Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by Steve » 09 May 2022 23:09

Léon Noël the French ambassador to Poland was very critical of Beck. On October 25 1938 he sent a fourteen page report to Paris in which he recommended a radical revision of the Franco – Polish alliance. Jan Karski in his book The Great Powers and Poland summarises it on page 236.

“For all practical purposes the ambassador reasoned, Poland had ceased to be an ally. The Franco – Polish alliance, far from becoming an asset to France’s security, has clearly become a dangerous liability. Polish foreign policy, he wrote, was not only anti – French, it was suicidal; before too long Hitler would certainly confront the Poles with demands concerning the Corridor. Since Poland would undoubtedly reject such demands, war might ensue. If this happened, France, because of her alliance with Poland, would have to declare war on Germany “automatically” It was not in France’s interest Noël reasoned, to honour such an obligation. France’s involvement in a war could not depend on people who “almost continuously” supported France’s enemies and whose policies contradicted their own long – range interests. In the event Germany attacked Poland France should have freedom of action. Because the alliance provided for “automatism” the above provision should be formally eliminated and the alliance replaced by a loose “pact of friendship and consultation.”

On October 24 the day before Noël sent his report Lipski had met Ribbentrop and the issue of Danzig was raised. Without British intervention in the Danzig/corridor crisis it seems highly unlikely that France would have honoured its treaty commitment.

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by gebhk » 09 May 2022 23:19

Hi Henryk
The Stacja Muzeum is located at the former Warsaw Główna PKP railway terminus
The whole thing is totally confusing. However, best as I can make out, Stacja Muzeum (a museum and not a railway station, of course) is, according to their website, on the site of the post-war Dworzec Glowny Osobowy (Main Passenger Station). This was opened in 1945 using the facilities of the pre-war freight terminal at Towarowa street - principally because it was one of the few rail facilities which, unlike most, had survived the war relatively undamaged. This however is not the station in question.

The pre-war Dworzec Glowny which was partially opened in 1938, lay alongside the Aleje Jerozolimskie between Marszalkowska and Emilii Plater. The platforms were below ground level, with the three halls located above them. The station was never finished. It suffered a catastrophic fire in June '39, bomb damage in September of the same year and was blown up by the Germans in 1944. After the war the site was levelled in 1947 and then concreted over and paved/lawned in 1952 as part of the Palace of Culture project (it was this project that caused the moving of the main station down the road to the present position of Warszawa Centralna). Using the underground platforms of the old station, the building of a new station - Warszawa Srodmiescie - was commenced in 1955 and opened in 1963 (not to be confused with the Warszawa Srodmiescie WKD on the other side of the Central Station - the terminus of the WKD line (Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa - Warsaw Access Railway: a suburban commuter line which was built and functioned before and during WW2 as the EKD line). Confused? You will be!

However none of these is the station in question either. To confuse matters further, until the Dworzec Glowny could be built, its functions were to be partially fuflfilled by the Dworzec Wiedenski (Vienna Station) located on the corner of Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszalkowska. Partly because it had inadequate capacity and had access to only one line and partly because much of it was slated for demolition to make way for essential trackline developments, a new wooden extension was erected at the back of the Vienna Station in 1920-21 facing onto Chmielna street. According to the Wiki article on the Dworzec Glowny, this wooden structure was formally called the Dworzec Centralny Tymczasowy (Temporary Central Station). However, the entire complex including the Vienna Station and the wooden extension was also, since 1919, formally referred to as the Dworzec Glowny. So take your pick! It is to and from the platforms outside this wooden extension that, judging by the photos, Barthou seems to have arrived/departed.

However that is not the end of it. After the work on the final Dworzec Glowny commenced in 1932, yet another temporary structure was erected in 1933 to the south-west of the first temporary building, facing (I think) onto the Aleje Jerozolimskie and also referred to as part of the Dworzec Glowny. Extending towards Emilia Plater, the platforms for this station were located partly in the tunnels under the new extension and partly in cuttings under open air. Significantly for our topic, a small pavilion was built at the end of these platforms for VIP receptions. I am almost certain that it is in this Pavilion, that Barthou was given the short reception/meet&greet, before he travelled on to the French Embassy on the day of his arrival. The rendered exterior of the buiding he is seen exiting from in a number of photographs, at the conclusion of this reception, are consistent with the design of the new extension.

