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12-Year Reich; Prelude to War

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A presentation on the road to WW II

A presentation on the road to WW II

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  • 1. The 12-Year Reich 1933-1945 Session 2 Prelude to War 1936-1939
  • 2. The 12-Year Reich 1933-1945 Session 2 Prelude to War 1936-1939 Munich
  • 3. The triumph of 1936, which had given Hitler’s own self-confidence such a huge boost, proved in a way not an end but a beginning....the remilitarization of the Rhineland was merely an important stepping-stone. Kershaw, vol. ii, p. xlvi
  • 4. Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister 1923-24, 1924-29 & June, 1935-May, 1937 “With two lunatics like Mussolini and Hitler you can never be sure of anything. But I am determined to keep the country out of war” *** “...the bomber will always get through” (1934)
  • 5. “...the reluctance of many Europeans to contemplate the need to fight yet another war against Germany, until forced to do so by the Nazis.” Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning. p. 95
  • 6. The road to Munich and beyond George Grosz, “The Hero” 1924 pacifism and appeasement were the consequences of the incredible horror and real living memory of 1914-1918
  • 7. This session will examine how Hitler’s singleminded determination to push and his opponents inability to resist effectively led to the re-ignition of global war on a scale that surpassed the Great War.
  • 8. Weltanschauung world view Hitler’s foreign policy followed logically from his irrational world view. All the measures leading to war and his downfall grew out of the two beliefs which had been visible since Mein Kampf. (1) the inevitable conflict with Bolshevism over Lebensraum (living space) (2) the necessity of removing the Jews (a) from Germany (b) from their international power positions, both capitalist and Bolshevik!
  • 9. HIS SENSE OF URGENCY In October, 1937 he told a group “that both his parents had died young, and that he probably did not have long to live. ‘It was necessary, therefore, to solve the problems that had to be solved (living space) as soon as possible, so that this could still take place in his lifetime. Later generations would no longer be able to accomplish it. Only his person was in the position to bring it about’ “ Kershaw, v. ii, p. 37
  • 10. The Fascist March of Aggression
  • 11. The Fascist March of Aggression Mussolini’s Abyssinian Crisis, October 1935-1936 Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland, February, 1936 Franco’s Spanish Civil War, July, 1936-1939 Hitler’s Austrian Anschluß, March, 1938 Munich & Sudetenland, late spring-fall, 1938 Hitler digests the rest of Czechoslovakia, March, 1939 German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, August, 1939 Poland, 1 September 1939
  • 12. German policy created a vicious circle (1) rapid rearmament in order to acquire territory (3) makes acquisition of (2) crisis of raw materials territory necessary to keep & foreign exchange rearmament going PMH Bell, Origins of the Second World War in Europe, p. 159
  • 13. Mussolini first speaks of a Rome-Berlin Axis 1 November 1936 as both begin their aid to Franco’s side in the Spanish Civil War
  • 14. Anti-Comintern Pact 25 November 1936 Japan would have several military clashes with the USSR over their puppet Manchukuo’s border their military attache sought out von Ribbentrop he persuaded Hitler that this symbolic agreement would be a good move against Soviet expansionism
  • 15. Civil War in Spain, 1936-1939 JUST BACK FROM Spain Roland Strunk REPORTER FOR THE V.B. speaks about his experiences at the Spanish front
  • 16. Civil War in Spain, 1936-1939 as the hammer & sickle + river of blood indicate, Germany turned the events in Spain into a melodrama, Good vs Evil this complex Spanish event became the international focus of the Right vs Left both sides drew volunteers from as far away as the JUST BACK FROM Americas Spain Roland Strunk REPORTER FOR THE V.B. speaks about his experiences at the Spanish front
  • 17. HANS BEIMLER 1895-1936 HERO OF THE ANTI-FASCIST FREEDOM STRUGGLE German communist emigre, killed in Spain
  • 18. “They shall not pass!” --persistent slogan of defiance-- used originally in 1916 by the French at Verdun a WW I poster, right in 1936 in Spain in the battle of Madrid-”No pasaran!”
