Poland 1939 Was Hitler Right

When you say " smash cities across the Reich at will", doesn't that sound barbarous. There was no need to "smash cities". By the start of 1945, Germany was already doomed to eventual military defeat.

What the RAF should have have done, was speed up the military defeat, by attacking the remaining German Armed Forces, and their supplies. Not by "smashing cities" in some kind of unnecessary and vengeful blood-lust.

As for your reference to the RAF being a "finely-honed" strategic weapon, may I suggest that it wasn't that at all.
Rather, it was a very blunt instrument, wrongly deployed to bomb civilians. Instead of bombing the German synthetic oil refineries.

Of course all this has been pointed out many times before.
anything but ‘blunt’. They had developed a very sophisticated multi disciplinary system to attack targets, even altering the weapons loads and types to maximise destruction depending on the main building types to be hit.
Short of an A Bomb, an RAF 1000 bomber raid was the most destructive weapon in the Allies arsenal.
 
But was it a "start"? They murdered 35,000 in 1940 alone, and 100,000 by the time of that meeting (as part of Aktion T4).

I know it's arguing over the wording, but I'd suggest that they'd been working on mechanising their mass-murder techniques since the very start of the war. The only thing remaining was to scale it up by adding more purpose-designed extermination camps.
I am of the school of belief that the Holocaust 'Evolved'.
I don't think there was a hard and fast plan in place prior to 1939 but circumstances lead to 1942 when the exterminations became mechanised and in earnest.
I think the timing of the Dec 12 1941 and the Wannsee meetings tend to point in this direction.
It's a complex subject and has divided historical academia for some time and will continue to do so.
 
Well their actions from Jan 1st 1945 right up to 8th May 1945 would suggest differently.
I have recently been researching the truce that preceded the handover of the Belsen Concentration Camp in April 1945.
There is very little info on this matter* but what became clear was the ferocious fighting that preceded and followed the truce, and I do mean ferocious.

The war had to end and the quicker the better, every single day cost the lives of yet more allied soldiers and was sending us beyond bankruptcy.
Plus people had had enough.
The Germans had a choice, surrender or be destroyed, they chose first to be destroyed then changed their minds at the last minute.

*The truce not the handover.

indeed, many veterans were very bitter about the utterly fanatical and ferocious resistance they encountered in the dying weeks of the war that killed many of their comrades when it was totally obvious to everyone, especially the Germans, the wars end was only days away.
 
I am of the school of belief that the Holocaust 'Evolved'.
I don't think there was a hard and fast plan in place prior to 1939 but circumstances lead to 1942 when the exterminations became mechanised and in earnest.
I think the timing of the Dec 12 1941 and the Wannsee meetings tend to point in this direction.
It's a complex subject and has divided historical academia for some time and will continue to do so.
Maybe not written down as a single clear set of orders; but look at the Holocaust in Lithuania - by the end of 1941, the Einsatzgruppe had already murdered three-quarters of the pre-war 200,000 or so Jews living there (see the Jaeger report).

You don't go around marking up maps as "Judenfrei" if you haven't got a very good idea of what you're aiming for.
 
Maybe not written down as a single clear set of orders; but look at the Holocaust in Lithuania - by the end of 1941, the Einsatzgruppe had already murdered three-quarters of the pre-war 200,000 or so Jews living there (see the Jaeger report).

You don't go around marking up maps as "Judenfrei" if you haven't got a very good idea of what you're aiming for.
Well, I just have to reiterate that I don't think there was a hard and fast plan to exterminate prior to 1939
I am happy to accept that from Sept 1939 various actions evolved into one big centralised action by late 1941 into early 1942.
It is just my opinion and other opinions are just as valid, however nobody really knows what went on behind closed doors primarily because it was a huge criminal conspiracy and they knew it.
 
Maybe not written down as a single clear set of orders; but look at the Holocaust in Lithuania - by the end of 1941, the Einsatzgruppe had already murdered three-quarters of the pre-war 200,000 or so Jews living there (see the Jaeger report).

You don't go around marking up maps as "Judenfrei" if you haven't got a very good idea of what you're aiming for.
That's over two years into the war. That is, in the period '39 to the end of' 41, the German approach moved from exclusionary to eliminatory Anti-Semitism.
On the subject of, for example, the Judenfrei status of the Baltics (and of Anti - Jewish actions in Poland in '39) there is another serious debate in academia about the extent to which the early war AS murders were spontaneous or organised. Obviously the Einsatzgruppen were the latter but there is some evidence that German soldiers carried out AS murders in 1939 because they believed they could do so without consequences, rather than being ordered to do so.
This isn't a question of guilt, btw. All sides in the debate blame AH and the Germans - what is unclear however is how the anti-Jewish policy moved in the arc - exclude them from the Reich; move them to Africa; more them to Poland to work (to death); move them to the conquered Soviet territories [assuming German victory]; use them as labour; destroy the race.
 
