1939 - Polish/German Alliance

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
MAUS
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: 07 Feb 2003 19:16
Location: Europe

1939 - Polish/German Alliance

Post by MAUS » 10 Feb 2003 14:25

Hello,

I am 'the new one' so I dont'k know wheter this question was ever raised at this forum,

but I think that Poles missed their chance to became allies of Germans in 1939:

on 5th January 1939 Hitler met Polish Foreign Affairs minister Beck in Berchtesgaden with great honours and proposed anti-Soviet pact

he stated that: " one Polish division engaged against Russia saves one German division for that purpose"

there were some offers and counter-offers made regarding Danzig (Gdansk) but at the end of the day Poles refused to join anti-Soviet pact

I think that later history shows, that they made a mistake

What do you think?

regards

MAUS

User avatar
Tim Smith
Member
Posts: 6177
Joined: 19 Aug 2002 12:15
Location: UK

Post by Tim Smith » 10 Feb 2003 15:08

In the short term, Poland would have done better to give up Danzig and join the Axis. The Polish Army would have then joined the Rumanians and Hungarians in helping the Wehrmacht during Barbarossa.

The main question is, would the addition of the Poles to the Axis side be enough to turn Barbarossa into a German victory?

If not, a million more Polish soldiers would die, the Allies would still win the war in the end, and Poland would still suffer the fate of Rumania and Hungary, i.e. Soviet occupation.

But if Russia had been defeated and the Germans held off any Allied invasions, then the war might have ended with a truce and Poland would acquire a large slice of Russian territory, including Minsk.

User avatar
peter_suciu
Member
Posts: 199
Joined: 29 Nov 2002 16:49
Location: New York City

Post by peter_suciu » 10 Feb 2003 16:51

If not, a million more Polish soldiers would die, the Allies would still win the war in the end, and Poland would still suffer the fate of Rumania and Hungary, i.e. Soviet occupation.
Poland did suffer the fate of Soviet occupation. The Soviets actually had their own government in exile and army fight on the Eastern Front.
But if Russia had been defeated and the Germans held off any Allied invasions, then the war might have ended with a truce and Poland would acquire a large slice of Russian territory, including Minsk.
There are a few important things to keep in mind:

1) The Poles would have offered a large army to the Germans, albeit with outdated equipment but still it might have fought very well against the Soviets especially as they had already fought and beat back the Russians in 1919.

2) The Soviets were given a large portion of territory in the Eastern portion of Poland and this would allow the Germans to start the invasion a little closer.

3) HOWEVER, Stalin didn't trust Hitler until the non-aggression pact and the division of Poland. Stalin might have been a little more on edge and been ready to face an invasion. Germany would need another tactic like offering a portion of Romania or perhaps offering part of the Baltic States. Maybe Germany could offer to support the Soviets in aggression towards Turkey or something.

4) The Poles would have probably done better than the Italians or Romanians in the East. The Italians actually took part in the last cavalry charge and if the Poles were used in mobile situations with their cavalry it could work.

5) Finally...Germany had a chance in real life to get the support of various ethnic factions including Ukranians and Cossacks. Most of these ethnic groups were not used to great success by the Germans until it was too late BUT with Poles marching across the steeps of Russia these groups might be willing to throw in with Marshal Stalin instead. I don't see the Cossacks riding side-by-side with Poles!

So my take is that it is a good what-if but I think it gives the Germans as many pluses as negatives.

User avatar
MAUS
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: 07 Feb 2003 19:16
Location: Europe

Post by MAUS » 10 Feb 2003 17:37

1.
IMO even with AXIS loosing the war, Poland could done better if joined the Allies at the moment when the fate of Axis was sealed (like Bulgaria or Romania)

another thing is, that if Poles were in Axis pact, they will probably fight to the end, like Hungarians....

2.
as for the + and - for the Germans:
if Hitler made such proposals, he must have seen more benefits, generally

the greatest advantage IMO would be if such a pact provoked Stalin to make a first move and attack first - such an attack in 1941 or 1942 would be a total disaster for attacking russians and would soon leave Soviet Union without any defence for the victorious Axis

User avatar
Sam H.
Member
Posts: 1975
Joined: 19 Sep 2002 21:21
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Post by Sam H. » 10 Feb 2003 18:52

How long would peace have prevaled if Poland had sided with Hitler and there had been no war on 9/1/39?

