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

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

Post by ljadw » 18 Sep 2018 08:19

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.
But as Britain had no forces to help Poland, and,even if it had these forces, it would still be dependent on the willingness of France to declare war,the meaning of the Anglo-Polish alliance (Poland being allied with a country that could send 2 divisions ) was to make it possible for Britain to weasel out .
Poland asked for a loan of 60 million pound, it got 9 million . All what Poland got during the military negociations was a British pledge for air attacks on German military targets .
Halifax said : We don't think this guarantee will be binding .
His POSS (Cadogan ) said :Our guarantee does not give any help to Poland .
The importance of the guarantee was inexistent.And Poland knew it .
The guarantee did not influence the policy of Germany,of Poland, of the SU, of France, of Britain .
Even without guarantee Britain would still declare war .

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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 09:32

Britain promised "all the support and assistance in its power", can't be denied they did exactly that.

The intention wasn't to prevent the defeat of Poland but to discourage Hitler from starting the war.

It was France which promised in writing a major relieving offensive and not only skillfully weaseled out but even pre-planned it.
But still, it didn't matter. Poland was going to resist with or without relieving offensives, with or without British loans.

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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 18:05

140-1.jpg
140-2.jpg
from: Diplomat in Berlin, 1933-1939
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Sep 2018 11:31

Hi wm,

Germany's penetration was a subtle escalation, any level of which might look a petty excuse for war.

From the late 1930s younger Danzig state employees often had to do conscript service in Germany to keep their jobs. Danzig university students in Germany also had to do military service there. In mid-1939 the Danzig police were doubled in strength and reorganized into two infantry regiments on German lines and the state employees and students who had received military training in Germany were enlisted. Much Danzig SA manpower, which had received patra-military training locally, also filled them out. In addition Germany smuggled in a battalion of field artillery, anti-aircraft batteries and 6-wheel armoured cars. And all this is in addition the the SS battalion and 8-wheel armoured cars sent in. As Polish customs officials legally had posts on the Danzig border and, despite one assassination, refused to be intimidated from their duties there, the heavy equipment (guns and armoured cars) was smuggled in by sea from East Prussia. The port area was sealed off overnight for the unloading.

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 » 19 Sep 2018 16:35

The Poles didn't care about it as long as appearances were maintained, they knew Hitler's puppets were running the show. If something went wrong in Danzig they complained in Berlin and that usually took care of the problem.
As long as Germany was neutral Danzig wasn't a threat.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Sep 2018 09:22

Hi wm,

Danzig, of itself, was never a threat to Poland. Germany, however, was. When Germany withddrew from the League of Nations, which sponsored the Danzig Free State between the wars, the German threat to Poland was almost inevitably going to be manifested in Danzig at some stage. The only real question was when.

Sid.

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

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2018 11:33

wm wrote:
18 Sep 2018 09:32
Britain promised "all the support and assistance in its power", can't be denied they did exactly that.

The intention wasn't to prevent the defeat of Poland but to discourage Hitler from starting the war.

It was France which promised in writing a major relieving offensive and not only skillfully weaseled out but even pre-planned it.
But still, it didn't matter. Poland was going to resist with or without relieving offensives, with or without British loans.
France was not weaseling out the offensive ,but started one : the Saar offensive ,
Frasnce did not promise a major relief offensive, but an offensive by the majority of its available forces ,which it did .

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

Post by wm » 20 Sep 2018 18:12

Well, how about no:
19 May.
Record of talks between Polish and French General Staff representatives
PROTOCOLE

Résumant les conversations tenues les 15, 16 et 17 Mai 1939 à Paris, entre: Monsieur le Général KASPRZYCKI, Ministre des Affaires Militaires de Pologne, représentant Monsieur le Maréchal SMIGLY-RYDZ, Inspecteur Général des Forces Armées de Pologne,
et Monsieur le Général GAMELIN, Chef d'Etat-Major Général de la Défense National Française
- ont fixé ce qui suit:
I. — En cas d'agression allemande contre la Pologne ou en cas de menace de ses intérêts vitaux à Dantzig qui provoquerait une action par les armes de la part de la Pologne, l'Armée Française déclenchera automatiquement une action de ses diverses forces armées de la façon suivante:

1. La France exécute immédiatement une action aérienne d'après un plan fixé d'avance [an aerial offensive immediately - never happened].

