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Rimsey
08 Jul 13,, 17:48
This may sound like a stupid question, but what would have happened if Hitler had come clean with the British and French regarding his invasion of Poland so that he could have a common boarder with the USSR? Would they have supported his invasion of Russia or would have things still have turned out as they historically did?

Minskaya
08 Jul 13,, 18:13
Both Britain and France had signed a mutual defense pact with Poland. Hitler well knew and understood the consequences of 1 September 1939.

JAD_333
08 Jul 13,, 19:25
This may sound like a stupid question, but what would have happened if Hitler had come clean with the British and French regarding his invasion of Poland so that he could have a common boarder with the USSR? Would they have supported his invasion of Russia or would have things still have turned out as they historically did?

Perhaps a more interesting question would be, what if Britain and France had not pledged to protect Poland. With this protection, Poland's leaders felt emboldened to reject Hitler's ultimatums regarding land access to the Black Sea port of Danzig which was surrounded by Polish territory. Although it would have taken a leap of faith on Poland's part to give in to Hitler, considering Hitler pretty much reneged on every deal he made with his neighbors, Poland might have yielded rather than stand alone against Hitler's armies.

Minskaya
08 Jul 13,, 19:54
Hitler's decision to invade Poland was made in May of 1939, months before the summer/autumn ultimatums to Poland. Ergo, Poland's response to the Danzig ultimatums was a moot point.

JAD_333
08 Jul 13,, 21:53
Hitler's decision to invade Poland was made in May of 1939, months before the summer/autumn ultimatums to Poland. Ergo, Poland's response to the Danzig ultimatums was a moot point.

And the date for the invasion was set for Sept 1. However in the meantime, various proposals (ultimatums) were issued and rejected by Poland. Hitler seemed to be looking for a way to avoid an invasion.

In fact, on the day before the invasion Hitler thru his foreign minister offered to scrap the invasion if Poland would agree to give up Danzig and hold a plebiscite in the Polish Corridor.

I've read opinions that say Hitler did not really want to mount a full scale invasion because the cost in men and material could crimp his plans for invading the USSR. Another opinion is that Hitler didn't want to provoke France and Britain into a war until he had subjugated the USSR. He also had visions, or should I say, fantasies, of a Europe dominated by Germany and Britain.

But back to the what-if, if Poland had no promise from France and Britain to come to its aid, it's reasonable to entertain the theory that Poland would have given in on the Danzig ultimatum and lived on as an independent, though weakened state for a while, perhaps indefinitely.

zraver
09 Jul 13,, 02:40
If Britain and France had acted more forcefully over Abyssinia, Spain, Rhineland, Austria, Munich, Anglo-German naval agreement and Romania its entirely possible that Hitler could have been stopped. Western indulgence encouraged him to reckless and ultimately doomed abandon.

Officer of Engineers
09 Jul 13,, 05:04
I would love to have seen the Invasion of the Sudetenland moved forward.

Minskaya
09 Jul 13,, 05:43
And the date for the invasion was set for Sept 1. However in the meantime, various proposals (ultimatums) were issued and rejected by Poland. Hitler seemed to be looking for a way to avoid an invasion.
The Hitler ultimatums concerning Danzig contained demands (population transfers), concessions (loss of sea access), and restrictions (plebiscite voting) that Poland could not possibly have accepted. In addition, Poland well knew what had happened to Czechoslovakia (March 1939) after its concession of the Sudetenland (October 1938).

JAD_333
09 Jul 13,, 21:29
I would love to have seen the Invasion of the Sudetenland moved forward.

It was more a cakewalk than an invasion. But had Hitler not had the ok from Britain and France to take over, presumably he would have had to invade, in which case he would have had a rough time of it considering that the cream of the Czech defenses were near the border. And had he moved sooner and unilaterally, a bunch of German generals planned to arrest him. Munich may have saved his butt. So, you have a good point.

JAD_333
09 Jul 13,, 21:41
The Hitler ultimatums concerning Danzig contained demands (population transfers), concessions (loss of sea access), and restrictions (plebiscite voting) that Poland could not possibly have accepted. In addition, Poland well knew what had happened to Czechoslovakia (March 1939) after its concession of the Sudetenland (October 1938).

Of course, things did not turn out such that we can test your logic. One could make the case that the Poles could have taken their chances, inasmuch as Hitler may not have wanted once again to appear to be a rank liar--though I not sure he cared. Or one could argue that their pride led them to prefer certain, disastrous subjugation to a status analogous to unoccupied France. Poland was not Japan. If its only hope to salvage a modicum of independence was to yield to Germany, then it might have done so. I am only contending that such an outcome is not implausible given the what-if France and Britain had not pledged to join Poland in repelling an invasion by Germany.

Mihais
10 Jul 13,, 08:02
Both Britain and France had signed a mutual defense pact with Poland. Hitler well knew and understood the consequences of 1 September 1939.

No,he didn't.He always presumed things will turn out as previously.When it came to war he hoped to limit it in Poland.Only when it became clear the show's for real they started to plan the invasion of the West.They were forced to escalate in that sense.While the Allies had put themselves into a corner by their previous indecisions.