That's over two years into the war. That is, in the period '39 to the end of' 41, the German approach moved from exclusionary to eliminatory Anti-Semitism.
On the subject of, for example, the Judenfrei status of the Baltics (and of Anti - Jewish actions in Poland in '39) there is another serious debate in academia about the extent to which the early war AS murders were spontaneous or organised. Obviously the Einsatzgruppen were the latter but there is some evidence that German soldiers carried out AS murders in 1939 because they believed they could do so without consequences, rather than being ordered to do so.
This isn't a question of guilt, btw. All sides in the debate blame AH and the Germans - what is unclear however is how the anti-Jewish policy moved in the arc - exclude them from the Reich; move them to Africa; more them to Poland to work (to death); move them to the conquered Soviet territories [assuming German victory]; use them as labour; destroy the race.
Eichmans ‘Madegaskar Plan’ wasn't finally abandoned until 1942.
 
You said "The only reason that Hitler wasn't initially a fan of the Final Solution as we know it"; I'd suggest he was a fan from the very start. I apologise for misunderstanding you.

I also disagree, and suggest you're mistaken. I reckon they knew pretty much exactly how they were going to do it, and understood perfectly well that it was practical.

Take a peek at the description of the interrogation of Karl Brandt (link), the bloke running Aktion T4:
"Brandt and Hitler discussed multiple killing techniques during the initial planning of the euthanasia program, during which Hitler asked Brandt, "which is the most humane way?" Brandt suggested the use of carbon monoxide gas, to which Hitler gave his approval. Hitler instructed Brandt to get in touch with other physicians and begin to coordinate the mass killings."

As I pointed out, Hitler signed the backdated order in October 1939; by January 1940, they were gassing their victims. "During 1940, the centres at Brandenburg, Grafeneck and Hartheim killed nearly 10,000 people each, while another 6,000 were killed at Sonnenstein."

In order to murder 35,000 people in that first year, you're having to gas them at roughly 150 per day (assuming time off for holidays and weekends). Ten weeks on from a standing start, in ad-hoc rather than purpose-built facilities. I'd suggest that they knew exactly how they'd get to their intended level of mass murder.
The issue was the scale of the problem the Germans had set themselves, and the limited time they wished to accomplish it in. As you said, they killed 35,000 people in the first year. That's only 0.6% of the objective they had set themselves for the Jews alone, before you even start talking about the much larger numbers of other people on "ze list". Now how do they scale that up to millions?

A number of people said it couldn't be done. If for example they were to shoot people by firing squad, then once you start adding up the numbers of troops and the time required to round people up, march them out to an execution ground, shoot them, clear the bodies, and bury them in mass graves, it starts to become a major endeavour.

This is part of the reason why things like the "Madagascar plan" were being discussed in 1940. That is a plan that originated with the Polish government prior to WWII with the cooperation of the French by the way, before being revived by the Germans. The Poles intended to "encourage" Jews to emigrate there, while the Germans were going to do it forcibly. Hitler approved the plan, but it didn't go anywhere due to the British naval blockade.

Large numbers of people would undoubtedly have died from starvation and disease due to the conditions there, but that wasn't seen as a negative aspect to the Germans, although it was enough to have caused the Poles to abandon the idea as unfeasible in the 1930s.


Then plans shifted to deporting all the "undesirables" from German controlled territory to some undefined region of Siberia where they would be worked to death or starve. That was to be combined with the "Hunger Plan", where the population of the occupied Soviet Union was be reduced by 30 million through a deliberate program of starvation induced by seizing the food supplies during Barbarossa and shipping them back to Germany. The remaining Slavic population of eastern Europe (all of them, not just the Soviets) were then also to be "deported" east over time to receive the same fate.

However, Barbarossa didn't work quite as planned when the Soviets didn't fold up like an accordion after all, so the Germans had to come up with still another plan. At some point someone hit upon the idea of shipping masses of people by rail to SS run work camps, working them to death in industries set up there, and after they had been "used up" they could be gassed in large gas chambers and cremated in large crematorium. Those not deemed useful as workers skipped over the "being worked to death" step. Experiments on gassing prisoners en masse were tried out on Soviet POWs to test out the practicality of the idea. This was shown to be feasible, and this became the "Final Solution as we know it".

