Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

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ljadw
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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by ljadw » 29 Jul 2022 20:39

Gorque wrote:
29 Jul 2022 19:14
wm wrote:
29 Jul 2022 15:31
Lord, have mercy. The last sentence is absolutely incorrect.
Yes, it was a week before the guarantee, but the guarantee was offered three days earlier, i.e., on March 21.
Simultaneously, in London (by Halifax in talks with the Polish ambassador) and in Warsaw by the British ambassador Kennard.
The offer became publicly known just days later, on March 23 - when The Times wrote:
WARSAW CONSULTATIONS
Sir Howard Kennard, the British Ambassador, had another talk with Colonel Beck, the Foreign Minister, this morning, and it is believed the subject was connected with the plan initiated from London and Paris to harmonize the efforts of certain European nations to cope with the German menace.

Hi wm:

I think Ms. Cienciala might have been referring to the official pronouncement of the guarantee in Parliament, March 31. On the 24th, Halifax received a request from Beck for secret negotiations between the two.
These negotiations were not secret (The Times knew about them ),the request came not from Beck (Poland did not need a treaty with a country that could not help her ) and they had no importance at all .

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 29 Jul 2022 21:10

Gorque wrote:
29 Jul 2022 19:51
I believe Anne Cienciala was referring to this blurb from Beck on the 24th:
As I understand it, her point is that "stand and fight" happened before the guarantee, so it wasn't influenced by the guarantee. But it didn't, and her point can't be proved in this way.

Again, as I understand it, the non-possumus speech wasn't about 'Poland would ... fight," but about the fact that "a straight and clear line has been established with the top factors in the state" (but he didn't say when it happened.)
Where is the line? It is our territory, but not only that. The line also involves the non-acceptance by our state, regarding the drastic spot that Danzig has always been, of any unilateral suggestion to be imposed on us.
And, regardless of what Danzig is worth as an object (in my opinion it may perhaps be worth quite a lot, but this is of no concern at the moment), under the present circumstances it has become a symbol. This means that, if we join that category of eastern states that allow rules to be dictated to them, then I do not know where the matter will end.
And then he continued:
I started with the extreme problem, in order to establish immediately an outlet for our thinking on this matter. On this basis we shall start international action. We have arrived at this difficult moment in our politics with all the trump cards in our hand. This does not speak badly for us.
These weren't words of a leader expecting war in the near future.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 29 Jul 2022 21:15

ljadw wrote:
29 Jul 2022 20:36
the embassies and passports from Poland were only used because Danzig was to small to have its own embassies and passports .
Do we have evidence for that? Even Monaco, Tuvalu, Vatican have their own embassies and passports.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 29 Jul 2022 21:15

ljadw wrote:
29 Jul 2022 20:39
These negotiations were not secret (The Times knew about them ),the request came not from Beck (Poland did not need a treaty with a country that could not help her ) and they had no importance at all .
Do we have any evidence for that?
Poland wasn't interested in British help. Poland was interested in creating a credible deterrence against Hitler's designs by peaceful means.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 30 Jul 2022 00:44

Takao commented on my previous post with “The Poles would compromise on a German corridor to Danzig? Or, the Poles would compromise on the Polish Corridor to the sea?” The Germans never asked for a German corridor to Danzig, the free city bordered on East Prussia which was German. Hitler wanted extraterritorial road and rail links across the Polish Corridor. The Poles could either say no which is what they said or they could have tried to compromise which it seems is what they at first considered.

Also “given your ramblings on how superior Gdansk was to Danzig...I cannot see the Poles compromising on Gdansk.” I think someone should point out to him that Gdansk and Danzig are the same place.

Wm wrote “Poland didn't argue that Danzig shouldn't have returned to Germany” really, that’s a new one. Also “during the negotiations with Britain, the Poles didn't even argue that they needed Danzig badly.” If the Poles were not especially bothered about Danzig you have to wonder why it was mentioned by name in the secret protocol attached to the August 25 Agreement.

