De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

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ljadw
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 16 May 2021 11:34

gebhk wrote:
15 May 2021 13:46
It would only be a lie if he had decided in May to do B in September but told the Poles that he would do A .
Lie depends on the intention,and as an intention is almost impossible to prove ......
Now that is a somewhat dangerous path to follow because the fact is that France had agreed with Britain in March-May that in the event of war, the Western Front would remain, basically, passive. This was the intention at the time of the talks with Kasprzycki and there is not the slightest hint that that intention changed after the talks (ie the plans remained the same). This was not communicated to Kasprzycki and was not known in Poland, so at the very least the French were being very economical with the truth. At what point passive 'economy with the truth' becomes active mendacity has perplexed philosophers since the dawn of time, so I have no wish to continue that ageless debate here - albeit, since we will probably never know what was said in private, the possibility of the latter cannot be excluded entirely. It does, again, highlight the counterpoductivity of bringing emotive anthopomorhic language into discussions about political history.

Regarding
La France execute immédiatement une action aérienne d'áprés un plan fixé a l'ávance .
I think you are both focussing on the wrong part. The vital words are not 'immédiatement' but 'd'áprés un plan fixé a l'ávance'. Since the 'plan fixé a l'ávance' was, to put it bluntly, to do nothing, there can be little doubt that it was executed 'immédiatement'.
Basically passive does not mean that there would be no local offensive (Saar offensive ).
If Gamelin said to Gort that in the event of war ,France would remain passive and if he said to Kasprzycki that he would execute a local offensive (WHAT HE DID ) ,you can't say that he lied to Kasprzycki,but you could say that he did not tell the truth to Gort in March/May , but ,if he told Gort later of his intentions to start a local offensive,everything was OK .And, that he did not tell the Poles what he said to Gort,is not relevant, as it was not the business of the Poles what he said to Gort .The reason of what he said to Gort was that Gort could not help him : Britain could send only two divisions,who arrived when the war in the east was already decided .
Gamelin promised more to Kasprzycki than he told Gort . And he did it . Thus,the Poles can not complain .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 16 May 2021 17:35

ljadw wrote:
15 May 2021 11:24
WM: you have a weird idea of what is a lie : even if in May Gamelin said A,and did in September B (which is not true ) ,that does not mean that what he said was a lie .It would only be a lie if he had decided in May to do B in September but told the Poles that he would do A .
Lie depends on the intention,and as an intention is almost impossible to prove ......
Yes, Gamelin said A but included B in the plan of war against Germany a week later.

Gamelin promised an offensive imploying 3/4 of available forces but, in the plans of war against Germany, he only included a military demonstration in front of German lines (the rest was the well-known Phoney War) - a demonstration to hide his lies - so the lie was born right then in May.

His pal Vuillemin promised a vigorous aerial action although he knew it was impossible (in September 1938 he had assured La Chambre, the air minister that French air strength would be completely used up by two weeks of combat operations against Germany.)

Charles de Gaulle wrote in 1938:
Between allies, the only means of forming a true solidarity in time of conflict is to make them interdependent in their entire means of waging war...to make them create an 'entente of the democracies' in the field of arms, not simply between general staff and general staff.
He didn't mean let the buyer beware and the stink of another Aliexpress scam - he demanded true solidarity, a friendship of democracies.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by gebhk » 16 May 2021 19:04

Gamelin promised more to Kasprzycki than he told Gort . And he did it
You no more know what Gamelin said in private to Kasprzycki than I or anyone else. You therefore have no grounds to say whether he told Gort more or less than he told Kasprzycki, much less whether he did what he said he would. His assurances given Kasprzycki, as the latter was leaving, that the political protocols would be signed shortly when he himself was arguing against their signing are hypocritical and cynical at the very least. The same can be said about the weaving of phantasms before the Poles of an offensive into Germany by the 15th day after declaration of war with 40 divisions that 'could' be used and of deploying heavy artillery against the Siegfried Line when it had already been decided with the British that no such actions would be taken.

There can be little doubt from reading the minutes of the Gamelin-Kasprzycki talks that the Poles were being led up the garden path. It is bizarre now to pretend otherwise when gen Gamelin himself made no bones about this in his memoires and is on record as advising Pres. Daladier to 'encourage the Poles but not get tied up himself'.

