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World War II: This presentation uses historical materials available online from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library to whom all credit goes. The library houses all of President Roosevelt's materials related to his presedency and other valuable historic documents.

NO. 17.


6th JULY, 1939.

(For Private Circulation Only).


(The following Memorandum is a digest of notes written by a competent Swiss after a lively discussion with a representative German Nazi. The discussion, which took place just before Lord Halifax's recent speech, was so heated that the Gorman may have said more than h'e had intended to say. The conclusions from his statements were drawn by his interlocutor).


The ultimate aim of German policy is to create a World Empire of unassailable strength without the risks of a world war.

In 1938 the immediate aim of German policy was to subjugate Czechoslovakia. In 1939 its immediate aim is to subjugate Poland without war, or, at worst, after a short localised war. Germany does not yet feel strong enough to face any long war.

The very conditions that bid Hitler avoid a long war are, however, driving him to carry through, without delay, another stage of his programme by the subjugation of Poland and of the Baltic and the Danubian States. Only when this has been done will there be a prospect of comparative tranquillity while Germany organises and co-ordinates, politically and economically, the territories between her own borders and those of Russia. Then further stages in his programme will be either:

(1) To undermine, disintegrate and revolutionise Soviet Russia; or
(2) To link the Russian "Raum" or "space" with the "Imperial Space" of the great German World Empire; or
(3) In the event of resistance to win a war against the Western Powers.

Hitler is now seeking good relations with Moscow in the hope of localising or isolating his conclift with Poland, not because his "imperial alms" in the East have changed. Only in the light of these aims can his methods for the subjugation of Poland be understood.


Up to the end of 1938 Hitler believed that his Eastern policy could be carried through with Polish help. He intended, therefore, to maintain the German-Polish pact of 1934 and gradually to bring Danzig into the Third Reich by "peaceful means" without disturbing Polish economic interests in Danzig. He hoped that this policy would be tolerated by Great Britain and Franco while Rumania was also being brought, with Polish cooperation, into the Gorman sphere of influence. A basis for the disintegration of the Russian Ukraine would thus have been assured. Only then would the Polish Ukraine be "liberated" in its turn, and the full German claims be enforced upon Poland. These plans were thwarted by the Polish alliances with Great Britain and France. Should the Western Powers now attempt, with or without Russian help, to block his road to the East, Hitler will treat Poland as his most dangerous foe because she now stands: as Czechoslovakia stood last year, at the most vulnerable anglo of Germany's military position. Poland must, therefore, be forced out of the anti-German coalition by any and every means.

Hitler's immediate purpose is less to bring about a final revision of German-Polish frontiers than the association of Poland with German "space policy" by setting up at Warsaw a Polish Government as obedient to Germany as are the Hungarian and the Slovak Governments. The only territorial changes that Hitler would at once demand from Poland would be such as to "guarantee" Polish subservience.


Hitler hopes this can be done without war by a method compounded of mobilisation, threats of aggression, propaganda and diplomacy. The first step will be to bring Danzig into union with Germany without provoking war. Despite the Anglo-Polish alliance the British are expected to favour this "peaceful development. Since the territory of Danzig is not Polish, and there are no Polsih troops within it, Germany need take no military action against Poland if Danzig procliams its union with the Reich and is thereupon occupied by German troops. The onus of military attack on Germany or Danzig would then fall upon Poland together with the "moral responsibility" for such "aggression".

German propaganda attaches great importance to this consideration both as regards its effect upon the German people and in foreign countries. Hitler reckons that Poland will shrink from this responsibility especially if German diplomacy and propaganda can gain the ear of Great Britain and Russia for a "peaceful solution". Should the Anglo-French negotiations in Moscow yield no result or end in an "elastic" treaty, Germany would count upon a revival of "defeatism" in Western Europe and upon a decline in British and French readiness to "fight for Danzig". Poland, it is thought, would then have to keep quiet.

Hitler does not propose to occupy Danzig by any "brutal" or sudden stroke, however swift may be the successive phases of a "peaceful settlement". His method is to boycott all Polish authorities and businesses in Danzig; to militariso the city by German "Free Corps" and police, Brown Shirts and Black Guards; to intensify the smuggling of arms and stores into Danzig from East Prussia, and to fortify the Danzig-Polish border so that the proclamation of actual union will be a more legal formality to regularise a de facto situation which Western Europe will already have tolerated.

