Rescuing World War II, Chapter Three: The Forced War: How WWII Was Originated

Rescuing World War II, Chapter 3, The Forced War: How World War II Was Originated 

Germany’s War by John Wear. Chapter III:

Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, was a preemptive strike that prevented the Soviet Union from conquering all of Europe. Hitler was later forced to declare war on the United States because of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s numerous provocations, including a shoot-on-sight policy against German shipping and leaked plans of a United States invasion of Germany by 1943. In both cases war was forced on Germany against her wishes. We will now examine the events that led to Germany’s invasion of Poland and the start of World War II.

The Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles is sometimes said to be the beginning of the Second World War. The Versailles Treaty crushed Germany beneath a burden of shame and reparations, stole vital German territories, and rendered Germany defenseless against enemies from within and without. Britain’s David Lloyd George warned the treaty makers at Versailles: “If peace is made under these conditions, it will be the source of a new war.”1 We will examine in this section some of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty that made it so unfair to Germany.

President Woodrow Wilson in an address to Congress on Jan. 8, 1918, set forth his Fourteen Points as a blueprint to peacefully end World War I. The main principles of Wilson’s Fourteen Points were a nonvindictive peace, national self-determination, government by the consent of the governed, an end of secret treaties, and an association of nations strong enough to check aggression and keep the peace in the future. Faced with ever increasing American reinforcements of troops and supplies and a starvation blockade imposed by the Allies, Germany decided to end World War I by signing an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. The parties agreed to a pre-Armistice contract that bound the Allies to make the final peace treaty conform to Wilson’s Fourteen Points.2

The Treaty of Versailles was a deliberate violation of the pre-Armistice contract. Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles placed upon Germany the sole responsibility “for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.” This so-called “war guilt clause” was fundamentally unfair and aroused widespread hatred among virtually all Germans. It linked up Germany’s obligation to pay reparations with a blanket self-condemnation to which almost no German could subscribe.3

The Allies under the Versailles Treaty could set reparations at any amount they wanted. In 1920, the Allies set the final bill for reparations at the impossible sum of 269 billion gold marks.4 The Allied Reparations Committee in 1921 lowered the amount of reparations to 132 billion gold marks or approximately 33 billion dollars—still an unrealistic demand.5

The Allied representatives at the Paris Peace Conference decided that Germany should lose all of her colonies. All private property of German citizens in German colonies was also forfeited. The rationale for this decision was the hypocritical guise of humanitarian motives that claimed that Germany had totally failed to appreciate the duties of colonial trusteeship. Germany was extremely upset that the Allied governments refused to count the loss of her colonies as a credit in her reparations account. Some Germans estimated the value of Germany’s colonies at 9 billion dollars. This was a large sum of money that would have greatly reduced Germany’s financial burden to pay reparations under the treaty’s war guilt clause.6

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to cede 73,485 square kilometers of her territory, inhabited by 7,325,000 people, to neighboring states. Germany lost 75% of her annual production of zinc ore, 74.8% of iron ore, 7.7% of lead ore, 28.7% of coal, and 4% of potash. Of her annual agricultural production, Germany lost 19.7% in potatoes, 18.2% in rye, 17.2% in barley, 12.6% in wheat, and 9.6% in oats. The Saar territory and other regions to the west of the Rhine were occupied by foreign troops and were to remain occupied for 15 years until a plebiscite was held. The costs of the occupation of the Saar territory totaling 3.64 billion gold marks had to be paid by Germany.7

The Versailles Treaty forced Germany to disarm almost completely. The treaty abolished the general draft, prohibited all artillery and tanks, allowed a volunteer army of only 100,000 troops and officers, and abolished the air force. The navy was reduced to six capital ships, six light cruisers, 12 destroyers, 12 torpedo-boats, 15,000 men and 500 officers. After the delivery of its remaining navy, Germany had to hand over its merchant ships to the Allies with only a few exceptions. All German rivers had to be internationalized and overseas cables ceded to the victors. An international military committee oversaw the process of disarmament until 1927.8

The German delegation in Paris was formally presented with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles on May 7, 1919. At first the German delegation refused to sign the treaty. After German delegate Johann Giesberts read the long list of humiliating provisions of the treaty, he stated with vehemence: “This shameful treaty has broken me, for I believed in Wilson until today. I believed him to be an honest man, and now that scoundrel brings us such a treaty.”9

German foreign minister Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied: “It is demanded of us that we admit ourselves to be the only ones guilty of the war. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie. We are far from declining any responsibility for this great world war . . . but we energetically deny that Germany and its people, who were convinced that they were making a war of defense, were alone guilty. . . .”10

Germany eventually signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, because she faced death by starvation and invasion if she refused. With the naval blockade still in force and her merchant ships and even Baltic fishing boats sequestered, Germany could not feed her people. Germany’s request to buy 2.5 million tons of food was denied by the Allies. U.S. warships now supported the blockade. With German families starving, Bolshevik uprisings in several German cities, Trotsky’s Red Army driving into Europe, Czechs and Poles ready to strike from the east, and Allied forces prepared to march on Berlin, Germany was forced to capitulate.11

Francesco Nitti, Prime Minister of Italy, said of the Versailles Treaty: “It will remain forever a terrible precedent in modern history that against all pledges, all precedents and all traditions, the representatives of Germany were never even heard; nothing was left to them but to sign a treaty at a moment when famine and exhaustion and threat of revolution made it impossible not to sign it. . . .”12

It is estimated that approximately 800,000 Germans perished because of the Allied naval blockade.13 The blockade’s architect and chief advocate had been the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. His confessed aim had been to starve the whole German population into submission.14 One commentator noted the effects of the blockade: “Nations can take philosophically the hardships of war. But when they lay down their arms and surrender on assurances that they may have food for their women and children, and then find that this worst instrument of attack on them is maintained—then hate never dies.”15

Herbert Hoover said of the Allied blockade in Germany: “The blockade should be taken off . . . these people should be allowed to return to production not only to save themselves from starvation and misery but that there should be awakened in them some resolution for continued National life . . . the people are simply in a state of moral collapse. . . . We have for the last month held that it is now too late to save the situation.”16

When Hoover was in Brussels in 1919, a British Admiral arrogantly said to him, “Young man, I don’t see why you Americans want to feed these Germans.” Hoover impudently replied, “Old man, I don’t understand why you British want to starve women and children after they are licked.”17

George E. R. Gedye was sent to Germany in February 1919 on an inspection tour. Gedye described the impact of the blockade upon the German people:

Hospital conditions were appalling. A steady average of 10% of the patients had died during the war years from lack of fats, milk and good flour. Camphor, glycerine and cod-liver oil were unprocurable. This resulted in high infant mortality. . . . We saw some terrible sights in the children’s hospital, such as the “starvation babies” with ugly, swollen heads. . . . Such were the conditions in Unoccupied Territory. Our report naturally urged the immediate opening of the frontiers for fats, milk and flour . . . but the terrible blockade was maintained as a result of French insistence . . . until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June, 1919. . . . No severity of punishment could restrain the Anglo-American divisions of the Rhine from sharing their rations with their starving German fellow-creatures.18

Few historians in postwar years believed Germany to be solely responsible for the outbreak of World War I. There were differences of opinion about the degree of responsibility borne by Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia, and other belligerent nations, but no responsible person could find Germany totally responsible for the war. Representative of impartial scholarship on the subject is the opinion of Dr. Sidney B. Fay of Harvard University. Fay concluded after an extensive study of the causes of World War I:

Germany did not plot a European war, did not want one and made genuine, though too belated efforts to avert one. . . . It was primarily Russia’s general mobilization, made when Germany was trying to bring Austria to a settlement, which precipitated the final catastrophe, causing Germany to mobilize and bring war. . . . The verdict of the Versailles Treaty that Germany and her allies were responsible for the war, in view of the evidence now available, is historically unsound.19

Other historians who established that Germany was not primarily responsible for causing World War I include Professors Harry Elmer Barnes, Michael H. Cochran, Max Montgelas, and Georges Demartial. The Englishman Arthur Ponsonby also convincingly demonstrated that atrocity charges against the Germans were manufactured by Allied propagandists.20

Most American liberals who had originally supported American involvement in World War I eventually repudiated the thesis of unique German responsibility for the war. They logically denounced the failure to revise the Treaty of Versailles with its absurd attempt to collect astronomical reparations from Germany.21

Despite the unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles, its provisions remained in effect and were formally confirmed by the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928. Germans regarded the provisions of the Versailles Treaty as chains of slavery that needed to be broken. One German commented in regard to the Versailles Treaty, “The will to break the chains of slavery will be implanted from childhood on.”22 Adolf Hitler referred to the Versailles Treaty in Mein Kampf as “. . . a scandal and a disgrace . . . the dictate signified an act of highway robbery against our people.”23 Hitler was committed to breaking the chains of Versailles when he came to power in Germany in 1933.