A lot of the confusion, I suspect, emanates from the fact that most if not all of the entire block framed by Aleje Jerozolimskie, Marszalkowska, Chmielna and Towarowa and even extending beyond Towarowa to the West, was railway estate. This whole area was one massive building site throughout the interbellum, as the authorities struggled (and, to be fair, pretty much suceeded) to sort out the chaotic shambles of mixed gauges, systems and unconnected lines that they inherited from the previous Russian and German managements. Railway lines were ripped up and realligned, new railtrack was laid, buildings were demolished and new ones built - some for permanent others temporary usage. Further confusion for the historian was sown after the war by the planting of the Palace of Culture in the middle of this conglomeration, erasing a lot of the previous topography (such as the section of Chmielna, I think the 1st temporary Dworzec Glowny building faced onto) which makes modern maps not entirely helpful in understanding the sequence of events. To be even-handed, when the Germans occupied Warsaw in August 1915, they renamed the Dworzec Wiedenski: Haupt-Bahnhof Warschau (Main Station Warsaw) only to rename it the following month Wiener Bahnhof (ie back to Vienna Station but now in German). It is not surprising that we amateaur historians can get confused - I am sure the locals weren't allways sure which station they were going to throughout this period either!

If that wasn't enough confusion, work began on the Centralny Dworzec Pocztowy (Central Postal Station) in 1936, at nr 21 Zelazna (corner of Zelazna and Aleje Jerozolimskie, mostly on the site of the old pre WW1 Dworzec Kaliski). Designed for mail transfer, the facilities were opened in 1941. Badly damaged during the Warsaw Uprising, it was only partially rebuilt after WW2 and the last surviving structures were levelled in 2007. The estate, AFAIK, is the property of the Post Office and remains at present a brownfield site while various plans for its exploitation are considered periodically.
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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 09 May 2022 23:40

Steve wrote:
09 May 2022 23:09
If this happened, France, because of her alliance with Poland, would have to declare war on Germany “automatically” It was not in France’s interest Noël reasoned, to honour such an obligation.
As I've said, Noël was an idiot.
I will give anyone who shows me “automatically” in the alliance a brand new Tesla.

Actually, according to the alliance, France didn't even have to declare war, and didn't have to do anything automatically.
As in the case of Czechoslovakia, France had the right to refuse to help (although, as in the case of Czechoslovakia, in a convoluted way.)

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 00:24

I think it would instructive to compare immature Noël's writings with this:
Report of the Ambassador in Paris on French foreign policy following the Munich Conference
Paris, 17 December 1938
CONFIDENTIAL
TO THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN WARSAW.
POLITICAL REPORT No. XL/3

The most important event of this period was, of course, the Franco-German declaration of 6 December 1938, signed in Paris by ministers Bonnet and von Ribbentrop. The desire of the French to improve their relations with Germany after the Munich conference, to at least the same degree as has been done by England through the announcement of the well-known Chamberlain-Hitler communique, was undoubtedly definite and strong.
However, as it now appears, the actual initiative was taken by Chancellor Hitler in his farewell conversation with Ambassador Francois Poncet. On the French side, this initiative was received very well and with obvious satisfaction, even with haste toward immediate implementation.

When the text of the declaration had been finally decided upon, the German government came up with the proposal of von Ribbentrop's visit to Paris. Minister Bonnet immediately accepted this initiative, since, having regard both for the internal situation and for foreign propaganda, he wished to impart to the declaration the most solemn character possible and to create around this event an atmosphere that would result in a deeper détente with the eastern neighbour.

when informing me of his discussions with von Ribbentrop, Minister Bonnet emphasized quite spontaneously that he had pointed out to his German partner the abnormality of both the alliance with us and the pact with Soviet Russia.

