What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

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wm
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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 27 Sep 2018 22:56

I'm talking about the earlier development before the war even started:
The Franco-Polish staff talks occurred on 16 and 17 May. They were high-level affairs, involving Gamelin himself, along with Georges, Dentz, Musse ... and other army officers, together with Vuillemin of the air force and Darlan for the navy, on the French side.
...
The meetings resulted in agreement on measures to be taken by each nation in the event of a German attack on the other. For the French land forces, the main undertaking was to begin offensive action with limited objectives to apply pressure on German forces in the west, beginning after the third day of French mobilization. This was to be expanded to offensives with 'the bulk' of French ground units concentrated on the frontier with Germany, when the sixteen-day mobilization process was completed. In the talks, Gamelin clarified this commitment by telling the Poles that about three-quarters of the mobilized French army would deploy in the theatre against Germany and that about half of this would be able to participate in the promised relief offensives. On behalf of the French air force, Vuillemin made the astonishing pledge that he would be able to take 'vigorous action' to assist Poland from the outset of a conflict. In a subsequent meeting with Vuillemin's chief of operations and other officers of the Armee de l'Air staff, the Poles fashioned arrangements in principle that were to enable five French bomber groups (sixty obsolescent Amiot 143s) to fly across Germany to reinforce the feeble Polish air force and operate from bases earmarked around Radom and Lublin against targets in Pomerania.

As the counterpart to these undertakings, the Poles agreed to advance against Germany's eastern frontiers in the event that Hitler should attack France in the first instance. The outlines of these commitments were incorporated in a protocol of the talks that Gamelin and Kasprzycki signed on 19 May.
On the French side, these conversations were marked by a lack of candour, no little cynicism and a measure of deception that did no credit to the general staff, the air staff or the foreign minister, Georges Bonnet.

As far as Gamelin was concerned, he had been blatantly misleading in sending Kasprzycki away from Paris believing that, if Poland suffered a German attack, it could count on a bold French relief offensive against the Reich's western frontiers within three weeks. French planning in reality envisaged nothing remotely so ambitious. In consequence of the undertakings given to Kasprzycki, Georges, who was commander-designate of the north-eastern theatre and thus responsible for preparing plans for the land war against Germany, received a directive from Gamelin on 31 May 1939. The document made no mention of any rapid and adventurous advances. Rather, it told Georges to draft plans for a careful, graduated and step-by-step engagement with the German defences in the Saarland, between the Rhine and Moselle.
...
Evidently, these were plans for a demonstration in front of the German lines, a gesture. They were not the preparations for an offensive that would require the Wehrmacht to weaken an attack against Poland and redeploy major forces from the east to the west. They did not, therefore, honour the spirit of the Paris talks or the 19 May protocol — even if Gamelin and other French leaders later made tortuous claims that they did conform to the letter.

The conduct of the French air staff and of Bonnet was perhaps even less creditable. In the case of the former, Vuillemin was personally familiar in painful detail with the delays in the re-equipment and expansion of the Armee de l'Air. He had assured La Chambre, the air minister, in January and September 1938 that French air strength would be completely used up by a mere two weeks of combat operations against Germany. In August 1939 he was to confess that his air force's rearmament was still so retarded that a further six months without serious operations and concomitant attrition would have to elapse before the Anglo-French air strength could approach parity with that of the Luftwaffe. When the Second World War finally began, no-one was a more adamant opponent than Vuillemin of the Allies initiating the air war by bombing raids into Germany

Martin S. Alexander. The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933–1940

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 27 Sep 2018 23:43

wm wrote:
21 Sep 2018 21:31
The only mitigating circumstance was the Poles were going to threw themselves under the bus regardless of anything.
Are you sure about that?

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 27 Sep 2018 23:44

Also, Yes, France really screwed up by making these promises to Poland. It would have been more honest for France to tell Poland about what it was actually going to do (declare war, but not much else) instead of making empty promises to the Poles.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Sep 2018 11:45

Hi wm,

I know that, but the French and British did follow through on their commitments to go to war on behalf of Poland and stayed in it as long as they could. France, in particular, paid a very heavy price for doing so.

