Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by David Thompson » 02 Jul 2012 00:44

740.00/791 : Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State
PARIS, April 13, 1939-8 p. m. [Received 8:06 p. m.]

724. In discussing with Rochat this afternoon the declaration made by Daladier and Chamberlain of a Franco-British guarantee of Greece and Rumania, he stated the following: When after the German seizure of Czechoslovakia on March 15 the French and British Governments began consultations with a view to preventing further acts of aggression their immediate preoccupation had been Rumania which appeared to be next in line for an attack by Germany. In working out their policy, however, they were forced by the course of events to begin with the British guarantee of Poland.

The Italian aggression on Albania then called for a guarantee of Greece and Turkey (the guarantee of Turkey has already been agreed upon and should be announced before long; the delay Rochat said has been due to the fact that "the British started their talks in Ankara a bit late"). A guarantee of Poland, Greece and Turkey with nothing said about Rumania would have been a virtual invitation to Hitler to go ahead against Rumania and would thereby have defeated the primary objective of the Franco-British policy namely to keep Rumania with its oil resources out of Hitler's hands. The British had at first wished to delay the Rumanian guarantee until Poland would give a like guarantee.

The French, however, had felt that this would be placing Rumania's safety in Beck's hands and that Beck might be tempted to save his own country by allowing German aggression to be directed against Rumania. The British had finally agreed to join the French in the guarantee of Rumania without making this dependent upon action by Poland.

Rochat said that undoubtedly the German and Italian Governments had expected that Greece would be covered by the French and British declaration. The guarantee of Rumania, however, will come as a distinctly disagreeable surprise and it may be expected that there will be a violent outburst on the theme of "encirclement." Whether Hitler's reaction will take a more dangerous form remains to be seen.

130 FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1939, VOLUME I

We inquired what the position of Yugoslavia would be now that Greece, Rumania, and for all practical purposes, Turkey are covered by the Franco-British guarantee. Rochat said that while France and Great Britain would have to consider what they could do in the event of a German move against Yugoslavia the situation of that country appeared to be a difficult one. He spoke of the errors of Stoyadinovitch's [1] "realistic" policy in seeking to play off first Germany against Italy and then Italy against Germany. He also referred to the deterioration of Yugoslavia's military strength and of the uncertain political situation of the country. The French Government, however, has received no information leading it to believe that Germany intends any immediate action against Yugoslavia.

BULLITT
____________________________________
[1] Milan Stoyadinovitch, former Yugoslav Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by David Thompson » 02 Jul 2012 00:45

From FRUS 1939 vol. 1, p. 130:
740.00/809: Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State
PARIS, April 14, 1939-8 p. m. [Received April 14-5:07 p. m.]

741. Daladier said to me this afternoon that he considers the dispatch of the German naval vessels to Spanish waters as extremely serious. He regards it as a move taken in preparation for war.

BULLITT
[It is at this point (April 14) that President Roosevelt made his personal proposal to Hitler and Mussolini for peace, reproduced for AHF readers at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 9#p1708879

This proposal, and the international reactions to it, occupy the next 38 pages (pp. 130-168) of FRUS 1939 vol. 1.]

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by michael mills » 02 Jul 2012 05:30

Our thanks are owed to the moderator, David Thompson, for posting these documentes from FRUS which reveal the analysis by US diplomatic staff on the ground of events in Europe in March-April 1939.

I have found a number of items in those documents of particular interest, in that show how the unconditional British guarantee to Poland of 30 March, and the subsequent Agreement on Mutual Military Aid of 6 April created a trigger for war with Germany over the Danzig issue.

One particularly revelatory document is No. 751.60C/138, a telegram of 11 April from the US Ambassador in Paris, Bullitt, to the Secretary of State, describing a discussion with the French Premier Daladier, posted on Page 3 of this thread. Here is the crucial part of that document, with emphases by me:
You will recall that under the agreement between Poland and Great Britain each country is to be the sole judge of what constitutes its own vital interests. If in defense of what it considers its vital interests it goes to war, the other party to the alliance is obligated to go to war at once without question.

The Polish Ambassador in Paris will propose to Daladier that the French-Polish alliance should be placed on this basis. The Poles are anxious to have this promise from France because they feel that if Germany should attack Poland or if Poland should be compelled to enter the Danzig area and Germany should then march against Poland a French declaration of war against Germany might be delayed for some time while the French Parliament was discussing the question.

When I had explained the proposal which the Polish Ambassador will make, Daladier after considering the matter said that he believed the Polish position was sound. He thought it would be to the advantage of France and Poland to know that the other party to the French-Polish alliance would be obliged to go to war automatically.

Daladier said that he would therefore tell the Polish Ambassador this evening that France would agree to let Poland be the sole judge of its vital interests and would go to war by the side of Poland immediately if Poland should fight in defense of its vital interests—in return of course for a promise from Poland to France of the same nature.
The above passage gives the lie to those members of this forum who assert that the British guarantee of 30 March 1939 did not give Poland a "blank cheque" to Poland to plunge Britain into war with Germany at any time by sending its troops into Danzig.

