Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by pugsville » 21 Dec 2018 12:39

DocHawkeye wrote:
20 Dec 2018 17:45
pugsville wrote:
25 Sep 2018 09:03

Why do people take any of Hitler statements and foreign policy stat5ments at anything like face value? He repeatedly lied, outrageously so, called black white without blushing, repeatedly played nice with people who he quite callously planned murder all the same,
The pure arrogance of and common among western leaders, that they could control or even influence a man as ruthlessly committed to his vision of a new world order as Hitler was.
Why Am I quoted here simply do not see the relevance.

Western leaders did not think they could control Hitler but bargain and negotiate honestly with. They thought if they took him at his word, that differences could be resolved without warfare, that Nazi Germany could be reasoned with.

They were mistaken.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Dec 2018 01:46

Steve wrote:
21 Dec 2018 07:57
In January 1935 Goering met Poland’s leadership while on a hunting trip to Poland. The following is taken from – The Great Powers and Poland 1919-1945 by Jan Karski p.294 paragraph 2.

Discussing international affairs, Goering became very outspoken, “almost suggesting an anti-Russian alliance and a joint (Polish – German) attack on Russia.” He indicated that Poland might establish her “sphere of influence” in the Ukraine, while Germany would do the same in “northwestern Russia.” He was so blunt that Lipski recommended through Moltke “some reserve” in Goering’s scheduled conversation with Pilsudski. Indeed, when the Nazi leader hinted at a Polish – German attack on Russia and enumerated its advantages to Poland, Pilsudski cut off the conversation, saying: “Nous ne pouvons accepter d’être mis dans une situation qui nous obligerait a coucher avec notre fusil.”

A very funny reply.
Interesting anecdote which sounds true !

You can read Beck's book too (Final report). He's very clear that Poland wd not ally to Germany. The polish policy was : not to ally Germany nor USSR...
An alliance was out of question. Pilsudski and others knew what Hitler was planning concerning Poland... and that was not beautiful.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by michael mills » 25 Dec 2018 06:42

Yes, Pilsudski and others knew what Hitler was planning concerning Poland.

They knew that his plan for Poland was to draw it into an alliance directed against the Soviet Union, an alliance in which Poland would join Germany in invading and conquering that country, and be rewarded with territory in Ukraine. They knew that he had no plan to attack and conquer their country.

For Pilsudski and his loyal followers such as Beck, Hitler's plan was quite attractive, since they regarded the Soviet Union as Poland's hereditary enemy, an enemy that had invaded their country less than two decades previously. By contrast, Germany had given Russian Poland a measure of autonomy after conquering it from Russia, and in November 1918 had been the first state to recognise the Polish Republic proclaimed by Pilsudski, under a deal made between him and the German representative Count Harry Kessler before he returned to Warsaw from honourable internment at Magdeburg.

Contrary to what was claimed by Polish leaders during and after the war, Pilsudski and Beck did not definitively reject the German proposal for an alliance. What they did was to delay accepting it, until they could be certain of the attitude of France and Britain. Although they were favourable to the idea of an alliance with Germany against the Soviet Union, the one thing they wanted to avoid at all costs was to find themselves in a war with Britain and France on the side of Germany. For that reason, they held off accepting the overtures coming from Germany while waiting to see whether Hitler would be able to continue his movement toward war with the Soviet Union while avoiding provoking Britain and France into making war on Germany.

Another reason for holding off was to avoid provoking the anti-Pilsudski opposition in Poland, which was intensely germanophobic and might rise in rebellion if Pilsudski and his successors allied with Germany. After Pilsudski's death in May 1935, a struggle for power broke out among his successors, pitting Foreign Minister Beck against the military commander Smigly-Rydz, with Beck seeking to continue Pilsudski's pro-German course while Smigly-Rydz sought the support of the support of the internal opposition by aligning himself more closely with their anti-German (and anti-Jewish) ideology. That struggle weakened Beck, and rendered him unable to bite the bullet and agree to an alliance with Germany.