  • 19. The International Brigades some of the battalions are listed below
  • 20. The International Brigades some of the battalions are listed below Abraham Lincoln & George Washington le Commune de Paris & Henri Barbusse Deba Blagoiev Hans Beimler & Ernst Thälmann Garibaldi
  • 21. The text reads All the peoples of the world are in the International Brigades supporting the Spanish people.
  • 22. Republican poster from Mexican sympathizers many leftist exiles, most famous, Leon Trotsky, sought refuge in Mexico the Latin American left and right took sides in the Spanish conflict
  • 23. German and Italian “volunteers” get live fire training the regular armed forces of the European democracies observed neutrality no such scruples restrained the Soviets or the emerging “Axis” countries their “military advisors” played active roles in the grim war Spain was a testing ground for new weapons and tactics
  • 24. Aerial bombardment of civilians
  • 25. Aerial bombardment of civilians German and Italian flyers soon won air superiority over the Russian fighters the international press was horrified as modern bombing proved much more effective than its WW I counterpart this triggered an aviation arms race and reinvigorated the pacifists
  • 26. Picasso’s “Guernica” 28 German & Italian bombers leveled this town on 26 April 1937. The painting was displayed in the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris
  • 27. three “useful idiots” and their user Langston Hughes, Mikhail Koltsov, Ernest Hemingway, and Nicolas Guillen, Madrid, 1937
  • 28. Bell, p. 219
  • 29. “Spain made war respectable again.” “Heroism and even heroics were back in fashion again.” “The spell cast by the war has not yet lost its power; there have been no anti-war novels or films about the Spanish Civil War.” Bell, p. 219
  • 30. Franco’s Nationalists win, 1939 this Republican poster shows the Nationalists as an odd lot
  • 31. Anschluß, March 1938 (Link-up or Annexation)
  • 32. Anschluß, March 1938 (Link-up or Annexation)
  • 33. Volk outside the Reich
  • 34. Volk outside the Reich Note error 3&4 reversed
  • 35. Austrian civil war; Feb 1934 Socialist fighter arrested as government crushes the rebellion Red workers take to the streets in their WW I uniforms
  • 36. Engelbert Dollfuß, 1892-1934 Clerical Fascism
  • 37. Engelbert Dollfuß, 1892-1934 Clerical Fascism RC seminarian, then law at U of Vienna, economcs at Berlin U Austrian officer & POW in WW I Christian Social Party, in government, 1930 chancellor in coalition, 1932 dictator, 1933, allies with Mussolini assassinated by Austrian Nazis, 25 july 1934
  • 38. The modified Austrian Flag The Jerusalem Cross in a circle looks suspiciously like their neighbor’s Hakenkreuz
  • 39. Your instructor in 1972 demonstrates “trial by combat” as King James with crusader Jerusalem cross
  • 40. Both Wehrmacht and economic leaders convince Hitler to move on expanding Germany’s resource base
  • 41. We help with the Four Year Both Wehrmacht and economic leaders convince Hitler to move on expanding Germany’s resource base
  • 42. Meeting of 5 November 1937
  • 43. Meeting of 5 November 1937 Foreign Minister Four Year Plan “Czar” & von Neurath Luftwaffe, Göring Hoßbach Hitler’s army adjutant War Minister von Blomberg Army Chief of Staff von Fritsch Navy Chief Raeder
  • 44. Two sex scandals the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis
  • 45. Two sex scandals the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis
  • 46. Removing von Blomberg, January, 1938
  • 47. Removing von Blomberg, January, 1938 not popular with the generals, too much “Hitler’s man”--> “HJ Quex” widower with 5 children 12.i.38 secret wedding Hitler & Göring witness Berlin prostitutes “out” his new wife Gestapo alerts Hitler, 21 Jan Goebbels--”Blomberg can’t be saved ... only the pistol remains for a man of honor. The worst crisis... since the Röhm affair....”