It shows that the Polish view was that it alone had the absolute right to decide what its vital interests were ( eg that prevention of a reunification of Danzig with Germany was a vital interest), to decide whether those vital interest were threatened, and to decide to go to war against Germany to resist what it considered such a threat, and that if it did so Britain was obligated automaticially to go to war with Germany.

Furthermore, it is clear that the Polish Government did not consider an actual invasion of its sovereign territory by Germany as the only event that it could use to trigger military action by Britain against Germany. The document shows that the Polish Government clearly envisaged the option of firing the first shot itself, by sending its troops into Danzig and thereby starting an armed conflict with Germany.

The document also clearly shows that the French Premier endorsed the Polish interpretation of Britain's obligation to go to war with Germany under the terms of the guarantee it had given and of the subsequent military agreement, and that he was prepared to accept the same obligation on the part of France.

The views expressed by Daladier to Bullitt explain why Germany launched a full-scale invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 instead of just sending its troops into Danzig to support a unilateral declaration of reunification with the Reich. If it had done the latter, and Poland had sent its own troops into Danzig to engage the German troops in combat, that would have triggered war with Britain in any case.

The bottom line is that the German decision to invade Poland and destroy its military capacity with one powerful blow was made as a preventive measure, rather than from the motive of desiring to seize and annex Polish territory, or of destroying the Polish state and people.

The alternative that Germany was facing was that if it remained passive, it could be, and very likely would be, plunged into war with Britain by Poland sending its troops into Danzig on one pretext or another. In that case, it would find itself at war with both Poland, Britain and France, with the armed forces of the first-named still essentially intact and presenting a threat to Germany from the east supplementing that posed in the West by France and Britain. The only way it could avoid that situation was to knock out Poland with one massive blow, thereby eliminating the threat from the East and presenting Britain and France with a fait accompli which might just possibly deter tham from making war on Germany.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by little grey rabbit » 02 Jul 2012 05:47

Halifax to the Ambassador in Warsaw illustrates a similar point
Viscount Halifax to Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw).

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, June 30, 1939

You should at once seek interview with Minister for Foreign Affairs and ask him how the Polish Government propose to deal with the situation which appears to be impending. It would seem that Hitler is laying his plans very astutely so as to present the Polish Government with a fait accompli in Danzig, to which it would be difficult for them to react without appearing in the role of aggressors. I feel that the moment has come where consultation between the Polish, British and French Governments is necessary in order that the plans of the three Governments may be co-ordinated in time. It is in the view of His Majesty's Government essential that these plans shall be so devised as to ensure that Hitler shall not be able so to manage matters as to manoeuvre the Polish Government into the position of aggressors.
Britain was quite happy to entertain a war over the issue of Danzig alone and not purely a defence of Polish independence.

From a strategic point of view this was reasonable, Germany was well short of full rearmament, which it planned to reach in 1942 or 1943. If Britain was still following its traditional foreign policy of keeping the Channel ports in neutral hands and not allowing any nation to gain hegemonic status on the continent - a war earlier was better than a war later.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by ljadw » 02 Jul 2012 08:35

The message from Halifax to Kennard does not prove your conclusions.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by little grey rabbit » 02 Jul 2012 10:00

ljadw wrote:The message from Halifax to Kennard does not prove your conclusions.
It supports the conclusion that Britain was very willing to have the issue of the return of the German city of Danzig to the Reich as a casus belli.

As for the other statements:
That Britain's continental policy revolved around preventing a single nation achieving military hegemony and keeping the Channel ports in neutral hands is generally considered a truism
That Germany's military planning had it reaching full rearmament in 1942/43 emerged from the IG Farben Trial is generally accepted.

Ergo, it follows logically that it was Britain's interests to precipitate a conflict earlier.

Now it is true that we can't show that the British foreign policy elite was aware of this or acting under this motivation when it signalled privately it was looking to use the issue of Danzig as a flashpoint for war - but it is not an unreasonable conclusion

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by ljadw » 02 Jul 2012 11:01

No :the message was :there should be consultion between Poland and B +F(translation : Poland should do nothing without the consent of B + F),because ,Britain was afraid that a German annexation of Dantzig would result in an armed Poland reaction,and in a war between both countries,war,in which Britain would be involved .The British attitude always had been 1)that there was nothing in the region that was worth the bones of a British Grenadier2)that Britain refused to guarantee the borderd in the region :Britain neve would oppose a peaceful return of Dantzig to the Reich .
There also was NO risk at all that Germany could dominate Europe or would occupy the Channel Ports:Germany was much weaker in 1939 than in 1914,and,it already was loosing the armament race against B and F.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by Boby » 02 Jul 2012 11:06

Britain neve would oppose a peaceful return of Dantzig to the Reich .
If Britain was not opposed to the "peaceful return of Dantzig to the Reich", why he was prepared to go to war because of same Danzig?

What happened?

