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

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

Post by ljadw » 01 Oct 2018 20:43

When Alexander writes that Kasprzynscki returned to Poland in the belief that he could count on a bold French relief offensive, he fails to give the proof for his claim .What Gamelin had told him about the inability of the French to break through the Siegfried Line should have convinced him that he could not count on a bold French relief offensive .
The reports of the Polish military attaché would have fortified his conviction, what happened to CZ also, what happened when Hitler remilitarized the Rhine Land also, the fact that the construction of the Maginot Line indicated that France had abandoned Central Europe, also .The fact that in 1914 the French also did not start a bold relief offensive to help Russia, also . Idem for the fact that the convention of May 1939 was approved by French politicians only on September 4 1939, a day after the French DoW .
There was NO reason for the French to help Poland if it was attacked by Germany, there was also no reason for Poland to help France if it was attacked by Germany .And that's the main reason why and France and Poland promised to do as least as possible ,and that Gamelin kept his promise : he did as least as possible .If France was attacked first, POland also would have done as least as possible .

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Oct 2018 21:05

Hi ljadw,

If cynicism, etc, were what Alexander found at the end of his evidence trail, then he had a duty to publicize the result.

The professional sin would have been to exercise self-censorship and cover it up.

It is not his, or any other historian's, job to "propose an alternative that is better for France".

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by wm » 01 Oct 2018 21:38

ljadw wrote:
29 Sep 2018 12:31
When Gamelin promised the Polish minister of war that , if Germany attacked Poland and IF France declared war on Germany,he would start a bold French relief offensive against Germany's western frontiers within 3 weeks , was he lying ?
NO . He started a relief offensive within 3 weeks . That's a fact . Was it bold ? In the opinion of Gamelin :yes .
He promised to use half of the fully mobilized French Army. This didn't happen.
That Polish "minister of war" not only studied at École Militaire in Paris but at the Sorbonne and Institut d’études politiques de Paris. He was one of the best educated Polish generals and actually was educated in France.
That he allowed himself to be deceived by such pointless and worthless promises is really too far.

ljadw wrote:
29 Sep 2018 12:31
He also was a person who would not commit himself on something concret : he said that if Germany attacked France, Poland would invade the eastern provinces of Germany . He did not say WHEN, he did not mention HOW MANY divisions, he did not say that it would be a bold relief offensive ,the French were even not certain that Poland would declare war .
Actually,Poland was required to engage as many as possible of German forces since the first day of the French mobilization.
A l'inverse, ai le gros des forces allemandes attaque sur la France, en particulier par la Belgique ou la Suisse, ce qui provoquerait l'entrée en action des armées françaises, l'armée polonaise s'efforcera de maintenir devant elle (après le jour initial de la mobilisation générale française) le maximum possible de forces allemandes, dans les conditions générales envisagées entre les deux Commandements.

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

Post by wm » 01 Oct 2018 23:04

But the abbreviated nature of the staff conversations had several drawbacks, of which the most important was that neither the French nor Polish generals learned the nuts and bolts of each other's concentration and operations plans. These had been evoked in only the most general outlines both during the Gamelin-Rydz-Smigly talks in 1936 and in May 1939.
The Poles, on the latter occasion, had arrived expecting full details to be requested and were prepared to oblige, their plans being in Colonel Jaklicz's briefcase throughout the meetings. The French did not ask, however. The only plausible reason can be that an insistence on their part would naturally have led to their interlocutors demanding detail about the French plans.
This - since these plans were scarcely worthy of the name and undercut the impression being purveyed of French readiness to attack - Gamelin was not prepared to disclose.
This state of partial military coordination continued down to the outbreak of war, neither ally becoming acquainted to any useful degree with the other's intentions. This reticence prevailed even when a French military mission arrived in Warsaw to represent Gamelin at Polish headquarters, led by General Louis Faury (who had been the founding commandant of the Polish war college and was highly regarded by his hosts).
[...]
To the end, then, Bonnet's readiness to buy peace at any price imposed crippling limits on the Franco-Polish alliance - and it furnished Gamelin with disreputable but nonetheless welcome grounds for not revealing the French relief offensive for the meaningless Grand Old Duke of York gesture that it really was.
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 ljadw » 02 Oct 2018 07:33