  • 48. Removing von Fritsch, January-February, 1938
  • 49. Removing von Fritsch, January-February, 1938 as Hitler considered making him Blomberg’s replacement an old scandal surfaced Otto Schmidt file from 1936 reviewed v Fritsch indignantly denies his accuser brought to confront him Gestapo interrogation Hitler doubts him he also retires “for health reasons”
  • 50. “In order to put a smoke screen around the whole business, a big reshuffle will take place.” --Goebbels, 4.ii.38
  • 51. “In order to put a smoke screen around the whole business, a big reshuffle will take place.” --Goebbels, 4.ii.38 no new War Minister, Hitler will head Wehrmacht a new office, the OKW, headed by Gen’l Keitel will advise the Führer service branches will be like ministries: Army- von Brauchitsch Navy- Raeder Luftwaffe- Marshall Göring von Ribbentrop replaces von Neurath at Foreign Office
  • 52. Hitler addresses the generals 5.ii.38
  • 53. Hitler addresses the generals 5.ii.38 emotional, “I’ve been betrayed” “I need your support” their reaction--shocked silence, no objections no doubt about Blomberg & Fritsch’s guilt the army, not the navy, Luftwaffe or Party, “had suffered a devastating blow” weakened the authority of the military leadership
  • 54. The outcome of the Blomberg-Fritsch affair amounted to the third stepping-stone--after the Reichstag fire and the ‘Röhm Putsch’--cementing Hitler’s absolute power and, quite especially, his dominance over the army. Kershaw, vol ii, p.60
  • 55. Chief of Staff Alfred Janska Nazi- sympathizer Nazi Chancellor Artur Seyss- Edmund v Kurt Schuschnigg Inquart Glaise- Horstenau
  • 56. Chief of Staff Alfred Janska Nazi- sympathizer Nazi Chancellor Artur Seyss- Edmund v Kurt Schuschnigg Inquart Glaise- Horstenau
  • 57. 12.ii.1938 Hitler’s Berghof (mountain farm) “Perhaps I’ll appear some time overnight in Vienna; like a spring storm” -- Hitler
  • 58. Hitler’s February demands
  • 59. Hitler’s February demands 1. Lift the ban on the Austrian Nazis 2. Release all Nazi political prisoners 3. Add Nazis to his government 4. Otherwise, military action
  • 60. Schuschnigg in Austrian Parliament tries to rally nationalists appeals to former enemies on left on 9 Mar calls for plebiscite on 13 Mar Berlin caught off guard
  • 61. Anschluß began with a propaganda barrage Men, now’s the time!
  • 62. Anschluß began with a propaganda barrage “Rot, Weiß, Rot, Bis Wir Tot!” Red, White, Red; Till we’re dead! -- Austrian nationalist slogan Austrian nationalists, communists, and Jews (one clutching a cash box) flee the impending Nazi take- over Hitler considered the time right in early 1938 Men, now’s the time!
  • 63. Schuschnigg steps down
  • 64. Schuschnigg steps down in a series of improvised ultimata, Hitler applies pressure the army is told to prepare for a peaceful entry Austrian Nazis riot Mussolini says he won’t object Britain won’t help Austria Seyss-Inquart replaces Schuschnigg as Chancellor
  • 65. 13 March 1938 Viennese police fight to restrain crowds Austrian border guards joyfully lift the barrier ( Blumenkrieg )
  • 66. Heimkehr Crossing at Braunau, then Linz, finally Wien. 15.iii Addressing the crowds at the Heldenplatz.
  • 67. Adoring Austrians The shot is taken from the balcony of the Hofburg in Vienna (where Hitler addressed the multitudes). It's taken to the left, overlooking the Heldentor (Heroesʼ Gate) on the Ringstrasse.
  • 68. The announcement in the Reichstag Hitler describes the “fulfillment of the supreme historical commission.” -- 18.iii.38
  • 69. Viennese Jews humiliated Made to scrub the sidewalk
  • 70. Poster for the plebiscite 1806 end of the old Reich 1848 the all German Revolution 1918 Versailles und St Germain 1938 Ger-Austro Homecoming On 10 April each of you tell the whole world Yes it is the wish and will of the German One Volk-one Reich-one Leader!