The Road to Breaking the Chains of Versailles

Hitler’s first success in breaking the chains of Versailles was a legal victory in the Saar plebiscite on Jan. 13, 1935. This highly industrialized region had been detached from Germany and placed under the administration of the League of Nations by the Treaty of Versailles. The terms of the Versailles Treaty called for a plebiscite after 15 years with three choices: return to Germany, annexation by France, or continuation of League of Nations rule.24 In an unquestionably free election, the vote was 477,119 in favor of union with Germany and only 46,613 in favor of the continuance of the existing regime.25 Despite offering the Saar citizens a number of tax and customs advantages if they decided to become part of France, only 0.40% of voters voted to join France; 8.85% voted for independence of the Saar, and 90.75% voted for union with Germany.26

The Saar inhabitants who voted overwhelmingly to return to Germany were mostly industrial workers—Social Democrats or Roman Catholics. They knew what awaited them in Germany: a dictatorship, the destruction of trade unions, and restrictions on freedom of expression.27 They knew of the establishment of the Dachau concentration camp and the execution of scores of SA members in the Roehm purge on June 30, 1934. The German economy in January 1935 was also not substantially better than that of France or other countries in Europe. The Saar election was evidence that the appeal of German nationalism could be irresistible.

Hitler began an assault on the Versailles provisions with the creation of a German air force on March 9, 1935. On March 16, 1935, Hitler announced the restoration of compulsory military service. Germany regarded the army of the Soviet Union at 960,000 men as excessively large, and France had recently increased the terms of service in her armies. Hitler wanted to increase German military strength to 550,000 troops because of this Franco-Russian threat.28

Germany continued to modify the Versailles provisions by signing the Anglo-German Naval Agreement on June 18, 1935. This treaty fixed the size of the German fleet at 35% of the total tonnage of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Germany could also build a submarine force equal to that of Great Britain. Hitler was elated with the agreement. Hitler had dreamed of an Anglo-German alliance ever since he had fought Britain in World War I. Britain’s naval treaty with Germany also effectively undermined the Stresa Front that Britain had established with France and Italy earlier in 1935.29

Germany was forbidden under the Treaty of Versailles to build fortifications or maintain troops in a wide demilitarized zone along its western frontier. This arrangement made the vital Ruhr and Rhineland industries vulnerable to a swift attack from France. The Treaty of Locarno, of which Britain and Italy were co-guarantors, also endorsed the demilitarization of the Rhineland. Hitler challenged this limitation when he sent troops into the Rhineland on March 7, 1936. Although this was a major gamble by Hitler, France was unwilling to challenge Hitler without British support. Britain was unwilling to authorize anything resembling war because there was a general feeling in Britain that Germany was only asserting a right of sovereignty within her own borders.30

Germany was now able to protect her western borders by constructing the Siegfried Line. Lloyd George, the former prime minister of Great Britain, commended Hitler in the House of Commons for having reoccupied the Rhineland to protect his country:

France had built the most gigantic fortifications ever seen in any land, where, almost a hundred feet underground you can keep an army of over 100,000 and where you have guns that can fire straight into Germany. Yet the Germans are supposed to remain without even a garrison, without a trench. . . . If Herr Hitler had allowed that to go on without protecting his country, he would have been a traitor to the Fatherland.31

On later meeting Hitler, Lloyd George was “spellbound by Hitler’s astonishing personality and manner” and referred to Hitler as “indeed a great man. Fuehrer is the proper name for him, for he is a born leader—yes, a statesman.”32

Other British statesmen were also impressed with Hitler. In a book published in 1937, Churchill expresses his “admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled [Hitler] to challenge, defy, conciliate, or overcome, all the authorities or resistances which barred his path.”33 Hitler and his Nazis had shown “their patriotic ardor and love of country.”34

Churchill also wrote: “Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face have found a highly competent, cool, well-informed functionary with an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism. Nor is this impression merely the dazzle of power. He exerted it on his companions at every stage in his struggle, even when his fortunes were in the lowest depths.”35

By March 1936 Germany had taken important steps in overcoming the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler made no more moves in Europe for the next two years. Until 1938, Hitler’s moves in foreign policy had been bold but not reckless. From the point of view of the Western Powers, his methods constituted unconventional diplomacy whose aims were recognizably in accord with traditional German nationalist clamor.36

The Anschluss

The statesmen at the Paris Peace Conference had wanted to divide rather than unify Austria and Germany. Austria had asked Allied permission at the Paris Peace Conference to enter into a free-trade zone with Germany. Austria’s request was denied. As far back as April and May of 1921, plebiscites on a union with Germany were held in Austria at the Tyrol and at Salzburg. The votes in the Tyrol were over 140,000 for the Anschluss and only 1,794 against. In Salzburg, more than 100,000 voted for union with Germany and only 800 against.37 Despite the overwhelming desire of Austrians to join with Germany, the Treaty of St. Germain signed by Austria after World War I prevented the union.

Under the treaties of Versailles and St. Germain, Germany and Austria could not even enter into a customs union without permission from the League of Nations. In 1931, hard hit by the Great Depression, Germany asked again for permission to form an Austro-German customs union. The League of Nations denied Germany’s request. Germany later requested an end to its obligation to pay war reparations under Versailles because of Germany’s economic crisis caused by the Great Depression. Germany’s request was again refused. Many historians believe the resulting economic distress contributed to the rapid rise of National Socialists to power in Germany.38 The Allied refusals also increased the desire of German and Austrian nationalists to exercise their right of self-determination.

Hitler was given encouragement for the peaceful incorporation of Austria into Germany when he met with Edward Frederick Lindley Wood (Lord Halifax) at Berchtesgaden on Nov. 19, 1937. Lord Halifax mentioned the important questions of Danzig, Austria, and Czechoslovakia on his own initiative without any prompting from Hitler. Halifax told Hitler that Great Britain realized that the Paris Treaties of 1919 contained mistakes that had to be rectified.39 Halifax stated that Britain would not go to war to prevent an Anschluss with Austria, a transfer of the Sudetenland to Germany, or a return of Danzig to the Reich. Britain might even be willing to serve as an honest broker in effecting the return of what rightfully belonged to Germany, if this was all done in a gentlemanly fashion.40

Lord Halifax had given Hitler his approval for the peaceful incorporation of Germans in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Danzig into Germany if done “without far reaching disturbances.” British historian A.J.P. Taylor writes:

This was exactly what Hitler wanted . . . Halifax’s remarks, if they had any practical sense, was an invitation to Hitler to promote German nationalist agitation in Danzig, Czechoslovakia, and Austria; an assurance also that his agitation would not be opposed from without. Nor did these promptings come from Halifax alone. In London, Eden told Ribbentrop: “People in Europe recognized that a closer connection between Germany and Austria would have to come about sometime.” The same news came from France. Papen, on a visit to Paris, “was amazed to note” that Chautemps, the premier, and Bonnet, then finance minister, “considered a reorientation of French policy in Central Europe as entirely open to discussion. . . .” They had “no objection to a marked extension of German influence in Austria obtained through evolutionary means”; nor in Czechoslovakia “on the basis of a reorganization into a nation of nationalities.”41

Lord Halifax’s message to Hitler underscores a crucial point in the history of this era: Hitler’s agenda was no surprise to European statesmen. Any German nationalist would demand adjustments to the frontiers laid down at Versailles. With Great Britain’s approval of the peaceful annexation of Austria into Germany, the problem was how to get the Austrians to peacefully agree to unification with Germany. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg would soon force the issue.42

Since the summer of 1934, Austria had been governed by a conservative dictatorship headed by Dr. Kurt von Schuschnigg. Schuschnigg persecuted Austrians who favored unification with Germany. Political dissidents landed in concentration camps, and the regime denied persons of “deficient civic reliability” the right to practice their occupation.43

In January 1938, Austrian police discovered plans of some Austrian National Socialists to overthrow Schuschnigg in violation of a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” entered into with Germany on July 11, 1936. Schuschnigg met with Hitler at Berchtesgaden on Feb. 12, 1938, complaining of the attempted overthrow of his government by Austrian National Socialists. Hitler and Schuschnigg reached an agreement that day, but Schuschnigg claimed that Hitler had been violent in manner during the first two hours of conversation.44 Some accounts of their meeting say that Schuschnigg was bullied by Hitler and subject to a long list of indignities.45

Schuschnigg began to consider means of repudiating the agreement made with Hitler in their meeting on Feb. 12, 1938. Schuschnigg’s solution was to hold a rigged plebiscite. On March 9, 1938, Schuschnigg announced that a plebiscite would be held four days later on March 13, 1938, to decide, finally and forever, whether Austria was to remain an independent nation.

The planned plebiscite was completely unfair. There was only one question, which asked the voter, “Are you for a free and German, independent and social, Christian and united Austria, for peace and work, for the equality of all those who affirm themselves for the people and the Fatherland?” There were no voting lists; only yes ballots were to be provided by the government; anyone wishing to vote no had to provide their own ballot, the same size as the yes ballots, with nothing on it but the word no.46 During preparations for the election, the government press in Austria announced that anyone voting “no” would be guilty of treason.47

The Austrian government took additional steps to ensure that the vote would swing in their direction. The qualification age to vote was raised to 24, making it impossible for young National Socialists to register their views. Schuschnigg and his men also distributed a huge number of flyers, scattering some by aircraft in Austria’s most remote and snowbound corners. Trucks drove around the country transmitting the message of Austrian independence by loudspeaker. Everywhere the German theme was driven home: To be a good Austrian was to be a good German; to be German was to be free. Austrians were better Germans than the National Socialists.48

Hitler was shocked by Schuschnigg’s proposed plebiscite. Hitler had hoped for an evolutionary strategy in Austria that would gradually merge Austria into the Reich. However, Hitler felt humiliated and betrayed by Schuschnigg, and he could not let the phony plebiscite proceed. After receiving word on March 11, 1938, that Mussolini accepted the Anschluss, Hitler decided to march into Austria with his troops on March 12, 1938. Hitler was greeted with a joyously enthusiastic reception from the mass of the Austrian people.49 Not a shot was fired by Hitler’s army.