And “Poland wasn't interested in British help. Poland was interested in creating a credible deterrence against Hitler's designs by peaceful means.” If Poland was not interested in British help were they also not interested in French help? What were these peaceful means, the 1934 pact?

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 30 Jul 2022 04:08

That Poland didn't use both arguments (we need Danzig badly + Danzig shouldn't return) means that Poland didn't use both arguments. As simple as that.
It doesn't mean that Poland didn't believe the arguments were false. The arguments were merely ineffective.

Obviously, Britain couldn't stop Hitler from conquering Poland, so help wasn't even possible. But a wider coalition led by Britain could stop Hitler from starting the war.
Britain and Poland believed a sane leader wouldn't trigger a European or even world war for a provincial town, as Hitler called Danzig.
Britain and Poland believed that, in this case, deterrence was possible.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Gorque » 31 Jul 2022 01:33

wm wrote:
29 Jul 2022 21:10
Gorque wrote:
29 Jul 2022 19:51
I believe Anne Cienciala was referring to this blurb from Beck on the 24th:
As I understand it, her point is that "stand and fight" happened before the guarantee, so it wasn't influenced by the guarantee. But it didn't, and her point can't be proved in this way.

Again, as I understand it, the non-possumus speech wasn't about 'Poland would ... fight," but about the fact that "a straight and clear line has been established with the top factors in the state" (but he didn't say when it happened.)
Where is the line? It is our territory, but not only that. The line also involves the non-acceptance by our state, regarding the drastic spot that Danzig has always been, of any unilateral suggestion to be imposed on us.
And, regardless of what Danzig is worth as an object (in my opinion it may perhaps be worth quite a lot, but this is of no concern at the moment), under the present circumstances it has become a symbol. This means that, if we join that category of eastern states that allow rules to be dictated to them, then I do not know where the matter will end.
And then he continued:
I started with the extreme problem, in order to establish immediately an outlet for our thinking on this matter. On this basis we shall start international action. We have arrived at this difficult moment in our politics with all the trump cards in our hand. This does not speak badly for us.
These weren't words of a leader expecting war in the near future.

Hi wm:

Thank you for expanding on the non-possumus speech. I can't answer further for what Anne Cienciala was referring to other than to what she had written and I don't think I'm going to receive an answer from her anytime soon until I cross-over. Hopefully not soon. :)

An interesting discussion regarding the Polish Corridor and Danzig. Much useful information being gleaned. My thanks to you and to the other posters with useful information. :thumbsup:

von Gorquenstein.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 31 Jul 2022 23:30

Beck returned to Warsaw in January after meeting Hitler and a meeting of the Polish leadership was arranged at the Royal Palace Warsaw for January 8 to discuss the German demands. It was decided to reject all German proposals and if necessary fight. The Poles had made a decision to reject Hitler’s offer before the British Guarantee. The British thought negotiations were taking place when they made their offer.

However, it seems that the Polish leadership did not expect Hitler to pursue his demands as far as war. Two days after the January meeting Beck sent out a circular to diplomatic posts that was optimistic about relations with Germany and said that reports of Hitler’s new direction in Eastern Europe were exaggerated.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by ljadw » 01 Aug 2022 11:10

wm wrote:
29 Jul 2022 21:15
ljadw wrote:
29 Jul 2022 20:39
These negotiations were not secret (The Times knew about them ),the request came not from Beck (Poland did not need a treaty with a country that could not help her ) and they had no importance at all .
Do we have any evidence for that?
Poland wasn't interested in British help. Poland was interested in creating a credible deterrence against Hitler's designs by peaceful means.
A deterrence by peaceful means is only bluff .
Poland could only survive as an independent state as long as Germany and the USSR were each other's enemies .
The bluff from Britain and France did not impress Hitler .