Art - I am a little perplexed why you believe that Czechoslovakia was 'betrayed' but Poland was not. In my view either both were or neither was, though this is, perhaps, somewhat academic. After all, at least the Czechoslovaks were told that they were on their own from the start by the British and soon thereafter by the French. This allowed the Czechoslovak government to make fully informed decisions and, in my opinion, make the right ones - in the teeth of furious objections from their countrymen who mostly wanted to fight, one might add.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 16 May 2021 20:02

wm wrote:
16 May 2021 17:35
ljadw wrote:
15 May 2021 11:24
WM: you have a weird idea of what is a lie : even if in May Gamelin said A,and did in September B (which is not true ) ,that does not mean that what he said was a lie .It would only be a lie if he had decided in May to do B in September but told the Poles that he would do A .
Lie depends on the intention,and as an intention is almost impossible to prove ......
Yes, Gamelin said A but included B in the plan of war against Germany a week later.

Gamelin promised an offensive imploying 3/4 of available forces but, in the plans of war against Germany, he only included a military demonstration in front of German lines (the rest was the well-known Phoney War) - a demonstration to hide his lies - so the lie was born right then in May.

His pal Vuillemin promised a vigorous aerial action although he knew it was impossible (in September 1938 he had assured La Chambre, the air minister that French air strength would be completely used up by two weeks of combat operations against Germany.)

Charles de Gaulle wrote in 1938:
Between allies, the only means of forming a true solidarity in time of conflict is to make them interdependent in their entire means of waging war...to make them create an 'entente of the democracies' in the field of arms, not simply between general staff and general staff.
He didn't mean let the buyer beware and the stink of another Aliexpress scam - he demanded true solidarity, a friendship of democracies.
De Gaulle was wrong , and he should have been the last to say what he said : solidarity has no place in an alliance : France wanted to have Poland as ally but not to be the ally of Poland,and for Poland it was the opposite :France wanted a lot of foreigners willing to die for its interests, Poland wanted the same .And, do you say that Poland was a democracy in 1939 .
The opinion of France was that the USSR was a better ally than Poland, the opinion of Poland was that France was not an ally . When De Gaulle was president of France, he did not show any solidarity with the US in the war in Vietnam but expelled NATO and all non French forces from France .
Vuillemin did not promise combat operations,but a vigorous aerial action ,which is not the same .
Gamelin said : the majority of my available forces,and attacked with 11 divisions (Saar offensive ) because 11 divisions was the majority of his available forces : he had less than 30 divisions on the NE front,of which the the big majority was not available .
Last edited by ljadw on 16 May 2021 20:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 16 May 2021 20:24

gebhk wrote:
16 May 2021 19:04
Gamelin promised more to Kasprzycki than he told Gort . And he did it
You no more know what Gamelin said in private to Kasprzycki than I or anyone else. You therefore have no grounds to say whether he told Gort more or less than he told Kasprzycki, much less whether he did what he said he would. His assurances given Kasprzycki, as the latter was leaving, that the political protocols would be signed shortly when he himself was arguing against their signing are hypocritical and cynical at the very least. The same can be said about the weaving of phantasms before the Poles of an offensive into Germany by the 15th day after declaration of war with 40 divisions that 'could' be used and of deploying heavy artillery against the Siegfried Line when it had already been decided with the British that no such actions would be taken.

There can be little doubt from reading the minutes of the Gamelin-Kasprzycki talks that the Poles were being led up the garden path. It is bizarre now to pretend otherwise when gen Gamelin himself made no bones about this in his memoires and is on record as advising Pres. Daladier to 'encourage the Poles but not get tied up himself'.

Art - I am a little perplexed why you believe that Czechoslovakia was 'betrayed' but Poland was not. In my view either both were or neither was, though this is, perhaps, somewhat academic. After all, at least the Czechoslovaks were told that they were on their own from the start by the British and soon thereafter by the French. This allowed the Czechoslovak government to make fully informed decisions and, in my opinion, make the right ones - in the teeth of furious objections from their countrymen who mostly wanted to fight, one might add.
About Gort : YOU said that he told Gort that he would do nothing, but we know that he promised the Poles to do something .Thus he told the Poles more than what he told Gort .
And he did not promise the Poles to attack with 40 divisions, because
A he had no 40 divisions available
B he had not the intention to attack with 40 divisions
C there was no need for him to attack with 40 divisions ( maybe Poland needed such an attack ) but his duty was not to do what the Poles wanted ( and there is no proof that the Poles wanted this ),but what was best for France ,and what was best for France : Germany having a common border with Poland or a common border with the USSR ?
The answer is obvious .
It is not because Poland was/had been an ally of France ( a lot of French were convinced that the USSR would be a better ally ) that it should do what some people in France/in Poland thought was good for Poland . It is the same for Poland : a lot of people in Poland thought that Poland was better of without France, that its alliance with France could oblige Poland to be involved in wars which were not its business . It was the same for France : what would France do if there was a war between CZ and Poland ? What would Poland do if Germany attacked the Netherlands or if the Italian invasion of Ethiopia resulted in a war between the Wallies and the Axis .
About CZ : it was not betrayed ,it knew that in case of war,France and Britain would declare war on Germany , but that the aid of the Wallies would be insufficient ,that's why it said yes to Hitler's demands . And, one can argue that they were better off without the Sudeten Germans .
Both CZ and Poland could not afford a war, even a victorious war .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by gebhk » 16 May 2021 21:03