After the outbreak of war, Beck and the other Polish leaders presented their delaying tactics in response to the German offer of an anti-Soviet alliance as a principled refusal to join forces with Hitler, and that is the version of events that has been accepted in Polish non-Communist historiography, although the Communist version, that Pilsudski and his successors were at heart willing to enter into an anti-Soviet alliance, was closer to historical truth.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 25 Dec 2018 23:27

michael mills wrote:
25 Dec 2018 06:42
Yes, Pilsudski and others knew what Hitler was planning concerning Poland.

They knew that his plan for Poland was to draw it into an alliance directed against the Soviet Union, an alliance in which Poland would join Germany in invading and conquering that country, and be rewarded with territory in Ukraine. They knew that he had no plan to attack and conquer their country.

For Pilsudski and his loyal followers such as Beck, Hitler's plan was quite attractive, since they regarded the Soviet Union as Poland's hereditary enemy, an enemy that had invaded their country less than two decades previously. By contrast, Germany had given Russian Poland a measure of autonomy after conquering it from Russia, and in November 1918 had been the first state to recognise the Polish Republic proclaimed by Pilsudski, under a deal made between him and the German representative Count Harry Kessler before he returned to Warsaw from honourable internment at Magdeburg.

Contrary to what was claimed by Polish leaders during and after the war, Pilsudski and Beck did not definitively reject the German proposal for an alliance. What they did was to delay accepting it, until they could be certain of the attitude of France and Britain. Although they were favourable to the idea of an alliance with Germany against the Soviet Union, the one thing they wanted to avoid at all costs was to find themselves in a war with Britain and France on the side of Germany. For that reason, they held off accepting the overtures coming from Germany while waiting to see whether Hitler would be able to continue his movement toward war with the Soviet Union while avoiding provoking Britain and France into making war on Germany.

Another reason for holding off was to avoid provoking the anti-Pilsudski opposition in Poland, which was intensely germanophobic and might rise in rebellion if Pilsudski and his successors allied with Germany. After Pilsudski's death in May 1935, a struggle for power broke out among his successors, pitting Foreign Minister Beck against the military commander Smigly-Rydz, with Beck seeking to continue Pilsudski's pro-German course while Smigly-Rydz sought the support of the support of the internal opposition by aligning himself more closely with their anti-German (and anti-Jewish) ideology. That struggle weakened Beck, and rendered him unable to bite the bullet and agree to an alliance with Germany.

After the outbreak of war, Beck and the other Polish leaders presented their delaying tactics in response to the German offer of an anti-Soviet alliance as a principled refusal to join forces with Hitler, and that is the version of events that has been accepted in Polish non-Communist historiography, although the Communist version, that Pilsudski and his successors were at heart willing to enter into an anti-Soviet alliance, was closer to historical truth.
Question--even after the Anglo-French guarantee to Poland, there was no reason as to why Poland couldn't, in theory, have agreed to an alliance with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, correct? I mean, the Anglo-French guarantee only applied to German aggression against Poland, but if there would have been no German aggression against Poland, the guarantee wouldn't have taken effect, correct?

Also, I don't know if Britain and France would have actually been willing to fight on behalf of the Soviet Union if Germany and Poland would have attacked it. I mean, one would think that the idea of pushing the Soviet Union east of the Urals would have been extremely unpleasant for Britain and France (not least because it would require millions or tens of millions of people to move or be deported to the Asiatic part of the Soviet Union). However, would Britain and France have actually been willing to shed their own flesh and blood for the Soviet Union?

In addition to this, the idea of pushing the Soviet Union east of the Urals would have been the really objectionable part of a proposed Nazi-Polish war against the Soviet Union if I was in charge of Poland during this time. As much as I would have loathed the Soviet Union, I wouldn't have wanted to uproot an extremely massive number of Soviet people and deport them to Asia. (The European part of the Soviet Union was its lifeblood; after all, most Soviets lived there. Plus, I am generally opposed to mass, unprovoked deportations.)

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by henryk » 27 Dec 2018 22:05

michael mills wrote:
25 Dec 2018 06:42
Yes, Pilsudski and others knew what Hitler was planning concerning Poland.

They knew that his plan for Poland was to draw it into an alliance directed against the Soviet Union, an alliance in which Poland would join Germany in invading and conquering that country, and be rewarded with territory in Ukraine.(Why would Poland want any territory in Ukraine, with an overwhelming Ukrainian population? They already had enough problems with the Ukrainians in Eastern Poland.) They knew that he had no plan to attack and conquer their country. ( (They knew he was more likely to have a plan to attack and conquer, rather than not.)