People also forget that it wasn't the Wehrmacht that brought Poland down.It was the Red Army.Without the Soviets,the Poles can hold on for a long time.

The Germans were in dire need for an operational pause,while the Poles were getting,finally ,into some defensible positions,and were in the process of rebuilding their force.Yeah,they lost big,but all was not lost.

Minskaya
10 Jul 13,, 08:45
No,he didn't.He always presumed things will turn out as previously.When it came to war he hoped to limit it in Poland.Only when it became clear the show's for real they started to plan the invasion of the West.They were forced to escalate in that sense.While the Allies had put themselves into a corner by their previous indecisions. People also forget that it wasn't the Wehrmacht that brought Poland down.It was the Red Army.Without the Soviets,the Poles can hold on for a long time. The Germans were in dire need for an operational pause,while the Poles were getting,finally ,into some defensible positions,and were in the process of rebuilding their force.Yeah,they lost big,but all was not lost.
Very little of this jives with post-war historical analysis. There was a reason why the Anglo-Polish military pact specified only an attack by Germany. Churchill was looking for an excuse to confront Nazi expansionism and Hitler well knew it.

Poland could have held the Wehrmacht at bay for a long time? C'mon Mihais. Are you serious?

Mihais
10 Jul 13,, 09:15
Well,too bad Churchill became PM 8 months after the war started. :biggrin:

What I said is strictly related to how the Germans viewed the situation at the time.They were not hell bent on starting WW2 and taking over the world.


As for Poland,if you actually study the operations,you'll come to some very surprising conclusions.They took a beating at the border,but much of their reserves came from the Eastern part of Poland and were in the process of getting into defensive positions.Moreover,their strategy revolved around getting supplies from the West through the Romanian Corridor.They also built a large merchant fleet,planned to transport said supplies from the West to Constanta,and then up to Lvov by rail.Poland was in no way decisevely defeated at the time of Soviet invasion.

S2
10 Jul 13,, 15:17
"...They also built a large merchant fleet,planned to transport said supplies from the West to Constanta,and then up to Lvov by rail.Poland was in no way decisevely defeated at the time of Soviet invasion."

I know nothing of this but, if true (and it easily could be), as events proved it remains nothing more than a distraction. Unless the vessels were loaded and inbound on Sept. 1st, there's no way the end-user would benefit from their largesse before the Germans put paid to their objectives.

This was going to be a rapidly done deal with or without the Soviet Union piling on. Polish heroics aside, "the correlation of forces" were decidedly unfavorable for Poland.

zraver
10 Jul 13,, 15:37
This was going to be a rapidly done deal with or without the Soviet Union piling on. Polish heroics aside, "the correlation of forces" were decidedly unfavorable for Poland.

Yup, the Polish defense and defeat at the frontiers combined with German strategic air dominance and superior German, logisitical, tactical and strategic mobility meant Poland was doomed.

Mihais
10 Jul 13,, 16:52
Yup, the Polish defense and defeat at the frontiers combined with German strategic air dominance and superior German, logisitical, tactical and strategic mobility meant Poland was doomed.

No,it was not.Poland wasn't alone.Even if the French did nothing,the Germans still have to consider the Western front.They simply can't afford to hold it with 10 3d rate divisions indefinetely.
While I agree with S2 the force ratio would still favor the Germans even if 20-25 German divisions are redeployed in the West,the terrain becomes more favorable to the Poles,while the force/space ratio also becomes more favourable for them.Even with their industrial base lost,they retreat towards their depots and along their LOC with the Western Allies.
The German mechanized forces were spent at the time Poland surrendered.About 1/3 of their tanks were destroyed,although the bulk of the losses were Pz I&II.The rest was needing maintenance.The blitzkrieg is over,until the Germans can reconstitute.
The idea is the Poles can hold for at least a couple more months in the S-E part of their country,even if the French do nothing.At the very least it means more German casualties and a lot more Polish troops evacuated to France&UK.At best,the Germans are in serious trouble.

JAD_333
10 Jul 13,, 17:31
Coming back to the what-if question, it seems to me the emphasis on what actually happened in the wake of Poland's refusal to give in to Hitler's ultimatum is crucial to it. But the question remains, did the actual outcome of the invasion support or not support the contention that Poland would have been better off yielding to Hitler's ultimatum?

zraver
10 Jul 13,, 18:01
No,it was not.Poland wasn't alone.Even if the French did nothing,the Germans still have to consider the Western front.They simply can't afford to hold it with 10 3d rate divisions indefinetely.
While I agree with S2 the force ratio would still favor the Germans even if 20-25 German divisions are redeployed in the West,the terrain becomes more favorable to the Poles,while the force/space ratio also becomes more favourable for them.Even with their industrial base lost,they retreat towards their depots and along their LOC with the Western Allies.
The German mechanized forces were spent at the time Poland surrendered.About 1/3 of their tanks were destroyed,although the bulk of the losses were Pz I&II.The rest was needing maintenance.The blitzkrieg is over,until the Germans can reconstitute.
The idea is the Poles can hold for at least a couple more months in the S-E part of their country,even if the French do nothing.At the very least it means more German casualties and a lot more Polish troops evacuated to France&UK.At best,the Germans are in serious trouble.