  • 71. Never overly subtle, the Nazis! the size of the circle makes clear what the correct choice is
  • 72. Plebiscite and Greatergerman Assembly Ballot Will you support the deed of 13 March 1938 the Reuniting of Austria with the German State and do you support the action of our Leader Adolf Hitler? Never overly subtle, the Nazis! the size of the circle makes clear what the correct choice is
  • 73. HITLER’S HOMETOWN LINZ, AUSTRIA, 1908-1945 Jim Powers Evan Bukey, Achim Weber 1961
  • 74. Tschechei(Czechia) April-Sept, 1938
  • 75. Tschechei(Czechia) April-Sept, 1938 Sudeten- deutsch pin
  • 76. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others... Machiavelli, The Prince, iii
  • 77. In 1919 the Treaty of St Germain had stripped off the northern tier of Austria-Hungary to make Czechoslovakia pink=Germans; blue=Czechs; brown=Poles olive=Ukrainians; dark green=Slovaks light green=Magyars
  • 78. Sudetenland the mountainous border surrounding Bohemia and Moravia
  • 79. Hitler and Henlein at the Berghof summer, 1938 Konrad Henlein, 1898-1945, head of the Sudeten German movement WW I Austrian Army POW on the Italian Front gymnastics teacher, active in politics after 1928 made ties with the NSDAP in 1935
  • 80. the half-year crisis After Anschluß, a new kind of crisis emerges. This crisis:
  • 81. the half-year crisis After Anschluß, a new kind of crisis emerges. This crisis: not “in line with...expectations of...powerful [Ger.] interests..., especially the army” not “of brief duration” provoked the “first tentative emergence of significant... opposition” “until 1938, Hitler’s moves...had been bold but not reckless”
  • 82. Fall Grün (Case Green) 1937 army staff had planned in 1937 a pre-emptive strike against the Czechs, if the French attacked the Reich amended after the “Hoßbach meeting” (5.xi.37) to fit an unprovoked aggression to gain Lebensraum the Czechs had resources, a developed armaments industry, a good military with hardened mountain defenses the German High Command was not eager to attack
  • 83. Ludwig Beck 1880-20 Juli 1944
  • 84. Ludwig Beck 1880-20 Juli 1944 entered the Prussian Army, 1898 served on the General Staff, 1914-1918 served under Weimar government became Army Chief of Staff, 1935 wrote memos critical of the Case Green plans, May-July, 1938 resigned in protest (but quietly), on 18 August
  • 85. Der Westwall, 1936-1945 begun by army as a response to the Maginot line 1938, unhappy with the pace, Hitler gives it to Organization Todt and RAD as the Czech crisis escalates, so does the pressure for its completion end Aug, 140,000 civilians & 50,000 army workers all work on the Autobahn and housing suspended!
  • 86. Göring’s role like his army counterparts, quite reluctant to start a war feelers to London over the summer through informal contacts as matters heat up at summer’s end, he suggests through the British ambassador an international conference to defuse the Sudeten issue
  • 87. Ribbentrop’s role replaced v Neurath as Foreign Minister, Feb, 1938 as part of the “big reshuffle” resentful of British treatment of him as ambassador, 1936-38 most eager, after Hitler, for war over Czechia
  • 88. the international constellation
  • 89. the international constellation both of the Czech treaty allies, France and USSR, had serious problems limiting their readiness to aid Poland and Hungary both had territorial claims and looked to profit from the dismemberment Italy had no interest in bucking her axis partner Britain was concerned over imperial unrest, especially Ireland, India and Palestine, and aware of her military weakness. She had no treaty obligations to aid the Czechs
  • 90. French pacifists are clear See what will happen to us next, if the Popular Front disarms France!
  • 91. The problem of Soviet military aid to the Czechs Poland USSR Czechs Hungary Rumania Poland or Rumania would have to grant the Red military passage rights, both highly unlikely
  • 92. Arthur Neville Chamberlain (1869-9 November 1940) Rugby School, “red brick university” several Birmingham businesses, then mayor in government, 1917 on Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1931-37 PM, 1937-10 May 1940
  • 93. On 30 August , in an emergency meeting, the British cabinet declined to offer a formal warning to Hitler of likely British intervention in the event of German aggression. Instead it was decided to apply further pressure on the Czechs...accept Henlein’s programme [of] virtual autonomy for the Sudeten Germans...or be doomed. Kershaw, ii, p. 108
  • 94. 12 September ...Hitler delivered his long- awaited and much feared tirade against the Czechs at the final assembly of the Party Congress....” Ibid.