Hitler was aware of the bad publicity abroad such an apparent act of force would generate. However, Schuschnigg and his entire cabinet had resigned from office after Britain, France, and Italy all denounced the phony plebiscite. Hitler feared that Austrian Marxists might take advantage of Austria’s momentary political vacuum and stage an uprising. Goering also warned of the possibility that Austria’s neighbors might exploit its temporary weakness by occupying Austrian territory. Hitler decided to militarily occupy Austria to prevent either of these possibilities from occurring.50

On April 10, 1938, joint plebiscites were held in Germany and Austria to approve the Anschluss. All Germans and Austrians over the age of 20 were eligible to vote, with the exception of Jews and criminals. The result of the poll was 99.08% of the people in favor of the Anschluss. The plebiscite might have been manipulated to some extent as shown by the near unanimous assent from the Dachau concentration camp. Also, the ballot was not anonymous since the voter’s name and address were printed on the back of each ballot. However, there is no question that the vast majority of people in Germany and Austria approved the Anschluss. Hitler’s aims had struck a chord with national German aspirations, and the plebiscite reflected Hitler’s popularity with the German people.51

The invasion of Austria had hurt Germany’s public image. As historian A.J.P. Taylor states:

Hitler had won. He had achieved the first object of his ambition. Yet not in the way that he had intended. He had planned to absorb Austria imperceptibly, so that no one could tell when it had ceased to be independent; he would use democratic methods to destroy Austrian independence as he had done to destroy German democracy. Instead he had been driven to call in the German army. For the first time, he lost the asset of aggrieved morality and appeared as a conqueror, relying on force. The belief soon became established that Hitler’s seizure of Austria was a deliberate plot, devised long in advance, and the first step toward the domination of Europe. This belief was a myth. The crisis of March 1938 was provoked by Schuschnigg, not by Hitler. There had been no German preparations, military or diplomatic. Everything was improvised in a couple of days—policy, promises, armed force. . . . But the effects could not be undone. . . . The uneasy balance tilted, though only slightly, away from peace and towards war. Hitler’s aims might still appear justifiable; his methods were condemned. By the Anschluss—or rather by the way in which it was accomplished—Hitler took the first step in the policy which was to brand him as the greatest of war criminals. Yet he took this step unintentionally. Indeed he did not know that he had taken it.52

Winston Churchill made the following statement in the House of Commons shortly after the Anschluss:

The public mind has been concentrated upon the moral and sentimental aspects of the Nazi conquest of Austria—a small country brutally struck down, its Government scattered to the winds, the oppression of the Nazi party doctrine imposed upon a Catholic population and upon the working-classes of Austria and Vienna, the hard ill-usage of persecution which indeed will ensue—which is probably in progress at the moment—of those who, this time last week, were exercising their undoubted political rights, discharging their duties to their own country. . . .53

Churchill’s statement is a misrepresentation of the truth. The overwhelming majority of Austrians had desired a union with Germany. The Anschluss was hugely popular in Austria. Churchill in his speech had begun the warmongering that led to World War II.

The Czechoslovakia Crisis & the Munich Agreement

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, 3.25 million German inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia were transferred to the new Czechoslovakia in a flagrant disregard of Woodrow Wilson’s ideal of self-determination. The new Czechoslovakia was a multiethnic, multilingual, Catholic-Protestant conglomerate that had never existed before. From 1920 to 1938, repeated petitions had been sent to the League of Nations by the repressed minorities of Czechoslovakia. By 1938, the Sudeten Germans were eager to be rid of Czech rule and become part of Germany. In a fair plebiscite, a minimum of 80% of Sudeten Germans would have voted to become part of the new Reich.54

It was clear to Czech leaders that the excitement among the Sudeten Germans after the Anschluss would soon force the resolution of the Sudeten question. The Czech cabinet and military leaders decided on May 20, 1938, to order a partial mobilization of the Czech armed forces. This partial mobilization was based on the false accusation that German troops were concentrating on the Czech frontiers. Czech leaders hoped that the resulting confusion would commit the British and French to the Czech position before a policy favoring concessions to the Sudeten Germans could be implemented. Although the plot failed, Czech leaders granted interviews in which they claimed that Czechoslovakia had scored a great victory over Germany. An international press campaign representing that Czechoslovakia had forced Hitler to back down from his planned aggression reverberated around the world.55

British Ambassador to Germany Nevile Henderson believed that the Czech mobilization of its army, and the ridicule heaped upon Hitler by the world press, led directly to the Munich Agreement:

The defiant gesture of the Czechs in mobilizing some 170,000 troops and then proclaiming to the world that it was their action which had turned Hitler away from his purpose was . . . regrettable. But what Hitler could not stomach was the exultation of the press. . . . Every newspaper in America and Europe joined in the chorus. “No” had been said and Hitler had been forced to yield. The democratic powers had brought the totalitarian states to heel, etc. It was, above all, this jubilation which gave Hitler the excuse for his . . . worst brain storm of the year, and pushed him definitely over the border line from peaceful negotiation to the use of force. From May 23rd to May 28th his fit of sulks and fury lasted, and on the later date he gave orders for a gradual mobilization of the Army, which should be prepared for all eventualities in the autumn.56

By the 1930s, the majority of the British people believed that Germany had been wronged at Versailles. The British people now broadly supported the appeasement of Germany in regaining her lost territories. If appeasement meant granting self-determination to the Sudetenland Germans, the British people approved.57

Lord Halifax informed French leaders on July 20, 1938, that a special fact-finding mission under Lord Runciman would be sent to Czechoslovakia. President Benes of Czechoslovakia was disturbed by this news. It was a definite indication that the British might adopt a compromising policy toward Germany in the crisis. The British mission completed its study in September 1938, and it reported that the main difficulty in the Sudeten area had been the disinclination of the Czechs to grant reforms. This British report was accompanied by the final rupture of negotiations between the Sudeten Germans and the Czech leaders. The Czech crisis was coming to a climax.58

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Hitler’s mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden to discuss the Czech problem directly with Hitler. At their meeting Hitler consented to refrain from military action while Chamberlain would discuss with his cabinet the means of applying the principle of self-determination to the Sudeten Germans. The result was a decision to transfer to Germany areas in which the Sudeten Germans occupied more than 50% of the population. President Benes of Czechoslovakia reluctantly accepted this proposal.59

A problem developed in the negotiations when Chamberlain met with Hitler a second time. Hitler insisted on an immediate German military occupation of regions where the Sudeten Germans were more than half of the population. Hitler also insisted that the claims of the Polish and Hungarian minorities be satisfied before participating in the proposed international guarantee of the new Czechoslovakia frontier. Several days of extreme tension followed. Chamberlain announced on Sept. 28, 1938, to the House of Commons that Hitler had invited him, together with Daladier and Mussolini, to a conference in Munich the following afternoon. The House erupted in an outburst of tremendous enthusiasm.60

The parties signed the Munich Agreement in the early hours of Sept. 30, 1938. Hitler got substantially everything he wanted. The Sudeten Germans had become a part of Germany. Chamberlain and Hitler signed a joint declaration that the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German naval accord symbolized “the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with each other again.” Chamberlain told the cheering crowd in London that welcomed him home, “I believe it is peace in our time.”61 War had been averted in Europe.

