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

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
ljadw
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 11:14

It is obvious that a British historian writing about France is biased, because he is British and not French, a German historian writing about the US Civil War is also biased,an American historian writing about WWII is biased, etc,etc.
Alexander is writing as a British , not as a French , and having the prejudices Britons have about French, he is also writing as someone living some 80 years after the facts ,with the bias people of his generation have about politicians from the thirties .
A man who writes that Gamelin was violating the spirit of the meeting,is biased .Before the war everyone was violating the spirit of a deal,today it is also the same .
What is annoying the most is the moralising attitude of Alexander to condemn a military who was tied by his political masters and one must say that one finds such an attitude more in the Anglo-Saxon world than on the continent,where people are more realistic .
Last point : is it appropriate for a non French historian to CONDEMN French politicians/soldiers for what they did 80 years ago ?

I thought that it was the mission of a historian to give facts, and to let the judgements to his readers .

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2018 11:23

Hi ljadw,

That is nonsense.

Historians are historians.

If they follow the evidence, then their nationality is irrelevant.

If they don't follow the evidence, then they are not historians.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Anyone who just presents facts is merely an historical accountant, not a historian. For example, all the W-SS officer lists published are transcriptions from documents. However useful they may be, if they contain no analysis, then they are not the work of historians. Not to analyse the facts would be to fail as a historian.

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

Post by wm » 29 Sep 2018 11:33

ljadw wrote:
29 Sep 2018 08:38
I find it more than curious that the leading British historian was writing that the French did not honour the spirit of the Paris Talks or the 19th May protocol .
Diplomats never honour the spirit,but only the letter, because the spirit does not exist in diplomacy .
It's "the spirit" because obviously, it was possible using tortuous claims to conform to the letter.
The problem is "the letter" as supposedly carried out later was worthless, it couldn't possibly help Poland in any way. So why even bother to put such worthless obligations on paper. The only answer is to deceive your ally.

It should be remembered France demanded a major Polish offensive immediately in case Germany attacked only France, so the Polish obligations were very serious and real.

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 11:48

Sid Guttridge wrote:
28 Sep 2018 11:45
Hi wm,

I know that, but the French and British did follow through on their commitments to go to war on behalf of Poland and stayed in it as long as they could. France, in particular, paid a very heavy price for doing so.

Tactically, they failed Poland in September 1939, but strategically over the whole 1939-45 period, they did not.

Cheers,

Sid.
Hn, there was no public commitment to go to war om behalf of Poland , but, from British side, the promise to give Poland all the available help .

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

Post by wm » 29 Sep 2018 11:57

It was "all the support and assistance in its power".
It's hardly believable Britain wasn't capable to wage war in 1939, that war wasn't in its power.

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

Post by wm » 29 Sep 2018 12:02

Futurist wrote:
29 Sep 2018 06:09
wm wrote:
28 Sep 2018 22:04
Poland could have avoided the war even a few days before it started, simply by accepting the Germans' demands.
Had Poland done that, it would have set the stage for becoming a German satellite state and fighting the Soviet Union together with Germany, no?
Czechoslovakia and Hungary accepted demands, became German satellites and even fought the Soviet Union together with Germany.
For French generals and politicians Poland wasn't any different, so they deceived to achieve desirable results.

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 12:31

When Gamelin promised the Polish minister of war that , if Germany attacked Poland and IF France declared war on Germany,he would start a bold French relief offensive against Germany's western frontiers within 3 weeks , was he lying ?
NO . He started a relief offensive within 3 weeks . That's a fact . Was it bold ? In the opinion of Gamelin :yes .The opinion of the Poles and Alexander is irrelevant .
Besides, as Gamelin did not use the word ''bold'',but a French word, I like to see the French word he used, because, knowing that the French army was not capable to start a bold attack,and that Gamelin always was chosing his words very carefully so that one never could catch him on a lie, what was the reason for his success, I doubt very much that he would use words as audacieux, téméraire.
What the Polish minister promised was at the same level, or even more subtle .He also was a person who would not commit himself on something concret : he said that if Germany attacked France, Poland would invade the eastern provinces of Germany . He did not say WHEN, he did not mention HOW MANY divisions, he did not say that it would be a bold relief offensive ,the French were even not certain that Poland would declare war .
Both were masters in dodging and meaningless declarations, and it is unfair to accuse Gamelin only .

