"Poland wanted war with Germany"

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Peter K
Sid Guttridge
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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Sep 2018 19:57

Hi wm,

I am confused. The Non-Aggression Pact of 1934 contained its own dissolution clauses - a minimum of 10 years plus six months notification by either contracting party.

Are you saying that the "Paris" clause negated this?

Sid.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 24 Sep 2018 21:45

Yes, according to the Poles unprovoked aggression wasn't covered by the pact. This argument was advanced during Polish-German talks in April 1939. In this case, it was unprovoked aggression against Britain.

Unprovoked aggression against France was covered by "the international obligations undertaken by it towards a third party ... do not conflict with the present declaration".

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Sep 2018 22:02

Hi wm,

I am now even more confused. What have the UK and France got to do with the German-Polish Non-Agression Pact? They were not party to it, or covered by it.

Sid.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 24 Sep 2018 23:22

Both the Franco-Polish alliance and the Anglo-Polish military alliance required Poland to lend Britain/France all support in her power in case of war with Germany.
But the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact forbade use force in disputes between both countries.
So escape clauses were needed.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Steve » 25 Sep 2018 03:09

“Both the Franco-Polish alliance and the Anglo-Polish military alliance required Poland to lend Britain/France all support in her power in case of war with Germany”.

Unfortunately that is not strictly correct with regard to the Franco-Polish alliance. On May 22 1938 the French Foreign Minister Bonnet met the Polish ambassador in Paris Lukasiewicz. The reason for the meeting was to enquire about Polish policy if France became involved in war over Czechoslovakia. Bonnet was told “We’ll not move” because the Franco-Polish defence treaty included no obligation for Poland to go to war over Czechoslovakia. According to Lukasiewicz if France attacked Germany in support of Czechoslovakia then France would be the aggressor.
From - 1939 The alliance that never was and the coming of world war II – Michael Jabara Cowley page 44.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 25 Sep 2018 10:07

The Franco-Polish alliance could only be activated in case of an unprovoked aggression against one of the signatories.

If Germany attacked the French-Czechoslovak alliance it would be an act of unprovoked aggression but against an alliance, not France. The Franco-Polish alliance didn't cover such an eventuality.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Sep 2018 13:41

Hi wm,

If the Franco-Polish alliance didn't cover an act of unprovoked aggression by Germany, what on earth was it for?

An ever more mystified Sid.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 25 Sep 2018 16:22

True to its name, the Franco-Polish alliance covered only an act of unprovoked aggression against one of the signatories.
Czechoslovakia wasn't a signatory, and the French-Czechoslovak alliance wasn't either.

Bonnet was told “We’ll not move” because the Franco-Polish defence treaty included no obligation for Poland to go to war over Czechoslovakia. According to Lukasiewicz if France attacked Germany in support of Czechoslovakia then France would be the aggressor.
This is not supported by both the instruction sent by Beck to the ambassador, and by his own report from that meeting.
Additionally, it's not supported by the multipage report from the second meeting (three days later), and summarising all the talks, the third report written a day later.

According to all three reports, Bonnet asked for a Polish demarche in Berlin and the answer was it would be a unilateral obligation unforeseen by the Franco-Polish alliance.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Sep 2018 20:04

Hi wm,

I am now completely lost.

I thought we were talking about get out clauses for the German-Polish non-aggression pact.

Sid.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 25 Sep 2018 21:52

You asked a question:
If the Franco-Polish alliance didn't cover an act of unprovoked aggression by Germany, what on earth was it for?
I've answered it:
True to its name, the Franco-Polish alliance covered only an act of unprovoked aggression against one of the signatories.
Czechoslovakia wasn't a signatory, and the French-Czechoslovak alliance wasn't either.
What's wrong with answering questions?

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Steve » 26 Sep 2018 02:22

In his book Mr Carley uses the French version of the conversation hence the disparity.

The military convention was signed on February 21 1921 and was slightly revised in 1925. To make matters even more confusing it did not guarantee military action in the event of German aggression.