Would some other spark start a conflict with the west?

Somosierra
Member
Posts: 281
Joined: 29 Dec 2002 00:16
Location: POLAND

no idea what was happening in 1939…

Post by Somosierra » 10 Feb 2003 18:53

Anyone who thinks that there was a possibility of an alliance: Germany and Poland just does not know history. Moreover has no idea what was happening in 1939…

It sounds like a Stalin’s proposal to save Czechoslovakia. Soviets just needed to enter Poland… - very funny… (like Lithuania – they took our land with Vilna, but Stalin took the all, with Lithuania!).

The first enemy of the III Reich was Poland. The first to murder were Poles, not even Jews. Do you really don’t know what was happening after September 1939 in occupied Poland? Germans prepared thousands of Poles’ names for slaughter. They built KL Auschwitz for Poles.

Germany was a deadly enemy of Poland and it was obvious for every Pole.

BTW (to Brits) – feel free to give Oxford for example France, they will make a promise and someday will give you…I would say…Denmark (or whatever – your choice!).

Regards,
Somosierra

User avatar
MAUS
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: 07 Feb 2003 19:16
Location: Europe

Post by MAUS » 10 Feb 2003 19:50

@Somosierra

pls tell me on what basis you think I don't know history? Maybe you have missed that to back up my topic I quoted historical fact of meeting in Berchtesgaden , January 1939

I think that we should not be stereotype-bound: the fact is, that since 1934 there was an open way for Poland and Germany to find a solution - the most difficult case was Gdansk (Danzig), but even about this Beck and Hitler were trying do do sth

Last Polish proposal, as far as I know, was to exclude Gdansk from Nations League control and establish Polish-German control over the city, which Germans didn't accepted

You have to remember, that in 1938 Poland and Germany WERE allies, with Poland taking part in partition of Czechoslovakia, so in my opinion there was a chance for further co-operation...
---

I do not deny any of the war atrocities and crimes commited by Wehrmacht and SS in 1939 and later in Poland and other countries , and you are also true, that Auschwitz was established mostly because of the German growing tension about Polish resistance movements in Silesia

but, once again, there are two sides of the story

one of the first crimes Germans commited in Poland were Bydgoszcz
murders, which took place immediately after Germans took the city in September 1939

but an unknown fact is, that few days earlier, Polish Army shoot some German alleged '5th columnists' before they surrended the city; it is true, that there were cases of German natives shooting to Polish soldiers - and in this sense they were true '5th columnists' and I can understand that Poles exectuted them, but among this group were many innocent people

when the Germans took the city and saw shooted German civilians, they took the revenge - I don't say it could be justified, but it only shows that history is not black-and-white but rather some shades of grey....

rgds

MAUS

User avatar
Tim Smith
Member
Posts: 6177
Joined: 19 Aug 2002 12:15
Location: UK

Re: no idea what was happening in 1939…

Post by Tim Smith » 10 Feb 2003 20:00

Somosierra:

The German generals, the old Prussian aristocrats, hated Poland always since 1919. But Hitler did not! Hitler was an Austrian and didn't give a damn about the Prussian Junkers and their lost lands. He hated aristocrats, even German ones.

Hitler was prepared to treat the Poles as allies, as long as they cooperated with him and gave him back Danzig. Hitler made friends with the Poles in 1934, despite the grumblings of the German generals. Hitler was even prepared to come to an agreement with Poland regarding the Corridor, as long as Germany had access for its troops that was all he wanted.

But Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, wasn't prepared to let Germany have Danzig under any circumstances. It was the Doctrine of The Two Enemies, yield 'Not An Inch' to either Germany or the USSR. When he saw what Hitler had done to the Czechs in mid 1939, i.e. overrun the whole country, and got himself a guarantee from Britain, he dug in his heels even further and refused to make any concessions to Germany. "Give Hitler an inch and he'll take a mile."

Hitler was first dumbfounded, then enraged at Poland's totally unreasonable (to him) an intransigent attitude. (Even Halifax thought that the Poles were being 'very foolish and unwise' in not only refusing to treat with Hitler, but refusing any help from the USSR into the bargain.)

