Origins of War in Europe 1939

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
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Post by Molobo » 01 Aug 2005 15:20

That is in fact what happened, but it is not what the Polish Government expected.

It expected that it would not be facing an all-out German attack, but rather limited fighting against only a part of the German forces in Danzig and the Corridor.
Really ? Please provide a quote of official statement of Polish government expecting Germany to conduct limited fighting in Gdansk.
and achieve the long-cherished aim of the Dmowski wing of Polish nationalism of expanding westwards to the Oder.

[Note: Although Endecja was in opposition to Sanacja and oppressed by it, many of its ideas had been adopted in principle by the Sanacja leaders after the death of Pilsudski, including the idea of hostility toward Germany and westward expansion
I see Millls you corrected your version after people pointed out your mistake and forgetting that Endecja didn't run the country.Neverthless I am really surprised you are talking about including "idea of hostility towards Germany" and westward expansion.After It was Germany that expanded eastwards.As to hostility shouldn't you blame Frederick the Great, Bismarck and Prussian authorites who treated and persecuted Poles as second class citizens and inferior savages for including hostility in Poles towards Germany ? As well as Weimar's Republic economic war against Poland and desire to destroy Polish state ?

"gain a free hand to secure a peaceful change of the borders in the East and [...] concentrate on a later incorporation of German territories in the East"
"[A] final and lasting recapitalisation of Poland must be delayed until the country is ripe for a settlement of the border according to our wishes and until our own position is sufficiently strong.1
"until [Poland's] economic and financial distress has reached an extreme stage and reduced the entire Polish body politic to a state of powerlessness".2
1. Stresemann in an article for the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, 10 April 1922, quoted after Martin Broszat, 200 Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1972, p. 220.
2. Stresemann in a letter to the German ambassador in London, quoted after Broszat (see above), p. 224.

So your claims of Polish inspired hostility towards Germany are really misplaced.If they are political leaders that can be blamed they are:Frederick the Great, Otto von Bismarck, Gustav Stresemann, and countless others Prussian and German officials as well as writers and ideologists such Georg Forster.

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Post by Steve » 01 Aug 2005 18:03

On the theme of Franco/Polish intend to launch a joint war against Germany in 1939. It would seem that the Franco/Polish military agreement signed May 19 1939 may have had no legal standing, something the French would probably have been well aware of even if the Poles missed it.

The French foreign minister Bonnet made the ratification of the military agreement dependent on the signing of a political protocol. The French government agreed to the terms of the political protocol but Bonnet did not sign it till September 4 and till he signed it there was no ratification of the military agreement.

When Germany attacked Poland on September 1 it seems there was no legal obligation for France to launch an offensive on the 15th day. What the situation was after Bonnet signed the political protocol is difficult to say. It would seem the French may be owed an apology for the bucket loads of invective poured on them for not launching an offensive on the 15th day.

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Post by Molobo » 01 Aug 2005 18:09

Interesting Steve, I didn't knew France deception of Poles was so in-depth.All the treaties they signed ware just pieces of paper to convice Poles they could stand to German aggression because they could count on "allies" as it seems. 8O

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Post by Forteca_69 » 31 Jan 2006 18:29

France obligied itself to conduct major offensive against Germany in treaty signed with Poland.
Yes, but the France was obliged to start limited offeniswe in 15+1 day after "J" day (day of mobilisation, 2nd september) 18 of september 1939 and a major offensive in 19+1 day after day "J", then 22 of september. In fact, France started limited offensive eariler, 7.09.1939 and the major offensive was under preparation. But the unexpected Soviet aggression 17.09.1939 was the main reason of Polish colapse. The "western betrayal" is a word from Kremlin/Soviet propaganda arsenal, then only Moscow can bring "liberty" to Poland.

IMHO, responsibility for war should be divided by Hitler and Stalin, (Stalin-Hitler pact)

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Post by jabhatta » 23 Oct 2023 05:26

michael mills wrote:
16 Jun 2005 05:19

Have you actually read the article by Richard Overy from which I quoted?

If not, you cannot fairly say that I have misinterpreted what the article says.

Immediately after the words quoted by you, Overy writes:
In other words, that the main explanation for the outbreak of a war in September 1939 rather than at a future date lies with British and French decision-making rather than German. If Hitler did not expect a major war in 1939, it can hardly be argued that he deliberately provoked one to avoid domestic crisis.
The meaning of what Overy is saying is perfectly clear. It is that Hitler did not provoke a war with Britain and France in 1939 because he did not desire one at that point.

Overy is also saying that the reason why a major war broke out in September 1939 was because Britain and France wanted to bring it on at that point, when they had a strategic and economic advantage, rather than at a later date when their position would have worsened.
Hi @Michael Mills - curious on your thoughts on the underlined bit specifically

a) What "strategic and economic advantage" did Britain and France have in 1939 over Germany ?

b) Begs the question - how come Britain & France did not have this "strategic and economic advantage" in 1938 ?

Any insights on these two points would be great !!!

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Re: Origins of War in Europe 1939

Post by wm » 23 Oct 2023 21:17

The Western betrayal was real; the agreement was signed (by the Commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces, General Maurice Gamelin) with no intention to fulfill it, just to keep the Poles in the war.
It's true it was confirmed late, on September 4, by (probably not aware of the intention) Bonnet, but that didn't change anything.

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