The British war enthusiasts lost no time in launching their effort to spoil the celebration of the Munich Agreement. On Oct. 1, 1938, First Lord of the Admiralty, Alfred Duff Cooper, announced that he was resigning from the British cabinet. In a speech delivered on Oct. 3, 1938, Duff Cooper criticized the British government for not assuming a definite commitment during the Czech crisis. He asserted that Great Britain would not have been fighting for the Czechs, but rather for the balance of power, which was precious to some British hearts. Duff Cooper believed that it was his mission and that of his country to prevent Germany from achieving a dominant position on the continent.62

Clement Attlee, the new Labor Party leader, spoke of the Munich Agreement as a huge victory for Hitler and an “annihilating defeat for democracy.” Of course, Attlee in his speech included the Soviet Union as a democracy. Anthony Eden gave a speech in which he criticized Chamberlain on detailed points, and expressed doubt that Britain would fulfill her promised guarantee to the Czech state. Eden advised the House to regard the current situation as a mere pause before the next crisis. He claimed that the British armament campaign was proceeding too slowly.63

In his speech on Oct. 5, 1938, Winston Churchill stated that Hitler had extracted British concessions at pistol point, and he loved to use the image of Hitler as a gangster. Churchill used flowery rhetoric and elegant phrases to describe the allegedly mournful Czechs slipping away into darkness. Churchill wanted to convince his countrymen that National Socialist Germany was governed by an insatiable desire for world conquest. The simple and stark purpose of the speech was to convince the British people to eventually accept a war of annihilation against Germany. Churchill was a useful instrument in building up British prejudice against Germany.64

The debate on the Munich Agreement surpassed all other parliamentary debates on British foreign policy since World War I. Other Conservatives who refused to accept the Munich Agreement include Harold Macmillan, Duncan Sandys, Leopold Amery, Harold Nicolson, Roger Keyes, Sidney Herbert, and Gen. Edward Spears. These men were joined by a score of lesser figures in the House of Commons, and they were supported by such prominent people as Lord Cranborne and Lord Wolmer in the House of Lords. Chamberlain won the vote of confidence, but he did not possess the confidence of the British Conservative Party.65

The warmongering that led to World War II was increasing in Great Britain. Hitler was dismayed at the steady stream of hate propaganda directed at Germany. In a speech given in Saarbruecken on Oct. 9, 1938, Hitler said: “. . . All it would take would be for Mr. Duff Cooper or Mr. Eden or Mr. Churchill to come to power in England instead of Chamberlain, and we know very well that it would be the goal of these men to immediately start a new world war. They do not even try to disguise their intents, they state them openly.”66

Germany’s Decision to Occupy Prague

The Munich Agreement was meant to mark the beginning of a new epoch in European affairs. The Versailles Treaty was now officially dead and buried. The Versailles system directed against Germany had been successfully dismantled without a war. A new epoch, based on equality and mutual confidence among the four great European Powers, was supposed to take its place.67

Public opinion in the Western democracies soon took a hard turn against Germany. On the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, National Socialist storm troopers went on a rampage, looting Jewish shops, smashing windows, burning synagogues, and beating Jews. Hundreds were assaulted and dozens perished in what came to be known as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. The United States soon called its German ambassador home. Much of the goodwill garnered by Germany from the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the Munich Agreement, which the democracies still believed had averted war, was washed away by Kristallnacht.68

War propaganda began to intensify in Great Britain. The British press in late November 1938 reported rumors that Germany was massing her troops in preparation for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. These false rumors originated from London. Anthony Eden was sent to the United States by Halifax in December 1938 to spread rumors about sinister German plans. Roosevelt responded with a provocative and insulting warning to Germany in his message to Congress on Jan. 4, 1939.69

Halifax secretly circulated rumors both at home and abroad which presented the foreign policy of Hitler in the worst possible light. On Jan. 24, 1939, Halifax sent a message to President Roosevelt in which he claimed to have received “a large number of reports from various reliable sources which throw a most disquieting light on Hitler’s mood and intentions.” Halifax claimed that Hitler had recently planned to establish an independent Ukraine, and that Hitler intended to destroy the Western nations in a surprise attack before he moved into the East. Halifax further claimed that not only British intelligence but “highly placed Germans who are anxious to prevent this crime” had furnished evidence of this evil conspiracy. These claims were all lies. Hitler did not have the remotest intention at the time of attacking the Ukraine or any Western country.70

A crisis developed in Czechoslovakia after the Munich Agreement. The German, Polish, and Hungarian minorities had been successfully separated from Czech rule. However, the Slovaks and Ruthenians were also eager to escape from Czech rule, and they received encouragement from Poland and Hungary. For about four months after Munich, Hitler considered the possibility of protecting the remnants of the Czech state. Hitler gradually came to the conclusion that the Czech cause was lost in Slovakia, and that Czech cooperation with Germany could not be relied upon. Hitler eventually decided to transfer German support from the Czechs to the Slovaks.71

Increasingly serious internal difficulties faced the Czech state, and in early 1939 the Czech problem with Slovakia deteriorated rapidly. The climax of the Slovak crisis occurred on March 9, 1939, when the Czech government dismissed the four principal Slovak ministers from the local government at Bratislava.

Josef Tiso, the Slovakian leader, arrived in Berlin on March 13, 1939, and met with Hitler in a hurried conference. Hitler admitted to Tiso that until recently he had been unaware of the strength of the independence movement in Slovakia. Hitler promised Tiso that he would support Slovakia if she continued to demonstrate her will to independence. The Slovakian government proceeded to vote a declaration of independence from Czechoslovakia on March 14, 1939.72 Ruthenia also quickly declared independence and became part of Hungary, dissolving what was left of the Czech state.73

Czech President Emil Hácha on his own initiative asked to see Hitler in the hope of finding a solution for a hopeless crisis. President Hácha was correctly received at Berlin with the full military honors due a visiting chief of state. Hitler met Hácha’s train and presented flowers and chocolates to Hácha’s daughter, who accompanied her father.

After World War II, Hácha’s daughter denied to Allied investigators that her father had been subjected to any unusual pressure during his visit to Berlin. This information is important because Hácha, who was bothered by heart trouble, had a mild heart attack during his visit with the German leaders. Hácha agreed to accept German medical assistance, and recovered quickly enough to negotiate the outline of an agreement with Germany and the Czech state.

The details were arranged between the Czechs and the Germans at Prague on March 15th and 16th.74

The occupation of Prague by German troops was legalized by the agreements signed with the Czech and Slovak leaders. The period of direct German military rule lasted a little over one month. The new regime formed by the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia on March 16, 1939, enjoyed considerable popularity among the Czechs. On July 31, 1939, Hitler agreed to permit the Czech government to have a military force of 7,000 soldiers, which included 280 officers.75

President Hácha had voluntarily placed the fate of the Czech state in the hands of Germany. Hácha and his new cabinet resumed control of the government on April 27, 1939.76 Hácha would serve Hitler faithfully throughout the war. British historian Donald Cameron Watt writes, “[Hitler] was remarkably kind . . . to the Czech Cabinet after the march into Prague, keeping its members in office for a time and paying their pensions.”77

The motives behind Hitler’s actions in the Czech crisis of March 1939 remain in dispute. British historian A.J.P. Taylor evaluates Hitler’s motives:

All the world saw in this the culmination of a long-planned campaign. In fact, it was the unforeseen by-product of developments in Slovakia; and Hitler was acting against the Hungarians rather than against the Czechs. Nor was there anything sinister or premeditated in the protectorate over Bohemia. Hitler, the supposed revolutionary, was simply reverting in the most conservative way to the pattern of previous centuries. Bohemia had always been part of the Holy Roman Empire; it had been part of the German Confederation between 1815 and 1866; then it had been linked to German Austria until 1918. Independence, not subordination, was the novelty in Czech history. Of course Hitler’s protectorate brought tyranny to Bohemia—secret police, the S.S., the concentration camps; but no more than in Germany itself . . . Hitler’s domestic behavior, not his foreign policy, was the real crime which ultimately brought him—and Germany—to the ground. It did not seem so at the time. Hitler took the decisive step in his career when he occupied Prague. He did it without design; it brought him slight advantage. He acted only when events had already destroyed the settlement of Munich. But everyone outside Germany, and especially the other makers of that settlement, believed that he had deliberately destroyed it himself.78

American historian David Hoggan writes: “Hitler’s decision to support the Slovaks and to occupy Prague had been based on the obvious disinterest of the British leaders in the Czech situation. There had been ample opportunities for them to encourage the Czechs in some way, but they had repeatedly refused to do so. The truth was that the British leaders did not care about the Czechs. They used Hitler’s policy as a pretext to become indignant about the Germans.”79

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain originally explained in the House of Commons on March 15, 1939, that Germany had no obligation to consult Great Britain in dealing with the Czech-Slovak crisis. The British government had also never fulfilled its promise to guarantee the Czech state after the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain stated that the Slovak declaration of independence on March 14, 1939, put an end by internal disruption to the Czech state, and therefore the British guarantee to preserve the integrity of Czechoslovakia was no longer binding.80 Chamberlain concluded, “Let us remember that the desire of all the peoples of the world still remains concentrated on the hopes of peace.”81

Lord Halifax now began to take command of British policy toward Germany. Halifax informed Chamberlain that his speech of March 15, 1939, was unacceptable. President Roosevelt of the United States was also highly critical of Chamberlain’s speech. Two days later on March 17, 1939, Chamberlain expressed the first sign of a major shift in policy toward Germany. In a speech in his home city of Birmingham, Chamberlain charged Hitler with “a flagrant breach of personal faith.” Chamberlain presented himself as the victim of German duplicity, and stated that he would never be able to believe Hitler again. Chamberlain asked rhetorically if this was a step by Hitler to attempt to dominate the world by force.82

Halifax expressed his hostile views concerning Germany’s occupation of Prague to German Ambassador Herbert von Dirksen on March 15, 1939. Halifax claimed that Hitler had unmasked himself as a dishonest person, and that German policy implied a rejection of good relations with Great Britain. Halifax insisted that Germany was “seeking to establish a position in which they could by force dominate Europe, and, if possible, the world.” Halifax stated that he could understand Hitler’s taste for bloodless victories, but he promised the German diplomat that Hitler would be forced to shed blood the next time.83

