De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

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ljadw
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 18 May 2021 18:06

Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 May 2021 12:54
Hi gebhk,

You ask, "I am a little perplexed why you believe that Czechoslovakia was 'betrayed' but Poland was not. In my view either both were or neither was, though this is, perhaps, somewhat academic. After all, at least the Czechoslovaks were told that they were on their own from the start by the British and soon thereafter by the French. This allowed the Czechoslovak government to make fully informed decisions and, in my opinion, make the right ones - in the teeth of furious objections from their countrymen who mostly wanted to fight, one might add."

I would suggest that neither were betrayed, though the argument is somewhat semantic.

The French did not have to follow through on their defence obligations to Czechoslovakia because they strong armed the Czechs into conceding to German demands. Had the Czech refused to make these concessions and the Germans attacked and France had not gone to war on behalf of them, then betrayal would be a reasonable accusation.

However, the French did follow through on their central obligation to Poland by declaring war when it was attacked. Had Poland been attacked by Germany and France not declared war, then that would undoubtedly have been a betrayal. However, that is not what happened.

Had Poland just conceded to Germany's demands, then the French would presumably not have been at war in 1939. However, for what seems to me good reasons of national sovereignty and quite possibly of national existence, the Poles decided to stand and fight on the issue of the Corridor.

I would suggest that, with hindsight, a lot of countries, including both France and Poland, had waited too long to present a united front against Nazi Germany. I also think that everyone else was too reliant on a France with significant internal problems that could train only half the number of conscripts that Germany could. Germany was a giant in continental Europe, having twice the population of any other state outside the USSR. Only a powerful combination could contain it and this was not forthcoming until both the USSR and USA were in the war.

Cheers,

Sid.
About CZ : no one needed the help of CZ and no one could save CZ .
About the ''alliance '' between France and CZ : France would only act if the disappearance of CZ (which France knew would be the result of Munich ) was a danger for France .
What was in it for France in the alliance with CZ ? The answer is : NOTHING .
When Germany was weak, CZ was not needed . When Germany was strong, the intervention of CZ would not save France .
What was the benefit for CZ to have France as ally ?
If Germany was weak, the help of France was not needed . If Germany was strong, the intervention of France would not save CZ.
It was the same for Poland .
France would have fought in 1938 if Germany attacked CZ,although it would not be in the interest of France : France had mobilized to prevent a war .If there was a war, France would not demobilize and return to business as usual : the influence of the snowflakes was too strong .
It was the same a year later for Poland .
The French DOW in September 1939 had nothing to do with its ''alliance '' with Poland, but was caused by snowflake, moral reasons .
It would have been the same in 1938 .
There was almost a war in 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia which had no alliance with France .
In 1914 Britain had no alliance with France but still helped France .
Countries do not declare war /do not fight because of treaties/alliances,which are only pieces of paper, but if it is in their interest or for moral reasons .
Britain had no alliance with SK in 1950 and Australia had no alliance with South Vietnam , but still they sent troops to fight .

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wm
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 26 May 2021 21:49

ljadw wrote:
18 May 2021 07:19
wm wrote:
17 May 2021 23:03
ljadw wrote:
17 May 2021 11:31
Was there a promise for a major relief offensive ?
And why would an offensive of 11 divisions not be a major relief offensive .
Martin Alexander writes in his book:
As far as Gamelin was concerned, he had been blatantly misleading in sending Kasprzycki away from Paris believing that, if Poland suffered a German attack, it could count on a bold French relief offensive against the Reich's western frontiers within three weeks.
And as source gives:
Les problèmes de l'Armée de terre française: 1935-1939 by Henry Dutailly
Dutailly, a professor at the École supérieure de guerre doesn't seem to be a born yesterday loser.

The important thing wasn't the number of divisions but the word "relief", i.e., practical assistance given to those in difficulty.
Is there any proof that Kasprzycki believed this ?
The Poles based their defence plans on the belief the French would fulfil their assumed in May 1939 obligations.

ljadw
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 27 May 2021 06:43

It would be the French who would define the meaning of relief , not the Poles .
And, the May obligations became obligations only on September 4 1939 .

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 May 2021 06:52

Hi wm,

In what way did Polish defence plans change after May?

Cheers,

Sid

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wm
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 27 May 2021 14:58

They didn't change. For the simple reason, they didn't exist before May.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 27 May 2021 18:26

wm wrote:
27 May 2021 14:58
They didn't change. For the simple reason, they didn't exist before May.
Not correct : the west defense plan preparations started already on March 4 1939 .And there were plans elaborated before 1933 .