The answer is obvious .
There is no answer because there is no question. I did not say Gamelin promised 40 divisions. What I did say was that gen Gamelin promised an offensive into Germany and that half the Northern front, ie about 40 divisions could take part in the offensive. There is no need for fervid speculation and making stuff up, it is protocoled fact vouched for its accuracy by signatures of the partiers involved.

I struggle to see what what he said to Lord Gort and his staff subsequently has to do with any of this, other than to show that French plans had not changed as a result of the Gamelin-Kasprzycki talks.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 16 May 2021 22:12

ljadw wrote:
16 May 2021 20:02
De Gaulle was wrong , and he should have been the last to say what he said : solidarity has no place in an alliance : France wanted to have Poland as ally but not to be the ally of Poland,and for Poland it was the opposite :France wanted a lot of foreigners willing to die for its interests, Poland wanted the same .And, do you say that Poland was a democracy in 1939 .
Poland was a good enough democracy.
ljadw wrote:
16 May 2021 20:02
The opinion of France was that the USSR was a better ally than Poland, the opinion of Poland was that France was not an ally . When De Gaulle was president of France, he did not show any solidarity with the US in the war in Vietnam but expelled NATO and all non French forces from France .
For the simple reason, no alliance between France and the US required that.
ljadw wrote:
16 May 2021 20:02
Gamelin said : the majority of my available forces,and attacked with 11 divisions (Saar offensive ) because 11 divisions was the majority of his available forces : he had less than 30 divisions on the NE front,of which the the big majority was not available .
No, he said:
3/4 of the mobilized French army (when the sixteen-day mobilization process would be completed) would be deployed against Germany, and a half of that would participate in the promised relief offensives.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 17 May 2021 05:50

On 21 September 1939 France had 56 divisions in France ,not all operational,of which 11 were committed for the Saar offensive .And on that day the Saar offensive had become senseless,as Poland was defeated and as there was no longer any need for a relief operation .If at that day Poland was not defeated,the Saar offensive would have continued ,with finally the promised 19 divisions .
After the defeat of Poland, there was no need for a relief operation .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 17 May 2021 05:55

gebhk wrote:
16 May 2021 21:03
The answer is obvious .
There is no answer because there is no question. I did not say Gamelin promised 40 divisions. What I did say was that gen Gamelin promised an offensive into Germany and that half the Northern front, ie about 40 divisions could take part in the offensive. There is no need for fervid speculation and making stuff up, it is protocoled fact vouched for its accuracy by signatures of the partiers involved.

I struggle to see what what he said to Lord Gort and his staff subsequently has to do with any of this, other than to show that French plans had not changed as a result of the Gamelin-Kasprzycki talks.
Half of the Northern front was not 40 divisions : the NE front was 26 divisions . Half of 26 was 13 .
There is no contradiction between what Gamelin told Gort and what he told Kasprzycki :he told Gort that he would essentially remain passive . He told Kasprzycki that he would start a small relief operation . There is no contradiction between both .
If Germany collapsed, Gamelin would go to Berlin . But it was not Germany that collapsed, but Poland .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by gebhk » 17 May 2021 09:14

Half of the Northern front was not 40 divisions : the NE front was 26 divisions . Half of 26 was 13 .
And that would be true, even if still irrelevant, if we were talking about the NE front of 1940 which did not exist in May 1939. However we are not. As I recall it, the conversation was around what forces could be deployed against Germany even in the event of simultaneous war with Italy ie the Northern Front was the front against Germany as opposed to the 'Southern Fronts' which were the troops on the Italian and Spanish borders.
There is no contradiction between what Gamelin told Gort and what he told Kasprzycki :he told Gort that he would essentially remain passive . He told Kasprzycki that he would start a small relief operation . There is no contradiction between both .
I'm sorry but if you can't see a contradiction between stating (and vigorously confirming when questioned about this by col Jaklicz) that an offensive would be launched into Germany on or around the 15 day of mobilisation and that around 40 divisions could be used for it, followed by an exposition by the general tasked with this operation (gen Georges) on the Siegfied line and the heavy artillery resources required to break it and what he told Lord Gort and his staff in July (the time gained by Poland's sacrifice could be used to occupy and fortify the approaches to the French positions), then, I'm sorry, but any further discussion with you on this seems somewhat pointless.

