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The New Federalist

March 25, 1988

Pages 5 & 8

American Almanac

Appeasing Your Enemy After the War Has Started: September 1938 !une 19"#: $art 1
by %olly Hammett &ronberg

'e(ille )hamberlain is all smiles* bac- home in .ondon* after handing ),echoslo(a-ia o(er to Hitler0 2ehind him* his closest ad(iser* Sir Horace Wilson0

%arch 1+* 1939: 'a,i troops parade through $rague/the end of the si1 month old %unich pact0

This is the story of ensuring war by a easing your ene!y, and then a eas" ing your ene!y once the war has begun# $n the 19%&s, confronted by the !ilitary buildu and aggression of Na'i (er!any, the leaders of )ritain and France retended, as the disoriented President *eagan and his coterie re" tend today, that a ease!ent of their ad+ersary could !u''le the dogs of

war# $t was not true then, and it is not true today, no !atter what fantasies the ,hite -ouse entertains, and tries to i! ose on our N.T/ treaty allies# -ere we tell the story of two eriods of history rele+ant to our resent crisis# First, March through 0e te!ber 19%9, when .dolf -itler was already fight" ing his war against the ,est1but the ,est see!ed suicidally ignorant of the fact# 0econd, 0e te!ber 19%9 through 2une 193&, when France and )ritain were at war with -itler, and yet casting about for ways to a ease hi!# The fruits of this folly4 Na'i troo s o+erran 5uro e, con6uered France, and isolated )ritain# Fro! March to 0e te!ber 19%9, the go+ern!ent of )ritain under Pri!e Minister Ne+ille 7ha!berlain, and that of France under Pri!e Minister 5duard 8aladier, were obsessed with the roble! of how to a+oid war with -itler# .s we shall see, the course they too9 ensured that war would co!e# $f you wish to a+oid war with a hostile, !obili'ed ad+ersary, we tell the :#0# go+ern!ent and N.T/ owers today, you !ust !a9e clear to your ad+ersary what is the tri wire for war, the casus belli for which you will fight# $f you refuse to draw a clear line1as )ritain and France refused in 19%9, out of fear1then you will bring about the outco!e you see9 to a+oid# $f you are not re ared, and ublicly so, to fight under s ecified conditions, your ad+ersary will say of you, as -itler said of 7ha!berlain and 8aladier, ;/ur ene!ies are little wor!s#; .nd he will treat you accordingly# .t Munich, in 0e te!ber 19%8, 7ha!berlain and 8aladier brought the world a giant ste closer to war when they conni+ed at the e< ansion of -itler=s (reater (er!an *eich> adding to it, through the Munich Pact, %#? !illion souls, re+iously citi'ens of de!ocratic 7'echoslo+a9ia@ 11,&&& s6uare !iles of 7'ech territory@ and al!ost all 7'echoslo+a9ia=s natural resources and industry# Thus was 7'echoslo+a9ia destroyed, the only solid ally the ,est had in 5astern 5uro e# .nd yet, within si< !onths, -itler had torn u 7ha!berlain=s recious Munich Pact and ta9en o+er the rest of 7'echoslo+a9ia# Ti!e to call a haltA Ti!e to tell -itler his lies and attac9s would no longer be tolerated# Ti!e to teach hi! a lesson# )ut the only lesson the ,est taught -itler then, was that he could get what he wanted, by bludgeoning, bullying, and building his war !achine# .nd this is the only lesson the 0o+iets are learning today, fro! the !odern . easers in ,ashington#

3rom %unich to Warsa4 The Munich deal was concluded 0e t# %&, 19%8# )y its ter!s, (er!any got huge chun9s of 7'echoslo+a9ia, but what was left of the 7'ech state, econo!ically un+iable and !ilitarily indefensible, would be ;inde endent#; .fter Munich, new conferences were scheduled to ro+ide guarantees fro! France, )ritain, and (er!any, of the truncated 7'ech borders# -itler sabotaged the conferences, telling the 7'echs they had no cause to worry> ;The only guarantee worth ha+ing is one fro! !e#; )ut, as an $nternational 7o!!ission went on with its !eetings to sort out ;inde endent; 7'echo" slo+a9ia=s fate, )ritain, France, the :#0#, and Poland, concluded that by the !iracle of Munich, eace had been reser+ed# .s godfather of the Munich .ccord, Ne+ille 7ha!berlain was the !an of the hour who had a+erted the for9ed lightning of war# President Fran9lin *oose+elt sent hi! a two"word telegra!> ;(ood !anA; 7ha!berlain criss" crossed )ritain, telling ho eful crowds that the !en of Munich had assured a generation of eace# Then, in March 19%9, -itler !arched into the rest of 7'echo"0lo+a9ia Bthe na!e now hy henated officially, to show that it was in reality two states, !ade u of hostile ethnic grou sC# To acco! lish this, -itler had ere! " torily su!!oned to )erlin late at night on March 13 the aging President of the 7'ech ru! state, 5!il -acha# $n )erlin, -itler roared at the ha less -acha that he !ust sign a decree !a9ing -itler the Protector of 7'echia Bthe ancient, (er!an"settled ro+inces of )ohe!ia and Mora+iaC# $f -acha refused, -itler bellowed, that +ery night the (er!an Duftwaffe would bo!b Prague into rubble# $n the face of the Fuehrer=s threats, -acha colla sed@ ha+ing been re+i+ed by -itler=s doctor with so!e well"ti!ed inEections, -acha signed# The day before, -itler had arranged with Father Tiso, re!ier of 0lo+a9ia, to lace 0lo+a9ia under his ; rotection#; 0o 7'echia beca!e a *eichs rotectorate ruled by *einhard -eydrich, !onstrous head of the 00 0ecurity 0er+ice@ and 0lo+a9ia under Tiso# Thus, on March 15, 19%9, -itler could celebrate his triu! hal entry into Prague# Now the swasti9a flew o+er this ancient (er!an out ost in the 5ast# -itler had, as he Eubilantly declared, ;brought )ohe!ia and Mora+ia bac9 into the *eich,; for the first ti!e in a thousand years#

