100 DOCUMENTS ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WAR – ww2

Since, however, our enemies are untiring in their efforts to 

conceal the truth by means of lying propaganda and to mis- 

lead the world at large, not only as regards the causes of the 

war but also concerning their aims, it seems essential to 

furnish once again by authentic official documents the irrefu- 

table proof that Britain, and Britain alone, was responsible 

for the war which she deliberately brought about in order 

to annihilate Germany. 

 

13 MB pdf

 

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDF_Books/100_Documents_On_The_Origin_Of_The_War-Selected_From_Official_German_White_Book-1939-254pgs-POL.pdf

 

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100 DOCUMENTS ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WAR

100 

DOCUMENTS 

ON 

THE ORIGIN 

OF 

THE WAR 

SELECTED 

FROM THE OFFICIAL GERMAN 

WHITE BOOK 

PRESENTED 

BY THE GERMAN INFORMATION SERVICE 

PUBLISHED BY DEUTSCI-IER VERLAG BERLIN

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction by Herr von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs

Foreword 13 

First Chapter 

Development of German-Polish Relations and Ger- 

many’s Efforts to maintain Peace in Europe. Docu- 

ments No.i-ii : 15-40 

No. 

i Extract from a Memorandum circulated by Mr. Lloyd George, 

British Prime Minister, 25 March x919 16 

z Extract from the Observations of the German Peace Delegation 

on the Peace Conditions, 29 May 1919 17 

3 Extract from the Observations of the German Peace Delegation 

on the. Peace Conditions, 29 May 1919 17 

4 Memo by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning a 

conversation of the Fuehrer with the Polish Minister, 2 May193 3 21 

5 The Reich Minister for Foreign-Affairs to the German Minister 

in Warsaw, 24 November1933 23 

6 The German Minister in Warsaw to the German Foreign Office, 

z8 November1933 25 

7 Declaration made by the German and Polish Governments, 

26 January1934 27 

8 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, 2o January 1937 30 

9 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office,IJune1937 31 

,o The German Consul-General in Danzig to the’ German Foreign 

Office, x5 November 1937 36 

ii The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 2 September 1938 37

No. Page 

Second Chapter 

British War Policy after the Munich Agreement. 

Germany’s Effort to obtain a peaceful Solution for the 

Problems of Danzig and the Corridor. Documents 

No.12-55 41-120 

12 Joint Declaration made by the Fuehrer and Mr. Chamberlain, 

British Prime Minister, Munich, 30 September 1938 41 

13 Extract from a Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime 

Minister, in the House of Commons, 3 October 1938 42 

14 Extract from a Speech, by Mr. Winston Churchill, broadcast in 

the United States of America, 16 October 1938 44 

15 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

Polish Ambassador at Berchtesgaden, 24 October 1938 46 

16 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

Polish Ambassador, 19 November 19 3 8 50 

17 Conversation of the Fuehrer with M. Beck, Polish Ministerfor 

Foreign Affairs, in the presence of the Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs, the German Ambassador in Warsaw, and the Polish 

Ambassador in Berlin, Berchtesgaden, 5 January 1 

939 53 

18 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Munich, 6 January 

1939 57 

19 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Warsaw, 26 Ja- 

nuary 1939 6o 

2o Speech by Mr. R. S. Hudson, Secretary, Department of Overseas 

Trade, in the House of Commons, 3o November 1938 (Extract) 61 

21 The German Ambassador in Paris to the German Foreign office, 

1oDecember 1938 63 

22 The German Ambassador in London to the German Foreign 

Office,5 January 1939 64 

23 Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, in 

Birmingham, 28 January 1939 (Extract) 66 

24 The GermanCharged’Affaires in Ankara to the German Foreign 

Office, 17 January 1939 67 

25 The German Minister in Teheran to the German Foreign 

Office, 4 March 1939 68 

2

No. 

 

Page 

z6 Statement made by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, in 

the House of Commons, 6 February 1939 71 

27 The German Ambassador in Paris to the German Foreign Office, 

z8 February 1939 7z 

z8 Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, in 

Birmingham, 17 March 1939 (Extract) 73 

29 Extract fromaSpeech by Lord Halifax, British Secretary of State 

for Foreign Affairs, in the House of Lords, zo March 1939 75 

3o The German Charge d’Affaires in London to the German 

Foreign Office, 20 March 1939 76 

31 The German Charge d’Affaires in London to the German 

Foreign Office, zz March 1939 77 

3 z The GermanCharged’Affairesin London to the German Foreign 

Office, z9 March 1939 77 

33 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 9 March 1939 79 

34 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

Polish Ambassador, 21 March 1939 81 

35 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office,24March1939 85 

36 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office,24March1939 85 

37 Memo by the Director of the Political Department in the German 

Foreign Office, 25 March 1939 87 

38 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

Polish Ambassador, z6 March 1939 87 

39 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

Polish Ambassador, 27 March 1939 89 

4o The German Foreign Office to the German Ambassador. in 

Warsaw,27March 1939 91 

41 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, z8 March 1939 92 

42 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 29 March 1939 94 

43 The German Consul-General at Thorn to the German Foreign 

Office, 30 March 1939 95 

3

No. 

 

page 

44 The German Consul-General in Posen to the German Foreign 

_Office, 31 March1939 96 

45 Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office, 

6 April 1939 97 

46 Statement made by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, in 

the House of Commons, 31 March 1939 100 

47 Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime. Minister, in the House 

of Commons, 

3 April 1939(Extract) 101 

48 Extract from a Speech by Sir John Simon, British Chancellor of 

the Exchequer, in the House of Commons, 3 April 1939 

102 

49 Speech by the Fuehrer to the Reichstag, 28 April 1939 104 

5o The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 23 May 1939 113 

51 The German Consul-General in New York to the German 

Foreign Office,25 May1939 115 

52 The German Ambassador in London to the German Foreign 

Office, 29 June 1939 117 

53 The German Ambassador in London to the German Foreign 

Office, 10July 1939 118 

54 The German Ambassador in London to the German Foreign 

Office,-15 July 1939 

119 

5 5 The German Ambassador in Paris to the German Foreign Office, 

28 July1939 120 

Third Chapter 

Poland as the Instrument of Britain’s Will to War. 

Documents No. 56-100 12 

3-250 

56 Petition by the Representatives of the German Minority to the 

President of the Polish Republic, 12 May 1939 

124 

57 The German Consul at Lodz to the German Foreign Office, 

15 May 1939 127 

58 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 19June1939 130 

59 The German Consul at Lemberg to the German Foreign Office, 

15 July 1939 132

No 

 

PAV 

6o The German Consul at Lemberg to the German Foreign Office, 

9 August1939 132 

61 Memo by an official in the Political Department of the German 

Foreign Office, 16 August 1939 134 

62 The German Consul-General at Kattowitz to the German Foreign 

Office, i6•August 1939 134 

63 Memo by an official inthe Political Department of the German 

Foreign Office, 20 August 1939 133 

64 Memo by an official in the Political Department of the German 

Foreign Office, 23 August 1939 143 

65 The German Consul-General at Thorn to the German Foreign 

Office, 28 August 1939 143 

66 The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office.IAugust1939 145 

67 The Diplomatic Representative of the Polish Republic in Danzig 

to the President of the Senate of the Free City of Danzig, 4 August 

1939 149 

68 The Diplomatic Representative of the Polish Republic in Danzig 

to the President of the Senate of the Free City of Danzig,4August 

1939 (2nd Note) 150 

69 The President of the Senate of the Free City of Danzig to the 

Diplomatic Representative of the Polish Republic in Danzig, 

7 August 1939 151 

70 Memo by an official in-the Political Department of the German 

Foreign Office, 24 August 1939 152 

71 The German Consul-General in Danzig to the German Foreign 

Office, 31 August1939 153 

72 Communication from the State Secretary at the German Foreign 

Office to the Polish Charged’Affaires, 9 August 1939 154 

73 Communication from the Under-Secretary of State at the Polish 

Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the German Cbargld’Affairesin 

Warsaw, io August 1939 155 

74 The High Command of the German Armed Forces to 

the German Foreign Office, 3 November 1939 156 

75 Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office, 

15. August1939 159 

la 100 documents, engi. 

5

No. 

 

Page 

76 Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office, 

15 August 1939 162 

77 Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, to the Fuehrer, 

22 August1939 165 

78 Conversation of the Fuehrer with the British Ambassador, 

Berchtesgaden,23August 

1939 168 

79 The Fuehrer to Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

23 August1939 173 

8o Statement made by the Fuehrer to the British Ambassador, 

25 August 1939,at 1.30 p. m 178 

81 British-Polish Agreement of Mutual Assistance, 25August 1939 181 

82 M. Daladier, the French Premier, to the Fuehrer, 26 August 1 

939 185 

83 The Fuehrer to M. Daladier, the French Premier, 27 August 

1939 187 

84 Memorandum from the British Government handed to the 

Fuehrer by the British Ambassador, 28 August 1939,10.30 p. M. 192 

85 The Fuehrer’s Reply to the British Government handed to the 

British Ambassador, 29 August 1939, 6.45 p. m 196 

86 The GermanCharged’Affairesin Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office, 3o August1 939, 5. 30 p. m 200 

87 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

British Ambassador, 3o August 1939, at midnight 201 

88 Official German Communication, 31 August 1939, 9 p. m 211 

89 Announcement by the Polish Broadcasting Station at Warsaw, 

31 August 1939, 11 p. m 214 

9o List of officially reported serious frontier incidents on the 

German-Polish frontier between z5 and 31 August 1939, com- 

piled by an official in the Political Department of the German 

Foreign Office, i September 1939 215 

91 Speech by the Fuehrer to the Reichstag, i September1 

939 P25 

9z Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

British Ambassador, i September 1939, 9 P 

. m 735

No. 

 

Page 

93 Communication handed to the German Foreign Office by’ the 

Italian Ambassador on the morning of2September 1939 238 

94 Information from the Havas News Agency, 2 September 1939 238 

95 Extract from a Statement made by Lord Halifax, British Secretary 

of State for Foreign Affairs, in the House of Lords on the after- 

noon of 2 September 1939 239 

96 Note handed to the German Foreign Office by the British 

Ambassador, 3 September 1939,9 a. m 240 

97 Memorandum from the Reich Government, handed to the British 

Ambassador by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, 3 Sep- 

tember 1939, 11.30 a. m 241 

98 Note handed to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs by the 

French Ambassador, 3 September 1939, 12.20 p. m 245 

99 Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with the 

French Ambassador, 3 September 1939, 12.20 p. m 247 

loo The State Secretary at the German Foreign Office to the German 

Diplomatic Representatives, 3 September 1939 249 

1a’

nder the leadership of Adolf Hitler, the German people 

has learnt to look not backward into the past, but 

forward into the future. But the war which has been enforced 

upon us, and which we are waging for the sake of Germany’s 

future weal, renders it absolutely necessary that we should 

constantly bear in mind what led to the outbreak of the 

present conflict and wherein lay its ultimate causes. These 

facts have long been obvious to those who cared to see them 

and have often enough been publicly established by competent 

German authorities and especially by the Fuehrer in his speeches. 

Since, however, our enemies are untiring in their efforts to 

conceal the truth by means of lying propaganda and to mis- 

lead the world at large, not only as regards the causes of the 

war but also concerning their aims, it seems essential to 

furnish once again by authentic official documents the irrefu- 

table proof that Britain, and Britain alone, was responsible 

for the war which she deliberately brought about in order 

to annihilate Germany. 

Immediately after the outbreak of hostilities, the German 

Foreign Office published, in the form of a White Paper, those 

documents which shed a light upon the last phase of the 

German-Polish crisis. The Foreign Office now publishes a 

more comprehensive collection of documents relating not only 

to the period immediately preceding the outbreak of hostilities, 

but to the most important political events which gave rise to 

the conflict with Poland in the first place, and subsequently, 

-to the conflict with Britain and France.

The zoo documents here published are so eloquent in them- 

selves that comment is superfluous. These matter-of-fact 

diplomatic papers give a plain and unadorned picture of the 

political developments of the past few years, a picture which 

cannot fail to arouse, even in those closely connected with 

these developments, a feeling of overwhelming tragedy. They 

prove how, since the conclusion of the Great War, the Poles 

systematically attempted to exterminate the German minority 

in Poland and to ruin Danzig; they prove how the Fuehrer 

endeavoured by broad-minded and infinitely patient statesman- 

ship to establish German-Polish relations on a permanent foot- 

ing to the interests of both parties; they prove how, on the 

contrary, the people in power in Poland in their short-sighted- 

ness frustrated the possibilities of a final settlement again and 

again offered to them by Germany. Above all, the documents 

clearly show how, immediately after the Munich Conference, 

Britain’s desire for war became more and more obvious and 

how the British Government finally utilized the infatuation 

of the Polish Government, which Britain herself had brought 

about on purpose, in order to start their long-planned war- 

with Germany. To reveal the full extent of Britain’s political 

hypocrisy and criminal machinations it would, indeed, be ne- 

cessary to recount the events of the entire post-war period, 

throughout which Britain opposed every successive attempt 

on the part of Germany to free herself from the fetters im- 

posed on her by the dictated Treaty of Versailles and again 

and again spoilt every opportunity for the revision of this 

dictated treaty by means of negotiation. A study of the short 

period which has elapsed since the autumn of 1938, viewed in 

the light of the documents published in this White Book will, 

however, suffice to prove that Britain was, from the outset, 

determined to thwart the Fuehrer in his purpose by force. 

He had already by his supreme statesmanship succeeded in 

doing away with several of the worst crimes committed at 

Versailles, and that without bloodshed and without impinging 

I0

upon the interests of Great Britain. In the same way, the 

Fuehrer would have obtained a peaceful solution of the Ger- 

man-Polish problem, hid not Britain made unscrupulous use 

of Poland as a pawn in her schemes for war and by her 

criminal policy plunged Europe into war. 

This truth, historically established for all time, is further 

borne out by the fact that Britain replied to the final and 

generous peace offer made once again by the Fuehrer in his 

speech in the Reichstag on 6 October by an arrogant and 

insulting challenge to Germany. In unshakeable consciousness 

of the righteousness of their cause and with the unswerving 

conviction of their ultimate victory, the people of Germany 

took up the challenge and will notlaydown their arms until 

they have achieved their aim. This aim is:-The military 

annihilation of their adversaries and the securement of the 

German nation’s rightful living space against the threat of 

aggression for all time. 

Berlin, 3 December 1939. 

von Ribbentrop 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs.

6-

Foreword 

he following documents have been, published with the 

object of giving a clear picture of the events which led up 

to the outbreak, of the present war. They relate not only to 

the weeks immediately preceding the outbreak of hostilities 

but allow the reader to form an unbiassed opinion with regard 

to the more remote causes of thewar. 

The White Book published by the German Foreign Office 

(1939, No. 2) entitled “Documents on the Origin of the War” 

contains no less than 482 documents. It was necessary, in 

order to give a really comprehensive survey not only of the 

development of German-Polish relations, but also of Britain’s 

war policy and the German-Polish crisis of* 1939, topublish 

an unbroken series of official documents. A great number of 

the documents contained in the above-mentioned publication 

need not, however, be referred to by those who merely wish 

to gain a general impression of the most important political 

events. The present edition is, therefore, a selection of those 

sections of the official White Book dealing with the origin of 

the war, which most clearly show the main trend of political 

developments. This handy edition of. the German documents 

on the origin of the wiLr affords every reader an opportunity 

of speedily familiarizing himself with the most important facts 

which led to the outbreak of the present conflict. The contents 

of those documents which do not appear in this edition are 

.summarized in the connecting text, which thus gives a clear 

and accurate picture of the course of events. 

z3

In the first chapter, the documents show the development 

of German-Polish relations from the Versailles Conference to 

the time preceding the Munich Agreement. The second chapter 

deals with the development of British war policy, namely, the 

encirclement of Germany and the incitement of Poland and 

also the endeavour of the Reich Government to reach a 

peaceful settlement of the problems of Danzig and the Polish 

Corridor. The third chapter shows how Poland became the 

instrument of Britain’s will. towar. The effects of the British 

guarantee can be observed in the campaign to exterminate the 

German minority in Poland. This is followed by the last phase 

of the German-Polish crisis, in which British policy led to the 

outbreak of hostilities. 

(The figuresin brackets indicate the number of the document in 

the official German White Book.)

FIRST CHAPTER 

Development 

of German-Polish Relations 

A. The Versailles Conference and the Polish Problem 

Since the day at Versailles when Poland was reconstituted 

an independent state, German-Polish relations have been under 

a cloud. In the first instance, Poland declared herself Ger- 

many’s hereditary enemy according to an alleged thousand- 

year-old tradition. She thus established not only her territorial 

claims with regard to Germany, but even justified her own 

right o f existence and recommended herself to the victorious 

Powers as a potential and reliable ally who could be called 

upon at any time to assist in holding Germany in check. 

Secondly, this function on the part o f Poland was confirmed 

by the Western Powers, and by inclusion in the French system 

of collective security she became the eastern link in the encircle- 

ment o f Germany, destined since their failure to secure Russia 

to assume that country’s role and carry on the tradition that 

Germany’s attention should be divided between two fronts. 

Thirdly, German-Polish relations were embittered from the 

outset by the transfer to Polish rule of a large body of Ger- 

mans who were forthwith subjected to strict Polonization. 

Fourthly, the cession o f German territory in the east was one 

of the greatest injustices of the Peace Treaty. Not only, the 

German nation but competent statesmen among the Allies 

regarded these cessions as so intolerable that everyone agreed 

that this was a matter for immediate- reparation, i f it were 

not to be the cause of another European war. 

In a memorandum addressed to the Versailles Conference on 

25 March igig, Mr. Lloyd George drew attention to this 

I5

potential cause of future conflict, as did also the German 

Peace Delegation. 

No. i (z) 

Extract from a Memorandum circulated by Mr., Lloyd George, 

British Prime Minister, 25 March i9r9 

“Some considerations for the Peace Conference before they 

finally draft their terms” 

. . . . The maintenance of peace will then depend upon there 

beingnocauses of exasperation constantlystirring up. the spirit 

of patriotism, of justice or of fair play. To achieve redress 

our terms may be severe, theymay be stern and even ruthless, 

but at the same time they can be so just that the country on 

which they are imposed will feel in its heart that it has no 

right to complain. But injustice, arrogance, displayed in the 

hour of triumph will never be forgotten or forgiven. 

For these reasons I am, therefore, strongly averse to trans- 

ferring more Germans from German rule to the rule of some 

other nation than can possibly be helped. I cannot conceive 

any greater cause of future war than that the German people, 

who have certainly proved themselves one of the most vigorous 

and powerful races in the world, should be surrounded by a 

number of small states, many of them consisting of people 

who have never previously set up a stable government for 

themselves, but each of them containing large masses of Ger- 

mans clamouring for reunion with their native, land. The 

proposal of the Polish Commission that we should place 

z,ioo,ooo Germans under the control of a people which is of 

a different religion and which has never proved its capacity 

for stable self-government throughout its history must, in my 

judgment, lead sooner or later to a new war in the East of 

Europe. . . . 

x6

No. a (2) 

Extract from the Observations o f the German Peace Delegation 

on the Peace Conditions, 29 May1919* 

(Translation) 

By the settlement of the territorial questions in the east as 

provided for in Articles 27and 28, portions of the Prussian 

provinces of East and West Prussia, Pomerania, Posen and 

Silesia more or less considerable in area, which are not inhabited 

by an undeniably Polish population, are allocated to the Polish 

State. Without considering the ethnographical aspect of the 

case, numerous German cities and large areas of purely German 

territory are being handed over to Poland merely in order that 

Poland should possess suitable military frontiers against Ger- 

many or important railway junctions. Districts which at various 

times during centuries have been separated from Poland or 

over which Poland never ruled, are now being indiscriminately 

allotted to her. The acceptance of the suggested settlement 

would therefore signify a violation of large and undeniably 

German districts. Such a settlement would, moreover, be con- 

trary to the Wilsonian principle that in settling national 

questions care must be exercised to avoid “introducing new or 

perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that 

would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe and 

consequently of the world  

Annex to the Note addressed by the President of the German 

Peace Delegation at Versailles to the President of the Versailles 

Conference on 29 May 1919. 

No. 3 (I3) 

Extract from the Observations o f the German Peace Delegation 

on the Peace Conditions, 29 May 1919* 

(Translation) 

. . The surrender of the purely German Hanseatic town 

of Danzig and of its equally purely German surroundings as 

2 100 documents, engl. 

7

demanded in Articles ioo to io8 is a particularly glaring con- 

travention of all the assurances given in President Wilson’s 

declarations. The census taken in Danzig on i December 1910 

showed that Danzig had a negligible Polish-speaking minority 

of 3.5 per cent., the Danzig Niederung district one of i per 

cent., the Marienburg district one of 3 per cent., even the 

Danzig Hohe district one of only i i per cent. The Poles 

themselves do not seriously contest the fact that Danzig has 

always been German in character. An attempt to convert 

Danzig into a free, city, to hand over its transport system and 

the external representation of its rights to the Polish State 

would call forth violent opposition and a permanent state of 

war in Eastern Europe. The economic measures moreover are 

so arranged that every possible obstacle is placed in the way 

of traffic between Danzig and Germany-obviously with the 

intention of the ultimate Polonization of this purely German 

territory by means of economic pressure. The German Govern- 

ment are therefore forced to reject the intended violation of 

Danzig’s nationality and to demand that Danzig and the sur- 

rounding territory be left to the German Reich. – – – 

* Annex to the Note addressed by the President of the German 

Peace Delegation at Versailles to the President o f the Versailles 

Conference, dated 29 May z9z9. 

Even M. Clemenceau, President of the Supreme Council, in 

his well-known letter to M. Paderewski dated 24 June 1919, 

pointed out to the Poles the obligations implied by the handing 

over o f large groups o f minorities and made the signing and 

observance o f a Treaty for the Protection o f Minorities the 

condition on which Poland was to receive the German terri- 

tories. This at the same time constituted a solemn obligation on 

the part o f the Allied Powers to secure the observance by 

Poland of this charter concerning the German and other 

minorities in Poland. The wording of the Treaty leaves no

room for doubt as to what responsibilities Poland agreed to 

assume with regard to the non-Polish inhabitants o f the new 

State, who represented over40per cent. of the total population. 

The history o f German-Polish relations from 1919onwards is, 

however, as the documents here published show, a story of 

continual infringement of this treaty by the Poles and at the 

same time a story of the silent complicity of the League of 

Nations and the guarantor Powers. As far back as 2o No- 

vember 1920, the German Government were forced to cast 

aside their reserve and send a comprehensive complaint to the 

Polish Government. It was stated therein that “Germans were 

treated as outlaws in Poland.” This complaint was as un- 

successful as the numerous complaints and representations 

made by representatives of the German minority in Poland. 

itself. 

The Polish Government made it clear that they considered 

themselves in no wise bound by the obligations for the pro- 

tection o f the minorities which they had so solemnly under- 

taken. On 1oApril1923,for instance, General Sikorski, who 

was then Premier, speaking in public, announced the Govern- 

ment’s programme as “the liquidation o f German estates and 

the de-Germanization of the western `voivodeships”‘ and pro- 

ceeded to indulge in cutting remarks directed against Danzig. 

By the middle of 1923 the expulsion of the Germans had 

already assumed extraordinary proportions. Polish measures 

against German land-owners, which, for example, the Perma- 

nent Court of International justice, in its advisory opinion 

given on1oSeptember1923,designated as “not in conformity 

with the international obligations o f the Polish Government,” 

still further increased the compulsion to emigrate. In Septem- 

ber 1931 it was admitted in Polish quarters that some million 

Germans had already been ousted from Poland. Neither the 

guarantor Powers nor the League o f Nations, to which not 

only the German, but also the Ukrainian minority had mean- 

2* 

z9

jytne made repeated appeals for protection against the conti- 

nued infringemento f the provisions. of the Minorities Treaty 

by Poland, fulfilled their obligations. 

The Polonizing policy was likewise immediately directed 

against the Free City of Danzig. The German Peace Dele- 

gation’s protest against the severance of Danzig from the 

Reich, although based on President Wilson’s declarations, had 

proved in vain. From the outset Poland regarded thee new 

status in Danzig merely as a preparatory condition for making 

the city definitely Polish. Poland set up twenty-four author- 

ities in Danzig, each of which she regarded as a Polish 

nucleus capable of development. A report by the High Com- 

mand of the German Army at the conclusion of the war 

with Poland shows that the more important of these author- 

ities had been developed into military bases. The Free City 

of Danzig was constantly forced to appeal to the League 

Commissioner, as also to the Council of the League of 

Nations against action on the part of Poland. By the abuse 

of privileges granted her at Versailles with regard to Danzig 

and principally by the exercise of economic pressure, Poland . 

endeavoured from the outset to force Danzig to subjugate 

its interests to her own, nor did she hesitate to violate the 

sovereign rights of the Free City of Danzig in cases where 

such pressure seemed unavailing. Whilst Poland endeavoured 

by every means in her power to usurp for herself a better 

footing in Danzig, she succeeded in most seriously damaging 

the trade of the port of Danzig by the construction of a 

rival Polish harbour at Gdynia which was granted unilateral 

privileges. 

Germany’s adversaries in the Great War who had been 

responsible for the establishment o f the Polish State soon 

realized that the continual violations of the law perpetrated 

by Poland against, the German minority within her frontiers 

and against Danzig, constituted a serious threat to the peace 

of Europe. This feeling was expressed in numerous statements 

20

made by leading British politicians, in debates in the House 

of Commons and in various publications. Mr. Winston Chur- 

chill, for example, speaking in the House of Commons in 

November 1932 advocated “the removal of the just grievances 

of the vanquished” and emphasized in particular the “Danzig 

Corridor.” “Otherwise” be averred, “we might find ourselves 

pledged in honour and in law to enter a war against our will, 

and against our better judgment,. in order to preserve those 

very injustices and grievances which sunder Europe to-day.” 

But nothing was done to alter matters while yet there was 

time, and by the time that the National-Socialist Government 

came into power in Germany, conditions had become more 

and more critical. 

B. Germany’s Efforts to come to an Understanding 

with Poland 7-933 to 1939 

Immediately after coming into power, the Fuehrer, in order 

to ensure peace with neighbouring states and thus to secure 

the peace of Europe, resolved to place Germany’s relations 

with Poland upon an entirely new footing and with this 

end in view, to come to an understanding with Poland. His 

efforts to reach an understanding began in May 1933 and 

continued until the end of August 1939. A few documents 

selected from the abundant material extant bear witness to 

Germany’s efforts to reach an understanding. 

No. 4 (26) 

Memo by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning 

a conversation of the Fuehrer with the Polish Minister 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 2 May 11933 

This morning the Reich Chancellor in my presence received 

the Polish Minister who on behalf of his Government pointed 

out that since the National-Socialist Party had come into 

21

power in Germany a growing uneasiness had manifested itself 

in Poland which had at times almost amounted to panic. 

The Minister emphasized Poland’s interest in a free outlet to 

the sea which no Polish Government could ever again 

renounce. For this reason Poland was compelled to maintain 

her title to Danzig, and he had been instructed to obtain an 

assurance from the Chancellor that Germany had no inten- 

tions of altering the present status in Danzig. 

The Chancellor replied to M. Wysocki by stating that, in 

the first place, he was forced to deny that Poland had any 

particular claim to Danzig. If uneasiness prevailed in Poland, 

he could only say that there was definitely greater reason 

for such uneasiness in Germany where there was a continual 

sense of being threatened on account of events in Upper 

Silesia, the concentration of troops on the frontier and the 

occupation of the Westerplatte in Danzig. Owing to the 

short-sightedness of statesmen, malevolence and lack of insight, 

the frontier between Germany and Poland had been fixed in 

such a way that as long as this demarcation held good, a 

peaceful coexistence of the two peoples was practically in- 

conceivable. He respected every nationality and regarded 

Poland as an actuality which he was fully prepared to 

acknowledge. But at the same time he demanded that Poland 

for her part should treat Germany as an actuality. If, at 

the time when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, people 

had not been wholly unable to think clearly, Poland herself 

ought never to have consented to the establishment of a 

corridor through German territory, for it was obvious that 

such a corridor would inevitably give rise to a continual 

state of tension between Germany and Poland. It would 

have been much wiser to have chosen the outlet to the sea, 

to which the Minister had referred as an inalienable right 

on Poland’s part, on the other side of East Prussia. Had that 

been done, friendly relations would long have existed between 

Germany and Poland and there would also have been a

possibility of an economic understanding. He, the Chancellor, 

only hoped that the political questions still pending between 

Germany and Poland would one day be investigated and 

dealt with dispassionately by the statesmen of both countries. 

He was convinced that a way out of the present intolerable 

situation could then be found. Germany wanted peace. He 

was far from intending to expropriate Polish territory by 

force. He reserved the right, however, to vindicate the rights 

to which he was entitled by virtue of treaty at any time and 

as he thought fit. . . 

Frhr. von Neurath 

No. 5 (33) 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs to the 

German Minister in Warsaw 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 24November1933 

The Reich Chancellor agrees to the draft of a German- 

Polish declaration as already handed over to you in person 

here*. The Chancellor further agrees that you should hand 

this draft in audience to Marshal Pilsudski on behalf of the 

Reich Chancellor. Please make immediate formal application 

for this audience and press for a speedy fixing of the date. 

Please observe the following lines in what you say at the 

audience: The Chancellor sincerely thanks the Marshal for his 

greetings which he reciprocates. He has welcomed with satis- 

faction the attitude adopted by the Marshal, with whose 

views he is in complete accord as is clear from the press 

communique**agreed upon. The Chancellor thinks it advisable 

not to let matters rest after the publication of this com- 

munique,but to find a way in which the ideas and aims of 

23 

I

both Governments could be more clearly specified and have 

greater political weight. He had therefore instructed you to 

hand the Marshal a draft of a declaration such as might be 

made by both Governments with the object of achieving the 

aim desired. To explain the wording adopted in this draft 

you should point out that the Chancellor thinks it advisable 

not to use traditional outworn phrases and formulas which 

are already somewhat trite, but to choose instead a form 

which would make the political decision of the two Govern- 

ments absolutely clear and would make a deeper impression 

on the public than the usual form of pact which is less 

esteemed nowadays than formerly. You should, however, 

emphasize in this connection that the form chosen in the 

draft in no way affects the binding nature of the terms to 

be agreed upon, as can be seen from the fact that provision 

is made at the end for ratification. 

For your information I should like to point out that the 

wording of the declaration as suggested by us in no way 

implies the recognition of Germany’s existing eastern frontiers, 

but states on the contrary that by the medium of this decla- 

ration a basis shall be created for the solution of all problems, 

i. e. also territorial problems. 

 

Neurath 

* The reference is to a preliminary draft o f the Declaration o f 

26Januaryr934,published under No.7(37). 

** The text of the communiqueis as follows:- 

“This morning the Reich Chancellor received the Polish Minister 

who called on him for the first time. The discussion concerning 

German-Polish relations revealed the complete agreement of both 

Governments to tackle questions affecting both countries by means 

of direct negotiations and to renounce any resort to force in their 

mutual relations.” 

24 

0

No. 6 (34) 

The German Minister in Warsaw.to the German Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Warsaw,28November 1933 

Audience with Marshal Piludski took place this afternoon. 

The conversation, at which M. Beck, Foreign Minister, was 

present and which lasted about an hour and a quarter, was 

of a definitely friendly • character and indeed the extra- 

ordinary speed with which, considering the usual custom 

here, the date of the audience was fixed, can be regarded as 

a special mark of attention. 

The Marshal who, in conversation, is inclined to deviate 

from the subject under discussion and indulge in personal 

reminiscences, mostly of a military nature, gives the im- 

pression of a man intellectually alert but prematurely old and 

almost infirm in body. Characteristic of his fundamental 

attitude towards the questions under discussion were his 

repeated expressions of friendly appreciation of the per- 

sonality of the Reich Chancellor whose genuine desire for 

peace he frequently emphasized in the course of the con- 

versation. 

I began by conveying- the Chancellor’s greetings which 

Pilsudski received with evident satisfaction. After having 

explained, according to your instructions, the form of the 

“declaration” chosen by us, I read it aloud in German at 

the Marshal’s request and supplemented this by explanations 

in French, with which language he is better acquainted. 

Pilsudski signified his agreement_ with the fundamental ideas 

of the German proposal. Using his own characteristically 

drastic mode of expression, he approved in particular of the 

choice of a new form for the declaration in which the 

absence of paragraphs, which he evidently detests, especially 

25

appealed to him. He was careful however to infer that 

traditional formulas and paragraphs sometimes had their uses. 

He declared that he was naturally not in a position to express 

an opinion with regard to details in the draft, but that he 

wished already at this juncture to mention a particular point 

about which he was doubtful, namely the reference to the 

Locarno Treaty of Arbitration which was regarded with 

disfavour in Poland. Concerning future procedure the Mar- 

shal explained at some length what different persons should 

be asked to examine and give their opinion on the draft 

and pointed out repeatedly that this would occupy a con- 

siderable time. In the further course of the conversation, 

Marshal Pilsudski emphasized that he also wished to put 

German-Polish relations on a friendly and neighbourly basis, 

but stressed with a bluntness which I have as yet hardly 

observed among Polish politicians, that the hostility of the 

Polish people to the Germans, which dates back to time 

immemorial, would give rise to grave difficulties in carrying 

out this policy. Consequently, this policy must not be based 

on sentiment but solely upon common-sense considerations. 

I contradicted his assertion that the position in Germany 

was similar and emphasized with particular reference to recent 

incidents the necessity for the initiation of a systematic policy 

of rapprochement, such as had already been instituted with 

success by Germany, e. g. with regard to the press. Pilsudski 

replied to my remarks by expressing his infinite contempt for 

the press, with which he wished to have nothing to do, but 

he admitted that something could be gained by influencing 

political organizations. 

In conclusion I mentioned the Chancellor’s desire to achieve 

normal relations in economic matters also. Pilsudski replied 

that formerly only one Minister in the Polish Cabinet had 

opposed the customs war, whereas to-day it would be difficult 

to find a single Minister who was in favour of continuing 

this wretched war. Poland, having weathered the economic 

z6

crisis despite the fact that she had no reserves, was however 

obliged to seek a settlement which was economically justifiable. 

Moltke 

Germany’s efforts, which found a ready supporter in the 

person o f that great Polish statesman, Marshal Pilsudski, who 

was also- desirous o f coming to an understanding with his 

western neighbour, appeared to meet with success. On 

26 January 1934, a mutual Declaration was made which 

seemed destined to place the relations of the two States and 

the two peoples on a new footing. 

No.7 (37) 

Declaration made by the German and the Polish Governments, 

26 January 1934 

(Translation) 

The German Government and the Polish Government 

consider that the time has come to introduce a new phase in 

the political relations between Germany and Poland by direct 

understanding between State and State. Theyhave, therefore, 

decided in the present declaration to lay down the principles 

for the future development of these relations. 

The two Governments base their action on the fact that 

the maintenance and safeguarding of a lasting peace between 

their countries is an essential prerequisite for the general peace 

of Europe. They have therefore decided to base their mutual 

relations on the principles laid down in the Pact of Paris 

of 27 August 1928 and propose to define more exactly the 

application of these principles in so far as the relations 

between Germany and Poland are concerned. 

Each of the two Governments, therefore, establish that the 

international obligations already respectively undertaken by 

them towards a third party do not hinder the peaceful 

development of their mutual relations, do no conflict with 

the present Declaration and are not affected by this Declara-

tion. They establish, moreover, that this Declaration does not 

extend to those questions which under International Law 

are to be regarded exclusively as the internal concern of one 

of the two States. 

Both Governments announce their intention to settle 

directly all questions of whatever sort which concern their 

mutual relations. Should any disputes arise between them 

and agreement thereon not be reached by direct negotiations, 

they will in each particular case, on the basis of mutual 

agreement, seek a solution by other peaceful means, without 

prejudice to the possibility of applying, if necessary, those 

methods of procedure which in the event of such cases arising 

are provided for in other agreements in force between them. 

In no circumstances, however, will they resort to force in 

order to reach a decision in such disputes. 

The guarantee of peace created by these principles will 

facilitate the great task of both Governments of finding 

solutions for problems of a political, economic or cultural 

nature based on equitable and fair adjustment of the inte- 

rests of both parties. 

Both Governments are convinced that the relations between 

their countries will in this way develop fruitfully, and will 

lead to their becoming good neighbours, a result which will 

contribute not only to the well-being of their own countries, 

but also to that of the other peoples of Europe. 

The present Declaration shall be ratified, and the instru- 

ments of ratification shall be exchanged in Warsaw as soon 

as possible. The Declaration is valid for a period of ten 

years, reckoned from the day of the exchange of the instru- 

ments of ratification. If the declaration is not denounced 

by one of the two Governments six months before the 

expiration of this period it will continue in force, but can 

then be denounced by either Government at any time on 

notice of six months being given. 

28

Done in two original documents in the German and Polish , 

languages respectively. 

Berlin, 26 January 1934. 

For the German Government: 

C. Freiherr von Neurath 

For the Polish Government: 

J6zef Lipski 

This solemn Declaration expressed the intention of both 

Governments to solve all questions affecting their relations 

by means of bilateral diplomatic negotiations, without resort- 

ing to force and without the intervention of a third party. 

It was hoped that on the basis of such good-neighbourly 

relations, a solution could be found “for problems of a poli- 

tical, economic or cultural nature”. This agreement related, 

therefore, to the settlement of problems but was not intended 

to perpetuate the existing status quo between Germany and 

Poland. 

Expectations that this agreement would place the’ relations 

between the two states and the two peoples on a new and 

productive footing were doomed to early disappointment. 

The hope that the German-Polish Declaration would lead 

to an improvement in the treatment of the German minority 

in Poland and would consitute a rule for the attitude o f the 

Polish authorities towards the German minority was soon 

shattered. Assuming that Germany and the German Press 

would remain silent in accordance with the spirit o f the 

friendly agreement, the Polish Government under cover o f 

this very agreement began a campaign with the object of 

ridding themselves of the German minority by underhand 

methods, the only obstacle in their path being the merely 

formal supervision in connection with the Treaty for the 

Protection of Minorities. On13September1934, Poland, there- 

fore, notified the League o f Nations Assembly that she would

cease to co-operate with the League in the execution of the 

Treaty for the Protection of Minorities. In reply to German 

reservations with regard to this step, the Polish Minister for 

Foreign Affairs expressly declared that the rights o f the mino- 

rities would, in future, be protected as hitherto by the Polish 

constitution. 

This statement was, however, not in accordance with facts. 

The campaign to exterminate the German minority was con- 

tinued by means o f Agrarian Reform, dismissal ‘of workers, 

limitation of cultural activities, boycotting measures and acts 

of terror. The German-Polish press truce was not observed. 

German representatives in Poland were forced to report that 

the friendly agreement had brought with it no improvement 

but that, on the contrary, the situation was becoming steadily 

worse. 

No. 8 (73) 

Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs 

Memo 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 2o January 1937 

M. Beck, the Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited 

me this morning, whilst passing through Berlin on his way to 

Geneva, and we took occasion to discuss, amongst other things, 

the attitude of the Polish Press. 

I drew M. Beck’s attention to the fact that even a large 

part of the Polish Press which is inspired by the Government 

has been, during the last few months, writing in a way very 

unfriendly towards Germany. I stated that we had imposed 

upon the German Press the duty of remaining very reserved 

in regard to this unfriendly tone, but that I would request 

him to use his influence with a view to causing this section 

of the Polish Press to change its tone. This matter evidently 

30

caused M. Beck embarrassment and he endeavoured to excuse 

the matters objected to on the ground of internal political 

difficulties in Poland. Frhr. von Neurath 

In the spring of 1937, Germany, in view of the impending 

expiration of the Geneva Convention relating to Upper Silesia 

(which ensured the population on either side o f the frontier 

certain facilities for a transition period o f fifteen years), made 

an effort to secure a bilateral minorities agreement with 

Poland. Poland, however, twice rejected such a suggestion, 

being o f the opinion that it would constitute a limitation o f 

her sovereign rights. In view o f this, Germany was prepared 

to be satisfied with an identic declaration made simultaneously 

by each Government in place of a formal agreement. In this 

connection, the German Ambassador in Warsaw submitted the 

following report to the German Foreign Office: – 

Nr. 9 (88) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw, i June 1937 

I visited M. Beck to-day and made the demarchewhich you 

instructed me to make and handed to him the attached Memo- 

randum which I also thoroughly explained verbally. M. Beck 

listened very attentively but showed during my remarks signs 

neither of agreement nor disagreement. When I in conclusion 

pointed out that my instructions from Herr von Neurath had 

been ordered by the Fuehrer and Chancellor, M. Beck showed 

signs of being obviously impressed and repeated that desires of 

the Fuehrer were always certain to receive particularly serious 

consideration in Warsaw, and he would, of course, immediately 

submit to the Premier or to the Cabinet the matter which 

31

I had brought to his notice, and would therefore wait in order 

to make known in the near future the attitude of the Polish 

Government. 

For the rest M. Beck confined himself to a few short obser- 

vations in which he first of all stated that as a matter of fact 

our considerate behaviour on the occasion of the action taken 

by the Polish Government at Geneva in the autumn of 1934, 

had given rise at the time to great satisfaction in Warsaw. 

M. Beck then added a few words of defence in regard to my 

statements concerning the actual situation of the German 

minority in Poland but did not go into details and stated that 

in the event of arbitrary action on the part of subordinate 

authorities, the Premier would certainly be prepared to inter- 

vene in his characteristically energetic manner. M. Beck tried 

to explain the difficulties connected with the whole German- 

Polish minorities problem as being a result of the difference in 

the internal structure of the two States, for in his opinion the 

whole minorities problem was extraordinarily complicated. 

M. Beck did not repeat his previous arguments against our 

proposal but on the other hand did not utter a single word 

about the fundamental points of view, which I had according 

to my instructions put before him. 

 

von Moltke 

In the Memorandum to which reference is made in the 

report, the Reich Government expressed their disappointment 

at Poland’s rejection o f the German proposals. I f the Polish 

Government declined f o»nal procedure and treaties in their 

accepted form, esteeming such of little value from the point 

o f view o f the minorities themselves, and preferred to come 

to a friendly understanding with regard to any individual 

problems which might arise, the German Government were, 

to a certain extent, entirely in agreement with this point of 

view, but pointed out that it was difficult to dispense with a 

general fundamental agreement with regard to the treatment 

o f such a vital problem. They, therefore, suggested an identic 

3z

public declaration to be made by the two Governments regard- 

ing the protection o f the German and the Polish minorities 

respectively, domiciled within their territories. The Memo- 

randum goes on tosay: – 

Extract from the Memorandum o f the Reich with regard to 

the German-Polish Minorities problem, 1 June 1937 

5. In addition to the previously indicated points of view 

which arise out of questions of principle, and even more 

urgently than these, the development of the actual situation 

of the German minority in Poland demands that an under- 

standing be arrived at between the two Governments on the 

whole minorities problem. It is in this actual situation of the 

German minority that the German Government regret to see 

an incontrovertible argument against the Polish theory that 

the minority would fare best if the local authorities were left 

free to deal with it at their own unrestricted discretion. As a 

matter of fact, our observations for a long time and parti- 

cularly during the last year h;ve left no doubt that a system- 

atic attempt is being made with the support of state depart- 

ments and of private organizations encouraged by the authori- 

ties to shatter the economic foundations of the German mino- 

rity in Poland and to cause all those who admit to being Ger- 

mans to change their attitude in this respect. 

6. It is not intended at this stage to enter into a discussion 

of details. However, in order that the German complaint may 

not appear to be vague or not substantiated we would draw 

attention to the following points:- 

(a) the disproportionate subjection of German estates to the 

process of expropriation in accordance with Agrarian 

Reform, as carried out particularly last year; 

(b) the intensified Polonization of German estates, which 

have been for generations in the possession of Germans, 

3 100 documents, engl. 