wm wrote:
01 Oct 2018 23:04
But the abbreviated nature of the staff conversations had several drawbacks, of which the most important was that neither the French nor Polish generals learned the nuts and bolts of each other's concentration and operations plans. These had been evoked in only the most general outlines both during the Gamelin-Rydz-Smigly talks in 1936 and in May 1939.
The Poles, on the latter occasion, had arrived expecting full details to be requested and were prepared to oblige, their plans being in Colonel Jaklicz's briefcase throughout the meetings. The French did not ask, however. The only plausible reason can be that an insistence on their part would naturally have led to their interlocutors demanding detail about the French plans.
This - since these plans were scarcely worthy of the name and undercut the impression being purveyed of French readiness to attack - Gamelin was not prepared to disclose.
This state of partial military coordination continued down to the outbreak of war, neither ally becoming acquainted to any useful degree with the other's intentions. This reticence prevailed even when a French military mission arrived in Warsaw to represent Gamelin at Polish headquarters, led by General Louis Faury (who had been the founding commandant of the Polish war college and was highly regarded by his hosts).
[...]
To the end, then, Bonnet's readiness to buy peace at any price imposed crippling limits on the Franco-Polish alliance - and it furnished Gamelin with disreputable but nonetheless welcome grounds for not revealing the French relief offensive for the meaningless Grand Old Duke of York gesture that it really was.
Martin S. Alexander. The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940
I see other plausible reasons, as,
the French knowing what was in the Polish briefcase
the French not being interested in the Polish plans,because it was improbable that the Germans would attack Poland first and the French having exchanged the alliance with Poland for the Maginot Line
Whatever, as the Poles were the supplicants (the Poles went to France, not the opposite ) ,it was on them to ask for the French plans ;the fact that they did not ask for these plans can only be explained by the following
they knew these plans
they guessed these plans but did not want to know the truth
they were not interested in these plans as they knew that France could not help them .
Thus we have a Polish delegation going to France,but avoiding to ask what France would do, and the French avoiding to ask what Poland would do .
There was no explicit French commitment to Poland, and Poland was satisfied with a vague declaration .
About Bonnet : Alexander is wrong : Bonnet was NOT ready to buy peace at any price : Bonnet did not resign when France declared war .

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

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2018 07:44

Sid Guttridge wrote:
01 Oct 2018 21:05
Hi ljadw,

If cynicism, etc, were what Alexander found at the end of his evidence trail, then he had a duty to publicize the result.



Cheers,

Sid.
Why would that be his duty ?

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

Post by wm » 02 Oct 2018 09:46

There were influential advocates of a fundamental change in French policy. From Berlin, Andre Francois-Ponces, the ambassador, asserted that the way was open for Germany to establish political and economic predominance in eastern and central Europe, and stressed the need to re-examine French security policy in light of the new strategic realities presented by the Munich agreement. In Paris, an influential political group including former foreign ministers, Pierre-Etienne Flandin and Pierre Laval, former premier and president of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, Joseph Caillaux, and, most notably, foreign minister Bonnet called for a policy of withdrawal from eastern Europe. Withdrawal, they hoped, would facilitate a durable rapprochement between France and Germany. Before the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chamber in October, Bonnet strewed the need to 'restructure' France's obligations to eastern Europe and 'renegotiate' agreements which might draw France into war 'when French security is not directly threatened.
The underlying assumption, that a lasting understanding was possible between France and Germany, was completely at variance with the Deuxieme Bureau's thesis that Germany would turn westward once it had secured control of eastern Europe and the natural resources it required to wage a long war. The climax of Bonnet's policy was the Franco-German declaration in early December, which was followed by a series of studies within the Quai d'Orsay and ministry of finance on ways to bolster economic ties with Germany.
For Georges Bonnet, the foreign minister, the destruction of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent Anglo-French guarantees to Poland and Romania marked the defeat of his policy of preserving peace through a Franco-German accommodation based on a free hand to German political and economic expansion in Europe. Recognizing this, he seized on deterrence as the only means to avoid war. This meant constructing an eastern front whose centerpiece would be a Soviet alliance.
...
To ensure success, Bonnet was prepared to go behind the backs of the Poles and offer the Soviets the old Curzon line.