We don't know exactly how and when the details of this final plan were first proposed and approved. The Wannsee Conference in January of 1942 didn't document that degree of detail, it focused on general policy objectives rather than the details of the means. The use of gas vans had started just shortly before the Wannsee Conference was held. The first extermination camps became operational in the spring of 1942. "Processing" of the priority target populations proceeded rapidly from that point, far more quickly and efficiently than the early efforts.

In the end a variety of means were used in combination with each other according to local conditions.

That Hitler had always planned on doing away with Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and others is unquestionable. This was inseparable from his vision for the future of Germany, which he wanted to see as unified nation-state existing over a large contiguous territory. In Mein Kampf he was explicit about not wanting an empire of many ethnic groups under German rule such as Britain had.

He knew what he wanted to achieve in the end, but the means by which he would get there was something that he improvised along the way.
 
This isn't a question of guilt, btw. All sides in the debate blame AH and the Germans - what is unclear however is how the anti-Jewish policy moved in the arc - exclude them from the Reich; move them to Africa; more them to Poland to work (to death); move them to the conquered Soviet territories [assuming German victory]; use them as labour; destroy the race.
It's still being debated to this day, it wasn't that long ago we had a Labour MP proposing moving the Jews to America and Labours Friends of Palestine were calling for a final solution to the Jews
 
Ah but the Germans didn't do as much damage*
The reason for that, is because we paid very close attention to the results of the Blitz. There's reams of assessments on the effects of German bombing during the Blitz on every aspect of contemporary life. Here's a sample from one of them:


Everything was assessed, on how quickly we could get things repaired from the damage inflicted. We then sat down and worked out how to break it, so that it stays smashed, and worked to that end.

The Germans would have loved to smash our toys up, its just they lacked the ability and intel to realise they were ineffective.

When you say " smash cities across the Reich at will", doesn't that sound barbarous. There was no need to "smash cities". By the start of 1945, Germany was already doomed to eventual military defeat.

What the RAF should have have done, was speed up the military defeat, by attacking the remaining German Armed Forces, and their supplies. Not by "smashing cities" in some kind of unnecessary and vengeful blood-lust.
Generally the cities had large railway concentrations. And the Germans didn't really collapse until about February 1945 when the Reichsbahn failed. When reading through books you'll often see mention of massive air forces hammering the transport network behind the lines. That's us obliterating cities.

Let me ask you a question. You're in a total war for survival, and freedom of western Europe. The longer it goes on the more people get murdered every day in the final solution, more of your own troops get killed by defenders. Equally we're running out of manpower as dead, our country is on its uppers. If this keeps on going our army may well collapse due to lack of men.
If obliterating German cities shaves even one day off that time, and saves a handful of innocents and some of your own troops, is it not worth doing? Or would you sacrifice the lives of your own population, your brother? father? Or maybe even the female family members as we were under bombardment at the time? Just to keep some complicit in murder alive?

The answer is of course, and always be: "Your target for tonight is..."
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The casus belli for (the start of) WW2 was the German invasion of Poland. If we’re doing ‘what iffery’ can we ask whether Britain and France should have declared war on the USSR when it invaded Poland?

What would have happened then? Our Polish allies fought the Red Army.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I'm in a provocative mood today. Just what, has all of the above to do with the OP's question about the invasion of Poland?
It’s about the Soviet invasion of Poland that happened in concert with the German invasion and did not trigger a declaration of war which our treaty with Poland required.

It would have substantially changed the dynamic of the war.
 
The casus belli for (the start of) WW2 was the German invasion of Poland. If we’re doing ‘what iffery’ can we ask whether Britain and France should have declared war on the USSR when it invaded Poland?

What would have happened then? Our Polish allies fought the Red Army.
The treaty was worded such that it only applied to German aggression.

Although had Hitler not headed to Norway (or the result been different) the Allied troops that fought there would instead have been / then been sent to Finland.

Which creates a rather confusing situation once Barbarrosa kicks off -
 
The secret protocol between Poland and the U.K. made it clear it was Germany when referring to ‘European power’. Mentioned previously HERE

Text of the secret protocol:
1. — (a) By the expression " a European Power " employed in the Agreement is to be understood Germany.
 
It’s about the Soviet invasion of Poland that happened in concert with the German invasion and did not trigger a declaration of war which our treaty with Poland required.

It would have substantially changed the dynamic of the war.
This is what Lindermeyer says

"I decline to comment on the Soviets relative strength because whilst it would have given them additional time to re equip and shape up - It took massive losses to convince Stalin to release various officers from the Gulag - im not sure any event short of Barbarossa would see this happening regardless of start date."

