Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

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Von Schadewald
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Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Von Schadewald » 01 Jul 2022 00:02

What if the Poles had immediately acceded to the August 29 German ultimatum to hand over Danzig, and for the Polish Corridor German minority to be given their plebiscite to be allowed to secede?

What, if anything, does Hitler do to create pretexts to invade now that the Poles have folded to his preliminary demands?

Does he still go ahead with the September 1 invasion willy-nilly, and if not, for how long does does he put it on hold?

WI France and Britain decide to let Poland go the way of Czechoslovakia, and do not declare war on Germany on September 3, with Chamberlain never broadcasting his "consequently this country is now at war with Germany" speech?

Without an Allied declaration of war, how does Hitler create a pretext for a Phoney War and then to invade the West, and when, if at all?

Would the Soviets dare invade Poland if the Germans don't?
Last edited by Von Schadewald on 01 Jul 2022 14:59, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: WW2 delayed/averted: Chamberlain does NOT declare war on September 3 1939

Post by OpanaPointer » 01 Jul 2022 03:57

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Re: WW2 delayed/averted: Chamberlain does NOT declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Jul 2022 05:07

Von Schadewald wrote:
01 Jul 2022 00:02

Without an Allied declaration of war, how does Hitler create a pretext for a Phoney War and then to invade the West, and when, if at all?

Theres some differing views on this. My take is Hilter intended to defeat the USSR first, then deal with France. There is a quote from him in a cabinet meeting pre 1939 stating something about 'One final battle with France.' In his fantasy world England would reach a agreement with Germany and sit by while France and Germany went at each other. Similar to his expectation France and Britain would stand down while the USSR was destroyed. If Britain and France sit out the Polish round, then I'd expect Hitler to attack the USSR in 1940 or 1941 at the latest.

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Re: WW2 delayed/averted: Chamberlain does NOT declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 01 Jul 2022 09:08

The ultimatum wasn't designed to be accepted; it wouldn't even be possible because of the short time demanded.. Its role was to justify the war and make British/French involvement less likely.
Actually, Hitler said his greatest fear was some swine would have cheated him out of the war (as he believed, he was cheated out in Munich in 1938).

Similarly, Hitler wouldn't attack Russia after he, five days earlier, signed a highly beneficial, sweeping alliance with Stalin. An alliance that gave him a free hand in the West and provided him with badly needed strategic materials.
In fact, after the conquest of Poland, Hitler said his Lebensraum would be in Poland (so not in Russia), and this idea was even (partially) implemented.
The war with Russia wouldn't even be possible. Hitler had to justify his wars in purely defensive terms because he feared the Germans wouldn't have accepted a war of aggression. In 1939/1940, such a "defensive" pretext wasn't available (not to mention the undefeated Allies and the real possibility of them joining the war).

In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that France was the greatest, terrible enemy of Germany and would have to be dealt with first. And confirmed that to his generals in August 1939.
So it would be France, and it had to be France.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Cantankerous » 06 Jul 2022 16:27

Some British veterans of World War I would have been happy if Chamberlain had not declared war on Germany, but Chamberlain refusing to do so would have robbed the UK of the chance to provide military aid to France in the form of outdated fighter biplanes modified for dive bombing as well as tactical bombers and first-generation tank destroyers in the event that the Maginot Line's fortifications were pummeled by Ju 87s.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 08 Jul 2022 19:58

In July 1939 British General Edmund Ironside visited Poland ostensibly for staff talks but before he left the UK he met Chamberlain. According to Ironside’s diary Chamberlain told him that he envisaged an annexation of Danzig by Germany with some sort of international guarantee for Polish rights. Ironside was to find out what Polish intentions and plans were in case Germany took aggressive action in this sector. I think it is likely that if Hitler had confined himself to moving troops into Danzig and declaring it reunited with Germany and gave a guarantee of Polish interests Chamberlain would not have declared war.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 08 Jul 2022 23:16

So it would be the same guarantee of (Czech) interests Hitler gave to Czecho-Slovakia? Not especially reassuring it seems. That guy Ironside must have been not that bright.

According to the guarantee of 31 March 1939:
in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power.
So Danzig was there, in the guarantee, and Chamberlain would have to renegade on his word for that.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 09 Jul 2022 01:15

Nothing to do with Ironside he was only asked to ascertain the Polish position on a German takeover of Danzig. If Hitler had only occupied Danzig and not attacked Polish installations would that have constituted a threat to Polish independence? Would the Poles have said this is a clear threat to our independence we are now going to attack Germany and Britain must come to our aid? I think the words “clearly threatened Polish independence” would have given the British a way out.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Huszar666 » 09 Jul 2022 10:37

There wasn't much enthusiasm for "Dying for Danzig" in the West, so I'm quite sure, if Germany only annexed Danzig (which was NOT a part of Poland), nobody would have daclared war on Germany.
Mor interesting is, if the su invaded Poland Mid- to Late September. THAT would be constitute an activation of the guarantee - only, the roles would be reversed. Germany neutral and the su at war.
However, I think it likely, that the su would NOT invade Poland on its own, only apply serious preassure the "let the people wote" in the Eastern parts.