The fact is that the Saar operation did not by any stretch of the rational imagination fall under the heading of an offensive commenced on or around the 15 day of mobilisation by (as heavily hinted to the Poles) around 40 divisions and directed against the Siegfired line (although it clearly comes within the scope of the limited actions commencing from the 3rd day of mobilisation (counting from the first day of general mobilisation) which it was all abvout). For that matter, it did not even come up to Gamelin's exposition to Lord Gort and his staff of an occupation and fortification of the approaches to the French positions as clearly the area remained, in the end, neither occupied nor fortified.
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by gebhk » 17 May 2021 09:18

By the way, thanks WM for submitting one of only two posts relevant to this topic so far (#167). Even if it does not refer to Poland specifically, indeed given the timing probably could not, it certainly gives an insight into de Gaulle's thinking on the subject of French alliances in general.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 17 May 2021 09:52

ljadw wrote:
17 May 2021 05:50
On 21 September 1939 France had 56 divisions in France ,not all operational,of which 11 were committed for the Saar offensive .And on that day the Saar offensive had become senseless,as Poland was defeated and as there was no longer any need for a relief operation .If at that day Poland was not defeated,the Saar offensive would have continued ,with finally the promised 19 divisions .
After the defeat of Poland, there was no need for a relief operation .
What happened in September is irrelevant.
The betrayal was planned and executed in May.

That in September the number of divisions was insufficient to launch a major relief offensive actually proves that the betrayal was real.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 17 May 2021 11:28

Betrayal implies an intention to betray . There is no proof of such intention, thus there was no betrayal .Poland did not ask for more, thus Poland was satisfied with the French proposals . It was the same for the French : they were satisfied with the Polish declaration that they would do nothing if France was attacked .
Besides, if France betrayed Poland, what about the Polish betrayal of France ? The Poles said : if Germany attacks France ( and this possibility was as real as that of Germany attacking Poland ) ,the only thing we will do is to try (!) to hold as many German divisions on our border .The Poles did not even say that they would declare war on Germany if it attacked France .
The conclusion is that,given the meaningless and insignificant results of the content of the Convention, the aim of the Convention was not to discuss what A would do if B was attacked,or what B would do if A was attacked,but what both could do to prevent a war .
And given that there was a serious solution that could prevent war ,and that no one did mentioning it ,this means that there was no big danger for a war in May 1939 ,thus no reason to discuss what one should do/not do in case of war .
It was mainly/all propaganda to scare the Germans .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 17 May 2021 11:31

wm wrote:
17 May 2021 09:52
ljadw wrote:
17 May 2021 05:50
On 21 September 1939 France had 56 divisions in France ,not all operational,of which 11 were committed for the Saar offensive .And on that day the Saar offensive had become senseless,as Poland was defeated and as there was no longer any need for a relief operation .If at that day Poland was not defeated,the Saar offensive would have continued ,with finally the promised 19 divisions .
After the defeat of Poland, there was no need for a relief operation .
What happened in September is irrelevant.
The betrayal was planned and executed in May.

That in September the number of divisions was insufficient to launch a major relief offensive actually proves that the betrayal was real.
Was there a promise for a major relief offensive ?
And why would an offensive of 11 divisions not be a major relief offensive .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by gebhk » 17 May 2021 12:46

Was there a promise for a major relief offensive ?
Clearly yes, at the very least it was powerfully and repeatedly implied in May. I defy anybody who doesn't live in a parallel universe of their own making to explain how talk of a major offensive commencing on the 15th day of mobilisation involving possibly 40 divisions and mobilisation of heavy artillery by day 17 to defeat the Siegfried Line should have been interpreted as meaning 'we will do nothing' (which is what happened) or 'maintaining a mainly passive stance' (which was what had already been agreed with the British prior to the May Polish-French staff talks.

The Saar operation was one of the limited offensive activities agreed to commence from the 3rd day of mobilisations and is of zero relevance to the matter under consideration - the major offensive that was to have been launched on day 15 of mobilisation.

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