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 DavidFrankenberg » 10 May 2022 23:45

wm wrote:
10 May 2022 22:52
As Mr. Gafencu wrote, Beck was an ardent, proud Polish patriot who had no love for Germany, as has wrongly been suggested.
Like everyone else (including France, Britain, the Soviet Union), he pursued the policy of detente with Germany.
And like everyone else (except the Soviet Union), he wasn't successful.

Beck pursued the policy not because it was good but the only possible. The only alternative was doing nothing.
No "love", but strong sympathy and even naivety.

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

Post by Steve » 11 May 2022 01:30

Noel visited Paris in November 1938 and discussed his report with Bonnet. Bonnet told him that he had examined the alliance with Poland “under a magnifying glass” and had decided that there were sufficient loopholes in it.

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

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 11 May 2022 20:32

wm wrote:
10 May 2022 22:52
Beck pursued the policy not because it was good but the only possible. The only alternative was doing nothing.
It was not the only alternative. And Beck did not do nothing... He clearly preferred nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler to the democratic Czech of Eduard Benes for example. But he also preferred nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler to the democratic France of Barthou and Laval.
Beck did not trust France. But he did trust Hitler. He thought Hitler would not attack him. He imagined that Hitler would peacefully deal the Danzig problem. Beck thought Hitler was not as extremist as he was indeed. He really thought that he could befriend him. That both could expand together hand in hand like 2 old friends.

He should have befriended with Benes and Czech and SU rather than with Hitler. He should have forgotten Teschen and many territories just to make a solid front against Hitler. But Beck was too nationalistic to do that. He decided to ally with Hitler till the day Hitler attacked him.
You could say that Stalin did the same. But he did not. Stalin tried to make such a front against Hitler. He contacted Poland, he was friend with Benes of Czech. Only Poland and Beck prevented it. Stalin allied to Hitler only after all other options were cancelled notably by Poland and Westerners.

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

Post by wm » 11 May 2022 20:38

In the twenties, it became painfully apparent that France was (economically, demographically) significantly weaker than Germany. That France wouldn't be able to defeat Germany and need luck to defeat a German invasion successfully.
The French responded by signing the peace settlement with Germany (i.e., the Locarno Treaty), building the Maginot Line, and reducing their (of little value) commitments in Eastern Europe.

The Poles responded to that by seeking their own peace settlement with Germany and an alliance with Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.
The inept Czech leaders did nothing and paid the price when they were easily outmaneuvered by Hitler.

There was really nothing more to it. Both France and Poland acted rationally. Against Germany, the lonely French-Polish alliance was insufficient and pointless.
There weren't any good guys and bad guys; it wasn't a Hollywood movie, only politicians facing possibly overwhelming danger.
Last edited by wm on 11 May 2022 20:52, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by wm » 11 May 2022 20:41

It was only on paper that the Locarno Pact with all its implications could be reconciled with an effective system of French eastern alliances.
The French ambassador in London, Saint Aulaire, pointed out in a book that "the accords of Locarno undermined France diplomatically by destroying our alliances"; Barbier called the accords a "fatal and decisive blow to the Franco-Polish alliance, the pillar of our system of Continental alliances."
A Senate rapporteur, analyzing in 1940 the Franco-Polish treaty, admitted that "the first shadow which passed over Franco-Polish friendship was thrown by the monument of Locarno."
The effect of the Locarno treaties on the long-range relations between France and her eastern allies was grave indeed.
The ties binding Paris and Warsaw weakened; Czechoslovak and Polish interests became less compatible, Poland bearing the brunt of German revisionism, Czechoslovakia basking in her apparent security.
Jouvenel passed penetrating judgment on Locarno's influence on the eastern alliances when he wrote that "we put ourselves in a position in which we were incapable of helping our allies and this naturally led them to turn away from us. The Polish-German agreement of 1934 was logically included in the accords of Locarno."
This observation was eminently true, and no one should have been greatly surprised in Paris and Prague when a few months after Locarno Pilsudski emerged into power again and attempted a diplomatic game that disregarded the allies who could be of so little practical assistance to his country.
France and her Eastern Allies, 1919–1925 by Piotr S. Wandycz

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

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 11 May 2022 21:06

wm wrote:
11 May 2022 20:38
In the twenties, it became painfully apparent that France was (economically, demographically) significantly weaker than Germany. That France wouldn't be able to defeat Germany and need luck to defeat a German invasion successfully.
The French responded by signing the peace settlement with Germany (i.e., the Locarno Treaty), building the Maginot Line, and reducing their (of little value) commitments in Eastern Europe.

The Poles responded to that by seeking their own peace settlement with Germany and an alliance with Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.
The inept Czech leaders did nothing and paid the price when they were easily outmaneuvered by Hitler.