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 01 Aug 2022 22:02

In their discussions with Germany over the corridor and Danzig the Poles over estimated their military strength and underestimated German military strength and how far Hitler was prepared to go. They thought it unlikely that Hitler would push matters as far as war and was probably bluffing. A defensive alliance with the UK and France would make it more unlikely that Hitler would go to war. Britain also thought that the guarantee would help prevent war. Once the guarantee was announced Hitler decided to destroy Poland. Maybe Beck should have declined the British offer.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 01 Aug 2022 23:20

Steve wrote:
01 Aug 2022 22:02
In their discussions with Germany over the corridor and Danzig the Poles over estimated their military strength and underestimated German military strength and how far Hitler was prepared to go.
But do we have evidence for that?
To be sure, the strategic goals of the Polish defense plan need to be compared with reality.
And the fact is we don't know them because Rydz-Śmigły ran the (military) show alone, held his cards close to his chest, never told anybody.

According to his (reconstructed) instruction for the talks with the French, there was a single goal: to survive till the relieving French offensive arrives.
This strongly suggests that he expected, without the offensive, to be defeated.
Actually, his close military associate expressed it as "the Germans will kick our ass."


Steve wrote:
01 Aug 2022 22:02
They thought it unlikely that Hitler would push matters as far as war and was probably bluffing. A defensive alliance with the UK and France would make it more unlikely that Hitler would go to war. Britain also thought that the guarantee would help prevent war. Once the guarantee was announced Hitler decided to destroy Poland. Maybe Beck should have declined the British offer.
Yes, Beck thought that Hitler (or rather Ribbentrop) was trying to pull a fast one, that he was trying a achieve his goal without resorting to war, just by talking.
There is no evidence he was mistaken.
Actually, Beck believed that in the thirties, Hitler genuinely wanted to find a solution to common German-Polish problems. That Hitler was a good politician (i.e., patient and effective) with whom you could talk constructively about any problem.
And that Hitler lost his mojo after Czechoslovakia/Memel.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 01 Aug 2022 23:46

Steve wrote:
31 Jul 2022 23:30
Beck returned to Warsaw in January after meeting Hitler and a meeting of the Polish leadership was arranged at the Royal Palace Warsaw for January 8 to discuss the German demands. It was decided to reject all German proposals and if necessary fight. The Poles had made a decision to reject Hitler’s offer before the British Guarantee. The British thought negotiations were taking place when they made their offer.
Although the negotiations were still taking place when they made their offer.

The problem with that January 8 meeting is I've never seen any evidence of what happened there, except the single sentence from Beck's book.
On January 8, Szembek recorded in his official diary his conversation with Lipski about the meeting with Hiter, and there is nothing there about any war or even anxiety about the future.
The same happened when on the same day, he recorded his conversation with Łubieński. Łubieński only added that Beck was angry at "the Germans" and was thinking about energizing relations with Britain and France.

On January 9, Szember recorded his conversation with Beck; there is nothing there about rejecting all German proposals, fighting, or war.
Beck said there were two solutions:
- let it die on the vine,
- compromise (although he didn't even have the slightest idea what it might have been).
And when he met with Ribbentrop weeks later, he only demanded proper compensation for Polish concessions.
In general - if we were to go ahead with the German suggestions - Poles will be asking their government why this is done. Where is the Gegenleistung? ...
If Germany were to propose a truly balanced agreement, Minister Beck would not fear to present it to the public opinion in Poland.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 02 Aug 2022 03:20

Wm wrote “but do we have evidence for that” yes we do. On April 6 Smigly-Rydz told Szembek the deputy secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he believed Germany was not prepared for war. Therefore Becks actions would not lead to war but there was an element of unpredictability. General Stachiewicz Polish Chief of Staff said on April 4 that logically war should not break out because Germany was not ready. Source is Anita Prazmowska

Also “Yes, Beck thought that Hitler (or rather Ribbentrop) was trying to pull a fast one, that he was trying to achieve his goal without resorting to war, just by talking.There is no evidence he was mistaken.” Hitler did try to achieve his goal without resorting to war and failed but he was not bluffing.