French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940: The Decline and Fall of a Great Power (Routledge Studies in Modern European History) by Robert Boyce

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

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2018 10:52

''From the military standpoint, the alliance (between France and Poland ) was never more than symbolic"
. Source : The Great Powers and Poland : From Versailles to Yalta (Jan Korski )
Cited by wm on this forum 2 years ago in the thread '' French agreement to a Soviet invasion of Poland .''

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Oct 2018 12:29

Hi ljadw,

You ask, why would it be a historian's duty to publicize the result if, at the end of his evidence trail, he found "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading".

Simple. As explained before, it is not the historian's job to self censor themselves, or engage in a cover-up. Their obligation is to the facts. If the facts indicate "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading", then they are under a professional obligation to tell it like it is.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by MarkN » 02 Oct 2018 18:31

Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Oct 2018 12:29
You ask, why would it be a historian's duty to publicize the result if, at the end of his evidence trail, he found "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading".

Simple. As explained before, it is not the historian's job to self censor themselves, or engage in a cover-up. Their obligation is to the facts. If the facts indicate "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading", then they are under a professional obligation to tell it like it is.
Trying to follow and understand ljadw's logic, reasoning and argument is more often than not like trying to understand why a supermarket trolley never goes in the direction you push it. However, this is what I have unpicked from the morass.

ljadw's opinion that Alexander was wrong to condemn the French in the way that he did was not because what he wrote was inaccurate, but because it was unnecessary and/or unfair.

The unnecessary comes from ljadw's repeated claim that French "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading" was normal and rife; an author does not have to state what everybody knows already to be a historical fact. According to ljadw, the French mislead, lie and deceive all the time. Quite unnecessary to highlight and repeat. I suspect ljadw is a little sensitive that outsiders should feel it necessary to put this in black and white.

The unfair comes from ljadw's opinion (challenged) that the Poles applied an equal measure of "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading". If Alexander feels the need to call out the French on this, it is only right and fair that he does so for the Poles too. Of course, this outcome is predicated on the Poles being equally quilty - a point which has been challenged. ljadw has only 'evidenced' his opinion with his own speculation.

I would suggest that if you wish to further develop understanding of why ljadw thinks Alexander is wrong, you may wish to follow those two paths rather than trying to define the responsibilities of an author.

From my side, I'm hoping ljadw will clarify the dilemma/contradiction evident in his reasoning. If both the French and the Poles had no intention of ever helping each other, why did they go to so much bother meeting each other and coming up with various plans and documents saying they would? Surely intelligent men of that stature could have conjured up wording in 5 seconds along the lines of "we promise to help each other" and leave it at that. Just look at how much time would have been freed up to persue the more pleasurable activities that Paris offered. I'm sure Gamelin's mistress had a cousin or a friend willing to play with his Polish counterpart!

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

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2018 20:20

Before WWI every year French politicians went to Russia, to do blahblah and talking about the traditional French-Russian Friendship and their alliance, although every one knew that this alliance, as later the alliance with Poland was never more than symbolic .
Both these alliances were reasasuring the concerning populations, and the insiders knew that they were symbolic,but no one wanted / wants to hear the truth: not the politicians, not the voters.
Gamelin , French commander in chief, visited Poland in August 1936, but, as usual this visit had no results .And he also visited Britain, and Beck visited Italy,etc,etc
If the military convention was important, one could have expected the visit of the Polish commander : marshall Rydz-Smigly .But the Polish delegation was led by a major general who was minister of war and subordinate to Rydz-Smigly .That indicates the little importance the convention had for Poland .Besides, why was Kasprzycki going to France and not Gamelin going to Poland ?