2. Dès qu'une partie des forces françaises sera prête (vers le troisième jour)19 la France déclenchera progressivement des actions offensives à objectifs limités [since the third day limited offensive actions - never happened].

3. Dès que l'effort principal allemand s'accentuerait sur la Pologne, la France déclencherait une action offensive contre l'Allemagne avec les gros de ses forces (à partir du quinzième jour) [on 15th day the general offensive (the bulk of her forces) - never happened].
ISBN 978-83-89607-72-0. Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939
[...]
The idea was to save the Polish Army from destruction because it couldn't save itself.
Not because it was cute, but because it was a valuable military resource which shouldn't have been flushed down the drain like that.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Sep 2018 17:17

Hi wm,

I don't think the Polish Army was ever saveable once the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed. To use your phrase, it was "going down the toilet" whatever happened, it was just a matter of how long before it passed the U-bend. It reached that point far quicker than anyone expected.

However inadequate the Anglo-French response in early September 1939, France paid a very heavy price for making (if not really delivering on) its commitment to Poland and the UK stayed in the war to the very end, as promised.

I would go back to my earlier point - everyone was expecting a lot from France without, perhaps, taking into account what was really practicable. It had, after all, little more than half the population of Germany, a lower birth rate and was able to train only half as many conscripts.

France's only chance was to have acted much earlier, at the time of the German military return to the Rhineland, before German conscription and remilitarization had wiped out its post-Versailles advantages.

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 » 21 Sep 2018 21:31

I don't demand France did something or many things. France wasn't Poland's keeper.
It was a seriously internally messed up country anyway, with lots of internal political and economic problems.

Nothing wrong with France doing nothing, seeping wine, and enjoying the show.

But it would be nice to stand by what they promised in writing simply because pacta sunt servanda - agreements must be kept.

By offering all the military and political support the Allies encouraged Poland to stand firm against Germany instead simply negotiating an amicable agreement and be done with it.
And when push came to shove they threw Poland under the bus - and even pre-planned it. It was nothing but betrayal.

The only mitigating circumstance was the Poles were going to threw themselves under the bus regardless of anything.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Sep 2018 22:05

Hi wm,

I agree with much of what you say, but "betrayal"?

France stayed in the war it had joined in support of Poland after Poland had fallen and suffered national humiliation and a massive collapse in international prestige as a result. The UK stayed in the war for six years and spent more than the accumulated wealth of 200 years of empire prosecuting it.

They may have been inept and cynical allies, but they didn't betray Poland.

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 » 22 Sep 2018 11:21

Well, incitement to national suicide for gain sounds quite bad.
Betrayal isn't only "treason", it is "violating the confidence of another, usually for personal gain" too.

The psychological damage suffered by the Poles, after all the unwarranted hopes collapsed was enormous, and well used to their advantage by the Nazis, and later even better by the Soviets.
In 1940 (and even later) lots of people hated the Government and the Polish elites as much as the Germans or maybe even more.

The Poles deserved to be told the truth, even if for the practical reason the population could have been better prepared for what awaited them.


Nazi propaganda poster, Britain! You did it!
Image

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Sep 2018 16:39

Hi wm,

Nobody was inciting the Poles to "national suicide", for the simple reason that nobody expected the Wehrmacht to be so effective so fast.

Nor, in the end, did Poland undergo "national suicide". It actually emerged from the war a more cohesive, and more genuinely "national" state.

I don't think anything could have prepared the Poles for what awaited them, again because nobody could foresee what happened to their Jews or that "ethnic cleansing" against Poles would be so systematic.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by wm » 27 Sep 2018 13:53

I didn't matter "national suicide" was good or bad for Poland.
Suffering is individual, not national, the millions of Poles that were killed or murdered didn't benefit from a "more genuinely national state" at all.

The point is the Allies deceived the Poles since the day one. Their only true intention was to ensure that Poland didn't chicken out.
The promised military operations, the general offensive were all fake from the beginning.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Sep 2018 18:51

Hi wm,

France stayed in the war it had declared on behalf of Polish territorial integrity vis a vis Germany until over run itself by Germany. It could hardly have made a bigger sacrifice, whatever its failings in September 1939.

The UK stayed in the war it had declared in support of Poland against Germany until the very end. It could not have stayed in the war for longer.

Neither France nor the UK compromised with Germany over Poland at no small expense to themselves. There was nothing "fake" about that.

Cheers,

Sid.

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