The defeat of the Polish armies at the frontier and the complete dominance of Polish air space by the Luftwaffe meant it was all over. This problem was made worse by the Polish army deciding to fight in Warsaw where it was encircled and trapped.

The Poles had about 250,000 troops in the east. The other half of the army was either already defeated or encircled. The low hanging fruit in terms of panzer losses had already been picked. A week or two pause for maintenance and then the blitz is back underway all the way to Romania. In the mean time, the foot sloggers and Luftwaffe can keep up the pressure so that the Polish army doesn't get the same breather.

astralis
10 Jul 13,, 18:55
JAD,


I've read opinions that say Hitler did not really want to mount a full scale invasion because the cost in men and material could crimp his plans for invading the USSR. Another opinion is that Hitler didn't want to provoke France and Britain into a war until he had subjugated the USSR. He also had visions, or should I say, fantasies, of a Europe dominated by Germany and Britain.

hitler was actually pissed off that czechslovakia kowtowed. he -wanted- a war to solidify his standing at home, and he wanted a nice, small, one-front war against a country he could easily beat up.

that's why his demands for poland were absolutely unacceptable.

of course had he fought czechslovakia the Wehrmacht would have been in no shape to fight again by Sep 1939.

Mihais
10 Jul 13,, 20:04
JAD,



hitler was actually pissed off that czechslovakia kowtowed. he -wanted- a war to solidify his standing at home, and he wanted a nice, small, one-front war against a country he could easily beat up.

that's why his demands for poland were absolutely unacceptable.

of course had he fought czechslovakia the Wehrmacht would have been in no shape to fight again by Sep 1939.

And it's very likely he would have been arrested or assasinated before any fighting.

Minskaya
10 Jul 13,, 20:05
The Danzig ultimatums were nothing more than a diplomatic pretext for the German invasion of 1 September 1939. Hitler viewed it as an absolute necessity vis-a-vis Lebensraum.



On 23 May 1939, in a statement to his generals while they were in the midst of planning the invasion of Poland, Hitler made it clear that the invasion would not come without resistance as it had in Czechoslovakia. Hitler explained to his officers that the object of the aggression was not Danzig, but the need to obtain German Lebensraum and details of this concept would be later formulated in the infamous Generalplan Ost.

"With minor exceptions German national unification has been achieved. Further successes cannot be achieved without bloodshed. Poland will always be on the side of our adversaries... Danzig is not the objective. It is a matter of expanding our living space in the east, of making our food supply secure, and solving the problem of the Baltic states. To provide sufficient food you must have sparsely settled areas. There is therefore no question of sparing Poland, and the decision remains to attack Poland at the first opportunity. We cannot expect a repetition of Czechoslovakia. There will be fighting."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Poland

Doktor
10 Jul 13,, 21:52
The way I understand original question is if there was chance for Hitler not to trigger WW2 by invading Poland.

I think Goebels could have done it. It took Soviets 2 weeks to take their "fair share" and enter from the East. Preemptive. Commies... After all, still not one drop of blood was shed by the Allies. Remember that the protocols for division of Eastern Europe was still secret. Wonder how Stalin would have reacted to this.

zraver
11 Jul 13,, 05:48
The way I understand original question is if there was chance for Hitler not to trigger WW2 by invading Poland.

I think Goebels could have done it. It took Soviets 2 weeks to take their "fair share" and enter from the East. Preemptive. Commies... After all, still not one drop of blood was shed by the Allies. Remember that the protocols for division of Eastern Europe was still secret. Wonder how Stalin would have reacted to this.

Couldn't happen. The anti-Nazi's and pro-Bolsheviks in the English government would have prevented it. Plus by Munich it was obviously that German re-armament had gone well past defensive needs and by Poland, the Munich agreement had already been abrogated by Germany. No one was buying it. Sadly for Poland, the German conquest and occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia plus the German enclave around Konigsberg meant Germany had Poland surrounded on 3 sides. The Poles had no strategic depth and after the acquisition of Czech tanks by the panzerwaf it was all over as soon as Hitler said go.

Plus the German economy was about to collapse for lack of specie. The Reichsbank had seen most of its gold reserves used by the Nazi state to fund the re-armament and its socialist agenda. Hitler need war for the plunder it would bring.

GVChamp
24 Jul 13,, 00:53
This may sound like a stupid question, but what would have happened if Hitler had come clean with the British and French regarding his invasion of Poland so that he could have a common boarder with the USSR? Would they have supported his invasion of Russia or would have things still have turned out as they historically did?

Question is incorrect, Hitler was not 100% for sure going to invade the Soviet Union in 1941 at the time hostilities started. War eventually? Sure. War right away? Not necessarily.

Also, it wasn't like it was a secret that Hitler would want to bitch slap the Soviets. He said quite clearly that he wanted to get rid of all the Slavs in his book and considered Communism to be a huge evil.

Plus, would YOU want to make a deal with that guy at that time? "Oh yeah, don't worry, I am going to attack the Russians next. PSYCHE!"