The go+ern!ents in )ritain and France reacted with horror and fear# 5+en Mussolini, -itler=s ally, was distraught# )itterly, he told his son"in"law and Foreign Minister, 7ount 7iano, ;5+ery ti!e -itler occu ies a country he sends !e a telegra!#; /n March 1F, two days after -itler entered Prague, Ne+ille 7ha!berlain s o9e in )ir!ingha!# There he as9ed in anguish, ;$s this the last attac9 u on a s!all state, or is it to be followed by others4 $s this, in fact, a ste in the direction of an atte! t to do!inate the world by force4; ,ere the scales falling fro! 7ha!berlain=s eyes4 ,as he at last re ared to bloc9 -itler=s ath to con6uest of 5uro e4 Not in the least# $n the sa!e s eech, 7ha!berlain defended the Munich Pact 1which -itler, with his Prague ad+enture, had Eust ri ed u # For the first ti!e -itler had ta9en o+er a non"(er!an eo le B;,e want no 7'echs,; he had snarled si< !onths earlierC@ he had ta9en the first ste in creating his night!are e! ire of sla+e"states# )ut 7ha!berlain did not wish to sto a easing -itler@ rather, he wished to a ease !ore effecti+ely# 5+idently, there were still as ects to the 5uro ean order which dis leased the Fuehrer# That was dangerous# Therefore, new a roaches to a ease!ent !ust be found# 0till, by as9ing if this were a ste on the road to world con6uest, 7ha!ber" lain altered )ritain=s a roach# .s historian .#2#P# Taylor wrote, ;7ha!ber" lain saw it as a change of e! hasis, not a change of direction# Pre+iously the )ritish go+ern!ent often warned -itler in ri+ate, while ursuing a ease!ent in ublic# Now they warned hi! ublicly and went on with a ease!ent in ri+ate1so!eti!es ublicly as well#; 7ha!berlain and his 7abinet were agreed# -itler !ust be ;deterred,; but not ; ro+o9ed#; 8eterrence !eant ensuring he did nothing too +iolent# .chie+ing that see!ed to the rulers of )ritain to re6uire certain di lo!atic shows of strength in ublic, cou led with secret assurances to -itler that what he wanted was his for the as9ing, ro+ided he as9ed olitely# -ow did this new co!bination of ublic deterrence and ri+ate sub!ission wor9 in ractice4 )ritain and France agreed they wanted to restrain -itler1 but not offend hi!, nor disru t what was es ecially )ritain=s goal of co! re" hensi+e ;understanding; with (er!any=s difficult leader# .nd so, the !id"March discussion in 7ha!berlain=s 7abinet de+elo ed a no+el idea> if -itler=s ne<t +icti! could be found in ad+ance, they said, then

)ritish guarantees could be offered that country, to signal to -itler that his aggressi+e actions were no longer regarded with e6uani!ity in Dondon# .t the sa!e ti!e, ri+ate a ease!ent could roceed, until -itler learned to !ind his !anners, and it beca!e ossible once again to !a9e ublic the rocess of .nglo"(er!an friendshi , the .nglo"0a<on alliance of which )ritain=s and (er!any=s rulers drea!t# /n March 1F, as 7ha!berlain s o9e at )ir!ingha!, there occurred an incident full of conse6uence# The )ritish go+ern!ent belie+ed it had found -itler=s Ne<t Gicti!# $nto the office of 5dward Dord -alifa<, Foreign 0ecretary in 7ha!berlain=s 7abinet, wal9ed Girgil Tilea, the *o!anian a!bassador to Dondon# Tilea infor!ed -alifa< that his go+ern!ent belie+ed (er!any was about to in+ade *o!ania at any !o!ent, and therefore urgently de!anded whether it were ; ossible to construct a solid bloc of (reat )ritain and France; to bac9 u *o!ania, and face down (er!any# -alifa< and 7ha!berlain hit on a lan# . )ritish guarantee of *o!ania=s borders would by itself, erha s, be of little +alue, considered geogra hical" ly# )ut bring in Poland to guarantee, with )ritain, those borders, and a strong front against -itler would see! to ha+e been built# 0trangely, the day after the -alifa<"Tilea !eeting, *o!anian Foreign Minister (afencu insisted that Tilea=s re ort had been in error, that (er!an" *o!anian relations were ;on co! letely nor!al lines, as between e6uals#; The )ritish ignored (afencu=s rotestation that his country needed no such guarantees@ they referred to ada t their olicy to Tilea=s re!ar9s# )ritain ro osed to force her attentions on *o!ania, and to enlist Poland to do the sa!e# .s tal9s with Poland co!!enced, it beca!e clear to the )ritish that Poland had scant interest in guaranteeing *o!anian borders against -itler# Further!ore, Poland was not interested in the Franco")ritish" Polish"*ussian front which )ritain was ro osing against (er!any# The redoubtable 7ol# 2osef )ec9, Poland=s Foreign Minister and +irtual dictator, feared that such an alliance would suggest to -itler that anti"co!!unist Poland had suddenly lea ed into the 0o+iet bloc# .nd, understandably, he had no use for a treaty syste! which would er!it 0o+iet troo s to enter Polish territory, for the ostensible ur ose of engaging the (er!ans in battle# No !atter# The . easers had lit on this a roach as a erfect way to sla -itler=s wrist in ublic, while courting hi! in ri+ate# They were therefore