It is however a point I have made before. Could I also take the liberty to refer you to my comment taken from Wikki about the intents of the AGNA of 1935 and the specific motives of the agreement viz Russia and France. The interesting thing about that is that given the timing of the abrogation of the Versailles agreement Hitler it would appear that the then British Government broadly agreed. This pissed the French off somewhat as well as the Italians. 1935 was also the start of the Abyssinian war. Was Hitler stupid to make that break with Versailles when the allies themselves tacitly were beginning to accept it. I think possibly so just as he was stupid to verbally declare war on America when tacitly under the axis agreements it would have been an assumption in any event.
Incidentally the soviets having sewn up their Poland promptly took the time to start their own war against .Finland ( called the winter war), which defeated the Finns but shoved that country over to Germany. I happen to agree with you on your premis.
 
The reason for that, is because we paid very close attention to the results of the Blitz. There's reams of assessments on the effects of German bombing during the Blitz on every aspect of contemporary life. Here's a sample from one of them:


Everything was assessed, on how quickly we could get things repaired from the damage inflicted. We then sat down and worked out how to break it, so that it stays smashed, and worked to that end.

The Germans would have loved to smash our toys up, its just they lacked the ability and intel to realise they were ineffective.



Generally the cities had large railway concentrations. And the Germans didn't really collapse until about February 1945 when the Reichsbahn failed. When reading through books you'll often see mention of massive air forces hammering the transport network behind the lines. That's us obliterating cities.

Let me ask you a question. You're in a total war for survival, and freedom of western Europe. The longer it goes on the more people get murdered every day in the final solution, more of your own troops get killed by defenders. Equally we're running out of manpower as dead, our country is on its uppers. If this keeps on going our army may well collapse due to lack of men.
If obliterating German cities shaves even one day off that time, and saves a handful of innocents and some of your own troops, is it not worth doing? Or would you sacrifice the lives of your own population, your brother? father? Or maybe even the female family members as we were under bombardment at the time? Just to keep some complicit in murder alive?

The answer is of course, and always be: "Your target for tonight is..."
indeed.

one of the key lessons the RAF took away from the Blitz was the need to get extra firefighting resources to the bombed city to contain fires, and civil relief quickly to it the following day for public resilience.
The National Fire Service is an often overlooked star in our ability to resist bombing.

moving smartly onwards, improving our attacks by adding lots of blast bombs and delayed action bombs in the mix to kill firefighters and relief workers during the attack and for days afterwards, moving up to the systematic targetting of MSRs to the bombed towns by light forces the next morning to kill and impede reinforcements and relief supplies once the Germans got their act together and organised a similar co-ordinated system to us, causing it to collapse.
lethal? Yes, ruthless? Yes, but we were in it to win it.

we applied some of our finest scientific and industrial minds to the problem.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
This is what Lindermeyer says

"I decline to comment on the Soviets relative strength because whilst it would have given them additional time to re equip and shape up - It took massive losses to convince Stalin to release various officers from the Gulag - im not sure any event short of Barbarossa would see this happening regardless of start date."

It is however a point I have made before. Could I also take the liberty to refer you to my comment taken from Wikki about the intents of the AGNA of 1935 and the specific motives of the agreement viz Russia and France. The interesting thing about that is that given the timing of the abrogation of the Versailles agreement Hitler it would appear that the then British Government broadly agreed. This pissed the French off somewhat as well as the Italians. 1935 was also the start of the Abyssinian war. Was Hitler stupid to make that break with Versailles when the allies themselves tacitly were beginning to accept it. I think possibly so just as he was stupid to verbally declare war on America when tacitly under the axis agreements it would have been an assumption in any event.
Incidentally the soviets having sewn up their Poland promptly took the time to start their own war against .Finland ( called the winter war), which defeated the Finns but shoved that country over to Germany. I happen to agree with you on your premis.
May have defeated the Finns but it was the best example of a Pyrrhic Victory since 279BC
 
4 minutes ago


scalieback said:
Just digging around for a previous post I made on the subject. This is the Top Secret Foreign Office memo from August 1944 on the subject and its quite clear we meant Germany and not Russia. Releasing the terms of the 'Secret agreement' was felt to embarrass us to the Soviets. The Anglo-Polish Mutual Assistance Agreement of the 25th August, 1939 (clue in the title) is added as an Annex. We had told the French and onviously the movers and shakers in the Empire:

"During the negotiations which led up to the signature of the Agreement, it was understood between the Polish Government and His Majesty's Government that the Agreement only covered the case of aggression by Germany, and the Polish Government confirm that this is so."

