and then:Hitler is said to have approached Generals Brauchitsch, Keitel and Beck, and explained:
‘So we’ll do the job in the east, then I’ll give you three to four years and we’ll get down to the big job in the west.’
What did Hitler mean by ‘the east’? Applied only to Czechoslovakia, this statement makes little sense.
It is more probable that he was referring to an idea he had been thinking about and repeatedly sketching out for years, and which the Wehrmacht was already preparing for: using ‘favourable opportunities’ to overrun Czechoslovakia and so gain a southern avenue for attacking the Ukraine, as well as to secure Danzig and the Memel Territory as a northern avenue for an advance against the Baltic states and north-west Russia.
If Poland participated in an interventive attack on Bolshevism, so much the better; if it stayed neutral and covered the centre, then the Wehrmacht – in the best-case scenario, supported by parallel Japanese intervention in the Far East – would decisively defeat the Red Army near the border and speed up the disintegration of the USSR by deploying various political measures.
So the questions are:Poland’s interest in having French protection was understandable from a German perspective, but ultimately irrelevant, because Germany was steering towards a war not with France, but with the USSR, expecting that Poland would at least remain neutral and that the Soviet–French–Czechoslovak mutual-assistance pact would therefore not be activated.
- is anything more known about that "job in the east"?
- was the 1939 Wehrmacht capable of defeating Soviet Russia - especially advancing on such a narrow front (about 100 miles)?
- was that even possible, considering that strategic surprise wasn't even achievable?
As to the "southern avenue for attacking the Ukraine":
- Czechoslovakia didn't have a common border with Soviet Russia - so no.
- Russia was protected by the 100-kilometer-wide Carpathians (the Ardennes was punny in comparison) - so no again.