That was when Hitler decided to conquer Poland and treat the Poles badly -because the Poles had refused to give him what he was clearly entitled to (Danzig, a German city) and so he was going to make them pay.

Danzig itself was not worth going to war over, not for Poland or the Western Allies. It was uncontestably a German city. Danzig was merely the excuse to fight Hitler, not the reason.


Somosierra wrote:Anyone who thinks that there was a possibility of an alliance: Germany and Poland just does not know history. Moreover has no idea what was happening in 1939…

The first enemy of the III Reich was Poland. The first to murder were Poles, not even Jews. Do you really don’t know what was happening after September 1939 in occupied Poland? Germans prepared thousands of Poles’ names for slaughter. They built KL Auschwitz for Poles.

Germany was a deadly enemy of Poland and it was obvious for every Pole.

BTW (to Brits) – feel free to give Oxford for example France, they will make a promise and someday will give you…I would say…Denmark (or whatever – your choice!).

Regards,
Somosierra

User avatar
Starinov
Member
Posts: 1490
Joined: 18 Apr 2002 16:29
Location: Québec, Canada.

Re: no idea what was happening in 1939…

Post by Starinov » 10 Feb 2003 20:29

peter_suciu wrote:Stalin didn't trust Hitler until the non-aggression pact and the division of Poland.
Stalin never trusted Hitler: neither before nor after the non-aggression pact was sgned.

User avatar
peter_suciu
Member
Posts: 199
Joined: 29 Nov 2002 16:49
Location: New York City

Post by peter_suciu » 10 Feb 2003 23:11

Stalin never trusted Hitler: neither before nor after the non-aggression pact was sgned.
Yeah, that's why German was massing troops in June of 1941 and Stalin was clueless. He didn't see the writing on the wall because he didn't see the building! If Stalin didn't trust Hitler after the non-aggression pact than why didn't he even believe reports from the English that the Germans were about to invade?

Even on the day of the invasion the Soviet forces were ordered to retreat and not to aggressively counter-attack because Stalin believed that it was a mistake. I would put that past being hopeful and in the realm of having some trust.

Somosierra
Member
Posts: 281
Joined: 29 Dec 2002 00:16
Location: POLAND

MAUS WROTE:

Post by Somosierra » 10 Feb 2003 23:34

MAUS WROTE:

”(…) - the most difficult case was Gdansk (Danzig), but even about this Beck and Hitler were trying do do sth. (…)”

NO, there was no option about “the corridor”. Germans just tested Poland like before the West and the biggest cowards – the authorities of Czechoslovakia…

“(…) You have to remember, that in 1938 Poland and Germany WERE allies, with Poland taking part in partition of Czechoslovakia, so in my opinion there was a chance for further co-operation.(…)”

NO, Poland just re-took lands took before by Czechoslovakia during heavy Polish fights against Soviets in 1920. That is why Poland did NOT take more…

“(…) but, once again, there are two sides of the story
one of the first crimes Germans commited in Poland were Bydgoszcz
murders, which took place immediately after Germans took the city in September 1939
but an unknown fact is, that few days earlier, Polish Army shoot some German alleged '5th columnists' before they surrended the city; it is true, that there were cases of German natives shooting to Polish soldiers - and in this sense they were true '5th columnists' and I can understand that Poles exectuted them, but among this group were many innocent people (…)

How MANY?

NO, there were no innocent people. All the German casualties were people caught with weapons. Germans just used it to explain why they invaded and why they treated Poles like that. For your knowledge – nowadays, there are some Polish legal actions in Germany (sons and daughters of Polish victims from Bydgoszcz). Those trials (in 1939) were even against the law of III Reich…

”(…) when the Germans took the city and saw shooted German civilians, they took the revenge - I don't say it could be justified, but it only shows that history is not black-and-white but rather some shades of grey.... (…)”

It was a revenge because they did not take the city (5th column).

I do not think there are only grey!

Of course there are different OPPINIONS, but the TRUTH can be only one!

Regards.

Somosierra
Member
Posts: 281
Joined: 29 Dec 2002 00:16
Location: POLAND

TIM SMITH WROTE:

Post by Somosierra » 10 Feb 2003 23:55

TIM SMITH WROTE:

”(…) Hitler was prepared to treat the Poles as allies, as long as they cooperated with him and gave him back Danzig. Hitler made friends with the Poles in 1934, despite the grumblings of the German generals. Hitler was even prepared to come to an agreement with Poland regarding the Corridor, as long as Germany had access for its troops that was all he wanted. (…)”

What nonsense!

