President Roosevelt and the Origins of the 1939 War
 

In this scholarly article, excerpted from his book, The Forced War: The Origins and Originators of World War II, Dr. Hoggan examines the secret war aspirations of President Franklin Roosevelt. Hoggan also shows how Poland's leaders, bolstered by assurances from London of military backing, sought to provoke war with Germany. During the months prior to the outbreak of war in September 1939, he explains, Poland's provocations of Germany were frequent and extreme. Hitler had more than sufficient justification to go to war with Poland.
 
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Why Germany Invaded Poland


Great Britain’s Blank Check to Poland

 

On March 21, 1939, while hosting French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain discussed a joint front with France, Russia and Poland to act together against German aggression. France agreed at once, and the Russians agreed on the condition that both France and Poland sign first. However, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck vetoed the agreement on March 24, 1939.[1] Polish statesmen feared Russia more than they did Germany. Polish Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz told the French ambassador, “With the Germans we risk losing our liberty; with the Russians we lose our soul.”[2]

 

Another complication arose in European diplomacy when a movement among the residents of Memel in Lithuania sought to join Germany. The Allied victors in the Versailles Treaty had detached Memel from East Prussia and placed it in a separate League of Nations protectorate. Lithuania then proceeded to seize Memel from the League of Nations shortly after World War I. Memel was historically a German city which in the seven centuries of its history had never separated from its East Prussian homeland. Germany was so weak after World War I that it could not prevent the tiny new-born nation of Lithuania from seizing Memel.[3]

 

Germany’s occupation of Prague in March 1939 had generated uncontrollable excitement among the mostly German population of Memel. The population of Memel was clamoring to return to Germany and could no longer be restrained. The Lithuanian foreign minister traveled to Berlin on March 22, 1939, where he agreed to the immediate transfer of Memel to Germany. The annexation of Memel into Germany went through the next day. The question of Memel exploded of itself without any deliberate German plan of annexation.[4] Polish leaders agreed that the return of Memel to Germany from Lithuania would not constitute an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland.[5]

 

What did cause conflict between Germany and Poland was the so-called Free City of Danzig. Danzig was founded in the early 14th century and was historically the key port at the mouth of the great Vistula River. From the beginning Danzig was inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, with the Polish minority in 1922 constituting less than 3% of the city’s 365,000 inhabitants. The Treaty of Versailles converted Danzig from a German provincial capital into a League of Nations protectorate subject to numerous strictures established for the benefit of Poland. The great preponderance of the citizens of Danzig had never wanted to leave Germany, and they were eager to return to Germany in 1939. Their eagerness to join Germany was exacerbated by the fact that Germany’s economy was healthy while Poland’s economy was still mired in depression.[6]

 

Many of the German citizens of Danzig had consistently demonstrated their unwavering loyalty to National Socialism and its principles. They had even elected a National Socialist parliamentary majority before this result had been achieved in Germany. It was widely known that Poland was constantly seeking to increase her control over Danzig despite the wishes of Danzig’s German majority. Hitler was not opposed to Poland’s further economic aspirations at Danzig, but Hitler was resolved never to permit the establishment of a Polish political regime at Danzig. Such a renunciation of Danzig by Hitler would have been a repudiation of the loyalty of Danzig citizens to the Third Reich and their spirit of self-determination.[7]

 

Germany presented a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Danzig question with Poland on October 24, 1938. Hitler’s plan would allow Germany to annex Danzig and construct a superhighway and a railroad to East Prussia. In return Poland would be granted a permanent free port in Danzig and the right to build her own highway and railroad to the port. The entire Danzig area would also become a permanent free market for Polish goods on which no German customs duties would be levied. Germany would take the unprecedented step of recognizing and guaranteeing the existing German-Polish frontier, including the boundary in Upper Silesia established in 1922. This later provision was extremely important since the Versailles Treaty had given Poland much additional territory which Germany proposed to renounce. Hitler’s offer to guarantee Poland’s frontiers also carried with it a degree of military security that no other non-Communist nation could match.[8]

 

Germany’s proposed settlement with Poland was far less favorable to Germany than the Thirteenth Point of Wilson’s program at Versailles. The Versailles Treaty gave Poland large slices of territory in regions such as West Prussia and Western Posen which were overwhelmingly German. The richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was also later given to Poland despite the fact that Poland had lost the plebiscite there.[9] Germany was willing to renounce these territories in the interest of German-Polish cooperation. This concession of Hitler’s was more than adequate to compensate for the German annexation of Danzig and construction of a superhighway and a railroad in the Corridor. The Polish diplomats themselves believed that Germany’s proposal was a sincere and realistic basis for a permanent agreement.[10]

 

On March 26, 1939, the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Joseph Lipski, formally rejected Germany’s settlement proposals. The Poles had waited over five months to reject Germany’s proposals, and they refused to countenance any change in existing conditions. Lipski stated to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that “it was his painful duty to draw attention to the fact that any further pursuance of these German plans, especially where the return of Danzig to the Reich was concerned, meant war with Poland.”[11]

 

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

 

I now have to inform the House…that in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to that effect.[12]

 

Great Britain for the first time in history had left the decision whether or not to fight a war outside of her own country to another nation. Britain’s guarantee to Poland was binding without commitments from the Polish side. The British public was astonished by this move. Despite its unprecedented nature, Halifax encountered little difficulty in persuading the British Conservative, Liberal and Labor parties to accept Great Britain’s unconditional guarantee to Poland.[13]

 

Numerous British historians and diplomats have criticized Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland. For example, British diplomat Roy Denman called the war guarantee to Poland “the most reckless undertaking ever given by a British government. It placed the decision on peace or war in Europe in the hands of a reckless, intransigent, swashbuckling military dictatorship.”[14] British historian Niall Ferguson states that the war guarantee to Poland tied Britain’s “destiny to that of a regime that was every bit as undemocratic and anti-Semitic as that of Germany.”[15] English military historian Liddell Hart stated that the Polish guarantee “placed Britain’s destiny in the hands of Poland’s rulers, men of very dubious and unstable judgment. Moreover, the guarantee was impossible to fulfill except with Russia’s help.…”[16]

 

American historian Richard M. Watt writes concerning Britain’s unilateral guarantee to Poland: “This enormously broad guarantee virtually left to the Poles the decision whether or not Britain would go to war. For Britain to give such a blank check to a Central European nation, particularly to Poland—a nation that Britain had generally regarded as irresponsible and greedy—was mind-boggling.”[17]

 

When the Belgian Minister to Germany, Vicomte Jacques Davignon, received the text of the British guarantee to Poland, he exclaimed that “blank check” was the only possible description of the British pledge. Davignon was extremely alarmed in view of the proverbial recklessness of the Poles. German State Secretary Ernst von Weizsäcker attempted to reassure Davignon by claiming that the situation between Germany and Poland was not tragic. However, Davignon correctly feared that the British move would produce war in a very short time.[18]

 

Weizsäcker later exclaimed scornfully that “the British guarantee to Poland was like offering sugar to an untrained child before it had learned to listen to reason!”[19]

 

The Deterioration of German-Polish Relations

 

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

 

German diplomats insisted that the November 1937 Minorities Pact with Poland for the equal treatment of German and Polish landowners be observed in 1939. Despite Polish assurances of fairness and equal treatment, German diplomats learned on February 15, 1939, that the latest expropriations of land in Poland were predominantly of German holdings. These expropriations virtually eliminated substantial German landholdings in Poland at a time when most of the larger Polish landholdings were still intact. It became evident that nothing could be done diplomatically to help the German minority in Poland.[20]

 

Poland threatened Germany with a partial mobilization of her forces on March 23, 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Polish Army reservists were mobilized, and Hitler was warned that Poland would fight to prevent the return of Danzig to Germany. The Poles were surprised to discover that Germany did not take this challenge seriously. Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding to the Polish threat of war. Germany did not threaten Poland and took no precautionary military measures in response to the Polish partial mobilization.[21]

 

Hitler regarded a German-Polish agreement as a highly welcome alternative to a German-Polish war. However, no further negotiations for a German-Polish agreement occurred after the British guarantee to Poland because Józef Beck refused to negotiate. Beck ignored repeated German suggestions for further negotiations because Beck knew that Halifax hoped to accomplish the complete destruction of Germany. Halifax had considered an Anglo-German war inevitable since 1936, and Britain’s anti-German policy was made public with a speech by Neville Chamberlain on March 17, 1939. Halifax discouraged German-Polish negotiations because he was counting on Poland to provide the pretext for a British pre-emptive war against Germany.[22]

 

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

 

Beck made numerous false and hypocritical statements in his speech. One of the most astonishing claims in his speech was that there was nothing extraordinary about the British guarantee to Poland. He described it as a normal step in the pursuit of friendly relations with a neighboring country. This was in sharp contrast to British diplomat Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement to Joseph Kennedy that Britain’s guarantee to Poland was without precedent in the entire history of British foreign policy.[23]

 

Beck ended his speech with a stirring climax that produced wild excitement in the Polish Sejm. Someone in the audience screamed loudly, “We do not need peace!” and pandemonium followed. Beck had made many Poles in the audience determined to fight Germany. This feeling resulted from their ignorance which made it impossible for them to criticize the numerous falsehoods and misstatements in Beck’s speech. Beck made the audience feel that Hitler had insulted the honor of Poland with what were actually quite reasonable peace proposals. Beck had effectively made Germany the deadly enemy of Poland.[24]

 

More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland at the time of Beck’s speech, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. The British public was told repeatedly that the grievances of the German minority in Poland were largely imaginary. The average British citizen was completely unaware of the terror and fear ofdeath that stalked these Germans in Poland. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland died in consequence of the crisis. They were among the first victims of British Foreign Secretary Halifax’s war policy against Germany.[25]

 

The immediate responsibility for security measures involving the German minority in Poland rested with Interior Department Ministerial Director Waclaw Zyborski. Zyborski consented to discuss the situation on June 23, 1939, with Walther Kohnert, one of the leaders of the German minority at Bromberg. Zyborski admitted to Kohnert that the Germans of Poland were in an unenviable situation, but he was not sympathetic to their plight. Zyborski ended their lengthy conversation by stating frankly that his policy required a severe treatment of the German minority in Poland. He made it clear that it was impossible for the Germans of Poland to alleviate their hard fate. The Germans in Poland were the helpless hostages of the Polish community and the Polish state.[26]

 

Other leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for help during this period. Sen. Hans Hasbach, the leader of the conservative German minority faction, and Dr. Rudolf Wiesner, the leader of the Young German Party, each made multiple appeals to Poland’s government to end the violence. In a futile appeal on July 6, 1939, to Premier Sławoj-Składkowski, head of Poland’s Department of Interior, Wiesner referred to the waves of public violence against the Germans at Tomaszów near Lódz, May 13-15th, at Konstantynów, May 21-22nd, and at Pabianice, June 22-23, 1939. The appeal of Wiesner produced no results. The leaders of the German political groups eventually recognized that they had no influence with Polish authorities despite their loyal attitudes toward Poland. It was “open season” on the Germans of Poland with the approval of the Polish government.[27]

 

Polish anti-German incidents also occurred against the German majority in the Free City of Danzig. On May 21, 1939, Zygmunt Morawski, a former Polish soldier, murdered a German at Kalthof on Danzig territory. The incident itself would not have been so unusual except for the fact that Polish officials acted as if Poland and not the League of Nations had sovereign power over Danzig. Polish officials refused to apologize for the incident, and they treated with contempt the effort of Danzig authorities to bring Morawski to trial. The Poles in Danzig considered themselves above the law.[28]

 

Tension steadily mounted at Danzig after the Morawski murder. The German citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would show them no mercy if Poland gained the upper hand. The Poles were furious when they learned that Danzig was defying Poland by organizing its own militia for home defense. The Poles blamed Hitler for this situation. The Polish government protested to German Ambassador Hans von Moltke on July 1, 1939, about the Danzig government’s military-defense measures. Józef Beck told French Ambassador Léon Noël on July 6, 1939, that the Polish government had decided that additional measures were necessary to meet the alleged threat from Danzig.[29]