33

by application of the law of repurchase and priority 

purchase; 

(c) the interpretation of the legislation applying to the 

frontier zone*, which is in fact also being particularly 

directed against the Germans; 

(d) the fact that for some time past persons belonging to 

the German minority have only in exceptional cases 

received permission from the authorities to open shops, 

businesses, and trading and industrial undertakings, and 

that doctors, chemists, and lawyers of German birth are 

being caused the greatest difficulties by the authorities 

in the establishment of a practice ; 

(e) the likewise obvious fact that German employees and 

workmen are dismissed owing to pressure from Polish 

organizations, and find no employment as long as they 

still belong to German organizations or send their children 

to German schools; 

(f ) the sad plight of those young people who have passed 

through schools which have been licensed by the Polish 

State, but afterwards in preparing themselves for a pro- 

fession have been caused such great difficulties that a 

disproportionately high percentage of young people of 

German birth have not yet been able to enter any pro- 

fession; 

(g) the boycott of all German businesses in the severed terri- 

tories, which has even been publicly proclaimed recently. 

* In accordance with the Frontier Zones Order of 23 December 

1927 and the orders issued for the purpose o f its execution, limi- 

tations were introduced in regard to residence and the acquisition 

of landed property within a certain zone. To this zone belonged 

the whole of Pommerellen, also the whole of the Corridor district, 

almost the whole of the province of Posen, and the whole of Upper 

Silesia. In spite of these representations by Germany the Frontier 

Zone Order was made more rigorous on I July 1937. 

34

In consideration of the various personal and family connect- 

ions of the frontier population it is natural that it has become 

known in Germany that those belonging to the German 

minority are forfeiting their means of existence in a continually 

increasing degree. As public feeling is mounting, the Govern- 

ment of the Reich are called upon to take reprisals and to 

limit the scope of existence for those belonging to the Polish 

minority in Germany who hitherto have been following out 

and carrying on their occupation without let or hindrance. 

The Government of the Reich naturally desire not to have 

to proceed to reprisals against Poland but cannot, on the other 

hand, close their eyes to the fact that the increasing pressure 

tQ which the Germans in Poland are being continuously sub- 

jected is causing pain and disapproval within the Reich, and 

that the popularity of a generous policy of coming to an under- 

standing with Poland is suffering severely as a result of these 

measures on the part of subordinate Polish authorities. 

7. The Government of the Reich, therefore, urgently request 

that the minorities question may be examined again in con- 

sideration of and in connection with the foregoing points of 

view. They hope that the Polish Government will, however, 

still decide to enter into discussions in some form or another 

of a fundamental settlement, and that they will, moreover, 

adopt measures as soon as possible in order to curb the chauvi- 

nism prevailing in the western provinces of Poland; for this 

chauvinism involves the serious danger of the co-operation 

between the German and Polish Governments, which had had 

such a favourable beginning, being hampered in its further 

fruitful development. 

On f November 19,37, an Identic Declaration was actually 

made by both Governments. In view of Poland’s refusal to 

agree to a treaty involving definite obligations for both par- 

ties, this Declaration was, in practice, deprived o f a large 

measure o f its effectiveness. 

3′ 

35

The coercive measures adopted by the Poles against the 

German minority were accompanied by continued anti-Ger- 

man acts of provocation. That the final aim of Polish policy 

as regards Danzig was to incorporate the Free City into the 

Polish State was made obvious at a Polish national demon- 

stration concerning which the German Consul-General in Danzig 

sent the following report to the German Foreign Office:- 

No. 10 (192) 

The German Consul-General in Danzig to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Danzig, 1 f, November 1937 

-On the occasion of the anniversary of the Polish Declara- 

tion of Independence on 11 November celebrations took place 

last Sunday in villages inhibited by Polish minorities in the 

Free State of Danzig. Numerous Danzig residents of Polish 

extraction took part in the festivities. 

During one of the celebrations in the village of- Gross- 

Trampken some remarkable statements were made in a speech 

by M. Chodacki, Poland’s Diplomatic Representative in 

Danzig. He said amongst other things: “I remember the time 

very well when I joined up in the Great War hoping for 

Poland’s resurrection. The Poles here in Danzig should like- 

wise hope and wait for the time when, in the near future, 

they will be living on Polish soil.” 

 

von Luckwald 

During 1938, German -Polish relations deteriorated still 

further, a fact which was due to a great extent to the pro- 

vocative attitude o f the Polish Press. In this connection the 

German Ambassador in Warsaw reported as follows: – 

36

No. 11 (117) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw,2 September1938 

The attitude of the Polish Press and of other organs of 

publicity in Poland, towards Germany has latterly become 

unmistakably worse. This attitude was never satisfactory, 

and continually failed to come up to the expectations which 

had been frequently associated by Germans with the political 

Agreement and the Press Pact of 1934. It is true that news- 

papers inspired by the Polish Ministry for Foreign Affairs 

and other organs of political opinion were mostly correct in 

their behaviour and in many questions, particularly foreign 

political ones, often displayed an attitude which must be 

appreciated, but not even did the so-called `camp of national 

unity’, that is to say the party organization of the Govern- 

ment which had been created for the purpose of winning the 

“masses” for the prevailing system, fail to make use of anti- 

German catchwords in its competition with the other po- 

litical groups, and in order to gain more popularity. 

The Polish Government are maintaining considerable re- 

serve in the face of these incidents; at all events there are 

no signs of any kind of energetic counter-action being taken. 

It may be true that the possibility for the Polish authorities 

of exercising influence upon the Press is limited, but such 

an extremely passive attitude can indeed only be explained 

by the fact that the Government are afraid of employing 

such means of force as they actually possess, for the pro- 

tection of the unpopular German interests, showing far 

greater energy in representing their own interests. It would 

37

seem hardly credible that it should be impossible to prevent 

the repeated provocative demonstrations in the towns in the 

western districts, staged by the West Marches Society, which 

is in close contact with the Government. 

It cannot escape the notice of the Polish Government that 

this passive attitude is gradually creating an atmosphere which 

is becoming continually more incompatible with the German- 

Polish policy of coming to an agreement. Certainly one has 

never, here in Poland, noticed a very cordial tone in regard 

to Germany, and when there were critical moments, the 

Poles always attached importance to not allowing their con- 

nections with Germany to appear to be too intimate. That, 

however, the song of hate, the “Rota”, can be sung in front 

of a German Consulate-General without anything being done 

to prevent it, is indeed an incident of a kind which has not 

been experienced since 1934- It is obvious that the Beck 

policy is at the present time still less popular than pre- 

viously, and the Foreign Minister himself is forced to main- 

tain great reserve. In the well-known case of the German 

secondary school at Bromberg, where the gentleman agree- 

ment with M. Beck had quite clearly been wrecked by the 

local administrative authorities, we have a clear indication 

of the tension which exists within the country. As a matter 

of fact, the members of the Polish Government themselves 

do not seem to hold a common view in regard to this very 

question of the German policy of M. Beck. At all events, 

it can in all probability be assumed that neither the Minister 

for War nor Marshal Smigly-Rydz are cordially co-operating 

in M. Beck’s policy. In this connection it is also interesting 

to note that even an old pioneer of the policy of coming to 

an understanding with Germany, like Mackiewicz, editor- 

in-chief of the Wilna Slowo, recently attacked M. Beck’s 

policy in an article which was almost sensational, reproaching 

M. Beck that he, by his policy of friendship with Germany, 

38

was neglecting the relations with England and France 

without having obtained corresponding advantages from the 

co-operation with Germany. 

Yesterday I again brought to the serious notice of M. Beck 

the unfavourable development in Polish public opinion and 

the recent particularly anti-German demonstrations; I had 

a few days ago touched upon the same subject when talking 

with the acting Vice-minister, M. Arciszewski. M. Beck did 

not deny that the situation was unsatisfactory, and said he 

had, immediately after his return from leave, on his own 

initiative drawn the attention of the Premier to these things, 

and that the latter had shown full appreciation. When I 

observed that we were not able to understand why an end 

was not put at least to the repeated demonstrations of the 

West Marches Society, M. Beck replied that it was not 

advisable to proceed merely with prohibitions, but sometimes 

better to open a safety-valve. The Government had, therefore, 

restricted themselves to reducing to a very limited degree the 

intentions of the demonstrators, which went very much 

further. In addition, M. Beck attempted to show that the 

attacks upon Germany were really not of such great signi- 

ficance and assured me that the Government were in no wise 

allowing themselves to be influenced- by the nervousness of 

public opinion but were keeping to the old line of policy. 

Although M. Beck was very definite in this statement, one 

cannot disguise from oneself the fact that there is an 

unfriendly feeling already prevailing against us here, which 

might of course hamper the Polish Government when coming 

to resolutions on decisive questions. 

von Moltke 

The growing, anti-German agitation reached its first climax 

at the end o f February 1939 when, without obvious reason, 

fierce anti-German demonstrations, which the police scarcely 

39

attempted to check, took place in front o f the German 

Embassy in Warsaw and of German Consulates in the pro- 

vinces. Frenzied crowds sang anti-German songs, cheered 

for “Polish Danzig”, abused the “German dogs” and broke 

windows. The Polish Government, it is true, officially 

expressed their regret, but this did not serve to conceal the 

alarming nature of these signs ofgrowing Polish aggressiveness.

SECOND CHAPTER 

British War Policy after the Munich Agreement- 

Germany’s Effort to secure an amicable Settlement 

‘of the Problems of Danzig and the Polish Corridor 

A. Pro-war agitation in Britain -Germany’s 

proposals to Poland. 

No. ‘a (n7) 

Joint Declaration made by the Fuehrer an 

• 

d Mr. Chamberlain, 

British Prime Minister, Munich, 30 September 1938 

• 

 

(Translation) 

We, the German Fuehrer and Chancellor and the British 

Prime Minister, have had a further meeting to-day and are 

agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German 

relations is of the first importance for the two countries and 

for Europe. 

We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo- 

German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of. our 

two peoples never to go to war with one another again. 

We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be 

the method adopted to deal with any other questions. that 

may concern our two countries, and we are determined to 

continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference 

and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe. 

Adolf. Hitler 

 

Neville Chamberlain 

After many years of unreciprocated effort on the part of 

Germany to secure the friendship of Britain, the Anglo- 

German Munich Declaration, the text of which is given above, 

4I

seemed to indicate that the relations between the two coun- 

tries had taken that turn for the better which, as is well 

known, had from the outset formed part o f the National- 

Socialist foreign political programme. The Munich Agreement 

had offectually done away with the Czech crisis. The Fuehrer 

considered it now possible to stabilize relations with Britain 

on a permanent basis and thus to secure for his own people 

and for all other European nations a long period o f peace. 

How great was then the general disappointment when, only 

three days after the Munich Declaration, Mr. Chamberlain, 

the British Prime Minister, informed the House o f Commons 

that Britain would proceed to rearm at all costs. This speech, 

of which an extract is given below, was accompanied by 

violent attacks on Germany by members of the Opposition . 

No. 13 (218) 

Extract from Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime 

Minister, in the House o f Commons, 3 October 1938 

. . . . I believe there are many who will feel with me 

that such a declaration, signed by the German Chancellor 

and myself, is something more than a pious expression of 

opinion. In our relations with other countries everything 

depends upon there being sincerity and good will on both 

sides. I believe that there is sincerity and good will on both 

sides in this declaration. That is why to me its significance 

goes far beyond its actual words. If there is one lesson which 

we should learn from the events of these last weeks it is this, 

that lasting peace is not to be obtained by sitting still and 

waiting for it to come. It requires active, positive efforts to 

achieve it. No doubt I shall have plenty of critics who will 

say that I am guilty of facile optimism, and that I should 

disbelieve every word that is uttered by rulers of other great 

States in Europe. I am too much of a realist to believe that 

42

we are going to achieve our paradise in a day. Wehave 

only laid the foundations of peace. The superstructure is not 

even begun. 

For a long period now we have been engaged in this 

country in a great programme of rearmament, which is daily 

increasing in pace and volume. Let no one think that because 

we have signed this agreement between these four Powers at 

Munich we can afford to relax our efforts in regard to 

that programme at this moment. Disarmament on the part 

of this country can never be unilateral again. We have tried 

that once, and we very nearly brought ourselves to disaster. 

If disarmament is to come it must come by steps, and it must 

come by agreement and the active co-operation of other 

countries. Until we know that we have obtained that 

co-operation and until we have agreed upon the actual. steps 

to be taken, we here must remain on guard ” 

Once again the attitude not only of the British Prime 

Minister himself, but primarily of the Opposition, which was 

contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Munich Agree- 

ment, forced the Fuehrer in a speech delivered at Saarbriicken 

on 9 October 1938, to point out that Mr. Duff Cooper, 

Mr. Eden or Mr. Winston Churchill might come into power 

in Britain in Mr. Chamberlain’s stead and that in that case 

a world war would probably ensue, since this was the 

publicly avowed aim of these men. On the very next day, 

Mr. Hore Belisha, British Secretary of State for War, replied 

in a speech in which he announced further rearmament 

measures to be adopted by Britain. During the months which 

followed, these measures, which were concerned with offen- 

sive weapons and aims, including the building up of an expe- 

ditionary force for a continental war, were carried out at 

an increasing rate. At the same time, Britain urged France 

as her ally to increase her armaments, especially with regard 

to her air arm. That the. warning uttered by the Fuehrer 

43

in Saarbriicken was only too justified was proved a few 

days after when Mr. Winston Churchill, in a broadcast 

message to the United States, made it clear in his customary 

war-mongering tone, that the British political circles referred 

to above did not intend to adhere to the Munich Agreement . 

No. 14 (223) 

Extract from a Speech by Mr. Winston Churchill, broadcast 

in the United States of America, r6 October r938 

We must arm. If, through an earnest desire for 

peace, we have placed ourselves at a disadvantage, we must 

make up for it by redoubled exertions, and, if necessary, by 

1fortitude in suffering. We shall no doubt arm. 

Britain, casting away the habits of centuries, will decree 

national service upon her citizens. The British people will 

stand erect and will face whatever may be coming. But arms- 

instrumentalities,-as President Wilson called them-are 

not sufficient by themselves. We must add to them the 

power of ideas. 

People say we ought not to allow ourselves to be drawn 

into a theoretical antagonism between Nazidom and demo- 

cracy, but the antagonism is here now. 

It is this very conflict of spiritual and moral ideas which 

gives the free countries a great part of their strength. 

. . . . The light of civilized progress with its tolerances and 

co-operations, with its dignities and joys, has often in the past 

been blotted out. 

But I hold the belief that we have now at last “got far 

enough ahead of barbarism to control it and to avert it, 

if only we realize what is afoot and make up our minds 

in time. We shall do it in the end. But how much harder our 

toil, the longer the delay!

. Is this a call to war? I declare it to be the sole guarantee 

of peace. The swift and resolute gathering of forces to con- 

front not only military but moral aggression; the resolute and . 

sober acceptance of their duty by the English-speaking peoples 

and by all the -nations, great and small, who wish to walk 

– with them; their faithful and zealous comradeship would 

almost between night and morning-clear the path of progress 

and banish from all our lives the fear which already darkens 

the sunlight to hundreds of millions of -men  

During the weeks immediately following the conclusion o f 

the Munich Agreement, the catchword “Poland” continually 

appeared in the British Press. On the other hand, Poland had, 

with Germany’s assistance, just acquired the Olsa territory 

and aspired to the establishment o f a common frontier with 

Hungary. The time, therefore, seemed propitious for a final 

settlement, satisfying the honour of both parties, o f the main 

German-Polish problems, namely those of Danzig and the 

Corridor. That both problems had to be solved is obvious 

from what has been said in the first chapter with regard to 

the constantly recurring tension in German-Polish relations 

and also the plight of the German minority in Poland which; 

despite the existing German-Polish agreement, was steadily 

becoming worse. Germany sought, however, to reach a sett- 

lement, not in defiance of,but in co-operation with Poland on 

the basis of the 1934 agreement. The German demands were 

so moderate as to constitute the very minimum of what she 

could claim. This is proved by the conversation between the 

Reich Minister. for Foreign Affairs and the Polish Ambassador, 

given below, at which the German proposals were formulated 

for the first time. They were never altered in substance. 

45

No. i5 (197) 

Conversation o f the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the Polish Ambassador at Berchtesgaden, 24 October 1938 

(Translation) 

Memo by Herr Hewel, Councillor o f Legation 

At the beginning of the conversation the Reich Minister for 

Foreign Affairs described the situation to the Polish Am- 

bassador. 

M. Lipski then explained the reason of his visit:-Poland 

was interested in the stabilization of the Danube Basin . The 

Carpatho-Ukraine, with its disorder, with a population eighty 

per cent of which was illiterate, was a storm centre from 

which issued every imaginable kind of political current, a 

downright centre of Communism. It had 650,000 inhabitants 

in all, of whom about 250,000 were Hungarians and Jews, 

and 400,000 Ruthenians. Poland had already exchanged 

numerous acrimonious Notes with Prague about this centre 

of unrest. M. Beck had told him he wanted something sensible 

to emerge from this crisis. Poland’s wish was that this territory 

should be linked to Hungary. 

For the rest a common Polish-Hungarian frontier was of 

great value to bar off the east. The rumours that a block was 

being formed against Germany were nonsense; they had been 

completely refuted by the attitude of Poland to Soviet Russia 

during the crisis. Polish policy had aimed at inducing the 

Hungarian Government to be moderate in the Slovakian 

question and to take the offensive in the matter of the 

Carpatho-Ukraine. He, Lipski, hoped that a solution in the 

sense mentioned would not run counter to German interests. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs explained to the 

Ambassador that these ideas were somewhat new to him, and 

that he would think them over in detail. He could understand 

46

Poland’s wishes, but he also saw certain difficulties to which 

we should have to pay consideration. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs then came to the great 

general problem which had led him to ask M. Lipski to come 

to Berchtesgaden and which he would like to broach quite 

confidentially, as between M. Lipski, M. Beck and himself. 

He asked the Ambassador to report what was discussed to 

M. Beck by word of mouth; otherwise there would be great 

danger of things leaking out, especially to the press. To this 

the Ambassador agreed. The Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs in introducing the subject used the opportunity to in- 

vite M. Beck, asking if he could not pay him a visit sometime 

in the course of the following month. Germany, he said, would 

always welcome her Polish friends. The Ambassador expressed 

his gratification and undertook to inform M. Beck. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs then went on to say 

that he thought it was time to make a clean sweep of all 

existing possibilities of friction between Germany and Poland. 

This would crown the work inaugurated by Marshal Pilsudski 

and the Fuehrer. As a comparison he instanced our relations 

with Italy, in which the- Fuehrer for the sake of a general 

settlement and with deep insight had renounced all claims to 

South Tyrol. Such an agreement was worth attempting with 

Poland and would be useful for Poland; and it accorded with 

the Fuehrer’s policy, which was directed towards the attain- 

ment of clear relations with all neighbours. In the case of 

France too it was not impossible that agreements going beyond 

the Fuehrer’s declaration concerning the frontier would be 

reached some day. In Poland’s case the first thing was to 

discuss Danzig, as a partial solution in a general adjustment 

of the relations between the two-nations. Danzig was German 

-it always had been German, and it would always remain 

German. He, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, was think- 

ing of a solution that would, broadly speaking, be as fol- 

lows:- 

47

i. The Free State of Danzig to return to the German 

Reich. 

2. An extra-territorial motor-road belonging to Germany 

to be built across the Corridor, and likewise an extra- 

territorial railway with several tracks. 

3. Poland likewise to obtain in the territory of Danzig 

an extra-territorial road or motor-road, a railway, 

and a free port. 

4. Poland to obtain a guarantee for the sale of her goods 

in Danzig territory. 

S. The two nations to recognize their common frontiers 

(guarantee), or their respective territories. 

6. The German-Polish Treaty to be prolonged by ten to 

twenty-five years. 

7. The two countries to add to their treaty a stipulation 

providing for consultation. 

The Polish Ambassador took note of this suggestion. Al- 

though naturally he had first to speak to M. Beck, he would 

like to say already that it was mistaken to regard Danzig as 

a product of Versailles, like the Saar Territory, for instance. 

One must follow the growth of Danzig historically and geo- 

graphically to get a correct angle to the problem. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs replied that he did 

not desire an immediate answer. The Ambassador was to 

think it all over and to speak to M. Beck as soon as possible. 

After all there must be a certain give and take in these con- 

siderations. For reasons of home politics a final recognition 

of the Corridor was not easy for the Fuehrer, either. One 

must think in terms of centuries in this case-Danzig – after all 

was German and would always remain so. 

M. Lipski promised to go into all this verythoroughly with 

M. Beck. He intended to go to Warsaw about Thursday and 

could be back at the beginning of the following week. What 

concerned him most was an exchange of ideas about the Hun- 

48

garian question. M. Beck had instructed him to say that Poland 

was ready to participate, if Hungary’s wish for arbitration 

by the three countries, Germany, Italy, and Poland, were 

accepted by the first two countries. 

In reply the ReichMinister for Foreign Affairs pointed to 

the risks which would be+incurred by an arbitration award. 

In a second short conversation the Reich Minister for For- 

eign Affairs mentioned the Carpatho-Ukraine. The Ambassa- 

dor emphasized that Poland had no interest in extending her 

frontiers there. Poland’s sole wish was to receive a joint frontier 

with Hungary. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs promised to think 

over the whole group of problems again, and in this con- 

nection expressed the opinion that if a general settlement could 

be reached between Germany and Poland, a happy solution 

could certainly also be found for this problem. 

The tone of the conversation was very friendly throughout. 

Hewel 

Some three weeks after this discussion M. Lipski, the Polish 

Ambassador, paid -a visit to Herr von Ribbentrop, the Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs, and submitted a reply which 

partly deferred and partly evaded the German proposals, the 

alleged reason being internal political difficulties. 

It is of the utmost significance that neither at this discussion 

nor at a conversation which took place between M. Beck and 

the German Ambassador in Warsaw on 14December, nor yet 

on the occasion o f M. Beck’, memorable talk with the Fuehrer 

on S January 1939, did Poland betray by the slightest sign 

that she felt herself threatened in any way. 

On the contrary, the three documents which follow show 

clearly that, as late as 26 January 1939, when the Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs again had a talk with M. Beck 

inWarsaw, Poland received the -moderate and positive German 

proposals without protest and promised to weigh them care- 

4 100 documents, engl. 

49 

11

fully. The five discussions which took place between 24 Octo- 

ber 1938 and 26 January 1939, between the Fuehrer or the 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs and Herr von Moltke, the 

German Ambassador, on the one side and M. Beck and Lipski, 

on the other, make it plain that, although Poland was ob- 

viously endeavouring to prolong the negotiations with Ger- 

many, there was, up to that point, a definite prospect that a 

peaceful settlement satisfying the claims o f both parties might 

still be reached. This was particularly evident at the talk 

between the Fuehrer and M. Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, 

on 5 January 1939, when the Fuehrer described the broad, 

amicable basis on which he conceived the future development 

o f German-Polish relations and the solution o f the problem 

of Danzig and the Polish Corridor. It was a solution by which 

Poland stood to gain and which did away with the possibility 

o f conflict in the future. 

No. i6 (198) 

Conversation o f the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

with the Polish Ambassador, 

19 November 1938 

Memo 

(Translation) 

At i p. m. to-day I received M. Lipski, the Polish Am- 

bassador. 

M. Lipski explained to me that, he had informed the Polish 

Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Beck, about the substance of 

our discussion of 24 October at Berchtesgaden, and that he 

was now in a position to tell me what M. Beck thought about 

these matters. M. Lipski then read portions of his instructions 

aloud from a slip of paper. 

i. The Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs was of opinion 

that German-Polish relations had in general stood the test. 

50

Polish Agreement had been constructed on a durable founda- 

tion. M. Beck considered that Poland’s straightforward policy 

had been of use to Germany when the latter acquired posses- 

sion of the Sudeten German Territory, and had contributed 

materially to the attainment of a solution of this question in 

accordance with German views. During these critical days 

the Polish Government had turned a deaf ear to all lures 

coming from a certain quarter. 

I answered M. Lipski that in my opinion too the German- 

Polish Agreement had shown itself capable of withstanding 

considerable strain. The Fuehrer’s action against Czecho- 

Slovakia had enabled Poland to gain possession of the Olsa 

territory, and to satisfy a number of other wishes with regard 

to frontiers. For the rest I agreed with him that the Polish 

attitude had made things easier for Germany. 

2. M. Lipski then made a lengthy speech to prove the im- 

portance and value which Danzig as a Free City had for 

Poland. 

For reasons of home politics too it was difficult for the 

Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs to assent to the incorpora- 

tion of Danzig in the Reich. M. Beck had been revolving the 

question in his mind how all points of friction about Danzig 

which might possibly arise between Germany and Poland could 

be done away with once and for all. His idea was that the 

League of Nations’ Danzig Statute might be replaced by a 

German-Polish treaty dealing with all Danzig questions. This 

treaty might be based on the recognition of Danzig as a 

purely German town with all rights resulting from this. On 

the other hand Poland and the Polish minority should like- 

wise have all economic rights assured to them. In this arrange- 

ment the character of Danzig as a Free State and the customs 

union with Poland would be preserved. 

I answered M. Lipski that I regretted M. Beck’s attitude. 

The suggestion for a permanent solution of the German-Polish 

4*

problem by which Danzig fell to Germany might increase 

M. Beck’s burden in home politics, but on the other hand it 

was obvious that it would also be no easy matter for the 

Fuehrer to tell the German people that he was guaranteeing 

the Polish Corridor. The purpose underlying my suggestion 

was to establish German Polish relations on a foundation as 

lasting as solid rock, and to do away with all possible points 

of friction. It had not been my intention to havea diplomatic 

chat. As he, M. Lipski, could perceive from the Fuehrer’s 

speeches, the latter had always taken a long view in dealing 

with the German-Polish question. In his presence, at a recent 

meeting of international press representatives, I had made it 

clear that good German-Polish relations were fundamental to 

German policy. 

The Ambassador, M. Lipski, thanked me for these remarks, 

and then returned to the proposal for a bilateral treaty about 

Danzig. I explained to him that I could not, give a final 

decision on this, but to me the proposal did not seem easy of 

accomplishment. 

3. I then asked M. Lipski what M. Beck thought about the 

question of an extra-territorial motor-road and of a likewise 

extra-territorial double-track railway through the Polish 

Corridor. 

M. Lipski answered that he was not in a position to go into 

the matter or make any official pronouncement. Purely for 

his own person he could say that such a wish on the part of 

Germany might conceivably not fall on barren ground in 

Poland, and that perhaps opportunities might occur for find- 

ing a solution in this direction. 

4. I then spoke to M. Lipski about the Polish postage stamps 

just issued, which were intended for Danzig use and which 

represented Danzig as if it were a Polish town. Here again 

he could understand that this hurt the feelings of the German 

population of Danzig.

M. Lipski declared that he was not well informed about the 

matter, but he would make enquiries. 

In conclusion I told M. Lipski it would repay trouble to 

give serious consideration to German proposals dealing with 

the whole complex of German-Polish relations. It was desired 

here to create something lasting and to bring about a really 

stable condition of things. Naturally that could not be done 

in a day. If M. Beck would think over our proposals-quietly, 

he might perhaps see his way to adopting a positive attitude . 

von Ribbentrop 

No. 17 (200) 

Conversation of the Fuehrer with M. Beck; 

Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the presence of-the 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, the German Ambassador 

in Warsaw, and the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, 

Berchtesgaden, 3 January 1939 

Memo by Dr. Schmidt, Minister Plenipotentiary 

(Translation) 

In his introductory words M. Beck stressed the fact that in the 

September crisis German-Polish relations had stood the test 

withoutasign of strain. It might be that during the last few 

months the high standard exhibited by the relatio&s last Sep- 

tember had shown some falling off, but in the opinion of the 

Polish Government both parties should exert themselves to 

remove the causes of certain difficulties which had arisen in 

the immediate past. M. Beck instanced the Danzig question 

as one of the difficulties, whereby he emphasized the fact that 

in this case it was not only the German and the Polish Govern- 

ments that where concerned; there were also third parties, 

among others the League of Nations. What would be the 

proper course, for instance, if the League of Nations were to 

withdraw from its role in Danzig? This was not the only 

instance in which existing misunderstandings had to be remov- 

53

ed. Amongst others there was the guaranteeing of the Czecho- 

Slovakian frontier, the question whether it ought to be taken 

in hand immediately or, if at all, what point of time was 

contemplated for this. Poland was especially interested in the 

Carpatho-Ukrainian question. He would remind them of 

Marshal Pilsudski’s words about the “Balkanizing of Central 

Europe”. In the agitators who were now pursuing their activi- 

ties in the Carpatho-Ukrainian region Poland recognized old 

enemies in a new guise. She feared that the Carpatho-Ukraine 

might one day grow into such a centre of disquietude for 

Poland that the Polish Government might see themselves 

called upon to intervene. This might result in further com- 

plications. That above all had been the compelling reason 

for Poland’s efforts to attain a joint frontier with Hungary. 

The Fuehrer replied that a settlement of all existing diffi- 

culties could only be obtained by recalling the general course 

of German-Polish relations. On the German side he could say 

emphatically that Germany’s relations to Poland were embodied 

in the non-aggression pact of 1934; since then there had not 

been the slightest change in them. In the question of the Car- 

patho-Ukraine particularly-here he was thinking of the mo- 

tives attributed to Germany in the international press-he was 

in a position to state that Poland had absolutely no cause for 

fear. Germany had no interests on the other side of the Car- 

pathians, and was indifferent about what interested countries 

did there. The attitude adopted by Germany in regard to the 

Ukrainian question on the occasion of the Vienna arbitration 

award was an attitude which had perhaps led to certain mis- 

understandings with Poland, but it was easily to be explained 

by the historical development of the question. This arbitra- 

tion award had been put into execution on the basis of the 

Hungarian demands after both parties had been heard. What 

had really and finally determined his (the Fuehrer’s) attitude 

in the Ukrainian question was his wish that in no case should 

matters be permitted to come to an international conflict. 

54

With respect to the details of German-Polish relations, he 

wished once more to repeat that there had been no change 

in the German attitude towards Poland since 1934. To attain 

a final adjustment of the still unsettled questions between the 

two countries, one should not confine oneself to the rather 

negative agreement of 1934, but should seek to ‘formulate a 

treaty which would cover these single problems and dispose 

of them. On the German side _ there was not only the Memel 

question, which would be settled in a manner consonant with 

German views (there were signs that the Lithuanians were 

willing to co-operate in finding a sensible solution), there was 

also the problem of Danzig and the Corridor, a problem that 

directly affected German-Polish relations. The fact that Ger- 

many felt so keenly on this matter made it extremely difficult 

to find a solution. In his opinion it was necessary here to get 

out of the old grooves and seek a solution on completely novel 

lines. In the case of Danzig, for instance, one could imagine 

an arrangement, by which this city, in conformity with the 

will ofits inhabitants, should be reincorporated in the German 

body politic, whereby, as a matter of course, Polish interests, 

particularly in the economic sphere, must be safeguarded in 

every respect. That indeed was in the interests of Danzig, 

for economically Danzig could not exist without a hinterland, 

consequently what he, the Fuehrer, had in mind was a for- 

mula by which Danzig would return to Germany politically, 

but economically would remain with Poland. 

Danzig was German, would always remain German, and 

sooner or later would return to Germany. 

With respect to the Corridor, which, as already mentioned, 

presented a grave psychological difficulty for Germany, the 

Fuehrer pointed out that for the Reich the connection with 

East Prussia was as vital a matter as for Poland the connect- 

ion with the sea. Here too it might be possible by the use of 

quite novel methods to find a solution that would pay due 

regard to the interests of both. 

55

If means could be found to bring about a final settlement 

of all individual questions on such a basis of common sense, 

whereby as a matter of course each partner would obtain his 

rights, the time would have arrived when in the relations of 

Germany to Poland the rather negative declaration of 1934 

might be supplemented by a treaty of a more positive charac- 

ter, like the agreements with France, in which Germany 

would guarantee Poland her frontiers clearly and in so many 

words. Poland would then have the great advantage of get- 

ting her frontiers with Germany, including the Corridor, assured 

by treaty. The Fuehrer, in saying this, stressed once more the 

psychological difficulty of the Corridor problem and the fact 

that only he was in a position to propose such a solution with 

success. For him (the Fuehrer) it was not quite a simple 

matter to guarantee the Corridor in this way, and he would 

certainly be considerably criticized for it, especially by the 

bourgeoisie. But as a practical politician he nevertheless be- 

lieved that such a solution would be best. When once Germany 

had given her guarantee, one would hear as little about the 

Polish Corridor as one did now of South Tyrol or Alsace- 

Lorraine. 

The Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs thanked the Fuehrer 

for his exposition of the German standpoint, and declared 

that Poland for her part would also abide by the attitude she 

had maintained towards Germany till then. 

Poland would continue the line of independent policy she 

had pursued in former years, when an attempt was made to 

link Poland more closely with Russia through the medium of 

an Eastern Pact. Poland, it was true, was not so nervously 

desirous as France to have her security buttressed up, and she 

placed no trust in so-called “security systems”. Their final 

burial after the September crisis indeed marked a turning- 

point in history. But Poland could thoroughly appreciate the 

German point of view as expressed once more in the declara-

Lion just made by the Fuehrer. For her part she would hold 

fast to the old line of policy towards Germany. 

As to German-Polish relations he took cognizance of the 

wishes uttered by. the Fuehrer. Nevertheless the Danzig 

question appeared to him extraordinarily difficult. In this 

connection one had especially to take public opinion in Poland 

into account. By this he did not mean the attitude of “the 

coffee-house opposition”. During his seven years’ period of 

office he had never paid the least attention to coffee-house 

opinion, and he was still in office. But he had to pay regard 

to the real opinion of the nation, and there he saw difficulties 

in the way of a solution of the Danzig question. But he in- 

tended, nevertheless, to think the matter over quietly. 

Colonel Beck did not enter into the other German-Polish 

questions broached by the Fuehrer, but concluded his remarks 

with a renewed confirmation of his statement that in her 

general attitude Poland would now as before remain true to 

the line followed since ‘934• 

 

Schmidt 

No. ‘8 (201) 

Conversation between the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

and M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, 

Munich, 6 January 1939 

Memo 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 9 January 1939 

At the beginning of a conversation lasting about an hour 

and a half M. Beck immediately reverted to the Danzig 

problem. He said that Poland, too, was endeavouring to con- 

tinue neighbourly relations with Germany, and to improve 

them. The only problem which might shortly produce disturb- 

ing effects in this connection was the Danzig question. Two 

57

possibilities might, he said, arise requiring us to define our 

attitude with regard to the problem:- 

i. That the League of Nations would cease to interest itself 

in the Danzig question and would recall the High Com- 

missioner, in which case Germany and Poland would have to 

settle the question between themselves. 

2. That the Poles would be compelled to take up the matter 

owing to new developments in Danzig. 

He added that the problem was, in fact, a very difficult 

one and that he had cudgelled his brains for a solution, 

without, however, any result so far. 

Finally, M. Beck pointed out once more that Danzig was, 

in the mind of the entire Polish people, the acid test of Ger- 

man-Polish relations and that it would be very difficult to 

alter this fact in any way. 

In reply I explained to M. Beck that:- 

i. As the Fuehrer had already said there was, on the Ger- 

man side, an unqualified desire for a final, comprehensive and 

generous consolidation of our mutual relations. 

z. In this connection two problems seemed important:- 

(a) Direct German-Polish relations. In this connection I 

should suggest the following solution :- 

Re-union of Danzig with Germany. In return for this 

the guarantee of all Polish economic interests in this 

territory, in the most generous manner. Connection 

between Germany and her province of East Prussia by 

means of an extra-territorial motor-road and railway. 

In compensation thereof, Germany to guarantee the Cor- 

ridor and all Poland’s present possessions,-i 

.e., the 

ultimate and permanent recognition of their common 

frontiers. 

(b) The Czecho-Carpatho-Ukrainian question. 

58

In this connection I repeated that ethnographical 

frontiers had been fixed at Munich. Should the prin- 

ciple of political frontiers be brought up by any side, 

Germany would not, of course, remain disinterested. 

Although German political interests did not, in them- 

selves, extend beyond the Carpathians, Germany con- 

sidered it impossible, over and above this, to declare her 

disinterestedness in any alteration of frontiers in regard 

to Czecho-Slovakia and the Carpatho-Ukraine, because 

such events might easily involve her in a conflict. The 

decision arrived at by the arbiters in Vienna must be 

observed, and it was our fundamental conception that, 

in the event of other wishes cropping up in this con- 

nection, such wishes must be brought into accord with 

German interests. 

At the close of the conversation I complained to M. Beck 

about the treatment of our German minorities, mainly those 

in the Olsa territory, and took occasion to object most emphatic- 

ally to M. Grazynski’s continued anti-German intrigues. 

M. Beck assured me that this question had already received 

serious attention and that he, for his part, would do his 

utmost to bring about a more satisfactory state of affairs. 

I then thanked M. Beck for his invitation to come to 

Warsaw, which I accepted on principle. A date has not yet 

been fixed. It was agreed that M. Beck and I should once 

more consider in detail the whole complex of an eventual 

treaty between Poland and ourselves. M. Lipski and Hem 

.Moltke were to carry on negotiations during the next few 

weeks, and my visit was to take place, at all events, this 

winter. 

von Ribbentrop 

59

No. 19 (202) 

Conversation between the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

and M. Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, 

Warsaw, 26 January 1939 

Memo 

(Translation) 

Berlin, i February 1939 

1. In my conversation with M. Beck, which was a con- 

tinuation of our conversation at Munich on 6 January, I re- 

verted to the former proposal concerning the re-union of 

Danzig with the Reich in return for a guarantee of Poland’s 

economic interests there, the building of an extra-territorial 

motor-road and railway connection between Germany and 

her province of East Prussia, to be compensated on the Ger- 

man side by a guarantee of the German-Polish frontier. In 

this connection I stated again that it was the wish of the 

Fuehrer to achieve a comf$ete conciliation in respect of Ger- 

man-Polish relations by means of corresponding treaties. It 

was important that M. Beck should realize that the German 

wishes were extraordinarily moderate, since, even to-day, the 

allocation of exceedingly valuable sections of severed German 

territory to Poland, in accordance with the Treaty of Ver- 

sailles, is regarded by every German as a great injustice, made 

possible at the time only by Germany’s extreme impotence. 

Ninety-nine out of a hundred Englishmen or Frenchmen would, 

if asked, say at once that the return of Danzig and of the 

Corridor, at least, was a natural demand on the part of Ger- 

many. 

M. Beck seemed impressed by what I had said, but again 

pointed out that inner-political opposition was to be expected; 

he would, nevertheless, carefully consider our suggestion. 

I have come to an agreement with M. Beck that, should the 

League of Nations withdraw from Danzig before a com- 

prehensive treaty applying also to Danzig has been reached

between us and Poland, we should get into touch with him in 

order to find a solution for this contingency. 

2. I again complained to M. Beck about the treatment of 

our German minority, and arranged with him that the discus- 

sions which had long been planned between the leading 

officials of the respective Ministries for Home Affairs should 

be begun immediately. 

 

von Ribbentrop 

Whilst, since the end of October, the Reich Government 

had been untiring in their efforts to come to an amicable settle- 

ment with Poland and thus to stabilize the peace o f Europe, 

the pro-war and rearmament campaign ‘announced by Mr. 

Chamberlain in his statement. in the House o f Commons on 

3 October 1938 was being continued without interruption. 

This is proved, for example, by a speech made in the House 

of Commons by Mr. R. S. Hudson, Secretary for the Overseas 

Trade Department, in which he inveighed against the economic 

position of Germany in Central and Southeastern Europe . Mr. 

Duff Cooper, formerly First Lord o f the Admiralty, was even 

more outspoken when he delivered a lecture in Paris on 

1o December. On S January, the very day on which the 

Fuehrer received M. Beck, the Polish Minister for Foreign 

Affairs, in the most friendly fashion at Berchtesgaden, the 

German Ambassador in London found himself compelled to 

protest against the growing and unbridled pro-war agitation 

indulged in by the British Press and by certain widely-read 

and well-known British writers. 

No. zo (229) 

Speech by Mr. R. S. Hudson, Secretary, Department of 

Overseas Trade, in the House o f Commons, 3o November 1938 

Extract 

Finally, we come to the question of Germany. The 

hon. Member asked why we did not refuse to extend the most- 

6

favoured-nation treatment to Germany, following the example 

of the United States. The answer is that Germany is refused 

most-favoured-nation treatment by the United States because 

she is discriminating against American goods in Germany. 

Germany is not discriminating against British goods in Ger- 

many. Our complaint is that Germany is, by her methods, 

destroying trade throughout the world. We thus have no case 

for taking away most-favoured-nation treatment, which 

depends upon how Germany treats our goods in Germany, 

and the question is the very much broader one of how to meet 

the new form of German competition throughout the world. 

. . . . As far as we can make out, because it is difficult to get 

very exact information as to the way in which things are done 

in Germany, the basis of their hold -is that they pay to pro- 

ducers in Central and South eastern Europe much more than 

the world price. Obviously, they do that at the expense of 

their own people. How they treat their own people is a matter 

for the German Government, but it does affect us. 

. . . . I am trying to explain that by these methods Germany 

is obtaining a stranglehold on the countries in that part of 

Europe, an uneconomic stranglehold at the expense of her 

own people, because it means raising the cost of living to her 

own people and, in fact, exporting goods at less than cost 

price. Hon. Members ask: “What is the solution here?” 

. . . . We have made a survey of all possible methods and the 

only way we see is by organizing our industries in such a way 

that they will be able to speak as units with their opposite 

numbers in Germany and say, “Unless you are prepared to 

put an end to this form of treatment, unless you are prepared 

to come to an agreement to sell your goods at prices which 

represent a reasonable return, then we will fight you and beat 

you at your own game.” This country is infinitely stronger 

financially than, I was going to say, any other country in the 

world, but certainly stronger than Germany, and therefore 

62

we have great advantages, advantages which I believe will 

result in our winning the fight; but it is an essential preliminary 

that our own industries should be organized. . . . 

No. 21 (232) 

The German Ambassador in Paris to the German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Paris, io December 1938 

On 7 December, Mr. Duff Cooper gave a lecture in the 

Theatre des Ambassadeursin Paris on the subject of “Anglo- 

French Friendship and Peace”. In the course of his remarks 

which were of a war-mongering nature and directed throughout 

against Germany, at times even in an insulting manner, the 

speaker emphasized the necessity for an Anglo-French coalition 

for the safeguarding of the interests of both countries. He said 

that although Germany was strong, these two, peoples together 

were a match for her and that there was absolutely no reason 

to assume that the outcome of any conflict which might take 

place would be in Germany’s favour. Mr. Duff Cooper found 

consolation in stating that in case of war, America would 

remain in the background as the staunch friend of the Western 

Democracies. In another war, he said, it was not so much the 

fate of Britain and France which would be at stake but the 

fate of civilization as a whole. All past civilizations, he 

asserted, with a subtle reference to Germany, had been 

destroyed by peoples who, although superior in numbers and 

in strength, were culturally inferior. 

By Order 

Brauer 

63

No. zz (233) 

The German Ambassador in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

London, 5 January 1939. 

I did not untertake the step advised in instructions until 

to-day so that I might speak in person to Lord Halifax who 

has been absent on Christmas leave until now. I protested 

very strongly against the grave insults to the Fuehrer and to 

leading German statesman contained in Wells’ article published 

in theNews Chronicle, and I pointed out that the Embassy 

during the past few months had unfortunately been forced to 

complain, on an increasing number of occasions, about affronts 

to the Fuehrer: I reminded Lord Halifax of these com- 

plaints and their cause by quoting individual instances. The 

most serious affront of all was that which appeared in Wells’ 

New Year article in the News Chronicle,in which the author 

appeared to be aiming less at criticism in which abusive terms 

were not avoided, than at intentionally heaping grave insults 

on the Fuehrer and his closest collaborators. 

I said that I was aware that the British Government refused 

to entertain the possibility of bringing their influence to bear 

directly on the Press and that they had referred to the absence, 

of a legal handle. I added that I had likewise noticed that 

Wells in neither of his articles refrained from passing detractive 

criticism on the British King and Queen and that they con- 

tained serious affronts to Mr. Chamberlain. 

I pointed out that this, however, did not alter the fact that 

the numerous defamations of the head of the German State 

and the impossibility of obtaining adequate satisfaction were 

an affront to German national feeling and would inevitably 

have a detrimental effect on Anglo-German relations. I there- 

fore wished to raise the question once more whether it would 

64

matters, at any rate in the future. 

