Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

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KwK42
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Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by KwK42 » 13 Apr 2022 19:43

Some time ago I had read an article about pre-war relations beetwen Poland and the 3d Reich. It was mentioned that Poland had threatened Germany by declaring of war in case of Danzig anexion. Is this information valid ?

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wm
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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by wm » 14 Apr 2022 16:18

Such direct, undiplomatic language would be highly inappropriate and was never used.
During the long negotiations and numerous meetings, various statements were made.

From the first - Lipski and Ribbentrop, 24 October 1938
the Ambassador [Lipski] stated that he would like to warn von Ribbentrop that he could see no possibility of an agreement involving the reunion of the Free City with the Reich

To the harshest, in the middle of the negotiations. Count Szembek conversation with the German Ambassador, von Moltke, 6 February 1939
At this point I told the Ambassador that there was yet one more factor which Germany should always remember:
The Poles are a nation ready for anything and no reflection could hold them back, they immediately reach for radical measures.
I told the Ambassador that they were probably incited to raise demands of extraterritoriality by their successes with the Czechs. I must state, however, that in the case of the Poles, the matter presented itself completely differently, as the Poles were not Czechs.

Minister Arciszewski to Himmler, 18 February 1939
On this point, Poland's public opinion is at all times ready for a clash.

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Steve
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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by Steve » 14 Apr 2022 17:54

On March 29 Beck told the German ambassador Moltke “if any attempt should be made by Germany to alter the status of the Free City unilaterally, Poland would regard it as a casus belli”

Casus belli means an act that either provokes or justifies a war.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by wm » 14 Apr 2022 18:55

Correctly, it was on March 28.
In response to the earlier Ribbentrop's declaration (that Polish aggression against Danzig would be considered by the Reich Government an act of aggression against Germany) Beck declared that any intervention to change the existing status quo would be considered an act of aggression against Poland.
But still said Poland had no intention of committing any act of violence against Danzig and hoped for a negotiated settlement.

As the confrontation was initiated by the Germans, and it was a tit-a-tat response, it wasn't really a threat - "casus belli" doesn't even exist in the text.

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Steve
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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by Steve » 14 Apr 2022 22:52

My source used the Documents on German Foreign Policy, series D, 1937 -1945. Most of the German Foreign Ministry Archive was captured at the end of the war.

If you follow this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Adolf_von_Moltke and scroll down to Danzig crisis then 3rd paragraph down you will see that it says Casus Belli, if you can’t trust Wikipedia who can you trust. And Wikipedia used a different source than I did.

A lot of people use The Polish White Book published 1940 as a source. It gives the date as the 28th (as does Wiki) but unlike the German diplomatic archive a large part of the Polish archive was destroyed in 1939 if I remember correctly. How much of the Polish White Book was written from memory and how much was taken from the actual records? Whatever, it seems that someone somewhere has written the wrong date.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by wm » 14 Apr 2022 23:59

I've never seen the Polish White Book. The original note, delivered to Moltke was in French (important statements were made in French to avoid misunderstanding) and it says:
Sans insister sur le bien fondé de cette déclaration, au point de vue du droit international, je dois déclarer au nom de mon Gouvernement, que toute intervention du Gouvernement Allemand pour changer le status quo existant à Danzig sera considérée par le Gouvernement Polonais comme une agression contre la Pologne.
As can be seen there is "agression" there but not casus belli.

But the point is the casus belli thing is a dog whistle for the anti-British Nazi conspiracy theory that the British were responsible for the ww2 because they induced the otherwise meek Poles to resist the German demands.
When, in fact, the Poles induced themselves and repeatedly declared (as the Ukrainians like to say today), pardon my French, иди на хуй many months before March 28.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by AriX » 15 Apr 2022 13:32

As I understood, in case of German anexion of Danzig, Poland would fight againg Germany in solitude ? Since it wouldn't be recognized by GB and France as an act of aggresion towards Poland.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by Steve » 15 Apr 2022 22:37

According to my source Beck met Moltke on March 29 and used the term casus belli. In other words he did not send a note by carrier pigeon or whatever he met him face to face.

The source Wikipedia uses for Beck having said casus belli is a book by Samuel J Mitcham - The Rise of the Wehrmacht: The German Armed forces and WW11. On page 173 it says that Beck called in Ambassador Moltke on March 28. Beck said what he wanted to say and during the conversation the words casus belli were used. Moltke replied “do you want to negotiate at the point of a bayonet”.

I would not dispute that as well as the conversation that took place a note was handed over. In the note a rather more diplomatic wording was used. Perhaps Moltke reported the conversation and not the note to Berlin and the Poles only recorded the more diplomatic language in the note and not the conversation.

Arix, the Free City of Danzig was covered in article 2B of the secret protocol. Poland would decide what a threat to its independence was not Britain and France. This was not how Chamberlain had originally envisioned the guarantee but he was pushed into agreeing. The British hoped the Poles would compromise over Danzig but once the guarantee was given it was hopeless.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by wm » 15 Apr 2022 22:57

Although the only source for that is the original Polish document (today known as "AAN, MSZ 108A") published by The Polish Institute of International Affairs in 2005 and nothing else. It was written in French + small parts in Polish.
From the document, the bayonets part:
Ambasador przejęty : Vous voulez négocier au bout des bayonnettes.
Minister : C'est d'après votre système.
Nastepnie Pan Minister wyrazil nadzieję, że linię z r. 1934 da się mimo wszystko utrzymać.

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Re: Did Poland had threatened Germany in 1939 about the consequenses of Danzig anexion ?

Post by wm » 15 Apr 2022 23:04

AriX wrote:
15 Apr 2022 13:32
As I understood, in case of German anexion of Danzig, Poland would fight againg Germany in solitude ? Since it wouldn't be recognized by GB and France as an act of aggresion towards Poland.
The British-Polish Alliance (August 25, 1939) specifically included Danzing as casus belli. And it may be assumed in the earlier guarantee it was included too.
But the Polish leaders decided at least as early as 1938 that in such a case Poland would resist if needed alone.

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