  • 95. 12 September ...Hitler delivered his long- awaited and much feared tirade against the Czechs at the final assembly of the Party Congress....” Ibid.
  • 96. enter Neville Chamberlain 15 September
  • 97. enter Neville Chamberlain 15 September his first airplane flight at age 69 landing at Munich he takes a special train to the Berghof Hitler greets him on the steps after small talk they retreat to the study a three hour talk ensues
  • 98. Hitler’s study from a contemporary postcard • Hitler begins with the German grievances • Chamberlain offers to consider, as long as force is ruled out • when Hitler blames Beneš for using force, Chamberlain shows guts, offers to walk out • Hitler-”If you recognize the principle of self- determination...then we can discuss....”
  • 99. 22 September Bad Godesberg
  • 100. 22 September Bad Godesberg the meeting begins with a shock for Chamberlain he explains how he had lined up his and the French government Hitler replies “that’s not good enough, events have changed our position” Does a rant. Demands immediate occupation of Sudetenland Chamberlain returns to his hotel the next day, they exchange letters Chamberlain agrees to take the new demands to the Czechs if Hitler would draw them up “That’s an ultimatum” “With great disappointment and deep regret, I must register, Herr Reich Chancellor, that you have not supported in the slightest my efforts to maintain peace.”
  • 101. 26 September • his tolerance toward Beneš was at an end • praised Chamberlain’s efforts for peace • no further territorial demands in Europe once the Sudeten problem was solved • “We don’t want any Czechs at all” • the decision for war or peace rested with Beneš • “We are determined. Herr Beneš radio broadcast may now choose” Berlin Sportpalast
  • 102. 27 September “Chamberlain [speaks this] evening on the radio of the absurdity of war on account of ‘a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing’.” Kershaw, ii, p. 119 In a letter to Hitler and Mussolini he proposes a four power conference
  • 103. 28 Sept 1938
  • 104. 28 Sept 1938 “Göring and Ribbentrop had a fierce row, though not in Hitler’s presence....He knew what war was, shouted Göring. If the Führer ordered it, he would be in the first aeroplane. But he would insist upon Ribbentrop being in the seat next to him.” Kershaw, ii, p. 120
  • 105. enter Il Duce 28 September
  • 106. enter Il Duce 28 September 11:15 a.m.,as the French ambassador was playing for more time... Italian ambassador asks for an urgent meeting with Hitler the Duce supports Germany but believes the English request for a conference would be advantageous Hitler suspends the planned mobilization “Tell the Duce I accept his proposal”
  • 107. Braun Haus, München site of the conference, 29. ix. 1938
  • 108. to the historic meeting 29 Sept 1938 in Chamberlain, Daladier, Mussolini, Hitler conspicuously absent, Czech President Beneš
  • 109. discussion on map specifics beginning the afternoon of 29 September the four powers carved up Czecho-Slovakia without the object of their deliberations being represented
  • 110. after 13 hours, the agreement 0230 30.ix.1938
  • 111. the winners the next day the dictators receive applause for saving the peace
  • 112. “I have here, signed by Herr Hitler himself...” the sad, ill chosen words-- ”peace with honor” and “peace for our time”
  • 113. Was Britain prepared to threaten Germany with war on behalf of a state which it certainly could not save...but with the absolute certainty that to do so would from Robert Self, “Neville Chamberlain’s Reputation--Time for Reassessment”