deter!ined to drag Poland into a relationshi with )ritain and France which they had no intention of su orting !ilitarily1 as we shall see1but which was certain to worsen friction between Poland and (er!any# $f Poland, for ob+ious reasons, wanted no art of an alliance with 0o+iet *ussia, how did )ritain ro ose to in+eigle the Poles in4 0i! le# Dord -alifa< had the answer> )ritain and France !ust offer Poland the sa!e 9ind of border guarantee ai!ed at (er!any, that )ritain and France wanted Poland to gi+e *o!ania# Poland had not re6uested this su ort@ but she !ust be won to alliance with the ,est by the offer of this su ort she had not re6uested# Poland would be rotected fro! a danger that )ritain and France did not belie+e her to be in# .nd in return, Poland would guarantee *o!ania# 7learest in this di lo!atic tangle is the fact that )ritain=s offer to guarantee Poland was based on the assu! tion that Poland was in no danger fro! (er!any# The go+ern!ent of Ne+ille 7ha!berlain had no intention of fighting for Poland, as the e+ents of 0e te!ber 19%9 !ade tragically clear# )ut 7ha!berlain=s . ease!ent go+ern!ent, in what !ust be a highwater !ar9 of dishonesty, was going to tell the Poles1 and the world, through ublic treaties with Poland1that )ritain would fight# .t the sa!e ti!e, the . easers were going to tell -itler, secretly and re eatedly that )ritain would not# Poland=s 7ol# )ec9 was intrigued by the )ritish offer@ he had not sought it, but it occurred to hi!, in s ring 19%9, that Eust ossibly, a guarantee of Poland=s borders fro! the !ighty )ritish 5! ire would gi+e hi! enough !uscle to tell his owerful western neighbor (er!any where to head in# )ecause, although )ritain belie+ed Poland to be in no danger fro! -itler, 7ol# )ec9 9new otherwise# )ec9 hi!self was not abo+e di lo!atic double"dealing# 0o he assured the )ritish that (er!an"Polish relations had ne+er been better# There was no danger at all that -itler would !o+e on Poland ne<t# 7ount *ac'yns9i, the Polish a!bassador to the 7ourt of 0t# 2a!es, told the )ritish there were no roble!s between Poland and (er!any# The only issue, he co!!ented casually, was the Free 7ity of 8an'ig, tied to Poland econo!ically, but al!ost 1&&H (er!an in o ulation# .nd on that, there would soon be negotiations, he lied# *ac'yns9i added, still lying, that )ec9 intended to !a9e -itler a ;!agnani!ous; offer on 8an'ig#

Thereu on, satisfied that (er!any was no real threat to Poland, on March %1, 7ha!berlain felt safe in !a9ing ublic the )ritish guarantee to Poland# ,hat was the 8an'ig issue4 The Treaty of Gersailles of 1919, which !ar9ed the end of ,orld ,ar $, had car+ed u (er!an territory in a way not only unEust, but dangerous# $n fact, the Treaty ter!s ensured that (er!any would so!e day e!bar9 on the tas9 of regaining her lost soil# Fro! the ob+ious outrages contained in the Treaty, -itler deri+ed the legiti!acy of !ost of the territorial clai!s he had !ade in 5uro e, until his occu ation of Prague# The crisis of 8an'ig Bnow 9nown as (dans9C was such a creation of the Ger" sailles Treaty# . wholly (er!an city, with a (er!an Bby 19%9, a Na'iC go+" ern!ent, she was ad!inistered under a Deague of Nations !andate by a Deague 7o!!issioner# 8an'ig was inside, but not art of, Poland@ once art of (er!an 5ast Prussia, 8an'ig was now detached fro! (er!any, and tied to Poland through nu!erous trade and treaty arrange!ents# $n addition to 8an'ig, there was the Polish 7orridor# .lso created by Ger" sailles, the 7orridor cut through what had been (er!an territory to gi+e Poland access to the )altic# )y Gersailles, (er!any was di+ided> to the west of the 7orridor Bnow PolishC was the bul9 of the *eich@ to the east, the (er!an state of 5ast Prussia# The 8an'ig line"u was si! le> -itler wanted it bac9 in the *eich@ Poland wanted the status 6uo# .nd -itler wanted a land stri across the Polish 7orridor, to connect 5ast Prussia to the rest of the *eich# $n any case, on . ril 3, 19%9 7ol# )ec9 arri+ed in Dondon to assure his new allies that no thorny roble!s e<isted between Poland and (er!any# -e told 7ha!berlain and -alifa< there was no ossibility of a (er!an attac9 on his country# ,hen he finally did !ention 8an'ig, he did so only to lie that (er!any had ;ne+er contested; Polish rights in 8an'ig@ !ore, )ec9 lied, (er!any had ;recently confir!ed the!#; The 8an'ig 6uestion was ;not in itself a gra+e one#; )ec9 ointed to the (er!an"Polish Non".ggression Pact of 19%3 as roof of the good relations between the two countries# B. wee9 earlier, as )ec9 did not re+eal, -itler=s Foreign Minister, 2oachi! +on *ibbentro , had de!anded the return of 8an'ig, lus a (er!an road across the Polish 7orridor to lin9 western (er!any and 5ast Prussia, and Polish adherence to the anti"7o!intern act# 2osef Di s9i, the Polish a!bassador in )erlin, described *ibbentro =s !anner as ;+iolent#;C