There was really nothing more to it. Both France and Poland acted rationally. Against Germany, the lonely French-Polish alliance was insufficient and pointless.
There weren't any good guys and bad guys; it wasn't a Hollywood movie, only politicians facing possibly overwhelming danger.
Poland did not befriend Czech which could have been its best ally in the East. Worse than that, Poland allied with Germany in order to butcher Czech...
It's like if France became allied to Hitler in order to butcher Belgium...
France was far more reasonable than Poland. France was also in touch with SU... Poland was never in touch with SU...
Poland did all wrong.
The only thing Poland had to do was to befriend with its eastern neighbors like Czech and SU. But it did absolutely not.
Beck was blinded by his nationalistic ideology.
Mussolini was not. He showed a great fear of Hitler. Mussolini tried to befriend with France and GB in order to contain Hitler. But France and GB refused. Like Stalin, Mussolini at least tried to do something against Hitler before allying to him. Beck did not.

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

Post by wm » 11 May 2022 22:38

You've stated that cartoonish opinion many times without bothering to support it with facts. It's not history; at best, it's tabloid history.

The truth is Czechoslovakia rejected Polish offers of alliance, and their subsequent governments advised/led by the psychopathic Beneš, weren't even up to the task.
Czechoslovakia did not want to guarantee the Peace of Riga, signed by Poland and Soviet Russia, ending the Polish-Soviet war. Furthermore, Beneš did not want to have Poland, which considered itself a great power of Eastern Europe, as a member of the alliance.
When three years later Rumania attempted to bring Poland into the Little Entente, Beneš prevented it from materializing to the great dismay of Rumania and France.
His personal ambition ... made a Polish presence in the Entente undesirable.
Czechoslovakia's Role in Soviet Strategy by Josef Kalvoda

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

Post by wm » 12 May 2022 16:37

Beneš was determined to stay away from any arrangements binding Warsaw and Prague closely together. He warned his colleagues that military or even strong political ties with Poland could prove dangerous for Czechoslovakia.
The Poles, as far as Beneš was concerned, were free to play the role of a big European power, but they would have to do so on their own, without Prague’s backing.
The most he would do for Czechoslovak-Polish relations was to assure Warsaw in a perfunctory manner that Prague’s future arrangements with Moscow would not be directed against Poland.
The Foreign Ministry in Prague was not going to pretend that Czechoslovakia was a European or even regional power; it would secure the country’s existence through alliances with real players: France and the Soviet Union.
Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukes

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

Post by wm » 12 May 2022 16:49

The Trans-Olza question rankled the Poles, but it was not the only problem in their relations with Czechoslovakia. In fact, disagreements on foreign policy were equally important. In 1920, the Czechs had opposed the award of East Galicia to Poland. They wished it to go to Soviet Russia or to come under Czechoslovak administration, thus establishing a common Soviet-Czechoslovak frontier.
...
As for the Polish-German frontier, President T.G. Masaryk did not hide his view ... that Danzig/Gdansk and the Polish Corridor must return to Germany.
Polish-Czechoslovak relations were generally friendly between 1921 and 1933. There were close contacts between the two general staffs, and even talk of a military convention.
However, the Czechoslovak government was not interested in an alliance or close ties with Poland. Thus, T.G. Masaryk told German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann in March 1927 that he did not intend to take up a recent Polish suggestion for closer relations with Czechoslovakia ‘for he did not want to pull Poland's chestnuts out of the fire whenever a conflict with Germany might develop’.
Six years later, on 17 March 1933 in Geneva, a few days after the nazis won the elections in Germany (5 March), and the Polish government had warned the Germans against a putsch in Danzig by strengthening its garrison on the Westerplatte (6 March), Foreign Minister Edvard Benes told his British counterpart, Sir John Simon, ... he did not want Czechoslovakia to be driven into the arms of Poland.
Furthermore, he claimed that he had rejected Beck's proposal of an alliance against Germany.
The Munich Crisis, 1938 by Taylor and Francis

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

Post by wm » 13 May 2022 21:05

An alternative to the foreign policy concepts of ... Beneš ... the formation of Central European or Danubian Federation [proposed by Poland during ww2] -- was rejected by Beneš and the course of action that he followed during World War II brought Czechoslovakia into the Soviet orbit.
In June 1945, when Beneš was very angry at the Soviets, he told one of his admirers and followers, Ivan Herben, that he had documents by which he could prove the duplicity of the Soviets and the Czechoslovak Communists who claimed that the Soviet Union had been determined to help Czechoslovakia, alone during the Munich crisis.
There was no truth in it, Beneš angrily shouted on that occasion, and he asserted that the Communists' claim was merely a legend.
Czechoslovakia's Role in Soviet Strategy by Josef Kalvoda

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

Post by Steve » 13 May 2022 23:34

Could this be the smoking gun as to whether Poland suggested to France in 1933 that they take military action against Germany? The following is from a book published in 1950 by Lewis Namier titled Europe in Decay: A study in Disintegration 1936-1940, page 282. Namier communicated with Jozef Lipski pre war Polish ambassador to Germany. According to Lipski the formal negotiations for the 1934 pact were kept strictly secret because until the last moment Pilsudski still hoped for some concerted international action against Germany. The following is from a letter Lipski wrote to Namier.

……….. I (Lipski) was instructed by Colonel Beck to keep the matter strictly secret, and that also toward the corps diplomatique. Pilsudski, who personally dealt with the problem, would not sign a pact with the Germans before sounding Paris once more about jointly taking decisive action against Hitler, which was a further reason for his instructing me to preserve absolute silence.

