Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

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wm
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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by wm » 15 Aug 2021 08:36

By the early hours of 31 August Hitler seemed to have made his decision. Initially impassive, he now broke into a tirade against Britain. The ratification of the Anglo-Polish treaty on 25 August was proof that Britain was engineering war in Europe. He doubted the assertion in the British memorandum of the 28th that London possessed the Polish Government's promise of willingness to negotiate with the German Government. That no plenipotentiary came on the 30th proved the lie. Britain's motive was delay because the Poles had no intention of entering talks.
There now followed an unforgettable scene. Hitler stood in a circle of people which included Ribbentrop and Goring. Goring said that he did not believe that the British would declare war. Hitler clapped him on the shoulder and replied,
'My dear Goring, if the British ratify a treaty one day, they don't break it the next.'
Hitler believed that Britain would honour her pact with Poland. It was Britain's centuries-old political tradition that her schemes proceeded under a pretence of freedom and human rights.
At nine on the morning of 3 September, Henderson delivered to the Foreign Office an ultimatum stating that Britain would consider herself at war with Germany if by 11 o'clock the German Government had not given a satisfactory undertaking to cease hostilities and withdraw its troops from Poland. A few hours later the French ambassador handed in an ultimatum in similar terms. These were the declarations of war. ...
Hitler and Ribbentrop were standing together when he handed them the note; Goring did not arrive until later. I watched the scene through the glass doors. I had the impression that both were more disappointed than surprised.
At Hitler's Side: The Memoirs of Hitler's Luftwaffe Adjutant

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by wm » 15 Aug 2021 09:22

ljadw wrote:
15 Aug 2021 08:21
France was not a ruling power before WW 2 .
Failure to resolve the problem of German power after World War I shaped the course of international relations for the rest of the twentieth century and had far-reaching consequences for the history of France. A second German bid for continental dominance, launched barely twenty years after the Armistice of 1918, resulted in yet another global conflict on an even greater scale.

During the first half of the 1920s, French national security policy evolved from a strategy of coercion to one of enmeshing both Britain and Germany in a multilateral web of political and legal commitments that would deter future German efforts to use force to overthrow the Versailles order in Europe. played a leading role in the postwar settlement. ...
According to the existing literature, French grand strategy after 1918 was essentially a failed attempt to achieve security through strategic preponderance. This approach to security culminated in the occupation of the Ruhr industrial basin in February 1923.
Only after this hard-line approach failed did France's leadership change course and adopt a more conciliatory policy.

The Challenge of Grand Strategy: The Great Powers and the Broken Balance between the World Wars by Jeffrey W. Taliaferro
.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by ljadw » 15 Aug 2021 11:50

This proves what I said :the failure of its offensive strategy ( for which it had not the means )condemned France /resulted in France returning to ,to return to its traditional defensive strategy,which it followed already before WW I .
Before 1914 France had an alliance with Russia, the aim of it was that in case of a German attack on France,Russia would help France ,but that in case of a German attack on Russia France would not help Russia .
It was the same after 1918,when Russia was replaced by Poland and CZ.
It was also the same for Britain : it was the francophile Austen Chamberlain who said that Danzig was not worth the bones of a British grenadier and it was Halifax who told Hitler that he could have Europe east of the Rhine as long it happened without fighting .
It was on these declarations that Hitler based his strategy,which was bullying: yes,but fighting : no .
When Poland did not yield to his bullying,he decided to attack Poland and he signed a treaty with Stalin to prevent an intervention from the West .
His alternative was to give up the return of Danzig and West-Prussia/Posen .Something he could not afford .

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by ljadw » 15 Aug 2021 12:00

wm wrote:
14 Aug 2021 11:49
To carry out this policy [to make Germany great]... we must stop at no sacrifice in our effort to destroy the French ...
no sacrifice should be considered too heavy, if the final outcome would be to make it possible for us to overthrow our bitterest enemy.
Mein Kampf (1925)
I thought that I would first turn against the West in a few years, and only after that against the East.
I wanted first of all to establish a tolerable relationship with Poland in order to fight first against the West.
But this plan, which appealed to me, could not be executed, as fundamental points had changed. It became clear to me that, in the event of a conflict with the West, Poland would attack us.
Hitler's Obersalzberg Speech (1939)
What he said was only a lot of nonsense,only pep talk he did not believe himself .
1 There would be no conflict with the West ,unless he attacked the West, for which there is no proof at all .
2 There is no proof that in the event of a conflict with the West,Poland would attack Germany ,because the existence of Germany as a great power was essential for Poland : who else would stop Stalin ?
Not France .
Last point : the reliability of this speech is very questionable .
There are no proofs that Hitler said what Lochner claimed he said .Besides, that Canaris was the source of Lochner is not reliable,given Canaris anti-Polish attitude .
I doubt very much that he said that he would order to shot everyone who was criticizing what he said .
I also doubt his references to Attila and the Armenians .
And the task of the Einsatzgruppen was not to make Lebensraum for the Germans by killing millions of Poles, but to eliminate in advance all possible Polish resistance and this by killing priests, intellectuals, etc ...

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 24 Aug 2021 18:13

He was not surprised. Indeed he wanted them to declare war and he knew they will.

He needed the war to be declared since he wanted to defeat France in the West. All he was fearing was a brutal rush of french forces on his back while he was in Poland, but it did not happen.

His plan was to defeat France quickly and then to pactise with England. He did defeat France in may-june 1940. But England refused to make peace. He was doomed.

Indeed, the bad news for him was the sudden rise to power of Churchill the 11 may. Hitler waited the English to replace Churchill by some appeaser but Churchill managed to avoid it and kept the country in war.