Lord Halifax replied that he had no hesitation in describing 

the article mentioned, which he had seen, as the most outrageous 

abuse of the Fuehrer that he had as yet read in the press. He 

said that he wished to express to me his unbounded regret at 

this affront to the Fuehrer and begged me to convey to the 

German Government this expression of his regret. It was, he 

continued, extremely regrettable that during the last months 

numerous lapses had again occurred, the explanation for which, 

although not constituting an excuse, was that abusive articles 

of this type, as for example that under discussion, were 

written chiefly for reasons connected with home politics and 

were aimed against the British Government. The general 

unsettled political atmosphere prevailing must also, he said, be 

taken into consideration. 

I replied to Lord Halifax that the existing state of affairs 

could not continue and that I must earnestly request him to 

find some means of bringing about an improvement in order 

to avoid regrettable political consequences. 

Lord Halifax promised, as far as his possibilities of using 

his influence went, to do his best to prevent such insults to the 

Fuehrer in future. 

 

Dirksen 

These documents provide ample proof that Britain’s system- 

atic preparations for war had been begun long before the 

existence o f the pretext offered by the final dissolution o f 

what remained o f Czecho-Slovakia. As far back as 7 December, 

the British Secretary of State for the Colonies deemed it 

necessary to deprive the Munich Declaration of any real value 

by his point-blank refusal to discuss the question of colonies and 

mandated territories, thus preventing Germany from entering 

upon negotiations in this sphere. At the end of January, Mr. 

Chamberlain felt called upon to declare that he would, in given 

circumstances, have to play the same part towards Adol f 

5 100documents, engl. 6

Hitler’s Germany as Pitt the Younger had played towards 

Napoleon. Particularly characteristic of this period are two 

reports received from German Legations, which clearly demon- 

strate that the encirclement policy was being actively carried 

out even in countries far removed from Europe. The follow- 

ing reports from Ankara and Teheran provide definite proof 

of this. 

 

No. 23 (24o) 

Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

in Birmingham, 

28January1939 

Extract 

We cannot forget that though it takes at least two 

to make a peace, one can make a war. And until we have 

come to clear understandings in which all political tension is 

swept away, we must put ourselves in a position to defend 

ourselves against attack, whether upon our land, our people, 

or the principles of freedom with which our existence as a 

democracy is bound up, and which to us seem to enshrine the 

highest attributes of human life and spirit. 

It is for this purpose, for the purpose of defence and not of 

attack, that we are pursuing the task of rearmament with un- 

relenting vigour and with the full approval of the country. 

But I cannot help once more registering my regret 

that it should be necessary to devote so much time and so vast 

a proportion of the revenue of the country to warlike pre- 

parations instead of to those more domestic questions which 

brought me into politics, the health and housing of the people, 

the improvement of their material conditions, the provision of 

recreation for their leisure, and the prosperity of industry 

and agriculture. 

None of these subjects is, indeed, being neglected, but their 

66

development is necessarily hampered and slowed up by the 

demands of national security. 

Thinking over these things I recall the fate of one of the 

greatest of my predecessors, the younger Pitt. His interests 

lay at home in the repair of the financial system and in 

domestic reforms. But events abroad cut short his ambitions 

and reluctantly, and after long resisting his fate, he found 

himself involved in what was up to then the greatest war in 

our history. Worn out by the struggle he died before success 

had crowned our efforts, to which his own steadfast courage 

had contributed so much. 

I trust that my lot may be happier than his, and that we 

may yet secure our aim of international peace. 

We have so often defined our attitude that there can be 

no misunderstanding about it and I feel that it is time now 

that others should make their contribution to’ a result which 

would overflow with benefits to all. To-day the air is full 

of rumours and suspicions which ought not to be allowed to 

persist. For peace could only be endangered by such a chall- 

enge as was envisaged by the President of the United States 

inhis New Year message, namely a demand to dominate the 

world by force. That would be a demand which, as the Presi- 

dent indicated and I myself have already declared, the demo- 

cracies must inevitably resist  

No. 74 (236) 

The German Charge d’Affaires in Ankara to the 

German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Ankara, 17January 1939 

The British Ambassador here, Sir Percy L. Loraine, who 

has been accredited. to Turkey since is February 1934, has 

been appointed British Ambassador in Rome, as has already 

5* 67

been reported in the press. He will leave Ankara in about 

five or six weeks, and spend some time travelling before 

taking up his new post in April. The former British Am- 

bassador in China, Sir Hughes Montgomery Knatchbull- 

Hugessen K.’ C. M. G., has been appointed Sir Percy Loraine’s 

successor. 

Sir Percy Loraine has undoubtedly played a distinguished 

role during the five years of his activity here. He has made it 

.his aim to bind Turkish policy closely to England. The re- 

alization of this aim, he perceived, demanded and presumed 

close economic collaboration, and he has persistently and per- 

severingly striven to promote England’s economic influence in 

Turkey. Sir Percy Loraine was of opinion that in the long 

run this could only be achieved by lowering German economic 

influence, and in fact he has spared no pains to undermine 

Germany’s predominant economic position in Turkey. 

Kroll 

No. 2s (245) 

The German Minister in Teheran to the 

German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Teheran, 4 March 1939 

For several months, increasing political activity on the part 

of Great Britain, directed in no small measure against Ger- 

many and our position in Iran, has been observed here. 

Only a year ago there were only slight indications here of 

any apparent British activity in political, economic or cultural 

spheres. An attentive observer could not but gain the im- 

pression that British foreign policy, which in former years dis- 

played particularly marked activity in this part of the world, 

while attentively watching the progress of affairs in this 

rapidly developing State, was, in other respects, exhibiting 

pronounced reserve. Nor did this reserve undergo any appa- 

68

rent change when other European Powers, in the first instance 

Germany, began to pay marked attention to the new Iran, 

and to consolidate and to develop their relations with this 

country in an economic direction in particular. It was further 

accepted with equanimity that Germany should, within a few 

years, have moved up from the fifth to the second place as a 

supplier to and purchaser from Iran, while Great Britain, 

which in 1936137 ‘still occupied the second place, was now 

relegated to the fourth. Even the establishment of a German 

air-route to the Near East, extending to Afghanistan close to 

the Indian frontier, and having as its original aim a further 

extension to China, thus providing for ports of call in im- 

portant British spheres of interest in Central Asia, met at first 

with only slight opposition on the part of Great Britain. The 

relations between the German and the British diplomatic 

missions, as well as the personal relations between German 

and British nationals resident here, were as friendly as they 

could possibly be, and expressions of sympathy and admira- 

tion for the new Germany could often be heard in British 

circles. 

The return of Austria to the Reich, received here with 

evident uneasiness, caused the first chill in these relations. 

Whilst the diplomatic missions of other countries expressed 

their satisfaction at the fact that one section of a nation had 

been reunited with another, and that a serious menace to 

European peace had thus been removed without bloodshed, 

severe criticism of the methods adopted by Germany was 

expressed in British circles, and thence spread further, even 

as far as leading government departments. The solution of 

the Sudeten-German problem, that acid test for the Berlin- 

Rome axis, as well as the great success of German states- 

manship shown in the result of the Munich negotiations and 

recognized throughout the world, called forth in British 

circles here an attitude definitely hostile to Germany, which 

found free expression in conversations, correct enough in 

69

their form, conducted with the staff of the delegation, and. 

even with the Minister himself. 

Since then, anti-German feelings prevailing in British circles 

here have increased considerably. All the paraphernalia con= 

nected with the rearmament drive, as manifested to-day in 

the British Press, over the wireless, in public speeches made 

by the spokesmen of the war party-all directed against 

Germany-are accurately reflected in the attitude of the 

British diplomatic mission and of the British colony here. If, 

in the course of conversations with British people, attention 

is attracted to the reprehensible and dangerous character of 

these methods, the only answer is a deprecating shrug of the 

shoulders or a frosty reply that the armaments race between 

the nations is bound ultimately to end in war. For these 

people, Messrs. Eden, Churchill, and Duff Cooper are. the 

real representatives and the future leaders of the British 

nation. 

The effects of this propaganda, so clearly directed against 

Germany, on our work and our position in Iran should 

not be underrated. Even though the British, who are, feared 

but by no means popular here, will not easily succeed in 

seriously endangering our favourable position in economic 

and cultural spheres, they will, nevertheless, by creating a war 

psychosis in leading Iran circles, produce a sense of insecurity 

and of apprehension regarding what is yet to come. This 

mayhave disturbing and detrimental effects on the willing- 

ness of the Iran Government to enter upon important and 

long-term economic or transport undertakings with us. 

In many other respects, too, the British have recently 

exhibited a marked anti-German activity. Thus to-day, any 

new drive on the part of German economic enterprise in 

Iran is not only subject to espionage in every detail through 

an excellently organized news service, but is also sabotaged 

wherever possible. 

 

Smend 

70

B. British encirclement policy after February Z939 

Poland’s rejection of the German proposals 

As early as February the anti-German and pro-war agitation 

o f leading British circles took the form o f a revival o f the 

encirclement policy pursued by Britain at the time of the 

Great War. In the first place the alliance between Britain and 

France was made more binding and at the same time there 

was a noticeable tendency to improve the relations between 

Poland and the Anglo-French allies. 

No. 26 (267) 

Statement made by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

in the House of Commons, 6 February 7939 

Mr. A. Henderson asked the Prime Minister whether the 

recent statement by the French Foreign Minister that in the 

case of war the forces of Great Britain would be at the disposal 

of France, just as all the forces of France would be at the 

disposal of Great Britain, were in accord with the views of 

His Majesty’s Government? 

The Prime Minister: According to my information, Monsieur 

Bonnet stated in the Chamber of Deputies on 26January that 

in the case of a war in which the two countries were involved 

all the forces of Great Britain would be at the disposal of 

France just as all the forces of France would be at the disposal 

of Great Britain. This is in complete accordance with the 

views of His Majesty’s Government. It is impossible to 

examine in detail all the hypothetical cases which may arise, 

but I feel bound to make plain that the solidarity of interest, 

by which France and this country are united, is such that any 

threat to the vital interests of France from whatever quarter 

it come must evoke the immediate co-operation of this country. 

71

No. 27 (268) 

The German Ambassador in Paris to the German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Paris, 28 February 1939 

Recently and prior to the information concerning the anti- 

German excesses in Poland, the Embassy received news from 

an absolutely reliable source which points to certain tendencies 

towards a revival of the Franco-Polish Alliance and, in line 

with this, to the intention to allow German-Polish relations to 

become gradually worse. As the chief reason for this our 

informant mentions the deep impression made on the Polish 

Government by the strengthening of the Entente Cordiale 

between France and Britain as well as the various statements 

by Mr. Chamberlain with regard to English aid for France, to 

which must be added a remarkable British activity in Poland. 

Welczeck 

Thus we come to the most important phase of the events 

leading up to the present war. After the collapse of Czecho- 

Slovakia, Britain’s efforts to encircle Germany were openly 

acknowledged and the Government declared this to be their 

policy. In this connection, the attitude adopted by Britain 

with regard to the dissolution o f Czecho-Slovakia is worthy 

o f note. On15March, i. e., after the signing o f the German- 

Czech Agreement, Mr. Chamberlain declared in the House o f 

Commons that the British guarantee to Czecho-Slovakia did 

not apply, since the declaration of independence of Slovakia 

put an end by internal disruption to the State whose frontiers 

Britain had proposed to guarantee. “His Majesty’s Govern- 

ment cannot accordingly hold themselves any longer bound 

by this obligation.” This official British statement not only 

coincided with the German view but also with the historical 

fact that about mid-day on 14 March the disintegration of 

72

Czecho-Slovakia was completed by the Proclamation o f 

Independence by the Slovak Diet. 

At this juncture the British pro-war party started a counter- 

thrust and retained the upper hand. Mr. Chamberlain 

abandoned his own policy and gave way to the Opposition, 

which, from that time onwards, took over the reigns o f foreign 

policy, co-operating in complete harmony with the bureaucrats 

o f the Foreign Office. Poland, having up till then hesitated 

to allow herself to be persuaded to abandon finally the method 

of amicable settlement with Germany, now definitely identified 

herself with the encirclement front which was now taking form . 

It was only as a result o f coupling the Polish complex with the 

British policy o f encirclement that problems such as those o f 

Danzig and the Corridor, which although not simple in 

themselves were yet capable of being solved, became charged 

with the explosive matter which eventually wrecked the peace 

first of Eastern and then of Western Europe. Mr. Chamber- 

lain’s speech in Birmingham was the final proof o f the Prime 

Minister’s capitulation to the political views of the Opposition 

whose object was to achieve the complete annihilation of 

Greater Germany. The policy of encirclement which had 

already been systematically prepared was now applied to its 

fullest extent. 

No. 28 (269) 

Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

in Birmingham, 17 March 1939 

Extract 

. . . . Last Wednesday we had a debate in the House of Com- 

mons. That was the day on which the German troops entered 

Czecho-Slovakia, and all of us, but particularly the Govern- 

ment, were at a disadvantage, because the information that we 

had was only partial; much of it was unofficial. We had no 

73

time to digest it, much less to form a considered opinion upon 

it. And so it necessarily followed that I, speaking on behalf of 

the Government, with all the responsibility that attaches to 

that position, was obliged to confine myself to a very restrained 

and cautious exposition, on what at the time I felt I could 

make but little commentary. And, perhaps naturally, that 

somewhat cool and objective statement gave rise to a 

misapprehension, and some people thought that because I 

spoke quietly, because I gave little expression to feeling, there- 

fore my colleagues and I did not feel strongly on the subject. 

I hope to correct that mistake to-night. . Really I have 

no need to defend my visits to Germany last autumn, for what 

was the alternative? Nothing that we could have done, 

nothing that France could have done, or Russia could have 

done could possibly have saved Czecho-Slovakia from invasion 

and destruction. Even if we had subsequently gone to war to 

punish Germany for her actions, and if after the frightful 

losses which would have been inflicted upon all partakers in 

the war we had been victorious in the end, never could we 

have reconstructed Czecho-Slovakia as she was framed by the 

Treaty of Versailles Germany, under her present regime, 

has sprung a series of unpleasant surprises upon the world. 

The Rhineland, the Austrian Anschluf3, the severance of Su- 

detenland-all these things shocked and affronted public 

opinion throughout the world. Yet, however much we might 

take exception to the methods which were adopted in each of 

those cases, there was something to be said, whether on account 

of racial affinity or of just claims too long resisted-there was 

something to be said for the necessity of a change in the 

existing situation. 

But the events which have taken place this week seem to 

fall into a different category, and they must cause us all to be , 

asking ourselves:- “Is this the end of an old adventure, or is 

it the beginning of a new?” 

“Is this the last attack upon a small State, or is it to be 

74

followed by others? Is this, in fact, a step in the direction of 

an attempt to dominate the world by force?” 

Those are grave and serious questions. I am not going to 

answer them to-night. But I am sure they will require the 

grave and serious consideration not only of Germany’s 

neighbours, but of others, perhaps even beyond the confines 

of Europe. Already there are indications that the process has 

begun, and it is obvious that it is likely now to be speeded up. 

We ourselves will naturally turn first to our partners in the 

British Commonwealth of Nations and to France, to whom 

we are so closely bound, and I have no doubt that others, too, 

knowing that we are not disinterested in what goes on in 

Southeastern Europe, will wish to have our counsel and 

advice. 

In our own country we must all review the position with 

that sense of responsibility which its gravity demands. Nothing 

must be excluded from that review which bears upon the 

national safety. Every aspect of our national life must be 

looked at again from that angle  

No. 29 (271) 

Extract from a Speech by Lord Halifax, British Secretary o f 

State for Foreign Affairs, in the House o f Lords, 2oMarch1939 

. . . . But if and when it becomes plain to States that there 

is no apparent guarantee against successive attacks directed in 

turn on all who might seem to stand in the way of ambitious 

schemes of domination, then at once the scale tips the other 

way, and in all quarters there is likely immediately to be 

found a very_ much greater readiness to consider whether the 

acceptance of wider mutual obligations, in the cause of mutual 

support, is not dictated, if for no other reason than the 

necessity of self-defence. His Majesty’s Government have not 

failed to draw the moral from these events, and have lost no 

75

time in placing themselves in close and practical consultation, 

not only with the Dominions, but with other Governments 

concerned upon the issues that have suddenly been made so 

plain  

No. 30(272) 

The German Charge d’Af faires in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

London, zo March 1939 

Statements which Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Halifax have 

just made in Parliament have not yet clarified the intentions 

of the British Government. Lord Halifax limits himself to an, 

in some passages bitter, exposition of the events of the 

last few days. He spoke of the expediency of “wider 

mutual obligations.” An approximate idea of the present state 

of affairs may be formed from reports received from reliable 

sources, as follows: -The initiative for entering into discussions 

rests firmly in the hands of the British Government. They 

wish to be the first in determining the policy to be followed 

in order to avoid the other states issuing conditional state- 

ments, which, in British opinion, would not attain their aim. 

The British Government obviously have in mind the drawing 

of a line of demarcation, especially enclosing Roumania, the 

crossing of which by an aggressor would lead to war. It is 

said that the following States, have been invited to take part 

in the question of guarantees, namely: -Russia, Poland, 

Turkey, and Jugoslavia; it is beyond dispute that Hungary 

has’ not been approached; that it has been left to Poland to 

get into touch with Lithuania, Esthonia, and Latvia ; that the 

same applies to Turkey in regard to Greece; that they are still 

doubtful with regard to Bulgaria’s attitude. 

 

Kordt 

76

No. 31 (274) 

The German Charge d’Af faires in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

London, 22 March 1939 

From a reliable source I have received the following 

information about the contents of the proposals made by 

Great Britain in Paris, Warsaw, and Moscow: 

The proposed declaration provides that in cases in which 

there is reason to apprehend aggression the signatories of the 

declaration bind themselves to immediate consultation, “to 

resist aggression”. 

As far as can be seen up to the present, Poland entertains 

doubts about the British proposal. Moscow has not yet 

answered. 

In case this declaration be accepted by the States concerned, 

Great Britain wants as a second step to submit a proposal of 

General Staff talks with the object of military agreements. 

Kordt 

No. 32 (277) 

The German Charge d’Af faires in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

London,29 March 1 939 

In the House of Commons on 28 March, Mr. Greenwood 

and Mr. Dalton, Labour Members, submitted questions to the 

Prime Minister in which they begged for more detailed 

information about the state of the discussions proceeding at 

present between the British Government and other Govern- 

ments. 

77

Mr. Greenwood wanted to know, whether the declaration 

which had been presented to certain Powers dealt solely with 

consultation, or whether mutual assistance, under certain 

circumstances even of a military kind, were envisaged. 

The Prime Minister replied that it was extraordinarily diffi- 

cult and delicate to place all the cards on the table at that 

moment. “It will, at any rate, be readily understood, from 

what I have said previously, that what the Government have 

in mind goes a great deal further than consultation.” 

Mr. Dalton desired to know whether it had been made clear 

to Poland that the British Government were willing, in con- 

junction with other Governments, to come to Poland’s assistance 

in the event of her being the next victim of “German aggres- 

sion”. The Prime Minister answered that he felt compelled to 

maintain a certain reserve on this point, but he was prepared 

to state that the British Government had left no possibility 

of doubt in the minds of the Governments with which they 

stood in consultation, about what the British Government 

were prepared to do in given circumstances. 

By Order 

von Selzam 

From now onwards it is easy to realize that the British 

encirclement policy coincided absolutely with an exceedingly 

provocative attitude on the part of Poland. No reply had 

as yet been received from Poland regarding the German 

proposals. On 2rMarch, therefore, the Reich Minister for 

Foreign Affairs again received the Polish Ambassador in 

order to bring up once more the matter o f the German 

proposals and to inform him that the Fuehrer would welcome 

another discussion with M. Beck. Although, at this juncture, 

the British encirclement policy was already being officially 

pursued, and although, as Documents 29 and 30 (NOS. 272, 

273) show, the catchword `Poland’ had already been uttered 

in the House of Commons, the Reich Government adhered 

78 

0

to their moderate proposals. Poland had no occasion to feel 

herself threatened in any way by Germany. On the other 

hand, as early as 9 March, He” von Moltke, the German 

Ambassador, was compelled to talk very seriously to M. Beck, 

the Polish Foreign Minister, with regard to Polish excesses. 

In spite of this, Poland commenced partial mobilization only 

a few days later, and on 26March, the Polish Ambassador 

finally handed the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs a 

document which was tantamount to a final rejection of the 

German proposals. On the very next day, the Reich Minister 

for Foreign Affairs was forced to complain to the Polish 

Ambassador about serious excesses in Bromberg. As is proved 

by reports and memoranda received at this time from 

German diplomats, those in power in Warsaw had completely 

frustrated the efforts hitherto made by Germany to pursue 

a policyof amicable understanding with Poland. Poland was 

co-operating wholeheartedly in the British encirclement policy 

and made no attempt to put a stop to the provocative excesses 

against the German minority about which detailed reports 

are given in the third chapter. 

NO- 33 (155) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German Foreign 

Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw,9March 1 939 

In the conversation which I yesterday had with M. Beck 

I reverted to the demonstrations before the German Embassy, 

drawing particular attention to the evident sympathy of the 

police with the demonstrators, as also to the fact that a 

Polish officer of higher rank in the presence of a trust- 

worthy third person described the demonstrations as being 

79

altogether justified. I declared to M. Beck that the estab- 

lishment of these two facts, as also other observations of 

a similar kind, had shown to my regret how narrow the 

foundation was on which the policy of coming to an under- 

standing was being carried on in- Poland. Apart from him 

himself, and about half a dozen other persons, there was 

practically no one in Poland who was taking any interest 

in this matter. One could not then be surprised if the feeling 

towards Germany were getting continually worse, for the 

Polish Press did not cease to carry on its agitation. Daily 

there appeared unfriendly articles not only in the press of 

the opposition, but also in the provincial organs of the Go- 

vernment, and only the two official newspapers appearing 

in Warsaw, maintained a comparatively correct attitude. 

What was still worse, however, was the agitation of the West 

Marches Society which was stirring up the population against 

everything German in a very significant way by various 

kinds of systematic actions. But what was absolutely shocking 

was the wave of demonstrations which last August had, for 

three weeks, swept the whole land, as a protest against the 

pretended brutality of the Germans, and to wit in connection 

with the sad accident to a Polish railway-man who had fallen 

out of the train between Danzig and Gdynia, thereby losing 

both his legs. This agitation had at the time been tolerated 

by the Government, although it was known to them that the 

accident, for which the Germans were being blamed, was 

solely the fault of the Polish railway-man himself, no Ger- 

man having been concerned in the matter. This was the most 

inconceivable instance of provocative agitation which I had 

ever experienced. 

M. Beck appeared to be considerably affectedd by these 

statements and declared again how very much he had regret- 

ted the incidents before the German Embassy. He admitted 

that the police had failed and declared that the guilty police 

8o

officer would be put on trial. Apart from this, he was of 

the opinion that one should not take a too pessimistic view 

of things. The policy of coming to an understanding was 

indeed not always easy to carry out, and he was by no 

means blind to the difficulties. He ‘lad had for instance in 

the year 1936 a great struggle to get this policy, which 

had been inaugurated by Pilsudski, recognized; since then, 

however, he was meeting with increasing understanding for 

it in political circles. The reasons for the feeling having got 

worse during the last months were, he believed, chiefly con- 

nected with the question of the Carpatho-Ukraine, as blame 

was being attributed to Germany for a common Polish- 

Hungarian frontier not having been established. 

I drew attention to the fact that all ground for such a 

pretence had been removed by the very clear declarations 

made at Berchtesgaden, and that it was really time to do 

something against the poisoning of the atmosphere. At all 

events we were unable to understand why the agitation in 

the press was being tolerated by the Government, and why 

the West Marches Society was being given a free hand in its 

anti-German actions. 

 

von Moltke 

No. 34 (203) 

Conversation o f the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the Polish Ambassador, 21 March 1939 

Memo 

(Translation) 

I requested M. Lipski, the Polish Ambassador, to come to 

see me at noon to-day. I “described to him the development 

of the Czecho-Slovakian question, and declared that, in view 

of the precipitate nature of events, it had not been possible 

for me to keep foreign representatives here as well informed 

6100 documents, engl. 

8I

as I would have wished. I had, however, fully informed 

Ambassador von Moltke, who happened to be in Berlin, and 

instructed him to enlighten M. Beck, the Polish Minister for 

Foreign Affairs. I then described in detail the events which 

had induced the Fuehrer to intervene. 

It had, I said, attracted our notice that the Bend spirit 

was astir again in what remained of Czecho-Slovakia. All 

the warnings the Fuehrer had addressed to M. Chvalkovsky 

had gone unheeded. The Prague Government had recently 

tried to take dictatorial action in the Carpatho-Ukraine and 

Slovakia. Moreover, the oppression of Germans in the 

linguistic enclaves had recommenced. 

I presumed that the settlement which had, meantime, been 

reached in connection with the Carpatho-Ukrainian question 

had caused great satisfaction in Poland. The establishment of 

the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia meant the final 

pacification of this area in conformity with historical prin- 

ciples, and would eventually prove of benefit to all. 

Ambassador Lipski then expressed antiety with regard to the 

fact that Germany had taken over the protection of Slovakia. 

This news had created a strong impression in Poland, for the 

man in the street could not help regarding such a step as 

primarily directed against Poland. The Slovaks, he said, 

were ‘a people linguistically related to the Poles. Polish 

interests in that area were also historically justified, and, 

from a purely realistic political standpoint, it had to be 

admitted that the proclamation of a Protectorate could only 

be regarded as a blow at Poland. 

I drew Ambassador Lipski’s attention to the fact that the 

independent Slovak Government had appealed to Germany 

for protection. The proclamation. of the Protectorate was 

certainly not directed against Poland. I gave him clearly to 

understand that the question might be jointly discussed in 

the event of general German-Polish relations taking a satis-

factory, course; in this connection Poland’s participation in 

the guarantee of the Slovak State might be considered. 

Unfortunately, however, I had been compelled to recognize 

that a gradual constraint had manifested itself in German- 

Polish relations. This development had begun several months 

ago. In Germany, `surprise had been felt at the- peculiar 

attitude displayed by Poland in the Minorities Commission. 

The Danzig incidents provoked by Polish students had 

likewise given us food for thought. Ambassador Lipski denied 

emphatically that incidents- of the kind had been caused by 

Polish students. He likewise denied with spirit my obser- 

vation that in the Fuehrer’s opinion the posters which had 

led to the incidents had been displayed by Polish students, 

and maintained that Polish students had not participated in 

the affair in any way. 

I further drew the Polish Ambassador’s attention to the 

continuous press attacks, to the anti-German demonstrations 

on the occasion of Count Ciano’s visit and to the public 

press campaign now being carried on. This press campaign 

seemed to me entirely unjustified. The Fuehrer had always 

worked for a settlement and an understanding, with Poland. 

The Fuehrer was still pursuing this aim, he was, however, 

increasingly surprised at the Polish attitude. Up to now 

I had imposed a certain restraint upon the German Press 

with regard to Poland, as the Polish Ambassador could see 

for himself by glancing at the German newspapers. It would, 

however, be impossible for me in the long run to allow such 

attacks to go unanswered. The probable result of such a 

reciprocal press campaign would soon be that our mutual rela- 

tions would touch zero. It seemed to me necessary to make 

a fresh attempt to put German-Polish policy on the right 

track, and it appeared to me right and proper that a personal 

discussion between German and Polish statesmen should take 

place at an early date. 

s• 

83

I added that I should be glad if M. Beck, the Foreign 

Minister, would shortly visit Berlin, as the Fuehrer had told 

me that he, too, would warmly welcome such a discussion. 

Concerning the possible subject of such an exchange of views, 

M. Lipski declared that he had to admit that Germany was 

not without a share in the creation and` the present existence 

of Poland, and that Poland owed her present territorial 

expansion to Germany’s greatest misfortune, namely, the fact 

that Germany had lost the Great War. 

The decision regarding the Corridor was, I said, generally 

accepted as being the heaviest burden placed on Germany 

by the Peace Treaty of Versailles. No former government 

could have dared to renounce German claims to . revision 

without finding themselves swept away by the Reichstag within 

the space of forty-eight hours. The Fuehrer thought otherwise 

with regard to the Corridor problem. He recognized the 

justice of the Polish demand for free access to the sea. 

He was the only German statesman who could venture to 

renounce possession of the Corridor once and for all. The 

prerequisite was, however, that the purely German city of 

Danzig should return to the Reich, and an extra-territorial 

motor-road and railway connection be established between 

the Reich and East Prussia. The existence of the Corridor 

was a thorn in the flesh of the German people, of which the 

sting could only be removed in this way. If the Polish 

statesmen were to take the real facts into account calmly, 

a solution could be found on the following basis: -the 

return of Danzig to the Reich, an extra-territorial motor- 

road and railway connection between the Reich and East 

Prussia, and, in return, a guarantee of the Corridor. I could 

well imagine that it would, in such a case, be possible to 

treat the Slovakian question in the sense referred to. 

Ambassador Lipski promised to inform M. Beck accord- 

ingly, and then to give me an answer. 

84

I suggested that Ambassador Lipski should go to Warsaw 

to report in person. I repeated once more how advantageous 

a final settlement between Germany and Poland appeared 

to me, particularly at the present juncture. This was also 

important because up to now the Fuehrer could not help 

but feel astonished at the peculiar attitude adopted by 

Poland with regard to a number of questions; it was essential 

that he should not gain the impression that Poland simply 

did not want to reach a settlement. 

von Ribbentrop 

NO-35 (204) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Warsaw, 24March1939 

Three or four classes of reservists, i. e., 1911-1914, in 

addition 19o6 and 1907, were called up at short notice from 

different districts; definitely confirmed. Reserve officers of 

technical troops called up. 

Moltke 

No-36 (206) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Warsaw, 24 March 1939 

The calling up of reservists already reported points to the 

growing influence of military circles upon the conduct of 

85

Polish foreign policy. For the time being, it is true the 

position of the Foreign Minister is still strong, as .is evident 

from the arrest of Mackiewicz, a prominent editor, who, 

although an adherent of Pilsudski’s, has become a bitter 

opponent of M. Beck. It is to be feared, however, that M. Beck 

will adopt a more extreme course if compelled to do so by 

the threatened wave of Nationalist feeling. 

As to British suggestions in connection with which the 

British Ambassador repeatedly called at the Ministry for 

Foreign Affairs during the past few days, nothing definite 

has so far become known. It is, therefore, impossible to say 

whether Polish mobilization measures were influenced by 

this British action. In this connection, a remark made by 

M. Arciszewski, Under-Secretary of State, to several diplo- 

mats here seems worth repeating. In the course of various 

deprecative remarks about Britain and France, who time and 

again, without running any risks themselves, had attempted 

to utilize Poland for ends other than her own, he declared 

that Poland would never fight merely for the interests of 

other Powers. In other respects, too, it may be inferred from 

the general lines of M. Beck’s policy that Poland would 

only unwillingly join any general combination or allow 

herself to be involved in actions which would compel her 

to define her position prematurely and clearly. This, of 

course, does not mean that Poland would not’accept British 

proposals if, as a result of the present negotiations, the 

possibility were to present itself of obtaining from Great 

Britain firm promises which would augment her security. 

Moltke 

86

NO-37 (207) 

Memo by the Director of the Political Department rn the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 25 March 1939 

The High Command of the Army telephoned me at11 a. m. 

yesterday and gave me the following information regarding 

Polish mobilization measures: – 

1. Polish troops about4,000strong have been concentrated 

near Gdynia. 

2. The troops of a garrison hitherto stationed in the southern 

part of the Corridor have been transferred to the im- 

mediate, vicinity of the Danzig frontier. 

3. Poland has mobilized threeclasses. 

All these measures are reported to apply to the northern 

part of Poland only; in other parts of the country the 

extent of military measures taken was not yet clearly 

apparent. 

 

Fiirst von Bismarck 

No-38 (208) 

Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the Polish Ambassador, 26 March 1939 

Memo 

(Translation) 

I received M. Lipski, the PolishAmbassador, at 12.30 p. m. 

to-day. 

Ambassador Lipski handed me- the Polish Government’s 

Memorandum attached hereto,which I read in his presence. 

Having taken note of its contents I replied to Ambassador 

Lipski that, in my personal opinion, the Polish attitude could 

not be considered a suitable basis for a solution of the Ger- 

87

man-Polish question. The only possible solution of the pro- 

blem was the re-union of Danzig with the Reich and the 

construction of an extra-territorial motor-road and railway 

connection between the Reich and East Prussia. M. Lipski 

replied that it was his painful duty to draw attention to 

the fact that any further prosecution of these German plans, 

especially as far as the return of Danzig to the Reich was 

concerned, meant war with Poland. 

I then drew Ambassador Lipski’s attention to the reports 

in hand respecting the concentration of Polish troops and 

warned him as to the possible consequences. The Polish 

attitude seemed to me a peculiar reply to my recent offer 

of a final pacification of German-Polish relations. If things 

continued like this, a serious situation might soon arise. I was 

in a position to tell Ambassador Lipski that such action, for 

example, as a violation of Danzig territory by Polish troops, 

would be regarded by Germany in the same light as a 

violation of the frontiers of the Reich. 

Ambassador Lipski emphatically denied that Poland had 

any military designs upon Danzig. The movements of military 

units carried out by Poland were merely precautionary 

measures. 

I then asked Ambassador Lipski whether the Polish Go- 

vernment would not, as soon as the situation had become 

somewhat calmer, consider once more the German proposals, 

in order that a solution might be reached on the basis pro- 

posed by us, namely the re-union of Danzig with the Reich 

and an extra-territorial motor-road and railway connection. 

Ambassador Lipski gave an evasive answer and referred 

once more to the Memorandum handed over by him. 

I replied to Ambassador Lipski that I would first of all 

report to the Fuehrer. My chief concern was to prevent the 

Fuehrer from gaining the impression that Poland simply did 

not want to come to an understanding. 

88

Ambassador Lipski asked me to have the problem studied 

once more in all its aspects by the German authorities, and 

he revolved the question in his own mind as to whether 

there might not be prospects of reaching a. solution on the 

basis of the Polish ideas. He added that M. Beck, Minister 

for Foreign Affairs, following our suggestion, would like to 

visit Berlin; it seemed to him, however, appropriate that prior 

to his visit, all questions involved should have been adequa- 

tely prepared by diplomatic channels. 

At the close of our conversation I made it absolutely clear 

to Ambassador Lipski that, in my opinion, the Polish pro- 

posals could not be regarded as satisfactory by the Fuehrer. 

Only the unconditional return of Danzig to the Reich, an 

extra-territorial connection with East Prussia, a 2s years’ 

non-aggression pact with frontier guarantees, and co-operation 

in the Slovakian question in the form of a joint protection 

of this territory to be undertaken by the adjoining states 

could, according to the German conception, lead to a final 

settlement. 

 

von Ribbentrop 

No. 39 (209) 

Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the Polish Ambassador, 27 March 1939 

Memo by Dr. Schmidt, Minister Plenipotentiary 

(Translation) 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs called the Polish 

Ambassador to account respecting the outrages in Bromberg 

and remarked that these new excesses had created a disastrous 

impression in Germany, since the prevailing opinion here was 

that they were, to a certain degree, tolerated by the Polish 

authorities. The offenders had once again been the West 

Marches Society, of which Germany had already so often 

89

complained to Poland. InGermany people were of the opinion 

that if only the Polish Government were willing, they were 

definitely in a position to prevent such incidents. The Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs most keenly regretted such a 

development in German-Polish relations and emphasized that 

the German Government must hold the Polish Government 

fully responsible for such occurrences. 

The Polish Ambassador declared that he had no knowledge’ 

of the incidents mentioned, but promised to make immediate 

enquiries. He, too, regretted the excesses but explained them 

away by the state of tension prevailing in Poland at the time. 

Moreover, he promised, for his part, to do everything in his 

power to prevent a repetition of such incidents. 

When the Polish Ambassador asserted that similar incidents 

of. an anti-Polish nature also occurred at German Club 

meetings, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs at once 

replied that, so far, provocation had always come exclusively 

from the Polish side. 

To the Polish Ambassador’s question as to whether it 

might not be advisable to address “a few re-assuring words 

to both. nations”, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

answered that nothing of that kind would in any way meet 

the situation; for, as he had already said, the acts of provo- 

cation and press attacks had, so far, come exclusively from 

the Polish side. If the German Press now began to reply to 

Polish attacks, which he feared would soon be impossible 

to prevent, it would do so thoroughly. 

In conclusion the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

remarked that he no longer knew what to make of the 

attitude of the Polish Government. They had given a nega- 

tive answer to the generous proposals which Germany had 

made to Poland. The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs 

could in no wise regard the proposal submitted by the Polish 

Ambassador yesterday as a basis for the settlement of existing 

9o

problems. , The relations between the two countries were 

therefore becoming more and more critical. 

When taking his leave, the Polish Ambassador promised 

for his part to do everything in his power to overcome the 

difficulties. 

 

Schmidt 

NO- 40 (349) 

The German Foreign Office to the German Ambassador 

in Warsaw 

Order 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 27 March1939 

According to a report from the German Passport Office 

at Bromberg, an anti-German demonstration organized by 

the notorious Polish West Marches Society and attended 

by about io,ooo persons took place at Bromberg at noon on 

26 March. The semi-military organizations in Bromberg, 

including those of the railway and postal officials, played a 

prominent part in this demonstration. In the course of this 

demonstration both the German Reich and the German 

minority in Poland were the subject of violent attacks in two 

speeches. From the participants came shouts such as: “Down 

with Hitler”, “We want Danzig”, “We want Konigsberg”. 

According to the Passport Office the Polish- police had 

difficulty in protecting German property from the violence 

of the excited mob. 

In addition, it is said that members of the German minority 

in the Voivodeship of. Thorn are exposed to constantly 

increasing hostility. Particularly the boycott of Germans, 

systematically prepared by the West Marches Society and 

other organizations, has during the past few days assumed 

dimensions hitherto unknown. Though the Polish authorities 

91

try to prevent excesses against individuals, the boycott actions 

as such are obviously tolerated by them. 

With reference to the repeated complaints previously made 

to the Polish Government concerning the conduct of the 

West Marches Society, I request you to make emphatic repre- 

sentations also in respect of the recent boycotts. 

By Order 

Bergmann 

No- 41 (zio) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw, 28 March1939 

The excitement which has prevailed in Poland for some 

time has increased considerably. The wildest rumours are 

being spread among the population, e. g., that there have 

been fights between German and Polish troops in Oderberg, 

that Foreign Minister Beck has been arrested, and similar 

phantastic reports. Of graver significance is the development 

of• a pro-war feeling which is being fostered by the Press, 

by anti-German public demonstrations, especially, in the 

provinces, which have already led to numerous incidents, and 

partly also by sabre-rattling semi-official propaganda. The 

bulk of the population to-day believes that war has become 

inevitable and imminent. 

The practical measures adopted by the Government help 

to aggravate the existing war psychosis. In the course of last 

week, the 1912, 1913 and 194 classes of reservists were 

called up and also sections of other classes of reservists, for 

special formations. Furthermore, horses and motor-lorries 

92

have been requisitioned. In addition the Government have 

made the present situation a pretext for raising an internal 

State Loan for the expansion of the Air Force and the Anti- 

aircraft Artillery. 

A frequently reprinted article which appeared in the 

military paper, Polska Zbrojna, and entitled, “We are pre- 

pared”, is particularly characteristic of the style of official 

propaganda on behalf of military preparedness. This article 

states that the Poles, unlike the Czechs, had no feeling of 

inferiority as regards the powerful nations of the world. The 

number of foreign divisions did not frighten the Poles, for 

their own army, its equipment and the heroic spirit of the 

Polish nation were sufficient to assure victory to Poland. 

Numerous other publications, which have since been appearing 

daily in the Press, are written in the same spirit and tone. 

In view of the Polish national character, this self-assurance 

and over-estimation of their own military strength, ‘ as 

expressed in the Press, constitute a danger. That this is not 

merely press propaganda is proved by a remark made by 

M. Gluchowski, Vice-Minister for War, in the course of a 

serious conversation, and reported from a reliable source, to 

the effect that the German armed forces were one big bluff, 

as Germany lacked trained reserves with which to bring her 

units up to strength. ‘When’ asked whether he seriously 

believed Poland to be superior to Germany, from a military 

point of view, M. Gluchowski answered, “Why, certainly”. 

An anti-German demonstration arranged at the last 

plenary session of the Senate is also characteristic of the 

atmosphere prevailing in political circles. The first reading 

of the Polish-Lithuanian Commercial Treaty, on which 

occasion M. Saulys, the Lithuanian Minister, was present 

in the diplomats’ box, gave Senator Katelbach occasion to 

assure Lithuania in the name of the Senate that Poland most 

strongly sympathized with Lithuania in the arduous ex- 

periences which she had just gone through. The two Ministers 

93

who had appeared at the meeting and Count Szembek, Vice- 

Minister for Foreign Affairs, also participated in the “pro- 

longed cheering” called forth by this statement. 

von Moltke 

No-42 (211) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Warsaw,29March 1939 

Last night M. Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs, asked 

me to call on him in order to inform me of the following: 

In the conversation of 26 March the Reich Minister for 

Foreign Affairs had declared to Ambassador Lipski that a 

Polish coupde force against Danzig would mean acasus belli. 

This communication compelled him to declare for his part 

that if Germany should attempt to alter the statute of the 

Free City, by unilateral action, Poland would regard this as 

a casus belli. The same would be the case if the Danzig 

Senate should make such an attempt. Beck added that the 

Polish Government regretted the present aggravation of the 

situation. 

I answered Beck that the aggravation had not been caused 

by us, but solely by the Polish mobilization measures, which 

were quite unjustified and liable to have most dangerous 

consequences. As a result of the warlike atmosphere caused 

by this and increased by press and propaganda in a most 

irresponsible manner, a situation fraught with grave dangers 

had already been created. The serious incidents in Pomme- 

rellen proved this clearly. I drew special attention to the 

unheard-of outrages in Bromberg and Liniewo and stated 

94

that I would refer to the matter again after having received 

more detailed information. 

Beck -tried to justify the mobilization measures by stating 

that after the events in Czecho-Slovakia and in the Memel 

district, the claim raised at this very moment with regard 

to Danzig had been interpreted as a danger-signal by Poland. 

The fear that difficulties might arise from these measures 

was unfounded. As yet he knew nothing of the incidents at 

Liniewo. The incident at Bromberg where, by the way, the 

police had energetically intervened, had been made the sub- 

ject of a ministerial conference. Subsequently the Premier 

had given the strictest orders to all administrative authorities 

to avoid everything that might be the cause of incidents, and 

particularly to forbid meetings and demonstrations. 

Beck added that he did not wish to conceal the fact from 

me that he was more and more under the impression that 

German-Polish relations had reached a turning point. – I 

reminded him of the conversation at Berchtesgaden, in which 

the Fuehrer had expressly emphasized the maintenance of a 

policy of understanding, and explained that the very aim of 

the present proposals was – to put German-Polish relations 

on a sound and lasting basis; it is true, we expected a better 

understanding on the Polish side. 

 

Moltke 

NO- 43 (354) 

The German Consul-General at Thorn to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Thorn, 30 March 1939 

The recent aggravation of the anti-German feeling. in 

Pommerellen finds expression in a growing boycott move- 

ment a continued campaign of hate, and numerous acts of 

95

violence. The economic boycott is making itself especially 

felt in the towns of Graudenz and Bromberg, and, according 

to statements made by members of the German minority, has 

already caused considerable damage to the business of Ger.- 

man tradespeople. In Bromberg various Polish military 

associations have issued an appeal calling for the complete 

economic and cultural boycott of the German minority, and 

the elimination of the German influence on film and press. 

In the course of recent demonstrations, in which police 

officials frequently took part, the crowd repeatedly shouted 

demands, such as, “Kick the Germans out”, and “Danzig 

and Flatow must become Polish”. In many places the 

window-panes of German houses were smashed, an act in 

which officials, such as parish magistrates, also took part. In 

reply to protests made by a German, one of these magistrates 

said that he could not help it, and that he had not been the 

instigator of such demonstrations on his own account, but 

that orders to that effect had been received, and that the 

men in higher positions, while pretending to be negotiating 

in Berlin and Warsaw, had secretly given orders to make a 

clean sweep. 

For the Consul-General 

Graf 

NO- 44 (355) 

The German Consul-General in Posen to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Posen, 31 March 1939 

For months the Polish Press has been at work in the 

western districts, poisoning public opinion against the Ger- 

mans. At one time it demands stringent measures against the 

96 –

German minority in Poland, at another a boycott of Ger- 

man goods and German shops, or launches general attacks 

against the German minority and the policy of the Reich. 