For Pilsudski and his loyal followers such as Beck, Hitler's plan was quite attractive, since they regarded the Soviet Union as Poland's hereditary enemy, an enemy that had invaded their country less than two decades previously. ( They equally regarded Germany as a hereditary enemy.)

By contrast, Germany had given Russian Poland a measure of autonomy after conquering it from Russia, ( It was vassal state of Germany. It excluded the cradle of Poland, Wielko-Polska, which was being Germanized violently), Silesia and Galicia) and in November 1918 had been the first state ( Did it ever ??? ) to recognise the Polish Republic proclaimed by Pilsudski, under a deal made between him and the German representative Count Harry Kessler before he returned to Warsaw from honourable internment at Magdeburg.

Contrary to what was claimed by Polish leaders during and after the war, Pilsudski and Beck did not definitively reject the German proposal for an alliance. What they did was to delay accepting it, until they could be certain of the attitude of France and Britain. Although they were favourable to the idea of an alliance with Germany against the Soviet Union, (never, both were enemies) the one thing they wanted to avoid at all costs was to find themselves in a war with Britain and France on the side of Germany. For that reason, they held off accepting the overtures coming from Germany while waiting to see whether Hitler would be able to continue his movement toward war with the Soviet Union while avoiding provoking Britain and France into making war on Germany.

Another reason for holding off was to avoid provoking the anti-Pilsudski opposition in Poland, which was intensely germanophobic and might rise in rebellion if Pilsudski and his successors allied with Germany. After Pilsudski's death in May 1935, a struggle for power broke out among his successors, pitting Foreign Minister Beck against the military commander Smigly-Rydz, with Beck seeking to continue Pilsudski's pro-German course while Smigly-Rydz sought the support of the support of the internal opposition by aligning himself more closely with their anti-German (and anti-Jewish) ideology. That struggle weakened Beck, and rendered him unable to bite the bullet and agree to an alliance with Germany.

After the outbreak of war, Beck and the other Polish leaders presented their delaying tactics in response to the German offer of an anti-Soviet alliance as a principled refusal to join forces with Hitler, and that is the version of events that has been accepted in Polish non-Communist historiography, although the Communist version, that Pilsudski and his successors were at heart willing to enter into an anti-Soviet alliance, was closer to historical truth.
I repeat:
Defensive doctrine of Poland used in 1939: “to be or not to be.”
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski

The defensive doctrine of Poland, was applied in earnest starting on January 26, 1939 when German minister von Ribbentrop was told in Warsaw that Poland will not join the pact against Russia. Poles followed the advice of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, who wrote in his last will and testament, that in order to preserve not only the independence of Poland, but in fact Poland’s very existence, the government of Poland had “to veer between Germany and Russia as long as possible and then bring the rest of the world into the conflict, rather than subordinating Poland to either one of its two neighbors.” The choice of the verb “to veer” indicated that Piłsudski was fully aware of the reality, that Poland formed a barrier between two main protagonists and most powerful contenders on the European continent: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Stalin fearful of a two front war by Germany and Japan against the USSR decided to stop the Japanese Kwantung Army by Soviet attack in August 1939, a few days before the Ribbentrop-Mołotow Pact was to be signed in Moscow. According to The Oxford Companion to World War II (Oxford University Press, 1995) Soviet general Grigory Zhukov was the first in history to use the blitz-krieg tactics. These tactics were developed jointly by Germans and Russians on Soviet polygons after the Treaty of Rapallo of April 16, 1922.

From May 28, 1938 on, the largest air battles in history up to that time, were fought in Asia and involved 140 to 200 Soviet and Japanese aircraft (A. Stella, Khalkhin-Gol, "The Forgotten War", Journal of Contemporary History, 1, 8, 1983). Heavy Japanese loses and betrayal by Germany, were to bring an end to Japanese-Soviet war. Zhukov organized a surprise offensive using 35 infantry battalions, 20 cavalry squadrons, 500 aircraft and 500 of the new and powerful tanks. This force locally outnumbered the forces of the advancing Kwantung Army.