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by ljadw » 02 Jul 2012 16:50

No,Britain was not prepared to go to war for Dantzig:Britain did not care about Dantzig,it did not care if Dantzig became German again,or if it became Polish .Dantzig was a German-polish problem,not the business of Britain .
The only thing Britain wanted was to prevent a war between Poland and Germany because of Dantzig .
Britain could not impose its will on Poland,Poland was no British satellite .What Britain was saying and doing was marginal,even meaningless for the outcome of the crisis between Poland and Germany .The Polish attitude was totally independant from what Britain was saying .

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by Boby » 02 Jul 2012 17:05

ljadw wrote:No,Britain was not prepared to go to war for Dantzig:Britain did not care about Dantzig,it did not care if Dantzig became German again,or if it became Polish .Dantzig was a German-polish problem,not the business of Britain .
The only thing Britain wanted was to prevent a war between Poland and Germany because of Dantzig .
Britain could not impose its will on Poland,Poland was no British satellite .What Britain was saying and doing was marginal,even meaningless for the outcome of the crisis between Poland and Germany .The Polish attitude was totally independant from what Britain was saying .
THE PRIME MINISTER said that if the Poles
regarded the Danzig issue as constituting a threat to
their independence, and weere prepared to resist by force,
then we should have to come to their help.
British Cabinet 30.3.1939, 11.0 a.m., in: TNA, CAB 23/98, fol. 170

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by LWD » 02 Jul 2012 19:26

Boby wrote:
ljadw wrote:No,Britain was not prepared to go to war for Dantzig:Britain did not care about Dantzig,it did not care if Dantzig became German again,or if it became Polish .Dantzig was a German-polish problem,not the business of Britain .
The only thing Britain wanted was to prevent a war between Poland and Germany because of Dantzig .
Britain could not impose its will on Poland,Poland was no British satellite .What Britain was saying and doing was marginal,even meaningless for the outcome of the crisis between Poland and Germany .The Polish attitude was totally independant from what Britain was saying .
THE PRIME MINISTER said that if the Poles
regarded the Danzig issue as constituting a threat to
their independence, and weere prepared to resist by force,
then we should have to come to their help.
British Cabinet 30.3.1939, 11.0 a.m., in: TNA, CAB 23/98, fol. 170
From the way you posted that I suspect you think it was inconsistent. It isn't.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by ljadw » 02 Jul 2012 19:40

Boby wrote:
ljadw wrote:No,Britain was not prepared to go to war for Dantzig:Britain did not care about Dantzig,it did not care if Dantzig became German again,or if it became Polish .Dantzig was a German-polish problem,not the business of Britain .
The only thing Britain wanted was to prevent a war between Poland and Germany because of Dantzig .
Britain could not impose its will on Poland,Poland was no British satellite .What Britain was saying and doing was marginal,even meaningless for the outcome of the crisis between Poland and Germany .The Polish attitude was totally independant from what Britain was saying .
THE PRIME MINISTER said that if the Poles
regarded the Danzig issue as constituting a threat to
their independence, and weere prepared to resist by force,
then we should have to come to their help.
British Cabinet 30.3.1939, 11.0 a.m., in: TNA, CAB 23/98, fol. 170
Translation :the PM said that,if there was a war between Poland and Germany ( better:if Germany was attacking Poland) because of Dantzig,Britain would intervene on the Polish side.
The PM also could have said :if there was a war between Poland and Germany ,NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON WOULD BE,Britain would intervene on the side of Poland .
If there was a war between Poland and Germany (meaning:if Germany was attacking Poland),Britain only had 2 choices:
1)remaining neutral
2)intervening on the Polish side
And,the reason for such a war was irrelevant .
And,if there was a war between Germany and Roumania/Czechoslovakia,etc,Britain only had 2 choices.......

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by Boby » 03 Jul 2012 08:33

False. PM is not saying this.

PM is saying exactly what is saying: if Poland "regarded the Danzig issue as constituting a threat to
their independence, and weere prepared to resist by force".

There was no need of war, just a reunification of Danzig "by force". Just a decision of Danzig senate. If Poland considered this a "threat", Britain would help Poland.

Your thesis wholly collapsed.

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by ljadw » 03 Jul 2012 10:35

No,it did not:
1)What you are talking about did never happen
2)A reunification of Danzig by force is NOT a peaceful return of Danzig
3)See the message from Halifax to Kennard on 30 june :before Poland should do anything,it should first consult with B+F=it first should ask the consent of B+F
B+F were not giving a blank cheque,they were not saying to Poland :do what you like,we are behind you

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Re: Tilea, Memel & the Anglo-Polish treaty 1939

Post by Boby » 03 Jul 2012 10:47

You are contradicting yourself.
1)What you are talking about did never happen
There are PM words, not mine
2)A reunification of Danzig by force is NOT a peaceful return of Danzig
You said early in this thread that:
Britain did not care about Dantzig,it did not care if Dantzig became German again,or if it became Polish .Dantzig was a German-polish problem,not the business of Britain .
Your words, not mine.

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