Then, Hitler was forced to attack USSR. Since UK did not surrender and since Hitler did not want to invade England, the USA decided to support England waiting for the USSR to move in.
Hitler decided to hit fast and attacked USSR on june 1941. He could hardly attack earlier. He tried hard and failed in front of Moscow. etc.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by historygeek2021 » 26 Aug 2021 00:26

When Dahlerus, speaking very quietly because he realized that Hitler’s “mental equilibrium was patently unstable,” pointed out the strength of Britain and France and their ability to blockade Germany, Hitler’s behavior became suddenly abnormal. His voice blurred, and he started to jerk out words and phrases as he stood in the center of the room, his eyes staring: “If there’s war, then I’ll build U-boats, build U-boats, U-boats, U-boats, U-boats ." He choked. When he had gained some self-control, he shrieked out violently, “I’ll build aircraft, aircraft, aircraft, and destroy my enemies!” Dahlerus was horrified and looked toward Goering, but Goering “did not turn a hair.”

Goering arranged a final meeting between Dahlerus and Hitler, at which the Führer performed lunatic gesticulations in order to emphasize his ability to fight Britain. Even Goering turned his back on the spectacle, though as they went in he had spoken with pride of his new right of succession.
From Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader, by Roger Manvell, pp. 319, 328.

Hitler clearly anticipated that the British would go to war in response to Germany's invasion of Poland, but went ahead with the invasion anyway.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by ljadw » 26 Aug 2021 06:28

Dahlerus as witness ???

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by Johngrey8220 » 09 Sep 2021 10:51

Why would Hitler launch war when he knew Britain and France couldn't aid Poland? He was aware that it may happen, but he believed it was unlikely. He hoped and convinced himself that it would not happen, but he made the necessary preparations just in case.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by wm » 10 Sep 2021 19:59

Although the goal wasn't to aid Poland (that, considering the immense costs and loss of life involved would be basically stupid) but to vanquish (Nazi) Germany.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 10 Sep 2021 20:30

:thumbsup:
Michael Kenny wrote:
15 Aug 2021 02:08
I presume Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales were going to remain neutral?

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by stg 44 » 11 Sep 2021 15:39

Johngrey8220 wrote:
09 Sep 2021 10:51
Why would Hitler launch war when he knew Britain and France couldn't aid Poland? He was aware that it may happen, but he believed it was unlikely. He hoped and convinced himself that it would not happen, but he made the necessary preparations just in case.
Didn't he also think that if he could present the Allies with a fiat accompli that because they had no real means of liberating Poland thanks to the deal with the Soviets that they'd negotiate sooner or later?
historygeek2021 wrote:
26 Aug 2021 00:26
When Dahlerus, speaking very quietly because he realized that Hitler’s “mental equilibrium was patently unstable,” pointed out the strength of Britain and France and their ability to blockade Germany, Hitler’s behavior became suddenly abnormal. His voice blurred, and he started to jerk out words and phrases as he stood in the center of the room, his eyes staring: “If there’s war, then I’ll build U-boats, build U-boats, U-boats, U-boats, U-boats ." He choked. When he had gained some self-control, he shrieked out violently, “I’ll build aircraft, aircraft, aircraft, and destroy my enemies!” Dahlerus was horrified and looked toward Goering, but Goering “did not turn a hair.”

Goering arranged a final meeting between Dahlerus and Hitler, at which the Führer performed lunatic gesticulations in order to emphasize his ability to fight Britain. Even Goering turned his back on the spectacle, though as they went in he had spoken with pride of his new right of succession.
From Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader, by Roger Manvell, pp. 319, 328.

Hitler clearly anticipated that the British would go to war in response to Germany's invasion of Poland, but went ahead with the invasion anyway.
Not sure that passage really shows he thought it would actually mean war, just that he was agitated enough to say he would destroy anyone that got in his way. Besides wasn't that meeting on September 26th and a discussion about negotiation terms with the Allies? Seems like a meeting 4 weeks into the war isn't a good indicator of what Hitler thought leading up to the war.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by mezsat2 » 17 Sep 2021 10:37

Hitler fully expected France and Britain to declare war. He also expected they would do nothing afterwards, and he was correct.

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by ljadw » 17 Sep 2021 11:17

Roger Manvell made during the war propaganda films for HMG.
His book about Goering is on the same level .
Hitler was convinced that the Wallies would not declare war,because they could not help Poland . What he did not understand ,and never understood, was that they declared war for moral reasons,not because he attacked Poland :if he has attacked Denmark, they also would declare war .

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by wm » 17 Sep 2021 18:42

When did he say that (would not declare war)?
Because "My dear Goring, if the British ratify a treaty one day, they don't break it the next."

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Re: Was Hitler really surprised when England and France followed thru and declared war?

Post by john2 » 17 Sep 2021 22:58

I can't cite anything specific at the moment as I need to look through my books again. Hitler dropped hints several times that he wouldn't mind war happening "sooner rather then later." The arguments he used were that he he was getting old and Germany was losing the armaments race. But his actions suggest he was trying to scare the western powers into backing down. In the books I have read most historians seem to believe Hitler wanted war to break out later and thought he could get away with it. The pact with Stalin was clearly designed to scare the western powers as now Germany could fight on one front.

Hitler intended to go to war on Aug 25 then postponed the date. On that date the western powers signed the treaty with Poland and Mussolini backed out again and asked to stay neutral. What caused Hitler to back down. Was it because he was surprised at Mussolini? Or was it the treaty? It is well known that Hitler had repeated meetings with the British ambassador and various British representatives. There would have been no point if he didn't care and assumed the west was going to war. My personal opinion that I said earlier was that Hitler didn't know what he wanted. The only thing that's clear is that he wanted to get Poland. The preparations he made were to either to get the west to stand down or be ready if they declared war. There just doesn't seem to be enough evidence to show either way if Hitler hoped that war would happen that year.

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