)ec9 told another lie to con+ince 7ha!berlain he ran no danger in guaranteeing Poland# Poland, )ec9 clai!ed, had not been de endent on 7'ech ar!s Bthe +ast 7'ech !unitions wor9s were under -itler=s control, since MunichC, and in fact, Poland was a net e< orter of guns# No roble! with !ilitary !ateriel, )ec9 said# Much relie+ed, 7ha!berlain agreed to change the ;te! orary unilateral assurance; )ritain had gi+en Poland in March to ; er!anent and reci rocal agree!ent#; . strange circu!stance, it see!ed to !any# .lfred 8uff 7oo er, who had resigned fro! 7ha!berlain=s 7abinet to rotest the Munich Pact, wrote warily, ;Ne+er before in our history ha+e we left in the hands of one of the s!aller owers the decision whether or not (reat )ritain goes to war#; (afencu, the *o!anian Foreign Minister, wondered how the )ritish could ;ha+e touched u on the !ost dangerous s ot in the world;4 They were allied, he wrote, ;not to eace, but to continental war#; .nd, by no coincidence, Eust as the )ritish concluded the agree!ent with Poland, -itler began to beat the dru!s o+er 8an'ig# )ec9 refused negotiation# First, he rightly reasoned, he who su s with the 8e+il needs a long s oon# .ll who had negotiated with -itler had found that out# )esides, with )ritish and French guarantees, )ec9 wrongly belie+ed he had the !ilitary bac9u to resist -itler# .fter all, )ritain and France had defeated (er!any in ,orld ,ar $, and, behind the!, as !unitions factory, stood the :nited 0tates# For such reasons, in the s ring and su!!er of 19%9, )ec9 refused to negotiate on 8an'ig or the 7orridor# -e resisted all Na'i ressure1 and, as ti!e went by, he also resisted French and )ritish ressure to negotiate# ,hat about the other actor in this dra!a4 )y s ring 19%9, -itler yearned for war with Poland# This ti!e, he hinted to his inner circle, a bloodless +ictory1a blu!en9rieg, or ;flower"war;1would not do# $t was ti!e for the ,ehr!acht, the (er!an .r!y, to be tested in the field# The Fuehrer brooded on how to gain his obEecti+es> not Eust 8an'ig and the 7orridor, but a blit'9rieg to obliterate Poland and gi+e his soldiers the ba tis! of fire1a war which would end neatly, with Poland +an6uished, 5astern 5uro e under -itler=s thu!b, and eace in the ,est#

Summer 1939: $oland* Hitler5s 'e1t 6ictim

Hitler 4ants $oland* and 2ritain and 3rance 4ant to gi(e it to him0 7he appeasers5 diplomacy led straight to World War 880

7he War of 'er(es To achie+e all this, -itler turned to his fa+orite techni6ue> the war of ner+es# .t the sa!e ti!e, in secret he re ared for the little war in Poland that would, he e< ected, be the first of !any# Thus, on . ril %, 19%91three wee9s after entering Prague1-itler issued an order to the ,ehr!acht that re arations to attac9 Poland ;!ust be !ade in such a way that the o eration can be carried out at any ti!e as fro! 0e t# 1, 19%9#; )y May 2%, he was e< laining to his a rehensi+e generals that ;There will be war# /ur tas9 is to isolate Poland# # # # $t !ust not co!e to a si!ultaneous showdown with the ,est#; Meanti!e, for ublic consu! tion, he had gone before the *eichstag . ril 28 to stor! that the new .nglo"Polish .gree!ent in+alidated re+ious treaties he had signed with both nations# Thereu on he re udiated

(er!any=s 19%3 Non".ggression Pact with Poland, and (er!any=s 19%5 Na+al Treaty with (reat )ritain# 7haracteristically +ague in his de!ands, he e< ressed dissatisfaction with the state of affairs o+er 8an'ig1but no !ore# $n his s eech, -itler said he had two conditions on Poland> first, she !ust gi+e way o+er 8an'ig# -e was no !ore s ecific# 0econd, she !ust abandon the .nglo"Polish .gree" !ent of March %&# -e had, he said, ro osed tal9s o+er 8an'ig# )ut the intransigent Poles had res onded by entering a !ilitary alliance with )ritain# Now, once again, it was u to the . easers in the ,est to figure out e<actly what his new de!ands were Bde!ands he did not s ecify until the wee9 the war bro9e outC, and how to satisfy the!, while 9ee ing the eace# The . easers went to wor9 with a will# The )ritish go+ern!ent instantly understood that it could use its newly struc9 alliance with Poland, as the !echanis! for forcing Poland to acce t -itler=s de!ands, whate+er those turned out to be# $t was only a !atter of )ritain=s ha+ing enough ti!e at her dis osal, and utting enough ressure on the stiff"nec9ed Poles# Ti!e was of the essence, and -itler forced the ace# /n May 22, -itler and $talian dictator )enito Mussolini signed the Pact of 0teel1the basis of the .<is# -itler certainly see!ed to be han9ering for war@ he certainly see!ed to be re aring for it1and so he was# )ut it was not the total war we 9now as ,orld ,ar $$# -e told his inti!ates it would be his ;First 0ilesian ,ar,; li9e Frederic9 the (reat=s# 7ertainly the )ritish and French go+ern!ents noticed that -itler was re aring war# ,ere they hel less in this crisis4 No@ the . easers held a card they were terrified to lay# $n s ring and su!!er of 19%9, )ritain and France could ha+e told -itler> ;Iou a ear to be re aring for war# ,e ha+e no wish to ro+o9e or antagoni'e you# Det us si! ly say that if you send one soldier across your borders into another country1Eust as an e<a! le, *o!ania or Poland1we will !a9e war on you until we e<tinguish you#; ,ould -itler ha+e listened4 No one can say# ,hat we can say, because the historical record tells us this, is that ne+er did )ritain or France !a9e this state!ent# Not once did they suggest to -itler they !ight loo9 u on his First 0ilesian ,ar with anything but bene+olence, te! ered, erha s, with an<iety#