 

On July 29, 1939, the Danzig government presented two protest notes to the Poles concerning illegal activities of Polish custom inspectors and frontier officials. The Polish government responded by terminating the export of duty-free herring and margarine from Danzig to Poland. Polish officials next announced in the early hours of August 5, 1939, that the frontiers of Danzig would be closed to the importation of all foreign food products unless the Danzig government promised by the end of the day never to interfere with the activities of Polish customs inspectors. This threat was formidable since Danzig produced only a relatively small portion of its own food. All Polish customs inspectors would also bear arms while performing their duty after August 5, 1939. The Polish ultimatum made it obvious that Poland intended to replace the League of Nations as the sovereign power at Danzig.[30]

 

Hitler concluded that Poland was seeking to provoke an immediate conflict with Germany. The Danzig government submitted to the Polish ultimatum in accordance with Hitler’s recommendation.[31]

 

Józef Beck explained to British Ambassador Kennard that the Polish government was prepared to take military measures against Danzig if it failed to accept Poland’s terms. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would have executed a full military occupation of Danzig had the Polish ultimatum been rejected. It was apparent to the German government that the British and French were either unable or unwilling to restrain the Polish government from arbitrary steps that could result in war.[32]

 

On August 7, 1939, the Polish censors permitted the newspaper Illustrowany Kuryer Codzienny in Kraków to feature an article of unprecedented candor. The article stated that Polish units were constantly crossing the German frontier to destroy German military installations and to carry captured German military materiel into Poland. The Polish government failed to prevent the newspaper, which had the largest circulation in Poland, from telling the world that Poland was instigating a series of violations of Germany’s frontier with Poland.[33]

 

Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Józef Beck to seek an agreement with Germany. Potocki later succinctly explained the situation in Poland by stating “Poland prefers Danzig to peace.”[34]

 

President Roosevelt knew that Poland had caused the crisis which began at Danzig, and he was worried that the American public might learn the truth about the situation. This could be a decisive factor in discouraging Roosevelt’s plan for American military intervention in Europe. Roosevelt instructed U.S. Ambassador Biddle to urge the Poles to be more careful in making it appear that German moves were responsible for any inevitable explosion at Danzig. Biddle reported to Roosevelt on August 11, 1939, that Beck expressed no interest in engaging in a series of elaborate but empty maneuvers designed to deceive the American public. Beck stated that at the moment he was content to have full British support for his policy.[35]

 

Roosevelt also feared that American politicians might discover the facts about the hopeless dilemma which Poland’s provocative policy created for Germany. When American Democratic Party Campaign Manager and Post-Master General James Farley visited Berlin, Roosevelt instructed the American Embassy in Berlin to prevent unsupervised contact between Farley and the German leaders. The German Foreign Office concluded on August 10, 1939 that it was impossible to penetrate the wall of security around Farley. The Germans knew that President Roosevelt was determined to prevent them from freely communicating with visiting American leaders.[36]

 

Polish Atrocities Force War

 

On August 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time; they feared the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Polish public was urged not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.[37]

 

Rudolf Wiesner, who was the most prominent of the German minority leaders in Poland, spoke of a disaster “of inconceivable magnitude” since the early months of 1939. Wiesner claimed that the last Germans had been dismissed from their jobs without the benefit of unemployment relief, and that hunger and privation were stamped on the faces of the Germans in Poland. German welfare agencies, cooperatives and trade associations had been closed by Polish authorities. Exceptional martial-law conditions of the earlier frontier zone had been extended to include more than one-third of the territory of Poland. The mass arrests, deportations, mutilations and beatings of the last few weeks in Poland surpassed anything that had happened before. Wiesner insisted that the German minority leaders merely desired the restoration of peace, the banishment of the specter of war, and the right to live and work in peace. Wiesner was arrested by the Poles on August 16, 1939 on suspicion of conducting espionage for Germany in Poland.[38]

 

The German press devoted increasing space to detailed accounts of atrocities against the Germans in Poland. The Völkischer Beobachter reported that more than 80,000 German refugees from Poland had succeeded in reaching German territory by August 20, 1939. The German Foreign Office had received a huge file of specific reports of excesses against national and ethnic Germans in Poland. More than 1,500 documented reports had been received since March 1939, and more than 10 detailed reports were arriving in the German Foreign Office each day. The reports presented a staggering picture of brutality and human misery.[39]

 

 

W. L. White, an American journalist, later recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people by this time that horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the Germans of Poland.[40]

 

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

 

…I traveled up to the Polish corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.[41]

 

British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on August 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.[42]

 

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

 

Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.[43]

 

On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. This non-aggression pact contained a secret protocol which recognized a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. German recognition of this Soviet sphere of influence would not apply in the event of a diplomatic settlement of the German-Polish dispute. Hitler had hoped to recover the diplomatic initiative through the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact. However, Chamberlain warned Hitler in a letter dated August 23, 1939, that Great Britain would support Poland with military force regardless of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Józef Beck also continued to refuse to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Germany.[44]

 

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

 

The Germans, in offering to negotiate with Poland, were indicating that they favored a diplomatic settlement over war with Poland. The willingness of the Poles to negotiate would not in any way have implied a Polish retreat or their readiness to recognize the German annexation of Danzig. The Poles could have justified their acceptance to negotiate with the announcement that Germany, and not Poland, had found it necessary to request new negotiations. In refusing to negotiate, the Poles were announcing that they favored war. The refusal of British Foreign Secretary Halifax to encourage the Poles to negotiate indicated that he also favored war.[45]

 

French Prime Minister Daladier and British Prime Minister Chamberlain were both privately critical of the Polish government. Daladier in private denounced the “criminal folly” of the Poles. Chamberlain admitted to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that it was the Poles, and not the Germans, who were unreasonable. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt, “frankly he [Chamberlain] is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.” However, neither Daladier nor Chamberlain made any effort to influence the Poles to negotiate with the Germans.[46]

 

On August 29, 1939, the Polish government decided upon the general mobilization of its army. The Polish military plans stipulated that general mobilization would be ordered only in the event of Poland’s decision for war. Henderson informed Halifax of some of the verified Polish violations prior to the war. The Poles blew up the Dirschau (Tczew) bridge across the Vistula River even though the eastern approach to the bridge was in German territory (East Prussia). The Poles also occupied a number of Danzig installations and engaged in fighting with the citizens of Danzig on the same day. Henderson reported that Hitler was not insisting on the total military defeat of Poland. Hitler was prepared to terminate hostilities if the Poles indicated that they were willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.[47]

 

Germany decided to invade Poland on September 1, 1939. All of the British leaders claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Prime Minister Chamberlain broadcast that evening on British radio that “the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe (war in Poland) lies on the shoulders of one man, the German Chancellor.” Chamberlain claimed that Hitler had ordered Poland to come to Berlin with the unconditional obligation of accepting without discussion the exact German terms. Chamberlain denied that Germany had invited the Poles to engage in normal negotiations. Chamberlain’s statements were unvarnished lies, but the Polish case was so weak that it was impossible to defend it with the truth.

 

Halifax also delivered a cleverly hypocritical speech to the House of Lords on the evening of September 1, 1939. Halifax claimed that the best proof of the British will to peace was to have Chamberlain, the great appeasement leader, carry Great Britain into war. Halifax concealed the fact that he had taken over the direction of British foreign policy from Chamberlain in October 1938, and that Great Britain would probably not be moving into war had this not happened. He assured his audience that Hitler, before the bar of history, would have to assume full responsibility for starting the war. Halifax insisted that the English conscience was clear, and that, in looking back, he did not wish to change a thing as far as British policy was concerned.[48]

 

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

 

Ultimately, the mediation effort collapsed, and both Great Britain and France declared war against Germany on September 3, 1939. When Hitler read the British declaration of war against Germany, he paused and asked of no one in particular: “What now?”[49] Germany was now in an unnecessary war with three European nations.

 

Similar to the other British leaders, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, later claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Henderson wrote in his memoirs in 1940: “If Hitler wanted peace he knew how to insure it; if he wanted war, he knew equally well what would bring it about. The choice lay with him, and in the end the entire responsibility for war was his.”[50] Henderson forgot in this passage that he had repeatedly warned Halifax that the Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland were extreme. Hitler invaded Poland in order to end these atrocities.

 

Polish Atrocities Continue against German Minority

 

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

 

The famous Bloody Sunday in Toruń on September 3, 1939, was accompanied by similar massacres elsewhere in Poland. These massacres brought a tragic end to the long suffering of many ethnic Germans. This catastrophe had been anticipated by the Germans before the outbreak of war, as reflected by the flight, or attempted escape, of large numbers of Germans from Poland. The feelings of these Germans were revealed by the desperate slogan, “Away from this hell, and back to the Reich!”[51]

 

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

 

The first victims of the war were Volksdeutsche, ethnic German civilians resident in and citizens of Poland. Using lists prepared years earlier, in part by lower administrative offices, Poland immediately deported 15,000 Germans to Eastern Poland. Fear and rage at the quick German victories led to hysteria. German “spies” were seen everywhere, suspected of forming a fifth column. More than 5,000 German civilians were murdered in the first days of the war. They were hostages and scapegoats at the same time. Gruesome scenes were played out in Bromberg on September 3, as well as in several other places throughout the province of Posen, in Pommerellen, wherever German minorities resided.[52]

 

Polish atrocities against ethnic Germans have been documented in the book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland. Most of the outside world dismissed this book as nothing more than propaganda used to justify Hitler’s invasion of Poland. However, skeptics failed to notice that forensic pathologists from the International Red Cross and medical and legal observers from the United States verified the findings of these investigations of Polish war crimes. These investigations were also conducted by German police and civil administrations, and not the National Socialist Party or the German military. Moreover, both anti-German and other university-trained researchers have acknowledged that the charges in the book are based entirely on factual evidence.[53]

 

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland stated:

 

When the first edition of this collection of documents went to press on November 17, 1939, 5,437 cases of murder committed by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians against men, women and children of the German minority had been definitely ascertained. It was known that the total when fully ascertained would be very much higher. Between that date and February 1, 1940, the number of identified victims mounted to 12,857. At the present stage investigations disclose that in addition to these 12,857, more than 45,000 persons are still missing. Since there is no trace of them, they must also be considered victims of the Polish terror. Even the figure 58,000 is not final. There can be no doubt that the inquiries now being carried out will result in the disclosure of additional thousands dead and missing.[54]

 

Medical examinations of the dead showed that Germans of all ages, from four months to 82 years of age, were murdered. The report concluded:

 

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

 

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

 

By far the most important finding seems to be the proof that murder by such chance weapons as clubs or knives was the exception, and that as a rule modern, highly-effective army rifles and pistols were available to the murderers. It must be emphasized further that it was possible to show, down to the minutest detail, that there could have been no possibility of execution [under military law].[55]

 

The Polish atrocities were not acts of personal revenge, professional jealously or class hatred; instead, they were a concerted political action. They were organized mass murders caused by a psychosis of political animosity. The hate-inspired urge to destroy everything German was driven by the Polish press, radio, school and government propaganda. Britain’s blank check of support had encouraged Poland to conduct inhuman atrocities against its German minority.[56]

 

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland explained why the Polish government encouraged such atrocities:

 

The guarantee of assistance given Poland by the British Government was the agent which lent impetus to Britain’s policy of encirclement. It was designed to exploit the problem of Danzig and the Corridor to begin a war, desired and long-prepared by England, for the annihilation of Greater Germany. In Warsaw moderation was no longer considered necessary, and the opinion held was that matters could be safely brought to a head. England was backing this diabolical game, having guaranteed the “integrity” of the Polish state. The British assurance of assistance meant that Poland was to be the battering ram of Germany’s enemies. Henceforth Poland neglected no form of provocation of Germany and, in its blindness, dreamt of “victorious battle at Berlin’s gates.” Had it not been for the encouragement of the English war clique, which was stiffening Poland’s attitude toward the Reich and whose promises led Warsaw to feel safe, the Polish Government would hardly have let matters develop to the point where Polish soldiers and civilians would eventually interpret the slogan to extirpate all German influence as an incitement to the murder and bestial mutilation of human beings.[57]

 

ENDNOTES

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

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

[3] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 25, 312.