Article 1 was about an unprovoked German attack on Poland. The Polish draft had said “entering into war” but the French changed that to “aid” so no commitment to attacking Germany.
Article 2 dealt with an attack on Poland by Russia. Again the French only agreed to keep Germany in check and give aid to Poland.
In Article 3 what this French aid would be was set out. If Poland was attacked by either Germany or Russia it was limited to sending war material, railway equipment and technical personnel. French combat troops were expressly excluded. France also undertook, within the limits of her means, to secure communication lines with Poland, including sea communications but there was no mention of sending naval units to the Baltic which the Poles had asked for.

Lots of other stuff but I’m sure you get the picture. There is a Wikipedia article on it but it does not go into great detail hence this brief synopsis. Taken from – From Versailles to Locarno by Anna M Cienciala and Titus Kormanicki page 28.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by wm » 26 Sep 2018 11:36

It wasn't that confusing, France was taking care of her own security and was unconcerned with the security of all the small stuff in Eastern Europe, hence all the escape clauses. It was France first and generally nothing wrong with it, especially that the small European countries didn't offer any tangible political or military benefits.
France was only prepared to offer a weak alliance and nothing more, and Poland was well aware it was a "low-quality product". Czechoslovakia it seems wasn't. Buyer beware.
In a better world, France would simply become friends with Germany or sign an alliance with Russia and be done with it.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Steve » 28 Sep 2018 02:04

Poland was to model her army’s organisation on the French army and standardise equipment with France. An arms industry was to be developed with French aid. The two general staffs were to be in constant contact and the French military mission in Poland was to be kept informed on developments. Polish officers were to attend courses in France. In an annex to the treaty France agreed to grant Poland a military loan of 400 million Francs, of which 80 million would be in surplus French demobilisation stock. Clearly the aim was to bind Poland to France militarily but without having to give any specific commitment to defend the country. There was also a political agreement dealing with lots of stuff.

Poland had frontier disputes with all of its neighbours and Britain was not going to enter into an east European alliance so its options when looking for help were very limited. The French took full advantage of this and the military and political treaties were made conditional on a trade agreement. This gave France much more than it gave Poland and you could say France had favoured nation status. When Poland was ready to sign the military and political agreements they were told these could not be signed until the oil agreement part of the trade treaty was signed. This was very much in France's favour as oil was one way for Poland to repay all the money it now owed.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Sep 2018 12:06

Hi Steve,

Where was France getting this oil from?

Sid.

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Re: "Poland wanted war with Germany"

Post by Steve » 28 Sep 2018 17:44

Hello Sid, if you put in – The Petroleum Trail – it should take you to a Wikipedia article on the Galician oil fields.

Until recently the extent of French economic penetration of post 1918 Poland was something that I was not aware of and not seen covered anywhere. The subject probably deserves a post all of it’s own but I doubt many people apart from me would find it interesting. Anyway, here is something on the Polish oil industry post 1918 using – From Versailles to Locarno, keys to Polish foreign policy 1919 to 1925.

The German oil companies working in pre war Galicia were grouped into an organisation called the Deutsche Erdol A.G. The Austrian ones were grouped into the Osterreichische Boden Credit Anstalt. Once Poland had established control of Galicia their future was clearly problematic. However, the French were now very influential in Poland so both groups sold part of their shares to the French and a new company was formed The International Petroleum Union. The Germans and Austrians were now protected in case the Poles had thoughts about expropriating them. A German trade publication from 1921 said that Franco German cooperation was very cordial. Austrian capital now joined with French capital and a joint company the Societe renunie des petroles Fanto came into being which was closely linked to a major French bank and the American Standard Oil Company. Pre war there had been a lot of British investment in the oil fields but now with no support from the Polish government and squeezed between the two French controlled companies they withdrew.

The French were protected from “arbitrary actions” by the Polish authorities and from competition by state owned oil production. They had freedom to produce and export as much as they wanted once the needs of the Polish market were met. They could export foreign currency and were exempt from capital levies and obligatory government loans.

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