The Poles viewed the pact as a great success but it was more of a success for Hitler than for the Poles. Hitler now no longer had to worry about Poland and France combining against him while he was militarily weak. After the pact was agreed Beck apparently believed the assurances that Hitler gave him over Danzig.

Beck met Hitler on January 5 1939 and one of the reasons he had for the meeting was that he wanted to ascertain whether Hitler really supported the demands that had been put forward by Ribbentrop. He suspected that Ribbentrop not Hitler was responsible for the impasse in Polish German relations. When Beck met Ribbentrop on January 6 1939 Beck said that he was for the first time “in a pessimistic mood” which suggests that he had previously been in an optimistic mood about relations with Hitler. It is quite amazing that Beck could have ever thought that Hitler would acquiesce to the situation of Danzig and the corridor when he was dismantling everything else that the Versailles Treaty had imposed on Germany.

That Beck wanted to check if Hitler really supported the demands put forward by Ribbentrop comes from – Poland and The Western Powers by Anna Cienciala 1968 page 186. Her source was the Szembek Journal, December 7 1938 pp 383-4.

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

Post by wm » 14 May 2022 07:24

Steve wrote:
13 May 2022 23:34
When Beck met Ribbentrop on January 6 1939 Beck said that he was for the first time “in a pessimistic mood” which suggests that he had previously been in an optimistic mood about relations with Hitler.

Although he didn't say that. Actually
he advised Ribbentrop not to present the matter to the Chancellor in too optimistic a fashion
The report from the discussions between Minister Beck and Minister von Ribbentrop during the latter's visit to Warsaw on 26 January 1939
because of inadequate compensation offered for Danzig.

And later:
31 January.
Circular of the Minister of Foreign Affairs about Ribbentrop's visit to Warsaw
Minister Beck to all agencies of the Republic of Poland

The results of Minister Ribbentrop's visit are the following:
a) Both governments will continue the policy of non-aggression based on the act of 1934 and will strive to turn this relation into a lasting one.
...
e) There are no issues between the two countries that can't be settled through negotiations with regard for mutual interests.

Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939
So actually, the exact opposite of "pessimistic" happened.
Beck obviously expected a better compensation for Danzig; if not that Germany would abandon the proposal (because "Poland is not the Czech state"); if not that there would be war.

Danzig was one of eight various topics discussed, it wasn't just about Danzig.

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

Post by Steve » 14 May 2022 09:49

I notice wm that your post “he advised Ribbentrop not to present the matter to the Chancellor in too optimistic a fashion” gives the date as January 26 which is when Ribbentrop visited Warsaw. My post refers to the meeting Beck had with Ribbentrop in Munich on January 6 the day after his meeting with Hitler on January 5.

"Mr. Beck asked Ribbentrop to inform the Chancellor that whereas previously, after all his conversations and contacts with German statesmen, he had been feeling optimistic, today, for the first time he was in a pessimistic mood. Particularly in regard to the Danzig question, as it had been raised by the Chancellor, he saw no possibility whatever of agreement." https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-06-45.asp scroll down to 212

On his return to Poland Beck immediately attended a conference with the leading figures in the government probably to discuss how the Danzig chickens were now coming home to roost.

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

Post by wm » 14 May 2022 16:30

Unfortunately, I couldn't find pessimism there either.
This is in the document:
Mr. Beck replied that the Danzig question was a very difficult problem. He added that in the Chancellor's suggestion he did not see any equivalent for Poland, and that the whole of Polish opinion, and not only people thinking politically but the widest spheres of Polish society, were particularly sensitive on this matter.
and more or less this:
In answer to this the Chancellor stated that to solve this problem it would be necessary to try to find something quite new, some new form
But between, this is missing:
On hearing the statement above [i.e., "Mr. Beck replied that the Danzig question was a very difficult problem"] the Chancellor backtracked a little from his position...

It was the fifth meeting when Danzig was discussed and the weakest attempt of them all.
Because Hilter only hinted that Danzig would once return to Germany and only noted that more freedom of movement between Germany and East Prussia was needed.

It's known that several days later, Beck said he thought that Hitler genuinely believed his offer was generous and he wouldn't have liked to offend him but didn't know how.
But that wasn't that kind of pessimism.

In the post-meeting circular for his diplomats, Beck wrote that Germany demonstrated an unwavering will to continue the good neighbor policy with Poland.

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

Post by wm » 15 May 2022 07:51

I found "I asked Ribbentrop to inform the Chancellor that whereas previously" in "Dariusz i Teki Jana Szembeka", volume 6, page 467.

Beck told Szembek about the meeting with Hitler and mentioned that.
Then they discussed two possible reactions:
- let it slide,
- seek a compromise.

They decided not to deepen the discord, for now, nor to refuse further negotiation, and to talk to Ribbentrop again (although in Berlin Beck didn't agree to invite Ribbentrop to Warsaw).
But when Ribbentrop arrived he heard again: "not to present the matter to the Chancellor in too optimistic a fashion" because his compensation for Danzig was non-existent.

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