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

[5] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 50.

[6] Ibid., pp. 49-60.

[7] Ibid., pp. 328-329.

[8] Ibid., pp. 145-146.

[9] Ibid., p. 21.

[10] Ibid., pp. 21, 256-257.

[11] Ibid., p. 323.

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

[13] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 333, 340.

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

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

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

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

[18] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 342.

[19] Ibid., p. 391.

[20] Ibid., pp. 260-262.

[21] Ibid., pp. 311-312.

[22] Ibid., pp. 355, 357.

[23] Ibid., pp. 381, 383.

[24] Ibid., pp. 384, 387.

[25] Ibid., p. 387.

[26] Ibid., pp. 388-389.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid., pp. 392-393.

[29] Ibid., pp. 405-406.

[30] Ibid., p. 412.

[31] Ibid. p. 413.

[32] Ibid., pp. 413-415.

[33] Ibid. p. 419. In a footnote, the author notes that a report of the same matters appeared in the New York Times for August 8, 1939.

[34] Ibid., p. 419.

[35] Ibid., p. 414.

[36] Ibid., p. 417.

[37] Ibid., pp. 452-453.

[38] Ibid., p. 463.

[39] Ibid., p. 479.

[40] Ibid., p. 554.

[41] Day, Donald, Onward Christian Soldiers, Newport Beach, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 2002, p. 56.

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

[43] Ibid., p. 509

[44] Ibid., pp. 470, 483, 538.

[45] Ibid., pp. 513-514.

[46] Ibid., pp. 441, 549.

[47] Ibid., pp. 537, 577.

[48] Ibid., pp. 578-579.

[49] Ibid., pp. 586, 593, 598.

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

[51] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 390.

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

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

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

[55] Ibid., pp. 257-258.

[56] Ibid., pp. 88-89.

[57] Ibid., pp. 75-76. 
 
 
 
 
_________________________________________________________________________
 
 
 http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/attachments/polish-armed-forces-second-republic-si-y-zbrojne-ii-rzeczypospolitej-polskiej-1918-1939/327171d1333332484-order-poland-restored-polonia-restituta-general-smigly-rydz.jpg
Poland's  Edward Rydz-Smigly
Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly
 
 
MEET THE MAN WHO STARTED WORLD WAR II
 
 
By Mike King
 
 
 
The ultimate culprits behind the disaster of World War II were the high-level masters of the New World Order crime gang (Rothschild, Rockefeller, Sulzberger, Baruch et al), and their skilled operational henchmen of the political world (FDR, Churchill, Daladier, Stalin et al). By the way, this is the same self-perpetuating crime syndicate that has, in recent years, been agitating for confrontation against Russia and China. Same game, new players, long story.

But the one thing this dirty gang could never have accomplished by themselves was to trigger the actual war. As even the most geographically illiterate Boobus Americanus or Boobus Europithicus should know, neither the US, nor the USSR, and nor the UK shared a common border from which to make mayhem against Hitler's Germany

France does share a border with Germany, but when Hitler permanently renounced any claims to the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region in 1935, a possible flash-point between the two rivals was diffused forever.

Another potential trigger was diffused in 1938 when the Munich Agreement - since dubbed by propagandists and ignoramus parrots alike as "Neville Chamberlain's appeasement"  - fairly settled the German-Czech dispute to the mutual benefit of Czechs, Slovaks and Germans. 

Nor was Germany bound to any dangerous entangling alliances, as it had been prior to World War I when the Reich was committed to fight alongside Austria-Hungary after the Russians and French began mobilizing against that nation.

 

http://www.tomatobubble.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/adolf_hitler630_pxlw.jpg http://www.scalarchives.com/scalapic/170408/b/B006897b.jpg

Hitler's skillful and honest diplomacy resolved the Alsace-Lorraine dispute to France's favor, and the Sudetenland problem to the benefit of all parties. Left: with UK's Neville Chamberlain, Right: with Daladier of France

Unfortunately,neither Daladier nor Chamberlain would be strong enough to hold back the continued pressure from the warmongering factions around and above them.

 
In November of 1938, the U.S. mid-term Congressional elections dealt a crushing blow to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Democrat Party. With America still reeling from the decade-long Great Depression, absent some foreign "crisis", it appeared that the failed two-term President would not be able to seek a third term (He ultimately held office until his death in 1945). It should be noted that at this hard time in American history, prosperous Germany was enjoying full employment, a strong currency, the Autobahn, the Volkswagen, and a happy reconciliation between labor and the entrepreneurial class. But I digress.
 
Even the claims of Jewish persecution in Germany were no longer valid. Though the dominant Jewish elite had in large measure been stripped of high positions in finance, press, government, law and academia, the truth was, the 330,000 Jews who remained in Hitler's Germany were unmolested and actually quite prosperous. Indeed, after anti-Jewish riots broke out following the 1938 Paris murder of a German diplomat by a deranged Polish Jew, it was Hitler himself who, via Goebbels, immediately issued an Emergency Order for the anti-Jewish violence (since exaggerated in scope) to cease.
 
And so, by 1939, the New World Order crime syndicate and the British & French chauvinists had nearly run out of all options and all propaganda pretexts for instigating another war against peaceful and prosperous Germany, as they had done in 1914. The last hopes for starting the war to re-enslave Germany rested on the shoulders of one man, and one man only. His name was Edward Rydz-Smigly -- the criminal fool who started World War II. As is to be expected, his name is virtually unknown outside of Poland. It's high-time this dirty, rotten, ego-maniacal scoundrel gets the posthumous "credit" he so richly deserves.
 
 
 
After Germany was essentially tricked into laying down her arms and surrendering during World War I, its west Prussian territory was carved out, given to the new state of Poland, and, for the most part, "ethnically cleansed" of Germans. The German port city of Danzig was declared a "free city" and forbidden from rejoining Germany. East Prussia remained part of Germany but was left isolated from the mainland. This illogical and immoral configuration, and the anti-German abuses which were to take place within the "Polish Corridor", would serve as the perfect trip-wire for setting off a new war against Germany.
 

A Tale of Two Marshals

Born and known as Edward Rydz, the young army commander served in the Polish legions of Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. He later became one of the leaders of a Polish independence movement that sought to establish a Polish state carved from the Polish majority areas of Austria-Hungary and Russia. Rydz, by appointment of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, became commander of the Polish Military Organization and adopted the 'nom de guerre' of "Smigly" (Fast or Agile). He later added 'Smigly' as an integral part to his surname, which tells us something about his ego. His self-promoting renaming is similar to that of Loseb Jugashvili, who later took the name "Stalin" - Man of Steel.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Pilsudski_and_Rydz-Smigly.jpg

Pilsudski (l) and Smigly-Rydz fought for Polish statehood.

 

As a Brigadier, Smigly commanded armies during the Polish-Soviet War which followed World War I. The treaty which ended that war, the Peace of Riga, divided the disputed territories between the relatively new state of Poland and the new Soviet Union (fka Russian Empire).

Marshal Pilsudski would go on to become Poland's head of State until his death in 1935. It is important to note that Hitler and Pilsudski were on good terms. Pilsudski  had actually congratulated Hitler on winning the 1933 elections, and the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact was signed just 10 months after Hitler came to power. According to the Pact, both countries pledged to resolve their problems through bilateral negotiations and to forgo armed conflict.

Just before his death, Pilsudski re-emphasized that Poland should maintain neutral relations with Germany. The death of Pilsudki proved to be a great loss for Germany - a fact which Hitler himself expressed during the closing days of World War II.

 

 Adolf Hitler attending memorial service of Polish First Marshall Jozef Pilsudski in Berlin, 1935.

1- Hitler attends a Berlin Memorial Service held in honor of Pilsudski, whom he respected greatly.

2- Pilsudski and his Foreign Minister Beck (left) make peace with German Minister for Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, and German Ambassador to Poland, von Moltke.

 

A Dictatorship Without a Dictator

Following Pilsudski's death, Rydz-Smigly became General Inspector of the Armed Forces. From that point on, Smigly was rapidly elevated. In 1936, he was awarded the title of "Second Man in the State after the President", by the Polish prime minister. Later that year, he was promoted to the rank of Marshal of Poland. Smigly's carefully crafted image as Pilsudski's anointed successor alienated many of Pilsudski's supporters, who saw him as a shameless self-promoter.

 

The period of Smigly's rule, 1935–39, was often referred to as "a dictatorship without a dictator". But he lacked the moral authority of the beloved Pilsudski and many Poles were divided over their new de-facto dictator; with more than a few hating him outright. The Smigly regime became increasingly authoritarian. This was illustrated by the creation of the Ozon movement, whose objective was to build a popular mass movement that would transform the tin-pot dictator into "Poland's second great leader" (after Pilsudski himself). Several of Poland's senior politicians made a point of distancing themselves from this phony "grass-roots" cult movement.

 

Smigly-Rydz: always decorated like a Christmas tree and talking big.

 

In addition to being authoritarian, and not all that popular among his own people, the pompous Marshal had grandiose delusions of restoring the old Polish Empire of 1569-1795, in territories which had long since been devoid of Polish inhabitants (Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus, Czechoslovakia and Prussian Germany). To that end, Smigly's gang embarked on a campaign of aggressive intimidation and forced annexation.

Image result for rydz smigly brandenburg

1 & 2 - Dreams of restoring Poland's long gone Empire danced in 'Emperor' Smigly's mind  3 - Nationalist painting, from months before the war started, depicts the Mad Marshal riding triumpantly through the Brandenburg gate in Berlin as he tramples upon German flags.

 

 

Smigly-Rydz Strong-Arms Lithuania & Czechoslovakia

 

In March of 1938, Smigly issued an ultimatum to the tiny Baltic State of Lithuania. Lithuania had refused to have any diplomatic relations with Poland after 1920, protesting the annexation of the Vilnius Region by the new Polish state. The ultimatum demanded that Lithuania  unconditionally agree to establish diplomatic ties with Poland within 48 hours, and that the terms be finalized within two weeks. The establishment of diplomatic relations would mean a  renunciation of Lithuanian claims to the region containing its historic capital, Vilnius.

Tiny Lithuania, preferring peace to war, accepted bully-boy Smigly's ultimatum and conditions. Had Lithuania stood firm, it's quite possible that Stalin would have used the ensuing war as pretext to take the Baltic States (which he eventually did in 1940) and start the 2nd Polish-Soviet war. Such was the recklessness of Marshal Smigly.

Many in the "democratic" West, including, ironically, the anti-German New York Times, expressed dismay over Poland's militaristic bullying of Lithuania; a development  so dangerous that it caused jitters among Wall Street investors. (here) But in the end, it was generally understood that Poland would be needed for bigger things, so the West "held its nose" and tolerated Smigly's antics.
 

Later that same year, Smigly made a similar bold move against the Czech government when he took advantage of the Sudetenland Crisis to demand a portion of Zaolzie and some other smaller areas. The Czechs were powerless to stop the forced annexations. Again, the "democratic" West shook its head in dismay, but held its tongue.

 
  Image result for Polish tanks roll into annexed Zaolzie
 1- Lithuania and Czechoslovakia were both strong-armed by 'Emperor' Smigly.
2- Uninvited, Polish tanks roll into annexed Zaolzie. A few Polish flags are visible, but the people don't seem too excited.
 