-itler thought he had ta9en the !easure of the . easers at Munich@ he was right# Publicly su orting Poland, they secretly i! lored )ec9 to gi+e -itler e+erything he wanted# Publicly de loring Na'i aggression, they secretly reassured -itler that his clai!s were Eust, and would be !et# :nerringly, the . easers chose the course certain to encourage -itler in his de!ands, until the Fuehrer fir!ly belie+ed his in+asion of Poland would !erely establish what France and )ritain had already ro!ised hi!# 7he Appeasers 9o A )ourting )ac9 to our story# -a+ing challenged the . easers to sol+e the roble! of satisfying hi!, -itler withdrew into silence, content to wait for the ,est to flood hi! with offers# They were not long in co!ing# /n 2uly 18, a Na'i co!!ercial agent by the na!e of ,ohlstat arri+ed in Dondon for tal9s with 7ha!berlain=s closest ad+iser and dearest friend, 0ir -orace ,ilson# The latter offered (er!any a )ritish loan of J1 billion if -itler would dro his aggressi+e osture# Then ,ilson wrote Bon Ten 8owning 0treet a erC a !e!o ro osing an .nglo"(er!an treaty of non" aggression and non"interference, a !utual disar!a!ent act, and coo era" tion in foreign trade# 0uch an arrange!ent, wrote 7ha!berlain=s good friend, ;would enable )ritain to rid herself of her co!!it!ents +is"K"+is Poland;> abandon Poland to her fate# )y 2uly 25, 19%9, )ritain=s a!bassador in )erlin, 0ir Ne+ile -enderson, was re orting to Foreign 0ecretary Dord -alifa< in Dondon that ;6uite a deal of Polish ro+ocation; was being whi ed u against (er!any# BNo !ention of Na'i ro+ocation#C -enderson strongly reco!!ended )ritain tell her new allies that -itler was the !ost ;fa+ourably dis osed (er!an; Poland would e+er ha+e to deal with, an ;.ustrian and not a Prussian;@ therefore so!eone for who! Poland held no attraction# $n other words> the Poles !ust cut their deal now@ they=ll ne+er get better ter!s than -itler=s# )y .ug# 1?, -enderson was writing ho!e, urgently, that -itler was, of all the Na'is, ;the !ost !oderate as far as 8an'ig and the 7orridor are concerned#; ,hy wouldn=t the Poles negotiate4 -itler 9new the )ritish Foreign /ffice was thrashing about for a way to satisfy his de!ands, and wriggle out of their agree!ent with Poland# To 9ee the . easers in that roducti+e state of tension, -itler decided to issue a bellicose warning, through 8r# Larl )urc9hardt, Deague 7o!!issioner for 8an'ig# /n .ug# 11, -itler told )urc9hardt, ;$f the slightest incident

ha ens how, $ shall crush the Poles without warning in such a way that no trace of Poland will be found afterwards# $ shall stri9e with the full force of a !echani'ed ar!y, of which the Poles ha+e no conce tion#; )urc9hardt concluded that -itler=s belligerence only showed how Polish intransigence was frightening the Fuehrer# )urc9hardt wrote that -itler ;see!ed ner+ous, athetic, al!ost sha9en at ti!es#; )urc9hardt ad+ised that the . easers !aintain the ressure on ,arsaw, and 9ee those wic9ed Poles fro! inti!idating -itlerA The )ritish 7abinet agreed# )ut, at the sa!e ti!e, it was necessary to 9ee the ublic agree!ent with Poland, so as to ha+e a bra9e against -itler# )esides, an alliance with Poland was a hoo9 into Poland, to force her to gi+e in# /n .ug# 25, therefore, the )ritish go+ern!ent signed the .nglo"Polish Treaty, an e< ansion and s ecification of the March .gree!ent# The ti!ing was dictated by !any considerations1 not least of the! the fact that two days before, -itler and 0talin had stunned the ,est with the -itler"0talin Pact# .lso two days before, on .ug# 2%, %& (er!an di+isions had !o+ed to the Polish border@ in res onse, two"thirds of the Polish .r!y was !obili'ed# -alifa< begged the Poles to negotiate@ on .ug# 2%, he urged the Polish .!bassador in )erlin, Di s9i, to see -itler ;to!orrow at the latest#; The new .nglo"Polish Treaty was a !odel of du licity# The ublic language was +ague@ the substance was in a secret rotocol# /nly in that secret rotocol, did the )ritish ledge to defend the status 6uo of 8an'ig# For !any !onths, officially and unofficially, )ritish di lo!ats had told -itler that )ritain su orted his clai! to 8an'ig# Now, in secret, )ritain told Poland that she su orted Poland=s osition instead# Treaty .rticle Two declared the treaty would o erate, not Eust in case of direct !ilitary aggression, but> ;.ny action by a 5uro ean Power which clearly threatened, directly or indirectly, the inde endence of one of the contracting arties#; The secret rotocol e< lained> ;The case conte! lated by .rticle Two of the .gree!ent is that of the Free 7ity of 8an'ig# .nd .rticle Fi+e s ecified that all lans !ust be !utually discussed@ it ledged the two go+ern!ents To e<change co! lete and s eedy infor!ation concerning any de+elo !ent which !ight threaten their inde endence, and, in articular, concerning any de+elo !ent which threatened to call the said underta9ing into o eration#;