This anti-German agitation which has been steadily growing, 

especially since the September crisis of last year, has now, 

in obvious connection with the development of the political 

situation in Europe, led to an explosion. The Press gives 

unrestrained expression to its anti-German feeling, and hardly 

a day passes on which the Posen newspapers do not publish 

more or less aggressive articles or insulting remarks about the 

German minority. Although the excesses in Posen lasted only 

about a week, it cannot be said that the anti-German agitation 

has abated. In the city of Posen things have, to all appear- 

ances, quieted down, at least, acts of violence have, on the 

whole, ceased. The day before yesterday a few window- 

panes were smashed in a German bank building, in German 

book-shops, and in the house of a Protestant minister. The 

Consulate-General is still under increased police protection. 

However, in other towns and in country districts excesses 

have continued; German shop-keepers’ windows were 

smashed, German shop-signs painted over, walls of houses 

besmirched, and meetings of members of the German minority 

disturbed. In some cases boycott-pickets have been posted. 

The hostile feeling has penetrated even to the most remote 

village. 

 

Walther 

No-45 (212) 

Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 6 April 1939 

To-day the Polish Ambassador, whom I had asked to call 

on me, of his own accord turned the conversation to M. Beck’s 

conversations in London. M. Lipski said that he had had no 

7 100documents, engl. 

97

detailed information, but was in a position to state certain 

principles. 

i . Poland wished to stand by the 1934 Agreement. 

2. The Polish-British arrangements were of a bilateral and 

purely defensive character; there was no question of 

Poland’s joining a bloc. 

I listened to M. Lipski’s remark with a slight smile and 

answered somewhat as follows: Recent developments of Polish 

policy were no longer comprehensible to me. M. Lipski knew 

as well as I did how strained our relations had been before the 

National-Socialist Government came into power. No one in 

Germany but the Fuehrer could have conceived the great ideas 

of the year 1934 and carried them out in collaboration with 

Poland._ After that date our relations had shown a steady and 

gratifying improvement. With the purpose of furthering this 

good-neighbourly feeling the Fuehrer had, as is well known, 

initiated conversations with Poland with the desire not only 

of clearing away the last points of dissension between our 

two countries, but also of magnanimously guaranteeing the 

Corridor frontier to Poland. Poland had obviously not under- 

stood this offer. Instead of accepting it eagerly and thus com- _ 

pleting the work of 1934 we had suddenly heard a rather odd 

swashbuckling on the part of Poland. This has not, it is true, 

excited us, but it was in strange contrast to the answer which 

we might have expected from Warsaw. According to my 

instructions I said that the Fuehrer’s offer to Poland had been 

made only this once. The sort of reply which the Polish 

Government had given us to this offer, had been, as is known, 

already characterized to him-M. Lipski-by the Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs on 27 March as no basis for a 

settlement of the matter in question. (Later, in the course of 

the conversation, I repeated that for us the Polish answer was 

no basis for a discussion.) Whether Poland had been well- 

98

advised in taking up this attitude the future would show. 

I went on to say that I had not yet read M. Chamberlain’s 

statement in the House of Commons which had been announc- 

ed,for this afternoon. If, however, what had already appeared 

in the press about M. Beck’s conversations were correct I did 

not know how the Polish attitude could any longer be recon- 

ciled with the spirit of the 1934Agreement. 

To the last point M. Lipski thought fit to reply that the 

existing Polish-French treaty had also been compatible with 

the Agreement of 19i4. M. Lipski endeavoured to represent 

the Polish concentration of troops in the neighbourhood of 

Danzig as a comprehensible parallel to troop movements in 

other countries-such as Hungary, Roumania, even Norway. 

Above all M. Lipski declared that we had maintained no 

contact with him at the time when the German army marched 

into Czecho-Slovakia, and that this, in contrast to last Sep- 

tember, had led to comprehensible nervousness in Poland. The 

ultimatum Germany had addressed to Lithuania had further 

increased Polish, fears. 

I cut M. Lipski short_ when he spoke of an “ultimatum” to 

Lithuania, ridiculed his remarks as to troop movements in 

other countries-which had never been directed against 

Poland-, and declared that I should not have been surprised 

if he had thanked us for not having opposed Warsaw’s ardent 

wish for a common Hungarian-Polish Frontier. In short, I 

calmly refuted M. Lipski’s phrases with the obvious arguments, 

after which we parted. 

 

Weizsacker 

Poland’s rejection o f the Ger-man offer was not merely the 

outcome of Polish arrogance but in the first place also of 

Britain’s plan to make Poland the chief factor in the encircle- 

ment policy. Co-operation between the, British and Polish 

Governments left nothing to be desired. On r7 March, Mr. 

Chamberlain, speaking at Birmingham, openly avowed himsel f 

7* 

 

99

in favour o f the anti-German policy (No. 28), and on 

20 March, Lord Halifax referred to the consultations which 

had already taken place with those Powers which were regarded 

as possible supporters o f the encirclement policy, among whom 

Poland was singled out to play an important part (No. 29). 

On24 March, the German Ambassador in Warsaw reported 

that the British Ambassador had paid several visits to the 

Polish Foreign Office during the past few days (No. 36), and 

on26 March, Poland rejected the German proposals (No. 39). 

The Polish Government suddenly chose to regard these 

moderate German proposals, which Poland had, hitherto, by 

no means regarded as a menace to herself, as constituting a 

threat and adopteda provocative tone (No. 41). On31 March, 

however, Mr. Chamberlain formally gave Poland carte blanche 

by making that notorious declaration to the House of Com- 

mons by which, as Mr. Duff Cooper wrote at the time, the 

fate o f the British Empire and the responsibility for peace or 

war was “entrusted to a handful o f unknown persons in 

Poland.” 

No. 46 (279) 

Statement made by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

in the House o f Commons, 31 March1939 

As I said this morning, His Majesty’s Government have no 

official confirmation of the rumours of any projected attack 

on Poland and they must not, therefore, be taken as accepting 

them as true. 

I am glad to take this opportunity of stating again the 

general policy of His Majesty’s Government. They have con- 

stantly advocated the adjustment, by way of free negotiation 

between the parties concerned, of any differences that may 

arise between them. They consider that this is the natural 

and proper course where differences exist. In their opinion 

100

there should be no question incapable of solution by peaceful 

means, and they would see no justification for the substitution 

of force or threats of force for the method of negotiation. 

As the House is aware, certain consultations are now 

proceeding with other Governments. In order to make per- 

fectly clear the position of His Majesty’s Government in the 

meantime before those consultations are concluded, I now 

have to inform the House that during that period, 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 Govern- 

ment 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 this effect. 

I may add that the French Government have authorized me 

to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this 

matter as do His Majesty’s Government. 

As early as 29 March, M. Beck had said to the German 

Ambassador that he was gradually gaining the impression 

“that we had arrived at a turning-point in German-Polish 

relations” (No. 42). In London, too, people were aware o f the 

fundamental change in British policy and o f the risk Britain 

was incurring by giving Poland caxte blanche. On 3 April, 

Mr. Chamberlain made the following statement when speaking 

in the House o f Commons: 

No. 47 (283) 

Speech by Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

in the House o f Commons, 3 April 1939 

Extract 

If, as I hope may be the case, the result of this Debate 

is to show that fundamentally and generally this House is 

IOI

unanimous in its approval of the declaration which I made on 

Friday, and is united and determined to take whatever measures 

may be necessary to make that declaration effective, the Debate 

may well serve a very useful purpose. The declaration that 

I made. on Friday has been described, in a phrase so apt that 

it has been widely taken up, as a cover note issued in-advance 

of the complete insurance policy. I myself emphasized its 

transitional or temporary character, and the description of it 

as a cover note is not at all a bad one so far as it goes ; but 

where I think it is altogether incomplete is that, while of 

course, the issue of a cover note does imply that it is to be 

followed by something more substantial, it is the nature of 

the complete insurance policy which is such a tremendous 

departure from anything which this country has undertaken 

hitherto. 

It does really constitute a new point-I would say a new 

epoch-in the course of our foreign policy. 

. . .’ . Indeed, to have departed from our traditional ideas 

in this respect so far as I did on behalf of His Majesty’s 

Government on Friday constitutes a portent in British policy 

so’ momentous that I think it -is safe to say it will have a 

chapter to itself when the history books come to be 

written  

Sir John Simon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking on 

the same day, expressed similar views: 

No. 48 (284) 

Extract from a Speech by Sir John Simon, British Chancellor 

of the Exchequer, in the House of Commons, 3 April x939 

With one or two exceptions, which only emphasize 

the general unity, we may mark this day as a date in our 

history when there has been accepted and approved in every 

102

part of the, House this immensely significant statement. I am 

not disposed• to belittle its importance. It is a statement which 

commits us specifically in a quarter of the world in which 

we have hitherto been freed from specific commitments, and 

it presages commitments in other quarters also. It is writing 

a chapter in our history which’ carries us further than the 

catalogue of commitments which my right hon. Friend set out 

in a classic speech at Leamington. Here we are registering that 

in taking this stand the country as a whole is more united 

than on any other contemporary question of policy. That is 

a most tremendous fact which we shall all have occasion to 

remember hereafter, and I consider it to be the duty of all of 

us not to minimize this change in the least, but to recognize 

it and acknowledge it to the full extent of its application. 

It proclaims a definite course of action if need arises, and 

from that decision there-can be no looking back. 

It is the most serious commitment because it not merely 

threatens the possibility in certain events of war, but it binds 

us in certain events to undertake war  

The obligation to undertake war was intentionally entered 

upon wherever Britain needed it as a pretext for gaining con- 

trol in Central and Eastern Europe and as a means for 

bringing about a preventive war: This was fully confirmed on 

6 April at the meeting of the House of Lords and the House 

of Commons. At the same time, M. Beck’s visit to London 

was utilized for the purpose of replacing the unilateral 

guarantee given to Poland by Britain on 31 March by a 

bilateral agreement. Once again, Britain, in full cognizance of 

the importance of her action, empowered Poland to decide 

unconditionally on the issue of peace or war. At the same 

time, Britain was endeavouring to include other countries 

apart from Poland in the encirclement front. Thus, on 13 April 

1939, Britain mad8 a unilateral guarantee declaration in favour 

o f Greece and Roumania. In addition, Mr. Eden and Mr. 

103

Churchill attempted to induce Russia to join the encirclement 

front, a move which proved popular in Britain. The Rou- 

manian-Polish alliance, the objective of which had hitherto 

been Eastern Europe, was also to be transformed into an 

instrument directed against Germany. 

During the month of April, Britain’s encirclement policy 

and Poland’s determination not to come to an amicable settle- 

ment with Germany, had become so obvious that the Reich 

Government were compelled to take certain steps, rendered 

inevitable by the Anglo-Polish policy, with regard to both 

parties. Consequently, in his speech to the Reichstag on 

28 April 1939, the Fuehrer was forced to declare that the 

British and Polish Governments had unilaterally terminated 

the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and also the German- 

Polish Agreement of 1934. The most important sections of 

the Fuehrer’s speech referring to Poland and Britain are quoted 

in the following extract: 

No- 49 (214, 295) 

Speech by the Fuehrer to the Reichstag, 28 April 1939. 

Extract 

(Translation) 

There is little to be said as regards German-Polish 

relations. Here, too, the Treaty of Versailles-of course inten- 

tionally-inflicted a most severe wound on Germany. The 

strange way in which the Corridor, giving Poland access to 

the sea, was marked out was meant above all to prevent for 

all time the establishment of an understanding between Poland 

and Germany. This problem is-as 1- have already stressed- 

perhaps the most painful of all problems for Germany. 

Nevertheless I have never ceased to uphold the view that the 

necessity of free access to the sea for the Polish State cannot 

104

be ignored, and that as a general principle, which also applies 

to this case, nations whom Providence has destined or, if you 

like, condemned to live side by side would be well advised not 

to make life unnecessarily harder for each other. 

The late Marshal Pilsudski, who was of the same opinion, 

was prepared to go into the question of taking the sting out 

of German-Polish relations, and finally to conclude an Agree- 

ment whereby Germany and Poland expressed their intention 

of renouncing war altogether as a means of settling the, 

questions which concerned them both. This Agreement contained 

one single exception which was in practice conceded to Poland. 

It was laid down that the pacts of mutual assistance already 

entered into by Poland-the pact with France was meant- 

should not be affected by the Agreement. But it was obvious 

that this could apply only to the pact of mutual assistance 

already concluded beforehand, and not to any new pacts which 

might be concluded in the future. It is a fact that the German- 

Polish Agreement contributed to a very remarkable detente 

in the European situation. 

Nevertheless there remained one open question between 

Germany and Poland, which sooner or later quite naturally 

had to be solved-the question of the German city of Danzig. 

Danzig is a German city and wishes to belong to Germany. 

On the other hand, this city has treaties with Poland which, 

it is true, were forced upon it by the dictators of Versailles. 

But since the League of Nations, formerly the greatest fomenter 

of trouble, is now represented by a High Commissioner of 

extraordinary tact, the problem of Danzig must in any case 

come up for discussion, to be solved at the latest when this 

calamitous institution finally comes to an end. I regarded the 

peaceful settlement of this problem as a further contribution 

to a final relaxation of European tension. For this detente is 

assuredly not to be achieved by the agitation of demented 

war-mongers, but by the removal of real elements of danger. 

IOf

After the problem of Danzig had been discussed several times 

some months ago, I have now made a concrete offer to the 

Polish Government. I will reveal this offer to you, members of 

the Reichstag, and you, yourselves shall judge whether it does not 

represent the greatest concession conceivable in the interests 

of European peace. As I have already pointed out, I have 

always seen that an outlet to the sea was absolutely necessary 

for Poland and have consequently taken this necessity into 

consideration. I am no democratic statesman, but a National 

Socialist and a realist. I consider it however necessary to make 

it clear to the Government in Warsaw that just as they desire 

access to the sea, so Germany needs access to her province of 

East Prussia. Now these are all difficult problems. It is not 

Germany who is responsible for them however, but rather the 

jugglers of Versailles, who in maliciousness and thoughtlessness 

deposited hundreds of powder barrels all over Europe, each 

equipped with a hardly extinguishable lighted fuse. 

These problems.cannot be solved. according to old-fashioned 

theories; I think, rather, that we should adopt new. methods. 

Poland’s access to the sea by way of the Corridor, and on the 

other hand a German route through the Corridor have no kind 

of military importance whatsoever. Their importance is ex- 

clusively psychological and economic. To accord military 

importance to a traffic route of this kind, would be to show 

oneself completely ignorant of military affairs. 

I have now had the following proposal presented to the 

Polish Government: 

i. Danzig returns as a Free State into the framework of the 

German Reich. 

2. Germany receives a route through the Corridor and a 

railway line-at her own disposal, having the same extra- 

territorial status for Germany as the Corridor itself has 

for Poland. 

io6

In return Germany is prepared: 

z . to recognize all Polish economic rights in Danzig, 

2. to ensure for Poland a Free Harbour in Danzig of 

any size desired to which she (Poland) would have 

completely free access, 

3. thereupon to accept the frontiers between Germany and 

Poland and to regard them as final, 

4. to conclude a 2f-year non-aggression pact with Poland, 

that is, a pact which would extend far beyond the 

duration of my own life, and 

5. to safeguard the independence of the Slovak State 

jointly with Poland and Hungary which means in 

practice the renunciation of any unilateral German 

hegemony in this territory. 

The Polish Government have rejected my offer and have 

only declared that they are prepared 

i. to negotiate concerning the question of a substitute for 

the League Commissioner and 

2. to consider facilities for transit traffic through the 

Corridor. 

I sincerely regretted this attitude of the Polish Government 

which was incomprehensible to me, but that alone is not the 

decisive factor. Far worse is the fact that Poland, like Czecho- 

Slovakia a year ago, now believes, under the pressure of lying 

international agitation, that she must call up troops, although 

Germany on her part has, not called up a single man and has 

not thought of taking any kind of action against Poland. As 

_I have said, this is in itself very regrettable and posterity will 

one day decide whether it was really right to refuse this pro- 

position made this once by me. This-as I have said-was an 

endeavour on my part to solve a question, intimately affecting 

the whole German people, by a truly unique compromise, and 

to solve it to the advantage of both countries. 

107

According to my conviction Poland was by no means the 

giver in this solution but only the receiver, because there can 

scarcely be two opinions on the question that Danzig will 

never become Polish. 

Germany’s alleged aggressive intentions, a mere figment of 

the international press, led, as you . know, to the so-called 

guarantee offers and to Poland’s incurring an obligation for 

mutual assistance, which would also under certain circumstances 

compel her to take military action against Germany in the 

event of a conflict between Germany and any other Power, 

in which Britain, in her turn, would be involved. 

This obligation is contrary to the Agreement which I made 

withMarshal Pilsudski some years ago, for in this Agreement 

reference is made exclusively to obligations existing at that 

time, namely to the obligations of Poland towards France of 

which we were aware. 

A subsequent extension of these obligations is contrary to 

the terms of the German-Polish non-aggression pact. 

If the conditions then had been what they are to-day, 

I should never have signed the pact. What sense can non- 

aggression pacts have if one party in practice claims that 

innumerable cases must be regarded as exceptions. There is 

either collective security, which means collective insecurity 

and continuous danger of war, or clear agreements which 

must fundamentally exclude any use of arms between the 

contracting parties. 

I therefore look upon the Agreement which Marshal 

Pilsudski and I formerly concluded as having been uni- 

laterally infringed by Poland and thereby no longer in 

existence. 

I have sent a communication to this effect to the Polish 

Government. However, I can only repeat at this point that 

this does not constitute a modification of my attitude in 

principle with regard to the problems mentioned above. 

io8

Should’ the Polish Government wish to come to fresh con- 

tractual arrangements concerning their relations with Ger- 

many, I can but welcome such an idea, provided, of course, 

that the arrangements are based on an absolutely clear 

obligation binding both parties in equal measure. Germany 

for her part is perfectly willing at any time to undertake 

such obligations and also to fulfill them . . . 

How sincere was the wish o f the Reich Government to 

establish friendly relations with Britain even at the time 

when Britain had, by her guarantee to Poland, openly 

expressed her desire to annihilate Germany, is proved by 

those sections of the same speech in which the Fuehrer 

referred to Britain: 

. . . During the whole of my political activity I have 

always stood for the idea of close friendship and colla- 

boration between Germany and Britain. In my movement 

I found innumerable others of like mind. Perhaps they 

joined Mme because of my attitude in this matter. This desire 

for Anglo-German friendship and co-operation conforms not 

merely to my sentiments, which result from the origins of 

our two peoples, but also to my realization of the importance 

of the existence of the British Empire for the whole of 

mankind. 

I have never left room for any doubt of my belief that 

the existence of this Empire is an inestimable factor of value 

for the whole of human cultural and economic life. By 

whatever means Great Britain acquired her colonial terri- 

tories-and I know that they were always those of force 

and very often extreme brutality-nevertheless, I am well 

aware that no other Empire has ever come into being in any 

other way, and that in- the final resort it is not so much 

the methods that are taken into account in history as success, 

ion

and not the success of the methods as such, but rather the 

general good which has accrued form such methods. 

Now, there is no doubt that the Anglo-Saxon people have 

accomplished colonizing work of immeasurable value in the 

world. For this work I have a sincere admiration. The 

thought of destroying this labour would and does appear to 

me, seen from a higher human point of view, as nothing 

but the effluence of human wanton destructiveness. This my 

sincere respect for this achievement does not, however, mean 

that I will neglect to secure the life of my own people. 

I regard it as impossible to achieve a lasting friendship 

between the German and Anglo-Saxon peoples, if the other 

side does not recognize that there are not only British but 

also German interests, that not only is the preservation of the 

British Empire the meaning and purpose of the lives of Bri 

tishers, but also that for Germans the freedom and preservation 

of the German Reich is their life purpose. A genuine, lasting 

friendship between these two nations is only conceivable on 

the basis of mutual regard. 

The British nation rules a great Empire. It built up this 

Empire at a time when the German nation was internally weak. 

Previously Germany had been a great Empire. At one time 

she ruled the Occident. In bloody struggles and religious 

dissensions and as a result of internal political disintegration, 

this empire declined in power and greatness, and finally fell 

into a deep sleep. But, when this old empire appeared to have 

reached its end, the seeds of its rebirth were already springing 

up. From Brandenburg and Prussia there arose a new Ger- 

many, the Second Reich, and out of it has grown at last the 

German People’s Reich. 

I hope that all British people understand that we do not 

possess the slightest feeling of inferiority to Britishers. Our 

historical past is too tremendous for that! 

Britain has given the world many great men, and Germany 

no fewer. The severe struggle to maintain the life of our 

IIO

people has in the course of three centuries cost us a sacrifice 

in lives which, given only for the defence of the Reich, far 

exceeds that which other peoples have had to make in order 

to maintain their existence. If Germany, a country which 

was for ever being attacked, was not able to retain her 

possessions, but was compelled to sacrifice many of her pro- 

vinces, this was due solely to her political misdevelopment 

and resulting impotence! That condition has now been over- 

come. Therefore, we Germans do not feel in the least inferior 

to the British nation. Our self-esteem is just as great as an 

Englishman’s pride in England. In the history of our people, 

now of some two thousand years’ standing, there are deeds 

and events enough to fill us with sincere pride. 

Now, if Britain cannot appreciate our point of view, but 

thinks perchance that she may regard Germany as a vassal 

State, then, of course, our affection and friendship have :been 

offered in vain. We shall not despair or lose heart on that. 

account,, but-relying on the consciousness of our own 

strength and. on the strength of our friends-we shall then 

find ways and means to secure our independence without 

impairing our dignity. 

I have heard the statement of the British Prime Minister to 

the effect that he is unable to put any trust in German 

assurances. Under these circumstances I regard it as a matter 

of course that we should no longer expect him or the British 

people to accept the implications of a situation which isonly 

conceivable in an atmosphere of mutual confidence. 

‘When Germany became National Socialist and thus paved 

the way for her national resurrection, in pursuance of my 

unswerving policy of friendship with Britain, on my own 

initiative, I made a proposal for a voluntary restriction of 

German naval armaments. That restriction was, however, 

based on one condition, namely, the will and the conviction 

that a war between Britain and Germany would never again 

III

be possible. This will and this conviction are still mine 

. to-day. 

I am, however, now compelled to state that the policy of 

Britain is. both unofficially and officially leaving no doubt 

but that such a conviction is no longer shared in London, and 

that, on the contrary, the opinion prevails there that, no 

matter in what conflict Germany might some day be en- 

tangled, Great Britain would always have to take her stand 

against Germany. Thus a war against Germany is taken for 

granted in that country. I profoundly regret such a develop- 

ment, for the only claim I have ever made, and shall continue 

to make, on Britain is that for the return of our colonies. 

But I made it perfectly clear that this would never become the 

cause of a military conflict. I have always held that the 

British, to whom those colonies are of no value, would one 

day appreciate the German position and would then value 

German friendship higher than the possession of territories 

which, while yielding no. real profit whatever to them, are 

of vital importance to Germany. 

Apart from this, however, I have never advanced a claim 

which might in any way have interfered with British interests 

or have become a danger to the British Empire and thus have 

done any kind of harm to Britain. I have always kept within 

the bounds of such demands as are most intimately connected 

with Germany’s living space and thus with the eternal pro- 

perty of the German nation. Since Britain to-day, both through 

the press and officially, expresses the view that Germany 

should be opposed under all circumstances, and confirms this 

by the policy of encirclement known to us, the basis for the 

Naval Treaty has been removed. I have, therefore, resolved 

to send to-day a communication to this effect to the British 

Government. 

This is. to us not a matter of practical material importance 

-for I still hope that we shall be able to avoid an arma- 

II2

ments race with Britain-but a matter of self-respect. Should 

the British Government, however, wish to enter once more 

into negotiations with Germany on this problem, no one 

would be happier than I at the prospect of perhaps still being 

able to come to a clear and straightforward understanding. 

Moreover, I know my people-and I rely on them. We 

do not want anything that did not formerly belong to us, 

and no State will ever be robbed by us of its property; but 

whoever believes that he is able to attack Germany will find 

himself confronted with a measure of power and resistance 

compared with which that of 1914 was negligible  

In. his speech in the Reichstag on 28 April, the Fuehrer 

wrote ‘finis’ to six years of sincere and patient endeavour to 

secure the friendship of Poland. Nevertheless, even at this 

moment, he once again made offers o f peace and declared 

himself prepared, in the name of Germany, to discuss a new 

treaty. Poland did not make use of this opportunity, but 

chose to reply by a haughty speech from M. Beck on 5 May, 

. by increased anti-German agitation and by an unending 

stream of war-mongering speeches and newspaper articles. 

Finally it was admitted in’well-informed Polish circles that 

M. Beck had capitulated not only to Polish chauvinism but 

also to the British encirclement policy. 

No. So (216) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw,23 May 1939 

Some days ago I had an opportunity of conversing with the 

Under-Secretary of State, M. Arciszewski. The following 

points of the conversation struck me as noteworthy: 

8 100 documents, engl. 113

Obviously it was a matter of importance to M. Arciszewski 

to make it clear that the change of Polish policy, as expressed 

by the British-Polish guarantee declaration, could not be 

traced to the personal initiative of M. Beck. M. Beck had 

most reluctantly joined in this policy under pressure of the- 

army and of public opinion. He had in the end no longer 

been in a position to refuse the British offer. But he had again 

and again postponed public discussion of the matter, which, 

in view of the general atmosphere prevalent here, appeared 

inopportune, until the Fuehrer’s speech had compelled him to 

reply. His answer before the Sejm, in which he was forced 

to defend a policy which was not his own, as well as the 

enthusiasm his speech had caused among the Polish public, 

hadonlyfilled M. Beck with bitterness. M. Arciszewski then 

dramatically described how M. Beck, the day after his speech 

in. the Sejm, in a fit of rage had thrown a whole pile of 

congratulatory telegrams into a corner. Even to-day M. Beck 

was fundamentally an adherent of the former policy. It struck 

him as particularly foolish that- it should be just the two 

comparatively poor countries, Germany and Poland, that were ‘ 

to fight one another, a development which, after all, was only 

in the interest of the rich countries. 

This version may be slightly coloured. Yet various obser- 

vations made coincide in so far as M. Beck, in the course of 

the last few months, had lost more and- more followers in 

pursuing the policy towards Germany initiated by Marshal 

Pilsudski. When later on there was the possibility ofobtaining 

a British guarantee for the Polish western frontiers, it was 

obviously military circles who brought about this change of 

policy. M. Beck then saw himself forced to join in this policy, 

if only for the reason that otherwise he could not have kept 

his position. 

von Moltke 

114

In May, Poland finally rejected Germany’s proposal for 

an amicable agreement. Britain allowedfour months to elapse 

without doing anything to persuade Poland to take steps 

with regard to the resumption of negotiations with Germany. 

On the contrary, the effect of Britain’s support made itself 

felt in the overbearing attitude o f the Poles. At the beginning 

ofMay, this state o f affairs was the subject o f a conversation 

between M. Coulondre, the French Ambassador, and Baron 

von WVeizsdcker, State Secretary, who drew attention to the 

Polish attitude. Meantime, however, Britain was relentlessly 

pursuing her policy of encircling the Axis Powers. As early as 

z2 May, Mr. Chamberlain intimated in the House of Com- 

mons that a temporary Anglo-Turkish agreement of mutual 

assistance had been reached whilst, on the other hand, Britain 

and France were carrying to the verge o f self-abasement their 

efforts to win over the Soviet Union. At that time, a telegram 

sent by the German Consul-General in New York to the 

German Foreign Office made it perfectly clear that the con- 

viction existed in American circles that Britain intended in 

any case to strike. 

No. S r (304) 

The German Consisl-General in New York to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

New York, 25 May 1939 

A leading American business man on his return from 

Europe, confidentially expressed his opinion to friends that 

at the present time war threatened more from Great Britain 

than from Germany. He said that the British Government° 

to-day were determined once and for all to put a stop to the 

8* Its

continuous international tension with its elements of danger 

to the security of the British Empire, and would take the first 

opportunity Germany gave to force a decision. This merely 

presumed the successful conclusion of the pact with Soviet 

Russia. This confidential report was coupled with the recom- 

mendation as soon as possible to make business arrangements 

appropriate to this situation. 

The business man is said to have mentioned September as a 

favourable time for British action, while other reports from 

Wall Street mention a later date, perhaps October. 

A recent declaration of the British Chancellor of the Ex- 

chequer in the House of Commons, warning British business 

circles from further investment of capital in American securities, 

lest it should denude the British money market, is looked 

upon as a confirmation of these views by circles in close 

touch with Wall Street. 

The same circles also consider the article worthy of atten- 

tion which has been published in the Saturday Evening Post 

by the American journalist, Demaree Bess, of Paris. According 

to this, last winter already a high British naval officer stated 

that a deliberate provocation of Germany was Great Bri- 

tain’s only way out. This view, so Mr. Bess declares, has 

gained ground in London considerably since the establishment 

of the Bohemian Protectorate. 

 

Borchers 

It is a fact that, from the beginning of 1939, certain leading 

Britishpoliticians had taken pains to fling insults and chal- 

lenges at Germany and the Fuehrer,- in a way unprecedented 

in Anglo-German relations. 

During June, a final agreement was reached between Mr. 

Chamberlain, that is to say the British Government, and the 

Churchill-Eden faction, the only possible basis for such an agree- 

ment being a preventive war waged by Britain against Ger- 

many. Finally, on 23 June, a Franco-Turkish declaration o f 

116

mutual assistance was made, complementary to the Anglo- 

Turkish Agreement of z2 May. At the end of June, Lord 

Halifax made his well-known speech at Chatham House, in 

which he `officially announced Britain’s preparedness for war, 

whilst at the same time, general staff discussions were being 

held between Britain and France concerning the appointment 

o f a Commander-in-Chief for the combined British and French 

forces in the event o f war. 

No. 52 (313) 

The German Ambassador in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

London, 29 June1939 

General Gamelin’s visit to London at the beginning of 

June served without doubt as an opportunity for discussing 

among other questions that of the common Command-in- 

Chic]”. On this occasion the various probable theatres of war 

(Western. Europe, the Western Mediterranean, the Near East 

and the Far East) were discussed. 

The final result is not known. One is justified in assuming, 

however, that the Chief Command in Western Europe will 

be p] ‘aced in French hands. The question of the Commander- 

in-Chief’s responsibility to an inter-allied body has, however, 

apparently not yet been settled. As questions put in Parlia- 

ment prove, great importance is attached to this on the part 

of Britain. In the House of Commons, on 14 June, the Prime 

Minister confined himself to imparting only very guarded 

information on the subject, from which it may be assumed 

that the question of the Command-in-Chief was not finally 

settled at that time. From what I hear, the French are said 

117

to have proved very difficult, making exaggerated claims, so 

that the British are by no means entirely satisfied. 

. The Staff talks just concluded in Singapore must also be 

regarded as part of the negotiations with France. In these 

talks the use of British Naval and Air bases by France was 

discussed,, as well as the question of the common Commander- 

in-Chief, who, in all probability, will be an Englishman. 

A final decision has, as far as is known, not yet been reached 

in this case either. 

By Order 

von Selzam 

No. 5 3 (252) 

The German Ambassador in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

London, 10 July 1939 

The campaign of hate against Germany roused by the coup 

that Germany is alleged to be planning against Danzig has, 

after a few days, subsided by reason of its mendacity. 

This should, in itself, indicate the close of this latest chapter 

in the efforts of our enemies to involve Germany in a world 

war, but the last few days have revealed a state of public 

feeling in Britain which deserves serious attention. 

Public opinion here, which is always susceptible to emotion- 

al appeals, has reached a point at which people think and 

talk of nothing but “war”. A number of factors have contri- 

buted to this, namely, the Government’s anti-German encircle- 

ment policy, rearmament propaganda, the introduction of 

conscription, the Air Raids Precautions organization, and 

above all the flood of anti-German propaganda in press, 

118

cinema, theatre and wireless. The only question on which 

some slight difference of opinion exists is whether war is in- 

evitable or not. The average Englishman is guided by his 

feelings and thinks it is, but the more’ thoughtful minority 

answers”No”, perceiving that the existing relations between 

Germany and England are such that with goodwill, it should 

be possible to settle all questions at issue,, and that even a 

victorious war would not advantage anyone. These in 

themselves sensible circles are, however, influenced by their 

knowledge of the measures taken by Great Britain’s armed 

forces:–The Fleet is to be in readiness by the end of July; 

military training and organization measures are to be com- 

pleted by the same date von Dirksen 

Towards the middle of July, fears were for the first time 

entertained in Britain that the encirclement policy might be 

wrecked by the Soviet Union. It was characteristic that 

anxiety was felt in London lest Poland might thereby be 

induced to negotiate with Germany and thus frustrate the 

carefully laid plans for a preventive war. 

No. 54 (319) 

The German Ambassador in London to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

London, i 5 July 1939 

According to a report from a very reliable source, the fear 

evinced in leading political circles here of an arrangement 

between Germany and Russia haslately increased to a con- 

siderable degree. It is feared above all that thelogical result 

of such a compromise would be an endeavour on the part of 

t19

Poland to approach Germany now, since she can no longer 

reckon on the support of Russia. 

From the point of view of home politics it is feared here 

that a German-Russian arrangement and a mitigation of the 

German-Polish controversy would cause unpleasant reactions 

which would be exceedingly detrimental to the effects of the 

Government’s election slogan. The voters would ask why the 

Government had for so many months encouraged a pro-war 

atmosphere and had tried to build up a political front against 

Germany in spite of the. fact that there had ceased to be any 

inner justification for such a procedure, owing to the develop- 

ment of a calmer atmosphere in the relations of Germany 

towards Russia and Poland respectively. 

 

Dirksen 

Towards the end of July, Britain declared herself prepared 

to enter upon military negotiations in order to secure the 

conclusion o f an alliance with Soviet Russia at all costs, even 

before political negotiations had come to a conclusion. This 

was a proceeding concerning which Mr. Chamberlain remarked 

in the House of Commons that it was unprecedented in 

character. 

No. 5 (323) 

The German Ambassador in Paris to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Paris, 28 July 1939 

From sources usually well-informed I have heard the fol- 

lowing in regard to the Moscow negotiations:- 

I. If Britain and France not only are now ready to engage 

in military talks prior to the conclusion of a political treaty, 

T2Q

but also display particular zeal with regard to these talks, 

there: are three definite reasons to account for this: 

i . Britain and France want to avoid at any cost the post- 

ponement or breaking-off of the negotiations, because they 

believe that, as long as negotiations are being carried on, Ger- 

many will not undertake anything in Danzig. Political nego- 

tiations had reached a certain satisfactory stage after an agree- 

ment: had been arrived at on all points apart from the defi- 

nition of indirect aggression and the details regarding the 

rendering of assistance. So manymilitary considerations are 

involved in the last point that it is impossible “to proceed 

further without simultaneous military talks. 

2. By sending two representative Military Missions to 

Moscow, it is hoped to create an atmosphere favourable to 

the conclusion of a political treaty as well. 

3. By means of a possible understanding to be arrived at 

between the military representatives, the politicians further 

hope to exert pressure with the object of overcoming the final 

difficulties, although it is felt that in military discussions 

Russia will broach not only the problem of the Border States 

but also the awkward problem of the tolerating of military 

assistance by Poland and Roumania. 

II. The conclusion of an Anglo-Japanese Agreement is said 

to have been utilized by the British in the course of the 

Moscow negotiations in the following manner:- 

Great Britain paid dearly for the negotiations over Tientsin 

by a limited recognition of Japanese interests in China for 

the duration of the conflict. Britain was forced to do this 

because she wished to be unhampered in Europe until the 

Moscow negotiations had resulted in the conclusion of a 

treaty. Failing this, Great Britain would find herself in a 

difficult position in the Far East, and Russia would, in the

longrun, be exposed to steadily growing pressure onthe part 

of Japan. 

III. The existence of the German-Russian Agreement of 

1926 is said to have been discussed by the French and British 

in connection with the Moscow negotiations. The question has 

been investigated as to whether Russia could be requested to 

denounce the Agreement or to declare its irrelevance. Dis- 

cussion of this question has, however, apparently been post- 

poned in order to avoid making the negotiations still more 

difficult. 

IV. The head of the French Military Mission which ‘is 

already being formed is to be General Doumenc, Chief of the 

2nd Region in Lille. He belongs to the Artillery and has the 

reputation of being an officer of outstanding capability. 

During the Great War he was the organizer of motorization, 

and before taking over the Front Command in Lille, where 

he was at first in charge of the Ist Division, he was Acting 

Chief-of-Staff under General Weygand. 

 

Welczeck 

The conclusion of the German-Russian Non-Aggression Pact 

dealt the British encirclement policy its death-blow. This 

anti-German policy, as conceived by Lord Halifax, had, 

therefore, proved a failure. Britain, however, having inten- 

tionally burnt her boats and rendered a peaceful settlement 

impossible, now let matters take their fateful course. Poland 

had, in the meantime, become a mere tool in the hands o f 

British war policy, and Britain made no further attempt to 

use her influence in order to avert a tragedy at the eleventh 

hour. 

122

THIRD CHAPTER 

Poland as the Instrument of Britain’s Will to War 

A. The Polish campaign to exterminate the ,German minority 

and Danzig a result o f the British guarantee 

By her rejection of the latest German proposals for an 

amicable settlement, Poland openly resumed the role of a 

hereditary enemy of Germany, which she had adopted in ‘919 

and had never abandoned, even in 1934. Secure in the 

possession of the British guarantee, the Polish Government 

cast aside all pretence and began a campaign o f extermination 

against the minority Germans, unprecedented in violence, the 

obvious aim of which was to deprive them of all their rights 

and finally to exterminate them. This was accompanied by 

an increasingly undisguised provocative policy directed not 

only against Danzig, the incorporation of which in the 

Polish State. was gradually becoming part of the official 

political programme, but also against Germany herself. M. 

Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, had gradually capitulated 

to the British policy of encirclement and to Polish chauvinism 

as encouraged by Britain, completely abandoning the policy 

which he had advocated hitherto. Poland had exercised her 

option and finally decided to co-operate in the anti-German 

policy of encirclement and began to contribute to its success 

by her widerspread action against the German minority within 

her own frontiers. 

Whilst German diplomatic and consular representatives in 

Poland were continually compelled to report to their Govern- 

ment fresh instances o f violation o f rights by the Polish 

authorities and excesses against the German minority, the 

I23

representatives of the German minority attempted” once more 

to check the worst injustices by submitting a petition to the 

President o f Poland. 

No. 56 (369) 

Petition by the representatives o f the German Minority 

to the President of the Polish Republic 

(Translation) 

12 May1939 

In the name of the German minority in Poland we appeal to 

you, Mr. President, in whom is vested the united and indivisible 

supreme power of state, to secure for the German minority 

respect for, and enforcement of, those rights guaranteed to 

it by -the Constitution and the Law. We feel incumbent 

upon us to take this step because the almost innumerable 

representations made to the Government by word of mouth 

and in writing, although backed by conclusive evidence, have 

proved unavailing, and because we are mindful of the words 

which you, Mr. President, addressed on 5 November 1937 to 

the undersigned on the occasion of the agreement reached 

between the Polish and the German Governments concerning 

the treatment of the respective minorities. You emphasized 

at the time that mutual respect for the customs, habits and 

traditions of these two minorities was the most important 

prerequisite for harmonious co-existence of Poles and Germans. 

The position of the German minority has always been 

difficult. The tension resulting from world-political events has, 

for weeks past, found vent in undisguised and impassioned 

hatred-and numerous acts of violence committed against the 

German minority and its individual members. We have receiv- 

ed from the Government the verbal assurance that they 

I24

disapproved of anti-German excesses and that they had issued 

instructions for the prevention of agitations and outrages. The 

Germain minority has not been given effective protection, 

so that it is now threatened with extinction. The number of 

unemployed Germans is alarmingly high and unemployment 

is steadily increasing especially in the industrial districts. The 

competent authorities responsible for the application of the 

Labour Laws deny protection to Germans, who are practically 

precluded from obtaining employment. 

Agrarian Reform affects German landowners to an incom- 

parably greater degree than the Polish, whereas the allotment 

of land to Germans for settlement is an extremely rare occur- 

rence. Even in case of direct inheritance, a German i5 not 

automatically entitled to possession of landed property. 

The cultivation of spiritual, cultural, economic and per- 

sonal relations, and intercourse with our mother-country are 

hindered. Adherence to the National-Socialist ideology is 

‘regarded as inimical to the interests of the Polish State. 

Anti.-German elements frequently hinder, and in some cases 

even prevent -Germans of the Roman Catholic faith from 

exercising their religious duties in their mother tongue and 

no protection is afforded them ‘by the police. As regards 

Protestant churches, especially The United Protestant Church 

in Upper Silesia and The Protestant Augsburgian Church, 

the Germans, although constituting the overwhelming majority 

of Protestant congregations, have been deprived of their 

privileges. 

In German public schools Polish teachers are employed 

to such an extent that these schools have lost their German 

character. There is no German institution providing a 

training for young teachers. German private schools have 

to contend with difficulties of all kinds. The closing of Ger- 

man. private schools, especially in Volhynia, means for the 

German minority the loss of their most important educational 

institutions. The Silesian Sejm has issued special regulations 

I25

in addition to the existing State Laws, with the object of 

preventing the granting of permission for the establishment 

of new German private schools and of barring pupils from 

attendance at such schools. Linguistic examinations, for which 

there is no legal justification, are held in the voivodeship of 

Silesia. German parents who refuse to send their children to 

Polish schools are heavily fined or imprisoned. Despite many 

years of endeavour to obtain a ruling, the question of text- 

books in German private schools is still undecided. Teachers 

are frequently refused permission to give instruction. School 

supervision is exclusively in the hands of the Poles. The 

school supervisory authorities neither understand nor take 

into account the specific character of the German schools. 

The organization of our German youth in an independent 

association for the pursuit of cultural and educational acti- 

vities has so far failed, owing to opposition by the authorities 

concerned. German children are left entirely to their own 

devices at. the very age at which they are most susceptible 

to educational influences. 

A summary of all these points has been before the Govern- 

ment for years in the form of memoranda and petitions. They 

are informed in full detail on all matters concerning the Ger- 

man minority. Ever since the promulgation of the Consti- 

tution on 17 March 1921, the representatives of the German 

minority have endeavoured to prevail upon the Government 

and the legislative bodies to pass supplementary laws for the 

enforcement of Article 109*. The ideal conception expressed 

in Article 109 has remained purely declaratory. The present 

conditions are due to the absence of clear legal provisions 

applicable to the minority. The German minority is firmly 

convinced that the treatment meted out to it is contrary to 

the Constitution and, in many cases, to the intentions of the 

legislator. 

In view of the responsibility which we owe to the Re- 

public of Poland as well as to our minority we deem our- 

126

selves entitled adobliged to bring these matters to your 

personal notice, Mr. President, and to appeal to you to 

secure forthe German minority the rights to which they arc 

entitled under the Constitution and toguarantee the impartial 

enforcement of the Law as laid down in the Statutes. 

Weare, &c  

In the nameof the German Minority 

Senator Erwin Hasbach 

 

Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Wiesner 

* Article so9 of the Polish Constitution reads as follows, 

Every citizen has the right to retain his nationality pnd to 

cultivate his mother-tongue and national characteristics. 

Special State Laws guarantee to the minorities within the Polish 

State free and unrestricted development of their national charac- 

teristics by means of autonomous minority associations of a public 

character as granted to associations within the sphere of general self- 

administration. 

As regards the activities. of such associations, the State reserves 

the right to control or supplement their financial resources in case 

of necessity. 

No. S7 (37c) 

The German Consul at Lodz to the German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Lodz, 13 May 1939 

Very grave excesses which may be designated as a German 

pogrom, occurred last Saturday, T3 May andon Sunday, 

14 May, in the town of Tomaschow-Mazowiecki (of soave 

42,0 00 inhabitants, of which some’ 3,000 are German), as a 

result of which numerous Germans have suffered complete 

financial ruin. A German bythe name of Schmiegel had his 

127

skull split and a woman, whose name has so far not been 

ascertained, was killed in a field while attempting to escape. 

Schmiegel’s son was thrown from a second storey window 

and sustained serious injuries. 