The reports which Ambassador Dirksen sent to Berlin during the next several days indicate that he was considerably shaken by the violent British reaction to the latest Czech crisis. The entire German Embassy staff was dismayed by the events of March 1939. Ambassador Dirksen recognized the importance of an Anglo-German understanding, and he became almost incoherent with grief when confronted with the collapse of his diplomatic efforts. The British had created the impression that the future of Bohemia was a matter of complete indifference to them. Then the British hypocritically turned around and declared that the events in Bohemia had convinced them that Hitler was seeking to conquer the world. No wonder the German diplomats in London were in despair.84

Halifax next sought a broader basis than the Czech crisis to justify Britain’s belligerence toward Germany. Virgil Tilea, the Romanian Minister to Great Britain, was recruited by Halifax to make false charges against Germany. Tilea was carefully coached for his role by Sir Robert Vansittart, Great Britain’s vehemently anti-German Chief Diplomatic Advisor. On March 17, 1939, Tilea issued a carefully prepared public statement which charged that Germany was seeking to obtain control of the entire Romanian economy. Tilea further claimed that Germany had issued an ultimatum that terrified Romanian leaders. These false accusations were published by the major British newspapers. Millions of British newspaper readers were aghast at Hitler’s apparently unlimited appetite for conquest. Tilea’s false accusations produced anxiety and outspoken hostility toward Germany among the British public.85

The British Minister to Romania, Reginald Hoare, contacted Halifax and proceeded to explain in detail the ridiculous nature of Tilea’s charges. Hoare stated that it was “so utterly improbable that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would not have informed me that an immediate (italics his) threatening situation had developed here that I called on him as soon as your telegrams to Warsaw and Moscow had been deciphered. He told me that he was being inundated with enquiries regarding the report of a German ultimatum which had appeared in The Times and Daily Telegraph today. There was not a word of truth in it.”86

Hoare naturally assumed that his detailed report would induce Halifax to disavow the false Tilea charges. Nothing of this sort occurred. Hoare was astonished when Halifax continued to express his faith in the authenticity of Tilea’s story after its falsehood had been exposed. The Tilea hoax was crucial to the development of Halifax’s policy of inciting hatred among the British public toward Germany. Halifax was not concerned with any adverse repercussions of the Tilea hoax in Romania.87

Halifax had lied to the British public about German policy toward Czechoslovakia after the Munich Agreement, and he had lied to them about the alleged crisis in Romania. It was only by means of these palpable falsehoods that the British public had been stirred into a warlike mood. It was by these means that Halifax would be able to persuade the British public to accept a foreign policy that was both dangerous and devoid of logic.88

Great Britain’s Blank Check to Poland

On March 21, 1939, while hosting French Prime Minister Daladier, Chamberlain discussed a joint front with France, Russia, and Poland to act together against German aggression. France agreed at once, and the Russians agreed on the condition that both France and Poland sign first. However, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck vetoed the agreement on March 24, 1939.89 Polish statesmen feared Russia more than they did Germany. Polish marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz told the French ambassador, “With the Germans we risk losing our liberty; with the Russians we lose our soul.”90

Another complication arose in European diplomacy when the residents of Memel in Lithuania wanted to join Germany. The Allied victors in the Versailles Treaty had detached Memel from East Prussia and placed it under a League of Nations protectorate. Lithuania then proceeded to seize Memel from the League of Nations shortly after World War I. Memel was a German city which in the seven centuries of its history had never separated from its East Prussian homeland. Germany was so weak after World War I that it could not prevent the tiny new-born nation of Lithuania from seizing the ancient Prussian city of Memel.91

Germany’s occupation of Prague generated uncontrollable excitement among the mostly German population of Memel. The population of Memel was clamoring to return to Germany and could no longer be restrained. The Lithuanian foreign minister traveled to Berlin on March 22, 1939, where he agreed to the immediate transfer of Memel to Germany. The annexation of Memel into Germany went through the next day. The question of Memel appears to have exploded of itself without any deliberate German plan of annexation.92 Polish leaders had agreed that the return of Memel to Germany from Lithuania would not constitute an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland.93

What did cause an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland was the so-called Free City of Danzig. Danzig was founded in the early 14th century and was historically the key port at the mouth of the great Vistula River. From the beginning Danzig was inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, with the Polish minority in 1922 constituting less than 3% of the city’s 365,000 inhabitants. The Treaty of Versailles converted Danzig from a German provincial capital into a League of Nations protectorate subject to numerous servitudes established for the benefit of Poland. The citizens of Danzig had never wanted to leave Germany, and they were eager to return to Germany in 1939. Their eagerness to join Germany was exacerbated by the fact that Germany’s economy was healthy while Poland’s economy was still mired in depression.94

The citizens of Danzig had consistently demonstrated their unwavering loyalty to National Socialism and its principles. They had even elected a National Socialist parliamentary majority before this result had been achieved in Germany. It was widely known that Poland was constantly seeking to increase her control over Danzig despite the wishes of Danzig’s citizens. Hitler was not opposed to Poland’s further economic aspirations at Danzig, but Hitler was resolved never to permit the establishment of a Polish political regime at Danzig. Such a renunciation of Danzig by Hitler would have been a repudiation of the loyalty of Danzig citizens to the Third Reich and their spirit of self-determination.95

Germany presented a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Danzig question with Poland on Oct. 24, 1938. Hitler’s plan would allow Germany to annex Danzig and construct a superhighway and a railroad to East Prussia. In return Poland would be granted a permanent free port in Danzig and the right to build her own highway and railroad to the port. The entire Danzig area would also become a permanent free market for Polish goods on which no German customs duties would be levied. Germany would take the unprecedented step of recognizing and guaranteeing the existing German-Polish frontier, including the boundary in Upper Silesia established in 1922. This later provision was extremely important since the Versailles Treaty had given Poland much additional territory which Germany proposed to renounce. Hitler’s offer to guarantee Poland’s frontiers also carried with it a degree of military security that no other non-Communist nation could match.96

Germany’s proposed settlement with Poland was far less favorable to Germany than the Thirteenth Point of Wilson’s program at Versailles had been. The Versailles Treaty gave Poland large slices of territory in regions such as West Prussia and Western Posen which were overwhelmingly German. The richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was also later given to Poland despite the fact the Poles lost the plebiscite there. Germany was willing to renounce these territories in the interest of German-Polish cooperation. This concession of Hitler’s was more than adequate to compensate for the German annexation of Danzig and construction of a superhighway and a railroad in the Corridor. The Polish diplomats themselves believed that Germany’s proposal was a sincere and realistic basis for a permanent agreement.97

On March 26, 1939, the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Joseph Lipski, formally rejected Germany’s proposals for a settlement. The Poles had waited over five months to reject Germany’s proposals, and they refused to countenance any change in existing conditions. Lipski stated to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that “it was his painful duty to draw attention to the fact that any further pursuance of these German plans, especially where the return of Danzig to the Reich was concerned, meant war with Poland.”98

Józef Beck accepted an offer from Great Britain on March 30, 1939, that gave an unconditional unilateral guarantee of Poland’s independence. The British Empire agreed to go to war as an ally of Poland if the Poles decided that war was necessary. In words drafted by Halifax, Chamberlain spoke in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939, declaring:

I now have to inform the House . . . that in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to that effect.99

Great Britain for the first time in history had left the decision whether or not to fight a war outside of her own country to another nation. Britain’s guarantee to Poland was binding without commitments from the Polish side. The British public was astonished by this move. Despite its unprecedented nature, Halifax encountered little difficulty in persuading the British Conservative, Liberal, and Labor parties to accept Great Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland.100

Numerous British historians and diplomats have criticized Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland. For example, British diplomat Roy Denman called the war guarantee to Poland “the most reckless undertaking ever given by a British government. It placed the decision on peace or war in Europe in the hands of a reckless, intransigent, swashbuckling military dictatorship.”101 British historian Niall Ferguson states that the war guarantee to Poland tied Britain’s “destiny to that of a regime that was every bit as undemocratic and anti-Semitic as that of Germany.”102 English military historian Liddell Hart stated that the Polish guarantee “placed Britain’s destiny in the hands of Poland’s rulers, men of very dubious and unstable judgment. Moreover, the guarantee was impossible to fulfill except with Russia’s help.”103

American historian Richard M. Watt writes concerning Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland: “This enormously broad guarantee virtually left to the Poles the decision whether or not Britain would go to war. For Britain to give such a blank check to a Central European nation, particularly to Poland—a nation that Britain had generally regarded as irresponsible and greedy—was mind-boggling.”104

When the Belgian Minister to Germany, Vicomte Jacques Davignon, received the text of the British guarantee to Poland, he exclaimed that “blank check” was the only possible description of the British pledge. Davignon was extremely alarmed in view of the proverbial recklessness of the Poles. German State Secretary Ernst von Weizsaecker attempted to reassure Davignon by claiming that the situation between Germany and Poland was not tragic. However, Davignon correctly feared that the British move would produce war in a very short time.105

Weizsaecker later exclaimed scornfully that “the British guarantee to Poland was like offering sugar to an untrained child before it had learned to listen to reason!”106

The Deterioration of German-Polish Relations

German-Polish relationships had become strained by the increasing harshness with which the Polish authorities handled the German minority. The Polish government in the 1930s began to confiscate the land of its German minority at bargain prices through public expropriation. The German government resented the fact that German landowners received only one-eighth of the value of their holdings from the Polish government. Since the Polish public was aware of the German situation and desired to exploit it, the German minority in Poland could not sell the land in advance of expropriation. Furthermore, Polish law forbade Germans from privately selling large areas of land.