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

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2018 20:53

MarkN wrote:
02 Oct 2018 18:31
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Oct 2018 12:29
You ask, why would it be a historian's duty to publicize the result if, at the end of his evidence trail, he found "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading".

Simple. As explained before, it is not the historian's job to self censor themselves, or engage in a cover-up. Their obligation is to the facts. If the facts indicate "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading", then they are under a professional obligation to tell it like it is.
Trying to follow and understand ljadw's logic, reasoning and argument is more often than not like trying to understand why a supermarket trolley never goes in the direction you push it. However, this is what I have unpicked from the morass.

ljadw's opinion that Alexander was wrong to condemn the French in the way that he did was not because what he wrote was inaccurate, but because it was unnecessary and/or unfair.

The unnecessary comes from ljadw's repeated claim that French "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading" was normal and rife; an author does not have to state what everybody knows already to be a historical fact. According to ljadw, the French mislead, lie and deceive all the time. Quite unnecessary to highlight and repeat. I suspect ljadw is a little sensitive that outsiders should feel it necessary to put this in black and white.

The unfair comes from ljadw's opinion (challenged) that the Poles applied an equal measure of "cynicism, deception, lack of candour and blatant misleading". If Alexander feels the need to call out the French on this, it is only right and fair that he does so for the Poles too. Of course, this outcome is predicated on the Poles being equally quilty - a point which has been challenged. ljadw has only 'evidenced' his opinion with his own speculation.

I would suggest that if you wish to further develop understanding of why ljadw thinks Alexander is wrong, you may wish to follow those two paths rather than trying to define the responsibilities of an author.

From my side, I'm hoping ljadw will clarify the dilemma/contradiction evident in his reasoning. If both the French and the Poles had no intention of ever helping each other, why did they go to so much bother meeting each other and coming up with various plans and documents saying they would? Surely intelligent men of that stature could have conjured up wording in 5 seconds along the lines of "we promise to help each other" and leave it at that. Just look at how much time would have been freed up to persue the more pleasurable activities that Paris offered. I'm sure Gamelin's mistress had a cousin or a friend willing to play with his Polish counterpart!
I never said that the Poles were guilty. Guilty is not a word that should be used in a discussion about foreign affairs .
About Gamelin's mistress etc: Kasprzycki had already one in Poland ,and was that wise to limit the number of women to two .
About cynicism,deception,etc : these words do not indicate guilt, but intelligence : only some very stupid politician would tell the truth: voters do not want the truth .Every informed Frenchman and foreigner knew that the decision to construct the Maginot Line meant the end of the alliance with Poland,France no longer needed Poland,and Poland did not need France if there was a war . If there was a war, or Germany would win , and it was the end of Poland, or Germany would lose and it was also the end of Poland (as it happened in 1945 )because the only one who could stop Stalin was Hitler and the only one who could stop Hitler was Stalin, not Gamelin .
During the visit in May 1939, Gamelin had told the Poles that France could break through the Siegfried Line only on a small size . Something that Kasprzycky already knew, as Poland had a military attaché in France .Gamelin knew it, Kasprzycki knew it, but the public did not know it .You know what happens to the messenger of bad news ?
Kasprzycki did not ask with how many divisions,tanks,artillery,aircraft the French would attack if Poland was attacked , Gamelin also did not ask how many divisions Poland would engage if France was attacked,the reason was that both knew the answer,but that it was better that the answer would remain hidden .Self-deception is humam amd understandable, especially as the alternative, to know the truth, is worse .
There was a French song that was very popular in the thirties and that characterises this period : tout va trés bien,madame la marquise .
People's reaction was : close your eyes for the nearing danger,and the danger will disappear .