  
Smigly the Tyrant Eyes Danzig
 
In addition to the expansionist foreign policy, the Polish military junta was infamous for suppressing ethnic minorities living within its new borders. Indeed, during the 20-year history of the League of Nations, literally hundreds of formal complaints were submitted by German and other ethnic minorities trapped in the stolen lands now controlled by ultra-Nationalist Poland.
 
Image result for danzig germany
 Smigly was not content with the possession and ethnic cleansing of stolen western Prussia. He also wanted control over the beautiful "free city" of German Danzig (today known as Gdansk, Poland) and eventually all of eastern Prussia too.
 
In 1939, supported from "behind the scenes" by elements in the UK, France, and the US (yes, Roosevelt was deeply involved!), Smigly was encouraged to ignore Hitler's sincere and generous proposals for resolving the bizarre and hated partition of Prussia that had caused tension ever since the end of World War I.  At one point, Hitler had even agreed to give up claims to western Prussia in exchange for the return of Danzig and a 1-mile wide highway - railway passage linking Germany to eastern Prussia.
 
Underestimating Germany's resolve, overestimating Poland's power, and foolishly trusting in the western intriguers who were manipulating his bloated imperialistic ego, Smigly ignored Hitler's offers and ratcheted up the abuse of Germans trapped in western Prussia and Danzig. The suffering of the Prussian Germans is not "Nazi propaganda." It is historical fact which the West's "court historians" have purposely edited out of their "Orwellianized" history books.
 
Believing that the western powers were truly behind him, the cowardly Smigly 'stood down' and allowed predominantly Jewish-Bolshevik terror gangs to attack innocent Germans; both within "Prussian Poland" and inside of German border towns as well. These gangs of Red "partisans", as well as other Polish ultra-nationalists, had been salivating at the prospect of triggering a Western "holy war" against Germany ever since 1933.
 https://www.ww2incolor.com/d/28048-7/prst-bl
 The torture-mutilation-massacre at Bromberg occurred just 2 days after the liberating Germans arrived in western Prussia. The brutality of the mass killing gives an indication of the type of abuse that innocent Germans, trapped in Poland, had been suffering while Smigly "looked the other way."
 
 
Again, Smigly coveted the "free city" of Danzig (98% German) and wished to eventually annex all of eastern Prussia. Step by step Smigly plotted the restoration of an empire that was long gone -- an Empire which even his own people didn't want. A man blinded by such ambition was easy pickings for the British -- those undisputed historical masters of foreign intrigue - and also for the cunning Roosevelt and the Jewish operatives that surrounded him.

By August of 1939, Germany had exhausted all efforts to reason with Smigly's gang. Earlier that year, the British and French had even urged Smigly to allow the Soviet Army to march westward, in the event that war should break out with Germany. Smigly refused, stating that: "there is no guarantee that the Soviets will really take active part in the war; furthermore, once having entered Polish territory, they will never leave it".

 

Smigly-Rydz Forces Hitler's Hand

 

On September 1, 1939, after all German attempts to reason with Poland, France and Britain had failed, and after the Polish military, at the urging of Britain, went on full mobilization, the Germans invaded Poland and liberated Danzig. On September 7, along with most of the government, Smigly ran from Warsaw as it came under attack. The immediate counter-attack promised by Poland's French and British "allies" never materialized.

Unbeknownst to the blinded idiot Smigly, the Allies had no such plans and fully expected not only the fall of Poland, but the entry of Stalin's hordes. The Allies only interest was to have an excuse to declare war upon Germany, and then wait for Stalin to attack Germany from the east, necessarily having to pass through Poland. Stalin was indeed ready to pounce on a distracted Poland, but his move against Germany was to be on his time-table, not that of the Allies.

The Allies continued to ignore Hitler's impassioned pleas for peace and would spend the next eight months plotting Scandinavian-based maneuvers and deploying a massive mechanized fighting force in northern France, in anticipation of invading Germany via Belgium and Holland, sometime in the spring of 1940.  

The rest, as they say, is history.

 

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--txFST_68--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/gvgzuobj1vgowuie5knv.jpg  TIME Magazine Cover: Marshal Smigly-Rydz -- Sep. 11, 1939

Once Rydz-Smigly had given Britain and France the phony pretext needed to declare war against Germany, he was given his 15 minutes of fame and then "thrown under the bus."

 

The Allies Abandon Smigly; Stalin Finishes Poland

Smigly's ego-maniacal pipe-dream of a new Polish Empire was further crippled when the opportunistic Stalin attacked Poland from the east on September 17th; an invasion which Britain & France, in spite of their "defense guarantees" to Poland, said nothing about! Having picked a fight with one superpower, Germany; and thus exposing Poland to invasion from another, the Soviet Union; Smigly-Rydz sealed his county's doom. His criminal stupidity enabled the brutal butchers of the Soviet NKVD to round up and execute 10,000 of his Polish Army officers at Katyn Forest.

  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Katyn_massacre.jpg

Had Smigly followed the late Marshal Pilsudski's advice and remained on friendly terms with Germany, the Soviet invasion and the Katyn Forest massacre of his officer corps would never have happened.

 
 
Rather than choosing an honorable punishment for the disastrous folly which he drove Poland into - such as suicide or at least surrendering to the humane Germans - the coward Smigly fled to Romania. Like a true narcissist egomaniac, he deflected any and all blame for the disaster that he and he alone engineered, later stating from his Romanian hideout:
 
"Cost of construction of modest fortifications along our western border was equivalent to 18-month budget of Poland, and at the same time, we were working on fortifications in the East. A modest armament plan was up to 5 billion zlotys. What was I supposed to do? I am not an economist.
 
We began partial mobilization in the spring 1939. The nation hated it, more than 1000 Silesians deserted to Germany. We were unable to keep Poland mobilized for so long, we could not afford it."

Pathetic! Smigly admitted that Poland was ill-equipped for war; that the nation itself did not want war; that the Soviets posed a threat from the East; and that Poland could not afford the cost of war. And yet, he purposely pissed in Hitler's face and eagerly rushed head-long into war anyway!

In defense of the accusation of cowardice in regard to his flight, Smigly issued more prideful excuses:

"They say that I am a coward. I had three options: to surrender, to kill myself, and to be captured. It was impossible to fight, as I had only half a company of soldiers with me. To kill myself meant failure."

"To kill myself meant failure", eh Smigly? That would be like the captain of the Titanic abandoning the ship that he helped to carelessly destroy, sneaking onto one of the limited lifeboats, and later declaring, "To have stayed on the ship would have meant failure." As it went, Captain Smith stayed on the Titanic and is believed to have shot himself as the ship went down.

In light of what Smigly's folly enabled the Soviet butchers to do to his officers at Katyn Forest, the pain of remorse alone should have driven him to suicide; but that's assuming Smigly was any kind of a decent or honorable man. Clearly, he was not.  Smigly-Rydz would return to Poland in 1941 to work with the Polish underground. He was said to have died of "heart failure" just a few weeks later -- or did some of his fellow Poles repay him for his folly and cowardice?

 

Hitler Exposes Smigly

During his speech to liberated Danzig in 1939, Hitler addressed Smigly's folly:

"No power on earth would have borne this condition as long as Germany. I do not know what England would have said about a similar peace solution (Versailles) at its expense or how America or France would have accepted it. I attempted to find a solution - a tolerable solution - even for this problem. I submitted this attempt to the Polish rulers in the form of verbal proposals. You know these proposals. They were more than moderate.

I do not know what mental condition the Polish Government was in when it refused these proposals."

In that same speech, Hitler goes on to speak of Smigly's cowardice:

"The Polish Marshal (Smigly), who miserably deserted his armies, said that he would hack the German Army to pieces."

 And of his cruelty:

"And martyrdom began for our German nationals. Tens of thousands were dragged off, mistreated, and murdered in the vilest fashion. Sadistic beasts gave vent to their perverse instincts, and this pious democratic world watched without blinking an eye."

And of Smigly's willful blindness:

"I have often asked myself: Who can have so blinded Poland? Does anyone really believe that the German nation will permanently stand that from such a ridiculous State? Does anyone seriously believe that?"

The highly decorated and twice-wounded war hero Hitler had this slippery, sleazy, sniveling, self-promoting Smigly clown all figured out!

 

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Hitler-struts-the-streets-of-Danzig.jpg https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/9e/e7/c8/9ee7c8e6612a368f04bc4c2038485bc2.jpg

1- Hitler struts through the streets of Danzig while Smigly hides in Romania. (The Fuhrer is so 'bad-ass', in a good way, isn't he?)    2- The joyous crowds of Danzig greet their liberator.

 

It wasn't merely the fact that Marshal Rydz-Smigly was a tyrannical, imperialist, warmongering weasel that should have made his name infamous. Compounding all of these vices was his abject stupidity. All "Polish jokes" aside, did Smiggy actually believe that Poland could defeat Germany? Really? Evidently so.

Did the Smigster not suspect, that with his hands full fighting Germany, the bestial Stalin might capitalize on the situation and invade from the east? Evidently not.

Did His Royal Smigness not suspect that his British, French, and America "allies" were just using Poland to pick a fight with Germany, only to throw her out like a used-up lemon rind afterwards? Was Smigly not aware of how the Allies seduced the Russian Tsar to fight with them during World War I, only to refuse him asylum when he was overthrown? The Bolsheviks then captured and murdered the Tsar and his entire family.

Was Smigly not aware of how the British, during World War I, encouraged the Arabs to rise up against the Ottoman Turkish Empire, only to renege on promises made to them and then steal Palestine as well?

Ironically, what Smigly was not able to see was, again, very clear to Hitler. In that same Danzig speech, Hitler spoke about how Poland had been played for chumps:

"For these men (British warmongers) Poland, too, was only a means to an end. Because today it is being declared quite calmly that Poland was not the primary thing, but that the German regime is. I always warned against these men. I pointed out the danger that in a certain country such men could rise and unmolested preach the necessity of war - Herren Churchill, Eden, Duff-Cooper, etc.

The circumstances surrounding the outbreak of this unnecessary war haunted Hitler until his dying day. Hours before his suicide, Hitler dictated his final political testament; in which he stated:

 

 "It is untrue that I or anyone else in Germany wanted the war in 1939. It was desired and instigated exclusively by those international statesmen who were either of Jewish descent or worked for Jewish interests.

Three days before the outbreak of the German-Polish war I again proposed to the British ambassador in Berlin a solution to the German-Polish problem—similar to that in the case of the Saar district, under international control. This offer also cannot be denied. It was only rejected because the leading circles in English politics wanted the war, partly on account of the business hoped for and partly under influence of propaganda organized by international Jewry." 

 

The modern "educated" mind, so twisted by 75 years of false propaganda, may find it difficult, if not impossible, to even begin to process such a claim. And yet, an objective analysis of the events of 1939 leads us to the inescapable conclusion that the man was telling the truth!

Image result for hitler reichstag speech

Hitler saw how the Allies were playing Smigly-Rydz for a chump; and spoke publicly about it months before the war had even started. Wasn't Smigly listening?

 

Will History Repeat?

Smigly's imperial folly, criminal negligence, and astonishing stupidity not only doomed Poland, but the world as well. That's what happens when a man is blinded by his ego and his ambitions. Given these true facts about the horrible historical record of the mad Marshal, one would think that, in spite of the conventional misunderstanding of World War II, the Poles would universally hold his memory in contempt. But that is not the case. Marshal Edward Rydz Smigly Park is a large tree-covered public park in Warsaw that honors the memory of the man who not only started World War II at the behest of his western manipulators, but doomed his nation to Soviet conquest, mass killings, and nearly 50 years of Communism.

Honoring Smigly? Really? Come on Poland! Are you flippin' serious?

 

One would also think that Poland learned a valuable historical lesson about 'messin' with super-powers. And yet, the current Polish government, much to the dismay of more than a few Poles, is taking the lead in provoking Putin's Russia on behalf of its EU and US handlers!