German diplomats insisted that the November 1937 Minorities Pact with Poland for the equal treatment of German and Polish landowners be observed in 1939. Despite Polish assurances of fairness and equal treatment, German diplomats learned on Feb. 15, 1939, that the latest expropriations of land in Poland were predominately of German holdings. These expropriations virtually completed the elimination of substantial German landholdings in Poland at a time when most of the larger Polish landholdings were still intact. It became evident that nothing could be done diplomatically to help the German minority in Poland.107

Poland threatened Germany with a partial mobilization of her forces on March 23, 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Polish Army reservists were mobilized, and Hitler was warned that Poland would fight to prevent the return of Danzig to Germany. The Poles were surprised to discover that Germany did not take this challenge seriously. Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding to the Polish threat of war. Germany did not threaten Poland and took no precautionary military measures in response to the Polish partial mobilization.108

Hitler regarded a German-Polish agreement as a highly welcome alternative to a German-Polish war. However, no further negotiations for a German-Polish agreement occurred after the British guarantee to Poland for the simple reason that Józef Beck refused to negotiate. Beck ignored repeated German suggestions for further negotiations. Beck knew perfectly well that Halifax hoped to accomplish the complete destruction of Germany. Halifax had considered an Anglo-German war inevitable since 1936, and Britain’s anti-German policy was made public with Chamberlain’s speech on March 17, 1939. Halifax discouraged German-Polish negotiations because he was counting on Poland to provide the pretext for a British preventive war against Germany.109

The situation between Germany and Poland deteriorated rapidly during the brief span of six weeks from the Polish partial mobilization of March 23, 1939, to a speech delivered by Józef Beck on May 5, 1939. Beck’s primary purpose in delivering his speech before the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, was to convince the Polish public and the world that he was able and willing to challenge Hitler. Beck knew that Halifax had succeeded in creating a warlike atmosphere in Great Britain, and that he could go as far as he wanted without displeasing the British. Beck took an uncompromising attitude in his speech that effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany.

Beck made numerous false and hypocritical statements in his speech. One of the most astonishing claims in his speech was that there was nothing extraordinary about the British guarantee to Poland. He described it as a normal step in the pursuit of friendly relations with a neighboring country. This was in sharp contrast to British diplomat Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement to Joseph Kennedy that Britain’s guarantee to Poland was without precedent in the entire history of British foreign policy.110

Beck ended his speech with a stirring climax that produced wild excitement in the Polish Sejm. Someone in the audience screamed loudly, “We do not need peace!” and pandemonium followed. Beck had made many Poles in the audience determined to fight Germany. This feeling resulted from their ignorance which made it impossible for them to criticize the numerous falsehoods and misstatements in Beck’s speech. Beck made the audience feel that Hitler had insulted the honor of Poland with what were actually quite reasonable peace proposals. The Polish Foreign Minister had effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany. Beck had made Germany the deadly enemy of Poland.111

More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland at the time of Beck’s speech, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. The British public was told repeatedly that the grievances of the German minority in Poland were largely imaginary. The average British citizen was completely unaware of the terror and fear of death that stalked these Germans in Poland. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland paid for the crisis with their lives. They were among the first victims of Halifax’s war policy against Germany.112

The immediate responsibility for security measures involving the German minority in Poland rested with Interior Department Ministerial Director Waclaw Zyborski. Zyborski consented to discuss the situation on June 23, 1939, with Walther Kohnert, one of the leaders of the German minority at Bromberg. Zyborski admitted to Kohnert that the Germans of Poland were in an unenviable situation, but he was not sympathetic to their plight. Zyborski ended their lengthy conversation by stating frankly that his policy required a severe treatment of the German minority in Poland. He made it clear that it was impossible for the Germans of Poland to alleviate their hard fate. The Germans in Poland were the helpless hostages of the Polish community and the Polish state.113

Other leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for help during this period. Sen. Hans Hasbach, the leader of the conservative German minority faction, and Dr. Rudolf Wiesner, the leader of the Young German Party, each made multiple appeals to Poland’s government to end the violence. In a futile appeal on July 6, 1939, to Premier Slawoj-Skladkowski, head of Poland’s Department of Interior, Wiesner referred to the waves of public violence against the Germans at Tomaszów near Lódz, May 13-15th, at Konstantynów, May 21-22nd, and at Pabianice, June 22-23, 1939. The appeal of Wiesner produced no results. The leaders of the German political groups eventually recognized that they had no influence with Polish authorities despite their loyal attitudes toward Poland. It was “open season” on the Germans of Poland with the approval of the Polish government.114

The Polish anti-German incidents of this period also occurred against the German majority in the Free City of Danzig. On May 21, 1939, Zygmunt Morawski, a former Polish soldier, murdered a German at Kalthof on Danzig territory. The incident itself would not have been so unusual except for the fact that Polish officials acted as if Poland and not the League of Nations had sovereign power over Danzig. Polish officials refused to apologize for the incident, and they treated with contempt the effort of Danzig authorities to bring Morawski to trial. It was obvious that the Poles in Danzig considered themselves above the law.115

Tension steadily mounted at Danzig after the Kalthof murder. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would show them no mercy if Poland were permitted to obtain the upper hand. The Poles were furious when they learned that Danzig was defying Poland by organizing her own militia for home defense. The Poles blamed Hitler for this situation. The Polish government protested to German Ambassador Hans von Moltke on July 1, 1939, about the current military defense measures of the Danzig government. Józef Beck told French Ambassador Léon Noel on July 6, 1939, that the Polish government had decided that additional measures were necessary to meet the alleged threat from Danzig.116

On July 29, 1939, the Danzig government presented two protest notes to the Poles concerning illegal activities of Polish custom inspectors and frontier officials. The Polish government responded by terminating the export of duty-free herring and margarine from Danzig to Poland. Polish officials next announced in the early hours of Aug. 5, 1939, that the frontiers of Danzig would be closed to the importation of all foreign food products unless the Danzig government promised by the end of the day never to interfere with the activities of Polish customs inspectors. This threat was formidable since Danzig produced only a relatively small portion of her own food. All Polish customs inspectors would also bear arms while performing their duty after Aug. 5, 1939. The Polish ultimatum made it obvious that Poland intended to replace the League of Nations as the sovereign power at Danzig.117

Hitler concluded that Poland was seeking to provoke an immediate conflict with Germany. The Danzig government submitted to the Polish ultimatum based on Hitler’s recommendation.

Józef Beck had explained to British Ambassador Kennard that the Polish government was prepared to take military measures against Danzig if it failed to accept the Polish terms. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would have executed a full military occupation of Danzig had the Polish ultimatum been rejected. It was apparent to the German government that the British and French were either unable or unwilling to restrain the Polish government from arbitrary steps that could produce an explosion.118

On Aug. 7, 1939, the Polish censors permitted the newspaper Illustrowany Kuryer Codzienny in Kraków to feature an article of unprecedented recklessness. The article stated that Polish units were constantly crossing the German frontier to destroy German military installations and to carry confiscated German military equipment into Poland. The Polish government failed to prevent the newspaper, with the largest circulation in Poland, from telling the world that Poland was instigating a series of violations of her frontier with Germany. Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Józef Beck to seek an agreement with the Germans. Potocki later succinctly explained the situation by stating that “Poland prefers Danzig to peace.”119

President Roosevelt knew that Poland had caused the crisis which began at Danzig, and he was worried that the American public might learn the truth about the situation. This could be a decisive factor in discouraging Roosevelt’s plan for American military intervention in Europe. Roosevelt instructed U.S. Ambassador Biddle to urge the Poles to be more careful in making it appear that German moves were responsible for any inevitable explosion at Danzig. Biddle reported to Roosevelt on Aug. 11, 1939, that Beck expressed no interest in engaging in a series of elaborate but empty maneuvers designed to deceive the American public. Beck stated that at the moment he was content to have full British support for his policy.120

Roosevelt also feared that American politicians might discover the facts about the hopeless dilemma which Poland’s provocative policy created for Germany. When American Democratic Party Campaign Manager and Post-Master General James Farley visited Berlin at this time, Roosevelt instructed the American Embassy in Berlin to prevent unsupervised contact between Farley and the German leaders. The German Foreign Office concluded on Aug. 10, 1939, that it was impossible to penetrate the wall of censorship around Farley. The Germans knew that President Roosevelt was determined to prevent them from freely communicating with visiting American leaders.121

Polish Atrocities Force War

On Aug. 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs, and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time, and they feared that the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Poles were warned not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.122