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

Post by wm » 02 Oct 2018 21:49

To be correct Kasprzycki remarried after a prolong divorce process.
ljadw wrote:
02 Oct 2018 20:53
During the visit in May 1939, Gamelin had told the Poles that France could break through the Siegfried Line only on a small size
Aussitôt après cette séance qui a duré une heure, les généraux se retrouvent pour discuter du problème capital de l'emploi des forces terrestres. Le général Gamelin déclare
« Si la France ne prend pas l'offensive, la Pologne aura les plus grandes difficultés à tenir ; il est cependant nécessaire de maintenir les gros en mesure de participer à l'offensive générale qui sera menée sur tous les fronts alliés. »
Le général Kasprzycki approuve ce point de vue et fait part de sa préoccupation de savoir que « l'ennemi aura en matière de mobilisation une très forte avance ». Le général Gamelin prévoit que la France immobilisera plus de vingt divisions. Il précise qu'il faudra environ quinze jours avant de pouvoir entamer des actions offensives et dix-sept jours avant l'attaque de rupture sur la ligne Siegfried avec la moitié des forces de l'armée française.
[General Gamelin predicts that France will tie down more than twenty divisions. He specifies that it will take about fifteen days before offensive action can be taken and seventeen days before the break through on the Siegfried line with half of the French army forces attempted.]
France-Pologne 1919-1939 by Pierre Le Goyet
A breakthrough attemted by half of the French army forces doesn't seems to be especially small.
Generally, Pierre Le Goyet and Martin S. Alexander seem to be of the same opinion. The former adds "The help promised by the French Air Force was an outright fraud" [La promesse de l'appui de l'aviation française est une véritable escroquerie.].

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

Post by MarkN » 02 Oct 2018 22:13

MarkN wrote:
02 Oct 2018 18:31
... I'm hoping ljadw will clarify the dilemma/contradiction evident in his reasoning. If both the French and the Poles had no intention of ever helping each other, why did they go to so much bother meeting each other and coming up with various plans and documents saying they would? Surely intelligent men of that stature could have conjured up wording in 5 seconds along the lines of "we promise to help each other" and leave it at that. Just look at how much time would have been freed up to pursue the more pleasurable activities that Paris offered. I'm sure Gamelin's mistress had a cousin or a friend willing to play with his Polish counterpart!
ljadw wrote:
02 Oct 2018 20:20
Before WWI every year French politicians went to Russia, to do blahblah and talking about the traditional French-Russian Friendship and their alliance, although every one knew that this alliance, as later the alliance with Poland was never more than symbolic .
Both these alliances were reasasuring the concerning populations, and the insiders knew that they were symbolic,but no one wanted / wants to hear the truth: not the politicians, not the voters.
Were the transcripts of all of these meetings made available to the general public in 1939? If not, how were they "reasasuring the concerning populations"? All that was needed was 5 seconds to prepare a public statement such as "we promise to help each other" and leave it at that.

What was the point of the endless round of discussions and bilateral military visits if all they were going to discuss was dishonest and meaningless garbage?

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

Post by wm » 02 Oct 2018 22:40

Strangely strong statements in that "symbolic" alliance.
The Franco-Russian Alliance Military Convention - August 18, 1892
[...]
1. If France is attacked by Germany, or by Italy supported by Germany, Russia shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.
If Russia is attacked by Germany, or by Austria supported by Germany, France shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.
2. In case the forces of the Triple Alliance, or of any one of the Powers belonging to it, should be mobilized, France and Russia, at the first news of this event and without previous agreement being necessary, shall mobilize immediately and simultaneously the whole of their forces, and shall transport them as far as possible to their frontiers.
3. The available forces to be employed against Germany shall be, on the part of France, 1,300,000 men, on the part of Russia, 700,000 or 800,000 men.

These forces shall engage to the full with such speed that Germany will have to fight simultaneously on the East and on the West.
4. The General Staffs of the Armies of the two countries shall cooperate with each other at all times in the preparation and facilitation of the execution of the measures mentioned above.
They shall communicate with each other, while there is still peace, all information relative to the armies of the Triple Alliance which is already in their possession or shall come into their possession.

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