This the )ritish instantly, and constantly, contra+ened# -itler did not 9now of this secret rotocol# No re resentati+e of the )ritish go+ern!ent e+er told hi!, before he in+aded Poland, that )ritain was treaty" bound to regard an in+asion as a casus belli. The reason was si! le@ 7ha!berlain=s go+ern!ent, ha+ing told the Poles that it would guarantee 8an'ig and the 7orridor, !eant to do the o osite# 7ha!berlain had no thought of fighting for 8an'ig# The rotocol was there to acify the Poles# :nfortunately for 5uro e, -itler and )ec9 both belie+ed the )ritish# )elie+ing the secret rotocol, Poland=s )ec9 felt entirely able, as war clouds thic9ened in the .ugust s9ies, to refuse to discuss with (er!any either 8an'ig or the 7orridor# Meanti!e, -itler 9new only that, the day the .nglo"Polish Treaty was signed, )ritish di lo!ats clustered around hi!, telling hi! it was all for show# -a+ing signed the treaty, 7ha!berlain=s go+ern!ent did not wait e+en 23 hours before starting to under!ine it, in dealings with -itler of which the Poles 9new nothing# Thus, 0ir Ne+ile -enderson !et -itler .ug# 251the day the treaty was signed# -itler shrugged when as9ed what his de!ands on Poland were# -e said only that they ;are li!ited, and can be negotiated by eaceful !ethods#; .fter ;solution of the (er!an"Polish 6uestion,; -itler went on, (er!any and )ritain could be the best of friends# The Fuehrer declared that Bto 6uote -enderson=s dis atchC ;-e acce ts the )ritish 5! ire and is willing to ledge hi!self ersonally for its continued e<istence#; There was only one condition for that ledge, -itler co!!ented !ildly# )ritain would ha+e to satisfy (er!any=s outstanding colonial de!ands, left o+er fro! 1919# /n that subEect, -itler ro!ised that he would ;a roach the )ritish go+ern" !ent with an offer;1tell the!, for once, Eust what he wanted# )ut first, there was one other tiny condition> the solution to the Polish difficulty# -enderson was thrilled# -e re orted to -alifa< that -itler s o9e ;cal!ly and reasonably,; and -enderson described hi!self as ;i! ressed with M-itler=sN a arent earnestness and sincerity#; -itler said he was ;by nature an artist, not a olitician, and once the Polish 6uestion was settled he would end his life as an artist, not a war!onger#; $f only the Poles could be !ade to listen to reasonA, -enderson !used#

To reinforce -itler=s acific !ood, u on recei t of -enderson=s re ort Dord -alifa< instantly decided to abandon his ledge to Poland on 8an'ig, and to do so without telling the Poles# A 7E'SE %:%E'7 8' 7HE ;A$$EASE%E'7 $<:)ESS;:

Sir 'e(ile Henderson* 2ritish ambassador to 9ermany= Hitler5s translator $aul Schmidt= $rime %inister 'e(ille )hamberlain= and the 3uehrer0

Hitler and his generals roll out the map of Europe >Hitler* seated* 4earing glasses?0

You 8n(ade= We5ll 7al$n his fren'y to acco!!odate -itler, -alifa< e+ol+ed a for!ula, should (er!any in+ade Poland, that would enable )ritain to see! to honor her 12" hour"old treaty with Poland, and yet not ha+e to declare war on (er!any# -alifa<=s for!ula was this> if (er!any attac9ed Poland, )ritain should de!and a troo halt ;within a fi<ed ti!e li!it,; and then e< ress ;readiness to enter into negotiations#; .!a'ing# . (er!an"Polish war would bring on # # # .nglo"(er!an tal9sA -alifa<=s lan was the scenario used a year before at Munich# Thus, B1C -itler would be told that )ritain was re ared to consider negotiations o+er 8an'ig# B2C -e would be as9ed directly to state his de!ands# B%C $f he did so, the )ritish would ressure the Poles to acce t his ter!s# To ursue this scri t, one day later, .ug# 2?, -alifa< as9ed Mussolini to tell -itler Bwithout re+ealing the infor!ation=s sourceC that ;if the settle!ent; between Poland and (er!any ;were confined to 8an'ig and the 7orridor, it did not see! i! ossible, within a reasonable ti!e, to find a solution without war#; . few hours earlier, -alifa< had cautioned 0ir -oward Lennard, his a!bassador in ,arsaw, ;Iou will of course understand that no indication !ay be gi+en Mto the PolesN that we are in consultation with Mussolini, nor of the 9ind of rocedure for negotiation that we ha+e been turning o+er in our !inds#; This, des ite the fact that the Treaty Eust signed, obligated )ritain to infor! Poland of such intentions# )ut not sur rising> what the )ritish were turning o+er in their !inds was how to gi+e 8an'ig to -itler1 ha+ing sworn to Poland that they would go to war to !aintain 8an'ig=s status 6uo# Mussolini was terrified at the ossibility of a war into which he, as a (er!an ally, !ight be drawn# 0o he enthusiastically assed along -alifa<=s !essage to -itler# )ut -itler was in no fra!e of !ind to listen# 8es ite his ublic noises about 8an'ig and the 7orridor, he had other ideas for Poland which i! lied the e<tinction of that country by !ilitary force, goals which had ne+er for!ed art of his ublic ro aganda, nor his ri+ate di lo!acy# They were two# -e wanted a co!!on frontier with *ussia, so that, when the ti!e ca!e, he could in+ade the :#0#0#*# .nd he wanted to reali'e his ulti!ate rogra!, of

e<ter!inating all 2ews and !ost 0la+s in 5uro e# That re6uired do!inating 5astern 5uro e, controlling the 5astern s aces in which the deed would be done# /n .ug# 2?, when Mussolini=s !essage arri+ed, -itler was in a ferocious !ood# -e didn=t want a )ritish"s onsored settle!ent@ he wanted to be allowed to fight his First 0ilesian ,ar, ta9e Poland1and then de!and )ritish a ro+al for that ;settle!ent#; Thus, he told his generals that day, he did not shrin9 ;fro! sol+ing the 5astern 6uestions e+en at the ris9 of co!" lications in the ,est#; -e was certain )ritain and France would not attac9 (er!any, he said, if he went into Poland# B-e was right, as we shall see#C ,hile -itler was telling the generals that, as at Munich, he gauged ,estern reaction as irrele+ant, France and )ritain were frantically see9ing assurance fro! Mussolini that he could control his headstrong .<is artner#

7he )hicago @aily 'e4s announces the outbrea- of World War 880 :ne reason Hitler 4anted $oland: to implement his final solution0