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wm
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 27 May 2021 20:25

Although "started already on March 4" is a totally different thing from "existed in May."
The plan wasn't ready when the war started so one could imagine how much it wasn't ready in May.

The plan assumed from the beginning that eventually a French offensive would happen and it would be helpful but so little is known about it today, what it meant and what they expected in March that we might as well assume that the story started in May.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 May 2021 00:08

Hi wm,

So we don't know if French assurances changed Polish planning in any way?

Sid.

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wm
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 28 May 2021 16:31

The person responsible kept cards close to the chest so we know very little about it.
The fact is that pre-May it was assumed the French would launch a major and meaningful offensive eventually but after May, that it would happen after two weeks.

Of course, the game-changer would be a French frank admission that there would no offensive for the next year or two. The Polish plans would have to accommodate that and have to be redrawn.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2021 17:12

wm wrote:
28 May 2021 16:31
The person responsible kept cards close to the chest so we know very little about it.
The fact is that pre-May it was assumed the French would launch a major and meaningful offensive eventually but after May, that it would happen after two weeks.

Of course, the game-changer would be a French frank admission that there would no offensive for the next year or two. The Polish plans would have to accommodate that and have to be redrawn.
Hmmm, I think the German-Soviet alliance made the defense of Poland virtually impossible with the resources at hand. Also the Allies might (and did) go to war against Germany, but not really against a German-Soviet coalition. The Agreement of Mutual Assistance Between the United Kingdom and Poland did leave the Soviet question in the grey zone ("the Contracting Parties will consult together on the measures to be taken in common").
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 May 2021 17:49

Hi Peter89,

The agreement did not leave the Soviet Question in the grey zone. It only appeared to, in order to give Poland a little more cover.

In fact there was a secret protocol in which it was made clear that the guarantee was only against Germany. In theory, only the Poles, British and French knew this.

If the USSR did not know about the secret protocol, it would have to assume from its public text that the guarantee covered it as well.

Do we know if the USSR knew about the secret protocol?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 28 May 2021 18:15

Did the USSR care about the secret protocol?
The French did not send in 1920 an army to Poland to help the Poles against the Soviets ,thus, why should they sent an army to defend Poland against the Soviets in 1939 ?

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wm
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by wm » 28 May 2021 18:21

Because the Franco-Polish alliance was signed in 1921.

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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2021 18:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
28 May 2021 17:49
Hi Peter89,

The agreement did not leave the Soviet Question in the grey zone. It only appeared to, in order to give Poland a little more cover.

In fact there was a secret protocol in which it was made clear that the guarantee was only against Germany. In theory, only the Poles, British and French knew this.

If the USSR did not know about the secret protocol, it would have to assume from its public text that the guarantee covered it as well.

Do we know if the USSR knew about the secret protocol?

Cheers,

Sid.
Hello Sid,

I was quoting the secret protocol.

I think in the summer of 1939 (and the decade before) the British diplomacy wanted to avoid war, especially an escalated one, ie. a war that would entirely upset the world order of 1919/1920. I studied this agreement in detail because of the vague hint on Hungary; I think the British diplomacy wanted to make the the Polish partner understand that the guarantee given at the time is only valid against an aggression by Germany, and a wider alliance, for example with the Romanians, is not unconditionally supported by the British. Romania was somewhat a natural ally of the Polish foreign policy at the time, because both nations feared (for a reason) a Soviet aggression. However, a hypothetical Romanian involvement might potentially jeopardize the relative stability of the whole region, from the eastern border of the Reich down to Greece.

On the other hand, I do not believe that the British diplomacy and the Western colonial empires in general would be happy to see a Soviet / communist threat expanding. But if it was to expand, it might counterbalance the nazi threat, at least they could thought so; in short, the diplomatic consequences of the Soviet attack against Poland were left in question.Therefore, I think they let it "in the grey zone".

Also, your last question is very much relevant.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

ljadw
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Re: De Gaulle and French betrayal of Poland in Semptember 1939

Post by ljadw » 28 May 2021 21:30

wm wrote:
28 May 2021 18:21
Because the Franco-Polish alliance was signed in 1921.
States do not fight for alliances, for treaties .Alliances and treaties are irrelevant : did US intervene against Iraq because they had an alliance with Kuweit ?Britain and France did not declare war on Germany because of the guarantee .
NATO started in 1949, but a Soviet attack on Western Europe in 1947 would have resulted in a US intervention .
If the Soviets had attacked Poland in 1923,France would not have helped Poland, because it could not sent an army to Warsaw through Germany .

That there was no Franco-Polish alliance in 1920 would not have stopped the French aid to Poland,if it had been possible for the French to help Poland .

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