How does the old adage go? "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

 

 

 

1- US and Polish troops continue to drill for war against Russia.

2- Brainwashed Poles protest Putin, who, like Hitler, has never threatened them in any way.

3- Polish President Komorowski plays the modern day role of Smigly to Obama's Roosevelt.

 

 

  Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin

 1- Poland to accept US missiles on its soil, eh? Smart move Poland. Smigly-Rydz would be proud.

2- Hitler and Putin - two dynamic leaders who refused to submit to The New World Order, what Putin calls 'The Unipolar World'

 

 

____________________________________________________________

 

 

German Propaganda Archive

 

 

Calvin University

Line

Background: This is the booklet accompanying a 1942 exhibition on the Soviet Union, organized by the Nazi Party’s propaganda office. The brochure is 48 pages with numerous black and white photographs of the exhibition. I translate only a part of it here, and include five of the photographs. The Nazis put out a “documentary film” with the same title that supplemented the exhibition. A version of that film with English subtitles is available from International Historic Films.

 

The source: Das Sowjet-Paradies. Ausstellung der Reichspropagandaleitung der NSDAP. Ein Bericht in Wort und Bild. Berlin: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1942. The German original is available here.


The Soviet Paradise

An Exhibition of the Nazi Party Central Propaganda Office


As early as 1934 the Reichspropagandaleitung of the NSDAP organized an exhibition from the available written and visual material. Its goal was to inform the German people about the dreadful conditions in the Soviet Union.

 

Booklet CoverThe exhibition’s organizers often had the feeling that their portrayal of conditions in the Soviet Union was far from accurate. This feeling has since been confirmed — but in an entirely different manner than expected. Everything that had been said about Bolshevism before the outbreak of the war with the Soviet Union has been thrown into the shadows by reality. Words and pictures are not enough to make the tragedy of Bolshevist reality believable to Europeans. This agrees with what our soldiers repeatedly say. It is impossible to portray conditions in the Soviet Union without oneself having seen and experienced them.

 

The idea therefore was to provide German citizens with an exhibition based on everyday life under Bolshevism in order to show them the misery of life there. A number of expeditions to areas held by our troops were made to gather the necessary original material for the exhibition.

 

Millions of visitors have received an accurate picture of the misery of life under Bolshevism through the numerous original items. Experts, above all our soldiers, still agree that even this exhibition does not give a full picture of the misery and hopelessness of the lives of farmers and workers in the “Soviet Paradise.”

 

“The Riches of the East.”

[This section discusses the Soviet Union’s natural resources.]

The Germanic Settlement in the East.

[This section discusses German migrations to the east.]

Marxism and Bolshevism — The Invention of Jewry. Early on, Jewry recognized unlimited possibilities for the Bolshevist nonsense in the East. This is supported by two facts:

 

1. The inventor of Marxism was the Jew Marx-Mordochai;

 

2. The present Soviet state is nothing other than the realization of that Jewish invention. The Bolshevist revolution itself stands between these two facts. The Jews exterminated the best elements of the East to make themselves the absolute rulers of an area from which they hoped to establish world domination. According to the GPU’s figures, nearly two million people were executed during the years 1917 to 1921. A direct result of the revolution was the terrible famine that demanded 19 million victims between 1917 and 1934. Over 21 million people lost their lives though this Jew-incited revolution and its consequences.

 

The Facade of Bolshevism

 

The bloody attacks of Bolshevism into Europe were always accompanied by wild agitation that claimed that the Soviet Union was the “paradise of farmers and workers.” In reality this was propaganda, and all the cultural, social and technical advances that Bolshevism claimed were nothing but a deceptive facade that concealed the gray misery of daily life under Bolshevism. This is illustrated in the next room of the exhibition. In its center, there is an original Bolshevist monument mass produced from plaster on a wood frame. One was found in every city. Because of their poor quality they quickly began crumbling, a true example of Bolshevist culture. Such monuments intensify the dirty and miserable atmosphere that all Soviet cities share, interrupted only by a few prestige buildings that display technical weaknesses. They are built for propaganda purposes, and to deceive travelers from abroad.

 

These facades, built only for propaganda reasons, are the mark of all Bolshevist cities. Model streets in the American style are filled with huge buildings with a thousand deficiencies, which mock the miserable workersOld and New Buildings who are forced even after 25 years of Bolshevist culture to live gray and joyless lives.

 

The contrast between government buildings and the general wretched housing is the same as the difference between military production and those things that are necessary for daily life. The enormous military expenditures dwarf those of all other nations, but everyday goods are of wretched quality. The war is not responsible for the population’s lack of cups and saucers, furniture and beds, the most basic decorative items such as curtains or inexpensive carpets, not to mention the most necessary items of clothing. Such things are just as expensive as foodstuffs. A generous estimate of the weekly average wage of a worker is 100-125 rubles. Here are the costs:

 

1400 rubles for a suit

360 rubles for a pair of shoes

24 rubles for a kilo of butter

22 rubles for a kilo of meat

Those were the peacetime prices in the USSR, which does not however mean that such things could actually be bought. Bad bread and potatoes were the almost exclusive diet of the miserable population during the Bolshevist system’s 20 years of peace.

 

The glaring contrast between the between the splendid weaponry and the deep poverty of the people is clear from the living conditions Overcrowded Housingin Moscow, which by the way are neither better nor worse than those in other Bolshevist cities. Conditions were not particularly good even before the war in 1913. But by 1928 four people lived in the average room, and six by 1939, independent of whether or not they were related. All usable rooms are jammed full. Normal dwellings of the kind we are used to in Germany are unknown. Each room is a kitchen, living room, and bedroom for its inhabitants. If one looks for those responsible for these miserable conditions, one always finds Jews. Is it not interesting that the word “anti-Semite” is the worst thing one can be accused of in the Soviet state, for which one all too easily is sentenced to forced labor or death? A look at the statistics on the Jewdification of high offices in the Soviet Union makes everything clear.

 

Nearly all the ministries, which the Bolshevists call “people’s commissions,” are controlled by the Jews.

 

Further proof that the Soviet state belongs to the Jews is the fact that the people are ruthlessly sacrificed for the goals of the Jewish world revolution. Besides the notorious Stachanov system, women are systematically degraded to labor slaves. Even during peace, women increasingly worked even in the hardest jobs such as coal mining and the smelting industry.

 

A further fact makes clear to the expert that the Jews are behind Soviet industrial structure: The Woroschilov factory in Minsk was supposed to produce 650 machines tools with a value of 81 million rubles annually. Given the nature of Jewish thinking, the decisive thing was the total value of the production. Because of a lack of experts, tools, and parts the factory produced only 480 machine tools with a value of 59.2 million rubles. To fulfill the plan, the factory managers secretly built a boiler-maker in the back, which produced goods sold at black market prices. This made up for the difference of 22 million rubles. The plan was thus met with production of 81 million rubles, even though 170 too few machines were produced.

 

The Soviet Army — A Terrible Threat to Europe.

 

Ever since the murder of the Tsar, the Jewish-Bolshevist ruling clique in Moscow has planned the annihilation of Europe. All raw materials and the whole labor force were exploited ruthlessly to meet this goal. Foreign specialists and engineers were brought in to make up for the domestic failings. Production figures that astonished the entire world resulted. This became evident in the Wehrmacht’s figures on captured war booty.

 

The Soviet Threat180,000,000 people had to work under the most brutal and primitive conditions solely for armaments production. That is the explanation for the unimaginable amount of Bolshevist weaponry, most of which has been destroyed or captured in the great battles of annihilation of the Eastern campaign.

 

This vast armory was intended to help Jewry overrun Europe. In preparation, Bolshevism had prepared its positions in Finland, the Baltic, Poland, and Bessarabia. These were the bases from which the decisive blows would be struck against the West.

 

The vast extent of this weaponry, some of which still exists, is perhaps best shown by the booty of the great encirclement battles of 1941 and the winter battles: 25,000 tanks, 32,000 heavy guns, and 16,000 airplanes were captured or destroyed, and over 4,000,000 prisoners were taken.

 

Classes in a Classless State

 

Bolshevism preached that there would of course be no classes in its paradise, since only the proletariat would remain after the elimination of the former ruling class. The emptiness of the claim is obvious to any unprejudiced observer, who can see the degrees of slavery among the population. The Jewish ruling class and its lackeys are at the top, then the masses of factory workers in the cities. A deep chasm separates them from the totally impoverished collective farmers. Bolshevism intentionally created these great differences for two reasons:

 

1. To lure the masses to the cities to support the Bolshevist armaments program;

 

2. To give the workers the impression that they are better off than the farmers and to deceive them into believing that their primitive and miserable life is wonderful in comparison to that of the collective farmers. The workers do not and cannot know that by our standards their existence is wretched, since they are hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world. Beside the workers and the collective farmers, there are two classes without any rights at all: the members of the former intelligentsia and the middle class, who are not of proletarian descent. There are also forced laborers, who are used as cheap and defenseless slaves in the vast uncultivated regions. Millions of them die as the result of bad food, poor accommodations and hard work.

 

The GPU — The Terror Instrument of Jewish Bolshevism

 

The brutal terror Bolshevism exercises through the GPU is perhaps the best answer to the frequent question of why the Bolshevists fight so bitterly at the front. 25 years of terror have produced a gray and broken mass who silently follow orders because that is their only way to remain alive. Resistance means death, often the death of the entire family. The bestial terror regime of the Jewish GPU is best seen in the sadistic methods of torture used against supposed “enemies.”

 

The exhibition includes an execution cell from a GPU dungeon. According to a captured commissar, nearly 5,000 people were shot by the GPU in five years behind its iron bars.

 

The cell is tiled. The condemned were brought to the cell and shot in the back of the neck. The corpses were moved to the side and sprayed with a hose to wash away the blood. A fan provided fresh air so that the next victim would not faint from the blood, because he was to remain conscious until the last moment.

 

Another narrow cell was used to secure confessions. Prisoners were forced to kneel for hours. If they stood up they hit the ceiling and set off an alarm, and a spotlight was aimed toward them. If they sat on the small seat they got an electric shock that forced them off. A wooden prong on the door pressed against their stomachs.

 

The worst of all terror institutes of the GPU are the forced labor camps in which millions of innocent victims die every year. Only rarely do they know why they were taken from their families and jobs to work in the icy wastes of Workuta or any of the numerous other labor camps. Most of them are there only because free labor was needed somewhere in the wilderness. No one cared about them. They were shipped there under the principle: “People? We have enough of such trash.”

 

The unhappy victims, condemned with or without cause, follow a miserable path from which death is the only real escape.

 

It begins with a spy, often a member of one’s own family. One night the GPU knocks on the door and takes its victim. Put in narrow cells, worn out by endless interrogations. and finally forced to confess by the usual methods of torture, with or without a verdict, they are transported to forced labor camps with inadequate food, often in the bitter cold. Many die on the way. In the forced labor camps themselves, they are stuffed into small barracks. The pitiful food ration depends on the amount of work done. It is never enough, and the hard work soon leads to exhaustion. The smallest offense is punished severely by a spell in an ice cell. Continual overwork, bad food, and the lack of sanitary facilities soon lead to serious illness. The sick forced laborers are put on starvation rations to speed their deaths, for the GPU has no interest in weak workers. They must be disposed of as quickly as possible.

 

Very few forced laborers return to freedom. Kajetan Klug was one of them. He was a leader of the Marxist Defense League in Linz. After the unsuccessful insurrection of February 1934, he had to flee the revenge of the Dolfuß regime. His route led him through Czechoslovakia to the land of his dreams, the “Paradise of Farmers and Workers.” In Moscow he took over the leadership of the Austrian emigrants and became a party member. But he soon learned the misery of the workers and farmers. When he openly criticized these conditions, he was accused of espionage. He was arrested, tortured, acquitted, and finally condemned with no proof to 5 years of forced labor in Central Asia. The wintry wasteland of Workuta finally opened his eyes to the real nature of the “Paradise of Farmers and Workers.” A few days before the beginning of the war with the Soviet Union, he succeeded in escaping to the German embassy. Along with the embassy personnel, he was able to reach Germany.