$ressure on 0 0 0 $oland French Foreign Minister (eorges )onnet told the $talian a!bassador in Paris that France was ;e<erting the strongest influence on Poland to refrain fro! any ro+ocati+e action against (er!any;A No one said a word to -itler about his ro+ocations> his de loy!ent of %& di+isions to the Polish frontier three days earlier, or his bloody"!inded ublic s eeches# 0uggesting the ennui and des air infecting France=s go+ern!ent, the French Minister of Public ,or9s declared that ;There was now nothing to be done but to allow (er!any to ha+e her way#; France was indeed des erate1 although she had the largest ar!y on the continent# )y .ug# 28, .ndre FranOois"Poncet, French a!bassador in *o!e, was telling Percy Doraine, his )ritish counter art, that France was considering concessions to $taly to er" suade her not to fight on (er!any=s side# The sco e of the conte! lated concessions was staggering@ they !ight, confided Francois"Poncet, include a deal o+er Tunis B ossibly cession to $taly of 8Eibouti, the French ort on the (ulf of .denC, and also cession to $taly of ;certain of the 0ue' director" shi s#; )ritain, howe+er, laced her greatest ho es of restraining -itler not on $taly=s 8uce, but on -itler hi!self# /ne of !any e<otic channels )ritain selected to co!!unicate to the Fuehrer, was a 0wedish business!an, )irger 8ahlerus, who was !anaged by -er!ann (oering# 5ntirely unofficial in his ca acity, 8ahlerus was nonetheless a +ery busy business!an in the wee9 before 0e t# 1# /n .ug# 2F, 8ahlerus was the !eans of con+eying to Dondon1for the first ti!e e+er1-itler=s s ecific de!ands on Poland# -itler thought the ti!e was getting short@ he had Eust confir!ed the ,ehr!acht=s ti!etable for in+ading Poland fi+e days hence, and he wished to rod the )ritish# 8ahlerus infor!ed 7ha!berlain, -alifa<, 0ir -orace ,ilson, and 0ir .le<" ander 7adogan of the Foreign /ffice that -itler would as9 for the return of 8an'ig and the entire Polish 7orridor Bnot Eust a stri of land across the 7orridorC# The 5nglish!en earnestly discussed with 8ahlerus how lainly )ritain should s ea9, in telling -itler she would ressure the Poles to !a9e these concessions# 8ahlerus told his new friends -itler was ;full of good will,; interested ;in sa+ing face,; and that if )ritain wanted to co!e to ter!s with hi!, she !ust not be ;cold or go+ernessy#;

.s soon as that !eeting ended, Dord -alifa< hastened to turn -itler=s de!ands into )ritish ro osals# -e telegra hed Lennard in ,arsaw> ;-is MaEesty=s (o+ern!ent earnestly ho e that # # # Polish go+ern!ent will authori'e the! to infor! (er!an go+ern!ent that Poland is ready to enter at once into direct discussion with (er!any# Please endea+our to see M# )ec9 at once and tele hone re ly#; Two hours later, Lennard re lied> ;Poland is ready to enter at once into direct negotiations with (er!any#; The . easers sighed with relief# $t was ossible, then, to gi+e -itler his way once !ore1 ro+ided he didn=t u his de!ands, as he had at Munich# .!bassador Ne+ile -enderson so infor!ed -itler on .ug# 28# )ut then -itler as9ed a disco!fiting 6uestion> he wanted to 9now if )ritain ;would be willing to acce t an alliance with (er!any#; .s often, -enderson wildly e<ceeded his a!bassadorial brief Bbut not the desires of the . easersC, by re lying that ;s ea9ing ersonally $ did not e<clude such a ossibility;A This, after all, was the sa!e -enderson who had once confided to ,illia! 8odd, .!erican a!bassador in )erlin, that ;(er!any !ust do!inate the 8anube")al9an 'one, which !eans that she is to do!inate 5uro e# 5ngland and her 5! ire is to do!inate the seas, along with the :nited 0tates# 5ngland and (er!any !ust co!e into close relations, econo!ic and olitical, and control the world#; 7ha!berlain and -alifa< were by no !eans u set at -enderson=s indiscre" tion# They fa+ored such an alliance# Di9e his e igone -enderson, -alifa< nurtured racist fantasies of an .nglo"0a<on world e! ire# -e had told (er!any=s a!bassador in Dondon it ;doubtless would be the best thing if the three 9indred nations, (er!any, )ritain, and the :nited 0tates, could unite in Eoint wor9#; Ta9ing his cue fro! 7ha!berlain and -alifa<, -enderson con+eyed to -itler the false i! ression that the whole )ritish go+ern!ent s!iled on the ro osal# $n the !eeting with -enderson, -itler had also casually let sli a hrase about ;annihilating Poland;1Eust to 9ee the . easers on their toes# -enderson re orted the hrase bac9 to -alifa< in Dondon# )ut neither -enderson, nor anyone bac9 ho!e, !ur!ured disa ro+al at this +iolent threat to )ritain=s ally#