The analysis of the actual situation from a purely political standpoint must unfortunately show that neither in the attitude of the government as represented by Bonnet, nor in the statements by parliamentary politicians, nor in the press is there anything to indicate a tendency to impart a vital force to the alliance with us or to treat it today as an instrument of French foreign policy.
In fact, there is no lack of indications that, should France be required, for one reason or another, to fulfil obligations resulting from its alliance with us, the effort to evade these obligations would be undoubtedly larger than the action toward fulfilling them.
...
Summarizing, France considers only the alliance with England as a positive asset; it looks upon the alliance with us and the pact with Soviet Russia as a burden, and thus acknowledges them only unwillingly.
...
As a matter of fact, our situation in France is not the result of any deeper change in the attitude toward us. Although the bitterness dating from the period of the Czechoslovak crisis plays a minor role, the essential factor is to be found in the general attitude of France toward the entire international situation.
Since the Munich conference, France has been in the position of a loser who cannot disengage himself from the enemy pursuing him and is, thus, unable to face a new series of problems. As regards its older international obligations, France is too weak to break them off and equally too weak to acknowledge them with sufficient firmness.
Thus, France remains inert and resigned, adopting in advance a defeatist attitude to all developments in Eastern and Central Europe.
Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 00:32

When the Poles were consistently saying "no" to Ribbentrop, France invited the same Ribbentrop to her bed and was excited about it. What about this pomp and circumstance of glorious appeasement.
Communiqué published at the conclusion of the Franco-German conversations
Paris, December 6, 1938.

THE visit of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich to Paris on December 6, has provided the opportunity for a Franco-German exchange of views over a wide range of questions. In the course of the conversations that have taken place, the principal European problems have been examined, most especially those which have a direct bearing on the political and economic relations between France and Germany. It has been recognized on both sides that the development of the relations between the two countries on the basis of the unequivocal recognition of their frontiers would not only serve their mutual interests, but also constitute an essential contribution towards the maintenance of peace.

In this spirit the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of both countries have signed a declaration which, while reserving the special relations of both Governments with third Powers, expresses their determination to cooperate in a peaceful spirit on a basis of mutual respect, and thus marks an important step on the way to general appeasement.

Declaration of M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs

I WISH first of all to greet H. E. the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the German Reich, whom we are happy to welcome and whose presence here emphasizes the importance of the documents we have just signed.

The efforts of the present French Government, continuing those of all its predecessors, have been directed with unswerving sincerity towards the maintenance and the organization of peace.

The furtherance of good neighbourly relations between France and Germany, as well as the expression of their mutual desire to develop peaceable relations, constitute an essential element in this enterprise.

For this reason I feel gratified at the signing of this Franco-German declaration, which, by solemnly recognizing the existing frontiers, puts an end to a long historical contest and opens the way to a collaboration which is made easier by the conviction that no difference which might endanger the peaceful basis of their relations now exists between the two countries.

This conviction is further reinforced by the mutual appreciation of the value of the intellectual exchanges which have always existed between the two nations, and by the esteem rightly felt for each other by two peoples which, after fighting heroically during the Great War, now desire to work in an atmosphere of understanding and peace.

Furthermore, I have no doubt that this joint declaration will bring to the cause of general appeasement a contribution the value of which will be confirmed in the future; it marks a particularly important stage in the task of reconciliation and cooperation in which France ardently desires to see all nations participate.

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 00:54

Ribbentrop in Paris vs Ribbentrop in Warsaw.



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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 07:09

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by gebhk » 10 May 2022 10:14

Hi WM
Re the pictures you showed in #93: I am fairly sure the top two photos are of the platforms of the Dworzec Wiedenski (Vienna Station), supposedly in 1925. I think the platforms are seen from the direction of Marszalkowska towards Emilia Plater, with the splendid main halls of the Dworzec Wiedenski facing onto Aleje Jerozolimskie to the left. I would guess the dismantling of the Dworzec Wiedenski had not yet commenced at this stage, because the West Tower, the first to go, still appears intact at this point as indeed it did in 1929. The wooden building and its platforms in the third picture (the first temporary extension), was off-camera to the right in the upper two, facing onto Chmielna. However, you are otherwise quite right that the platforms throughout this complex were uncovered at the time.
Yes, Beck hated everybody except Hitler - his true love.
I am sorry but you are quite wrong. Since the condition of the railway station, the size of the honour guard, the number of flowers given and the size and quantity of flags on show in photographs is now the sole accepted metric of political leanings and personal inclinations of the Foreign Minister, Poland's true love was clearly the King of Afghanistan, Ammanulah Khan. Check out the photos of Ammanulah's reception (eg NAC 107-1095-1 on https://audiovis.nac.gov.pl/obraz/251657/).