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 12:32

wm wrote:
29 Sep 2018 11:57
It was "all the support and assistance in its power".
Which was something meaningless and Poland was satisfied with this .

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2018 14:38

Hi Guys,

I would draw your attention back to the point that France did not desert Poland after it was over run, however inadequate its response was in September 1939. It stayed in the war until defeated itself and never signed a peace treaty with Germany.

Its commitment to Poland proved very costly indeed for Paris.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Even had France launched an offensive in the strength and at the time promised, Poland collapsed so fast that it was unsaveable.

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 15:04

Sid Guttridge wrote:
29 Sep 2018 11:23
Hi ljadw,

That is nonsense.

Historians are historians.

If they follow the evidence, then their nationality is irrelevant.

If they don't follow the evidence, then they are not historians.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Anyone who just presents facts is merely an historical accountant, not a historian. For example, all the W-SS officer lists published are transcriptions from documents. However useful they may be, if they contain no analysis, then they are not the work of historians. Not to analyse the facts would be to fail as a historian.
There is a difference between analysis and condemning people because they did not follow your own moral principles, things who had no place in the discussions who are mentioned .Other point is that Alexander never was in the situation of those he condemned,and that one could ask him : what would you have done ?
And we have a British historian who condemns French politicians and military for something they did that did not concern Britain .
A historian does not condemn, if he condemns, he imposes his opinions on his readers .

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

Post by maltesefalcon » 29 Sep 2018 15:55

Sid Guttridge wrote:
29 Sep 2018 14:38
Hi Guys,

I would draw your attention back to the point that France did not desert Poland after it was over run, however inadequate its response was in September 1939. It stayed in the war until defeated itself and never signed a peace treaty with Germany.

Its commitment to Poland proved very costly indeed for Paris.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Even had France launched an offensive in the strength and at the time promised, Poland collapsed so fast that it was unsaveable.
Just a brief comment on the peace treaty. France did sign an armistice in 1940. Its terms covered much more than immediate military concerns. These included partition of the nation, reparations and the fate of foreign nationals (refugees) on French soil. This armistice was very harsh to France and the terms lasted for years, unlike in 1918 which was supplanted the following year by Versailles.

I believe this would qualify it as somewhat more than a true armistice and would have posed as the basic framework for a long term treaty, if Britain had come to the bargaining table. The fact it was not dubbed a treaty is more semantics than reality.
Last edited by maltesefalcon on 29 Sep 2018 16:19, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2018 16:00

Hi ljadw,

Neither you, nor I, have any idea what Alexander's moral principles were, so we cannot presume to know how they influenced his analysis, if at all.

If one had to be in the position of the protagonists to be able to comment, no military history could ever be written that wasn't autobiography, which is necessarily the most subjective and unreliable type of all!

Surely, if French actions did not concern Britain, Alexander is more likely to be a dispassionate observer than either a Frenchman or a Pole, who might have vested interests?

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2018 16:06

Hi Maltesefalcon,

The Armistice was not a peace treaty. Most (later all) of France remained under German occupation, over a million French POWs remained in Germany throughout the war and the Germans were expropriating French industrial plant to the end. And all this was a result of declaring war on behalf of Poland.

The Armistice was a way for Germany to retain powerful leverage over the rump of France until it was ready to impose a peace treaty. To this day we don't know what the Germans' terms were going to be, probably, I would suggest, because they never settled on any among themselves.

Cheers,

Sid

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

Post by South » 30 Sep 2018 08:17

Good morning all,

In re the last several posts, can we inject the word made famous by Immanuel Kant: "Weltanschauung".

Besides nationality and its absorbing environment, there's also the functional. Some say that the American historian I.F. Stone ("The Hidden History of the Korean War", "The Haunted '50s", several others) was a crypto-Marxist and thus the flavoring of his history books.

Some historians working the Great War Part I, can be as predictable as the phases of the Moon.

Glance at some Islamist history. Glance at some Christian missionary history. Don't glance at the Cold War to include its economic component.

Sometimes facts and judgments are the same. What do the historians call Babi Yar ? Was My Lai, Vietnam a massacre or a combat operation ?

A pertinent book: "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Sep 2018 12:58

Hi South,

I didn't understand any of that.

Could you connect it to the subject of the thread in some way?

Thanks,

Sid.

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