Boby -- You asked:
In fact, this was the first time that Hitler mention a Westward move by Germany. Why he mentioned only when the Franco-British Alliance with Poland was established?
To answer your question, I think that the Anglo-French situation and behavior during the re-militarization of the Rhineland, renunciation of the Treaty of Versailles, the annexation of Austria, the Munich agreement, and the creation of the Reich protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia convinced Hitler that his enemies in the west were weaker than those in the east. The David Low cartoon at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 047#664047
aptly sums up the situation.
Like most gamblers, I don't think that Hitler was very forthright about his plans until he had already settled on them. As others have remarked, luck is the ability to recognize an opportunity and take advantage of it. Until the opportunity arises, the only thing one can do is be prepared, hence Hitler's emphasis on rearmament.
Hitler (on 22 Aug 1939):
On the other side a negative picture as far as decisive personalities are concerned. There is no outstanding personality in England or France.
For us it is easy to make decision. We have nothing to lose; we can only gain. Our economic situation is such, because of our restrictions, that we cannot hold out more than a few years. Goering can confirm this. We have no other choice, we must act. Our opponents risk much and can gain only a little. England's stake in a war is unimaginably great. Our enemies have men who are below average. No personalities. No masters, no men of action.
Besides the personal factor, the political situation is favorable for us; in the Mediterranean rivalry among Italy, France, and England, in the Orient tension, which leads to the alarming of the Mohammedan world.
The English empire did not emerge from the last war strengthened. From a maritime point of view, nothing was achieved. Conflict between England and Ireland. The South African Union became more independent. Concessions had to be made to India. England is in great danger. Unhealthy industries. A British statesman can look into the future only with concern.
France's position has also deteriorated particularly in the Mediterranean.
All these fortunate circumstances will no longer prevail in 2 to 3 years. No one knows how long I shall live. Therefore conflict better now.
My propositions to Poland (Danzig corridor) were disturbed by England's intervention. Poland changed her tone toward us. The initiative cannot be allowed to pass to the others. This moment is more favorable than in 2 to 3 years. An attempt on my life or Mussolini's could change the situation to our disadvantage. One cannot eternally stand opposite one another with cocked rifle. A suggested compromise would have demanded that we change our convictions and make agreeable gestures. They talked to us again in the language of Versailles. There was danger of losing prestige. Now the probability is still great that the West will not interfere. We must accept the risk with reckless resolution. A politician must accept a risk as much as a military leader. We are facing the alternative to strike or to be destroyed with certainty sooner or later.
Only a week before, I got a warning through France. I have always accepted a great risk in the conviction that it may succeed.
Now it is also a great risk. Iron nerves, iron resolution.
The following special reasons strengthen my idea. England and France are obligated, neither is in a position for it. There is no actual rearmament in England, just propaganda. It has done much damage that many reluctant Germans said and wrote to Englishmen after the solution of the Czech question: The Fuehrer carried his point because you lost your nerve, because you capitulated too soon. This explains the present propaganda war. The English speak of a war of nerves. It is one element of this war of nerves to present the increase of armament. But how is British rearmament in actual fact ? The construction program of the Navy for 1938 has not yet been filled. Only mobilization of the reserve fleet. Purchase of fishing steamers. Considerable strengthening of the Navy, not before 1941 or 1942.
Little has been done on land. England will be able to send a maximum of 3 divisions to the continent. A little has been done for the air force, but it is only a beginning. AA defense is in its beginning stages. At the moment England has only 150 AA guns. The new AA gun has been ordered. It will take a long time until enough have been produced. Fire directors are lacking. England is still vulnerable from the air. This can change in 2 to 3 years. At the moment the English air force has only 130000 men, France 72000 men, Poland 15000 men. England does not want the conflict to break out for two or three years.
The following is characteristic for England. Poland wanted a loan from England for rearmament. England, however, only gave credit in order to make sure that Poland buys in England, although England cannot deliver. This means that England does not really want to support Poland. She does not risk 8 millions pounds in Poland, although she put half a billion into China. England's position in the world is very precarious. She will not accept any risks.
France lacks men (decline of the birth rate). Little has been done for rearmament. The artillery is antiquated. France did not want to enter on this adventure. The West has only two possibilities to fight against us:
1. Blockade: It will not be effective because of our autarchy and because we have sources of aid in the east.
2. Attack from the west from the Maginot line: I consider this impossible.
Another possibility is the violation of Dutch, Belgium, and Swiss neutrality. I have no doubts that all these states as well as Scandinavia will defend their neutrality by all available means. England and France will not violate the neutrality of those countries. Actually England cannot help Poland. There remains an attack on Italy. A military attack is out of the question. No one is counting on a longer war. If Mr. von Brauchitsch had told me that I would need 4 years to conquer Poland I would have replied: then it cannot be done. It is nonsense to say that England wants to wage a long war.
(e) The enemy had another hope, that Russia would become our enemy after the conquest of Poland. The enemy did not count on my great power of resolution. Our enemies are little worms. I saw them in Munich.
I was convinced that Stalin would never accept the England offer. Russia has no interest in maintaining Poland and Stalin knows that it is the end of his regime no matter whether his soldiers come out of a war victoriously or beaten. Litvinow's replacement was decisive. I brought about the change toward Russia gradually. In connection with the commercial treaty we got into political conversation. Proposal of a non-aggression pact. Then came a general proposal from Russia. Four days ago I took a special step, which brought it about that Russia answered yesterday that she is ready to sign. The personal contract with Stalin is established. The day after tomorrow von Ribbentrop will conclude the treaty. Now Poland is in the position in which I wanted her.
We need not be afraid of a blockade. The East will supply us with grain, cattle, coal, lead and zinc. It is a big arm, which demands great efforts. I am only afraid that at the last minute some
Schweinhund [literally, swineherd's dog; figuratively, filthy person] will make a proposal for mediation.
The political arm is set farther. A beginning has been made for the destruction of England's hegemony. The way is open for the soldier, after I have made the political preparations.
Today's publication of the non-aggression pact with Russia hit like a shell. The consequences cannot be overlooked. Stalin also said that this course will be of benefit to both countries. The effect on Poland will be tremendous.