  • 114. Was Britain prepared to threaten Germany with war on behalf of a state which it certainly could not save...but with the absolute certainty that to do so would provoke a ruinous and probably unwinnable war slaughter millions bring in Japan and Italy destroy the British Empire squander its wealth undermine its position as a great power from Robert Self, “Neville Chamberlain’s Reputation--Time for Reassessment”
  • 115. Postcard showing formidable Czech defenses
  • 116. Postcard showing formidable Czech defenses ...still stronger was the Führer’s will! Hitler in Eger von Leeb’s troops enter unopposed
  • 117. Marks of a Genocidal Mentality
  • 118. vom Rath’s assassin, 7 November 1938, Paris Herschel Grynszpan
  • 119. stores smashed and looted, synagogues torched nationwide
  • 120. thousands of shops, nationwide the scope made it clear that this was no spontaneous popular outburst
  • 121. One of the at least ninety-one murdered She was shot when she refused to tell where her husband was. The death certificate says she was “found dead” ‘Sarah’ Selma Zwieniki Hamburg
  • 122. roll call at Buchenwald some of the 30,000 Jews rounded up nationwide after Krystallnacht
  • 123. Israel’s Secret Plan for Destroying the Völk Unknown Secrets of the Bible pamphlet published in Munich, 1938
  • 124. results of Reichskrystallnacht
  • 125. results of Reichskrystallnacht international condemnation criticism within Germany of the wanton destruction of property while the four year plan demanded conservation never again would the pogrom approach be used the “Jewish Question” was turned over to the SS for a more “orderly” solution Jews were further demonized and dehumanized as “Germany’s misfortune” -- the internal enemy efforts to emigrate became more desperate
  • 126. Hitler’s prophesy to the Reichstag 30.January.1939
  • 127. IF•INTERNATIONAL• FINANCE•JEWRY•SUC/ CEDS•AGAIN•IN•PLUN/ GING•MANKIND•INTO• A•WORLD•WAR•THIS• WILL•NOT•BE•THE• VICTORY•OF•JEWRY• RATHER•THE•ANNIHIL/ ATION•OF•THE•JEWISH •RACE•IN•EUROPE Hitler’s prophesy to the Reichstag 30.January.1939
  • 128. Vernichtung a frame from the film clip of Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag -- words have meaning
  • 129. Miscalculation
  • 130. Miscalculation Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
  • 131. Coat of Arms First Slovak Republic (Nazi satellite) 1939-1945 POLAND
  • 132. Modern Slovakia--not WW II borders
  • 133. Msgr. Jozef Tiso 1887-1947 RC priest, politician, head of Slovak Peoples Party entered Czechoslovak parliament 1925, govt minister, 1927-29 & 1938 with Nazi encouragement, agitated for Slovak independence, hence “Czecho- Slovakia” Czech “oppression” of Slovaks used by Hitler as a pretext for March occupation Tiso’s reward was to head the Nazi satellite hanged by the Czech government, 1947
  • 134. Emil Hacha 1872-26 June 1945
  • 135. Emil Hacha 1872-26 June 1945 Czech lawyer, 3rd President, only State President of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia succeeded Beneš when he left after Munich, 30 November 1938 elderly, sickly, summoned to Berlin, evening of 14 March 1939, kept waiting until 11 p.m. threatened by Göring with the bombing of Prague, he fainted signed capitulation, 4 a.m. 15.iii.39
  • 136. Nazi troops enter Prag midday 15.iii.39
  • 137. Nazi troops enter Prag midday 15.iii.39 troops were poised on the border orders were to enter at 0600 15 March, resistance or no Hacha ordered the Czech army to stay in their barracks “another bloodless victory for vulgar gangsterism”-- WLSC
  • 138. this famous picture published worldwide as a symbol of the misery which this occupation brought to most Czechs
  • 139. and once again the ultimate victims Zhid (Jew, cf. “Yid”), you’re not our neighbor!