You are a real grandson of Mr. Curzon…

I cannot believe you believe that!

”(…) Hitler was first dumbfounded, then enraged at Poland's totally unreasonable (to him) an intransigent attitude. (Even Halifax thought that the Poles were being 'very foolish and unwise' in not only refusing to treat with Hitler, but refusing any help from the USSR into the bargain.) (…)”

…I bring you peace from Mr. Hitler… - don’t you recognize this statement?

“(…) Danzig itself was not worth going to war over, not for Poland or the Western Allies. It was uncontestably a German city. Danzig was merely the excuse to fight Hitler, not the reason.(…)”

not worth…
uncontestably a German city…

Wow! – I have nothing to add.

I wrote so many times that Gdansk was called Gdansk over 1000 years ago, but Brits know better! They know where the border must be, where Poles live, where other nationalities, etc.

What nonsense!

Do you know – there are many western books published nowadays in Poland. The funniest are those written in England, very often just translators have to correct statements of professors from Oxford…

BTW, do you know why Norman Davies was learning Polish language and other languages? Because he was so wise to discover one day – as he stated – what an ignorant he was!

Regards.

User avatar
MAUS
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: 07 Feb 2003 19:16
Location: Europe

Re: MAUS WROTE:

Post by MAUS » 11 Feb 2003 02:08

[quote="Somosierra"]MAUS WROTE:


(...)NO, there was no option about “the corridor”. Germans just tested Poland like before the West and the biggest cowards – the authorities of Czechoslovakia… (...)

hard to say, whether it was a test or not, German internal , secret documents show that Hitler looked at Poland as for a potential ally against Soviets

anyhow, the German-Polish talks started just after partition of Czechoslovakia, in X.1938 and lasted till spring 1939, when Soviets decided to start making offers towards Germans.... at the end, because there was no agreement about Gdansk, and because Poles signed a treaty with France, Germans decided to go on with Soviets...


IMO Poland had two options in 30-ies: attack Germany in 1932/1933 together with France (which Poland proposed to France and France rejected, the result was 1934 Polish-German treaty) or to ally with Germany against USSR and West in 1938/1939


(...) NO, Poland just re-took lands took before by Czechoslovakia during heavy Polish fights against Soviets in 1920. That is why Poland did NOT take more… (...)

that is more or less true, but on the other hand Polish action at that time 'legalized' somehow Hitler action


(...) How MANY?
NO, there were no innocent people. All the German casualties were people caught with weapons. Germans just used it to explain why they invaded and why they treated Poles like that. For your knowledge – nowadays, there are some Polish legal actions in Germany (sons and daughters of Polish victims from Bydgoszcz). Those trials (in 1939) were even against the law of III Reich… (...)

Okay, to your knowledge I took those facts from the POLISH author, the heroe of Armia Krajowa, prisoner of German KL after Warsaw Uprising - Janusz Piekalkiewicz

he does not give the number - says that there were 300 5th columnists and that there were regular fights with them in the city, but after they were defeated, haunt for 5th columnists started, and Polish civilians and soldiers enraged by the whole event (which I cane imagine) killed innocent pepole too (authors words)


(...) Of course there are different OPPINIONS, but the TRUTH can be only one! (...)


yeah, but truth rarely suits to stereotypes, and tend to be black-and-white, don't you think ?

regards

MAUS

User avatar
MAUS
Member
Posts: 35
Joined: 07 Feb 2003 19:16
Location: Europe

Re: no idea what was happening in 1939…

Post by MAUS » 11 Feb 2003 02:16

(Even Halifax thought that the Poles were being 'very foolish and unwise' in not only refusing to treat with Hitler, but refusing any help from the USSR into the bargain.)


Frankly, about those Russians it was Halifax who was 'foolish and unwise' IMO

(...) because the Poles had refused to give him what he was clearly entitled to (Danzig, a German city) (...) It was uncontestably a German city (...)