I can only ask

Why so much hostility to German and French envoys?
Of course Zaleski was pro-Afghani!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Very sorry.

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 14:45

As I understand it, the Vienna Station (below) was renamed the Main Station in 1919.
nieznane-zdjecia-starej-warszawy2.jpg
And in front of it, since 1921, hiding in the mist, there was the Temporary Main/Central Station (officially part of the Vienna Station/Main Station):
budowa_glownego_01_2.jpg
And behind the Temporary Main Station, they were building the new Main Station:
glowny.jpg
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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 10 May 2022 15:06

Steve wrote:
09 May 2022 23:09
Léon Noël the French ambassador to Poland was very critical of Beck.
Indeed, if i read Ciano, or Maiski i see only negative comments about Beck : cold, arrogant, hostile to democracies, somehow stupid etc.
Looks like everyone blames him.

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by Steve » 10 May 2022 15:14

Léon Noël is probably referring to the Locarno Franco Polish guarantee treaty formally signed in London on December 1 1926. The word automatically is not used in the treaty which is probably why Karski used inverted commas to show that it was not his word. However, the word immediate is used with France guaranteeing immediate aid and assistance to Poland if attacked by Germany. Providing aid and assistance to Poland if attacked by Germany could well have dragged France into war with Germany. A war to aid a country that during the Czech crisis had said it was not bound to go to Frances assistance if France declared war on Germany. Obviously this was a poor arrangement for France and Noël was right that France needed to get out of this treaty. From the French point of view Poland had shown which side it was on.

TREATY OF LOCARNO BETWEEN FRANCE AND POLAND

In the event of Poland or France suffering from a failure to observe undertakings arrived at this day between them and Germany, with a view to the maintenance of general peace, France and, reciprocally, Poland, acting in application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, undertake to lend each other immediate aid and assistance, if such a failure is accompanied by an unprovoked recourse to arms. In the event of the Council of the League of Nations, when dealing with a question brought before it in accordance with the said undertakings, being unable to succeed in securing the acceptance of its report by all its members other than the representatives of the parties to the dispute, and in the event of Poland or France being attacked without provocation, France, or reciprocally Poland, acting in application of Article 15, paragraph 7, of the Covenant of the League of Nations, will immediately lend aid and assistance.
https://www.fransamaltingvongeusau.com/ ... /1.2.3.pdf

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by gebhk » 10 May 2022 18:28

Hi WM

I think technically the Vienna Station was the Vienna Station, the Temporary Central Station was the Temporary Central Station and the whole complex was called the Main Station. I doubt that anyone was that anal in practice and no doubt the names 'Centralny'. 'Glowny' and 'Wiedenski' were used interchangeably. Your second photo is very instresting because I am almost 100% certain that it shows not the 1921 building (that was located behind the Dworzec Wiedenski (ie to the North), facing onto a part of Chmielna which is now buried under the north-east corner of the Palace of Culture complex) but the first days of the construction of the second extension constructed in 3 months, June - August, 1933. The location at the point where the tracks emerge from the tunnel into an open-air cutting is consistent with what is written about the location of it. I think you have the direction right and indeed, the future Main Station was being built behind it when viewed from the Marszalkowska end. In fact the plan was for the temporary building to be demolished when the new Main Station was completed with just the concrete plinth remaining as an access area for the new station.

Hi Dovid

Can't help observing that Ciano and Maikowski were such champions of democracy, right?

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 19:50

I don't know they say it was the temporary thing.
jerozolimskie_glowny_tymcza-1.jpg
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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 10 May 2022 19:51

gebhk wrote:
10 May 2022 18:28
Can't help observing that Ciano and Maikowski were such champions of democracy, right?
Maybe more than Beck.
I challenge you to find someone praising Beck.