 

The Misery of the Collective Farmers

[This section discusses life on collective farms.]

 

The Life of the Worker in the Soviet Paradise

 

Wherever one looks there is poverty, misery, decay, and hunger. This true both of the countryside and the cities. The atmosphere of Bolshevist cities, too, is grim and depressing.

 

The exhibition here, all the experts agree, is particularly genuine. It always astonishes, for the simple reason that the terrible things it makes visible are real. Here is a Bolshevist culture park, with its mass produced sculptures that cannot endure the weather because of their poor quality. They add to the atmosphere of general atmosphere of decay that all cities in the land of the Bolshevists share. There, just as it was originally, is a collapsing barracks, a so-called home for students, standing in the shadow of a university built on the American model. Its wretched inhabitants at least have a good view of the prestige buildings. From a distance, one cannot see that the quality of every aspect of the buildings is wretched.

 

The interior of the dormitory corresponds to its exterior. Broken chairs, a damaged bed with torn coverings, a shabby ceiling, a few propaganda posters and books, an old curtain: That is the room of the dormitory leader. As many as eleven less fortunate inhabitants are packed into the other rooms. A washroom for 63 students, without running water, is next to the dormitory leader’s room.

 

Look into any side street. A dark hole of a shop with the most primitive things: paper clothing (in peace time!), bread, a few cans and bottles. A modest supply of everyday items. It is a government shop. It is governmental because there are no shopkeepers in the Soviet “paradise,” at least in our sense. Nor are there any craftsmen or independent merchants, since private property has been abolished. Next door there is the workshop of a private cobbler, an exception to the usual ban on private property, since he works on his own and is not a member of the normal collective. Still, high taxes take a large part of his modest income, which is hardly enough to provide for himself and his family.

 

Hidden behind a pile of garbage in a courtyard in the center of Minsk is a restaurant, also a state enterprise. It is miserably equipped. The guests need to bring their own eating utensils. Such items are rare enough so that they would otherwise be stolen. And this is not a place for the poor. It is frequented by managers and government officials. The manager has a special room for his favored guests with several shabby upholstered chairs. The food itself comes from a factory and is always the same, which led to constant complaints in the comment book. And that in peace time!

 

Alongside the prestige buildings of the university, there are numerous wretched workers’ dwellings. One of them was removed to be part of the exhibition along with all its furnishings. Six families lived here. Each had a single room that served as bedroom, kitchen, and storage room. There was no running water, and the women all agreed that things were so crowded they could never get things in order. Still, they thought these were good rooms since at least they were dry and warm. Many of their comrades lived in wet basements, in caves, or had no roof over their head at all, since the city government did not worry about the many homeless. Everywhere there was desolation and apathy.

 

Even worse than all this misery is the complete disruption of family life, indeed the beginning of its complete elimination. The exhibition includes one of those offices where marriages are performed for a charge of 50 rubles, without any need for documents. There are countless cases in which men and women have been married numerous times, without ever getting divorced from their previous spouses. The reason is that papers are rarely checked carefully.

 

The result of such terrible disruption of marriages and families must inevitably lead to complete misery and decay of the youth. The exhibition shows this by the example of the Besprisornys. These gangs of boys from 4 to 15 rob and steal to support themselves. They live in collapsing buildings and caves. According to people in Minsk, a city of 300,000, there are 3,000 such orphaned children. These deserted children say that they never knew their fathers or mothers, and have no names. They do not know how old they are. One such Besprisornys gang was captured and put in a German orphanage. Their clothing is on mannequins that give a realistic picture of how these unfortunate children lived in complete misery in the “Soviet Paradise.”

 

Many displays give a picture of everyday life in the Soviet Paradise. A doctor’s office deserves special notice. It gives the lie to all the Bolshevist propaganda about the “exemplary social condition” in the Soviet Union. As a result of the abolition of private property, the doctor is a poorly paid state employee earning 400 rubles a month. She has three rooms, one of which she lives in, one a waiting room, and one the treatment room. The medicines and equipment, the operating table and everything else are unbelievably primitive and do not meet even the minimum hygienic standards. This doctor had 30,000 people to care for, many of whom lived more than a day’s travel from her office.

 

“Europe Enters”

Wretched HousingPoverty, misery, decay, hunger, and need wherever one looks: That is the Soviet paradise that our soldiers experience every day, and that millions of exhibition visitors encountered in many original displays that give them a genuine picture of the so loudly praised social accomplishments of the Jewish-Soviet state. He who has seen the exhibition understands the historic conflict in which we are now engaged, a conflict in which there can be no compromise. There are only two possible outcomes: Either the German people will win and ensure the survival of the world and its culture, or it will perish and all the peoples of the world will fall into the barbarism of the Soviet state that has reduced millions to powerless starving slaves.

 

To stop that from happening, the best elements of Europe are fighting under German leadership at the side of our soldiers to destroy the fateful threat to the life and culture of Europe. Our battle is to free the East, along with its vast and inexhaustible riches and agricultural resources, and to save Europe from the nightmare that has threatened it for millennia. In the words of the Führer:

 

“In defeating this enemy, we remove a danger from the German Reich and all of Europe more severe than any it has faced since the Mongol hordes swarmed across the continent.” 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 


 

 

Why Germany Invaded the Soviet Union

By John Wear

 

Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 is widely interpreted by historians as an unprovoked act of aggression by Germany. Adolf Hitler is typically described as an untrustworthy liar who broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact he had signed with the Soviet Union. Historians usually depict Josef Stalin as an unprepared victim of Hitler’s aggression who was foolish to have trusted Hitler.[1] Many historians think the Soviet Union was lucky to have survived Germany’s attack.

 

This standard version of history does not incorporate information from the Soviet archives, which shows that the Soviet Union had amassed the largest and best equipped army in history. The Soviet Union was on the verge of launching a massive military offensive against all of Europe. Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union was a desperate preemptive attack that prevented the Soviet Union from conquering all of Europe. Germany was totally unprepared for a prolonged war against an opponent as powerful as the Soviet Union.       

    

Viktor Suvorov, a former Soviet military-intelligence operative who defected to the United Kingdom in 1978, wrote a research paper titled “The Attack of Germany on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941” while he was a student at the Soviet Army Academy. Suvorov explained his interest in the subject by saying he wanted to study how Germany prepared for the attack so that a horrible tragedy of this kind would never happen again. The topic of Suvorov’s research was approved, and he was given access to closed Soviet archives.[2]

 

Suvorov discovered in the Soviet archives that the concentration of Soviet troops on the German border on June 22, 1941 was frightful. If Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union would have easily conquered all of Europe. German intelligence correctly saw the massive concentration of Soviet forces on the German border, but it did not see all of the Soviet military preparations. The real picture was much graver even than Germany realized. The Red Army in June 1941 was the largest and most-powerful army in the history of the world.[3]

 

Suvorov writes in his book The Chief Culprit that Hitler launched his invasion of the Soviet Union without making reasonable preparations for the invasion. Hitler realized that he had no choice but to invade the Soviet Union. If Hitler had waited for Stalin to attack, all of Europe would have been lost.[4]

 

Suvorov also writes that both German and Soviet forces were positioned for attack on June 22, 1941. The position of the divisions of the Red Army and the German army on the border mirrored each other. The airfields of both armies were moved all the way up to the border. From the defensive point of view, this kind of deployment of troops and airfields by both armies was suicidal. Whichever army attacked first would be able to easily encircle the troops of the other army. Hitler attacked first to enable German troops to trap and encircle the best units of the Red Army.[5]   

 

The German army quickly captured millions of Soviet soldiers after its invasion of the Soviet Union. Hitler soon looked for help in feeding these captured Soviet POWs.     

 

Stalin’s Betrayal of Soviet POWs

 

The Soviet Union was not a party to The Hague Conventions. Nor was the Soviet Union a signatory of the Geneva Convention of 1929, which defined more precisely the conditions to be accorded to POWs. Germany nevertheless approached the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) immediately after war broke out with the Soviet Union to attempt to regulate the conditions of prisoners on both sides. The ICRC contacted Soviet ambassadors in London and Sweden, but the Soviet leaders in Moscow refused to cooperate. Germany also sent lists of their Russian prisoners to the Soviet government until September 1941. The German government eventually stopped sending these lists in response to the Soviet Union’s continued refusal to reciprocate.[6]

 

 Over the winter Germany made further efforts to establish relations with the Soviets in an attempt to introduce the provisions of The Hague and Geneva Conventions concerning POWs. Germany was rebuffed again. Hitler himself made an appeal to Stalin for prisoners’ postal services and urged Red Cross inspection of the camps. Stalin responded: “There are no Russian prisoners of war. The Russian soldier fights on till death. If he chooses to become a prisoner, he is automatically excluded from the Russian community. We are not interested in a postal service only for Germans.”[7]

 

British historian Robert Conquest confirmed that Stalin adamantly refused to cooperate with repeated German attempts to reach mutual agreement on the treatment of POWs by Germany and the Soviet Union. Conquest wrote:

 

When the Germans approached the Soviets, through Sweden, to negotiate observance of the provisions of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war, Stalin refused. The Soviet soldiers in German hands were thus unprotected even in theory. Millions of them died in captivity, through malnutrition or maltreatment. If Stalin had adhered to the convention (to which the USSR had not been a party) would the Germans have behaved better? To judge by their treatment of other “Slav submen” POWs (like the Poles, even surrendering after the Warsaw Rising), the answer seems to be yes. (Stalin’s own behavior to [Polish] prisoners captured by the Red Army had already been demonstrated at Katyn and elsewhere. German prisoners captured by the Soviets over the next few years were mainly sent to forced labor camps.)[8]

 

The ICRC soon became aware of the Soviet government’s callous abandonment of their soldiers who fell into German hands. In August 1941, Hitler permitted a Red Cross delegation to visit the German camp for Soviet POWs at Hammerstadt. As a result of this visit, the Red Cross requested that the Soviet government permit the delivery of food parcels to the Soviet POWs. The Soviet government adamantly refused. It replied that sending food in this situation and under fascist control was the same as making presents to the enemy.[9]

 

In February 1942, the ICRC told Molotov that Great Britain had given permission for the Soviet Union to buy food for captured Soviet prisoners in her African colonies. Also, the Canadian Red Cross was offering a gift of 500 vials of vitamins, and Germany had agreed to collective consignments of food for POWs. The Red Cross reported: “All these offers and communications from the ICRC to the Soviet authorities remained unanswered, either directly or indirectly.” All other appeals by the ICRC and parallel negotiations undertaken by neutral or friendly nations met with no better response.[10]   

 

The Soviet refusals to accept aid came as a surprise to the Red Cross, which had not read Stalin’s Order No. 270 published on August 16, 1941. This order stated in regard to captured Soviet POWs:

If…instead of organizing resistance to the enemy, some Red Army men prefer to surrender, they shall be destroyed by all possible means, both ground-based and from the air, whereas the families of the Red Army men who have been taken prisoner shall be deprived of the state allowance and relief.