The excesses began last Saturday, 13 May. A few.days 

previously the “Association of Polish Vocational Societies”, 

an organization closely connected with the Government 

Party, exhibited large posters announcing an “Anti-German 

Demonstration” to take place on Saturday, 13 May. This 

demonstration started with speeches made from the balcony 

of a building in which the offices of the above-mentioned 

association, of the Government Party OZON and of its 

youth organization, Mloda Polska (Young Poland) are 

housed. In speeches addressed to huge crowds Germany was 

attacked in a most reprehensible manner, and the assertion 

was made that Poles in Germany were subjected to gross 

maltreatment, that their hands and feet were mutilated, their 

schools and churches demolished, and so on. When the mob 

was sufficiently worked up, the leaders of the demonstration 

handed forms to various doubtful characters who, accom- 

panied by the crowds, were to go and demand that works 

managers should immediately dismiss all Germans, and sign 

the forms containing a declaration to that effect. This they 

did. Under pressure from the mob the firms were compelled 

to comply, whereupon the German workers were driven out 

of the factories. Having accomplished this, the crowd com- 

menced the systematic and complete demolition of all Ger- 

man shops and private dwellings. In a wild fury they 

destroyed nearly all German private property. The Germans 

who were hunted like beasts fled to the open country and 

did not return until day-break. Many were seriously in- 

jured having been stabbed or beaten with sticks. 

Sunday was peaceful, until in the evening the excesses 

began anew, and the crowd destroyed all German private 

property which had been left intact on the previous day. 

128

It must be particularly emphasized that the police joined 

in the demonstrators’ procession and did nothing to protect 

the life and property of the Germans. Without exaggeration, 

it may be said that these excesses were tolerated, if not 

instigated, by the Government. Now, these acts of terror 

having already been committed, police squads with fixed 

bayonets patrol the streets of the town for the sake of 

appearances. 

On Saturday evening the windows of Ruppert’s bookshop 

in the Petrikauerstraf3e, Lodz, where German books and 

periodicals are for sale, were smashed, as were also the 

windows of the premises of the (entirely non-political) 

Vocational Association of German Employees. On Sunday, 

i. e., yesterday, excesses also occurred at the Stylowy Cinema, 

where the German-film, Land der Liebe,was showing. Terror- 

ists forced the public to quit the theatre, and belaboured the 

dispersing crowds in front of the theatre with laths studded 

with nails. 

As there is at present no reason to suppose that these acts 

of terror will be stopped, the position of the Germans here 

is considered to be very serious. They are deciding in ever 

increasing numbers to leave the country and to sell their 

real estate, as they consider their livelihood in Poland 

endangered. They fear the Poles, who, when no longer 

restrained, are capable of any act of violence.. The German 

population regards them as much worse than the worst 

terrorists of Russian days. – 

 

von Berchem 

9 100 documents, engl, Iz9

130 

NO-58 (385) 

The German Ambassador in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Warsaw, i9 June 1939 

In the course of the last few weeks the position of the 

German minority has grown considerably worse, and anti- 

German agitation has developed to an extent never before 

experienced’ by me during my long term of office here. 

On Tuesday the 13th inst., Senator. Hasbach again called 

upon the Premier in order to make another attempt to bring 

about an improvement in the situation. Immediately after- 

wards, the heaviest blow so far was struck at the German 

minority, namely, the confiscation of the German House in 

Bromberg, the closing down and confiscation of the German 

House in Lodz, the Evangelisches Vereinshausin Posen, and 

the German House in Tarnowitz. Investigations are still 

going on concerning the extensive action aimed at the suspen- 

sion of the activity of all organizations in Volhynia. 

Needless to say I shall discuss these extraordinarily grave 

measures taken by the authorities with the Polish Ministry 

for Foreign Affairs. On the strength of recent experience, 

I doubt, however, that they will feel inclined to alter their 

attitude towards the German minority. In my previous 

conversation with Count Szembek, on which I reported on 

15 June, I most emphatically drew his attention to the 

threatened acumination of the situation as a whole, and the 

tremendously grave position of the German minority. I also 

expressed my astonishment at the fact that despite the 

already prevailing anti-German feeling of the population, 

which again and again resulted in new incidents, the author-

ities themselves took a part in rigorous administrative 

measures directed against the German minority. 

Count Szembek referred to the confiscation of the Polish 

House at Ratibbr, whereupon I replied to him that he knew 

very well that that was only a, reprisal for the confiscation 

of the German Houses in Karwin and Oderberg, and that we 

were prepared to rescind the confiscation at Ratibor the 

moment the Polish authorities on their part rescinded the 

confiscations in Karwin and Oderberg. I told him that we 

were sliding downhill, and that we viewed future develop- 

ments with great anxiety. In answer to my question as to 

whether he did not consider it advisable to put a stop to the 

dangerous policy of the home authorities, Count Szembek 

merely replied by a resigned shrug of his shoulders. He 

referred with regret to the rapid deterioration in the situa- 

tion, but showed no initiative whatever as regards bringing 

about an abatement of hostilities as suggested by me. 

It is a regrettable symptom that even a man like Count 

Szembek, who hitherto has always shown his willingness 

to remove difficulties, obviously no longer sees any possibility 

of counteracting the dangerous development. It is difficult to 

saywhether this is due to the fact that the Ministry for Foreign 

Affairs do not want to intervene, or whether they cannot 

assert themselves in opposition to the Nationalist tendencies 

of the military. In my previous reports I have again and 

again drawn attention to how difficult the position of 

M. Beck, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has become during 

the past few months, and how the military circles have 

gained increasing influence on Polish foreign policy. I have 

not gained the impression that the ‘situation has changed in 

any way. 

 

. von Moltke 

‘3’

No. 59 (400) 

The German Consul at Lemberg to the German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Lemberg, 15 July 11 939 

During the month of June the Polish authorities carried 

out severe measures against the German organizations in 

Volhynia. Economically theGermans were hit by the closing 

of numerous German co-operative societies. The measures 

taken by the Polish police against the German organizations, 

which are fought with the same means as the political and 

economic corporations of the Ukrainians, are especially -bru- 

tal. Generally the Polish police proceeds in such a manner 

that the leaders of the local groups are ill-treated until 

they sign an obligation to dissolve the local group. The 

leader of the local group in Haraidie near Luck was sub- 

jected to particularly cruel ill-treatment. Similar cases have 

become known to me from thefollowing German settlements 

in Volhynia: Wicent6wka, Stanislawka, Stary Zapust, 

Podhajce, and Ochocin. 

 

Seelos 

No. 6o (407) 

The German Consul at Lemberg tothe German Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Lemberg, 9 August ‘1939 

The vigorous German element which settled in Galicia 

i5o years ago and numbers about 55,ooo souls, has during 

the last decades overcome many. a crisis. The present crisis, 

however, goes deeper, as it is not only of an economic nature 

132

but also threatens the foundations of the life and culture of 

the German minority. For about three months now every 

form of expression of their national life and culture has been 

rendered more and more difficult to the Germans or even 

impossible. 

Several German schools, such as the Roman Catholic 

private parish schools of Angelowka and Pochersdorf and the 

Protestant schools of Kaltwasser and Rosenberg, were closed 

in June 1939 already. More elementary schools are expected 

to meet with the same fate at the beginning of the next 

school year in September. 

The German employees and workmen both in state-owned 

and private Polish works have been systematically dismissed 

during- the last few months. Even the manager of a paper 

mill owned by a member of the German minority has been 

already officially reprimanded by the-starosta, because too 

many Germans were employed. Thus even in works owned 

by members of the German minority the opportunities for 

finding work are limited. The second and third sons of 

farmers are gradually finding every prospect of work 

blocked. 

In -the villages with a mixed population, the Germans are 

under constant pressure, owing to the hostile attitude of the 

Poles. In the case of an aggravation of the German-Polish 

tension.they will have to expect the worst, even incendiarism 

and danger to life. Some weeks ago nearly the whole village 

of Sc:honthal was wilfully. destroyed by fire. At another 

place an attempt was made to set fire to the crops. Young 

Germans in Galicia see that the future no longer contains 

possibilities for them; they are ruthlessly oppressed by being 

subjected to chicanery, flogging, etc. Consequently, about 

two months ago an unrestrained exodus set in,which deprived 

some German settlements e. g. Josefsberg of almost their 

entire young male population. 

 

Seelos 

133

No. 61 (410) 

Memo by an official in the Political Department of the 

German Foreign Office 

Berlin, 16 August 1939 

Vice-Consul SchUller of the German Consulate-General in 

Kattowitz just telephoned from Beuthen as follows: 

The apprehensions of the Consulate-General with regard 

to impending arrests of members of the German minority have 

been confirmed. On Monday and Tuesday houses of minority 

Germans were searched extensively; in connection with this 

very many minority Germans-approximately several hun- 

dred-have been arrested, among them numerous leaders of 

German minority organizations who had not already taken 

to flight. 

Schliep 

No. 62 (412) 

The German Consul-General at Kattowitz to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telegram 

(Translation) 

Kattowitz, 16 August 1939 

Action announced by the Polish authorities in progress 

since 14 August. Numerous houses searched and people 

arrested, especially in the circles of the Young German Party 

(Jungdeutsche Partei), the Deutscher Volksbund, and the 

trade unions; number of arrested approximately 200. German 

newspapers, trade unions, etc., closed down; frontier almost 

completely closed. Pursuit of fugitives still continues. Guards 

and armament along the frontier increased. 

Noldeke 

134

No. 63 (4IS) 

Memo by an official in the Political Department of the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 2oAugust 1939 

During the last few months the German Foreign Office 

has continually received reports from the German Consulates 

in Poland about the cruel maltreatment to which members 

of the German minority are subjected by the Poles who have 

been more and more lashed to fury and have abandoned 

themselves to unbridled fanaticism. In the annex thirty- 

eight especially grave cases have been collected, in which 

the remarkable similarity is to be noticed with which the 

ass~ul.ts on minority Germans are staged. This seems to justify 

the question to what degree these excesses are tolerated or 

fomented by the authorities. In spite of the assurances 

repeatedly given to the German Embassy in Warsaw by 

competent Polish authorities, according to which the Polish 

Government were exerting all their influence in order to, 

prevent the persecutions of Germans, one cannot but get the 

impression that the excesses against the Germans are fomented 

as far as possible by official quarters in order thus to main- 

tain the war spirit of the Polish nation. 

 

Bergmann 

Annex 

(Translation) 

I . On2 April, eight members of the German Sport Club at 

Klein. Komorsk, in the district of Schwetz, were attacked on 

the farm belonging to the minority German Pankratz by 

Poles who fell upon the Germans with sticks and flails. One 

German, who had been knocked down, was pushed’into the 

cesspool. Pankratz was so badly beaten up that the doctor 

said he would be unable to work for a period of six weeks. 

The next day Pankratz was wrested by the police. 

I”

2. On 17 April 1939, the minority German Fritz Pawlik, 

of Ciszowieco, was so badly beaten by a group of Poles, led 

by the Pole Malcharek, that he had to be taken by the police, 

in an unconscious condition, to his parents’ house. Although 

-he was still unconscious an the following day, the Polish 

authorities refused to admit him to a hospital. 

3. On 19 April 1939, the minority Germans Peter Kordys 

and Richard Mateja, of Kattowitz, were attacked by about 

forty Insurgents. The two Germans were so beaten that 

Kordys fled covered with blood, and Mateja was left lying 

there, seriously injured. He was carried away by the police, 

and thrown into prison, without medical examination or 

treatment. 

4. On 23. April 1939, Cofalka, an old man, who was an 

invalid, and hard of hearing, was delivering copies of the 

newspaper Kattowitzer Zeitung in Chorzow, when he was 

attacked by Insurgents and beaten till the blood flowed. As 

a result of- this assault, Cofalka has become completely deaf 

in one ear. 

S. On 27 April, Hermann and Emil Mashies, of Lieben- 

walde in the district of Schwetz, were attacked in their home 

and so brutally treated that the one had several teeth knocked 

out and his lower jaw smashed, while the other was knocked 

down and left unconscious. 

6. On 28 April, Fritz Koppke, of Zbiczno in the district 

of Strasburg, a minority German, was attacked by members 

of the Polish Reservists Association, and so brutally man- 

handled that he had two ribs fractured. For weeks he had 

to stay in bed and was unfit for work. 

7. On 3o April, an attack was made on several young 

minority Germans of Piaski in the district of Schwetz. Eckert, 

a minority German, was so badly injured that he was left 

lying unconscious. Oswald Frey, another minority German, 

of Schonreich had several teeth knocked out. 

136

8.. On 3 May, Franz Hybiorz, a _ minority German, of 

Bijasowice, was attacked by about twenty Poles in Reservist’s 

uniforms and so brutally beaten with rubber truncheons that 

he remainedlying unconscious in the street. 

9.. On 4 May, in the station of Bismarckhntte, Ehrenfried 

Heiber, a minority German, was attacked from behind and 

knocked unconscious with a blunt object. He received a 

wound approximately four inches long and half an inch 

wide. The police refused to take down the report of this 

assault. 

io. On f May, Rauhut,,a pupil of the German Secondary 

School in Bromberg, was attacked by several, Poles who hit 

him. on the head with a bottle with such force that the bottle 

was smashed and Rauhut collapsed with severe cuts in the 

head. When he recovered, he was again knocked down by the 

passers-by, who had applauded this brutal action. 

i r. On 9 May, two minority Germans, Richard Fandrey, 

of Neukirchen in the district of Schubin, and, Damrau,’ a 

farmer, were attacked by about thirty Poles and so brutally 

beaten, with sticks and stones that their faces were battered 

beyond recognition. 

12. On12 May, Valentin Jendrzejak, an Insurgent, forced 

his way into the home of Robert Robotta, of Kattowitz, a 

minority German, seized a chair and struck Robotta with it; 

Robotta received a blow on the left arm, which fractured his 

wrist. Then the Pole kicked the helpless man repeatedly in 

the abdomen and iit the hips. Robotta’s daughter wanted to 

ring up the police from Poloczek, the grocer’s, but the shop- 

keeper did not allow her to do so as, accordingto him, the 

police were only there to protect the Poles. 

x 3. On 14 and i f May, hundreds of members of the Ger- 

man minority of Tomaschow, Konstantynow, and other places 

in.the voivodeship of Lodz, were attacked, their homes 

plundered and destroyed.’ In this pogrom, one minority 

German was killed, ten others were so seriously injured that 

137

there was little hope of their recovery, numerous other 

minority Germans were more slightly injured. 

14. On 16 May 1939, Leo Krawczyk, an Insurgent, at- 

tacked Adelheid Cichy, a minority German, in. Kattowitz. 

He kicked her in the groin with his boot and tried to throw 

her down the stairs of the house. Frau Cichy received 

numerous injuries in the head, thigh, groin, and hands. 

i S. On 18 May, Paul Enders, of Luck, a minority German, 

was arrested without cause. When he was being questioned 

about his membership in the Young German Party, he was 

repeatedly struck in the face and kicked in the stomach. 

On20 May, he was taken to Rowno in chains, and there set 

free on 2.5 May. 

16. On24May, Erhard Ossadnik, of Kattowitz, a minority 

German, was attacked by four Poles in uniforms because he 

had spoken German to a friend in the street. He received 

numerous injuries on the left side of his face, and four of his 

front teeth were knocked out. 

1 7. On27 May, Josef Mazur, of Kobior, a minority Ger- 

man, was attacked by a large group of Poles. He was 

knocked unconscious with rubber truncheons. In the medical 

examination, numerous effusions and cuts in the head, face, 

and ears were found, as well as numerous welts of areddish 

blue colour and covered with clotted blood on the chest, back 

and buttocks. 

18. On 29 May, Albert Krank, a country labourer, of 

Kzywka, was attacked by two Poles, who had disguised their 

faces, while working in the fields. His penis and left testicle 

were so severely injured by stabs and blows that he had to 

be taken to the hospital of Lessen for treatment. 

19. On29 May1939, Stuhmer, of Neudorf in the district 

of Briesen, a minority German, was arrested and struck dead 

by the Poles when he was about to cross the frontier. His 

body, very badly mutilated, was identified by his relatives 

in the hospital of Graudenz. 

138

20. On i. June 1939, the minority German Johann Burdzik, 

of Giszowiec-Myslowice, a disabled miner, was attacked by 

an Insurgent. The latter first took him by the throat, then 

threw him into a ditch, and injured him severely with a stick. 

When the Insurgent tried to put out Burdzik’s eyes, he was 

pulled off by passers-by, so that Burdzik got off with 

effusions in the eye, numerous bruises and injuries caused by 

blows in the face and the body, and two teeth knocked out. 

21. On 2 June, Theodor Stehr, a minority German of 

Ko:istantynow, was attacked by a Pole. When he offered 

resistance, four more Poles hastened to the spot and beat hint 

to such a degree that he collapsed and had to be taken to 

hospital with a fractured rib and other injuries. 

Z2. On 5 June, Wilhelm Ki bel, a minority German of 

Kostuchna, who carries round copies. of the newspaper Katto- 

witzer Zeitung, was robbed of his bundle of newspapers. 

When he tried to regain possession of it, he was knocked 

down by other Poles and badly kicked when lying on the 

ground. The police did not interfere. 

23- On 6 June, Georg Kindler, of Bykowina, and Bern- 

hard Harmada, of Nowa Wies, both minority Germans, were 

attacked by Poles. Kindler was struck in the ribs. with a 

bottle with such force that the bottle smashed. Harmada, a 

badly disabled war invalid with a stiff leg, was so severely 

beaten with beer bottles, rubber truncheons and a walking- 

stick that he had wounds and bruises all over his body. 

24- In the night of. 11 June 1939, the minority German 

Anton Podszwa, of Trzyniec, an innkeeper, was shot dead 

on his way home by persons unknown. 

.z5. On 15 June, Alois Sornik, a German national, wad hit 

on the head from behind by the Polish forest labourer 

Onufrak, of Zielona, and was so severely injured that he 

died a few days later. 

139

26. On17 June, the minority German, Fritz Reinke, of 

Tonowo in the district of Znin, was knocked down from 

behind by two Polish farm hands with battens taken from 

a wooden fence. The -Poles continued beating Reinke when 

he was lying on the ground, so that he had numerous deep 

cuts and effusions in the bead, face, shoulders, arms, and 

hands, and is incapacitated for work for the time being. 

27. On 17 June, the minority German, Hans Zierott, of 

Oberausmaf3 in the district of Kulm, was attacked by three 

men who tried to force him to say:-“Hitler is a swine”. 

When he refused he was threatened with a knife, and thus 

compelled to comply with their demand. Zierott is a cripple 

and unable to defend himself. 

z8. On2oJune 1939, the minority Germans,Volpel, Dilk, 

and Sawadski, all leading members of the Haraidie branch 

(district of Luck) of the Young German Party, were 

summoned to the chief ‘of police. Volpel was so maltreated 

with blows that his lower lip was cut through; then a police 

man kicked him in. the abdomen several times and dragged 

him about by the hair till he signed his resignation from the 

Young German Party and, together with his friends, brought 

in a motion on the following day that the whole local branch 

should be voluntarily dissolved. A short, time afterwards, the 

Polish Press reported that local branches of the Young Ger- 

man Party were.being dissolved voluntarily on the grounds 

of their general outlook, (Weltanschauung). 

29. On22June, the minority German Luzie Imiolcyk, of 

Chorzow, was attacked inside the entrance of her house by 

two neighbours, the Polish women Maciejkowiak and 

Wietrzniak, and badly beaten although she was carrying a 

child of fourteen months in her arms. In the end she was 

thrown to the ground and some of her hair was torn out. ‘ 

When she reported the incident to the police, she was arrested 

for having insulted the Polish woman Maciejkowiak.• 

140

3o. When,` on 2 July, the minority German Luise Sprenzel 

was cycling to Zytna in -the- district of Rybnik, she was 

attacked by two Insurgents and so severely struck on the 

forehead that she fell from her bicycle and lay_ on the road 

unconscious. 

3,i. On 7 July1939, theminority German Julius Saeftel, 

of Szopienice in the district of Myslowice, a badly disabled – 

war invalid with. only one arm, was struck with fists and 

injured in the face by five Poles after the funeral of a 

minority German, which had already been disturbed by 

Poles. 

3,1. On 9 July 1939, the Pole Kaczmarek forced his way 

into the -homeof Margarete Plichta, a minority German of 

Ta:rnowskie, by breaking in the’ door. with a hammer. Then 

he set upon the German woman with his hammer and knocked 

a weapon which-she had grasped in self-defence, from her 

hand so that her hand was badly injured. Then he took her 

by the throat and threatened to kill her. He only left his 

victim when she cried for help. 

3,3. On 23 July, three Polish soldiers forcibly entered the 

home of the minority German Ewald Banek, of Sypiory in 

the district of Schubin, and asked for food and drinks. After 

having received them free of charge, they insulted the 

members of the family present and set upon them. Banek 

was badly wounded in the left shoulder and right arm by 

stabs with a bayonet. At the same time Polish soldiers forced 

their way into the home of the minority German, Arthur 

Pahlke and tried-to rape Frau Pahlke. When Pahlke tried 

to.. protect his wife, he was very severely maltreated. 

34. On 6 August, a gang of youngPoles forced the gate 

of the farm belonging to the seventy _year old minority Ger- 

man August Mundt, of Bialezynek. They injured Mundtin 

the eye and lower jaw, beat his son Wilhelm with sticks and 

stones till be fell, to the ground unconscious, and also mal- 

141

treated the country labourer Karl Jesser, who is in Mundt’s 

employ. 

35- On 9 August, policemen entered the Christian Hospice 

in Kattowitz where a meeting of the German People’s League 

was just being held. The armed police set upon the eighteen 

minority Germans present with rubber truncheons and the 

butt-ends of their rifles and dragged them to the police 

station. During the night they were questioned as to what 

had happened at the meeting, and subjected to such severe 

maltreatment that when they were released in the morning, 

they were covered with red and blue bruises and welts. One 

minority German had his arm badly wrenched, another had 

become temporarily deaf in consequence of blows on the 

head. 

36. On 14 August, the minority German Thomalla, of 

Karwin, was arrested, the reason being unfounded calumnies. 

During his two days’ detention he received neither food nor 

water. At his examination he was severely beaten, and 

knocked unconscious with fists and bludgeons so that he 

was mentally deranged when he was released on 16 August. 

37. In the middle of August, innumerable minority 

Germans were arrested on the pretext of having committed 

high treason. The minority German Rudolf Wilsch, of 

LaurahUtte, District Leader of the Young German Party, 

was arrested and during his examination beaten till he col- 

lapsed completely. After this grave maltreatment he was 

forced by threats of quartering or of similar torture to plead 

guilty to the unjust accusation brought against him. 

38. Jaeger, a German national, Grant, a minority German, 

Fraulein Kiesewetter, and Fraulein Neudam, as well as other 

German nationals and members of the German minority, 

were grossly maltreated in Polish prisons in order to extort 

confessions from them. Caustic liquids, for instance, were 

injected into their genitals, they had ribs broken and were 

14z

tortured by applications of electric current. After a long 

stay in hot rooms they were given salt water as a beverage. 

The minority German Schienemann, still resident in Sieradz, 

has had his health completely ruined, and during the in- 

quisition lost nearly all his teeth. 

No. 64 (416) 

Memo by an official in the Political Department o f the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 23 August 1 

939 

According to a statement made by the Reich Ministry for 

Home Affairs, about 70,000 refugees belonging to the German 

minority in Poland have been given shelter in refugee clearing 

camps up to 21August last. Of these, about 45,000 came 

from Polish Upper Silesia and the Olsa territory. Neither 

refugees who moved into the Danzig territory nor those who 

have been able to find shelter with relatives or friends in 

Germany without passing trough a refugee camp, are included 

in the above figures. – 

Bergmann 

No. 65 (41 7) 

The- German Consul-General at Thorn to the German 

Foreign Office 

Report 

(Translation) 

Thorn,28August 1939 

To-day I received the following report from a trustworthy 

source in Usdau: – 

143

11 

“A week ago a Polish demonstration havingg as its 

slogan `Harvest Festival with drawn Swords’ was to 

take place at Usdau; the attendance, however, was 

extremely disappointing as the German population 

refused to take part. 

Last Sunday the Poles thought the time was ripe to 

take vengeance on the German population. Under the 

pretext of conforming with the measures for evacua- 

tion, the greater part of the German minority was 

driven together like cattle and, as there were no 

vehicles available for their transport, were marched 

off into the interior of-the country. Those who could 

not keep up the quick pace of the march were driven 

forward by blows with the butt-ends of rifles. 

A woman who was with child and could not march 

on was so badly beaten by the guards that sbe had 

a miscarriage as a result of which she died. 

Another woman had to take with her her little 

daughter, who was only four years old. Several blows 

with the butt-end of a rifle which both mother and 

child received, gave the child a severe wound on the 

head rendering her absolutely unable to walk any 

further. The mother then attempted to carry the. 

child, but by doing so was herself so much impeded 

that she could not keep up with the extremely quick 

pace of the march. The leader, therefore, uttering 

unrepeatable insults, simply snatched the child from 

her mother and slew it. To his accomplices he justi- 

fied his action by saying : `This brat would otherwise 

only give birth some day to more German swine.”‘ 

These minority Germans have, in, all probability, been 

driven into one of the numerous concentration camps. 

von Kiichler

No. 66 -(444) 

The German Ambassador in Warsawto -the German 

Foreign Office 

10 103 aoeumeats,eagL 

The population of Poland has borne the state of partial 

mobilization and political insecurity, which has now lasted 

for four months, without any appreciable diminuation of their 

hostile attitude. The old hatred for, everything German 

and the-conviction that it as the fate of Poland to cross 

_swords with Germany,aretoo deeply ingrained forpassions 

to- subside- quickly oncethey have been inflamed. – 

If one wants to discover the reason of this unanimous 

feeling among the Polish people, it is important to realize 

the special structure of-the Polish population. 

The greatest part of -the Polish intelligentsia comes from 

.classes which before and during the Great War fought the 

revolutionary struggle against the so-called Partition Powers. 

To-day this,Polish intelligentsia administer the State, their 

post;; ‘ as civil servants-being their only source of subsistance. 

They consider themselves’. the mainstay of Polish nationalism 

and of the Polish State,andtheit nadonalisis revolutionary 

tradition has filled them with a national fanaticism which 

is not easily shaken by hostile propaganda. The great land- 

owners and the upper middle class, though toounimportant 

in numbers to be reckoned as a special factor, are. intimately 

connected with French culture and therefore do not fall far 

short of the rest of the rintelligentsia in their dislike of 

Germany. 

The great masses of the Polish peasant population are 

obtuse and ignorant, and the majority are,illiterate and

easily managed by any government that appeals to them with 

clear national slogans. Priests and teachers are’ the instruments 

with the help of which the politically unformed mass of 

villagers are governed and influenced. Even the more ad- 

vanced part of the peasant population is on the anti- 

German side. 

The Polish workmen, who live in very poor social con- 

ditions, are mostly Marxians, which is in itself sufficient to 

make them hostile to National-Socialist Germany. Moreover, 

their political organization still retains old traditions from 

the struggle for national liberty, traditions which made it 

easier for them to join hands with middle class nationalists 

in their fight against Germany. 

A lower middle class of a distinctively Polish character 

hardly exists in Poland. Its place is taken by a strong 

Jewish element without national feeling and therefore im- 

bued in exaggerated measure with all the bad qualities of 

a lower middle class, i. e., an inclination to nervousness and 

to the spreading of rumours. This Jewish middle class in 

Poland is, as far as the struggle against Germany is con- 

cerned, 

a natural and fanatical ally of Polish chauvinism. 

Special attention must be paid to the activities of the 

Polish clergy, whose influence is extremely great because of 

the strong religious feeling prevalent in all classes. As far as 

their personal influence on the population is concerned, they 

put themselves the more willingly and unreservedly at the 

disposal of the Polish anti-German propaganda as their own 

aims completely coincide with those of the State. They 

preach to the nation that Poland is on the verge of waging 

a holy war against German neo-paganism, and they can 

hardly be surpassed in their chauvinism. Thus some priests 

in rural districts are reported to have already held services 

of intercession for Polish victory and to have declared that 

they could not pray for peace because they were all for 

146

me 1-aramai was oaten- auerea Dy the priests mto prayer 

fQr a Polish victory. 

The special structure of the Polish population and the 

propaganda which has been skilfully adapted to it, have had- 

the effect that in Poland, even among the masses, the 

determination to resist obviously continues unbroken. The 

slogans of the Government propaganda are taken as gospel 

truth: wide circles are indeed convinced of the fact that 

Poland is on the side of the future victors, that people have 

-not enough to eat in Germany, that every day scores of 

desemers, hungry German soldiers and labour service -men, 

are ttreaming into Poland, that the German war material is 

of very doubtful value, that Germany’s foreign policy suffers 

one defeat after another. Polish propaganda has also succeed- 

ed in convincing large sections of Polish public . opinion 

that a war about Danzig means a war for Polish in- 

dependence. Even in those circles of the intelligentsia who 

have some experience of foreign countries and are therefore 

able to estimate correctly the proportionate strength of 

Germany and Poland, the spirit of resistance continues un- 

impaired. Even if in the course of a war Poland should be 

completely occupied by German troops, they are convinced 

that Poland will finally rise again greater and stronger than 

ever thanks to the victory of her allies. At the moment a 

certain disposition inherent in the Polish character to stake 

everything on one card misleads many people to think that 

Poland should begin war sooner rather than later -in order 

to counteract the wearing effect of the prolonged crisis. It 

is true, this optimism-is- based on the presupposition that the 

confidence placed in the allies, especially in Britain, remains 

unshaken. If in this respect the failure of the Polish-British 

negotiations for a loan has undoubtedly created a certain 

nervousness, Polish propaganda on the other hand has done 

10` 

147

its share to parry the blow. It is better therefore not to 

exaggerate these occurrences and their consequences. 

As is shown in the views expressed above, the four montl s 

of political tension and partial mobilization of the Polish army 

,.have, so far had no effect on Poland’s moral and material 

powers of resistance. In consideration of the confidence that 

Poland places in her allies and that is carefully nourished 

especially by British propaganda, a fundamental change in 

Poland’s attitude cannot be expected in the near future. 

von Moltke 

Just as the Polish campaign o f extermination against the 

German minority was gradually approachingaclimax, Polish 

acts of provocation against Danzig increased in number and 

seriousness. Poland having declared any alteration o f the 

status of Danzig as constituting a casus. belli, and being 

supported by Britain in this matter, Danzig was prepared for 

the worst, in view o f the fact that Britain had given Poland 

carte blanche. As early as May 1939, Polish aircraft and 

Polish soldiery were responsible for frontier incidents. The 

Polish garrison on the Westerplatte was strengthened in viol- 

ation of existing treaties, and troops were concentrated on the 

Danzig frontier. At Kalthof, a citizen of Danzig was killed 

on20 May by shots fired from a car belonging to the Polish 

Diplomatic Agency. This murder was then actually made the 

subject of an exchange of notes by Poland, in which she 

adopted a highly provocative tone. At the- same time Poland 

systematically increased’ the number of Polish customs in- 

spectors, a step which forced the Danzig Senate .to makeaa 

protest. Poland replied by threats and by a further increase 

o f the Polish customs personnel. 

– In July, Poland began to exert further economic pressure 

on Danzig; in particular, the import o f foodstuffs from Poland 

andthe export of the products of the Danzig foodstuffs manu- 

facturing industry to Poland was inhibited. The aim obviously 

148

wastosubjectDanzigto an economic blockade. The represent. 

ative of the Polish minority in the Danzig Diet openly . 

.declared 4 -,a demonstrationat Gdynia on29 June, “that the 

Polish population ofDanzigwould,with the aidofthe Polish 

army,achieve_ the reuniono f Danzigwith the mother-coun- 

try.” Pension reached a climax as a result o f -a Polish ulti- 

matumissued onthenight of 4August,the pretext given for 

Which wasa’decreefalsely alleged to havebeen issued by the 

DanzigSenate. 

No. 67 (432) 

;,The Diplomatic -Representative , of the Polish Republic in 

Dan2ig to the Presidentof the Senate of the Free City of 

Danzig 

(Translation) 

Danzig, 4 August 1939 . 

To..the President of 

the Senate of the Free City of Danzig 

Herr ArthurGreiser,- Danzig 

I learn that the local Danzig customs officials -stationed on 

the frontier between the Free City of Danzig andEast Prussia 

have declared in an unparalleled statement to the Polish 

customs officials, that the Danzig executives intend from 

7 ‘O’clock a. m. on 6 August onwards to ‘oppose a certain 

number of Polish inspectors in the exercise of their normal 

duties, which functions are apartofthe prerogatives of the 

Polish Governmenton the ‘customs frontier. I amconvinced 

that this act on the part of the local authorities depends either 

on amisunderstanding oronan erroneous interpretation of the 

instructions of-`the Senate of the Free City of Danzig. 

I am fully +convinced that-you, Mr. President of the 

Senate, canhaveno doubt that this infringement ofthe funda- 

149

mental rights of Poland will on no pretext whatever be tole- 

rated by the Polish Government. 

I await, by 5 August at 6 p. m. at the latest, your answer 

with the assurance that you have given instructions cancelling 

the action of your subordinates. 

In view of the fact that the above-mentioned action is one 

of a- series which have taken place on the frontier, I am 

forced to warn you, Mr. President of the Senate, that all Polish 

customs inspectors have received the order to appear for duty 

in uniform and bearing arms, on 6 August of the current year 

and on subsequent days, at every point on the frontier which 

they. consider necessary for examination of the customs. Every 

attempt made to hinder them in the exercise of their duties, 

every attack or intervention on the part of the police will be 

regarded by the Polish Government as an act of violence 

against the officials of the Polish State in the pursuance of 

their duties. 

If the above-mentioned illegal actions should take place, the 

Polish Government will take retaliatory measures (retortions) 

without delay against the Free City, as the responsibility for 

themwill rest entirely on the Senate of the Free City. 

I hope to receive a satisfactory explanation before the 

above-mentioned date. 

 

Chodacki 

No. 68 (433) 

The Diplomatic Representative of the Polish Republic in 

Danzig to the President of the Senate of the Free City of 

Danzig 

(Translation) 

Danzig, 4 August 1939 

Mr. President of the Senate, 

The.Polish Government beg to express their astonishment 

at the fact that the Senate should find technical difficulties in 

150

replying to so simple a matter. In the interest of avoiding 

threatening consequences, I note for the time being that no 

act of violence will be undertaken against our customs inspec- 

tors and that they will be able to proceed in a normal way 

with their duties. I must repeat nevertheless that the admo- 

nitions contained in my note of 4 August, I I ,4a p. m. remain 

in force. 

I have etc., 

 

Chodacki 

No. 69 (434) 

The President o f the Senate o f the Free City o f Danzig to the 

Diplomatic Representative o f the Polish Republic in Danzig 

(Translation) 

Danzig, 7 August 1939 

Sir, 

In reply to your two notes dated the 4th of this month, 

the second of which I received on S August, I must express 

my astonishment to you that you should make a completely 

unverified rumour a pretext for sending the Danzig Govern- 

ment a short-term ultimatum from, the ‘Polish Government, 

and thus in this time of political unrest conjure up unfounded 

danger which may result in inconceivable disaster. The sudden 

decree of the Polish Government that all Polish customs offi- 

cials on duty are to appear in uniform and bearing arms, is a 

breach of-the arrangement agreed upon and can be understood 

only as an intentional provocation to bring about incidents 

and acts of violence of the most dangerous nature. 

According to facts which I have since ascertained and con- 

cerning which I immediately telephoned to you on Saturday 

morning, the Sth inst., no order announcing that the Danzig 

executives from 6 August at 7 a. m. onwards are to oppose 

a certain number of Polish inspectors in the exercise of their 

151

normal duties has been issued from an office, certainly not 

from any administrative quarter of the Customs Office of the 

Free City of Danzig. 

I refer you further to my letter of 3 June of this year, in 

which I already carefully defined the relationship of the 

Danzig customs officials and the Polish customs inspectors on . 

the frontier. 

The Danzig Government protest with great energy against 

the threatened retortions of the Polish Government which 

they regard as an absolutely inadmissible ‘threat and the con- 

sequences of -which will devolve on the Polish Government 

alone. 

I have etc., 

 

Grciser 

No. 70 (436) 

Memo by an official in. the Political Department o f the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 24 August 1939 

-Apart from the shelling of the Luft Hansa plane D-APUP 

off Hela which we reported yesterday two further reports 

regarding the shelling of aircraft have been received.- 

-1 . At about1.15 p. m. the aeroplane D-APUP,. Savoia type, 

piloted by Bohner, when making the trip from Danzig 

to Berlin wasshot at by anti-aircraft guns on Hela and 

also aboard a Polish cruiser lying at a distance of 25miles 

off the coast. The aeroplane was approximately 1o-12 

miles off’ the Hela Peninsula flying at an altitude of 

4,875 feet. Eight shell-bursts were obserbed at a con- 

siderable distance from the machine. 

I Z

s. At4*. P, nn. ; the aeroplane D-AMYO, of the Ju 86type, 

piloted by Neumanr,.. was fired at from the Hela 

Peninsula while ‘on’ its course from-Danzig to Berlin. 

Distance ftn the coast 5-6 nautical’ miles, altitude 

approsimatefy:3,goofeet. The range wastoo shortand 

too low. 

 

. Schultz-SpoOholz 

No. 71, (437)_ 

The German Consul-General inDanzigto theGermanForeign 

-Office 

Information transmitted by telephone 

at 12.40 a. m., 31August 1939 

(Translation) 

At about 16.30 p. m. On 3o August 1939, the Poles fired a 

number of, shots over Danzigterritory on the Danzig frontier 

near Swinfliess north ofZoppot. 

It has not been possible so_far to ascertain whether these 

shots injuredany persons _orcaused any material damage. 

Mare detailed informationfollowing this morning. 

Tire Reich- Government were compelled, in the interests of 

German-Polish relations, to express to the- Polisb Government 

their growingg apprehension with regard to the development 

of the Polish attitude*towards Danzig. The arrogant; reply 

‘receiveda from Warsawshows how little inclination Poland, 

feeling’ herself secure on account of the British carte blanche, 

hadat that time to renounce her. provocative policy 

1 5 3

No. 72 (445) 

Communication from the State Secretary at the German 

Foreign Office to the PolishCharge d’Af faires, 9 August 1939 

(Translation) 

The Reich Government have receivedwith great astonishment 

information of the Note of the Polish Government to the 

Senate of the Free City’ of Danzig, in which a demand was 

made in the form of anultimatum to revoke an allegeddecree 

intended to hinder the Polish customs inspectors in the exgrcise 

of their normal duties (which decree, however, was based on 

unfounded rumours, andin reality had never been issued by 

-the Senate of the Free City of, Danzig). In case of arefusal, 

the Free City of Danzig was threatened with. – retaliatory, 

measures. 

The Reich Governmentseethemselves obliged to point out 

to the Polish Government that the repetition of suchademand, 

in the form of an ultimatum, to the Free City of ‘Danzig and 

the threat of retaliatory measures would lead to greater tension 

in the relationship between Germany and Poland, and that, 

the responsibility of such consequences would devolve ex- 

clusively on the Polish Government, the German Government 

already now declining all responsibility for them. -. 

The German Government furtherdraw the attention of the 

Polish Government to the fact thatthe measures taken by the 

Polish Government to prevent the import of certain goods 

from the Free City of Danzig,to Poland are likely to bring 

about serious economic loss to the population of. Darizig. 

,Should the Polish Government insist on further lending their 

support to such measures, there would, in theopinionof the 

Reich Government, be no choice left to the Free City- of 

Danzig, as matters lie, but to seek other export and con- 

sequently import possibilities.

No. 73′ (446) 

Communication from the Under-Secretary o f State at the 

Polish Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the German Charge 

d’Af faires in Warsaw, 1o August 1939 

(Translation) 

With the’ greatest surprise the Government of the Republic 

of Poland have taken. note of the declaration given in Berlin 

on 9 August 1939, by the Secretary of State at “the German 

Foreign Office to the acting Polish Charge d’Affaires on the 

relations existing between Poland and the Free City of Danzig. 

The Polish Government in fact cannot perceive any legal 

foundation) justifying Germany to interfere in the above- 

mentioned relations. 

Whatever discussions on the Danzig problem may have 

takei place between the PolishGovernment and the Govern- 

ment of the Reich, these had their foundation merely in the 

good will of the Government and did not arise out of any 

obligation whatsoever. 

In. reply to the aforesaid declaration of the Governmentof 

the Reich, the Polish Government are compelled to point out 

to the German Government that, as hitherto, they will in the 

future oppose by such means and measures as the Polish 

Government alone consider adequate, any attempt made by 

the authorities of theTree City of Danzig to jeopardize the 

rights and interests that Poland possesses in Danzig, on the 

basis of the agreementss to- which she is a part, and -that the 

Polish- Government will consider as an aggressive act any 

possible intervention of the Government of theReich which 

may endanger, these rights and interests. 

A report from the High Command of the German Armed 

Forcestothe German Foreign Office dated 3 November 1939 

155

ire., after the conclusion of military operations: in Danzig,. 

reveals to what extent Polish basesinDanzig had, indefiance 

o f treaties, been reinforced for military purposes:- 

No. 74 (437,, Appendix) 

The High Command of the German Armed Forces to the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 3November 1939 

The following is the result of an investigation of the mili- 

tary condition of the Westerplatte and of the formerPolish 

buildings in Danzig carried out after the conclusion of military 

operations in Danzig:- 

i. The Polish garrison on the Westerplatte numbered 

roughly 240men*. 

As regards fortifications * * on the Westerplatte, there were, 

apart from an old German open gun emplacement dating 

from 1911, in which three or four machine-guns withatleast 

ro,ooo rounds of ammunition were found, s concrete bunkers 

for machine-guns which had obviously been prepared. before- 

hand by the Poles and built according to awell-planned system 

of reciprocal flanking. Moreover,the new barracks had been 

built so ass to allow of easy defence on all sides, and the base- 

mentt as well as the cellars in the so-called non-commissioned 

off iciers’• quarters had been built of concrete and equipped 

for defence. Finally there were foundamong other things:- 

one _ 7.5 centimetre gun and two anti-tank guns as well as a 

number of pill-boxes, palisades, and gunners’ pits, ready for 

immediate action. 

z. The following were the Polish bases within the precincts 

of Danzig: – 

15G

i. Polish Post Office;hieveliusplatz, 

I. Main Railway StationandPolishRailwayPostOffice, 

3 . Head Office ofthe PolishRailways, 

4. . Polish Diplomatic Agency, Neugarten,. 

s. Polish CustomsInspectionOffices, Opitzstrasse, 

6. Polish Boy Scouts’ Home, Jahnstrasse, 

7. Polish residential flats, Neufahrwasser, Hindorius- 

strasse, 

8. Polish Students’ Residence, Langfuh 

9. Polish Secondary School 

Amongother things the following war material was found 

andsecured when the buildings were occupied:- 

r. In the Polish Post Office:-‘ three light machine-guns, 

44 filled and 13 empty frames for light machine-guns, 

30 army pistols, i revolver, i -bag of infantry and 

pistol ammunition, ‘rsoegg hand-grenades, 2infernal 

machines, small arms taken from. 38 prisoners. 

a. In the MainRailwayStation: i light machine-gun 

andsmall arms. 

3. In the Railway Station Post Office:- i machine-gun, 

i8 pistols, 4 rifles with ammunition,2 boxes of hand- 

grenades. 

4. In the Head Office off thePolishRailways:-45, pistols, 

s,6oo rounds of ammunition. 

s.’ Iii the Polish`DiplomaticAgency, Neugarten:- i light 

march ne-gun, S rifles, 4 pistols and ammunition.. , 

6. In the PolishCustoms-Inspection 

.Office,Opitzstrasse: 

rs rifles and ,ooo; roundsofammunition. 

7. Inthe Polish Boy Scouts’ Home:-r machine-gun,with 

ammunition and 2orubber truncheons. 

‘$7 

a_~ 

f.

In all other bases, stores were found consisting partly of 

rifles, pistols and ammunition. 

The Chief of the High Command of the German Armed Forces. 

By Order 

Biirkner 

According to the Resolution of 9 December 1925, the Council 

of the League of Nations granted Poland the right to keep a 

military guard o f 2 officers, 2o non-commissioned officers and 

66 men on the Westerplatte. 