IF Germany gets the Corridor and the su the Eastern parts, Poland is basically done for. It wouldn't be a big strech if after that Poland sought new allies - for example Germany. Rumania did it a year later :)

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 09 Jul 2022 11:55

Actually, Danzig was part of Poland economically (it was incorporated into the Polish customs territory), and partially politically (Poland represented Danzig internationally).

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 09 Jul 2022 12:23

Steve wrote:
09 Jul 2022 01:15
Would the Poles have said this is a clear threat to our independence we are now going to attack Germany and Britain must come to our aid? I think the words “clearly threatened Polish independence” would have given the British a way out.
Danzig was the gate to Poland (basically the only one), especially to the Polish river system and Polish waterways.
Additionally, the Poles controlled its railways and partially the port.

"The Convention Respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Case of War on Land" forbade to "move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power."
But Danzig was partially part of Poland and not a neutral power. That was very important in case of war with the Soviet Union.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 09 Jul 2022 12:45

And, the "Secret Protocol attached to the Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland" clearly stated that "the independence of one of the Contracting Parties" should include the Free City of Danzig.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 10 Jul 2022 12:08

I agree with H that it Hitler had confined himself to seizing Danzig he probably would have got away with it. There was no appetite for war with Germany in the UK and France.

Though Danzig was included in Poland’s customs frontiers and Poland conducted the foreign relation of the free city it was not a part of Poland. There were two gates to Poland from the sea in 1939 Gdynia and Danzig.

Article 2 (b) of the secret protocol states: -“they will consider: that the case contemplated by paragraph (1) of Article 2 of the Agreement is that of the Free City of Danzig;” Paragraph (1) Article 2 of the agreement states “which clearly threatened, directly or indirectly, the independence of one of the contracting powers, and was of such a nature that the Party in question considered it vital to resist it with its armed forces”. Seems unambiguous but the word “clearly” offers a way out.

Chamberlain had told Ironside that he contemplated a situation where Hitler seized Danzig and offered an international guarantee of Polish economic rights. If Polish economic rights in Danzig were internationally guaranteed then how was the independence of the party in question clearly threatened? Was Chamberlain hoping for a way to avoid declaring war? The intention behind the guarantee had been to help avoid war and he had originally wanted Britain to decide if Polish independence was threatened not Poland.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by VanillaNuns » 10 Jul 2022 12:42

If Chamberlain had refused to declare war on Germany, then he would have finally be ousted by his own party as we seen here in the UK last week. His political capital would have been spent.

A new government would have been appointed and they'd have given Germany a similar ultimatum a few days down the line. Withdraw from Poland or its war!

It wouldn't have changed anything, apart from possibly Lord Halifax becoming British PM instead of Churchill.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by ljadw » 10 Jul 2022 20:16

Steve wrote:
10 Jul 2022 12:08
I agree with H that it Hitler had confined himself to seizing Danzig he probably would have got away with it. There was no appetite for war with Germany in the UK and France.

Though Danzig was included in Poland’s customs frontiers and Poland conducted the foreign relation of the free city it was not a part of Poland. There were two gates to Poland from the sea in 1939 Gdynia and Danzig.

Article 2 (b) of the secret protocol states: -“they will consider: that the case contemplated by paragraph (1) of Article 2 of the Agreement is that of the Free City of Danzig;” Paragraph (1) Article 2 of the agreement states “which clearly threatened, directly or indirectly, the independence of one of the contracting powers, and was of such a nature that the Party in question considered it vital to resist it with its armed forces”. Seems unambiguous but the word “clearly” offers a way out.

Chamberlain had told Ironside that he contemplated a situation where Hitler seized Danzig and offered an international guarantee of Polish economic rights. If Polish economic rights in Danzig were internationally guaranteed then how was the independence of the party in question clearly threatened? Was Chamberlain hoping for a way to avoid declaring war? The intention behind the guarantee had been to help avoid war and he had originally wanted Britain to decide if Polish independence was threatened not Poland.
The guarantee had nothing to do with the DOW,neither was the threat to Polish independence.
The reason for the DOW was ideological : for the British opinion,to start a war was a crime and the aim of British war was not to help Poland ( no one cared about Poland ) ,but to eradicate Nazism ,to destroy Germany and to reeducate the Germans . Chamberlain told so on September 3 1939 on the radio .

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