On August 20, 1939 Zhukov launched a surprise attack and in ten days inflicted massive casualties on the Japanese. "Zhukov's essential achievement lay in combining tanks, artillery, aircraft and men in an integrated offensive for the first time in modern war. By 31 August, the Russians have completed what they described as the most impeccable encirclement of the enemy army since Hannibal beat the Romans at Cannae. The 23rd Division of the Kwantung Army was virtually wiped out, and at least 18,000 Japanese were killed." (P. Snow "Nomonhan -the Unknown Victory", History Today, July 1990.)

Poles, threatened by Hitler with complete eradication of the Polish state in the historic Polish lands, knew that Stalin threatened Poland with terror and enslavement. However, Nazi Germany then was the worse of the two evils. Poles made a rational decision and refused to help Germany to defeat Russia. Poland’s refusal to attack Russia saved the Soviet Union from destruction. The Russians so far do not want to admit this fact and they revive the cult of Stalin.

During the 1930ties the League of Nations was trying to prevent the outbreak of hostilities. Then, on August 11, 1939, Hitler finally said to Jacob Burkhardt, Commissioner of the League of Nations: "Everything I undertake is directed against Russia; if the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this, I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and then, after their defeat, turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine so that they can not starve me out as happened in the last war." (Roy Dennan "Missed Chances," Indigo, London 1997, p. 65). Hitler talked about Russia being “German Africa” and Russians as “negros” to be used by the superior German race.

Hitler’s plan to create “Greater Germany” populated by “racial Germans from the River Rhine to the Dnepr River in the Ukraine,” was known to marshal Piłsudski, who understood that Hitler planned eventual eviction and mass murder of Poles and Ukrainians in their historical land s. Earlier, on March 3, 1918, in Brest Litovsk, a town occupied by Germans, Lenin’s government signed a humiliating capitulation, which yielded to German dictate and agreed to make Russia a vassal state of Germany. Berlin planned to treat Russia like Britain treated India and make a colonial empire ruled by Germany from the Rhine River to Vladivostok. In 1939 the territory of Poland blocked Germany from the direct access to the Ukraine and to Russia.

Already on August 5, 1935 Hitler started pressing the government of Poland to sign a pact with Germany against Russia. This is described in detail, by Józef Lipski, the ambassador of Poland to Germany, during the years 1933-39. Stalin’s government was aware of Hitler’s plans and of the pact between Germany and Japan against Russia signed in 1936. Stalin feared a two front war, Japanese attack from the east and German attack from the west. When Poland refused to join Germany on January 26, 1939 Stalin thought that he had a chance to entangle Germany in a long lasting war on the western front, as had happened during WWI.

For all practical purposes Stalin offered to divide Poland between Germany and Russia by inviting the German-Soviet cooperation on March 10, 1939 in a speech broadcast by radio and addressed to the 18th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in Moscow. Eventually the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was signed in Moscow and dated August 23, 1939. The news of German-Soviet pact and German betrayal, came to Japanese in the middle of a military disaster, which lead to a cease fire and an the end of hostilities between Japan and the Soviet Union on September 16, 1939 after Japan lodged a formal protest in Berlin against the “Ribbentrop – Molotov Pact.”

Thus, Poland’s decision to defend itself ruined Hitler’s “best case scenario” and his plans to defeat Stalin in a two-front war against Russia. Instead Stalin managed to entangle the Germans in a two-front war. The “great game” consisted of competition between Hitler and Stalin who defeats whom in a two-front war by means of attacks from the east and from the west.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 28 Dec 2018 00:10

I think that Michael is rather optimistic in attributing good intentions on Germany’s part towards Poland. During the 1932 election in Germany so much vitriol was directed towards Poland that Pilsudski instructed the Polish minister in Berlin to conduct a special study on German political parties. Its aim was to look at the attitudes of the main parties and report on how relations could be improved. The conclusion was that only territorial concessions would satisfy German public opinion and open the road to rapprochement and this opinion still held true in 1939. Hitler did want an alliance but as the Poles would never make the territorial concessions required to have one there could not be an agreement to wage war against the USSR together.