I totally disagree, Gdansk had a long tradition of being a Free City, and a pearl of the Polish Crown, - it was fascinating, multicultural and multinational town - it is solely Goebbels propaganda which made Gdansk a 'German' city

rgds

MAUS

User avatar
Tim Smith
Member
Posts: 6177
Joined: 19 Aug 2002 12:15
Location: UK

Post by Tim Smith » 11 Feb 2003 12:30

Somosierra:

Proof regarding Hitler's view of Poland as a 'potential' ally.

Extract from Mein Kampf, Chapter 13:

(See underlined sentence for reference to Poland)

"For this reason a strict duty devolves upon everybody not to allow any weapon to fall into the hands of those who would interfere with the work of bringing about a mutual understanding with other nations. This is specially so in our case, where we have to deal with the pretentions and fantastic talk of our patriotic associations and our small bourgeoisie who talk politics in the cafes. That the cry for a new war fleet, the restoration of our colonies, etc., has no chance of ever being carried out in practice will not be denied by anyone who thinks over the matter calmly and seriously. These harmless and sometimes half-crazy spouters in the war of protests are serving the interests of our mortal enemy, while the manner in which their vapourings are exploited for political purposes in England cannot be considered as advantageous to Germany.

They squander their energies in futile demonstrations against the whole world. These demonstrations are harmful to our interests and those who indulge in them forget the fundamental principle which is a preliminary condition of all success. What thou doest, do it thoroughly. Because we keep on howling against five or ten States we fail to concentrate all the forces of our national will and our physical strength for a blow at the heart of our bitterest enemy. And in this way we sacrifice the possibility of securing an alliance which would reinforce our strength for that decisive conflict.

Here, too, there is a mission for National Socialism to fulfil. It must teach our people not to fix their attention on the little things but rather on the great things, not to exhaust their energies on secondary objects, and not to forget that the object we shall have to fight for one day is the bare existence of our people and that the sole enemy we shall have to strike at is that Power which is robbing us of this existence.

It may be that we shall have many a heavy burden to bear. But this is by no means an excuse for refusing to listen to reason and raise nonsensical outcries against the rest of the world, instead of concentrating all our forces against the most deadly enemy.

Moreover, the German people will have no moral right to complain of the manner in which the rest of the world acts towards them, as long as they themselves have not called to account those criminals who sold and betrayed their own country. We cannot hope to be taken very seriously if we indulge in long-range abuse and protests against England and Italy and then allow those scoundrels to circulate undisturbed in our own country who were in the pay of the enemy war propaganda, took the weapons out of our hands, broke the backbone of our resistance and bartered away the Reich for thirty pieces of silver.

The enemy did only what was expected. And we ought to learn from the stand he took and the way he acted.

Anyone who cannot rise to the level of this outlook must reflect that otherwise there would remain nothing else than to renounce the idea of adopting any policy of alliances for the future. For if we cannot form an alliance with England because she has robbed us of our colonies, or with Italy because she has taken possession of South Tyrol, or with Poland or Czechoslovakia, then there remains no other possibility of an alliance in Europe except with France which, inter alia, has robbed us of Alsace and Lorraine.

There can scarcely be any doubt as to whether this last alternative would be advantageous to the interests of the German people. But if it be defended by somebody one is always doubtful whether that person be merely a simpleton or an astute rogue. As far as concerns the leaders in these activities, I think the latter hypothesis is true.

A change in public feeling among those nations which have hitherto been enemies and whose true interests will correspond in the future with ours could be effected, as far as human calculation goes, if the internal strength of our State and our manifest determination to secure our own existence made it clear that we should be valuable allies. Moreover, it is necessary that our incompetent way of doing things and our criminal conduct in some matters should not furnish grounds which may be utilized for purposes of propaganda by those who would oppose our projects of establishing an alliance with one or other of our former enemies. "


There you are. Not only Italy, but Poland, Czechoslovakia and England too, were regarded by Hitler as desirable potential allies or at least benevolent neutrals for Nazi Germany in her inevitable conflict with the Soviet Union.

So Hitler only turned against the Poles when they refused to play the role of obedient German minor ally (satellite state) that Hitler had planned for them. And as a result Poland ended up as a Soviet satellite instead.
Last edited by Tim Smith on 11 Feb 2003 13:11, edited 1 time in total.

Return to “What if”