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IPFS News Link • WAR: About that War

More Truth About World War II

• By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

We must fight Russia and China, they say: we don't want another "Munich," do we? The facts tell a different story.

The war in Europe began after Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.  These countries had issued a guarantee to Poland of its border with Germany, and Germany's invasion on September 1 triggered the guarantee. As Murray Rothbard points out, the guarantee was a colossal mistake. There was no possibility Britain and France could help Poland, and the guarantee ensured that a border dispute became a  European War. "Poland was another grotesque — or rather swollen — creature of Versailles. For centuries, Poland had been caught between the millstones of the two great powers in central Europe, Germany, and Russia (also Austria-Hungary, which had now been 'murdered' at Versailles). It should have been clear to any Pole that Poland could prosper, in fact, could exist as an independent country, only in alliance with either Germany, Russia, or both. Any other course would be fatal. But World War I had a very peculiar result, as [A. J. P.] Taylor perceptively points out at the beginning of his book; both Germany and Russia were defeated in Eastern Europe; Russia by Germany, and then by the fact that Communist Revolution lost Russia the gains it would have reaped from allied victory. With both Great Powers temporarily knocked out, room arose for a myriad of independent countries in Eastern Europe; this was artificial and only temporary room, but few realized this crucial fact. Poland was not only independent, it acquired enough territory to tyrannize over a large number of Germans (in the Corridor, Upper Silesia, and Danzig) and Ukrainians, and White Russians. Poland in alliance with either Germany or Russia might have held to its ill-deserved gains; Poland alone was doomed. And yet, [Polish Foreign Minister] Josef Beck, though initially allied with Germany, elected to stand alone, a Great Power, triumphantly defiant of both Germany and Russia, taking a resolutely 'tough,' firm line against anybody and everybody. And as a direct result, Poland was destroyed. Hitler's 'demands' on the Poles were almost non-existent; as Taylor points out, the Weimar Republic would have scorned the terms as a sell-out of vital German interests. Hitler at most wanted a 'corridor through the Corridor' and the return of heavily-German (and pro-German) Danzig; in return for which he would guarantee the rest. Poland resolutely refused to yield 'one inch of Polish soil,' and refused even to negotiate with the Germans, and this down to the last minute. And yet, even with the Anglo-French guarantee, Beck clearly knew that Britain and France could not actually save Poland from attack. He relied to the end on those great shibboleths of all 'hard-liners' everywhere: X is 'bluffing'; X will back down if met by toughness, resolution, and the resolve not to give an inch. (Just as in the case of Finland, and other 'crackpot realists,' when the 'X is bluffing' line of the hard-liners is shown to be sheer absurdity, and X has already attacked, the 'hard-liner' turns, self-contradictorily, to the dictum that not 'one inch of sacred soil' will be given up, no peace while the enemy is on our soil, etc., which completes the ruin of the country by its 'hard-line' rulers. This is what Beck did to Poland.) 


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