** By virtue of the Resolution of the Council of the League of 

Nations o f 14 March 1924, referred to in $ 2 o f the Provisional 

Agreement of4 August1928 between Danzig and Poland regarding 

the Westerplatte, the latter was placed exclusively at the disposal 

of the Polish Government for the storage of war material. Apart 

from this, the sovereignty of Danzig over this territory remained 

unimpaired, a fact also recognized by the Polish Government (cf. the 

Advisory Opinion of the jurists, Sir Cecil Hurst and Signor Pilotti, 

submitted to the Council of the League of Nations on 8 December 

1927 by the Rapporteur of the Council. League of Nations, Official 

Journal 1928, pp. 161-162). 

B) The last phase of the German-Polish crisis 

Not only did Germany repeat her sincere desire for a 

lasting friendship with Britain and France at a time when 

these Powers had already adopted a definitely anti-German 

attitude, but, when Poland’s attitude made it obvious that she 

felt herself called upon to bring about the war with Germany 

for which Britain had been working, Germany did not fail 

to call the attention of the two Western Powers to the danger 

and probable consequences of the guarantee given to Poland. 

The following Memoranda by Baron von Weizsdcker, State 

Secretary, deal with conversations which he had with the 

French and British Ambassadors on and after 15 August. 

158

No. 75-(449) 

Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 15 August 1939 

To-daythe French Ambassador called on me after his return 

from leave. The Ambassador calmly and firmly expressed 

approximately the following. views on the present situation: 

France had takenupher position. Her relations to Poland and 

Britain were known. A conflict between Germany and Poland 

would automatically involve France. That was a fact and not 

the wish of France: On the contrary, there was nothing France 

desired more urgently than a German-Polish compromise, 

especially with regard to Danzig. He hoped that a settlement 

of this special question would also bring about a general Ger- 

man-Polish d€tente. This, in short, was. the impression he had 

received during his last conversation with M. Daladier and 

M. Bonnet . His latest impression in Berlin, however, was that 

of a certain aggravation in the situation. He was especially 

disturbed by the fact that the latest German utterances 

repeatedly mentioned the question of honour; that obviously 

meant a serious aggravationof the situation. – 

I thereupon confirmed M. Coulondre’s impression that the 

situation had changed since his going on leave in July. I then 

went back rather far and expounded the necessary arguments 

to characterize the unbridled suicidal policy of Poland. I spoke 

to M. Coulondre of Poland’s Note to Danzig of the Saturday 

before last, which amounted to an ultimatum, of the aggressive 

tone in the exchange of opinions between.Berlin and- Warsaw 

last week, of the provocative utterances of the inspired Polish 

Press, of the continuous measures -for suppressing, impeding, 

banishing Germansetc. adopted by Polish subordinate autho- 

rities (in this connection I showed M. Coulondre a list which 

had just. arrived). I interpreted all this as being the practical 

159

result of the promises given by France and Britain to Poland. 

This was the harvest sown by the Western Powers in Poland. 

M. Coulondre then made a little excursion into the past and 

represented the British-French guarantee to Poland as the 

inevitable result of Germany’s having established a protecto- 

rate in Czechia. Apart from this the Ambassador asserted that, 

according to French reports, there was no lack of restraint in – 

Warsaw, but that on the contrary the Polish Government 

remained quite calm. 

As instructed, I then spoke in a very grave and warning 

tone and disputed M. Coulondre’s statementsmostemphatically. 

The Polish Government, I pointed out, did not really govern 

the country. Paris apparently did not know what “Polish 

mismanagement” meant. The Polish Government must be out 

of theirwits, otherwise threats amounting to an ultimatum, as 

lately applied to Danzig, could not have been pronounced by 

Polish diplomats. Such excesses only proved Poland’s implicit 

confidence in her two big brothers in the West, who would 

surely help her. We could and would no longer stand the 

continuation of such an attitude on the part of Poland. Poland 

was running amok and thus bringing her fate upon herself. 

Poland’s folly, like every other folly, I continued, had certain 

merits: 

r. Poland’s friends could see what they themselves had 

brought about and 

2. by such conduct Poland released her friends from their 

obligation to support her, for one could not imagine that 

either France or Britain would risk their very existence in favour 

of their friend who had gone mad. I therefore did not understand 

why, at the beginning of our conversation, M. Coulondrecould 

have described- French assistance for Poland as natural and 

automatic. 

M. Coulondre then mentioned that the Franco-Polish Treaty 

of Alliance had been strengthened still more by the guarantee 

16o

given this, year; France’s legal obligation to Poland, however,– 

wasnetthe determining factor. Forher security France needed 

balanceof powerin Europe. If this were disturbed in favour’ 

of Germany, i. e. if Poland. wereoverrun-by Germany now, 

‘,itwouldbe France’s turnneat; or else France’s power would 

have to decline to the level – of Belgium or theNetherlands. 

Practically France wouldthenbe Germany’s vassal, andthis 

is exactlywhat she did not wish to be. 

I urgently requested theAmbassador. to inform himself of 

Poland’s real attitude andto rid himself of his completely 

erroneous idea regarding the of his ally. . He would- 

surelydraw thecorrectconclusions. 

When M. Coulondreasked me whatthese conclusions-were 

I told him that Polandwould have to comply with Germany’s 

justified’claims and that she wouldhaveto alter her- general 

attitude-towards Germany completely. 

Finally the Ambassador said that his Government would 

not consent to bringing any pressure to bear on Warsaw as 

they haddone on Praguelastyear. Thesituationhadchanged 

since then. 

I replied drily to M. Coulondre that it was notfor meto 

offer adviceto him or to his Government. They should con-r 

sider the facts and allow them to `speak for themselves. 

In the end the Ambassador assured me of his readiness to 

co-operate in any way towards the maintenance of peace. A 

European’war would end in a defeat of. all parties, evenof 

the Russiaof to-day. Thevictorwould_notbe M. Stalin but 

M., Trotzki. 

– Weizsacker. 

‘i61 

I t, 100documents, eag!. 

41

No. 76 (45o) 

Memo by the State Secretary at the German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 15 August 1 939 

After a long interval the British Ambassador to-day came 

to see me to discuss the situation. He asked me without much 

preamble about the result of Count Ciano’s visit to Salzburg . 

In my reply I did not refer to Count Ciano and my con- 

versation with him, but I described the deterioration in the 

situation between Berlin and Warsaw and approximately 

followed the line of thought which I had taken up this morn- 

ing, as instructed, in my conversation with the French 

Ambassador. I perhaps chose even stronger terms in regard 

to Polish policy when speaking to Sir Nevile Henderson than 

in my conversation with M. Coulondre. 

When we were discussing the question of the customs 

inspectors, Sir Nevile Henderson made an assertion about 

German smuggling of arms and an extensive militarization of 

Danzig. He said that Polish rights and interests were affected 

by this without Poland having remonstrated. I most emphati- 

cally contested his view that the military measures taken in 

Danzig were unjustified. Danzig was only protecting itself 

against its protector. This I hoped was still permitted. I 

further explained how British policy had granted a jester’s 

licence to the Polish Government, of which the Poles were 

now making full use. Britain would now have to realize where 

her policy of encirclement had led her, and would, I suppose, 

hardly be inclined or obliged to allow her Polish friends, who 

had completely lost their heads, to lead her to disaster. 

The conversation with Sir Nevile Henderson this afternoon 

again revealed a fundamental difference of opinion regarding 

the Polish attitude. Sir Nevile Henderson, or I should say 

his Government asserted that Poland was reasonable and calm 

x6z

and he disputed the fact that she was in a position to commit 

an act of aggression against Germany. In all other cases of 

a German-Polish conflict, however, the British Government 

were under an obligation to give her armed assistance and 

were firmly determined to do so. Poland, however, would 

not untertake any major step without previous consultation 

with Britain. 

I then asked the Ambassador whether London could really 

have consented to the threatening Note to Danzig, or to the 

Polish declaration_ handed to us in the middle of last week, 

or to all the provocative speeches and articles and to the 

continuous suppression of the German minority. The limit 

of our patience had been reached. The policy of a country 

like Poland consisted of a thousand provocations. I asked 

whether Britain believed herself able to restrain Poland from 

every new and unconsidered action? As long as Warsaw felt 

itself protected by London, Britain’s belief in her ability to 

manage the Poles was a mere theory. The reverse was 

the case. 

After that I had to deny the assertion that instructions to 

adopt a more rigorous attitude had reached Danzig through 

our Consul-General there. I termed this statement, which 

had been made to the Ambassador, a direct lie. 

The Ambassador then touched upon the question whether 

the problem of Danzig could not be.postponed until it could 

be solved in a more peaceful atmosphere. He believed that 

we should then have better prospects of success. Sir Nevile 

Henderson thought that I should not be able to answer this 

question. I replied, however, that this question was purely 

theoretical, for a postponement could only be used by the 

Poles to aggravate the mischief which they had already 

caused; there was, therefore, no question of an improvement 

in the atmosphere. 

The Ambassador then asked whether we could not take the 

initiative in arranging German-Polish negotiations. I there- 

11• 

163

upon reminded `him that, in his last speech in the Sejm, 

M. Beck had used the tones of a Pasha speaking from his 

divan when he declared that if Germany adapted herself to 

Polish principles he would be ready graciously to accept 

proposals framed accordingly. Besides, it was only last week 

that the Polish Government had declared that every German 

initiative at the expense of Polish demands was to be con- 

sidered an act of aggression. I therefore saw no possibility 

for any German initiative. 

 

– 

The Ambassador then intimated that extensive German- 

British discussions on larger issues such as the colonies, raw 

materials, etc., might, take place later on, but at the same 

time he said that the situation was much more difficult -and 

critical than last year, for Mr. Chamberlain could not fly to 

Germany again. 

As far as I was concerned I said I was unable to offer 

any advice except that Poland should see reason as soon as 

possible with regard to the acute problem of Danzig and her 

general attitude towards us. 

Sir Nevile Henderson left me, conscious of the gravity 

and precariousness of the situation. 

Weizsacker 

Neither Britain nor France was willing to bring Poland to 

reason as regards her attitude towards the Reich and Danzig. 

Not even after the warning implied by the historic announce- 

ment of the conclusion of a non-aggression pact between Ger- 

many and the Soviet Union, was Britain prepared to bring 

her influence to bear upon Poland for the sake o f peace. Mr. 

Chamberlain replied to this warning publicly and in a 

communication to the Fuebrer by repeating that Great Britain 

had no intention of withdrawing the carte blanchewhich she 

had granted to Poland and openly threatening declaration of 

war by the British Government in the event o f German-Polish 

conflict. 

164

No.- 77 (4541) 

Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, to the Fuebrer, 

– 2.2August 1939 

io Downing Street,, Whitehall, 22August 1939 

Your Excellency, 

Your Excellency will have already heard of certain 

measures taken byHis Majesty’s Government,and announced – 

in the press and on the wireless this evening. 

These steps have, in the, opinion of His Majesty’s Govern- 

ment,-; been rendered necessary by- the’military movements 

which have been reported’ from Germany, and by the fact 

that apparently theannouncement ofa German-Soviet Agree- 

ment is taken• insome quartersinBerlin to indicatethat iinter- 

vention by Great Britain on behalf of Poland is no longer-a 

contingencythatneed be reckoned with. Nogreater.mistake; 

couldbemade. Whatever may proveto be the nature of the 

German-Soviet Agreement, it cannot alter Great Britain’s 

obligation to Polandwhich. His Majesty’s Government, have 

stated in public repeatedly and plainly, and which they are 

determined, to fulfil. 

Ithasbeen alleged that, if His Majesty’s Government had 

made their position- more clear in 1914, the great catastrophe 

would have been avoided. Whether- or not thereis any force 

in that allegation, His Majesty’s Government are resolved’ 

that on this occasion there shall be nosuch tragic misunder- 

standing. 

If the case should arise, they are resolved, and prepared, 

to employ without delayall the forces at their command, 

and it is impossible to foreseethe endof hostilities once en- 

gaged. It wouldbe a dangerous illusion to think that, if 

waronce starts, it will come to ‘an early end, even if a 

165

success on any one of the several fronts on which it will be 

engaged should have been secured. 

Having thus made our position perfectly _clear, I wish to 

repeat to you my conviction that war between our two 

peoples would be the greatest calamity that could occur. I 

am certain that it is desired neither by our people, nor by 

yours, and I cannot see that there is anything in the questions 

arising between Germany and Poland which could not and 

should not be resolved without the use of force, if only a 

situation of confidence could be restored to enable discussions 

to be carried on in an atmosphere different from that which 

prevails to-day. 

We have been, and at all times will be, ready to assist in 

creating conditions in which such negotiations could take 

place, and in which it might be possible concurrently to dis- 

cuss the wider problems affecting the future of international 

relations, including matters of interest to us and to you. 

The difficulties in the way of any peaceful discussion in 

the present state of tension are, however, obvious, and the 

longer that tension is maintained, the harder will it be for 

reason to prevail. 

These difficulties, however, might be mitigated, if not 

removed, provided that there could for an initial period be 

a truce on both sides-and indeed on all sides-to press 

polemics and to all incitement. 

If such a truce could be arranged, then, at the end of that 

period, during which steps could be taken to examine and 

deal with complaints made by either side as to the treatment 

of minorities, it is reasonable to hope that suitable conditions 

might have been established for direct negotiations between 

Germany and Poland upon the issues between them (with 

the aid of a. neutral intermediary, if both sides should think 

that that would be helpful). 

But I am bound to say that there would be slender hope 

166

understood beforehand that any settlement reached would, 

when concluded, be guaranteed by other Powers. His Majesty’s 

Government would be ready, if desired, to make such 

contribution as they could to the effective operation of such 

guarantees. 

At this moment I confess I can see no other way to avoid 

a catastrophe that will involve Europe in war. 

In view of the grave consequences to humanity, which may 

follow from the action of their rulers, I trust that Your 

Excellency will weigh with the utmost deliberation the 

considerations which I have put before_ you. 

Neville Chamberlain 

From this letter and the comments made on it by the 

British Ambassador during a conversation with the Fuehrer 

at Berchtesgaden on s3 August, it became clear that Britain 

was not prepared to do anything beyond pronouncing a few, 

noncommittal phrases in order to create the basis necessary 

in Warsaw for the resumption of direct negotiations between 

Germany and Poland. Nearly five months had been allowed 

to slip past, Poland had been encouraged in her overbearing 

attitude and now the task o f bridging the gulf and thus 

enabling Poland to come to terms was foisted on Germany. 

In the course of this conversation, the Fuehrer left no room 

for doubt as to Britain’s responsibility for the crisis in the 

Polish problem. He pointed out that Britain had always 

rejected Germany’s friendly advances and would “rather 

have war than anything to Germany’s advantage.” 

167

No. 78 (415) 

Conversation of the Fuehrer with the British Ambassador, 

Berchtesgaden, 23 August 1939 

Memo by Herr von Loesch, Interpreter 

(Translation) 

The British Ambassador began by saying that he was 

bringing a letter on behalf of the British Government. Ori- 

ginally a more prominent person was to have done so, but. 

the course of events had called for prompt action, especially 

as the British Government- had been much surprised by the 

news of the German-Soviet pact. 

The Fuehrer stated that he had already seen a translation 

of the letter. He was in the act of composing a written reply, 

but in the meantime he would give the Ambassador a few 

verbal explanations to the same effect. Sir Nevile Henderson 

replied that he hoped a solution of the critical situation could 

be found; Britain hadd full appreciation for the fact that 

German-British co-operation was necessary for the welfare of 

Europe. 

The Fuehrer replied that this should have been realized 

sooner. When the Ambassador raised the objection that the 

British Government had given guarantees and had to . abide 

by them, the Fuehrer answered that he had made it clear in 

his reply that Germany was not responsible for the guarantees 

given by Britain, but that Britain was responsible for the 

consequences arising from these obligations. It was Britain’s 

business to be clear on this point. He had informed the 

Polish Government that every further persecution of the Ger- 

mans in Poland would result in immediate action on the part 

of the Reich. On the other hand, as he had heard, Mr. Cham- 

berlain had provided for increased military preparations in 

Britain.. German preparations had been limited to purely 

defensive measures. “Should I”,, said the Fuehrer;. “hear of. 

168

further measures of this kind being put into effect on the 

partof Britain, to-days or to-morrow, I shall order immediate 

general mobilization in Germany!” 

When the Ambassador, remarked that war would then be 

unavoidable, the Fuehrer repeated his statement about mobiliz- 

ation. 

He pointed out that people,-in Britain were always talking 

about the “poisoned atmosphere”. The fact was that the 

“atmosphere” had been “poisoned” by Britain. Had it not 

been for Britain he would have come to a peaceful under- 

standing with Czecho-Slovakia last year, and the same would 

have certainly been achieved this year with Poland in the 

Danzigquestion. Britain alone was responsible-of this the 

whole of Germany was firmly convinced. To-day in Poland 

hundreds of thousands of minority Germans were ill-treated, 

dragged away to concentration camps and driven from their 

homes. He had extensive documentary evidenceonthe subject, 

which, so far, he had refrained from publishing. Britain had 

given ablank cheque for all this, and now she would have 

to pay up. Now that Britain had given a guarantee, -he, the, 

Fuehrer, had seen himself compelled totake up a firm attitude 

on this question. He could not permit tens of thousands of 

fellow Germans to. be slaughtered just because of a British 

whim. 

He recalled the fact that formerly Germany had lived on 

good terms with Poland, and that he had made a decent and 

fair offer to Poland. _This offer had been sabotaged by the 

Western Powers and, as in the case of Czecho-Slovakia, this 

had to a large extent been due to the reports of military 

attach6s, whohad spread false rumours of a German mobili- 

zation. 

Here the Ambassador argued that the Polish Government 

had refusedthe German offer before Britain had given gua- 

rantees, 

169

The Fuehrer continued by saying that Mr. Chamberlain 

could not have devised a better plan ‘to make all Germans 

rally round him, the Fuehrer, than that of standing up for 

Poland and for a pro-Polish settlement of the Danzig 

question. He saw no possibilities in negotiations, because he 

was convinced that the British Government were not at all 

interested in a settlement. He could only repeat once more 

that a general mobilization would be proclaimed in. Ger- 

many if further military measures were adopted by Britain. 

The same held good for France. 

After the Fuehrer had emphasized the fact that all this 

would be laid down in writing, he stated that he had done 

all that a man could do. Britain had made an enemy of the 

man who had wanted to become her greatest friend. Now 

Britain would come to know a Germany other than the one 

she had been accustomed to for so many years. 

The Ambassador replied that it was known in Britain that 

Germany was strong, a fact which she had often proved 

lately. 

The Fuehrer stated that he had made a generous offer to 

Poland, but Britain had interfered. 

The Fuehrer then described how, several months ago, he 

had in this very spot spoken about the same settlement with 

Colonel Beck, who then described the settlement as too sudden, 

but who, nevertheless, saw its possibilities. In March he had 

repeated his proposals. At that time, the Fuehrer emphasized, 

Poland would certainly have agreed if Britain had not inter- 

fered. The British Press had then stated that the liberty of 

both Poland and Roumania was being threatened. 

The Fuehrer then explained that at the least attempt on 

the part of Poland to take further action against Germany 

or against Danzig, he would immediately intervene, and 

furthermore, that a mobilization in the West would be 

answered by a German mobilization. 

170

The Ambassador: “Is this a threat?”-The Fuehrer: “No, 

a protective measure!”- 

He then stated that the British Government had preferred 

anything to co-operation with Germany. On the contrary, 

their determination to destroy had led them to turn to 

France, to Turkey and to Moscow. 

Against this the Ambassador protested, stating that Britain 

did not want to destroy Germany. 

The Fuehrer replied that that was nevertheless his firm 

conviction, and so he had built the Siegfried Line at a cost 

of y milliard Reichsmark in order to protect Germany from 

an attack from the West. 

Sir Nevile Henderson drew attention to the fact that the 

change in the British attitude dated from 15 March, to which 

the Fuehrer replied that Poland had become excited on her 

own account over the Carpatho-Ukraine. Moreover the inter- 

nal state of affairs in Czecho-Slovakia had become unbear- 

able for Germany. Bohemia and Moravia, after all, owed 

their culture and civilization to Germans and not to 

Englishmen. He was convinced that the best possible solu- 

tion had been reached in Czechia. President Hacha had been 

happy to find a way out of the crisis; it did not, of course, 

matter to Britain whether or not there was shooting in the 

heart of Europe. 

Finally the Fuehrer assured the Ambassador that he had 

no wish to reproach him and that he had always appreciated 

what the British Ambassador personally had done for Ger- 

man-British friendship. 

The Ambassador spoke of the tragic development which 

would now ensue, whereupon the Fuehrer, basing his remarks 

on Britain’s avowed intentions on this point, said that if war 

came it would be a life and death struggle: and Britain would 

have-more to lose. 

Sir Nevile Henderson remarked that according to Clause- 

I7’

witz war always brought surprises; all he knew was that 

everybody would do his duty. 

The Fuehrer said– that Germany had never undertaken 

anything, that could harm Britain; in spite of that Britain 

was taking sides against Germany. He once more referred 

to the question of Danzig and Poland, in which the British 

point of view was “rather to have war than anything to Ger- 

many’s advantage”. 

Sir Nevile Henderson stated that he had done his best. 

Lately he had written to a Reich Minister that the Fuehrer, 

whom it had taken ten years to win Germany, would also 

have to give Britain more time. 

The Fuehrer stated that the fact that Britain was against 

Germany in the Danzig question had profoundly shocked the 

German nation. 

The Ambassador argued that it was merely the principle 

of force which they had opposed, in reply to which the 

Fuehrer asked whether Britain had ever found a solution bor 

any of the idiocies of Versailles by way of negotiations. 

The Ambassador had nothing to reply to this, and the 

Fuehrer stated that according to a German proverb it takes 

two to make a friendship. 

Sir Nevile Henderson then stressed the fact that he person- 

ally had never believed in a pact between Britain, France 

and Russia. His opinion was that -Russia by, the delay only 

wanted to get rid of Mr. Chamberlain, in order ultimately 

to profit by a war. He personally would sooner. see Ger- 

many conclude a treaty with Russia than that Britain should 

do so. 

The Fuehrer answered: “Make no mistake. It will be a 

treaty lasting for many years.” 

The conversation ended with the Fuehrer’s statement that 

the Ambassador would receive a written reply in the-after- 

noon. 

 

von Loesch 

172

The German point of view is clearly summarized in the 

written reply. sent by the Fuehrer to Mr. Chamberlain on 

23 August 1939,in which be referred not only to the absence 

of any direct cause for dispute With Britain, the moderation 

and justice of the German demands to Poland, the repercus- 

sions o f the British guarantee, the critical turn in the Danzig 

situation, the persecution of the German minority in Poland 

and the realization of Britain’s determination toforce a war, 

but also to- Germany’s determination to meet the threatening 

force of Britain with the- forceof the Reich and to reply to 

military measures -on the part of Britain by German mobiliz- 

ation. The communication reads asfollows: – 

NO- 79 (456) 

The Fuehrer to Mr. Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, 

23 August 1939 

(Translation) 

23 August 1939 

Your Excellency, 

The Ambassador to His Britannic Majesty has just handed ` 

me a letter in which Your Excellency, in the name of the 

British Government,’ has drawn attention to a number of 

points, which, in your opinion, are of extreme importance. 

– I beg to reply to your letter as` follows: 

x. Germany has never sought to enter into conflict with 

Great Britain nor at any time interfered where British inter- 

ests were concerned. On the contrary, Germany has for 

many years,, although unfortunately without success, attempt- 

ed to gain the friendship of GreatBritain. For ‘this reason, 

Germany voluntarily undertook a restriction of her own 

interests- throughout a large area in Europe which would 

173

otherwise have been difficult to justify from a national 

point of view. 

a. The German Reich, however, has, like every other state, 

certain interests which it is impossible for it to renounce and 

which lie within the category which Germany’s past history 

and her economic necessities have rendered of vital import- 

ance. Certain of these problems were, and are, of the utmost 

importance to any German government both from a national 

and from a psychological point of view. 

One of these problems is that of the German City of 

Danzig and the problem of the Polish Corridor connected 

therewith. Only a few years ago this fact was recognized by 

numerous statesmen, by authorities in historical research and 

literary men, even in Britain. I should like to add that the 

civilization of all those areas which come within the sphere 

of German interests aforementioned, and especially of those 

provinces which have returned to the Reich within the past 

18 months, was developed not by Englishmen but exclusively 

by Germans, and, in part, over a thousand years ago. 

3: Germany was prepared to -settle the problem of Danzig 

and of the Polish Corridor by a very generous proposal, made 

once only, and by means of negotiations. The assertions 

disseminated by Great Britain with regard to the mobilization 

of German troops against Poland, the assertion concerning 

aggressive intentions with regard to Roumania, Hungary, 

etc., as also the more recent so-called guarantees given to 

Poland, effectually destroyed any inclinations on the part 

of Poland to negotiate on a basis which would at the same 

time be acceptable to Germany. 

4. The general assurance given by Great Britain to Poland 

that Great Britain would support Poland in case of conflict in 

any circumstance, irrespective of the causes giving rise to such 

conflict, could only be regarded here as an incitement to let 

loose, under cover of what might be termed a blank cheque, 

174

a wave of unspeakable terror against the iY2 million Germans 

domiciled in Poland. The atrocities which have taken place 

there since that time were terrible indeed for those on whom 

they were inflicted, but intolerable for the German Reich, 

which, as one of the Great Powers, was expected to watch 

them idly. In regard to the Free City of Danzig, Poland has, 

on countless occasions, infringed its rights, sent demands which 

were in the nature of an ultimatum and begun a process of 

economic strangulation. 

5. The Reich Government informed the Polish Government 

a short time ago that they were not inclined to accept these 

developments in silence, that they would not tolerate the 

dispatch of further Notes couched in the form of an ultimatum 

to Danzig, that they would not tolerate a continuance of acts 

of violence inflicted on the German section of the population, 

nor would they tolerate the ruin of the Free City of Danzig 

by means of economic pressure, that is to say, the destruction 

of the very existence of the population of Danzig by a form 

of customs blockade, nor would they tolerate the continuance 

of such acts of provocation against the Reich. Regardless of 

the above, a solution must and will be found for the problem 

of Danzig and of the Polish Corridor. 

6. Your Excellency informs me in the name of the British 

Government that in the event of any act of interference on 

the part of Germany, you will be compelled to support 

Poland. I have taken due note of your statement and can 

assure you that it can in no way shake the determination of 

the Reich Government to protect the interests of the Reich as 

set forth in § f. I likewise agree with your assurance that the 

ensuing war would, in this case, be a long one. If Germany is 

attacked by Britain, she is prepared and determined to fight. 

I have often declared to the German people and to the whole 

world that there can be no doubt as to the determination of 

the New German Reich to accept privation and misfortune in 

I75

any form and at any time rather than sacrifice her national 

interests or even her honour. 

7. The Reich Government have received information of the, 

fact that the British Government intend to carry out mobiliza- 

tion measures, which in their nature are solely directed against 

Germany, as is stated in Your Excellency’s note addressed to 

me. This is stated also to apply to France. As Germany never 

intended to adopt military measures other than those of a 

purely defensive nature against either Great Britain or France 

and, as has already been emphasized, never intended nor in 

the future intends to attack either Great Britain or France, the 

announcement which Your Excellency confirmed in your note 

can only constitute an intended threat against the Reich. I 

must, therefore, inform Your Excellency that in the event of 

such military measures being taken, I shall order the immediate 

mobilization of the German armed forces. 

8. The question of a settlement of European problems in a 

peaceful spirit cannot be decided by Germany but chiefly by 

those who, since the crime of the Treaty ‘of Versailles was 

committed, have steadily and obstinately opposed any peaceful 

revision of its terms. Only a change of attitude on the part 

of the Powers responsible for the Treaty. can bring about a 

change for the better in the existing relations between Britain 

and Germany. During my whole life-time I have struggled 

to achieve a friendship between Britain and Germany, but 

the attitude adopted by British diplomacy, up to the ‘present 

at least, has served to convince me of the hopelessness of such 

an attempt. If the future were to bring a change in this 

respect, none would welcome it more than I. 

Adolf Hitler 

Although the British Prime Minister’s- communication o f 

22 August and the, speeches made on the following day by 

British statesmen betrayed a complete lack of comprehension 

176

of the German point o f view, the Fuehrer made a fresh 

attempt to come to an understanding with Great Britain at 

r.3o p. m. on 25 August. He desired, as he told the British 

Ambassador, “to take a step in regard to Britain which was to 

be as decisive as the step taken in regard to Russia, the result 

o f which had been the recent pact.” After refuting the asser- 

tion that Germany wanted to conquer theworld, he propounded 

the Polish problem in all its danger and urgency. Germany 

was, he said, resolved to put an end to the Macedonian con- 

ditions on her eastern frontier. Germany would not have to 

carry on a war on two fronts, the agreement with Russia was 

unconditional and represented a turning-point in the foreign 

policy of the Reich for the longest conceivable time. He was 

ready, after the German-Polish problem had been settled, to 

approach Britain again with a comprehensive offer. Heap- 

proved o f the British Empire and was prepared to stake ‘the 

might o f the German Reich for its existence, provided that his 

colonial demands, which were limited and could be settled by 

peaceful negotiations, were fulfilled and his obligations to 

Italy and Soviet-Russia remained untouched. He, was also 

ready to accept a reasonable limitation of armaments. In the 

West he did not, he said, for one moment consider any 

frontier correction. Immediately after the settlement o f the 

German-Polish question he would approach the British Govern- 

ment with an offer. This was an offer o f European and indeed 

of world-wide significance. Its rejection by Britain appears 

zll the more irresponsible in the light o f the subsequent outbreak 

of war and the burden !it has laid upon neutral countries 

throughout the world.

No. 8o (457) 

Statement made by the Fuehrer to the British Ambassador, 

25 August 1939, at 1-30 P- m. 

(Translation) 

The Fuehrer declared at the outset that the British Am- 

brassador at the close of their last conversation had expressed 

the hope that it would still prove possible to arrive at an 

understanding between Germany and Britain. He, the Fuehrer, 

had thereupon considered the situation once more and intended 

to-day to take a step in regard to Britain which was to be as 

decisive as the step taken in regard to Russia, the result of 

which had been the recent pact. 

Yesterday’s meeting of the House of Commons and the 

speeches made by Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Halifax were 

further reasons why the Fuehrer had again invited the British 

Ambassador to meet him. 

The assertion that Germany wanted to conquer the world 

was ridiculous. The British Empire covered a territory of 

40million square kilometres, Russia of i9 million square kilo- 

metres, America of 9Y2 million square kilometres and Ger- 

many of less than 6oo,ooo square kilometres. It was thus quite 

clear who wanted to conquer the world. 

The Fuehrer informed the British Ambassador of the 

following 

i. The acts of provocation committed by Poland had 

become intolerable, irrespective of who might be 

responsible for them. If the Polish Government con- 

tested their responsibility, this merely proved that they 

themselves had no longer any influence on their mili- 

tary subordinates. In the preceding night 21 new 

frontier incidents had occurred. On the German side 

the utmost discipline had been displayed. All the 

incidents were due to Polish provocation. Besides this, 

178

civil aeroplanes had been fired on. If the Polish Gov- 

ernment declared themselves not responsible, this 

merely proved that they were unable to keep control 

over their own people. 

2. Germany was resolved under all circumstances to put 

an end to these Macedonian conditions on her eastern 

frontier, not only in the interests of law and order but 

also for the sake of European peace. 

3. The problern of Danzig and the Corridor would have 

to be solved. The British Prime Minister had made a 

speech which had done nothing towards bringing about 

a change in the German attitude. This speech might, if 

anything, give rise to a desperate and incalculable war 

between Germany and Britain, a war which would 

cause far greater bloodshed than that of 19r4. In con- 

trast to the last world war, Germany would not have 

to carry on a war on two fronts. The agreement.con- 

cluded with Russia was unconditional and represented 

a turning point in the foreign policy of the Reich for 

the longest conceivable time. In no circumstance would 

Russia and Germany again take up arms against one 

another. Apart from this fact the agreements made 

with Russia would safeguard Germany, in economic 

respects also, for a war of the longest duration. 

The Fuehrer had always been strongly in favour of German- 

British understanding. A war between Britain and Germany 

could in the most favourable circumstances bring Germany an 

advantage, but certainly not the slightest gain to Britain. 

The Fuehrer declared that the German-Polish problem had 

to and would be settled. He was, however, ready and resolved 

to approach Britain again, after this settlement, with a generous 

and comprehensive offer. He himself was a man of great 

decisions and he would in this case also be capable of a great 

action. He approved of the British Empire and was prepared 

12* 

179

to give a personal undertaking for .its existence and to stake 

the might of the German Reich to that end, provided that 

x. his colonial demands, which were limited and could 

be settled by peaceful negotiations, were fulfilled, for 

which he was prepared to concede a most protracted 

time-limit; 

 

-. 

2. that his obligations to Italy remained untouched: in 

other words, the Fuehrer did not expect Britain to give 

up her French obligations and could for his part not 

abandon his Italian obligations; 

3. he wished also to emphasize Germany’s unalterable 

resolution never again to enter into a conflict with 

Russia. 

The Fuehrer would then be prepared to enter into 

agreements with Great Britain which, as he had already 

emphasized, would not only, on the German side, in 

any case safeguard the existence of the British Empire, 

but if necessary would guarantee German assistance for 

the British Empire, irrespective of where such assistance 

might, be required. The Fuehrer, would then also be 

ready to accept a reasonable limitation of armaments, 

in accordance with the new political situation and 

economic requirements. Finally the Fuehrer renewed 

his assurance that he was not interested in western 

problems and that he did not for one moment con- 

sider any frontier correction in the, west. The western 

line of fortifications, which had cost milliards, was the 

final frontier of the Reich in the west. 

If the British Government would consider these suggestions, 

they might end in a blessing not only for Germany but also 

for the British Empire. If the British Government rejected the 

suggestions, war would be inevitable_ In no circumstances, 

however, would such a war add to the strength of Great 

Britain. That this was true, the last war had amply proved. 

I8o

The Fuehrer repeated that he was a man of great decisions 

to which he felt himself bound, and that this was his final 

proposal. Immediately after the settlement of the German- 

Polish question he would approach the British Government 

with an offer. 

On this very day, namely 25 August, the British-Polish 

Agreement of Mutual Assistance, by which the fate of Britain 

was finally and irrevocably linked with that of Poland, was 

signed in London by the British Secretary o f State for Foreign 

.Affairs and the Polish Ambassador. 

As is revealed by the text„ this agreement far exceeded the 

obligations and claims usually covered by a mutual assistance 

pact and provided for cases such as a preventive war etc. 

This treaty is without precedent in the diplomatic history of 

Britain. 

No. 81′(459), 

British-Polish Agreement o f Mutual Assistance, 25 August 1939. 

The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain 

and Northern Ireland and the Polish Government: 

Desiring to place on a permanent basis the collaboration ‘be- 

tween their respective countries resulting from the assurances 

of mutual assistance of a defensive character which they have 

already exchanged; 

Have resolved to conclude an Agreement for that purpose 

and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries: 

The Government of the United Kingdom of Great 

Britain and, Northern Ireland: 

The Rt. Hon. Viscount Halifax, K. G., G. C. S. I., 

G. C. I. E., Principal Secretary of State for Foreign 

Affairs; 

I8I

The Polish Government: 

His Excellency Count Edward Raczynski, Ambassa- 

dor Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Polish 

Republic in London; 

Who, having exchanged their Full Powers, found in good and 

due form, have agreed on the following provisions : – 

Article r 

Should one of the Contracting Parties become engaged in 

hostilities with a European Power in consequence of aggression 

by the latter against that Contracting Party, the other Con- 

tracting Party will at once give the Contracting Party engaged 

in hostilities all the support and assistance in its power*. 

* In answer to a question asked by Mr. Harvey, M. P., whether 

the obligations of mutual assistance contained in the British-Polish 

Agreement dated25August x939 were to cover the case of aggression 

made by non-German Powers, including Russia, Mr. Butler, British 

Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, made on r9 October 

1939 the following written reply: “No, Sir. During the negotiations 

which led up to the signature of the agreement, it was understood 

between the Polish Government and His Majesty’s Government that 

the agreement should only cover the case of aggression by Germany; 

and the Government confirm that this is so.” 

Article 2 

(i) The provisions of Article i will also apply in the event 

of any action by a European Power which clearly threatened, 

directly or indirectly, the independence of one of the Con- 

tracting Parties, and was of such a nature that the Party in 

question considered it vital to resist it with its armed forces._ 

(2) Should one of the Contracting Parties become engaged 

in hostilities with a European Power in consequence of action 

by that Power which threatened the independence or neu- 

trality of another European State in such a way as to con- 

stitute a clear menace to the security of that Contracting 

I8z

Party, the provisions of Article i will apply, without prejudice, 

however, to the rights of the other European State concerned. 

Article 3 

Should a European Power attempt to undermine the in- 

dependence of one of the Contracting Parties by processes 

of economic penetration or in any other way, the Contracting 

Parties will support each other in resistance to such attempts. 

Should the European Power concerned thereupon embark on 

hostilities against one of the Contracting Parties, the pro- 

visions of Article i will apply. 

Article 4 

The methods of applying. the undertakings of mutual 

assistance provided for by the present Agreement are established 

between the competent naval, military and air authorities of 

the Contracting Parties. 

Article s 

Without prejudice to the foregoing undertakings of the 

Contracting Parties to give each other mutual support and 

assistance immediately on the outbreak of hostilities; they will 

exchange complete and speedy information concerning any 

development which might threaten their independence and, 

in particular, concerning, any development which threatened 

to call the said undertakings into operation. 

Article 6 

(i) The Contracting Partieswill communicate to each other 

the terms of any undertakings of assistance against aggression 

which they have already given or may in future give to other 

States. 

(2) Should either of the Contracting Parties intend to give 

such an undertaking after the coming into force of the present 

183

Agreement, the other Contracting Party shall, in order to 

ensure the proper functioning of the Agreement, be informed 

thereof. 

(3) Any new undertaking which the Contracting Parties 

may enter into in future shall neither limit their obligations 

under the present Agreement nor indirectly create new obliga= 

tions between the Contracting Party not participating in these 

undertakings and the third State concerned. 

Article 7 

Should the Contracting Parties be engaged in hostilities in 

consequence of the application of the present Agreement, they 

will not conclude an armistice or treaty of peace except by 

mutual agreement. 

 

– 

Article 8 

(i) The present Agreement shall remain in force for a 

period of five years. 

(2) Unless denounced six months before the expiry of this 

period it shall continue in force, each Contracting Party having 

thereafter the right to denounce it at any time by giving six 

months’ notice to that effect. 

(3) The present Agreement shall come into force on signa- 

ture. 

In faith whereof the above-named Plenipotentiaries have 

signed the present Agreement and have affixed thereto their 

seals. 

– Done in English in duplicate, at London, the 25th August, 

1939. A Polish text shall subsequently be agreed upon between 

the Contracting Parties and both texts will then be authentic. 

(L. S.) Edward Raczynski 

 

(L. S.) Halifax 

Whilst the British. Government were still considering the 

Fuehrer’s communication of 25August, an exchange of letters 

184

togk place between M. Daladier, the French Premier, and the 

Fuehrer. In his reply, the.Fuehrer once again explained in 

detail the German point o f view on the German-Polish 

question and reiterated his firm resolve to recognize the existing 

German-French frontier as final. 

No. 82 (460) 

M. Daladier, the French Premier, to the Fuehrer, 

26 August 1939 

Your Excellency, 

The French Ambassador in Berlin has brought your per- 

sonal messagetomyknowledge. 

At an hour when you speak of the gravest responsibility 

which two Heads of Government can be asked to take, namely, 

that of shedding the blood of two great peoples desiring only 

peace and work, I owe it to you personally and to our 

respective nations to state that the fate of peace still rests in 

your hands. 

You cannot doubt my feelings towards Germany, or the 

friendly feelings of France for your nation. No Frenchman 

has done more than I have to ensure not only peace between 

our two peoples, but also sincere co-operation in your own 

interests as well as in those of Europe and of the world. 

Unlessyouare prepared to credit the French nation with a 

lower ideal of honour than the one with which I credit the 

German people, you cannot doubt that France will faithfully 

fulfil her obligation towards other powers which, like Poland, 

are, I am convinced, desirous of living at peace with Germany. 

Both convictions are fully compatible with one another. 

185 

(Translation) 

Paris, 26August 1939

To this day there is nothing which might prevent a peaceful 

solution of the international crisis in a spirit of honour and 

dignity for all nations as long as the same will for peace 

prevails on all sides. 

Together with the good will of France I proclaim that of 

all her allies. I personally guarantee the readiness always 

shown by Poland to have mutual recourse to methods of free 

conciliation such as can be envisaged between the Governments 

of two sovereign nations. With a perfectly clear conscience_ 

I can give you an assurance that among the differences which 

have arisen between Germany and Poland with regard to the 

Danzig question, there is not a single one which could not be 

submitted to such a procedure with a view to finding a just 

and peaceful solution. 

Upon my honour I can also state that in the clear and 

sincere solidarity of France with Poland and her allies there 

is nothing that might in any way impair the peaceful disposi- 

tion of my country. This solidarity has never prevented us 

from supporting this peaceful disposition in Poland, and it 

does not do so to-day. 

At so critical a moment I sincerely believe that no noble- 

minded person could understand how a war of destruction 

could be waged without a final attempt at a peaceful settle- 

ment between Germany and Poland having been undertaken. 

Your desire for peace could exercise its influence with full 

determination towards this end without detracting anything 

from Germany’s honour. As Head of the French Government, 

desirous of attaining full harmony between the French and 

the German nation, yet bound on the other hand to Poland 

by ties of friendship and my pledged word, I am prepared 

to make every effort that an honourable man can make to 

bring this endeavour to a successful end. 

Like myself you were a soldier in the last war. You know 

as well as I do the feelings of disgust and universal con- 

186

demnation which the destruction caused by war left in the 

conscience of all nations, irrespective of its issue. The idea 

which I cherish of your great part as leader of the German 

nation on the road to peace towards the fulfilment of its tasks 

in the common effort towards civilization, prompts me to 

ask you for an answer to this my proposal. 

Should French and German blood once more have to flow, 

just as it did twenty-five years ago, in an even longer and 

more murderous war, each nation will fight fully confident of 

its ultimate victory. Yet we can be sure that ruin and bar- 

barity will be the most certain victors. 

Daladier 

No. 83 (461) 

The Fuehrer to M. Daladier, the French Premier, 

27August 1939 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 27August1939 

Your Excellency, 

I appreciate the concern you have expressed. I have always 

been equally conscious of the grave responsibility placed upon 

those who must decide the fate of nations. As an ex-soldier, I 

know as well as you do the horrors of war. This spirit and 

knowledge have guided me in a sincere endeavour to remove 

all causes of conflict between our two nations. I once told the 

French people quite frankly that the, return of the Saar terri- 

tory would be the basis for the achievement of this aim. 

Once that territory was returned, I immediately solemnly 

renounced any further claims which might affect France. The 

German people approved of my attitude. As you were able 

to see for yourself when you were in Germany last, the Ger- 

man people, conscious of the way they themselves behaved, 

187

did not and still do not entertain any animosity or still less 

hatred against their former bravo opponents. On the contrary; 

once peace was definitely established along our Western 

frontier, there came an increasing sympathy, at any rate on 

the part of the German nation,-a sympathy markedly 

demonstrated on many occasions. The construction of the 

great Western fortifications which have cost and will still 

cost many milliard Marks, is documentary evidence that Ger- 

many has accepted and fixed the final frontier of the Reich. 

In doing so,- the German people renounced two provinces which 

once belonged to the old German Reich,werelater on regained 

at the price of many lives, and were finally defended at the 

price of still more lives. Your Excellency will admit that this 

renunciation was not merely a gesture for tactical reasons but 

a decision confirmed by all our subsequent measures. You 

cannot, Excellency, cite a single instance in which this final 

settlement of the German frontier in the West has ever been 

disputed by one line or word. I believed that by this renun- 

ciation and by this attitude every possible cause of conflict 

between our two nations, which might have led to a repetition 

of the tragic years of 1914 to 1918, had been eliminated. 

