn down all the appeals to reason that were being put forward.

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

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.