Tactically, they failed Poland in September 1939, but strategically over the whole 1939-45 period, they did not.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Sep 2018 11:49

Hi Futurist,

Poland was very likely to fight regardless. It had seen its own progressive dismemberment and extinction only 150 years before and was witness within the last year to the similar extinction of Czechoslovakia. It had already mobilized some divisions in March 1939 and had never stood them down.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 28 Sep 2018 14:02

wm wrote:
27 Sep 2018 22:56
I'm talking about the earlier development before the war even started:
The Franco-Polish staff talks occurred on 16 and 17 May. They were high-level affairs, involving Gamelin himself, along with Georges, Dentz, Musse ... and other army officers, together with Vuillemin of the air force and Darlan for the navy, on the French side.
...
The meetings resulted in agreement on measures to be taken by each nation in the event of a German attack on the other. For the French land forces, the main undertaking was to begin offensive action with limited objectives to apply pressure on German forces in the west, beginning after the third day of French mobilization. This was to be expanded to offensives with 'the bulk' of French ground units concentrated on the frontier with Germany, when the sixteen-day mobilization process was completed. In the talks, Gamelin clarified this commitment by telling the Poles that about three-quarters of the mobilized French army would deploy in the theatre against Germany and that about half of this would be able to participate in the promised relief offensives. On behalf of the French air force, Vuillemin made the astonishing pledge that he would be able to take 'vigorous action' to assist Poland from the outset of a conflict. In a subsequent meeting with Vuillemin's chief of operations and other officers of the Armee de l'Air staff, the Poles fashioned arrangements in principle that were to enable five French bomber groups (sixty obsolescent Amiot 143s) to fly across Germany to reinforce the feeble Polish air force and operate from bases earmarked around Radom and Lublin against targets in Pomerania.

As the counterpart to these undertakings, the Poles agreed to advance against Germany's eastern frontiers in the event that Hitler should attack France in the first instance. The outlines of these commitments were incorporated in a protocol of the talks that Gamelin and Kasprzycki signed on 19 May.
On the French side, these conversations were marked by a lack of candour, no little cynicism and a measure of deception that did no credit to the general staff, the air staff or the foreign minister, Georges Bonnet.

As far as Gamelin was concerned, he had been blatantly misleading in sending Kasprzycki away from Paris believing that, if Poland suffered a German attack, it could count on a bold French relief offensive against the Reich's western frontiers within three weeks. French planning in reality envisaged nothing remotely so ambitious. In consequence of the undertakings given to Kasprzycki, Georges, who was commander-designate of the north-eastern theatre and thus responsible for preparing plans for the land war against Germany, received a directive from Gamelin on 31 May 1939. The document made no mention of any rapid and adventurous advances. Rather, it told Georges to draft plans for a careful, graduated and step-by-step engagement with the German defences in the Saarland, between the Rhine and Moselle.
...
Evidently, these were plans for a demonstration in front of the German lines, a gesture. They were not the preparations for an offensive that would require the Wehrmacht to weaken an attack against Poland and redeploy major forces from the east to the west. They did not, therefore, honour the spirit of the Paris talks or the 19 May protocol — even if Gamelin and other French leaders later made tortuous claims that they did conform to the letter.

The conduct of the French air staff and of Bonnet was perhaps even less creditable. In the case of the former, Vuillemin was personally familiar in painful detail with the delays in the re-equipment and expansion of the Armee de l'Air. He had assured La Chambre, the air minister, in January and September 1938 that French air strength would be completely used up by a mere two weeks of combat operations against Germany. In August 1939 he was to confess that his air force's rearmament was still so retarded that a further six months without serious operations and concomitant attrition would have to elapse before the Anglo-French air strength could approach parity with that of the Luftwaffe. When the Second World War finally began, no-one was a more adamant opponent than Vuillemin of the Allies initiating the air war by bombing raids into Germany

Martin S. Alexander. The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933–1940
What Alexander said is not correct ,besides a country as Britain that had said that it could send 2 divisions after one month,is not in the position to blame a country as France that 4 days after the DoW started an offensive with 11 divisions ; 8 months later Britain had sent 12 divisions to France of which only 9 operational .Gamelin had promised to attack with the majority of his available forces, Poland did not ask for a clarification . Those who object and say that Gamelin did not keep his promise must prove that on 4 September, Gamelin had more than 22 available divisions and should thus have attacked with more than 11 divisions .
And, 79 years later no one had been able to prove that Gamelin could have attacked with more forces, but that does not prevent the same people to repeat these attacks against France .

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 28 Sep 2018 19:17

ljadw wrote:
28 Sep 2018 14:02
What Alexander said is not correct
I'm not sure the words of the leading historian on that period of French history should be dismissed like that.
The 500+ page monography Republic in Danger covers just the seven pre-war years. Others write the history of the entire ww2 in thinner books.