And “The problem with that January 8 meeting is I've never seen any evidence of what happened there, except the single sentence from Beck's book.” One source for the January 8 meeting is Cienciala who mentions the meeting in her book Poland and the Western Powers 1938 1939. All she says is that after the meeting Beck gave instructions to Lubienski to find some means of arriving at a compromise with Germany. No source is given for the meeting but the source for the instructions to Lubienski is Lubienski. Another source for the meeting which is often quoted in my local pub and is the origin for my post is - Romulad Szeremietiew, Czy Moglismy Przetrwac: Polska a Niemcy w Latach 1918-1939, [Could we have survived: Polish - German relations between 1918 and 1939], (Warszawa, 1994), 305.

Also “Although the negotiations were still taking place when they made their offer.” By March 1939 negotiations between Poland and Germany had reached an impasse.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by wm » 02 Aug 2022 08:29

Steve wrote:
02 Aug 2022 03:20
Wm wrote "but do we have evidence for that" yes we do. On April 6 Smigly-Rydz told Szembek the deputy secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he believed Germany was not prepared for war. Therefore Becks actions would not lead to war but there was an element of unpredictability. General Stachiewicz Polish Chief of Staff said on April 4 that logically war should not break out because Germany was not ready. Source is Anita Prazmowska
That Germany wasn't ready for war was a fact and public knowledge (Germany was aiming for 1942). The entire strategy of the guarantees was based on the fact that Hitler wasn't ready and would have to back down.
Had Hitler been ready, the guarantees would be bad and pointless politics.
Hitler wasn't ready, lost his mojo, and lost the war. Stachiewicz couldn't be more right; he didn't overestimate anything.


Steve wrote:
02 Aug 2022 03:20
Also "Yes, Beck thought that Hitler (or rather Ribbentrop) was trying to pull a fast one, that he was trying to achieve his goal without resorting to war, just by talking.There is no evidence he was mistaken." Hitler did try to achieve his goal without resorting to war and failed but he was not bluffing.
Hitler was bluffing by doing what? Hitler, as late as March 1939, assured the Poles that as long as he was the Chancellor, all disagreements would be resolved by peaceful means. His only concern was his successor (Göring) maybe wouldn't be so reasonable.
You couldn't bluff with such words - by assuring the other side they were perfectly safe. And you couldn't scare people with Göring.


Steve wrote:
02 Aug 2022 03:20
All she says is that after the meeting, Beck gave instructions to Lubienski to find some means of arriving at a compromise with Germany.
If Beck handed over such a task to a subordinate (who presumably never completed his job) and didn't bother to work on it himself is the best proof that he considered the problem a minor one and not worth his time.


Steve wrote:
02 Aug 2022 03:20
Also "Although the negotiations were still taking place when they made their offer." By March 1939 negotiations between Poland and Germany had reached an impasse.
The negotiations reached an impasse during the first meeting in 1938 - both sides never changed their initial negotiation positions.

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Re: Chamberlain REFUSES to declare war on September 3 1939

Post by Steve » 02 Aug 2022 14:33

Perhaps someone can explain why if the Wehrmacht was not ready for war it went through the Polish army like a knife through butter and followed that up with the French army. The guarantee was given because in 1939 the British were worried about Germany dominating Eastern Europe. In 1940 it achieved European domination.

“Hitler was bluffing by doing what?” I don’t understand the question because I said Hitler was not bluffing.

Count Lubienski had been head of the Danzig section of the Foreign Ministry till 1936 when he then became Beck’s Chef de Cabinet. Government ministers cannot do everything themselves they stand at the top of a pyramid, so for example I’m sure that Beck did not empty the waste bins in the Ministry.

The two sides were still talking until March 26 when Lipski gave Ribbentrop the official Polish reply to German demands that Ribbentrop had made about a week earlier. After stripping away the flimflam the answer was a no to what Ribbentrop wanted to hear. Ribbentrop warned Lipski that the Fuhrer could conclude that it was impossible to reach an agreement with Poland, adding that the Fuhrer wished to avoid such a conclusion. As the Poles would not concede what Hitler wanted that was the end of negotiations.

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