Nor did they tell the Poles of it# $ndeed, -alifa< !ade sure to ha+e that hrase edited out of the !inutes of the -enderson"-itler !eeting, before forwarding the !inutes to ,arsaw# -a+ing read -itler=s brutal re!ar9, -alifa< could still say he was ;at a loss to 9now; why Poland had !obili'ed her ar!y .ug# 2%A )ritain=s rogra! for a easing -itler see!ed to be on schedule# /n .ug# 29, -itler infor!ed -enderson he would acce t a Polish negotiator Ba co!!odity )ritain had ro!ised hi!C, but the leni otentiary !ust arri+e in )erlin within 23 hours, by .ug# %&# 5+en the acco!!odating -enderson s!arted a little at this i! ossible dead" line@ he thought it sa+ored of ulti!atu!, and told the Fuehrer so# -itler was enraged# -e had, he said, only agreed to acce t the Polish negotiator the )ritish had insistently ro!ised, in order to show his desire to be friendly to )ritain# Now he was told that, by agreeing to )ritain=s rogra!, he was issuing an ulti!atu!A )ut two !obili'ed ar!ies faced one another, -itler yelled@ couldn=t -enderson see the !atter was urgent4 The two !en shouted at each other until -itler stor!ed out in a fury@ )ritain was being ;go+ernessy; again# )ount @o4n to War $n the course of the long e+ening of .ug# 29, -itler reEected a ro osal de+elo ed by 8ahlerus and the )ritish for -itler to recei+e Polish .!bassa" dor Di s9i, and gi+e Di s9i a note finally setting forth -itler=s ter!s for settle!ent# No, said -itler> the Polish negotiator !ust co!e fro! ,arsaw, eriod@ and !ust be a leni otentiary, not an a!bassador# -itler=s reEection of the 8ahlerus")ritish dP!arche heightened the an<iety# Date in the night of .ug# 29 -enderson told the French a!bassador in )erlin to reco!!end to his go+ern!ent that )ec9 +isit )erlin i!!ediately# France should ressure Poland, -enderson insisted, since )ritain had ;as usual done all the s ade wor9 with the (er!ans#; .s the night wore on, it beca!e clear that )ritain=s !an in ,arsaw, Lennard, o osed utting such ressure on the Poles# )ut his was a lonely +oice# 7ha!berlain, li9e -enderson, thought Polish stubbornness was the roble!# B:#0# .!bassador to Dondon 2ose h Lennedy re orted of 7ha!berlain, ;Fran9ly, he is !ore worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the (er!ans#;C

)ritain !ade one final ro osal to -itler, ho ing to soothe hi! and yet sa+e so!e shred of honor for )ritain and the ally she !eant to betray# That ro osal suggested that the Poles begin direct negotiations with the (er!ans instantly, no further delay1but in ,arsaw, not )erlin# The )ritish had a roble!> how to get -itler to dro his de!and that a Polish leni otentiary co!e to )erlin4 To atte! t that, on .ug# %&, -enderson !et Na'i Foreign Minister 2oachi! +on *ibbentro , who read hi! -itler=s ro osals, finally drafted in official for!# .!ong the!> Q *estoration of 8an'ig to (er!any# Q 7orridor to be de!arcated# Q Plebiscite in 7orridor on basis of 1919 o ulation# Q $nternational co!!ission to olice 7orridor# Q (dynia to be reser+ed to Poland# Q 8an'ig to be a urely co!!ercial, de!ilitari'ed city# )ut, said *ibbentro , -itler considered his ro osals were rendered obsolete by the fact that no Polish negotiator had yet arri+ed in )erlin, as -itler had de!anded the day before# -enderson was not able to induce the Foreign Minister to agree to tal9s in ,arsaw# *ibbentro did not re+eal what !o+e his Fuehrer conte! lated ne<t# Fro! this !eeting, -enderson went early on the !orning of .ug# %1, to brief Poland=s Di s9i on the ro osals, and tell hi! sternly that -itler=s de!ands were ;not unreasonable#; B-itler later e< lained to inti!ates why this was so> ;$ needed an alibi, es ecially with the (er!an eo le, to show the! that $ had done e+erything ossible to !aintain eace# That e< lains !y # # # offer#;C -enderson as9ed Di s9i to infor! 7ol# )ec9 that Poland=s co!!ander in chief, Marshal 5dward 0!igly"*yd', !ust start for )erlin at once, to !eet *eichs!arshal (oering# -enderson did not consider it odd that Poland=s highest !ilitary officer should lea+e his country when his ar!y was on alert, facing %& (er!an di+isions#

Di s9i did not co!!unicate these !aunderings to ,arsaw# -e 9new they were ludicrous# -e told 0ir (eorge /gil+ie Forbes of the )ritish 5!bassy in )erlin, ;This lan was a breach of Polish so+ereignty and was 6uite out of the 6uestion# # # # $t would be fatal for M# )ec9, or a Polish re resentati+e, to co!e to )erlin# ,e !ust for hea+en=s sa9e stand fir! and show a united front, and Poland, if deserted by her allies, was re ared to fight and die alone#; -enderson thought otherwise# ;This is no Munich,; he wired -alifa< ecstatically, ;since we are behind Poland, who will ne+er get such good ter!s again, guaranteed as they will be internationally#; 7oo .ate 8es ite the . easers= efforts, !atters were reaching an i! asse# -itler aced angrily u and down in the *eichschancellery# The Poles stood fir!# )ritain and France loo9ed wildly about for a new for!ula to turn bac9 the tide# Midday .ug# %1, the for!ula a eared# $talian Foreign Minister 7iano called -alifa< with a !essage fro! Mussolini# $taly ro osed a conference, a la Munich, for 0e t# 5, to re+ise the Gersailles Treaty# ,ould )ritain agree4 .bsolutely, but 7ha!berlain s ecified the (er!an and Polish ar!ies !ust de!obili'e before the start of the conference# $t wouldn=t do for )ritain and France to a ear to be negotiating at gun oint1e+en if they were# That was the end of Mussolini=s ga!bit, for he 9new -itler would ne+er agree to that condition# )esides, that afternoon, -itler had issued his final order for in+asion of Poland, to begin early ne<t day, 0e t# 1# -e was tired of being bal9ed in his First 0ilesian ,ar by )ritish di lo!ats in !orning coats# 0o Mussolini was infor!ed, when his a!bassador in )erlin, )ernardo .ttolico, as9ed -itler to recei+e Di s9i as Polish negotiator# -itler refused $talian !ediation# $s ;e+erything now at an end4; .ttolico as9ed# Ies, said -itler# :naware of all this, the )ritish continued to discuss a graceful way to sub!it to -itler# $n the early hours of 0e t# 1, -alifa< and -enderson again agreed that -itler=s ter!s were reasonable@ Poland !ust send a leni otentiary to )erlin# -alifa< tele honed ,arsaw to co!!unicate this# )ut by then, the in+asion was on# .t 3 a#!# 0e t# 1, Na'i troo s crossed Poland=s frontier#