Rudolf Wiesner, who was the most prominent of the German minority leaders in Poland, spoke of a disaster “of inconceivable magnitude” since the early months of 1939. Wiesner claimed that the last Germans had been dismissed from their jobs without the benefit of unemployment relief, and that hunger and privation were stamped on the faces of the Germans in Poland. German welfare agencies, cooperatives, and trade associations had been closed by Polish authorities. Exceptional martial law conditions of the earlier frontier zone had been extended to include more than one-third of the territory of Poland. The mass arrests, deportations, mutilations, and beatings of the last few weeks in Poland surpassed anything which had happened before. Wiesner insisted that the German minority leaders merely desired the restoration of peace, the banishment of the specter of war, and the right to live and work in peace. Wiesner was arrested by the Poles on Aug. 16, 1939, on suspicion of conducting espionage for Germany in Poland.123

The German press devoted increasing space to detailed accounts of atrocities against the Germans in Poland. The Völkischer Beobachter reported that more than 80,000 German refugees from Poland had succeeded in reaching German territory by Aug. 20, 1939. The German Foreign Office had received a huge file of specific reports of excesses against national and ethnic Germans in Poland. More than 1,500 documented reports had been received since March 1939, and more than 10 detailed reports were arriving in the German Foreign Office each day. The reports presented a staggering picture of brutality and human misery.124

W.L. White, an American journalist, later recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people by this time that horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the Germans of Poland.125

Donald Day, a Chicago Tribune correspondent, reported on the atrocious treatment the Poles had meted out to the ethnic Germans in Poland:

I traveled up to the Polish corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.126

British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on Aug. 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.127

On Aug. 25, 1939, Henderson reported to Halifax the latest Polish atrocity at Bielitz, Upper Silesia. Henderson never relied on official German statements concerning these incidents, but instead based his reports on information he had received from neutral sources. The Poles continued to forcibly deport the Germans of that area, and compelled them to march into the interior of Poland. Eight Germans were murdered and many more were injured during one of these actions.

Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.128

On Aug. 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. This non-aggression pact contained a secret protocol which recognized a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. German recognition of this Soviet sphere of influence would not apply in the event of a diplomatic settlement of the German-Polish dispute. Hitler had hoped to recover the diplomatic initiative through the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact. However, Chamberlain warned Hitler in a letter dated Aug. 23, 1939, that Great Britain would support Poland with military force regardless of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Józef Beck also continued to refuse to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Germany.129

Germany made a new offer to Poland on Aug. 29, 1939, for a last diplomatic campaign to settle the German-Polish dispute. The terms of a new German plan for a settlement, the so-called Marienwerder proposals, were less important than the offer to negotiate as such. The terms of the Marienwerder proposals were intended as nothing more than a tentative German plan for a possible settlement. The German government emphasized that these terms were formulated to offer a basis for unimpeded negotiations between equals rather than constituting a series of demands which Poland would be required to accept. There was nothing to prevent the Poles from offering an entirely new set of proposals of their own.

The Germans, in offering to negotiate with Poland, were indicating that they favored a diplomatic settlement over war with Poland. The willingness of the Poles to negotiate would not in any way have implied a Polish retreat or their readiness to recognize the German annexation of Danzig. The Poles could have justified their acceptance to negotiate with the announcement that Germany, and not Poland, had found it necessary to request new negotiations. In refusing to negotiate, the Poles were announcing that they favored war. The refusal of British Foreign Secretary Halifax to encourage the Poles to negotiate also indicated that he favored war.130

French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain were both privately critical of the Polish government. Daladier in private denounced the “criminal folly” of the Poles. Chamberlain admitted to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that it was the Poles, and not the Germans, who were unreasonable. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt, “frankly he [Chamberlain] is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.” However, neither Daladier nor Chamberlain made any effort to influence the Poles to negotiate with the Germans.131

On Aug. 29, 1939, the Polish government decided upon the general mobilization of its army. The Polish military plans stipulated that general mobilization would be ordered only in the event of Poland’s decision for war. Henderson informed Halifax of some of the verified Polish violations prior to the war. The Poles blew up the Dirschau (Tczew) bridge across the Vistula River even though the eastern approach to the bridge was in German territory. The Poles also occupied a number of Danzig installations and engaged in fighting with the citizens of Danzig on the same day. Henderson reported that Hitler was not insisting on the total military defeat of Poland. Hitler was prepared to terminate hostilities if the Poles indicated that they were willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.132

Germany decided to invade Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. All of the British leaders claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Prime Minister Chamberlain broadcast that evening on British radio that “the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe (war in Poland) lies on the shoulders of one man, the German Chancellor.”

Chamberlain claimed that Hitler had ordered Poland to come to Berlin with the unconditional obligation of accepting without discussion the exact German terms. Chamberlain denied that Germany had invited the Poles to engage in normal negotiations. Chamberlain’s statements were unvarnished lies, but the Polish case was so weak that it was impossible to defend it with the truth.

Halifax also delivered a cleverly hypocritical speech to the House of Lords on the evening of Sept. 1, 1939. Halifax claimed that the best proof of the British will to peace was to have Chamberlain, the great appeasement leader, carry Great Britain into war. Halifax concealed the fact that he had taken over the direction of British foreign policy from Chamberlain in October 1938, and that Great Britain would probably not be moving into war had this not happened. He assured his audience that Hitler, before the bar of history, would have to assume full responsibility for starting the war. Halifax insisted that the English conscience was pure, and that, in looking back, he did not wish to change a thing as far as British policy was concerned.133

On Sept. 2, 1939, Italy and Germany agreed to hold a mediation conference among themselves and Great Britain, France, and Poland. Halifax attempted to destroy the conference plan by insisting that Germany withdraw her forces from Poland and Danzig before Great Britain and France would consider attending the mediation conference. French Foreign Minister Bonnet knew that no nation would accept such treatment, and that the attitude of Halifax was unreasonable and unrealistic.

Ultimately, the mediation effort collapsed, and both Great Britain and France declared war against Germany on Sept. 3, 1939. When Hitler read the British declaration of war against Germany, he paused and asked to no one in particular: “What now?”134 Germany was now in an unnecessary war with three European nations.

Similar to the other British leaders, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, later claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Henderson writes in his memoirs in 1940: “If Hitler wanted peace he knew how to insure it; if he wanted war, he knew equally well what would bring it about. The choice lay with him, and in the end the entire responsibility for war was his.”135 Henderson forgets in this passage that he had repeatedly warned Halifax that the Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland were extreme. Hitler invaded Poland in order to end these atrocities.

Polish Atrocities Continue Against German Minority

The Germans in Poland continued to experience an atmosphere of terror in the early part of September 1939. Throughout the country the Germans had been told, “If war comes to Poland you will all be hanged.” This prophecy was later fulfilled in many cases.

The famous bloody Sunday in Torun on Sept. 3, 1939, was accompanied by similar massacres elsewhere in Poland. These massacres brought a tragic end to the long suffering of many ethnic Germans. This catastrophe had been anticipated by the Germans before the outbreak of war, as reflected by the flight, or attempted escape, of large numbers of Germans from Poland. The feelings of these Germans were revealed by the desperate slogan, “Away from this hell, and back to the Reich!”136

Dr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas writes concerning the ethnic Germans in Poland:

The first victims of the war were Volksdeutsche, ethnic German civilians resident in and citizens of Poland. Using lists prepared years earlier, in part by lower administrative offices, Poland immediately deported 15,000 Germans to Eastern Poland. Fear and rage at the quick German victories led to hysteria. German “spies” were seen everywhere, suspected of forming a fifth column. More than 5,000 German civilians were murdered in the first days of the war. They were hostages and scapegoats at the same time. Gruesome scenes were played out in Bromberg on September 3, as well as in several other places throughout the province of Posen, in Pommerellen, wherever German minorities resided.137

Polish atrocities against ethnic Germans have been documented in the book Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland. Most of the outside world dismissed this book as nothing more than propaganda used to justify Hitler’s invasion of Poland. However, skeptics failed to notice that forensic pathologists from the International Red Cross and medical and legal observers from the United States verified the findings of these Polish war crimes investigations. These investigations were also conducted by German police and civil administrations, and not the National Socialist Party or the German military. Moreover, both anti-German and other university-trained researchers have acknowledged that the charges in the book are based entirely on factual evidence.138

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland states:

When the first edition of this collection of documents went to press on November 17, 1939, 5,437 cases of murder committed by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians against men, women and children of the German minority had been definitely ascertained. It was known that the total when fully ascertained would be very much higher. Between that date and February 1, 1940, the number of identified victims mounted to 12,857. At the present stage investigations disclose that in addition to these 12,857, more than 45,000 persons are still missing. Since there is no trace of them, they must also be considered victims of the Polish terror. Even the figure 58,000 is not final. There can be no doubt that the inquiries now being carried out will result in the disclosure of additional thousands dead and missing.139

Medical examinations of the Polish murder victims showed that Germans of all ages, from four months to 82 years of age, were murdered. The report concludes:

It was shown that the murders were committed with the greatest brutality and that in many cases they were purely sadistic acts—that gouging of eyes was established and that other forms of mutilation, as supported by the depositions of witnesses, may be considered as true.

The method by which the individual murders were committed in many cases reveals studied physical and mental torture; in this connection several cases of killing extended over many hours and of slow death due to neglect had to be mentioned.