I know of no evidence (perhaps someone could provide it) that Pilsudski ever contemplated an alliance with Germany aimed at the USSR. If the Pilsudski quote in my previous post is correct then he gave any such idea scant regard. Of course he wanted good relations with Germany and perhaps this is where some confusion has arisen. Madame Pilsudski says in her memoir that though her husband was “jubilant” about the 1934 pact with Germany he did not think that it would give even ten years of peace. He thought that war had only been postponed until Hitler was strong enough to risk war. According to a letter written after the war by Lipski, Pilsudski only signed the pact after sounding out Paris on jointly attacking Germany.

That Beck wanted to overturn the policy of neutrality between Germany and the USSR and instead seek an alliance with Germany is not a claim I have come across previously. Is this an opinion or is it backed up by something? I have not read Lipski’s “Diplomat in Berlin” front page to back page but in what I have read there is nothing about proposing or hinting at an alliance with Germany aimed at the USSR. Of course you could argue that such a sensitive matter would have been left out. That Beck and Smigly-Rytz did not always get on together is a fact. It is very likely (discussion in a previous post) that there was a divergence between them on how to handle Hitler’s proposals on Danzig and the corridor. Beck may well have conceded on an extra territorial road link and accepted changes to how Danzig was governed. That you had wanted concessions made to Hitler rather than a glorious defence of independence is perhaps something you would leave off your CV.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Tomislav » 28 Dec 2018 13:31

We should not forget, that according to calculation made by Beck there was no chance for a even temporary alliance between Germany and Soviet Union. So decision to oppose Germany was made with assumption, that eastern border is save and polish army may evacuate itself to romanian bridgehead in case of troubles then wait till western allies defeat Germany and end war as winner without risk of provoking Soviet Union.

Now we know that this calculation was wrong and the question is if correct calculation of international situation would not end with diffrent decision.

Especially if Beck would be able to read russian press from our time :)
https://sputniknews.com/zinovyev_club/2 ... 023143524/

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 30 Dec 2018 22:04

After signing the mutual assistance agreement with the UK in April 1939 Poland still clung to its policy of neutrality between its two large belligerent neighbours. Not surprisingly relations with Germany collapsed but Stalin seems to have tried to improve relations with Poland.

On May 7 1939 Molotov congratulated the Polish ambassador in Moscow on Beck’s May 5 speech especially the bit on national honour. On May 10 Potemkin the deputy commissar for foreign affairs visited Warsaw. He assured the Poles that the Soviet leaders were ready to support Poland on Warsaw’s conditions. A special circular was sent by Beck to all Polish diplomatic missions:-

“The Soviets realise that the Polish government is not prepared to enter any agreement with either one of Poland’s great neighbours against the other and understand the advantages to them of this attitude……………………

Mr Potemkin also stated that in the event of an armed conflict between Poland and Germany, the Soviets will adopt une attitude bienveillante towards us.

As Mr Potemkin himself later indicated his statements were made in accordance with special instructions which the Soviet government has sent to Warsaw for him”.

In a report to the Supreme Soviet on May 31 Molotov talked of “good neighbourly relations” and an “all round improvement in Polish Soviet relations”. He would never have used such words if he thought they would not meet with Stalin’s approval. On June 2 a similar declaration was made by the Soviet ambassador in Warsaw. Beck now instructed the Polish ambassador in Moscow to seek an agreement with the Soviets for the passage of western aid in the event of a German attack. Potemkin secretly assured the ambassador that if Poland actually found itself at war everything would probably change and permission would be given for transit.

Somewhat surprisingly the Pilsudski/ Beck policy of neutrality between Germany and the USSR seems to have continued after April 1939. Maybe this was because from what Beck told Lipski he did not expect Hitler to go to war but if he did he would probably limit it to the occupation of Danzig. Even if the Polish army had succeeded in holding an area near the Rumanian border it would not have been for very long, only the USSR could have given practical help.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 31 Dec 2018 06:58

Did Stalin demand any territorial concessions from Poland for his assistance? Or was this the type of thing that the Soviets didn't talk about?

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 31 Dec 2018 15:55

As far as I am aware Stalin at this time made no demands territorial or otherwise.

After the agreement with the UK Hitler no longer treated Poland as neutral it had now chosen sides. According to British estimates in the event of war Poland would be overrun in about three months.