The memo is a copy of a copy so it hasn't come across entirely without mistakes eg 10tk August
Full text of "1944 Memorandum On The Anglo Polish Agreement With Secret Protocol"

lOtk August, 1944.

WAR CABINET.

ANGLO-POLISH AGREEMENT OF 1939.

Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

AT the time of the conclusion of the Anglo-Polish Mutual Assistance Agree-
ment of the 25th August, 1939, a Secret Protocol was signed interpreting the
Agreement. This Protocol constituted an integral part of the Agreement, but
its terms, unlike those of the agreement itself, have never been published. The
texts of the Protocol and of the Agreement are annexed.

It will be seen that the object and effect of the Secret Protocol were not
to extend the obligations of the parties but to limit them by confining these
obligations, which in the Agreement were stated in general terms, to the particular
case of aggression by Germany. One object of the Protocol was to avoid any
obligation on our part to assist Poland against Russia. The reason for the
adoption of this procedure is to be found in the special emergencies of the time,
and was, of course, that, while the parties were in fact concluding an agreement
of mutual assistance against aggression by Germany, it was obviously undesirable
to state this in public.

The substance of the principal provision of the Protocol was made public
in a statement by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs in reply to a P.Q. on the 19th October, 1939, when he affirmed that the
references to aggression by a European Power in the Anglo-Polish Agreement
were not intended to cover the case of aggression by Powers other than Germany,
including Russia, and added: "During the negotiations which led up to the
signature of the Agreement, it was understood between the Polish Government -
and His Majesty's Government that the Agreement only covered the case of
aggression by Germany, and the Polish Government confirm that this is so."

The existence of the Secret Protocol was known at the time of its signature
to the French Government and a copy was communicated to the French Embassy
in London on the 9th September, 1939. I also informed the Dominion Prime
Ministers orally and in general terms of the provisions of the Protocol at the
time of their meeting in London in May of this year. Nothing has been said
to any other Governments, including the United States and Soviet Governments,
about the existence of the Protocol.

I am unhappy about this situation., particularly as I have repeatedly affirmed
that His Majesty's Government have made no secret agreements during this war.
This is literally true. Moreover, there is in present circumstances always the
risk of a leak. Although there is nothing in the Protocol in the nature of a major
secret commitment, knowledge of which if it leaked out would cause us serious
detriment, it would, nevertheless, be undesirable that our Soviet Allies should
first learn of the existence of the Protocol from some unauthorised source.

I have accordingly been considering the possibility of publishing the
Protocol. M!y conclusion is. however, that publication at 'the present juncture
would be untimely. Although the provisions of the Protocol commit His Majesty's
Government to no action vis-a-vis the U.S.S.R., their publication would very
probably provoke a disagreeable cross-examination by the Soviet Government oil
12465 [27981]

'2

their meaning. Such questions would probably centre particularly upon
Article 1 (b) and Article 2(6) and (c) of the Protocol, which contain references
to the Baltic States and especially to Lithuania, and upon Article 3, which has
a possible bearing upon Polish-Soviet territorial problems. We could not be
certain in advance of removing all suspicions which the Soviet Government might
conceive on these points and there would be a risk of disturbing the present
improved atmosphere of Anglo-Soviet relations. In addition, the publication
of the Protocol would almost certainly arouse public correspondence and
discussion, in the course of which awkward claims as regards the effect of the
Protocol mij'ht be made on behalf of the Poles, and things be written and said
which would involve a serious risk of destroying any chances that may still
exist of an improvement in Polish-Soviet relations.

I am therefore of the opinion that publication of the Secret Protocol would
best be postponed until we can see more clearly than at present the position in
regard to Polish-Soviet relations, our own relations with Poland and the future
of the An^lo-Polish Agreement of 1939.

A. E.

Foreign Office. 10M A tioust. 1044.

Click to expand...
One object of the Protocol was to avoid any
obligation on our part to assist Poland against Russia. The reason for the
adoption of this procedure is to be found in the special emergencies of the time,
and was, of course, that, while the parties were in fact concluding an agreement
of mutual assistance against aggression by Germany, it was obviously undesirable
to state this in public.


one of the reasons could have been the obvious linkage between Britain and France and the trade negotiations and the other could have been an annusol moment about AGNA. Either way, Britain was flipped back on to France's coat tails.

(sorry @ Scalieback)I got my threads mixed up so this is on both.
 

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