What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

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ShadowWave
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What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ShadowWave » 08 Sep 2018 01:03

What would have happened if Germany seized Danzig by force, but didn't advance any more into Polish territory and immediately declared a willingness to sign an armistice after Danzig was annexed?
Last edited by ShadowWave on 08 Sep 2018 03:57, edited 1 time in total.

Futurist
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 08 Sep 2018 01:15

I suspect that Britain and France would have--perhaps reluctantly--let this go and pushed the Poles to accept this new status quo. Had Hitler limited his conquest only to Danzig, I'm just not sure that there would have been anywhere near as much of a willingness among the British and French publics to go to war with Nazi Germany.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Sep 2018 17:49

Futurist may be right.

I think the Anglo-French Guarantee covered Poland against German aggression only, not Danzig. Therefore a declaration over Danzig alone was discretionary.

As it was, it took three days for the UK to declare war after Poland was attacked. One suspects that the Anglo-French might well have restrained themselves as it would have been difficult to take either nation to war to prevent a city with a 95%+ German population from joining Germany voluntarily.

Hitler really was his own worst enemy!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Sep 2018 19:42

Correction.

Danzig was considered a casus belli by the British, but this is only made clear in the secret protocol accompanying the Guarantee.

Therefore a German occupation of Danzig alone should, technically, have automatically brought Britain (and France) into the war, even if the Germans had not set foot on sovereign Polish soil.

Whether they could have justified this to their publics is another matter.

I presume Hitler did not do so because it would have allowed the Allies time to mobilize before declaring war.

Sid.

Volyn
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Volyn » 09 Sep 2018 00:00

Perhaps the British and French would let it go, but the Poles would not. If the Poles kept fighting the Germans even after they took Danzig, it would have forced the Germans to attack the rest of Poland.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 09 Sep 2018 00:11

Volyn wrote:
09 Sep 2018 00:00
Perhaps the British and French would let it go, but the Poles would not. If the Poles kept fighting the Germans even after they took Danzig, it would have forced the Germans to attack the rest of Poland.
Yep, if the Nazis invade the rest of Poland and don't withdraw from there, Britain and France are probably going to be forced to fight.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 09 Sep 2018 00:12

Sid Guttridge wrote:
08 Sep 2018 19:42
Correction.

Danzig was considered a casus belli by the British, but this is only made clear in the secret protocol accompanying the Guarantee.

Therefore a German occupation of Danzig alone should, technically, have automatically brought Britain (and France) into the war, even if the Germans had not set foot on sovereign Polish soil.

Whether they could have justified this to their publics is another matter.

I presume Hitler did not do so because it would have allowed the Allies time to mobilize before declaring war.

Sid.
This does seem to indicate that Britain was willing to back Poland to the hilt in regards to Danzig. Still, I wonder if Britain could have tried to weasel out of this commitment; after all, France was allied to Czechoslovakia but had no problem throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus in 1938-1939!

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Sep 2018 02:51

Hi Guys,

It should also be borne in mind that the nature of any seizure of Danzig might contribute to reactions. The Germans attacked the Polish post and customs officials in Danzig from the start. The Poles in the post office resisted. This alone might have been enough to trigger war.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 09 Sep 2018 06:22

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Sep 2018 02:51
Hi Guys,

It should also be borne in mind that the nature of any seizure of Danzig might contribute to reactions. The Germans attacked the Polish post and customs officials in Danzig from the start. The Poles in the post office resisted. This alone might have been enough to trigger war.

Cheers,

Sid.
I suppose that conquering Danzig and leaving these Polish officials alone is too much to ask for?

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Sep 2018 16:46

Hi Futurist,

Almost certainly. As part of the League of Nations regime, Polish customs officers were on Danzig's borders. That was why the Germans had to smuggle heavy armaments into Danzig by sea in the months immediately before the outbreak of war.

Cheers,

Sid

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wm
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 18 Sep 2018 02:27

Futurist wrote:
09 Sep 2018 00:12
This does seem to indicate that Britain was willing to back Poland to the hilt in regards to Danzig. Still, I wonder if Britain could have tried to weasel out of this commitment; after all, France was allied to Czechoslovakia but had no problem throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus in 1938-1939!
By design, both the Franco-Polish alliance and the Franco-Czech alliance allowed France to weasel out. France was required to help but not to fight.
The Anglo-Polish military alliance didn't have such a weasel-out option.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 18 Sep 2018 02:41

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Sep 2018 16:46
Hi Futurist,

Almost certainly. As part of the League of Nations regime, Polish customs officers were on Danzig's borders. That was why the Germans had to smuggle heavy armaments into Danzig by sea in the months immediately before the outbreak of war.

Cheers,

Sid
OK; thanks for this information, Sid!

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 18 Sep 2018 02:41

wm wrote:
18 Sep 2018 02:27
Futurist wrote:
09 Sep 2018 00:12
This does seem to indicate that Britain was willing to back Poland to the hilt in regards to Danzig. Still, I wonder if Britain could have tried to weasel out of this commitment; after all, France was allied to Czechoslovakia but had no problem throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus in 1938-1939!
By design, both the Franco-Polish alliance and the Franco-Czech alliance allowed France to weasel out. France was required to help but not to fight.
The Anglo-Polish military alliance didn't have such a weasel-out option.
Why did Britain not put such a weasel-out option into its military alliance with Poland?

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wm
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 18 Sep 2018 04:59

As far as I know, they were afraid Poland would otherwise surrender as the Czechs did. They didn't really know much about Poland.

The Poles were actually concerned the Germans would come to their senses and they would be left with "our dangerous and far-reaching engagement in the matter of England's security in the West."

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Sep 2018 06:21

Hi Guys,

Don't give the French too hard a time. They had barely half the population of Hitler's Reich and, because of a low birth rate, were training only half as many conscripts, yet everyone else was expecting them to carry most of the initial weight of any war against Germany.

They may have avoided going to war in support of Czechoslovakia, but at least they had a contractual obligation to the Czechs as leverage in negotiations with Germany. The British had none.

Furthermore, as a result of declaring war in support of Poland, France ended up humiliated and occupied over 1940-44 and its international prestige was shattered. France paid a heavy price for going up against a much bigger Germany.

If others had been better prepared (such as the British with their pathetic two divisions ready for continental deployment in 1938), or engaged (such as the USA which, having had a lead in setting up the League of Nations in the early 1920s, then withdrew into inter-war isolationism), or less cynical (such as the USSR, which came to an accommodation with Hitler in 1939), perhaps Germany would not have had everything its own way over 1938-41.

Cheers,

Siod.

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