If union with Danzig can thus be brought about there will be a lull to allow Polish disappointmont - fostered by German propaganda and diplomacy. - to dishearten the Polish people. German propaganda will dwell upon Poland's loss of prestige both among the Poles thomselves and throughout the East and South East of Europe. It wiil promote political disturbances in Poland so as to bring on a change of Government at Warsaw, a reversal of the "Western tendency" of Polish foreign policy in favour of a German-Polish alliance.

Revolutionary and separatist movements will be organised in the Polish Ukraine in order to compel any Warsaw Government to ask Germany for a free hand in suppressing them. Germany is unlikely to make new territorial demands on Poland immediately after the occupation of Danzig. They will only be made when Poland has been forced out of the coalition with the Western Powers, and when the Warsaw Government has on its hands the rebellious movements in tho Polish Ukraine. But after the diplomatic defeat of Poland in Danzig strong pressure will be put on the Baltic and Danubian States to seek "protection" by joining Germany or the Axis "voluntarily".

In this way Hitler expects to resume the policy, interrupted in the Spring of 1939, of linking Poland with the Axis system and of extending this system to all other States between Germany and Russia.


Should Poland nevertheless fight for Danzig Hitler will not rely solely upon military action against hot. Before union is proclaimed the main strength of the German army will be concentrated on the borders of Poland while tho "Siegfried Line" will bo defensively hold in the West. A Polish attack would be answered by a Gorman counter-attack with tho aim of crushing tho Polish army in tho region between Bromberg. (Bydgoszcz) and Posen. This attack would turn the flanks of tho Polish army from East Prussia, Pomorania and Silesia, a "light- ning" occupation of Upper Silesia being carried out simultaneously so as to cut away the chief centre of Polish industry.

This Hitler thinks, could be done in a few weeks. Germany does not intend to pursue the Polos to Warsaw or beyond. She intends to offer Poland an "honourable peace" on the morrow of a crushing defeat, and to exploit this offer by propaganda in Western Europe articularly. No need for an immediate German occupation of further Polish territory.


As regards the West, Germany does not expect Great Britain and France to favour an aggressive war against her, especially if the hopes of Russian help provo illusory. Should the Western Powers nevertheless attack her, Germany's Western army will stand on the defensive until the Polish Army has been crushed. Then the main German forces would be switched over to the West, though there would be no air raids on England or France as long as these two countries should refrain from aerial attack upon Germany. Simultaneously, with her military concentration on the West, Germany would begin a propaganda peace-offensive in which she and the Axis would offer immediate peace to the Western Powers who, if they rejected the offer, would be made responsible for the devastation that would ensue. Special appeals would be issued to the Governments and peoples of Holland, Belgium and Switzerland. Meanwhile, the Italian army and air force would be concentrated in Libya, not for the purpose of an immediate attack upon Egypt, (since this might ruin the peace-offensive), but as a persuasive threat. Tension would be increased between Japan and the Western Powers in the Far East. Hitler believes that the success of this peace-offensive would cause him to be acclaimed as the saviour of the peace of the world.

The "combined strategy" of this method is based on the assumption that the German forces in the West could hold up a French attack long enough for the Polish army to be crushed and the main German forces to be switched over to the West. During this period Italy would remain "neutral" so as to prevent an Anglo-French naval attack upon her, and to awaken hopes in England and France that Italy might be detached from the Axis. There would be no "counter-attack" by the Axis in the West until the whole German army and air force had been concentrated against England and France. Germany assumes further that Russia will remain neutral until and unless the Western Powers and the Axis are at death grips in a long struggle. Germany is not prepared to face a long struggle yet.

To sum up:

Hitler and his helpers are convinced that under present conditions the Axis cannot win a long war against the West. Hence everything depends, in their eyes, upon a diplomatic and moral defeat of the West that shall preclude any further coalition between Western and Eastern Europe. Germany could then organise her "Imperial Space" up to the borders of Russia, and lay the foundations for her continental "Eurasian" World Empire. With this empire the Western Powers could make peace on condition that they give up all idea of poltical cooperation with Eastern Europe, including Russia. As compensation Germany would be prepared to "guarantee" the British and French Empires.

These are the ultimate aims which guide Hitler and his helpers in their handling of the present conflict with Poland.

Their motto is: "No war; at all events no world war".

The Third Reich aims at world empire without a world war.

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