Léon Noël again :
Those he considered friends judged him harshly. This was the case of Anthony Eden, from whom he thought he was much appreciated. "When I see Beck," the former prime minister said, "I feel physically unwell." The English, moreover, were shocked by his bad education, which brought out, rather than concealed, an affected politeness.

After being received in Gdynia by Beck, who immediately believed he had seduced him, Duff Cooper, then Minister of War, entrusted Cari Burckhardt, High Commissioner of the S.d.N. in Dantzig1, “the equivocal impression that (he) had made on him”. Beck had, it is true, given his British interlocutor proof of his immeasurable vanity. He was returning from Germany where Hitler had received him. Duff Cooper, and I take this story from himself, asked him what he thought of the Chancellor. After praising him, Beck added, "He's not a Colonel Beck after all!" ".

Towards Burckhardt also2, he showed himself very irritating with a “mixture of majesty, distrust and affectation of mystery”, “speaking without interruption in a singularly superior tone”.

(...)

Another foreign statesman, of subtle psychological finesse, Grégoire Gafenco, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, also gave Beck very severe assessments4 although, as he confided to me in September 1946, he had, in towards him, certain obligations: “Beck had the soul of a reiter, violent and proud. His patriotism was ardent but suspicious, and he trusted more readily to the word of an adversary than to the assurances of a friend. Thus, he was dangerous to others [...], but even more dangerous to himself [...]. His romantic outburst, which he took for realism, was not devoid of grandeur; he had the unusual radiance of certain characters who seem destined to command events, when they are already the instruments of fatality”.

King Carol of Romania had no more favorable opinion of Beck than that of the seductive Gafenco. After initially feeling a certain sympathy for him, he had taken a dislike to him and could not suffer him. During a brief appearance in Sinaia, Beck had exasperated him by lecturing him and trying to dictate his policy.

His overflowing vanity was one of the causes of the annoyance he provoked in most of his interlocutors. My Swedish colleague and friend Boheman, a high-calibre diplomat, had been invited, with his charming wife, to spend a few days with the Beck household in the region of the Mazovian lakes. On his return, I asked him if this stay had been pleasant: "boring", he replied bluntly; "Beck spent 48 hours doing his own eulogy." It was his habit. The former head of President Moscicki's civilian household, Lepkowski, confided to me in 1949 that one evening, at Spala - one of the residences of the Head of State -, the latter having retired in good hour, he and others remained with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. They thought they would take the opportunity to hear him talk about his politics. It did not happen. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Beck talked to them about himself, told them, and repeated to them, on several occasions, anecdotes in which he was the hero. “Besides,” Lepkowski tells me, “he was drunk.”

Very few were those who, during his official trips, did not pass a pejorative judgment on him. After he had stopped in Copenhagen, on the way to Oslo, a Danish newspaper wrote: "Of all the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Europe, he is the best dressed and the most disagreeable of reports" (July 31 1938).

(...)
My excellent British colleague, Sir Howard Kennard, who was as direct and sincere as possible, was irritated. He remarked, "He always sneaks around."
(...)
As I said, incidentally, to the Countess Michel Lubienski, wife of his chief of staff, that he spoke French very well, she replied: “You speak ironically! Even in Polish, my husband often tells me, you never understand what he means.

Sir Howard Kennard also reproached him for lacking what he called "humor"; he took himself too seriously and focused his thoughts too exclusively on himself to have a sense of humor. The irony was incomprehensible to him and the joke usually escaped him.

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Re: Pilsudski's preventive war against Hitler in 1934 : fake or not ?

Post by wm » 10 May 2022 20:00

immediate aid and assistance
had no meaning if not accompanied by a military convention specifying what, where, and when. And France refused to sign the military convention despite numerous Polish requests.

The fact that the highly bureaucratic League of Nations could have been involved if a signatory asked for its mediation meant the help could have been delayed indefinitely.
This was exactly the trick France used to weasel out of the commitments of the French-Czechoslovak alliance.
The difference was the Poles were aware of it, the woke Czechs weren't.

The refusal to sign a military convention and the League of Nations trick was the reasons Mr. Adamthwaite wrote in his book that "Poland could no longer count on the alliance."
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