By far the most important finding seems to be the proof that murder by such chance weapons as clubs or knives was the exception, and that as a rule modern, highly-effective army rifles and pistols were available to the murderers. It must be emphasized further that it was possible to show, down to the minutest detail, that there could have been no possibility of execution [under military law].140

The Polish atrocities were not acts of personal revenge, professional jealously or class hatred; instead they were a concerted political action. They were organized mass murders caused by a psychosis of political animosity. The hate-inspired urge to destroy everything German was driven by the Polish press, radio, school, and government propaganda. Britain’s blank check of support had encouraged Poland to conduct inhuman atrocities against its German minority.141

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland answers the question of why the Polish government allowed such atrocities to happen:

The guarantee of assistance given Poland by the British Government was the agent which lent impetus to Britain’s policy of encirclement. It was designed to exploit the problem of Danzig and the Corridor to begin a war, desired and long-prepared by England, for the annihilation of Greater Germany. In Warsaw moderation was no longer considered necessary, and the opinion held was that matters could be safely brought to a head. England was backing this diabolical game, having guaranteed the “integrity” of the Polish state. The British assurance of assistance meant that Poland was to be the battering ram of Germany’s enemies. Henceforth Poland neglected no form of provocation of Germany and, in its blindness, dreamt of “victorious battle at Berlin’s gates.” Had it not been for the encouragement of the English war clique, which was stiffening Poland’s attitude toward the Reich and whose promises led Warsaw to feel safe, the Polish Government would hardly have let matters develop to the point where Polish soldiers and civilians would eventually interpret the slogan to extirpate all German influence as an incitement to the murder and bestial mutilation of human beings.142



1 Degrelle, Leon, Hitler: Born at Versailles, Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1992, Author’s Preface, p. x.

2 Chamberlain, William Henry, America’s Second Crusade, Chicago: Regnery, 1950, pp. 13-15, 20-22.

3 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, pp. 81, 84.

4 Franz-Willing, “The Origins of the Second World War,” The Journal of Historical Review, Torrance, CA: Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 1986, p. 103.

5 Ibid., see also Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 85.

6 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, pp. 86-87.

7 Franz-Willing, “The Origins of the Second World War,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 1986, p. 103.

8 Ibid.

9 Luckau, Alma, The German Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, New York: Columbia University Press, 1941, p. 124.

10 Denman, Roy, Missed Chances: Britain and Europe in the Twentieth Century, London: Indigo, 1997, p. 48; see also Mee, Charles L., The End of Order: Versailles 1919, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1980, pp. 215-216.

11 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 77, 83.

12 Hoover, Herbert, Memoirs, Vol. 1, Years of Adventure, New York: MacMillan, 1951-1952, p. 341.

13 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 96.

14 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, p. 79.

15 Tansill, Charles C., Back Door to War: The Roosevelt Foreign Policy 1933-1941, Chicago: Regnery, 1952, p. 24.

16 O’Brien, Francis William (ed.), Two Peacemakers in Paris: The Hoover-Wilson Post-Armistice Letters, 1918-1920, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1978, p. 129.

17 Hoover, Herbert, Memoirs, Vol. 1, Years of Adventure, New York: MacMillan, 1951-1952, p. 345.

18 Gedye, George E. R., The Revolver Republic; France’s Bid for the Rhine, London: J. W. Arrowsmith, Ltd., 1930, pp. 29-31.

19 Fay, Sidney B., The Origins of the World War, New York: Macmillan, 1930, pp. 552, 554-555.

20 Ponsonby, Arthur, Falsehood in Wartime, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1991.

21 Barnes, Harry Elmer, Barnes Against the Blackout, Costa Mesa, CA: The Institute for Historical Review, 1991, p. 159.

22 Luckau, Alma, The German Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, New York: Columbia University Press, 1941, pp. 98-100.

23 Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, translated by James Murphy, London: Hurst and Blackett Ltd., 1942, p. 260.

24 Chamberlain, William Henry, America’s Second Crusade, Chicago: Regnery, 1950, p. 45.

25 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 118.

26 Bochaca, Joaquin, “Reversing Versailles,” The Barnes Review, Nov. /Dec. 2012, Vol. XVIII, No. 6, p. 61.

27 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 86.

28 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 119.

29 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 145-147.

30 Chamberlain, William Henry, America’s Second Crusade, Chicago: Regnery, 1950, p. 46.

31 Rowland, Peter, David Lloyd George: A Biography, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1975, p. 728.

32 Ibid., p. 733.

33 Churchill, Winston, Great Contemporaries, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1937, p. 228.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid., p. 232.

36 Kershaw, Ian, Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, New York: W. W. Norton, 2000, p. 91.

37 Neilson, Francis, The Makers of War, New Orleans, LA: Flanders Hall Publishers, 1950, p. 171.

38 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 183-184.

39 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 76.

40 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 183-187.

41 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, pp. 137-138.

42 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 188-189.

43 Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, p. 98.

44 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 91.

45 Tansill, Charles C., “The United States and the Road to War in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 141.

46 Quigley, Carroll, Tragedy and Hope, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966, p. 624.

47 Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, p. 102.

48 MacDonogh, Giles, Hitler’s Gamble, New York: Basic Books, 2009, p. 35.

49 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 93.

50 Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, p. 104.

51 MacDonogh, Giles, Hitler’s Gamble, New York: Basic Books, 2009, pp. 104-106.

52 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, pp. 149-150.

53 Neilson, Francis, The Makers of War, New Orleans, LA: Flanders Hall Publishers, 1950, pp. 176-177.

54 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 213-215.

55 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 106-107.

56 Henderson, Sir Nevile, Failure of a Mission, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940, pp. 142-143.

57 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 213-227.

58 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 108.

59 Chamberlain, William Henry, America’s Second Crusade, Chicago: Regnery, 1950, pp. 53-54.

60 Ibid., p. 54.

61 Ibid., p. 55.

62 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 180-181.

63 Ibid., p. 188.

64 Ibid., p. 190.

65 Ibid., p. 191.

66 Bradberry, Benton L., The Myth of German Villainy, Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2012, p. 324.

67 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 187.

68 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, p. 241.

69 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 235, 241.

70 Ibid., p. 240.

71 Ibid., p. 227.

72 Ibid., pp. 245-247.

73 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, p. 246.

74 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 248.

75 Ibid., pp. 250-251.

76 Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, pp. 117, 119.

77 Watt, David Cameron, How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939, New York: Pantheon, 1989, p. 145.

78 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, pp. 202-203.

79 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 228.

80 Ibid., p. 252.

81 Smith, Gene, The Dark Summer: An Intimate History of the Events That Led to World War II, New York: Macmillan, 1987, p. 132.

82 Buchanan, Patrick J., Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. 252-253.

83 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 252, 297.

84 Ibid., p. 297.

85 Ibid., pp. 299-301.

86 Ibid., p. 301.

87 Ibid.

88 Ibid., p. 341.

89 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 207.

90 DeConde, Alexander, A History of American Foreign Policy, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971, p. 576.

91 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 25, 312.

92 Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 209.

93 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 50.

94 Ibid., pp. 49-60.

95 Ibid., pp. 328-329.

96 Ibid., pp. 145-146.

97 Ibid., pp. 21, 256-257.

98 Ibid., p. 323.

99 Barnett, Correlli, The Collapse of British Power, New York: William Morrow, 1972, p. 560; see also Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 211.

100 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 333, 340.

101 Denman, Roy, Missed Chances: Britain and Europe in the Twentieth Century, London: Indigo, 1997, p. 121.

102 Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, New York: Penguin Press, 2006, p. 377.

103 Hart, B. H. Liddell, History of the Second World War, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970, p. 11.

104 Watt, Richard M., Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate 1918 to 1939, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979, p. 379.

105 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 342.

106 Ibid., p. 391.

107 Ibid., pp. 260-262.

108 Ibid., pp. 311-312.

109 Ibid., pp. 355, 357.

110 Ibid., pp. 381, 383.

111 Ibid., pp. 384, 387.

112 Ibid., p. 387.

113 Ibid., pp. 388-389.

114 Ibid.

115 Ibid., pp. 392-393.

116 Ibid., pp. 405-406.

117 Ibid., p. 412.

118 Ibid., pp. 413-415.

119 Ibid., p. 419.

120 Ibid., p. 414.

121 Ibid., p. 417.

122 Ibid., pp. 452-453.

123 Ibid., p. 463.

124 Ibid., p. 479.

125 Ibid., p. 554.

126 Day, Donald, Onward Christian Soldiers, Newport Beach, CA: The Noontide Press, 2002, p. 56.

127 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 500-501, 550.

128 Ibid., p. 509

129 Ibid., pp. 470, 483, 538.

130 Ibid., pp. 513-514.

131 Ibid., pp. 441, 549.

132 Ibid., pp. 537, 577.

133 Ibid., pp. 578-579.

134 Ibid., pp. 586, 593, 598.

135 Henderson, Sir Nevile, Failure of a Mission, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940, p. 227.

136 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 390.

137 De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 2nd edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p. 27.

138 Roland, Marc, “Poland’s Censored Holocaust,” The Barnes Review in Review: 2008-2010, pp. 132-133.

139 Shadewalt, Hans, Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland, Berlin and New York: German Library of Information, 2nd edition, 1940, p. 19.

140 Ibid., pp. 257-258.

141 Ibid., pp. 88-89.

142 Ibid., pp. 75-76.

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