The commanders and political officers…“who surrender to the enemy shall be considered malicious deserters, whose families are liable to be arrested [the same] as the families of deserters who have violated the oath and betrayed their Motherland.”[11]

 

Order No. 270 reveals Stalin’s great hatred for Soviet soldiers captured by German forces. It also reveals the danger to innocent children and relatives of Soviet POWs. Hundreds of thousands of Russian women and children were murdered simply because their father or son had been taken prisoner. Given Stalin’s attitude, the German leaders resolved to treat Soviet prisoners no better than the Soviet leaders were treating captured German prisoners.[12]

 

Mortality of Soviet POWs 

 

The result was disastrous for surrendered Russian soldiers in German camps. Captured Red Army soldiers had to endure long marches from the field of battle to the camps. Prisoners who were wounded, sick, or exhausted were sometimes shot on the spot. When Soviet prisoners were transported by train, the Germans usually used open freight cars with no protection from the weather. The camps also often provided no shelter from the elements, and the food ration was typically below survival levels. As a result, Russian POWs died in large numbers in German camps. Many Russian survivors of the German camps described them as “pure hell.”[13]

 

One German officer described the conditions for captured Soviet POWs in the German camps:

 

The abject misery in the prisoner-of-war camps had now passed all bounds. In the countryside one could come across ghost-like figures, ashen grey, starving, half naked, living perhaps for days on end on corpses and the bark of trees…I visited a prison camp near Smolensk where the daily death rate reached hundreds. It was the same in transit camps, in villages, along the roads. Only some quite unprecedented effort could check the appalling death toll.[14]

 

By one estimate, 5,754,000 Russians surrendered to German forces during World War II, of whom 3.7 million died in captivity.[15] Another source estimates that 3.1 million Soviet POWs died in German captivity. The starvation of Russian soldiers in German camps stiffened the resistance of the Red Army, since soldiers would rather fight to the death than starve in agony as German captives. As knowledge of German policies spread, Timothy Snyder writes that some Soviet citizens began to think that Soviet control of their country was preferable to German control.[16]      

 

The death of millions of Russian POWs in German captivity constitutes one of the major war crimes of the Second World War. However, much of the blame for the terrible fate of these Soviet soldiers was due to the inflexibly cruel policies of Joseph Stalin. A major portion of the Soviet POWs who died from hunger could have been saved had Stalin not called them traitors and denied them the right to live. By preventing the ICRC from distributing food to the Soviet POWs in German captivity, Stalin needlessly caused the death of a large percentage of these Soviet POWs.[17]

 

A Red Army sergeant who was captured by the Germans when he was dug out unconscious from the ruins of Odessa later joined Gen. Andrei Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army. The sergeant, who had been decorated twice, bitterly complained of the Soviet Union’s betrayal of its POWs:

 

You think, Captain, that we sold ourselves to the Germans for a piece of bread? Tell me, why did the Soviet Government forsake us? Why did it forsake millions of prisoners? We saw prisoners of all nationalities, and they were taken care of. Through the Red Cross they received parcels and letters from home; only the Russians received nothing. In Kassel I saw American Negro prisoners, and they shared their cakes and chocolates with us. Then why didn’t the Soviet Government, which we considered our own, send us at least some plain hard tack?.... Hadn’t we fought? Hadn’t we defended the Government? Hadn’t we fought for our country? If Stalin refused to have anything to do with us, we didn’t want to have anything to do with Stalin![18]

 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn also complained of the shameful betrayal of Soviet soldiers by the Russian Motherland. Solzhenitsyn wrote:

 

The first time she betrayed them was on the battlefield, through ineptitude…The second time they were heartlessly betrayed by the Motherland was when she abandoned them to die in captivity. And the third time they were unscrupulously betrayed was when, with motherly love, she coaxed them to return home, with such phrases as “The Motherland has forgiven you! The Motherland calls you!” and snared them the moment they reached the frontiers. It would appear that during the one thousand one hundred years of Russia’s existence as a state there have been, ah, how many foul and terrible deeds! But among them was there ever so multimillioned foul a deed as this: to betray one’s own soldiers and proclaim them traitors?[19]

 

Repatriation of Soviet POWs

 

Stalin’s hatred of Soviet former POWs continued after the war. Stalin publicly warned that “in Hitler’s camps there are no Russian prisoners of war, only Russian traitors and we shall do away with them when the war is over.” Stalin’s position was supported at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, where Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill both agreed to repatriate “without exception and by force if necessary” all former Soviet POWs.[20]

 

Many of the Soviet prisoners who were to be repatriated to the Soviet Union after the war begged to be shot on the spot rather than be delivered into the hands of the Soviet NKVD. Other Soviet prisoners committed suicide so as not to be tortured and executed by the Soviets. A shock force of 500 American and Polish guards was required at Dachau to forcibly repatriate the first group of Soviet prisoners to the Soviet Union. What followed is described in a report submitted to Robert Murphy:

 

Conforming to agreements with the Soviets, an attempt was made to entrain 399 former Russian soldiers who had been captured in German uniform, from the assembly center at Dachau on Saturday, January 19 [1946].

 

All of these men refused to entrain. They begged to be shot. They resisted entrainment by taking off their clothing and refusing to leave their quarters. It was necessary to use tear-gas and some force to drive them out. Tear-gas forced them out of the building into the snow where those who had cut and stabbed themselves fell exhausted and bleeding in the snow. Nine men hanged themselves and one had stabbed himself to death and one other who had stabbed himself subsequently died; while 20 others are still in the hospital from self-inflicted wounds. The entrainment was finally effected of 368 men who were set off accompanied by a Russian liaison officer on a train carrying American guards. Six men escaped en route…[21]

 

The report ended: “The incident was shocking. There is considerable dissatisfaction on the part of the American officers and men that they are being required by the American Government to repatriate these Russians…”[22] Thus, for most Soviet POWs, being shot in a German concentration camp was preferable to being tortured and executed on their return to the Soviet Union.

 

A number of Soviet POWs held in British camps also committed suicide rather than being repatriated to the Soviet Union. The British Foreign Office carefully concealed the forced repatriations of Soviet POWs from the British public in order to avoid a scandal.[23]

 

Soviet POWs held at Fort Dix, New Jersey also resorted to desperate measures when informed they were to be repatriated to the Soviet Union. The Russian POWs barricaded themselves inside their barracks. Many of the Soviet POWs committed suicide, while other Soviet POWs were killed fighting the American soldiers attempting to take them to the ship bound for the USSR. The surviving Soviet POWs stated that only the prompt use of tear gas by the Americans prevented the entire group of 154 Soviet POWs from committing suicide.[24]

 

Conclusion   

 

American historian Timothy Snyder writes: “After Hitler betrayed Stalin and ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans starved the Soviet prisoners of war…”[25]

 

Snyder incorrectly states that Hitler betrayed Stalin. Hitler’s preemptive invasion of the Soviet Union prevented Stalin from conquering all of Europe. Hitler’s attack was not for Lebensraum or any other malicious reason. This is why volunteers from 30 nations enlisted to fight in the German armed forces during World War II.[26] These volunteers knew that the Soviet Union, which Viktor Suvorov calls “the most criminal and most bloody empire in human history,”[27] could not be allowed to conquer all of Europe.

 

Snyder also fails to recognize that a major portion of the Soviet POWs who died in German captivity could have been saved had Stalin not called them traitors and denied them the right to live. Stalin prevented the ICRC from distributing food to the Soviet POWs held in German captivity, thereby needlessly causing the deaths of many of these Soviet POWs. Many Soviet POWs who survived German captivity were also brutally tortured and murdered by Stalin when they were repatriated to the Soviet Union after the war.  

 

Notes


[1] For example, see Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, New York: Basic Books, 2010, p. xi.

[2] Suvorov, Viktor, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2008, pp. xviii-xix.

[3] Ibid., p. xxi.

[4] Ibid., pp. 249-250.

[5] Ibid., p. xx.

[6] Tolstoy, Nikolai, Victims of Yalta: The Secret Betrayal of the Allies 1944-1947, New York and London: Pegasus Books, 1977, pp. 33-34.

[7] Ibid., p. 34.

[8] Conquest, Robert, Stalin: Breaker of Nations, New York: Viking Penguin, 1991, p. 241.

[9] Teplyakov, Yuri, “Stalin’s War against His Own Troops: The Tragic Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War in German Captivity,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, July/Aug. 1994, p. 6.

[10] Tolstoy, Nikolai, Victims of Yalta: The Secret Betrayal of The Allies 1944-1947, New York and London: Pegasus Books, 1977, p. 55.

[11] Teplyakov, Yuri, “Stalin’s War against His Own Troops: The Tragic Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War in German Captivity,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, July/Aug. 1994, pp. 4, 6.

[12] Ibid., pp. 6-7.

[13] Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, New York: Basic Books, 2010, pp. 176-177, 179.

[14] Strik-Strikfeldt, Wilfried, Against Stalin and Hitler: Memoir of the Russian Liberation Movement 1941-5, London: Macmillan, 1970, pp. 49-50.

[15] Tolstoy, Nikolai, Victims of Yalta: The Secret Betrayal of the Allies 1944-1947, New York and London: Pegasus Books, 1977, p. 35.

[16] Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, New York: Basic Books, 2010, p. 184.

[17] Teplyakov, Yuri, “Stalin’s War against His Own Troops: The Tragic Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War in German Captivity,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, July/Aug. 1994, p. 6.

[18] Tolstoy, Nikolai, Victims of Yalta: The Secret Betrayal of the Allies 1944-1947, New York and London: Pegasus Books, 1977, p. 41.

[19] Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I., The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Vol. 1) New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974, p. 240.

[20] Tzouliadis, Tim, The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia, New York: The Penguin Press, 2008, p. 244.

[21] Tolstoy, Nikolai, Victims of Yalta: The Secret Betrayal of The Allies 1944-1947, New York and London: Pegasus Books, 1977, pp. 354-355.

[22] Ibid., p. 355.

[23] Ibid., p. 21.

[24] Ibid., pp. 325-326.

[25] Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, New York: Basic Books, 2010, p. 380.

[26] Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, p. 7.

[27] Suvorov, Viktor, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2008, p. 58.

 

 _______________________________________________________________________

 

Germany’s Invasion of Norway and Denmark

 
 
 
 

Great Britain Forced Invasion 

 

Germany had no plans to invade Norway or Denmark when hostilities began that later became known as World War II. Hitler considered it advantageous to have a neutral Scandinavia. On August 12, 1939, in a conversation with Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano, Hitler stated that he was convinced none of the belligerents would attack the Scandinavian countries, and that these countries would not join in an attack on Germany. Hitler’s statement was apparently sincere, and it is confirmed in a directive of October 9, 1939.[1]

 

Hitler eventually became convinced of the need for a preemptive strike to forestall a British move against Norway.  Adm. Erich Raeder in a routine meeting with Hitler on October 10, 1939 pointed out that the establishment of British naval and air bases in Norway would be a very dangerous development for Germany. Raeder said that Britain would be able to control access to the Baltic, and would thus be in a position to hinder German naval operations in the Atlantic and the North Sea. The flow of iron ore from Sweden, which passed via Narvik, Norway through the North Sea, would end, and the Allies would be able to use Norway as a base for aerial warfare against Germany.[2]    

    

In a meeting on December 18, 1939, Hitler let it be known that his preference was for a neutral Norway, but if the enemy tried to extend the war into this area, he would be forced to stop them. Hitler soon had convincing evidence that Britain would not respect Norwegian neutrality. German naval intelligence in February 1940 broke the British naval codes and obtained important and accurate information about Allied activities and plans. The intercepts indicated the Allies were preparing for operations against Norway using the pretext of helping Finland in its defense against the invasion by the Soviet Union underway at the time. The intercepts confirmed Adm. Raeder’s fears about British intentions.[3]     

 

Both Britain and France believed the threat of Germany losing badly needed iron ore would provoke Germany into opening up military operations in Scandinavia. However, Britain and France had somewhat different objectives. Britain believed German operations could be challenged effectively and successfully by the Allies, resulting in quick military victories for the Allies in a war that had stagnated further south on the European Continent. France wanted to open a new front in order to divert German attention and resources from her border. Both Britain and France felt the maritime blockade of Germany would become more effective once Norway was conquered, especially if they succeeded in severing the flow of iron ore to Germany from Sweden. They were willing to accept great military and political risks to this end.[4]    

 