This voluntary limitation of German claims in the West 

cannot however, be regarded as an acceptance of the Dictate 

of Versailles in all other fields. Year by year I have tried 

earnestly to achieve the revision of at least the most impossible 

and most unbearable of all the conditions of this Dictate 

through negotiation. This proved impossible. Many enlightened 

men of all nations believed and were convinced that revision 

was bound to come. Whatever objectionmaybe raised against 

my methods, whatever fault may be found with them, it 

cannot be overlooked or denied that I succeeded without any 

more bloodshed in finding solutions which were in many cases 

satisfactory not only. for Germany. By the manner in which 

these solutions were accomplished, statesmen of other nations 

were relieved of their obligation, which they often found 

188

impossible to fulfil, of having to accept responsibility for this 

revision before their own people. Onething I feel sure Your 

Excellency will admit, namely, that the revision was bound 

to come. The Dictate of Versailles was unbearable. No 

Frenchman with a sense of honour and certainly not you,, M. 

Daladier, would have acted differently in a similar position 

than I did. I therefore tried to remove this most insane 

stipulation of the Dictate of Versailles. I made an offer to 

the Polish Government which actually shocked the German 

people. No one but I could have dared to forward with such 

a proposal. Therefore I could only make it once. I am 

firmly convinced that if Poland at that time had been advised 

to take a sensible course instead of being incited by a wild 

campaign of the British Press against Germany, accompanied 

by rumours of German mobilization, then Europe would to- 

day be able to enjoy a state of profound peace for the next 

2 f years. Actually, it was the lie about German aggression that 

excited public opinion in Poland; the Polish_ Government were 

handicapped in making necessary and clear decisions and, 

above all, their judgement on the extent of Poland’s possibilities 

was clouded by the subsequent promise :of a guarantee. The 

Polish Government rejected the proposals. Firmly convinced 

that Britain and France would now. fight for Poland, Polish’ 

public opinion began to raise demands which might best be 

described as sheer lunacy were they not so extraordinarily 

dangerous. At that time unbearable terrorism set in; physical 

and economic oppression of the more than one and a half 

millions of Germans livingin the territories severed from the 

Reich. I do not intend to speak of the atrocities which have 

occurred: Even in Danzig the outrages committed by the 

Polish authorities fully created the impression that the city 

was apparently hopelessly delivered up to the arbitrary action 

of a power that is foreign to the national character of the city 

and its population. 

May I ask you, M. Daladier, how you as a Frenchman 

189

would act if, by the unfortunate ending of a bravely-fought 

war, one of your provinces were separated by a corridor in the 

possession of an alien power, and a large city-let us say 

Marseilles-were prevented from bearing allegiance to France, 

while Frenchmen in this territory were being persecuted, beaten, 

maltreated and even murdered in a bestial manner. You are 

a Frenchman, M. Daladier, and I therefore know how you 

would act. I am a German, M. Daladier, and you will not 

doubt my sense of honour and my sense of duty which make 

me act in exactly the same way. If you had to face a calamity 

such as confronts us, would you, M. Daladier, understand how 

Germany, for no reason at all, could use her influence to 

ensure that such a corridor through France should remain? 

That the stolen territories should not be returned, and that 

Marseilles should be forbidden to join France? I certainly 

cannot imagine Germany fighting you for such a cause. I, for 

Germany, renounced our claim to Alsace-Lorraine in order to 

avoid further bloodshed. Still less would we shed blood in’ 

order to maintain such an injustice as I have pictured, which 

would be as intolerable for you as it would be meaningless for 

us. My feelings on everything expressed in your letter, M. 

Daladier, are the same as yours. Perhaps we, as ex-soldiers, 

should readily understand each other on manypoints. Yet I 

would ask you to appreciate also this, namely, that no nation 

with a sense of honour can ever give up almost two million 

people and see them maltreated on its own frontiers. I there- 

fore formulated a clear demand: Danzig and the Corridor 

must return to Germany. The Macedonian conditions pre- 

vailing along our eastern frontier must cease. I see no possi- 

bility of persuading Poland, who deems herself safe from 

attack by virtue of guarantees given to her, to agree to a 

peaceful solution. Unless we are determined under the circum- 

stances to solve the question one way or the other. I would 

despair of an honourable future for my country. If fate 

decrees that our two peoples should fight one another once 

I9o

more over this question, it would be from different motives. 

I for my part, M. Daladier, would fight with my people for 

the reparation of an injustice, while the others would fight 

for its retention. Thisis all the more tragic in view of the fact 

that many great men of your nation have long since recognized 

the folly of the solution found in i9i9 and the impossibility 

of keeping it up for ever. I am fully conscious of the grave 

consegpences which such a conflict would involve. But I think 

that Poland would suffer most, for whatever the issue of such 

a war, the Polish State of to-day would in any case be lost. 

That our two peoples should now engage in another mur- 

derous war of destruction causes me as much pain at it does 

you, M. Daladier. Unfortunately, as stated earlier in my letter, 

I see no possibility open to us of influencing Poland to take 

a saner attitude and thus to remedy a situation which is 

unbearable for both the German people and the German Reich. 

Adolf Hitler 

The British attitude to the Fuehrer’s proposals made on 

25 August is contained in the Memorandum which was not 

handed to the Fuehrer by the British Ambassador until 

10.30 p. m. on 28 August, after three precious days had 

been lost. In -it the British Government refused to make 

any distinction between future German-British relations and 

the pacification o f Europe on the one hand, and Polish in- 

transigence on the other. They showed themselves fully 

aware, however, o f the danger implied by the present situa- 

tion on Germany’s eastern frontier and agreed with Germany 

on the urgent necessity of reaching a speedy settlement. They 

therefore proposed that the next step should be the initiation 

o f direct discussions between the German and Polish Govern- 

ments and added that they had received definite assurances 

from the Polish Government that they were prepared to 

enter into discussions with the German Government con- 

‘9I

tuning the German-Polish problems and that any settlement 

arrived at must be guaranteed by other Powers. We now 

know that in this statement the British Government did not 

scruple to mislead the Reich Government intentionally. The 

correspondence which passed between the British Secretary of 

State for Foreign Affairs and the British Ambassador in 

Warsaw, and which has since been published, proves that 

the assertion made in the British Memorandum of 28 August 

to the effect that the British Government had received a 

definite assurance o f Poland’s readiness to enter into direct 

discussions did not correspond with the actual facts. 

No. 84 (463) 

Memorandum from the British Government, handed to the 

Fuehrer by the British Ambassador, s8 August1939, 10.30 p.m. 

His Majesty’s Government have received the message con- 

veyed to them from the German Chancellor by H. M. Am- 

bassador in Berlin and have considered it with the care 

which it demands. 

i. They note the Chancellor’s expression of his desire to 

make friendship the basis of the relations between Germany 

and the British Empire and they fully share this desire. They 

believe with him that if a complete and lasting understanding 

between the two countries could be etablished it would bring 

untold blessings to both peoples. 

a. The Chancellor’s message deals with two groups of 

questions: -those which are the matters now in dispute 

between Germany and Poland, and those affecting the ulti- 

mate relations of Germany and Great Britain. In connection 

with these last, His Majesty’s Government observe that the 

German Chancellor has indicated certain proposals which, 

192

subject to one, condition, he would be prepared to make to 

the British Government for a general understanding. These 

proposals are of course stated in very general form and 

would require closer definition, but His Majesty’s Govern- 

ment are fully prepared to take them, with some additions, 

as subjects for discussion and they would be ready, if the 

differences between Germany and Poland are peacefully, 

composed, to proceed so soon as practicable to such discussion 

with a sincere desire to reach agreement. 

3. The condition which the German Chancellor lays down is 

that there must first be a settlement of the differences 

between German and Poland. As to that, His Majesty’s 

Government entirely agree. Everything, however, turns upon 

the nature of the settlement and- the method by which it is 

to be reached. On these points, the importance of which 

cannot be absent from the Chancellor’s mind, his message is 

silent, and His Majesty’s Government feel compelled to point 

out that an understanding upon both of these is essential to 

achieving further progress. The German Government will be 

aware that His Majesty’s Government have obligations to 

Poland by which they’ are bound and which they intend to 

honour. They could not, for any advantage offered to Great 

Britain, acquiesce in a settlement which put in jeopardy the 

independence of a State to whom they have given their 

guarantee. 

4. In the opinion of His Majesty’s Government a reasonable 

solution of the differences between Germany and Poland 

could ‘and should be effected by agreement between the two 

countries on lines which would include the safeguarding of 

Poland’s essential interests, and they recall that in his speech 

of the 28th April last the German Chancellor recognised the 

importance of these interests to Poland. 

But, as was stated by the Prime Minister in his letter to 

the German Chancellor of the 22nd August. His Majesty’s 

Government consider it essential for the success of the dis- 

13 100documents, engl, 

193

cussions which would precede the agreement that it should 

be understood beforehand that any settlement arrived at 

would be guaranteed by other Powers. His Majesty’s Go- 

vernment would be ready if desired to make their con- 

tribution to the effective operation of such a guarantee. 

In the view of His Majesty’s Government it follows that 

the next step should be the initiation of direct discussions 

between the German and Polish Governments on a basis 

which would include the principles stated above, namely the 

safeguarding of Poland’s. essential interests and the securing 

of the settlement by an international guarantee. They have 

already received a definite assurance from the Polish Go- 

vernment that they are prepared to enter into discussions on 

this -basis, and His Majesty’s Government hope the German 

Government would for their part also be willing to agree to 

this course. 

If, as His Majesty’s Government hope, such discussion lead 

to agreement the way would be open to the negotiation of 

that wider and more complete understanding between Great 

Britain and Germany which both countries desire. 

S. His Majesty’s Government agree with the German 

Chancellor that one of the principal dangers in the German- 

Polish situation arises from the report concerning the treat- 

ment of minorities. The present state of tension, with its 

concomitant frontier incidents, reports of maltreatment and 

inflammatory propaganda, is a constant danger to peace. It 

is manifestly a matter of the utmost urgency that all in- 

cidents of the kind should, be promptly and rigidly suppressed 

and that unverified reports should not be allowed to circu- 

late, in order that timemay be afforded, without provocation 

on either side, for a full examination of the possibilities of 

settlement._ His Majesty’s Government are confident that 

both Governments concerned are fully alive to. these con- 

siderations. 

6. His Majesty’s Government have said enough to make 

194

their own attitude plain in the particular matters at issue 

between Germany and Poland. Theytrust that the German 

Chancellor will not think that, because His Majesty’s Go- 

vernment are scrupulous concerning their obligations to 

Poland, they are not anxious to use all their influence to assist 

the achievement of a solution whichmaycommend itself both 

to Germany and to Poland. 

That such. a settlement should be achieved seems to His 

Majesty’s Government essential, not only for reasons directly 

arising in regard to the settlement 2tself, but also because of 

the wider considerations of which the German Chancellor 

has spoken with such conviction. 

7: ,It is urmeccessary in the present reply to stress the ad- 

vantage of a peaceful settlement- over a decision to settle the 

questions at issue by force of arms. The results of a decision 

to use force have been. clearly set out in the Prime Minister’s 

letter to the Chancellor of the 22nd August, and His Majesty’s 

Government do not doubt that they are as fully recognized 

by. the Chancellor as by- themselves. 

On the other hand His Majesty’s Government, noting with 

interest the Germain Chancellor’s reference in the message now 

under consideration to a limitation of armaments, believe 

that, if a peaceful settlement can be obtained, the assistance 

of the world could, confidently .be anticipated for practical 

measures to enable the transition from preparation for war 

to the normal activities of peaceful trade to be safely and 

smoothly effected. 

8. A just settlement of these questions between- Germany 

and Poland may open the way to world peace. Failure to 

reach it would ruin the hopes of better understandingbetween 

Germany and Great Britain, would bring the two countries 

into conflict, and might well plunge the whole world into 

war. Such an outcome would be a calamity without parallel 

in history.. 

13• 

195

The Fuehrer, in his reply handed to the British Ambassador 

at 6.45 p. m. on 29 August, accepted the British proposal. He 

drew Britain’s attention, however, to the fact that the 

situation on Germany’s Eastern frontier was intolerable for a 

Great Power and that a state of affairs had now been reached 

in which continued acquiescence or even passive spectatorship 

was no longer possible. The Fuehrer further pointed out 

that perhaps only a few hours yet remained for the elimi- 

nation o f the state o f acute tension. The Reich Government 

had for a long time past been attempting to open up a way 

for peaceful negotiations without, however, meeting with the 

support of the Polish Government. Despite their sceptical 

judgment of the prospects of the proposed direct negotiations, 

the Reich Government accepted the British proposal and 

agreed that through the mediation of the British Government, 

a Polish representative invested with plenipotentiary powers 

whose arrival they expected on Wednesday, 3o August, 

should come to Berlin. They would immediately draft pro- 

posals for a solution acceptable to themselves and would, if 

possible, make these proposals available for the British 

Government before the Polish negotiator arrived. 

No. 8 5 (464) 

The Fuehrer’s Reply to the British Government, handed 

to the British Ambassador, 29 August 1939, 6.45 p. m. 

(Translation) 

The British Ambassador in Berlin has informed the British 

Government of certain suggestions which I felt it incumbent 

upon me to put forward, in order: 

i . to express once more the desire of the German 

Government for sincere Anglo-German understanding, 

co-operation and friendship; 

196

z.. to leave no room for doubt that such an understanding 

cannot be purchased at the expense of Germany’s 

renunciation of her vital interests or even by the 

sacrifice of claims based just as much on general 

human rights as on the national dignity and honour 

of our nation. 

It was with satisfaction that the German Government 

learned from the written reply of the British Government 

and the verbal declarations of the British Ambassador, that 

the British Government for their part are also prepared to 

improve Anglo-German relations and to develop and to 

foster these in the spirit of the German suggestions. 

The British Government are likewise convinced that the 

removal of the tension between Germany and Poland, which 

has become intolerable, is indispensable if this hope is to 

be realized. 

Since the autumn of 1938 and for the last time in 

March 1939, verbal and written proposals have been sub- 

mitted to the Polish Government, which, in consideration of 

the friendship then existing between Germany and Poland, 

might have led to a settlement of the questions under dispute 

which would have been acceptable to both parties. The 

British Government are aware that the Polish Government 

saw fit to reject these proposals finally in March of this 

year. At the same time the Polish Government made their 

rejection a pretext or an occasion for the adoption of mili- 

tary measures which have since then been continued on an 

ever-increasing scale. Poland had, in fact, mobilized as early 

as the middle of last month. In connection with the 

mobilization, numerous incidents took place in the Free City 

of Danzig at the instigation of the Polish authorities, and 

demands of a more or less threatening character amounting 

to an ultimatum were addressed to the Free City of Danzig. 

The closing of,the frontier, which was at first in the nature 

of a customs measure, was afterwards carried out on military 

197

lines and was extended, to affect traffic with the object of 

bringing about the political disintegration and the economic 

ruin of this German community. 

Furthermore, the large group of Germans living in Poland 

was subjected to atrocious and barbarous illtreatment and to 

other forms of persecution which resulted in some cases in 

the death by violence of many Germans domiciled there or 

in their deportation under the most cruel circumstances. 

,Such a situation’ is intolerable for a Great Power and has 

now forced Germany after months of inactive spectator- 

ship to undertake the necessary steps for the protection of 

her rightful interests. The German Government can only 

most seriously assure the British Government that a state 

of affairs has now been reached in which continued acquies- 

cence or even passive spectatorship is no longer possible. 

The demands of the German Government imply a revision 

of the Treaty of Versailles in this area, a fact which was 

recognised as necessary from the very outset; they constitute 

the return of Danzig and the Polish Corridor to Germany 

and the safeguarding of the German minorities domiciled 

in those territories in Polish Possession. 

The Reich Government note with satisfaction that the 

British Government are also convinced on principle -that 

some solution must be found for the state of affairs which 

has now developed. They further consider they may assume 

that the British Government entertain no doubt on the 

fact that this is a state of affairs which can no longer be 

remedied in a matter of days or even weeks but for the eli- 

mination of which perhaps only a few hours- yet remain. 

For in view of the disorganized state of Poland we must 

_at any moment be prepared for the possibility of events 

occurring which Germany could not possibly tolerate. 

If the British Government still believe that these grave 

differences can be solved by direct negotiations, the Reich 

Government on their part regret at the outset that they are 

198

unable to -share such an opinion. They have already tried 

to open up a way for peaceful negotiations of this nature, 

without meeting with the support of the Polish Government, 

and only seeing their efforts rejected by the abrupt initiation 

of measures of a military character in accordance, with 

the general development indicated above. 

There are two factors which the British Government con- 

sider important: 

i. to remove most speedily the imminent danger of a 

conflagration by means ofdirect negotiations, and 

2. to give the necessary economic and. political safeguards 

by means of international guarantees for the future 

existence of the remaining Polish State. 

To that, the Reich Government desire to make the following 

statement: 

Despite. their sceptical judgment of the prospects of such 

direct negotiations, the Reich Government are nevertheless 

prepared to accept the English proposal, and to enter into 

direct discussions. They do so solely because-as already 

emphasized-the written communication from the British 

Government, which they have received, gives them the 

impression that the latter also desire a friendly agreement 

along the lines indicated to their Ambassador, Sir Nevile 

Henderson. The German Government desire in this way to 

give to the British Government and to the British people a 

proof of the sincerity of the German intention of arriving 

at a state of permanent friendship with Great Britain. 

The Reich Government nevertheless feel bound to point 

out to the British Government that in the case of a reorgani- 

zation of the territorial conditions in Poland, the Reich 

Government areno longer in a position to take upon themsel- 

ves any guarantees, or- to participate in any guarantees, 

without the co-operation of the U.S.S.R. 

The Reich Government in their proposals moreover never 

had the intention of attacking vital Polish interests or of 

x99

questioning the existence of an independent Polish State. Under 

these conditions, the Reich Government therefore agree to 

accept the proposed intermediation of the British Govern- 

anent to send to Berlin a Polish representative invested with 

plenipotentiary powers. They expect his arrival on Wednes- 

day, 3o August 1939. 

The Reich Government will immediately, draft the propo- 

sals for a solution acceptable to them, and, if possible, will 

make such proposals also available for the British Govern- 

ment before the Polish negotiator arrives. 

Poland’s reply was to order general mobilization 

No. 86 (465) 

The German Charge d’Af faires in Warsaw to the German 

Foreign Office 

Telephone message, 3o August 1939, 5.30 p. m. 

(Translation) 

Notices ordering a general mobilization have been posted 

in Poland for one hair. The first day of mobilization is 

31 August; everybody in possession of a white mobilization 

card must report at once. 

Once again the British Government took their time in 

replying to the German suggestion regarding the dispatch of 

a Polish plenipotentiary, and it was not until midnight of 

3o August, that is to say, after the elapse of the day on 

which the Reich Government had expected the Polish ple- 

nipotentiary to arrive, that Sir Nevile Henderson handed over 

the British Government’s reply, declaring at the same time that 

the British Government were not in a position to advise the 

Polish Government to dispatch an emissary, but suggested 

200

that Germany should approach Poland in the normal diplo- 

matic way. In their Memorandum the British Government 

confirmed the fact that the Reich Government had accepted 

the British proposals and said that although they realized the 

danger arising from. the proximity of two mobilized armies 

standing face to face, they considered it impracticable to 

establish contact as early as that day, viz. 3o August. 

Britain therefore allowed more than twenty-four hours to 

elapse without establishing direct contact as suggested by 

herself and agreed to by Germany. 

The only course left open to the Reich Minister for 

Foreign Affairs in these circumstances was to state that 

Poland’s reply had been to order general mobilization and 

that Germany had waited in vain for the arrival of a Polish 

representative. In order to show what Germany had intended 

to propose to the Polish plenipotentiary, the Reich Minister 

for Foreign Affairs read aloud the German proposals which 

had been drawn up meantime and which, tabulated in the 

form o f sixteen points, represented the fairest possible solution 

of the questions under dispute and were intended by the 

German Government to form a basis for negotiation. 

No. 87 (466) 

Conversation o f the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the British Ambassador, 3o August 1939, at midnight 

(Translation) 

Memo by Dr. Schmidt, Minister Plenipotentiary 

Sir Nevile Henderson handed over the Memorandum of 

the British Government given in the Annex*. He added that 

he had been instructed to discuss two additional points orally. 

201

Complete restraint was only to be expected from the Polish 

Government if the German. Government ‘adopted the same 

attitude on their side of the frontier and if no provocation 

by the German minority in Poland took place. Reports were 

current to the effect that the Germans in Poland committed 

acts of sabotage which would justify the adoption of the 

most severe counter-measures by the Polish Government. The 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs objected strongly to this 

remark. Germany, he said, was aware only of acts of provo- 

cation committed by the Poles, but Polish propaganda 

appeared to have done its work with the British Government. 

The most outrageous acts of sabotage were committed by 

the Poles. He refused to discuss this matter at.all with the 

British Government. 

Sir Nevile Henderson’s further instructions referred to 

the German Government’s reply of the previous day, in 

which the German Government had declared themselves pre- 

pared to establish direct contact with Poland if the Polish 

Government would immediately despatch a plenipotentiary. 

The. British Government were not in a ‘position to advise the 

Polish Government to accept this procedure. They suggested 

that the German Government should adopt the normal diplo= 

matic way i. e. hand their proposals to the Polish Ambassa- 

dor in order to set matters going and make it possible for 

the Polish Ambassador to co-operate with his Government 

in preparing for direct German-Polish negotiations. If the 

German Government would also communicate these proposals 

to the British Government and the latter were of the opinion 

that the proposals constituted a reasonable_ basis for a settle- 

ment of the problems to be dicussed, they would use their 

influence in Warsaw to achieve a settlement. 

Referring to the last paragraph of the German reply of the 

– previous day, Sir Nevile Henderson asked whether the Ger- 

man proposals were ready and whether these proposals could . 

be handed over to him. 

202

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs replied in the first 

place that. British intervention had up till now led to only 

one tangible result, namely, general mobilization on the part 

of Poland, and secondly that Germany had been counting on 

the arrival of a Polish representative that day. This had not 

constituted an ultimatum, as the British Ambassador had 

erroneously assumed, but, as the Fuehrer had already 

explained on the previous day, a practical proposal dictated 

by prevailing conditions. By midnight Germany had received 

no answer from Poland. The question of a possible proposal 

therefore no longer existed. In order to show, however, 

what proposals Germany had intended to make if the Polish 

representative had come, the Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs read aloud the German proposals contained in the 

Annex** and explained them in detail. 

Sir Nevile Henderson replied that the statement of the 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs that in consequence of the 

non-arrival of the Polish representative by midnight on 

Wednesday the proposalswhich the German Government had 

originally intended to make no longer held good, seemed to 

confirm his ‘interpretation of the proposal as an ultimatum. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. once mo;e empha- 

tically opposed this conception and referred to the statement 

made by the Fuehrer on the previous day that this urgency 

was the outcome of the fact that two fully mobilized armies 

were standing face to face within firing distance of each 

other and that at anymomentsome incident might lead to 

serious conflict. 

In conclusion, Sir Nevile Henderson suggested that the 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs should ask the Polish 

Ambassador to call on him and hand him the German 

proposals. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs rejectedthis sugge- 

sted procedure as far as he personally was concerned and

concluded the conversation by saying that all decisions must 

rest with the Fuehrer. 

 

Schmidt 

* Cf. Annex 1. 

** Cf. Annex 11. 

Annex I 

Memorandum from the British Government, handed to the 

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs by the British Ambassador, 

3o August 1939, at midnight 

i. His Majesty’s Government appreciate the friendly reference 

in the declaration contained in the reply of the German 

Government to the latter’s desire for an Anglo-German 

understanding and to their statement of the influence which 

this consideration has exercised upon their policy. 

z. His Majesty’s Government repeat that they reciprocate 

the German Government’s desire for an improvement in 

relations, but it will be recognised that they could not sacrifice 

the interests of friends in order to obtain that improvement. 

They fully understand that the German Government cannot 

sacrifice Germany’s vital interests, but the Polish Govern- 

ment are in the same position, and His Majesty’s Govern- 

ment believe that the vital interests of the two countries are 

not incompatible. 

3. His Majesty’s Government note that the German Govern- 

ment accept the British proposal and are prepared to enter 

into direct discussions with the Polish Government. 

4. His Majesty’s Government understand that the German 

Government accept in principle the condition that any settle- 

ment should be made subject to an international guarantee. 

The question of who shall participate in this guarantee will 

have to be discussed further, and His Majesty’s Government 

hope that to avoid loss of time the German Government will 

204

take immediate steps to obtain the assent of the Union of 

Soviet Socialist Republics whose participation in the guarantee 

His Majesty’s Government have always assumed. 

S. His Majesty’s Government also note that the German 

Government accept the position of the British Government 

as to Poland’s vital interests and independence. 

6. His Majesty’s Government must make an express rqer- 

vation in regard to the statement of particular demands put 

forward by the German Government in an earlier passage in 

their reply. Theyunderstand that the German Government 

are drawing up proposals for a solution. No doubt these 

proposals will be fully examined during the discussions. It 

can then be determined how far they are compatible with 

the essential conditions which His Majesty’s Government have 

stated and which the German Government have expressed 

their willingness’ to accept. 

7. His Majesty’s Government are at once informing the 

Polish Government of the German Government’s reply. The 

method of contact and the arrangements for discussions must 

obviously be agreed with all urgency between the German 

Government and the Polish Government, but in His Majesty’s 

Government’s view it would be impracticable to establish 

contact so early as to-day. 

8. His Majesty’s Government fully recognize the need for 

speed in the initiation of discussions and they share the 

apprehensions of the Chancellor arising from the proximity 

of two mobilised armies standing face to face. They would 

accordingly most strongly urge that both parties should 

undertake that during negotiations no aggressive military 

movements will take place. His Majesty’s Government feel 

confident that they could obtain such an undertaking from 

the Polish Government, if the German Government would 

give similar assurances. 

9. Further,. His Majesty’s Government would suggest that a 

temporary modus vivendi might be arranged -for Danzig. 

205

which might prevent the occurrence of incidents tending to 

render German-Polish relations more difficult. 

Berlin, 3o August 1939. 

Annex II 

Proposal for a settlement of the problem of Danzig and the 

Polish Corridor and of the German-Polish Minorities question 

(Translation) 

The situation between the German Reich and Poland is at 

the present time such that any further incident may lead to – 

an outbreak of hostilities between the military forces of the 

two countries, which have already taken up their position on 

the respective sides of the frontier. Any, peaceful solution of 

the problem must be of such a nature that the events which 

originally brought about this state of affairs cannot be repeated 

on the next occasion thus causing a state of tension not only 

inEastern Europe but also elsewhere. 

The causes of this development are to be found in 

i. the intolerable demarcation of the frontiers as dictated 

in the Treaty of Versailles, 

z. the intolerable treatment of the minority in the terri- 

tories cut off from the Reich. 

In putting forward these proposals, the Reich Government 

are attempting to find a final solution putting an end to the . 

intolerable situation arising from the present demarcation of 

frontiers, securing to both parties their vital lines of com- 

munication, eliminating as far as possible the problem of the 

minorities and, in so far as this should prove impossible, 

rendering the fate of the minorities bearable by effectively 

guaranteeing their rights. 

The Reich Government feel convinced that it is indispensable 

that economic and personal damage inflicted- since 1918should 

zo6

be investigated, and full compensation made therefor. Of 

course, the Reich Government regard this obligation as binding 

upon both parties. 

The above considerations give rise to the following concrete 

proposals: 

i. By reason of its purely German character and the 

unanimous will of its population, the Free City’, Of 

Danzig shall be returned- forthwith to the German 

Reich. 

2. The territory known as the Polish Corridor, that is to 

say, the’ territory bounded by the Baltic Sea and a line 

running from Marienwerder to Graudenz, Kulm, Brom- 

berg, (including these towns), and then in a westerly 

direction towards Schonlanke, shall itself decide whether 

it shall become part of the German Reich or remain 

with Poland. 

3. For that purpose, a plebiscite shall be held in this 

territory. All Germans ‘who were domiciled in this 

area on the first ofJanuary 1918 or who were born 

there on orbefore that day, also all Poles, Cassubians, 

etc., who were domiciled in this area on that day or 

who were born there on or before the above mentioned 

date, shall be entitled to vote. Germans who have been 

expelled from this territory shall return for the purpose 

of registering their votes. 

In order to ensure an impartial plebiscite and to 

guarantee that the necessary and extensive preparations 

.for the plebiscitee shall be carried out correctly, an 

International Commission like the one formed in con- 

nection with the Saar pebliscite, and consisting of 

members appointed by the four Great Powers, Italy, 

theU.S.S.R., France and Great Britain, shall be formed 

immediately, and placed in charge of this territory. 

This commission shall exercise sovereign rights through- 

207

2o8 

out the territory. To that end, the territory shall be 

evacuated by the Polish military forces, by the Polish 

police and by the Polish authorities within the shortest 

possible time to be agreed upon. 

4. The Polish port of Gdynia to the extent of the Polish 

settlement is not included in this area but, as a matter 

of principle, is recognized as Polish territory. 

The details of the boundaries of this Polish port shall 

be decided on by Germany and Poland, and if necessary 

established by an International Court of Arbitration. 

f. In order to allow for ample time for the necessary and 

extensive preparations for the carrying out of an im- 

partial plebiscite, this plebiscite shall not take place 

before a period of twelve months has elapsed. 

6. In order that during that period, Germany’s lines of 

communication with East Prussia and Poland’s access 

to the sea may be unrestrictedly ensured, certain roads 

and railway lines shall be determined, in order to 

facilitate unobstructed transit. In this connection only 

such taxes may be levied as are necessary for the upkeep 

of the lines of communication and for the carrying 

out of transport. 

7. The allocation of this territory shall be decided on by 

the absolute majority of the votes cast. 

8. In order to secure, after the plebiscite (irrespective of 

the result thereof), Germany’s unrestricted communi- 

cation withh the province of Danzig-East Prussia, and 

Poland’s access to the sea, Germany shall, should the 

territory be returned to Poland as a result of the 

plebiscite, be given an exterritorial traffic zone running, 

from say, Butow to DanzigorDirschau, for the purpose 

of building a Reich Motor Road (Reichsautobahn) and 

also a four-track railway line. The construction of the 

motor road and of the railway shall be carried out in

such a manner that Polish lines of communication are 

not affected thereby, i. e. they are to be overbridged 

or underbridged. This zone shall be one kilometer in 

width and shall be German territory. 

Should the result of the plebiscite be in favour of 

Germany, Poland shall have the same rights as Germany 

would have had, to build an exterritorial road and 

railway connection in order to secure her free and un- 

restricted access to her port of Gdynia. 

9. In the event of the Polish Corridor being returned to 

the Reich, the latter declares herself prepared to arrange 

with Poland for an exchange of population of the 

extent to which this could be carried out according to 

the conditions in the Corridor. 

io. Any special rights claimed by Poland within, the port 

of Danzig shall, on the basis of parity, be negotiated 

in exchange of equal rights for Germany at the port 

of Gdynia. 

ii. In order to avoid any sense of menace or danger on 

either side, Danzig and Gdynia henceforth shall have 

a purely commercial character, i. e. neither of these 

places shall be provided with means of military defence 

or fortifications. 

12. The Peninsula of Hela, which according to the result 

of the plebiscite would be allocated either to Poland 

or to Germany, shall also be demilitarized in any case. 

13. The Reich Government having most serious complaints 

to make about the treatment of the minority by the 

Poles, the.Polish Government on the other hand con- 

sidering themselves entitled to raise complaints against 

Germany, both parties agree to submit these complaints 

to an International Commission of Investigation charged 

to investigate into all complaints about economic and 

personal damage, as well as other acts of terrorism. 

14 100 documents, engl. 

209

Germany and Poland bind themselves to indemnify 

the minorities on either side for any economic damages 

and other wrongs inflicted upon them since 1918; and/or 

to revoke all expropriations or otherwise to completely 

indemnify the respective person or persons for these 

and other encroachments upon economic life. 

14. In order to free the Germans’remaining in Poland, as 

well as the Poles remaining in Germany, from the 

feeling of being deprived of the benefits of International 

Law, and above all to afford them the certainty of 

their not being made to take part in actions and in 

furnishing services of a kind not compatible with their 

national convictions, Germany and Poland mutually 

agree to safeguard the rights of their respective mino- 

rities by most comprehensive and binding agreements 

for the purpose of warranting these minorities the 

preservation, free development and cultivation of their 

national customs, habits and traditions, to grant them 

in particular and for that purpose the form of orga- 

nization considered necessary by them. Both parties 

undertake not to draft the members of the minority 

into military service. 

15. In case of an agreement on the basis of these proposals 

being reached, Germany and Poland declare themselves 

prepared immediately to order and carry through the 

demobilization of their respective armed forces. 

i6. Any additional measures required to hasten the carrying 

through of the above agreement shall be mutually 

agreed upon between Germany and Poland. 

On the morning of 31 August, Sir Nevile Henderson in- 

formed the Polish Ambassador in Berlin o f the contents o f 

the sixteen-point proposal put forward by Germany. The 

Polish Ambassador in the course o f that same morning by 

210

telephone informed his own Government in Warsaw o f this 

proposal. This information is contained in Sir Nevile Hender- 

son’s own final report to his Government. 

It had to be admitted in the official German report made 

at 9 p. m. on 3s August, however, that Germany, after having 

waited in vain on 3o August for the arrival o f a Polish 

plenipotentiary, had vainly expected him to arrive in the 

course o f the ensuing twenty-four hours, since the Polish 

Ambassador, who had called at the German Foreign Office, 

was not authorized to negotiate but had merely stated that 

Poland “was weighing favourably the British Government’s 

suggestion.” 

No. 88 (468) 

Official German Communication, 3 r August 1939, 9 p. m. 

(Translation) 

In a Note dated 28 August 1939, addressed to the German 

Government, the British Government declared themselves 

prepared to offer their services as intermediaries in arranging 

direct negotiations between Germany and Poland for the 

settlement of the problems under dispute. In this Note they 

left no room for doubt that in view of the continued incidents 

and the general state of tension throughout Europe they also 

were aware of the urgency of such action. 

In spite of their scepticism regarding the willingness of the 

Polish Government to reach any agreement, the German 

Government, in a reply dated 29 August 1939, declared 

themselves prepared in the interests of peace to accept British 

intermediation or suggestions. Taking into account all the 

circumstances prevailing at the moment, they considered it 

necessary to point out in their reply that, if the danger of 

catastrophe is to be avoided at all, quick and immediate action 

14’ III

is indispensable. The German Government have therefore 

declared themselves willing to receive a delegate appointed by 

the Polish Government by the evening of 3o August 1939, 

provided that this delegate should be invested with full power 

not only to take part in discussions but to negotiate and to 

take a final decision. 

The German Government have further expressed the hope 

that they would be able to submit to the British Government 

the gist of the proposed agreement before the arrival of the 

Polish delegate in Berlin. 

Instead of a declaration regarding the arrival of an authori- 

zed Polish representative, the German Government, as a first 

reply to their readiness to negotiate, received the news of the 

Polish mobilization, and it was only towards midnight on 

30*August 1939, that they received the assurance by Britain, 

couched in more general terms, that she would use her influence 

to arrange for the opening of negotiations. 

Owing to the non-arrival of the Polish delegate who was 

expected by the Reich Government, the primary condition for 

informing the British Government, who had themselves re- 

commended direct negotiations between Germany and Poland, 

of the standpoint taken by the Reich as to the basis for such 

negotiations, no longer existed. Nevertheless, Herr von Ribben- 

trop, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, acquainted the 

British Ambassador, when the latter handed over the last 

British Note, with the exact wording of the German proposals 

as prepared for the expected arrival of the Polish pleni- 

potentiary. 

Under these circumstances the German Government con- 

sidered that they had every right to expect that, at least sub- 

sequently to this, the nomination of a Polish delegate would 

immediately take place. It was clearly too much to expect of 

the German Government that they should continue not only 

to reiterate their willingness to enter upon such negotiations, 

212

but even to sit and wait and allow themselves to be put off 

by the Polish side with feeble subterfuges and empty decla- 

rations. 

In the meantime ademarcheby the Polish Ambassador has 

again shown that not even he is authorized to enter upon 

any discussion whatsoever, much less to negotiate. 

Thus the Fuehrer and the German Government have now 

waited for two days in vain for the arrival of an authorized 

Polish delegate. 

Under these circumstances the German Government cannot 

but regard their proposals as having once more been rejected 

in effect, although they are of the opinion that in the form 

in which they were also communicated to the British Govern- 

ment, they were made in a spirit bf excessive goodwill and 

fairness and could well have been accepted. 

The Government of the Reich consider it appropriatee to 

inform the public of the proposed basis for negotiation as 

communicated to the British Ambassador by Herr von Ribben- 

trop, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

In the text o f the official German Communication there 

followed here the proposal printed above under No. 87, Annex II. 

The announcement made by the Warsaw Broadcasting 

Station at II p. m. on 31 August proves that Poland no 

longer desired to come to an understanding, but that she 

considered that the time had come to make full use o f the 

British carte blanche and to play the part tacitly assigned 

her by Britain, namely, to cause the outbreak of war with 

Germany. 

213

No. 89 (469) 

Announcement by the Polish Broadcasting Station at Warsaw, 

3z August 1939, 11 p. m. 

(Translation) 

The publication to-day of the official German com- 

munique has clearly revealed the aims and intentions of 

German policy. It proves the undisguised aggressive intentions 

of Germany towards Poland. The conditions under which 

the Third Empire is prepared to negotiate with Poland are: 

Danzig must immediately return to the Reich. Pomorze 

together with the cities of Bromberg and Graudenz are to be 

subjected to a plebiscite, for which all Germans who left that 

territory for any reason whatsoever since the year 1918 may 

return. The Polish military forces and the police force shall 

be evacuated from Pomorze. The police force of England, 

France, Italy and the U.S. S. R. will be placed in charge 

of the territory. The plebiscite is to take place after twelve 

months have elapshd. The territory of the Hela Peninsula 

will also be included in the plebiscite; Gdynia as a Polish 

town_ is excluded. Irrespective of the result of the plebiscite 

an exterritorial road one kilometre wide is to be con- 

structed  

The German News Agency announces that the time allowed 

for the acceptance of these conditions expired yesterday. Ger- 

many has waited in vain for a Polish delegate. The answer 

given was the military orders issued by the Polish Govern- 

ment. 

Words can now no longer veil the aggressive plans of the 

new Huns. Germany is aiming at the domination of Europe 

and is cancelling the rights of nations with as yet unprece- 

dented cynicism. This impudent proposal shows clearly how 

necessary were the military orders given by the Polish 

Government. 

214

The actual facts, however, leave no room for doubt as to 

who was the aggressor. A summary, drawn up by an official 

in the political department of the German Foreign Office, 

of official reports received concerning serious incidents on 

the German-Polish frontier, shows that no less than forty-four 

such incidents occurred between 25 and31 August 1939: 

NO-90 (47o) 

List o f officially. reported serious frontier incidents on the 

German-Polish frontier between 25- and 3r August 1939, 

compiled by an official in the Political Department of the 

German Foreign Office 

(Translation) 

Berlin, i September 1939 

25 August 

x. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards1o p. m. on the farm of the peasant Rein- 

hard Briese, situated directly on the German-Polish 

frontier at Scharschau, district of Rosenberg, West 

Prussia, a stable burned down. Near the scene of the 

fire ‘an incendiary bomb of Polish origin was found. 

2. Report of the State Police=Station at Elbing. 

Towards x i p. m. the property of Martha Zer- 

kowski,a widow, of Schonerswalde, district of Rosen- 

berg, West Prussia, situated directly on the German- 

Polish frontier, was destroyed by arson committed by 

men who had come from Poland. 

3. Report from the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the night of 25 August, the property of wood- 

cutter Schlegel of Neukrug, district of Rosenberg, 

215

ziG 

West Prussia, situated directly on the German-Polish 

frontier, was destroyed by arson committed by men 

who had come from Poland. 

4. Report from the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the night of 25 August, the forester’s house at 

Dietrichswalde, district of Marienwerder,’ situated near 

the German-Polish frontier, burned down completely 

as a result of arson committed by men who had come 

from Poland. 

S. Report from the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the night of 25 August, the property of peasant 

Gehrke, of Niederzehren, district of Marienwerder, 

situated near the German-Polish frontier, was 

destroyed by arson committed by men who had come 

from ‘Poland. 

6. Report from the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the night of z f August, signalman’s house No. 34 

on the railway line Deutsch-Eylau-Alt-Eiche-Soldau 

was destroyed by a bomb. 

7. Report from the State Police-Station at Koslin. 

In the night of 25 August, the barn belonging to 

miller Domke, at Somminer-Miihle, district of Butow, 

burned down. Investigation of the scene showed that 

fire was caused by a bomb with an electric time-fuse. 

The property was situated directly on the German- 

Polish frontier. 

8. Report of the President of the Provincial Revenue 

Office, East Prussia. 

In the night of 25 August, Polish soldiers blew up 

and completely destroyed the parts situated on German 

territory of the highway bridge and the railway bridge 

Zandersfelde-Neuliebenau.

26 August 

i . Report of the Head Customs-House, Neidenburg. 

At 12.45 a. m. the sentry in front of the customs- 

house at Wetzhausen noticed, and challenged a Polish 

soldier who was mowing towards the customs-house 

from the wood opposite. The soldier took to flight 

and was apparently wounded by two shots. 

Afterwards it was ascertained that the soldier belonged 

to a group of six Polish soldiers who had crossed the 

German-Polish frontier at that spot. 

2. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards 3 p. m. the dwelling house and premises 

belonging to the Werner and Scheffler families at 

Neukrug, district of Rosenberg, West Prussia, situated 

near the German-Polish frontier, burned down to 

their foundation as a result of arson. It was ascer- 

tained that the perpetrators were from Poland. 

Report of the Head Customs-House at Lauenburg. 

At 1 i p. m. Tatolinski, a minority German of 

Seelau, lying opposite the customs post at Gross 

Seelnow, escaped across the frontier after his farm 

had been set on fire by a Polish gang. The Poles 

fired several shots at him across the frontier. 

Report of the Head Customs-House at Meseritz. 

Minority German fugitives who on 26 August 

crossed the frontier near Betsche-Std, were repeatedly 

shot at by Polish frontier guards, after they had 

already concealed themselves in a field of maize on 

German territory. 

3- 

4- 

27 August 

t . Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the early hours a fire destroyed the farm of the 

217

218 

peasant Guzinski of Klein Heyde, district of Rosen- 

berg, West Prussia, near the German-Polish frontier. 

It was ascertained that the Polish incendiaries had 

come across the frontier. 

2. Report from the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards 3.r5 a. m. a Polish gang, consisting of about 

15 men armed with rifles, attacked the railway halt 

and the saw-mills at Alt-Eiche, district of Rosenberg, 

West Prussia. After the Poles had fired several shots, 

they were driven off by a detachment of the German 

frontier guard. 

3. Report of the Customs-House at Lindenhorst. 

Towards 4 a. m. . a sentry of the frontier guard ob- 

served six Polish soldiers moving in the direction of 

Frontier-Stone No. 127- They then formed up in 

threes, crossed the German frontier, and proceeded in 

the direction of the road Neumittelwalde-Schonstein. 

About4.25 a. m. the detachment leader of the frontier 

guard sighted a Polish soldier crawling along the 

ground. He thereupon fired four shots, and the Poles 

withdrew. 

4. Report of the Head Customs-House at Schneidemiihl. 

Towards 10.30 a. m. in the region of Vorwerk-Drei- 

linden, within about 300 metres this side’ of the 

frontier, three German guard officers, Captain Tasch- 

ner, Lieutenant Sebulka and Lieutenant Dinger, were 

fired at from across the Polish frontier. 

5. Report of the Head Customs-House at Neidenburg. 

Towards 5 p. m. a patrol of the branch customs- 

house at Flannberg, stood guard near Point128,situated 

at a distance of about too metres from the frontier- 

river Orzyc on the edge of a wood to the west of 

Flannberg. From the Polish side about 20shots were 

suddenly fired, which fell on German territory. As 

was found out later on, these shots were fired by a

Polish frontier patrol who` under the command of a 

Polish officer had approached the German frontier 

and opened fire uponamilitary sentry. It was further 

ascertained that the Poles had thrown four egg hand- 

grenades. 

6. Report of the Head Customs-House at Kreuzberg. 

At about 8.15 p. m. the Customs-House assistant 

Scheffler was fired on by Poles seven or eight times 

near Reidenwalde.. 