  • 140. Memelgebiet (Memel district)
  • 141. Historic Memel, 1252 Teutonic Knights’ castle (Ordensburg) guards the port. Symbol of the Drive East (Drang nach Osten)
  • 142. Memel district 1920-23 allied occupation 1923 Lithuania annexed 1924 “Autonomous”
  • 143. Heim ins Reich Pres. Smetona Street becomes Adolf Hitler Street, 23.iii.39 ... after an ultimatum
  • 144. “In the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power.” Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons 31 March 1939
  • 145. launch of battleship Tirpitz 1.iv.39 Wilhelmshaven Hitler’s speech: “He who does not possess power loses the right to life”
  • 146. Franz Halder 1884-1972
  • 147. Franz Halder 1884-1972 before Munich, part of the Beck circle considering a putsch, Hitler’s assassination as Chief of the General Staff, prepares the plan for Poland, Fall Weiß (Case White) “now evidently relished the prospect of easy and rapid victory over the Poles and subsequent conflict with the Soviet Union or the western powers” (op. cit., 179)
  • 148. Freie Stadt Danzig
  • 149. Freie Stadt Danzig City Coat of Arms
  • 150. Col Jozef Beck, 1894-1944 quot;Peace is a precious and a desirable thing. Our generation, bloodied in wars, certainly deserves peace. But peace, like almost all things of this world, has its price, a high but a measurable one. We in Poland do not know the concept of peace at any price. There is only one thing in the lives of men, nations and countries that is without price. That thing is honor.quot;-- 5 May 1939
  • 151. ...from Polish courage and self-confidence there arose a crucial element in the European situation in 1939. Under pressure from Germany, Poland would fight rather than yield. Bell, p. 251
  • 152. Bombshell!
  • 153. the secret protocol dividing the spoils 23/24 August 1939
  • 154. Göring’s role felt excluded from foreign policy since his row with Ribbentrop over Czech policy thought his arch rival, Ribbentrop, was way too confident that the British and French wouldn’t come to Poland’s aid continued to work through “back channels” for a settlement of the Polish crisis that would limit the participants late August, sent Swedish contact Birger Dahlerus to England several times with offers to keep Britain out of the coming war but Chamberlain’s government had lost all trust in Hitler after the March seizure of the rest of Czechia
  • 155. Hitler meets with the army leadership at the Berghof, 22 August the famous picture window in the Great Hall with its mountain view
  • 156. Hitler meets with the army leadership at the Berghof, 22 August around 50 officers dressed in civilian clothes assembled in the Great Hall “It was clear to me that a conflict with Poland had to come sooner or later. “Essentially all depends on me, on my existence, because of my political talents. “...probably no one will ever again have the confidence of the whole German people as I have. There will probably never again in the future be a man with more authority the famous picture window in than I have. the Great Hall with its mountain view Germany’s economic difficulties were a further argument for not delaying action
  • 157. “We can only hold out for a few more years. Göring can confirm this. We must act.” The Polish situation had become intolerable. ...danger of losing prestige. The high probability was that the West would not intervene. He had always been proven right. “We are faced with the harsh alternatives of striking or of certain annihilation sooner or later.” Britain was in no position to help Poland “Our enemies are kleine Würmchen (little baby worms). I saw them in Munich.” His only fear was “that at the last moment some swine or other will yet submit to me a plan for mediation.”
  • 158. after a lunch break he continued with operational details and a pep talk “iron determination” “life and death struggle” not to reach some line, but Kesselschlacht (cauldron battle) to annihilate the enemy forces he would provide a propaganda pretext for beginning the war, however implausible “The victor will not be asked afterwards whether he told the truth or not. When starting and waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory.”
  • 159. Remember this poster from 1933? Emphasizing Germany’s weakness under the Versailles restrictions? Wer braucht Sicherheit im Osten? Who needs security in the East?
  • 160. Albert Forster leader of the Danzig NSDAP, here seen in 1941 as Gauleiter
  • 161. Gleiwitz/Gliwice radio station Alfred Naujocks Operation Himmler most famous of 21 such staged “provocations” which Hitler used to justify his invasion
  • 162. Old battleship fires the first shots of World War II The Schleswig Holstein was a training ship sent to disguise its intent as a combat vessel
  • 163. The scum of the The bloody earth, I assassin of believe? the workers, I presume?
  • 164. “The wagon had begun in the spring to roll towards the abyss. In the last days of August, Hitler ‘could hardly have turned the carriage around without being thrown off himself.’ “ Kershaw, quoting Weizsäcker, p 228
  • 165. Review and Preview--an animated map from an Internet site showing the stages of German expansion from 12 March 1938 to the end of September, 1939

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