German intelligence reports continued to indicate that the Allies would invade Norway even after peace was concluded between Finland and the Soviet Union. On March 28, 1940, the Germans learned of the decision taken by the Allied Supreme War Council to mine Norwegian waters. A diplomat’s report on March 30, 1940, indicated that the Allies would launch operations in northern Europe within a few days. British mining operations in Norwegian territorial waters began on April 8, 1940. Although no armed clashes with Norwegian forces took place, the British mining operations were a clear violation of Norway’s neutrality and constituted an act of war.[5] The Norwegian government protested against the mine-laying to the British, giving them 48 hours in which to sweep up the mines.[6]

 

Germany’s decision to invade Denmark was based on the strategy of Gen. Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, who concluded that it would be desirable to occupy Denmark as a “land bridge” to Norway. Denmark quickly surrendered to German forces on April 9, 1940.[7]       

 

The German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940 was made to block Britain’s invasion of Norway, not unlike the Allies’ subsequent invasion of Iceland to block such a move by the Germans. The Germans achieved most of their objectives in what must be viewed as a stunning military success. The occupation of Norway complicated British blockade measures and kept open the door to the Atlantic for possible interference with British supplies coming from overseas. The air threat to Germany by a British presence in Norway was also avoided, as was the possibility of Sweden falling under the control of the Allies. Most importantly, Germany’s source of iron ore was secure, and the German navy was able to skirt some of the limitations that otherwise might have been imposed on it by geography.[8]

 

British hopes that quick victories could be achieved by enticing the Germans into an area where they would confront enormous British naval superiority were not realized. The hoped-for British victory in Norway turned into a humiliating defeat. The French objective of reducing the threat to her homeland by opening a new theater of war was also not achieved. A protracted war in Norway and the consequent drain on German resources did not materialize.[9]

 

U.S. military historian Earl F. Ziemke wrote: “As an isolated military operation the German occupation of Norway was an outstanding success. Carried out in the teeth of vastly superior British sea power, it was, as Hitler said, ‘not only bold, but one of the sauciest undertakings in the history of modern warfare.’ Well planned and skillfully executed, it showed the Wehrmacht at its best...”[10]

 

The only major advantage to the Allies was a hardening of public opinion against Germany in neutral countries, especially in the United States.[11] American physicist Robert Oppenheimer spoke for many Americans when he said, “We have to defend Western values against the Nazis.”[12] Most people did not know that Germany’s invasion of Norway and Denmark had been made to preempt Allied military initiatives of quite the same nature in Norway.

 

Confirmation by Establishment Historians

 

The preemptive nature of Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway has been acknowledged by some establishment historians. For example, historian David Cesarani, who said he did not believe in freedom of speech regarding the so-called Holocaust,[13] wrote:

 

The campaign in the west was triggered by a British naval incursion into Norwegian waters in February 1940. In an attempt to limit iron ore imports to Germany, the British next mined Norwegian sea lanes and landed troops at Trondheim. On 9 April [1940], Hitler responded by launching an invasion of Norway and ordered the occupation of Denmark. The Danes capitulated within a day, but land battles in Norway and naval engagements continued for eight weeks until Allied troops were evacuated.[14]

 

History is written by the (ultimate) victors, and the (ultimate) victors, like all victors, did everything possible to make their actions in World War II look good. As Winston Churchill famously stated in the late 1940s, “History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.”[15]

 

However, even Winston Churchill acknowledged British complicity in Germany’s invasion of Norway. Churchill wrote:

 

On April 3, the British Cabinet implemented the resolve of the Supreme War Council, and the Admiralty was authorized to mine the Norwegian Leads on April 8. I called the actual mining operation “Wilfred,” because by itself it was so small and innocent. As our mining of Norwegian waters might provoke a German retort, it was also agreed that a British brigade and a French contingent should be sent to Narvik to clear the port and advance to the Swedish frontier. Other forces should be dispatched to Stavanger, Bergen, and Trondheim, in order to deny these bases to the enemy.[16]

 

Churchill wrote that Britain implemented these military activities:

 

The Norwegian Government was…chiefly concerned with the activities of the British. Between 4:30 and 5 A.M. on April 8, four British destroyers laid our minefield off the entrance to West Fiord, the channel to the port of Narvik. At 5 A.M. the news was broadcast from London, and at 5:30 a note from His Majesty’s Government was handed to the Norwegian Foreign Minister. The morning in Oslo was spent in drafting protests to London.[17]

 

Churchill thus acknowledged that Britain was illegally mining Norwegian waters. Germany’s invasion of Norway was designed to preempt Britain’s military activities in Norway.

 

Norwegians Suffer from Invasion

 

The campaign in Norway lasted 62 days and unfortunately resulted in a substantial number of casualties. Most sources list about 860 Norwegians killed. Another source estimates the number of Norwegians killed or wounded at about 1,700, with another 400 civilians estimated to have died during the campaign. Norway also effectively lost her entire navy, and her people experienced increased hardships during Germany’s five-year occupation.[18]

 

Germany during its occupation of Norway sometimes required Norwegians to make sacrifices to help the German war effort. For example, in October 1941 Germany demanded that Norwegians surrender their woolen blankets, jackets, knapsacks, tent outfits, and that all business concerns hand over heavy trousers and other warm clothing. This merchandise was needed by the German troops who were freezing to death in the Soviet Union. Failure to comply could be punished by up to three years’ imprisonment.[19]   

 

Living conditions in Norway became worse as the war progressed. Undernourishment was common because of insufficient and inferior food, which in turn led to an increase in diseases such as pneumonia, diphtheria and tuberculosis. The lack of clothing and shoes was also felt more and more as the war progressed.[20]    

 

The winter of 1944 was particularly harsh in Europe, including Norway, affecting both living conditions and social life. The desperate food shortages and the daily hunt for fuel were the dominant concerns of the Norwegian civilian population. Oslo suffered its harshest winter in generations.[21]

 

The German invasion had a profound effect on Norwegian foreign policies after the war. Instead of returning to a policy of neutrality, Norway embraced collective security and became a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. While Norway never elected to become a member of the European Union, Norwegians still strongly support the traditional security system that came into being after the war.[22]

 

Quisling Executed

 

Leader of Norway’s fascist party Vidkun Quisling, backed by the German occupation authorities, seized control of the Norwegian government shortly after Germany’s invasion of Norway. The news of Quisling’s coup in Norway was welcomed in Berlin, with Hitler recognizing Quisling’s new government immediately. Hitler said to Alfred Rosenberg on the night of April 10, 1940, “Quisling can form his government.”[23]

 

Quisling soon became very unpopular in Norway. He had been making anti-Jewish statements since the 1930s when he condemned both liberalism and Marxism as Jewish creations. In Frankfurt on March 26, 1941, Quisling said in a lecture that Norway had for centuries been increasingly undermined by Jewish influence and subversion. Quisling said that a total of 10,000 Jews and half-Jews were corrupting Norwegian blood like “destructive bacilli”, and he advocated common European legislation against the Jews.[24]

 

Quisling was unpopular among Norwegians for more than his anti-Jewish statements. The press and public opinion in Norway ruthlessly denounced Quisling and his movement as treacherous, and kept attacking him for unwarranted collaboration with the enemy. Before long Quisling’s name replaced the name of Kuusinen as the synonym for a traitor. His name became a byword for traitor in nearly all languages. At the end of the war Quisling was reading reports from the international press about “Japan’s Quisling” and “Russia’s Quisling”.[25]

 

Quisling was tried in Norway after the war before a judicial tribunal of nine members, which included four professional judges and five civilians. Erik Solem, a highly respected judge, served as president of the court responsible for conducting the proceedings. Quisling’s defense attorney raised an objection to Solem’s presiding as judge since Solem had expressed strong opposition to Quisling’s policies during the war. The appellate panel of Norway’s Supreme Court refused to sustain the defense’s challenge, stating that if this objection was applied broadly, there would hardly be anyone in Norway qualified to sit in judgement at the trial.[26]

 

No one had been executed in Norway since 1876, 11 years prior to Quisling’s birth. The death penalty had been removed from the civilian criminal code in 1902 because of the public’s opposition to it. However, the death penalty still remained on the books as part of the military penal code.[27] 

 

Quisling was found guilty by the Norwegian court. To justify the death penalty, the judgement bluntly stated that all of Quisling’s actions from the summer of 1939 onwards were guided by a plan to cooperate with Nazi Germany—a plan consisting of occupation, coup and collaboration. Quisling was executed by a firing squad early in the morning on October 24, 1945.[28]

 

Ten years after Quisling’s trial it was established beyond doubt that Quisling had never played an active role in Hitler’s attack on Norway, as the court had stated in 1945. Quisling’s image as a monster, as maintained by the prosecution, soon gave way to more-human images.[29]

 

Conclusion

 

Other members of Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling Party were arrested after the war. Richard Petrow wrote:

 

The German capitulation brought mass arrests. Thousands of members of the Nasjonal Samling Party were seized, some whose only “crime” had been party membership. By July 1 [1945] Norwegian prisons and concentration camps were filled to overflowing with 14,000 new inmates. By the end of the year more than 90,000 persons were arrested, investigated, or interrogated for wartime activities. More than half this number—46,000—eventually were convicted of wartime offenses…Thirty Norwegian collaborators and 15 Germans were sentenced to death for wartime treason or atrocities.[30]

 

Fortunately, after a few years, Norway was ready to forgive the bulk of its war criminals. By the summer of 1948, parole was granted to all war criminals who had served at least half of their sentences. Norwegians sentenced to life imprisonment were released after serving an average term of eight years and three months. Among those sentenced to death, however, 12 Germans and 25 Norwegians were executed.[31]

 

For many in Norway, the word Quisling is still infamous and synonymous with the word traitor.[32] Most of these Norwegians do not realize that Germany’s invasion of Norway was made to preempt Britain’s invasion of their country.  

 

 

 

Notes

[1] Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, p. 44.

[2] Ibid., pp. 50, 57.

[3] Ibid., pp. 55, 63.

[4] Ibid., p. 80.

[5] Ibid., pp. 34, 85-86, 95-96.

[6] Hoidal, Oddvar K., Quisling: A Study in Treason, Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989, p. 369.

[7] Keegan, John, The Second World War, New York: Viking Penguin, 1990, p. 50.

[8] Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, p. 544.

[9] Ibid., p. 545.

[10] Ziemke, Earl F., The German Decision to Invade Norway and Denmark, CMH Pub. 70-7-02, p. 71.

[11]Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, p. 551.

[12] Bird, Kai and Sherwin, Martin J., American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, New York: Vintage Books, p. 2006, p. 149.

[13] Guttenplan, D. D., The Holocaust on Trial, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001, p. 298.

[14] Cesarani, David, Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2016, p. 294.

[15] Davies, Norman, No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945, New York: Viking Penguin, 2007, p. 487.

[16] Churchill, Winston S., The Second World War: The Gathering Storm, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948, p. 579.

[17] Ibid., p. 589.

[18] Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, pp. 542-543, 545.

[19] Rygg, A. N., American Relief for Norway, New York: Arnesen Press, Inc., 1947, p. 26.

[20] Ibid., p. 27.

[21] Dahl, Hans Frederick, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 319-320.

[22] Lunde, Henrik O., Hitler’s Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940, Philadelphia and Newbury: Casemate, 2010, p. 553.

[23] Dahl, Hans Frederick, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 174-175.

[24] Ibid., pp. 118, 222.

[25] Ibid., pp. 186-187.

[26] Hoidal, Oddvar K., Quisling: A Study in Treason, Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989, pp. 725-726.

[27] Ibid., p. 747.

[28] Dahl, Hans Frederick, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 405, 415.

[29] Ibid., p. 417.

[30] Petrow, Richard, The Bitter Years: The Invasion and Occupation of Denmark and Norway April 1940-May 1945, New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1974, pp. 348-349. 

[31] Ibid., pp. 349-350.

[32] Cohen, Maynard M., A Stand against Tyranny: Norway’s Physicians and the Nazis, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997, p. 279.