The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Poland, Danzig, England & ; France
(Part 17 of 21)

Hitler's verbal communique, as it is called in the British Blue Book, which he handed to Sir Neville Henderson on 25 August, after he had heard of the signing of the Anglo- Polish agreement, in an endeavor to keep England from aiding Poland, commences by stating Hitler's desire to make one more effort to prevent war. In the second paragraph he asserts again that Poland's provocations were unbearable:

"Germany was in all circumstances determined to abolish these Macedonian conditions on her eastern frontier and, what is more, to do so in the interests of quiet and order, but also in the interests of European peace.

"The problem of Danzig and the Corridor must be solved. The British Prime Minister had made a speech which was not in the least calculated to induce any change in the German attitude. At the most, the result of this speech could be a bloody and incalculable war between Germany and England. Such a war would be bloodier than that of 1914

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to 1918. In contrast to the last war, Germany would no longer have to fight on two fronts. Agreement with Russia was unconditional and signified a change in foreign policy of the Reich which would last a very long time. Russia and Germany would never again take up arms against each other. Apart from this, the agreements reached with Russia would also render Germany secure economically for the longest period of war." (TC-72 No. 68)

Then comes the bribe.

"The Fuehrer declared the German-Polish problem must be solved and will be solved. He is however prepared and determined after the solution of this problem to approach England once more with a large, comprehensive offer. He is a man of great decisions, and in this case also he will be capable of being great in his action. And then magnanimously he accepts the British Empire and is ready to pledge himself personally for its continued existence and to place the power of the German Reich at its disposal on condition that his colonial demands, which are limited, should be negotiated by peaceful means. ***" (TC- 72 No. 68)

Again Hitler stressed irrevocable determination never to enter into war with Russia. He concluded as follows:

"If the British Government would consider these ideas a blessing for Germany and also for the British empire, a peace might result. If it rejects these ideas there will be war. In no case will Great Britain emerge stronger; the last war proved it. The Fuehrer repeats that he himself is a man of ad infinitum decisions by which he is bound, and that this is his last offer." (TC-72 No. 68)

The British Government was not of course aware of the real object that lay behind that message, and, taking it at its face value, wrote back on 28 August saying that they were prepared to enter into discussions. They agreed with Hitler that the differences must be settled, as follows:

"In the opinion of His Majesty's Government a reasonable solution of the differences between Germany and Poland could and should be effected by agreement between the two countries on lines which would include the safeguarding of Poland's essential interests, and they recall that in his speech of the 28th of April the German Chancellor recognized the importance of these interests to Poland.

"But as was stated by the Prime Minister in his letter to the German Chancellor of the 22nd of August, His Majesty's Government consider it essential for the success of the discussions which would precede the agreement that it should be

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understood beforehand that any settlement arrived at would be guaranteed by other powers. His Majesty's Government would be ready if desired to make their contribution to the effective operation of such a guarantee."


"His Majesty's Government have said enough to make their own attitude plain in the particular matters at issue between Germany and Poland. They trust that the German Chancellor will not think that, because His Majesty's Government are scrupulous concerning their obligations to Poland, they are not anxious to use all their influence to assist the achievement of a solution which may command itself both to Germany and to Poland." (TC-72 No. 74)

That reply knocked the German hopes on the head. The Nazis had failed despite their tricks and their bribes to dissuade England from observing her obligations to Poland, and it was now only a matter of getting out of their embarrassment as quickly as possible and saving face as much as possible.

In his interview with Hitler, Sir Neville Henderson emphasized the British attitude that they were determined in any event to meet their obligations to Poland. The interview concluded as follows:

"In the end I asked him two straight questions: Was he willing to negotiate direct with the Poles? and Was he ready to discuss the question of any exchange of population? He replied in the affirmative as regards the latter. There I have no doubt that he was thinking at the same time of a rectification of frontiers. As regards to the first, he said he could not give me an answer until after he had given the reply of His Majesty's Government the careful consideration which such a document deserved. In this connection he turned to Ribbentrop and said, 'We must summon Field Marshal Goering to discuss it with him.' " (TC-72 No. 75)

The German reply, as outlined before, was handed to Sir Neville Henderson at 7.15 P.M. on 29 August. The reply sets out the suggestion submitted by the British Government in a previous note, and goes on to say that the German Government is prepared to enter into discussion on the basis that the whole of the Corridor as well as Danzig shall be returned to the Reich. The reply continues:

"The demands of the German Government are in conformity with the revision of the Versailles Treaty in regard to this territory which has always been recognized as being necessary; viz., return of Danzig and the Corridor to Germany, the

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safeguarding of the existence of the German national group in the territories remaining to Poland." (TC-72 No. 78)

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