The British and French thought that for a credible eastern front against Germany the USSR needed to be brought in. Feelers were put out in April and on April 18 the Soviets suggested a pact of mutual assistance. Stalin now had two options; try to do a deal with Hitler or try to do a deal with the UK and France.

A Soviet military agreement with the UK and France aimed at Germany was pointless if Poland when attacked refused entry to the Red Army. Poland refused to join any agreement and was adamant that it would never allow Soviet troops to enter its territory. Stalin’s charm offensive towards Poland occurred while negotiations were taking place with the UK and France.

The French tried very hard to get the Poles to agree entry of the Red Army.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 01 Jan 2019 08:38

It does seem rather unwise to make guarantees to Poland first before securing Polish consent for Soviet entry into Poland in the event of a German attack. Given the Soviets' poor track record in regards to Poland, I certainly understand why Poland would be extremely wary of Soviet intentions. Still, Poland was in a very shitty place.

Also, it is a bit weird that Hitler tolerated Poland's alliance with France but not with Britain.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 02 Jan 2019 22:08

The British thought that their guarantee would stop Hitler and there would be no war. It was something of a rush job because it was thought possible that Poland would join Hitler’s side. The British did not know that negotiations had broken down. Would the French have honoured their military commitment to Poland without the British?

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 03 Jan 2019 04:16

Steve wrote:
02 Jan 2019 22:08
The British thought that their guarantee would stop Hitler and there would be no war. It was something of a rush job because it was thought possible that Poland would join Hitler’s side. The British did not know that negotiations had broken down.
Couldn't it have been better to tell Poland that if it will ally with Hitler, Britain and France would form an alliance with the Soviet Union?
Would the French have honoured their military commitment to Poland without the British?
I extremely strongly doubt that they would have. Rather, in such a scenario, the French would have probably thrown Poland to the Nazi wolves like they previously did with Czechoslovakia.

Also, interestingly enough, had Germany avoided going Nazi and avoided getting entangled in Czechoslovakia, it might have actually been able to obtain its desired territorial revisions in Poland. Indeed, I strongly doubt that Britain would have been anywhere near as fearful of a non-Nazi Germany which did not have a history of aggression making territorial demands against Poland, and if Britain wouldn't have fought, in all likelihood, neither would have France.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Jan 2019 10:01

Hi Guys,

This is highly unlikely unless one of them gave up one of his primary goals.

To retain full independence, the Poles needed access to the sea via the new port of Gdynia in the "Polish Corridor" and/or the League of Nations-administered Free City of Danzig.

Hitler wanted to consolidate East Prussia into the Reich by reabsorbing Danzig and the "Polish Corridor".

These two positions are incompatible.

None of Hitler's ambitions for lebensraum in the East at the USSR's expense were realisable as long as Poland existed for the simple reason that Germany had no common border with the USSR until Poland was eliminated. If any deal were reached with Pilsudski, Hitler would therefore have to renege on it (as he did on the 10-year+ non-aggression pact) if he were to follow through on lebensraum.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 03 Jan 2019 23:14

Hi, there was a French/Soviet treaty of mutual assistance signed in 1935. Chamberlain was strongly anti communist and if I remember correctly said during the Munich crisis (Czechoslovakia had a treaty with the USSR) that he did not want to see the Red Army in Vienna. In 1939 the British were very hesitant about having a military alliance with the Soviets which is one reason why it never happened. Perhaps if Hitler had kept to the Munich agreement the British would have reacted differently. His demands over Danzig came as no surprise to them indeed Chamberlain had said years previously that the Danzig issue would be on Hitler’s list for revision. The British were hoping the Poles would compromise.

Hitler in 1939 was proposing a different form of administration for Danzig which would probably have brought it closer to Germany; I don’t offhand remember the details but it was not outright annexation. For the corridor he proposed an extra territorial road and rail link and presumably there would have been some provision for a bridge or tunnel. There were also hints about territorial compensation in the Ukraine. If Beck and co. had accepted the offer (I do not believe Pilsudski would have) then presumably Poland would have occupied a similar position to Hungary and Rumania. Hitler could have then used Poland to stage his attack on the USSR.

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