7. Report of the President of the Provincial Revenue 

Office, East Prussia. , 

Towards 9.45 p. m. the customs guard Will, about, 

to ride away on his bicycle from an estate close to 

the frontier was fired on several times by, Polish 

frontier guards stationed at Kleinfelde near Mewe. 

28 August 

i . Report of the State_ Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards 12.36 a. M. a German field guard posted 

near the railway bridge Deutsch-Eylau (Neumark) 

sighted several Polish soldiers on German territory. 

When the field guard opened fire, the Poles disappear- 

ed in the woods while replying to the fire. 

2. Report of the State Police-Station at Oppeln. 

Towards r a. m. in the avenue leading from Rati- 

bor to Hohenbirken, East Upper Silesia, a German 

anti-aircraft detachment sighted Polish troops on the 

march who had crossed over into German territory 

for a distance of about 15o metres. The anti-aircraft 

detachment thereupon opened fire, and the Polish 

troops withdrew. 

219

220 

3- 

4- 

S. 

Report oft the Head Customs-House at Beuthen. 

Towards i a. m. several shots were fired from a 

Polish machine gun. The shots fell close to a machine 

gun detachment of the frontier guard stationed at the 

slag heap near the sports ground of the Borsigwerk. 

Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards 1.45 a. m. the field guard at Alt-Eiche, 

district of Rosenberg, West Prussia, was attacked by 

Polish regulars. The Poles first attacked a group 

posted at the frontier crossing who thereupon retired 

as far as the railway station of Alt-Eiche. At that 

moment about io Polish soldiers came from another 

direction and began to rush at them. The German 

detachment thereupon moved into position and opened 

fire. The Poles, who deployed, fired also. Lance-Cor- 

poral Grutzinski of Hansdorf fell fatally wounded, 

and another German soldier was wounded in the 

shoulder. The Polish soldiers then withdrew to Polish 

territory. 

Report of the Head Customs-House at Gleiwitz. 

Towards 10.45 p. m. the German customs officials 

Fleische and Quenzel, stationed at the barrier near 

the Customs-House at Neuberstein, were fired on from 

the Polish side with a machine gun and rifles. The 

Poles only ceased fire after an encounter with German 

frontier guards lasting 20minutes. 

29 August 

I. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

In the early hours Polish soldiers crossed over into 

German territory near the saw-mills at Alt-Eiche; they 

were driven back by the German frontier guard.

2. Report of the State Police-Station at Koslin. 

In the early morning soldiers of the Polish frontier 

guard made an armed attack on the German customs- 

house near the railway station of Sonnenwalde. While 

resisting them, a German District Customs Com- 

missioner and a German frontier employee were 

wounded. 

3. Report of the State Police-Station at Breslau. 

About 1.40 p. m. the customs assistant Dippe was 

fired on with a rifle by a Polish frontier sentry in 

a little wood near Neu-Vorberg close to the road from 

Lesten to Tharlang. 

4. Report of the Customs-House at Beuthen. 

Towards 9.45 p. m. shots falling on German terri- 

tory were fired repeatedly by Polish soldiers in the 

vicinity of Customs-House 3 at Beuthen. First, 20 

to 30 pistol shots were fired across the road passing 

the Customs-House in the direction of the pit yard 

of the B~euthen mine, and fell about ten metres in 

front of the third group of a detachment of the 8th 

Frontier Guard Company. There followed to to t5 

rifle shots, and immediately afterwards a further four 

or five shots from an automatic pistol. The German 

side did not reply to the fire. 

5. Report of the Head Customs-House at Gleiwitz. 

Towards t 1.5o p. m. a Polish formation opened 

violent fire upon German customs officials and frontier 

guards on German soil near the Customs-House at 

Neubersteich. Two light machine-guns which had been 

placed in position on German territory were unmistak- 

ably ascertained, also a heavy machine-gun. After 

a fight lasting for some time the Poles ceased fire 

at 1.15 a. m. 

221

222 

3o August 

x. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards r2.3o a. m. the Customs-House- building 

at Neukrug, district of Rosenberg, West Prussia, was 

attacked fromm the woods by Polish -regulars. The 

Poles obviously intended to attack the men stationed 

there from the rear. Behind a garage not very far 

away they had placed a light-machine-gun in position. 

When the Poles were shot at by the German field 

guard from a room in the upper storey of the Customs- 

House building, the Polish machine-gun position was 

moved into dense undergrowth, which again was 

immediately taken under fire. The fight lasted until 

about S a. m. A member of the German field. guard 

was fatally wounded. The Customs-House building 

had several window-panes smashed and the telephone 

wiring destroyed. 

2. Report of the State Police-Station of Elbing. 

Towards 12-4S a. m. near the saw-mills at Alt- 

Eiche, the German frontier guard sighted there to four 

Polish soldiers at they tried to creep up to the mill. 

They were driven back by the frontier guard. 

3. Report of the State Police-Station at’Breslau. 

Towards 7 a. m. farmer Ferdinand Braun of Golgas, 

district of Militsch, was working in the field on the 

German territory about zoo metres from Frontier 

Stone 233. He was suddenly fired do by a Polish 

soldier with a pistol, but remained unhurt. 

4. Report of the President of the Provincial Revenue 

Office at Troppau. 

At 3.S a. m. an aeroplane-apparently German 

reconnaissance aircraft-flying over German territory

was shot at from Polish territory by anti-aircraft 

artillery firing from the direction of Oderberg and 

Wurbitz. Shrapnel pieces were found and kept as 

evidence. 

3r August 

i. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

Towards i a. m. the customs building at Neukrug 

was attacked by about 25 Polish soldiers armed with 

a light machine-gun. They tried to surround the 

customs building. The attack was beaten back. 

2. Report of the Head Customs-House at Gleiwitz. 

Towards2 a. m. an attack was, made by Poles on 

the German frontier guard on duty at the Customs- 

House at Neubersteich. An attack of the Poles on the 

Customs-House was prevented by German fire. 

3. Report of the District Customs Commissioner at 

Deutsch-Eylau. 

Towards 3 a. m. near Scharschau on German terri- 

tory an attack was made by Polish troops on a patrol 

of the German frontier guard. When reinforcements 

arrived and the fire was answered, the Poles withdrew. 

4. Report of the Chief Constable at Gleiwitz. 

Towards 8 p. m. the German Broadcasting Station 

at Gleiwitz was attacked by a troop of Polish Insur- 

gents and temporarily occupied. The Insurgents were 

driven off by German frontier police officers. Oneof 

the Insurgents was fatally injured. 

5. Report of the President of the Provincial Revenue 

Office at Troppau. 

In the night of 3 r August the Customs-House at 

Hoflinden was attacked by Polish insurgents and 

temporarily occupied. By a counter attack on the part 

of an S. S. formation the insurgents were driven off. 

223

6. Report of the State Police-Station at Elbing. 

About 12.30 a. m. the customs building at Neukrug 

was attacked by30Polish soldiers armed with machine- 

guns and rifles. The attack was repulsed by the German 

field guard. 

7. Report of the State Police-Station at Liegnitz. 

In the night of 31 August a German customs official 

near Pfalzdorf, district of Griinberg, at a distance of 

about 75 metres from the Polish frontier, was fatally 

injured by Polish troops. 

8. Report of the State Police-Station at Liegnitz. 

In the night of 31 August near RBhrsdorf in the 

district of Fraustadt, a German customs official while 

on duty was shot dead by Polish troops, another was 

seriously injured. 

9. Report of the State Police-Station at Liegnitz. 

In the night of 31 August, without any provocation, 

the’ Poles made an armed attack on the German 

Customs-House at Pfalzdorf in the district of Grunberg. 

io. Report of the State Police-Station at Liegnitz. 

In the night of 31 August German Customs-House 

at Geyersdorf was temporarily occupied by Polish 

insurgents, who caused considerable damage. 

i i. Report of the State Police-Station at Briinn. 

In the night of 31 August the Polish frontier guard 

attacked the German customs building at Hruschau 

with a machine-gun. The German side replied to the 

fire. The Poles took to flight. 

 

Schliep 

Thus every possibility o f reaching a peaceful settlement o f 

the German-Polish crisis was exhausted. Poland had, as the 

foregoing documents prove, already resorted to force, thereby 

creating a situation which compelled the Reich Government to 

224

resist force by means of force. The provocative attitude of 

Poland, which, during the last few days o f the crisis, had 

exceeded every tolerable limit and made an amicable settle- 

ment impossible, rendered further delay inadvisable. On the 

morning of i September, the German Armed forces received 

orders to meet the continuous Polish attacks on German terri- 

tory by counter-attacks. In his speech to the Reichstag on the 

morning o f z September, the Fuehrer finally expounded the 

German point of view and thereby justified Germany’s action 

in the eyes o f the world. 

No. 91 (471) 

Speech by the Fuehrer to the Reichstag, i September -939 

(Translation) 

Members of the German Reichstag, 

For months we have been tormented by a problem once set 

us by the dictated Treaty of Versailles, which has now assumed 

such a character as to become utterly intolerable. Danzig 

was and is a German city. The Corridor was and is German. 

All these districts owe their cultural development exclusively 

to the German people, without whom absolute barbarism 

would prevail in these eastern tracts of country. Danzig was 

separated from us. The Corridor was annexed by Poland. 

The German minorities living there were ill-treated in the 

most appalling manner. More than a million persons with 

German blood in their veins were compelled to leave their 

homes as early as 19 z9/i92o. Here, as always, I have attempted 

to change this intolerable state of affairs by means of peaceful 

proposals for a revision. It is a lie when the world alleges 

that we always used pressure in attempting to carry out any 

revision. There was ample’ opportunity for fifteen years before 

National Socialism assumed power to carry through revisions 

15 100documents, engl. 

225

by means-of a peaceful understanding. This was not done. 

I myself then took the initiative in every single case, not only 

once, but many times, to bring forward proposals for the 

revision of absolutely intolerable conditions. 

As you know, all these proposals were rejected. I need not 

enumerate them in detail: proposals for a limitation of arma- 

ments, if necessary even for the abolition of armaments, pro- 

posals for restrictions on methods of warfare, proposals for 

eliminating methods of modern warfare, which, in my opinion, 

are scarcely compatible with International Law. You know 

the proposals which I made as to the necessity of restoring 

German’ sovereign rights in certain territories of the Reich, 

those countless attempts I made to bring about a peaceful 

solution of the Austrian problem and, later on, of the Sudeten- 

land, Bohemia and Moravia. It was all in vain. One thing, 

however, is impossible: to demand that a peaceful revision 

should be made of an intolerable state of affairs-and then 

obstinately refuse such a peaceful revision. It is equally im- 

possible to assert that in such a situation to act on one’s own 

initiative in making a revision is to violate a law. For us 

Germans the dictated Treaty of Versailles is not a law. It 

will not do to blackmail a person at the point of a pistol with 

the threat of starvation for ‘millions of people into signing a 

document and afterwards proclaim that this document with 

its forced signature was a solemn law. 

In the case of Danzig and the Corridor I have again tried 

to solve the problems by means of peaceful proposals suggest- 

ing a discussion. One thing was obvious: they had to be solved. 

That the date of this solution may perhaps be of little interest 

to the Western Powers is conceivable. But this date is not a 

matter of indifference to us. First and foremost, however, it 

was not and could not be a matter of indifference to the 

suffering victims. In conversations with Polish statesmen, I 

have discussed the ideas which you have heard me express 

here in my last speech to the Reichstag. No one can maintain 

zz6

that this was an unjust procedure or even unreasonable pressure. 

I then had the German proposals clearly formulated aqd I 

feel bound to repeat once more that nothing could be fairer or 

more modest than those proposals submitted by me. And I 

now wish to declare to the whole world that I, and I alone, 

was in a-position to make such proposals. For I know quite 

definitely that I was thereby acting contrary to the opinion 

of millions of Germans. 

Those proposals were rejected. But more than that, they 

were replied to by mobilization, by increased terrorism, by 

intensified pressure on the German minorities in those areas 

and by a gradual economic and political strangulation of the 

Free City of Danzig, which during the past few weeks found 

its expression in military measures and traffic restrictions . 

Poland virtually began a war against the tree City of Danzig. 

Furthermore she was not prepared to settle the problem of the 

Corridor in a fair manner satisfying the interests of both 

parties. And lastly, Poland has never thought of fulfilling her 

obligations with regard to the minorities. In this connection I 

feel it necessary to state, that Germany has fulfilled her 

obligations in this respect. Minorities domiciled in Germany 

are not subject to persecution. Let any Frenchman get up and 

declare that French citizens living in the Saar territory are 

oppressed, ill-treated or deprived of their rights. No one can 

make such an assertion. 

For four months I have watched these developments without 

taking action but not without issuing repeated warnings, 

Recently I have made these warnings more and more emphatic. 

Over three weeks ago the- Polish Ambassador was, at my 

request, informed that if Poland persisted in sending further 

notes in the. nature of an ultimatum to Danzig and in further 

oppressing the German minorities,or if attempts: were made 

to bring about the economic ruin of Danzig by means of 

customs restrictions, Germany would no longer stand aside and 

remain inactive. I have left no room for doubt that in this 

15• 227

respeq, Ae Germany of to-day is not to be confused with 

post-wa, -Germany. 

Attempts have been made to justify the action against the 

German minorities by declaring that they had given provo- 

cation. I am at a loss to know what “provocation” those 

women and children are supposed to have given who have 

been ill-treated and deported, or what was the nature of the 

provocation given by all those who were tortured in the most 

inhuman and sadistic way before they were finally put to 

death. One thing I know however: there is not one single 

Great Power possessed of a feeling of honour, which would 

countenance such conditions for any length of time. 

In spite of all I have made one last attempt. Although 

possessed of the innermost conviction that the Polish Govern- 

ment-perhaps also owing to their dependence on a now 

unchained wild soldiery-are not in earnest as regards a real 

understanding, I nevertheless accepted a proposal of mediation 

submitted by the British Government. The latter proposed 

not to carry on any negotiations themselves, they assured me 

however of their establishing a direct connection between 

Poland and Germany for the purpose of thus once more 

facilitating direct discussions. 

I must here state the following: I accepted that proposal. 

For these discussions I had drawn up the fundamentals which 

are known to you. And then I and my Government sat 

expectantly for two whole days in order to find out whether 

the Polish Government saw fit finally to dispatch an authorized 

representative or not. Up to last night the Polish Government 

did not dispatch an authorized representative, but informed 

us by their Ambassador that at present they were considering 

the question whether and to what extent they might be able 

to accept the British proposals; of the result they would 

inform Britain. 

Members of the Reichstag, if such treatment could be meted 

out to the German Reich and its Head, and if the German 

228

Reich and its Head were to submit to such treatment, the 

German nation would not deserve a better fate than to vanish 

from the political arena. My love of peace and my endless 

patience must not be mistaken for weakness, much less for 

cowardice. Last night I informed the British Government that 

things being as they are, I have found it impossible to detect 

any inclination on the part of the Polish Government to enter 

into a really serious discussion with us. 

These proposals of mediation are, thus wrecked, for in the 

meantime the answer to these offers of mediation had been, 

first, the order for Polish general mobilization, and, secondly, 

serious additional outrages. Repetitions of the latter incidents 

occurred last night. Only recently during one single night 

21 frontier incidents occurred, last night there were 14, three 

of them of a most serious character. 

For that reason, I have now decided to address Poland in 

exactly the same language as Poland has been applying to us 

for months. 

If there are statesmen in the West who declare that their 

interests are involved, I can only regret the fact. Their 

opinion, however, cannot for one single minute persuade me 

to deviate from the execution of my duties. I have solemnly 

declared and repeat once more that we have no claims at 

all on these Western States, and shall never demand anything 

from them. I have declared that the frontier between Ger- 

many and France is final. I have repeatedly offered Britain 

our friendship, and if necessary closest co-operation. Love, 

however, is not a one-sided affair, but must be responded to 

by the other side. Germany has no interests in the West, our 

fortifications in the West (Westwall) are for all times to 

become the frontier of the Reich. We have no other aims 

in the future, and this attitude of, the Reich will remain 

unchanged. 

Some of the other European states understand our attitude. 

First of all -3 would thank Italy for having supported us 

229

all this time. You will also understand that we do not want 

to make an appeal for any foreign help in this struggle. 

This task of ours we shall solve ourselves. 

The neutral states have assured us of their. neutrality 

exactly as we previously guaranteed their neutrality. This 

assurance we consider a sacred obligation, and as long as 

nobody infringes upon their neutrality, we too shall pains- 

takingly observe it. Because, what could we expect or desire 

from them? 

I feel very much gratified at being able to inform you 

here of an event of special importance. You are aware 

that Russia and Germany are governed by two different 

doctrines. There was only one single question to be cleared: 

Germany has no intention of exporting her doctrine, and 

as long as Soviet Russia does not intend to export her own 

doctrine to Germany, I no longer see any reason why we 

should ever be opponents again. Both of us are agreed on 

this one point: any struggle between us would only result in 

the benefit of others. We have therefore resolved to enter 

into an agreement which will exclude any application of 

force between us in the future, which imposes on us an 

obligation to consult with each other in certain European 

questions, which facilitates economic collaboration and above 

all warrants that the energies of our two great states are 

notconsumed by mutual enmity. ‘ 

Any attempt on the part of the Western States to alter 

these facts will prove futile, and in that connection I should 

like to state one thing: this political decision signifies an 

enormous change in future developments and is absolutely 

final! 

I believe that the whole German people will welcome this 

political attitude. In the Great War, Russia and Germany 

fought against each other and were both of them ultimate 

sufferers. That shall and will never happen again!-. Yester- 

day, the Non-aggression and Consultation Pact, which came 

230

into force the day it was signed, was ratified in Moscow ‘ 

and in Berlin. 

In Moscow the Pact was acclaimed just as you have ac- 

claimed it here. I approve of every wordin the speech made by 

M. Molotow, the Russian Commissar for Foreign Affairs. 

Our aims: I am determined to solve, 

firstly, the Danzig question, 

secondly, the Corridor question, 

thirdly,, to see to it that a change takes place in 

Germany’s relations to Poland, which will ensure 

a peaceful co-existence of the two States. 

I am determined to fight either until the present Polish 

Government are disposed to effect this change or until another 

Polish Government are prepared to do so. 

I am determined to eliminate from the German frontiers 

the element of insecurity, the atmosphere which permanently 

resembles that of civil war. I shall see to it that on the 

eastern frontier the same peaceful conditions prevail as on 

our other frontiers. 

All actions in fulfilment of this aim will be carried out 

in such a way as. not to contradict the proposals which 

I made known to you here, Members of-the Reichstag, as 

my proposals to the rest of the world. 

That is, I will not wage war against women and- children! 

I have instructed my Air Force to limit their attacks to 

military objectives. But should the enemy think. this gives 

him carte blanche to fight in the opposite way, then he 

will get an answer which will drive him out of his senses! 

In the night Polish soldiers of the regular Army fired the 

first shots in our own territory. Since. s.4 S a. m. we have 

been returning their fire. And from now onwards every 

bomb will be answered by another bomb. Whoever fights 

with -poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever 

disregards the rules of human warfare can but expect us 

to do the same.

I will carry on this fight, no matter against whom, until 

such time as the safety of the Reich and its rights are 

secured! 

For more than six years now I have been engaged on 

building up the German armed forces. During this period 

more than 9o milliard Reichsmark have been expended in 

creating our armed forces. To-day, they are the best 

equipped in the world and are far superior to those of 1 914. 

My confidence in them can never be shaken. 

In calling up these forces, and in expecting the German 

people to make sacrifices, if necessary unlimited sacrifices, 

I have only done what I have a right to do; for I myself 

am just as ready to-day as I was in the past to make every 

personal sacrifice. There is nothing I demand of any German 

which I myself was not prepared to do at any moment for 

more than four years. There shall not be any deprivations 

for Germans in which I myself shall not immediately share. 

From this moment my whole life shall belong more than 

ever to my people. I now want to be nothing but the first 

soldier of the German Reich. 

Therefore, I have once again put on that _uniform which 

was always so sacred and dear to me. I shall not lay it 

aside until after the victory-or I shall not live to see the 

end. 

Should anything happen to me in this war, my first 

successor shall be Party Member Goring. Should anything 

happen to Party Member Goring, his successor shall be 

Party Member Hess. To these men as your leaders youwould 

then owe the same absolute loyalty and obedience as you 

owe me. In the event that something fatal should happen 

to Party Member Hess, I am about to make legal provisions 

for the convocation of a Senate appointed by me, who shall 

then elect the worthiest, that is to say the most valiant 

among themselves. 

As a National Socialist and a German soldier I enter upon 

232

this fight with a stout heart! My whole life was but one conti- 

nus struggle for my people, for its rebirth, for Germany, 

and that whole struggle was inspired by one single con- 

viction: Faith in my people! 

One word I have never known: Capitulation. If, however, 

there should be any one who thinks that we are on the 

verge of hard times, I would urge him to consider the fact 

that at one time a Prussian king, ruling over a ridiculously 

small state, confronted one of the greatest coalitions ever 

known and came forth victorious after three campaigns 

simply because he was possessed of that undaunted spirit 

and firm faith which are required of us in these times. 

As for the rest of the world, I can only assure them that 

November 1918 shall never occur again in German history. 

I ask of every German what I myself am prepared to 

do at any moment: to be ready to lay down his life for his 

people and for his country. 

If any one thinks that he can evade this national duty 

directly or indirectly, he will perish. We will have nothing 

to do with traitors. We are only acting in accordance 

with our old principle: Our own life matters nothing, all 

that matters is that our people, that Germany shall live. 

I expect of you, as deputies of the Reich, that you will 

do your duty in whatever position you are called upon 

to fill. You must bear the standard of resistence, cost what 

it may. Let no one report to me at any time that his 

province, his district, his group or his cell are losing heart. 

It is you who are responsible for public feeling. I am 

responsible for public feeling throughout Germany and you 

are responsible for public feeling in your provinces and 

districts. No one has ‘the right to shelve this responsibility. 

The sacrifice that is demanded of us is not greater than 

the sacrifice which has been made by many generations in 

the past. -All those men who before us have trodden the 

233

hardest and most difficult path for-Germany’s sake did 

nothing less than we are called- upon to do, the sacrifice 

they made was no less costly, no less painful, and there- 

fore no easier than the sacrifice that may be demanded 

of us. 

Every German woman, too, I expect to take her place 

with unflinching discipline. inthis great fighting community. 

German Youth, needless to say, will fulfill heart and 

soul what is expected and demanded of them by the nation 

and by the National-Socialist State. 

If we form this community, fused together, ready for 

everything, determined never to capitulate, our firm resolve 

will master every emergency. 

I conclude with the words with which I once started my 

fight for power in the Reich. At that time I said: “If 

our will is so strong that no emergency can break it, then 

our will and our good German sword will master and 

subjugate even need and distress.” 

Germany-Sieg Heil! 

Even after the cannon- had begun their thunder, Germany 

hoped and endeavoured to localize the conflict and prevent 

other countries from becoming involved in a general war. 

The decision lay with the Western Powers-would they burden 

themselves with the responsibility of unconditionally fulfilling 

the obligations undertaken on behalf of an arrogant Poland 

and thus allow the German-Polish conflict to assume the 

proportions of a European war? That Great Britain was 

determined to do so, is finally proved by the Note which Sir 

Nevile Henderson handed to the German Foreign Office at 

9 p. m. on r September. In this Note the British Govern- 

ment demandedthe-suspension of “all aggressive action against 

Poland” as well as assurances that the Reich Government were 

“prepared promptly to withdraw their forces from Polish_ 

territory”, otherwise Great Britain would “without hesitation 

– 234

fulfil her obligations to Poland”, that is to say, make war on 

Germany. An hour later, the French Ambassador presented a 

Note couched in identical terms. 

No. 92 (472) 

Conversation o f the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the British Ambassador, r September .1939. 9 P. m. 

Memoby Dr. Schmidt, Minister Plenipotentiary 

(Translation in part) 

On behalf of his Government Sir Neeile Henderson handed 

over the -following Note, to which he ale added an unofficial 

written translation in German: 

Berlin, i September 1 939 

Your Excellency, 

Onthe instructions of His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of 

State for Foreign Affairs I have the honour to make the 

following communication. 

Early this morning the German Chancellor issued a procla- 

mation to the German Army which indicated clearly that he 

was about to attack Poland. 

Information which has reached His Majesty’s Government 

in the United Kingdom and the French Government indicates 

that German troops have crossed the Polish frontier and that 

attacks on Polish towns are proceeding. 

In these circumstances it appears to the Governments of the 

United Kingdom and France that by their action the German 

Government have created conditions (viz. an aggressive act 

of force against Poland threatening the independence of 

Poland) which calls for the implementation by the Govern- 

. ments of the United Kingdom and France of the undertaking 

to Poland to come to her assistance. 

235

I am accordingly to inform Your Excellency that, unless the 

German Government are prepared to give His Majesty’s 

Government satisfactory assurances that the German Govern- 

ment have suspended all aggressive action against Poland and 

are prepared promptly to withdraw their forces from Polish 

territory, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom 

will without hesitation fulfil their obligations to Poland. 

1 avail myself etc. 

Nevile Henderson 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs replied that no 

German act of aggression had taken place but that for months 

Poland had provoked Germany. It was not Germany that 

had mobilized against Poland, but Poland against Germany. 

In addition to that, on the previous day regular and irregular 

Polish units had invaded German territory. 

He would submit the Note handed to him by the British 

Ambassador to the Fuehrer and then reply at once. The Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs added that if the British Govern- 

ment had been as active in Poland as they now apparently 

intended to be in Germany, a settlement with Poland would 

have been reached long ago. 

Sir Nevile Henderson replied that be would _communicate 

these remarks to his Government and asked that the Fuehrer 

might be informed of the contents of the Note. He asked for 

as speedy an answer as possible. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs replied there had 

really been no reason to notify the British Government of the 

German proposals, as these proposals had become null and 

void by the non-appearance of the Polish negotiator. In spite 

of this he (the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs) had read 

these proposals to Sir Nevile Henderson in the secret hope 

that Britain might still bring Poland to see reason. The 

Fuehrer had waited another whole day in vain-Poland had 

only replied by new and grave provocations. 

z36

Sir Nevile Henderson replied that he greatly deplored that 

the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the course of his 

last conversation, had refused to hand over a copy of the 

proposals to him (Henderson). It was comprehensible that he 

had not understood most of it as the German text of this 

rather long and complicated document had been read so 

quickly. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs drew attention to 

the fact that he had read the documents slowly and distinctly 

and that he had even given oral explanations on the main 

points (Danzig, plebiscite in the Corridor, protection of 

minorities). He had not been authorized to hand over the 

document to him, and had therefore read it hoping that on 

the next day at least Poland would agree to it. The Fuehrer 

had waited another whole day and had finally come to the 

conclusion that Britain did not wish to do anything further. 

When Sir Nevile Henderson once more expressed his regret 

that the proposals had not been handed over to him in spite 

of his request, the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs .repeated 

that he had read the document slowly and had explained 

several points so that he was justified in believing that Sir 

Nevile Henderson had understood everything. 

Schmidt 

At this juncture, Signor Mussolini made a last effort to 

mediate by proposingan armistice and the calling o1 a con- 

ference within two or three days. 

237

No. 93 (474) 

Communication handed to the German Foreign Office by the 

Italian Ambassador on the morning of2September1939 

(Translation) 

For your information Italy communicates to you, naturally 

leaving every decision to the Fuehrer, that she is still in a 

position to obtain the consent of France, England and Poland 

to–a conference on the following basis- 

i.An armistice, leaving the armies where they now are; 

a. The calling of a conference within two or three days; 

3. A solution of the Polish-German conflict, which, as 

matters lie to-day, would certainly be favourable to Germany. 

This idea, which originated with the Duce, is to-day par- 

ticularly advocated by France. 

The Reich Government declared themselves ready to agree 

to this proposal. The Italian Ambassador was duly informed 

o f this fact which was made public in the Memorandum o f 

3 September 1939 No. 97 53)• The French Government 

likewise replied in the affirmative, as is known from a 

message issued by the Havas News Agency on 2 September; 

238 

No. 94 (475) 

Information from the Havas News Agency, 2 September1939 

(Translation) 

The French Government as well as several other Govern- 

ments were informed yesterday of an Italian proposal for a 

settlement of the European difficulties. After discussing the 

proposal the French Government gave a – reply in the 

affirmative.

The above message was afterwards withdrawn, under 

pressure, as it transpired, from Britain. Meantime, Britain had 

forced the French Government to adopt the British attitude, 

i. e., insistence on the withdrawal of the German troops, which 

attitude wasannounced by Lord Halifax in a statement made 

in the Houseo f Lords on the same afternoon, 2 September. 

No. 95 (476) 

Extract from a Statement made by Lord Halifax, British 

Secretary o f State for Foreign Affairs, in the House o j; Lords 

onthe afternoon of 2 September 1939- 

. . . . Up ‘to the present no reply has been received to the 

warning message delivered to Germany last night. 

It was possible that delay had been due to proposals put 

forward by the Italian Government that hostilities should 

cease and that there. would be immediately a conference 

between Great Britain, France, Poland, Germany and Italy. 

The British Government would not find it possible to take 

part in a conference when Poland was being subjected to 

invasion and her towns were under bombardment and Danzig 

had been made the subject of unilateral settlement by force . . . 

A similar statement was made at the same time in the 

House of Commons by the Prime Minister. 

Thus Signor Mussolini’s effort at mediation was accepted 

by Germany and France but frustrated by Britain at the very 

moment when success seemed within reach. Instead, at 9 a. m. 

on 3 September, Britain sent Germany an ultimatum in which 

she repeated her demands for the suspension of all aggressive 

action against Poland and the withdrawal o f the German 

forces and declared that, in the event of arefusal, ‘a state of 

war would exist between the two countries as from the hour 

ofthe time limit, i. e., zz a. m. 

239

No. 96 (477) 

Note handed to the German Foreign Office by the British 

Ambassador, 3 September 1939, 9 a. m. 

3 September 1 939 

Your Excellency, 

In the communication which I had the honour to make to 

you on 1st September I informed you, on the instructions of 

His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 

that, unless the German Government were prepared to give 

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom satisfactory 

assurances that the German Government had suspended all 

aggressive action against Poland and were prepared promptly 

to withdraw their forces from Polish territory, His Majesty’s 

Government in the United Kingdom would without hesitation 

fulfil their obligations to Poland. 

Although this communication was made more than twenty- 

four hours ago, no reply has been received, but German 

attacks upon Poland have been continued and intensified. 

I have accordingly the honour to inform you that, unless not 

later than x1 a. m. British Summer Time to-day 3rd Sep- 

tember satisfactory assurances to the above effect have been 

given by the German Government and have reached His. 

Majesty’s Government in London, a state of war will exist 

between the two countries as from that hour. 

I avail myself of this opportunity etc. 

Nevile Henderson 

At 11.15 a. m. on the same day Lord Halifax informed the 

German Charge d’Affaires in London that Britain regarded a 

state o f war as existing between herself and Germany asfrom 

77 a. m. on 3September 7939. 

Natutally, no other course remained for the Reich Govern- 

ment but to refuse “to be, handed, to accept and, still less, to 

comply with” demands in the nature of ultimata made by the 

240

British Government. In a Memorandum handed to the British 

Ambassador by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs on 

3 September at 11.30 a. m. Germany rejected these demands 

and once again set forth the German point of view and 

Britain’s responsibility for the outbreak o f hostilities, declaring 

that she would “reply to any act ofaggression on the part of 

Great Britain with the same weapons and in the same way.” 

No. 97 (479) 

Memorandum from the Reich Government, handed to the, 

British Ambassador by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, 

3 September 1939, 11.30 a. m. 

(Translation) 

The Reich Government acknowledges receipt of the British 

Government’s ultimatum of 3 September 1939, to which the 

Reich Government has the honour to reply as follows: 

1. The Reich Government and the German people refuse 

to be handed, to accept and, still less, to comply with 

demands amounting to an ultimatum made by the 

British Government. 

2. For many months past a state of, war has actually 

prevailed along our eastern border. Ever since the 

Treaty of Versailles rent Germany in two, all sub- 

sequent German Governments were denied any peace- 

ful settlement. Since 1933, the National Socialist 

Government have also tried again and again by way 

of peaceful negotiations to do away with the worst 

oppression and violations of law perpetrated by that 

treaty. Primarily it has been the British Government 

who by their intransigent attitude have frustrated 

any practical revision. Had it not been for the inter- 

ference on the part of the British Government, a 

16 100 documents,engl. 

241

3. 

reasonable solution, doing justice to both party, 

would undoubtedly have been arrived at between Ger- 

many and Poland, a fact which the Reich Government 

and the German people are convinced of. For Ger- 

many had no intention of destroying Poland, nor did 

she ever demand Poland’s destruction. All that the 

Reich demanded was the revision of those articles in 

the Treaty of Versailles which sensible statesmen of 

all nations, even at the time when the treaty was 

drawn up, termed unbearable as a permanent solution- 

unbearable both for a great nation and for the entire 

political and economic interest of Eastern Europe, and 

therefore impossible. Even British statesmen declared 

that the terms which Germany was forced to accept 

in the East held the seed of future wars. To do away 

with this danger has been the desire of everyGerman 

Government, and in particular the aim of the new 

National-Socialist Government of the German people. 

The policy of the British Cabinet is to blame for the 

fact that a peaceful revision has not been reached. 

The British Government-an unprecedented occurrence 

in history have given Poland full power with regard 

to any action against Germany which she might intend 

to undertake. The British Government gave the Polish 

Government the assurance of their military support in 

any circumstances, in the event of Germany’s commenc- 

ing hostilities in reply to any provocation or attack. 

Thereupon Polish acts of terror against Germans 

domiciled in the districts torn from Germany imme- 

diately assumed intolerable proportions. The treat- 

mentto which the Free City of Danzig was subjected 

was in contravention to all legal provisions; it was 

first threatened with economic ruin and submitted to 

customs restrictions,,, and finally encircled by military 

forces and throttled by transport restrictions. Every

16 

one of these infringements of the Danzig Statute was 

fully known to,.andapproved by, the British Govern-, 

ment, and was backed by the blank cheque given to 

Poland. The German Government, although greatly 

distressed by the sufferings of the German minority 

subjected to atrocities and inhuman treatment by the 

Poles, nevertheless looked on in patience for five 

months without once undertaking even the slightest 

aggressive action of a similar nature against Poland. 

Germany merely warned Poland that these actions 

would not be tolerated in the long run and that she 

was determined, in the event of no other help forth- 

coming for the population concerned, to take the 

matter in hand herself. The British Government 

were, fully aware of all that was going on. It would 

have been an easy matter for them to use their great 

influence in Warsaw to exhort those in authority to 

conform to the laws of justice and humanity, and to 

fulfil their existing obligations. The British Govern- 

ment did not see fit to do anything of the kind. On 

the contrary, by constantly emphasizing their-duty to 

assist Poland under all circumstances, they clearly 

encouraged Poland to continue in her criminal attitude 

which was endangering the peace of Europe. Qn 

these lines the British Government rejected the pro- 

posal made by Mussolini which still might have saved 

the peace of Europe, although the Reich Government 

had expressed their readiness to accept such proposal. 

The British Government are thus responsible for all 

the misery and suffering that has now overtaken, or 

is about to overtake, so many peoples. 

Now that all attempts to find and agree upon a 

peaceful solution have been. frustrated owing to the 

intransigent attitude of the Polish Government as 

shielded by Great Britain; now that for many months 

243

244 

S. 

already conditions similar to civil war on the eastern 

frontiers of the Reich have gradually, -without any 

objection on the part of the British Government-, 

assumed the character of open attacks on Reich 

territory, the Reich Government have decided to put 

an end to the continued menace, first to the external, 

but then also to the internal peace of the German 

nation, which constituted a situation that no Great 

Power could be expected to tolerate. In order to de- 

fend the peace, the security and the honour of the 

German Reich, the Reich Government have decided 

to resort to the only means now left to them, since 

the Governments of the Democracies have virtually 

frustrated all other possibilities of a revision. They 

have replied to the last Polish attacks threatening 

Reich territory with similar measures. The Reich 

Government are not willing, on account of any 

British intentions or obligations, to tolerate in the east 

of the Reich conditions similar to those prevailing in 

the British Protectorate of Palestine. The German 

people, however, is certainly not willing to submit 

to ill-treatment by Poland. 

The Reich Government therefore reject any attempt 

to force Germany, by an ultimative demand, to 

withdraw her troops, called up for the purpose of 

protecting the Reich, and thus to put up once more 

with the former unrest and injustice. The threat that 

war would otherwise be waged against Germany 

coincides with the intentions, for many years proclaim- 

ed, of numerous British politicians. On innumerable 

occasions the Reich Government and the German 

people have assured the British people of their desire 

for an understanding and even for close friendship 

with them. If the British Government have hitherto 

rejected these offers and now reply to them with an

open threat of war, the responsibility for this lies not 

with the German nation and its Government, but 

exclusively with the British Cabinet, especially with 

those men who for years have preached the 

destruction and extermination of the German people. 

The German people and the German Government do 

not intend, as does Great Britain, to rule the world, 

but they are determined to defend their own freedom, 

their indepedence and their very life. We take note 

of the intentions, made known to us by Mr. King 

Hall on behalf of the British Government, to -deal the 

German nation a still more crushing blow than did 

the Treaty of Versailles and shall therefore reply 

to any act of aggression on the part of Great Britain 

with the same weapons and in the same way. 

Berlin, 3 September 1 939. 

At 12.30 p. m. on the same day, the French Ambassador 

called at the German Foreign Office and handed over a Note 

to the effect that the French Government felt themselves in 

duty bound, to “fulfil the contractual obligations, as from 

5 p. m. to-day, 3 September onwards, which they had entered 

into with Poland”, an intimation which differed from the 

British not only in regard to time but also in regard to 

contents. 

No. 98 (480) 

Note handed to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs by 

the French Ambassador, 3 September 1939, 12.20 p. M. 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 3 September 1939 

Your Excellency, 

As I received no satisfactory reply from the Reich Govern- 

ment at noon on 3 September to the Note which I handed to 

245

you on i September at ro p. m. I have the honour of making 

the following communication to you on behalf of myGovern- 

ment: 

The Government of the French Republic consider it their 

duty to remind you for the last time of the grave responsibility 

which the Reich Government incurred when they opened 

hostilities against Poland without a declaration of war and 

did not adopt the proposal of the Governments of the French 

Republic and that of His Britannic Majesty to desist from 

every aggressive action against Poland and to declare them- 

selves ready immediately to withdraw their troops from Polish 

territory. 

The Government of the Republic therefore have the honour 

of informing the Reich Government that they see themselves 

in duty bound to fulfil the contractual obligations, from to- 

day, 3 September 5 p. m. onwards, which they have entered 

into with Poland and with which the German Government 

are acquainted. 

I have etc. ‘ 

 

Coulondre 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs referred to Britain’s 

frustration of the attempted mediation by Italy and also to 

.the British ultimatum which set a time limit of two hours and 

expressed his regret that France, should wage an entirely 

unjustifiable war of aggression against Germany in spite of 

all efforts to come to an understanding. The responsibility for 

the suffering brought upon both countries by such a step 

would rest with the French Government. The conversation 

which took place between the Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs and the French Ambassador when the latter handed 

over the French Note, is described in a memorandum by Dr. 

Schmidt. . 

146

No. 99 (481) 

Conversation of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs with 

the French Ambassador, 3 September 1939, 12.20 p. m. 

Memo by Dr. Schmidt, Minister Plenipotentiary 

(Translation) 

When M. Coulondre asked the Reich Minister for Foreign 

Affairs whether he was in a position to give a satisfactory 

answer to the question contained in the Note handed to him 

on’ x September at io p. m., Herr von Ribbentrop replied 

that after. Great Britain and France had handed over their 

Notes, a new proposal for mediation had been made by the 

head of the Italian Government whoadded that the French 

Government. had consented to this proposal. The previous day 

Germany had also communicated to the Duce her readiness to 

consent to the proposal, but later in,the day the Duce had 

Informed the German Government that his proposal had been 

frustrated by the intransigence of the British Government. 

This morning Britain had sent an ultimatumto Germany with 

a timelimitof two hours. Germany had rejected the demands 

contained in this ultimatum in a written communication. The 

reasons for the.rejection of the British ultimatum were con- 

tained in this document, which he (the Reich Minister for 

Foreign Affairs) handed over to the French Ambassador for 

his information. Should France’s attitude towards Germany 

be determined by the same considerations as that of the 

British Government, the German Government could only 

regret the fact. Germany had always wished for ran under- 

standing with France. Should the French Government never- 

theless take up a hostile attitude towards Germanyby reason 

of their, obligations towards Poland, the German Government 

would consider this a totally unjustified war of aggression 

on the part of France against Germany. Germany- herself 

247

would refrain from every act of aggression against France. 

Should France, however, adopt a different attitude, Germany 

would see herself compelled to reply accordingly. 

M. Coulondre replied that he concluded from the statements 

made by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Ger- 

man Government were not in a position to comply with the 

suggestion contained in the French Note of r September. 

The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that this 

was the case. 

M. Coulondre then replied that under these circumstances 

it was his painful duty to draw the attention of the Reich 

Government once more to the grave responsibility which they 

had taken upon themselves by the opening of hostilities against 

Poland without a declaration of war, and to inform them that 

the French Gouvernment saw themselves compelled to fulfil 

their obligations towards Poland as from to-day, 3 September 

1939 S p. m. At the same time M. Coulondre handed over a 

written communication. After having read it, the Reich 

Minister for Foreign Affairs added in conclusion that Ger- 

many had no intention of attacking France and that the 

present French Government bore the full responsibility for the 

suffering which would be brought upon both countries if 

France attacked Germany. 

Schmidt 

In a telegraphic communication sent by the State Secretary 

at the German Foreign Office to the German Diplomatic 

Representatives, Britain’s responsibility for the outbreak of 

war was finally established. 

248

No. zoo (482) 

The State Secretary -at the German Foreign Office 

to the German Diplomatic Representatives 

Circular by telegraph 

(Translation) 

Berlin, 3 September 1 939 

For your information and for your guidance in conversation. 

After attempt of direct German-Polish discussion had failed, 

due to non-appearance of Polish Plenipotentiary in spite of 

two days’ wait on part of German Government, and after we 

had been forced to answer Polish military encroachment by 

resorting to military action, Great Britain and France on 

x September demanded of us that we should withdraw Ger- 

man troops from Polish territory. Danger of war,as it seemed, 

could still be removed by intervention of Mussolini, who pro- 

posed armistice and subsequent conference to solve German- 

Polish conflict. This proposal has been answered in the 

affirmative by us and also by French Government; British 

Government, however, to-day, fixing time limit of two hours, 

repeated demand for withdrawal of German troops, and after 

this time had elapsed declared themselves at war with Ger- 

many. France followed suit by communicating that she saw 

herself compelled to assist Poland. 

Reasonable German-Polish settlement could certainly have 

been attained long ago without interference on part of Britain 

and her anti-German policy of encirclement. But instead of 

urging Poland to give in, Britain gave Poland carte blanche 

against Germany, involved herself in dependence on Poland’s 

decisions and at the last moment even frustrated Mussolini’s 

proposal by her attitude. This is the harvest reaped by those 

men in Britain who for years have preached Germany’s 

annihilation. This course of events clearly shows Britain’s 

full responsibility for the outbreak of war. 

 

Weizsacker 

249

Secure in the knowledge that she had, up to the last, done 

everything in her power to do away with the most recent,and 

most dangerous. source of European conflict by peaceful means, 

Germany finaly took up the British challenge. Yet once 

again, after the Polish campaign in which her armies had, with 

unparalleled success,- performed their appointed task, on 

6 October through the words of the Fuehrer, she proposed to 

the world, including her adversaries, a new order in Europe as 

a basis for a just and lasting peace. This suggestion, too, was 

rejected by Britain in a manner which rendered it plain that – 

the British Government were concerned neither with the 

existence o f the Poland which they had incited to war against 

Germany, nor with the establishment o f a new and lasting 

order in Europe, but only with the defeat and ruin of Ger- 

many at all costs. History will pass judgment on,both Britain 

and Germany. May the documentary evidence contained in – 

this volume and selected from the official German White 

Book play its part in establishing a just verdict.

Published on February 15, 2009 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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