It doesn't matter how many divisions Gamelin had, the truth he didn't have enough, and still, he blatantly misled the Poles.
By doing that he denied the Poles the right to decide their own fate.

The could have chosen war. The could have chosen peace. They could have just accepted the German demands and be done with it.
I don't think another example of such blatant lying can be found in history. Diplomats were expected to hide the truth, to twist it a little sometimes but this was totally out of the line.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 28 Sep 2018 19:41

Futurist wrote:
27 Sep 2018 23:43
Are you sure about that?
The Poles knew they couldn't win, their strategy was based on deterrence - extracting an unacceptable heavy price from the aggressor for the aggression (this included alliances but didn't have to). But to convince the aggressor the strategy was real it had to be real, going to the brink and then accepting demands wouldn't work.

Even more importantly, for internal political reasons, the government had no room for maneuver. I have no doubts some of them would pay with their lives had they accepted the German demands.

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 28 Sep 2018 20:21

wm wrote:
28 Sep 2018 19:17
ljadw wrote:
28 Sep 2018 14:02
What Alexander said is not correct
I'm not sure the words of the leading historian on that period of French history should be dismissed like that.
The 500+ page monography Republic in Danger covers just the seven pre-war years. Others write the history of the entire ww2 in thinner books.

It doesn't matter how many divisions Gamelin had, the truth he didn't have enough, and still, he blatantly misled the Poles.
By doing that he denied the Poles the right to decide their own fate.

The could have chosen war. The could have chosen peace. They could have just accepted the German demands and be done with it.
I don't think another example of such blatant lying can be found in history. Diplomats were expected to hide the truth, to twist it a little sometimes but this was totally out of the line.
He did not blatantly misled the Poles : he had said (In French ) : Je vais attaquer avec le gros de mes forces : which means : I will attack with the majority of my available forces, and who would determine which forces were available ? .... Gamelin .
The Poles did not ask for any clarification, although Gamelin had avoided to mention the number of divisions that would be committed .
What Gamelin said had no influence on the Polish attitude,as in May 1939 everyone still tried to avoid war .Already before the guarantee Poland said no to the German demans , and it continued to say no .
Why ?
1 Because Poland was convinced that Hitler would not attack
2 Because Poland knew that if Germany attacked, there would be no French help,or French help would be too late = Hitler would be in Warsaw before the French would advance through Germany .
The fact that the FRench were not curious about the French help,but were satisfied with the meaningless answer of Gamelin proves that they did not expect any French help, and did not care about the absence /or not of any French help .

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by wm » 28 Sep 2018 22:04

Poland could have avoided the war even a few days before it started, simply by accepting the Germans' demands. That in May everyone was trying to avoid war is irrelevant.

Gamelin didn't merely say that he committed it to paper. And he said and promised verbally an offensive with about half of fully mobilized French Army (according to Official minutes of the military and air talks; discussion in Turlotte, 'Relations militaires franco-polonaises', pp. 42-9).

It was two day negotiations. They discussed lots of details, it wasn't like they needed two days to write "à partir du quinzième jour".

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Futurist » 29 Sep 2018 06:09

wm wrote:
28 Sep 2018 22:04
Poland could have avoided the war even a few days before it started, simply by accepting the Germans' demands.
Had Poland done that, it would have set the stage for becoming a German satellite state and fighting the Soviet Union together with Germany, no?

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 08:28

wm wrote:
28 Sep 2018 22:04
Poland could have avoided the war even a few days before it started, simply by accepting the Germans' demands.
That is not a serious argument .

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 08:30

wm wrote:
28 Sep 2018 19:17
ljadw wrote:
28 Sep 2018 14:02
What Alexander said is not correct
I'm not sure the words of the leading historian on that period of French history should be dismissed like that.
You mean : the leading BRITISH historian ?

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by ljadw » 29 Sep 2018 08:38

I find it more than curious that the leading British historian was writing that the French did not honour the spirit of the Paris Talks or the 19th May protocol .
Diplomats never honour the spirit,but only the letter, because the spirit does not exist in diplomacy .

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Re: What would have happened if Hitler seized Danzig and only Danzig?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2018 09:48

Hi ljadw,

If he is a real historian, then his nationality shouldn't be relevant.

If you have evidence of bias on the basis of his nationality, please tell us. Otherwise, let's move on.

Cheers,

Sid.

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